Zhaba Zhournal
Saturday, May 03, 2003 
Hello, image searchers 
(Actually posted January 27, 2004.)

Hi there. Are you here for the increasingly-popular "li'l kim burqa" picture everyone's been searching for and linking to? The post I included it in is way down the page, "The letter of the law," from April 30, 2003. I actually found it on another site, but I downloaded it and put it on my server, because (rather ironically) I didn't want to steal the other guy's bandwidth.

So anyway. You're here. Feel free to stick around and browse for a while. And, while you're at it, if anyone knows how or why this particular image on my server got so popular, drop me a comment, okay?

P.S. If you're one of those people who thinks women should stay in burqas, you'll probably find my opinions...uncongenial. Don't bother telling me I'm going to hell, okay?

[ at 9:25 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Stats (curiosity, too) 
Netherlands, Taiwan, China, Korea. And, somewhat alarmingly, state.gov and nipr.mil. (Did you ever get the feeling that you're being watched?)

The state.gov one came from the Blogger home page, so I'm guessing it's just a person at the State Dept. who surfs blogs in his/her spare time. But the .mil one came from a U.S. Navy IP, which, when I plugged it into an address bar, didn't get me anywhere; when I did a Google search on it, I found that someone else had contacted the military saying he'd been finding the IP in his logs, and was wondering what it was; he got the following reply, which I quote it its entirety:
F ...

You know all you need to know.

Alrighty then! I'll be on my way now...

According to my log, the referrer was an archive page in another blog, which had a lot to say about 9/11 and Saddam Hussein, and had a random Blogger link button. I'm guessing this guy's page sent up some very red flags for the military Web search people/engine, and they just followed the links to see where they went.

Hm. I haven't said anything incriminating, have I? I've expressed certain doubts about government military policy, and if you've been paying any attention you know how I feel about Mr. I.H.I.D.V.F.H. Santorum, but that's about it...

Oh well. That's the thing about the Worldwide Web: it's worldwide.

I've spent too much time sitting in front of my computer already—you'd think I got enough of that during the work week—so J. and I are going to go to Center City and hit some bookstores. He's looking for a book on ADD, and I need some more Michael Connelly novels. (Well, I don't need them, but I want them.)

Okay. Getting up. Logging off. Really.

[ at 3:46 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

The Kentucky Derby 
Postulate: The Kentucky Derby has the highest ratio of analysis and blather to actual sporting event time. On ESPN, there's a three-hour Kentucky Derby Preview; on NBC, a one-and-a-half-hour "Kentucky Derby" block, featuring the actual running of the race; and on ESPN2, a one-hour "Kentucky Derby Recap." And that's just today; I don't know what might have been going on previously. So that's five and a half hours of programming time for an approximately two-minute race. I'm not especially good at division (I think I missed that day in third-grade math class), but I believe that works out to 99.4% analysis/blather and 0.6% sporting event.

(There may be a similar/higher percentage for the Super Bowl, since that has an entire week of run-up time for an approximately four-hour game [although that includes time-outs and half-time in addition to on-the-field playing time], but I don't feel like looking it up and figuring it out now.)

[ at 1:36 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Friday, May 02, 2003 
Bunkum alert 
Man, what a scam this is: Essences Online. Selling flower essences—okay, fine, they're obtained from actual, physical flowers—but also "environmental essences" and "gem elixirs." There is no such goddamn thing as a gem elixir! You cannot extract juice from a gem! The dictionary definition for elixir does indicate that it can be a powder, which you could indeed get from a gem; but powder is not what they're selling. Nope, it's a liquid that has somehow been infused with the properties of the gem. In other words, it's water that they've looked at while thinking about gems. Same with the "environmental essences." I have to quote this, it's too priceless to paraphrase:
The preparation of an environmental essence begins with the identification of specific elemental qualities in the environment that we wish to enter into a co-creative healing agreement with. We then extend an attunement from our hearts to the devic and elemental beings that represent these qualities. Through this attunement we communicate our love and blessings, and ask that the energies we have identified be transferred into the bowl of water that we have prepared. We accept the essence gratefully as the environment responds. The resulting essence is totally unique, as the vibrational qualities it contains can never be duplicated in exactly the same way.
(This particular description is from the Alaskan Flower Essence Project.)

So...yes, they are selling water. For approximately $11 an ounce!

Oh, here's a quote from the Angelic Essences seller:
Angelic Essences produce no harmful side effects and will do nothing if not needed.
Right...because it's fucking water!

Damn, I wasted all that time on a Yale education and I could've just been looking at water while thinking about gems and elements and angels.

[ at 3:20 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Something overdue but interesting 
This would have been more relevant in 2000 (or 2001, when the census results came out), and I've been thinking about it for a while, but for some reason I decided to do it today. And this is my response to people talking about the 2000 election and saying "the majority of people voted for Gore."

Voted for Bush: 50,456,002
Voted for Gore: 50,999,897
Voted for Others: 3,949,201
Total who voted: 105,405,100*
US population: 290,867,001**
19 and under: 78,537,000+
Total of voting age: 212,300,001
Percentage who voted: 49.65

So, as I suspected, the answer is...The majority of Americans didn't vote for anybody!

Regardless of what you think of the 2000 election results, that's pretty dispiriting.

*From Official 2000 Presidential Election Results
**From Census Bureau.
+Based on Census Bureau's 2000 estimated U.S. population by age (estimated from 1990 results). This is slightly skewed because it doesn't have 18 and under, just 19 and under.

[ at 11:37 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Hey, someone actually went from here to New Directions! Woo-hoo! (Now let's see how long it takes to get into Yahoo!) (Question of the day: When you end a sentence with "Yahoo!" do you put a period at the end of it? Probably not.)

[ at 10:14 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Costa Rica, Taiwan, Australia. (I think Costa Rica was just a robot, though.)

Costa Rica's TLD is .cr; when I saw it in the log I assumed it was Croatia. But, no, Croatia is .hr. Which I thought was strange, so I looked in up in the CIA World Factbook, wherein I learned that the official name of Croatia is Republika Hrvatska. I'm guessing that H is pronounced "kh," hence the hard C sound at the beginning of the English version. (It's not the strangest discrepancy between official name and English name; there's Deutschland-Germany, Ellas-Greece, Sak'art'velo-Georgia, and, my favorite, Suomi-Finland.)

[ at 9:59 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Thursday, May 01, 2003 
The latest Bush speech 
Well, I've downloaded the transcript and haven't found Syria, Korea, or Iran in it anywhere. Good speechwriter. You get a biscuit. (He did mention Palestine, but immediately preceded by the adjective "peaceful," as opposed to the verbal phrase "bomb the hell out of.")

Quote of the day:

"American values and American interests lead in the same direction. We stand for human liberty...."

...unless you are an adult who wants to have consensual sex with another adult who is not your legally-married only spouse of the opposite gender.

Well, that's another fight (PDF link).

Immediately after the speech, someone actually set off firecrackers outside. That's South Philly for ya. (The noise then set off the dogs next door. If only the firecrackers and the dogs had been in closer proximity...)

[ at 10:55 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

People who suck 
This list will doubtless grow as I think of more of them. At the moment, my list of people who suck includes:

  • Whoever decided to reduce yogurt container sizes from 8 oz. to 6 oz., and, in some cases, 4 oz. I'd rather they had raised the price and kept the same amount of yogurt. Maybe it's a fiendish plot to make people have to buy two containers of yogurt to get as much as they actually want.

  • Whoever first started using capital letters in the middle of names. I'm copyediting a book about software, and I'm constantly checking company Web sites to find out things like "Is it PrintQuest, Print Quest, or Printquest?" I think that person should be beaten with a BigStick.

  • Whoever decided the official, formal spelling of a site on the Web should be "Web site," and whoever at the University of Chicago press decided to recommend it in the CMS. C'mon, hurry up and change it to "website"! (This is probably not annoying to people who don't copyedit.)

