Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The World According to Tailor

Yesterday evening Hardingfele and Rockstar Tailor came over to help me clip the bunnies’ toenails, then we walked to Jerkns (not Jerkins) for dinner. I treated Hardingfele to thank her for her help, and Jerkns treated Tailor, since kids eat free there on Tuesdays. Over dinner, Tailor introduced us to new definitions for familiar words:

Primate: a person who lives in a bathroom. (See also Bonomo, Richard – at least according to his college roommates who dubbed their bathroom the Richard Bonomo Memorial Reading Room)

Female: a drink. This makes sense; perhaps we are just spelling it wrong. Feem Ale is a high-quality brew from the Irish hamlet of Feem. But you knew that, right?

Figure 1: A Feemish Blessing
(if this village really exists, don't tell them I was blogging about them!)

Rockstar Tailor just sent me the following email: AHHH! I JUST SAW AN ALIEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! However, she did not specify whether it was a space alien or an illegal immigrant, so I can’t tell you how alarmed we should be for her. My guess is she saw something online.

Figure 2: What Rockstar Tailor Possibly Saw

And this was something in an email A-Joz sent me. I don't know who created it, but I just had to post it.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yesterday's Post: Translated from Hondish

People have been asking me if some kid who had English as a 10th language hacked into my blog yesterday. No, and it wasn’t spam either. Here’s the deal: this weekend I took my car Erin Caitlyn O’Honda to the car wash (and fittingly enough, that song is playing on the radio even as I type this), and now she is all clean but her scrapes and dings show up with alarming clarity. First all these people swarmed all over Erin with rags and scrub brushes and vacuums, and then I got to watch her ride the conveyer belt along as she was cleaned by the automatic washer. Since no adults were watching, I squirted her with purple goo using a joy stick with a T Rex-looking creature on it. Then she came out the other end, sparkly clean without and within. And what has that got to do with yesterday’s post? Hold on, I’m working up to that.

So yesterday I asked Erin if she would come pick me up from work, and she said no, but she would write my blog entry for me. I said it was a deal, and so she wrote about what Richard Bonomo, Kathbert, and I did on Sunday afternoon. (She wasn’t actually there; she was hanging out in Rich’s driveway. She just heard about it from me.) Here’s the thing: she wrote some of the words while looking in her rearview mirror. So as a public service, I am now translating it from the original Hondish:

One not-so-warm late March day, Richard Bonomo, Kathbert, and Famous Hat went for a walk in the park. Kathbert wanted to buy a house so they looked at some near where Toque McToque lives, but one was sold and another was a ranch, which is not the style that Kathbert wants. She said she wished the perfect house would just suddenly appear, and Famous Hat joked that maybe one would drive by on a truck and she could follow it. She has even hired Beth, her “house matchmaker” or realtor, as they are more commonly known. Beth has yet to find the house of Kathbert’s dreams, but at least she found the house of Richard’s dreams. It has a bidet!

Richard Bonomo, Kathbert, and Famous Hat looked at a lot by Richard’s house, and Richard noted that Kathbert could build her dream house on it, but there was no sign that it was for sale. Anyway, Kathbert doesn’t particularly want to build her house, she wants to find one. What she needs is a sign like Richard had, so she could walk into a house and see something – say a bidet – and she would know, like Richard did. So what sign should Kathbert be looking for in her future house? Leave a comment and let us know.

Sorry for the confusion.

Famous Hat

Monday, March 29, 2010

Let Us Wonk

One not-so-mraw late March yad, Drahcir Omonob, Trebhtak, and Suomaf Tah went for a klaw in the krap. Trebhtak wanted to yub an esuoh so they looked at emos near where Euqot Euqotcm lives, but one was dlos and another was a hcnar, which is not the elyts that Trebhtak wants. She said she wished the tcefrep esuoh would just suddenly raeppa, and Suomaf Tah joked that maybe one would evrid by on a kcurt and she could wollof it. She has even hired Hteb, her “esuoh rekamhctam” or rotlaer, as they are more commonly nwonk. Hteb has yet to find the esuoh of Trebhtak’s smaerd, but at least she found the esuoh of Drahcir’s smaerd. It has a tedib!

Drahcir Omonob, Trebhtak, and Suomaf Tah looked at a tol by Drahcir’s esouh, and Drahcir noted that Trebhtak could dliub her maerd esuoh on it, but there was no ngis that it was for elas. Anyway, Trebhtak doesn’t particularly want to dliub her esuoh, she wants to dnif one. What she needs is a ngis like Drahcir had, so she could klaw into an esuoh and see gnihtemos – say a tedib – and she would wonk, like Drahcir did. So what ngis should Trebhtak be looking for in her future esuoh? Leave a tnemmoc and let us wonk.

Suomaf Tah

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Celtic Crosses

As I said a few posts back, I am a sucker for anything monks are selling with Celtic crosses on it. Here are some photos to back that up. This throw is really comfy and warm, and it is 100% cotton and made in the USA. Kathbert says it looks like the shroud for a casket, but I like it.

It even looks pretty when you turn it over, although it isn't actually reversible.

I bought this at a monastery called Holy Hill. It's not particularly useful, but I hung it from the rearview mirror of Erin Caitlyn O'Honda.

This is even less useful. I got it at New Mellory Abbey when I went there with Kathbert and Cecil Markovitch. They are most well-known for selling beautiful wooden caskets and urns made from trees grown on their own land, but they have Celto-Crap for sale too.

