March 31, 2005

*Ask Jen: The Jim's-Forcing-Me-to-Blog Version

Jim asks: "Where the hell does 'cream of the crop' come from? What crop yields cream in any quantity? Are we talking about harvesting cows here?"

Creamed corn. Cream of Wheat. You're not trying very hard.

Anywho, when you milk a cow and let the milk stand, the cream rises to the top. The cream is (supposedly) the best part of the milk. If you've ever watched* Emma, you know that the best part of the riddle she and Miss Smith read is the punchline...which Emma refers to as "the cream". The cream of the crop is simply the best of the crop.

* Any Jane Austen fans out there who can tell us if it's in the book, as well? I can't find mine and don't remember.

Posted by Jennifer at 06:02 PM | Comments (6)

March 26, 2005

*A Couple Few Things...

1. Florida is a pain in the ass. We should have let Spain keep it.

2. Update my links, bitch.

3. Cask & Cream's Caramel Temptations is delicious. On ice. Yay!

4. Colin Firth. Oh my.

5. Trey is shirtless. Just thought it should be pointed out.

6. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Jennifer at 11:07 PM | Comments (5)

March 23, 2005

*Harvey Interview

It's the interview with everybody's favorite Bad Example...Harvey!

As everyone knows, John Collins and Bill Cimino had the funniest two-blogger insult-act since Abbott and Costello were thrown out of The Brown Derby for starting a Cobb Salad fight. Since your partner in insults, Madfish Willie, seems to have disappeared with all the top-secret recipes for the best virtual cocktails, is there any chance that you and John might take each other "in dislike"?

Only if John makes the mistake of insulting Susie's honor, in which case I'll have to ask him to step outside [glares menacingly]

Pick any number from 1 to 50. Pick a letter of the alphabet. 36 C, right? (I'm psychic).

You would've been right a couple years ago, but Beloved Wife's lost some weight since then so you got the letter wrong. Off-topic: I wasn't aware that there were actually numbers below 68.

What do all those older brothers of yours do for a living? Are any of them firemen?

Factory, private security, retail (retired Navy), factory, and private security. The older private security brother is 57, single, and lives in Green Bay. Are private security uniforms sexy? Do you need a phone number?

You wear a beard; is there any truth to the story that it's to cover the scars from your days as goalie for the dart league? Or is the "fire and ice pick story" the truth?

Sadly, neither. The truth is that I have delicate cheekbones and pretty lips, and grew the beard so that drunken bikers would stop hitting on me. Doesn't help much in Tennessee, though.

Who's your favorite blogson?

When he was in his prime, it was The Bartender of Madfish Willie's Cyber Saloon. He had probably the best blog-theme I've ever seen, and having him around really encouraged my naughty side. Not to mention that the Saloon was the setting for some of my funniest posts, AND it's where the concept of the comment party really developed. In his absence, the rest of the boys are about equal in my eyes. All give me love and grief in approximately equal measures.

How many more of these interviews are you planning on doing?

I'd like to do about one a year, just because so much can change in that amount of time.

Which society/entertainment woman has the best boobs? and why?

Can't think of one. Problem is, all the celeboobs are attached to skinny, malnourished, boy-shaped bodies. Mega-turn-off. Last actress I saw that did anything for me was Claudia Christian

What one or two things was the reason you asked your wife to marry you?

The night before I proposed, I asked myself "was there anything I could learn about TNT that would make me NOT want to marry her?". Since I'd known her for 13 years at that point and was well aware of all her flaws & virtues, I decided the answer was "no". I knew who she was, and I knew I could trust her to be honest with me. That was enough.

And I was right.

What did you do before blogging online?

When I wasn't playing violent video games like Quake 2 or Soldier of Fortune, I spent a lot of time selling paper money on eBay. Yes, people DO collect currency, and WILL pay above face value for a note. I mostly sold old bills in nice shape and bills with cool serial numbers.

How do you find the time to post on your own blog, when you are guest blogging on at least two others?

A combination of a love of writing, a desire to help out my fellow blogger, a VERY understanding wife (VERY VERY understanding), and a refusal to medicate my obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Oh, and it's THREE others - Drunken Wisdom, IMAO, and Alliance HQ. I'm just grateful to Ogre for taking over my King of the Blogs gig (and doing a FANTASTIC job at it, too).

What happened to the currancy graphitti? Why haven't we seen any in a long time?

I've already posted most of "easy" bills in my collection, and it started taking longer and longer to come up with decent captions for what was left. As mentioned above, I just don't have the time to devote to it any more. However, I *do* have a few bills that I want to get posted eventually, so expect that feature to pop up now & again in the future.

