Friday, April 29, 2005

iJacked the Law

Okay, I enjoy my iPod quietly, to myself mostly, just enjoying the ability to listen to my favorite songs from otherwise "meh" CDs, without having to juggle jewel cases, scratchable disks, or installing a new player in my 6 year old minivan.

(Yeah, I know, but it's purple. And it's a mini enough minivan that it fits in "Compact Only" parking spots. Not a total losermobile. Right? I said "Right?")

But I am soo far behind the curve. Yeah, I've heard about "podcasting"--we do subscribe to Wired--although I've not done it, as I have yet to hear anything I want to hear more than once. But the newest new new thing is gonna be "iJacking." I guarantee.

Happy Birthday, Lisa and Bob!

My sibling, and another sibling-in-law, turn 40 this week. And I wanted to mark it somehow. Culturally, there are about two different memes: either the black balloon, "Over The Hill," life is over and "Gee you're old" approach; or the "you young whippersnapper, you don't know from old."

Neither of these works for me--I am the older sibling (except when I'm not), so I'm not in any position to rib about being old. On the other hand, I am not so far over 40 to have any claim to being wise and knowledgeable. So instead, I've decided to amass a bunch of things that are good about 40--the age, the time, the number itself. Here's a first draft:
  • Life Begins at Forty--a movie from 1935 starring Will Rogers, and apparently the source of the phrase
  • 40 Licks--a great compilation of Rolling Stones hits
  • WD-40--Nuff said
  • American Top 40--not the Ryan Seacrest version, but the classic with Casey Kasem
  • 40-cent stamp--not yet!
  • Psalm 40
  • 40 year old single malt Scotch
  • 40 watt lightbulbs
  • Element 40--Zirconium. All the bling without the ching!
  • Route 40--the original cross-county highway from Atlantic City to San Francisco
  • Code of Federal Regulation 40--establishing the Environmental Protection Agency
  • 2 Apple iPods =40 GB (Didn't there used to be a 40 GB version? Or am I just getting too old to remember?)
  • -40--the point where Celsius and Fahrenheit match up
  • 40 Days and 40 Nights--especially if you are a Josh Hartnett fan
  • 40 days of Lent--kicked off by Mardi Gras, closed off with chocolate Easter bunnies!

Television shows that premiered 40 years ago:

  • Green Acres
  • Hogan's Heros
  • I Dream of Jeannie
  • Lost in Space
  • Dean Martin Show

Number 1 television show of 40 years ago: Bonanza

Other things introduced 40 years ago:

  • Moore's Law--about the rate of doubling of computing power was first noted in 1965 (In 1954, a transistor cost $5.52: in 2004, you can buy a billion of them for a dollar!)
  • Office cubicles--a blessing and a curse
  • Rollings Stones released "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
  • Ground troops first sent into Viet Nam
  • Astroturf
  • Diet Pepsi
  • St. Louis Gateway Arch
  • Ralph Nader's book "Unsafe At Any Speed"
  • Sylvia Plath's "Ariel"

First human being to walk in space (Aleksei Leonov) and first American to walk in space (Edward White)

Gen X starts in 1965--earlier than that one is technically a Baby Boomer.

Minnesota Twins lose the World Series to LA Dodgers

1965 Awards:


  • Record of the Year: "Girl from Ipanema" Stan Getz and Strud Gilberto
  • Song of the Year: "Hello Dolly" (Thus proving that the Grammys are hopelessly unhip--"Satisfaction" beaten out by "Hello Dolly"? Something is seriously wrong there!)


  • Best Picture--The Sound of Music

Nobel Peace Prize--UNICEF

Deaths in 1965 (the end of the older era--anyone born the same year these people died is definitely of a newer era):

  • Winston Churchill
  • Edward R. Murrow
  • Malcolm X
  • Nat King Cole
  • TS Eliot
  • Adlai Stevenson

Actually, it seems like these people retain relative currency. How often do you hear Edward R. Murrow invoked in any discussion of today's news culture? Only every time. TS Eliot wrote the book for the incredibly long-running Broadway musical "Cats."