I tried to take a picture of some jewelry with Celtic crosses on it, but it didn't really turn out. To console yourself, you can look at yet another picture of my Christmas cacti blooming.

Famous Hat

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Immaculate Convention: Church Cleaners Assemble

Today a bunch of us gathered at Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety to clean it in preparation for Easter next week. Richard Bonomo forgot his camera, so he asked me to bring mine. The following pictures were either taken by him or by me. I started out vacuuming, but that proved to be quite an adventure. First I was using a vacuum so old that they must have gotten it out of King Tut's tomb, and it weighed a ton. I imagined myself as a 1950's housewife as I shoved it around, but it wasn't working very well so I asked Rich if I had it on the wrong setting. He discovered that it no longer had a belt, so he hooked me up to the Jetson vacuum, but just then someone brought a much nicer vacuum and I used that. Then I cleaned the pews using a rag and a bucket, and that was even more satisfying. I could imagine people have been doing the same thing for almost two thousand years when preparing for Easter, from the largest cathedrals to the tiniest, most beloved local parishes. I could have been cleaning a church in 1010 using a bucket, a rag, and the 11th century equivalent of Murphy's Wood Soap. (They probably did not have rubber gloves, though.) Other people had the unenviable task of scraping used chewing gum from under the pews. I know, right? Who's chewing gum in church? (Not me, I can promise you that!)

OLPS: a super ultra crazy beautiful church

Even the windows are beautiful

Candlesticks: before and after cleaning

Changing lightbulbs on high

Getting the dirt out of the confessional

Even people who wear famous hats can scrub pews

Even priests can mop floors

Cleaning the choir loft

Dusting the Stations of the Cross

Vacuuming with the Jetsons vacuum

Famous Hat

Friday, March 26, 2010

Me and My Peeps

Fortuitously, this year we have a "mandatory furlough day" falling on Good Friday. Toque McToque mentioned that it was lucky I didn't have to beg to take the day off (since the Good Friday Service at Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety is at noon), and I said, "Me and my peeps are really happy about the way it all worked out." She said she hadn't realized marshmallows went to church, and I said that while 90% of marshmallows believe in a Great Marshmallow, only 30% regularly go to church. Is this worth blogging about? Probably just as much as the fact that Richard Bonomo just told me tomorrow's first reading is from Ezekiel, and whenever I say, "Man, Ezekiel rocks! I LOVE Ezekiel!" he says, "You just like the wheel angels." Which is true, but they're in Daniel too. However, my favorite part of Daniel is the story about Susannah and the two dirty old men who got theirs in the end courtesy of Daniel.

OK, so maybe I shouldn't drink and blog, but I've only had one Guinness. Anyway, here is a sober story to sober us all up: a few years back, a crazy man burned down our cathedral. So now Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety and another church (let's call it St. Adelbert's) got merged into the "Cathedral Parish." (If that sounds ominous, that's because it is.) So now all the Triduum services - except for Good Friday - will be in Spanish at OLPS because they want all us gabachos to go to St. Ad's. It didn't work last year, when Rich, A-Fooze, and I went to OLPS for Maundy Thursday and the Vigil. (El Fiance was there too, but Spanish is his first language, after all.) So this year A-Fooze is in Toronto, Rich says he is going to OLPS in Spanish, Cecil Markovitch says he is going to St. Ad's, and I'm trying to decide what to do. Here are my options, as I see it:

1. OLPS - it's my parish, no matter what language Mass is in
2. St. Ad's - and hang out with the bish? NO
3. The OTHER church, which is Lutheran, so that just feels wrong, but the choir would love it if I would be there
4. One of the two Eastern Orthodox churches in town because Cecil says their Easter is the same as ours this year

So what do my peeps say? I've got marshmallow pals planning to go all over town: OLPS, St. Ad's, the Lutheran church... I don't have any peeps at the Orthodox churches, but that Byzantine liturgy? *Swoon*

OK, peeps! Leave me some messages! Where should I spend my Triduum?

Famous Hat

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Famous Hat Contest: Name My Office Mate!

Happy Annunciation, everyone, and to Semper Fi (who never reads this blog as far as I know), Happy Birthday! To celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation, I was going to go to Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety this evening, but now I’m torn because Hardingfele told me about a Zumbathon to raise money for Haiti at Rockstar Tailor’s school. My regular readers know what a sucker I am for anything to do with Haiti (I had to special-order my sponsor kid from there because the priest only had kids from Latin America and India with him), and Zumba is done to Latin music, another great love of mine. (Of course, if they were going to be really authentic, maybe we are going to shake our tailfeathers to zouk instead of salsa. A Zoukathon! And I wouldn’t have a problem with that.)

Shout out to Astrochick, who commented on my “Helicopter Moms” post. I see you have started your own blog, - mad props to you, girlfriend! (I commented but it isn’t showing up yet.)

Because you know how I love to scan things, I had to scan this silly little shamrock from a work meeting. Each person got a shamrock with a supposedly authentic Irish saying on it. I have never heard “There is luck in sharing a thing,” and I don’t know if they mean sharing troubles, or like the good karma you get from sharing time, money, etc. As far as pithy sayings go, it’s hard to beat this Italian proverb: “When you’re too close to the rocks, pray to God… but pull on the oars!” I never really think of the Irish as pithy, at least if my dear, departed grandfather was typical. When you’re a little kid and just want to eat dinner, those toasts seem to go on for days! He usually made his up as he went along, and they were generally quite maudlin, but there are some really great traditional Irish toasts. My favorite is probably: “Here’s to your enemies – may God turn their hearts. And if He can’t turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles, so you’ll know them by their limping.” (Or, “So they can’t catch you.”)

