Monday, July 30, 2007

Heroes and Villains

Two interesting news tidbits today:

First, the heroes. An interesting interview in Wired with the author of the forthcoming book, Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics and the Creation of the Superhero. In case you didn't know,

Jewish comics creators and co-creators include Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel(Superman); Bob Kane and Bill Finger (Batman); Will Eisner (The Spirit); Jack Kirby (Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, the X-Men); Jack Kirby and Joe Simon (Captain America); and of course Stan Lee (who helped create Spider-Man and a whole bunch of others).


It's an interesting look into why so many of these guys got into comic-book-making, and how their background influenced them.

Now, the villain. Glenn Beck seems to think that Al Gore and Adolf Hitler have a lot in common:

"Al Gore's not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That is the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all of the Jews and have one global government." He continued: "You got to have an enemy to fight. And when you have an enemy to fight, then you can unite the entire world behind you, and you seize power. That was Hitler's plan. His enemy: the Jew. Al Gore's enemy, the U.N.'s enemy: global warming." Beck added: "Then you get the scientists -- eugenics. You get the scientists -- global warming. Then you have to discredit the scientists who say, 'That's not right.' And you must silence all dissenting voices. That's what Hitler did."

Say what?!? Can I sic' all of my Jewish superheroes on him?

Friday, July 27, 2007

I knew it!


From the minute Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade left the theaters in 1989, the rumors started about "Indy 4." And now they're not just rumors, as Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg are already working on it. [I love that theme music!] Of course, we all know that Harrison is getting a little long in the tooth for these action hero roles-- he turned 65 two weeks ago -- particularly since he likes to do all of the stunts himself. So they had to bring in some new blood... enter Shia LaBoeuf, who is cutting his movie-blockbuster teeth this summer with the Transformers movie.

And who does Shia play? Indy's son. (well, ok, that hasn't been officially announced, but really, that has to be it.) But if Indy has a son, who is the mother? I've been saying for YEARS that it had to be Karen Allen's character (Marion) from the first movie. There's no way he had a kid with the shrieking ditzy woman that Kate Capshaw played in 'Temple of Doom.' And it couldn't be the German woman in Last Crusade, she disappeared into the ether when she was trying to steal the Holy Grail.

Well, whaddya know? Today, I am one step closer to being proven correct - they've just announced that Karen Allen will be in Indy 4! :)

Mark your calendars, the movie opens Memorial Day weekend, 2008!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Eau de Anderson?


Rumor has it that Tom Ford is trying to get Anderson Cooper to lend his name to a new fragrance. Wonder what that will smell like? What will they call it?

p.s. With all of the rumors that continue to fly about whether the man is gay or straight, when you publish a story with a pic like this one... what are people supposed to think?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Where's my pot of gold?


When I went to take out the garbage tonight, I noticed a HUGE rainbow across the sky. (My picture-joining skills aren't that great, but you get the idea.) The colors on the left side were really bright and sharp.
After the day I had -- I felt like I was juggling a chain-saw, an axe, and a bowling ball, and was waiting for one to fall on my head -- seeing a gorgeous rainbow made everything better. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I'll be a bag lady...



... if I can carry bags like these!


From Perpetualkid.com - the "Xposed" bag comes in grocery (see left), cosmetic, and shoulder size. I'm not sure the TSA would get quite the same giggle out of the gun image on the side of the bag... but they'd just have to deal.



So if that one's not your style, perhaps a throwback to the "good-ol'-days" -- the Classic cassette tote. Isn't that cute? I'd bet half the teenagers in the mall wouldn't know what the heck it was. Sigh.


Perpetualkid has lots of fun stuff, although it definitely reminds me of Archie McPhee in Seattle. Do not be surprised if your Chanuka presents come from one of these two places. I've bookmarked them. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Nerd, Geek, or Dork?

Dani sent me a link to the "Nerd, Geek or Dork?" test.

My Score: Pure Nerd

56 % Nerd, 47% Geek, 30% Dork


For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd. [How does 56% make me a "pure" nerd?]

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.

Congratulations!

Your turn: Take the test here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Greetings from Costa Rica

¡Hola!

First, I think it's very cool that Google and Blogger have automatically detected that I am in CR (based on IP address, I'm assuming) and both immediately loaded in Spanish instead of English. So I am in "Crear" instead of "Edit" and when I want to see my blog, I click on "Ver blog." I guess it's not really surprising that there's no Spanish translation for blog. ;)

The country is absolutely beautiful. Very green and lush, and not hot at all (it's been in the 70's all week). Humid, yes, but not hot. We're staying in an apartment-hotel about 15 minutes from downtown San Jose. It's very nice and modern. Reminds me a lot of Spain. The building we're meeting in is the old AID building. When Costa Rica started doing well enough, the AID left, and they left a huge bunker-like building, which has been taken over by the National Advanced Technology Center. It's named for Franklin Chang-Diaz, a Costa-Rican who was the first Latin American astronaut.