Current celebrities who are 40 but don't act all that mature:

So, celebrate 40, you fabulous people--after all, isn't 40 the new 20?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

New World Order: Efficient Ineffectiveness!

Getting ready to leave on Our Big Adventure, so I decided to stop mail and newspaper a few days ahead of our departure. This is because last month we stopped mail and paper only to return after four or five days to find all our mail in the mailbox, and all the newspapers on the porch.

So, I thought maybe a little more lead time might be more successful. Plus, I discovered both the USPS and the local paper have temporary stops available through the internet. So now, we have the advantage of not having to leave home in order to not stop our mail and paper!

Boy, these newfangled things sure are timesavers.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Is This Really Age Apropriate?

Teaching preschoolers how to model evil behavior, it's the very very scary DARTH TATER.

Yes, that is Mr. Potato Head in his Darth Vader incarnation. Does he use his light saber to julienne his enemies, before lightly seasoning them and frying in non-hydrogenated vegetable oils?Posted by Hello

Everybody Poops!

If he poops body parts, does that make him a cannibal? If they are the body parts of other TaterHeads, does that make him a vegan cannibal? Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Separated At Birth?

Philip Glass was in town last weekend, performing for the re-opening of the Walker Art Center, as he did when the museum opened in 1975. While he is a noted figure in modern arts, when I listen to him talk (go to "State of the Arts for April 15, 2005, and start listening at 00:30), he sounds just like Mitch Cohen (especially at 1:28 and 2:10).

They don't look very much alike though.

Philip Glass Posted by Hello

Mitch Cohen Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Things I Learned Today

Jimi Hendrix lived next door to George Frideric Handel. If you let that slosh around in your brain for a while, it actually makes a kind of perverse sense.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Force is not strong in this one. Posted by Hello

"Luuuuuke. I am your fatherrrrrr. And this is your fat uncle Mortieeeee. We don't speak of himmmmmm." Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 17, 2005

I Have Been Cheated!

So, M&Ms has come out with a new dark chocolate M&M. (Mmmm. Dark chocolate and a candy coated shell.) I stumbled across these in my local SA, where I stopped for my daily dose of caffeine.

The bad news--these new dark chocolate M&Ms are tied to promoting the third Star Wars prequel, so dark chocolate=Dark side of the Force. You are Forced to purchase candy with Darth Vader on the front. If you want to be a good guy, you have to buy the regular milk chocolate kind which has a picture of a Jedi on it. I didn't look closely, but it looked like it might have been Ewan McGregor.

The more bad news--they only had peanut dark chocolate Darth Vader M&Ms, and I'm not particularly fond of peanuts in my chocolate.

The rest of the bad news--even after eating peanut dark chocolate Darth Vader M&Ms and selling my soul to the dark side of the Force, I still can't pick up and strangle annoying people using just my mind. And I sure as heck can't get free drinks in bars like Obi Wan could.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

I Guarantee--More Funny Than [Your Choice Goes Here]

Okay, so I'm having a Big Adventure next month. Nothing--I guarantee* NOTHING--will be as funny as this.

Scroll down to the game: "Marry, Fuck, or Kill." You won't be sorry. Or maybe you will if you laugh outloud so often you cause your previously innocent kidlets to come scurrying into the room demanding to know what is so funny.

Not that it happened to me or anything.

Or if your mother reads this over your shoulder. I mean, would you watch The Sweetest Thing with anyone you are actually related to? I'm just saying.

*This is an actual, money back guarantee--just return the product to our store and we will cheerfully refund the purchase price.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Our Big Adventure

We are going to London, beginning of May. We'll be on the ground for 7 fabulous days, needing 8 nights of lodging.

Oh. My. God. London is expensive. A quick peruse of Trip Advisor reviews, and at $300 (currency converted for your convenience) you can just barely afford a room in a hotel whose reviews center around the theme of "For God's sake, do NOT stay here."

Multiply by two, 'cause the kidlets are coming too.

So, enterprising diva that I am, I use my insider contacts, and type "London flats rental" into Google.

We will be staying here.

God, I rock.