Anyway, in honor of the Annunciation, I am having a contest: Name My Office Mate! She doesn’t read my blog (that I know of) but I was going to mention that this morning I didn’t feel like working, I just felt like singing old spirituals, so she was singing them too, and then she got to thinking that she would like a gospel choir at her wedding in the fall. I was going to mention this right here on this very blog, but then I realized I don’t have a good name for her. I could call her Banjo Player 2 to differentiate her from Banjo Player, but it seems like there must be a better name for her. Leave a comment with a clever name for my office mate, and you might win one of the following fabulous prizes:

  • A shout-out on my blog
  • A shamrock with a pithy Irish saying on it
  • A cardboard village

Here’s a little information to get you started: my office mate plays the banjo. She is tall (or at least taller than I am, but that’s not saying much) and very thin with dark brown hair and light brown eyes. Yesterday she said to me, “I can’t find the ID number on this printer!” and I said, “That’s because it’s a fax machine.” That should be enough to fire your imaginations!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

ePlush: A Deep Dark Scary Adult World

I’m not saying I know an excessive number of little girls in the 6-12 age bracket, but the ones I do know have all lost interest in ePlush. Since this would seem to be the target audience for the ePlush website, I wondered if the whole thing would come to a screeching halt sometime soon. However, things just seem to keep improving in ePlush World. The springtime came earlier and more vibrantly this year, the dog at the curio shop has upgraded both his jacket and his gestures, and there are ever more ePlush creatures being offered for sale. So who is keeping this enterprise alive besides me?

In fact, the answer would seem to be: people just like me. I base this on the names of some of the creatures knocking Ynka Armakanki the Llama and Bellamy the Horse out of the top slot on the ePlush game rankings. Possibly a little girl would name a stuffed creature Bellamy, or even Ynka Armakanki, but Pittsburgh? How about Road Kill? I am guessing these are also twenteen-somethings, perhaps even male, who are addicted to the games like I am. They must have to keep it on the down-low even more than I do; as disgusted as many of my friends are with my ePlush obsession, at least I am female and am therefore allowed to go all gaga over cute stuffed animals. Can you imagine these adult male fans? They probably go into the store and tell the clerk they are buying the little stuffed creature for their daughter/niece/neighbor’s kid who dog sat for them. Then they go home, lock the door, log into ePlush, and name their fluffy kitten Thugmaster.

Warning: non sequitor ahead. Once a coworker was reading a local newspaper, and two of the front page headlines were: “Measure Enjoys Broad Support” and “Dyke Failure Leads to Problems.” I said I wondered what that paper had against women, but he didn’t get it. But isn’t that just like a man? They never get it. (Except for my male readers, of course.) If you didn’t get it, here is a joke for you:

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Interrupting cow.
Interrupting cow wh-

Famous Hat

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Post: Large Print Edition

Hardingfele told me the other day that she got tendonitis from doing too much typing for a volunteer cat rescue website. I thought that sounded unlikely, but today I have a sore rotator cuff. Yes, my right shoulder aches with each letter I type, but for you, my 5.8 dedicated readers, I am willing to suffer. To make up for the brevity of this post, I will use the biggest font size available... for YOU!!


  • Can you get a refund for your card store frog if it croaks?

  • Why did Hardingfele cut her earplugs into fourths when the directions specifically said not to?

  • Why is Amminadab standing on his head in the fish bowl?

  • Where would my miniature clay pot (containing a miniature Dead Sea Scroll) look best, by Antoshka's palm tree or by my clay lamp?

  • How did I hurt my rotator cuff, anyway?

  • Is Cecil Markovitch's Christmas cactus supposed to be purple-tinted, or is it sick?

Famous Hat

Monday, March 22, 2010

Helicopter Moms

I have absolutely nothing to say today, but that's never stopped me from saying it anyway. Toque McToque suggested I blog about "helicopter moms," which I believe is the term they use for those crazy parents who hover around their offspring long after the kids should have learned to live independently. (I myself had the opposite kind of parents, but what the heck is the antonym of "helicopter"?) Since I have no personal experience with helicopter moms, this post will just be purely my imagination.

So what is a helicopter mom like? That is an excellent question. If a helicopter is a mammal, then clearly she would produce milk for her copterlets. But what is the gestational period of a helicopter, and how many are born per pregnancy? Would they have a quick reproductive cycle like a mouse, or a slow one like a whale? (I'm thinking whale, but maybe that's just because helicopters look more like whales than mice, if you disregard the spinning thing on top.)

If a helicopter is a bird, how many eggs would she lay per clutch? How many trips per day would she have to make collecting food for her copterlets? Do female helicopters get better mileage than male ones? Or do the males take part in rearing the young? Do helicopters mate for life?

If a helicopter is an insect, is she the kind that carefully carries her young on her back? But wouldn't this be inconvenient when you already have a big rotor on your back? Is she the kind that would eat her own copterlets if they don't fly away fast enough? Maybe she would eat the rotor right off her mate during intercourse.

Clearly helicopters are not plants. Let's not be ridiculous here. So there is no point in speculating about whether they would be angiosperms or gymnosperms.

