March 31, 2004

*You Asked, Wind Rider Answers

Wind Rider has answered your questions.

Bill and gerbils, need I say more?

Click it.

You blog under a pseudonym. Why?

I didn't start out to do so on purpose. The 'handle' is the same one that I've used since my earliest forays onto the Internet, so it just seemed useful. As I am still on Active Duty with the military, I opted to take my lead from other milbloggers, many that make of use pseudonyms. It isn't really a very deep cover, as there are a number of bloggers out there that know my actual name, and quite a few folks at work know that I blog. I've considered switching to using my name after I retire (which will be very soon), however I think that people would probably go "who?" even more so than now. Or they might wonder "is he related to that guy Reynolds links to all the time?". Ah, no.

Are you single?

Currently, yes.


Hey! Military here! Don't ask! Well, ok, yes, hetero. Although sometimes I wonder about that whole 'lesbian trapped in a man's body' concept sometimes.


Yep. Fairly hard headed about it too. When I was stationed overseas, the US Military TV stations didn't show commercials, per se, they were more like public service announcements. Seems that every time a 'you need to quit smoking' spot would come on, my reaction was to light one up, even if I just finished one. I've never visited New York, and Nurse Bloomberg isn't doing too much to really entice me, either.

Have you been invited over to Bill’s house since the hostile blog takeover?

Nah, but that isn't unusual - he only extends the invite when he's running low on booze, cause he knows I'll drop by the class 6 store (on-base liquor store) before I come by.

Speaking of Bill’s house, why don’t we ever hear about him coming to your house?

Strictly out of fear for the Gerbils' safety. They were inherited from Anna (my daughter), but I've sort of become attached to them. They haven't responded too well to the attempts to teach them to do differential calculus in return for sunflower seed treats, but that's ok.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

If I have to pick just one - Blade Runner, the original release cut.

What kind of music do you listen to?

Been listening to mostly classical lately, but I appreciate jazz, alternative, and a very very few selected country tunes. I appreciate music that actually reflects creativity, talent, and skill - I've found examples of this, that suite my tastes, in a lot of different styles. The only three categories that I dismiss right out of hand are rap/hiphop (please don't waste any of my time trying to explain a difference that I don't consider exists), salsa (tinny horn work, ugh), and Chinese Opera (random sharp noises without any discernable pattern).

Do you dance? In public?

I try to spare everyone from that spectacle to the greatest extent possible. On rare occasions, usually involving vast amounts of alcohol, it has happened. An ugly, ugly thing. Slow dancing doesn't count.

Coke or Pepsi?

RC Cola. But Pepsi if that's not an option, and coffee isn't available.

Vodka or tequila?

Tanqueray or Rum. The only time I like tequila is for a 'Prairie Fire'. It's a shot of tequila with a dash of Tabasco, and a dash of Worcestershire. Very handy after drinking a lot of beer, to cleanse the palate. Gets rid of that pasty, filmy, fuzzy thing. But since I don't drink a lot of beer, it's been a while.

As I understand it, you do something vaguely connected to airplanes. What is it you do exactly?

I used to sit in the back without a window and let the pilots try to scare the crap out of me. Not many of them were very good at it, but when they were good, whoo boy. I was on flight status for a little over 20 years, but for the past few years I've been flying a desk. On paper, the specialty code is 'Linguist'.

Why did you join the Air Force?

Aviation. I joined the Civil Air Patrol as a Cadet as soon as I was old enough, basically about the concept of flight. Along the way, I was also in Explorer Scouts, because there was a group being sponsored by the Air Wing of the County Sheriff's department, and it was a chance to fly rotor wing. I joined the Air Force even after not making getting into a track to be a pilot, because of the flight thing. Although the job I signed up for wasn't an obvious path to an Airborne position, the opportunity presented itself, and I gladly said 'hell yeah'. Oh, and btw, unlike Blackfive, when I say 'Airborne' that refers strictly to a flying position. I have never, ever come up with a reason to depart a perfectly functioning aircraft in flight. Besides, at 35,000 feet, it's frikkin cold out there!

What's your rank in the Air Force, and have you ever pulled a practical joke on a higher ranking officer?

I'm a Master Sergeant, and are you kidding? Most have been situational, and sometimes they've backfired. The worst consequence, however, was that I ended up in a Santa Suit at a Christmas party. One of my favorite 'official' photos is a Squadron Picture from Panama, which depicts myself and another guy holding up large orange coolers, with the columns of water coming out of them mere inches from drenching our unit commander.

Have you ever had a solo blog?

Nope, pretty much done the group thing. I did set up A Stop On the Railroad, with the concept being to compile tips, tricks and resources for people considering leaving blogsplat for an MT setup. A few people seemed to find it useful, but after the basics were on it, I didn't really have a burning desire to keep adding to it, or take it in a different direction.

Who are the writers at Silent Running? How did you find each other?

Silent Running was set up by Murray Hill, of Upper Hutt New Zealand in response to his brother being forced to shut down his personal blog due to a situation with his employer. I stumbled across the situation and was energized about this 'quashing of free speech and denial of first amendment right to free speech'. Then Murray and his brother explained to me that New Zealand and Australia don't have a 'first amendment', but by then, it was too late. Murray had put out the invite for collaborators for the effort, and in addition to me, we were joined by Alisa, Mike Hackmeister, Dave Bisman, and a bit later by Captain Scarlet. We all found each other via the wonders of the Internet, and the Blogosphere.

How did you end up at Amish Tech Support?

Actually, I started out at ATS, in a way. Although Laurence vehemently denies any and all credit (probably because he knows blood and DNA testing would be inconclusive), his was the first blog I ever stumbled across. Actually I stumbled across his stories from when he worked at the TV station, then stumbled into this...other...part of his website. I started commenting at LGF, then SR happened, and the rest is history. Laurence actually surprised the crap out of me when he extended the invite -

Why don’t you post more often at ATS?

Intimidation factor. I look at the stuff Laurence turns out, which is concise, sharp, and funny as hell. Most of my stuff doesn't rise to that level, IMHO.

During the hurricane aftermath, you managed to keep posting. Do you think you might be an addict?

Connectivity addict for sure. It was more about solving the technical problem than a feeling that I 'had' to blog. Damned Hurricane had knocked me off the net. Pissed me off.

Describe for us a perfect weekend for Wind Rider.

Hasn't happened yet. I'll let ya know. Most of the ones lately aren't really in contention.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 PM | Comments (13)

*Quotes of the Day

"Late birds get worms while early birds get tired." -Judith Viorst
"I should be angry with you if the time were convenient." -William Shakespeare
Posted by Jennifer at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2004

*You Asked, Paul Answers

Here it is: the interview pretty much guaranteed to scare any normal person away from being interviewed.

Paul has answered your questions.

Click it.

You are a man of mystery, blogging anonymously. What/who are you hiding from?

Blogging would be seriously frowned upon my employer. I’m in a position
where it’s just not advisable. Actually, I wish I weren’t anonymous because
I could tell some great stories without having to live in fear. I’d also
like to post some photos of myself, because I’m devilishly handsome.

Where are you hiding?

