Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Friday, October 31, 2003
All Hallow's Eve
Frankly, I was in a rotten mood tonight. I'd devised a simple, but workable costume for work. I had my black pants on, with a black sweatshirt, and had bought a simple black-and-white cat mask from Michael's and also used my white Confirmation gloves. It actually looked kind of cute.

I didn't get to have any fun with it, however. First, last night before bed, I had somehow managed to throw my bad shoulder out just by visiting the bathroom and reading. If I'd "slept wrong" it would have been understandable, but one minute I was fine and the next I was in a world of pain. Plus when I got into the car this morning, I tore my pants in the back. It meant I had to walk around very carefully for the morning I was at work.

I left work after lunch and came home to take some aspirin and lie down. I ended up being asleep for over two hours, but it didn't help the pain in my shoulder. Needless to say I wa grumpy giving out candy. It was also too warm--it had gone up to eighty during the day.

We did have a fun sojourn to a friend's house. He had built two flying saucers out of foam, foil, and other parts and had "Area 51 1/2" on his front lawn for Halloween. The mechanisms were quite clever: clear plastic bowls for cockpit domes, one of those "flaming cauldrons" for a fire effect, a motorized Tinkertoy drive to keep the second saucer's occupant--a stuffed "Stitch"--bouncing up and down in his cabin, a smoke machine, and other clever inventions. We got there late enough to help him break the units down and see all the creative work he'd done on the display.


The Friday Five

1. What was your first Halloween costume?

It was a "boughten" one with a real mask (since I didn't have glasses back then). I think I was a princess or something.

2. What was your best costume and why?

I had to work around my glasses because I couldn't see without them. I wore an old maternity skirt of my mom's which was brown with orange ladybugs on it, a shawl that was once my baby blanket, and some type of funny hat and I put black construction paper eyelashes on my glasses and went as a witch. I don't think it was my best. I never cared all that much just so I was "dressed up."

3. Did you ever play a trick on someone who didn't give you a treat?

Nope. My parents wouldn't have allowed it.

4. Do you have any Halloween traditions? (ie: Family pumpkin carving, special dinner before trick or treating, etc.)

Hallowe'en was a kids' holiday. My parents bought candy and got me a plastic pumpkin, but otherwise we didn't do anything special.

5. Share your favorite scary story...real or legend!

I don't do scary stories. Heck, I was forbidden to watch The Wizard of Oz till I was about ten because the Witch gave me nightmares.


» Thursday, October 30, 2003
And This is a Problem...How?
Harry Potter causing Hogwarts headaches?

So kids are reading a book so long they are getting headaches? Which is what--worse than getting headaches from being hunched over a Nintendo joystick or squinting at a computer screen playing a game?


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Cheap-- Cheap thrills? Are you and yours doing anything for Halloween? Parties? Trick or treating? Staying home with the lights out and an axe visible in the window?

Giving out candy as long as it lasts. We seem to have a glut of new kids in the neighborhood; in the afternoon about a dozen of them are playing in the circle near our house. Our first six Halloweens in the house (we used to shut the lights off and hibernate in the apartment) we had about 30-40 kids, so when last year came (we didn't do 2001 because of 9/11) I bought only about 40 candies. Turned out I had to cannibalize a bag of York Peppermint Patties James had saved in the fridge. This year we'll get all the new kids, plus the children from the apartment complex behind us. I don't mind them; what I really resent is the parents who drive their kids to other neighborhoods.

Twosome: wax-- Hey, are you a 'candle person'? I mean, is that one of your decorating motifs? ...or does this fall under something like the "No Sharp Objects" rule in your life?

No candles, except maybe Christmas Eve tapers on the kitchen table. I'm afraid of fires and have a bird.

Threesome: treatment-- Speaking of treatments: do you decorate for Fall? Halloween? Thanksgiving? ...or just pretend that deceased plant in the corner really just lost its leaves for the winter?

I do decorate for fall--in fact the entire living room/library has a fall motif--just because I'm so darned glad when it gets here. Hallowe'en is one of my lesser favorite holidays--it's cute for kids but a big pain when driving home from work on that day takes two hours!--but a few years back I did thaw from being "Pumpkin Scrooge" and bought a lighted pumpkin and two small beanbag figures (a ghost and a scarecrow) for our front porch on Hallowe'en. I also have two foam jack o'lanterns hanging in the front window with a couple of cute Halloween clings. I put these all up on Tuesday and will pull them down Saturday (if not Friday night after I shut off the lights).

Thanksgiving's more my holiday. I have a cute stuffed turkey and a honeycomb one, a Thanksgiving plaque for the den, Thanksgiving napkins, and this year a Thanksgiving banner for the front of the house to temporarily replace the fall leaf banner that's up now. Plus there's the Indian corn on the front door and the fox in the canoe on a bed of autumn leaves also in the den.


» Wednesday, October 29, 2003
E-Books Again
I hadn't mentioned them in a while; still reading. In fact I darn near galloped through Georgina of the Rainbows, a novel about a girl growing up in Provincetown, Massachusetts, with her mother (Dad is an absent Naval officer who comes to play a crucial role in one of the plot developments). Georgina is by Annie Fellows Johnston, author of the "Little Colonel" books.

Right now I'm reading something that used to be "required reading" years ago: Penrod by Booth Tarkington. If I'd known it was so darn funny I wouldn't have waited so long to read it.


WB Cartoon Fan Heaven:
The Warner Bros. Cartoon Companion

Characters, directors, the "Private Snafu" series, and even all those World War II references listed here.

BTW, I found this while searching on info for Fibber McGee and Molly. Never realized how many FMM references there were in WB cartoons, didja? :-) Plus the actor who was the voice of Elmer Fudd also played Doc Gamble on FMM.


Something In the Oven
(No, no, not that. Only if you see three Wise Men and a Star in the East...)

I hate to cook, but I don't mind baking to an extent, so when I was asked to make a cake for a work function, I said yes. We had several cake mixes in the cupboard and I could try out the new bundt pan I'd bought at Linens'n'Things a few months back.

Let's say my last few efforts at making even cake mix have been uninspiring. I had a cheap aluminum bundt pan and every cake I turned out of it fell apart. The last was a spice cake for our Epiphany party; I sprinkled powdered sugar on the largest part of the wreck and called it "Helm's Deep." The few people who tried it said it was okay, but I was embarrassed.

