Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In The Rose City

there's...I love this billboard for the pure opacity of it. This is the back side of the official Timbers Army scarf.But the thing is, you wouldn't know that unless you are familiar with the team and its supporters. Which means you probably already support the team.

So as marketing, I'm not sure if this isn't a fail.

But as a symbol of the great soccer spirit here in the Rose City, it's a 5-nil winner.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Spy vs. Spy: Beaver State Fathead Edition

So it turns out that I now know a total of something like a dozen people who were in Pioneer Square in downtown Portland when this fucking idiot thought he was committing an act of guerilla violence.

The following couple of days my Facebook page was littered with posts to the effect of "OMG! I was there! Thank you, FBI!" and appended with comments praising God and the solder (or FBI agent) whom we adore.

Perhaps it was because I hadn't the slightest interest is watching the lights go on a big fir tree so I was at home playing Jenga. Or perhaps its because I'm a nasty, cynical SOB by nature. But you'll excuse me if I beg off the universal congratulations to my government for catching the next Khalid Sheik Mohammad.

Because from what I understand;

1. This idiot did everything but wander around Corvallis wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Osama and the legend "I'm With Stupid".

2. Ignoring the First Rule of Internet Hookups ("The chance that the hot sixteen-year-old soliciting for no-holds-barred wild monkey sex over the Internet is actually either a vice cop trolling for morons or a 42-year-old pervert looking to get you to post pictures of your pecker approaches unity the longer you keep searching the Net for loli-porn") the idiot splattered the Web with his jihadi spam until the FBI was unable to continue to ignore him.

3. The feds then:
a. contacted Mohamud in a June 2010 e-mail under the guise of being a jihadi.
b. met with the guy multiple times, where he pushed them to help him with his nefarious plans. Supposedly the agents "cautioned Mohamud several times about the seriousness of his plan, noting that there would be many people, including children, at the event"
c. pretended to help him with logistics, including "assembling" the bomb and testing a smaller version somewhere in backass Lincoln County, Oregon.
d. appeared in a video with him to record his "mission statement".
e. picked up Mohamud to travel to Portland to finalize details of the attack.
f. set him in the seat of his bomb-van with several fake drums of pretend explosives in the back (which the idiot failed to check, proving that he was a no-go at the first performance test of walking-while-breathing, "You need to be smarter than your equipment") which he dropped off near the tree-lighting spot
g. let him make the detonating phone call - twice - and then busted him.

So excuse me if I'm not celebrating the takedown of the greatest criminal mastermind since Professor Moriarty. This moron Mohamud sounds like he might have spent the next five years in his bedroom playing the jihadi version of "Call of Duty" and eating cheetos if the FBI hadn't pretty much handed him the color-by-numbers handbook for would-be jihadi truck bombers. This wasn't fucking Tim McVeigh. This wasn't even your basic Palestinian pay-for-kaboom suicide bomber. This was a fucking idiot who didn't have the basic common sense to check the equipment his suddenly confiding new "friends" procured, engineered, assembled, transported, and emplaced for him.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad this guy didn't kill anyone. I'm GLAD he is a fucking idiot.

But I'm reading the skittish Facebook responses from the people who were in the square that evening, and wondering what will happen the next time someone proposes some sort of additional security theatre, or profiling the Somali immigrant community, or loosening the entrapment laws, or some other sort of exchange of liberty for "security".

And, of course, demands that all response to the nose-led idiot be based on panic fear and reflexive condemnation rather than skepticism and the Rule of Law.

Or, even better, turns into lynch mob counter-terror and attacks on American muslims because...well...because, y'know, they're terrists!

Because if the study of history and politics has taught me anything, it has taught me that there is no practical limit to the damage to a society that the society can do to itself when prodded by a single idiot.

