Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hope for the New Year

I want to focus on hope this year.

The November election was, at last, a glimmer of hope after six long years of darkness.* By the narrowest of margins, the religious fanatics no longer control Congress and the fascists in the White House have been put on notice. The moderates of both parties have scared the bejeebus out of the far right kooks who have taken over the Republican party, and hopefully, the far left Congressional leaders of the Democratic party.

Yes, there is reason for hope, slim as it is, that reason will prevail and the three branches of our government will be representative of the country's majority, which is moderate. This glimmer of hope, as I see it, is very small and in danger of being snuffed out. The only way to keep it going is to pay attention, for each and every one of us who care about the future of this country to write to our representatives, to call them out when they endanger us, to hold them accountable, to demand that they represent us and not the lobbyists.

It is up to us. It has always been up to us, but we became complacent and let the wackos gain control, with heartbreaking results, as we have seen. See, the reason I say that hope, although it is there, is very slim, is because I have very little confidence in people to actually follow through and hold Congress' feet to the fire. But then, Dallas County went Democratic in the November elections, which gobsmacked everyone, so maybe people will continue to pay attention in the coming year, after all.

Hope, like love, must be a verb this year. We have to pay attention, stay informed, and take action.

* For those who think the word "darkness" is melodramtic, let me say this: The President of the United States thinks that a supernatural being that he calls "God" told him, personally, to invade a sovereign country because that would, somehow, help prepare the way for the Second Coming. Countless thousands have died because of this deluded man's decisions, including nearly 3,000 American servicemen and women. This was all in response - bear with me here if you can, because there's no logic - to another deluded man's belief that the presence of non[Islamic] believers on "sacred soil" in the land of Mecca was blasphemous to his supernatural being that he calls "Allah," so he brought down the World Trade Center towers, which killed nearly 3,000 Americans. Why the first deluded man invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein, who had nothing whatever to do with the second deluded man's actions is a mystery, but it somehow made sense to the first deluded man's, um, brain.

Our species may well be in a transitional evolutionary phase wherein we either use our minds to survive or become extinct in consequence of idiotic religious behavior.

-Baubles of Blasphemy-Edwin F. Kagin

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Rope Dancing

Shrub proves to Daddy Bush that he is a man.
Can what's left of our troops come home now?

Friday, December 29, 2006

In A Funk

Blick. I'm in a funk. Writer's block. Blogging block. Constipated with words. Or full of it, you might say. Ew. See? Terrible analogy.

Knowing I need to write. Staring at the keyboard. Which produced this profundity:

Thank goodness for keyboards; otherwise, we'd have to operate our 'puters with
our bare hands.

How sad is that?

This is how sad - I am the Tagee of an alphabet meme, and I am going to answer it right here, right now. You were warned.

A- Available or single? And so, it's come to this.

B- Best Friend? Tomcat, who is also the love of my life.

C- Cake or pie? Cake. Icing optional.

D- Drink of choice? Coffee. Hot and black (no, that's not a reference to how I like my men.)

E- Essential item I use every day. Fork.

F- Favorite color: Red.

G- Gummy Bears or Gummy Worms? Ick.

H- Hometown? Wherever my home is. I was born in Smalltown, Texas, but haven't been there since the age of one.

I- Indulgence: Half-Price Book Store.

J- January or February? Yes. (WTF?)

K- Kids and names: Scruffybutt and Katycat.

L- Life is incomplete without? Music.

M- Marriage date: I always date before marriage.

N- Number of siblings: Two.

O- Oranges or apples? Yes, but for comparison purposes only.

P- Phobias or fears? Both.

Q- Favorite quote?: For every action, there's an overreaction (from Maxwell, my ex, and the subtitle of my WIP, Gino's Law.)

R- Reasons to smile: Hoss' b**g, CuteOverload.

S- Season: Tarragon's my favorite.

T- Tag 3 or 4 people. I'll tag one. Dan Rockstar is so due.

U- Unknown fact about me: I can rewrite a dream while I'm dreaming. Do other people do that, too?

V- Vegetable you don’t like: Beets, but it's not personal.

W- Worst habit: Starting a blog and then not keeping up with it.

X- X-Rays: They're why I don't go swimming in the ocean.

Y- Your favorite food? The ones with large amounts of cholesterol.

