Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Delicious End

We were having lunch today at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants and while I was eating, I practiced my Espanol by reading the hand written signs taped on the counter. I understood every word except one; plancha. After a little internet searching, I now know what the sign was advertising.

Broiled filet of fish.

Speaking of broiling hot and Mexican.... Wait, I just found out that Benicio del Toro is Puerto Rican. Oh well, he's still tasty.

Adios 2006!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Great Garbage Patch

I was looking up some information on childrens author Eric Carle today, and I discovered that a book he wrote called 10 Little Rubber Ducks was based on a real life adventure.

In the beginning of 1992, a container full of plastic bathtub toys fell off a ship somewhere near the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean. 10 months later, yellow ducks, green frogs, blue turtles, and red beavers were being found on beaches in Alaska. They've also traveled to Japan, Hawaii, Maine and even Scotland and are still being found today, with an expected surge in 2007.
I also learned that as many as 10,000 containers fall off ships every year, and due to ocean currents in the north pacific, drifters get caught in something called the Subtropical Gyre. In the center of this Texas-sized orbit is a graveyard full of lost cargo called the Garbage Patch.

Now I want one of those toys. I also want to see this Big Lots of the sea with my own eyes.

Ok, I tried not to but I can't resist.... Red Beavers.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Not Dead Yet

Cousin Jenn is here with her 3 boys, and my learning today came from her first born whom I watched take his first breath over 8 years ago.

The Crested Gecko, also known as the Eyelash Gecko, was once extinct. In the early 1990's however, they were taken off the permanently dead list when some research groups found large numbers of them near Australia in New Caledonia.

Thank you Nolan! You've learned a lot since that beautiful, first day I saw you.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


is a surprisingly common fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

I have a hard time believing this is true, but there's actually a company selling a "24 Hour Home Study CD Program" to cure it.

"Arachibutyrophobia can cause panic attacks and keep people apart from loved ones and business associates (this is a bad thing?)
Symptoms typically include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, and overall feelings of dread, although everyone experiences arachibutyrophobia in their own way and may have different symptoms." Sounds like the symptoms of any and all kinds of phobias.

Here's a list of my own personal phobias, as learned on The Phobia List today:

Ergophobia- fear of work. My biggest phobia.
Gamophobia- fear of marriage (isn't it funny that it looks like the word "game" is used here?)
Homilophobia- fear of sermons. Especially political ones.
Macrophobia - fear of long waits
Politicophobia - fear of politicians (I think we should all develop and maintain this one)
Mythophobia - fear of false statements, and Tauro-shitophobia - fear of bullshit, like the ricockulous list of phobias billed on the link above.

I'm also afraid of people who suffer from Optophobia - the fear of opening ones eyes.

And my favorite phobia, Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, which is a fear of long words.
I love it.

My thanks for this great image to someone at Worth1000 dot com who calls himself Albaci.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Make Sausage, Not War

Today the snail mailman, and I can say mailman because he is in fact male, brought me a newspaper clipping sent by my aunt and number one fan, Sharon. It's about the sausage making traditions of Volga Germans, and not only did I learn a bit about sausage, (and I thought I knew a lot about sausage, wank wank, I mean wink wink) but I learned some of our family history as well.

First of all, Volga Germans are part of a larger group of Germans from Russia. My dads side of the family belongs to this particular know-it-all, better-than-everyone group and I'm very proud of that because, of course, I know everything, I'm always right and I'm better than you. Just like my grandma. Just kidding. Sort of. Anyway, this group came to be known as Volga Germans because they moved from Germany to Russia and lived along the lower Volga River in search of peace after the Seven Year War. Catherine the Great made them a pretty sweet deal to move there and live on her land because she knew the Germans kicked ass. It was here that they started toying around with sausage. Sounds fun eh? Since the empress forgot to include refrigeration in her package deal, sausage became the way to preserve meat, and they got really good at mixing in the right spices for some pretty tasty stuff.
Secondly, I learned that these sausages are an essential part of the Volga German Christmas table, but they are on the road to extinction. These unique, hand mixed, hand stuffed sausages are mainly being made by the older generation with little interest by the younger crowd to learn the craft. My aunt says that once a year the Edison Social Club members bring a son to their gathering and show them the ropes of this sausage making tradition. She got to go once as a scab for one of her cousins, and guess who gets to go and master the sausage stuffer next?

I'll be a natural.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Karenga's Krazy Kwanzaa

I got an email today from Someone that listed The 7 Principles of Kwanzaa, and I realized that I all I know about the African celebration is that it happens in December and it's something like Christmas. I know a lot more now.

Today is the first of a 7 day, non-religious, African cultural celebration, started in 1966 by a paranoid schizophrenic Marxist, 14th son of a chicken farmer who gave himself the title Maulana, which means "master teacher", and who later got arrested for beating and torturing two women. He also started an organization called the United Slaves.