The problem may be my effort to use substitutes to make it low fat. Most of our friends are watching their weight and I made the cake with only one egg and egg substitute in the form of soy flour and water. Amy Dacyshyn swears by this and says it makes a good tasting cake, but it didn't hang together worth a darn. Also, we use vegetable spread, not butter, and this is what I greased the pan with. It's mostly water and probably contributed to the mess.

The cheap bundt pan's doom was sealed when it developed some type of metal sliver on the inside--I've never heard of aluminum "splintering" but that's what this puppy did--and cut one of my fingers. Out it went and I used a 20% off coupon to buy a Cephelon (???) one.

So I tried preparing the chocolate cake mix I had. Since it had been sitting in the cupboard awhile, I thought the baking powder already in the mix might have lost its tincture. I therefore placed about 1/4 teaspoon into the mix of some baking powder I later discovered expired last year. I also used two eggs instead of three, and substituted the heaping tablespoon of soy flour/tablespoon of water for the third. We'd had the soy flour awhile, but it was in a closed sealed jar and smelled fine.

When I got the cake mixed, however, something was definitely wrong. When I make a devil's food cake, I expect it to smell like chocolate. This had an odd scent--not a bad scent, mind you. It didn't smell acidic or spoiled or musty or weird, but it had a peculiar scent I can only describe as "vegetably." I started to lick the batter and had the same problem: it didn't taste like chocolate. I can't describe the taste, but it wasn't cocoa.

I dumped the entire mess down the sink and started again. We had a new Duncan Hines spice cake and I made that instead, with the full complement of eggs since I wasn't sure the problem was old cake mix, old baking powder, or old soy flour.

And since we had butter in the house I greased the pan with that instead of the vegetable spread.

It baked 40 minutes and turned out of the pan beautifully after it had cooled. So what was the problem, I wonder, on the others? I had, earlier, successfully baked cakes with the soy substitute; it's just lately that they were falling apart? Was it the pan? The grease?

Whatever. I can see we need to toss out that can of baking powder, at least (we have a new one; I just couldn't find it) and get a new supply of soy flour...


» Monday, October 27, 2003
Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead...
...or "Daylight Savings Time finally over!"

One of the things I hate most about DST is having to drive to work, save for about three weeks around the solstice, in pretty much near the pitch dark, so it always amuses me that the first workday that we're back on standard time almost always seems to be a rainy one, so I can't fully enjoy a lighter morning commute. This morning was no exception. DST wasn't as much a pain in RI because the sun rises earlier there, even during the summer the latest it ever rises is 5:30 a.m.

Now it's finally time for warm evenings around the table or the television or occasionally the fire. The neighborhood kids will still be outside playing--lack of light never stopped us; we sought out the streetlights and played on, and I'm sure the present generation is the same.


Monday Madness

Dunno if I should even be answering these questions, as I'm so hostile to the so-called "art form"...

1. Do you watch any 'reality shows' on television? If so, which is your favorite? If not, why?

I think the last time someone asked this I said "no" initially, as I think of a "reality show" as some type of damnfool network television contest someone's trying to win and people getting "voted off" by participants, viewers, and other bigots, and where people's greed and nastiness is encouraged. (I think that's sufficient answer to the "why.")

I do watch certain reality shows: Emergency Vets, Animal Precinct, Animal Cops and recently Pioneer Quest, about 2 Canadian couples living the pioneer life for a year. (If you're using the term broadly, I watch lots of reality shows, because all programs on HGTV and Food Network are reality shows--although I do admit Mary Ellen Pinkham and Alton Brown do get into the science fiction realms sometimes...)

2. If you were offered a chance to be a part of any of the reality shows, which one would you choose? Why?

None of the network ones! They are horrifically mean spirited. And I sure don't want to be on Animal Precinct or Emergency Vets, knowing what that would mean.

The reality show I would most like to be on is Ground Force. Our backyard is pathetic.

3. If you could pick your own team on 'Survivor' what qualities would you look for in the 7 people you would choose?

See, now if understand the Survivor mentality, I would not choose any of my friends. Isn't the point of that show to have one person every week voted off the island? I wouldn't do that to a dog, let alone a friend. That's not "surviving" as much as being cutthroat--we experience this at work; why expose ourselves to it voluntarily?

Now if they've turned over a leaf and are putting teams together and we're going to try to survive as a group with no "winnah" and make a community together, much like they did on the BBC's wonderful Castaway, then I would pick certain of my friends who are quick thinking and already know some outdoor survival skills as well as building and food preparation skills (I have at least four people I could name right now, but I wouldn't invade their privacy by mentioning them here).


» Saturday, October 25, 2003
A Christmas Questionnaire
At Holiday Harbour


Voice from the Past
Has anyone else out there read Laurie Lee?

I wandered into the library last night and picked up The Edge of Day, the American publication title of Lee's most famous autobiographical work, Cider With Rosie. This was some long-ago book sale/flea market find, a joyful one as far as I was concerned. I read a condensed version of his story in what I remember being part of a fifth or sixth grade reader, although the subject matter seems more as if it would have been more suited to junior high--one of the incidents related was Lee's near-death from pneumonia and about the daft nurse who was trying to "lay him out" before he had stopped breathing. Perhaps it was at a later grade than I recall. I do remember most of the other children being rather bored with it, while I was fascinated: I loved the way he used words, his descriptions that, although written in prose form, had the ring of poetry. I later found the entire book in one of the local libraries, then found this copy of my own.

I find myself no less entranced thirty years later at the lyrical--yet all too realistic--portrayal of the hard English village life of the 1920s. The sting of winter and warmth of summer, the comfort of home, the terrors and joys of being a small child, remain as vivid as ever.


» Thursday, October 23, 2003
Happiness Hangs by a Hair
I've had that quote in my head since I read Mary O'Hara's Wyoming Summer so long ago.

We got word earlier in the week that a co-worker's husband had been seriously injured in a motorcycling accident. For the past few days he's been in critical, but stable condition.

Today we got the word that they are going to make the decision to take him off life support and it doesn't look as if he will survive.

Give everyone you love a hug. Not just today but every day. Happiness indeed does hang by a hair...


Driving Me Crazy...
Tuesday the all-too-cheerful-for-early-morning female newscaster on WXIA Channel 11 commented to her male cohort after a story about Utah that she didn't know Utah was called "the Beehive State" and--why was that anyway?

Were you guys asleep during history class or what? The honeybee is the symbol of Utah, for its industriousness. When Utah was up for statehood at the end of the 19th century, the area was called "Deseret," which means honeybee. One of the conditions of statehood was that the state be renamed to Utah. (Junior high school American history class material.)

Today on the crawl at the bottom of the screen they had a squib about the fellow who survived diving into "Niagra" Falls. Unless you're living in the Buck Rogers universe, bucko, it's "Niagara." (Elementary school geography and spelling classes.)

Sheesh. This is a news program done by professionals. Is it too much for me to expect them to know these things?

My particular pet spelling peeve this week is "reign." As in "I was given free reign..." or "the President is giving free reign..." I've seen it misspelled five or six times already. Hello! "Reign" is the tenure of a king or emperor, or even an "energy czar." The term is "free rein." You know, like a horse--loosening the reins so he can run? A metaphor for allowing power or imagination or ambition to run free like a horse? More junior high school stuff...


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Breakfast- It's the most important meal of the day. Do you eat it every day? What's your favorite breakfast?

When James makes biscuits on Sunday morning. But I have to admit occasionally I get a craving for corn flakes and French toast and that means the breakfast buffet at Golden Corral.

Twosome: Lunch- Where's your favorite place to to go out for lunch? Or do you brown bag it?

I take my lunch. Actually I eat it before or after I go out for lunch, which is when I take a nap. If I'm lucky I get six hours of sleep and the fluorescent lights make me even more woozy during the morning. At this point I'd rather sleep than eat.

Threesome: and Dinner- Do you cook at home or prefer to grab burgers on the way home from work? What's your favorite meal?

We only eat out on Fridays and Saturdays; sometimes Sundays, except on occasion (last week we had Papa John's pizza coupons that were running out). Favorite meal? I know the best one for me is probably the salad bar at Sweet Tomatoes, but my favorite meal out is the three-meat ravioli at Olive Garden. Home it's chicken broth with rice, chicken cacciatore with French bread, or grilled pork chops or steak with Yukon Gold potatoes.


» Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Snakes Alive!
I told James what I would really want as an anniversary gift was the Indiana Jones trilogy. After looking at the prices elsewhere he'd decided Deep Discount DVD would be the cheapest and had planned to order from them--however, he held out to see if anyone would have a special, since The Big Day isn't until November 10.

Well, of all places--Eckerd drugstores actually announced they'd have the trilogy for $34.99, ten dollars under the DDD price. There could be a hitch: the ad only showed the full-frame version (the boxes are a different color). It could be Eckerd was only getting that version. Still, it was worth looking into.

Unfortunately, James wasn't able to stop there first thing in the morning, so when he walked in empty handed last night I just figured at that great price they had sold out completely. To my surprise, he flashed a rain check. Eckerd's distributor had not delivered them at all!

James said he mentioned to the cashier, as he filled out the rain check, that this was an anniversary gift, and she seemed surprised I didn't want something "girly" like jewelry or clothing. I wanted to laugh. Kim Peterson, on WGST, is always shilling for some jewelry store (I think it's the Shane Company)--I remember when he advertised "the $2000 diamond tennis bracelet to show her you really care" and I turned to James and said, "If you ever buy me anything that costs $2000, it better come in a big cardboard box with 'Dell' marked on the side."

Lately the Kimmer has been advertising some $6000 diamond pendant. Besides the fact that I loathe diamonds anyway--ugly things--I will revise my earlier statement: "If you ever buy me anything that costs $6000, it better be in a big carton that says "42 inch High Def plasma screen TV" on the side." :-)


» Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Indiana Jones on DVD

It's about time. Now where's the original Star Wars trilogy?

(Sounds great, eh? I don't get to see it until November 10; it's my anniversary gift...)


Cute Budgie Tricks, "Sick Soup," and a Serious Digression
Because my digestion was still torn up a bit, James made me "sick soup" for supper.

"Sick soup" is Progresso Homestyle Chicken Soup, with the pearl pasta. There's something about most of the Progresso soups that don't suit my taste; this one, with the small round pasta, chicken chunks, celery and carrots in a light broth, does. Unlike Campbell's canned concoctions, this doesn't need to be diluted, so it was very easy to open up and serve when one wasn't feeling well, hence the appellation "sick soup."

Bandit, previously sitting on my hand, immediately perched himself on the side of the bowl and guzzled the broth. Now Bandit has been the most peculiar of my budgies; he's never liked table food like the others. Sylvester would attack crackers and turkey legs, Merlin's weakness was pork chops, and both of them would eat almost anything that didn't eat them first. But Bandit has never liked most people food, although I can persuade him to eat what I call "white seed" (rice) in soup occasionally. So I was surprised and a bit delighted at his soup sampling; budgies are supposed to eat a varied diet to keep healthy and he's always been such a seed snob.

Well, I was delighted until he started fluffing his feathers and bobbing toward the bowl. James and I burst out laughing as we both realized he was aiming to take a bath in it. I had to keep telling him "no," but when he kept up the "I'm gonna jump in" motions I put the soup down and hustled him into the bathroom. I let him take a flutter bath since he was evidently feeling uncomfortable, then sat him in his cage to dry while I finished my soup.

I don't know what I'm going to do when the current supply of "sick soup" runs out. The Homestyle used to be everywhere and then one by one the supermarkets quit carrying it. The last place we saw it was WalMart, and now that space on the shelf is taken as well. The only other place I've seen it since was at BJ's, three cans in a set of six, paired with a flavor I don't like. If they still carry it, since the food drives will be coming up soon, perhaps I'll buy the six pack and include the three other cans in a donation. It's good soup; no use for it to go to waste simply because I don't like it.

Does it ever bother anyone else that they only have food drives at Thanksgiving and Christmas? Someone thought about this last spring and had a food drive then, too; I wonder how they did. People don't just get hungry in November and December...why don't they have The Can Bank in the supermarkets all year round? I wouldn't mind picking up some extras when we do the monthly shopping. I know that you can bring them to the Can Bank location yourself--in fact I think I read there was a permanent donation station at a Kroger in the area but I don't remember where--but something set up right in the supermarket would be easier for folks to remember and donate to. Face it, most of us are pretty lazy.


» Monday, October 20, 2003
Monday Madness

Talk about appropo, at least the first one.

1. Which room in your home is your favorite? Why?

I was sitting in it this weekend: the living room/library. I don't tend to sit in it too much because Bandit has never been comfortable in there. It just has a phonograph/CD/tape player/radio, no TV. It's our "chill out" room and holds about half the books. Plus it's decorated in an autumn motif. James even spotted an autumn leaf throw for it at JoAnn.

2. Which room would you most like to remodel or change the look of? Why?

God, the wretched kitchen. It's decorated in the most hideous 70s browns and tans. "Earth colors"--barf! If I had enough money I'd replace the cabinets, but for now I'd settle for enough energy and patience to scrape the ugly olive green and brown tea pattern wallpaper off the wall (it's already half ripped off anyway, the seam ends curling up like pigs' tails when it rains) and paint it a mint green, scrub the cabinets and replace the knobs, and replace the dark vinyl flooring.

3. Which room do you hate cleaning the most?

The kitchen. No matter how healthy James cooks, there seems to still be a greasy residue on certain things, like the oven hood. Plus the dog lives there. She sheds enough hair in a week to knit a chihuahua.


Autumn Joys
It was one of those glorious weekends that made you wish it would never end.

It was a little too warm for a total of about three hours on Sunday and maybe two on Saturday, in midafternoon. The rest of it was cool and lovely with a breeze that made you want to breathe deeply. The nights were just chill enough that you could snuggle under a comforter and a sheet and be cozy warm without perspiring, and you could breathe through the night. Even Bandit seems to pant a little less.

James made the "Splenda and spice" cookies on their website Saturday night. He used all butter instead of part vegetable shortening (we didn't have any) and allspice instead of cloves. They were a rousing success--very cinnamonny/gingery. He must have made them much smaller than the Splenda folks intended, because he got 34 cookies when it said it should make sixteen. Put powdered sugar on 'em and they would have looked like tan "Danish wedding cookies" (or as we called 'em in my neck of the woods, "butterballs").

Incidentally, James took about half the batch and added chopped-up Hershey's sugar-free Special Dark chocolate to it. They're good, too, but I like my spice cookies straight. Now that it's autumn I will develop major gingerbread cravings. We are looking in our collection of cookbooks for gingerbread and spice cake recipes we can doctor.

We also had our usual biscuits Sunday morning. I know it's not as good for you, but I really enjoyed my two with the unsalted butter he bought for the cookies. I tried not to eat much for the rest of the day.

A good weekend always had a comedown. In our case, we're not sure if it was the richness of the pot roast gravy James made or the general age of the pot roast itself, which we crock potted from a frozen beefsicle, but both of us woke this morning with digestive ailments. In any case, he ended up staying home and I left work about 10:30 because I ran out of Pepto Bismol and couldn't bear the massive heartburn I had.


» Friday, October 17, 2003
Past, Present and Future has an interesting set of questions this week:

PAST: What was the first book you can recall reading?

Don't remember the title, but it was a fairy tale book, yellow cover, big Century Schoolbook type print. One of the stories was about a girl who was separated from her horse Falada (sp?). The horse could talk to her and kept warning her about her stepmother's or stepfather's/guardian's attempts to kill her. In the book I had, the horse had just been secreted in the woods. I was horrified years later to find out that in the original the evil guardian had had the horse beheaded and its head posted on a pike that the girl passed every day! (The head was enchanted, however, so Falada kept warning the girl about the treachery even though she was rotting on a pike...urgh.)

PRESENT: What are you reading now, or if applicable what's the most recent book you read?

I'm in the middle of several books; what I have with me right now is The Penguin Book of Carols.

FUTURE: Name some books you'll be adding to your personal library when time and finances permit.

Hrm. I'd love to get Inventing Christmas, which is pretty expensive because it's full of glossy photos of old holiday memorabilia. I can't even find a used copy for less than $12.


Friday Five

1. Name five things in your refrigerator.

Milk, cheese, milk, leftovers, milk...

2. Name five things in your freezer.

Not much; we're trying to clean it out before restocking. But: chicken, beef, James' homemade breakfast burritos, "gravy" for spaghetti, low carb frozen dinners.

3. Name five things under your kitchen sink.

Ah, the "frog" that needs taking care of. Electrosol, the crock pot, wine for cooking, Lysol, Pledge.

4. Name five things around your computer.

CD-ROMs, computer books, a coaster, a cookbook, instructions on how to do the titles on my nostalgia page.

5. Name five things in your medicine cabinet.

Ibuprofin, acetomenophin, naproxen, peroxide, Band-Aids. ("I am stuck on Band-Aids 'cause Band-Aids stuck on me..." Drat. Now look what you did.)


» Thursday, October 16, 2003
Microsoft Warns of 4 New 'Critical' Windows Flaws
Sheesh. Why doesn't Microsoft just rename it "Screens"?


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: MT-- So, are you running Moveable Type? ...and have you had to deal with comment spam? If so, Jay Allen's MT-Blacklist Plugin is one cure ....and did you know T-3 regular Shawn has written a scripting hack to allow it to work with the comment notifier script? Ah, the geekiness of it all...

I think I understood all the words in that sentence. :-) Nope, not using Moveable Type...not even quite sure I know what it is. On both blog sites, I picked out a generic template. I understand enough about style sheets that I was able to change colors and type sizes and styles. It seems as blog templates get "prettier," they are harder for some browsers to read. For instance, even Netscape 4.8 makes hash of both Holiday Harbour and Daniel Taylor's Dreaded Purple Master.

Blog spam? That's all I need--I'm still dealing with e-mail spam in droves.

Twosome: Black-- Hey, can you do "basic black"? ...or does your wardrobe consist of everything but black? Inquiring minds want a look into that closet!

Actually, I'm wearing black now: a black sweatshirt painted with autumn leaves and black pants.

Threesome: List-- Are you a "List Person", one of those people who cannot make it through the day with out a to-do list? ...or maybe "listfull', with yellow sticky notes all about you? ...or are you "listless" and wandering about randomly getting things accomplished?

I don't have paper lists anymore. That's why God invented PDAs. :-)


Movin' on...Out?
I don't follow baseball much...but I do know that that guy who interfered with the catch in the sixth game of the Cubs/Marlins playoff better get himself moved to :-)


» Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Holiday DVD Warning...
A valid complaint for fans of Rankin-Bass: check it out in Holiday Harbour.


