Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holiday Cards - the Curse of Parenthood

I have never in my life sent holiday cards. I can barley get out a thank-you email, much less a thank you card. The idea of sending a "Happy Holidays" card is foreign to me. Putting a picture of myself on one and sending it to everyone I know is even stranger.

Don't get me wrong. It's sweet that some one would take the time to address each of their friends to wish them a happy holiday. There's no better time of year for it. But when I get them from friends and family, I feel torn. Am I supposed to reply? Does this warrant a return-card, phone call, or email? Is it rude if I don't send one? What are the moral implications of the pre-printed picture postcard vs. a Hallmark greetings card? What made me so special that I get a card, or does everyone they know get one?

Now that Lilah is here, my outlook has changed. I get why parents send a picture of their kids to all their friends and acquaintances. You might never get a chance to catch up with some of these people and show off your kids. I don't get so much why a single person would send a holiday card (maybe it's something their parent's did?), but it's still sweet.

We might start sending cards just to keep up with the rest of our newly-wed/new-parent friends & family. It's all up to Harley, as I can't be bothered. This is very much a girl thing anyway. Guys don't have time for Holiday cards (it's NFL playoff time!).

Friday, December 22, 2006

More Dark Crystal Info

The Muppet News Flash Blog has a bunch of amazing news on my favorite movie:

- There will be a graphic novel series released around March, 2007. The first will be titled "Legends of the Dark Crystal #1: The Garthim Wars" and is a prequel to the 1982 film. It will showcase many established characters (the Skeksis, the Mystics, Aughra) and introduce many new characters (Larh and Neffi, two young Gelflings).

- The Jim Henson Company are planning a 2-D anime-style series. It will be a prequel, showing life before the crystal cracked, what happened when it did crack, how the Gelfling race was eliminated, and a lot more of the Dark Crystal. The show will premiere on Cartoon Network's "Toonami"; a date hasn't been set.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Panorama of Everest

Check out this panorama from the summit of Mt. Everest. You can see what the view from the top of the world is. It's amazing!

If you're like me, you've been watching the reality show that tracks a team of climbers trying to make it to the top. It's unbelievable what people will go through just to make it there. A human drama in an inhumane setting - I really hope they put this on again next year.

The program is riveting and surprising, particularly in how matter-of-fact death and frostbite become. It also shows that getting to the top is the "easy" part, as you're already exhausted when you start coming down. You have to turn around before you get tired, which can be tough after 6 weeks on the mountain trying to make it to one spot.

This is a great website, with panoramas of some of the most amazing places on Earth. Make sure you check these out:

- crater of Mt. St. Helens
- Machu Picchu
- Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Rocky VI

I was appalled when I heard there was a new Rocky movie coming out. But this article may have changed my mind.

Stallone was apparently the driving force behind this. Even his wife tried to talk him out of making it. In the movie, everyone tried to talk Rocky out of this one last fight. Art imitates life.

There's a line in the movie that sums it up. Rocky says "I'd rather do something I love badly, than to feel bad about not doing something I love." You have to respect that! I suddenly want to see this movie.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rockin' The Baby

Lilah was fussy Tuesday night. Harley had been with her all day, so I tried to calm her down, but she was not feeling it! I laid her down in the bedroom on the bed and she stopped squirming for a bit. I ran and got the acoustic guitar and started playing Beethoven for her. She hated it.

Then I started singing, and she loved it. She stopped crying and started kicking. Turns out it's not the music she loves, but the voice behind the music. I played her all the stuff I like, mostly Phish. I had to make sure the focus was on my voice and the melody, not the notes. It was a quick adjustment but an important one. It's the difference between kid's music and songs for a more adult audience. The voice matters most, the human communication.

I had to make sure to play the songs softly so I didn't scare her. Phish songs are pretty much for kids anyway. I find that most good songs are simply and melody fpocus. Beatles fore Babies is hugely popular becuase the melody is the focus. Nirvana was clear that they wanted their songs to be kid's song.

It was so much fun. It lasted 15 minutes, but that's pretty good for a 1-month old! It was something I'd been looking forward to for quite some time (playing guitar for my child). Can't wait to do it again.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Back at Work

This is my first week back. It picked up right where I left it. I had 7 voice mails this afternoon while I was out at an all day meeting. I have things from this meeting that need to be done by Friday. I already have things that need to be done by Thursday that I can't get to. I'll be in many meetings Wednesday to keep me from doing any of those things. On top of all this, so many people are out of the office that it's impossible to get anything done in the first place.

This is my everyday. It's a fast-paced, over-achieving rat-race where the wheel you run on keeps getting faster and smaller and the cheese is nowhere in sight. I thought that this was due to my current situation, but I'm starting to see this as a symptom of the current business culture. Everything is faster and time is the most valuable commodity no one can find.

I'm trying to do a few things to help myself:

1. Don't let is get to me. It's up to me to make sure I'm happy.
2. One thing at a time. Focus on the task at hand. Don't bring your computer to a meeting so you can do 2 things at once. I openly end up doing both things half-assed.
3. My schedule is my own. I can only be 1 place at one time.
4. Remember why I'm doing this. Come home to Lilah and Harley and leave work aside.

I try, but it's hard. I can say "this will have to wait," but sometimes they can't. If that happens, then what? I don't know. That's where my anxiety comes from. Too much at once. I don't see a solution in sight. The best I can do is deal with it, which is not easy when I get 4 hours of sleep a night.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Year of the Comeback

I'm suddenly struck by how many actors are having comeback this year.

- Neil Patrick Harris (NPH) of Doogie Houser, M.D. fame is back and finally respectable. It's ironic and somehow fitting that a gay man is revitalizing his TV career by playing a womanizing yuppie - and doing a damn good job of it. I love that show!
- Alec Baldwin is now a comic actor. He seems to have built on his SNL performances and made the move from drama to comedy. All of the sudden, being a Baldwin isn't so bad (but only if you're funny).
- Patrick Dempsey is probably the most famous comeback star. While he'll never outlive Loverboy in my eyes, he's suddenly a runner-up for sexiest man alive.
- John Stamos is back from his exile on Broadway and staring in ER. He's apparently very hot now, with a new A&E TV movie that shows him off. I knew he was known to be good looking, but much like Patrick Dempsey, he's handsome with a vengeance.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fraggle Rock: The Movie?

