Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Shelter Rant

Why are so many of the people running cat shelters complete assholes? I would think that of all people, they would be selfless, sensitive, caring folks who care about putting animals into homes. Instead, I have found so many of these people to be pompous, self-righteous, holier-than-thou assholes who make ridiculous rules and forms that are pretentious, unnecessary, and self-serving to their overbearing lack of self esteem and apparent inability to get a paying job (probably due to a severe lack of human social skills) all masked behind a position of authority at what should be a warm and fuzzy place to go but instead, well, just isn’t.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

from Sweet Mint to Roomba

  • The new flavor of Orbit gum, Sweet Mint, ROCKS! As my colleague Nancy describes it, “this tastes kind of like a Girl Scout Mint-Thin cookie,” “it may be the greatest gum ever!” Yes folks, it’s that good.
  • Who are the boneheads who respond positively to those crazy ads sent via spam (for example: CHEEAP WAY TO BIGGER UR SHORT & THIN D11CK)?
    Am I crazy or do we have it all backwards? I say we should live it up for the first 65 years and then start working.
  • How many “track suits” do you own?

I have a new best friend, his name is Roomba. I had always been intrigued by the buzz and advertising, then Sprizee’s post about the Roomba she got for Christmas sparked my interest even more. I recently had the opportunity to get one on a 30 day in-home trial basis and I have been won over. What a remarkable invention – in fact, as I type this from my office, Roomba is home vacuuming my dining room and my living room. Roomba, I love you!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Julian Beever

This is some pretty interesting art that my friend Nancy turned me on to. "Julian Beever is an English artist who's famous for his art on the pavement in England, France, Germany, USA, Australia and Belgium. Beever draws images that give a 3D image when viewed at the right angle. See for yourself, it's amazing !!!"

The image below has been taken to a wrong angle.

This is the same one viewed on the right angle...

Update: Here's Julian Beever's official website:

Reading Comprehension

Olny srmat poelpe can.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.

The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

If you can raed tihs psas it on !!

He who laughs, lasts!

I got this as an email from a colleague...I love it!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Cookbook Project

Our college has adopted Hinds Community College and pledged to raise $10,000 to help them recover from damages incurred during hurricane Katrina. The fist effort by the college, called Helping Hands for Hinds raised a mere $1,000 by selling cardboard cutouts of hands for $1.00 each and plastering them about the campuses.

A colleague and I pondered the idea of something that would be more appealing and generate more money and we both decided that putting together a cookbook was a good idea. So I sent out an email to our college community and then forwarded it to Hinds in Mississippi soliciting recipes and stories.

Currently, I am sorting through all of the recipes, which has given me greater insight as to the cultural differences between north and south...for instance, there was a recipe that comes to mind from Mississippi that called for 2 large jars (or 4 small) of chipped beef. I've lived in the northeast for all of my 41 years and have never seen chipped beef in a jar but a simple google search provided me with many options for such an item. I was also taken aback when a recipe for a shrimp dip called for "1 can of shrimp." I'm told this is readily available at most grocery stores near the tuna, but beside that, why use canned shrimp when fresh shrimp (or at least frozen fresh shrimp) is so readily available?

Anyway, the project is very time consuming but fun. I'm shooting for a $10 price target for staff and $7 for students. I set a goal to sell 1,000 cookbooks - a lofty goal but no reason to set easily reachable goals, especially when it is for such a good cause.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Weekend in Academia

While attempting to recuperate from the cold from hell, I logged into my work email to find and get involved in (far be it from me to sit out) what could have been (and in part was) an intellectual debate but one asshole, who I refer to as ASSHOLE was just far too much of an asshole. All names have been changed (except mine, designated as ME) to protect me.