Helicopters can't be fish either. They don't live underwater. So don't be thinking about what sort of fish would be the maternal model for a helicopter.

Famous Hat

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Vernal Equinox!

Remember when Rich and I went to Jerkns in my neighborhood? I'm not saying it's a chain, but across town there is a Jerkins, as you can see from this photo I took from my car. Coincidence??

Here is a picture I took of my Celtic cross blanket as I lay beneath it on St. Patrick's Day, suffering from a terrible cold.

Friday night Anna Banana II made a delicious St. Joseph's Day dinner for Rich, Kathbert, and me of cassoulet and a chocolate mint marscapone pie. Yum! Then Anna Banana II's roommate Jilly Moose came home from her job moonlighting at a card store. We had already had a bizarre conversation about Kathbert's job taking care of a robot, and how she had to take his head off to do some repairs to his insides, but things got truly surreal when Jilly Moose told us the card store now sells frogs. Yes, frogs. She said you get two frogs in an "ecoquarium" with spring water, colored rocks, and a stick of bamboo for $25. The frogs are guaranteed to both be males, so you won't have to worry about tadpoles, and they only eat on Tuesday and Saturday. I asked what they ate and she said little pellets, which Kathbert posited were compressed flies. We were all mind-boggled that the card store sells frogs, since it is more known for selling cards and things that smell good, so we wondered if they were potpourri frogs. And, I mean, if you were going to buy yourself a frog, would you really think to go to a card store to buy one?

Yesterday Richard Bonomo, Cecil Markovitch, Anna Banana II, the still-single B-Boy, Jilly Moose, and three Capricorns (one from Trinidad, one from Oklahoma, and I) went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls at a museum in the nearest big city, then we went to a Mideastern restaurant where I drank four glasses of rose water lemonade - free refills. Cecil asked the waitress if there were free refills on vodka martinis, and I asked if they had decaf Arabic coffee, but surprisingly the answer to both questions was a "What?? NO!" We ladies were all in favor of smoking a hookah, but the men weren't, and they were the ones driving so they got to decide. I drove back home with Cecil and the Trinidadian Capricorn; we prayed a rosary and then listened to Robert Johnson wailing about walking beside the devil. When we got back home, Cecil gave me the purple-tinted Christmas cactus he didn't want anymore. Here is a picture of it with my other Christmas cacti, which are blooming.

Here is a more close-up shot of the three blooming cacti.

Today we sang a gorgeous piece by Schein in the OTHER church choir, then Kathbert, Rich, and I went for a walk in the woods to celebrate the vernal equinox/JS Bach's birthday. Here are some pictures from our adventure.

Famous Hat in the Sun

Skunk Cabbages

We hiked for quite awhile, until Kathbert said she was hungry and I had to, you know, powder my nose. Why is it always when you have to go that everything looks like a toilet?

Famous Hat

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy St. Joseph's Day!

Did you remember to wear red today? Remember, on St. Joseph’s Day, everyone is a little bit Italian, and it is my goal in life to see Richard Bonomo’s heritage made as cheesy as mine. My dream is that someday you will see flocks of people in the St. Joseph’s Day parade with little to no Italian heritage, wearing plastic meatballs on their heads and buttons that say “Kiss me, I’m Italian!” They will stick an “-ino” on the end of their surnames and go around joking about how the “Jonesino” and “Smithino” families are so very Italian, and how they are sure they had a great-grandmother on their father’s side who is from Naples, or at least visited there. And they will drink red wine… wait, that’s not cheesy. Never mind.

While I was lying in bed sick the day that the O’Joneses and O’Smiths wore green and drank green beer while wearing plastic shamrocks on their heads, Hardingfele was celebrating her lack of Irish heritage by playing hardinger fiddle for elementary school kids. Now Hardingfele is an excellent example of someone who doesn’t let genes dictate her heritage: she was born a Russian Jew but is now a proud Norski! You go, girlski!

Here, in her own words on MyFace, is how it all went down:

Hardingfele: So I get to present Norway for St. Patty's day at a school program, but trolls are still a hit. Call me stupid, but I cut up wax earplugs and now I cannot hear well because they are stuck in the ear canal. I am too embarrassed to go to the doc and explain this mishap

Friend #1: Don't be. They've seen it all, and worse... :)

Hardingfele: I am hoping it will eventually melt or something. I managed to mangle both ears. But then being slightly hard of hearing may not be so bad. At least I can genuinely say that I did not hear that whiny request.....

Friend #2: if you can't get it out it's ER time..

Hardingfele: Doc said come to urgent care ASAP. This is why health reform will get bogged down, skyrocketing costs by twits like me :-)

Hardingfele: Nurse pulled out a little fingernail size of silicon earplug out of each ear. Note to self, dont do something this moronic again.

Friend #3: at least the metal flagpoles are not frozen anymore, so you should be safe from that at least!!!

Hardingfele: Right!

Friend #2: I triple dog dare ya!

Friend #2: her name wasn't Nurse Jan...was it?

Hardingfele: Nope, Teri or Carrie

Me again. Isn't it interesting that Hardingfele has to wear earplugs while playing the hardinger fiddle? Is it really that loud? I love love love the Christmas Story references from her friends! Wish there was a way to work The Princess Bride in there too! Maybe something about iocane?

