Two things that should never be in the same sentence, let alone the same room. Anna Nicole Smith and the Supreme Court. But - it happened. And apparently the press literally fell all over each other trying to get photos:
"Most people will do a double take," said Edward Morrison, a former Supreme Court clerk who specializes in bankruptcy law at Columbia University. "It raises the novelty level and makes a technical issue somewhat more entertaining."
Douglas Baird, a bankruptcy expert at the University of Chicago, said: "I'd suspect some justices haven't the slightest idea who Anna Nicole is."
You know, I hope she wins. Only in America can an ex-stripper / Playmate centerfold marry an 89 year old lech at 26 and walk away with $474 million. If the adult children were being left out in the cold, I'd feel differently, but with a fortune of more than $1.6 billion, she gets about a quarter of that and there is plenty of fortune to go around.
Besides, maybe Clarence Thomas will get a lap dance out of the deal.
In what is quickly becoming somewhat of a tradition, my neighbors invited a few of us over last night and plied us with champagne, wine, and a LOT of desserts. It started with little chocolate souffle's, and then got progessively decadent. Pretty much anything you could pour 151 rum over and ignite? We ate that. Pretty much. Mango flambe' with homemade ice cream, Crepes Suzette, you name it. I'm surprised we didn't set the house on fire, but as usual, we had a lot of fun trying.
Oh, and just to avoid another back breaking morning, I slept in the guest bedroom last night and I think I'm just going to stay there until a new mattress is procured. Slept like a rock and felt none the worse for wear this morning.
This is simply stunning. A Canadian hospital has placed a moratorium on all joint replacement surgeries for the next six weeks because they've overspent their prostheses budget? They're going to force people to suffer unnecessarily over a budget shortfall? Granted, people don't usually die from not having a joint replaced right away, but come on. It's debilitating and excruciatingly painful. What they don't spend on prostheses, they'll spend on drugs and lost productivity.
Hey Canada - come to Baltimore!! We can fit you in tomorrow.
I usually get by on about 6 hours of sleep a night. On weekends, I stretch that to 8-9 to catch up. Lately, well, maybe more for like six months now, I've noticed that it's really uncomfortable to sleep longer than about 6 hours at a stretch in my bed because my lower back is killing me. I end up tossing and turning trying to find the sweet spot, and then end up getting out of bed all stiff and sore. I've even gotten up, gone downstairs, and slept another hour or two on the couch - which is a lot firmer than the bed.
The culprit? My mattress. I realized with sudden horror that it's over 20 years old. And when I changed the sheets last week, and found a metal wire from a broken spring sticking out of it, I knew the end had come - a long time ago. Since the mattress was perhaps the first piece of furniture I ever bought as an adult, and since I was poor when I bought it, I'm sure I only paid about $250 for it from one of those discount mattress warehouses. Its lifespan has been well exceeded.
So - what to buy? The publishers of Broadsheet (i.e. parents), have one of those Tempur-pedic mattresses and just love it. I have to admit, having tried theirs, I like it too, but they are $$$$ (about $1,600 for the mid range queen size). But, is that too much to pay for something that lasts another 20 years and you spend 1/3 of your time on? It's still less than a good sofa or dining room set. I think I may go ahead and get one, but I'm open to other suggestions.
So...anyone out there want to recommend a mattress?
I read about this story this morning, but it wasn't until I saw this link, explaining the hoax, that it all made perfect sense. Being from the Pittsburgh area, and once having had a job that took me through the loverly burb of McKeesport on occasion, the fact that this took place there is really rather redundant.
Jack Shafer has an amusing slide show documentary up today over on Slate Most of it is tongue in cheek, and he seems to conveniently ignore the fact that the only female prime time news anchor, Elizabeth Vargas, is not a blonde, but he draws some interesting conclusions. My favorite bit though, is at the end of the piece, where he describes the next phenomenon, known as "Fox Lips", and calls them "juicy vagina dentata."
Hey Baltimore - a big, solid, two thumbs way up for The Chameleon Cafe. Went there last night with my buddy Mark, and we had an outstanding meal, great service, totally affordable wine list, and reasonable prices.
I had a grilled lettuce salad (don't knock it till you try it), and a superb duck breast dish. Mark had an amazing looking salmon en croute, and we split a terrific bottle of wine.
