Monthly Archives: February 2008


Here it is, February 28th. What is typically the last day of February. However, this year, as I’m sure you are aware, is a leap year. So we get another day this month, making this year 366 days long.¹ Anyhow, this leaping business of leap year has inspired me to think about frogs.² And thus you get a froggy ThThTh list.

A Few Frogs

  1. leap frog: A game you play by leaping over crouched people. (I can’t really describe it. Go see what Wikipedia says.)
  2. Frogger. A classic 80s arcade game. The goal is to get a frog to hop safely across a road and a river without getting squashed or dunked. You can play online.
  3. Kaeru: This Japanese word means both frog and return, leading to frog charms being carried for luck by travellers.
  4. The Frog Prince. A fairy tale about a princess prince-turned-frog-turned prince. It has some variations I’m less familiar with:

    Although in modern versions the transformation is invariably triggered by the princess kissing the frog, in the original Grimm version of the story, the frog’s spell was broken when the princess threw it against a wall in disgust.[1] In other early versions it was sufficient for the frog to spend the night on the princess’s pillow.

  5. The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher, a book by Beatrix Potter. Mr. Fisher is a frog who goes fishing for his meal, but after some mishaps, opts to dine on grasshopper.
  6. Frog and Toad. Characters from the series of books (including Frog and Toad are Friends) by Arnold Lobel. They are a frog and a toad. Who are friends.
  7. crane_frog4.jpg     beatrix_potter_jeremy_fisher_cover.jpg     frog_and_toad.jpg

  8. Kermit the Frog. The beloved Muppet, created by Jim Henson. The orginal version was made from a discarded coat and ping pong balls.
  9. Michigan J. Frog. The singing frog from the classic Warner Brother’s cartoon.
  10. Keroppi Hasunoue. A Sanrio character. (It’s not actually clear to me what he is a character of, beyond toys and other merchandising.)
  11. kermit28.gif     mjfrog3.gif      keroppi.jpg

  12. Froggy, a character in various books by Jonathan London, such as Froggy Gets Dressed
  13. magnolia.jpg

  14. The frog scene from the movie Magnolia (1999). It rains frogs. Really big frogs. It gets messy.
  15. Frog Went A-Courting. An English folk song.
  16. Five Little Speckled Frogs. A children’s count-down song:

    Five little speckled frogs,
    Sitting on a hollow log,
    Eating some most delicious bugs,
    Yum, Yum.
    One 1 frog jumped in the pool,
    Where it was nice and cool,
    Now there are four 4 speckled frogs,
    Glub, glub.

  17. A frog in one’s throat: an expression describing the gurgling and croaking⁴ that people sometimes get when talking with phlegm in the throat.
  18. Crunchy Frog: a Monty Python sketch about a chocolate confection with a dead frog center.
    We use only the finest baby frogs, dew-picked and flown from Iraq, cleansed in finest-quality spring water, lightly killed, and then sealed in a succulent Swiss quintuple smooth treble cream milk chocolate envelope and lovingly frosted with glucose.


¹ Has anyone else noticed that this is perhaps an unfortunate year to choose for the inaugural year of Blog 365, where people commit to blogging daily for the whole year? But I see they have a planned day off for tomorrow.

² Because they leap.

³ We recently got a different Froggy book for Phoebe from a Scholastic catalog, namely Froggy Eats Out, and were a bit dismayed by the message of this particular one. In it, Froggy behaves like a brat and embarrasses his parents so badly at a nice restaurant that they must leave. They then reward him by going out to a burger joint, like Froggy had originally wanted.

⁴ Or irregular phonation. Which sounds less frog-like than croaking and gurgling.

The Golden Pants Award

golden_pants.jpgJon Stewart: …and the award for the Most Distinguished Pants Blog, the coveted Golden Pants Award, goes to alejna of collecting tokens. [cue cheesy music]

alejna: [choking back the tears] I can’t believe what an honor this is for me. It seems like just yesterday that I first tried on pants blogging. Now with 31 pants posts under my belt, I feel that I’ve come far in the world of pants blogging. But I know that there are many more important issues of pants that need to be laid bare. I will continue to strive to dress them…I mean address them in the dignified manner which they so richly deserve.

I would like to thank the Academy of Pants. I’d of course like to thank my mother, who put me in my first pair of pants. I’d like to thank all my friends and family members who encouraged me in the pursuit of pants, with the occasional kick in the pants. Thanks to those who brought pants crises and pants celebrations to my attention. And thanks, above all, to my various pairs of pants, which were always there to cover my ass in times of need.


