Thursday, December 31, 2009

American Christmas

I once worked with a woman who had grown up in the Greek Orthodox Church, and since their Easter is usually a week or two after Easter in the Western Church, her family referred to the earlier celebration as "American Easter." She said they were aware of it, of course, but it had nothing to do with "real Easter." This got me to thinking: I feel the same way about Christmas.

Like Eastern vs. Western Easter, American vs. "Roman" (for lack of a more precise term) Christmas are two completely different holidays that simply share a name. Below I will outline the differences for you:

American Christmas: Starts sometime in October and ends exactly at midnight on December 25.
Roman Christmas: Starts on the evening of December 24 and, depending on how much partying you feel like doing, runs through Epiphany (January 6) or Candlemas (February 2).

American Christmas: A consumer holiday based on giving and receiving presents.
Roman Christmas: A religious holiday focused on the birth of God as a human baby.

American Christmas: Music is about snowmen, reindeer, and Santa.
Roman Christmas: Music is about the Word made flesh.

American Christmas: Decorations are gaudy light displays, kitchy Santas, inflatable snowmen, and fake reindeer.
Roman Christmas: Decorations are a creche scene, a tree that goes up Christmas Eve, and various plants (holly, evergreens, mistletoe, poinsettia) that have religious significance.

American Christmas: Appears to be very stressful (I wouldn't know as I don't celebrate it), with people panicking over this Holiday Party and that hard-to-shop-for relative's gifts, and they haven't even started mailing the cards out yet!
Roman Christmas: Way too much singing. Otherwise, a wonderful time of year!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Interview with Plants Chez Bonomo

Right now I am at Rich's house, typing on his computer Aquinas. My four biggest plants are right in front of me, and on the table with me is a huge, beautiful scarlet poinsettia that our organist sent Rich to thank him for hosting Thanksgiving dinner. I can't think of anything to say today, so I am interviewing the plants:

FH: How do you like living Chez Bonomo so far?
Greg: The southern exposure light is awesome!
Jolly Bob: I really dig the skylight too.
The Professor: He does keep it kind of cool in here. Not that I'm complaining.
Dr. Cheung: It's almost as great as Hardingfele's old office window!
Poinsettia: Look at me! Aren't I gorgeous?

FH: So tell me about Christmas at Rich's house.
Greg: The decorations were weird, for example no tree, but there was a wedding dress hanging from the loft.
Jolly Bob: Yeah, I liked Kathbert's dad's flag hanging there better.
The Professor: All these people sat in here drinking some strange-looking water, kind of thick and yellow, and then they sang songs. Then they went out in some other room and we couldn't see them.
Dr. Cheung: Later a few of them came back and swung some hats around. The hats were wearing sunglasses and had little instruments hanging from them. Then some other people were playing real instruments. Humans have some odd Christmas traditions!
Poinsettia: Can you believe how red I am? So lovely!

Rich: How are you faring with the benign neglect of your host?
Greg: That's the best part!
Jolly Bob: He never notices when we sneak upstairs and drink out of the dragon faucet.
The Professor: Shut up! You weren't supposed to mention that!
Dr. Cheung: Actually, I prefer the other bathroom with the bidet and the jacuzzi.
Poinsettia: It's just not Christmas without a poinsettia!

Rich: Which of my houseguests did you like the best?
Greg: Whichever one is leaving.
Jolly Bob: Famous Hat, of course!
The Professor: I like you best of all. To heck with your guests.
Dr. Cheung: I'm going to have to go with Jolly Bob's answer on this one. I really liked that blue water Famous Hat gave us for Christmas.
Poinsettia: I love everyone who notices how beautiful I am!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday Wedding

I apologize for the lack of post yesterday, but I was at a wedding. (Not my own.) This concept seems to fascinate people; they say, "A MONDAY wedding? Really??" Believe me, that was not the strangest thing about this wedding. The bride did not go overboard with bridesmaids, in fact she just had her sister stand up, but then she had ten priests concelebrate! The wedding cake was cheesecake the groom and his family made themselves, and it was AWESOME! Right after the wedding, the wedding party and a bunch of other people got on a bus and went to protest in front of our local abortion mill. Kathbert and I, however, were tired and hungry after singing for the half-hour choral prelude and then throughout the Mass, so we just went to the reception at a nearby movie theater. We saw lots of people who came back to town just for this wedding so it was a real reunion; the Leprechaun was there, and Ethel brought all her rugrats. It was a very child-oriented reception, and they showed cartoons on the movie screen.

Is there a new fad in prank calls? It used to be that people would call you and breathe heavily. I got one at work today where the caller blocked his phone number from showing up on Caller ID, then he chewed into my ear for several seconds. I assumed it was some fool who was bad with the concept of timing and had taken a bite of apple just before calling me, so I waited to see what he had to say, but he just chewed noisily into my ear and then hung up. (OK, I don't know for a fact that it was a man, but what woman would get her jollies by randomly calling other women at their jobs and chewing loudly into their ears?) Hey - maybe I was chewed out!

I am having phone issues at home too. This is probably because the 50-cent phone Hardingfele picked up for me at a garage sale is dying a natural death, but it sure has some weird things happen. A couple of times I have heard people talking through the receiver when it was hung up, and last night I kept hearing a sound like a single note on an electric piano being played over and over, then once I heard static and a man's voice, and twice it sounded like someone was starting to dial. If my phone is in fact bugged, I feel incredibly sorry for the person whose job it is to listen in on my phone conversations. I'm sure mine are as enjoyable for other people as the conversations those loud people on cell phones always seem to have around me.

Famous Hat

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sully Your Pets with Nature Balls!!

On the third day of Christmas, I sullied my true pets... with Nature Balls! According to the instructions below (who knew chew toys needed instructions?), "when you sully your pets, you enhance their lives." I didn't realize these things were made in China until I had brought them home and given them to the rabbits. No wonder Cashmere ran away in horror! What has this country come to that we are unable to domestically produce small wicker balls with bells inside of them?

I also gave Arphaxad and Amminadab a new plant to replace the one they had finally chewed to death. They were more pleased with their present than Cashmere was. (To be fair, Charlie liked the Nature Balls; he made his happy clucking sound and pushed them around.)

I hope all my readers had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was all about singing and making treats: between "Midnight Mass" at 5:00 pm at Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety and the actual late service at the Lutheran church, I made the cassata, then some of us (including Rich, Kathbert, and me) were at the OTHER choir director's Froot Soop party until after 2:00 am. Rich has an adoration shift at 7:00 am on Fridays, so he got NO sleep. I did drag myself out of bed Christmas morning, suffering from the effects of too little sleep (and perhaps too much champagne) and somehow got to OLPS to sing at the morning Mass. Then Rich had his first Christmas party at the new house. As always, I enlisted some slaves, I mean volunteers to help make the eggnog, and then we all sat around the bowl singing Christmas carols (because I just hadn't sung enough in the past 24 hours) until dinner was ready. As Cecil Markovitch said, "What a feast!" Rich made lasagne, and one of the vegetarians in the crowd brought a poblano and bean dish that made fire come out of all of our ears! Then Rich made his famous chocolate mousse, the atheist Jew who always comes to his Christmas dinner brought his famous almond torte, and of course we also had Anna Banana II's famous cookies of many varieties and my famous cassata. Then after dessert we "repaired" (as Rich always says) to the living room and sang more Christmas carols. Later in the evening, after most of the others had gone home, Lady Harriet, her brother, Rich, and I made the video on my last post. It was the best Christmas ever!! (But I say that every year.)

Famous Hat

Friday, December 25, 2009

Famous Hat Presents: Irish Tunes

As a Christmas present to me, Richard Bonomo, Lady Harriet, and Balesirion helped me make a video. This is Lady Harriet and me playing the violin and the mandolin, while Richard Bonomo is the puppet master of Famous Hat and Balesirion is the puppeteer (he said I should word it this way) of Infamous O'Derby. Kathbert and their mother Botanist 53 provided emotional and artistic support. So without further ado, here we are performing "Si Bheag, Si Mhor" (pronounced she vag she vore), which means "Bonnie Cuckoo," and "Star of the County Down" (which is basically the same as the tune Kingsfold only in 3/4 instead of 4/4 time).