I’m on the East Coast. Near the ocean.

What’s your shoe size?

12 EE. I’ve got big feet because I’m 6’ 4”. Something sturdy has got to hold
up all that gray matter. I bet a lot of melted cheese would fit into one of
my shoes.

Where did you go to kindergarten?

New Jersey. Kindergarten was probably the first time I realized that I hated
people. Even at that tender young age…I just knew.

What do you do for a living?

I hold a sales and marketing position in a large American company. But I
always tell people that I sell commodes to the Federal Government. I even
have business cards printed up that say “Thunder Flush, Inc.” I can even
fake a pretty good conversation about gov’t shitter sales. My fantasy job— I
would have loved to be a spook in the cold war days.

What are the measurements of your penis?

Actually, I can be pretty accurate here. I’m going to let you in on a
secret. Every guy in the world has measured his penis at one time or
another. It’s a fact. I go 7 7/8” in length, which is not giant, but tends
to get the job done. Besides, good technique and patience is the key. If you
’re going to do it right, you’re going to be there for while.

Describe your pubic hair.

Hmmm. Interesting question. Neatly trimmed and very soft. I use a top
quality conditioner on my pubes…I don’t care for coarse pubes. I’m not a
very hairy guy anyway. My chest is naturally hairless. In fact I’m pretty
much the opposite of the ‘Italian sweater’ type of guy. Thanks for asking.

Have you ever had a homosexual experience? Please describe it in detail.

No, I haven’t. I’m very comfortable in my skin as a hetero. But I have slept
with multiple girls at the same time. All of them were European. By multiple
I mean more than two. Does that count? It kind of makes them at least
partially homo and I was in the fray so…I guess I’ve had a lesbian
experience. It’s a long story. Several long stories really.

Did you ever get that tin foil versus aluminum foil thing straightened out?

Don’t get me started on the tin foil / aluminum foil thing. You can touch
that shit right out of the oven and it’s not hot, but the pizza that’s
sitting on it will scorch the shit out of you. Does that mean pizza is a
poor conductor of heat? Hell if I know.

If your own FOMP doesn’t work out, will you consider a FOJP?

You bet I would. I was going to add you to the lineup anyway. I bet you’re a
hot little number…

In your top ten reasons to read your blog, you state that you’re prepared to make a deal. What was your deal with Bill and who came out on…top?

We have no formal agreement; we’ve just given each other posting privileges.
But I definitely came out on top. He’s better than I am. Right now I think
he’s holding back a little but I think in the future we’ll be able to do
some great tandem projects. We’re both fairly devious and I think the
chemistry is right. He’s the kind of guy I’d like to write a screenplay

Clearly the hostile takeover of Bill’s blog got his creative juices flowing
again. Why hasn’t that bastard thanked anyone?

Because he’s a no good, filthy—well, that’s not true. Bill is Bill. Nobody
has better intentions. But let’s face it, like a parasite, he feeds off of
others. He works the give and take. There’s certain amount of creative
feedback that’s healthy for all of us. We gang up on Bill, then Bill
attacks. It’s part of his style. Thanks? That would hamper the magic.

Will you be covering “comment blogging” in your Blogging 101 series?

It’s hard to outline good comment blogging in an academic manner because
good comment blogging is spontaneous. Not getting banned is the key. I will
say this: the first time I comment blogged Bill was a masterstroke. He never
saw it coming and then didn’t know what to do about it. The timing was
right. He was running “Ask Scabby” because he had no material. He went to a
meeting and by the time he got back I was answering all of his reader’s
questions. Oho!

What is your favorite movie of all time?

The Godfather and Godfather II are definitely my favorites. They’re hard to
beat for both plot and dialog. I’m also a big fan of Sunset Blvd, Eraserhead
and Glengarry Glen Ross. As far as comedies go, the Blues Brothers is a
classic. That scene at Bob’s Country Bunker is gold.

What kind of music do you listen to?

I like most styles except country, but I lean toward well written and
produced rock. I hate country music. I’m a huge Beatles fan. I like
bluegrass, jazz and classical also. I’m a big fan of the Pixies, Elvis
Costello, Dave Edmunds and most of the 70s guitar heroes like Clapton, Beck,
Page and Eddie. I love funk and dislike rap. Tenacious D is a current

Do you dance? In public?

I’m an accomplished ballroom dancer. Tango, foxtrot, waltz—the whole deal.
Ballroom dancing and boxing go hand in hand. If you mean club dancing, yeah
I have no problem with it. Girls like to dance with me because I don’t look
like a jerk out there. No large, exaggerated movements. And back in the day
I had no trouble in the pit either.

You have a young daughter. Can you name all 4 Teletubbies?

I can’t even name one. That show gives me hives. Everything about it is
creepy. I’m pretty sure they’re hypnotizing my kid and programming her to
kill me in my sleep.

How about at least 4 Smurfs?

Thankfully, my child & have never seen that show. Is it a show? We’re big on
Sponge Bob marathons. Her favorite is Mr. Crabs. I tend to favor Patrick. We
also make a lot of home video of the two of us doing stupid stuff around the
house, like it’s our own TV show. Then we watch them back and laugh like

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

My daughter. Having the kid changed everything in my life…dramatically. All
the selfish habits had to go. She changed every set perception I had up to
this point in my life. We’re a team, she and I. I’m a kid at heart so we’re
pretty silly. Ever try to explain the concept a map to three year old?

Do they know it?

I don’t think so. It’s tough because sometimes kids can say mean things that
they really don’t mean, like, “You go lay down…I want my mommy now.”

Posted by Jennifer at 02:18 PM | Comments (6)

*Quotes of the Day

"Too many people seem to think life is a spectator sport." -Katharine Hepburn
"You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe!" -William Shakespeare
Posted by Jennifer at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2004

*Quotes of the Day

No one missed them last week, but I'm throwing out a couple anyway.

"The main advantage of working at home is that you get to find out what cats really do all day." -Lynne Truss
"I do desire we may be better strangers." -William Shakespeare
Posted by Jennifer at 03:41 PM | Comments (2)

*This Week in History

March 29-April 4 events of note in the extended.

March 29
* 1790: John Tyler was born.
* 1867: Denton True "Cy" Young was born.
* 1961: Washington, D.C. residents were given the right to vote in presidential elections.

March 30
* 1842: Anesthetic was used in surgery for the first time.
* 1853: Vincent Van Gogh was born.
* 1945: Eric Clapton was born.
* 1981: John Hinckley, Jr. shot President Reagan in the chest. Hinckley was later found not guilty by reason of insanity.

March 31
* 1889: The Eiffel Tower was built for the Paris International Exhibition.
* 1959: The Dalai Lama fled Tibet and was given asylum in India.

April 1
* 1970: President Nixon signed a ban on radio and television cigarette ads.

April 2
* 1792: The first United States mint was established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
* 1805: Hans Christian Andersen was born.
* 1914: Sir Alec Guinness was born.

April 3
* 1860: The Pony Express was born.
* 1948: The Marshall Plan was created to help Europe recover from WWII. More than $12 billion in aid was distributed.
* 1995: Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to preside over the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Rehnquist and second in seniority Justice Stevens were both out of town.

