Friday, January 29, 2010

U.S. Postal Service Hates Hannukah. And Christmas. Or Maybe They Just Hate Me! (with an update).

Anon GF gave me a Barnes & Noble Nook for Hannukah (and/or Christmas).  When she ordered it, we both knew that it would be on back order and wasn't supposed to ship until February.  Hey, I could live with that.  I was getting a Nook!  Tres excitement.

As time went by, I found myself growing more and more excited about the eminent arrival of my Nook. Anticipation really can sweeten  things.  I was positively salivating at the thought of my Nook's arrival.  Imagine my pleasure and surprise when an email showed up telling me that they were shipping it EARLY!  Yup! They were sending it out on January 22nd.  YeeeeeeHaw!

And that sucker was making it's way toward me faster than I could update the tracking site.


-The shipping company received the billing info at 3:17pm on 1/22/09
-ONE MINUTE LATER it arrived at their location. (I'm guessing this means that a.} somebody entered a keystroke on the computer and 'removed' it from inventory or b.} they have some poor schmo chained to each shelf and whenever they 'process' an order he gets a shock from a cattle prod and drops one item from his shelf onto the conveyor belt. Modernization takes many forms.)
-24 hours and 41 minutes later, my Nook was 'processed' at their facility. (OK, maybe this is when the cattle prods came into play.)
-Another 20 hours and 8 minutes later my Nook departs their facility...from less than 50 miles from my front door.
-8 hours and 51 minutes later, it's getting closer to me.  It's a mere 19 miles from it's new home.
-9 hours and 47 minutes later, it's been handed off to the U.S. Postal Service. It's now, presumably, at the Main Post Office in Brooklyn for sorting to my local Post Office.  (So what if there's one more step before it gets put on a truck headed to me; it's less than one mile away.)

You'll note that the private shipping company has taken three days to get my Nook to within a mile of me and they've made progress every day!

But now it was in the hands of the U.S. Postal Service.  Argix put up a helpful link to the USPS website so I could continue to track my Nook's travels.


It's now exactly 4 full days since Argix gave my Nook to the USPS.

The USPS continues to acknowledge that they're aware of the alleged existence of my Nook, but that's as far as they're willing to go.

The USPS hates me.

Update:  My Nook arrived at 12:57 p.m.  WooooHooo!
Note: This means that the private shipping company moved my Nook toward me at the blazing speed of 0.843 miles per hour while the USPS moved 74.63 hours per mile. 


Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm Loud, I'm Proud and I'm Totally Uninformed!

I'm totally admitting I didn't watch the State of The Union Address last night.  I decided earlier in the day that I didn't care to see or hear it.  Why bother?  There was really a less than zero chance that I'd watch the speech and decide, "Hey, I've been wrong about this guy!  Maybe Glenn Beck has been right all along!  Geez I feel like such a dope".

Nah, whatever Obama said last night I would have come away thinking the same things I thought going in...namely that he's Presidential; that he's thoughtful; that I like the cut of his jib. (I wouldn't know a jib from a mizzen topgallant staysail, but since my uninformed-ness is equal opportunity...).  Anyway, not only wasn't I expecting to change my mind about Obama based on anything he said last night, I certainly wasn't expecting any of his arch-nemesi, detractors, enemies, slavering hordes of mouth-breathing half-witted... loyal opposition to have any sudden epiphanies and cross the aisle in newly adoring amity either.

I feel a little bad admitting this, but I turned to the only channel I get that wasn't showing the speech and watched another adorable little show riddled with teen angst and woes. It wasn't the least bit painful and it barely interfered with the book I was reading at the same time.

Finally (with no other options), I tuned in at 10 o'clock and (sorta kinda) paid attention the the last part of the speech.  I was glad to see that he (mostly) abandoned Terminator Ninja Obama... favor of calm collected Obama.
 Yup!  Presidential!  We even got to watch 'Bobble-Head-Biden' and 'Pop-Up-Pelosi'.
What more could you want (to remind you that the STOU address has become a more-or-less useless affair in partisan politics)?