Hangin' With The Stars

My sister, who is FAB, tells the story of her new assistant at work. Assistant is at a family dinner, and Uncle Somebody brings his good buddy Kevin Costner. (Yeah, I know--is he IN or OUT? He was so yummy in Bull Durham, but the wheels kind of fell off the truck there for a while. I hear he's throb-worthy in Upside of Anger, though).

Anyway, Kevin Costner talks to 22 year old assistant and finds out she's into snowboarding. "Really? You should come out to my place in Colorado. You can go right out the door and board from there."

Yeah. Sure. Next time I'm in town, I'll just stop by. Thanks for the invite.

Next day, cel phone rings. It's Kevin Costner. "I'm going to be gone on x weekend. If you want to come to the house, I'll send the plane."

Which he does. How cool is that?

Here are the downsides:
  • Boyfriend gets stomach flu, spends the weekend in bed. Boarding does not happen.
  • To snoop, or not to snoop, that is the question.
  • Do you take pictures of yourself? "Here I am in Kevin Costner's bathroom"?
  • What the heck do you get a millionaire for a thank you gift?

I guess I'm lucky these dilemmas rarely happen to me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

And They Call It Puppy...Lust

The Home has been without canine companionship for a little over 7 months now, and the desire for small happy faces at the doorway is growing. Earlier editions of woof at The Home were small, fuzzy-faced, and totally arrogant. "Hey!" they would say, "Hey! The service here is not acceptable! Where the heck is the biscuit I ordered 4 seconds ago? Hey!"

Which can be done if one is exceptionally cute, which these canines were. But having passed on to the Great Treat Bowl In The Sky (yes, they do have pizza delivery for dogs in heaven. It's HEAVEN, for pete's sake) we have been living in awoofless household and it's starting to get obvious that Something is Missing.

Thus, the great hunt for the right dog. Things are a bit on hold, as we have a Major Family Vacation coming up, and won't actually acquire the newest family member until after mid-May. But the dog breed books have started showing up in prominent places, and it's starting to frighten Mr. Sweetie. Even the most partisan reviews (hey, that'd be a good name for a magazine) of breeds reveal some questionable traits.

Active = hyperactive
Friendly = licks all available body parts obsessively
Stubborn = untrainable
Independent = will follow commands when it suits the dog
Companion dog = poops all over the house if left alone
Daily grooming required = shave the mats off the dog every 6 weeks
Loyal = has to be sedated to get mats shaved off every 6 weeks
Assertive = barks at anything that moves, including falling leaves
Unafraid = goes after dogs large enough to eat them for breakfast

So, the following exchange occurred between myself and Mr. Sweetie:

MS: So, it looks like the breeds you have chosen are kind of, well, high maintenance.

Me: Well, you know what they call a low-maintenance dog, don't you? They call it A CAT.

I hate it when he is right.

Friday, April 08, 2005

This is what I live for! Posted by Hello

Maybe There Is Something To This "Baby Mozart"

When you found out you were pregnant, what was one of your greatest fears? That's right--Barney. You were afraid that you'd end up with your last remaining brain cells jumping to their deaths in front of a big purple dinosaur with a goofy voice that your child loved with every fiber of their being.

At least that was my fear. Because, despite being the Mistress of All Evil, I am a sucker for my children and if they love something, I encourage it, and even participate--as much as I can. So, if my kidlets had fallen for Barney, I would suck it up and support them.

Which doesn't mean that I didn't take preventive measures. As an explicit attempt to pre-empt Barney-love in our first born, Mr. Sweetie and I took our 5 1/2 months pregnant selves to see the reunion of the Suburbs.

Those of you unfamiliar with the Suburbs must correct this imbalance immediately--they were the dream team of local new wave rockers back in the day. Funky hair, natty suits, on-stage delerium tremens, set to a great beat you could really dance to. Songs like Drinking With An Angel, Love Is The Law, and Music for Boys were all you could ask of a band from the mid 80s. They were the best, and for no understandable reason, they never really broke nationally--I guess their time was cut short by the rise of Prince and "The Minneapolis Sound" (which the Suburbs didn't sound like) and the possible detox stays of the lead singer. Life, and the recording business, are unfair.

