These aren't by Jack Handey, the senator from my state, but they are truly facts. The whole series is great.
Every summer, they invade. Black as pitch and utterly silent. They are an unstoppable force whose only drive is to come after us.
The joys of long, bright days are robbed from us. Every time we go to wash a dish, they are there. Every time to flip on the bathroom light, they are waiting. Every nook and cranny could contain one, watching, waiting.
There are those who claim they are harmless. That they will be here only a month or two then disappear into that good night. Try to ignore the problem and they won't affect you.
But we know better. We know they are coming for us. Merely scouting now before they can shore up their numbers. Then they will strike, when we have reached our most complacent.
They are ninja bugs. They don't scurry into a space, they are simply absent one moment and there on the wall the next. No sign of entry. No warning.
They are… Strawberry Root Weevils
But I say, we shall still fight their black menace.
We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in our gardens.
We shall fight in our homes, whatever the cost may be.
We shall fight in the kitchens.
We shall fight in the bathrooms.
We shall fight on the floors
and on the counters
and on the walls.
We shall never surrender.
We shall fight when, even in our darkest hours, when the days are short,
fight until the good, bleak Winter takes down all insectile life once more.
I just heard my new personal theme song on the radio. You may enjoy it.
Here's an fascinating fact you probably haven't heard before. In fact, I only learned* it for the first time right now.
Cats, with their vertical slits for pupils, have a greater range of vision up and down. However, on bright days, that feature–so handy for nabbing varmints while climbing trees–limits their horizontal peripheral vision. That's why you may see cats weaving their heads back and forth when following the motion of their prey. Use a laser pen and test it if you like. Cats love it!
This side-to-side motion, interestingly enough, is most pronounced on the ocelot. This small cat found in South America is almost constantly waving its head. When the Spanish first found them in Central America, they brought back a few of these curious creatures. While it first entered the Spanish language, it wasn't long before English traders in the Americas had brought this mini leopard and its name into our lexicon. And its existence as an option for 4th grade research and middle-of-the-line crossword puzzle answers alike continued through time.
Over the years, spellings of things shift. Case in point, pronounce Worcestershire Sauce to yourself. Don't try too hard, everyone is wrong. Always. So though variations on ocelot happened, mostly by association. By the 20th century, electric motors were being placed in every device possible, much like computer chips today. Through clever mechanisms on top of the motors, they were able to make devices that changed directions at specific intervals. The most notable invention was to mount a fan on such a servo.
Everything today still has a trail going back into history, and this fan needed a name in order to be marketable. The new "Fanning Fan" sounded ridiculous. So they went with the scientific term that originated with our titular feline: the oscillating fan.
*"learned" here means discovered by epiphany. No research was involved (or required).
As you may or must have heard by now, Pope Benedict XVI has stepped down from office before his term was up. Or, to be more ambiguous, before his term was laid to rest alongside his cousin(?) (I'm not Catholic, so I don't know the family structure between the Pope and ol' JC.)
In light of this news, I thought it'd be beneficial to know the proper wordage for handling a world with multiple Popes.
A group of popes is known as a popery, similar to a nunnery or a nursery. If you're talking about separate groups of popes, then you are speaking of disparate poperies.
When referring to a pope when there are other living single vessels of God hanging around the house, it's best to refer to them by their papal name. However, sometimes casually you'll just mention 'the pope' and unfortunately forcing a conversation regarding which one. For quick reference, until time sorts out the problem, here is your two-pope solution: Refer to the yet-to-be-named pope as 'the new pope' while former pope Benedict XVI can be referred to as the shadow pope or the sleepy pope. Once again, one simple snarky adjective can make a world of difference!
The history of the term popery is a fascinating one. Because as I'm sure has been mentioned, a pope hasn't stepped down from his high chair since 1415. The world has changed a great deal in those nigh-on six centuries. Back in the early 15th Century, when dealing with the last papal resignation, the people of the time were still hesitant to bathe properly. So while there was a popery in Rome, each pope would don different perfumes to distinguish themselves. It is surprising how easy it is to mix up guys wearing pointy white hats (just ask the KKK!)
These different scents were very particular and known across Europe, even as far as the British Isles. England, home of my native tongue, was still heavily influenced by the Norman French ruling class at that time. And this is why to this day we have a French word and spelling for a bouquet of scents: potpourri.
Editor's note: this post was half written in my queue and I don't know why I never really hit publish. It's been trying to get myself to do much of anything, to say the least. So let's hear it for an adorable pick-me-up.
I have cute kids. Most of the time, they're what keep me getting up each morning. That and they're the ones waking me up.
This first group is from November 3rd. Austin and I were just playing cards on the floor one morning and I had to do something to keep the Little Sister™ at bay. My attempt failed and she took my phone instead. Below is her discovering the video mode.
[The beard is leftover from the 2012 Baseball Postseason. You're all welcome.]
I still have no clue what's going on.
From November 13th. The lad's teacher put his artwork on a background to frame it. Mighty proud. Both him and me.
