I cried a lot yesterday. Today, I kept it together until I read about a little boy who said he knew karate so he'd lead the way out of the hiding place where a teacher and students were hunkered down during the shooting.
That made me laugh, then cry. It made me laugh because I know a few little boys who would totally say something like that. It made me cry for the same reason. Also, it perfectly illustrates the innocence that has been lost in Newtown: a little boy thinking his karate moves would protect him and his friends from a bad man with a gun.
None of us want a kid like that to ever learn he'd be wrong.
Nothing can be done to eliminate all risks of school violence, but I have some suggestions to help lower those risks.
1. School entries should be unlocked during the 15-20 minutes before and after school, with staff stationed at doors to watch those who enter and exit. For the rest of the school day, people need to be "buzzed in" to enter. Security cameras and intercom systems will need to be installed to facilitate this.
2. All interior doors should be able to be locked from the inside with a key and master switch. (For fire safety, etc, they should be able to be opened from the inside.) There should be a window in the door with bullet-proof glass, allowing those inside to see out and those outside (i.e., rescue workers) to see in.
3. Master switch(es?) in the office that can close and lock all interior doors. PA announcement automatically goes out to alert everyone the doors have been locked and to please shelter in place until further notice. Police automatically notified when doors are locked.
4. Drills every quarter for all safety procedures.
Yes, these will cost money. Yes, school districts are strapped for cash. Yes, it is worth the expense. Some schools already do some of these things. I'm saying all schools should do all of them. They are not controversial and they can be done quickly.
I am open to other suggestions. I realize this will not prevent all violence. Nothing can prevent all violence. A nutter with a rifle could pick kids off in a school playground at recess. I reject the idea that we should turn schools into prisons where no one can get in or out, but I believe the above suggestions are viable without being over-the-top.
(I always read bear as in ursidae, but let's not begin with a digression.)
The Second Amendment is basically the right to protect your family and home with force against those who would harm them.
A lot of people choose to believe the odds are on their side, and that this will never be necessary. Alternately, they believe the odds are against them and their own gun would harm their own family.
Others would rather be prepared for the worst case scenario.
Personally, I have no problem with the right of law-abiding Americans to own guns. I also have no problem with reasonable requirements being met before the sale of a firearm.
What I do take issue with is the rhetoric from both sides. They feed on fear and ignorance.
The truth is, we don't have a gun problem--we have a cultural problem. If you look at Sweden, for example, they have a very high percentage of gun owners but a low rate of homicides. Even looking state-by-state, New Hampshire has a low rate of homicides (.9 per 100,000 people in 2009) while Louisiana is sky-high (12.3 per 100,000 people in 2009). Neither Louisiana nor New Hampshire require permits or registration to own handguns, and both are shall-issue concealed carry states.
The District of Columbia has extremely strict gun laws, and their 2009 homicide rate was 24.2 per 100,000 people. To be fair, they don't have a low-crime rural population to balance them out like a state would, but New York City's murder rate with only slightly less stringent gun laws was 5.6 per 100,000 people in 2009.
Drugs are illegal, yet somehow anyone who is so inclined manages to get ahold of them; I doubt a ban on guns would be much different. Gun violence is an issue that goes much deeper than gun control: what we need to do is figure out the root of the problem and work on that.
He had cancer for a long time, and I knew it wasn't looking good, but I always hoped it would turn out differently.
Love you and miss you, Paul.
His obit asked that memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society.
The comment spam is just making me feel a little too stabby. I don't get it. I spent *hours* and *hours* cleaning it up and closing comments and everything, and it still infects every fricking thing and makes me not want to blog here.
Yes, it is the anniversary of the birth of my parents' original child.
She is mostly interested in gifts of cash and/or adult beverages.
She is also fine with pretending this day is any other day.
(Note: Facebook has made her accustomed to speaking of herself in third person.)
Ah, the excuses for not blogging bit...let's see...umm. Hmm. Well, I've just been using my brain power and time for other things.
I have not forgotten you, I have not forsaken you.
I have not forgotten that I need to post something about divination this week. Necromancy is on deck, and it will happen tomorrow or Friday.
"Necromancer" is an awesome word, no?
UPDATE: Okay, Wednesday 9/9 is definitely the day. Unless Thursday is the day.
UPDATE: Okay, this week isn't good for me. Next week looks promising. You know how I do.
Ted Kennedy has passed away, and despite his many years of service to this country, many people will remember him most for his role in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.
Kennedy made several bad judgments that night, and no one really knows exactly what happened. He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing injury, and pled guilty. He was given a two-month suspended sentence. Many people found this penalty extremely light given the fact that a woman died in an accident with so many unanswered questions.
At the very least, Kennedy should have immediately reported the incident to the authorities. If he had done so, he may have been remembered more for the good things he did for health care, civil rights, and education. Instead, Chappaquiddick will be mentioned alongside Kennedy's achievements in every obituary written about him today, and that moment from 40 years ago will cast a shadow over everything he accomplished since.
Pete--who posts here more than I do--"had a nasty nasty accident on Saturday...had broken ribs, collar bone and ruptured spleen and really bad head injury! Please pray for him...Dores(wife)".
(Dores posted that on Facebook.)
Pete has a good heart and he's a great friend. If you pray, please do!
Tuesday morning UPDATE: Up and walking on his own, having some short term memory issues, but doing well!
Semi-regular blogging to resume on Monday, August 17.
Okay, peeps. I am not blogging again until Pete meets his fundraising goals.
Well, not really...but it would sure be nice if you could dig deep and help a good cause. I know how tough it is right now, but any help would be most appreciated.
Here's the deal: Pete is participating in the Tri-State Trek, a 270-mile bicycle ride from Boston to New York to raise money for ALS research. His fundraising page is here, and his goal this year is to raise at least $1800.
So I decided to go commune with nature over the weekend...and some of nature decided to commune with me.
Normally I go camping in northern Wisconsin when the rest of the fam is around. There are either extended family members also camping out, or I have a niece and nephew with me. This weekend I was flying solo in the campgrounds. Me and my tent. My dad was with, but staying across the street in the cabin.
So within the hour of arrival, a porcupine was checking things out. He was rummaging about until I came to take his picture, and then he went up a tree...
(It was dusk, btw.)
He must have decided I was harmless, because he only went up a few feet before returning to the ground and continuing on his way...
I snapped his picture and finished setting up camp. There was some visiting with the locals (people), and then it was bedtime. I probably fell asleep about 10:00 p.m.
At midnight, I was awakened. I didn't know what woke me at first, so I just rolled over and snuggled back into my sleeping bag. Then I heard what sounded like someone climbing into the bed of my dad's truck and getting on the ATV. Did I mention the truck was 10 feet from my tent?
So it seemed odd that my dad would have waited until midnight and the pitch dark to unload his ATV. Hmm. Either a person or a bear would be sounding that heavy in the back of the truck.
"Hello?" I said in my sternest, you better not be trying to steal my dad's ATV voice. The noise stopped. Absolute silence. I decided we had a bear on our hands, people. I made a loud clapping noise, and it was off like a shot. Definitely a bear--too fast to be a person. Awesome. In the morning, there were definitely paw marks on the truck...from the rear wheel well along the bed to the roof (including the top of the roof). Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of them. It rained before I thought of it.
So it turned out Dad had left his dinner wrapper plus most of our groceries in the truck...with the driver's side window cracked open. I mostly blame the chili cheese dog wrapper, though. When I opened the truck to see what was up, it *stank* of chili cheese dog.
Anyway, after the excitement of the bear, you can only go downhill, right? So here is a picture of a woodpecker that hung out with me all weekend...
He didn't actually let me get closer than 15 feet at any given time, though.
There were many deer, some chipmunks, a turtle, and the usual flock of whippoorwills and loons in the distance. No more bears that I know of, but there was something walking around the campgrounds Saturday night. I pulled the covers over my ear, couldn't hear it anymore, and promptly fell asleep.
April 18th would have been my grandmother's 8th anniversary of being diagnosed with multiple myeloma. She came up 3 days shy.
On Easter Sunday, I was working on dinner things when Mom appeared and said we were leaving for Tennessee the next morning. Within half an hour, she had decided we were leaving immediately. Dinner prep was abandoned and packing began. I drove my mother the whole way (she doesn't see so well at night, and freeway driving stresses her out when in unfamiliar territory). Dad couldn't get off work for the week because his foreman (the guy below him who could take over for him) was on vacation.
We spent the night in Illinois, and made it to the hospital in Lebanon, TN well before noon Monday. Two days were spent visiting Grandma as much as we could during visiting hours. She was in isolation in ICU, and we had to put on facemasks, gloves, and those gown/robe things when we went in to see her. She was obviously not great, but I thought her mental faculties were pretty good. She'd make her witty little remarks like always about the conversation, but sometimes a few moments beyond when they would have been most appropriate. This made my mom and her sister think she was confused, but I felt like she was just sort of tired. It was lag-time.
Over Monday and Tuesday, I spent a lot of time with my mother and aunt, and in the course of their conversations, some skeletons came dancing out of the family closet. I won't get into specifics, but I will say that it made a difficult time even more horrible. Learning things you didn't want to know about people who are gone is never awesome, but it makes it worse when it alters the way you think about people who are still around. It explains a lot of behaviors in that side of the family, anyway.
