Saturday, April 28, 2007

I can't think of a strong enough f***ing word for this ...

From (via Pam):

What The Fuck is this about?!?!?!?!? I know, it's a crappy supermarket tabloid - but as said in this posting (and I so so so agree), this is gonna cause even more hatred from the I-get-my-news-from-the-checkout-line-at-the-supermarket crowd ... and I am, quite sadly, convinced that this crowd makes up a disgustingly huge amount of the American population.

Yay for trying to encourage the evolution of the species.

Friday, April 27, 2007

iRan, iRan so far away ...

Not new, but worth a look. Please - watch it BEFORE you veto it ...

Gay marriage is evil!!! Hate crime laws are anti-Christian!!! Stop the blasphemy!!! Dogs and cats living together!!!

(Well, to be fair, we've had dogs and cats living together for many years now - and quite happily, I might add ... depending on whom you ask ... )

Quite a few thoughts swimming around in my head, but not enough time right now to do any real writing, so instead I'm soliciting opinions (I hope to God there's a Republican or someone conservative who can offer a differing - although logical - point of view here, because I'm afraid I'm preaching to the choir again ... ). I'll be posting in more depth on each of these after I get some feedback:
  • Hate crimes laws. If a crime is committed out of hatred for a particular ethnic group/race/religion/gender/sexual orientation - should it be punished more severely than an "ordinary" crime? Why or why not? Is adding sexual orientation to hate crime laws "special treatment" or justifiable?
  • "Gay marriage". "Domestic Partnerships". "Civil Unions". Equality? Special rights? The end of traditional marriage and an affront to society? How would any of these terms change our current structure of recognizing relationships as far as the current civil rights granted to people are concerned? Do same-sex couples really need this right/protection/special treatment (whatever your favorite term is)?
  • Continuing the civil union theme - Rudy, Rudy, Rudy. Mr. Giuliani has changed his position regarding civil unions and is now against them (no Waffle Houses out here in the Pacific Northwest, unfortunately). Umm ... wasn't he pro-civil unions a while back? Now, I'm not saying that only Republican candidates let their opinions be swayed by public opinion ... but is there some chance that he's pandering to the ultra-conservative Right by making this change in his beliefs? Is he channeling Mitt Romney? Should a politician - regardless of whether or not he or she running for President - say what their base wants to hear, or say what they believe - no matter what the ramifications?
  • Apparently same-sex unions/marriage/domestic partnerships/can openers is my theme: If you do not believe in same sex (whatever you want to call the "union"), why not? What rights should same-sex couples have? What rights should they not have? And, most importantly - why should/shouldn't they?

Okay, I'm done for now. I do have opinions to state (HEY!!! Stop it. I see you rolling your eyes over there ... and yes I hear that snickering ... ) on these items, but I'd rather hear your thoughts before spouting them off.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Trite stumps???

Okay, I so know this is so last week (okay, month), but I was just watching this video again tonight and it is so friggin' awesome that I'm posting it for my own selfish reasons. I have been absolutely in love with Alanis Morissette for years (have you all heard the "secret song" at the end of Jagged Little Pill???? Of course you have ... that was years ago ... )

She is such a master of parody/sarcasm (of which I am a huge fan). Here is the link to the Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps" video - truly a triumph in the realm of misogyny!!! Makes me wanna be Fergie the Wonder of Womanhood!!!!! (If you don't already know this song - click on the link and at least watch a minute or so of this video - it makes the following video oh-so-much better).

And HERE - my latest favorite song - Alanis' clever remake of the same video:

Oh, how I loves me some knee-in-the-groin wake-up calls ...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Pretty Pictures Part II

Scott and I only live about two miles from downtown Seattle, but we very rarely go there - too crowded during the holidays, too difficult (or expensive) to park, too full of tourists in the nice months. But since we're on vacation this week, we decided to be tourists and head down to Pike Place Market and the waterfront this afternoon. We didn't actually get any pictures from the market, which is really my fault - I hate being in big crowds, trying to push past the tourists and families around the fishmongers and produce stands and flower growers, and kicking those damn double-strollers out of my way. I'm surprised Scott takes me out in public at all, but thankfully he does, since somehow I always end up enjoying myself (only admitted at the end of the excursion, of course).