Holy sh*t!! Ahemt Zappa, son of Frank and brother of Dweezil, is making a feature-length film of the Henson classic. With CGI effects to a minimum, the film will be produced by Henson's daughter, Lisa, and directed by his son, Brian.

Ahmet Zappa might seem like a strange guy to champion The Fraggles, but he comes from a family that's built a legacy on turning the strange into art. There's a clear connection between Frank Zappa and Jim Henson as visionaries. He's also been writing songs for years and has a children's book out, "The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless."

I am sooo taking Lilah to see this movie.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lilah's Astrology Chart

I love astrology. Not that I believe in it or use it to help guide my life. I don't even check it more than once a month. But I do love it as a system to understand people and personality types.

It has a total of 12 signs, but it is really a series of 6 polarities. Each sign has an opposite. For example, Cancer is the sign of home and family. Capricorn, the opposite, is the sign of career and public life. By seeing the differences between the 2 and understanding the opposition, we better understand the essence of each.

My beautiful little girl has the following:

Sun: Scorpio - the sign of inheritances and legacy. We are concerned with the things in life that you can't touch, what you leave behind. The opposite is Taurus, which is the sign of possessions and material. With a Scorpio Daddy and Pisces Mommy (both water signs), there will be a lot of emotion in this household, but a lot of love and empathy.

Rising: Aries - The sign of the self and the individual. Headstrong and bold. The opposite is Libra, the sign or partnerships and relationships.

Moon: Libra - Opposite of the rising, this will help balance out how she feels with how she acts while creating a dichotomy between the 2.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Britney's New Image

Wow

Still, knowing 2 kids already came out of there kind of takes the magic away, don't cha think?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Boom Goes the Dynamite

Watch this.

It's the most nervous sportscaster ever! I presume it's a first-time performance on a small local or even college network. Still, it's a riot. Already a big hit on YouTube, the kid barely makes it through 4 long minutes of near-silence. It's hard to watch yet so easy to laugh at.

When I watch this, I take notice that the absence of the standard broadcast techniques (voice over, rapid fire list of information, confience, vocal excitement, etc.) highlight how important those techniques are. A cliche is a cliche for a reason, cause it works. This is even more apparent when trying to get a newborn to stop crying. All the old chesy stuff works.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving on Sesame St.


My Baby Girl


Lilah Abrevaya Heller
born at 3:03pm on 11/17/2006
6 lbs. 13oz., 20.5" long

She's the best thing ever. EVER!!! Nine days old and she's getting so big. No dating for at least 6 months.

My favorite story to date: the worst timed diaper change ever. I was changing her around 3am and she decided to go again, all over my hands. First the pee, then the poop. I was watching the little poop come out of her butt, literally catching it on muy finger so it wouldn't get on her. I was grossed out, but she's my girl and she needed me. I kept saytiong "Daddy loves you! Daddy loves you!" Ever since that, I pray for wet diapers each and every time I change her.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Quick Music Lesson

Here is an overview of the chords to the solo section of "Foam" by Phish. They are listed below. Please note that each letter is a different chord and represents a distinct sound. Each letter lasts about a measure.

The “x/x” means that the primary chord is to the left, while the letter to the right is played in the bass note (meaning that note becomes a dominant part of that chord's sound). Unless otherwise noted, the bass note for the other letters is the same as the chord (i.e. the C chord starts with a C).


C - A/C# - G/D - Eb#5 - C/E -

F - D/F# - G - E/G# - Am -
Bbmaj7 - Am - Ab - C - D/F# - F - G (repeat)

Notice the bass notes.
(You may need to get used to reading the letters as chords (and that the bass notes are on the right of the "/".) They go step by step up and then down (C-C#-D-Eb-and so on). So even though the chords differ greatly they are unified by the clear movement of the bass notes.


Take the first 2 chords as an example. The C chord sounds totally different than an A chord. They use different notes and have a different feel. But the song minimizes the disruption caused by this stark juxtaposition by linking the bass notes between 2 chords (
C to C#).

So rather than focus on the change, we hear the chromatic lift from C to C#. This gives our ear an easy line to follow while provinding a rich sonic field of complex harmonies. It sounds simpler than it is, making the 2nd, 3rd, or 12th listening even more enjoyable.

The band uses these connections and complex harmonies to create melodic lines that work within (or work against) these links between chords. In jazz, these are called “passing notes” and are the key elements of soloing. Very simple in theory, but hard to master in practice.

Quote of the Week

after hearing Harley passed the bar and will have the baby this week, Michelle Solomon said:

"Somebody call VH1. Harley Abrevaya is having the Best Week Ever!!"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Good Day

So many good things happened today!

- Harley Abrevaya, my beautiful wife, was notified that she passed the NY Bar Exam. She did it pregnant and stressed and I couldn't be prouder!
- I got the test results on my first Graduate School mid-term and did very well (29/30).
- I got a free lunch from work.
- The 1 class I wanted to take next semester was filled this morning, which was very depressing, but I just checked the availability and was able to register for it. Awesome!
- I finished listening to the Phish Colorado '88 album and loved every second of it.
- I'm still stressed as hell, but I now see that the end is in sight. Thursday night, my baby comes (and I should be home in time for the Sunday Eagles game).

My Spring Class

I'm enrolled in this NYU Graduate class for the Spring: Interpreting Popular Culture

This course examines popular culture as both a producer and reflector of cultural meaning, and a means of communication. It provides an introduction to the fundamental theories and methods for understanding the construction of meaning in film, television, popular music, and advertising, tracing the study of popular culture through film theory and mass media analysis to cultural studies. Recent theoretical analysis of popular culture has examined the notion of the popular, spectatorship, methods of reading audiences, global popular culture, and the concept of cultural practices. This course surveys methods of analysis such as structuralism, semiotics, genre analysis, psychoanalysis, socio-historical analysis, ideological analysis, discourse analysis,
political economy, reception theory, feminist method, and ethnography as tools through which to understanding popular culture in depth. It will include screenings of excerpts of film and
television in class.

Woohoo!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Quote of the Day

at work, on the phone to Harley, 3:23pm

A: Shit! I spilled water right into the keyboard of my computer!

H: Again?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Michealangelo

Brian loves this site about the famed artist. Apparently, he had a very bad temper. I never got around to looking at it in detail. Here it is, for the limited posterity this blog allows. Remember my blog about Newport, Rhode Island?? Didn't think so.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Chello, Me Borat

Interesting article on the new Borat movie coming out.

Apparently, everybody calls Sacha Baron Cohen "nice." This is surprising to a lot of people considering the significant amount of flak around Borat's anti-semitism. The Jewish Anti-Defamation League, in a momment of pure coolnes, insisted that it "got" the joke but warned about others not getting it. Yes, Cohen "is himself proudly Jewish."

But more interestingly, Tina Fey is apparently writing a movie for him to star in at Paramount. Could this be why Borat himself made an appearance on the last SNL, Tina's old stomping ground?!? I think so.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Behind The Sopranos

This past Monday, I attended a seminar with David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, Northern Exposure, and other amazing TV programs, where he discussed his career and The Sopranos from his unique perspective. Here are the most interesting parts of this discussion:

- The Sopranos is like the Mir Space Station: it was only meant to work for 1 year. The original premise of the show was not meant to go on for more than a few episodes. There was never a plan for where the show would go.

- They make it up as they go along (hear that, Lost fans?). Because writing each season is difficult, there is no real plan for where the characters' lives will go in the next years. This can lead to huge consequences. For example, they started out having Tony and Carmella bickering to give the show a Honeymooner's feel. Several seasons later, this built up to a separation. They don't always know what will happen next.

- When he started the show, he was just trying to get footage together for his reel so he could start directing movies. Considering that most TV pilots are not picked up, this was not an immoral or uncommon thing to do. When the show became a hit, he was surprised and disappointed - he was sick of TV.

- Adrianna's body is in a Pennsylvania coal mine under a pile of garbage. This was never on the show, but it is how the writers saw her story end.

- The new thing on TV are shows with complex plots, multiple characters and long story arcs (The Nine, Heroes, The Class, etc). Everyone says this is the "Lost" effect, but The Sopranos was doing this years before that. I'm guessing being on cable had something to do with that.

- David Chase hates the networks. The networks want to sell you commercials. Because of this, they don't want you upset or agitated between shows. This ruins the content they show. He actually didn't want to do the show until he started working with HBO, which was a completely different mentality. I thought this was an amazing indictment of the media system, especially coming from a successful veteran. After all his success, he can't wait to get out of TV.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Long Live the Hubble!!

Despite the ridiculous talk of abondoning one of the most successful and impactful scientific missions of all time, NASA has been given the OK to service the Hubble Spapce Telescope. If everything goes well, the telescope will be fully operationalthrough 2013.

I understand that the safety of shuttle flights are no longer a given. Putting a man in space is more dangerous now than it was 10 years ago. But to let the Hubble rot in space to help "save money" goes against the whole rationale for space exploration in the first place!

There is no money in space (at least, not yet), but that's not why we're there. We are there to look, learn, and inspire everything we do downhere. When I watch a video that shows me a galaxy millions of light years away that is bigger than I can comprehend, that makes my day better. I'm sure I'm not alone.

We know more now than every before in the histroy of hummanity. We have billions to come up with new tanks and missles, but nothing for the cool stuff. Saving a few bucks is no reason to stop that progress.

It's Always Raining on Titan

Liquid methane drizzles on the surface of Titan, a moon of Saturn, according to a paper by NASA and university scientists in today's issue of Nature.

Data from the European Space Agency's Huygens probe indicates there is a lower, barely visible, liquid methane-nitrogen cloud that drops rain to the surface of Titan. The rain on Titan is just a slight drizzle, but it rains all the time and makes the ground wet and muddy with liquid methane. This is why the Huygens probe landed with a splat. It landed in methane mud.

The rain on Titan is equal to about two inches (about 5 centimeters) a year, about as much rain as Death Valley. But on Titan, this rain is spread out evenly over the entire year.

On Titan, the clouds and rain are formed of liquid methane. On Earth, methane is a flammable gas, but Titan has no oxygen in its atmosphere that could support combustion. Also, the temperatures on Titan are so cold -- minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 149 degrees Celsius) -- that the methane can form liquid. Titan's landscape includes fluvial, river-like features that may well be formed by methane rain, scientists noted.

A gap separates the liquid methane cloud -- the source of the rain -- from a higher, upper methane ice cloud, according to the scientific study. The upper clouds are methane ice, and the lower clouds are liquid and composed of a combination of methane and nitrogen. Tthese thin liquid methane clouds cover about half of Titan.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Critique of My Mid-Term Examination

Took my first graduate mid-term exam. It kind of sucked, but it knew it would. I walked around all semester saying "this is too easy, I just read and underline." This was justification that grad school will require actually, time-consuming work.

The test was short answer: respond to 3 out of 4 questions, each one asking us to compare similar/dissimilar themes across multiple essays. The test took me a while to write. I think my arguments are fine, but who knows. I'm just trying to figure out what they want. I know the information, but criteria used to grade the test are unclear to me.

overall, I fell like I could have a better draft of all three answers tomorrow. The more time I have to digest the specific issues being addressed, the clearer my argument becomes. More than that, I feel robbed of giving a clear articulation of my knowledge of to coursework. Is this test an appropriate medium to communicate the essence of my knowledge of the subject?

Consider the formal' qualities of the test (formal meaning the specifics of how the test is conducted, not the content). First, the short-answer open-book test format is limiting. It lets us get deep into specific concepts on the test, but offering only 4 questions puts limits on measuring the scope of my knowledge of the work. I go from considering the entire syllabus to just a few readings. Also, why is it a timed test? Why do we need to hurry this? Aren't these concepts worth the time of 4 days?

I understand that this test format is the established norm, and that is does give the student and chance to take a deep dive into specific reading. But there is a problem inherent in this system, and we need a change! I PROPOSE: we modify the testing format to include an oral argument portion. This would be an oral defense of your written work, to make sure the professors see you know the concepts, removing the danger of complete plagiarism. PhD's do it, so should we.

