Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Oscars and Me

Because Th. started it, and Edgy continued it... and because I want to appear all sorts of insightful at the Oscar party I was invited...

Oscar wisdom frothing

1-Seen it
2-Desperate to
3-Want to
4-Not interested enough to bother
5-Truly uninterested
6-This is a film?

2-STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH (Yes, it's shocking, I haven't seen it yet. Everyone went without me.)

Brief Comments on the Ones I've Seen:


BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN-- Still thinking about it, but really liked it.

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE-- Started crying from the first scene with the German bombers. (My date thought I was weird.) Was really was glad they didn't leave out certain character-developing parts, like leaving the wardrobe door open "because it is very foolish to lock oneself up in a wardrobe." Or this seemingly silly details like the blue-bottle fly buzzing on the window sill. (Yes, I read the books a few times as a child.) I was relieved that they didn't ruin the film, and was mostly pleased with it. I just didn't think that it had the magic that other film projects have captured (like Lord of the Rings).

CRASH-- Very good. I love it when movies can keep you so focused that you audibly gasp throughout. And I love it when they are so well written, the characters make your heart bleed.

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE-- Was mildly disappointed. I am still working through my issues about where the movie series will be able to go in relation to the books. But, overall thought it was good. I really liked the dragons.

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA-- Beautiful film. Loved the colors, the music, the tone of the film. It was beautiful.

PRIDE & PREJUDICE-- LOVED IT!!! The director, or Keira Knightley, really captured the loneliness of being in love. (You know, that lonliness that you feel when you are in love before you know that you are being loved back, and it seems that everyone around you is part of a couple.) This was a film. It can stand alone without the book. It has artistic merrit as a self entity. The other version, (although I still like it) is just a documentary of the book.

TIM BURTON'S CORPSE BRIDE-- Not my favorite. Watered down version of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

WAR OF THE WORLDS-- Really, really liked this adaptation of the novel... even though right now I really, really dislike Tom Cruise.

Woo Hoo! I have ten!

If you want to see a statistical prediction for the top four categories, click here. That is how I guessed my way through Edgy's game.

The Princess and the Frog and the Stepmother and Kevin Bacon...and?

The Princess and the Frog and the Stepmother and Kevin Bacon...and?
by AMS, LL, Master Fob, Th., Edgy, & B., so far...

I was a child back in the day when wishing wells were dug at every corner, and one could drop a penny or two in them on their way to their daily chores and still believe that the magic would be worked through by the end of the day. I was the youngest of seven beautiful daughters of a King. I was not considered as beautiful as the rest because I read too much, and asked too many questions. I was even getting crows feet at the tender age of 15 because of my late night power reading. My mother worried about this and one morning took away all my books. She sent me out to the wishing well, underneath a lemon tree, in the royal gardens, with a golden ball to keep me amused.

While sitting in the shade of the tree in the royal garden, our princess was contemplating the concept of gravity when something hit the top of her head. She looked up in an attempt to discover what had happened. Sadly, however, long years of copious reading had made our heroine near-sighted and she could not spy anything but a blur of green above her head. When she looked down, however, she found that next to the golden orb in her lap had appeared a second of the same color. Delighted, she ran to her mother believing she would be equally excited to hear that under her care, the golden orb had magically become two.
The queen, it turned out, was not pleased. In fact, she had a rather sour expression on her face when her daughter showed her what she had obtained with the golden orb. The queen sent the princess back out the doors of the palace, telling her to try harder.

Sitting the next to the well, the princess saw... something. Actually, being near-sighted and all, she wouldn't have noticed there was anyone there had she not heard a voice say, "Hey, babe, you come here often?"

"No," she said. "My wicked stepmother [this is where we learn the queen is not her birth mother] sent me out here because she's jealous of my intelligence. I caught her once looking into the mirror, saying, 'Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the smartest chick of all?'"

"Whoa," the blur croaked. "Dude. That's heavy."

"Yeah, and one time I met this prince at a ball and we had a great discussion about Pearcean semiotics. He said my first of thirdness complemented his secondness. He was tired of all the ditzes who couldn't carry a decent conversation. Anyway, I left him one of my glass slippers so he could find me later. You know, sort of a riddle he'd have to figure out. I knew he'd dig it. But when Stepwench found out, she locked me in the basement and sawed off her daughters' toes just so they'd fit the slipper. As if he wouldn't notice."

"Ribbit," the blur said. "Did he ever find you?"

"Yeah, but after a while I realized he wasn't right for me. He could talk linguistics, but what I really wanted was a man who loved literature. And besides, he wasn't that great a kisser and he was kind of nerdy looking."

"Really?" said the blur as he hopped closer. "Do you think I'm nerdy looking?"

"To be honest, I can't say. My vision's horrible and the stepmom says we can't afford to go to an optometrist. Why don't you come closer so I can see you?"

The blur hopped closer.

"My," the princess said, "what a big... green... mouth you have."

"All the better, my dear, to kiss you."

What the princess did not realize is that frog's tongues are useful for many more things than just catching flies (though it never looses that minty muscine flava). In fact, many frogs are employed by the devil to snatch souls from anyone princessy enough to openmouth an amphibian.

Of course, our heroine had read all about this and if she had realized her new suitor was a frog, she never would have made such a grevious error.

But alas.

Now, the princess was without a suitor and without a soul (frogs having learned that a princesses soul is worth more on the black market than her dowry anyway) and with only one possible avenue of recourse available before her:

Her devil-affiliated stepmother.

Surely her stepmother had the connections to get her soul back.

The princess approached her stepmother with a newfound boldness. (Apparently one of the results of having no soul is a sudden burst of brazenness.)

"Stepmother, you're looking ever so beautiful today. Your skin radiates with warmth and goodness." (I guess you also discover that it's easier to lie. And besides, the Stepmother isn't so much evil as misunderstood.)

"What do you want?" her stepmother asked, wary of her sudden change in deportment.

"I'd like to invite you out to Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe for a grande chai vanilla latte. We have important business matters to discuss."

Intrigued by her offer, Stepmother consented.

Once they had settled down with their drinks and apple fritters, the princess put forth her proposition. "Stepmother, dear, I seem to have lost my soul to a frog, and I desire to have it back. Now, I know you know people who know people who know people who know people--that is, after all, why you're my stepmother. Could you perchance arrange to have it returned to me?"

The stepmother demurely dabbed the crumbs at the corners of her mouth. She smiled. "I can't help you if I don't know which frog has taken your soul." Thinking she had successfully managed to still her stepdaughter's soul, the stepmother began to get up from her chair.

"Well," began the princess. "He had a big green mouth. His skin was the color of a ripening cucumber with speckles of harvested olives." (Apparently, when losing her soul, the princess regained her vision, which I believe serves to say that those who seldom read are soulless freaks of whom we should all be weary.) "He had a tattoo of a wolf on his left forearm and the name 'Aurora' tattooed across his right bicep."

Shocked, but pleasantly surprised, the stepmother sat back down.

"What an observant child!" exclaimed the misunderstood step-mother. "I told you reading was no good. Now after one morning of senseless thought, you can see clearly at last. Now leave the matter to me, dear, and I shall find out this rogueish frog and make him return what is yours."

The misunderstood yet miserly step-mother than made a quick exit, without chipping in halvsies. As our heroine paid the bill, she reflected on her late comanion's turn of demeanour at the mention of the frog's tattoos.

Would it suprise you, gentle reader, to now discover that the soul-snatching frog was in the employ of non other than Kevin Bacon? After all, when the misunderstood step-mother thought that she must know someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew the person who had the soul in question, it of necessity had to be Kevin Bacon.

