30 January 2007

Who's happier?

From Reuters:

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean gangsters get more satisfaction from their line of work than the police, according to a survey published on Tuesday in local dailies.

According to the survey conducted among 109 jailed mobsters by the Korean Institute of Criminal Justice, 79.3 percent of gangsters said they were somewhat or very satisfied with their life in organized crime.

They were satisfied with their life behind bars? Or, was this a look back at at their pre-prison lives?

Were these the dumb criminals or the smart ones?

29 January 2007

Our fine president

An oldie but a goodie via EclectChick:

The new Secretary of Defense briefed the President this morning. He informed Bush that three Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq.

To everyone's amazement, all the color drained from Bush's face, then he collapsed onto his desk, head in hands, visibly shaken, almost in tears. Finally, he composed himself and asked, "Just exactly how many is a Brazilian?"


28 January 2007

Rants against the cubicle

I saw "Stranger than Fiction" with EclectChick a couple of weeks ago. It was a great film! If you're scared of Will Farrell, don't be. He's excellent with just a touch of silly. The whole cast is excellent!

In the film I heard of a new-to-me disease: cubicle fever. This good definition of its cousin, cabin fever was found in Wikipedia:
Cabin fever is a condition that produces restlessness and irritability caused from being in a confined space. The term possibly originated in the United States at the time when settlers would be snowed in to their log cabins and had to wait for the spring thaw in order to travel to town.
Confined space, restlessness and irritability? Yes. I would add to that constant interruptions and noise that prevents creativity. (See ode to cubicle.)

Don't get me wrong. I really like my work and my co-workers. But is horrifying how inadvertently unproductive I am many days. My job requires concentration and creativity. That's fairly impossible in a cube, even with headphones. A door. My world for a door! To me, a door doesn't equal status. Instead I look longingly at doors and think, "Wow! I bet you are cranking out the work! Lucky you!" When I work at home I can get a whole day's worth of cube work done in a few hours.

Cubedoor offers a privacy curtain as well as white papers such "Little Interruptions Can Steal Away Whole Day" and "The Effects of Task Interruption." I have a tension rod for my cube curtain and need to get myself to the fabric store. Productivity awaits!

Lastly, for those of us stuck in cubes, the Lego-like cubicle figures at The Cube offer comic relief.

26 January 2007

Forrifying

Michael Scott, the boss in the U.S. version of "The Office" is funny and horrifying (forrifying). Here he is in a video he created for employees transferred to his office from another location.

25 January 2007

Words of the day (Lieblingswoerter)

I received two new words, or takes on words, from EclectChick today. I like them very much:
  • Jimjams. I use this word to mean pajamas. She used it in reference to something that makes you shudder, gives you the willies, gives you the shivers.
  • Arsy-varsy. It means something that is stupid, crappy or similar.

24 January 2007

Craft-o-rama

For this past Christmas I made presents for two of my nieces and my nephew. And although I was up very late the night before our family Christmas, all the projects turned out OK. Because of that big rush I'm off knitting and crocheting for the time being.


Rant

Preamble -- This is not in reference to an interaction with anyone I work with or actually know. But it's true.

Say you need or want someone to do something for you. What's the best way to deal with this situation?

A) Act as if the person you are dealing with is blowing you off or is completely inept.
B) Treat the person with respect and use your manners.

End of rant.

On a similar note, if you are sick of misbehavior at the movie theater, you will enjoy the movie manners courtesy cards at Glarkware.

23 January 2007

HurlyOs

My nieces and nephew love SpaghettiOs. I find this "food" way beyond disgusting. It tastes like a can. My Mom, who doesn't go gross, said they taste like the taste you get in your mouth after you throw up. My brother said about the same thing but more graphically. So now we call them HurlyOs instead of SpaghettiOs. The kids think this is pretty funny but I think the sarcasm is lost on them.

Blast from the past

My parents were cleaning under the steps and ran across quite a few of my things. This is the tennis racket I used in lessons back in the 1980s. (I never got very good but not for lack of trying.) Compared to current rackets, it weighs a ton! It's all wood. And if you look close at the name under the brand, you'll see "Chris Evert." That dates the racket just a smidge.

22 January 2007

Ice, ice, ice

I was at my parents' over the weekend. The ice has been thawing and freezing and now looks like the artic. Sometimes you hear a huge BOOM when the ice cracks.




21 January 2007

Birthday cake

This past weekend we celebrated my nephew, Cale's, birthday. My nieces, Tori and Katy, decorated the cake.

What now?

I don't know what this is for. I saw it at the art fair at the Carlos Creek Grape Stomp last fall.

At www.antimonkeybutt.com there is an explanation which is no less gag inducing:
Ideal for butt busting activities such as truck driving, motorcycling, bicycling, horse back riding, and extreme sports.

18 January 2007

CAVE people

I heard a new term this morning. CAVE people are 'citizens against virtually everything.' It was in the context of a story about a small, rural town that is now completely wired for the Internet. The most wired town in Minnesota, maybe the U.S. The reporter was talking to some of the few people who resist this development -- those who refuse and see no value in the Internet, e-mail, etc. This was side by side with examples of a Grandma who now can regularly keep in touch with her grandson serving in Iraq, and a cattle farmer who uses it to bid on cattle across the country.

I know some of these CAVE people. I would think it would be tough to live in their skin. It takes to much energy to oppose everything.

Sandals

I just ran across this photo of my niece's sandals. If these aren't the cutest things ever I don't know what is.

17 January 2007

Little Mosque on the Prairie

I heard about "Little Mosque on the Prairie" on tonight's edition of Fresh Air. It's a comedy on the CBC about a group of Muslims living in a Canadian prairie town. The creator and producer is Zarqa Nawaz, a Muslim woman from Canada. The interview was quite interesting -- both about the show and about the producer's life as a Muslim in Canada.

The show sounds so very good. I hope it comes to the U.S. Here's a promo. There are more clips on the show's site.

Weird signage

I often see strange signage on the way to and in Alexandria, Minn. I don't get this:

16 January 2007

Word of the day (Lieblingswort)

Last night I was thinking about a word of the day and it came to me -- pungent.

That word came to mind because I made a curry yesterday and the smell has permeated my house. The curry was lovely. I expect it will be even tastier today since curry is usually better after the flavors have melded for a day.

15 January 2007

MLK Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 77 today. I forget that he was so young when he died. Like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, he was killed at 39. Both of them pushed in areas that made others uncomfortable. They inspire me and also make me feel like I'm not doing a blasted thing to make the world a better place.

I've blogged before about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his sermons. I love that he kept fighting. Fighting for what he believed in while walking onto thinner and thinner ice, moving from fighting racism to poverty and the Vietnam War. Like other prophets, he said things people needed but didn't want to hear.

This King quote has been rattling around in my brain over the past couple of days.
The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
If you want to get goosebumps, listen to King's speech at the March on Washington, "I Have a Dream."

SatireWire

One lovely thing about the Web is the plethora of cleverness. I came across SatireWire today (slogan: Because you can read and we have a Web site.) Unfortunately it discontinued in 2002. These stories are evergreen.
GOD NAMES NEXT "CHOSEN PEOPLE"; IT'S JEWS AGAIN
Jerusalem (SatireWire.com) Update — Jews, whose troubled, 10,000-year term as God's "chosen people" finally expired last night, woke up this morning to find that they had once again been hand-picked by the Almighty. Synagogues across the globe declared a day of mourning.

ANGERED BY SNUBBING, LIBYA, CHINA
SYRIA
FORM AXIS OF JUST AS EVIL

Cuba, Sudan, Serbia Form Axis of Somewhat Evil; Other Nations Start Own Clubs

Beijing (SatireWire.com) — Bitter after being snubbed for membership in the "Axis of Evil," Libya, China, and Syria today announced they had formed the "Axis of Just as Evil," which they said would be way eviler than that stupid Iran-Iraq-North Korea axis President Bush warned of his State of the Union address.

Axis of Evil members, however, immediately dismissed the new axis as having, for starters, a really dumb name. "Right. They are Just as Evil... in their dreams!" declared North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. "Everybody knows we're the best evils... best at being evil... we're the best."

11 January 2007

Lovely words (Lieblingswoerter)

I love a word coined by EclectChick: rebelpath. It is the rebel equivalent of psychopath.

I also really, really like the word "bonkers." It sounds so funny too.

I may steal* Julia's idea, Lieblingswort zum Donnerstag (Favorite Word for Thursday). A word of the week is a very fun idea but I don't know if I'll have the discipline, or memory, to do it every week.