Welcome to the world of public higher ed:

MS: Why do a noticeable number of students have the following attitude: “I can successfully
complete the course without obtaining the textbook?”
ND: We haven't met, and I am merely an adjunct, but I wrote the following policy into my syllabus: "If a student neglects to bring the required texts to class, he/she will be marked absent for that day." I wish it didn't have to be that way, but it has worked for me.
ASSHOLE: Because textbooks are simply a tool to assist in the learning effort. If a student only needed textbooks, then why attend classes in the first place? In short, one does not require a
driving manual to learn how to drive...
MZ: Of course one needs a manual to learn how to drive (the emphasis is on learning, not actual driving), otherwise how would one learn the rules, etiquette, and conventions of being on the road. Would you want to be driving among people who have never learned the rules of driving? For NASCAR perhaps, but not for the driving public. But I think that is quite beside the point.
The whole issue speaks about how expensive textbooks have become and that is another aspect which may prevent students from purchasing books. A textbook can be an important tool, but by no means the only one. It is only one element and, depending on the subject taught, it can be a crucial aspect of learning. The analogy put forward is not logical. Thanks to MS for starting
this discussion. Regards to all.
ASSHOLE: The analogy put forward is indeed logical. Your response, however, is not. Allow me to answer your questions:
1. How would one learn the rules, etiquette, and conventions of being on the road (without a manual)?
Answer: They will be taught these rules by their driving instructor. While a manual would be a nice tool in this regard, it is not a necessity of learning these rules. And clearly, judging by the
average driver, no one read the manual in the first place!
2. Would you want to be driving among people who have never learned the rules of driving?
Answer: No. But again, the existence of a manual is not a requirement for this learning to take place. I'd rather be around drivers who took classroom training in Driving with a professional instructor rather than those who only learned the rules of the road from a manual. This is the analogy to the textbook discussion below that you dismissed (rather rudely I might add).
Finally, you concur with my original response when you state "A textbook can be an important tool, but by no means the only one." Please apply your preceding statement to the driving subject as well and you will be logically sound.
In conclusion, a textbook is not a prerequisite for learning since I can teach a room full of blind students the rules of probability and statistics. Can you?
BJ: The Biotech and Forensic Programs have not used textbooks since their inception in 1993 and 1995, respectively. This is because science text books are on average 2-years old when they reach the book shelves and, at least regard to the biological sciences and related fields, totally outdated. Science (and scientists) is on the Internet and the body of knowledge of science there as well. Students much learn how to use this new tool (the Internet); a tool which recent generations are most comfortable with. In addition, it is indeed correct that the instructor that drives knowledge. Books and manuals are not necessarily key elements to learning in all disciplines. The success of Biotech and Forensic students speaks for itself in this regard; and also speaks to the new learning and teaching methodologies that will prevail in this century.
LT: What relevance does a disability, such as blindness, have to this discussion?
BJ: I am pleased that you, the staunch upholder of the rights of the disenfranchised, disabled and the fidelity of employment practices has chimed in.
AG: May the blessing of light be on you - light without and light within.
HS: The bookstore ordered only half as many textbooks as I requested. Then, when about 30 of my students tried to purchase the books, the store again, halved the order. (I verified this.) Not until this week were all my students able to obtain books. Because I could not penalize my
students for being unable to purchase books, I had to make my class doable without textbooks. What message does this project? Obviously, that success is not always related to having the books? Did the lack of books affect the quality of instruction I was able to deliver? Completely.
CP: As a practical solution, may I suggest a College policy that the library keep on reserve one or a few copies (depending on enrollment; there may be 200+ students taking BI 101 at a time, all using the same text) of the required textbooks for those who need it and wish to avail of it.
Much, if not all, of this can be accomplished without burdening the library budget by being somewhat persuasive with the publishers' reps; some have been quite generous in chemistry and biology.
The issue of the bookstore’s business policies should be raised at the Trustee meeting when they vote to renew the contract. There is no reason for the bookstore to order less than the requested number of copies, because publishers do accept returns within a few weeks of the beginning of the semester.
JS: The policy below is one of the most anti-student, anti-learning policies I've ever seen.
“Perhaps one reason some students don't buy them is they don't need them, instead trusting a well-paid professor to teach the subject material. Perhaps another is that the relationship between faculty and textbook companies is similar to doctors and prescription-drug companies. Every term, I discuss with my students how many faculty around the country -- not all -- are