We've Moved...
It's official. But you can go to the old URL still and see the transition page I put up. I tried to make it humorous (although the subject lines of the porn spam we had this morning certainly did not make me smile). "checks out" November 1.


» Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Check out Holiday Harbour for this entry.


Just a Notice
Our home page is moving.

Nope, not our domain that's linked here, but our home page that we've had since 1996.

Let's say the neighborhood's gotten bad. It wasn't just the glut of fake Microsoft mails that crowded the box. Those have slowed "to a crawl" compared to a month ago--we only get six or seven of the 156KB messages every four hours now.

But on the heels of the "Microslop" invasion came another glut of spam. I'd been pretty inured to the occasional Viagra, prescription drugs for less, and porn spam, but the first two are coming in dozens now and the latter are just getting ... disgusting. I enjoy an adult story now and then just fine, and I have no problem with consenting adults looking at other consenting adults on the web. But the "hot babes" e-mails have given way to messages with explicit language, bestiality and kinky sex references, and worst of all, talk of child porn. Ugh.

So what's this got to do with the web site, you ask?

Well, at Earthlink at least, your main web site is tied to your e-mail address. If I delete the jlyoung e-mail addy, I also delete the ~jlyoung website.

In any case, with Earthlink we get eight mailboxes. With each mailbox we get 10MB of webspace. So the home page site will have a more appropriate title, and has its own e-mail address. It's actually up now, but I want to update two more pages before I do a redirect; if I stay "on course," that will be in a couple of days and then there will be a redirect for the remainder of the month.

The new addy will be linked at "Visit Us at Home," of course!


Here's Monday Madness:

1. How often do you change or add to your blogroll list? If you don't use blogroll, how often do you add or change links to your 'favorite reads' list?

Gosh, I'm behind. I didn't even know what a blogroll was. :-) I keep my favorite reads right under my header. I just have my friends there.

2. Do you visit your blogrolls regularly? If so, how often?

Yes, every day.

3. Do you visit other people's blogrolls or 'faves' list?

Yes, particularly James Lileks linked on Daniel Taylor's site.

4. About how many blogs have you blogrolled (or have linked on your blog)?

Six, plus my other blog (plug, plug), "Holiday Harbour."

5. Do you change your layout or color scheme regularly? If so, how often? If not, have you thought about changing the look of your blog?

I changed the color scheme when I first started it, but not any longer. I like the blue.

And this from Monday Memories:

When were you first allowed to stay home alone, and under what circumstances?

Junior high, sometime, so twelve or so. My mom got out of work in time to be there when I got home, but on Tuesday she had a sewing class. She started making my own clothes--even though she really didn't like sewing--because I was so oddly built we could never find anything that fit properly.


» Sunday, October 12, 2003
Blasting Off in the Kingdom of the Spiders
Wildlife always ends up surprising me.

We had a rocket shoot today out in the horse pasture of our friends who live in the country and as always drove the truck out to the site, parking near a handy tree to retreat under when it got the warmest. (Unlike yesterday it was quite warm and sunny; at least it wasn't broiling.)

We had no sooner stopped the truck than dozens of tiny spiders began to pounce on the truck. I wasn't particularly frightened by them, but it was as if we were surrounded by multiple clones of Nellie, Aranea, and Joy. They had no sooner landed on the truck than they began to send out tendrils of webs! When we left there was spider silk waving from the doorframes, the rear view mirror, and other parts of the truck body--and we had brushed most of it off as we saw it. Quite amusing.

One could have taught an entire wildlife class in that meadow: we had a close encounter with a caterpillar who kept playing dead, an ant bed which we easily managed to avoid, crickets, butterflies, houseflies and a constant horde of gnats (Atlanta is "above the gnat line" only if one lives in suburbia). I don't envy the horses--but of course they seemed most eager to get those idiot humans and their hissy things out of their grazing area! The first time we drove the truck back there they investigated, puzzled that there wasn't any hay or oats in the back of that big horsie food transporter. Now they just ignore us. :-)

Oh, the rocket launch was fun if we did come home exhausted (I swear the sun sucks every bit of energy out of my body; I could barely move by the time we drove into the yard). James lost a new rocket in a thicket of brambles and weeds, though, and a glider that had two successful flights made a final suicidal dash into a stand of pine trees. But we all had fun.

Three of the participants were the daughters of two friends of ours and their friend from school; they came along to work on a badge in Girl Scouts for aerospace. Nice to see Girl Scouts can do cool things for badges now: when I was a kid I remember friends talking about boring things like cooking, sewing and crafts with popsicle sticks.


You're Invited...
To peek in at my other blog, "Holiday Harbour".

Just something to celebrate the coming of autumn...


» Friday, October 10, 2003
Holy Edits, Batman! (plus Nostalgia Factors)
Although they were shipped a day apart, all my DVDs showed up yesterday. I played the Our Mr. Sun/Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays set first--and was immediately transported back in time. These were both made for television, one in 1956, one in 1957, on a series sponsored by then "Bell Telephone" (with the old "Liberty Bell" type logo) called The Bell Science Series. There are also two other shows out on a DVD, both about the human body; I wish they had released the one on linguistics.

I remember seeing the sun story in school, and possible had seen the cosmic rays one as well, since I recognized the Edgar Allan Poe character. The latter story is told in the form of a mystery story, with our heroes, Dr. Frank Baxter as "Dr. Research" and Richard Carlson as the writer, proposing that the story of the discovery of cosmic rays be nominated for an Edgar award. I got a kick out of that because I know someone who has won a couple of those...

I also played the first half of the Little House on the Prairie Christmas DVD, one of my favorite holiday stories, "Christmas at Plum Creek." Call it "Little House meets O. Henry." To my complete surprise, not having seen the unedited version since it ran on NBC 29 years ago (!!!!), the "professional copy" I had on VHS from Goodtimes was edited! Two entire scenes following the Ingalls' family visit to the general store in the beginning were missing; my tape cuts in on the action back at the little house where Carrie asks what Christmas is. There also is a missing scene where Laura asks Pa how he knew how to make a fish trap. Some "professional copy"!


Friday Five

1. Do you watch sports? If so, which ones?

Oh, yes, I'm very fond of horse jumping and 3-day eventing, also dog conformation, agility and obedience shows...oh, you mean the so-called "real" sports? Good God, why?

