31 March 2010

if it looks like a duck,
walks like a duck,
and is called a duck. . .

stupid tourist du jour

overheard by a friend of my daughter while vacationing in hawaii:

"go throw your trash in the mahalo."

30 March 2010

too much time on his hands?
too much money to burn?

'nuf said.

beam me up, scotty

my youngest and i went to visit the oregon museum of science and industry on the weekend, and the treat of the trip was a visit to the visit to the uss blueback, a post-world-war-II submarine which has seen action in the likes of the hunt for red october, and hawaii-Five-0 (season 1, episode 4). 

anna's favorite part of the tour of the blueback was getting to see the battery officer (see below).

my favorite moment was when anna sat at the controls in the engine room (the tour guide said this is where commander scott would be found if he worked in a submarine.) and as instructed, she kept her hands off the dials, buttons, levers, switches and knobs. she didn't want to send a distress signal to COMSUBPAC.

beam me up, anna!

26 March 2010

you're skating on thin ice, mister.

yes, that's a zamboni which fell through the ice.

KEYSTONE RESORT — A Zamboni took a dip Tuesday night in Keystone Lake, North America's largest groomed skating pond.

Read more here.

-- denver post --

22 March 2010

would you be a little, um, more specific?

MARCH 20, 2010 | ISSUE 46•11

The way things have been lately…with all that she has going on…
Slota can't even tell anymore if, oh, never mind.

BELMONT, NH—Stating that she wasn't in the best place right now, and that things have been sort of you know, Belmont resident Megan Slota announced Thursday that sometimes she just feels….

Due to a general sense of…well, it's hard to explain, the 28-year-old dental hygienist reported that she just needed to work some stuff out, and that she would probably be a little I don't know for a couple weeks or so.

"It's not anybody's fault, honestly," said Slota, standing in her kitchen and holding a mug of tea with both hands. "Sometimes I just get like this where it's like I'm not, I guess, whatever. We don't have to get into it right now."

Added Slota, "I'm really, like, argh, I don't know."

After that thing with Dave on Thursday, people were concerned that Slota was in a weird place, which she initially denied. But Slota later admitted that she was just taking some time to figure things out and needed a little space, but it's not like she wanted people to leave her alone or anything like that.

"I had a really good talk with Debra," Slota said. "She's such a good friend. It's good to know I have someone like her. It's just a crazy time right now. And I've been really busy with work, too, so that hasn't helped."

While admitting that it must suck to have to deal with her lately, Slota said that she appreciates everyone's patience while she sorts all of this stuff out. Sources close to the sort of spacey, sort of—oh gosh, what would you even call it—distracted woman confirm that it's always the same this time of year, because of her dad.

"I worry about Megan," longtime friend Alex Polson said. "Times like this, she can get a little strange. Not strange strange, but still kind of strange where you're like, 'Huh?' But you know what? She's tough. She'll get through all this and be back to her old self in no time."

Though she's been kind of blah lately, especially at the family thing where she had to be on her best behavior, friends and coworkers have been understanding about what's going on with her, and want to let her know they're there if she needs help moving, or needs someone to go shopping with her, or just wants to hang out and not talk about the thing that happened with Samantha last week.

"You know, it's like when you're just," Slota said. "You feel one way but then you're also sort of, I don't know, maybe it's just one of those things. And you don't want to force it, right? I feel like you just have to accept it sometimes, I guess."

"It is what it is," she added.

Regardless of the thing that's, oh, whatever, it'll pass eventually, Slota maintained that she's forging ahead and taking things one day at a time.

Dr. Andrei Robinson, author of the book It's, Well, I'm Not Sure How To Describe It, Really, says that Slota's condition is not uncommon. 

"As a therapist, I'm seeing more and more patients with problems and conditions related to Ms. Slota's," Dr. Robinson said. "But ultimately, there's not a lot I can do for them. It's just another facet of this, whatever it is. You can't understand the, you know, well, anything, really. It's all too much sometimes, but it's her deal. She's got to work through it. We've all been there, right?"

