Friday, December 30, 2011

Random Gripe o' the Day

Good grief.

So, since the government couldn't afford to (immediately) enforce the 100-watt incandescent bulb phase-out, they're relying on the honor system.  Anyone selling such contraband should feel deeply ashamed.  Very dishonorable of you, you know. 

This is such an important issue.  Thank goodness the powers that be are staying on top of it. 

...If we can't be trusted to decide what kind of light bulbs to use in our own personal private lamps and fixtures at home, no wonder "They" think we can't handle our own retirement accounts and health insurance...

Sometimes you don't know whether to laugh or cry... or buy a punching bag to take out your frustrations on...

Was It 24 CARROT Gold? ;o)

What a fun news story (for a change)! 

"Swede pulls up carrot bearing long-lost ring."

A woman loses her wedding ring in her kitchen.  Sixteen years later, long after she and her husband have given up the search for it, she finds it around a tiny carrot harvested from their vegetable garden!  Amazing! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What in the...

So, apparently 60 Minutes edited the following statement out of their recent interview with Obama:

“The issue here is not going be a list of accomplishments. As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln — just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we’ve got a lot more work to do.”
...Okay...  Whatever you say, man. 

Good grief!  The sheer ego of some people!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Been browsing Awkward Family Photos (.com) for a laugh.

Found a few:

A Face in the Crowd

Come Together

The Fetal Position 2

...among others.

(There's also an Awkward Family Pet Photos, by the way.)

Facebook = :'- (

"Author Says Facebook Is Making Us Miserable".
(What have I been saying-- to myself, if not others?)

"Facebook is making us unhappy by making everyone else look really, really happy."

Author Daniel Gulati blogs for Harvard Business Review.  He says all that shared information is creating a subconscious "ranking" among friends as our curated selves broadcast online are compared in real life. 

"Facebook is bringing down a lot of people's daily sense of well-being."  

Well, that's a big part (not all of it, but a very big part) of why I deleted my personal Facebook account.

I realize that it sounds kind of namby-pamby-- if not downright pathetic-- to admit that you start to feel a little dissatisfied with your own life just because Facebook makes it seem like everyone else on the bloomin' planet is thoroughly fulfilled, living up to every potential, happy-happy, 100% perfect (or at least Better Than You), and generally peachy-keen, but to tell the truth, I noticed that every time I visited the site, I came away feeling a degree or two sadder... discontented... somehow deflated. (So maybe I am namby-pamby.  Oh well.)

Anyway, it's always nice to find another Facebook decrier.  ;o)

P.S. If you love Facebook, I have nothing against you personally.  I just secretly hope for the day when your favorite social media site goes up in flames. :o)  On to the next thing!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's About Time

Via Drudge on Twitter, I read a short article this morning.  Why he linked to a Canadian paper, I don't know.  Maybe no American paper covered the story?  (Can't be bothered to google it.)  In any case, the headline is "Hurricane predictors admit they can't predict hurricanes."  (Heh.  That's probably why this article was selected.  Funny headline.)

Brief excerpt:
Two top U.S. hurricane forecasters, revered like rock stars in Deep South hurricane country, are quitting the practice because it doesn’t work.

William Gray and Phil Klotzbach say a look back shows their past 20 years of forecasts had no value.
First of all, I wouldn't say that the hurricane forecasters are "revered like rock stars in Deep South hurricane country".  I happen to live in Deep South hurricane country-- right in the heart of it-- and the people I talk to generally seem to agree that the weather forecasters don't really know whether a year's going to be more or less active than usual.  They've gotten pretty good at forecasting the general area where a storm will make landfall, but they've proven they can't tell how many storms will develop in a given period of time. 

Second, good for them!  It's nice when experts are willing to admit it when they realize that something doesn't work.  (Of course, many of us had already stopped paying serious attention, anyway.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

What a Sad-Looking Tree!

What a Sad-Looking Tree!

We finally put up our Christmas tree over the weekend!  Isn't it beautiful? 

Ok, this isn't really our Christmas tree.  It's just the top portion of our (artificial) tree, put in the stand for the fun of it.  Trixie thought it looked pretty pathetic (and was a little concerned that it might topple over on top of her). 

Our (fully assembled and decorated) tree looks much the same as it does every year.  Still, maybe I'll take a photo or two before it comes back down again...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More VITAL News Via Twitter

"Mythbusters" put a canonball through a home and a minivan (on accident, which isn't necessarily immediately obvious, with that program), and some idiotic head teacher in Britain turned off his school's heating on one of the coldest days of the year to show students how the school could reduce its carbon footprint.  (Because simply lowering the heat wasn't bold enough, I guess.  I wonder if anyone explained to him how much more energy it takes to heat a very cold building versus keeping it fairly level at moderate warmth...)

On the other hand, Alec Baldwin was kicked off an airplane (before take off, in case you were wondering) because of his immature behavior... So it's not all bad news, this morning...

For Posterity

Read this morning (on Twitter) that "government to receive archive of every tweet ever sent".  I didn't bother to click the link to read the full story, but when have I ever let a piffling little detail like that stop me from reacting/commenting?

First reaction:  Well, that's creepy...

Second reaction:  *thinking back over what I tweeted, back when I actually tweeted, wondering if there was anything incriminating or otherwise potentially damning in the eyes of The Government...*

Third reaction:  Of course, this isn't really news, is it?  I thought we already knew that the Library of Congress was going to archive all tweets (or something like that...).  Also, I'm writing a blog.  On the Internet.  If "They" are interested, they already have access to plenty of information about me.  (I don't actually believe they are that interested, at the moment.  Just to show that I have no delusions of grandeur.)

Fourth reaction:  Wow. If they're keeping these tweets "for posterity", everyone in the future will know exactly how stupid, spoiled, and disgusting so many of our contemporaries are.  (Were?  Whatever.)  There'll be no denying it, now...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks

It's a couple of days early, but today, I'd like to give thanks that no-one in my family would ever send out a letter like this:
From: Marney

As you all know a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner does not make itself. I need to ask each of you to help by bringing something to complete the meal. I truly appreciate your offers to assist with the meal preparation.

Now, while I do have quite a sense of humor and joke around all the time, I COULD NOT BE MORE SERIOUS when I am providing you with your Thanksgiving instructions and orders. I am very particular, so please perform your task EXACTLY as I have requested and read your portion very carefully. If I ask you to bring your offering in a container that has a lid, bring your offering in a container WITH A LID, NOT ALUMINUM FOIL! If I ask you to bring a serving spoon for your dish, BRING A SERVING SPOON, NOT A SOUP SPOON! And please do not forget anything.

All food that is to be cooked should already be prepared, bring it hot and ready to serve, warm or room temp. These are your ONLY THREE options. Anything meant to be served cold should, of course, already be cold.

HJB—Dinner wine

The Mike Byron Family
1. Turnips in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. Please do not fill the casserole all the way up to the top, it gets too messy. I know this may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but most of us hate turnips so don't feel like you a have to feed an army.
2. Two half gallons of ice cream, one must be VANILLA, I don't care what the other one is. No store brands please. I did see an ad this morning for Hagan Daz Peppermint Bark Ice Cream, yum!! (no pressure here, though).
3. Toppings for the ice cream.
4. A case of bottled water, NOT gallons, any brand is ok.

The Bob Byron Family
1. Green beans or asparagus (not both) in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. If you are making the green beans, please prepare FOUR pounds, if you are making asparagus please prepare FIVE pounds. It is up to you how you wish to prepare them, no soupy sauces, no cheese (you know how Mike is), a light sprinkling of toasted nuts, or pancetta, or some EVOO would be a nice way to jazz them up.
2. A case of beer of your choice (I have Coors Light and Corona) or a bottle of clos du bois chardonnay (you will have to let me know which you will bring prior to 11/22).

The Lisa Byron Chesterford Family
1. Lisa as a married woman you are now required to contribute at the adult level. You can bring an hors d’ouvres. A few helpful hints/suggestions. Keep it very light, and non-filling, NO COCKTAIL SAUCE, no beans of any kind. I think your best bet would be a platter of fresh veggies and dip. Not a huge platter mind you (i.e., not the plastic platter from the supermarket).

The Michelle Bobble Family
1. Stuffing in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please make the stuffing sans meat.
2. 2.5-3 qts. of mashed squash in a casserole with a lid and serving spoon
3. Proscuitto pin wheel - please stick to the recipe, no need to bring a plate.
4. A pie knife

The June Davis Family
1. 15 LBS of mashed potatoes in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please do not use the over-size blue serving dish you used last year. Because you are making such a large batch you can do one of two things: put half the mash in a regulation size casserole with lid and put the other half in a plastic container and we can just replenish with that or use two regulation size casserole dishes with lids. Only one serving spoon is needed.
2. A bottle of clos du bois chardonnay

The Amy Misto Family (why do I even bother she will never read this)
1. A pumpkin pie in a pie dish (please use my silver palate recipe) no knife needed.
2. An apple pie in a pie dish, you can use your own recipe, no knife needed.

