We're on our way!

Momster and Papa Schuetter are already there, and the rest of us will be following shortly. You've been warned! We will leave your state, but not until we're all de-stressed and fulla lobstah and whoopie pies.

I may post from Maine, if for no other reason but to keep up with The Rev.

Moment of zen:

If I were a Maine Coon kitten, this would be me:

I Want To Believe.

That this is not Mulder.


My Favorite Children's Song

I have no idea what happened to my copy of Carl Orff's Gassenhauer ("Street Song"), but it's quite possible I wore a hole right through the vinyl by the time I entered the fifth grade.

Last Christmas, Shannon tracked down an Orff-Schulwerk compilation, Volume I - Musica Poetica, that had the title song, "Gassenhauer," on it. It's the first song, actually. "Gassenhauer" was my favorite song as a kid. Even now, no matter where I am when I hear it, I am immediately transported to myself as a third-grade kid at Roosevelt Grammar School. Apparently I was a pretty happy kid! (o: The first notes put a grin on my face and an almost overwhelming desire to DANCE!

I remember how skeptical I was when I received an album as a Christmas gift from my mom (aka "Blitzen"). She was a classical music buff, while I already had my own very small collection of Shaun Cassidy albums and was borrowing my brother's David Bowie albums when he wasn't home. She was SO excited to have found a copy of that album, and couldn't wait to listen to it with me. It didn't take much time for me to warm to it!

Tonight Shannon and I watched True Romance, and, though Orff wasn't credited, Hans Zimmer used Gassenhauer as the theme music. I found "Gassenhauer" on YouTube for your listening pleasure (see below). It builds until it GETS YA!, about two minutes in, but I recommend listening to it from the beginning, just like Blitzen made me do nearly three decades ago.

Asthma Run Shirt

Told you the shirt was cute! I told myself I couldn't wear it until after the run. Talk about incentive to get my lazy butt to Montrose Harbor at 7AM on a Sunday!

I'm thinking I must have spotted Shannon up ahead in this shot. There is no other explanation for my smiling during a 5K!


Batman Behind Bars!

Christian Bale is in jail today after assaulting his mom in London.

???? Christian BALE?? He seems so laid back and, well, nice. A good guy!

My guess, and it's just a theory, is that he has heard nothing but "OMG! Heath Ledger was AMAZING!!! What was it like to work with Heath Ledger? Heath Ledger was fantastic! Heath Ledger totally stole the movie! Heath Ledger! Awesome! Heath Ledger's Joker - how will they every top THAT?! Heath Ledger played the best supervillain ever! Heath Ledger! WOW! Heath Ledger! What a waste!" and he went to visit his mom and she was all like "Your sister and I just got back from the theater! What a great movie! Heath Ledger was amazing as the Joker. I've never seen a performance like it! What a waste. How are they going to top Heath Ledger's performance? Well, maybe David Tennant can do it with his Riddler. He's a very talented fellow, but I don't know...Heath Ledger was just BRILLIANT!" and he. just. LOST it. "I WAS IN THAT MOVIE TOO, MA!!!" he screamed as he went all Dark Knight on her ass.

For LaLa

Because this totally makes me think of us circa.... whenever we get together.

If I knew you my senior year, I would have totally pasted this in your yearbook. I'd be the owl on the left, of course....why are you laughing?


I'm #827! I'm #827!

Yesterday I ran a 5K for Catch Your Breath: Women and Lung Health Initiative. It was the first time in as long as I can remember where I woke up, made my coffee, checked my email and the weather, strapped on my watch and heart rate monitor and headed out the door as if exercise was just another part of the day.

I'll admit - I didn't know anything about the Catch Your Breath women's run until Fleet Feet sent me an email about it containing a picture of the Nike technical shirt they were giving to the first 3000 runners. CUTE!!!!

(this is just a sketch. I'll post the actual shirt when they post the pics on PhotoJack)

Then I realize they help combat women's asthma (which I have) so I was totally THERE! It was nice to realize I was running to benefit a cause I actually would have simply donated to on my own, and that it wasn't just for the shirt. Oh, but did I mention? CUTE!!!!

Even though the run was women only ("NO BOYS ALLOWED!!" as one runner yelled to a guy asking what the race was for), Shannon was right out the door with me at 6:30 AM. Which in itself was amazing and supportive.

He walked with me on my quest for swag (Nike arm bands! Sweet!!), hung out with me while we waited for the start time to approach, then walked with me to the start of the course. I stood about 20 feet behind the last pace sign, "11:00," seeing as I'd run about 14-15 minute miles in past 5Ks and didn't want to get in anyone's way (o:.

Shannon waved and clapped as I started off. I saw him again about 1/4 mile up the course, clapping me on and cheering. Then I saw him again another 1/4 mile up or so. Then again. He'd wait for me, cheer me on, then, as soon as I passed him, he'd take off sprinting so he could cheer me on again. I saw him 6-8 times during the race, and by the end of it he was at least as exhausted as I was.

I thus attribute my increase in time to Shannon's encouragement. Though I don't think I would have stopped to walk, I don't think I would have pushed myself as hard as I did, gaining a few minutes on my last time. He attracted quite a lot of attention as he sprinted from point to point along the course. I heard a lot of women yell, "There he is!" as they spotted him and "There he goes AGAIN!" when he was sprinting up to his next vantage point. One woman actually slowed down and another sped up to tell me how incredibly lucky I am.

As if I didn't know! (o:

My final time was 39:29, (a 12:43 pace) up from 42:13 (a 13:36 pace). at the Ravenswood Run in May. THAT one I would have been tempted to walk during. My feet hurt and my leggies were TIRED. But you'll notice, Shannon was right next to me, so I couldn't have stopped if I wanted to. He's a tireless, encouraging, ultra-positive coach who quite often has more faith in my ability to accomplish my goals than I do, which leads me to have faith more in myself than I ever have. Which is why I got a little choked up as I saw him up ahead of me for the fourth time while my iPod played the starting chords to Joe Cocker's version of "Have A Little Faith in Me."

In addition to Joe Cocker, here's the rest of my playlist:

I started off with Abba - "Lay All Your Love On Me"
NitzerEbb - "Join in the Chant"
XTC - "Making Plans for Nigel"
Michael Jackson - "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
Monty Python - "I Like Chinese"
Kylie Minogue - "Can't Get You Out of My Head"
The theme from Beetlejuice - Danny Elfman
ended with Rory Gallagher's - "Bad Penny"

My goal is a 35 minute 5K in September! And then, Moscow:

You...you BASTARD!

Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight inspired this minimeme. He was absolutely amazing. He was so good he made Michael freaking CAINE forget his lines.

Ledger's Joker was the quite possibly the best supervillain I've ever seen, but having said that, there are at least 19 who come really close. (I've added a couple since I first posted this! (o:) I've left out horror villains, as well as most of the supervillains and sci fi villains intentionally for brevity's sake:

Henry Fonda as "Frank" in Once Upon A Time in the West

Aaron Eckhart as "Chad" in In The Company of Men

Lawrence Olivier as "Dr. Szell" in Marathon Man

Tim Roth as "Archibald Cunningham" in Rob Roy

Gary Oldman as "Rep. Sheldon Runyon" in The Contender; and as "Stanson" in The Professional

Jeff Bridges as "Obadiah Stone" in Iron Man

Simon Callow as "Count Fosco" in The Woman in White

Christopher Walken as "Gabriel" in The Prophecy

Strother Martin as the prison warden in Cool Hand Luke

Kevin Spacey as "John Doe" in Se7en, and as Roger "Verbal" Kint in The Usual Suspects

Piper Laurie as "Margaret White" in Carrie

Willem Dafoe as "Max Schrek" in Shadow of the Vampire

Glen Close as the "Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil" in Dangerous Liaisons, and as Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction

Orson Welles as "Police Captain Hank Quinlan" in Touch of Evil

(per Shannon) Javier Bardem as "Anton Chigurh" in No Country for Old Men

Sergi Lopez as "Captain Vidal" in Pan's Labyrinth

I realize I've left out a LOT of villains. Feel free to add your favorites!


Going for a Stroll

My coworker's father passed away a few weeks ago, and the family asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Alzheimers Association instead. Not being content with making a donation after remembering how Alzheimer's affected my grandfather several years ago; I'm going to participate in the 2008 Alzheimer Association Memory Walk on Sunday, September 14!


Well, Dress Me Up in Willy Wonka and Call Me "Purple Velvet!"

....Strike that. Reverse it.

"A French air hostess will become one of Europe's pioneer space tourists after picking a chocolate wrapper out of the rubbish and finding a winning number in a competition to fly to the upper reaches of the earth's atmosphere.

"Mathilde Epron, 32, said she had bought a Kit Kat chocolate bar chocolate bar at her local supermarket but initially threw the wrapper in the bin, telling herself that "it's only others who win.""

How Willy Wonka is that?!? The Gene Wilder version, not the other one.

"A small step for mankind, but a giant step for us." - Willy Wonka

Hopefully her journey will not remotely resemble this scene from the real Willy Wonka:

Because.....WTF!?!?! Oh, and that reminds me - Albert Hoffman, the chemist who created LSD, died April 29 at the age of 102. Apparently LSD has some pretty serious life-lengthening effects! Not that I'll ever know - I'd be too much of a coward to ever try the stuff. I'd be afraid I'd have a bad trip where everything that I saw that was orange attacked me or something. And since every where I look I see something orange, I'd be attacked from all sides. By orange. Can you imagine the psychological damage??!


Another Celebrity Soul Sucker Photo!

Andy Dick was arrested for drug possession and sexual battery after he pulled down a teenager's top.


The fact that he was arrested doesn't surprise me. The fact that he was arrested for possession surprises me even less, but the fact that I mistook this pic for an Edward Norton promo shot promoting his role as a psychotic serial murderer in a film to be released in 2009?

For the record (har har! Pun intended!):
This would be an example of something orange that I do NOT want.

That surprises me.

Appetite Stimulant

I haven't eaten anything today, which isn't too bizarre. I usually skip breakfast (BAD!!!), but I usually work up an appetite by lunch. If I don't, I have a Diet Coke.

Within minutes I. Am. STARVING!

I've pretty much given up Diet Coke because A) I was drinking way too much of it - I could go through a 2-liter in two days not counting what I was drinking at work out of our 35-cent pop machine. Which was a LOT., and B) I don't trust artificial sweeteners. They don't scream "HEALTHY!" to me. So, with the help of my crutch - regular Pepsi - I've been trying to build a relationship with water that never existed, but has so far been pretty successful!

A third reason I decided in earnest to cut way back on my Diet Coke intake was an article Shannon sent me a few months ago that said that diet soft drinks could screw with your metabolism and make you eat more, thus undermining any weight loss efforts you were making. I thought I'd make a guinea pig of myself and see what happened as I cut back.

After about a month of simply cutting back, I noticed that my appetite went NUTS after a few sips of my Diet Coke. I couldn't get something to eat fast enough. When I had a Diet Coke with my lunch, though, these effects weren't noticeable. I didn't eat any more or less than I normally did.

Now I reserve the Diet Coke for when I either have a meal in front of me or have just eaten; or have no appetite but know I should eat. So I'm down to about 3 cans a week. Usually I just have water. Or coffee. Usually both.

I should have known that I, at least, had an issue with America's third top selling soft drink years ago. I learned long ago that I can't drink it before a meeting, for example, because it really messes with my stomach and makes it all growly. Scary growly. LOUD scary growly. Like, an-alien-is-trying-to-get-out loud scary growly.

I wonder if I'd tried eating Mentos with a Diet Coke....? I'll let you ponder that while I have my lunch!


So My Question Is

Why have I not been invited to be the grand master poobah of this group?

I think it's a group of online RPG-ers - possibly defunct - playing Rune or RuneScape or RuneCrypt or RuneQuest or RuneFactory or RuneCity or RuneStryders or The Rune of Metadion or Rune Dog or Children of the Rune or something like that, and, okay, I don't play RPGs (anymore), but still. It's the principle.

They could at least send me an honorary cape!

Ferret Bebbee!!

I got to work yesterday to find a picture of my new ferret baby waiting for me in my inbox. I'll be picking her (and Nosferretu!) up the day after my berfday!

DANGER!!!!! RUN!!!! - Oh, You Can't.

These shoes remind me of those ultradangerous, ultrapoisonous hornets that eat ultradangerous ultrapoisonous spiders for breakfast. Or vice versa. I forget. I saw it on the Discovery Channel or a PBS nature show years ago. I only remember the dangerous poisonous predator creepy crawly eating the other dangerous poisonous predator.

And I remember that the the close black-and-white stripes of the one doing the eating looked EXACTLY LIKE THESE SHOES!

Rihanna (?) is an incredibly brave woman. These creepy crawly shoes are 1000 times bigger than the creepy crawlies were on that nature show! And there are two of them! Each one so big it covers her entire lower leg!

HOW can she stand there so benignly?!? She must be terrified to move: if the creepycrawlyshoes don't kill her with their horrible poison, trying to walk in them will. Or maybe they've shot her up with their neurotoxins that will keep her alive but immobile, every single one of her skeletal muscles frozen while they lay their eggs in her shins?!?! THAT's what it was. THAT's what was so disturbing about those awfulnasty horneteatingspidereatinghornets! OMG!!! Oh, *BARF!*

Seriously, my stomach is trying to make my hands type faster so I can finish this entry and go flying out of my office, down the nine flights of stairs, out the front doors of the building, and about two miles down Milwaukee Ave. to the safety of the nearest Walgreens bug spray aisle. Only there will my adrenaline levels begin to decrease to a level only slightly higher than normal.

They won't subside completely until these shoes are destroyed.

Poor Rihanna!! She really should have gone with something less deadly! *tear!!*

But then we'd have to consider that St. Albans skirt suit of hers.


Response to Conscious Choice Letter

This is a letter taken from Conscious Choice from a reader responding to an article advising women who were having a hard time conceiving on ways to potentially increase their chances of doing so:

"Giving birth to your own child in America is one of the most selfish, wasteful things you can ever do. 500,000 children are in foster care or orphaned in the United States right now. Overpopulation is causing foodlessness and environmental disaster everywhere we look.

"Your magazine just gave the green light to breeding, and even tactics to outwit Mother Nature's best population control device: infertility.

"Totally unacceptable."

-Uterus-free vegan, Chicago
(letter taken, ironically, from Conscious Choice, July 2008 issue)

My dream response:

Dear Uterus-Free Vegan,

First, let me tell you how very, VERY thankful you have chosen NOT to procreate. THANK YOU! There are more than enough self-important, know-it-all jerks running around already; and knowing at least one militant ass bloodline will be ending when you die is truly a comfort. By the by, how many children have you adopted to date? I'm guessing zero.

It is true that there are over 500,000 children in foster care in the US alone; and over 51 million unwanted children born annually worldwide. It would be outstanding if loving homes could be found for all of these children, and I do seriously wish more people would consider adoption. But the problem is much larger than finding a few good homes. The problem is not that people are unwilling to adopt, the problem is there are too many women having children that they do not want

Your phrase "gives a green light to breeding" I find especially charming. Humans are animals designed to "breed," (did you miss fifth grade health? Perhaps you were out with the chicken pox that week?) but that does NOT imply that one has to "overcome" that instinct to attain, I don't know, enlightenment? A non-animal state? Whatever nirvana you have envisioned in your twisted, selfish little mind.

Many women or couples are unable to have children but that inability does not quench their desire to have children of their own. The fact that they have options, options to bring VERY WANTED CHILDREN into the world, is not a "tactic to outwit mother nature" but a tactic to make mothers of very deserving, very loving people who otherwise couldn't experience motherhood. I know I'm deliberately "missing" your point, but that's because your point is ignorant and selfish to the extreme. Adopting a foster child is an amazing act of selflessness and love, but many couples have reservations concerning adoption, or, simply, they (very naturally) want to have their own children. It's more than just an instinct to want one's own child - a living, breathing embodiment of love incarnate.

(put that in your enlightened pipe and smoke it)

You obviously think you know everything. You think people should ignore their instincts and their feelings and do things "for the greater good," but in reality you're an arrogant, self-important, hate-filled, selfish person who gives a terrible name to those of us who call ourselves "pro-choice." Because we mean that - Pro-Choice. That includes the choice of going to whatever means possible to have a child.

