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December 02, 2007

I think this is Michaelangelo and Donatello.... hard to tell without the nunchucks....

But where is Master Splinter?

Posted by caltechgirl at 07:36 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 04, 2007

Talk about your Airport Park-N-Ride!

In the 80's and 90's we had Limousine Liberals.  Now we have Gulfstream Greenies:

Tempo Interaktif reports that Angkasa Pura - the management of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport are concerned that the large number of additional private charter flights expected in Bali during the UN Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) December 3-15, 2007, will exceed the carrying capacity of apron areas. To meet the added demand for aircraft storage officials are allocating "parking space" at other airports in Indonesia.

The operational manager for Bali's Airport, Azjar Effendi, says his 3 parking areas can only accommodate 15 planes, which means that some of the jets used by VIP delegations will only be allowed to disembark and embark their planes in Bali with parking provided at airports in Surabaya, Lombok, Jakarta and Makassar.--emphasis mine, Ed.
I thought they were meeting to try to COMBAT Global Warming. Hypocrites.

h/t The Pirate, via IM

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 06, 2007

Best Bumper Sticker EVAH

"Hey Dumbass-- It's not the guns.  It's a lack of parenting"

seen on the back of a big pickup being driven by an off-duty cop rocking a great big 'stache.

Posted by caltechgirl at 10:45 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 10, 2007

I Still Believe

This gets better every year.  Santa Claus IS real.  And if you are patient enough, and believe enough, he brings the presents our hearts desire most.

From one of my favorite writers (and favorite people):

After spending an entire day either in a hot and stuffy conference room full of angry, yelling, exasperated voices, or on London transport, I took a very long journey home and finally made it home at 8:30 at night. Which meant, at the end of the day, that I had spent a whopping 6 hours in transit and 7 hours straight in meetings, stopping only to exercise my bladder's rights and to scarf down a thoroughly unsatisfactory baked potato, and that I got home a shattered shell of a human being.

But all that time in transit allowed for something that I needed-a little thinking time. I needed some time to sit down and think about why it is that I was missing the holidays so badly, why it was that the baubles and bangles weren't getting into my heart, why the lights reflected in disjointed pools from my disbelieving eyes. This (for me) has nothing to do with religion and I don't want to get into that aspect with this post, I'm simply talking about the spirit of hope and laughter that the holidays imbue you with. I thought about why it was that I was unable to project myself into my favorite Christmas activities-watching Scrooged, A Miracle on 34th Street, and the old Burl Ives' steadies Rudolph and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Why couldn't I listen to the whole John Denver and the Muppets Christmas CD? What was happening?

And then it hit me as fast as it hit Susan in A Miracle on 34th Street (not the old one, the newer one with the doe-eyes Elizabeth Perkins and the new lisping Susan who is so damn cute it made my ovaries throb). I realized with a slight smile and a shake of the head why it was that I no longer felt so light and joyous about Christmas. In one moment, a smile spread on my face and I started to laugh (which I was on a crowded train at the time, so at least the guy moved away from me, lest I have something contagious).

The reason I felt so lost was that I didn't believe in Santa Claus anymore.

I had outgrown him and joined the race of jaded adults too afraid to let themselves confess that there might be something just a little bit bigger to life than they would be willing to admit.

Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Sinterklaas, the Hannukah Armadillo. Why had we forgotten them? Why have they become symbols that are reserved only for the kids, for the young, for the little people that are still chock-full of innocence, of hope, that the world really will reward you if you've been good and kind to Mommy and Daddy, that there is someone looking out for you and checking a list to make sure that you are going to get what it is that your little heart so badly needs?

I need to feel like there is a fat man in a red suit who is out there who exists purely to make the hearts of other people lighter. I need to know that the dreams that the children go to bed with on Christmas Eve are not wasted dreams, that the candy cane visions and sugarplum dreams go into a melting pot of something bigger, something that will bind and wrap up the children in little invisible force-fields of optimism as they grow up. I need to feel like there's someone who cares so much about what it is that will make us happy that he's keeping a list, checking it twice, giving me a reason to not be naughty, just nice.
Read the rest, and take the spirit of the season back into your life, just like Santa reminds us to. Or maybe the Hanukkah Armadillo.

What are you asking for for Christmas this year?

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Among the drunks....

I'm guessing this ranking has everything to do with a certain blogger moving to Fresno......

The list below ranks the cities from most dangerously drunk to least dangerously drunk.

Most Dangerously Drunk

100. Denver, CO F

99. Anchorage, AK F

98. Colorado Springs, CO F

97. Omaha, NE F

96. Fargo, ND F

95. San Antonio, TX F

94. Austin, TX F

93. Fresno, CA F

92. Lubbock, TX F

91. Milwaukee, WI F

90. El Paso, TX F

In other highlights, Washington DC comes in at 88, Los Angeles at 65, Las Vegas surprisingly near the middle at 47, and the LEAST dangerously drunk cities are (below the jump!)

