Cast of Characters:

Enkidu (AKA Slim)
Beowolf (AKA Wolfie)
Blaze (AKA Blaze)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chaos is a social eater

I think that the reason for Chaos not eating is that he gets bored. He'll eat a bit and then wander off. However, if you hold him by the food, he'll start eating again, and eat at least as much as he did the first time around.

Bush calls for more foreign language learners

I got this in an email (it's also online here):

Bush Says Foreign-Language Study Key to Spreading Democracy

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush said the U.S. must promote the study of foreign cultures and languages and encourage students from overseas to attend colleges and universities here as part of the strategy against terrorism.

The U.S. government needs diplomats, soldiers and intelligence officers who are fluent in the languages of the Muslim world in order to promote the spread of freedom and fight the battle against terrorists, he said.

Language skills are ``part of the strategic goals to protect this country,'' Bush said today at an international education event at the State Department in Washington that brought together university presidents from around the country.

Bush also told the education leaders that he wants to adjust visa policies to allow more students from overseas to study in the U.S. He said he understood the ``frustration'' of higher education leaders with the visa restrictions imposed by the federal government after the Sept. 11 attacks.

``We want young kids coming from around the world coming to our universities,'' he said.

There were 565,039 students from overseas at U.S. colleges in the 2004-2005 academic year, a drop of 1.3 percent from the year before, according to the Institute of International Education in New York. In 2003-2004 the number declined 2.4 percent from the previous year.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in introducing Bush at the gathering, said the U.S. needs to give as much attention to the study of Arabic culture and language now as it did to Eastern European and Russian culture during the Cold War.


``This country made a huge intellectual investment in winning the Cold War,'' said Rice, who holds a doctorate in international studies and is a specialist on Russia. The nation hasn't made a similar investment in the current struggle, she said.

Bush is planning to ask Congress for $114 million in fiscal year 2007 to help U.S. grade schools increase the number of students learning ``critical'' foreign languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hindi and Farsi.

The plan would build upon existing efforts, including a Pentagon-funded program, and create a new National Language Service Corps through which volunteers would promise to work for the federal government in exchange for language training.

Language skills will help U.S. representatives ``convince people of the benefits of a free society,'' Bush said. ``You can't convince people unless you can talk to them.''

To contact the reporter on this story: Holly Rosenkrantz in Washington

Last Updated: January 5, 2006 17:01 EST

The government needs to be careful to not just throw around money. I'm certainly a proponent of foreign language education; my job depends on it; however, I think that the government needs to have some sort of standards for the programs that it funds. I got funded for Arabic, but the courses available to me had very little to do with the practical skills necessary for everyday conversation, let alone intelligence work! It prepared me for beginning a course of study in Arabic literature, but not for just interacting with folks!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Reverend Doctor Joseph E. Lowery

If you ever get the opportunity to hear Reverend Doctor Joseph E. Lowery speak, be sure to attend. He is excellent! His message is one of social justice for everyone, not just based on race or color. His delivery carries all the power from his background as a Southern preacher. It's also refreshingly interspersed with humor. I highly recommend him.

One of the things that he emphasized was the connection between privatizing prisons and the increasing rates of incarceration. If prisons are a business, then they need 'clients' to grow. He also pointed out that budgets for Corrections (but do they really correct anything?) are much higher than those for education.

"You work three jobs?...Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that"

After following the link trail from a post on, I found this lovely bit of banter between the President and a working woman at PR Newswire:

Remarks by President Bush in a Conversation on Strengthening Social Security

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The following are remarks by President
Bush in a conversation on strengthening social security:

Qwest Center Omaha Arena

Omaha, Nebraska

8:40 A.M. CST

...Mary is with us. Mary Mornin. How are you, Mary?

MS. MORNIN: I'm fine.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Okay, Mary, tell us about yourself.

MS. MORNIN: Okay, I'm a divorced, single mother with three grown, adult children. I have one child, Robbie, who is mentally challenged, and I have two daughters.

THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic. First of all, you've got the hardest job in America, being a single mom.

MS. MORNIN: Thank you. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: You and I are baby boomers.