Z- Zodiac sign? Aquarius.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Well, for a blog with a banner that says, "My God, It's Full of Words!" this must have been a disappointment lately because I haven't had much to say!

My blogging muse isn't consistent, sorry to say.

The things that are on my mind aren't all that blogworthy, or at least they don't seem so to me. Some subjects seem too weird or too deep, while others seem too shallow and not weird enough.

I mean, is the blogosphere* really clamoring for my musings on the force of gravity? alien visitations? atheism? global warming? Or, how about the number and kinds of spring bulbs I planted the other day? my cholesterol count? what I got for Christmas? this crazy Texas weather?

I just don't know. I'm thinking that next year, I'll:

quit blogging,
or blog very sporadically while continuing to keep up with your blogs,
or start blogging about all the deeply weird, plus the shallow boring stuff to provide a daily update for this "blog full of words."

You have been warned. :)

*i.e., my three or four regular readers

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Miracles Happen

Happy Holidays from Scruffybutt and Katycat, who for the moment are behaving themselves in my sleepy presence.

A Very Merry PC Whatever!


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Stockings

Lisa and Bart are ready for Santa in the Happy Wings Hotel that Tomcat built for them.

I made these, except for the cat's stocking, which I found at PetSmart. I made a cat's stocking back when I made the others, but gave it away when our last cat, Hopsing, died. Now I wish I had kept it because we sort of inherited Katycat with the house.


By popular demand, I've changed my Gravatar, which hasn't been changed since the time John, who has chronic foot-in-mouth disease, substituted my profile pic for a hippo's butt. Blogger didn't save the pic, fortunately.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


My Scruffles in her Christmas dress = adoramous!
We tried the hat on Katycat, too. She was NOT amused. (See her pic HERE.)

Silly Saturday #10

Has it snowed where you are yet?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Writing Meme

I got this from Cynthia, who has a great blog and she posts some amazing pictures she's taken from time to time. Definitely worth checking out! She wrote this meme herself.

1. Do you have a favorite writing instrument?

I write on the computer. My hand cramps up if I use a pen or a pencil. Besides, typing is faster for me. (I was a legal secretary for 25 years.)

2. Do you imbue said favored writing instrument with special powers; for example, the ability to jump start your work?

The computer doesn't jump start my work. However, I've noticed that if I take my laptop, Harriett, with me to say, Barnes & Noble, I get more writing done than if I'm at home. I think it's because at home, I'm thinking of all the stuff I "should" be doing instead, whereas if I've gone somewhere specifically to write, then I'm more focused.

3. Are you superstitious or analytical about your muse?

Not superstitious, not analytical. Just in awe. When a character takes over, when a scene writes itself, when a plot thread suddenly becomes whole cloth, a part of me sits back and watches, simply gobsmacked by the process.

4. Is it better to write or to have written?

For me, to have written. Writing doesn't come easily to me, and since I'm basically lazy, I'm often daunted by the work.

5. There is a certain celestial alignment present in many famous writer’s astrological charts. Whether or not you believe in astrology, is there something different about you that made you a writer?

I've always been in love with words and with reading (Saturn in the 3rd House, in mutual reception with Mercury.) Being introspective and naturally curious about everything helps, too (12th-House Cancerian Moon conjunct Uranus.)

If you’re a writer and so inclined, consider yourself tagged. (Thank you, Cynthia.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Who Dat?

This is Scruffybutt, in her Dallas Cowboys T-shirt, after the Saints' win on Sunday night.

The fabulous bowl in the foreground was made by my father-in-law, who took up ceramics only a couple of years ago!

And here's the artificial, prelit tree. We can't get over how real it looks, even up close.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

It's Been a Frustrating Few Days

First, I was sick with some sort of 72-hour bug, and then when I did feel like logging on, I discovered that I couldn't make comments on anyone's blog, not even my own. Not only that, I could only log on to Blogger from my laptop, so if I was going to post something to my blog, I would have had to get out of bed and go downstairs to do it. Why not bring the laptop up to bed? It's portable, right? Well frankly, I didn't think of that until Friday, when it was finally safe to drink coffee. The synapses in my brain won't fire without caffeine, okay?

I've just spent an hour or so catching up on everyone's blogs. You guys are fascinating! There are so many blogworthy things going on in this world. I love it.

