Saturday, April 25, 2009

The conscience of a nation

Shame Plenty of hubbub (bub) this week over the release of the torture memos and the involvement of Cheney (no surprise) and Rice (I'm so disappointed, Condi) in the condoning of torture techniques.

I'm reading everything from how President Obama will eventually be prosecuted for the attacks that are now inevitable, to the GOP stating that our nation is less safe under his leadership.

Did I miss something? Were we attacked somewhere in the past 100 days or so, and I didn't catch the coverage? I can't predict the future. I don't know what will happen in the next few years. Is it possible that we might be attacked again? Yes. Is it inevitable? No. Why do so many around the world hate us so? Maybe it has something to do with the policies of the past eight years, our rampant disregard for international diplomacy, our belligerent posturing that looks as if we are nothing more than the bully of the international schoolyard, and our ready willingness to use torture on those we've kept incarcerated for years...although they've never been charged with any crime.

Maybe? Do you think?

I'll apologize ahead of time, because I'm in full outrage mode, and pardon me, but my sarcasm is showing. But you know what? I'm not really sorry for what I write here, because I mourn what we have lost in our condoning of such techniques. Some believe that we are safe and have had no more terrorist attacks because of "harsh interrogation tactics" (AKA torture). I'm cool with gathering intelligence, and interrogation of prisoners, but from everything I've read, torture does not work. At some point, you hear what the prisoner thinks you want to hear, and then you've got false intelligence. Even John McCain, who was subjected to five years of torture as a prisoner of war, says unequivocally that we are the United States of America and we do not torture.

Does anyone seriously think that someone being tortured, who hasn't broken and divulged information after, say...150 going to finally spill on the 151st torture session? That's insanity, and everything I've read states that it is ineffective and counterproductive to continue such tactics.

Shame2 Imagine a scenario, if you will. Someone in a position of authority takes you into custody, because there is something about you that they find suspicious. You are not charged with a crime, but you are thrown into prison and you are subjected to things like being stripped of your clothing and paraded down the hall of your prison; you are not allowed to sleep for days on end; the Bible that you had in your possession is spat upon and stepped upon. You are kept this way for years. No charge. No trial. No one to take your case or to be your advocate, and no hope of being released soon.

How would you feel about that? And how would you feel about the country that did that to you?

We have done ourselves no favors with our shameful behavior when it comes to this. I don't believe that we obtained any information that resulted in stopping possible attacks, and I don't believe that this national shame has kept our country safer. On the contrary, I believe it has resulted in the sort of hatred and contempt that could fuel further attacks, and it will be years before we can regain our status as a "beacon of hope," or a country that others wish to emulate. Do you really want to be like the bully that terrorizes everyone and beats them up because of some perceived slight?

History will show that this was a policy in our country that will be a source of shame for years to come. I love my country, but I am appalled at what took place during this time. We are better than this.


I'll leave it to a Fox News reporter to say it. You heard me right.


Hummy I had a message on Facebook from Milwaukee Dan #1 this morning, and he said that he and his wife saw a hummingbird around their azalea last evening. I've had one feeder up for a week or so now, so I knew it was only a matter of time. Sure enough, early this afternoon, I heard that little buzz and knew they were back! There was a male on the feeder. I haven't seen him since then, but now I know they're back, and I can hang out the other feeder at the front of the house (it seems to help keep down on the fighting).

Rosebreasted Grosbeak4 I also saw a Rose-breasted Grosbeak this morning, both male and female, so they're back, too. I'll put out some orange halves soon, because the Orioles won't be far behind. Isn't it funny how you kind of get to know and love some of these birds, and are happy to see them return year after year? Or maybe it's just me.

Speaking of birds, Happy World Penguin Day! And thanks to Craig Ferguson for pointing it out on his show last night. As much as I love penguins, I had no idea today is World Penguin Day. I don't think I've written much about my love for penguins. I collect figurines and stuffed animals (although Blue Penguin I've quit buying the latter), and this is one of my favorites, and one of my pricier ones, purchased in San Francisco. I like to get one from every city I visit, but I have price limits. I still don't have one from New Orleans, because the only ones I saw were in the Quarter, and about $150. I don't love penguins that much! I took this guy out of the curio cabinet to get his picture, and I don't even want to tell you how many I have...I've never actually counted, but there are probably a couple hundred. They take up four of five shelves in the corner curio.

