Friday, August 31, 2007

Keeping Up with the Headlines

Unclear exactly what went down in that men's room with Idaho Senator Larry Craig? Confused on the signaling details and foot tapping? For your edification, the dramatic reenactment, with soundtrack.

A Flock of Tourists in Their Natural Habitat. Shhhh, Don't Startle Them.

Seen on my way in to work this morning: About thirty tourists, clumped at a corner, nearly all wearing the same orange sun hat (a tour group of some kind) and with digital cameras drawn and pointed at the same (somewhat impressive but not particularly culturally or historically significant) building.

Seriously, I think my new habit will have to be to have the camera on my person at all times.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Things Watched by Who's Who Among the Pre-School Set

Sent along by my SiL: your moment of Zen. Also tot-approved.

In Which I Defend My Tacky Mainstream Tastes

A musician friend of mine quibbles with my affinity for Sound Opinions, commenting that listening to them argue is “hell incarnate.” He also points out that they’re pop-based rock critics rather than music critics, and there are much better places for music criticism.

He’s not wrong. And I’m not saying I’m glued for all the details, or onboard for everything they have to say, or loving all the performers they choose to feature or review. But from a surfing perspective, there’s occasional good stuff to be had. It is, if you will, the Goodwill of music. Sure, there are hipper vintage places with better stock, but it’s possible to dig for the occasional cool item.

So, any good sources of music, oh music snobs? I’m all ears.

Niiiiiice Security You've Got There. Oh, and Go Obama!

White House pranksters wrapped Rove's Jaguar in plastic wrap on the private driveway next to the West Wing. Rove's car is easily recognizable because of its "I love Barack Obama" bumper sticker and the twin stuffed-animal eagles on the trunk. Oh, and there's a stuffed-animal elephant on the hood.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

For the Lawyers Out There

This is kind of funny.

Women’s Grocery-Shopping Skills: Courtesy of Eons of Evolution

Just like their distant ancestors in Africa, these women rely on their innate
instincts to select the freshest produce.

You know, it comforts me to know that I am not unique in my ability to scout out, bloodhound-like, the doughnuts and smiley-faced cookies at the local farmer’s market. It turns out, I’m at one with womankind.

Via here, I discovered this fabulous, Onion-quality article that's a rather definitive synopsis of a recent study that purported to assess women's versus men's spatial abilities.
According to the study by a team in California, women are just as good as men at navigating, but they only call on their mental maps when there is food to be found — and the more calories in a food, the more accurate they are at locating it.
However, both men and women are equally motivated to find our way, it turns out, when the destination involves, for example, a cream bun.

Of course, my snap analysis and extensive farmer's market research and experience suggests that it is much easier to remember the location of the one place that sells honey versus recalling where, among the twenty-five booths selling greens, you bought your green beens. (Can I remember from week to week which stall has the damn blueberries I like? No, I cannot.) And who knows whether they controlled for people who had been to the market before (booths tending to be in the same location week to week). I also wonder what the percentage is of women versus men who regularly frequent farmer's markets. And what percentage of men go alone, choosing their own produce versus those attending with wives and girlfriends, to whom they defer the important choice of what to buy or where?

But it's true, the grocery store is a vast wilderness requiring superb navigational skills. I know I'm not alone when, every time I whoosh through those automatic doors, I thank god for evolution.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Film Tip

Want to avoid losing 70 minutes of your life? Then don't rush out to see this movie. I feel a little bad trashing a 98-year-old director, but hey, it's the ownership society. Each man for himself, and nobody, regardless of age or infirmity, gets special treatment.

If you saw it and loved it, and thought the addition of the random chicken inspired, call me.

Whip It Good

Incongruous cover of Neil Young's "Ohio," by Devo, here. Also includes interesting factoids about Devo's connection to the Kent State shooting. Wild.

What Have I Become?

You know those people who launch into an endless, mind-numbing, eye-glazing narrative on their various health complaints when you ask, "how are you?" And you're trapped, and you can't get out, and you vow you will never ever turn into that, even in your decrepit, disease-ridden old age, should it come to that?

I realized I just spent ten minutes detailing the various aspects of my cat's medical conditions, treatment, and litterbox output in response to a coworker's innocuous query, "how's the cat?"