Looking forward to the 28th!!

Apparently it's a real letter.  I first saw it here (on Awkward Family Photos), which is also where I saw this photo of Anne Shirley's dream wedding gown.  (That is the upper limit on sleeve puffiness.  Any puffier than that and the weight of the fabric causes catastrophic puff failure and eventual collapse.  Ok, not really.  I know nothing about wedding dress construction, and I imagine it is in fact possible to create puffier sleeves... but why would you ever want to?)

P.S. to my family:  As a married woman, I feel I ought to be contributing at the adult level.  Just tell me what to bring.  And how many pounds to make.  And what recipe I should use.   And what dish (lidded? not lidded? For Heaven's sake, TELL ME!!) to bring it in.  And how many serving spoons are needed.  Also: will a little EVOO be required to jazz up my dish?  If I bring green beans and asparagus, will you disown me, or just sentence me to a month of the silent treatment?  Please get back to me ASAP.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just Don't Get It: Moustache Edition

Ok, admittedly, I'm not always usually ever the first to know about the latest fads.  However, often I can at least more or less "get" them and their appeal.  Cupcakes?  Owls?  Nyan Cat?  Sure, those are fine.  I can see how they might've become popular.  (I even like all three of those.)  This fake moustache craze that's been going on for years (?), though, I just don't get. 

How did this fake moustache thing even get started?  Does anyone know? All I know is that I've been seeing them with increasing regularity over the past year or so, and I think they're kind of gross.  Yeah, that's right, I said it. ;o)  Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I'm not a fan.  (Some) real moustaches are ok, as long as they aren't hideous.  (If you aren't sure whether or not your moustache is hideous, please ask a trusted friend.  Either that or embrace the hideousness and try not to be offended when people look away with an ill-concealed expression of disgust... and possibly a little fear.) 

Again, to restate:
Real, non-hideous moustaches? Ok. 
Fake ones?  Popping up everywhere?  Next fad, please!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ugh. Time for a News Blackout...

What with one thing and another-- such as what in the world is this ('Google Maps satellite spots bizarre structures in Chinese desert') all about??-- I'm thinking it may be time to take a brief timeout from the news.

Don't want to give myself an ulcer.  ;o)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Attack of the Online Acquaintance Body Snatchers

(I don't write much, here, anymore, though I'm still slightly more active on the reading, photography, and crochet blogs.  [Too many blogs.]  But that's ok.  This blog doesn't cost me anything to keep open, and I like having a place to post when the mood does strike me.)

I just had the weird and unpleasant-- but not unusual-- experience of realizing how different some people are from myself.  I mean, I know (surprisingly enough) that many people have vastly different opinions from my own, but (possibly because I don't interact face-to-face with a variety of them on a daily basis) I tend to... well, not forget it, exactly... but at least sometimes not devote a lot of thought to it.  Maybe it's more accurate to say that I begin to think that I can always immediately tell like-minded people from the rest. 

If I'm not always aware of where people in my "real life" stand on big issues, I'm even less familiar with my Internet acquaintances' stances.  Maybe it's just that with most people I interact with/"follow" (on social networking sites, blogs, etc.) online, I'm rarely confronted with their opinions on serious topics.  They chat about hobbies and pets.  I post photos of crochet projects and autumn leaves.  When we interact, it's usually about very light stuff, and it's always friendly.

And then I read a tweet or something that throws me for a loop.   

Oh.  I didn't know CraftyGal465 was one of them.  It's a shock when CrochetPumpkin23, that sweet-seeming person who makes doggy sweaters and donates preemie hats to the local hospital starts tossing around terms like "teabaggers".  When ArtsyFartsyL@dy refers to a relative as "god-loving" like it's a bad thing, I'm slightly stunned.

It's a little like finding out your casual friendly acquaintance has been body-snatched by the pod people.  Surprise!  These people think your beliefs are stupid!  Hey, look!  They're pointing and laughing at people like you!  If they knew what you believe in-- politically, spiritually-- they'd think you an imbecile!

Silly, I know, but there it is...

There's a certain illusion of familiarity in so many Internet-based relationships.  It's probably better that way, for most of them.  You know what they say about politics, religion, and money.   (Says the person who frequently expresses political opinions on this blog.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Truly Random Thoughts

•  We got down to freezing (32°F) this morning.  I think that's our first freezing temperature of the season.  (According to our digital thermometer, at least) it is consistently colder (and hotter-- let's just say "more extreme") here than whatever is forecast for our zip code.  

• We had an evening fire a week or so ago.  I can't even remember the last time we had an evening bonfire.  This one reminded me how much more magical a fire seems at night, with the golden sparks flying against a darkened sky.  We should do that more often.

  Crocheting with strips of t-shirts is kind of tiring to your arms when you've been used to crocheting with nothing thicker than worsted weight yarn.  I'm finding new muscles-- and then wearing them out.  I would suggest crocheting rag rugs as a upper-body-building exercise, but unless you can crochet with both hands, you might end up a little unbalanced... 

•  Going back to crocheting with regular, worsted weight yarn when you've been wrestling with thick strips of fabric and a fat hook is an odd sensation.  The yarn is so thin!  It's so slack and unresisting!  Next time, if I remember, I'll go straight from crocheting fabric strips to crocheting thread, just for the "Alice in Wonderland" feeling of having suddenly grown into a giant.  ;o)

•  We fixed up the dog pen yesterday afternoon.  (One of the posts had rotted and had to be replaced, and the pen needed a good weeding in spots.)  Now it should be all fixed up for times when they can't be inside or have the run of the whole yard.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

"The People's Microphone"

So far, I've resisted all impulses to comment on "Occupy Wall Street", but really, this "people's microphone" thing?  This thing where (apparently, because they lack a permit to use bull horns) the crowd repeats (word for word, a phrase at a time) what the speaker is saying so that everyone can hear what s/he is saying?  It's awfully creepy. 

Then there are the interviews with the "occupiers"...  (And yes, I know that you can find clueless people in any group.  But still...)

Interviewer:  What are you here protesting today?

Occupier #1:  Uhm... Um... Uh... I'm protesting, um... I can't do this, I'm sorry.

Interviewer:  Well, let me ask you another question.  What do you hope to achieve by this protest?

O #1:  Um, what I hope to achieve is just to get our voices heard, you know. Just...

Interviewer:  Can you give me an example of what you want to say as far as your voice being heard?

O #1:  Uhh... Um... Meh-- like, I'm sorry; I'm just-- I'm ju-- I'm just-- I'm just I'm just mentally all over the place.  I'm really tired.  I haven't slept in two days, you know.

...Blah blah he doesn't have a shelter and doesn't want to sleep in the rain...

Interviewer:  And what are you hoping to achieve?

O #1:  Um...You know, right now the protest is just in its, uh, early stages, so... You know, right now we're just all about getting out there, you know.  Making, uhm... Yeah, just........ Um... No, that's it; I'm done. 

Then (after being asked), the dude admits that he's tried to, erm, "have relations" while he's been out there, but it was a no-go, because he had no tent.  (Man, those Occupier chicks are so demanding!) 

Interviewer:  What's more important to you, sir--  smoking weed or getting a job? 

O #1:  Getting a job so I can use the money to buy weed.  

Later, the interviewer talks to a female Occupier...

Interviewer:  Uh, what are you protesting here today?

Occupier #2:   Uhm, we're struggling, so, you know? 

Interviewer:  You say you're struggling, but you girls are in good shape, and you have the abilities to hold down jobs.  Do you think it makes more sense to get a job than to waste your time sitting around here filing your nails? 

O #2:  Um, f**k working for the Boss.  I'd rather make my own money; like, I could control... how-- how much money I make, when I make it... as long as I work hard enough.  

Hm.  Sounds to me like Ms. Occupier wants to be her own boss... like a business owner... an entrepreneur, or something.  But wouldn't that make her, like, you know, evil, or something?  I mean, like, what if, um, she decided she wanted to make more money than was, you know, fair?  And, like, how would she even know how much was fair?  Ugh, this is confusing!!  Well, anyways, being your own boss is probly alots of work an' stuff, you know?  So maybe not...

Interviewer:  How can we fix this economy? 

O #2:  ...I say abolish money.   (...someone in the background chimes in with a "yeah!" so she gets more fired up...)  We don't need money... in order to establish a good living-- like, there's enough food and supplies to go around for everybody, except...  It's-- it's f**ked up how we have to pay to live, you know?  You know what I mean?  If we all just rationed s**t out, you know, no one has, like, more than the other-- I mean, I guess... my idea-- my ideals-- I-- I like to live life more like Commie-Socialists?  ...But it's like... It's f**ked up how we-- we have to slave in order to live.  

