Friday, July 30, 2010

Non-Work Post

In case my coworkers are reading my blog, I will not blog about work. Instead, I will give them some thoughts to ponder:

Is Maroon 5 the Vivaldi of the 21st century? They write the same song over and over, but it's so darn catchy every time.

Which song has the sicker bassline, "I Better Find Your Love" by Drake or "Teach Me How to Dougie" by Cali Swag District?

Plants and trees that live for more than a millenium are always found in harsh environments. Does this mean comfort cuts your life short? And is it worth it to live a life of utter deprivation? Maybe you would live longer, but you would enjoy it less.

How can anyone call a song from the 00's "Old School"? Come on, a song released in 2004 would barely be able to read today if it were a person. You should have to be at least in high school in people years to be an old school joint.

Why have those treasury peeps not replied to Keith the Plant's suggestion that they do a Signs of the Zodiac quarter series? The barrista at my favorite coffee shop thought it was a fantabulous idea, and he sees more loose change than most of us ever will.

So what were the "Middle Ages" in the middle of, anyway?

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sonnet for hUBIE

Hardingfele, Toque McToque, and I are having this bizarre email conversation about whether certain people I work with are reading my blog. If they are, then I hope they enjoy this sonnet I wrote for one of their number. If not, then my regular readers can enjoy it.

How do I detest thee? Let me count the ways.
With the depth and breadth of thy lack of knowledge,
Thy amazing dearth of imagination and empathy,
The empty void that is thy sense of fairness,
And the vacuum of thy common sense.
I detest thee for the little things,
Like writing my name famous hat in emails
Because we both know I deserve no capitalization.
I detest thee for the large things, like saying thou wilt do something,
Then not doing it, and blaming me for the fact it wasn’t done
And having a meeting to discuss how much I suck
And summing it all up in a letter full of goals as concrete
As a cumulonimbus cloud.
But most of all I detest thee for that nasty smirk on thy face,
And the way thou art all “Hail Fellow Well Met” around others
And the fount of all evil when no one else is around.
So I will sum up the wonder of thee in just a few words:


Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fish House Update

As promised, here is an update on the living situation of my goldfish Tallis and Amminadab. As mentioned in a previous post, I somehow broke their little bowl while cleaning it out on Friday afternoon, so a guy in the lab lent me a plastic beaker. Today another coworker brought in a little plastic two-gallon aquarium, which is a lot more room than the fish have had before. They just keep swimming around and around as if they cannot believe all this room. Their little plant looks happier too. I will try to bring my camera and take a picture of their new digs.

Famous Hat

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pick Your Path: State Worker

When I was a kid, those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books were all the rage. They were all written in the second person, and approximately once every two pages you were faced with a choice to make. If you chose Option A, you would turn to page 34 and die. If you chose Option B, you would turn to page 35 and not die for several more pages. Tiffy loved those books, but I hated having to make decisions AND I hated dying, even if only in a book I could easily shut.

Now that I am older and not so afraid of virtual death, I think it is high time to update this concept for adults. Since “Choose Your Own Adventure” might be a copyright phrase, this is called “Pick Your Path: State Worker.”

You are a state worker who has already passed probation. Your boss asks you to remove the staples from a pile of papers he inadvertently stapled together. If you cheerfully do what he asks, turn to Option A. If you refuse to do what he asks, turn to Option B. If you take the pile of papers but somehow never get around to unstapling them, turn to Option C.

Option A: Go to Option D.

Option B: Go to Option D.

Option C: Go to Option D.

Option D: You get a mediocre annual review and a 0.5% raise once the Union and the state legislature get done wrangling. But then because the state is running a deficit, you get a 5% cut in pay, undoing your last ten years' worth of raises.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday's Post: West Coast Adventure!

