December 18, 2014

And no one I know

I like running down the birthdays on Wikipedia during my lunch hour. Today was a good one.
  • 1863 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria (d. 1914) -if only he hadn't died in 1914
  • 1870 – Saki, Burmese-English author and playwright (d. 1916) -I like how Wiki has him listed as Saki and not H.H. Munro
  • 1878 – Joseph Stalin, Georgian-Russian marshal and politician, 4th Premier of the Soviet Union (d. 1953) -Georgian-Russian, like Georgia is all proud of its native son
  • 1879 – Paul Klee, Swiss-German painter (d. 1940) -His works are the gateway drug to modernism
  • 1886 – Ty Cobb, American baseball player and manager (d. 1961) -Even people who know nothing about baseball recognize this name
  • 1912 – Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., American pilot and general (d. 2002) -First black general.
  • 1916 – Betty Grable, American actress, singer, and dancer (d. 1973) -I always get her confused with Betty Rubble
  • 1917 – Ossie Davis, American actor and activist (d. 2005) -Always did the right thing
  • 1935 – Jacques Pépin, French-American chef and author -His stage shows with Julia Child are hilarious
  • 1943 – Keith Richards, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor (The Rolling Stones, The Dirty Mac, and The New Barbarians) -How is he still alive?
  • 1946 – Steve Biko, South African activist, founded the Black Consciousness Movement (d. 1977) -Martyred in the fight against Apartheid
  • 1946 – Steven Spielberg, American director, producer, and screenwriter, co-founded DreamWorks -Keeping Harrison Ford working
  • 1963 – Brad Pitt, American actor and producer -adopter of foreign children
  • 1964 – Stone Cold Steve Austin, American wrestler, actor, and producer -"wrestler"
  • 1980 – Christina Aguilera, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress -Actress? Really?
  • 1987 – Miki Ando, Japanese figure skater -quadruple jump

December 17, 2014

Not quite

I so need to decorate for Christmas.
Do you think it's enough if I just scatter nutcrackers throughout the house?

December 16, 2014

Keep the lights on

On this day in 1978, Cleveland became the first city in the nation to default on its loans since the Great Depression. All in the name of saving Cleveland Public Power (at that time Muny Light).
Today, Cleveland Public Power still exists. Our city is no longer in default. And Travel + Leisure says it's a great place to visit.
But I already knew that.

December 15, 2014


Vacation day and payday on the same day seems like a recipe for indulgence.

Let's see what I can do.
BAM! $400.00. You're welcome, economy.

December 11, 2014

You may as well wear it.

Time to dig back in the closet.
Tomorrow is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. If you are not blessed with an ugly Christmas sweater, the web has some suggestions.

Personally, I've always liked the reindeer (probably because of Colin Firth in Bridget Jones), but next year I might try to make my own.

December 10, 2014


Nothing like a power outage right at bedtime on a freezing cold night to remind you of what you are lucky to have.
Some are not so fortunate.

December 9, 2014

It's a bad day to be an American

From "7 Key Points From the C.I.A. Torture Report" in the NYTimes:
1. The C.I.A.’s interrogation techniques were more brutal and employed more extensively than the agency portrayed. The report describes extensive waterboarding as a “series of near drownings” and suggests that more prisoners were subjected to waterboarding than the three prisoners the C.I.A. has acknowledged in the past.
I know there are assh*les out there who are all about the torture. They are upset that this report came out at all and that it seems to indicate that torture doesn't work. They are the same sadists who won't even acknowledge that most of this is torture. They call it a "taste of their own medicine."
But when we reduce our interactions with fellow human beings to the level of 5-year-olds on a playground, we dishonor ourselves more than the victims.

December 8, 2014

Why I'm not reading

Yeah, yeah. I know. I didn't do a Friday Book Blog AGAIN last week. But the truth is I haven't read an entire book since I-can't-remember-when. Every spare second is spent on our bathroom remodel.
We are doing all the work ourselves AND paying cash, so it is, by necessity, being completed in stages.
We have this luxury because there is a second bathroom in the house. (That was a real selling point for houses built in the 50s when this house was completely overhauled from a summer cottage to a year-round home. Today you are hard-pressed to find a new home that doesn't have more bathrooms than bedrooms!)
The downside to doing the work ourselves is that (aside from being a lot of work! --and if I haven't mentioned it: I hate you, HGTV, for making this crap look so easy!) it takes ALL of your free time. So I have been reading (or not reading) the same book for the past two weeks and I'm only half-way through.
The upside to remodeling on your own is the enormous sense of accomplishment and the tons of money you save. Anything that reinforces my awesomeness and puts money in my pocket is going to win out over reading, at least temporarily.

December 4, 2014

Everything old is new again

Pantone's 2015 color of the year is official. Marsala, which is being described as "naturally robust and earthy red wine." Actual marsala is a little less vibrant, but we'll allow for poetic license.
Back in the 70s, we called this color maroon. In the 80s it became burgundy.
Welcome back.

