Relax. Life's too stressed out.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Blogging ... LIVE!!

Posted: 2005-11-09T20:46:32Z

... from the Shenanigans Pub on Bodanplatz!!

Yes, Konstanz has an Irish pub. In fact, it has TWO Irish pubs, only a couple of blocks from each other, and owned by the same people. They have recently both put in free wireless internet. Of course, the first one we went to, Shamrock on Bahnhofstrasse, had a busted adapter. So after Josh gave up and went home, I came over here (I hadn't even known this place existed until informed by the apologetic waitress at Shamrock) and, assisted by the British guy on staff who suggested I move across the room for better connectivity, successfully got my computer connected for the first time in three months. McAfee will hopefully stop screaming at me now.

I have to go home soon, so the dwarves will have to wait, but I suspect I'll be back soon.

I'm still alive ...

Posted: 2005-11-07T18:25:23Z

but still working on a post about the Huttenwochenende, and internet access has been weird lately.

Here's an article about a very interesting archaeological find in Israel (especially considering what I've been reading lately).

VII. Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel
entrances; others cannot.
This trompe l'oeil inconsistency has baffled generations, but at least
it is known that whoever paints an entrance on a wall's surface to
trick an opponent will be unable to pursue him into this theoretical
space. The painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts to
follow into the painting. This is ultimately a problem of art, not
of science.
VIII. Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent.
Cartoon cats possess even more deaths than the traditional nine lives
might comfortably afford. They can be decimated, spliced, splayed,
accordion-pleated, spindled, or disassembled, but they cannot be
destroyed. After a few moments of blinking self pity, they reinflate,
elongate, snap back, or solidify.
IX. For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance.
This is the one law of animated cartoon motion that also applies to
the physical world at large. For that reason, we need the relief of
watching it happen to a duck instead.
X. Everything falls faster than an anvil.
Examples too numerous to mention from the Roadrunner cartoons.
-- Esquire, "O'Donnell's Laws of Cartoon Motion", June 1980

Fighting to Save Coit Tower from al-Qaeda

Posted: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 23:59:57 -0800


src=" 026.jpg" width="200" height="267" vspace="0" hspace="6" />All right ye defenders of San Francisco, get ready to grab your pitchforks and fight back against Bill O'Reilly's terrorists targeting Coit Tower.

In case you missed it, here's the audio of O'Reilly's on-air diatribe against the citizens of Baghdad by the Bay for voting to discourage military recruiters from school campuses.

"...If al-Qaida comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."

Well, now Supervisor Chris Daly is firing back... calling O'Reilly a wingnut. Watch what he told Phil Matier today on the KRON 4 Morning News:

Coit Tower's a monument to San Francisco's firefighters. They put out the fires in San Francisco after the great quake. American heroes -- they were there on Sept. 11 and now you want al-Qaida to blow up Coit Tower? Give us a break. You are out of line."

Eric at And the Family Buick thinks we ought to take O'Reilly up on his offer to leave the rest of the country behind:

San Francisco should leave the country. Get attacked by al Queda. Be ignored by the O'Reilly version of America. Aside from the insightfully snarky points made by the SF Comical (including that only tourists go to Coit Tower, which O'Reilly said should be blown up), I think we might be missing a decent opportunity to cut and run on America. Get out while the getting's good, I say. We could start by running the vastly outnumbered Republicans out of town on a rail. And then build a huge tie-dye-technicolor wall around our precious bastion. Or maybe we should all just make O'Reilly even more of a target for ridicule. "The Colbert Report`" is a good start, but there's much farther that we can go.

I'm willing to defend Coit Tower, as long as I don't have to climb all those steps.

UPDATE: My goodness. I was kidding about the pitchforks. Or was I? I haven't seen this kind of reaction, including comments from Alabama, since the anarchists were after me.

Since the point of this site is to highlight the Bay Area Blogosphere, I'm going to make another pass through the aggregator for opinions from OUR bloggers.

For instance, Dennis DeKat downplays the whole thing by showing a picture of Mussolini hanging by his heels.

Actually, if not for the bay area, and SF, this country would not be much of an economy. We are just about the only thing going that makes money here (since manufacturing has been given away to slave labor camps in China)…

Friscans should gang beat him if he ever shows up in this town ala Mussolini…

Fiat Lux tries to explain, "why Bill O'Reilly is a jerk."

On the one hand, jerky people are going to make jerky statements, and calling them out can make the jerks seem more important than they are.

On the other hand, it is important to call jerky people on their jerkiness, because silence can equal assent. And saying that it's OK to bomb San Francisco is not OK.

Angie at Ang's Weird Ideas would like to give O'Reilly a taste of his own medicine.

His little rant is too too funny. Now of course, he could die of a heart attack right now, and you know, he wouldn't be missed. Funny how that works huh??