Yesterday morning a bunch of us gathered at Our Lady of Perpetual Sobriety: Richard Bonomo, Cecil Markovitch, the single B-Boy, a woman who has no name on my blog, Mr. N'Awlins, OK Cap, Jillymoose, myself, and our intrepid leader, Anna Banana II. I was all stylin' as you can see in the photo below (taken by Mr. N'Awlins), in my Team TIAA-CREF t-shirt, Team TIAA-CREF hat, and Team TIAA-CREF water bottle. (To answer the question you are probably asking yourself, TIAA-CREF is an investment firm specializing in 403(b)s for educational institutions, and the team in question was a competitive bicycle team. No, I did not compete on it, I merely watched.) It says it is presented by 2820 Magazine, which I assumed was a periodical of some sort, but which Mr. N'Awlins tells me is an address in New Orleans.

We were a little late getting on the road, and Anna Banana II hoped Mr. Duck would not be mad that we were late. We had rented canoes from him at least a decade ago and were so late getting to the pickup spot that he had sent the bus back and only had the canoe trailer, so he took one of our number to pick up her van and left the rest of us sitting by the side of the river. AB II was hopeful that the original Mr. Duck had long since retired, since he was an old man at the time, and the Mr. Duck she had talked to on the phone recently sounded younger. We could only hope Mr. Duck Sr. had not passed on the story of our misadventure to Mr. Duck Jr. as family lore! AB II and I sang the Mr. Duck song:

Mr. Duck (quack, quack)
Was out of luck (quack, quack)
And so irate (quack, quack)
He had to wait (quack, quack)
Cuz we were late (quack, quack)

At this point we have no memory of who actually wrote the Mr. Duck song, although I suspect it was a group venture. AB II called Mr. Duck Jr. to say we were running 45 minutes late, and he was fine with that. However, we were almost to Mr. Duck's place when Mr. Duck called her back to say the sheriff's department had closed the mighty Kickapoo River to canoeing because of an obstruction and the high water. (It had been raining all week and most of the rivers in the state are under a flood watch.) We were very disappointed but decided to go to Wildcat Mountain State Park for our picnic lunch. Here is a photo of the view from Wildcat Mountain.

In this view you can see the mighty Kickapoo, which is usually such a shallow river that lots of casual (and by casual I mean drunk) people canoe and tube on it. It didn't look too high, but you can see it is not clogged with drunken people on tubes.

We didn't see any wildcats on Wildcat Mountain, but we did see kids playing with balloons that would make loud squealing sounds as they flew through the air, deflating. Just as I pulled out my camera to make a movie of this, they stopped playing this game. You will just have to console yourself with a picture of a pretty flower instead.

Since we weren't very far from the West Coast (of our state, that is), Cecil Markovitch suggested we visit the Guadalupe Shrine on the bluffs above the Mississippi River. It closes at 4:00, so we hurried there and rushed up the hill to the main church. I took a picture of the cute little votive chapel, but we didn't go into it on the way up, and it was closed by the time we came down. You will just have to envision the beautiful pyramid of votive candles in blue glass holders inside of the chapel.

Here is the altar area and the glorious baldacchino in the main church on top of the hill.

Looking up into the dome of the main church of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine.

Then Cecil suggested we go to Perrot State Park. At the visitors' center, we found out we could rent canoes for $10 (much cheaper than Mr. Duck), and I rejoiced to think our canoeing trip had been saved, after all. However, by then it was almost 6:00 in the evening, and the others didn't want to make a two-hour canoe trip, so they decided to hike up to Brady's Bluff. I was going to stay behind, and here you can see a photo I took of a hummingbird visiting a feeder outside of the visitors' center.

Rich insisted I come with the others, so instead of following them up a switchback, we just scrambled right up the hill to catch up with them. Then we climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed to the top of Brady's Bluff. Here are some views of the Mississippi River and the bluffs on the other side (Minnesota).

On the way down we discovered this gorgeous vista of Trempealeau Mountain.

Then we went to the Trempealeau Hotel for dinner. As you can see, they serve delicious food and peerless beer. I was actually going to have wine, but the bartender had attempted to make me a gin fizz, which wasn't like a real gin fizz but was quite good, like a lemonade slushy with a kick. Here are the signs, day and night.

We went down to the riverfront, just a few feet from the hotel, and I tried out the nighttime setting on my camera. Most of the photos are a little blurry, since I am not quite as steady as a tripod, and this one made me laugh because just as I snapped it, a train rushed by.

This one worked out a little better; you can see the beautiful full moon and the lights across the river, in Minnesota.

