Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Birthday!

"Happy Birthday to Him who never called the poor 'lazy', hated on gays, defended torture, advocated executing sinners, or demanded tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes." --John Fugelsang
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A word worth noting

Daniel Lombardo, in response to a discussion of John McCain's merits as an asshat for his stand on DADT, used the term asshaberdasher. He said "Make a note, you saw it here, the first use of the word asshaberdasher. Definition: One who spreads false propaganda in a way that convinces others to become asshats."

I started entering this blog post with the intention of logging his contribution to the growth and development of the English language, but when I started checking online, it appears, alas!, that Daniel is too late, too late, too late.

I'm sorry, dude. It was a valiant try.
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Tasteless Joke du Jour

I don't know if it's the season or what, but the tasteless jokes just seem to be flying thick and fast:

Son takes his father to the doctor. Doctor gives them the bad news that the father is dying of cancer. Father tells the son that he has had a good long life and wants to stop at the bar on the way home to celebrate it.

While at the bar, the father sees several of his friends. He tells them that he is dying of AIDS.

When the friends leave the son asks, "Dad, you're dying of cancer. Why did you tell them that you are dying of AIDS?"

The father replies, "I don't want them fucking your mother after I'm gone!"
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

My new favorite pick-up line

Thanks go to Jack Molisani for sharing this:

"Does this rag smell like chloroform to you?"
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Tasteless Joke du Jour

In the "totally tasteless" category, my good friend Mi Robin passed on something from a friend of his, David Darnell, who said "I locked my keys in my car outside of an abortion clinic the other night. It turns out they get really pissed when you go in and ask them for a coat hanger."
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

That's logic, that is!

Luke McGuff pointed out the following:

GIVEN that if you put instant coffee in a microwave oven, you go back in time;

and

GIVEN that if you put a mirror face-down on a copier, you fall into another dimension;

THEREFORE if you put a mirror in a microwave, and instant coffee on top, the instant coffee will go back in time to another dimension.

QED.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Joke du jour

Mi Robin gets the credit for this one:

A: To get to the other side.

Q: Why did the tachyon cross the road?
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Ah, the blessings of the season!

Okay, okay, I'm a sleaze who enjoys totally pulchritudinous objectification. (Um, this is news to anyone?) But I really thought this was fun in a tasteless way. It's the La Senza Cup Size Choir. La Senza makes all kinds of lingerie and the Cup Size Choir is models from A to G that you can play on your keyboard. (Press Shift and hit the appropriate key to go up an octave, FYI.) You can view a prerecorded version of Deck the Halls at that site by clicking the link at the bottom of the screen. You can also meet the models in the clip below.


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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Moral: "Never fry gnocchi!"

Steve shows us how not to prepare gnocchi.
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Inspirational video

This man is amazing. The contact information I've found about him and what he's doing is:

Mr. Narayanan Krishnan
Akshaya's Helping in H.E.L.P. Trust
9, West 1st Main Street,
Doak Nagar Extension,
Madurai 625 010. India
Ph: +91(0)452 4353439/2587104
Cell:+91 98433 19933
E mail: ramdost@sancharnet.in
www.akshayatrust.org
www.AkshayaUSA.org


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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Experiment du jour

I just poured a bag of Skittles in the toilet and flushed. It was like a ten-second Nascar race!
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Yet another fucking disk crash---aaaargh!

For the 5th (I think--I'm losing count) time since early summer of last year, I've had yet another C: drive die on me. My computer guy has given me a new motherboard and a new processor and a new boot drive all on warranty, but I've still got to spend tons of time reinstalling and reconfiguring everything. I was ready to be done with this garbage after the 3rd time it happened, but, nope, I apparently had more in store.

Just stay the hell outa my way for the time being and we'll all be happier. Yuck. :(
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Thursday, December 02, 2010

We now know when Jesus is coming--May 21, 2011

The world is coming to an end on May 21, 2011. Well, at least for Christians; that's when Jesus is coming according to this guy. He's not being casual about it, either; there are 40 billboards in Nashville announcing this already, which is rather impressive. He is committed to this date.

Well, I'll have our taxes filed months before that, so I guess that's all to the good.

I really people who're so specific about the end of the world. As long as they're not describing an asteroid strike or something factual, they're whackjobs, but it's kinda in the "C'mon, lads, we must get a winner one day" spirit.
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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Jokes du jour

Jokes du jour:

Susan the Wonderchild hit me with this one last night:
Q. Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?"
A. To get to the same side.

When I told this to Ginny Morey, she replied with:
Q. How many hipsters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. It's a really obscure number; you've probably never heard of it.
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Twilight -- a physical analysis

This is from I Love Charts. It's a delightful analysis of Twilight.


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Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Merry Christmas, bitch!"

It's almost December and time to slog through the Christmas season once again. But this is a funny video clip in really bad taste that I think you'll enjoy.


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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dealing with leftovers: cheesy potato casserole bread

The Babe found a lovely recipe for dealing with excess mashed potatoes. I realize as I write this that this is a hard concept to fathom, the idea of too many mashed potatoes, even as leftovers, but I suppose that it is theoretically possible.

Given the premise that one might conceivably want to devote leftover mashed potatoes to something other than a vehicle for gravy and butter, the Babe found a lovely recipe for Cheesy Potato Casserole Bread, which uses leftover mashed potatoes that have, for some reason, been dubbed as "excess" potatoes.

I'm going to reproduce the recipe here for convenience, but all credit goes to Anna P, who posted the recipe on food.com. She says she got it from a flyer, so who knows who did this originally?

Cheesy Potato Casserole Bread
By Anna P. on May 20, 2003

Prep Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 3/4 hrs
Serves: 6
Yield: 1 Loaf

Ingredients
1 (1/4 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mashed potatoes, at room temperature
1/2 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions
  1. Grease a deep round or oval 2-quart casserole and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the milk and let dissolve.
  3. Add the shortening, egg, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of the flour and beat till smooth, about 2 minutes Stir in the remaining 2 cups flour, the potatoes, and cheddar till well blended, scrape the dough in the prepared casserole, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm area till doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  5. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly, over the top of the dough and bake till golden brown, about 45 minutes.
  6. Transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool, then cut into slices.

Things worth noting

You'll put the initial ingredients in the bowl as directed, blend it vigorously with a beater, then add the rest of the ingredients and most of the flour save the last cup and beat that, then add the last cup and use a stiff spoon or large fork to mix everything... but you don't knead it! It's all mixed in the bowl and then you pour it right into the greased 2qt cooking dish, cover with saran wrap, and let it rise right there. When it's risen, you don't punch it down, but just slip it into the oven. The eggs provide the glue that you'd normally create by kneading and building up the gluten. So it's a cross between a quick bread and a yeast bread, but it doesn't leave that slight baking soda flavor in the back of the mouth. And it's very tasty!
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Thanksgiving blessing

This was copied from Herb Mitchell, who lifted it from a greeting card.

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey be plump.
May your potatoes 'n gravy have nary a lump.

May your yams be delicious
May your pies take the prize,
May your Thanksgiving dinner stay off of your thighs!!

Dinner's in 45 minutes here.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hedtke's Law #9

Here's another of Hedtke's Laws:
Hedtke's Law Number 9: Life is so much easier when you have no shame.
For more on Hedtke's Laws, click here.
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News story today

Dr. Calvin Rickson, a scientist from Texas A&M University has invented a bra that keeps women's breasts from jiggling, bouncing up and down, and prevents the nipples from showing through the fabric when cold.

At a news conference, after announcing the invention, a large group of men took Dr. Rickson outside and kicked the shit out of him.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Marijuana will ruin your life

An exceptional video that shows you how marijuana will ruin, absolutely ruin, your life.


