Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cruisin' on a Sunday Afternoon

Today is the last day of our cruise. Bummer! But we spent the day in true cruise fashion: eating, sleeping, swimming, buying bling, and eating again. We also watched a towel-folding demonstration to see how the housekeepers make those cute little animals they leave on our beds every night. If you want to feel like royalty, take a cruise. If you want to feel sexy, visit Mexico. The men here are so flirtatious!

Here are some important words in Spanish, if you do visit Mexico:

joyeria = jewelry store (see? it even has the word joy right in it!)
cerveza = beer
no = no
damas/mujeres = if you have two X chromosomes, be sure to use the restroom that says this, and not the one that says hombres or caballeros. (Although I maintain that I am only a mujer and not in any way a dama, I still use bathrooms marked with that word.) IMPORTANT: if you have a Y chromosome, do the opposite.

Since I am blogging from the ship, I will wrap this up and hopefully have a recap with loads of photos and maybe even a brief movie or two by Tuesday.

Famous Hat

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fun with a Porpoise

I found a place here in Puerto Vallarta where I could use the internet for an hour for only one dollar! Unfortunately, we have only a few minutes until we get back onto the ship. Today Tiffy and I swam with dolphins. They gave us rides and even kisses! Then we had $25 massages. I love Mexico! It´s a great place for women, with lots of pretty things to look at, like jewelry and scantily clad men: cliff divers, snorkel instructors, dancers in traditional Aztec costumes.

Cruises are fantastic. Here is the average day for Tiffy and me: eat, watch sea creatures, swim, sleep, buy bling, eat, sleep. I could get used to this life. Palm trees! Sun! Ocean! But we only have a few more days, and I only have a few more minutes so I´ll sign off now.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Greetings from Acapulco

I found an internet cafe here that charges $2.00 per 15 minutes, so I have a chance to update my blog and tell all 5.8 of my faithful readers what I am up to.

Yesterday we were at sea all day, and in the morning we saw dolphins playing in the waves beneath our balcony. Later in the day we saw more dolphins, including a mother and baby, and a great big sea turtle swimming beside our ship. I can't complain about the amount of sea life we have seen on this cruise! It has been awesome!

Did you all have fun at work yesterday? At 10 am Tiffy and I sat by the pool and drank mango mai tais while listening to a calypso band. At 2 we went swimming in the saltwater pool. At 7 we watched the tropical sunset. After a delicious dinner and decadent dessert, at 10 we went out and looked up at the stars. I could get used to this life!

Today we went up on deck to watch the sun rise over Acapulco, then we took a boat ride to watch the cliff divers. To my surprise, this is not an ancient tradition but a promotional stunt Hedy Lamarr dreamed up to promote her husband's night club. Fascinating the things you learn on these tours! The cliff divers were quite spectacular, and then they swam over to our boat for some well deserved tips, and then we all had beer and traditional Mexican food. Awesome! Acapulco is incredibly beautiful, with lots of cliffs and palm trees and the turquoise sea.

I did have a bad shock when I tried to purchase something a few minutes ago, and my card was declined! They had put a hold on it because they didn't expect me to be buying things in Mexico, I guess. But we got it all cleared up, so it's all good. I called from the store but couldn't hear a thing, so Tiffy pointed out the pay phone/internet area and I was able to make a collect call to my credit card company AND blog for cheap! I love Mexico!

Famous Hat

Monday, January 25, 2010

Somewhere in the Pacific...

Sorry for the lack of post - the cost of internet connection here on the ship is 55c/minute! What a scam. Anyway, for my faithful readers, I will say the following:

Rich: Yes, I did get to Mass yesterday in Cabo San Lucas. There is no priest onboard the ship (and believe me, they have heard about this!) so next Sunday there isn't much I can do. I was thinking that for such times, Mass in a Bottle would be perfect, but then people would use it if they just wanted to sleep in or whatever. Not as good an idea as my 1-800-CONFESS, the 24/7 confession line, although you said that wouldn't work either because it has to be in person.

Palm Tree Fan: Lots of palm trees!!! Tiffy and I are taking pictures and I will probably get a chance to post them next Monday or Tuesday. Sat under the palm trees today in Mazatlan after swimming in the Pacific. While you were at work.

Hardingfele: Lots of sea creatures here! We went on a whale tour and saw a mama and baby humpback whale - so cute! And an adorable little dolphin swam right by our ship, just below our balcony yesterday, and this evening as the sun set we saw a bunch of dolphins leaping out of the water. Loads of pelicans, and of course sea gulls, and these beautiful big black birds with white throats and long forked tails, I think they might be called frigates...?