"I don't know," Dr. Robinson added. "Does that make sense?"

an invisible car came out of nowhere,
struck me, and vanished!,
part deux

NY police cite driver error
in Toyota Prius case

DETROIT--Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:40pm EDT

(Reuters) - Police in New York on Monday said it appears a March 9 crash of a Toyota Motor Corp Prius was a case of driver error and not unintended acceleration.

"The vehicle accelerator in this case was depressed 100 percent at the time of collision. There is absolutely no indication of any brake application," said Capt. Anthony Marraccini, acting chief of the Harrison Police Department, during a Monday afternoon press conference in Harrison, New York.

Marraccini was asked if the incident was caused by driver error. "I believe that this is what this case is telling us," Marraccini said of the data police investigators gathered.

This determination agrees with a preliminary finding reached last week by federal investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Toyota, the world's No. 1 automaker, has been under fire for the last two months amid the recall of more than 8 million vehicles around the world due to concerns about unintended acceleration.

Last Tuesday, Toyota announced that its investigators could not find evidence to support a driver's claim of unintended acceleration of a speeding Prius near San Diego on March 8. However, the California Highway Patrol last Wednesday stood by its initial report that it appeared that a 61-year-old man whose 2008 Prius sped down a San Diego County freeway on March 8 was stomping heavily on the brake pedal.

No charges have been filed in the case in California, and none are expected in the New York case, police said.

On March 9, a 56-year-old woman driving a 2005 Prius hybrid forward out of a driveway in Harrison was injured when the Prius speeded out of the driveway, across a busy street, and into a stone wall. The car reached a top speed of 35 miles per hour during a short drive that ended when the Prius struck a stone wall across a busy street from the driveway at 27 mph, Marraccini said.

Marraccini said he believes that Toyota Prius cars are safe. "Quite honestly, I would have no reservations about putting my own family" in a Toyota Prius, Marraccini said.

Toyota cooperated fully in the investigation, Marraccini said.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall, editing by Matthew Lewis)


we have nothing to fear but fear itself

Published: March 22, 2010
In the debate leading up to the victory for health care reform, President Obama urged lawmakers to do what is right, while opponents relied on fear and cynicism.

20 March 2010

where's jimmy cagney
when you need him. . .

you dirty rat.

well, not so dirty after all.

anna, my youngest, has the privilege of taking care of her class' pet rats for spring break. she proudly brought home this HUGE cage with two rats in it on friday afternoon.

about every 2 hours, she wants to play with the rats. cocoa and madame cheese, in case you wonder, are their names. cute little buggers, they. like to scamper up and down your arms, they do. curious little creatures--they run to the end of your outrstretched fingertips, sniff the air in wonder at what's out there, and then amscray back to the shoulders as though something out there scared them witless.

she's playing with the rats now, as i write this. maybe i should go supervise. (that's code for play with the rats too--after all, my wife was supervising earlier, and you should have heard the screams of delight coming from both of them. oh, they were screams of delight, all right. i know what my wife sounds like when she is frightened by spiders and other nonesuch household pets, and these were not the same screams.)

you dirty rat.

19 March 2010

ach du lieber!

children's nursery rymes are so damned depressing!


Ach, du lieber Augustin, Augustin, Augustin
Ach, du lieber Augustin, alles ist hin.
Geld ist weg, Mäd´l ist weg,
Alles hin, Augustin.
Ach, du lieber Augustin,
Alles ist hin.

Rock ist weg, Stock ist weg,
Augustin liegt im Dreck,
Ach, du lieber Augustin,
Alles ist hin.

Und selbst das reiche Wien,
Hin ist's wie Augustin;
Weint mit mir im gleichen Sinn,
Alles ist hin!

Jeder Tag war ein Fest,
Und was jetzt? Pest, die Pest!
Nur ein groß' Leichenfest,
Das ist der Rest.

Ach, du lieber Augustin, Augustin, Augustin
Leg' nur ins Grab dich hin!
Ach, du lieber Augustin,
Alles ist hin!


Oh, dear Augustin, Augustin, Augustin
Oh, dear Augustin, everything is gone.
Money is gone, Girls are gone,
All is gone, Augustin.
Oh, dear Augustin
Everything is gone.

Rock is gone, cane is gone,
Augustine's in the dirt,
Oh, dear Augustin,
Everything is gone.

