Wednesday, September 30, 2009


First, a word to those who cannot fathom my fondness for hip hop, because you think I should have either moral or aesthetic objections: BASS. (Especially now that Hardingfele has shown me how to crank the bass in my car! Erin Caitlyn O'Honda has some excellent speakers!) I can understand moral objections, but really, is it any worse than most rock music? (Rock Star Tailor informed me yesterday that my favorite song, "Ice Cream Paint Job" by Dorrough, is the #1 video on the video request channel. This makes me feel like my tastes are hopelessly populist, but what moral objection can you have to a song about how great the guy's car is?) The aesthetic argument is beyond me; where in the rulebook does it say someone who loves (and I mean LOVES) baroque music cannot also love hip hop? Was it Statute 21.3.6a?

Mr. Obi Jerry sent me the following email:

Attn My Dear
I cashed the check of one Million five hundred thousand USA Dollars due to expiry and deposited it with FEDEX Courier Benin Branch,so contact the Director Rev.Goodluck mika Email:( )I have paid them for the delivery, the only money you will pay is $185 being the security fee to enable them deliver the parcel to your given address. Reconfirm your info to them and also ask the director to issue the tracking/airway bill once you send them the feeyour full nameYour home addressMobile numberUpdate me once you receive your package,
Mr Obi Jerry

How generous that he is sending me $1.5 million I didn't even ask for - and for the low, low price of $185! - but then I am his dear, and he regards me.

This guy regards me too, now that the indigene from my country has lost his live:

Good Day
I am Barrister. David Roland, Solicitor and Personal Attorney to Mr. Dennis, an indigene of your country who used to work as a Contractor with Diamond Melting & Mineral Exporting company, Pretoria, South Africa.

On the 21st of April 2000, my client was involved in a car accident along the Pretoria inter state High way unfortunately, he lost his live in the event of the accident,this has prompted me to contact you, I have made several inquiries to locate any of my clients extended relatives and this has proved unsuccessful. I decided to contact you to assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the firm where these huge deposits were lodged. Particularly, the security firm where the deceased had a deposit valued at about $100.5 Million USD (Hundred.five Million USA Dollars).

Consequently, the Security Company issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the deposit declared recovered treasure and diverted to the company recovered funds/reserve.

Since I have been unsuccessful to locate the relatives for some years now, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you are the same country that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you for both of us to share the money; 60% to me and 35% to you, 5% to charity. I have all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up the claim. I will provide you with more information on this as we progress.

All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through.

Best regards,
Mr David Roland

How thoughtful! He even wants to give some to charity! But as always, Hardingfele still gets the very best spam. For example, did you know you can now get your advanced degree via phone? It's true! See the following:

BECAUSE YOU DESERVE IT! Is your lack of a degree holding you back from career advancement? Are you having difficulty finding employment in your field of interest because you don’t have the paper to back it up – even though you are qualified? If you are looking for a fast and effective solution, we can help! Call us right now for your customized diploma: Inside U.SA.: 1-800-YOU-SCAM Outside U.S.A.: +1-718-YOU-SCAM. Just leave your NAME & TEL. PHONE # (with country-code) on the voicemail and one of our staff members will get back to you promptly!

Wow! Why did we spend all that time and money going to school?

Famous Hat

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sorry, that Bridge is Burned

Both Hardingfele and the fearless leader of our band have received the most unbelievable thing: a friend request on MyFace from Bridge Burner! (She sent me one too, but she never had a fight with me.) Oddly, her MyFace profile seems to imply that she is still a member of our band. Hardingfele is so incensed that she wrote her the following letter:

Dear Bridge Burner
You have now sent Hardingfele and Band Founder several emails and myface friend requests. I think you have confused a friend with an enemy. You do not insult a friend with profanity, not apologize and then quit their band. You do not call someone a friend when they argue with you about your cat and then threaten to call animal control to come and seize the animal from your premises. These people are your enemies, not your friends. They don’t want to be your friends or your bandmates. Is it so hard to process?

Don't ask me why she wrote it half in the third person and half in the first person. Maybe that's how they talk in Hardingfele's native language.

Sadly, it is now so cold that Plant World had to move back inside last night. The rabbits seemed confused, but not displeased, at the reappearance of all those plants. I recently moved their house back into the furthest corner of my living room, and instead of being annoyed by the chance, they seem pleased with it. Either they are getting more easygoing or I am finally making changes they actually approve of.

Sylvia is still living in the little igloo she somehow made out of a towel without benefit of opposable thumbs. The other day something fell on her igloo, and I panicked that she had been flattened, but somehow she must have known it was going to happen, because she was not inside. Any other time I go into the kitchen, she is in there, hissing at me. "How dare you use my kitchen! Oh... you're getting me some food? Never mind. Pretend like I didn't hiss at you."