BTW, it appears our out of town friends are coming from the DrudgeReport which put the story above the fold today.

UPDATE2: O'Reilly responded to the whole brou-ha-ha today in a crackly cell phone interview with Sacramento based talk show hosts Armstrong and Getty. Listen to what he had to say here.

Also, the head of the San Francisco Firefighters Union, John Hanley, is angry at O'Reilly's remarks, since Coit Tower honors the firefighters that saved the city from General Funston's bungling during the 1906 earthquake.

"Coit Tower is a monument to the bravery of the men and women of the San Francisco Fire Department," Hanley said. "When Bill O'Reilly makes an attack on Coit Tower, he's attacking us and our bravery."

He added, "Mr. O'Reilly, maybe we should bring you into some of our burning buildings and see how brave you are."

UPDATE 3:A couple of Bay Area bloggers have similar thoughts on Mr. O'Reilly.

Alan at E tenebris, lux dormiens says:

While I appreciate knowing about Bill O'Reilly's unhinged comment hollering in anger over San Francisco's vote to "encourage schools to discourage military recruiters off the campus," somehow, I don't think O'Reilly should be given more attention than is necessary. Then again, the only way to get ratings is to advocate inflammatory positions. He's certainly getting that

Dave at Daventics puts it more succinctly:

One needs to remember that Bill O’Reilly is paid to be an idiot. Smart, thoughtful folks don’t get big ratings.

So you expect Bill to make a statement as stupid as this one:

So everytime KTVU beats us in the ratings, that must mean we're too smart and thoughtful. I like that, even if my bosses won't.

TAGS: , ,

Friday, November 18, 2005


Posted: Sat, 24 Sep 2005 14:37:09 GMT

Source: Posting anonymously, give me three hints about you and I will try (and most likely horribly fail) to guess who you are.

U.S. Orders College to Drop Fellowships For Minorities

Posted: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

Source: CARBONDALE, Ill., Nov. 11 -- Federal prosecutors are threatening to sue Southern Illinois University over three scholarship programs aimed at women and minorities, calling them discriminatory.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The mountains, the mountains ...

Posted: 2005-11-08T10:13:54Z

This weekend, Josh and I departed for a "Huttenwochenende" in a self-catering guesthouse on a Swiss hillside with about 30 history students. This is the closest I can find on the web to the view from the east windows (we were a bit lower down, though):

That's Säntis on the left - the guesthouse is called "Säntisblick" or "view of Säntis". Just imagine most of the snow replaced by grass, though of course there was still a fair amount on the upper slopes, global warming and all. Of course, for most of the weekend it was too foggy to see the mountains, and it rained all morning and part of the afternoon on Saturday, nixing the long hike that had been planned as the centerpiece of the weekend. However, the clouds lifted partway Saturday evening, and when we got up Sunday morning we had a clear view.

Since hiking was out of the question, the other aims of a Huttenwochenende - eating, drinking and carousing - came to the fore. A truly astonishing amount of beer, wine, vodka and Kirchwasser was carted through Swiss customs, evenly distributed among the 10 or so cars in order to comply with statutory limits. Remarkably, though, although people were drinking pretty much constantly throughout the weekend, there wasn't the kind of serious drunkenness and mayhem that would inevitably occur if 30 American college students were put in the same circumstances. Well, apart from somebody urinating in the kitchen, which took place only a few hours after we got there and was strongly rebuked by the leaders. This may have to do with the fact that Teutonic drinking seems to be much more laid-back than Anglo-Saxon drinking, start earlier, so kids first drink around their parents and other responsible adults, and involve less bingeing. Also, the youngest of these kids was 19 and many were in their mid-20s.

Josh and I went for a brief walk on Saturday afternoon when the rain had mostly slackened off, and discussed whether similarities between Swiss and New England farm architecture and technology were solely due to adaptations to similar terrain or had some other connection. The Alpine foothills do look remarkably like Vermont must have a hundred years ago before it was reforested, only of course much more heavily populated. Then a gang of Germans went hiking and Josh went along with them too, while I sat inside and read Gregory of Nazianzus.

The guys cooked dinner: giant vats of tortellini (Friday) and vegetable curry (Saturday), and because a large contingent stayed up till 4 or 5 am, breakfast on Saturday lasted until 3:30 PM, and on Sunday there was a big brunch (müsli, salami, cheese, brown bread, Zopf - frosted braided white bread - jam, honey, Nutella, and Bauernfrühstück - eggs scrambled with onions and potatoes). On Saturday night there were skits - we were divided into five groups and given lists of phrases/characters/objects to work into a five-minute sketch. I was rather terrified by this, but it turned out to be unexpectedly fun - luckily, a fellow group member was visited by inspiration, so I didn't have to worry about coming up with ideas, and all I had to do was pretend to be a penguin while hitting Batman with a pillow (this was funny because the word for "bird" in German is also, in its verb form, a euphemism for "have sex"). Meanwhile, Josh (in a different group) was a "desperate housewife" wearing a towel and with falsies made of apples. And then the leaders did their skit, which involved one of them wearing a condom on his head.

