Archive for May, 2008

Sky High

Originally uploaded by dr.Ozda

My colleague, Dr. Ozda, took this picture which, more than any thousand words I could write, pretty much sums up the situation in Hobbiton. The cruel irony is that we have both an oil pipeline and a refinery just outside of town AND we’re still paying these outrageous prices. Eventually, we’re going to have to start knocking holes in the pipeline and dragging home our oil in buckets like they do in Nigeria.


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Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow from the “Curse of the Black Pearl”. “The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what he can’t.” Saavy?

While I was down with bronchitis, I was on a lot of drugs so I had time to ponder deeply on the great unanswered question of our time: why are women attracted to bad guys? To be honest, this kind of question is never asked by women–we know why the baddies are so attractive. It is almost always a fanboy who posts a whiney inquiry to the effect that “I’m swell, but can’t get a date because the chicks dig the bad boys. Whyizzat?” An honest answer–“chicks avoid you because you’re an obnoxious, complaining loser”–is never appreciated so in hopes that men everywhere may be enlightened, I present the following list of reasons of why women love villains.

1.) Villains have a personality. The charismatic baddie who does wicked deeds yet leaves ladies swooning in his wake is almost always a larger-than-life character with a strong sense of self. Compared to him, our white-hatted hero is bland, bland, bland. Villains don’t spend time trying to find themselves. They know who they are–evil. That kind of self-confidence is more of an aphrodiasiac than power and money.

Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” . “Cancel the kitchen scraps for the lepers and the orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.”

2.) Villains have high aspirations and pursue them. True, those aspirations usually involve ultimate power and world domination, but it beats eating cold pizza and watching football on the telly, night after night. Villains know what they want out of life–everything–and they pursue those dreams with vigor.

Jason Isaacs as Col. Tavington in “The Patriot.” “You know, it’s ugly business doing one’s duty… but just occasionally it’s a real pleasure.”

3.) Villains don’t let impossible odds stop them from obtaining their goals. Bad guys don’t whine about the fact that their brother got the crown instead of them and they don’t sing songs about impossible dreams. They plot, suborn, and wade through rivers of blood until they’ve won the throne for themselves. The odds, as every villain knows, are always possible–if you make enough of an effort.

Christopher Lee as Dracula demonstrating the crucial vampire skills of a) always dressing up smartly for those noctural feedings and b) never dropping your woman while she’s swooning.

4.) Villains let their feelings for their women be known. Black-caped, mustachio-twirling bad guys get places with the babes because they’re not afraid to risk rejection. Vampires take a chance every time they show up at some nubile female’s bedroom window. Is she going to invite him in or is she going to stake him? If you want the breaks, you gotta risk the stakes.

[Upon seeing Bugs Bunny dressed as female Tasmanian devil] “Tasmanian SHE-Devil. “[Wolf whistle.] [Aside to the audience]: “Rrrrowr.”–“Devil May Hare”

5.) Villains make their women feel special. Sure, Snidely Whiplash can–and probably has–tied plenty of maidens to the railroad tracks in his time, but it’s Pretty Nell he wants now and no one else will do. The object of a villain’s affection is never interchangeable with other women. Villains always treat their heroines as if they are one of a kind–which they are.

Geoffrey Rush as Casanova Frankenstein from “Mystery Men”. “I have created a beautiful machine that is going to encourage our fellow citizens to share my vision of the world”.

6.) Villains want to share their good fortune with the women in their lives. Be it treasure, power, or virtual immortality, villains know that good things in life are meant to be shared and who better to share those good things with than that special woman? Fear of commitment is not part of a villain’s psychological makeup. Sure, your average bloody-handed tyrant might go mad and see ghosts, but no tyrant has ever told his queen that he needs to break up with her because he needs his space.

So, lads, there it is, your very own six-step plan to world domination and a harem of your own. Oh, and buy some black clothes. It can’t hurt.

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The University of Arnor Library has an atrium. Well, I should say it had an atrium up until the renovation when the skylight was closed off. Up ’til then, those of us confined “below decks” would check the weather by going into the lobby and looking up. Now, however, the library essentially has a large hole that runs through several floors. On each floor, the atrium portion has a wooden railing around it and a substantial ledge inside the railing so it would be difficult, but not impossible, for a sufficiently talented fool to fall in.

As I was visiting Level 4 on my break, I saw a well-fed young man in his late teens/early twenties perched on the atrium railing. Mindful of our responsibility to keep the clueless from killing themselves, I went over and politely asked him not to sit there.

Him: (no apologies, no shame) Do you work here?

Me: (firmly) Yes, I do.

Apparently, only designated employees have the authority to keep him from doing a header down a shaft two floors deep. The next time I see someone perched on the atrium railing, I’m going to shove them in and claim it was an accident.

Remember when you’re tempted to behave badly in the library that you’re only one irate employee away from becoming a ritual sacrifice to the book gods.

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This is the kind of news story journalists just can’t get enough of–mostly because it allows us to make a number of bad puns. And I’m no exception :-). Christian Science Monitor reports that “sticky-fingered thieves” (my phrase) are snitching used cooking oil from restaurant storage bins and reselling it to biofuel plants, cutting in on the business of legitimate contractors. Naturally, there are some “greasy” lawyers willing to defend the perpetrators. Apparently, the question of who owns used cooking oil is a “slippery” area of the law.

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I was down and out with a nasty sinus infection that turned into bronchitis so I wasn’t able to post ’til now. Here’s a few LOL cat pictures I’ve been saving up:

The Strange Incident of the Dog in the Night Time–Solved:

Holmes: Then there’s the strange incident of the dog in the night time.

Watson: But the dog did nothing in the night time.

Holmes: That’s the strange incident.

–Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “Silver Blaze”

And, further proof (if any was needed) of why cats will never run the Iditarod–trouble keeping the booties on:

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When the topic of saving money comes up, libraries are always mentioned, but the implication is often that the only reason to use libraries is to save money on your leisure reading and viewing. No mention is made of the many other services that the library offers. With that in mind, here’s the inside scoop on how you can improve your finances at the library:

  • Personal finance: Your first steps on the road to thrifty living should take you to your library. Check out, don’t purchase, those tomes on financial planning, wills and trusts, retirement planning, frugal living, stretching your food dollar, etc.
  • Career information and resumes: The public library is the unofficial job center of a community. Get information on occupations, changing jobs, find college catalogs, scholarships and grants, graduate schools, and resume writing.
  • Starting a small business: Do your market research, learn how to write business plans and apply for grants, etc. using the publications and databases available at your local library. Ask your reference librarian for assistance. They may be able to point you to other local, regional, and national resources.
  • Equipment checkout: Depending on your library, you may be able to check out media equipment free of charge. At the University of Arnor, for example, university-affliated personnel (students, staff, faculty) can check out laptops, digital tape recorders, and digital cameras among other cool things from the Media Services desk at our library.
  • Interlibrary loan: If your library doesn’t have what you need, they can BORROW it for you from another library that does. No matter how much librarians publicize this service, patrons are still surprised to learn that it’s possible. Books, videos, microfilm, etc. are usually sent through the mail. Depending on the sophistication of your library’s ILL service, periodical articles can be scanned and send via electronic form to your in-box.
  • More than just books: Have you toured your local library recently? If not, you may be surprised to discover that you can check out popular TV shows on DVD, computer games, recent music CDs, books on tape, and maps among other things. Before you buy ANYTHING, query the library first. They may already have the item.
  • Recommend for purchase: If your library isn’t carrying an item that you want and you think it might be of interest to other patrons, ask your library to purchase it. When it comes time to acquire new items, librarians give priority to patron requests.
  • Other services: Libraries, particularly public ones, often function as community centers. They offer literacy tutoring, summer reading programs, teen programs, gaming nights, book discussion groups, tax preparation assistance, meeting space, etc. Ask for a calendar of events.

Remember, friends, libraries are like icebergs: there’s more to them than meets the eye.

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