And even the rich Vienna
Gone is that Augustine's;
Weep with me in the same sense
Everything is gone!

Each day was a feast,
So now what? Plague, the plague!
Just a big 'funeral feast,
This is the Rest

Oh, dear Augustin, Augustin, Augustin
To only the grave you go!
Oh, dear Augustin,
Everything is gone!

17 March 2010

pour me a pint o' your best, part deux

when the irish ran new york

From The City Journal, Spring 1993
by Daniel Patrick Moynihan


"When the Irish Ran New York" was written just after Nathan Glazer and I had finished Beyond the Melting Pot. The Negroes, Puerto Ricans, Jews, Italians, and Irish of New York City, and just as I was joining the Kennedy administration in Washington. Albeit we did not quite say so, the underlying theme of our book was that in the modem age ethnicity was a far more powerful force than social class.

Glazer’s The Social Basis of American Communism, a study of the ethnic sources of American Communism, appeared the same year. Of late I have taken to remarking that what Karl Marx wrote in the British Museum, Nathan Glazer disproved in the New York Public Library; but while you see, or used to see, statues of Karl Marx all over the place, you hardly ever see a statue of Nathan Glazer.

This got me thinking about the seemingly nonideological working-class governance that the Irish had pretty much provided New York during its great age—from about 1860 to 1960. This was the age in which New York became by general assent the capital—and the envy—of the world. I knew enough when I wrote this essay in 1961 to know that the Irish era was not nearly so apolitical as it might appear to the left intellectuals of the era. Tammany, for example, can be understood as having carried on a three- to four-generation struggle with the left for control of city streets.

I made one huge mistake in my essay, however. I completely failed to recognize that the Tammany chieftains, like the really good Roman emperors, were master builders of public works. Under Tammany, New York constructed the first true aqueduct since, if memory serves, fifth-century Rome. The water was brought down from the Catskills with such ingenuity that it would reach the fifth floor of an apartment building in Brownsville, making the whole metropolis possible.

The Brooklyn Bridge, compared in its time to the Acropolis, was built under the auspices of Hugh McLaughlin on the Brooklyn side, and assorted Tammany chiefs, surely Kelly at the outset, then Croker, on the Manhattan side. They loved doing things like that. And, of course, they had warm feelings for the contractors. Croker got the subways going as a favor to a friend, and made Manhattan in the process.
And how they could build! In the Irish section of Beyond the Melting Pot we recorded a bit of the career of "Battery Dan" Finn, a district leader of the Lower West Side. His club had a clubhouse, of course. "Pitched it up in an afternoon himself, he did" was the saying of his constituents. And so he did.

To this day I fear I trouble the reformist hearts at City Hall with nostalgic accounts of the dear old days of Tammany Hall when Jimmy Walker (through Al Smith’s Port Authority) could throw up the George Washington Bridge in four years and one month. We have been 14 years trying to build, or rather rebuild, a trolley line across 42nd Street. Still no sign of life. Five mayors, three governors, 140 commissioners, and umpteen hundreds of millions of dollars can’t build a subway to Queens. That is no accident, comrade.
When a great city ceases to build, it commences to die. Somehow Tammany’s success at building gave public works a bad name among those who followed. They arc associated with corruption rather than glory. The result is decay.

May I note in closing that my article could not have been written save for the encouragement and patience of Robert Bingham, then managing editor of The Reporter, nor published without the immense tolerance and breadth of Max Ascoli. A New York WASP and an Italian Jew, they adorned our town.

This article originally appeared in the June 8, 1961, issue of The Reporter.

New York used to be an Irish town. Or so it seemed. New York, to be sure, has never been anyone’s town, but there were sixty or seventy years when the Irish seemed to be everywhere. They felt it was their town. It is no longer, and they know it. That is one of the things that are bothering them.

It is not hard to date the Irish era. It begins in the early 1870s: about the time Charles O’Conor, whom the Dictionary of American Biography calls "the ablest member of the New York bar," began the prosecution of the Honorable William Marcy Tweed. It ends some sixty years later: a good point would be the day Jimmy Walker sailed for Europe and exile with his beloved, but unwed, Betty.

