Andrea Harner
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January 27, 2009

Shower conversation this morning: The Universal Dream

Andrea: You know what I want?

Jonah: What?

Andrea: To give myself a back-cial.

Jonah: That's what everyone wants!

Andrea: It is??!!

Jonah: Oh yeah. It's not just the American Dream, it's the Universal Dream.

January 26, 2009

Jonah skydives! Sandy's Bachelor Weekend, September 2008

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January 24, 2009

Hilarious article w/ best part bolded - oh the Brits!: No Snickering: That Road Sign Means Something Else By Sarah Lyall, NY Times

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CRAPSTONE, England — When ordering things by telephone, Stewart Pearce tends to take a proactive approach to the inevitable question “What is your address?”

He lays it out straight, so there is no room for unpleasant confusion. “I say, ‘It’s spelled “crap,” as in crap,’ ” said Mr. Pearce, 61, who has lived in Crapstone, a one-shop country village in Devon, for decades.

Disappointingly, Mr. Pearce has so far been unable to parlay such delicate encounters into material gain, as a neighbor once did.

“Crapstone,” the neighbor said forthrightly, Mr. Pearce related, whereupon the person on the other end of the telephone repeated it to his co-workers and burst out laughing. “They said, ‘Oh, we thought it didn’t really exist,’ ” Mr. Pearce said, “and then they gave him a free something.”

In the scale of embarrassing place names, Crapstone ranks pretty high. But Britain is full of them. Some are mostly amusing, like Ugley, Essex; East Breast, in western Scotland; North Piddle, in Worcestershire; and Spanker Lane, in Derbyshire.

Others evoke images that may conflict with residents’ efforts to appear dignified when, for example, applying for jobs.

These include Crotch Crescent, Oxford; Titty Ho, Northamptonshire; Wetwang, East Yorkshire; Slutshole Lane, Norfolk; and Thong, Kent. And, in a country that delights in lavatory humor, particularly if the word “bottom” is involved, there is Pratts Bottom, in Kent, doubly cursed because “prat” is slang for buffoon.

As for Penistone, a thriving South Yorkshire town, just stop that sophomoric snickering.

“It’s pronounced ‘PENNIS-tun,’ ” Fiona Moran, manager of the Old Vicarage Hotel in Penistone, said over the telephone, rather sharply. When forced to spell her address for outsiders, she uses misdirection, separating the tricky section into two blameless parts: “p-e-n” — pause — “i-s-t-o-n-e.”

Several months ago, Lewes District Council in East Sussex tried to address the problem of inadvertent place-name titillation by saying that “street names which could give offense” would no longer be allowed on new roads.

“Avoid aesthetically unsuitable names,” like Gaswork Road, the council decreed. Also, avoid “names capable of deliberate misinterpretation,” like Hoare Road, Typple Avenue, Quare Street and Corfe Close.

(What is wrong with Corfe Close, you might ask? The guidelines mention the hypothetical residents of No. 4, with their unfortunate hypothetical address, “4 Corfe Close.” To find the naughty meaning, you have to repeat the first two words rapidly many times, preferably in the presence of your fifth-grade classmates.)

The council explained that it was only following national guidelines and that it did not intend to change any existing lewd names.

Still, news of the revised policy raised an outcry.

“Sniggering at double entendres is a loved and time-honored tradition in this country,” Carol Midgley wrote in The Times of London. Ed Hurst, a co-author, with Rob Bailey, of “Rude Britain” and “Rude UK,” which list arguably offensive place names — some so arguably offensive that, unfortunately, they cannot be printed here — said that many such communities were established hundreds of years ago and that their names were not rude at the time.

“Place names and street names are full of history and culture, and it’s only because language has evolved over the centuries that they’ve wound up sounding rude,” Mr. Hurst said in an interview.

Mr. Bailey, who grew up on Tumbledown Dick Road in Oxfordshire, and Mr. Hurst got the idea for the books when they read about a couple who bought a house on Butt Hole Road, in South Yorkshire.

The name most likely has to do with the spot’s historic function as a source of water, a water butt being a container for collecting water. But it proved to be prohibitively hilarious.

