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Updated: 12/19/02

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Thursday, 19 December, 2002

We sort of had a birthday party for Eva T tonight. We were all supposed to get together at Susan V's apartment but she has that nasty flu that is going around. So several of us got together anyway. John K was kind enough to do a pre-party write-up of the event:

I attended a party in honor of Eva's birthday. It was a festive affair. After we pried her viselike grip off an empty bottle of Veuve Cliquot, she favored the attendees with a pastiche of show tunes while wearing full kabuki makeup. She was seen later in the evening having a heated discussion with the hostess over which one of them was entitled to eat a particularly voluptuous chocolate eclair.

Yeah, pretty much, except for the Veuve Cliquot, and it was chocolate cake rather than an eclair.

[Happy Birthday Eva!]

Where to begin? There's just a plethora of goodies floating in the sea of information today. Hard to decide, but let's start with something seasonal.

Santa kidnapped by Grinch Enterprises

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian thieves calling themselves Grinch Enterprises have kidnapped a Santa Claus figure off an Ontario family's front lawn and are holding the jolly icon for ransom, the owner says.

The group -- who have struck at the same family home before and demanded a similar ransom -- want the owners to collect canned goods for a food bank in return for getting their plywood Santa back before Christmas Day, Evelyn Hussey said.

The [ransom] notes contain instructions and include photographs of the missing Santa.

"In the one I just got last night, he's in front of the Sarnia General Hospital, which probably means that he will be injured quite soon if I don't meet their demands," she said on Wednesday.

[Heh, those silly Canadians.]

Hanlonvision.com is THRILLED that after years of the nasty brown recycled paper bags, his local McDonald's has returned to the classically designed white paper version. But he cautions against too much excitment:

Even now, a third-grader in some Northern California school is probably writing the following letter:

Dear McDonald's,

My diversity studies teacher, Ms. (insert hyphenated surname) had just finished reading us "Heather Has Two Mommies" when we began discussing your decision to start raping Mother Earth again.

I was horrified to learn that my friends Kyle, Luis, Caitlin, Mohammed, Jason, Samantha, Hadassah, Britney, LaShondella, Carmen, and Joe all got their Happy Meals in white bags when their moms went through the drive-through in their SUVs.

Please, please, won't you think of us children?

I'll bet that McSpotlight.org, will be all over this. Here are a couple of snippets from their website. [Emphasis mine.]


Nobody is arguing that the huge and growing global environmental and social crisis is entirely the fault of one high-profile burger chain, or even just the whole food industry. McDonald's are of course simply a particularly arrogant, shiny and self-important example of a system which values profits at the expense of anything else. Even if McDonald's were to close down tomorrow someone else would simply slip straight into their position. There is a much more fundamental problem than Big Macs and French Fries: capitalism. But what about anti-capitalist beliefs like socialism and anarchism? Is it possible to create a world run by ordinary people themselves, without multinationals and governments - a world based on sharing, freedom and respect for all life?

Let's see, no multi-nationals, no governments. "Why can't everybody just get along?" Because you can bet your bottom tree-hugging dollar that some other group of people (let's say al-Qaida) would think that THEY'D rather be living on the land that we're calling the United states and by the way, please convert to Islam, thank you. And if you say "No," exactly WHO is going to uphold your right to say "No"? Oh, yeah, we don't HAVE a government.

So that's why Helen and Dave gave up six years to fight McDonald's in court, why thousands of people around the world have handed out millions of leaflets, and why we've spent so long making this website. It's not because we're a bunch of vegetable-munching fanatics (although we are) - it's because the philosophy which McDonald's symbolise is steamrollering the planet and we'd like to feel we did a little something to get in its way.

[All that I will say is, how many trees died for your anti-McDonald's leaflets, huh?]

I had no idea that this was an actual major in colleges: Peace Studies. The Star Tribune goes into detail, but there were a couple of choice comments.

By the end of the decade, nearly 100 programs were in place. Currently more than 70 schools offer master's and doctorate degrees in peace studies.

Yet as these programs are in large measure populated by left-leaning teachers and pupils, and some question the academic qualities of the field.

[Registering surprise.]

"These kids are already on the path when they come to me," [Longtime activist Marv] Davidov said. "These students are coming faster to their radicalism than we ever did. Look out."

[Coming faster to their radicalism? Oy.]

In the midst of all this Baghdad Sean flak, I found a link to the Iraqi Press's website with the original "Iraq Daily" version of our poor misused star's quotes. The whole website, though, is bizarre, to say the least. Here are a couple of choice links from the site:

Iraq Tourism Board. Talk about your tough sells. The "Tourist Planning" page is under construction, but there's a nice listing of diseases that can be aided through "Remedial Tourism" to a mineral springs. It's recommended for all of one's thyroid gland secretions and gout.

Saddam University for Islamic Studies. "Established according to the direction of H.E. the President the Fighter Saddam Hussein (May God preserve and protect him)".

Iraqi News Agency. Contains such interesting headlines as:

Iraqi brave anti-aircraft defences intercept U.S. and British warplanes says military spokesman,

President Saddam Hussein presents fertilizers to Palestinian peasants, and

The First, Second and Third "open letter from Saddam Hussein to peoples of United States, Western peoples and governments."

And my personal favorite - the General Federation of Iraqi Women. Here's what the scrolling message on the top says:

To the leader Saddam Hussein...a booming (Yes) to be uttered by the hearts of Iraqi glorious women...because you are the faith and the will...because you are the victory and sovereignty...because you are the wisdom in leadership...(Yes we say) with full hearts and minds...(yes) you equity of justice and right...you bearer of the emblem of the Message, O you daring one, you son of the glorious, O you Saddam...because you are the symbol of Iraq's and the Arab Nation's pride...we tell you (yeas) you our great leader in every grand march.

[Funny, though, none of the links about women's political, economic or social status work.]

Another Christmas present arrived from Mom and Dad. I know the general classification (sterling silverware) because it is from a company that specializes in replacement pieces for discontinued sterling sets. I have my Grandmother Logie's set of Reed and Barton Georgian Rose, and last year Mom and Dad gave me several serving pieces. I'm curious as to what she's found this year!

Does anyone watch the series, "Hack?" It stars David Morse as a disgraced ex-cop turned vigilante cab driver and it's set in Philly. There are always out filming around town - they were outside the Dunkin' Donuts near my office last week. I got an e-mail from David D who writes:

Yes, it's a mediocre, sappy and maudlin TV show. No, I'm not in it but this Friday night's episode was filmed in our office last month. They changed our name to something like Brightman and Chance for the day they filmed. Several scenes were shot right outside my office and all the interior office scenes were shot in various locations on our floor.

The cast and crew were here from 8:30 AM until 2 AM the next morning. The entire office was littered with film and sound equipment and the cast and crew numbered at least 40 people. It was controlled chaos with excellent catering. The cast and crew were very friendly and seemed to enjoy answering all our lame questions. Apparently on-location shooting works a bit like the Cat in The Hat - when we returned the next day there was no trace of their activity.So, if you're like me and the work week has reduced you to a collapsing wreck by Friday night, should you find yourself channel surfing and stop on Hack, you'll see where I work.

I should note - at the risk of more Blog Envy - that this is the same office where George V, Chip K, and John K work. George said that he found the job he wanted - there was one guy who was hired just to watch the food and make sure non-crewmembers didn't partake. So there you go: Food Watcher to the Stars.

~ ~ ~

Quote du jour:

"The food that enters the mind must be watched as closely as the food that enters the body."

-- Patrick Buchanan (1938 - ____) US politician

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