Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wednesday Mind Hump

Rfduck, the Hump-meister himself, took a moment from his attempts at removing the chicken from his butt to say, “Hi everyone! Sorry about the lack of a Monday Music Mambo. Your mememeister wasn't at home to do it. Today's theme is "Customer Is Wrong Day," and Monday's was "Electric Guitar Day." Because I missed such a great opportunity for the Mambo, we'll just make today Electric Guitar Day.” (He was a Turducken in the Thanksgiving Pageant, get it?)

1. Who is your favorite electric guitarist? Or top three, if you can't decide on one? The more I think about it today, the more it seems that Eric Clapton is my favorite electric guitarist. Now, if'n I was picking my flat-out favorite guitarist of all time, it'd be a three-way split between John Fahey, Leo Kottke and Andre Segovia...

2. Describe your dream guitar. What color is it? What brand? What special touches does it have?
My dream guitar would be a black lacquered American HH model Fender Stratocaster – strictly old school.
3. Bass guitars are electric guitars too. Who is your favorite bassist?
Y'know, while bassists are instrumental in establishing the beat and the bottom, I rarely, if ever, remember a name. Only a single performer stands out in my fading memory today, Jack Bruce, although there've been some great bassists out there. Sad, isn't it?
4. Name one of your favorite electric guitar solos. Al DiMeola's “One Night Last June” does it for me ... he weaves a complex theme inside out and upside down. Solid, baby!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday Seven - Episode 65

This past Friday was the infamous "Black Friday," the day that millions head out to the malls to buy, buy, buy. Tomorrow is "Cyber Monday," the day on which millions are expected to converge online for the same purpose. With all that Christmas shopping, there's got to be a new question in there somehow.

But first, Redsneakz, of "Separation Anxiety" was first to play last week! Congratulations, Red!

On to this week's question!

Name the top seven gifts on your Christmas list this year. (They must be tangible gifts that one could buy for you; items like "Peace on Earth," while a beautiful sentiment, are not allowed on this particular question.)

No big ticket items this year for me, just some small stuff of quality...

  1. Woolrich Wool Tremont Shirt in Loden Green

  2. Woolrich Wool Vest in Charcoal Gray

  3. Long Underwear

  4. Socks

  5. Books

  6. leather belt

  7. Magazine subscription to Model Railroader

Sunday, November 26, 2006

MEME: Unconcious Mutterings – Week 199

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Rhyme :: Thyme

  2. Substantial :: transcendent

  3. Instant :: gratification

  4. Greed :: gluttony

  5. Brad :: Pitt

  6. Season :: lightly

  7. Accomplished :: Artist

  8. Invite :: friends

  9. Sparkle :: Pudding (? - I don't have a clue)

  10. Rainbow :: Warrior

You, too, can be a Mutterings Superstar! Just visit the link at the top of this entry to copy the words without my answers, and go to it! That's all it takes.

MEME: Saturday Six - Episode 137 –

The Revenge of the Turduckens!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, or that you're going to have a great celebration of the holiday this weekend if your schedules haven't previously allowed it. Since most of us are still working those calories out of our system, I thought I'd give you a Thanksgiving-related mental exercise. (It's better than hitting the treadmill, right?)

But first, Cat of "Sweet Memes" was first to play last week! Congratulations, Cat!

Here are this week's "Saturday Six" questions. Either answer the questions in a comment here, or put the answers in an entry on your journal...but either way, leave a link to your journal so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as "first to play," you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!

1. Take the quiz: What was your Thanksgiving horoscope?

Thanksgiving Horoscope for Virgo

You're the sign most likely to bake up elaborate dishes and make beautiful centerpieces.

Your signature dish: Turkey, cooked to perfection

Your signature dessert: A pumpkin tiramisu that you thought up

This holiday: Resist the urge to clean up - unless you're hosting Thanksgiving at your own place!

What's Your Thanksgiving Horoscope?

2. Did you have either of those two dishes on your Thanksgiving table? Of the two, which would have been your choice?
No, I cooked a late supper (1AM) for my wife and her friend of Surf & Turf Stroganauf, baked sweet potatoes, creamed french cut green beans and a home-baked cherry pie for dessert.
3. Which single food do you blame most for your weight gain?
Hershey's Cherry Crème Kisses
4. Take the quiz: How thankful are you?
I'm an ungrateful clod – I am 1% thankful. Compared to 99% of Yanks, I am a miserable piece of work to be associated with. Dogs go out of their way to piss on me. Sandinista hit squads have standing orders to shoot me on sight. Nuns go out of their way to cross the street to spit on me. I am the target of so much hate I shoot first and ask questions later.
5. Which are you more thankful for: your family, your friends, your career or your possessions?
My wife – the rest really doesn't amount to much at all.
6. Did you do any shopping at all on "Black Friday?"

I chauffeured my wife and her friend from 5 AM until 12:30 PM when they pooped out. I mostly snoozed in the sun while waiting for them...

Friday, November 24, 2006

John M. Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #140: You're Late!

Weekend Assignment #140: Ever been really late to something really important? Share your adventures in tardiness! Yes, if you've ever slept through a flight, or forgotten a date, or neglected to get something out of the oven in time -- with hilarious results or otherwise -- we want to know.

Extra Credit: Do you wear a watch?

Dear John,

I do hope this finds you hale and hearty, a survivor of the American Thanksgiving groaning board and the annual attempt to overdose on tryptophane and touchdowns. This week your insatiable curiosity (a really good thing in a writer, by the way) has lead you down the primrose path, albeit tardily. The real question should be, for someone like me, when have you ever been on time or (gasp!) early? I am chronically late. Some have warned me that I'll be late “... to your own funeral.” So be it. There's far too many distractions in this world for this pea brain to hold one thought for very long (which goes a long way to explaining why I can write technical manuals rather than novels – the extended attention to characterization detail required to bring off a novel eludes me, but I can follow the outline the engineers provide without difficulty, so long as I have a #2 pencil to check off each step).

I alluded to my act of most egregious tardiness a couple of years back in this entry. It was 1968 and I, a callow youth, was facing imminent separation anxiety caused by the ritual known as "walking the boards" at Oxford and so charmingly referred to as “graduation” here in the good old US. My cohorts and I went to a big blowout party the night before graduation down to Jones Beach. There was wind and wine and women and song and we didn't come stumbling in until the late wee hours of the morn, stinking drunk. No parents around, so we left a note for a friend's little sister to wake us at 9 o'clock and off to our alcohol-soaked dreams we went.

Thank goodness for small bladders. My friend's sister awoke with the impending doom of terminal embarrassment if she didn't do some immediate voiding right now. Having accomplished her main objective, she wandered into the kitchen to start a new day, made coffee and settled herself in front of the TV. The news shook her to her core, Robert Kennedy had been shot while exiting a campaign venue through the kitchen and was on death's doorstep in hospital. She was particularly enamored of Bobby Kennedy and the shock and grief impelled her to come tell us (her brother and I) all about it (she'd never found our scribblings on the note on the table.) A glance at the clock on the nightstand revealed the horrible truth – we had overslept. It was already past time to be assembling to march into the gymnasium and we hadn't so much as brushed our teeth or taken a shower. We reeked, we were hungover and we were desperately late for graduation. Mad scrambling, attempting to find the required clothing for the day, hurried gulps of coffee, then screeching tires out of the shady, oak lined lane onto the main drag.

More noise than the Firecracker 400 marked our passage over the tracks and around the way through the Long Island suburbs to the student parking lot. A mad dash, still tying ties and shoes and we were suddenly being enveloped in caps and gowns by a matron, fussing mightily at our dereliction of duty and semblance to brewery workers and Bowery bums. Then the hurried rush to the gymnasium and the horrible realization that they were already handing out diplomas! We managed to sneak into the back of the rows holding graduates, but it got pretty dicey as my name was called and I tripped on my gown as I climbed the stairs to the stage, slamming into the headmaster who, fortunately, had the presence of mind to brace himself against the headlong rush, thus averting total disaster of podium crashing to the floor in a tangle of arms, legs and asses over teakettles. With a withering look and a sotto voce “You're very late, Mister” he handed me my diploma and I beat a hasty retreat offstage to the relative safety of the sea of smiling faces of my graduating class. That's when I saw my father's face.

Purple isn't a becoming look on my family's faces, particularly when accompanied by rage and hyperventilation. Oh yeah, I was in deep kimchee. I didn't stop hearing about my transgression for years. Every family gathering, every dinner with a new friend or lover being introduced to the family and the story of the day I almost failed to graduate was trotted out by my father for all and sundry to laugh over. He turned it into an epic tale and the gales of laughter that accompanied his recitation of events was always at the expense of my own personal brush with purple apoplexy!

Sadly, none of my family who were there for my ignominious moment in the spotlight is around anymore to reminisce. It's a somber reminder of their passing from this mortal coil when I think about the day I slept through graduation. The ironic thing, John, was my father gave me a lovely watch as a graduation present...

Hold your loved ones close and keep an eye on the time – it has a way of getting away from you when you aren't looking.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Are You An A-List Blogger?

This comes via Paul, who earned his second link in two days the hard way ... by stumbling onto this catchy little meme and passing it on! Seems I, too, am a:

C-List Blogger

The Middle Authority Group [C-List Bloggers]
(10-99 blogs linking in the last 6 months)
This contrasts somewhat with the second group, which enjoys an average age not much older than the first at 260 days and which posts 50% more frequently than the first. There is a clear correlation between posting volume and Technorati authority ranking.

