Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging: Is the Loneliest Edition


Madame is often underfoot, scolding me for some minor transgression. She chastises me for the condition of the apartment by finding woodscrews and batting them noisily across the floors. She pouts when I wash dishes if she cannot sit on the counter to observe. She refuses to ruffle her kitteny dignity by asking to be scritched; she will however accept modest caresses if we happen to be alone in the kitchen, and the other cat's otherwise occupied. Maybe.

Pete and I were in Sears when I heard the siren song of red shoes. I picked out a pair, fully expecting to suck it up and pay full price. If you look at the box, there's a sticker on it I did not see. The red shoes were reduced from $39 to about $15, and there was an additional 50% off. When the cashier said, "That's $7.49," I thought I heard wrong, but no! $7.49 for a pair of red Land's End suede shoes! I called Daria and the next day, we went and bought her a pair. Then Daria went back and bought the babysitter a pair, and Mom, and Daria's best friend. I told my co-workers. One went yesterday and bought four pair. Last night, I informed Anya and Corinne that there were $7.49 red suede shoes. Note the tiny paw of the happy kitten as she sits in the tiny charming shoe box.

Topaz rejoices!


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Colorful Clothes She Wears

Click on the image to embiggen and render readeracious.

h/t: Talullah, wherever she may roam.

Do With Those Stars In Your Eyes

Part I.
Part II.
Part III.

Part IV.
When you're working as fast as you can at something you haven't done before you have little time for reflection. You skeedaddle in the moment and ponder later. Then again, sometimes you scamper and consider and hope your feet don't get tangled in a low-hanging thought, like driving like Jehu across four states and realizing you have to get up after 5 for an 8 AM garage sale.

Well, that sucks, huh?

After dinner, there was still organizing to do. Pete and I cleaned up and plunked down at the kitchen table, where we played The Price Is Right with Darla and Daria.

Daria: What do you think of this?
Pete: What is it?
Daria: A matching set of cheesy glass candleholders that weigh a ton.
Tata: $3!
Pete: Two for $5!
Daria: Sold!

The auctioneer peeled off pre-printed price tags and stuck them on things, over and over, until we were too bleary to continue.

Darla: This thing?
Tata: $1.
Darla: Why a dollar?
Tata: Maybe I don't have to look at it again?
Darla: Good point.

On Friday night, the oddness of putting prices on Dad's things did not really penetrate my travel exhaustion and white wine fog, which did not facilitate sleep. In my own bed, I'm not a good sleeper. For instance, this morning, I wandered into the kitchen, fed the kittens breakfast, thought about breakfast and fired up the laptop before noticing it was 2 AM. I went back to bed.

Pete: Whatcha doin'?
Tata: Evidently, I felt an overpowering subconscious need to spoon a quarter can of cat food into a bowl twice.

Next thing I knew the alarm blared and it was just after six, so I'm not just a bad sleeper, I make sleep mistakes. Likewise, the night before the garage sale, I tossed and turned. Then, because I'm thorough, I checked my work by tossing and turning again. Finally, around 5, I heard one of Darla's cats register a complaint from outside, so I went downstairs to let him in. When I came back up the stairs, Daria popped out of her bedroom door, fully wound.

Daria: You're up! Can I get up now? I can get up now that someone else is up!
Tata: It's still dark out.
Daria: I'm up! Is it time to get up yet?
Tata: Sure. Why don't you make us some coffee? Most of us will really need that.

Darla appeared at the other end of the hall like the sitcom wacky neighbor.

Darla: Where's everyone else? We have to be at Cleo's in half an hour.
Tata: It's still dark out.
Daria: Dara's teenage butt's still in bed.
Tata: I have to shower before other humans smell me.
Darla: Cleo reminded me that even though I advertised for an 8 AM start, I should expect crazy fuckers before 6.
Tata: Intriguing! I have to tell Pete we expect early bird crazy fuckers.