  • Whoever bred the first small dog. "Hm...what we really need are yappier, more annoying animals that can easily bite our ankles."

  • People who buy small dogs. Especially my neighbors.

To be continued...

[ at 1:07 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Yes, I have become stats-obsessed. Not that I'm getting thousands of hits, but I'm collecting some nice international IPs. So far, Ukraine, Lithuania, UK, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and, of all things, the Seychelles. (I'm guessing they've sold their TLD to someone.) Whence/whyfore cometh the Eastern Europeans? (Is Lithuania officially Eastern European? "Baltic" is more accurate. Well, it's one of those ex-Soviet places, anyway.)

Dear Google:

Hurry up and index me, I want to get disturbing search requests.

[ at 12:56 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Well, the shirt I'm wearing has turned out to be somewhat more daring than I anticipated. (Well, what did I expect from something I ordered from Victoria's Secret?) Still, it looks more daring on me than on their models, who are somewhat below me in the full-bosom category. I'm wearing a light sweater over it, but if it gets warmer I suppose I'll take it off, and then the guys in the office will pretend not to be looking. Ever since the Summer o' Mania I've been toning down the physical-appearance stuff; and especially over the winter, when it's all turtlenecks and sweaters. Well, what the heck, I'm wearing what I'm wearing. And it's not like that shirt I had in college, which I referred to as the "taking my breasts for a walk" shirt. (I'm not too old for this, am I?)

Long pants, though. Long pants now and forever. Maybe long skirts. Long dresses. But no short dresses, no shorts (unless I'm not leaving the house), and no bathing suits. At least not until I'm reincarnated as Cindy Crawford's stunt double.

[ at 10:13 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Wednesday, April 30, 2003 
Maria Shriver interviewing Celine Dion. It's like watching aliens take over the planet.

(Actually, it's one of the few situations in which Celine Dion looks like a relatively normal human being.)

[ at 11:16 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Fact of the day 
Whaddaya know. Henri Cartier-Bresson is not dead.

[ at 3:57 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

The letter of the law 
This rocks: Li'l Kim in a burqa and not much else. (I found it on 953party.com.)

[ at 3:30 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

The Dante's Inferno Test 
This seems to be spreading around the Web like hellfire. Herewith, the results of my indulgence of my inner lemming:

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Seventh Level of Hell!
Level 7 (Violent)Very High
Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

I took the test twice and got Level 7 both times; I guess it's the suicidal ideation and the sodomy. (Although according to some definitions lesbian sex isn't sodomy.)

[ at 1:26 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Mr. I.H.I.D.V.F.H. Santorum 
Perhaps this is not the best choice of words, but Mr. I.H.I.D.V.F.H.* Santorum seems to have a real bug up his butt about homosexuality. Not only does he equate it with bigamy, polygamy, adultery, and incest, he seems to think it's on par with terrorism: see here. Jeez, buddy, can't you find something else to crusade against?

Of course, it is just as or even more disturbing that he's not exactly a voice crying in the wilderness: some Republican leaders are falling over backwards to call him "inclusive" (of what?) and generally a good all-around guy: viz.

Well, at least he's not a frickin' Holocaust denier. (Not yet, anyway.)

*I.H.I.D.V.F.H.=I Hope I Didn't Vote For Him. I don't remember exactly who I voted for in every election. I'm pretty sure I didn't, but I can't prove it.

[ at 9:27 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Tuesday, April 29, 2003 
Clutching a TV Guide and shouting "Entertain me!" at the TV set does not result in any actual entertainment (except for anyone who happens to be watching you).

Yahoooooohhhh yuck
So I'm innocently checking Yahoo!'s directory of mood disorder organizations to see if New Directions is in it, and Yahoo! in its wisdom decides I need to see this link: "Featured Category: Irritable Bowel Disorder." Jeez. Serves me right for going anywhere near the "Health" directory, I guess.

