January 31, 2003
Unpacking Honesty

So yesterday someone who grew up on a farm told me that when you chop the head off a goose, the body doesn’t just run around (like a chicken with its head cut off!) - it also makes honking noises, because the voice box is deep down in its neck.

This was a new and exciting piece of information, and I was all set to pass it along as fact. But ever since I found out that this was faked, I have felt the need to verify things. I went for a google, and found Unpacking "Honesty": Vertebrate Vocal Production and the Evolution of Acoustic Signals by W. Tecumseh Fitch and Marc D. Hauser. It reads, in part:

In terrestrial vertebrates, vocalizations are initially generated by a structure which converts air flow from the lungs (or air sacs) into acoustic energy. This structure is known as the acoustic source, or voice source, and its anatomical location varies among tetrapods (Fig. 1). In amphibians, reptiles and mammals, the source is typically the larynx. In birds, an evolutionarily novel structure called the syrinx serves as the voice source. In both cases, the source contains mobile elastic structures which act as mechanical vibrators, and can reduce or stop the passage of air though the source by constricting its lumen....

The main acoustic difference between the larynx and syrinx is their location: the larynx is located at the top of the trachea, while the syrinx is located at its base. Although birds also possess a larynx, there is little evidence that the avian larynx is used as a sound-producing source (see White 1968 for a possible exception).

In other words, if you chop the head of a goose, the body can still make honking noises because the voice box is deep down in its neck.

"Syrinx" is a great word, and also a nymph.

Boring Entry...Great Ride

S calls Orange Cab this time.

Me: Hello.
Driver: Hello.
Me: I’m going to [my address].
Driver: Okay.

The city goes by. The silence is comfortable.

Me: This is it.
Driver: On the corner?
Me: Yes. Two back, please.
Driver: Here you go.
Me: Thanks.

Happy sigh.

January 29, 2003
Special Guest K: "Watching the State of the Union is Fun"

- This entry provided by Special Guest K (thanks, K!) -

Hey Jane, I have some comments on last night’s State of the Union speech by our Dear Leader that I would like to share with your readers….

Ok, I admit it, I strongly dislike President George W. Bush. (Generally I use the word “hate” here, but I’m trying to be a little more professional.) I also strongly dislike (in order) Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, John Ashcroft, and Donald Rumsfeld, probably even more than I hate GW, because he is merely a vessel for their collective evilness (ok, evil may be too harsh of a word, I admit, but I can’t come up with anything close-enough-but- not-evil that truly encapsulates my feelings here). I also dislike most of the policies of Condoleezza Rice, but you have to give it up for any black woman who is a National Security Advisor, at least a little (plus, she kicks Kissinger’s ass, in my opinion – although in my opinion most people outside of Hitler kick Kissinger’s ass). I’m not very fond of Gale Norton, either. I would love to say that I strongly dislike Karl Rove, but you have to respect someone who is just that good. I do like Colin Powell and Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, and I have a grudging respect for Senator John McCain – Republicans all. So I’m not a total GOP-hater, just for the most part. And I’m sure there are other moderate Republicans out there who are decent people that I would respect if I knew more about them.

Watching the State of the Union is Fun
My boyfriend did not want to watch GW’s speech because he said it would be upsetting. “Not so,” said I. There are many fun things about watching the State of the Union, even when you are not a Presidential Fan. For example, watching the State of the Union gives the Average Citizen a great opportunity to yell back at President Bush. Like this: if he says we will establish a Healthy Forest Initiative, you yell back “How, by cutting down every other tree?” Or when he says we should help African AIDS sufferers, you scream “Like you even know where Africa is!” Really, it’s pretty fun. Try it. Also, you get to see our elected leadership in unscripted moments, like when the NBC cameras panned in on John McCain and he looked like he was nearly asleep. That was fun!