We got home well after midnight but somehow I woke up in time for Mass this morning anyway. Then I came to Rich's house to blog on his computer Aquinas, and I took this photo of my "money tree" mystery plant. It must be a balloon flower.

Famous Hat

Saturday's Post: Tallis the Fish

Yesterday I did not get a chance to blog (which I will explain in today's second post) so pretend this is yesterday's post. First I wanted to show you a publicity shot of the Undersea Players, who starred in my video "Happy Birthday to the USA." From left to right: Tony Abalone, Semper Fi the Seal, France the Crab, Canada the Crab.

And here is a shot of them from above so you can see France and Canada's crabbiness more clearly:

Now back to the main topic of this blog post: Tallis the Fish. Several years ago I had a number of dreams involving a little white girl cat, and in one of the dreams it was revealed that her name was Tallis. Since I am extremely allergic to cats, I assume this dream was not telling me to go out and get a little white girl cat, although I was curious enough to do some research and found that female cats, light-haired cats, and short-haired cats (which Tallis was) cause the least amount of allergies, so if I were to own a cat, Tallis my Dream Cat would hypothetically be the best bet outside of one of those hairless Sphinx things. (Apologies to anyone reading this who loves Sphinx cats, but those things are UGLY!! They look like giant baby rats.)

Since Arphaxad died, Amminadab was inconsolable, first searching for her frantically and then just hanging around in his bowl, looking droopy. Hardingfele said she had a source for a new goldfish (Rockstar Tailor's babysitter owns goldfish that had babies), but I figured Amminadab couldn't wait that long. Thursday night I headed to the pet store in a terrible thunderstorm, ignoring the tornado warning in effect, just to buy a 25-cent feeder goldfish. (Actually 26 cents with tax.) There were several that looked just like Arphaxad, white with a red splotch on their heads, but I decided to get an all-white fish and name her Tallis. (Having just experienced the wonder of singing Spem in Alium added to this conviction.) I spotted a small white fish with rounder fins that seemed female; no idea if it is, of course, but I will refer to Tallis as "she" until proven wrong. She is all pinkish-white except for her right eye, which is orange.

Meet Tallis

As you can see, their bowl is a little dirty because I clean it on Friday afternoons, and in the summer it quickly fills with scum. Several people have told me the scum is why Arphaxad died, but that makes no sense: how would she have survived three summers of scum just to succumb now? I suspect Light Bright forgot to feed them and Arphaxad just grew too weak, considering that both fish were very thin when I got back from Early Music Camp.

As soon as I put Tallis in the bowl with Amminadab, they swam around together as if they had been friends forever. This is another reason I suspect Tallis is female, because I really think Amminadab is male and would not have been nearly as happy to have a second male invade his bowl. We may not be able to tell boy fish from girl fish, but I suspect they have few problems in that area.

Tallis and Amminadab: Instant Friends

And here is a picture of Keith the Plant, which is much bigger than back when I scanned it. I could never scan it now! It is in the office window with my fish.

Here is a picture of Keith with the fish, to give you more perspective of Keith's current size. If it keeps growing at this rate, it will be too tall for my office in just a couple of years!

Friday as I was cleaning out the fish bowl, something very strange happened: I accidentally tapped it against the side of the sink, and that was enough to break a hole in the side. I ran into the lab and frantically asked for something to put the fish in until I can get a replacement bowl, so they lent me a big plastic beaker thing. Here you can see the fish happily swimming around in it, since it is actually larger than their bowl was.

And this is what it looks like from the side. You can still make out the fish and their plant, but it is not nearly as pretty as their glass bowl. A coworker who is moving to the East Coast said she was going to bring me her son's old aquarium, so I have not gotten a replacement bowl yet. Stay tuned to find out more about Tallis and Amminadab's housing situation.

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Television: An Impressionistic Word Painting

I do not have a TV at home, so I am endlessly fascinated by the TV shows that are playing at the health club during my workouts. I don't actually know how to change the channels and just watch whatever is on, but this is not supposed to be a factual account. It is an impressionistic word painting; if you looked at it closely, the words would actually look like little dots and swirls, but from a distance you can see a picture emerge. And that picture is... television.

