Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Rubberband Man 

makes me laugh! Who can resist him dancing a wad of markers over to a hapless, faceless cube dweller? When the Emmy nominees were announced, RM made the cut, securing a sure sequel. A quick search today discovered that, hooray!, more are on the way soon.

The link has only their commercials and teasers (see the pool one first), including making-of featurettes and hilarious non-RM bits featuring misused highlighters and misunderstood motivational posters. His monologue while filming the original commercial is worth the download wait. Enjoy!

A Slice of Pickled Ginger 

Well I talked myself silly yesterday, so here are some light and fluffy links to cleanse the palate:

After receiving complaints about my first quiz, I made a new one to only test....
How well do you know me?

Research for my quiz led me to this helpful site about Sushi and the restaurant experience. I started writing a page like this when I started here at Mayo...and then got lazy...and now here it is and I don't have to! Who can argue with that?
Sushi at

Mind somewhere else or you're looking for a place to send it? Visit and create your own interactive Hula dance message! This is really one of the cooler links I've found in a while.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Michael Moore vs. O'Reilly 

The Transcript

It should be said, before I begin my 3rd diatribe today (it's a chatty day), that I consider myself politically libertarian. That is to say, I believe the government should mind as much of its own existing business and as little of mine as possible. Any party that expands the government and cuts into my paycheck even more without asking is a problem. Any person "drinking the Kool-Aid," which can be found at the end of the end of either party line, is not ok with me. Which leads me to Michael Moore, who, as I am a trained journalist while he pretends to be, offends me.

I read this transcript of his interview with Bill O'Reilly on Drudge, and got pretty much what I expected, though I thought O'Reilly's responses were a little flat. At any rate, the talking points...

Moore says that because the President acted on misinformation from multiple valid sources, he "lied" to the country and compares it to a pathological criminal who has taught himself to believe his own lies.

A choice based on misinformation is tragic, but not a lie. Repeating the misinformation when you don't know it's incorrect is not a lie. It's incorrect. It's a mistake. In this case, it's a very big one. However, the seriousness of the situation does not morph a mistake into a lie. A lie is a lie. We all know what that is, and his oversimplification of the situation only inflames the public.

Moore: Would you sacrifice your child to remove one of the other 30 brutal dictators on this planet?
M: So you would sacrifice your child to secure Fallujah? I want to hear you say that.
O: I would sacrifice myself—
M: Your child—It's Bush sending the children there.
O: I would sacrifice myself.

When we go to war, any war, how many children go? Unless they lied about their age, none. Granted, everyone is somebody's child, and I don't dispute that. However, the people going to war are ADULTS, making what choice is best for their lives. They chose to join the military and defend whatever cause the military engaged in. They haven't been sacrificed "by" someone, they are doing the sacrificing.

The problem is Far Left Democrats in particular don't understand this thinking. They think everything is done for someone, and if it isn't, it should be. Health care should be done for you. Housing should be done for you. Food should be done for you. You money should be spent for you because they know better and see the big picture, while you're just trying to pay your bills. Ergo, if something happens, it happens to you and there is someone else to blame besides yourself. You didn't know better, it just happened. It's obvious they think that way from their election year rhetoric and they are always ready to serve their own constituents up as an example of hapless living.

Example: The Palm Beach Valley voting episode. The ballot was presented to its users and approved, but come voting day, those poor people just couldn't "help" but vote incorrectly. They were forced to! They were old and couldn't make sense of it! Their voting supervisor was cruel! Nevermind that those people are generally touted as reasons behind entire governmental movements, now they're stupid. It should be noted that both groups of people were Democrats, not Republicans.

Back to the point. To ask this question, to present it to the nation in the way that Moore does insults the military. I daresay any military man or woman would appreciate having to ask their parents' permission to join or go anywhere. They aren't stupid, and they don't need anyone excusing them as such. Maybe we don't all agree on the point of them being there, but they've done good work and they shouldn't be used in this way.

Finally, Moore says:
How do you deliver democracy to a country? You don’t do it down the barrel of a gun. That’s not how you deliver it.

That's funny, because in the history of the world...that's exactly how you deliver it. Get real, Moore. And take off your hat... This is a civilized nation and you're indoors, sir.

Catching up... 

