Thursday, May 29, 2008

Now they're getting more specific

This morning's schoolyard insult, courtesy of my spam folder:

"what a stupid face you have here crumj"

I wonder what they're going to say next. Maybe something more sophisticated like, "You're ugly, and your mother dresses you funny."


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Today's funny spam subject line is...

"You look really stupid crumj"

I love it when my spam insults me. Apparently cluttering my inbox causes insufficient annoyance; now the evil spammers have to chip away at my self-esteem too.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Seattle jokes

I used to live in Seattle, so I can relate to these, which were e-mailed to me years ago. The ironic thing is, most of the people I know who visit Seattle from outside the Northwest have great weather for their visit. It's just the Emerald City trying to lure them in...

A newcomer to Seattle arrives on a rainy day. She gets up the next day and it's raining. It also rains the day after that, and the day after that. She goes out to lunch and sees a young kid and, out of despair, asks, "Hey, kid, does it ever stop raining around here?"
The kid says, * "How should I know? I'm only 6."

"I can't believe it, " said the tourist. "I've been here in Seattle an entire week and it's done nothing but rain. When do you have summer here?"
"Well, that's hard to say, " replied the local. "Last year, it was on a Wednesday."

What do you call two straight days of rain in Seattle?
An average weekend

What did the Seattle native say to the Pillsbury Doughboy?
"Nice tan."

Meteorological experts were predicting a gargantuan rain storm that would destroy the Northwest with a flood. Rev Jessie Jackson went on national TV and said, "This is your punishment from God. Prepare to meet your Maker." The President went on national TV and announced, "Our scientists have done all they can. The end is near." The Seattle evening news came on and said, "Today's five day forecast.... - same as usual."

What does daylight savings time mean in Seattle? An extra hour of rain.

A curious fellow died one day and found himself waiting in the long line of judgment. As he stood there he noticed that some souls were allowed to march right through the gates of heaven. Others, though, were led over to Satan who threw them into the burning pit. But every so often, instead of hurling a poor soul into the fire, Satan would toss a soul off to one side into a small pile. After watching Satan do this several times, the fellow's curiosity got the best of him. So he strolled over and asked Satan..... "Excuse me, Prince of Darkness," he said. "I'm waiting in line for judgment, but I couldn't help wondering, why are you tossing those people aside instead of flinging them into the fires of hell with the others?" "Ah, those..." Satan said with a groan. "They're all from Seattle; they're too wet to burn yet."

What do you call blue skies in Seattle? A 30 second time out.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dateline Washington Part 4: The National Cathedral

I took a short break from the conference one morning and hiked up to the National Cathedral--and when I say "up," I'm not kidding. It felt like it was uphill both ways! I posted a couple of pictures of the cathedral in my first trip-related post, but now that I've uploaded all my pics, I can post a few more. The pics below are all of the cathedral itself. If you'd like to see pictures of the surrounding gardens, take a look at my garden blog, Rainy Day Gardening.

Statuary near the south entrance:

Rose window:

Stained glass window:

Got a few thousand extra dollars? Maybe you too can have a memorial sprinkler system!

Gorgeous artwork:

Inside one of the chapels on the lower level:

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to take a tour, so I didn't get to learn about all the incredible features of the cathedral. After I got back, I explored the cathedral web site a bit and learned that there was a contest in the mid-1990s for children to design a feature for the cathedral. The winner? Darth Vader! There's a Darth Vader grotesque on one of the towers; see for more information.

Bonus question for gothic architecture geeks: What's the difference between a grotesque and a gargoyle?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Two funny things for you music fans

In the last couple days, I've run across two funny music-related things. I have neither the time nor the energy for witty commentary, so I'll just post 'em. Enjoy!

First up: a paper from Robert J. Oxoby of the University of Calgary entitled (I am not making this up): On the Efficiency of AC/DC: Bon Scott versus Brian Johnson. Spoiler alert! Here's the conclusion, in full:

The question as to who was a better singer, Bon Scott or Brian Johnson, may never truly be resolved. However, our analysis suggests that in terms of affecting efficient
decision making among listeners, Brian Johnson was a better singer. Our analysis has direct implications for policy and organizational design: when policymakers or
employers are engaging in negotiations (or setting up environments in which other parties will negotiate) and are interested in playing the music of AC/DC, they should
choose from the band’s Brian Johnson era discography.

