Bitte nicht schlürfen.

Good news, everyone: I suddenly remembered I have a blog! Which is pretty great timing, because I spent a week in Germany and actually have stuff to blog about. (I mean, not that entries entirely devoted to the melting of my ice cream weren’t almost assuredly fascinating. But still.)

First things first: I USED THE MACHINE THAT CARBONATES STUFF (heretofore known as “the fizzy machine”) AND IT WAS DEFINITELY AS AWESOME AS I EXPECTED IT TO BE. I must have fizzed and drank, like, a gallon of water (Wasser) a day. I DIDN’T EVEN WANT THAT MUCH WATER, I just wanted to fizz it. With all that water PLUS the lack of Cheez-Its and Coca-Cola in the Bonn office, I think I am approximately 73% healthier in Germany than I am in the States. No wonder Americans are fat.


EINS. I discovered that I have terrible table manners in Germany. Let me tell you: the moment you realize that you are the only one at the table not holding your fork in your left hand and pushing food onto it with your knife is an uncomfortable one. And it is even more uncomfortable if you DIDN’T HAPPEN TO GRAB A KNIFE AT ALL, because none of the food in question involved cutting! Mein Gott. Tut mir Leid, Leute. I’ll do it right next time, I promise.

ZWEI. You can order cocktails-to-go in Germany, because public drinking is not a thing that is illegal. I DON’T THINK THIS ONE REQUIRES FURTHER EXPLANATION.

DREI. Windows in Germany are hard. Sometimes you have to turn them one way to open them from the top, another way to open them from the side, and a third way to open the entire window. IF THIS IS THE CASE, it is also possible to accidentally do all three (drei) of those things at once, coming narrowly close to leaving the window hanging on by a single hinge.

VIER. Pizza in Germany is just as delicious as pizza in the States. HOWEVER, in the States you cannot eat said pizza with Teddy, Ms. Jackson, and a little giraffe. SIDENOTE: Even if you’ve had vier classes, a 1.5 year old is still better at German than you are.

FÜNF. If you go to a Brauhaus in Köln and order Coke instead of Kölsch, the waitress will not be super nice to you. I OBVIOUSLY DID NOT DO THIS GUYS, but someone next to me did, and the waitress then spent the rest of the night mocking her for having blond hair. TRUE STORY.

SECHS. DON’T LEAVE YOUR BRAND NEW SWEATER ON THE BUS. And, also related to the bus, you should really look into whether you are taking the optimal route, because sometimes you realize on your last day in Germany that there is bus stop approximately 17 (siebzehn) minutes closer to your hotel than the one you’d been taking all week.

SIEBEN. German Frühstück (breakfast) is different, and awesome. Bread and cheese and soft-boiled eggs. Sehr gut.

ACHT: If you attempt to speak German after taking only vier classes, your colleagues will describe your attempt as “a freestyle word mix variation.” Which, in all honesty…I’m pretty pleased with.

We’re getting close to the numbers I no longer know, so I guess I should wrap this up. In summary: Deutschland ist pretty fucking great, and I can’t wait to go back.

That was obviously a joke about the numbers, guys. I KNOW ALL OF THE NUMBERS.

Posted in I love people | Tagged | 1 Comment

Google Chrome

If you’re on Twitter and have been paying attention, you may have noticed a weirdly high number of people tweeting about Google Chrome commercials making them cry. I HAVE OFFICIALLY JOINED THESE RANKS. For the love of god, Google. Quit embarrassing me! DON’T YOU KNOW THAT MY BROTHER WORKS FOR THE ENEMY.

I mean, Jesus Christ. Give a girl a break.

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I really like Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream, but I can’t bring myself to actually get up off the couch and put my pint back in the freezer. Which means that it is slowly melting into a sad puddle while I sit idly by, doing nothing but lamenting its demise.


Needless to say, not a weekend worth remembering.

Also I should have been in bed two hours ago.

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Someone read me poetry.

I have spent the last hour on what is, apparently, a hopeless mission: finding a good audio recording of “The Second Coming,” by William Butler Yeats. (I’m sorry, but for my own peace of mind, I have to say it: Yeats rhymes with “skates,” not “seats,” folks. Say it right in your heads, please.)

