- A display at Doe Library pointed out something I hadn't thought of
I have known for years that, at least in the Bay Area, the earthquake of
1906 was known as "the Great Fire."
I had never thought very long about why.
I just figured, "Okay, sure, if the quake lasted a minute and they spent a
week putting out fires, then yeah, maybe they call it the Great
But it turns out that the reason is more subtle. The reason San
Franciscans made a big deal about how fire was the real cause of all the
destruction… is that they had fire insurance.
- AP: "Paris Hilton's diaries […] have found their way into the
hands of a broker aiming to sell them. David Hans Schmidt, known for
handling deals involving celebrity porn, […] declined to describe
the diaries' contents, but said they include '[…] relationships,
personal feelings, sex, love, breakups, sexual experiences —
all those little things that make up a little girl's life.'"
Sure, if the little girl is from Pitcairn.
- Cal played Washington State in both men's and women's basketball on
The San Francisco Chronicle's headlines for the two games were, for
the men, "Bears conquer Cougars," and for the women, "Cal women take care
You know, because females are more nurturing.
- At the Athenian School in Danville, I saw an art piece in the
It was an upright triangular prism with writing on each of its three
One face had a bunch of quotes about intolerance.
Another said "Perpetrators of Intolerance" with a bunch of students' names
The third said "Victims of Intolerance" with the same students' names
The solemnity was undermined somewhat by the fact that the students signed
their names with hearts over the i's and smiley faces at the end.
- Weird phobia of mine: whenever I leave cash for a tip or to pay for a
meal at a restaurant and walk out, I'm always afraid that one of the other
customers will quickly steal the money and the waitress will think I've
- Another one: every time I sell a CD to a used record store, I am
afraid that I have hidden something valuable in the liner notes and now
it's too late to retrieve it.
I don't normally make a practice of slipping $100 bills and/or old love
letters into compact disc pamphlets, but what if I did and forgot?
- I am teaching a class in, of all places, the back room of a
One day as I walked past the notebook computer section, I saw a sign
asking, "Want incredible entertainment experiences in your lap?"
I think it was that very question that derailed the Clinton Administration.
- Every time I look at search results on Youtube I am thankful anew that
there was no World Wide Web when I was twelve.
The last thing I need is archived video of my twelve-year-old self playing
air guitar to Phil Collins songs or whatever.
- There's a radio commercial on the air here in which various people
talk about what a great gift San Francisco Giants tickets are.
In one clip, a grown man says, "Mom, Dad, I wanna take you to the Giants
game, it'll be the most awesome experience you ever had in your
Whose life could possibly so dismal that the most awesome experience
he or she ever had was a Wednesday matinee against the Milwaukee Brewers?
- I went to a house with a thin cardboard dartboard taped to the
Underneath it was another piece of cardboard taped to the wall, heavily
cratered with the scars of darts that succumbed too quickly to
Underneath that was an electrical outlet.
- On the way home one night I passed a place called GENTLE HAIR
That's a pretty good name.
I hate those places where they just rip your hair out by the roots.
- I was listening to the radio and a commercial came on for a teddy bear
It said that teddy bears make a wonderful gift for Mothers' Day, and that
if you send one to the office on Friday, the recipient "will spend the
whole day bragging about her son-slash-husband."
Yeah, if she's Jocasta.
- cnn.com headline: "Switches put in backward doomed NASA probe."
I guess at this point we're just a step away from "$30 billion
spacecraft destroyed on re-entry; accidentally made out of chocolate".
- I was drinking some limeade when I noticed that the deposit
information on the bottle said: HI, ME 5¢.
That sounds like the pickup line of the world's saddest prostitute.
- My best dreams happen after I start hitting the snooze bar.
Unfortunately, that means they're all nine minutes long.
- Steve Hargreaves, cnnmoney.com: "nearly over 9 percent".
So in other words, under 9 percent.
- I have been idly looking at house ads on Craigslist since it appears
that I will be able to afford somewhat nicer digs soon.
One ad said: "One Bedroom, Two Full Bathrooms."
Who's that for?
A married couple who absolutely must use the toilet at the same time?
- Overheard: "I tried to watch Spanish soap operas so I wouldn't forget
Spanish, but they're all about plastic surgery"
- I will never cease being appalled by the way cnn.com illustrates every
story about a presidential radio address by taking a picture of George
Bush and photoshopping a cartoon microphone in front of him.