Is it true that the real reason you started the "Bad Example Family" is to really try to take over the internet by slowly using up what is left of the available site addresses?

I wouldn't say "slowly".

If you had the opportunity to spend 6 hours with any one member of the Green Bay Packer organization, who would it be and what would you do?

6 hours? That'd be 2 games on the sidelines with coach Mike Sherman. I wanna find out what he ACTUALLY says during a game. I mean, I'm curious... what else IS there to say besides "tackle that guy", "don't drop the ball", and "take Randy Moss out at the knees"?

IS it true the family services tried to take away some of your blog children due to neglect and/or abuse?

Yes. It's also true that there are a number of shallow graves in my back yard, and it's not my kids that are filling them.

So how long have you had that subscription to Cosmo?

Actually, I cancelled that in favor of the MUCH better Redbook. From pawing through old copies at work, I discovered that they occasionally publish sex tips that I wasn't aware of. VERY impressive.

What's your favorite adult magazine and why?

Hustler, because the humor is completely tasteless, and the models show more... personality.

If you could pick any superhero to be president, who would it be?

Batman, because he has an overdeveloped sense of vengeance. The Rumsfeld Strangler could be his VP.

Have you considered getting the ole "snip snip" after contributing to the conception to all these damn kids??

No. When it comes to breeding blogkids, I'm practically Catholic.

How have you been able to help conceive all these people? Viagra? Levitra?

Enzyte. I smile just like Bob, because I'm a BIG blogger :-D

What is your favorite sex toy?

Cathy's Cuffs - lightweight, portable, washable, and - the way the velcro is set up - nearly escape-proof. Plus they're all cloth, so they won't set off the airport metal detector AND when they're stuffed in a ziploc bag, they don't actually look kinky when viewed on the x-ray machine monitor.

What kind of name is Harvey? Were you named after a drink?

"Harvey" was actually a fairly popular name back in the 60's. I may have been named after Harvey Korman - I'm not sure. Also, being the last of seven boys, all the good names were taken.

What do you think is the least appreciated historical event?

The passage of the 21st Amendment repealing Prohibition. Proof that - in America - ANY stupid law can be repealed. Now if only we could repeal the 16th...

How often do you ride your dog? Is it thereauputic? For who?

I saddle up horse-dog Jake daily. Watch for me in the 2008 Olympic Canine-Equestrian event.

What article of clothing do you like most on a woman?

Ummm... is my tongue an article of clothing?

What was your biggest historical moment?

Operation Praying Mantis. I was on board the Enterprise at the time.

Favorite president of the US?

Ronald Reagan - After the inflation, malaise, and self-flaggelation of the Carter administration, Reagan's unapologetic pro-Americanism breathed new life into a tired country.

Time and place (other than wherever TNT is currently) that you'd most like to settle down.

Looking at the no-shoveling, it's-a-dry-heat, desert-southwest in the next year or two. Preferably somewhere without state income taxes. Still investigating possibilities.

Short hair or long?

On dogs, cats, and women's heads - long.
On MY head - short.
On any place I lick - bald.

Favorite cheese?

Kraft Fat-Free Sharp Cheddar Singles slices. Tastes like real cheese, melts like real cheese. Plus you get to save the extra calories for eating more dessert.

Do you have any tattoos?

No tattoos. Mostly because I could never think of anything that I wanted on my body that wouldn't look dumb when I was old. However, if I *had* to get one, I'd probably get an American flag. That's fairly timeless. Probably on my shoulder, like a soldier's arm-patch.

If you could trade places with anyone alive, who would it be and would you change their wardrobe?

I'd switch with Elton John and make him get contacts. I'd keep the furs & sequins, though. They make me feel pretty.

Who's your daddy?


Unless you're talking about my BLOGdaddy, which I don't really have. However, Coyote at the Dog Show once took one of my comments and made a post about it - one of the main bits of encouragement that led to me deciding to get my own blog.

What are the best and worst things you took out of your Navy experience?

Best - Making it through boot camp. I was physically out of shape and had very little self-discipline when I arrived at RTC Great Lakes. I was a completely different person 8 weeks later, and quite proud of what I'd accomplished.

Worst - Wog Day.

Where do you plan to be in ten years?

Inside my wife.

Does Frank look more sober in a ninja stance?