Famous Hat

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Special Holiday Guest Blogger

Merry Christmas, everyone! What Richard Bonomo wanted for Christmas was a post written by ee cummings. It wasn't easy digging him up, so to speak, but I did what I could.

eskimos or as they are known
(in some circles) inuits; have
54 words for snow -

i look at snow and think how
can we sum this wondrous
stuff up in one

clearly there is snowball
snow: for making snowmen and
snow forts and even, in the backyard of
famous hat - a snow loch ness monster

powder snow like sugar or even (it
may be said) cocaine - this is good
snow for skiing/per famous hat

hardingfele has professional
skis which can be
waxed and used in many snows, maybe
all 54 inuit - or eskimo - varieties

she found the snow today quite
enjoyable as she and famous hat

tho it was clearly snowman snow

famous hat begged to differ as
her no-wax skis stuck to the snow


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Today's Guest Blogger

Today on this blog we have a guest blogger. Please welcome James Fennimore Cooper!

That renowned chapeau Famous Hat escorted her redoubtable companion in mischief, the intrepid player of the hardinger fiddle, Hardingfele, and her young daughter Rockstar Tailor to the dining establishment of Jerkns to celebrate the yearly anniversary of the nativity of Hardingfele therein. Forthwith the females entered the venerable establishment and were greeted in most merry manner by old Saint Nick himself, who had taken up station at the entrance of that most felicitous center of hospitality.

Said Father Christmas: "Ho ho ho! Verily, young female, sit thee down upon my own kind knee and do prevail upon me to reveal thy inmost secrets. Now, what would thou request of me for that celebration of the Birth of Our Lord during which all small persons are wont to receive what they want?"

Said Rockstar Tailor: "Good sir, I do beseech thee to reveal thy true name, as I have long searched the annals of Google and am given to understand that the person of Father Christmas is no more a true one than that of the alleged Tooth Fairy."

Said good Saint Nick: "Ho ho ho! If it is so that thou believes not in the veracity of my existence, then am I given to understand that thou would want no part of the diminutive representations of such creatures as walk this earth that wait under yon tree in various and many colors?"

Said Rockstar Tailor: "Nay, I'll have me a toy! Whar's a feline? 'Tis that I want!"

Said Famous Hat: "O! good sir, despise not my petition, but know that last the sun set was the celebration of the birth of this fair companion of mine. Would that thou would give her a gift as well as her offspring!"

Said Father Christmas: "Come and sit on my knee and I will give you whate'er you wish."

Said Rockstar Tailor, though it was her maternal parent of whom the wish was requested: "I would ask for homes full of love and warmth for all those feline creatures who until now have roamed about alone on the streets of our fair town."

Father Christmas was well pleased with this request, as he had procured some several of these same creatures himself from the shelter wherein they await adoption. Then the females took themselves to sit at table and feast on such delectables as quesadillas and Belgian waffles. They spoke of disembodied orbs and the unpleasant habits of such creatures as comprise the simian family, and those who were privy to this most genial discourse were thusly turned away from their repasts and did not finish them, causing Hardingfele to cluck her tongue at what wastrels now populate this fair town. Rockstar Tailor did feast on her free Tuesday victuals and then was moved to decorate a sugar cookie with frosting of the chocolate variety and sprinkles of crimson and emerald as befitted this most celebratory of seasons as the round orb of the earth spins about it axis and the Old Year sees fit to bequeath his throne to his successor and all good Christians raise voices in laudatory praise of our God Who deigned to be born upon said orb.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Post: Now With Extra Randomness!

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday. My parents were still in town so I took them out to lunch and never got a chance to blog. To make up for it, today's post will be extra random.

First, Happy Birthday to Hardingfele! It was actually yesterday, so she is a Sagittarius and not the absolutely coolest sign in the entire zodiac, Capricorn. (That's right, my birthday is coming up. I will be twenteen-something.) When I wished her a Happy Birthday yesterday, she emailed back that her cat had scratched her eye out, but I am happy to report that this morning on the bus she appeared to have two functional eyes. Then again, this is the woman who gets attacked by chipmunks. She was supposed to stop by to see me today on her way to pick up some eyeballs, but somehow she foisted this delightful-sounding task off on someone else. Hey! Maybe she replaced her scratched-out eyeball with one her coworker picked up! Hm...

Yesterday Toque McToque and I were speculating that, since people always have to find new subjects for theses, that means there are new discoveries in science but in the Humanities they just write about ever more irrelevant subjects. I said, "Maybe in the humanities, you have to focus on increasingly obscure artists and authors, so PhD candidates will say things like, 'Booboo Hawkins was the foremost transsexual Tazmanian Aborigine calligrapher of the mid-1950's, and that is why I am writing a thesis on Booboo Hawkins, not because that was the only person nobody else had written about.' Just a thought." Toque said good point, but she had already written her thesis on Booboo Hawkins. So here it is:

McToque, T. A Complete Survey of the Transsexual Calligraphy of Booboo Hawkins. 2009; in press.

“Mr./Ms. Booboo Hawkins was a very interesting person who had a few gender issues. The End”

How did it go with my parents? They were two hours late, then my dad fell on his head outside the icon store. The next day he congratulated himself on his fabulous choice of lunch entree but did not actually thank me for paying for it. So a typical visit.

Famous Hat

Friday, December 18, 2009

(Brainless) Chicken on a Hill

Today I was hoping to post A-Fooze's photos of Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety all decorated for the festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe, but she still hasn't sent them to me. So I will post a story for the Once and Future Banjo Player, if she hopefully reads this:

Yesterday Banjo Player and I met for coffee, and she asked me about Hoodoo Head. I had no idea he was such a fascinating topic! She told me a coworker of hers is doing a study on social networking sites, focusing on teenyboppers on the Teenybopper Site who post about getting puking drunk on weekends. Banjo Player then asked her teenage son what he thought of Teenybopper Site, and he said, "It's for weak-brained losers." Banjo Player told her coworker the results of her extensive survey of people of that demographic, and let's say her coworker did not exactly disagree. The reason I found this so funny is because Hoodoo Head, as you may remember, moved from MyFace to Teenybopper Site.

Here's where it gets really entertaining: last night I had a dream that it was Pentecost (no idea what that signifies), and we were having a Pentecost Brunch at OLPS. Tiffy sang me a song that went like this:

Chicken on a hill, got no brain!
Chicken on a hill, got no brain!
Chicken on a hill, got no brain!
That was a brainless chicken!

If there is any demand for it (which I highly doubt), I can make this into a VERY short music video. Anyway, I'm not saying Hoodoo Head is a chicken on a hill with no brain, but possibly my subconscious is thinking it. Why a chicken? Because it seemed like he was trying to get me to contact him instead of just contacting me himself, if in fact this isn't all my imagination. And what woman wants a guy too cowardly to pursue her? Why no brain? Because he's on Teenybopper Site! Why a hill? I have no idea. If you have an idea, feel free to post a comment.

Famous Hat

Thursday, December 17, 2009

All I Want for Christmas

The other day Tiffy's parents treated us to lunch (thanks, Tiffy's parents!) and by the front door of the restaurant there was a little tent like this:

(photo credit: stolen off some other blog)

I said to Tiffy that I would really like to have a big tent like that, for camping. Wouldn't I just be the coolest person at the campsite with my bright yellow tent featuring a gracefully slipping stick figure? And if you forget your tarp, you really will have a "piso mojado!" (Yes, I do know this from bitter experience.) So this got me to thinking about my Christmas wish list. Unlike those other, non-random blogs out there, I am not going to wish for those things everyone wants, like world peace or riding through Monaco in a Bugatti driven by an Italian prince who had said to me in his irresistible accent, "I cannot leeve weethout you anymore! Come away weeth me now!" Not that I would complain about those sorts of presents, but this is a list of things that don't exist and I wish they would.

The Piso Mojado tent: perfect for drinking mojitos until you fall on the piso. Or whatever it is you do when you camp. Someday I will post about the "walking tent" we once saw at a campsite.

The word "cardinary": I have probably spouted off about this before, but all the missing words in English drive me crazy. Where is "ruthful"? Where is "ept"? And where the heck is "cardinary"? I mean, there's cardinal and ordinal, and then there's ordinary... My friends have been very indulgent about this wish of mine, and since "cardinal" technically means "hinge," they have proposed that cardinary could refer to the event everything hinges on. Example: "It was a cardinary moment in my life when I discovered salsa music."

"Guaguanco Yourself Fit" class: Health clubs have lately been offering fitness classes set to Latin music, and I approve highly. It has not escaped my attention, as I dance around in Plant World pretending to be somewhere warm and sunny, that guaguanco makes me shake a tailfeather twice as hard as the other Latin rhythms. I do not know what the dance to this rhythm looks like (though I hear it's quite risque!) but it must burn about a jillion calories per hour. Can you imagine an entire class set to this rhythm? The obesity epidemic in this country would be over AND everyone would know how to dance!

The Hawaiian shirt sweater: As all fans of the movie Office Space know, "Friday is Hawaiian shirt day!" But what are you supposed to do in the winter? Why has nobody invented this yet?

Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what nonexistent thing you want for Christmas.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas Tree Pen

Here is another cool pen I own. My parents gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago, and it even has a holder so I set it by Arphaxad and Amminadab so they can have their own little Christmas tree. It's kind of crooked, and I have never actually tried to write with it, but that's not really the point.

My parents usually get me tacky little things for Christmas, but the year of the Christmas Tree Pen was a good one because they also gave me the Lava Lamp Nightlight.

My parents have always given me small things, but they're usually pinecones made to look like mosquitos or tacky blackface cornhusk dolls. I tried to express my enthusiasm for the gifts pictured above so strongly that they would get the idea, but no such luck - the next year I got a wooden thing shaped like my state that it said I could use as a weather gauge: if it was wet, it's raining; if it's white, it's snowing; etc. Ha ha. This would be a little less insulting if they didn't then give my brother extravagant, expensive gifts that he actually wants, but that's a story for another post.

One Christmas Santa did actually bring me something I had expressed an interest in: a beautiful stuffed unicorn I named Maria after the old German Christmas carol "Maria Walks Amid the Thorns." The song is sacred, mysterious, and beautiful... like unicorns! But that was just before I turned nine. More recently my parents gave me a cedar jewelry box with a unicorn on the top that I would have loved when I was nine. They gave my sister-in-law one with an old-fashioned map on it, and we looked at each other's jewelry boxes longingly until I suggested a trade. Then it was all good.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hoodoo Head Goes Ghetto

I have finally hit the big time - I have a follower! You know who you are, at least I hope you do, because I sure can't help you with that. I have no idea who you are. But welcome! Feel free to leave a comment about what attracted you to my blog: the constant raving about the evils of equal temperament? The random stories about my life? The doctored photos?

This is a true story I tested for entertainment value on A-Joz via email and also Mama Step when we got together last night. They both thought it was funny so I will share it with my entire blog audience of 4.8:

Curiosity got the better of me one day, and I looked at Hoodoo Head's MyFace profile. Of course, I couldn't see much but the picture, which was from about fifty feet away so I couldn't really tell what he looked like these days. Just as well, I shrugged, but once in awhile I would look and he had changed his profile picture. Not only that, but there started to seem to be a pattern: whenever I changed mine, he changed his to something with a similar theme. If my picture was a winter scene, even if I put it up in May, suddenly so was his. If mine was a full-body shot, then so was his. If mine was an extreme close-up, then so was his. Was this an enormous coincidence??? Was it even scarier, as Rich suggested, and we were somehow on some sort of identical cosmic wavelength? (OK, Rich, isn't that a little New-Agey for someone who goes to daily Mass?) Or was he trying to get my attention? Of course, it took about six of these profile picture changes before I decided this was not my imagination.

Luckily Hoodoo Head's name is also a noun, so I put up one of Palm Tree Fan's doctored photos of my bunny Cashmere, the one where she's conversing with Bugs Bunny, and I had him saying something about equal temperament with Hoodoo Head's name in ginormous letters. There, I thought, everyone else will just think, there's Famous Hat spouting off about equal temperament again! But if Hoodoo Head really was checking out my profile picture, maybe he would see that and knock it off.

What was his reaction? At first, nothing. Then he created a profile on another social networking website, and I could see more on it, like that he was divorced. And THEN he deleted his MyFace profile! I thought that was pretty funny, since the population of the other social networking site is, on average, younger, poorer, and less well-educated. So maybe he is trying to find himself a really young girl. Like a cougar, but the opposite; I believe in men it's known as "typical." He stated that he was looking for someone who can laugh and isn't selling anything, so maybe his ex was an Avon lady or something.

And because I know you can't get enough of it, some more spam received by Hardingfele:

From: Alejandro Weiss Münchmeyer
Subject: pop-line
Date: Tuesday, December 15, 2009, 9:28 AM

Dear firend: Thank you very much for your reading our email. You will finding a new place for shopping at Internet. New Year approaching, We sell electronic products as Laptop,Television, Phone, Camera ,PSP, Car DVD and so on .you are interested in our product, please visit our website :

best wish

Hardingfele has been called a lot of things, including Sales, but so far as I am aware, this is the first time she has been referred to as the end of a fire. (The question is: which end??) And notice how she only gets one best wish. You'd think he'd at least give her three, like a standard genie. She is particularly fond of his name: Mexican at the start, German at the back, and vaguely off-color. Clearly international spam.

Famous Hat

Monday, December 14, 2009

Messiah: CROSS-Approved

Friday during our performance of the Messiah, the licorice stick did not do sudoku. Everything went perfectly, and Citizens for the Return Of Sanity to Sound (CROSS) is proud to endorse this non-equal temperament performance. I don't know if it was recorded, so this may be a moot point anyway. Afterwards, some of us in the choir went out for a drink and talked about which bluegrass jams in town we played in.

Saturday Tiffy came to town, and we went to her niece's choir's performance in the afternoon, then in the evening we went to a handbell concert with Anna Banana II, and the Artist Formerly Known As Banjo Player was there, as well as some people from my OTHER choir. The final piece (other than the encore) was the "Halleluja Chorus." Huh, seems like I just sang that!

Sunday all my plans went awry. Tiffy and I overslept and missed morning Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety, then we had brunch with Richard Bonomo and A-Fooze. The church had been decorated for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and A-Fooze told us how beautiful it was. She took about a hundred pictures, so hopefully I will have some to post here soon. Then I was planning to go skiing with Hardingfele, since the snow was perfect, but somehow the afternoon slipped away and she went without me. Finally I went to evening Mass at OLPS, and to my extreme disappointment, the Guadalupe decorations had all been taken down so I never got to see them! That evening we had pizza at Rich's house, and Anna Banana II mentioned how beautiful the decorations had been. When Kathbert asked what they were like, Rich said, "It was a tacky, plastic, fake Classical arch covered with flowers and balloons," so I take it he does not share the opinions of A-Fooze and Anna Banana II. I asked if they were Doric or Corinthian columns, and he said, "Corinthian." When A-Fooze sends me pictures, you can decide for yourself whether the decorations are beautiful or tacky.

Famous Hat

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Licorice Stick Did Sudoku

It was freezing yesterday, and I wasn't looking forward to catching a bus at 6:30 am, but a neighbor happened to pass by and offer me a ride. This was even luckier than I realized, because the buses were running very late, so other people told me they waited forever for a bus. I experienced this for myself in the evening, while waiting for the bus home... for an hour and a half!!! Had I known, I would have just walked - it's only an hour away!

Not surprisingly, I was late for the dress rehearsal for the Messiah, but so were a lot of others. I sat next to the Artist Formerly Known As Banjo Player, and we were both amused to see one of the licorice stick players doing sudoku whenever she didn't have to play. Now we are just volunteers doing this for the love of singing, but the orchestra was paid! Can you imagine doing sudoku during work? That would be like blogging during work or something. AFKABP said, "Now I have lost all respect for oboe players," and when I asked how much she had had for them before, she said, "Not much. I used to play oboe."

And why do professional sopranos use so much vibrato? Do other people actually like that? I sure don't. In my opinion, any of the sopranos in the choir would have done a better job than the paid soloist, although for a brief, lovely moment she knocked it off with the vibrato and she really did have a beautiful voice.

At 9:30 the orchestra, who are all union, had to have a vote about whether they were going to vote on working on overtime then or later, when they would be working for double overtime. Don't these guys have tough lives? They get paid a living wage to play music, and then when we ran late, they could get double overtime! We - the free choir who had to work at REAL jobs the next day - got jack for being there till almost ten. The orchestra couldn't decide if they should vote on taking a vote so they tabled the vote on voting, and AFKABP said, "It's like one of our faculty meetings... only we're not union."

The director decided to cut things short right before the orchestra would have gotten double overtime, so I was on the road about 10:00. (Of course, the way the roads were, I didn't get home until after 10:30.) Actually, we got through everything but the final Amen, so it was all good. It was so wonderful to hear that Baroque music all night long NOT in equal temperament, and then in the car I turned on the D O double G and Luda, with the bass-cranking button on, of course. Finally I was in my warm, soft bed, doing my own sudoku. I'll be interested to see if the licorice stick cracks out the sudoku during the actual performance tonight...

Famous Hat

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Snow Day? Snow Way!

I am going crazy at work, wearing too many hats - my Famous one AND Toque McToque's!! Argh!! But yesterday we got a snow day. Excellent! I haven't had one of those since I was a kid. Seriously, they shut down the entire institution except for the "essential workers," of which I am thankfully not one.

