Friday, January 29, 2010

Memory Aids

We understand, Chris. We're all getting older. THose little memory slips seem to crop up all the time, don't they?

Fortunately there are lots of little things you can do to keep the old memory bank in the pink. Allow DIH to make a few suggestions.

1. Make lists. I know it sounds like a no-brainer (ha! little brain-death humor there), but good old-fashioned lists really do work. Like a "To-Do" list for today:

Take meds
Dentist appointment
"Harball" tonight!
Remember the President is black.

See? Simple, but effective.

2. Tie a string around your finger. Or try some variation of this: switch your wristwatch to your left writs, turn your wedding ring around, shave your head and don a 'do rag. That way every time you look in the mirror you can remind ourself: the President is black.

3. Mnemonic devices are also very handy. Try one like this:
Bailouts, lying, Alito nailed it, cap and trade, kill babies.
See? Covers The One's first year in office, and the first letters spell out b-l-a-c-k. Really you can have a lot of fun with these.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


State of the Union speech is tonight. Which is just as well, as last night's string of min-disasters prevented DIH from hitting the tube anyway.

It was one of those good thing/bad thing strings.

Good thing: went to gym.
Bad thing: over did it.

Good thing: daughter got to go swimming.
Bad thing: Daughter up late finishing homework ("Well I tried to do it at the gym, but...")

Good thing: went to Costco and bought eggs, cheap.
Bad thing: Dropped most of eggs in ice on driveway.

Good thing: squirrels got nutritious breakfast of organic eggs.
Bad thing: squirrels live.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Embedded (NOT!)

DIH is having problems with posting videos. Blogger keeps telling her the embed codes are "broken" at one tag or the other. Thus her silence recently, as she feels quite at sea without AV aids.

If I can't fix this problem I don't know how I'll cover the State of the Union tonight. For once I can't wait to watch it. I want to see every forced smile, every repressed shudder, every twitch in Chris Matthew's eyebrow.

Since I cannot post it here, pleas give yourselves a treat and find Jon Stewart's bit on the President's teleprompter-aided speech in the sixth grade classroom. Word of advice to Dem strategists: losing Jon Stewart is like losing Massachusetts, only funnier.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

That's the address of the Holy Father's new website. Check it out.

h/t ace of spades

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Meanwhile, Back In The Bunker

Lifted this from The Anchoress, who knows a good joke when she sees one.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Martha Coakley School for Charm and Deportment

Lesson One: How to answer the door.
Note especially the concern for the woodwork, e.g. "Leave my door alone!"

Lesson Two: Proper Dress.
Always wear your Union insignia when attempting to shove women around.

Lesson Three, Corollary to Lesson Two:
Never wear a flat cap to a thugfest. Done, done, done to death, darling!

[h/t Noisy Room ]

And It's Only Wednesday!

Whew! What a week it's been! Aftershocks in Haiti and revolution in Massachusetts, and we're only in the middle of the week. DIH doesn't know whether to worry or rejoice.

She's gonna go with rejoice. And send help to Haiti.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Best Political Wisdom Of The Day

In yesterday's Democratic policy meeting President Obama issued a message on Health care reform: "If Republicans want to campaign against [Obamacare], that is a fight I want to have!"
I would have put the video up but there's no embed code. See link to get the full effect of our petulant Prez throwing a hissy fit.

Watching the video I had to chuckle. My daughter then asked, What's so funny, Mom?

I sighed. "This is. Because... because the President just can't believe that anyone would dare to disagree with him."

Daughter looked thoughtful. Then she said, "Even though he's a father?"

Friday, January 15, 2010


Via Drudge:

"Weight Watchers clinic floor collapses under dieters
The floor of a Weight Watchers clinic in Sweden collapsed beneath a group of 20 members of the weight loss programme who were gathered for a meeting.
As the dieters queued to see how many pounds they had shed, the floor beneath them in the clinic in Växjö, in south-central Sweden, began to rumble, according to a report in The Local, Sweden's English-language newspaper.

"We suddenly heard a huge thud; we almost thought it was an earthquake and everything flew up in the air.

"The floor collapsed in one corner of the room and along the walls," one Weight Watchers participant told the Smålandsposten newspaper.

Soon, the fault lines spread around the room, and other sections of the floor gave way.

Luckily, all of the dieters escaped uninjured and managed to move the scales to the corridor, which was not damaged in the accident, and were able to complete their weekly weigh in.

The cause of the floor's collapse remains under investigation.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti's Pact With The Devil. And Mine.