This week’s Monday Mission, which I chose to accept in part because I have many other things which I should be doing and this seemed like more fun, was to write a post in the form of an acceptance speech. I’d also like to extend my thanks to Painted Maypole, for the specific inspiration for this post. When she wrote her pants entry for last week’s Mission, I told her I felt like I’d been awarded the Golden Pants Award. It seems only fitting that I should have my acceptance speech ready.

on 123

Magpie tagged me for the 123 meme. I thought it was fun to get hit with this one, since it was quite possibly the first meme I’d ever seen. It looks like back in September of 2006, back before I even had this blog, I saw it over at my friend jenny’s.

First, here be the rules¹:

  1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
  2. Open the book to page 123
  3. Find the 5th sentence
  4. Post the next three sentences
  5. Tag 5 people

Next, here be my results:

“…Do let’s get out of thsi wretched wood into the open as quick as we can. And none of us except you saw anything.”
“Edmund?” said Peter.

This be from Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis, the second book in the Chronicles of Narnia. (By the original ordering. Not the irritating chronological re-ordering by which new editions of the books are now numbered.)²

As for the tagging, this memery is so painless, I think I can manage 5. It’s also one that one could do multiple times, so I won’t feel lame for tagging someone who’s already done it. So, I’ll say: ericalee, az, lori, fireweaver and averagebean. Hell, I’d happily tag everyone and their dog⁴ with this one, just to see what sort of books people have lying around. So, anyone else want to pick up on this, consider yourself tagged.


¹ It would appear that I still occasionally feel the need to talk like a pirate. Arrrr.

² This is not actually the most recent book I read, but it happened to still be sitting on the end table next to the couch. The most recent book I read was The Horse and His Boy. The actual nearest books to me are board book versions of Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? and Good Dog, Carl, neither of which have anything like 123 pages.³

³ I was very tempted to go sit somewhere else to do this, so I could find a more intriguing book to use. But I played fair.

⁴ So maybe I should tag Snuffy.


Guess what day it was?

I’ll give you a hint:


Here are a few pictures of what Phoebe did for her big day. (When she wasn’t getting phone calls from friends and relatives wanting to sing to her.)






dot dot dot

exclamation_point1.jpgThere are times when the world conspires to make me ponder a topic for a list. This week the world apparently wants me to reflect on punctuation.

I’m quite fond of punctuation, really. Not so much the prescriptive uses of it. I like the informal uses of it that reflect the prosody of spoken language. You can break up a sentence or phrase with periods to show the strong emphasis of making each word its own intonational phrase. (What. The. Hell?) There’s the use of parentheses or commas for, you know, parenthenticals. (And I’m quite partial to parentheticals.) Or you can use ellipses to signal that you’re trailling off…

So I offer you a ThThTh list with an abundance of punctuation marks.

First, I offer to you the Evidence of Punctuation Conspiracy:

Further punctuation-related things include:

  • The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. This blog is a “great” place to see of all sorts of abuses of quotation marks.
  • Apostrophe Abuse. Its the cats pajama’s in terms of misused apostrophe’s.
  • The Ominous Comma. A blog. While not actually about punctuation, it gets points for having such a cool punctuation-related name.
  • Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss. A book on punctuation that is said to be entertaining. (Yes, I should have read it. I have it. But haven’t read it. It will probably tell me to stop with the sentence fragments. Or some such. Screw that.)
    • There’s a punctuation “game” based on the book. (I use “scare quotes” here to suggest that there is not a lot of “fun” or “playing” involved.)
    • More fun is the panda joke that is the inspiration for the book title (offered up by Geoffrey Pullum of The Language Log) .
  • I love you period,” a song by Dan Baird

    I love you period
    Do you love me question mark
    Please, please exclamation point
    I want to hold you in parentheses

  • Let’s not forget the colons and semi-colons of the island nation of San Serriffe:

    The native people of San Serriffe are the Flong. However, the dominant group are of European stock, the descendants of colonists, known as colons. There is also a large mixed-race group, known as semi-colons.

  • Finally, I offer a bit of cartoon swearing. As in using punctuation marks in place of swear words, usually in a cartoon. (This allows me to end the post with a bang. Or 2.)(Sorry, a little punctuation mark humor.)(No, I’m not sorry. I’m dorky like that.)


What’s your point?

I found this punctuation mark quiz at raincoaster‘s earlier this week. I was going to post this as part of a bigger list today, but my list was getting out of hand. So decided to pop it up now. (From the train. Hah! My commuter train now has free wireless.)

I am a question mark.

You Are a Question Mark

You seek knowledge and insight in every form possible. You love learning.
And while you know a lot, you don’t act like a know it all. You’re open to learning you’re wrong.

You ask a lot of questions, collect a lot of data, and always dig deep to find out more.
You’re naturally curious and inquisitive. You jump to ask a question when the opportunity arises.

Your friends see you as interesting, insightful, and thought provoking.
(But they’re not always up for the intense inquisitions that you love!)

You excel in: Higher education

You get along best with: The Comma

I’m quite amused to see that I excel in higher education. I wonder if such excellence is measured in terms of years spent pursuing degrees. ‘Cause I’m getting quite a few years under my belt. The bit about collecting lots o’ data is…um…right on the mark.

So, do you dare to try the quiz? Who will get the dreaded colon?

sunshine on a cloudy day?

Here is a little screen shot of the weather widget on my Mac. The top weather summary is for Boston, and the bottom is for our town. Please look closely at the two summaries, especially for the Wednesday column. Notice any differences between the two forecasts?



We live 45 miles from Boston. Admittedly we live in a different county, and in many ways our little semi-rural, one-stoplight town is worlds apart from the hustle and bustle of the cosmopolitain urban center. But dammit, I thought we were generally in the same climate.

Okay, since we are inland, and Boston is on the water, we typically see some differences in amount of precipitation and temperature. I’m used to that. However, it would appear that for tomorrow, as I’ll go into Boston for a meeting after I drop off Phoebe at daycare, I need to dress for snow and cold, and also for balmy sunshine. Maybe I should mail home a postcard from sunny Boston.

Update: Aha! It would appear that Boston is not going to have the Mediterranean temperatures that my widget told me. Well, not Boston, Massachusetts, at least. At some point in the last few days, perhaps sensing that I’m looking forward to Spring, my widget decided on its own that I would like to see what the weather is like in Boston, Georgia. I guess this looks more like what I should expect:


sharing the pants

This week’s Monday Mission was to write a post in the style of another blogger. I found myself stumped by this task. Or perhaps too lazy to really give it a try. Or perhaps too tired. (Would you like an exhaustive list of my lame-ass excuses? I could do it, you know.)

Anyhow, even better than having found the motivation to write a brilliant post, I have instead been honored by Painted Maypole herself, esteemed hostess of the Monday Missions, as the blogger whom she chose to imitate. And imitation, we all know, is the sincerest form of flattery. And I must say that I am flattered to the bottom of my pants.

So, please go pay her a visit. Pants off to you, Painted Maypole!

It would seem that my pants have been falling down again, and it’s been a while since I’ve given you the sort of pants-laden content you’ve come to expect. However, I’m quite pleased to say that there will be more pants here in the near future. (My lovely friend Jean even sent me a special treat that I will have to share. A friend with pants is a friend indeed.)

heart in my hands

figure12.png Happy Valentine’s Day. Or what’s left of it.¹ Well, today is a day most strongly associated with one symbol: the heart. Whether it’s heart-shaped boxes of cheap-ass waxy chocolate, chalky-tasting little candy hearts with messages, or the good old-fashioned construction paper heart cut-out, Valentine’s Day is an affair of the heart. Or at least the heart shape. Because let’s face it, the actual organ itself gets the short shrift. So this ThThTh list is for you, you hard-working, blood-pumping bundle-o-muscles.

A list for the Heart

  • The Tell-Tale Heart,” by Edgar Allen Poe. The sound of his victim’s beating heart haunts a murderer. (There’s a Simpsons episode that features a diarama of “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Someone out there has also made a Angel Heart (1987). This movie has a bit about someone eating a human heart.
  • The episode “Hush,” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is the one where everyone loses their voice. The villains in this one steal people’s voices in order that they may accomplish their goal of collecting 7 human hearts without the inconvenience of screaming victims.
  • There’s also the famous scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) in which a man rips the still-beating heart out of another man’s chest as part of a sacrificial ritual.
  • Aztec sacrifices: check out the Wiki bit (and do note the “[citation needed]” bit. I really have know idea whether this is true.)

    The Aztec civilization used the heart as a sacrificial token during the sacrifice of a human being. The priest used a stone knife to cut into the thoracic cavity and remove the heart, upon which it would be placed on a stone altar as an offering to the gods. The greatest sacrifice under the reign of Montezuma involved the removal of the hearts of over 12,000 enemy soldiers.[citation needed]

  • Las Dos Fridas (The Two Fridas): a painting by Friday Kahlo with two versions of the artist with heart exposed.(Go have a look.)
  • Looking for something to impress the cephalopodophile in your life? Consider one of the lovely tentacled-heart images of Ben Lawson. (ht to raincoaster and MasterCowfish.)
  • Still want to give your true love the semi-traditional gift of candy? Why not consider the gummy heart, or the one-pound solid milk chocolate human heart?
  • —————-

    ¹ Here it is, almost 11:00, and I’ve been meaning to toss up a list all day. My plan, you see, was to post something heart-related. John suggests that I should prioritize sleep over posting a list. Pah! I scoff at your well-reasoned suggestion. And anyhow, I’ve got most of the damn thing already outlined.

    image: The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Child’s Day, by Woods Hutchinson,