April 4
* 1949: NATO was created when the North Atlantic Treaty was signed.

Posted by Jennifer at 02:15 PM

*Candy Dish Observations, Part III

As promised last week, there was a Cadbury Egg Smack-down in my office.

The question: are Cadbury Cream Eggs better than Cadbury Caramel Eggs?

I opted to test this out with the small eggs rather than the full-size eggs. It was my assumption the guys aren't looking for a sugar coma during the workday.

Twelve of each type were placed in the candy bowl.

Immediately, co-worker J swooped in to check out the goodies. "I'm going to have to go with the caramel."

Heh. My experiment would surely prove my hypothesis.

Alas, when Friday came, there were two caramel eggs remaining in the bowl to match the two remaining cream eggs.

Conclusion: It's a tie. Cadbury Cream Eggs and Cadbury Caramel Eggs are equally loved in small portions.

Next week: Jen breaks out the big guns--full-size eggs. The results may not vary, but we'll surely identify the office gluttons.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:05 AM | Comments (2)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Some tidbits from William McKinley's inauguration:

1. Not since Lincoln's journey from Illinois to Washington, D.C. had the newly elected president's journey been part of the inaugural festivities, but McKinley enjoyed a victory tour of sorts when he left Canton, Ohio for Washington. Crowds cheered him on throughout his trip.

2. The weather for McKinley's inauguration was pleasant and sunny.

3. Riding with President Cleveland before the Oath, McKinley remarked, "Mr. President, you are a happier man than I am."

Cleveland responded, "I am sure of that, Major."

4. McKinley's inauguration was the first to be filmed (without sound).

5. The decorations for McKinley's inaugurations were gold. What could be more fitting for the champion of the gold standard?

Posted by Jennifer at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2004

*Jen Reviews 80s Movies

Talking to an acquaintance awhile back, St. Elmo's Fire came up somehow. He proclaimed it a great movie, and asked my opinion.

I thought it was over-rated and full of self-involved, arrogant whiners and jackasses.

But that was many, many moons ago. I was quite young, and perhaps I just couldn't relate to the film at the time.

So yesterday I sat down to watch the movie once more.

I stand by my original opinion. And that monkey noise they keep making is really annoying.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:48 PM | Comments (2)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Some tidbits from Benjamin Harrison's inauguration:

1. John Philip Sousa composed "Presidential Polonaise" in Harrison's honor, which the Marine Band played for the inaugural festivities.

2. The weather for Harrison's inauguration was cold, with a rain and snow mix. Despite the terrible weather and some people's superstitions about his grandfather, Harrison refused to move the ceremony indoors.

3. His grandfather's memory was ever-present at the younger Harrison's inauguration. Life-size posters of Benjamin with the slogan "Big Chip off the Old Block" were displayed prominently in the parade.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2004

You Asked, CD Answers

CD has answered your questions!

Movies, of course (he's a film student), as well as the stench of Spears and the inevitable desert island question.

Click it.

Q: If you had to be dropped into an ancient Egyptian tomb filled with spiders,
snakes, or Nazis, which would you choose and why?

A: Assuming the snakes aren't poisonous, definitely snakes. What are they
going to do? Plus, if there was an opening somewhere in the tomb, I could tie
all the snakes together to make a rope and climb to freedom! And even if that
didn't work, just imagine how much money I could get for a genuine snakerope!!!
Why, I could pay for a whole week of college!

Q: Speaking of Indiana Jones, which one of the trilogy is your favorite?

A: I haven't seen "The Last Crusade" yet, so that's automatically out. However,
I'd have to say that "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is the best, if only for the
scene where the guy gets chopped up by an airplane propeller. Coolest movie
death EVER.

Q: What kind of films do you want to make?

A: This is going to be a long answer. I actually don't know EXACTLY what kinds
of films I'm interested in yet. I'll probably do anything I have the
opportunity to work on, although I'm more interested in script/plot-driven stuff
than the "let's see how much expensive crap we can blow up in 90 minutes" genre.
Not that I don't enjoy a good "Stuff that cost money go BOOM!" film. I just
don't think it takes a lot of writing/directing talent to make those. My basic
goal in making films is to try and reverse the whole mindless, postmodern,
relativistic trend that's pretty much taken over the entertainment industry.
Movies are an art, and they should have a message other than "give us your money
and we'll entertain you for a while." Whether I'm making a drama, a comedy, a
documentary, or something in between those, I want to make people think about
their lives and how they're living them. My films will be more of an analysis
of reality than an escape from it. Whatever that means.

Q: What is the last movie that moved you to tears?

A: I don't remember for sure. It's been a while since I saw a movie with a
really emotional plot. I honestly think it might have been "Shrek," as strange
as that sounds, but don't take my word for it.

Q: What are your five favorite films of all time?

A: I know my favorite film is "Gettysburg," but after that, it all kind of blurs
together, so I can't rank exactly 4 as my other favorites. I tend to favor
movies that are part of a trilogy or series, so on the "CD's Favorite Films"
list, you'll find stuff like "Wayne's World," "Jurassic Park," "Austin Powers,"
"Lethal Weapon," etc. Mostly comedy and action movies. I still want to write
and produce more dramatic ones, though.

Q: What did you score on the SATs?

A: On my first and only attempt: 690 verbal, 560 math. For those of you who
didn't do so well in math, that's 1250.

Q: What scent would you propose to capture Britney Spears?s essence?

A: Um...what a strange question. A scent for Britney Spears, huh? Well, what
do dumb, annoying, and overrated smell like? A combination of those would
probably work. You could also throw in a bit of melon scent. You know, to
represent boobies.

Q: An eternity with Jennifer Lopez: heaven or hell?

A: Definitely hell. In fact, that might be where she's from. I don't buy that
whole "Jenny from the block" routine. That backside is out to conquer humanity
and force us to listen to crappy pop music for eternity while watching "Gigli."

Q: How did you join the merry band of Munuvians?

A: That's an interesting story. I had been using Blog*Spot for almost three
months, and one night in mid-December, I managed to get linked on two or three
different blogs at once. I was pretty excited about this, but around the time
the links went up, Blog*Spot decided to go down for about 6 hours, so I ended up
only getting 2 visitors. This prompted me to write a post begging someone to get me away
from the evil service before it was too late. I guess Susie
saw that and got in touch with Pixy, who offered to
let me join Munuvia. 2 weeks later, I started blogging on MT, and I've never
looked back.

Q: Do they play their own instruments?

A: Well, I play drums. I'm not sure about the rest. Wouldn't it be great if we
all played instruments though? Then we could ride around in a poorly animated
bus solving mysteries and entertaining whoever happened to stop by. That would
be sweet.

Q: You have to spend two years on a desert island with either Sugar Ray, Jerry
Cantrell, or Snoop Dogg. Who do you pick and why?

A: I knew there would be a desert island question! Hmmm...I think I'd pick
Jerry Cantrell. He always seems pretty depressed, so he'd either starve himself
to death or overdose on coconuts and poisonous island toads. Then, I could ride
his body to civilization, using his guitar as an oar! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Q: Why blog?