Update 11/28 p.m.: Greenwald has more, including the vexing details that the FBI 1) may not have actual evidence that the moron chose his moron path and was not entrapped in some form, 2) paid him as part of smoothing his path to Pioneer Square, and that 3) "Here we find one of the great mysteries in American political culture: that the U.S. Government dispatches its military all over the world -- invading, occupying, and bombing multiple Muslim countries -- torturing them, imprisoning them without charges, shooting them up at checkpoints, sending remote-controlled drones to explode their homes, imposing sanctions that starve hundreds of thousands of children to death -- and Americans are then baffled when some Muslims -- an amazingly small percentage -- harbor anger and vengeance at them and want to return the violence. And here we also find the greatest myth in American political discourse: that engaging in all of that military aggression somehow constitutes Staying Safe and combating Terrorism -- rather than doing more than any single other cause to provoke, sustain and fuel Terrorism."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Unsplit Ends

Took Little Miss out to dim sum this morning and then to her first real movie in a theatre.

Dim sum was good, as always; Wong's King doesn't disappoint.

But the pleasant surprise was that the movie didn't either.

I don't have much left in the way of expectations from the Disney factory. Outside of the Pixar shop, most of the horses trotted out of the Disney stable lately seem to have been the broken-down get of the old sire Walt. Given that the man has been dead for decades, it's not surprising that his progeny are starting to get more than a little, well, sickly looking. So I expected something that would be barely tolerable for a four-and-a-half-year-old.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

The story was nothing surprising - you can't exactly break the mold with fairy tales, right? And the "spunky princess" and the "rogue with a heart of gold" are chestnuts off many a tree other than the one in the Disney backlot.But the animation was lovely; bright and cheery in the Disney style but still rich with detail. The main characters, stock company troupers that they were, were rendered with loving care, well-written, and nicely voiced. The supporting "actors" stole the show (as they often do) in the form of the stalwart guard-horse and Rapunzel's little tough-guy chameleon pal.

Even the Bad Guy, who in this case was a Bad Gal, was rendered with care and attention; she was a villainess, yes, but one with flair and relish, a very diva of demonesses.So all together it made a really delightful hour-and-a-half for a dad and daughter to spend as part of a midday Saturday.

I think what made all the difference in "Tangled" was the sense I got of a genuine love of its creators for the two cartoon leads and the world they inhabited. I've sat through some of the worst of the Disney dreck - a father sacrifices for his progeny, sigh... - but much of the recent stuff the outfit produced since losing the Great Helmsman in the middle Sixties wasn't just bad, it was really soulless. By-the-numbers commercial crap with the heart of an adding machine and the soul of a cash register. The people making it hadn't just forgotten how to make a good movie; they'd forgotten how to make any sort of art at all.To make something of worth, you have to care. Your caring might come from love, or hate, revenge, anger, or desire. But if you don't care about your creation it will show, and it did.

The people who made Disney's latest picture may have had one eye on the bottom line; commercial art has to pay for itself, after all. But the other eye was on the characters they brought to life on the screen, and that eye was full of love.


The U.S. Women's National Team qualified for the finals of the Women's World Cup today, winning 1-0 over Italy to go through 2-0 on aggregate.This would once have been a "dog bites woman" story, but this year has been very different from the qualifiers the USWNT has played from all the way back to 1991.

For one thing, the team did not go through at the top of the CONCACAF group; that would be Canada, led by Christine Sinclair. Mexico, as always staffed with U.S. collegiate players from Mexico, went second.So the USWNT had first to defeat Costa Rica for third place, and then beat the sixith place European team - Italy - for a spot in the finals.

And the other real difference is that the U.S. doesn't have either an individual player or a group of players significantly better than the best in Europe or Brazil.

Instead, this U.S. team has showed itself to be; often flawed at the back, where missed communication has led to several ugly goals or good chances for the opposition; lacking the controlling midfield that was key to American success in 1991 and 1999, and especially sterile up front, where the only real consistently successful weapon has been Abby Wambach.I've talked about this before; Wambach is a genuinely great player, but her ability makes her a perfect target and she tends to be badly over-used by a U.S. midfield that lacks passing dexterity and control and has no real wingers. The U.S. tends to go hey-diddle-diddle right through the middle, where it exposes the defensive ineptitude of most of the rest of CONCACAF as well as the clumsy soccer played by most of the women's teams from South America, Africa and Asia.But the Germans have proved in the sternest fashion, by beating the Americans to the Cup the past eight years, that they have solved Wambach. Four years ago the brilliance of Marta combined with the tight marking that neutralized Wambach to allow Brazil to put a hurting on a badly coached, demoralized, and overage U.S. team.

