Lions & Tigers & Bears, Oh My!

Bad business metaphors: "In the new issue of Smithsonian, author Richard Conniff has a funny and informative article about why business metaphors involving animals and animal behavior (like '800-pound gorillas' and ostriches burying their heads in the sand) are, from a zoological perspective, wrong."

As justice would have it, I even stand corrected on lemmings! :-)

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Great lines from the "Laugh Judgement"

"Welcome to the Laugh Judgment, a special Ship of Fools project where we are collecting and debating religious jokes sent in to us from around the world. Click here to find out why we are doing this. Each thread on this board focuses on a single joke, so pick the ones you're most interested in and dive into the debate. Do the jokes make you laugh? Or groan? Or make you angry? We want to discover more about the line between humour and offense, comedy and blasphemy, so let us know what you think!"

It's an interesting approach by this U.K. Christian group to examine our own religious and cultural sensibilities by looking at what we consider funny and/or offensive, and why... And many of the jokes which were submitted wound up being ecumenical and often poking fun in a pretty "equal opportunity" way. Trust me, however, that the top 10 winners in the offensive category truly have earned their victory (and so I can't suggest highly enough avoiding them if this could be a problem...) but if God did make humanity in His image, then He really must have one heck of a sense of humor Himself, and I think a number of these jokes are good at celebrating this! :-)

Not all the ones I thought were "mostly-harmless-but-still-funny" made it into the 10 top most humorous, so here are some of my other favorites that I don't always agree with but that I find do have pretty good punchlines! (BTW, I've perused the jokes, but haven't read through all the comments, so please be warned that I can't vouch likewise for their content!!) Enjoy!!

"Thinking Machine"

Thinking Machine 4: "No mind-reading needed here—the computer shows its thinking during a chess game. Like colorful waves, the possible moves emerge until they're as interesting as the game itself."

(from PingRay)

Trust me, the way I play chess... the waves are far more interesting!

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"Eye Movement and Lying - How to detect lies"


Eye Movement and Lying - How to detect lies



"When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people."

-Abraham Joshua Heschel, theology professor (1907-1972)


Food for Thought: "Get Back in the Box: Innovation from the Inside Out"

"Get Back in the Box: Innovation from the Inside Out"

Newsflash: "Dolphins play at least 317 different games"

Boing Boing: Dolphins play at least 317 different games

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"Custom M&Ms: just don't mention the war, your hometown, or nouns"

Boing Boing: Custom M&Ms: just don't mention the war, your hometown, or nouns

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"3 Ways to Hypnotize a Chicken"

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Newsflash: "Introverted youth have deep roots for behavior"

Experts: Introverted youth have deep roots for behavior - Yahoo! News

"Don't Learn English from Bush"

"One of my Brazilian friends sent me this funny link, warning foreigners not to take English lessons from President Bush. You don't have to be a Bush-hater to get a chuckle or wince a bit. "

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Get Thee to a Nunnery...

"Get Thee to a Nunnery" -- "Italy is seeing a rather large increase of entries into cloistered convents... Growing numbers of educated Italian women are throwing away their high heels and lipstick and opting for the austere life of nuns in closed convents...."


Newsflash: "Bosnian town unveils Bruce Lee statue of peace"

Curiouser and curiouser...
Boing Boing: Bosnian town unveils Bruce Lee statue of peace

Newsflash: "Definition of South, Southern Is Changing?"

Definition of South, Southern Is Changing - Yahoo! News

Early Thanksgiving Greetings...

"A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.

John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to 'clean up' the bird's vocabulary. Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes, the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said, 'I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.'

John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, 'May I ask what the turkey did?'"
(Thanks for the joke, Mark!)

My best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to everyone, wherever you may be and whomever you may thank! :-)

Quote of the Day
(& maybe away from blogging...)

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."
- Gandhi

Got some (hopefully!) minor surgery scheduled today... so I may wind up being away from blogging.

In the meantime, my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to everyone, wherever you may be and whomever you may thank! :-)

Love, Michelle

RIP: Sam, "the world's ugliest dog"

Readers from the end of the summer may remember Sam, "the world's ugliest dog". Apparently, he's now gone to that really ugly kennel in the sky... R.I.P. Sammy!

"Last Friday, Sam died at the age of 14.

Sam became an international celebrity after winning the ugliest animal contest at the 2003 Sonoma-Marin Fair in California, a victory he twice repeated. The purebred Chinese crested hairless made appearances on TV in Japan, radio in New Zealand and in Britain's Daily Mirror tabloid, stayed in luxury hotels and met Donald Trump on a talk show set."