A: I'm not exactly sure why, to be honest. I just started blogging because I
had been reading other blogs for about a month, and I thought I'd see what it
was like. As I now know, it's extremely addictive and fun. I think the main
reason I keep doing it is because it gives me a way to write about things that
irritate me. Everyone should have some way of dealing with stress, and blogging
is my method. Also, although I'm a pretty solid conservative, I'm using
blogging to help form and strengthen my political views. I've really learned a
lot since I started. On top of all that, I'm a total introvert in real life,
but when I'm blogging, I can be loud and opinionated and socialize with all
kinds of people. I actually have more friends in the blogosphere than I do at
school......which is pretty sad now that I think about it....I have to go sit in
the corner and cry for a few minutes.

Q: How would your blog differ if people you know knew about it?

A: It would be incredibly boring and pointless, because...oh, if people I KNOW
knew about it. Hmmm....well, yeah, it would be incredibly boring. I don't
think I'd be comfortable writing a lot of the more controversial stuff I cover
if I had people asking me about it all the time. I've already made a
subconscious (not necessarily intentional) effort to avoid more sensitive topics
ever since I started picking up regular readers. I can't imagine what would
happen if friends or family were reading. On the other hand, if I knew people
from blogging, and THEN met them in real life, that probably wouldn't change
much. My online personality is nothing like my regular one, and I think it
would be more of a shock for someone to know me personally and then read the
blog......For example, in real life, I usually don't ramble like this.

Q: If you could improve one thing about your blog what would it be?

A: A lot of bloggers display quotes of endorsement from other bloggers and/or
readers in their sidebar. I think I'd probably add some of those.

Q: Why haven't you done it yet?

A: As soon as I get some endorsements from people other than "John Kerry" and
"Glenn Reynolds," I probably will.

Q: Pillows: feather or foam?

A: I don't think I've ever seen a feather pillow, so I have no objective proof
that they actually exist. Then again, I don't go ripping my pillows apart to
see what's inside 'em either...there could be live chickens in there right now.
Excuse me a moment.........................nope, foam. I need a new pillow now.
And I'm hungry for KFC.

Q: Your high school had a rifle team? Is that usual for your area?

A: A few of the schools in the area have rifle teams, but I don't know how usual
it really is. We were the team for people who weren't athletic enough for other
sports. It seemed like that was a pretty consistent rule at the other schools
we went to. I doubt that 90% of the students at my high school even knew we had
a team, so there could conceivably be one at every school in the world. Rifle
teams are almost like secret societies. Unfortunately, I don't think my old
school has a team at the moment. The coach was suspended for letting members
toss other members into a dumpster when they shot their first 110. That's a
violation of hazing policy, children.

Q: What's with the telephonophobia? Have you always had it?

A: Telephones are evil. Especially cell phones. I don't know why other people
can't see that. More specifically though, it's because I can't stand the many
things that can go wrong with phones. You can get a wrong number, you can get
someone other than the person you wanted and have to say "is so and so there,"
you can ask that question as soon as they answer and discover that it actually
IS the person you wanted, but you didn't recognize their voice...Plus, I can
never understand people on the phone. My conversations usually consist of
"what," "huh," and "could you say that again?" I'll stick with e-mail, thank
you very much.

Q: Any other phobias?

A: Acrophobia (heights), arachnophobia (spiders), and I tend to get
uncomfortable around any dog large enough to injure me in some way. Which is,
of course, pretty much every dog larger than a terrier.

Well, that was fun.

Posted by Jennifer at 02:44 PM | Comments (1)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Some tidbits from Grover Cleveland's inauguration:

1. Cleveland delivered both of his inaugural speeches from memory. Only he and Franklin Pierce gave their speeches without notes of any kind.

2. He took the Oath of Office with his hand on the Bible his mother had given him when he was a boy.

3. The second Cleveland inaugural parade was the first to feature female marchers.

4. The weather for his first inauguration was very nice, but the second was stormy and cold. Despite the weather, he removed his hat when he stood to give his inaugural address. Apparently the onlookers were reminded of William Henry Harrison, because there were several shouts of "Put on that hat!" from below.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2004

*Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Taking a one-day break from the inaugural theme to bring you this little factoid:

In 1972, President Nixon brought Elvis Presley into the fight against drugs. Presley was even given an honorary narcotics officer badge.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:50 PM | Comments (2)

March 23, 2004

Candy Dish Observations Part II

In my office I have a bookshelf that holds binders. These binders are frequently referred to by other people in the office. I have strategically placed a candy bowl next to the binders in my ongoing efforts to make people fat.

Last week I placed equal amounts of Snickers and Milky Way bite-size candies in the bowl.

This week only Milky Ways remain.

1. Snickers is the preferred candy.
2. Someone is snarfing all the Snickers.

(No, Jim, I'm not eating all the Snickers.)

Next week: Cadbury Cream Eggs vs. Cadbury Caramel Eggs

Posted by Jennifer at 08:40 AM | Comments (5)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Some tidbits from Chester Arthur's inauguration:

1. Arthur became president when James Garfield was assassinated. Garfield's cabinet sent a telegram to Arthur to take the Oath of Office "without delay." He did so in New York City, but took it again when he returned to Washington, D.C. at the Attorney General's suggestion.

2. The second Oath was taken in the Vice President's office at the Capitol with former presidents Grant and Hayes in attendance.

3. After taking the second Oath, Arthur read a short statement praising Garfield.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2004

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Some tidbits from James Garfield's inauguration:

1. According to his diary, Garfield toyed with the idea of skipping the inaugural speech. He wrote that past speeches "except Lincoln's, are dreary reading. Doubtless mine will be also." He finally wrote out a speech late the night before he was inaugurated.

2. His speech wasn't extraordinary, but he was satisfied with it as well as public reaction to it. He said it was "far better than I expected."

3. The new president watched more than 15,000 military members file by his stand in the afternoon parade, which lasted 2 1/2 hours.

4. After Garfield's inauguration, the afternoon parade became more important than the morning procession.

5. Garfield's inaugural ball was the first to be illuminated by electric lighting.

Posted by Jennifer at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

Candy Dish Observations Part I

At my workplace, we have a receptionist desk just outside my office. On said desk there lies a candy dish. In said candy dish there is chocolate. Dove chocolate in "dark" and "milk" varieties are available. The dark chocolate is wrapped in red foil, while the milk chocolate is wrapped in blue foil.

In this particular workplace, men vastly outnumber the women. If you factor in the visitors to the office as well as the office employees, men outnumber women by approximately 10:1.

The dark chocolate leaves the candy dish much faster than the milk chocolate.

Possible conclusions:
1. Men prefer dark chocolate.
2. Men prefer shiny red things over shiny blue things.
3. The type of man who would take candy out of a stranger's dish is also the type of man who prefers dark chocolate (or shiny red things).
4. Men who consume dark chocolate consume greater quantities of it.

Tomorrow: Snickers versus Milky Way.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:17 AM | Comments (8)

This Week

March 22
*1931--William Shatner was born.
*1995--A Russian cosmonaut returned to Earth after a record 439 days in space aboard Mir.