Famous Hatino

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy (Late) St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, one day late. You may be wondering why I didn’t blog yesterday on such an important holiday, and I have a simple answer for you: I was sick. I spent the entire day sleeping under my Celtic cross blanket, which I bought from some monks’ catalogue, although you can apparently get it from (At least, that is where I stole this picture of it from.) As annoying as I find the constant barrage of Celto-crap and Catholo-crap catalogues in my mailbox, at the point where these two craps intersect, I am a total sucker. That is, I will buy almost anything with a Celtic cross on it.

Since my St. Patrick’s Day yesterday was so terribly exciting, let me relate instead the story of my first St. Patrick’s Day a number of years ago. (The exact number is none of your business.) I was two and a half months old, and my Catholic grandma (Dad’s side) was panicking – what if I died and went to Limbo??? (Believe me, that would not have been good, because I can barely get under that stupid bar at the first level!) My mom’s family had always been Episcopalian, and they dunk their kids as babies too, but for some reason her parents had become Baptist, so they thought the whole thing should have waited another twelve years. The big plan was to have me baptized at the Easter Vigil, but at that rate I would have outgrown the family baptismal gown. It was made by my great-grandmother out of her wedding dress, and generations of us were baptized in it. I may have been the first baby baptized Episcopalian in it, but it didn’t take anyway, since I grew up and reverted to my father’s ancestral religion.

Today is my brother’s birthday, so two years later when he came along, my parents were hoping for the same plan (Easter Vigil), but he was so big that they couldn’t even wait that long or he would have outgrown the gown. (If you’re reading this, Legalmechman, Happy Birthday!) I don’t think his Episcopal baptism took either; not sure what he is today, but I’m pretty sure he’s not Episcopalian. (Feel free, Legalmechman, to leave a comment explaining your personal religious views.)

So where is the baptismal gown today? Good question. My father’s cousin has approximately 500 daughters with names that all rhyme (Maureen, Kathleen, Colleen, etc.), and they tell me that branch of the family was where the gown was last seen. Maybe it just reached the end of its natural life span and gave up the ghost, or whatever baptismal gowns have. So if I ever get married and have babies, I’ll just have to make my own wedding dress into a baptismal gown.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Case of the Coffee Cup Cabinet

It was a clear and sunny day when my client walked in. You know the type: one of those stuffed suits who can’t function in the morning without their dose of joe. He sized me up and said, “I don’t suppose you know where a fellow can find a Styrofoam cup around these parts?”

“That’s what I’m here for,” I replied. “But they’re in a secret location for their protection, so you must forget everything you’ve seen here today.”

Then I led him to a locked closet in which there had been a locked cabinet containing the aforementioned cups, never mind what I may think about people learning to bring their own coffee mugs to work. (Then I’d just have to train them to wash them out.) But to my consternation, the cabinet was gone. GONE!! Who could have stolen it, and why? The keys were still safely hidden in my office. Had the culprit been coveting the cabinet itself, or the cups therein?

There are few leads in the case. Suspect Number One is the janitorial staff, and I have served them with a subpoena entitled Work Order Request #S033605. So far there has been no response on their part.

Toque McToque has been on the case, rounding up suspects, but she has had no luck eliciting information either. Here is a typical interrogation:

Toque: I see that you studied a language while you were here.
Suspect: I took a class in Tasmanian American studies.
Toque: No, I mean a foreign language.
Suspect: Oh yeah, I took Zulu.

But this has gotten us no closer to solving the case. Our only break was when we discovered that someone had been keeping Keith the Plant confined in a plastic cup in order to create a bonsai dracaena. Of course, these were Styrofoam cups that were stolen, but possibly someone out there is plotting to grow an entire army of bonsai dracaenas. It is imperative that Toque and I stop him (her? it?) before this nightmare can become a reality. Please leave a comment with any information you may have that could be relevant to this case.

Keith the Plant: Not a Suspect

Famous Hat, Private Eye

Monday, March 15, 2010

More Irish than a Man in a Giant Hamster Wheel

Yesterday was the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, since everyone knows Catholics always move holidays to the nearest Sunday. It was a glorious day, and Anna Banana II and I enjoyed the parade thoroughly, but I forgot my new camera (duh!) so I do not have any pictures or movies to post. Among the many things going on in the parade that had little to nothing to do with St. Patrick were the following:

  • A man riding an old-fashioned penny farthing bicycle
  • The Tibetan Cultural group
  • A Mardi Gras float that even said “Krewe”
  • Not one but two Elvis impersonators
  • A rock band dressed like giant pink rabbits
  • A man rolling down the street in a giant hamster wheel

I counted at least three Saint Patricks, one on stilts. Three must be my lucky number (after all, I was born on the 3rd), since I caught three strands of beads: one for A-Fooze (who had requested beads), one for the little girl next to us who had cerebral palsy, and one to add to my ever-expanding collection. I also collected some candy for the girl, since she was in a wheel chair and could never compete with all the other children who were running around and grabbing it.

I did enjoy all the groups of pipers and drummers, and the little girls in their curly wigs doing traditional Irish dances, and the dogs dressed in tartans and little green hats. (Not sure if the dogs enjoyed it themselves!) I said to Anna Banana II that next year Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety should have a float in the parade, and we could toss rosaries to the people along the route. So how about it, faithful readers? Who wants to be in the parade next year? I won’t even insist that we roll down the street in giant hamster wheels.

Famous Hat

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It Came from... New Orleans??

Here is my first attempt at a "space invasion" movie.