Oh, I forgot.  There is more.  Sean Hannity managed to get his hands on the White House's "pre-STOU talking points".  And not only did he blather on about them, he got the Prince of Darkness, Beelzebub, Rosemary's Baby, Republican strategist Karl Rove to sit in with him to dish the dirt.  And all of this before Obama said a word.  Yup!...they were gonna listen to the speech with a totally open mind.  Now, I'll admit that a transcript of a radio show might miss some nuance.  The spoken word and the written word convey meaning differently.  But I challenge you to make any sense out of the transcript of that show.  I honestly don't know what the fuck they were talking about.  I can tell that they're angry.  I can also tell (without listening to any of Sean's callers) that his audience would have been frothing at the mouth...completely unable to contain their pre-conceived loathing for Obama or their fawning adoration for all things Sean & Karl. (BTW, I've always thought that since Karl didn't bother to change the spelling of his name to start with a C, you should get a free pass on the whole Godwin's Law thing whenever he's involved.)

Another thing that makes me think it's just all political theater is that fact that since 1966, there's been an Opposition "Response" to the STOU speech.  Talk about useless!  It's nothing more than a chance for the Out party to trot out some 'rising star' to see if he can get enough traction to be a viable contender at some future date.  They also usually turn out to be utterly expendable in the event they come off looking like a total Schnook. Remember this guy?

 Oops!  I mean this guy.  What a dork!


This year we got Virginia's new Governor looking all kindsa Presidential his-own-self!

And you got imagery that totally mimicked Obama speaking to a joint session of Congress.

And he doesn't have to let any pesky Demon-Crats into the audience.  Everybody claps when they're supposed to and nobody sits on their hands. You can take it to the bank that that's gonna be used as proof of...something!

Look!  They friggin' adore him.

Anyway...let's get back to the point of this blatheration...I'm Loud, I'm Proud, and I'm Totally Uninformed!.  See, I'm taking my cue from the Tea-Baggers and Birthers.  They haven't the first clue what the fuck they're talking about most of the time.  Even on the rare occasions when they make a cogent argument, it tends to be in support of a specious premise.  But somehow, they've managed make themselves heard and taken seriously.  I'm sure there's no shortage of brain-damaged idiots on my side of the aisle.  I've just made the tactical error in thinking you could beat these people with logic and reasoned arguments.

I'm thinking that the less I really know about stuff, the better prepared I'll be to fight the opposition. Note that I'm not saying anything about actually swaying the opposition.  That's clearly impossible.  I've just decided that drowning them out may be more effective in the long run.

The Right has their Tea-Baggers...a name that's supposed to evoke images of Patriots valiantly opposing Imperial Tyranny (while inadvertently providing a wholely unintended alternate mental picture).

I'm thinking we could start a movement of The Stampers!  There's all sorts of good things about this idea.  It also harkens back to the Revolution and the Stamp Act predated the Tea Tax by almost two full years.  We could be first...retroactively...before we even do anything.  And we could launch protests kinda like those guys who throw pies at speakers they don't like...only we'd have these nifty Stamps you could plaster over people's mouths.  That'll shut 'em up!

And we'll have catchy slogans and stuff too! Admittedly, I'm gonna need a little help with this part.  The Tea-Baggers have clearly demonstrated that effective slogans must:
-be short and angry.
-have absolutely no basis in reality.
-be based, not merely on purposeful misunderstandings, but be blatant lies. (Death panels anyone?)
-be memorable enough for really stupid people to at least spell them correctly. (I'll admit that this one is more a matter of learning from Tea-Baggers' mistakes, but lessons learned, right?)

The best I've got so far is Gov. Bob McDonnell caused the earthquake in Haiti!  (He was inaugurated on January 6th and the earthquake hit on January 12th. Coincidence?  I think not.)  You may think that's a stretch, but I'm telling've got to adjust your mindset!  Hey, Obama was born in Kenya, wasn't he?  There's proof dammit!

So, me get The Stampers movement off the ground.  We're Loud, We're Proud and We're Totally Uninformed.  We don't know what the fuck we're talking about!  (But we've got an internet connection and we know which end of a camera to shake our fists at.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Life is full of little surprises.

One of the few things more disgusting than stepping barefoot into a pile of warm kitty-cat stepping barefoot into a cold pile of kitty-cat puke.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Connecting Flights.

OK, fine! These are just a few things that have been burbling around my head and, other than involving flights, they have no connection whatsoever!  Oh crap, I just thought of a fourth thing and that one doesn't even involve flying.  Tough shit.  I've been derelict in my bloggular duty and this is what you get.

Damn!  That's gonna leave a mark.