The 7 Principles are; Unity, Self determination, Collective work and responsibility (wtf?), Cooperative economics (again, wtf?), Purpose, Creativity, and Faith.
There are also 7 symbols, including 7 candles. What's with all the 7's?
The symbols are; food to represent a good harvest (remember, it's summer in Africa right now), a mat to represent the foundation from which history is built, a menorah-like candle holder which holds 1 black candle to represent the people, 3 red candles to represent the suffering, and 3 green candles to represent hope for the future, corn to represent children, (corn to represent children?), a grail (grael?) called the Unity Cup, and of course, gifts.

On December 31st, there is a big feast called Karamu where they serve Caribou. Just kidding. It just rhymes so I thought... nevermind. Anyway, that's as much as I need to know about Kwanzaa. Any questions?

I also learned that our former president and last member of the Warren Commission, Gerald Ford, died today on this first day of Kwanzaa. Hmm. Copy cat. But I think it might actually be cooler than the Funk Father croaking on Christmas.

Monday, December 25, 2006

"I Feel Dead"

He looks dead too. Oh, that's because he is. MMMMmmm MMMmm HmmMMMMmmm. Whoa-oa-oa!!!!

I learned this morning that drama queen James Brown died on Christmas. How un-surprisingly dramatic.


Hiii hiii HuH! Hiiiii!!!!!
Hyeien!! Hyuiieh hi HIGH!

OOH! Ooo uh OW!

I wonder if that's what was going through his head this morning when he found his ultimate ESCAPE-ISM. Or perhaps his last thoughts were, "It's too fun-kay in he'e!".

See you later alligator. Gimme some aaaaaaaaaai'! Toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo fun-kay... he'e!


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Mommy Dearest (?)

Today I learned that....

Even though I'm almost 40, my mother still thinks she can tell me what to do.


I won't complain too much because I'm also learning about using the new(ish) laptop she gave me. The two things I've learned about it so far are:

I can lay in bed and blog, and wireless connections can be touchy mother fuckers.

I still have a lot to learn, but right now I have stockings to stuff, eggnog to drown in, and some Sudoku ass to kick.

Hi mom. Yes, I know you're reading this.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Hide the Pickle

For political and personal reasons, I decided that this year I would do all of my Christmas shopping in my own small town, and I would avoid any and all major chain stores. I'm happy to say that my success rate on this venture is about 98%. Not too bad I'd say. So today I was doing some last minute shopping, desperately picking through the dregs of a few local stores I hadn't hit yet, when I found this funny little tree ornament, a glass pickle. How could I pass it up? When I told the woman at the checkout counter that it reminded me of someone I know, she told me there's also a little story about this glass pickle.

There's an old German custom of hiding a pickle in the Christmas tree and whoever finds it first gets either an extra goodie or a year of good luck.
Almost nobody in Germany has ever heard of this game but there are a few legends that could explain this tradition.

One is a story of a Bavarian soldier who fought in the American Civil War who claimed a pickle saved his life while he was in prison. In a letter he wrote home to family, he said a pickle gave him the mental and physical strength to live on. When he was eventually reunited with his family, he decided he wanted to continue playing the prison pickle game, but his new boyfriend misinterpreted the rules and consequently hid a real pickle in the baum.

There's an old custom at my house of hiding a pickle, but we play it all year long.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Innocence is Bliss

I just watched this Twelve Days of 2006 video, and what I learned today is....

I'm sorta out of touch.

At least in the celebrity world.

I didn't know that Madonna adopted a baby from Africa, I don't know what Brittany Spears husbands name is, or was, and what's this Colin Ferrel sex fest thing about? Who is Colin Ferrel? Am I spelling Ferrel right? It looks like he was having some fun though. And what's with the cell phone hitting thing? I don't know the details on the puppy thing, but it sounds to me like it was a pretty good idea.
I'm thinking that in 2007 I'll continue on my course of ignorance and wait for the year end You Tube Barbie video to see what happened. Because you sure as hell won't find me reading a People magazine, not even in the bathroom. Because I just don't give a crap. Because, I, am, cool.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Peters Pan

I just this second got home from a birthday party for a friend I met 30 years ago. 30 years ago? 30 freakin' years ago!!!! So the thing I learned today is....

Even after 30 years your friends will still look the same to you. And vice versa.

Maybe it's because we live in Neverland. Who knows. Who cares.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Beheading and Other Survival Skills

Today was my bi-annual catalog photo shoot day, and in my free time between setting up shots, I read the Chronicle. I learned something from columnist Leah Garchik (I love that name), and hopefully you'll learn something from columnist Diva Donna.

In case you ever find yourself behind enemy lines, you can prepare for the unlikely event by attending a class in Las Vegas held by the Counter Terrorism Training School. Starting next Wednesday through Friday, you can learn how to survive a beheading attempt or other forms of execution, as well as how to escape from captivity. You can also learn how to free yourself from being tied by rope, duct tape, wire or handcuffs.

Who beheads anymore? That's so French. Sooooo 18th century.
I think I'm going to sign up just so I can see how to survive an attempt. I mean, really, can you actually survive a beheading attempt? This I have to see. I'd also like to learn how to escape from captivity. Mon Dieu, do I need to learn how to escape. Plus, all this fun is happening in the Motherland and I miss it so.