“If they ordered a pizza, the pizza company wouldn’t deliver it, because they thought it was a made-up name,” Mr. Hurst said. “People would stand in front of the sign, pull down their trousers and take pictures of each other’s naked buttocks.”

The couple moved away.

The people in Crapstone have not had similar problems, although their sign is periodically stolen by word-loving merrymakers. And their village became a stock joke a few years ago, when a television ad featuring a prone-to-swearing soccer player named Vinnie Jones showed Mr. Jones’s car breaking down just under the Crapstone sign.

In the commercial, Mr. Jones tries to alert the towing company to his location while covering the sign and trying not to say “crap” in front of his young daughter.

The consensus in the village is that there is a perfectly innocent reason for the name “Crapstone,” though it is unclear what that is. Theories put forth by various residents the other day included “place of the rocks,” “a kind of twisting of the original word,” “something to do with the soil” and “something to do with Sir Francis Drake,” who lived nearby.

Jacqui Anderson, a doctor in Crapstone who used to live in a village called Horrabridge, which has its own issues, said that she no longer thought about the “crap” in “Crapstone.”

Still, when strangers ask where she’s from, she admitted, “I just say I live near Plymouth.”

January 21, 2009

Bruuuuunoooooooooo :-(

A dog named Animal: This makes my heart hurt and hope

How repulsive was the way Rick Warren said Malia and Sasha????!!!!!
Obama's First Air Force One Ride

Japanese woman breastfeeds kitty. Thank you Japanese TV & BuzzFeed!!

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My brother was the most adorable kid!! 1992 represent!

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I cannot handle this picture/this expression.

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January 19, 2009

DC Inauguration Trip: Celebrity sightings so far

@ Four Seasons:

Arnold
Tom Brokaw
Steven Spielberg
Kate Capshaw
Christiane Amanpour
Mayor of Los Angeles
Arianna of course
Woodward
Bernstein
Anderson Cooper

@ HuffPost Ball:
ROBERT DeNIRO!!!!
Chris Matthews
Jamie Lee Curtis
Teri Hatcher
Tina Brown
Sting
Ashlee Simpson's baby daddy
Larry King
Jennifer Beals

January 17, 2009

Jonah & Wonder Woman: Is this not the most adorable picture you've ever seen????!!!

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The Four Musketeers John, Susan, Jonah and Andrea: Lily & Sandy's Wedding Weekend, September 2008

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Leni Yoshida: One of my two kawaii Japanese nieces!

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January 14, 2009

Congrats gift from Evan Roth & Michele Walther!

Click to see it animated!

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Duncan Watts is going to change the world!

Yaaaaayyy! Our friend Duncan is nicely featured in this week's NY magazine (photo and article pasted below) and in a Discovery documentary coming out soon - you can catch the first part of it below. Nice work Dunks! Doesn't mean you'll be too busy to babysit though...sorry!

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When compared with the ways it has transformed dating, shopping, terrorism, and interpersonal communication, the fact that the Internet is changing how a few social scientists work may not seem like much to get excited about. But if Duncan Watts is right, it should be. The Columbia University sociologist is among the most active and imaginative of a group of scholars who are using websites like Facebook, eBay, and Amazon to try to answer some of the most basic questions about human behavior—why ideas spread, what we look for in choosing friends, how we decide what things are worth to us.

Few have embraced the Web as a research tool quite like Watts, who’s taken a leave from Columbia to work at the New York lab of Yahoo Research, in large part because of the trove of data that it allows him to work with. Among his recent projects is Music Lab, a music-downloading site he co-created where thousands of users get to listen to songs they’ve never heard before. The site has allowed Watts to study how a song becomes a hit. In an experiment described in his most recent paper, he took the popularity rankings of the songs on the site and, unbeknownst to the users, reversed them. What he found is that while there is a self-perpetuating quality to popularity, we’re not utter lemmings—people will like something more if you tell them it’s popular, but they won’t like it as much as something that actually is popular. What’s more, the manipulation seemed to drive people away from the site—they didn’t look around for songs they liked more than the artificially popular ones; they just gave up and left.

If it seems like the popularity of songs is slight subject matter for a serious sociologist, don’t be fooled. “Changing how people think is the biggest business that there is,” says Watts, “for governments, for philanthropies and businesses—for everybody.”

