29 October 2005

Strong Bad

I think I'm getting a cold. I could probably sleep around the clock. Not like the The Cheat in the latest Strong Bad e-mail. (Click on "sb emails" at the bottom of the page.) Mmmm... suudsu.

I don't know what it is about Strong Bad that I like so well. His goofy headwear? His Ed Grimley pants? His goofy voice? His horrible personality? He's an awful character and extremely funny. Kind of like Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day. Or Basil Fawlty.

Sometimes I think it would be fun to be an enormous jerk for just one day. Maybe it's more fun to think about than to actually do. Like the passive-aggressive drops we came up with at work. (A play off the book How Full Is Your Bucket): "I like you a lot more now than I used to." "You look really nice, today."

On a completely different note, Reformation Day fun. And, wild boars running amok in Seoul.

27 October 2005

Tis the season to be cozy

The nights are getting cool and the mornings are brisk. It's slipper time. Here are my new slipper socks. Aren't they the funniest? They're from my sister-in-law. She's a great shopper. She tapped into both my love of the slipper and animal prints.

How cool is this? You could get yourself, a friend and at least a couple of dogs into this cozy number. The giant armchair is part of a trade fair in Hanover.

26 October 2005

Shut down the hall of shame

Shut down the School of the Americas! Click on the link at left or go to www.sojo.net

The School of the Americas (SOA) - renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001 - is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers located at Fort Benning, Georgia. It needs to close? Why?
  • The SOA has used U.S. tax dollars to train more than 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics.
  • SOA graduates have consistently used their skills to wage war against their own countries' civilians.
  • Among those targeted by SOA graduates: educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor.
  • What do the SOA grads do with their skills? Torture, rape, assassinate, "disappear," massacre, and force people into exile.
As recently as 2002, an SOA graduate was arrested for the murder of Colombian archbishop, Isaias Duarte.

25 October 2005

Cheney: human rights for some

Cheney Plan Exempts CIA from Bill Barring Abuse of Detainess
By R. Jeffrey Smith and Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, October 25, 2005; Page A01

"The Bush administration has proposed exempting employees of the Central Intelligence Agency from a legislative measure endorsed earlier this month by 90 members of the Senate that would bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoners in U.S. custody."

Reading this causes me physcial pain. It is complete madness! Haven't we learned anything? At the end of World War II, some very wise people composed a document to safeguard the right of all people. I guess it's antique and cute. The U.S. is now one of the torturing countries. I'm so proud. Bush's "beacon of freedom" talk is just that -- talk.

From the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (emphasis is mine):

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

24 October 2005

Head, so very heavy

Finished up a long, stressful weekend of work events. There were two big to-dos. I had loads of logistical responsibilities. The funniest part was on Sunday when I had to line up about 75 people for a procession. I had to ring a bell and wave my hands above my head yelling, "We're going to start lining up now." One of the few days I wished I was taller.

Both of the events went off very well. However today it feels like someone went at my brain with a whisk. This afternoon I had to make a presentation. I'm hoping that I didn't come off as a drug addict.

On a similar note, it's time to start looking for ways to gross out the kiddies for Halloween.
I'm not sure if the bleeding brain would make them laugh or freak. It's probably a little late to order my mold anyway. Oh well, maybe next year. You don't need a mold to make realistic-looking fake blood or eyeballs.

23 October 2005


On Friday a group of us went over to Vine Park Brewery to brew us up some hooch. We started out the evening with a drink at Mitch's Supper Club. None of us knew the neighborhood so we ended up there kind of by accident. It was what I imagine is a true supper club -- meat, meat and more meat and a waitress who puts her hand on your shoulder and calls you "Hon."

Our two batches of beer were none the worse for wear despite Marjie getting her hand in it. Our "brewing coach" thought it was so funny that he called over the guys who were bottling.

21 October 2005

Long, cold winter?

It's supposed to be a cold winter and heating costs are supposed to go through the roof. How far can you turn down the heat before the pipes burst? At what temperature will Sophie turn into a Sophsicle? I won't buckle under and buy her a snowsuit. She'll have to make due with blankets. As for my meat-locker cube at work, I'm considering the stuffed-animal pants. (Doesn't some guy in the Red Hot Chili Peppers have these pants?) They might not be pretty but sometimes you have to set fashion aside. (Care2 has some good suggestions about how to keep heating costs down.)

On a related note, I'm sure Chevron and Exxon are already feeling the pinch. I'm carpooling a couple of days a week now. Power to the people!

20 October 2005

Church of Spongebob

Heard about this on Radio FFH, a station out of Hessen (Germany). Here's a story from the BBC. Yet another reason for other countries to think Americans are wacko.