A short summary of some things I neglected to mention this weekend:
  • My detached caterpillar did pupate (hooray!) making 4, and the three little ones moved up to the big tree last night.
  • +21 new mosquito bites. Ugh. Please stop raining, please stop raining...
  • Just installed my new "Cyber Vase"... clever! Of course it has a company's name on it, though I have no idea who they are and don't plan on finding out. Fight the advertising machine! (but take their stuff anyway) (TM)
  • Tried one of Arby's new wrap sandwiches this week, now that they've finally revamped their menu after years and years. Really, it was quite good. In fact, the chicken salad sandwich includes green apples and grapes! Amazing. This from the company that I thought could only take chicken strips or shaved roast beef and rearrange them on various buns, a la Superman/Clark Kent. Look! It's a Super Arby's! Look! It's a French Dip! Seriously, though, it's worth a try.

  Finally, I saw The Bourne Identity. The movie began by dangerously treading into the Action Movie Bermuda Triangle in which white Americans blend inexplicably blend into a foreign country full of darker, shorter, poorer people and tromp around happily despite the abject poverty surrounding them, thinking it will mask that they don't belong. Of course, their Gap wardrobe does this just fine, and sure enough, the villain finds them quickly enough to off Marie within 10 minutes. This is shortly after she smiles gamely at a photo of her and Bourne and suddenly finds his memory book (where he jots down clues he remembers), despite their being together 2 years and the book being in plain sight. Bourne survives a ridiculous amount of time underwater (where does all the air that goes bubbling up come from?) and paddles away sadly, somehow avoiding the eye of 200 villagers that gathered on the water's edge. Apparently, he's a very good spy/assassin/good-bad guy.

  Car scenes pepper this movie and form its climax. They're clever and well done, but filmed by an unfortunately shaky camera in order to push the excitement. Instead, I found myself looking down, to the side, and into my lap in order to avoid getting dizzy. Totally unneccessary. The assassin is superbly underplayed by LOTR's Karl Urban, who completely took on the Russian mobster role. Most CIA type characters returned, and Joan Allen, for whom I lost all respect after The Contender, made the perfect non-evil bureaucrat/agent to lead the group. Her standard movie motivational order barking was the script's fault, but worked, in a way.

  While I have some doubts as to Damon's ability to play a truly deep agent of this kind...mostly due to his somewhat blank baby face... he gave Bourne a slow-burning, low-key personality and a certain level of unconscious but brilliant cunning. The crowd thoroughly enjoyed watching him set up his plan while the bureaucrats were miles behind, a feat which he continues right til the end for a crowning moment. The denoument has one somewhat strange scene where he confesses a past crime to its only survivor, presumably to help her adjust, though it only would have enraged most people. I don't know what Russian women the director knows, but I've never seen them portrayed this passively. However, this was quickly erased by the final scene, in all its cleverness.

  A crowd note: It was the first time I can remember, short of Star Wars, where there were many more men than women in the crowd. It was nice until one helpfully gave our saved seat away after specifically asking us if we were going to save it even if someone asked for it. At the time, he seemed happy that we weren't, but when the theatre filled, he was more than happy to volunteer it, despite it having our purses in it. Takes a lot of guts to treat women you don't know like that. Classy! The guy who filled it proceeded to shift, shuffle, slam, and sniffle throughout the first half and then stare in shock and amazement when we moved down one. Thanks a lot, Chair Thief!

To cap this entry...Today's Non Sequitur is below, and how classic it is:  

Ann Coulter "uninvited" for DNC column by USA Today 

The column and comments.

So, USA Today invites Coulter to cover the DNC and Michael Moore to cover the RNC. They're supposedly familiar with her writing. She turns in her first column. It's rejected because (see the editorial comments in between her lines) they "don't get it."

What exactly is it about her or her comments that you "don't get"? If you, as an editor, don't get those jokes, no matter how liberal... 1. You shouldn't be an editor, or, 2. You don't want to get them, or, 3. You get them but you don't like it, or, 4. You are truly in denial about your political opinions.

Granted, Coulter is tough to swallow for a lot of people, conservatives included. But, if you invite her to write a column based on her best-selling book and multiple years as a columnist, you know what you're getting. There's no excuse.

