Sunday, December 28, 2008

Seattle Fun

Been having big fun in Seattle. Spent the first two days at my sister's, with the full family visiting. Some nice quality time with my nieces and nephew, GREAT kids!!

We all went to the Pacific Science Center after Christmas to see Lucy (she's been traveling the US this year, this is her Pacific Northwest venue).

It included an interesting exhibit on the history and prehistory of Ethiopia, which was perhaps even more enjoyable than seeing the original fossil. And only one picture of Donald Johanson...who'd have thunk it ;-)

Comparably important -- good gift shop ;-) Decent 'fridge magnet choices.

The next day we went to the 5th Ave. Theater to see a production of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." What a great old theater. The show itself had some exceptional dance scenes and inventive stage sets. But the highlight was certainly the theater, really a cool old building. Fun family time. And packed!!

Today we're back on Whidbey Island at my folks home. A quiet day to sleep in, drive around, and pick up the pug (from the kennel). Always fun having him around, a happy little bundle of unconditional love. Just like Wiley... ;-)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ho HO Ho

A belated Merry Christmas!! I spent the day traveling to Seattle, waking to begin my journey at 3:00am (with a little help from Wiley). 'Twas a long day, but the flights couldn't have gone smoother, crowds weren't bad, people were generally friendly tho' clearly tired (I think some were amongst those trapped over the last few days).

In Seattle, my folks sent up a limo service to pick me up at the airport because the snow was so bad. Nice big Town Car. The driver of which I managed to insult 5 minutes out - when I asked where he was from, he said "near Mt. Ararat" to which I resonded", "Oh, Turkey?" Which technically is a fine answer...unless your driver is Armenian. Yep, I'm a trained anthropologist I am.

Around the airport the streets were perfectly clear. I thought my folks were perhaps beginning to lose their minds and/or I was a little orphaned girl, because the airport and I-5 were fine.

But a sleet mixture began to intensify as we approached Seattle, and literally as we drove up the off ramp, the snow was coming down in earnest. But that wasn't the amazing part - it's the streets. Imagine the amount of snow we've had in the midwest, but never plowed or salted or sanded. And with giant hills. I've lived in New England, Colorado, and Chicago-land, and I've never seen anything like this.

The long and the short of it, we got about a block from my sister's house and got hopelessly stuck. So I pulled the bags out of the car, called my father and brother-in-law to help, and a few neighbors kicked in. Took about an hour to get the guy free. The amazing part (beyond the mess of the streets) is that NO ONE has anything for snow - Sand? Kittie litter? Snow shovels - nope. My father cleaned off my sister's driveway with a big board. It's almost like this white stuff on the ground is an alien invader ;-)

Had a GREAT dinner with the family and some friends, opened gifts, drank awesome wine (my brother-in-law often brings out these fantastic bottles of wine to try, I ask where I can get some, and the answer is invariably, oh, you can't anymore. Grrrrr) So I drink and be merry, cuz' they are delicious.

Alas, about 8 pm, as people were sitting around talking, I started doing the head-bob thing. So I went to bed early, before embarrassing myself by drooling or snoring in the middle of someone's sentence ;-)

HOpe you had a Merry Christmas as well!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Cold cold cold cold cold. Wind chills between -20 to -30. I went to school for awhile today, got gas, and bought cat food. I might begin to feel my toes again sometime tonight. Brrrrrr. And icy. One stretch of road was literally a skating rink. Fortunately, not many people were out and about.

Did I mention, Brrrrrrrr? We dodged the snow again, but not the cold this time.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

This is News??

Do you think it might be a slow news day when the NBC Nightly News shows a several minute bit about changes to the game "Clue"?? And do you think people might have too much time on their hands if they their knickers in a twist because of changes made to the look of Col. Mustard??

Seems there might be enough real news, good and bad, in this country and around the world to fill 30 minutes. Shame on NBC.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Random Bytes

Taking trophy heads close to home - New evidence suggests that an ancient South American culture obtained ritual skulls by killing and beheading some of its own people, not foreign warriors
By Bruce Bower, Dec 19, 2008

New Species Found in Mekong Delta
By ASHLEY FANTZ, Dec 17, 2008
Yay. And cool. (tho' they could've skipped the spider picture...)

Dec. 17, 1790: Accurate Calendar Requires Sacrifice, You Dig?
By Randy Alfred, December 17, 2008
Kinda rough if you're born in a leap year on this calendar!

Tiny Saturn Moon ID'd As Good Candidate For Alien Life
By Betsy Mason, December 16, 2008

Vanity is so last year
By Natasha Singer,, December 19, 2008
Shame it takes a financial crisis for common sense to rule.

What Came Before The Big Bang? Interpreting Asymmetry In Early Universe, Dec. 18, 2008

How To Make a Skull Bong: Guide for the ultimate deadhead.
By Arthur Delaney, May 9, 2008
How did I miss this one?? Gross, by the way!!

Earth's Original Ancestor Was 'LUCA', Dec. 19, 2008

'Hobbit' Fossils Represent A New Species, Concludes Anthropologist
Dec. 19, 2008
I just love the hobbit!