Oh.  My.  Gosh. 
I mean, you know people like this exist, but to actually hear them speak (or in your case, read a transcript of their words)... Good ga-rief.  Ok, I'm going to go bury myself under a pile of laundry and pretend I don't live in a world where scary-stupid are out to impose their crazy ideas on the rest of us. 

Yes, these are the brilliant minds of tomorrow, and they're ready to lead! 

On Mr. Big-Name Actor's God-Given Right to Opine

So, actors, musicians, and other entertainers don't like it when the Public tells them they should "stay out of politics"-- meaning that they shouldn't express political opinions.  I mean, how dare they, really?  You (the entertainer) have the same right as any other individual to say what you think-- just like any other person out there.  Okay, I'll agree that no-one has the right to tell any individual that he/she shouldn't voice his/her political opinion.  However, let's be honest about it-- Mr. Big-Name Actor expressing his ardent support for one side or the other of XYZ Controversial Issue is a little different from Mr. Small-Town-America doing the same.  

Difference #1: 
However little it is usually deserved-- however little sense it makes-- Mr. Big-Name has more power-- a louder, farther-reaching voice-- than the average person.  His opinions will reach a much larger number of people than Mr. Small-Town's ever will. 

Difference #2: 
Many people lend too much credence to the words of the famous.  Simply because Big-Name said it was so, the weak-minded will be swayed to support whatever he supports.  It's another way of being cool like Mr. Big-Name-- like going out and buying a brand of jeans just because Big-Name was wearing a pair on the latest magazine cover... or wearing a cologne just because Big-Name's, er, name is on the bottle.  It's unlikely that anyone will vote for Ms. Candi Date just because Mr. Small-Town writes about her on his blog, but if Big-Name tweets about her, it's a possibility. 

Then there are a couple of other aspects of the issue...

Compared to the proportions in the country as a whole, it always feels like the left is (way) over-represented in the pool of entertainers-cum-political activists.  If there were a more even distribution (across the political spectrum) of politically loud-mouthed actors, singers, etc., I think you'd see less complaining about entertainers with opinions.  I'm not saying this means that left-leaning actors are obliged to keep quiet for this reason alone... Just that it makes a difference in people's level of tolerance for opinionated, liberal actors.

As an entertainer, your job is to entertain the Public.  Ultimately, the Public writes your paycheck by buying your music, going to see your movies, and so on.  The Public is your employer, and most employees find it beneficial to stay on the boss's good side (or if that's too unpalatable, look for a new job).  So while you're perfectly well within your rights to spout controversial opinions, it may not always be in your best interest.  Want to be successful in your career?  Maybe you shouldn't actively alienate a large portion of your audience.  Sure, it's your right to say what you think-- and to use your status as Mr. Big-Name Actor to make sure it's heard beyond your circle of friends-- but it's the Public's right to boycott your movies, albums, and TV programs if we don't like what we hear.  A certain percentage may find it-- and by extension, you-- distasteful.  They may not like to think that when they give you their hard-earned money, they're supporting your side of XYZ Controversial Issue though you.

Personally, when I'm thinking clearly, I try to avoid learning too much about entertainers I enjoy, because all too often, I don't like what I read.  I don't want to know that they spend every spare moment supporting something I find abhorrent, because then my enjoyment of the music or TV program is tainted-- and sometimes, I'll even refuse to watch a movie simply because the actor's beliefs bother me that much.   Maybe it's the same for a lot of people.  When they say that actors shouldn't get involved in politics, what they're really doing is begging actors not to ruin this good thing they have going.  ("Please?  I really liked you in Edge-of-Your-Seat Action Flick III.  Don't make me regret naming my pet hamster after you, okay?")

Entertainers (including some pro athletes) enjoy special status in our society.  It comes with certain costs-- mostly in the lack of privacy-- but that's part of the deal.  In exchange, they enjoy fame, fortune, and a multitude of perks.  Also, for some reason, when the average person complains about how unfair it is for Mr. Professional or Ms. Big Business Owner or Mr. Banker to have so much more money than he has, he rarely thinks to complain about the "unfair" paychecks of Mr. Actor, Ms. Singer, and Mr. Pro Athlete.  (Aw, you can't begrudge Mr, Sporty-Pants his wealth.  That dude works hard for his money, and you have so much fun watching him play every week!  Besides, he's part of your team.  He's one of the boys.)  It's an enviable position to be in, really.  Why would you entertainers want to jeopardize that cushy charmed life by upsetting your adoring public?

Anyway, complain as they may, no-one's going to stop you from saying whatever you like, so go ahead and have at it!  You'll just have to learn to live with people saying you should keep your opinions to yourself.  It's part of the job-- like the paparazzi.  Hey, you wanted to be famous, right...?

Monday, October 10, 2011

From Out the Silence ;o)

I don't blog here anymore, it seems. 

The weather lately:  
Windows open all the time. 
(Relative) coolness. 
Please don't ever change; I love you just the way you are. 

Our doings: 
The usual.
Transfering content from old website to new one (slowly, surely).
Yard work (weeding, trimming back trees, building another burn pile).
Teaching myself to knit. (M.)
Working on a new DNN (DotNetNuke) project. (D.)

Molly's doings:
Staring doggedly (ha ha) at counter-top (and a plate of leftover sausage).
Watching from the (open) laundry room window as Donald takes his evening run.

Trixie's doings:
Finding dead rat in yard (ew, where'd it come from??).
Carrying dead rat in mouth.
Undergoing de-rat-germ-ifying. 

Good times. ;o)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Look, It's an Eskie Puppy!

Eskie puppy videos make (almost) everything better. Even if they do grow up into bratsy little dogs that like to wake you up in the pre-dawn hours, knowing full well that you'll have trouble going back to sleep. ;o)

I ought to go to YouTube for early-morning, puppy-based entertainment, from now on. (And Facebook shall be shunned forever and ever, amen. In that direction lie fail-proof depression triggers.)


That's all.
Just UGH, about every single little thing.

(Well, somebody's in a bad mood this morning...)

...Sometimes you really need a private blog, so you can gripe about every tiny thing that's irking your very soul at a given moment, without everyone in your circle of family and friends learning about your deepest, darkest inner brat.  This is one of those times.  I blame my lack of sleep.  (Thanks again, Trixie, for the latest pre-4 A.M. wake-up call.  [One of a set.  Collect them all!]  *SIGH*  At this rate, I'm going to start going to sleep at 8:30, just so I can get a decent night's rest, once in a while.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lie to the Children About Your Favorite Color...

...It's the only way to fight racism!! 

"Dress witches in pink and avoid white paper to prevent racism in nurseries, expert says."

Other great ideas for the prevention of racism:

  • Dress fairies in darker shades (rather than the traditional pastels).
  • Provide paints and crayons in "the full range of flesh tones", reflecting the diversity of the human race. (Aren't there already lots of different flesh tones in a good box of crayons?)
  • When asked about their favorite colors, members of staff should be prepared to lie to the children-- for their own good.  "In the interests of good race relations, answer 'black' or 'brown'."  

That'll make so much difference in those children's lives and racial relations, I'm sure.  Yeah, more likely the kids will give the staff member a weird look.  Besides, how many people would ever name "white" as a favorite color?  Aren't blue, red, purple, and green more common choices?  How could it be construed as negative toward any race to say you like blue the best? 

"This is an incredibly complex subject that can easily become simplified and inaccurately portrayed," she [Anne O'Connor, the "expert"] said.

"There is a tendency in education to say 'here are normal people and here are different people and we have to be kind to those different people', whether it's race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or faith.

"People who are feeling defensive can say 'well there's nothing wrong with white paper', but in reality there could be if you don't see yourself reflected in the things around you. “As an early years teacher, the minute you start thinking, 'well actually, if I give everyone green paper, what happens’, you have a teaching potential.

“People might criticise this as political correctness gone mad. But it is because of political correctness we have moved on enormously. If you think that we now take it for granted that our buildings and public highways are adapted so people in wheelchairs and with pushchairs can move around. Years ago if you were in a wheelchair, then tough luck. We have completely moved and we wouldn’t have done that without the equality movement.” 
 Well, that must be the problem, then.  It's simply too complex for my simple brain to comprehend.  Thank goodness there are sharp-witted heroes like Anne O'Connor out there, saving the world from white paper and storybook witches clad in ~whisper~ black.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How Prius Lost My Business ;o)

Please add me to the list of people who find this commercial horrible, creepy, and nightmarish:

Truly, it is awful.

I solemnly vow not to run right out and buy a Prius, in protest of this creepy ad.  (Because you know I was going to buy one, otherwise, right?)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Can't Make Sense of It...

I am unceasingly amazed by people who are simultaneously aghast at the idea of capital punishment, yet when faced with the infinitely more agonizing moral dilemma of abortion are (to use the modern vernacular) "totally down with that".