Famous Hat

Monday, September 28, 2009

Silent Movies in Russian

Antoshka has now gone back to Ukraine for good. No, really. Quit laughing. Just to show how sincere he is about this, he has left all his furniture for Richard Bonomo to use... until he comes back. He is shipping one of his two cars over there to be with him and leaving the other one here. Do I understand? Let me put it this way: this is the guy who asked if we wanted to watch a movie in Russian on the internet. We said sure, and he said it was a Charlie Chaplin movie, then he seemed confused when we all laughed at him. Seriously, how do you watch a SILENT movie in Russian? I'll tell you - the ads on the side are in Russian, the dialogue cards in English are not translated into Russian, but a male voice would solemnly intone them... in Spanish. What the hey? But that's par for the course for Antoshka.

He is starting a business in Ukraine. What sort of business, you might ask, and I would say why should I tell you so you can go over and compete with him? Obviously he plans to be successful enough to buy new furniture but not enough to buy a new car, judging by what he took back with him. (He also shipped his mother back over, if that gives you any idea.) He left me a small teapot with two tiny cups, so I can think of him whenever I drink tea. Anyway, now I have a second teapot, besides the one my Archirritant gave me years ago that looks like a demented English cottage with two tiny demented cottage cups. Then again, nothing can compare to the teapot a Polish guy used to have, which looked like a two-headed goose. One head was the spout and the other was tucked under its wing. I remember a bunch of us sitting around at his house one day, having a deep theological discussion, and a priest was saying something about how Plato's "Cave Allergory" is a metaphor for the human soul and not a Socialist state as he poured himself a cup of tea from the two-headed goose. The juxtaposition of the profound discussion and ridiculous teapot was too much for me, and I began laughing hysterically, but nobody else was all that amused. I guess they are immune to the absurdity of two-headed goose teapots.

Famous Hat

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Official Chipmunk Letter

The other day Hardingfele rescued a three-fourths dead chipmunk from one of her cats, and the little creature thanked her by biting her and running away. She then called the Public Health Department and was informed that rodents do not generally carry rabies. She thought the matter was concluded until receiving the following letter in the mail:

Hardingfele does not remember anyone making a concerted effort to find the offending chipmunk, as it does not have any distinctive characteristics. (Unlike, say, the unfortunate squirrel in her neighborhood with half its tail missing, perhaps also courtesy of her cats.) She does say it gives her a warm, fuzzy feeling that our officials are using our tax money to make a concerted effort to find such public menaces as this incredibly dangerous chipmunk.

Famous Hat

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Fish Fiction 3

Arphaxad is back with the third installment of her story.

The Flounder was the best-looking fish I had ever set eyes on. When we first met, he was still quite young, and his eyes were not yet on the same side of his head. I refused to believe my friends when they told me he would end up that way; I imagined that they were all sick with envy, but now I realize they were pitying me for my delusions. How could I not have seen he was nothing but a bottom feeder? They say love is blind, and I offer myself as living proof.

The Flounder would come and go, dividing his time between me and who knows how many other fish, but there was a particular one who was his favorite. (At the time I believed myself to be his Other Favorite, but more likely I was his Nothing Better to Do at the Moment.) Every time I thought he was gone for good, life lost all meaning until he would return again. Finally my friends told me to get over him after he had been gone for months, and I resolved to find another fish to love.

And so the parade of fish began. I would meet one fish, just to discover he was an eel; the next would be a barracuda in disguise. There were the harmless but boring little gobies, and the handsome flying fish who leapt away into the sky. I gave my heart to a few, and sent the others on their way, but I didn’t waste many tears over any of them. I was still madly in love with the Flounder.

Looking back on the whole thing now, I can see that his view was already becoming one-sided during the time I knew him. What he must be like now, I do not even care to imagine. When he returned to me that last time, I was shocked by how close together his eyes were. Could everyone be right, and he really was just a Flounder? But I gave myself to him anyway, fins, heart, and soul. When he finally left me for good to be with the Other Fish, I was certain my life had ended. But instead it had just begun.

Famous Hat

Thursday, September 24, 2009

OPPW Update

Sorry for the lack of blogging the last few days. I had a huge deadline at work.

My coworker whose plants are featured in the post "Other People's Plant Worlds" had some good news - her epiphyllum cactus bloomed! (Mine grew like a weed this summer, but no blooms yet.) She sent me some pictures of the flower and her entire plant world, full of blooming orchids, and said I could post them here.