But we did get some pictures from the waterfront, at least ...

From the end of the market (where the outdoor vendors are, across the street from Victor Steinbrueck Park, filled mostly with homeless people passed out from some concoction or other), looking towards Elliot Bay and Harbor Island (the Port of Seattle area with the ginormous orange cranes):

Down by the waterfront, looking back up at the back of part of the market:

Scott looking for fish of any kind in the bay (we only saw a dead seagull and a traffic pylon) - we should have taken a picture of the fancy self-cleaning public toilets that we had just passed, but oh well:

We were right by the Seattle Aquarium at Pier 59:

The Viaduct. This is a pretty major highway running along the waterfront, pretty much dividing downtown from the actual waterfront. A huge eyesore, and pretty much ready to topple over in the next earthquake. It's a HUGE issue in Seattle, with one side wanting to replace it with a tunnel to open up the waterfront and view, and the other side saying that would be too expensive and we should just repair the thing so it would kill a smaller number of people in the next (inevitable) earthquake. Gee, guess which side I'm on:

Looking towards the uber-expensive condo developments overlooking Elliot Bay:

Condos AND the viaduct - and the top of the Space Needle peeking up between building in the center of the picture:

Yes, more condos ... please, come join the crowds in Belltown!! No grocery stores, no schools, but you can pay BIG BUCKS for the privilege - and there are restaurants and bars on every corner!!! You can be a HIPSTER!!! (Me, sarcastic?):

Yes, THIS is real Seattle. A ferry heading to Bainbridge Island (or Bremerton), other various boats nearby, and the hills all around Puget Sound in the background:

Looking toward West Seattle and Alki Beach:

Heading back up the steps behind the market to the car ... look at the pretty azaleas:

Home now. There's the excitement for the day.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Look at the pretty pictures!

How's about a nice little respite from my heavy-handed posts of the last few days? Anyone wanna just see some pretty pictures?

Scott is on vacation this week, and my new job hasn't started yet, so since the weather was oh-so-pretty today (sunny and almost 60), we played in the back yard this afternoon and got some pretty pretty pictures in, so that I can share them with my gentle readers ...

Yes, Kali the Amazingly Large And Resilient Puppy wants to play with every single one of you. Bring a cheeseburger and you'll have a friend for life.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sanctity of Life - Part II

I'm quite aware that I'm preaching to the choir here, based on comments and e-mails I've received since my last post. But this is such a powerful post on Pam's House Blend that I have to bring more attention to it ... hopefully someone who is on the fence, or even opposed to my opinion, will at least read it and think about it. Or maybe someone will send Pam's post to such a person.

Pam quite respectfully acknowledges a pro-life story of parents who found that their baby was to be born with a fatal birth defect, and decided to carry the child to term. But she also presents parents who made different decisions - but with love and mercy in mind for their unborn child, just as every potential parent should do. I can't imagine being in this position - and honestly, I absolutely respect all of these parents' decisions and how they arrived at them.

Abortion at any time during a pregnancy isn't pretty, it isn't desirable, it isn't something joyous. But these are great stories, in the fact that they represent the "why" regarding keeping abortion legal. Every story is different, just as every reason for every decision is individual ... I'll let you make your own judgments on these stories. Heartbreaking. There is no other word.

For those who don't like to follow links to other pages, here is the story in her post that really hit me (she posted the entire story to ensure that it was read - I'm hoping that she won't mind me doing the same):

In November, when I was 22 weeks pregnant, we received news that would forever change our lives. A sonogram at the perinatologist's office revealed that our son, Thomas, had a condition known as arthrogryposis. The doctor's face spoke volumes when he returned from fetching a medical book to confirm the rare diagnosis. He explained that arthrogryposis was a condition that causes permanent flexation of the muscle tissue. The condition could be caused by over 200 different diseases and syndromes, with a wide array of severity.

He asked for permission to do an immediate amniocentesis, and for the first time he used the word "termination." It was then that I first realized the gravity of our situation.