Sadly, I have no idea. As everyone else was filing into the front room of Tammi's house for the Bad Example Family Portrait, I had turned around to go into Tammi's living room to get the camera, so when Frank asked his infamous question, I was looking in the wrong direction and never saw him in a ninja stance at all. The general consensus, however, was "no".

Posted by Jennifer at 05:59 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2005

*Spreading the Word

If it's me, and I'm badly brain-damaged and unable to communicate my wishes, pull the plug. Or tube.

Unless they're coming up with miraculous breakthroughs (i.e. restoring nearly complete* function and intellect) in neurology, enjoy the wake.

That is all.

* I'll settle for 90%.

Posted by Jennifer at 06:21 PM | Comments (2)

March 16, 2005

*kschenkler Interview

It's the kschenkler interview!

In the extended...

Can you give us an update on the little kitten you took care of after
it was found with cuts?

Wayne is doing great. He has a great, loving personality, and has grown from 1.7 pounds to over 11 pounds. My daughter Jessica is the biggest reason that he has rebounded emotionally; he thinks she is mommy. He really loves her, and she really loves him. The only lingering problems he has are chinks in his color pattern (when Dr. Crumm had to remove necrotic skin, he couldn't match the color pattern edges--and really, as long is Wayne is healthy, who cares?) and he has a weird bulge on his belly. The bulge appears to be the fat pad normally over his belly. I think it became detached when the monster who worked him over tried to gut him. Now it has bunched up to one side. He may require additional surgery to fix this, but we are waiting until he is a little older and get it and his neutering done at the same time.
Wayne has the softest hair of any cat I have ever known. I call him the "bunny fur kitty".

You obviously have a great love for animals...where did it originate?

I have always loved animals. I think all kids are born loving animals, and sometimes it gets worn out of them by the circumstances of their lives.

My love of animals does not stop me from raising meat animals; in fact, I think it makes me a better rancher. For the time I have them, I treat all my animals with love and respect. When it comes down to the end, either I or my daughters process them, so they aren't in the hands of strangers. Since I couldn't control how sold animals were processed, I quit selling animals to strangers. Now I only raise what we will eat, or only use our animals for their byproducts (my chickens for eggs, as an example).

How many animals do you own?

I don't think companion animals are owned. I think they own us. Livestock is "owned", but only in the sense that when it is time, I end their lives. Right now, we have around 8 chickens, 2 miniature horses, one Percheron mare co-owned with Pam Sanidakos, six dogs, and two cats. I have no meat animals at this time, and haven't in several years. It became too hard to process animals that I had become attached to.

Have you ever had an animal you couldn't take care of yourself?

Yes, I have had several animals that I couldn't take care of--because I became very ill with heart problems. My daughters have filled in the best they could. We recently gave a donkey away, and gave away a co-ownership to Darla, our Percheron, because we ran out of grass, and I had no vehicle to buy roll bales with. So Pam Sanidakos helped me out and took her, at least for awhile, because she has 120 acres covered in grass to help out.

Why is your husband's name on the wish list? Don't you have a wish list?

It is a joke between my husband and myself about the wish list. He always wants books, but never has time to buy them. I do have a wish list, and it is filled every day that I wake up and my husband is with me and my daughters are healthy. What else could I ask for? I love books, but I have 10k plus; my family is much more important to me.

Besides animals, what would you say your blog is "about"?

My blog is a family blog. Yes, I sometimes post about politics or animals, but I really started it so I could keep my sisters, my parents, and my in-laws up to date. I am not the best letter writer, and I really don't expect them to write me back since they aren't great letter writers either. Since my sisters and I are all spread out across the US, it has really been helpful.

Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog because I wanted to keep in contact with my family (see response to 6).

What has blogging done for you?

Blogging has given me a voice to talk about things that interest me. I am basically a very shy person, who doesn't get out much. Blogging has given me a chance to talk about things with other people, especially when I comment on other people's blogs. It is fun, finding friends in the strangest of places, but also knowing them from the inside out--I might never meet them, but I know what they believe, and they know what I believe, and that is much more important than knowing what they look like.

Do y'all feel like a native Texan?

I am not a native Texan. However, my mother and generations of her family were born in Texas. (My dad was born in Mississippi.) My youngest was born in Texas. I have lived in Texas almost twenty years, and from the day I was born until I was 18, spent a month every year in Texas. Many of my relatives have always lived in Texas (the ranch where my parents live has been in the family for 180 years or so).

Why do all y'all try to spell y'all as "ya'll"? That ain't right.

I am not sure why people spell y'all as y'all. I do know my mom (and all of her family) have always pronounced it that way. (I don't have a Texas accent. My youngest does though, a little bit.)

