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Iseema bin Laden

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WTF? the second

Okay, you've heard me sing the praises of Daypop's Top 40. But there are times when I click on one of the Top 40 links, and say, "WTF?" because, quite simply, I don't get it. Like this link (now broken, and I can't find it on Daypop anymore, so you'll have to use your imagination). Am I supposed to go find a translator to see if it's really good, or will I probably not get it anyway, what with it being Netherlands humor? It looks like German to me, about the only word I know in German is "nincompoop", and I suspect that may not be a German word.

On the other hand, it's pretty easy to figure out a link called "Cheese Racing", and trust me, you don't want to go there. It's really frightening, the number of pathetic "sports" bored people can make up, and yes, this is one we get to thank our cousins the Brits for. Benny Hill, cheese racing--I don't see the difference, really.

This article is in The Weekly Standard, not exactly an unbiased source, but it's a great read about the treatment of the illegal combatants at Guantanamo. But at least Bill (yeah I took Enron money; so what?) Kristol didn't write it.

It was 15 years ago today

Sometime during the fall of 1986, I finally succumbed to my friends' blandishments and bought a 1200 baud modem for my IBM PC-XT and started dialing into these things called electronic bulletin boards--BBSes. Within a very short time, I was utterly, thoroughly addicted to the online life. I joined storyboards and ran message bases and participated in debates and in flamewars. I fell so hard for the BBS world that I decided to run one of my own. I chose 2AM-BBS, a software program written by a then-student at Drew University named Neil Clarke. I ultimately joined 2AM-BBS and completely rewrote their help files and user and sysop manuals, all while Neil sat on my sofa, dictating the manual while I typed, eating chocolate-covered Oreos and tormenting my cat (who adored him). I was a groomswoman at his wedding. We're still friends, but he needs to call me more often. But I digress.

I had a dry run, invitation-only, for my friends (both online and off) in January. Then, on February 2nd, 1987, a date that I chose because Groundhog's Day is such a stupid holiday, Through the Looking Glass went public. TTLG is in every way the precursor to I ran the BBS for eight years. I ultimately grew tired of the same-old, same-old, and migrated to GEnie, and then Compuserve, and ultimately the web. But when I look back at my BBS, I see there the same sort of things that you see here.

My handle on TTLG was Cheshire Cat. I was Cat everywhere else, a handle I chose when I started playing Photon (that's one for another day). I thought it was so original at the time. I liked to put up anecdotes about things that happened, particularly funny stories. I liked to rant about the political issues of the day. We talked about our favorite TV shows and books and movies. There were the single-themed message bases, like "Whatever happened to..." and you'd fill in the blank. Those burned fast and furious and bright, then faded completely--not unlike the Daypop Top 40 fads that come and go so quickly. Quantum Leap was a favorite topic, particularly the final season episodes. (Sam leaps into Lee Harvey Oswald! Sam meets Marilyn Monroe! The Evil Leaper!) The X-Files began while I ran TTLG. ST:TNG was a huge topic of discussion. The Gulf War occurred while we argued about its legitimacy on the political message bases. The Dumb Ox (my favorite conservative) and I locked horns a thousand different times on nearly every topic--not unlike a private correspondence I have with a regular reader of this site. "Ask Auntie Cat" was always a huge hit. They'd ask me serious and silly advice questions, trying to stump me. Auntie Cat was never stumped.

I made a lot of friends through TTLG. We'd start corresponding on the "Hi, I like your BBS" level and move on from there if we had things in common. It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to develop a deep friendship through email correspondence. It keeps happening to me no matter where I wind up online. One of my friends met her husband via the BBSes. His then-wife called TTLG first, and she and her husband were invited to our "Pub Runs", which were get-togethers held in bars so we could weed out the under-21 crowd and have a night out for grownups. A lot of couples got together after they met via a BBS, come to think of it--even me. I met a guy through a friend's BBS that I wound up dating for a while. (Don't hold your breath waiting for that story. It was a long time ago.)

Above all, running a BBS honed my writing skills. I'm a better writer now--I've had fifteen more years of practice. But rarely a day went by that I didn't log into TTLG, sometimes several times a day, and post eight or ten or twleve messages, write four or five emails, and try to think of something new to say in the opening screen as a little gift to the users.