Reading poetry aloud is an art, and not one that many can do well. (I guess that’s the definition of art? OH GOD I FEEL A HEIDEGGER QUOTE COMING ON…! No, wait. It passed.) But, when well executed, it’s…well, ineffable, I guess, because I failed to come up with a suitable adjective with which to end that sentence (and believe me, I tried). Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to find spoken poetry at all, let alone good spoken poetry. But, all the same, I feel like I’m missing something. Is there some massively well-known spoken poetry database I don’t know about? A really famous audio anthology of poems? If not, COULD SOMEONE GET ON THIS PLEASE? I can’t over-emphasize the impact of a well-spoken poem. If you don’t like poetry, it’s because you haven’t yet heard the right poem read correctly.

Anyway, this is going to sound weird, but…the closest I’ve ever come to hearing a good reading of “The Second Coming” is from the television miniseries of Stephen King’s The Stand (which, yes, I am watching; and which, yes, is why I’m rambling about spoken poetry in the first place). On the one hand, this is surprising,  because The Stand is a mid-90s piece featuring Molly Ringwald, Gary Sinise, Rob Lowe, a dramatic war between good and evil, and cheesy horror effects. (That is to say: it is AWESOMELY BAD.) On the other hand, it is NOT surprising, because the poem is spoken by Ed Harris, one of the greatest and most underrated actors out there (even though his next role is to play…sigh…John McCain). Unfortunately, though, he only speaks the last line (admittedly the best part, but still)…and, still more unfortunately, I can’t even find a clip of that.

SO: In defeat, I leave you to read it for yourself (slowly, please!), and to try to imagine what it’s like to hear that last line spoken in a way that sends chills down your spine.

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

(William Butler Yeats)

Oh, man. So good.

To conclude this ramble about spoken poetry, I leave you with something slightly embarrassing: a YouTube video of a Levi’s commercial. I apologize, but it features a reading of Walt Whitman’s “Pioneers! Oh Pioneers!” that is so awesome (in the real sense of the word) it left me frozen and staring at my television with my mouth open.

Poetry, guys. Don’t knock it.

Posted in Poetry, Rambling, Words | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

I think I’m dying

Yes, I am being dramatic, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD there is no way my body can sustain this level of intake vs. outtake for much longer. EVEN MY CAT APPEARS CONCERNED, which he is demonstrating by staring intently at my face for uncomfortable lengths of time.

Good thing I have 52 episodes of the Colbert Report and 29 episodes of The Daily Show to keep me company in my slow travail toward the grave.

UPDATE #1: The remote is really far away from me, and so I am being forced to watch the local news. I DECIDED I WOULD RATHER DIE THAN WATCH THIS. Some former Miss America has apparently shot a YouTube video of herself breaking down into tears after a TSA patdown at Logan. She is devastated that she, AS AN AMERICAN, has to undergo this kind of treatment. Oh for the love of Christ, shut the fuck up. Oh my god, and Pope John Paul II is soon to be declared a saint. WHY AM I NOT DEAD YET.

UPDATE #2: Upon venturing into my kitchen to find something I could perhaps handle eating, I heard a loud buzzing sound coming from the bedroom. When I walked in there to investigate, THERE WAS A BEE THE SIZE OF MY THUMB FLYING AROUND. This is not an exaggeration. My cat, who normally tries to eat bugs, actually ran under the bed to hide upon seeing this horrific creature (seriously). Fortunately, I had the wherewithal to scream loudly, and then open the window for him to fly out of, but HOW DID HE GET IN HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE (none of my windows are open), and if a bee the size of my thumb can get in my house, WHAT IS GOING TO PREVENT THE ENORMOUS SPIDERS THAT LIVE ON THE OUTSIDE OF MY BUILDING FROM COMING INSIDE.

I need to move.

Also Nurse Midwife Jen is making me drink Gatorade and I hate Gatorade.