I've neglected to say anything about the Underwear Bomber (Captain Underpants, Fruit of the Boom, Sir Sizzlepants), because, frankly, I can't get past the fact that he had a BOMB IN HIS UNDERPANTS!  Now, logically thinking, I know this doesn't make any damned difference in the world.  Yeah, sure, most suicide bombers wear a vest or some other macho exploding garment.  Richard Reid wore 'splodey shoes.  And I'll guess that no matter where you choose to attach a bomb to your body, the difference in time between the nearest body part and the rest of you going splat is negligible.

But I still can't get past the fact he was wearing a bomb IN HIS UNDERPANTS!

I've got nothing substantive to add to this, but YOUCH!

British Airways has trouble getting you across a river.

I'm reminded of a puzzle about getting a family across a river.

Here are the rules:
1. The raft can carry only 2 people.
2. The father can not be left with any of the daughters unless the mother is present
3. The mother can not be left with any of the sons unless the father is present.
4. The criminal can not stay with any family member unless the guard is present.
5. Only the father, mother, and guard know how to use the raft.

Here's the story.  British Airways, apparently has a policy prohibiting men from sitting next to children they don't know on flights.  Mirko Fischer was recently on a flight seated in the middle seat between his pregnant wife and a 12 year old boy who had been seated on the aisle.  He was asked to move and then when he refused, he was told that the flight wouldn't take off until he complied.

He's says he was humiliated because of a policy that presumes all men are pedophiles. And this isn't something new.  in 2006, London Mayor Boris Johnson was asked to move away from his own children on a flight to India.

I'm pretty sure I think this policy is ludicrous. And, of course, there's no such thing as a female pedophile.

Oooh! I'm all mysterious and shit!

Remember last week when that plane from NY to Kentucky was diverted to Philadelphia because of what turned out to be an Orthodox Jewish kid wearing a "religious device"? (I love that term.)  Anyway, I wanted to get all bent out of shape over how ridiculous the whole thing was, but I can't.

My first thoughts were, "Hey, hasn't anyone ever seen a guy wearing Tefillin before"?  And then I had to figure..."well, probably not."  Tefillin (or phylacteries), are a couple of leather boxes containing a few verses from the Torah with leather straps you wrap around your arm and around your head. (It might help is someone invented an actual English word for Tefillin or if phylacteries didn't sound so dirty...just sayin'.)

Here's some old guys putting on Tefillin:

I suppose that could look a little sinister if you've never seen it before.  And you probably haven't.  And now, you're all saying, "Wassup with that anyway"?  Short answer.  There's a verse in Deuteronomy that says something like, "And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes".  I'm not entirely sure how we got from that to leather straps and boxes, but there you are.  Observant Jewish men (and a lot of women in more progressive synagogues), put on Tefillin every morning for the morning prayers. (You can do this alone or in a group, but you're supposed to do it before noon).

Here's a couple more shots for the hell of it:

This is part of a campaign reminding women that they can wear Tefillin too.

 I haven't the first idea what Barbie in Tefillin is supposed to represent.

So, this kid probably rushed to make it to the airport in time and didn't get to Shul (synagogue), or have time to do his business before leaving home, so he decided to do his praying on the plane. If you've ever flown on any flight headed toward Israel or to a flight connecting to Israel, you've probably seen this.  On the other hand, flights to Kentucky?...maybe not so much.

So, anyway, it's not like this is some secret ritual that Jews carry out in hidden places, but seeing as I don't spend a whole lot of time in synagogues these days, I can't really blame a bunch of Goyim for not being clued in.

P.S.  I'll admit that the whole thing may look a little weird to the uninitiated, but I have a big WTF moment myself once a year when I see a bunch of people wandering around Manhattan with ashes all over their foreheads.  Weird is a pretty equal opportunity affliction.

Lastly, I don't think this guy could afford to fly.

This guy might actually be my new hero...if he weren't a complete douchenozzle.  Meet Markus...America's first legal male prostitute. 

You have to read the whole interview to get the benefit of all of his glorious douchie-ness, but my favorite part is where he claims to be the Rosa Parks of...I don't really know what he's claiming to be the Rosa Parks of.  Hey, he's a douche!

So, that's the stuff that I've had bouncing around in my head...and still have no earth-shatteringly deep thoughts about.  But I've now done my bloggarly duty and posted about this stuff anyway.

Sue me.  I'm a douche.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Massive Book Haul and Other Stuff!

Today I received my swag from Michelle's annual Great Book Giveaway™.  Color me thrilled.  I haven't read any of these!

