December 30: brickberry

A term for the old, outdated phone you have to use when your current phone breaks.

“It takes me ten minutes to type a text message on this brickberry now that my iPhone broke, but at least i get to play snake.”

Urban Word of the Day

I have a brickberry – It’s my main phone.

Drink More Coffee!!

This is good news for you coffee fiends –
The steaming cup that wakes you up can also keep you healthy. Research shows that coffee protects against a variety of ailments—from cavities to colon cancer. And some studies suggest that the more you drink, the better.

The beverage lowers your risk of type 2 diabetes and can protect your liver from damage, too. Caffeine gets the credit for some of coffee’s magic powers, including protection against Parkinson’s disease and gallstones. But coffee’s main benefit comes from its wealth of antioxidants. In fact, the coffee bean, which is technically a berry, has one of the highest antioxidant contents of all berries, says Tomas de Paulis, Ph.D., formerly of the Vanderbilt University Institute for Coffee Studies. That’s why, drop for drop, coffee has more of these nutrients than even red wine. If you have osteoporosis, be sure to follow your doctor’s advice for calcium supplementation, because in some studies, coffee drinking has raised the risk of bone fractures.

All is calm, all is bright

From Every Learner’s Knowledge News

December 25, 2008 


Silent Night


What happens when you pair the poetry of a priest with them usic of a school teacher? Christmas magic! On December 24, 1818, in Oberndorf, Austria, Father Josef Mohr gave the schoolmaster, Franz Gruber, a poem he had written two years earlier. Mohr asked his friend to set the poem to music.

Considering Gruber was the church organist, you might think his music would be for voice and organ accompaniment. Yet Gruber wrote it for voice and guitar. Some say the church organ was broken. Others say Mohr, a guitarist, simply wanted more music to play. That part of the story isn’t clear.

What’s certain is that the piece was performed that very Christmas Eve at midnight mass at St. Nicholas Church, where Mohr was the assistant priest. The silence of the night was broken when Mohr, Gruber, and a choir sang “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!” for the first time. Mohr also played his guitar.

“Silent Night” Makes Noise

The song might have just rested in heavenly peace at that point, but Gruber credits an organ builder, Carl Mauracher, with starting the carol’s spread. According to Gruber, Mauracher took the music with him on his business travels. 

Eventually, two singing families, the Strassers and the Rainers, added the song to their repertoires, took it on tour, and made it known throughout Europe. Before long, people were singing “Silent Night” in English as well as German, and in hundreds of other languages, too. 

“Silent Night” Makes Peace

But the story of “Silent Night” isn’t just the story of the song. In 1914, when World War I was only months old, it was once again Christmas Eve, and armies were celebrating as best they could. Troops on both sides began to sing Christmas carols. Eventually, someone sang “Silent Night.”

With “Silent Night,” enemies were temporarily bonded in song, as both sides knew the words and melody. The Germans sang in German, the British sang in English, but they sang this carol together. Soon, soldiers climbed from their trenches and met in No Man’s Land in an impromptu truce.

They buried the dead from both sides, exchanged tokens of Christmas cheer, and even played a game of soccer. The Christmas truce didn’t last, but for a few shining hours in the trenches of the battlefield, it really was a silent night.

–Rebecca Bigelow

Learn the English Lyrics to “Silent Night”

Read (or even sing) it now:



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One more Christmas gone by the wayside

This wins as the quietest Christmas ever. We got up, just the two of us, had breakfast, lazed around, finally opened up the gifts (SCORE!!) and semi cleaned up.

Andrew came over in the afternoon and we had Christmas dinner, which turned out okay. Honeybaked ham, hard to go wrong with that and now there will be some leftovers for Bob now and hopefully Tim when he gets here Sunday night.