TELEVISION: An Impressionistic Word Painting

The ROACH SHOW!! Reality show starring bounty hunter Roach Jackson and his family: wife Trixie, brother Bro, sons Roach jr. and Rooster, and daughter Wee Bairn Annabelle. Today Roach et al take down Vinny “Bambino” Garbanzo as he returns from-

(changing station)

-eaking news! Logical Intelligent Empathetic News is the first to report on this story! And we will report and report and report on it until everyone believes it!

Newsflash: Giant Wombat reports it had an affair with the President. You heard me right! Our MARRIED Commander-in-Chief (who, may I remind you, has never actually served in the Military) is now cheating on his wife with a marsupial!

(Cut to video of guy in a dog costume)

“He took me for a ride on Air Force One, and everything said ‘Potus’ on it: the door, the chairs, even the pile carpeting! I thought that was a really cute nickname for someone with such a big- What? That stands for ‘President of the United States’? Never mind.”

(Scrolling banner on bottom of screen: President has affair with giant wombat! President has affair with giant wombat! President has affair with giant wombat!)

Talking Head: The evidence speaks for itself. The President-

(changing station)

-elcome to Anti-LIE News. Today we discuss the ridiculous charge that the President is having an affair with a giant wombat. First of all, you can clearly see that this is a man is a dog costume. It’s not even a wombat costume! Come on, LIE News! Is your budget so low that you can’t afford a decent costume? I mean, you can even tell it’s a beagle. When you can identify the breed of dog, then I’m sorry, that is NOT a wombat. There are no wombat beagles. Secondly, this clip of video is misleading. Let’s watch the whole thing.

(cut to video of guy in a dog costume)

“The other day I met a Secret Serviceman who loves planes as much as I do. He took me for a ride on Air Force One, and everything said ‘Potus’ on it: the door, the chairs, even the pile carpeting! I thought that was a really cute nickname for someone with such a big- What? That stands for ‘President of the United States’? Never mind, I thought it was the Secret Serviceman’s nickname because he has such a big head. Doesn’t Potus sound like the perfect nickname for someone with a preternaturally large noggin?”

Talking Head: And why do people keep falling for LIE News’s lies? We all know they are having an all-out war with the marsupial lobby, so should anyone be surprised they would pull a stunt like this? I mean, really?

(changing station)

-onight on “Am I a Nutcase?” we talk to someone who can’t stop rhyming.

Young Woman: “I try and I fail, it’s a very sad tale.”

Host: Scientists have a term for this condition, rhapsophilia, which they used to think was caused by an underlying nutritional deficiency. Now they know it is caused by a deep-seated fear of the Boogeyman, whom the victim hopes to keep at bay with her mad rhyming skillz.

Victim’s Mother: “Her first words to me were: ‘Mama, llama.’ At first I thought it was cute, but soon I realized there was a problem.”

(Thank goodness, my workout is done!)

Famous Hat

The Ugly Chick

I know the title of this blog post sounds as if I am going to discuss myself, but it actually refers to the picture below, which was taken by Banjo Player. If you look closely at the baby chicks (ducklings?) in this photo, all of them are yellow except for the little gray one on the left side of their food bowl. What happened there? Is it a different breed or species? Or does Daddy suspect the mailduck? How did Mama explain that one when all the eggs hatched?

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Arphaxad 2007-2010

Ever since I returned from Early Music Camp, my girl goldfish Arphaxad (yes, I know that's not a girl's name) has not been feeling well. Yesterday she seemed to be getting better, but this morning she was very dead. I had her for over three years. Her buddy Aminnadab seems to be doing just fine, except that after I pulled her out and gave her a burial at toilet, he has been freaking out and swimming around, looking for her. Maybe I should get him a new buddy.

Arphaxad in happier times
(photo credit: Palm Tree Fan)

Famous Hat

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Money Tree

Since I was so remiss in blogging last week, I am blogging twice today! What's the occasion? I'll tell you - the "money tree" mystery plant that Rockstar Tailor talked me into buying at the plant sale for a whopping $1.00 bloomed today! So I raced over to Rich's house and took a picture of it in the dwindling daylight. My best guess is that this is a balloon flower. Does anyone else know?