WTF of the day: "Artificial Virginity Hymen"
by Tracy Clark-Flory, Dec. 19, 2008
I'm not even going to try to think of a skeleton action figure for this one!

The Questions We Never Answered in 2008 -- Digging through the bottom of the Explainer mailbag.
By Daniel Engber,
Dec. 17, 2008
Vote for the "How did early man deal with growing toe and fingernails?" -- I really want to know the answer to this!!

Baby's Brain Tumor Contained Foot, Dec 18, 2008

Get Along Without a Pinkie? It’s Tougher Than You Might Think
By DANA SCARTON, December 15, 2008
Who knew??

The Return of Chest Hair
by Jessi Klein
TheDailyBeastcom, Dec 16, 2008
Gets my vote!

Man's £5 debt repaid 39 years on
Dec 19, 2008
A holiday story indeed.

New Way To More Rapidly Generate Bone Tissue Developed, Dec. 19, 2008

Where Is Steve Jobs?
By Brian X. Chen, December 18, 2008


We were to be hammered last night with snow and ice. Which we got admittedly, with some thunder-snow thrown in during the wee hours of the morning. Kinda cool. It is cold and was pretty icy for awhile today, but not nearly as bad as was purported. It looks like Seattle, Chicago, Detroit, and much of the northeast got much worse.

Another storm is on the way Sunday. Fingers crossed.

Throw A Shoe At Bush Game

Check it out, a fun procrastination tool, compliments of my sister:

Study Break

Tonight I took a break from grading and letter of recommendation writing to watch "Judgment at Nuremberg." Didn't realize it was quite so long, well worth it.

I got chills listening to Spencer Tracy's closing argument at the trial, found it online to post here:

...under the stress of a national crisis, ordinary men...can delude themselves into the commission of crimes. How easily it can happen...A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient -- to look the other way.

The answer to that is: survival of what? A country isn't a rock...It's what it stands for, when standing for something is the most difficult.

Interestingly enough, the descenting judge then uses a phrase quite similar to Cheney's comments today about the legacy of the Bush Administration:

It can only be decided years to come, in the true perspective of history.

It is my sincere hope that on his first day in office, Obama does two things -- a) close Guantanamo, and b) task his Attorney General to start investigating who approved the use of torture by the US, regardless of where the responsibility falls.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's He Thinking??

I heard tonight that Pastor Rick Warren is giving the invocation at the Inauguration. That would be Pastor Rick - ardently-anti-gay-marriage - Warren of Prop 8 fame. Nice slap in the face to those in the gay community who voted for Obama. In large numbers.

I think this is taking the whole 'reach across the isle' thing a bit too far. What's next, appointing the twit that runs Focus on the Family as a religion advisor? Joined perhaps by the boys that wrote the "Left Behind" series. How far is too far a reach?? Seems a bad move all around. Maybe somebody should throw a shoe??

To Ph.D. or Not to Ph.D.

Here's an article I probably shouldn't post, but forewarned is forearmed?? Thank Lesley for pointing it out:

Why You Shouldn’t Pursue a PhD

Anthropology Christmas

Monday I hosted the Anthropology Department Christmas party. Not much work on my part, we had it catered by Thyme of Grace. I bought some wine, juice and fizzy water, and other than having to cook some of the warm dishes, that was about my work load. Not bad.

I had ordered Wall-E from Netflix to take to Seattle in case my nieces & nephew haven't seen it, so we put it to work for the kids at the party. It did the trick, kept 'em all in one place for 2 hours, allowing their parents some time to visit.

The cats had to be closed off in a room, too much activity for them. I took some of the girls in to visit, and after 15 minutes or so Wiley and Lemur looked at me with pleading eyes "Mom, help!!" Maz had nothing to do with any of us, he hid behind the shoe rack in the back of the closet, not to be lured out.

It was fun. Gotta do it more often (especially if catered!)

Scandinavian Christmas

I've been delinquent of late. Bad cold and preparations for the Dept Christmas party at my house kept me busy. And finals, with grading to commence today.

So, by way of summary, Friday night I attended the annual Scandinavian Christmas party at Michael & Doug's. And ate lutefisk for the first time - which is definitely going on my "50 New Things" list because, not to insult my hosts, but it was aweful. Not the taste, the consistency. Comparable to snot. Them Norwegians musta been pretty hungry to eat that stuff. It's codfish soaked in lye - yep, tastes as good as it sounds. Blech.

Michael also introduced the St. Lucy crown to the festivities (since it was her feast day) which is documented below (I took the pictures with my phone, not so good I'm afraid). We all had to wear it for a time, and were supposed to sing a song, do a little dance, and/or tell a story while donning the crown. Only Max cooperated (last picture).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Random Bytes (a little early)

Should I Buy a Fake Fir? Or is it better for the environment to cut down a real Christmas tree?
By Brendan I. Koerner, Dec. 10, 2008
My solution? No Christmas tree...makes clean-up easy.