But on a sunny June afternoon in 1993, the boys were back and we were bopping. The boys were talking about reuniting permanently and re-releasing all the old music while making new stuff. And, in utero, The Pony picked up the music, and saw it was good.

So our firstborn never did like Barney. She went straight for the Disney oeuvre of showtunes, and Broadway was the source of much of her childhood. As she grew older, she showed some real sophisication in music--eschewing the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, and any and all tweener popsters that her friends had found.

So today, I find that she is making her own playlist of iTunes songs. Admittedly, she is working only from the music already in the library--we've not given her entirely free rein--and it is fascinating to see what she has selected as her favorites.

Showtunes, yes, but also moody music by Dido and Tori Amos, balanced against serious punk by the Offspring and Fountains of Wayne. She has Elvis Presley and Ray Charles cheek by jowl with The Proclaimers (how very retro of her!) Take that, you purple dinosaur!

She is no longer a baby, or even a little kid. At eleven, she is starting to grow toward the person she is going to be as an adult, and yet she still holds on to the things of her past. It is really rare that one gets to know another person as they morph through all the stages of their life--it is a privilege to get to be the parent of such a budding wonder.

Why, yes, I do love my children.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Listy McLister

What I bought at Target today:

  • Snacks for Girl Scouts
  • Drawer organizers for the utensil/utility drawers (not the same thing as the junk drawer/s)
  • A "helper shelf" for the baking ingredients above the stove
  • Two small serving bowls, green
  • CD of Classic Sinatra (see also: previous post)
  • Shoe rack (required due to the six pairs of shoes I bought the last time I was at Target)
  • Soap dish to stick to the side of the clawfoot tub
  • An army of AA batteries (is there a better collective noun than that for batteries? There ought to be--how about "a charge"?)
  • Spring water: for me, who drinks too much Diet (TM) Coke(TM) with and without various ingredients like lime, vanilla, and caffeine
  • Flavored "fitness" water for The Pony (lemon) and MonkeyGirl (berry)
  • Knobs to start replacing the 40(!) knobs that need to be replaced in my kitchen
  • A plastic bag organizer--because everything came home in plastic bags.

If Target only served drinks, it'd be my favorite store ever!

What Is This Thing Called, Love?

I got my iPod for Valentine's Day--Mr. Sweetie really loves me. I've been loading and buying music for a month and a half now, and there are now enough songs that it's worth creating specialized playlists. After all, there are certain times when the mood is right, if you know what I mean and I think you do, and you just don't want to be surprised by the Offspring with Come Out And Play.

Even if that is what you are doing...hypothetically, of course.

So, I want to create certain, well, moods for my playlists. However, my kidlets, The Pony and MonkeyGirl, also love the iPod, and will dj entire road trips without allowing me to even get my hands on my machine. Which is fine, except--I don't want to create any playlists that are so, um, explicit, that it raises questions that are hard to answer while driving in the car.

So, what do we call our music? The most, um, urgent playlist would be one that totally sets up for After The Kids Go To Bed. Except I don't think I'd better call it that.

Oh, and just to be clear (I don't really need to explain this to you, you all know this) there's nothing wrong with the actual music on the iPod--they can listen as much as they like to everything on it. (Yes, I refrained from adding Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing.)

So, what do we call this thing, love?

Monday, April 04, 2005

First Signs of Spring

Some of the early signs of spring are more romantic than others: the swallows returning to Capistrano, or the first robins of spring. Some are more accurate: anthill in the sidewalk cracks.

The most conceptual? When Linder's Garden Center starts setting up its satellite sales stores in parking lots.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

But Will It Be Televised At 4:00 A.M.?

So, Charles and Camilla were going to (finally!) be married this Friday. Despite all the handwringing about whether the future head of the Church of England could be divorced and remarried, and the dubious legal status of Charles as a widower to a deceased ex-wife, it was going to happen.

And then the Pope died, and his funeral is on Friday.

I guess when the mother of the groom is also a pope, being head of the Anglican Church, professional courtesy requires the wedding be moved to Saturday.

Even though the Queen wasn't even going to come.