rivka: (books)
I'm shopping for children's picture books for my niece Jessica, who is being raised bilingual and speaks only Spanish at home. I just found a Spanish-language version of one of my personal favorites, Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban. (If you haven't read it: Small girl badger decides she only wants to eat bread and jam; it doesn't work out so well for her when her parents go along and only serve her bread and jam for every meal and snack.)

So there's a Spanish-language version, Pan y Mermelada Para Francisca. Excellent! I scroll down the Amazon page to see if there are any comments about the adequacy of the translation. Nope.

But I do come to a section Amazon has helpfully entitled, "Books on Related Topics." And what's listed there? La Revolucion Diabetica del Dr. Atkins.

Bread... jam... and a counter-suggestion of the Atkins Diet. I suppose that does make a twisted sort of sense.
rivka: (ouch)
ZOMG how could I?!?!

I'm so embarrassed... and horrified...

(link brings up video; via Zoltan Lazar)
rivka: (snorkeler)
...and so I must inflict upon all of you the horror that is "The Velveeta Rabbit."
rivka: (chalice)
Most churchgoers celebrated Palm Sunday today. At our church, April Fool's Day was marked by a service entitled "Holy Laughter." Fill in your own favorite Unitarian joke here; I'm not sure if all of them came up, because I left with the children at Religious Education time, but certainly a good many of them did.

(For example: one of our ministers - the painfully earnest one - answered the question "How many UUs does it take to change a light bulb?" with a perfectly straight delivery of: "We choose not to make a statement either in favor of, or against, the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey, you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb. Present it next month at our annual Light Bulb Sunday Service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, 3-way, long-life, and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.")

Michael, in his role as church treasurer, was slated to give a brief talk wrapping up the annual stewardship (i.e., giving money to the church) campaign. As he walked to the lectern, the organist broke into "Hey, Big Spender." (Everyone who took part in the service, it turns out, had their own musical motif. Michael was the first to find out.)

But mostly I wanted to post about the hymns. We sang "Coffee, Coffee, Coffee," of course; even at a UU church, some things are sacred. ("Coffee the communion of our Uni-Union, Symbol of our sacred ground, our one necessity. Feel the holy power at our coffee hour, Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.") There was a lovely solo of "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Unitarian," as the anthem. And we also sang one that was new to me: lyrics below the cut )

Fun service. I kind of wish that it had been my week off from teaching, except then I would have missed my co-teacher's insanely fun and messy lesson on the wonders of sand and soil.
rivka: (Default)
"TSOs [Transportation Security Officers] have been trained to not touch the monkey during the screening process."

(From here.)

On a more serious note, I'm impressed by how carefully thought out the TSA's policies for screening people with disabilities are - but given some of the stories I've heard, I question how well those policies are understood and implemented by individual TSOs.

I was at the TSA website trying to figure out what is likely to happen when we try to bring a large, opaque bottle of medicine and a cold pack in our carry-on luggage next Friday. The official liquids policy allows quantities of less than 3oz only, but apparently medication can be carried in unlimited amounts. The medication policy also explicitly permits ice packs and gel packs needed to keep medicine cold. I have printed out a copy of the policy to carry on the plane with us.

(Oh, and you want creepy? Follow any one of those links and look at the TSA logo in the upper left-hand corner. They've put a freaking Christmas wreath around it. Now I want someone to make me a Barrayaran ImpSec Eye-of-Horus with reindeer antlers.)
rivka: (snorkeler)
[livejournal.com profile] therealjae happened upon the website of a pastor who is so right-wing-fundamentalist-wacko that he apparently spends most of his time railing against other right-wing-fundamentalist wackos for not being rigid enough. Nothing unusual there, unfortunately...

...except that the guy's name? His real name? Is Darwin Fish.

Seriously.

("Yes, Darwin Fish is my real name. It is the name my parents gave me when I was born in 1961. At the time, to my knowledge, there was no "DarwinFish" symbol made up at that time. My father's last name is "Fish," and my mother liked the name Darwin. So, this is my name. Some have suggested that I should change it, but I don't believe that would be honoring my father and mother (Exodus 20:12).