Postscript: Grounded Antarctic Ship Freed
By Andrew C. Revkin, Dec 8, 2008
This is getting old. Time to rethink the ships that are allowed to travel to Antarctica.

Sponge-Wielding Dolphins Teach Their Daughters How to Use Tools, Dec 10, 2008
Take that, chimps!

Actor cuts throat on Vienna stage, Dec 11, 2008

Fire-Ant Invasions Are Ecological Karma
By Brandon Keim, Dec 8, 2008
Hell on Earth!! Could be worse I guess...could be spiders!

The Last Neandertals? Late Neandertals And Modern Human Contact In Southeastern Iberia, Dec. 11, 2008

Motherhood at 70: Meet the world's newest oldest mom
By William Saletan, Dec. 9, 2008

Brain-Enhancing Drugs: Legalize 'Em, Scientists Say
By Brandon Keim, Dec 10, 2008
Food for thought...

3 Diseases We May Be Able to Blame on Our Ancient Ancestors: Obesity, lactose intolerance, and high blood pressure may all be traceable to hunter-gatherer survival.
by Emily Anthes,, November 27, 2008

Columbus’ Sailors Culprit for Syphilis Epidemic: Tit for twat: Syphilis in exchange for Smallpox
by Anne Holden February 2008
Yay Anne!!

Resolution Time

Today we had the College Christmas party, great to see some old friends. And get some good advice. Of note, one friend mentioned that this year he'd started a "50 Things I've Never Done Before" list to liven life up a bit. As expected, it was fun. But he also pointed out that it made him more self-reflective, causing him think about things he did on a daily basis (and how to change 'em up). I'm stealing it. Sounds like a great New Year's resolution.

If you have ideas of things to do/try, let me know.

Completely unrelated -- as I looked over my collection of Christmas Skeleton Action Figures, I realized I have more than I could use in one lifetime. So, I'm starting a 12 Days of Christmas image, in order to move thru them. By the time I'm 80, I may have made a dent!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fire Fire Fire

Hot time in the old town tonight!! Non-stop news about the governor of Illinois on the news. What an idiot. I was initially quite worried for Obama as this news broke, but was quite relieved when Governor Blagojevich, in his eloquent way, stated that the Obama team wouldn't play ball, so bleep-em. Talk about exculpatory testimony. I sure hope it turns out Rom Emmanuel exposed this.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


There was an interesting feature about Baboons on NPR on Friday. Here's the link:

The Secret Life Of Baboons
December 5, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy Abolition Day!!

You'd have thought this failed experiment would have taught us you can't legislate morality.

The Prop 8 votes show that's not the case.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I was listening to Bush's comments today at the Brooking's Institute and so utterly disgusted by the blatant lying I found myself talking/yelling at the television. Below are two of his gems from today's speech.

To think that that we have to put up with 6 more weeks of this crap makes me apoplectic!!

• The Middle East is a much safer place now thanks to him. Over 100,000 dead Iraqis might dispute this interpretation. The Palestinians he ignored for the past 7 years might have a word or two to say as well. The Lebanese, whose cities we allowed to be bombed without raising an eyebrow a few years back, may likewise raise their hands to say "ummm, not so much." It's so untrue, it's like listening to him tell us the Earth is flat with a straight face.

• He claims he said numerous times that there was no connection between Sadam and 9/11 -- except that he did say exactly that, many, many times. Thank God for Rachael Maddow, the Daily Show, etc. who show clips from 2004 where he repeatedly states a connection, a direct connection, between Iraq and 9/11.

A recent article in Time outlines this lame duck period. The concluding paragraph captures the disaster that was this presidency nicely...and far more eloquently than my rant above:

In the end, though, it will not be the creative paralysis that defines Bush. It will be his intellectual laziness, at home and abroad. Bush never understood, or cared about, the delicate balance between freedom and regulation that was necessary to make markets work. He never understood, or cared about, the delicate balance between freedom and equity that was necessary to maintain the strong middle class required for both prosperity and democracy. He never considered the complexities of the cultures he was invading. He never understood that faith, unaccompanied by rigorous skepticism, is a recipe for myopia and foolishness. He is less than President now, and that is appropriate. He was never very much of one.

More Feline Fun

When not on my lap, the boys kept busy. At one point Lemur apparently went fishing for his brothers. The second picture shows they were having nothing to do with it. Later, I caught Wiley in one of his habitually goofy poses...if only I'd had a beer bottle or bong handy to put in this picture...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Kitty Kuddling

I decided to work at home today to finish up all of these bloody letters of recommendation. Apparently, to the cats however, my being home meant extended cuddle time. As I was working, up popped Lemur, who got frustrated with my typing so began to swat at my fingers, then to eat the keyboard (or at least the keyboard cover). After that, Matzel joined in - grooming and sleep commenced. My typing?? Currently one-handed...but with a smile.

Proposition 8 - The Musical

Thanks to Lesley for pointing this out --

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Job Hunt

Colbert is trying to get a job in the new Obama administration. Here is a very humorous clip about his vetting process: