Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fried Until Dounts

So last night was a girls' night out at an Indian restaurant with Jilly Moose, OK Cap, Anna Banana II, Luxuli, and me, Famous Hat.  The restaurant we went to had both the more familiar northern India fare, such as nan bread and tandoori chicken, and southern Indian cuisine we were less familiar with.  We were starving (after watching Toy Story 3 - highly recommended!), so we ordered a northern appetizer - pekoras - and a southern appetizer.  I can't remember the name, but the description in the menu will be seared into my memory for ever:  "Fried until dounts."  I was enchanted enough by that description, but when we asked the waiter to recommend a southern appetizer, he mentioned that very item.

Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of the fried until dounts.  They were very cute and certainly appeared to be what we guessed the description was trying to get at, which was fried lentil donuts.  They looked just like little donuts, were deep fried, and tasted like they might have been made of lentils.  Luxuli and I were adventurous and ordered from the southern menu, and my meal appeared to be a giant fish pancake.  It was delicious, even if it sounds weird.  (The others got more familiar northern food, tandoori chicken and curry shrimp.)  Then we all ordered the pistachio saffron and coconut ice cream, except for Anna Banana II... but the waiter brought five and told her that hers was on the house.  What a wonderful meal!  They also gave unlimited refills on chai, so I had more than might have been advisable at that hour, but I slept well anyway.

So if you go to an Indian restaurant that served southern-style appetizers, be sure to get the fried until dounts.  The pekora was good too, but it was just deep-fried cheese.  Didn't we invent that here?  And be sure not to pass up the pistachio saffron and coconut ice cream!

Famous Hat

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Totally 100% Completely True Story*

This is an actual true story, and not an email Toque McToque forwarded to me claiming it was a true story that happened in Texas or anything:

Clutching their Kohl's shopping bags, Hardingfele and Famous Hat gazed woefully down at a dead cat in the mall parking lot. Obviously a recent hit: no flies, no smell...

"What business could that poor kitty have had here?" murmured Hardingfele.

"Come on, Hardingfele, let's just go."

But Hardingfele had already grabbed her shopping bag and was explaining, "I'll just put my things in your bag, and then I'll use this tissue..."

She dumped her purchases into Famous Hat's bag and then used the tissue paper to cradle and lower the former feline into her own Kohl's bag and cover it.

They continued the short trek to the car in silence, stashing their goods in the trunk. But it occurred to both of them that if they left Hardingfele's burial bag in the trunk, warmed by the summer sunshine while they ate, Famous Hat's car Erin Caitlyn O'Honda would soon smell awfully nasty.

They decided to leave the bag on top of the trunk, and they headed over to Jerkins. They sat down at a window table where they had a view of Famous Hat's Honda with the Kohl's bag still on the trunk.

BUT not for long! As they ate, they noticed a large woman in a red gingham shirt stroll by their car. It was Famous Hat's Archirritant!  She looked quickly this way and that, and then took the Kohl's bag without breaking stride. She quickly walked out of their line of vision. Famous Hat and Hardingfele shot each other a wide-eyed look of amazement.  It all happened so fast that neither of them could think how to respond.

"Can you imagine?" Hardingfele finally sputtered. "The nerve of that woman!"

Famous Hat sympathized with Hardingfele, but inwardly a laugh was building as she thought about the grand surprise awaiting her Archirritant.  Just when she thought she'd have to giggle into her napkin, she noticed Hardingfele's eyes freeze in the direction of the front door. Following her gaze, Famous Hat saw her Archirritant with the Kohl's bag hanging from her arm. She brazenly pushed her way toward a table across from theirs, put the bag on an empty chair and began to eat.

After a few bites of baked whitefish and green beans, she casually lifted the bag into her lap to survey her treasure. Looking from side to side, but not far enough to notice her rapt audience three tables over, she pulled out the tissue paper and peered into the bag.

Her eyes widened, and she began to make a sort of gasping noise. The noise grew. The bag slid from her lap as she sank to the floor, wheezing and clutching her upper chest. The beverage cart attendant quickly recognized a customer in trouble and sent the busboy to call 911, while she administered the Heimlich maneuver.

