Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Coffee & Dinosaurs

On Sunday after Mass, we were having our (now) usual lunch at the May Day Cafe, about 2 blocks from our house. The "art" exhibit was - thank goodness - being changed. The new one is dinosaur fossils and a couple casts of fossils. I assume the archaeologist didn't want some stupendous find getting dropped on the coffee shop's floor if/when my sons tried to climb up to see it. The other photos are just the kids. Michael has gotten sporadically camera shy. Since I didn't think you needed to see 5 picture of the back of Michael's head, there's only one of him.

Back to getting up at 3:30 a.m. Good night.

Snakes & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails ... and Dirt
That's what little boys are made of

Real fossils

Cast of a fossil

Same cast, with people for an idea of scale


Gregor just being cute

Petting Raven

New favorite stuffed toy (weasel? ferret?) and favorite holy grail (mom's night stand with all that 'hands off stuff')


I don't think I've ever gotten up at 3 a.m. before. Gone to bed, yes. Get out of bed, no. I'll be doing this for the next several days. I will then take a day off and do nothing but sleep.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Over the Hedge

Walk down to the factory floor. Put money in soda pop machine. Get coke. Put money in junk-food dispenser. Get bag of honey-barbeque Fritos. (When are they going to get around to re-filling the chili-cheese ones? what better way of destroying my diet? Sugar, fat & salt all at once!) Watch bag fall.

All I can think of, when I buy something from the vending machines, is the racoon in Over the Hedge. I keep expecting the bag of junk-food to get stuck.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bits & Pieces

This has been a great week. Well, actually only the past few days, but they were great.

1. I have not forgotten everything I knew about organic chemistry. Prof. Moore would probably drop dead (if he hasn't kicked the bucket already)
2. I am not (too far) behind my internship project.
3. I have been mistaken as the daughter of a co-worker from someone thinking I'm about 10 years younger than 42.
4. Need a specialized chemical glove? Pow, got the best answer in 30 seconds.
5. Brainstorm session regarding ergonomic problem no one wants to deal with? My solution was the best liked.
6. The choir fellow at church is very nice, and wants to know when Peter and I will be able to start cantor-ing at mass.

Damn fine few days.

Strangely, the same choir fellow's father is from Clarksburg. Apparently everywhere he's familiar with in the state is around there. I wish I could remember how he spells his name - it sounded familiar.

I can see why Minneapolis is (reputedly) the best place to live - after San Francisco - if you're gay/alternatively-lifestyled.

There's a note I saw about "don't confuse your comfort with your security". Something our Beloved Fuhrer apparently doesn't realize.

The other day at Powderhorn Park (3 blocks away), the boys were the only white kids there. A not uncommon occurrence. Yesterday day at Currie Park (up near the U.), they were again the only white kids. However, this time all of the other kids were Somaali. Not to be too nationalistic, there was a distinctly different feeling between the two. And it wasn't the color of everyone else's skin - it was simply the fact that the black kids in our neighborhood are all American. How far does speaking English go to being One of Us? It's not like the kids were playing any differently: just dressed differently. My own kids are just as American as I am; but running around with their father, one might not think so, since they don't speak English to one another. I never considered whether someone might think they aren't American.

I bought a new bike. Of course, mine has a 1/10th h.p. engine, unlike my brothers'. I don't think Schwinn makes them with motors. It will be a great improvement, since I plan to ride to school come September.

Holy God of Politics!!

It just occurred to me that classes start on Tuesday 9/2, the day after Labor Day. For some reason, I thought the Republican National Jerkoff would be over on Labor Day. Nope! Derailed mass transit, blocked roads, mobs of rabid conservatives ... All between me and the Ivory Tower. Back to the very gay-friendly environment ... perhaps the hoard of gay/lesbian/other should go have a sit-in at the Xcel Center: hold hands, kiss, make out, hell, have sex on the street. Make the moralistic bastards as uncomfortable as possible, and make them leave sooner, so that I can get to classes.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Drug Running Subs

The Mexican navy says it has seized nearly six tonnes of cocaine found inside a 10m-long (31ft) makeshift submarine in the Pacific Ocean. with video

def: Life of Riley

Well, actually this is a matter of translation

english: to lead the life of Riley
german: living like God in France

Your Kids Should Play Soccer

Being able to save passengers on a plane: another reason to play soccer.

