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

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries from November 2008

Punkin Chunkin: Expensive but priceless

November 29th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Brilliant film maker Jon Hotchkiss

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

From my email outbox:

Hey Alyse and Jon and Brad  ….

We saw Punkin Chunkin on Thanksgiving night, on the HD Science channel–wow!  

You all did a great job turning that fun but chaotic event into real narrative, squeezing some of the chaos out but keeping the fun — and Brad was so funny!  The sky was so blue; the pumpkins so orange, and so many. Frank kept saying, they made it all look so good! And I totally agreed. Animations showing the science were a nice extra touch I hadn’t expected. 

Watching the show entailed a bit more expense than you might realize, since I went out and bought a TV and got our Comcast cable upgraded from internet to include HDTV with HBO. Our new Nintendo Wii, however, I can’t really blame on 

All of it, worth every penny.

And getting my first-ever IMDB-able film credit? With the job title “Prop Ninja”?


Thanks and hugs to you all,

Tags: Frank Wilczek · funny · Travel · Wide wonderful world

CEO of Thanksgiving? You have to be kidding!

November 27th, 2008 · 5 Comments

Betsy Devine cooking for Thanksgiving, 1999
One of today’s most emailed New York Times articles urges us all to approach Thanksgiving dinner like CEOs.

I’m sorry… like what???

Do you mean that as CEO of Thanksgiving dinner …

  • … I should blow my full budget on superbowl ads for my cooking — and beg for a taxpayer bailout to buy me some turkey?
  • …I should take a holiday bonus of half the gravy and cranberry sauce?
  • …I should tell people I long ago asked to share dinner with us that times are tough so I have had to “downsize” them?

No thanks, New York Times, but how about telling those high-flying CEOs to be more like … us moms out here making Thanksgivings? Because when tomorrow night comes, we will have given a whole lot of people a whole lot of what they really, really wanted. Can you say the same?

Really, honest to Pete, can you believe that the deep-thinking economists and high-flying MBAs — who just landed our planet in its current pickle — truly imagine that they have good advice for others?

On a kindlier note, here’s a link to one of my alltime favorite posts ever including the national Thanksgiving prayer: “O Lord, you know I don’t know how to cook this ugly bird…”

Tags: Editorial · food · funny

Tilt the wings of your mouse and fly free

November 16th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Virtual reality ride in invisible glider over snowy mountain tops, tilting your wings and/or turning by moving the mouse. Serene and lovely. I am going to bookmark this to cool me off in the next heatwave but it is also an antidote to November’s wet-dead-leaf rain days.

Three Dee Whee!

Tags: geeky

Yes, we could!

November 5th, 2008 · 2 Comments

We vote in the local fire house

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

And yes, we did! Thank you, America, for electing Barack Obama.

I predict a new surge in American productivity, starting right NOW, as millions of us start to break our time-sucking addiction to political minute-by-minute analysis.

In my case, starting tomorrow. You know, the Karl-Rovians have been running against me personally for so long — East Coast born and bred, married to a professor, driving a hybrid car, and supporting gay marriage–that it’s great to wake up and discover that America’s burning question is no longer whether the Democratic candidate might be a Marxist who wants Bin Ladin to bomb us and hates iceberg lettuce.

Could this finally be the end of the culture wars? The WSJ seems to think Obama found the answer:

What would beat the culture wars was always clear from the pseudo-populist language in which they were framed. In place of a showdown between a folksy “middle America” and a snobbish “liberal elite,” Democrats needed to offer the real deal — the conflict between a public that craves fairness and an economic system that enables the predatory.

…When your mortgage is under water and your neighbors are being laid off, the need to take up the sword against arrogant stem-cell scientists becomes considerably less urgent.

The Republican response, of course, was to double down on the righteous rhetoric of red-state grievance and spin the wheel one more time.

It was sad to see John McCain sink down into the culture war Karl Rove dog whistle politics, like an old dog so thirsty he drinks water out of the toilet. I hope McCain is getting some sleep right now. Obama is the one with tough jobs ahead of him now, and I have more hope than is perhaps rational that he is going to be a great President.

Speaking of more sleep, I really need some more sleep too.

Tags: Cambridge · Editorial · politics · Wide wonderful world

Physics of giant (pumpkin) accelerators

November 3rd, 2008 · 1 Comment

Punkin chunkin: Old Glory air cannon

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Whew, we just got home from scary Halloween fun, with huge noisy machines that hurl or blast ginormous pumpkins across farmers’ fields!

Jon Hotchkiss is creating a show for Discovery Science Channel about Delaware’s annual Punkin Chunkin festival. It will air for an hour on Thanksgiving Day, hosted by improv comedian Brad Sherwood (of Whose Line is it Anyway, and he’s really funny!) with the physics explained (of course) by a Nobel laureate–who is Frank Wilczek.

And Betsy Devine is getting a credit too, I am told, as “Prop Ninja” for supplying marshmallows, rubber bands, and lots of other useful items you’ll see onscreen.

My Flickr photoset documents just a small chunk of the massive punkinology that I recommend you sit down to on Thanksgiving Day

Tags: Frank Wilczek · funny · Science · Wide wonderful world

Future-gazing with the help of a book store

November 1st, 2008 · Comments Off on Future-gazing with the help of a book store

Frank Wilczek talking at Reiters Books in Washington, DC

Frank talking at Reiter’s Scientific Books

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Here you see Frank Wilczek talking at Reiter’s Scientific Books. Aka “Reiter’s Scientific, Professional Technical Books”. What a great bookstore! It was a real bookstore like this that helped Frank (and many young people) get started in science.

Amazon recommends books on the basis that others who bought book X also liked book Y. In a bookstore, you also look into your own future, because shelves include books that people might read after finishing books X and Y.

Such help and encouragement are especially useful to young people or to those who are trying to study something by themselves.

If you go to Washington, don’t miss Reiter’s Book Store. They will ship your purchases to you by UPS, and said purchases can include not just books and magazines but anatomical models of brains or a lifesize skeleton.

Tags: Frank Wilczek · Useful · Wide wonderful world