Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sunday Intellectual Question: Religion and Politics

We've all been told never to discuss religion or politics...and yet these two topics are arguably the most influential on our lives, families and actions. Take for example any country who's political world is in turmoil. There are huge ramifications not only on the business lives of the people but often on basic human rights. Religion is much the same. Those who practice any form of belief will tell you that the results of their practice stretch from their daily lives into eternity. If these things are true then there must be an appropriate time to discuss these topics. So here's my question:

When is it appropriate to discuss religion or politics? Are there "rules of engagement"? Can these things be discussed in an appropriate way and by ordinary people?

Let me know what you think!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Quotes from Erma Bombeck

Quotes from Erma Bombeck
Here's another of my favorite comedy writers. The quotes aren't nearly as funny out of context but still....It's worth while!

Dave Barry Official Website

Dave Barry Official Website

Hello everyone! I'm sure most of you have heard of this very funny man but for those of you who haven't here's his website. I must say the columns are poorly copied out of the paper but some of his other things are worth while. Including just his homepage and his lists on what to buy people for Christmas. Have Fun!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Wednesday Stories: Explaination

Every Wednesday I hope to post a story. Either something I am currently working on or from another source. All stories (unless they are incredibly short) will be run as a serial, every Wednesday. Enjoy!

Crossing the Strenburger Line

Abigail Strenburger, with her glossy fake nails and arching eyebrows, was the toast of the over seventy set. Every week at her coffee “clutch” Abigail held forth on her favorite subject, Barney. “Works at the DVD club, in management” she would say ominously. As Barney’s closest neighbor Abigail was the undisputed expert. “Harvey bought a subscription once and you’ll never guess what they were selling, stuffed in with the classics...” her eyes twinkling deliciously she scanned the ceiling as if for bugs and whispered, "They sell porn you know!” The ladies giggled into their coffee mugs and exchanged knowing glances. Yes, they seemed to say, Abigail’s wit was only outdone by her keen eye for other people’s dark side. One could say that buried deep in the giggling coffee was the intense relief that her gaze was firmly pointed in another direction!

“Did Harvey buy any?” I asked wryly, leaning on the door frame. A tolerated youngster with, as Abigail’s eyes quickly pointed out, a brain full of jell-O. There were a few twitters but Abigail barely needed to raise her eyebrow to hush her followers.

“His lights are on until twelve o’clock at his kitchen!” Her delighted listeners leaned closer, “I mean, what does a man do in his kitchen that late at night?” They all nodded their heads in scandalized excitement.

“Oh, I know,” giggled Betsy, who had, in her high school year, received A’s for posture and punctuality, “Maybe he’s cooking?”

“Betsy, he’s alone. He most certainly isn’t perfecting his soufflĂ©.” The ladies giggled with delight as they speared their quivering no-carb mousse. How delightful, a double header!

Poor Barney. I couldn’t help but listen in, after all he was the topic every Wednesday, and as I was reminded, several times, my housecleaning and food preparation activities mysteriously extended to serving the every whim of the Wednesday Waggery. Not that I wasn’t grateful for Barney’s sudden appearance at 911 Westford St., oh no, I certainly wasn’t complaining. Between the hours of 7-8:30 am and 5:30-12:00pm, all thanks to Barney, the magnificent Abigail Beatrice Strenburger worked those manicured nails to the bone opening the curtains and fluttering her weary eyes through the lens of her binoculars, all for a glimpse of the mysterious Barney Bean, a rather unfortunate name that she discovered on his mail last spring. Those sweet hours were heaven. Not one single “Elisabeth!” to be heard. Not one mention of my “questionable” family who had the nerve to live far, far away, or my existence as an ineligible spinster who threw away all bachelors, and therefore my life, before thirty five. Not even a whisper of the running dialogue on the depravity of my household skills. Barney’s sacrifice was small.

The question of Barney had now been thrown open to the floor. Nancy Balriff, a former lawyer and successful business woman, was by general acclamation believed to be the most highly educated and knowledgeable of the group, and as such was, of course, the first to weigh in. “An individual working in such an ill-reputed profession would surely demonstrate the according compensation.”