Much like Socrates, I do not trust that writing can capture the truly meaning behind the language. An oral argument allows the student to speak directly from the heart, from the "soul" and demonstrate his/her understanding of the subject at hand. The oral will confirm the transfer of education to the soul (Plato's logo) while the writing portion verses the student in the formal characteristics of academic writing.

The test was due at noon. I started drinking at 12:01pm.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Down in Fraggle Rock

Go here!

I loved this show. I remember being scared by the "Terrible Tunnel" and impressed that Wimbly insisted on returning to it to face his fears. I remember liking Gobo the most because he was the only one who volunteered to go to "outer space" (Uncle Travelling Matt is in his own league). I remember firmly believing that the Doozer buildings taste liked rock candy.

This site tells both the story of what happened in the show and also how it came to be. "[Jim Henson] made it clear that the task was to create a series that was going to stop war in the world. If you were going to change the world's ideas about how to resolve conflict, you had to start with children. Jim didn't delude himself into thinking he could create a television show that could actually prevent wars, but he did sincerely believe that he could produce a program that would help sow the seeds of pacifism in the minds of the world's children."

Jim Henson was awesome. He had me at "The Dark Crystal," one of my all time favorite movies. Like Lucas and Spielberg, even Warhol, he worked the system to change it from the inside out. That in turn, changed how our culture views entertainment (and created "edu-tainment)". He also performed the characters of Cantus the Minstrel (the creepy flute player that wanted Moke to join him) and "Convincing John" (you gotta remember him! Listen to Convincing John and all your troubles will be gone!).

It's crazy to think that I was one of those kids Fraggle Rock was trying to reach. I hope Jim Henson knows it worked, even though I love Ultimate Fighting. I hope he also knows that I'm going to have my own child watch the same shows he made for my generation. They messages he tackled are still as valid today as they were 25 years ago. What better compliment can you give to a piece of art?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Manipulation of Beauty

I get a little annoyed at marketing campaigns that take themselves too seriously. With the Dove "Real Women" ads, I saw and respected what they were doing but couldn't get too emotionally involved.

This video, on the other hand, really impressed me. Gives a great recap of how much goes into making a woman "beautiful" enough to become an object of beauty, how appearance and individuality is manipulated to be worthy of being commoditized. (I've been reading Marx; can you tell?)

Despite the good qualities of this video, it's still advertising. Dove is making a bold statement not to empower women and changce the world, but to sell soap. If this campaign fails, they'll go right back to celebrity models and perfect skin.

While I appreciate that this ad works to change the status quo, don't forget that it will only be around as long as it sells. Any social good is just icing.

Separated at Birth?

Karl Marx vs. Jerry Garcia
- both were "counter-culture" in nature
- both have philosphies based on community and equality
- mostly, both have impeccable style

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Greatest Band of All Time

Boy, Man...

I, Andrew Heller, at 31.9 years of age, hereby declare that I am now officially an adult. It happened a few weeks ago. It wasn't turning 30 that triggered it. It wasn't moving out of my parent's house, getting married, going to grad school, or even finding out that I am going to become a father. I became an adult when I got life insurance.

To clarify, I only got life insurance (LI) because I'm going to be a parent. So yes, the 2 are linked. But emotionally, being a parent ands getting LI are two very separate things. The thought of becoming a parent forces me to deal with things like responsibility to others, making time for my child and my career, and partnering with my wife on all of that.

Buying life insurance, on the other hand, brings up the idea of providing for my family, being responsible to some who is depending on me for everything. All my life, Mom and Dad have been amazing. They paid the mortgage and never asked for a thank you. They got my college loans and paid for them without my involvement. I never had a financial worry, though I learned to be financially responsible at the same time.

Now, all those responsibilities are on my shoulders. Rent, life insurance, health care, and clothing all fall under my domain. Of course I have my wonderful wife to help me with all this, but that's a very "adult" thing anyway. I've taken a step into a larger world. And like Pandora opening her box, there is no going back.

Most of all, LI made me realize that I won't always be around. Life is a finite thing, and it's never as precious until you realize that we're are all here for a limited time. I'm happy with where I am in my life. Though I still feel young, I recognize that my "youth" is coming to an end. LI seems to be the one piece that closed the door on childhood. Like my parents, and their parents, and their parents' parents, I take up the chain in caring for the generation to come after me.

By the way, I felt the baby's feet tonight. They're up near Harley's breastbone. Baby L is so close!!!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Lyrics I'm Loving Right Now

Fathers be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers, who turn into mothers
So mothers be good to your daughters too
- John Mayer's "Daughters" (a slow, bluesy waltz)

This song is about how the way we raise our children impacts the people they become, and then who their children become. As my daughter gets closes and closer, this songs becomes ever more relevant to me.

-----------------

When the hangover this morning had a personality

And I cast my shattered mind over selected memories
I didn't even touch the light switch so I knew I'd never see
The haggard face that would be staring back at me.
The big light came through my window and it opened up my eyelids
and it snapped them up like roller blinds and told me things that I did.
I can't face another day and night of good ideas and complications
And I'm thankful that I didn't open another bottle of inspiration..
- Elvis Costello's "The Big Light" (upbeat, rockabilly swing)

This song is about the difficulties of recovering from a hangover and facing some of the embarrasing things done the night before. As my daughter gets closes and closer, this songs reminds of the life I used to live and how that is a reality I'll probably never relive. While this is sort of sad to me, the loss of youth, in a way, I understand that the baby will add new things to my life and help create a "new normal" for Harley and I. That "new normal" will include football.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Few More Reasons to Love the Eagles

Shameless and gratuitous. No wonder men love football. This is not how I feel of course. I only watch for the sport, for the drama. Yeah, and I read Maxim for the articles, too.




I hope this doesn't come across sexist. I don't hear much about cheerleaders being exploited for their bodies. Come to think of it, I'm actually surprised how little attention is paid to them; the action is almost always on the field (besides when they switch to commercials and need a filler shot).

The NFL is like a weekly soap opera for men, where the plot is never predictable and always in flux. These cheerleaders are like the Fabio-covers on trashy romance novels, just icing on the cake.