MS. MORNIN: Yes, and I am concerned about -- that the system stays the same for me.


MS. MORNIN: But I do want to see change and reform for my children because I realize that we will be in trouble down the road.

THE PRESIDENT: It's an interesting point, and I hear this a lot -- will the system be the same for me? And the answer is, absolutely. One of the things we have to continue to clarify to people who have retired or near retirement -- you fall in the near retirement.

MS. MORNIN: Yes, unfortunately, yes. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don't know. I'm not going to tell your age, but you're one year younger than me, and I'm just getting started. (Laughter.)

MS. MORNIN: Okay, okay.

THE PRESIDENT: I feel great, don't you?

MS. MORNIN: Yes, I do.

THE PRESIDENT: I remember when I turned 50, I used to think 50 was really old. Now I think it's young, and getting ready to turn 60 here in a couple of years, and I still feel young. I mean, we are living longer, and people are working longer, and the truth of the matter is, elderly baby boomers have got a lot to offer to our society, and we shouldn't think about giving up our responsibilities in society. (Applause.) Isn't that right?

MS. MORNIN: That's right.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but nevertheless, there's a certain comfort to know that the promises made will be kept by the government.


THE PRESIDENT: And so thank you for asking that. You don't have to worry.

MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I

THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?

MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)

MS. MORNIN: Not much. Not much.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, hopefully, this will help you get you sleep to know that when we talk about Social Security, nothing changes.

MS. MORNIN: Okay, thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: That's great...

No, Mr. President, it is not fantastic that she works three jobs. It may be fantastic that she has the option of working three jobs, but it definitely is NOT FANTASTIC that SHE HAS TO WORK THREE JOBS! Just because it's uniquely American doesn't make it good!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


So, Loki is an intrepid explorer. In fact, there's nowhere he can't get. He can get on the desk, pull stuff off of the coffee table, and climb up onto the kitchen's only a matter of time before he gets on to the kitchen table.

He's a very happy little ferret. He's always making little happy ferret sounds (technically known as "dooking"). If you pick him up, it's quite likely that he will wash your wrist/face for you.

He also enjoys rolling around in the plastic bags under the TV stand and playing in the kitchen by the litter boxes, just like Fuzzball.

Unfortunately, he's still domineering when it comes to Chaos. I think that he might be mellowing out a bit, but Chaos has already been turned off to him. I don't know if there are any steps that I can take to help them reconcile or not.

child endangerment

NEVER EVER ENDANGER A CHILD! My God! Can you believe this??? Some guy left his baby in the car for three hours, in the winter, in Houlton, Wisconsin, so that he could go watch strippers. WTF? I suppose that having his baby on his lap might have impeded his enjoyment of the show. He had told his wife that he was going out for milk.

Why take the baby to a strip joint in the first place???

Anyway, this guy should probably not be permanently removed from the family. That would probably harm the kid even more. However, something needs to be done to make him think good and hard before ever pulling a stunt like that again. I don't know what. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to spend a month in jail or something...long enough to let the father know that it's not OK, but short enough that the baby won't have lasting memories of his absence.

hat tip:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ferret IQ


You scored 82 ferrety-ness!

You obviously have ferrets, you're very ferret-savy. Give your fuzzies a kiss and a raisen for me!

Link: The Ferret IQ Test written by Safia0323 on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(Safia0323)

I could be home cleaning my apartment...

...but instead, I'm sitting in a coffee shop chatting with James (who desperately wants to mentioned more in my blog) online and filling out silly tests like this one:

Your Score: The Cat

You scored 51% domestic, 39% gregarious, 21% trickster, and 70% intellect!

Domestic, Solitary, Serious, Intelectual: you are the Cat!

Cat represents a balance of strength in both physical and spiritual, psychic and sensual powers, merging these two worlds into one. Curious, intelligent, and physically adept, cat people tend to live in a world all their own.

This test categorized you based on four different axes of personality, which were then associated with a different animal. The four axes, as well as all possible results are explained below.

