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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

TIME TO GO OUT AND GET A TAN 

A bit of good news in this bleak week: the ozone layer isn't shrinking anymore,
The experts credited, at least in part, the 1987 Montreal Protocol which was ratified by more than 180 nations and set legally binding controls for on the production and consumption of ozone-depleting gases containing chlorine and bromine.
Maybe so. But I credit the heroic measures taken to curb mad cow disease and scrapie.

The sheep always get dissed.

Monday, August 29, 2005

TRIVIAL PURCHASES 

When I buy soap, I just want it to get things clean, maybe smell kind of nice, and definitely not cost an arm and a leg. I generally don't care about the political proclivities of the soap producer. I know people sometimes do but I consider these earnest shoppers a bit weird, veering on fanatical.

In my completely unscientific, anecdote-drenched experience, they also usually seem to be liberal.
Few people spend much time considering which brand of almonds to buy. But progressives just might want to take that extra moment the next time they’re in the snack aisle.

What?Why gasp in horror?
Blue Diamond almonds
Owner's founder and co-CEO serves on the board of the Manhattan Institute. Gave money to Families for Conservative Values.
Curves fitness clubs
Founder and CEO supports and funds pro-life causes.
McCormick & Schmick restaurantsCo-founder is a Republican "Super Ranger" who raised lots of cash for the Republican National Committee last year.
Vicks VapoRubSmith Richardson Foundation is a major funding source "for more right-wing causes than you can name."
Home Depot stores
Founder has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Republican Party. Company’s current chairman and CEO has personally given near the maximum for individuals to the RNC since 2003.
The list goes on and on and if you're a crazy CRAZY lefty, you could be left with little in the way of guilt-free consumer purchase opportunities. Plus, you'd smell kind of bad.

Knowing me, I will forget these tidbits almost immediately (one of the reasons I never show up for Thursday Trivia Night at Keegan's).

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A CAUTIONARY TALE 

We are, theoretically at least, past the toilet training era in our household. But we live in a wonderful neighborhood chock-a-block with little kids, many of whom are still struggling with that vital stage.

Last night, everyone was hanging out on the stoop drinking wine (did I say I live in a wonderful neighborhood?) and one neighbor recommended Bear in the Big Blue House - Potty Time with Bear as a useful anti-diaper tool. It turned out to be a qualified recommendation, however, as the video recently caused one of those lovely "why one earth did I have children anyway?" moments all parents know so well.

The parent explained he had set up his laptop to play the crucial DVD to his child while the tot was enthroned on the potty chair. Then, other children started yowling and the dad left the room.

Our neighbor returned to find that the video had worked. Too well. His son enthusiastically peed all over the computer. Certain crucial keys ("A," "S," "D" etc.) no longer work.

On the bright side, a replacement laptop now costs less than half the price of the soiled model. [The Warrior Monk's comment: pretty dim for a bright side]

Saturday, August 27, 2005

WE NEED THE REAL ONES FOR PARADE DUTY 

Fafnir interviews the more (relatively speaking) hawkish members of the Democratic Party:
FB: Will the lies never end. But where will we get the troops from now, Democratic Party? Aren't we runnin out of em?

[HARRY] REID: We've used up plenty of REAL troops, sure, but what about FAKE troops? Why isn't the military pounding the streets looking to recruit new mannequins, crash-test dummies and hand puppets?

[JOE] LIEBERMAN: Our nation's rich supply of blow-up dolls has barely begun to be explored for national security purposes.

[JOE] BIDEN: To say nothing of our nation's patriotic trained seal and dolphin population! When will the Pentagon deploy the 101st Fighting Shamu Brigade?

[HILLARY] CLINTON: I can tear a boulder in half with my teeth!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

TEARFUL IN MINNEAPOLIS 

The four year old, like many of her ilk, is an expert in the art of crying. She weeps at the unfairness of life when told she must put her toys away. Is heartbroken at the injustice of broccoli for dinner. At the arduous bedtime routine she sobs and flails like a basketball star trying to convince the ref he's been fouled. (Fortunately she doesn't throw temper tantrums at the store perhaps sensing, correctly, that the result would be permanent exile from all the delights those consumer palaces have to offer.)

