September 19, 2014

Friday Book Blogging

This week's book was ridiculous, profane and hilariously clever. Go get Christopher Moore's The Serpent of Venice featuring Pocket the Fool. Unless you are offended by four-letter words; then stay the f*ck away.

September 18, 2014

Peg-leg and eye-patch optional

Tomorrow is AAARRRRRRRRGH!! Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Do it, matey or we'll have yer carcass keelhauled! Arrrgh!

September 17, 2014

Roman Holiday

Rome might have changed a little bit in the 265 years since Giovanni Paolo Pannini painted his view of the city.
View of Rome from Mt Mario, Pannini, 1749

view of Rome from Monte-Mario, Wikipedia Commons, 2012

September 16, 2014

Drawing a blank

As a blogger (I can't even give myself the title "writer" since my scribbles here constitute all of my output) nothing is more intimidating that a blank box and a deadline.
I read. A lot. And frankly, even the crappy books are astonishing accomplishments to me. I can write a blog post nearly every week day of the year. Many (most) are fewer than 100 words. Many (most) take me less than an hour to write (once I can grab onto a thought for the day). But none are particularly creative (that's okay; I'm not fishing). But a book. Even a really stupid one, takes imagination and perseverance and abilities beyond my own.
Still, the feeling of staring at that blank page. I kinda get that.

September 15, 2014

Bad parenting

The same people who post those pseudo-nostalgic "I rode a bike with no helmet and I'm okay" memes all the time, are raising their kids in sanitized, no-fail bubbles. Ask yourself: have you ever called a teacher about the grade your kid got on a test or assignment? Do your kids play in the neighborhood at improvised games with neighbors or only on organized softball leagues at perfectly manicured city parks?
I am so sick and tired of waiting behind a school bus with flashing red lights while little Miranda climbs out of mommy's (warm, running) SUV to get on the bus. Our world is not so dangerous that your child cannot wait for a school bus with other kids in a bit of rain.
You do all of us a disservice by implicitly teaching little Jackson that he should be frightened to do things on his own and that he requires your assistance to play, go to school, do his homework, meet friends. You are also bestowing an insane sense of entitlement on him when  you dispute his grades with teachers, have him excused from punishments by intervening with administrators, demand rewards for average accomplishments, all the while posting quaint pictures on Facebook about drinking out of the garden hose and going to the playground with your friends "back in the day."
Well, back in the day, if you screwed up at school, you got in trouble and daddy didn't get you out of it. (In fact, you likely got in trouble AGAIN at home!) And if you failed a test, mommy didn't call the teacher to get you a better grade. And you waited for the bus with the other kids at the neighborhood stop, even in the rain.

September 11, 2014

Dirty mind?

I have an 8½ pound butt and I will rub it all over, then I'll let it get super hot, nice and slow.

I'm making pulled pork.
Sickos.

September 10, 2014

Get involved

I sent this letter to my Senators today. You should send one too.
Vote “yes” on Senate Joint Resolution 19.
There is nothing more corrosive to our democracy than corporate money purchasing influence. Please remember that you represent me and my neighbors and family. My voice should not be drowned out by the selfish interests of multinational corporations which is exactly what happens when their money buys so much speech at such volume that our government is no longer of the people or for the people. Overturn "Citizens United."
Thank you.
Tomorrow the Senate will vote on an Amendment that will nullify the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" ruling which basically changed our country from a representative democracy to an oligarchy. Follow this link to let your Senators know that you want unlimited corporate money OUT of our elections.

September 9, 2014

This is gonna piss some people off

When people thank God (or Jesus) for something good that happened or ask for his intervention in a minor (or major, for that matter) life crisis, don't they stop and think that
1. God doesn't have time for your shit
and
2. If you believe he can help you out of the mess you're in, you have to believe that he put you there in the first place.
Also
3. If he has the power to bring down your kid's fever as you seem to think, isn't he a bit of a douchebag for allowing all the suffering in the world? What makes you so special? Do those other people deserve to suffer while God takes care of your kid?
Which brings us back to number one.

September 8, 2014

Pilfering rodents.

I have a small platform feeder (about 4" square) mounted on the bedroom window frame. I keep a broken mug full of nuts in between the window and the screen to refill the feeder. Apparently the evil squirrel-Qaeda operatives in my yard decided that the amount of nuts in the bird feeder was not sufficient to their needs and they broke in to help themselves to the refill.
Now I need a new screen. I feel violated.