This met with the appropriate reverent silence.

“Oh, that’s too bad he’s constipated. How can you tell? Did he miss work?” Betsy whispered. Abigail roundly elbowed her.

“Ah hem” squeaked Prunella Pawson, “My son in law says management pays very well these days.” Prunella’s son in law always had something to say on the topic at hand.

“Exactly!” cheered Abigail, “He’s doing something with all that money and it certainly isn’t his house...”

“Or his shoes” Betsy shivered. She had of course received and A in hygiene as well.

“His shoes!” Abigail hissed in full wind up,” who wears running shoes with a suit? Even if it is a two piece! And dirty! I’ve seen him walk to that bus stop wearing the same shoes...even in the rain. Ooh, they must reek to high heaven!” The air filled with cackles.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Survival Tips for Cave Dwelling

I am stuck in a cave, a panther is at the door, and all I have is a stick, a rope, and some red dye...  This could describe our last family vacation where we narrowly escaped a tornado, but the reality is this dilemma is self inflicted...a video game. I consider myself a reasonable problem solver, after all who managed to resolve the bouncy ball crisis of 2004? But a stick, some rope and red dye?
Here are some of the creative solutions I’ve come up with:
  1.      Toss the stick at the panther, hope it distracts him, use the rope to swing to safety, save the red dye for a victory party

  2.      Tie the rope to a stalagmite, wedge the stick in the ceiling, sit on it, use the red dye for decorating my new home

  3.      use the red dye to write a message on the wall, rope and stick to make a sculpture symbolising the futility of man, hope teenagers will discover me and appreciate my artistic angst

  4.      wrap rope around my body, paint with red dye, hold stick above my head and hope I pass for a walking tomato

  5.      Tie rope to stick to make a plumb line, use red dye to mark out how level the cave is so I can achieve symbolic balance in my life before I die

  6.      Cover myself in red dye, place stick so that it looks like I’ve been stabbed, use rope to make a police line and hope the panther is not a scavenger.

  7.      Break stick in half, make fire, use rope for fuel, hope panther gets the idea and jumps on the fire for dinner, use red dye to decorate panther skin for my new coat

So, as you can see I am not too good at video games. After this is published the line of kindergarteners waiting to beat me will wrap around the block. Actually, I’m worse at car racing, if that’s at all possible. Most of the race consists of me weaving from one ditch to another. But I’m a pretty mean dancer, which incidentally counts as exercise. (See for details on my weight loss plans.)  So come on kindergarteners I’ll challenge you to a dance off. We all know your feet can’t reach the pads.

Parents Corner RE Survival Tips for Cave Dwelling

Parents Corner      RE: Survival Tips for Cave Dwelling                                              
I read this recent article on reviewing games for kids. This site looks like it will be reviewing suitability and age appropriateness so it will be good to bookmark for the future.  They already have one that lists profiles of violent games etc. that are unsuitable here:  

Here’s some games that are fun as a family. We have the Game Cube Nintendo System so that is what I know. If you don’t have a game player you can rent one from a video store or borrow one from a neighbour. You don’t have to be an expert to play  ie; You can play them without unplugging everyone else’s controller in order to win. Dance Games; they are hilarious for crowds to watch and all ages can participate. Can’t dance? Not necessary. Can dance? Even better. At Christmas time our whole visiting family played, age 2 to 39 and holding. It would even be fun for parties. Mario franchise games, a lot of these are fun and easy to control. In Double Dash for instance even if you can’t get your car to go in a straight line you can have fun launching weird objects at your opponents or watching your characters fall on and off their carts. Be on the look out for the multi-player symbol on the back of the video game holder (it looks like a little controller) it will state how many people can play at the same time. The more the merrier! Think how pleased your kids will be to finally beat mom and dad at something!                                     

Sunday, January 22, 2006

POYi 62 Winning Images

POYi 62 Winning Images
Pictures of the Year International.
Check out this link for really beautiful and meaningful photographs.

The Sunday Intellectual Exercise: An Explaination

In honor of the slumber parties I attended as a young girl where my friends and I would say, "If only we could stay up longer we would solve the world's problems!"