My husband and I were shocked and struggled to comprehend what we were being told.. It would take two weeks to receive the results of the amniocentesis, which might reveal the cause of the arthrogryposis, but we already knew that the prognosis was not good.

The ultrasound showed that Thomas had clubbed hands and feet. His legs were fixed in a bent position and his arms were permanently flexed straight. He had a cleft palate and swelling on his skull - a condition that would likely kill him in and of itself. Due to his inability to move, Thomas?s muscles had deteriorated to 25% or their usual size, and his bones to 25% of their usual density.

My husband and I were sent home to grapple with the news and face an unwelcome decision: whether or not to continue with the pregnancy.

... By the time the amnio results came back, we had two days left to make a decision before hitting the 24 week mark -- after which, no doctor in Texas would terminate a pregnancy. The results were devastating. Our son had no chromosomal disorder. There was no explanation at all for his condition, and as such, no way to predict the scope of his suffering. We would have to make our decision based strictly on what the ultrasound had revealed.

My husband and I decided that we would have to use the golden rule. We would do for Thomas what we would want done for us in the same situation.

We tried to look at the evidence as honestly as we could. Even the best case scenario was abominable.. Thomas would lead a very short life of only a few years at the very most. During those years he would be in constant pain from the ceaseless, charley-horse-type cramps that would rack his body. He would undergo numerous, largely ineffective surgeries, just to stay alive. He would never be able to walk or stand; never grasp anything, never be able to hold himself upright. He wouldn't even be able to suck his own thumb for comfort. And this was only if we were lucky. The more likely scenarios tended toward fetal death and serious health complications for me.

We made our decision with one day to go and left for Houston where we would end Thomas's suffering in one quick and painless moment. Though we wanted to stay at home, _______ was no longer an option, as all of the hospitals were religiously-backed and there was no time to convene an ethics committee hearing.

In Houston, God graced us with some of the most compassionate people we'd ever met. The first was our maternal-fetal medicine specialist, who confirmed that the prognosis was even direr than originally thought. In a procedure very similar to an amniocentesis, Thomas's heart was stopped with a simple injection. In that moment, as I held my husband's hand, I met God and handed him my precious boy to care for, for all eternity.

Over the next 17 hours I labored to deliver Thomas's body. It was a painful experience, but the only option given to a woman at 24 weeks gestation. Thomas Stephen _______ was born into this world just after 6:00 a.m. on November 27, 2002 -- the day before Thanksgiving.

The loving nurse who'd helped us through labor cleaned his fragile body and brought him to us. We held our boy for the next hour as we said goodbye. Our own eyes confirmed what our hearts had already come to know: that Thomas was not meant for this world. The hospital's pastor joined us and we christened Thomas in the baptism bonnet I'd worn as an infant.

Thomas's life and death have changed our lives in ways we will never fully comprehend I know he made me a better mother, a better friend, and a less judgmental, more compassionate human being. I know he is the reason I have the courage to stand in front of you today.

Through him, I've grown closer to God, who understands what it is to sacrifice your only begotten son in the name of mercy.

During the summer and fall that followed Thomas's death, my husband and I lost two more children during first trimester miscarriages. We lost three children within the space of one year. On January 17th of this year, our prayers were finally answered with the birth of our daughter, Hannah. If anyone knows about the value and sanctity of life, I assure you, it is us.

I cannot argue at all with that. This was pure mercy and love. I can't even imagine this characterized as anything less.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sanctity of Life

*WARNING: Matterdays is in a very, very foul mood. I in no way promise this to be a typical rational, look-at-all-sides posting. This is a rant. Read at the risk of disagreeing and seeing Matterdays in a not-so-loving light*

So the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has upheld the ban on what the conservatives call "partial-birth" abortions.

President Bush said "it affirms the progress his administration has made to defend the 'sanctity of life.'"

Bull. Shit.

I am oh-so-more-than-overly-tired of the conservative religious right abusing the word "sanctity" to tailor it however it suits them. I am really supposed to believe that these people believe that life is sacred?