Tuesday was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and I was planning to go to Mass after Hardingfele, Rockstar Tailor, and I had a discount dinner (free for Tailor and 20% off for us adults) at Jerkns and then trimmed the rabbits' nails. However, after I drove Hardingfele and Rockstar Tailor home, which is just a few blocks away, the slippery roads scared me so much that I figured God would understand if I stayed home. (There was a closer Mass, but it involved a hill so steep that I'm not sure which would be worse in a snowstorm - going up or down it! It has an 11% grade, and once Rich, Kathbert, and I (and possibly some other people) wasted the better part of an evening arguing over what exactly that meant, other than "darn steep.")

So yesterday I had no big plans to leave the house; I did have big plans to clean my house but didn't get much further than doing laundry, since it was much more fun to nap, do word game puzzles, and play with the rabbits. Then Rich called to say he could pick me up for daily Mass, which is right after work at Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety, and then we could grab some dinner and go to choir practice. It turns out our choir director somehow knew that Messiah practice was going to be canceled because of the weather, but instead of thinking to himself that this might indicate that he should cancel choir practice as well, he just thought, "Ah! Now Famous Hat will be free to come to MY choir practice!" I was not ecstatic about this prospect, since I had an excessively early meeting at work today and wanted to go to bed early. Rich said we could see how I felt about it after Mass and dinner, but wouldn't you know the choir director and a couple other choir members showed up at the same restaurant? So I could hardly skip out after that. However, it was all good because we were done by 8:30.

Tonight is the dress rehearsal for the Messiah, and we haven't even practiced with the orchestra once! Tomorrow is the actual performance. Hopefully it goes smoothly... At least I have the harpsichordist's solemn word that it will NOT be in equal temperament.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How Come?

Once Hardingfele showed me a button on my car stereo that cranked the bass. How come that exists? I mean, who wants the bass uncranked?

How come when men in novels are mad at women, they call them things like, "Damnable wench!"? Do men talk like that in real life? In my experience, they either don't call you names at all, or they call you a "stupid b***h!" I think the only men who talk like that are ones created by women.

How come when a hip hop artist uses a sample from a rock star's song in a clever and original way, the rock star sues, but when some white band does a lame remake of his song, he says nothing? (Hint: "monkey" without the k.)

How come humans live in snowy places when we are clearly tropical creatures?

How come some men, within five minutes of meeting me, will mention they cannot have children because of a car accident/surgery/birth defect? Why would I want to know this? Do they really think this would somehow convince me that a one-night stand would be a wonderful idea because there's no chance of them knocking me up? Sorry, boys, most of us are looking for a man who can give us babies. And if you were trying to scare me off from marrying you, no worries - you don't make enough money.

Example conversation:

Famous Hat is standing by a lake, watching swans glide across its surface. A man approaches.
Man: Aren't the swans beautiful? My name is Octavian and I have been rendered sterile by a tragic ice cream truck accident.
FH: I'm sorry to hear that, but the fact that you mentioned it in the same sentence as your name completely turns me off. Goodbye."
Man: Damnable wench!

How come in the clean version of "Still Not a Player" by Big Pun, they have him say, "I'm not a player, I just crush a lot"? In what reality does that make sense? Surely there was some other verb they could have used that would have made almost as much sense as the original word? (Hint: "firetruck" without the iretr.)

How come people come to work in blizzards? Do they just love their jobs that much?

Famous Hat

Monday, December 7, 2009

That's DR. A-Fooze to You!

This morning I left work for a couple of hours to see A-Fooze give her presentation on her thesis. Her parents and sisters and a professor she had as an undergrad came from various parts of the US and Canada, and Richard Bonomo and El Fiance were there as well. Although she was doing something really complicated with proteins from e. coli, she gave such a clear explanation that I could almost understand it. Almost. At the end she thanked her advisor and all her collaborators, but when she gave El Fiance and her peeps from Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety a shout-out, she got all choked up. It was very touching.

Then A-Fooze disappeared into a room with her advisor and some other professors, and I returned to work. Just now I got an email from Rich that they are cracking out the champagne in A-Fooze's lab. She is now A-Fooze, Ph.D. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

And this has absolutely nothing to do with that, but Palm Tree Fan was inspired by my post about spiders to create this picture. It made me laugh so hard that I have to put it on my blog.

Famous Hat

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The OTHER Famous!

In general there are several topics I try to avoid on this blog, including my parents and the bishop, because who wants to read my griping? However, this story about my mother amused both Hardingfele and Anna Banana II so much that I figured at least Palm Tree Fan would also find it funny.

Around here October felt like November, but that's OK because then November felt like October. This left us all wondering what December would feel like (February? July?) but the surprising answer was: December. It's cold and there's already snow on the ground. The holidays bring things like beautiful lights, endless parties, and parents. My parents decided they really want to come visit me (perhaps because they de-vited me to Rooster for Thanksgiving), but they could not decide which of two dates to come. One date I was planning to go caroling with Ethel, and the other one I have a wedding to attend, so I suggested the first weekend of January, pointing out that it was also my birthday. Here's the thing: my parents have been hanging around a lot with this woman who has the same first name as I do (Famous), and they said, "We can't come then! Famous will be in town!" Now the other Famous is ALWAYS in town, except for some of this month, so I said that was really something that the other Famous was more important than their own daughter's birthday. But the icing on the cake was when I said why didn't they come up next weekend, when I'll be singing in the Messiah, and they said they already saw the other Famous sing in the Messiah AND she paid for them to go.

So my mother has been been calling me at least once, sometimes twice, a day to change her mind about which dates she is coming, and when I told her how funny Hardingfele thought it was about her going to the OTHER Famous's Messiah, she said, "I can't believe you're jealous of this woman!" and I replied, "I can't believe that you don't see the humor in this!" THEN she said, "Her Messiah was only an hour and a half away!" And here I had thought it was in Rooster - my goodness, if they're going to travel that far, you'd think they could go twice as far for their own daughter! But the other Famous is like the daughter they wished they'd had, since she gives them money and I don't.

When I was much younger and couldn't see the humor in such things, I was offended that Hoodoo Head was always going back and forth between me and a girl who was just like me, according to him. She did not have the same first name, but she liked all the same things I did and (according to him) thought the same way I did, and she was also a Capricorn. I always pictured her as a beautiful, willowy brunette, but then I saw a picture of her and she was also a short, plain blonde. But Hoodoo Head ended up marrying and then divorcing her, so logically if we were so similar, he would have divorced me too. Another bullet dodged, besides Ubi Caritas. Of course, UC and I were a lot closer to getting married; at one point he was reading a short book about planning your nuptial Mass (e.g., should you memorize your vows, repeat them after the priest, or just say, "I do"?) while I was reading a very deep theological book called Three to Get Married by Fulton Sheen. (EXCELLENT book!!) Of course he finished first and then kept pestering me about when we could swap books. (We had borrowed them both from the priest who probably would have married us.) So you can see why I am still single, besides the fact that I would really want "Welcome as the Dawn of Day" from Handel's Solomon sung at my wedding, and who can afford a first-class countertenor these days?

Truthfully, I never really would have married Hoodoo Head because he wouldn't even have wanted a nuptial Mass, being an atheist. So Handel would have been a moot point, because nobody has music when they just go to the Justice of the Peace.

Famous Hat

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Fish Fiction 7

Arphaxad has been waiting so patiently to post the next installment of her story.

One day my two companions veered off the path to Venice. I continued on, figuring they had finally gotten tired of accompanying me, but then I heard them calling me so I reluctantly followed them. They stopped in front of an enormous coral reef and began hollering, “Axton! I say, Axton! Ardsley and Allery here! Are you in?”

A very handsome fish poked his head out of the reef, and I could feel my heart do a little flip. Stop it! I told myself sternly. You’re on a pilgrimage, not a blind date!

“Cheerio!” said Axton. “And who is this lovely young fish you have brought with you?” He swam out of the reef and kissed my pectoral fin. I was too flustered to even remember my own name.

“I, uh, we’re biking to Venice. I mean, I am, and I met Ardsley and Allery along the way.”

“Biking to Venice!” said Axton scornfully. “On that thing?” He cast a disdainful eye over my 1886 Boethius. “That will never do! Come on, we’ll take the jalopy.”

“The Jalopy” was a sleek, beautiful convertible. Part of me was glad to be done biking, but another part of me felt that true pilgrims must get to their destinations by their own fishpower and not in sweet cars. My mind was made up when Ardsley and Allery piled into the back seat and Axton held the front door on the passenger side open for me.

“Thanks!” I climbed in and said, “This isn’t too much trouble, I hope.”

I was soon to regret this decision for another reason, when Axton made it blatantly clear that he was hoping to spawn. When I told him I would never eat my eggs, he wanted to know why, and my religious beliefs seemed to puzzle him.