How plentiful are them armadillos, anyway?

Armadillos are not as plentiful around our home as they once were. (Armadillos jump straight up when their guard hairs are hit, which means that they die because when a car passes over them, they jump up into it. And we have a very, very busy highway in front of us.) Mostly we have possums. But dillos still dig up our garden, and if we have an animal die (like on that blasted highway), the dillos dig it up. The possums, on the other hand, kill our chickens, raid the sweet feed, and piss off our dogs something fierce.

What was it like working for the IRS?

In all honestly, my job with the IRS was the best job I ever held. I was with the Problems Resolution Group; I helped people with their accounts, and helped people work out their problems with the IRS. I have many thank you cards from taxpayers who were grateful for the help I gave them. I don't think I ever had a complaint against me. I was very unhappy when I found out that my group was being closed out and the job relocated to Austin, since I couldn't move.

Any tips on how to deal with them taxmen knocking on my door?

As far as the IRS is concerned, if it is a very big bill you owe, talk to a tax lawyer. My parents were audited FOUR times. Hiring their tax lawyer was the best investment they ever made. Plus, it always helps if you don't cheat. Most cheaters are caught eventually. ALWAYS file the return, even if you can't pay it. Why? Because not filing is a criminal offense, filing but not being able to pay is a civil offense. Owing money is much better than spending time in jail.

Out of all your jobs, which was your favorite?

Please see the answer to #12.

Same question as above, except least favorite?

The second time I worked as a court clerk, the head clerk was an utter evil b*tch. She made my life hell. In fact, the stress from that job brought on my first heart attack. (The first court clerk I worked for, Diana Smith, was wonderful. I won't mention the name of the second court clerk...) The second court clerk was a very, very controlling person and relished the fact that she was head clerk--one of those bosses no one wants. The judge was great, everyone else in the office was great, but she was a nightmare.

What do you do now?

I do not work now. I am disabled due to complications of heart disease, diabetes, and migraines. I am not a surgical patient, not even for a heart transplant. The medicines I take to keep my heart working cause migraines; without the medicines, I have angina. Often, I can barely walk a hundred feet. It is very hard to get Social Security to deem someone disabled, but I am on Social Security. The case file was over five inches thick from all the doctor's reports. My daughters help me a lot with my illnesses; Jessica drives me to doctor's appointments, and all of them watch me like hawks. I have only made it this far because they help me so much.

Where would you like to live when/if you retire?

I am disabled, and no longer working--so I guess that makes me already retired. I want to be as rural as I can be, as soon as my husband retires. I am a very rural type of person.

Will you be able to retire and play canasta, or will you have to keep
busy with "real" work to keep from going insane?

Even once I became disabled, I had to keep doing things. I can't just do one thing at a time, like right now I am listening to a cd, watching a movie, and doing this. I read a great deal, I watch movies, I try to keep up to date with the world. Many days, my head hurts so I don't necessarily remember what I saw or read, but that just gives me something to do the next day...but everything I do must be very un-stressful, or I have angina.

What have you done in your life that makes you most proud?

I am most proud of my daughters. It took me eight pregnancies to have three girls. And they are wonderful girls.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2005

*Recent Conversation

Sister: We went to Death Valley.

Jen: Did you see the giant thermometer?

Sister: What giant thermometer?

Jen: The giant thermometer in the middle of nothing but freaking sand and rocks.

Sister: It was all green and there were flowers everywhere.

Jen: (laughed) They didn't take you to Death Valley. They took you somewhere else and told you it was Death Valley.

Guess she was at Death Valley after all.

(After showing her the above article, Sister said, "Huh. No wonder there were so many people there.")

(UPDATE: pictures here.)

Posted by Jennifer at 02:00 PM | Comments (2)

*I'll Give You a Topic...

The Ten Commandments.

Should we edit that pesky Sabbath one?

Posted by Jennifer at 11:00 AM | Comments (5)

*Quote of the Day

"I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me... All I ask is that you respect me as a human being."

-Jackie Robinson

Posted by Jennifer at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2005

Interview Questions Wanted

Please submit questions for the following bloggers by 6pm, 3/18/05:

Harvey again

Texas Bug

Raven Rose Yawns

Posted by Jennifer at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

*I'll Give You a Topic...

Do you keep your home clean because:

a.) You like it that way.
b.) You feel the need to conform to Health Dept standards.
c.) You want to be courteous to those you live with.
d.) Clean? Ha ha ha ha ha!

