Thursday, February 23, 2006

A New Jurassic Mammal - Castorocauda lutrasimilis

Cool story. A semi-aquatic mammal fossil 100 million years older than previously thought to exist.

"The new animal is not related to modern beavers or otters but has features similar to them. Thus the researchers named it Castorocauda lutrasimilis. Castoro from the Latin for beaver, cauda for tail, lutra for river otter and similis meaning similar."


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Whopperettes

Just to show that the world truly is a strange place:


Murder List

A year or so ago the author, Julie Garwood, published a book titled "The Murder List". The basic premise is that a woman has a list of people the world would be better off without. The list was supposed to be burned as part of a cleansing ritualistic-type thing. Well, this list ends up in the hands of a psychopath who starts ticking the names off it. It's a romantic suspense novel, so the hero and heroine eventually catch the killer and they ride off happily into the sunset.

My point is that sometimes, after a day like this, I can see where that would be a nice thing to have and do. I can put three names on it right away. Amazingly enough, none are relatives, all co-workers.


And I'm not even feeling nearly as homicidal as I was this morning.

PS: If anyone finds out where this cartoon came from, let me know so I can attribute it to the right place, please.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Good Weekend

Well, I had a pretty good weekend. TAFH came in with her significant other, a great guy whom I shall hereby christen UP for Uncle P_____. I had a day and a night off. I left the house Saturday around 10:15 to go to the library and came home after seeing Nanny McPhee with Mom around 11:30. I only stayed in TAFH's presence for about twenty minutes, so reduced her chances of yelling at me. According to Mom, she was pleasant the whole visit. I think I heard something about Hell freezing over lately, didn't I? Anyway, she gave us the time off. In her defense, she usually does.

I went to the library with the intention of doing genealogy research, but ended up looking at college stuff instead. Yes, yours truly has a better than good chance of going back to college this fall. I've been looking at an online college based out of New Jersey. Thomas Edison State College does have classes at its location, but it really emphasizes distance learning. My brother is using it to get his degree while in the military. I had looked at U of Phoenix and even spoke to a person, but the tuition is too much. TESC has much better tuition AND they actually offer a Bachelor's in History, rather than the Criminal Justice degree I would have had to settle for with U of Phoenix.

So, since I wanted to maximize my options, I looked at two books that list other online colleges with History degrees, a book on scholarships and a CLEP test book. I took the sample CLEP on Humanities. Um, I really need to bone up on composers and artists. I suck. Out of 150 questions, I missed 58. I think I'll be getting a CLEP test book on Friday. As for the scholarships, well, if I could change my heritage or have already published in the History field, I'd be doing great. As it is, I'm not going to get a heck of a lot of help through the scholarships listed in that book. Back to! There were quite a few schools that offered either History Bachelor's degrees or Masters in Library Science online. I have hope again!

Sunday we had a lecture on the Molly Maguires at the ICS (Irish Cultural Society) and had an adventure trying to put together a slideshow for it on Friday. All I wanted to do was watch my television programs, but Mom kept needing me to help her with a program and function I've never used on the computer! ARGH! All I wanted was to watch the Stargates, Numbers and House, but I had to keep recording bits to watch later. Sunday was good, though. I dragged poor Kim to the lecture, but I think she enjoyed it.

Deb Randall (nice lady, very talented) had written a one-woman play about the Molly Maguires for her theater company the Venus Theatre, out of Baltimore. Mom convinced her to come up and put it on as the first part of a lecture on the Mollies. A professor from New York, who grew up in Scranton, Jerry Furey, gave the second part of it. Both were great. Deb's play centered on the women and gave some details. Jerry's part gave more background on the Molly movement (and similar groups) throughout Irish history.

It was quite interesting to watch Deb go through her final rehearsal on the stage. She was muttering parts to herself and then making last-minute changes to the script. It was fascinating. She asked me to help her with the sound checks a few times and then asked me to make the hammering sound she needed at a certain part of the show. I fobbed that off on Mom, not wanting to draw any attention to myself.

Did you know that the words "boo" and "hubbub" came from an Irish word originally? Apparently, the ancient Irish warriors would scream "abu!" as they went into battle (naked as jays, of course) as a sort-of "charge!" The fact that a bunch of naked screaming men and women would be disturbing to the other side probably played into it, I'm thinking. Anyway, the British and Americans that hated the Irish and Irish immigrants took the word and corrupted it into "boo" to insult people (mostly the Irish at first) and "hubbub" to mean an indecipherable noise that means nothing. Cool, huh?


Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Well, here goes nothing. Let me know what you really think of me.