I have not openly cursed the day I was born as Jeremiah did (Jeremiah 20:14-18), but perhaps I have in my heart...")


[livejournal.com profile] therealjae was just delighted by the absurdity, of course, and of course so am I. Which led to the following IM conversation: Read more... )
rivka: (Alex & Mama)
Alex just pulled herself up to stand for the very first time.

She supported herself with my jeans. Which were down around my knees, because I was sitting on the toilet at the time.

I don't think we're going to be documenting that one with a picture in the baby book.
rivka: (Default)
During most of Alex's night wakings, I am neither fully awake nor fully asleep while I care for her. I am at the crossroads between sleep and waking, the place where hypnagogic imagery happens.[1]

The way it usually works is that recent cultural influences weave their way into the baby care process, usually in the form of momentarily convincing theories about why Alex is awake. Last night, for example, before bed I was reading Diane Duane's latest book, Wizards at War. At midnight, while I was giving Alex her bottle, I realized that she couldn't go back to sleep because we had to stay up and save the universe.

This beats all hell out of my previous theory, which arose very late one night after I'd watched the World Series of Poker before bed, and which involved Alex sleeping or waking depending on the strength of the poker hands she was dealt. I could never really figure out the details of that one.



[1] Dreams that happen while you're still awake, as you're passing into sleep. I notice that, in the skeptic's dictionary, the definition of "hypnagogic state" says, "see also alien abduction." Huh.
rivka: (family)
Dear Alex,

You have so much to learn about the world, and of course it is your Mama's duty to be your educator and guide. In that vein, let us discuss the principles of humor.

Irony is an extremely rich substance, most effective when applied in small, well-spaced doses. Do not be tempted to use too heavy a hand; in particular, repetition kills irony. Thus, staying awake half the night and then falling into a deep sleep just as Mama has to get up for the day, done once, will produce a wry smile at the vagaries of life. Done twice, it will merely produce swearing.

A time-honored form of humor is to set up certain dramatic expectations in one's audience and then violate them. Clearly you have mastered this principle. However, I must caution you that when you stay awake half the night and then fall into a deep sleep just as Mama has to get up for the day, and then you violate the expectations you have established by waking up hungry just as Mama sits down with her bowl of Cheerios, you run the risk of being perceived as mean.

Finally, although there are those who would argue that wretched excess is, in and of itself, funny: in the first place, that is one of the basest forms of humor, and in the second place, it was never meant to apply to diapers.
rivka: (Default)
elsiekate10: btw, my mom was unable to breast feed any of us for any length of time

RivkaWald: and look how you turned out.

elsiekate10: yeah well the others aren't queer
elsiekate10: well twink is
elsiekate10: okay, bad example
elsiekate10: but the point is i made it to adulthood, can hold down a job, and i love my mother

RivkaWald: Hey, why would we mind our kid being queer? I'm more worried that she'll grow up to be a shapenote singer.

elsiekate10: *grin*
elsiekate10: so you want me to stay far away
elsiekate10: well i understand

RivkaWald: No, I want you around so I can constantly point out to Alex that there but for the grace of God goes she.

elsiekate10: *giggle*
elsiekate10: shoot what's the line
elsiekate10: if i'm not a good role model i can be a ... some sort of horrible example or something
elsiekate10: it's someone's sig quote which narrows it right down

RivkaWald: Anyway, you'll have to be around a lot for that to work.

elsiekate10: well i could try
elsiekate10: assuming, for the purposes of argument, that you hadn't run me off with a rolling pin long beforehand

RivkaWald: I wouldn't use a rolling pin. Too cliched.

elsiekate10: fry pan? waffle iron? pitchfork?

RivkaWald: Stuffed penguin?

elsiekate10: that won't get rid of me
elsiekate10: i can withstand many an onslaught from a stuffed penguin and come back for more
elsiekate10: especially if i sense that i may get another shapenote singer out of it!

RivkaWald: hee!
RivkaWald: we make our own poly drama, instead of using the popular kinds.
rivka: (snorkeler)
Is it actually possible to laugh so hard that you choke and die? [1]

(Via Crooked Timber. Thanks, Ted. I think.)