*As writer T.S. Eliot says: "Amateurs plagiarize. Professionals steal."

09 January 2007

Note from the Universe for everyone

I really like today's Note from the Universe. I think it would be a much better world if everyone believed this!
Every life is heroic. And yours has certainly been no exception.

With deep gratitude from the bleachers -
The Universe

07 January 2007

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad's birthday. In honor of this day I'll share a few facts about him.

He is the most popular guy at his church. We practically have to drag him out. Every time you turn around someone's yelling, "Hey Tom!" Everyone loves Tom. It reminds me so much of my grandpa, his Dad. Everyone loved Sam, too.

My Dad is very law abiding, particular while driving. He'll drive at the speed limit or only a couple miles above it "just in case my speedometer is a little off." And if he's put on the turn signal for a left turn and you say, "You need to make a right turn here," he will not switch the turn signal and make a right turn. "I've already made my decision." If you're standing at a crosswalk and it says, "Don't walk," he won't. Even if there are no cars in sight. He never believed my argument that the sign really means, "Don't walk unless someone is coming."

He also has a goofy, Dad sense of humor. If you say, "I'm hungry," he'll say, "Nice to meet you, I'm Tom." And to this day when it comes time for the children's sermon at church he'll nudge me and motion with his eyes for me to go up front.

Happy Birthday Dad! I love you!

Stink, stank, stunk, Sunday edition

I am working at home today. On a Sunday. Not housework. Work, work.

I know it's sometimes a necessity. I accept that. But today it's very grey outside. It's Sunday, the last day of weekend, sweet freedom. I'm tempted to clean my cupboards, vacuum, pay bills, anything. But no. I need to get to work. Head hung low. I'm in full pity party.

06 January 2007

5 things, endlich (finally)

EclectChick has been bugging me since before Christmas about posting five little-known things about me (see her list). I can only think of four. Maybe I'm just boring?

1. For the first 1.5 years at university I was a member of the College Republicans. Sometimes my friend Christopher, at gatherings where there are primarily liberals, says in a conspiratorial tone of voice, says "Guess what Sophzilla used to be?" Followed by one of the looks that seems to say 'It's pretty juicy.' He then reveals the secret.

This all changed when I studied in England. Living somewhere else -- looking at the U.S. from the outside, seeing more of the world -- changed my mind. That was quite a few years ago. I can't imagine what the view looks like now. Shudder.

2. In high school and college I was a wallflower. Actually, this was true until quite recently! This is hard for some to believe since I'm not at all shy with my friends. And, I seem to get on well with most people. An example. In my first year at high school I had several acquaintances and one particularly good friend. Her grandpa died and so she was away from school for a few days. I still remember how horrible that time was. Because I was so terribly shy I was even more alone than normal in the gigantic crowd that was my high school. I really, really hated high school.

3. Sometimes I watch the Hallmark Hall of Fame or Hallmark Channel movies and get all choked up. I am particularly prone to this during the Christmas season. This is very embarrassing to admit since most of their movies are schlocky, saccharine and or formulaic.

4. I couldn't think of a fourth thing until I looked at EclectChick's list again. Wine gums. I love, love, love them. They're not so easy to find in the U.S. as in England. Haribo's Roulette are similarly delicious and come in a much-better-for-the-stomach-sized packet.

American Impressionists

I love these two paintings by Guy Wiggins, one of the American Impressionists. Although the weather looks a bit precarious and cold, they show the type of storms I love to watch from inside, holding a cup of tea, Sophie on my lap.

Left: Snow Storm
Right: Columbus Circle, Winter

Zidane

The Walker is showing Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (Zidane, un portrait du 21e si├Ęcle) in February. The film follows him in a match between Real Madrid and Villareal. Although it isn't a World Cup (WM) game, it will be lovely to experience soccer fever once again!

Sophzilla


I'm having the worst time getting a profile photo back on the blog. According to the directions, posting this first and then copying should work. Aargh. We'll see.

04 January 2007

Sloppy joes, slop sloppy joes

Today at our work cafeteria the entree is sloppy joes. Sara then brought up this lovely song/video by Adam Sandler (with Chris Farley). It's lovely and quite funny. "Sloppy joes, slop sloppy joes" will likely become an earworm for you, too.