Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Jack of the Lantern

I was wondering tonight where the idea came from to take a squash, carve holes into it, and put a candle inside.
So here is the Irish tale of Jack, as I learned tonight, from American Catholic dot org. Hmmm.

Jack was the kind of guy who drives me crazy. He was lazy, but smart. Exactly like my teenagers. Smart enough to get out of doing any hard labor. Admirable in many ways, infuriating in others. Anyway, this guy Jack spent a lot of time gambling at the pub, and one day the devil met him there to take his soul. Jack asked him to prove his power by turning himself into a shilling, which he did. Now for some reason, Jack had a scar on his hand in the shape of a cross. When he grabbed the shilling in his hand, the devil was powerless because of the cross touching him. In this pathetic state, the devil was forced into granting Jack one more year of life. Jack's thought was that he'd have plenty of time in that year to repent, but of course being so lazy, at the years end Jack hadn't done jack of repentance.
When the devil came the second time, he was again conned into granting Jack another year of life, this time by a game of dice. The devil threw snake eyes of course, but smart Jack was using a pair of dice he had carved himself and threw a pair of threes that formed the shape of, you guessed it, a cross. A year later, before Jack had a chance to fool the devil again, he found himself at the pearly gates where he was refused. Ditto for Hell, as Satan was still pissed about being tricked. So Jack had to wander around in darkness. Well, he would have, except the devil gave him a hollow pumpkin with a burning coal inside to light his path. Jack of the Lantern he's been called ever since.

Who knew the devil could be so thoughtful?
I still don't see how any of this relates to Halloween though.

Monday, October 30, 2006

265 To Go

Well, this is my blogg-o numero 100, and I'm taking the night off!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Aqua Alta

I saw a picture in National Geographic today that pulled me in to reading more about it.

Occasionally, mainly during winter, high tide water will cause downtown Venice to be under a few feet of water. The locals just put on their rubber boots, drag out wooden walkways, and say hello to Aqua Alta.

After all these years, the Italians have just learned how to deal with it. Nessun affare grande. No biggie. I'm quite impressed.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

First Hand Fun

Spending an hour with a four year old in a second-hand store is more fun than spending it at the park.

Especially if it's right before Halloween.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Terror Behind the Walls

Looking for something new to do in Philly on my next trip, I came across this cool Haunted House at an old run down state penitentiary.

For Halloween only and done at night, it appears they give you a flashlight and let you tour the Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP) by yourself in the dark. Of course they've staged it with some scary as shit stuff, and kids aren't allowed. It's supposed to be the 5th scariest haunted house in the US. I wonder how the hell they rank this kind of thing.

Since it's Friday night and I've got things to do and peeps to blow, here's a link:

Night Watch

It's too bad I won't be there this month!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Moral Dilemma

The only thing I learned today was something really personal about someone I know, and I don't think it's a good idea to put it in writing.
But, I will share this picture I found today that I love.

Oh, and speaking of personal issues, I thought maybe I'd claim this day as,
Ask Donna a Personal Question Day.
I promise I'll answer it too, as long as it's not from "anonymous".

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Booby Traps

One of my favorite authors is Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. My personal favorite is Horton Hears a Who. I think everyone should read it on a regular basis.

Before the good doctor (Seuss I mean, not Gonzo, my other favorite doctor) wrote the childrens books I read to my boys, he made a series of short training films for the Navy called Private Snafu, during World War II. SNAFU is an acronym for Situation Normal- All Fucked Up. Prive Snafu has two brothers, Tarfu (Things Are Really Fucked Up) and Fubar (Fucked Up Beyond All Recovery). Isn't that great?

Here's one I liked. It must have been pretty risque back then.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Nakheel-ed Over

After Asskickboxing at the gym this evening, I went upstairs for some treadmill action. (Yes, I'm a little crazy these days.) 20 minutes later I was so engrossed by what was on the TV screen above me, that I decided to "spin" on those bike things for another 15 minutes so I could see more.
I should preface this all with a reminder that I don't watch TV or read the news, so anything on the screen, from a tampon commercial to a Hitler biography, can captivate me immeasurably. I also tend to marvel at year old news.

First thing I learned was that off the coast of Saudi Arabia, there are 3 man-made, palm tree shaped islands being built. Plus something they're calling, The World. One island will be peaceful and relaxing, another will be exciting and fun, and you know, there is just too much to say about all of this, so read it here. I'm still learning myself, but it's getting late and my ass is once again, properly kicked.