So here's to TTLG, the BBS that was my beginning. is my middle. I have no idea what else is ahead, except that I know it involves writing, and communicating with more strangers who become familiar and ultimately friends. It is, I think, a wonderful thing: Communication. --MAY



Very strange search requests

I love the first days of the month. I get to see all of the weird search requests. And today, I got a bunch of doozies.

What is it with people searching for "pakistani fashion magzines", and why can't they put the second "a" in "magazines"?

All right, this one is just plain weird: "yourish upstairs". Okay, we lived upstairs from my aunt and uncle and cousins, but they already knew it and wouldn't need to search to confirm it. I live downstairs now, people. Downstairs!

"conservative thinking weblog": At the risk of offending half my readers, isn't that a contradiction in terms? Okay, okay, you know I had to ask. Anyway, there's no such thing as a thinking weblog, Jonathon Delacour notwithstanding. He's the one that thinks, not the weblog. (And sometimes he just thinks too hard. Dude, sit back, relax, have a beer and go for a swim.)

This one's my favorite: "bug catch cheat husband". I remember reading something about catching unfaithful spouses--oh, wait, that was in a piece of spam I got. Someone's actually searching for that? Yikes. Listen, if you think your spouse is cheating on you, the marriage is in trouble, and you might want to consider that before buying anything from a piece of spam.

Oh, hey, cool--look at the blog below. Once Google's spiders get it, it's going to come up the next time someone searches for "yourish upstairs". Serendipity is such a wonderful thing.

Where did that wind come from?

Wow. A wind kicked up here about half an hour ago, just in time for dinner. I am not liking the thumping sounds coming from my upstairs neighbor's balcony. And my Darth Vader air conditioners are going full blast.

Oh, have I forgotten to tell you about my Darth Vader air conditioners? This post-WWII apartment complex has what I believe to be the original air conditioners in the walls of each apartment's living room and bedroom. They're terribly sealed, and awfully maintainted. So they're major heat and coolness leaks. In the wintertime, to prevent drafts and lose too much heat, I take large black plastic trash bags and tape them around the air conditioners. On windy days, they breathe in and out noisily, like Darth Vader.

And now it's time to take the potatoes out and put the chicken in. I'd invite y'all to dinner, but there's only enough for me. Maybe next time.

Cokeaholics Anonymous

"Hi, my name is Meryl, and I'm a Cokeaholic."
"Hi, Meryl!"
"I realized this morning that I have a problem. I only had a few sips of Coke left in a can, then I was out. But I couldn't get out of the house for a couple of hours, and I was going through withdrawal. I was almost ready to drink the Diet Coke that I keep for visitors."
<collective gasp>
"But I didn't have to. I found an old, flat, third-of-a-bottle. A 20-ounce bottle. A Harry Potter bottle! I drank that instead, and managed to make it to work that afternoon and buy a can of Coke right away."
"Then I bought a 2-liter bottle on the way home. Only one, because they're obviously going on sale tomorrow."
"Next week, I'm going to try to stop drinking from the cans again. No more paying twice as much as you need to! It's 2-liter bottles, and who cares if the end always goes flat?"
"Is there a Coke machine in this building?"

Canada eats an Ortolan

Final score: France, 29 visitor sessions, Australia, 26, Canada, 20. So what with Australia getting smashed and winding up in the Atlantic Ocean, it's time for Canada to do something wacky--like eat an Ortolan.

The best source I ever read about eating Ortolans was an absolutely hysterical feature article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which Heidi's husband read aloud to us while I was visiting. We were absolutely on the floor at the descriptions of the napkins as hoods and the way you're supposed to eat it. First, according to the article, you're supposed to suck the internal organs out through the ass. Then you eat the entire bird, bones and all. This is considered a delicacy by the French. But then, they also consider Jerry Lewis a comic genius, instead of just another wacky guy who made some funny movies.

And the result of the French Ortolan habit: An endangered species of songbird. Apparently, the reason for the napkin over the head is not because the whole process is revolting, rather; it is so God cannot see the French eating the bird. Ah. A guilty conscience. So--so--so un-French.

