Thursday, May 31, 2007

Random Thought for A Friday

I was watching an HDNet program the other night that had images of the space shuttle sitting idle on the launch pad, the nose cone pocked with hail damage. Why? Because they left it out during the storm. It's not that easy to get it back into it's hanger on short notice, you know.

But does it really have to be that way? There are companies that manufacture tents capable of holding 3000 of your closest friends, family or colleagues. A tent.

So can't NASA design a (very, very, very tall) tent-like structure to shield the shuttle whenever it's just waiting there on the launch pad? Sure it would be expensive, but it has to be better than the alternative.

I hate to bring up the whole "they put a man on the moon" thing, but c'mon. Thomas won't leave his car out in a hail storm; I'm pretty sure that the shuttle cost a bit more.

Hannah's Gallery, Updated

I've finally posted more to Hannah's Gallery. This represents but a fraction of her output over the past month and there is more to come. I'll try to be better about updating it more often. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

So That's Where All of the Bees Went!

Back in February, the New York Times reported that honeybees were disappearing, leaving farms and orchards across the country unpollinated and crops in peril. So where might the bees have gone? Are they overworked? Dying in the fields? Being killed by mites? Killed by insecticides?

Maybe they're just on holiday.

According to an article in Reuters yesterday (granted, they don't specify the type of bee):

"A passenger plane was forced to land after flying into a swarm of British bees Thursday.

The Palmair Boeing 737, with 90 passengers on board, had to return to Bournemouth Airport in southern England shortly after take-off following an engine surge.

The pilot decided to abort the flight to Faro in Portugal and returned for safety checks. The plane's engine was thought to have become clogged with bees, the company said Friday.

Huge clouds of bees have been seen around Bournemouth over the past few days, a spokeswoman said."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My Fairy Godmother

My little fairy godmother click-clacked her way across the room to me, magic wand twinkling, promise in her eyes.

In a soft, southern drawl (who knew?), she asked,

"And what do you wish for my deah?"

I answered,

"I wish for two beautiful daughters. But wait! I have that already!"

She graciously offered me another chance.

"What else will you wish for?"

I replied,

"I wish for two healthy, brilliant little girls. Oh, but I have that already, too!"

Fairy Godmother was becoming impatient.

"Then I shall wish for you."

She paused and scanned my frame, head to foot. With a stomp of one small, glass-clad foot and an elaborate wave of the wand, she announced:

"You shall have some nice clothes that actually fit."

With a toss of her head, Fairy Godmother click-clacked back the way she had come, refusing to acknowledge the peals of laughter that followed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

But is it a Diet?

I saw a friend today, a woman I hadn't seen in months. Like me, she has two daughters and is a S.A.H.M. And while I felt a bit on the schlumpy side today--you know, baggy eyes, I showered but didn't wash my hair, forgot to shave and wore cropped pants anyway--she looked, in a word, fantastic. She looked rested and relatively relaxed. And also a lot thinner than the last time I saw her.

I know you're not supposed to comment on the weight thing, but I couldn't help myself. I didn't go all the way to the "Wow! You've lost weight!" But out slipped:

"Wow! You look FABULOUS!"

"Thanks! It's my new diet: wine, cigarettes and the alarm I have on my ass."

"I'm sorry, the what?"

"Yeah, apparently I have an alarm on my ass. It goes off every time I sit down. Someone always wants something, so I never get to eat."

Being a closet smoker also seems to help as she has to run outside every time she wants a cigarette. Her four-year-old thinks that, since Mom is always checking them, the sprinklers are in really bad shape.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Under the Category of "Are You Effing Kidding Me?!"

Spoiled little rich girl gets busted for drunk driving.
Spoiled little rich girls has her drivers license suspended.
Spoiled little rich girl drives on suspended license and signs a document acknowledging that she was driving on a suspended license.
Spoiled little rich girl is stopped again for driving on a suspended license.
Spoiled little rich girl gets 45 days in the county jail.

Idiot fans post online petition asking Governor Schwarzenegger to pardon her for her "honest mistake."

The petition opens by stating that "SLRG" is an heiress who brings hope and beauty and excitement to their lives. No, really. It goes on to list the other celebrities who "never served a day in jail after their initial arrests" while ignoring the fact that SLRG wasn't sentenced to jail for the initial arrest--she received only the token slap on the wrist--probation and suspension of her drivers license.