Wild/Domestic: This first axis categorizes you based on how much you are drawn to the outdoors, versus how much you are drawn to civilized situations. Domesticity has many shapes and forms, and varies from the joy of dolphins leaping next to a ship to the steadfast loyalty of a family dog.

Gregarious/Solitary: This axis measures how solitary you are. If you scored high, it means that you enjoy the company of other people, while a low score indicates that you prefer a more solitary lifestyle.

Trickster/Serious: This axis measures how well you line up with conventional trickster archetypes. People who fall into this archetype have a sense of humor and an excitable, highly chaotic streak. Scoring low doesn't mean that you don't have a sense of humor; it just means that you probably don't think dynamite is very funny.

Intellectual/Emotional: This last axis determines whether you are more emotional -- acting based on feelings and instinct, or rational and intelectual -- acting more on thought than on your gut feelings.

WildGregariousTricksterIntellectualThe Hyena
WildGregariousTricksterEmotionalThe Otter
WildGregariousSeriousIntellectualThe Antelope
WildGregariousSeriousEmotionalThe Wolf
WildSolitaryTricksterIntellectualThe Weasel
WildSolitaryTricksterEmotionalThe Coyote
WildSolitarySeriousIntellectualThe Raven
WildSolitarySeriousEmotionalThe Frog
DomesticGregariousTricksterIntellectualThe Fox
DomesticGregariousTricksterEmotionalThe Dolphin
DomesticGregariousSeriousIntellectualThe Horse
DomesticGregariousSeriousEmotionalThe Dog
DomesticSolitaryTricksterIntellectualThe Rat
DomesticSolitaryTricksterEmotionalThe Ferret
DomesticSolitarySeriousIntellectualThe Cat
DomesticSolitarySeriousEmotionalThe Squirrel

Link: The Animal Archetype Test written by crumpetsfortea on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
View My Profile(crumpetsfortea)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Stop looking for war with Iran!

My God! Do we really have to go to war with another country???

The coffee table is no longer safe

Chaos is not at all interested in what's on top of the coffee table. Loki, on the other hand, actively reaches up and pulls down anything that he can reach. He hasn't managed to climb up onto the coffee table, but no magazine, binder, book, or paper is sacred. He grabs it with his teeth and pulls it (and anything on top of it) down onto the floor.

Friday, January 11, 2008

More from Iraq through a conversation with Jassim

I asked my Iraqi friend, Jassim (not his real name), what America's role is in Iraq. We also talked about various roadblocks to peace within Iraq and possible scenarios for if the USA were to pull out now. Probably the most surprising thing he said was that he is more afraid of being attacked by the authorities than he is of the insurgents.

Karen: so, shall we talk politics? What should the USA do with Iraq now? Some candidates want to pull out all the troops now. Some want to stay in Iraq forever.

Jassim: well, I believe that USA will never withdraw from Iraq whatever happened politicaly

Karen: what do you think I should tell my government to do?

Jassim: , I don't know really

Jassim: may be the first step is to fighting curroption

Jassim: stop wasting all this money for only pretending

Jassim: billions of dollars went only for thieves pockets while they tell American people it been spent to rebuild Iraq

Karen: how do you think that the corruption can be stopped?

Jassim: it become more and more complecated evry day

Jassim: all what change for all this time is replacing Saddam rejiem in other dectatorian rejiemes

Jassim: corruption can not be stopped in one or two steps

Jassim: it's a hard and long way

Karen: you're saying the current regime is another dictatorial regime?

Jassim: yes

Jassim: specially the regimes in governorates

Jassim: as an example

Jassim: here in Najaf AlHakeem family is controling every thing

Karen: Do you think that it is possible to take the power away from such powerful families?

Karen: Would the Iraqi people support a government, in which the tribal leading families were not in control?

Jassim: Muqtada is another side but he have no power in official foundations as AlHakeem family

Jassim: I'm not quite sure but what Iknow is that people here got sick from them

Jassim: they are steeling and controlling every thing

Jassim: who resiste will die

Jassim: they have a powerful militia

Karen: what would need to happen to take control away from such families as the AlHakeem?