The change has been in part because the northern Europeans always had, and the Brazilians have gained, the skills they needed to play world-class football. But in part is has been because the U.S. team that burst on the world like an explosion in 1991 was a truly brilliant squad made of uniquely gifted players. We only partially realized at the time how good the Ninety-oners were; Mia, Tiff, Loudy, Brandi, Joy, Kristine, Michelle, Brianna...we can see now that they have to be considered one of the great teams of history, and the modern USWNT looks smaller only in the long shadow they cast now that they are gone.Two goals over the hapless Italians is just sad. And the lack of goalscoring isn't an aberration; the US has had difficulty scoring against decent teams all year. This year the U.S. begins its campaign for the Women's World Cup in an unusual position, as a challenger, and not a favored one at that.

I will be cheering and hoping for glory in Germany. But this year I suspect my support will, like many other WNT fans, be tinged with more than a little nervous anxiety. For the American women will be landing in Germany next spring not as the Team of Destiny, but the Team of Doubts.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Jukebox: 16 TOHH Edition

Posted without further comment.(h/t to Lawyers, Guns & Money)


Very untraditional Turkey Day at the Fire Direction Center this year.

No turkey, no football, no stuffing, no family other than our own little one.

Peep and I spent the whole day op at the mountain snowboarding. Peep was a monster; his teacher's words were "You're totally sick, li'l dude!", he loves it and wants to go back ASAP. I suck. There's no nice way to put it. Oh, well. There's always skiing.

While we were up shredding the slopes - or at least the Peep was - Missy and Mojo had a girly day in Portland that included lots of treats and more skating. Missy is apparently determined to become a little cliche adorable Asian ice princess. Which is, well, adorable. And she and her mom cooked up a honeybaked ham with lots of lovely sides and chocolate-dipped strawberries for dessert.So a feast WAS had here, and family joy was celebrated, and a Star Wars movie was watched, and now it's time for bed.

Hope you and yours had a holiday suffused with the love of those you love.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Ballad of Eskimo Nell, a Bawdy Verse

Be advised.

This is a VERY dirty poem.

I have loved poetry since childhood, and have read, and even written poetry, though the latter was so awful as to have earned me a deserved beating from Bulwar-Lytton and the guy who wrote the screenplay for "Gigli" together.

But I also have a rather bawdy sense of humor, which means my taste in the arts includes poetry as well as prose, song, and interpretive dance impolite as well as polite.This one is quite impolite. You are advised that it is neither safe for work nor the home and family, and the eyes of those of tender years should be warded from it lest they get the wrong ideas about men and women. And saloons.

And the poetry of Robert Service (in case you don't get the connection, go read "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" before reading further) as well as Arctic manners and mores.

This is me entertaining myself, and perhaps you if you appreciate a dirty joke well told. If you are of delicate constitution or douce temperament read no further!

For I now give you the 1982 Fort Bragg Rugby Club version of

The Ballad of Eskimo Nell

Gather 'round, you pimp and whore-y,
Gather 'round, and hear my story.

When a man grows old and his balls grow cold,
And the tip of his prick turns blue;
When it bends in the middle like a one-string fiddle,
He can tell you a tale or two.

So pull up a chair and stand me a drink,
And a tale to you I will tell
About Dead-Eye Dick and Mexican Pete
And a harlot named Eskimo Nell.

Now when Dead-Eye Dick and Mexican Pete
Go forth in search of fun,
It's Dead-Eye Dick that carries the prick,
And Mexican Pete the gun.This Dead-Eye Dick and this Mexican Pete
Lived down by Dead Man's Creek,
And such was their luck that they'd had no fuck
For nigh on half a week.

Sure, a moose or two, and a caribou,
And a bison cow or so,
But for Dead-Eye Dick with his massive prick,
This fucking was mighty slow.

Dick pounded his cock on a jagged rock,
And he said, "I want to play!
I've been wanking a week by this fucking creek,
With no women coming my way!"

So, do or dare, this horny pair
Set off for the Rio Grande:
Dead-Eye Dick with his frightful prick,
And Pete with his gun in his hand.

