28 February 2007

Reuters Oddly Enough

Reuters Oddly Enough arrives every day with an interesting assortment of odd, and sometimes horrifying, stories. I don't read it every day, but when I do, I'm rewarded. Here are two recent examples:
German convicted of stealing buffet for 60 people
BERLIN (Reuters) - A jobless German has been handed a five-month suspended jail term for stealing a buffet for 60 people and eating it with friends, authorities said on Tuesday.

Using a false name, the 46-year-old from the western city of Dortmund ordered the 3,700-euro ($4,890) feast to be sent to the club house of a garden allotment colony.

Shortly after the caterers delivered the food, he called the company to say they had made a mistake and he would return the order. As puzzled club house guests looked on, he loaded the buffet into his car and sped off.

Teacher cuts pupil's tongue with scissors
MILAN (Reuters) - A Milan teacher cut a unruly 7-year-old pupil's tongue with scissors to silence him, police and school officials said on Tuesday.

The child, of North African origin, needed to go to hospital for five stitches to close the wound...

Police are trying to find out whether the injury was inflicted intentionally or was a joke gone wrong, a police source said.

27 February 2007


This bush is in front of my house. For some reason the ice is on one side but not the other.

Today's note from the Universe

The great thing about change is that it absolutely, positively, always means things are going to get even better. Even when you don't know how.

The Universe

26 February 2007


The amaryllis bulb on my desk is finally starting to bloom. It's quite a miracle, actually. It wasn't killed off by my stupidity or the very cold weather in my cube.

A couple of weeks ago my co-worker, Terry, stopped by and asked me, "Why did you plant that amaryllis bulb upside down?" I was wondering why it wasn't doing anything.

25 February 2007


We did get snow. And lots of it. The front steps have turned into an amorphous mass.

24 February 2007

It's worse than I thought

Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekeran details life in the Green Zone in Baghdad and what a horrific job Americans are doing rebuilding Iraq. It is fascinating and horrifying, kind of like reading about fascism. (I am not insinuating that the occupation is fascist. Just inept.)

As I read this book I find it a near miracle that things haven't gone worse. Bush cronies and big contributors to the Republican party get jobs rebuilding Iraq. Unfortunately, they are in no way qualified for these jobs. Many of them, prior to arriving in Iraq haven't even had a passport. Applicants are screened not on their experience and knowledge, or even whether they know any Arabic, but on their allegiance to the Republican party, particularly Bush, and their views on abortion.

As I read this book and listen to the news, I feel like I'm living in the novel 1984.

World War I artists

The other day on The World there was a fascinating story on Anna Coleman Watts and Frances Derwent Wood and their studios in Paris. They made masks for soldiers injured in World War I -- those who had their noses, chins, ears blown off. Their amazing talents allowed soldiers to comfortably re-enter society. The quotes from grateful soldiers' letters break your heart: "The woman I love no longer finds me repulsive, as she had a right to do."

Listen to the story on The World (scroll down to "Masks report"). On the Smithsonian site you can see photos, a video of the artists at work (the link is at the top the page) and read "Faces of War".

23 February 2007

Notice to dogs and cats

I just received this from my cousin. It's an oldie but a goodie.

To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door - nose height.

Dear Dogs and Cats,

The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate of food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that esthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, and try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years --canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's rear.
I cannot stress this enough!


It's supposed to snow tonight and through the weekend (9-15 inches, 22-39 cm). We've had a lot of advance notice about the storm. That's usually the kiss of death. The storm inevitably passes. I hope it doesn't. I'd like to be snowed in over the weekend. There's something so cozy about staying inside while it's snowing and blowing outside.

Words of the day (die Woerter des Tages): der Schneesturm, blizzard. It's fun to say as are die Schneegestoeber, snow flurries and die Schneebeckung, snow cover.

20 February 2007

Krewe of Barkus

The Mardi Gras dog parade, Krewe of Barkus, was Feb. 11. I would love to have seen it! This year's theme was "A Street Dog Named Desire." The poster, by the very talented Matt Rinard, is at right (previous post). I think I need to order a print.


My friend Janna introduced me to The Smiths in college. I used the word "hooligan" a lot. She had a Smiths CD with "Sweet and Tender Hooligan" on it and so she brought me a copy. I've been hooked ever since. (Previous post with link to a muzak version of "Panic.")