In summary, Kevin Bacon is the devil

Monday, February 27, 2006

Laissez les bons temps rouler! avec les pancakes!

Laissez les bons temps rouler! avec les pancakes!

I am truly jealous of Nemesis who is in the UK, and according to this BBC News article pancake races are about to take place.

In the UK, pancake races also form an important part of the Shrove Tuesday celebrations - an opportunity for large numbers of people to race down the streets tossing pancakes.
Who knew that tossing pancakes was an "important part" of Mardi Gras? I want to see this delightful scene!

In the British Isles, Mardi Gras is called Shrove Tuesday and they eat pancakes. The reason for eating pancakes is that you were not allowed to have such forbidden foods as eggs, cream, fat or butter in the house during Lent, so you made pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, (the day before the beginning of Lent) to use up all those things.

Which is probably why IHOP has chosen tomorrow to give away free pancakes.

If you don't want to fight the crowds at IHOP, just to celebrate the British version of Mardi Gras, you can make your own Mardi Gras Pancakes. If you are giving up gluten for Lent, you can make these pancakes: Golly Gee Gluten Free Pancakes. Or if you are giving up vegetable for Lent, don't make these pancakes: Vegetable Pancakes. I believe that I might try this recipe, because it looks like an easy version of Tarte Tatin, which is French, and therefore appropriate for Mardi Gras.

(Can you believe that I found a way to blog the two holidays at once?)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Tell a Fairy Tale Day, February 26th

Tell a Fairy Tale Day

I was really excited when I first read about this day, a few weeks ago. I had plans to write a fairy tale and post it, and feel all good about myself for accomplishing something. Yeah, I forgot.

So then, last night while I was trying to quickly write something, I came up with the idea that I would start a story like this:

I was a child back in the day when wishing wells were dug at every corner, and one could drop a penny or two in them on their way to their daily chores and still believe that the magic would be worked through by the end of the day. I was the youngest of seven beautiful daughters of a King. I was not considered as beautiful as the rest because I read too much, and asked too many questions. I was even getting crows feet at the tender age of 15 because of my late night power reading. My mother worried about this and one morning took away all my books. She sent me out to the wishing well, underneath a lemon tree, in the royal gardens, with a golden ball to keep me amused.
I would then encourage my blog readers to continue the story. That was my plan. But last night I teetered back and forth, worried that not enough people would comment to complete the story. And I hate unfinished stories. Today I realized that I need to get over this. The nature of this medium is that it is random, and that is one of the reasons that I like it. If people feel so inclined, please continue on with the story, if not... I will finish it myself.

(Oh, and sorry Master Fob I didn't see your comment until this morning, or I would have tried harder to get this out last night. But if you dreamed about the Frog Prince, then the ESP connection has not been broken.)

The Frog King

This is my favorite fairy tale. And not the one where the girl kisses the frog and he turns into the prince, the one where she throws him against the wall, which is how the Grimm Brother told the story. I think that this story got re-told to make the princess look better mostly because women fairy tales are geared toward little girls these days, and little girls want to be princesses. Never mind that princesses are more likely to behave in the way that the Frog Prince princess behaves, we have created a mystique around the idea of being a princess. Disney has picked this up and marketed it quite well. Anyway, I like the original story, because it shows real human behavior, in all it's ugliness. It tells us to be better princesses, nicer princesses, because the frogs that we are dealing with might turn out to be enchanted princes.

My absolute favorite retelling of this story, isn't really a retelling. It is sort of an analysis of the story... well, it is retold, but we get a psychological perspective of the two characters. Anyway, it is The Frog Prince: A Fairy Tale for Consenting Adults. I have two copies of the book, I like it so much. Here is an excerpt:
THERE ARE TWO KINDS of women: those who marry princes and those who marry frogs. The frogs never become princes, but it is an acknowledged fact that a prince may very well, in the course of an ordinary marriage, gradually, at first almost imperceptibly, turn into a frog. Happy the woman who after twenty-five years still wakes up beside the prince she fell in love with. Entropy is the name that our scientists give to this phenomenon, the irreversible downward slide of events: life becomes death, order becomes disorder, princes become frogs. That is the way of the world, scientists say, and most of us solemnly nod our heads in agreement. But the rules of physics, though they resemble the rules of an ordinary marriage, do not at all correspond to the rules of the human soul. There are no exceptions to the rules of physics, whereas the rules of the soul consist of nothing but exceptions. That is why I want to tell you a different kind of love story, about a frog who became a prince.
Now, don't be afraid of the sub-title "for Consenting Adults," it just means that it isn't a children's book.

My next two favorite retellings are: A Frog Prince, by Alix Berenzy and The Frog Prince Continued, by Jon Scieszka. Both books are children's books, and both challenge the "happily ever after" idea of fairy tales.

So, I hope that everyone goes out and tells a fairy tale today! It's a good day for it.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Dear Anonymous Blog Poster:

Dear Anonymous Blog Poster: I can't very well call you anonymous because I know who you are, and I want to encourage this blogging thing for both you and LL. If you continue to be anonymous, it makes it easier for you, so I will name you.

I hereby name you Duck Dodgers because 1) Tom Jones sings the theme song, 2) there are robots in the show, 3) there are lasers in the show, and 4) any show that contains a line like "But Dodgers mashed that desparado, like a soggy avacado, Chewed him up like corn tortilla snacks" can't be that bad.

Anyway, Dodgers, You have an entire Discourse on Batman's Vow? I am listing that as
Reason #1: LL and Dodgers need to get a blog.
Reason #2: See these comments. Still smiling. You two are great together.
Reason #3: The story of how you met on your engagement site. It is adorable.
Reason #4: Tom Jones is waiting for you to share your world with him.
Reason #5: Robots could be involved, you could have robot avatars
Reason #6: The avatars could be shooting lasers.
Reason #7: It's hard to refer to people without blogs and still keep their secret identities. Example To make my blogging easier, you both need a blog.
Reason #8: I would like to see a Filmbiography for both of you. (Beginning with a Doris Day Blog) See similar concepts (Alphabiography) and (Autobiodiscography)
Reason #9: You just need to do it; everyone is doing it.
Reason #10: It's cool to blog.

I will consider arguments, but I will refute them.

Would You Rather...

Would You Rather?- Five Questions from the Travel Game that I Bought for my Brother for Christmas, but Just Arrived at My House Yesterday, Sorry Brother, It's Mine Now

Would you rather...

1) Have one million dollars handed to you today OR ten million in ten years?

Hmmm, Hmmm, I think that considering things right now, I might have to take the million. Anyone gotta million?
2) Be confined to you room for one year OR go wherever you want but always have to wear a giraffe costume?

I would rather stay in my room for a year. The giraffe costume would be way too warm for summer in Utah. It would get all smelly and stuff from being worn every day. And just exactly how seriously would my boss take me in a giraffe suit? And how would I type? And would PETA pursue me with spray paint?

So much better to take a leave of absence for a year, "for research" and watch movies, and read books for a few months, perhaps learn a language... But, all this would have to be financed somehow I suppose. Do I get the million and the year in the room at the same time? I would be like that lady on True Stories. Cool.

3) Have to let 30 five-year-old children have the complete run of your apartment for 3 hours with no rules OR let 2 sea lions have the complete run of your apartment for one hour?

If I could hand pick the 30 five-year-olds, totally the five-year-olds. I happen to like five-year-olds. At that age, kids generally understand what is right and wrong. I would just worry about the bad-apple raising such hell that the rest of the five-year-olds would not know how to respond to the lack of authority. And they might hurt themselves. I don't want to be responsible for a five-year-old getting hurt in my apartment.

