Thursday, June 26, 2003

Fox News reports that parts of a centrifuge buried for 12 years in an Iraqi scientist's back yard may support the assertion that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. In related news, parts from a 1991 Ford Escort found in the cluttered back yard of rural Michigan resident Billy Bob Pringlemeyer have led to his arrest on suspicion of driving a getaway car for a bank robbery ring.

In other, also only partially fictional Michigan news, a male
Polygonia interrogationis was observed behaving "in a menacing manner" towards birds, bumble bees, and Kalamazoo residents Rick and Julie Stahlhut, on whose roof the obstreperous lepidopteran perched for approximately 15 minutes between bouts of in-your-face flight antics. "We're used to it," one of the homeowners commented. "It happens every year. We think his father and both of his grandfathers used to do the same thing in our yard." Local wildlife authorities urged Kalamazoo residents not to panic, but to exercise "heightened awareness" toward any aggressive behavior by insects. "We have no evidence that butterflies have the capability of transmitting agents of bioterrorism, such as West Nile virus," said visiting animal control consultant Ed Frid. "But it can't hurt to be alert. And carry a big club. They can get into your car, you know. And they'll grab you by the throat as soon as look at you." (Frid was hustled away by a Michigan Department of Natural Resources official before he could continue this interview.)

And, finally, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a Texas law banning acts of oral and anal sex between participants of the same sex. Wow -- you mean it's no longer a crime for consenting adults to have sex in private in Texas? This court must be gettin' downright progressive. Next thing you know, they'll be snoopin' into the states' rights to execute mentally disabled convicts ... or permit dumping of hog-heaven waste lagoons into public waters ... or keep third-party candidates off their ballots and minorities off their voting rolls ... or ... y'know, come to think of it, maybe there are actually lots of us who think Antonin Scalia should get a life ....

No doubt about it -- I'm full of more sarcasm than Doug Piranha today.

Through a jaundiced cable modem,

Monday, June 23, 2003

Got back from a visit to Dubuque, Iowa, where, on Saturday, we attended one of the coolest weddings ever. Also a little envious; Rick and I mused that we wish we'd been self-aware enough at the time of our own wedding to have put together a celebration that so well reflected who we were. It was amazingly wonderful -- great dance music, a home-cooked vegetarian feast chased down by many glasses of wine -- and being able to wear shorts to the reception (as did the father of the groom!) was a big plus. It's also very funny to go to a friend's wedding and realize that the parents of the bride and groom are your age. On top of everything, we managed to get seated at a table at which three of us (all women) had either just finished a Ph.D. or started writing the dissertation, and two others (one man, one woman) were recent M.D.s embarking on residency. So, both Rick and I had plenty of camaraderie flowing along with the wine. Rian and Charmaine: We promise to bury the invitation in our yard so that the embedded wildflower seeds will grow.

I also realized that despite having driven or flown over the Mississippi many times, I'd never stopped to actually look at it, so on Sunday Rick and I hiked through a park to the top of a bluff, and we relaxed and took in a great view of the river from beside the Julien Dubuque Monument. There was a time in my life when I could read historical plaques without squinting at the stuff between the lines; I'd love to know what it meant that Julien Dubuque "used the Indians to work in the lead mines". Actually, I'm fairly sure that I do know already, although perhaps my generalizations aren't fair given my lack of knowledge of the story. If the land could talk it would speak in many tongues. Someone with a good ear might even be able to understand the whole history.

Took the Country Quiz on Joe's recommendation. Problem is, there are several points on which I can go either way, so the program can't decide whether I'm Mexico, India, or Canada. Perhaps the fact that I speak just enough French to get me into serious trouble in Quebec, just enough Spanish to get me into worse trouble south of the border, and love spicy vegetarian food has added to the confusion. If I were going to actually select a country to be, it would probably be either New Zealand or Costa Rica, but that's only because the Duchy of Grand Fenwick isn't actually available.

I swear: Someday I'm going to have to write a "Which insect are you?" quiz. I suspect I'd turn out to be either a fire ant or a bumble bee. Or maybe a tiger beetle. Or an earwig. Or a giant silkmoth. Or a green darner. Or a cave weta. Hell if I know. Anyone interested in doing the HTML programming for my text whenever we can squeeze this into our schedules, please contact me via the comments line. So many bugs, so little time ....

(Postscript: There is a "Which insect are you?" quiz out there, but I think I can do better. This one told me that I was a bee. It didn't even specify what kind of bee! I mean, really ....)