Let's see here:

  • We have been in a "war" in Iraq for over four years now. It has become a civil war and an occupation. Today, at least 166 people were killed in Baghdad. I don't see any of the conservative proponents of the "sanctity of life" wringing their hands over it. I believe the term used is "collateral damage" - the almighty US of A is fighting the Good Fight, and ya just gotta accept this kinda shit happening.
  • Over 3,300 US military have been killed since the start of this egotistical war. But, that's the 'Merkin way. Ya gotta go show those foreigners who's boss and bang 'em upside the head with Duhmocracy. If only they'd learn to be 'Merkin and Christian, the world wouldn't be in such a goldang mess. So long as they don't actually try to MOVE here, of course.
  • A young man with chronicled mental illness plotted and carried out the massacre of 32 people at the Virginia Tech campus two days ago. But God forbid we 'Merkins have to give up our constitutional right to carry a gun so we can blast the hell out of anyone who crosses our path. Instead, we should be ridding our country of "gun free zones" ... if only every student and faculty member at Virginia Tech had been carrying a concealed weapon, they all could have shot the bejeebus outta that Korean idiot before he killed his first innocent victim! And while we're at it - he shouldn'ta been here in the first place! This country is only for flag-waving, Chevy-driving, kick-ass True 'Merkins!! Yee-hah!!!!
Sanctity Of Life.


As long as it's an American, white, Republican, Christian, heterosexual, not-yet-born life. I believe the phrase this sect is looking for is Sanctity Of Birth. After that - screw 'em. Send 'em off to die in an ego-driven war. Let 'em get mutilated by bullets that Our Dear Constitution Says We Must Have The Right To Own And Fire. As long as we make damn sure they get born in the first place. That's all that matters.

Of course, if they're gay, or mentally impaired, or somehow Imperfect, hell - THAT'S cause for an abortion. But those aren't the kinds of people we want to be 'Merkins anyway, now, is it?

"Sanctity of Life" my ass. Once Every Single One of these yee-hahs starts agreeing to see all existing human life as sacred, and actually worth protecting and respecting in ALL ways, then I might consider their opinion to be relevant. Until then ... uh-uh. I will not wear your blinders.

UPDATE 4/22/07: Here's an interesting post on DailyKos.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Virginia Tech shootings.

I'm sure we've all read about this by now.

I've been following this news all day (cursed lay-off!). It's kept my stomach in knots. I react this same way to any tragedy (as I'm sure a lot of us do); I internalize it, I imagine what it was like for the victims and survivors, I unconsciously conjur up feelings I had in the closest situations I have been in.

The worst I have personally experienced wasn't all that bad, but at the time I didn't know it. It was a fairly good-sized earthquake on February 28, 2001. I was working on the top (fifth) floor of an old warehouse that had been renovated into an office space - pretty commonplace in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle that I was working in. It only lasted about 45 seconds, but it seemed to go on forever, and as light fixtures were crashing down around us and bricks were falling down in the doorways, I remember thinking "oh my God, I could actually be killed here" and wondering what it was going to feel like when the roof fell on top of me. It was kind of surreal, and I imagine that if the roof really had fallen, I still would have been wondering how whatever was going to happen next was going to feel. There's just a feeling of detachment from what is really happening in a situation like that. Even in the hours following the earthquake, when I slowly realized that everything was okay, that everyone was more or less all right, there's a slow un-numbing period where you have to mentally and emotionally re-process every minute of it so that you can actually FEEL it this time instead of just numbly watching the world happen around you.

I know that story pales in comparison to horrible tragedies that many of you have been witness to. And I'm not trying to say that I have experienced what anyone else has - today, least of all the witnesses to this latest act of domestic massacre. (And, I'm not even going to touch upon the relation of this story to everything going on in the rest of the world - that is the job that is well-covered and much better discussed in other forums).

As I read about the shootings this morning, I tried to imagine how I, twenty-ish years ago, would have reacted, responded, dealt with what occurred. It was a different climate then - I think. No metal detectors in schools, no extensively visible campus security (although yes, it existed), and honestly not the slightest thought going into a classroom that someone could open the door and open fire. Those of you from my same generation (hey, it's not all that old) know what I mean. It wasn't that violence and idiocy and "terrorism" didn't exist - but it was farther away, or at least seemed like it. It wasn't something that we thought about in our everyday existence. Campus massacres such as these existed, but they were such a glaring anomaly - or at least, that's what we thought.