"According to the 'science' of Acrophonology your name is not an accident of fate. Acrophonology determines individualized energy patterns from a name. Letters are symbols for energy. They label the energies you possess..."

(another quality link from The Presurfer)

For what it's worth, my "individualized energy patterns"...

Michelle: "You want to be productive and feel useful, and enjoy helping solve problems. You like to be busy and not waste time. You are relatively demonstrative in your affections. You enjoy being stroked verbally and physically. You are clever, inventive, imaginative and youthful. You enjoy socializing. You work hard to achieve material success through your own efforts. You can be quite inventive and quite curious. You have a diplomatic flair to your nature. Equality and fairness are important to you. You must learn the lessons of self-worth; learn to love yourself before you can love others. You need to learn to be expressive. You are a person who cannot tolerate being misunderstood."

The rest of my name...
"You are adventurous with a tendency to be foolhardy. You are aggressive and definitely have leadership abilities. You can handle details well. You have a methodical mind. You must learn to give 'wise' service and not be a martyr. You need to learn to be expressive. You are a person who cannot tolerate being misunderstood.

You have a diplomatic flair to your nature. Equality and fairness are important to you. You have a need to be up front. You are soft-hearted with a charitable nature. You are a hard worker when you make up your mind to do a job. You need to learn the true value of material possessions. You have a natural protection in life. You are always saved - especially from yourself. You enjoy a challenge. You can take thought-directed actions. You have a need to be up front. You must learn to give 'wise' service and not be a martyr."

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Newsflash: "Friars to cash in on Turner"

"A VENICE scene by landscape artist J. M. W. Turner could become the most expensive British painting ever sold when it is auctioned next year."

Quote of the Day

(Get your very own magnetic version here!)

Venice needs to pay to save itself? 13 palaces at discount rates must go!!

"The entry posted below (pumping seawater under Venice to raise it) made me start wondering about the Moses project (erecting huge gates on the floor of the lagoon. The gates would rise up and block the floodwaters). To pay for the project (and for other expenses, because Venice is broke), the Venice city council has decided to sell 13 palazzi. If you've ever wanted your own Venetian palazzo, this is the time to act! Prices range from 5 million euro to 35 million euro. If you buy one, please invite me to your housewarming party!"

Weird Venice

More on Injecting Sea Water to Raise Venice...

New Idea: Inject Sea Water to Raise Venice - Yahoo! News

Generate old-time flipbooks from your digital movies!


Autogenerate old-time flipbooks from your digital movies!

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"Last allied witness of WWI Christmas truce dies"

Last allied witness of WWI Christmas truce dies - Yahoo! News

Newsflash: Using seawater to raise Venice?

"Project is being considered to use seawater to raise Venice"


Newsflash: "Bono Says His Music Will Last 100 Years"

Hmmm... it's good, but is it that good?

Bono Says His Music Will Last 100 Years - Yahoo! News

Quote of the day...

"Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve."
-George Bernard Shaw

Ode to the Spritz

For those who might remember this past summer's Still Life with Spritz (at right), I was thrilled to see the "spritz" featured in last week's news magazine The Week!!

According to CNN Traveler, "To drink like a [Venetian], walk into a neighbourhood bar and ask for a spritz, the archetypal Venetian aperitivo, concocted from white wine, Campari and soda water. The spritz is one of the cheapest and quickest routes to alcoholic oblivion known to man; you'll be under the table after three. The classic spritz al bitter (with Campari) has two more recherché variations, the spritz al Aperol (tastes like medicine) and the spritz al Select (tastes like sweet medicine)."

The Campari spritz will really put hair on your chest... so my favorite instead is the Spritz al Aperol, which (contrary to the above!) actually goes mighty fine with an olive and an orange slice! (Oh, here's an Aperol commercial, for your enjoyment!) BTW, in a culture which drinks like fishes but doesn't approve of getting stinking drunk, needless to say, I've never seen Venetians pound down three of these in rapid succession... They just drink them during "Spritz Hour," which runs only from about 10 am and to just before dinnertime!

Now, despite the fact that this excellent article doesn't really mention it, the Spritz is yet another fine contribution of Venice to world civilization!

Local Venetian legend has it that when the Austrians took possession of Venice during the nineteenth century, they found the local wine too strong for their tastes, and so they'd ask for it to be diluted with a spritz of soda water. Venetians thought this was a good idea, but found it way too weak for their tastes, so they turned back around and re-fortified it with a good half-glass of aperitif liquor, ranging anywhere from 24 to 50 proof! (This from the same people who can add a shot of grappa to their morning espresso and call it a "corrected coffee," otherwise known in Venetian as a "fog-cutter"...)

For more wonderful words on the Spritz, see the great Veniceblog, the official from nearby Padua, and (very strangely... I don't really get it...) another blog on drinking and/or driving in the news by an Italian alcoholism treatment counsellor... (And below, "Spritz Hour" in the university quarter of town!)

However, while it would be near taboo to suggest such a thing in Venice, you can attempt to make a "virgin" spritz with sparkling or soda water and the non-alcoholic "Gingerino" or "Sanbitter"...

Quote of the Day

“There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.”

-Philosopher George Santayana,
from The Week news magazine

The Return of Fun but Useless Quizzes!

Just in time for Thanksgiving!

You Are Lemon Meringue Pie

You're the perfect combo of sassy and sweet

Those who like you have well refined tastes


What Kind of Soul Are You?

You Are a Visionary Soul

You are a curious person, always in a state of awareness.

Connected to all things spiritual, you are very connect to your soul.

You are wise and bright: able to reason and be reasonable.

Occasionally, you get quite depressed and have dark feelings.

You have great vision and can be very insightful.

In fact, you are often profound in a way that surprises yourself.

Visionary souls like you can be the best type of friend.

You are intuitive, understanding, sympathetic, and a good healer.

Souls you are most compatible with: Old Soul and Peacemaker Soul

(link from Dappled Things)

Newsflash: "Arsenal Lions to Get Face Lifts"

These are the most splendid attractions within a minute's walk of our flat in Venice!

Weird Venice: Arsenal Lions to Get Face Lifts (and more)

Google Maps Mashup of the Day!

"Shoefiti tracks the locations of shoes hanging from power lines - This map was started to try to hold the local power company in Minneapolis accountable for their inconsistent responses to shoe removal requests. The map illustrates that shoes are removed in affluent neighborhoods but ignored in more challenged neighborhoods. Shoe locations are gathered through an email tip-line."

*Yet more* ultimately useless but fun quizzes...

Does your weblog own you?
12.5 %

"My weblog owns 12.5 % of me."
(I'm not sure my hubby would buy this! Link from Dappled Things)

If Your Life Was a Movie, What Genre Would It Be?

The Movie Of Your Life Is A Cult Classic

Quirky, offbeat, and even a little campy - your life appeals to a select few.

But if someone's obsessed with you, look out! Your fans are downright freaky.

Your best movie matches: Office Space, Showgirls, The Big Lebowski

"Thanksgiving in a Bottle"

====== In The News ====

As the last leaves find their way from their branches down to the ground below, many Americans begin to think about their Thanksgiving meals and their elaborate preparations. For some, these meals mean succulent turkey, small mountain ranges of mashed potatoes, and baked yams. For still others, it may mean a turkey substitute, a beet salad, and asparagus spears. Relatively few people think of consuming a Thanksgiving dinner through a straw, but thanks to the inventive folks at a Seattle-based soda company, they can do just that. The company is offering two five-pack soda kits (complete with a serving spoon and moistened toilette) that contain such mouth-watering flavors as herb stuffing, turkey, and smoked salmon pate. The company president, Peter van Stolk, first envisioned the concept during a road trip in 2003, and figured that establishing a bulkhead on the meat-flavored soda niche market might be a shrewd idea. When asked about the flavor of the salmon soda, van Stolk remarked that “I cannot finish a bottle, I just can’t.” He was even more passionate about the Brussels-sprouts flavored concoction, noting, “It’s horrible”. Regardless of van Stolk’s own sentiments, those seeking a way to avoid washing any of those pesky Thanksgiving dishes may be unusually attracted to this collection of beverages.

The first link offered here will direct visitors to a news story offered by CNN-Money which discusses the rather novel approach to Thanksgiving created by the Jones Soda company. The second link will take users to a nice piece of reporting from the Chicago Sun-Times’ Janet Rausa Fuller, which includes the results of a taste-test of these unusual beverages from a troika of women who work at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. The third link leads to a special feature from The History Channel on the origins and myths associated with Thanksgiving. The fourth link leads to a clutch of classic Thanksgiving recipes offered by Readers Digest. The fifth link will take visitors to a rather intriguing educator’s guide to teaching young people about Thanksgiving from the state of Washington’s superintendent of public instruction. The final link will take visitors to the homepage of the Jones Soda Company. Here visitors can learn about their Thanksgiving Day “replacement” soda offerings, and a variety of other curious products, such as the “Strawberry Manilow” and “Berry White” drinks."

(quoted from The Scout Report Volume 11, Number 46 [11/18/2005])

The wonderful world of Yiddish curses

Welcome to the long tradition of Yiddish curses. According to one scholar of insults: Curses in other languages differ from Yiddish in both content and style...Anglo-Saxon cultures prefer insults dealing with excrement and body parts, Catholic countries are partial to blasphemy, and cultures of the Middle and Far East go for ancestor insults, while Yiddish curses have a baroque splendor. A bunch more examples are here..."
(from Metafilter)

"Catholic countries are partial to blasphemy?" Ain't that the truth!! I always liked the discussion in the book Florentine Locutions by Kevin Beary myself... I can't find my well-worn copy at the moment, but he has a line in it somewhere that a typically flamboyant Florentine curse is rather like a math equation... you take 1) God, Jesus, Mary or a saint + 2) a body part + 3) a sexual act + 4) a farm animal = a curse that'd shock even most (*non-Italian*) sailors to the core!
(You'll have to just trust me on that!!)

2005 Weblog Awards

2005 Weblog Awards -- "You can begin nominating your favorite blogs for various blog awards now." (from Dappled Things)


"See what will happen if you don't stop biting your fingernails?"

-Will Rogers,
to his niece on seeing the Venus de Milo

Newsflash: "Skull Fragments May Be Beethoven's"

Tests: Skull Fragments May Be Beethoven's - Yahoo! News: "A California businessman said Thursday that skull fragments that once belonged to his great-great-uncle in 19th century Europe very likely came from German composer Ludwig van Beethoven. "

Women Blogging...

A couple of fun links on grow-a-brain!

Newsflash: Ivory Roman Emperor Emerges from Forum - News in English - Ivory emperor emerges from Forum: "'Unique' find probably Marcus Aurelius or Septimius Severus... Very few ancient Roman ivory objects have survived to the present day because ivory is a biodegradable material!"


"Isn't it strange that we talk least about the things we think about most?"

-Charles Lindbergh, from The Week magazine


Handy! Got Rapture?

No man knows the day or hour... but this website might! :-)
The Rapture Index

(Hint: Not surprisingly, kinda looks like maybe we shouldn't do a whole lot of long-range planning...)

More useless but fun quizzes...

What obsolete skill are you?

You are 'French'. In the nineteenth century, it
was the international language of diplomacy.
It is a 'beautiful' language, meaning that it
is really just a low-fidelity copy of Latin.

You know the importance of communicating
'diplomatically', which for you means both
being polite and friendly when necessary and
using sophisticated, vicious sarcasm when
appropriate. Your life is guided by either
existentialism or nihilism, depending on the
weather. You have a certain appreciation for
the finer things in life, which is a diplomatic
way of saying that you are a disgusting
hedonist. Your problem is that French has been
obsolete for a long time.
(from Metafilter)


You Are 28 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

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Yay! Reruns on Demand!!

Just in case you didn't get enough of reruns the first 150 times you saw them!! :-)

AOL to Have Reruns on Demand: "America Online Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. are planning to put thousands of episodes of once-popular television shows like 'Welcome Back Kotter' and 'Chico and the Man' on the Web site, where high-speed Internet users can view them for free.

The new In2TV service is set to launch in January and will include episodes of more than 100 shows."

(from Hacking Netflix)

Netflix "Local Favorites" Feature

I love Netflix! Want to see what other folks nearby are watching on Netflix, too?

"The Netflix Local Favorites feature is another way to discover interesting movies to watch. You can select a state and city or search by zip code to see the top 25 movies for that region. Netflix describes the results as: 'Members in and around Anchorage, Alaska are currently renting these titles much more than other Netflix members.' When you first visit the Netflix Local Favorites page it should display the results for your city or town."


If your mind needs clearing...

Kitaoka Akiyoshi's "Rotsnake": "If your mind needs clearing, this trance-like optical illusion could do the trick. Just keep in mind that the mesmerizing turning of the op-art-like circles is, in fact, illusory. The picture is not actually moving. (Note: It works best in a darkened room.)"

(from PingRay)

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"Portrait of the living Venice"

Financial Times - Arts & Weekend / Portrait of the living Venice

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Newsflash: "Slovenia, Italy, Croatia Sign Deal to Clean up the Adriatic"

Slovenia, Italy, Croatia Sign Deal to Clean up the Adriatic!