Members of the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer were among those who grabbed the passenger near an exit door..., apparently, keeping the idiot from opening the door in mid-flight. Although, I do wonder if you could even open it at altitude ... it would seem like a truly stupid design if you could. After all, there would be no reason to do so without normal air pressure outside the door. But this sounds more heroic.

Gillian Callaghan, who was traveling with her 12-year-old son, said she never panicked because the flight crew seemed to keep things well under control. She said she felt sorry for the man.

“He was just having some troubles, confused, not a scary guy,” she said.

Now, you know if the man had even just looked like an Arab, the entire airport system would have gone on Red Alert, the government would have gone berzerk, and the passengers would have been an emotional disaster, and the soccer team would currently be being hailed as heroes in a much bigger fashion. And this mother would definitely not have said he was 'not a scary guy'.

How sad. I think this just demonstrates the reality of the world. Shit happens, white people do insane things on airplanes, and no one panics.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cub: "No Comment"

aus Der Spiegel Don't you just want to pet it? Before it grows to 600 pounds and wants to eat you?

Welcome to America

"Now you can vote. You've got to vote. You've got to vote," she says [to her newly citizen-ed father].

Garubanda is from Uganda and she's on track to become a citizen. And she's already looking forward to registering to vote.

"When I become a citizen, that's the first thing I'm going to do," she says.

This week, 845 of the more than 1,124 people in Minnesota who became citizens turned in their voter registration cards.

And you wonder why Minnesota is consistently the highest turnout rate in the country on election day?

Maybe if all of those jackasses who despise immigrants would just get off their ass and vote, they might get their way because at this rate, the immigrants will out number them, perhaps not in percent of the population, but definitely percent at the polls. I'm at an ethical quandary between "keep your stupid ideas to yourself" and "if only more people voted, our democracy would last longer".

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cartoon Elephants - 2

An annual solicitation of local cartoon talent took the obvious subject "Cartoon Elephants Come to Town". While all of the images are better than I could produce with a pen, not all of the content was great. 1 or 2 are amusing to local residents (you probably wouldn't recognize our Gov. T-Paw). But, there are a couple I liked.

** I sincerely hope these can be viewed enlarged, since they could from the source material, which is how these are uploaded/linked. My apologies if they aren't, and you can just ignore this and pretend that I posted something sublimely amusing.

*** just checked - click on image to get an enlarged version. You can still pretend it's sublimely amusing.


3rd try ... if this doesn't work, I"m going to just delete this whole entry.

Didn't make the publisher's cut for the print version, but as far as Truth In Content, this has it.

Mildly amusing in the way only the Truth can be ...

Not Hilarious, but nice use of source material ..

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I didn't think a blog could get spammed. Pow! 4 spam hits with - of course - stupendously stupid "posts". The little map showing where the hits are ... I'm willing to be all 4 are from the Indonesia/Pakistan hits. Come on... the 2nd hit in N.Z. I'm willing to believe might be from someone reading STFU&GBTW's blog, which has a link here. Pretty much anywhere in the USA, chance. The ones in European countries where I have no in-laws are just confusing.

Who in god' holy name would think this is a real human being?

lotto 649 numbers has left a new comment on your post "Columbus, OH - day 1":

I truly appreciate it.

Seriously, what would it do, if these got posted? Confirm that this blog is connected to a real email account? Would it just spam my account there, too?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Columbus, OH - day 1

The boys & I were at the zoo today. Michael wanted to nkow "do we have to share our zoo?" This one is "ours", the one in St. Paul isn't. The new exhibit it spectacular. I had no idea how absolutely huge sea otters are. The little cute things living in the lakes and rivers are just stunted little things. Wild pigs are smaller than I thought. The leopard was just as heat-prostrated as I imagined it would be.

The new exhibits for the bears, though, are stunning. We were standing at the side of the swimming pond, which was under cover and glass. Michael mut have spent a full 10 mintues standing 2 feet away from a bear, who was swimming back and forth and doing some bizarre behavior that looked like trying to tap dance on the fish at the bottom of the pond.