That you want.

And that you will love.

Many women I know DO want children of their own, and this is absolutely awesome. NO woman who wants to have her own child/children should EVER be told they are being selfish. Women who have children they do not want - especially those who have several kids they have no interest in raising, leaving the children to raise eachother; or leaving them to the State or a family member (usually gramma) to raise for them - should be talked to.

But not by you. Because you are an idiot.

You sign yourself "uterus-free". So...you're free of your uterus? Are you a man? Have you had a complete hysterectomy? Because the fact that your uterus is unoccupied is not freedom. I sense a self-loathing here that is indeed well-placed.




A big THANK YOU!! to Mugsy for alerting me: TASTESPOTTING.COM is BACK!

Oh, so many delicious recipes I'll never be able to recreate...

51 million.

Unwanted children.

Every year.

That's, like, the equivalent of an entire country of unwanted children every single year. There are over 5000,000 children in the US foster care system alone.

The World Bank proposes to educate women in poorer countries on the use of birth control to avoid unplanned, unwanted pregnancies; and to prevent 68,000 women from dying every year from unsafe abortions; not to mention preventing another 5.3 MILLION women from suffering disability from botched abortions. And since I don't see Shrub and the Pope running out and trying to adopt or even find stable, loving homes for all of the unwanted kids who are already here, (indeed Shrubbie is killing off more than a few wanted ones in his idiot war while cutting funding for social programs that would educate women and keep children healthy); I seriously think they should just shut the hell up about the evils of not creating new ones.

One of the reasons women in sub-Saharan African countries are having so many unwanted children is that they don't know how to use the birth control they have access to. There are instances, for example, of men taking the birth control pills because they don't think their wives will understand that they have to take them every day.

This lowers efficacy by, like, 100%.

I propose asking Paris Hilton to put her vast knowledge on the subject of birth control to demonstrate the proper use of Ortho Evra, the contraceptive patch, (and apparently a fashion accessory! See below at your own risk) the next time she gets arrested. It'll be her public service! Put her to work! Frighteningly enough, she can demonstrate the proper placement of the patch without removing her (what she considers) clothes.








Contraceptive patch.

I believe she's had more sex than the entire continent of Africa, yet she has not experienced one pregnancy. Though she's, of course, not above trying to making the media wonder ...

Hey! Whatever gets ya in front of the cameras, right?

"But apparently you've voted against..." - reporter

"I don't know what I voted." - McCain

I worked at a Catholic hospital outpatient pharmacy for years, and, let me preface by saying I loved working there. It was one of my favorite jobs of all time. I didn't get paid a whole lot, but I was respected by my boss, the professional building docs, and my coworkers; I LOVED working with the nuns; and I loved calling Dr. Dudas directly using a different voice every time just to see how long it took him to figure out it was me (winner: "Andy Martin," excessive ear wax, 7 minutes 32 seconds). One of the many perques of my job.

One of the things that I had a hard time coming to terms with was the fact that our insurance did not cover birth control, but I decided it was understandable - it was a Catholic hospital, after all.

But it DID cover fertility meds and Viagra. That was a hypocrisy I found seriously hard to stomach, and I did complain to the Top Nun about it. She had no answer for me other than a stern "that is the way it is" look. Not having attended Catholic school, that look was pretty ineffective. The next move she made was to look up drugs on the new computer kiosk in the pharmacy waiting room (we'd put it there so patients could look up their medications and note their interactions and side effects), then order to have it removed when she found Ortho Novum in there after 45 minutes of searching. THAT was more than a little ridiculous.