Here a whack, there a whack

Googlewhacking is starting to catch on. The geek news picked up on it (CNET, ZDNET). I got one. It's up at Unblinking, and the real question is: What were we thinking? Burningbird has a guide to Googlewhacking for newbies; bloggers all over the place are getting into the game, and extremely strange phrases are popping up all over.

Actually, I don't really have anything new to say about it. I just wanted to add the word Googlewhacking to my site again, so Google will find my page when someone types in Googlewhacking in their search engine. Do you think that was enough times, or should I say Googlewhack one more time?

Google is good. Google has sent many hundreds of people to my humble website. (It's not really humble, and neither am I; that's a phony attitude that I only put on when I think new people are looking. Ignore it. Everyone else does.)

Googlewhack! Googlewhack! Googlewhack! Oops, I did it again.

Don't get a cat

I know this should probably be on Cattales, but dammit, I just finished giving Tig his eyedrops for the third day in a row, and I have to rant about it somewhere, and I want it to be here. Here, where everyone can see it and learn from it.

Four more days of this, and I'm thinking I will have only one cat by the end of those four days.

Heidi had a great suggestion. Get the drops in while Tig's asleep. Sure. That would work. Except I have to push his eye open to get the drops in, which wakes him up, and as soon as he's up he realizes I'm trying to put drops in his eyes, and he's off and running.

I tried bribing him with tunafish. It doesn't work. He wants the tuna first, I refuse, and when I reach for his head, he runs. So tonight, I finally got tough and got it down to a routine. There is absolutely no way to say this without the gutter minds out there snickering, so snicker away, think your thoughts, and I'm thankful that I have no comments for you to post them to.

The only way I have managed to hold Tig and still get the drops into his eye is by kneeling down and holding him between my thighs. (Stop snickering. Grow up. I mean it!) One hand is tied up holding the drops, the other has to grab his head and make sure the eye stays open. So yeah, that puts him exactly where you think it puts him. (You, in the back--I can still hear you laughing behind your hand, cut it out or you're staying after school!) He tried to leap away when the first drop landed, and again with the second drop. It was a major struggle tonight. (I know who every last one of you is, and I'm telling your mothers!) But I got the drops in, and then took a black pen and drew great big Xes on each of the days I've put in the medicine so far. I cannot wait until next Monday night. (That's it, you're all out of here. NOW!)

You can stop snickering now. I said you can stop.




Blah, blah

I have the blahs. I have them so badly I couldn't even type a third "blah" in the title. I think it's a combination of being tired and the second day of rain, which, as I understand, will be turning into a third day of rain. Which we need, what with the super-dry winter putting us into drought warnings already. Let's all hope for a really rainy spring, shall we? Oh, damn. That would put me into the blahs, though. How about hoping for rain at night only? That's be nice. Rain on the roof--well, to be accurate, the windows and air conditioners, as I'm on the first floor--is a nice sound.

I own a Brookstone white noise machine with an extra soundcard. If I need noise to fall asleep by, I can choose from about a dozen. There's Ocean Surf (very cool), Stream (makes me feel like I left the water running), Rain (no thunder, just rain), White Noise (sounds like Niagara Falls from the bottom, ew), Woodlands (really annoying bird songs), and Wind (please make me understand this--what kind of idiot wants to fall asleep to the sound of a windstorm?).

I decided those weren't enough sounds, so one day I bought a soundcard. Thunderstorm (off in the distance, a lovely sound to fall asleep to), Forest Rain (rain falling on leaves, soothing but boring), Waterfall (see White Noise, above, only from a further distance), Loons (do they think I am one? Fall asleep to this? What are they, nuts?), Windstorm (see Wind, above), Roaring Bonfire (okay, this one's just plain stupid).

Oh. The reason I bought the noise machine is because I have excruciatingly good hearing. While this comes in handy when people are whispering nearby and think I can't overhear them (nine times out of ten, I can), it also makes it difficult for me to fall asleep in a multi-unit dwelling (that would be apartment). So I have those foam earplugs, and I often couple wearing those with the white noise machine, which effectively covers the noise from my upstairs neighbors. It isn't that they're excessively noisy--this is a post-war apartment building with inadequate soundproofing between apartments. Plus there's that 20-20 hearing thing I have.