In the newly renovated center area, there are new sculpture of the animals recently installed and some of the long-term residents. The photos are the boys next to the baby bear sculpture. The mama bear was about 12 feet high. Michael informed me it was like the bear in Jungle Book. I wanted to know if it was going to sing "Bear Necessities", which he assured me was silly.

oh, and today's bath was unnecessarily exciting. annoying. frustrating. disgusting. demonstrative of maternal love, since they're both still alive. Yes, this would be Micha standing in the tub & pouring water into the tub. And, yes, that would be Gregor, who has just emptied a full 2-Qt pitcher out of the tub, onto the bathroom floor.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Silent Racism ...?

So, there I was ... driving through the Northside (i.e. of Mpls), looking for the GDMFCSSoBs otherwise known as Com-f***ing-cast. Have I mentioned recently that I loathe and despise them? You don’t need to imagine. This should do it quite nicely. The *(*&*%&^ called, expressing their confused concern that someone had put in an order to install service in Apt. 110 (our former residence). This was 3 weeks after we had moved out. and 9 weeks after giving them notification when our service should be terminated. I didn’t even pretend to be confused. I started straight out:

“This is totally unacceptable. I have lost count! First, it takes 6 weeks of unending garbage to convince you to leave my service On. Now, I leave, and 3 weeks later, I find out this time, you’ve never turned it OFF! How can you guys stay in business like this?” oh. i’m sorry. we’ll get it taken care of. “Do your records say I owe you anything? Tell me that you aren’t charging me for the past 3 weeks!” no. no. we’ll take care of it. um, do you have the computer connection box? “The little grey thing with the lights on it?” yes. “Yes, we do. Do you want it back?” yes. But we’ll still screw you by making you drive all over the damn city looking for us. Because we can't possibly be bothered to be able to give you directions to it. We can't even be bothered to tell you which place is closest to you. Because we sure as shit can’t possibly be bothered to have the next Comcast truck swing by your house and pick it up. You know there’s only 14 of them in the 3 million people area, which is why we only make appointments for 4-hour blocks to make you waste your whole day waiting on us, just to facilitate our power trip, reveling in the joys of an unregulated monopoly.

Back in Northside ...

I desperately need to get rid of this damn box. And then I need to go drive around looking for a Walgreen’s to get my prescription refilled. Which at this point is critical. I think I’m on the right track to the elusive Comcast office, when I see a Walgreens. Screeeeeech. Swift right turn into their parking lot. Yes, they can refill it. It will only take 10-15 min. Great. I can put off Comcast for another 20 min. I wander off to the cosmetics aisle, blithely unaware that this store doesn’t get on the PA to announce “Prescription is ready for Tobias”. I’m looking for lipstick. It’s a small store, so I’m not so surprised at the fact they don’t have a monster-sized selection, like the one in the ‘burbs has. However, I am a bit taken aback when I realize that there is not one single container of face powder/foundation that even vaguely matches my skin tone. Not even if I spent the entire Summer outdoors. I stood there, blankly looking between L’Oreal and Revlon. Nada. This must be what it’s like for little black girls who want a Barbie doll that looks like them.

I’m contemplating the cosmetics. A swift glance around the store certainly verifies the selection, since I’m also the only white person in the store. I’m contemplating the fact that I’ve never been anywhere where I am so concretely a racial minority, other than the city buses.

I’m contemplating the reality that I simply expected that they would have cosmetics for me. Why wouldn’t they, after all? They just didn't need my business, or figured that I would simply go somewhere else to get what I wanted. I'm certainly not offended, just startled into someone else's reality.

So, 30+ minutes later, prescription in hand, I am an hour late getting to a location to study, since I also go stuck on 94 due to the fact that 35W is closed between 494 and the Not-Quite-Rebuilt bridge and the 35W/62 interchange might as well be closed. Half of Minneapolis seems to be under construction this Summer. People are complaining, which makes me scratch my head. Not in the No White People Cosmetics way, but simply the amusement of stupidity. They spend the other 9 months of the year bitchin’ and moanin’ about the quality of the roads and the epic size of the pot holes. Now that the DoT is actually doing this, they’re cranky.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

When you've gotta go ...

A whole new concept of peeing behind the bush.

Happy but not too

The TV actress said she would "happily" take a pay cut if it meant more people could afford to see her on stage.

I notice that nowhere does it say "she happily volunteered to do this for the Proletariat at minimum wage".