Posted by Jennifer at 11:00 AM | Comments (7)

*Quote of the Day

"Mr. Rickey, I've got to do it."

-Jackie Robinson, after Branch Rickey asked him if he'd be able to take the abuse of being baseball's first black player.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2005

*Looking on the Bright Side

This sort of thing really frees up my Sunday do other things while the rest of the race plays in the background.

Things like stinking the house up with the smell of burning rubber from the vacuum cleaner...flooding the basement with the leaking washing know, fun stuff like that.

I need a vacation.

Posted by Jennifer at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2005

*Field Guide to Owls

I saw my second owl ever a few days ago. It was dawn, and it was perched on a telephone wire, checking things out.

The first one I ever saw was perched on a road sign, and it was too dark to get a good look at him, but their shape is generally unmistakable.

Anyway, back to the current owl. I only saw him for a few seconds, but from what I can remember, he may have been a Barred Owl.

Of course, I don't actually know what I'm talking about. But he could have been. He had light feathers around his eyes, no ears, and a short tail. So we're ruling out Great Horned Owls and Hawk Owls...and Barn Owls just because I know what they look like and he wasn't one.

Things I've Seen Outside a Zoo More Than Owls:
* Mice
* Eagles (helps to live by nesting grounds)
* Pelicans
* Porcupines
* Dolphins
* Snapping turtles
* Headless Deer
* Jelly fish

Things I've Seen Outside a Zoo As Much As Owls:
* Snakes
* Bears
* Elk
* Mountain lions
* Muskrats
* Tom Arnold

Posted by Jennifer at 12:00 PM | Comments (3)

*Doubly Great

The following is the newspaper obituary of my great-great grandfather, printed in the Bayfield County Press on March 4, 1910:


Peter Hokenson Died Here Last Saturday Afternoon

DIED.-Peter Hokenson, born in Sweden in 1863, died in Bayfield, Wisconsin, Saturday, February 26th.

Peter Hokenson, one of the early residents of Bayfield, has passed to his reward, and the many loving relatives and friends mourn the loss of a true hearted, noble neighbor. Deceased has been ailing for the past year, and death finally came Saturday as a relief to his sufferings.

Mr. Hokenson first came to this country about forty years ago, taking up this residence in this city. In the year 1891 he was married to Miss Anna Peterson of this city.

To mourn his death, Mr. Hokenson leaves a wife and five children and also scores of friends who unite in extending heartfelt sympathy to their bereavement.

Funeral services over the remains of Mr. Hokenson were held at the Broad street home Monday afternoon, Rev. J. Samuelson, of the Norwegian Lutheran church, officiating, interment taking place at Greenwood cemetery.


We wish, through the Press, to extend hearfelt thanks to the many kind friends who came to our assistance in our hour of sorrow. Mrs. Peter Hokenson and children.

Incidentally, my great-great grandmother was born in Sweden...with a last name of either Svenson, Swanson, or Peterson (as mentioned in the above obit). Her father, Sven Peterson, would most likely have given her his name as surname in the "old country", but it may have been switched when she came to America. I have yet to properly research this question. Talking to other family members, they've come across all three names. This is why researching Swedish family trees is (to me) a pain. It all goes well until you hit the ones born in Sweden.

Posted by Jennifer at 08:00 AM | Comments (1)

March 07, 2005

*Did I Ever Tell You About That Boat?

See that boat in the picture on the bottom-left corner of my banner? That boat is the Twilite, and it is sitting on the beach at my great-grandfather's fishery. My great-grandfather and his two brothers were sons of Swedish immigrants who settled into northern Wisconsin. They liked the weather, I suppose.

The picture was taken from the L-shaped dock that protected the beach area somewhat from Lake Superior. The water inside the dock was fairly deep, having been dredged out to make room for...a boat. On the other side of the dock building you see on the right, there is a beach with cliffs behind it. The water is nice and shallow there, and sometimes you can find arrowheads in the sand.

Behind and above the buildings you can see in the picture is Roy's old house. We would park there, then make our way down the steep steps to the beach. Now you can, too.

(Additional boat info in the extended for those interested in such things.)

From this site:

TWILITE 237134 Built at Bayfield, WI in 1937 by Halvor A. Reiten, for Hokenson Bros. Fishery, Little Sand Bay, Bayfield. The 36 ft. vessel was equipped with a diesel Caterpillar tractor motor, converted to marine use. In 1946 the Caterpillar was replaced with a GM 6-71 diesel. After ceasing operations in 1953 the owners sold the boat to Art Krone, Bayfield. Sold again and converted to a cruiser, the boat was finally bought by the National Park Service, returned to Sand Bay and rebuilt to its original configuration. The Caterpillar, which the Hokensons had retained, was installed. The boat is presently on display on the marine railway at the restored Hokenson Fishery, operated by the National Park Service.