I still remember how I came to collect them, too. I was in my mid-20's, and everyone likes to collect something, right? My sister Diana collects unicorns, and my sister Sue collects angels. I hadn't figured out yet what I was going to collect, when my friend Lisa from the lab came over one afternoon. We were enjoying a few amber beverages, and an animal show came on, and it was all about penguins. They were so cute, and the way they waddled made me laugh till I cried. I figured that any creature that could bring me such enjoyment and happiness was something very special, and my collection was born. They still make me smile, and as I was watching the video at the end of this entry, I said, "Awww!" several times. Of course, I loved "March of the Penguins," and I'm glad that it showed the world what I've known for many years: these are remarkable creatures worthy of love, respect, and every effort to preserve their habitat.

Again speaking of birds--the cookin' kind--the plan is to have our first barbecue tonight, with a chicken I thawed out last night. I'm hoping the weather will cooperate. It's been a little on the gloomy side, with a thunderstorm earlier today, and lots of wind.

Ken has been doing online research to find a place for his Mom and stepdad when they move up here at the end of May. He found several possibilities. I've been catching up on magazines, and read in Time about a cool thing that colleges and universities are doing. There's a channel on YouTube for education, and you can find hundreds of videos of lectures from professors from several universities, including Yale, Dartmouth, MIT, Notre Dame, and many, many others. You don't get credit for watching the lecture, obviously, but what a great way to open up education from world-class professors to anyone with a high speed connection! I've already found one that I want to watch, about pandemic influenza, which is especially timely considering the outbreak of a new strain in Mexico.

Which, by the way, doesn't qualify as a pandemic...yet. But it's serious business, and has the potential to be a big problem. It's a genetic combination of swine, human, and avian strains, and dozens have already died. Surveillance is being heightened, and there may be some travel restrictions at some point. I'll be watching this story closely.

Is that enough topics for this entry? I think so! I've already got another one percolating, though, and I'm not sure if it can wait till tomorrow. I'm very agitated.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I’m looking at me through the glass….

Kissing a mirror What an ab fab day! Ken is done with his duties in the refueling outage--a couple of days early!--and took today off. I made a quick trip to the store, then we walked around to see where we wanted to plant the trees we got from the state, and he planted them while I got the table and chairs set up and the cushions on. It felt so great to sit out in the sun and soak up some Vitamin D, although it didn't take me long to get hot and get a little pink. I am so pale, and although I don't have a problem with that, I do like to get a little glow on me in the summer. At the beginning, though, it doesn't take much to give me a little bit of sunburn.

I like to take something out with me to read, and I'm trying to catch up on Time. My favorite columnist in the magazine is Joel Stein, and he never fails to crack me up. In this issue, he wrote about narcissism, and mentioned the Narcissism Personality Inventory, a test used for many years by psychologists to assess whether or not someone is a narcissist.

Narcissistic personality disorder is named for a character in Greek and Roman mythology, Narcissus. He was a young man of exceptional beauty, but also quite arrogant and proud of his looks, spurning every suitor that came Narcissushis way. The Greek and Roman gods didn't look kindly on such arrogance (hubris) and usually rewarded such behavior with a dose of payback (nemesis). Narcissus's payback was that while walking in the forest, he came across a still pool. As he looked into the pool, he saw his own reflection, and not realizing that it was actually himself, he became so enamored that he gazed at the handsome youth in the pool until he wasted away. The narcissus flower is said to be the embodiment of the mythological youth, and nods over ponds and pools as its image is reflected in the still water.

Stein's column was funny as always, but since I've been accused of having narcissistic personality disorder (but of course, I considered the source), I thought it would be interesting to take the test. It consists of 40 questions, and took only a few minutes. The national average is a score of 15.3, while celebrities average 17.84. I topped out at a whopping 8. And the questions are grouped into various categories, such as superiority, entitlement, etc. Some positive answers are considered to be more troublesome than others, and my positive answers were more in the non-troublesome categories. There's a difference between having a healthy ego and being narcissistic, and some armchair psychologists seem to project their own inadequacies onto others, or try to diagnose based on their limited perceptions of the individual. Whenever I've speculated that someone has a particular disorder, it's been based on observation of behaviors and symptoms, not personal opinions.

Award Sexy Blogger So it's good to know that I'm not a narcissist! Having said that, I received a blog award from Debra of Write on Target. Deb and I are new to each other, but I enjoy her writing very much, and she is one cool rock chick. And the award she gave me? The Sexy Blogger Award.