Anna Banana II: Today in Mazatlan we saw the highest elevation lighthouse in the world. It was on top of a beautiful, rugged island.

A-Fooze: You are SOOO jealous, aren't you? Guess what? A diamond store has a promotional gimmick where they give you a cheap gold chain and a little charm at every port where they have a store.

If I forgot anyone, sorry! Gotta go now - I've already spent $10 updating this silly blog!

Famous Hat

Friday, January 22, 2010

Safe in San Diego

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday. Here's what I was up to:

I drove to Tiffy's house, then we went down to O'Hare to catch our flight to San Diego. Tiffy had gotten me a window seat and an aisle seat for herself, so she was avidly watching the standby list to make sure nobody would be sitting between us. (Since she travels so much, we got slightly larger seats, not first class but better than the regular ones.) She was very hopeful that nobody would be between us; however, just as we had settled in our seats with my Famous Hat sitting on the empty seat between us, a dark lady with bleached blonde hair burst onto the plane trailed by her middle-aged twin and a preteen boy. She looked at the available seats, told her mother (?) to sit across the aisle in the middle seat, and guessed that two twenteen-something women would be a safe bet for her little boy. She told him in a foreign tongue to sit between us, and I asked in Spanish if he spoke any English, but he replied in English that he was Turkish. However, he was studying Spanish in school, so we sometimes used that to communicate.

I am terrified of takeoff, but I had brought a word game puzzle magazine to distract me, and the boy was fascinated by it. I turned to the sudoku page, since that does not require any grasp of English, and he quickly caught on and helped me solve a puzzle. However, he spent most of the flight sleeping on my shoulder. It was a long, hot, boring flight, although they did show a very interesting documentary on the South Pacific narrated by a man with a British accent, and I found a sort-of hip hop station on the satellite radio. There was quite a bit of turbulence, so we couldn't get out of our seats for most of the flight, and then my ears were in agony during the descent. However, we landed safely in San Diego without crashing at all, in no small part thanks to Jinx the No-Crash Dinosaur, I'm sure. (There is not a scanner here at the hotel, but maybe when I get back to work, I can scan Jinx and post him on this blog.) We got off the plane and immediately saw palm trees, beautiful beautiful palm trees. I hugged one and said to Tiffy, "Look! I'm a tree hugger!" Then we found the shuttle to our hotel.

Tiffy and I were the first ones in the shuttle, so we asked the driver if we should sit in the back seats, but he said no, since we were prompt, we could make the others sit in back. Then a foreign woman in a fuzzy red jacket sat shotgun, and an elderly couple arrived so we had to move back anyway. The lady turned to me and said, "Thank you girls for moving," but for one surreal moment I thought she said, "I saw you in the movie." THAT would have been bizarre! Sure, I was wearing my Famous Hat, but that's kind of a joke. How many people have actually watched my videos on YouTube?

The foreign woman in the fuzzy red jacket was, oddly enough, from Georgia. Yes, that Georgia, halfway around the world. (See my previous post.) She was here on business, but her company had only reserved the room and not paid for it, and she didn't have a credit card with her. (For some reason she thought Georgian credit cards would not work in the US.) She asked if she could pay cash for her first night, but they said no, she had to get them a credit card number. Of course it was like four in the morning in Georgia, so I'm not sure how exactly they expected her to do this. I was on the verge of letting her crash in our room, and Tiffy was on the verge of paying for her room herself, but we felt a little weird to be so forward with a stranger, so we just wished her good luck. Hey, I just saw her walking through the parking lot, so everything must have worked out for her. How funny that she walked by as I was writing about her!

This morning I couldn't stand it any longer and got out of bed at 6:30, since that's 8:30 in my world. (I will adjust soon enough.) It is a cool, rainy morning here in San Diego, and I walked around a little and found a convenience store that sells aloe cream and sun screen, since you can't bring more than 3 ounces of liquid on the plane. As far as I know, Tiffy is still asleep. And now I will play ePlush, since nobody is waiting for the computer.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Famous Hat Joint: Goin' Down to Georgia

Here I am singing a blues song about Georgia in my contralto range.

If this video is not working, you can go to YouTube:

Famous Hat

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It Takes a (Cardboard) Village

I am really busy today, so in lieu of a long, wordy post I am putting up this adorable little cardboard village I scanned. Where did this come from? I have no idea. It just showed up in my possessions one day. It's completely useless, but it's 3-D!

Famous Hat

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Three Rich Stories

Here are three true stories about Rich:

The Mystical Bond

One day Rich was walking down the street when a neighbor he didn't know very well stopped him and asked, "Are you an Aquarius?"

"Yes, I am," said Rich.

"There's a bond between us," she told him.

"That's true," said Rich, and he kept walking. When I asked if he wasn't curious what this bond was she was referring to, he said no but he was referring to the fact that they were both members of the Mystical Body of Christ.

Overhead Projector Parts

Once Rich dropped an overhead projector, and part of it broke. As he was walking down the street wondering where he could find the part he needed for the overhead projector, he saw Mr. Icon approaching him, holding a bag. Rich greeted him, and Mr. Icon held the bag out to him and asked if, by any chance, he needed some overhead projector parts.

"Why, yes, I do!" said Rich, looking into the bad. And there was the very part he needed!

The Nuclear Bomb

One night Rich was biking on a narrow, tree-lined street up a steep hill when he saw something shocking in front of him: an enormous nuclear mushroom cloud! Rich was very shocked, but instead of wondering where he should hide, he thought to himself, "They finally launched a nuclear weapon! But what could they be bombing over there? There's nothing in that direction!" And then he realized there was a car approaching behind him, and what he was seeing was its headlights lighting up the trees that hung over the street.

Famous Hat

Friday, January 15, 2010

Toilet in the Sky

As my regular readers know, Rich loves his new house because it has a bidet. Now all members of the human race with a Y chromosome seem to have a real affection for indoor plumbing, but Rich's love of the bathroom is legendary. (In college his roommates put a sign on the door of the bathroom dubbing it the "Richard Bonomo Reading Room.")

I have never been 100% convinced Rich is actually a member of the human race, even after finally meeting his "mother." When Toque McToque asked me where his home planet was, I speculated that it was somewhere in the galaxy of Ultraplumberia, which can just barely be seen with the naked eye in the constellation of Joe the Bidet. She wondered if there were really any constellations shaped like toilets, and when I googled it, lo and behold! The Chinese sure think so! Note the chart below, which I shamelessly stole from Wikipedia:

At least the Chinese see a toilet (and the contents thereof) in more obscure constellations; I would never have been able to live it down if their "Toilet" was our "Capricorn." ("Yeah, my sign may be a goat in the West, but in the East it's a crapper.") Since there is a Lepus the Toilet, it stands to reason that Rich's home planet might be located there. Then again, I know several people who probably came from a planet somewhere in the constellation of Columba the Poo. Especially if it's located anywhere near Taurus the Bull. Just sayin.'

Famous Hat

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Agate Pendate

As you know, I love to scan things and post them on this blog. Since I am on the theme of birthday presents, here is yet another one I received, this one from Tiffy. She was up North visiting her parents for Christmas, and there is a jewelry boutique up there she loves. (It is very nice.) This is what she got for me there this year: an agate pendant.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Meet Ynka

Check it out - the Lost Llama of Hardingfele has been found! And he was definitely worth the wait. His name is Ynka Armakanki. Isn't he adorable?


Here is a full-body scan of him. I am totally addicted to a particular game on ePlush and have become so proficient that I always win the championship. Would this make me the world champion? Anyway, Ynka can take all the credit. He can be world champion.

All of Ynka

Famous Hat

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Today's Guest Spammer: James Joyce

Funny that just yesterday I mentioned writing a post in the style of James Joyce, because today in my spam folder there appeared a refreshing piece of spam that neither asked me to accept large sums of money from a dying foreigner nor go to a questionable website to receive a kiss from a stranger. Instead, it could easily have been written by Joyce, because it is total stream-of-conscience with a hint of a story emerging:

Or challenging or inviting one another to go in swimming. The boys in the Boy's Town used to make the motion of swimming with both arms; or they held up the forefinger and middle-finger in the form of a swallow-tail; they did this when it was necessary to be secret about it, as in school, and when they did not want the whole crowd of boys to come along; and often when they just pretended they did not want some one to know. They really had to be secret at times, for some of the boys were not allowed to go in at all; others were forbidden to go in more than once or twice a day; and as they all _had_ to go in at least three or four times a day, some sort of sign had to be used that was understood among themselves alone. Since this is a true history, I had better own that they nearly all, at one time or other, must have told lies about it, either before or after the fact, some habitually, some only in great extremity. Here and there a boy, like my boy's elder brother, would not tell lies at all, even about going in swimming; but by far the greater number bowed to their hard fate, and told them. They promised that they would not go in, and then they said that they had not been in; but Sin, for which they had made this sacrifice, was apt to betray them. Either they got their shirts on wrong side out in dressing, or else, while they were in, some enemy came upon them and tied their shirts. There are few cruelties which public opinion in the boys' world condemns, but I am glad to remember, to their honor, that there were not many in that Boy's Town who would tie shirts; and I fervently hope that there is no boy now living who would do it. As the crime is probably extinct, I will say that in those wicked days, if you

And that's where it ends. Tantalizing, isn't it? What happens next? And what is the purpose of this bit of literary refuse? The only other thing in the email was a jpeg labeled "seamstress," which I was not crazy enough to open. It seems to be a story about a bunch of jeuvenile delinquents swimming without permission, although the line about "my boy's older brother" did puzzle me, since wouldn't the older brother of your son also be your son? Unless they are half-brothers. Luckily nobody ties shirts these days. How did they ever survive those terrible shirt-tying times? Count your blessings that you didn't have to live through that!

Famous Hat

Monday, January 11, 2010

Today's Guest Spammer: Faulkner!

As you may remember, Richard Bonomo had requested that I write a blog post in the style of William Faulkner, who is known for his "stream-of-consciousness" (i.e., run-on sentences) style. (Isn't it amazing how in English class they would tell you not write a certain way, and then they would force you to read things by authors who write like that? Case in point: Ernest "Small Words/Short Sentences" Hemingway.) I am not familiar enough with Faulkner to copy his style, although I understand he is something like James Joyce, and I could probably do a mean James Joyce. Maybe I'll have him write tomorrow's post.

Anyway, once again Hardingfele comes to the rescue, this time with some spam that was apparently written by the dyslexic love child of William "Who Needs Punctuation" Faulkner and ee "who needs capital letters?" cummings. How would Hardingfele ever know what was going on in her life without spam to tell her? As you may remember, she did not know she was selling her stolen bicycle or looking for an unspecified part-time job, and now she has just learned that she is selling her house:

Hey I noticed your trying to sell your home, i just wanted to let you know That God also put me threw that trial a not too long ago and well it was tough i mean i didnt want too and as embarressing as it was i was loosing my home because of the economy and things got slow at work it was almost heart breaking when i had to come home and tell my family my hours were cut from work so i really understand what your going threw, and i wanted to share with you how i overcame and turnned it all around in 1 week, it sounds hard to believe but man omg it worked for me and im the most non computer person i know, have faith and give it a try God bless you and yours, Learn How to Start.

Lest you are tempted to make an offer on Hardingfele's house yourself, let me assure you that Learn How to Start does not have his/her facts straight, and Hardingfele has no intention of selling her house at this time. After all, the ePlush llama she bought for me on that online auction didn't set her back that much. Speaking of cute plushie things, I ordered some for myself as a birthday present. I even had them delivered at work! As my faithful readers know, I love stuffed animals and stuffed germs, but behold stuffed food:

What is it? I left the tag on to give you a clue: "Plush Sushi." That's right, this is a little plush blob of wasabi and a little plush pile of ginger. Plush condiments: no funny aftertaste.

Famous Hat

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Exiting Stage Left

In this life there are many things we don't get to plan, chief among them our own deaths. However, that has never stopped us from pondering how we would go if we could choose, and so today after Mass, when a bunch of us went out to brunch, we somehow got on this topic. The ex-Marine and current cop Semper Fi mentioned that he would not want to die like Elvis, on the toilet, because that is not an honorable way to die. I said true, but the worst was the summer I was in Spain, and we went to the running of the bulls in Pamplona. Nobody was killed by the bulls, but two guys passed out in the middle of the road and were run over by the street cleaner in the early morning hours. "Not a tough way to go," I said. "Maybe if you were running from a psycho driving a street cleaner after you..."

"At half a mile an hour?" said A-Fooze.

"Maybe if one of them tripped..." I said.

"Still..." said A-Fooze.

"OK, maybe a steamroller, then," I suggested. "That would be a little tougher, being run over by a psycho driving a steamroller. Still, if you really want a tough death, you can hardly beat jumping out of one airplane to land on another airplane piloted by terrorists, sending it into a death spin."

"Right into the plane you were trying to save," said A-Fooze.

"I would want to die an honorable death," said Semper Fi. "A sword fight on top of a cliff is the kind of thing I would want."

"Mr. Icon wants to be martyred by a polar bear," I said. "He thinks that would make a fantastic icon."