Yeah, we wish we had pictures.

After the brunch on Sunday we cleaned up VERY thoroughly and returned to sea level. Stay tuned for a highly important and heartwrenching post about ... dwarves!

Heretics and vegetables

Posted: 2005-11-03T10:12:40Z

I've been rereading my books and packets from History of Christianity and Patristics this week. Frequently in the evening Josh is hanging around being semi-productive and when I find an amusing passage I read it to him. (We appreciate that late-antiquity Greco-Roman humor, you know.) As a result we have made a discovery: the early Christian apologists and theologians (and, apparently, their opponents) were obsessed with vegetables. Their humorous turns of phrase almost always revolve around produce.

To wit:

"Rightly, indeed, did the Athenians accuse Diagoras of atheism, since he not only divulged the Orphic doctrine as well as the mysteries of Eleusis and of the Cabiri and chopped up a statue of Heracles to boil his turnips, but he proclaimed outrightly that God simply did not exist."

- Athenagoras the Philosopher, Plea Regarding Christians

Radishes seem to be a particular obsession, thus:

"They introduce, however, the novelties of fasts, and feasts, and meals of parched food, and repasts of radishes, alleging that they have been instructed by women."

- Hippolytus of Rome, Refutation of all Heresies

And, of course:

"This creation and masterpiece of nature, this Polyclitan canon, as soon as he came of age, was taken in adultery in Armenia and got a sound thrashing, but finally jumped down from the roof and made his escape, with a radish stopping his vent."

- Lucian, The Passing of Peregrinus

(this work, concerning a former Christian and then Cynic who had immolated himself at the Olympic Games, is heavily rhetorical, sarcastic and slanderous; you are, however, free to imagine whichever bodily orifice you prefer as containing the radish, and also to speculate which member of the married couple Peregrinus was disporting himself with)

And, of course, exhibit A, formerly my email signature file in senior year at Williams:

" Iu, iu, and pheu, pheu ! Truly we may utter these exlamations from tragedy at such bold invention of ridiculous nomenclature, and at the audacity that made up these names without blushing. For when he says, 'There is a certain Proarche before all things, above all thought, which I call Monotes,' and again, 'With this Monotes there reigns a Power, which I call Henotes,' it is obvious that he admits that he is talking about his own inventions, and that he has given names to his inventions which no one else had given them before. ... There is no reason why someone else shouldn't assign names like these on the same basis: There is a royal Proarche above all thought, a Power above all substance, indefinitely extended. Since this is the Power which I call the Gourd, there is with it the Power which I call Superemptiness. This Gourd and Superemptiness, being one, emitted, yet did not emit, the fruit, visible, edible, and delicious, which is known to language as the Cucumber. With this Cucumber there is a Power of like quality with it, which I call the Melon. These Powers, the Gourd, Superemptiness, the Cucumber, and the Melon, sent forth the remaining crowd of the delirious Melons of Valentinus."

- Irenaeus of Lyons, The Refutation and Overthrow of the Falsely So-Called Knowledge

"You know, we've won awards for this crap."
-- David Letterman

Honoring the Living

Posted: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 13:07:08 -0800


The primary difference between Veteran's Day (today) at Memorial Day is that today is about living veterans while Memorial day honors the dead.

Alan at E tenebris, lux dormiens offers some solemn thoughts on the men and women who have fought for us and are still among us.

Some of these soldiers were those who joined the war because they had an belief that they should earn the freedom that their forefathers had given them. For that, they have earned more than we could hope to reimburse. What little we can give, however, should be a life of august comfort, not of abject poverty by slowly eroding benefits.

Hear Hear


Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Posted: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 19:19:55 GMT

Source: Comment with a full song or a few lyrics that remind you of me or you feel apply to me. Then repost this on your journal and see which lyrics your friends associate with you!

Katrina Adds to Patois of 'Nu Orlans'

Posted: Sat, 12 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

Source: NEW ORLEANS -- In this city of so many linguistic influences, Hurricane Katrina is the latest to reshape the colorful local tongue.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'm still alive ...

Posted: 2005-11-07T18:25:23Z

but still working on a post about the Huttenwochenende, and internet access has been weird lately.

Here's an article about a very interesting archaeological find in Israel (especially considering what I've been reading lately).