The Bud Starts to Open

Fully Opened Flower

Close-Up of Flower

Coworker's Plant World
Famous Hat

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ode to the Willy Street Fair

(Sung to the tune of "I Went to the Animal Fair")

I went to the Willy Street Fair,
I met my friend Mama Step there.
The local folk dancers and all sorts of prancers
Were dancing around in a square.
They danced to a klezmer band,
Doing fancy steps hand-in-hand,
Wearing wigs and wings and outrageous things
In colors both bold and bland.
And then someone caught my eye:
The daughter of Denii.
So we wandered around and many things found
She, Mama Step, and I.
We ate lots of organic food
And it tasted really good
And, never fear, there was plenty of beer
In that crazy neighborhood.
A tuba blew bubbles in the air,
Loud bands were playing everywhere,
Alternative news, temporary tattoos,
And all of the trade was fair.
I took a chance and spun
The Pet Shelter Wheel of Fun,
And to my surprise they had just one prize
Of rabbit treats, which I won.
Later who should pass by
But a pink rabbit six feet high!
I said to him, “Sir, I have rabbit treats here,”
But he didn’t bat an eye.
So next year don’t be a square –
Stop by the Willy Street Fair!
Some folks even came just to watch the game:
There’s something for everyone there!

Famous Hat

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Fish Fiction 2

By popular demand of my two most faithful readers, here is the second part of Arphaxad's story:

My parents were very pious fish who did not believe in eating their eggs – I was one of six hundred siblings – and they had each of us emerged right after we hatched. I dutifully learned all my prayers (the Hail Marlin, the Our Fish, and the Piscine Creed), the names of all twelve Albacores, and the doctrine of the Holy Trinity: Great Carp, Son of Carp, and Holy Current. I always wore a drying rack with a corpus carpi on it because the Son of Carp had allowed himself to be lifted up on a drying rack to dry away our sins, and I prayed for the souls of the fish in the Marsh, that they would soon be welcomed into the Sea of Stars. The angelfish who taught me in my youth assumed I would someday grow up to be an angelfish too, but I secretly wanted to be a manta. However, only boy fish could be mantas.

We were not terribly wealthy; Mother said there was some koi on her side of the family, but Father’s fish were just poor carp from the other side of river who came over during the Algae Famine. Still, we always had enough. I had a happy fryhood, playing with all the other small fry in our lake, being taught by the angelfish during the week, and going to the reef on Sundays. I told my parents that I wanted to go to Venice someday, but they figured this was just a fingerling dream that I would soon outgrow.

“Isn’t Venice near where the Polycarp lives?” I wondered. “Then I could go see the Polycarp AND Venice!” (There have been many fish called Polycarp; the first one was the head Albacore.)

Mother and Father just smiled indulgently and said yes, maybe someday I could go visit Venice and see the Polycarp too, but not while I was such a small fish.

As time passed, I lost interest in going to the reef. I got my gills pierced and smoked seaweed down by the old mill with the tougher young fish. Any thoughts of being an angelfish left me, but I did still want to visit Venice. However, my father said young fish belonged in schools, not off swimming across the ocean, and although I argued that I was now full grown, he was not persuaded. Off to a school I went, and my dreams of visiting Venice would have to wait until I returned with a degree in fin.

Famous Hat

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Questions to Ponder

Today I have some questions to ponder:

Two nights ago, when I went to clean up the little wasp corpses littering my balcony, there were still some live wasps buzzing around so I waited until last night. (The wasp poison did say it could take up to 48 hours for all of them to die.) Last night there were NO WASP BODIES on my balcony! Where did they go? Did they just blow away in the wind, or did the live wasps collect them? Do they know one another by name? Maybe even now they are looking over the carnage and wondering, where are Joanie and Imelda? They followed that big, nasty thing back into the other big, nasty thing's nest and were never seen again. (Wasps, if you are reading this, Joanie and Imelda are down the sink.)

If the First Person of the Holy Trinity is named Yahweh and the Second Person is named Yeshua, then what the heck is the name of the Third Person? Surely He has a name too, and not just a title (Holy Spirit). And would it also start with a Y?

Is there a special spot in Hell for those people who, when the bus is so full that people are standing in the aisles, insist on taking up an entire two-person seat themselves? And is it the same spot reserved for those "late mergers" during road construction?

Pulmonary mascots: are they EVER a good idea???

Meet Larry the Lung
Famous Hat

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bird Lips and Popcorn Lungs: Spamtastic!

Today, by popular demand of absolutely nobody, I am presenting more spam. First is some spam I got saying someone was now following me on Twitter. Since a friend and I did Twitter for exactly one day, I figured this was nothing important, but I did check out the mystifying yet poetic profile of the person who was now supposedly following me:

i mean bird lips. it be a long story. just waiting for this printer to print so i can go to b http://blahblah

Really! She means it! Bird lips! But it be a long story so I won't explain it right now.