Minutes later, I discovered that Darla had vigorously cleaned the common bathroom, which would have been newsworthy anytime but was made even more so because I had to wash my entire person with Pantene-knockoff shampoo. I couldn't wait to tell Daria that Darla had emptied the once-packed bathroom of dozens of personal cleaning products and bathing came with full-body frizz control. Darla went on ahead to Cleo's house. Pete, Daria, Dara and I followed half an hour later as the sun rose and as we pulled up, crazy fuckers were already standing on Cleo's lawn.

It was at this instant I realized that ads in the Staunton News Leader, signs on poles and chatter on WSVA, where Dad was on the radio for 20 years, had brought all these people here for a piece of Dad. I had no illusion that he belonged to me or to us and that by keeping these objects I could keep him. Dara's been a local celebrity since before she was born because Dad was always a public person. He's gone. Still, I hesitated for just a moment. Then, I grabbed a box and lugged it past those people to a table in the yard.


Monday, September 24, 2007

In Town, The Boys Are Back

Pete's job is kicking my ass.

Let me explain - though when I say that all I hear in my head is Mandy Patankin saying, all Inigo Montoya-y, "No, zer ees no time!" and Mr. blogenfreude complaining that Mandy Patankin should be strung up by his ragged Capezios - let me explain: my alarm shatters the pre-dawn stillness, possibly a few times depending on who reaches the clock first, mere moments after six on school days. Yes, those are moments I treasure. Most days, I get up and lumber off to fight crime. Or close purchase orders. I forget which. Most days, Pete sleeps in a bit because while he takes care of a house five blocks away, his actual job starts at 2, a twenty-five minute drive away. Thus, on school nights, he calls from that other house at 10:33, promising to bicycle over before 11:15.

I often see part of the Daily Show. Then I see my cats running around the apartment, furiously declaring their love for Pete's sneakers. Where until recently I had horrible insomnia, now I have a companion for 45 minutes before I absolutely have to try sleeping like I more or less mean it, and I have to tell you, you can spend that much time looking for keys to the handcuffs.

The man needs a new job so I can get some sleep.

It sounds so reasonable until I say it out loud.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Groovin' Up Slowly

I interrupt this brief interlude to get back to the story.

Part I.
Part II.

I'm taking this out of order now, but what don't I? At some point during the yard sale, Darla looked around impatiently and said she wished she'd brought a camera so she could record the day. I allowed as how I'd brought a camera and could take pictures. Then I apologized in advance for the crappy pictures I was about to take. So here you see images of people in scenic Staunton, Virginia, doing what people in Staunton, Virginia do on a sunny Saturday: forage through other people's stuff.

This is one moment in all of history. I took these pictures in rapid succession because the moment itself was important, not the individual foragers and not even us, if you will, though we are not pictured. This is just time passing. This is just objects changing hands. Despite the price tags we put on each item, we sold most for a handful of change because the items themselves had become a burden on us and especially on Darla. The idea was to put these things into the hands of people who needed or wanted them, to put stuff back into circulation, without reservation. We did not turn down offers. People went away with some very nice things, and good for them. Good for us.

The important facts: a sunny day at the house of a friend, Dad's things in boxes and on tables, two of my sisters, both of my stepmothers, Pete, me and for one moment, you.

We arranged table after table, box after box, palate after palate of Dad's clothes, books, handtools and kitchen gadgets. We put out bookcases, lamps and recliners. We put out contraptions we could only explain because Darla is a genius. People took about half of everything.

We repacked everything that was left, hauled it back to Darla's house and dragged it to the sun porch. By 5:30 PM, we could barely lift our arms to pack everything left over into our cars and trucks. Darla intends to pay her bills for the next month in quarters.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Story, It's A Little Thing

Belated cat blogging, if you will. Left to right: Pete's feet, Drusy and Topaz.

Yesterday, we all took a nap together. I've had a rough week with pain and by Friday morning, I couldn't face another agonizing day at my desk so I called out and spent most of the day supine and perturbed. Pete, smarter than your average bear, took off early to run errands and came back exhausted. When all four of us lay down to nap, I couldn't say who snored first. It was all paws in the air for a while, then I limped of to the living room for the camera. The big surprise is that Drusy didn't follow me, as she always does.