From November 17th. I don't remember if this was M or the Lass snapping this picture. I really forget just how thin my hair is anymore.
And later that day while I'm out doing yardwork, the girlie is rocking the training wheels.
Last, from November 20th. Just my pair o' kids. They may drive me crazy in their own special ways, but these two absolutely adore each other. Once they're older and they rise up against me, I'm doomed. Oh hell, we all know I already am.
And later that day, probably while I'm making lunch and watching Colbert, someone just has to butt in and strike a pose for attention. I believe the outfit was entirely of her choosing.
And there went November. Sorry for the delay!
My fellow Americans,
I wish to confer to you my reasoning behind voting to re-elect Barack Obama for President, and generally voting across the board for the Democratic Party.
I graduated from college in 2006 and walked straight into trying to support a family. By 2008, we were a family of four and watched the value of our one asset collapse, while also witnessing stagnation in both our careers. We luckily never were out of work, but those external stresses were there. They are still there today in different forms. This situation of ours, combined with how successful our international policy has been, is why I intend to vote for Obama and the Democrats yet again.
There are a good number of reasons not to vote for President Obama again. The unilateral use of drone strikes to kill even US citizens is beyond reproach. While ending the use of torture by the government, indefinite detention and Guantanamo still remain. And generally the increase in power of the Executive has continued unabated through the Bush Jr era and beyond.
That said, there are plenty of good reasons to vote to reelect the President. He signifies a major turnaround in our relations with the rest of the world. I think it may be forgotten just how hated our country was in 2004. Obama managed to end the war in Iraq and has planned out the end in Afghanistan. He handled Libya well and managed to repair relations with Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia.
As much as this is about the head of our federal government, it is never wise to discount the fact we are not alone in this world. We operate incredibly interconnectedly, more so than most imagine. I think many people see the world as it was when Marx and Engels were writing in the 1840s. The intricacies of international business and politics are staggering. And having someone with a reasoned and pragmatic temperament on the global stage is best. Obama has been a tremendous success at this. Romney would be too much of an empty suit, built only to pander toward his own success, to delicately approach China or Russia or even the United Kingdom.
Domestically, I have seen large reforms for the organization of our national health care system come to pass. Not without pains, not without sausage, not without compromise, but it got pushed through with Obama's leadership. I wouldn't characterize a mandate to buy private insurance as socialism, particularly since we have to do it for our homes and cars by order of the law at a state level. When it comes to medical expenses, if those bills are largely footed by the federal government, then it makes sense for it to be a federal mandate. Mostly for me, it gets us one step closer to being like car insurance in that it belongs to the individual household, not to the employer. Having it tied to the employer, I know first hand, is a tremendously limiting factor burdening we middle class folks. Plus I do agree with so many of the provisions in it, as do most Republicans. They just hate that Obama's name is on it.
This gets to the crux of why I cannot fathom voting for any Republicans since I was first able to vote in 2002. Especially now when the entire platform is devoted to generating a sense of fear regarding a fellow citizen and sitting President, it's almost an anti-personality cult. There is no reasoning behind it, and in fact much of the nonsense spewed by leaders of the party is reprehensible.
Nevermind the proudly ignorant attitude toward women and minorities. People who have no grasp on how a human is conceived, and no clue that a full half of all fertilized human eggs are passed out through the regular menstrual cycle, should never be allowed to represent anyone, let alone influence legislation dictating how a woman should handle her body. If my wife were raped, these people would insist that she carry the rapist's seed to term, that she and our family should be put through that nightmare, and that we should be thankful to God it wasn't a legitimate rape, otherwise her body would have stopped it from happening. And while those who have said such things aren't in my district, they are funded and supported and are voted alongside by others of this party.
The GOP has a terrible cancer attached to it, and it's killing their conservatism. If they were properly conservative, they would be non-interventionist and mindful of societal change. They would work in small steps to make things better, not fighting the existence of themselves altogether. The argument would be 'why would we need a giant new department, what if we just added a small section to a working department we already have?'
I don't think that conservatives deserve the title anymore. Conserving or rationing or reasoned apportionment don't enter into the rhetoric anymore. Now it's a reactionary extremism bolstered by religious fanatacism. As someone who knows the first amendment protects not only my rights as an atheist but also each and every denomination's right to not be under the thumb of any other, I am completely rejected by their support of religion-infused mal-education. Tolerance means live and let live. You're not required to participate in what you disagree with, but you're not allowed to dictate your views onto the system either.
Mitt Romney does nothing but pander. I don't see him as an ideologue, though he picked one as a running mate. I see a man who does well when working toward his own benefit and goes on the advice of those who helped put him where he is. None of that sounds terrible until you realize just what environment he would swirl into place around him. The section of society that has funded his ascention to party nomination are there for themselves and willing to step on the backs of those with relgion- and poverty-based fears about their own lives. If the Presidency and the House are captured by this batch of Republicans, then I don't think it too hyperbolic to say we would be pained socially and economically for decades forth. And nevermind the international relations problem of a trigger-happy supermilitary the likes of which would bring a tear and a grimace to Eisenhower.