So, I would prefer the 2 sea lions. I've seen sea lions. They don't move when they are on land. They just lie in the sun and bark. I would just leave them in the living room, and shut my bedroom door and turn my music up REALLY LOUDLY so that I couldn't hear them barking.

4) Have your feet replaced by wheels without brakes OR your hands replaced by hooks?

I think that I would like the wheels for feet without brakes, but only if Lemony Snicket would give me a new name.
5) Would you rather try to elude the pursuit of Wonder Woman OR Batman?

Batman, for two reasons. First: I would rather be chased by a boy than a girl. I want to be eventually caught by a boy, and I guess that Batman is as good as any man: wealthy, hard plastic chest, bat obsession, sleeps upside-down... "he has two good legs, life is give and take." (You win if you correctly guess the quote.) Second: If I were caught, I would much rather be taken away in the Batcar, than Wonder Woman's invisible plane. I don't want anyone looking up in the sky and seeing my butt pressed up against the glass of the invisible plane flying above their heads. Just wrong. And the Batcar just seems a lot more private for interrogations.

Friday, February 24, 2006

National Tortilla Chip Day, February 24th

National Tortilla Chip Day

Chips and salsa have become such a staple of late-night movies parties, and pre-dinner appetite-teasers, it's hard to imagine a time without Tortilla Chips. Aesthetically, blue and red chips are my favorite. I still carry on the belief from my childhood that they taste sweeter, like berries. But, thin, white tortilla chips usually taste the best.

According to Wikipedia, tortilla chips were not invented until the the 1940s, in Los Angeles. Which makes them not a Mexican food.

"The tortilla chip was invented by Rebecca Webb Carranza as a way to make use of misshapen tortillas rejected from the automated tortilla manufacturing machine that she and her husband used at their Mexican delicatessen and tortilla factory in southwest Los Angeles. Carranza found that the discarded tortillas, cut into triangles and fried, were a popular snack and she sold them for a dime a bag at the El Zarape Tortilla Factory. In 1994 Carranza received the Golden Tortilla award for her contribution to the Mexican food industry..."
I thought this was really interesting since the Frito was invented in Texas in 1932, after Elmer Doolin, the Frito-Lay guy, ate a corn chip. Also I think it is interesting that potato chips came into being almost a 100 years earlier than either corn chip. Potato chips were created, according to folklore, in 1853, by a chef, George Crum, who was frustrated with trying to please an extra grumpy customer.

When my office does lunch parties, we often order from places that have tortilla chips, so that we can build camaraderie by double dipping and fighting over the last chunk of tomato. We have decided that Chili's (founded in 1975- official slogan "Live a Little") has the best tortilla chips and salsa combination. And sometimes, if you have a nice takeout person, you can get extra salsa for free.

If you need another recommendation, Edgy also recommends Chili's Tortilla Chips. He did not know he was recommending them today, so he might be a bit surprised if you all hop on over to his blog to comment about said endorsement. But, I think you all should anyway. He has a nice blog, and he is a nice boy. And who doesn't feel blessed by an unexpected a visitor? (Ummm, Master Fob? Should we be worried about you and your visitor?) Maybe we should all trot over there a bit too, and see if we can get the real story. And back to my stream of consciousness... Edgy has been known to eat Chili's Tortilla Chips. He has also encouraged the eating of Chili's Tortilla Chips to his friends, and I believe that he even enjoyed the eating of these triangular tasties.

(Really, the only reason that I have decided to pay this homage to Chili's, is I want everyone singing the baby-back ribs song, all day today, because it is impossible to get it out of your head once it is there according to Advertising Age a magazine that named the jingle #1 out of 10 songs most likely to get stuck in your head.)

Happy Friday Hummings!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Library Lovers Month

Well folks, it's Library Lovers Month, and other than mentioning it in passing, three weeks ago, I have done nothing about it. So, here is what you can do to celebrate libraries for the next six days.

Memorize and Recite: "The Library" by John Greenleaf Whittier

(sung at the opening of the Haverhill Public Library)

"Let There be Light!" God spake of old,
And over chaos dark and cold,
And through the dead and formless frame
Of nature, life and order came.

Faint was the light at first that shone
On giant fern and mastadon,
On half-formed plant and beast of prey
And man as rude and wild as they.

Age after age, like wave, o'erran
The earth, uplifting brute and man;
And mind, at length, in symbols dark
It's meaning traced on stone and bark.

On leaf of palm, on sedge-wrought roll,
On plastic clay and leathern scroll,
Man wrote his thoughts; the ages passed,
And lo! The Press was found at last!

Then dead souls woke; the thoughts of men
Whose bones were dust revived again;
The cloister's silence found a tongue,
Old prophets spake, old poets sung.

And here, to-day, the dead look down
The kings of mind again we crown;
We hear the voices lost so long,
The sage's word, the sibyl's song.

Here Greek and Roman find themselves
Alive along these crowded shelves;
And Shakespeare treads again his stage,
And Chaucer paints anew his age.

As if some Pantheon's marbles broke
Their story trance, and lived and spoke
Life thrills along the alcoved hall.
The lords of thought await our call!
Watch movies with librarians: Actors and Actresses who have portrayed librarians

Print a bookmark: Do's and Don'ts for Library Lovers Bookmarks

Take a child to the library: Library Lovers' Things To Do With Kids (This one weirds me out, the title, I mean. And, I just didn't think you could do things like frost cookies, and eat Alpha-bits at a library.)

Start planning your estate, so you can remember your library in your estate:How to Love Your Library

Or, I guess, you could just go hang out at your local library: Library Search

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy!

I am totally crying I am so happy! We got the grant that took two and a half years, hours of overtime, complete weekends at the office, and so much research that blood poured from my fingers into the cracks of my keyboard.

I cannot express how happy I am!!!! All is right in the world. I could even kiss... well... anyone who wants to kiss me. :) I have burst into tears at least three times this morning, and I just want to share with everyone in the world how wonderful this feeling is.

I keep on starting to hum the song "Oh what a beautiful morning..." but, then it transitions to "I'm as corny as Kansas in August, High as a flag on the Fourth of July! If you'll excuse an expression I use, I'm in love,I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love..."

Stupid love.

Right now, this feeling is better than being in love.

Single Tasking Day, National Sticky Bun Day, February 21st

Single Tasking Day

Did you know that too much multi-tasking can kill brain cells? If you feel that you have been multi-tasked to your limit, today is the day to put your foot down and demand that you only be required to do one chore at a time. If your phone rings, turn off your monitor so you can focus completely on that phone call. When you check your email, close all those other projects so you don't have anything to distract you from your important messages. If someone complains that you aren't working hard enough, tell them that you are actually increasing your productivity by reserving your brain cells for the future.

National Sticky Bun Day

If you are a super-nice co-worker, you can celebrate today by bringing a tray of sticky buns to work. If you don't think your co-workers are deserving... go ahead and treat yourself on your fifteen minute break. You deserve something good today.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Hoodie Hoo Countdown....

One hour till everyone needs to go yell Hoodie Hoo!

Presidents Day, Hoodie Hoo Day, February 20th

Presidents Day

President Nixon gets a lot of bad press. Perhaps one of the things that he gets the least blame for, but I think he should be called to task for, is the elimination of a day off in February. Apparently, pre-1971, when Nixon signed the Uniform Holidays Bill, people got two days off in February: Lincoln's Birthday, on February 12th, and Washington's Birthday on February 22nd. At this time, the observance of Washington's birthday was moved to the third Monday in February, which guarantees that it will never be observed on Washington's actually birthday. Interesting. Also interesting is that although everyone calls this holiday Presidents Day, it is actually federally recognized only as Washington's Birthday. States do not have to observe Federal holidays, which is why some states call this holiday Presidents Day, or President's Day.