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Monday, November 22, 2010

Quote du jour

More TSA fun:
Many families will celebrate Thanksgiving TSA style. To get to the dinner table, you either go through the kitchen past the microwave or go through the den and have a brief chat with creepy Uncle Ted. --Bill Swallow

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Joke du jour

This one's really inappropriate and tasteless. So of course I like it!

-------------------------------------

It's WW II.

Karol Wojtyla is running through woods in Poland, being chased by a Nazi soldier. Capture's imminent, so he prays while running, "Oh, Lord, please save me!"

Suddenly, the clouds opened and a voice boomed out to both of them: "Do not harm this man! He will one day be Pope and be revered by billions!!"

Karol Wojtyla dropped to his knees, clasped his hands, and said "Thank you, Lord!"

The Nazi soldier looks up at the sky and says, "OK, Lord, but what's in it for me?"

The voice boomed back "One day, you'll be Pope, too!"
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quote du jour

"Life is safest lived in the cage of habit." --Luke McGuff
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quote du jour

My friend, Duane, just said something profound that I needed to share: "You can never go wrong by being more loving."
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Quote du jour

Quote of the day from Brenda Huettner:
"He clearly didn't recognize me, either - though I was dressed up like a pirate. And we'd both been drinking."

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Quote du jour--wow!

This applies to the rise of blackshirts in the USA so well. And Faux News.

"The masses have never thirsted after truth. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim." ~ Gustave Le Bon
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Oh, this is so NSFW!

I'm probably as much of a fan of the show, Big Bang Theory, as anyone. I was watching a video on CollegeHumor.com and saw a link that I had to watch: it's a clip called "Porn Tech Support" and it stars Kunal Nayyar, who is the guy who plays "Raj Koothrappali" on Big Bang Theory.

This is just so massively, completely, totally unsafe for work. Or anything else, probably. And really funny!!


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Dietrich Bonhoeffer and gays

I'm a fan of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was a fascinating and thoughtful German man who was a Christian theologian in the first half of the 20th C. His conclusions and attempts to live Christianity as he thought it must be lived brought him into repeated conflict with the Nazi leadership and he was ultimately imprisoned and finally executed in Flossenbürg concentration camp a month before the end of the war in Europe.

Bonhoeffer said, in The Cost of Discipleship, that Christianity is not easy and that it is a mistake to think so. He differentiated between "cheap grace" and "costly grace." In this, he said:
"cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ."
And this brings me, rather circuitously, to today's rant.

I recently listened to a couple videos of sermons from a "good" preacher in Hedgesville, WV, who pontificated about homosexuality. He actually did two sermons on two successive Sundays. The first talked about how it was not appropriate to act with hate or violence towards gays. I suppose that was a step forward: "no, no, you can consider them accursed of God, but you cain't lynch 'em anymore, Billy Bob!" The second sermon, though, was the same old stuff we always hear from these jackasses: he jumped backwards through flaming hoops of snot to show that that one line in Leviticus about homosexuality was relevant, but all the other stupid rules in Leviticus could be ignored. (This was impressive.) It's clear that he doesn't have much information outside of the box, because if he did, he'd be sharing it with the congregation. The first sermon was not bad for the six inches forward it went; the second sermon was nothing but mental masturbation--"BB-stacking" as my ex-wife used to describe it.

This guy was recommended to me by someone whose opinion I am interested in who attends this church, so I listened to the entirety of both sermons. I've asked him to read things like Mel White's exceptional "Stranger at the Gate," so it's only fair that if he asks me to watch a video, that I do so. And I really was curious to hear where this pastor was going to go with all of this. I wasn't particularly surprised, though I was disappointed, that the same unthinking conclusions are still being bandied about as if they're something new or even valid. I mean... LEVITICUS??? Give to me a fucking break, please!! What kind of idiot selectively points to Leviticus and says "Well, this piece is really true, but the rest of the stuff is just totally silly?" Someone who's willing to dive backwards through flaming hoops of snot to support their own shabby little prejudices as being "God's word" and not their own responsibility, that's who.

But there was value in listening to these two sermons, quite apart from the fact that the pastor (shallow thinker that he might be) has a very good delivery style and is quite nice to listen to if you don't listen too hard. That value was this: I realized that the Westboro Baptist Church is no different from the many other churches that play the "hate the sin but love the sinner" game for homosexuality except in degree... and the WBC may actually be less dangerous than the rest because you can TELL they're lunatics because of the way they're screaming. People who speak softly are often mistaken for people who are not lunatics even when they're spouting pure toxic waste. And that's dangerous because it can get under your skin.

If homosexuality is a "choice" (*cough* bullshit! *cough*), then condemning people for choosing homosexuality is sadly judgmental on the part of the people doing the condemning. It sure isn't a strong sales pitch for a God of Love. But if homosexuality is inborn (as with thousands of other mammals and birds and fish species), then telling people they were basically born accursed of God is just the same as any other form of racism. People are indeed welcome to have any opinion about who they want to hang out with, but when they start inflicting this on children and other people, it should be dealt with like any other form of racism: mocked, reviled, and shunned by decent people.

As Bonhoeffer says, "God loves human beings. God loves the world. Not an ideal human, but human beings as they are; not an ideal world, but the real world. What we find repulsive in their opposition to God, what we shrink back from with pain and hostility, namely, real human beings, the real world, this is for God the ground of unfathomable love." It would be good for Christians to remember that. Running around telling people that they're wrong, they're living in sin, they're doing it wrong is just plain stupid if you're trying to demonstrate the brilliance of your theological position. Trying to bludgeon people into converting by doing this is no less stupid. As Bonhoeffer also pointed out, "Jesus himself did not try to convert the two thieves on the cross; he waited until one of them turned to him." The world would be a better place if people inclined to proselytize did so by the far more effective method of letting their light shine and not thwacking them with a Bible. Good proselytizing, in fact, great proselytizing, never needs the proselytizer to say a single word to prove the validity of their point of view.

If you're a Christian who grew up without a lot of social understanding about gay people and you have things to deal with, it's perfectly okay to say "I'm not comfortable with this," "I have to grow into accepting this," "I don't like this," or to refuse to hang out with people who are gay, but it is not an act of love for anyone to revile these people because they think their God tells them to. Do what Jesus did: act with love and acceptance of all people as brothers, and say nothing on the subject whatsoever. That's going to be a really hard part for most Christians: you don't get to be judgmental about this if you're a Christian, which is the part that most of the shallow breed here in this country seem to forget.

Moreover, not everyone thinks that being gay and being Christian are incompatible. There's a wonderful book called "What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality" that provides an excellent discussion of the context for the handful of references about homosexuality. The ToC is available on Amazon and one gets a clear idea of what's being discussed and may be able to grow wiser just from that. If you're not familiar with the concepts being discussed in the sample pages, consider buying it. It shows what most of the rest of us already knew: people who quote Leviticus as a "justification" for so-called Christian beliefs about homosexuality are both laughable and ignorant.

If someone thinks that someone else doesn't measure up to their standards of Christianity, then the best way to encourage them to be better is to be a better Christian yourself. Not a smugger Christian, not a more self-righteous Christian, not a holier-than-thou Christian--even one of those in the world is way too many--but a Christian who really shows people what that line about "not hiding your light under a bushel" means. I met one, once, you know. He continues to be an inspiration to me 20-some years later about what Christians might be and aren't.

