Tuesday, December 23, 2003

*BIG sigh of relief coming from the left*

nader calls it quits on green party presidential candidacy.

that's not to say he won't run as an independent. "Nader said running as an independent would not hurt his campaign. "As an independent, you can do more innovative things because you don't have to check with all the bases," he said. " right.

meanwhile, back at green party HQ, they've learnt that bad publicity might simply be bad publicity. "The Green Party is debating whether to take a nominee on a full state-by-state campaign or to adopt a "safe state" strategy. Under that method, the party would mostly avoid states up for grabs, in order not to jeopardize the Democratic candidate's chances against President Bush."

hey, no height jokes!


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

thanks to ray for the link!

well, hmmmm.

about saddam being taken by the kurds? josh marshall over at TPM doesn't necessarily believe it. and he's got good reasons. he's a good one to listen to. so read that, and come to yer own conclusion....

Monday, December 22, 2003


nadir '04 exploratory committee website. yeah, that's right. take THIS survey, giggle a little.

and their disclaimer...

Paid for by CheneyBush04 Re-election Committee, Inc.
PO Box 18002, Washington, DC 20036

shouldn't be TOO bad. right? RIGHT?

what i'm doing tomorrow afternoon:


hmmmm. and hmmmm.

saddam actually captured by avenging kurds, left for americans to find!!

also, if you accidentally type in wwww.blogspot.com while in a sleepy haze of not-awake-yet, you get some weird site that's all in arabic, with creepy music playing over. huh.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

john gabbanelli, RIP.

Friday, December 19, 2003

drat! foiled again!

Ralph Nader's 2004 Presidential Exploratory Committee Survey.

be sure and fill out the comments section at the end of the survey to let Ralphie know exactly what you think of his running for president in 2004.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

ain't the blog proof enough for yas?

You are 56% geek
You are a geek. Good for you! Considering the endless complexity of the universe, as well as whatever discipline you happen to be most interested in, you'll never be bored as long as you have a good book store, a net connection, and thousands of dollars worth of expensive equipment. Assuming you're a technical geek, you'll be able to afford it, too. If you're not a technical geek, you're geek enough to mate with a technical geek and thereby get the needed dough. Dating tip: Don't date a geek of the same persuasion as you. You'll constantly try to out-geek the other.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com

found over at rob's. thanks, rob!

more more more!

so i'm adding a few blogs to the sidebar, but i wanted to point them out so as to make people click on them, or at least briefly think about it.

each of these are sites which i visit with alarming regularity, but can never remember how to find them the next time, leading to yet ANOTHER pointless google search...yada yada yada.

so without further fanfare:

1. a nice cup of tea and a sit down. this site just makes me hungry. and tea-craving. read up on all the best teas, biscuits, and the author's opinions thereon.

2. accompany your internet tea with a visit to chris roberson's tea FAQ to learn everything you need to know about tea. the best types, the proper brewing techniques, that sort of thing. mmmmm...

3. i've mentioned this one before, but figure that he needs permalinking, so that i can always find it. the adventures of accordion guy (joey d.). yes, a professional accordionist and his myriad adventures with the accordion, or his friends, or his opinions, etc. just quite entertaining....and y'know, the whole accordion thing. he's got the same accordion as i do! i need all the tips i can get...

4. and then of course, there's ukulelia. the ukulele blog. TONS of ukulele links and resources on this site! perfect for the uke player, the uke connoisseur, or the simply uke-curious.


Wednesday, December 17, 2003

what's it REALLY like, there in austin?

austin, texas. home of the longhorns, good ol' boy clubs, the best barbecue in the known universe, and the romanticization of stevie ray vaughn and the mexican free-tailed bat.

also? chicken shit bingo.

chicken shit bingo is truly where it's at, here in austin. the rednecks, the hipsters, the 42 games between men who've frequented Ginny's Lil' Longhorn for the last 60 years. read mr. r. dutcher stiles' take on the phenomenon that truly puts the "it" back in "chicken shit."

bored now...

and now, on a happier note, aint-it-cool-news has some vaguely spoilery Mutant Enemy-related goodness. Fray has been collected into a graphic novel! Charisma Carpenter seems to have an actual part coming up! Sarah Michelle Gellar's movie career looks to be headed south (ooooh, I'M surprised)!

that sorta thing.

plus, y'all remembered that buffy Season 5 and Firefly just came out on DVD, like, three days ago, right? go buy them! or, at least, someone lives in austin get firefly so that i can come over and watch with you. i can't afford it until january.

thanks to fangirl for Fray cover!

