May 21, 2015

Sometimes it's better just to give up

You know how, in the evenings, you hit a wall? The exhaustion peaks, the yawning is so non-stop that tears are running down your cheeks, and you're getting nostalgic for things you might miss if you go straight to bed.
But it you fight the power of lethargy and manage to stay awake (if not alert) for about half an hour, you can then stay up 'til all hours of the night without yawning.

May 20, 2015

Dare we hope?

I don't think it's possible for any city in the world to want their sports team to win as much as Cleveland is wanting the Cavaliers to do so this season. If our collective desire for a championship were a tangible thing it would blanket the city knee-deep in petals of hope.
We all want to believe.
Even here in Cleveland, home of the Drive, Red Right 88, the Fumble, the Shot, Jose Mesa, Rocky Colavito.
ESPECIALLY here in Cleveland.

May 19, 2015

Freedom to be a dick

If I want to treat you as less of a human being because my religion says you don't have the same rights as everyone else, I should be allowed to do so without legal repercussions. And if you make me treat everyone the same, that is coercing me to disregard deeply-held religious tenets which could harm me irreparably.
My deeply-held religious beliefs tell me that I must refer to all men as "Useless Asses." I must address all men as Useless or Ass or Useless Ass. If I do not do this, I risk angering my Goddess-mother She-Ra. I cannot ever be fired for referring to any of my male employees as a Useless Ass because I could bring a religious discrimination suit.
In fact all the men who work for me are required, by my religion to always have an erection. I should be able to control the bodies of my employees, the Useless Asses, because my religion says so. And if you don't like it, you can go work for Hobby Lobby where they only control their female employees' bodies.

In a secular nation (we are still a secular nation, right?) when did it become standard to argue that discriminating against others (women and gays, really) is okay because Jesus would have wanted it that way?

May 18, 2015

Wood block

Yesterday, we ventured to the east side of Cleveland to drop off my (incredibly awesome) entry for the Cleveland Botanical Gardens photo contest and since we were making the trip, we wandered over to the historic Hessler Street Fair for a taste of 21st century bohemia. In doing so, we "discovered" the only wooden street in Cleveland, Hessler Ct. (link has autoplay video)

It should be noted "that while wood block streets, when properly constructed, were nearly as durable as any other surface, they were only suitable for level streets as when they were wet they became too slippery for horses."

May 14, 2015

Three coins in the fountain

The Fountains of Rome is a symphonic poem by an Italian composer named Ottorino Respighi. It debuted in 1917 and includes a section (movement?) called "La fontana di Trevi al meriggio" (The Trevi Fountain at midday).
Everyone knows the Trevi fountain for it's numerous appearances in EVERY MOVIE SET IN ROME EVER. But did you know that the fountain is a terminus for the ancient Roman aqueduct, Acqua Vergine. The fountain as we know it today, was completed in 1762, but there was a fountain on that site for centuries prior. In fact the famous sculptor, Bernini was to renovate it right after he finished the Triton fountain in the mid-1600s, but the pope commissioning the work, Urban VIII, died before it was begun.
It's finished size is 83 feet high by 161 feet wide.
The water in the fountain "is regarded to furnish some of the purest drinking-water in Rome, reputed for its restorative qualities. Many people to this day can be seen filling containers for drinking and cooking in its splendid fountains." It also at one time fed the hot baths of Agrippa for over 400 years.
My favorite fun fact about the fountain: "An estimated 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day. The money has been used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome's needy; however, there are regular attempts to steal coins from the fountain."

May 13, 2015

word play

Are RAISE and RAZE the only two homonym-antonyms in the English language? Surely not.
Of course there are many contronyms. But, that's not quite the same thing.

May 12, 2015

Happy Birthday, Tornado! And everyone else.