Here are some other flowers blooming in Rich's garden, just because they happened to be there when he bought the house. There are some daylilies by the south side of the fence.

Then there are these flowers, which I believe are phlox, by the west side of the fence. They are over five feet tall and smell wonderful. (Wish I could put the scent on my blog for you, but Blogspot doesn't allow that yet.)

And here you can see plants growing on the roof of Rich's next door neighbor's house.

Meanwhile, inside his house, Jolly Bob, The Professor, Dr. Cheung, and Greg are happily hanging out with Rich's Christmas poinsettia, which still has some red bracts.

Back on my own balcony, I am having a "problem" with "weeds." Check it out. First there is my voodoo lily, which I bought at the Farmer's Market last year. It was dormant all winter, and at first I thought it was completely dead, but then it came back. It kind of looks like a cute little polka-dotted palm tree. All was good... and then I noticed a second, smaller voodoo lily coming out of the pot!

Then there is my red dracaena. The strangest-looking seedling began growing in its pot, so I let it go, thinking it must not be a regular old weed. As you can see in the photo below, it appears to be a baby neantha bella palm. How this happened, I have no idea; once upon a time this dracaena was in a pot with some other plants, including a neantha bella palm, but I separated them several years ago. Yet this baby just sprouted a few months ago.

Here is a clearer photo of the tropical visor I bought from Rockstar Tailor's website. (Since I am her neighbor, I just went over and paid in cash, and she allowed me to add some custom decorations: the blue beach umbrella and the orange drink.) You may remember it from my video "Happy Birthday USA."

For the final concert of Early Music Camp, I gave myself this manicure by putting metallic red polish over metallic blue polish. The result was a metallic raspberry, as you can see below.

I was more pleased with my pedicure, which was black polish with a clear polish full of sparkles over it. Yes, I was Twinkle Toes! If you are wondering why I have so many wacky colors, all I can say is: don't run an errand at the drugstore when they are having a sale on wacky colors for $2 apiece.

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Paratrooper Twinkies

(Mad props to Toque McToque for suggesting this blog post title.)

I am back, alive and well, from Early Music Camp. It was an incredible experience to sing in the Tallis 40-part motet "Spem in Alium," and I also enjoyed playing in a rebec consort and singing a madrigal from original notation. Hopefully now my blogging will be less sporadic!

Banjo Player recently visited Los Angeles for work-related reasons, and she took this picture on her iPhone. The traffic was blocked off for eight blocks so that an ad could be filmed, which as you can see involves two cherry pickers dropping white things. What you probably cannot tell so easily from this picture is that those white things are Twinkies on parachutes. So watch for this ad to come to a TV near you.

Paratrooper Twinkies Diverting Traffic

Tiffy was visiting this weekend to catch some of the Early Music concerts (including a guy reciting Beowulf in Anglo-Saxon and of course me singing and playing), and Richard Bonomo wanted to leave us keys to his house, so he left me the following note: "Keys on piano." Yeah, 88 of them, right? And legs on table, numbers on clock, plants in pots... what's your point? Then Tiffy was paging through an actual engineering magazine from 1949 that Katzooks had found and given to Rich, but she was highly disappointed not to find any predictions about the future in it. She was wondering what sort of flying cars we were supposed to have by now. However, the ads ranged from mildly amusing to the wonderfully suggestive ad for Homo-Flex, which they would like you to know is kink-resistant. You would think even back in 1949, one would not have expected something called Homo-Flex to be resistant to kinkiness, so we wondered if the copy writer was having some fun on the job or if he (OK, that's an assumption) was such a classic nerd that he thought this would be a compelling description for a mining hose.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In the Court of Crimson Kanye

My mom had this record around the house when I was a kid called In the Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson, which opened with the song "21st Century Schizoid Man." Imagine my surprise yesterday when I heard the new song by Kanye West, and it sampled this 60's group of white art rockers! But that was not the end of my surprises. When I mentioned this story to people at Early Music Camp, they had never heard of King Crimson, so I said hip hop guys are more likely to sample P-Funk... and they had never heard of George Clinton! But when I told my music history teacher about this, he was horrified because he loves funk too. He used to play trombone in a funk band, before specializing more in sackbut. He also admitted that Lady Gaga is his guilty pleasure. So not all Early Music geeks are narrow-minded about music!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Early Music Camp 2010