I also learned not to:

-Image search the word "execution"
-Image search the word "torture"
-Make eye contact with the creep next to me in stop and go, 2 mph commuter traffic
-Drink spiced rum with sparkling pomogranate juice before both breakfast and 10:30 am

Je répète, mon Dieu!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pimp My Nutcracker

Thankfully I checked my e-mail right before I sat down to share my wisdom for the day, because I learned something way better from my Outlook Express and Lala today than I did from my boss.

Pimp My Nutcracker. Start with the usual cursed prince and pimp him like your MySpace. This is exactly the kind of holiday fun I needed today. Another way to waste precious time laughing.

Thanks Lora! This is way better than learning that my yearly bonus this year is one third of what it was last year. In some weird and surreal way, I somehow don't care. I can't explain it. Maybe it's because I love my Pimpin' Cracker so much.

Happy Birthday Mom!
(anymore December birthdays out there I should know about?)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Riga Greenhouse

Today I figured out what I want for Christmas this year. I think I can claim it as something learned today since I didn't know it yesterday.

I want a greenhouse. Not just any greenhouse, but this exact one (called Riga) because it's so cute and it's not too expensive.

I used to have a green thumb but it turned brown years ago from changing lots of diapers. I know it's weird but I've always been curious about propagation, and I've been wanting to experiment on all the different ways to do it. Plus I can grow good tomatoes, my favorite flowers and other yummy things all year long. So Colonel, here's where you can get me one at the best price (24% off!!).
Thank you!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dumb Ass for a Day

This was me today, so I didn't learn a damn thing.
Well, this wasn't exactly me today. That big pink thing was actually chocolate.
And I wasn't wearing those shoes.
Ok, it was nothing like this. I was in some of my ugliest PJ's,
wrapped in my giant leopard blanket with a snowman cup of green tea.
But it was just like this in my head.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

La Hanau Mahina

Sagittarius in Hawaiian is Welehu.

As a Welehu, I can verify the accuracy of the following Welehu attributes.
We are candid, impulsive, and restless with an insatiable curiosity and an extraordinary power of mental activity. True to our archer symbol Pana Pua, we aim well with remarkable intuitive knowledge. We can do just about anything we put our minds to.

Sagittarius is also the "Surfing Moon" month. Surfing is the favorite sport of the Welehu, and here you have it; an official Welehu, better known as Donna (Kona) Piranha, surfing in Maui to prove it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Stand Up to the Blues in Red

It might be a late night tonight so I'm taking my own advice and blogging before I party.

If you're feeling the winter blah's in the middle of December and you're going to a dreaded but..... potentially-exciting-so-you're-going-anyway company holiday party, go get yourself some bright red shoes.

Now I'm starting to feel a little more in the spirit of things.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Somewhere out there in the world is a Monopoly game with a theme guaranteed to make you want to buy one. Brew-opoly and Wine-opoly, Cat-opoly and Bird-opoly, Bible-opoly and Farm-opoly, just to name a few. I've heard about these games before, but I didn't think they were for real. But they are in fact real games, and today I learned that:

The best selling Opoly game, according to is Dog-opoly.

I'm biting my sarcastic tongue right now, but I'm actually seriously thinking about that Cocktail-opoly.
Which one do you need?

And Happy Birthday Beaker. I hope you feel better.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dialed Over

I just got back from the spa capitol of the world where I did a little bathing in mud and a little swimming in rain. It was fantastic. After a little "Indian gaming" as the natives like to call it, we had a lovely drive home during which the Colonel, for some random (and appreciated) reason, told me a childhood story about when he got to ride along on a liquid wax delivery trip in his friends grandfathers tanker truck. Don't ask because I don't know. What I do know is that on said trip, the sometimes-gasoline-truck-driving-grandpa told him what to do if the big tank gets punctured and fuel, as in expensive gasoline, starts to leak out.

Rub a bar of soap over it.

It will stop the leak. I can't find any official answer as to why this works, but according to my story teller, it's a little something like oil and water not mixing.
I hear bubble gum works well too.

Happy Birthday Colonel Angus!

Monday, December 11, 2006

La Reina and the Virgin

Not being a religious person in any congregational sense, what I learned today is certainly well known to the rest of the world. But every year on December 12th, instead of saying, "Day of Worship- Donna Piranha's Birthday", my calendar always says, "Virgin of Guadalupe (M)". So I want to know who this bitch is that's taking my place on my sacred day. Now I know.

One day in December of 1531, a guy was walking up a hill on his way to attend Mass when the Virgin Mary appeared to him and told him she wanted a church built right there on top of the hill. So he went and told the Bishop his story but he didn't believe him and wanted proof. A few days later on the 12th day of December, he went back to the hill and there she was again. He told her he needed some evidence for his incredulous Bishop and she looked around and said, "Take him some of these roses". He gathered some up into his cloak and ran back to show him. When he opened his cloak, the roses fell to the ground and a perfect image of me, oops, I mean The Dark Virgin, was imprinted on the cloth. Centuries later, a priest named Morelos enscribed December 12 the Virgins feast day, and now millions of the faithful believers gather on this day to honor "La Reina de Mexico" (The Queen Donna Piranha).