The rest of the paper is worth a read. Who knew an economist could have a sense of humor?

Next: My good buddy Dave and I were talking about the Pink Floyd pig, which apparently went missing last month and was later found in pieces. Not being a Pink Floyd fan, I hadn't heard of their pig, so I turned to my favorite casual reference source, Wikipedia. The Pink Floyd pigs (there have been several) have their own Wikipedia entry, which is hilarious. It's enough to make one believe that Spinal Tap was a real documentary.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Notice of Revocation of Independence

I'm still combing through my e-mail archives at work, in preparation for our migration to Outlook, and I found another goodie to share. My mother used to have a pen pal in Scotland. After the 2000 election, Mom's pen pal forwarded the following bit of British humor. I responded with the text in blue below each item, which started an interesting exchange with the pen pal, who wanted me to define Little Debbies and Piggly-Wiggly, among other things. Anyhoo, I don't know if anyone else will find this funny, but I thought it was a riot. Let's hope the 2008 election doesn't prompt anything similar.


To the residents of the United States of America,

In view of your abject failure to elect a President and thus to govern yourselves, We give hereby Notice of the Revocation of your independence, effective today at Five O'Clock Greenwich Mean Time.

They forgot to tell us to look up Greenwich--and to learn it's proper pronunciation so we don't all run around calling it green-witch.

Her Britannic Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume sovereign duties forthwith over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Florida, which Shall be returned to His Illustrious Catholic Majesty, King Juan Carlos of Spain. Your new Prime Minister (The Rt Hon Tony Blair, for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will suggest to Her Majesty a Governor-General for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

The CSPAN junkies will be crushed, and the rest of us won't have anything to complain about. Oh, wait--there's always British food ;-)

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up revocation in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up aluminium. Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up vocabulary. Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up interspersed.

Fair enough as long as I don't have to punctuate every third sentence with "bloody" or "ruddy".

2. There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf.

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn't that difficult.
True, but please tell me we don't have to distinguish London from Yorkshire from Cockney from... If you'll get rid of your regional dialects, we'll try to do something about the New Yorkers and the Southerners.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast British actors as the good guys.
Hey, Vanessa in Austin Powers was a good guy... er, girl.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, God Save The Queen, but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American football. There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American football is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays American football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour). We are hoping to get together at least an American rugby sevens side by 2005.

7. You should declare war on Quebec and France, using nuclear weapons if they give you any merde. The 98.85% of you who were not aware that there is a world outside your borders should count yourselves lucky. The Russians have never been the bad guys.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 8th will be a new national holiday, but only in the British Empire. It will be called Indecisive Day.
Can we still blow things up? Americans don't care when their holidays are or what they commemorate, as long as we a) get the day off from work, and b) get to play with explosives.

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

10. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.
What makes you think he's dead? Buford R. Johnson of West Podunk, Alabama, saw him at a Piggly-Wiggly last weekend! He and Elvis were stocking up on pork rinds and Little Debbies.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Welcome Back.

Now for a few conditions before we reunite:

1. American food shall be the dominant cuisine, at least here in "the colonies". Actually, you should consider adopting American dietary habits throughout the British Empire; even pork rinds and Little Debbies are better than blood pudding and kidney pie!

2. George W. Bush must never be allowed to run for national office.

3. Please give Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas to Spain along with Florida. You can throw in New York, too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dateline Washington Part 3: Monuments By Night

The night after we arrived in Washington, after a full day of sightseeing, we decided to go back to the Capital Mall in the evening to see some of the monuments at night. Several hours and many photos later, we staggered back to our hotel, completely exhausted. But it was worth it. Take a look:

Washington Monument in the waning light:
Those two red lights near the top are somehow both comical and a little creepy.

And another shot, a bit later in the evening, with the fountains of the World War II memorial in the foreground:

Fountains, part of the World War II memorial:


One of many quotes from the World War II memorial:

Lincoln Memorial against a midnight blue sky:
Amazingly enough, the Lincoln Memorial was swarming with tourists at 10 PM. Buses of teenagers disgorged their noisy, giggly contents, who proceeded to infest the both the Lincoln and Vietnam memorials. Though not exactly solemn, the teens did seem somewhat respectful in both places.