March 23
*1775--Patrick Henry gave his "give me liberty or give me death" speech.

March 24
*1874--Harry Houdini was born in Budapest, Hungary.
*1934--FDR signed a bill granting independence to the Philippines, which took effect 7/4/1946.
*1989--The Exxon Valdez ran aground, spilling 11 million gallons of oil.

March 25
*1911--In New York City, 146 workers died in an 18-minute fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. The ninth floor door locked many of the workers in, and health and safety reforms soon followed the tragedy.
*1942--Aretha Franklin was born.
*1947--Elton John was born.

March 26
*1874--Robert Frost was born.
*1911--Tennessee Williams was born.
*1930--Sandra Day O'Connor was born.
*1973--My favorite soap opera, The Young and The Restless, debuted.
*1979--The Camp David Accord was signed, ending 30 years of war between Israel and Egypt.

March 27
*1963--Quentin Tarantino was born.
*1977--In the Canary Islands two Boeing 747s collided on the ground, killing 570 people.

March 28
*1881--James A. Bailey and P.T. Barnum merged their two circuses.
*1979--The Three Mile Island nuclear accident happened.

Posted by Jennifer at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

Quotes of the Day

"Americans are people who laugh at African witch doctors and spend 100 million dollars on fake reducing systems." -L.L. Levinson
"I want to know why, if men rule the world, they don't stop wearing neckties." -Linda Ellerbee
Posted by Jennifer at 08:00 AM | Comments (2)

March 19, 2004

Women's History

Here is an article that may interest some of you history buffs.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:55 AM | Comments (2)

You Asked, Jack Answers

Jack has answered your questions!

Click the extended for an entertaining, thoughtful interview.

An “About Me” page is curiously missing from your site, so let’s start with the basics: who is Jack? What is he all about?

Gee, you don’t believe in easing into things, do you? You just jump right into the deep end of the philosophy pool with a fundamental existential question. Who is Jack? That’s not an easy question to answer. As a matter of fact, I’ve been asking that question for at least three decades. Do *you* have any hints, because I sure could use them… I think if I knew what I was all about I wouldn’t write a weblog, or at least I wouldn’t have a blog category called “Personal”. What am I all about? The superficial facts are I’m a single man (divorced for 7 years) currently living in Austin, Texas (to be Grenoble, France for three years starting mid-April 2004) who is just trying to get by and enjoy life when and where possible. I have been called handsome and charming by many people, and I do not lack for friends. When I take the Meyers-Briggs personality tests, I always score smack-dab in the middle of the extrovert versus introvert scale. As a matter of fact, I tend to land in the middle of all four scales on that test, which makes sense in light of how I’ve been able to move into many different sub-cultures and communicate well with many different kinds of people. When I travel abroad I’m often mistaken for a native (well, in Mexico, Belgium, and France, but not in Japan, I don’t match the physical type there!!!). Despite my good life at times I teeter on the edge of becoming a burnout case, but I haven’t fallen off that cliff yet. By the way, I did do an “About Me” post once; it is “curiously missing” because I was too lazy to add a link to it on my main page.

How tall is he?

A little over 5’ 9”, but on a day I’m feeling tall I’m 5’ 10”. Want any more vital statistics like weight or shoe size?

How old is he?

As of October 2003, I’m 39, which means I’ll turn 40 on my first birthday as an expatriate. I plan to spend that October 24, 2004 in a distillery in Scotland drinking one of my favorite single malts

How educated is he?

Although most people I work with assume I have a PhD, and my thesis committee said I deserved one for my work, I have a Master of Science in Physics. When I distinguish an education from technical knowledge, I’m not as educated as I’d like to be. I wish I knew more about the fine arts and literature, but I do have a pretty good knowledge of history since reading it has been a hobby of mine.

What does he do for a living?

I work for a large semiconductor company doing research to figure out how to make integrated circuits even faster than they already are. I work with films that are 5 atoms thick on surfaces that are so smooth that a misplaced atom shows up as a bump in a transmission electron microscope. Sometimes I think of myself as a bricklayer who works with really teeny-tiny bricks.

Does he consider himself to be leftish or rightish in the political scheme of things?

Hmmm…. this third person question with a first person answer routine reads really strangely. To answer the question, though, I’m neither leftish nor rightish; I consider myself “centrish”. As with almost everything in my life, the full answer is very complex and nuanced (and there are some parts of my life you really, really, really don’t want to know about the complexity and the subtlety of the nuances, believe me). I’m a strong believer in the fundamental philosophy that motivated the founders at the Constitutional Convention. If this seems to be an incomplete answer, then read my blogs because I post plenty of political opinions on all three.

Okay, let’s kill the “he” stuff. Let’s talk about you. If you could pick your death, how would you go?

Hmmmm… well, I’ve always thought if I absolutely *have* to die one day, I’d like to die while saving someone’s life, perhaps in a blaze of glory typical of adolescent self-dramatization. However I die, though, I know that I’m one of those folks who will refuse to “go quietly into that dark night.”

If you had to vote for another blogger to be President of the United States, who would it be and why?

This one is tougher to answer than I thought it would be. Matt and John of Arrgghh!!! both spring to mind, but I think the best ticket would be Donnie with LeeAnn as Veep to keep Donnie from getting too serious when he goes off on one of his rants.

Why in the name of Britney Spears are you moving to France?

I work for a company that is in a three-way alliance with two European based firms to build a new semiconductor fab (factory) in France. This alliance includes research and development, and I was one of the research folks asked to go to France. Would you turn down a chance to live in Europe for three years with someone else picking up the tab, especially if you were a single guy?

Speaking of Britney, would you rather spend an evening with her or Madonna?

Ugh… I want to know who asked THIS particular question. Do I have to have spend an evening with either? Britney is nice eye candy, but I doubt she would be very good at conversation from what I’ve read about her. As far as Madonna goes… Well, she’s an intelligent woman, but there are some twists in her mind that make me rather uneasy, and I really don’t care for her politics. Can I pick Sandra Bullock? She lives in Austin; I keep hoping I’ll run into her at Home Depot or the grocery store…

If you could pick Britney’s death, how would she go? When would she go?

Geez, what’s all this stuff about death??? Hell, there’s enough death in the world that fantasizing about Britney’s death seems pointless. I’d rather spend my time fantasizing about other things… and you can leave *what* to your imagination.

Which do you prefer--Mexican food or Italian food?

I’m sorely tempted to give an NC-17 rated answer here, given my dating history, but I’ll control that impulse. After dragging my mind out of the gutter, I can say that living in Austin, I’ve been able to have both Tex-Mex and REAL Mexican food, and I like both, but they are NOT the same. Since the immigrant population here is primarily from Mexico rather than from Europe, there’s a dearth of authentic Italian restaurants which is unfortunate because I do prefer Italian food. I’ve found that nothing is better than a hearty Italian meal (with a good red wine) preferably in the company of an intelligent woman.

You are going to spend the next 5 years in a well-ventilated hole in the ground. You can bring a CD player or a portable DVD player that won’t play CDs. Which do you choose?

A CD player. You can think while listening to music.