"this is not america"

par for the course, melissa puts it so much better than i possibly could. her response to the the police' violent reaction to peaceful demonstrators protesting Miami's Free Trade of the Americas summit.

"This is important. Dissent is a vital part of democracy. Peaceful protesters are not the enemy. Attempts to discourage people from exercising their right to protest are unconscionable. Violence against peaceful protesters is un-American."

thanks, melissa!

infinite sadness

a misunderstood life. Rockdale trangendered teen never found acceptance and so commits suicide.

at this point, i have no words. just a terrible sadness.

Monday, December 15, 2003

follow this link NOW:

...and his reverse midlife crisis and his standup comedy career and his funny accent and strange teeth...

and now...


(longest run-on sentence EVER, or at least in the past 50 years or so, since joyce's muse crapped out...)

from mark morford's Morning Fix...

Big Bad America Finally Slaps Sad Ugly Mosquito

Well gosh golly it only took upwards 400+ dead U.S. soldiers (and counting) and over 10,000 dead innocent Iraqi citizens (and counting) and countless tens of thousands of dead Iraqi soldiers and about 150 billion in your tax moneys (and counting) and the screeching blood sacrifice of both our national pride and our international status and the gutting of our foreign policy, and he was of course no threat to America whatsoever and never had much of a military force to begin with and if he ever had any WMD he destroyed them over a decade ago, and we brutally invaded his unhappy nation and laid waste to it for absolutely no justifiable reason whatsoever, but finally Saddam Hussein has been captured alive, yay yay go team. Shortly after soldiers pulled an aged, bearded Saddam from a makeshift cellar, Defense Secretary Donald "black souled" Rumsfeld was delivering the news of the prized capture to Bush, who stopped coloring in his favorite book and looked up all startled and let out the cutest happy little gurgle. The anticlimatic end to a nine-month search for the dictator instantly changed the politics of Iraq back in America, where huge amounts of insanely gullible citizens instantly upgraded their view of BushCo in the polls, because this is how really quite sad and stupid many have become and this is how useless polls are, that Saddam's capture suddenly means BushCo is some sort of decent leader and that the capture somehow negates, you know, a vile and budget-reaming and oil-sucking and U.N.-violating and utterly demeaning war no one wanted. Yay. Go team.

it's funny because it's true.

thankyou, matthew, for the ricky link!

Sunday, December 14, 2003

health update, among other things...

really, i can't believe i'm up this early. and i've been up for an HOUR already! see what 8 hours of sleep will do to me? make me well-rested and alert, that's what!

update on how i feel: much better than last night.
throat update: much sorer than last night. gonna go check out some of the Friday 5-ers recommendations for throat remedies. raw lemons, i need raw lemons!

and the linkage

why look! we've evidently located and confiscated saddam hussein! and where was he hiding? a little hole in the ground! sucks for him.

'course, i've already heard rumors (via the internet, of course) that we caught him ages ago, and that the news is just now getting out. i dunno. all the news sources give a fairly exact time for the capture, so i dunno. either way, good.

seems like if this were a big misdirect, they'd have pulled it closer to election time. but maybe that's just me.

and now for the entertaining link

mmmmm....nummy....NOT! dig these weight watchers recipe cards from the 1970s...they're absolutely revolting AND hilarious, all at the same time! wow, who thought up chilled celerly log? yeesh!

and...and...*laughing too hard to continue, nearly* a PINEAPPLE wrapped in WEINERS! BWAH! and? yucky!

thanks, paulie, for the scaryfood linky linky!

just got back from playing a gig...hayden, matt, dutcher, others, went on to see the television/pere ubu folks doin' their thing downtown. me? i think i'm gettin' a cold. or the dreaded flu. fucker. so i'm home, to rest up, fight the bugger off.

