Follow by Email

Inspirational Reads

TMI Thursday: Chuck Mangione Style

April 30, 2009

I've never participated in TMI Thursday until now, mostly because I refuse to let my TMI posts be sequestered only to Thursdays, but partly because I've just started reading Lilu--the Originator's--blog and I appreciate what a lovely rack site she has.

Plus, it just so happens that this exact story took place last night!

I was lying in bed while the Comely and Buxom and Ailurophobic Boudicca was in the bathroom tending to some urinally needs. I felt the rumble of gas in my bowels, and so I tried to sneak it out. However, it sounded eerily similar to a brass band warming up before a performance.

"That's funny," the Comely and Buxom and Ailurophobic Boudicca said from the bathroom, "I didn't know you played the trumpet."

"I don't know," I replied. "That was a little higher pitched, kind of like a flugelhorn. My ass is like Chuck Mangione. Beard and all."

"Oh my," she responded.

Being that I know you're all familiar with the greatness that is Chuck Mangione, feel free to dial through your iPods right now until you come upon "Feels So Good", which is Chuck's signature hit. It's best to refamiliarize yourself with the song now before we proceed.

Here's some video, too, to help with that:

As an aside, why is it that all badass celebrities must be named Chuck and have a kickass beard? Just a thought.

Anyway, you should be familiar with the opening strains of the song. bom bom's classic. Beautiful. Fun. Yes, it's the song that keeps popping up on King of the Hill. Chuck has embraced his celebrity. In fact, I hear everywhere he goes, he carries the flugelhorn, and when someone recognizes him, he busts out horn and takes us all on a magical ride.

Back to the story. My wife finished up in the bathroom, came back to bed and turned off the lights. We settled down for a lovely night of blissful sleep when I felt the chamber reload with another ass concert. So, I rolled over, slipped my arm around her, and, with a sphincter control that can only be described as "legendary", I fired off the opening notes. Poot...poot poot poot poot.

The laughter started slowly, but then quickly spiraled out of control. After a solid five minutes of laughing to the point of tears, we finally got ourselves under control.

"Wow," the Comely and Buxom and Ailurophobic Boudicca stated, "that was the stuff of legends."

"My grandfather would be so proud," I countered (he once played "Up on the Rooftop" via ass symphony to the great delight of his grandchildren). A second later, "You know, I think I owe Chuck Mangione a dollar now."

How to Tell if You Have Swine Flu

April 29, 2009

The most recent overhyped media frenzy when it comes to public health is the dreaded Swine Flu. Remember back when we had to fear birds? Yeah, fuck that. It's pigs now.

People are terrified of this new, porcine-originating flu. And rightly so. 150 people in a nation of 110 million have died! That's a mortality rate of 0.000136%!!! Gnash your teeth and beat your breasts, the Black Rider is among us, touching us with his sickly, sausage-infested scythe, harvesting souls right and left with his latest biological weapon, the Swine Flu.

Being the scientist that I am, I've decided to allay some of your fears. The Swine Flu isn't something that you'll get by hanging out with pigs. You also cannot get Swine Flu by eating the savory, succulent flesh of the pig--you can, however, get fat from eating too much of the savory, succulent flesh of the pig. The name "Swine Flu" means that it originally was a pig flu but mutated into a strain of flu that can now infect humans. So, transmission of Swine Flu comes from people, not pigs. No need to put the pork chop down, fatty, you're safe. Jowly, but safe.

If you are afraid you've come in contact with anyone who has had Swine Flu, stay the fuck home. Turn off the lights. Draw the curtains. Sit in a bathtub. Weep.

If you are wondering if you have contracted the Swine Flu, check to see if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • You are achy.
  • You have chest congestion.
  • You have lots of yellow mucus in your sinuses and throat.
  • When it comes time to eat, any slop will do.
  • You have grown a curly tail.
  • You've grown more chauvinistic.
  • You've developed a stutter and an aversion to pants.
  • You suddenly want to make out with a frog.
  • People mistake you for a cop.
  • Jabba has hired you to guard his palace.
  • Spiders are writing you messages in their webs.
  • When you're outside in the sun too long, you smell something delicious.
  • You bear an uncanny resemblance to Porco Rosso.

If you exhibit any of these symptoms, please contact your nearest health professional and/or barbecue supply store.

Truck: A Love Story by Michael Perry

April 25, 2009

Last summer, I read Michael Perry's book Population: 485, which, when you got past all the mangled bodies and dead teenagers, was an enjoyable read. I'm from a small town (998 happy people...and four grouches), so I could identify--sometimes painfully--with a lot of the things that Perry discussed and described in his book. Not that it's a bad thing; I live on the outskirts of a small-sized city and would move further out if I could. Also, while there are a lot of differences between Wisconsin (where Perry lives) and Indiana (where I lived), there are also a lot of similarities, so there were times when he seemed to be writing about my hometown.

Perry continues the story of small-town life in Truck: A Love Story wherein he details the adventure of restoring his beloved 1951 International Harvester truck, meeting a woman, falling in love with her, and ultimately marrying her, all the while he tries to defeat the truculent squirrels that are constantly trying to foil his attempts at cultivating a green thumb. The "action" of the story takes place in bucolic New Auburn, Wisconsin, which is in the northwest part of the state, not too far from Minnesota. The book follows the author through the course of a year, which each month being a new chapter, which is a clever concept and makes for an easy read.

Perry is more well-known for his articles and columns in various magazines. His tastes are varied and eclectic: he is happy to discuss the finer aspects of Shakespeare's use of imagery over a cup of coffee and is equally as delighted to discuss deer hunting over a beer. He's a nurse, a volunteer firefighter, a first responder, an author, and plays in a band. About the only thing he doesn't know how to do well is fix a truck.

His experience as columnist means that his chapters are often divided into small, easily-read sections. Essentially, at times, the book is a lot like reading a collection of blog posts, just with bigger words (he's the only person--aside from a word maven--I've ever seen who used the word 'omphaloskepsis' in a book...I admit it, CowGuy, that's where I picked it up!) and a more cohesive flow to the 'posts'.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story, but then I connected with the author on a couple of levels and was familiar with his work. Truck has more humor in it than does Population: 485 and doesn't end on the depressing note that Population does. Overall, I think someone who either lives in or grew up in a small town will get more enjoyment out of Truck, but I do recommend it for anyone interested in "small town America" literature. I also recommend Population: 485, but I warn you that it's far more gruesome and graphic.

Also, obviously, if you live in the Wisconsin/Minnesota area, or ever have (as I know many of you do or have), then I think you'd like these books.

If you are unfamiliar with Michael Perry's work, you can check him out at his site,

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Volume XXI

April 24, 2009

I totally dropped the ball when I posted this originally, but I must send an acknowledgment to my wife, the Buxom and Comely and Ailurophobic Boudicca who helped me with the translation, suggesting that I turn the second part into a question so that it made a little story.

If you remember back a couple of weeks ago, I was instructing you fine-ass ladies who read my blog (and you are, all, fine-ass) on how to tell a guy to go fuck himself (which, I am thrilled to hear, Girl 1nterrupted has used! Oh, glorious day!). CoolRed asked which word translated as "fuck". I gave a long and winding explanation about tenses and subject and such. It was then that I figured maybe--just maybe--I should actually work a little something into this Latin Lesson that was, you know, an actual lesson.

Behold, your first, honest to Caesar Latin lesson: present tense conjugation.

First, though, we need to back up. We need to remember (or to learn) the infinitive of a verb. The infinitive form of a verb is simply the base form of the verb and often (in English) includes the word to in front of it. To drink, to sleep, to dance, to make sweet, sweet love. These are all infinitive forms of the verb. The infinitive is sort of the purest form of a verb, before it does any actions. Smell it. It has that new verb smell, doesn't it?

Conjugation is taking the infinitive form of the verb and getting it to agree with the subject doing the action. For example, when conjugating "to be", we say "I am", "You are", "he/she/it is" and so on. In Latin, we take what is called the "stem" of the verb and place different suffixes on the verb in order to conjugate it. Therefore, we can infer any pronouns in the sentence by looking at the ending of the verb form.

Now for the fun part. There are four conjugations (or five or six, depending on whom you ask) for regular verbs. Plus, then there's active and passive voice, six general tenses, three grammatical moods, along with three persons and two numbers (and, for now, we'll completely ignore the irregular verbs). For today, let's focus on just the present tense, active voice, first conjugation of the verb.

The First Conjugation deals with verbs whose infinitive ends with -are. A few examples are amare (to love), ambulare (to walk), cruciare (to torture), cogitare (to think) and negare (to deny). When we go to conjugate these, we take off the -re ending and add the appropriate suffix to tell the person (first, second, third) and number (singular, plural). Here is a little table to help you with the suffixes:

The first person singular is a principle part of the verb. Therefore, we would conjugate amare as amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant for "I love, you love, he/she loves, we love, you (pl) love, they love." These also can be translated as "I am loving, you are loving..." or "I do love, you do love..." and so on.

Got it? Good, because here comes a sentence with all first-conjugation verbs in it, whether you're ready or not:

Cum te iuvo lavare, asto. Mene negas? Sibi frico.

Pronounced: "Coom tay ee-oo-woe lah-warr-aye, ahs-toh. May-nay nay-goss? See-bee free-coh."

Remember, put the cursor over the picture to get the translation!

Next week: something a lot less fucking complicated!

Oh. Em. Effing. Gee.

April 22, 2009

It takes a lot to make me type things out in LEET-speak.

This comic is one of those things that succeeds in bringing the LEET out in me. I dare you to not piddle in your pants a little bit from laughter when you read it. Cause, I don't want to be the only one.

The best part is, the authors titled it Maybe Too Soon.

Mars 3-D: A Review

Today is Earth Day, so I find it fitting that I do my review of Mars 3-D by Jim Bell. This was another Christmas present from my wife because I loves me some astrogeekiness. Unfortunately, I decided to kill my brain cells with beer when I was in college rather than putting them to good use by unraveling the mysteries of the universe and thus--oh look, a squirrel!

Anyway, the author, Jim Bell, is a professor at Cornell (I'll let the irony sink in for a moment) and has been a very active contributor to several NASA missions (he did a post-doc with NASA's Ames Research Center before joining the staff at Cornell). As such, he was one of the leaders for the imaging teams for the two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.

The first part of the book discusses some of the preparations the Earth-bound teams faced when planning the rather daunting task of putting the two rovers on the surface of the Red Planet. After that, the home team was tasked with developing a system to guide the robots around the surface of Mars, sample the soil, take pictures, and try to piece together some of the geologic history of Mars...and do all this from anywhere between 55 and 400 million km away (oh, metric!). While this seems like a boring read, Bell does a good job of writing in a way that does not alienate someone who isn't overly familiar with the source material.

The last three quarters of the book are all pictures taken from Mars along with explanations as to what the pictures are showing. The book comes equipped with a pair of red-and-green 3-D viewing glasses (on a bifold front cover, so they're plenty sturdy) to give the pictures in the back a better sense of depth and dimension. This is pretty cool...when it works. Unfortunately, sometimes the pictures don't line up real well, so only parts of the picture are in 3-D. Also, I would have enjoyed seeing more pictures with the "false color" (taken with a UV camera) so that everything doesn't look overly red.

That being said, the pictures taken on the edges of some of the more spectacular craters are stunning. There are also a few pictures where the rover has taken a picture behind it, so that you can see the trails left in the martian soil by the rover's wheels, which I thought was pretty damned cool. Also, there were some pictures when one of the rovers got stuck and its wheel dug down into the soil far enough to expose this shiny, pearlescent layer beneath the red dust and soil. The white mineral was chemically very similar to opal, so you can imagine that there could, potentially, be an opal the size of a continent hanging out just under the surface of Mars. Effing cool, if you ask me.

Some of the coolest pictures, I thought, were of the holes left by the boring tool. The camera worked well enough that you could see the grains of sand and dust left in the wake of the auger as well as the texture and shape of the parts that make up the hole. This, of course, fascinates me because I like geology and shit like that, and looking at some of the layers of the rock as they were formed in Mars' past is really awesome to me.

Anyway, a couple of weeks before I read this, I watched a special on National Geographic about the two rovers. I think Jim Bell was interviewed. Often. It was an entertaining and informative documentary. I really enjoyed it. Though it's not written to be, Mars 3-D serves as a nice companion piece to this show. If you're into space stuff, I'd recommend the two together. If you can only pick one, I'd go with the National Geographic show.

And, there you have it: how to turn today's green celebration red.

Totally Blowing Shit Up Tuesdays: The Return

April 21, 2009

After a brief hiatus wherein I discussed conversations I've had with my dick hanging out and reports of large, feline predators stalking my property, we've returned with the series of posts most likely to get DHS rifling through my trash cans: Totally Blow Shit Up Tuesdays, Poobomber's Brainchild.

Today, let's take a look at what some people have dubbed the "methane tower". Here, we have an attractive dark-haired girl filling a sink with methane gas and a dorky side-kick with a flaming stick. Awesomeness ensues.

Okay, so it wasn't necessarily an explosion, but there was a towering flume and some bright lights. What happened was the attractive dark-haired girl took some soapy water and bubbled methane gas through it. Being lighter than water, the methane gas rose to the surface and was trapped in the soap bubbles. Once a nice pile of bubble has accrued, we touch a flame to it and *poof* we have a giant column of flame. No word on whether the Israelites are following it by night yet...

This is a classic combustion reaction, wherein we take a hydrocarbon (methane) in the presence of our friendly neighborhood gaseous oxidizer (oxygen) and we get the bane of Al Gore and the aliens from Signs (carbon dioxide and water, respectively).

CH4 + 2O2 + ignition source -----> CO2 + 2H2O + bitchin' light show

This is also the recipe for the "fire triangle":

Fuel + Oxidizer + Ignition Source -----> Increased Insurance Rates + Ostracized Catalysts

At this point, we should ask ourselves, where do we get methane? Methane gas parades about under the clever guise of "natural gas" and can be harvested from natural reservoirs, typically along coastal areas. It is a by-product of the natural decay of organic material, so the effervescence you see in bogs and swamps and such is a release of methane gas from material rotting on the lake bed. Occasionally, these will catch fire and float eerily over the surface of the water and are called "will-o'-the-wisp(s)".

Another source of methane gas is in your bowels. Yes, flatulence is primarily a release of methane gas (with some sulfurous compounds thrown in for taste). Essentially that means that, what we've seen here, is the lab equivalent of lighting farts...just without the feculent odor and singed ass- and grundle-hairs.

And you guys thought science was boring!

I'm Just About Up to Erectus

April 20, 2009

So, I had grand plans of filling the weekend void with more small nuggets of joy from my otherwise boring-ass life. These plans, of course, were all derailed this weekend when my back decided it would prefer to wrench itself out of alignment. I lay the blame for this at the feet of one person: Gwen. Clearly, she's infected me with her back demon from last week.

I realize what the problem is, though. I'm fat devilishly handsome, and so my gut dashing good looks pulls on my back and causes vertebrae and ribs and clavicles to all misalign themselves. It's difficult being this overweight and unhealthy handsome.

To that end, I have a suddenly strong empathic appreciate of Gwen and her sad fate from last week where she was lying upon the dining room floor while we all stood around and made fun of her. Based on my issues, I can only assume that Gwen has gigantic knockers is radiantly beautiful, which has led to her discomforting ache. She most likely understands the trial it is to be this misshapen gloriously good-looking.

I feel your pain, my friend. I feel your pain.

Edit: Okay, I did something stupid. Probably when I was twirling myself around in my office chair, seeing if I could cause myself to puke. Anyway, I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself and I twisted my back funny or something...and now the other side hurts too. And then, to add insult to injury, I just farted and it stinks really badly and my back hurts too much so I can't get up and leave and escape it.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Volume XX(X)

April 17, 2009

Right now, as you read this (assuming, that is, that you're reading it hot off the presses), our dear friend and colleague Scope is on a plane flying cross country to visit with fellow friend and colleague Cora. I imagine that, right now, he's grumbling something about leg room, wondering what a four-letter word for 'table scraps' is (it's 'orts', my friend), and feeling a very strange disturbance in the Force. Can't you just imagine him, sitting in the window seat, looking up from the crossword, brow furrowed, thinking to himself "It feels like people are having a laugh at my expense..."

*ahem* In case you haven't been playing along at home, a few weeks ago, the blog gods spoke through the word verification oracle, informing Scope that he was Cora's "mandoll". Further elucidation of this message from on high can be found here. To that end, I thought--perhaps--that this week's Latin lesson might be apropos. Oh, did you see that? I worked a little French into this week's Latin lesson! Je suis éclatant!

