May 2005


31 May 2005 08:44 pm

Do you remember this old joke? “He’s so fat, when he sits around the house he sits around the house.”

Headline AP: Researchers Use Maps to Research Obesity

Apparently researchers have upped the ante on the joke.

30 May 2005 07:04 pm

Since some words have changed in meaning over the years, you sometimes run across things in old books that are startling to our modern ears.

As I read this passage to my youngest daughter the other night, for some reason, she burst into laughter.

“Isn’t that opal the loveliest thing you ever saw? I’m afraid I’m too dark to wear it, but it would just suit you. You’ll need a variety, you know,” added Kitty in a significant aside as Rose stood among the white silks while her companion affected great interest in the delicate hues laid before her.

“But I have a variety now, and don’t need a new dress of any sort.”

“No matter, get it, else it will be gone. You’ve worn all yours several times already and must have a new one whether you need it or not. Dear me! If I had as much pocket money as you have, I’d come out in a fresh toilet at every party I went to,” answered Kitty, casting an envious eye upon the rainbow piles before her.

— Louisa May Alcott in Rose in Bloom, 1876

29 May 2005 09:27 pm

Q.34. What is adoption?

A. Adoption is the act of God’s free grace by which we become His sons with all the rights and privileges of being His.


We understand what adoption is. In adoption, a family brings an outside child into their family and gives the child full rights of the family. Previously, this child had no claim upon the family. But after adoption, the child is a full member of the family.

That is what God does when He saves people. Previously, they had no claim upon Him. But through the work of Jesus Christ, He brings fallen people into relationship with Him and adopts them, so that they become children of God. They become His people.

John 1:1-13

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

28 May 2005 10:10 pm

[Rosencrantz]: Hamlet is not himself, outside or in. We have to glean what afflicts him.

[Guildenstern]: He doesn’t give much away.

[Player]: Who does, nowadays?

[Guil]: He’s–melancholy.

[Player]: Melancholy?

[Ros]: Mad.

[Player]: How is he mad?

[Ros]: Ah. (To Guil:) How is he mad?

[Guil]: More morose than mad, perhaps.

[Player]: Melancholy.

[Guil]: Moody.

[Ros]: He has moods.

[Player]: Of moroseness?

[Guil]: Madness. And yet.

[Ros]: Quite.

[Guil]: For instance.

[Ros]: He talks to himself, which might be madness.

[Guil]: If he didn’t talk sense, which he does.

[Ros]: Which suggests the opposite.

[Player]: Of what?

Small pause.

[Guil]: I think I have it. A man talking sense to himself is no madder than a man talking nonesense not to himself.

[Ros]: Or just as mad.

[Guil]: Or just as mad.

[Ros]: And he does both.

[Guil]: So there you are.

[Ros]: Stark raving sane.

Tom Stoppard in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

28 May 2005 07:27 pm

Headline AP: N.Y. Woodpecker Thinks Reflection Is Enemy

SULLIVAN, N.Y. – Car owners around town are covering their mirrors in an attempt to outsmart a woodpecker who apparently thinks his reflection is an enemy….

During breeding season, male woodpeckers aggressively defend their turf, even against imaginary foes, said bird-watcher Benjamin Burtt.

Anne Miller has had two mirrors on her Pontiac Grand Prix smashed and watched the bird attack her neighbor’s Malibu.

“I told him to shoo. He did. Then he came right back and finished the job,” she said. “Instead of flying off, he walked across the windshield and did the passenger mirror. I was flabbergasted.”

27 May 2005 11:04 pm

I ran across this music video the other day: You Are Here by Sam Bisbee.

The video is composed of still pictures constantly changing. It makes an interesting effect. I like the song. It is your standard guitar-driven rock. It’s actually kind of mellow. The lyrics are clever in the way the walk from one person to another.

Somewhere a man sits [pause] alone in his car
Propped up on concrete blocks in the back of his yard.
It doesn’t drive but [pause] its got a fresh battery.
And the radio works. It’s on one-oh-two-three.
The female D.J. [pause] ‘s introducing a track.
She’s saying, “This one goes out to the long commute back.”
And then the song starts. [pause] She turns off the microphone.
And she says to herself, “Is anybody listening?”

I like the pauses in the delivery. My favorite is:

Across the street there’s [pause] a little girl
Face pressed against the window staring out at the world.
She sees an airplane [pause] way up in the air.
She thinks, “That’s so small it’d get caught in my hair.”
Just then the stewar- [pause] -dess on the plane
Says, “Everybody feel free to lower your trays.”

I love that “stewar- [pause] -dess”.

It’s a pretty neat song. Give it a listen.