So has the world gotten more violent? Has terrorism (and regardless of the "rationale" behind today's shootings, yes - it is "terrorism" of a sort) really been sprouting up with more veracity around the world? Or are we as Americans only heightened in our awareness after 9/11? Twenty years ago, would we have written this off as a mentally ill person acting crazily? Is it possible to do so today (depending, of course, on what is discovered about the impetus behind it)? Is the world really crazier - or is our sense of judgement?

I know - too many questions, too early on. No one will ever know - or at least, truly understand - what happened this morning.

But all I do know is this ... I imagined today how those students and faculty and staff felt today. While not being able to remotely "know", I still felt terror, and confusion, and shock, and cried a little. The victims and their families, and the witnesses, and everyone touched by this are all in my thoughts and heart. I hope that someone better than me has some idea of how useless crap like this can be addressed and stopped/cured/whatever.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Time for a makeover ...

I'm playing around a bit with the look of my blog. Feedback appreciated.

I'm still updating my blogroll, so if you see that you've disappeared, don't worry ... it's only temporary ...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

April 12 of 12

April 12 of 12 is already here!!!!

I haven't blogged about this yet - but I was laid off from my job on Monday (yes, again ... ). So, I had a day off with my partner Scott ...

Here is my day:

7:04 a.m.: Woke up earlier than this, but by the time I found my glasses and crawled out from under the puppy, I took this picture ...

7:17 a.m. Online to see what's going on in the world ... sad news.

8:27 a.m. Breakfast of champions ...

9:43 a.m.: My glamorous life: time to clean the upstairs bathroom:

10:48 a.m.: Time to do something about those black bananas on top of the refrigerator:

11:32 a.m.: While I was making the banana bread, Scott brought in the mail - including this ... the formal job offer from the firm I used to work for, offering me a management position!

12:34 p.m.: The grass REALLY needs to be cut ... for the first time this year, no matter how damp it still is!

4:39 p.m.: Home from the grocery store ...

5:16 p.m.: Scott playing in the yard with Kali. Doesn't the grass look shorter???

5:23 p.m.: Scott taking my picture taking his picture taking ...

6:18 p.m.: Another load of laundry done, bed is all made ...

7:23 p.m.: Dinner is ready - prawn and broccoli stir-fry with pork potstickers ...

Bonus picture: This month the theme was a random word generator, so everyone has a different theme. My random word was "sheer":

Me holding the pruning shears in front of the (semi) sheer dining room drapes ... okay, so I took a little artistic liberty with that one.

Until next month - Happy 12 of 12!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The most beautiful movie ever made ...

This is the finale from my favorite movie ever, Cinema Paradiso. Movie critic Leonard Maltin has called this "the perfect finale", and I agree. Now you really have to have seen the entire movie to understand why this is so perfect ... but trust me, it is.

Really. See the movie. Honestly.


More about the movie (if you don't already know it) after the clip:


The movie is about a young boy ("Toto", a nickname for Salvatore) in the 1930's in small-town Italy. The town's entertainment revolves around the movie house. Toto befriends the projectionist, Alfredo ... and being a small town (and the 1930's), the priest regulates what can and cannot be shown. He previews every film before it is shown to the townspeople, and dictates the "pornographic" scenes that must be cut from the film and not shown to everyone - including any scene that shows people kissing. Toto is fascinated with the movies and the escape from reality ... but of course, reality always comes back into play. As he grows up, Toto witnesses horrible tragedies and experiences his own personal tragedies, and eventually leaves his small hometown as an adult to pursue his own life. In the end, he is called back to his hometown and sees how it has changed ... but has a wonderful gift waiting for him.

