Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's official.

...May Bee prefers elk bones to Milk Bones. (And yes, I know it's gross to let that nasty thing in the house, but we live in the city so there's RATS in our backyard at night. The only thing ickier than a giant carcass on the living room carpet is a giant carcass feeding the neighborhood vermin!) BIG THANKS to Felipe for saving a bone from the last hunt!

She's a little obsessed, btw. Her new full-time job is guarding her dinosaur leg (which Karen considers a big improvement after her old occupation as Private Areas Sniffer).

***Finally, from Melanie****

To all my blog friends: Copy and paste this to your blog and add your own answers after the comma. Have fun!

If I were a gemstone, I would be a sapphire (like Melanie).

If I were a scent, I would be dust (says my brother, Russ).

If I were a pair of shoes, I would be funky Birkenstocks (says my sister, Karen).

If I were the weather, I would be "West Texas changeability."

If I were a facial expression, I would be worry.

If I were a car, I would be 1972 yellow Ford Pinto with faux-wood paneling on the sides.

If I were a time of day, I would be early morning. (Really early. Insanely early.)

If were a month, I would be December.

If I were a place, I would be THE LIBRARY.

If I were a liquid, I would be (UNSWEET) iced tea. Extra lemon.

If I were a taste, I would be purple SweetTarts.

If I were a sea animal, I would be a seahorse.

If I were a food, I would be biscotti.

If I were a color, I would be silver.

If I were a musical instrument, I would be a triangle.

If I were a flower, I would be lilacs.

If I were a song, I would be something old and sentimental and schmaltzy.

If I were a planet, I would be Earth.

If I were an object, I would be a book.

If I were a fruit, I would be a Macintosh.

If I were a sound, I would be NPR blasting from the next room.

If I were a day of the week, I would be Sunday.

If I were a pattern, I would be a tacky Christmas tree skirt.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

From my cell phone this morning...

Good news; The hunting lodge guys found Dad's jackets.
More good news: Felipe saved a HUGE bone for May Bee. It was a joint, and Karen burst out laughing from the car as I walked toward her with a swinging, meaty joint.

Bad news: There weren't enough Steak Express wipies in my glovebox to sufficiently clean the viscera off my hands.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Get your Shortz fix!

Miss the puzzle this morning on Weekend Edition Sunday? Not to fear, my chickadees! I was up here at work at 7:00 in the a.m., recording it on TWO tape recorders in order to transcribe it and email it to the NPR Puzzle Google Group. (Yes, I *do* belong to a Google Group dedicated to Will Shortz's puzzle...and yes, I AM aware that I'm a nerd. No need to point out the obvious!)

Information on how to join the NPR Puzzle group is below, after this week's mailbag letters.

Dust off your mental neurons & synapses! Get your puzzle on.


NPR puzzle synopsis for 2010-03-07 
Synopsis of
NPR Weekend Edition puzzle
with Liane Hansen & Will Shortz

Liane asked Will if he plans to watch the Oscars tonight, but he replied that he'll be playing table tennis instead. (When she asked how his table tennis was going, Will remarked that "I'm playing my best ever, really--someday I'm gonna’ be really, really good!" Liane laughed and wondered which year Will could represent us in the Summer Olympics.)  Liane mourned the fact that the Academy Awards are always broadcast on Sundays, the same day she wakes early to host Weekend Edition Sunday; she rarely makes it to the end of the show. This year, Will hopes Avatar takes the Oscar for Best Picture, but Liane's rooting for The Hurt Locker, which she calls “a phenomenal film.”

The Current Challenge, given 20100228), from:
"From listener Al Gorey of Cozy Lake, N.J.: Name an animal in two syllables. Add an S at the end of the first syllable, and you'll get the name of an old TV show. The second syllable, phonetically, is the name of a current TV show. What animal is this?"

The animal was the chipmunk; the shows were CHiPs and Monk.

Liane reported more than 1,500 entries. She & Will defended Monk’s status as a “current TV show” because it can still be seen on TV in syndication.