Tonight our hosts took us for dinner at Nuestra Tierra, a restaurant that serves traditional Costa Rican food. It took an hour to get there from the meeting site because of the traffic -- and it was only about 10 miles. Apparently the traffic in San Jose is so bad that they determine who can drive downtown at rush hour based on the last digit of your license plate! The food was very good.

Here's where I kick myself because I should have stayed a few extra days to be a tourist and see the country... where else can you find the jungle, a volcano, and beautiful beaches, all within 120 miles? But no, I have to go back on Thursday. Ah well. I'll go buy some coffee and chocolate to bring back to the office.

(No pictures yet, haven't been tourist-ing.)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Duff was here!

I don't normally go out of my way to see a celebrity. (although I was very jealous that Dani saw Bobby and Jamie Deen last year) But I just looooove Ace of Cakes. Duff is a nice Jewish boy, after all. ;)

Duff is the chef/owner of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore. They do cakes for all kinds of events, from weddings to the Superbowl to housewarmings and everything in between. They did a Taj Mahal cake for a wedding last year that was amazing. Apparently they just did the cake for the Harry Potter movie premiere in Hollywood... they did a 4ft x 5ft model of Hogwart's! and then had to drive it to LA in a Winnebago. Apparently there will be an episode about it later this year.


So for the demonstration at the mall today, he finished decorating a guitar. by painting the wood-stain on the top. The bottom half of it is for support, but the top half is cake. He went to a music store and bought the guitar neck and strings and put them on -- and played it! He tuned the guitar, and took out a pick, and it sounded great!


At the end, he added "sand" (graham cracker crumbs), a cactus, and one of those parched skulls from the desert. He's just as funny in person as he is on the show. In the Q&A session, he mentioned that he had moved (artistically) from painting graffiti to decorating cakes, so someone asked if he'd ever been arrested. He said if they knew a cook who said they hadn't been arrested, the cook was lying. He said they do an average of 13-15 cakes a week, but their worst week was 42 cakes. Ouch!
There was an autograph station, but the line was over a hundred people before he'd even finished the demo, so I didn't bother.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It doesn't look a day over 40...

On July 12, 1960, the first Etch-a-Sketch went on sale!

"How Stuff Works" has an explanation of the magic that he created from simple aluminum powder and beads.

The technology behind this children's toy is both simple and complex. Simple, in that an internal stylus is used, manipulated by turning horizontal and vertical knobs to "etch a sketch" onto a glass window coated with aluminum powder.

Complex, because the Etch a Sketch employs a fairly sophisticated pulley system that operates the orthogonal rails that move the stylus around when the knobs are turned. The stylus etches a black line into the powder-coated window to create the drawing.

The Ohio Art Company even has an Etch-a-Sketch that you can play with online! (Use your arrow keys) Here's my lame attempt at writing my name...



Happy Birthday, Etch-a-Sketch!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Science-shmience

As I've said many times before, the current "ruling party" in the United States has not been particularly friendly towards science.

Today, the former Surgeon General of the United States testified that he was basically "muzzled" by the administration on a host of topics that they didn't want the American public to learn more about, from the very controversial (stem cell research) to the very well-documented (effects of secondhand smoke).

Here's a bit from the NYT article: (you might need to login)
"Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried," Dr. Richard Carmona, who served as the nation's top doctor from 2002 until 2006, told a House of Representatives committee.

"The problem with this approach is that in public health, as in a democracy, there is nothing worse than ignoring science, or marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by changing political winds. The job of surgeon general is to be the doctor of the nation, not the doctor of a political party," Carmona added.

Can you imagine, if C. Everettt Koop had been kept from talking about the spread of AIDS because Reagan thought homosexuality was immoral? (and there is some evidence that he thought this way, based on the letters that were just published. I can't find the reference right now, but I remember reading about it...)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Now that's Chutzpah!

And now, children, it's time for a short lesson to "expand your horizons": learn to use Yiddish words in your daily life! The Times Online gives you the top 10 most useful Yiddish words. (Can't say I totally agree with the spelling, but it is a British publication...)

Bonus points if you recognize #4 and #5 from Laverne & Shirley. :)


And speaking of chutzpah, it was one year ago today that cousin M and I set off on our 1,500 mile odyssey to get from DC to Austin! Time flies when you're having fun!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Saturday meme

Meme Stolen from Stick:

I've come to realize that my last kiss was… lovely, but possibly not with the man of my dreams. Ah well, he's out there somewhere.