I've been re-enjoying Morrissey (The Smiths gone solo) lately. The lyrics are morose and often brutal; nonetheless, I enjoy singing them, loud, around the house and in the car.
If a doubledecker bus, crashes into us
To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die
And if a ten-ton truck kills the both of us
To die by your side, the pleasure, privilege is mine
--There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

Sweetness, I was only joking when I said
'I'd like to smash every tooth in your head.'
Sweetness, I was only joking when I said
'By rights you should be bludgeoned in your bed.'
--Bigmouth Strikes Again
My brother Mike hates, hates, hates The Smiths. I listened to them on the flight out to his wedding so I had Bigmouth in my mind all weekend. One of his groomsmen also liked the Smiths and we had no end of fun thinking about how we could anger him by getting the dance DJ to play a Smiths song.

On another brother and music note, in the '80s I really liked the Thompson Twins. My brother Steve came in the room when I was watching them on MTV. Unsolicited, he said, "I hate the Thompson Twins." He said it with so much venom. I wonder what that was about.

19 February 2007

Fun with new camera phone

This is what Sophie looks like in the morning. Just the tips of her paws and nose peeking out from under the covers. In the winter she has no interest in getting up. In the summer, she's out of bed by about 6:30 a.m. to bask in the sunshine.

Rant resolved

Following my recent cube rant I bought some lovely blue and purple batik and sewed a curtain. The batik doesn't show up too well on these photos (camera phone). The curtain works like a charm! I close it occasionally and presto! no interruptions. Rather than dragging out a report all day, I get it done in a couple of hours. I love my cube curtain!

16 February 2007

Books, beautiful books

I read about Library Thing on Dash's blog. It's an online way to catalog your books. A free account allows you to catalog 200 books! I'm in heaven.
LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalog their books easily. You can access your catalog from anywhere—even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth.
You can also get recommendations from people with similar libraries.

Medieval HelpDesk

Those wacky Norwegians! (Via Dash)

13 February 2007

New Orleans!

Last night's American Experience was on New Orleans. (American Experience is a weekly historical documentary show.) It was excellent. It dealt with the history of the city up until Hurricane Katrina. I finally remember the difference between Creole and Cajun now. (At a very basic level, Creole is more urban, Cajun more rural.) There is a ton of great info on the American Experience site, including Gumbo as History. Oooh, how I love history!

New Orleans is such a great city. The architecture, culture and food are simply divine. And the place just feels different than the typical American city. What the U.S. government hasn't done for the city post-hurricane is criminal.

Next week on American Experience, "New York Underground," about the construction of the subway system.

Secretary of War

Back in 1947 the Secretary of War's title was changed to Secretary of Defense. The title should be changed back. At this time (look out Iran!) it's more honest. Or as Bush would say, honester.

10 February 2007


The new video for "Twister" by Joel Veitch is fabulous. The song is a silly little ditty that contains lyrics such as, "Put your left foot on red put your right foot on blue, I want to spend every day with you." (I couldn't find it on YouTube so you'll have to follow the link.)

The video is very British. In Britian dressing up as a woman is funny (see: Monty Python) while here it's still quite suspect -- unless the person is, or is making fun of, an actual cross dresser. Speaking of men dressing as women, this is my favorite Monty Python sketch: The Battle of Pearl Harbor.

09 February 2007

Trends, oh my!

I'm a big marketing geek. Info on trends, branding, strategy -- bring it on!

Iconoculture is a great source for the latest, coolest stuff. Examples:
  • Pogo Bootcamp -- a workout on a pogo stick.
  • Sustainable Dance Club -- "Dance floors that generate power from human feet. Toilets that flush with rainwater... The Critical Mass unveiled a rave-up of green concepts at the world's first sustainable dance club in Rotterdam, the Netherlands."
  • BioJewelry -- Wedding rings "made from their own bone tissue, grown in the lab from sample cells."
Sign up for their newsletter here.

08 February 2007

"Haggard the hetero"

From today's Slate:
Haggard the hetero: Evangelical leader Ted Haggard, who months ago admitted to "sexual immorality" and to buying methamphetamine from a gay escort, claims that after three weeks of therapy, he's "completely heterosexual." The saved reverend was so impressed with his conversional couch trip that he and his wife, Gayle, have decided to pursue master's degrees in psychology. Tom Cruise doesn't know what to think.