A crowd quickly gathered that did not include Hardingfele and Famous Hat, who remained riveted to their chairs for seven whole minutes until the ambulance arrived.

In a matter of minutes, Archirritant emerged, still gasping, and securely strapped on a gurney.  Two well-trained EMT volunteers steered her to the waiting ambulance, while a third scooped up her belongings. The last they saw of  Archirritant was as she disappeared behind the ambulance doors .... the Kohl's Bag perched on her stomach!!

*OK, maybe it didn't happen exactly like that.  Maybe it was more like Hardingfele, Rockstar Tailor, and I went to Jerkins, and we never saw any dead cat or my Archirritant.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Very Best of Light Bright

Here are some Light Bright stories for your enlightenment (hah!):

1.  There have been very bad winds here for the last few days.  I was saying that I had heard the wind was going to be bad, at least 60 miles per hour, and she said, "I heard the wind was going to be 80 degrees!"

2.  Light Bright likes country, and I like hip hop, and we each detest the other one's taste in music so we listen to a radio station that plays everything.  Yesterday they played "Ice, Ice, Baby," by Vanilla Ice, then maybe an hour later they played "Under Pressure" by Queen.  Light Bright asked if they hadn't just played this song, and I replied that this was the original, by Queen.  She said, "But he doesn't sound like a woman!"  Now Freddy Mercury is very, very queer but I never thought he sounded effeminate when he sang.  I asked, "Does he sound like a woman in 'We Will Rock You'?" and she said, "No!  Did he sing that?"  "Yes.  Did he sound like a woman in 'We Are the Champions'?"  "No!" she said in surprise.  "I didn't know he sang all those songs!  I thought they were by Queen!"  At this point I was very confused and said, "But weren't we discussing Queen?" and she said, "Oh!  I was thinking of Prince!"

3.  One day when Light Bright was figuring out which doctors covered what rotations during which holidays, she asked me, "Is Christmas always on December 25th?"  I thought that was surprising until she added, "And I don't understand these labels at the top of the spreadsheet:  ICU, Transplant, VA... are those the days of the week?"

4.  I was telling Light Bright about a story Toque McToque had sent me about a guy busted for growing pot in his front yard.  I said I wasn't sure if he were stoned when he planted it, or if he thought the cops wouldn't notice it in such an obvious place.  She said maybe he didn't know what it was.  "I might not know," she explained.  "I mean, marijuana looks just like tobacco."  I was too stunned to say anything for a moment, and she said triumphantly, "I made you think, didn't I?"  Yes, but probably not what you think I was thinking about, Light Bright.  (Toque's theory:  she was raised on a grow-op but her folks told her it was a tobacco plantation.  That would explain so, so, so much.)

Famous Hat

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Toque McToque and I have been busy thinking up possible studies we can submit for NIH grants. Of course there is the Tropical Origins of the Rabbit Study, but we have identified some other issues that deserve further scrutiny and lots of federal dollars:

Apparently a hamburger served between two halves of a donut instead of a bun is called a “Luther Vandross burger,” which would seem to imply that he invented this monstrosity, or at least indulged in it with frightening frequency. Luther Vandross is dead. This cannot possibly be a coincidence.

People who have a great deal of exposure to cats often are infected with the Toxoplasma protozoan. This nasty little bug invades the brain and makes people act crazy. Do places with higher levels of cat ownership have higher levels of insanity? For example, some cultures think dogs are unclean so they keep cats as pets instead. These cultures tend to be located between Africa and Asia, if you see what I am trying to say without using any words that will cause a death sentence to be put on me. This is an area also known for producing people who like to blow things up. Is this a coincidence??? Perhaps a study should be done. Since toxoplasmosis in rodents makes them less afraid of cats and therefore more likely to be eaten, thus spreading the pathogen, it stands to reason that it could also make humans less afraid of dangers. This should really be studied.