Cheers, I think.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


My team at work decided make stuff for Valentine's Day - sort of a sweets for the sweets day. I made an apple crisp, not quite from scratch. I used a GF cake mix and added brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Oh, and butter. I peeled and sliced all the apples - except for the four that Mom peeled - then had the nerve to say I didn't leave enough flesh on my peels for her to eat. The Noive! It was a hit! Everybody loved it. And it was totally gluten-free! My boss even had seconds.

The others brought in two cheesecakes, cookies and brownies so rich I could only eat half of one. Breakfast and lunch were definitely fun. Those ladies can certainly cook. Two of them have even worked as bakers in the past. I had some of my apple crisp, two slices of cheesecake and one of the brownies all told.


LOL. Last night when I made the apple crisp the conversation went a little like this after I gave a piece to Mom, Grandma and myself to try it.

Me: Well, how is it?
Mom: It's great. What do you think?
Me: Yeah, I think it tastes great, too. Grandma?
Grandma: It's okay.

Now, given that her usual reaction to my cooking is "I don't like it", this was high praise. I immediately closed it up and put it in the refrigerator for work the next morning. About two hours later, I heard the refrigerator open and the rustling of tin foil. For something that was only "okay", she took a pretty big helping of it! ;p


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Holding Patterns Update (A Grandma Update)

Well, I'm not feeling selfish now. She got on me about having the laptop downstairs when it "belongs upstairs". She doesn't want to hear it or see it. When she and Aunt L arrived I was playing a game that made noise. So, even though I turned it off and had the whole computer on mute for an hour and a half that was still too loud.

I waited until Mom got home and did a fair impression of a rat from a sinking ship. I'm upstairs now, hiding from the woman masquerading herself as my grandmother. You know, when she dies, I'm going to need a map to remember what the first floor looks like, I spend so much time up here.

Holding Patterns (A Grandma Update)

I feel selfish right now. Aunt L called and told me Grandma would be out of the hospital today instead of tomorrow and my first reaction was joy that she’d be coming home, because at this point there’s nothing short of dialysis they could do to get her creatnin levels where Dr. Sethi really wants them. However, my next emotion scares me. I was annoyed that I wouldn’t have just one more day to myself. She was in the hospital for almost four days. Surely, I am not so petty and cold to wish more of that on her. Am I?

I have this trapped feeling when I think about the fact that I have to stay here with Grandma. But when I do have time away from her, I barely know what to do with myself. It’s like my entire world revolves around her. My entire being is geared toward making sure she’s alright. Making sure she takes her pills, eats, is warm enough. I can’t even think about what to do when it doesn’t involve her. I did go out with Kim the other night and a few weeks before that Mom and I went out to the movies.

My stomach is in knots as I write this. She’s sleeping on the couch across from me and I’m looking at her. She’s finally breathing silently. She wasn’t before she went into the hospital, the fluid in her lungs wouldn’t let her. But now I keep looking to make sure she actually is breathing, she’s so quiet. It’s eerie.

Am I a horrible granddaughter? I have information coming from online colleges so I can go back to school as I grandma-sit. What’s wrong with me? Or is anything wrong with me? I never wanted to be a caregiver, not like this. But I took it on as my responsibility, and now that it’s tough I want out. Is this just being human? Or is this being weak? Does the fact that I’m still here (and Mom, too) mean we are actually being strong about this? Or are we just planes in a holding pattern and don’t know how to fly away or land?

Personally, I want to fly, but Grandma is here, so here is where I stay.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Stir, Whip, Stir, Whip, Whip, Whip, Stir. Beat!

Well, after much wrangling and an almost Abbott & Costello-like routine where Kim and I realized the only free time we had in synch for the next two weeks was last night as we were talking, we finally watched The Star Wars Holiday Special. I have to say it was worth the giggle time, but oh my Gods, it was SOOOOOOO bad. It was worth the five bucks just for having finally reached the pinnacle of bad movies. It now tops my list, even over Eegah and Rites of Dracula.

Let's see, as Kim will no doubt note in her blog if she does one, Bea (commentator crediting her as Bee-a-tris) Arthur was the best part. Her role as no-nonsense bartender (Ackmena) with a soft side was perfect for her. She has a song as she's trying to usher her patrons out of the bar when the Empire implements a curfew. Even better, she has a love interest! Harvey Korman plays Krelman, a lovelorn alien with a convenient hole in the top of his head for pouring drinks in. I guess it's handy when the love of your life pours drinks for a living.

Harvey Korman has two other roles. One is as a video instructor. He teaches Chewie's son, Lumpy (yes, I said "Lumpy") how to make a miniature transmitter to get rid of the stormtroopers that had been searching the house for Rebel propaganda and tools. Harvey's instructor role might have been the inspiration for Max Headroom. Tic-tic-tic-tics included. Of course, the dimwit stormtrooper opened up the secret panel, looked at the transmitter Chewie's family had hidden and then closed the panel up again, leading me to believe he either didn't see it or was secretly a Rebel himself. Of course, I think he's the one that took a header off the treehouse later, so I think he was just stupid.

