Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Introducing Chompy

Every kid should raise a caterpillar.

Last weekend Luke and Emma found a caterpillar while at on a nature hike at my grandmother's lake home. We weren't sure of the species but we liked it because it was different from any other caterpillar we had seen before. So, being the good (or bad depending on your perspective) parents we are, we agreed to put it in a plastic container, bring it home, and to see what would happen. Because my son is young enough that he still names things based on their appearance or behavior, we have decided to call our caterpillar Chompy. Keep in mind we had no idea what sort of animal we were introducing into our house but I was confident in the notion that if need be I could step on it and come up with some lame excuse later on.

Thank goodness for the internet. With a quick Google I found out a few days ago that the caterpillar in question is a White-Marked Tussock Moth. For the last few days we have been watching excitedly as it ate every leaf we put in it's bucket and left us with copious amounts of fecal matter. Yesterday it began to spin a cocoon. This is what it should look like once it emerges.

I haven't found any information to tell me that it should be a nuisance but just in case I think I'll borrow some moth balls from my grandmother.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Let's Get Dirty

As I've mentioned before my wife is a gardener. We keep a vegetable garden with a wide variety of things including peas, kale, spinich, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, rhubarb, onions, tomatoes, tomatillos, canteloupe, watermelon, pumkin and myriad herbs. Along with that she had filled nearly every border space around our house and with various flower gardens. In summers past while she is busy planting, pruning, weeding or watering she and the kids will help themselves to vegetable right off the plants such that I don't think a single pea has ever made it into the house.

This summer however, she had gotten the kids involved by handing over a small patch of land to each one and allowing them to choose and plant whatever they wish. Excitedly, they too have been digging weeding and watering the personal gardens, celebrating each new bloom. They've even marked their gardens with painted bricks. Below are a few pictures. Enjoy.

Luke's Garden

Luke's Garden includes Violet Queen Cleome, Vista Purple Salvia and Creeping Thyme.

Emma's Garden

Emma's Garden incudes, Pink, Yellow and Purple Star Petunias, Yellow Irises, Love Lies Bleeding, an Ivy Geranium and one lone Cornflower.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

New Infectious Disease Warning

I received an E-mail yesterday announcing the discovery of a new infectious disease. Although I usually take these sorts of warnings with a bit of skepticism, this one gave me pause. Judge for yourself.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning about a new virulent strain of highly contagious infectious disease. The infection, which is contracted through dangerous and high-risk behavior, is called Gonorrhea Lectim and is pronounced "gonna re-elect 'im." Most victims contracted it in 2004, after having been secretly screwed for four years.

Cognitive characteristics of individuals infected include: anti-social personality disorders, delusions of grandeur with messianic overtones, extreme cognitive dissonance, inability to incorporate new information, pronounced xenophobia and paranoia, inability to accept responsibility for own actions, cowardice masked by misplaced bravado, uncontrolled facial smirking,ignorance of geography and history, tendencies towards evangelical theocracy, categorical all-or-nothing behavior.

Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed at how this destructive disease originated only a few years ago from a single bush found in Texas. Specialists hope to discover a cure by 2008.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Two Nights Only

We have a gig this weekend at Bamboozles in beautiful Webb Lake, WI. We are playing from 9:30-1:30 Friday and Saturday nights. Webb Lake is the heart of cabin country in northern WI so we should be guaranteed a good crowd. If your in the neighborhood, stop by.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Flag Day

Today, June 14th, is Flag Day in the United States. It commemerates the adoption of the flag of the United States which happened on this day in 1777. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. For those of you considering flying a flag today, or any day, I offer a few Federal rules and customs pertaining to the display and use of the flag of the United States of America.

* The flag should be flown from sunrise to sunset on a stationary flagpost in the open. The flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if it is properly illuminated after dark.

* The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.

* The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff.

* The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

* When multiple flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag's right.

* When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left.

* The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.

* When the flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

* The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

* The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.

* The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

* The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.

* No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.

