Friday, July 30, 2010
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?
Thursday, July 29, 2010
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:
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
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.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
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.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
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-
-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-
-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?
-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!)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
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.
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.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
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!”
Monday, July 5, 2010