I won't deny that, though I support the death penalty in some cases, I also find myself questioning how that support fits in with my beliefs as a Christian.  My qualms stem chiefly from the concern that by executing a criminal-- even the most heinous-- we are potentially denying him/her the chance of redemption.  I must admit that in certain instances (especially brutal murders), I have trouble caring about that (no inclination whatsoever toward mercy), but I feel I ought to be troubled, because I believe that even those I personally cannot tolerate are still of value to God.  (Then again, by the time most of these criminals are actually executed, they've sat on death row long enough to give them ample opportunity to realize what they've done and to turn to God...)  To say it's a difficult, confusing issue is a vast understatement. 

So yes, I can understand where some people are coming from, when they object on moral grounds to the execution of criminals.  What I can't understand is how those same people don't bat an eye at the thought of the senseless execution of the innocent unborn.  Yet there it is.  So, a couple of convicted criminals were executed last night, and the story of at least one of them has been plastered all over the news for days.  How many abortions do you think occurred (in the US alone), yesterday?  I don't know, but I'm willing to guarantee it was more than two unquestionably innocent lives snuffed out before they had even been given the chance to draw breath-- and of course you haven't heard a peep about those.  Too many of the same people who were outraged-- offended-- teary-eyed over the former are completely unperturbed by the latter.  I don't think I'll ever make sense of that mindset.

Edited to add:
Yes, I realize that some of the outrage over one of these particular cases was based on worries that this individual might not have been guilty (though from what I've heard, it seems unlikely).  This fact doesn't change my confusion over how the same person can agonize over the death of a criminal but unthinkingly support abortion.

Edited again:
Here's an interesting, brief blog post about Christianity and the Death Penalty.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


(You have to know something about the authors and/or works mentioned to get the "joke", but at least I think it's funny...)

While googling for book/author recommendations for fans of P.G. Wodehouse, I came across a library website suggesting that if you like P.G. Wodehouse and Charles Dickens, you should try Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton.  Ok, maybe for someone who enjoys the darker side of Dickens, Edith Wharton could make a little sense, but P.G. Wodehouse?  And Ethan Frome?  Surely this "Ellen" (the librarian making the recommendations) jests.

The other recommendations for fans of Wodehouse and Dickens were just as odd:  A Changed Man (apparently about a reformed skinhead), About a Boy (it's by Nick Hornby, so I'm assuming it's drama), March (which evidently "drives home the intimate horrors and ironies of the Civil War and the difficulty of living honestly with the knowledge of human suffering"), and War Trash ("painted with starkly melancholy longing").

This is just weird.  Or did Wodehouse (of Jeeves and Wooster fame) also pen works of starkly melancholy longing about the intimate horrors and ironies of war and human suffering?  Possibly I've simply never happened to hear of them...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

After the Storm

This weather report brought to you by my genuine interest in such things, despite the generally held views of the subject. ;o)

Tropical Storm Lee came through late last week / early this week and brought with it lots and lots of rain.  Top-secret confession:  I didn't really mind.  Well, I was sorry for the animals and people who had to be out in it or who suffered from flooding, fallen trees, etc., but it didn't bother me, personally.  Especially considering what a very dry spring and summer we've had, a few gloomy days were no trouble at all.  I even like them, sometimes.  More so when we don't lose power.  We did this time, but not for too long, at least.  And if the rain knocks a few degrees off the temperature, so much the better.  All told, we got just over 13 inches of rain from Lee (if our rain gauge is to be believed).

Monday afternoon, we noticed the wind shift directions.  Instead of clouds scudding by from the south, they were scudding by from the north, then dissipating altogether.  What a blissful change!  The steamy air replaced with dry (or at least drier)-- the trees across the way crisp, sharp, precise.  (Over the summer, I almost forget how clear the air can be.  You get used to a slight haze across any distance.) 

We've slept with the windows open, the past couple of nights, and woken to temperatures in the 50s.  Our windows were open all day yesterday.  True, it was almost too warm in the middle of the afternoon, but all through the morning, it was practically perfect.  Though the heat and humidity will be creeping back in by the end of the week (summer's not completely vanquished, yet), this brief interlude of autumn has been delightful.  Ahhhh, feel that cool air!  Summer's beginning to come to an end, finally.  (Or will be SOON.)  I know many people across the northern hemisphere are desperately hanging on to these last warm(ish) days, and I sympathize... but for my own sake, I'm glad the seasons are on the verge of changing.  Thank goodness, this summer does have an end, after all, and won't just keep on going forever.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

. . . Don't Even Know What to Say

. . . Is this woman for real?  (Yes, unfortunately, I'm pretty sure she is.)  If there are many more like her out there, no wonder we're headed to hell in a handbasket.  Lady, please, please tell me you don't vote.  (Please?)

Warning:  This might make you angry, fill you with despair for the future of our nation, or just generally ruin a perfectly good Thursday.  Watch at your own risk. 

Ms. Maxy and the Entitlement Mentality

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Hey, We Noticed You Looking At..."


I noticed you noticed we were looking at cordless phones, and I thought you might be interested to know that we actually bought one from you... just a few days ago.  So, no, we are not currently planning to buy another cordless phone, even though this is the second time in two days you have e-mailed us about them. 


P.S. Some people might think it's kind of creepy if you e-mail them saying you "noticed" their shopping habits.  (I may or may not be one of them.)  Sure, they know that you're an online business and keep track of that kind of thing, but we tend not to think about it on a daily basis, and when it's blatantly pointed out to us, it feels weird, like some guy's been following us around while we shop, taking note of what brand of cereal and shampoo we buy. Alright, occasionally we find it useful, like when we can just click on one of the "recently viewed" objects on the home page, rather that having to search for it all over again.  However, this is not the first time you have suggested that I might be interested in something I have just purchased from you.  Food for thought. 

Waiting for Irene

In a completely unsurprising development, it looks like (fortunately) Irene won't be nearly as bad as it could have been-- and as many made it out to be.  I guess we could cut the media some slack and say that it's best to be prepared for the worst and "avoid another Katrina"... Or we could give a knowing shake of the head and say something about how they'd probably still blow these things out of proportion even if they magically knew in advance that a particular hurricane wasn't "the Perfect Storm", after all.  (They can't help themselves!)  Or we can just try to simply be thankful that it doesn't look like it's going to be as bad as feared... and leave it at that (keeping lessons learned in mind for future predicted "Storms of the Century"). 

Cue extended Tropical Weather Rant (mostly composed yesterday, but left in draft mode because I couldn't decide if it was worth clicking "Publish" for...):

Friday morning, I saw someone basically complaining that New Yorkers (meaning those from New York City, I think) weren't taking Hurricane Irene seriously enough.

. . . Honestly, I think they'll be fine.  I mean, go ahead and make emergency preparations, of course, and if you live in a flood-prone area or somewhere that may get storm surge, your safety is more threatened-- but in general, it feels like the media is just going nuts over Irene.  More nuts than it probably deserves.

Earlier in the week, I listened while a talk radio host encouraged "veterans" of hurricanes to call in with advice for those who haven't faced tropical weather before.  Almost every person I heard (didn't listen to the whole thing) either told a horror story or suggested ominously and peremptorily that anyone in the potential path of a hurricane should "GET OUT NOW!!" (Grab your photos, jump in the car, and drive. More or less.)

Obviously, some people should get out-- or have already gotten out, at this point.  Again, do you live in an area where flash flooding is at all likely?  Right on the water / in an area that might get storm surge?  If so, I'd leave.  Even if you can't or don't want to go far away, find a local hurricane shelter.  Most of the deaths caused by hurricanes are from flooding.  It's a serious threat.

However, what most people don't explain is that (depending on the storm's path once it goes inland) you may have to travel very far from the coast to avoid it entirely.  Sometimes, the inland areas get violent weather, too-- high winds, tornadoes and flash flooding-- and then you're stuck waiting out some nasty weather in a hotel room, in an unfamiliar place. 

If you have pets, they add another layer to the decision, because it can sometimes be difficult to evacuate with animals.  (If you truly feel the need to evacuate, though, don't let the difficulty stand in your way. Some storm shelters accept animals, just as some hotels allow small pets inside rooms.)

Also, how long can you (or are you willing to) wait before coming back home, after the storm?  Most people want to come back as soon as possible to evaluate damage and just try to get back to a normal routine.  Well, everyone else who evacuated will be trying to do the same thing.  The roads are going to be busy (again, because unless you left very early, they were probably jammed on the way out, too)-- and this time, there may be delays due to fallen trees, downed power lines, and other debris littering the roads.  If you're very unlucky and your neighborhood was hit hard, the authorities may be reluctant to let you back in until things are deemed safe enough. 