“Don’t you believe in the Great Carp?” I asked him in amazement.

“Yes, of course,” he replied, sounding less like he was lying than that he had never given the question a moment’s thought before. “But what has He got to do with it?”

“He loves all fish, even the unhatched. He wouldn’t approve.”

“Ah,” said Axton, and for a moment he was silent, just staring at the way ahead of us. Then, to my surprise, he said, “You are a very intriguing young fish. Certainly nothing like the spoiled hatchlings my mother is always trying to set me up with. What is your family like?”

So I told him about my six hundred siblings, which astonished him to no end, but he seemed fascinated. So I asked about his family, and he entertained me with tales of growing up way too wealthy. It was fun to hear about, but oddly enough I didn’t envy him. His life sounded so shallow… almost like the Marsh where the fish go who need to have their souls purified before they can reach the Sea of Stars. How little water would be needed to drain and turn it into the Endless Desert where the damned fish spend eternity! The idea made me shudder, and Axton asked if I were cold.

“No, I’m fine. It’s just that all this talk about families is making me a bit homesick.”

“But you left them all to find Venice?”

“I felt it was what I was meant to do.”

“I wish I felt so strongly about something!” said Axton. “Now I have to go to Venice and hear this music of Vivaldi, if only to see if I find it half as compelling as you do.”

Famous Hat

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Famous Hat Logic Test

Question: In the picture below, which figure is Famous Hat?

a. the tree - isn't she always writing from the point of view of a plant?
b. the woman - duh
c. the hat - DUH

What your answers say about you:

a. You are a very peaceful person with a great deal of imagination and creativity. You love beauty and harmony. Logic, however, is not your strong point.

b. You are one of those people who are slavishly obedient to arbitrary rules like the speed of light in a vacuum. If your life were a color, it would be ecru. Possibly taupe.

c. Congratulations!! You have won the Famous Hat Logic Test! Your score is 100% and your prize is bragging rights.

(Photo credit: Richard Bonomo. Palm Tree Fan has MAD SKILLZ with PhotoShop!)

Famous Hat

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

True Childhood Adventures: SPIDER!!

First a word about Thanksgiving chez Bonomo: PACKED. There were about eighteen of us there, and approximately one pie per person. We didn't even dig into my pumpkin pie until Leftover Day 2! I had also attempted to make shrimp pinwheel rolls, but they didn't look so much like pinwheels as a miniature beached Moby Dick dissected into sections. However, they must have tasted OK, or else people were VERY hungry, because I put them out for an appetizer and they were almost completely demolished. I sat next to a person who dissed both vegetables and Li'l Wayne, two of my very favorite things ever, but otherwise it was a good time.

Here is another true childhood memory of mine: I was born in an East Coast town and then at the age of two moved to a Midwest town of the same name. If Leicester is pronounced "Lester" and Worchester is pronounced "Wooster," then this town really should be pronounced "Rooster." So we lived in government housing in Rooster with approximately 10,000 other families in a building that looked like a giant shoebox with windows in it. I had to share a bedroom with my brother (scandalized? are you still with me?) and we kept all our toys in a toybox. My brother had a LOT of toys, about one per resident of Rooster, and he was very diligent about making sure they all got out of the toybox every day for some fresh air, but he was not necessarily so good about putting them back to bed every evening. (Of course I, being "older" and "female," was expected to make up for this shortcoming on his part, but that's a story for another post.) So when I woke up one morning and noticed his big, black, plastic tarantula sitting in the doorway to our bedroom, I wasn't one bit surprised.

"You never put your tarantula away last night," I told him.

So he got out of bed and approached the "toy" tarantula, which then bolted under my bed. If you think this horrified me, then you are not aware of my reputation at that time as Junior Entomologist. My only disappointment was that I didn't find the tarantula, even after an exhaustive search. I suppose it utilized whatever pathway it had taken to escape from its owner to also escape from me.

A few years later I traded my pet toad for a giant garden spider, which thrilled my mother to no end. I thought it was so cool, with its perfect web with a zigzag down the middle and its bright yellow and black striped body, but all Mom wanted to know was,

"That thing can't escape from that bucket, can it?"

"Of course not," I said, which proved to be completely untrue. So this HUGE spider was loose somewhere in our house, but that night I saw it right above my head as I lay in bed. It had laid an egg sack, and I thought, "Man, what a great trade! Tons of spiders for one lousy toad!" But wouldn't you know it, my mother did not see it that way at all. The next day while I was at school, she told me both the spider and the egg sack ran away. I was sure she meant "down the toilet," but she assurred me they were outside. She wouldn't tell me where, however. She did not want any chance of a spider recovery operation!

I am not nearly as into spiders and bugs now, but I am still a charter member of the "Spider Relocation Program" and will catch every spider, no matter how big and ugly, and let it go outside rather than kill it.

Famous Hat

Monday, November 30, 2009

Walking Past the Magna Carta

Sorry for the lack of posting the last four days. First I was giving thanks, and then I was suffering what feels like Cold #1,386 this year. In fact, I am still suffering from it so who knows how much sense this post will make?

Today I will recount one of the most bitter experiences of my life. When I was in middle school, the Magna Carta went on some kind of whirlwind tour, complete with a tour bus that said "MAGNA CARTA" in ginormous dayglo letters, as if the Magna Carta were a rock star or something. It stopped in our town, and every single pupil in public school was forced to wait in a seemingly endless line to enter the brightly-colored tour bus and gaze upon the document upon which our own Constitution is supposedly modeled. I was hugely excited to be seeing this piece of history, and something written in 1215 seemed inconceivably old to me in those days. (Now that I have seen the actual Dead Sea Scrolls and other antiquities, 1215 seems so, you know, Middle Aged, not ancient.) Most of the other kids in line were just excited to get out of school for basically the whole day (I mean it - this was the mother of all lines we were waiting in), and the rock star-looking tour bus wasn't enough to interest them in some old piece of vellum. I, however, could hardly wait to see the actual Magna Carta.

Finally it was my turn to enter the neon-colored bus and see this seminal piece of Western history, and I wondered what language it would be in. I remembered hearing that there were four extant copies of the original 1215 version, and that two were in Latin, one was in French, and one was in the vernacular - Middle English, I suppose. When I got into the bus, some men told me gruffly to keep moving. Now I had not spent half my life in line with a bunch of brats who didn't care just to be told I got to walk past the Magna Carta without looking, so I dared to turn my head and look at the document. At that, one of the men barked, "Keep moving!" so I had to continue walking. All I saw was something that looked like a piece of yellowing rubber that had been scribbled on by a very dull pencil. Forget what language it was in - I didn't even get a good look at the thing!

To this day I have never gotten over the disappointment of having to walk past the Magna Carta, although later I learned there were all sorts of versions signed throughout the Thirteenth Century, so who knows which one it actually was? Just to add insult to injury, that evening in the local paper they had a story about some kid who had clearly gotten there much earlier in the day and was allowed to actually peruse the thing. They even had a photo of her peering at the glass-enclosed document with a puzzled look on her face, probably thinking, "What's the big whoop about this thing?" So all the adults in town could think the kiddies had an educational experience seeing an actual piece of history, and they had no idea they RUINED MY LIFE!!!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A (Hypothetical) Li'l Joint

My plant Dracaena Marginata (aka "Keith") is at it again - now it's bored and lonely, being the only plant in my office, and it is writing letters to hip hop artists. (I was the one who first imagined this collaboration, but Toque was the one who suggested Keith write the artists in question a letter.) Since the President is much easier to reach than the average hip hop artist, it has not actually sent this letter yet, but it would appreciate anyone who knows Li'l Jon or Li'l Wayne forwarding this on to them.

Dear Li'l Jon/Wayne,

I may just be a humble houseplant, but I am a huge fan of both of you, and I can’t help noticing that Li'l “Pottymouth” Wayne is in every hip hop song and Li'l “Dr. Teeth” Jon is in all the other hip hop songs. I feel it is time you combine your instantly recognizable li'l voices in what could roughly be called “harmony” and record a song together. I imagine it might sound something like this, after the radio sensors have bleeped out the naughty parts.

LW: Shawty got a Coke bottle figure
LW: Shawty say that I her favorite nurp urp*
LW: Shawty say that I a low slob
LW: Shawty give me a blurp jurp+
LW: Shawty wanna go down to China
LW: I wanna exploe her vurp urp@
LW: Shawty think that I a trucker
LW: But I a real murp furp#

Adults, feel free to look below to see what the censors bleeped out. Kids, don’t look!

* nitrogen user
+ botany journal
@ venation
# monocot flora

I hope this gives you some inspiration for this epic li'l collaboration.