BUT the gig went real well, it was at a legendary austin venue, Hole in the Wall, and we actually were handed a SATURDAY NIGHT! was very exciting! we played julie- and matt-heavy songs, as hayden was feeling a bit under the weather as well. the songs where i sing solo were kick-ass! "brand new cadillac" went really well, as did "babydoll" (MY song that i wrote ALL BY MYSELF! yay!), and i actually had people come up and talk to me about our cover of "catch" (relatively obscure cure song, my favorite of all of them, i think. all cure songs, i mean). and, of course, the glorious 3-part harmonies of "tulsa nightlife" was just amazing. :)

PLUS, we opened with the accordion song (an h. childs original, "come down from the moon, neil armstrong") AND adam was able to come, as well as our good friend will!!! adam was even singing along to a song (or two?) and scott assures me he was singing along in his head. nice.

and later on, when i went to put Trouble Down South stickers in the bathroom, i found that there were already three in there. musta been some friend of mine put 'em up. we're known! excellent!

wow. i'm not making sense, exactly. think i'll retire.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

just call me dilettante. ish.

You're Generally Indie. There's nothing wrong with
this. You like music all over the map and
aren't adversed to listening to some Top 40
here and there. You just know to comment that
The Neptunes are the best producers around
right now. You don't feel the need to debate
constantly with other music geeks, because you
know that Pavement were the best band of the

You Know Yer Indie. Let's Sub-Categorize.
brought to you by Quizilla

oh dear, that's two internet quizzes in one day. too many? perhaps.

Friday 5 avec Laura

If you are anything like me, you'll go to lengths to avoid having to go see a doctor. I actually made an honest-to-god attempt to get to see mine today, but I was rejected out cold by the Secretary From Hell (never mind the fact I can't eat or drink anything). But that's not the point... My question for this week is short and sweet:

What are your five most popular (or common, rather) home cures, Granny's Recipes or magic tricks even for curing or preventing any old disease?

I'll gladly grant extra points for anyone whose tip kills my throat pain (preferably without killing me, but I'll consider other options as well)!

1. insomnia, although not technically a disease, i guess, is the most hated and feared condition that i can think of. to alleviate (and this ALWAYS works for me), i just sprinkle some drops of lavender oil onto my pillow, in my sheets, on the throw pillow on which i'm sleeplessly tossing and turning while watching television in the wee hours. will knock me out QUICK.

problem is, i then can't wake up to save my life, the stuff is so stupor-inducive. so i save it for bouts of weekend insomnia, so i can sleep deeply until 3PM on saturdays. mmmmm....sleeping until 3 on a saturday...

2. upset stomach is something that also plagues me fairly often, as my emotions seem to be linked directly to my belly. if i'm scared...i have a stomachache. if i'm nervous...i have a stomachache. if i'm sad...i have a stomachache. if i'm elated....i have a stomachache...and so on. to cure the ol' tight tummy, i find that ginger in nearly any form will work wonders! candied ginger is my favorite, as it's the nummiest, but also good is any of the fancy-schmancy brewed ginger ales that you can find at the fancy-schmancy food stores like Whole Foods or Wild Oats. in a pinch, a pinch of dried (or fresh chopped) ginger brewed into a tea will do, although it will taste rather like you brewed a tea out of sticks.

(STRONG peppermint tea is good for this too, although better for alleviating a stomachache caused by actual illness or hangover. the stronger the better.)

3. VANILLA! not just for baking anymore...if you're a cook, or even just like messing around in the kitchen, vanilla is your friend. and not just in the obvious way...if you burn yourself on the edge of a hot pan, or get splattered with hot cooking oil, etc., just dab some vanilla on that puppy...cuts the pain immediately, plus helps healing! after a burn i'll soak the pad part of a bandaid in vanilla, and slap it on the burn. mmmmmm....vanilla.

4. for throat pain...chewable vitamin C! i chew these non-stop when i've got a sore throat. also a good idea to go to sleep with one tucked in your cheek...although be prepared for some drooling. alternately, rather than cough drops, i just use plain ol' hard candy. that stuff kicks just as much ass as cough drops for keeping your throat nice and wet, and besides won't taste of eucalyptus (*shudder*). really TART hard candy adds a bit of extra soothing, as well, so lemon drops are nice. and probably horrid for your teeth.

another remedy which i never remember to use, but is tres good for the throat...about 1 part chopped garlic to 2 parts honey, gently warmed in the microwave and left to steep for just a little while makes a wonderful (and antibiotic!) cough syrup. suck on the garlic bits, slurp the honey. it's good stuff.

(i've heard that you shouldn't store the stuff for too long, as it can be a salmonella factory...one or two doses at a time is all i'll make at a time.)

5. tea tree oil. this stuff RAWKS. i use it for EVERYTHING. a few drops in some water makes a (less-than-tasty) mouthwash or gargle (and helps with sore throat, not just as a nice mouthwash). a drop on a cut or sting or burn is nice and antibacterial as well as soothing. applied daily to a wart can make it go away. if you get middle-aged zits, a drop applied daily can make THOSE go away.

the elixir of health, is tea tree oil (or at least "the elixir of "won't-get-infected").

Other F5 participants are: Melissa, Adam, Merideth, Will, Chris, Gina, Dave, Craig, Gord, Adrienne, Nanette, Marvin, Rob, Laura, Jon, Ritu, Morgaine, Rik and Fionna.

department of public safety

holy cow. is this thing for real?

Executive Laptop Steering Wheel Mount

Mount your laptop or notebook to your car's steering wheel and catch up on all your work while out in the field. Ideal for outside field sales and service professionals, real estate executives, students, etc. ARKON's Executive Laptop Steering Wheel Mount will hold ALL portable laptops up to 10 Lbs. in weight. A ball point pen included conveniently attaches to the underside of the base of the mount. The laptop steering wheel mount is very portable. It conveniently folds up and can be stored under the seat while not in use.

how very convenient. does it have a brain disposal system, too?

thanks to the accordion guy for the link!

hee! er, i mean, a deep and meaningful soulsearch...

What Kind of Drunk Are You?

Friday, December 12, 2003

sweet jesu...

holy cow, it's raining like mad out there! and on my jaunt back up I-35 to work from home (for lunch, where i also tried to walk the dog, which was difficult, as she ws just bounding at the end of the leash, trying to bark loudly enough to scare off the invisible thundermonster in the sky that was obviously trying to kill us), i nearly got myself smeared across the freeway in a freak accident involving a tractor-trailer, a full (?!) soda can, a purple neon, and a large black (empty) plastic bag.

luckily, the accident was averted at the last minute (by the plastic bag, oddly enough), although i have a nice ding on my car from the soda can AND i feel like i've been punched in the stomach a time or two by ewan macgregor's character from trainspotting.

point being, now at the tail end of my adrenaline rush, i feel like my life has suddenly been given new meaning, like i've been given a second chance to live, blah blah blah, and i want to say, just so y'all know, i loves you guys!


now i must go find an aspirin.

got trouble?

Thursday, December 11, 2003

rum, raisins, cream...oh my!

wow, my blog isn't turning out nearly as diary-like as i'd intended. so i think i'll write about food.

this morning at work one of my coworkers had brought in breakfast for everyone - he and his wife are palestinian, so they'd made a huge breakfast palestinian-style, and it was DELICIOUS, even if i'm not sure what all of it was...the major course was a rich bread pudding-like french toast-esque concoction. yummmm! i had seconds.

at lunch i attended a high-falutin' luncheon put on by a very influential law firm in town for "environmental ladies." (yes, this was an old-school Republican texas buncha nice rich women, i'm sure at least half of whom know laura bush personally...the legal side of the room was quite a contrast from our side, us poor lil' hippy state workers...heh). ANYHOW, the food was FABULOUS, turkey and ham and cornbread stuffing and corn casserole and a nummy salad and to top it all off, an uber-rich cranberry bread pudding that i had seconds of, it was so good.

wasn't until a minute ago that i was happily reminiscing on my eating adventures today and suddenly remembered what i've got saved for dinner tonight:

nummy leftover praline bread pudding that i made last week!

good thing i love and adore bread pudding. and amn't on atkins.

now off to find coffee before i collapse of carbohydrate overdose...

Return of the King reviewed!!!

oh yes, those loverly folks at ain't-it-cool-news have beat everyone to the punch with this glorious review of the final installment of Peter Packson's treatment of JRR Tolkien's epic Lord of the Rings trilogy (starring, of course, Fredo, Rudy, and Golem).

choice quotation exhibiting brilliance of this review:

Books suck. They used to be good back when people didn’t have movies and TV and dressed like Davey Crockett. People also used to ride horses and drink tea, but now we have cars and Sprite. Move the fuck on.

well, okay, maybe they didn't beat everyone else to the punch, but it's the first review i've seen other than "whoa...this movie's gonna kick some ass!"

thanks to scott for the link!