Hoodie-Hoo Day!

Hoodie-Hoo Day celebrated annually on February 20th (didn't you know?) to chase away winter and usher in spring. At noon, you, and everyone you know, is supposed to go outside, wave their hands over their heads, and chant "Hoodie-Hoo!" Everyone who does this will be making the statement that they are tired of winter and want spring to hurry up and come.

Hoodie-Hoo Day provides the perfect opportunity to do some pre-spring emotional housecleaning. If your cognitive closets are filled to overflowing with cobwebs and winter blahs there's no room for anything else. You have to clear out the old and familiar before you have space for the new ideas and fresh starts of springtime.

So, go ahead and do it. You know that you want to. It's time to just go outside and yell "Hoodie Hoo!"

Friday, February 17, 2006

What Shall I Be Day, Random Acts of Kindness Day Champion Crab Races Day, February 17th

Ever since last Friday, I have had a re-occurring dream about blogging a picture of a cannoli. Now, the first couple of dreams could be attributed to a party I attended, where cannoli was served, in honor of our Olympic host country, and possibly because I did not partake of the cannoli dessert tray because I preferred the Napoleon dessert tray.But, after six nights of dreaming about blogging a picture of a cannoli... I'm beginning to think that the cannoli of my dreams is more than a cannoli. It must be a symbolic cannoli.

I believe that Jung would say the cannoli haunting my dreams is this looming event: KUED Channel 7 Premieres a Production on Teen Suicide in Utah, Monday, February 20th at 8:00 p.m.

I have deliberated for the last couple of weeks about whether I want to blog about this or not, and have decided that the reasons that I don't want to blog are purely my own insecurities, which means I need to step further outside of my box.

The production is in two parts. The first hour is devoted to teenagers' experiences and documents their personal stories of depression and suicide. The second part is a supplement to the first program, and is supposed to be targeted to parents and families. I was interviewed for the second part. (My brother committed suicide 13 years ago this March.) Although, I have only viewed the first part, I think that this will be a very good series, and hopefully will open up new channels of discussion between parents and children, and anyone who is concerned about the statistics for suicide in Utah. New knowledge and information are never bad things, and I strongly believe that education is the best course for prevention.

(And if you notice that I stutter through my interview, sound unintelligent because they asked me to talk in complete sentences, so of course I became very aware that I don't speak in complete sentences, and my face is shiny enough to reflect images of the cameramen, please don't mention it to me, I already have died a thousand deaths over it. I do realize that it is more important to let people know about the program, and the issues that will be discussed, than be self-conscious because I haven't previewed how I look in my probably very small part of the program.) And, on to the fun stuff...

What Shall I Be Day?
If you are shocked by that game token, don't ever, ever, ever, get your child the game What Shall I Be? There is both a girl version and a boy version. I am mostly shocked at the girl version. Object of the game is to the first player to become a "Career Girl." The game approved careers are Teacher, Airline Hostess, Actress, Nurse, Model, and Ballet Dancer. Yep, only one career with a college requirement. Nice. To see more reasons to mock the game click here.

Random Acts of Kindness Day

There is an organization named Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, that promotes, well, kindness. They have website with like a million links to cool stuff going on in communities, inspirational stories, graphics, lessons, activities, ecards... just go there, and go there when you have a few seconds to wander.

Champion Crab Races Day

I looked everywhere to see if this was a day that we were supposed to do walk-like-a-crab-races, or if there was an actual crab race. And I found the race. All holidays calendars have listed the celebration for today, but, the race is on the 19th. WORLD-CHAMPIONSHIP CRAB RACES February 19th Crescent City, CA; Dungeness crab races; crab feed, beverages, children's games and art fair. Info: (800) 343-8300 or (707) 464-3174; f- (707) 464-9676. If you are going to feed on any particular type of crab, I would recommend Dungeness. It is the best. I have caught many a Dungeness crab an eaten them in my childhood, and even my adulthood, though the opportunities have diminished living in Utah. Oregon, I miss thee more than ever on Champion Crab Race Day!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Why I might possibly be the office grouch

When discussing policies, and the naming of them. I prefer proactive "anti" as a prefix to passive "non." Most people in my office wouldn't necessarily care, but we have been given opposing council about which to use, and discussion has ensued.

Anti can mean: opposite;
opposing; against; counteracting; neutralizing; destroying; inverse; displaying opposite characteristics; not in favor of (an action or proposal etc.)

Whereas non just means: not; other than; reverse of; absence of.

Doesn't Local Government Agency's Destroying Discrimination Policy sound so much better than Local Government Agency's Absence of Discrimination Policy ?

Sigh. Everyone else wants non. Non. Nothing. Nada. It's so weird to name a policy after nothing.

Do a Grouch a Favor, or Make a Grouch Happy Day, February 16th

There seems to be some bit of conflict about which is the accurate name for the day today: Do a Grouch a Favor Day, or Make a Grouch Happy Day. I guess the difference is the first, you just might be share a small act of kindness, which might go unnoticed; the second, you might have to commit your whole day to making someone happy that is determined to be unhappy. And sometimes it takes really, a lot to make a grouch happy.

Once, when I was shopping I saw an Oscar the Grouch t-shirt that said "Cute when grouchy." I almost bought it. But, reconsidered when I thought that some people might not think that I am cute when I am grouchy. In fact, they might think I am right near ugly, when I am grouchy. Wearing that shirt that said I was cute when I was grouchy, would not make me cute when I was grouchy.

Also, I did not want to be the cause of any internal anger by wearing that shirt. You know, the anger that comes when one of your co-workers declares something to be annoying that they do all the time. Yeah, I didn't want to wear that shirt, and have any of my co-workers be mad at me because they think that I am not cute when I am grouchy. It was a shirt better left unbought, even though the memory of it haunts me today. And lets be real, I probably never would have worn it to work. Because, the day I did wear it to work would be the day I get sent to the attorney's office where on a day when I am dressed normally and all the nineteen and twenty year-old legal assistants are dressed all cute and trendy they make me feel old and shloopy, and if I were wearing an Oscar the Grouch t-shirt, well, I would just want to curl up and die with embarrassment.

(And just so I can feel better about myself. I don't think that I am the office grouch. But, I am insecure enough to worry about it. Because, does the office grouch ever really know they are? In my experience, the roommate grouch always thought she was the most delightful of people.)

Instructions to make a desk "Oscar the Grouch," to make you all sorts of happy today!

You will need:

1 empty film canister
1 large green pompom
2 small green pompoms
Hot glue gun, or craft glue
Two wiggly eyes

Take the lid off the canister. Take your glue gun and glue two small green pompoms towards the top of the canister, for his hands. Take your large pompom and glue it to the top of the film canister. Then glue the canister lid on top of the large pompom slightly tilted (for the garbage can lid) then glue the two wiggle eyes in place.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Citgo Gas BUYcot

If any of you are annoyed that Exxon had record profits in 2005 with "the largest annual reported net income in U.S. history" with about 10.71 billion of those profits in the forth quarter. (Yeah. Because we paid $3-$5 per gallon for gas, and the U.S. petroleum consumption hit record highs for 2005.)
Then perhaps you should look into Citgo gas. Citgo Store Locator

There is a lot of speculation about the politics between Presidents George Bush and Hugo Chavez, but when twelve U. S. Senators were proactive enough about a problem to send letters to nine oil companies asking them to donate a fraction of their profits (that they made from price gouging the American consumer) to low-income families who were suffering from the price gouging, and only one company responded... well, I think that you can know a company just like you can know a person, by their works.