Posted in Bugs, I hate people, Rants | Leave a comment

Dit und Dat

So, in general, I am pretty terrible at sleeping, something which is only getting worse as I get older. Here are a few things that will legitimately keep me up at night if they are not remedied immediately. (NONE OF THESE IS EXAGGERATED.)

  1. My feet are too hot.
  2. My feet are too cold.
  3. My cat is sleeping anywhere near my face (which is pretty much all the time, by the way).
  4. I went to sleep too early.
  5. I forgot to take my socks off before bed.
  6. There is an email that I need to write but have not yet written.
  7. There is an email that I am expecting and have not yet received.
  8. My downstairs neighbor (who is maybe a stripper I decided, mainly because her hair always looks really nice, even when she is walking her dog absurdly early in the morning; also her dog’s name is Bryce) is talking loudly to her boyfriend (or patron).
  9. I am outraged about something that happened in American politics.
  10. I have to do something the next day about which I am nervous.
  11. My toe is numb. (This is a thing that happens to me, AND DON’T BOTHER TELLING ME I SHOULD GO TO A DOCTOR ABOUT IT, because I already know.)
  12. I drank Coke at any time after 5;30pm.
  13. I am pissed at someone and have decided that I need to confront him/her about it
  14. I ate heavy food after working out and feel like absolute rubbish.
  15. I am afraid that I don’t feel like rubbish because I ate heavy food after working out, but rather because I caught my sister’s stomach bug from this past weekend, which would really suck.

I notice that an absurdly high percentage of these list items are related to my feet, and I’m not sure what to think about that. Anyway, numbers 3, 9, 11, 14, and 15 are currently true, so, needless to say, here I am writing a blog entry in the middle of the night!

WHAT IS THE THING ABOUT AMERICAN POLITICS THAT IS CURRENTLY OUTRAGING ME, you ask? Obama’s birth certificate, obviously. Yes, guys: OBAMA HAS RELEASED HIS LONG-FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE, FINALLY. Great! Obama is American. At last, we can put this mindless, idiotic conspiracy theory to rest. OH WAIT! No we cannot, because mindless idiots who believe conspiracy theories are not satisfied by things like “facts” or “official documents,” even though all they’ve been saying for three years is that they want the “facts” and “official documents.”

So, really, the only big news that has come out of the birth certificate news story is this: Pre-birth-certificate-birthers were only categorized as “douchebags.” POST-birth-certificate-birthers (see: Donald Trump, Orly Taitz) have been promoted to ASS CLOWNS. Congratulations, guys! You are all ass clowns. If you need any evidence of this, simply watch Donald Trump’s news conference from this morning, in which he says that he is “really proud” of himself and “honored” that his actions have caused Obama to release this document, which of course he still has to “examine very closely” and “make a decision” about. He also calls into question Obama’s academic records, obviously, BECAUSE WHY NOT?! What other official documents could Obama release that he hasn’t released? WHY CAN WE NOT READ HIS DIARY FROM WHEN HE WAS SEVEN?! WHAT IS HE HIDING?! “Had Lucky Charms for breakfast.” OH MY GOD OBAMA IS SECRETLY AN IRA SYMPATHIZER FROM NORTHERN IRELAND.

(FYI, I do actually have a journal from when I was seven, and it does actually detail things like what I ate for breakfast. It also details dramatic life events such as My Brother Was Supposed to Meet me at the Flagpole and Did Not, and My Sister Wore My Mickey Mouse Sweatshirt without Asking. I also talked about my dog a pretty fair amount.)

Anyway. All these questions about official documents are pretty pressing, I guess, and thank god there are ass clowns like Donald Trump around to ask them, because otherwise CNN would have to spend a significant amount of time covering meaningful news events like Leon Panetta taking over as defense secretary. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, no one in that story even has remotely interesting hair!

For no particular reason, I will conclude my Donald Trump rant with a picture from my Vegas hotel room, which had a view of Trump Tower.

I could keep writing, but now that I’ve gotten my outrage with American politics off my chest, and now that my cat is sleeping at the foot of the bed, perhaps I can go to sleep. Gute nacht! Or guten abend, because I’m not sure which is correct. I’VE ONLY HAD ONE CLASS GUYS.

Posted in I hate people, I love animals more than people, Rants, Rightwing dickwads | Tagged | 4 Comments

Somebody should probably intervene here.

Currently, I am enamored with the idea of getting tattoos similar to the jewelry or whatever that is all over Imogen Heap’s neck and arm in this video.

I am actually not kidding. Seriously, somebody should probably intervene here.

Posted in Bad ideas | Tagged | Leave a comment

“I know that’s redundant, but otherwise it doesn’t spell anything.”

Okay, so in one of my very first blog entries, I mentioned that this blog would probably include “a healthy dose of information about my cat’s daily activities.” And yet, here we are, several months in…AND I HAVE NOT DELIVERED! I’m certain that everyone is extremely disappointed about this. However, it turns out, believe it or not, that my cat’s daily activities are really not all that interesting. Shocking!

Thus, instead of devoting a blog entry to my cat, I will devote a blog entry to his namesake, THE BRITISH PHILOSOPHER THOMAS HOBBES.

Ha, ha! Just kidding. You thought I was going to talk about philosophers again! No. Hobbes is named after Hobbes the tiger, from Calvin & Hobbes. BUT! Hobbes the tiger, the character, is actually named after Thomas Hobbes the philosopher! This is a true fact. Which is how I justify the fact that my cat is named Hobbes even though he is not orange like a tiger. Stripes of Hobbes the tiger, INTELLECT OF HOBBES THE PHILOSOPHER. Get it? Except for how sometimes he chases his tail until he catches it, and then bites it so hard that he seriously hurts himself. Not REALLY philosopher caliber, unless we are talking about Nietzsche after he went crazy from the syphilis. Oh god, the philosopher count is now at two.

Look, the point is, it’s time we stopped beating around the bush and just addressed this matter head-on: I AM OBSESSED WITH CALVIN & HOBBES, PROBABLY TO AN UNHEALTHY DEGREE. This should be pretty apparent by now, I guess, by virtue of the fact that my last several entries, and my About page, all include Calvin & Hobbes strips.  If you don’t also love Calvin & Hobbes, PLEASE KEEP READING, because I am about to beat you over the head with a list of reasons why Calvin & Hobbes is the greatest comic strip ever written, AND YOU WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY HAVE A DRAMATIC CHANGE OF OPINION.

So, here we go.

1. Calvin & Hobbes is the greatest comic strip ever written because it addresses big questions.

2. And because it addresses small questions.

3. Because it concerns itself with politics.

4. And because it concerns itself with religion.


5. Calvin & Hobbes is the best comic strip ever written because there is a sarcastic tiger.

6. And a dad who makes up almost as much stuff as my dad.

7. It is the best comic strip every written because, sometimes, Calvin fancies himself a sophisticated intellectual.

8. And sometimes he’s just a kid.

9. Calvin & Hobbes is the greatest comic strip ever written because Calvin and Hobbes make pretty amazing clubs.

10. And even more amazing snowmen.

11. Calvin & Hobbes is the greatest comic strip ever written because it explores kid problems.

12. Without ignoring adult ones.

13. And because sometimes it uses big words.

14. While other times it uses hardly any.

15. And, throughout it all, Calvin & Hobbes conveys an appealing and understandable general disdain for humanity.

16. Mostly, though? Calvin & Hobbes is just funny.

If you ask me, Bill Watterson has as much right to the “Literature” category as Camus, Schopenhauer, and Kundera.

Posted in Calvin & Hobbes, Literature | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Upside: No Philosophy; Downside: No Calvin & Hobbes

When I was about 13 years old, my mother said to me: “You have an addictive personality. Never drink.” THIS MAY OR MAY  NOT have been in reference to the fact that I really liked the Backstreet Boys. Who knows. Hard to say.

I do drink, so far mostly without incident (EXCLUDING THAT ONE KENMORE SQUARE THING), but she was still definitely right about the addictive personality. When I like something, I really like something. For example, I once bought Cheetos from the vending machine at work every day for about three weeks. I AM NOT PROUD OF THIS, but there you go.