Anyway, my point....I had one...AH! Yes. If an insurance company is going to cover Viagra and fertility meds, it must cover birth control too. Again, I understand that some pharmacies, those located in Catholic hospital professional buildings, for example, are simply not going to carry birth control. We had enough trouble forcing ER docs to write scripts for the Morning After pill for rape victims EVEN THOUGH IT IS THE LAW to offer rape victims access to a preventative. Most hospitals simply offer the dose of pills directly, but Catholic hospitals are allowed to write scripts so the victim can get the pills at a non-Catholic pharmacy that carries them. We can force them to write scripts if the woman wants the pill, we CANNOT force them to carry it in their pharmacy, and though that may be an inconvenience, it is accepted. I have brought several morning after pill scripts to nearby pharmacies, shelled out $70 bucks for the tablets (this was back in the early '90s), then brought them back to survivors who had been slapped with a prescription at a Catholic hospital in lieu of the two tablets most other hospitals have at hand. My favorite was the lecture. O...M...G. I could tell you stories...This one time, the ER doctor refused to hand over a script without giving this woman a lecture about the evils of "abortion"...I tried to be patient and respectful, but kicked him the hell out and demanded another doctor be sent in when the pain in my arm from the woman digging her nails into it got to be too much. Turns out he was the one who was lacking in respect. This woman was sitting in a sterile, flourescent-tubing-lit ER cube in a nothing but an ER gown 45 minutes after having been raped, and this guy's telling her God wants her to have a baby. W.T.F.

Man, did I digress on that one. Let's just say, women are seriously precious to me. Their choices are precious to me. They should have all of the options available at their disposal - THAT is precious to me. I respect what decisions a woman makes about her own body. If her choices differ from mine, well, then, mine differ from hers. I've sat quietly by as women refused the pills. I had one guy refuse them, too. That poor flustered nurse...!

But I should not have to pay insurance premiums for Viagra and fertility meds when birth control is not covered. *stamps foot!* It's not fair to be sure,

but it's not right, either. It's an absolute hypocrisy. "If you don't want to get pregnant, you're gonna have to pay. On average, birth control pills cost $50-$60 a month. But if you wanna get pregnant!??! Well, it's about time!!! Let's see, what do we try first...Man, do you have options! And your insurance covers them all!"

In 2003, McCain voted against forcing insurance companies that cover Viagra to cover prescription birth control. But he claims he "doesn't remember." I certainly do NOT trust a senator who "doesn't remember" what he voted for . Or maybe he's getting old and forgetful? I don't think so. But if that were the case, I'd trust him even less.

Long story short, no matter how many ferrets McCain tries to give me, he won't be getting my vote.


"Seems Like I Got A Bat In My Belfry"

So, wait, I thought Heath Ledger played The Joker in The Dark Knight...?

Apparently, judging by this picture of Maggie Gyllenhaal, I was mistaken...?

"Wait'll the get a load of ME!"

So...does that mean Ledger plays Rachel Dawes? I'm confused....

Jesse, Jesse, JESSE!

Why are you all hatin' on Obama??

HOW could this man, after all of the public speaking he's done throughout the years, NOT realize that THE MIKE IS ALWAYS HOT?? Did he not learn from Shrub? Or Brittany freaking Spears??

"OOPS! I did it again!"

Good on Obama for accepting his apology.

Son Of Mohammed Ali Caught Cheating On Exam!

Mohammed Ali's son, Azim, drew out a pistol and shot into the air while running out of the testing room after being caught cheating by the exam's proctor.

Man, these celebrity kids think they can get away with anything. The cops weren't even called!


Wait, When You Say "Us...?"

I'm a little concerned.

Shannon commented on Rev's blog:

"I don't want us to go to Mars, snap a couple photos, get a rock, then never go back. I want us to start to colonize space."

whoawhoawhoaWHOA!! WHAT??? "Us"?? Who's "us???!" I'll move to Maine. I'll move to England. I'll move to Ireland. Or to North Carolina.

But I will not.


To a space colony.

I mean, who'll take care of the cerrets, for starters?

My dad would argue that I spend most of my time in outer space anyway, what with the shirts I've bought for him and Momster:

Once they've recreated Bespin's Cloud City, we'll talk; but even for that trip I'd need about 17,000 mg of lorazepam. And the Guinness when we get there had better NOT be bottled or I'll be heading straight back on the first transporter, Mr. Man - after my trip to one of the 1,800 Cloud City CVS's for an interplanetary refill on the lorazepam, of course. I do NOT travel well as it is, much less through years and years of space. And if you tell me we're going to Cloud City and it turns out to be Hoth, you will be in a heap of taun taun carcasses of trouble my friend, I tell you what.

I'll be at home colonizing our place with ferrets and Maine Coons.