(Many loud trumpets, people cheering, a lone dog howls...)

The Sunday Intellectual Exercise!

Come on everyone let's take our brains for a walk! Your thoughts don't have to be in the form of a dissertation, it could just be an idea or a single point. Everyone is welcome to voice their thoughts on these topics. Unlike a slumber party there's no time limit and no one's going to put shaving cream in your hands while you sleep.

Have fun, just no name calling and keep it clean!

This Sunday's Topic: Honesty in Politics

Is there room for honesty in politics? Can and more importantly should a politician be honest? If so what does that mean? Should he/she be true to what they believe or only what their constituents want?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Saturday Funny Commercial

I have a funny commercial for you guys to view. It is called the Samsing Turbo 3000 XI Multitask….all the things you can do with a cell phone. You can see it at this site:
Definitely will make you smile. Will take you 2 minutes

Beauty Tips from Construction Guys

Friday, I had an offer to have my face “resurfaced”. Ordinarily, I would be hiding under my bed clutching my pillow and mumbling “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…” However, no one wanted to meet me in the parking lot after school, the offer was delivered by my mail carrier and sent "For my personal enjoyment" from a beauty company. They said, and I quote:

“Discover a complete resurfacing treatment for your skin … effective after just 20 minutes!”

Immediately, pictures of burly construction guys in big trucks came to mind. Will they take my face down to the bone, back fill with gravel and top it with a nice layer of tar? Sounds like a relaxing afternoon. If they could do all this to my face in just twenty minutes imagine what they could do for our roads! The whole country could have a driving facelift in a matter of weeks!

But WAIT! It gets better!

I read to the end of the statement … blah, blah, blah, “signs of aging”… blah, blah, blah, “retexturizing the skin’s microsurface”… blah, blah, blah, “exfoliate”, blah …. and then the moment I have been waiting for all my life… “Lift away the years. Uncover the beauty that lies beneath!” All of a sudden this product sounded great! People in boats have expired on the shores of the new world looking for this promise and here it was, just a phone call away. The fountain of youth … time machine style.

Could I pick the year I wanted to go back to? It would be hard to choose. I had some pretty nice moments in my twenties. My teens were fun but involved a fair bit of acne and a lot of discomfort. However, life as a five year old was pretty sweet. I played all day and most of my skin treatments had to do with pine trees, dirt and a wet face cloth. I have actual photographic evidence that, while my mother dressed me nicely, I did not care a lick for the state of my hair, or clothes, or, my mom knows, my leggings. Just ask to see my grade one photograph.

Yes, operator, give me age five. Oh, and while your at it … do the driveway, too.

Links from "Make Self Smartness"

Being new to blogging I thought I posted the Ancient Greek links with the blog “make self smartness”. Here they are… I hope.

Brief overview of Ancient Greek Language and some nice links

I strongly recommend memorizing strange bits of the Iliad in Greek and then translating it for your friends… you will sound so smart! For you bible types you have the option of memorizing the Lord’s Prayer or the Creed. Either of which could be interesting, you’ll get a chance to see how it has been translated.

This link is cool too:
For those of you wanting to go whole hog and learn not only Greek but Latin…keeping in mind that if you learn Latin you will be able to read works like “Harry Potter” translated into Latin and have whole conversations with others who learn it! It’s like a secret language.

This site lets you use free text book materials and, as an added bonus, you could enter some contests to win actual text books!

For the history of the Greeks check these out:

The Ancient Greek World:
Put on by the University of Pennsylvania it has some good info with pictures of pottery that explains their info. You can even look up the Olympics under religious sports.

A good looking site for kids is:

Daily Life in Ancient Greece:
It is clear and fun with a whole section devoted to the Olympics and how you would have acted depending on which city state you were from:

You’re well on your way! Good luck!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Make Self Smartness

I'm not so bright on your average morning. I have been known to walk into walls, pour orange juice in my cereal, and even call Canada Revenue and ask to pay taxes. However, my brain is now in crisis. I have discovered that with each pregnancy I know less and less.

"At what age did you start feeding your two year old cereal?" a new mom asks.

"I don't know", I reply.