It was all so low key I couldn’t get over it.
Also, we did a gift exchange for the bulk of my family for whom I usually buy presents. We drew names and bought one big (I thought it was big, anyway) gift certificate to the recipient’s choice of stores, online or off.
This was certainly easy … but it was really, really boring. I missed shopping and diddling around trying to figure out what anyone might like. I didn’t know what to do with myself during the pre-Christmas rush. No rushing! Who knew I’d miss it – I bitch about it every year like it’s a bad thing, but apparently, it’s not.
So next year … count me out on the gift cert exchange. I’m buying presents for those persons I love and they damned well better buy me one, too. 🙂

Heart warming sentiment

Merry Christmas, Bitches

Merry Christmas, Bitches

All right, all right, maybe that’s a bit much.  But everytime I see these guys they make me laugh.  It’s from a 1994 Sun Magazine, somewhere toward the back.  I just ran into it again.

Merry Christmas!  I hope you are all safe and warm and enjoying the season as much as you can.

Peace and love!

Carlos Nelson Molina, one creative guy

Okay, Carlos Nelson Molina is my new favorite guy. He’s the Mr. Rogers of Paper Creativity. I’m off to Michaels to buy some pretty paper for a lantern for the Christmas dinner tomorrow.


PS This website didn’t work for me in Firefox, but was worth opening IE for. No, Really!


I made his lanterns and had them on the table for dinner today.  They are kind of funky and cute.


And now we know what we already felt

Why Don’t We Read So Well on Screen
University of Stavanger (12/11/08) Toft, Trond Egil

Reading on a computer screen creates more brain stress than reading the same text on paper, wrote the Center for Reading Research’s Anne Mangen, a professor at Norway’s University of Stavanger, in an article for the Journal of Reading Research.

In her article, “Digital fiction reading: Haptics and Immersion,” Mangen said that touching and turning physical pages enhances a person’s ability to absorb information, while reading on a computer disturbs that process.

Mangen says that reading on a screen causes a new form of mental orientation that causes the reader to lose the completeness, tranquility, and constituent parts of reading a physical text. Mangen believes that learning requires time and mental exertion that new media forms cannot provide.

Many people argue that children read less, and less well, than previous generations, but Mangen argues that even if young people do not read as many books as previous generations, it is still possible that they are actually reading more than before, as most of what they do on a computer or mobile device involves reading and writing in some manner.

However, she notes that some researchers believe that we obtain a greater and more thorough understanding from reading text on paper, as we are not distracted, even subconsciously, by the navigation bars and banners that appear in online and electronic content. She says the most important difference is that when a text becomes digital it loses its physical dimension, which is unique to printed text, and the reader loses a feeling of totality.

What have you done? A meme

A meme from Azahar – kind of interesting.  If you want to do it, copy it, paste it into notepad to remove the formatting, and have at it.  Put it in the comments if you want.  I’ve done a lot of stuff in my life!  Kind of an interesting memory exercise.

The things I have done are in bold, things I would like to do in italics and things I never want to do crossed through…

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo (if I could learn to sing, that is)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon – Does 5K count?
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied – it ain’t about the money, people
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant – I gave a bum my leftover pizza, does that count?
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a cheque
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy [too late, but I have some of Andrew’s!]
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant

On attracting attention


Yes, the insurance company is going to total it, but if they give me a little money and take out the salvage fee we can probably pull the bumper back out, replace the muffler and be good to go if one doesn’t mind a few dents and mashings in the back.  The last mechanic I paid said the engine had another 100,000 miles on it, easy.  I hate to just throw it away!  The stereo works!  The Heat/AC works! It gets 26-27 mpg!  Stand on the gas pedal and you can still pass people!


I knew I shouldn’t have bragged so much on Andrew.  It made the universe look askance at him.  He got rear-ended, hit and run, on the freeway tonight.  In my old car that he borrowed.

Andrew is fine except for being confounded that someone would do that to him.  The woman behind the rear-ender pulled over and made sure he was okay – What a peach! – but she didn’t get any better look at the car.  He at least got her name and number as a witness.  CHP said they had no units available to come look, and that he would just have to file a counter report tomorrow.

Pretty sure the insurance company will deem it Totaled.  Sounds like about $4k worth of damage on my $3K car (that I dropped a $1,000 on 6 months ago …sigh) (and just registered it early for next year … sigh).

Right now he’s on hold with my insurance company.  The car’s not drivable, so he’s sitting next to the freeway freezing to death waiting for his father (closest) to come get him OR waiting on the insurance company tow truck.  Or both.  Poor kid. 😦