There's a water cooler where I work, which I visit several times a day in order to fill up my water bottle. It's the classic kind, with a giant upside-down clear container, and a little lever down below, which one uses to dispense the water.

Everytime I fill up my water bottle, big, intermittent air bubbles rise from the bottom up, as though there's a scuba diver just out of sight below. When I release the lever, the bubbles get smaller and slower until one final little bubble rises and pops, as though I've killed the little scuba diver. This is how I start every morning.


dixie dictum

"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism," [Dixie Chick Natalie] Maines resumes, through gritted teeth. "Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism."

It's about time. Especially during the whole Iraq debate, the left-wing democrats have been speaking against the war, Bush, etc., and saying that they are the true patriots for doing so -- they are the ones who are truly committed to their country. I think that for the most part this line of argument has been greeted with wry smiles of disbelief -- not because it would necessarily be an untrue statement, but because there is a general suspicion of left-wing democrats who claim that they love their country just as much as their Republican and even moderate Democrat counterparts. It's surprised me a little that they haven't come out and said, "Actually, you're right. We're not very patriotic. We don't love our country above any others, and we think that's a good thing. We think there is no reason to love your country just because it's your country. Instead, we should consider ourselves to be part of one giant global country, with no international lines dividing us." It's a respectable argument (though one I disagree with), and I think that if left-wing democrats (and some of the moderates as well) are to convince the general public of their genuineness, it's one they should make. Apparently it took a Dixie Chick to get it started.

If anyone cares to know why I ultimately disagree with that stance, I'll be happy to take it up later...


shall we gather at the river...

As part of my new job, I got to take a drug test today. The company I am doing my internship with is large enough to have its very own drug tester guy, and I talked with him a bit before fulfilling my obligations. He's probably in his 50's, and turns out he's really educated. He has a variety of degrees, and just recently finished a law degree that he began in his youth and finished last year, "because I once told my son that you should always start what you finish." He's been a professor at several universities, and has lived all over Europe with his Italian wife. So why is he taking my urine sample? And he's not even the guy who does the actual testing -- he just makes sure the protocol is followed, and dons a rubber glove as he seals everything up nice and tight. Needless to say, I left a bit puzzled.

Oh, and one other thing to file under "random". As I was pulling up to the stoplight the other day, I noticed a truck in front of me, one lane over, and the truck seemed really lopsided. As I got closer, it looked like at least one of the left tires was completely gone. Then the light changed, and off he casually drove, sparks flying from his bare rim.


pugs, not drugs

You know those parents who for some reason think that everyone is deeply interested in every little thing their spoiled monster-children do? Humor me for a moment as I morph into one of those people.

As mentioned before, the spousal unit and I have a pug, who is just over five months old now. As I also mentioned before, he has a lively appetite. In fact, I once dropped a screw on the ground and he lunged for it, enveloping it in his mouth before I was even able to bend over. Thankfully, I was able to pry it out of his mouth before he actually swallowed the thing.

Because of this appetite, he has a few quirks. The wife usually wakes up before I do (no big surprise to those who know me) and has a bowl of cereal, with Mr. Pug waiting patiently at her feet. He has learned that he always gets his meal after she finishes hers, and now he has learned how to tell when it's almost meal time for himself. When my wife gets down to the last few bites of cereal, her spoon clangs lightly against the near-empty bowl. Our dog has somehow figured this out, and now he starts to get fidgety and makes low growling/whining sounds whenever he hears the spoon clang against the bowl. Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

One other oddity reminds me of a monkey temple that we went to while visiting India. There's this temple near the city of Jaipur (which happens to be where they filmed one of the Roger Moore James Bond flicks), and every evening the temple is overrun by literally thousands of monkeys. They're generally friendly, and you can feed them out of your hand, if you want. Funny thing is, if you hold something for them in between two fingers while still holding other food clenched in the palm of the same hand, they'll completely ignore the food you're offering and try to pry your fingers back to get to the food that you have clenched in your palm. Our dog does the same thing. We make him sit before we put the food in his bowl, and if we drop just one piece of food in the bowl at a time, he'll completely ignore them until we drop in the rest all at once. This is quite a show of resolve for an animal that lunges after stray screws.

Oh, and one other thing. You may remember that this blog was commenced(almost used the word "consummated", but decided against it) under the shadow of a second failed summmer job prospect. Well, I have now redeemed myself with not one, but two summer jobs. And one of them gives me a 401(k). What kind of summer jobs do that? It's unfortunate I'll only be able to contribute to it for a whopping two months...