I am listening to… Large Texas bugs (okay, saying "large" and "Texas" is probably redundant) smacking into my living room window as they try to "go towards the light."

I talk… a lot! ha ha. I talk to Dani and Rebeka and my mom every day.

I love… my family, my job (yes, really!) and my friends. And I love Austin!

My best friends… help me keep my sanity, more than they could ever know.

My car… makes me smile. It's gone just over 8,300 miles since I left DC last year. I think I'll reset the trip odometer next week when we get to the one year mark.

My love life… is a little roller coaster-ish right now, but I'm expecting that to improve.

I hate it when people ask… if I'm glad I moved. Yes, I love it here, and I'm glad I left DC. Yes, I still miss my friends, but I'm busy making new ones as fast as I can!

I want to… make my family proud. I also want to travel around the world, drive across the country, and find someone fun to do all of those things with.

Marriage is… going to be great when it happens. I'll get there someday.

Somewhere, someone is thinking… about me the same way I am thinking about him.

I'm always… thinking about what’s next.

I have a secret crush on… (had) a crush on someone for 10 years, but I gave that up when he got married. Now I have sort of a crush on a guy at work, but I don't think he has a clue.

I am not... always as open-minded as I would like to be.

My cell phone… is RED, and I love it, but it won't let me set more than one ringtone! Very annoying.

When I wake up in the morning… I lie there for an extra half hour, trying to make myself get out of bed.

Before I go to bed I… wash my hands, put lip stuff on my lips, and do a sudoku puzzle.

Right now I am thinking about… all of the knitting projects I would like to do before Xmas/Chanuka.

Babies (kids) are… wonderful, and my friends (and my brother & sister-in-law) have the cutest ones ever -- at least until I have one of my own (someday).

I get on MySpace… never.

Last night I... went to the gym, came home and ate some of my excellent shrimp with mango and basil, and watched bad movies.

Today I… watched Wimbledon (yay Venus!), went to my knitting meetup, ran some errands, and worked on an article about flasher buttons. Big excitement.

Tonight I will… probably go to sleep early. The crazy weather is making my sinuses unhappy.

Tomorrow I will… go to the gym. After that, who knows?

I really want to… lose weight so I look better in my clothes.

Someone who will most likely repost this… I won't hold my breath. This one isn't as compelling as some of the others have been, but I didn't have anything else to write about today!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The words of John Wayne:

"I didn't vote for him but he's my president, and I hope he does a good job."

So much for that idea.

Again, Keith Olbermann says what so many of us are thinking. (The text, if you want to read it, is at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/070407Y.shtml along with the video.)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Made it!

In case you were wondering, I finally made it back to Austin on Friday afternoon. Let me tell you, when that plane took off from St. Louis, I could have jumped for joy. (although that might have hurt, what with the seatbelt and all...) Given that we left DC late, I'm lucky I made the connecting flight -- I had to run through the STL airport, and knocked down a few old ladies in the hallway. (just kidding, they weren't that old.) ;)

Went to see Ocean's 13 on Saturday night with Marcia, Rebeka, Andy and Jay. I think Andy and I were the only ones who stayed awake for the whole thing - and he had seen it already! I really liked it... it was SO much better than the second one. [In an interivew, Director Stephen Soderbergh called this one "Ocean's The-one-we-should-have-made-last-time"] Al Pacino always plays great bad guys. Ellen Barkin was good, although not quite as smart and snappy as her usual characters -- too much of a sycophant. But her 'cougar' scenes with Matt Damon were a riot. (And if you don't know what a cougar is, read this.) I bought the soundtrack to Ocean's 11 for the "martini music," and I'm thinking I should check out this one too.

"no adult supervision"

There was a great piece in the Sunday WaPo on our illustrious President and his lack of concern for how badly things are going in his administration. He lives in his own little dream world, defined by good vs. evil, America vs. the rest of the world, and his mandate from G-d... nothing gets through! My favorite quote, from a Republican lawmaker:
Beyond Gonzales, the discontent with the Bush presidency is broader and deeper among Republican lawmakers, some of whom seethe with anger. "Our members just wish this thing would be over," said a senior House Republican who met with Bush recently. "People are tired of him." Bush's circle remains sealed tight, the lawmaker said. "There's nobody there who can stand up to him and tell him, 'Mr. President, you've got to do this. You're wrong on this.' There's no adult supervision. It's like he's oblivious. Maybe that's a defense mechanism."

So between a VP who thinks he's G-d, and a Prez who thinks he gets his mandate from G-d (come to think of it, Deadeye Dick does have a really deep voice...), I ask you: Can't we just impeach them both and get it over with?