SIDENOTE: I realize as I write this that this one true Christian is, in small part, indirectly responsible for my general disgust with the rest of the breed because almost all of them that I've met are such woeful failures at it. I knew when and where I'd developed such an intense loathing for Christians: it was working at Raima Corporation in the late 80s. The company was run and staffed by as dysfunctional a bunch of people as I'd ever seen, all of whom claimed loudly to be Christian. The company was formed out of people who attended Mt. Highlands Community Christian Church, some megachurch on the Eastside of Seattle. My first boss, John, was a decent man who I admired for his integrity, but the joke-that-wasn't-a-joke among the staff was that you could always tell who was management (or sucking up to management) because they had the leatherbound KJV Bible on their shelf with the words of Jesus in red. When I signed up there, I'd merely disliked assholes like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Two years of watching how most of these people actually treated themselves and each other was eye-opening and horrifying. However, I'd never figured out until I wrote this that it wasn't merely revulsion at the way 99% of them are willing to eat their own young and each other; it's the revulsion at the shallowness and total lack of spirituality for people claiming a religious label. Sadly, with the exception of this one true Christian I met there, most of them I've met since are just as shallow. Some have integrity and try hard (like my first boss) and I've met some who are sincere, but as the saying goes, "95% of Christians give the other 5% a bad name!" I would really like it to be otherwise, but the feeble bleat of "We're Not All Like That!" rings hollow when I don't see the NALT-sorts trying to do something about the ones they're not supposed to be like.

Don't like gay people? You don't have to hang out with them. But if your children or your brother or your sister or your best friend or even one of your parents says "I'm gay," then if you're a Christian, you'd better be ready to respond with as much love and acceptance as you can, and then go find more in your heart, because that's how that job description reads. Yeah, it may be hard, but nobody who knew what they were talking about ever said that real Christianity was supposed to be easy. And that's probably the most important thing that Bonhoeffer said.

Addendum: I wanted to post the link to the sermon archive church that inspired this journey of self-discovery in writing. They're at Hedgesville Church and the sermon archive is here. (The website is very well designed, btw!) The two sermons in question are still up, but they look like they may roll off soon. If you'd like to listen to them and see if your conclusions match mine, listen quickly.
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Ugly Robertson supporters

I do wonder why it is that God always seems to pick people as His representatives on these shows, people who are ugly and intellectually shallow. After the Pat Robertson for President push in 1988, I noticed that there seemed to be a correlation between the people with Robertson bumper stickers and how they REALLY looked like ugly, awful people. This wasn't nearly as subjective as you might think; it was more like doing a double-take upon seeing people who'd been hit repeatedly with the ugly stick. It got me to thinking that there was a correlation between people picking a religion that already had lots of other ugly, difficult people so they'd feel at home and wouldn't be standing out as the worst one in the bunch.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Book #27 is underway!

I can't say anything about it yet except that I'm doing this one completely on my own--that is, I'm writing it, arranging for editing, cover art, publishing, distribution... the whole schmear. There's no advance, no money up front, and no promises. This book is going to be on a tight deadline, so I'm going to be jamming for the next few months. For all I'm guaranteed, this is completely gerbil-like typing activity that will keep me occupied and off the streets 'till the economy picks up. All this notwithstanding, I'm still looking for fulltime work, but there aren't a lot of jobs here in Eugene. So I'm doing the one thing, looking for a second, and seeing what turns up. I'm having fun. 
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Huge enormous book proposal out the door

After some days, I've finally completed the book proposal I've been working on. When I got it all done, I saw a lot of why it was taking so long: it's 41 pages long.   This sets a record for my longest book proposal ever, by about 15 pages. (A joint proposal with someone else with a 15 page resume doesn't really count IMO.)
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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Important religious truths

During these serious and trying times, people of all faiths should remember these four great religious truths:
  1. Muslims do not recognize Jews as God's chosen people.
  2. Jews do not recognize Christ as the Messiah.
  3. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian world.
  4. Baptists do not recognize each other at Hooters or the liquor store.
(Thanks to Traepischke Graves for this one.)
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Monday, November 08, 2010

Post #193!

At the risk of self-referencing, I just realized that this post is the 193rd post this year. This is not like the Simpson's 138th Episode Spectactular, but is actually a bit of a milestone. I'd promised myself that I was going to be more active this year on the blog, particularly after having gone to SxSW and realizing that I needed to join the 21st century in a big way. So this post is one more than I posted in the entirety of 2005, the year I started this and the previous record-holder for number of blog posts.

That was all; do carry on....
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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Totally cute

Even though I'm a cat person, this puppy is incredibly cute. It's busy talking in its sleep.


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Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Bohemian Flow Chart

You'll need to click on this to see it all, but it's worth it. Start in the upper left corner.


BTW, this comes from a collection of funny photos at PhotoNexter.com.
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Friday, November 05, 2010

Jesus, what a brave dog!


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Quote du jour

"Fundamentalist American Christianity means believing that Jesus wanted us to help the poor by voting against helping the poor." --John Fugelsang
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Thursday, November 04, 2010

More wrongness (hehehehehehehehe)

I discovered this today. It's from Jim Benton, who does very funny stuff. I'm going to plan to go romping around his site soon.


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Evil clown cake

This is wrong. So very, very wrong.


For complete instructions on how to make this, check out the instructions at Instructables.com.
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Video from a homemade spacecraft

Luke Geissbuhler built a weather balloon spacecraft in Brooklyn and let it go. It flew up to 100,000 feet, the upper stratosphere. The curve of the earth and the blackness of space are plainly visible. Wow.

Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.


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The Old Weather project

I'd not thought of this, but it's a wonderful use of people's time and interest. The Old Weather project has people looking at Royal Navy ship's log books from around the time of World War I to recover worldwide weather observations. The project then uses the transcriptions for climate model projections. There's an historical element, too: the website says that historians will use this information to track past ship movements and the stories of the people on board.
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Repost: "My son is gay."

"Or he’s not. I don’t care. He is still my son. And he is 5. And I am his mother. And if you have a problem with anything mentioned above, I don’t want to know you."

Outstanding.
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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

What the fuck has Obama done so far?

I mentioned in the previous statement that the Dems haven't done a good job of blowing their own horn. Here's a website that does just that. It's called "What the Fuck Has Obama Done So Far?" and it's wonderful. I like the interface, too.
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Republican gains in the election

I'm a bit sad that the GOP won so many seats in the house, but I can't say I'm that surprised. The Dems did a poor job of banging their own drum about all the amazing things they did and I think it bit them. It's not to say they didn't do a lot of cool things, but not enough people knew about them. Obama, I think, made a mistake in overestimating the intelligence of the American people. It's the kind of mistake an intelligent man would make, and I must say it's nice to have a politician who's trying to appeal to me rather than to the Teahadists or people equally dumb.

So, as I say, I'm not particularly surprised that the GOP made such massive gains in the house, but I'm not taking it (as Fox is putting it repeatedly in that "lets all repeat that key phrase as if we each just thought it up" way they have of doing things over there) as a "referendum on Obama's policies." I'm rather looking at it as the impatience and general cluelessness of the American electorate, who can't figure out that it takes a lot longer than 2 years to get out of a hole that took 8 years to dig... particularly when the worst of things only started happening 3 years ago.

More to the point, though, if this had been a real victory for the teabaggers, they would've elected even one of the bigname candidates that Sarah Palin had backed: O'Donnell, Tancredo, Angle, Miller. All of them ate a bucket of fail last night. It's still amusing that the teabaggers cannot figure out that they've already been totally co-opted by the GOP, who are writing their marching orders. If they really dislike the GOP so much--and many of them do--they'd have created their own party. No, they're clearly bought and paid for and they don't realize it.

I read a very interesting article by Alvin McEwen about what the election means.