If no-one in your family has special medical needs/issues-- if your home is out of known flood zones (and especially if there's no mandatory evacuation for your area)-- if you have a sturdy house with no large trees likely to crash through the roof--  if you have a supply of water, non-perishables, batteries, and other emergency supplies... you should be fine.  There may be some scary moments, though.  (As long as I have my memory, I know I'll never forget those worst minutes of Ivan, huddled with Donald, my parents, and Kimberly in the hall bath and hallway, listening to the rain and wind crashing into the house from what seemed like every angle at once, feeling my ears pop with the dropping pressure, and praying that we'd make it through the night unharmed.  I think I owe a few grey hairs to that experience...)  Don't be a fool, but don't feel you have no options, either.

Basically, if a hurricane's headed toward your home, there are no perfect answers.  To act as though everyone in the storm's predicted path should high-tail it three-states-deep inland is oversimplifying.  

So... good luck to those waiting for Irene.  The rest of the country is thinking of you.  (The media has seen to that. (g)) 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Watch Fresh, Watch Local

This report made us laugh last night. The subject matter (a meth lab bust with children on the scene) isn't at all funny, but then there's the "creative" reporting/camera work (keep watching; you'll know it when you see it) and Boomer (who "kept an eye on them").

Donald initially thought this should be brought to the attention of the people behind the "hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife" and "I'm backin' up, backin' up" auto-tune videos, but sadly, I don't believe there's enough there to merit it.  Well, we'll keep a look-out for more promising reports. 

Household Meme

I saw this one someone's blog, this early, early AM.  I'm not going to link to it, though, because... Well, I never comment on her blog (i.e. I "lurk"-- ooh, sounds so creepy, doesn't it?), I don't think she reads my blog, and I'd rather not draw attention to myself as a lurker. (g)

Haven't done a meme in a long while!

1. What kind of soap is in your bathtub right now?
Never use the tub, so will shower do?  I just put a new bar of soap in there, but I have no idea what brand it was.  It was cream-colored; does that help? (g) It might be Dial...  I tend not to have brand loyalty when it comes to soap (or most things, really).  I just get whatever seems reasonably priced and "smells pretty".  There's also some Suave (pear and something-scented) body wash in there that I bought thinking it was shampoo.  (Oops.)  Oh, and another body wash for those who don't want to smell like fruit or perfume.. ;o)

2. Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator?
No way.  That stuff gives me indigestion, and Donald doesn't like it, anyway.

3. Is there anything moldy in your refrigerator?
I hope not, but I make no guarantees. I need to throw a few things out, yes, but I don't think they've gotten to the moldy stage yet...

4. Are there any dirty dishes in your sink?
Ha.  Why, yes, yes there are, as a matter of fact.  And on the counter-tops around the sink, as well.  (...Maybe this meme wasn't such a great idea, after all.  Some of us make poor decisions when we get up too early...)

5. What would you change about your living room?
Hm... It's really fine as it is...  I can't reasonably complain about its size, though with the configuration of doorways/openings, it can be a little limiting in how we can arrange our furniture.  Maybe I'd do away with the cable we have stretched across the floor practically all the time-- the one connecting the TV to the computer... We could do away with it and go wireless, and (barring some cataclysm) I'm sure we will, eventually, but it's not that important to either of us, at the moment. The cable serves its purpose.  I only notice it when I'm vacuuming or expecting visitors.  (If I were being funny, I'd add "neither of which happen all that often", but I do try to vacuum regularly.  You need to, with an Eskie in the house.)

6. Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty?
Yes, you got me.  They're dirty.  (I'll run it later this morning, okay.  Good grief!  You're so demanding!)

7. Do you have a can of mushrooms in your pantry?
Does cream of mushroom soup count?  Donald doesn't like mushrooms much, and I have no desire to eat a whole can of them, either. 

8. White or wheat/brown bread?
"Healthy" bread for me, which usually means wheat/brown.  Donald sometimes likes white bread, though, if you count French/Italian-style loaves.

9. What is on top of your refrigerator?
Here, the other person answered "dust".  Heh, yeah, there's dust on mine, too, I'm sure.  There are also several decorative items-- a ceramic cow creamer, a polka-dotted (and be-daisied) ceramic cookie jar (cream with blue dots), a ceramic "watering can" tea pot painted with tulips (like this one), a cobalt glass ivy bowl, and a blue and white flower pot (also ceramic). 

10. What color is your sofa?
One is medium-dark brown leather.  The other (which has gotten 99.9% of our use since we bought both couches) is a very-slightly-greenish brown textured fabric.  It sounds ugly, but it's not.  (Well, I don't think so, at least.) 

11. What color or design is on your shower curtain?
In our bathroom, it's a solid moss/sage green with (tone-on-tone) machine embroidered vines and leaves/flowers. We've been using it a while, and it's starting to show signs of that.  A replacement is in order.  In the hall bath, it's a bright and cheerful striped affair that reminds me of the beach. 

12. How many plants are in your home?
Several, but most of them are either spider plants (creepy name, completely innocuous plant) or a type of succulent plant, the name of which I can never remember.  (Looked it up. I think it's a type of Huernia.) There's also a dumb cane-- and a "snake plant" that's spending the summer outdoors but will come back in when the weather gets cooler (if it has earned the privilege through good behaviour-- er, "behavior"-- apparently I am slightly British at 5 a.m.).

13. How many candles are in your home?
Too many to count-- or in other words, no way am I going to get up and count them all.  ;o)  There are many of them, though I use them more often in the cooler time of the year.  We have some tapers (though I rarely burn those), some pillars of various sizes, bags full of tea lights (my most commonly used type of candle), quite a few scented votives, and a number of candles in jars (some of which I never burn, but use on an electric jar-candle-warming plate). 

14. Is your bed made right now?
No.  Donald's still sleeping, like any sane, rational, non-waking-at 3 a.m-and-unable-to-fall-back-asleep person would be.  I will make it later, though.  That's one chore I do almost without fail (except for days when one of us feels sick / needs more sleep or the occasional lazy weekend).  It's quick and easy-- instant gratification and (mild) feeling of accomplishment. 

15. If you have a coffee pot, what color is it?
We have a white one (given to us by my maternal grandmother) for when company comes over.  Neither of us drink coffee, though I love the smell of it and wouldn't mind having a cup every now and then. I don't want to get addicted to it, though.

16. Electric or standard can opener?
We have both, but I use the electric one most of the time.  Hey, it's already standing there; might as well use it, right?

17. Comet or Soft Scrub?
Both.  Comet for the stainless steel sink, Soft Scrub (or something similar-- "Scrub Free... with Oxy") for the bathrooms (thanks to the fiberglass tubs/showers). 

ETA:  Er, apparently, Soft Scrub isn't what I thought it was. (g)  I guess I've never used it.  Obviously, the stuff I use on the fiberglass is meant to not be gritty or scratchy at all.  I have Comet for the sink, but I rarely need to use it.  Our sink simply doesn't get that dirty, I guess... Or maybe I have low standards of sink-cleanliness.  

18. Is your closet organized?
Kind of.  My personal clothing closet could use a tidying, but I know where everything is... And the coat closet has a jumble of things at the bottom that aren't exactly pretty to look at, but again, I know where things are, so I'm satisfied.  Donald and I have five (wooden, dining-room-type) chairs awaiting refinishing in our closets (yes, we have separate closets and are totally spoiled for closet space-- one of the really nice things about our house).  I'd like to deal with those chairs one of these days before too, too long...

19. What color is the flashlight that you use the most?
...We almost never use a flashlight.  The light that gets used most would probably be Donald's "headlight".  It was originally intended for running in the fading light of evening, but several times it has come in handy for more practical purposes.

20. What kinds of things are in your junk drawer?
Pens.  (Lots and lots of pens and other writing implements.)  Pocket knife.  Tiny measuring tape (at least I think that's still in there).  Rubber bands.  Cell phone chargers.  Scissors.  ...Actually, this isn't really a junk drawer at all, any more.  Not since I reorganized it, years ago.  No, I prefer to let my odds and ends of "junk" accumulate on the kitchen counter-top, where I can see and enjoy them all the time.  ;o)

21. Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home?
We have a few plastic cups, but apart from one that Donald uses fairly often (and his water bottles for running), we always use glass, these days.

22. Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now?
No, I haven't made tea in a long, long time.  Donald doesn't drink it, and (at home, and usually away, as well) I only drink water (except for the milk on my cereal).  I like cold, sweetened tea to a certain extent, but I just don't care to bother with it for just me... Also, I don't need the sugar, but neither am I crazy about the thought of artificial sweeteners.  Water is just easier.  Straight out of the tap.  (Hardly ever use ice anymore, unless I've been working outside and am desperate for coolness.)

23. If you have a garage, is it cluttered?
Alas, no garage.  (One of these days...)  If we had one, I imagine it would have at least a corner of clutter.  (There. I admitted it. Are you happy now, you mean meme-writer, you?)