Yes, there was substance in GW’s speech last night (he has speechwriters, after all). Good decision to talk about all the domestic issues first and leave the war-mongering until the end. That lets people know that GW cares about our domestic issues – lest he fall into the trap that ensnared père Bush. Now, while I applaud this focus on domestic issues, I was astounded at what some of them turned out to be. Hydrogen-powered cars? A Healthy Forest Initiative? These are laughable coming from the mouth of Dear Leader (I did enjoy his stumbling over the science of the hydrogen-powered, zero-emission autos). Too laughable to believe for even an instant that issues like these are near and dear to the Bush administration’s collective heart. I was happily surprised to hear GW’s call for greater funding for AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Same with prescription drug benefits for Medicare recipients. And he managed to sneak in his truly ludicrous tax cut plan (how an able-minded – a relative term, true – person can say that cutting the derivatives tax will help the economy and the Average American with a straight face is beyond me) and a reference to ending partial-birth abortion (I knew we were headed for trouble when he started talking about the sanctity of all human life). All in all, he said many of the right things. I just find it hard to believe that either 1) he means them or 2) they are something that will survive the legislative process (we have no money, people, and a war to get on).

As for the war-mongering bit, I thought GW actually did a good job in keeping calm when discussing his arch-enemy Saddam Hussein. His tone was reasonable but firm as he laid out Saddam’s history of non-compliance. The problem lies in the fact that the Average American doesn’t know whether to believe this history, or whether there really is any proof that weapons are missing or unaccounted for. Still, even for die-hard liberals it’s easier to believe the President than Saddam Hussein. GW seemed more willing in his speech than he has in recent weeks to continue to consult with European allies, which is a good sign. The question, again and again, is does he actually mean it? Who knows, but we should find out in the coming weeks. Winter is in full bloom in the Middle East, and we sure don’t want to go to war in the summer…. Now, a special note to Dear Leader: I don’t think the Iraqi people would consider a U.S. invasion and military protectorate true liberation, technically speaking. Nor would the rest of the Middle East. If you haven’t noticed, they do not like us.

Finally, I noted that GW did not once mention the Dear Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il (whose hair bears a strong resemblance to Lyle Lovett’s signature ‘do – it’s true, just last week my boyfriend glanced at the cover of Newsweek and said “Why is Lyle Lovett on the cover?” and without even looking at it I said, “No, it’s Kim Jong Il” and I was right). This was a shrewd move. Like Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il is a megalomaniac who clearly has an ego to end all egos. Getting dissed in the State of the Union like he was last night has got to piss him off. Way to show him who’s boss, GW. You, Kim Jong Il, are a fly on the consciousness of the mighty United States of America. But, because you refused to back down when WE refused to negotiate with you, we are willing to talk. Maybe if you had not embarrassed our Dear Leader by holding talks with a Democratic governor, of all people, you would have rated a mention in the State of the Union. Too bad, so sad.

Smirky McSmirk Resurfaces
God how I love the phrase that my friend Jane found in her devious little brain shortly after Dear Leader was “elected”: Smirky McSmirk. This was back in the days when I would wake up to NPR in the morning and cringe at the new moniker “president-elect Bush.” It took me several months, long after “president-elect” became “president,” before I could wake up to NPR in the morning and not have to slam the snooze button in desperation every time Smirky McSmirk himself had something to say. Even his voice was smirky. This, if you recall, was back when GW welcomed us to his administration with a bunch of wacko right wing pronouncements and served notice that “conservatism” was much more important than “compassionate.” So there he was again last night, smirking his way through the speech, although it was clear he trying to exhibit compassionate behavior. You could just see Karl Rove during speech prep, instructing GW/SS on exactly where to do that special thing with his voice to simulate compassion (“When you’re talking about AIDS, Mr. President, right there, you need to look really sad. I mean, really sad. Let’s try it again….”) Now, President Clinton may have been, at times, a lying son of a bitch, but when he talked about AIDS, or those living in poverty, or a bucket of fried chicken, you cried right along with him, man.