Yes, I sent something back from Michelle's Amazon Wish List, but I'm not telling you what.  That'd spoil the surprise.

Also, I didn't mention it, but I had lunch with John The Scientist the other day and we ate really good NORMAL FOOD!  We went to a Korean Barbeque in Flushing (that's Queens).  I told John to do the ordering since I really didn't have a clue what most of the stuff was.  When the waitress came over, John started ordering one item and before he could get it half-way out of his mouth, she pursed her lips and said (in really broken English), "No, no...'murikins doan like that!"  I kind of smirked and realized I was being protected by the Gods-of-things-it's-really-OK-to-eat.

First they bring out about 8 appetizers in little dishes, mostly pickled items...some spicy, some in soy paste.  One of them was Kimchi, but that was the only one I didn't like.  Then they come to your table and grill the chicken and beef we ordered on a brazier at the table.  As we began eating, the waitress pointed at a basket of broadleaf lettuce and said, "Make a taco!"  I got a kick out of that little cultural juxtaposition.

Anyway, we had a really good lunch and then went shopping at a Chinese Supermarket so John could show me what the next beneficiaries of his largesse (i.e. unwitting victims), would be receiving.  I'm pretty sure they'll be surprised!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Today Is National Penguin Awareness Day!

WooHoo! join me in celebrating the awesomeness of all things penguinesque!

Note: This is not to be confused with "Eat all the stuff in your freezer" Day!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Please Chip In For Shawn Powers & Family.

You'll note that new widget over at the top of my sidebar.  On Sunday, January 17th, Shawn Powers and his family came home from church to find their house lost to a fire.  Shawn, his wife Donna, and three tween-aged girls are all safe and sound, but in addition to losing all of their 'stuff', lost their family pets as well.

Thankfully, they are being well cared for by their community.  They have a place to stay and friends lending a hand, both in meatspace and in Blogo-land.

I haven't posted about this before, because, frankly, I can probably count my readers who don't already know Shawn on one hand.  Regardless, I thought I'd reach out to that handful of you and ask you to chip in.  If you click on that widget, you'll be taken to a site where you can donate.  You'll also note, that the widget seems to indicate that the 'goal' has been reached. I think the folks who started that site were a little surprised (and gratified) to see how effective it was.  Going over the 'goal' really wouldn't cause a problem.

Shawn has insurance, but it'll take time to kick in and do him any good.  Nothing we do can will really ease the trauma of this experience, but being able to get the basics (hey, it's winter in Northern Michigan) and a few distractions for the girls will make the experience infinitely more bearable.

Chip in if you can.  Thanks.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Alternate Side Parking: Now With Added Retardedness!

I've talked about NYC parking before but I don't think I've ever gotten into the insanity that is Alternate Side Parking.  ASP is when they clear one side of the street for an hour or an hour and a half for street cleaning.  It used to happen twice per week for each side of every residential street.  Recently, they've been changing over a lot of neighborhoods to once per week. People are happy about the change, but it's really that the city couldn't afford to sweep that often, not that they were trying to make things easier on everyone.

So, anyway, legally, it's quite simple; when it's time for ASP, you have to move your car.  In reality, it's confusing as hell.  If you live on a block with a school, a fire house, a police precinct or some other thing I haven't thought of, you just need to get your car out of there for the hour and a half.  If you live on a residential street in Manhattan, odds are that you can sit in your car double-parked until the street sweeper passes by and then everyone moves back over the the illegal side of the street in a beautifully choreographed performance.

In my neighborhood, you can usually just double park on the other side of the street and you don't have to sit in your car waiting, but if you see the street sweeper go by, don't think that means it's time to move your car back.  Here, they care about the times on the street sign; not whether or not the street got cleaned.

Most people leave a note on the windshield with their phone number in case the guy you're blocking wants to drive away.  It's all very civilized.  But remember, this is just something that doesn't get enforced in certain can still get a ticket for double parking if some cop has a bug up his ass.

Here's where it has recently gotten interesting.  The city has put in a bunch of bike lanes all over the city.  In the shot below, the car on the right is legally parked for the day.  Then, there's the bike lane.  Then there's the guy parked in the middle of the road (and the cops won't bother him).  That blue car on the left in the distance?  He got a ticket...cause he's on the side that's illegal (as opposed to the middle which is only sorta-kinda illegal but wink, wink).