Another fabulous birthday day:
  • 1551 – National University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru. the oldest university in the Americas (USA is not #1)
  • 1670 – Augustus II the Strong, Polish king (much more effective than Lucius the Slack)
  • 1812 – Edward Lear, English author, poet, and illustrator (advocating for interspecies marriage long before its time)
  • 1820 – Florence Nightingale, English social reformer and statistician (yes, we all know Ms. Nightingale as the famous statistician)
  • 1907 – Katharine Hepburn, American actress (you know how to whistle, don't you?)
  • 1910 – Johan Ferrier, Surinamese politician, 1st President of Suriname (someone had to be first)
  • 1925 – Yogi Berra, American baseball player and manager (he "never said most of the things I said.")
  •  1937 – George Carlin, American comedian, actor, and author ("Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.")
  • 1953 – Neil Astley, English author, poet, and academic (no relation to Rick)
  •  1962 – Emilio Estevez, American actor, director, and screenwriter (Martin Sheen's not insane son)
  • 1968 – Tony Hawk, American skateboarder and actor (parlayed being a douchey sk8rboy into millions of dollars)
  • 19?? --Heather! My best friend (who frequently shares hilarious stories of her kids' embarrassments --just not on her blog.)
  • 1998 – Tornado Alicia Black, American tennis player (at least you weren't named Hurric... Oh. Your sister.)

May 11, 2015

Planters Anonymous

A long time ago, when Punkinhead was just a teeny baby, we lived on the second floor of a double in Cleveland. It had the typical screened in porch out front and we loved it all summer long.
It was in that house that my addiction to annuals began. We had the cheap plastic chairs and bought some sand buckets at the dollar store and three window boxes for the porch. And we marched off to KMart to buy a flat of impatiens for them. (It was very shady on the porch.)
In all the years we lived there (seven!!), the impatiens never thrived. The big sycamore out front and the enclosed deck made it too dark, even for them. But my addiction to annuals needed to be satisfied.
Now we have a lovely home with a slightly shady back deck and instead of three window boxes and three sand buckets, there are about 20 terra cotta pots and five window boxes. (But still the cheap --but slightly classier-- plastic chairs.) And now, to feed my addiction, we buy a full gross of impatiens: 4 flats of 36 plants each.
Planting 144 impatiens isn't much fun, but the end result is very satisfying. And that is something a lot of addicts can never say.

May 7, 2015

Happy Birthday!

Celebrating a birthday today:
  • 1812 – Robert Browning,  Verse-Making Was Least of his Virtues 
  • 1833 – Johannes Brahms,  famous composer
  • 1840 – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovskymore famous composer 
  • 1892 – Archibald MacLeishCircus poet
  • 1919 – Eva Perón,  don't cry for her
  • 1937 – Birgit,  claims to have mothered the author of this blog 
  • 1955 – Axel Zwingenberger,  this has to be a made-up name
  • 1957 – Hercules,  I had no idea he was born in 1957
  • 1975 – Nicole Sheridan, American porn actress: doesn't it seem to you Wikipedia is a little too up-to-date with porn star birthdays?
  • Also notable on this day in 1992 – Michigan ratifies a 203-year-old proposed amendment to the United States Constitution making the 27th Amendment law. This amendment bars the U.S. Congress from giving itself a mid-term pay raise.

May 6, 2015

And a what?

"Police who burst into a Bedford home this week with a search warrant for drugs and found 5.5 grams of heroin, .74 grams of methamphetamine, some marijuana and guns.
They also confiscated out-of-season ginseng and a squirrel."

"I surrender"

Additional proof of the criminality of squirrels. 

May 5, 2015

temperate

Yeah, winters in Ohio kinda suck, not necessarily because they are gray or super-cold, or long, but because they are all of those things. But the rest of the year, from about the middle of April all the way until nearly December, the weather here is pretty damn awesome. And I don't understand why more people don't appreciate that.
Our summers tend toward the hot and humid, which isn't fun for me, but I understand a lot of people enjoy that sort of thing. And it's certainly no hotter than Florida where all the retirees spend their winters complaining about the gators before coming back north to complain about the mosquitoes.
But our springs and autumns are unrivaled.

May 4, 2015

A little help here...

Have you seen that meme with the sign that says "Stop making stupid people famous."?

How can we put that into action?

April 30, 2015

What if

If I read a book of poetry published this year by an indie label written by a 24-year-old gay black South African man, I can bang out seven items on the Book Riot 2015 list. With just one hypothetical book.

April 29, 2015

Boy, am I glad I'm not Scalia's wife.