24. Curtains or blinds?
Both, in several rooms.  (Well, if "sheers" and valance count as curtains.  They do, right?)  In our breakfast room, we have only blinds for the time being (and I like the new blinds so much, I may keep it that way).  Also, there's neither on our over-the-sink kitchen window, but I do plan to put a valance up, sometime. (There was one before we took everything down to repaint.)

25. How many pillows do you sleep with?
Actually sleep with?  One, usually-- and I'm very particular about which one it is.  (Aren't most people, though?)  I sometimes use a second pillow over my stomach if I'm feeling... ill.  (The slight weight/pressure and/or increased warmth lessens the discomfort.) 

26. Do you sleep with any lights on at night?
There's a nightlight in our bathroom to help us find our way without stubbing any toes. 

27. How many ceiling fans are in your home?
I'll have to think about that... (It's probably going to sound like a lot to those of you who don't live in the South...)  Let's see... Bkfast room, main room, bed room, plus three more.  That would be six.  The dining room is prepped for one (even with a separate switch) in anticipation of a time when we use that room more (not as a dining room, most likely), and we may put one in the kitchen, eventually.  If we do, then ever single room in the house will have a fan, except for the bathrooms and foyer.  They make a world of difference in the comfort of a room and help the A/C work less.  (They also work in the winter, when you reverse their motion so that they force the heated air down from the ceiling.)

28. How often do you vacuum?
There's no set time, but fairly often, I think.  At least once a week, I guess, maybe twice a week, depending on circumstances.  (Please don't judge me because you're like that woman I saw on some reality show who makes her kids vacuum every single day.  Please?)

29. Standard toothbrush or electric?

30. What color is your toothbrush?
I'm not sure... Mostly white with... red?  I don't really care about such things, because I am no longer nine years old with a "favorite color".  *eye roll* ;o)  Seriously, who notices these things?  And to think that I make (gentle, teasing) fun of Donald because he doesn't notice people's eye color! 

31. Do you have a welcome mat on your front porch?
Don't really have a front porch.  I think there's a mat out on the... would you call it a stoop or a covered entry?  Honestly, our front door isn't very welcoming right now... Another of those outdoor projects I'm trying to put off until the weather improves.  We do have a mat outside the door we use most, though.  It doesn't actually spell out "WELCOME", but I think it's implied.  ;o)

32. What is in your oven right now?
Nothing.  It's not even 6 a.m., so I haven't begun the day's baking, yet.  Hee. (g) I don't bake much this time of year. I worry it will heat the house... I'm probably just being silly.  But no, we don't store pots or pans in our oven, so the only things in there are the two wire racks that came with it.  There may be more in the warming drawer, though... Possibly some cast iron skillets (which I never use these days) and a broiler pan?

33. Is your microwave clean or dirty?
I think it's pretty darn clean.  (Whew!  Or is it too little too late?)  I try to keep it that way by using those spatter-protection plate covers.  It's easier to clean those than the inside of the microwave.

34. Is there anything under your bed?
Not a lot of stuff, but yes, there are at least a couple of things.  One is a cardboard box with carpet remnants.  (We saved them from when the house was built, in case we ever needed to temporarily patch our carpet.)  I think my knitting looms are all down there, too, in another box.  Our bed frame is too low to the floor to allow much underneath, or else that's probably where I'd store some of our gift-wrap supplies.  (I used to do that, with our old bed.)

35. Chore you hate doing the most?
Aw, do I hafta choose just one?! ;o)  I don't know.  I hate so many of them!  Well, cleaning the bathroom is high on the list.  I don't imagine anyone enjoys cleaning toilets, and the fiberglass shower can also be a major pain in the behiney (as they say), especially with our super-duper mineraly water.  Then there's mopping and window-cleaning... oh, and practically anything outdoors (weeding, spraying)...  Keeping the floor perfectly clean is impossible in our house.  I realize this, and yet it still frustrates me to work hard to get it pristine, only to see a trail of grass, sand, whatever brought in the next time the door is opened.  *sigh*

36. What retro items are in your home?
If only you'd asked this before we got rid of our cool 70's sofa!  That thing was retrolicious! (g)  I have no idea, really.  We have some older things passed down from family, and we have some yard sale / thrift store finds that I suspect are also old (well, not new), but "retro"?  Not sure.  Maybe the Fruxo plates we brought from Sweden?  They look retro, at least.  We found them in a thrift store.  I can't find a photo to show you, but I can explain that Fruxo is a brand of Swedish candy.  (Of course.)  The plates are brightly decorated with the candy's logo and illustrations of various fruits.

37. Do you have a separate room that you use as an office?
Yes, but it's more "businessy".  Personal computing is done in the main room. 

38. If you have a yard, who mows it?
Donald does (I say guiltily).  I still haven't been taught how to operate this newer mower.  And the longer I can keep it that way, the better! ;o)  Seriously, I wouldn't mind mowing most of it, but I'm scared of mowing slopes, so he'd probably still get stuck with that part.  (I'm sorry, Donald...)

39. Is there anything on your kitchen floor right now?
Oh, you mean the inevitable dog hair and dust I need to vacuum / sweep / mop away?  Other than that, not much.  There's the IKEA stepping stool.  Its legs are touching the floor.  Is that what you meant? (g)  There are a couple of dog water dishes on the floor near the sink, too, waiting to be washed.

40. How many mirrors are in your home?
About three hand mirrors.  Probably one or two in makeup compacts. A few other small ones here and there.  One in each bathroom.  One in our bedroom.  One in the foyer, and one in the dining room.  Oh, and the plain one from our bathroom (before we got the nice, new one) is still in the house, too, "just in case".  (Just in case what?  I don't know...)

41. Do you have any hidden emergency money around your home?
None of your business.  ;o)

42. What color are your walls?
Kitchen/breakfast room:  golden mustard yellow
Main room:  pale cream
Bedroom:  pale apple green
Master bath:  sand / beige
Dining room:  two shades of green (separated by chair rail)
Hall bath:  sky blue
Spare room (books, music, exercise):  periwinkle blue (two shades)
Other spare room (mostly craft stuff):  light sage green
Office:  yellow-orange
Foyer:  red
Hallway:  cream
Utility room:  mauve & green

43. Which rooms in your house have wallpaper?
None.  At all.  Seriously, look at all those colors of paint listed above.  Does it sound like we left a single wall free for wallpaper?  No, I didn't think so.

44. Do you have a peephole in your front door?
No.  Don't need one, though, considering that there's a window in it.  :o\

45. Do you keep any kind of protection weapons in your home?
...Some of these questions ask a little too much.  Yes, we do.  I'll leave it at that.  (The element of surprise, you know.)

46. What does your home smell like right now?
Nothing much at all. 

47. Favorite Candle Scent?
I don't really have a single favorite, but one candle does come to mind as a favorite.  It's supposed to smell like cypress and bergamot, though I couldn't tell you exactly what cypress or bergamot smell like. (g) This candle's scent is difficult to describe-- somewhat sweet, slightly spicy, maybe woodsy, and masculine.  Donald doesn't like it as much as I do, so I only heat it (in a jar) when he's not around.  It can be a little too powerful a scent for me, too, so I use it in small doses. 

48. What kind of pickles (if any) are in your refrigerator right now?
Hamburger dills.  Sometimes I get a little jar of sweet pickles, but they don't last long (which is mysterious, since I'm the only one in the house who eats cucumber pickles of any kind).  Donald does have some pickled beets.  I've never tried them, so I guess I can't claim that I don't like them.  I just get a strong feeling that I wouldn't like them.  ;o)

49. Who are in the pictures you displayed?
Family, ourselves, our dogs. 

50. What color is your favorite Bible?
Dark blue.

51. Do you have plenty of cabinet space in your kitchen?
I can't complain (not this once, at least (g)).  If I run out of space, it should just be taken as a sign that I'm mismanaging what I have and need to reevaluate what we really need and how best to organize it.

52. Ever been on your roof?
No.  Donald has, though, to replace some shingles that blew off in a storm. 

53. Do you own a stereo?
Yes, a couple.  One old one that I got back when I lived with my parents and sisters.  (That one's in the craft room.)  The one in our bedroom is newer, but we've had it several years, now.  (It doubles as an alarm clock.)  There are two smaller radios in the kitchen, too.  Why are there two, you ask?  ("How big is your kitchen, anyway?")  Well, the nicer, newer one very mysteriously doesn't pick up the FM talk radio station I listen to most of the time... and the other is an old, flimsy, beaten-up little radio that you have to turn a dial to tune from station to station.  It would be a pain to change it from 710 AM to 106.5 FM twice or more every day, so I keep both of them in there.  It's perfectly logical, I tell you. 