My favorite quote from this article: "Now that the Republicans have Congress, they can now reveal that incredibly, wonderful master plan to cut taxes, bring down the deficit, and increase the work force. Apparently the plan is so awesome that none of them wanted to reveal it to the media or each other." I will truly be listening for that, because if they could do all of that, I and much of the rest of America would be interested. (Why stop there? Add hair restoration and erection enhancement to the label and go for the clean sweep.)

BTW, it's been 12 hours since becoming the Heir Apparent to the Speakership of the House, and John Boehner is already touting how good they're going to make it for America by... putting their energy into repealing Obama's healthcare package. Because, yeah, when I'm out of work and my unemployment's running out and the economy sucks, I really want someone telling me that they're going to fuck with my health insurance. I'm sure that's what the marching morons who voted for these people wanted. (But, oh, no, they won't touch Medicare or Social Security. What hypocritical jizzbags!)
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Monday, November 01, 2010

Stupid joke du jour

This one's in honor of my friend, Brian Chinn:

Q. Lobster, crab, oyster, Chinese man under a 16-ton weight: which does not fit?

A. The oyster, being a shellfish, is the odd one. The rest are crushed-Asians.
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

BC: Still funny and really evil today :)

Today's BC (for Halloween) is a complete hoot and downright icky, as you'll see.


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Repost: Star Wars travel posters

Here's something wonderful from John Struan's blog, Super Punch. It's a series of travel posters for Star Wars, done by Steve Thomas (who actually has his own blog called Rocket Tours).

I think my fave is this one:


Go look at all of them, though. They're fun!
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Quote from my family

One of my favorite nieces said this today:
While I do often think of my pets as my children, I really hope that if I ever do have kids, I never have to utter a phrase similar to this one: "Bello, for the love of God, STOP HUNTING YOUR SISTER!"

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Quote du jour

"When you’re born on this planet you get a ticket to the Circus. When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat." --George Carlin
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

1847 sourdough starter

I was looking around for a sourdough starter a few weeks ago. As I just mentioned, it's a harvesting and prepping for the Dark Time feeling. I was thinking that I really needed to get a sourdough starter. Even though The Babe doesn't eat sourdough willingly, both Susan the Wonderchild and I do.

I looked online for recipes. I know you can create your own, but I was after something with a little provenance that was really good and sour. And lo! I found it in Carl Griffith's 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter. This is a culture from a sourdough starter that traces all the way back to the Oregon Trail in 1847. It was in Carl's family for the last 150-some years.

Carl was a generous guy who gave sourdough starter to any and all during his life and his friends have been continuing this habit now that he's gone. You can get enough sourdough starter culture to get your own sourdough starter going for the cost of an SASE. If you're thinking you aren't going to use it often enough, here's information on how to dry or freeze sourdough culture.

I'm still on the primary growth phase of the culture; I'll be feeding it with more flour and dried potatoes tomorrow. But it's growing nicely at this point and I've a container ready for it.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Baking, brewing, and the God

It's almost Samhain, the time of year when the God dies and goes into the Underworld. The harvest is all in and we're going into the Dark Time between the years until the God is born again at Yule.

The thing is that, as part of this, there's a strong sense of preparation this year. I've been wanting to can, to bake, even to brew beer, something I've not done for over a decade. I sent off for a sourdough starter I'll tell you about shortly. They're making me feel better and safer, but I've been wondering why.

These things are all harvest related but I also recognize that for me, this is Samhain nesting behavior. The Goddess is life and rebirth, to be sure, so the yeast cells are Hers. Putting them to work is the God's side of things. During a vision quest decades ago, I thought that the Goddess is all things, and the God is the understanding of all things. So where the Goddess is plants, the God is agriculture. Where the Goddess is nature, the God is science. And where the Goddess is grains and yeasts, the God is baking and brewing.

So every time I do baking or brewing, the smell of yeast reminds me of the God and how the God will understand the Goddess a little better each time.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The computer bulletin

I have a functioning boot drive and I'm able to see the old C: drive, which APPEARS largely intact. I'm going to do a backup of the old C: drive in case it continues to degrade or it dies completely, then install the new software on the new C: drive.

Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahk.
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Stupid joke du jour

Q. What was Beethoven's favorite fruit?
A. Ba-na-na-naaaaaaaa!!!
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Today is not going well

I'm dealing with lots and lots of hard disk issues (for the umpteenth time), piddly bits of paperwork, and petty annoyances. Patricia used to have a sign that said:

I was ready to fight dragons, but my life has been small spiders and stepping chewing gum.

(I could have dealt with dragons....)

It's been like that today. Or maybe like this:


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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Garfield cartoon

The Babe told me this morning about yesterday's Garfield cartoon. Okay, this is me all the way. ~sigh~


You can get the original here.
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Funny and disturbing barbershop music

The comment "This is deeply disturbing yet pretty cool at the same time" pretty much sums it up.

(BTW, the subtitles are from the movie. That's that the lyrics are supposed to be saying. Oy.)


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Contradancing... to techno???

Apparently, contradancing is getting a new audience. As this video shows, there's contradancing being done to techno music.

I'm not much for techno music, vastly preferring that fiddle-and-banjo crap, but if people learn contradancing, it's all to the good. (Thanks to Anita Anderson for this link.)


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Monday, October 18, 2010

How to give a proper opossum massage

Being nice to animals is a good idea... but there are limits, there really and truly are. This woman is a complete and utter loon.

And her website is even fruitier. She's a squirrel. No, really, she says so.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Doing well by doing good

Good article by someone who walks every inch of the walk: Why I hire former convicts and gang members.
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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Oatmeal

I'm very keen on The Oatmeal. The latest post is "If you do this in an email, I hate you."
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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

That's logic, that is!

1. God made woman out of one of Adam's ribs.
2. Women are glorified ribs.
3. Ribs are delicious.
4. Delicious things are meant to be eaten.
5. Women should be eaten.

Don't look at me like that; that's sound logic.
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Monday, October 04, 2010

Repost: Gay Suicide & "Shoulds"

This powerful article is about gay teen suicide. Thanks to bullies and to assholes who feel that "hate the sin and love the sinner" shows anything resembling love and affection, more gay teens are killing themselves. I'm enormously sorry for them. This is the start of the article. If you know someone who might benefit, let them see this.

Every action is a result of a thought. When we are talking about preventing suicide, and more specifically, preventing the deaths of more young gay people, we are gravely remiss if we do not address the "shoulds" behind the attempts. More specifically, no gay suicide has been attempted without the following equation:

I should be straight + I should be normal
= I shouldn't be alive

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Sunday, October 03, 2010

Quote du jour

Love it!
You know why the Democrat's symbol is the letter "D"? Because it's a grade that means passing, but just barely. You know why the Republican's symbol is the letter "R"? Because it's the sound pirates makes when they rob you and feed you to the sharks. --Bill Maher

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Friday, October 01, 2010

Tasteless joke du jour

I heard this at the conference I'm at right now.

A pedophile, a Nazi, and a homophobe walks into a bar.

The bartender says "What can I get for you, Your Holiness?"
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Utah now officially most backward state in the U.S.

Texas demands recount!

Here's what Utah's up to. Jesus H. Christ in a baggie! They deserve mockery and scorn.
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Hedtke's Law #8

Something Avi Hein said this morning on Twitter reminded me of another Hedtke's Law:

Hedtke's Law Number 8: Never make it hard for your customers to give you money.

For more on Hedtke's Laws, click here.
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

This NEVER happens around our house!


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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stuff no-one told me

Just found a great site, Stuff No-One Told Me. The artist lives in Barcelona.

Here are three examples of his work.  Go to his website and look at all of them.