Sorry that I have been incommunicado - I am attending Early Music Camp this week and barely have time to sleep, never mind blog. Just now I spent an hour and a half watching four guys in suits singing on stage: fourteenth century barbershop! The Ars Nova stuff is fascinating, but definitely an acquired taste, and way too melismatic. (Why does it take them 235 notes to sing a two-syllable word like "Amen"? Those wacky Medieval composers!) The earlier tunes are so catchy that I wonder why they ever fell out of favor. Maybe I will have to write new words for one and make a video of it. Maybe it would make a decent hip hop song... once it is translated out of Middle English, anyway.

Anyway, the point is that it was all in just intonation, which of course is the superior way to do things. Everyone talks about readjusting to "modern music" after Early Music Camp, and I am pretty sure what they mean is going back to the horrors of equal temperament. Personally I am not looking forward to that; my first moment back, Sunday morning, the organ will undoubtedly sound completely out of tune. But it does every year.

This year I am being "lazy" and taking a history class and the lecture series, neither of which require any practice. Other people are taking notes, but I just sit there and listen. Hey, no tests! It's all for my own personal edification. I also inadvertently took basically the same early music notation class as last year, adding to the laziness factor. My one performance class is a rebec technique class - might as well use that rebec I bought a couple of years back! (I tried to use it in a Mideastern band, but they told me to go back to the violin.) Then the big choir is singing a number of things, including a 19-part piece by a Scottish dude named Carver, and the big Tallis 40-part motet "Spem in Alium." In case you are curious, I am a soprano in choir #7 (out of 8). Just call me Seven of Eight!

Anyway, I am writing this after the concert because it was the only time the computer kiosk was free. I will try to write more at a later point this week, in case anyone (Hardingfele?) is actually reading this. Maybe Rich will correct my Latin too - here I've been singing this song for four days, and I still can't remember if maybe it's Spem in Alia. (My excuse: Choir Seven does not sing those particular words.) And why are we hoping in garlic, anyway?

Famous Hat
(in Ars Nova, Fa-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-mo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ous Ha-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-at)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sometimes the Sickness Is Better

The other night Richard Bonomo and I were at the Mexican restaurant right by his house, and I ordered a huitlacoche quesadilla as is my wont. Rich asked,

"If huitlacoche is good, is neuflacoche better?"

"Yes, it is un mieux," I replied, though of course huitlacoche is not a French word at all but a Nahuatl one that means something lovely like "raven droppings." In English it does not fare much better, since it is commonly referred to as "corn smut." People have been trying to raise this humble fungus's profile in the gourmet world by referring to it as "corn truffles," and this particular restaurant we were at refers to it as "mushroom that grows on the corn," but the fact is that it is ugly. It is an infection. Native Mexicans would purposely infect their corn with it, but when the gringos came, they tried to eradicate the infections. However, huitlacoche is far more valuable than an uninfected ear of corn to someone in the know. It is a delicacy, and if you enjoy mushrooms, you would probably like it. (If you hate mushrooms to begin with, you might as well not bother.)

Corn is a fine food, don't get me wrong, but it would be a grave mistake to eradicate the corn smut infection so that every ear of corn was "perfect," because huitlacoche is much more nutritious. It is worth sacrificing some corn, as the Native Mexicans did, so that some of them will produce the deformed kernels the color of wet cement that signal the infection of corn smut. Kathbert told me she once found an ear of corn with several infected kernels on it at the Farmer's Market, and so she quickly grabbed it, but then the seller spotted the infection and refused to sell it to her. Was this because she mistakenly thought Kathbert had not noticed the infection but would be disgusted when she found it? Or was it because she realized one ear infected with corn smut is worth many uninfected ears to those in the know?