Ladies, you must understand that football is not for you. There is no schmuk-chair in the NFL for you to wait for your men to finish shopping. One day a week, we get to live the drama we've been socialized to avoid. The boobs are just gravy. Thick, luscious, eat-it-with-a-spoon gravy.

Baby's On the Way

The due date for Baby L has changed. Instead of 11/25, she will come anywhere between 11/15-20. Apparently, she is "developmentally advanced" enough to come out early. Just like her parents, she's a damn genius!! (Probably impatient too, but let's not discuss that.)

I just hope she doesn't come on 11/27, as the Eagles are playing the Colts in Indianapolis that day. That game should be sweet!! It'll be great to have my girl with me, too.

Does anyone know where I can get an Eagles newborn onesie?? I have one for next season when she's older, but she'll need one for the Superbowl. It's gonna happen!.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Everybody Loves My Blog

"By the way, I'm enjoying Andrew's blog a great deal. I especially liked the link to the animated map of the Middle East."
- Cousin Bill

I RULE

Friday, October 06, 2006

Interesting Moon Facts

October 6th is the “Harvest Moon" – the last full moon before the Autumnal Equinox that allowed farmers to harvest all their crops into the night. Moonlight is just sunlight reflected from the dusty surface of the moon. The only difference is intensity: Moonlight is about 400,000 times fainter than direct sunlight. And it does some strange stuff:

1. Moonlight steals color from whatever it touches. In full moonlight, the flower is brightly lit and even casts a shadow, but the red is gone, replaced by shades of gray.

2. If you stare at the gray landscape long enough, it turns blue. As your eyes become maximally dark adapted, the blue appears. Yet if you look up at the full moon, it is certainly not blue.

3. Moonlight won't let you read. Open a book beneath the full moon. Even is the light is bright enough, you can’t make out the word. This is because moonlight not only blurs your vision but also makes a little blind spot.

This is all because of the human retina, an organic digital camera with two kinds of pixels: rods and cones. Cones allow us to see colors (red roses) and fine details (words in a book), but they only work in bright light. After sunset, rods take over.

Rods are 1000 times more sensitive and are responsible for our night vision. But, rods are colorblind. Roses at night thus appear gray. And, rods are almost completely absent from a central patch of retina called the fovea, which the brain uses for reading. The fovea is densely packed with cones, so at night it becomes a blind spot.

As for the blueshift, that is still a mystery.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The 'Lost' Video

**SPOILER ALERT** Scroll down the article to see the video clip. Helps explain the origins of the Dharma Initiative, the numbers, and the island. God damn, I love this show.

Still, I hated last night's Season 3 premiere. Not that I didn't like it, or that the story was bad. It was just so hard to watch our 'heroes' in such a terrible situation. There further into the episode, the worse it got for them, and the more depressed I got. I found myself wishing physical harm on the Others.

And what happened to our characters? Come on, Kate! Throw the handcuffs into the ocean and gouge out Ben's eyes! Instead, she just looks down and gets scared. Would the Season 1 Kate take her fate so easily? And since when did Jack take to violence (which I was happy to see)? Even Sawyer didn't seem as antagonist towards 'Zeek'.

The characters have been taken out of their element and seem to have gone through some fundamental changes. Off to Lostpedia for more research.

UPDATE: "I think they're trying to break them of their weaknesses. Sawyer - conning, learning to really, truly care about someone. Kate- running. Jack- stubborness." The Others are trying to create a utopian society and are 'fixing' the key players of the crash victims. (I love you Lostpedia!)

Visual History of the Middle East

This is amazing: www.mapsofwar.com Puts a lot of the things I've learned into perspective, both chronologically and in terms of scale regarding how much land each empire covered.

So who the hell were the Sassanids? Where did the name Calphilate come from? Excuse me, I'll have a lot of Wikipeding to do. (That was the first time I ever used Wikipedia as a verb.)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

NFL - Week 5 Picks



Here is the schedule for Sunday's games,which includes each team's record (as of week 4) and my pick for the winner of each game. The key games to watch will be:

1. Dallas vs. Eagles
- both teams have been doing well, but who cares about that? It's the retun of TO to Philly!
- Philly hates TO and wants everyone to know it. The crowd will be out for blood, win or lose.
- As a fan, I have to give it to the Eagles.

2. Jets vs. Jacksonville
- this could be THE game of the weekend. Both teams have been looking good but not playing up to their potential.
- I gave it to the Jets because 1) homefield advantage and 2) they'll be hungry after their disappointing finish against the Colts last week.

3. Washington vs. Giants
- Both teams have had mixed success but are still looking good.
- This is a tough one. I forgot to highlight a winner, but I give it to the Giants. They have home-field advantage, and Eli Manning is looking to keep proving himself.

Conversations

after meeting Sabrina Kahn at Tasti-D-Lite:

Sabrina: I’m finishing up my residency in Psychiatry and live up the street.
Andrew: Oh, we live just on 38th!
Stranger wearing gym clothes: Excuse me, are you in line? (very annoyed)
Harley & Sabrina: No, go ahead.
Andrew: Wow, she must have gotten all worked up at her spinning class.

chatting at the coffee machine at work:

Andrew: Have you been watching the Gene Simmons reality show?
Freelancer: No, I have not.
Andrew: Then if I sing the song “Lick It Up”, that won’t have any meaning to you.
Freelancer: No, it will not.
Andrew: I’ll sing it anyway. “Lick it up! Lick it up! Oh oh oh!”

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Mapping of the Universe

Watch this. It's a little slow, but all good space stuff is. It's supposed to be watched in a large, dark planetarium, so please give it a shot.

I wrote a paper my senior year of college on this topic, and I think this very same survey. They've gathered a lot more data since then, but the overall learnings are still the same as I remember. What's even cooler is that they've combined the survey results with the mapping of the background radiation of the universe.

This is the most remarkable map ever produced. It's the most comprehensive look at the superstructure of the entire cosmos. What would Columbus say to this? How about Newton, or even Einstein? It allows us all to be at the front lines in exploration of "the final frontier."

Best of all, we can easily watch it on YouTube. It took Marco Polo 3 years just to get to China, and then many more to come back, write a book about his adventures, get it published, and finally distributed around the world. That doesn't include getting people to actually reads it.