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

panspermia recapitulates biogenesis?

two papers published in the UK's monthly notices of the royal astronomical society suggest that life could have originated long, long ago on a planet far, far away, and then spread all over the known universe via asteroidal or cometary impacts.


still, interesting. i wonder how this theory fits in with the IDIC?


i'm not sure why this is significant, er, well, i see why it's significant, but it's currently about as useful as quantum teleportation, but it's kinda neato...harvard scientists accost, halt beam of light before sending it packing.

okay, okay, being able to control individual photons, i can see how that would be useful. especially once modern science develops laser-beam eyeballs. VERRRRRY useful, indeed.

okay, lessee here...
is blogger in fact working?

okay, well, here goes.

mission accomplished?

a slight "heh," as 1/3 of new iraqi army quits.

this is sad, i don't know whether to laugh or to cry...

Pentagon: Many of New Iraq Soldiers Quit

WASHINGTON - Plans to deploy the first battalion of Iraq's new army are in doubt because a third of the soldiers trained by the U.S.-led occupation authority have quit, defense officials said Wednesday.

Touted as a key to Iraq's future, the 700-man battalion lost some 250 men over recent weeks as they were preparing to begin operations this month, Pentagon officials said.

"We are aware that a third ... has apparently resigned and we are looking into that in order to ensure that we can recruit and retain high-quality people for a new Iraqi army," said Lt. Col. James Cassella, a Pentagon spokesman.


Tuesday, December 09, 2003

mamas extraordinaires

check it out...melissa and merideth both have their columns out at www.austinmama.com today!

merideth's just made me cry. i'm saving melissa's until after lunch.

damn, they're good.

the end of the world?

loike, WTF, mates?

requires sound, y'all!

Monday, December 08, 2003


and of course, props to leonard for the tagline.

Lisez les exploits de JULIE WOOD...Pour elle, la vie c'est la course! ...Moto-Cross, Enduro, Dirt-Track, vitesse...

holy cow! there's a comic based on ME out there!

i'm totally, like, freaked out, coz it's eerily accurate!

okay, except for, i'm not french.

oh, and i can't ride a motorbike. damn.

oh yeah, and i have short brownish hair.

still, i'm getting shivers up my spine just trying to figure out how they KNEW about me...?!?!?

plus, you get weird FRENCH pop-ups from that site! how cool is THAT?

my ideal presidential candidate:

1. Your ideal theoretical candidate. (100%)
2. Kucinich, Rep. Dennis, OH - Democrat (79%)
3. Clark, Retired General Wesley K., AR - Democrat (75%)
4. Edwards, Senator John, NC - Democrat (73%)
5. Dean, Gov. Howard, VT - Democrat (70%)
6. Gephardt, Rep. Dick, MO - Democrat (67%)
7. Green Party Candidate (60%)
8. Socialist Candidate (59%)
9. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (53%)
10. Lieberman, Senator Joe, CT - Democrat (38%)
11. Sharpton, Reverend Al - Democrat (36%)
12. Moseley-Braun, Former Senator Carol, IL - Democrat (34%)
13. LaRouche, Lyndon H. Jr. - Democrat (32%)
14. Libertarian Candidate (31%)
15. Bush, President George W. - Republican (8%)
16. Hagelin, Dr. John - Natural Law (6%)
17. Phillips, Howard - Constitution (5%)

huh. opinions forthcoming...

(you can find out who it seems you'd vote for here.

prisoner of azkaban trailer!!!!

only six more months! june 4th this puppy opens!

new director, even. it'd better be good, is all i gotta say!

link thanks to axel from PF. link also requires quicktime.

planetary overdrive

Nasa's Cassini craft begins pass by Saturn, sends back marvellous photos!

not enough historical or botanical content for you?

Victorian orchid enthusiast and artist John Day's collection of orchid sketchbooks.

simply gorgeous. and cool.

internet quiz!

Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

link thanks to adam, natch.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

friday 5, again on saturday! question from rob.