December 2009. DIH commando raid on Costco.
"Oh no. Oh no, no, no, it can't be. Where are they? They can't all be gone! They can't be! WHERE ARE THE FREAKIN' BELGIAN CHOCOLATES?!
"What, Mr. Front End Manager? You say they're all gone? Sold out? But it can't be too late! It can't be!
"What am I going to do? What am I going to do?
"Dear God, forgive me, but we both know who is the Lord of Belgian Chocolates at Costco Prices. The Prince of Dark Chocolates, and Also Milk.
"Forgive me, Lord. But I am desperate....."

And ever since then DIH has been carrying a good five more pounds on her erstwhile svelte figure. I made the deal and I'm paying the price. Take warning, good reader, and stay away from the Dark Side, even if it means no chocolate, and/or continued presence of the French.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Does This Mean My Father Gets His Money Back?

A strange little ad popped up on my Facebook page today. The ad was for something called "eCornell." So I clicked on the ad and found this:

"Cornell Alumni: You Now Have a Second Chance to Choose the Right Major

"Are you aware that as a Cornell Alumnus, you are eligible for a 25% discount on any of eCornell's certificate programs? There has never been a better time to further your professional education with a certificate from Cornell University. eCornell has the most comprehensive online programs offered by any top-20 university in the United States."

It continues,

"Our Programs

• Leadership and Strategic Management: Develop a solid understanding of leadership and strategic management concepts to ensure contribution to the bottom line.

• Systems Design: Learn the right way to design products and services from Cornell's Engineering School

• Project Leadership: Learn how to master the leadership and interpersonal skills necessary to promote optimal collaboration and performance from team members in today's climate of globalization, increased integration and shifting corporate policies.

• Financial Management: Interpret financial information, assess the costs and benefits of business decisions, and effectively communicate operational and financial strategies to maximize economic value for your organization

• Management Essentials: Learn to become a more effective manager by learning to hire and motivate employees, manage through conflicts, communicate effectively, and manage your team's overall productivity

• Human Resource Management: Learn the essentials of Human Resources including selection and staffing, employee relations, benefits management, performance management and appraisal

• Hospitality and Foodservice Management: Learn how to enhance your productivity and effectiveness leading or managing service teams in the hospitality industry

• And more..."

Uh-oh, I says to myself. I don't see my major here. Is dear old Alma Ma trying to tell me something?

Something like, "Hey, remember those years you spent sweating for your humanities degree? By now you've probably figured out what a total waste of time that was. Not to mention money! Seriously, since you left Cornell, has that bachelor's in medieval history been worth the paper it's printed on?

"We didn't think so! We know we offer a lot of useless majors, but face it, yours was one of the worst.

"But now that you're an adult, with a mortgage to pay and children to educate, we're going to give you another chance. Another chance to do what your parents told you to do all along: Get a degree that's worth something, godammit! Hellooo! Real world calling here! Wake up and smell the coffee before it's too late!"

I think I will forward this to my dad. If he still has those canceled checks, it may be time to send Cornell a bill.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Found This

The Great Man doesn't start until four minutes in, but worth the wait.

I love the way he says "university."

Here's Good News

A documentary about Walker Percy is in the works!

Here's the trailer:

Monday, January 11, 2010


Like I said, this is how we learned the great claymation anthem, "Davey and Goliath."

Art Clokey

Art Clokey, the animator who created "Gumby," died last week. I didn't see much of "Gumby" as a kid but I saw plenty of "Davey and Goliath," the Lutheran claymation Saturday morning show. Watching "D&G" was the only way Catholic kids of my generation got to learn how "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" goes. It was the show's opening song. When we were finally taught the hymn in 8th grade everybody thought it was called "Davey and Goliath."

Here's a bit of Gumby's pal Pokey, having a dream about cookies. I can relate.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Genuine Item

Radio Call

I was on my way back from the paint store with another handful of swatches, trying not to crash the car as I inched over the glacial streets of South Minneapolis, when all of a sudden I heard it. I heard the unthinkable. And I almost did crash.

Dr. Bill Bennett, host of "Morning in America" and author of -- Lord, how many books?-- was chatting with Mike Gallagher about his latest coup: Houghton Mifflin has agreed to publish

Dr. Bennett's "America: The Last, Best Hope" as a textbook.

Let me repeat that: AS A TEXTBOOK.

You know what they do with textbooks, don't you? They send them in to SCHOOLS.

Where they are read in CLASSROOMS.

By TEACHERS. And, if the teachers are lucky, by STUDENTS as well.

Obviously this is shocking news on a number of levels. For one thing Bill Bennett is smart. More than smart- intelligent. And get this: his book is about America.

An intelligent book about America? In the public schools? Maybe even required?
I must be dreaming, I said to myself.