The on-air player, randomly drawn from among the correct submissions, was Timothy Dennan from Mount Laurel, New Jersey, who says he’s been playing the puzzle “longer than I care to admit.” Liane burst into laughter at that and replied that she’s been hosting the show longer than she cares to admit. When asked what he did in Mount Laurel, Mr. Dennen replied that he “sells mortgages and settles insurance.” He listens to Will & Liane on Philadelphia’s WHYY, home of Fresh Air and several other original NPR programs. 

THIS WEEK’S ON-AIR PUZZLE: This game involves two words. Given a word, you give a word that can follow to make a familiar two word phrase. The 3rd and 4th letters of the first word must be the first two letters of the second word. For example, if the clue were FASHION, the answer would be FASHION SHOW because the 3rd and 4th letters of “FASHION" are “SH" which are the first 2 letters of "SHOW," and “FASHION SHOW” is a familiar phrase.

CLUES (answers at the end of this synopsis):

(starting with 3-letter answers)



(4-letter answers) 




(5-letter answers) 

8.  STRAIGHT (hint: an implement)


(6-letter answers) 


(7-letter answers) 



In honor of tonight’s Oscars, film music specialist Andy Trudeau joined Liane & Will to read Tim the list of prizes he'd won for playing the puzzle on the air today.

NEXT WEEK’S CHALLENGE: Take the phrase RECEIVING LINE and rearrange the 13 letters to name a common profession.

Answers must be received a little earlier than usual this week--by 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday. One entry per person. NPR no longer accepts entries by e-mail. Be sure to include a telephone number where you can be reached if you are selected as the winner.  Entries may be made at the web page:
(Puzzle enthusiasts can navigate there easily from:

Next week’s winner will be playing on the air with Will and Audie Cornish because Liane is flying to Austin, TEXAS for the South by Southwest Festival! She will make an appearance on the show, but it will be phoned in from Austin. Liane says she “can’t wait,” and on behalf of all Texans, we can’t wait to welcome her to our friendly, wonderful state! Woo hoo! Here’s hoping she has a blast and enjoys some legendary barbecue to accompany the films and music of SXSW. (She must return home, however, because Texans often joke that the only difference between a Yankee and a “damn Yankee” is that the latter buys a house and stays.)

                * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Editorial notes:
Puzzles & contents of Weekend Edition/Sunday puzzle segment
are copyrighted by Will Shortz and NPR. Reprinted here with

Puzzle transcribers use the following schedule, with the occasional switch-up to accommodate travel schedules:
1st week of each month--Kristy
2nd week--Richard
3rd week--Joe
4th week--Jerry
5th week (when there is one)--Richard

So please send email for next week's synopsis to Richard Renner.
     * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Guest editor’s notes from Kristy: 

Photographer Caroline Shepard worked her camera magic on Will Shortz back in 2006. See her handiwork at:

Catch Oscar Fever (or not) at the official site of the Academy Awards:

Can’t get enough CHiPs?
http://bit.ly/afTUij   (Oh, the grooviness.)
     * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

From this week's mailbag:

From me to the other puzzle transcribers:

Okay, my three fellow Puzzle Nuts...

Did any of you chuckle when Will announced that next week's puzzle is from "Al Gorey?" I laughed out loud, probably because we'd just spent several minutes adding a "long E" sound to so many words ("chair & cherry," "untied & untidy," etc.)!

Great job today, Jerry! Y'all be sure to check out the YouTube videos of the crossword tournament, if you have some time on your hands. FUN!
Reporting for next Sunday's puzzle duty,


From Richard Renner:

Kristi [sic],

If Will's intended answer this week is chipmonk, making CHIPs and Monk, then it deserves note that Monk has ended.  It is no longer a "current" television program.

According to Wikipedia:
Its eighth and final season concluded on December 4, 2009. The series currently holds the record for the most-watched scripted drama episode in cable television history, a record previously held by The Closer. Monk set the record with "Mr. Monk and the End (Part Two)", its series finale, with 9.4 million viewers; 3.2 million of them in the 18–49 demographic.