Jassim: I don't know

Jassim: I always assume that it's in people hands and not a resposibilty of Americans but it seems that people are very tired and afraid to resist

Karen: do the individual ruling families in the provinces have more power, or does the central government have more power?

Jassim: parties

Jassim: when I said AlHAkeem family I meant the party they lead, which it the superior islamic council

Karen: ok

Jassim: so in fact, nothing changed

Jassim: we replaced Saddam in other murders

Jassim: I still can not express my openion

Karen: if the leaders of those parties were to "disappear", do you think that others would simply assume leadership of the parties, or do you think that the Iraqi people would insist on change?

Jassim: you can say nothing been achieved from what USA promiced

Jassim: if they dissapear then some one else will take place instead

Karen: do you think that American style democracy is possible in Iraq, or will the Iraqis continue to prefer the tribal system?

Jassim: it still possible but it needs long time

Jassim: like step by step

Jassim: with remarkable achievments during it that encourge people to continue

Karen: can you give some examples?

Jassim: enhance civil socities

Karen: how?

Jassim: like Human Rights organization

Jassim: we don't have one yet

Jassim: it must be a one with a powerfull intervention that prevent any unjustice actions might authority take against people

Karen: does any country have such a strong humanitarian organization?

Jassim: in addetion to spread human rights culture between people so you don't find some one afraid from claiming his rights

Jassim: yes

Jassim: USA

Karen: I don't know...our human rights organizations haven't had to stop atrocities within the United States, and they don't seem very effective with stopping it abroad

Jassim: people still carrying the fair that they learned during Saddam age

Karen: I don't understand that last sentence

Karen: oh....fear?

Jassim: but it's achievable right ?

Jassim: fear yes sorry

Karen: I think that education is key

Jassim: yes

Karen: probably, peace won't come in this generation

Karen: but there needs to be a way to teach children and youth to respect each other

Jassim: I don't care about peace itself

Jassim: it would not be usefull it self only

Jassim: I want peace with full rights

Karen: *nods*

Jassim: the most thing that concerning me now in Iraq is the grwoing culture of violance the human rights

Karen: *nods*

Karen: what are the women doing?

Karen: the insurgents are mostly male, right?

Jassim: either by authority or by indevisioal

Karen: In Ireland, it was finally the women who told the men that they wouldn't accept the violence anymore

Jassim: there is no remarkable part for them as well as men

Jassim: yes mostly men

Karen: I heard someone on the radio asking where the families of the terrorists are. Don't the families have any influence?

Jassim: Irland is a differant story

Karen: is it? It's civil violence in the name of religion, cloaking politics and greed

Jassim: they have no power to say no

Jassim: not only families but also all arround ppl

Karen: well, until the community stands up to the insurgents, it won't get better

Karen: people need to stop helping the terrorists. They need to turn them in to the authorities

Jassim: insurgents are not the only problem, there are the people who use power, authority and government and even relegioun to do what they want

Jassim: I'm concerning mostly from autority not insurgents

Karen: I see

Karen: are you more afraid of being killed by the authorities or by insurgents?

Jassim: both but authority more

Jassim: much more actually

Karen: that's horrible!

Jassim: yes

Jassim: look

Jassim: any police man now can send me to hell if I just said a word that he would not like

Jassim: I barely avoid that

Jassim: this is why I wanna leave

Karen: I can see that oversight is a problem

Karen: *hugs*

Jassim: I'm sure one day and may be so soon I might be killed or jailed because of that

Jassim: the problem is that I can't shut my mouth

Jassim: I have a big mouth you know

Karen: I don't know what to say

Jassim: me too

Jassim: I appreciate my lebirity very much

Karen: yes, liberty is important

Jassim: I cannot replace it with good life

Jassim: it comes first

Jassim: I wanna say and do what I want

Jassim: no one can forbid me

Jassim: and this will not change for next term

Karen: are the Americans in Iraq helping at all? Would it be any worse now if they left?

Jassim: they not helping at all

Jassim: they are some thing like the dommy in the field that terrefy berds

Jassim: I'm sorry to say that

Karen: oh, the dummy in the field that terrifies birds; a scarecrow

Karen: is there any reason for the Americans to stay in Iraq, then? Should they just leave so that the soldier will stop being targets?