Since I'll be the center of mucho attention-o tomorrow with all the feasting and fireworks, I won't be able to blog on this most revered day, December 12. I expect to see all of you on your knees with roses.
To enhance your December 12th pleasure, although I'm sure my birthday alone will suffice, here are some other amazing things that have happened on this honorable day:

1917- In Nebraska, Father Edward J. Flanagan founded Boys Town as a farm village for wayward boys.

1950- Paula Ackerman, the first woman Rabbi in the US, holds her first service.

1982- 30,000 women hold hands and form a human chain around a 9 mile perimeter fence at Greenham Common. (I have no idea what this is but women did it and they are cool)

And other amazing people born on this day are:

Madeline Sophie Barat, another saint like myself, but a French one.

Edvard Munch, best known for his painting, The Scream

Sammy Davis Sr., Frank Sinatra, Bob Barker, Ed Koch, Keiko the whale, and Bridget Hall the supermodel.

It is also Kenya's independence day.

Thank you in advance for all of the wonderful gifts!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Black Irish

I just got back from a movie called Black Irish. It was playing as part of a sneak preview for our amazing local film festival where I volunteer. Since my usual job as a handler wasn't necessary tonight, I got to pass out some tasty hor d'oeuvres instead. Let's see if I can remember them after repeating ad nauseum; sweet potato puree and pork tenderloin with a pomogranate sauce. Butternut squash fritters with a cabernet red onion marmalade. Beet chips with seared ahi and beet sauce and something white. Hey, that's pretty good there Donna. So anyway, there are two things I learned tonight.

1- Catering sucks total ASS. I absolutely hated walking around with those platters full of yummy food and telling everyone over and over again what it was. I want to be the one saying how tasty they are while checking out the ass of the guy offering it to me. I can't wait until I'm needed as a handler again.

2- Although there is some controversy about what is meant by the term Black Irish, the most common reference is to people from Ireland with dark hair and eyes, instead of the stereo-typed red hair and green eyes. I thought it was pub slang for my favorite beer.

Ummm, Guinness.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Eggs, Milk and Whatever Hooch You Have

It's raining and I'm trapped indoors with 2 teenage boys and a four year old. Partly as an excuse to get out of the house and partly as pure survival instinct, I found myself at the grocery store checkout line with a box of brownie mix, a carton of eggnog and a large bottle of Kool-aide's older sister, coconut flavored rum. I don't know if it's this heavenly concoction of mine or plain ignorance, but I've been unable to answer any questions from my kids about what the hell eggnog is. Now thanks to Nanna Rognvaldardottir (daughter of Rognvaldar), I know more about eggnog than I do about rum, which I thought was a lot.

Because in the old days nobody had a refrigerator, only those wealthy enough to have a farm had milk and eggs. In England, where I have first hand experience of the difficulty finding something decent to eat, big estate owners with plenty of both milk and eggs used to make a drink called Posset. It was a mixture nog, which is an old English word for a strong beer, eggs and milk. Yikes. Beer, eggs and milk? Sounds like a recipe for the I Love to Fart Cookbook I once had. Anyway, as migration happens, Posset or Eggnog, has traveled around the world and is now wearing many new dresses. In most of America, rum replaced the beer as it was the most affordable booze at the time of its introduction, except in New Orleans where they of course use bourbon. The American south also makes a version with wine called Syllabub. In Puerto Rico its called Conquito, where they also use rum and yummy coconut milk. In Mexico they call it Rompope, again with rum and lot's of Mexican cinnamon. In Peru they celebrate the holidays with Biblia con Pisco made with brandy. The Germans make something eggnoggy called Biersuppe, or beer soup (of course). Iceland has a hot dessert that resembles eggnog but has no alcohol. I don't think that counts.

Also in my search for Eggnog intelligence, I found a unintelligent video on YouTube where some college looking kids were doing the old beer bong thing with eggnog. Apparently the objective was for everyone to then have a puking contest, giving the best puker a giant trophy.
I just can't say enough about that, so I won't.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tiny Trivendi

Because he knows I always enjoy a good penis story, the Colonel sent me a link to some Yahoo news today, where I learned the following important information:

60% of men in India have penii an inch smaller than what condom manufacturers made, based on the international average penis. And another 30% of Indian men were 2 inches smaller. Because the condoms keep slipping off during use, men in India have the highest HIV positive "caseload". Thus says the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Ouch. That's gotta hurt.
Or not. (hahahaha) (sorry)
I'd like to know who and how the international average penis size was assessed.

Happy Birthday Lalalalalalala!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Santa's Satanic Little Helper

This is probably one of those things that everybody in the world already knows about, but I just learned it today, and I LOVE IT.