Dracaena Marginata

Unfortunately, Keith would have even more trouble suggesting a "Big Joint" than a "Li'l Joint," because while it may be hard to reach living hip hop artists, I cannot imagine it would have any luck sending a letter to Big Pun and Notorious B.I.G. (dona eis requiem) suggesting they collaborate. Still, imagine how cool that would be! It could be called "Still Not a Hypnotized Playa."

Famous Hat

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Magic Bonomobile

Here are some photos of Rich's car, the Bonomobile. As you can see from this first photo, it is a sort of slate blue color in most lighting.

But just this past Saturday, a coating of dust settled on the hood that makes it appear red in sunlight. We wondered if it is from Rich's home planet, because that was the day he drove the Mothership home. (The official story was he drove her to the "airport" so she could catch a "plane" to head back "East.")

It was really noticeable when you looked through the windshield! See below.

And it was definitely on the windshield itself. What kind of crazy dust is this??

My car, Erin Caitlin O'Honda, is still green. I do not have a photo of her, but I do have a sign I made for her at a local Irish fest one summer. This is my first attempt to write in Celtic calligraphy, and in my opinion it didn't turn out too badly.

Famous Hat

Monday, November 23, 2009

Famous Hat Sings (and Sings and Sings and Sings...)

Saturday I had the best day! I went to the bank for $2 bills and also managed to get two Eisenhower dollars! Then I had a coupon for a free coffee at a local cafe, and then I drove to the orchard where my band played last month, because I still had almost $10 worth of credit. I got about $13 worth of produce, and the cashier said, "Let's just call it even." Awesome! Then I went home to see if my good luck extended to my washing machine magically working again, but no. When Rich asked me why I had attempted to use it when I knew it was broken, I said, "It had a whole week to think about its behavior so I was hoping that it had thought better of the whole thing." Having a Y chromosome, Rich just doesn't understand that machines think, so he pointed out that a washing machine is incapable of being repentant. Anyway, I brought my soggy laundry over to his house and finished it there. Then I played ePlush on his computer Aquinas and actually completed the word game! I had no idea you could even win it! It was a beautiful day so he, Kathbert, and I went for a walk in the woods. Some sort of magic dust got on the Bonomobile so that while it still appeared slate blue at most angles, in bright sunlight and through the windshield the hood appeared red. Rich took some photos, which I hope to post on here at some point. (I tried to get him to make a movie of it, but I'm not sure he ever did.) Then we went to a "pre"-Thanksgiving dinner with the typical fixings and Rich's world-renowned chocolate mousse for dessert.

Yesterday I tortured Rich by having him help me make another music video, which is featured on my previous post. He got so into making my hat dance that he said it hurt his shoulder! He even got the little mandolin to shake when I played a tremolo on the real mandolin. I had a problem during the first take; as I was watching the hat bounce around on the screen with its little mandolin, I started to laugh.

"It looks so ridiculous!" I gasped.

"Of course!" said Rich matter-of-factly. "Isn't it SUPPOSED to be ridiculous?"

Yes, but I hadn't realized just how successful it was.

While I personally have no interest in being famous, my hat is already famous, so it has no qualms about being in lots of music videos. Can you believe "Stupid Texan" has already been viewed by 80 people? That's like an average of ten a day! And I have many more songs for my hat to sing. I almost have A-Joz and Hardingfele convinced to do three-part harmony like the Andrews Sisters on a VERY brief song about Montauk Point, plus there is the "All-Purpose Tropical Song," a blues song about Georgia, a torch song about the Etruscans, and a disco song about Boethius. I can totally flood YouTube with videos of my hat singing! Judging by the response to "Stupid Texan," tens of people have been dying to watch a hat wearing sunglasses sing and play the mandolin.

Famous Hat

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Famous Hat Joint: Rabbit Lullaby

Here is another Famous Hat joint for my bunnies, Charlie and Cashmere. The lyrics are as follows:

Charlie, Charlie, you sailed away,
Cashmere, Cashmere, for a year and a day,
Charlie, Charlie, you sailed so far,
Cashmere, Cashmere, following a star.

You sailed to an island where the ocean was calm,
The sand was all white and the trees were all palm.
You played in the surf and you played in the sun,
Oh, Charlie and Cashmere, you had so much fun.


Your boat hit the sand and you hopped out to see,
You said, "I wonder what this lovely place could ever be?
The sand is so white and the sky is so blue!"
Oh, Charlie, I wish I could sail with you!

(chorus, bridge, chorus)

Banana for breakfast and banana for lunch,
Of banana you ate a whole bunch.
You slept all night in a little grass hut
And you drank all your water from a big coconut!


And here I am performing it:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tales from the Mothership

Richard Bonomo's mother has lots of great stories. In fact, I will tell you the best one today.

When the Bonomos lived in the Mideast many years ago, they knew a British man who once gave a wealthy Bedouin a ride home. This Bedouin tried to thank him by giving him a sheep, and it wasn't a cute little fluffy white sheep like what we are used to, but a big, smelly sheep with long, stringy fur like dreadlocks. Of course it is bad form to refuse a gift in the Mideast, so the British gentleman, thinking quickly, said that he was a very poor person who lived in a small apartment instead of a large tent, and he had no land and no sons and only one wife, so he had no way to care for the sheep. All the Bedouins were very sympathetic: "No sons! Only one wife! You must be a very poor man!" and so they agreed to care for the sheep for him.

Now in reality, this British gentleman was quite rich and lived in an expensive apartment in an exclusive neighborhood, but as he told the Mothership, he had nowhere to put a big, smelly sheep. The Mothership, who is Sicilian and not British, said her father once kept a lamb in the bathroom in their apartment for several days, and he even butchered it in the bathtub. She said that proved you could keep a sheep in an apartment. She was laughing so hard at him that the British gentleman exclaimed, "If you do not desist in this unseemly laughter, I shall be forced to retrieve my sheep and place it in your bathtub!" (Imagine someone with an East Coast accent imitating someone with a stuffy British accent saying that.)

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Misanthropic Anthropologist

I was shocked to read that Claude Levi-Strauss died recently, mostly because I had no idea the guy was still alive. Back in the Cretaceous Era when I was in college, he was already considered the great-grandfather of anthropology. (No, he had nothing to do with blue jeans.) Good old (and I mean OLD) Claude was a month shy of 101 when he shuffled off this mortal coil, but the thing that most fascinated me about him was that by the end of his life, he totally hated humanity. What does it say about humans when someone who has devoted his life to studying them decides they are vile creatures?

My theory is that the esteemed anthropologist was studying the following types of humans, which is why he hated all of us:

Politicians: I just read that 1% of the US population are millionaires, but 44% of the members of Congress are. Who wants to be represented by people who have no clue what your life is like? I think all presidents should pass the "Abe Lincoln" test of having been born in a log cabin they built with their own hands. Bush failed this test miserably, as did his opponents. (Toque once told me a great Bush joke: an advisor told him there had been a plane crash in Rio de Janeiro and 53 Brazilian citizens had died, so Bush asked, "How many zeros is that?" OH!!) I don't get why people act like our current president is either the Messiah or the Antichrist, but at least he has some life experience that doesn't involve country clubs. (Though I would argue not enough to merit a Nobel Peace Prize, but that's another post.)

Frat Boys: This one goes without saying. When I was in college the average frat boy thought "interior decoration" consisted of a bunch of Christmas tree lights shaped like red chili peppers, neon beer signs, and stolen street signs. Chili lights and beer signs are of questionable taste but are morally neutral, but stealing street signs could be dangerous. Does the average member of I Tappa Kegga really need that stop sign more than the people at the intersection he swiped it from? Though I have to admit that it was hilarious the summer I subleted a room on Frat Row, and one evening we saw several frat boys running down the street with a giant theta. Oddly, we never saw any other frat boys from the de-thetaed frat house running around, asking people, "Have you seen anyone around here with a giant theta?"

Journalists: The average newspaper writer is supposedly unbiased, but you wouldn't know that from what any of them write. When the Pope recently reached out to dissatisfied Anglicans to offer them a home in the Catholic Church, the papers just went on and on about how Benedict was fishing in Anglican waters, without mentioning that the Anglicans have been begging for this deal for over a decade. And what's with the term "anti-choice"? I am totally opposed to abortion, but I am not opposed to choices. A woman could choose to only have sex if she knows she can raise the child, since in fact a child is supposed to be the end result of sex. She could choose to raise the child herself or give it to another family in a better position to raise it. Are these not choices??

Anyone in Hollywood: This one needs no other explanation, but feel free to refer to my post yesterday regarding my Oscar-winning screenplay.

