31 December 2005

So long 2005!

Happy New Year!


27 December 2005

Daily show reruns = other fake news

Christmas Theft in Nashville: The 'Nun Bun' Is Missing

Tuesday, December 27, 2005; A07

NASHVILLE, Dec. 26 -- Nashville police and residents were searching Monday for clues to the Christmas Day theft of a cinnamon bun that found unlikely fame for its resemblance to the late Mother Teresa's face.

The bun has been a draw for curious tourists since it was preserved and put on display in a glass case at the shop where it was discovered by a customer in 1996.

"What I can't figure out is why anyone would steal it," said the shop's owner, Bob Bernstein. "They can't sell it on eBay, it's not fit to eat, there was no ransom note, and the police put its value at only $25 on their report."

Bernstein said the thief broke into the coffeehouse at 6 a.m. Sunday and smashed the glass case containing the bun, ignoring cash nearby.

Before her death in 1997, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa wrote to Bernstein asking that her name not be used commercially. The pastry became known simply as the "Nun Bun."


22 December 2005

Happy Holidays!

Ok, I'm recovered!


I still can't talk, and I have a cold. But it's far better than strep, which seems to now be circulating among the kids who were on the trip. What fun!

In any case... a few weeks ago I posted about how my Christmas shopping was almost done -- a fairly optimistic view. Unfortunately, it was about as accurate as the intelligence that Bush cited on the presence of WMDs. This year.. like every year... I managed to forget a few key things to people's presents, and remembered now, three days before the big day. Ok, two. We do our presents on Christmas eve. So, like everyone else who leaves things to the last minute, I got into the car (Lawnmower drove... sucker.) and headed to the mall.

Interestingly, before we'd gone even fifty feet into the mall, Lawnmower and I managed to run into a bunch of people we knew. One of them (this is actually kinda sad) was my brother, who I hadn't yet seen since he flew in Tuesday night. At least we weren't alone. However, aside from these cool people (cool = not afraid to establish direct eye contact), people were jerks. Evidently the Holiday Spirit takes a back seat during the holiday rush for that last Polly Prissy Pants Doll who laughs and sleeps and cries and shits herself is on the line.

On the bright side, I got a chuckle at Border's when the woman behind me got onto her cell phone and asked her friend if her kids had seen that new movie "Narina"...

I love the holidays.


18 December 2005

Adventures at Cassels

I'm tired.

The highlights/things I learned...

  • Rush hour + freezing rain + road rage = 3 x normal commute time

  • There's nothing that will make you go 'Ew' looking down at your swimmers during warmups, giving them a heart-to-heart peptalk, and then noticing that the water around one of them is a little... yellow.

  • Nothing can produce a look of horror on a preteen girl's face quite like the words: 'we're coming to collect your cell phones.'

  • Team-spirit-oriented cheers are a great way to psych up a group of kids. They're a lot of fun. The kids start them on their own. Often. By day two, it's enough to leave you wishing for your aneurysm to burst so you can end the pain.

  • The Teach doesn't verbalize well in the morning. I actually knew this before. What I did think was funny was how she signed to me to signal she wanted to sleep an additional fifteen minutes when I tried to wake her up.

  • Men who wear ties and button down shirts with Khakhi shorts should not be allowed out of the house.

  • Half-dozen should never be allowed to tie Scribble's ties. No, this is not a euphamism.

  • There are twelve-year-old kids out there who have a better, more detailed goals than I do.

  • Everyone loves Winnie the Pooh.

  • Kids will cry because making Finals for a fast swim means they won't get to leave the pool for dinner at the Buffet (pronounce the T)

  • No matter how quiet a kid looks.... they can be ridiculously loud.

  • I've finally perfected my 'Mommy' voice (whatever that is).

  • Upon perfecting said Mommy voice, I promptly lost it. Hopefully I'll be able to speak above a whisper in a few days.

I really enjoyed my travel meet experience, despite the fact that I've been on my feet all weekend, did less studying than I should have (and am still putting it off) and really need to get some ice on my back. The kids did great, and we're tired. Sleeping = good.


17 December 2005

Just a few weeks until... 1006?

What a poor sense of timing...

Priest, Lay Board At St. Louis Church Excommunicated

Archbishop Demands Control of Catholic Parish's Assets, Propert

from the Washington Post

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 16 -- St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke has excommunicated a priest and the board of directors of a traditionally Polish parish that resisted his efforts to put the parish's property and assets under his control.

In an archdiocesan newspaper published Friday, Burke said the Rev. Marek Bozek and St. Stanislaus Kostka's six lay directors committed an act of schism when the board hired Bozek, who Burke said left another diocese without his bishop's permission.

"It saddens me, in particular, to address such a deep wound to the church in our archdiocese in these days of our final preparation for the celebration of the birth of our Lord on Christmas," Burke wrote.

He said it was necessary, however, because Bozek planned to celebrate Christmas Eve Mass. Mass has not been celebrated since Easter at the parish, which saw its priests removed last year.