Then, as they blazed their noisy trail,
No man their path withstood.
The virgin bride, her husband's pride,
A pregnant widow stood.They roared the strand of the Rio Grand
From midnight to blazing noon.
When to slake their thirst and do their worst,
They sought Black Mike's saloon.

The swinging doors they pushed back wide,
And two fearsome weapons flashed free.
"According to sex, you bleeding wrecks,
You'll drink or you'll fuck with me!"

Now the boys knew of the fame of our hero's name
From Cape Horn to the Arctic stars;
So with nothing worse than a muttered curse
Those cowhands sought the bar.

The girls they knew of his playful ways
Down there on the Rio Grande,
So forty whores pulled down their drawers
At Dead-eyed Dick's command.For they saw the finger of Mexican Pete
Move on the trigger grip,
So they didn't wait; at a fearful rate
Those whores began to strip.

Now, Dead-Eye Dick was breathing quick
With lecherous grunts and puffs,
For forty asses were bared to view,
And likewise forty muffs.

Now forty bums and forty quims,
If you can use your wits,
And if you're slick at arithmetic,
Makes exactly eighty tits.

Sure, eighty tits are a gladsome sight
For a man with a raging stand.
They may not be rare in Berkeley Square,
But they are on the Rio Grande!

His phallic limb was fighting trim.
As he backed and took a run,
And made a dart at the nearest tart,
He scored a hole in one.

The lady he bore to the dusty floor,
And there he filled her fine,
And though she grinned, it put the wind
Up the other thirty-nine.

Deadeye Dick was finished quick,
And flinging the first aside,
He was making a run at the second one,
When the swinging doors flew wide.And entered in to that Hall of Sin,
Into that Harlot's Hell,
Strode a lusty maid who was unfraid:
Her name was Eskimo Nell.

By this time Dick had got his prick
Well into number two,
When Eskimo Nell let out a yell.
And bawled to him; "Hey, you!"

Dick gave a flick of his muscular prick,
And the girl flew over his head.
He then wheeled about with an angry shout -
His face and his bollocks were red.

With a lustful leer he said, "Look here,
Just get into the queue:
I've got to mate with thirty-eight
Before I get to you."

But Eskimo Nell, she stood up right well
And looked him dead in the eyes;
With utter scorn she sneered at the horn
That rose from his hairy thighs.

She drawled her scorn at his rampant thorn
In accents clear and cool:
"You sorry shrimp of a Yankee pimp!
You call that thing a tool?"If this here town can't take that down,"
She sneered to those cowering belles,
"There's another cunt that can do the stunt,
But it's surely Eskimo Nell's."

She dropped her garments one by one
With an air of conscious pride,
And as she stood in her womanhood,
They saw her Great Divide.

It is fair to state it was not so Great
As Deep as opposed to Wide;
And viewed from without, it left no doubt
Of the tensile strength inside.

She stubbed out the butt of her cigarette
On the end of his gleaming knob,
And so utterly beat was Mexico Pete
That he quite forgot his job.

She seated herself on a table top,
Where someone had left a glass.
With a twitch of her tits, she crushed it to bits
Between the cheeks of her ass.She flexed her knees with a supple ease,
And spread her thighs apart.
With a friendly nod to the mangy sod,
She gave him the cue to start.

Now, Dead-Eye Dick knew more than one trick,
And he meant to take his time,
For a woman like this was orgasmic bliss,
So he played the pantomime.

He flexed his asshole to and fro,
And made his balls inflate,
Until they looked like the granite knobs
On the top of a palace gate.He blew his anus inside out,
His scrotum increased in size,
His mighty prick grew twice as thick
And reached almost to his eyes.

He polished it up with alcohol,
Then, to make it steaming hot
And finish the job, he sprinkled the knob
With a cayenne pepperpot.

Then did he neither start to run
Nor did he take a leap,
Nor did he stoop, but with a swoop
Made a steady, forward creep.

As a marksman might, he took a sight
Along his mighty tool,
And his steady grin as he pushed it in
Showed a calculated cool.Have you ever seen the pistons
On the mighty C.P.R.,
With the driving force of a thousand horse?
Well, then you know what pistons are.