Monday morning, the bedroom closet pushed open and out padded tiny Topaz with an ancestral ball of yarn in her teeth. She made eye contact for a moment and ran off. Later, my apartment looked like a giant blue polyester spider web. Even when the kittens catnapped, my attempts to roll up the yarn and put it away met with playful resistance. Plus, if I did get the yarn back in the closet, Topaz would just steal it back. I couldn't be annoyed because the knotty designs around and under the furniture across three rooms were so, so cool.

Last week, I took two fantastic yoga classes. This week, I'm hoping to take three.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

To Gather Stones Together

Sometimes, one locks the door and the truth smashes a window to break in. Minstrel Boy:
I'm dragging myself through the morning today. Muttering to myself. Slouching and bitching through the chores. In three short hours I will be playing yet another funeral for a fine young man who has fallen due to the misguided policy and schemes of George W. Bush and also because of the craven cowardice or callous cynicism of the Congress that refuses to do their duty and stop this shit.

I'm doing this because it fucking hurts. That's right. I'll say it again, I'm doing this BECAUSE it hurts.

It hurts to see that another young person has been brutally killed. It hurts to see the faces of the surviving family. It hurts to stand with honor guard and play sad songs on the harp and pipes. It hurts even more when it is the child of a neighbor, it hurts even more when it was a kid that I knew.

Want to know something else? It hurts even more when I'm going to or leaving something like that and realize that most of this country doesn't even know, or much care, how bad it hurts.

Damn it. Just - damn it.
Here's my challenge to you. Find a way to make this personal. Do like Jersey Cynic and Liz did over at BlondeSense did. They got out in the street to protest. They even got Jim Yeager of Mockingbird's Medley to join them. You know Jim. He used to blog as Mimus Pauly, now he's just doing it under his name.

Make it personal. Find a way to make this shit mean something deep inside you. Make it hurt. Then Do. It. Some. More. Feel the pain, feel the sadness when a 20 year old kid gets rolled over in a truck wreck. Then go to the next one. And the one after that. And the one after that.

Keep. It. Personal. Do that and you might find a way to ensure that this madness stops. Drag people along with you so that they know how much it hurts.

My cousin and his partner are coming to the funeral with me today.

That's two more people.

Maybe we won't stop this war. It has the distinct potential of stopping itself. The military can simply break down and cease to function like it did with Alexander. Of course, it just might get worse. Still.

I'm keeping it personal. I'm going to walk through the hurt, the grief, the pain and do what I can to make something, some fucking where a little better.

That's what I'm doing.

How about you?

Frankly, I don't know if I have the strength to do as MB asks, but he is right and I have to try.

How about you?

Crossposted at Brilliant@Breakfast.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Take These Broken Wings

I could just puke. How can anyone vote against habeas corpus?

Alphabetical by Senator Name
Akaka (D-HI), Yea
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Allard (R-CO), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Nay
Biden (D-DE), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Byrd (D-WV), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Not Voting
Clinton (D-NY), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Coleman (R-MN), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Nay
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Craig (R-ID), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dole (R-NC), Nay
Domenici (R-NM), Nay
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Gregg (R-NH), Nay
Hagel (R-NE), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Nay
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lott (R-MS), Nay
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Nay
McCain (R-AZ), Nay
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Obama (D-IL), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Smith (R-OR), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Sununu (R-NH), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Warner (R-VA), Nay
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Yea

Despite what you may hear, the issue is simply not that complicated. There is no excuse for cowardice, and no day will dawn when this will become a glorious moment. There is only infamy here, and shame.


All Things To Everyone

International Talk Like A Pirate Day reminded me of this, which is still a hoot. I'm just a little busy at the moment, but I'm thinking of you and you and you. You, however, are on your own!

Slade was one of Dad's favorite bands, too.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Walking Where the Wildlife Goes

Part I

You can get so tangled up in the events of your life that you forget the rest of the world entirely. Tomorrow is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Last week, I wrote a blog post in which my verbs were all over like snot on a toddler, and I see now I neglected to mention that the video came from Petulant via Melissa McEwan. This is not at all like me. I credit the pavement as I walk down the street, so who knows what was going on in my brain before we went to Virginia - all we know is what I am thinking when we arrive.

