Now I Don't Know WHO to Root For on Sunday!

On WXRT this morning my favorite DJ, Lin Brehmer, announced that in honor of the Superbowl, Indiana vs. Chicago; XRT would be hosting an Indiana/Chicago showdown of their own. Notice how it takes a WHOLE STATE to take on one widdow-biddy city? They don't say "Indianapolis," they say "Indiana." HA! You have no CHANCE PonyBoys! HAHAHAHA....Oh! Sorry! I was supposed to be pretending to be torn over the outcome of the Superbowl. Pretend you didn't read that.

The showdown XRT announced this morning?

The Smashing Pumpkins vs John Cougar Mellencamp.

The Smashing PUMPKINS??? To represent Chicago?!?!?!? Oh, God. Please kill me. Why couldn't it be Cheap Trick?? Or Off Broadway???? Or Enuff Z'Nuff????? Or The BLUUUUUUUuuuuuuues Brothers?????? Or maybe even, I don't know, Chicago???????

There isn't a band I loathe more than the Pumpkins. Truly. Even the fact that they have the word "pumpkin" in their name, a word connotative of ORANGE!!!, can NOT save them from being the absolutely freaking most overrated, godawful band that I've ever heard.

Let's see... how can I make this clear....

Every time I accidentally get distracted while driving by actually paying attention to the road and traffic and I leave the radio tuned to a station only to realize that while I was, say, maneuvering around a drunk-at-3PM-SUV-driver, they'd started playing a Pumpkins song - I suffer a pain and nausea induced by Billy Corgan's hideous voice that is second only to Ipecac in onset of action. I snap into panic mode and can't decide which would be quicker or more effective: 1) change the station 2) rip out the radio and fling it at the drunken SUV driver, or 3) roll down my window, stick my neck out of it, and roll it back up again.

The Killer In You indeed.

I'm not a huge Mellencamp fan, but at least I can listen to him without emptying the contents of my stomach in an explosive and windshield-obscuring fashion. I can even sing along happily with a few of his tunes. Plus, he's done quite alot to promote people other than himself, helping to form Farm Aid; very much UNlike Corgan whose only concern and interest in promoting is himself. Okay, that's not totally true - he did sing to benefit Tibet House in 1997 and Neon Street Center in 2001. Mellencamp's been doing Farm Aid for 21 years straight.

I wish I could find the interview he did on WGN in 2005 where he just got angrier and angrier at the Pumpkins for not wanting to reform - they were HIS, dammit! HE was the genius behind them! HIM!! ANYONE could see that!! He got so DEPRESSED that they didn't REALIZE him and his hisness!! He had a vision and was SO brilliant he was misunderstood!! It was....something. I sent it to the Peepster back in 2005, but must have deleted it from my e-mail. I did find one interview where he essentially compares his brilliance and intoxicating presence to Iggy Pop and David Bowie. As IF!!! I'd rather see Iggy Pop naked than listen to two lines of Adore. Oh, and another thing, his blog is lame. So there!

So I guess when I say I LOATHE the Smashing Pumpkins, it's really Billy Corgan I can't stand, but, my apologies to the rest of the band, the taint of Corgan's hateful, nails-on-a-chalkboard voice can't be scrubbed away. Even if the Smashing Pumpkins are still Corgan-less 70 years from now, I can guarantee that if I'm sitting in a wheelchair in my neat little room at Shady Acres nursing home listening to my radio from across the room and the DJ (probably Shannon assuming a DJ voice having decided enough's enough already he wants a chance with that hottie young 65-year-old nurse) announces that next they'll be playing a new song from the new Smashing Pumpkins album (or CD or MP3 or DX2 or IUDROME or whatever they'll be calling music delivery systems in 70 years), you can bet that if I'm not mobile enough to wheel myself over to that radio to smash it to bits before the first word is sung by whom I will anticipate to be Corgan, I'll hang myself with my IV.

So, Lin Brehmer, let's just stick to the one competition on Sunday, shall we? Do NOT equate Corgan with the Bears or I'll cry and throw up when they win.

In other Bears news, when asked who he was rooting for in Sunday's game, Jim McMahon replied, "I could care less."

"I could care less! PBTHTHTHTHTH!!!!"

He went on to say that he didn't follow football, he's been out of the game for 10 years now and has been focusing on his family.

According to his Website, however, he is totally available to come to your event and talk about his career in football. For HOURS in fact. It's just other people playing football he couldn't care less about.


Can You Hear Me Now? You TURNED DOWN the iPhone??

My feelings towards Verizon are slightly torn at the moment. According to Consumer Reports, they offer the best service in Chicagoland, and I can honestly say I've been nothing but happy with them since I switched from Cingular - not an easy decision for me to have made considering Cingular's cute little logo dude is ORANGE!!

Cute! No service!

When I remember being on hold with "customer service" for well over half a ferrets' lifetime during the course of my contract, I breathe a little sigh of relief and realize that no phone in the world, not even the mega-cool-awesome iPhone, will get me to switch back. I'm actually a little thankful that they turned down the opportunity to carry the Apple iPhone. Since I am very happy with Verizon's service, there's no way I'll switch back to Cingular simply to purchase the iPhone, so they just saved me half a grand.


ON THE OTHER HAND, Verizon does not offer the Motorola PEBL, which I think is just the cutest phone EVER!!! And if I don't get one I might just DIE!!! And It comes in the perfect shade of ORANGE!!!!

Not cute, annoying really, but great service.
Can YOU hear ME now?? Carry the PEBL!!!

But alas they're offered exclusively through T-Mobile. T-Mobile's service is rated far higher than Cingular's, but their logo is just, well, BORING!
Not cute. Okay service. Carries cutest phone EVER!

The iPhone sounds totally cool, and Apple puts out a great product, but I would hesitate to purchase one even if Verizon had taken Apple's offer to carry the iPhone exclusively. I know I end up carrying more stuff, but I'd rather have a separate iPod, phone and camera - each of decent quality - rather than a combo-meal, all-in-one cameraphoneMP3playermicrowavejetpack. If my camera breaks, I send it in to be fixed or get a new one, I won't have to endure the inconvenience of having to send in the equivalent of three devices at once. Plus, the cameras in cameraphones are next to useless unless you have a subject standing very very still less than 3 feet away.

Aethelred is never very still.

Speaking of Apple products, I remember being disappointed when the iPod Mini was not offered in ORANGE, even though I already had a 20G iPod and didn't really need one. They've apparently heard me griping and realized they'd lost a sale because the iPod Shuffle is now available in this most awesome of colors!

That's my girl! Second from the left. Hello, gorgeous!!

OR, if I decide to purchase another white iPod when mine dies (the battery is, of course, toast), I can have it engraved in ORANGE! So I really don't need the iPhone. Really.

But I do need the PEBL.


LaLa's Getting MARRIED!!!

My wonderful dear awesome friend Laura called last night to tell me that she and her beau Kevin are getting married at the end of April! They've been together for 3 years, have started a business together, are amazingly compatible, and take excellent care of eachother. I love how happy Kavin has made Laura over the years, and know they'll be happy for many many MANY years - a lifetime, in fact! - to come!


The family: Laura, Fernando, Trinity, and Kevin

Laura and Kevin will be registered at Central Bark. Buy a dog, move to Grayslake, and register your dog at Central Bark Doggie Day Care. Or purchase doggie things from their wholesaler and bring them in to stock the shelves in their doggie boutique! Or pick up a snazzy shirt or rad cap for your bipedal self in their boutique while your puppy gets pampered in the doggy salon!

World's Longest Ferret!

Max's new drug regimen has had some unexpected and alarming side effects:

Workout Cat!

Specifically formulated to trick you into buying it! Get Yours Today!

If I start working out with Budica today, will I have that awesome stance by the time springtime hits? Or will I simply be in traction?


I think it's time for some CHOW™

Welp, it's been over a year and I haven't lost any of the poundage I wanted to have lost by now so I could wear that Animala suit 'round the apartment. It doesn't seem possible now, but before I know it it'll be just too darned hot to wear stretch velvet.

I think it's time for me to ask my favorite Horseman of the Apocolypse, Famine, AKA Raven Sable, for some diet tips.

For a little fun on this dreary cold Monday, here's an excert from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's book, Good Omens - a fun little story about the Apocalypse.


Raven Sable, slim and bearded and dressed all in black, sat in the back of his slimline black limousine, talking on his slimline black telephone to his West Coast base.

"How's it going?" he asked.

"Looking good, chief," said his marketing head. "I'm doing breakfast with the buyers from all the leading supermarket chains tomorrow. No problem. We'll have MEALS™ in all the stores this time next month."

"Good work, Nick."

"No problem. No problem. It's knowing you're behind us, Rave. You give great leadership, guy. Works for me every time."

Thank you," said Sable, and he broke the connection.

He was particularly proud of MEALS™.

The Newtrition corporation had started small, eleven years ago. a small team of food scientists, a huge team of marketing and public relations personnel, and a neat logo.

Two years of Newtrition investment and research had produced CHOW™. CHOW™ contained spun, plaited, and woven protein molecules, capped and coded, carefully designed to be ignored by even the most ravenous digestive tract enzymes; no-cal sweeteners; mineral oils replacing vegetable oils; fibrous materials, colorings, and flavorings. The end result was a foodstuff almost indistinguishable from any other except for two things. Firstly, the price, which was slightly higher, and secondly, the nutritional content, which was roughly equivalent to that of a Sony Walkman. It didn't matter how much you ate, you lost weight.*

Fat people had bought it. Thin people who didn't want to get fat had bought it. CHOW™ was the ultimate diet food - carefully spun, woven, textured, and pounded to imitate anything, from potatoes to venison, although the chicken sold best.

Sable sat back and watched the money roll in. He watched CHOW™ gradually fill the ecological niche that used to be filled by the old, untrademarked food.

He followed CHOW™ with SNACKS™ - junk food made from real junk.

MEALS™ was Sable's latest brainwave.

MEALS™ was CHOW™ with added sugar and fat. The theory was that if you ate enough MEALS™ you would a) get very fat, and b) die of malnutrition.

The paradox delighted Sable.

*And hair. And skin tone. And, if you ate enough of it long enough, vital signs.

Shannon bought me a copy of this book when we were dating after he'd already won me over by being a total hottie with a wicked sense of humor, and it was hilarious. I'm recommending you pick up a copy now and read it if you're suffering from any form whatsoever of SADD. I did a store search and every Borders in Chicagoland has a copy, so there's just no excuse for you not to own it. While you're there, pick up a copy of Three Men in a Boat, which I'm of the mind should be taught in all high-school English courses to prove that classic literature can be downright funny. I promise to get you an excerpt of that one, too, before next Monday if Gaiman doesn't sue me for this one. You can read the whole of it here if you just can't get to Borders and can't wait 'til next Monday.

There was talk some time back of Good Omens being made into a movie to be directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp as the demon Crowley and Robin Williams as the angel Aziraphale; but that seems to have gone up in smoke. I would love to know who play the four Apocalyptic Horsepersons: War, Pollution, Famine and Death.

Until CHOW really is produced, I'll have to go about losing weight and getting fit the old fashioned way. I did find a helpful Website of 50 weight loss tips. Many of the tips are common sense, but I find it useful to remind myself of them once in a while. For example, don't compare yourself to others, don't deny yourself your cravings, don't eat until you're full, weight loss is most successful when you eat better AND exercise, and, the one I have to keep foremost in my brain, #29: Maintain your priorities. "Sure, your sandwich would taste amazing with an extra tablespoon of mayonnaise… but do you really need it? Rather, is it more important for you to reach your weight loss goal quicker - or have this sandwich taste marginally better? What’ll happen the next time you’re faced with this decision - will you cave again? It’s a slippery slope; don’t lose sight of what’s most important to you."


Speculumating About 2008 Issues

For once, I'm looking forward to the candidacy debates for the 2008 election. Aside from Iraq, it looks like some of the major issues to be addressed will be universal healthcare, civil liberties (stop tapping our phones!), and the economy.

My dad used to complain that no matter how great a candidate looked, no matter how well spoken he was, the only issue that could get people's blood boiling was the pro-choice/pro-life debate. We need candidates who can argue less visceral topics - Healthcare. Budget. Foreign Policy. - with as much vigor. I want to know how they'll handle the country and what ideas they have in mind for getting the job done. I'm really eager to see who the Democrats (not to mention the Republicans) put forward as their presidential candidate.

One of the main issues this time round as a result of Governor Schwarzenegger's proposal for mandatory health insurance and Dubbya's proposed health plan is: universal health care. Both of the proposed plans have their problems, but at least they're drawing attention to a serious problem we have in this country: the fact that over 46 MILLION citizens do not have health insurance.

After receiving a statement from Blue Cross stating that they were billed $3500 for my MRI, I can't imagine having a precautionary procedure like that done without health insurance, not to mention the cost of the initial doctor's visit and follow up with a specialist; and the out-of-pocket cost of newer-generation migraine medications. And what if they'd indeed found I had the precurser to an aneurysm? How in the world would I have been able to afford the surgery to correct it?

If the main issue for 2008's election is healthcare, which I think is likely (and the most important, IMO, though most Americans put it third in their list of priorities), I think, with mixed emotions, that Senator Hillary Clinton's really got the edge. Obama is calling for "bold health reform," but Clinton has the experience - she was pushing for it when Bill was president.


What's Yellow and Cute and Makes OrangeMoJoJo Very Very Nervous?

The proposed new Illinois specialty license plate.

On Monday, ironically also the 24th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, US District judge David Coar ruled that the Illinois Secretary of State must start producing Choose Life specialty license plates. The proceeds from the sales of this plate are to go to "adoptive services."

Call me a skeptic, but somehow that money will be used for anti-choice legislation and action, and "adoptive service" will be the claimed recipient.

Now on the one hand, I'm pro-freedom of speech and expression. This is an issue that people feel very very strongly about - so strongly that of the 800 signatures required by the Secretary of State to consider producing a specialty license plate for an organization, 25,000 signatures were attained by Choose Life.

Currently the Illinois Secretary of State offers specialty plates for 60 organizations - none of which are political in nature - which run, on average, $118 for a first-time issuance, or $147 if your plates will expire within the next 90 days. If all 25,000 of those who signed the petition bought one of these plates, that's between 2,950,000 and 3,675,000 of revenue, a portion of which will go to Choose Life. For "adoption-service providers." Again, I'm a skeptic. "Adoption service" can be so loosely interpreted. There are some seriously misleading "crisis pregnancy centers" we have scattered 'round Chicagoland. They offer "adoption counselling." I'm pretty sure they would get a chunk of that money, for one.

On the flipside, if there was one available for Planned Parenthood, I'd pay quadruple the price for it, so I understand how strongly people feel about this issue, and how important it is for them to express it. However, as Alabama has shown, states quick to offer pro-life plates are not so interested in offering a pro-choice equivalent, where money would go to legislation and shady "crisis pregnancy" centers.

Crisis pregnancy centers.
I have NO problem with women being counselled before an abortion so they can make a fully informed decision, as long as they're being counselled in an unbiased, professional fashion. I DO have a problem with women being yelled at and called murderers by biased, fanatical (and I stress "fanatical" - these aren't typical people with pro-life values I'm talking about) pro-life so-called "counsellers" when they state they're considering an abortion. Women have reported being forced to sit in waiting rooms watching horrific abortion videos surrounded by anti-abortion pamphlets, pictures, and literature. Some have been followed home, or have been harassed by phone by those they sought help from. They are told about the horrible pain their babies will feel. Some of the more fanatical "counsellers" have been known to lock women considering abortions into a room until they "make the right decision." then follow up with them in an unrequested, uninvited, and invasive fashion. My strong, strong advice to women considering abortion or who have any questions regarding their unplanned pregnancy: Go to to your trusted doctor or to Planned Parenthood. Ask as many questions as you need to. You may choose not to get an abortion, you may never have considered an abortion, but Planned Parenthood has skilled medical staff on duty who are knowledgeable in all stages of development from conception to delivery. They are not judgemental and they are, again, very knowledgeable. They certainly won't talk you into an abortion, but they won't judge you if you choose to have one. On the flip side, if you choose to have that baby, they will make sure you have the information and healthcare you require for a healthy pregnancy. They also offer affordable birth control for women with little or no income, including students, who want to prevent pregnancy. They also offer affordable health care. Be very VERY wary of crisis pregnancy centers, even if you are absolutely not considering abortion. I hesitate to say even that they may be able to help you through the adoption process, but I'd honestly go find a good reliable adoption service instead.

"The plate is intended to support adoption-service providers; none of the charitable proceeds from the plates will support anti-abortion political activities," said Dan Proft, a spokesman for Choose Life.

They will use the money from these cute, whimsical little yellow plates to reduce the number of abortions through whatever means they devise, and claim it's adoptive services. "Bringing that baby to term made him/her adoptable!"

I want to see that women have access to safe, informed abortions without harassment. Having volunteered at a Planned Parenthood to ensure women seeking treatment (not only abortions, but competent medical care for their pregnant on non-pregnant selves) were able to enter and leave the building safely past pro-life activists; I could not BELIEVE the hatred, the threats, the vile name-calling, the toxic spew emitting from faces contorted with hate. It was disgusting. It made me all the more sure that abortion is NOT a choice women make lightly - who in God's name would endure that on a whim?!??! - and that nobody but nobody has the right to judge a woman who makes that decision, much less scream obscenities at her. I've also worked with rape and incest victims, and the mere thought of one of those women being judged for or spewed that filth at for their decision to abort a child that they had no choice in creating...I don't have the words. They'd already been raped once. To think of them having to endure that after such a violation leaves me cold with the taste of bile in my mouth.

But I digress.

My point is: more money to the pro-life movement = weaker pro-choice movement. If there were to be a balance with the offering of a pro-choice specialty license plate in all of the states that are offering the Choose Life plate, I wouldn't be as concerned.

But they're not.

Across the country, similar efforts at getting anti-abortion plates on the road have met with success. So far 18 states have approved the pro-life license plates, and 11 are already issuing them. Only Florida is currently working on a pro-choice counterpart.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is appealing the decision to offer a "Choose Life" license plate, and I'm seriously hoping he wins that appeal because I really can't afford the $600 counterpart, but the precedent has been set. The best birthday present Roe v. Wade could ask for this year would be for Jesse White to win that appeal.


"Hello, Welcome to Being a Chicago Sports Fan, Honey"

I started writing this post in response to a couple of recent blog entries and their comments, and I just kept going on... and on.... and on......, so I decided to spare their readers and bore the hell out of you instead! You lucky devil!

I had to search out a rant my friend Mugsy posted last spring. He, a Cubs fan, was disgusted (as I'd so cleverly ascertained by his subject line: "I'm So Digusted") at how Chicago baseball fans hated on eachother. I think you, Peepster, will most enjoy the fact that he uses the word "fucktard."

At the time of the posting, I had little sympathy. I too hate most Cubs fans! They steal the best parking spots within miles of Wrigley Field!! I developed and nurtured my hatred over a two-year period when I frequented the Annoyance and IO and couldn't find a spot within walking distance to save my life when a Cubs game was going on, forcing me once to pay $15 to park when Cubs TRAFFIC had made me late in the first place! Talk about adding insult to injury! I'll never forget you you rat bastard in the powder blue Ford with the Cubs bumper sticker who pulled into my spot after I'd pulled ahead and put my blinker on to back into it and was waiting for you to pass!! YOU I hate. You, sir, are a fucktard.

Hearing the grumblings throughout the football season growing louder and louder, growing to a crescendo during the playoffs about us "stupid misguided nostalgic Bears fans" who are "trapped in 1985" and who should realize their team really sucks and will most certainly lose to (*insert name of next team to be played here*) because the Bears really are inferior to (*insert name of next team to be played here*), has really given me pause. I now, with right hand over heart, give a nod to Mugsy in understanding. Just as I don't hate Mugsy (he takes public transport! Or, due to the depth of his love of the Cubs, he actually rents apartments within walking distance to Wrigley Field! He's never even OWNED a blue Ford, and if he did, he'd have the sense NEVER TO TELL ME!), I can't really be lumped in with the 7 Bears fans who "claim Ditka as their mouthpiece." I do remember the 1985 season, and it was AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME to live in (or in my case, near) Chicago at the time. I'd been a Bears fan before then, though. I remember writing a lovely essay on Papa Bear Halas in grade school. It was there that I first lamented that there were too many pads in todays uniforms so the game wasn't as challenging as it was in Papa Bear's day. That's probably what lead me to my love of rugby. In the beginning it reminded me of olde-tyme football where the players were slightly padded and paid little before I realized that it was a completely different game.

...but I digress. That's another posting.

Anyway, I TRIED to love other teams (mainly the Raiders) from 1989-2000 - an effort that essentially just ended up in my losing interest in football altogether. I'm a Bears fan. It doesn't really matter "why" a fan is a fan - a fan is a fan because s/he's a fan. I'm surprised and a little miffed by the anti-Bears-fan talk I've been hearing of late. Of COURSE we're going to whine about RexMan when he throws several interceptions in one game! What fan of what team would NOT fret about the competence of their quarterback if he threw several interceptions in one game? It's a WORRY! We want him to be consistent! (I know you've heard this argument before, but): He's being payed MILLIONS OF DOLLARS to complete passes! And we want him to complete passes BECAUSE: we fans want to cheer for our team. We LOVE to cheer for our team, we don't want to feel "if that pass was only completed, we might have won...."

...as I'm sure you don't if your QB makes an incomplete pass. Or two. Or three?!??? FOUR?!?!?!?

Feeling that way once during a game is a bummer, feeling it 4-5 times is almost sickening.

I'll admit - outside of a few sources I'd read for Halas' biography - I don't read about football. I don't claim to understand or care about statistics. My main concern with the game is that I think the Bears' uniforms should be more ORANGE!!! less blue. (Better yet, they should wear their special Halloween-game ORANGE!!! jerseys at all home games.) I can't name 1/3 of the team. But I'm really really REALLY happy when they win!

As I'm sure you are when your team wins! The difference may be that I'm happy for you (unless you're the driver of a powder blue Ford) when your team wins, even though it may have meant the loss of my team.


GO BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for letting me get that off my chest! I don't even know what I was on about anymore....Ah, yes. Please excuse me - I have a license to run on a blue Ford. I remember there was a 3, or maybe an 8....that should narrow it down...


King Aethelred & Queen Boudica

Meet the kids!

We brought them home last Saturday, January 6. Aethelred is Shannon's 36th birthday gift, and Budica is MINE! MINE MINE MINE!! MY kitty! MINE!



Last Saturday Shannon and I travelled to the Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky border - a journey of about 300 miles each way - to pick up Aethelred last Saturday. Rev was live-blogging the whole time, or at least the whole time after 8AM.

We left Chicago at 4AM when it was still very dark and sunrise was hours away, so we missed the boring part of the drive (northern Indiana) on the way there. The breeder, Janet, was MIA when we arrived, but thanks to the ever-vigilant Rev we were able to track down her cell phone number. We had to wait about two hours for her to show up, but it wasn't too cold and we knew she was on her way so we made the most of it by counting the reasons why we should not smash inher windows to get to where the cats were whom we could hear playing JUST A FEW MADDENING INCHES AWAY FROM WHERE WE WERE STANDING.

Janet arrived about two hours after we did, but any minor (and it was indeed minor!) irritation we might have felt melted away instantly as she brought us inside to play with the dozen or so kittens - including Aethelred - she had on hand awaiting their new homes and bipeds. She offered us the choice of Aethelred or his brother, but we never hesitated in our decision. Aside from our already having our hearts set on his little silver nose and lynx ears, Aethelred was far more confident and playful than his brother. He and Shannon played with a toy identical to the one we'd just bought for him at a little shop on Damen in Chicago the day before (shown below), while Janet and I met the available adult females she had on hand and filled out paperwork.

She had mentioned beforehand that she had a few adult female cats available for adoption, so we'd brought along an extra carrier, you know, just in case. We'd agreed that we did not want to bring a second cat home unless we really felt we'd really bond with it.

I immediately bonded with Boudica (boo-DEE-kuh). Her name at the time was "B" - not "Bea," the letter "B." She followed me attentively as I roamed about the room, played with the kittens, came over to her cage. The other available cat had no chance, and there was no question we would be bringing B home. There was also no question her name would be changed - just as soon as she told us what it was.....

Due to the misunderstanding in our arrival time (we understood that we'd be there Saturday, Janet understood that we'd be freaks to leave Chicago before 9AM and was a bit startled to learn we'd actually left at 4AM); we ended up leaving Janet's place about two hours later than we'd expected. By the time we left it was getting dark, so we missed the boring part of the drive (northern Indiana) on the way back. The cats travelled EXTREMELY well. Their "meows" are tiny to begin with, which is typical of the Maine Coon, but they just settled in and waited to see what awaited them when we stopped. Well, stopped the fourth time. We stopped for a shake, gas, Starbucks THEN we stopped the car for good at home.

We'd initially changed B's name to "Hazel" on the way home because her colouring is a beautiful, rich hazel and we both thought it was a pretty name. We realized quickly, however, that the name really didn't suit her. Not that she isn't pretty! She's gorgeous. But she's just not a "Hazel..." I didn't like the way the "Z" sounded when I called her for one thing - sounded too much like a hiss. I kept coming back to the "B" sound. We changed her name to Boudica about....13 minutes ago. Maybe 14.

I love that we have to provide pronounciations along with our cats' names. Reminds me of the Mexican restaurant in Oxford where all the dishes had pronounciations next to them - "kay-suh-DEE-yuhs;" "mar-gu-REE-tuh;" "fuh-HEE-tuhs." Reading that menu after being seated in a Mexican restaurant by a young Japanese woman with a crisp English accent and waited on by a tall, thin blonde Nordic woman while pale English youths prepared the food in back brought the whole "you're not in Chicago anymore - full stop." thing home for me right there.

But I digress.

Queen Boudica was the wife of a wealthy Iceni chief in England during the Roman occupation. Her husband, Prasutagus, had the foresight to try to provide for his family by making the Roman Emperor Nero co-heir with his daughters in the event of his death. When he did die, the Roman Governor, Suetonius Paulinus (not to be confused with the author of 12 Caesars, Suetonius) had another idea. His plan was not to share the land with Boudica, but to have her publically flogged while her daughters were raped by slaves in front of her eyes before taking all of Prasutagus' land and stuff.

Boudica was pissed.

She retaliated by leading the Iceni in a revolt that was initially very successful. They raided cities and took back great amounts of land - they even burnt down the early settlement of Londinium, what is now known as London, and nearby St. Albans before reinforcements for the Romans arrived. 10,000 of them.

Still Boudica pushed on. She rallied the mainly male troops with cries of, "Win the battle or perish - that is what I, a woman, will do. You men can live on in slavery if that's what you want." She and her daughters headed the charge.

Ultimately the Iceni were no match for the rallied Roman troops. 80,000 Britons were slaughtered according to one account in comparison with 400 Roman troops. Boudicae took poison and killed herself rather than to allow herself to be captured by her enemies. She died in 61 AD.

Aethelred cowering upon hearing the battle-cry of Boudica:

Boudicae shown here with King Richard I, mounted on Fauvel, no less,
to show just how absolutely freaking huge she is.

Aethelred shown here with King Richard I to show just how teensy weensy and cute he is!

Queen Boudica predated King Aethelred by about 950 years, and our new cat Boudica is older than our new kitten Aethelred, so we figure we're keeping things historically accurate. To fulfill our conditions for cat-naming - both were English monarchs, and both had weird, erm, I mean, unusual names.

Aethelred is a very confident kitten and has the run of our apartment. Budica's a bit shy but promises to be a very loving and sweet cat. It cracks us up how she tries to sneak past us to slip into a room unnoticed - head down, feet moving quickly - but she weighs about 15 pounds. She has about as much chance of going anywhere unnoticed in our apartment with its hardwood floors as Fauvel would.


Welcome Break in the Weather!