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Quote du jour

‎FWIW, I have never met possums as a consumer, but I sure have met them face to face and given the way they stink, I am certain that the following quote is axiomatic.
"That's the thing about salted-down possum: it's just as good the second day."--Jed Clampett

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Stabs from the past--the Society for Creative Anachronism

Here's a stab from the past: the Society for Creative Anachronism is doing a survey of past and present members to find out about their membership and where to go from here. If you were ever active in the SCA or are active now, please take a few minutes to fill this survey out. It's been at least 25 years since I've done anything with the SCA, but it was a pleasure to fill this out.
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Awful library books

Someone I follow on Twitter posted a link to a site listing awful library books. These are books currently in public libraries that are just plain awful for one reason or another. Most of them have achieved awfulness simply by becoming totally outdated; for example, this book from 1989 on how not to catch a computer virus or this book on running a farm with wonderful comments about what the farmer's wife does.

Of particular interest are the books on states and countries from 30, 40, 50 years ago, such as this book on the Soviet Union from 1968. (Insert "In Soviet Union..." joke of your choice here.)
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Landscaping

We have a landscape design company coming in on Wednesday to look at our backyard and discuss what we're interested in doing. I keep thinking that I'd like a greenhouse somewhere--maybe not a big one, but big enough. The Babe is not of the opinion we'll have room and that it may just end up being coldframes. We'll see: I sense negotiation coming.

What I'd like is something that I can start seedlings in really early and also grow some of the things that need hothouse conditions, like peppers and cantaloupes. This year was so disappointing for even growing tomatoes that I'd like to be able to start seedlings very early next year and get a solid leap on the weather. And even keep some things in the greenhouse if I need to.

I'm thinking of something rather like this one, which is 6' x 8':


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Thursday, September 16, 2010

La respiracion de la tierra

Something to remind you that there are different cycles with different speeds going on all around you, all the time. Which speed you choose is up to you.


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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ads for the film "Devil"

There's a real push for this new movie called "Devil." I don't care for anything that I can see. The Babe's comment was "So, you get rid of the devil by saying an Ave Maria and you do it in Spanish??" Yeah, that looks like about the depth of plot on this.

I've been filled with inertia at the very ads. This has struck me from the word "go" as a really awful film. But I didn't know why until just 5 minutes ago (during which time, I got to see the ad yet another time).

The words "M. Night Shyamalan" just danced across the screen when they flashed the credits.

Do we need anything more to tell us how bad it's going to be? No wonder the ads look like shit. Like "The Last Airbender," the trailer may be the best part.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cherpumple pie cake

This article on how to make a cherpumple monster pie cake (the bakery equivalent of a Turducken) is fun. Because, you know, a diabetic needs to have yet another way to put unnecessary sugar into his life.
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Super Mario Bros 25th anniversary

25 things you may not know about the Super Mario Bros on the 25th anniversary of the Super Mario Bros release.
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Friday, September 10, 2010

52 weeks to awesome!

Ealasaid's latest blog post talks about a personal development program she's been doing from The Freak Revolution called 52 Weeks to Awesome program. Their comment about the program is this:
Imagine what your life would be like if you were totally awesome. What would you do? What would your typical Tuesday be like? How would you feel? How many of your dreams could you turn into reality?
You go on 52 1-week "missions," each of which take about an hour.

The cost for this? $52, a buck a week.

It sounds really interesting.
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Harpo Marx

I just found out about this wonderful site dedicated to Harpo Marx, written and maintained by his son. I particularly liked the Harpo Family Rules.

I got misty reading a lot of this. He sounds very much like a man I would have liked to know.
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We No Speak Americano

It's Friday. You really need to watch this just for the fun of it. It's a bouncy little tune and you can't guess what's going to happen next. You can't really stop watching it, either: once it starts, you're hooked.


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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Pictures of mushrooms

There's a blog entry on Brave New Traveler from late December that's full of pictures of rare and beautiful mushrooms.One of the pix is even 3-D!
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Tortoise with a 'tude

Not only is this one fast little chelonian, but it's got a sense of territory that one doesn't commonly associate with torti.


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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Good essay :)

This is a lovely little essay about the South's political attitudes. It's NSFW, mostly for language and some for politics.
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Computer's working again, hurray

After a couple days of screwing around with the computer myself and then giving it to my computer guy, it turned out that the RAID/SATA controller had gone south. My computer guy worked on this all yesterday and was able to recover my C: drive (yaaaaaaaaaaaay!) and get it back to life. That was at 10:30pm last night and, even after a whole day of working on this, he only charged me $100. I'm enormously pleased.

I didn't have any way of running more than one drive and the DVD/CD, so I went out to buy a SATA card. Best Buy had one, their website said, but when I drove out to Springfield, they couldn't find it. Bugger. :( Springfield's to the east of Eugene. I drove first to the Office Depot in Eugene only to discover that they do sell SATA cards, but only online. I then drove to the far western side of Eugene and found what may be the only SATA card for retail sale in Eugene at a small computer store. It's slower than I wanted and was about twice as much as the same thing online, but I really NEEDED this card to get back to work. So I bought it, brought it home, and configured the computer. I'm alive again.

A much better (and slightly less expensive) card is coming on Saturday and then I'll hook the rest of the SATA drives up and do some more backing up. Meanwhile, I've deadlines that I want to get back to. And I really really really have had quite enough problems with electronics, technology, or ANYTHING for quite a while!
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Monday, September 06, 2010

Stuff

The C: drive on the new computer is being a pill. It may be a controller issue, though, as I can't get the computer to acknowledge a new drive on the system, either. I had work to do this weekend, damnit, and didn't want to be hacking with the computer and losing time to things. Computers are the Universe's way of showing us that we are not in control.

But here's a good quote du jour that a friend who signs himself "Miles Vorkosigan" on FB said today. It's a darned good quote:
Watching the Fringe Christians and the Fringe Muslims trying to one-up each other in bad behavior is like watching the Voldemort-vs.Sauron Global cage match mixed with a Dr. Seuss morality tale.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Quote du jour

"Laughter is the best ammunition against ignorance." -- Isaac M. O'Bannon

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Quote du jour

"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."--Dom Helder Camara
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jeeze, I'm tired

I spent the day working on my garage. What we really needed were shelves, huge great enormous shelves that would help me get the piles of stuff off of the floor of the garage.  I went out to Lowe's and bought a couple of shelving units, knocked them together, then spent about as long getting them safely anchored to the walls. With the help of Susan the Wonderchild's b/f, we just put a lot of boxes up on the new shelves and have, in fact, cleared out a lot of stuff from the floor. 

At this point, I am going to slither off to a hot bathtub and soak the owies away, then come back up here and work on a contract. 
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Quote du jour

"We wouldn't think of all Muslims as terrorists any more than we'd think all Alaskans are fraudulent media whores." --@techweenie on Twitter this morning.
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Gloxinia

When we first moved to Eugene, we were living in an apartment about a mile from where we are now. One day I noticed that someone had thrown a gloxinia in the dumpster. It had bloomed once and I think they didn't realize that it would bloom again if they kept it. I rescued it and, sure enough, it bloomed again.

It's now 6 years old and still going strong. I've got it in the bathroom and it blooms regularly. Here's the first bloom of this season.


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"The Empire Strikes Back: 1900" -- the silent film version

"The Empire Strikes Back: 1900"

Hey, it's Friday. You needed this.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Need a new god? Check this out!

Friends, are you tired of your god? Does s/he not respond quickly when you call? Are feeling without direction, purposeless, cast adrift, in need of a good spiritual jazzing? Do the Ancient Mysteries just make you yawn?

Well, worry no more! Thanks to GodChecker, you can find a new god for yourself! GodChecker lists almost 3000 gods, with more being added all the time! There are Australian gods, Mayan gods, Chinese gods, Roman gods, Finnish gods, Tibetan gods, Celtic gods, Norse gods, Mesopotamian gods, and many, many more! New pantheons are being added all the time, so if you don't see anything you like, check back regularly and you're sure to find something that fills that god-shaped hole in your soul (assuming you have one and your chosen deity requires it).