I'm about a week behind on Christmas stuff, so on Friday I went shopping in my PJs, in bed, with my laptop. Surf, point, click, done. I even muttered a couple of fa-la-la-la-las.

Today we put up the artificial tree we bought, a 9' majestic fir, hinged, prelit, with pinecones attached. It even came with a stand. Sent Tomcat to pick it up last Monday while I was in bed recovering from a yucky medical procedure, he set it up today while I sipped some wine. Surf, point, click, done. Fa-la-la-la-la. No more going out in the freezing cold to choose a tree, bringing it home, getting needles all over the place, trying to get the tree in the stand, putting the lights on, remembering to water the tree...

I hear there's even a Christmas tree spray scent. I'll just Google that right now! Fa-la-la-la-la.

Yes, I'm definitely getting into the Christmas spirit.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tell Us Tuesday #10

Tell us, this year will you send out

Generic Christmas cards,

Personalized Christmas cards,

Personalized cards with family picture on them,

A Christmas letter (Hoss has a swell fill-in-the-blank one you could rip off),

Christmas emails, or

No cards at all?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday Catch-All

Scruffybutt and our cat, Katy, are going to become friends, I'm sure of it. We moved the old sofa upstairs to make room for a new one, and Katy promptly took it over. While she was curled up on one end of the sofa, I sat on the middle seat with Scruffybutt in my arms. Then I put SB on the other side and petted both little sweeties at the same time. Soon, SB curled up and Katy purred. Awwww. I got up quietly and took this picture seconds before they both jumped off and went their separate, furry ways.

Yesterday I had plans with Pooks, Grace, and a couple of other Anglophiles I hadn't met yet to see the Queen. But yesterday it was in the low 20s and we had ice on the roads, which was later dusted with snow. That's because for the preceding two days, when we originally wanted to go but couldn't because of various conflicts, the weather was clear and in the upper 70s.

Tomcat and I went to see Dallas Opera's dress rehearsal of The Barber of Seville. What a hoot! Count Almaviva demonstrated his willingness to fight by adopting the Crane pose from The Karate Kid. At first we thought that was a little over the top, but then hey, why not? It's a comedy. Thanks to Grace's hubster for the tickets.

Speaking of Tomcat, have you noticed that Tom Cruise and what's-her-name have stolen that catchy name, no doubt from this very blog? It's TomKat this and TomKat that. Oh sure, they spell it with a "K," thinking that would make it legit somehow (sort of like getting married after the birth of their child.) I'm suing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tell Us Tuesday #9

For Christmas this year, will you have

a real tree,

an artificial one, or

no tree at all?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Ladies, Start Your Turkeys!

My table is ready. So far, so good.
Tomcat and I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

For All the Cooks Out There Today

Isn't it fun?
I love doing this.
And Scruffybutt helps.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tell Us Tuesday #8

Tell us here in Comments, or by leaving a link to your own blog,

What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Friendship and Thanksgiving

Friendship has been on my mind lately.

Wikipedia defines "Friendship" this way:

"Friendship is a term used to denote co-operative and supportive behaviour between two or more social entities. This article focuses on the notion specific to interpersonal relationships. In this sense, the term connotes a relationship which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, and affection. Friends will welcome each other's company and exhibit loyalty towards each other, often to the point of altruism. Their tastes will usually be similar and may converge, and they will share enjoyable activities. They will also engage in mutually helping behavior, such as exchange of advice and the sharing of hardship. A friend is someone who may often demonstrate reciprocating and reflective behaviors. Yet for many, friendship is nothing more than the trust that someone or something will not harm them. Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating on a consistent basis:

the tendency to desire what is best for each other.
sympathy and empathy.
honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth.
mutual understanding."

At the first Thanksgiving, white settlers gathered together to share a meal with Native Americans. They were thankful for the bountiful food they shared, and they were thankful for peace. The Indians, unknowingly of course, kept the peace for too high a price. What they thought they gained in friendship with the settlers cost them something far more valuable in the long run, their freedom. Yet another example that "peace at any price" is never a good thing.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I Believe It Can Fly

I've given this a lot of thought, and I've decided to convert to Pastafarianism, or as some prefer to call it, FSMism. Yes, I have decided to become a member of The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. I have written to the Prophet, Bobby Henderson, to find out if I have to be dipped in some sort of Sacred Sauce first (mainly because if so, Tomcat said he would want to watch.) I want to do this right.

