Monday, May 31, 2010

Oberammergau...I can hardly believe it.

 I have wanted to go to Oberammergau's Passion Play ever since I first heard of it, even before I took German at Governor Mifflin Junior High and with Herr Douple & Herr Leininger at Wilson High School! It is hard to believe that, Lord willing, our group will be watching the 41st production of the Bavarian village's play next month. (In fact, while watching this video, emailed to me by Kirsten yesterday, I cried. Cried!)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Miss the NPR puzzle? I gotcha covered.

Today it was my turn to transcribe the NPR puzzle for the Google Group and Topica list. Enjoy!

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Synopsis of
NPR Weekend Edition puzzle
with Liane Hansen & Will Shortz

Liane and Will both began the puzzle segment with mea culpas (meae culpae?) and corrections. Liane said many listeners informed her that Eleuthera Island is in the Bahamas, and Will had to admit that Shakespeare did have a character named Edward, namely King Edward in Richard III.

The Current Challenge, given 20100523), from:

Name a country that is spelled as a solid word. Change two consecutive letters in it to a single R. The result will name a problem that this country has traditionally faced. What's the country and what's the problem?

The answers were Malaysia & malaria.

Liane reported more than 1,000 entries. The on-air player, randomly drawn from among the correct submissions, was Dave Taube of Eugene, Oregon, who says he's been playing the puzzle for about a year and a half. He's a "house dad" and a landlord who rents to students attending the University of Oregon. There is an amazing story about Mr. Taube at , and I'm so glad he got a chance to play on the air with Will & Liane! Dave listens to KLCC, hittin' Eugene with 81,000 watts of power at 89.7 FM.

THIS WEEK’S ON-AIR PUZZLE: Will gave Dave, Liane, and NPR listeners a word. Puzzle players were to change one single letter of that word to come up with a common name for a newspaper. For example, if Will said "tomes," the answer would be "Times."

CLUES (answers at the end of this synopsis):

1.  tribute

2.  posh

3.  hedger

4.  glove  (Hint: "There's one in Boston.")

5.  resister

6.  empress

7.  would

8.  reword

9.  deporter

10. lender

11. onion

12. preps

13. nets

14. sue

15. stay

Matt Dembicki, the editor of a graphic anthology called Trickster: Native American Tales ( ), read Dave the list of prizes he won for being the on-air player. (I've already ordered 2 copies of Trickster for my library!)

NEXT WEEK’S CHALLENGE comes from Eric Iverson of Eagan, Minnesota.: Take the name of a nationality and write it in lower case letters. Remove the first letter and rotate one of the remaining letters 180 degrees. The result will be another nationality. What nationalities are these?

Answers must be received by 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday.
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: )

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Editorial notes:

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

This summer's puzzle transcription schedule:

2010-06-06        Jerry
2010-06-13        Richard
2010-06-20        Joe
2010-06-27        Jerry
2010-07-04        Joe
2010-07-11        Richard
2010-07-18        Joe
2010-07-25        Jerry

We expect to resume our regular schedule in August:

1st       Kristy
2nd      Richard
3rd       Joe
4th       Jerry
5th       Richard

Our email addresses:

Kristy Fowler>
Richard Renner>
Jerry Miller>
Joe Wander>

So e-mail for next week's synopsis goes to Jerry Miller>.

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Guest editor’s notes from Kristy:

Liane's story on World War II veterans stated that only 10% of our nation's WWII veterans are still alive. Here is Thursday's obituary for John W. Finn, the last of the 15 Navy sailors who received the Medal of Honor for heroism at Pearl Harbor.


President Obama's weekly address, this week entitled "Honoring the Fallen."

Read the entire text of Richard III at

Passport? Check. Camera? Check. Baggallini (designed by flight attendants!)? Check. Deutschland, hier komme ich! (I will, however, leave the applesauce at home.)

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From this week's mailbag:


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Editor’s notes from Richard Renner (email: rrenner ):

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, 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, 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 noon Eastern time each Sunday.