I know it all makes sense, but it just looks really retarded.  It looks even more retarded when the street cleaning rules end.  Then you have everyone driving this serpentine path down the block because nobody moves their cars out of the middle of the road at the exact same time.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hello Everybody! Didja Miss Me?

I've been out of sorts the last couple of days.  To be perfectly honest, I may have treated it (i.e. given myself over to being incapacitated), a little more than it warranted, but let me publicly state that Anon GF, was solicitous throughout and never once said anything remotely like, "Man up, ya big baby."  Thanks Anon GF.

So anyway, on to a few other things.

1. I missed two days of posting the beard growth, but there's a new pic up today.  I'm not putting a link here because there's a link that'll stay at the top of the page until I'm finished with all of this nonsense.  Besides that, this is my first real post since starting the whole thing, so you could just scroll down a little bit.

2. I'm really enjoying the whole Leno, O'Brien, Letterman  HooHa!  I'm not a big fan of Leno's (I rarely ever watched him unless he was doing Headlines or Jaywalking).  I thought most of his show was pretty lame and it only got lamer at 10 p.m.  (That and I had a personal aversion to giving NBC any ratings at 10'oclock for putting a bunch of writers and directors and crews and actors out of work by doing a cheapish talk show instead of a scripted drama.)  Anyway, I don't have much to add to the whole thing except that Leno and O'Brien both come in after Letterman and Craig Ferguson in my book.  I think CBS will be enjoying the outcome of this one for quite some time.

3.  I don't have a whole lot to say about Haiti, though it's on my mind.  A friend of mine has family there and hasn't been able to get any information about them since the quake hit.  He's not even sure they would have been in Port Au Prince, but reminded me that the whole country is smaller than Maryland, so it might not make any difference.  Anyway, if you're the praying type, please spare one for Jean's family.

I won't get into the whole Pat Robertson debacle since I'm sure you've all heard about it already.  The man's a moron and I can't fathom why anyone expects anything different from him now.

Rush Limbaugh also managed to be an utter douchebag about the whole thing.  Not only is he pointing out that every American is already donating to the cause through their tax dollars (which is true considering the tonnage of Navy ships on their way there), but also questioned the White House's motives in posting links to organizations where you can make donations.  I'm not sure where he thinks the White House may divert those funds, but he's suspicious, nonetheless.  Watch the video on HuffPo.

Here's a suggestion for Limbaugh's fans if they're not comfortable using a link from the White House...How about using Wyclef Jean's foundation?

4. HuffPo also (of course) has Sarah Palin's appearance with Bill O'Reilly from Tuesday night.  I'll be honest.  I couldn't watch the whole thing.  Complete waste of time.  Here's the thing.  Those two are so polarizing that 99.9% of people fall into one of two camps...the ones who believe that everything those two say is gospel and the ones who think everything they say is the misguided, ignorant, bigoted, reprehensible talk of a crapweasel.  (I'm with the crapweasel side of things.)  So the only thing this does for me is make me think I'd better find some people with whom I disagree some of the time or maybe I'm being just as blind as her nitwitted followers.  We can't have that, now can we?

5. This is a picture of someone eating a Gyro.

This is what the meat for a gyro looks like before they shave it off to make you your delicious gyro.

It can be lamb, beef, chicken (or in heathen lands -- pork).  It's yummy.  But the problem is:  How to pronounce it when you're ordering it.  If you're in Israel or most Middle Eastern countries, the answer is simple -- you order schwarma. Ha, ya there.

No, I'm talking about how to order it here in the good ole USA.  The Greek way to pronounce it (and they're the ones who brought it here) is Yee-row.  That's where we got the Hero sandwich from. 


Other places call these sandwiches (which are not gyros) Submarines, Hoagies, Po-boys and Grinders. (If you know another name, please fill in the gap in my knowledge of truly trivial things.)

The problem is, at least in NY, most of the places that sell gyros are run by people who aren't Greek.  They're Italian and Dominican and Guatemalan and practically anything but Greek.  So, when I walk in, I can say Yee-row as long as I want.  But they're just gonna stare at me as if I'm speaking Greek until I say Jye-row.  I hate the idea of pronouncing things wrong, but I also really just want my gyro.  They're tasty!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

¿quién es más machista?

Boredom can be a dangerous thing.  In the wrong hands.  In my hands!

I've decided to stop shaving and show you the results.  Don't get me wrong...I'm not growing a beard; I'm just not shaving.  There's a difference.

And if I wanted to, I could claim it's some stunt to raise awareness for something.  Apparently, women all over the world are posting their bra colors as their Facebook status updates...all in the name of raising awareness about breast cancer.  My lack of shaving could do just as much to raise awareness about...oh, I don't know...the plight of Pacific Sea Slugs?  Whatever.

I'm just not shaving.  And you'll get to keep up with the progress.  (Although progress would be the right word if I were growing a beard as opposed to just not shaving.)  This will be more of an exercise in benign neglect.  You can all watch as my face takes on the trappings of an un-mowed lawn.  Maybe a ratty old couch will show up on the porch as time goes by.  Possibly even a 1971 Chevelle...on cinderblocks.  Who knows what may happen.

In the meantime, check back every day to see how hairy my face becomes.

Disclaimer:  This is my stupid idea.  I reserve the right to trim, dye, shape, comb, wax, brush, curl and/or straighten my beard as it appears of its own volition.  I further reserve the right to discontinue this course of non-action at the time and place of my choosing.  Let's all see how long this lasts.

Now, without further ado...stuff growing on Nathan's Face!

Beard!  Day 1
 Beard! Day 2
 Beard! Day 3

Beard! Day 4

Beard! Day 5
(And it only took four days for someone to mention that I need a haircut.  Thanks Steve!)

Sorry, I missed a couple of days. The images really aren't that hard to imagine, though...are they.

Beard! Day 8
Please note the amount of white that's sneaking into my beard.  This might get interesting.

Beard! Day 10

And now, a brief interruption to consider the immortal words, "Your beard is weird."

Beard! Day 12

You may note that I finally got a haircut.  If Shawn can get one three days after his house burns down, I can be shamed into making the effort!

Beard! Day 14.
This one doesn't really show the beard to great effect, but I liked it.  It's kind of accusatory, doncha think?  And it was an experiment with shooting myself blind with my camera phone.  WooHoo!

Beard! Day 23.

Tomorrow I'll be clean shaven again!

So That's What That Whole Thing Was About!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This Post Should Bring You A Little Smile.

No, not this one.  A.J.'s post.

Oh, and if you don't smile at least a little...I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.  :D

Adventures in Airline Security.

In case you missed it, Slovak Authorities thought it would be a good idea to test their bomb-sniffing dogs by planting explosives (RDX) on unwitting passengers to see if the dogs caught it.  In one case, a Slovak citizen was returning to Dublin (where he's been living for three years), and the dog seems to have located the explosives, but then his handler got busy with something else and forgot to remove one of the packets.

The stories have contradictory information about whether or not there were multiple packages on multiple passengers or if just this one guy was used as a guinea pig, but either way, the guy ended up traveling to Ireland...explosives and all.  The stories are also confused as to who (and when) was notified on the Irish side of things once they realized the package was still in the passenger's baggage.  According to one of the stories, the pilot was informed before the flight left the ground (including the information that there were no other components that would make the RDX explode) and the pilot decided to go ahead and make the flight anyway. (There's a note on one Wikipedia page stating that RDX becomes unstable at 4º below zero, but I'm not sure about that one.)

Anyway, three days later, when the Slovaks start to be curious about why the Irish Authorities haven't talked to them about the explosives, they make a phone call.  Irish Authorities say, "we never got your Telex".  Then they rush out and shut the original passenger's neighborhood down to retrieve the explosives and they arrest the guy for a few hours before letting him go. (A reminder: Sending a text message does not mean your message was received.  If you're texting about something important -- say, a bomb? -- you might want to consider getting a confirmation.)

Anyway,  I feel much safer knowing that the authorities are handing out bomb-making materials to those of us without the connections to get them ourselves.  Damn considerate of them, don't you think?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cats Of Twenty-Ten: Part II

OK, Fine!  Teufel is just a slut.  He'll drape himself over whatever female is handy.  (Widget doesn't seem to be complaining, though.)

I Swear To God, This Is Real.

I honestly wish I had made it up.

Everybody should believe in something. I believe I'll have another cup of coffee.

The unthinkable happened last night.  I was getting ready to brew a pot of after-dinner coffee and while rinsing out the pot -- you know, swirling the water around in it -- I smashed it against the side of the sink.


Yeah, I broke it.  I didn't manage to smash it to smithereens or anything, just busted out a little 1/2-inch piece of glass from the bottom.  In my panic-stricken mind, I started brainstorming about possible repairs.  I had the little piece of glass, rescued from the sink.  I started imagining miracle-glue, duct tape, bondo, you name it.  None of these seemed like real options.