December 3, 2014

Some questions about Christmases of old

What the hell was Christmas like in the 60s? Or at Andy Williams' house in the 60s?

Who the hell tells ghost stories at Christmas?

And someone needs to define the word "fling" for this man. It has never, to my knowledge, included a wedding ring even though they rhyme. Also, ALL of your friends are dropping in today?! All of them on the same day? And I'm sure your soon-to-be wife in this ditty is thrilled with the 45 minutes advance notice.

December 1, 2014

The difference is black and white

I am thankful I have never had to have a talk like this with Punkinhead.

“They’ve even been stopped because they ‘don’t look like they live in our neighborhood,' stopped because their music was too loud. Stopped because someone robbed a store nearby, and they ‘fit the description.’ They know the deal.”
The phrase, “fit the description” rang true with other mothers on the panel, and many in the audience. While black mothers nodded their heads in agreement, white mothers looked shocked.
“We teach them to be afraid of ‘the system,’” Blackmon said. “I would like to say that if you’re stopped by a black cop, you’re safe, but that’s not the truth.
“Every policeman is not bad,” she added. “But if it is your child, you can’t take that risk. You have to have ‘the talk,’ because they have to stay alive.”

The next time you want to be outraged that Darren Wilson is being pilloried in the court of public opinion (at least outside of the tea-bag world) remember that Michael Brown's mom had this talk with him and ask yourself if a young man who was about to start college and who had grown up hearing "the talk" would have instigated a fight with a white armed police officer.

November 28, 2014

What you save in $ you lose in dignity
Between the terrible way the employees are treated and the innate greed of the owners, I have not shopped at Walmart in nearly 4 years and have no intention of ever setting foot in one again. Everyone who crowds into the store on Black Friday to fight over the 6 $200 tablets in stock is contributing to the problem. Stop supporting these jerks who put their profits over the welfare of the entire nation.

November 26, 2014

Adventures in renovating

We have been spending so much time trying to get things done in the bathroom (have I mentioned 1. renovating a bathroom on your own while working full time is unpleasant and nearly impossible? and 2. how much I hate HGTV for making us believe that two doofuses like me and LSH can do crap like this?) that I had until this morning not really thought about the fact that I had promised dessert for Thanksgiving at my mom's and I had not purchased a single ingredient. Oops.
So I got to spend a fun-filled hour at the grocery store while LSH installed the toilet. This worked fine until I got home to help... and we promptly cracked the bowl. (I had planned to keep the toilet even though everything else will be new.)
Now, LSH gets to spend Black Friday at Home Cheapo buying a toilet. Lucky guy!

November 25, 2014

Just a bit of perspective.

Yes, the police have difficult jobs. Yes, they need to make split-second life-or-death decisions. But the resulting death is RARELY that of the police officer. According to FBI reports, 27 cops were killed in the line of duty last year. (Right, 27 too many, but 27 is a really low number for men and women who are supposedly under threat from every black teenager in America.)
Statistics are a little harder to come by in the category of civilians killed by cops, but "Federal officials allow the nation’s more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies to self-report officer shootings." That figure... hovers around 400 'justifiable homicides' by law enforcement each year." (hint: they are always "justified.")
And just in you're convinced that militarizing the police is a good idea for their own safety, in a rundown of the 10 most dangerous jobs in America, it doesn't even make it onto the list.
Perhaps if we spent less time telling them how threatening the world is to them and that all the people they meet are potential adversaries out to get them, they'd be less inclined to pull a gun every time they see a black boy playing with a BB gun.

November 24, 2014


By Tkgd2007 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
I love the coincidence that Lucy (Australopithecus) was discovered on the anniversary of the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species. 

November 20, 2014

Dear DSW

and Zappos, and every other shoe selling site online:

Taupe is NOT gray.

Frustrated shopper

November 19, 2014

I only wish his apology had been more sincere

Much of the Interwebs were horrified by Don Lemon's interview with one of the alleged* victims of Bill Cosby alleged* rape. When he asked why she didn't fight back, he perpetuated the myth that victims of rape could somehow have stopped it, if only... .
The fact that much of Twitter and a host of other media outlets called him out on it was wonderful. 20 years ago, no one would have blinked at that line of questioning. That so many people see through this veiled attempt to blame the victim makes me hopeful.
One day we will live in a world where, if a person is raped, no one asks what she was wearing or why she didn't report it.

*legal term for "not proven in a court of law."

November 18, 2014

Rich white trash.

Why do we, as a nation, allow people like Kim Kardashian, or Paris Hilton or any number of talentless, brainless, twits whose only accomplishment is being born wealthy, to become famous? Why do we, as a nation, pay any attention at all to them? Stop. If everyone stops giving a rat's ass about Kim-ye's photoshopped butt, it will go away. And I for one, will be a happier person.

November 17, 2014

Water highway

Happy birthday to the Suez Canal. 145 years old and just as spry as ever.