It's soon xmas. Very very soon. What are you going to buy for your partner, your kids, your parents, grandparents - takes deep breath - ????
I've been thinking about what to get the Pip for christmas. She'll be just shy of eleven months, she won't have a clue what's going on, just that it's busy, smells of food and involves lots of paper.
We've bought her many a toy the last year or so. Lamaze toys, things that squeek, things that roll, things that peep, things that dangle and rattle, things that chime, books, that sing, teddy bears, rag dolls, the list is long.
The Pips favourite toys? The top off a tub of ice cream. The cord at the bottom of her coat. The coasters with pictures of Regency England on them, and it's not the Regency settings that attract her. If it can be used like a hammer or placed on her head in some way then she's in to it.
But nothing is better than paper.
So here's my pre-christmas shopping rush Friday Five.

Which five 'toys' at any time of your life have meant the most to you and why?

1. my shoebox full of potions and powders and magical objects that i accumulated as a youngster (age 5-12, probably). i'd mix potions and spells, i'd do chemical analyses, i'd divine water, i'd transmogrify objects, all using the tools in that beautiful shoebox (mostly little bottles and jars of dirt, cooking oil, "teas" made from various plants i'd picked up outside, dead bugs, etc.). i can't believe my mom let me keep this thing around, but she did, and she is the more blessed for't. i made sure of that with the protection spell i cast way back in 4th grade.

2. my art box (ages 12-currently). this has actually had many forms over the years, as i lost stuff, or got a cooler box, etc., but i've always had my sketchpad and my watercolors/markers/colored pencils/various lead pencils/pastels in one place for when the muse arrived. my most prolific years were high school and early college, and i've still got the sketchbooks/course notebooks full of fantastic things i've drawn over the years. sadly, with the arrival of first grad school and nowadays the music obsession, the art muse isn't visiting very frequently. but when she does come, i'm ready for her.

3. my first teddy bear. i'd been given all sorts of stuffed animals over the years, but NEVER a teddy bear, so when i was in middle school at some point, i saved up ALL my money, and bought myself the one that had been speaking to me at the local department store (clement, benner & fox, los alamos, NM. mr. fox helped my try on shoes when i was little, and is still with us as far as i know. mssrs. clement and benner were contemps of j. r. oppenheimer, i believe!). i've still got my teddy bear, who never has had a name, but he's in there, in the bedroom, probably under a heap of laundry, but still quite beloved.

(okay, i'm not a psycho. he's just been a talisman for so long, i coudln't stand to give him up!)

4. my bass guitar. really. i love the thing. three years ago, hayden and matt surprised me by buying it for me JUST so they'd have a bass player for their vague notion of a band (i've long since paid it off). i'd certainly never given much thought to playing a guitar before that, much less a bass guitar. but they had faith that i could probably pull it off, and hey look! i think i have done pretty well so far! and if it weren't for the bass guitar and the ensuing mayhem, i'd never have bothered with the accordion, the ukulele, the multiple amps, the guitar(s) (which i'm still working on learning, dammit!), the mandolin, the lap steel...

...oh wait. i don't own a mandolin or a lap steel guitar yet. those are coming next...

5. and of course, the incipient upright bass fiddle. whenever that happens, i'll be a happy camper.

Other F5 participants are: Melissa, Adam, Merideth, Will, Chris, Gina, Dave, Craig, Gord, Adrienne, Nanette, Marvin, Rob, Laura, Jon, Ritu, Morgaine, Rik and Fionna.

while i'm at it, another internet quiz!

You are naturally born with a gift, whether it be
poetry, writing or song. You love beauty and
creativity, and usually are highly intelligent.
Others view you as mysterious and dreamy, yet
also bold since you hold firm in your beliefs.

What Type of Soul Do You Have ?
brought to you by Quizilla

from adam and merideth, whichever came first!

Friday, December 05, 2003

because you really can't see it too many times...

leonard nimoy's masterpiece. really.

yeah, i'm showing extreme blog-lameness by posting this after we've all seen it 800,000 times. but ya know. i'm fond of it. at least i'm not posting *this*...

oh, wait...

not all americans are stupid!

take this simple on-line quiz and see how you measure up to the rest of the world AND to all the americans who've taken the test. especially if you're american. we're not lookin' too great these days.

my results:

You have an impressive understanding of the world for an American. It is likely that you feel intellectually isolated in your home country, and often have to hide your opinions from others. Deep down, you realise that your country is the single biggest threat to world peace in modern times, but you have not yet summoned up the courage to emigrate.


hee! old-school elizabethan text-based computer game, based on hamlet. go MUD your way around the fishy state of denmark!