54. How many TVs do you have?
It's going to sound like we do nothing but watch TV, but we have three.  One is pretty small and rarely used.  (Mostly just when Donald exercises indoors.)  It and the second (also not large) one (which is in our bedroom) both had to have adapter boxes when they stopped broadcasting in analog.  (In other words, neither is new.) The third is our "main TV", in the living room. 

55. How many house phones?
Hm...  I'm not sure if one or two are hooked up.  We have an old cordless phone that we use most of the time, then there's a simple, corded one for power outages.  Actually, we just ordered a new phone last night. We certainly need one. Our current cordless phone is so old that it interferes with our wireless Internet if it gets too close to the computer. 

56. Do you have a housekeeper?
No, I'm our housekeeper.  And I'm so good at it, too!  ;oP

57. What style do you decorate in?
Um, whatever I like that is reasonably practical and affordable?   So... eclectic?  Casual but traditional, with country farmhouse influences (in the kitchen, at least)?  I like to look at pretty rooms in glossy magazines, but I'm not interested in following a single "style" to the letter. 

58. Do you like solid colors in furniture or prints?
It depends... I think I like something in between-- something mostly solid, or that looks almost solid from a distance, but with enough variation in color that it will camouflage the inevitable mishaps of life (stains, for instance). 

59. Is there a smoke detector in your home?
Yes. Multiple ones, in fact. 

60. In case of fire, what are the items you would grab if you only could make one quick trip?
Oh, I hate that kind of question.  I was thinking about this recently, though... I guess the first obvious answer is photos... but these days, so many of our photos are on the computer, so maybe I'd also include our external hard drives. The documents in our firebox are obviously deemed important, so maybe I'd try to chuck those outside, too.  Otherwise, I'd have a hard time choosing what to save.  Well, our dogs, of course.  They'd be first (assuming there are no people in the house). They're not really "items", though... (g) The cameras, maybe...

61. Do you know how to work your electrical box?
Kind of.

62. What temperature in your home is most comfortable to you?
If we're going on comfort alone, I'd probably keep it several degrees cooler in summer and warmer in winter than we really do.  In reality, at this time of year, I let the thermostat get up to 81 or 82 during the hottest part of the day, then (gradually) lower it to 78 at night to make sleeping more comfortable.  (Ceiling fans make this practice easier.)  I don't remember what numbers I aim for in the winter... We usually set it lower at night, since we're definitely going to be warm enough in bed, then try to keep it as low as possible during the day without sacrificing too much comfort.  (The space heater and layers of clothing help with this.)

...That feels like an odd question to end with, but so be it!  (g)

Monday, August 22, 2011

They're Ba-aack...

I just saw a pair of (conjoined) lovebugs on the kitchen window.

How do I always manage to forget about those things until they re-emerge for their (weeks-long) biannual bug-love fest? 

Yuck.  One more thing I could happily do without... But at least during this season, I don't really want to spend much time outside, anyway.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Just Another Luddite

"A Third of People Completely Lost Without Their Smartphones, Survey Says"

Well, that's something I never have to worry about, at least.  ;o)  (I already spend too much time plopped down in front of the computer.  Why would I want to develop a cell phone addiction, too?)

Though my (non-"smart", spartan, extremely rarely used) cell phone is capable of it, I have never even sent a text.  Ever.  

Of course, I'm also one of those weirdos who don't use Facebook.  (I've finally even gone so far as to start the "permanent deletion" process on my FB account.)  Blogging is better. :oP

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On a Darker Note...

This infuriates me, every time I think about it.

I don't understand how the concept of dogs being "unclean" animals ever came to be.  It's just... unfathomable to me.  How can anyone believe that an animal-- a whole species-- is not only categorically "unclean", but even deserves to be tortured?  They believe that dogs were created by their religion's god, correct?  (I assume.  I know little about their religious beliefs.)  Why do at least some of them believe their god would make something so entirely despicable as to deserve such treatment?   It's barbaric-- it's inhuman and inhumane-- it's just downright stupid-- and it fills me with white-hot rage and hatred (sorry, I'm not perfect) for anyone capable of such cruelty.  

Again, I don't know about that religion, but as a Christian, I can't believe that God would smile upon the torture of any animal.  (And there's a big difference between killing and torturing, to explain why I eat meat, use leather, etc.)

That story... It's enough to turn your stomach.

On a Lighter Note...


"Abercrombie to pay 'Jersey Shore' cast to stop wearing its clothes."

"We are deeply concerned that Mr. Sorrentino's association with our brand could cause significant damage to our image. We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans,“ an Abercrombie & Fitch spokesperson said in a statement. “We have also extended this offer to other members of the cast, and are urgently waiting a response."

That's hilarious. 
It's even funnier when you consider that Abercrombie & Fitch doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation, itself.

Sure, it's probably just a way to get some free advertising, but I'm still amused. 

Funny... I've never watched "Jersey Shore"-- never shopped at Abercrombie & Fitch.  (I don't know if there's even one anywhere in this area.  Maybe in one of the malls?)  So how do I know anything about either one?  Clearly, both entities have done a good job of getting into the news.   

Over $1.4 Million Per Job, to Date

***Understatement Alert!!***

"Seattle green jobs program falls short of goals".

Last year, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the city had won a coveted $20 million federal grant to invest in weatherization. The unglamorous work of insulating crawl spaces and attics had emerged as a silver bullet in a bleak economy - able to create jobs and shrink carbon footprint - and the announcement came with great fanfare.

McGinn had joined Vice President Joe Biden in the White House to make it. It came on the eve of Earth Day. It had heady goals: creating 2,000 living-wage jobs in Seattle and retrofitting 2,000 homes in poorer neighborhoods.

Well, I'm going to be brutally honest here... I think that their stated goal of weatherizing a mere 2,000 homes with the whopping $20 million was (how shall I put this?) pathetic.  That's $10,000 per home, and that's ridiculous (imnsho).  I don't believe it should cost that much to insulate a single home-- particularly a home in a "poorer neighborhood", which one assumes would most likely be modestly sized.  However, from the headline, we know that they didn't even manage to do that.

(Also, should it really take 2,000 people to weatherize 2,000 homes?  You're obviously not going to have all the projects going on at the same time, and it shouldn't take a crew of capable workers that long to complete one project and move on to the next.  I'll admit I'm no business genius or construction know-it-all, but that sounds like more people/jobs than would be required for the task, does it not?)

So... How many houses do you think they were able to "weatherize"?  Three quarters of their goal?  Half?  Even a measly one quarter?

But more than a year later, Seattle's numbers are lackluster. As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program. Many of the jobs are administrative, and not the entry-level pathways once dreamed of for low-income workers.

Only three homes.  Fourteen new jobs (many of which are administrative-- so surprising, considering that this is the government we're talking about).  In over a year.  (The article goes on to explain how and why local officials are cautiously optimistic, blah blah blah.)

Wouldn't it be nice if this kind of inefficiency and waste were rare enough to be genuinely surprising? 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Changing Seasons? One Can Only Hope...

It seems like everywhere I look, lately, there's someone writing about how it's starting to feel like the very earliest beginning of autumn.  Usually, this opinion is presented with a twinge of sadness and a wish to hold on to summer a little bit longer. 

Obviously, those people do not live around here.  Sure, we're enjoying some temporary relief from the humidity and very highest temperatures, but it's only at my most unrealistically wishful that I can think autumn will be here soon.  "Soon" is relative, of course; if you think a month and a half are soon, then yes, we may get a taste of autumn "soon".  The way time goes whooshing by, yes, I guess it's fairly "soon"-- we're closer to summer's end than summer's beginning, thank goodness-- but it can't get here soon enough for me. 

Dry air.  Cool nights.  Open windows and fresh air streaming through the house.  Falling asleep to the sound of a nighttime breeze-- sleeping well in the natural coolness-- and waking to find the morning air beyond the cozy bed bracingly chilled.  Slanting, golden sunlight in the afternoon.  Feeling like going on daily walks again.  Snakes and insects slowly retreating from the world for a time.  Leaves crunching underfoot.  Plenty of things to photograph-- all changing from day to day.  Beautifully just-spooky-enough-to-be-fun late-October magic in the air.  A bonfire crackling and gleaming through the fading twilight.  Long-pants weather.  Maybe even (dare I say it?) long sleeves weather.  An excuse to finally dig out and wear scarves and hats.

...Basically it's just a whole bunch of the things that make life sweet-- and it means an end to the months of feeling like nature hates me.  Being outdoors can finally stop feeling like a punishment, for a few weeks at least. ;o)  Yes, I'm ready for that.

The Sci-Fi Approach to the Economy


It's the economy, Earthling. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Zombies, Spiders, & Snakes (Oh My)

The news is depressing, lately.  ("But when is it not?" you ask.  So true.)