Or, you think you do, but you've yet to see
The ins and outs of the trick
Of the work when its done on a non-stop run
By a fellow like Dead-Eye Dick.

But Eskimo Nell was no infidel,
As good as a whole harem
With the strength of ten in her abdomen
And the Rock of Ages between.

With nary a scream, she could take the stream
Like the flush of a watercloset.
Now she gripped his cock like a Chatwood Lock
On the National Safe Deposit.

But Dead-Eye Dick would not come quick,
He meant to conserve his powers,
For if he'd a mind he'd grind and grind
For sixteen solid hours.

Nell lay a while with a subtle smile,
Then the grip of her chasm grew keener,
And a squeeze of her thigh then sucked him dry
With the ease of a vacuum cleaner.She performed this trick in a way so slick
As to set in complete defiance
The principal cause and basic laws
That govern sexual science.

She calmly rode through the phallic code
Which for years had withstood the test,
And the ancient rules of the classic schools
In a moment or two, went west.

Right here, my friend, we come to the end
Of copulation's classic:
The effect on Dick was sudden and quick
And akin to an anaesthetic.

He fell to the floor, and he knew no more,
His passions extinct and dead,
Nor did he shout as his cock fell out,
Though 'twas stripped right down to a thread.Then, Mexican Pete did leap to his feet
To avenge his pal's last spasm,
With a jarring jolt of his blue-nosed Colt,
He rammed it up Nell's chasm.

He rammed it hard to the trigger guard,
Then fired two times three,
But to his surprise, Nell closed her eyes
And smiled in ecstasy.Said Eskimo Nell, "You've rung my bell;
I'm ready to explode.
Oh Pete, my sweet, can you repeat?"
Said he, "I've shot my load".

She looked him down with a lowering frown,
Then "Too bad," she said, "for you,
I might have guessed that that was the best
That you two sad bastards could do."

"When next, my friend, that you intend
To sally forth for fun,
Buy Dead-Eye Dick a licorice stick,
And yourself an elephant gun."

"I'm going back to the frozen North
Where the peckers are hard and strong,
Back to the land of the grinding gland
Where the nights are six months long."

"It's hard as tin when they put it in
In the land where spunk is spunk.
Not a trickling stream of lukewarm cream,
But a frozen, steaming chunk.""Back to the land of the grinding gland,
Where the walrus plays with his prong,
Where the polar bear wanks off in his lair,
That's where they'll sing this song."

"Back to the wild and the icy North,
Where man and beast turn blue,
Where even the dead lie two to a bed
And the rotting corpses screw."

"Back to the land where men are Men,
I'll say 'Terra Bellicum,'
And there I'll spend my worthy end,
For the North is calling: 'Come!'"Then Dead-Eye Dick and Mexican Pete
Slunk away from the Rio Grande,
Dead-Eye Dick with his broken prick,
And Pete with no gun in his hand.

When a man grows old and his balls grow cold,
And the tip of his prick turns blue,
And the hole in the middle refuses to piddle,
I'd say he was fucked, wouldn't you?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why I Love Geology 2: 007

Okay. So we've established that geologists are generally cool people who do cool things.

But did you know that we're also secretly the world's sexist spies?Yep. As shown here in that cinematic triumph, Dante's Peak:I love everything about this movie, starting with the name; Dante's Peak - Dante's Inferno, get it? Subtle as a hammer to the face?

Oh, yeah.

The odd thing about this flick is that it is clearly meant to drag up the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helen's. You've got the small town (supposedly Washington but actually filmed in Idaho) literally in the shadow of the great volcano, all the flannel-and-latte trappings that the rubes associate with the Great Northwest, at least after David Lynch got through with them, and even a Harry Truman like-a-look in "Grandma Ruth" refusing to leave the upper slopes of Dante's hell-Peak because she knows "this ol' mountain won't hurt me..."

Riiiiiiiight, Grandma.

But does anyone other than me think that the entire notion of making a "Mt. St. Helen's" movie in 1997 was totally whack? Seventeen years after the eruption that made the national news wasn't exactly "ripped from today's headlines". I suspect that most people sorta-kinda remembered the events of May seventeen years earlier, but how did that help sell this flick? I suspect that the long remove from the historical event helped sink this turkey at the box office.