Cozy, comfy, and just an all around super little restaurant. Great for a date, or just a casual weeknight out with a friend.
It's a little tough to find, because there is no big sign or anything, but it's right next to the Superfresh on Harford road in Lauralville.
Please excuse the fact that I will be laying low this week. It's budget prep week here. Our fiscal year starts July 1, and this being my first year here - I now have to build a budget that I own and am accountable for. So far, I've just been managing the one I inherited, and I don't think much time or planning has gone into the process in the last two years. Re: a complete and total mess.
It's like teaching a college class for the first time: preparing the reading list, syllabus, gathering slides, doing the lecture outlines and notes, etc.... A royal time suck the first time, but after giving it a trial run, you tweak what works, eliminate what didn't, and keep it updated and fresh from there on out.
Sadly, there is woefully little automated on-line financial data here. I get tons of paper from a variety of sources and systems (Human Resources, Accounts Payable, Professional Billing, Development, etc.), and then there are the Endowment Accounts which are just a black hole of slush funds and entitlements with very little history to work from since - well, they are Endowment Accounts. The biggest time suck thus far has been to build complex spreadsheets with macros allowing me to perform pro-formas and foot everything to a master budget. That alone took me all day Friday working from home and most of yesterday.
Once they're done however, I'll have a tool I can use to manage everything and just pop the numbers in next year, and hopefully - voila!
I can't tell you just how much today's New York Times article worries me. It would be one thing if it were a pod of whales of the same species, but the fact that they are humpbacks, fins, greys, and a mink, and that they all died at sea prior to washing up on the beach as opposed to a massive beaching of a single pod, really says that there is something out there that is affecting these gorgeous mammals. And if the whales are affected, then porpoises, seals and other marine mammals may be too, although they are perhaps too small to wash up as a carcass.
First there were over fifty whales stranded in NZ over New Year's that were unable to be saved in a mass beaching, then there was the errant whale that captivated Londoners just a few short weeks later, now this, and we're less than eight weeks into the year.
This latest mystery out of Mexico however, really, really, needs to be answered - and quickly. For every carcass washing up on shore, how many more are simply sinking to the sea floor? And more importantly, why?
If you want to really worry, Google the terms: increase + "whale deaths", and read just the top 10 articles of over 9,000 hits.
Well THAT'S a relief!! Bad reporting once again leads to erroneous perceptions.
All eight wines suffered a noticeable decrease in the intensity of their aromas and flavors on account of the cheeses. However, contrary to what the New Scientist headline suggested, the cheeses did not diminish the ability of the students to distinguish the better wines from the rotgut.
So how surreal is this? One of our Fellows, who incidentally, fell and broke his elbow on the ice on Monday, comes to me all upset this morning and says he needs my help. Apparently, he got a call out of the blue from Homeland Security because they got a report of him taking photographs of a nearby school over the weekend.
Here's what you should know about this guy: (a) he's from India, (b) he had never, ever, seen snow before this past weekend and is completely fascinated by it, (c) his apartment complex is next door to a school.
So here's this wide eyed, mild mannered, Indian physician taking pictures of a beautiful snowstorm like everyone else, and someone calls Homeland Security and reports him.
So at 2:00 this afternoon, I have to meet with an inspector, and my poor little doctor buddy has to bring his visa, passport, and all the photos he took and answer a bunch of silly questions.
On the news just now, they were discussing the drop out rate for Baltimore City Schools. I was so shocked, I had to rewind Tivo to make sure I had heard this correctly.
For all students in Baltimore City Public schools who leave the system between grades 9-12, FORTY PERCENT drop out by age 15. For African American males, that number is SEVENTY FIVE PERCENT. 75% How utterly sad and depressing is that?
I'd fire myself if I had a 40% failure rate. What the heck is going on?
In what is shaping up to be an annual friendly trash talk between bloggers, my buddy JJT glorifies the 54th Annual Beanpot matchup between BU and BC. His puppies won. How cute.
Over at the real league however, my mighty Badgers took down Ohio State on Saturday with a 4-2 victory. Compared to the Beanpot, which was attended by a mere 17,565 (it would have been 17,566 had JJT been able to beat the storm and get to Boston), The Frozen Tundra was HUGE with 40,890 fans in attendance.
The contest, which also served as the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game, drew the fourth-largest crowd ever for a hockey game and the second-largest crowd for a college hockey game.