Read More "Among the drunks...." »
Posted by caltechgirl at 11:20 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


Warning: disjointed thoughts ahead!

Over the last few days I've been thinking a lot about the amazing bumper sticker of awesomeness and how we parent our children. When I say "parent our children", I mean in the general sense, that is, how ADULTS guide and direct children towards what's right and instill in them a sense of right and wrong. Not just their parents, biological or otherwise, but grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, mentors, and friends. Hillary said that it takes a village to raise a child, and although her application of that message was far more socialist than I agree with, her point is well-taken. Children grow up surrounded by adults. ALL of those adults have something to do with raising them, even just reinforcing proper behavior.

I've often heard it said (and I believe it) that parenting is an act of will. As a parent, you are the boss, and what the kids want is secondary. It seems to me that a hell of a lot of ADULTS are abdicating this responsibility because they just don't want to "hurt the kid's feelings" or they'd rather let someone else be the bad guy.

See, here's the thing, and this is what has come up over and over and over in conversations about the bumper sticker, good kids are NOT kids who never think of doing bad things. Good kids are not kids who say "it's wrong, so I won't do it." At least not all the time. Good kids are good simply because they know what will happen to them if they get caught doing what they want to do that their parents disapprove of. They have rules and boundaries and consequences. Consistent, very negative consequences. I was one of those goody-two-shoes kids. But sure as hell NOT because it was wrong to do bad things. Oh hells no. I was terrified of what my parents would do if they caught me.

Good parents make it possible for their kids to reach the stage in their life, where as adults, they can recognize all of their right and wrong steps in the past and use that knowledge to "parent" other children: their own, nieces and nephews, students, mentees, etc.

I've gone down the road before about no consequences for kids and how THAT turns out. But I'll sum up. Kids who don't understand that their actions have consequences CAN NOT succeed in life. They don't turn in homework, but they expect an A. They can't show up to work on time, but they'll sue you for firing them. They expect hand up after hand up and if they don't get one, it's YOUR fault. Mom and Dad fix everything, from a bad grade to a parking ticket to getting kicked out of college because of academic dishonesty. Kids who don't understand that actions have consequences are precisely the ones who will take a gun and try to make their own.

It's a simple principal of Psychology: Associative Learning. If I get zapped every time I press the red button, pretty soon I'll learn not to touch it any more. It's not just a fancy trick, either. This is how the mammalian brain is wired. We learn by experience, both positively and negatively.

Which brings me to a recent experience. I was involved with a community outreach program sponsored by our school a few weeks back. Two groups of high school students were assigned to be helpers to the college students and faculty involved with the program. One group of kids was from a high-achieving science-related magnet school. The other was from a "cultural" charter school. The difference between the two groups was remarkable, and not surprisingly, correlated with the expectations of the adults around them AND the consequences of their actions.

The "magnet" kids were friendly and polite, they pitched in to clean up without being asked. They were creative and helpful and spoke respectfully to each other and to us.

The charter kids were (with a few exceptions) just the opposite. They were loud and lazy, they yelled at each other and spent their time making messes and trying to break things rather than helping out, and when faced directly with consequences, they ignored requests to sit down and/or be quiet from their teachers and principal. Which, I later understood, because the threatened consequences never materialized.

What you don't know is that these kids all come from the same background: ethnically diverse, lower-middle-class and underprivileged homes. They all live in the same neighborhoods, have the same kinds of "stereotypical" families. What's different about them is the expectation that positive and negative behavior each have their own set of consequences. It couldn't be more striking.

So yeah, it's not about the damn guns. It's about shitty adults who think "kid gloves" means "use with children" instead of "made from baby goats".

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:00 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

December 12, 2007

A request

I tried to post this last night, but MuNu was having a moment...

Friend, frequent commenter, and occasional guest poster ZTZCheese and her hubby got a new kitty!

He's cute and smart and friendly, and he needs a name. However, kitty didn't seem too taken with any of the names we've tried so far, so she asked me to ask YOU to help us come up with suggestions.

He seems like a "people name" cat, rather than a "cat name" cat, but a clever cat name might suit.

He's a little put off by the small silver flashy-thing in his face in this shot:


Yes, he is one-eyed, he's not winking. But he sure could be.

And there are more pics of him here, in his new Flickr album.

So chime in, folks. What should they call him?

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:27 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

December 14, 2007

Good News!

I just talked to my Dad and everything with Mom's surgery went well. She is now officially the Bionic Woman, with two titanium knees. The Dr. was very pleased and last I heard Mom was in recovery and Dad was waiting to be able to go see her.

Posted by caltechgirl at 01:01 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

And the name is...


As in: Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody.

Thanks to everyone for chiming in (especially wRitErsbLock for posting the name)! It was a really hard decision to make, since it's a little close to our resident cat's name (Arthur), but sometimes that's just the way it goes.

Posted by ztzcheese at 09:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 18, 2007

Busy like the bee

Quick update:

Mom is doing great! Really great! The therapist was really impressed with her today!