This was originally supposed to run last week, but after discussing this with Scope (notice that someone was left out of the conversation...*whistles innocently*), I was told this particular entry would be better served on the day that he was traveling to far distant lands. So, here we go. And, I'm certain that, if, certain social situations played themselves out this coming weekend, Cora would find this particular phrase most useful:

Num credis me pupa ludere?

Pronounced: "Noom cray-deese may poo-pah lewd-air-aye?"

I really should buy a copy of Photoshop at some point...

Next week: To inifinitive...and beyond...for reals, this time!

What? Me? Heckle?

April 16, 2009

I went to a rather small school for undergrad. It was located in a rather pastoral setting at the south end of a very small, farming-oriented community. Describing it as one-horse probably is lending it too much credit, though it was the town that the driver's ed kids from the next county over would come to, so that they could practice driving through intersections with stoplights. From a certain point of view, it could be described as a booming, thriving metropolis...I guess.

Anyway, the college tried to get comedians and shows in to entertain the students as much as they could. Bear in mind, this was a small college, so the acts weren't always the greatest, and I doubt I could name a single one of the performers or comedians who stopped off in Rensselaer for an hour's worth of self-promotion and a meager paycheck at the end.

However, sometimes, we got really good acts or really good comedians. That was the case on the night in question. The comedienne was actually a very funny lady. I remember a couple of times laughing until tears came to my eyes. As per usual, she went on about driving through cornfields and such to get to the college. Everybody pretty much did that when they came to Rensselaer, but when she entered into her own act, it was damned funny.

I say all this as a preface for the crux of the story. Now, this particular comedienne was a black lady of, we'll say, ample proportions, and as such, she started talking about her love of ice cream. She had me right there. If there's something I love, it is the ice cream (along with a variety of other things that I have detailed here time and again). As luck would have it, Rensselaer had a small ice cream shop called Busy Bee, which was a common congregation point in the late spring evenings for the population of the college. We'd walk into town, enjoy our frozen dairy comestibles, and then sometimes stroll through other parts of the town or simply walk back to campus. It was truly idyllic.

The comedienne saw Busy Bee on her way to the campus and was, appropriately, fired up. But, she was worried. Like me, she had a refined palate and had a few prerequisites as to whether it would be worth her time to enjoy this fine fare.

"Now, this Busy Bee place, it doesn't have just one flavor, does it?" she asked the crowd.

No, was the general response from the crowd.

"No? How many flavors does it have, then?"

At this point, I thought, in the blink of an eye, Hey, she's really funny. Perhaps I'll throw something up there for her, and she can hit it out of the ballpark. We'll all be rolling in the aisles, holding our sides, pissing our pants because she's that fucking funny!

The end result of this internal monologue was me, firing off: "Two!" This was met with a few chuckles from the crowd.

Oh goody, I thought, my internal voice rising in pitch as I pondered the looming possibilities, here comes the comedy gold!!!

"Two?" she asked, her eyes wide, an eyebrow cocked. I swelled up in eager anticipation. Here it comes...

This is where, I should point out, things made a turn for the worse.

"Two? Is that all that makes you happy, farmboy? Two? You and that little ear thing you've got going on. Two flavors for me and my ears, please." And then she turned, dismissively, and continued on with her routine.

I. Was. Crushed. She even, in the course of pointing out that my ears stick out a tad, grabbed the upper part of her ear and pulled it out some. It was like she had just stomped on my puppy, and then kicked its gasoline-soaked carcass into the middle of the street, where it was to burst aflame the moment it was run over by a speeding semi-truck, trailer in tow.

Where was the funny? Where was the comedic gold I had known was coming? Is this all I get? Being called a "farmboy" and my ears made fun of? Not that you needed the help, but I just fired off a slow pitch over the middle of the plate. You could do something with it, other than point out the shortcomings of my personal appearance.

I shed a single tear, much like the Native American standing at the side of the road, an empty 7-Up can rolling at his feet.

Perhaps she thought I was trying to heckle her. Perhaps she wanted to get her entire act finished within the allotted time. I don't know. What I do know is that, after that moment, no matter how lousy or how funny the comedian or how talented the performer, I vowed never to interact with the person on stage, lest my personal attributes are once again held up before the jeering gallery to be judged and mocked.

This does not, however, include the time that, during a screening of The Scorpion King in the theatre, when Lucy Liu straddled the Rock's chest shortly after he had been wounded, I shouted (for all to hear) "Lay here while I suck the poison from your chest with my vagina!"

See, you can bite a movie, and the movie doesn't bite back.

Urinal Conversations 2

April 15, 2009

An actual event from yesterday:

*friend follows me into the restroom from the lab after I tell him I'm leaving for the day and wish him a nice evening*

Friend: I just can't get enough of you.
Me: It's my magnetic personality. *thinks for a second, remembering that my friend reads the blog* Oh, hey, say something witty, that way I have tomorrow's blog post already done.
Friend: *laughter* Well, sorry, I'm not very witty here.
Me: Yeah, that's true. I'm usually more witty and clever two stalls down. *beat* Oh, hey, there's tomorrow's blog post!

I told you guys I was lazy.

Urinal Conversations

April 14, 2009

Here's an actual event from yesterday:

*guy follows me from the lab to the men's restroom, where he sidles up next to me at the urinal (there are only two)*

Friend: I see I'm following in the steps of greatness.
Me: Either that, or you really had to piss.
Friend: Oh, now, that's not very nice.
Me: I like to think of myself as overly-humble...especially while standing next to someone in the restroom, with my pants open. *beat* Especially when that someone is from Texas; we all know everything is bigger there.
Friend: You know, Mr. Jenks, there's a fine line between humility and self-deprecation. And you can use that in that blog you write.