You can check out some discussion about the issue here: Time, "Venezuela's Oil Giveaway"

When you're a U.S. Congressman and 25,000 constituent families can'’t find affordable heating oil this winter, you tend not to care where help comes from. That's at least how U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah of Philadelphia felt last week when Citgo, the U.S.-based company owned by the government of Venezuela's left-wing President Hugo Chavez delivered 5 million gallons of heating oil at a 40% discount to low-income Philadelphia residents. Fattah says he doesn'’t understand the objections of many congressional conservatives who feel U.S. cities should not be helping improve the image of Chavez, one of President Bush's most strident critics. "The U.S. buys 1.5 million barrels of oil from Venezuela each day at full price," says Fattah, "so why would anyone complain about getting some at almost half price?"...
Or, here: People's Weekly World, "Taxing the oil companies'’ hot air"
Last October 12 U.S. Senators sent a letter to nine major oil companies, asking them to donate part of their record profits to help poor Americans faced with large increases in their heating oil costs this winter.

Only Citgo donates oil.

Only one oil company, Citgo, which is owned by the government of Venezuela, responded. Citgo has now established programs to supply heating oil to low-income communities in Boston, New York City, Maine, and Rhode Island at discounts of up to 40 percent...
Here are my two cents on the matter:

1) Bush and Chavez hate each other
2) President Chavez, perhaps motivated by many reasons, but regardless, offers significant aid to low-income Americans during an American crisis
3) The U.S. government does similar aid world-wide, but Republicans do not like to do it domestically, because then it is called "welfare"
3) Bush believes the U.S. should not accept charity from someone he doesn't like
4) I am glad that there are other politicians and public officials believe in doing what is necessary, and who are not politically prideful, and who can look at numbers and see people instead of statistics
5) If it were Exxon doing this, you can bet it would be all over the news, and their PR campaign would cost three times as much as their donation.
6) Have I seen a single Citgo commercial about this? No. Apparently, they don't shout from roof tops.
7) I am now getting my gas at Citgo stations, even though heretofore I have been a Chevron girl.

Gumdrop Day, Sea Monkey Day, February 15th

Gumdrop Day

How can you be sad while saying the word "Gumdrop." It's kind of a silly word. It just brings back memories of childhood, sitting around the Candyland game, hoping to make it through "Gumdrop Pass" quickly to win the game. Yes, I grew up in a rainy place with lots of indoor recesses, and that's why I remember the name of "Gumdrop Pass," not because I dreamed about taking up permanent residence in Candyland when I grew up or anything.

Kraft Foods has an easy way to make sugar flowers out of gumdrops. Now, while this might not be a traditional way to celebrate Gumdrop Day, it sure is darn cute!

Gumdrop Flowers

Flatten gumdrops with rolling pin on surface or sheet of waxed paper sprinkled with sugar. Roll until very thin (about 1/16-inch thick), turning frequently to coat with sugar.

Hold flattened gumdrop at center; overlap edges slightly to give petal effect, pressing piece together at base to resemble a flower. For open blossom, bend gumdrop petals outward from center. Insert small piece of gumdrop in centers with wooden pick, if desired. Use wooden pick to attach flowers to cake if necessary.

Sea Monkey Day

1992 was a very good year, for many reasons... but one of those reasons, it was the year that The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys a live action T.V. series aired. It was so successful, it aired from September 19, 1992, for eleven episodes until November 28, 1992. Gilbert Gottfried was one of the cast members. You know? I just don't understand why this one didn't last. ;)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

February 14th, Part 2

Today is also:

Read to Your Child Day
Ferris Wheel Day
Have a Heart Day
Quirky Alone Day
Race Relations Day
Call In Single Day
National Telephone Day (1876)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Valentine's Day, February 14th

Geoffrey Chaucer, stated in The Parliament of Fowls, that St. Valentine's Day was the day "when every fowl cometh their to choose his mate." (Bartleby.com, St. Valentine.) And there we have one of the earliest descriptions of Valentine's Day. If birds chose their mates on Valentine's Day, it's not a far reach to believe that people ought to choose their mates on this day as well.

Some of the oldest Valentine's Day traditions are related to birds. Which makes me happy, especially after reading Nemesis's experience with birds and gardens in England this week. If the birds are singing and the bulbs are starting to come up... of course it's spring. The older Valentine's traditions grow from these spring-like experiences. Valentine's, like early spring, is a time of wishing and hoping for the future, for happiness that spring and love just might be around the corner, for the possibility of seedlings, new plants, greenery, flowers, and true love will come in the new year.

Yes, I do like that birds once had much to do with Valentines, it just feels more right, more joyful, more seasonal, more in line with the circle of life, more real. I don't feel sappy, or I wish I was all lovey-dovey, but, I firmly feel that I can celebrate the possibility of future love, as well as be happy for those people around me who are in love. Because even if love doesn't happen to come to me... spring is happening to me, and no one can stop that beautifulness from happening!

Valentine's Traditions

It was once believed that a woman could tell what kind of man her future husband would be by the kind of bird she first saw on the morning of Valentine's Day.

Blackbird - clergyman or priest
Robin Redbreast a sailor.
Goldfinch (or any yellow bird) - a rich man
Sparrow a– farmer
Bluebird - a happy man
Crossbill - an argumentative man
Dove - a good man.
But if the girl should see a woodpecker, she will never marry. (A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions. Waring, Philippa. London. 1978.)

Yellow, for hope, not pink and red, is the color one should wear on Valentine's Day. A maiden who wears a yellow crocus in her buttonhole,(an honored symbol of the day, and perhaps one of the bulbs coming up in England) will increase the chance of meeting her future husband. (A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions. Waring, Philippa. London. 1978.)

On Valentine's Night an un-married woman should cut open an apple. If there are an even amount of seeds visable, she will marry shortly. If she happens to slice a seed into pieces, she will remain unmarried for the rest of her life. (I personally think that I need to stay away from this tradition. No need to jinx myself.) (A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions. Waring, Philippa. London. 1978.)

If a beautiful woman fall asleep with a mirror under her pillow on Valentine's Night, she will dream of the man she will marry. (And hopefully she won't break it and give herself seven years bad luck!) (A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions. Waring, Philippa. London. 1978.)

If a girl forgets to look north every time she leaves the house on Valentine's Day she will never marry. If she leaves her hankerchief on a rosebush overnight on Valentine's Night, the initials of her true love will be revealed from the marks of the morning dew. (A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions. Waring, Philippa. London. 1978.)

Here's one that I'm sure is a waste of time on any day: "A girl must first stand by the roadside and count ten red cars, and then look for a red-headed girl wearing a purple dress, After this she just needs to keep her eyes open for a man with a green tie, and the very next man she sees after him will be here intended!"(A Dictionary of Omens and Superstitions. Waring, Philippa. London. 1978.)

And finally: 1)If a person wants to know the initials of their true love them they must peal an apple in one strip, and throw it over their right shoulder into the left corner of their bedroom, and go to bed without looking at it. In the morning the peal will have formed the initials of their true love.

2) Throw your shoe over your shoulder; if it lands with the toe toward the door, you will marry within a year. If the toe is pointing to a corner you will have to wait another year for your true love to come.