His other role, the second best character on the show, was as Chef Gormaanda. I've been trying to figure out how to describe this role. I think the link does it better than I ever could. I just have to say two things the link doesn't. When the third arm comes out Gormaanda adds "beat" to her little chant and the person working the fourth arm seems not to realize where Harvey's mouth is and instead of tasting the "Bantha Surprise" he gets smacked in the face every time. Maybe Gormaanda is Krelman's long-lost cousin and her mouth is really on top of her head. This scene, by the way, is the source of this blog's title.

There were three other guest stars: Jefferson Starship, Diahann Carroll and Art Carney, yes, Art Carney, the Die-Hard, Blade-Running, Honeymooning action star plays Saun Dann, a Rebel trader who keeps trying to sell the Commander of the Imperial troopers a leather ID case . In his defense, he was trying to get the Imperials out of the house before Chewie made it home. He also brought gifts to everyone, including Lumpy's transmitter, a video player for Mala (Chewie's wife) to watch Jefferson Starship and a special video for Itchy (How can I say this with a straight face? Chewie's father) to watch on a VR-ish machine.

Saun Dann had one of the Imperials watch Jefferson Starship's song to prove that the gift wasn't dangerous. *sigh* Let's just say it wasn't one of their best performances and it probably would have been better with the introduction of special brownies, if you get what I mean.

As for Itchy's gift, well, this introduced Diahann Carroll's character, Mermeia. She seems to be a water-dwelling beauty right out of Itchy's most pornographic fantasies. The song isn't that bad, actually. It's just, um, a little out of place, given that this was supposed to be aimed at kids. Itchy was having a very good time, though. Nothing like watching a hare-lipped Wookie in the throes of, let's stop this thought right now. It's too scary. Kim and I just kept looking at each other in astonishment that it was even happening.

Let's see, have I missed anything? Oh, yeah. Our favorite Star Wars characters. They reused lots of footage (some repeatedly) from the first movie. Han and Chewie are, as usual, trying to outrun some Imperials. Han's best line and pretty much the only one he has is this: "Why do I always think that taking you home for Life Day is gonna be easy?" I guess he and Chewie go through this every year.

Mala, after getting a message from Traffic Control, contacts Luke, where he's trying unsuccessfully to repair an engine. This was before Empire Strikes Back and after Mark Hamill's accident, so they had him heavily made up and filmed him from one direction. There's a noticeable ridge of skin/make-up on the right side of his face, just where the lighting stops. Make-up and lighting did a pretty good job hiding it, actually. I only noticed it because I'd read so much about the make-up job and wanted to know what the deal was.

As for Leia, well, she seems to think that a couple of huge critters who can tear limbs from sockets actually need a hairless, physiologically weak, older human to be wise enough to protect them. Oh, and she can sing! Sorta. She gets to sing the Wookie's Life Day song. Which is good, because none of us humans can understand Wookie.

While the Imperials were tearing apart poor Lumpy's room and favorite stuffed bantha (I want one!) he was blissfully watching a cartoon about his father and the gang and how they first met Boba Fett. Again, I don't know how to describe this one, so I'll refer to and their bit on it one more time. Just so you know, though, this is Han Solo. The others at least look human, if a "tad" wide-eyed (drugged-out!). Ma baby Han looks like he got his chin trapped in the same machinery that supposedly got Spock's ears in "The City on the Edge of Forever."

All told, The Star Wars Holiday Special was one of the best bad movies I have ever seen in my life. It was cheesy, the special effects sucked. there was no script to speak of, really - and I had a great time watching it! If you love Star Wars and actually have a sense of humor about Jar-Jar, then this is the bad movie for you. However, I think I'm going to watch Jaws right about now. Maybe Close Encounters. I'm in the mood for a good sci-fi movie right about now, which precludes whatever the Sci-Fi channel is about to show for their Saturday movie. Or maybe an adventure...

Cheers and I'm off to watch Pirates of the Caribbean and drool over Johnny.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Joke time

Okay, just two jokes. The first is a golf joke I found after laughing at the blonde joke.

Moses, Jesus, and an old, bearded man were out playing golf one day. Moses pulled up to the tee and drove a long one. It landed in the fairway but rolled directly toward a water trap. Quickly Moses raised his club, the water parted and it rolled to the other side safe and sound.

Next, Jesus strolls up to the tee and hits a nice long one directly toward the same water trap. It landed directly in the center of the pond and kind of hovered over the water. Jesus casually walked out on the pond and chipped it up onto the green.