Things Happily Missing from last Night’s State of the Union

  1. Axis of Evil. Clearly, this phrase from last year’s State of the Union was a mistake. It pissed people off to be put in the Axis of Evil. I think it’s no small coincidence that a year later we are close to war with both Iraq and North Korea, two founding members of the Axis. GW used the word evil many times in reference to Saddam, but thankfully he left out the Axis part. Let’s hope it’s gone for good.
  2. Trent Lott. I mean, the guy did screw himself over pretty badly, but who would have thought he would disappear this fast? I didn’t see him once last night during all of NBC’s politician pans (except maybe once in the deep background, but I can’t be positive), nor did I see him doing any post speech spin. He’s become the bad face of the Republican party, and they’re keeping him out of sight. I’m betting he retires as soon as his term is up (he can’t retire sooner because Mississippi has a Democratic governor who would appoint his replacement). It’s no fun being high and mighty on power and then getting stuck sitting at the back of the room, muzzled. Just ask Bill Clinton.
  3. Salutes to special guests sitting with the First Lady. Good choice by GW’s handlers to end this tradition of spending a good chunk of the speech pointing out soldiers or 9/11 victims’ relatives or people down on their luck but determined to improve their lot in live for cheap applause. Case in point: Clinton did this masterfully in the speech right after the Monica Lewinsky allegations came to light by looking up at the gallery and pointing out Rosa Parks. I mean, what Republican can not stand and clap wildly for Rosa Parks? Even Trent Lott had to clap his heart out for her. Folks, let me say it again, that was masterful, and Clinton was good at it. But it gets old. Bush is not so good at it, and although the guests were there (today’s New York Times printed a list), they went unidentified during the speech.
  4. Finger stabbing. You have to hand it to him, Bush kept his fingers to himself. No stabbing the air to emphasize how we would destroy Saddam Hussein or to warn France and Germany that if they are not with us then they are against us. Perhaps he read the reports from Europe last week that our Continental brethren are tired of seeing Mr. Cowboy. They singled out the finger stabbing as being particularly demeaning. So, French citizens, listen up: you may be against us, but when it comes to easy fixes like finger stabbing, GW listens. Please complain about the smirk next, let’s see how far we can ride this baby….
  5. Dick Armey. I got sick of watching him during Clinton’s speeches, leaning back with his cowboy-booted ankle crossed against his knee, looking bored. Such arrogance. Good choice by Dick Armey to retire. Bad choice to choose his son to replace him (he lost, ha ha, thank god for the democratic process). Very bad choice for his replacement as Majority Leader, Tom DeLay.

Things Sadly NOT Missing from last Night’s State of the Union

  1. All the clapping. I mean really, the thing would be much more tolerable if the clapping was kept to the end. You don’t need to stand and clap for EVERYTHING just because the President is from your party. I’ll admit, it can be fun to watch different issues elicit different responses from the two sides of the aisle, but on the whole the American people could do without it. We have an economy to pick up by its bootstraps, so we can’t sit around watching TV all day. Side note: did you notice that the Joint Chiefs were not joining in with all the clapping? They just sat there, stoic, while the chamber erupted in one clap-fest after another. Now, this was during the war half of GW’s speech, and I suppose it isn’t appropriate for the military to clap at war, but I still salute their willingness to buck the clapping trend. My guess is that any Supreme Court members in attendance (NBC didn’t show any, but they are usually there) did not clap either. Wouldn’t be prudent.
  2. Tom DeLay.
  3. Dick “one-side-of-bacon-away” Cheney, Smirky McSmirk’s sidekick, his own little smirk not that appreciated as he was, unfortunately, always in view behind GW during the speech. Two smirky smirks too many.

Way to go Gary
Our very own Governor, Gary Locke, was chosen by the Democratic Governor’s Association to give the Democratic rebuttal to the State of the Union. Kudos to Nancy Pelosi et al. for realizing that the American people don’t want to see Congresspersons taking shots at each other. There was a little concern out here in the “other Washington” that Gary might not do well. He does have a little charisma problem, we will admit. Plus, he was quoted in Tuesday’s New York Times saying this about the job of giving the rebuttal to GW: “Yikes!” That didn’t give us confidence, Gary. But the Democratic speechwriters and image-molders, having not much else to do, came to the rescue and our Governor looked pretty darn good up there before the national TV audience. Except for the cheesy smile that showed up whenever there was a pause in the text. That wasn’t the best, but we forgive you, Gary! Gary did a good job of supporting GW on matters of national security (but not in rushing to war on our own) while promoting the Democratic platform on domestic issues that are near and dear to the heart of what the pollsters call the Average American Voter.