I was touched by His Noodly Appendage (the FSM's, that is,) some time ago when The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was revealed.

It is important to me to become a Pastafarian, and here is why: if a local school board confuses religion with science, insisting that Intelligent Design (formerly known as "Creationism,") should be taught to our children in science class as an alternative to evolution, I can be there to demand that our equally valid theory of creation, namely, that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster, will be taught as an alternative. As the Prophet said, we have no problem with religion, except when religion poses as science. This has actually happened in Kansas City. Oh look, here is a nice poster about their Science Museum. It is my solemn, nay, sacred duty as a Pastafarian to ensure that our nation's future scientists will get equal exposure to our theory of creation wherever intelligent design is taught.

May you, too, be touched by His Noodly Appendage.


Silly Saturday #8

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What Was She Thinking? And Other Stuff

Nancy Pelosi wanted Sen. Murtha as Majority Leader. Wha - ??? This, after putting such emphasis on ethics reform, which Murtha opposes, and knowing that there were clouds in his past. I'm impressed that the Dems refused to elect him. This is healthy, and should send her the right message. I'm just disappointed that she started out this badly.

Emmitt Won! Mario Lopez is a fantastic dancer, and will probably have a stunning career on Broadway if he wants it. But Emmitt is has a special place in my heart, and not just because he's a former Dallas Cowboy and the greatest running back of all time. He's a fine human being, a wonderful father, and as we can now see, a phenomenal dancer. To top it all off, he has sex appeal. As one fan of the show recently put it, he has a smile that makes your panties fall off. :)

We had a very fine writers' group meeting yesterday. We now have two new members, and are expecting a third by the end of the year. That will bring us to six total, which should be about right for us. It feels like a good group. These people are grownups who are focused on the writing and how to make it better.

I got all my Thanksgiving recipes together today so I can make out my grocery list. Since moving to Maxwell House this summer, I now have three full kitchens, two downstairs and one upstairs. Well, I shouldn't say "full kitchens," exactly, because I don't have garbage disposals or dishwashers, and won't until we upgrade the electrical system. I'm looking forward to cooking this year and finally having room for a big ole dining table.

It sucks that we won't get to see Lost again until January. Tomcat and I decided to eschew the new series they've put into the time slot. That'll teach them. Seriously, have you ever seen so much hype over a new show? I got so sick of seeing the trailers for it; they ran it into the ground before the first episode aired.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It's A New Day, Fellow Patriots

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006
A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives Michael Moore

To My Conservative Brothers and Sisters,

I know you are dismayed and disheartened at the results of last week's election. You're worried that the country is heading toward a very bad place you don't want it to go. Your 12-year Republican Revolution has ended with so much yet to do, so many promises left unfulfilled. You are in a funk, and I understand.

Well, cheer up, my friends! Do not despair. I have good news for you. I, and the millions of others who are now in charge with our Democratic Congress, have a pledge we would like to make to you, a list of promises that we offer you because we value you as our fellow Americans. You deserve to know what we plan to do with our newfound power -- and, to be specific, what we will do to you and for you.

Thus, here is our Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives:

Dear Conservatives and Republicans,

I, and my fellow signatories, hereby make these promises to you:

1. We will always respect you for your conservative beliefs. We will never, ever, call you "unpatriotic" simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.

2. We will let you marry whomever you want, even when some of us consider your behavior to be "different" or "immoral." Who you marry is none of our business. Love and be in love -- it's a wonderful gift.

3. We will not spend your grandchildren's money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It's your checkbook, too, and we will balance it for you.

4. When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home, too. They deserve to live. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on either a mistake or a lie.

5. When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you, too, will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that affect you and your loved ones, we'll make sure those advances are available to you and your family, too.

6. Even though you have opposed environmental regulation, when we clean up our air and water, we, the Democratic majority, will let you, too, breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water.

7. Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you.

8. We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived.

9. We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, pick up another sport. We will make our streets and schools as free as we can from these weapons and we will protect your children just as we would protect ours.

10. When we raise the minimum wage, we will pay you -- and your employees -- that new wage, too. When women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage, too.