Richard Renner

     * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Editor’s notes from Richard Renner

I distribute these free weekly synopses of the NPR puzzle segment, with the help of a crack team of substitutes.  You can read more about this free distribution at:
You can subscribe from this page, too.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to:
For more options, visit this group at:
If you want to remove your address from the former Topica list, send a blank email from your account to:
To change the email address of your subscription, remove the old one (from the old email account), and add the new Google subscription (from the new email account).  For more information about this list, and an archive of those distributed by Topica.com, visit:
or, for more information about the Topica mailing service, visit:
NPR posts the weekly challenge (and the previous answer) on its World Wide Web page.  Go to www.npr.org, and select "Weekend Edition Sunday” from the "Programs" pull-down menu. You can also  pick up a recording of Weekend Edition Sunday program in
the Real Audio format, after 1:00 p.m. Eastern time each Sunday. 
In the alternative, for the text of the weekly listener challenge, you can go directly to: 
How do I subscribe to this podcast?
Copy the URL [above this paragraph] into your preferred
podcasting tool software (e.g. Odeo, iTunes, iPodder). You will
automatically receive this podcast each time it's published.

Follow Liane on Twitter:
Links of interest!
World Scrabble Championship:
American Crossword Puzzle Tournament:
Merl Reagle’s article on constructing crossword puzzles:
World Puzzle Federation:
Register for the 2010 USA team at:
More of Ed Pegg Jr.'s puzzles are here:
To learn more about this July's National Puzzlers’ League convention in Seattle:
Kristy Fowler & Joe Wander both highly recommend:
You can join Kathie Schneider's email list for accessible word and logic puzzles.  To subscribe, send a blank email to:
For the results of 2009’s World Sudoku Puzzle Championship, see:
Richard Renner
Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP
3233 P St., NW
Washington, DC  20007
202-342-6984 FAX
330-224-0359 cell

                * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *


(starting with 3-letter answers)



(4-letter answers)





(5-letter answers)




(6-letter answers)



(7-letter answers)




End of NPR puzzle synopsis.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Robbed. That's how I feel about not finding out about Mary Oliver until I was 46. I was an ENGLISH MAJOR, fer cryin' out loud!

See this link for more info and to read two of her poems. Or here to see and hear her work, featured ALL THE TIME on Papa Keillor's The Writer's Almanac. (I blame my work schedule for missing The Writer's Almanac on the radio Every Single Day. Guess which site I'll be visiting on my computer each day from now on!)

So I've borrowed Ms. Oliver's National Book Award-winning New and Selected Poems from Cooper High School. It's gonna' be hard to return it Monday, but return it I will...because no one else should advance to the ripe old age of 46 without discovering the joy and light of Mary Oliver!

"Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it."
                           --Mary Oliver, from "Sometimes"

P.S. For some of the older The Writer's Almanac entries, you may need the free version of RealAudio.

P.P.S. Truth be told, I don't *always* miss TWA. Sometimes I can catch it on sick days or holidays (or the two weeks each summer that Kirsten and I aren't working summer school!) before KACU begins its dreadful daytime music. 

My family's definition of a SPLIT SECOND:

1970S: The time it took elderly Uncle A.G. to get across the living room to switch off The Jeffersons.

1980s: The time it took Karen and me to land on the living room sofa when The Waltons theme song started.

1990s: The time it took Mom to switch radio stations when David Sedaris started talking.

2000s: The time it takes me to turn off KACU when The Writer's Almanac ends and the easy listening begins.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

By request.

Okay, Kara has asked for something more interesting than a bison photo (as if there COULD be something more interesting than a bison photo!) to tide her over until the next post. So...enjoy the photo-turned-magnet (& reverse message) I found inside a library book a few years ago.

When Karen saw this, she was like, "This is what school pictures must be like in Hell."

BESOSSSSSS until next time,

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

My little China girl is HOME in Abilene...

...and so blogging and Life in General will just have to wait. (Here's a photo of a buffalo from Mom & Dad's bison hunt to tide you over!)