January 10, 2009

Kid goes batshit: Funniest video I've seen in a long time (Internet-wise)!!!

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Japanese man in blackface impersonates Louis Armstrong/Who needs the Internets when there's Japanese TV?

You know it's authentically Japanese because "bloom" is "broom". He is actually amazing. Be sure to check out the Japanese people recreate "We are the World" video linked in the comments too.

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January 9, 2009

Lily & Sandy's Rehearsal Dinner! September 2008

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Do bottles really break perfectly into a weapon as they do in the movies? BuzzFeed Labs investigates!!

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Doggie wants his blankie!!!!!!!!!

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Whopper Virgins: They exist!!

I love this video. What do you guys think?

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Puppidential debate! Puppies & Coops! Puppies & Coops! Puppies & Coops!!!

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January 8, 2009

Move into my apartment starting February 1!!

As you know, a little bump has entered our lives so are making the move to (gasp) Brooklyn! This apt is great and I doubt we'll ever live in a place with such high ceilings again! Check out our craigslist posting and let me know if you want to move in!

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Great quote on respecting and learning from your mistakes/People who post GMail quote of the day's are cool.

Not admiring a mistake is a bigger mistake. - Robert Half

6 and 7 year old German kids try eloping to Africa

Their sunglasses and outfits rule.

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Young romantic Mika, six, and his seven-year-old girlfriend Anna Bell were so enamoured with each other they planned an escape to tie the knot in warmer climes.

Dragging along Mika's sister Anna-Lena, aged five, the kids packed three suitcases "filled with food, swimming costumes, a lilo and even sunglasses," said police spokesman Holger Jureczko.

The idea for the romantic trip began when Mika told the two girls about his recent holiday in Italy. They decided to head for Africa while their families slept on New Year's Day.

"From this, the children began to make plans for the future," said Mr Jureczko.

In the early hours of 2009, the children left their house in the suburbs of Hanover, and took a tram for the central station.

As they waited for the train to the airport wearing their holiday gear, they caught the attention of a guard who contacted police.

Two officers managed to convince the young lovers that they would struggle to get to Africa without money or a plane ticket.

"What drew our attention was not so much that they were small children but that they had a lot of swim gear with them.

"And when we asked them where they were going they said straight away 'to Africa!', said Mr Jureczko.

"The policeman questioning them found that incredible! Who would think of going to Africa at that age?"

When asked why they were going, groom-to-be Mika explained his seemingly simple plan.

"We wanted to take the train to the airport, and then catch a plane, then we would unpack, and get married once we arrived. Then we wanted to go for a little holiday," he said.

Fiancee Anna-Bell said: "We wanted to get married there and enjoy ourselves."

Mika's mother, Annabell Sievert, said she could not believe they had tried to elope overseas.

She said:"I was shocked. I thought I must be watching a film. We tried to find them, but couldn't. There are a lot of places they could have wandered to."

To make up for their disappointment at not reaching Africa, the children were given a special tour of the police headquarters at Hanover station and shown around the detention cell.

* Thanks to a reader for this link!

Dreams from My Father, By Barack Obama

This book by our President-elect (woooooohoooooooo!!!!!) is an insightful and heartfelt book I highly recommend to anyone who craves a better understanding of race relations in America. As Obama notes in his updated preface, there are parts of the book that are not politically convenient and it's precisely these parts that make it an honest memoir of a young half African American man's coming of life in modern America. I couldn't put the book down and I'm sure you won't be able to either!

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January 7, 2009

Watching 5 hours of Real Housewives of Orange County makes me feel intellectually and morally superior but also dirty
Memo to the MTA: Ever consider adding WD-40 to your budget? Spring Street station tracks and my bleeding eardrums are begging for it
Best quote ever about concise writing

If I had more time I would write a shorter letter. ~ Mark Twain

This video will make you cry and realize how much better animals are than people: Dog and elephant BFF

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January 6, 2009

Latke Party December 2008!

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January 4, 2009

Smoothie #5992 from #1 Hubby Jonah

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January 1, 2009

Miami Christmas 2008! & Happy New Year Surprise - can you spot it??!!

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