At 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, the hospital called. Grandma had taken a bad turn and we needed to get there asap. My mom, aunt, cousins, and I rushed to the hospital, but Grandma was already gone. She had a strong faith in God and Jesus, and believed in heaven. It was only recently, however, that she seemed ready to go there. She was revived by the EMTs before she got to the hospital, and she always wanted to be kept alive by any medical means, but this time when the doctors and everyone talked to her about CPR and ventilators and her wishes about the end, she said (in her very Grandma Jean reproachful tone of voice), "You know, I was on my way to heaven before, and I was happy, but then you brought me back."
I don't believe in heaven, but I truly hope I am wrong and that Grandma Jean is there now, happy.
And now for something that doesn't make me sad, and the probable inspiration for the post title...
An Iowa lady decided to photograph and visit all the Iowa county courthouses, and she has put together a pretty nifty site for them.
It's a cool way to preserve and present history.
Frequent commenter, former guest Lyrical Pursuitist, and all-around great guy, Blogless Pete and his lovely wife should at this moment be gazing upon the faces of their (surely) beautiful baby boys. Plural.
Many wishes for an uncomplicated delivery and that they may sleep through the night as soon as possible.
If you didn't see last night's South Park because you're some kind of grownup or something, and you read this article, you might believe that Trey and Matt (whom I seriously considered as my write-in candidates, btw, but in reverse order) spent all their time making fun of Obama's dead grandmother.
Not even close.
The episode was funny...a spoof of Ocean's Eleven, with Obama and McCain and company as jewel thieves who only ran for president to be able to steal the Hope diamond. The dead grandma bit was part of the intrigue...she faked her death to help out. By Trey and Matt standards, pretty low on the controversy totem pole.
I loved the episode. The reactions from Obama supporters, thinking the whole world would change the next day (it didn't)...and the reactions of the McCain supporters, thinking the whole world would end the next day (it didn't)...spot on. It was the strongest SP episode of the current run, and all the more impressive for having Obama and McCain speech reenactments less than 24 hours after they occurred.
I have tried to get inspired by the presidential election to write a decent history post, but I just can't do it. I am too bummed out by the selection.
I am registered. I know who I will choose. But I definitely have some qualms about it. The only reason I will vote for one over the other is because I know my conscience will be clearer with one's mistakes than the other's.
Oh, how I miss you, library. I wish I could be with you now, curled up on an overstuffed chair in a quiet corner, ingesting your knowledge.
Must find way to be student forever. Real world sux.
My grandmother, who has been battling multiple myeloma for several years now, is not doing well.
Something has misfired neurologically, and she keeps calling for "Mama" and "Daddy".
She started a new chemo drug a few weeks ago, and the hope is that taking her off it will correct the problem...she's been getting progressively confused recently, and is apparently having brain seizures.
She is my only remaining grandparent, and there is something very frightening to me about a 78-year-old woman calling out for her dead parents.
Did I ever mention Rocket Jones moved?
Well, now I have. Check it out.
Also, remember that pesky little flood thing we had in Iowa over the summer? Maybe you saw it on the news? Well, the Cedar Rapids Library lost a good portion of its book collection. You can help them replace it by buying books off their Amazon Wish List.
He wasn't always easy to like, but he was never boring. We disagreed on a lot politically, but I could never make myself stop reading his blog. It was always compelling and artfully written.
I'll miss him.
Arr, mateys, ye've not been paying Susie the appropriate tribute. Ye'll walk the plank if ye fail to do so, savvy?
And yes, me be practicin' fer Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Ye sons of bilge rats'll be returnin' to play Johnny Depp Quotasm Challenge 2008, mark me words!
Well, that's a lie. It wasn't a flat tire; it was a shredded tire. Turns out I have a major alignment problem. What looks like a perfectly fine tire on the out-side is horrifying junk on the in-side. Yay, vehicle costs. In the same month I have to pay for my new drivers license, my registration, and renew my insurance. Good times, good times.
On the plus plus plus side, a totally nice lady on a purple Harley stopped to help me as I was reading the directions for how to do the whole change-a-flat thing. Obviously, she is my new hero.
Well, I can happily say that my birthday yesterday was much, much better than my birthday a year ago.
Yesterday, I did not fall down any flights of stairs; I didn't have any funerals to attend; and I got birthday cake and ice cream.
Going out of state for the funeral last year kept me from having birthday cake. Sure, there was funeral cake, but I declined having any. That would be bad juju...substituting funeral cake for birthday cake.
No funerals recently or in the pipeline (knock wood)...always good.
My more recent fall (over the summer) keeps me from walking down stairs like a normal person...therefore, much care is taken when I do go down stairs, thus lessening the chances of a repeat tumble.
All in all, things are looking up.
I saw this video a couple weeks ago, and the little song still pops into my head...Snape, Snape, Severus Snape--DUMBLEDORE!--Snape, Snape, Severus Snape...I don't know why.
I am moving this week. My stuff is mostly moving before I am, and my internet availability will be spotty. I hope to do Lyrical Pursuit as scheduled Tuesday and Thursday, but updating those may take longer than normal. Friday, I will be leaving internet connections altogether and hiding in the woods for two weeks.
Just FYI, part of last month's prize package included being able to conduct Lyrical Pursuit while I am communing with nature. Therefore, Blogless Pete will be taking over the game from August 1-15. He might do something unique with it (with my blessing), or he may stick to the formula. You can't wait to find out!
Most of my belongings are leaving me this evening, and then I will be alternately cleaning my apartment for checkout, studying for my final Final, and saying goodbye to my peeps until Thursday. So you'll understand if I'm not around much. I have pre-posted a few things for you, though, so you pretty much won't even notice I'm gone.
UPDATE: I may be permanently shorter than when I woke up this morning. My bed is fricking heavy...I wanted to take it all apart and move it into the living room to ease the move for my helpers. It's moved. And I feel squished.
But no surprise that the midwest does well when rating volunteerism.
After a big HUH? for the descriptive title (major states??), the state (+D of C) rankings are listed thusly:
Rankings of 50 major U.S. states by the percentage of residents 16 and older who perform volunteer service.
1. Utah, 43.9 percent
2. Nebraska, 39.8 percent
3. Minnesota, 39.7 percent
4. Alaska, 38.6 percent
5. Montana, 38.0 percent
6. Iowa, 37.3 percent
7. South Dakota,37.1 percent
8. Vermont 37.0
9. Kansas 36.8
10. North Dakota 35.6
10. Wisconsin 35.6
12. Wyoming 35.1
13. Washington 34.7
14. Idaho 34.0
15. Maine 33.3
16. Oregon 33.2
17. Colorado 31.9
18. New Hampshire 31.5
19. Michigan 31.4
20. District of Columbia 31.3
21. Oklahoma 30.5
22. Indiana 30.4
23. Connecticut 30.3
23. Ohio 30.3
25. Missouri 30.2
26. Kentucky 29.4
27. South Carolina 28.6
28. Maryland 28.5
29. Pennsylvania 28.3
30. Virginia 28.3
31. Illinois 28.0
32. North Carolina 27.3
33. Texas 27.1
34. Massachusetts 27.0
35. Alabama 26.6
36. New Mexico 26.6
37. West Virginia 25.7
38. Delaware 25.6
39. Tennessee 25.5
40. Arkansas 25.0
41. Rhode Island 24.9
42. California 24.3
43. Georgia 24.2
44. Hawaii 24.0
45. Arizona 23.9
46. New Jersey 22.7
47. Mississippi 21.8
48. Louisiana 20.9
49. Florida 20.0
50. New York 19.2
51. Nevada 17.7
I'll go ahead and throw out Utah in this convo, since those wacky Mormons skew the numbers. So we have Nebraska with a 39.8 and Minnesota with a 39.7 at the top of the list. Then Nevada way down at 17.7?! Are they too busy sinning to volunteer? Or are they all transplants who have no emotional ties to their communities and left their can-do 'tudes at home? What is going on there?
I'm disappointed in you, Illinois. But look at Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. All in the top ten. S'right. Something to be said for the heartland.
Blogless Pete writes:
FYI I did the Tri-State Trek over the weekend. The weather was miserable - over 90 every day with high humidy - but I completed all 270 miles. Thanks to all your readers who contributed.
So thanks, everyone who helped, and way to go, Pete!
And therefore have nothing better to do...
I'm probably the last to know this, but you can go here, upload a picture of yourself, and be Simpsonized.
Now, I don't know if this is going to be some Bill-Cimino-level comeback, where he blogs once just to get our hopes up before disappearing again. Maybe it marks some Jen-Lars-level comeback, where he'll return and then never really fulfill his potential and kind of suck. On the off-chance it is a Rachel-Lucas-level comeback where he returns and is consistently glorious, I think you should go over there right now to encourage him.
Click any to enlarge.
First, my favorite flood pic, which ran with a caption something like "A dam expert supervises the construction of a National Guard sandbag levee." It made me laugh even when I thought my apartment was probably hosting 5 feet of water.
And now some pics with truly Iowa flava:
Several pigs swam to a levee, and they were shot due to fears they'd weaken it. Some people (check out the comments section of that link) got their panties in a bunch about it, but then a few days later, muskrats weakened a different levee and it gave way.
Still kinda hard not to feel a little sorry for them, looking at that cute fat piggy on the tippy-top of his barn roof.
Someone seems to have put me on a mailing list for jobs in the New York state/Connecticut region.
I appreciate the hint and all, but please put me on the list for jobs in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and possibly Seattle.
I've had a few people email me about this, and since I'm lazy, I'm basically reposting what I sent them.