"How could he be killed for his faith by a polar bear?" Rich wondered, and I shrugged.

"I dunno. Maybe it's a Moslem polar bear?"

"Being torn apart by wild animals would be better than ending up in a nursing home," said Semper Fi. "Maybe when I'm 95 I'll take a bus up to Alaska and find a bear cub to pet. That should take care of the problem."

"You, Mr. Icon, and Bella Maryella should take that bus together," I said. "She wants to get torn apart by wild animals too. Me, I'm hoping for 105 in my sleep. Or better yet, 135 on Good Friday, just after receiving the Eucharist. But all my kids and grandkids and great-grandkids and great-great-grandkids wouldn't notice I was dead until after the service was over."

"They could try to shake you awake," A-Fooze suggested, "and then you would fall over on the floor, like in the movies or something."

I had to point out that if it were a movie, I'd die at 135 on the beach at Acapulco and my great-great-grandkids would not want to pay to ship my body back to the States, so they would hide my body in a sleeping bag, and then when they stopped for lunch, someone would steal the car. Still, I like the falling on the floor idea. When I told Semper Fi that I had come up with my ideal death, he said, "Eating a ham sandwich on the train tracks in Bosnia and you can't hear the train coming," and I said, "You're so close, but no."

Famous Hat

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Catechism Cataclysm

Today when I asked Richard Bonomo how his Catechism class at Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety went, he said, "We had a catechism cataclysm!" The ceiling had fallen down, which he later determined was caused by a leaky radiator on the floor above. (The OLPS school building is almost as old as the OLPS church building.) Just as he and his students had cleaned most of the mess up, the secretary came and said another catechist had not shown up, so they ended up moving to another room anyway. Then Rich taught both classes, and he said there were so many kids in there that they could barely move! Is it any wonder I don't teach catechism anymore?

Last night Rich hosted a party for our choir using the money we were paid for singing at the Monday wedding. It was a lot of fun, and his famous chocolate mousse tasted even better than usual. I had a tough day at work so I had a beer before dinner which went straight to my head, and A-Fooze said I was very entertaining. Guess I should have written a post then - can you imagine how it would have turned out? One of the altos told a great story about her brother, who lives in Vermont, traveling to Jamaica. A native offered him some pot, and he said, "This is great stuff! Is it from here?" and the Jamaican said, "No, mon. You heard of a place called Vermont?" Some people were playing a game that is a wooden labyrinth with two small metal balls, and one of the balls fell on the floor. As they were desperately looking for it (and it has yet to be found), Kathbert said, "You know, that game only came with one ball. I just bought a second one at the hardware store because I knew someone would lose it eventually." One person brought a talking George Bush doll that really annoyed Rich. The funny thing is that half the people are liberal and half are conservative, but it was one of the conservatives who brought the doll! Did he not realize it was mocking Bush? Rich said, "Why incite a political argument?" I still remain not so much a moderate as on the extreme left of some issues and the extreme right of others. I suppose you could split the difference and call me a moderate. I have always thought of myself as the anti-Giuliani since pretty much whatever side of an issue he is on, I am on the other.

Famous Hat

Friday, January 8, 2010

Questions to Ponder

Last night I was discussing with Richard Bonomo how we could make my Anglo-Saxploitation flick, aka. Beowulf meets Shaft, and I said using hats might be too hard so maybe we could do stop-motion using drinking glasses. "After all," I said, "one of those amber-colored goblets you have would be perfect for Beowulf. And one of the tiki glasses my folks have would make a fantastic Grendel's mother." Rich allowed as how he had never actually considered what kind of drinking glass would make the most ideal actors for a movie version of Beowulf, shockingly enough. This got me to wondering about other questions I have pondered that likely have not been pondered by other people... and it's high time they should be!

What's it like to be a red blood cell? Why has nobody written a novel yet from the point of view of one?

Do ferns remember that their ancestors used to rule the world? Do they ever think to themselves, "Darn those angiosperms! We would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling blooming plants!"

At the Epiphany service at the Lutheran church, they kept invoking God with these weird titles I had never heard before, like "Inclusive God" and "Welcoming God." The Moslems have 99 names for God, but they are not that out there. I wonder what the oddest title is that God has been called? And which one is His favorite?

Should @$$hole be an ethnicity? But if it were, would they demand special protections? Would @$$holephobia become a crime? Would you be able to get a BS in @$$hole Studies from your more PC four-year universities? And what kind of job could you get with that?

Who would take it in a smackdown, a dime or a nickel? A dime is worth more, but the nickel has the size advantage.