Dissemination of information used to take decades, now it can be done in weeks, or even days if you're Paris Hilton. I f*&king love YouTube!!

The Beer Review

Ever wanted to know the alcohol percentage or nurtional value of your favorite brew? Check this out.

Looks like most regular beers are 5% alcohol, while light beers come in around 4.2%. Calorie counts are around 140, with light options around 110g. In carb counts, regular pilsners (Bud, Coors) come in around 10g, the light options around 5-6g (Bud Select is down to 3%). Some of the heavier beers are much higher. Sam Adams and Guiness are at 18g.

The bottom line: the thicker, heavier beers are worese for you. Who would have thunk it?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Interpreting 9/11

Five years. It took for 5 years for the entertainment world to get its hooks into 9/11. Feature films (United 93, World Trade Center). Made-for-TV-movies (Flight 93, Path to 9/11). Books (102 Minutes, countless others). Now a comic book. Unreal.

Some of these have been remarkable, such as United 93. It brought the events to life for me in truly moving way. Some of them have been terribly skewed. Path to 9/11 is a great example of exploiting the facts for dramatic effect and/or financial goals.

There's something about a recreation of the actual events that changes the original experience. It draws out the drama of the event that reality, by its very nature, can't. We see the fight in the cockpit, or the confusion of the air traffic controllers.

More than anything, these "docu-dramas" can control how we view the events and manipulate perception for a specific emotional reaction. The players in the story can lionized, or demonized, at the will of the writer. This removes any pretense of objectivity and should spark red-flags waving "propoganda."

I was here in the city and saw most of it from a far, but still with my own eyes. These recreations bring a bigger, more public view of the events to a wider audience. In a small way, I feel robbed of my own personal connection. But that is a selfish and fleeting notion. Comparing my own experience with those of the victims' families always reminds me how little I have to complain about.

It took Pearl Harbor 12 years to make it into the movies with From Here to Eternity. With the increased access to media we now have, and the insane hunger America has to express a communal consciousness in media, I guess 5 years is a fair amount of time.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How the Sun Works

The Sun is a big atomic furnace that works by converting hydrogen into helium. Hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant element in the universe. It has one proton in its nucleus. Temperatures and densities in the center of the Sun are so great that hydrogen nuclei fuse into helium nuclei.

The creation of each helium nucleus requires four hydrogen nuclei. One helium nucleus has 99.3% of the weight of four hydrogen nuclei. This excess of 0.7% of hydrogen mass compared with helium mass is converted into energy:

In perspective, the Sun converts 600 million tons of hydrogen into 596 million tons of helium every second. The extra 4 million tons is converted into energy. The energy is so great that the Sun gives off 40,000 watts of light from every square inch of its surface. Compare this to the 60 and 100 watt light bulbs we use in our homes. As far as we know, the Sun has been giving off this light steadily for the last four and one half billion years, and will continue to do so for several billion years more. Only half a billionth of this energy reaches the Earth. The rest is lost in space.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

First Day of Class

The night before my first graduate class, I kept having nightmares of being late. (Had to be there at 7:15 and it's already 7:30. Wait, class is tomorrow night. Uh oh, I'm late again!) None of that happened. I got to the classroom with 45 minutes to spare and had to wait around. Met a few folks and had quick chit chat.

I stopped talking and started listening to all the chit chat. There were a limited number of topics discussed:
- which classes are you taking? (Media Revolution, Media Research)
- where do you work? (one for Google, one for ABC News)
- what music do you listen to? ("give me an example of everything")
- did you get the books yet?

I had a hard time with the chit chat and decided to be a little anti-social. I looked around at my peers, all of whom seem very nice. I was struck by the normalcy of everyone. No nerd-math or artsy-non-conformist types. Just regular, productive, smart people. Some young, none much older than me, but not too different.

The professor was young, which wasn't too surprising, with 5 years at NYU. Seems very smart. Uses big words and interesting phrases ("Media - let's unpack what that means"). Not a stickler for attendance, we're expected to be in charge of our own experience.

Here is the syllabus. The readings seem interesting and very challenging. I didn't feel very excited, but that made sense to me. This course will lay the foundation for the rest of my schooling. I wasn't excited to learn to read, but I had to get through it. Same here.

The funniest thing about last night's class was that I spent the time thinking about this blog entry. As I write this blog, all I can think about is eating chocolate. So if you'll excuse me...

Fallout From the Cruise

I knew there'd be a downside. Ever since we got back:

- I've been hungry. I try not to eat, so I have small snacks. All those snacks add up. Most of all, I need sugar. The end of every meal/snack/hour deserves a treat. All this, and I hate paying for food. Good times.
- I'm gorging on booze. I've gone through a third of my Bermudian rum in 4 days... mmm. I had to watch it for a full week, so now I'm catching up.
- I'm relaxed, which is not necessarily a good thing. My job requires me to be proactive, double-check every detail and anticipate problems before they happen. Lounging at my desk enjoying the afternoon is not helping.
- I got used to sitting by the pool doing nothing. Even with my Graduate Education beginning this week, I can't bear to pull myself away from my best friend, TiVo. This also might be a good time to discuss my YouTube addiction. (Brian, watch this.)
- I miss swimming in the ocean. I find myself over-salting my food to get a little of the marine flavor back. Weird, but true.
- With every passing week, the reality of parenthood gets closer and closer. Jubilation and paralyzing anxiety are running neck and neck for the top emotional spot.
- Trivia anyone? Taboo, perhaps? I need games! Why can't my employer understand the time commitment this requires?!?

All in all, it's good to be home. I do NOT miss the rocking of the boat or the moron-people who don't know how a buffet line works. I also appreciate having more than 6 channels of TV to choose from, but damn, I wish I were back on the boat.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Secret Life of Laura Bush

I recently heard that Laura Bush might not be the squeaky-clean God-fearing Republican she appears to be. In her youth, she was in a car accident where she hit and killed her ex-boyfriend in a car accident. Also, she was a marijuana dealer.

I am no fan of the president, but I'm even more against empty rumors. Still, this is not the first time I've heard that our first lady might have a questionable character. During the 2000 election, a work colleague of mine mentioned that Laura Bush was never on the campaign trail because 1) she is not mentally fit top handle the rigors of the job and 2) she nor her husband really wanted W to win the election, but instead they were pressured/forced to be the candidate by circumstance.