I bet they'll "get" what Michael Moore has to say about the RNC.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Movies Can Raise Or Lower Hormone Levels 

SarahPhrase Quiz #1 

Whee! It's time for a quiz!

This time, it was created by your own personal friend, me... Unfortunately, there are right answers. Have fun! 

Take my Quiz! and then Check out the Scoreboard!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

And behind pupae #1 we have... 

From the continuing saga of my annual Black Swallowtail nursery...
Ye dailey gardene updatee. Last night while I was seeing I, Robot yet again, Big Guy pupated, leaving behind his last shell of skin and 2 large, hungry friends. In fact, today they both attached, one on the side of the pot, to my chagrin. After dinner, I poked that one to see if he was still awake and, with gloves on (they're sensitive to bacteria), broke him off the pot and scooted him up the stalk. It's important that they have room for their wings to unfold and fill once they emerge, and it wasn't going to be high enough. Unfortunately I didn't realize that he had fully spun his web on the pot before I started moving him, so I'm crossing my fingers that he'll be able to do it again.

More good news is that TG doubled in size today and was able to grip onto the bush branches tonight, which, as mentioned above, will be important when he pupates in another couple of days. The babies are coming along fine.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Garden Additions 

Yesterday and today brought some fun changes to the caterpillar garden...
Monday, July 19:
  Terrarium Guy (TG) was still firmly gripped to his little branch in the "nursery" vase, so I tried to move him to the big plant, now that the other 3 are almost ready to pupate. Once again, he fell down, several times, and got moved to his special plastic box with fronds on the floor. He's about 4 days behind on growth and doesn't eat much.
On the upside, the medium 2 are going to town on the stalks they've stripped (it's like corn on the cob). The Big Guy has found a thick stalk and accordioned down into a comma shape, followed by him tasting and testing the stalk for a place to attach. I took them outside to take some pictures (on the plant) and 10 more mosquitoes made me into a tasty treat while I held the camera steady. Sigh.
Tuesday, July 20:
  This morning, TG was still laying in his fronds, not having eaten all night. Big Guy attached on during the night to pupate. The process is this: they attach a silk thread to the back of a stalk and, in a Twister-like move, attach it to their own back, and repeat it on the otherside. When they fall asleep (hibernate, etc.) the cord catches them and they look like a caterpillar hammock, with their bottom two feet attached also. Eventually within the next 24 hours (i.e. when you're not looking), their skin splits along the back, their faceplate falls off, and a pupae emerges, in this case, bright green and aqua with little horns. In as many butterflies that I've raised, which is probably about 100, I've never caught them doing that. The other 2 caterpillars were resting before I left and looked as though they may do the same tonight.
  Also, happily, I have 3 baby caterpillars, just hatched! They're this big: __

