Monday, November 29, 2004

Now Go Away Before I Taunt You A Second Time!

8/30/09 Update: In case you're here looking for the funny bit from Cleese/Python let Soogle give you some guidance. You can watch the clip on YouTube, get some Monty Python wav files (go straight to T for Taunt or H for Hamster), or just follow John Cleese on Twitter in the hopes that he will, in fact, taunt you a second time.

Original post:
When the Pythoners taunted it seemed funny. Instead, we get this at Guantanamo:
...the Red Cross report said that complaints about the practice of sexual taunting stopped in the last year. Guantánamo officials have acknowledged that they have improved their techniques and that some earlier methods they tried proved to be ineffective, raising the possibility that the sexual taunting was an experiment that was abandoned.
You know what I say? (You're probably expecting this.) "I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough water! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"

If you need me I'll be lying down with a cold cloth on my forehead....

Friday, November 19, 2004

What Goes Around Comes Around?

In his autobiography, "My American Journey," ...Colin Powell, writing bitterly of Vietnam, wrote how "the top leadership never went to the secretary of defense or the president and said, 'This war is unwinnable the way we are fighting it.' Many of my generation, the career captains, majors and lieutenant colonels seasoned in that war, vowed that when our turn came to call the shots, we could not quietly acquiesce in half-hearted warfare for half-baked reasons that the American people could not understand or support."

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Difference Between Lies and Damned Lies

Lie: Wow, Aunt Greta, these are the best biscuits I've ever eaten!
Truth: This is the worst concoction of flour that man has ever seen.

Damned Lie: There will not be a draft.
Damned Truth: The Selective Service System (SSS) and the U.S. Department of Education now are gearing up to compare their computer records, to make sure all men between the ages of 18 and 25 who are required to register for a military draft have done so.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Live From Orlando! (Pre-Taped and Edited to Fit Your Screen)

So I had to go to Orlando this week for a work conference. I know, what a tough break for me. But I had dreams of doing a sort of journaling thing along the way and I thought I was off to a good start when our (small) local airport had wireless access and my computer was surfing pretty well on it. I posted some comments to 2+2=5 while I was waiting for the plane last Friday (went a weekend early, of course!) and all was right in my world. When I got to the Charlotte airport - no wireless. Unfortunate, but not a problem. I brought up Neverwinter Nights and made up a new character instead. Things were not perfect in my world, but they didn't suck. We got to Orlando, checked into the Sheraton, and when I got to the room my computer told tales of there being a wireless access point for the hotel. Oh glorious day!

Then my computer wouldn't hold onto the signal.

As a result, no travelogue. I know you're all heart-broken.

So let me sum up. The weather was beautiful - 70 degrees and sunny the entire time we were there. Being the big ole goofs that we are, we had to get park hopper passes to Disney. We did the Animal Kingdom, MGM Studios, and Epcot. We also checked out Disney Downtown, including a late night at Paradise Island, and nosed around the resorts to see which one was our favorite (we're caught between the remote and cozy Wilderness Lodge and the cheerful, busy Boardwalk).

Favorite things:
  • Putting our names and faces (and wedding date) on the "Leave a Legacy" monoliths at Epcot. We're guaranteed to be there until 2020 I think. The pictures are tiny so it might take you that long to find us.
  • Mission: Space at Epcot - what position did Cmdr Sue play? Commander, of course! It was pure chance because I didn't realize the circle I was standing on would mean anything. Unfortunately this ride also made me lay-down-on-the-carpet- why-in-the-*bleep*-did-I-do-this-after-eating sick. Then they told us they've had to turn the intensity of the ride down twice since starting it because people get motion sick from it. When a ride actually has barf bags in it... well, there you go. Even though it made me quesy, the ride was totally worth it. It's a simulation of taking off in a shuttle from Earth and flying to Mars. I have (almost) reached out and touched the face of God.
  • Norway at Epcot. The only thing it was missing was Dennis Storhoi. But they almost made up for it with a pastry shop serving double chocolate cake (tender cake topped with a layer of mousse and a thin layer of fudge for frosting).
  • The Safari at Animal Kingdom - it really just made me want to go on a real safari and donate money to help fight poaching and support the animal reserves.
  • The tiger at Animal Kingdom who was a total ham. He reminded me of my orange tabby. (Anyone who knows my Mr. Bond can just imagine.)
  • Star Tours at MGM - although it wasn't the ride as much as the stuff that you see while waiting in line. And the gift shop rocked.
  • Muppet 3D at MGM - I've always LOVED the Muppets. And I was glad to see a big role for Sam the Eagle. (I always liked him. I'm sick like that.) The old guys in the balcony are actually in the theater with you as animatronics (plus the Chef running the projector, and a bunny I didn't recognize), but everyone else is in the movie on the screen. The movie was fun, but the animatronics and setup of the theater are what put the experience over the top.
  • The Disney bus driver with the corny jokes. Why did Cinderella have to stop playing tennis? Because her coach turned into a pumpkin...
There was plenty of other fun stuff, but those are a few of my favorite things.

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

I had to appreciate what Jon Stewart said last night on The Daily Show - that now we've tried the "let everyone vote" approach and maybe that wasn't such a good idea. I certainly found myself scratching my head on Wednesday morning saying, "Well, damn, that didn't work." Then I spent about 15 hours playing Neverwinter Nights to avoid watching the news. I didn't see Wednesday unfold. I waited until 11pm Eastern last night so that I could receive the news in the only sugar-coated way I thought that I could take it. I wanted someone to give it to me with some context that I could deal with. Yes, I waited to get my 'official' news from Jon Stewart. I'm sure he would be appalled. But for me he's Will Rogers and Walter Cronkite all rolled up into one. So sue me. It was a bad day.

But today is a new day. I abstained from much commenting or any blogging while the election unfolded. I prefer to think for awhile. And this is what I think. The real issue that the Democrats had was effective communication. We can blame the media, we can blame all sorts of things. But the truth is that the 'average American' only hears about one word in a thousand (maybe more?) of what is spewed out during the election season. Because of that you need central and concrete themes that are expressed in both words and symbols. I know, we were going for a "Stronger America". Did you know what that meant? I sure didn't. And I'm hooked in. If I didn't 'get it', why should anyone else?

The real world beckons, but think on these things. What can we do better next time?

Oh, and I certainly hope that Al Weed is running in two years. He probably has name recognition now so the next step is to connect on issues. Dean has it right - if all else fails, focus on the House and the Senate, focus on the state elections. That means that we still have plenty to keep us busy all the way to 2008.

Monday, November 1, 2004

Just for You, Nevsky

I'm on the email list for the Chicago Manual of Style:

Q. When I was working on my graduate degree in English, I was told by a professor that the rule had changed for plurals of numbers (written as numbers) and letters (3s rather than 3’s or As rather than A’s). For the past 15 years I have been teaching it that way. Another colleague just recently saw that rule change somewhere online. Our new textbooks, however, do not teach it that way. We are currently working on a new handbook and would like to know if the rule has been changed or not. Thanks.

A. Chicago style omits the apostrophe, but the thing about style is, there is no single great arbiter who makes rules that everyone follows. Different houses use different styles. Following a particular style allows a person to be consistent within a given document, but it really doesn’t matter which style you choose.