As a side note, I discovered in my genealogy research that Reiten was actually a cousin of the family.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:00 AM | Comments (2)

March 04, 2005

*History of the sucker

The lollipop probably has a long, dignified history. Unfortunately, I can’t get interested in it, so we’ll try and pick up the pace.

How hard could it be to invent a lollipop? If we’re just talking about adding the stick, I’m sure the cavemen did it with hunks of animal meat. Gopher Pops. Armadillo Pops. Carrion Pops. I’m sure there was a long list of pops.

In medieval times there were probably Mutton Pops.

But the first mention of a modern lollipop was during the Victorian period. Charles Dickens and other writers referred to a sweet lozenge without a stick in some stories. The stick was not far behind (no reference to D.L. Lawrence implied).

In 1908, George Smith claimed to be the first to invent the modern lollipop. Smith had the idea of putting hard candies on a stick to make them easier to eat. He decided to name the treat after his favorite racing horse, Lolly Pop, and later trademarked the name. Lollipops were successful until the Depression. Smith stopped production on lollipops and the name fell into public domain.

During the depression, lollipops fell out of favor due to economic concerns. Here we see a backslide into the Gopher Pops and Opossum Pops.

Once the economy recovered, some geezer in San Francisco patented the first lollipop making machine. The invention simply inserted the stick. Believe it or not, the inventors name was “Born” and the machine was called the “Born Sucker Machine.” I am not making this up. I suppose it produced one every minute.


Posted by Paul! at 01:35 PM | Comments (7)

*DFMoore Interview

The DF Moore Interview, fresh from my inbox.

In the extended...

If you could be a virtuoso musician, a famous writer or an award
winning painter, which would you choose?

My knee-jerk reaction is to say that I would be a famous writer. They
tend to make money, they work slightly less hard than a musician, and
they get to make all sorts of inane comments that seem deep but don't
actually have to be. Plus, they tend to get cushy professorial tenure
appointments at great universities. It's the closest thing we have
nowadays to a public intellectual!

Let's say you lose most of your mental capacity in a fireworks
accident. You're forced to do menial labor for the rest of your life.
What menial labor type job would you excel at?

Does playing baseball count as menial labor? How about golf? I'm not
very good so it is a lot of work

Everyone's got a favorite legume. What's yours?

Maybe lentils. But I like some of the things you can do with Soy. Like
make soy sauce for sushi. So I'm going with Soy. Definitely not the

Are you getting bored with blogging? Burnout has been know to take
it's toll on bloggers. How do you keep it interesting?

I don't know if I keep it "interesting" to my readers, but I usually
try not to post anything if I wasn't interested while I was writing or
reading it. The other problem with blogging is that it really can take
away from what you really actually do in life.

Jessica Harbour wrote the other day 'that staying away from the blog is
like refusing to talk to a destructive and emotionally vampiric friend
who's still good for a lot of fun moments.' At times, that's exactly
how I feel about blogging. And so I go away for a day or two. Or I
don't post on the weekends. Also, when I go home for the day, I'm done
with the internet pretty much for good. Definitely done with
blog-reading. Or I turn to posting only about stuff I'm doing in real
life (grad school related info).

You seem to very bright and motivated. There must be a flip side to
that coin. What are some things about you that would surprise us?

I don't know if it would surprise anyone, but I'm very diputatious.
And I tend to debate more with people that I am closer to agreement on
than with other people. Sometimes this turns people off but I just
like a good debate. I'm sort of like a modern day Socrates. I'll pick
at people's argument until they get that they have to be absolutely
consistent and on the right path with their statements.

Oh, also, and I'm not sure that this will surprise either, but I no
absolutely nothing about science. I've been faking it for about 10
years now and I'm just hoping no one catches on until after I get the

Best work of fiction ever written?

The best ever? Oh man. Really, I can't answer this question properly.
There are some that I really really like (Les Miserables, Great
Gatsby, LOTR... There are just too many great ones to answer this
question. And they're all different. I mean, does the Illiad count as
fiction or a history? Shakespeare's Histories? Really, it depends on
the mood you're in for this answer...

What are your favorite movies?

LOTR Trilogy, St. Elmo's Fire, High Fidelity, Better Off Dead, Fight
Club - I don't know. I like lots of movies. Different movies for
different times, you know...