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Countdown in the Garden 

19 - mosquito bites I've gotten in the last 2 weeks
8 - times the nasturtiums bloomed
6 - new leaves suddenly appearing on my Sago Palm after 3 years with 3 leaves
4 - months it took the dark purple morning glories to climb to the top of the trellis.
3 - miniature rose bushes brought back from the brink of death by black spot
2 - geckos
1 - possible snake
0 - times the columbine bloomed this year
Every year my bronze fennel hosts a burgeoning crop of black swallowtail caterpillars. Having been in a drought the last few years, I raised up to 40 butterflies in one year. This year, we've had more rain than we have since 1932 (literally) and several generations were washed away before I broke down and brought them... inside.
The saga, which I've always wanted to document, follows (excuse the personal pronouns, I have no idea if they're boys or girls):
Thursday, July 8:
Resolved to save the next batch of caterpillars from the nightly monsoons, I break off several branches with 7 eggs total (about the size of *). They're already bright yellow, which means they're ripe. I put the branches in a small crystal vase and set it up high on a ledge next to the porch screen, which is covered on the outside by plastic to prevent it from pouring in.
Friday, July 9:
Home from work, I check on them and sure enough they have all hatched. 2, however, have crawled off the branch and onto the screen; of course they're between the screen and plastic, which means 30 hot, humid minutes standing perfectly still coaxing them onto a stripped branch of fennel poked through the screen and extracting them, much like Operation, without the buzzing or electrocution. An improvised aquarium of a tupperware bin covered in a chiffon scarf (enough to let air in, meshy to prevent escapes) holds the vase and miniature garden with caterpillars the size of ___.
Saturday, July 10:
They eat very little until I put in little yellow fennel flowers, and then it's like pizza in a frat house. Party!
Sunday, July 11:
1 dies over night, and 1 insists on jumping (falling) off the plant repeatedly.
Monday, July 12:
Suprise! While replacing the fronds with fresher leaves, I find a 5 day old caterpillar on the outside plant, and bring it in. He's got to be tough to have survived several days of storms. 
Tuesday, July 13:
2 more die overnight, bringing the total to 5. Each morning and night, I spend about 20 minutes a time fussing over them, pushing them onto bigger, fresher branches or new flowers. Still, they don't always want to eat. Some days are eating days, sometimes they just sleep. They're doubling in size about every other day.
Wednesday, July 14:
The caterpillars are getting big (over an inch), so I bring in an entire plant and put the 2 biggest on there. 3 are still little and like the flowered branches, so I leave them there, propped up against the bigger plant. They're pretty fussy about being moved, and basically mope all night.
Thursday, July 15:
One of the ones on the vase climbed up on the big bush, and one of the others molts, leaving behind what looks like a run-over caterpillar. His little paws are bright white, and he starts eating again, happily. When I mist down the plant to keep it moist, they suddenly all discover they have orange retractable horns and show them off so I'll leave them alone. Teenagers! I tell them I'm not impressed or scared. But, despite an attitude problem, they eat quite a bit.
Friday, July 16:
After work I notice that 2 are gone! I find one crawling across the table I've set the plant on, but the other one is just missing. I've noticed that when they're molting or about to pupate, they get very upset and run like a house on fire all over the place, which is probably what happened. The found one falls off the plant again (discovered by my cat). These caterpillars have muscly white feet at the back, with a short break, and then 3 sets of claws near their head. His back feet aren't able to grip properly, probably due to growth, so I set up the terrarium again, fronds in a vase and scarf on top. A few fronds lain at the bottom catch him and he spends the night down there, but does start eating again. I also found 4 new eggs on the bushes outside and add them to the collection.
Saturday, July 17:
Terrarium Guy is still lethargic, but eats a little, and the eggs are starting to ripen. The largest caterpillar is nearly the size of my pinky finger and eats large fronds to the nub, followed by what looks like the hiccups! The next largest also eats a lot and makes a general mess of things. Caterpillar waste is technically called "frass" and let's just say this is a frass fest. My cat helps me clean up and is getting jealous... The third one molts while I'm seeing "I-Robot" (GREAT movie) and I find it eating the moltings. I had no idea they do this, and I'm not sure I want to know why they do it. Yuck!
Sunday, July 18:
Yet another Molt and Devour this morning (again, gross), and the largest one looks as though he's almost ready to pupate, but not before he eats half the plant! Still not much action from Terrarium Guy, but it looks like he at least ate during the night. Maybe he's just a night owl?

Friday, July 16, 2004

Links for the weekend 

Been saving these up in my inbox...

Use NASA's software and create images taken from Hubble shots.

(courtesy Joshua)

Bobby Yang's amazing violin interpretation of Eddie Van Halen's Eruption solo.

Raising butterflies! Yearly butterfly saga to follow in an upcoming Blog.

(courtesy Adam)

How to Travel by Dave Barry. excerpt: "You may not carry on three bags by insisting to airline personnel - as I have seen many travelers do - that one of your bags is not really a bag, as if it were some kind of magical invisible fairy bag that the airline personnel cannot see."
Hilarious! Read it!

RushHourTraffic, my latest cd mix on iMix. Not that I have more cds on iMix, because I just started using it, but it's my latest cd mix AND it's on iMix. And you're required to give it 5 stars. Because you're my friend :D

ONLY 11.99 on iTunes! Plus if you act now, a set of ginsu knives! Just kidding. If you seriously want a copy, just let me know and I'll burn you one.
By the way, here are a few pictures from my trip to Boston... I'm about 7 pictures down. Editorial Manager - User Group (EMUG)

(courtesy me)

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

C8 H10 N4 O2 

The heat of July is upon us (97 degrees today!) and I'd like to take a moment to give thanks for the tasty morsels that kept me cool and awake this morning...