St. Nicholas, better known here as Santa Claus, has his own personal assistant who travels around with him, and it's not Rudolph . Knecht Ruprecht became a servant when St. Nick caught him trying to pickle some little kids and sell them as ham. One of the reasons Nicholas is a saint is because he found the barrel O'dead kids and resurrected them. Now Ruprecht is forever Santa's knecht (servant). In Germany, the story goes that on December 5th or 6th, St. Nick will go around to the houses making his list of who's been naughty and nice. Knecht Ruprecht, who is dressed like Santa but in dark colors, carries a stick with him and if the kids who answer the door don't perform well, he beats them with the stick. Sometimes if they're really bad, they get thrown into his sack and tossed into a river.

How can you not love that?
I wish I would have learned this story when my teenagers were little kids.
Oh, and incidentally, Bart Simpsons dog in German is Knecht Ruprecht.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sympathy For the Devil

37 years ago today a Hells Angels guy stabbed someone to death right under the noses of the Rolling Stones while they were playing Under My Thumb. The biker, Alan Passaro was aquitted, claiming the other guy, Meredith Hunter, pulled a gun on him first. The Angels were hired as stewards to help regulate the crowds during the open air concert held at the Altamont Speedway. In retrospect, Keith Richard said, "I don't think it was a good idea to have the Hells Angels there."

You can't really see anything in this clip, but I like seeing Mick all young and stoned. Why couldn't I have been born 20 years earlier?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Digital Dental Dis-Ease Detection

I had a great time blowing, sucking, and squirting today. It was my little lambs very first dentist appointment, and to help him feel more comfortable we got to play with the dentists tool. I mean tools. Dental tools. Ehm, anyway. We have a friend visiting from Maui this week, who told the Colonel who told me about how his Hawaiian dentist now uses digital imaging instead of x-rays. Since this friend of ours drinks cheap crappy beer, I decided to check it out for myself.

Instead of putting those uncomfortable cardboard things in your mouth to get an x-ray, you can get an uncomfortable sensor thing crammed in. The sensor is connected to a wire that is connected to a computer. When the x-ray beam is sent through your teeth, the image shows up on the computer screen. Since this system is more sensitive than the film version, supposedly your x-ray exposure is cut by about 90%. Another bonus is that it helps save the environment by not using polluting photo chemicals needed to process the x-ray film. And it's supposed to be quicker and cheaper, so make extra sure your dental bill reflects this.

My usual cynical, sarcastic, Photoshop educated self had the immediate thought of digital manipulation and expensive snow jobs. You see that big white spot? This is some serious scary sounding dental shit and we need to do some costly preventative procedures as soon as possible. When do you get your next paycheck? Of course this was all confirmed as I kept reading. Here it is, copied and pasted directly (and creatively) from Learndigital dot net:

The advantages of producing and using digital images in the dental practice are well established. The principle advantage is that of “feature extraction”. Altering the initial images actually is necessary and desirable for improving "disease detection". The current medically accepted terminology for this task is “feature extraction.”

I'd call it "bullshit extraction" or "paycheck extraction". But even so, I like the idea of digital x-rays. Just keep your cynical side sunny and tell your dentist (with your new beautiful smile) where you learned all about "feature extraction".

Monday, December 04, 2006

Rubber Trees and High Hopes

This is the time of year when I'm so busy at work that I just put my brain on automatic. Sometimes I even forget to bring it home with me. It sits at my desk all night, alone and cold, burning up precious cells trying to stay warm. In a few days there will just be little ball of clay sitting there, about the size of a large marble. If I learn anything this week, it's bound to fall into the Lame category. Like this:

Erasable pens are erasable because the ink is actually a liquid rubber cement.

Oh man, rubber cement. I'm getting high right now just thinking about it. When I was a kid, my dad was a teacher and I had access to the supply closets at school. Which just might be the answer to that question my mother always asks her dog, "Why is my daughter so weird?". And why I always had cash in my pocket. Just kidding.

Sing it baby!

Just what makes that little ole ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant?
Anyone knows an ant can't
Move a rubber tree plant
But he's got HIGH hopes, he's got HIGH hopes
He's got high apple pi-i-ie-in-the-sk-y-y hopes
So, any time you're gettin' low, 'stead of lettin' go, just remember that ant
Oops, there goes another rubber tree
Oops, there goes another rubber tree
Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Five Z's

Zero, Zilch, Zip, Zippo, Zot.

Synonyms for what I learned today.
Kind of conflicting since I've never heard Zot before.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Inadvertent Averted Baby Shower

Always double check the dates on your invitation before you leave the house.

Especially if you have to drive an hour to get to the party. This is, however, a great way to get out of actually attending another baby shower.

Friday, December 01, 2006

It's a Spade

So a Puerto Rican, a black and a dutch... sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, doesn't it? But, it isn't. These were my dinner companions tonight. You can't imagine the conversation. From the European view of America and vice versa, to the former (hopefully) drug dealers Jewish lawyer, to the chauvinistic idea of where a womans place is, I learned a lot about prejudice today.

There are many, many kinds of prejudice, and they're not all bad. Some prejudices can keep you safe. Some can get you out of jail. And sometimes it can be a necessary adhesive material. Prejudice is also, most times, the omnipresent truth.