As always, Hardingfele gets the weirdest spam, like the following (an actual medical condition):

Popcorn Lung can be caused by exposure to Diacetyl

Butter Flavoring Chemical Diacetyl has been linked to serious respiratory injuries!

Injuries from Diacetyl side effects include:
- Popcorn Lung
- Bronciolitis Obliterans
- Restrictive Airway Disease
- Diacetyl Induced Bronchiolitis Obliterans
- Fibrotic Lungs

Symptoms of Diacetyl side effects include: Trouble breathing
- Asthma
- Chronic Bronchitis
- Emphysema
- Pneumonia

Find out more facts!

And she was also offered a COMPLIMINTARY Obama bobbble-head doll (now with an extra B for your bobbbling satisfaction):

I have been browsing crai gs list for 5 years and I mostly find it fun to hear what others think about politics. Let me cut to the main point would you re-elect barack? I put in my vote here and received a complimintary bobbble head lol...

My office mate thought it was funny that this was her horoscope, since everyone else here at work is super busy and grumpy:

There is a lot of tension in the air today, dear Scorpio. It is not just your home environment that is affected. Everyone you run into on your round of errands seems grumpy and out of sorts. You will be happiest if you spend much of today indoors, in solitude. Books and videos don't honk their horn at you and curse your driving ability. Who needs the aggravation that days such as today can bring? Buy a trashy novel, or rent a good, long movie, and enjoy a day free from other people's bad moods.

But she thought mine was ironic, considering that I told her I took the bus instead of biking this morning because of my lack of energy:

You feel invincible, dear Capricorn, as though there's nothing that you can't do. Enjoy this high level of energy for certainly it is unusual for you. However, take care not to overdo it. If you haven't jogged for a year, going out and running five miles today will leave you bedridden tomorrow. Similarly, don't set out to accomplish all your household repairs in one day. Remember that slow and steady wins the race and keeps you in shape for the long haul!

Yeah, I'll try to keep all that extra energy in check. Woo hoo.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wasp Wars: The Final Battle (?)

Last night Rich came over with a mosquito-net hat, heavy gloves, and thick clothing to douse the yellow jackets on my balcony with the wasp poison I had purchased earlier that afternoon. They came flying out at him, but the netting protected his face, and he almost got away without any stings. (I had wanted to come out with a weapon to cover his back, but he told me to stay inside.) He brushed all the yellow jackets off of himself - or so it seemed - and came back into the house, but one I hadn't seen during the pre-entry inspection stung him on the elbow. It buzzed around my house after him, completely ignoring me. I was surprised at its memory and tenacity, that it would think of Rich and only Rich as the enemy. He swatted it with one of my word game puzzle magazines, and then we washed it down the sink. On the edge of the sink, to my surprise, I found a second one lying in a daze, possibly from the poison. I am still in awe of their intelligence, that two of them could hide somewhere on his person!

This morning I saw a dozen or so small bodies on my balcony, and I didn't feel any joy, just a grim satisfaction. Then I saw a couple of sad, confused wasps flying around, and suddenly I felt very sorry for them. They invaded my homeland, attacked me without provocation, and refused to reach a peace agreement, but they were clever and valiant adversaries that I had to admire. This must be why they don't let woman fight in wars. We're too sympathetic.

Anyway, it's true what they say: war is hell.

Famous Hat

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lap Dogs and Bling Pens and Asian Lanterns

The bad news: this morning the yellow jackets were buzzing around on my balcony as if nothing had happened yesterday. The good news: I got a new pen - a BLING pen!

Figure 1: Like a Rhinestone Ballpoint

Also, my office mate sent me my horoscope today. Neither of us really understood what it meant, but it sounds pretty good:

If you play your cards right, dear Capricorn, you just might be able to turn what you're picking up psychically from the higher planes into exalted artistic efforts. The emotions and images flowing into your brain might be somewhat obscure, but they're significant in some way. Whether you write, play music, dance, or paint, you could be blown away by your own work. Whatever your materials, get them out, and memorialize your inspiration. Tomorrow you'll be glad you did!

Looks like I'll be using that bling pen tonight to turn my obscure images from the higher planes into memorialized inspirations, if I play my cards right. Think I'll lead with a Seven of Clubs. What was trump again?

Speaking of people who actually have artistic talents, Palm Tree Fan sent me a close-up shot of the Asian lanterns. (She said she looked it up online, and they are called both Chinese and Japanese lanterns, so we are both right.)