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An odd jumble of things I was thinking about yesterday (the London riots, music from zombie movies, etc.) led to an exciting night of vivid dreaming about zombies.  (I am now about to relate that dream, in part.  Those who dislike reading about other people's dreams should consider themselves warned.)

We were living in a beautifully dreary (green-on-the-verge-of-autumnal, almost perpetually cloudy-skied) English neighborhood.  Zombies roamed the world-- had done so for long enough that people had moved past the freak-out stage of reaction and now just accepted them as a threat.  That threat kept people tethered to their own personal safe zones, but we were afforded some small comfort by the fact that the zombies were mostly only mobile after dark.  (Yeah, subconscious.  Way to mix zombies with vampires...)  For some reason, we ended up moving in with the family next door. (Consolidating resources? Safety in numbers?)

There was a fair bit of mundane interaction with this family-- conversation, routines, making do, repairing things.  One day, while we worked on something outdoors during the relative safety of daylight, the wife/mother spoke of how she came from New Zealand, originally, and wished she could go back home, though she was afraid of what she'd find.  I sympathized, of course, but commented wryly that at least the weather here suited me well.  She was tired of clouds, and on cue, we glimpsed a fleeting patch of blue sky.

We and the family had plenty of safety measures in place and were doing as well as could be expected.  We even discussed the possibility of putting up some sort of makeshift, protective passageway between our two homes, so that we could travel between them at night, in an emergency.  But despite our planning, I had a gloomy sense that these things-- zombie scenarios-- never end well.  Something always goes wrong, eventually, no matter how careful you are.  Someone always has a moment of thoughtlessness, of stupidity-- wanders off too far-- or for reasons beyond his control, comes face-to-face with the monster when least expected.  And, of course, since it was my dream, where I have the most amazing ability of prediction, that's exactly what happened.

I'll spare you the gory details.  ;o) 

- - - - - - -

I've seen a couple of large spiders on the outside of the house, lately-- not the exotic, alien-looking "banana spiders" that come later in the year and turn a woodland path into a creepy, crawly obstacle course of giant webs and palm-sized arachnids that seem to be invisible until they're dangling mere inches from your face.  These are probably somewhat smaller than banana spiders, but they're darker and fuzzier to make up for it.  There's something sinister about them--  but then, I don't like any spiders very much.  It's this type of thing that makes me so unique, which is why I bother mentioning it at all. 

- - - - - - -

This weekend, we found another skinny snake stuck in the silicone (?) caulking around the exterior of our kitchen window.  It's so bizarre, the way that keeps happening!  That's at least the second one we've found in that window, alone.  (There have been more in the bay window.)  We can't be the only ones having that particular problem-- but a quick Google search yields no relevant results, so I'm not sure what's going on, really. 

The ones that get caught on the kitchen window have a better chance of survival, since we're more likely to spot them and try to free them before it's too late.  Donald managed to get this one loose and drop it outside the fence.  It was another of those corn snakes, I think.  I'd much rather have them around than something worse, so live, little snake, and eat up all the food before your big, bad cousins decide this is an attractive location. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Worlds Colliding!

(Via James Lileks on Twitter...)

If you're familiar with The Andy Griffith Show and the original Star Trek TV series, maybe you'll appreciate this "worlds colliding" moment.  Apparently, two Star Trek episodes used the "Mayberry" sets when the crew of the Enterprise visited an Earth-like planet.  Check out some stills on this site: Mayberry in Star Trek

My favorite is the one where Kirk and some lady are walking right past Floyd's Barber Shop-- with the name right there on the window.  (g)  If only they'd gone in and visited a while with the friendly denizens of Mayberry!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Bit of a Stretch...

Hitler cat 'overlooked for adoption because of markings'.  

Seriously?  The so-called "resemblance" would never have occurred to me if it hadn't been pointed out; it's pretty weak.

...Anyway, someone will want that kitten for sure, now, with all this publicity.

Random Stuff

And I mean random.

- - - - - - -

Via Twitter--

Oh, no!
*wipes away a tear*
This whole situation is infuriating.
...I'll leave it at that.

- - - - - - -

Donald dislikes "Primetime: What Would You Do?"

Haven't seen it?  Here's the description for tonight's episode:
Scenarios (suggested by viewers) include a little person being mocked for his size; a teenager telling her boyfriend that she's pregnant and wants the baby--to his loudly expressed disapproval; a child disapproving loudly upon hearing his dad is gay; a young woman in a wheelchair being offered help in public when she doesn't need it; and a boy being harassed by others boys because he has red hair.

Ick.  This show gives me the shudders.  Why didn't they bring back Candid Camera, instead?

Programs on Michael's "Change the Channel QUICK" List:
  • "Extreme Makeover:  Home Edition"  
    • It was ok in the earliest episodes, but then it degenerated into every single week being about people with the most depressing stories they can find, tears being a must, and the designers going crazy and doing weird, over-the-top things every episode.  I'm glad if people in bad (beyond their control) situations basically win the lottery and get a free home makeover, but... I don't want to watch it happen over an emotional hour of TV.  I just don't like it.
  • "The Doctors" and "Dr. Oz"
    • Medical stuff?  And in a "talk show" format?  No, thank you. Not now, not ever.  This is pretty much how I feel about most "talk shows", but the medical aspect makes me hit the "next channel" button with record-breaking speed.  (I may have mentioned before-- in passing-- that I run screaming from serious medical/health-related stuff?  I was telling the truth. Fiction, non-fiction, fan fiction-- doesn't matter.  I don't like it.  I can barely fathom that there are enough people out there who do like it that programs like these stay on the air...)
- - - - - - -

When I pulled aside the curtain on our kitchen door this morning (preparing to open it to let Trixie out for her morning stroll), there were two deer standing right outside our gate!  That's probably the closest I've ever been to a wild deer.  I was so surprised I didn't notice if they were does, bucks, whatever.  (I tend to think neither of them had antlers, though.)
- - - - - - -

Sometime in the past month or two, Donald spotted a young armadillo rooting around in our side yard (outside the fence).  We got some photos and videos of it.  Maybe I'll get around to editing and uploading some of the video soon...  (What a treat for you all! ;o))

- - - - - - -

Someone ought to make a satire of The Rainbow Fish in which the rainbow-scaled fish is replaced by a fluffy-haired dog.  The other (short-haired) neighborhood dogs are jealous of Fluffy Dog's luxuriously long, silky fur and begin demanding that she share patches of it.  Fluffy Dog is guilted into giving away all her fur (after some exceptionally bad advice from a mysterious alley cat), and in the end, every dog in the 'hood has a patch of her fluffy fur.  Fluffy Dog herself now looks something like this:

...Only uglier.

The story continues for a page or two more to say that since the other dogs only liked (Formerly-)Fluffy Dog when and because she gave them her beautiful fur, their friendship is shallow and short-lived.  Soon, they're off pestering the new pup on the block (a poofy poodle) for a lock of his curly hair.  Fluffy Dog, realizing that she has given away her natural-born gifts for nothing-- to a group who don't even truly value them-- is left sad and alone.  Until her fur grows back in, that is.  Then the others will be back for more, because it isn't right that she should have something they don't have.

The End.  ;o)
(Maybe it's already been done?)

- - - - - - -

There are people actually looking forward to this new movie about golf.
I am baffled.

Of course, I am also fully aware of the fact that there are plenty of people who'd be baffled by the things I look forward to, so...

(That Cowboys & Aliens thing looks interesting, for example.)

- - - - - - -
Musical obsession of the moment-- Patrick O'Hearn's "Beyond This Moment":

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just to Say...

This is just to say that I am (nobly ;o)) fighting the urge to copy, paste, and reply to some of the nonsense I've read on Twitter this morning regarding Obama's speech last night and the general debt limit increase... and taxes... and how you are evil and selfish and Just Plain Bad if you don't want to pay more taxes... and how apparently the rich aren't paying their "fair share" (which is probably impossible for them ever to do to the satisfaction of everyone else).  According to some, if you are rich, you should be paying more taxes than poor people.  (What a novel idea.)  Thing is, I thought the rich already were (and are) paying more in taxes than the poor... This is puzzling, because I keep hearing something about how the top 1% of taxpayers earn 20% of all income, yet pay nearly 40% of all taxes.  And then you have 51% of wage earners who pay no federal income taxes at all!  It certainly seems like the rich would already be paying (much) more than the poor...  I must just not be smart enuff to figger out how all them newfangled math'matics and percentigers work.  Or sumthin'.

Replying to such nonsense here wouldn't do any real good, of course, because the people who wrote those things won't ever see this, and even if they did, I seriously doubt I could ever get through to them.  Yet I'm too non-confrontational (and cognizant of the fact that it wouldn't do a thing except maybe make me angry and sick and jittery) to reply directly to them.  Oh well.  Such is life.  Class warfare is easy.  Rich people are BAD people (so why does everyone want more moolah?)! Why trouble our pretty little heads about anything of more substance?