A Ship That Flips! (It's *supposed* to do that!)

FLIP: The Scripps Ship That Flips

"Remember the last scene in "Titanic," when the ship rolls ninety degrees before sinking into the cold icy depths? There is a boat in San Diego that performs this stunt on a regular basis -- except for the sinking part. FLIP (or Floating Instrument Platform) is an ocean research vessel that resembles a 350-foot baseball bat. After it's towed out to sea, a majority of the ship fills with water, turning it on its side. That explains the need for beds on the walls, refrigerators on casters, and some flexibility on the part of the crew. However, FLIP is far more stable, and much less noisy, than a regular ship. As a result, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego uses FLIP to study how sound waves behave underwater. But we really like to watch it turn over -- check out this quicktime movie."

(from today's Yahoo! Pick of the Day)


Quote of the Day

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."

--Stephen Wright (from Metafilter)

Newsflash: "Flashmob pillow fight in Milan's Roman ruins"

Whoever says that the classics are irrelevent in today's culture?! :-)

"Simon directs us to this gallery of "really cool images of a Flash Mob Pillow Fight recently occured right in the middle of ancient Roman ruins in the center of Milan, Italy."

Quiz: To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?

Four Star Music on "Radio Clutter"!

Yahoo! may be slowly taking over the world, but at least you can have fun while they're doing it! :-)

My latest Y! discovery (installed at right on my sidebar!) is LaunchCast Radio on Yahoo! Music. It's a free and legal streaming internet radio station that "learns"... you rate music as it plays, and it remembers what you like, love, and never want to hear again! I'm rapidly getting the "mentalclutter" station exactly how I'd like it!! (Of course, I've also rated an absolutely impossible amount of music over the last week to get it that way, too...)

What's on "Radio Clutter"? There are no guarantees since anything I've rated 2-4 stars tends to surface, but here's my list at the moment of my top "4 Star Songs" rated "Can't Get Enough" of 'em... So, you're most likely to hear 'em pop up! Enjoy!!

Plus, my other three- and four-star artists like...

"The Caravaggio Trail"

One of my all-time favorite painters!!

"The Caravaggio Trail: 'The Lost Painting'. (BugMeNot for the New York Times). [more inside]"

(from Metafilter)

How to address the pope in conversation

You never know when it might come in handy!

"Styles of address" (brought to you by Canada)

(from Metafilter)

Quote of the Day

"The future is here; it's just not evenly distributed yet."
-William Gibson

"The Hidden Massacre"?

I can only pray this is not true...

Dateline: Rome...
"Did U.S. use chemical weapons? Italian state television this week broadcast a documentary charging that U.S. troops dropped incendiary chemicals, similar to napalm, on Fallujah during the attack on insurgents there last November. Reports that the U.S. had used bombs containing a lethal chemical called white phosphorus appeared on Islamist Web sites at the time. The U.S. denied using the substance in battle, but said it fired a few phosphorus shells to illuminate the night sky. In the documentary, though, a man described as a former U.S. soldier says he was aware of orders to use the bombs against human targets, and saw the results. 'There were burned bodies, burned women, burned children,' said the man, identified as Jeff Englehart. The documentary also contains photographs, supplied by an Iraqi human-rights group, of gruesomely disfigured men, women, and children. The Pentagon had no immediate comment."

"La strage nascosta (italian language) Today Rainews 24 part of RAI Television (Italian possible equivalent of PBS) broadcasted on a satellite channel a short documentary concerning the conquest of Falluja city. The documentary presents many images and allegations suggesting that U.S. army probably used White Phosphorous on the city during the offensive of 8 November 2004 with devastating consequences on civilians and insurgents. The substance is used on battlefield for purposes including production of dense smoke (M156) and also for incendiary purposes. (Warning, disturbing pictures of dead people). Direct link goes to documentary, English audio WMV link here. NSFW, extremely graphic, and very disturbing. Previous reference [1] here on Meta."

(from Metafilter)

More fun but useless quizzes!

Your Heart Is Orange

Love equals unbridled happiness for you. You enjoy the wild ride of falling in love.

And while the ride is fun for a while, you always get off once the thrill is gone.

Your flirting style: Hyper

Your lucky first date: Anything you need your passport for!

Your dream lover: Is both daring and well grounded

What you bring to relationships: Energy

You Know a Lot About Blogging

You got 5/8 correct!

You're not a total blogging geek yet... give it time.