It's an update on the flood situation up in here:
There are still roads here that are closed because of water over them. The river and creek (normally 100 yards from my building) are going down very slowly. There is still quite a bit of standing water in places like the softball complex and on the arts campus. The city of Cedar Rapids is going to demolish about 300 homes...the city of Iowa City may buy out the riverside neighborhood that flooded both this year and in 1993 and demolish those homes, enlarging City Park.
Every business in my neighborhood was flooded, so I have to go further away for Walgreen's, the bank, gas, laundry, etc. I was off work for three weekends (I work Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) in a row--the first was because they had refinished the floors and it took longer than expected, so the building was closed. The second and third were because of everything being closed. So even though I totally and completely lucked out with my apartment, I still took a financial hit.
My apartment complex is getting to be a ghost town. Some people who got water had to leave, some chose to leave, and the non-students who live here have had their leases terminated to make up for the buildings lost in the complex...in order to make sure there is housing for students in the fall. It is unclear right now whether or not one of the larger dorms will be cleaned up in time for the start of school.
Overall, it's pretty much a mess. It literally stinks. And my car is basically covered in poo, since I drive through areas that have dried flood muck on the roads. Nasty, eh?
There are some books you just immediately know you have to get your hands on. Re-released today.
Happy July, everyone. I think it's my blogiversary, but I could be wrong. Somewhere in the ballpark, anywho. Five years, can you believe it? It all started because Frank J decided everyone in the world had to link to him for his one-year blogiversary...and I started my blog so I could play, too. Blog City was the original location, but Munuvia is where I've found a home. Thanks, Pixy!
Thanks, too, to all of you who come here and make me laugh and think and feel compelled to occasionally post something.
My job lately is not exactly action-packed. People apparently have other things going on right now. Like dealing with flooding...golfing...whatever.
So I took an extracurricular book to work for funsies. It's about Captain Scott, who led what he hoped would be the first expedition to reach the South Pole. Someone beat him to it, and Scott died on the way back. The biography is short, elementary, and not exactly in-depth; so it left me with a lot of questions.
Like: why did they have to bring the Russian guy along when they used sled dogs? I understand the dogs only knew Russian commands, but while everyone was sitting on a boat for months, couldn't they have maybe learned those Russian commands?
Like: why does the author refer to a trip to collect penguin eggs as "murderous"? Did they slaughter penguins? Or is the murder constrained to the death of the chicks within the eggs?
Anywho, I will be able to answer at least that last question, because it just so happens that I already have the book written by one of the egg-stealers in my "to-read" stack.
This brings me to the problem with reading: there is always more of it to do. The more you do it, the more you have to do it.
The more you know, the less you know. You know?
(P.S. I don't really recommend the first book except maybe as a brief introduction. And there better not be gratuitous pengie-murder going on in the second. For food, I can live with. But I've long been a big fan of the pengie. Digression: I saw this documentary on little blues once, and became extremely upset when they said they had to cross a highway to get to their breeding grounds...and showed tiny little blue penguins watching semi trucks zipping past. Not cool.)
So. Floodwaters did not come into my apartment, but they came awfully close.
It smells a bit.
That is the nearest major intersection to my building, and I hadn't driven there until this evening...the road from here to there is still closed. I forgot on my way back from campus, though, and ended up being another looky-loo.
Good heavens, the smell. Living in Iowa, I am subjected to the occasional cow pasture or hog lot stink, but not normally in the middle of town. It was worse than a cow pasture...almost but not quite on par with a hog lot. I started gagging and had to roll up the car windows.
Seattle doesn't flood or get a lot of snow, does it?
When I got to the Housing office, they gave us cleaning supplies before they gave us our keys. When I got to my parking lot, there weren't many cars, but there was lots of discarded furniture. There was damaged furniture all over the place in the grass in front of my building, and sandbags and plastic strewn about. The few people who were here in my building on the first floor had their doors opened to air things out while they cleaned.
I opened my door, and...nothing. I didn't get any water at all. The place smells a little, and it's buggy, but other than that...nothing wrong. I had left some things in the fridge that wouldn't spoil, like snack packs of applesauce and pop, but the Housing office came in after we evacuated and threw everything away anyway. The only things they didn't throw away from the fridges were prescription medicines and apparently water containers. So the pitcher of water I kept in there was placed on the counter. Everything else was thrown out.
The building is concrete--concrete blocks make up the walls between units, so there is no drywall except within your own apartment. Doors to the apartments are outside, like a motel, and each individual door was sandbagged. So the couple next door got a little water damage, the family a few doors down on the other side had all their furniture out on the lawn, and I got nothing.
I totally lucked out for a change.
I'll be allowed back on property this afternoon...my side of the complex got off easier than the other, despite being closer to the water source. A levee broke nearer their side, and whooosh!
Updates will likely be few and far between...I have a lot of stuff to do in the next few weeks. Classes are going to be abbreviated; whatever cleanup/salvage I have to do at home; and moving out by August 1 anyway.
And all that on a bum leg. Joy!
Latest aerials show ground around my building, but nasty brown water filling the parking lot and low spots on the ground nearby. Some other buildings in the complex still have water surrounding them, so I'm thinking I got off relatively easy.
We're still under mandatory evacuation, though, so can't get near to see without risking arrest. Plus I'm not trying to walk (gimp) in when there's still water to cross anyway.
I'll keep moving this up until Pete meets his goal or I end up drifting away in a cardboard boat.
You can help. Donate a little, donate a lot. Please give what you can.
Flood recovery is a long process. I worked at a flooded business in 1993, and stayed on during the long cleanup and rebuilding phase, and it's not easy. It also smells bad. Flood water contains sewage, so you can smell the fecal matter that touched everything the water reached.
Anywho, the Iowa River will be slow to recede, and as the I.C. city manager points out, just because the water is gone doesn't mean things are going to be back to normal...
Regina Bailey, Iowa City Mayor said "In some areas there's still a very stiff current so it's still unsafe to enter those manditorily evacuated areas."
It could be several days before people are allowed to look at their homes. The city has three conditions to meet. Is it safe? Is there a low risk of fast moving water following a potential breach. Can the power be turned on? All of this is just to look at homes.
Michael Lombardo, Iowa City City Manager said "Keep in mind that you'll be able to re-enter areas long before re-occupancy."
It could be months before homes pass inspections and people are allowed to move back in.
The Red Cross sees donations pour in after tornadoes, where the devastation looks so much more impressive, but floods never bring in the donation dollars. The Red Cross disaster relief fund is tapped already, so please consider donating. Besides providing food and shelter to displaced residents, they provide things like help with deposits on new places, bleach/other cleaning supplies to those cleaning up, and other support services.
I find I sleep better if I don't think about it too much...no use getting all distraught until you know how distraught to get. Or something.
The only recent aerial photos do not show my specific building, but other buildings I can see in my apartment complex have at least half the first floor under water.
The traffic light posts give good perspective as to depth. This intersection is on lower ground than my building, but not by a whole lot.
Anyway, as I can actually get back to my building to have a look-see (estimated to be about two weeks from now), I'll take pictures and all that. Hopefully my desktop computer with the memory card reader made it through okay (I had it 6 feet off the ground). Otherwise, well, I'm not sure how I'll show you the pics.
So that's me. How are all you?
Aerial photos show my apartment building surrounded by water.
Water levels are expected to go up another 5 feet.
At my parents' house. Have housing lined up in the I.C. for my return after the weekend.
When you read the news and see the words "Clear Creek"--usually around the name "Coralville"--please think fondly of my probably soon-to-be floating furniture.
Anywho, if you have a few dollars to spare, might I recommend the American Red Cross or United Way?
I am being mandatorily evacuated. Not sure when I'll be updating.
In 1993, the max flow was 28,200 cfs. Keep that in mind as you read...
UPDATE: The US Army Corps of Engineers projections for outflows from the Coralville Reservoir are now at 30,000 cubic feet per second by late Friday; 35,000 cfs on Sunday; and 40,000 cfs on Tuesday
The tv news is saying 40,000 by Saturday.
I'll be moving my stuff to higher ground, then leaving town for at least the weekend.
Blogging will likely be light(er) for awhile.
According to current projections, which do not include any precipitation further than 24 hours in the future, inflow to the Reservoir is expected to peak on Thursday, June 19. The crest of the Reservoir is anticipated to be 716.8 feet on June 20th. Possible maximum flow expected during this flood event in the Iowa City area is 33,000 cfs. The maximum flow experience in 1993 was 28,200 cfs.
Flood waters are not expected to peak until Friday, June 20th. Additional rain may add to and delay the peak.
URGENT NOTICE TO RESIDENTS ALREADY AFFECTED BY FLOOD AND TO THOSE ADJACENT TO THE FLOODPLAIN
The flood of 2008 is now expected to exceed water levels experienced in the flood of 1993. Properties adjoining those directly affected in 1993 are now vulnerable to inundation. Residents and property owners in flood-prone areas are urged to continue their protective actions. At this point in time, it is also important to start planning for evacuation.
Yeah, I qualify under that "properties adjoining those directly affected in 1993" bit...so I'll be getting ready for the worst. Hopefully the worst won't happen, but better safe than sorry, dudes.
During the floods of '93, I helped evacuate people and move furniture to higher ground and all kinds of fun stuff. (It actually was fun, if only because my own home was not in any danger.)
Now I have a broken and badly sprained ankle and foot and spend most of my time figuring out how little I have to move while still doing things like grocery shopping and bathing.
