Saturday, June 29, 2019

Big Chair and Crazy Glasses

I had a gig this morning, and it was very hot, so we have spent the rest of the day inside. I am currently sitting under our ceiling fan and blogging. I meant to put some recent pictures on the blog yesterday but got too busy, so here they are today. First are photos of myself and Travalon in the Big Chair on the Union Terrace. I look like a little kid sitting in it, but it actually looks just the right size for him!

Travalon caught a paddlefish! Just kidding - this is from the Limnology Open House.

This is a selfie I took to show how funky I was looking for the George Clinton concert. Tiffy said you should NEVER take selfies from below. This is the best of a number of terrible selfies I took before the concert.

And this is the one I took trying to follow Tiffy's instructions. These are the glasses that are supposed to prevent car sickness, but according to 23 and Me, I possess a gene that makes me less prone than average to motion sickness. This does seem to be true, so I could not say if these glasses work. I just think they look hilarious. Maybe perfect for the George Clinton concert!

This is the new air plant I bought at the Farmers' Market with my gig money.

And this is the black calla lily Handy Woman gave me.

Here are a few shots of the Allen Centennial Gardens on campus. I was too shocked by the bald cardinal to take a picture of him, and I haven't seen him since then.

This is the "psychedelic" Maynard the Mallard shirt I got at the ballgame. It's so big on me that it kind of makes me look like a glass of blue curaçao with a neon garnish.

And this is my pink-flowering strawberry. Isn't it pretty? And the berries are tasty!

Here are a couple of short videos from the George Clinton concert. This first one is Fishbone, so you can see how funky they are.

This is George Clinton (in white) coming out with his young band members.

Famous Hat

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Jerry Kramer at the Mallards Game

Last night Travalon and I went to our first Mallards game of the season, and we got there early for the VIP experience with Packers legend Jerry Kramer. We each got a free photo of Kramer clutching the game ball (from one of his Super Bowl appearances, I presume) and wearing his five championship rings, and he signed them with his very cool signature. We got to talk to him for a few minutes, and he told us a great story about how he wanted to pretend to be in a rainforest while writing his book, so a buddy threw water on the ceiling. These Packers legends have the best stories; Dave Robinson told us how one day at practice it was so cold that Lombardi’s coffee froze, so he finally said it was too cold to practice.

The game itself started with some terrible pitching by our Mallards, so that the Green Bay Booyah (formerly the Bullfrogs) scored two runs early. Then their pitching was just as atrocious, so the Mallards scored a bunch of runs. Both pitchers were walking people left and right, so there were quite a few times when the bases were loaded. I kept hoping to see a grand slam, but there were no homers last night. I did see the Booyah pitcher send at least one guy (maybe two?) home by walking someone when the bases were loaded. Some of the innings seemed to last forever because of all the walks, and the foul balls. A lot of people left early, but the game was never that crowded – maybe because of the presidential candidates’ debate?

At one point a guy was tossing T-shirts into the crowd, and he threw one right to me! I was so caught off-guard that he would notice me that it bounced off my Mallards cap towards Travalon, who tried to catch it, but it went past him too. He spun out of his seat to grab it before someone else could (there was a guy who reached for it), but he was slightly injured in the process. Nothing serious, but that’s when you know a man loves you – when he will risk bodily harm to get you a free T-shirt! And it was just my size too! He did tell me that there was a “psychedelic” Maynard the Mallard T-shirt in the shop, so when the Booyah’s manager had Conference #63 on the mound with the terrible pitcher, I grabbed the chance to go see it. It is bright blue with a Maynard in neon shades of green, pink, and yellow, and they tell me it was for “90’s Night” earlier this season. Of course they only had the size above and below mine, so I tried them on and decided it was better to go a size too large. I am wearing it today.

