"If you are having so much fun that you start perspiring, take a moment to dry your hands." -- Sounds like fun already! Nintendo's new Wii gaming console comes with some enlightening safety tips, like Watch out for the TV and Don't throw the remote across the room while virtual bowling. I am no fan of videogames but I'm somewhat intrigued by this contraption...


Lisa Simpson is super cool, but then again, she's fictional -- CNET proffers a list of the Top 10 Girl Geeks...well, I guess they're female geeks, since only one isn't yet a woman and one is more of a stick insect. I'm all for celebrating Madame Curie, but how about updating this rather anemic list with some current go-getting, tech-savvy gals? For example:

* Meg Hourihan -- godmother of Blogger (and fellow Jumbo) who's now into food
* Helen Greiner -- founder of iRobot, who gave us the Roomba
* Meg Whitman -- queen of successful branding and thus, CEO of eBay
* Victoria Hale -- founder of the world's first nonprofit pharmaceutical company and reciepient of a 2006 MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant
* ...and no Girl Geek list would be truly complete without our overachieving, football-loving, classical-piano-playing, somewhat deluded but nonetheless brainy and dedicated Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.


Ah yes, the Truffle Schnuffle -- this is the upscale German toy version, not the Goonies version. I love all things Haba, but does this seem even a little fun? Or fun enough to be worth sharing all the germs in that plastic nose? Mmmmm.


From fictional worms to Satan Claus! -- The Wikipedia Knowledge Dump is a blog collecting articles slated for deletion from Wikipedia. Talk about not wanting to belong to a club that will have you for a member...
Boobs On A Plane -- The kerfluffle over a breastfeeding mom being booted off a flight in VT for "offending" a flight attendant has reached new heights: lactivists are converging on Delta counters today to breastfeed in protest! Good for them -- I cannot believe this Globe article actually mentions Janet Jackson's NipGate in comparison to breastfeeding, no wonder people are so screwed up about this.


"Most men are acutely aware of how most other men think about and treat women when women aren't around, that whole galaxy of slobber and villainy most women aren't even aware of." -- Awesome parentblogger Dutch waxes philosophical about why men get anxious about their children's future budding sexuality. As the eldest daughter of a caring dad who was (and remains) a product of K-12 Catholic schooling (he went to an all-boys Jesuit high school, for pete's sake!), who would erupt randomly with proclamations like, "All men want to do is ejaculate," "Don't ever call someone a jerkoff, that means he masturbates!!" and, as he was about to drive away from dropping me off at freshman orientation, "Listen to me, no sex. No drugs. Please!" let's just say, I can relate.


Will do! -- London street art group The Wooster Collective reports on a subtle switcheroo of Underground posters in the King's Cross area, now that the 2012 Olympics folks are trying to gentrify, spiff up, and otherwise de-undesirable the neighborhood.
Dang, I forgot it's Celebrity Jeopardy! Week -- and that means I missed Soledad O'Brien choking last night on "two states whose names have a double N." Wow, dude, I came up with Indiana and Washington right off the bat...and don't forget about Connecticut, Tennessee, North Carolina, Pennsylvania....ouch!
"Knowingly and Obstinately" -- That's the phrase that really gets me. The US Catholic Bishops conference sent out a big fat missive yesterday warning the faithful not to take Communion if they reject church teachings about birth control (don't!), the gays (don't!), and other immoralities. Catholics who are "knowing and obstinate" -- that is to say, those who make up their own minds about their own sex lives -- aren't wanted. How very Jesus of them. Obstinate means "stubborn...difficult to manage, control, or subdue." Hey, speaking of Jesus...


Watch carefully...it's the Dueling Magicians, Final Countdown, ABRACADABRA! Edition of TicketStub:

* The Illusionist - Keep your eyes on Paul Giamatti's fine walrus moustache, and all will be revealed. This sepia-toned fable weaves a gentle illusion of lost love and hoodwinkery, sort of like Romeo & Juliet crossed with Robin Hood and a dash of The Usual Suspects. Everybody's favorite black-eyed rogue, Edward Norton, plays Eisenheim, a poor but noble boy whose aristocratic childhood love, Sophie, is taken away and later engaged to the ruthless, arrogant Prince Leopold, played by go-to slimeball Rufus Sewell. Can you see where this is going? Jessica Biel, the anachronistic hottie playing Sophie, is the only thing that looks out of place in fin-de-siecle Vienna -- this movie was made on a certain budget, but it was well spent on authentic settings and simple but effective stagings of the illusions, which, while enhanced by computer, are delightful. The gaslight and gloom are as palpable as the plummy Slav-ish accents. Paul Giamatti hams it up winningly as Police Inspektor Uhl, a canny bureaucrat charged with discovering Eisenheim's secrets by the Prince. Once Sophie turns up murdered, though, those secrets turn far more convoluted -- and their resolution more fantastical. Unlike Nat, who spotted the twists a mile off, I got caught up in the tricksy plot and thoroughly enjoyed it. I like a movie that sprinkles the fairy dust judiciously and doesn't get in over its head. Extra points for terrific sound editing! See, that sounds dull but it goes a long way. (A-)

* The Prestige - This movie sells itself: Batman vs. Wolverine! Or alternatively it's Battle of the Tall, Dark & Handsomes...or something. OK, so Hugh Jackman might walk off with that prize, but Christian Bale is no slouch. The two play professional magicians in fin-de-siecle London, under the tutelage of a grizzly Michael Caine and battling for audience domination and eternal glory. Who can perfect the better illusion, and at what price? Told by Christopher Memento Nolan in a craftily unfolding, time-stuttered way, the story absorbs you in stages, just like a magic trick's three steps: the pledge, the turn, and the prestige. I liked how the themes of hubris, deception, and surprise chimed again and again throughout the unspooling plot, but they were a bit dark and weighty, dare I say existential. Both men are broken by their ambition to become the "real" Transported Man...again, it's so Jungian, and yet by the end they're both so beyond redemption you kind of want to see them both dead. Wait, does that happen? It's sort of hard to say. Actually, I was the one who spotted the essential plot wrinkle way ahead of Nat, which in this case filled me not with smug satisfaction but rather moral dread. The film is thoughtfully made, but a little too sinister to bear repeated viewings just for the plot puzzle. OTOH, David Bowie's fantastic cameo as Nikola Tesla (!), assisted in his mountaintop lab by none other than Andy Serkis (!!), deserves to stand alone as a short film. Also on the upside, the illusions look really cool. And when your lovely assistant is Scarlett Johansson, how wrong can things go? (B+)
"There would have been much less for the Democrats to celebrate on Election Night if Howard Dean hadn't been so 'crazy' -- and so persistent." -- Nice shoutout to Governor Dean and his internet-heavy, 50-state strategy for building up the Democratic party. Be sure to click through the comments from feisty, angry progressives who've been waiting for Dean to get some credit. Looks like he was right, YEEAAHHH!
Hey, it's Friday...why not saunter over to Kim's for the 29 Questions Meme?

1. Explain what ended your last relationship? It started with an argument over an NPR story! But it all worked out in the end, we're still friends and happily married (to other people, duh).
2. When was the last time you shaved? Hmmmm...
3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.? Eating Raisin Bran, watching the TiVo'ed Weather on the 8's
4. What were you doing 15 minutes ago? Writing email
5. Are you any good at math? H4lls no.
6. Your prom night? Suuuuuuuucked!
7. Do you have any famous ancestors? Nope...possibly this dude, or him? Or, by marriage, this one!
8. Have you had to take a loan out for school? Oh yeah...but it's the interest that kills ya...
9. Do you know the words to the song on your myspace profile? WTF? I am old.
10. Last thing received in the mail? A diaper pail, and it ain't for me!
11. How many different beverages have you had today? So far, just water w/True Lime. DietCoke to come.
12. Do you ever leave messages on people's answering machine? Um, duhhhh.
13. Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to? Without my parents, U2!
14. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach? Hmmmm...
15. What's the most painful dental procedure you've had? Recently, getting a crown. Before, braces-tightening, ow ow ow ow.
16. What is out your back door? A big porch, little yard, trees, and Blue Ribbon BBQ.
17. Any plans for Friday night? You wouldn't believe me if I told you.
18. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair? Actually, yes - it gets soft and dready after a few days.
19. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns? Yup! I love this question.
20. Have you ever been to a planetarium? Yes. I am still waiting for Laser Ben Folds, though.
21. Do you re-use towels after you shower? Indeed.
22. Some things you are excited about? The next episode of 30 Rock.
23. What is your favorite flavor of JELLO? SugarFree Raspberry, mmmmm.
24. Describe your keychain? 2 current keys, 1 old key, 1 friend key, 1 skeleton key to my parents' back door, Honda key, LED light.
25. Where do you keep your change? In my desk drawer, it's full of pennies.
26. When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people? Do undergrads count?
27. What kind of winter coat do you own? Grey pea coat from J.Crew, parka from LL Bean.
28. What was the weather like on your graduation day? Each of the last 3 have been balmy.
29. Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed? Open, for the kitty.