I am useless.
Oh, and in case y'all are not aware...I'm not kidding around about this flooding stuff. It's a Big Deal and will only get bigger in the near future.
UPDATE 4:30--Cedar Rapids has mandatory evacuations underway for the 500-year flood range. And Iowa City has asked for more volunteers to raise the sandbag walls a couple more feet.
Anybody hear that? It's an...it's an impact tremor, that's what it is...I'm fairly alarmed here.
This does not bode well for people living in first-floor apartments near Clear Creek. Will save me the trouble of moving all my stuff in August, though.
We have some flooding, and expect more...
Fearful that Coralville Lake's level may reach its 712-foot spillway level for only the second time in history, Corps of Engineers officials have increased the rate at which it lets water out of the man-made, flood-control reservoir north of here. That will mean some low lying flooding along the Iowa River in Iowa City and Coralville.(emphasis mine)
And the first time it happened?
The last time I lived here.
They're predicting it will happen again later this month.
My cousin's husband blames me for bringing rain every time I go to Wisconsin, so I'll take the heat for this too.
I don't know how much more of this I can take.
Blogging in all likelihood suspended until after Memorial Day.
...it's time for a ghost story...
Bloody Mar-- *erk*
Which is why I'm irritated my life story is being made into a movie.
The two parts excuses for not blogging bit?
Normally there'd be an "Ask Jen" post here, and Shank did send in a rather long-winded question about an uncle and a hippie commune or something, but I didn't have time to give it my full attention.
So that'll probably be showing up next Wednesday, if I haven't keeled over from an enlarged heart from all the caffeine I'm ingesting in order to not sleep and therefore have time for completing the 9000 things I have due this week.
But there will be a Lyrical Pursuit post tomorrow because I scheduled that ahead of time, so you have that to look forward to.
So there ya go.
I have a reputation in my family (okay, everywhere) for being a tattle-tale. As I have explained to my sibs, this is because when we were kids and they did something wrong and I knew about it, I'd get in trouble too.
The study showed that older siblings were much less likely to drop out of school or, in the case of girls, get pregnant, than the youngest in the family, perhaps because they’ve had a lifetime of being held to higher standards.
. . . .
“When a job needs to get done, it’s the habit of the parent to call on the first-born, because they’re the most reliable and conscientious,” Leman says.
I still get "projects" from my parents when they want something. Want Santa and his elves in your front yard at Christmas? Jennifer will paint them. I like doing that kind of stuff for them, but the other kids never get those calls.
You should really check out my latest ghost story at DDBBG...I went with a Japanese classic this time.
I've heard several different versions of the story of Oiwa and Iemon, and what I posted pretty much combines the best parts of them all.
I posted another new ghost story over at DDBBG.
Oh, and also, I now have 4 "celebrity" friends versus 2 "normal" friends at MySpace. Clearly, the famous and semi-famous are nicer than the rest of you. I don't even know what to think about one of you who shall not be named, who apparently asked me to be your friend but then withdrew the invite, because I got an email notice but now it's not showing up on the control panel thingawhatsit.
天使 - this is one of my tattoos, which means "angel"
餓鬼 - this is another of my tattoos, which means "brat"
But as it turns out, the "brat" tattoo can also be translated into "little devil", which is even better.
(And if your computer doesn't display kanji, お詫びいたします.)
So, this easing-back-into-blogging thing is including some posting at the Dangerous and Daring Blog for Boys and Girls (which I tend to shorten to DDBBG). I seem to be the only one over there for now, but you should check it out anyway.
I've cross-posted the Superstition posts, and have now also posted a new ghost story.
Maybe other people will feel inspired to return to blogging at DDBBG if they see some action there.
I am slowly getting the blog back in shape. It will be an ongoing project, but will eventually get done. [UPDATE: If you see problems with the site loading, etc, please let me know. The content-type messes will get sorted out as I have time to work on them. Thanks!]
Making a change going forward: any posts that deal with material that did not magically pop out of my brain will have reference(s) listed at the bottom. These will not be academic-format citations, but will allow anyone interested to explore the topic further, cite a "real" reference, etc. I've always expressed a willingness to divulge my sources to those who ask nicely, but this will just put it right out front for everybody.
Also, you'll forgive me if I occasionally repeat myself. I can't remember everything I've ever posted, and am basically too lazy to check the archives very often.
While on break during my last class, I saw that I had a voicemail message...I checked it and was treated to the best rendition of "Happy Birthday" ever. My mom, niece, and nephew were singing it for me.
I got a little misty-eyed, I admit.
This was actually a pretty good birthday. It proves I don't need to go out and get drunk--I just need people to pay attention to me. And give me things.
Thanks to all of you who paid attention to me today. Or gave me things. Or both.
I've never been more awake.
Cake and ice cream for breakfast (because my sister rocks the free world)...followed by a glass of Diet Pepsi...followed by a large caramel cappucino courtesy Candidate J. And that was all before 10:00.
Since I seem to be in a Papal slump, ad-wise, I thought I'd take this opportunity to lobby for the next Pope's Papal name.
I say he should honor the third Pope and go by "Cletus". Or, as a second choice, "Hilarus" (46th).
That is all.
There is one president's birthday I always remember, just because it is the same as someone else I know.
Happy birthday, someone else.
And Bill Clinton, too.
I mean, there would have to be, wouldn't there?
More than 300 searchers are still scouring the South Platte River near Kersey, Colo., searching for a 4-year-old boy who disappeared Friday night while driving a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle near the river.
A 4-year-old allowed to drive an ATV? And allowed to do it without some serious adult supervision? Like someone following directly behind him at all times?
A year or two ago, I bought a wireless keyboard and mouse. For some reason or another that I've forgotten, I never hooked them up. Until now.
Except...I now need to make sure I keep AA and AAA batteries in stock. The battery life is supposed to be 6 months at "30 minutes of use a day". Hahahahaha! 30 minutes. Such jokesters.
Plus this mouse has a scroll wheel, which the former mouse did not. I use scroll wheels like crazy at work, and missed it at home. And the new keyboard is nice and quiet. I'm a stealth-blogger now!
Once again, yay, wireless!
Kindly take a moment today to reflect on those who died for our freedom. Remember their families in your reflections, as well.
Monday, 5:30 a.m.: Hmm. Daylight so soon? Look at those jackrabbits frolicking around the fire pit.
Monday, 5:45 a.m.: This trail mix sucks.
Monday, 6:00 a.m.: Well, if I break down camp, I won't have to come back here if something else comes up.
Monday, 6:15 a.m.: Yep, that pop-up tent was the best money I ever spent. Back on the road.
Monday, 7:00 a.m.: I don't think I ever realized how beautiful it is up around here (Bayfield/Washburn, WI)...the views of Lake Superior are stunning.
Monday, 7:15 a.m.: Oooh! That house is for sale. I should buy a summer home up here.
Monday, 7:17 a.m.: Although I really ought to settle on a rest-of-the-year home first.
Monday, 7:20 a.m.: OR. I could be one of those cool, hardy island-people who live on Madeline Island year-round.
Monday, 7:22 a.m.: But I really don't think I'd have the cajones to drive back and forth to the mainland on the frozen lake during the freeze.
Monday, 7:24 a.m.: They do have an airstrip, though.
Monday, 7:25 a.m.: I could be like Maggie on Northern Exposure.
Monday, 7:27 a.m.: The islanders would probably think I was more like Fleischman.
Monday, 7:30 a.m.: And it would seriously limit my dating pool. There are only like 200 people on the island. I doubt I could talk anybody else into living up here in the boonies. Hmph. I thought the fishery was up here...but I think I've gone too far. Better go get directions.
Monday, 7:45 a.m.: The park office opens in 15 minutes. What to do until then? Oh, I'll play poker on my cell phone.
Monday, 8:02 a.m.: I knew I was on the right road...I just didn't go far enough. Oooh, that house is for sale. How awesome would it be to live in Bayfield? It's so pretty.
Monday, 8:15 a.m.: I haven't been here in like 17 years. I wonder if I can find the old farm house? That'd be cool.
Monday, 8:16 a.m.: Cool, there's the old farm house! Was the trim always that color? Yeah, that's got to be it. The circle drive and the garage are dead giveaways. I'll look at it more on the way back.
Monday, 8:25 a.m.: Is this the fishery? None of this looks familiar. This park wasn't here before, was it? Or that dock? Weird. Let me double-check.
Monday, 8:30 a.m.: Well, I'll get out and walk down that path...
Monday, 8:35 a.m.: Oh, there it is. Yay! Where's the plaque thingie, though? They changed this all around.
Monday, 10:00 a.m.: Happy day. The plaque was over on the other side. We always used to get to the beach from behind rather than off to the side where the park is now. They won't let the public onto the farthest end of the dock, but everything is as I remember it. Except the islands across the bay are closer than I remember. It always seemed so far off when I was little. Now let's have a closer look at their old farm house...yep, that's the one. The part where it butts out in the living room into a little alcove is unmistakable. And I remember that gate thing on the side. Cooool. There's the shed where my sister stumbled onto a wasps' nest...and my brother abandoned her. Good times.
Monday, 10:30 a.m.: Stupid cell phones. I have to be back home tomorrow. Good thing I didn't travel too far away. Equally good thing I packed up camp. I'm so smart.
Monday, 11:00 a.m.: Near Superior now. So tired.
Monday, 1:30 p.m.: A nap. That's what I need. That parking lot looks like a good place to take a nap.