I wonder if they will ever come up with a use for pumpkin guts and that little stem on the top? Then pumpkins would be the most efficient thing ever. You could use every part!

What were the people doing who discovered you could eat truffles or that you can write dirty words upside-down on a calculator? Were they actually trying to do that or did they discover it by accident?

Am I crazy for wondering these things? Don't answer that, unless you are trying to get an advanced degree in @$$hole Studies.

Famous Hat

Thursday, January 7, 2010

On the 13th Day of Christmas...

OK, I guess Christmas is kind of officially over, since yesterday was Epiphany. We Catholics celebrated by moving it to Sunday, when it was completely overshadowed by a far more important event: my birthday. (Just kidding, God. A joke. Please don't strike me dead.) The Lutherans, however, celebrated last night they way they celebrate everything - with a potluck! Then they had the most enormous conflagration I had ever seen during their "Burnin' O' the Greens" ceremony, when they ceremonially burn the greens from Christmas. Since I get a rash from touching pine trees, it probably wasn't a very good idea to breathe in so much pine ash, but I did survive. Barely.

At home, my Christmas was wonderful, but it was ridiculous at work. My boss gave me food I'm allergic to, and everyone else gave me presents in inverse proportion to how much they ask me to do the rest of the year, so the worst slave driver gave me nothing. I got Christmas cards from the company that sells us coffee, a hotel who wants our business, and a former trainee who is a devout Moslem. Seriously, I sometimes feel like my life is being scripted by a sitcom writer. OK, Writer in the Sky, can the next plotline involve something more exciting, like winning the lottery?

Famous Hat

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lost Llama Poem of Hardingfele

Hardingfele wanted to know why I didn't mention the llama poem she wrote for me when I blogged about my birthday party. The answer: I was going to devote an entire post to it. However, the poem has been lost and exists only in memory. Here's how it went down:

About a week before my birthday, Hardingfele asked me to make a wish list of the ePlush animals I wanted, which she then promptly lost. She did remember the llama was on it, being (as my faithful readers may remember) my favorite animal. (Of course I love rabbits too, but aren't they just really small llamas? Look at their ears!) She looked all over for it and couldn't find it in town, so she won it in an online auction and then wrote me a poem to let me know it would be arriving soon. Sort of an IOU, except it was a UGL - U Get Llama. Unfortunately, she did not save the poem but just printed it out, and I cannot now find the piece of paper.

Here is a reconstruction from Hardingfele's memory:

This plush toy is for Famous Hat
It's not as famous as Buddy the cat
It's in the mail to Tailor's mama
So in a week you'll get a llama

But for something called the "Lost Llama Poem of Hardingfele," that just does not seem epic enough. You would expect something on scraps of parchment or a few hieroglyphs scratched into a rock wall, e.g.:

In the days of the Holy King Loo,
In the land of Kensa Djitha,
When sinners and sages walked with the Gods,
And the [unreadable] sought the mysterious
Llama of Hardingfele,
There came from the East men of such appearance
As to frighten all who looked upon them;
And when the King saw them... (fragment ends here)

Canto V

Then there was much feasting in the Halls of Montsharaal,
And the Llama of Hardingfele [unreadable]
That was godes cynig!

Or, you know, something like that.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mystery City Wants YOU!!

Today in the mail I got yet another ad for our trainees, letting them know there is a wonderful job opportunity...somewhere. However, this one really caught my attention because it does not want to say where it is. The front is a beautiful postcard photo of water and deciduous trees:

On the back there are tantalizing hints, but no indication of where this place is, other than somewhere in the United States. It gives the following clues:
  • Very progressive city
  • Strongest economy in mystery state
  • Warm climate
  • Wonderful family-oriented community
  • Two major universities
  • Perennial hotbed of economic development
  • Idyllic lifestyle known throughout mystery state
  • Volunteerism is a passion here
  • School system continues to lead the mystery state in test scores
  • A number of national chains have recently opened because of area's prosperity
  • A Tom Fazio designed golf course ranked #1 in mystery state by Golf Digest
  • You can play golf all year long!
I mean, this place sounds like paradise, at least if you are a progressive with two kids in college and another in K-12 and you love to shop at national chains and play golf when you are not busy volunteering. So why are they so reluctant to tell you the name of the Mystery City or even the Mystery State? Our trainees currently live in this icebox of a state that (true story) some Brits mistake for a province of Canada, so I can't imagine they would have that much against some other state, especially if you can play golf there all year long. (Heck, we can do that too - haven't they ever heard of indoor golf?) So I am wondering, faithful readers, if you have any idea where this place might be. Some guesses:

Austin, Texas - a progressive city in a state where people drive their Bugattis into the lake and then blame it on pelicans

Tulsa, Oklahoma - just because they think nobody would believe there could be anything cool in Oklahoma

Minot, North Dakota - they're lying about the warm climate

Omaha, Nebraska - it's warmer than Minot!

