27 March 2007

Steven returns

Steven the Seagull has returned to Duluth, the port city on the ocean-like Lake Superior. (I wonder where he spent the winter?) What makes him newsworthy is that he taps his beak on the front door of the Super 8 Motel until someone brings him a doughnut.

26 March 2007

Verbifying

Sometimes I enjoy verbifying (using a noun as a verb) as a simple way to get a point across. Sometimes it drives me bats. A funny and interesting story on verbifying and the visualthesaurus.com
In the Old Days, every new invention did not immediately become a verb. No one said: "I must electric canopener this tuna," or "Well, it's time to dishwasher."

22 March 2007

Happy spring!

I love this quote:

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”
--Henri Matisse

21 March 2007

Ozomatli

The CD "Street Signs" by Ozomatli came in for me at the library. One of the many times something has come in on reserve and I don't know what it is and can't remember when or why I put it on reserve.

I put it in the CD player. It is incredible! It's this fabulous mix of hip/hop, Middle Eastern, Salsa in Spanish and English. I am completely mesmerized.

Frogs and cats

Check out the Derek and the frog's story on the blog Whoopee (Thanks to Julia for the blog recommendation on Sammelsurium!) If you are an animal lover you will laugh out loud. I promise.

20 March 2007

The Pogues

I've rediscovered The Pogues. They are a great mix of Celtic and grittiness. And like Morrissey, their songs easily become Ohrwuermer (ear worms). I love the music and the lyrics, but not if I really pay attention to them. For example, from "Fairytale of New York:"

It was Christmas Eve, babe
In the drunk tank
And an old man said to me
Won't see another one

Listen/see here.

19 March 2007

All about the color

I love learning about trends. And what could be more lovely than trends on color? I would love to work at Color Marketing Group or be on one of their advisory groups.

Color Marketing Group is the premier international association for color design professionals. Our mission is to create color forecast information for professionals who design and market color. We are "the" place for color info exchange.

Want to know about the it colors for 2007? Green, blues from nature, new natural neutrals and rich, ethnic accents. Wonder what this all means? Take a gander at the predictions.

15 March 2007

You have that right!

I saw this on a person's e-mail signature. Yes! Yes! Yes!
Is there anything more excruciating than some lametard adult copywriter trying to speak to teenagers in their own language? -- Bob Garfield, Advertising Age
I used to team-teach Sunday School with a middle-aged guy who would walk into the room and address junior high students as "dude."
And that wasn't the end of the painful display. Shudders ran through the room. They'd look at me with that dead-eyed, "Please, get me out of here or I will die" look. On days when I taught alone, the kids would beg, "Will you teach next week?" at the end of the session. I think it had much more to do with their loathing of the other teacher than their affection for me!

Back to Bob Garfield. If you're a media geek you can hear Bob Garfield each week on "On the Media" on public radio (a media analysis show). Beware, the theme music is incredibly grating. Once you get past that, it's usually quite good. On one of the recent shows there is a discussion of Louis Farrakhan and his farewell speech. In it he called for reconciliation and piece. Huh? Did he go on the Hajj? That's what changed Malcolm X.

I'm just realizing that this blog is turning into, "What I heard on public radio." I guess that's not too off the mark since I'm all about the public radio. On weekends I can tell the time by what's on MPR.

14 March 2007

German humor

I think this is funny. Not sure if it's because of the humor, because I find spilling on others figuratively funny, or because I actually understand it. Anyway, here it is (from Der Spiegel).
Kleine Unaufmerksamkeit des Hauses!
A little inattentiveness on the house. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!)

13 March 2007

More Jane Austen!

Jane Austen wrote only a few books. That is a crying shame. Various attempts at updating Austen have been good and bad. I was so delighted when Sheriboo told me about The Family Fortune. It's an update of my favorite Austen book, Persuasion.