- espn.com: "He's eccentric, in a sense. He reads a lot of books. He's
very well-educated. Very health-conscious. He's very witty."
I love living in a culture where being well-educated, health-conscious and
witty makes you "eccentric."
- On the 80 heading up to Davis I saw a motorcycle.
Its license plate was 3W M078.
The license plate was upside-down.
- I heard a story on NPR about a court case involving the seizure of a
large sum of money.
It turns out that in such cases, the property is considered the defendant,
so the official name of the case was United States of America v.
I thought this was hilarious.
But then it occurred to me — I already knew that the US allowed
property to be named in court cases.
I'd learned about such a case in history class.
It was called Dred Scott v. Sandford.
- Overheard at the Portland airport: "Have you ever heard of The
Odyssey? No? Oh, it's a masterpiece. It's a story of travel…
suspense… good… bad."
- It now seems bizarre that for nearly twenty years of my life I went
around with a big machine strapped to my wrist just so I could find out
what time it was.
- Heard on the radio: "There was a strong amount of people."
The guy probably went on but I couldn't hear him because my ears started
- cnn.com headline: "High price for back-door beauty."
I didn't read the article for fear it would be about anal bleaching.
- espn.com headline: "espn.com: T.O. taken to Dallas ER to induce
Because if there's one thing that's sure to induce vomiting, it's being
around Terrell Owens.
- So Close and Yet Dept.:
In a touristy shop I saw a postcard with a cartoon map of California on
It showed grapes for Napa, a movie camera for Hollywood, and so
For Anaheim it showed the Disneyland castle, and on either side of it,
Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny.
- Mark Foley, Republican congressman from Florida, resigned when it was
revealed that he had engaged in sexually explicit instant messaging with
I read some of the transcripts and I was outraged.
Here is a 52-year-old man, a member of Congress no less…
- When I check to see where my traffic is coming from, astonishingly
frequently I will find a link that says something along the lines of,
"Here's something I found on a site called adamcadre.ac — I
don't know who wrote it."
I mean, based on what you just wrote, you kind of have to figure that the
author is either Adam Cadre or Ada McAdre, don't you?
- Heard on the radio: "One word — I mean, two words: 'Super
- cnn.com headline: "NASCAR racer reveals his passion for dogs."
Watch out, buddy — Santorum isn't out of office yet.
- "UNSUBSCRIBE" would be a good suicide note.
- One of the wonderful things in life is when you buy an album, and at
the end there's a little songlet, just a nifty little riff and maybe a
verse or something, to cap things off… and then two years later you
get the band's next album, and in the middle of a sea of unfamiliar music,
there's that song again, only now it's been fleshed out into a magnum opus.
- I usually run out of the house without any food and then have Must
Eat emergencies later in the day, so when I saw a slab of coffee cake at
Trader Joe's I figured I would buy it to avoid this problem.
But then every time I ate some I could literally feel my body complaining,
"No Nutritive Value. Choose Again."
- I was reading an essay by George Orwell about P.G. Wodehouse and
encountered this sentence: "He was well known in the United States, and he
was — or so the Germans calculated — popular with
the Anglophobe public as a caricaturist who made fun of the silly-ass
Englishman with his spats and his monocle."
It took me a long moment to realize that Orwell didn't mean "silly-ass" in
the modern sense.
- espn.com: "The Boston Celtics will wear a black clover leaf on their
uniforms for the upcoming season as a tribute to former coach and general
manager Red Auerbach, who died Saturday of a heart attack at age 89. The
clover will appear on the right side of the jersey and will be inscribed
with the word 'Red' in green lettering."
This will also help to confuse opponents by taking advantage of the Stroop
- I've lost count of how many articles I've run across about holiday
tips for dog walkers and nannies.
Note to the media: those of us outside your ten-block stretch of Park
Avenue do not live in a world where we're worried about what to tip the
Please stop wringing your hands about noblesse oblige in public.
- cnn.com: "UPS hopes drivers make the least amount of left turns
And apparently cnn.com hires the least amount of copyeditors possible.
- bbc.co.uk: "Iraq's former leader Saddam Hussein has been executed by hanging at an unspecified location." I guess Cheney didn't want to travel.