Tata: Pete, will you please do something tasty to these pork chops so I can eat them?

Time as you know it does not exist in the Casa Con Cows. During the month Dad was dying, we developed a syncopated rhythm, yes, but a steady beat - nope. Our days worked something like this:

1. Get up too early. Make tea and coffee. Crank up the laptop. Peek to see if Dad's awake, possibly sit and talk with Dad. Empty garbage. Address needs of the cat herd. Eat fantastic leftovers.
2. Answer email. Work on laundry and the family store's website while other members of the household work on Dad's papers, errands or shopping. We grocery shop almost every day.
3. In the afternoon, we consider dinner.
4. It's 10 p.m. Do you know where dinner is?

It doesn't sound busy but Daria, Darla and I were lucky to get showers every other day. To combat this, we started thinking about dinner around 10 a.m., but that was then and this is now, and I want to eat the yummy pork chops before breakfast. We know from experience we fall right back into this whirling vortex the moment we hit the driveway but hope our esteemed colleague has some fight in him.

Daria: Take the panko and go on without me!
Pete: eggs?
Tata: I'm standing next to the fridge. If only I could reach...
Pete: Flour?

Daria walks around the corner to the pantry and returns with a pail of flour that reaches halfway up her thigh. She smiles knowingly.

Pete: Oil?

Daria holds one finger up in the air and disappears back into the pantry. She returns lugging a bottle the size of a gas can. Since we can't lift the thing and most of us grew up during the gas crisis of the seventies, siphoning is no problem and the taste is more appetizing than Exxon Regular. The mass of spaghetti, mysteriously still growing in a back burner pot, is a handy canvas for the fresh sauce Daria concocts from the neighbors' tomatoes. Pete breads and fries the pork chops. We make plates for ourselves and sit, but some habits are hard to break.

Darla: Oh, minions?
Dara: Can I get you another pork chop?
Daria: Do you need salad?
Tata: I'll get you another glass of wine.
Darla: I was going to say it's good to have you back but the servitude is nice, too.


Monday, September 17, 2007

To the Will Of the Night

Against all odds, Pete and I packed the car and headed out Friday morning. As late as Thursday evening, I expected him to tell me he had to work Saturday night, but bad news never came. Traveling back and forth to Virginia exhausts me and I was afraid I might have to make the drive alone. Friday morning, I buzzed around my apartment, a whirlwind of dread and To Do lists. At some point, I began speaking in tongues.

Tata: Kmumu bikka bing?
Pete: Sure, but is that all the garbage?
Tata: Dibi coo mokmok soooooob?
Pete: I don't remember seeing the balsamic vinegar, no.
Tata: Rurrrrow mobby tek!
Pete: Sweetheart, you don't have a lemur.
Tata: True, but if I had one would it be in the trunk?

We were on Route 78 headed toward the Pennsylvania border before I stopped hyperventilating. This will prove ironic later but for now, I relaxed and let the radio, the man, the sunlight, and the fact of the journey under way work their magic on me. Windows wide and windblown, we talked for hours.

Pete: ...we can get methanol there.
Tata: Methanol? Doesn't that come from cows?
Pete: It's made of corn!
Tata: It's made of p0rn? I want the first p0rn-electric hybrid!

All things at our destination had not gone as planned. My sister Daria did not get a chance to shop for groceries, leaving us with Dad's gargantuan stash of pasta, the neighbors' fresh tomatoes and whatever we'd brought with us. This was also the first time Pete caught a glimpse of what happened when my sisters had both cell phones and price guns in hand. In preparation for Saturday's yard sale, Daria, Dara and our stepmother Darla were pricing and boxing Dad's possessions. While on Route 81, I focused on the important things.

Tata: What are you making me for dinner?
Daria: Three for a buck, like the books.
Tata: We're bringing pie!
Daria: Ply?
Tata: Pie!
Daria: Bly?
Tata: Pie! P-I-E! Pie!
Tata: Delicious pie! Two kinds of pie!
Tata: Maaaaaybe! What's for dinner?
Daria: Remember that time I called you while I was making spaghetti and kept making spaghetti and it grew and grew?
Tata: It was like the Little Rascals cake, only al dente!
Daria: Yeah, well, now you're gonna eat it.