3) A woman who is seeing a man seriously should place a four-leaf clover in her shoe, and the next time she sees her him, he will ask her to marry him. Some girls who aren't very pretty, and are worried that he will stray, should swallow the clover, for better luck. (Great-Grandma "Nan" Burns, Scotch-Irish Traditions)

Whatever you do, I hope you all have a Wonderful, Happy Valentine's Day!

Get a New Name Day, February 13th

To begin my name search, I started with something serious.

I went to Get a Chinese Name Shi An bao is my new Chinese name. This name means I am well versed in rare treasures.

Then I wandered off into the realm of fantasy.

I went to The Hobbit Name Generator to get my hobbit name, which is Daisy Grubb. Daisy, I could like. Grubb, not so much. Actually, Grubb is one of my ancestor's names... I guess I should embrace it.

Then I went to The Jedi Name Generator. I am Jedi Secab Adkei of the planet Avonex. Hmmm. It just doesn't fit me.

My favorite is my Pirate Name: The Dread Pirate Bonney. I found this from taking a twenty question quiz at What's My Pirate Name? But, I am not sure if I will ever able to get used to people dreading me. Or people constantly singing "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" whenever they see me coming.

If I were a robot I would be:

That's me. Designed for nocturnal stuff.

If I were a monster I would be:

Which is odd, because I have nothing against anthropologists, or scientists, but I really like the "nightmare from the tower" thing; it's very Jane Eyre-esque.

Without four more years of school, I have been named Professor Drunkenpaws from the Squirrel Name Generator. While I find the idea of being called professor way cool, I don't really like the "drunkenpaws" part. It almost sounds masculine. If I am going to be a squirrel, I want to be a girly squirrel.

And, I can't even pronounce my new Irish name, Eibhilan a Cheanndubhain, from the Random Irish Namer. And with my spelling problems, I will never learn how to spell this name.

All in all, Dread Pirate Bonnie is my favorite. I will be getting new business cards made up as soon as I can convince the rest of the world that this is sane and logical.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Why I Walked Out of Church Today

When the teacher got up and stated that she wasn't going to take comments during the lesson today, I should have taken that as a bad sign.

She started off talking about health, and our bodies being from God. She went on to say that there are many ways to misuse the body, being overweight, eating unhealthily, blah, blah, blah, and she said that one of the results of sin is sickness. (Okay, HUGE problems with that. What about Job? And Christ told his disciples that those around Him were sick to increase their faith, not as a punishment to their parents for sin. I have a huge problem with anyone relating sickness to sin. And, I have M.S., so, I am a little biased. I don't think that I did anything to deserve being sick.)

The teacher went on to say that she had recently lost some weight, and had never felt more spiritually connected to Heavenly Father. (Okay, I can see that, because you are feeling better about yourself, so you would have a better self esteem, and that will improve your relationships with everyone. And even though I think it's not appropriate to base your entire Relief Society lesson around your weight loss experience, that is one of the things that we have to accept with an untrained clergy, and the church organized the way it is.)[For those not LDS, Relief Society is like a Sunday School class for women over the age of 18.]

My mind was wandering, so I missed her exact transition, if she had one, but she puts magazine photos of three different types of meals on the whiteboard. The first was a bread, green beans, a chicken breast, and jello. The second was plain rice, black beans, sliced mushrooms, and steak. The third was seasoned rice, fruit salad, green beans with almonds sliced on top, and a roll. Only one of these meals is appropriate food for our bodies she says. I look at them and from the Word of Wisdom's perspective the last one would be most appropriate, it having the least amount of meat. But, no. She says the middle one. Yes. All of our meals should be of bacon, sausage, hamburger, steak, pork, etc., because, fruit and vegetables ferment in our bodies. Yes, they ferment and turn into wine.

For example, she pointed to a candle warmer, and a glass of water filled with chopped up pieces of apple. She had been cooking this mush at approximately 101 degrees for the past three days. She said that she would pass around the glass at the end of class so we could smell for ourselves what happens to fruit when it goes through our digestive systems, and what we are subjecting our poor livers to when we eat fruit. (Okay, first of all, if this were true, it is the way God made it, and therefore, it's the way it's supposed to work! But, it isn't true, because: 1) Sure, that happens when an apple sits in WATER, but our digestive systems are ACIDIC, so the apple is digested; and 2) I don't know about the rest of ya'all but things like apples don't sit in my stomach for three days, there are muscles around that whole system that make things move. Second, I have of late, become rather educated about livers. Yes, they do filter out bad stuff, but there are a lot of things that we should be more worried about than APPLES!!!)

Hands went up all over the place. I don't know if people were agreeing with her, I rather hope and believe that they were disagreeing with her. But as she went on and on spewing unholy crap out of her mouth, pretty soon most of the group had their hands up. At that point, the Relief Society President stood up and said, "Sister Blahblah asked that there not be any comments during her lesson. Please abide by her wishes."

HELLO! It's been a while, but when I was in the Relief Society Presidency they begged us to interrupt if the teacher ever began teaching something that was not true, incorrect or basically false doctrine. What happened to fruit of the vine?

So, yeah, after the R.S. Pres. basically endorsed what was being taught, I thought that I needed to give my anti-endorsement. So I walked out. There were probably a million other level-headed things I could have done... but, they weren't coming to mind.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Be Electerific-National Shut-in Visitation-White T-Shirt- Satisfied Staying Single-National Inventors'-Make A Friend- Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Day

February 11th is a significant day. There are seven celebrations today. A whole week in one day. Impressive huh!

Be Electerific Day
Last night while I was watching the Olympic Torch Lighting Ceremony with some friends, I said "Wouldn't it be cool to be an engineer." It was funny to see the reaction in the room full of English degrees. I was thinking about the design aspect of being an engineer and having years to come up with cooler pyrotechnics than the previous Olympics.

Another reason I think it would be cool to be an engineer would be to under stand why things like this happen:

An Australian man built up so much static electricity in his clothes as he walked that he burned carpets, melted plastic and sparked a mass evacuation.

Frank Clewer, of the western Victorian city of Warrnambool, was wearing a synthetic nylon jacket and a woollen shirt when he went for a job interview... His clothes were measured by firemen as carrying an electrical charge of 40,000 volts, the Reuters news agency quoted Mr Barton as saying....

The fire official added that the charge was close to being high enough to cause the items to spontaneously combust. "I've been firefighting for over 35 years and I've never come across anything like this," he said."Man's static jacket sparks alert" BBC News
So, unless you want to Be Electerific don't wear wool and nylon together. It can cause some problems.

National Shut-in Visitation Day

Shockingly, I am going to twist this celebration to meet my own agenda. There is this ultra-cool website called Idealist.org. At Idealist.org you can look up jobs, internships, or volunteer opportunities. What is really cool about this site, is you can do it by state, and country, city, area of focus, and get down to what you really want to do. So, if you want to live in Ireland and are want to find a volunteer opportunity to work with seniors you can.

White T-Shirt Day
If I had white t-shirt, it would say something Irish. Because, I have always wanted a "Kiss me I'm Irish" t-shirt. I just looked through my t-shirt collection, and I don't own a white t-shirt. I own white camis, but no white tees. There is something wrong and un-American about that. I must ponder on why I don't have any white tees.

Satisfied Staying Single Day
I probably shouldn't even post this picture, but I found it when I was looking for the Irish t-shirt. I love it! Yes, if I felt even slightly confident claiming Veela blood, I would be wear this shirt. I think that I had better stick with the Irish claim. At least it is true, and we have the Best Holiday Ever quickly approaching. (Only 33 days!) And what better day to be single, the day when everyone says "Kiss Me!"

Oh, I am going to be late. I am going to rush through the rest of these.