effectively in bed with textbook companies, ordering materials beyond what is necessary or effective.”
ASSHOLE: A lively debate. I think it's healthy. Of course, it's only a matter of time until some
sanctimonious emailer demands that his/her inbox stop receiving what he/she considers "spam". But until such time as that sanctimonious email comes along, I will continue to add my 2- cents.
1. Anyone can go to a book store or a library and buy a textbook or artifact that provides information on a subject matter.
2. Students pay tuition to College to get an enriched learning experience consisting of interacting with peers in a classroom led by a trained professor/instructor.
3. The Professor/Instructor uses tools as appropriate to assist in the learning. These tools may consist of:
  • Chalk and a blackboard
  • Markers and a WhiteBoard
  • PowerPoint and Projected slides
  • Multimedia: video and sound
  • Textbooks
  • Internet
  • Guest lecturers
  • TV
  • Others
4. Depending on the subject matter and teaching style, the importance of the tools above vary
considerably. We have learned that the Forensics and Biology department doesn't need textbooks whatsoever. We have learned that the energetic/volatile Prof MZ is not using a textbook this semester. Some use chalk; some use PowerPoint.
5. The bottom line is that a textbook is simply a tool to assist like all the others. It's not a necessity. It's not a requirement.
6. This debate kicked off with Mr. MS's observation that students have attitudes that they don't need textbooks to complete a course. My final reaction to that is: That's GREAT NEWS! We must have excellent teachers at Massbay!
ME: Ok - I'll bite.
Considering point #3 in the it's okay to have a discussion but there's no need for sarcastic little comments about my colleagues and apparently like the sound of his own voice Mr. ASSHOLE
who insists on saying the same thing over and over...
It is a teacher's right to use a textbook for a course.
It is a teachers right to require a textbook for a course.
I happen to like the policy that ND has implemented into her syllabus and like my friend MS, I will use that next semester myself.
It is also the right of a teacher to not use or not require a text.
The use of a text, or not, does not necessarily have anything to do with the quality of instruction.
And just for the heck of it, I'll be the "sanctimonious" sender asking that this end here unless someone has something NEW to add. I do appreciate ALL points of view expressed but also consider the nature and meaning of academic freedom.
Have a great weekend.
ASSHOLE: As predicted. - Sent from my BlackBerry
AG (Sent privately to me): Chris, you sound like a pompous ass... no offense P.S. May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home. Happy St Patrick's Day!
LC: Good Afternoon, First, I do not feel that it is appropriate to suggest the conversation should stop immediately following one's personal remarks. Every opinion, concerning a matter of this gravity, should be heard. Discussions such as this are the first steps to ultimate change, something that is very much needed. May I suggest however that this conversation be moved to MBCC.Chat, the distribution list specifically designed for interactions of this nature?
Now, for the actual question and concern raised by MS. This is a deeply disturbing observation, but one that is very correct. While some students truly do believe that purchasing the textbook
is not necessary, more often students feel that the cost is not qualified in the end. The following are a few personal observations that may explain this growing mentality.
1. Some professors have the audacity to list required textbooks on their syllabus and then not refer to them throughout the course.
2. Professors have been known to order the new edition, simply because it is new with little regard to actual difference in the material. This not only requires that new students purchase the book at the ‘new’ price, but it also does not allow previous students to return the book. Selling used textbooks, back to the bookstore or through private student-to-student sales,
is something that many students depend on in order to raise the money needed to purchase books for the next semester.
3. Packaging. Too often the textbook manufacturers ‘bundle’ the book with CD ROM’s, workbooks and other items and then raise the price to cover the cost of these ‘extras'. These additional items are rarely required and even more infrequently used as a method of instruction. The student however is still required to purchase them and once the ‘bundle’ has been opened, the bookstore refuses to take it back.
The aforementioned concerns are only a few reasons why students have a poor attitude towards textbooks. The only way that this issue will be resolved is if we join, students, faculty and administration, and voice our concern. In January, a small group of students testified in front of
the Higher Education Committee in support of House No. 1262, an act relevant to the production and pricing of college textbooks.
The lack of support from and involvement by faculty and college administrators was disconcerting. If the issues and concerns of students are addressed and rectified, I guarantee that there would be a noticeable increase in students purchasing the required textbooks and their willingness to do so. Simply demanding that they do so and threatening punishment if they do not, will not fix the problem; it in fact will work to widen the gap between faculty and students.
This very important issue should be discussed. I would be willing and excited to form a group of concerned individuals to discuss the concerns of all interested parties and perhaps propose potential solutions. MassBay is not the only organization facing these issues and is certainly not
the only group interested in change.
Let’s become proactive, not reactive. Best regards
ASSHOLE: As predicted.
ASSHOLE: Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night. She was blinded by the light...
KL: I am new to Massachusetts, and therefore new to MassBay. I am entering my 10th year of higher ed teaching. I have taught at various schools, but have never before encountered this kind of climate. Is such disharmony among faculty typical at MassBay?
ME: LC, I agree with you on several points but first wish to clarify that it was not my intent to imply that I should have the last word - perhaps in my haste (and congestion) I allowed that to happen and if so, I stand corrected. I opened my email to find a large quantity of letters relating to this topic, all with creditable points but about half of them from one particular individual who felt the need to punctuate his points with a snide comment about some of my colleagues whom I greatly respect.
The issue of instructors who put a text on their syllabus and then not using it is a real one. I recall that happening more than once during my own education and remember the frustration. I called out those instructors by informing their deans and asking them to be held accountable. As Mr. ASSHOLE pointed out, it is an instructor's choice to use a text or not but I think it is also their responsibility to use it if they choose it. There is one difficult case where an instructor must wave their academic freedom in choosing a text because they are hired too close to the start of a semester - this is something that has happened here at MassBay many, many times in my
eight years here. I don't know the solution to this.
LC...your point #2 is correct and something I have constantly complained about to the textbook companies (who apparently could care less about what I have to say, only that I order books from them)...the textbook companies tend to lighten up on support for earlier texts which makes it difficult to choose previous versions to new ones. However, I think subject matter has a lot to do with it. As Dr. BJ pointed out earlier, the texts in their discipline are obsolete at printing - but he and his colleagues fortunately are sharp enough to know this about their disciplines and in turn use that knowledge to benefit the student not only by not forcing them to buy an expensive text, but by educating them as to how to get the most current information. I really think that the subject matter, the quality of the text, and the methods in which the text is used by the instructor are all key. The real problem is the textbook publishers put out revisions on material that doesn't change all that much (Calculus for example) and then taking away the used market and charging insane prices for new texts.
Also, shame on me for not noticing the MBCC.Chat wasn't being used and thank you to LC for pointing that out...I've made the correction here.
I do stand by the fact that an instructor has the right to decide that they will be using text(s) for the class and furthermore, has the right to penalize the student for not having the required text. I will reiterate here though that should an instructor make a text required, it is their responsibility to actually make practical use of the text.
Thank you LC for your perspective and for making me take another look at the story.
ASSHOLE: Still sanctimonious, I see - Sent from my BlackBerry
ASSHOLE: (Directed at KL) This is not disharmony; this is spirited debate. Welcome to the rough streets of Massbay... I guess it must be a little different than life in Kansas, eh Dorothy? ;-) Have a good weekend
LC: Thanks you for your response Chris and for moving this discussion to the Chat. I as well apologize if my response was harsh; I just feel strongly about this issue and was very pleased when MS brought it up.
I share your frustration at individuals who feel the need to take an important subject, with intellectual responses, and turn it into a mud-slinging contest. It is enlightening as well to see that others have chosen to not follow suite and continue to discuss this issue intelligently. I hope
that certain responses here are not an indication of how one presents material and insight to their students.
KL (directed at ASSHOLE): Thank you for your interesting reply. It answered my question.
TL: Am I the only one who took the original question to be equivalent to" Why are some students not taking learning seriously"? That to me is a more important and meaningful question.
ME (directly to TL): Less congested on this day, and thus far no emails from that snide ASSHOLE....thanks TL, you are absolutely correct.
MZ: Colleagues, It is pleasing to see Massbay going through some sort-dare I say-renaissance. The last Faculty meeting was one of the best I have attended. It featured sincere and vigorous debate. I particularly appreciated the passion from many of my colleagues who came forward with their ideas and point of views. We may not all agree, but certainly we agree that respectful debates and dialogues are very important to the health of our institution. The same thing can be said of the present discussion. Less acerbity, however, may help us focus more on the issue at hand, rather than the people who came forward. A positive tone may also encourage others to join in. In certain contexts, it is fine to be agents provocateurs, but then what?