Monday, 2:30 p.m.: Good nap. I can't believe I was able to fall asleep here.
Monday, 6:30 p.m.: Back home. Safe and sound. And early. Gots to sleep.
Too much giant iguana/not enough Wookie.
I think George wanted to cram as many cool special effects in as he could since it was his last chance.
Darth Vader helmet and breathing=always a crowd pleaser.
Yoda nonchalantly waving off the Emperor's guards...would have been improved if he had said, "Bitch."
I'd comment on a tiny little continuity thing, but this is a (major) spoiler-free zone.
I loved it. But I loved all of them, so it was bound to happen.
Sunday, noon: Checked weather. Monday and Tuesday should be relatively clear in northern Wisconsin, but cold. Low tonight of 32. I think I'll play solitaire some more.
Sunday, 1:30 pm: Decided to go up north. Must pack. Need layers.
Sunday, 2:00 pm: Will get camping equipment out of storage and stop at WalMart for Diet Pepsi and foodstuff.
Sunday, 3:00 pm: On the road. Should be there by 9:00. 10 at latest.
Sunday, 5:00 pm: Shouldn't have gotten large Sonic Orange Cream Slush.
Sunday, 7:00 pm: Hmm. I wonder why I can never get a digital signal in the Twin Cities?
Sunday, 8:00 pm: Stupid f***ing cell phone! Stupid northern Minnesota, without enough cell towers!
Sunday, 8:30 pm: There's the casino...I should stop just for a minute. No! No stopping! Especially at the casino!
Sunday, 9:15 pm: Stupid f***ing road construction! Now how am I supposed to get to Minong? Good thing I stopped for gas in Hinckley. I'm so smart.
Sunday, 10:00 pm: None of this looks familiar. At least the suicidal deer don't seem to be out in droves tonight.
Sunday, 10:30 pm: County Road T? Now is that north or south of County Road Y? I don't remember, but I'm taking it anyway.
Sunday, 11:45 pm: Aaaah, made it. Thank goodness the outhouse wasn't locked. I'll set up camp as close as possible to the bathroom, since there's no one else here. And since I don't want to run into any bears in the middle of the night. Since I'm all alone. All. Alone.
Monday, 12:00 am: Hmm. I've never heard the woods so quiet before. No loons, no whippoorwills, no frogs, no nothing.
Monday, 12:45 am: That flashing light is really annoying. How am I supposed to sleep with that in my eyes? Stupid wind, blowing the trees in front of the moon like that.
Monday, 1:00 am: Wait a minute. There's no wind. That's the northern lights! Pretty! I've never seen them so well up here before. They're like wispy, white ghosts jumping up into the sky above me. Amazing. Good thing there's no cell signal out here, or I'd be calling people and pissing them off.
Monday, 1:30 am: Damn, it's cold up here. No wonder I don't hear any birds. And the bears are probably still hibernating. I should probably get back in the tent and cover up. I need to sleep. But look at those lights!
Monday, 3:30 am: Seriously, though. Must. Sleep.
Winterset, Iowa has a beautiful city park. At the end of a long and winding semblance of a road, you are rewarded with this:
(click for full-size if you wish)
The plaque above the entrance tells you this tower was "Erected in memory of Caleb and Ruth Clark, pioneer settlers of Madison County". You can climb the stairs to the second level, where you see a very steep ladder/staircase that can take you to the top.
(Note to D: Not a potato in sight.)
It's been awhile since I paid Madison County a visit, and I heard they rebuilt the Cedar Bridge, so I drove down there to inspect things.
(click for ginormous size)
Yep, looks the same. The Cedar is the only one you can drive through (and you could drive through it before it was rebuilt, too). The rest of the bridges are now closed to vehicle traffic.
They also have warning signs that they are being electronically monitored, which is a sad state of affairs, but necessary these days.
And that was my day. I took other pics, which I'll eventually post to my yahoo albums. Maybe.
Strawberry shakes. Mmmm.
Cool and soothing. Mmmmm.
Dairy, so doesn't help phlegm-wise, but too bad. Mmmmmm.
And in related news, I made my first purchase of cold medication since the passing of that restrict-NyQuil-from-sick-people-in-an-attempt-to-curb-meth-production law. Had to show my ID, give my phone #, answer drug allergy questions (??), sign on the electronic pad, and promise my first-born in order to get 12 little NyQuil caplets. Fools! Little do they know I probably will never have a first-born, so they're not getting that! Ha-ha!
Have any "Ask Jen" questions? Want to read quotes from anyone in particular?
Help. Or I'll have to post an "I quit" message. It's all the fashion today.
I get some odd e-mail. Is this German spam? Anyone care to translate?
Zu kaufen gesucht!
Wir kaufen gegen WIR oder mit hohem WIR-Anteil in der ganzen
- Altliegenschaften und Abbruchobjekte
- FerienhÃ¤user auch im Ausland!
I have recently come into possession of lots of old Larson-side family pictures. Yay!
(All may be clicked to enlarge.)
My Grandma L. had her photo albums scanned and indexed before she died. Smart lady.
Stupid uncooperative pheasant, not sitting out in the open long enough for me to grab my camera, turn it on, focus, and shoot.
Instead, you get deer:
I've been helping a larger company emerge from the dark ages and embrace computerized record-keeping. The actual switch of daily business from paper to computer was very recent. Verrrrry recent.
So basically, for the last few days, there has been a lot of stress in Jen's world.
But when I need a little pick-me-up, I just load up a particular picture and go to my happy place.
I'm part Native American (Blackfoot, naturally), so every now and then I must heed the call of my ancestors and set out on the hunt for buffalo.
Some of you may recall the conversation I had with my sis about Death Valley.
Some of you may be interested in seeing pretty pictures, which can be enlarged if you click on them:
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.
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%.
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.)
This sort of thing really frees up my Sunday afternoons...to 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 machine...you know, fun stuff like that.
I need a vacation.
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:
* Eagles (helps to live by nesting grounds)
* Snapping turtles
* Headless Deer
* Jelly fish
Things I've Seen Outside a Zoo As Much As Owls:
* Mountain lions
* Tom Arnold
The following is the newspaper obituary of my great-great grandfather, printed in the Bayfield County Press on March 4, 1910:
OLD RESIDENT IS GONE
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.
CARD OF THANKS
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.
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.
Thanks to the magic of trickle, I could pre-write a whole mess of posts and then run off for a few days...and you'd be none the wiser.
You know, in theory.
Just, umm, don't expect me to answer any e-mail for a couple days.
My computer had been getting loud. Occasionally, I'd hear a nasty grinding sound. Not good. Then in the last week it was becoming more frequent. This morning it became constant.
So...took the cover off, cleaned it out...still making a racket. I thought it was the cooling fan thingie...disassembled it, cleaned, put a drop of machinery oil thingiestuff in it...still making noise.
Hmm. Hmm. There's another fan...touch it, and the noise stops. Sigh...it's the CPU fan. Fiddle, fiddle, disassemble, clean...yuck. There were about five pounds of dust in there and under there and all around there. Clean, drop of oil thingiestuff, reassemble...no more noise.
So now all is relatively quiet. I didn't realize how loud it was getting around here until now. Plus I swear everything is working faster. Happy day!
Of course...now I jinxed it and my hard drive will explode tomorrow.
I woke up to the symphony of a half-dozen snowblowers this morning. We have some inches of snow out there...I've yet to go out to measure it myself.
These mornings always make me think of my dad. He's from northern Wisconsin and is one of those types who doesn't think it's a proper snowstorm unless you measure it by feet rather than inches.
Dad isn't a snowblower kinda guy. Never wanted one. Never bought one.
Oh, no. Snowblowers are for pansies, you see.
Dad has an ATV outfitted with a snowplow blade.
He wakes up on mornings like this, no earlier than normal. He drinks his coffee. No rush to clear a path. All the neighbors have been blowing snow for half an hour or so...then dad'll open up the garage door and fire up the ATV. It takes about 5 minutes to clear the driveway and sidewalk, and then he's on his way.
And don't think for a minute he doesn't enjoy all five minutes of envious looks from the other men.
The best part of being a Munuvian, aside from the free fudge cookies (which are even better than the free love, or so I'm told)?
Getting spam in your mailbox and logging in to delete it all...only to find it's been taken care of already.
I love Pixy. And anyone else who may have helped.
Susie once complained that my middle column is too small. I filed that away to be dealt with at a later date.
It's a later date.
I also made a place where I can redecorate all I like while annoying as few readers as possible.
These two skins only work on the main page...I'm not ambitious enough to match individual pages, comments, and whatnot. Plus I don't think there's really a need for it.
When I do finally put up the new redesign*, I'll try to keep myself from messing with it too much. There will be links to all these fun new pages, and I'll try to keep things as simple as possible.
* January 1st, barring any unforeseen mishaps on New Year's Eve.
Just watching/reading the news this morning as the "epic tsunami" death toll continues to climb. Up to 44,000 now according to MSNBC and FOX. CNN has it at 33,000.
Here is a blog set up especially for tsunami relief information.
For information on the earthquake/tsunami story, The Command Post has an excellent collection of links.
For information on how to help, go here.
(at least I didn't go with the obvious "Meowwy Christmas")
Hey, it's up to 9 degrees...heat wave!
This is our island in the sun! Oy! Oy!
Ahem. Anywho...I am off to do some last-minute shopping. Not for me--my shopping is done. For my dad. For my mom.