[1] For the link-shy: it's, um, a synopsis of an SF novel. I cannot characterize it further.
rivka: (Default)
When we were in college, my friend Paul Anderson wrote songs that we did not then recognize were filk. Particularly notable were his song about the wealthy hippies who populated our school (entitled "I'm Not Really a Rich White Kid") and the one about the men's movement of the 1990s (That's right, honey, I condemn my gender - now, don't you want to sleep with me?/ I wouldn't use you as a sexual object, I'd use you as a human being!/ Don't worry, baby, 'cause I'm in with the fashion/ I'm six feet of hairy-faced enlightened compassion...).

But today I feel moved to share with you the first two verses of "I'm Glad You're the Woman You Are," which is about Paul's happiness that he's a man:

Well, I never saw a speculum 'til now.
Knew the doctor had to look at you, but didn't quite know how.
You showed me how they use it - all I could think was, "Ow!"
I never saw a speculum 'til now.

A proctology exam is not so nice
But at least it isn't done with a mechanical device.
And if the doctor offered to switch places, you'd think twice.
Proctology is... relatively nice.
rivka: (Dean icon)
[livejournal.com profile] therealjae - and anyone else who has a thing for political campaign slash - you must see this right-wing-produced slideshow/movie about John Kerry and John Edwards. It starts out with the ominous music and the anti-gay scare speech, but then bursts out into a lighthearted celebration of HoYay.

Seriously. Don't miss it.
rivka: (snorkeler)
The Social Security Administration, bless their hearts, keep a record of baby name popularity by year. That's how I know that my personal baby name preferences ranged in 2003 popularity from #1 (Emily) to #388 (Genevieve) on the girls' side, and from #12 (Ryan) to #231 (Miles) on the boys' side.

That's also how I know a lot of things about Americans' preferences in baby names that I would rather not have known.

Is there an actor or athlete or singer or something named Jayden/Jaiden/Jaden/Jaydon/Jadon? There must be a reason why a name I've never heard of inexplicably appears half a dozen times in the top 500 baby names. Is there any rational reason to name your baby Jazmine or Jazmin? Is everyone who names their baby "Tatum" a Tatum O'Neill fan, or is there a darker explanation? How come "Annie" is more popular than "Anne?" How come "Bailey" is more popular than "Lisa?" What keeps "Matthew" in the top ten when "Edward" has dropped down below "Landon" and "Tristan?"

I couldn't resist turning this whole mystery into a poll. All questions are based on the 2003 popularity of baby names for boys and girls. No fair looking it up. I'll post the correct answers tomorrow night, with popularity rankings.
take the poll )
rivka: (snorkeler)
WINONA RYDER: "Oh, TOM HANKS please don't go away forever. I got your letter which eplained the ghastly misunderstanding. I now understand why you did what you did. And... I love you."

TOM HANKS: "And I love you, WINONA RYDER"

They kiss. They are in love.

LIVEJOURNAL.COM (DR. RIVKA): "'Let the stripper do the work,' the instructions advise condescendingly."

TOM HANKS and WINONA RYDER: You said it, LIVEJOURNAL.COM (DR. RIVKA). You said it.

Read the rest, and then let your own LJ co-star in a romantic comedy screenplay, right here.
(via [livejournal.com profile] agrumer)
rivka: (smite)
In every relationship, sometimes you say things that you wish you could take back. Maybe they sounded innocent in your head, or maybe you knew you were treading on dangerous ground but couldn't quite imagine how much trouble you were about to get into. Then the words are out. You can never snatch them back.

The struggle, desperation, misery, aching, pain, and regret that follow are the price you pay for your unguarded tongue.

What was I thinking? But it's too late to focus on that now.

I said "Hey, why don't we paint the bathroom this weekend?" and now I'm stuck with "Hey, why don't we paint the bathroom this weekend."

May God have mercy on my poor solvent-addled soul.
rivka: (Default)
Orbital Mind Control Laser FAQ.

(via Electrolite.)

Warning note: [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel tells me that this site pops up a spyware thingy that automatically tries to install itself. I didn't notice, because I'm using a popup blocker, but y'all probably want to be careful.

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