Dear God.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

An Antidote to Those Fashion Corruptors of Youth

For girls, anyway. Because the only possible alternative to slutty sluttitudinous dress and padded bras for tweeners is modesty, friends. And vacu-sealed chastity. And throw in a side of obedience while we're at it, please. How else will the ladies find the husbands?

Sunday Morning Church Blogging, or Is Our Children Learning? Part II

Signs point to no. Thanks, Lynette!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Aren't They Just? (Not That I Personally Use that Kind of Language)

Don't You Hate Camping Out for the Appliance Delivery Dude?


If indeed I am at this job until I turn to dust, could someone please remember to send in the guy with the vacuum to hoover me up?

Thanks in advance.

Well, That Sucks.

I got an e-mail (reply, no less!) regarding the ADM job. In an unsurprising turn of events, they've offered the job to someone else.

Sigh. I need a stiff drink.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Evidence That It Really Is About the Wings

While waiting for the bus, I saw a take-out menu blowing around in the wind. It was for Hooters.

Um, From What I Recall, That Didn't Work Out Too Well for Caesar

I'm in a mood. Sorry. It's hot again, my job sucks. There are stupid and incompetent people at every turn. Gone are the halcyon days when I was surrounded by the best and brightest. You know who you are.

It's complaining on all fronts, really, and since I can't personally call out the human micro-irritants (except to complain about them--behind their backs, naturally--to each and every one of you; expect a phone call!), I can bitch about the world.

You know how the left-wing crazies are out there on the streets, hustling to hand you a copy of the Daily Worker?

Well, the right-wing crazies are apparently forming think tanks, such as Family Security Matters--which boasts any array of mainstream, media-friendly Republicans on its board of directors--and writing articles advocating for policies. You know, like think tanks do.

Of course, your Brookings Institutions, for example, don't tend to write articles titled "Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy." No, only brave warriors or insane people do that. You see, Bush was bowing to public opinion in merely invading Iraq. He was barred from doing the really prudent thing:
The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.
Damn that cowardly and short-sighted electorate! If only there were a precedent in the ancient world for getting around such squeamishness to doing the proper and prudent thing.
If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege while terrifying American enemies.

He could then follow Caesar's example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.

Coolness! Sounds like plan to me!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Most Excellent Promotion

My brother just got a big promotion, to be the boss of many more people. Yay! He's still, however, not the boss of me.

And, dude, continue to use your powers for good, not evil. Remember the East Coast blackout of 2003.

A Public Service Announcement, Administration BS Edition

I had rather a heated discussion today with my colleague who commented about the bankruptcy of social security. We're both the sorts who listen to NPR of a morning, so our frame of reference is similar.

He mentioned that he heard this morning that the Iraq surge was gaining public support, as witnessed by recent polls. He further claimed that these opinions were supported by the facts on the ground, as they say. Things were getting better, fewer people were dying, and the natural follow-through would be that Republicans would rally in 2008 on this improved record. He despaired but was convinced that facts were facts.

Feeling like I had inexplicably Rip-van-Winkeled through some stunning political developments (no mean feat with my news junkie and websurfing habits), I tried to press for details. He was irritated with my skepticism and pointed me toward NPR to shut me up.

So I did some research, to be a know-it-all. There was a story on All Things Considered today that mentions the O'Hanlon and Pollack article in the New York Times. If you haven't been keeping up with the details, the story behind the story is that the two authors, policy specialists, toured Iraq and concluded that things looked great! But they weren't exactly impartial observers.
Conservatives immediately embraced the article. The White House distributed the piece via e-mail under the heading "a potentially climate-changing article." . . . Both O'Hanlon and Pollack backed the invasion of Iraq and backed the troop surge. They have criticized the way the administration has handled the war, but it barely differs from the criticism served up by The Weekly Standard.
The NPR story throws in this observation, which gets to the point of my colleague's claim.
Still, O'Hanlon and Pollack's point of view seems to be catching on more broadly. Recent polls suggest the number of Americans willing to see the troop surge extend through next April is growing.
So, why is it that a person can be intelligent, engaged, informed, listen to news every day, and get nothing of the big picture? A big, excellent PR push to generate support for a surge, and like everything else with these lunatics, it works. Disheartening.

