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Friday, March 31, 2006

BORDERS, part II 

If Borders ever wants my business back, it's going to have to start selling this item, like Amazon.

BREAKING NEWS MUST CREDIT SPITBULL 

The five year old's surgery was a success! She's only thrown up once so far (unfortunately, it was the post-op popsicle that has been her prime motivation for undergoing the operation since she learned of it on Monday) and most importantly, she can hear! Her exact comment was "there's one problem: everything is too loud."

Music to our ears.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

BORDERS LOOKS OUT FOR YOUR SAFETY 

Now Borders won't carry any magazines with the Danish cartoons. The company says, "For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority, and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority."

Hey Borders, while you're erring on the side of caution, why not drop the other stuff that might possibly offend the Islamokazis? Here's a starter list, but if you put your head to it you can come up with a bizillion more: Salman Rushdie novels, The Wall Street Journal, Winnie the Pooh books, National Review magazine, the Bible, anything saying anything nice about Jews, anything showing any of the fun parts of a woman, books meant to educate and enlighten girls, the gay studies section, the sex section, the romance novel and science fiction and religion (except for the koran) sections, the cooking section, etc., etc. And definitely cut off that wireless internet access at the in-house Starbucks. Lots of provocative stuff out there.

Or might it occur that caving in just says that blowing up stuff works, making us precious customers and everyone else that much less safe?

Pussies.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

MY COROLLARY TO JOHN'S UNIFIED POLITICAL THEORY 

A country’s rejection of the metric system is in direct proportion to its capacity to rock.

The ranking runs as follows:
1. United States (Duh.)
2. Great Britain
3. Australia
T-4. Everybody else, except for...
192. France (Duh.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

BIRD TALK 

Our House has recently acquired a new resident, a cockatiel named Cody. Margaret reports that he has already gotten to work pulling the keys off David's laptop and is smart enough to try flattery to escape the consequences (does David think his "Pretty Boy!" exclamations apply to him or the bird?).

But this could just be the beginning. Perhaps Cody can learn to recite nursery rhymes in dialect, like a budgie recorded on a just-released Bird Mimicry CD (via Crooked Timber). Or a modem connecting, a building being constructed (but where's the beep beep beep of the cement mixer backing up?) . These clips are from a Times article that also warns that an African grey parrot, named Ziggy
... hit the headlines in January when Chris Taylor, its owner, heard his pet mimicking his girlfriend professing her love for another man. Mr Taylor and Suzy Collins split up after the parrot blurted out: “I love you, Gary."
So better be careful with that Cody ...

OUR BOOK TOUR: THE INSPIRING STORY OF TWO CITIES AND THE ONE THAT GOT TO HOST THE EDUBLOGGER 

EduBlogger Joanne Jacobs will be in Minneapolis (not St. Paul--here's hoping she wasn't put off by recent unfounded rumors of its rudeness) next week promoting her book Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the School That Beat the Odds. She'll be reading, chatting and signing copies of the book Tuesday, April 4 at 4:15 pm at:
Center for School Change
Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs
301 S. 19th Avenue
Minneapolis
The book even has its own web site.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

ARE ALL THE KIDS SAYIN' IT? 

Yesterday the eight year old concurred with her five year old sister on the utter desirability of a particular TV show with this irrefutable proof:
Yeah, [best friend of the eight year old] is a zombie for it ...
Am I getting a preview of the slang of the next generation (Generation Z?) being born? How do you text message "I am a zombie for you"? All sorts of questions spring to mind ...

Monday, March 20, 2006

A WAR WORTH WINNING! 

Talk about finding purpose in retirement, if not exactly peace...

Friday, March 17, 2006

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY 

VERY happy if a discovery about this little holday mouse translates to humans:


The mouse has a gene that makes areas containing stem cells that could grow into nerve or brain cells glow green under fluorescent light. Scientists expected to see a mouse with a green head when they stuck it under the lamp. Instead, they got a lovely all-over green display, evidently because hair follicle stem cells are very similar to brain stem cells. Injecting them into injured mice regenerated their spinal cords.

Of course, cancer researcher Judah Folman famously cautioned "If you have cancer and you are a mouse, we can take good care of you." Point taken. Although the anti-angiogenesis drugs he championed are proving quite helpful now in non-mice (aka people). Let's hope this new discovery translates as well.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

LET IT SNOW 

Cathy's southern friends have sent her some lovely photos.

We have at least 8 1/2 feet of snow on the ground here. Maybe 10. So y'all may be creative but a dusting does NOT give you bragging rights.

Monday, March 13, 2006

HOW TO GET THE FIVE YEAR OLD TO DO CHORES 

After finishing our dinner (chili, which we ate with spoons) we noticed that we each had a clean fork and a knife on our placemats. Who put these here we asked?

Not I (or words to that effect) said the eight year old.

I did! said the five year old proudly.

Well how nice of you, we praised her, as we put the untouched cutlery back in the silverware drawer.

You told me to set up the table she explained.

Uh, I told you to sit at the table. I corrected.

I guess she really needs that surgery.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

MY LITTLE PITBULL 

The difference between a dog and a five year old is that when she knocks over the waste paper basket I can tell her to put everything back.

Plus, she knocked it over not by vigorous tail-wagging but by kicking it while spinning around on her back.

Okay okay there are other differences.

She doesn't drool as much as my childhood pet either.

Monday, March 06, 2006

JUST SIT THERE QUIETLY! 

Extreme environmentalism = extreme silliness:
They are the gurus of globetrotting, the men who built publishing empires from their adventures and wrote guidebooks encouraging millions to venture further afield than ever before. Now the founders of the Rough Guides and Lonely Planet books, troubled that they have helped spread a casual attitude towards air travel that could trigger devastating climate change, are uniting to urge tourists to fly less.
This is terrible. We could find ourselves inundated by gobs of guilty aging hippies who really would be happier harassing the population in Peru.

Hey! Do these guys know about the greenhouse gasses caused by flatulence? If they're going to stay home, they may as well be polite save the planet.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

ROAD TRIP 

The kids have been packed (at least to their satisfaction) since Sunday. They would have been packed earlier but I laid down an arbitrary rule that no packing was allowed until Sunday and they, being used to rules that make no sense to them, complied. So we've had a pile of small pink vinyl bags in the corner of the living room for only a few days now. I have no idea what is in them.

We're driving to Iowa tomorrow to celebrate the 90th (!) birthday of a grandma who remains in good health. Though I laud the purpose I dread the trip.

The kids, however, are enthusiastic. They have drawn the prettiest pictures they know how for her (birthdays are very important to them, although the number being celebrated is immaterial). But what they're really excited about is going to a different city and staying in a hotel. Doesn't matter that we've warned them there is no pool at this hotel. Doesn't matter that they will be in the car for upwards of five hours. They're excited about seeing the plastic water cups individually wrapped in plastic baggies and having doughnuts for breakfast and stopping at McDonald's on the way.

I honestly don't remember being so enthusiastic about travel myself as a child. Must I have been? Are all children?

The five year old, perhaps in anticipation, has abandoned her bed. I looked in last night and though I couldn't see her I could hear her snoring. After a hunt, she was found asleep under her desk. No sleeping bag. Just pillows.

We suggested a sleeping bag. She objected. Sleeping bags are for sleepovers she said.

So now I'm wondering: is Iowa a sleepover? I guess we'll find out.