WooHoo, Governor Patrick! -- Landslide by 19% is sweet, indeed. I quote Kang: "The politics of failure have failed. We need to make them work again!" Read Andrew O'Hehir's bemusement at watching FoxNews last night for some perspective on the blue wave of victory: "Absolutely everyone has finally grasped that the president is an idiot." And not just him, Rumsfeld too! Man, what's next? Condi Rice brokers a peace deal in Sudan? Dick Cheney shoots somebody else in the face? Whew, I feel dizzy.


Today's Election Day, so we have some Campaign Trailside Sightings: I was standing in front of Arlington Town Hall on Mass Ave from 7-9am, holding two Deval Patrick signs, and I got:

1. Many waves, honks, and thumbs-up, from MBTA bus drivers, truck drivers, landscape pickups, minivans, a few Mercedes, and of course all the Priuses and people biking to work.

2. No negative looks or salutes, but a few frozen stares from guys in shirts and ties. Odd.

3. Greetings from a Portuguese Water Dog named Molly, whose human told her, "Tell this nice lady that you're a Deval Patrick dog!"

4. Really quite cold.

5. Alerted by a young woman with Down syndrome, "I'm voting for those two this afternoon!" as she pointed to my sign and walked by.

6. To vote at 9:05 am, and things were hopping in the voting room...until the ballot scanner stopped working, and the election cop was summoned, but then it started working again, etc etc. Maybe it's the Sharpies we filled in the ballot with? I say, back to #2 pencil and some Iraqi-style purple ink next time!

If you haven't yet, VOTE already! Looking forward to a night of solemn, respectful election coverage...


JPG: The Magazine of Brave New Photography -- Check it out. Submit!
It's been too, too, too long since we had any Roadside Sightings around here:

1. In the space of one week, the following: a truck emblazoned "MR. WHEELCHAIR," a portable toilet labeled "MR. CESSPOOL," and a pickup with the logo "MR. VOLTS ELECTRICAL, 1-800-MRVOLTS."

2. Driving behind a red CR-V, I notice something that looks like a big rust spot next to the rear-mounted spare tire. Upon closer inspection, I see that it's a large red and black sticker, in the shape of....what? An island nation, apparently, but which one? The Phillippines? Fiji? Key West? Unclear.

3. Things which have caused me to swerve/pause by appearing suddenly in the road lately: large crushed cardboard box, large crushed skunk, freewheeling empty garbage can, senior-piloted Corolla, swags of red tinsel garland, trick-or-treaters, poorly patched post-construction trench on Highland Avenue, freshly patched post-construction trench on Highland Avenue (woohoo!).
Heartbreak du Jour -- I don't know what the saddest part of this story is: that people wrote anguished letters to God, that someone threw them into the ocean without opening them, or that the guy who found them is auctioning them on eBay. Sigh. Maybe the PostSecret dudes will buy them, though...


"Colbert and Stewart came to blows over the melon." -- NYTimes columnista Maureen Dowd interviews America's most trusted fake newsmen in the new Rolling Stone. Message to Nat -- buy this in the airport on your way home!
"They've stepped over the line of common sense" -- Gee, we can say that about so many Bush Administration policies, which one could this be referring to? Oh yes, it's the one where they spend $50 million advocating abstinence...to adults. Yes, those 19-to-29-year-old scamps should keep it in their pants until the wedding day, because the sinful alternatives of safe sex (gasp!) or, heaved forbid, unmarried mothers (ack!) simply cannot be tolerated. What a bunch of sexist, Christo-prude, neo-Victorian nonsense...I assume the snowy pure Bush twins will be the poster girls for this campaign, right? Save me, Jebus, from your "followers" in Washington.