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