11. We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't put those beliefs into practice. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs ("Blessed are the poor," "Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God," and "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn't just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism -- starting with the fanaticism here at home, thus setting a good example for the rest of the world.

12. We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.

I promise all of the above to you because this is your country, too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans -- and for the rest of the world.

Michael Moore here to sign the pledge)

P.S. Please feel free to pass this on.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tell Us Tuesday #7

Tell us, either here in Comments or by leaving a link on your own blog,

How old were you when you had your first taste of alcohol, and what kind of drink was it?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hoping This Was a Win-Win

Yesterday we did something that was painful, but I hope it works out all the way around. We took one of our dogs, Sandy (a/k/a "Poo-Poo Head" on Scruffybutt's blog) to Operation Kindness so they can find her a good home. We couldn't find one for her. It's just sad to know that she is going to be caged for a while until the right people come along.

Since we moved in July, we haven't had a fenced yard for her to run around in, and I can't take her on a run with me or bicycling (circulatory problems), so she wasn't getting near enough exercise. That was one problem.

The big problem was that I could never teach her to stop barking when I told her to. We've had several dogs over the years - all SPCA finds - and I thought I knew how to work with dogs. But I just couldn't teach Sandy a thing. When I tried to put her in training class, even the instructor couldn't teach her to sit. But you know, I do realize that the fault is never with the dog; it's always with the owner. This particular dog just needed a lot of one-on-one time and much more time and patience than I've got. She isn't stupid, just ... stubborn. We tried different kinds of anti-bark collars. We had a "dog whisperer" come over and work with her (me), and that was when I realized that I just don't have the time and patience that it would take to MAYBE teach her to stop barking when she's told to. Plus, we'd have to build a fence, which is an expense that just isn't worth it right now.

She needs a home where she'll get lots of exercise and won't have someone screaming "No!" at her in exasperation, like I did.

Operation Kindness screens people very carefully, so I know Sandy will have a better home.

And I won't get in a bad mood every time someone comes to visit and we have to shout over the barking. And I know the neighbors will appreciate it because you could hear Sandy from across the street when she was inside our living room! Plus, I might be able to visit with people in the 'hood now when I take our other dog walkies.

And in the long run, I know she'll be happier.

But it wasn't easy to do this at all. We'd agonized over it for at least a year.

One immediate change we've seen around here is that Katy, our cat (a/k/a "Fuzz-Face" on Scruffybutt's blog) isn't afraid to come out now (she sort of lived in Tom's study/library.) I couldn't teach Sandy to stop barking at her, and of course that scared her to death so she'd hide. Now, she looks at Scruffybutt, Scruffybutt looks at her, and that's it. So far, so good. I think they might end up being friends.

Yesterday on my walk with Scruffybutt, I saw a loose dog three times her size come trotting toward us. When Scruffybutt saw her, she nearly yanked my arm off because she was trying to charge this big ole dog! He turned tail and ran off. She still kept growling and pulling on the leash. He stopped several yards away and turned to look back at us. She's still carrying on like she wants to kill him, and I'm saying, "Okay, let's go, let's get outta here!" Thank goodness I had her with me. :) She is SO terrier. She has no concept of her size at all. It was pretty funny. I've seen her stare down a Rotwieiller at the vet's office before.

I hope Sandy gets in a home where she can be the only dog and get lots of one-on-one attention.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Silly Saturday #7

Silly Rumsfeld Quotes

Reports say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know.

We do know, of certain knowledge, that (Bin Laden) is either in Afghanistan or in some other country or dead.

You're thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don't. I think that's old Europe.

For a very fine article, Rumsfeld finally undone by his inability to adapt, check out Australia's Sydney Morning Herald.

Oh, and Rummy? Buh-bye.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Careful - There's a Bleen Loose in the Library

You know that invisible thing that cats chase that we can't see? Tom calls it a "bleen." That's a word that George Carlin made up years ago because there's no word for the day after the day after tomorrow. He said let's call it "bleenday." Never caught on.

So, we use it for the invisible thingy only cats can see. Our cat, Katy (see Scruffybutt's blog for a pic) chases these things whenever they, um, appear?

So this morning as Tom left for work, he said, "Careful; there's a bleen loose in the library."


The election results were fan-tab-u-lous.

Kinky Friedman, however, only got 13% of the Texas vote for governor. Oh well. The good news is that the incumbent, Republican Rick Perry, although keeping his seat, now knows that more people in Texas voted against him than for him.