Really, I'm a freak. When I used to smoke, I could hear the tip of the cigarette burning every time I inhaled. A sulfur match makes a loud noise to me when you strike it. I can hear the bats cry at night. If a monitor in my workplace is off just a bit, I have to find the one that's emitting the high-pitched whine and make it stop or I can't work. Most aggravating is that when I hear a strange noise, I have the need to classify it before I can move on with what I was doing.

Hm. I sure hope this blog makes sense to you, because I'm definitely a little out of it today. But not enough to check the contest.

Warm up dem Ortolans

Canada is decisively in third place. I'm thinking they're doomed. France is still ahead, Australia in second. Perhaps I should include an incentive to find more of your countrymen to avoid the fate of having to eat an Ortolan. This is from The Adventure of Food:

One incredibly rich entry (or entree) is the recreation by Michael Paterniti of the illicit last banquet prepared for the terminally ill former French President Francois Mitterrand, the highlight of which was ortolan, a tiny songbird whose consumption had already been outlawed. The entire piece, which originally ran in Esquire, is almost overripe with culinary description, including a fine bit on foie gras; but the description of ortolan, which Paterniti persuades a chef to prepare for him and his girlfriend, is spectacular. "The bird is surprisingly soft, gives completely, and then explodes with juices -- liver, kidneys, lungs. Chestnuts, corn, salt -- all this in an extraordinary current, the same warm, comforting flood as finely evolved consomm. . . . I put inside myself the last flowered bit of air and Armagnac in its lungs, the body of rainwater and berries. In there, too, is the ocean and Africa and the dip and plunge in a high wind. And the heart that bursts between my teeth."

Gross, huh?

Call your Canadian friends today, lest they be forced to endure the above.--MAY



Calling all Canadians and Ozzies--only one day left!

There's been an unofficial contest going on here. Actually, it's not only unofficial, it's unknown to anyone but me. But I've been tracking my visitors from three nations: France, Canada, and Australia. It was neck-and-neck between France and Australia for a while, then Canada drew level with Australia and left the French in third place. Now France has experienced a resurgence in stats, tying for first with Australia, and the Canadians have dropped to third.

Have I mentioned recently that I am easily amused?

Well, fellow former colonies of Britain, you have until sometime tomorrow (which, in Oz time is sometime the day after tomorrow) to catch up with or surpass the Frogs in number of visitors to my (non-French-speaking) site. Not that I'm biased or anything like that, but let the best (mostly English-speaking!) nation win. Loser has to eat an Ortolan, and trust me, you do NOT want to know how the French eat Ortolans. (It involves sucking the innards out through the butt, and I'm not making this up. It could be worse, though--at least they're dead and cooked at the time.)

Until tomorrow, then.

Updated at 5:00 p.m. EST: The French have pulled strongly ahead. O, Canada--better get ready to chomp on those Ortolans. Contest ends sometime tomorrow evening--knowing my ISP, around 10:30 p.m. EST.

Making decisions

I need to throw this one open to the public and see what happens.

A little bit of history here: I've been writing this weblog the same way I used to write for my BBS back in the days when I had a BBS. But people could post on the BBS, and they can't here. There are some folks out there that I know have been around since at least October, and I think there are a few of you (who I didn't already know) who have been around longer than that. I've watched the statistics grow since I first started this blog in April of last year. I have a pretty good idea of demographics and recurring visitors, as one of my more annoying habits is to remember things that most people don't, and numbers is one of those things. (Or should that be numbers are one of those things? Wow, that's a question for my pal the former Page Okayer for the New Yorker. But she's busy with a book deadline right now, so we won't bother her. We'll just be incorrect.)

Here's the issue: Since getting to know bb Meryl and TX Meryl and various other webloggers, I've been making more toe-the-line bloglike, first by adding permalinks, and now, maybe by adding comments. What I'm trying to decide is if comments would change things so much that it would change the entire flavor of the site. On the one hand, I think I'd like to hear from you all. On the other hand, I know that I've got many (usually) silent folks out there who have been perfectly content to read and move on without commenting.

One of the things that worries me about adding comments is that they sometimes can encourage cliquishness, and the last thing I want to do is drive people away by making them feel unwelcome. If I'm going to drive someone away, dammit, I want it to be because they're offended by what I write. Well, either by that or by my telling them to go away.