Now that many of us have had our proverbial two cents in, what do we do next? Common sense dictates that we follow words with action, otherwise these words, thoughtful as they may be, have no meaning except to fill our computer screens. The solution has already been suggested by LC. If you are interested in seeing this discussion having a practical and useful result, you may want to volunteer and contact LC/LT and form a committee to address the issues you have so passionately written about.
CBJ: MZ, Thanks for the wonderful suggestion to now move to an action stage. I have followed much of the discussion and it is wonderful to witness these dialogues.
I would also remind us all that the appropriate space for these discussions to occur is within the space. The discussion has been great!
NEW ANONYMOUS ASSHOLE ( - feel free to spam this fucker)
Hello Everyone:
I am writing a research paper on the impact of email in bringing forth personality types. The current email exchange regarding "students without textbooks" is a perfect case study for me
in this regard. You see, the advent of email with large distributions has allowed personality types to exhibit themselves with greater, shall I say, "easier" ability. People do not display the same inhibition when emailing large groups as they do when speaking to large groups, whether by phone or in person. And this lack of inhibition brings forth dominating personality traits which is the subject of my paper. For example, let's review some of the traits exhibited in the most recent exchange about textbooks:
a. SHYNESS: MS raises a question without giving any context. Many people respond. Yet, he provides no counter clarification of his original question, thereby exhibiting shy behavior, perhaps afraid of the fire he unknowingly started.
b. PARENTAL I- FATHER FIGURE: MZ provides constant logical algorithms to the debate -- questioning other's logic -- and providing his own in a fatherly fashion. His intellectual reasoning is both pleasant, but professorial in nature ripe with lessons and morals. His prose sets himself apart as a fatherly figure trying to rationally bring the children involved in an argument to a peaceful, intelligent end. He uses the age old academic solution -- "form a committee" -- one that he undoubtedly would like to parent and nurture.
c. THE COMPETITIVE EGO: ASSHOLE starts off the debate by providing a strong answer to the MS question. When "scolded" by the father figure, MZ, ASSHOLE’s ego must defend his original logic and defeat his imagined opponents. Each and every attempt to tone down ASSHOLE is met with a counter response by ASSHOLE aiming to deter his opponents. It's competitive ego in its purest form.
d. THE GRANDSTANDING EGO: Daniele (That's me!) tries to rise above the fray and end all debate. His ego wants to control the debate. When challenged, however, by LC, his ego does not compete like ASSHOLE’s, but instead tries to compromise with reason and friendship building, all the while CCing the entire distribution to show off his gradstanding ego. It is pure grandstanding.
e. THE VICTIM: KL screams out that she is alone and new to the area. She cries out at the
debate and wants to feel comfortable in her new surroundings. The victim wants to be comforted and befriended so that she can adapt.
f. THE LEADER: LC sets aside all emotion and seizes control with rational, action oriented verbiage. She looks to solve the problem and like MZ, recommends a committee. While MZ
seeks to mentor the committee, LC seeks to lead it to a positive result.
Although email is faceless and digital, we all remain irrevocably human. While it remains a burden to sedulously avoid it, it is not unexpected, and thus not beyond a measure of control.
The only way to accomplish this case study is to do so without the emailers being aware of its purpose. Nearly 99.9% of all test subjects accepted this program, as long as they were given a choice, even if they were only aware of the choice at a near unconscious level. While this
answer functioned, it was obviously fundamentally flawed, thus creating the otherwise contradictory systemic anomaly, that if left unchecked might threaten the system itself. Ergo, those that refused the program, while a minority, if unchecked, would constitute an escalating
probability of disaster.
Which brings us at last to the moment of truth, wherein the fundamental flaw is ultimately expressed, and the anomaly revealed as both beginning, and end. There are two doors. The door to your right leads back to the debate, and the resolution of the textbook issue. The door to the left leads back to solitude and questions. The problem is choice. But we already know what you’re going to do, don’t we? Already I can see the chain reaction, the chemical precursors that signal the onset of emotion, designed specifically to overwhelm logic, and reason. An emotion that is already blinding everyone from the simple and obvious truth: We are all human.
Anyway, I hope to use this case study and some of the direct quotes in my paper about dominant email personality traits. I will of course not use any of your names. Bu t I wanted to thank you for helping me in my research.
I prefer to remain anonymous until I publish a draft of the paper, which I will distribute to this group for comments. Thank you again.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