Excommunication, the most severe penalty the church can impose, excludes the seven from taking part in church sacraments and functions and from holding positions within the church. Burke said it would be a mortal sin to accept Holy Communion or other sacraments from Bozek, and that the parish was no longer part of the church.

Unlike most other Roman Catholic parishes around the country, St. Stanislaus Kostka's board -- not the archbishop -- has governed the parish's finances, according to an arrangement dating to the late 19th century.

Since Burke began serving as archbishop in January 2004, he had increased pressure on the parish to conform to current church structure and hand over control of its assets.

St. Stanislaus's lay leaders refused, accusing Burke of wanting the parish's assets, estimated at more than $9 million.

The Vatican has backed Burke.

Roger Krasnicki, spokesman for the St. Stanislaus board, said avenues of appeal are available but had in the past proved to be "an exercise in futility."

"I think it's a gross error of judgment on his part," Krasnicki said of Burke's decision. "It's a sad day in the Catholic Church."

He said Bozek was traveling in Peru, and the priest's cellular phone was not accepting calls Friday. Until recently, Bozek was associate pastor of St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield, Mo.

Krasnicki said St. Stanislaus, which has about 450 parishioners, still plans to hold Christmas Eve Mass.


14 December 2005

Setting out..

This weekend, Scribbles is taking Half Dozen, the Teach, and I to coach a travel swim meet in Virginia. I was looking forward to it as a chance to see the University's facility -- it's supposed to be amazing -- and also as a chance to coach kids I might not normally see, and meet people on the deck. The plan is for me and the Teach to take the second bus... forty children and a few parents... down tomorrow evening, which means I'll pack up the car and head from class. So far we've been extremely organized -- team Mom has got all the info together, handed it to us today; we've talked, planned; we're excited, we like hanging out with kids. So all's good, right?

Before a big meet, swimmers generally taper. That means they cut back their yardage, do a lot of drill work and easier sets, to get their body rested for the few days before the meet. That also means that kids who are normally dragging themselves home at the end of the night are no longer tired after practice. That means... they are bouncing off the walls with extra energy.

Forecasters this fall predicted that a harsh hurricane season would mean a nasty winter. "Ha!" I thought, "I laugh at winter!" Winter may laugh back, because a 'wintry mix' is predicted for a few hours before we leave. This could yeild several potential results:
1) The kids want to get out of school early (and just might, given the county's record), thus prolonging their already extended weekend.
2) Traffic driving through Northern VA will be a nightmare. Even if it's just rain.
3) Traffic driving from my class will be a nightmare. Even if it's just rain.

So basically, the Teach and I are going to spend Thursday evening transporting a bunch of 9-12 year olds an hour away from their parents, in a snow storm, after a week or so that they had to build up all kinds of extra energy. Oh, and I have been titled the 'food nazi' for the weekend and am one of the few powers separating them from fried foods, soda, and desserts when we take them to health-conscious places such as... oh.... The Old Country Buffet.

It should at least be entertaining. I'll post about it on my return, assuming the twitch doesn't get in the way of things.


13 December 2005

Playing hooky

So, I totally blew off class today.

Well, not totally. It was more like I realized by the time I got there and parked, class would be over. So I stayed home and got some studying done. It wasn't a total waste.

On the bright side, I got to have lunch with Lawnmower. There's this great Afghan (Afghani?)-ish restaurant a few blocks away, so I headed over there and picked up food. It was the first time I'd actually been there, we usually get takeout, and it was pretty busy. They packed a bunch of tables into this tiny room, which makes navigating a little hard. When I got in line behind this older couple, I ended up being in the woman's way while she was trying to fill her drinks from the soda fountain. I really could have moved, if her husband had followed her, but he just kinda stood there while she shuffled past me:

Her: "Oh excuse me."

Me: "No, my fault. Go ahead."

Her: "Excuse me dear."

Me: "It's ok."

Her: "Oh I'm so clumsy. You must be so embarrassed."

Me: "Riigggght."



07 December 2005

What disease are you?

I am Plague. Got Me?
Which Horrible Affliction are you?
A Rum and Monkey disease.


02 December 2005

Why I love Alton Brown

Got this link, Tome Cruise is Nuts from Here I Am the other day. On it, was this letter to Tom Cruise...:

"Dear Tom Cruise,
Your lack of belief in the existence of clinical depression tells me one thing: you didn’t spend $10. to see War Of The Worlds. If vitamins can possibly help me out of this spiraling funk, please let me know which ones. Dinos? Pebbles? Freds? Please, I’m crying out for help."
- Alton Brown, Food Network host of Good Eats and Iron Chef America


Good day

Today was a good day. I worked hard at swimming, gave a talk, and got the chance to have dinner with some people I haven't seen in a very long time. It's amazing the 'blast from the past' you can get, when that happens. I really felt it last weekend at the Sailor's going away party -- everyone left the party and went down to the bar, then hit Friday's for our usual shenanigans. People I worked with all through high school were there. It was like a high school reunion, only cooler because you know you like everyone who's going to show up. And it really gave me the opportunity to look back on some excellent memories -- and it really helped me to appreciate all the good things I've picked up, and all the lessons I learned with these people along the way.