Very interesting, given the relative decrease in posting here in the past few weeks...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Can You Hook?

You are 82% Canuck!

Now that's what I'm talking about! You did good, you really, really did. I can call you my friend and not have to feel ashamed, and I thank you for that, really I do. Thank you, that is just really great!

How Canadian Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Via Paul, a 100% Canuck, by crackie!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Presidential IQ - It Bears Repeating

A report published in July 2001, the Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, Pennsylvania, detailed its findings of a four month study of the intelligence quotient of President George W. Bush. Since 1973, the Lovenstein Institute has published its research to the
educational community on each new president, which includes the famous "IQ"report among others.

There have been twelve presidents over the past 50 years, from F.D. Roosevelt to G.W. Bush, who were rated based on scholarly achievements:

1. Writings that they produced without aid of staff, and

2. Their ability to speak with clarity, and several other psychological factors, which were then scored using the Swanson/Crain system of intelligence ranking.

The study determined the following IQs of each president as accurate to within five percentage points. In order by presidential term:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt [D] 142,
Harry S Truman [D] 132,
Dwight David Eisenhower [R] 122
John Fitzgerald Kennedy [D] 174,
Lyndon Baines Johnson [D] 126,
Richard Milhous Nixon [R] 155,
Gerald R. Ford [R] 121,
James Earle Carter [D] 175,
Ronald Wilson Reagan [R] 105
George Herbert Walker Bush [R] 98,
William Jefferson Clinton [D] 182,
George Walker Bush [R] 91

In order of IQ rating:

182. . . . William Jefferson Clinton [D]
175. . . . James Earle Carter [D]
174. . . . John Fitzgerald Kennedy [D]
155. . . . Richard Milhous Nixon [R]
147. . . . Franklin Delano Roosevelt [D]
132. . . . Harry S Truman [D]
126. . . . Lyndon Baines Johnson [D]
122. . . . Dwight David Eisenhower [R]
121. . . . Gerald R. Ford [R]
105. . . . Ronald Wilson Reagan [R]
098. . . . George Herbert Walker Bush [R]
091. . . . George Walker Bush [R]

· The six Republican presidents of the past 50 years had an average IQ of 115.5, with President Nixon having the highest at 155. President George W. Bush rated the lowest of all the Republicans with an IQ of 91.

· The six Democratic presidents of the past 50 years had an average IQ of 156, with President Clinton having the highest IQ, at 182. President Lyndon B. Johnson was rated the lowest of all the Democrats with an IQ of 126. No president other than Carter [D] has released his actual IQ (176).

· Among comments made concerning the specific testing of President G.W. Bush, his low ratings are due to his apparently difficult command of the English language in public statements, his limited use of vocabulary [6,500 words for Bush versus an average of 11,000 words for other presidents], his lack of scholarly achievements other than a basic MBA, and an absence of any body of work which could be studied on an intellectual basis.

The complete report documents the methods and procedures used to arrive at these ratings, including depth of sentence structure and voice stress confidence analysis.

"All the Presidents prior to George W. Bush had a least one book under their belt, and most had written several white papers during their education or early careers. Not so with President Bush," Dr. Lovenstein said. "He has no published works or writings, which made it more difficult to arrive at an assessment.

We relied more heavily on transcripts of his unscripted public speaking."

The Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, Pennsylvania think tank includes high caliber historians, psychiatrists, sociologists, scientists in human behavior, and psychologists.
Among their ranks are Dr. Werner R. Lovenstein, world-renowned sociologist, and Professor Patricia F.Dilliams, a world-respected psychiatrist.

For more information on the Lovenstein Institute, go to http://lovenstein.org/
The Lovenstein Institute - Scranton, PA
This study was commissioned on February 13, 2001, and released on July 9, 2001, to subscribing member universities and organizations within the education community.

Friday, November 17, 2006

John M. Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #139: White Meat v. Dark Meat

John M. Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #139: White Meat v. Dark Meat

Weekend Assignment #139: It's time for Thanksgiving dinner! Which do you prefer -- white meat, or dark meat? Explain your answer. Because it seems that most people have a preference one way or another, and sometimes they can get testy about it.

For those of you who for some reason disdain the whole turkey scene, answering "neither" is acceptable, but you need to explain why and offer an alternate dish for consumption.

Extra credit: Being Thanksgiving, note one thing you've been thankful for in 2006.