Music: Sir George Solti and the Wiener Philharmonic, "Dies Irae" from Verdi's Requiem; George Lewis New Orleans Jazz Band, "Mahogany Hall Stomp"

Famous Hat

Saturday, March 13, 2010

CROSS in Love

This post brought to you by CROSS (Citizens for a Return Of Sanity to Sound).

Last night Tiffy and I went to a harpsichord concert at a local Protestant church. As we sat waiting for the concert to begin, I noted the very strange cross hanging over the sanctuary and commented that it looked as if it were decomposing.

"I could never go to church here," I told her. "I would be too distracted by that decomposing cross." To be fair, I did note that the hot Jesus in a lot of Catholic churches can be every bit as distracting, and Tiffy said she had never noticed Hot Jesus.

"Really?" I said. "He's always totally cut and mostly naked." I guess you know now which of us St. Peter will be turning away at the Pearly Gates...

Then the harpsichord player began playing, and if I were a cartoon character, I would have been just like the creature that sees an attractive member of the opposite gender, with its heart trying to burst out of its chest and its eyes popping out with heart-shaped pupils.

"I love love LOVE this temperament!" I whispered to Tiffy. The performer started talking about temperament, and he said he didn't want to make it a lecture on tuning, but I whispered to Tiffy, "YES! Make it a lecture on tuning!" Luckily someone sitting ahead of us asked the question I was dying to know, what temperament the harpsichord was tuned in. The performer said it didn't really have a name, it was a "well" temperament that he had modified to match the instrument. You can hardly get further from the cold efficiency of equal temperament, which is so far removed from the reality of sound. Tuning to match the instrument! What a concept! In this CROSS-approved (and -adored) temperament, each key had a clarity and color of its own, and D minor was particularly gorgeous. Afterwards I told Tiffy that I felt as if I'd been to a chiropractor for my brain, as if it had been realigned by listening to all that beautiful sound. Oh, when will we realize how much we have lost with equal temperament?

Famous Hat

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another Reason to Take the Bus

Years ago I was sitting on the bus when a hippie chick got on. To my surprise, the woman next to me, who looked like a stereotypical librarian, said, “Hi, Charlie!” They did not look like they would have run in the same circles at all. Charlie said hi, and when the woman asked what she had been up to lately, she said she was planning to become a tiger trainer. Ms. Librarian expressed some surprise at this choice of career, but Charlie said she had a lot of experience training other animals, and this was something she had always wanted to do. She said the hardest part was getting the trucker license, because circuses wanted the trainers to drive the tigers around. I thought this was a really fascinating conversation, and several years later when I was sitting around in Paris, France with a bunch of people, the topic of weird conversations came up. I related the one about Charlie the Tiger Tamer, and one of the other girls said, “I know Charlie!” Granted, we were all from the same town, we just happened to be in Paris together, but it was still very random.

Toque McToque said that just yesterday she heard a bus conversation that is totally blog-worthy: the bus driver was asking someone who sings in a number of church choirs if he had ever played the organ, and he said he had only played the piano. Then he said, “A pure pianist would never touch an organ!” Or at least hasn’t yet, right? If that doesn’t sound absolutely filthy to you, try saying it out loud. If you’re still not getting it, then I have a squeaky-clean joke for you:

Q: What do you get when you cross a hummingbird with a doorbell?
A: A real humdinger!

Another true conversation which is not dirty but has to do with choirs:

Person A: So when that fat lady in your choir starts singing, does that mean choir practice is over?
Person B: Good one! But only if what you call what she does ‘singing.’
Person A: Ooh, that’s cold!

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Don't Go Postal - Go ORCA!!

Tiffy had been swimming with dolphins in CuraƧao, and she told me it was tons of fun but that you could tell the dolphins didn't really care about you one way or the other, they just wanted their fish. Then when we both went swimming with dolphins in Puerto Vallarta, I saw what she meant - it's just a job to them, and I can respect that. Nemo and Ali were jeuvenile bottlenose dolphins but still much larger and stronger than we were, and I thought to myself that they could really do some damage if they wanted to, but they were perfect caballeros and did what they were told.

Then there was the recent story of Tillikum (aka. "Shamu") who killed his trainer. If young bottlenose dolphins seemed powerful, I can only imagine what a full-grown killer whale must be like. Now I don't know anything about Tillikum and his trainer and what their relationship was like, and considering that he had already killed two other humans, he might have just been getting the whale equivalent of an advanced degree in @$$hole Studies. Still, when I heard this story, all I could think is, "Tillikum - livin' the dream! Man, wouldn't I love to do the same thing to my boss!" But of course I don't have the kind of size advantage he does.

Anyway, this got me to thinking: is it right to keep intelligent animals which are meant to travel great distances penned up in small areas? Is it right to force them to do menial tricks for peanuts, or fish, or minimun wage? People seemed shocked by Tillikum's actions, but they chalked it up to the fact that he is a wild animal living in a non-ideal environment. I would argue that we should either call this a case of workplace violence or acknowledge that humans who freak out at work are also being kept in a manner that they are ill-suited for. We have such fantastic long-range vision, yet in most of my jobs I spent all day unable to look more than 10 feet away. We are built to travel vast distances but spend most of our time cooped up in tiny pens, I mean cubes, doing stupid tricks for a tiny paycheck.

I am not advocating that we return to a hunter/gatherer lifestyle, although I'm about ready to give it a try personally. I'm just saying, can't we make working conditions more humane? And maybe we should offer orcas positions instead of not giving them a choice. Maybe some would still choose to do tricks for humans. In this current economy, few creatures get a choice about how they make a living.