Even more important, I think our Governor presented a good face for the Democratic party: unlike Dear Leader, he came from a poor family, straight out of public housing, and everything he has achieved came from his own hard work. Gary’s grandfather immigrated from China and worked as a servant in Olympia, a mile from where Gary now resides in the Governor’s Mansion (ok, those familiar with Washington state politics have heard Gary tell that story a little too often, but for the national audience, it was touching – so be touched, dammit). He went to Yale (and not because he daddy went there) and then got a law degree at Boston University (not Boston College, as Tom Brokaw said – get new interns, Tom), and worked his way through the ranks as county executive and state legislator before becoming governor. Ok, it may be true that Gary is not the best governor there ever was. He’s a little wishy-washy when it comes to making decisions, which is not great when you are the executive of an entire state, and he doesn’t have the greatest leadership qualities. But he’s ours and he did us proud. Good work Gary!

All in all, another rousing State of the Union event. Let us all thank the Founding Fathers for this constitutionally-mandated event. It wouldn’t be January without it. It wouldn’t be January without the threat of war, either, but the State of the Union is shorter and costs less money, so I for one salute it.

January 28, 2003
And Speaking of Millers

I saw a van that had “All My Sons Moving and Storage” written on the side, and I was really hoping they were making a delivery to “The Crucible Laboratory Supplies” or “Death of a Salesman Discount Housewares Warehouse”.

But pompous American Drama 101 references aside, I think “All My Sons Moving and Storage” is asking for trouble. What if just one son wants a different career? Even if the owner has only one son, there’s still a chance the kid could wake up and decide he wants to manufacture airplane parts for a living. And for every son, the odds that one of them won’t follow in the old man’s footsteps only increases. And then someone’s going to be driving around in the Truck of Lies.

It just seems like a recipe for tragedy.

Take Your Pompatus and Get Out!

The Steve Miller Band has taken up residence in my brain. Arrrgggghhh…

January 27, 2003
This Little Piggy

Napoleon wants your money!!

Here is my entry in the International Disturbing Piggy Bank Competition, to be held next month in Zurich. I found this little piggy at the Fremont Market for a quarter. It's missing the stopper on its underside, which gives it a nice symbolic edge, don't you think?

January 24, 2003
Yellow Cab Fridays, Part 3

I’m in my friend’s building, in her apartment in fact, as she’s calling a cab for me. We have chosen another cab company. She gives them her phone number, and is surprised when they ask if it’s for me.

Me: Oh, shit, I just remembered - Yellow Cab and Graytop are the same company.
S: No way.
Me: Yeah, they share dispatching. I’ve called one company and had a cab from the other show up.
S: It’s fate.
Me: I guess it is.

At least this time I’m ready with plenty of fives and ones.

We gather up the tasty leftovers and the huge pile of books I’m borrowing from S, and head out the door to wait for the cab.

It shows up minutes later...a Yellow Cab like the others, even though S called Graytop. It is not, however, a minivan. From a distance it looks like it could be the same driver, but as I get closer I see it isn’t.

This driver sounds exactly - I mean exactly - like the actor Sam Elliott. He even looks a little like him. We have nice cab conversation about things like where the city stores the books while they’re rebuilding the Capitol Hill branch of the public library, and the advantages of the George Foreman Grill. When he says he should spend more time cooking and would probably do so if had a big, white chef’s hat and do I know where he could get one, it is actually funny, and not creepy.

If he's stalking anyone called Jenny, he didn't mention it.

January 23, 2003
PSA (Princess Service Announcement)

Remember, ladies: in the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale, the princess turns the frog into a prince not by kissing him, but by throwing him into a wall as hard as she can.

Also, don’t take tiaras from strangers.