"Oh, la, it's so horrible making a living wage. Sure, I would work for less, if I had to. Oh, sorry, got to go, my Blackberry is calling me. We'll chat later about my pay ..."

What crap.

This self-congratulatory blather is more elitist than "give me £50 for a ticket." I've never paid that much for one. Not even the Phantom of the Opera production in Toronto. She's totally living in a financial disconnect with reality.

Sure, I know that theater tickets go for $100 (£50), which is probably cheap in some locations. I've seen great theater in Lansing & East Lansing. Paying $100 presumes that I want to go see some big-name production. Because I, as a connesieur of theater couldn't possibly be bored with the mundane production of Laundry and Bourbon by some Lansing theater group. And the production of Jesus Christ Superstar at Lansing Community College couldn't possibly have been better than the off-Broadway production in the big professional auditorium, could it? [well, parts were] Even the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, which is big-time, only charged $45 or $50 for great seats. I think we paid $30 for good ones.

And then she - and the rest of the throw $100 at a theater ticket crowd - can go pat themselves on the back for being One Of the People when they deign to visit one of the little theaters with such quaint productions.

It's not the price of a ticket. I don't care if you pay $250. I suppose it's possible that I might drop a hundred dollars for one, but I really can't imagine doing so. To see the Red Wings in the playoffs at The Joe? Hell, yes, I'd pay $100. But no one is expecting Chris Osgood to suddenly say "I'd take a pay cut if it meant making hockey more accessible".

It's the self-righteous superiority of "well, I would ..." Who the hell wants to make lower wages? I'm not taking a pay cut so that some company can make workplace safety "more accessible" and "less elitist". I'm sure KAS isn't going to take a pay cut so that some movie studio can make their tickets more accessible. By what? "I'll pay him $7.25/hr, and then we can charge $8.99999999999999999999999, rather than $9?"

The only people who prattle on about "elitistism" are either the elitists themselves, who don't want to be painted as such, or run-down disenfranchised marxists who are pissed that capitalism seems to work.

cell phones & peanut butter

In that case, Moriarty says, an undercover officer was offered $200 for a cell phone — and only $50 for heroin.

And who still thinks technology hasn't altered the American Economy?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

4th of July

We survived a 2 day camping expedition into the great northern woods of Minnesota. Well, actually, we managed to not kill each other while at the Father Hennepin State Park up near Brainard (2 hr. north of the Twin Cities).

Gregor had never been camping before; Michael last did more than 2 years ago. Which was also the last time Peter & I did.

A total fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants preparation found us without some of the more important items, like dish soap or fuel for the cooker.

Not being intimidated by the prospect of creating fire from combustible solid hydrocarbons, I simply purchased a small packet of extremely expensive firewood. Oh, make that extremely expensive wet firewood. Even the little bits pulled off to make kindling were kind of ... soggy. The family next door took pity on me, and gave me a little gizmo to help start it. Worked wonders, for about 10 minutes. The fellow came back over with a couple pieces of dry lumber (read: old 2x4 with, no doubt, lead-based paint). Worked wonders. For another 5 minutes. I’m sitting there, embarrassed, and wanting to defend my ineptitude by weakly stating that ‘no, really, I can start a fire’. After his assistance, he still couldn't get it to light. He walks away, and returns with the ultimate combustion intervention: charcoal lighter fluid. Splash, spray, whoom! Less than 5 minutes later, there’s no fire. At this point, I am no longer embarrassed. Yet another 10 minutes later, with a bunch of super-dry kindling and little twigs and one of those gizmos, I had a fire. Barely. the whole time it was lackadaisically burning, I could hear the hissing of the moisture in the wood. Luckily, there was enough heat to manage to cook our dinner.

While walking along the shore of Lake Mille Lacs (one of those “you’re from Minnesota if you can pronounce this ‘right’” location names), Michael got to see many different things of nature: Monster-sized white mushrooms, and boy, do I mean monster-sized. A couple families of ducks. Crayfish (I didn’t realize they could live this far north and survive winter). Little fish. Dead crayfish and equally dead fish. Rocks. A bald eagle. Spiders. Fishing dock, a boat ramp. And, apparently his favorite, the playground swings.