Boss Tweed was the last vulgar white Protestant to win a place in the city’s life. There have been Protestants since who have served the city with distinction, but always as representatives of "the better element." Tweed was hardly that: he was a roughneck, a ward heeler, a man of the people at a time when the people still contained a large body of native-born Protestant workers of Scotch and English antecedents. By the time of his death in the Ludlow Street Jail, this had all but completely changed. The New York working class had become predominantly Catholic. The Irish promptly assumed the leadership of this class. "Honest John" Kelly succeeded Tweed as leader of Tammany Hall, and in 1880 Kelly elected the city’s first Irish Catholic mayor, William R. Grace of the shipping line. This ascendancy persisted for another half century, reaching a kind of apogee toward the end of the 1920s when Al Smith ran for President and Jimmy Walker "wore New York in his buttonhole."

New York was perhaps the first great city in history to be ruled by men of the people, not as an isolated phenomenon of the Gracchi or the Commune but as a persisting, established pattern. To this day the men who run New York talk out of the side of their mouths: they may be millionaires, but they are no less representative of the people. The intermittent discovery that New York does have representative government leads to periodic reform movements. But the reformers come and go, the party remains. The secret lies in the structure of the Democratic party bureaucracy, which perpetuates itself. The measure of its success is that it works with almost undiminished effectiveness long after the Irish, who created it, have moved on to other things.
In their politics as in their race and religion, the Irish brought many of their traits from the Old Country. The machine governments which the Irish established in New York (as in many Northern cities) show three distinct features of early nineteenth-century Ireland.

First, a considerable indifference to Yankee proprieties. The Irish managed to make it somehow charming to steal an election—scoundrelish, rascally, surely not to be approved, but neither to be abhorred. This, it must be insisted, is something they learned from the English. Eighteenth-century English politics in Ireland was as corrupt—in Yankee terms—as is to be imagined. George Potter has written in To the Golden Door: "The great and the wealthy ran Ireland politically like Tammany Hall in its worst days. Had they not sold their own country for money and titles in the Act of Union with England and, as one rogue said, thanked God they had a country to sell? ... A gentleman was thought no less a gentleman because he dealt, like merchandise, with the votes of his tenants or purchased his parliamentary seat as he would a horse or a new wing for his big house." The Irish added to this, from their own social structure, a personal concept of government action. Describing the early period of Irish self-government, Conrad H. Arensberg relates in The Irish Countryman: ". . . At first, geese and country produce besieged the new officers and magistrates; a favourable decision or a necessary public work performed was interpreted as a favour given. It demanded a direct and personal return. ’Influence’ to the countryman was and is a direct personal relationship like the friendship of the countryside along which his own life moves."

The Irish also brought to America a settled tradition of regarding the formal government as illegitimate and the informal one as bearing the true impress of popular sovereignty. The brutality of the English landlords in eighteenth-century Ireland gave rise to secret societies that fought back by terrorism. An English observer described the results: "There are in fact two codes of law in force and in antagonism—one the statute law enforced by judges and jurors, in which the people do not yet trust—the other a secret law, enforced by themselves. . . ." This habit of mind pervaded the atmosphere of Tammany at its height: City hall, like Dublin Castle, was not to be trusted. If you need help see The McManus. The fact that the McMani were like as not running city hall, as well as the Tuscarora Regular Democratic Organization of the Second Assembly District South, only strengthened this habit.

Finally, most of the Irish arrived in America fresh from the momentous experience of the Catholic Emancipation movement. The Catholic Association, which the Irish leader Daniel O’Connell established in 1823 for this purpose, has been called the "first fully fledged democratic political party known to the world." "Daniel O’Connell," Potter writes, "was the first modern man to use the mass of a people as a democratic instrument for revolutionary changes by peaceful constitutional methods. He anticipated the coming into power of the people as the decisive political element in modem democratic society." The Irish peasants, who had taken little part in Gaelic Ireland’s resistance to the English—that had been a matter for the warrior class of an aristocratic society—appear to have been quite transformed by O’Connell. They arrived in America thoroughly alive to the possibilities of politics and they brought with them the phenomenally effective technique of political bureaucracy.