There you go, buddy, I think I will use it.

What's in a Name?

April 13, 2009

So, I'm doing this whole writing thing, right? *doubles over in laughter* Oh, I'm just fooling you guys. I'm not doing any writing. There's too much shit that gets in the way, like avoiding writing. Heh. I almost believed myself for a second, too.

Anyway, while crafting this world I've created, I've had to go through and populate it with people, because, really, a story about a world not inhabited by people would be kind of boring. Who would be there to fuck it up? Exactly. So, of necessity, I've had to create people. To avoid calling them "Guy 1" or "Guy 2" or "Chick with Enormous Tits Who Wears Very Little", I decided to give them names.

Now, I've already talked about handing out first names here. It's the last names that have been a bit of a problem. It's not that there's a lack of good last names in the world--mine or any other--but it's picking the right ones that give a sense of power or dignity or worth. For instance, Shitbritches would not be a good name, whereas Montgomery is. I've detailed this process in the linked post, but for those who don't like to go clickety-click on the links, the basic idea is that I kept most of my names Brittano-centric. However, I've found myself edging into Germanic names, as well, which makes sense, if you think of it. I mean, I have names like Sluder and Wilhelms, but I tend to steer clear of the in-your-face Germanic names, like Schwarzenfucker and such.

All of this has gotten me to thinking about various name origins. Some of them are easy to deduce. For instance, the name "Smith" probably means that somewhere in a person's life, their ancestor worked in a smithy and someone with the last name "Cooper" had an ancestor who made barrels. "Johnson" and "Jackson" are also pretty easy to figure out: that's John's son or Jack's son (though John and Jack are both short for Johnathan...but that's a whole other kettle of fish). Some people are named for the places they lived, like someone named "Woods" probably, you know, lived in or near the forest while someone named "Moore" probably lived in a bog.

How is it, then, that someone earned themselves the last name "Glasscock"? Or "Cockburn"? Or "Hollopeter"? Or one of my personal favorites, "Longfellow"? Or the rather unfortunate pair, "Morecock" and "Morehead"?

On second thought, perhaps I don't really want to know...

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Volume XIX

April 10, 2009

I know, last week I told you we were doing something around a Ken Doll, but I've changed my mind. Something...shifted...and so I don't want to go there right now. Ignore the Ken Doll, please. Don't make me call in Agents K and J with the flashy dealie already. Lord knows what will your character might become as insipid as Linda Fiorentino's. Or something.

Holy Crap! Today is Good Friday, which means that Sunday is Easter Sunday. That's the day the Easter Bunny busts into your house and craps out foil-wrapped Cadbury Eggs for you to find and suckle upon like the sweet, chocolatey teats that they are, expunging those sweet, milky insides into your all-too-eager mouth.

Sometimes the images I paint with words disturb even me...

I think I've purged most of that out of me, now, so on with the Latin Lesson!

If you read SassyBritches' blog this week, you'll have learned some disturbing things about the Easter Bunny...namely that he's a terrible speller and uses a lot of white out. Also, he seemed to follow around a young SassyBritches a lot and, well, recorded all of his findings in what I can only imagine is a very detailed diary that he hides under the life-size shrine he's erected to her made entirely of those little lint balls SassyBritches found on the insides of her sweaters. I'm sure there's a discarded pair of Umbros in there, too.

Don't believe me? Read for yourself across not one, not two, but three extended scenes in which the Easter Bunny reveals that he's only a trenchcoat away from being a threat to public decency!

To that end, children, let this be a lesson to us all; since everything sounds more profound when uttered in Latin, let us heed this warning:

Magnus Cuniculus te spectat!

Pronounced: "Mawg-noose coon-eek-you-loose tay spake-taht!"

Next week: To infinitive, and beyond!

Shadows of the Past

April 9, 2009

One of the unfortunate drawbacks to having picked up so many new readers and followers over the course of the past year is that many of you were unable to bask in the glorious triumph that I celebrated at this time last year. And let me just say, that t-shirt is one of my absolute favorites. I mean, it does taste gloriously of victory and free, which are two of my favorite things in the world (right after boobs and bacon logs), so maybe the t-shirt has an unfair advantage.

Fortunately for me, my knowledge of college basketball is almost as vast as my desire to get free shit. Again this year, the concierge service ran the same contest. Again this year, I won. I am, in fact, just that fucking awesome.

I hope like hell that I won for knowing that the most points you can score on a single play is 3. That's so much better than knowing that you only get five fouls.

Last year, I chose an Indiana shirt (they are my favorite NCAA basketball team, after all). This year, I went for the alma mater, proving that someone from Notre Dame can fucking win something (hear that, football, basketball and hockey teams? I'm rubbing it in your face! Try stop being a bunch of cockfaces and put forth an effort already! And maybe suck a little less while you're at it!).

The other thing that I've proved is that, unlike Notre Dame, winning a free t-shirt is never overrated.

I swear, all I did was type the word "winner" into a Google image search!


April 8, 2009

In the same vein as Scope and Cora's recent license plate posts, I present to you this article:

Woman's request for TOFU license plate denied.

Kelly Coffman-Lee stated that tofu is a staple of her family's diet because they are vegan, and that the DMV misinterpreted her message.

Sure they did, woman. Sure they did. Why don't you go home and hug a sea kitten to get over your pain.