Both boys had a blast playing at the beach. Gregor kept piling sand on himself. And his shoes. And down his overalls. Michael on the 2nd day, simply did away with the clothing, and proceeded to run back and forth between rolling in the sand and washing it all off in the lake. The cold lake, I might add. July 4 is not far enough into Summer to warm up any lake here.

Peter and I got to enjoy the walks in the woods, and mused that in a few years, we might actually get to see more of the woods once both boys are capable of walking with a bit more endurance.

On the evening of the 4th, after returning from the camping trip, we were sorting out piles and trying to get the boys in the bathtub, when someone knocks on the front door. There’s some man standing there as our neighbor hollers “there’s someone here to talk to you”. My initial thought is “who? none of my classmates or friends know where my new house is ...?” It’s a fellow we met at Mass last Sunday, who lives on the next block. They were having a neighborhood potluck-barbeque and thought we might like to join them. So, finish scrubbing the initial layer of grunge off the boys, and walked up a few houses on the other block and had dinner/wine/wading pool/beer with the neighbors & a pile of children. Our new neighborhood is certainly a ... diverse place. Hmmm ... Peter & I are straight and both white, making us, if not a minority, distinctly not a majority. Melanin content, sexual flavor or preference, or geographical origin not withstanding, we had a great time. Michael got to try his first Sparkler. A good warm-up for the fireworks.

After the potluck, we headed up another 2 blocks to the large city park where there would be some fireworks. Michael was not at all happy about this, having totally berserk freaked out the last 2 times we’ve seen fireworks. This went much better, all things considered.

At Powderhorn Lake, waiting for the fireworks.

At Minnehaha Falls, at south end of Minneapolis, where it flows into the Mississippi.

Monday, July 7, 2008

You Bet Your Life ... and mine

For summary comparison purposes:

Barack Obama plays one of the only games it's possible to win at; plays it in a way that avoids negative expected value; and by all accounts, plays it pretty well. (poker)

John McCain is intensely dedicated to a game that is expensive to play, consumes inordinate amounts of time, and is mathematically impossible to win over the long term. (craps)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Stupidity of half-time interviews

While Der Spiegel managed to ridicule all of these, I think some are rather amusing, even if they started off as flip answers or verbal faux pas.

The ball is round, and the game lasts 90 minutes.
Der Ball ist rund und das Spiel dauert 90 Minuten. - Sepp herberger

After the game is before the game.
Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel. S. Herberger

The round thing needs to go in the square thing.
Das Rund muß ins Eckige - S. Herberger oder J. Derwal

You can win any game. You can loose any game.
Man kann jedes Spiel gewinnen. Man kann jedes spiel verlieren. - F. Beckenbauer

Soccer is like chess, with out the dice.
Fußbal ist wie Schach, nur ohne Würfel. - L. Podalski

There's only one possiblity: victory, defeat, or a tie.
Es gibt nur eine Möglichkeit: Sieg, Niederlage under Unentschieden. - F. Beckenbauer

Sometimes you lose; sometimes the other fellow wins.
Mal verliert man und mal gewinnt die anderen. - O. Rehhagel

Afterall, when it comes to goals, you rarely have to count above three, while with yellow cards, to count to two is sufficient. - explination why soccer players apparently can't count.

At the moment it's 1:1. But it could have gone the other way.
Es steht im augenblick 1:1. Aber es Hätte auch ungekhert laufen können. = H. Fassbender


Super Party Size = Big Fat Butt Size

got me thinking about other synonyms.

Wind-swept look = didn’t bother to comb hair this a.m.

decadent = expensive

splurge = extra fat

indulge = higher profit margin

"flaws are unique and contribute to the beauty of [object you just bought]" = our quality control sucks, but since we only pay 15 cents/hour, we're going to laugh at you westerners for buying our 3rd world junk

multi-cultural event = us white folks want to hang with everyone else in an environment which allows us to maintain a numerical superiority

traditional food = as long as you're the only white person in the joint, yummmmm

traditional food from some European country where they're white anyway = something with the same name, but makes the natives' eyebrows raise

low-fat = too much sugar

handicap parking
= why doesn't being 8 month pregnant count?

= someone who still salivates at the smell of bacon

30% seasonal clearance sale
= we already make our profit quota on all the other schmucks who wanted a swimsuit in March.

Death toll = body count