It's So ... Beautiful!

My new refrigerator. Oooh, ahhh. As you can see from the ethereal background, it descends from heaven to arrive in my kitchen on Friday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I Did Have Many Important Thoughts. Where Did They Go?

Seen in an alley on my walk home from the train: a life-sized blow-up Betty Boop in a sequined dress, propped up against a garage. Man, I wish I had a camera phone. I rethink my mockery of this city's high swan planter per capita.

Also, refrigerators are very expensive. And it turns out that it can be bad when when they sweat.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Is Our Children Learning? The Nancy Reagan Edition

Most of you know that I grew up on a farm, with chores, truck farming, and lots of animals. And many was the day that we'd round the barn, heading for the pasture, only to to come upon a scene like this:
Or this:

Young horses, spare time. You see where youth can go bad, even when they lack opposable thumbs. Or hands. But one author has written a gripping morality tale about what happens when one horse learns to just say "No."

There are too many favorite parts for me to choose from, among the terrible and redundant prose, the faux-poetry intro, the illustrations. I'll just quote you a bit from About the Author:
The author would like to thank God. "Thank you, God."
The customer reviews provide good additional commentary and cultural analysis (A "Tour de Horse," indeed! I too await Ms. Gibson's book on the dangers of premarital sex). And a dramatic reading is on youtube here.

Originally posted here, with commentary by the person who found it and scanned it, but the link was dead (tragically!) when I tried to view it again.

Forwarded by our friend Erik.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Forty-two years! It's amazing how young and beautiful we all stay.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


A sampling of my usual photographic product of said tot,
who moves faster than a speeding shutter.

A certain tot of my acquaintance and relation, a munchkin to whom I am auntly, turns 2 in short order. He--along with a cadre of his closest toddler compadres, I hope--is partying like it's 1999 this weekend. I wish I could be there, but the cat and I of course are sending our best festive wishes (hers tinged with a bit of relief that she's not, at the precise second, about to get beaned with a toy truck). And of course I send an oversized present.

Happy birthday!

You Know You're a Nerd, But Which Kind, Is the Question

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.

It's okay. I understand.

Drama Nerd

Social Nerd

Artistic Nerd


Science/Math Nerd

Gamer/Computer Nerd

Anime Nerd

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quizzes for MySpace

Yeah, like "overly-critical" shouldn't by hyphenated. But I want to know what a "social nerd" is.

O Ye Fans of New Pornographers

They're streaming their new album, Challengers, on their Myspace page. Much more mellow than their older stuff, but as noted on Sound Opinions, they play the glockenspiel. So, points for that.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Yes, I Took the Day Off, and I'm Trying to Write, but Websurfing is So Much Fun!

The Starbucks Oracle. Type in your favorite (or usual, or whatever crap you buy if, like me, you only go there if no other options are available), find out what it says about you.

My personality type is "Lame," and I can be found "on the couch, at home." Check and check.

Left to the Fates, I Guess. Or HR. Whichever.

Thus endeth round two with the ADM. It went okay; I didn't choke or anything. Gotta say, though, that I didn't feel the love. My samples just did not draw the interest I thought they would. And I think I may be more qualified for this position's boss, e.g., the interviewer. Ever feel like you were just a young whippersnapper yesterday?

We'll see how it shakes out. Decision next week. Thanks for the vibes, all!

Totally Stressed Out? You Betcha!

I'm in my least-favorite place pre-event: waiting to actually transit to my rendezvous with destiny. Being neurotic, I've thought through every permutation of transit catastrophe that could happen--it's a complex series of connections and variables with two trains and a bus. So, since I waited forty minutes (!!!!) for a train home yesterday, I decided that it was just too frightening to contemplate similar happening today, especially if I got stranded at the train station on this end. So I will drive. Any of you figure out that whole teleportation thing, let me know.

In other breaking news, I decided I need this.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wherein I'm an Idiot, Counting Chickens, Etc.

After three weeks of nonresponse, I got a call from the dude at Dunder Mifflin. We play phone tag as I waffle and plan my stalling tactics. They want me! How much will they offer? But it's so far, and at Dunder Mifflin. But how desperate am I? But should I play hardball? Should I decline on account of impending commute insanity?