More has been written against Tammany Hall than about it. With little evidence, it is difficult to speculate on the nature of the system during the Irish era, but some patterns can be discerned, particularly those which persist in the present Democratic party organization. Foremost is the pattern of bureaucracy. Politics in a "natural" state is preeminently a personal affair—a matter of whom you know and who knows you; whom you like and trust; who you think likes and trusts you; whom you can intimidate and vice versa. The personal nature of such relations makes for a fluctuating, confused, perilous enterprise. Thus politics, business, and war have ever been the affairs of adventurers and risk takers. These are anything but peasant qualities. Certainly not those of Irish peasants, who, collectively, yielded to none in the rigidity of their social structure and their disinclination to adventure. Instead of letting politics transform them, they transformed politics, establishing a political system in New York City that from a distance seems like nothing so much as the social system of an Irish village writ large. Village life was characterized by the preeminence of formal family relations under the dominance of the stern father. Substituting "party" for "family" and "leader" for "father," the Irish created the political machine.

According to Roy V. Peel in The Political Clubs of New York City, Irish Catholics achieved a position of predominance within Tammany Hall by 1817. Working from the original Tammany ward committees, they established a vast hierarchy of party positions descending from the county leader at the top down to the block captain and beyond, even to building captains. Each position had rights and responsibilities which had to be observed. The result was a massive party bureaucracy, which rivaled the medieval Catholic Church in the proportion of the citizenry involved. The county committees of the five boroughs came to number more than 32,000 persons. It became necessary to hire Madison Square Garden for their meetings—and to hope not much more than half the number would show up as there wouldn’t be room. The system itself was remarkably stable. "Honest John" Kelly, Richard Croker, and Charles Murphy in succession ran Tammany for half a century. Across the river Hugh McLaughlin ran the Brooklyn Democratic party and fought off Tammany for better than forty years, from 1862 to 1903. He was followed shortly by John H. McCooey, who ruled from 1909 until his death a quarter of a century later. Ed Flynn ran the Bronx from 1922 until his death in 1953.
There is no greater nonsense than the stereotype of the Irish politician as a beer-guzzling back-slapper. Croker, McLaughlin, and Mister Murphy were the least affable of men. Their task was not to charm but to administer with firmness and predictability a political bureaucracy in which rights appertained not to individuals but to the positions they occupied. "Have you seen your block captain?" It did not matter that your captain was an idiot or a drunk or a devout churchgoer who would be alarmed by the request at hand; the block captain had to be seen first. Then the election district captain. Then the district leader. The hierarchy had to be recognized. For the group as a whole, this served to take the risks out of politics. Each would get his deserts—in time.

At the moment no one characteristic divides the "regular" party men in New York City from the "reform" group more than the matter of taking pride in following the chain of command. The "reform" group is composed principally of educated, middle-class career people quite hardened to the struggle for advancement in their professions. Waiting in line to see one’s leader seems to such persons slavish and unmanly, the kind of conduct that could only be imposed by a boss. By contrast, the "organization" regulars regard it as proper and well-behaved conduct. The reformers, who have a tendency to feel superior, would be surprised, perhaps, to learn that among the regulars they are widely regarded as rude, unethical people.

It would also seem that the term "boss," and the persistent attacks on "boss rule," have misrepresented the nature of power in the old machine system. Tammany was not simply a concentrated version of the familiar American municipal power structure in which an informal circle of more or less equally powerful men—the heads of the two richest banks, the three best law firms, four largest factories, and the chancellor of the local Methodist university—run things. Power was hierarchical in the machine, diffused in the way it is diffused in an army. Because the commanding general was powerful, it did not follow that the division generals were powerless—anything but. In just this way the Tammany district leaders were important men; and, right down to the block captain, all had rights.