2. What/who are your favorite sports teams and/or favorite athletes?

Back when my best friend was going out with a guy who liked hockey, I did follow the Boston Bruins for a while, but that's about it. My parents were always anomolies as sports fans anyway; they lived in Rhode Island and didn't root for the Red Sox. They liked the New York Yankees instead. My mom said she couldn't stand watching the Red Sox because Ted Williams had a "big head." She hated conceited people. They both rooted for the Boston Braves until they moved to Milwaukee (and one knows where they are now).

3. Are there any sports you hate?

LOL. I liked Daniel Taylor's answer best: there's just not enough bandwidth. If I had to pick one, I'd say boxing. Who wants to watch some guy get beaten up?

4. Have you ever been to a sports event?

Oh, gawd, yes. James' little sister won tickets to a Braves game once and we went with her, his mom, and his other sister. I'm sooooo glad I brought a book. This was at the old Fulton County stadium and we were something like five rows from the very top. The field literally looked like a postage stamp. Once the teams took off their warmup jackets, I couldn't tell the Braves from the other team.

I like baseball best on the radio anyway...

5. Do/did you play any sports (in school or other)? How long did you play?

Other than what they forced us to play in gym class (softball, volleyball, and field hockey)? No. (Gawd. Field hockey. Doesn't that bring back all sorts of horrible flashbacks--all the aggressive girls going after all the timid ones with hard wooden sticks; thank God for shin protectors.)


» Thursday, October 09, 2003
Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Saturday- Is Saturday a day to relax, maybe do something fun, or is it a day spent on the run, chauffeuring kids to activities, yourself to the gym and getting the errands done before it's back to work on Monday? Do you need a day off to rest from your day off? Tell us about your day!

It depends on what I do on Friday (when I have it off) or Friday night. If it is a usual Saturday we have to spend part of it (ugh) grocery shopping. Since the new BJ's opened near us, we have taken to stopping there on Friday night after going out to supper and getting all our "big" weeklies (milk and, if needed, cheese, mushrooms, Chex snack mix, rice, etc.) then. If we have Michael's, JoAnn, Linens'n'Things, or Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons, we might spend them then. But this week, for instance, if there's anything I need there, I will need to go tomorrow since we're having a rocket launch on Saturday.

Twosome: Morning- What's different about your weekend morning routine than the other days of the week?

Getting to sleep late, which is a big deal: I'm a night person, always have been. My mom--thank God she didn't work--says that even as a baby I would wake up about midnight and want to play in the playpen for a couple of hours. I sleep best in the daytime. I get my best sleep between six and eight a.m. Guess when I have to get up. So I usually drag around most of the week exhausted and end up taking a nap in the car at lunchtime.

Threesome: Cartoons- Do you have a favourite one? Do you still watch it and/ or other cartoons?

Hm. Hard one. Yes, I still watch cartoons (to the chagin of my mother). James loves the Looney Tunes; a few of those I really love, like "Duck Dodgers" and "Duck Amuck." I guess my favorites are the animated ones at Christmas, such as Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. If you want a favorite animated series, I'd have to say Star Blazers.


» Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Lions and Foxes and Hounds, Oh My!

As you remember, I'd picked up two Disney DVDs yesterday...I make it a policy to try to watch purchased DVDs right away, in case they turn out like my Space Camp DVD, the original of which refused to play.

I'd forgotten how much I liked The Fox and the Hound, which is no great shakes like Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast, but just is a nice quiet tale (until the very end). I'd forgotten the entire subplot with the woodpecker and the sparrow after the caterpillar.

I still enjoy Lion King, but, like E.T., I've never quite understood what made this movie such a hit. The animation is stunning, especially the wildebeest stampede and the African flavor, there's a good solid story with overtones of Hamlet, and it moves well. I've just...well, I've never liked Simba all that much. Nala is still my favorite character in this movie.


Acquisitions and Autumn Leaves

Cool! The Homecoming and A Christmas Story (SE) are on the way.

I received most of my Barnes & Noble order yesterday: every year I order the Ideals Thanksgiving and Christmas issues, mostly for the autumn and snow photos, respectively. This is something I started doing very recently; I didn't really enjoy the older Ideals issues, which were illustrated almost wholly with what I thought was badly done, tinted artwork and contained only poems. The newer issues have better artwork, excellent photos, and essays along with the poems. The Christmas issues I started getting as an afterthought; I wanted the Thanksgiving issues because there was so little Thanksgiving literature, fall holiday efforts these days emphasizing Halloween, a celebration I can take or leave.

Ironically yesterday I received an old (1998) Thanksgiving issue I'd found on B&N's site; the 2003 version is still enroute. The 1998 cover features an orangy-red line of maple trees so vivid in color that James suspects they've been retouched. I don't doubt that they could be retouched, but I have seen color this vivid on many autumn outings in New England. We have a photo taken with my plain old instamatic camera at a rest area in upper New York state, of a maple tree ironically next to an ugly concrete and steel rest room. It was raining copiously on this particular autumn leaf viewing expedition, the sky smoky grey and low, and the tree still blazes a brilliant crystal red-orange in the dimness. And the camera didn't capture the actual glow of the tree!


» Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Took advantage of MediaPlay's The Lion King special: buy any selected Disney DVD along with the new DVD and get them both for $30. Since we're slowly--and belatedly--trying to replace our Disney videos with DVDs, I got a copy of The Fox and the Hound.

I should have remembered that the newest DVDs are giving "upgraders" from videos a $5 rebate if they send in the proof of purchase codes from both the video and the DVD with a cash register receipt. I remembered to do this with The Rescuers Down Under, but plunked The Lion King tape into the library donation box without thinking on Sunday. Ohhh, fuuuuudge. (But I didn't say fudge.)

Which reminds me that my DVDs of The Homecoming and the special edition Christmas Story should be shipping any time now. My copy of Little House on the Prairie Christmas is already on its way.


Still can't find another Tuesday meme I like, but I found this one on Monday Madness:

"What is your LEAST favorite..........."
1. food:
2. type of music: Anything with dirty words
3. subject of discussion: Politics
4. time of day: 6 a.m. weekdays
5. time of year: Summer. Summer sucks. Summer sucks so much it should be renamed “Hoover.” (Oh, wait. You’ve heard this before. Lots.)
6. fragrance: House-on-fire
7. actor/actress: Just one???? Leonardo DeCaprio
8. commercial: Drug ads
9. television sitcom: Seinfeld
10. singer: Anyone who sings the songs mentioned in item 2.