The final pitcher the Mallards brought out was more competent, and Travalon and I stayed to watch him dispatch the Booyah quickly at the top of the ninth. They probably couldn’t have caught up in one inning anyway, and despite the rough start, the Mallards won 10-4. They are top of their division at the moment, and if they can get over their pitching slump, they should stay there.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Bald Cardinal

First a shout out to Giannis, who won the league's Most Valuable Player award on Monday night. I would have mentioned him in yesterday’s post, but it didn’t really go with my plea for people to turn away from heresy.

I know the title of today’s blog post suggests that I am going to discuss religion again, but in fact this bald cardinal is a bird. On Monday I took a walk at lunch through the garden near my office, and a male cardinal approached me as if he would like help. His head was entirely devoid of feathers, an ugly little patch of black skin, so that he almost looked like a tiny scarlet vulture. I felt very sad about this and emailed the people who run the garden. I wasn’t sure if he lost the feathers due to illness or a fight with another bird, and since cardinals spend the winter here, he might not survive with a bare head.

To my surprise, the garden director emailed me back to say they were aware of the bald cardinal, he has been hanging around for the last three years and is very friendly. So he survived the Polar Vortex with a bare head! That’s impressive. I asked if they had named him, and the director said no, but maybe that would make a good social media contest. If they ever do run this contest, and Kathbert enters, I bet she will win. She always won my blog contests.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Tiwtter, Sexism, and Heresy

If you want to be totally scandalized, just follow the Twitter feed of someone you respect, and you will instantly lose all respect for them. I very recently made the mistake of following someone on Twitter when I saw this person (whom I had looked up to for decades as a moral person) was following me. I saw this person was liking and responding to a lot of anti-Pope Francis stuff, and that they follow a person whose motto on Twitter is something along the lines of: “I am more Catholic than the Pope, but then so is [Prosperity Doctrine Preacher].” That particular person had retweeted a poll that asked if women should be allowed to vote, asking that only men vote in the poll. Over 75% of the men thought women should lose the right to vote, and judging by the comments, most of them think only white men should be able to vote. Don’t they think about how unfair that is? I am not advocating that only women should be able to vote, although there could be an argument made that we should have more than a century of that to make up for the time when we couldn’t vote. So why do these men want to take away my right? Now I realize that the original person I had highly admired until last night is not responsible for this Twitter thread, and they may not have voted in the poll or may have voted that women should retain suffrage, but just the fact that they would follow someone so anti-Papist gives me pause. If you no longer consider the Pope Catholic, it seems to me that you have made yourself a Protestant by definition. Now I am starting to wonder about myself – if all the “Catholics” I know hate Pope Francis (and it seems for the very reasons I love him, his focus on the poor and the environment), am I the one who has ceased to be Catholic? I no longer consider myself the same religion as so many of the people I go to church with, but what exactly am I as someone who is obedient to the Pope? Wouldn’t that make me Roman Catholic? So what does it make them?

Famous Hat

Monday, June 24, 2019

George Clinton and Natt Spil

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Friday Travalon and I went to the Limnology Open House, and we got free ice cream and looked at fish and plants, but the wait for a boat ride was too long so we headed to the Kingdom for curry fish. I dressed up as funkily as I could to go see George Clinton at the Sylvee, a new venue in town, but to my surprise most people did not. There were three opening bands that got progressively better – the last one, Fishbone, was really funky. Then George Clinton came out and… didn’t do much, but then he is the same age as Ma Hat. However, his band (Parliament/Funkadelic) is made up of mostly young, mostly attractive (and scantily clad) musicians of both genders, and they were awesome. They did “Flashlight,” “Atomic Dog,” “One Nation Under a Groove,” and some other songs I must know because I could sing along, but I don’t know their names. Travalon did not really like the Sylvee, which is metallic and standing room only, and I agree – what’s wrong with the old theaters with their ornate beauty and their seats for everyone?

