August 27, 2007

From an Undisclosed Location

We'll be officially entering Yellowstone Park this afternoon, after over 1,000 miles of insanity provoking driving.

There's A LOT of empty America out there. Like, pretty much all of South Dakota, most of Wyoming and, from what I can tell, quite a bit of Montana. But, South Dakota? Definitely the most boring of the lot so far. I'm pretty sure the #1 export of South Dakota is round hay bales. With #2 being billboards about Reptile Gardens.

The Badlands = Awe inspiring. Mt. Rushmore = incredible. The Black Hills = Where the hell did THEY come from; six straight hours of nothing, followed by THOSE? Crazy.

Lots of pictures taken, which I'll try to upload upon our return.

Oh, and it's amazing how little you care about, well, ANYTHING, when you're on vacation. Alberto who? Meh. I have a mega-volcano crater to tour and marvel at.

Posted by Ryan at 10:53 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 24, 2007

I'm Outta Here

I'll be on a Yellowstone vacation for the next couple of weeks, starting with a quick jaunt to Sioux Falls tonight. Lots of camping in my immediate future, with very little Internet, although there may be Internet cafes along the way I can pop into and log on to see what's up in the digital reality. Here's hoping for good weather and grand vistas. I'll return, hopefully, with a journal of events and PC-wallpaper-quality pictures.

For now. . . tootles.

Posted by Ryan at 10:29 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 23, 2007

Taking On Cat Cliches

Last week, as I was making a Diet Pepsi purchase at a local convenience store, another patron remarked to the cashier: “It’s like you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting floodwater.”

Now, I’m a guy who thinks about stupid stuff way more than is probably healthy, and as stupid stuff goes, swinging a dead cat into a puddle ranks pretty high, so I thought about that lousy convenience store patron and his sentence for the better part of a day. Of course, I understand “swinging a dead cat” is just a saying, kind of like “keeping your eyes peeled,” or “she thinks you’re cute.”

Even though I know it’s just a saying, I couldn’t help but think about the phrase “swinging a dead cat” because, honestly, as with most sayings, it occurred to me it could quite possibly trace its origins to an actual event. As a cat owner myself, I naturally found myself wondering if I could bring myself to swing either of my cats should I find them dead, just to see what I couldn’t avoid hitting.

Even as I tried to think about other things, my mind kept wandering back to a mental image of a frontiersman in a horse-drawn buggy, frantically swinging a dead cat over his head, lasso-style, in an attempt to keep a group of angry bears away. Later on, after a harrowing escape, he related to his friends how he “couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a bear!” Thus a morbid, yet hilarious, saying was born!

Then again, maybe the saying has different origins entirely. I suppose it could have arose from a more sweet, yet morose chapter in a little girl’s life. Perhaps an 8-year-old girl, Susie, had a pet cat that really enjoyed, for whatever reason, being pushed on a swing in the backyard. Oh, how Little Susie enjoyed swinging her cat, which she named “Chairman Meow.” Then, one day, little Susie found the Chairman dead from unknown causes, perhaps after falling short during a great leap forward. Crestfallen and sick with grief, she took the carcass to the backyard, loaded it onto the swing set, and started absentmindedly giving her beloved feline one last, mournful swing ride, only to have her mother admonish her from the kitchen window: “Susie! You can’t swing a dead cat! What will the neighbors think?”

But, those are just two possibilities for the origins of the saying. As my ponderer continued ponderating throughout the day, toggling from one cat swinging scenario to another, a horrifying thought came to mind: what if the origins of the saying “you can’t swing a dead cat” were somehow tied to the origins of the saying “there’s more than one way to skin a cat?” How twisted would that be?

I started to imagine some sort of evil veterinarian or scientist, with a long, curled moustache and a monocle, wearing a bloodied lab coat, skinning cat after cat, meticulously documenting (CATaloging?) his various skinning methods in loose-leaf notebooks. Finally, after definitively proving his theory that there’s more than one way to skin a cat (oh, how his colleagues mocked him for such thoughts!), he triumphantly started swinging his last cat cadaver (CAT-aver?), cackling maniacally and accidentally knocking over and breaking several test tubes and beakers, thus leading him to the conclusion you can’t swing a dead cat in a laboratory.

Then again, I suppose all these theories could be wildly inaccurate. Perhaps the term “Dead Cat” was a way of referring to an un-cool or un-hip person back in the 1950s. Bored teens with slicked back hair, hanging out in the parking lot of the local Soda Shoppe, would remark as a middle-aged family man walks by “Man, that cat’s so dead.” Of course, with swing dancing being popular at the time, teens couldn’t possibly imagine a “Dead Cat” swing dancing. So, obviously, you can’t swing a dead cat.

And the moral of this particular post is: be careful what you say in a convenience store, lest I overhear you and think wayyyyyyy too much about for the rest of the day.

Jody says: Why is it always Little Susie? Not Hefty Martha or something else?

Ryan says: Would you feel as bad for a Hefty Martha?

Jody says: yeah...probably worse considering her chances in life are reduced by being portly

Ryan says: Fat girl's cat died? HA! HA! < - Nelson Muntz.

Jody says: I mean...who doesn't feel sorry for a fat kid

Ryan says: Depends on how fat they are.

Ryan says: Because a really fat kid wearing a Navy hat and eating an oversize lollipop = hilarious.

Jody says: How about so fat that is the reason wny she swings the cat is cuz she can't fit in the swing?

Ryan says: So fat she has to swing vicariously through her cat?

Jody says: yep

Ryan says: That would be pretty fat.

Jody says: Now that's funny.

Posted by Ryan at 03:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Amusing Spam

I just received a Spam e-mail with the subject line:

"Get a fast stiffy"

Good advice. Good advice.

Posted by Ryan at 12:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 22, 2007

The Duh File

Caroline says: Did you read Coleman's LATEST MONKEY TIRADE?

Ryan says: I just glanced and saw he was droning on again about the bridge collapse.

Caroline says: Ah. Well, it confirms what we suspected all along: that Coleman keeps files and puts labels such as "Duh" on them.

Caroline says: On Tuesday, responding to a request from Pawlenty, President Bush declared the bridge collapse a disaster. We can file that under, "Duh."

Ryan says: Coleman's "Duh" file is probably the largest at the Strib, filling two offices.

Caroline says: It's so big, he had to make another file called "Der."

Caroline says: Some of Nick's most commonly referenced files: "Cliches;" "Monkey, I'm Nobody's;" "Bananas;" "Duh;" "Der;" "People I Made Up To Whom I Attribute Quotes"

Ryan says: "e-mails I probably shouldn't have sent;" "how to be childishly defensive;" "Google searching for Dummies, a.k.a. Me."

Caroline says: "Journalism: Common Rules to Avoid;" "Grammar and What it Means to Me;" "Fact-Checking: Myth or Necessity?"

Posted by Ryan at 09:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 21, 2007

Southeastern Minnesota Hills Deemed "Deficient"

Study Warned of Poor Water Drainage Potential in 2005

ST. PAUL (Rhodes Media Services)--Even as the flood waters have yet to recede from affected areas of Southeastern Minnesota, evidence has come to light showing the rolling hills were deemed "deficient" following a state geological study completed in 2005.

In documents procured by a source within Rhodes Media Services, at least 40 hills and several valleys were listed as "potentially dangerous" and "requiring some sort of attention, although exactly what should be done is unclear."

The damning survey results conclusively show Gov. Tim Pawlenty knew full well of the dangers of heavy rain, shallow topsoil, and the downward pull of a universal force known in the scientific community as "Gravity."

Together, along with hills described in the study as "dangerously slanty" and "prone to slant towards valleys and other low-lying areas," Southeast Minnesota was a flash flood just waiting to happen, yet the Pawlenty administration apparently did nothing to flatten out or otherwise sufficienty grade Southeast Minnesota.

"Quite frankly, I don't know what more has to happen for Minnesotans to wake up to the evils and incompetence of the Pawlenty government," SAID JEFF FECKE, tears streaming down his face, fists clenched, a urine stain spreading across his groin. "We knew almost two years ago those hills were flood bombs waiting to go off, but we couldn't pony up the tax dollars to flatten them down and get one state trooper for every three Minnesota citizens?! I mean, does that sound so hard?"

NOTE: This post was inspired by my ThunderJournaling colleague, LEARNEDFOOT.

Posted by Ryan at 03:22 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 20, 2007

Brilliant brilliancy

Posted by Ryan at 12:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


You may have heard about some flooding going on around these parts. I reckon. Ya'll. Shucks. Some other "folksy" speak.

Yes, much rain and flooding have indeed inundated the area. Rivers are high. Creeks are higher. Streams are highest. The sidewalks framing my property were practically streams all by themselves. And more rain is in the forecast!

The local news outlets are on the case, of course, with the Post-Bulletin going all out with a series of articles dubbed, in full-blown, attention-grabbing fashion, the "DEADLY DELUGE!" I suppose you could call it the "Double D," or the "Dolly Parton Flood," but I guess "Deadly Deluge" works as well as anything.

I can't blame the P-B for wanting to capitilize on this. I remember the big storms that hit back in the summer of 1998, when I was a reporter for the Winona Daily News. There was an electricity in the newsroom and a general feeling of "duty" to get the story out to the readers, DAMN IT! Plus, it sold papers, which was just kind of a bonus for us beat reporters, but was probably of some significance for those above us making more than $6 an hour. Just a hunch.

Today, of course, I'm just a marketing/journalist stooge working for THE MAN, having long since sloughed off the nonsense ideals of "objectivity" and "speaking truth to power," the latter of which always conjured images of reading an encyclopedia to a plug-in outlet: both ridiculous to behold and basically pointless.

Thus free of such meaningless contraints, I CAN LAUGH AT THIS. I don't care who you are, the idea of a "failed dike," should make you laugh: a lesbian who just can't find the g-spot. Granted, you have to look past the human drama of the flood to get to the "failed dike" humor, but I've always been a heartless, morally bankrupt soul, so it wasn't that difficult.

Posted by Ryan at 10:53 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 17, 2007

Because It's Friday, And Nick's An Idiot

Nick "All Bridge, All The Time" Coleman IS BACK ONCE AGAIN! And, really, how can I NOT make fun of him?

After the Twin Towers were destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, and as the recovery of the victims stretched from days and weeks into months, New York City built four platforms to allow the public to see the site.

Yeah, go figure. After nutjobs hijacked airplanes and flew them into buildings, resulting in thousands of lives lost, NYC built platforms to allow people to ponder the unbelievability of it.

The platforms, each of which could hold up to 400 people, were open for five months, and hundreds of thousands came to pay respects and make a pilgrimage. It was important to let the people get close.

In Minneapolis, where a bridge has collapsed into a river, killing and maiming people and embarrassing the officials on whose watch it happened, we are not allowed to see.

Oh, jeezum crow. Is he fucking serious? Not allowed to see? You can stroll on over to the river's edge and see to your heart's content. You can go gawk at the bridge all you want. Leave it to Nick Coleman to equate an accidental bridge collapse to a premeditated terrorist attack on America's financial and military pulse points.

It's easy to figure out why.

Yeah, it was a freakin' accident, you douche-nozzle. You want to erect gazing platforms for every accident that happens? Maybe we should install a reflecting pool to acknowlege the woman who failed to THROW A CAN OF GAS OUT A WINDOW?

When bureaucrats are busy congratulating themselves for how fast they acted and how swell they did their job, there is always something they had rather we not look at.

See, now, this is the beauty of Nick Coleman "logic." After spending the last couple weeks repeatedy, REPEATEDLY, REPEATEDLY, whining about how increased taxes could have somehow magically pre-empted a bridge collapse--even though THERE WAS MONEY ENOUGH TO ADDRESS IT--now he thinks tax dollars should pay for gazing platforms so people can gaze at an accident that hasn't even been explained yet. Jesus Christ on a pogo stick. Maybe I should just give Nick Coleman my wallet so he can pay to erect a monument to immortalize the spot where his son scraped his knee that one time.

For two weeks now, Minnesotans by the thousands have come down to the river to try to comprehend the magnitude and the meaning of the bridge collapse. They have come to the grassy knoll in Gold Medal Park. They have come to the Stone Arch Bridge and they have come to any and every vantage point that offers a glimpse, however far off, of a disaster that used to be unimaginable: A public project, in ruins, allowed to fall.

In other words, Nick Coleman just went and completely invalidated practically the whole premise of yet another shitty column. Remember, just paragraphs earlier, he wrote In Minneapolis, where a bridge has collapsed into a river, killing and maiming people and embarrassing the officials on whose watch it happened, we are not allowed to see. So, what then, those thousands of Minnesotans who have come to see, from various vantage points, were a mirage? A hologram?

Two developments Wednesday showed how hard some officials will work to keep us away from the bridge:

Oh, this ought to be good.

A federal judge refused to let lawyers for some victims have expert bridge inspectors examine the wreckage.

Gee, a federal judge acted to pre-empt ambulance chasing opportunists to capitalize on a tragedy still fresh and bleeding? Go figure. Oh, and how many lawyers have a cadre of "expert bridge inspectors" on tap? Seriously, is Nick THAT fucking stupid? Oh. . . wait.

And the city shut down a brief attempt to open a bicycle bridge -- 1,000 feet from the ruins -- to let the people pay respects to the dead.

Honest to God, what's this guy's pre-occupation with proximity? Do you have to stand on a crushed car to pay adequate respect?

The stated reason for the reversal was the need to protect the dignity of those who lost their lives (two persons are still missing).

Oh, and who stated that reason? THE RECOVERY WORKERS! That's right, the people who are digging and diving and sifting through the remains, the people probably most familiar with the delicate, grim and somber task at hand, they'd prefer not to be gawked at by rubber-necking bicyclists as they go about their third week sifting for body parts. Gosh, what an unreasonable request. Of course, in Nick's little "mind," it's all about administrator's attempting to "hide" their mistake. Hey, Nick. Don some rubber gloves, dive into the wreckage, recover a femur, bag it up, then look up at gawkers 1,000 feet away and ask yourself whether recovery efforts are acts of public theater. Mmkay?

But the victims lost more than their dignity when a freeway bridge collapsed, and you may be forgiven if you wonder who is being protected now.

Seriously. At this point, I don't think Nick could possibly go fuck off hard enough.

When lawyers for some of the victims went to court Wednesday to ask that outside experts get access to the disaster site, a federal judge named Patrick Schiltz gave them the bum's rush. The hearing was over in less than an hour when Speedy Schiltz denied the request with a 10-page order. If he let some victims hire experts to examine the wreckage, he said, he would have to let other victims do the same.

Can you imagine the cacaphony of an army of lawyerly "inspectors" vying against recovery personnel? Honest to God, does Nick even think this kind of thing through, or does he pen such nonsense because he knows it's insanely flawed, and by being outrageous like this it ensures the Strib will sell a few extra copies just so readers can thumb through the pages and think "What the fuck is up with this Coleman guy?"

Can't have that. That would smack of fairness. Maybe the question deserved more than a moment's consideration.

Fairness? What does Nick consider fair? Oh, wait. . .

"The victims' lives will be spent paying the price for someone else's incompetence and neglect," says James Schwebel, president of Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben, the law firm barred by Schiltz from having experts visit the bridge. "It's important to have an objective, outside examination of what caused the bridge failure."

Okay, so we can expect an objective, outside examination from "experts" who have been brought in by a law firm that has already decided that "incompetence and neglect" are the primary suspects. I wonder if Nick giggles to himself when he pens this dreck. The level of mental disconnect required to string this kind of shit together makes even my mind swirl, and I'm the self-proclaimed king of mental disconnects.

The state says it will do that. The state also said it would get us across the river.

I think that's in the state constitution, actually. Now, prepare yourselves, folks, for an Iraq allusion. You know it was coming, right?

"These are the same kind of people who don't want us to see the coffins coming back from Iraq," Schwebel says. "But reality is good for us. People should go there and see it and feel it and get the goosebumps and say, 'What the hell went wrong?' They don't want the public to fully appreciate the consequences."

Wait, the bridge recovery workers don't want us to see coffins coming back from Iraq? That's some pretty lawyery lawyering going on there. I'm no law talking guy, but I'm pretty sure this Schwebel guy is on a professional footing alongside Lionel Hutz.

Apologies to LEARNEDFOOT and the good folks at POWERLINE for all the lawyer bashing. Nick Coleman does get my vapors up.

In New York, after 9/11, some worried that visitors to "ground zero" would create a spectacle or show disrespect to the victims, but New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said there were bigger concerns.

Yeah, like, say, a terrorist ideology bent on bringing down buildings and wiping out lives. Versus, say, a freaking accidental bridge collapse. How Nick can conflate the two makes the mind wobble.

Ground zero was a place of horror and bravery. We had to see it, and reflect upon it.


I can't believe I just wrote that.

The same is true for a fallen bridge in Minneapolis. Here, a terrible thing happened. People died, and people braved the dangers to help rescue and recover the victims.


What the hell is happening to me?

We have to see it. And decide what it means.

Not so much agree. We don't HAVE to see the collapsed bridge. It was an accident after all. If I HAD to see every accident that happens, I wouldn't get anything else done.

"You can't completely control human conduct, and you can't stop doing the things that are good things to do because some people will abuse it," Giuliani said as the 9/11 viewing platforms were opening. "To deny people access to the site would be like denying people access to other sites of historic significance, like Gettysburg or Normandy. I'm sure there are people that go to all those places for the wrong reasons, but most go for the right reasons."

Let's take a tip from Rudy Giuliani. Let the people see.

Again, Nick, people CAN SEE IT JUST FINE! To quote Chris Tucker from Friday: "Remember it! Write it down! Take a picture! I don't give a fuck!"

Just, you know. . . a respectful distance would be nice.

Posted by Ryan at 10:16 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 16, 2007

Mmmmm, boobies

Caroline says:

Ryan says: Her boobies are going to be even more splentaculiscius.

Caroline says: Boobies? Yes. Boobies.

Ryan says: You aren't going to give me mad props for my blending of three words?

Posted by Ryan at 01:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A Little More Dirt Detail

Ever since I bought my house back in 2004, my girlfriend/fiancée has been busy, busy, busy deciding which house projects I should be working on. Me being me, I’d prefer to lie on a couch and watch television, but she seems to think I should spend my free time. . . what’s the term? Right. DOING THINGS. Can you imagine?

A little known secret about those of us with journalism degrees and who are also first time home owners: we don’t have a lot of money. Oh, I know, you’ve been reading this ThunderJournal over the years thinking I craft these words in front of a golden computer atop a 20 foot stack of cash, but I can assure you that’s an incorrect mental image.

If I did have a lot of money, I’d be able to continue lounging on the couch watching TV and hiring people to complete house projects for me. But, this is not the case, so house projects require my own personal attention, which is really incredibly unfair, in my opinion.

The big house project that’s currently underway involves widening the driveway so it can accommodate two cars rather than the one it can currently allow. Now, we could have opted for a relatively small addition, but Melissa roped off a 23 ft. by 13 ft. rectangle, which doesn’t sound like much, until you factor in my lack of money, which means I’d be digging out that rectangle by hand, with a spade.

During projects like this, the weirdest things crop up that you just don’t think about prior to heaving the first shovelful of dirt into a truck. For us, the first question to arise as the truck bed filled higher and higher with dirt was: how are we going to get rid of all this dirt?

You wouldn’t think it would be a problem. After all, it’s dirt. My whole yard consists of dirt, and it’s never presented a problem in the past. The dirt has been perfectly content to just sit there and grow grass and trees. But, the moment you decide to move some of that dirt, it goes and decides to become a logistical problem.

I pondered taking the dirt out into the country and dumping it in a ditch somewhere, but I became paranoid about doing so because it’s possible such an act violates some law, although a law about dumping dirt strikes me as overkill. Regardless, I couldn’t quite bring myself to commit random acts of dirt dumping, which does sound like a crime when worded like that.

Eventually, we received word from someone who was doing landscaping work and was interested in at least some of our dirt. You’d be surprised at how much relief you can feel when somebody says they want your dirt. Your dirt is actually good enough for somebody else! There’s a certain amount of pride to take away from that, particularly when you have absolutely no life, like me.

With a destination now designated for the dirt, Melissa and I set about digging. And digging. AND DIGGING. Frankly, we were astounded by how much digging was required to prepare a 23 ft. by 13 ft. space. I had no idea what kind of project we had undertaken. After three hours of intense digging, we had cleared about one-third of the dirt slated for removal, and we were completely exhausted. To make matters more irritating, construction crews have been working on the gas lines in our neighborhood, so we had to watch big time excavation machines clear areas the size of ours in about ten minutes.

I seriously considered walking over to the operator of one of the back hoes and offering him $50 to quick dig out our project, but then I remembered I’m a journalist and first time homeowner, so I didn’t have $50.

After five hours of digging, two heaping truckloads of dirt, and enough expletives shared between the two of us to clear out a biker bar, we were still only halfway done with the excavation alone.

Do you have any idea how much television I could have watched instead?

Posted by Ryan at 07:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 15, 2007

Why This Town Blows Goats #3,498

Yes, Rochester, Minn., has been my locale of employment for the last eight years and, yes, I own a house in the city. None of that means I particularly like the city.

And here's a good example why:

Where's the Thai restaurant?

8/15/2007 8:58:03 AM

If there was one thing that I could add to Rochester to make it a better place for all, it would be a Thai restaurant.

Why doesn't this city have one? Thai food is very popular in big cities like Minneapolis and Chicago. There are even sometimes two or three Thai restaurants on the same street. Here in Rochester, you can't get any!

Thai food is so delicious, and I personally feel that Rochester is missing out on a wonderful dining experience.

Katie Hayes


Katie? Dear, dear Katie. You dipshit. Rochester DID HAVE A FANTASTIC THAI RESTAURANT UNTIL LAST MONTH! It was called Phnom Penh. It was a combination Thai/Cambodian/Chinese establishment with a wonderful owner and some smoking hot Asian waitresses. The food was about the best Asian cuisine you could get south of the Cities. And you know what, Katie? It closed because NO ONE WAS EATING THERE, while next door, "The Ranch," which serves God-awful "Western" cuisine, was packed to the rafters with cellulite-laden patrons who were one heartbeat away from a major coronary.

So, Katie? Instead of writing a letter to the editor to the Post-Bulletin, pick up the damned phone book next time. Mmkay? Oh, and in case you still want Thai food, there is another joint in town that serves Thai, although nowhere near as good as Phnom Penh. It's called "Soriya," and it's near Hy-Vee and Mickey's Saloon.

Me? Bitter? Nah.

Posted by Ryan at 08:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 13, 2007


You wouldn't think digging a 23 ft. x 13 ft. indentation, by hand, into your yard in preparation for an eventual concrete pour would be all that labor intensive, but you would be dead-assed wrong.

Honest to God, after five hours, two truckloads of dirt filled and unloaded, I'm still not even halfway done with the excavation alone. This project is a complete and total bitch.

There's a reason people hire this kind of crap done.

Oh, and hey, if any of you reading this happen to live in the area, I have about two more truckloads of dirt I'm willing to give away, free of charge.

Posted by Ryan at 09:41 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 10, 2007

My Newest Saying

After work yesterday, on the drive home, one of the local radio stations was conducting their daily "Drive at 5" music challenge, wherein they take a current popular song and play it backwards, or fast-forward, or whatever, and challenge listeners to guess the song. Yesterday's "Drive at 5" was particularly challenging, and for no reason that I can come up with, I said the following out loud:

"Boy, that's trickier than wiping your ass with a cat. (TM)"

Which, I should state, for the record, I have no experience that I'm aware of when it comes to wiping my ass with a cat (TM). But, I imagine it's probably pretty tricky. You'd have to use the back of the cat and keep the paws pointed away. Also, I suppose you could use the cat's tail for any detail--or even any internal--work that needs to be done. It would also depend on the demeanor of the cat in question. If you have a docile cat, the process would probably be pretty streamlined and uneventful, whereas a resentful, squirming cat would likely put a bit of a fight.

Whatever the case, it's got to be pretty darned tricky to wipe your ass with a cat (TM).

Which should give you an idea how tough yesterday's "Drive at 5" challenge actually was.

UPDATE: I almost let this momentous day slide without realizing today is the one year anniversary of the term ThunderJournalist. Thankfully, LEARNEDFOOT TOOK NOTE. He even made his own online QUIZ so you can see if you're a ThunderJournalist.

Posted by Ryan at 11:43 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Dumbledore or Voldemort?

VIA SHEILA, we get:

The Hogwarts Challenge!

[ ] You’ve never done drugs.
[x] You have a lot of friends.
[x] You get along with everyone.
[x] You love football.
[ ] You love baseball.
[x] You’re into writing and art
[x] One of your favourite music genre is rock.
[x] You believe in “innocent until proven guilty” theory.
[x] One of your favourite colors is red or gold.
[x] Good grades at school.
[ ] One of the worst things you can do is lie.
[x] You plan on going to college.

[x]You’re content with mostly everything in your life right now.
[x] You laugh a lot.
[ ] You like to follow trends.
[ ] Politics suck.
[x] You love to swim
[ ] Water polo is awesome.
[ ] Pink is one of your favourite colours.
[x] Black is morbid & depressing.
[x] You’re an optimist.
[ ] You’re very emotional.
[ ] You believe in going steady at a young age.
[ ] You haven’t made fun of anyone this month.
[x] Loyalty is the MOST important thing in a relationship.

[ ] You’re depressed to a certain extent.
[x] You love to read.
[x] You appreciate theatre & arts.
[ ] Sports suck.
[ ] Hate is completely unneeded.
[ ] Indie is one of your favourite genre of music.
[x] Every once in a while you have little anger outbursts.
[x] Lying is sometimes okay.
[ ] Blue is one of your favourite colours.
[ ] Knowledge is the key to power
[ ] Sarcasm is the best kind of humour
[ ] People should know what they’re talking about before they talk.

[x] There’s at least one person you hate.
[ ] Basketball is a good sport.
[ ] Football is amazing.
[ ] Black is a cool color.
[ ] You’ve lied about something serious
[ ] You’re a very deep person
[ ] You are not very loyal.
[ ] You like heavy metal.
[ ] You make school seem more important than it is.
[ ] You’re scared to grow up.
[ ] Anger is one of your primary feelings.
[ ] You have trust issues.
[ ] Guilty until proven innocent.
Total: 1

Honestly, who would say water polo is awesome?

Posted by Ryan at 07:57 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 09, 2007


THIS RIGHT HERE is the funniest thing on the Internet today.

Posted by Ryan at 03:09 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

It's a Matter of Perspective, Really

Jody says: I think Reg and i are going to the grand canyon in September

Jody says: crayon...canyon...look too much alike

Ryan says: The Grand Crayon would look considerably different from the Grand Canyon.

Jody says: I wonder if it would be taller or narrower?

Jody says: depending on if it was laying on its side

Posted by Ryan at 08:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 08, 2007

Pondering Vacation ThunderJournaling

One thing I'd like to be able to do during my impending vacation to Yellowstone is to be able to post about our daily (mis)-adventures and experiences, including pictures. I think that would be kind of fun and entertaining.

However, I'm not particularly sure how to go about such an endeavor. Firstly, I don't have a laptop. Nextly, I don't imagine WiFi is all that plentiful whilst camping amongst the bison anyway.

I suppose there may be Internet cafes dotted here and there along the plains, but that probably would only be good for text posts and would do nothing for my desire to post pictures.

Or, maybe I should just divest myself of all such thoughts entirely and focus instead on, you know, being on vacation. I don't know if that's possible. So many consecutive days cut off from the online world will probably drive me nuts. I don't know. I guess we'll see.

Posted by Ryan at 12:57 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Stupid on the Internet

I really didn't think human beings were capable of stupidity bordering on neanderthal until I started reading YouTube comment threads. Honest to God, you're forced to wonder if their education consisted entirely of reading and re-reading a single National Enquirer from 1982.

As a person who writes and edits for a living, it's enough to make me ill.

Posted by Ryan at 10:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 07, 2007

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. . .

Yes, you may have noticed some changes to this ThunderJournal over the last week or so, or year, whatever.

I'm trying to finally figure out the language of the Internet, which started when I purchased "HTML For Dummies" back in 1999, which I never actually read, but figured I'd learn it because I owned it. Oddly enough, that wasn't the case.

Since then, there's been XML and WebSphere, and some other such weird stuff I've never tinkered with, but sort of known about, but never explored, and now I'm attempting to do that.

Posted by Ryan at 10:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 06, 2007

Golf Talk

There was a time when I was a pretty good golfer. I actually received a varsity letter in golf my 8th grade year. I'd been golfing so long, I didn't even really think about it, which is really one of the key aspects of the sport: to be so familiar and comfortable with it, you don't even think about it.

Well, around the 2001 timeframe, I fell away from golf and started focusing on martial arts, including hapkido from 2001 to 2005 and Brazilian jiu-jitsu from 2005 to the present. The result being, when I do deign to weild the golfing blade, I find myself thinking about way more than I probably should.

When you think too much when golfing, you set yourself up for all sorts of crappy shots. If you think, for example, about how you want to avoid going out of bounds, chances are you'll go out of bounds. If you don't want to hit that nun crossing the street, there's a 90 percent chance your ball will seek out and hit that nun crossing the street.