Naturally, we stopped at a grocery store and bought pork chops.


She Must Be Tired Of Something

Jesus Christ, I have a story to tell you.

When I can lift my arms again later tonight, I'll type like the wind! In the meantime, I must snore like it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Wine And Take That Pearl

This morning, Matt Lauer was in Teheran. I had only a minute to watch but I sat down anyway because I couldn't pick up my jaw. Lauer interviewed Seyyid Mohammad Marandi, Professor of North American Studies at the University of Tehran, who grew up in Virginia and spoke perfect English. Things were kind of moving along with the Republican talking points interview, starting at about 5:00 into the clip, and you can actually SEE the professor, who does his best to answer questions framed in the madness of King George, hesitate a few times before he answers. It's plain he wants to tell Matt he's being deceived. The thing that will take your breath away is that by the end of the interview, where Marandi has remained rational and patient, Lauer gets a little jumpy and tries to persuade the professor to agree. This morning, I couldn't hear what Lauer was saying because his body language was happily shouting, "So you SEE, don't you, that we absolutely have to nuke your country? It's obvious, right?"

One more thing: Marandi delivered a line with some real punch and Lauer passed it by. The professor said that the United States should not attack Iran because the United States has got the other two wars with weaker countries but war with Iran, which is much stronger, would be "a calamity." I heard it loud and clear. Who knows what Lauer heard?


Something To Slow Me Down

Happy New Year!

It was written by Dee Dee Ramone, Jean Beauvoir, and Joey Ramone as a reaction to Ronald Reagan's visit to a soldiers' cemetery in Bitburg, West Germany in May 1985. The name Bonzo is not that of a person, but rather refers to the name of the chimpanzee title character to one of Reagan's movies, Bedtime for Bonzo.

Reagan's visit to the Bitburg cemetery had been criticised in Europe as well as in the United States because 49 members of the SS, the Nazi paramilitary organization that helped run the extermination camps during World War II, were buried there. Some of SS members buried at Bitburg came from units that committed atrocities, including the murder of American POWs. According to White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan, in Reagan's view the majority of the soldiers who were buried at the cemetery were "simply soldiers of the German army.... There were thousands of such soldiers for whom Nazism meant nothing but the brutal end of a short life".

The lyrics are a departure from the Ramones' usual style, with a more outwardly serious content. Joey and Dee Dee Ramone had written the song with producer and former Plasmatics bassist/keyboardist Jean Beauvoir. Joey, who was Jewish, has stated that he started on the song lyrics after being almost physically sickened by the Reagan visit, feeling that the President had disrespected the six million victims of the Holocaust by visiting Bitburg.

"Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" was originally meant to be the sole title of the song, but guitarist Johnny Ramone, a conservative Republican and a Reagan supporter, insisted that the refrain of "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down" be the title on American releases of the song and that the reference to Reagan ("Bonzo") be in parentheses.

This song has been on my mind. No mystery there.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Is Love the Exception

You will be pleased to hear Siobhan is healing at a prodigious rate. In fact, the process began almost as soon as she came out of anesthesia.

Siobhan: Will you PLEASE get that fucking IV out of my hand?
Technician: Ma'am! There's no need to swear!
Siobhan: No time like the goddam present!

It's one of the hot philosophical debates of our time: if a patient swears in the recovery room, does anyone hear? That's a trick question, because nurses know emotional distress is normal and ignore it. Develop a fixation on that IV needle, though, and you can leave 'em rolling in the aisles. And speaking of rolling, yesterday, Siobhan reported watching The Aristocrats. Mr. DBK loves this movie and mentions it all the time, but Siobhan saved it for a rainy day. Yesterday, it poured outside, so Siobhan poured herself a cup of tea and reclined glamorously to watch.