So if you want a god who's Mr. Nice Guy, a cannibal demoness, a dragon king, an all-powerful god who can rain down fire and destruction, a god of bats, or even a band of Russian superheroes, GodChecker has it all!

(Note: Past history with a god should not be considered guarantee of future performance. Consult your local priest before mixing and matching deities, as some restrictions may apply. Christian saints, martyrs, and hermits packaged separately.)
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Monday, August 16, 2010

"Hallowed Ground" near the WTC

A lot of really unpleasant people have been bitching about the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. But there are a number of things about the bigoted arguments against a mosque near the World Trade Center site that just don't ring true. One of them in particular is the intolerant argument that it's Just Not Right to have a mosque on the site of the WTC.

Now, I can see arguments about why having no religious institutions at all is a good thing--and don't have a lot of problems with that idea--but if you're going to allow one or some, then by definition, you get to have any of them. That's what "Freedom of Religion" is all about. (If you believe that the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights gives you the right to own and carry guns all over the place, it's hypocritical to not believe in the rights stated in the First Amendment.)

Even more interesting, though, is the fact that this place isn't actually on the site. It's a couple blocks away. And this fact brings up something interesting that completely vitiates the toxic waste and idiocy spewed by Sarah Palin (idle thought: does she have any other mode?): this isn't "hallowed ground." How do we know this? Take a look at these photos. If the area a couple blocks away were truly "hallowed," we sure wouldn't be seeing some of the other establishments out there. A house of worship and prayer really beats the snot out of Burger King for overall sanctity as a general rule.
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Repost: Traditional Marriage Perverts the Tradition of Marriage

This is an exceptional article on traditional marriage by Jeff Goode, posted on Archie Levine's blog, This Is What I Think.

(For those who want more data, I refer you to John Boswell's detailed and extensively documented book, Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe.)
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Men and porn

This is an interesting and amusing article:
Researchers were conducting a study comparing the views of men in their 20s who had never been exposed to pornography with regular users.

But their project stumbled at the first hurdle when they failed to find a single man who had not been seen it.

"We started our research seeking men in their 20s who had never consumed pornography,” said Professor Simon Louis Lajeunesse. “We couldn't find any."
That's not a surprise, really: men are men and, as Jeff Foxworthy says, men's motivations tend to boil down to "I'd like a beer and I'd like to see something nekkid!" But what was rather interesting was that porn wasn't the corrupter of sexual preferences that it's popularly made out to be:
The study found that men watched pornography that matched their own image of sexuality, and quickly discarded material they found offensive or distasteful.

Prof Lajeunesse said pornography did not have a negative effect on men's sexuality.

“Not one subject had a pathological sexuality,” he said. “In fact, all of their sexual practices were quite conventional.

“Pornography hasn't changed their perception of women or their relationship, which they all want to be as harmonious and fulfilling as possible,” he added.
So, men like looking at dirty pictures (quelle surprise!) and it doesn't change their basic sexual makeup.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Quote du jour

Another Patton Oswalt quote:
We all bleed the same color. Then again, you'd have to stab everyone to verify that.

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Stinker the porcupine

It looks like it's the week for cute animal videos: here's a porcupine who thinks he's a dog, albeit a leetle pricklier.


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Monday, July 19, 2010

St. Luke's Bottle Band

Oh, those silly Midwest Lutherans! St. Luke's, in Prospect Park, IL, does a lot of things but the most famous may be the St. Luke's Bottle Band. They play bottles of all kinds by blowing on 'em, striking 'em with drumsticks, and so on. It's fun stuff.

There are several RealAudio clips on their website, such as the Second Brandenburg Concerto, the Dance of the Reed Flutes, and a version of one of my top 5 all-time favorite pieces of music, dubbed Rhapsody in Bottles. There are also a lot of concert clips on YouTube: an entire concert, in fact.

Something you'll notice in the concert clips is that the conductor will cue everyone by making a sudden gesture raising his arms. The band members will frequently respond. Keep an eye out for it.
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Too much acid

This is someone who seems to be mixing waaaaay too much acid with their editing. It's certainly got that intense acidy feeling to it. Very strange.


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How well do you see colors?

I always thought I had a pretty good sense of color. Turns out I do. This test will help you identify your color sensitivity and where you have trouble with particular hues.

I scored 4 on this test. (0 is perfect.) 
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Quote du jour

"Skinny jeans were invented by Hades, or one of his minions, to punish Persephone for leaving him." --Sandra Knoy
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Franz Biebl's "Ave Maria"

BTW, this has nothing to do with anything, but this is a clip of a good production of a piece I'm very fond of. I get goose pimples whenever I hear it and the finale makes me teary for its elegance. I sing bass and the bass line is really yummy on this, particularly in the finale.

I first met this when I had the honor to be singing with the Washingtonians, an 80-90 voice mixed choir run by the many-talented Scott Warrender. It's one of my regrets that I didn't discover them years before I did, because I would've loved performing with them for years and years. Funny, great music, wonderful shows, a joy to be with. ~sigh~

This YouTube clip is the best I've found so far. The video portion just shows a flickering fireplace, so you can crank up the sound and just listen. Headphones are desirable. You're going to want to crank this up.

I so love this piece.


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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Maybe my words are sacred, after all!

My dear friend Bonni had a problem a few days ago: her house burned down. The whole thing didn't actually burn to ground, but I won't be surprised if it's going to need to be rebuilt completely because of smoke and water damage. This is really common for houses with even 40%-50% fire damage: the smoke just pours through the rest of the house and there's no good way to get it out of the walls and ceilings. It's tough stuff and we are all looking for ways in which we can help her.

But the funny thing about this that she told me today was that she was in the master bedroom looking for whatever might be salvaged and there were only two books that weren't damaged by fire, smoke, or water: the two copies of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Disaster Preparedness" I'd sent her. In other words, the book I'd co-authored with Dr. Maurice Ramirez on how to survive disaster seems to be reasonably fireproof. 

I guess my personal mana extends a thousand miles away even to my books. Hey, am I fuckin' cool or what?
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

What I will do if I am ever a wampire

This is going around and it's fun.

1. I will not pick off friends, family or neighbors of the Hero one at a time. This annoys the Hero and drives him into action. They'll still be there when he is dead.

2. There are thousands of people who want to be vampires. Why pick someone who doesn't?

3. The Hero will come armed with holy water, a cross and a stake. I will come armed with a 5.56 mm assault rifle, a rocket launcher and grenades.

4. When biting women to make them slaves, I will bite them in discreet areas, such as the inside of the thigh, the lower part of the breast, or some similar location not requiring painfully obvious alteration of clothing or ridiculous accessories to conceal.

5. I will equip my home with a marvelous device called a Burglar Alarm with an automatic dialer. It will be difficult for the Hero to kill me in my "sleep" while he's under arrest for attempted break and enter.

6. My coffin will be concealed and will be a plain wooden box. The elaborate oak coffin with gold trim resting in the basement will be equipped with claymores designed to shred the body of anyone who opens it.

7. I will wear a watch, and verify what time the next day's sunrise occurs, every evening, before heading out for the night's activities.

8. The formal attire with cape will be reserved for special occasions. Jeans and a t-shirt will be fine for everyday wear as they are less noticeable.

9. I will not engage in a battle of wits with the Hero. I plan on killing him anyway so what's the point?

10. There will be no windows, doors, elevator shafts, or air vents accessing my Hidden Lair that have any sort of access to the outside through which sunlight can be directed to my Lair using mirrors.