39 Questions

I was flipping through blogs from other people's blog rolls and came across this questionnaire on a blog called "harshing my mellow" - catchy eh?

Anywhere here goes...

1) What would you do if you could be a member of the opposite sex for one day?
Perhaps experience what it’s like to go clubbing and not have to spend a single cent. Then for practical/moral/ethical reasons, I’d film a documentary about how car dealers discriminate against woman.

2) What animal do you most identify with?
In a lot of ways I identify with cats. Cats love their independence but also like to be loved, but on their schedule, not yours…plus their really cute.

3) If you could wipe out one group of people off the face of the earth, no repercussions, who would the group be and why?
Terrorists/Extremists (including ultra-right wing conservatives, the so-called moral majority)

4) OK, you get to have any magical power you want. What do you pick?
When you actually start thinking about this question it becomes more difficult. Off the cuff I would choose the ability to transport myself (an perhaps those around me, holding hands or something) to/from anywhere this way I could completely avoid airports.

5) Would you pick the boat, or the mystery box? (a boat is just a boat, but the mystery box..that could be anything. It could even be a boat!)
The mystery box, a boat is way too high maintenance. (Would I have to pay taxes on it?)

6) How do you want do die?
Having aged gracefully and in a peaceful state.

7) How do you want to live?
Happily with good family and friends sharing good times.

8) Is there any character trait, action, or belief in another person that would make you lose all interest in them immediately?
I tend to lose interest in those who are overly self absorbed/self-important and nothing or no-one else really matters as long as they get what they want.

9) If you had the power to legalize one illegal thing, what would it be?
Having only seen a completed version of this questionnaire, a part of me wishes that I had the chance to think this question through without the bias of having seen the answer of the person who answered the quiz where I found it. Here’s her answer, “A preemptive legalization of abortion. Is anyone reading the news? It's fucking scary, people.”
I have for some time thought that if drugs were legalized it might resolve many of the issues and crimes associated with them…it’s clearly a far larger nut to crack that to just say let’s legalize drugs but I think there’s something to the concept.

10) Do you eat any foods in an odd way?
It’s probably no treat to watch me attack a lobster. Fortunately, those around me at those times are probably too busy mangling their own crustaceans to notice.

11) Have you ever had a supernatural experience?
None that I can verify, I have seen a miracle.

12) Have you ever thought about something and had it come true?
I believe there have been a number of coincidental moments in my life; I try to think nothing of it.

13) What was the worst experience you've ever had in a relationship?
Finding out that someone I had been with for 2 years and then got engaged to was an alcoholic.

14) Ever switch your religion?
Yes. I was born and raised Roman Catholic and about 4 years ago I became an Episcopalian. I am the same spiritually that I have always been but I never felt comfortable with the Roman Catholic doctrines and practices. I think the RC vows of poverty and chastity and refusal to ordain woman are archaic.

15) What comes first: your lover or your family?
Being married and monogamous, they are one and the same.
16) What do you want done with your body once you die?
A traditional burial.

17) Are you attracted to a particular sign of the zodiac?
That’s just stupid talk. In fact, going back to question 8, anyone that believes in the zodiac, astrology, or psychics…that’s the ultimate turn off.

18) Were you ever really good at something you really didn't like doing?

19) Is there a word or phrase you used to use that you would feel really embarrassed using now? (Ex. Phat; as if, etc.)
No, I shamelessly rehash old material all the time.