Anyway, here is a list of things to which I am currently addicted:

1. Alpacas. Obviously, guys. If you don’t know this already, you are definitely not paying attention. Here are some fun facts about alpacas:


That is it! That is all the fun facts. BUT ISN’T THAT ENOUGH? Come on! I mean, based on this one criterion alone, alpacas are basically more civilized than humans. Have you ever tried waiting in line outside the women’s room at Fenway Park? Well I HAVE, and I would trade those women for a line of alpacas IN ABOUT ONE SECOND. Good god. Also, I’m pretty sure alpacas cannot talk on their cell phones in the bathroom stalls. So.

2. My plants. I have three plants at work. One is a…thing thing. Okay, I don’t know what it is. It was a gift from one of our vendors two Christmases ago, and my boss plopped it on my bookshelf and said, “Here, take care of this.” So I did, BEGRUDGINGLY AT FIRST, until I realized that when you pay attention to plants (i.e., water them), they live and look nice and you feel kind of good about yourself. Anyway, okay. The second is an orchid, which I have already talked about. Currently, my orchid has four flowers blooming and is quite pretty, except that one of the petals looks like someone took a bite out of it. I don’t know. I blame the cleaning lady. The THIRD is an African violet. Actually, I have two of them, BOTH OF WHICH HUNG OUT IN THE TRUNK OF MY CAR FOR SEVERAL WEEKS LAST JULY. (This is true.) No sunlight, no water, and it was probably 120 degrees in there. Until, one day, I was sitting at my desk, and suddenly thought, “Oh, sweet Jesus, I have African violets in my trunk.” I was certain they were long dead, naturally, WHICH IS WHY I let them sit in my office basically without watering them for another 8 months. (This is also true.) Then, one day, for no apparent reason, I thought: “Okay, I’m going to give this African violet thing a try.” And NOW THEY ARE BLOOMING. So, whatever. I am apparently the Plant Whisperer. (WHICH IS FUNNY, because I am constantly talking to my plants, and usually IN a whisper, since otherwise my co-workers get a little weirded out.)

3. Google-translating random German words and then dropping them in emails to my German colleagues. EXAMPLE: donut. EXAMPLE: Okay that is the only one I’ve done so far, but I decided this is going to be a new thing. Sorry, German colleagues!

4. Plaid. Okay, I know this one is pretty trendy right now, but PLEASE BE ASSURED that I have always loved plaid. FACT: I wore a red plaid shirt LITERALLY TO RAGS when I was a freshman in college. Literally, in that, once it was too raggedy to wear, I ripped it up and used the material to patch a pair of pants. (Needless to say, my college roommates did not want a whole lot to do with me.) Anyway, plaid is cool and hipster now, apparently, and you can judge me if you want, but I like it. (I also like skinny jeans, bangs, and funky glasses, AND I AM EXTREMELY UNAPOLOGETIC ABOUT IT. So whatever.)

5. Alcohol. Ha, ha! Just kidding. That was to see whether you were paying attention.

Good lord. For everyone’s sake, I hope something really interesting happens to me soon, because this blog is pathetic.

Posted in Rambling | Tagged | Leave a comment

This Blog Entry Will Almost Certainly Bore You

This is another boring blog entry, and I apologize in advance. I feel badly that I told a bunch of additional people about this stupid blog, and now am writing consecutive posts that refer to philosophy. Sorry, guys. I assure you that, really soon, I will return to more vapid ramblings. Probably because I will have exhausted the extent of my philosophical knowledge, which is pretty scant.

Anyway. THIS ENTRY IS ABOUT CHOICES, AND FREE WILL, AND STUFF. And for some reason, I will begin by complaining. Here we go.

I’m now PRACTICALLY 30, which means that I think I can say with legitimate authority that my 20s could have been better. Difficult breakups, some bad relationships with family members, lost friendships, my stupid cat falling off a thing and almost dying, THAT TIME THAT GUY WRONGLY ACCUSED ME OF STEALING ICE CREAM, and, you know, getting divorced. Certainly not the WORST problems in the world to have – I have a home and food and a family, and I count myself lucky in all those respects – but some of them were kind of tough. (ESPECIALLY THAT ICE CREAM ONE, JESUS CHRIST.)