11. If there must be windows, they will be painted over and backed with steel plate so the Hero will face a rude surprise when he throws something through it at sunrise.

12. When I take the Hero's True Love to make her my concubine and eternal slave, I will not show her off to torment the Hero. That would goad the Hero into making an attack. She will be tucked away in a quiet room watched over by my loyal servants until the Hero is dead.

13. I will not transform children. Their bodies will stay the same age forever while their minds grow older, and they will become whiny and disobedient.

14. I will not use bug-eating morons as servants. Pretty females dressed in little French maid outfits are more visually appealing and can also distract the Hero.

15. While castles and mansions are traditional and have a certain flair, the two-bedroom bungalow is less noticeable in suburbia.

16. My home will not have wooden furniture, the legs of which become sharp, pointed sticks at inopportune moments.

17. My home will have mirrors, but they will be located in places such as the bathroom, where I am unlikely to be present at the same time as the Hero or his friends.

18. I will not change into a bat, scuttle up walls, fly, or hypnotize people when there might be witnesses.

19. All my concubines will be fully aware that they are not to seduce, attack, harass, or even mildly bother visitors staying in the castle unless they have express permission from me.

20. The blood in the refrigerator will be stored in a tomato juice jug, and there will be ordinary food in there for camouflage.

21. I will get a good voice coach and change my name. "Hi, I'm Bob," is less suspicious than "I... am... Count... Dra...cu...la."

22. I will not associate with vampire theatres, vampire whorehouses and prostitution rings, vampire bars, or vampire biker gangs. They attract attention.

23. I will spend no more than 10 years in any one location, and when I move it will be somewhere distant. I will not return to a previous home for a minimum of 80 years. This way, anyone who previously knew me will either be dead or senile.

24. I will be able to explain porphyria and why that unfortunate genetic condition is the reason I cannot go out in the sun.

25. I will force myself to look concerned, rather than hungry, when someone accidentally cuts himself.

26. A Kevlar vest with a ceramic trauma plate located over the heart is a rather trendy fashion accessory.

27. I will take seriously anyone who approaches me with a water pistol and a confident expression.

28. Backpacks and small bags capable of holding sharp pointed wooden sticks will be taken from visitors by a servant at the door. Anyone refusing to part with their accessories will be taken into a side room, shot in the knees, handcuffed, and chained to the wall, where they will provide lunch for my concubines.

29. Crossbows, spears, arrows, and other antique weapons with wood or large blades will be banned from the castle. There is nothing wrong with a fine collection of rifles and handguns.

30. Before dining out with anyone, I will verify that garlic is not a major spice at that restaurant.

31. All servants, concubines, and assorted slaves will be under strict orders not to show excessive devotion to me in public.

32. Servants, concubines, and assorted slaves will have a zero-tolerance rule: one mistake and they're dead. I can always create more.

33. When recruiting new blood, so to speak, I will first enslave those who might notice odd behavior in my future concubines and do something about it. Thus, when I hit the local all-female school, The Tomboy Who Could Be Attractive With The Right Makeup goes first, followed quickly by The Misunderstood But Brave Social Pariah, and The Attractive Girl With The Heart Of Gold. The good-looking cheerleaders, the sexually repressed teachers/librarians, and the oversexed bimbos can wait.

34. All future concubines will be screened and have complete background checks. Those with relatives named Van Helsing will be removed from consideration. The irony is not worth the risk.

35. Nothing says the Hero can't be a cripple or be suffering massive trauma from a shotgun blast before he becomes lunch.

36. I will not personally finish off the Hero. That is what loyal servants, concubines, and assorted slaves are for. Besides, the Hero's True Love is probably tastier.

37. All future concubines will be strip-searched for rosaries, crucifixes, and garlic before I approach them.

38. All cute but spunky kids in the community who express an interest in the supernatural will be identified and observed for sudden changes in behavior.

39. I will be an upstanding but otherwise undistinguished resident of my community, and will make sure that I cultivate enough friends that I will be warned of anyone spreading malicious rumors about me.

40. Since it will be the last thing they would expect, I will hire a Mafia hit team to take out the Hero and his friends. Let's see that crucifix protect them from an hail of gunfire.

41. All villagers will be encouraged to send their children to the schools I will secretly finance. After a few years of modern education they will dismiss the legends told by their grandparents, several of which will undoubtedly be ways to destroy me.

42. I will ignore all attempts to appeal to my former sense of humanity. I don't have any. That is why it is former.

43. I will remind myself that I am immortal, not indestructible.

44. All concubines will save the loose, transparent, flowing silk dresses for special occasions. I'm a modern sort of guy so I like a woman in leather, which provides more protection so they last longer in a fight.

45. Although firearms are useless against me and the concubines, they work quite effectively on the Hero and his friends. Therefore all concubines will be armed and taught to shoot. They will use hand and fang in attacks only as a last resort.

46. All bodies of former meals will be destroyed in a manner which will make the absence of blood and presence of bite marks impossible to identify.

47. I will not send the bodies (or parts thereof) of former friends, relatives, mentors, or lovers to the Hero in order to demonstrate my complete mastery over life and death.

48. I will not demonstrate knowledge inappropriate for someone of my apparent age.

49. I will not begin a vendetta against someone who has destroyed a fellow vampire. They have clearly demonstrated they have the ability to destroy me. I'll off them when I have the chance, not make it my life's work.

50. As cute as the Slayer is, there are other girls just as cute who are not capable of destroying me.

51. More vampires means a lower prey ratio: I will carefully consider if I really want more of us running around.
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Friday, July 16, 2010

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Now we know!

Scientists have determined that the chicken came first. How do they know that? To form the egg shell, there needs to be a protein in the ovaries of the chicken, which means that at some point, there was an animal that developed this protein and was able to lay eggs. So the chicken did indeed come first.

It's fun to know that, but the article points out that there are potential applications for this knowledge.  But for a Friday after quitting time, I'll go for the baseline idea and be happy right with that. 
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How to tell if your cat is plotting to kill you.

This is a valuable article for any cat owner.
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Our doormat

My little sister gave me a doormat a couple years ago for a birthday present. It says "We love our vacuum, we've found God, and we gave at the office." Sadly, it's not kept the missionaries away, but I didn't think it would. But it is a funny doormat and it's pretty functional, too.

The new housecleaners were here today and cleaned the front portico and the tag from the bottom of the doormat fell off. Shoot, I hadn't even known there was a tag. It's pretty funny. It says:
Information you should know about your doormat

Warning: Do not use mat as a projectile. Sudden acceleration to dangerous speeds may cause injury. When using mat, follow directions: Put your right foot in, put your right foot out, put your right foot in and shake it all about. This mat is not designed to sustain gross weight exceeding 12,000 lbs. If mat begins to smoke, immediately seek shelter and cover head. Caution: If coffee spills on mat, assume that it is very hot. This mat is not intended to be used as a placemat. Small food particles trapped in fibers may attract rodents and other vermin. Do not glue mat to porous surfaces such as pregnant women, pets, and heavy machinery. When not in use, mat should be kept out of reach of children with CFED (Compulsive Fiber Eating Disorder). Do not taunt mat. Failure to comply relieves the makers of this doormat, Simply Precious Home Decor, and its parent company, High Cotton, Inc., of any and all liability.

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Quote du jour

On Twitter, there's something I follow called @FakeAPStylebook. There are lots of great fake style tips, but this one today was a real corker:
A co-dependent clause will stay with a main clause long beyond the point that it's healthy for either of them.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D

I've always liked what the Hubble Telescope does and the insights it brings. The Ultra Deep Field photograph is an amazing photo; as the video clip says, it may be the most important photo ever taken. This video clip shows the galaxies from the photo in a 3D rendering.


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Caffeine, my drug of choice

My drug of choice these days is caffeine. (My previous drug of choice was something far more deadly, far more dangerous, and the most addictive substance known to humankind according to the CDC. God, I miss smoking even after 33 years....)

Anyway, this article from Lifehacker is something fascinating about caffeine and how it works.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Buy this book!

I have a friend named Mary Wise. I've known her through the STC for about 15 years now. She's a pip. Mary's a great technical communicator and was even the president of the STC at one point (which is no small accomplishment). Mary is also a professional clown. She's a Ringling Clown College graduate. And she's written a book entitled Girl Clown about her first job as a clown with a small circus.

It's a very good book. I just finished it a half hour ago and I needed to come tell you about it right away. You should buy a copy. Or even two.


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Who I write like

There's a lovely site called I Write Like that lets you see who you write like.

I fed it a big chunk of blog writing (my essay on Reagan, which seemed like a long enough sample) and let it happily chew on it and it turns out that my political writing analyzes like George Orwell.

I write like
George Orwell

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


But that's for non-fiction writing. I fed it a chunk of my second novel and I got this:

I write like
J. D. Salinger

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


I could do worse than writing fiction like Salinger. My plotting isn't a patch on his, though. Better stick to the non-fiction for now....
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Another great Patton Oswalt quote du jour

Patton Oswalt's amazing:
"Pornography is Bristol Palin making in 1 abstinence speech what some TEACHERS make all year."

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Quote du jour

I've been reading a lot of lovely, elegant, pithy quotes lately. I'm hanging out in the right circles, I guess.  This one is thanks to Tim O'Reilly, who quotes William Blake:
"The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind."

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Friday, July 09, 2010

Crappy day in the office

My computer crapped out first thing this morning. I was worried that I'd lost Yet Another hard disk, a problem I've had far, far too much of this last twelvemonth. I spent the day without a computer and fretting occasionally.

But it worked out really well, you know? I had the idiot box on in the background and had lots of episodes of The Closer on while I debrided and swept and sorted and sifted.As a result of the enforced downtime, I was able to:
  • process a large stack of mail (mostly junk) that's come in over the last week
  • write checks and send payments on half a dozen bills
  • fill up my wastebasket and recycle bin, empty them, and half fill them again
  • dusted and swept (always an issue in this office)
  • boxed up some spare computer stuff
The office is much cleaner, better organized, and feels much more comfortable.

Best of all, the computer is now working again! Whatever was wrong with the hard disk was fixable using the RECOVER feature from the WinXP boot CD.  A few massaged sectors, a repair to the registry from the backup logs, and ~poof~ all is well again.

But the day did inspire a considerable amount of cursing, so it's significant that early this morning before the computer died on me, I saw the Periodic Table of Swearing. (Warning: This is so beyond the concept of "NSFW" you can't even see it from there.)

Addendum: I got a report of a link problem for the picture, so here's a copy. But try the source first, please: they deserve the credit.
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Dazzling quote du jour!

This quote is from Patton Oswalt, a comedian I'm very fond of. When he's talking about politics and religion, he's incisive enough to take over for the late Bill Hicks. (He's incredibly funny when he talks about other things too, mind you.)

"Let's not forget who killed Jesus -- ambitious politicians pandering to religious conservatives."
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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Federal ruling striking down part of DOMA

I'm very pleased about that part of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act was declared unconstitutional today. There was a huge outcry on the boards about this, including lots of stuff from a substantial collection of idiots who were demonstrating a profound ignorance of the law, what judges do, Christianity, the history of marriage, what the Constitution says, and homosexuality. It was kind of a clean sweep. Almost disappointing, really, that none of the ones I saw seemed to be able to rally even a cogent argument against gay marriage. It was all canned drivel, badly spelled and very poorly presented.

In response to this, though, there was someone who posted a really lovely comment:
All of you against gay marriage, indulge me and explain one thing, Without using the words God, Bible, Christianity, Sin or any other theological notions, tell me why two people who love one another enough to make a commitment as serious as marriage should not be permitted to do so? And spare me the argument that gay marriage would ruin the "sanctity" of the institution. Heteros did that a long time ago.

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8-bit city maps, just like they used to be!

Brett Camper's 8-Bit Cities Project is an accurate map of a number of major cities (NYC, San Francisco, Seattle, and London, just to name a few) done in classic 8-bit graphics just like the Good Ol' Bad Ol' Days on 8-bit microcomputers. You can search for addresses within the city just like any other map, so be sure to look up an address or two and see how it works.

They're adding more maps all the time, so be sure to check the dropdown list for the latest offerings.
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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

An airbender we can all enjoy


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Summer's hitting all at once

After months of no spring and little summer, we're throwing a party of some kind. It's going to be record highs here for the next few days (in the 90s), continuing hot through the weekend. Well, my tomatoes and squash shall enjoy the hot weather at last. The flowers out front are certainly doing nicely!

And here's a quote for today:
“Like everyone else who makes the mistake of getting older, I begin each day with coffee and obituaries.” --Bill Cosby

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Quote du jour

Every time I tune in to cable TV news to see what I'm missing, I keep having the same thought: "All my life, I've dreamed of being an intellectual. But not by default." --unknown
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Monday, July 05, 2010

I feel old :(

On July 5, 1985, Dr. Emmett Brown set the flux capacitor clock in the Delorean 25 years into the future. Today is that day.
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How to make a schadenfreude pie

John Scalzi is a wonderful writer, the newly elected president of SFWA, and the man behind one of the oldest blogs in existence, Whatever. (He even has a book of selected blog posts and some really great responses entitled Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded.) 

A friend of mine (cackling over how The Last Airbender seems to be going down in 3-D flames), pointed out John Scalzi's illustrated recipe for a schadenfreude pie.
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Repost: 7 untrue things most Americans believe

Here's an excellent article I enjoyed reading. 
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My brother's birthday

It's my brother Chris's birthday, today. Happy birthday, Chris!
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Quote du jour

"Little girls grow up to be women; little boys grow up to be big boys." -- folk saying

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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Music: Queen meets the Soggy Bottom Boys

Steve Lalor sent me this clip. It's a group called Hayseed Dixie, an odd bluegrass band from the UK. Their first album was entitled "A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC," a title that just seems to scream "No good can come of this!" The current album is "Killer Grass," with cuts such as "Alien Abduction Probe," "Eine Kleine Trinkmusik," and "Underneath the Bed." You can find a number of clips on YouTube. The video clip below is for their version of Bohemian Rhapsody.


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Zen vases

We saw this vendor yesterday at Art in the Vineyard. It's gorgeous stuff and we're considering one of the larger vases ourselves.

Other vendors there were Shopdog Woodworks ("Artisan Furniture Crafted in the Presence of Dogs") and a really good local hatmaker named Viki Neville who I am very disappointed to say has no website. We liked her hats very much.
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Totally NSFW

Mitzi Macintosh, a well-known drag performer in Sydney, does "Everybody's Fucking But Me." (Do I really have to say that this is just completely NSFW?)


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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Hurrah, hurrah!

The Babe has been away all week in DC on business but she's back! I just picked her up from the airport. The house is spick and also span, many laundry are done, I've polished the granite in the kitchen, changed catboxes, swept, made the bed, and generally straightened up. While I truthfully expect no compliments for this--it's only fair that I do all of this and keep things clean--I think she will find very little to be perturbed about, which will be nice for her after a very long day of cross-country flight.
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Friday, July 02, 2010

Vuvuzela concert

Ravel's "Bolero" on the vuvuzela is rather funny. I like the stuffy German presentation that accompanies it.


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