Saturday Travalon had a neighbor help him get our boat in the water, and he said our new boat lift works fabulously. I met Tiffy, Rich, the Blaney Boys, and some other people for coffee and a rather annoying discussion. Why are so many people that I used to think of as devout Catholics bordering on heresy these days? Seriously, if you think Pope Francis is not to be trusted in religious matters but our highly amoral commander-in-chief is some kind of divinely appointed figure, then you are something other than orthodox Catholic. Of course Tiffy found the whole discussion tedious rather than aggravating. She and I went up to the Farmers’ Market, where I bought an air plant with the cash I made at our gig the day before, and Travalon joined us for lunch at Parthenon Gyros and an enjoyable afternoon of hanging out on the Union Terrace. We walked up to Natt Spil, where we joined some Slow Food people for dinner in the Hobbit Hole, or Den or whatever they call it. The seats are tree stumps, and it is long, dark, and narrow. People brought camping lanterns so we could actually see our food. Handy Woman came and brought me a black calla lily descended from the one I gave her during my wedding preparations. It is blooming right now, and it is beautiful. After dinner Tiffy and I went to the Chocolaterian to hear the Daughter of Denni play with her band. Her sister (the Other Daughter of Denni) was there with her husband and two little girls, and they had these funny glasses that are supposed to help with car sickness, but that make you literally look like you have four eyes. Since Tiffy said my selfie skills need improving, I took one wearing these glasses and will post it at some point.

Yesterday after Mass, Tiffy, Travalon, and I had brunch at the Peruvian restaurant, then we got bubble tea, and then she headed home while Travalon and I went to a picnic at the East Side Club. It had been raining during brunch, but by the afternoon it cleared up, so we went to the Tiki Bar and sat outside. Rich had a chocolate mousse party at his house, so we went to that, but I was in a grumpy mood from seeing some of those people at coffee on Saturday morning. Perhaps I was not my best self. I did enjoy talking to the Rosary Ladies and a woman I have not mentioned on this blog before. There is one particular person who always has to make the topic religion, and another person who said something rather snotty to me, so I said something very nasty back to her. Maybe I should have gone with my first instinct to stay home from the party. Rich says I have been acting weirdly for a few months now, but all his examples correspond to when this borderline heresy of Republican Rite Catholicism rears its ugly head. It’s enough to make a person want to move to another country to escape it! 

Famous Hat

Friday, June 21, 2019

Make Music Madison 2019

Yesterday Travalon and I met some of my Union buddies down at the Terrace, where one of them took a picture of me sitting in the big chair. Then I took a picture of Travalon sitting in the big chair, but it doesn’t look so huge while he is sitting in it. There was a bluegrass band playing (they played several songs our band plays), and lots of sailboats were out, some with quite impressive spinnakers. Travalon and I stayed there for a long time, just enjoying the lovely evening.

Today my band had a gig at Make Music Madison. We played outside of a library on the west side, and we had quite a crowd to listen to us. They even tipped us pretty well. Hardingfele was pestering people to get back to her via email about another gig, and I replied to all that I didn’t want to do it without realizing that she had included the gig organizer on her email list. Why would the organizer want to read a hundred emails as we figure out what date works for us? I said this gig is too far away, there is never any audience, and they once screwed us over. (All true.) Of course I didn’t mean to send it to the gig organizer, but I didn’t really care if she saw it. Then Hardingfele sent a nastygram to the rest of the band about me, and one of them replied all and copied me. So there you go – people shouldn’t say things in emails that they don’t want to get back to other people. Me, I don’t care if this gig organizer sees what I had to say, because I meant it. I’d say it to her face too. But Hardingfele was embarrassed that I saw her email about me, which really doesn’t change how I view her since she has been like that the whole time I have known her. But what band doesn’t have backstabbing and infighting? Look at how the Beatles dumped Pete Best. (That reference is for you, Travalon!) It just means we’re a real band too.