"Is the laundry in the machine clean or dirty?" says my husband from the laundry room .

"Do you live here?" I question grogily.

"Why are you calling us again?" asks the Canada Revenue agent.

"Sorry, I must have you on speed dial."

How could I have forgotten so much, without a serious blow to the head? Thankfully there is now proof that I am not alone. Scientists have done a study involving pregnant rats that clearly shows the rat's brain cells decrease with each litter produced. Where do the brain cells go? Perhaps they are donated to our offspring, which would explain how they know which button to push on the DVD player while I can only stare cluelessly ahead. The good news? Rats who have produced more than two litters get to keep what ever brain cells they have left. Reassuring.

I have decided to combat this deadly condition. How, you may ask? By using what I have left to cleverly disguise what is missing. I'm going to learn Ancient Greek. Difficult you say? Nonsense. Just listen to my well thought out plan. Ancient Greek is a dead language. This is good for the following reasons:

  1. Only the dead speak it. No one will know if I'm pronouncing it correctly or least they won't know for sure.
  2. The only people who know Ancient Greek are safely tucked away in small windowless rooms at remote universities. This is for the safety of all mankind as we all know that the pen is mightier than the sword and these guys have a lot of pens.
  3. Much of the English language has it roots in Ancient Greek. That means that I already know many Ancient Greek words and have only to discover that I do. Take 'kaka' for instance. I have used that word many times while changing diapers such as, "You've got a bit of 'kaka' in your pants." Surprisingly this word, which means bad or evil, has survived in its entirety from antiquity until today. Don't I sound smart? It also means by simply watering my head in the shower every morning those Ancient Greek roots will grow.
This is my clever plan. I know it will work because I saw a televangelist quoting some Ancient Greek, wrongly I may add, just the other day. Everyone was impressed and not a soul questioned him. If it worked so well for him it will definitely floor those cashiers at the supermarket. And Canada Revenue. How do I know? I consulted a rat.

P.S. If you wish to join me in my campain check out the link

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Baby Butt Weight Loss Plan

I have been informed that everyone needs five minutes of exercise a day. Last I heard it was thirty but if people won't rise to the challenge, the challenge must lower to them. My friend Helen recently watched a TV morning show featuring a stay at home mom who cleared the living room for her five minute routine, because, goodness knows, we moms all need more exercise. It could be argued that, by the time she hoisted the couch and bulldozed the cubic tonne of toys to clear a spot for her yoga mat, she had done her week's worth of exercise and should have been nominated for the peace prize. According to the morning show it was not enough. She then proceeded outside for a walk around the block, briskly pumping her arms and marching into the distance. This led me to the following questions:

  1. Where were her children? Does she have a stay at home nanny? Did her stay at home nanny get her five minutes of exercise? If so did it violate her immigration?
  2. If she did not have a stay at home nanny did she lock the children in the cellar? Are Child and Welfare Services aware that exercise is driving her to abuse? And who has a cellar these days unless your name is Dorothy and you live in tornado alley?
  3. Could she tell me, please, what it is like outside?

I'm sure this doesn't count but my current regimen involves carrying my infant twin girls in my arms while chasing my toddler son. For sustenance I chew on my sweater. With such a regular diet and exercise routine you would think that I would be svelte, buff and peddling my secrets on TV. I'm not. I should have followed the example of one of my dear friends who leapt off the birthing table, into a pair of runners, and now could model for Sports Illustrated. Not that she would, she has a good job. Instead, while the top half of my body looks reasonably fat free, with the exception of my chin, my bottom half looks like Noddy, the rolly, poley, but happy little nome. This is because of the babies. To be exact my butt is wide because I birthed four babies. Never mind that I did not carry them in my butt, even if it felt like it.

I plan on using this excuse forever. I will be ninety-nine, in the nursing home, still rubbing my hips and saying "four babies." The nurses, even the male ones, will all nod in understanding because by then people will be having babies just so they can have a butt like mine. We all know it is cushionier even if it does make it difficult to find a seat on an airplane. We can at least sit next to a person who is able to exercise five minutes a day and have the joy of impeding their sitting comfort.