Which CDs or DVDs do you bring?

The entire Peter Gabriel and Elvis Costello catalogs. I’d also like the best of The Who, Sarah McLachlan’s last three albums, and the greatest hits collections of Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen. There’d be more I’d like to have, and I’m sorting through that now to take to France with me.

Why do you blog?

I started my first blog in January of 2003 when I thought I’d be moving to France in March of 2003. I’ve always loved to write, and after reading several other blogs, I discovered blogging was a good way to practice my writing, express opinions, and possibly change or at least influence minds.

Do any other bloggers influence you?

I read on MSNBC, got referred to InstaPundit from there, and then got referred to Gut Rumbles. After reading Rob and his rants (I’m glad to see he’s regained his center, by the way) it prompted me to continue my own blog but with a slightly different style. Now my main influences are:

Donnie is a definite influence, but then he and I started “We the People” together

Matt of Blackfive with whom I don’t always agree, but I respect

Mog who has an amazingly prodigious output that I don’t always agree with, but again is well worth reading.

Chris, The Noble Pundit, who has some very thought provoking posts.

Have any bloggers been helpful to you?

Beth, She Who Will Be Obeyed was the first to blogroll me, and Donnie has linked to me more often than anyone else and directed a significant fraction of what traffic I do have to my way.

Instapundit: over-rated?

I think he is a bit over-rated. I’d prefer fewer posts with more analysis from him, but I don’t see how he puts out the number of posts he does, even though they are so brief.

What is the most selfish thing you’ve ever done and do you regret it?

Regret is one of the anchors that dragged me into the Black Pit of Despair™, so I’m trying to discard all my regrets. I do still have a few things in my life I regret, but they are not selfish acts. There are a couple of women with whom I ended relationships for selfish reasons, but in the end those relationships would not have worked, so you could argue that the reasons may have been selfish but turned out OK in the end.

What is the most selfless thing you’ve ever done this week?

The most *selfless* thing I’ve done this week???? I’m *much* better at remembering how I’ve been selfish. I’m not sure I’ve really done anything selfless this week… I spend my time around very self-sufficient people, so there aren’t many opportunities to be selfless.

Posted by Jennifer at 09:30 AM | Comments (4)

*Quotes of the Day

"Americans think of themselves as a huge rescue squad on twenty-four-hour call to any spot on the globe where dispute and conflict may erupt." -Eldridge Cleaver
"We were poor. If I wasn't a boy, I wouldn't have had nothing to play with." -Redd Foxx
Posted by Jennifer at 08:19 AM | Comments (2)

March 18, 2004

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Some tidbits from Rutherford B. Hayes's inauguration:

1. March 4 fell on a Sunday, and after a bitterly contested election that was decided by an electoral commission's 8-7 vote, the Republicans were anxious to install Hayes as the president without any problems. They wanted him to take his Oath of Office on time to avoid complications, but Hayes refused to break the Sabbath. With President Grant's permission, Hayes actually took his Oath privately on Saturday, March 3. The public inauguration was held on the following Monday.

2. Hayes placed his hand on the open Bible, and the Supreme Court's chief clerk marked the passage after the Oath was taken. The clerk sent the Bible to Mrs. Hayes, who laughed when she read the passage. It was Psalms 118:12, which read, "They compassed me about like bees; they are quenched as the fire of thorns; for in the name of the Lord I will destroy them." Mrs. Hayes found this passage humorous because she thought her husband too gentle to destroy anything.

Posted by Jennifer at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)

*Quotes of the Day

"The French complain about everything and always." -Napoleon Bonaparte
"As far as I'm concerned, morality is just a word that describes the current fashion of conduct." -Sally Stanford
Posted by Jennifer at 08:07 AM

March 17, 2004

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Some tidbits from Ulysses S. Grant's inaugurations:

1. Grant did not seem to enjoy the time leading up to his first inaugural. His secretary wrote that the president-elect was "very reserved and even restrained."

2. The weather in Washington, D.C. was cold for both of Grant's inaugurations, but especially the second. It was so cold that the musicians' instruments froze up for the parade and there was no music.

3. After taking the Oath of Office, Grant turned to his wife to say, "And now, my dear, I hope you're satisfied."

4. No alcohol was served at the inaugural reception. This was meant to discourage rowdy behavior.

5. When the waitstaff couldn't keep up wth the demand for food, there was a stampede of guests rushing to the kitchen. A cook threw dishcloths at people to keep them at bay.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)

Quotes of the Day

"I don't even know what street Canada is on." -Al Capone
"I like men who have a future and women who have a past." -Oscar Wilde
Posted by Jennifer at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2004

*Quotes of the Day

"Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better." -Robert Redford
"Celibacy is not hereditary." -Oscar Wilde
Posted by Jennifer at 08:20 AM

*Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Some tidbits from Andrew Johnson's inauguration:

1. Johnson took the Oath of Office at 11 a.m. April 15 in the Kirkwood House, where he lived. All the members of Lincoln's cabinet were present except for Secretary of State William Seward, who had been wounded in an assassination attempt.

2. After taking the Oath, Johnson made a short speech. To the dismay of the cabinet-members, he barely mentioned slain President Lincoln and never even spoke his name.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:17 AM

March 15, 2004

*Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Some tidbits from Lincoln's inaugurations:

1. Until Lincoln's first inauguration, the journeys of the president-elects were festive occasions. With the United States on the brink of Civil War, however, Lincoln's trip from Illinois to D.C. was decidedly somber.

2. The railroad company hired Allan Pinkerton (founder of the famous detective agency in Chicago) to investigate threats to Lincoln's journey by southern sympathizers. Pinkerton's agents found explosives on the train as well as track sabotage.

3. Death threats against Lincoln made security around the inauguration a top concern. His carriage was surrounded by cavalry as it road up Pennsylvania Avenue. Soldiers patrolled the side streets, and riflemen were positioned on rooftops along the parade route.

4. After the inauguration, the out-going president, Buchanan, remarked that Lincoln "was far from evincing the slightest apprehension of danger."

5. Lincoln's first inaugural address contained the last reference to Christianity in inaugural history.

6. For Lincoln's second inauguration, black soldiers were allowed to participate in the inaugural parade for the first time.

Posted by Jennifer at 01:57 PM

*Let Me Ask You Something

Imagine if you will that this was a Mexican boy.

That Mexicans regularly boarded Texas buses with bombs strapped to their bodies in the hopes of killing Texas citizens. That once a week--or I'll even let you imagine it's once every few months--some Mexican blew himself and a dozen Texans to Kingdom Come.

Imagine it.

Then tell me how long you'd negotiate with the Mexicans. Tell me how you'd respond to some other country saying we couldn't build a wall to separate the United States from Mexico.

How long before we'd bomb the hell out of Mexico?

Posted by Jennifer at 10:55 AM | Comments (1)

*This Week

March 15
*The Ides of March. This is the day Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C. In the Roman calendar, the days of the month were not sequential. Instead, there were three division days--kalends, nones, and ides. The days were numbered from those divisions. The ides were on the 15th of each month except in months with fewer than 31 days (then the ides were the 13th).
*Andrew Jackson was born in 1767.
*Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in 1933.