Famous Hat

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The System

For some reason the concept of “The System” gets a bad reputation. We “game the system,” and we don’t want to be seen as “part of the system.” However, if you find yourself part of a system that works, it is immensely satisfying. That is why I feel so content in my current job – I can see my place in the system more clearly than in my other jobs, in this case the “system” being a university that existed for more than a century before I was born and will hopefully continue long after I am gone. I am a very small part of the system, and it is unlikely anyone will commemorate me, but I can see how the things I do help keep the system working as intended.

So now to apply this concept to the cosmos without being excommunicated for straying too far into Buddhist thought (and this has nothing to do with reincarnation, I promise you). Sunday evening Rich related a conversation he had with someone who was denying intelligent design, and he explained to the other person that the universe is a system that God created and allows to unfold in its own time. I said that makes sense to me, since it has taken me years to see where God is going with the things He does in my own life. It really resonated with a feeling I have always had, but that has gotten stronger since I got the garden plot, that I am interconnected to everything. Am I “one with the cosmos”? Not exactly; I am not one with the radishes in my garden plot, but we are deeply connected. We are all part of the system that God created, and which He generally lets work itself out, although He clearly steps in to change things for His own reasons, which we cannot know. And then it hit me: so much of the unhappiness in modern society is from people who do not see how they are part of the System that God created, perhaps because they don’t believe in God, or perhaps because they are so out of touch with nature that they can’t see their connection to the whole created world. I have never heard anyone explain things this way, but I believe that is what many religions mean by “gaining enlightenment” and “being one with everything” – it’s when you see and accept your place in the System.

And then I realized why I am Catholic, which is a question I often get asked. (Being a Bad Catholic and all that.) Every system must have rules, and the Catholic Church has straightforward rules to deal with issues in the System. Did you sin? Go to confession. Do you need to know what to do to make the System run smoothly? Follow the precepts of the Church. Also, I deeply believe that God is Trinitarian, and that the Second Person came down into the System, which is, after all, what the created world is. Maybe there are rules I don’t get (like why does Mary have to be Ever-Virgin?) and others I feel are missing (like how to treat nonhuman life with respect), but in my view the Catholic Church has the clearest rules for how to do your part in the System. And that is why I am so full of joy, because I understand my place in the System and what I need to do to keep it working.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Caribbean Cruise

Tonight Travalon and I went on a Caribbean cruise! (On Lake Monona.) As we were walking from the parking lot to the dock, we crossed the bike path, and a very strange thing passed in front of us. Travalon said it reminded him of a ride at the County Fair. My best guess is that it was a recumbent bike with a cover over it, but it looked like a little bullet train engine.

The captain of the boat (who was training a new captain) recognized us - that's one way to know you are going on too many cruises! But that's what happens when you will use any excuse to be on a boat, whether it is the Merrimac Ferry or the free ferry that goes from New Orleans to Point d'Algiers or your neighbor's sailboat. The weather was cool and a little drizzly, so everyone else stayed inside the boat, but Travalon and I sat out on the prow, enjoying the view. We saw a lot of sailboats, and some had their spinnakers up, but they were too far away to get a good picture. Here are some pictures that did turn out:

At first the music was not Caribbean, but then they started playing a mix of tropical music. The food was Caribbean too: curry potatoes, rice and beans, basa fingers, and mahi mahi with mango salsa. I swear when we signed up it said jerk chicken was on the menu too, but we didn't see that. For dessert there were macarons, which don't seem particularly Caribbean to me. I had a lemon one and a pistachio one. When we disembarked, we saw a rainbow!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Blooming Tulip Trees and Other Photos

Here are some pictures Travalon and I have taken recently. First is the mysterious plant I got at the Wellness Symposium last fall. It is getting larger, but I still have no idea what it is.

This is a calla lily I bought for myself. I wanted another black one, since mine finally died, but they only had yellow ones and this classic white one.

Here are some photos of the tulip trees blooming. Some of these are from Travalon's good camera, and some are from mine. The flowers are almost done now.