Then again, if the NIH is not willing to fund any of these studies, I do have a backup plan:  word sculptor!  I am going to sculpt the word "xenon" in bronze and in wood and in iron and in ice and in gold and in glass and - my magnum opus - in a glass tube that I will then fill with xenon and light up.  Xenon lights up blue, in case you were wondering.
Famous Hat

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kobe Choco Dangos!

Here is the wrapping from the candy Rich brought back from Japan:

In case you cannot read it, it says:  "In Kobe, a city filled with exoticism, there are some unique buildings such as the weathercock mansions with beautiful art nouveau style decoration or a place called scaly house.  Especially the night scene is so splendid, from the port tower which commands a whole view of Kobe."

Anyway, Choco Dangos are little blobs of bean paste with a piece of dark chocolate inside and dark cocoa powder on the outside.  Kathbert and I thought they were very tasty but Rich and Anna Banana II just thought they were okay.  

Famous Hat

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pictures of Osaka

Richard Bonomo is back from Japan with lots of cool pictures.  For example, did you ever wonder what Osaka looked like?  Here is a view showing the castle:

And here is the same scene at night:

And here are some views from the castle's main tower:

Did you ever wonder what a Lutheran hotel in Japan would look like?  Then you are in luck!  Rich has some pictures of that too!

And how about a Catholic church in Japan?  Did you ever wonder about that?  Here Rich has also helped us out with pictures of Osaka's cathedral.

Our Lady of Fatima (with cycads - swoon!)

The exterior

The Blessed Sacrament chapel

The main church

An added note:  Rich did not have cell phone service in Kyoto when he was there two years ago, nor did he have service in Tokyo this week.  But in Osaka he had service and even got two text messages welcoming him to Japan... in English!  Gotta love that.

Famous Hat

Thursday, October 21, 2010

High Airborne Cat Levels Lead to Long-Term Heimeral Inshigh Changes: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blinded Study

I am sure you are very jealous of Light Bright and me, because we get to type up lots of medical dictation at work. Of course medical dictation has its own vocabulary, replete with large words like polysensitization that you are sure the doctor just made up to sound smart, but sometimes they say things we can’t even begin to interpret. I was looking over some of LB’s work, and she had highlighted any words she didn’t understand. I was able to come up with something that made sense for most of them… and then there was this phrase: “long-term heimeral inshigh changes.” I am not sure what this might mean from a medical perspective. Looking at it linguistically, the first part appears to be of Germanic origin, while the second part looks more Celtic in derivation. Does this help? Not really.

Then of course there are the regular old mistakes, like when the doctor meant to say “airborne cat allergen levels,” but instead he said “airborne cat levels.” Did you imagine a bunch of paratrooper felines too? What do they think they are, Twinkies? Toque McToque says the level of airborne cat in her house has gotten so high that she is thinking of getting her younger cat a little helmet for his birthday. She should not take this problem too lightly. Four out of five doctors agree that high levels of airborne cat can lead to long-term heimeral inshigh changes, and who wants that? I mean, it’s one thing if your heimeral inshigh just changes for the short-term, or if your non-heimeral inshigh changes, and don’t even get me started on heimeral outshigh changes. But clearly there is something very significant about long-term heimeral inshigh changes. We just aren’t sure what it is yet.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rich in Japan

Just received the following email from Rich to Kathbert, Anna Banana II, and me:

Well, I got in Monday afternoon, Japan time. I had dinner with Shige on Monday night at a Korean Grill, and went out to his university office for a very brief visit before I grabbed the train to Osaka.

So he is alive and well in Japan.

Note to would-be robbers:  Don't bother trying to break into Rich's house while he is gone.  Kathbert, Anna Banana II, and I are in and out and you don't want to run into any of us.  Capiche?

Famous Hat

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wyalusing State Park

Anna Banana II, Jilly Moose, Richard Bonomo, and I went to Wyalusing State Park yesterday.  The colors were better last year so Anna Banana and I downloaded her photos from last year to put on this post.  First there is my little friend, if you remember me mentioning him.

Next we have A-Fooze wearing her tapestry bag over her head, because Cecil Markovitch pointed out that it matched this young maple tree.