Jerry and me at the Lincoln Memorial:

I highly recommend a nighttime stroll along the Capital Mall. It's cooler and a little more sane, despite the busloads of tourists, and the monuments are gorgeous after dark.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Cute chicks

Here's the part where all the guys who got excited at the "Cute chicks" title get disappointed...

Let me introduce you to our brand new flock of chickens!
The whole flock

We got the three larger ones on the left last weekend--one barred rock (the black one) and two gold sex links. When we got them, they were as small as the other two--chicks grow *fast*. e also got an Araucauna, but she only lived one day. We knew she was fragile when we got her--small, with a bum foot--but we felt sorry for her, so we brought her home. The other two we got today: one Araucauna (the brown and tan one, second from right) and one Rhode Island Red (the little cutie on the far right). They're all pullets (we hope), so in a few months we should have a steady supply of eggs, as well as five hungry hens flapping and bagawking around the new chicken run in our side yard. Should be entertaining.

In the meantime, the little fluffballs are bunking with us. We have them in a plastic storage bin under a heat lamp next to the laundry hamper in our bedroom. We'll move their setup to the garage when they're a little bigger, but for now I want them where I can keep an eye on them. Our bedroom is starting to smell like a feed store, and we get to listen to cheeping all night long, but they're adorable and entertaining. What chickens lack in intelligence, they make up for in personality.

Here are a few more pics:

We nicknamed our barred rock "Houdini," because she's quite the little escape artist.
Houdini ready for her closeup

The gold sex links, who are practically inseparable:
Our two gold sex link chicks

I keep telling my husband he should enjoy this while he can. It's the only time he'll ever get to have five chicks in our bedroom ;-)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

80's Music Nightmare

OK, here's the story: We're getting a new email system at work, so I'm cleaning up my email archives to get ready for the transition. While excavating 12 years of electronic junk, I ran across this fun little item. I emailed it to a few people who seemed to think it was pretty funny, so I'm posting it here. It was sent to me with no author mentioned, but whoever wrote it was pretty clever.

80's Music Nightmare

I was working part time in a five and dime. My boss was Mr.
Magee. He was six foot four and full of muscles and walked
like an Egyptian, but I was happy to be stuck with him. One
manic Monday, while I was busy working for the weekend, I
overheard him make a careless whisper.

He told two of my co-workers, Jack and Diane, that I gave
love a bad name. Well, I got so emotional, baby. I told him
to say say say what he wants, but don't play games with my
affection. He told me it was hard for him to say he's sorry
and not to worry, to be happy. Then he blamed it on the
rain. He was so out of touch. It just took my breath
away. I couldn't fight this feeling any longer. I asked
him "What's love got to do with it?" He told me to get
outta his store and his dreams and into my car.

So I figured I might as well jump. I cut footloose, went
home and called my girl, Jenny. (You already know the
number) She was on the other line with Amanda. They were
talking about Mickey and how he was so fine. That blew my
mind! Was she really going out with him? I told her that I
had just called to say I love her. She told me she had been
saving all her love for me, but now she was looking for a
new love - asta la vista, baby. I thought "I can't go for
that - no can do! Bring me a higher love!" I called up some
of my old west end girls, hoping that one of them would want
to get physical all night long (all night). First I called

Billie Jean - she told me to beat it. I called Rosanna -
her sister Christian blessed the rains down in Africa and
then hung up on me. Come on, Eileen! ... no answer. Nobody
told me there'd be days like these! I was feeling like the
owner of a lonely heart.

Then, out of the blue, my best friend's girlfriend (she used
to be mine) Roxanne calls. Yes, the real Roxanne. She told
me she still hadn't found what she's looking for and that
she wanted to take on me. I said "I thought you were
Jessie's girl." She said "Don't you want me? You don't have
to put on the red light - I'm on my own." What a feeling! I
had the eye of the tiger. Who was I f-f-f-foolin? Roxanne
drove me crazy like no one else. She's a beauty! She blinded
me with science, and weird science at that. There was always
something there to remind me of her and I just knew that I'd
have the time of my life.

I wasn't about to la-di-da-di. I jumped in my little red
Corvette and rocked down to Electric Avenue. I got my mind
set on her. When I got to her house (in the middle of her
street) I ran. I rapped on her front door and to this
rapper's delight, i heard a voice say "Who can it be now?"
"Here I am, the one that you love", I replied. I let my
love open the door and was immediately lost in her eyes. I
felt like a virgin touched for the very first time. She
loosened her blouse and said "Rock me Amadeus!" Well, I
felt it was my prerogative to bust a move. I told her "I'll
tumble for ya!" as I pinned her on the stairs, hungry like
the wolf.