» Monday, October 06, 2003
Sand in the Gearbox

Well, there's a problem with the e-mail change. If I change the main e-mail address, I also change the URL of our website (not the domain, but still...). So I'm rather stymied, but still sick of the spam.

The title is appropriate because we just finished watching Horatio's Ride, the delightful Ken Burns' documentary for PBS about Horatio Nelson Jackson, who in 1903, with a mechanic and a "bulldog" (looks more like a Staffy or a pit bull) named Bud, drove cross-country in 1903 in a Winton motorcar, back when paved roads in the wilderness were just a pipe dream and parts for the oft-broken machine had to be shipped in by rail and in several cases by stagecoach. Tom Hanks provided Jackson's voice and the narrative was supported by recreated hardships in a real Winton car, photographs taken on the journey, and vintage music.

Simply delightful!


Season 4 DVD set for Babylon 5

January 6, 2004.

What a nice Epiphany gift!


» Sunday, October 05, 2003
Notice to Our Friends and Family

I sent you an e-mail a week or so ago giving you a different e-mail to contact us with because of the spam deluge and asking you to keep up with what was going on in this blog. Although the spam has eased, it's still at an annoying rate. James and I have just about decided to ditch the original e-mail address which we've had for the past seven years.

So please keep sending any e-mail to us at the new address I gave you. I'm not sure when I'll get around to changing the old one; it'll be when I get more than a minute. :-) But it's eventually going to go away, whether I can actually change it online or have to call up Earthlink about it, since it's our primary address.

Once we kill the old address, only people we want to have our e-mail address will have it. The website and domain now have their own e-mail addresses with a "no robots, no follow" tags that I hope will ward off any spammers. We now have fake e-mail addresses on our Usenet posts. We'll see how that works.

I'll send everyone another e-mail message when I actually "do it."



I received my check for jury service promptly on Saturday September 27, along with a certificate saying I had served. Since then I have also received a form thank you note from one of the judges and another from the county sheriff. I guess they want you to know you're wanted!


» Saturday, October 04, 2003
Out and About

Did some errands (depositing my jury duty check, that sort of thing) and shopping today. Got some autumn things at JoAnn and Michael's, and gas for only 1.149 at Costco.

Had a big surprise at Media Play: in the rear was a big display of merchandise for the film A Christmas Story. This funny film has been a favorite of mine since I first saw it and I have the 20th anniversary DVD on order. I heard they were going to release some merchandise, but I was surprised by the extent! There are at least two T-shirts, one with a graphic that says "Double Dog Dare" and another with Ralphie with the bar of Lifebuoy in his mouth which says something to the effect of "Connoisseur of soap." There are 12-14" figures, one of Ralphie and one of The Old Man with the leg lamp, and these say phrases from the film. There are also four smaller figures, Ralphie, Mom with Randy in his snowsuit, Flick stuck to the flagpole, and again, the Old Man with the lamp. Plus a Christmas ornament and a lunchbox--oh, and a 20" replica of the lamp!

Stopped off at Border's with my 15% off coupon and got a couple of books and a new Cook's Illustrated magazine. One of the books was the newest "History Mystery," Ghost Light on Graveyard Shoal. These "History Mystery" books are published by the same folks who do the American Girl books; each takes place in a different year and, predictably, involves a girl in a mystery. I enjoy them, and one of them, The Night Flyers, a World War I story, earned an Edgar Mystery Writer's Award for best juvenile mystery several years ago. There is one from WWII, several Western adventures, one that takes place during the San Francisco earthquake, the Alaskan gold rush, etc.

This newest one is about a subject I find fascinating: the families that lived on the shore either tending the lighthouses or supporting the rescue operations back in the last century. I probably saw Captain January as a small child, but the first "child of lighthouse keeper" story I remember that fascinated me was "Maudie Tom, Jockey" along with the sea rescue story of Nellie's father in the original Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore. I've always wanted to do a children's story about a lighthouse keeper's children--what a hard life they endured, yet they managed to survive and thrive.


» Friday, October 03, 2003
Supposedly here is what is on the Walt Disney on the Front Lines Treasures DVD set:

Disc One:
Leonard Maltin Introduction

Disc Two:
Leonard Maltin Introduction
On the Set of Victory Through Air Power
Victory Through Air Power Trailer
A Conversation with Joe Hench
A Conversation with Joe Grant
A Conversation with Roy Disney
Production Art Galleries
Victory Through Air Power Gallery

Disc One:
"Donald Gets Drafted"
"The Army Mascot"
"The Vanishing Private"
"Sky Trooper"
"Private Pluto"
"Fall Out; Fall In"
"Victory Vehicles"
"The Old Army Game"
"Home Defense"
"How to Be a Sailor"
"Commando Duck"

"Thrifty Pig"
"Seven Wise Dwarfs"
"Food Will Win the War"
"Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Firing Line"
"Donald's Decision"

All Together
"The New Spirit"
"The Spirit of '43"
"The Winged Scourge"
"Defense Against Invasion"
"All Together"
"The Grain That Built A Hemisphere"
"Cleanliness Brings Health"
"What Is Disease?"
"Planning for Good Eating"

"Der Fuehrer's Face" with Introduction
"Education for Death" with Introduction
"Reason and Emotion" with Introduction
"Chicken Little" with Introduction

Disc Two:

Victory Through Air Power with Introduction

"Four Methods of Flush Riveting"
"Stop That Tank"
Training Film Montage

I wonder if someone will tell the funny story that goes with "The New Spirit." (Summary: The Government asked Disney to do a short encouraging people to pay their income taxes. Disney did so, with Donald Duck starring. When they screened the cartoon, the Secretary of the Treasury or some high muckety-muck complained about it starring Donald Duck because he had "envisioned a character named 'Mr. Taxpayer.'" Disney was furious because he had basically given the Government his studio's equivalent of Clark Gable, knowing that no one would care about a cartoon starring "Mr. Taxpayer" but would care about Donald Duck.)


DVD Heaven?