So I've figured out a solution that ought to fit perfectly with my old and new readers: Send me email if you want me to add comments to the site. Don't send me email if you don't. I'll figure out a way to calculate the mail I don't get along with the mail I do get, and, um, is this making sense to anyone but me? Uh-huh. Well, it makes sense to me, so we're going to go with it for now. And I'm betting it also makes sense to my silent audience out there. Just remember, just because they're not out to get you doesn't mean you aren't already crazy.

Making new friends

I got the neatest piece of feedback last week from a fellow New Jerseyan who is also writing a blog. So I checked it out the past few days, and folks, I think you oughta go try From the Treetop, a "work in progress" (it really looks pretty darned complete to me) by my pal Cyber Kat.

New cattales

The State of the State of the Union

I must say, I think our Union is a lot more stately than I thought we'd be four months ago. Heck, I think our President is a lot more stately than he was four months ago. I think Laura Bush made the right choice to wear a red dress while sitting in between the two green-garbed lumps she had to put up with. That Karzai guy--I dunno, there's something about him that really bothers me. We're watching you, bud.

I watched the State of the Union with a drink in hand. I recommend this highly to all and sundry. Instead of applauding or getting to your feet, wouldn't it be nicer to see the Congress and dignitaries raise their glasses and yell "Hear, hear!" each time? I sure did.

I'm really glad to see that Dick Cheney was there instead of hiding in that "undisclosed secure location". Does anyone else think that was another name for "hiding in the closet"?

You know what the State of the Union speech reminds me of? Any formal occasion, from a wedding to a company holiday party to a formal banquet that student organizations (like the Montclarion, my college paper) hold at the end of each year. After we've all had plenty to eat and drink, the president or the best man or the editor gets up and starts talking about how the year or the event went, and everyone else breaks into cheers and applause. The only thing missing from the State of the Union is the forks clinking on glasses, trying to get W. to give Cheney a kiss.

A lot of women were dressed in red last night. Howcome Hilary wasn't?

Wow, the Joint Chiefs of Staff look about as fun as a Disney animatronic robot. They must be a blast at parties.

AmeriCorps? Freedom USA? Doubling the Peace Corps? Excuse me, but didn't we elect a Republican last year?

"American will lead by defending liberty and justice because they are right and true and unchanging for all people, everywhere. No nation owns these aspirations, and no nation is exempt from them."

That's what I've been saying for years.

"Together, with friends and allies from Europe to Asia and Africa to Latin America, we will demonstrate that the forces of terror cannot stop the momentum of freedom."

Amen to that!

Oops. The camera caught the Bishop reading something when W. started talking about God. Two things: One, I hope it wasn't a comic book. Two, if he'd really had the ear of God, he wouldn't have got caught on national TV with his pants down.

And last, but not least: Ain't it grand to have a Prez who doesn't like the sound of his voice so much that his speeches run an hour and a half?--MAY



It's a beautiful day in my neighborhood

I'm thinking I'm just grouchy because I'm still crampy. I'm thinking I'd better take more Advil. Especially because it's sunny and breezy and in the mid-sixties here, so you'd think I'd have some nice and/or funny things to write about, instead of getting on my high horse and misspelling litigious twice before catching it hours later. Four times, if you count the archive. I knew I wanted to check that spelling before I uploaded the blog.

Do you know anyone who looks good when they first get up? I mean, besides people in movies and television shows. I've noticed something really evil--you start looking worse in the morning the older you get.

This is just plain unfair. Kids look cute when they get up from a nap, yawning and rubbing their eyes and with bedhead hair sticking out all different ways. Adults look bad when they first get up. No two ways about it. Except I don't remember looking bad when I was, oh, in my twenties. Sleepy, yes. Bedhead, maybe. Bad? Nuh-uh.

And if you should choose to do your laundry, say, before jumping into the shower for the day, and then at one point look into the mirror, you might have to jump back in shock and say, "Damn! I'd better get in that shower, quick!" before going out to get the clothes from the dryer.

Damn. My clothes are in the dryer. I need a disguise.