Tata: Are you out of your mind? Didn't you have surgery twice last week and isn't it true you cannot yet bend yourself to form a right angle?
Siobhan: I can't bend over, yes.
Tata: And aren't you on piles of painkillers?
Siobhan: Piles, yes.
Tata: And you're struggling to ingest calories because the treatments make it difficult to slurp?
Siobhan: ....bored now...
Tata: Why on earth did you watch an utterly foul-mouthed comedy that made you laugh so hard you're still moaning, "Ow ow fucking ow..."?
Siobhan: Professional courtesy?

We're lucky. We live in a time when advanced humor delivery systems can kill and cure, which reminds me: Daria and I are going back to Virginia this weekend. Batten down the hatches! We're having a garage sale of Dad's stuff. Expect only the finest in grief-stricken hilarity, and a road trip starting Friday.

Who wants to catsit?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

But You're Still Alive

Image from

Cold white dust swirls in the whirlpool galaxy, M51, among red-hot hydrogen. The gravity of a nearby galaxy catalyzes star formation in the hydrogen zones.

On this day, I wish you peace.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Waste My Love On A Nation

I can't help it. When Pete says, "You're so pretty," I hear Johnny Rotten.

Damn, I love those boys more every year.

But enough cuddly crap: I've got a potential human to protect from the evil of pastels. Miss Sasha, who has taken to heart my desire to eschew dumb baby garbage and get trashy, forwarded a few links to unusual purveyors purveying unusual merchandise with the advice, "Here, make your dream come true."

Tata: What exactly is my dream?
Miss Sasha: To dress your grandson like the Ramones.
Tata: Right...right! Well, it's collar spikes and torn up jeans for him, then!
Miss Sasha: One of these sites has lullabye versions of Nirvana, Metallica and The Cure!
Tata: What, no Bauhaus?

Look at these fashionplates. Who wouldn't want to dress up babies like Joey and Dee Dee? It's all I can do to hold off buying a leather jacket in toddler sizes. And I sure hope someone makes leather bracelets for pre-schoolers, because if not, I'm prepared to take up leatherworking just for this. That's the kind of sacrifice I'm willing to make!

In the meantime, I'm TOTALLY cleaning them out for black onesies and embroidering the Anarchy symbol where most kids wear Barney.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Visible Shivers Running Down My Spine

Topaz and Drusy have become rather assertive about joining me in my indoor endeavors. They follow me to the bathroom and tap their feet. They encourage me to exercise by nibbling parts of my anatomy that touch the living room floor. They critique my cooking technique while seated on the counter next to the stove. I don't mind. I love them madly and wish I could take kittens to work every day; I long to think of them as beloved co-workers. When it comes to matters domestic, I most certainly do. Here, we see the lovely Drusy discovering the spin cycle. Yes, your eyes deceive you. As I looked at her, she was blurry around the edges.

As she stood atop the washing machine Sharkey calls The World's Largest Breadmaker, hardly a solid object herself, the vibrating machine drained into the sink, puzzling the pussycat. Miss Drusy tried her delicate hardest to collect the drops dripping from the faucet attachment, though she plainly could not. She once or twice climbed into the sink to have a swat at the draining water. I assured her that all would be well and her personal earthquake would end in few aftershocks momentarily, but as a kitten she cared only about the smell of clean laundry and kisses on her tiny nose.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Swaying, And the Radio's Playing

This is not food. It is a substitute for food. Sure, it'll keep you alive, but you'll be resentful. Why? Because this shit's making you fat, slothful, addlepated and hypertensive.

You don't have to be a genius to look at a plate of this oozing goo and know it's no good for you. Why? Look at it. No, really look at it. What do you see? White flour and a fatty substance that may or may not be a dairy product. Your first thought when someone puts down the plate ought to be, "You bastard! Attempted murder is a felony!" People poisoning cash-laden spouses with arsenic may thicken their plots faster than your dinner host but dead's dead, and you'll push up daisies with the same aplomb. From the Stouffer's Nutrition Facts panel, which I can't reproduce because I was born before the fucking Photoshop Cut-Off Date:
Serving Size 6 oz
Servings Per Container 2

Amount Per Serving
Calories 350 Calories From Fat 150
% Daily Value*

Total Fat 17 g 26%
Saturated Fat 7 g 35%
Trans Fat 0 g

Cholesterol 25 mg 8%
Sodium 920 mg 38%

Total Carbohydrates 34 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g 11%
Sugars 2 g 8%

Protein 15 g

Vitamin A 0%
Calcium 30%
Vitamin C 0%
Iron 8%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Let's be honest about a few things. You know why? Because lying is hard work - and who has the time?
1. I'm not brilliant. The rest of the label reads like that nightmare test I haven't studied for and OMIGOD I'M NAKED! You're a grownup. Read it yourself.