March 16
*In 1827, the first black newspaper in the United States was founded. Freedom's Journal was published in New York City.
*James Madison was born in 1751.
*The U.S. Military Academy at West Point was founded in 1802.

March 17
*St. Patrick's Day honors Bishop Patrick (AD 389-461), who introduced Christianity to Ireland.
*In 1992, South African whites voted to end white minority rule by 68.6% of the white-only vote.

March 18
*Colonel Leonov of the Soviet Union left his space capsule Voskhod 2 for 20 minutes. He was the first man to leave a spaceship.
*Grover Cleveland was born in 1837.

March 19
*In 1918, Congress passed the Standard Time Act which resulted in U.S. time zones and established Daylight Savings Time to save fuel for the country (which was fighting World War I).
*Wyatt Earp was born in 1848.

March 20
*Mister Rogers was born in 1928.

March 21
*More than 3,000 demonstrators followed Martin Luther King, Jr. on a march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery in 1965. They were demanding federal protection of voting rights.
*Johann Sebastian Bach was born in 1685.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:06 AM | Comments (1)

*Quotes of the Day

"One of the disadvantages of wine is that it makes a man mistake words for thoughts." -Samuel Johnson
"By the time he finishes defining sex, I think I'll learn that I'm actually a virgin." -Scarlet Thomas, on Bill Clinton's sex scandal
Posted by Jennifer at 09:12 AM

*I'll Give You a Topic...

Inspired by Eat an Animal for PETA Day (as well as two near-misses last night), I want to know how many defenseless woodland-type creatures you've decimated with your gas-guzzling steel transport unit (i.e. car).

I have a mere two raccoons and a squirrel on my "confirmed kill" list.

How about you?

Posted by Jennifer at 08:07 AM | Comments (7)

March 12, 2004

*Quotes of the Day

"The worst drug of today is not smack or pot--it's refined sugar." -George Hamilton in 1980
"Young people are moving away from feeling guilty about sleeping with somebody to feeling guilty if they're not sleeping with somebody." -Margaret Mead
Posted by Jennifer at 10:00 AM

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Some tidbits from James Buchanan's inauguration:

1. Buchanan was ill before and during his inauguration with a stomach infection half-jokingly called the "National Hotel Disease" in reference to the hotel he was staying at. Once he moved into the White House with his own cook, the stomach ailment went away.

2. There were two spectacular floats in his inaugural parade that were meant to symbolize the strength of the (then-fragile) Union. One had a woman dressed as the goddess Liberty, and the other was a replica of the ship Constitution.

3. There have only been three references to Christianity in the presidents' inaugural addresses. Buchanan's was one of them. He pushed for a "spirit of Christian benevolence towards our fellow-men" in his speech.

4. Buchanan's inaugural ball was lit by gas chandeliers. All previous presidents had candlelight.

Posted by Jennifer at 06:56 AM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2004

*Ask Jen: Bathroom Edition

Reader David writes, "I've been wondering for a while what is the true origin of the naval phrase 'Hit the Head' as in I have to go to the bathroom. I've asked several people in the navy and they know the term, but not the origins, help!"

This originated in the middle 1700s due to the location of the crew's toilet. It was traditionally in the bow--or head--of the ship.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up. (Hint: history, trivia, and phrase origin questions tend to get more serious answers. No guarantees, though.)

Posted by Jennifer at 04:22 PM

*Quotes of the Day

"I studied dramatics under him for twelve years." -Dwight Eisenhower on General Douglas MacArthur
"God created man and finding him not sufficiently alone, gave him a companion to make him feel his solitude more keenly." -Paul Valery
Posted by Jennifer at 09:27 AM | Comments (1)

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Some tidbits from Franklin Pierce's inauguration:

1. Pierce was the first president to deliver his inaugural address from memory.

2. He was the only president to affirm his loyalty to the Constitution rather than swear it.

3. Only weeks before the inauguration, the Pierces' son was killed in a train accident. This may explain Pierce's unwillingness to swear on the Bible.

4. Jane Pierce refused to attend her husband's inauguration. She had been opposed to his political career and had only recently found out that he had actively sought the presidency.

5. Understandably, Pierce behaved all day as though he wanted to get it over with as soon as possible.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2004

*Quotes of the Day

"I think there is an immense shortage of Christian charity among so-called Christians." -Harry S. Truman
"See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time." -Robin Williams
Posted by Jennifer at 12:32 PM

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Some tidbits from Millard Fillmore's inauguration:

1. Fillmore became president upon the death of Zachary Taylor.

2. He was sworn in before a joint meeting of the House and Senate.

3. Like Tyler before him, Fillmore sent a message to Congress a few days after taking the Oath. This was in lieu of an inaugural address.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:30 PM | Comments (2)

March 09, 2004

*Quotes of the Day

"He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help." -Abraham Lincoln
"On the one hand, we'll never experience childbirth. On the other hand, we can open all our own jars." -Bruce Willis
Posted by Jennifer at 09:14 AM | Comments (2)

*Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Tidbits from Zachary Taylor's inauguration:

1. Taylor traveled to D.C. separate from his wife, who took a different route. Margaret had been opposed to her husband's presidential campaign, and he wanted to spare her the fanfare surrounding his trip.

2. The president-elect's journey encountered several mishaps--his boat was stuck in ice, a trunk fell down a gangway and hit him, and a crowd of people excited to see him pushed him into a guardrail and injured his right hand.

3. When Taylor arrived in D.C., there was a throng of admirers waiting for him at the depot. It took over an hour for him to make it through the crowd.

4. At the inaugural party there was a stampede once the food was served. Men and women fainted and had to be carried outside.

5. The party continued until 4 a.m.--the servants had left and put all the hats and coats in a big pile in the lobby of City Hall. Young congressman Abraham Lincoln never did find his hat.

Posted by Jennifer at 01:43 AM

March 08, 2004

This Week

March 8--United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace.

March 9--In 1959, Barbie dolls made their retail debut.

This is also the birth anniversary of Amerigo Vespucci. He participated in at least two expeditions from 1499-1502 to South America. He wasn't as famous as Columbus, but thanks to a German mapmaker we Americans aren't Columbians.

March 10--In 1862, United States paper money was issued in denominations of $5 (Hamilton), $10 (Lincoln), and $20 (Liberty).

In 1913, Harriet Tubman died.

March 11--On this day in 1918, the first cases of "Spanish" flu were reported in the U.S. when 107 soldiers in Fort Riley, Kansas became sick. By the end of 1920, almost 25% of Americans had contracted the disease. More than 1% of the global population--22 million people--died.

March 12--In 1938, Germany tested their war readiness as well as other countries' response by invading Austria.

March 13--Uranus was discovered in 1781 by Sir William Herschel. (Ed: Lame jokes soon followed.)