All this bawling and gnashing goes on despite the fact that she gets very little sympathy from her cold hearted parents: "If you're going to make such a fuss, you have to go cry in your room." "And shut the door!" I add when she wisely increases the decibel level to compensate. Her sister, on the other hand, is such a softy that she often gives up a coveted toy to shut the four year old up. "What's the matter now!" she says, stomping off to investigate the caterwauling coming from the other room. (Come to think of it, the four year old's antics may be aimed at her sister, not us.)

But last night the four year old broke through our wall of indifference. At about 2 am we heard sobbing coming from the kids' room. But no tiny visitors made their way to our bed. Alarmed, we investigated. It was the four year old. She was asleep. Asleep and crying.

There is something heartrending about a weeping, sleeping child. She could have had anything from us at that point. We didn't wake her. In the morning we asked her about her dreams.

"Huh?" she responded, puzzled.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

BILLIE JEAN IS SPITTING MAD 

Critics of Supreme Court nominee Judge John G. Roberts Jr. suffered a blow recently when NARAL was forced to pull its botched TV attack ad. But take heart anti-Robertsonians! You may have just picked up another support group. Yep, Judge Roberts' newly-revealed writings shows he has antagonized yet another group: Michael Jackson groupies:

On April 30, 1984, Roberts wrote to oppose a presidential award that was to have been given to Jackson for his efforts against drunk driving. Roberts particularly objected to award wording that described Jackson as an "outstanding example" for American youth.

Roberts wrote: "If one wants the youth of America and the world sashaying around in garish sequined costumes, hair dripping with pomade, body shot full of female hormones to prevent voice change, mono-gloved, well, then, I suppose 'Michael,' as he is affectionately known in the trade, is in fact a good example. Quite apart from the problem of appearing to endorse Jackson's androgynous life style, a Presidential award would be perceived as a shallow effort by the President to share in the constant publicity surrounding Jackson. . . . The whole episode would, in my view, be demeaning to the President."

Judge Roberts, you're a goner now. All together now: "If the glove don't go you must vote no!"

Friday, August 19, 2005

I'M THINKING, I'M THINKING.... 

Glen Whitman of Agoraphilia has trained the guns of probability theory on one of the most terrifying questions a man can hear: "Do I look fat?" His analysis is fascinating, but it's based on a faulty premise. The true answer is always yes (A = 1, to use his nomenclature); otherwise the question wouldn't have been asked in the first place. Problem is, the true answer doesn't help much in fashioning the answer one actually gives, and, however fascinating, neither does Whitman's analysis.

Of course, there's always "splunge."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

UNDERWEAR INDICATORS 

Wal-Mart has been really taking it in the kisser lately. Teachers unions are out screaming for its blood (supporting their fellow unions or striking a blow against school choice), and it recently lost out to other retailers such as J.C. Penney in the profit gain game.

Now a Republican candidate for the Senate (running against Hilary Clinton) has publicly passed over the red state stalwart in favor of underwear from J.C. Penney.

A miscalculation? Maybe so. Or perhaps Wal-Mart needs to step up its efforts to invade New York State.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

THE JOKE IS OBVIOUS, BUT I HAVEN'T POSTED FOR WEEKS 

God does exist! No word yet on whether you can smoke there, however.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANNIVERSARY 

Best wishes on this special day you share to my now TWO co-bloggers: "John" and "the Warrior Monk! "

If you hadn't noticed, we at Spitbull have attacked our diminishing posting frequency and traffic level problems by bringing in the mounties. Or, less cryptically, another blogger. I'm pleased to report he passed our exacting standards with flying colors. Namely,
Is August 16 a special day in your household? (Answer yes/no)
Congratulations "John," you're in!

We're currently involved in negotiations with a potential FOURTH co-blogger. We haven't had a chance to put The Question to him yet. He departed for Canada on Sunday and claims to be unavailable via phone or other electronic communication devices. But we have sky high hopes nonetheless.