Enjoy. It really is a beautiful movie.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

Scott and I love spring here in Seattle ... the rains lessen, the sun is out now more than not, everything starts coming back to life ... there are apple and plum trees blooming (the cherry trees are pretty much done), tulips opening, our gargantuan lilac tree is starting to bloom. It's just such a great feeling to be able to open the windows and get some fresh air again.

A few pics from the yard (taken on Friday when it was sunny and 79 DEGREES:

Our Black Tulip Magnolia that we planted last year - we love the color of the flowers and can't wait until it gets bigger ...

One of our camellias ... it's never bloomed this much, probably because until a year ago our yard was infested/shaded with holly trees ...

Bleeding Heart coming up everywhere ...

Stoli the Wonder Dog sitting near the pond ... she gets the funniest looks on her face ...

Looking towards the pond and the big upright Japanese Maple with its cool dark-red leaves ...

The biggest of our koi in the pond - these are at least 18 inches long and have over-wintered pretty well! Hopefully they're a male-female pair and will produce baby koi this year. Of course, if they're both the same gender and decide they want to be together, we'll love them just the same ...

We had a FANTASTIC dinner last night with our friends for Scott's birthday, and when we came home Kali was all bouncing around and eating and drinking water, so we're relieved that she's recovering so well. Today, Scott and I are hanging around the house relaxing, will hopefully spend a little time in the yard, listening to our Sunday NPR programs, and I'll make a big dinner later on (not totally sure yet what it will be).

Have a Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Kali the Conehead - again

I posted this about our puppy Kali's shoulder surgery last fall, where she had to wear a cone for two weeks.

She's back into that fashion statement again.

Yesterday she was spayed. We know it's a common operation, a responsible thing to do as a pet owner, and can lessen the possibility of a whole bunch of future medical problems. But still - it's hard to voluntarily put your baby through such an ordeal.

She's a little more awake and aware this afternoon, although she really hasn't eaten anything and isn't drinking any water yet. She did lick the last of Scott's lobster bisque after lunch, and licked some peanut butter off a spoon just a few minutes ago, so that's good. She was really woozy until at least noon today and got sick then, but seems to be doing better. But she hates that damn cone:

On a lighter note - today is my partner Scott's birthday!!!!! He's such an incredible guy. He has the weekend off (hooray! it's rare that we have two days off together) and we've just stayed in today, enjoying the fact that we're both at home and listening to our weekend NPR radio shows (yeah, we're NPR geeks). His Mom stopped by earlier with a gift for him, and the dogs just go crazy when they see "Gwammy" - which is probably why Kali got sick ... I think the excitement added to her recovering-from-surgery-and-anesthesia upset stomach.

Tonight we're going out to dinner with some dear friends who offered to treat us to a steakhouse near their home in West Seattle for Scott's birthday. I'm a little nervous about leaving Kali alone for a few hours, but I think she'll probably just sleep most of the time.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll take the time to post some pictures we took in our yard yesterday afternoon of all the plants blooming and waking up ... we do love spring here in Seattle. And that whole Easter hope-and-renewal theme would be good tomorrow.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Good thoughts for a friend

I came home today, and it was 67 degrees ... sunny and warm, and a perfect Seattle spring day. Things are blooming and growing, and there's life all around ...

I saw my friend Bruce outside walking his dog (Jezebel - "Jezzie") and went out to say hi. He seemed pretty down, so I asked him what was going on, as I hadn't seen him for a while.

His mom has emphysema. I shuddered when I heard that, since my Dad died from emphysema (and complications of) a little over a year ago. It's something that can't be reversed, only the symptoms treated. She also, unfortunately, has lung cancer. So, any treatment that will help one ailment will be detrimental to the other. She's in a no-win situation. Everything is in an early-stage diagnosis, but these are pretty much inoperable things.

I felt so bad talking to him - his dad died in a car accident about 10 years ago, and he's trying so hard to be in a positive place about this - but I can tell that he's pretty torn up. And who wouldn't be?

He's a church-going man, and trying to get some strength from that, but it made me so sad to see him like this and knowing that there really isn't a whole lot of hope for his Mom. All I could do is give him a hug, and let him know I'm thinking of her, and hope against hope that something good happens.