* The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

Lastly, and this is my own little rule, to those of you self righteous bastards who use the United States flag as way to demonstrate your "patriotism" and to demonize me for not subscribing to your wing-nut agenda, screw you! It's my flag too. (You know who you are.)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Here I Am To Save The Day

Mild mannered college student by day, and socially conscious pizza guy by night, Cameron Evans a.k.a. "Luke Pie Rocker" sprang into action on the streets of Minneapolis Tuesday to rescue a damsel in distress from a would be purse snatcher. It just so happens that the standard uniform at Galactic Pizza includes orange tights, black boots and a cape. With the scoundrel cornered, and the purse returned the shaken but relieved victim was overheard saying, "I'm so thankful...He's my hero!"

Read the whole story here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Seven On The Line

Several years ago I was approached by a couple of high school students who wanted help starting a High School Ultimate Frisbee League. At the time I didn’t know what Ultimate was or how it was played but I agreed to meet with them and hear what they had to say. They had been sent to me by the High School Activities Director, who didn’t have time to deal with “those Frisbee kids”.

After doing a little research and a lot of grassroots organizing we put together an informal co-ed league of 10 teams from 8 different schools. We scheduled a few games and hosted a one-day tournament which was attended by over 200 players, parents and fans. All the time, field space and supplies were either donated or borrowed and the kids paid nothing.

Five years later the 2006 Minnesota High School Ultimate Championship is sponsored by the UPA, the national governing body for Ultimate in the US and included 24 open (boys) and 6 girls teams. This year’s tournament was held last weekend. The event was spread over 2-days and was featured on the local evening news.

Developed in 1967 in New Jersey, Ultimate is similar to football or soccer in that it is played by two teams whose object is to score points by advancing the disc to the opposite end zone. What sets Ultimate apart from other sports is the Spirit of the Game. Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship which places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among players, adherence to the agreed upon rules or the basic joy of play. Because spirit is emphasized above all else, it is assumed that players will not intentionally violate the rules, and there is no provision for penalties when a foul occurs. This means there is no need for referees. Players call their own fouls and play resumes in a manner that simulates what would likely have taken place had there been no infraction.

It was the emphasis on Spirit of the Game that drew me to Ultimate and it is that aspect that makes it so unique. Unlike any other sport Ultimate demands and achieves a level of camaraderie among players that is simply not present in other sports. I have seen players return game winning points because they “knew they were out”, even though it would have been advantageous to claim otherwise. Sunday I stood by on the sidelines with the other coaches, players and spectators while the 14 players on the field spent nearly 5 minutes discussing a very controversial call in an effort to determine who had the best perspective and therefore could make the right call. It was an amazing thing to witness and yet it happens all the time. At the end of the game each team organized a cheer for the other, thanking them for playing and congratulating them on the performance.

My school sent 3 teams to the tournament. Our A team took 5th and the B team 9th in the open division. Our girls team placed 3rd. I’m not only proud of these kids for their performance on the field but off the field as well. It almost makes the sunburn worth it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Is For Allen, B Is For Boob

While checking out Craigslist today I ran across this ad in the barter section:

"I would like to barter with someone for items I need that I can't afford to buy at the moment due to circumstances. (My husband tripped over his mid-life crisis and landed in a pair of boobs that weren't mine). I have advertising space on my popular website, We Think Cheaters Suck to trade for needed items."
Assuming her story is true, it seems that this 34 year old mother of one has found herself alone, after 12 years of marriage. It turns out that while she was hard at work managing her brain-injured son’s daily routine, taking him to a gazillion doctors and specialists, arranging his therapies, etc., her husband had been sleeping with the silicone-festooned Staci with an “i”. Having spent the last several years as a stay-at-home parent with no means of financial support, she is now looking for ways to pay for the basic necessities of life. In addition to selling ad space she also accepts donations via Paypal and will soon be selling the remnants of her now defunct marriage, including her former husband’s remaining belongings.

You’ve gotta love her entrepreneurial spirit.

On a side note, I was looking over the list of those who have declared that cheaters suck by donating to her cause when I noticed that the first entry was from someone trying to “hook-up”. Unbelievable.

Either way, take a look. If she's legit she could probably use the support.



Misha has more on the world of cheaters here.