Dear John,

I see we share the same predilection for “the bird” -- the dark meat, and for many of the same reasons. Due to it's higher fat content, coupled with the average position most cooks choose to roast their birds, dark meat tends to be moister, less over cooked and therefore more palatable. In addition, I suspect the legs and thighs of the bird harbor more tryptophane in their muscles than the muscles of the breast and the ridiculously atrophied “wings” of the modern farm-raised turkey. And it sure is nice to have less competition for the dark meat from the hungry hoardes. I was raised with two brothers, competition for the good bits was always keen.

Don't overlook the “oyster”, either. That's the turkey loin located in a pocket or hollow in the pelvic girdle, just ahead of the “Pope's Nose” or tail. It is in the middle on the scale of white to dark, but because of it's location on the back is often the moistest and most flavorful bit of the roasted bird. Yum!

Here's hoping you have your fill of three bean salad, pureed squash, smashed potatoes and gravy and all the turkey you can eat. Leave room for pie and why don't you give that drumstick to Athena this year. There's something about watching a kid gnaw on the drumstick for a half hour or so...


Extra Credit: I'll be thankful if the year manages to come to an end without more deaths of close friends and family, with no more big surprises that result in the catastrophic demise of our bank account and with our health and sanity intact. It's been a rough year in a rough decade and I'll be glad for some respite. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Hey Yanks, don't forget to go vote today!

And Now, for something completely different:

Sarah Silverman sings "Amazing Grace"

And I'll bet you never thought to see a hymn on my blog, oh ye of little faith!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

John M. Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #137: Your First Vote

Weekend Assignment #137: Recount the first time you voted in a local, state or national election. That's to say the first time your vote counted, not a play vote like Athena's. For this, primary voting counts, too. If you want to share who you voted for and whether they won, that's cool, but if you feel like you want to keep your political affiliation unstated, that's fine too.

Extra Credit: Are you voting next Tuesday?

Dear John,

I first voted in a national election, too. Except mine was twenty years before yours and the most memorable part of the process was being turned away from the polls and sent to the Town Clerk to pay my “poll tax” -- bet you didn't have to ever pay a “poll tax” as it was ruled unconstitutional the next year or so. That election, I voted in my home town which had voting machines. I managed to cancel out my father's votes for Richard Nixon ... or did he cancel my vote for Hubert Humphrey? I do recall that Gus Hall was the Communist Party candidate that year – it was the second or third time running for him...

The next election I participated in was an interim election and I was domiciled in Vermont in those days. It involved voting booths and paper ballots and number 2 pencils. Oh, and an all-day town meeting followed the next day! It was also the last time I voted for a Democrat for a national office, too.

I'm not sure if I am voting this time or not. The Republican Party has been hijacked by splinter groups, überconservative hawks, knee-jerk Christian Fundamentalists, “Right-To-Lifers,” and fat cats who can't see beyond their next tax cut to the worsening human condition of the elderly and the lower income and middle class workers of this country. This, my party, has become a bunch of pork barrel opportunists who willingly sell out the vast majority of the people of this country on health care, pharmaceuticals, bankruptcy, personal rights, responsibilities and freedoms in the name of “National Security,” “party solidarity” and “screwing the Democrats.” This, my party, has become anathema to me. Our elected representatives in Washington would rather toe the party line than either think for themselves or act in the interest of all Americans, not just the rich. This, my party, nominated and “elected” a ne'er-do-well drunk from Texas with an accent so thick and an understanding of proper English so poor that the vast majority of people in this country would rather watch a sit-com than cringe their way through a half hour speech by the man. Now, the party is so concerned about losing seats in Congress that they'd rather lynch that Liberal Devil, John Kerry, for a blown attempt at a joke at the President's expense than howl in outrage that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al. have taken their marching orders from the provisional Iraqi regime and ORDERED THE ABANDONMENT OF ONE OF OUR SOLDIERS IN IRAQ.

Have yourself a merry little party on election night. Give my best to the Mrs. and the ankle-biter.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Too funny

Kill The Goat: Iron Chef Finds Nemo: "because you won't catch me lighting my own mouth on fire twice in one night."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

21 Million And Growing: Diabetes Month

My namis is wil. I am a diabetic -- amongst other things -- Type II, insulin injections up to five times a day, diet, exercise and pills are all required to keep it in check and keep me alive...

Trust me -- YOU don't want to become a diabetic like me. Get educated. Take preventive actions now, while you still can.

American Diabetes Month - American Diabetes Association

Because I do it too...

Diabetes Mine: Finger Lickin' Good

The "hegemony of the handicapped"

Jon Swift: Rush Limbaugh Takes on the Wheelchair Lobby: "hegemony¹ of the handicapped" -- for the REAL story behind the Americans With Disabilities Act...

¹ hegemony: noun (hedge e moany) -- The dominance or leadership of one social group or nation over others (just in case you were asleep that day in fifth grade when they covered this word in social studies).