Given all this speculations, I decided to spend a rigorous 20 minutes researching the topic while multi-tasking (watching Project Runway). First, I went to
Wikipedia, the most reliable news source in the world, and found this line. Makes the accident seem more like a tragic accident in this account.

In 1963 Laura Bush was involved in a fatal car accident when she ran a stop sign and crashed into another car, killing her boyfriend who was driving the car. According to the two-page accident report released by the city of Midland, neither driver was drinking and no charges were filed.

I also found this quote from
The Sunday Herald (I never heard of it) from 9/2004 that looks at the president's past. The article relies heavily on the Bush biography The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty by Kitty Kelly, which is very critical to begin with. Written at the height of anti-Bush/pro-John Kerry election propaganda, it should be taken with a heaping tablespoon of salt. The author seems to have turned rumor into truth, something the Republicans have perfected (The insurgency is in its death throws).

There are even claims that First Lady Laura Bush was a drug dealer in her youth...Kelly says she was the “go-to-girl for dime bags” of grass at the Southern Methodist University. “She not only smoked dope but she sold dope.”


Laura was also involved in a car smash that killed a friend when she was 17. The accident happened when she ran through a stop sign in her Chevrolet sedan on a clear night in November 1963, drove into an intersection and struck the Corvair sedan of 17-year-old Michael Douglas. No charges were ever filed.

Laura is also supposed to have had to flee her marital home on a number of occasions because of Bush’s apparently abusive behaviour. However, the police were said to have never been involved.

So what does this tell us? Absolutely nothing. Everyone has secrets and incidents they'd rather forget. But not everyone becomes leader of the free world, so there are good reasons to know more about the past of leaders.

Of course, none of what's written above compares to the past of W himself: drunk driving, calling out his Dad to fight him "mano-a-mano," skipping out on military service during wartime, cocaine, and even an abortion in the 70's - all leading up to the Wgite House. I can't WAIT for that TV movie!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Planet By Any Other Name...

Today at the International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly in Prague, astronomers decided that the Solar System has eight planets. Pluto is now a "dwarf planet." To be a planet, the assembly ruled, a world must meet three criteria:

(1) It must have enough mass and gravity to gather itself into a ball.

(2) It must orbit the sun.

(3) It must reign supreme in its own orbit, having "cleared the neighborhood" of other competing bodies.

So, e.g., mighty Jupiter, which circles the sun supreme in its own orbit, is a planet--no adjective required. Pluto, on the other hand, shares the outer solar system with thousands of Pluto-like objects. Because it has not "cleared its own neighborhood," it is a dwarf planet.

This is huge! Not only do all school science textbooks need to be rewritten, but it's the first time we have a global concensus on what make a planet. Stripping Pluto of it's "planet" status might seems like a big deal. But consider that we've only known about Pluto for 76 years (discovered in 1930). On the astronmical clock, that's less than a tick of the second hand.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bob Dylan 101: Mr. Tambourine Man

I always thought of "Mr. Tambourine Man" as one of Bob Dylan's earliest songs. I guess that's because when I first heard of Dylan or 'learned' about him in school, that was one of the songs I was told to listen to (along with "The Times They Are A Changing"). For this reason, I never really liked the song. I thought of it as a simplistic tune with some strange political message that escaped me.

I was wrong. Dylan's first album was recorded back in 1962. Though he had been playing "Mr. Tambourine Man" for years earlier, it wasn't actually recorded until his sixth album, Subterranean Homesick Blues, the album where Dylan goes electric (though ironically the best songs are acoustic).

I thought of this song as the typical Dylan song, but it's far from it. Many die-hard Dylan fans hated the song when it first came out. It had no political message or protest theme that marked many of his most famous songs (think "The Times They Are A Changing").

Actually, this song would mark Dylan's switch from topical protest songs to the more intrspective, commercial tunes about personal, emotional subjects (soon after would come "Like A Rolling Stone" on his next album, Highway 61 Revisited). I guess it just goes to show that the telling of history is more important than how it actually happened.

The song is an amazing example of how stream-of-consciousness beat-poetry can be put to music to say something significant and universal yet tell us nothing at all. There is not story or grand message, just a description of feelings and visions.

I've read that it's about "the transcendence of music." Not sure what that means, but I can't think of a better way to describe it. Here are a few verses I find amazing, though they were written to be heard, not read. Reading doesn't do it justice:

Though I know that evenin's empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me
I'm branded on my feet, I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming.

Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me

Friday, August 11, 2006

Baby Likes Me

Around this time in her development, the baby's hearing is functional. She is no longer scared by sounds loud, unfamiliar sounds (such as car horns or fire alarms). At the same time, she can be comforted by other more familiar sounds she hears regularly. This is one of the first times she is using her memory.

Last night I was talking to the baby, like I was always do. I say things like "Hi Baby" and "I love you, L[ashandah]". I don't plan on being too talkative to the baby, as I know Mommy is much better at gab than Daddy. It feels a little weird talking to a stomach, but I know she's in there and I want her to know my voice before she comes out.

So last night, she started kicking after I spoke. Very exciting! I watched the belly for a little longer to see if she would kick so hard I could see it, but to no avail. (I saw it happen once and am dying to see it again. It may have looked like Alien, but it reminded me more of The Boy in the Bubble. She' not trying to get out, just testing the limits of her environment.

This morning I said bye to Mommy then to Baby. After I left, Baby started kicking again. We think that means baby knows my voice. And by her kicking, that means she likes me. I can't tell you how awesome that feels! When you love something so much before you even get to see it, any kind of "communication" is precious.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Danger of Ultrasounds

Uh-oh.

Prolonged exposure to ultrasound in the womb causes brain abnormalities in fetal mice, according to researchers. The finding sounds a cautionary note about the frivolous use of ultrasound for such things as keepsake sonograms, even though the study is not directly applicable to humans.