SpongeBob Squarepants
US fans of the flamboyant cartoon character SpongeBob Squarepants have set up a church in his name.

More than 700 members of the Church of SpongeBob meet for services in New York, Texas and California.

The church's manifesto says it wants to push "simple things like having fun and using your imagination", and offers study courses on the cartoon.

Further along the rant well traveled

Ya, I've been on a bit of a tear lately. Tomorrow, lighter fare. I promise!

Bill Maher reportedly read this open letter to Bush at the end of one of his recent shows. Whether or not he did doesn't dilute the fact that it's a great message!

Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more money to spend – you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the Army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you. Mission accomplished. Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man?

Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote. But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.

On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side.

So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: “Take a hint.”

19 October 2005

Warrant issued for DeLay's arrest

What a good way to end the day!
Texas Court Issues Warrant for DeLay

By Suzanne Gamboa
The Associated Press

A Texas court on Wednesday issued a warrant for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's arrest, and set an initial $10,000 bail as a routine step before his first court appearance on conspiracy and state money laundering charges.

Travis County court officials said DeLay was ordered to appear at the Fort Bend County, Texas, jail for booking, where he'd likely be fingerprinted and photographed. DeLay's lawyers had hoped to avoid such a spectacle...

The charges against the Texas Republican stem from allegations that a DeLay-founded Texas political committee funneled corporate money into state GOP legislative races through the National Republican Party.

News from Deutsche Welle

A German Poop Patent Proposal

"Taking the eyes off the ground while walking can be dangerous in Berlin: The city's streets are notoriously plastered with dog poop. While many complain about the problem, a resident is now trying to profit from it."

The sign reads, "This is not a dog toilet."

18 October 2005

Show your anti-Bush colors!

Bad news -- 1189 days to go. But, here's a little comic relief. The Backwards Bush countdown clock key ring (live countdown clock on the site!). OK, it's ugly but sometimes necessity trumps fashion.

Hooray! I have a very serious case of Schadenfreude! "Probe sheds light on Bush assault on critics," from CNN.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's CIA-leak inquiry is focusing attention on what long has been a tactic of U.S. President George W. Bush's administration: slash-and-burn assaults on its critics, particularly those opposed to the president's Iraq war policies.

Cheney's Office Is a Focus in Leak Case

As the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office. The prosecutor has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's long-standing tensions with the CIA contributed to the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame.

And to close, some words from propher Martin Luther King, Jr. Just as true today:
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.

17 October 2005

Ooooh, I'll have me some of that

Some recipes from Terry at work (ha ha!)
Cat barf on toast. Mmmm.
Vegetarians can have their turkey too!
I am so tempted to make this for Thanksgiving -- as a joke. The kids would love it! But how does it go together? How do you affix the veg to the body? Dip? Caulk? And what's the body made of? Styrofoam? Clay? Pressed meat?

Oooooh, full moon tonight!

16 October 2005

Bad in two languages

I've rediscovered my love of the German language. I'm spending a lot of time listening to songs in German and attempting to read in German. I now sometimes think of something in German, first. This is cool if I'm, for example, writing a note in my planner or talking to my dog. Not so fine when I'm trying to explain something to someone at work. And I'm finding myself spitting out the oddest English sentences. They're not necessarily German or English construction. I fear that I sound like the people in David Sedaris' essays on learning French (especially the one about trying to explain the concept of Easter, in French -- see Me Talk Pretty One Day).

This week my copy of Herbert Groenemeyer Live arrived. Pure joy! He has a great voice and the sound is so full. I just love the song Marie (about his daughter when she was a baby). It's very sweet, but unlike other similar songs, it doesn't give your gag reflex a workout. The guitar in the song reminds me of Mark Knopfler. Land Unter and Halt Mich are also lovely and highly singable. Ich Hab Dich Lieb is a favorite and reminds me of studying in Germany. I could go on and on. To hear some samples (with videos) click here.

15 October 2005

All sappy about autumn

Today was absolutely gorgeous. Sophie and I enjoyed a lovely walk at a big park not far from our house. I took my camera with and had a great time capturing some of the things along the way.

The colors are turning, the weather is cool but not cold. Bliss man!

Sophie found much to smell and explore. Not so interested in the geese but was curious about what they left behind.

14 October 2005

Groceries, no thank you (& commies!)

My brother and I nicknamed this place "Rat Foods."
Alterations on the nails? Clothing? At the same time?

Miss the commies? Need a little laugh? Go here and click on "Stompy" under "Other Songs." This guy is so twisted, yet so funny!