Financial Types: If your friend lent you some money because you were broke, and you then came into a lot of money, would you not pay your friend back? Maybe even with a little extra to thank him? But if you work for a big bank and the taxpayers lend you a whole bunch of money, and then business improves, you do not feel the need to pay the taxpayers back, unless giving yourself a ginormous bonus counts. And then they wonder why people hate them...?

Famous Hat

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oscar-Winning Screenplay

Yet again, Hardingfele gets the most bizarre spam that makes it sound as if she has been having an email exchange with someone. As you may remember, she was surprised to learn she was selling something unspecified. Now she has learned that she is searching for an unspecified position:


I am sorry for the late reply. Are you still interested in a part time position? Please reply back your full name and phone number and I will contact you immediately with details. Do not forget to attach your latest resume or CV.

Thank You and have a wonderful day.

Hardingfele does not remember looking for a job anytime recently, but you have to admit that it's awfully tempting to apply for such a mysterious position. (Hey, we do know it's part time.)

My spam continues to be dying people who wish to have me help them donate their considerable fortunes to charity, although I was enchanted by the name in one of them: Silver Koroma. What a fantastic appellation! In fact, I will use it in my Oscar-winning screenplay. And how, you may ask, do I know that it will win an Oscar? Easy! It will incorporate all the elements of the most recent Oscar-nominated screenplays in it. For example, gays are good but the Catholic Church is evil. Abortion and euthanasia are ways for men to set women free. And if actors want to win Oscars, they just play someone with a disability. So here is a synopsis:

Silver Koroma is a young woman with a terrible rhythm disability which has left her tragically unable to dance at nightclubs. She goes to a priest for confession to admit she is pregnant, so he does all sorts of evil things to prevent her from having an abortion, thus showing that the entire Church is a corrupt entity only interested in things like preventing murder. However, Randi the Brave Queer helps her procure an abortion, but the procedure goes wrong and Silver is left in a vegetative coma. Randi the Brave Queer turns off the machines keeping her alive, despite great personal risk to himself of messing up his hair, since he somehow knows this is what she would want. And she died happily ever after.

Remember, you can say you knew me when! Write a comment on this post and maybe I'll give you a shout-out when I'm accepting my Oscar.

Famous Hat

Monday, November 16, 2009

Finally Met the Mothership

So all these years we joked that Richard Bonomo was really a space alien and when his "mother" called it was just his mothership checking in with him? Either we were wrong, or he hired an actress, because currently he has a very delightful older lady visiting him who claims to be his mother. She even tells the same stories he does! Maybe they are both from another planet...?

Kathbert's father did pass on about a week and a half ago after a short battle with cancer, so on Saturday she, Cecil Markovitch, and I drove to New Mellory Abbey so she could buy an urn. It was much different than when she and Rich looked at gaudy fake marble urns in hideous colors for Mr. Why; this was a two-hour pilgrimage to a quiet place surrounded by lush trees, with an austerely beautiful chapel where we went to noon prayer, and then Kathbert bought a very reasonably priced, beautifully made walnut urn. They will also say a Mass for her father and plant a tree in his honor, even if he was a Lutheran. (When I told Palm Tree Fan that I supposed in a hundred years the monks would chop down "Fred's Tree" to make more urns and coffins, she said she laughed so hard that she almost spit water all over her computer monitor.)

That evening my stupid washing machine stopped working, so I had to drain it bucket by bucket. On the other hand, yesterday Rich helped me make the masterpiece prominently featured on my previous post. (It was a practice run for the hip hop video we will make at some point.) That will feature not only my Famous Hat, but others as background singers, including my Raspberry Beret (shown below). It was a little wider than the scanner, but you get the idea. I have owned this thing forever, long before the Prince song came out. I clearly remember wearing it in third grade for Halloween when I went as an artist.

Famous Hat

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Famous Hat Joint: Stupid Texan

My last post was so fantabulous that it inspired me to write a song. This is to the tune of "Arkansas Traveler" (aka. "I'm Bringin' Home a Baby Bumblebee") in the key of G, but it's called "Stupid Texan." Here are the lyrics:

I'm drivin' my Bugatti into the bog,
And I can't even blame it on the fog,
I'm drivin' my Bugatti into the bog -
I know! I'll blame a pelican!

They're towin' my Bugatti from the bog,
Famous Hat will mock me on her blog,
They're towin' my Bugatti from the bog -
Now I have a Bugatti hooptie!

(Note: a Bugatti is a $1.5 million sports car and a hooptie is a worn-out old ghetto car. If you don't know what a bog or a pelican is, then you need more help than I can give you!)

And here I am performing it:

Famous Hat

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Pelican Menace

Happy Friday the 13th! Arphaxad is too busy picking at the algae on the side of her bowl to write more of her story today, so I will just have to think of something to say. Luckily, as always, Reality comes to the rescue, this time in the form of the state of Texas. True story: man drives Bugatti into swamp and blames it on - of course - a pelican. There is even awesome footage of the local tow truck driver hauling the Bugatti out of the bayou with a regular old tow truck, not a crane or anything, although I suppose by then it was a lot less valuable than good old Erin Caitlyn O'Honda, my 2000 Accord. I did not realize that the pelicans are so angry with us that they are now forcing people in $1.5 million dollar sports cars that are handmade in France or something to drive into bayous, though you have to admit that "Bugatti in the Bayou" would be an awfully catchy song title. So keep that in mind if you are in Texas, especially if you are driving a Bugatti by a bayou. I'd suggest that you have a bottle of wine on hand so that if you drive off the road you can have beaujolais in your Bugatti in the bayou. My question is this: if these people want to secede, should we really try to stop them?

Last night I skipped Lutheran choir practice again, this time to attend a flamenco show. The music is so beautiful, with the gypsy guitars and the Mideastern-sounding singing and the intricate rhythms. The dancing was lovely too, and I was surprised by how much it resembled Indian or Indonesian dancing with the graceful moves they made with their arms. The women wore those gorgeous dresses with long trains and lots of ruffles, and everyone tap danced. The coolest thing was the last number, showing how Cuban dance influenced flamenco, and they played a flamenco version of a song we'd heard at the concert the week before, a very famous Cuban folk song about "Esa Negra Linda" with the chorus that goes: "Ki kiri boom mandinga" or something like that. Then again, last week they performed a Bach minuet as a guanguanco.

The season is once again upon us when people send us random stuff in the mail. This year we got something that was actually quite pretty, a paper "snow globe" that is flat and then folds out into 3-D. You can put your company's name on it and send it out as a Christmas card to your clients. Of course, we don't exactly have "clients," but hey, whatever. It's very pretty to look at.

Famous Hat

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Awkward Moments with Toque McToque

My office mate Toque (rhymes with puke, not coke) said I should write about her day today. It is her second-to-last day, and she keeps having awkward moments. In one of them, a faculty member she does not much care for stopped by to say goodbye, and she said, "You could hear the crickets chirping in the distance! It's not like we had a hugging relationship, or even a hand-shaking one, so it was like, 'Bye.' 'Bye.'"

Then she lost the faculty candidate she was supposed to guide from interview to interview. To be fair, this was not her fault; one of his interviewers intercepted him after lunch and said, "Come on up to my office right now," without informing Toque. You can imagine her panic when she thought, "Oh no! I've lost the faculty candidate!" Still, what could they do if she had, fire her? I mean, she's already quitting. (True story: I once worked with a girl who gave her two weeks' notice and then was so obnoxious that they actually CANNED her two days into her last two weeks!)

I thought it was really amusing that Toque McToque put up a little sign saying how she would miss us all, and thanks for the lovely parting gifts, since the sign was festooned with cute little smiling flowers. I said, "That is SO not you, Toque McToque," and that got me thinking... What people like Toque need to show their true feelings are cute little natural disaster signs. So now I present to you: Famous Hat's Adorable Warning Signs! Though of course you can totally tell from my superior artistic abilities what these are supposed to be, I will provide a handy guide anyway. From left to right, top row: tornado, thunderstorm, blizzard. Bottom row: flood (or classier "deluge"), tsunami, poison. (It was supposed to be famine, but I couldn't think of how to draw "famine.") I think these are such cute, cuddly depictions of hazards that they would surely stop motorists from proceeding any further to their death.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Unsolicited Humor Rag

Yesterday when I got the mail, there was a newspaper with a generic title that said: "This is your complementary copy of [Generic Title]." It claimed to be a humor newspaper, so I sat down to read it. It was very leftist in its humor, and I would have preferred more balance, but at least it did poke fun at some of the self-righteous and hypocritical types on the left, as well as all things conservative. I had gotten home very late from work and was planning to go right to bed, so the fact that Plant World was going to automatically switch off at 9:20 or so seemed to be a moot point. However, I got so into Generic Title that I lost all track of time until suddenly being plunged into utter darkness. For a moment I sat in the dark, wondering why the lights had gone out, and then I remembered that Plant World automatically shuts off these days. I started laughing so hard that the rabbits got scared: "Why is Mama sitting in the dark and laughing hysterically?" (OK, so they may not think of me as "Mama"; when I admitted as much at a dinner party regarding Charlie, a priest replied, "Toots." And Cashmere may just think of me as the Big Annoying Thing that Keeps Forgetting to Buy Bananas.)