Here is a waterfall in Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay.

We saw a rainbow from Lambeau! Actually this is a sun dog.

And here is the crowd at Lambeau to see Paul McCartney!

This is a shot of Sir Paul himself on stage.

This is Travalon and me before the show started, in our Beatles shirts. (I borrowed one of Travalon's shirts.)

Here is a beautiful sunset I saw last Monday on campus.

These are the lovely chocolates we had on Sunday.

Here is a picture of the NASA gardening hat I bought for Rich. It is supposed to have some technology to deflect sunlight.

My gardening hat is not so high-tech. It's just straw. Here I am with two radishes from my garden plot.

Today I took a walk in the garden on campus, and the water lilies were blooming.

And finally, a short movie of the Latin jazz band we saw on Saturday.

Famous Hat

Monday, June 17, 2019

Stolen Strawberry and Moving Photo

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Mine started Friday evening with a gig at the retirement community where one of our fiddlers lives, and we had a large crowd to listen to us in the courtyard. At one point a weird bug that looked just like a cicada but was only the size of a leafhopper landed on my mandolin, and I couldn’t blow it off. It wasn’t in my way, so I just ignored it, and eventually it flew away. (My longtime readers may remember that we also had a problem with a frog hopping across the stage at this venue some years ago.) Our band was a big hit, and as always I got a lot of questions about the mandolin afterwards. Then Travalon and I went to the Kingdom for a late, light dinner.

Saturday Travalon and I met Rich and Tiffy for coffee, then we all walked around the Farmers’ Market and had lunch at the Globe. Rich had to mow his lawn, but the rest of us got bubble tea and then sat out on the deck on the seventh floor of Tiffy’s sister’s apartment building, because the thirteenth floor deck was being used for a wedding. Tiffy was busy with family in the evening, so late in the afternoon Travalon and I went to my garden plot, where a radish was ripe but the strawberry that should have been ripe was missing. Someone stole my strawberry! Just then I heard the horn blow that warns boats they have an hour until sunset, but it is always bad news when you hear it that early in the day. I ran back to the car as it sounded two more times, and we rushed home and prepared for the storm… but it never hit. We sat listening to 1920’s jazz until venturing out to the Union to hear Latin jazz. They had moved the band inside as a precaution, but no bad weather ever hit.

Yesterday after Mass, Travalon, Tiffy, and I went to Crema Café for brunch, then we went to CocoVaa for chocolate. I went back to the garden plot, and two strawberries and five radishes were ripe, so I ate the strawberries and brought the radishes to Rich’s house. Travalon went to a concert with his nephew, so I hung out with Rich and Kathbert, and we blatted. My uncle sent a photo of himself, my aunt, and my parents, and Kathbert got Pa Hat to nod in the photo, so that intrigued us. Supposedly my phone can also take photos like this, but we never figured out how. We had a deep conversation about how the universe is a system, and I think I have finally figured out my place in it. But that would be a whole blog post on its own. If I can get my swirling ideas into coherent sentences, I will blog about that soon.

Famous Hat

Friday, June 14, 2019

Bad Catholics

Last night while Travalon and I were out on our dock, we saw a young duck (or goose) swimming around by itself. It was not a tiny baby, but it was still fuzzy, and I felt so bad for it. Where was the rest of its family? Waterfowl are usually so protective of their offspring. This bird looked big enough to survive on its own, but I wondered if it was scared and lonely. It just seemed so sad.

As I have said before, I am a Bad Catholic, with my interest in astrology, penchant for hip hop music full of naughty words, and belief in reincarnation that I can’t seem to shake. Lately, however, I don’t feel so guilty about it. It seems like there are a number of people who think they are The Very Best Catholics who, for example, don’t see any problem with putting immigrant children in cages. This seems to go directly against the preaching of Jesus, like when he tells a story about the goats and they say, “When did we see you a stranger and not welcome you?” As someone online wondered, “How many of these children are named Jesus?” and others responded, “All of them!” I am afraid of being a goat myself (as I am a Capricorn), but Jesus didn’t actually have any statements on bad music or even reincarnation. However, he really hammered on how we are supposed to treat those who are at our mercy because of poverty, handicaps, or maybe just being an immigrant child separated from her parents. So really, who isn’t a Bad Catholic when the Very Best Catholics actually seem to be worst of all?