2. Nobody but nobody eats 6 oz of this glop and quits, which is why 2 servings come in that box. Six ounces is 3/4 of a cup. Go to your kitchen. Get a one-cup measuring cup. Three-quarters of that is your serving, and you know right away you're going to eat twice that, aren't you? Now, that means double your sodium, and that's 76% of your daily sodium on one plate. Dude. You're in trouble now.

3. That dietary fiber number means your digestive tract is done for the next 24 hours - unless you're lactose intolerant, in which case: clear your schedule. Your lower intestine has plans for you!

4. Don't get me started about what all this starch does to your brain. You get depressed, you eat this crap, then you get more depressed, then you're buying this by the case and writing love letters to Morrissey. There's a clue here somewhere.

Why are you doing this to yourself? You're short on time, you can't cook, you need some comfort ASAP or maybe it never occurred to you that Corporate America doesn't love you like Mom. Note: if Mom's making this crap for you, it might be a hint that Mom wants you the hell OUT.

You: Okay! I won't eat the Stouffer's! Ya happy?
Tata: Yeah yeah - NO.

You can find recipes for macaroni and cheese - which I am not now nor will I ever refer to by its dumb nickname - just about anywhere, both good and bad, but they are mostly bad., where I never go for recipes, offers this, which once again will keep you alive until it kills you. The Food Network lists 92 recipes; nutritionist Ellie Krieger's includes lowfat cheeses and pureed winter squash, but that's not much of an improvement over our boxed oozing goo. (Frankly, I value my arteries too much to even look at Paula Deen's recipe.) gives us some better possibilities with the inclusion of beans, eggplant or mushrooms. America's Test Kitchen, which I love with a fiery passion, challenges us wth a classic, a lighter version of macaroni and cheese, and one with ham and peas.

Macaroni and cheese was invented during the Depression to feed large families for virtually no money, with cheap, relatively plentiful ingredients until better was available. In 2007, not only are you not starving but you would have to be deaf, dumb, blind, marooned on a desert island and locked in your parents' basement to not know that your body will function better with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables (frozen, in a pinch) and good quality protein sources. Moreover, you will always feel and think better when you prepare your own food and control the sodium content. I know we all take shortcuts, but boxed macaroni and cheese is a shortcut through the backyard of that neighbor with a pack of rottweilers.

Look, I grasp down to the soles of my Keds that sometimes you want to eat this crap and not think. You want the gooey, creamy, cheesy, thoughtless, artery-clogging goodness that reminds you of a better day, with a crunchy crust. And I respect that blue moon impulse in people who know better and will eat some stir-fried tofu tomorrow, but what is driving me fucking round the twist is parents shoving the detestable Kraft Easy Mac at their defenseless children instead of real food. Honest to Christ, it's not, and parents are doing their children no favors here. I'm not even going to link to that shit. You can surf the net for it or drag yourself to your grocery store, where you can find the boxes you desire by following the trail of hyperactive fat children with glazed expressions and behavior problems.

Look, it's just not that hard. Don't eat this evil crap and don't feed it to children.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Me Somebody To Love Find

This gorgeous image came courtesy of Mr. Wintle, with whom I share a fond interest in astronomy and miscroscopy - things great and small. This is a microscopic view of frost on a blade of grass. It thrills me. When I look at this picture, I make noises only dogs can hear.

Also via Wintle: Kiva, where you become a banker and a cheerleader. From the About page:
We let you loan to the working poor

Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you've sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.