And here are some more beautiful views of the fall colors, and a train!

Famous Hat

Friday, October 15, 2010

Aloe Vera Blossoms

I am so jealous of Hardingfele.  My aloe vera plants sat outside all summer and got so huge that one barely fits on the top shelf of Plant World, where all my cacti and succulents live.  But do they show any signs of blooming?  No!  However, Hardingfele's aloe vera at work bloomed.  Here, thanks to her new office mate, is a picture of the blossoms.

Famous Hat

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cornish Fest Schwag

Sorry for the lack of blogging lately.  I am suffering from Cold #6473 this year, or at least that's how it feels.  To make up for my remissness (I guess that is a word - spell check isn't hating on it), I will tell you a little story:

Once there was a woman who lived in a crazy country.  How crazy?  They only had TWO political parties!  Can you believe that?  The woman did not know who to vote for, because she hated both parties:  the Democraps were in favor of killing unborn children, and the Repooplicans were trying like crazy to steal workers' wages.  Since both the shedding of innocent blood and withholding the laborer's wages are sins that cry to God for vengeance, the woman did not know who to vote for.  Then suddenly on the horizon appeared a third party, one that cared about The People, both born and preborn.... and then she woke up.

Anyway, here are some pictures I took while home sick today of the schwag I acquired at Cornish Fest a few weekends back.  The first thing, my prayer journal, is not particularly Celtic; it is a copy of the Lindau Gospel, which was made in Germany.  But I thought it was pretty, and for some reason they were selling it at one of the Celtocrap booths.

Here are some more things I bought, which actually have Celtic designs:



Shell-style top


It's cool and it's bronze

This last picture is of two little creatures I actually got at the art museum store just before going to see Wicked (because I hadn't spent enough money on the ticket or anything) - I couldn't decide which was cuter, the little monster or the crab, so I just got them both.  They were made by a local artist, and they don't have names yet so feel free to suggest names for one or both of them in the comments section.  And in case you were wondering, Wicked the musical is excellent but very different than the book.

Famous Hat

Monday, October 11, 2010

Norwegian Bunnies

Here are a couple of adorable pictures the fiddler from my band emailed me of Norwegian rabbits.  One of the places she stayed at during her recent trip to Norway used rabbits to cut the grass; the rabbits would be in a large cage, and they would trim the grass in that spot, and then the proprietor would move their cage to another spot that needed trimming.  This first picture is a pair of lop bunnies, kind of like Charlie except they have a lot more white and less calico on them than he does.

The proprietor set this little bunny too close to a plum tree, so instead of trimming the grass, it decided to trim the tree!

Famous Hat

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bubbly Springs

A few weekends ago, Jilly Moose and I went to a very cute little town called Mineral Point for their annual Cornish Fest.  Here are a few pictures from it:

An artsy creature over a shop door

Very cool old building

Norwegian building constructed for Chicago World's Fair

Last weekend, Tiffy and I went on a hike at a park called Pheasant Branch.  Here is a picture to show you the rich fall colors.

And here is a short movie of the little bubbly springs there.  Instead of leaving our inane dialogue, I made a loop of the springs making their cute little "boop, boop" sound and then in the background have the Finale file I created of that Thomas Weelkes madrigal, "Retire My Thoughts."  Finale does a pretty good job with the fake singers, I think.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Haiku Epic

A couple of weeks ago, Hardingfele showed me a baby avocado tree growing out of her compost heap.  It seems she had thrown a pit in there, and it had happily grown to about two feet in height.  I found this ironic, or at least annoying, because I have carefully planted avocado pits and never had them sprout, but my mistake must have been not throwing them in the garbage pit.  Hardingfele dug the baby tree out of the compost heap and put it in a pot, and I brought it home to Plant World, since it would undoubtedly not survive one of our northern winters.  In fact, I know this from bitter experience.