The Family Fortune follows the story's skeleton but it's enough of a different story to keep you turning the pages. The characters are well developed. It's very hard to put down, as Sheriboo warned.

The book also has the right amount of description and detail. I absolutely loathe the trend in some fiction to over describe, e.g., "she slipped her red-manicured feet into her fuchsia, Fendi slip-ons which exactly matched her silk shift." Or this one from the book I'm trying to read for book club
"Isobel felt herself rising through dark water. It was a slow ascent from slate depths, light teasing in a far shimmer above. Air bubbles trapped on the underside of the boat gleamed like wriggling snails."

12 March 2007

Trouble?

I spotted these on walk around the neighborhood. The recycling bins were likely pushed over by a snow plow. But I think it looks like there was a fight.

11 March 2007

What's the matter Mr. Crabbypants?

Seth Godin has a great blog. It's mostly about marketing matters but it's not your stereotypical "blah, blah, blah" business blog. It has personality. His posts are usually fairly short which is nice if you want to grab a quick diversion at work.

The other day he talked about the messages that people send by their actions.
I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that there are really only two attitudes that people bring to work with them. Either they park right out front [e.g., in spots that should be reserved for customers], or they park down the street in order to send a signal to their staff, their customers and themselves. (Read more.)
Info in italics is mine to clarify the context.
I don't think this is a just a work thing. I was just talking to a colleague about the underlying anger that's so pervasive in society. Where are all the Mr./Ms. Crabbypants coming from? OK, everyone has bad days but it does seem that incivility is the norm. Is the world increasingly joyless? These questions have been occupying my mind for quite awhile. I keep digging for the "why" but I'm not getting anywhere.

Here's a little experiment. The next time you're at a store or a restaurant, really acknowledge the employee with whom you interact. Say "Hello," smile and ask how they are doing (say it like you mean it). Then watch their reaction. It might be the first time all day that someone has treated them like a human being.

When I think of joy I think of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Look at those faces. They are imbued with joy. Have their lives been traumatic and difficult? Yes. But they still find joy. When I was in South Africa, I heard Archbishop Tutu speak. He laughs often and when he does the laugh comes from his toes.

08 March 2007

What's in your iPod?

Whenever I see someone with an iPod I want to ask them, "What's in there?" I'm so intrigued by what people might be listening to. Podcasts? Books? What kind of music? (Right now for me, "And the band played on," by Simple Minds.)

I set up a playlist made up only of songs I've rated a 5 (nur fuenf). I can listen all day at work without hearing the same song twice. It's a beautiful thing.

Rachmaninoff made easier

I am supremely jealous. I had to learn this song without the assistance.


Thanks to Dash for the referral!

06 March 2007

Guess who's going to jail?

Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, was found guilty today on four of five counts in the case of 'Who leaked the CIA agent's name.'

Prior to the U.S. invasion, Ambassador to Iraq, Joseph Wilson, contradicted Bush's assertion that Iraq had tried to buy nuclear material from Niger. A week later his wife, a CIA agent, was outed. It is a crime to reveal the name of a CIA operative.

Scooter 'took one for the team' to protect Vice President Cheney and Karl Rove. This administration is rotten to the core. From the BBC:

White House official Libby guilty

A former key White House official, Lewis Libby, has been found guilty of obstruction of justice and perjury.

Libby, ex-chief of staff to Vice-President Dick Cheney, faces a prison term of up to 25 years. He will be sentenced in June.

He was accused of lying to the FBI and a grand jury over revelations about CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity.

Libby's lawyer said they were "very disappointed" at the verdict, and would ask for a new trial, or would appeal.

Libby, who goes by the nickname "Scooter", was found guilty on four out of five counts. He was acquitted on one count of lying to the FBI.

Don't take me to Walter Reed

Walter Reed Army Medical Center is in very hot water and justifiably so. It's been treating wounded U.S. soldiers quite horribly. From CNN:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Witnesses told a House panel Monday that wounded U.S. soldiers are forced to struggle against a nightmarish and untrustworthy Army medical system that leaves veterans stranded in unfit conditions.