Second thing I learned today was about how this island building business is financially possible, but I'm going to have to elaborate more on that another day because I want to learn wayyyy more about it first. I feel I've only scratched the surface so far. Something like a bunch of Arabs leaving the US because of terrorist threats, because of the discrimination after 9/11, and something about reinvesting Arab money back in to Arabia.

The third thing I learned today was that I need to learn more about United Arab Emirates, Nakeel, and how to get someone to buy me one of those apartments they've started selling.

And lastly and definitely leastly, Michael Jackson used to live on one of these islands, or near one or something, but he got kicked out and had to move to Ireland. Again, more on this later when I have more time to delve.

So I guess what I really learned today is that I'm probably not moving across town, but across the world. (just kidding mom)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dragging on Fumes

This is me today.

Ok, I did learn a few small dumb things.

My football team is sucking ass this year. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy book is better than the movie. What not to wear to Bikrams Yoga. A soubriquet is a nickname or a shortening of a name. Nobody gave me an offer on my house today. Frozen pizza is disgusting. Blogger works better with Explorer than Firefox. I'm going to Philadelphia again in February.
Now I'm going to see what it's like going to bed before midnight.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

How to Identify a Bully

My ex-husband and I apparently don't speak the same language, so for the last 10 years I've been trying to learn to speak Dumb-Ass. But today, after another senseless argument, I realized it's actually Bully that he speaks, with a Dumb-Ass dialect. Here's how I know.

Behaviour of a serial bully:

  • Is emotionally retarded with an arrested level of emotional development; whilst language and intellect may appear to be that of an adult, the bully displays the emotional age of a five-year-old.
  • Is self-opinionated and displays arrogance, a superior sense of entitlement and sense of invulnerability and untouchability.
  • Shows a lack of joined-up thinking with conversation that doesn't flow and arguments that don't hold water.
  • Flits from topic to topic so that you come away feeling you've never had a proper conversation.
  • Refuses to be specific and never gives a straight answer.
  • Undermines and destroys anyone who the bully perceives to be an adversary, a potential threat, or who can see through the bully's mask.
  • Gains gratification from denying people what they are entitled to.
  • Is mean-spirited, officious, and often unbelievably petty.
  • Often misses the semantic meaning of language
  • Has a Jekyll and Hyde nature - is vile, vicious and vindictive in private, but innocent and charming in front of witnesses; no-one can believe this individual has a vindictive nature - only the current target of the serial bully's aggression sees both sides; whilst the Jekyll side is described as "charming" and convincing enough to deceive personnel and management, the Hyde side is frequently described as "evil"; Hyde is the real person, Jekyll is an act.
  • Exhibits unusual and inappropriate attitudes to sexual behaviour; underneath the charming exterior there are often hints of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, perhaps also sexual perversion, sexual violence or sexual abuse.
I read this today at BullyOnline.org
I found it very informative and helpful.

I suppose that by posting this, I'm speaking Bully almost as well as he does.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Good Ol' Grandpa Getty

33 years ago today, the 16 year old grandson of art collector, oil billionaire John Paul Getty, had his ear cut off by kidnappers. A few months earlier, dear gramps had refused to pay the 17 million dollar ransom, so the kidnappers sent the severed ear to a newspaper in Rome, along with a note reading,
"This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits."
When the package arrived 8 days after the deadline, Grandpa Getty still refused to pay! Apparently his grandson was only worth 2 million dollars, so after some negotiation, this is what the kidnappers ran off with. They never got caught.

The J. Paul Getty Museum is one of my favorite places in California, but after reading this story today....

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bathroom Blues

This news tidbit about a "sexist urinal" caught my attention today and I had to learn more. It seems some business owner guy in Austria put some of these in his public restroom and now some women are pissed about it. According to them, these potty mouths are, "tasteless, misogynistic, and offensive" as well as "sexist and inappropriate". Like me, this guy just thought they were funny. Now he's voluntarily getting rid of them, even though they've been there for over three years.
So today I learned:

The Vienna Department of Women's Affairs has no sense of humor.

What were these uptighty's doing in the mens room anyway?

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Well, this probably won't be interesting to you, but....

... today I learned that if you search for "Donna" on MSN, you'll find that I, me, this one here, comes up on page 7. That's page 7 of more than 21 MILLION pages. If you search for "Donna Piranha" though, I'm the very first one on the very first page! Second on Google. I used to come up a few below a drag queen named Donna Piranha who was crowned homecoming "queen". I love that!