The third guy gets up and sort of randomly whacks the ball. It heads out over the fence and into oncoming traffic on a nearby street. It bounces off a truck and hits a nearby tree. From there it bounces onto the roof of a nearby shack and rolls down into the gutter, down the downspout, out onto the fairway and right toward the aforementioned pond. On the way to the pond, it hits a little stone and bounces out over the water and onto a lily pad where it rested quietly.

Suddenly, a very large bullfrog jumped up on the lily pad and snatched the ball into his mouth. Just then, an eagle swooped down and grabbed the frog and flew away. As they passed over the green, the frog squealed with fright and dropped the ball which bounced right into the hole for a beautiful hole in one. Moses then turned to Jesus and said, "I hate playing with your Dad."

And now, for the blonde joke, click here.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Muhammad Cartoons

Okay, having gone to college for journalism and having sold some articles to a local newspaper, I'm all for freedom of the press. However, when this controversy first came out in the general news about two weeks ago, I was squarely on the side of the Muslims, for one reason: respect for a religious tradition. I feel that "self-censorship" can be just as important as saying anything and everything you think, for the simple fact that sometimes what you say can hurt people needlessly.

Today I did some digging. I don't know why, but I did. I love editorial cartoons. I tend to find most of them hilarious, especially the liberal cartoons bashing our "beloved" President. I'm not even sorry for it, I simply can't stand the man and his smirk (nookyooler). *shudder* Even if I don't agree with the viewpoint they represent (ie. Pro-Bush), I love the sheer artistry and talent involved in getting what are often complex issues across in a single drawing.

Well, I went to Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index. I love this website. His blog is presenting an interesting pov and led me to another website that is making me really think twice about my original stand. Here is the link to his blog, especially the January 7th blog, which brought a lot of it into perspective for me. He also posts the cartoons which started the whole thing here. As he says, they are "disappointingly dull". I guess the Danes have an even drier wit than I appreciate.

The link he provided is that of Tom Gross, Middle East media analyst, who has compiled a page of cartoons he says are typical of the Arab press. Um, well, I'd rate them as offensive at the least (the worthy goal of any political cartoonist, granted) and downright disgusting at the worst (above and beyond the call of political cartooning duty). Apparently, they go out of their way to offend Jews, which I can sort of understand, given the overwhelming dislike, shall we say, the Arab world has for Israel. They paint us with the same brush to an extent. I have to admit to getting a bit of a chuckle out of the one that made Bush look like a parrot, but to me it would have been a hell of a lot funnier if it had been Karl Rove and not a stereotypical, racial-slur image of a Jewish man holding and prompting him to repeat what was said to him. That part wasn't funny to me at all.

So, now I'm leaning right down the middle. I had thought all along that it was stupid of the Danish paper to print them, just as it is wrong of the Muslims "protesting" by violence, not to mention calling a fatwa on the twelve cartoonists. Well, I did just mention it, actually. Anyway, you have the Muslims calling for apologies and the cartoonists heads. They are boycotting Danish products, which is the civilized and most effective way of expressing one's displeasure with a nation in general, by hitting them in the wallet. However, they are also damaging property, kidnapping people and hurting others. Then you have the idiot European newspapers, who in a show of solidarity with their EU brothers, are further inflaming the situation by repeatedly and increasingly publishing the damned things.

Simply put, everyone's wrong and everyone's right! Yes, free speech is a valued thing, but just because you can say something, doesn't mean you have to. As for the Muslims going apeshit over the whole thing, have you ever heard the old line about glass houses and stones? I realize there is a proscription against depicting Muhammad. Cool. Fine. But you have to learn how to play well with others if you want to get anywhere. Self-censorship works both ways, people!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Catch-Up Time

Okay, a couple of things today since I've been remiss in posting. First, you simply have to check out the link. Kim's sister is one in a million. For anyone who wanders across this post and doesn't know who Hippolyta is, she's the Queen of the Amazons and Wonder Woman's mother.

Let's see. I received the movies and watched Fantastic Four. It wasn't as bad as I was afraid it would be, but certainly wasn't as good as I hoped. Kim, you were right. I think I laughed at parts I wasn't supposed to. My friend Brian is going to borrow it, as he's a fan of Roger Corman movies, too. I'm being patient and holding off on watching Star Wars. But it's calling my name!

My brother and his kids are coming in the first week of March, so this is going to be fun. I'm already putting my request in for the time off. It's a busy week, but my boss says they can manage without me. *happy dance time* I get to spoil my niece and nephew! Wahoo! Now we just have to clean the room with the computer in it so they have a place to sleep. They'll even be here in time to walk in the St. Patrick's Day parade. *sigh* I guess this means I have to walk instead of cheat and ride on the float. Oh, well. Once won't kill me. Right? *gasp gasp*