So, on the one hand, I’m pretty jazzed about leaving my 20s behind (it’s still another 1.5 years away, but still). On the other hand, all of the sudden it seems like I’m making alarmingly momentous decisions at alarmingly increasing rates. THIS IS A LITTLE DISCONCERTING. For example, when I was 18, a really hard decision was, “Gee, should I dye my hair PLUSH PLUM, or RUBY RED?” This was a question I would debate for hours, if not days, trying to find random articles of clothing that would most closely match said colors, and then draping them around my head, AS IF THAT WAS GOING TO GIVE ME AN IDEA OF WHAT I WOULD LOOK LIKE.

(That is a true story, guys. It’s fine, you can laugh; it’s a ridiculous image. Also, please note, I’M FUCKING COLORBLIND.)

Now, though, instead of debating the merits of Plush Plum and Ruby Red, I’m worrying about where I’m going to LIVE, and where I’m going to WORK, and whether I’m going to buy PROPERTY, and whether I’m going to raise ALPACAS…etc., etc. These are big decisions, obviously. Hair grows out, guys, but alpacas are forever. Or, you know. 12-15 years? Actually…I have no idea how long an alpaca lives. BUT SURELY IT IS LONGER THAN IT TAKES TO GROW OUT HAIR.

Anyway, as I ponder these life decisions, I’m reminded of reading those Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid. You know, the ones where you were given options about what the main character would do next, and then flip to the appropriate page to see how the story worked out. These were GENIUS, I thought. I GOT TO MAKE ALL THE DECISIONS! Except that, the thing was, once I played out one version of the story, I could always go back to the other decision, just to see what would have happened. Which is how I arrived at the idea that, when I died, it would be awesome if I could then trace back through my life and see what would have happened if I had made different major life decisions. (Please don’t ask me what MAJOR LIFE DECISIONS I was concerned about at the age of 8, when I was reading Choose Your Own Adventure books, but it’s probably fair to assume that it had something to do with what color glasses chain I should wear. NOBODY TOLD ME THOSE WEREN’T COOL, OKAY?)

Obviously, all of this was before I’d figured out whether I believed in “fate” or “god.” And once I ultimately decided I didn’t believe in the latter (thanks, Richard Swinburne, for your wholly unconvincing arguments!), I concluded that it was impossible to believe in the former. Then I read Arthur Schopenhauer (one of the great German philosophers who someday I will probably not read in his native language); specifically, Über die Freiheit des menschlichen Willen (On the Freedom of the Will). Basically, Schopenhauer concluded that, while there are no physical obstacles preventing us from making whatever decision we want to make (i.e., there is no predetermined fate), we only ever truly want to make one decision, and we are incapable of making a decision other than that one.

This is not to say that we don’t truly agonize over decisions – we do – but rather that, in the end, the decision we make is the decision we want to make, consciously or not. So, while there is nothing external deciding our fate, it is still the case that we could not have done other than what we did. If you could go back, and go back again, and go back again, you would make the same exact decision every time. (To horribly, horribly oversimplify it. My apologies, Herr Schopenhauer.)


If, for some absolutely insane reason, someone IS still actually reading this, you’re in for a grave disappointment: I have no ultimate point. That’s why this entry is categorized in RAMBLING; did you not notice that?! I don’t know. Whatever. The non-point is, I’ve made a lot of decisions, and will continue to make more. Some of them have been good, and some of them have been bad. But the others, the really scary ones, are forever unclassifiable, because – much to my 8-year-old self’s dismay – life isn’t a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

Seriously, though, guys, and this is really important: Glasses chains are NEVER a good decision. Regardless of the color. I’m pretty sure even Arthur Schopenhauer would agree with me on that one.

ONCE AGAIN, I am sincerely sorry for boring you to death, and, by way of apology, will conclude with another Calvin & Hobbes comic.

Posted in Calvin & Hobbes, Literature, Rambling | Tagged , , | 2 Comments