Oh, and be cool - stay in finishing school.

January 22, 2003

Someone asked me if I had change, and the first thing that popped into my head was, “No, I only have same.”

But I didn’t say that because it would have been obnoxious.

January 21, 2003
It Takes a Spillage

I'm still allergic to typing, so here is E holding forth on dining with very small children:

"Last night I went to a friend's house for dinner. I learned there that having dinner with children below the age of six involves a lot of spillage. I am not used to so much spillage. Three children can really spill a lot. Spill spill spill. Fluids gushing and rushing all over the place. Not to mention their tendency to shove fingers deep into their mouths, then happily paw me."

January 18, 2003
Yep, Absinthe

"What’s that?"
"No, above that."
"That? That’s my absinthe."

Ever since I read this book almost ten years ago, I’ve wanted to try absinthe. Not the current Pernod - the wormwood-free imitation of its ban-prone ancestor - but the kind they still make in Spain and the Czech Republic and a few other places in Europe. I gather there was a lot of mystique marketing around it when absinthe was gaining popularity in Britain a few years ago, and Canada has been allowing the import and sale of absinthe.

I hereby predict that the forces of industry will get the ban lifted in the U.S. within a few years, at which point all kinds of fin-de-siècle themed clubs will throw open their doors and the soundtrack to Moulin Rouge (short-cycle retro by then) will blare forth and every other joint will sell coy cocktails like the "Absinthe-Minded Professor". Mark my words, people - it’ll be the new Mojito.

In the meantime, here are my observations about absinthe from the other night:

It was really more bluish than greenish.

The smell was rich and herbal, and it took me several sniffs to realize that it smelled just like The Kiva, a health food store in Eugene, Oregon.

The bottle mentioned the Czech version of dropping sugar into the glass, i.e. burning the sugar to caramelize it first. S and I dipped our spoons into our glasses, then set the absinthe-doused sugar on fire. Actually, we set the 140-proof absinthe on fire, and it burned with a gorgeous blue flame that went out when the alcohol was gone, not even browning the sugar.

So I can’t report on the taste of absinthe with caramelized sugar.

I thought the absinthe would turn cloudy when we dropped the sugar in, but when I got home last night I remembered that it’s actually supposed to turn cloudy when you put water in it. I completely forgot about putting water in it. Didn’t even consider it. Neither did S. And we didn't do shots - we sipped. We are a couple of tough dames.

Apparently the kind we had wouldn’t have turned milky, anyway, because it doesn’t have enough anise in it.

No ill effects, apart from what I’d expect from two ounces of 140-proof liquor.

Ooh, look - an absinthe related link (courtesy E, via boingboing) that actually makes me glad I sputtered my way through the preface to Miss Julie so many times!

January 17, 2003
Some People Never Learn

I’m walking out of my friend’s building to catch a cab. The driver is at the buzzer. Across the street there’s a cab - a minivan.

MY BRAIN: Oh, shit.

DRIVER: Did you call a cab?


MY BRAIN: Oh shit oh shit oh shit.

ME (loudly, to my friend): I’ll call you when I get home!

MY SUBTEXT FOR THE DRIVER: She’ll call the cops if I don’t get home!

MY FRIEND (too damn cheerfully): I’ll be sure to check Random Jane tomorrow!

I get into the cab. The driver lights a cigarette.

DRIVER (hitting the meter): So you live in that building?

ME (trying not to laugh): Uh, no. I’m going to [my address].

DRIVER: But your friend lives there.

ME: Yeah.

DRIVER: My friend Jenny lives there, too.

ME (it’s so hard not to laugh - who knew reliving something creepy could be such a damn riot?): Really.

DRIVER: Yeah. She works at the [local grocery store].

ME: That’s where my friend was headed just now.


Prolonged silence. Crap - he’s trying to place me! And he must be able to hear the smothered snarf-snarf sounds coming through my nose. Must...keep...shoulders...from...shaking...must...distract...driver...

ME (way too brightly): Aren’t you glad they repainted the Space Needle?