They're generous with quotation marks, but let's move on, shall we? Kiva's got diagrams:
We show you where your money goes

Kiva provides a data-rich, transparent lending platform for the poor. We are constantly working to make the system more transparent to show how money flows throughout the entire cycle. The below diagram shows briefly how money gets from you to a third-world borrower, and back!

It's a really interesting concept. Currently, you can only invest $25 because, the site will tell you, publicity brought Kiva more investors than Kiva expected, though it doesn't look that way when you survey the individual loan cases.

I like this idea very much. It builds on the practices of 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for Economics winner Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. If you are not familiar with the Grameen Bank, I would urge you to read up. It's a genuine reason to believe one person can make a big difference in the world, and, you know, you're one person.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

With A Face Like A Magnet

Thursdays are too long. Let's have some diverting Elvis.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Feeling, Power Steering

The charming and erudite konagod tagged me for the 8 Things Meme, which sounded familiar for a good reason: I did it in July. It's true that I didn't say much. I wasn't feeling chatty. I'll add this: I am completely left-handed. Completely. It's a miracle my right hand hasn't withered and fallen off. The only thing I do with my right hand and without thinking is use a scissor, and nobody needs to closely examine the nail polish on my left hand, I mean it!

This week, Siobhan is having her biennial reupholstering at that clinic in Switzerland she swears by. Good luck, sweetie! History proves your vowel sounds will return when you can purse your lips and swear again!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We're Finally On Our Own

Our beligerant president has always reminded me of someone.

From Wikipedia:
...Kirk's patience begins to wear thin, especially when Trelane dances with Yeoman Ross and changes her uniform into a flowing formal ball gown. Kirk and Spock both notice that their host never strays far from a particular wall mirror where they surmise that the mirror may be the source of his powers. To test this theory, Kirk provokes Trelane into a duel and during the fight he destroys the mirror and damages some strange machinery inside. It is discovered that Trelane uses this machine to manipulate matter for his amusement. The bridge crew manages to beam back to the Enterprise but, as the ship warps away, Gothos keeps appearing in its path. The Enterprise stops and Kirk beams back to Gothos to confront Trelane. Trelane tells Kirk he must face a trial for "treason". Trelane condemns Kirk to death by hanging, but Kirk, playing off of Trelane's childish whims, has a better idea.

In order to have his ship released, Kirk offers himself as the prey for a royal hunt. Trelane gleefully accepts and the hunt begins. Just as Trelane is about to kill Kirk, two energy beings appear and put a stop to his fun. It is revealed that Trelane is the "child" of the two beings. After apologizing to Kirk for their child's misbehavior, the beings disappear along with the whining Trelane, and Kirk is allowed to return to the ship.

Man, those parents are late.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Might Be Later To Win

In all humility, I think Americans have become profoundly selfish and self-absorbed, and the United States' influence is deeply corrosive to other cultures. I wish I had something funny to say about this but I don't. Politics has become a zero sum game played by people who will never feel the consequences of their hubris and arrogance. Frankly, I'm frightened for us. On Labor Day, which is meaningless in a country determined to destroy unions and the foundation of its once-stable middle class, I offer you this not as a celebration, and not because I believe Americans are about to wake up and see what we have done, and what our government has done in our name. No. I have lost all hope of that, but I think that the horror is about to dawn on us, and the consequences are coming. Support for the administration will not protect you.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

In All, I Don't Know Where We're Going To

Attention: Poor Impulsives! Please make your own sandwiches!

For dinner, Pete carved up a leftover grilled double-thick boneless pork chop and placed it in pleasing geometric patterns on square whole wheat bagel bread. He seasoned turkey breast with olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled it. Pete sliced the turkey breast and placed the slices on the geometrically pleasing pork chop slices before dripping homemade spicy peach barbecue sauce on the sandwiches and the counter. Finally, Pete added two slices of provolone to each pile. He put the sandwiches into a giant hot cast iron pan and covered them with aluminum foil, weighting them down with another cast iron pan. Pete whistled along with the tune on the radio and turned the sandwiches over. He cut them into appealing diagonal quarters. Then we ate the sandwiches and I said a lot of rude things that sounded like, "Ahhh mmmm. I would do you just for this."