Boredom: AKA Fun with Google Translate

Previous postings have explained my admiration of Pearl Jam. But what happens when you indiscriminately run their lyrics through language translation software?

Take their single Wishlist from the 1998 album Yield, starting with the first few lines from the first verse.

I wish I was a neutron bomb, for once I could go off
I wish I was a sacrifice but somehow still lived on
I wish I was a sentimental ornament you hung on
The Christmas tree, I wish I was the star that went on top

Translate from English to Afrikaans. Then from Afrikaans into Spanish. From Spanish into German. From German into Haitian Creole. From Haitian Creole into Norwegian. From Norwegian into French. From French to Irish. From Irish to Russian. From Russian to Greek. From Greek to Italian. From Italian to Icelandic. From Icelandic to Japanese. From Japanese to Swahili. From Swahili to Indonesian. From Indonesian to Turkish. From Turkish to Czech. From Czech into Hindi. From Hindi into Welsh. And finally from Welsh back into English.

Final result:

Again, I want to be a neutron bomb
I want to be a victim, but for some reason it's still alive
my necklace
Christmas tree, star type

Lesson: If you're traveling overseas, learn the language or hire a translator with a heartbeat.


Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mr. Cowboy?

If you want good comedy, observe Coeur d'Alene politics. With school board elections coming up in a couple of months, and municipal elections next fall, the circus is in full swing. In a state like Idaho, especially our northern region, races like these are usually between a bunch of conservatives arguing over who is the most conservative.

Fortunately, city council, mayoral, and school board positions are designed to be non-partisan. Unfortunately, the predominant political party has discovered a key to success in eating their own. One PAC in particular has driven their people into many of these positions by branding other Republicans as "liberals" or "RINOs" and propping their candidate up as the true conservative. They're ignoring the fact that their candidate has previously belonged to and/or supported other parties in the past and only recently added the (R) after their name for political expediency.

They ignore the fact that their opponent is just as conservative. Our upcoming school board election is one fine example, where the Chosen One (who is currently serving on the board as an appointee) was a volunteer for the local tea party, and is active with the GOP. He's a smart and capable business owner. But there are skeletons in his closet. He sees UN conspiracies in the County's Unified Land Use Building Code and helped dismantle fully funded curriculum at an area elementary school because he views it as UN propaganda. He recently stirred up some notoriety at a legislative forum when he made a joke comparing Obama to guns because he's "black and looks scary." He is a solid conservative candidate, yet he home schools his kids, which (in my mind) should disqualify him from serving on the board that controls our public schools.

His opponent is a life long republican who has been active with several GOP campaigns, local civics organizations, and the PTA. She's clearly more qualified for the position, but in this non-partisan election she's all ready been branded as "the liberal opposition." That claim is partially due to her unwillingness to support tax cheating timber thief Phil Hart or Bill Sali the congressional clown. She's earned the liberal description mostly because she's campaigning against their preferred candidate.

We're suffering the effects of this hyper-partisanship. Kootenai County's Board of Commissioners recently fired our public defender three weeks after he filed a harassment claim against one of the Commissioners and two weeks after letting the board know he'd need an extra day off for weekly cancer treatments. At least two of the current Commissioners were endorsed by the same group that is behind the school board appointee above, and the election of the third was an ugly contest with lots of accusations and terse words between the candidates.

As for our City Council? They're just as dysfunctional. Most of that madness stems from one member of the council, who was also backed by the PAC that supports all of the offenders mentioned above. He's been Mr. Negativity since the debates leading up to election. During one of those debates, he was asked to say one good thing that his opponent (the incumbent) had accomplished as a member of City Council - he couldn't come up with an answer. When pressed for specifics, he said, "I can't think of one thing." He was the only candidate that could not answer that question with something positive. Since winning the election, he has consistently voted against anything that involves federal funding, even if a yes vote would be in the best interest of the community.

The most recent flap started when he voted yes to seek judicial approval for a federally mandated bond to upgrade our sewer facilities. But when the council faced the judge, he suddenly changed his mind and said he opposed the judicial confirmation and said the public should vote on it and promised to appeal the judges decision if the judge ruled in the city's favor. This outburst spilled over into the next couple of council sessions where there has been a war of words between Mr. Negative and the city's attorney. This included a 911 call placed by our councilman who felt threatened by the city attorney because the attorney called him a moron. Now that he's drawn his proverbial line in the sand, the city is forced to add the bond to May's ballot at a steep cost to taxpayers who will fund the election through an increase of sewer rates. If the bond fails, the city will be facing fines of $37,500 per day until the upgrade is complete and a possible moratorium on new sewer hookups. His obstinate defiance could turn into some really expensive effluence.

When faced with such fumbling and pandemoniac governing, there are only three options available.

1. You could cry. And I wouldn't fault anyone who chooses this option.
2. You could complain. Several in this area are going this route. A quick read through  letters to the editor will reveal nothing but a steaming pile of whine in both support of and criticism of the buffoons mentioned above.
3. You could laugh. Humor is good for the soul. Clearly, this is the option I've decided is best. After all, our saga here is one long joke with the most brutal punchline ever imagined.