And look at this magazine cover!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Almighty Dollar

The US dollar sign ( $ ) originates from a symbol pretty much like this image here, of a snake wrapped around a cross. The word dollar comes from a silver German coin called a Taler, which had this snake thing on one side.
Now, the story is that when the pissed off Israelites (oy vey, another blog about the Hebrews?) started bitching about god for making them homeless for so long, he/she/whatever got emo and sent them tons of snakes to shut them up. Lot's of people were bitten and some even died. But, after they apologized, god told Moses to put one of the snakes on a pole, and supposedly, anyone who looked at this snakey pole (wow, snakey pole) would be cured from their venomous bites.
Then a thousand or so years later, some German thought it would be cool to put the symbol on a coin.
And some time later, some American thought it would be cool to copy those trend setting Germans (like myself)(hahaha) and put it on our money, and steal the name while they were at it.
But, ever the shortcut artists we Americans can be, it was decided to just sorta draw a symbol of the symbol. Then someone forgot to actually put it on the dollar. Go look.

Ok, I have not been studying Israel or Jews or god, and I apologize that this is the second religious-y blog in a week, BUT, seriously, this is just coming up for me for some reason. Maybe it's a sign.

PS~ I've started collecting dollars, so if you have any you could send me, I won't send anymore snakes.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Brain Food

Earwigs do not crawl into your ears and eat your brain.

Sorry, that's all my uneaten brain learned today.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hot House Flowers Not

Before this evening, all I knew about Bikram's Yoga was that it was yoga done in a really hot room. Now after going to my first class, I know more. A lot more.

  • Bikram Yoga translates to Tortuous Hell.
  • The yoga room is a steady 105 degrees with something like 40% humidity.
  • For an hour and a half, you can sweat like pig and smell like a used hooker in a room full of half naked people.
  • If you're a guy, you should wear some tighty whities under those loose comfortable shorts. I saw kiwis in the flesh today.
  • The same 26 poses are used in the same order in every class. That way when your perfect instructor says, "Sasangasana", you know your punishment is almost over and you can go eat that sausage you're somehow suddenly craving.
  • If, before you go, you don't drink lots of water, you'll have a nasty headache a few hours later. And if you do drink lots of water before you go, you'll have to pee right in the middle of it all.
  • You should always bring 4 towels with you. 1 to put on top of your yoga mat, 2 to wipe off the dripping sweat, and 1 for the shower you'll want to take immediately after "class".
  • It's recommended that beginners go every single damn day for 2 solid months. I don't even know why I mention that. It's ricockulous.
If you're considering trying it out, don't. They sucker you in by giving you a really really low "introductory price" for the first month, and while your brain is still sizzling inside your throbbing head, you'll say,"Yes, you're right. I do want to do this every day for the next 30 days, so, ok, sure, sign me up."
With all that being said, I think I liked it. But it's entirely likely you may never hear from me again.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Biblical Heroine Prostitute

Today I learned the wholesome childrens biblical story about a whore named Rahab.

As told by Donna Piranha:

Way back before Las Vegas was born, there was another Sin City called Jericho. Around this city was a wall, and whether this wall was built to protect those inside the city or the ones on the outside, I do not know. One day, after wandering the wilderness for 40 freakin' years, a group of Hebrews arrived, and, for some reason, decided to destroy this little piece of the Promised Land. Sooooo, they sent in some spies, who spent 5 days with a prostitute named Rahab. They claimed to have gone to her house "for protection" from the "danger" they had been exposed to. Good choice eh? Wink wink. Anyway, their plan of attack was to march around the city once a day for 6 days, and then on the 7th day, march around it 7 times, then have the priests blow trumpets and the rest of them shout really loudly. Seriously, this was their plan. And it worked. The walls suddenly fell down and they ran in and set everything on fire. Except for the house with the red rope hanging in the window. The spies, wanting to thank her for "saving" them, had told her of their ruinous plans, and had her hang said scarlet rope in her window. That way, every Hebrew guy with a torch would know where she lived and the "nice helpful girl" could be saved. Then she became a Jew and married a guy named Salmon. Nothing fishy there.

The End.

Are you in danger? Come in, I'll help you.
Thank you Mike Perschon for the great image!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Longest Female Beards

I spent the afternoon today at an Octoberfest carnival fundraiser for a school, and surprisingly, I had a good time even though there was no beer. I ate cold pizza, watched my 4 year old win a goldfish, and for a dollar a bag, filled two with used books. One of my treasured finds was More of The Straight Dope ~ The Most Challenging Questions Ever Asked and Their Hilarious But Enlightening Answers. Needless I'm sure to say, but this book got my attention because it reminded me of someone I know who blogs what she learns every day and who is suffering from a learning deficiency lately. So on the way home, I cracked it open and learned the following:

The longest beard grown by a woman was 14 inches long, on Janice Deveree of Bracken County Kentucky in 1884. According to Guiness though, it was Vivian Wheeler of who grew hers to 11 inches after her mother died, in 1993.