Genius struck!  I remembered that coffee has been drunk for centuries...long before there was electricity and automatic drip pots.  I just needed to filter the hot water through some grounds and presto! There would be coffee.

So, I took a little sieve...almost identical to this one.

And I put a coffee filter into it and I filled the filter full of grounds and then I filled a pot with water until it just got about 1/2 of the sieve submerged and set the pot to boil.  This made a fine little pot of coffee (after much stirring of the grounds with a fork so they'd all actually get wet instead of just floating there).

And by the time I was done, I realized that actually heating up the water in a kettle and then pouring it through the grounds might have some precedent.  My plan for the morning was complete.

There is, however something I hadn't contemplated.  Making coffee in the morning is impossible.  It's a paradox.  It's a miracle that it ever happens at all.  Ya'see, I, like many people, have a hard time doing anything in the morning before having my first cup of coffee.

I've grown accustomed to making coffee (the new fashioned way) in my sleep.  Most mornings I manage to put the filter in before putting the grounds into the basket.  Most mornings I manage to pour approximately the right amount of water into the reservoir.  Most mornings I remember to push the "start" button before I walk away to wait for the noise that signifies the availability of coffee! (You'll note the repeated use of the word "most" instead of "all".  I've been known to skip a step on occasion.)

I have to say, the putting of coffee grounds into a sieve balanced over an empty pot awaiting the whistle of the kettle was almost beyond me this morning.  I didn't want to wait for the water to really come to a boil.  I wanted to pour it all in there at once instead of waiting for enough to drip through the grounds first.

Making coffee is hard!

In little while, I'm off to the store in search of our new coffee maker.  It'll be bright and shiny, and red (don't ask), and most importantly, it'll have a self-timer so I can set it up tonight and have the coffee make itself tomorrow.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First Cat Picture of Twenty-Ten.

And yes. LuLu and Teufel do sleep like that all the time.

In Which Nathan Is Once Again Overly Concerned About Rubbish.

Our recycling pick up day is Friday.  Last Friday was Christmas Day.  The Department of Sanitation had a notice on their website that they'd pick up on Saturday.

They didn't.

This week New Years Day fell on Friday.  The Department of Sanitation has this notice on their website notifying people that they won't get around to catching up on recycling pickups until next Friday, January 8th.

I'm about to have three weeks worth of paper, cans and bottles waiting for pickup.  Our trash cans runneth over!

Just in case you feel like this was an entirely pointless post that couldn't possibly interest anyone other than me - and you're probably right - I'll point out that Sanitation has these nifty clothes with a "DSNY" logo on them which briefly started a kerfuffle a few years back with "DKNY".  See?  Now I've told you something you probably didn't know about.

We now return you (OK later) to your usual scintillating content.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Coming Soon To An Anachronism Emporium Near You!

A bit of visual short-hand is shortly going to be on its way out.  For centuries, if you were important or highly educated (or wanted to appear important or highly educated), you posed for a photo (or portrait) in front of all of your books.  What else could so quickly telegraph that you were looking at a deep person.

I would have included a picture of myself in front of my bookcase, (important, highly educated person that I am), but then you might be able to make out the titles and then the jig would be up.  Take a moment to look over these important and/or highly educated people in front of their books.

I could be wrong, but I think this one is an actress from a BBC series.  I only included her because all of the other shots were of dead white guys (in black and white shots).  I thought we could use some diversity and some color.  And I'm not saying she isn't important or highly educated -- I haven't a clue -- but she is on a BBC show.  They're supposed to be more erudite than us over there, aren't they?  (Or at least they sound like it.)


So, anyway, it shouldn't be too long before all of these books and bookcases go the way of the Hi-Fi and the entertainment console.

What will people pose in front of a few years down the road -- a monitor? an e-reader?  a box of chips?  Will books only be owned by people who desperately need to look smart?  Will they become rare and a valuable commodity?  Or will they be "not worth the paper they're written on" and disdained?

I realize it'll be decades before this is really an issue, but there are schools already that don't use any printed textbooks.  Fear not, though.  Even though I'm only thinking about this now, there are others who've thought about it before.  The family who own the home pictured below aren't big readers but they still wanted to impress visitors.  So they had a trompe l'oeil bookcase painted on their wall.

I wish I could decide just how horrified or awestruck that makes me.