Have to buy clothes for my mom to come from my dad. You knew what I meant. No Dad-gifts can be purchased more than 24 hours before Christmas Eve, or they get stale, you know.
So here's a picture of the most adorable kitten...
Someone asked if I was going to do some Christmas linkfest thing like I did around Halloween. My answer?
Hell, no, fool. I have things to do. Presents to wrap! Cookies to bake! Probably get stuck putting a bicycle together! Crafts to paint! GoGoGoGoGo!
Now I'm off to the airport! Picking people up!
If the South had succeeded in seceding, would I have to go to a foreign country to see a NASCAR race?
Today I learned that I have two choices when shipping to Hawaii via USPS...the 3-day service, or for about 15 cents less, the 3-5 week service.
Is there an official USPS canoe out there? You'd think they could at least spring for an outboard motorboat.
Okay, those of you who saw the puzzle banner (I won't bother linking to it, since this process is not that interesting to anyone but me)...I decided it was too busy. So I changed the banner to look much cleaner while still having the same feel:
(click to enlarge if you wish)
What do you think of this one?
(Update: My 3-year-old nephew weighed in: "That's a bird! He's mean!")
(Second Update: My nearly 5-year-old niece saw it: "Look, it's a birdie. (pause) He's mad.")
I like to peruse my SiteMeter stats once a day or so, just to see who's stopping by...see if my stalkers are still watching me...see how many American men are searching Google for "American Women Suck"...wonder for a moment if they mean literally or figuratively...see if a blogger I worship (who refuses to blogroll me) is doing the daily walk-by...and see how many Georgia Tech people are hating on their school.
Oddly, it's usually a "gatech.edu" domain searching for "Georgia Tech Sucks"...why is that? I don't know who your big rivals are, but shouldn't I be seeing "mit.edu" or "uga.edu" or something? (I'm making those domain addresses up, by the way. I'm too lazy to double-check them.)
Used to be, I'd get one tiny little cold once a year...usually around September. And I only got the flu when I wanted a day off school, if you know what I mean. Now I apparently get every cold and flu within a ten-mile radius.
Why, God, why?!
In other (non-old and decrepit) news, I'd like to point out that someone is claiming to be the Green Santa. Do I have to pay royalties? How does that work?
And...is today the day I'll post about medieval torture devices? Only time will tell.
Victor wants to know why I have one non-red Santa in my banner.
Because one of them is a non-conformist. He's an individual. He likes to stand out from the crowd. He's unique.
But not too much.
Okay, folks. I've got nothing. What do you want to know about? More old-fashioned capital punishment? Medieval torture devices? How many hatmakers JFK put out of business? The history of the number "1"? The story behind the term "86"?
Give me some motivation, people, or I'll go on a decorating rampage like you've never seen before.
William Penn has cursed Philadelphia sports.
We all have to explain our pain somehow, I guess.
Okay, so I knew that gmail promised "targeted ads"...but it's a little creepy. In various e-mails about blogs, I've gotten ads for different blogging tools. In an e-mail from the lovely SarahK, in which she mentioned her nearsightedness, I got ads for Lasik surgery.
I realize this is all computer-generated, but it's like...they're watching me.
Gonna be a slow morning around here unless y'all have a comments-party. I'll be offline until this afternoon...at which point I'll hopefully have a semi-decent post to counteract all the garbage I've posted lately.
I'm a slacker lately, I admit it. Been offline most of the day today, but had to hop back on to check out the Scott Peterson verdict. He's going to have a rough time of it in prison, I think.
I'll try to get my act together for posting next week...here and at Random Fate, where I'll be guest-
hostingblogging while Jack runs around Paris. (He wisely did not give me access to his templates.)
To those who fought for my freedom: Thank you.
To those who fight for my freedom: Thank you.
To those who have died for my freedom: Thank you.
To the families of all the men and women mentioned above: Thank you.
In the comments to this throwaway post, my new friend Glenn left the following comments:
You moronic men keep thinking American women are "fairer" sex, as they curse like sailors. And "weaker" as they drown thier 5 children in bathtubs. You CAN beleive they are more manipulative and calculating as they rake your mindless rump over the coals in divorce court. Remember, the numbers dont lie. And the numbers say the divorce rate is speeding towards 70%, and 2 out of 3 divorces are initiated by...you guessed it...the western female! Now bend over and be a good little gelding slave, buy that ring. And pay the price. Or, for those with a brain, go to Russia or South America and find a real woman that is worthy of marriage. Toss the western females in the trash with the rest of the garbage.
Feel better now, pigeon? (Oh, and you may want to review the "i before e" rule from your English as a second language course.)
Anyway, in my own defense, I don't swear that fucking much and I've never drowned anyone. I don't even have kids. Anymore.
But seriously, all the divorces I am close enough to know such things have been initiated by the wife*, including two marriages over 25 years in length. The whole thing is rather depressing, really, and one of the reasons I have been (perhaps overly) cautious in the commitment department myself at times.
* But one was battered, so we'll consider that one fully justified.
If you're an American and you have an opinion, let it be heard whether you're in a swing state or not. VOTE.
One of the differences between Judaism and Christianity is the missionary position. Ahem. Let me rephrase that. Christians love to send missionaries all over the world, helping people and spreading the word of Christ. "Hey, look at this shiny new way we have of doing things. You'll love it. Come on over to the house later, we're having pie and discussing our Lord and Savior. Bring the kids."
Judaism isn't so big on recruitment. "We're happy over here doing things the way we've done them for thousands of years. We'll mind our own business and let you go about yours. Just don't try to kill us and we'll get along fine."
Democracy as DMo sees it is like the Christians up in the first paragraph. But the thing is, not everyone wants to do things our way. Some of them aren't ready for it. Tradition is a powerful thing. Look at Great Britain. The royal family has no real useful function, but people like having them around. They're symbolic. They're so closely tied to the country's image that you can't really picture an England without its royalty. "England with no queen? What's the point?" There is talk about ending the monarchy, and it will eventually happen, but that change will evolve as it's ready.
If democracy is as great as we think it is (and I include myself in that "we"), it will spread as it's ready. Sometimes quickly and violently, sometimes slowly evolving over time, but always at the pace the people are prepared for...we just need to be patient. When you force it, you suffer backlash from those in power who will be replaced.
We could fly into Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro tomorrow. Does that mean we should do it? Or should we wait until the old man finally kicks the bucket and see how things play out down there? In other words, do we let time run its course?
There are instances when we can argue there is a moral obligation to help those in need...Sudan comes to mind. But I don't remember hearing that argument before we went into Iraq or Afghanistan. We went into Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban, who were harboring Al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden. Freeing the people from Taliban rule was just an extra bonus. We went into Iraq because Saddam Hussein reportedly had weapons of mass destruction and posed an immediate danger to us.
American foreign policy should obviously favor and promote democracy, but not through force as DMo seems to propose. Our military is there to protect us and protect our interests. Is it in our best interest for the whole world to be democratic? Yes. Is it in our best interest to overthrow leaders we don't like? No. What? NO. You can't run around overthrowing governments unless you have a REALLY GOOD REASON. We do need some degree of cooperation from the rest of the world. Could China look at us and decide our power needs to be checked? Could an alliance of smaller nations? We're powerful, but we're not unstoppable. Our military force should be used when we (or our friends) are in danger and not as a tool to forcibly spread democracy.
"Just don't try to kill us and we'll get along fine."
Finally, after approximately 4 years of campaigning, we're hitting the homestretch.
And in celebration of this, I am making you a promise: all posts this weekend will be dedicated to the impending freakshow.
Halloween, that is. I'm sick of everything else and plan to ignore it until Monday.
Anything posted before 12:01 a.m. November 1st will be Halloween-related.
If you are making the same promise on your blog, please let me know...I'll even throw together some Halloween links every day. Recipes, pictures of your cat in costume, whatever.
From a long-suffering Cubs fan to the no-longer-suffering BoSox fans...CONGRATS!
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks that Skippy elephant commercial is for stoners:
Skippy is targeting stoners. I think this is by far the most plausible explanation. My friend (who may or may not have been stoned himself--I make no assumptions) says he saw this ad at around 2 a.m. on the Cartoon Network. And I found a chat-board post about the ad from someone who says he saw it at 3:30 a.m. during a Conan rerun. First of all, why show the ad at these hours if the target is children? Second, I ask you this: What do high people love? Late-night television. What else do they love? Snacks. And? Freaky animation with talking animals, like Fritz the Cat and stuff. Finally, where does dancehall come from? Jamaica! See what I mean? If Skippy signs Harold and Kumar, we'll know for certain.
I feel validated somehow.
One book I'd recommend to presidential history buffs is Barbara Holland's Hail to the Chiefs: Presidential mischief, morals, & malarkey from George W. to George W....it's a humorous book profiling each president in a chatty tone that I enjoy. If you're looking for hardcore history, it's not the book for you, but if you like a little spice, it's a fun read.
Dave Barry calls it "Wonderfully funny." It says so right on the cover, and I don't know what better endorsement you could hope to get. I personally laughed out loud while reading.
