November 25, 2015

Pie!? We don't need no stinkin' pie!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am fortunate enough to have a TON to be thankful for. (Health, happiness, family, a beautiful and accomplished daughter, a considerate loving spouse, a precious little house, a few affectionate cats, very dear friends, etc, etc, etc.)
To celebrate, we are gathering at mom's for a big dinner and I am bringing dessert. Not pie. I know I've already committed the ultimate holiday solecism here --on par with politics at the dinner table-- but there are only eight of us so we don't need to go big. And while there are only eight of us, all of us like something different, so in order to please everyone I would have to bake at least three pies. For eight people. Ridiculous.
Also ridiculous: the piecaken (although frankly I'd eat it). Maybe next year...
But now I hear from Slate that apple pie is "wrong" at Thanksgiving. The author advocates strongly for pumpkin and pecan pies, so she will be hugely disappointed if she comes to our Thanksgiving dinner where dessert will be a caramel-apple cheesecake.
If I'm going to do Thanksgiving dessert wrong, I'm going all-out wrong.

November 24, 2015

Black Lives Matter

Between the inflammatory rhetoric of Donald Trump (and friends) and the disturbingly regular deaths of minorities at the hands of police, you would have to live in a wealthy insular exurb to not be aware of the fact that racism in America is alive and a serious issue. For all of us. (Even the white ones.)
Sure, being white comes with the privilege of not having to be outraged at the excessive violence in our country when its victims have skin that is browner than spaghetti. But the fact that we share this country, this planet, with people who live under the oppression of racism which carries with it -as we have seen- the real threat of injury and death, means that as human beings we live under the same oppression. We just don't recognize it from where we're sitting: On top of the oppressed.

November 23, 2015

And I have the blisters to prove it.

Hey! You know what we did this weekend at the Punkinhouse? (And no guessing "read" because that is a given.)
We raked leaves!! All of the leaves. In the State of Ohio.
An anonymous Internet user's image of what our leaves kinda look like.
Well, it seemed like it.

November 19, 2015

I'm not fat; I'm healthy

How could my chubby self NOT choose to feature this little beauty in the weird science category?
"Being Overweight Offers Health Benefits"

November 18, 2015

Por favor

My Spanish is so rusty that I only caught every third word in the Jorge Ramos - Antonio Banderas interview. It's okay though. Because Jorge Ramos and Antonio Banderas.

November 17, 2015

Just stop

I'm disheartened and ashamed of the hatred I see everywhere for the poor refugees who are fleeing all they have ever known with only what they can carry to escape the evils of the IS terrorists only to come headfirst into our bigotry.

Stop. Stop letting irrational fear dictate your responses. Stop letting the terror induced by these despicable individuals color your impressions of all. Stop the hate. No religion preaches hate. Stop.

November 12, 2015

You are wrong.

When I went to journalism school, we learned that we had to tell a compelling story, but most importantly, it needed to be factual. If we didn't rely on facts and corroborate and verify those facts, we would become novelists. Granted, we also learned that the way you present the facts will color a story, but the emphasis, at least when I was in school, was fact-checking.
Either Fox Business News is not run by journalists, or they are deaf. What's the point of "moderating" a debate if you just let the people behind the podiums says any ridiculous think they want and offer no facts?

November 10, 2015

Women in power

Last week Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took office and announced that his cabinet would be 50% female "because it's 2015."
  1. This is awesome.
  2. Sadly the United States is far behind at just about 25%.
  3. Iceland, Cape Verde and Sweden have a higher percentage of women on their cabinets.
  4. But still, this is awesome. And I don't even care that he stole it from the Onion.

November 9, 2015

“I perhaps owe it to flowers, that I became a painter.” ~Monet

Between 1896 and his death in 1926, Claude Monet painted about 250 pieces in the Water Lilies series. Sixty of them, eight full murals, reside in purpose-built oval rooms in the Musée de l'Orangerie. The other 190 are scatter throughout the world, primarily in museums, as individual pieces (for the most part).
The Cleveland Museum of Art has one. It is part of a triptych whose other parts are in Kansas City, Missouri, and St. Louis, Missouri. They have been reunited for a brief visit (until the new year).
The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Royal Academy of Arts in London have organized an exhibition that examines the role of gardens in the paintings of Claude Monet and his contemporaries.
Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse
I loved seeing the immensity of the three water lily paintings together, but this exhibition is large and comprehensive. Some of my favorite pieces weren't even by Monet. There is a striking Sargent and an ethereal Berthe Morisot. Cleveland is very lucky.
not the John Singer Sargent on display in the exhibit

November 5, 2015

Piss poor

We drove out to the East side (Cleveland Heights, specifically) for a special dinner tonight and took Superior from MLK. This is not the scenic route. Sadly, it goes through some decidedly bad neighborhoods.
And as the Punkinhead noted during the drive, as a Clevelander, as an American, it's embarrassing that we allow -in most cases, force- our fellow human beings to live in squalor. There is literally no excuse for our apathy. We should be ashamed of ourselves, America.