At the risk of exaggerating, it is possible to point out any number of parallels between the political machine and rural Irish society. For example, the incredible capacity of the rural Irish to remain celibate—i.e., to wait their turn—in order to earn the reward of inheriting the farm is well known. Even after an Irish son has taken over direction of the farm, he will go each morning to his father to ask what to do that day. So with the "boss," whose essential demand often seemed only that he be consulted. There is a story that one day a fellow leader of Sheriff and Sachem Thomas J. Dunn confided that he was about to be married. "Have you seen Croker?" asked Dunn. In 1913, when Governor William Sulzer refused to consult the "ahrganization" on appointments, Murphy did not argue; he impeached and removed him. Doubtless the most painful onus of the current Tammany organizations that have been overthrown by reform clubs is to hear themselves called "insurgents"!
It seems evident that the principle of boss rule was not that of tyranny but of order. When Lincoln Steffens asked Croker, "Why must there be a boss, when we’ve got a mayor and—a council?" "That’s why," Croker broke in. "It’s because there’s a mayor and a council and judges—and—a hundred other men to deal with."
The narrow boundaries of the peasant world were ideally adapted to the preoccupations of precinct politics. The parallel role of the saloonkeeper is striking. Arensberg writes:

"The shopkeeper-publican-politician was a very effective instrument, both for the countryside and for himself. He might perhaps exact buying at his shop in return for the performance of his elective duties, as his enemies charge: But he also saw to it that those duties were performed for the very people who wished to see them done. Through him, as through no other possible channel, Ireland reached political maturity and effective national strength."

So with the New York Irish. "The saloons were the nodal points of district organizations," Peel points out. It used to be said the only way to break up a meeting of the Tammany Executive Committee was to open the door and yell, "Your saloon’s on fire!" At the same time a mark of the successful leader, as of the successful saloon-keeper, was sobriety. George Washington Plunkitt related with glee the events of election night in 1897 when Tammany had just elected—against considerable odds—the first mayor of the consolidated City of New York (Croker had slyly chosen for his candidate an inoffensive Old-Dutch-Family gentleman named Van Wyck):

"Up to 10 P.M. Croker, John F. Carroll, Tim Sullivan, Charlie Murphy, and myself sat in the committee-room receivin’ returns. When nearly all the city was heard from and we saw that Van Wyck was elected by a big majority, I invited the crowd to go across the street for a little celebration. A lot of small politicians followed us, expectin’ to see magnums of champagne opened. The waiters in the restaurant expected it, too, and you never saw a more disgusted lot of waiters when they got our orders. Here’s the orders: Croker, vichy and bicarbonate of soda; Carroll, seltzer lemonade; Sullivan, apollinaris; Murphy, vichy; Plunkitt, ditto. Before midnight we were all in bed, and next mornin’ we were up bright and early attendin’ to business, while other men were nursin’ swelled heads. Is there anything the matter with temperance as a pure business proposition?"

As a business proposition it all worked very well. The Irish habit of dealing with an informal government, combined with the establishment of an elaborate bureaucracy for that government, proved enormously effective in electoral politics. The "organization" spread to the darkest reaches of the city, places the middle-class reformers never lived in and rarely visited. Reform would come and go, but the organization remained, co-opting its members, getting out the vote, winning two elections in three, and quite able to sit out the third.
But that is about as far as it went. The Irish were immensely successful in politics. They ran the city. But the very parochialism and bureaucracy that enabled them to succeed in local politics prevented them from doing much else. In all these sixty or seventy years in which they could have done almost anything they wanted in politics, they did very little. Of all those candidates and all those campaigns, what remains? The names of two or three men: Al Smith principally, and his career went sour before it ever quite came to glory.

In a sense, the Irish didn’t know what to do with power once they got it. Steffens was surely exaggerating when he suggested the political bosses only kept power on the sufferance of the business community. The two groups worked in harmony, but it was a symbiotic, not an agency, relationship. The Irish leaders did for the Protestant establishment what it could not do for itself, and could not do without. But the Irish just didn’t know what to do with their opportunity. They never thought of politics as an instrument of social change—their kind of politics involved the processes of a society that was not changing. Croker alone solved the problem. Having become rich, he did the thing rich people in Ireland did: He bought a manor house in England, bred horses, and won the Derby. The king did not ask him to the Derby dinner.


beannachtaí na féile pádraig oraibh!

pronunciation guide: BAN•nock•tee nah AY•luh PAW•rig OH-riv


the population of ireland is 80 million. of those 80 million,
only 7.5 million actually keep full-time residence on the island.
on saint patrick's day, the population of ireland swells to 6.692 billion.

among the population of the USA,
41 million or so claim to be wholly or partly of Irish descent,
making the Irish the
second-largest ethnic group in the country,
second only to German-Americans.