I hate things like this. I know it's all a part of life, but it's so hard on the living. And, it makes me think of everyone who's going through something like this.

I hope, for Bruce's sake, that everything is as painless as possible.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sorority Girls from HELL!!!!

Yeah, I know that The Other Matt posted this before ... but Scott introduced me to this years ago and rediscovered on YouTube, so I just gotta share it ...

My favorite lines:
  • "She wore her nylons backwards - which is REAL tough to do"
  • "She put the pin through her skirt, through her leg, then back through her skirt again"
  • "Please - no more!!!!"
  • "She was real smart, she could see around corners and stuff"
  • "Leave me alone, I've done nothing to you!"
  • "Dun - DAAH DA, dun - DAAH DA!"
  • "'Cause that's how you walk when you're gonna kill somebody"
  • "Are the mussels fresh?"


Monday, April 02, 2007

Yeah, I'm a big softy ...

I saw this a few days ago and almost posted the video, but somehow I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

It's about a serviceman who has been in Iraq the past seven month returning home to Washington State, so it was all over the Seattle news stations. His 6-year-old son didn't know his Dad was coming home, and his Dad surprised him by showing up at his school.

Just the beginning - of the son running to his Dad's arms - had me crying. Literally. I showed it to Scott, and he got all teary, too.

I'll make my opinion clear (for those who don't know it already): we should not be in Iraq. We should never have gone. We need to get out. But, I have respect for our troops who are there. They are doing what our Commander in Chief ordered. It wasn't the troops idea, they are just doing their job, and admirably. That's what they have sworn to do, and I would never argue that.

I'm glad this little guy gets to hug his Dad again ...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A heartfelt obituary

Dance Inventor Dies

What with all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the almost unnoticed death, recently, of a very important person. Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote the Hokey-Pokey died peacefully at home. He was 93.

According to a reputable source, the well-known participatory dance became popular in the USA during the 1950's. It originated in 1949, when Larry LaPrise, Charles Macak, and Tafit Baker created it as a entertaining novelty for the ski crowd at Idaho's Sun Valley resort. The trio were granted the copyright for an accompanying song in 1950, and Ray Anthony's big band recording turned the song and dance into a nationwide sensation. Hokey-Pokey appeared on the B side of Anthony's Bunny Hop single.

Hokey-Pokey has virtually the same lyrics as the Hokey-cokey, a song and novelty dance which had been popular in England since the mid-1940s. In addition to the lyrics, the two songs also share similar dance moves. Specific body parts are named; these are sequentially put into the ring, taken out of the ring, and finally wiggled around manically inside the ring.

There's a wonderful, summertime connection. Hokey-Pokey is New Zealand's national ice cream flavor: crunchy toffee in vanilla. In England, Hokey-Pokey is a traditional name for ice cream, probably originating from the Italian vendors who peddled their wares shouting, Ecco un poco ("Try a little...").

LaPrise's funeral was private, attended mostly by family and close acquaintances. The most traumatic part was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in ... and, well, you know ...

George W. Bush re-enters the corporate world ...

April Fools' Day

My partner Scott is a big prankster (as you may have guessed). He pretty much lives for April Fools' Day. When I got up this morning, he had switched the right- and left- button functions on my mouse, and switched my keyboard to Dvorak (which makes everything you type come out oh so very very wrong). He put a big rubber cat (one of our Halloween decorations) in the refrigerator. He asked me what was all over my feet (yes, I looked down). He put a Mrs. Miller CD in my car stereo so it would play when I started the car, rather than my usual NPR station. He put together a "Microwave Use Tracking Form" to put up at work, asking people to log what they heated, when, and for how long (he worked today - I can't wait to hear if anyone actually logged their microwave usage).

I had planned on doing the mouse-button thing to him, but he beat me to it. I still did it today - although I'm sure he's expecting it when he gets home. I wish my mind was as creative as his.

Since I listen to NPR a lot, I love their April Fools' Day posts. This is my favorite, from last year - about how maple trees in New England explode when they're not tapped. It's so deadpan, you think it's a real news story at first. And here's this year's story - not as good (in my opinion) but still pretty funny.