*read postcard*

The front of the postcard has a picture of the Eiffel Tower wearing a beret. The back reads:
Dear Sis,
Having a great time here in France, eating loads of garlic and listening to dreadful accordion playing. Hope you're not up to any mischief, you little minx! Look forward to seeing you and Dad when I come home.
Love, Laertes.
p.s. Stay away from that Hamlet kid. He's bad news.


Thursday, December 04, 2003

avast, mateys! i be SPARKY! arrrrrr!

my pirate name is:

Iron Prudentilla Flint

about me, the pirate:

A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you are that person. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

find out what YOUR pirate name is by clicking here.

let it snow, let it snow...

really cool site, especially if you always start jonesin' for snow this time of year and don't get any.

oooh, check it out! Nearby Star May Have Planetary System Like Ours

sweet. although i think this headline resurfaces every few years, and these things never seem to pan out. i want to see actual other planets, dammit!

in the meanwhile, here's the press release from the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. It's quite a bit more charming than the Scientific American Link. c'mon, the title is itself groovin': "New Evidence for Solar-Like Planetary System Round Nearby Star".

and, also, here's a picture of the vegan star system! (i guess it doesn't eat dairy...?)

SCUBA image: This is a false colour image of the heat emitted from the dust disk around Vega. The image shows the disk seen face-on. The disk structure includes two bright clumps, represented by the yellow and red colours. The star is barely noticeable and is located at the centre of the image, mid-way between the two clumps. The dust we’re seeing is actually confined to a region relatively far from the star: more than twice as far as the distance from the Sun to Neptune. The lack of dust close to the star is the first indication that a planetary system is hiding in the hole. The modelling published today implies that this system looks very much like our own Solar System.

happy birthday, quito and luna!

First twin sea cows born in captivity

From correspondents in Saint-Aignan, France
December 4, 2003

A zoo in central France said overnight it was the proud home to a world first: the birth of twin sea cows in captivity.

The marine mammals - also known as manatees - came into the world on November 4, the Beauval ZooParc in the town of Saint-Aignan said.

The director, Rodolphe Delord, said it was the first known birth of twin sea cows in a zoo or animal park.

He said each of the arrivals weighed around 20 kilograms and were around a metre long. One, a male, was named Quito. The other, female, was called Luna.

When they become adults, they are expected to measure up to 4.5 metres and weigh up to a tonne.

In the wild, the sea cows they are descended from are found in brackish rivers in the southern United States and central America.

Sea-going species of the smooth, cylindrical-looking animals, which have a paddle-like tail, were believed to have inspired the tales of mermaids among ancient sailors.

Agence France-Presse

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

yes, i love mark morford. first of all, he can mangle any sentence in the english language far better than i can, and with much more pinache and style! secondly, i tend to agree with him on his radical left-wing rabidly hilarious and generally perfectly correct viewpoints. thirdly, he's just funny.

and this column, "Real Men Need Poker Night," i love. read it. it's about life, poker, being a man, being a woman, being in book club. go. read.

and i also love robert motherwell.

Austrailian Stone (B.314), 1984
Color aquatint and chine colle

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

testers needed...

BioThoughtExperiment for the day:

was Alexander the Great done in by West Nile Virus??

West Nile Virus may have felled Alexander the Great
Dying ravens provide clue to conqueror's swift demise.
28 November 2003

He ruled Macedonia, crushed the Persian Empire and invaded India. But a simple infection with West Nile virus may finally have toppled Alexander the Great.

The legendary military leader died suddenly in 323 BC in the Mesopotamian city of Babylon, near current-day Baghdad. The cause of his death, aged only 32, has puzzled historians for years. Poisoning, flu and typhoid fever have all been suggested, based on records of his two-week illness.

Now epidemiologist John Marr of the Virginia Department of Health in Richmond and infectious-disease expert Charles Calisher of Colorado State University in Fort Collins have a new suggestion: West Nile fever1.

Common in Africa, West Asia and the Middle East, West Nile virus has found renewed global fame since its accidental introduction to the United States in 1999. The virus is harboured by birds and other animals and is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.

Marr and Calisher cite a passage by the Greek biographer Plutarch. "When [Alexander] arrived before the walls of [Babylon]," Plutarch recorded, "he saw a large number of ravens flying about and pecking one another, and some of them fell dead in front of him."