Ain't she perty?
From a randomly selected page of a randomly selected 482 page used book, this was what I learned today.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Ok, what's going on here? Two days in a row and nothing learned. What's going to happen to me? I could fake something, but then that would be, well, not real.
I'll try to be better and pay more attention tomorrow.

If you'd like something fun to do anyway, I got this in a bulletin post on Myspace today, and it was a good way to waste 5 minutes. Oh, I suppose I could say I that today I learned my birthday is on National Ding-a-ling Day, and tomorrow is Be Bald and Free Day, but since I can't confirm any authenticity, I won't officially claim it.

Bizarre American Holidays

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cheap Crack

This is what I had for lunch, so learning didn't happen here today.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Kickboxing Kicks Ass!

I've been looking for a workout that would kick my ass good, so last night I went to see how I like the kickboxing class at the gym. While it wasn't as fun as the guy who taught it when I went years ago, I'm going back tomorrow.

Kickboxing hurts the next day.

My ass is kicked. I love it. I'm going to call this class Asskickboxing. And then I'm going to kick your ass.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Lunchtime Lounge Lizard Learning

I just got back from lunch with my co-Diva, at the great place she works. It's like an upscale deli, with the best food in town. We had an amazing salad in the glorious sunshine, and while we were there, I learned a few things.

There is a cheese that I'm pretty sure is named after me, called Prima Donna. It's pretty good, but I kept thinking I smelled sheep while I was eating it.

The "plastic" utensils we were using were in fact not plastic. My fork was what they refer to as Spudware, disposable utensils that are made from potato starch. They are completely biodegradable and reusable as well.

I love Spudware!

Monday, October 09, 2006

30 Ways to What?

I noticed on the Yahoo! (don't forget the !) News front page this morning, that the most searched for thing today was, "30 ways to eat a pumpkin". Am I missing out on something that everybody in the world but me knows about? This is what most people are looking for today? How many people use Yahoo! then? Two? I think I woke up on the wrong side of reality this morning.
So, needing more info, I clicked on it, and now I know:

29 ways to cook a pumpkin.

One supposed recipe just read "Pumpkin Recipe
s", and I'm not counting it.
I think I might actually try some of these recipes with the pumpkins we just picked out of our garden.

If for some reason you are not one of two or so people who searched for this today but you really want to know how to eat a pumpkin, HERE is what I saw. I like to give credit where credit is due.
Don't get too excited.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Reverse Panhandling

I found this today when I was looking for more information on Rob Brezsny, who writes my favorite-to-read weekly horoscope. NO, I do not believe in astrology or horoscopes, but the things he writes are inspirational to me. I love this guy. Just look at him in this picture and you can see why.

And here is my horoscope for this week, so you can get an idea of what I mean:

The Burning Man festival is one of the planet's most spectacularly idealistic parties. Now in its second decade, the week-long event annually draws upwards of 40,000 celebrants to a barren patch of Nevada desert to participate in a "gift economy," where no money changes hands and art is as abundant as advertisements are back in the "real" world. The founder and director of this cultural triumph is Larry Harvey. His success didn't come quickly. "I was a failed janitor, failed gardener, failed bike messenger, failed taxi driver," he testifies. "By any normal standard, I was an abject failure. Now I see that this was actually a sustained course of study for everything I'm doing now." With this as your cue, Sagittarius, make a supreme effort to reinterpret all your so-called flops and missteps as crucial lessons that helped you develop your unique mission.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Onanism and an Egocentric Egyptian

I came across a book today by Mark Twain called, Some Thoughts on the Science of Onanism, and somehow I didn't know the meaning of the word Onanism. So when I looked it up, I was led to Atum, which led to the Benben stone. Of the many nicknames my son has, his first was BenBen, so of course I had to learn more about it. It's 3 for the price of 1 today.

Onanism is just another word for masturbation. If I loved Mark Twain before, I double love him now.

The ancient Egyptians believed that the universe was created by the god Atum's spooge when he jacked off into his own mouth and got himself pregnant. They also attributed the ebb and flow of the Nile to the frequency of his onanism. Do I get extra credit for using my new word in a sentence?