The myth of the evil lawyers

Conservatives like to wax poetic about the evils of our litigious society. They bring up the silliest of cases (which often are dismissed by judges before anything but the press release goes out), and warp the facts of the ones that look bad, like the woman who successfully sued McDonald's because she suffered serious burns after spilling coffee on herself. They make it seem like she merely spilled coffee in her lap and won millions because of clever lawyers and stupid jurors. There were apparently skin grafts and surgery involved, but nobody points that out. Instead, they use that case as an example of why we should limit torts and corporate reliability.

But here's the thing. Blaming lawyers for our litigious society is comparable to blaming drugs for their addiction. You show me one case of an attorney forcing a client to sue someone. The reason we have more lawsuits per square mile than any other nation is not because our legal system allows the unmonied individual to sue the wealthy corporations. It is because Americans now seem to have the idea that personal responsibility is for everyone else.

A crazy person pushes a man in front of an oncoming subway train in New York. He survives, he sues the city. They should have prevented it, he says. A crazy person jumps in front of a subway train, trying to commit suicide. He survives, and sues the city. They should have prevented him from being able to jump, he says. The World Trade Center is attacked by terrorists. In order to prevent the plethora of lawsuits that could put several airlines out of business, the federal government sets up a fund--paid for by taxpayers--that families of the victims can draw from rather than sue. Otherwise, the families would have sued the airlines. They should have prevented it. Or the Port Authority, maybe, who built the WTC. The towers obviously should have been built to withstand a terrorist attack. Sue!

And here's the kicker, which apparently nobody believes: Sometimes, shit happens. Sometimes, really bad stuff happens that results in horrible injuries and deaths. And often, it isn't anybody's fault. People like the one in the subway who pushed that man under the train often exhibit no signs of insanity until that horrible moment. It wasn't anyone's fault. It was a horrible, horrible coincidence, and it's terrible that he lost his legs, but the man has no right to sue the city for it. But you know he'll win at least a six-figure settlement, because the new American Dream is no longer to work hard and become a millionaire: It's to hit the lottery, literally or figuratively. The literal lottery is the one with the numbers. The figurative lottery: Get some kind of injury, hopefully not too incapacitating, and sue. Hell, you can even sue the airlines for not having your seatbelt on during turbulence when the captain specifically tells you all to put the belts back on. With any luck, it'll only be a slight case of whiplash and you'll get 50 grand for it.

But in the meantime, let's not forget to blame all the lawyers. It's their fault. After all, they're not the group that claimed a self-imposed moratorium on suing anyone after 9/11. Nope. They're the bottom-feeders who make us all have to pay more for everything because they have the nerve to insist that corporations put out safe products.

And when they don't, and people die, they sue. Remember the Ford Pinto?* The one with the rear gas tank that exploded on impact? The one that Ford ultimately stopped producing after they got sued by the relatives of those who died in the fires caused by the Pinto crashes?

Do you remember the Chevy Corvair? The one that rolled over and killed people? The car that brought Ralph Nader out of the woodwork and gave us a consumer product safety movement? You know--the movement that created all those lawsuits, because of all those greedy lawyers, profiting off those people's deaths.

Here's my rule of thumb for a lawsuit: Was there negligence? Legitimate negligence? Well, alrighty then. Sue away. If not: Suck it up. Life is hard. There ain't no guarantees, and no free rides, and no guardian angel making sure you don't get pushed in front of an oncoming subway train by a crazy person. Deal with it.--MAY

*Edited 1/31 after Ben Henick pointed out some factual errors in this paragraph and the one below.



Will the cycle be unbroken...

About a year ago, a friendship that I'd had for more than twenty years was unraveling. At the time, I wasn't sure exactly why, and nothing I did seemed to stop it. I was also rather preoccupied with having to find another job, as I was laid off in December of 2000. The job I got in January 2001 turned out to be an unfortunate choice; cutbacks and layoffs began in the spring and I knew my time there was short as well. So my overall mood was probably not the best, and I'm sure that contributed to the problems I was having with my friend. We stopped speaking to or seeing each other sometime that spring.

Last summer, months of silence and hurt boiled into anger over an event held by a mutal friend. I ranted on my website; she sent me a snail mail letter that I returned to sender, followed by feedback I refused to read and another rant here. I understand the letter is on her website; I never read it. Some months ago, I realized how childish I'd been and thought about removing my rant. I decided to change the names to initials instead--it didn't seem quite fair to use the names of people who didn't ask that our dirty laundry be raised in public. I removed them today.