Just like the Spanish Inquisition, I wasn't expecting THAT!

Deb wrote, "Her politics are right on, she loves birds, and she loves the band, X. How sexy is that?"

Sexy is in the eye of the beholder, I guess!

I'm going to break with my recent award tradition of saying that if I read you, snag the award for yourself--I'm going to name a few dead sexy bloggers. But first, the hardest part: naming five things about myself that I think are sexy. Yikes! Again, this is in the eye of the beholder, and I could be way off on some of these, but I'll give it a try. In my younger days, I loved to go out clubbing, and had lots of cute little party dresses...I've definitely mellowed! But sometimes it’s all about the attitude, isn’t it?

1. I have long hair. Some people really seem to dig that.

2. I have big eyes, and they're probably my best feature.

3. I love to RAWWWWK!

4. I drive a Mustang GT, and when I'm in it, I love to RAWWWWK!

5. I'm smart. I'm certain that anyone who has ever found me sexy did so because of that and nothing else.

Now for naming some blogs, and this will be easier than the above! If you don't choose to pass it along, that's cool. Feel free to sit back and revel in your sexiness.

1. How could I not name my most awesome hubby, Ken? He's adorable, he's funny, and he's smart. It doesn't get much sexier than that. :)

2. Jamie of An Animal Rescuer's Life. Not only are we neighbors, she's got some major sass going on. And tattoos. I love her sometimes perverse sense of humor. And she is a foster mom to cats and dogs in peril. Now that is sexy.

3. Rebecca of Provocation of Mine(d). She's actually the one that got me and Deb reading each other, so that's one cool thing. She's also got about a foot on she's tall, blonde, and gorgeous. If she weren't so funny, kind, and intelligent, I might really really dislike her.

4. Sheria of The Examined Life. Smart, strong, hilarious, a strong sense of justice for all, and an incredible heart.

5. Dan of The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind. I felt the need to have another guy in here besides my husband, and Dan's the man. I'm drawn to his warped sense of humor, his amazing writing, and his gorgeous photography. The cheese and bacon cologne doesn't hurt, either.

Sense a pattern here?

Smart is sexy. Spread the word.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

One step closer….

Nutwood Early June To summer!

We're having a big warm-up here at Nutwood, and it is very welcome! This is a picture from June of last year, and I can hardly wait for it to be this lush and green!

I went out today to take the covers off of the patio furniture and put the cushions on. I was successful with the tête-à-tête chair, but Ken had stacked the table on top of the chairs, and I couldn't lift it off. I'll ask him to do that when he gets home, and tomorrow I'll put on the cushions. I want to have those chairs ready, because I want to sit out on the deck tomorrow and soak up some sun! They're talking 80°, and I feel that I am lacking in Vitamin D! It was still a little too cool to sit outside today, and the tête-à-tête is underneath the overhang, so it would have been too chilly in the shade. Tomorrow sounds great, and the weekend should also be nice. I think it might finally be time to switch out my summer and winter clothes. Yay!

I've just been puttering today. Filled the bird feeders, entered a few more phenology records (and will do more in a moment), and had an interesting email exchange with a friend. The details don't matter, but it was definitely an interesting exchange!

When I was taking the cover off of the table and chairs, I saw that something had ripped it to shreds. I'm guessing a raccoon. It wasn't entirely destroyed, but there are big enough holes that I don't think it will offer much protection next winter. I was irritated, but it made me think of the great Blondie song! Shane and I got to see one of our favorite punk/new wave bands when we saw Blondie at the Riviera in Chicago several years ago. I think this video was from the same tour. Debbie rocks! "Yeah, you know her, won't you look at that hair? Yeah, you know her...she's so her to shreds!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Beth: Citizen Scientist is on the case!

Earth Day Greetings, fellow Earthlings, and happy Earth Day! I hope you have all had a chance to reflect upon what a precious thing our planet is, and think of ways to make it a better place for all of us.

I have had a website tucked away for a little while, and hadn't gotten around to checking into what I needed to do. After listening to President Obama's speech about volunteerism yesterday before he signed the bill to increase funding and numbers for Americorps, I remembered the website and signed up.