Dear Lord, Thank you for the legal stimulant that is caffeine and the flavorful way it is prepared at our neighborhood Starbucks, especially when combined with caramel, chocolate, coconut, whipped cream, and java chip sprinkles. May its effects outlast those of the midsummer insomnia while I edit papers today.

And now to address an issue. It's a little thing I call "ATM spacing." The proper use of ATM spacing would be when you are, in fact, in line at the ATM, and the person directly behind the one using the ATM stands a good 6 feet away so as to not appear to be an imminent threat, i.e. in the nature of L.A. Story ("Hi, I'm Bob and I'll be your robber today."). This is ok.

But now it seems like any time someone is taking out their wallet, say, in Starbucks or Wendy's, people feel the need to put as much space between them and that person as humanly possible. This means the line starts halfway back into the cow corral chains, or, in the case of Starbucks, at the overpriced goodies stand. What is that? Here's why that doesn't make sense.

1. At an ATM, you can be assured the person is getting cash. At Starbucks, most people use their debit card. Gen X apparently no longer believes in cash. I know I don't. (although if you would like to give me some, feel free)

2. At an ATM, you're using a secret pin number that no one else should know or see. At Starbucks, it's no secret that you're getting half-caf, non-fat soy foofoo latte, grrrranday, because they immediately scream it out to the barista.

3. At an ATM, you might be shown your balance, which is private. At Starbucks, not only do you not see that, but if you're using your ATM card for a cup of joe, it's pretty clear there's less than 20 bucks in there.

4. At an ATM, you're just on the sidewalk. Plenty of room. At Starbucks, the last person in line is reading the backside of WSJ off a table-sitter's morning paper.

Bottom line is, move on up, people. There's no need to be a line hogger (within 3 inches of the next person) but this is just fast food, not Fort Knox, if you know what I mean.

Friday, July 09, 2004

More useless tests to wile the summer hours away... 

Do you suspect you could be a nerd? Do you know someone that is? Well take this test and know for sure!

MIT Nerd Test

(I scored a 70. Yes, it's true. I already know I should get a life.)

Even more amusing is the Iron Chef Purity Test. Do you secretly wish that Morimoto could slap panelists that don't appreciate his neo-Japanese cuisine? Have you ever been thrown out of a grocery store for biting into yellow bell peppers? When you bring home the groceries each week, do you spill out the contents of your sacks with a dramatic flourish and announce, "Tonight’s theme is . . . SPAM!"

No? What's wrong with you?

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Fourth Food 

Every Saturday I love watching the Food Network starting around lunchtime. Each show is humorous in its own way...

...Barefoot Contessa--great ideas, shocking amount of calories. Yesterday's cake featured 2 sticks of butter, 3 cups of sugar, a cup of sour cream, and was garnished with sourcream icing. That'll do for a few weeks!

...Everyday Italian--delicious, simple Italian dishes. They film one dish at a time so they can arrange the show according to themes. One of the cameras unfortunately distorts Giada fisheye style anytime she looks into it. She also pronounces her dishes super-correctly (spa-GIT-tee), slurring teenage style over the rest of her words.

...Boy Meets Grill--Bobby Flay cooks up craziness on the grill. We actually watch this show to see how many ingredients each recipe has. Recent example: Tuna Burgers with Pineapple-Mustard Glaze and Green Chile-Pickle Relish. By the time he gets done with the food, it's unrecognizable. And funny. And that's only one dish.

I was inspired yesterday to create my Fourth of July menu, sans the grill this year...

  • Margarita Fajitas (my recipe) - Any margarita mix serves as a great marinade for chicken or beef. The lime juice and salt pre-cook and add a nice tang to the dish; I also put Penzy's Salsa spices in the marinade. Add garlic, salsa, sliced bell peppers and onions, and sour cream.

  • Avocado Salsa - more or less this recipe

  • Peach Tart - substitute peaches in this recipe, and frozen puff pastry works just fine

  • Bananas Foster Gelato - available from a local organic eatery; has a fantastic stripe of rum flavored cinnamon syrup running through it. Definition of gelato.

Happy Independence Day, and happy grilling!



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