The real shocker here locally is that Dallas County went Democratic. No one predicted that, and there were some very surprised Republican judges and district attorney.

I think Nancy Pelosi has been a class act these past few days, and I'm going to hold her to the promise of representing the Center, not the far-left fringe. This is something we all must do - hold Congress' feet to the fire for a change!


Hope y'all have a good weekend. I'll try to come up with some silly for tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tell Us Tuesday #6

Tell us, either here in Comments, or leave a link to your own blog,

What are your pet peeves? (We all have more than one, right?)

Monday, November 06, 2006

We Are The Deciders

"I'm the decider, and I decide what's best." - George W. Bush

Tomorrow, we will, too.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Not Too Shabby

Here's what Tomcat wrote last night:


His Grandmother had been right. There was a perfect word for everything. If not, one should be made up. But schmuck was the perfect description of this person.

He wasn't an asshole; he wasn't a dickhead; he wasn't even a shithead. All of that would have indicated maliciousness. This one was a schmuck.

Grandpa had a different piece of wisdom to impart. "Put that down, idiot child, I told you not to touch it!" But he was a carpenter and Gran was a teacher.

The melting ice had diluted the Scotch more than he would have preferred. But sitting on the edge of the sink for half an hour had caused the inevitable. Foster had simple leaned against the wall of the stall.

A tap at the door followed by the timid but earnest voice of Mike Wagner brought him near to reality. "Mr. Foster, are you OK in there?"

"Just dandy, Mike". Jon Foster raised himself back squarely on the commode. "Is Cornwall still in my office?"

"Uh, yeah. He asked me to see if your were OK".


Jon Foster, age 49, MBA from the University of Hard Knocks, sole stockholder in a company that recycled computer monitors, stood and pulled up his shorts. After some thought and balancing, he pulled up his trousers and fastened his belt. Then he washed his hands and left the men's room for the long walk down the hall to his office.

He sat down in his worn chair, entwined his fingers on the top of his head, leaned back and closed his eyes.

"David, I understand what you've done. Can you tell me what you were thinking when you did it?"

"You mean the pension fund, Jon?"

"You stupid fuck, of course I mean the pension fund! What the hell else were we talking about when I turned pale and started drinking? What the fuck were you thinking?"

The sound of the glass hitting the wall over his shoulder was still echoing in his ears, but Cornwall was able to make out what his boss was yelling.

Wagner came running in. "Everyone OK?"

"Fine, Mike. David and I are just having a private conversation about the oil industry." Foster forced a weak smile. David Wagner closed the door without a word.

"OK. So you cut class and got laid the day they talked about diversification. Or you were hungover or something. Now fast forward for me and tell me why you placed thirty percent of the pension fund in Enron?"

"Well, it seemed that the market price of Exxon and Haliburtin was overpriced, so I figured we should take our gains and reduce our holdings in those companies. Oh, and Becthtel too."

Foster dropped his head to his chest.

"You know, David, I would have diversified away from those companies as well, at least over time. Moved some of the fund into socially conscious investments. I mean we're in the recycling business. But thirty percent of the fund in a single company? And it had to be Enron."

Cornwall was silent.

"No more than ten percent of the fund in any single segment; no more than five percent in any single company. That's how we've done it since the beginning. Take our gains at 15% and reinvest. That's what we have done since the beginning." Foster turned his head to the security monitor, which watched over the production line.

"You know," Foster pronounced, "I don't even want to pollute my consciousness with what you were thinking. Your office has a window onto the production floor doesn't it?"


"I want you to go back to your office and touch nothing. Do not touch the phone. Do not open e-mail. Do not shuffle a single piece of paper. Don't even think about reading the Wall Street Journal. Turn off the radio or CD or whatever you listen too. I want you to stare out the window at the production workers out there and just watch them for the rest of the day."
Foster leaned back. "You are to take no more than your usual hour for lunch, during which time you are forbidden to shoot yourself. If your life ends prematurely it will be my doing, not yours. When you come back, you are to park yourself at that same window and watch our people work. Imagine especially the older ones, and consider how many balls you've managed to cut off."

After an eternal silence, Wagner offered "The market price was climbing every week.

" I said I didn't want to hear it!"

