28 October 2007

Freedom of the Press: Ultimate Purpose Realized

People have started wondering, "What is emo? Am I emo? Could I be emo if I wanted to be? Is emo like one of those big elephant birds in New Zealand or whatever?" And that venerable institution, journalism, came to the rescue with the answers! Long live the free exchange of information!

25 October 2007

Funniest Thing This Week

Okay, folks, this is seriously the funniest thing I've seen all week. Of course, if you have never spent much time in the Indonesian province of Papua, you probably won't think it's funny at all. I can't help you there. Unfortunately, the audio does not really sync with the video, so it requires patience and some careful attention to follow along.

Remember, Papua is the Silicon Valley of the Third World islands south of the equator.

16 October 2007

So THAT'S what happened to Common Sense!

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Aspirin, sun lotion or a Bandaid to a student, but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know my Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm a Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

10 October 2007

Quippage and quotage

Charmed can actually be a pretty funny show. Not as funny as Buffy, but funny none-the-less.

Paige has lost her voice, so she is communicating via writing on a notepad. She is interrogating a demon the sisters have captured.
Phoebe comes in, and sees what Paige is doing.
Phoebe: Did it ever occur to you that Kazi demons might not be able to read?
Demon (gratefully): I tried to tell her that...
Paige (writes): DEMONS LIE!!
Phoebe: Yes, but not about literacy.

Or some great exchanges between Cole and Phoebe (or Cole and, well, anybody):
Phoebe to Cole: Good people don't turn other people into water coolers!
On another occasion:
Cole: Don't you think you might be a little paranoid?
Phoebe: About my demon ex-husband from hell? No, I don't think so.
Cole trying really hard at the relationship thing:
Cole: Did you get my flowers?
Phoebe: Yeah. "Sorry I tried to strangle you." Probably not a card the florist gets to write everyday.

Or one-liners from the fabulous Piper, who tells it like it is:
-Life isn't a garden so stop being a hoe.
-Be careful of the feet you step on, they may be connected to the boot that kicks your ass.
-Phoebe, you're overreacting. That's my department.

'Tis that time of year

That time of year when we celebrate the achievements of the ordinary scientist who just wants to find an answer to a gnarly--if often quirky--question or two.

The 2007 Ig Nobel Prize winners have been announced.

04 October 2007

My Day

Didn't Eleanor Roosevelt have a [rather popular] column called My Day when she was the First Lady of the USA?

Anyway, my own day was eventful without being particularly interesting. I awoke at 5:30, but snoozed for a while. It's so hard for me to get up before the sun rises. I showered and got ready, scrambled with my bevy of morning tasks (usually including feeding and water the pets, checking the plants, and a few other household chores).

I stumbled out of the door, hauling my bag full of stuff that I would need for the day (e.g. purse, water bottle, lunch, various pieces of paperwork, and so on). I had some CDs that I could listen to in the car or at work. I stopped by Starbucks because I deserved a treat and because I had a gift card (a coworker gave me one he didn't want-- imagine that) and so did not have to pay for it.

My job is a few blocks from Starbucks, so I made it in by 7:30. However, despite me being a morning person, the early start didn't help. Even with some caffeine, I was tired and groggy all day. I hate that, because I'm unfocused and unproductive. I was done at 4 pm, and it was just icing on the cake to discover that I'd received a parking citation that (to the best of my knowledge) I shouldn't have gotten.

I was not a happy camper when I got home. I really needed to get my mail, as I was expecting a paycheck (one that has not yet arrived, which brings even more frustration). Well, no time to fret. I grabbed some other checks and headed to the bank, to do some business before it closed at 5 pm. With barely a break to breathe, I went to the Verizon store to examine some cellular phones, as we are changing our wireless service over to Verizon. I finally selected a phone that (1) would be workable for me and (2) more importantly, would be free with signing up for a wireless service package.

I zoomed to Jamba Juice to pick up some sustenance, both because I like smoothies and because I had a gift card that would pay for my purchase (long and pointless story as to how I obtained the JJ card). At that point, I was heading west, making my way to the gym, so I decided to stop by Rosalee's house, which is in that area, for a quick little visit. We chatted and I showed her that I was wearing the sweater I had bought with the money she'd given me for my birthday. It was nice.

I had to zip off in order to make it to the gym to change and try a yoga class. The class was fine, but turned out it was an hour and half long, instead of one hour. That threw off the rest of my evening. Post-yoga, I went to the grocery store (a necessity, since I needed food), and spent a while shopping, but managed to forget a few important items. Grr. By that time, I was starving (a smoothie is a good snack, but is, for me, an insufficient meal). I had to eat something when I arrived back home after 10 pm, after which I put away groceries and got stuff ready to take out for trash and recycle pickup tomorrow. Now, my tummy is finally settled, so I'm able to stagger off to bed, and hope my poor neglected cats will take pity on me and cuddle me.

Tomorrow is another big day that will start too early and probably go too long.

02 October 2007

Charmed, I'm Sure

One TV show I've been watching (seeing as how I have little better to do) is Charmed, which airs a few episodes each weekday on TNT. It is kind of cheesy at times, and I'd like to say I don't know why I like it so much, but actually, I do. This show has a quirky charm (no pun intended), to be honest, and occasionally whips out a good quip or two; but ultimately, the real foundation of the entire series lies in its exploration of the complexities of relationships among close-knit, but all very different, sisters. The writing and characters of the show are far inferior to those of Charmed's fellow, and distinctly similar, WB dramas Buffy and Angel. Indeed, at first glance, Charmed seems to be almost a cheap knock-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with its pretty and supernaturally gifted chosen females battling demons while constantly griping about the struggle to have normal lives (read: mostly, boyfriends and sex), not to mention the Wicca-infused girl-power rhetoric. However, Buffy was all about being the Chosen One, aware of the weight of the world on her shoulders, while Charmed is, as mentioned before, a portrait of the joys and considerable duties of sisterhood. On that level, really, it works. I don't know if men would "get" Charmed, as they can have sisters, but cannot be sisters. I am not disparaging brotherhood, just observing that sisterhood seems to be its own thing. Never-the-less, a good many men probably watched Charmed on the sly, without admitting it, due to the trios of beautiful, usually scantily-clad, actresses who were the stars.
Note: It must be said (though I wish it wasn't necessary) that I do not support the practice of magic in real life. I approve of it only in a fictional context.

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Well, in the month of September, I learned, among other things, that just because I CAN do 45 squats in a row, doesn't mean that I SHOULD. Words of experience, people. Heed them.

I have several social and political issues about which I should like to write on this blog, but for which I never seem to have inspiration when I am at my computer. Among these are:
-The thing about which everyone has an opinion these days - Ahmadinejad speaking at US university.
-Humpbacked whales, evolution, and the limits and hypocrisy of practicing scientists.
-Burma/Myanmar, and the fact that despite their claims, world leaders don't really want freedom and justice for all oppressed peoples. They are interested in helping only those whose oppression is not beneficial to themselves.
-The ridiculous and pointless political system in the US.

However, I don't know if I will have the patience or fortitude to write about those topics. Some of them just make me really irritated.

Any votes for topics you'd like to have addressed? Feel free to write in nominations for something not covered above.