Putting presents its own mental hang-ups. Starting around 2003, I developed a debilitating mental block when it came to putting. No matter how hard I tried, for any putt longer than 10 feet, I'd pull my putter toward me just at the point of contact with the ball, sending the ball in completely nonsensical direction nowhere near the cup. I tried a variety of pathetic fixes to counteract this disastrous effect, including using a chipping iron on the green, which must be against the rules, but I didn't care.

This year has been the first in ages that I've been able to get out regularly on the driving range and the putting green, and for the most part I've managed to smooth out my erratic golf game, although my putting problems still crop up from time to time, and I find myself thinking far too much when it comes to whacking the ball.

There was a time when I could golf nine holes in the low 40s and consider that an "okay" round; while yesterday I hit a 43 and felt like I deserved a parade. Until I realized I had been golfing with a 70+ year old man who also hit a 43, at which point I was humbled.

I can't believe I lettered in 8th grade.

Posted by Ryan at 09:36 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 03, 2007

Like Power Rangers, Only Different

When multiple ThunderJournalists team up to destroy a Nick Coleman column!

Posted by Ryan at 07:07 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 02, 2007

Cue Nick Coleman

You knew he'd have to chime in, didn't you?

My favorite bit?

For half a dozen years, the motto of state government and particularly that of Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been No New taxes. It's been popular with a lot of voters and it has mostly prevailed. So much so that Pawlenty vetoed a 5-cent gas tax increase - the first in 20 years - last spring and millions were lost that might have gone to road repair. And yes, it would have fallen even if the gas tax had gone through, because we are years behind a dangerous curve when it comes to the replacement of infrastructure that everyone but wingnuts in coonskin caps agree is one of the basic duties of government.

Got that? Gov. Pawlenty. Wingnuts in coonskin caps. WINGNUTS! Could he be any more blatantly vile? And, of course, he follows that paragraph with:

I'm not just pointing fingers at Pawlenty. The outrage here is not partisan. It is general.

Uh. . . huh. You just keep telling yourself that, Nick.

Posted by Ryan at 10:54 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

August 01, 2007

I'll Echo LearnedFoot


Just. . . Wow.

I've traversed that bridge I don't know how many times. Crazy.

Prayers out to the injured and families of the dead.

Posted by Ryan at 09:48 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Best Thing You'll Read On The Internet Today

James Lileks rocks the Internet with double barrels of truth:

Last night I was a mediator in the great War of the Karaoke Clan. We went back last night to the Carousel, and found for the third straight night – the same three kids caterwauling songs they had no idea how to sing. One of the kids was doing some sort of popping-and-locking dance which looked cute the first day, but after three nights you’re sick of the little exhibitionist. I should note that it was 23:30, and it was a bar, so the idea that the place shouldn’t become the exclusive domain of three boys who could not sing and spent the previous two nights proving that fact loudly wasn’t exactly high-handed. Or was it? After they sang some 60s song – and by sing I mean they shouted tuneness syllables into the microphone – one of our party told them they should sing something they knew, because they sounded horrible.

Wait a few minutes . . . wait . . . ah, here comes the overprotective grandmother, furious.

How dare you , she hissed. How dare you . She sailed off, followed by tall-blonde mom, who really lit into the critic for having crushed the boys’ spirit. I wanted to stand up and say well, mission accomplished, ma’am, because those little presumptuous brats of yours needed their spirits crushed. Here we thought they were running wild without parents who could take them aside and explain that the rest of the world did not find their artless yawps to be the ne plus ultra of entertainment, but it turns out they were doing so under the watchful eye of two generations of enabling women, eh? Well, at some point they’ll be free of you, as sure as the ship slips its moorings, and they’ll be out in the world amongst professional practicised soul-crushers, and they might remember this moment and conclude that no amount of mugging to “YMCA” – a song about anonymous sex, incidentally – is going to endear them to the world.

Posted by Ryan at 10:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Tragedy!

A tragedy I tells ya!

I'll be over in the corner, whimpering softly.

Posted by Ryan at 09:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Uff Da!

I'm currently wearing a pair of sandals I've owned since 1999. You'd be surprised how much stink can embed itself into eight-year-old sandals. A little bit of fresh foot sweat really activates that old bacteria and fungus, apparently.

Posted by Ryan at 09:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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