So it is with that dose of comedy that I return to the School Board races. One of the other candidates is a recent transplant from the mid-west who is also active in the local GOP despite a recent conversion from the Constitutionalist party. He's also a favorite of the PAC that's supported Mr. Negativity, the retaliatory County Commissioners, and the conspiracy minded school board.

I know little about him and what I do know of his views I don't like. I'm sure he's a nice man. He seems intelligent. But until tonight, I didn't know what he looked like. When I first saw his picture, one thought crossed my mind:

"I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane. And since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite. "

*Photos courtesy of Duane Rasmussen and 20th Century FOX


So, this happened

It's nice to know I work with people who are able to laugh at themselves, allow me to laugh with them, and join in when I must laugh at myself. Because on Mondays... a little self deprecation goes a long way.

Coworker: Morning.
Me: Hi.
Coworker: Don't send your reports yet, wait just a bit, looking into some of the data drop that I do.
Me: OK.
Me: Those reports are automated again.
Me: So I have no control.
Coworker: I just realized those are automated again aren't they.
Coworker: Durp.
Me: And I have no idea when they run.
Coworker: OK sounds good.
Coworker: No worries.
Coworker: I just durped big.
Me: Eh...
Me: That's OK.
Me: It's Monday.
Me: Durps are excused.
Coworker: Sweet!


Facepalm Friday

The following five demotivational posters perfectly explain how my day progressed.


Time for a break

Life doesn't always follow the path you'd hope. You envision a well paved scenic highway free of traffic. What you get may or may not have once been paved. There's loose gravel and potholes. It twists with steep switchbacks and frequently turns around blind curves. Sections of roadway are washed out. Others lead into long dark tunnels. And every once in a while, the road seems to dead end, leaving you wondering which sign you missed that pointed where you were supposed to go.

That's where I'm at right now.

With that being said, I'm going to unplug for a while. I'll be taking a break from this blog. Not sure how often I'll keep up with life on facebook or twitter; if I do I'll be like a prairie dog, poke my head up and look around before heading back underground.

Until later...


He'll eat anything

At dinner, JJ wanted to try everything.

When our appetizers came out he wanted to try the spinach artichoke dip. Verdict: he liked it.

Next up was the marinara sauce. Verdict: also yummy.

Then he wanted to taste the pico de gallo. Verdic: first bite got a smile, second was delicious, but by the fifth bite he started to notice it was hot (spicy).

Finally, he asked to eat the lemon that came with his grandma's hot tea. I did not get the reaction I expected. He sucked on it for a while and then took a bite. He liked it. His only remark was, "It's a little sour."

Bekah asked him if he likeded the foods that he sampled.

"Yes," JJ answered.
"Of course you liked it," Bekah said.
"He'll eat anything," I said.
"Even dog food." That last remak was from Zu, the older sister.


Sundays with the Caseys

This morning started off with the regular routine. JJ and Zu wake up far too early, climb on the couch, and start arguing. I wake up to the sound of screaming. I play referee. They calm down. An hour later, we eat breakfast. Christian wakes up and gets himself breakfast. Then they get dressed, fight, play, fight, play, fight.

Like most Saturdays and Sundays, this revolving play/fight ordeal continues until we leave the house or someone gets hurt.

This morning we tried something different. We went to Honeysuckle Beach before church. Yes, the beach. I realize that it's still winter, but we had the park to ourselves. The kids played tag in the grass. We walked around the dock. We looked for goose footprints in the sand. Then they played another round of tag. Somewhere in the middle of all of that, they stayed still enough to let me take a few pictures.

Christian followed a whim up the lifeguard tower where he insisted on striking this pose.

On the docks, Zu kept looking back toward land while the wind tousled her hair.
It was a cold wind.

Then we have JJ doing something. Really, I'm never quite sure why he does what he does.

And for a brief moment, they all pretended that they liked each other.* 
This gives me hope that the play/fight/play/fight cycle will someday end.

*They do love each other. And most of the time, they also like each other. However, they thoroughly enjoy provoking each other.


And the winner is....

Thank you to everyone who entered to win an autographed copy of City of a Thousand Dolls. I'm sure that Miriam is happy to see all of you that are eager to read it.

Because I am a ridiculous nerd, I couldn't just draw a name out of a hat. I have a tendency to make things more complicated than needed and selecting the winner here stays withing my norms.

First, I listed all of the entries into a spreadsheet. There were 18 total comments on the post, but two of them were from anonymous peoples so I had to remove them. Sorry, I'm not psychic; I don't know who you are.

That left 16 entries.

Then I wrote a formula to select a random name from that list.

And duplicated that formula to narrow the list of 16 down to five "finalists."

With one final RAND formula, I found the winner.

Here's the winning comment:

Congratulations Diane. There's a book coming your direction.