The kicker comes with the mention of Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon. Ford, when issuing the pardon, said that his motive was to end the "long national nightmare." In light of that, I think that 45 days in the slammer is fair for SLRG, but unfair to the American public as a much longer sentence would spare us the daily nightmare of being treated to the exploits of at least one "celebrity."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Well I Didn't Make It Into Print This Time . . .

but another of my letters to the editor of the SJ Mercury News was included in the Online Extras.

I didn't know it was there until I Googled my name this morning:

"Contrary to what Robert Wright states (Letters, March 11), Ann Coulter's comment about John Edwards was not a joke. It was an outrageous comment by a very intelligent woman who persists in acting like a child. To great effect, I might add. She is quite aware that comments such as this get her back in the news, a particularly useful tactic when one has a book to sell. If you have to qualify every utterance with "some people just can't take a joke,'' perhaps you're not that funny after all."

March 14, 2007

Monday, May 07, 2007

Dear Fathead,

I'm sorry I didn't get your name, so let's just go with Fathead.

At tonight's Sharks/Red Wings game, some of us could tell that you were not fully aware of some basic fan etiquette (yes, there is etiquette in hockey, whether it involves not leaving on a beer run while the puck is in play, or just not rupturing the eardrums of your neighbors). Thomas would not allow me to address these issues at the game, but I hope you will take these few thoughts for what they are: an invitation to never, ever sit behind me at a hockey game again. Or behind the couple to our right. Or any of the four couples in the row in front of us.

First things first: Getting excited and yelling is expected and, indeed, encouraged. Yelling so hard that you spit on the woman in front of you is not. While I appreciate the apology, it is somewhat negated by the continued intermittent showers.

Next: Screaming "THIS IS AN ELIMINATION GAME" over and over and over again is possibly not as helpful as you think it might be. I hear they cover these things in the pre-game and then again between periods.

Third: Do not make the mistake of verbally attacking one of the team's most popular and hard-working players. Especially after at least five people told you to leave Mike Grier alone; there is a reason he gets so much ice time (for starters, think penalty killer).

Fourth: Please do not scream at the players to get back to their game if you don't actually know how their game works. One negative continually mentioned by sports writers and analysts is that the Sharks are too nice; they are considered the nice guys of the NHL. And their imported "mean-streak," Bill Guerin, was out for the past two games after taking a slap shot to the face. So telling them to get back to the hitting and the slashing and "putting Chelios into a wheelchair," eh, that's not really up their alley. And as much as I hated seeing the Sharks lose tonight, watching "the old man" was amazing--I don't think he's going to be ready for a wheelchair any time soon.

Lastly: Do not assume that buying your tickets from the season ticket holder entitles you to "see some scoring." Neither the team nor any other tickets holders in attendance will be impressed. Nor do we want to know how much you paid for said tickets. But yes, by all means, get them closer to the ice next year.

Ah. I feel better now! Now if only I could stop the ringing in my ears . . .

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hands Off the Chocolate!

Ah, Chocolate--the magnificent indulgence available in every price range and level of chocolaty goodness, which in my house ranges from M&M's Dark to a 72% bittersweet--emphasis on bitter, and even a 90% for baking. I will freely admit to having chocolate more days than not and will, in a pinch, even have a Hershey's bar.

It's bad enough that the major US chocolate companies have, for years, been offering a steady stream of chocolate that is, in my humble opinion, too heavy on the milk and of a more inferior quality than that made by independent companies. (There are, of course, a few bright spots, like Dove Chocolate, M&M's Dark and Reece's Peanut Butter Cups.) But now the US Chocolate Manufacturers Association has quietly petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration to request a change in the ingredients required to label a food as "chocolate."

In place of cocoa butter they want to substitute VEGETABLE SOLIDS. In place of MILK they want to use "WHEY," the watery remains after milk has been curdled and strained. It's also a by-product of cheese. They can offer any rationale they want, but without much thought one can arrive at the conclusion that price is the prime motivator. But without cocoa butter and milk, is it chocolate? Hell no.

Guittard Chocolate of Burlingame, CA, is leading the charge against the US Chocolate Manufacturers Association's petition. But you can help! Check out Don't Mess With Our Chocolate for info on how to let the FDA know that you want your chocolate to be just that: chocolate.

The public comment period has been extended until June 25, so please get all of the chocolate lovers you know to submit their comments to the FDA.