Saturday, October 01, 2005



  1. Prepared or available for service, action, or progress: I am ready to work. The soup will be ready in a minute. The pupils are ready to learn to read.
  2. Mentally disposed; willing: He was ready to believe her.
  3. Likely or about to do something: She is ready to retire.
  4. Prompt in apprehending or reacting: a ready intelligence; a ready response.
  5. Available: ready money.

Friends, while it may be unpleasant to think about, if you haven’t done so, please hold your nose and spend some time here with your loved ones. It’s the most comprehensive public resource I’m aware of (I spend no small time on this issue). Hint: start with the Personal Pandemic Planning section and branch out from there.


Devoid of concern or sympathy.

Tibetan Antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii)

The Tibetan antelope or "chiru," is native to the Tibetan Plateau in China, and small areas of northern India and western Nepal.

Shahtoosh (roughly translated from Persian as "king of wools") is the undercoat of the Tibetan antelope and is considered the world's finest and warmest wool, with a mean fiber diameter if 9-12 microns -- one-fifth the thickness of a human hair. The wool can only be collected by killing the chiru and plucking the pelts. Poachers are either Tibetan nomads or Chinese migrants who use jeeps and trucks to reach remote chiru habitat, often surrounding herds at night and blinding animals with vehicle lights, then gunning them down. One chiru yields approximately 120-150 gm of shahtoosh, necessitating the death of at least three Tibetan antelope to make a one- by two-meter ladies' shawl and up to five antelope for a two- by three-meter men's shawl. As many as 20,000 chiru are poached annually, based on estimates by China's State Forestry Administration.

This one (held by a conservation scientist, NOT a poacher or vendor) is worth around $7,000. He showed me a sack of 50 shawls, as well as hundreds of leopard and tiger skins. Please don't buy this stuff.

It's that time of year again...

Dixie Classic Fair time. We went yesterday, straight from the oldest's school letout. We saw the frisbee dogs show, the pig races, the diving and swimming pig, the Border Collie exhibition, the duck races, and, of course, the main event of the day.

demolition derby
A contest in which drivers crash old cars into each other until only one is left running.

As notes, there is a "dwindling supply" of "traditionally used junked full-size American sedans, especially those from the 1960s and 70s, which were larger, heavier, and had more robust frames than later full-size vehicles."

So last night, there was a special class of vehicles: minivans. Yep, the suburban soccer Mom vehicle of choice.

(Personally, I'd like to watch a few gas-guzzling, pretentious-as-hell Hummers get trashed.)

Friday, September 30, 2005


Early on it was Tawny Little (1981: Sigh. She was an LA newscaster, I a lowly teenager who couldn’t get enough news.) Years later it was Teri Hatcher (no, ONLY from the Superman days). And J-Lo (for about 15 seconds.) And (of course) Angelina Jolie (Yeah, I know, I know. But sorry, it’s a requirement for all men, even if they don’t admit it. Helpless... to... resist.) Then Beyonce became my girl. But now I think I’m drifting into a Ciara phase (smokin’, plus she can dance some crunk—a future Wordaholism entry. Hint: Turn up your speakers when you click here. It’s bumpin’.)



  1. A distinct stage of development
  2. A temporary manner, attitude, or pattern of behavior: just a passing phase.
  3. An aspect; a part: every phase of the operation.


If you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose -- you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.

- William J. Bennett, former U.S. education secretary under President Ronald Reagan and director of drug policy under George H.W. Bush, on his syndicated talk radio show yesterday

Clear away the Jews! Our own people has genius enough - we need no Hebrews. If we were to put in their place intelligences drawn from the great body of our people, then we should have recovered the bridge which leads to the community of the people.

- Adolph Hitler, in a speech given in Munich, Germany on April 27, 1923

If X people were done away with, then society would improve in Y way.

It matters not, Mr. Bennett, if the statement is followed with a declaration that such an action"would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do". The premise that society can be bettered by ridding ourselves of one race is itself reprehensible. Still.

1. To advance; proceed.
2. To advance toward a higher or better stage; improve steadily.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Fair: adj

1 Of pleasing appearance, especially because of a pure or fresh quality; comely.

2 Light in color, especially blond: fair hair.

3 Of light complexion: fair skin.

4 Free of blemishes or stains; clean and pure: one's fair name.

5 Beautiful: beautiful or beloved woman.

6 Characterized by honesty and justice : free from self-interest, deception, injustice, or favoritism

7 Consistent with merit or importance

-not long ago I found myself in Southern India where I was startled to see a gigantic marketing effort by cosmetics companies selling "fairness creams." While the ads are omnipresent in media markets in other parts of the country, I cannot overstate the abundance of the ads in the South. They were everywhere, and it was clear that their use was not restricted to women. (As most there are of Dravidian stock, you see many more darker-skinned people.) Anyway, it was somehow even more jarring to see young and middle-aged men (including an inordinate number of rickshaw drivers) with their skin bleached to an ashy-grey pallor.

If you're wondering why, you need only look at the matrimonial ads like this. (Hint: "wheatish" is code for fair.)

Here are some sites on the topic for your browsing pleasure:
-the kernel of evil:

-and others

I find

This post

Being both pertinent and fitting.

Last leg...

If I survive, I'd be surprised. All I'm saying is I don't want to die, but I might. Better wear a pair of my good shoes to bed tonight. If I don't make it, someone's gotta wear a really big, churchlady hat to my funeral. It'll cheer me up. Thanks.

1. Affected with disease or ill health.
2. I think I'm dying.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What can I say? I love America.

I bought this sweater today. In brown, black, brick red, and the blue seen here. I did it for my country. I stimulated the economy. In four different colors.

One who loves, supports, and/or defends one's country.

Note that the definition doesn't require one to feel the same sentiments toward a country's elected officials. Lucky that.

In my defense, I really need sweaters.

Let F=P and L=R (or W)

My youngest has some speech articulation errors typical for his age. For example, all F sounds in middle or ending positions are pronounced as P. So he eats "wapples" for breakfast and if I climb so much as a stepstool, he reminds me to "Be carepul!"

His other primary error is replacing L sounds, especially in the initial position or consonant blends, with W or R. This means that everytime a Laurie Berkner song comes to an end, he says enthusiastically, "Time to crap, Momma!"

1. An expression of warm approval: acclaim, acclamation, applause.
2. Approval expressed by clapping: applause, hand, ovation.

He just loves "Waurie".

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Only US$2,457.00 (plus shipping)

The act of dressing showily or gaudily.

Monday, September 26, 2005


My oldest son decompressed from school today with some spirited puddle-stomping. This put him in such a fine frame that he held my hand and skipped across a parking lot this evening, completely unselfconsciously, lost in the moment.

1. Convivial; jolly.
2. Archaic Favorable.
1. A benefit bestowed, especially one bestowed in response to a request.
2. A timely blessing or benefit.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Buy some matches, Guv'nor?

My youngest started attending preschool two mornings a week recently. I took the handbook sent home by his teacher to heart, especially the part that said it was best to send your child dressed in playclothes, as art projects were frequent and messy, mud was not a reason to forego outdoor recess, and the school wished not to be responsible for mishap coming to a good outfit.

My youngest's playclothes consist mostly of hand-me-downs from his older brother, who was/is notoriously hard on clothes. Luckily, I'm a master of stain removal and can mend or patch almost any rip.

Standing amongst his classmates, though, whose mothers have clearly not taken that part of the handbook to heart, my youngest looks a bit like a

A person wearing ragged or tattered clothing; a ragamuffin.
Ragged; tattered.