Anhydrous Wit

Are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

True but Strange

This article appeared in today's Las Cruces Sun-News. Here's the opening sentence. "Two men have been indicted for allegedly using forged checks to buy Domino's Pizza and then using a Pizza Hut uniform to resell the pizzas — still in Domino's boxes — for $5."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sick, Twisted Irony

I was dreaming about going to bed, when my alarm clock woke me up this morning.

Still, that isn't as bad as the time I went through a whole day of school -- and then woke up and had to do it for real.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Things You Will Never Hear

Ob saying, "I'm only going to say this once."

Yes, Master

Here's the latest entry in the "Nothing Makes Sense at Work" files.

Our client has spouted off that any plant we buy needs to be specified on the campus master plan adopted in December 2006. The plan starts off by recommending that trees be "sustainable" and "appropriate" and is, in general, very open-ended. On a later page it lists twelve "proposed" species: one of which has not grown successfully for us over most parts of campus, one of which is currently dying off on campus, and one of which is considered an invasive species in this state. The plan does not specify any shrubs or herbaceous perennials.

One of the things I pride myself on is that I am trying to increase the diversity of plant species on campus. Am I now hamstrung to limit myself to nine (not counting the three inappropriate ones) species? It appears so.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Um. Yeah. Right.

Just in case you're looking for something to do, and there are no interesting movies to see or concerts to attend, why not pop by NMSU for this upcoming lecture?

Zonglin Lewis Liu from the USDA will give the lecture "It's not a
science fiction but reality: Functional genomics and computational
molecular biology lead in situ detoxification of biomass conversion
inhibitors for low-cost cellulosic ethanol production."

Good Vibrations

As I was putting in my contact lenses this morning, I heard a tiny vibration. I had difficulty figuring out what it was because a train was going by at the same time. I finally determined that it was my bathroom door. It's interesting that a train three blocks away can shake the earth enough to cause tremors in my condo.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bag Ladies around the World

Have you ever noticed that no one ever talks about "Bag Gentlemen"?

Since it's Earth Day, I thought I'd share part of an e-mail I received last week from Resource Recycling.

International plastic bag news update

News surrounding efforts to ban, tax or recycle so-called single-use, polyethylene plastic grocery bags continue to make headlines around the world.
Democratic California Assemblyman Mike Davis of Los Angeles introduced Assembly Bill 2829, which establishes a 25-cent fee on all plastic grocery bags and proposes the collected fees be used on litter prevention and reduction efforts. A competing bill was introduced by fellow Democratic Assemblyman Lloyd Levine. AB 2058 would levy a 15-cent fee on plastic bags and tie stores' ability to hand out plastic bags to increased diversion of the sacks, beginning with a 35-percent rate during a specified period, increasing with each subsequent year.
Also in California, AB 1972 disallows retailers from selling or distributing any plastic bags labeled as "compostable," "biodegradable" or "degradable," unless the bag meets standard American Society for Testing and Materials (West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania) specifications for compostable plastics (D6400) or for non-floating biodegradable plastics in the marine environment (D7801). The measure passed unanimously out of the Assembly and has since been transferred over to the Senate.
Additionally, AB 2071 allows a locality, county or state entity to impose civil penalties, ranging from $500 to $2,000 per violation, against businesses failing to abide by the rules set forth by AB 1972.
Bakersfield, California City Manager Alan Tandy announced that the city will not be banning plastic bags, pointing to increased recycling rates statewide following the adoption of mandatory in-store recycling programs in the Golden State.
The Pico Rivera, California City Council voted to adopt Los Angeles County's plastic bag reduction program, which requires large grocery stores, retailers and pharmacies to curb plastic bag usage by 30 percent by 2010. The Los Angeles County program only applies to unincorporated cities and towns within the county; however, officials have asked incorporated municipalities, such as Pico Rivera, to join the program.
Pennsylvania House Bill 2198, which bans the use of plastic grocery bags in retail establishments, has been tabled by Committee, effectively killing the measure. The tabling follows efforts by its sponsor, Democratic Representative Lisa Bennington, to soften the bill, replacing the ban language with a mandatory recycling provision.
Anna Bligh, the premier of the Australian state of Queensland, has come out against a proposed levy on plastic bags, saying that "families face enough financial stress without being charged extra to carry groceries home."
Taiwan's Department of Waste Management released a study finding that its annual consumption of plastic bags averages 1.8 billion, with fewer than seven percent of that number being recycled.
The New York Post recently published a story called "Paper Bags: Roach City," which claims that paper bags' impact on humans is made greater by acting as breeding grounds for household cockroaches. The story goes on to say that roaches pose a greater human risk than plastic bags.
The Environmental Affairs Council (Sacramento, California) issued a press release announcing that it has filed an action with the Federal Trade Commission (Washington) asking it to investigate specialty grocer Whole Foods' (Austin, Texas) claims that its exclusive use of 100-percent recycled paper bags — over plastic — is better for the environment.
Lastly, this Saturday, April 19th, Wal-Mart (Bentonville, Arkansas) is giving away one million reusable shopping bags in celebration of Earth Day.

It interests me that no one ever mentions that plastic and paper grocery sacks are reusable, let alone that the Albertson's grocery chain gives customers five cents credit for each bag (of any material) they bring themselves to carry their purchases.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Truth in Advertising?