While the President may well be amenable to reducing the power of the office by the end of his tenure, the real work rests on the shoulders of Congress. Congress, remember that thing? The proper representative of the will of the people? Congress needs to grow healthy and strong once again. There is reason why the President has had to go the route of unchecked power: Congress doesn't check it anymore. Congress has had a growing cancer of ignorance and intolerance that became institutionalized by 1994. Since the "revolution", rather than being a general balance and reign on executive action, the opposite party of the President has been solely reactionary. And now since 2010, we have seen this become fully aged and fermented.
Some dark underpinnings of the Republican party have come to bear these past four years. Where there should be considered opposition to the actions of the President, any President who say fired drones in a sovereign ally (Pakistan) without notice, instead we got members of Congress, on the floor, on our time and our dime, saying that secret Muslims have infiltrated high levels of our government. Rather than members of Congress checking the power of the Presidency and taking back their powers to begin wars, we have people who disavow science, evolution, and have no idea how human reproduction works on house education and technology committees. This does not befit the most powerful and advanced nation on the planet.
In conclusion I cannot see myself voting anything but Democrat for some time to come. I may disagree with some or many of their positions, but they really are the party of inclusion. That inclusion also involves ideas. The Democrats are a party willing to listen to difference of opinion.
The current Republican party I can't see being willing to hear an outside voice calling for a reduction in Presidential power. Can't be willing to hear the science that birth control reduces both lost zygotes and abortions. Can't be bothered to compromise and find a working halfway point.
The Republican party needs to knocked out and their cancer cut out. The party is rotting something terrible, and not even having a rational second party is even more detremental to our republic. Vote no to Republicans, knock them out, and give them time to go to rehab and clean up their act. Only after that could I see myself ever voting their way again.
A couple parting thoughts:
If you really are undecided at this point, don't vote. If you can't tell the difference, if you don't see a worthwhile adjustment to our leadership, then don't bother. Your indecisiveness won't affect the election and you don't care about your will anyway. Vote for the few things you have decided on and leave the rest blank. I'd really love to have the campaigning peter out at the end of October just to give us all a mental break to compile our own opinions.
A vote for a third party is a vote thrown away at the national level. It's a novel idea that other parties could have a voice, especially since we're the 3rd largest country in the world. But these parties need to kick off regionally, and voting third party nationally just adds waste to the vote and can often rob us of qualified people.
My district is number 6 in Minnesota. I am represented by Michele Bachmann. So I really get to feel the pain of being represented by pure, uncut absurdity. If she is re-elected, I'll be waiting to hear when she declares that the spirits of aborted fetuses are haunting the halls of Congress and will await Bill Murray's return to push for efforts banning contraception and education for girls.
What amazes me about this space of mine is that I'm basically an idiot with a microphone.
And why is it that any other idiot with a microphone makes noise?
I haven't solved that puzzle yet.
My dear home of Minnesota has a law on the books, since 1977, limiting marriage to between a man and a woman. Before then there was even a court ruling against same-sex marriage. And thank goodness for that!
But even with that in place, we have been living dangerously close to the precipice of civil society. With these laws in place, they could be changed by duly elected representatives in our state legislature. This body could dare to act in accordance with the will of modern society and change the law! This could destroy us all and everything we hold dear. Remember 1965? That shit could happen again!*
Now we have an amendment to our state constitution on the ballot. We can let the stoic-minded among us enshrine the will of the people to keep marriage restrictions in place. Finally, we can let the true will of the people be heard, just as our Founding Fathers intended! Like how our Senators would be directly elected by a state governor's appointment and approved by said state's legislature. How could we not fully agree with the not-tyranny of a democratic mob?
Not only can we have our law on the books, but we can go a step further by using a constitution to restrict freedom to a small minority that only want to solidify their status as a loving couple wanting to make a family. And if there's one thing conservatives really hate, it's families. Families with two parents raising children.
Thank the Holy Baby Jesus that money is pouring in from churches in and around our state to pay for this amendment's proponents. And thank those good churches for informing people how they should vote, a logical followup for telling people what to think. After all, if you only prayed, the vote might not go your way.
I for one will be voting NO on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment. I'm proud the company I work for has not only sided against it but also fundraised against it. And I'm proud that friends of mine believe similarly that laws based on hate should not be passed.
Because, and let there be no doubt about this, this is a law based on hating a small group of people. If gay marriage is against the law already, why else besides hate would you decide to vote an extra amendment banning it? It is only to stick it to them queers, I tell you.
So I am voting NO. And I would put signs up in my yard if I didn't fear reciprocity from my neighbors. Pleasant people indeed.
Besides, if we start passing laws to restrict freedom, this could be next!
*At least we're fighting back on that too with a voting ID amendment that would restrict who can vote. That'll stop all that fraud we've been having when only half of the electorate bothers to fill 5 bubbles on a sheet of paper in their neighborhood!
Not "just" as in merely.
It's "just" as in all you really need.