I'm going to think more about this in the next week.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

No More Junk Mail (or bad art)

My daily lesson today came from Daily Candy. They had some information about a company called Green Dimes, who will help stop your junk mail inundation, and plant some trees too.

100 million trees are chopped down every year for junk mail sent to American homes. 28 billion gallons of water are needed to make all the paper used for junk mail. Paper makes up a third of the 235 million tons of waste Americans send to landfills each year. The typical American household receives about 70 pounds of junk mail a year.

Do something about this! I'm going to become a "Sapling" member as soon as I'm done writing here. For a dime a day, just $36 bucks a year (or $3 a month if you prefer), Green Dimes will help get you removed from those damn mailing lists. Even if it stops half of what I get, it will be worth it.
Or you could just use your junk mail to create art like this picture here, but, WHY?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Attention Doctor Frankenstein

A few months ago my cousins significant "other" had a work accident that cut off the top of his finger. It was reattached and I've been following the recovery via phone and e-mail. I'm sorry it's so painfully irritating for him but I find it fascinating. The other day she told me about how they're using some kind of silver to help with the healing, and today I looked up the process so I could learn about it. Here's what I learned:

His finger has been wrapped in a silver-coated fabric, and a miniature battery is attached. This causes a flow of silver ions that encourages the skin to grow and kills the bacteria that prevents skin regeneration and nerve function. This treatment was developed by Mountain Medical Specialties, and has been used to successfully grow new skin. It has been used on many accident victims, restoring the natural skin patterns including finger prints and sensation.

There's also a clothing fabric called DermaSmart, that has silver embedded in it to prevent the growth of bacteria and odor, and is supposed to be good for people suffering from eczema or psoraisis. I think it should be used in all clothing worn by teenage boys.

I also hear that something called QuikClot is being used on battle fields in Iraq and Afghanistan to stop soldiers from bleeding to death. Apparently it works by absorbing liquid from the blood and encouraging it to clot, but it has a nasty side effect of burning the skin. They found that by adding silver to the stuff, it will slow down the rate of heat released from the chemical reaction, minimizing the burn as well as providing the afore mentioned anti-bacterial properties. That must be why the price of silver has tripled this year.

Poor Jason. I guess if this works out, he won't be getting any dismembership claim money from workmans comp. What's a finger going for these days I wonder? Maybe I should ask Anna Ayala.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I Want an Old Drug

4,000 years ago, when the Indians and Iranians were still one people, they enjoyed a tasty beverage called Soma. It was made from the juice of a plant and mixed with milk, honey and other things. It was a ritual drink, made only by priests and said to bestow divine qualities on those who imbibed.

There is confusion these days as to what plant the juice came from. Some say it was a psychedelic mushroom, rhubard, or ginseng, but there is some good proof that it could be a mixture of Ephedra and regular old marijuana. Nobody knows for sure.

That's too bad. I'd like to try some. My guess is it's made from cattails and is something like an original version of old fashion absinthe. Which is actually new fashion now days, in this not-so brave new world.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Key to Immortality...

... is living a life worth remembering.

So says the immortal martial artist, Bruce Lee, and I just learned that today is his birthday. I thought I'd share some of his quotes I just read and liked.

To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery.

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim for.

All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself.

As you think, so shall you become.

If you love life, don't waste time for time is what life is made up of.

I cannot blindly follow the crowd and accept their approach. I will not allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation.

Simplicity is the key to brilliance, so I'll stop here.

Feel free to add your own favorite. I'd love that.

Happy Birthday Lee Sie Lung!

I'd like to thank Jimmi Sweet for this amazing drawing! Check out his site, Pencil Prison.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Anti MADD Magazine

I finally checked out the 70% off sale at Tower Records today where I learned:

It's 70% off Hip Hop and Rap music ONLY. I also learned that Rap music is not only still being made, it's also still being sold.

Magazines were 90% off, which means that I got to have my first ever, hymen breaking, Modern Drunkard experience for just 45 cents. Why didn't somebody tell me about this magazine years ago? It's been around since 1909, for the love of whisky. You'd think somehow, some way I would have heard about it! It's almost like my (frightfully neglected) website, Wine Country Divas, but in magazine form, by guys, in Denver. They of course have a website, where I learned some useful Bar Sign Language.

Let's get this guy to buy us a drink

I love this magazine. I think I'll send a copy to the 3,000th person to read this blog, which should be in the next few days.
I have new inspiration. A new muse. A new way to make $$?
Just for fun, here are some of the submission guidelines:

The story should be imbued with drinking. If alcohol hasn't reared its lovely head by the second page, you're on the wrong track. Putting a drink in the hand of your protagonist does not a drinking story make. If you can replace the booze with coffee and the plot isn't affected, you're trying to pull a fast one. Avoid writing about writing and being a writer. And while it's commendable that you wrote the piece while hammered, that's no excuse for haphazard grammar and bizarre punctuation. Leave that to us, we're quite good at it.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Free State Project

Yesterday I stumbled onto a site called, "Making Stupidity History", which bears the beautiful subtitle, "Dedicated to the eradication of stupidity worldwide".
I loved it. Of course I did. Lately, I've been terrified about the rising number of stupid people crossing my path, and I fear it's because stupid is becoming the norm. Even the dictionary dot com definition of mentally retarded reads, "People who are mentally retarded". Uhhhhhmmmm..... ok, thanks. See what I mean? Maybe it's just me. I'm getting old and cranky.
So, anyway, back to what I learned today. After posting a comment yesterday on the Making Stupidity History site, I got an email today from the guy who writes it, which led me to Homeland Stupidity, which led me to something I've never heard of called, the Free State Project, which I do NOT think is stupid.