The ravens might have been dying of West Nile virus infection, the researchers suggest. Ravens belong to a family of birds that are particularly susceptible to the pathogen - members of the same family are responsible for the virus' spread across the United States.

Marr and Calisher tested their idea using an online diagnostic program called GIDEON (Global Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Network). After entering Alexander's symptoms - respiratory infection, liver disorder, rash - plus the link with birds, "the answer was West Nile, 100%", says Calisher.

"It's fairly compelling," says Thomas Mather, an epidemiologist at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. But West Nile virus tends to kill the elderly or those with weakened immune systems, he points out. "If he was so great, he might not have been bumped off by this disease," Mather says.

Case history

Alexander the Great - more properly known as Alexander III of Macedon - quashed enemies in his own kingdom before famously conquering the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt. He eventually built an empire that stretched west as far as Greece, east to India, and north to the Danube.

Calisher admits that Alexander's retrospective diagnosis cannot be certain. But he says that the study illustrates how important it is for doctors today to take into account the full history of a case - such as exposure to animals.

Marr, J.S. & Calisher, C. H. Alexander the Great and West Nile Virus. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 9, 1599 - 1603, (2003).

democracy undermined?

paul krugman's take on the diebold voting machines and their worth (NY Times*).

meanwhile, here are the two independent articles to which krugman refers, going into even more depth on the scope of this problem.

All The President's Votes?


Fears of More US Electoral Chaos After Flaws Are Discovered in Ballot Computers

*if you're not registered with the NYT and don't want to register, you can use the old PF standby of "salon" and "tabletalk" to login with.

are you kidding? i have no flaws!

Not big on trust, eh?

What is Your Shakespearian Tragic Flaw?
brought to you by Quizilla

thanks to adam!

Monday, December 01, 2003

to semi-answer hayden's question in response to my last post, here's a news article with a bit more info of the sort he's seeking. i think.

Carl Forti, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington, said the battle isn't over because a similar challenge to the Colorado districts is pending in federal court in Denver.

"This was expected. It's far from over. There's still a federal case to play out," Forti said.

smug lil' bastard, isn't he?

maybe i'll get my rep back!

Colorado Supreme Court Throws Out Redistricting Plan

The Colorado Supreme Court today threw out a controversial Republican-backed redistricting plan in a decision that politicians said could have national implications in congressional elections next year.


The Supreme Court decided that under Colorado's 1876 constitution, new congressional boundaries could be drawn only once a decade, following the federal census.


...[T]he implications of the decision extended far beyond Colorado. If GOP redistricting plans pushed through state legislatures in Colorado and Texas were allowed to stand, political analysts said, similar plans could be enacted in other states.

At issue in Colorado were the boundaries of the state's seven congressional districts, two of which are considered up for grabs in the 2004 elections.

Republicans currently hold five of the seven seats and were attempting through the redistricting plan to consolidate their hold on two of them to prevent the Democrats from gaining a 4-3 edge on the congressional delegation.

In Texas, an even fiercer battle over redistricting is underway, with Democrats challenging another new GOP-engineered congressional map in court. Republicans stand to gain as many as seven seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2004 elections if their redistricting plan prevails.

"The national implications of this are huge," Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Chris Gates said before the Supreme Court decision was announced, according to the Associated Press. "It would mean we'd have two of the most competitive congressional seats in the country."

Under the ruling, the state's congressional districts revert to the boundaries that were drawn last year by the judge in Denver. Those boundaries were in force during a 2002 general election in the state.

In drawing new boundaries this year, the Republican-controlled state legislature asserted a right to redraw districts as often as it wished.

In rejecting that view, the Supreme Court opinion said, "We conclude that the General Assembly does not have the unprecedented power it claims."

"We're back to the old maps," said Tom Downey, attorney for the state Democratic Party, the AP reported. "This is a blow to Republicans nationally." He said the Republican effort to redraw Colorado's districts was part of a national plan led by the White House.

But Carl Forti, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington, said a similar challenge to the Colorado districts is pending in federal court in Denver and that the battle is "far from over," the AP reported.

less than sprightly mood this morning. back at work after gloriously unproductive 4-day weekend. sleepy. not looking forward to rest of day at work.

bright spot: paycheck!

the bit that mars the bright spot: haven't gotten around to direct deposit, have to waste lunch hour running to credit union rather than sitting around reading the new Robin McKinley.

can i just go back to bed now?

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