Can you BELIEVE how cold it was the last two days?? It was in the 20s-30s in Chicago, after being in the 40s-60s for WEEKS! Two days of bitter bitter cold and blustery blustery wind. It was HORRIBLE! I was NOT happy, and neither was Rev. We had to warm ourselves with tea and Licor 43 - a lovely, sweet Spanish vanilla liquer. YUM! Shannon was, of course, in his element being from Maine. He spent the last two days walking around in shorts and swimmers drinking icy-cold pina coladas.

Don't ask what he was wearing when it was warmer.

The weather hit the thirties just when a report was released saying that 2006 was the warmest year EVER in the history of the Earth. Some are saying El Nino played a role. I really don't know how that could be since Chris Farley has been dead since late '97.

When it actually DOES get warmer, Rev, we can make our own Key Lime Martinis from whatever Licor 43 you have left!


OrangeMoJoJo Is Determined to Get Healthy!

After suffering a 5-day migraine last week without even having touched a drop of alcohol on New Year's Eve coupled with a lack of energy of late, I'm determined to eat healthier and start working out.

No, really. This time I mean it, and I'm enlisting the help of both the Bally's and MyPyramidTracker websites to attain my goal of a healthy weight, more energy, and a sleeker physique.

Hey, Peepster! She's from Vancouver!

It takes a few minutes to get set up, but if you want to see if you're eating right, it's totally worth the 5 minutes to get your profile up and running on the free mypyramidtracker Website. This Website has you input what you've eaten and drank over the last 24 hours to start, then you can build on it from there to see how you're doing over time. I plan on updating my information regularly to make sure I'm eating a healthy diet, and I thank them for not noting the fact that my diet yesterday consisted of 60% fat on this page. Once you've entered your food/bev intake, you will be supplied with a comprehensive breakdown of how much fiber, fat, vitamins and minerals you're ingesting in a page of your very own. There is also a page for you to enter your physical activity, which was running too slowly for me to test.

To get started, go to: www.mypyramidtracker.gov

Here's what I scored from entering what I ate over the past 24 hours - and I skipped a meal!

Comparison of Your Intake with
MyPyramid Recommendations for: OrangeMoJoJo

Your Pyramid Stats

Milk Intake 1.1 cup equivalent
Milk Recommendation 3 cup equivalent

Meat and Beans Intake 2.8 oz equivalent
Meat and Beans Recommendation 5.5 oz equivalent

Vegetables Intake 0.7 cup equivalent
Vegetables Recommendation 2.5 cup equivalent

Fruits Intake 0 cup equivalent
Fruits Recommendation 2 cup equivalent

Grains Intake 6.3 oz equivalent
Grains Recommendation 6 oz equivalent.

I also intend to work out at least three times a week. It's common sense that eating healthier combined with exersize produces the best, quickest, most lasting results; but nowadays common sense has to overcome the coziness of Shannon AND two awesome beautiful soft purring Maine Coon kitties! I'll have to envision it as a Star Wars (Episode IV+) test of will in order to succeed.



"I'm sixty and I still look FABULOUS.
Keith Richa
rds, eat your heart out."

The Thin White Duke turned 60 today. Happy Birthday!!

Fun Bowie Facts:

  • He was the original choice to play the Acid Queen in The Who's rock opera, Tommy.
  • He is afraid of spiders. He therefore should NOT watch this video on how drugs affect the way wood spiders make their webs.
  • He underwent heart surgery in 2004, and my dad underwent heart surgery last year, so my dad, who's also in his sixties, has something else in common with David Bowie! How cool is that?!?!? I know you're totally jealous.
  • He sometimes wears socks.
  • His last name was originally Jones.
  • If it weren't for his cameo in Zoolander, that film would have totally flopped.
  • I dressed up as David Bowie my sophomore year of high school and won a costume contest alongside a guy dressed as an orc in full chain mail carrying a broadsword. I'm pretty sure he spent a little more money and time on his costume than I did - I just copied the cover of Aladdin Sane - but unlike that cover I improvised and wore a shirt and tie.
  • His eyes are different colours (I added the "u" to give a nod to his English heritage) as a result of a teenage fistfight over me. Shannon still sports the white crescent-shaped scar on his knuckle.

"I'm totally glad I lost that fight, though it was painful at the time."

I won't give too many more in case you want to test your own Bowie knowledge via this online quiz.