[ at 8:55 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Fun with titles 
In the Department of Redundancy Department: a TLC special called "Prophets: Seers of the Future." "Prophet" and "seer" are pretty much the same thing; and once you've said that, do you need to add "future"? There's not much money in predicting the past.

[ at 1:55 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

On Passyunk Ave.: a pizza and/or sub place proclaiming itself "Best of Phily."

[ at 10:31 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

New Directions 
The New Directions Delaware Sopirak program went well last night—we had David Satcher, the 16th Surgeon General, speaking on mental health in children. (He's the guy who did the first Surgeon General's report on mental health, which you can conveniently get here.) Our camera guy bailed at the last minute, so I did the videotaping (and probably did a better job than he would have anyway). I did a fair approximation of knowing what I was doing, although I did almost kill the camera when I hit the black balance button. Those three years of film school occasionally come in handy.

Dad drove me to Philly this morning; I had to get up at 6 so we could leave at 6:30. I was home by 7:15; when I got there, J. wasn't even out of bed yet. I've had lots of coffee but I'm still tired. Morning person:me :: good pet:cockroach. (I know there are people who keep cockroaches as pets. I do not understand them. Then again, I guess a lot of people don't understand keeping mice as pets. But at least mice are cute and furry.)

Should get back to that work thing. CMS at hand. Let's see what I can do...

[ at 9:57 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Monday, April 28, 2003 
Consistency, please. 
Okay. I expect authors to be inconsistent. And I have never met an author who had a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style (hereafter CMS) on their desk. But I do expect publishing houses to be at least somewhat consistent. Especially when they are writing a style guide for their authors. And when said style guide instructs said authors to use CMS style, I expect the style guide itself to use the frickin' CMS. Jeez.

F'r instance:

CMS for parenthetical in-text citations is (author date) but they use (author, date); and it's (author date, page) but they have (author, date: page); two authors is (author and author date) and three is (author, author, and author date) but they say both two and three should be separated by "and"; and it goes on...

Bozhe moy.

As J. would say, they are bad people and God will punish them; unless they're another one of our Christian publishing house clients, in which case I guess He won't. (There being nothing in Leviticus about parenthetical in-text citations. Not that I noticed, anyway.)

[ at 12:12 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Sunday, April 27, 2003 
More bugs 
Well, one more bug. One of those big black roaches in the mouse room. J. says they don't breed in houses—they breed outside, preferably in damp places, and then come in—but there's been an awful lot of them in that one room. Dear God, don't let us have a plague of big black roaches. (We've already got a plague of mice, but that's by choice.)

We bought roach traps at the supermarket, along with various products that are supposed to kill mites. Question of the day: What do you do when your vermin have vermin?

En route to the supermarket: an ice cream truck playing "Moon River." Beats "Turkey in the Straw," I guess. (From now until September, we will be in Ice Cream Truck Hell. At least when the air conditioners are running we won't hear them as much.)

[ at 10:41 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Who/what is http://www.pervak.com.ua/gaba/project/chat/exhibit.php, and why do people come to my site therefrom? It's Ukrainian, but I don't think there's anything particularly Ukrainian on my site, except the name. (Everything but the index page of that site requires a username/password, so I haven't been able to figure out anything about it except that the index page has a link to this person/people's vacation. Or so the linked word would indicate.)

The wonders of the web.

[ at 3:17 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

In the news 
If the Dixie Chicks are ashamed that Bush is from Texas, can I be ashamed that Santorum is from Pennsylvania? (I'm pretty sure I didn't vote for him. I'm damn sure not going to vote for him next time. Snarl grumble growl hiss...)

Oh well. Here's some other news from my fair state. In the "yeah, right" department: Solicitor billed for 81-hour day, "including $10,500 for a meeting that lasted less than an hour." Claims that "the billings in question were innocent mistakes involving misplaced decimal points." Um, those decimal points were pretty far removed from their proper locations... (Especially ironic because the lawyer in question was working for a school district. The fourth-graders could have done a better job with his accounting than he did.)

[ at 2:25 PM • by Abby • permalink  ]

Yes, that's me.

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