Then Dr. Bennett said something that slapped me wide awake: he said he guessed this meant "'the times they are a changin',' as Peter, Paul and Mary said!"

Now, I listen to "Morning in America" every morning, on my way home after dropping my fourth-grader at school. I'd like to listen to it on the way to school as well, but usually I'm either drilling my kid on spelling words or going over the basketball schedule with her. (This is mostly to avoid having to listen to anything from "High School Musical

And if there's one thing you learn from listening to "Morning in America," it's that Bill Bennett knows his music. He can tell a Dion from a Belmont, a Freddy from a Pacemaker, a Shangri from a La. Have a question on the Ronettes? Ask Dr. B. Care to debate the relative merits of the Mersey Beat? Dr. B. is your man.

So when I heard him attribute "The Times They Are a Changin'" to Peter, Paul, and/or Mary, naturally I was astonished. Excuse me, but did Bob Dylan write a more iconic song? If you grab a stranger on the street and demand a Bob Dylan recital, do you not immediately get a nasal rendition that begins "Come gather 'round people, wherever you roam"? I'll tell you one thing, you sure as heck won't get "Puff the Magic Dragon."

I live in Minnesota. We are the state that gave America Senator Al Franken. Not to mention Walter Mondale. We have much to atone for. But by gum, at least we gave America Bob Dylan, who gave America "The Times They Are A Changin'" (Okay, so he also gave America one of the loopiest Christmas albums of all time-- see link-- but that's beside the point.)

Too Good Not To Share

When I was taking screenwriting classes they told us over and over again: don't re-invent the wheel. Steal plots, steal characters from the classics. It will make your career.
To wit, this analysis of "Avatar," the latest from filmmaker James Cameron. Whom blogger "Happy Catholic" called "a filmmaker so green, he recycles old plots!"

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Surfing The Roads

There's a special thrill you get driving the Minneapolis side streets these days. For DIH it all boils down to, "Is everything I'm doing right now-- manipulating the steering wheel, managing the brakes, checking my mirrors and dutifully signaling every turn- an exercise in futility?"

I mean, think about it. You're driving on a solid sheet of ice. What chance do your driving skills have? Face it, the ice is in charge, not you. You are completely at its mercy. Somewhere some gloomy Nordic god is laughing behind your back.

I haven't had a skid or a spin-out, yet. A year ago I was driving my daughter home from school-- at, I am not exagerrating, about 20 mph- when I skidded down a small hill into a tree. Luckily damage to car and tree was minimal. Damage to DIH's ego was rather more extensive, especially since now every time we pass that particular tree my daughter points it out to anyone who might be listening.

But I've seen plenty. Perfectly innocent SUVs, spinning their wheels in the middle of an intersection. Luxurious Lexuses trying hard but going nowhere. Beautiful Benzes sliding into parked cars. DIH, of course, drives a tough little Subaru. Winter in Minnesota is the one thing that puts the kibosh on her Jaguar fantasies.

My advice is stay home if you possibly can. Supplies may dwindle but at least you won't need a new front end.

See the link for the real horror.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Your Tax Dollars At Work, NPR Style!

Not to mention your hard-earned donation dollars. I wonder how many tote bags and coffee mugs the cartoonist got with this?

Incidentally, people, "tea bag" is an obscene insult. Which is apparently NPR's idea of "in-depth reporting" and "smart humor."

Oh dear- I'm afraid you'll have to click on the link below to see the dazzlingly witty bit NPR is offering. They don't provide an embed code.

DIH would love to hear what everyone thinks of this bit.

Brit Hume Is My Guy!

Of course he's getting sneered at all over the blogosphere for this. But honestly, what else can you tell a man who has hit rock bottom? "Join a health club"? "Take a vacation"? "Get out more"? Hey, that's what got Tiger into trouble in the first place!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Lying Low

We are hiding inside our house. Because outside it's minus something degrees, and we fear the cold.

Ah, January in Minnesota. When the pipes freeze and the roads ice over, and all bodies of water turn into vast blocks of ice. When DIH watches the happy, hardy souls cross-country skiing on the frozen lake and the happy children skating on the ponds and asks herself, "Are they mad? It's seventeen below out there!"

DIH is usually pretty well prepared for a cold spell. Although last night she was dismayed to find we were out of rum. Hard to make a hot rum toddy without rum.

Still there is much to be thankful for. The wind hasn't picked up yet, for instance. If it does, well, that will make everything much worse. And my gas fireplace is working nicely, thank you. I know because I haven't ventured more than ten feel away from it all day.

And until the mercury goes up an inch or two, I don't plan to be anywhere else.