November 4, 2015

Here kitty kitty

This story suggests that it is time to retire the idea of a "crazy cat lady." The article note that "Although cats are the world's most popular pets — outnumbering dogs by three to one — they're widely assigned negative personality traits while dogs are regarded as man's best friend." And suggests that one of the best ways to remove the stigma associated with cats is to post kitty selfies. So here is mine:
Get a cat at your local shelter. They are soft, sweet, companions who are extraordinarily low-maintenance, remarkably affectionate, and hardly ever tell you to shut up.

November 3, 2015


I voted today. We elected a mayor from a selection of two, three school board members from a selection of three, our councilperson from a selection of one, and three state-wide ballot initiatives. I waited in line for nearly 20 minutes.
I know that we say a lot about exercising our right to vote, but we might consider exercising our right to represent also. It seems a shame that I waited 20 minutes to participate in what was pretty much a fait accompli.

November 2, 2015

Still on a sugar high

There are a few holidays that Americans have twisted into a sugar-coated  version of themselves. All prettied up and sanitized. Easter is one, with its bunny and egg hunts. Thanksgiving is another; all pumpkin pie and football games.
Most of the time, we manage to diminish the holiday in question. But we did a pretty good job with Halloween. Creating magnificent works of art with pumpkins instead of just lantern gourds. And trick-or-treating for candy is a decided improvement over begging food in exchange for prayers for our dearly departed.
Curiously, mankind has always like to cosplay and America just whole-heartedly embraced it.

October 29, 2015

Achievable goals

The work Halloween party is tomorrow and once again (although I left it 'til the last minute) I will be achieving my goal of sweatpants (or its comfort-equivalent) at work. Ah. the glory that is creative costuming. And I haven't even exhausted the simple "baby," "cranky old lady," or "crazy cat lady" options yet. (Realistically, cranky old lady is remarkably close to my everyday look so time is running out on that one.)

Thank you Internet for "how to make a costume with a hoodie" becoming a thing.

October 28, 2015

Are they still talking?

I will grant you that the moderators for the GOP debates thus far have been less than professional, with tonight's  bunch topping the list of atrociousness. But at the same time, I'm having a hard time getting upset about it since I think all of these clowns -as Trump would say- should be given the hook.

October 27, 2015

Or maybe look at it another way

I find political pundit Charles Krauthammer comically nasty. He is vaguely reminiscent of Wonka rival Arthur Slugworth with an equally appalling name. He is also nearly always wrong. I think he might even be incorrect more frequently than weathermen, but has still managed to hold a job despite it, and therefore contributed this tidbit to the new cycle: "Republicans in the Congress have shown they have no ability to conduct successful investigations of this administration. Everything they have touched has failed or backfired."

At which point, those of us dwelling in reality might point out that perhaps the investigations have been successful and there was nothing illegal to uncover in the first place.

October 26, 2015

Keeping track

Note to self: when beginning the year with a reading challenge, make sure you keep track of all your books.
I challenged myself on Goodreads to read 100 books this year. My updates on that site indicate that I read 2 books in all of June and July. Two. Five in May, Seven in August, but somehow only two in the months in between. Hm. I see what I didn't do there.

October 22, 2015

Hill on the Hill

I'll admit to being partial and taking sides during the #BenghaziCommittee hearings today, but even still, man did the GOP make asses of themselves. 
Prior to today's testimony, 72% of voters saw the committee as partisan. After today, I would be shocked if it was less that 90%. Gowdy began the morning taking pains to justify the whole ordeal and they proceeded to dismantle that premise throughout the day with every question the asked. 

October 21, 2015

He did what?

Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have become the first Jewish Holocaust-denier.
Today, Germany set the record straight.
“All Germans know the history of the murderous race mania of the Nazis that led to the break with civilization that was the Holocaust. [...] We know that responsibility for this crime against humanity is German and very much our own.”

For a more nuanced fact-check, see the Washington Post.