Friday, May 19, 2006

"I don't want to hug the tar baby..." - Tony Snow, May 2006

It seems the White House has made a colorful choice in Tony Snow. He peppers his speech with very interesting turns of phrase.

For example, check out a review of his first appearance in his new position on May 16th.

Hey, Tony.... A public speaking suggestion: Engage brain before putting mouth into gear!


Wonderful new words

... my personal favorites are #s 2 and 9!


The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

This year's winners:

1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

3. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near

4. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for any purpose.

5. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

6. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

7. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

8. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

9. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's, like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's, like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, which gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

18. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.


Most of my childhood was spent in Downers Grove, Illinois. We moved there from Lemont, Illinois between my 3rd and 4th grade of school.

The house on Prairie Avenue had a huge back yard, a giant willow tree, a pool, a goldfish pond -- and lots of old trees and bushes. The area had been a nursery in earlier years and, although the area had been split up into residential one-acre parcels, there were plenty of trees and bushes that still made it seem like a big garden.

My favorite were the lilacs. We had some large, old lilac bushes along the shaded side and back of the house. They didn't flower long, but it was great when mom would bring in some bunches of flowers and put them in a vase on our big dining room table. It meant that we were well into spring, real summer weather was just around the corner, we would soon be on vacation and swimming in the pool again all summer long.

My parents now live in Door County, Wisconsin. A few years ago, after visiting the folks in Wisconsin, I had a few spare hours before catching a plane out of O'Hare back to San Diego. I decided to take a drive out and see the old neighborhood.

Even though I had been forwarned by family members who had seen the new place, it was disturbing to see that the house on Prairie Avenue had been ripped down and replaced with a faux-French chateau. And most of the trees, including the lilacs, were gone -- I guess they hadn't fit in with the new owners' landcaping plans.

Lilacs don't seem to grow in the year-round warmth of San Diego, so it was nice to see them all over Hamburg this past week -- in full bloom and giving off that pleasant early summer fragrance.

And, I start my "summer vacation" shortly! So, it seems lilacs are a sign of summer and vacation once again.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Polar Bears Are Endangered . . . SHOOT 'IM!

So, a hybrid polar/grizzly bear was found in northern Canada, as reported here by BBC. Canadian wildlife officials are now coming up with names for this unusual creature, never before verified in nature -- "pizzly", "grolar bear" or "nanulak", after the Inuit names for polar bear (nanuk) and grizzly bear (aklak). Cute.

But, what no one seems to be mentioning is that the polar bear is an endangered species! So, what was this "American big game hunter" doing up in northern Canada, running around the snow with a guide and a high-powered rifle, shooting and killing what sure as hell looks like a polar bear to me!

Yeah, I like a good steak as much as the next guy. Seafood and chicken and pork are all parts of my balanced diet. And there is a part of my psyche that is disturbed when I think about how the delicious meat ends up on my plate. BUT, there is a real leap between ordering the Grillteller at the next restaurant I visit and flying up to Canada with my guide and entourage to tromp through the snow and fire my rifle at endangered polar bears.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

50 Questions

Earlier this week, I received this as an e-mail from Mike (a buddy of mine in San Diego), Tj. and my sister. Both my sister and Tj. said I was the least likely person to answer this -- and they are completely right!

But, I decided I WOULD answer -- AND post it on my blog. So, here goes.

  1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:45
  2. Diamonds or pearls? Not usually the jewelry type -- diamonds for their cash value?
  3. What is the last movie you saw in the theatre? Brokeback Mountain
  4. What are your favorite TV shows? Sopranos, Amazing Race, Survivor, Tatort, Schillerstraße
  5. What did you have for breakfast? Sonnenblumenvollkornbrot, Cervelatwurst, Tilsiter Schnittkäse
  6. What is your middle name? Robert
  7. What is your favorite cuisine? Thai and Vietnamese
  8. What foods do you dislike? Did you know they sell horsemeat here in Germany?
  9. Your favorite potato chip? paprika
  10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Massive Attack - "Mezzanine"
  11. What kind of car do you drive? Deutsche Bahn and the HVV
  12. Favorite sandwich? reuben
  13. What characteristics do you despise? arrogance
  14. What are your favorite clothes? jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts
  15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? hmm, lots of Europe left to see
  16. What color is your bathroom? white
  17. Favorite brand of clothing? Carhartt, Dickies
  18. Where would you want to retire to? anywhere warm, on the beach or poolside
  19. Favorite time of day? after work
  20. Where were you born? Silver Cross Hospital
  21. Favorite sport to watch? rugby
  22. Who do you least expect to send this back? (not applicable)
  23. Person you expect to send it back first? (likewise)
  24. Coke or Pepsi? Coke
  25. Are you a morning person or night owl? night owl -- I'm writing this after midnight!
  26. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with everyone? Tj. and Bill arrive in 9 days!
  27. When you were young what did you want to be when you grew up? a garbage man (really!)
  28. What is your best childhood memory? summers at Lakeshore Campground in Cross Village, MI
  29. What are the different jobs you have had in your life? Busy Bee Bakery, Arboretum View Animal Hospital, US Army, Midland Hotel, Executive House Hotel, Warehouse Liquor Mart, Le Meridien, King George Hotel, ANA Hotel, Bristol Hotel, San Diego Convention Center, IKEA
  30. Nicknames: today, none really. as a kid, some horrible ones!
  31. Do you have any piercings? nope
  32. Ever been to Africa? Yes, Morocco
  33. Pizza toppings? S M O P
  34. Ever been toilet papering? nope, I left that kinda stuff to my sister
  35. Been in a car accident? No
  36. Favorite day of the week? Saturday
  37. Favorite restaurant? just one? lately, Diodos
  38. Favorite flower? lilac (in bloom here right now!)
  39. Favorite ice cream? anything chocolate
  40. Favorite fast food restaurant? here -- any good Döner place; stateside -- In-N-Out
  41. How many times did you fail your driver's test? hated my driver's ed teacher, but never failed the test
  42. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail? Wes in Iraq
  43. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? somewhere that sold Loewe and Bang & Olufsen
  44. Bedtime? whenever. . . tonight, 1 a.m.
  45. Who are you most curious about their responses to this questionnaire? everyone
  46. Last person you went to dinner with? Dave - tonight - Döner Kebap
  47. What are you listening to right now? Randi Rhodes Show podcast
  48. What is your favorite color? red
  49. How many tattoos do you have? none -- but carry the design for one in my wallet
  50. How many people are you sending this e-mail to? (not applicable)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Oddly Enough

My Google home page is host to news headlines from the New York Times, BBC, CNET -- to name a few.

(It's actually getting pretty cluttered, what with the other boxes showing updated weather in Hamburg, San Diego and Sturgeon Bay, a box that shows recently received Gmail, another listing the recent "How To" Of The Day from, Word of the Day, Quote of the Day, etc. Hmmm, it might be time for a spring cleaning...?)

But, even though there are important headlines from around the world right in front of me, I always seem to look at the Reuters Oddly Enough headlines first!

Check out two of my favorites from today.

The first one is about the apparent penchant the Chinese have for spitting in public places and how the government in China is tryint to dissuade them from continuing this practice, in light of the upcoming Olympics in Beijing in 2008.

The next one is from Reuters' Berlin bureau. Apparently a brothel in Berlin has found a lucrative niche market, catering to men who are either new to brothels or new to the product they offer.

Yes, we have to keep track of the serious goings-on in the world today -- but sometimes you've just got to relax and laugh!