January 30, 2015

Friday Book Blogging

I know I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I finally read Louise Penny's Still Life this week. This is the first in a series featuring inspector Armand Gamache from Quebec.
But (and this is important!) this is so much more than a murder mystery. Penny allows us a marvelously complex glimpse into the minds of Gamache, his colleagues, the villagers in Three Pines, even the victim. I was completely enchanted from the first paragraph. I can't to devour the rest of the series.

January 29, 2015

This is amusing. And a musing.

You may have noticed that there was no idle musing posted yesterday. It may be difficult to believe, but I do, frequently, have more than one idle musing in a day.
Often they are absurdly mundane: why is the gunk in a belly button called "lint"? What is the difference between sleet and freezing rain? Why is the dome in a house of worship so iconic, when in a home it's ridiculous?
These musings are hardly worthy of a post. I wracked my brain last night in search of a musing that was worth sharing and came up wanting.
Unfortunately, despite a further day of musings, I haven't much to add. Although I was surprised to learn that the slang term "jerk off" dates to the 1890s. Huh.

January 27, 2015

This day in history

Today was a busy day in history right around the turn of the 19th century.
  • 1880 – Thomas Edison receives the patent on the incandescent lamp.  Happy birthday, light bulb! All those years spent improving your efficiency and brightness only to have you make a retro comeback.
  • 1888 – The National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C. as a club for rich white men who liked to travel (and marvel at the heathen masses in undiscovered corners of the globe).
  • 1909 – The Young Left is founded in Norway. Not so young any more, is it?

January 26, 2015


Yesterday was a good soup day. It was cold and a little snowy, and most of all it was the day I won (for the second time in three years) the local church's soup cook-off.
This year it was lasagna soup with three kinds of cheese --ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella. The key to winning, I have discovered, is cheese. If you make a soup -no matter how mediocre- with cheese, you can win. (Provided no other soups have out-cheesed you.)

January 23, 2015

Friday Book Blogging

Last week I had a book, but failed to blog it. This week I have more books, but I will blog last week's because it  was better. Charles Finch's latest quest for his gentleman detective, Charles Lenox is into The Laws of Murder.
Lenox has left Parliament to begin a detective agency that is a kinder, gentler 221B. (Certainly Lenox is much less misanthropic than the most famous Victorian British detective ever.)
The remarkably fast-paced story engages. I would have appreciated some more fleshed-out secondary characters, but in a series, sometimes the author doesn't feel the need to do so within a single novel. Nonetheless, it was the best thing I read in the past two weeks, so it gets the nod.

January 21, 2015


Three years ago, I warned you all about the insidious Squirrel Appreciation Day. But no one listened and now look. It's on FACEBOOK.

They are everywhere. Although they do get grudging approval for the trees.
Arrrrrgh! Even I have celebrated Squirrel Appreciation Day. When will it end?

January 20, 2015

Just two months from today...

I know it is wrong to wish your life away, but days like today, when the sky is a solid mass of cinderblock gray and the air is chill with icy rain or wet snow that hardly covers the contorted masses of frozen slush on the curbs, days like today, I long for spring.

January 19, 2015

Strange Fruit

by Abel Meeropol
Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

This poem about lynching was written only 78 years ago. You and I know people older than that. Unfortunately, lynchings are still happening. Just ask the mothers of Tamir Rice and Michael Brown.

January 15, 2015

Yes to both? No?

We all tend to exaggerate the characteristics (good and bad) of our lives, so it's no surprise that we consider ourselves to be living in a horrifically divided America, more so than at any time since the Civil War. (Civil war is hard to beat in terms of divisiveness.)
This leads me to wonder:
1. Are things really that bad?
and 2. Are we just too apathetic to ever venture into war with ourselves.

January 14, 2015

Go fly a kite

Let's visit Gujarat, India, on the northwest coast for the annual International Kite Festival. Hurry! It's over tomorrow!

"The festival of Uttarayan marks the day when winter begins to turn into summer, according to the Indian calendar. It is the sign for farmers that the sun is back and that harvest season is approaching"
"The symbolism of this festival is to show the awakening of the Gods from their deep sleep."

Perhaps a vestige of this tradition is what leads the Easter bunny to put a kite in Punkinhead's Easter basket every year. 

January 13, 2015

January 12, 2015


Punkinhead went to the park near the office today because the snow was so beautiful. She shared a picture with me and I am sharing it with you.

Snow like this is magical. It's both cold and warm. The quintessential blanket.

January 8, 2015

wind chill -28°F

I've had just about enough of the polar vortex for 2015. Go home Arctic air; you're drunk.

January 7, 2015

Je suis Charlie

Late last year, Slate compiled a visual guide to what they called "the year of outrage." In the accompanying article(s) they did concede that a few of the things that outraged us last year were deserving of it. They also pointed out that "it’s fascinating to look at how our collective responses skipped from the serious to the picayune without much modulation in pitch."
So what should we be outraged by? Slate's guide offered reader input, so you can check each outrage in hindsight and see what the collective thought. (ex: John Travolta's mispronunciation of Idina Menzel's name was voted overblown by 1195 to 107, while the non-indictment of the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner was declared to be truly outrageous by a 1530 to 113 vote.) But if Slate continues to follow our Twitter and Facebook outrage in 2015, I can already tell you what will be legitimately labeled outrageous.

When proponents of a religion massacre human beings in retaliation for drawing a picture.

January 6, 2015

From the 3 Kings to Jesus in the 12 steps of Wiki.

  1. King
  2. Holy Roman Emperor
  3. Golden Bull
  4. Gold
  5. Magi
  6. Samaria
  7. Palestine
  8. Dead Sea
  9. Hebrew (language)
  10. Israelites
  11. David
  12. Jesus
(This was harder than I thought, because, of course you can get from "King" to "Jesus" in a LOT fewer steps than 12, so I made them detour for gold in the middle.)

January 5, 2015


It's finally winter here. The air is biting and promises to be chewing and spitting out as the week goes on. So in response I roasted a chicken yesterday and made stock with its bones today.
Chicken Noodle Soup.
Take that, Winter!

January 3, 2015

Chinese fortune

Next month, the year of the Sheep begins in China. Here are some tips, if you are born in the year of the pig. (If you are not, enjoy the translation.)
Actually, Pig contains Male Water and Male Wood.  Sheep contains Female Earth, Female Fire and Female Wood. Male Water of Pig and Female Fire of Sheep have attraction relationship. Male Wood of Pig and Female Earth of Sheep have attraction relationship too. This means Pig and Sheep look incompatible. but they can get along. This is a good sign to Pig people.
And the sheep are afraid.

January 1, 2015


Is it better to have as a New Year's Day goal to be up and dressed early to meet the world?
Or to see how long into the day I can remain in jammies?

December 31, 2014

Hello 2015

Do you know what I love about New Year's Eve?

It's universal. EVERYONE --no matter their race, creed, religion, nationality; all across the globe, EVERYONE-- celebrates it. We all welcome the new year in celebration.
Which speaks to our hope. Through all our diversity, we all have that kernel of belief in the promise of a new year.
I wish all the best to you in yours.