Audubon birds It's called the North American Phenology Project, and is run by the U.S. Geological Survey. The website defines phenology as "the scientific study of the relationship between natural phenomena (flowering, breeding, migration) and climatic or seasonal changes." In 1881, a guy named Wells W. Cooke started the program, which utilized observers to track bird sightings and migration patterns throughout North America and part of the West Indies on Migration Observer Cards. At its height, the program had 3000 participants, but by the mid-20th century, participation had declined to the point where it was shut down in 1970. In the course of its existence, over 6 million cards were collected and housed in the program's offices. They had been almost forgotten, but the new director of the program decided to scan each hand-written (or sometimes typed) card and enter them into a database.

Audubon birds2 Why does this matter? By looking at migratory patterns and historical weather data, it can be shown how climate change affects migration, and important information can be discovered about how global climate change impacts bird populations. Why participate? It's easy data entry, and it's incredibly fun and interesting. [Disclaimer: Your results may vary. The reactions of the blog author may not be typical for all users.] It's on the verge of being addictive, and I've entered dozens already.

It's also a bit of a challenge at times. There are certain codes for first sighting, when it became a common sighting, last sighting, etc. It's making me remember or figure out abbreviations for the Canadian provinces. The writing is sometimes Audubon birds3beautiful and meticulous, and other times it's almost illegible. There are times that I have to Google the name of a city or town to make sure I'm reading correctly. The observers' names are usually provided, and I wonder about Edwin M. Anderson in Iowa, or Miss M. Covassee of Texas. What were their lives like? I've transcribed records from as early as 1884, from the height of the Depression, and during WWII. I love seeing that birding has been the pursuit of many people, for many centuries, and I love it that I "caught the bug," as well. It's fascinating to pull up records of birds I've never heard of, like the Acadian Chickadee.

Audubon birds4 But most of all, I think it's amazing and awesome (in the truest sense of the word) to realize that I'm sitting here, in the comfort of our home, transcribing records of a fellow bird watcher, some of whom jotted down their observations over a hundred years ago. They're long gone, but their observations remain, and I wonder how much of our words, here and now, will remain a hundred years in the future? See my seal over on the sidebar? I made it a while back using the Official Seal Generator, and I still like it a lot. It says "Verba volant, scripta manent," and means "Words fly away, but writings remain." The concept of words flying away seems particularly pertinent with this entry!

Here are a few examples of the records to be transcribed. I know I have a lot of time on my hands, so it's easy for me to do this, but I encourage everyone (especially if you're interested in birds) to sign up and transcribe a few here and there. It's some interesting stuff. I had to laugh at one today. I think it was a sighting in South Carolina of some sort of hawk, I forget which kind. The observer had noted that it was a rare sighting in the area, and then added an additional observation: "Specimen was shot and examined carefully." I know that dissection has a place in science, but I prefer to observe without resorting to killing! (Click to enlarge photos)

Phenology card

This shows the entry form along with the handwritten observation card. 655 is the AOU number of the bird (I forget what AOU stands for), and it’s a sighting of a Black and White Warbler on Long Island in 1910.

Phenology card2

This card lists only the AOU number, not the name of the bird. It was sighted in Savannah by someone named Hoxie, and the numbers indicate “first sighting Apr 13, next sighting Apr 14, most common on Apr 15, 1908.”

Phenology card3

Some are in chart form, and a little easier to decipher, like this one from 1931.

Phenology card4

This is a field report file, in which the species name is listed, but not the common name. These are usually the most detailed, and after entering the dates as best you can, you type in the entire contents of the card.

Phenology card5

This card includes the AOU number as well as the common name. Mrs. D. Bodine saw this warbler in Crawford(s)ville, Indiana for the first time on May 6 (she saw three of them), again on May 8, they were common in the area on May 10, and she last saw them on May 13.

If you do decide to do this, I recommend watching the 15 minute training video in order to figure out how to decipher the codes and where to enter the information. Happy transcribing, and happy birding!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Today’s word is….


Schadenfreude I'm certain that I've written about this word before, because it's one of my favorites. In fact, I'd have to say it is my favorite word, with 'marshmallow' coming in a distant second. I was recently able to use it, so it's on my mind again.

It's a German word, pronounced SHAH-den-froy-deh, and its literal translation is "bad joy." It's that little frisson of guilty (or sometimes not-so-guilty) pleasure you get when you hear about the misfortune of others. Some people actually experience it when hearing about a friend or loved one's misfortune, but I think that's just kind of creepy, and they should examine why they feel such a thing for someone they consider a friend. I do sometimes experience the feeling, but it's always for someone that I dislike or has been a jerk in some way. Probably my most satisfying Schadenfreude moment was when a friend told me that an ex-BF (the Whoredog) had a bout of Bell's palsy, so he looked like he'd had a stroke, his nose ran all the time, and he was balding.