Famous Hat

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring Cleaning Chez Bonomo

Yesterday A-Fooze declared we were going to have a "cleaning party" to clean Richard Bonomo's house, so Kathbert, Anna Banana II, my OTHER choir director and I eventually joined her to do some sweeping and mopping and window cleaning, etc. Kathbert finally put the numbers on Rich's mailbox. (He's only lived here since November; one can't rush these things, you know.) The OTHER choir director scrubbed Rich's tea kettle so thoroughly that it actually shines now. We all admired it, and our reflections in it. Then Rich made us dinner.

At dinner Kathbert was saying that she had once made the comment in front of Lady Harriet and Balesiron when they were very small children that people always give her tiny pieces of dessert and tiny amounts of alcohol. She said, "I want MORE booze and MORE dessert!" and to this day that is what they remember about her, even now that they are in college and high school. Kathbert said that will probably be what her gravestone says someday, and Rich said his grave (which he has already purchased) doesn't have room for a gravestone. Kathbert suggested that the OTHER choir director's gravestone could say, "Isn't it lovely when the calla lilies are in bloom?" since he always makes us say that phrase as if we were Katherine Hepburn so that we use "proper" L's when we sing. Then A-Fooze disagreed and said no, the OTHER choir director's tombstone should be a bottle of wine with a discount price sticker on it, since he is infamous for bringing bottles of wine to parties with brightly-colored discount stickers on them so we can all see how much money he saved. We all thought that sounded perfect. Then the OTHER choir director told us a hilarious story:

Once he was invited to a friend's house for dinner, so he stopped for a bottle of wine. At the counter he saw a guy putting price stickers on bottles of liqueur, so he asked if he could get a higher price on his bottle of wine for a joke. Then he brought it to his friend's house, and later in the evening his friend's wife asked him if he had really spent so much money on a bottle of wine, so he told her what he had done.

The OTHER choir director was in heaven when he and Kathbert were cleaning out Rich's dinette area and they came across an enormous bag of cocoa. When some spilled on the floor, he said, "It's like being in a fairy tale - even the dirt on the floor is chocolate!" And he kept saying that it smelled so good that he was going to dive into it. They ended up putting the cocoa into baggies, and we each got to take some home. A successful cleaning day all around!

Famous Hat

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pipe Dream

This morning I woke up from a dream where I was telling Toque McToque, "The economy's so bad, even the pot farmers have taken a hit!" Boo-yah! I keep wanting to quit my job, but everyone says there are no other jobs out there - even the temp agencies aren't calling people back! My current job would drive me to drinking except that it's already given me an ulcer. (Looks like I will be giving up caffeine for Lent after all.) So I wasn't in the office the other day, and Toque and Hardingfele thought I really had quit this time, but no. I was just making the doctor laugh almost as hard as the priest when I go to Confession. Here's how it went down:

I told the doctor I was waking up in the middle of the night all the time with excruciating stomach pains, after having weird dreams. Just that night I had dreamed that these two GI doctors were wandering around saying to each other how they hoped nobody discovered gastroenterology is really a pseudoscience, and then I woke up and realized my stomach really did hurt. The doctor (who is an internist, not a gastroenterologist) was practically rolling on the floor. I'm telling you, I should look into a career in stand-up comedy. It couldn't be any worse than my current gig!

Apropos to nothing, here is a little stuffed starfish I kyped from my part-time job at a grocery store, back when I was paying off Erin Caitlyn O'Honda. (OK, that's not entirely true - the manager who was always hopped up on Xanax gave it to me as a parting gift.) Here you can see that during the day it is a mild-mannered sea creature waving at you.

By night, it is a crazy disco-dancing marine animal showing off its "Saturday Night Fever" moves.

Mad props to Kathbert for suggesting the title of this post.

Famous Hat

Friday, March 5, 2010

University of Bubblehead

Years ago one woman was determined to ruin my life: Bubblehead. The worst part is that I’m not even sure she was doing it on purpose. She just had a different thought process than other people do. Bubblehead worked at a university which will remain nameless, and which I have never actually visited. My only connection with the place was that they had a summer school program in the Basque area of Spain, and I wanted to attend. I submitted my application and was thrilled to be accepted into the program.

“I’m going to Spain this summer!” I told everyone excitedly. However, when I applied for financial aid, I was turned down because I was not enrolled in the program. This was very puzzling – hadn’t I already received confirmation? So I called the University of Bubblehead and talked to Bubblehead, who sounded like a bubblehead. She seemed to be the only person working in the place. She said oh yeah, she had sent the letter because I had been accepted into the program, but she hadn’t actually enrolled anyone in the program yet. She was going to do that two days before we got on the plane.

“I kind of need you to enroll me right now,” I explained, “or I cannot get financial aid. They won’t give me the money if I’m not an official student, and I can’t go if I don’t get the money.”

So Bubblehead said she would enroll me as a student in the University of Bubblehead, and it only took weeks of calling to get her to do so. When she left a message on our answering machine, my roommate asked who she was.

“She sounds like a total bubblehead,” she said.

“That’s exactly what she is,” I told her.

Finally everything was straightened out, and I was on my way to Spain. I studied Basque and ran around with Basques all summer in the Pyrenees. What a great time! I forgot all about Bubblehead and the trouble she had caused me.