Unfortunately, I can't promise that there will be more frequent posts at Spitbull merely due to the hoped-for doubling of our blogging roster. I suspect the extra help will be used as an excuse to slack off even further by the original blogging team. Ya think?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

EXCUSES GALORE 

No posting today (what else is new). House guests. They're driving up from Chicago and just called from the road. They're only an hour away. I didn't expect them until dinnertime, as they have three kids and I judge everything by my own poky family's timetable.

There's a parade of Barbie paraphenalia in the living room, baskets of laundry waiting to be folded, and not enough milk. Eek!

I assure you, I would have had something brilliant, or uproariously amusing, to say if only my day had unrolled as planned. Plus there's no possibility of redemption tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be all dense and inert as we have to introduce our friends to our recently-installed wet bar tonight.

Well, it's an excuse anyway. But you know better.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

CONTEMPT FOR JOURNALISM IS GROWING 

The 7/7 attacks and the stoic British reaction prompted numerous compare-and-contrast essays on the gushy American therapy culture zeitgeist versus the stiff upper lips of the Brits. I'll agree too few of us headed to the pubs on September 11. But now they're sneering at our photo journalists too:
Good grief, how soft and gentle are the American paparazzi? In the UK, they think nothing of being smashed in the face three or four times a night in order to get a fuzzy shot of one of the Girls Aloud kissing a third-division footballer; while in the US, Brad Diaz gets grazed by a pellet gun, and it's off to court he goes
Our paparazzi. Is nothing sacred?

UPDATE: The Hatemonger's Quarterly posts an eloquent paeon to the paparazzi ("After all, these nosy photographers may be destroying people’s lives, but they’re destroying the lives of people such as Kid Rock. That deserves some sort of collective medal in its own right.").

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

OCTOPUS NIGHTMARES 

So, if an octopus will happily throw down a four foot shark (video here) when it thinks its keepers aren't looking, a question still remains: what is so scary to an octopus that it prefers to play possum (or coral, or algae) rather than confront its fears?

(Shark mugging video via the M.A.W.B. Squad)

Saturday, August 06, 2005

PINCH ME, I MUST BE DREAMING 

The days of wine and roses seem to have suddenly arrived at our house.

Inspired by her success at "babysitting" a one year old cousin while on vacation (in other words, following her around and making sure she didn't kill herself as the grown ups enjoyed cocktail hour), the eight year old decided to babysit her younger sister last night. She persuaded her to eat her veggies, got her in her jammies, helped her brush her teeth, read her a story and tucked her into bed.

I paid her a quarter for her pain, and her sister "one money" (a penny) for being a good babysittee.

The Warrior Monk thinks I'm being cheap. He said he'd gladly pay her a dollar every night if her babysitting skills match those she displayed last night.

He has a point.

Friday, August 05, 2005

WHAT I LEARNED ON MY SUMMER VACATION 

  1. If you lock your keys in the car at a highway rest stop while the car is running, taking a tire iron to the teeny triangular back window is not as crazy an idea as I first thought. But it's not the greatest idea either.
  2. Vodka martinis seem to make me drunker, quicker, than gin martinis. Perhaps a double-blind placebo-controlled study should be undergone to test this hypothesis. But what do I use as the placebo, gin or vodka?
  3. Cotton skirts are the way to go. I am mothballing all my shorts.
  4. We need to travel with fewer bags. Or at least, not leave one in the hotel lobby all night by accident. Overzealous tour guides are likely to pick it up thinking it's one of their charges' and not figure it out until they reach the next destination an hour away.
  5. The Warrior Monk's favorite axiom--Guinness tastes better the closer you are to Dublin--has a corollary: steamed mussels taste better the closer you are to the ocean.
  6. There are far too many classic rock radio stations around and not enough of everything else (the Warrior Monk disagrees with me on this one but he has a more fetching singing voice than I--or so he thinks).
  7. Be VERY careful when you pack anything with velcro in your luggage.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

RETURN TO DISHES AND VOICE MAIL 

We're back from our summer vacation. There are e-mails to delete, laundry to wash, and uninspired ramblings to post. But those will have to wait a bit.

As we were driving home from the airport the four year old declared that she didn't remember what our house looked like. When we got home I said, do you remember now?

Yes, she said, and promptly fell asleep.

It's good to be back.