30 August 2007

State Fair memories

The Minnesota State Fair is on until Labor Day. I drive near it most days on the way to work and all sorts of fun memories pop into my mind.

When I was growing up our family would often go to the Fair. It was incredibly fun. My parents kept tabs on what we were eating so there were no throw-up incidents at, or on the way home from, the fair. They also, usually successfully, steered us clear of buying the various crap and oddities for sale in the Grandstand. And every year my Mom would make us go back to the car at lunch time. She brought sandwiches, fruit, that type of thing. I can still hear her say, "You kids have to eat something besides junk today."

I had one of my most embarrassing clothing faux paux at the Fair. Around Labor Day dressing can be a quandary if you're going to be gone all day. Shorts or long pants? Long sleeves or short? Just because it's cool in the morning doesn't mean that it won't get hot later. In this particular year we were in long pants and long sleeves. At the last minute my Mom grabbed a t-shirt for each of us, just in case it got too hot for sweatshirts. It did. In the rush my Mom didn't consider what we were wearing when choosing the shirts. I was wearing plaid pants -- red, navy, orange and other warm, fall colors. The t-shirt she grabbed for me had horizontal stripes in primary colors. It was awful. I didn't blame my Mom -- well maybe I did a little -- but I can still remember how horrified I was to be in that outfit.

29 August 2007

Phrase of the week

Heard this term in a Fresh Air interview with Bill Flanagan, a MTV networks executive and author. Low-impact Monday. As in, I want a low-impact Monday (no meetings, hassles, etc.). I love it. The interview is great.
Bill Flanagan, Fondly Biting the TV-Network Hand

Novelist Bill Flanagan wrote the comedy A&R about the smooth operators and the scatty artists who make the music business so entertaining; now he's lampooning the cable-TV industry in his novel New Bedlam. The source for his send-ups? His career as an MTV networks exec.

27 August 2007

Poo Poo on Monday -- Colbert

Part 2 -- the funnier part -- of Stephen Colbert's 2006 speech at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. (Stephen Colbert is the host of the Colbert Report on Comedy Central.) He blasts Bush, the administration and the press in a really sneaky, snarky way.

22 August 2007

The Unforgettable Fire

Lately I've been listening to U2's Best of 1980-90. "The Unforgettable Fire," is one of my all-time favorites, particularly this line, "Come on take me away, come on take me home, come on take me home, home again."

Each time I hear it I remember riding the Rapide through the dark London streets. After six months in northern England we were on the way to Gatwick and back to the States. To say that I didn't want to go back, that England had become my home, is an understatement. I listened to this song over and over and over. Throughout the next academic year I had a terrible case of reverse culture shock.

The actual video can't be embedded but you can see it here. This video is a compilation of U2 images.

16 August 2007


I read this story in yesterday's newspaper. A guy in Kentucky tried to rob a liquor store but was caught. He tried to disguise himself by wrapping his head in duct tape. (Full story.) I shudder thinking how much skin and hair the duct tape took with it upon removal.

13 August 2007

Will it blend?

A colleague turned me on to this site: Will It Blend? There are "try this at home" and "don't try this at home" videos. It's a beautiful thing. In the below, the host, delightfully cheesy, blends an iPhone.

This is marketing genius. Blendtec actually sells blenders.

12 August 2007

Poo Poo on Monday -- Ralphie

Oh Ralphie, you are so dim. Below, the best of Ralph Wiggum from the Simpsons.

Productivity tip from Jerry Seinfeld

Productivity tip from Jerry Seinfeld? Who knew? The Seinfeldian Chain is a motivational way to track your progress toward any goal. I love it.
...He [Seinfeld] told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. "After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain."

"Don't break the chain." He said again for emphasis... (more)

Create your own chain to track your progress toward a goal at SmarterFitter.

10 August 2007

Redneck Games

This one speaks for itself.
From the Boston Herald:

Texas ’Redneck Games’ draw several thousand

DALLAS - More than a few athletes have been accused of doping over the years - but the competitors at the "Texas Redneck Games" might just be dopes.

These competitors forgo the shotput for the "Mattress Chuck" in which two-man teams heave a mattress from the back of a pickup truck as far as they can. And if you aren’t planning on heading to Beijing for the next Olympic Games, there’s always the ugly "butt-crack contest."

By the time the latest Redneck Games ended Sunday, more than 54 arrests and citations had been issued on charges ranging from public intoxication to speeding, according to the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department. Officials are considering charges against the organizer and landowners where the event was held.

"I’m an old fuddy duddy and all that, but you got a vehicle, you got alcohol, and you got illegal dumping, and you’re making a contest out of that?" said Lt. Pat McWilliams, sheriff’s spokesman. "We are very fortunate that we didn’t have a fatality." More.

Thanks to Kelsey for the tip!

06 August 2007

Poo Poo on Monday -- 11

Spinal Tap skewers bands who are full of themselves yet amazingly stupid. This clip features Nigel Tufnel.

04 August 2007


It's a cloudy but glorious day. It's only 66F (19C). It's been a hot and humid summer and today is a lovely change. I almost put socks on.

This word of the day comes from Wordsmith: haboob (huh-BOOB), noun. A violent dust storm or sandstorm, especially in Sudan. [From Arabic habub (strong wind).]

If my Mom would have known that word when we were growing up she would have used it to describe our bedrooms. 'It looks like a haboob's been through here.' She often described our rooms as federal disaster areas.

02 August 2007


I love kind of tomatoes you get out of garden or from the farmers' market. I'm trying this year to get grape tomatoes to grow on my deck. There might not be enough light but I'm trying it anyway. I was so excited to see these little beauties!

I planted quite a few flowers on the deck this year. Once the sun has gone around the house, toward late afternoon, it's quite lovely and shady, even on the hottest days. (And man, we've had tons of those this summer.)

Sophie has a grand time on the deck sniffing the flowers and, when I'm not watching, eating the dirt.