Justice Antonin Scalia says that allowing gays to marry with redefine marriage which has been unaltered for millennia. Fortunately, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was there to remind him that marriage has indeed changed in the last 1000 years.
Here in the U.S. "New York in 1848 was one of the first states to grant women any rights in personal and real property [within in a marriage]." That's right, just 168 years ago, here in the land of the free, all of a woman's personal property INCLUDING ANY CHILDREN became possessions of the husband upon marriage.
Also, until the middle of the 20th century, marriage was forbidden by law between couples of different races in two thirds of the States.
Those are two pretty major changes certainly more recent than 1000 years ago.

Maybe in the hallowed halls of justice it's easier to forget that he no longer owns his wife. Poor Mrs. Scalia.

April 28, 2015

Empathy

Thanks to my White Privilege, I don't know what it's like to lose a child  or a friend or a parent to police brutality. But I think we can all get a sense for the anger in the pocket of Baltimore that is home to our fellow Americans no matter how "thuggish" or poor. The problems arise when all the White Privileged news anchors pontificate on the evils of Thug Life and the wanton destruction of property without stepping back and realizing/understanding/acknowledging/reporting that this violent anger is not about one man's broken back, but about a system that has betrayed a large portion of its citizens.
As Ta-Nehisi Coates said, "When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is "correct" or "wise," any more than a forest fire can be "correct" or "wise." Wisdom isn't the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community."
This makes the horrible vandalism in Baltimore, less unexpected. 

April 27, 2015

True mother love

My mother had some relatively minor surgery Wednesday last week. And on Friday I called her in the hospital to wish her well and let her know I was thinking of her.
I didn't have her direct number so the main switchboard patched me through. Upon picking up the phone, my mother says, "Who is this?" To which I reply, "It's your least favorite child."
Without missing a beat, she says, "Oh! Hi Karen. So nice of you to call."

Yep.

April 23, 2015

The pits

Should we start a trend? If we already found our life mate, do we still have to shave? Or not shave?

"But is it time for female underarm hair to make its triumphant return?" asks the Internet. The link includes a brief history of underarm shaving including the fun fact that we women have only been shaving our pits for the past 100 years. (Happy century of hairless armpits!)

April 22, 2015

April 21, 2015

Bring on the confetti, just to piss this guy off.

Apparently at least one sportswriter (anyone can call themselves a writer nowadays) in Boston seems to be advocating his team lose to the Cavs because we deserve a championship. Or something.
He also wrote a bunch of crap about how Cleveland is on a depressing downward spiral because you can buy a $3 PBR downtown and there are buildings that are unoccupied.
I imagine in Boston (where the English language barely exists) $3 will get you a thimble of Bud Light and every single building in downtown is a brand new bistro or high-roller casino. Or something.

April 20, 2015

A step back in time

Henry Ford was a complicated man. He was undoubtedly a genius in logistics, managing to create a streamlined process for building an automobile that made it affordable for a growing middle class in America. He had the forethought to pay his workers enough so that they too, could afford to buy one of the cars that they built. He was fascinated by Edison's work with electricity. He was drawn to inventors and innovators.
On the downside of that was his well-documented antisemitism, hatred of unions, and his support for the dubious "science" of eugenics.

But certainly one of the more unusual aspects of Henry Ford is the existence of Greenfield Village. Ford began creating what became Greenfield Village by collecting bits and pieces of American history in buildings and machines while he was still alive. It took an enormous amount of money, of course, but the prescience and ego involved are staggering. He was building an homage to his time on Earth in essence and then enshrined his childhood home.

He also purchased or was gifted and moved to the site a number of buildings belonging to famous people of the time, in addition to generic farmhouses, and a single slave cabin that was "similar to that which George Washington Carver was born in." The Village boasts:
Noah Webster's Connecticut home, the Wright brothers' bicycle shop and home, a replica of Thomas Edison's Menlo Park laboratory complex, Henry Ford's prototype garage where he built the Ford Quadricycle, Harvey Firestone family farm, the Logan County, Illinois courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law, William Holmes McGuffey's birthplace, Luther Burbank's office, Ackley Covered Bridge --a 75' wooden covered bridge built in 1832, Cape Cod Windmill --also known as the Farris mill and considered one of the oldest in America.

Not to mention a train, at least a dozen working model Ts and a merry-go-round --with chickens.