Finally, on his next call back, he leaves the message that they hired someone else.

Oh. I feel stupid now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

First, We Have to Order the Special Tiny Instruments

Joint flexibility supplements for arthritis: $15 per 40-day pack
Special food for urinary tract conditions and weight control: $20
Other special food to transition from the special food before the regular food: $20
Regular food: $10
Potassium supplements: $1 per 2 pills per day
Thyroid pills: $1 per pill
Tuna for twice-daily sneak pilling: $.07 per day

A loving companion beast whose quality time is spent wrapped around the toilet: Priceless.

Dona Laura de la Pica

This amuses the Grammar Goddess in me. It's funnier if you were subjected to the cultural musings and prose stylings of Camille Paglia in a Women's Studies class circa early nineties, but proper language snobbery is its own reward.

On a similar note, my coworker photocopied me this so that I could feel superior in my ability to avoid a cliche. But it's a shallow triumph against undergrads.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I Want to Say It's a Banner Day

Am I just too tired to think through the implications of Karl Rove resigning? Because I can’t figure out the story here. Why now?

Listening to NPR this morning, I had my usual musings about the vapidity of Cokie Roberts’s political analysis (I want her gig; plug and chug, baby). He’s spending time with the family, but the real reason, according to Roberts, was that, as the election miracle worker, his job was done. Which, under any other administration, might make some sense. But among the Mayberry Machiavellis, he was integral to what passed for policy. Not to mention the ongoing mission to entrench loyal Republicans in all aspects of the Federal government (see, e.g., U.S. attorney scandal). Plus, (1) loyalty is brand one to Bush and (2) reviled figures serve a useful purpose in drawing ire and attention away from Bush.

So what am I missing? Will he pay a price for anything? An interesting theory here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Things Keeping Me Up Nights, Part the Second

Working at an institute of higher learning, I get a pretty good survey on what The Kids Are Wearing These Days. Let me preface by saying that I am not without sin. Yes, once during sophomore year I did wear the same sweatsuit for three days straight without showering. Oh, wait. That was my roommate. Still, I would routinely roll out of bed in my sweats and t-shirt, throw on my glasses, declare myself good for public presentation, and toddle off to my 8:30 class.

Today among the whippersnappers, it's all about the eighties. Apparently, it's much easier to look fashion evil in the eye when you weren't subjected to it (or old enough to be aware of it) the first time around. I see kids in dresses over leggings. I see lots of ballet flats. I used to see the occasional poncho, but mercifully, those have dropped off in the summer heat (UPDATE: Poncho spotted today!). Once, I saw stirrup pants. I don’t like to dwell. But then there’s the unmentioned unmentionable. A work friend of mine and I drew sketches to illustrate what we felt should be official office policy on it.

Alas, our best efforts are in vain. Shoulder pads are back.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Bane of My Yard

Well, one of them, anyway. Behold! Is this not the ugliest shrub you've ever seen? I realize that the plastic bag adds that extra bit of class for which I'm known by my city's inspectors--worry not, I threw it away. Thoughts on what I should do with the ugly shrub? Rip it out? Torch it? And in it's place, I should do what? A fence? A baby shrub that will look like this in forty years, after which I will be long gone? A fountain? A yard sculpture?

As a tonic, a nice contained bit of greenery: my kitchen herb garden. Obviously, I'm meant to garden on a small scale.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bloody Hell, No One Told Me

Turns out, dudes dig chicks--oh, I'm sorry, "girls"--who eat the red meat.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


The ADM has called! I am going back next Thursday for the momentous second interview. Now I'm freaking about salary, because we never even talked about that. Chintzy nonprofit budgets being what they are, who can say. But, one step at a time, deal with it when it happens, etc.

Also, brother and SiL's anniversary!!! Happy anniversary, guys. Celebrate in style.

In other fabulous news, two very cool friends of mine had their first baby, a boy, this morning.

A big, collective wOOT!