13 October 2005

Inexperienced appointee -- deja vous all over again

Stewart Simonson is the Bush administration's point man for a flu pandemic but he has no public health management experience. With a possibilty of bird flu making its way east from Asia, this is downright crazy! Did we not learn from the FEMA debacle? Speak out! Click here to sign a petition encouraging Secretary Leavitt to appoint someone with experience to prepare for this possibility.

P.S. I know deja vous all over again is redundant. But, someone I used to work with didn't and used it. It makes me laugh.

Make it plain

I've been listening to A Knock at Midnight. It's a fabulous CD of Martin Luther King Jr's sermons. This might sound funny, but they're not at all preachy! I think anyone who has a passion for justice would be inspired.

It's fun to listen to the reactions of the audience. "Make it plain," "Lord help him," "Amen," "Yes sir." I bet when they passed the peace it lasted more than 20 seconds!

I love how he challenges everyone, but particularly people of faith. He says that that ought to have big implications on how you live your life (and he wasn't talking about abortion or homosexuals).
"Never succumb to the temptation to be bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love... Always avoid violence. If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos."
--from "Paul's Letter to American Christians."
His Jesus isn't the delicate, non-threatening Jesus but the one who is in the nitty gritty of life, upsetting the status quo and advocating for the poor and oppressed.

I can't imagine how bleak things looked while the Civil Rights movement was at full steam. I'm sure it was extraordinarily difficult to keep hoping while things looked so dire. I find his fiery sermons a such comfort and a big kick in the pants during this regime. What a blessing to have records to remind us of the cloud of witnesses who have gone, and fought, before.

P.S. Happy anniversary Mom and Dad!

12 October 2005

75% of people aren't crazy

Do you send your pet postcards when you are on vacation?

Yes 9%

No 75%

Maybe next time. 15%

From a very scientific poll on the Dog of the Day site.

Was is heute auf der Fahrbahn? Ein Kasten (a box).

At last! The CBC settled its labor issue and "As It Happens" will be back on. This news geek is doing the happy dance! I love the mixture of the news and the odd.

Who's surprised that Karl Rove spoke to James Dobson a few days before Bush nominated the latest Supreme Court justice? Why hasn't Rove been fired? (Sign the petition to have Bush keep his promise to fire whoever disclosed the identity of the undercover CIA agent!)

My latest favorite joke. (Truly snortworthy.) Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush are having a meeting and Donald Rumsfeld says, “Mr. President, I have some bad news. Two Brazilian have been killed in Iraq.” The President all of a sudden yells, “Oh, my God! No!!! Not two Brazilian!! Lord, No!”

Rumsfeld says, “Mr. President, I didn’t know you would be this upset.” President, with head in hands, moaning, “Oh, dear God. Two Brazilian. No!!!” Rumsfeld is very concerned and asks, “Is there anything I can do, Mr. President.” George Bush asks, “Yes. Now… tell me. Exactly, how many is in a Brazilian?”

Birthday day 10

I continued the birthday follies this past weekend with a fabulous dinner with friends at Brit's. No one knew everyone (except me). It's fun to be the catalyst for mixing. There were friends from the England and German programs, past and current jobs and some guy we met in the parking ramp. (Just kidding.)

The Woodpecker cider is just as lovely as I remembered. I I were feeling more creative, I would write a very bad poem. Here is a rather lame attempt at haiku:

Golden cider,
Tasty and delicious,
How much to lay under the tap?

Golden cider,
Hot or cold weather OK,
Apples never taste this good.

Golden cider,
Many memories have I,
The cozy pub.

11 October 2005

Nature or nurture?

I talked to my brother JoJo last week. His son, Cale, is in kindergarten this year. He's a bright, funny and sweet kid. He also has our family's loony gene. My brother and sister-in-law get a call a week from my nephew's teacher. It's always something different. As my brother says, it's like an onion -- layers of misbehavior and it's a mighty big onion. If they weren't strict I'm sure he'd already be in juvie.

Every aunt thinks her nephew or niece is the funniest thing ever but I've told these stories to co-workers and they laughed. (Real laughs, not the pity kind.)

Some examples:
  • Calling people chickens.
  • Refusing to raise his hand and simply blurting out answers to questions.
  • Yelling, "but does it go to the moon and back?" when other kids displayed their show-and-tell items.
  • Refusing to participate in a numbers learning lesson. When asked about this he said, "I already know my numbers."
  • After being caught wrestling in class, but before he got a reprimand from the teacher, "I'm sorry Mrs. K. I'll do better tomorrow."
  • Yelling "Woo hoo!" and running out of the classroom when the bell rang.
Church is not spared. During a recent children's sermon kids were yelling out answers to the pastor's questions. He turned to her and, with righteous indignation, said "You know, they should be raising their hands." He was sitting right next to her so her microphone picked up his comment and broadcast it to the congregation.