Found out a couple of days ago some Lassie episodes are being released to DVD by Sony. Any site I've found them at has no details on what's on the sets, though. There is The Best of Jeff's Collie, The Best of the Lassie Show, Lassie's Christmas Stories, Lassie's Gift of Love, and something very oddly called Lassie's Birthday Surprise, a title which boggles the mind.

Anyway, had a chance to look at Deep Discount DVD's upcoming releases list and in February a big bunch of Disney classic films are coming out, including The Gnome-Mobile, Miracle of the White Stallions, and (yahoo!) Follow Me, Boys!, one of my favorite Disney sentimental flicks.


Friday Five

1. What vehicle do you drive?

1997 Plymouth Neon, "exactly the same color as the 'thistle' crayon in the 64 Crayola box." (They still have thistle, right?)

2. How long have you had it?

Since August 15, 1998. I finished the payments last month!

3. What is the coolest feature on your vehicle?

Cool? We must be talking about someone else's car. :-) Actually it's not on the vehicle. It's the portable MP3 player someone gave me for Christmas (thanks, Keith!) that plugs into the cassette player with the help of a car kit. I can play all those old radio shows I downloaded from the internet.

4. What is the most annoying thing about your vehicle?

It's leaked oil ever since I got it. CarMax (the extended warranty was with them) fixed it once or twice a year and I'd leave the place with them saying it was fixed and it leaked the moment I got it home. Last November they promised me they'd fix the leak before the warranty ran out. I had it there twice within two weeks. It still leaked oil the moment I got it home the second time.

5. If money were no object, what vehicle would you be driving right now?

A PT Cruiser. Not sure about the color. I've always wanted another white car I could name "Canrith" (neat name, eh? means "white phantom" in Welsh), but the PT doesn't look good in white. Maybe silver; I have this "thing" about silver cars. The dark blue and the smoky grey look best, but a dark car in the South...


» Thursday, October 02, 2003
I took the IQ Test mentioned in Daniel Taylor's blog.


Your IQ score is 158. A person whose IQ score falls in the range of 144-160 is considered to be "gifted."

Your IQ score is based on your scores across 12 distinct aspects of intelligence. Like everyone, you have a unique intellectual makeup, with strengths and weaknesses that affect your methods of understanding, communication and relating to others. According to your results, your greatest intellectual strength is Pattern Recogntion.

I also must be good at guessing. Urgh. Too many math problems... (Probably written by a math major, which explains the typo at the end. LOL.)

Okay, I'll explain: one of my favorite jokes is the story about the young man who got in the Express Lane in a Cambridge, Massachusetts, supermarket with his shopping cart loaded with food. The cashier looks at him and says, "I don't know if you're from MIT and can't read, or from Harvard and can't count."


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Great- Who's the greatest influence in your life? ...and could you write about them?

My mother. I suppose I could, but she's really led a very tame life, aside from being stuck at work during the Hurricane of '38...

Twosome: American- Who do you consider to be the greatest American writer of all time? Counterpoint: whose books are sitting on your nightstand?

I guess this will strike people as hopelessly lowbrow, but...Madeleine L'Engle. I guess I'm supposed to say something like "Mark Twain" or "Herman Melville," and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of my favorite novels and I love Twain's wit, but...

Who's on my nightstand? A big fat bound volume of St. Nicholas magazine (volume 2 to be specific, November 1874 through October 1875. However, my nightstand is a bookcase! Inside are all of Madeleine L'Engle's nonfiction, all my Gladys Taber books (except for Stillmeadow Album, which won't fit), and La Storia, the Story of Italians in America.

Threesome: Novel- What's your favourite book/novel? Hmmm... What's so special about that one book?

My stock answer stands: "One book? You want me to pick one book? That's like asking Olivia Walton which of the seven kids is her favorite."

Some of my favorites are as follows:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
Little Women and Eight Cousins, Louisa May Alcott
Beautiful Joe: A Dog's Own Story, Marshall Saunders
Addie Pray, Joe David Brown
Red Sky at Morning, Richard Bradford
The Good Master, The Singing Tree, The Chestry Oak, and The Open Gate, Kate Seredy
The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment, Mary Stewart
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
Pride of the Moor, Vian Smith
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Understood Betsy, Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Behind the Screen, Kenneth McGowan (history of motion pictures, with a particular emphasis on the silents)
Everything But Money, Sam Levenson
Cheaper by the Dozen, Frank B. Gilbreth Jr and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
Life is a Banquet, Rosalind Russell
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Kate Douglas Wiggin
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
Lad: A Dog, Albert Payson Terhune
Lassie Come-Home, Eric Knight
Spencer's Mountain, The Homecoming, and You Can't Get There From Here, Earl Hamner Jr
Wyoming Summer, Mary O'Hara
Escape to Witch Mountain, Alexander Key
Roller Skates, Ruth Sawyer
The Family Nobody Wanted, Helen Doss
The Edge of Day (Cider with Rosie) and I Can't Stay Long, Laurie Lee
What Katy Did,
etc., Susan Coolidge
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle (heck, any L'Engle book, except maybe The Love Letters)
Most of Robert Heinlein, especially the juveniles: Have Spacesuit Will Travel, Between Planets, Red Planet, Podkayne of Mars, The Rolling Stones... (Have Spacesuit was my first Heinlein.)
All of Nick O'Donohoe's Crossroads books
All of Katherine Kurtz/Deborah Turner Harris' Adept books
All the Harry Potters
Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy
Torey Hayden's books (educating special-ed kids)

This is just off the top of my head and I can keep going if you like... :-)


» Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Ethical Treatment of Government Employees

I guess I've passed a milestone. Every year, you see, Federal contracting employees have to take an Ethics course. It makes sure you know you can't take gifts from government contractors, lobbyists, etc. (Evidently members of Congress don't have to take Ethics training, which explains a lot.) We get to take it online now, which is a great step upward from the horrendous live classes, which featured video of amateurish actors in short skits--these people made grade-school plays look like Oscar-winning performances--to illustrate right-wrong situations.

Well, I guess either since I have been buying things over a certain dollar limit, or, more likely, since I'm now a purchasing agent rather than a procurement technician, I now have to also fill out a disclosure form. I've heard other purchasing agents and contract specialists complaining about these things for years. I took one look at the form and burst out laughing: it wants me to declare any income I get from real estate investments, honoraria, speaking fees, stocks, bonds, trusts, IRAs, investments, dividends...

Apparently they've mistaken me for someone who actually has money...