07 February 2007

Say it, Lula!

I love that President Lula of Brazil is a thorn in the side of the Bush administration. They need that check -- not everyone has to agree with you -- even if they don't heed it. His socialist leanings bring out their dormant Commie-hating tendencies. Go Lula!
From the BBC:
Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva has accused developed countries of failing to do enough to fight against global warming.

In a speech in Rio de Janeiro, President Lula said it was time for wealthy countries to do more to reduce gas emissions.

He called on them to stop preaching on what to do with the Amazon rainforest.

...He said they were skillful at drafting agreements and protocols, like the Kyoto treaty, to appear as if they were doing something to reverse dangerous gas emissions.

In practice, however, he said the results proved otherwise.

...His comments come a day after the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told a UN conference on the environment that the world's poor, who are the least responsible for global warming, will suffer the most from the effects of climate change.

Sweet and funny Mutts

Note from the Universe

Not everyone's ready to open the throttle up all the way. Put the pedal to the metal. Skinny-dip into the sea of infinite possibilities.

And that's perfectly all right. Because there's nothing you're "supposed" to be doing with your life. No one is judged based upon how much turf they cover, how many mountains they climb, or how many deals they close. And because even one small drop from the sea, is as infinite as all of the oceans combined.

Whatever your heart desires -

The Universe

06 February 2007

Fun shoes!

I was on the Calhoun Square and happened on these shoes from Status. They are so adorable. If you're wearing these, how could you have anything but happy feet?

05 February 2007

Ohrwurm (ear worm)

I called the doctor's office this morning for an appointment. I was put on hold and the music on hold was Dionne Warwick's, "I'll Never Love This Way Again." Now it is stuck in my head. That song constitutes cruel and unusual punishment (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5).

I'm not coming out of the house

It is -18F (-27C) at my house this morning. Poor Sophie. Her paws freeze up in this weather. She must think we're in hell. If this keeps up I'm going to have to buy her some boots.

I'm really tempted to work at home today. Unfortunately, I have a couple of meetings that I have to attend. I'll see how many sweaters and pairs of pants I can pile on today. I'll look like the Michelin man but I'll be warm.

My colleague Laura just called. The temperature in my cube -- which I fondly refer to as the meat locker -- is 49F (9C). Good Lord.

04 February 2007

Questions during shopping

When I'm in line at the store I like to look at what other people are buying. Then I like to figure out why they are buying what they are. It keeps me amused while I wait. Today at Target the person behind me in line was, I guessed, in his early to mid 20s. He was buying a lamp base that looked like the Eiffel Tower and a lime. I could understand the lime. The Super Bowl is today. I have know idea about the lamp.

02 February 2007

Chili mess

The other day I put a container of chili in the microwave to thaw. When I pulled it out, it slipped out of my hand. It landed face up on the stove and didn't spill per se. But it did splatter -- on the back wall, the counter next to the stove, the microwave above the stove, the floor, etc. It was a terrific mess! I should have taken a photo but I was in a rush to get off to work.

01 February 2007

Unintended consequences

This has been all over the news but I can't help but comment.

I work in marketing and I'm pretty peeved at these dopes who have given the profession another black eye. How could they not think through the possible consequences of such a stunt?

Turner Promotion Mistaken for Terrorist Threat
Boston Shuts Down Roads to Assess Danger of Ad Campaign

By Andrew Hampp
Published: January 31, 2007

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The alien-like Mooninites of Cartoon Network's "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" invaded the country rather quietly earlier this earlier this month until one touched down at a Boston intersection yesterday morning.

The Turner network launched a 10-city outdoor marketing campaign for its film "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theatres" involving small circuit boxes labeled with the characters scattered across the streets ... The boxes had been in place for two to three weeks, but Boston officials perceived them to be potential bomb threats, temporarily shutting the city's Interstate 93, a key inbound roadway, a bridge connecting Boston and Cambridge, and a portion of the Charles River.

The campaign was conducted by Turner in collaboration with New York marketing firm Interference.

The boxes depict a "a middle-finger-waving moon man" (CNN). Boston's mayor and police are not amused and it sounds like there will be fines and jail time. Two people have already been arrested.

Interference is a "A nationwide guerilla and alternative marketing agency from idiation through tactile implementation and staffing." If you pull up their Web site, you get a blank screen.