March 14--Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany in 1879.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)

*Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Tidbits from James Polk's inauguration:

1. Polk's was the first inauguration to be relayed by telegraph.

2. It was also the first time the Marine Band played "Hail to the Chief."

3. At the age of 49, Polk was the youngest president ever elected at the time.

4. Polk traveled from Tennessee to Washington, D.C. with his wife Sarah. They took a steamboat from Nashville to Wheeling, Ohio. Along the way, a group of musicians boarded one Sunday in the hopes of playing in Polk's honor. Religious Sarah wouldn't allow it on the grounds that it violated the Sabbath, and the musicians left quietly. Her husband explained that she was in charge of their domestic affairs.

5. Polk quoted from Thomas Jefferson's inaugural address in his own address.

Posted by Jennifer at 09:55 AM

*Quotes of the Day

"The Creator is a comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh." -H. L. Mencken
"The man's desire is for the woman; the woman's desire is for the desire of the man." -Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Heard on Mancow this morning...

"We don't have Osama, but we have that evil Martha Stewart."

Posted by Jennifer at 08:49 AM | Comments (3)

March 05, 2004

*Ask Jen: Refusing to Answer Edition

Jim writes, "How come all of the union strongarm tactics have 'work' in their names when they all deal with the exact opposite of work? Examples: work stoppages, work slowdowns, work actions."

My first inclination is to say that it is because they are, you know, stopping work or slowing work, etc. But I am in a unique position to seek expert input to your question. I do have co-workers who are in the union. Let me go out to the shop and find some...(five minutes later)...hmm, no one out there. Must be break time. I'll just call a couple of the guys...(ten minutes later)...hmm. No one's answering their phone. Is it lunch time? It's not 10:30 yet, so that can't be. Oh, wait. Payday. They're at the bars. Sorry, Jim, I can't answer your question.

Pete the Blogless wants to know, "what is an Irishman's drinking stick?"

Oh, no, you don't. I'm not getting pulled into that Irish stereotype stuff again.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up. (Hint: history, trivia, and phrase origin questions tend to get more serious answers. No guarantees, though.)

Posted by Jennifer at 09:24 AM

*Quotes of the Day

"Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you will always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them." -H.L. Mencken
"Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly." -Rose Franklin
Posted by Jennifer at 08:13 AM

March 04, 2004


Do some words trigger entire poems, songs, quotes, etc for you?


Hearing that single word, do you then launch into an entire song?

So yo girlfriend drives a Honda,
Playin' workout tapes by Fonda,
But Fonda ain't got a motor in the back o' her Honda.
My anaconda don't want want none,
Unless you got buns, hun.
You can do side bends or sit-ups,
But please don' lose that butt.

And while singing, do you dance around too?

Yeah, umm, me neither.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:19 PM | Comments (4)

*Quotes of the Day

"The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power." -Alexander Hamilton
"Men aren't attracted to me by my mind. They're attracted by what I don't mind." -Gypsy Rose Lee
Posted by Jennifer at 08:10 AM

March 03, 2004

*Quotes of the Day

"Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists." -Franklin Delano Roosevelt, speaking to the Daughters of the American Revolution
"A man on a date wonders if he'll get lucky. The woman already knows." -Monica Piper
Posted by Jennifer at 11:36 AM

*Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Tidbits from John Tyler's inauguration:

1. Tyler was the first Vice President to become President due to the death of the President.

2. As such, he set several precedents. One of them was having the Vice President's title become President. This seems obvious, but Harrison's cabinet suggested "Vice President of the United States, Acting President" instead.

3. Tyler thought the oath he'd taken as vice president was good enough, but just to be on the safe side, he had a judge swear him in as president anyway.

4. Three days after taking the Oath, he issued a statement about his views in lieu of an inaugural address.

Posted by Jennifer at 06:48 AM

March 02, 2004

*Ask Jen: Monkeying Around Edition

Jim asks, "Is 'monkey picked' tea really picked by monkeys?

One of my co-workers is drinking 'Monkey Picked Oolong Tea' and says it's
really picked by monkeys. I think that's bull, marketing or legend. Maybe
all 3?"

Looks like it is mostly legend. And I have to say the marketing strategy is suspect. Who wants a monkey touching their tea? If I saw a monkey touching my tea, I'd be like, "Hey! You get your bitch-ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!"

Kin demands to know, "Why are you a Democrat?! They're evil!!"

Yeah, and your point is...? I like being evil.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 02:41 PM | Comments (1)

*Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Tidbits from William Harrison's inauguration:

1. Before the inauguration, Harrison had to journey from Ohio to Washington, D.C. As the oldest president yet elected, he was determined to demonstrate his stamina. He made speeched and attended dinners and receptions throughout the journey. He was often outside without the proper attire despite the bad winter weather that followed him east.

2. Thousands of Harrison's supporters joined his procession to the Capitol. This cemented the custom of the pre-inaugural parade.

3. Also involved in the procession was a new sight: parade floats. People crowded along Pennsylvania Avenue to see the spectacle.

4. After an hour of shaking hands with his well-wishers, Harrison's hand was so sore that he refrained from shaking any more hands. Instead, he nodded and said hello to those who greeted him.

5. Harrison was the first president since George Washington to dance at his own inaugural ball. No president would dance again until Lyndon B. Johnson.

6. As most everyone knows, Harrison died of pneumonia shortly after taking office. He should have worn a coat and hat for his outdoor inaugural.

Posted by Jennifer at 01:57 PM | Comments (2)

*Quotes of the Day

"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." -John Philpot Curran
"My right leg is Christmas and my left leg is Thanksgiving. Why don't you come and visit me between the holidays?" -Mae West
Posted by Jennifer at 08:00 AM | Comments (1)

March 01, 2004

*Ask Jen: Boobies and Lightning Edition

Jim asks, "If Janet Jackson starts a weblog is she automatically a member of Bloggers With Boobies?"

Interesting question, Jim. I have "Boobies" and yet I am not a member. However, I did not bare either of my breasts in public, either. Well, there was that one time on Spring Break, but...ahem. I'm digressing. I don't want to speak for Dana here, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say Janet Jackson doesn't know how to type and could never have a blog.

Reader Shawna writes, "I heard that men are 6 times more likely than women to be hit by lightning. Why?"

My guess is it isn't chemical or anything like that...just that women have the good sense not to frolick about in open spaces with metal sticks during a thunderstorm.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at 01:09 PM | Comments (2)

*I'll Give You a Topic...

Tattoos and piercings.

Cool or freaky or the mistakes of youth?


Posted by Jennifer at 10:41 AM | Comments (5)

*Quotes of the Day

"Any government, like any family, can for a year spend a little more than it earns. But you and I know that a continuation of that habit means the poor house." -Franklin Delano Roosevelt

I was talking to someone on the phone last night who mentioned brevity is the soul of wit...

"Brevity is the soul of lingerie."
-Dorothy Parker

I like that one better.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:28 AM

*Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Tidbits from Martin Van Buren's inauguration:

1. Van Buren was the first to ride with his predecessor to the Capitol for the Oath of Office. It became customary for the incoming and outgoing presidents to ride together to and from the Capitol.

2. The procession to the Capitol included horse-riding representatives of various political groups who had supported Van Buren's campaign.

3. The weather for Van Buren's inauguration was beautiful, and a large crowd gathered to witness the Oath of Office.

4. During his speech, Van Buren referred to the United States as "the chosen spot" of the world.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:16 AM