National Inventors' Day
In recognition of the enormous contribution inventors make to the nation and the world, the Congress, pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 140 (Public Law 97 - 198), has designated February 11, the anniversary of the birth of Thomas Alva Edison, as National Inventors' Day. (Wikipedia)

Make a Friend Day

Reasons everyone needs friends:

"My friends are my estate." - Emily Dickinson

"Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you."- Elbert Hubard

"What is a friend? A single soul in two bodies." - Aristotle

"I really don't mind what happens now and then, As long as you'll be my friend at the end" - Three Doors Down

"Let's make a resolution. I'll drink to that. Let's always stay friends. Friendship is thicker than blood..." (Ten points to whomever names that tune first)

Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk

When I tutored with Project Read, I gave my student an assignment to write what he thought about various common phrases and proverbs, an idea I got from a webpage similar to this.

For "Don't cry over spilt milk" he wrote, "Don't spill the milk or you will be sorry." I have always wondered about that response. According to Bartleby the phrase means "It doesn't do any good to be unhappy about something that has already happened or that can'’t be helped." I always took it to mean something like, "Don't cry because we can easily rectify the situation by wiping it up and milking the cow again." I guess that everyone has their own interpretation of proverbs, and one of the reasons why they last, is because everyone can personalize them.

Friday, February 10, 2006

It's so refreshing to have a boss who understands...

On top of the fridge, at the office, is the bottle of "Y Sparkle" that has been there over a year (and maybe closer to two). It disturbs me that it has been there so long. And what disturbs me even more is that it seems to be developing some sort of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. I want to throw it out, but, there have been issues about people throwing out stuff that has been reserved for later consumption. Over the last few months, at the various office eating parties, I have made references to the aging Sparkle in hopes that someone would claim it. Every time I brought up the Sparkle, I got blank stares, as if the bottle of non-caffeinated beverage was a figment of my imagination.

Shortly after New Years, when I was in my morning daze, and sitting in the kitchen waiting for my water to get reasonably warm enough for my instant oatmeal, I was staring at the Sparkle (yes, sometimes I can fixate on unreasonable things) and I noticed that the label said, "Since 1964." I sprinted to my desk to grab a pen and a pink sticky note. I wrote on the sticky note- "Has this really been here since 1964?"

Days went by without a response. I had expected SOMEONE, at least one person in the office of about twenty, to notice my note and leave a reply. I was sorely disappointed that no-one was sharing in my amusement over the aging bottle. My disappointment lasted a few days, and then I forgot about the Sparkle-note.

Until today. There on the bottle, on an orange sticky note, in my boss's handwriting, it said, "Like a fine wine, Sparkle only improves with age."

Plimsoll Day, February 10th

Plimsoll Day is in honor of Samuel Plimsoll, who was a British Social reformer. He was a member of parliament, and is most remembered for the legislation that introduced the Plimsol Line or load line, which is a visible line designed to protect sailors from ships being loaded with too much cargo. The line is necessary because the buoyancy of a ship changes from freshwater to saltwater, and from tropic water to arctic water. So, if you load your boat up in merry ol' England, then sail to Iceland and pack up some more and then hence to St. Thomas, there can be problems with how smoothly the whole passage goes.

When Plimsoll's bill passed in 1870, it only required that a line be drawn on the boat, it didn't require that it be an accurately safe line. Sounds like a typically political compromise.

During the time of Samuel Plimsoll, because it was Victorian England, and we learn from Dickens that it was absolutly horrid to live in Vistorian England if you didn't have money, it was more cool to load your ships up and increase the danger of shipwreck, and save a few bucks on shipping costs, than to worry about the safety of your crew. Much like the coal industry today. Or, if you want to read a really Bush-slamming article about it, try this one. I am attempting a rather uneducated contemporary correlation. I actually don't know anything about the mining industry. I should probably just take out this whole part, but, I'm not going to. Because, according to my dad, that's what we liberals do, we complain about things that we know nothing about.

Anyway, the Plimsoll Line on boats lead to a popular fashion trend: the plimsoll shoe. This shoe, as far as I can tell, was the original Ked. According to wikipedia, the plimsoll shoe was a "canvas upper and rubber sole" which acquired the name "'plimsoll' because the colored horizontal band joining the upper to the sole resembled the Plimsoll line on a ship's hull."

This picture is a re-creation of a WWII Kriegsmarine U-boat canvas shoe, which, surprisingly, is Britishly nicknamed a plimsoll.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

National Hot Breakfast Month

National Hot Breakfast Month

Wouldn't it be cool if this was the hot breakfast that the month was dedicated to? and not this?

Toothache Day, February 9th

Toothache Day

I really don't have much to say about Toothache Day, except, I am sorry if you have one.

But, you can send a Toothache Day ecard if you feel that extra special need to share your feelings about today.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Rejection Awareness Week; Love Makes the World Go Around, but Laughter is What Keeps Us From Getting Dizzy Week; February 7th-14th

Rejection Awareness Week 1980s Style

1. At This Moment
Billy Vera & the Beaters

What did you think I would do at this moment
When you're standing before me
With tears in your eyes
Trying to tell me that you have found you another
and you just don't love me no more ...

...What do you think I would give at this moment
If you'd stay I'd subtract twenty years from my life
I'd fall down on my knees
and kiss the ground that you walk on
If I could just hold you again

I remember when I first heard this song. It was on Family Ties
and Alex had just lost his first girlfriend. Alex played the song at least twice in the course of the show. By the end, I was bawling. How could she leave him! He was so cute! Oh the trauma of television teenage angst. Rip my heart out

2. >Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
The Smiths

Good times for a change.
See, the luck I've had
could make a good man
turn bad.
So please, please, please
let me, let me, let me
let me get what I want
this time.

Haven't had a dream in a long time.
See, the life I've had
could make a good man bad
So for once in my life,
let me get what I want.
Lord knows it would be the first time.
Lord knows it would be the first time.

This is an eighties song, I was aware of it in the eighties, but I discovered powers available in that song if sung as a mantra in chorus with roommates. My freshman year in college in the early nineties, it was played and many, many times in my dorm as six girls attempted to decipher the mysteries of freshman boys, and some not freshman boys.

3. Look Away

But if you see me walking by,
And the tears are in my eyes,
Look away, baby, look away.
If we meet on the street some day,
And I don't know what to say,
Look away, baby, look away.
Don't look at me
I don't want you to see me this way

After you've been rejected, you don't want to see them, or anyone for that fact. Then they will see the hair that hasn't been washed on two days and no makeup.

4. If You Leave

If you leave, don't leave now
Please don't take my heart away
Promise me just one more night
Then we'll go our separate ways

Rejection is less the issue, and separation anxiety is more likely the diagnosis.

5. The One I Love

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I've left behind
A simple prop to occupy my time
This one goes out to the one I love

Fire (she's comin' down on her own, now)

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I've left behind
Another prop has occupied my time
This one goes out to the one I love

This is The Ultimate Irritating Rejection song. The song is just "a simple prop to occupy [his] time," and then another prop occupies his time. Gee thanks, glad that I could occupy your time for about two minutes before you had better things to do.

Love Makes the World Go Around, but Laughter is What Keeps Us From Getting Dizzy Week

Albert Einstein seemed to have a fairly strong grasp of what makes the world go around. Let's see what he had to say about love.

"Gravitation can not be held responsible for people falling in love."
Albert Einstein

"How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?"
Albert Einstein

"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour.
Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity."
Albert Einstein

Laugh & Get Rich Day, Kite Flying Day, February 8th

Oh, Absent is going to be political today. Kind of interesting for Laugh and Get Rich Day and Kite Flying Day. Yes, this means that someone put a bug in my ear, or a tack on my chair, or starch in my collar...