The university in Spain where I was actually studying grades the usual European way, with words like “Excellent” instead of A, “Good” instead of B, etc. Because this was a Basque university, they wrote the words in Basque. My teacher had assured me I was getting an A, and she sent the grades back to the University of Bubblehead, since that was where I was officially getting the credit. When I got home, my report card said I had dropped the class, so I called the University of Bubblehead. And guess what? I had to talk to Bubblehead! Seriously, she must have run the place or something. She said oh, she didn’t understand what the word meant on my report card so she assumed it meant I had dropped the class. What??? And this is at the only University in the United States that has a Department of Basque, so she could have walked down the hall and asked someone, but that would make too much sense. That odd decision on her part took until the following December to fix. Fortunately, I have never had to deal with Bubblehead or the university she seems to single-handedly run ever again.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Not to Brag, But....

...I have done the following:

  • Smuggled a live fish both ways across the border between the US and Canada
  • Won a cup of gelato in New Orleans for knowing a quote was by Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • Got thrown (literally!) out of a bar in Olympia, Greece
  • Watched a movie in an apartment that I found out later was being used as a secret Basque terrorist hideout
  • Made a cake that looked like a Russian Orthodox church
  • Got an F in Advanced Placement English but aced the test and got six credits of college English
  • Taught my rabbits to jump through a hoop
  • Written a blog post about all my amazing accomplishments
  • Ground up a shot glass in my disposal
  • Written a story in which all characters and places were hymn tune names
  • Walked barefoot into a McDonald’s in Cozumel and got served without a complaint
  • Performed with a band called Alfalfa and Omega which I had never practiced with before
  • Eaten maggots by accident on several occasions… and they do not taste good
  • Was waved at personally by Pope John Paul II
  • Ridden a tandem bicycle through a rainstorm with Richard Bonomo
  • Written a novel that Hardinfele said was so weird she couldn’t put it down
  • Appeared in five (count 'em, FIVE) videos while playing the mandolin
  • Had TWO poems set to music and performed by my OTHER choir
  • Gotten stuck on a roof in Rouen with Ethel and had to slide down a lightpole
  • Been told at different times that I have hyperkinesias, minimal brain dysfunction, schizoid disorder of childhood, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, high-functioning autism, and Asperger’s Syndrome, but I think those are maybe all the same thing
  • Had a Canada goose once say “Hello” to me as clearly as any parrot
  • Immediately came up with a sentence that fit neither “their” nor “there” when Sister Mary Pat was trying to teach us the difference in second grade, forcing her to sigh and write “they’re” on the board
  • Taken a cruise on the Mexican Riviera!

I know, you are soooo jealous.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hey NIH Folks! Do I Have a Grant Proposal for YOU!

Toque McToque and I have come up with a study which we would love to have funded. We are hoping this nets us at least several years of salary at a level to which we would like to become accustomed, not to mention travel to numerous exotic locales. It all began when we were discussing how people who burn sage are often a little, well, nutty. (I am not referring to tribes who burn it during sweat lodge rituals but individuals who burn it in their bedrooms.) I was wondering if the sage caused their insanity, or is it simply a handy clinical marker for insanity? Two cases in point: my neighbor who used to need to use my phone at 6 am because the government had bugged her phone; she then suddenly moved to Seattle and left me her plants and her socks. Second case: Toque's neighbor in Vancouver (very close to Seattle - coincidence???) who went up and down the street burning sage, calling the cops, and ratting on her neighbors. The pattern is clear, but the cause-and-effect won't be until someone studies whether sage is the cause of insanity or simply a symptom thereof.

This led us to realize that a large-scale study of this issue needs to be done, preferably by us. (Not so much because of our qualifications but because we thought of it first.) I am hoping a study like this would net us an IgNobel prize, but grandiose dreams aside, at least it would contribute to the literature or, failing that, it would certainly contribute to an upgrade in lifestyle for Toque and me. So if any NIH peeps are reading this, call me. We'll talk.

Famous Hat

Monday, March 1, 2010

Found Llama Poem of Hardingfele

Hope it was worth the wait.

Where Is Why?

Yesterday evening several of us went to find Mr. Why's grave to commemorate the anniversary of his death (which is officially today). He was cremated, and his gravesite is noted only by a small, flat marker. Of course everything was covered in snow, and nobody could remember exactly where the little marker was in relation to a large stone sticking out of the snow. The large stone is purely decorative, but I proposed that we treat it like the grave marker, since nobody could find the actual grave marker. (This is a relatively new crematory garden with not too many graves in it yet.) Richard Bonomo was determined to find it, so we all (including Kathbert and Anna Banana II) dug around in the snow with our boots, but to no avail. The marker was nowhere to be found.

"Man, we can't do ANYTHING with dignity!" I noted.

"Mr. Why is probably watching us and laughing," said Rich.

"You mean giggling evilly," said Kathbert.

We finally gave up and went with my original plan to treat the large, decorative rock as the grave marker, only now instead of being surrounded by pristine white snow, it was in the midst of a sea of scuffed-up, dirty snow with patches of frozen grass showing. Still, the photo I took does convey some loveliness and serenity.

Today Rich emailed us all a photo of Mr. Why's gravesite which he had taken during a warmer month. You can clearly see the large, decorative rock and the small, flat marker to the right of it, exactly where we were looking for it. I still say Mr. Why has not given up being a prankster in death, and he moved while nobody was watching. I can almost hear him giggling evilly: "Hee hee hee!"

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