September 6, 2014

Almost Friday Book Blogging

I failed to get this posted in time for a Friday Book Blog, but I do want to recommend this week, the Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd. I love everything by Charles Todd:  all of the troubled Inspector's books and all the ones featuring WWI nurse Bess Crawford who, for my money, is more honestly drawn that her more famous literary twin, Maisie Dobbs (of the Jacqueline Winspear novels).

(In case you missed it, I really like Charles Todd novels.)

September 4, 2014

It was the extra half that put him over the top

When Punkinhead turned 10 (more years ago than I care to remember) we went to the pound and got a puppy. Nutmeg had not been in the house more than three months before she found a small Punkinhead-sized sock on the floor of a perpetually-messy bedroom (your guess as to whose) and ate it.
This led to a life-threatening blockage in the puppy's intestine which required emergency surgery. At the time, we assumed that the price of the vet bill would be significantly less than years of therapy for Punkinhead for inadvertently killing her new dog. It seemed remarkable that a sock could cause so much trouble.
Not nearly as remarkable as this, though:
[A] 3-year-old Great Dane was miserable and retching when its owners rushed him to a northwest Portland emergency animal hospital.
[...]
[T]he dog had consumed 43 ½ socks. [emphasis added]

September 3, 2014

September 2, 2014

Stay engaged

Sometimes, in my comfortable orange chair, with my books and my coffee in my cozy cottage on my quiet tree-lined street in my middle-class suburb next to an enormous lake near a well-stocked grocery store it's easy to forget about all the people who are suffering in the world.
I don't want to think about wars and starvation and droughts, but if we completely disassociate ourselves, we appreciate out abundant good fortune less.

August 29, 2014

Friday Book Blogging

Look! It's a Friday Book Blog!
I did get a chance to read this week since I had a few days off. My favorite of the lot was Tasha Alexander's Death in the Floating City.
Yes it's a murder mystery. Set in Venice in the 1800s. However, above all that, it's well-plotted and the scenes are evocative without being overly descriptive. The Romeo and Juliet angle is a bit overdone, but overall, a good read.

August 28, 2014

Out of the office

My brief "stay-cation" is over.
I read three books. I watched 17 hummingbird fights at the feeder. I saw a red-shouldered hawk try to catch an unwary sparrow. I bought two new outfits. I washed the bedsheets. I had a pedicure. I turned the air conditioning on because it was 89 degrees outside.
I was a lump for three days and now I'm paying for it at work. 5249 emails (pre-filter) down to just about 1700 after. I spent the day sorting and checking and answering. I left after 9 hours down to 127. Yay. This is why I don't like to take time off. And I don't even do anything important!

We need to work less.

 "Average worker productivity has doubled a couple of times since 1950, but income has stagnated—unless you’re just looking at the rich, who’ve become a great deal richer. The value from that extra productivity, after all, has to go somewhere." VICE

August 26, 2014

Stop.

Last night at the Emmys Sofia Vergara was literally put on a pedestal. And while I think the intention of the bit was well-meaning, it certainly didn't go far enough to address the pervasive objectification of women in media.
Internalizing our own objectification is something we are taught at a very young age. Calling it out is important to ending the objectification of all women. Even if it was done as a joke, it should not be ignored. The more others (men and women) are aware of the insidious nature of the way that women are treated as objects (ubiquitous throughout pop culture) the less it will happen.
However, the tongue-in-cheek intentions at the beginning of a speech about diversity in television should not have ended with the man announcing that despite the gains of women (and presumably minorities, although no mention was made outside of the palliative "diversity") their number one goal remains "something compelling to watch."

ha.ha. Get it? We completely objectified this lovely woman to make a point about how important women are and they shouldn't be objectified except if it makes you watch TV. Then it's okay. No really.

August 20, 2014

Things we can learn from nerds and geeks

You know what the best thing about the geek community is (as witnessed this weekend at the Great Lakes Medieval Faire)?



They are so openly accepting of everyone.

August 19, 2014

Rumbles

Thunder * lightning * wind * rain.

I don't know anyone who is meh about a thunderstorm. Do you? A big thunderstorm is a love 'em or hate 'em event.
In our old house we had a screened in porch that we nearly flew out to upon an approaching storm. The downside of it was that it faced East, so you couldn't watch the storm roll in.
In this house we have no roofed/screened in area, but a small overhang at the front door allows us to be in the thick of a good storm. Unfortunately, it also faces East. When we moved in, we seriously considered adding on a screened porch out back just for storm watching. Hmmmmmmm.