Famous Hat

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Paul McCartney and My Visiting Relatives

Sorry for my silence this week. I have been very busy entertaining my aunt and uncle, who were visiting from Denver. Here is a recap of their visit, and my weekend before that:

Saturday morning Travalon and I went to campus so he could take pictures of the blooming tulip trees with his good camera, then we got on the road to Green Bay, stopping for lunch at Gilles Drive In in Fond du Lac. We were going to take a walk there, but they were having Walleye Weekend and the place was packed. We went to Mass at St. Willobrod, the church where Lombardi used to go, and they sang the Pentecost sequence to the tune of “Ode to Joy,” which I didn’t really enjoy. We got way more than enough steps just from parking blocks away from Lambeau Field, finding a pizza place for dinner inside Lambeau, getting to our seats, and of course walking back to the car. We saw Paul McCartney, who had played in Madison two days earlier, but Travalon found the ticket prices in Green Bay were so much cheaper that, even with gas and one night in a hotel, we came out ahead. The show was excellent; I had seen Sir Paul on TV and still photos many times, of course, but in real life he does have a cuteness about him even in his 70’s so that I could see why teenage girls used to scream over him. I was most impressed when he played not only the bass and piano but the mandolin and ukulele too. A musician after my own heart! He did a mix of Beatles and Wings stuff with songs from his new album, but he completely ignored his minor hits from the 80’s, which is the stuff from my formative years. On the way to our hotel after the concert, we found ourselves behind a stretch limo that turned off for the exit to the swankiest hotel in the state. Wonder if that was him?

Sunday morning I slept really late while Travalon checked out the hotel pool, then we went to a coffee place called Brewed Awakening right near where Sir Paul may have stayed, but we saw no sign of him. We met my relatives at Newport Shores, the seafood restaurant on the water in Port Washington. After lunch we walked over to a nearby brewpub that their friend had opened in the old American Legion building called Inventors, and we had two flights of their beers served in little model airplane-shaped trays. The salt and pepper shakers look like lightbulbs. Then my aunt and uncle followed us to their hotel in Madison, which they had thought was on the northeast side of town but which was actually on the southeast side. We took meandering back roads, and they were tired, so we thought of what was nearby for dinner. Then it occurred to me – of course! Waypoint with the fantastic patio overlooking the water! It isn’t a brewpub, but it has a lot of microbrews on tap. They really enjoyed it there.

Monday Travalon had to work, but I met my aunt and uncle for brunch at the Union Terrace. Only we had missed breakfast food by four minutes, so we had to order lunch food… at 10:34 am?? I was all excited to order a giant pretzel, since we had enough people, but then they were out of them and didn’t tell me, instead giving us three regular pretzels. It was also a bit cold and windy, so we sat inside, but they did enjoy the beauty of the Terrace, overlooking Lake Mendota, and Travalon was able to join us for a couple of hours. My aunt has some mobility issues, so I was thinking how I could give them a tour of the campus where she wouldn’t have to walk. I was lamenting that we couldn’t take the trolley bus tour that the new employees get to take, and then it occurred to me – of course! The free bus that goes all over campus! So we rode that in a big loop as I told them all about what we were seeing. Their favorite part was the graduate student housing back in the nature preserve. Then we went to Next Door Brewing because they remembered the beer pie so fondly, and we sat out on the patio (there wasn’t as much wind as on the Union Terrace) and had a flight of all their beers on tap, some eggplant fries, and of course the beer pie. It was just as good as they had remembered! Travalon joined us after work, and we ended up having dinner there too, and just hanging out on the patio until they had to close it.