But here's the thing: A year later, I can look back and see both sides of the story. I don't think we can be friends. There's a cycle of judgments and expectations and falling short, and then hurt and anger resulting, that gets repeated, over and over. I can't be the kind of friend she wants me to be. She can't be the kind of friend I want her to be. And so, to carry on the kind of relationship that we had will ultimately lead to more misunderstanding, more hurt on both sides, and more fighting--which is not what either of us really want. And the most annoying thing is that we hold many personality traits in common, so you'd think we'd be able to say, "Whoa, I do that to her and I hate when she does it to me, I should stop doing that." But we don't. We just--fight. And then we stop speaking, or being friends. And I can't see it changing, alas.

Oh, I miss her. I miss her a lot. I miss her, I miss her girls, I miss her husband, I miss hanging out with them and having dinner with them and babysitting the kids and talking girl talk in the kitchen. I miss fresh funnel cakes and blooming onions and angel food cakes and latkes with the dinners. Okay, I don't miss her dog, because that dog seemed so strange in a house with five cats, but I miss the cats. I miss the summer evening dinners in the backyard, and going to the park with the girls, and dinner at the Chinese restaurant, and watching Mad TV after an evening of movies. Yeah, I miss her. But I don't know how we can be friends anymore.

On a serious note

Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day in the U.K. Which may be why Wiley Miller ran this cartoon strip in the Sunday papers.

Non Sequitur is the most brilliantly witty and acidic cartoon strip ever. It never fails to amuse, entertain--and educate. I have three of them on my refrigerator, including yesterday's. Check it out.

Happy Monday!

Hm. That's a phrase you generally don't hear. Maybe we should start a trend. You only need three to make it a movement, according to Arlo Guthrie.

You might have noticed I was busy over the weekend. Did a lot of site maintenance; put the current blogs in the archives and cleaned up this page so it loads fast. Of course, it also loads fast because I haven't written any long blogs and added pictures yet. Give me a day or three and I will.

I'm trying to think of something funny to say, but I have cramps. Cramps make it impossible to think of funny things. You are simply going to have to wait until the Advil kicks in.

Wow, a really evil thought just struck me: The world would probably come to a screeching halt, if not an end, if every single woman in the world got her cycle on the same day. Just imagine billions of women, all at once, being crampy and miserable and irritable--hoo-boy, I think if it didn't create the end of the world, it would definitely create mass destruction of men.

You guys should consider yourselves lucky that nature didn't do that to us. Really lucky.--MAY



New additions

If you look to the left menu, you'll see that I've added Cattales. It's a section where I'll be occasionally writing blogs about my cats, past and present. The reason it has a section all to itself is because if you don't like cats, reading someone's cat stories is about as interesting as watching grass grow in the winter. I'm not foolish enough to think that everyone who reads this site is a cat lover. But since I like cats, and so do a whole lot of people out there, we'll talk cats over there while the rest of you go about your business.

Shh... somebody's watching me.

Be vewy, vewy quiet. They're hunting--terrorists.

Actually, I have no clue why I'm getting hits from Arpanet, and my buddy Mike S., who knows more about the internet and computing than almost anyone I know, says that's generally the DOD and military installations. Kewl. I'm really hoping they're actually reading my site, not just searching for terrorists, but I figured what the heck, let's confuse 'em one way or another. Watch this:

Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden!

There. That'll keep those terrorism spiders busy for a while.

By the way, my contact who gave us Iseema bin Laden's diary tells me he's got new entries for me--smuggled in from Camp X-Ray. I should get them in another day or so.

Strange truths

This is a true story I found over at Warning: Don't read this at work, or while eating or drinking. Firing or choking might occur.

Strange views

Living in America brings no end of strange things to those who notice strange things. Er, that would be me, for one.

I saw in the TV section yesterday that Robin Hood: Men in Tights would be on the local Spanish-language station. So I had to quickly turn on the Spanish station and watch Cary Elwes dubbed into Spanish. I saw the "Atchoo" "Bless you!" scene, and wondered if that really translated well. But the scene I was really wondering about: The line where Cary Elwes says, "Besides--I speak with a real British accent."