Remember that I don't discuss politics. That being said, I don't know the candidate's political party, the office he seeks, nor even his name. All I know is that I laughed this morning when I saw his campaign billboard:

Friday, April 18, 2008

Nomanisson Island

Believe what you will about global warming, but the "heat island" effect is true. Areas with concrete and asphalt retain heat and stay warmer through the night than vegetated or bare ground. I was fairly comfortable leaving home this morning, but when I alit from my car in the dirt parking lot on campus, I wanted my gloves on because it was that much colder. This explains why I had fresh tomatoes into December last year.

My island in a sea of concrete is pretty green right now. We've had a good spring (not too hot too early), so the peas I chanced on planting are vigorous and started flowering this week. One of my tomatoes is growing like gangbusters, and the lettuce is now harvestable a few leaves at a time.

Last night, I mixed some spinach and celery from the grocery store with my lettuce and arugula and a bit of parsley to make a salad. I dropped a couple of handsful onto my plate, added some nuts and blue cheese dressing, and scattered some black pepper on top. It looked just like a picture out of a cookbook. I couldn't say the same for my macaroni and meatballs. I think the trick for that would be to mix the tomato sauce and pasta on one plate then pour it onto another plate before taking the picture. That way, you don't have the sauce from mixing around the edge of the plate.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm not the only freak.

On Saturday morning, I waited in line to buy A Prairie Home Companion tickets for the May 31 performance here in Las Cruces. Technically, I formed the line. (The sole person ahead of me was just a point.)

I showed up at 6:15 a.m. for the 10:00 ticket opening. The woman ahead of me said she had been there since 5:30. I had briefly thought of camping out overnight but quickly scotched that idea. First, I hate camping. Second, there would be no restrooms accessible. Third, I'm sure that concrete would be even harder to sleep on than dirt. Besides, I now have the pride of saying I was there so early, with none of the shame of being the first freak in line who had been there how long.

I was surprised how few people showed up early for tickets. Until 9:00 a.m., there was, at most, a dozen of us. Well, not counting the Jehovah's Witnesses who were holding their semi-annual gathering at the Pan-Am Center. "Darn," I thought, walking to the building at 6:15, "Look how many people are here already -- but why are they all wearing suits?"

I had a pleasant discussion with the woman ahead of me about the city council, and the man who lined up, with his wife, after me is a retired philosophy professor from University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Then there was the man who is on the board of the Fountain Theatre and also contributes on occasion to the Las Cruces Bulletin. The woman after him contributed how she had been to every gay bar in Salt Lake City and that there finally is a store in El Paso where you can buy whitefish. It's interesting how diverse a group of white people can be. I appreciated having my chair to sit on, but I didn't need the book I brought after all.

Savor the irony.

My gym did or acquired something so that the TV's in the workout area can show different channels (still news networks, though - nothing interesting). On Friday afternoon, I was amused to see a commercial for high-end SUV's on one TV while the other network ran a story about high gas prices.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What was the question?

A bumper sticker that someone affixed to one of our crew's utility vehicles: "Trees are the answer."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I'm a Master Baker

I got the idea back in high school that I have a knack for baking cookies. Then came the parties here at work, where lots of people said I made good cookies. My mom says my cookies are good, but you'd expect that of a mom. However, she does seem to appreciate them more than the store-bought kinds.

Then, there's "the face". It's that look someone gets when every ounce of concentration is suddenly focused on their mouth. At least, that's how it feels from the inside. I tried a different type of cooky (I won't tell you what kind, so you don't try to outbake me), but I always taste-test new ones first, so I'm not shoving bad desserts onto other people. It was so darned good! Then my mom tried them, and they quickly disappeared.

Yesterday, I made them for Thing One's birthday (because they don't contain any of the ingredients to which she is allergic). First, she made "the face". Then, she said that they were so good, she wasn't going to share them with anyone here at work. (As far as I know, she kept her word.)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sneaking Around

It bugs me that I have to sneak out of the office so my boss doesn't know that I'm leaving on time. The man thinks that, because I am single and have no pets, there are no obligations on my non-working hours. For two weeks, I have been frustrated because I didn't have time to do something, even simple, necessary things, such as watering my plants, doing laundry, or grocery shopping. Yesterday, I went to the gym, baked cookies for Thing One's birthday today, bought my monthly supply of protein bars, bought a new pair of sneakers, and picked up a quick dinner from a Chinese restaurant -- and I still had time to watch Scooby-Doo.

Speaking of sneakers, is there a new trend of lacing them? For my entire life, I could put on a pair of sneakers fresh out of the box and wear them. As I tried them on at the store, I was confused by the laces, which I eventually discovered were backwards from every other pair of sneakers I've ever worn. (I never thought there'd be two ways to thread laces through eyelets, let alone what a difference it would make.)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Those were the days!

I've been watching Scooby-Doo on Cartoon Network lately (an original episode followed by a new series). I happened to notice a commercial for a kids' fruity snack with the chance to win $5.00 inside. "Oh, wow!" I said sarcastically. With inflation, is $5.00 worth much any more? Do children really get as excited as I did when I opened the birthday card from my grandmother with $5.00 inside?

Back in my day, I could buy 25 comic books (before tax) for $5.00 -- not that I ever had that much money at one time, nor that my parents would let me spend it all at once. This morning, I refueled my car and nearly filled my tank with $40.00. I remember my dad handing the attendant a $20.00 bill and getting change back.

I miss the good old days.