Geologically it's not a complete wash. The volcano does go from dormant to Plinian eruption within weeks rather than months, as is the actual case. And, no, entire mountain lakes don't really turn to acid, or hot springs suddenly boil skinny-dippers to death.
Although the dummies should really know better; anytime you get naked in a disaster/slasher flick, you're gonna die. Horribly. You know that. Grow a brain, people, and keep your damn skivvies on!
But there's some reasonably-close-to-accurate stratovolcano geology, and the final pyroclastic explosion is pretty damn cool.

And you have Linda Hamilton, all craggy-beautiful, stone-washed wholesome, and foofily serious as the mayor of this fictional small town as well as the proprietor and sole barista of the local coffee spot, acting all intent in a sort-of-spacey disaster-movie fashion to provide both the required local viewpoint and the Love Interest.

Why a love interest in a flick about volcanic death, you ask?

Because the hero hunka-hunka burnin' volcanologist who comes to the rescue is none other than Double-Oh Seven. Bond. James Bond.Seriously. James Bond, U.S. Geological Survey. Pierce Brosnan; the late-Nineties Bond himself, bustles onto the scene in his whompin' cool U.S.G.S. SUV (complete with snorkel for driving through rivers - you knew that all federal geologists are issued these, right?) to bark warnings to the ignorant hicks (producing much alarmed headshaking) and argue with complacent superiors (to be first reprimanded and, after the inevitable eruption, ruefully deferred to). Oh, and to conduct a "romance" with Linda the mayor/barista, naturally, although from the weak decaf they brew together it seems that Mister Kiss-kiss-bang-bang has left his Walther in his other pants and that Sarah Connor is still looking for Mr. Right rather than Mr. Right Now.But he's fucking James Bond, people. And he works for the U.S.G.S.!

How cool is that?

So to review; cool flaming volcano death, parboiled naked hootchie, Linda Hamilton necking with James Bond, acid lakes, lattes, driving government vehicles through raging rivers.Let's face it; geology is just flat-out, stomp-down, shake-your-moneymaker cool, and that's all there is to it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why I Love Geology 1: رقص شرقي

Came across this looking for a cartoon to attach to an email congratulating a co-worker for passing her GIT:
"Claire works as a senior geologist engineer at Arup, in Central Square Forth Street, Newcastle, and says her colleagues were taken aback when they first peered into the boot of her car. She said: “They see me wearing steel toe-caps and a hard hat so to see my sequined outfit and hip belts was a bit shocking for them."
Which just served to remind me of what I know from being in the business: geologists tend to be bright, outgoing, interesting people who also tend to do all sorts of entertaining things outside their profession.A transoceanic tip of the hard hat to Ms. Novis!

The Man Who Wasn't There; a Cautionary Tale

As I was walking up the stairI met a man who wasn't therehe wasn't there again todayI wish, I wish he'd stay away“It’s not him,” said a Western diplomat in Kabul intimately involved in the discussions. “And we gave him a lot of money.”
Now it is not good for the Christian's health to hustle the Aryan
For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles and he weareth the
Christian down;
And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of
the late deceased,And the epitaph drear: "A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East."

Monday, November 22, 2010

"Base slave, thy words are blunt, and so art thou."

Once again I have injured a friend with the file-edge of my tongue.

I know I'm not a particularly kindly or gentle person. Much of my amiability is pure sloth; I seldom despise anyone violently enough to work up the energy to harry and insult them. I don't admire this in myself, and when I remember I try and force myself to assemble enough humanity to pass for sympathetic, but it has a way of seeping out when I don't watch for it. My sensibility - in the Austinite meaning of the term - is very poorly developed. So I can be quite the rude jerk when I'm not paying attention.

And it doesn't help that I spent a great deal of my early middle adulthood in company of soldiers, where physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, and sartorial abuse is considered by many a combined art form, entertainment, and source of profound hilarity. We're talking the sort of give-and-take that placed little if anything off limits, from the morality, intelligence, honor, and personal hygiene of the principals to the chastity of their mothers, wives, and girlfriends...if it could be questioned, it was.