Things I am Waiting for in the Post

Posted: 2005-11-02T10:50:21Z

In the grand tradition of Margaret's London Chronicles, here are the things that the yellow Deutsche Post van with the hunting horn on the side has not yet delivered to my door (or, in the last case, to the Uni post office for pickup):

My permanent BahnCard.
My health insurance card.
A letter from Uncle Jan in Rotterdam of which Margaret received a copy, like, two weeks ago.
A reply to the letter I sent Grandma last month.
Josh's box of books (carefully selected for maximum usefulness in his research ...)

Just squeeze your rage into a bitter little ball and release it at an
appropriate time. Like that day I hit that referee with a whiskey
bottle. 'Member that?

-- Homer Simpson
Whacking Day

Bringing Back Bunny Ears?

Posted: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 11:56:35 -0800


Some of us are of an age when we remember having to hold the antenna on the television just right or sit in just the right spot in the room in order to see much of anything on the television.

Then came cable and satellite televisions and we expected the TV to be always on... and it pretty much is.

Now with more and more people going to digital television, there's something of a movement away from the cable and back to the antenna.

The Digital Dad is starting to look for alternatives to digital cable.

As part of this research I found a great site called HDTV Pub. You can put in your zip code and get reviews of antenna coverage and service providers in your neighborhood. I found a guy who bought a Zenith HDTV antenna and is getting outstanding reception in my zip code - hooray!


Monday, November 14, 2005

The sky has fallen and it's early in the morning, but it's okay somehow

Posted: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 17:02:11 GMT

Source: I won't go on and on about work today, cuz I can't do that every day. This morning I was incredibly slow with making the muffins and I burnt my elbow on the oven and then my fingertips on the icing, and they hurt every time I had to wash anything in hot water. I cried a little bit on my break but nobody noticed. Well, maybe Richard did cuz he was nice to me after that. I got to clean the tables all the rest of the day which is good, I love doing that even though it's boring.

When I was coming back with one of the trays, a man was waiting for me by the dishwasher and asked me what time I finished. I don't know where he was from but he wasn't English. He said "would you like to come out with me? I am a gentleman" and I said "I can't, I'm sorry" and he said "tomorrow, then?" and I said "I'm sorry, I have a boyfriend" and he looked sad and went away. Aww.

I inhale so much smoke at work I feel like I might as well be a smoker myself. The smoking section is right next to the dishwasher, where I spend most of the last half of my shift. I can feel the smoke in my throat and everything. And my fingers reek of cigarettes because I'm always having to pull butts out of the bottom of coffee cups. I hope my fingernails don't go yellow.

My feet really ache from standing up all day. So I got some magic magnetic therapeutic insole things that are going to change my life, apparantly.

I came home and half an hour later Chris had to leave for work, aww. But it'll be nice to get an evening to myself. I'm going to watch Sailor Moon and eat nice pasta. And knit, of course.

(Okay, so this post was all about work in one way or another. But never mind.)

Oh! By the way, everybody who I owe CDs too... I'm so busy at the moment I don't have a chance to do anything. But when I get paid, which should be at the end of the month, I will be sure to go to the post office and post everything I owe. Thankyou for being patient with me ♥

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Concerts: 2. Grace: 0.

Posted: 2005-11-02T09:35:15Z

Since arriving in Konstanz, I have planned to go to two concerts. One was a performance of the Brahms Requiem in the Basilika Birnau (across the lake, between Überlingen and Meersburg, insanely Baroque interior). This concert was at the end of September, when even figuring out where Birnau was and how to get there was an almost insuperable challenge. It was the same day we first went to church in Zürich, and as it turned out I would have had to leave for Birnau about five minutes BEFORE we got back from Zürich, in order to make it there on time. I had decided the previous night that in any case, we were spending too much money and I didn't want the headache. So we just drank Most and ate Kuchen in the Marktstätte.

Yesterday, however, I had every intention of attending the concert of the Mozart Requiem (and the Jupiter symphony) in the Konstanz Münster. It (like the other one) was supposed to begin at 5 (this seems to be a popular hour for concerts in Germany; I suspect a conspiracy between the musicians and the restaurateurs). So at about twelve minutes before 5, I sallied forth from our door on Konradigasse to the Münster, which is about a two-minute walk away.

The place was MOBBED. There were probably three hundred people outside the west door, most of whom appeared to have tickets, but there was also quite a scrum around the ticket table. I shoved my way into said scrum, but not quite soon enough: when I was still about two places away, the guy behind the table threw up his hands and shouted, "Kein Platz mehr! Kein Stehplatz mehr!" In other words, the place was sold out, including standing room. Those of us still wanting tickets kind of looked helplessly at each other and then began to drift away.

Yoicks. I can't believe they sold out the MÜNSTER. Die Bädische are either more musical than I thought, or more religious than I thought. Lesson: next time get over fear of speaking German on crappy telephone and order tickets in advance, or at least show up half an hour early.