The guy was seeing at least two other women while he was dating me, so I felt perfectly justified in taking pleasure in his misfortune. It still makes me smile. I'm no saint, but hey, I've never pretended to be one!

Schadenfreude2Last week, when I was talking to my Mom, the ex-BF came up in conversation, I think because we were talking about being unemployed. This is the emotionally abusive ex-BF, the one that I think has Borderline Personality Disorder, and there's still a limited family connection, although the details don't matter. He worked in the manufacturing industry, and like so many others in that line of jobs, lost his job and is drawing unemployment. Mom said it's been months, and when talking with my sister yesterday, it's actually been more like two years. There are also issues with his daughter. I wrote to Shane and told him that although it would probably be natural to feel a little Schadenfreude, I can't say that I did--I just find it all sad and tired and the same old story, and I am so glad that I'm not in that situation any longer! I can't begin to tell you how glad.

My sister has sort of the same feeling about it, but had what I thought was an excellent question. If it's been two years, she can't understand why he isn't taking classes in order to learn a new trade, or a new job to do. That county has 18% unemployment, and there are even more opportunities and help there for retraining than places with the national average of 10% or so. I said, "There's the thing. You have to have the motivation and the drive to go back to school, and he just doesn't."

Schadenfreude3 And that was one of the numerous problems there. He was never the sharpest tool in the shed, but there was always an attitude of "the world is conspiring against me." Every relationship gone wrong was all the woman's fault, every fight at work was the other guy's fault, and now it's not his fault that he lost his job and can't find work...the perpetual victim. Man, I can't stand that. And now instead of taking this opportunity to retrain, he's sitting back and drawing unemployment. As my sister and I said, here's a news flash: those manufacturing jobs aren't coming back, and if you don't roll with the changes, you're left behind. If you haven't been working for two years, wouldn't you have plenty of time to learn a new trade? Of course, you would! But you have to resolve to make a change and then make it happen, rather than waiting for the world to come to you.

Schadenfreude? No. Disgust, yes. Relief that I'm outta there? You have no idea.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A good visit and some sweet retro

Reunion 2008G I had a really nice time with my folks and my sisters today! It was good to get caught up on things and hear how everyone is doing. (This is a picture from our family reunion last summer, sorry Dad isn’t in there.) Mom and Dad took us out for lunch at a Chinese buffet, and I got my one sister to try a bite of sushi--just a veggie roll. She was noncommittal, but didn't spit it out or anything, so I guess that was a pretty good sign. Ha!

One tense moment at the restaurant, when the check came, and my sister Sue grabbed it.

Mom: Susie, give Dad that check.

Sue: Let me get this. I'd really like to.

Mom: No, you don't. Give it to Dad. I'm going to get mad if you don't.

Sue: It's okay. I really want to do this.

[By this time, Dad is chuckling, Diana is outright laughing, and I'm wondering if my sister Sue has lost her mind]

Mom: Fine. Then I won't go get any ice cream.

Sue: Mom, go get some ice cream! Let me get this.

Mom: Nope. [sits back and crosses her arms] I'm not getting any.

Sue: But you just said you wanted some strawberry ice cream.

Mom: I do. But I'm not getting any now.

[Sue hands the check over to Dad]

Mom: Good. Now I can go get my ice cream. [walks off]

Dad: You see what I deal with? She's stubborn.

Me: Susie, you've been around longer than I should know by now that's how she'd react!

I've learned that when Mom says stuff like "Don't get us anything," she means business. She gets more upset if we buy her something than she does if we don't. I know she loves getting cards or phone calls or visits, and sometimes I'll cross the boundaries and get her something I think she'll like, and know that I'll hear, "Honey, you didn't have to do that." I just say, "I know, but I wanted to."

After we left the restaurant, we stopped by to see my Uncle Burt (my Dad's brother, his only brother left), who is in poor health but looked pretty good today! He'll be 91 soon. We always did a lot with Uncle Burt and Aunt Margaret (she passed on many years ago), even going on vacations with them to their cabin in Minnesota. His son and his wife stay with him most of the time, but on Mondays, a guy from Hospice comes in, and he was there today. Just the nicest guy, a retired teacher, and we all had fun visiting. You should have seen Uncle Burt's face when the three of us girls followed Mom and Dad in...he said, "All three of you are here!" It was pretty cool, and I'm glad we stopped to see him. Mom said he'll probably tell everybody about how we all stopped by to see him today. Aww.