Tuesday I brought my mandolin to my aunt and uncle’s hotel, and I played it a little while my uncle played the flute. Then we went to Crema Café for breakfast, since they also remembered that fondly, and we sat outside enjoying the view of Lake Monona. We went to Olbrich Gardens, and my aunt was delighted to find out they would loan her a motor scooter for free so that she could get around the whole garden. We explored all the outdoor gardens, then we went into the conservatory, and Travalon found us there. The four of us went to the Monona Terrace for lunch, and my relatives loved that too. We couldn’t see the bad weather brewing from where we were sitting, but once we rounded the corner to find the tile I had given to Travalon for our anniversary, we could see the dark clouds rolling in. We got to our cars just in time, and Travalon headed back to work while the rest of us drove through the rain to see the optical illusion on O’Sheridan Road of the Capitol seeming to get smaller as you drive towards it. We drove through the Arboretum (but didn’t get out since it was so wet out), and then we went to Infusions Chocolate for some bonbons and iced Mayan hot chocolate and chai. So good! We met Travalon at Funk Factory, which my relatives really enjoyed, and then we went to Ale Asylum for dinner and more beer. We saw a lot of weird fighter jets flying around – I wonder what that is about? Are they prepping for war?

Yesterday Travalon had really thought he would get the day off, but they told him he had to attend all-day training, so we drove to New Glarus without him. We sampled beers, got stuff at the gift shop (I got Travalon a baseball cap as a consolation prize), and bought some beer to take home. We had lunch at an adorable and very delicious restaurant in Paoli called the School House, then we went to the Chocolaterian for chocolate treats. We met Travalon at Bos Meadery and had three flights of mead, so that we got to try every flavor on tap, and then we went to Banzo for a nice light Mideastern dinner after all that eating and drinking for the last few days. Now I am back to the workaday world, and my aunt and uncle are on their way to see my parents. They love to take back roads, so we suggested Highway 60 as a very scenic option, and that is the way they went. I would recommend this road to anyone heading west of Madison. It is so pretty.

Famous Hat

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Blackmail Spam

It’s been awhile since I posted any weird spam from Hardingfele, mostly because she hasn’t sent me any. (Nor does she read this blog anymore, from what I can ascertain.) But she did get this intriguing bit of spam the other day and forwarded it to me to put on the blog. The person appears to be blackmailing her, but the charges are so specific that it would seem to undermine his whole case. After all, if he just said he had sex tapes of her, maybe he could get somewhere (not with Hardingfele necessarily, but a substantial swath of humanity), but “fighting the purple helmet warrior”? How many people have actually done that? Unless that is some sort of euphemism for a part of the male anatomy that I have never heard before, but then why “fighting”? What kind of sex does he think Hardingfele is having, exactly? Here it is, somewhat edited for profanity:


This will not take a lot of time, and so straight to the issue. I obtained a video of you fighting the purple helmet warrior while at the pornweb site you''re stopped at, due to an incredible arse software I have was able to place on several internet sites with that kind of material.

You hit play button and all of the webcams and a mic begin working it also saves every f--king thing from your pc, just like contact information, account details and stuff similar to dat, think exactly where i obtained this email from?) Therefore now we all know just who i will send that to, just in case you aren't planning to settle down this along with me.

I am going to place a account address below for you to hit me 570 $ within 2 day max via bi'тcоin. Notice, it is not that huge of a total to pay, guess this makes me not that awful of a guy.

You are welcome to do what ever da f--k you want to, yet if i won't find the amount within the period of time stated above, well... u already understand what will occur.

Therefore it's up to you at this point. Now i'm not gonna move through all the details and crap, just simply ain't got time for that as well as you possibly know that internet is filled with letters similar to this, so it is also your decision to believe in this not really, there is just one way to uncover.