The study in mice does not mean that use of ultrasound on human fetuses for appropriate diagnostic and medical purposes should be abandoned. Instead, the study warns against its non-medical use. The FDA and the American Institute of Ultrasound Medicine have formally opposed such uses, warning that the effects of repeated ultrasound exposures on human fetuses are not known.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Don't Hassel the Hoff

David Hasselhoff has a new video. I watched the whole thing, and I did not like it. Still, it was strangely amusing, in an overly-egotisical-yet-self-deprecating way. Watch how he relives all the "glory days" of his career. Each one was a big hit, but when all put together they seem very insignificant and dull. It's almost sad, but he seems to be having fun with it.

In any event, I think it's worth a posting. My next post will be about how the Germans are ruining the world of popular music... right beside whatever country Sean Paul came from. "Uh ooooh!!"

Memorable Moments from Westhampton

By 5pm on Saturday, I had done everything I had set out to do for the weekend. It all started with a trip to the supermarket where we buy too much food, followed by a meal of high-end Italian cold cuts and chugging 3 beers in 30 minutes.

Then I go to the beach and play in the water with a 10 and 8-year-old nieces of family friends. The waves are breaking very close to the shore, I invent a new sport I call sit-surfing, where you sit down and let the waves pull you and in and out. The objective is to keep your ass on the sand and your head above water. The weather is perfect, the water warm and clear.

After that, I go in the pool, which is so warm it felt like bath water. Then I read by the pool with Harley and felt truly relaxed. That’s when the drinking starts. My father-in-law is buying drinks for myself, my mother-in-law, their alcoholic friend Lionel, and my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. At Jon’s recommendation, I drInk a concoction of 4 flavored Vodkas (orange, vanilla, citrus, raspberry) topped with cranberry juice. It tastes like fruit punch, though most won’t try it. The comes another drink, then another. That’s when we decide to go for dinner.

Next thing I know, I’m barley sober and driving the yellow Hummer with Neil passed out drunk in the passenger seat, his door covered in vomit. We reach a sushi place. I do Sake Bombs with my brother in-law. I order anything and everything I want, knowing some one else will pick up the tab. Sometimes dreams do come true.

After a night spent on an aero-bed in a 55-degree room, Sunday morning begins with a beer. I make a quick trip to the beach for one last swim in the ocean. The waves are large and deep. I sing “All This Time” over and over while the waves lull me deeper into my stupor. As a surprise wave covered my head, I unwillingly donate my sunglass to the ocean floor. Goodbye, $12 sunglasses.

Later that day, and I’m in Mammy’s room looking at all the clothes Paula bought for my unborn daughter. Very cute stuff. I restring Neil’s guitar, which has been chewed up by the dogs. I help Mammy feed the dogs. One of them throws up; another one eats the undigested food. I am happy I don’t have dogs. I grab a couple more beers before we hit the train home rested and relaxed. I procrastinate at work by writing about this weekend. Time for lunch.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Soda, Pop, Coke... oy vay

An overview of what people call carbonated drinks across the country.

The Best and Worst of Newport, RI.

- hanging out with Harley in the air conditioned suite, then having to leave the air conditioned suite to go on a crappy ghost tour
- "hanging out" with Harley in the back room of the air conditioned suite
- free dessert after finding a piece of tin foil in my bleu cheese bacon burger (I had a vanilla brownie sundae, Harley had fresh fruit and sorbet)
- forgetting to bring more than 1 pair of underwear
- Harley being unable to walk but still buying 2 pairs of shoes
- seeing The Breakers mansion
- spending an hour in traffic to get to Grandma Ruth’s, but then finally getting to see her
- seeing a girl with the same left-should tattoo as Angelina Jolie (how could her mother let that happen!)
- parking on Saturday night and the crap Mexican meal we had
- the Cookies & Cream malted milkshakes, then the explosive gas it gave me
- having to have another Cookies & Cream malted milkshake the following day
- the heat!!
- seeing the John Lennon art exhibit and buying Baby L her first book
- getting the huge dragon tattoo on my chest (hahaha)
- finding a vegetarian friendly Italian restaurant, then liking Harley's vegetarian meal more than my own meat dish
- watching Good Eats in a king size bed, but having Harley roll onto my side and still leaving me no room on a king size bed
- the most talkative Innkeeper in the world
- forgetting about work, then coming back to work Monday morning
- being on vacation with "my girls", knowing that this could be the last one for a long, long time

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Miss Universe Travesty

I watched Miss Universe on Sunday night, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Well, maybe a little embarrassed, but anyway.

I feel strongly that Miss Japan was robbed! She was beautiful, had great presence, and by far had the best responses to her questions of the night, answering in Japanese, French, and English - a language she doesn't even claim to speak! She was natural, accessible, and likeable.

Miss Puerto Rico, on the other hand, seemed to be a beauty pageant pro. She had poise and the costumes you'd expect. but her evening gown was so out there. The pageant regulars - like Carson from the Fab 5 - loved it, but it didn't come close to Japan's stunning black piece.

I made sure to review the swimsuit competition closely. I watched it about 5 times just to make sure I remembered each contestant. Japan went from sweet to sultry in an instant, while Puerto Rico's personality button was stuck on 'sassy' with less poise and less character. I thought Japan won, with Switzerland a close second. But I might need to watch it again...

Also, the Japanese translator was terrible!! She barely communicated Miss Japan's answer to the second question. Compare that with Miss Puerto Rico's translator who did a fantastic job, even cutting her off when he felt the time was right. With the question section of the evening playing such a vital role in the judging, that must have had an impact on the judges' decision.

In conclusion, I thought the choice for Miss Universe 2006 was a poor one. I am surprised at how artificial she looks (check out the Michael Jackson nose - eww!!). In these competitions, which seem so fake, it is important to reward 'natural' beauty. Un-augmented breasts and 'the nose God gave you' should be encouraged. Miss Puerto Rico is very plastic to me, while Miss Japan had a natural elegance and intelligence that deserved the win.

This entry in no way reflects the author's opinions and views of Puerto Rico or its people, which happens to be a country that makes beautiful sisters-in-law.

My Converstion with The Intern

me: "You're summer's almost over isn't it? You going back to school soon, right?"
intern: "Yeah."
me: "Which school do you go to?"
intern: "Ursinus."
me: "Oh. I once had an Ursinus infection."
intern: "You used that joke on me twice already."
me: "Have a wonderful day."