26 May 2005 09:21 pm

When I was young, my dream was to play baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates, to fly fighter airplanes in the Air Force, and eventually to become an astronaut and be the first person to go to Mars. Playing baseball didn’t quite fit into the idea of going to Mars, but the fighter pilot, astronaut track made a lot of sense.

Well, my Air Force career ended over a decade ago, and though I earned my wings, they weren’t pilot wings. I have to face the facts that I will not be an astronaut and I won’t be going to Mars. That’s one dream shattered.

But I’ve revived some hopes about playing professional baseball. If there were any scouts at tonight’s coach pitch softball game, I might get some consideration. I’m getting a little old, but you should have seen the way I was pitching tonight.

Since I pitched the previous night, I was pitching on no rest tonight. Nevertheless, my arm felt good. It wasn’t sore at all. The girls had hit me pretty well last night. I don’t know what was the difference. Maybe I didn’t I didn’t have my good stuff that night, but pretty much all of them were ripping me. I just couldn’t get it by them.

But tonight was a different story. I really brought my A game. They couldn’t touch me. Good morning, good afternoon, good night. One after another. I think there was only one out that wasn’t a strike out, and one inning I only faced three batters and struck them all out. It was just a stellar pitching outing.

One of the girls brought a beany bag monkey to the game. We set it on the bench and called it our Rally Monkey. After the dismal batting in the first inning, we moved the Rally Monkey and put it in the fence so it could watch the game better. But it was to no avail, as they continued to not be able to hit me. So we moved the Rally Monkey, and again the girls didn’t bat any better. For the last inning, we buried the Rally Monkey at the bottom of the ball bucket. But even hiding the Rally Monkey hidden didn’t help.

So of the girls think the problem was the Rally Monkey, and they asked the monkey’s owner to not bring it back to another game. I encouraged them in thinking that, because I don’t want them blaming me for their lack of hitting.

But you should have seen the bottom drop out of the ball when it crossed the plate tonight. It was a thing of beauty. If the Pittsburgh Pirates ever decide they need someone who can strike out eight year old girls, I’m their man.

25 May 2005 09:04 pm

The most famous bad beginning to a novel was written by Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) in his novel Paul Clifford written in 1830. Here’s the first sentence:

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents–except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

You probably recognize that beginning from the cartoon Peanuts, because Snoopy liked to start his novel: “It was a dark and stormy night.”

If you are brave, you can read the entire first chapter here.

24 May 2005 07:26 pm

Sometimes you really have to work to understand the news of the day.

Headline Washington Times: NAAC Pasks Fox to speak amid rift

A Google search reveals that NAAC is the North American Anarchist Conference. This conference took place August 11-17, 2000, and the web site was setup to organize the anarchists for the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles.

I don’t know how well they did organizing the anarchists. The More Info page doesn’t help much, but it does contains this interesting statement:

This web site contains as much information about the conference as we have. Please be patient and more will be added as it comes available.

Seeing as it has been almost five years since the event and they are still trying to update the site as soon as information becomes available, perhaps they are actually a procrastinators conference instead of an anarchists conference, but I digress.

It is clear that the Anarchists are fighting among themselves, hence the headline reference to the rift. Naturally, we wouldn’t expect anything else from anarchists.

We now know what NAAC is. But what is NAAC doing when it “Pasks”?

Dictionary.com explains that “pask” is a an alternate spelling for pasch [Passover or Easter] or pasque [a type of purple flower that blooms around Easter].

So the meaning of the headline now becomes clear: A group of anarchists has been fighting among themselves. But for some reason that is not immediately clear, they have given purple flowers to a fox in order to persuade the fox to speak to the fighting anarchists.

Either that or there is some punctuation error somewhere.

23 May 2005 09:18 pm

Remember the mysteriously exploding toads from a month ago? Some people speculated that birds might be causing the toads to explode.

It seems that the cycle of violence is continuing.

Headline Telegraph: Public called in to solve mystery of vanishing birds

Walkers and country lovers have been asked to help solve the mystery of a dramatic decline in woodland birds.

Research by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) found that nearly a third of woodland species have declined by more than 50 per cent in the past 30 years. Conservationists had previously believed that, unlike wetland and farmland birds, these varieties were increasing….

Theories for their disappearance include “subtle changes” in the number of invertebrates in dead wood, a decline in coppicing, and less management of woodland leading to trees cutting out light and killing off undergrowth. Other reasons could be the drying out of woodland due to increased groundwater extraction by water companies and an increase in the deer population, which strips out undergrowth.

A good detective will always consider who has the motive to commit the crime….

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