Mom came home Sunday afternoon, and ever since it's been a whirlwind of therapy, continuous passive motion machine, walker exercises, and puppies.

I did manage to pay my bills and get all of the Christmas cards done.  If I have your address, you should be getting one....

On tap for this afternoon, Round 2 of puppy booster shots at the Vet and sorting all the Christmas presents that need to be wrapped. And then maybe some Christmas decorating, I hope.

In other news, it's pouring like the proverbial SOB here in Fresburg, which I love, especially at the holidays.  There should be a TON of snow in the mountains.  YAY!

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:07 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 19, 2007

Why vote Fred?

Posted by caltechgirl at 03:52 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

December 26, 2007

This is just the sweetest Christmas story ever!

Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Southey!

Some people get surprise birthday parties. Ilda Ruth Southey gets surprise weddings.

Twice in her life Southey was surprised with a wedding ceremony on Christmas Eve, both times to Francis Southey.

Her future husband planned their original wedding for Christmas Eve 1942 while he was stationed in Sherman, Texas, awaiting orders to ship off to Europe during World War II.

"I didn't know I was getting married, I just went to spend Christmas with him and I got down there, he had the wedding all arranged," said Ruth Southey, 85, who lives at the Waterford Senior Living facility.

On Monday, staff at the senior facility arranged the same surprise for their 65th anniversary. The couple renewed their vows in front of three generations of teary-eyed family and friends.

At the ceremony, Francis Southey, 90, reminisced about how the first wedding almost didn't happen.

"She said that she wasn't going to marry me," he said. "She said she didn't wanted to get married. She wanted a wedding, a big wedding, but I didn't have any money."

I wish them many more years of health and happiness!

Read the rest of the story here.

Posted by caltechgirl at 05:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

So WTF have I been up to?

I haven't been ignoring y'all on purpose. Really. I've just been super busy. Mom is doing very well, walking around on short excursions with just her cane and doing therapy twice a week. Staples SHOULD come out at her DR appointment tomorrow, which is a HUGE milestone because that means she can shower without wrapping her leg in plastic and tape....

Santa Claus was DAMN good to me this year. I didn't think I was THAT good a girl.... I got a Kitchenaid mixer. It's PURPLE! and n AWESOME digital photo keychain. Hubby got a telescope (for school, actually) and PS2 games. And a bad case of the Flu. Dad had it first, then me, then hub. Ugh.

Puppies also scored. New leashes and food dishes and beds. Princess got lots of dog treats, too.

More later, as it appears to be dinner time!

Posted by caltechgirl at 08:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 27, 2007

When you're done with those presents...

Tony over at A Red Mind in a Blue State has some interesting thoughts on the state of the economy and how it's reported:

Will it stop? The unending media hysteria about the economy?

The story this morning is that Internet plus brick and mortar sales are up 2.4% this season.

Given the incessant drumbeat of bad economy, bad economy, bad economy-- I thought the tag on the story would be, hey, not bad!

But no. For whatever reason-- incompetence, latent Bush-bashing, the inability to ever report good news-- the headlines were mostly negative. Sluggish. Poor. Disappointing.

How could 2.4% growth in the "teeth" of this mortgage meltdown, etc. be deemed disappointing?

Read the rest, including some interesting facts about gift card sales.

I think Tony has a point. Sales ARE up. Doesn't that mean people have the $$ to spend? Or does it mean that they'd rather sink farther into their credit bills so the kids can have the Wii and the computer and the new iPod?

Either way, it means they plan on having a place to keep what they bought, so people must be somewhat more than negative-feeling about the whole housing/mortgage/ interest rate business.

Even more interesting was the item about gift card sales. I wonder what the total figures would be with those included. Especially as sales of gift cards increased ALONG with the direct sales increases reported.

What do you think?

Posted by caltechgirl at 12:26 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 30, 2007

Ralphie Rocks!

TBS set records with this year's "A Christmas Story" Marathon:

The marathon scored its best-ever average delivery in total viewers (2.8 million) as well as in such key demos as adults 18-34 (775,000), adults 18-49 (1.6 million) and adults 25-54 (1.5 million), according to Nielsen Media Research.

For the marathon's entire 24-hour run, TBS ranked as the No. 1 ad-supported cable network in 18-34, 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers. (Ad-supported networks include most basic cable outlets with a few exceptions like Disney Channel.)

During the marathon, the most-watched airing of "Christmas" in total viewers was the first telecast (8 p.m. December 24), which averaged 4.4 million viewers. The 10 p.m. telecast that followed was the most-watched among 18-34 (1.2 million), 18-49 (2.2 million) and 25-54 (2.1 million).

The 10 p.m. showing also beat all broadcast programming on Christmas Eve (8 p.m.-midnight) in the 18-34 demo.
I watched part of at least 5 of the 12 showings. How about you?

Posted by caltechgirl at 11:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack