Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries from April 2007

Miscellanous is good–even more so delivered locally and in Powerpoint!

April 30th, 2007 · Comments Off on Miscellanous is good–even more so delivered locally and in Powerpoint!

David Weinberger about to wow crowds with his talk at Wikimania 2006

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine.

Get ready to give it up for recidivist author David Weinberger, about to start book-touring his latest brainstorm, Everything is Miscellaneous.

And tonight (Monday, April 30, 2007) at 6 p.m. in Harvard’s Pound Hall, he’ll no doubt be wowing a crowd that includes all the folks I could drag to go watch one of Planet Earth’s best talk presenters. And you should go too–even imagining (which I find hard to imagine) that your work or play has nothing to do with information or knowledge–if you think that you too might someday get behind a podium.

Disclosure–David Weinberger is a blogfriend and I got a free review copy of the book. Just finished the book last night–I have both good and bad things to say about it–watch this space–but the short news is that it’s full of both fun and clarity, taking apart and putting together the puzzle of how information and understanding intersect from the point of view of lots of fascinating people. A page-turner, one you’ll be yelling at all your friends about and reading quotes from.

Tags: everythingismiscellaneous

Goddess ready to seize our hero by his hair

April 29th, 2007 · Comments Off on Goddess ready to seize our hero by his hair

Marble goddess

Originally uploaded by Trithemius.

Songs that make us cry — one of my favorites, not on the AV club list is “16th Avenue” sung by Lacy J. Dalton.

From the corners of the country

From the cities and the farms

With years and years of living

Tucked up underneath their arms

They walk away from everything

Just to see a dream come true

So God bless the boys who make the noise

On 16th Avenue

I don’t hear Lacy singing only of back-up guitarists. To me this song celebrates geeks of every variety (scientists, poets, programmers…) who woke up one young morning to hear the goddess whisper that–somewhere out there–live people who care about the stuff they do.

An idea that sets your life on a new path was imagined by Homer as a goddess, grabbing the hero’s attention–or, in case of emergency, seizing his hair.

When I hear “16th Avenue,” I re-remember just how grateful I am that the kids who tormented me for being a “brain” no longer inhabit my days or show up in dreams. I’m glad of the friendship of so many folks who, just like me, left home looking for our own 16th Avenue.

(p.s. I found this topic via the always-inspiring and lovable AKMA)

Tags: Editorial · My Back Pages

Best, if scariest, desktop image ever!

April 28th, 2007 · Comments Off on Best, if scariest, desktop image ever!

Ready to Strike

Originally uploaded by Stuck in Customs.

This giant lizard ( I downloaded the original, 4200 pixels by 2789) now sits on my desktop, motivating me to get finished dealing with whatever data sits on top of him in windows so that I can once again enjoy his glorious colors.

Thanks to Trey Ratcliff, aka Stuck in Customs, for sharing so many great hdr photos on Flickr!

Tags: Metablogging

Two rhinos with more love trouble than Britney Spears

April 27th, 2007 · Comments Off on Two rhinos with more love trouble than Britney Spears


Originally uploaded by zombie squirrels.

Andalas the male mini-rhino, who likes to play kissing games with his male zookeepers, is still jetlagged and mopey two months after being shipped to Sumatra from the LA Zoo.

Meanwhile, his potential mate Ratu ” almost came to grief a couple of years ago when she wandered out of the enclosed area and into a village where terrified elders mistook her for a mythical pig-man believed to be responsible for raping their women and tried to kill her. Police and sanctuary officials chased Ratu for hours, finally recapturing her after she fell into a sewage pit.”

What’s the happiest ending to this rhino story? A mating ritual involving razor-sharp rhino teeth–and then, if the luck of these two star-crossed rhinos changes, maybe, just maybe cute baby Sumatran rhinos.

Surely Ratu and Andalas deserve some good luck this time!

Tags: funny · Science

Take me to another place and time…

April 25th, 2007 · Comments Off on Take me to another place and time…

Three views of Christina Aguilera from her music video for CandymanWow–Christina Aguilera’s music video for Candyman gives you the double pleasure of 1) totally shiny high production values plus 2) the illusion of a retro time-machine view onto 1940s USO totally shiny high production values.

But I repeat myself.

As does Ms. Aguilera, who sings all the parts and co-stars with herself as multiple (blonde, brunette, redhead, etc.) glamorous 1940s performers.

Much as I love the Web 2.0 “authentic” experience of amateurish web video–I have to admit that I also appreciate witty scripting and…did I mention? shiny, shiny high production values!

Tags: Editorial · Learn to write good · Metablogging

Like Entourage, but with robins

April 24th, 2007 · Comments Off on Like Entourage, but with robins

Building a Nest

Originally uploaded by m00nbugg.

I went out to clean the pond this morning and really annoyed some male robins who’d been hanging out there.

I’ve seen these guys before, just romping around in the shallows, splashing themselves and, on occasion, each other.

I wonder if they’re a batch of last summer’s nestmates…they seem so contented to be spending time together.

I wonder if they have a robin-sized yellow Hummer concealed maybe underneath the azaleas…

Tags: Life, the universe, and everything

Up, down, and strange NH

April 22nd, 2007 · 6 Comments

Lake Massabesic, springtime 2007

Originally uploaded by Broompl.

Scrawny NH pine trees and pale springtime sky–Lake Massabesic reflects them.

Tonight I’m missing my beautiful NH, even though I now enjoy similar cold, wet springtime in Massachusetts. (My daffodils are coming up, but no buds yet!)

Lake Massabesic provides drinking water to my hometown of Manchester, NH. My raffish and beloved great-uncle Joseph P Devine and his wife, the former Mae Kelly, lived right on that lakefront, when I was a little girl. Of course, it is forbidden to swim in that water–but not to sail boats on it.

Let me digress to say more about my Uncle Joe, aka within the family as “Darlin’ Joe.” Much more than my grandfather Maurice Francis Devine (his baby brother) Uncle Joe carried on the traditions of his Irish parents–and he was their favorite. He and Aunt Mae took over both the family businesses that had grown out of the very successful carpentry trade built up by Patrick Devine–the Devine Funeral Home (because carpenters build lots of coffins) and the Devine Travel Bureau (because recent immigrants want to take those coffins home to be buried in Ireland.)

But whenever the humor was upon Uncle Joe, he and Aunt Mae would shutter both those businesses (which shared one building) and gather up some of the many children who loved them both for some new adventure. Often they’d take a whole bunch of us to Hampton Beach, bringing us home bright-red with sunburn, full of lobster dinners and saltwater taffy.

Once they completely terrified my poor parents by keeping us out until something like 2 a.m. at a drive-in movie where we saw a wonderful double-feature of Nelson Eddy and Jeannette McDonald. My mother assumed that “dinner and a movie” was an event that would get her four children home by maybe, at the latest, 9 p.m.

Now, with that preparation, I hope my dear readers will not be shocked to learn that on one very hot day in one long-ago summer, my Uncle Joe took us four Devine kids on a boatride onto Lake Massabesic, in which, I repeat, you are not allowed to swim. We were all wearing life jackets because you must, on a boatride.

In the middle of Lake Massabesic, Uncle Joe stopped. “Now,” he reminded us, “swimming is forbidden here. But sometimes it just happens … that you fall off a boat!” He then picked me up and threw me far into the water! Yes, remarkably, all four Devine children “fell” into Lake Massabesic on that hot day and had to swim back to the boat.

Not that I’m recommending to anyone else to be as naughty as my Uncle Joe. But now, looking back, I realize just how lucky I was to have known him.

Tags: My Back Pages · New Hampshire! · Sister Age · Wide wonderful world

How sad can wet April be…

April 19th, 2007 · Comments Off on How sad can wet April be…

…when it reminds me of California Christmas?

Mira and Amity with umbrellas, December 1984

Tags: My Back Pages · Wide wonderful world

How many dead squirrel stories do *you* have?

April 17th, 2007 · Comments Off on How many dead squirrel stories do *you* have?

Dead squirrel

Originally uploaded by velvetmarmoset.

Ronni Bennett’s Elder Storytelling Place is brand-new–but I’ve already found lots of wonderful new stories there.

It’s a lovely project that deserves your attention–and would be a great place for your own stories. I wonder how many stories-per-person will show up there. Will it give an insider’s view into the lives of a few of us? Or will it showcase the most story-like memories from a wide range of us?

Research by Seth Anthony (reported at Wikimania 2006 in his talk “Who is creating real content for Wikipedia?“) suggests that most people run out of energy or material after no more than ten or so “high-content” contributions.

For example, my blogfriend Bert hasn’t posted since 2005. How I miss him! How I enjoyed his memories of the 1980 Olympics in upstate NY, his scenes from the 2004 election, and his celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Normandy invasion.

For another example, I doubt that I have even nine more memories that fit into story form as well as my dead squirrel story.

Props to Ronni for starting this project, which will surely enrich us with many people’s great stories!

Tags: Stories · Wide wonderful world

What real politics needs: more peacekeeping poultry

April 17th, 2007 · Comments Off on What real politics needs: more peacekeeping poultry

In this YouTube video, “peacekeeping poultry” (thanks, Kottke!) bust up a rumbustious battle between two rabbits.

After a recent run-in on Daily Kos, I’m picturing dialog that went something like this.

Rabbit #1: You what?
Rabbit #2: I voted for Ralph Nader for President.
Rabbit #1: You moron–people like you put George W Bush into the White House!
Rabbit #2: You cynical twit–people like you empower politics-as-usual where both parties…
Chicken #1: Hey, stop that!
Chicken #2: Now, quit it–both of you!
Rabbit #1: Hey, but he…
Rabbit #2: No, but she…
Chicken #2: Oh yeah, and fighting each other will really help both of you?
Rabbit #2: I was just explaining…
Rabbit #1: I have a right…
Chicken #1: Oh yeah, you both have a right to be idiots…
Chicken #2: Use those bunny brains of yours, who benefits when you fight?

But never mind my translation, just watch the video.

Tags: Editorial · funny