Just Wondering

Has anybody seen my mojo? I seem to have misplaced it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Things Keeping Me Up Nights

From a dean at Princeton, a mainstream foreign policy specialist, advisor to presidential candidates, all-around non-conspiracy theorist:
Here is my nightmare. The Cheneyites succeed in creating a situation in which Bush does decide to bomb Iran. Iran retaliates, as they openly threaten to do, with terrorist attacks against us on U.S. soil. That tilts the election. I can imagine a Karl Rove political calculation that would buttress a Cheney-Addington national security calculation, probably with Eliot Abrams' support.
I do not find it soothing when my paranoia is echoed in daylight hours, among sane, intelligent people who know lots lots more than I do.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I Knew Something Was Causing My Malaise

Workplace strife? Bad bosses?

It's Like Looking into a Mirror

And I actually own that shirt. Seriously. I wish my bangs looked that cool, though.

All by way of saying it's absurdly, time-consumingly fun (and narcissistic: me me me!) to create your own yahoo avatar. You can accessorize (bags! glasses!), pick your background, your outfits, your accompanying beasties. I'm going back to find ze cool outfit.

Monday, August 6, 2007

I'm Feeling . . . Walkable

Courtesy of the SiL (sister-in-law): a site that lets you find out how "walkable" your location is. Hours of fun plugging in every place you've ever lived, as well as the homes of everyone in your family, all your friends, your exes, etc.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Smell the Glove

You know what's even funnier than I remember? This Is Spinal Tap. The 80s fashions even age well, adding to the fest of tacky and bad bangs and shiny blue eyeshadow. Brilliant. And oh my god, a wee-baby Stonehenge!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Not Alone in My Discontent, the Feline Edition

This is where the cat spends a good chunk of her time these days, under the bed. Possibly it's her pronouncement on the general state of things. On the upside, it looks like I'm pretty good at controlling the dust bunnies, no?

Inert State of the World

You know, it's hard to feel whimsical and funny when (1) it's been 90 degrees and 100-percent humidity, (2) you feel as though your fingers are the size of sausages (the 100-percent humidity) while the rest of you is blobby and tired, and (3) the state of the world is just freakin' crazy.

Remember how awful welfare reform was? Remember how we seriously debated whether Clinton needed to resign for lying about having sex? Reasonable people could have different opinions! Remember how Al Gore was just so plastic, and how could anybody vote for him, because he was just so boring boring boring? In 2000, I had a friend who wouldn't vote for Gore because Tipper once fought to label music with explicit lyrics. This was a dealbreaker for her.

Today, of course, we have a fresh assortment of things over which to summon legitimate outrage. And it's not even just what the current administration does that's the problem. It's the way that things are normalized; what's acceptable has shifted. Remember when nukes were the unthinkable option and something we sought to reduce? Remember how we feared nuclear annihilation by the U.S.S.R.? First there was Dick Cheney and his tactical nuclear bunker busters. (Because what good is a weapon if you can't have nuclear fallout?) Now nukes are just one more tool in the arsenal, among Democrats. How is that even possible?

On slightly less existentially catastrophic fronts, I've been stunned to see the way that Republican talking points on social and economic issues have permeated, even among Democrats and progressives. This is all, of course, highly anecdotal.

Exhibit A: I attended an employee retirement-planning meeting at the educational institution where I work (no tycoons present). The Q&A session involved employees asking questions about how they should plan their estates to best avoid the "death tax." I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Exhibit B: A friend of mine, a very liberal man in his 50s, declared to me that Social Security was going bankrupt.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

You're All (Three of You--Hi, Mom!) Dying to Know, Right?

Well, the anti-Dunder Mifflin (hereinafter ADM) appears to be an amazing place to be, with a vital cultural mission and an exciting variety of work for yours truly. It's all the pluses of my current, without the minuses that you've all heard about, ad nauseum. Plus, more walking in the commute! And it's park adjacent! Seriously, I wouldn't even have to cross a street.

I'm officially excited. So send good vibes, positive voodoo, prayers, or whatever else might be a component of your religious affiliation that I make it into round 2 and thenceforth onward to being that special special candidate with a shiny new job at the ADM. Please.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Tomorrow I have another interview-type thing, this time at the anti-Dunder Mifflin. No doubt I am one of 500 or so, but wish me luck and good mojo anyway.

As a side note, everybody needs to listen to Mavis Staples.