Happy Holla-dayz.

Juggling Dimes Yams & Pomegranates

That may look like an abandoned house behind me. It is. But in front of that there are 2 fires. This is a huge day. Later there will be 2 birds and a pottage cooking over those flames. This is exactly how the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving. Just with less juggling. They frowned upon juggling.

Is it too early to wear my reindeer sweater?


Funny, this is what I think of you Schwenn.

Goodwill Towards Beards

The best thing about Beard Month is that each one is better than the last.



This seems appropriate to have with me over Thanksgiving.


A Capital Review: Eastern Europe

The Baltics:
   · These countries are conveniently arranged in alphabetically order from N→S. The capitals are not.
   · Tallinn is on top.
   · Riga is the biggest and the one you're most likely to remember.  It sits on the Gulf of Riga, which is the only memorable geographical feature of the Baltics.
   · That leaves Vilnius. How do you keep Latvia straight from Lithuania? Lithuania has a 'u', so does Vilnius.

There's also the little mnemonic TRaVELL (Tallinn - Riga - Vilnius, Estonia - Latvia - Lithuania). Like everything else when you're dealing with the Baltics, there're two 'l's in 'travel'.

The Russias ( ± Moldova):
   · Regular (i.e. Big) Russian - Moscow
   · White (i.e. Bela) Russia - Minsk (of Seinfeld fame, "Rochelle, Rochelle: a young girl's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk")
       ☞ Take home message: if you have 'Rus' in your name, your capital starts with an 'M'
   · Ukraine (formerly Little Russia) - Kiev, like the chicken.

   · Then there's the little step-child Moldova. Which sounds like Mulva, which rhymes with vulva. As opposed to Delores, which rhymes with clitoris. Its capital Chişinău, like clitoris, is all 'c' and 's'-y.

The Danube Bs:
   · Three capitals of Eastern Europe are on the Danube -  Bratislva, Budapest, & Belgrade. The river then goes on to form the Northern border of Bugaria.

   · If you can remember Slovakia, you should be able to remember its capital is Bratislava. And of course the capital of the other piece of the Former Czechoslovakia, Prague.

   · Then there's Budapest, which comes in two pieces: Buda (on the West bank) and Pest (on the East bank). Together they're the capital of the latter part of that empire famously of two pieces: Austria-Hungary.

That brings us to Belgrade and the Former Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was always a load of BS, so:

Bosnia ⇒ Sarajevo
Belgrade ⇐ Serbia

Slovenia is just weird. It's like a spelling of Slovakia that went terribly wrong, which goes well with its capital, Ljubljana, that also looks terribly misspelled.

The capital of Croatia is Zagreb. I know this because Dr. Kovač of E.R. (the one with the funny 'c' in his name) is Croatian and he's always making lugubrious references to his dead family back in Zagreb. It can get hard to keep straight which country is which in this little minefield of nations; just remember, Croatia is the one shaped like a C.

There's also the two newbies to the Independent-Country Club: Kosovo and Montenegro. Conveniently, both capitals are P-initial, Pristina and Podgorica, respectively.


Tirane (Albania)
Skopje (Macedonia)
Sofia (Bulgaria)
Bucharest (Romania)
    ☞ Bucharest sounds like Eucharist, the eating of Christ's body and drinking of Christ's blood. Romania, home to Transylvania and Count Dracula, of non-Christ blood drinking fame. Coincidence?

To review: Travel in the Baltics requires 2 'l's. Seinfeld taught you everything you need to know about The Russias. The Danube: B's and divided empires. The B.S. of Yugoslavia. And TSSst across the bottom.


cross x word

I had to look up those last 4 letters, but I still consider this Friday puzzle a success. 51-down caused more problems than it should have; when it comes to F.D.R. you've only got three choices: CCC, WPA, or TVA. I wanted 49-across to be ATILLA instead of ATTILA though and that held me back for a little while.


[1 x Sweater]⁴

This half-zip cable knit is the sweater I wore to finish out the 2007-2008 Sweater Season last May. It was back for a double dose of Linguistics 101 discussion sections today. Here we see a reenactment of my 3:30 section. We're in the middle of our syntax unit right now, so we've been busy drawing trees for a (limited) variety of sentences. Some sentences are ambiguous, others are creepy. These two are both.

1. The man saw the boy with the telescope.
2. The magician touched the chid with the wand.


The Jagged Edge. Coming the 1st week of December.


Price Check: He's 27

If you're reading this blog, you already know: I'm 27. It happened saturday night, sometime around 11/10 central. I passed that milestone alone, on my old curried leather couch, with some chinese takeout and a small leather pillow by my side. It was a reflective moment; a lot of really good things had happened over the past 30 hours:

☜ Joanna had acquainted me with another alternative menstruation device (A.M.D.), the PIMP. Only slightly less revolting than the Moon Cup, and just as terribly named.

"The fun colors and patterns keep me looking forward to the next party..."

☜ There had been a world geography quiz, allowing me to revel in one of my talents (i.a. geography/capitals, parallel parking, shellfish).

The winning entry, submitted by Schmatie, was lost in or around The Essen Haus. Instead, here is Martin's 2nd Place submission. Africa, along with Eastern Europe and Central Asia, proved to be significant stumbling blocks for most in attendance. Not to worry, I'm currently working on a study guide to help with these problem areas.

☝ Beets!

☞ Beards, corduroy, jackets, elbow patches, ties, & sweaters. All in one place.

☝ A group march across Monroe St., with flags.

☜ Things in my 'stache.

Girls in 'staches. ☞

☝ Beer in boots; eye patches.

☜ A price check at the dollar store involving 2 cashiers, a trip back to the item's aisle, and at least 5 minutes. Turns out that cup was $1. Just like everything else in the store.

Final status of birthday 27: success.


My first shipment should be here Tuesday.


Improvisational Contact is my least favorite type of contact.


Belated Comments

Who's Polly, and why are they concerned with our Maine Menu and/or my mom's temper?


I listen to NPR...

It's true. I listen all the time. Usually to WHYY out of Philadelphia, although sometimes I have to switch over to WXXI out of Rochester to get Diane Rehm. Today, Weekend Edition introduced me to These United States. Have you heard of them? I actually paid for some of their songs today. Joanna, I expect you especially to enjoy these.


It makes you Cry a Little Rainbow

That 3rd quarter, so loose.

For any who haven't heard the magic that is Cribshitter:

They do sweet songs too:

And sing the classics:


My First Cardigan

What do you think I should keep in my little pockets?

When I put this sweater on my first thought was, "I'm the same color as my mailbox."  This turned out to not be true. Which is good, because I hate my mailbox. Too small, nothing ever fits. Also, you may notice that newspaper sitting there. It's not mine. But I guarantee you that the creepy guy upstairs thinks it is.

An old lady gave me this button on Tuesday.


Surprise Parading

Around midnight central time Madison, WI broke out in spontaneous celebration.

Spontaneous Parading from wbarnebey on Vimeo.

And after a lap around State St. we liberally congratulated ourselves:

Tunnel of Love from wbarnebey on Vimeo.