John McCain Appeals To All Pet Owners:

"Vote for me! I own a/an [insert animal here] too!"

"McCain possesses a menagerie. He has four dogs, including Lucy and Desi, named after the black-and-white television sitcom I Love Lucy, which rather dates the 71-year-old candidate. He also has a cat, a parakeet and a shoal of fish, including one called Lucky, and once owned a ferret and an iguana named Henry, who turned out to be Henrietta and laid an egg."

According to the Associated Press, pet owners in total favor McCain over Obama by 5%, broken down here:

All pet owners: McCain, 42 percent; Obama 37 percent; Nader, 3 percent; other, 3 percent; undecided, 14 percent. Margin of error, plus or minus 2.9 points.

Do not own a pet: Obama, 48 percent; McCain, 34 percent; Nader, 3 percent; other, 3 percent; undecided, 12 percent. Margin of error, 4.1 points.

Dog owners: McCain, 43 percent; Obama, 34 percent; Nader, 3 percent; other, 3 percent, undecided, 12 percent. Margin of error, 3.6 points.

Cat owners: McCain, 41 percent; Obama, 38 percent; Nader, 3 percent; other, 4 percent; undecided, 14 percent. Margin of error 3.9 points.

We ferret owners, who were not represented in this poll, are sticking with Obama. You see, we don't know what happened to McCain's ferret. He once had one....Where'd it go? What happened to it?

I would suggest to Obama, to absolutely secure the ferret vote, that he propose "a ferret in every home!"

Amandaroo looks over her ObamaFerret, Hillary


I bought a Furminator for Bou on Thursday and I can't believe what a difference it has made already! It is amazing. It is so amazing I want to sew a little ORANGE!!! superhero cape for it, but it would get caught in the blade. Besides, I'm not that great at sewing. So I think I'll just scrap that plan and buy myself an orange cape instead! I'm glad that's sorted.


Bou's coat was a serious trial to mainecoontain. Maine Coon's have superthick, shaggy, oily coats that are prone to matting, ratting, shedding, tangling, clumping, grotting, sticking up all askew, not to mention collecting dirt, grit, small colonies of fleas, not so small colonies of fleas, extremely large colonies of fleas, and great works of art. Combing Bou was akin to torture - she HATES being combed - but nothing works better than a steel-toothed comb on Bou-matts. Unfortunately, nothing is more uncomfortable than being combed with a steel-toothed comb. Bou will attest that "brushing with steel-toothed comb" should be added to the "Unacceptable Methods of Torture" list, directly after "being forced to interact with Aethelred in one of his 'SPAZZZZZKATTT!!!! ATTACCKKK DA BOOOOOOUUUUUUU!!!!! HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!' moods;" and just above "being locked on the back porch accidentally."

I'd even bought Bou her very own Wahl shaver for her matts, which she didn't mind, but every time I used it I felt like one of those crazy cat ladies who thinks it's funny to shave their cats to look like lions.

The Furminator is actually a shaver - without the cord. You just brush along with the fur and VOILA!! Fur EVERYWHERE! And when you get rid of all that fur [insert laughing fit here], okay okay okay, when you vacuum up as much fur as you can in order to see what's underneath...

Well, that's what I think I'll see, anyway. I can barely open the front door for all the FURMINATED!!! fur!


How MUCH Do You Want To Bet You Didn't Spend Your Day Off The Way I Did?

I get July 3rd AND 4th off from work (nee-ner-nee-ner-NEEEEEEE-NEEEERRRR!!!) so I spent it futzing about at home then wandering the Square. I was pretty sure Shannon wouldn't mind missing out on my spending 45 minutes trying on fitness bras at Fleet Feet followed by lunch at a Greek restaurant, so I did both.

I headed out around noon after rearranging stuff (a habit I picked up from my mom) and struck straight for Bloom studio. I THOUGHT the Yoga 1 class started at 12:30, but, alas, it had started at noon. BLAST! I signed myself up for the Yoga 101 class while I was there, so the trip wasn't a total loss. Then I went to Ruff Haus, our local independent pet store, and chatted with the owner about how to best de-fluff Bou. I came out with a Furminator which he assures will provide me with hours of de-furrifying fun. I interpret "fun" to mean "sweaty, allergy-inducing, fur-flying, Bou-torturing work."