ME: The Space Needle. This summer they painted it this hideous orangey gold, you know, for its anniversary, they painted it the original colors. But they’ve switched it back now.

DRIVER: I can’t say I ever noticed it was any different.

Silence. I can’t think of anything to say. Damn absinthe. Green Muse, my ass.

Fortunately, the driver starts to tell me about what Jenny got him for his birthday last week (books - Rumi, Nietzsche, Rilke, and a fourth that escapes me). He’s on conversational autopilot until we get to my building. I think I’m off the hook until

DRIVER: Haven’t I taken you here before?

ME (hoping he doesn’t remember that it was just last week): Yeah, I think so.

I give him a twenty and ask for $13 back on a $5.40 fare. Like last week, he makes an elaborate show of not being able to make change, digging around in various pockets and make little fake-worried noises. Also like last week, I wait patiently, my eyebrows in the "Do I look like a sucker to you, pal?" position. He finally figures out that I’m willing to sit there all night and miraculously finds a ten in the bundle of ones.

Last week it was two miraculous fives.

Note to S: Next time you call me a cab from your apartment, please dear Lord pick another company. Heart, J

January 16, 2003
Make NADH!

Today I am totally mesmerized by an animation of ATP synthesis in mitochondria.

January 15, 2003
Better Living through Vicariousness

Heed this cautionary tale by Cowboy Sally!

Better Living through Chemistry

Last night I made carrot ginger soup and when I sprinkled salt into the broth, the butter I’d sauteed the carrots in rose to the surface like an iridescent greeting party.

Man, chemistry is cool.

Also, I’m full of sinus medication.

January 14, 2003
Can’t talk. Reading.

Sunday on my way to somewhere else I went into a small used bookstore because I was suddenly struck by the desire to read something completely absorbing, something escapist but not stupid. I roamed around, the long list of things I mean to read failing to appear in my head. I wound up at the Ps, with a copy of The Golden Spur by Dawn Powell, and Blue Angel by Francine Prose.

I’ve been working my way through a collection of Powell’s early novels, the ones set in small towns in Ohio lit up by characters ambitious and lonely in the backwater. I’m not in the mood for that - I’m in the mood for one of her later novels, set in New York and filled with characters from small towns in Ohio, ambitious and lonely while surrounded by people just like themselves. But rather than re-read The Locusts Have No King for the seventh or eighth time (it’s that good - go read it), I bought The Golden Spur.

I haven’t started it yet, though - I got hooked on page one of Blue Angel and have put it down only reluctantly since then. This is the first novel by Prose that I’ve read; I read the short story collection The Peaceable Kingdom, and I remember the time spent reading it going by pleasantly enough, but two years later I can’t come up with a single detail about any of the stories. The same probably won’t be true of Blue Angel, which already seems to have lodged deep into the more retentive parts of my brain.

January 13, 2003
Harmless Extraneous Vegetable Material

This past weekend I noticed that my local grocery store carries truffles - not chocolates, but actual rooted-out-by-pigs bits of tasty and highly-prized fungus.

Yeah, I know. I go there for the produce - the pretension is just glace on the gâteau.

The truffles were in small, delicate-looking glass jars, two to a jar, $11 a jar. They looked odd, like hundred year-old lychee nuts there among the canned vegetables, right next to the carrots and the peas and the carrot-pea medley with the carrots cut into pea-sized cubes.

January 10, 2003
And I Thought I'd Had Weird Conversations on the Bus

I get into a cab in front of my friend’s building. It’s a minivan. The driver is smoking in the front seat.

DRIVER: So you live in that building?

ME: No. I’m going to [my address]. My friend lives here, though.

DRIVER: Yeah? I have a friend who lives there, too. Jenny. You know her?

ME: I don’t think so.

DRIVER: It’s a big building.

ME: Yeah.

DRIVER: You notice the thing with the buzzers, how the code is the same as the apartment number?

ME: Yeah. That’s not very secure.

DRIVER: What do you mean?

ME: Well, it’s creepy, a stalker could figure out which unit was yours.

