Saturday, June 9, 2007

Three hundred hairy bears!

I don't know any Hebrew swear words because when I was growing up, my dad would only curse in Polish or Arabic. His most common swear word was to yell, "Cholera" but if he was extremely irked he'd revert to Polish for "blood of a dog".

Apparently Slovenian has similar issues. According to a guest on Travel with Rick Steves today, Slovenians are really polite because they have no swear words in their language. If they're really pissed off, the worst thing they can say would be, "Three hundred hairy bears!". And if they're really, really mad at you, they'd say, "May you get kicked by a chicken!"

Friday, June 8, 2007

Sad news for me

I just found out that Presidential Candidate, the second, who happens to be Giuliani, is coming in next Friday, while I will be en route to Paris. I was so looking forward to seeing him, especially after hearing a Day to Day piece on him back in May where Madeline Brand interviewed a reporter (Michael Wolff) who had covered him as Mayor of NY and was now writing a Vanity Fair piece on him where he claimed Giuliani was insane. As in, off his rocker. Totally unpredictable. He referred to an incident on Giuliani's radio show where he berated a ferret owner who had called in after a law was passed banning ferrets, and apparently he just lost it with the caller, calling him names and being extremely offensive. Mr. Wolff also pointed to the fact that Giuliani had announced his divorce to his then-wife through a press conference as more evidence that he had some screws loose. I'm used to politicians being referred to as inflexible, extreme, or offensive, but insane is a whole other thing. And now I'm going to miss seeing him in person. Bummer.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Quick Gore Update

With all the press surrounding Gore and his potential presidential run, (which he vehemently denies, and which just shows that my basic assumption: anyone who actually wants to run for president should automatically be disqualified also holds true in the negative: anyone who seems like they maybe should run for president is not interested) I've learned a bit more about the energy use in his Tennessee home (see previous post on carbon rants).

I, along with everyone else, was annoyed to hear that Gore's home used 20 times as much energy as an average home even though, according to my calculations, it was only 4 times as big. However, according to a recent issue of Time magazine there are two somewhat mitigating circumstances:
  1. The amount of energy Gore uses in some of the figures cited was calculated by the cost of his electric bill rather than actual kilowatts used (NPR used kilowatts though, and that's what I blogged about). However, he chooses to pay more for electricity by paying for power only from renewable sources. According to MSNBC, the Gores paid twice as much for this power, so that means some stories probably doubled the amount of energy they actually used.
  2. The Gores bought their house five years ago and are still in the process of upgrading it to use energy-efficient glass in the windows, add solar panels etc.

Wikipedia also mentions that Gore's home, with it's security needs, is not an average home, and that the reason they haven't added solar panels until now is that the neighborhood zoning rules didn't allow it until recently.

None of this takes away from the fact that every article about Gore mentions that he buys carbon offsets, which I still think are completely bogus, but at least they also say he flies commercial to save energy, unlike the Queen.