Anywhere in the Panhandle of Florida or the Appalachian Mountains - they promise all your clients won't be inbred freaks!

Wherever this place is, it needs some more self-esteem. Come on, Mystery City, Mystery State! You can't be so uncool that you can't even mention your own name for fear of scaring off all prospective employees!

Famous Hat

Monday, January 4, 2010

Season's Greetings to You and Ivfboo from SPAM!

Just when I couldn't think of anything to blog about, Hardingfele comes to the rescue with another bizarre piece of spam.

Subject: Season's Greetings!

Dear friend,

I supposed that you'd be intrigued by this.
It's helped me when I needed it bad.

Hope this helps

This was actually sent to a Southern belle named Ivfboo, judging by the email address, so maybe Hardingfele got it by accident because she has no idea what "it" is that the sender needed so bad. Is it the same "it" as the "it" that helped the sender? For example, if we replaced the word "it" with "cheese," the email loses nothing:

Dear friend,
I supposed that you'd be intrigued by this.
Cheese's helped me when I needed cheese bad.
Hope this helps

Of course, that still raises the question of what "this" is. Does this=it? e.g.,

Dear friend,
I supposed that you'd be intrigued by cheese.
Cheese's helped me when I needed cheese bad.
Hope cheese helps

Or are they two separate variables? If this email were an algabraic equation, perhaps it would read:

x=intrigue if y=help when y=need and x=help

However, when we break it down this way, we can see that both x and y = help, so therefore x=y. Or maybe not, since this is a conditional formula. Following this logic, x=y only when need=zero, so if you are a needy loser, you can just forget about intrigue. Who knew spam involved so much logic?

Famous Hat

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy Birthday = Hot!

Yesterday I did not write a post because, frankly, I didn't do much of anything besides eat and watch movies. Lest you think this was a colossal waste of time, let me assure you that in fact it was a MARATHON - a Lord of the Rings marathon, to be precise. (Anyway, you got two posts on Friday, so it all averages out.) We sat watching the extended versions of all three movies from 10 am (pancakes) to almost 11 pm, with a cold cuts break around 1:00 and a pizza break around 7:00, and of course plenty of snacks and beverages at all times. (My contribution was cookies that tasted like Girl Scout Thin Mints, only they are adult-sized. As one guy said, "Girl Scout cookies on steroids!") During one break, someone brought a slice of cake with one candle on it into the living room, announcing: "Tomorrow is someone's birthday!" I figured they meant JRR Tolkien, but actually they meant me! I did not even know they knew it would be my birthday today! A birthday, by the way, which I am very proud to share with JRR, or as his friends called him, Ron. Most of us stuck it out through the whole thing, including one of the B-Boys, but Rich only came for the first movie because he was hosting a birthday party that night for someone whose birthday was back at the end of November. This sounds like a much crazier time than the marathon, complete with numerous party goers who did not even know the birthday "girl," a group who were going to put on a mummer's play that would "only offend Republicans" - until they found out about 50% of the people at the party were, and a strung-out woman who showed up right at the end of the night trying to make phone calls on Rich's phone to a nonexistent area code.

Today I had a very good birthday. After Mass the choir treated me to brunch, then Rich threw a party for me and tons of people came. A number of them must read this blog, because I would introduce them to each other with their legal names and then what I call them, and then they'd be like, "Oh, YOU'RE so-and-so!" They were joking that we needed name tags with both monikers on them. At some point someone referred to Cecil Markovitch as Serbian when he is actually of Croatian heritage, and he said, "We don't use that S-word around here!" (His other catch phrase: "What a feast!") This led to an impromptu game of describing our heritage in the most derogatory terms we could think of, like Hardingfele is a kike and A-Joz is a polack and of course Rich is a dago, but until the Banjo Player showed up, I was the only one in the room with any WASP blood. Seriously, it was so embarrassing to realize I was the only one who had ancestors who were slave owners. (At least on my dad's side they were a bunch of paddy macks fresh off the boat who never owned other people!) Luckily Banjo Player has both kike and WASP blood, so then I was not alone. Banjo Player said there used to be an entire magazine devoted to derogatory terms, I forget what she said it was called. I am still waiting for a really good derogatory word for white people in general, because I'm sorry, but "cracker" just doesn't cut it. There are some good ones in Mexican Spanish and Hawaiian that could be contenders.