I personally love huitlacoche and was very happy to hear from Rich that there was recently a newspaper article about what a good source of nutrition it is, particularly for vegetarians, since it contains proteins that are usually only found in meat. I like to think that this humble fungus, with its ugly appearance and unflattering common names, is a metaphor for those things in life that at first seem to be a curse but, when you know what to look for, turn out to be a blessing. Just as an infected ear of corn is far more valuable than a healthy one, perhaps many of the "problems" that arise in our lives will turn out to be greater blessings than those gifts we more easily recognize.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Hardingfele shut her umbrella covered with cats, set down her purse covered with cats, and sat down. On her cat T-shirt I could still detect a small stain of grease paint from when she had been a cat for Halloween last year. (Then again, since she had been a cat the year before, it could have been even older.) She said,

“Sorry I’m late. I had to make sure the cats didn’t escape from the cat-proof fence around the yard.”

“No worries,” I said. I know how she always has to make sure the cats are all in the house before she leaves.

“Are you sure you don’t want a cat?”

“You know I’m allergic,” I replied.

“There’s a really cute little plushy kitten up for adoption.”

“I’m getting a new doll,” her daughter Rockstar Tailor piped up. Hardingfele glanced at her as if surprised to find that she had human offspring and not just four cats, then she frowned.

“She’s so obsessed with those collectable dolls!” she told me. “It’s driving me crazy!”

Famous Hat

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Birthday USA!

Here is a photo of the snow globe Rich got me in Mickey Mouse Heck. Isn't it cute?

OK, so this post is a day late, but I had the day off of work in honor of Independence Day, and yesterday I was too busy reading the final novel in the Stieg Larssen trilogy about Lisbeth Salander. (Supposedly he was planning to write ten novels about her, but he died right after finishing the third one so it will remain a trilogy.)

I was lucky enough to get to see fireworks on Friday night (with Kathbert), on Saturday night (with Hardingfele), and last night with Richard Bonomo, Anna Banana II, and some other people. It was a crazy day that started when I woke up at 6:30 thinking it was 8:30 and I was going to be late for Mass; by the time I realized my mistake, I was totally awake. So I read and ended up running late anyway. I popped into a coffee shop for a scone and a cappuccino before Mass. Two cops entered the coffee shop with a young woman in tow, and imagine my surprise when I realized it was my office mate Light Bright! (She actually wasn't with the cops; she just knows how to make an entrance.) Then I went out to brunch with some choir members and hired the cast of my movie for $1, since they are 25 cents apiece in the vending machine by the restaurant's door. (Since I'd already had that scone, I was much more interested in purchasing a cast for my movie than eating.) Then I filmed last night's fireworks so they are also featured in this movie.

This is a birthday song for the USA. It was produced by Tropical Visor (cost me three times as much as the cast, but it came from Rockstar Tailor's website and not a vending machine), and it stars Tony Abalone, France the Crab, Canada the Crab, and Semper Fi the Seal. (When I asked Semper Fi which creature he would want to be, he said the seal.) France and Canada are both crabs because, like the USA, they have birthdays in July so they are Cancers too. Enjoy!

A number of people have mentioned that they couldn't understand the words to this song, especially what the Undersea Players are singing, so here are the words:

Semper Fi: Now let's sing America a really nice birthday song here.
Chorus: Happy birthday to the USA, happy birthday to you!
Tony: Tony Abalone sends birthday wishes, happy birthday, USA, to you!
Chorus: Happy birthday to the USA, happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to the USA, from two other Cancers to you!
France: France has a birthday on July 14th, so France is a Cancer too!
Chorus: Happy birthday to the USA, happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to the USA, from four little sea creatures to you!
Canada: Canada has a birthday on July the First, so Canada's a Cancer too, eh!
Semper Fi: Semper Fi says happy birthday!

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Keith's New Career

Keith my little dracaena marginata is hoping to start a new career as an erotic model. I pointed out that the sexual parts of plants are the flowers, and Keith has never bloomed, but that did not dissuade it at all. Here it is posing for the cover of the romance novel it plans to write someday.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Vacation Brain

Here is a cartoon I drew during work time today. I call it: "Back from Vacation; Or, Toque McToque Sends a Fax." And yes, it is a true story, and Toque is OK with me posting this.

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