Figure 2: Asian Lanterns

And here is a picture she took of her "puppy" Leo attempting to be a lap dog. It looks like her husband is tickling him! Wonder what his horoscope said today? "Leo: stretch your boundaries. Don't let them tell you that you can't do it! But be prepared for the unexpected."

Figure 3: Laughing Leo
Famous Hat

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wasp Wars: The Battle of WD40

This weekend I drove to the East Coast of this state for the continuation of Tiffy's birthweek celebration. Friday night we had sushi, and for her Birthday Dinner Part II on Saturday night we went to a steak place, and my filet mignon was so rare it was practically still chewing its cud. That's more raw meat than I've eaten in eons! (Then again, I'm not generally much of a meat eater.) We made up for it at lunchtime on Saturday: Soul Food! Deep fried catfish, deep fried okra, deep fried sweet potato fries, and healthy collard greens... with tons of salt and fatback! Oh yeah! Tiffy had to go to Pittsburgh for an audit today ("Hey," she said, "at least it's not New Jersey!") so I drove home late last night. I could get the blazin' hip hop station from the closest big city, and DJ O was playing an old school mix that was hip hop heaven!

DJ O, I don't know you, but I have only one thing to say to you: Shorty wanna roll in yoe ride wid dat ice cream paint job.

Today Richard Bonomo, Kathbert, Antoshka and I went for a hike, and on the way back Kathbert told me a hip hop story: she was walking down the street when a young black guy drove by in a car going "boom." A white woman was standing on the other side of the street with her baby girl, and the little girl was bouncing up and down to the beat. The guy looked at Kathbert and said, "Dat baby be jivin'!"

Then Rich came to my house and unleashed some WD40 in the yellow jackets' nest while I sprayed them with bug poison. There was one casualty on our side (Rich got stung on the finger) and I saw four or five wasps drowned in the bleached sugar water, but the other wasps didn't seem any worse for wear. They flew around in a big, angry swarm, and we ran back inside and watched them from behind the safety of the screen door, but alas, they did not suddenly fall out of the air. Rich said it would take awhile for the poison to affect them, so right now I am at his house blogging. We'll see if this was the final, decisive battle or just the start of the war....

Good news for Arphaxad: both my faithful readers have weighed in and want to hear more of her story, so I will be letting her blog every Friday until either she gets sick of it, or you do.

Famous Hat

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Fish Fiction

Since my dracaena got to post its writing on my blog, now Arphaxad wants a chance to do the same. I told her I would put the first chapter of her story on the blog, and if people like it, then I will let her write more. So here it is. (I don't know if it has a title.)

I was such a little fish when I first heard the music. I was swimming down the St. Lawrence Seaway, past a French Canadian metropolis, when the music reached out and drew me into a drainage pipe. On and on I swam, into smaller and smaller pipes, always following the music, until I suddenly emerged into a white porcelain bowl.

The music was so beautiful, I would have cried if I weren’t a fish.

“Look!” said a voice above me. “There’s a fish in the toilet!”

“Looks like some species of carp,” said another voice. I looked up and saw two bright orange fish with gauzy, swirling tails swimming about in a bowl on the windowsill above me.

“Hello,” I said. “Please forgive my intrusion, but I just wanted to hear the music. Isn’t it magnificent?”

“The music?” said one orange fish. “It’s Vivaldi.”

“They say he came from a faraway place called Venice,” added the other orange fish. “They say its streets are made of water.”

I resolved, right there in that lovely white bowl, that I must see this Venice for myself. It must have been a beautiful city indeed to have inspired such wondrous music, and with its legendary streets of water, it was a city such as a fish could only dream about. Could it really exist?

Just then a Quebecois dashed into the room. Spying me, he cried,

Qu’est-ce que c’est? Un poisson dans la toilette?” and flushed me back down the drain.

Famous Hat

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Birthday Present Ideas... from Spam!

Today is not Tiffy's birthday, but Hardingfele received yet more spam with something for the woman who has everything: Vacuum force technology to cleanly squeeze toothpaste! Because we all know what a downer dirty squeezing is. (Though in my case it's been awhile so I only have fuzzy memories.)

Figure 1: Vacuum force technology to cleanly squeeze toothpaste!

In case you do not have enough money to buy this contraption (only $19.99 as seen on TV!), you could utilize this response Hardingfele got to her stolen bike post:

I came across your post on craigslist and I just wanted to tell you about my sucess story on how I was able to easily make money online. I found this website http://blahblahblah that showed me from start to finish all the techniques to making money online. Its so easy i have my mother doing the same thing and after two days shes made over 600 dollars. This is no gimmick or any get rich quick scheme its an honest, easy way to make money and i encourage you to try it, take two minutes of your time to change for your life forever.

Wow! What that has to do with a stolen bike is beyond both of us, but doesn't it sound like a terrific opportunity? Don't bother checking out that website, though - I have modified it so that only Hardingfele and I can be in on this sweeeeeet deal.

Here is another entirely appropriate gift for anyone with a birthday this time of year:

Figure 2: Tell Me Something I Don't Already Know

This is some kind of CD, but the music on it is neither salsa nor George Clinton, so I have no idea what any of it is. White People music, I think. (I have always maintained that White People Music after 1750 is no damn good - this only means music in White People style, not by people who happen to be white, so Led Zeppelin is good music since everyone knows they stole everything from delta blusemen anyway. Also, folk music like Irish stuff is exempt from the White People Music curse.) Why all Virgos are mad, I couldn't tell you, nor whether they mean "angry" or "crazy," but I'm guessing the second one. (Except for you, of course, Tiffy, if you happen to be reading this.)

In three years Hardingfele will be getting a TREMENDOUS surprise for her birthday, at least according to the Mayan calendar, Nostradamus, the ancient Egyptians, the Freemasons, and lots of other reliable people, according to some TV show I saw the other night. (No, I still do not own a TV - nor do I want one - but I do know people who do.)

And here is something Hardingfele gave me, for no particular reason. I have to say that whoever created this must own rabbits. Maybe Cashmere's twin sister.

Figure 3: You Can't Handle the Truth!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Tiffy!

Today is a most fortuitous day, not only being 09/09/09 but also Tiffy's 29th birthday! So I have to think of something really good to get her. How about:

* un beso from Ricky Martin (the Party Boat guy, not the singer)?
* a passive-aggressive trip up the Space Needle with P__ the Priest?
* dinner at the Nawth Babylon Clam and Fish Restaurant and Clam Shack?
* a makeup bag with an adorable little handgun in it?
* a funny bike lock?
* a tour of Marie Laveau's grave courtesy of a crazy voodoo guy?
* a hat just like Zorro's?
* the Requiem Box set?
* 99 bananas?
* Be Amish beer?
* a discount birthday cake?

I just don't know what to give the woman who has everything... Wait, I have an idea! How about a lovely cruise? This is yet another piece of spam from Hardingfele. (Note the continuation of the "music spam" theme.)

Polka News!

We are inviting Polka Clubs, dancers, and enthusiasts from all across the country to join us on a Singing, Dancing, Polka Party Cruise. We hope you'll be there too!

· January 9th-16th, 2010
· 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Itinerary
· Departing from Ft. Lauderdale
· Sailing aboard MSC Poescia

The Polka Cruise will feature dance lessons, a private cocktail party for our group, and Two Great Polka Bands to keep you dance'n and sway'n all week long!

· Joe Stanky and the Cadets have been performing classic polka sounds for more than 25 years. The group features a range of styles, including honky, country, and Slovenian with both English and Polish vocals.

· John Stevens DoubleShot is a popular Pennsylvania-based group which plays contemporary rhythms at numerous festivals throughout the country.

We have staterooms available from only $549 per person. Don't miss the fun!

We hope to see you on-board!

Got your bags packed, Tiffy? Don't forget your polka shoes!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fishing for Lanterns with Spam

I hope everyone had a fabulous Labor Day. As you can see, I took the day off from blogging. I wasn't expecting to get to go on the boat yet one last time, but Tiffy's fishing-mad nephew really wanted to go trolling, so yesterday we all piled onto the boat again and trolled with no success. Back on the dock we saw a very large brown trout, and the nephew almost caught it. We were all cheering him on, although I did feel a little like I was betraying Arphaxad and Amminadab. Anyway, the trout looked at the lure with some interest but then decided he didn't like it and swam away. Maybe my Archirritant is right and they really are smarter than dogs! A woman walking a little white dog passed by on the dock and said, "Nice hat!" but I get that a lot with the Sea Foam Rice Paddy Hat.

Then Tiffy and I drove back to my town and met Richard Bonomo for dinner at Barnacle Bob's. Poor Tiffy had another two hours to drive, to the East Coast of this state, but I went right home, reintroduced myself to the bunnies, and fell into bed.

And here is another picture from Palm Tree Fan. She thinks these are called Japanese Lanterns, and I had thought they were called Chinese Lanterns, but whichever way, they are very cool.

Some Kind of Asian Lanterns

And of course Hardingfele, who gets ALL the best spam, sent me the following. It has nothing to do with musical instruments, like her Bagpipe Spam (which she got again today) or her Banjo Spam; no, this is a response to a post she put on an internet site. Someone stole her hubby's bicycle right out of their yard, so she posted this about it in case anyone saw it:

Giant Eddie Bauer Edition Mountain Bike, 21 speed, Model 606.1 GL, 19" frame, stolen from our yard Sat afternoon, August 8, 2009 in the Spring Harbor Neighborhood. It is metallic blue, metallic green. Reward if found, please call Hardingfele.

This is the response she got:

Subject: ***Concerning Your Bike Posted For Sale...***


Good morning to you and happy new week,i am higherly interested in purchasing your Bike posted for sale on the craigslist, so kindly get back to me with your last price,your location and the present condition,i live in New York,but for the shipment,you do not need to bother yourself about it,i will arrange for the pick up myself

We will be waiting asap for your quickest response.

Jack Tom

Hardingfele is not sure how Jack Tom plans to arrange for the pick up of a bike she no longer possesses, so she did not get back to him with her quickest response to let him know its last price, its location (unknown) and its present condition (stolen). I am just jealous that she gets multiple thanks, since (as you may remember from the spam I got) I only merit one thank.

Happy New Week, everyone!

Famous Hat

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Day of Islands and Drums

Today we did go out in the boat again. Yay! We went to Madeline Island, which had a total Key West vibe going on today. (The only other time I was out there, it had more of a spooky vibe, like you were right in front of a portal to another dimension.) The weird portal seemed to be closed today, maybe because of all the sunbaked tourists. There were all sorts of little shops and stands selling "island goods" and some place called Tom's Burned Down Tavern, which was the burned-out shell of a building. Inside there was still a functional bar, and there were boards with pithy sayings painted on them posted all over.

On the way back from the island we trolled for fish. We didn't get anything, but it was hypnotic to watch the tops of the rods nodding as if they were fighting to stay awake. Anyway, it was such a beautiful day that actually catching a fish was sort of beside the point. As I have mentioned, my people were island people, and I am happiest on the water. (Of course, since the islands in question are England and Ireland, I have no pigmentation to speak of, which is why I had to wear Sea Foam Rice Paddy Hat.) At Tom's Burned Down Tavern, a woman raved about the SFRPH, so Tiffy's father said I should have sold it to her for a profit. (I have no need to sell it for a prophet; I've been dreading winter and then the Farmer's Almanac said this week it will be an AWFUL one, so my Celtic Second Sight still seems to be working.)

Then tonight we went to a big tent and watched a couple of bands. One was a traditional Irish music band, and they were really good. The other band was really loud. They played all kinds of Irish drums, including one Tiffy said could be Paul Bunyan's drum. They started the show by rubbing something on the head of Paul Bunyan's drum, which was a sound as delightful as metal scraping a chalkboard, and later they played it with whips, which was REALLY LOUD. Afterwards Tiffy's mother asked us what we thought of the show, and I replied, "What? I can't hear you!" (Which wasn't far from the truth. I think my ears are still ringing!) One member of the band played an African drum, which was no more random than any of the rest of it, although it made me want to dance the guaguanco more than an Irish jig. Not that a casual observer could tell the difference between my attempts at either dance!

See, it just goes to show you can spend a day with islands and drums without ever leaving temperate climes.

Famous Hat

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Stolen: My Boat's Name!

Faithful readers, I apologize for the lack of a post yesterday. It was both Hoodoo Head's birthday AND that of the keyboard player I always want to kill, so I mourned the day by driving to the very top of the state with Tiffy and then taking a moonlight cruise with her, her folks, her brother, and her fishing-obsessed nephew. (I found out Tiffy has another nickname, but she said she would never speak to me again if I reveal it. Anyway, I would have no idea how to spell it.)

This morning we got up early and cruised over to another town for breakfast. It was too windy to wear my Famous Hat on the boat, so I borrowed a hat from Tiffy's mother that looked as if I was channeling Zorro. Then we were walking through the little tourist town and stopped in at the store where Tiffy's second cousin (or first cousin once removed, I'm never clear about that) works, and I bought a sea-foam green rice paddy hat. PERFECT for boating! Tiffy's cousin of whatever degree asked for the address for my blog, so if you are reading this, hi Tish! I said I'd love to have a boat someday and sail around the world, and I would call it the Ethel Mermaid, but Tiffy thought I should call it the Dan Marina, so I said I would ask all three of my faithful readers to vote on the matter. However, as I was to find out later today, it is a moot point because somehow somebody STOLE MY NAME!

I was hoping we could cruise around the Apostle Islands, but they were really shrouded in fog today, so possibly tomorrow we will try to do that. We went out to dinner to celebrate the birthdays of Tiffy and her father, and then afterwards we went to a show called - and I am totally not making this up - Riverpants. And wouldn't you know one of the characters was called Ethel Mermaid! (Besides, for example, "Michael Fatley," the "Lard" of the Dance.) So I will have to come up with some other terrible pun of a name for my hypothetical boat.