Took a few photos after digging out the car this morning. Was having a little trouble with the battery levels in the camera, so I didn't have a chance to play with the settings and make these more 'artistic'. Didn't need to really - the snow took care of that for me. These are photos from our courtyard.
Well, the doomsayers were right for once. Instead of 6"-10", I've got a solid 13"-15" out back, and am getting ready to go dig out the walkways and the car. To fortify myself, I made the breakfast that was always a winter staple in our house growing up: hot chocolate and Cream of Wheat with milk and brown sugar.
The first flakes are falling in downtown Baltimore at 3:00 PM. Luckily, I have everything I could possibly need, and am more than happy to cocoon for the weekend. It's kinda fun giving yourself a snow day. A perfect excuse not to do the million and one things that need to get done whether it's snowing or not. I was supposed to attend a party this evening, but having been out every night this week for one thing or another, it might be nice to build a fire and watch a movie instead.
I did make a pre-snowstorm errand run early this morning, and thought that the snow had already started because the roads were white with swirling powder. Then I realized that it was heavy amounts of salt that they had already dumped on the roads in advance of the storm. Guess they're taking the weather reports seriously. Since it started out as rain for a couple of hours, I'm hoping perhaps the accumulation will be less than forecast (8 inches).
In other news, the police shot and killed a man last evening just a few blocks from my house. It took me 40 minutes to get home from work, for what is normally a seven minute commute. Traffic was snarled for miles in downtown and the light rail was halted. I knew something big was up from the TV news helicopters buzzing over my house as I got closer. By the time I drove by the scene later, on my way to another birthday party, there was yellow police tape everywhere, a pair of bloody jeans on the sidewalk, and those little plastic markers that they use on CSI to mark the bullets and bullet casings.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 3 women a day are killed at the hands of their intimate partner. Three. A. Day. Homicide is THE leading cause of death for pregnant and post partum (within one year) women, and accounts for 31% of all maternal injury related deaths, making it the riskiest complication of pregnancy in the first place.
A pretty, white, suburban housewife and her baby are found brutally murdered, and her husband is arrested on suspicion of killing them. Two other women were also killed that day, and three more the day after that, and so on.... Let's not forget about them either.
Apropos of nothing, my assistant and I were having a deep philosophical discussion this morning about one of the word's great mysteries. Namely, where the F---k do socks dissapear to? I mean, really, how can you end up with just one sock and have no idea where the mate went? Is there a special worm hole in the dryer that sucks them in? Socks that have been together forever, and suddenly one goes missing. Kidnapped as it were. There should be a milk carton program for them.
Realizing that we probably weren't meant to solve this great mystery, my assistant said "Do you know what I do with the matchless ones"? My mind reeled at the possibilities, (a) potholders? (b) tea cozies?, but I opted for "um no?"
"I put em on, spray them with cleaner, and clean the bathroom / kitchen floor with them"
I can't wait to try this! Finally, it promises one stop shopping for on line music and media. Say goodbye iTunes.
iTunes is good, and I admit to spending more time and $$ on it than I should, but I get frustrated by having to switch back and forth between it and other places like Amazon.com, or Audible.com to find certain podcasts, books, albums and recordings. The mere fact that iTunes does not carry the Beatles or Paul MaCartney drives me nuts. Worse yet, incomplete discographies of favorites like Nina Simone, Kate Bush, etc.
Anyway - looking forward to giving Songbird a go and see if it lives up to the hype. Let me know how you like it once you give it a go.
Live, from Iron City!! Well, almost. My brother (the engineer) works in the Strip District in Pittsburgh, and they took a long lunch to walk over and see the Steeler Victory Celebration. My #1 sister (the music teacher) was there too, because her school district sent their bands to the parade.
UPDATE: Late email informs me that #1 sis did not attend, but #1 niece did. Sorry for the confusion.
I had a chance to get in 3 swims last week and it was really relaxing. I was looking forward to it this week as well, until a quick review of my calendar informed me that I had no free time to spare this week. At all. Why does everything fall in the same week? Last night, I had to run out and buy some gifts for a baby shower in the office later this week, and run some errands. Tonight, I have a community Board meeting. Wednesday night, I have a League of Women Voters meeting to discuss our next cultural exchange and getting candidates for the fall election organized for debates and campaign speeches, AND I have our Homeowner's Association meeting back to back. Thursday night I have to work late and then go help Zenchick celebrate her last birthday ever, and Friday, I have plans to go out to dinner with a friend. My date book is plotting to undo my New Year's resolutions!