20) You have 5 hours left to live. What do you do?
Boy, there’s a Robin-Hood moment waiting to happen. I’m just not capable of tackling that question.

21) If you had to, would you eat another human to survive?
Harder to say no here than yes.

22) You're walking down the street with your best friend, when all of a sudden two people come out of nowhere. One grabs your friend and starts beating them up, bad. The other tells you you'd better not help, because their friend has a knife, and they will use it. But you don't see a knife. They don't even have their hands in their pockets. What do you do?
Pray quickly then go fucking ballistic.

23) Do you have a victory dance?
Not any more - I lack the necessary coordination and am far to fragile.

24) Have you started using any phrases that you heard someone use on TV, in the movies, or in a book?
“Book’em Dan-O!” (How’s that for dating myself?)

25) Did you ever have to wear a uniform for anything in your life?
Hang on to you britches….I was a Boy Scout.

26) Is there a situation that you still look back on, going over it in your head again and again, thinking of ways you could have handled it better?
If so, what? Or if there are a lot, pick one.

Perhaps every single situation I have ever been in (How’s that for self-confidence?).

27) What's your favorite object that serves no real purpose?
I’m rather fond of my Sandicast™ dog “Buddy”.

28) Pro-life or pro-choice? Why?
Pro-choice. I am just a man; it’s not for me to say.

29) For or against the death penalty? Why?
Tough at this point in my life only because I’ve seen how incompetent juries can be. In concept, I don’t have a problem with capital punishment.

30) For or against gay marriage? Why?
For. If two men or two women want to share a life together, why should it be any different than when a man and a woman want to share their lives together?

31) Your first born child just told you they're gay. How do you feel?
I’m not sure because no matter what I write here, being in the moment I am certain is quite different. I know that I love my child enough to support and love them regardless of their gender preferences.
32) Is there anyone in your life worth going to jail for?

33) Have you ever said something really clever to one of those annoying
telemarketers? If so, what?

I once sold a computer system to a telemarketer who called me to try and sell me a newspaper subscription.

34) What's your favorite weapon?
My amazing wit?

35) Were you ever a victim of abuse?

36) Which celebrity can't you stand that everyone seems to love?
Ty Pennington comes to mind – I’m sure there are others if I put more thought into it.

37) Is there any food that is almost guaranteed to make you sick?
None come to mind.

38) Do you screen your calls when you don't recognize the number, or does your curiosity get the better of you?
I screen most of them.

39) How's your self-esteem?
It all depends on the moment. I’ve improved over the years but could always get better.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Caricature 2 - San Diego 2006

On the Wednesday evening I was in San Diego, there was a client appreciation party aboard the USS Midway which was chock full of free libations, good food, amusements, and an array of caricature artists. Not one to shy away from things I whould probably shy away from, here is the end result of my time with the particular caricature artist (whose name I don't recall and whose autograph I can't read) I sat with:

For those off you who wish to revisit the first caricature I posted back in January of 2005, click here.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Out Sick and Bored

Wow...I just listened back and perhaps need to cut back on the meds.

this is an audio post - click to play

Who Knows What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Men?

You Are 54% Evil

You are evil, but you haven't yet mastered the dark side.
Fear not though - you are on your way to world domination.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The SubGenius™ Brag Generator

I weigh 273 pounds in zero gravity, *blow me down*! Pardon my language. YEEEEEHAW! I'm a Crime Fighting Master Criminal, I am Not Insane! I'm *intense*! I was shanghaied by space monsters and dinosaurs from the Atlantis Zoo, and got away with their hubcaps! Yes, I'm a Crime Fighting Master Criminal! So step aside, all you butt-lipped, neurotic, insecure bespectacled sons of God and man! Now give me some more of...

My physical type *cannot* be classified by science, my `familiar' is a triceratops, I feed it bodiless fiends! Now give me some more of...

I'm the javalina humping junkie that jumped the heathen *Hindoos*, who'll try to tear flesh with me? YEEE HAW! I ran 'em out of Heaven and sold it to Hell for a *profit*! Now give me some more of...