Here's an excerpt from the Jimmy Carter chapter:
It's hard to explain to foreigners and small children just why Jimmy Carter was such a joke. You had to be there. He wasn't a funny joke, like Gerry Ford, more an embarrassing joke....(Here is) a broad spectrum of reasons:
a. Peanut farming. This is not a manly occupation, like raising cattle. Never mind that you graduated with distinction from the Naval Academy; when your father dies and leaves a peanut farm for you to manage, you should just say no. Peanuts are silly.
d. Being governor of Georgia. Georgia is not a real place, like Massachusetts or Illinois. Georgia is funny, except for downtown Atlanta, and gives you an accent.
e. He talked funny. See above.
f. He was serious about Nature. Not in a manly way, like Teddy Roosevelt, to go do manly things in, but just to have it lying around.
g. The rabbit. Even he thought the rabbit was funny, and actually went around telling people how his rowboat had been pursued by a vicious seagoing rabbit, when any sensible pol would have murdered the witnesses and sunk their bodies in the river. Voters found the rabbit a worse joke even than the peanuts. Go out and vote, and what do you get? A President who gets publicly pushed around by rabbits.
k. His honesty....Presidents are supposed to be simple, straightforward, hometown folks, but a President who really is simple, straightforward, hometown folks is a national humiliation and a dork.
Holland mixes humor with history and shows us the funny side of each presidency...something I find soothingly therapeutic right now.
You can survive your car going into water.
Assuming there isn't a bad current and you can swim, you should be able to live if you get out of your vehicle. To get out of your vehicle, you should carry a hammer in your vehicle. Electric windows probably won't work once your vehicle hits water, and you'll need to get the window open somehow.
This concludes Jen's PSA of the day.
I don't know much, but I knows I hates me some Roger Clemens. Yay, Cards.
Hard to pick who to root for in the Series...want to see a "cursed" team win, but also would like to see the NL team win.
(MuNu was down today, which makes it hard to post. Might post tomorrow if the winds are favorable.)
I have just one word to say about the Yankees/Red Sox game, and that word is:
HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
Team America. Was. Hilarious.
I laughed so hard I thought I was going to stroke out.
(But to the father who brought his two kids, approximately 5 & 8 years old--you're an idiot.)
I hope they show the deleted sex scene footage on the DVD. Hard to believe they left something out.
Official JenLars reaction to the debate: Yay! Yankees Lost! Happy Day!
I didn't watch a single minute. Not even a second of it. I didn't vote for Al Gore in 1992 or 1996. I didn't vote against...hmm, it'd be Dan Quayle in 1992 and some other guy in 1996. Bob Dole's running mate...umm, hmm...Jack Kemp?
Anyway, the point is--unless the VP candidate is David Duke or some complete maroon, I don't care. I won't be voting for either John Edwards or Dick Cheney. I'll be voting for John Kerry or George W. Bush.
(P.S. Wouldn't it be fun if they still had the second-place presidential candidate win the VP spot? Whoo-boy!)
(P.P.S. Yankees lost! Bwah-ha-ha-ha!)
If you're going to make somebody laugh when they're holding a box of stuff, make sure it's not your stuff.
The scene: Jennifer and Sister in a self-storage unit. Sister has climbed over and around a lot of items, looking for a specific box. Jennifer is supervising.
Jennifer: How are you liking that lamp up your butt?
Sister: No kidding. I'm getting sodomized here.
Jennifer: Oh, please. We all know you're all about that ass-action.
Sister: (breaks into hysterics, drops box, yet does not deny she's into ass-play) Don't make me laugh! You made me drop it!
Jennifer: I can't help if I'm funny.
Laughter--it's like kryptonite!
Jennifer, in self-congratulatory manner: "I'm a star!"
Niece, age 4, in response to Aunt Jennifer's declaration: "I'm a moon!"
I'm a big fan of the police. I always had a higher-than-average amount of respect and empathy for them...then I became good friends with a few, and I really saw what it's like.
Policemen and women get a bum deal.
Firemen are beloved and revered. They save lives, they risk their own, and everyone loves them.
Policemen save lives and risk their own, and they have to be careful answering their own front door. Their personal vehicles get vandalized. People treat them with contempt.
When they pull someone over for speeding or not wearing a seatbelt, they may be verbally abused for "not having anything better to do"...or they may be killed by a 72-year-old driver.
Of course, when kids are drag-racing and one of them gets killed, people want to know why the police weren't there.
After 9/11, the whole country loved the NYPD. But a friend of mine who is in the NYPD responded to a complaint of kids throwing things off a Bronx building shortly after the WTC attacks. The mother, pissed off, told the officers to leave the kids alone and "go dig the dead cops out of the pile downtown."
Policemen are verbally abused, spat on, and expected to take all of it while maintaining a high degree of professionalism. They see the worst of society every day. They have nightmares about the things they witness. And we demand that they don't let any of it get to them.
So while you remember the victims of 9/11, including the members of the NYPD and Port Authority Police who died that day, please also take a moment to appreciate your local law enforcement.
This was originally posted at my old site.
In the extended, some rambling thoughts about the Colorado Rockies--particularly Pike's Peak.
Some of you may know a little ditty called "America the Beautiful."
The lyrics are as follows:
America the Beautiful - 1913 version
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self the country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!
O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America ! America ! God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!
O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice, for man's avail
Men lavished precious life !
America! America! God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!
-Katherine Lee Bates.
Ms. Bates was inspired to write this song after visiting Pikes Peak in Colorado. I was lucky enough to visit Pikes Peak myself a few years ago...and I can understand why Inspiration Point had the effect on her that it did. Being a flatlander, I tend to be impressed by large hills...so every chance I get to drive through Colorado, I try to time it for daylight.
I never fail to be awestruck by the beauty of the mountains. I think the most gorgeous view from the interstate is on I-25 north right after you get into Colorado from New Mexico. There is one point where you come over a hill and see miles of mountain peaks spread before you. In the foreground are mountains green with trees and vegetation, but rising behind them majestically are the high peaks covered with snow.
Inexplicably, when I see that view I start craving a Coors Light...but I digress.
Driving through the Colorado Springs area for the first time, I found myself playing the game of "Guess Which Peak is Pikes Peak." Each peak looks taller than the last. But I think when you finally see it, you know. And when you see it, you want to climb up there and have a look around. The day I had my look around, it was a little hazy, but it was still well worth it.
I took the Cog Railway up to the summit, and definitely recommend it to everyone. Not only can you relax and enjoy the scenery, but a guide rides along and relays the history and sights on the way. Once we reached the top (after about 1 hour, 15 minutes) you could see what seemed to be hundreds of mountains for miles around.
It was windy, and trying not to get blown off the mountain greatly added to the sense of adventure. There was one observation area that had railing, but for the most part...no railing. Nowhere to go but down...and down some more. Good time. If you haven't made it to Pikes Peak, try to go this summer or next. Bring your jacket, bring your camera, and I guarantee it will be worth the trip.
I'm not the only one who watches Fairly Oddparents, am I?
Anyway, I was watching Fairly Oddparents this morning and Timmy threw a balloon at a bully. It missed and hit a couple of French people, who immediately yelled out, "We surrender!"
Someone found my site while searching for "names of tornadoes in 2004"...which led them to this post.
Tornadoes don't have names. The ones that leave a big enough impression are remembered thusly: "The Plainfield Tornado", etc. If Plainfield had more than one major tornado, it would be "The Plainfield Tornado of 1990".
Hurricanes get names so people can keep track of them as they move over time. Tornadoes form quickly and are short-lived, so naming them isn't terribly useful.
My friends at Blogs For Bush have a post up that proves Bush is a man of the people and Kerry is a poseur.
We have a picture of the President eating a raw piece of corn, and a picture of the Kerrys waving corn.
Personally, I wouldn't eat a raw corncob. And is it field corn or sweet corn?
Cook up some sweet corn, throw some butter on it, and I'll think about eating it. But I am NOT gnawing at some random, raw corncob.
Of course, I'm not running for office anywhere and in need of a photo op, either.
Guess I'm just not a woman of the people that way.
I'm going to pull a paragraph out of this story:
The death last year of an 84-year-old man killed while swimming in an Australian canal linked to the nearby Pacific Ocean was one of only four fatal shark attacks around the world in 2003, according to an international list compiled by Florida Museum of Natural History.(emphasis mine)
You know what this means? You are more likely to win the lottery than be killed by a shark.
It's summertime. Which means it's wildfiretime!
Reading this article about the AZ fires, a quote popped out at me:
"I don't want anyone's life put in jeopardy because of my cabin. Everything is replaceable, but a life is not."
And it occured to me that I haven't heard anything similar to that before. Most people are more like this:
"I can't hardly stand it to think there's a fire up there. It won't be the same if it burns up. It's like my life is going."
It's true insurance won't replace the sentimental value of the existing structure, but you're not meant to live for the past.
Occasionally an interesting notice will come across my desk:
These commodities, technology, or software (items) are not to be used directly or indirectly, in prohibited nuclear, chemical/biological or missile weapons activities.
I wonder if that warning is more effective than the Surgeon General's.
Blogless Pete is married!
May you have many years of happiness and love.
I thought Rule Number One in bachelor parties was "No Cameras."
Twenty-three years ago it was deemed perfectly acceptable to paint your eyelids like a parrot with lemon yellow on the brow bone, bright purple on the lid and electric-blue eyeliner to top it all off....From Day-Glo orange chiffon to fierce fuchsia lip gloss, the plastic rainbow of the early '80s palette is now hot and black is no longer instantly cool.
I noticed some months ago the Kohl's catalogue looked like a throwback to my junior high years. I remarked on this to my sister, age 22, who rolled her eyes. She treats anything that smells of the 80s with complete disdain. She favors "Seattle style"--drab colors, baggy pants, etc.