10 October 2005

At least I have my head

A friend sends me weekly e-mails from Knowledge News. Very interesting even for the math/science challenged. In the latest edition, info on Greek goddess statues found on Crete. I find this very interesting:
Athena--Greek goddess of wisdom, war, and handicraft--remains whole. Hera, however--Greek goddess of marriage and queen of the Olympian gods--has lost her head.
On another note, I saw Wallace & Gromit, the Curse of the Were-Rabbit this weekend. It was hilarious and very cute. And, it topped the U.S. box office charts this past weekend! That Nick Park is a genius! Most of the movie is made with clay models so it takes forever to do the movie. Shoot a smile, raise one eyebrow a little, another shot... ad infinitum! Only one thing missing from the movie was the toaster/spreader invention featured in earlier shorts. (The toast pops up and a slapper thing butters and jams the toast. Brilliant!

07 October 2005

Great quotes

Some quotes I've been enjoying lately:

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. -- Isaac Asimov

God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. -- Benjamin Franklin

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force. -- Dorothy Parker

06 October 2005

WARNING: Bush speech may induce vomiting

Just when you think it couldn't get more stupid.
Bush said the war has not caused hatred of the United States among radical Muslims or global terror attacks, but rather is an "excuse" to further the goal of creating an Islamic state across the Mideast.
That's like saying that you didn't blow up the house even though you soaked the living room in gasoline and then lit up a smoke. (If you have a strong stomach, you can read the transcript on CNN.)

On the flip side, Tony Campolo spoke at Luther Seminary this week, railing against the U.S. and Christians for neglecting the poor while perpetrating a senseless war. He also roars against the nonsense about the rapture. It made this mild-mannered, sit-in-your-seat Protestant want to jump up and yell, "Say it!" You can view his speech online.

04 October 2005

Darwin award honorable mention

Man can't believe APD blew up his beloved artifact cannonball

Anchorage Daily News
Published: September 5th, 2005

When he called police and the bomb squad showed up at his Anchorage home last week, Yale Metzger just wanted them to examine the cannonball he had picked up in Cordova. He didn't want them to bring out the remote-controlled robot, haul away the cast iron ball and blow it to smithereens.

But that's what they did.

Now Metzger is saying the Anchorage Police Department was looking for an excuse to dynamite something and that they owe him a cannonball.

The police are calling Metzger "an idiot" for carrying the incendiary device around in his truck, then bringing it into downtown Anchorage, where they say it could have sent shrapnel flying for blocks had it exploded.

See story. While he doesn't qualify for a Darwin Award, I think he should get an honorable mention. (The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally kill themselves in really stupid ways.)

The scary, the grotesque and the weird

I am afraid to eat at any place that has a rifle on the sign, especially with the conceal/carry law here. Add to that a gut full of meat and you're just asking for trouble.

Check out this guy with Brandenburg Gate beard at the biannual world beard and moustache championships in Berlin.

This is foul on so many levels.

And last, news of a sport I might actually watch -- Finnish Rules Mobile Phone Throwing.

03 October 2005

Alexandria Sojourn

A lovely weekend at the lake with my parents. The trees and the lake are so lovely, especially this time of year. Here's one of the glorious sunsets.

I'm not feeling too creative today. But I have photos.

Gas station bathrooms often have interesting, and sometimes scary, accoutrements. If you're like me, and drink excessive amounts of liquids, you get to see a lot of them. This is such a nice touch. However, the dispenser was empty.

Sophie enjoyed my Mom's lovely garden (it has no tidy seat).

I call this the hair house.

Here's an establishment that is truly trying to make the world a better place.

01 October 2005

Wienerschnitzel robbed again

My friend Lorelee moved to southern Illinois a few months ago. She's had a bit of culture shock. The deep south wasn't quite what she had in mind. She just got a job at a public institution which she describes as "a slight step up from the DMV."

Here are some observations about her new town and job:
  • She found out, on her first day of work, that a co-worker had been bitten by a three-legged dog.
  • There is a swine management department at the institution where she works.
  • The job she now has had been open for awhile before she was hired. In the mean time her office area became the area's junk drawer. Prior to her first day, however, they failed to clean out the cube. So the first item of business on her first day of work was to clean out her own work area.
  • To enter the area where she and several others work, you must go through a beaded curtain.
  • Cool and hot are relative terms. One day, which started out in the high 50s, she wore flip flops to work. She was was accosted by a co-worker from Missouri. "Are you insane? What do you have on your feet? I have wool socks on."
  • There is a "restaurant" in town called Wienerschnitzel. It is the hot dog version of McDonald's. It's been robbed three times in the five months she's lived in the town.