Famous Hat

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wasp Wars and Banjo Spam

The Wasp Wars over my balcony have officially begun. After being stung without provocation TWICE in the last few weeks, I have decided the yellow jackets have got to go. Tuesday evening I put icky scented candles and a bowl of sugar water with bleach in it out on my porch (mixed messages, I guess: Go Away vs. Come Drink Some Lovely Poison, but whatever works, right?) and then I watched them. They have thus far ignored the water, and the candles seemed to have little to no effect. I felt as if I were living by a tiny wasp O'Hare as they continuously came and went, taking off and landing, as they went in and out of a hole on the back of my balcony. I started squirting them with water, which annoyed them, but they didn't come over and sting me. (Huh... maybe that smelly mango-and-apple-pie-scented smoke really did work!) Someone suggested WD40, but Hardingfele refuses to aid me in this endeavor, which she has termed "insecticide." In my mind, it's self-defense, since I can no longer sit on my balcony, and the wasps are certainly not helping me pay the mortgage! So they are squatters... STINGING squatters!!!

And now for something completely different - banjo spam! Unlike the bagpipe spam Hardingfele received, which really was about bagpipe gear, this has nothing to do with actual banjos as far as I can tell. It also has no amusing grammatical errors, but it fits with the Totally Random theme of this blog, since what have banjos got to do with fishing? If you know, feel free to tell me in the comments section.

(Too bad I don't own a TV)

Famous Hat

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Medical Reform

There has been a lot of talk about medical reform lately. I work with physicians, and they are constantly getting calls about it. We can probably all agree that the current system leaves a lot to be desired. For example, did you know that the most common surgical procedure in this country has a mortality rate of at least 50%? That's right, more than half of all people involved in an abortion die, half being the babies, and the others being the mothers who sometimes die.

I think anyone who ponders such facts will agree that our current medical system needs reform!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Dark and Stormy Night in the 'Hood

On a dark and stormy night, two chicks drove deep into the 'hood. A-Fooze and I had spent the early evening dancing on the roof to salsa music until we could barely walk: we danced to merengue, bomba, guaguanco, bachata, and cumbia... but if you think I know how to actually do all those dances, I must admit I was just kind of moving to the music. We stopped by A-Fooze's place briefly, and when we left it was suddenly storming so we had to run to my car at Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety, then we drove to a hookah club in the 'hood to meet some of my bandmates. We didn't see any of them, but I did see another friend of mine who told me the belly dancing style was "tribal fusion." The dancer had different props, like a fan, a sword, and flaming things on her fingers that (this was my favorite part of the show) set off the fire alarm. Everyone panicked that the sprinklers would go off, but A-Fooze and I just shrugged since we were already soaked from the storm. When the waitress asked what we thought of the belly dancer, I replied that this was my first time seeing tribal fusion. Later A-Fooze was saying that she loved how I used that phrase like I had any idea what I was talking about, and I said, "Better yet, I didn't even have to give an opinion of the show!"

That was Friday night. Thursday night at Messiah practice I got the best news I'd heard since learning that reggaeton is on the way out: we will be performing with a harpsichord! And NOBODY tunes harpsichords to equal temperament, so it looks like we will be spared that public humiliation at the fronds of my dracaena. Afterwards a bunch of us went to a swanky hotel for drinks, but when I ordered a gin fizz, the waiter said, "They can't make a proper one here. Trust me, I'm from New Orleans!" I believed him, because - other than reggaeton - very little is worse than getting a drink called a "gin fizz" which bears no resemblance to the actual Gin Fizz. However, I had no Plan B so I panicked and ordered a root beer.

Charlie my boy bunny had a fever this weekend, but as he got better, I developed a bad cold. Sunday a bunch of my friends went hiking, but I could barely get out of bed. Yesterday I called in sick to work and sat around having a pity party for myself. Ugh! TWO summer colds in one summer! I tried to get some fresh air on my balcony, but after a few minutes a dozen yellow jackets ascended like tiny helicopters and swarmed around me. One landed right on the top of my head - and stung me!! I ran inside to put some onion on the sting... and the yellow jacket was clinging to my leg! I smacked it and it fell to the floor, stunned. Then I finished it off with my salsa dancing shoe. After that I was a geniune sorehead, on top of being sniffly and sneezy. Fortunately Charlie felt the proper amount of sympathy for me and sat kissing me as I lay on the floor in utter wretched misery. See, this is why I live with rabbits instead of a man.

Famous Hat