Two Iraq war veterans and the wife of a third gave heartbreaking, at times stunning, tales of neglect at the now notorious Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The panel was convened in the wake of a scandal triggered by The Washington Post's detailing of problems at the hospital. (Full story)

And the president learned about it in the Washington Post. That's odd. He's admitted that he doesn't read the papers.

So they send soldiers into the meat grinder and call anyone who questions the war a traitor. The soldiers come back wounded and with shell shock and get crappy treatment. Very nice.

Reminds me of two things. One, an interview with a Republican candidate for president. As his party is wont to do, he kept saying "all life is sacred." Apparently this doesn't apply Iraqis or soldiers. (I know, I know it's not his fault but all the same!)

It also reminded me of Michael Penn's song, Walter Reed. It's not overtly anti war but you get the point (see/hear at YouTube):

Count the cases piled up high
For the 1:15.
For platform and for passerby
It's the same routine.
I'm ranting while I'm raving,
There's nothing here worth saving.

Tell me now, what more do you need?
Take me to Walter Reed tonight.
Baby I've lost the will for fighting
Over everything.
Well there's a few things I gotta say
And make no mistake, I'm mad...
'Cause every good thing I've had
Abandoned me.

All I want to do is hide.
It's graduation day
And everything I learned inside
Didn't seem to pay.
I've had my fill of palm trees
And lighting up Grauman's Chinese.

I'm the walking wounded
And I'd say it to your face
But I can't find my place.

05 March 2007

Snake and Apu at the therapist

The Simpsons is one of my favorite shows. This week's episode was one of the best. It included this bit of Snake and Apu at the therapist.

04 March 2007

Art weekend

My nieces, Tori and Katy, stayed with me this weekend. We spent most of our time on art projects. We painted, made bookmarks and colored pictures and turned them into postcards.

The hands-down favorite was the tattoo maker. They are mad for tattoos. First you apply the press-on black-and-white tattoos. After the tattoos are dry you color them in with markers.
I don't think I'll get to take them for a real tattoo anytime soon. They go nuts when they have to get a vaccination. I think they'd run screaming when they saw the tattoo gun thingy. I suppose that's good. Taking them for real tattoos would likely nix my chance for ever seeing them again.

02 March 2007

Snow photos

I think I'm going to have to wait for a little melting to shovel the steps. The snowbank is so high I would have to launch the snow way over my head.
The shot of Sophie turned out better than I thought it would. Looks like a little snow got on the lens.

Oh those sweet Mutts

The text is rather small. It says, "We find rest in those we love, and provide a resting place for those who love us. --Saint Bernard of Clairvaux."

Mates of State

I went with the Rigentzins to see This American Life at the Orpheum this week. More about that later. I really enjoyed the show's musical guest, Mates of State. Here's a clever video for Like U Crazy which is a great song, perfect for dancing and singing. It's a welcome Ohrwurm (ear worm).

01 March 2007

And more snow!

It just keeps snowing, and snowing and snowing. About 2" (about 5 cm) an hour. Now there is thunder and lightening. Oh dear. Sophie gets so afraid when it thunders. She shakes something awful.

My workplace closed today at 3 p.m. and will be closed tomorrow. And they're not weather wussies. It's dark now so I'll have to capture some of the snow-o-rama tomorrow and post.

I don't understand weather maps but this one looks cool.

Lieblingswort (favorite word)

A friend is getting married in the fall. Her soon-to-be mother-in-law is consistently mean. Witness this recent e-mail exchange:
Friend: We chose [place name] for the groom's dinner.
Mother-in-law: Why don't you let [groom's name] make a decision?
This reminded me of a good word of the day: harridan. "A scolding, vicious woman; hag; shrew." I love the German somewhat equivalent: boesartig (i.e., vicious).