Just then I felt an invisible touch on my shoulder. "Turn
around bright eyes!" said a familiar voice. As I did,
Jessie hit me with a sledgehammer of an uppercut that spun
me right round like a record. He was hangin' tough and
continued to roll with it, knocking the wind from beneath my
wings - broken wings by this time. He rocked me tonight,
for old time's sake, beating me from head to toe, until my
true colors were black and blue and blood was spilling from
my mouth like red, red wine. "You don't owe me money for
nothing!" he snarled. At this point I was livin' on a
prayer. I crawled back to my little red Corvette and drove
home thinking about how my tainted love had cut like a knife
- how it seems that every rose, truly, has its thorn. No
longer do I want to know what love is. Love stinks.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Dateline Washington Part 2: National Air and Space Museum

What's the most-visited museum in the world? The Louve? Nope. The Met? Nope. It's the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum! Who needs Raphael and Da Vinci when you can have airplanes and rockets?

Since I'm no expert on aeronautics or astronautics, this post will contain very little actual information, other than what you just read. Instead, it'll have lots of pictures and a little potty humor. Here we go...

First, let's answer a deep, profound question:
A very important question

And the answer:
And the answer!

Thank goodness the space station has indoor plumbing. The alternative is something I'd prefer not to think about.

Before Star Trek Voyager, a/k/a the Flying Toilet Seat (Wow... more potty humor. Dontcha love these intellectual posts?), there was Voyager, the space probe:
(No, not *that* kind of probe. That's something else I'd prefer not to think about.)

Now let's travel back in time about a century to visit those famous aviators, the Wright Brothers. Here's their first flying machine:


And some slightly less vintage aircraft:

Big ol' landing gear:


War planes:

747 as wall art:

More comfortable than a dog sled:

Thank you for flying with us today. Buh-bye!

Dateline Washington, DC

Most of the post below was written April 30, 2008, while I was in Washington, DC. Because of problems with internet connectivity, I'm just now getting around to posting it.

I’ve been in Washington, DC, since last Wednesday. I’m just now getting around to posting something, because my internet connectivity has been unreliable. It seems that the 1500+ conference attendees here at the Omni Shoreham have overwhelmed their wireless network. So instead of boring y’all to tears with a day-by-day travelogue, I’ll bore you to tears with a summary of my doings to date. But I’ll throw in some pictures to make it slightly more interesting. After all, who doesn’t love to see their friends’ vacation pictures? (yes, that was sarcasm)

I’m here for the Innovative Users Group (IUG) annual conference. I’m the IUG Secretary-Treasurer, so I have to come early to help get ready for the conference, and my workdays are pretty long while I’m here. But I get a free hotel room for the duration and lots of free meals, and everyone who knows me knows I’ll work for food. Since my hotel room is free, I decided to bring my family along. So the boys have roamed all over our nation’s capital while I’ve been… in the hotel… working. They took the DCDucks tour in World War II amphibious vehicles, while I worked the registration desk at the conference. They toured the Capitol building, while I worked the registration desk at the conference. And so on.

We came in a couple days before I had to start work, so I did get to play tourist for a little while. We spent Thursday roaming around the Capitol Mall. We went to the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum, then returned in the evening to view some monuments at night. Here are a few pictures from the Museum of Natural History. I’ll post the Air and Space pics as soon as I find time to upload them.

National Museum of Natural History:
Museum of Natural History

Just inside the museum:
Welcome to the Natural History Museum!

T-Rex and tasty snacks… um, I mean tourists:

Hope Diamond:
The Hope Diamond

Friday we went back to Air and Space for a little while, but mostly we recovered from overdoing it the day before. Friday night I started work, and since then I’ve had very little time to do anything else. I did manage to walk up to the National Cathedral yesterday morning. I couldn’t stay very long, but at least I got to see it. I’ve included a few pics of the outside of the cathedral below. For pics of the surrounding gardens, see my post on Rainy Day Gardening.

National Cathedral

South entrance to the National Cathedral

The conference ends today. We don’t fly home till Friday morning, so I’ll have tomorrow to sightsee with the family. After that it’s a long day of air travel, then back to the old routine.