I also have very little personal reticence. I don't consider my own habits, hygiene, manners, mores, or ideas particularly sacred, or even particularly delicate. I will discuss the most appalling things without hesitation. I consider the observation "That's about the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard" a valid criticism if the statement in question has a chance of being in fact the stupidest fucking thing the listener has ever heard, and expect to be informed as such if I'm ever stupid enough to say something of the sort.

This is neither an admirable nor a civil trait.

I try and do my best to dress nicely and use a fork, to measure my words and speak judiciously, but the Yahoo in all of this comes out at the most inopportune moments and, often, leaves wounded feelings behind.

Some time ago, for example, I said something to a woman I will call Millicent. She and her husband adopted a little Chinese girl not much older than Missy and returned from China about the same time we did. They are of a similar background, taste, and general inclination as Mojo. Millicent even blogged for a bit, and their little family would turn up here from time to time, when we would socialize with them. They're good people, and I like and respect them.

But I had a knack, a positive gift for offending her. I said some things that fell under the heading of "affectionate abuse" for me but were genuine insults to her at one time and had apologized for them. But at some point last year I said something that she considered unforgivable - mortally insulting - and has since broken off all contact with my entire family because of what I said.

So my little girl misses out on another little girl who might be a wonderful playmate and friend, and my wife loses touch with a woman who was a friend of her own, and all because of something I did or said.

And the truly shaming thing is...I have absolutely no fucking idea what it was I said.

It is a bad thing when I say something so vilely insulting to someone that they irrupt any contact with my entire family rather than risk encountering me, even at a remove.

But it is an even worse thing when I don't even remember the incident or the insult or even that is WAS an insult.

Plainly, I need to work on my social skills.

And in the meantime I have, again, thoughtlessly hurt someone I like and whose company I enjoy. I cannot unsay those hard words; I wish I could. All I can do is beg pardon.

And try and sharpen the blunt edge of my wit against making the same mistakes again and again.

God, I can be a fucking idiot when I try."Convey him hence and on our longboat's side
Strike off his head."

Again with the cooties

Poor little Miss.

She just can't seem to repel the Louse Invasion.

So this Sunday we huddled inside against the nasty wet cold, I got in a steamy tub full of soapy water - the Girl likes her bathwater on the scalding side of hot - and scrubbed her little head thoroughly. After enough mermaid play I lifted her out, towelled her dry, and raised the shears above her head.Before you could say "Rapunzel" little Miss had lost half her shiny black hair.

Luckily for us we'd been preparing her for the moment for several days, reassuring her that it would grow back, explaining how we needed to trim her crop so that the Good Medicine could whack the Bad Bugs and stop them from making her head itch.So she was a very Good Little Girl and ended up with the appallingly cliche' Adorable Chinese Moppet Bowl Cut; she looks like she stepped off the package of some awful La Choy industrial-grade dinner. Sweet-and-sour pork, probably.

But that wasn't the idea. The idea was the civilized version of the Shaved Head And Purple Nit Paint of my youth; the idea was Death to Lice, and the Little Miss' defoliated dome worked like Agent Orange on a second-growth forest in the Ia Drang Valley. The little boogers got napalmed, and then Mojo went in behind the airstrikes with the tooth-comb ground assault and combed out the stay-behind ambushes and louse-egg booby traps.Mind you, everything has its cost. For us it was two anxious hours hovering over the Girl ensuring that the vile louse-shampoo stayed out of her "nose, eyes, mouth, and vagina" (according to the directions on the package. Who the hell goes around sticking louse shampoo in their lovely lady bits? Unless you're stupid enough to use this stuff on CRAB lice, which it very clearly tells you not to. Honestly, just when you think you've plumbed the depth of human inanity...). The pink headband was a means to keep the stuff off her face.Anyway, the entire effort seems to have been worth it. So far, Little Miss appears louse-free. And her mother does, too, since after several hours of furtive scratching (entirely sympathetic, IMO) Mojo dosed herself, too.

So here she is with her mom, both of them squeaky clean American Girls without a scintilla of nit between them.