Laugh and Get Rich Day

It seems that according to this holiday, laughter will help us be wealthy. I think that if you count your wealth in health and wisdom than we might be on to something here.

Laughter will improve the cardiovascular system. When we laugh, our heart rate and blood pressure go way up, then they drop, which is good if you want to reduce high blood pressure. Four-year-olds laugh on average of three hundred times a day, while the average adult laughs only fifteen times a day. Maybe that is why adults have heart disease. If we would laugh as frequently as a four-year-old, we might have the heart rate and blood pressure of a four-year old.

When we laugh our internal organs get massaged. Massages are always good. And our blood becomes highly oxygenated from the increased air that we breath during a laugh. The air that is expelled during laughing has been clocked at seventy miles per hour, so we know our respiratory system is also getting a workout.

Laughter is believed to be one of the things that helps our brain to produce hormones called beta endorphins, which reduce pain in our bodies. It also helps the adrenal glands to manufacture cortisol, which is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Yes, the world needs more laughter in it, and less focus on things. This is what I offer as proof.

Savings Rate at Lowest Level Since 1933 by Martin Crutsinger

Americans' personal savings rate dipped into negative territory in something that hasn't happened since the Great Depression. Consumers depleted their savings to finance the purchases of cars and other big-ticket items.

The Commerce Department reported Monday that the savings rate fell into negative territory at minus 0.5 percent, meaning that Americans not only spent all of their after-tax income last year but had to dip into previous savings or increase borrowing.

The savings rate has been negative for an entire year only twice before -in 1932 and 1933 -two years when the country was struggling to cope with the Great Depression, a time of massive business failures and job layoffs...

...A negative savings rate means that Americans spent all their disposable income, the amount left over after paying taxes, and dipped into their past savings to finance their purchases...

"Americans spent all their disposable income." Wow.

Kite Flying Day

After that cheerful article, here is a nice one about global warming. Apparently, January was the warmest in the U.S. history since 1953. With that and our record hurricane season, I am a bit worried about next year.

But, if we are having record-setting high temperatures, it will make for better kite flying.
January Was America's Warmest on Record by Randolph E. Schmid

January was a fair-weather friend. Recording the warmest January on record allowed Americans to save on their heating. But like all good things, last month's mildness seems to have been too good to last.

The country's average temperature for the month was 39.5 degrees Fahrenheit, 8.5 degrees above average for January, the National Climatic Data Center said Tuesday. The old record for January warmth was 37.3 degrees set in 1953...

All this negativity can only mean that Absent had to deal with a lot of government rhetoric, and is looking forward to more. I think that I am going to go live in Iceland. At least they won't be going to war over oil.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Rejection Awareness Week; Love Makes the World Go Around, but Laughter is What Keeps Us From Getting Dizzy Week; February 7th-14th

Rejection Awareness Week

In every good musical, someone gets rejected. And here is my list of my favorite rejection songs from musicals.

1. "My Funny Valentine" - Babes In Arms (1937) The reason I like this song has less to do with the actual musical and more with the fact that I had to sing it as a solo every year in high school to remain in the concert choir. So, I guess, for me the possible rejection was not in the love area. But, the song will remain #1 on this list. The mournfulness of the tune tears my heart out during the line "You make me smile, with my heart."

2. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - Meet Me In St Louis (1944) Watching Judy Garland sing this song with her big brown eyes filling up with tears, always makes my eyes fill up with tears.

3. "On the Street Where You Live" My Fair Lady (1956) Poor Freddy. He never had a chance. I so wanted him to have a chance. "For there's no where else on earth that I would rather be. Let the time go by, I won't care if I Can be here on the street where you live." Poor, poor Freddy.

4. "Johanna" - Sweeney Todd (1979) Some of you might think I've gone daft over this one. How can the "Demon Barber of Fleet Street" contain a beautifully tragic love story. It does. "I feel you, Johanna And one day, I'll steal you." Okay, he's going to steal her? not rescue her?

Swept up in the dramatic moment, when it is nicely laid out on stage, who wouldn't want to be showered with such intense love? Perhaps what makes this a rejection song for me is that deep within my womanness I have the desire to drive some man to such romantic excess, and at the same time I reject that desire. I know that I don't want love to drive anyone mad. I want love to be tender, and and this is dangerously close to stalkerish-mad-man.

5. "I'm Not That Girl" - Wicked (2003) "Don't wish, don't start, Wishing only wounds the heart, I wasn't born for the rose and the pearl, There's a girl I know, He loves her so, I'm not that girl." Enough said on that one.

Love Makes the World Go Around, but Laughter is What Keeps Us From Getting Dizzy Week

Hopefully, here is a little laughter to keep you from getting dizzy. I have to tell you, I had a hard time finding a funny love poem that wasn't racy. I know that there are some out in the world. I have read them... Google is just not being very helpful for me tonight. I will try harder, later. After all, we do have a whole week of this!

Love Doesn't Make You Fat

Everybody's counting calories,
Shedding those extra pounds;
They're exercising, compromising,
Making the rounds;
There's a super hit sensation
That will keep your tummy flat;
If there's one thing I know for sure,
Love doesn't make you fat.

They're watching Richard Simmons,
Dancing to the beat,
Trying new-fangled diet plans
And other good things to eat;
A kiss doesn't add calories,
A touch won't burst your stuff,
With a dose of love each day,
You'll never get enough.

Love doesn't make you fat,
It's a polyunsaturated dream;
It's decaffinated, emancipated,
Sweeter than chocolate cream;
Love doesn't make you fat,
It's done wonders for me;
You can keep that "Bo Flex" body,
Love's got a lifetime guarantee.

Copyright; Joel Bjorling
Email: bjorling@galesburg.net

Dump Your Significant Jerk-Wave Your Fingers at Your Neighbors-Charles Dickens-Love Your Robot-Mail Your Neighbor a Card- In-One-Day, February 7th

Dump Your Significant Jerk Day
Just because it's February, and you are single, and you are lonely, it doesn't mean you have to attach yourself to the nearest fellow singleton. Pause, take a breath, think about your wedding pictures. If there is the slightest possibility they might turn out like this, it's time to look into dumping your significant jerk.

Wave Your Fingers at Your NeighborsSome days we say it best, when we say nothing at all... just wave your fingers at your neighbors, and they will understand.

Charles Dickens Day
It's a day to ponder what we would be missing, without Charles Dickens. What would we be missing?

Love Your Robot Day
I have nothing to say about this. I think I would find it impossible to love a robot. Even a funny endearing one from my childhood. The beepdeedeebeepbeeps would annoy me.

Mail Your Neighbor a Card Day
This holiday had to have been created by Hallmark. Why else would we have a random card mailing day. It's not a Birthday card, a thank-you card, or a compliment card, or even an I love you card... just a card. So, go mail a card. And don't forget the the Federal Government just raised the prices of stamps.

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Pay a Compliment Day, February 6th

I know, you all are saying, "But Absent-minded Secretary, we just had National Compliment Day on January 25th?"

I know. And now we have Pay a Compliment Day. I guess that compliments days are like chocolate days, you can never have too many.

If you need an idea of who you should compliment today...Spouse, Children, Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Friends, Employees, Coworkers, Customers/Clients, Vendors, Business Partner, Business Associates, Salespeople, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Teachers, Neighbors, Store clerks, Grocery baggers, Receptionists, Lettercarriers, Fast Food Employees, Gas Station Attendants, Internet Friends, or Yourself!