Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jib Jab

Here is the latest Jib Jab as I received it from Carrie Babcock. I love Jib Jab...

My favorite part is the part with Barack. Friggin' hilarious!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Pentail *hic* Tree Shrew

Ok, to be honest, I hated the last header. I was proud of it because it took a lot of time, but at the end of the day, it looked like garbage. So, here's the newest header. I actually like this one, and it took about fifteen minutes. It's a bit country sure, but hey, who doesn't like chewing on bits of straw?

Now, to make this post more interesting than just telling you I made a new header, I figured I'd tell you about a little squirrel-mouse-looking guy with a bird feather on his tail who drinks beer. That's right, researchers recently discovered the only mammal on earth, other than us, who regularly consumes alcohol. He is a cousin of primates, and his name is the Pentail Tree Shrew. Every night the little critters imbibe a spirit in the flowers of the Bertram Palm which collect a kind of yeast that ferments the nectar into something akin to beer. Accounting for weight, and the strength of the alcohol, the little fellas drink the equivalent of 9 glasses of wine every night.

The remarkable thing, is that they never, never seem to get drunk. Imagine drinking nine shots of tequilla, and then running around through the branches of trees. Sounds like some college students I know.

Here's the story on NPR if you want to check it out.

Oh, and if you enjoyed that, you might like to read about the dog who sucked on toads because it was like taking a hit of acid.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame

You know how everyone gets fifteen minutes of fame? I just found out what mine is. Curious? Just do a Google image search for snails, or baby snails. Oh, and be sure to read the caption under the photo. Go ahead. You'll laugh, I don't mind.

I just realized that's the source of about 100 hits on my blog each week. Sure, it's a little embarrassing but you know what they say, "Any publicity is good publicity." Right?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Come on Everybody do the Locomotion

For those of you who don't know, I've been watching Norah for the past two weeks. It's been great, and I've really enjoyed the Dad role. In those two weeks, an exciting development happened. I'm sure Rach will be super excited to see this, so no one tell her until she's read the blog okay?

I started training Norah on how to do this new development just before Rach left. My hope was that Norah would catch on before her Mommie took off for two weeks. But, it didn't quite work out that way. Here's a picture from a training session before Rach left:

And here is a video I took today. She still needs some work, but I think we can officially say that Norah is crawling. Fortunately for you, if you listen closely, you can hear a dog squealing in the alley, and my neighbors fighting. Yay!

And in case crawling isn't quite your speed, I also taught Norah how to drive. :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

New Header!

I'm trying to spend some time working on GIMP, and used it to make the new header! I learned a lot making it, and had a good time messing around.

Rach asked me about it, so I figured I would write a quick blurb. Basically, if you stuffed my blog into an envelope, that's what I think the envelope would look like. That's all.

Ok. And I promise, no more politically charged blogging for a while.

But did you see this? I won't be responding to any comments on it, but if you didn't see this, you need to know that this is what the New Yorker put on the cover of their most recent issue. The New Yorker said it intends to hold a mirror to the face of prejudice. I see why people are upset, but I can also see why it would have seemed funny.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Iran Photoshops Missile

Remember those old newspaper games where you had to find the things that were different in the images? Iran apparently sucked at those. I know, because top Iranian officials released the following two images demonstrating their successful firing of four missiles the other day. I pulled these images from NPR. Take a look at them, and sing with me: "One of these things is not like the other... One of these things does not belong..."

Go ahead, look closely. I know none of my readers are expert missile test photograph forensic investigators, but tell me if you think four missiles fired successfully. The second photo looks pretty convincing... but compare it to the first. See that third lonely missle in the first photo, sitting on the back of the truck, not going much of anywhere? See that same missile in the second photo? Hmmm.... How did that missile catch up to the other three missiles? And why does it look exactly like the second missile? Check out the smoke clouds under the third and fourth missiles. Here it is zoomed in a bit.

Yeah. Apparently, not only did Iran botch the missile test, they botched photoshopping the missile test. That's right. Iranian officials sought to dupe the entire world into believing they test fired four missiles, with photoshop.

Now, I don't know what's more frightening: the fact that Iran is so detached from reality as to believe that they can fool the world's national intelligence agencies with photoshop, or the fact that it appears as though Iran duped the world's national intelligence agencies with photoshop! That's right... it wasn't the CIA or some other central US Intelligence group that discovered the dupe, it was a guy working for the New York Times. A day after the photo was on newspaper covers all across the nation, according to NPR, a guy named Patrick Witting at the New York Times said "Something's not right here." And the photo was discovered as a fake.

Can someone tell me why no one is asking why the CIA didn't catch this? It seems pretty obvious to me, but then again, I'm not an expert missile test photograph forensic investigator.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Eleks, Tiffany Glass, and a Mohawk

Mom and Dad Elek and Tim, Marisa and Bailey all came by last weekend. It was really nice to have everyone over, and I was excited to show them all around Hyde Park. We went downtown and ate at Stanley's. I'm pretty sure it's the best food I've ever eaten. It took a while for the food to get to us but man, once it got there, it was superb. I just finished reading "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair, and read a little bit about this company called Agriprocessor that seems to be running the same way as the old Union Stockyards. As a result, I've been having trouble eating meat lately. I'm not saying that I'm a vegetarian, I just can't seem to eat a hamburger without thinking about the way the industry is run. We'll see where that goes. All that to say, I ate a vegetarian lasagna at Stanleys and man was it freaking good.

Anyway, here are some of the pictures from their visit:

I loved having some of my family over. Hopefully we'll be able to host the rest of the fam at some point before we move from here. I love living in this city, and especially Hyde Park. If you're able to come, we'll make your stay as free and as comfortable as possible. Just let us know.

In other news:

Rachel started work Monday, so I've been playing Mr. Mom. I thought it was going to be either really easy, or really frustrating, but on the whole it's pretty much awesome. I get up at 5:45 with Rach and try to see her out the door, and then I sit down at the kitchen table and drink coffee and read blogs until Norah gets up. (Usually around 7:00.) On Monday, I played with Norah and tried to teach myself some Hebrew while she napped or played in the playpen. (I now know how to say Father, Mother, and Son. I also learned a lot of the letters, so I might be able to read a sign in Hebrew, but I wouldn't have any idea what it meant.) On Tuesday, Norah and I took a trip downtown to contest the towing of my car. Turns out, we lost. To celebrate our defeat, I decided to go on a long walk through the city. Rather than riding the El back to Millenium Station, I decided we would walk. I'm glad I did.

While we were on our walk, I wandered into the Chicago Cultural Center. (We also walked down to the public library, but Norah was ready to hit it by then, and I didn't get any pictures.) I had read that they restored one of two Tiffany Glass Domes in the Chicago Cultural Center, and I wanted to see it. Apparently, they are the largest Tiffany Glass Domes in the world. (Though it sounds like a pretty small niche to hold a record in.) I was exicted to see the domes, but no where near prepared for the beauty of the building as a whole. The building is simply astounding. I'd never been in there before, and was simply stunned when I walked inside to see the entire structure bedecked with jeweled glass mosaics. Litterally every inch of the entrance is covered in the most gorgeous mosaics I've ever seen. I could honestly walk into this building and wander around just looking at the tile work for a whole day. It is simply astounding. I uploaded a few pictures of the dome and one of the mosaic work for you to see. I'll load the full size images so that you can zoom in on them if you want.

After the Cultural Center, we walked to the public library, but Norah was singing some songs so we didn't stay long. I want to come back so I can take some pictures of the roof. It has these intricate copper statues of twisting bent metal on the corners that piqued my curiosity.

After the Library, I decided we would go to Buckingham Fountain because it looked like we would get there just in time for the 12:30 water show. (I thought.) Turns out, the Taste of Chicago festival was still going on, and I accidentally found myself among a Cedar Point-esque crowd full of people with sticky fingers and sugary sauces dribbling down their chins. It was almost enough to give me heart palpitations. If you don't mind crowds, and lots of people in dirty tee shirts, and acres of barbecue smoke searing your eyes, and some pretty good deals on food, then you should probably check it out. If you aren't interested in those things, steer clear. Because Taste of Chicago is basically a few good food shops crowded by dozens of meat-on-a-stick vendors and hordes of reincarnated Mongols from Ghenghis Khan's Army burping on each other's shirts.

After wandering around the mind numbing crowds for a while, we walked back to Millenium station and took the train home. I put Norah to sleep and crashed on the bed until Rach came home.

Then, yesterday I learned that Facebook has a Texas Holdem Feature. So, that ate up my day. In between cleaning house, feeding the babe, and loosing imaginary money online, I also took this amazing photo of Norah, and then spiked her hair into a mohawk. The mohawk remained through most of the day and was still standing strong whem Mom came home. I can't wait to see what else I can do with Norah's hair once it gets longer. I'm going to find out if it's okay to die baby's hair. (No. Not really. Well... now that I think about it... Nahhh...?) All in all, I'm enjoying my new role as Mr. Mom. Ryan Battles, if you're reading this blog, I'm jealous of you. I only get to do this for a summer.

Before I show you the last two pictures, let me just say that being home with Norah all day long has made me pretty much fall in love with her all that much more. I woke up this morning and watched her playing on the floor and it's almost enough to burst your chest open. I just love that little girl.

Here's the mohawk. I know, it's not original, but man it was funny to me.

I love this picture. Her eyes are closed, but she just looks so happy. Man, I like that kid.