16 March 2010

hey mister, can you spare a penny?

Where a Meal Can Cost a Fortune, 99¢ Pizza Catches On


The signs at the corner of Ninth Avenue and West 41st Street have an unbelievable, you-gotta-be-kidding quality, like free beer or affordable housing — 99¢ Fresh Pizza. Like many things in New York City, they are also too good to be true. They are off by a penny, as one slice actually costs one dollar.  read more >>

an invisible car came out of nowhere,
struck me,
and vanished!

this story happened a while ago in dublin , and even though it sounds like an alfred hitchcock tale, it's true.


john bradford, a dublin university student, was on the side of the road hitchhiking on a very dark night and in the midst of a storm. the night was rolling on and no car went by. the storm was so strong he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him. suddenly, he saw a car slowly coming towards him and st opped.

john, desperate for shelter and without thinking about it, got into the car and closed the door, only to realize there was nobody behind the wheel, and the engine wasn't running!! the car started moving slowly. john looked at the road ahead and saw a curve approaching. scared, he started to pray, begging for his life.

then, just before the car hit the curve, a hand appeared through the window and turned the wheel. john, paralyzed with terror, watched as the hand repeatedly came through the window, but never touched or harmed him.

shortly thereafter john saw the lights of a pub appear down the road. gathering strength, he jumped out of the car and ran to it. wet and out of breath, he rushed inside and started telling everybody about the horrible experience he had just had.

a silence came over the pub when everybody realized he was crying. . .and he wasn't drunk.

suddenly, the door opened. two more people walked in from the stormy night. they, like john, were also soaked and out of breath. they saw john bradford sobbing at the bar, and one said to the other, "look paddy--there's that fecking eedjit that got in the car while we were pushing it!!"


thanks to grammy for sharing this

12 March 2010

peeve of the week

organically grown

oh, come on. don't you realize that if it comes from a plant or animal (which contains carbon -- remember your high school biology, anyone? anyone? bueller? bueller?), then it's organic by its very nature?

to label a food product organic because it contains no pesticides or chemical fertilizers is false advertising.

or just plain ignorant.

what's next, organic rayon? authentic simulated leather? synthetic natural gas?

bueller? bueller? anyone? anyone?

as if your firstborn wasn't enough. . .


  • All borrowers' birth certificates will be required with pictures taken in hospital with medical staff. Birth certificate for a home delivery will not be eligible for first-time homebuyers.
  • Marriage certificate with picture of couple dressed in full bridal regalia will be required if both husband and wife are required to qualify for the loan.
  • Good Faith Estimate will not require signature, but will require blood sampling from a recognized institution within three days of application.
  • DNA test will be performed at closing to avoid any non-arms-length transactions. Loan funding will be contingent upon satisfactory receipt of DNA results.
  • Verification of deposit will be acceptable only if Bank representative is present at the closing.
  • Copy of Paystubs and W2 will only be acceptable in an envelope with unbroken wax seal stamped with a signet ring, and hand-carried to the lender directly from IRS via Wells Fargo Coach Messenger Service.
  • Seven witnesses from the neighborhood will be required as proof of primary residence if borrower owns more than 1 property.
  • All appraisers will be required to use masks and ear plugs at the time of inspection to avoid any personal influence by the borrower or broker for the appraised value.
  • In order to correctly calculate debt/income ratio and true housing ratio, a list of grocery items, monthly usage and brand names will be required with receipts and projected 12-month consumption chart.
  • Closing will not occur without loan officer presence at settlement and loan officer picture will be taken at closing in a mugshot format with loan number. Picture should meet standard US Passport guideline of 2x2 inch in color format, one facing forward and one in profile.
  • Loan officer picture will be attached to the Deed and Note and will be made available for general public and security agencies in case borrower defaults on the loan.
-- thank you EBoone --

11 March 2010

i can hear pat robertson now. . .