Years ago Rich had a roommate we'll call "Ed" who was studying in another state for a semester, so he asked us all to care for his avocado tree, which he had grown from a pit.  It was about five feet tall at that time.  We took very good care of his tree, but when he returned, he decided it was too big and he didn't want it anymore.  So did he ask any of us who had babied his tree for him in his absence if we would like to adopt it?  He did not.  He simply sat it out on the porch in the middle of winter, and it promptly died.  This angered me so much that one New Year's Day my besty Tiffy and I wrote a haiku epic about this tragic tale.  Every verse of our epic was a haiku.  It has long since been lost, but I do remember my best haiku verse:

What makes a killer?
Why? I cry to the heavens.
Why did Ed do it?

And here is Tiffy's best haiku verse:

Guacamole dreams.
Avocado mourns its loss.
Why did Ed do it?

The last line of each haiku was "Why did Ed do it?"  Perhaps someday the epic will reappear in its entirety, like the Lost Llama Poem of Hardingfele, which has since been found.  (It will probably even be in the same place - Rich's house.)  Until then, you will just have to imagine how the entire epic went.  And feel free to leave avocado haikus in the comments section.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Banjo Player in St. Louis

The banjo player from our band is in St. Louis, and today she sent me some beautiful photos (and one funny one) to post on my blog.  First are some photos of the interior of St. Louis Cathedral:

In this photo you can see a biretta ("cardinal hat") being used as a decoration in a crypt:

This is a giant 14th century Spanish choir book.  Why so big?  Because if you had to write every book by hand, wouldn't you rather make one ginormous one for the whole choir instead of little books for each choir member?  Just sayin.'  This is why there are no pulp incunabulae; they didn't waste bookmaking on bad fiction.

Finally, here is the promised funny photo.  Banjo Player spotted this sign in a bookstore located in a student neighborhood.  I'm guessing none of these books are incunabulae.

Famous Hat

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fishy Dreams

Aquinas is all better! Richard Bonomo took it to the computer-fixing place and they fixed it for a tenth of what he thought it might cost him. However, there is still no explanation for why the Finale file I worked and slaved over got corrupted. It seems less likely that Aquinas ate it than that Finale ate it, so Rich emailed the file to Finale to ask if they could fix it.  Here's hoping the midi file still works...

Amminadab and Tallis the goldfish still get along famously, but I am wondering if Amminadab has acquired a fungal infection because about a week ago his upper lip turned black. He looks like a Groucho Marx fish! OK, minus the eyebrows and cigar, but I didn’t want to say he looked like a Hitler fish… Online some people contend that this is a sign of fungal infection while others say it is just a natural part of a fish’s development, that they may get darker areas as they age. Amminadab is around four years old, and I don’t have a good sense of how old that makes him in people years. Online nobody can agree on the average lifespan of a goldfish, with some people saying they can live for thirty years and other people saying their average lifespan is three days after you bring them home, in which case Amminadab would be ancient. He does not seem very geriatric. I am sort of disappointed that he and Tallis haven’t really gotten any bigger since moving into their Fish McMansion. I really thought by now they would be much, much larger.

Speaking of fish, I don’t know why mine keep inspiring strange dreams in my office mates. Amminadab has a bad habit of gobbling down his dry fish flakes, which then expand and press on his swim bladder, so that he is constantly floating on his side and looking like he is at death’s doorstep. Actually, he just has fishy constipation, and the cure for that is fishy laxative: raw peas! One day when Toque McToque was still my office mate, I made a comment about having to go downstairs to the cafeteria to get some raw peas from the salad bar (I put them in a ketchup cup and they charge me 3 cents), and she said, “You didn’t… squeeze him to try to get the poop out of him, did you?” I said, “What? No!” and she said, “Oh… I must have dreamed that last night.”

I thought that was a strange dream until Light Bright told me she hadn't noticed right away that Tallis has one orange eye, and then when she did, that night she had a dream that Tallis’s orange eye was growing bigger and bigger like a balloon, and then she realized poor Tallis was sitting on a burner on the stove and slowly cooking, and that was why her eye was swelling up. So what is it about my fish that inspires such violent dreams in my office mates? At least Toque was just trying to cure Amminadab by dreaming I squeezed him; Light Bright is cooking Tallis in her dreams!

Famous Hat