Then I was off to Fleet Feet. It is VERY rare that I ever find myself in a "trying on clothes" shopping kinda mood. In general, spending 10 minutes in a fitting room is akin to spending 45 minutes having my skin flayed. I like the "go thrifting, try everything on at home, then redonate 98% of the stuff you'd just bought (especially pants)" approach to shopping. It works for me. But I found I was in a mellow, "what the heck, let's get this over with" kinda mood so I went with it before it passed.

I got to Fleet Feet, was greeted promptly, and found what I was looking for within a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, what I was looking for wasn't what actually fit me, but it was a start. I head to the fitting rooms with about 9 sports bras in hand, and there's a really aggressive employee trying to sell the Mizuno Wave Rider to a customer. But it wasn't an employee trying to sell this guy on Mizuno - it was Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. It was truly surreal! I saw him and exclaimed "BLAGO!" before I even knew what the hell was happening. (This was BEFORE the one glass of Retsina I allowed myself at Barba Yianni Grecian Taverna for lunch, mind you. I admittedly was loopy-manic from low blood sugar - it was going on 1:00 and I hadn't eaten a thing all day.) He seemed totally unfazed, greeted me with a smile, and answered his cell phone, which had just gone off.

For the next 1o minutes or so I was in a changing room trying on sports bras in a little changing room with the governor of Illinois standing outside on his cell phone. I'd say "AWKWARD!" if it wasn't so hilarious. (My thoughts of yelling "Hey! Blago! Could you grab me a Champion Master Masher Uniboob in a 38D? In pink!" while throwing one of the ones I'd tried on over the top of the door at him truly weren't helping.) I am pretty sure he was aware of my presence because at one point he said very loudly "SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THESE GAS PRICES? CAN WE BRING THEM DOWN A LITTLE?" I found the whole thing so insanely funny and had to take a couple of minutes to compose myself before exiting the changing room to see if they had those cute Seguro shorts in a size larger. They didn't. Alas! So I checked out and went for some very tasty chicken souvlaki at Barba Yianni.

I was still smiling a little into my Retsina at Barba Yianni, but the food helped settle the gigglefits.

After lunch I ran into Merz Apothecary for a new toothbrush. It took me less than two minutes to find what I wanted, but I arrived at the line at the same time as two women who had baskets FULL of stuff. Of course, neither of them offered to let me go ahead of them, so I got to wait for them to check out. They appeared to have been in some kind of competition to see who had spent the most in the least amount of time (not a difficult feat, I'll admit, to spend major cashola at Merz!) and I got stuck behind the winner: $375.40! WOOHOO! And then she forgot to get out her credit card....And THEN she wanted the lavender and not the sage.... And THEN she wanted to know what each and every little pot and potion was around the register (for those of you who have been to Merz, you know there are about 17,000 little pots and potions scattered around the register,) ....and THEN she had to tell the cashier how her daughter was prematurely aging, poor thing. Her daughter was standing next to her. I think she was about 11...? Or she was actually 27 and she looked 11 because her mom had been concerned about her "premature aging" since she was about 2 months of age.

It took the cashier about 15 minutes to ring her up, and to find the exact bags she wanted as they'd just run out of the largest paper handle bags and had to send an employee to the basement to restock their supply up at the registers. I honestly had nowhere to be and I found this a fantastic character study - the woman clueless to the fact that there's a line of about 12 people behind her and the staff trying hard to remain calm and gracious as she had spent a LOT of money in their store - so I didn't mind waiting too much. I was surrounded by Merz, after all. I did refuse to make eye contact any of the 6 or 7 times $375.40 turned around to try and engage me in conversation for no reason, I presume, other than to delay me further. After she finally got her purchase all sorted, my purchase was rung up quickly and I got out of the Apothecary just in time to see her and her daughter step into a waiting stretch limo. A stretch limo. That had been waiting. In front of Merz. For I'd say at least a half hour while this woman and her daughter sampled the wares and chose which of them to take home. There was a line of cars trying to get around this limo all the way back to Lawrence. I do forget how popular and unique Merz is, taking it for granted seeing as we live mere blocks away.