The Benben stone is a pyramid that was once supposedly a mound of stone that rose out of a river called Nu with Atum sitting upon it, thus giving him the right to say he was the first god because he also created himself by arising from his own force.

I'd like to wrap this lesson up with something clever to say but, I'm kinda speechless at the moment.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Look at the Sky

There's a full moon tonight.
Did you notice?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Pioneertown, California

I got an invitation from a friend for a get together at a place called Pappy & Harriets, in a town I've never heard of. Pappy's looked cool on their website, so I checked out where it is, in Poineertown, California.

This cool little town was built in 1946, about 35 miles into the desert from Palm Springs. It was built as a movie set, but the actors actually got to live in the buildings while shooting (and shooting). Many western flicks were made here, like The Gay Amigo, The Valient Hombre, and On Top of Old Smoky. Now it's a tourist thing, and I can't wait to play the tourist game. Anyone up for a little road trip with me?
Here's a site for more info if you're interested.

I've never heard of these movies, let alone watched them, but now I think I might begin my "old western movie" watching phase. I've actually made a couple of little "western" movies myself, right in my own backyard. This looks like a good place for my next film, Il Muerto 3, starring as usual, my amazing friend Lora. (who I miss terribly!)
You may beg to see 1 and 2 if you like, but I'm not promising anything.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Reporter vs Columnist

I'm pretty sure what I learned today is common knowledge, but I only pay attention to things that have relevence to my hedonistic life, so this information sorta got by me. Now that there is direct relevancy in my fabulous life, I know the difference between a Reporter and a Columnist. Read on.

While a reporter and a columnist are both considered journalists, a reporter basically gathers information, creates an unbiased and objective report and then spews it to the mass media.
A columnist writes a regularly feautured article or column, but gets to have more fun by sharing their own opinion and point of view in their own unique, personal style and voice.

I guess it's pretty damn obvious and lame, but I never really thought about it before.
So, guess why I know this now?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Red Red Pistachios

I know why some pistachio's are red.
Today while I was struggling like a thumbless monkey trying to open one, I wondered why some of them were sluts and some were devout Catholic virgins. Did the easy-open slit occur whilst still on the tree, or did it happen during the handling process? My inquiring mind had to know, so I looked it up. Now I know as much about these sensual looking nuts as I do about Madonna's sex life.
As stolen verbatim from the California Pistachio Commission:

The pistachio kernel typically develops during the month of July; the enlarged nut pushes on the surrounding shell to cause a natural split. The hull, which serves as a protective covering for the nut, remains intact. As the nut ripens, the hull separates from the shell, and is easily removed when pinched; the hull often turns rosy in color when further ripened. Timing of harvest is important to allow for the greatest amount of naturally split nuts.

Ehm, is it getting hot in here or is it just me?

Oh, and about the red. Most pistachios in the world used to come from the Middle East. American importers dyed the shells red both to disguise staining from antiquated harvesting methods and to make pistachios stand out among other nuts in vending machines.

Since 1976, most of the ones we get are grown right here in California and they can be enjoyed in their natural flesh color.
Now if you'll please excuse me....

Monday, October 02, 2006

Demand For Payment

Today I learned:

VRC stands for Vehicle Registration Collections.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Selective Service Indeed

Another day, another son, another birthday. Today my eldest turned 18. Yes, 18. My job is officially over. Officially, but not really. It will never be over.
Of the many new things my son has to consider now that he is "legal", one is registering for the Selective Service. I've been dreading this from the first moment I heard, "It's a boy!". I don't know why really. Maybe it's the fact that I gave life to something, with the hope and expectation that it will go on living, creating, and improving. The SSS pretty much means fighting, destroying and dying if he gets drafted. Please, spare the patriotic comments. I've heard it all before and my protective maternal instincts won't be swayed.

I didn't really pay attention to the issue back in high school, because it was a boy thing and what did I care? But today, I thought I'd learn about this nightmere creeping out of my closet. After reading just about every word of the website, I actually feel a bit better about it now.
Except for this one thing I learned, which kind of pisses me off.

Women are exempt from registering, because "the purpose of registration is to create a pool of potential inductees for combat" and it's the Department of Defense policy "not to assign women to positions involving close combat".

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I never had to worry about being drafted and expected to go kill people. But there is the Conscientious Objector backdoor, so why wouldn't that work for women who object to combat? Women have been kicking ass in the military for decades, in more ways than three, and this just feels to me like another little pat on the ass, get back in the kitchen little lady. Crap, I'm bitching about equal rights to be fucking drafted.