Cougar Update

My wife, the Comely and Buxom and Easily Terrified and Suddenly Ailurophobic Boudicca, found what appears to be a print. It looks like something with four big toes pressed into the soft mud as it was rising up and jumping into a run. It's roughly the size of my hand.

I do not have small hands.

Being that I'm taking this whole thing way too seriously, I got down on my hands and knees and looked around the print. I figured that, with it being spring and the beast's toes having sunk into the mud deeply enough to leave prints like that, there might be some hair.

I found two definite hairs, probably three, and three more things that could be hair or could be grass. We also took several pictures, with my hand and with a ruler in the picture for reference. See, watching all those episodes of MonsterQuest and reading Cryptomundo, where the hosts and experts always tell you to put down something for reference when photographing curious "evidence" have finally paid off.

None of the aforementioned puke was left on the patio. There's a...residue, for a lack of a better term. I did find what may be claw marks on the edge of the patio, three of them, not exactly evenly spaced. We photographed that as well. Could be anything from incriminating claw marks to the results of a mindless jackass and his mower.

I'll be calling the NC Wildlife offices tomorrow. Apparently, they're very interested in this sort of thing and may be open to my sighting report. A friend of mine at work sent me a link where someone else sighted a cougar in 2007 near Jordan Lake, which is south of Durham. Something's beginning to shape up here. That's four people who have seen three cats in three different areas.

I keep peering out my back window, hoping to see packs of feral beasts. So far, I've seen a red-bellied woodpecker for my troubles.

UPDATE to the Update: This morning, while staring out my kitchen window, I saw a red-shouldered hawk kill something by the stream and then carry it off. So, while the cougar has yet to reappear (if it ever will), my nature viewing pleasure continues to go on.

A Possible Julianne Moore Sighting

April 7, 2009

I was proud of myself last night. I finished up my computer game and got into bed at a fairly early hour. I nestled down and drifted off to the dreamworld where I cavorted with Lord Morpheus and Cain and Abel. *ahem*

Some time later, my wife crawled into bed and shook me awake. As I was shuffling off the last, clinging tendrils of sleep, she pulled my face over to hers so that she knew she had my full attention.

"I think I just a cougar," she informed me.

Now, being that it's me, my first question was "Did she have big tits?"

My wife, apparently frightened by the big cat that could have killed and eaten her, did not find this nearly as amusing as I did. Instead, she told me about how she pulled into the driveway and saw an animal stand up and bound away from the side yard. Now, we live in a fairly wooded area and we have a veritable shit-ton of deer in our yard on nearly a daily basis. It's not uncommon for a group of them to lay in the grass in our yard, especially at night. However, she swears it wasn't a deer because she got a good look at its haunches and its left shoulder area, as well as the profile of its head.

There were no tufts on the ears, the coat was a uniform, tawny color (no spots, striations or stripes), the head was feline, and--most importantly--it ran like a cat. Apparently, it bolted down the side yard, down to the stream that runs at the back of our property, and up the hill on the other side of the stream. At the top of the hill, the light popped on at the community pumphouse that provides water for the neighborhood.

Now, I'm definitely one to be skeptical in these situations. The only problem is, I've been watching shows and reading reports about how the cougar (or puma or panther or catamount or mountain lion...they're all the same animal) is making a move back east. They've been confirmed as far east as the Mississippi and up into Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. Sightings have occurred in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Tennessee, to name a few, but wildlife biologists--so called experts--refuse to acknowledge that these sightings are real. According to them, all these sightings are misidentified house cats.

Uh huh.

However, more to my wife's credit and what makes me believe her, is this story from Chapel Hill...a scant 12 miles from my house. Not only that, but Sunday afternoon while out playing with the kids in my yard, I found a pile of...vomit...from some animal on the patio to my outbuilding. Being that we have raccoons, possum, dogs and cats in the yard all the time, I didn't think anything of it until last night. Now, I'm not sure what it was from ( was a big pile). I left it, hoping the rain would wash it away or something else would eat it. Finally, the show MonsterQuest did a piece on the Beast of Bladenboro, which has also set some precedence for the presence of a cougar in North Carolina.

This morning, I went outside to look for any evidence that it was there. I found--maybe--a partial print from where it was laying in the grass. I gave the side yard a cursory glance all the way down to the stream, but I couldn't find anything. Also--predictably--the puke was gone. I think later, when I get home, I'm going to do a little better search. Hopefully I can find something. It would be awesome to be the one to help prove that the cougar is making a resurgence in North Carolina.

As an amusing aside, when I went out this morning to check for signs of the cougar, I had the shit scared out of me by a cat running from behind my wife's car. It was a fat, orange tabby cat, and he/she laid down next to one of the pine trees in my yard and watched me...menacingly. I did go back inside and make sure that she didn't see an orange tabby, but she's certain that it had no stripes. Plus, the animal ran away. The tabby cat took a couple of steps and then--in catlike fashion--demanded attention, milk and cheezburgers now.

This Kind of Pisses Me Off

April 6, 2009

Okay, first off...a little note from Friday evening's anti-Trebeckian rant. My wife looked up the phrase "vox populi" (Latin for "voice of the people") on Merriam-Webster's site the other night. There, they listed both pronunciations--vox popu-lie and vox popu-lee--as correct. However, "vox popu-lee" was listed first as the more correct version. No mention of "wox popu-lee", which doesn't surprise me since sometime during the Middle Ages, the letter v stopped carrying the /w/ sound and started adopting the more modern /v/ sound. This is fine with me, because, honestly, wagina is a silly word that should never be uttered by anyone.