The rabbits do seem really weirded out about the way Plant World now turns on and off when I'm not there. A-Joz says it's just as well to have them realize that my power over them has no bounds, at least that they can see. But I'm sure in a few days they will have even forgotten there was ever a connection between the Big Annoying Thing and the Lights Over the Plants.

If you really want to understand yourself, all you have to do is go to YouTube because it understands you. It will suggest videos that you might like to watch, and it knows. Believe me, it KNOWS. Whenever I go to YouTube, it suggests I might like to watch a choir perform a Baroque choral piece, or perhaps I'd prefer a live video of a salsa concert or the latest hip hop video. How about cassowaries chasing people or venus flytraps eating frogs? Or maybe a lovely explosion or two, or a multicolored fire. And you can never go wrong with hedgehogs!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Charlie's Extreme Close-Up

In case you were wondering what it is like to have a rabbit in your face, begging for whatever it is you're eating, here are two extreme close-ups of Charlie that Hardingfele took. We couldn't take any of Cashmere, who is a typical female - she ran and hid when she saw the camera!

Famous Hat

Monday, November 9, 2009

Single Green Plant Seeks Same

I'm beginning to think rodent intelligence is underrated. First there was the wily chipmunk that bit Hardingfele and then evaded the concerted effort to find it, then there were all the pictures people have taken with ground squirrels peeking into the camera at just the right moment. Richard Bonomo's new neighbor told him the squirrels put black walnuts in her driveway so her car will run over them and smash them open. Then yesterday a woman in my choir was saying how she and her husband were once hiking in the Rocky Mountains when they saw a very pretty bird. When they stopped to watch it, a ground squirrel started digging in her husband's knapsack. Later she was distracted by the pretty bird again, and then the ground squirrel started climbing her leg, trying to get at the sandwich in her pocket! Were they tag-teaming her? It sure sounds like they were in cahoots!

Since rabbits are not technically rodents but much more highly evolved lagomorphs, it stands to reason that they are even smarter. Charlie and Cashmere absolutely hate when I am on the phone and will do anything to distract me. Charlie once found a very successful strategy of hiding behind my popesan chair and peeking around the leg with one eye, which reduced me to helpless laughter the first time, but now I am immune. Cashmere usually just thumps her foot if I'm on the phone too long, although sometimes she does it the moment the phone rings. Also, Charlie has gotten horrible about begging to eat my squash. If I eat it plain, he has no interest; but if I put cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of cloves on it, you can bet he is right there, begging for piece after piece until I have to remind him that I want some squash too.

Plant World is spoiled rotten. Yesterday I bought it a timer and a humidifier. However, I had the timer set backwards so the lights switched on at nine in the evening. I thought I had fixed it to turn on at seven this morning... but it was already on when I got up, and the rabbits glared at me balefully, so I am wondering exactly what time it actually went on. Someday I will master this complicated technology!

Speaking of plants, Keith is very lonely now as the only plant in my office so it wanted to post a personal ad on my blog, hoping to find another plant for friendship and maybe more.


SGP (single green plant) searching for soul mate. I enjoy photosynthesizing, writing romance novels, and sending the President random letters. I am looking for another plant to join me in a northern exposure but very sunny window. I am a non-smoker but do drink once a week or so, usually dirty fish water. If this sounds like an ideal existence to you, please drop me a line. Photos preferred but not required. Here is an out-of-date photo of me.

Famous Hat

Please Vote for Sylvia!

Please vote for Sylvia as the Cutest Pet in Town!

Famous Hat

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Fish Fiction 6

I am very tired today, after going to a salsa concert last night with A-Fooze. Not that I'm saying my life is more exciting than yours, just saying I am happy to let Arphaxad blog today. Here is the next part of her story.

As I biked across the ocean floor, I felt some fear as larger fish swam by, and of course quite a bit of loneliness. I said a quick prayer to the Great Carp for a travel companion or two, and He replied with His usual sense of humor. I had not been biking three days when two fish on expensive new Boethius bikes pulled up alongside me. Glancing at their shiny bikes and shiny scales, I guessed they were the type of fish who were born with a silver hook in their mouths. This impression was further reinforced when they introduced themselves as Ardsley and Allery. Only sickeningly rich fish families bestow their hatchlings with such names.

“Where are you going?” Ardsley asked me.

“I’m biking across the ocean to Venice,” I replied. “They say its streets are made of water.”

“How droll!” Allery exclaimed. “We’re biking across the ocean too. Perhaps we will join you.”

What could I say? Maybe I should have been more specific when praying for companions. I imagined Ardsley and Allery would be shocked – shocked! – by how rough life was in the deep ocean. Why, the coral reefs weren’t even swept! On the other hand, at least they were company, and if they had access to unlimited trust funds, I might be able to borrow some money from them. I wasn’t sure how long my own meager funds would hold out.

“Where are you two heading?” I asked them, more to be companionable than because I actually cared about the answer.

“Why, it sounds as if we are heading to Venice,” Ardsley replied. “I hear the streets there are made of water.”

“It sounds quite droll,” Allery added. “Streets of water!”

“Vivaldi is from there as well,” I added lamely.

“Yes, of course,” said Ardsley. “Vivaldi. Quite right.”

“How droll!” Allery added.

“To Venice!” said Ardsley, and Allery echoed, “To Venice!”

I wasn’t sure how to take these two filthy rich fish who were treating my personal pilgrimage like some kind of lark. Would they get tired partway and turn back? Or would they actually have what it took to bike across the entire ocean? Then again, I did not yet know if I had what it took. It looked as if we were in this adventure together, whether I liked it or not.

Famous Hat

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Meeting Minutes

Sorry - it was a VERY busy day today. I was in meetings practically all day, even during what is *supposed* to be my lunch time. Just to prove it, I am posting the minutes I took during the Education Committee meeting, with incriminating evidence removed to protect the guilty.

Isn't that informative? We were in the tropics with live music, just a few clouds, and a unicorn. It was so sunny that the sun had to wear shades! Then a spider came along. The End. Don't you wish you had such interesting meetings to take notes for? This is what happens when a person doesn't get enough caffeine. Remember, friends don't let friends take notes while not under the influence of coffee! You can see the ugly results for yourself.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I Had a Dream

Last night I discovered that this whole plan to buy grains and grind them in my coffee grinder is a lot better in theory than in practice. My bread machine had trouble stirring the heavy chunks of grain, and the dough never really rose. Plus it is very crumbly. I had to eat my sandwich with a spoon today!

I realized the bread was probably going to turn out weirdly, but what can you do at that point, other than go to a bluegrass jam session? I brought my mountain dulcimer Bubba Sue, since it was a "beginner" jam session and I don't really know how to play ol' BS. In fact, the only thing I had to use for a slide was the rabbits' hairbrush, since it has a round wooden handle. To my surprise, the jam was very crowded last night, and besides the usual guitars, fiddles, banjos, and mandos, there was a guy playing a horn, and he was good! I sat by a couple of older ladies who were fascinated by Bubba Sue and who told me I had a very lovely voice. I was kind of on the edge of things, so only halfway through did I realize the guy blowing the horn was someone who used to sing in a choir with me, and I had a little crush on him at that time. Then - it gets better - after the jam it turned out the older ladies who adored me so much were his mother and her friend! (Talk about making a good impression on your future mother-in-law!) And since the place was so crowded, nobody could really hear how atrocious Bubba Sue and I were.

But do you think I had dreams about that wonderful jam last night? No, of course I dreamed about my less-than-successful attempt to bake bread. Guess I'll be going back to using flour from the supermarket.

Here are some more totally awesome pix from Palm Tree Fan's trip to Arizona. She was bored in the car, so she took a picture of the mountains reflected in the rearview mirror:

Then she took what might the coolest photo I have ever seen in my life, of her car reflected in the back of a tanker truck:

And this has got to be the biggest saguaro cactus I have ever seen! If it takes 100 years for them to grow each arm, how old is this thing??? And do you suppose all the junior saguaros around it are jealous? They don't even have any arms yet!

Famous Hat