Do you care about the Oscars? Do you buy into all the hype?

Nope. Not at all. The good thing about them though is that they give
me more of a chance to see movies like Finding Neverland that I didn't
ge tto see their first time around. They never pick the really good
movies anyway - like 'Bring It On'

Let's say you just won the lottery and got a check for 10 million
dollars. What do you do with it?

I pay the taxes on it. And probably buy a new car but then put it away
in savings until a future date when I actually have to do adult things
like buying a house and paying for kids and all that jazz. Boring, I
know, but there isn't really anything that I desperately want but
can't really afford right now. And really I don't enter the lottery
for less than a $200 million payout.

Where do you find your inspiration in life?

Everywhere. I don't know. From friends, family, the way the world
works, Damien Rice, etc. Things just come to me - who can say where
ideas come from?

(For the rest of the DFMoore interview, go here.)

Posted by Paul! at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2005

*Paul's lesson of the week

History of the Hot Dog*

Hot dogs were popular fare as far back as Roman times. That’s right, friends, long before linguine there were hot dogs.

The history of the hot dog can be traced to the year 850 BC where it was mentioned in Homer's Odyssey:

As when a man besides a great fire has filled a sausage with fat and blood and turns it this way and that and is very eager to get it quickly roasted...

There’s a long story about the Romans inventing the hot dog, but why belabor the point.

They next turn up in 1400s when a German butcher named Johann Georghehner made some in his basement and went to Frankfurt to promote this new food.

Enter the Bun

In the late 1800s, a German fellow by the name of Feuchtwanger was peddling hot dogs in the street. Sales were far and few between and he began to wonder why when a customer walked up. Feuchtwanger took the fellows cash, grabbed his tongs, and handed the man a hot dog that had been on the grill for several hours. Since the hot dog was about 350°, he started screaming and dropped the sausage. Feuchtwanger finally got the picture.

The next day Feuchtwanger started giving each customer a white glove so they wouldn’t burn their hands. It was not a profitable idea. It was then that bun was born. (Believe it or not, I have not started making things up yet.)

What’s in a hot dog?

Since Upton Sinclair published The Jungle in 1906, the government has taken at least some action to stop people from filling them with horses’ rectums and sawdust, but who really knows.

There are some hot dog terms regulated by law:

Beef/All-Beef - contain only beef, with no soybean protein or dry milk solid fillers added. Can that include cow lips and noses? I have my suspicions.

Kosher all-beef – self-explanatory.

Meat - a mixture of pork and beef, usually in a 40:60 ratio with no fillers. This opens the door to possible pig snouts and testicles.

Frankfurter - This may contain up to 3.5% fillers, and is made from a combination of meats. What do they mean by fillers? Supposedly flour, cereals or oatmeal, but I suspect it includes beetles, rat dung and a generous portion of floor sweepings.

Who makes the best hot dogs?

Hell if I know, they all taste like salt to me. I could probably make a case for Sabretts, but that’s probably because I’ve usually eaten them outside a bar at three o’clock in the morning. When I’d probably eat dog food.

*Some information has been fabricated for the sake of interest


Posted by Paul! at 01:46 PM | Comments (7)

March 02, 2005

*Sandbox Dave Interview

Here's a great interview with Dave from Reverse Retna From the Sandbox. I'm particularly pleased with one!

In the extended...

What's the most interesting thing about being in Iraq?

Believe it or not it is the total lack of wonton death and destruction. I've now joined the legions of Bloggers that would like to get the word out that Johnny Jihadist isn’t the boogeyman waiting under every bed here. "The whole situation isn't teetering on the head of pin, Bob (done in my best Wolf Blizter impression)." Don't get me wrong there are people that want to do us harm and want to hurt the stability of the country but they just seem really weak compared to what the media has made them out to be. People are dying, no doubt about that and I really do mourn their loss. But the terrorist are weakening every minute of everyday and that's because of the Americans AND the Iraqis.

At the same time Iraq is getting stronger. The Iraqi forces are becoming more organized and disciplined, schools are being built, there are sewers being installed where there never were before, political discussions of cooperation are taking place, power is being restored (both literally and figuratively). These are the stories that should be told. The dead should be mourned but not dwelt on. All the accomplishments here are going to be the true memorial to everyone that dies fighting on the side of right in this war. So, these are the things we need to focus on and remember to truly honor the fallen. I've gotten way off the point but I thought it needed to be said. The most interesting thing about being in Iraq is that it is actually coming together now and I personally think this is an incredible time to be here and watch a government being built from scratch.