During my daily avoiding doing real work morning reads, I checked and found this little story about how authors are turning to web publishing in order to get their books published. Now, I don't know Lisa Genova. I'm sure she's a fine person and a good writer and all--I'll ignore that her last name is synonymous with that country for mutants ruled by Magneto. No, wait, shit. That's Genosha. Sorry to confuse the two.

Anyway, as most of you know, I'm trying to publish the book that I wrote. For those coming late to the party, let me explain: I'm trying to publish the book that I wrote. There, I think we're all caught up.

In order to do this, I've been seeking out agents to represent my work. Like a friend of mine once said, I've got to get out there and pimp mah shit (I'm paraphrasing here...slightly). I did have that nibble from one agent about this time a year ago. I still have the letter. It's a reminder of "Hey, don't give up yet; your dick's not that little!"

So, then I read the above article on CNN. Obviously, this route of self-publishing and getting your friends to prop up your work for you (which is what I would be counting on you do for me, were I in a similar situation) worked for Lisa Genova. Frankly, I'm glad she was able to throw it in the eye of one obnoxious agent who didn't think anyone would want to read a book about someone suffering from Alzheimer's, since I've dealt with my deal of douchebags in the area while searching for my own agent.

Side note: Really, Ms. Literary Agent? You didn't think anyone would be interested in a book about Alzheimer's? Of course, I'm sure the guy who turned down Forrest Gump was probably like, "I'm sorry, Mr. Groom, but I don't think anyone would want to read a book about a retarded kid."

Anyway, from what I've learned--as in, everything I've read that wasn't this CNN article--says self-publishing is a lousy way to go. Once an agent or a publisher sees that you've self-published, they're turned off. Mostly, this is because it's a pain in the ass to get the rights to a book after it's already been published. And by pain in the ass, I mean a knobby, corny , dried, hard turd resembling a beer can in size and shape trying to force its way out of you--sideways. It's the very rare book that will ever get picked up from a self-publishing house to a main stream publisher.

My favorite part of the article, however, is how the self-publishers prop themselves up using today's buzzwords: "in this economy" and "the environmental impact". Fewer published books means fewer dead trees! Fewer cows means fewer cow farts, but that doesn't stop the elephants from farting.

I dunno. Maybe I'm just pissy because I'm not published. Maybe I'm just pissy because I woke up several times during the night for no good reason. Or, maybe I'm just pissy because I'm brewing up a big, knobby, corny masterpiece that's going to try and force its way out sideways, but the article still kind of pisses me off.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to see a man about a horse. Er, something.

A Little Bonus Latin for Friday

April 3, 2009

Did anyone else watch Jeopardy tonight?

If not, let me fill you in. The answer essentially boiled down to something like "This Latin phrase, meaning 'voice of the people', blah blah blah."

Because I need to impress upon my children how much more I know than they do, I boomed forth with "vox populi!" and being that I'm learning to speak Latin like, you know, how the Romans spoke it, I pronounced it "Wox pop-you-lee!"

The dude who won...Kevin or Grant or Cornelius or whatever his name was...his name is unimportant. The dude rang in and asked "What is 'vox pop-you-lee?'" And then do you know what happened?

That fuckface Alex wasn't going to give it to him! Kevin or Grant or Tory or whatever his name was actually had to re-ask "What is 'vox pop-you-lie?'" That's when fuckface Alex said, "Vox pop-you-lie. That's right."

What. The. Fuck. Mr. "Speak with an outrageous accent anytime I come across a foreign name, word or phrase" wouldn't allow the guy who answered the question his credit because he said "lee" (the correct pronunciation) at the end of the word rather than "lie", as Shit For Brains thought should be correct. Let's just ignore that he dropped the arrogance ball on "vox", as well.

All I've got to say to that is "Epicus deficio!" (aye-pee-coos day-fee-key-oh).

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Volume XVIII

When I was a fresh-faced, callow youth, I used to spend a lot of my time in front of the boob tube, watching cartoons. Okay, those words could also describe my weekends, but let us shy past that point and on to more important things, like today's lesson in valuable, useful Latin.

One of my favorite shows to watch, much to my mother's chagrin, was Josie and the Pussycats. It's not so much that the show was as well written as, say, Transformers or G.I.Joe (which, isn't saying much, because while both of these shows ranked high on the badass scale, the writing ranked equally as high on the pisspoor scale), however, even back then I knew that the exploits of three teenage girls strutting around in cat suits was something I could support wholeheartedly. Or something else hardedly.

While I had to catch Josie and her sultry teenage friends in re-runs (the show ended it's original airing while I was but a mewling babe), I always held a warm spot in my heart for my first crushes. Fast forward a few years and, while futzing around with the remote late one night, I quite stumbled upon something called the Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious. After discovering that I did not, in fact, need to pay in order to continue viewing, my heart soared for a second, thinking that my childhood sweethearts had been resurrected. However, I discovered that the Pussycat Dolls took their names not so much from Josie's group, but more because they sounded like a bag full of cats being run over by a bus...a bus driven by a dog!

Apparently, they make music of some kind and are somewhat popular. Admittedly, I did have to check Wikipedia in order to 'verify' both of these facts. However, as with all things, the girls of the Pussycat Dolls will eventually grow older and people will see through their caterwauling and move on to the next young, pretty thing. Isn't that right, Spice Girls?

If the fate of the Pussycat Dolls ever comes up in conversation, you can simply interject this into the conversation and you will sound not only sophisticated, but also quite profound:

"Omnes paucis annis prosedae erunt."

Pronounced: "Ohm-nays pow-kiss ahnn-ees proh-say-die air-oont."

Hover the cursor over the picture to discover the fate of these girls.