This is my b'iтcoin address: ripoffartist

Have fun and remember that time clock is ticking... .

I love that this person wants to be paid in bitcoin. I suppose he thinks cryptocurrency is safer when you are making illegal transactions, but it also has a tendency to lose value suddenly. If I were to take up blackmailing as a career, I’d insist on being paid in little starter plants for the garden. Buying those things is expensive!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Making Time for MOOCs

I am wondering if any of my readers has ever taken a Massive Open Online Course or MOOC (pronounced “mook”). These are free courses online that generally don’t have tests or grades, put out by various universities. My Irish teacher alerted some of us to the fact that City University of Dublin had an Irish 101 course on a platform called Future Learn, so I signed up. Now I have done Irish 101-108. Future Learn then sends me emails about other courses I might be interested in. I did one on the culture of Catalan which kind of seemed to be an apologia for separatism, put out by the Universidad de Catalonia. I also did an interesting one on the Book of Kells put out by Trinity College of Dublin. Future Learn suggested a course on Hadrian’s Wall put out by Newcastle University, so I am doing that one now, but whoa this one is hard! All sorts of archaeology and forensics, Latin inscriptions and anthropological questions. Future Learn wants you to upgrade each course for a charge, and it didn’t make any difference for the other courses, where there were free quizzes, but this one has actual tests you can take if you upgrade. I haven’t yet. I’ll put in a plug for the Irish language courses – they also have lots of cultural stuff, and the series starts over every few months, so if you are interested, watch for Irish 101. I would recommend doing them in order.

Today I took some pictures of the tulip tree blooming with my good camera, but even when I zoomed in, they weren’t that great. Then I took a walk and discovered yet another, very large tulip tree in the woods along the lakeshore path. I tried to take a picture of this one with even less success. Maybe my good camera is not as good as Travalon’s – check out this photo he took of a catamaran off the coast of an island in the Bahamas we passed on the cruise ship. We couldn’t even see this with our naked eyes!

Here are the pictures of the tulip tree blossoms I took with my good camera. Travalon promised he could take some with his good camera soon.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Cute Stuff: Trees, Cranes, and Mindfulness Room

The tulip tree in the Botany garden is in full bloom, but the flowers are far up in the tree so I will have to bring my good camera to get a decent photo of them. The other two tulip trees don't seem to have any blossoms, but apparently they have to be fifteen years old to bloom, and they grow very quickly so a tulip tree that is only eight years old can be very tall. Anyway, until I get a picture of the tulip tree flowering, you can enjoy this blooming horse chestnut tree in the Botany garden.

I saw this little tree in a truck on campus with nobody around, so someone could have walked off with it. When I got back, five men were planting it. Five men to plant one little tree! It is so cute. I believe it is a larch, which seems like an ugly word for such a pretty little tree. Another name for it is a tamarack.

This is an even cuter baby tree I saw at the plant store. I was tempted to buy it and plant it in Rich's yard, but I haven't yet. Who knows if it is even still there?

We saw this cute figurine outside of St. Vinny's. It appears to be a knitted form over a post.

My little stress squeeze guy has the same eyes! And I love how he seems to be leaning at exactly the same angle as my model sailboat!

This is the sunset we saw from the Union Terrace.

What is growing out of the side of my pickle cactus? It appears to be a completely different sort of cactus! Stay tuned... As Travalon said, "Same hat time, same hat channel!"

Where Travalon works, there is a "mindfulness room," which is apparently a place kids go to if they are upset. It has this stuffed unicorn in it, and some bean bag chairs, and a giant teddy bear one of the kids dubbed "Mr. Fat." I think we adults could use a mindfulness room too!

Here is a maybe not very good shot of one of our neighbors with one of the kids. There were two baby cranes, but now there seems to be just one. Nature is harsh.

And where was the other crane? Answer: pecking at Travalon's car! Thanks to Richard Bonomo for this video.

Famous Hat