YEEE HAW! I pick the goddamn terror of the GOD DAMN gods out of my *teat*. I'm a fission reactor, I fart plutonium, power plants are fueled by the spew of my backbone; when they plug *me* in, the lights go out in a corporate galaxy! I say, `Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke!'. By God, `Anything for a laugh!', I say! I am a Thuggee, I am feared in the Tongs, I have the Evil Arm-vein, I carry the Mojo Bag; I swam *Hong Kong* and didn't get wet! Now give me some more of...

I'm *immune*, I bend *crowbars* with my meat ax and a thought! Now give me some more of...

I could go on with this all day…Wanna try? Click here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bloggety Blog

Things I want to talk about here but can't find the time or otherwise to post:
  • Caricature drawn on the USS Midway in San Diego at Client Appreciation Party during the conference I attended.
  • My thoughts on art and museums.
  • The fact that I've finally succumbed to becoming a Netflixer.
  • Trader Joe's roasted vegetable pizza.
  • The cookbook I am working on.
  • My work on the search committee for my church.
These are just some of the topics I hope to get off my lazy ass and cover in the coming posts but back pain, fatigue, and a dash of dreary are all holding me back. Be patient though...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Mysterious Weekend?

It's Saturday, just before noon, and I am preparing to head off to an overnight at a top-secret location to interview a priest. (Stopping here to keep you wondering - details to follow).

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Messing with Kim – Part 2

After finishing our entrees, Kim came over and asked the traditional "would you like dessert?" question. So I looked at her and asked "hmm, maybe I'll treat myself, but do you have something sexy and sweet?" She gave mee an odd stare and said, "Oh, I don't know, you look at menu and decide for yourself." She then slid the dessert menu in front of me and wandered off (apparently in disgust).

Upon Kim's return, I said to her "I think I am gonna have the Chocolate Caramel Mousse Cake, but I want mine with a hunk a hum of burning love!" Taking me completely seriously once more her face contorted and vividly expressed the anger she was feeling and responded in the thickest of accents (perhaps thickened by the anger), "Oh, I thnk you come to wrong place!"

Oh, the laughter!

Stay tuned for my story about the hostess and her bun!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Messing with Kim – Part 1

Kim was the waitress who served Wayne and I during dinner at the last night of the conference. We decided to go to a restaurant and found Anthony’s Fish Grotto conveniently located along the San Diego bay.

Kim is a middle-aged Asian woman who was just pleasant enough to be efficient at her job. It was pretty clear to me that the pleasantness was simply there because it was a job requirement, not because of any inborn human quality. This was my trigger to fuck with her. I wasn’t mean, but I clearly messed with her in my own infantile, immature, high-school hijinx type of way – and it was both fun and funny. Of course once in that mode, Kim wasn’t the only one who had to contend with my silliness, the delightful hostess, whose name I did not get, also had the joy of my antics for which I suspect she’ll remember for some time to come (at least 12 to 16 minutes).

Kim comes over and takes our drink order, then returns with our libations and asks if we are ready to order. We reply with our orders and while Wayne places a salad order, Kim reads off the dressing choices and when she got to Thousand Island, I stopped her and asked, “does that all come from the same thousand islands?” Kim replies with her menacing pleasantness and thick Asian accent, “we call it a creamy thousand island because we make it creamy, you wanna try that?” “No,” I persisted, “I was just curious if it’s always made from the same thousand islands or if occasionally the islands change.”

“Oh, I don’t know!” followed by an odd stare as she finished taking Wayne’s order (mine was on the pad already) then disappeared (probably to spit on my food) until the food was ready to be delivered.

To be continued…

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Back on the East Coast

I made it back into Logan Airport at just about the scheduled 4:50pm landing time but hit a snafu once I got to my car and headed out to the MassPike. Turns out that it took longer to drive the 25 miles from the airport to my house than it did to fly from Washington DC (Dulles) to Boston (about 400 miles); talk about a damper.

I have a few cute stories and perhaps a photo or two to share, but that will have to wait until tomorrow - I am weary, my back hurts, and if men menstruate in any way shape or form - that must be happining to because I am one cranky S.O.B. at present.

Until tomorrow my friends.