Jassim: I believe that soldiers doing a good job in fighting the rest of insurgents in hot areas but politically , the americans are doing nothing for this growing bad parties

Jassim: if they left then it will be a disaster waiting for Iraq

Jassim: this is my openion and not sure about it

Jassim: I think every body will attack every body else if americans left

Karen: *nods*

Karen: worse than they are already?

Jassim: I don't understand

Karen: there is already a lot of fighting. Do you think that there would be more fighting, or that it would just be the same fighting that there is already?

Jassim: more

Jassim: most of them are afraid from american

Jassim: in my openion when americans leave

Jassim: first

Jassim: Kurds will seperate

Jassim: establish their own country

Jassim: and trying to bite as much as they can from rest of Iraq like Kirkuk city which it rich in oil

Jassim: AlHAkeem family will take all south and establish an independant region supported directly from Iran

Jassim: this is an estimated senario to what would happen

Karen: is that الحكيم

Jassim: yes

Karen: ok

Karen: Do you have any idea what would be needed to pacify (make peaceful) the insurgents?

Karen: what would make them stop killing?

Jassim: they are leading: المجلس الاسلامي الأعلى

Jassim: only killing them

Jassim: !!!

Jassim: creating jobs, better services

Jassim: stuff like that

Karen: jobs and services would probably be better than massacring so many young men!

Jassim: yes

Karen: I have a religion question for you.

Jassim: ok

Karen: I heard someone say on the radio, that the Prophet said that there would only be peace in the Middle East if Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalum were controled by Muslims. Is this true or part of your understanding of Islam? My Morrocan friends wasn't familiar with this.

Jassim: you mean Prophet Muhammed ?

Karen: yes

Jassim: well in that time there was no use of the term "middle east"

Jassim: I think the say is that Mecca must be controlled by Muslims and it's forbidden for other than Muslims to control it

Jassim: Mecca and Madina actually

Jassim: I can say that I'm not familier with this say too

Karen: and Jerusalem (القدس )?

Jassim: I think there is no saying about it

Jassim: actually there is a say in Islam

Jassim: كافر عادل خيرٌ من مسلمٍ جائر

Jassim: you can understand much from this say I assume

Karen: very little, would you translate it?

Jassim: ok wait plz

Jassim: equitable infidel better than inequitable Muslim

Karen: it all makes sense

Karen: so, basically, it's better to be a good human being than a bad "believer"

Jassim: ok I need to go now

Jassim: yes

Karen: ok. *hugs* Take care, Jassim!

Jassim: may be this close

Jassim: generator is out of fuel now

Jassim: see you tomorrow dear, !!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Excellent Quote

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, From a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953
34th president of US 1953-1961 (1890 - 1969)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

John Pinette

OMG!!! This guy is friggin hilarious! You should check him out! I have watched a couple of clips so far, and I've yet to find one that didn't have me rolling on the floor!

Better than the one below is the one here or here, which unfortunately aren't enabled to be embedded.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

maybe it is bedtime

Karen: I suppose that I get the full cooling force of the wind on my wall/windows in the winter and the full heat of the sun in the summer

Karen: can't win

Karen: but at least I have a bit of a view

Karen: if the parking lot and trees count

Karen: and the dumpster; mustn't forget that

James: oh yes

Karen: "dumpster" is kind of a funny word

James: the view

James: maybe its bed time

James: lol

James: lol

Karen: how many words end with -ster?

James: yep sounds lilke bed time

James: lol

Karen: the dumpster is the recipient and not the agent (one doing it) unlike, say a spinster

Karen: or a barrister

James: dammit

James: now im thinking about it

James: lol

Karen: I don't care!

James: lets see

James: monster

James: canister

Karen: hamster is in a clas by itself

Karen: or maybe it's like monster

Karen: is there a verb form for canister?

Karen: is a canist something?

James: idk

James: lol

Karen: aren't you glad you have a linguist friend?

If I were really going to find out, I'd check the etymologies of these words. But, when it comes right down to it, I just don't care enough.

Chaos in da hood!