Do you have to stay on the base or can you go places? Are there safe zones?

I personally have to stay on base for the most part. There are some guys that go out everyday. Security patrols, Civil Affairs, Truck Drivers and the like. As far as safe zones, well, we'd like to think that some of them are safe but with the silly little Jihadist "I get 70 some-odd virgins for dying at the hands of the dirty pig nasty Americans" Joy Luck Club running around no where is 100% safe. There has only been one successful attack in our area since I arrived but you always have to stay alert.

Have you met any locals? What is your impression of the Iraqi people?

I actually work with about 12 Interpreters and get to interact with a variety of local media and officials. I think I've posted on this a few times but my overall opinion is that the Iraqis are wonderful people on the norm. You kind of have to handle everything with some tact though. These are also a very proud people and any insinuation that they "need" us or a generalization that terrorist are the same as regular Muslims draws a rather tense non-verbal response. I don't believe either. This is a culture several thousand years in the making. They were around before us and before the extremist and will likely be here long after all that's gone. But for the most part, like with anyone else, if you approach them with respect and try to understand their culture and language then they tend to be extremely warm and open.

What do you do with your down time? Do you get any?

Actually my downtime is really interspersed with my work time. My work goes in spurts so I surf the net, watch T.V., and chit-chat with others here in the building. When I do "get off" for the day I tend to go back to my room to read, work out, and sleep. Really not that much going on over here but I keep well enough entertained.

You seem totally bored with your job over there. Surely there must be some excitement?

I'd like to be able to say that there is but for me it just isn't so. I wouldn't say I'm all that bored though. I have no idea what the hell I'm really doing so there's challenges o'plenty. I've recently taken to calling what I do Gonzo Web design in honor of Hunter S. Thompson. I never really understood his chaotic view of life until I started dealing with this web site. Now I get what it's like to be totally lost and stumbling through something in a totally chaotic way while maintaining the perception of control.

Has being in Iraq changed your perception of the world? How?

The only thing I would say has changed is my perception of Iraqis. I guess I had a certain naivety about their country. I just assumed that because of Saddam it was a third world country (as most ruled by a dictator are) but I found them to be very educated and skilled with technology. My perception of the world as a whole though still stands. It is flat and square and all this "globe" business is just a bunch of bull-hockey.

Do you feel safe where you are stationed?

Actually I really do. Things apparently have improved dramatically from even six months ago. And I have to give a lot of credit to what I call the "trigger-pullers". These are the guys at the gates and out on patrols. They go out everyday and do their job and protect us and the Iraqis. Sometimes it is in a defensive capacity and sometimes it is offensive but with them out there (as my buddy Broadcast Mike would say) "ready to do harm on my behalf" I feel generally safe. Which leaves me free to worry about my bigger concerns like having running water and avoiding athletes' foot. Oh and clowns. I really don't like clowns, with their funny colored hair and too big shoes. Damn clowns.

How about friends? Is there a lot of bonding going on within your unit?

Oh, there's a little more than bonding going on. If you know what I mean. And I think you do. No honestly, sure there are bonds being formed. I'm still kind of an outsider because I've fallen in on a reserve unit that has been together for a while. But I'm fitting in as much as can be expected for someone that spends the better part of his day screaming at a computer. And the folks here are very supportive of what I'm trying to do. I still think they believe that I know what I'm doing but I won't tell them that just yet. Luckily none of them read my blog on a daily basis, if at all, so my secret is safe for now.

Is there anything you need and can't get? Are family and friends sending everything you need?

Pretty much everything I need I have. My wife is sending me some items from home that I didn't have room for in my bags but other than that I'm fairly easy to please. We get a lot of care packages here and most of the stuff is put out as communal property so plenty of junk food and toiletries in this general AO. I'd have to say the most annoying things are the books. There are like a gazillion used books floating around the war zone. Which is very thoughtful and all. But let’s remember that we are in a war zone and 95% of the books are about WAR! Gee, that's how I want to relax and escape from a long day in war zone! Please send books on anything else. Even clowns. I'd rather read a book on clowns. Damn clowns.

What's a typical day like for you? Do you work normal hours or is it crazy?

Before the site went down it was a typical 0800 to 1800 day. That's 8am to 6pm for those that don't do military time. Since the site has gone down. Well, I've taken to sleeping here every once in awhile. So, if you mean normal by normal people standards then no it is kind of crazy. If you mean normal for someone forward deployed in the military, well, I'd say it is just about as it should be.

Posted by Paul! at 06:23 PM | Comments (1)