DRIVER: Yeah, I guess so. [Pause.] I was just going to get her apartment number so I could send her flowers. [Pause.] But I see what you mean.

ME: Uh huh.

DRIVER: Did you know a woman shot a guy in that building?

ME: No kidding.

DRIVER: Yeah. She just met him and brought him home one night, and then he started stalking her. He broke in and tried to rape her, but she had a gun and she shot him.

ME: Wow.

DRIVER: Yeah. But I guess it was kind of her fault, bringing home some guy she just met.

ME: Really? I’d say if she told him to back off and he still came within shooting distance, that’s his fault.


ME: So are you going to turn that meter on, or is this ride free?

January 09, 2003
"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason."

Once again I’m reading Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style ("Omit initial A or The from titles when you place the possessive form before them"). It’s one of those salutary ("Anglo-Saxon is a livelier tongue than Latin, so use Anglo-Saxon words") healthy practices that I should perform regularly, like flossing, and like flossing I usually don't bother until something goes horribly wrong.

I think I have a participle stuck in my teeth.

January 08, 2003

Today my attention span is only 23 inches.

I have a can of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup on my desk. Years ago my friend S slipped it into my apartment and left it sitting on a shelf. For a while, every time she’d visit she would move the can when I wasn’t looking. It would turn up just about everywhere but the kitchen. Eventually it landed on my desk, where it makes its own kind of sense.

S and another friend used to play a more extreme version of this game with a can of creamed corn - hiding highlights include under a futon mattress and inside a box of laundry soap - but, alas, that can is gone, lost forever when S had to throw out a diseased potted plant. The poor little can of creamed corn was buried in the soil.

January 06, 2003
Lost and Found

Tonight I left my hat in a pub, and was reminded of the time I accidentally left my journal in a bar in Cambridge. I was able to get the hat back the same night, but I had to pick up the journal the next day, and the behavior of the staff gave me the distinct impression that it had not been sitting untouched in the lost and found box with the gloves and umbrellas.

The memory inspired me to flip through said journal, where - among a great deal of whining about rehearsals and sleep deprivation - I found entries like these:

03/08/1995 03:00 p.m.
Sure, I looked attentive, but I was really just concentrating on trying to taste the pepper in peppermint.

03/22/1995 11:20 p.m.
M said I would marry "an old, fat, Texan rancher" - the Magic Eight Ball agreed, "YES".

04/05/1995 06:30 p.m.
"Ensign, steer this boat into a big rock."
"Aye aye, Cap’n."

04/27/1995 12:15 p.m.
I was overcome by the urge to buy yellow sticky notes and a fine-tipped calligraphy pen. I think it’s because my shoes, although monstrously clunky, are too tight.

Did I mention the sleep deprivation?

January 03, 2003
His Fauxliness

Last night I went to a big ol’ extended family dinner activity at an ultra kitschy Italian restaurant. We sat in the Pope Table, so named because there was a nearly life-sized bust of PJPII at the center of the table on a lazy Susan.

We kept the lazy Susan busy for the first few minutes, since no one wanted to be the lucky diner forced to meet the faux pope’s piercing stare. The bust was encased in a plexiglass cube, and my brother suggested it was simulating the Pope-mobile. As it turns out, the cube had a parallel function, because after two glasses of chianti (okay, I was drinking bourbon, but other people were drinking chianti, and this really was a chianti kind of place, and I’m trying to set a tone here, so let’s just set aside my preferences for a moment and pretend we were all drinking chianti. Where was I? Oh, yeah, the pope...)

I was not alone in the urge to put a bouquet of green beans in the pope’s benevolently clasped hands, or drape linguini over his robed shoulders. Fortunately, the cube protected us all.

Also, I lost a bet with my aunt that "Volare" would cycle every twenty minutes (it took an hour).

January 02, 2003
Happy birthday, er, you

I swear this date has some personal significance, but I can't remember what it is.

I hope I'm not neglecting someone's birthday.

January 01, 2003
It Burrrrrns! It Burrrrns!

And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine,
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught
For auld lang syne!

No one ever makes it to verse five.

Happy New Year.