The Free State Project is a movement to get 20,000 libertarian activists to move to New Hampshire. Basically they want to try to cut government influence down to the protection of life, liberty and property and that's about it. Most FSP members support policies such as abolition of all income taxes, elimination of regulatory bureaucracies, repeal of most gun control laws, repeal of most drug prohibition laws, complete free trade, decentralization of government, and widescale privatization.

I love it, but it sounds like the beginning of a Mad Max movie or something. People on drugs with guns, wooo hooo! I'm heading to the Granite state baby!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Kill Your Television, PLEASE!

After stuffing myself silly on leftovers (again), I spent a little time this evening searching for sales totals for this Black Friday. With the holiday rush almost over for wholesalers like myself (American made, thank you very much), the curious kitten instincts I have start twitching this time of year, and I want to know about life on the retail side. The only thing I found was that I need to wait until Sunday when the National Retail Federation releases their figures.
So, unfortunately, this following piece of shit information is what I learned today:

Shoppers thought that the best holiday television advertisements last year came from Target, Wal-Mart and Sears.

There are so many things wrong with this that I don't even know where to begin. Which is more frightening; who asked, who answered, or who won?
I'm scared.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gobble Gobble

Turkey facts I learned today:

  • When the US Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier, it was discovered that nearby turkeys were dropping dead from heart attacks.
  • Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation (wtf?) has given the President a live turkey, which he "pardons" and allows to live on a historical farm. Occasionally they present a drunken, cocaine using half- brother who gets pardoned and allowed to do stupid television appearances.

  • 200 years ago in England, they were walked to market wearing little booties to protect their feet. I wish I had a picture of that.
  • Breeding has caused breasts to grow so large that the turkeys fall over. (See Tuesdays post.)
  • June is National Turkey Lover's Month.
  • Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrins first meal on the moon was turkey.
  • There are about 3,500 feathers that need to be removed from each turkey before you buy one.
  • The skins are tanned and used to make cowboy boots and belts. Genuine turkey skin boots, oh my!
  • The red-pink fleshy thing on their head and neck is called a caruncle, and the ugly thing hanging over it's beak is called a snood.
  • Turkey eggs hatch at 28 days.
  • The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds. That's about the size of a large dog.
  • They were around 10 million years ago.
  • They can see in color.
  • Baby turkeys are called poults, a 16 week old is called a fryer, a 5 to 7 month old is called a young roaster, a year old is called a yearling (imagine that) and any turkey over 15 months is called tough.
  • And.... about 45 million turkeys are eaten every Thanksgiving.
How was yours?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fark You

I'm in vacation mode so this is it today.
Check it out. It's great.
Thanks to cousin Jenn.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Speaking of Brains...

Anna Nicole Smith's brains?I read an interesting article today about how being a mom makes you smarter. You can read it here yourself if you're interested. In this article, I read about a brain study I found intriguing.

Some swiss scientists did some comparing of the brains of parents, and the brains of lucky bastards without kids. They found that the brains of parents WITH kids were more active when they heard a baby CRY. The brains of those fortunate enough to have never heard a baby cry at 3am for the fourth month in a row, had brains more active when hearing a baby LAUGH.

I think it's interesting (seriously) that there is a definite brain change after having kids. More proof that the minds of parents differ from the minds of the bored and lonely.

Another brain lesson today is from a warning posted in the New York Times by Kentucky doctors.

People should not eat squirrel brains, which are a Kentucky regional delicacy. Squirrel brains can have something like Mad Squirrel Disease which can be fatal to humans. 11 "squirrel brain eaters" have been diagnosed with spongiform encephalopathy and 6 of them died. Normally only one person in 10 years dies from eating squirrel brain.

I say, if you're gonna eat squirrel brain, better that you should be taken out of the gene pool. Eat up! And please, I don't want to hear how squirrel is "good eatin".

I also read today about a monkey brain that operated a machine through a computer.

It appears that someone hooked a monkey's brain up to a computer, that was hooked up to another computer that was hooked up to a mechanical arm. When the "animal" reached for a banana, the brain waves transfered to the robot arm and caused it to also reach for a banana.

It's old news from 6 years ago so I'm sure there have been advancements since then, but I'm too tired to look it up right now. I thought it was interesting though, and the possibilites are endless.

Do you know someone who falls asleep at inopportune moments? Then perhaps you should get them one of these.

It's a Brain Buzzer. Whenever you feel like your about to fall asleep, like right now, just bite on the vibrating wand and the vibrations will transmit to your brain and buzz you awake. And you won't even "aggravate your neighbors"!