Next week: Is that a Ken Doll in your pocket?

Defending His Crown

April 2, 2009

So, yesterday, I tried to pull a fast one on all of you. While yesterday was, in fact, Saint Hugh's Day, it was also April Foo's Day. Clever, I am, so I took last year's April Foo's post and replayed it this year...something I try never to do. I changed one little thing--the line about "banging a chick named Molly and then whining about it" from last year's post, but that was all. Everything was exactly as I typed it last year.

No one got it. No one saw through my clever ruse. Chances are, no one saw through it because not a lot of you were around here at this time last year. Hell, a lot of you were not around here three months ago!

Or maybe...just was the pictures of all the Hughs I strung together for your viewing pleasure. Perhaps you viewed that too hot and hard, eh? Yeah, I'm onto you. Go on. Look at shirtless Hugh Jackman some more. I'll wait right here.

But wait! What light in yonder window breaks? Someone did notice. Shortly after I walked into the lab yesterday, I was greeted with "So, what, are you recycling posts now?"

That's right; Joe, whom I so aptly named the Third Smartest Person I've Ever Met earlier in the week, saw through my clever ruse and called me on it. Bam! Nailed to the wall like a four dollar hooker at last call. This is why, whenever I need advice, I don't ask Jeeves, I ask Joe (he'll probably also know that I used that exact same line in the lab this morning; curse you, Mr. Joe! Your savvy and intelligence catches me once again!).

As far as Saint Hugh goes, what I wrote was as factual an account of his life as I could muster. Although, whenever I dip into the Hagiography to celebrate the various Saints that have colored the history of the church, I tend to slip a couple of things that might not be canonical...but they sure are hugh-morous.

Get it? Hugh-morous? Okay, whatever. Go back to staring at the picture of shirtless Hugh Jackman. See if I care.


Happy Saint Hugh's Day!

April 1, 2009

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Hugh. Hugh was appointed the Bishop of Grenoble by the council at Avignon in 1080, which was impressive as he was not yet ordained as a priest. Apparently, his piety was so great that everyone just knew he was destined for great things.

What kinds of great things? Well, he had a dream in which he saw seven stars. This, of course, inspired him to form his own monastic society, which is naturally named the Carthusian Order. He founded the Carthusians (along with St. Bruno of Cologne, who perhaps taught him many things about how to be a bishop without being a priest) in a snowy, alpine village called Chartreuse. The Carthusians are famous for their lurid yellow-green robes and their ability to craft very fine fishing lures.

Hugh (also know as Hugh of Châteauneuf, which means "Nine Castle" en français) was the Bishop of Grenoble until his death in 1132, though he tried to quit and enter a monastary at Cluny two years after taking the seat of bishop. After his death, Hugh wasn't done. No, his body was burned by the Huguenots during the Wars of Religion. However, at this point, Hugh had already been canonized. Clearly, they didn't like sharing a name with poor Hugh.

Also, today is April Fool's or All Fool's Day. Since it's also Hugh's day, and he was French, I'll add that it's poisson d'avril en France. What is poisson d'avril?, you might ask. I'll tell you. Poisson d'avril means "fish of April" or "April's Fish" (get your mind out of the gutter now), and it is the day set aside for hanging small paper fish on the back of your friends. Oh, those plucky French, what won't they think of next?

As you may have been able to tell, I do have the ability to quickly and easily translate all of these French terms into English (or a reasonable facsimilie of English). That is because I studied French for four years in high school (I mentioned that a while ago, but it's always good to remind folks who might be new or it allows me to add the extra level of yet another parenthetical clause). And, what would high school be like if you could not torture some poor, unsuspecting fool on poisson d'avril? It would be even more painful than usual, let me tell you. Of course, the unsuspecting fool in this case was our French teacher, Ms. Knipp.

Madamoiselle Knipp was, perhaps, the one person in all of history I've met with a heart of solid, 18K gold, mostly because she put up with this stupid shit and didn't beat the hell out of us with her enormous yardstick, knicknamed Spanks. Anyway, the first time we learned of poisson d'avril, a couple of my friends (since I lived in a tiny village in the eastern part of the county and I didn't have a car nor parents who were willing to drive my ass around for such stupid endeavors) sat around most of the night of March 31st drawing thousands of tiny fish on little post-it notes. They arrived at school early, a few minutes after the janitors went around unlocking all the classroom doors, and snuck into Ms. Knipp's room, covering the walls with all of these little fish. A good time was had by all, and we were finding tiny paper fish for months after the prank, which would have been legendary by French standards.

The following year (when I was a junior), right before the third period, someone in the office paged Ms. Knipp to come to the office. Confused, she obliged, and as she went around the corner, my friends came running in with an electric skillet, oil, and, yes, fish. They fried up fish for everyone in the class, and when Ms. Knipp returned from her fool's errand, everyone yelled in unison "poisson d'avril!" Incidentally, I think that's when I got a fish bone caught in my throat and I ended up puking (I did make it to the restroom). It took me several years before I could eat fish again.

So, let us celebrate Hugh of Châteauneuf, his yellow-robed friends, and French fish everywhere today. Also, since it's St. Hugh day, let's celebrate guys named Hugh. [1]

Also, today is FitzChivalry Farseer's Beloved day. Yes, that's an obscure reference. No, I don't expect most of you to understand it (if you do, post it in the comments, you vile lurker). To celebrate, you should go out and bang a chick named Molly, and then whine about it incessantly.

[1] Two of the three of these men, my wife finds very, very sexy. The third is simply cute and on the list because he has a British accent. I hope everyone appreciates how hard I had to work on this picture.