. . .spewing forth his venom that the new president of chile
must be evil and therefore is the cause for their latest


from the think-before-you-speak department. . .

"horizon air proudly donates a portion of the proceeds from
our complimentary in-flight service to the preservation of
glacier national park. . ."

--spoken by a flight attendant, describing
complimentary beverage and snack service--

08 March 2010

your password will change in 3 days.
do you wish to change it now?

During a recent password audit, it was found
an employee was using the following password: 


When asked why she had such a long password,
she said
 she was told that it had to be at least 8 characters long
and include at least one capital.

04 March 2010

michael flatley has nothing on these guys

watch it to the end. it'll make you laugh and cry. 

even simon cowell raved, "absolute, utter genius."

02 March 2010

so get away from this door
and get out of this place,
or I'll have to hurt you -
put my foot in your face.

happy birthday, dr. seuss.

The Straight Poop (Moonlighting, Season 3)

  • Security Officer: I'm sorry, but you're not on the guest list.

  • David Addison: That's because we're not guests. We're looking for a man with a mole on his nose.

  • Security Officer: A mole on his nose?

  • Maddie Hayes: A mole on his nose.

  • Security Officer: [to Maddie] What kind of clothes?

  • Maddie Hayes: [to David] What kind of clothes?

  • David Addison: What kind of clothes do you suppose?

  • Security Officer: What kind of clothes do I suppose would be worn by a man with a mole on his nose? Who knows?

  • David Addison: Did I happen to mention, did I bother to disclose, that this man that we're seeking with the mole on his nose? I'm not sure of his clothes or anything else, except he's Chinese, a big clue by itself.

  • Maddie Hayes: How do you do that?

  • David Addison: I read a lot of Dr. Seuss.

  • Security Officer: I'm sorry to say, I'm sad to report, I haven't seen anyone at all of that sort. Not a man who's Chinese with a mole on his nose with some kind of clothes that you can't suppose. So get away from this door and get out of this place, or I'll have to hurt you - put my foot in your face.

  • Maddie Hayes and David Addison (in unison): Gotta go!

01 March 2010

five years?
where has the time gone?

the Lord bless you and keep you
the Lord make his face to shine upon you
and be gracious unto you
the Lord lift his countenance upon you
and give you peace

diane sunde graham
18 august 1964 - 1 march 2005

my oldest, dearest friend
i cannot find
the words to say
how much you are missed
i swear to you
that i will try
to be as dear a friend
to mike, matthew and amanda
as you are to me

say hello
to your mother and father
who you missed so much
these last fifteen years
keep watch over Carol
and her family
for she loves you
and needs you
and is part of you
and will remember you
the rest of her days.
she is good
and pure
and needs your strength
and courage.

please find my dad
shout to him as you did to me
flash him your radiant smile
and warm him with your embrace
save a seat near you
at God's banquet for me
for i love you
as only a best friend could.

i weep
because you are gone
but i rejoice
because you are here
in my heart
and in my mind
always and forever.

time is irrelevant
in the scheme of eternity
for our life here is but
a blink of God's eye.
there are some who believe
that the journey from here
to Paradise
takes a stop along the way
to cleanse us and make us ready
to see the face of God.

i believe
with all my heart
and all my soul
that you found yourself
in the presence of God
the moment you left us
here in this life,
and that surely
your goodness and love
is as perfect as can be
and that you need not
make that stop along the way.

on the random, remotest chance
that you are still making the journey,
that you are moving
toward the light still,
i offer a simple thought,
spoken on the occasion
of my dad's funeral fifteen years ago.
it is, quite simply,
one of the most beautiful prayers
i have ever heard,
and since you are, quite simply,
one of the most beautiful people
i will ever know,
it bears repeating for you.

by some
that when a bell
rings, a soul, waiting
to get into Heaven, gets
its wings to take it there.
the next time i hear a bell
i will close my eyes and pray
with all my heart and all my soul
that you get your wings to speed
you to

glory be to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning
is now
and ever shall be
the world without end

rest in peace,
dearest friend.

water, water everywhere,
and not a drop to drink. . .

why is it, when water is so darned plentiful in oregon, that bottled water is so darned expensive?