January 2008 minutiae
- Sign of the end times: Elizabeth went to the store and bought
some juice. Wait, did I say "juice"? How old-fashioned and
backward-looking of me! No, the carton was actually labeled
- I got my Green Party voter guide in the mail. Next to
"Referenda on Amendment to Indian Gaming Compact" it says "No,
with reservations." Um. Perhaps another phrasing could have
- I don't really like football, but man, the
Bowl still blows my mind a year later. A huge underdog from
frickin' Idaho, against football-factory Oklahoma on a huge stage,
just does not pull off three crazy trick plays in you-fail-you-lose
situations in real life. I am a Cal grad — Cal as in "won on
The Play" Cal
— and I have to say that the 2007 Fiesta Bowl was the best
sporting event of all time. The Boise State plays were almost as
unlikely, they were on purpose, and there were three
- Many years ago I happened across the following tip for reheating
frozen bagels: put them in a toaster oven, set the darkness dial
to 11 o'clock, and toast. Then let the bagel sit there for twenty
minutes. At the end of the process you have a warm fresh bagel.
More recently, I have tried this with bread. I don't eat nearly
enough bread to go through more than half a baguette before it
goes stale, so when I buy bread I automatically cut it into
pieces and freeze them. And this toaster method reheats the
frozen pieces with much better results than any other method I've
The problem is that I have now trained myself to ignore the ding
of the toaster, so when I am actually making toast, it
ends up sitting there for twenty minutes.
- Either Pandora's formula has
gotten better or else I have reached some sort of tipping point in
supplying it data — all of a sudden it reliably feeds me long
sequences of songs all of which I really, really like. And I only
like about four bands.
- Doing research on one of the Pandora bands led to the marvelous
discovery that while my beloved frock-rock may be on the outs here
in the Northern Hemisphere, it is doing significantly better in
Australia. So in the first month of 2008 I have already purchased
more CDs than I bought in all of 2006 and 2007 combined, many of
them from Down Under (and one from Malta). I hope I can soon add
"musical acts of note" page!
the CDs I bought is by a band called Krill, which is responsible
for my favorite video at the moment, which starts at the 0:59 mark
of this podcast.
The first time I saw it I had trouble keeping track of who all was
in the band, because there are lots of wardrobe changes and
various blondes popping in and out who all look vaguely similar.
"Okay, I'm pretty sure there's more than one blonde. Could be
three or four. At least a couple of them look somewhat alike. I'm
betting there is a pair of sisters in this band." Mais non! In
fact, all five band members, including the boy, are
siblings! They are Kim, Roy, Jan, Lee, and Lea Jackson of Yeppoon,
Queensland, children of a professor at Central Queensland University,
and all five of them decided to move to Sydney and try to make it
as a rockin' new wave outfit. Could that possibly be any more
charming? (Plus, Lee the bass player is just retina-meltingly hot.)
- I was delighted to discover that Youtube now has up, in fifteen
parts, The Pyramid
of Darkness. What's that, you ask? Why, it's only the all-time
classic mega-arc of the G.I. Joe cartoon series! It first
aired in 1985 and was repeated regularly, so my brothers and I ended up
seeing it... hmm... half a dozen times? Maybe more like ten. Watching
it this time around, I discovered (a) that I still know a lot of it by
heart and (b) that when I was eleven years old I didn't realize the
extent to which it was so clearly an exercise in a bunch of dudes sitting
around a table getting high — Footloose has pot leaves stuck to his
helmet! — and wondering just how much eye-poppingly ridiculous stuff
they could put into their script and still get it approved. Example:
click to the 2:57 mark of
Part 7 and watch until 6:26. Then tell me how the breakdancing ninja
helps anything. Tell me how.
- I'm not big on sports metaphors in politics, but I laughed to
read a George Bush speech described as full of "oratorical own-goals."
- I don't normally register the smell of roasted peppers when I am
roasting them, but if I go outside and come back in, it is very
noticeable. I didn't fully appreciate the pungency of roasted peppers,
though, until I took a shower the morning after roasting some. When
I threw the towel over my head to dry my hair it was like I'd stuck
my head into the bowl where the peppers were cooling.
- There's a lot of happy talk on the liberal blogs about how great
all the Democratic candidates are. "The Republicans are trying to
figure out which candidate they despise the least! But any
of our candidates would be totally awesome!" Uh-huh. I did a quick
count and it looks like there are 28 people in the Senate alone whom
I'd prefer to either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. This is the
sort of thing I was talking about in 2004 when I said I liked John
Kerry not just in comparison to George Bush but in comparison to the
likely Democratic candidates of the future.
- I saw a bunch of ROTC types in those smog uniforms marching
around chanting, "Killing's how we earn our pay!" Hmm. Maybe I
should rethink my opposition to the occupation of Iraq. What's
that Republican talking point? Better that the scary murderers
be busy over there than over here?
- I'm auditing a class on the history of the USSR. The professor
(who grew up there) has this hilarious penchant for talking in
generalities that gradually become less general. Example: he's
talking about the state of the Russian aristocracy circa 1900...
Slide of a manor with lots of greenery around it. "The country
estates would invariably have overgrown gardens in front."
Slide of a room full of portraits. "Inside, the walls would be
covered with portraits of the family's ancestors, to show visitors
the family's roots in the past."
Slide of people drinking tea. "In this period, they would spend
a lot of time drinking tea and listening to sad music."
Slide of a painting of a teenage girl. "There would be a young
girl. She would read French novels, then Russian ones. She would
fall in love with her tutor. They would go out to the pond, also
overgrown, and get into a boat. They would be discovered. The
tutor would be kicked out. He would go to St. Petersburg."
- I can now say that I have seen renowned philosopher John R.
Searle drinking out of a Dora the Explorer dixie cup.
- I lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle and so having to hoof it
for any extended distance tends to come as something of a shock.
But after getting blood drawn and proceeding to walk eight miles,
going back out a couple of days later and walking five miles with
my full complement of blood was a piece of cake. I guess I will
do that more.
- I write in spiral notebooks a lot. (Spiral on the side, not
the top.) I always hate coming to the end of a page because it's
hard to write on those last few lines — there's nothing to
support your hand. And yet there's all this wasted space on the
top! I thought, "They should make spiral notebooks with the empty
space on the bottom." Then I realized I could just flip the
(What is that big top margin for, anyway? So you can write a
headline for each page REALLY BIG?)
- cnn.com: Racy text messages may spell trouble for mayor.
Probably more likely that it spells "trubl". Har har. Actually,
Matthew Amster-Burton found the funniest part of the article
— funnier than the fact that the supposedly "racy" text
messages included the line "And did you miss me, sexually?" —
to wit: Kilpatrick took office as mayor in 2002, according to
the biography on the mayor's Web site. So apparently the
reporter here decided to go with the cover-your-ass qualifier in
lieu of actually checking to see whether the claimed chronology
was correct. Because if there's anything we've learned in the
past eight years, it's that reporters don't think it's their job
to verify things.
- I like the
Twitter error screen. The bird has an amusing expression.
It's like, "Hunh, that doesn't look right. Wonder what's up.
Oh well, none of my concern — I am a bird."
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