So here's a shout-out to the people who read this blog that were there today: Rich, A-Fooze, A-Joz, Banjo Player, Tiffy, and Anna Banana II. Other people who were there but I don't think ever read it included both B-Boys and Mo-Girl, Cecil Markovitch, Kathbert, and a number of others I have not mentioned so no point in making up names to protect the guilty. In fact, every time the doorbell rang, I was shocked because I already thought everyone I knew was jammed into Rich's house. Anna Banana II made a delicious chicken, spinach, and sun-dried tomato casserole thing, and at my request (and for the sake of the vegetarians), Rich made spinach souffle that, in his words, "wasn't very souffly," but it tasted fine. He also made the traditional Black Magic cake, which Hardingfele frosted and inscribed with a mysterious inscription that seemed to read: "Happy Birthday = Hot." While I am not opposed to the sentiment, I was a bit puzzled by it, but it turns out she had written: "Happy Birthday F Hat." (As in Famous Hat.) Unfortunately nobody took a photo of this masterpiece, so I am unable to post it here.

I did not request any loot, but some people brought tribute anyway; Tiffy gave me an agate pendant, A-Fooze gave me a slice of tres leches cake (Cecil decided that meant "three leeches" cake), the one B-Boy and Mo-Girl gave me macadamia nuts, and Banjo Player gave me some refrigerator magnates that look like mints. (I also got wine, a high-quality chocolate bar, an unkalung Christmas CD, and a restaurant gift certificate from people who have not been mentioned previously in this blog, so I am not ignoring them so much as being lazy in not thinking up aliases for them.) If I neglected to mention you and/or your gift, it is a reflection of my advanced age (twenteen-something) affecting my memory, and not on you or your gift. I love all my friends! Thanks for the great birthday party!

Famous Hat

Friday, January 1, 2010

Famous Hat Joint: Tropical Song

Here is a bonus post for the New Year. This is my all-purpose tropical song which can be done in any tropical style. (I posted the lyrics here.) However, I would need some more musicians to do all those tropical styles, so the third verse is my roundup call for musicians to join my all-purpose tropical band. The second verse establishes my tropical cred, and the line in the first verse about "salsa bassoon" has to do with the fact that I apparently don't know the difference between bassoons and bass saxophones in salsa music. As you can see, this hat has clearly had one too many daiquiris and/or espressos!

One note: The words to the third verse have been changed to:

If you play steel drums, then I need you (tropical song!)
Especially if you play timbales too (tropical song!)
I need ukulele and slack-key guitar (tropical song!)
And a great horn section, wherever you are (tropical song!)

Famous Hat

Old School for the New Year

Happy New Year to all 5.6 of my loyal readers! I hope you had a good one. My New Year's Eve was fairly low-key; Botanist 53 and her two kids came to Rich's house and Anna Banana II made us dinner, then we watched a Star Trek fan movie and then toasted the New Year a bit prematurely with Frangelico - yum! Later in the evening Rich and I attempted to make another Famous Hat video, but we had some technical issues (and some good blooper footage!) so he is going to try to re-engineer things today so we can give it another go. By then it was just a few minutes until midnight, so we cracked out some non-alcoholic bubbly grape juice to ring in 2010, and then I headed home.

This morning I woke up around 6:00 am and decided to go to the Tridentine Mass. Why not ring in the New Year in old school style? It's a day of obligation so I had to go anyway, and I really like the Tridentine Rite but don't usually attend because 1) I sing at the 9:00 am Novus Ordo Mass every Sunday and 2) hellooooo, it's at 7:00 am. But since I was awake, I went.

What I'd really love (and Anna Banana II and Cecil Markovitch agree) is to have an Eastern Rite liturgy at Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety... or heck, anywhere within a 20-mile radius. I am madly in love with the St. John Chrysostom liturgy, but around these parts you'd have to attend some flavor of Orthodox (there are Greek and Antiochian in town) for that. Anyway, OLPS already has three kinds of Masses (Novus Ordo in English and in Spanish and then Tridentine in Latin) so when would they shove another one into the schedule? Also, are there any Eastern Rite Catholic priests around here? If you are an Eastern Rite Catholic priest who would be willing to celebrate the liturgy at OLPS, drop me a line. We'll fit you in the schedule somehow.

Famous Hat