It would appear that some people have not progressed beyond the Cave Man.
Frey's wife also provided police with an alleged "marriage contract," which was entitled "Contract of Wifely Expectations." In it, Frey allegedly gave his wife chances to earn "good behavior days" -- or GBDs -- by complying with certain demands, such as hygiene and self-care. "You will shave every third day," the contract states ... You will be naked within 20 minutes of the kids being in bed."
I think it's absolutely stunning, and totally exciting that a place like this can still exist in 2006. It gives me hope that there may be other places like it still, in the Congo, the Amazon, the Andes, or perhaps even in remote Chinese and Himalayan regions that are geographically and politically inaccessible. I doubt however, that the overwhelming abundance of new species of plants, birds, amphibians and wildlife would be found anywhere but on New Guinea. It's island isolation and perfect tropical atmosphere make it a hotbed for evolutionary marvels. One of my favorite books is Throwim' Way Leg: Tree-Kangaroos, Possums, and Penis Gourds (take THAT site meter!), by Tim Flannery (who is also an amazing biologist who has written a lot of other good stuff - check him out - he's the Australian Stephen Jay Gould). It describes the earliest days of the exploration of New Guinea and its indigenous peoples and the clash of cultures when Stone Age meets modern technology. Even then (the 80's), it was clear that there was a vast, untouched landscape in New Guinea that had yet to be discovered.
I hope they do everything possible to protect this region as exactly as they describe it "The Garden of Eden". We don't belong there anymore. We lost that right a long time ago, and we need to hold it precious.
If you missed some - here they are. I was pretty fond of the Budweiser Streaker Sheep myself, and yes, the FedEx Caveman made me laugh out loud. For something very different, I found the Dove commercial highlighting girl's self esteem issues very touching and well done. On the down side, I could have lived without watching a bunch of vegas showgirls in bad costumes creating a human burger.....and do we really NEED a razor with five blades??
Guess I haven't missed much since Blogger was down for a bit it seems. You get what you pay for.
Every time I have to reboot my computer after updating a program, or adding a new one, I also seem to have to reload Firefox. It's set as my default browser, but it won't load on a reboot. Neither do any of the shortcuts linked to it. The first time it happened, I just figured it was corrupted somehow and needed to be reinstalled, but it's happened three times now. It's as if Microsoft tries to beat it down every time I do a clean reboot. Anybody out there having a similar problem, or have any idea what's going on? My anti-virus software is telling me that my system is clean as a whistle, and other than this one thing - it behaves just fine.
And what the hell was with the weather last night? I have to say it's more than a little disconcerting to have a June thunderstorm with streaks of lightning, driving rains, and crashing thunder in February. It's like watching our own version of The Day After Tomorrow.
Since the poor Danes are getting picked on by some less than happy Muslims, which, as Neckbone so aptly pointed out, is kinda like hating Switzerland if you don't like Swiss Cheese, let's help them out by supporting their products. Except for their cigarettes - they're bad for you.
This year, Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address fall in the same week. As Air America Radio pointed out, "It is an ironic juxtaposition: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication, and the other involves a groundhog."
I was with Snay when he lost his virginity last night.
Now, before you go getting all Mrs. Robinson on me - I'm talking about sushi, people. You see, Snay had never partaken in the carnal delight that is raw fish, seaweed and rice during his short, and sheltered existence. So last night, I carefully and gently guided him through the mysterious and exciting rituals of chopsticks, wasabi, pickled ginger, and the seemingly endless choices of maki, nigiri, shashimi, and a wide variety of rolls. The grasshopper did well (we need some work on chopstick technique - they aren't spears, my boy) and was very brave.
To reward him for his bravery, I took him to yet another place of adult debauchery which he had not yet experienced, and guided him down the dark steps, and into the catacombs where he received his first Resurrection, and it was good.
Once he recovered from these new found thrills, he quickly reverted back to his old self and chased the cats around my living room, giving them tummy rubs, telling me that Pumpkin looks like Ron Pearlman, and bragging to the cats that he "gives good butt scratch". Sigh.......
We have much work yet to do Eliza, Love Professor Higgins.