Retro chair As we were talking, Dad showed us the letter opener that Uncle Burt made out of shell casings and bullets when he was in the Navy during WWII. Dad asked him if he still had the model planes that he'd made back then (also out of bullets), and Uncle Burt said yes, they're on the bookshelves in the basement. So we all went down there to see them, and they were very intricate and really neat! It had been years since I'd been in the basement of their house, and I was amazed to see some gorgeous retro furniture down there. Very sixties, and in just beautiful shape. Next time I see Doug (my cousin), I'm going to tell him that if they want to sell any of that furniture, please let me know. I would love to have some of it for the basement. It's so cool and retro, and I would love to take care of some of Uncle Burt's furniture. This picture isn't of one of the pieces, but there was a chair very similar to this one. Also sixties era couches with the original upholstery, still in great shape.

We've talked about doing retro stuff in the basement--I think it would be fun to put stuff like that down there, even more so if it were things from my family!

My sisters and I decided that we should do this more often, and Sue said, "Maybe next time we can take the convertible Mustang...?!" I said sure (if Ken gives the go-ahead, of course), but I think they'd better be careful what they wish for! I don't drive the speed limit, although I'm not a speed demon or anything (Diana has a Camaro, and there were times when I wanted to tell her to PUNCH IT!), and at highway speeds, you really take a battering with the top down. It's also pretty hard to talk, because of the wind, so we tend to really crank up the stereo. So get ready, big sisters, Little Sis is at the wheel! Heh heh heh....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Waiter, tell my food to stop looking at me

I’m still trying to shake of this cold, and I’m hoping that I’m past the worst of it. I want to feel good tomorrow, because my sisters are picking me up and we’re heading down to see our folks. Mom and Dad want to take us out for lunch at their favorite Chinese buffet, and I want to be able to eat my money’s worth! (That’s never really a problem, though.) I’m looking forward to seeing everyone, and I’m sure we’ll have a fun afternoon.

There was an article in our local paper today about some people just across the state line, in Niles, Michigan, who found a very eerie slice of ham. Check it out:

Ham face

Do you see the face? The woman said that some people see a demon. Others see “an old Chinese warrior.” Her grandson sees a skeleton. "Here's the bone, where you can see the two eyes," the woman said. "Down below, you can see the mustache and the beard. From here on down, it looks like a Chinese warrior. It's strange. You can see an ear over here. I've never seen anything like it."

It’s Kung Fu Ham!

They plan to put it up on eBay. If it doesn’t sell, I wonder if they’ll eat it? The woman’s sister-in-law, who is—and here’s where it starts getting really weird—a “demon spotter,” says that she would never eat the ham slice. Good advice, because it’s always a bad idea to eat a demon. Or an old Chinese warrior, for that matter.

Kit Kat bar Okay, a couple of questions here. What is with people seeing images in food? Usually it’s an image of Jesus on a tortilla or something like that. I think I remember one in some kind of pastry around here recently, and one of the most entertaining recently was a picture posted by one of my Mafia Wars Facebook friends, Corky from Liverpool: an image of Jesus on a half-eaten Kit Kat bar. I could really see the image, too! (Click to embiggen.) As I commented, I’ve always loved Kit Kat bars, but didn’t know I had to worship them!

Of course, if I saw an image in my food, I’d be taking pictures of it, too.

And why do people think that if God wanted to give them a sign, He’d do it through putting an image in their food? Wouldn’t it be a little more effective and convincing to heal the sick, make the lame walk, or the blind see, rather than embedding your mug in the middle of a Kit Kat bar? Have these people never heard the word “random?”

Finally, I have to address this “demon spotter” thing. What in blue blazes is a demon spotter? Is there a school for that, or is in an innate talent? Can you find a demon spotter apprenticeship program anywhere? Can you get a BSDS degree? How much does a demon spotter make? Are there health benefits? Do you get hazardous duty pay—because I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to mess with demons, either for real or in a ham slice. I hear they’re ugly and smelly and can really mess up your place. Even Febreze won’t get that sulfur smell out of the furniture.

All things being equal, I guess I’d rather encounter the Holy Kit Kat bar, Batman, than the demon-infested ham slice.

Thinking of Kung Fu Ham naturally made me think of one of the most infamous one hit wonders. It is a shameful part of our musical history, but those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. It’s okay to sing along (I do) as long as we remember: never again.