In the alternative, for the text of the weekly listener challenge, you can go directly to:

Podcasts are available at:

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!
American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (Mar. 18-20, 2011):
Merl Reagle’s article on constructing crossword puzzles, available at:
World Puzzle Federation:
Register for the 2010 USA team's August 21 championship at:
More of Ed Pegg Jr.'s puzzles are available at:
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 results of the 5th World Sudoku Puzzle Championship:

Richard Renner
Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP
3233 P St., NW
Washington, DC  20007
202-342-6984 FAX
330-224-0359 cell


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1.  tribute: Tribune

2.  posh: Post

3.  hedger: Ledger

4.  glove: Globe

5.  resister: Register

6.  empress: Express

7.  would: World

8.  reword: Record

9.  deporter: Reporter

10. lender: Leader

11. onion: Union (Liane mentioned, "There's already a newspaper named The Onion!")

12. preps: Press

13. nets: News

14. sue: Sun

15. stay: Star

End of NPR puzzle synopsis.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's like losing a friend. Seriously.

Texans love their trees...and we West Texans love them more than most! The respite they give us with their shade, the effort it takes to get them established, and their GREEN, VERTICAL beauty in a largely BEIGE, FLAT region of the state makes them dear to our hearts. Losing one really hurts.

Seriously, Karen and I are really sad. Every time we looked in the backyard yesterday, we just mourned...

The dogs aren't too upset. Ben wants to tinkle on every fallen branch while May Bee searches for birds' nests and squirrel babies (a.k.a. "appetizers").

I'm hoping Mrs. Squirrel and her babies found somewhere else to live. Here's a photo I took of her last month.

And we're going to miss the amazing SMELL of this beautiful tree. Last month, it was almost standing next to a man on the elevator who went a little overboard on the cologne. (Karen was driving down the alley once in April and said she could smell our backyard before she could even see it.)

R.I.P., beautiful chinaberry tree.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The worst morning contest? I won it.

You know that horrible recurring dream about being in the shower...with a head covered in shampoo...when a giant waterbug (a.k.a., "ROACH!") falls from the ceiling and right onto your body? ONTO YOUR WET, NAKED BODY?

It happened. 

And not some petite Pennsylvania-sized roach, either, but a take-no-prisoners, TEXAS-SIZED behemoth.

I was able to kill it by stomping on it repeatedly, while screaming like a little girl...which brought May Bee to the rescue! (Ben snoozed through the whole thing.)

The team of Viennese psychiatrists it's going to take to restore my mind are going to be expensive, but worth every Euro...

UPDATE: Last night at the Bushes, as we watched 24, this commercial came on and made me laugh out loud. Maybe the roach that landed on me in the shower just  thought we were "dipping skinny."


UPDATE 2: So this morning, a friend suggested that I invest in the Bugzooka! It's the coolest...check out the VIDEO!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

We're OLD and stuff.

Hey, check it out! Houston's not the only one who can grill! And yes, I do realize that the salmon is a little...umm...blackened, but it was pretty good for a first attempt! CHARCOAL ALL THE WAY, BABY!

Thanks to Christine for the asparagus from Bobby's garden, and thanks to Karen for bending the grate into shape and for the advice ("Buy a gas grill.").

In other news...when Karen and I were little, we pretended we were little old ladies named "Miss Snow" and "Miss Fondle" (long story) as we sipped our tea from playset teacups. Somehow along the way, we actually BECAME these two lively ladies. (Not sure when we got old, but old we you will see from the following conversation.)

Me: Hey, do you have cable at your house?

Karen: Nope.

Me: Have you heard that there's some reality show that has a player named "The Situation?"

Karen: "The Situation?" That's his NAME?

Me: Yeah, I think so. I've never seen it.

Karen: Well, his mother couldn't have *named* him "The Situation." That's ridiculous. Do other people call him "The Situation," or does he call himself that?

Me: No clue, but I agree with you. It just can't be his real mother would do that. Well, on the birth certificate, anyway. Maybe she calls him that behind his back. Like how June and Ward called their son "The Beav."

Karen: June and Ward did NOT call their son "The Beav." Only the obnoxious neighbor did that! You know. That one kid. The red-headed one. Wally? Eddie?

Me: Ooh, Eddie Haskell! 

Karen: Right! 

Me: Are you sure they didn't call him "Beaver?" I'm pretty sure they did. Do you even remember his real name? I'll bet Timmy's parents on Lassie called him stuff that wasn't on the birth "That Imbecile Who Keeps Falling in Wells and Mine Shafts." Or "The Kid Our Dog Keeps Alive."

Karen: That's not very nice.

Me: Neither is calling your kid "The Situation." It makes him sound like he's Dennis the Menace or something.

Karen: I'll call Houston. He'll know.

Me: HA! Speaking of a situation!