Now there's a great idea. Check out more at Totally Absurd.

And the last brain thing I learned today is for those of you who are lacking one.

For a little over 16 British pounds, you can buy about 2 weeks worth. Just 2 capsules, twice a day, and you'll be as smart as me! Because "about 5% of people in the UK have some form of dementia..."

Just for you...

Monday, November 20, 2006

No Brain, No Pain

Who would have thought that I would learn something from Myspace? Well, today it happened. An actual factual lesson in a Myspace bulletin.

Lobsters do not scream in pain when you put them in boiling water. It's true that they sometimes make a screaming sound when you cook them, but the sound is actually caused from air that was trapped inside the poor little guys body, escaping as it heats up. Besides, its impossible to scream without a throat, vocal cords or lungs. And to feel pain you need a brain, and like certain high ranking US government officials, lobsters are scarce on grey matter.

Thanks to Justin-Thyme Personal Chefs in Orlando Florida for posting that informative bulletin today.
I could use a new personal chef. Whadda ya say Justin? Interested in moving to the wine country? You'd be great here.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Jordan Almonds

Normally, I dread baby showers and avoid them with any lame excuse I can think up. There's only so much I can take of those dumb diaper games and oh-so-cute baby clothes. Maybe it's just because I've had kids for so long, but I find myself honestly asking, "Are people still having babies?". It's exhausting for me to even think about . But people are still having babies and they're still getting all excited about little booties and clever names. I feel sorry for them with their high expectations and idealistic visions. It's never what you think it is. I'm not saying it's all crap, but first time parents think it's all going to be pink and fluffy and perfect. I almost can't bear to look them in the eye or have conversation with them, as I don't want to be the one who breaks the sparkly spell. Not that I could. I also don't want the question, "Why didn't you tell me?" to be directed at me one more time.
Anyway, today I went to the first of two baby showers I'm invited to this month and surprisingly, I had a pretty good time. It was a "high tea" at a prestigious spa/resort here in our snobby little wine country, and it was rather pleasant. Fancy tea, tasty little sandwiches, and the cutest sugar cubes I've ever seen. And tucked into a little pink tissue paper bootie at my place setting, were the cutest Jordan almonds. I can't believe I just said that. While ol' preggo Anea was carefully opening her mountain of adorable gifts, I started wondering about these weird things called Jordan almonds. So I snuck out the back door and came home to Google them.

Jordan almonds are named after a variety of almonds originally grown along the Jordan River in Palestine characterized by long, thin, slender, rather smooth kernels in thick, heavy shells. The shape of these nuts make them ideal for the 4 day process of sugar coating. The reason these confections, or "confetti" are used at weddings, is to symbolize the bittersweetness of marriage. Bitter almonds on the inside, sweet sugar coating on the outside. Yes. Indeed.
Typically 5 almonds are used in each party favor, to represent 5 wishes for the new couple; health, wealth, happiness, fertility and longevity.

I don't know what it means to decorate them like cute little babies and use them at a baby shower, except perhaps that the hostess has too much free time. Or a lot of crazy friends.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Paintball Jungle

Now I know what paintballing is all about!

I'm still sore. There are at least 3 big, perfectly round, red welts at random locations on my body. One has started to bruise already. Battle scars! I knew it was going to be fun, but I had no idea. It was thrilling! There were a bunch of strangers with guns, turned against each other in the middle of a huge Eucalyptus forest. The fear of being shot was nothing compared to the thrill of the hunt. I can't wait until I'm really good at it.

Even though almost as soon as one game ended another began, I still couldn't get enough. The only thing I didn't like was how limited my vision was by that smelly mask. The pungent boy odor on my unwashed and well used protective gear didn't bug me as much as having to stop for a de-fog. And lunch break was way too long.

I also learned that those gross looking welts don't hurt as bad as they look, and to believe my son when he says shots to the head are no big deal. I got a nice loud pink one early on. It's the shots to the fingers that kill.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Phallic Phriday

According to: an email this morning from my partner in crime,

These dog treat things shown here are called Bully Sticks and are actually made from dried bull penii. The website description reads,
"These lightly smoked, natural beef muscles become chewy when wet and provide a natural way to clean teeth. 100% digestible."
100% disgusting.

According to: the Bull Breeding Soundness Examination, an adequate length of a bulls penis is that it should reach almost between the front legs during full erection and extention.

According to: Wikipedia, the proper plural form of penis is penises. But I prefer penii.
And, the word penis originates from the Latin word for tail.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lost Without Lost

I just sat down to get my weekly thrill on the computer, when, to my complete and utter hell, I learned...

There is no Lost this week!

Now I remember that Rebecca told me that there wasn't going to be anymore new ones until February. WTF?? I have to wait until then to see what happens with the Sawyer (yummm), Kate, Jack triangle?

I know. I sound ricockulous, going on about a TV show. I don't even watch television, that's why I use the computer. But somehow (by Sawyer and Echo most likely) I got sucked in. Not since the Soprano's prompted me to get cable have I been lost on a freakin' TV drama.

Shoot me.