I've been wearing more color lately--although I never really gave it up. I'm one of the lucky ones who can pull off any color. I don't shy away from yellow or lime-green t-shirts. Bright blue is one of the best colors on me.
I even brightened up my site.
I've been happily awaiting the return of Big Hair and have even grown it out so I could be ready. On the occasional weekend, I curl it and poof! Giant hair!
Not a good weekend to be in Iowa. Worse for some * than others.
I think I was as close to a tornado as I ever have been in my life. Hard to guesstimate distance when you're driving 90 miles an hour in the other direction, though.
On a less dangerous note, saw Shrek 2 and highly recommend it. :-)
* Anyone around here who wants to help with cleanup Sunday at Bradgate, they can use more volunteers. Park on either the east or west side of town and they'll shuttle you in. Free lunch. Anyone else can donate to the Red Cross.
Reading an interesting article on gay marriage and this quote popped out at me:
"This generation has been subjected to an enormous amount of pro-gay propaganda," says Robert Knight
Propaganda. So it's a Gay Conspiracy, then? Like the Zionists, only better dressed?
I had a pretty nice weekend. The best part was going to the Garden's 20th anniversary celebration, which included a concert by Margaret Cho to raise funds for the All Iowa AIDS Benefit.
Not to sound shallow, but Margaret has lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw her and is looking fabulous. She also went to the Garden after her show to meet and greet fans. I know a lot of the more right-wing types don't care for her, but I thought her show was great.
The mayor of Des Moines, Frank Cownie, was at the show. He's one of the few men there who wasn't prettier than I am.
I opened a container of chocolate-chip cookies and noticed a nice big chocolate chip all alone at the bottom. So I picked it out and ate it. Sadly, it had the consistency of a raisin rather than a chocolate chip. Happily, it tasted like a raisin. But I can't quite put the nagging thought that it wasn't a raisin out of my mind.
Also, anyone who feels the need to send me links to decapitated cats (or decapitated-anything-else for that matter)--don't.
Well, I missed the 50K mark--it happened when I wasn't paying attention, so I can't thank whomever it was.
That makes this the lamest. post. ever.
What else? Oh, yes. I did my nearly-annual trek to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library today. They have an exhibit on Presidential Homes going on right now. If you're within driving distance, I'd recommend a visit. Especially if you've never been to the Hoover library.
Mmm, I think that's it. Will be blogging at full-speed this week, I promise.
For making traffic a hassle yesterday.
He met the 186th, who just got back from a year in Iraq.
Air Force One just flew over. The President is in town for some rural economic conference that won't be open to the public. It's nice that he comes to visit us, but it makes traffic a pain in the ass.
My nose got itchy just reading this.
Maybe Arizona wouldn't be so bad after all.
Wearing my blue outfit while driving my blue car, I had my blue purse next to me. In it was my blue cell phone. The cd player was playing Blu Cantrell.
Might be time to change the colors around here.
Love is friendship set on fire.
Have a safe trip, Pete.
As you will recall because this is a fascinating subject, last week I pitted full-size Cadbury Caramel and Cream Eggs against one another.
As I had suspected, the full-size eggs were slow movers. Several people were excited when they saw them, but then declined to take one. "They're too much" was the general consensus.
However, of the 16 eggs (8 caramel, 8 cream), 13 did manage to disappear by Friday. What was left? Two cream, and one caramel.
Therefore, I declare caramel the winner.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
...the following is the shortest English sentence to include all letters of the alphabet:
Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz.
Almost sounds dirty.
Okay, I am officially calling an end to my "hiatus." (Now that the Daytona 500 is over I have time to focus, don't you know.)
Some history: 6 years ago today, Dale Earnhardt won the Daytona 500. The greatest driver ever* finally overcame his 500 Jinx to take home NASCAR's biggest single race prize. And it was good.
Today his son became a 500 winner. And it was good.
Turning to other news...
Next Saturday the Munuvians are moving to a new home. The addresses will remain the same. During the move, I will be unable to post and you will be unable to comment. Since I only have 5 readers left, this should not be a major inconvenience.
I think that covers it. Thanks to The Guys for posting occasionally to keep the blog from emptying out. Presidential Fun Facts and other posty goodness will resume tomorrow. Whoo!
* And don't waste my time with any Richard Petty (or other driver) nonsense.
There is a Guinness beer commercial that has been airing during the NFL playoff games. (I'd link it, but the website doesn't seem to have that one online yet. I'm not ambitious enough to locate it elsewhere. You've seen it or not.)
Three white guys wake up on St Patrick's Day morning, all excited. They rush downstairs to open their St Patrick's Day gifts...a keg and bottles of Guinness, of course.
Looks like Christmas, only better, right?
Well, that's what I thought. A friend of mine saw it a little differently. Said friend is 100% Irish-American, and insists the commercial is "racist." According to him, it plays on the stereotype that the Irish drink a lot.
I'm not sure how he knows those three white boys are Irish, but that's just me. If anything, I think the guys in the commercial are frat boys, but then that might offend another friend of mine.
His take on the matter was that it is equivalent to "three black guys rushing downstairs to open their gifts of crack" on the offensive scale.
I honestly thought he was just pulling my leg with his comments about the commercial, but the conversation escalated into an argument. After he said some nonsense about me being a liberal while he lives in the Real World (the South Bronx), I decided I had enough of the whole conversation.
He was probably just drunk anyway. Damn Irish. (That's a joke. Kinda.)
So...out of curiosity, does anyone else think that commercial plays on Irish stereotypes?
Woo-boy, will he be pissed off if/when he reads this. Heh.
So you've all heard of the awards for bad literature inspired by the writer who wrote a book beginning "It was a dark and stormy night", right?
The 2003 contest results are here. There are several gems, but this is one of my (many) favorites:
He knew that, at most, he had five seconds left to live, one one-thousand, two one-thousand, the gun barrel pointing at his face like a scolding finger, three Mississippi, four Mississippi, the hired assassin Ricardo's grip tightening on the trigger, five white elephantsS SIX white elephants, and then a bright blast of light as he wondered which was really the most accurate way to count five seconds.
Aw, heck, here's another:
Detective Inspector Mike Norman slipped six fingers into his overcoat pocket, five of them clad in a latex glove and attached to his palm, while the sixth was wrapped in a plastic evidence bag and apparently belonged to the kidnapped pianist Ricardo Moore, or, as it now seemed likely, the kidnapped ex-pianist Ricardo Moore.
I'll stop now before I quote all of them.
This guy! He's a big winner!
(From AOL News) Rob Krueger, 31, of Toronto, was the winner - hands down - of the second International World Rock Paper Scissors Championship on Saturday night, taking home the $3,750 first prize.
Krueger, sporting a wild wig and wraparound shades, triumphed by throwing "paper" to finalist Marc Rigaux's "rock."
The big question...is he available?
Well, I'm kinda hurt that you would think you have to wait for me to leave to have a party here...but I'm nothing if not a good hostess, so have a good time. I left salsa and chips. BYOB. It's not that I'm cheap; it's just that we used up all the liquor last night.
Thanks everyone who has been sending in questions for me to DMo. From what I hear, they are...interesting. Can't wait!
As for new posts today, I plan to have them up but it'll be later than normal...probably early afternoon unless bad things happen.
You can exchange recipes in the comments. Thanksgiving is right around the corner!
A couple of Munuvians expressed (fake?) interest in the pictures I took over the weekend. These are from the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad visitor's center area. I've actually been on the train, but not this weekend...check the site for some much better pictures.
This was the first "test" of a super-cheap digital camera I got a month ago. It seems functional, anyway. :-)
I think Iowa could use a new tourism slogan. Here are my suggestions:
1. We knew John Wayne when he was named Marion.
2. We don't have potatoes, jerk. That's Idaho.
3. No professional sports teams=Low crime rates!
4. Four hours from Minneapolis.
5. Cedar Rapids was prominently featured in the hit movie Titanic!
6. Field of Dreams filmed here. We haven't shut up about it since.
7. The only place Laura Ingalls Wilder lived but was too ashamed to write about.
8. Five hours from Chicago.
9. Birthplace of nylon.
10. Better get here before we burn the whole place down!
I remember going to my first game at Wrigley Field when I was in third grade, and I was quite impressed by the guy playing second base. He was a total hottie, although the slang at that time may have been "babe." Actually, I was a rather sheltered child, so I doubt there was any term in my vocabulary to describe the hunka hunka Cubbie love before me.
This was my first crush on a man. Two words and I know a lot of you ladies will know what I'm talking about:
Throughout the years, my crush on Ryno did not abate. Even as he got older and slower, my interest did not wane. He retired, I was depressed. He was separated from his wife, I perked up a little.
Sure, my eye was caught by younger players...Mike Piazza anyone?...but Ryne always held a special place in my heart. He was at the games Saturday (when the Cubs clinched the division, of course)...and finally I had to admit it.
Ryne is looking old.
Plus his wife was with him. Hmph.
Now it's your turn...tell the class about your first crush.
The Hawkeyes lost to Michigan State today, but who cares?
THE CUBS CLINCHED THE DIVISION!!!
You don't see that every day...or year...or decade.
Kin lost a friend this week. For those of you who don't know, Kin lives in Israel. He gave me the following information on a general fund for Israeli victims of terrorism.
Victims of Arab Terror
1412 Ave. M, No.2367
Brookyn, NY 11230
Please pass this on.