Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How to Operate the Shower Curtain

Shouts & Murmurs

How to Operate the Shower Curtain

by Ian Frazier January 8, 2007

Dear Guest: The shower curtain in this bathroom has been purchased with care at a reputable “big box” store in order to provide maximum convenience in showering. After you have read these instructions, you will find with a little practice that our shower curtain is as easy to use as the one you have at home.

You’ll note that the shower curtain consists of several parts. The top hem, closest to the ceiling, contains a series of regularly spaced holes designed for the insertion of shower-curtain rings. As this part receives much of the everyday strain of usage, it must be handled correctly. Grasp the shower curtain by its leading edge and gently pull until it is flush with the wall. Step into the tub, if you have not already done so. Then take the other edge of shower curtain and cautiously pull it in opposite direction until it, too, adjoins the wall. A little moisture between shower curtain and wall tiles will help curtain to stick.

Keep in mind that normal bathing will cause you unavoidably to bump against shower curtain, which may cling to you for a moment owing to the natural adhesiveness of water. Some guests find the sensation of wet plastic on their naked flesh upsetting, and overreact to it. Instead, pinch the shower curtain between your thumb and forefinger near where it is adhering to you and simply move away from it until it is disengaged. Then, with the ends of your fingers, push it back to where it is supposed to be.

If shower curtain reattaches itself to you, repeat process above. Under certain atmospheric conditions, a convection effect creates air currents outside shower curtain which will press it against you on all sides no matter what you do. If this happens, stand directly under showerhead until bathroom microclimate stabilizes.

Many guests are surprised to learn that all water pipes in our system run off a single riser. This means that the opening of any hot or cold tap, or the flushing of a toilet, interrupts flow to shower. If you find water becoming extremely hot (or cold), exit tub promptly while using a sweeping motion with one arm to push shower curtain aside.

REMEMBER TO KEEP SHOWER CURTAIN INSIDE TUB AT ALL TIMES! Failure to do this may result in baseboard rot, wallpaper mildew, destruction of living-room ceiling below, and possible dripping onto catered refreshments at social event in your honor that you are about to attend. So be careful!

This shower curtain comes equipped with small magnets in the shape of disks which have been sewn into the bottom hem at intervals. These serve no purpose whatsoever and may be ignored. Please do not tamper with them. The vertical lines, or pleats, which you may have wondered about, are there for a simple reason: user safety. If you have to move from the tub fast, as outlined above, the easy accordion-type folding motion of the pleats makes that possible. The gray substance in some of the inner pleat folds is a kind of insignificant mildew, less toxic than what is found on some foreign cheeses.

When detaching shower curtain from clinging to you or when exiting tub during a change in water temperature, bear in mind that there are seventeen mostly empty plastic bottles of shampoo on tub edge next to wall. These bottles have accumulated in this area over time. Many have been set upside down in order to concentrate the last amounts of fluid in their cap mechanisms, and are balanced lightly. Inadvertent contact with a thigh or knee can cause all the bottles to be knocked over and to tumble into the tub or behind it. If this should somehow happen, we ask that you kindly pick the bottles up and put them back in the same order in which you found them. Thank you.

While picking up the bottles, a guest occasionally will lose his or her balance temporarily, and, in even rarer cases, fall. If you find this occurring, remember that panic is the enemy here. Let your body go limp, while reminding yourself that the shower curtain is not designed to bear your weight. Grabbing onto it will only complicate the situation.

If, in a “worst case” scenario, you do take hold of the shower curtain, and the curtain rings tear through the holes in the upper hem as you were warned they might, remain motionless and relaxed in the position in which you come to rest. If subsequently you hear a knock on the bathroom door, respond to any questions by saying either “Fine” or “No, I’m fine.” When the questioner goes away, stand up, turn off shower, and lay shower curtain flat on floor and up against tub so you can see the extent of the damage. With a sharp object—a nail file, a pen, or your teeth—make new holes in top hem next to the ones that tore through.

Now lift shower curtain with both hands and reattach it to shower-curtain rings by unclipping, inserting, and reclipping them. If during this process the shower curtain slides down and again goes onto you, reach behind you to shelf under medicine cabinet, take nail file or curved fingernail scissors, and perform short, brisk slashing jabs on shower curtain to cut it back. It can always be repaired later with safety pins or adhesive tape from your toiletries kit.

At this point, you may prefer to get the shower curtain out of your way entirely by gathering it up with both arms and ripping it down with a sharp yank. Now place it in the waste receptacle next to the john. In order that anyone who might be overhearing you will know that you are still all right, sing “Fat Bottomed Girls,” by Queen, as loudly as necessary. While waiting for tub to fill, wedge shower curtain into waste receptacle more firmly by treading it underfoot with a regular high-knee action as if marching in place.

We are happy to have you as our guest. There are many choices you could have made, but you are here, and we appreciate that. Operating the shower curtain is kind of tricky. Nobody is denying that. If you do not wish to deal with it, or if you would rather skip the whole subject for reasons you do not care to reveal, we accept your decision. You did not ask to be born. There is no need ever to touch the shower curtain again. If you would like to receive assistance, pound on the door, weep inconsolably, and someone will be along.

Emoticons of War

This is from an old New Yorker piece I had saved and just discovered on my desk.

By Tom McNichol in the Dec. 10, 2007 issue:


No new attacks reported today.


New attack reported today.


This email is being monitored by Uncle Sam for your protection.


I'd rather not say in an email that's being monitored for my protection.


Our current leader speaks with forked tongue.


Our current leader is a bozo.


Our current leader in some ways resembles Adolf Hitler, at least in his disregard for civil liberties during wartime.


Uh-oh, what was that?


I hear screaming.


Now donning protective goggles.


Good Sammie Davis, Jr., movie on tonight.


Pope to make appeal for peace.


No, I am the Walrus.


Interesting Jimmy Carter piece in today's Times.


I am listening to my iPod.


Bovine encephalitis attack!


Latest George Will column still doesn't get it.


New Osama bin Laden message released.


Local chemical attack causing blindness.


Kiss your ass goodbye.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Twins take the lead!!

I didn't actually get to see this. Not only do we not have cable, but I was lying flat on my back in my bed, trying to groan my pain away. But I was listening. They had rallied in the 8th inning, as is their forte, to tie the game.

Joe Nathan then took the mound and kept the White Sox from scoring again. They were going into extra innings and I didn't know if I could concentrate on that while trying to calm the spasms in my back. I should have welcomed the distraction, but you wouldn't guess how hard it is not to move when you're excited about your team! Anyway, they scored in the next inning, sweeping the series and putting them in first place in the American central division.

I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


On Tues, Sept 23, I passed a milestone: it was the 23rd anniversary of my arrival in Minnesota. I guess that would make it my golden anniversary. I can't say it was auspicious, however, since got two parking tickets at the same meter on that day. I made a bad choice, as I was in the middle of something I wasn't ready to quit. I didn't know a car could get two tickets at the same meter. Live and learn.

On Saturday the 20th I fractured a rib while boating on the Mississippi, so the parking tickets were an additional assault.

If you subscribe to the belief that all things happen for a reason, that we attract events, even painful events, because we have something to learn from them, then you will not wonder why I now ask myself, "What did I do to deserve this?" I have been exploring this question, and what I come up with is my issue with equity. Suffice to say that when we get hurt it's usually our soul, in cooperation with the universe, trying to get our attention. I need to work on my feelings of "not enough." This doesn't come as a surprise to me, but I am surprised by the force of the request.

To go off on a slight tangent, now, 23 has been called the number of synchronicity, or itself causes sychronistic events or appears and reappears whenever and where ever you see it.

Synchronicity has been described as a meaningful coincidence, a "wink from the cosmos," or as Carl Jung wrote in Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle:

"This is where the theory of correspondentia comes in, which was propounded by the natural philosophers of the Middle Ages, and particularly the classical idea of the sympathy of all things..."

I read about this connection with the number 23 years ago in a book by Robert Anton Wilson called "The Cosmic Trigger" which also had some history about the Illuminati and what they had to do with the big THEY, as in the people who run things, and what they have to do with the Masonic Order.

Here are some freaky things about the number 23 (make of them what you will - I culled these from the internets). Cue the Outer Limits music.:

There are 23 letters in the Latin alphabet

W = 23rd letter of the alphabet
It's symbol is 2 points down, 3 up.

W, the only letter in the English language to be renounced polysyllabically, is 23rd in line. Note also that it is a double(2)-u and that t has three(3) syllables.

WWW = 23+23+23 = 69

69/3 = 23 -> 6+9+3 = 18 = 23-5 (2+3=5)

2 / 3 = .666

23 is the first prime number in which both digits are prime numbers and add up to another prime number.

23 Axioms in Euclid's Geometry.

In Aleister Crowley's Cabalistic Dictionary, he defines the number 23 as the number of "parting, removal, separation, joy, a thread, and life..."

7.32 is the Holy Number of the First Church of Zypgx, which gives all of its members a number between 7.32 and 8. (7 being the number of luck, 32 being 23 backwards and 8 being approximately the symbol for infinity. 3.1415 is of course, the mathematical enigma which is pi. Multiply these two numbers and you get almost exactly 23. The followers of the First Church of Zypgx also believe that when pi is found to the last decimal place, the number of their Savior times exact pi will be precisely 23.

There is no known 23rd Chapter to Revelations.

The address of the Freemasons lodge in Stafford, England is 23 Jaol Rd. In New York it is on 23rd street.

October 13 (10+13=23) is the month and day that the Knight Templars were arrested in France... hence Friday the 13th being considered a day of bad luck.

The Templars had only 23 Grandmasters. Jacques de Molay was the 23rd and last of the Templar Grandmasters.

And on and on it goes.

Friday, September 19, 2008

35W Bridge is Reborn

Here's the 35W bridge that collapsed last year in August.

During construction

There are two of these vertical sculptures on either end, representing the river. They are up-lit with blue light at night (very cool)

And here it is today . . . .

It's cool. We love it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Thanks, but no thanks" to the Bridge to Nowhere

The now-famous line from the RNC that Sarah Palin is repeating at campaign stops is an outright lie. Although the networks continue to repeat the sound bite, at least some mainstream journalists are reporting the facts. She is no reformer and is happy to receive ear marks and pork for her projects -- at least until those are no longer politically expedient to admit to. This is from the Sept 15 issue of Newsweek:

From early in her career, Palin got ahead by working the system as well if not better than others. She hired a Washington lobbyist and won $27 million in earmarks for tiny Wasilla. Then she worked to get big federal money for the state. Though she now says she stood up to those who wanted to build the $223 million "Bridge to Nowhere" (which actually involved two bridges), she was once a strong supporter. Responding to a questionnaire in 2006, Palin said she wanted the projects done "sooner rather than later … while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist." At the time, another prominent politician had called people living in the area of one of the proposed projects "valley trash." That gave Palin an opening. Campaigning in the area, she used some of her trademark humor to make her pitch: "OK, you've got valley trash standing here in the middle of nowhere," she declared to residents of Ketchikan. "I think we're going to make a good team as we progress [with] that bridge."

As Alaskan corruption scandals grew, and the Bridge to Nowhere became synonymous with out-of-control federal spending, Palin switched positions. In an astonishing pivot, she began using the rhetoric of the projects' opponents. Now she talks as if she always opposed the funding. She used one of her stock lines in her nomination acceptance speech: "I told the Congress, 'Thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

In Juneau, Palin has given jobs to friends and appointed lobbyists to oversee industries they used to represent. There's nothing illegal about it—that's business as usual in politics. But part of Palin's appeal is that she markets herself as a reformer who fights against cronyism, when in fact her record shows her to be, in many ways, a typical politician who rewards her friends and punishes her enemies.

Some reformer. Add to that her suing the federal government for putting polar bears on the Endangered Species List (because it would interfere with oil and gas exploration and retrieval), her creationist beliefs and her disbelief in global warming, and I'd say you have quite a running mate, there John.

Still, I'm a little nervous. The media frenzy and public interest in Palin has upstaged John McCain, diverting scrutiny of his dubious claims and outright mendacity about his "maverick" characteristics and promises of reform and "change" (can you believe the gall of co-opting that message??!!). The gops are up to their old tricks, and I'm not convinced they won't work.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Indy Media and Public Demand Charges Against Journalists Swept Up In Mass Arrests

By now the world has heard about and seen images of hundreds of RNC protesters being herded by mounted police, maced, gassed, and otherwise terrorized, thanks to journalists covering the events. Many of these videographers, photojournalists and reporters were also swept up in the dragnet of arrests, some of them with fully-visible press credentials. Some journalists still have charges pending or are awaiting word whether they will be charged with "probable cause felony charges." I believe it has something to do with inciting a riot.

Many people who have attended and/or covered other conventions, including the DNC in Denver last month, said they have never seen anything like the police presence in St. Paul last week. St. Paul was given $10 million from the host committee to pay for law suits brought against the city, a fact the deputy mayor confirmed today, a deal she says they are "proud of." This, I hear, is also a first.

So, while McCain/Palin and shiny, happy "patriots" were inside the Excel Center raising their arms in praise of the American dream, citizens attempting to exercise their first amendment rights were outside being oppressed with patriot dollars.

Today I joined the Twin Cities Media Alliance , FreePress, Democracy Now staff Amy Goodman and her producers , and others in demanding that charges against journalists be dropped. As Amy Goodman so thoughtfully put it (I'm paraphrasing so I don't have to listen to the recording I took over and over again):

This goes beyond us, it goes to the issue, to the core issue of democracy in this country. When you stop journalists from operating, you close the eyes and ears of a democracy. We are here to interview people on the floor of the convention center, in the corporate suites and on the streets, to bring the full perspective, including all voices.

Amy can articulate eloquently without relying on a teleprompter, just so you know.

FreePress member holding photo of photographer getting
sprayed with pepper spray (or something equally toxic and

Sharif Abdel Kaddous, Democracy Now producer, also arrested

This reporter has been covering the conventions and
hasn't gotten much sleep.

One of my heroes, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!

I wish I had gotten this guy's name. He was well-spoken, from
a media organization in NY.

Andy Driscoll of KFAI's Truth to Tell, the 50,000 letters
from citizens demanding that charges against journalists
be dropped.

Nancy Doyle Brown of TC Media Alliance delivering the
demand letters to the mayor's office.

The deputy mayor is "proud" they got the RNC Host Committee to
insure St. Paul against law suits brought by wrongfully arrested, abused
and/or tortured citizens and journalists.


In case you are wondering what the infamous "anarchists" look like, I got some pictures. I didn't include them before because I thought they were just punks. They were walking onto John Ireland with their arms linked, with one of them trying to get them into some sort of cohesive group. Someone asked them "are you the RNC Welcoming Committee?" and one of them grumbled something (so I don't know if they were part of that group). The next question asked was "what you protesting?" and one of them said "everything bad." That was right before the took to the street with the mounted police galloping after them. One of them tossed a trash can onto the street. I said, out loud, to no one in particular, "now, what is littering going to accomplish?"

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Takin' it to the Streets - Scenes from the RNC Protest Rally

Click on the images to enlarge and read the signs/shirts (if anyone knows how to add captions, teach me how!)

St. Paul mounted police and squads in riot gear with
Cathedral in background
The jumbo-tron behind the mounted police is an image
of Bush pouring gas on the flames of Iraq, Iran and N. Korea
I think these were anti-gay protesters. I guess they
had their convention mixed up.
Old guys at the bar talking about Vets' rights. The T-shirt reads:
"The Bible talks about St. Paul but doesn't mention Minneapolis"

This mom of a vet killed in Iraq is being interviewed by
link TV.
The red shirt reads: "Jihad profiler on duty." The white t-shirt
draped over his knees is written in something that looks like Greek.

Detail of an ice sculpture spelling out "DEMOCRACY" melting in the 90 degree heat (of neo-con rule?)
Latino groups marching around the capitol mall.

The words "Kills" and "Breaks" and something illegible are written
between the words "War" and "US"

These banners were being strung by about 10 people from
one end of the capitol steps to the other with what I presumed
to be names of war dead.
The Radical Roosters

A line of republicans greeted the protesters as they made
their way to the capitol mall.