Cornwall left without another word and did as he was told.

Jon Foster leaned back again and closed his eyes. Precious eyes. When he had been eight years old, he and a friend found an abandoned television set. It was a decrepit blank and white left along side the Dumpster in their apartment complex. Young Jon had missed the screen with his rock, but Kevin stood closer. When the screen exploded a shard of glass hit Kevin in the left eye. A smaller piece had lodge itself into Jon's cheek and sent him into a momentary panic.
Jon's scar was almost imperceptible, but Kevin was blind in one eye. Smashing the TV had been Jon's idea.

Now, the cathode ray tubes were removed from the casings by workers who had learned every inch of every model of monitor that had ever been manufactured. They knew what to touch and what could electrocute them with stored electricity. Each piece deconstructed on a bench in a deliberate perversion of an assembly line. The components were sorted and dropped into bins; the tubes themselves handled more carefully. The younger cavalier bench techs were convinced that Foster was being over cautious, but understood that rules were rules.

Each dissected piece was sorted into tubs and moved along a slow conveyer. The CRT's were slowly dropped into a sealed crusher. The materials were contained and the vapors were filtered. Nobody had ever been injured by a CRT that had been crushed.
The electronics were melted and distilled by chemicals safely sealed in closed vats. Plastic was melted and molded into bean-sized pellets. The Great Mother was spared a tiny bit of gouging in a search for new strategic minerals.
The margin in this business was small but adequate. It was also very volatile. The market for the recovered minerals changed daily. The value of recycled plastic only slightly outweighed the cost of making more, at least for some of his customers.
Ingots of recovered gold, silver and copper were molded and stored as the market fluctuated. The vile chemicals used to recover them from the guts of the deceased machines were filtered and themselves recycled.

The business stayed, usually, on the north side of the balance sheets. Timing was crucial and Jon Foster's sense of timing was better than most. The Air Force Academy had seen to that. When his Reserve Unit was called to Desert Storm, he demonstrated that it had not been lost.

"He was trying to maximize the pension fund. That’s all that schmuck was trying to do", he told himself. Then he prepared his coffee maker for the first of many hours of labor. Returning phone calls and e-mails had better wait for a bit.

His company's pension fund had been cut off at the knees. Elmer? No, don't call the lawyers yet. Steve? Why the hell wasn't his CPA calling him? What would General Billy Mitchell do? Screw that; they court-martialed Billy Mitchell. He knew what his father would have done, and he had already done that. Balls! Drunk and under fire, what the hell was I thinking? Not even noon. Damnation!

All he'd every wanted to do is save the world, was that so much to ask? Perhaps he should have become an architect like his older brother. Richard had been so revolted by their father's irresponsibility that he had changed his name back to the family's ancient German version: Faustus.

All that was water under the bridge. Now Jon was going to have to find a way to protect his people.

Wow! Tomcat did GOOD. Drink: Black Russians.

Here's what I came up with, which was a continuation of my WIP:

He knew solace wouldn't be found in the bottle this time. Anger sustained him for a while, until the shame set in. She'd only meant to help, and she'd offered him more than he'd had a right to expect. It's just that he had expected more. He'd expected love and romance and hot sex, and understanding and companionship and everything he'd kept out of his life since the divorce. He'd wanted it all, needed it all to come back, all at once, and he blamed Brandye when it didn't happen.

The shaking was under control by the time he'd showered and dressed. He walked across the landing to knock on her door and apologize, but she had gone. He thought of leaving a note, but what if that guy, Sean, came back with her and saw it? Nah, too humiliating.

He bought groceries, sorted the mail, put fresh sheets on the bed, tried to get back to normalcy after jail and being on the run. He couldn't think about the future just now, or he'd need another drink for sure.

Chapter 16

At Howard's in the morning, Mimosas were served all around by a bickering Arthur and Maria, but Gino declined.

Arthur was surprised. "God, what did they do to you?"

"I'll just have some water, please," Gino said.

Maria said, "I will get," and hurried off, returning with a cold Perrier.

Brandye was absent from the meeting, and since they hadn't asked about her, he assumed everyone knew what had happened between them.

"I propose a toast," said Howard, raising his glass. Danny, Maud-Ann, and Heather did the same. "To Gino, whom I was chasing long before it became fashionable."

Gino clinked their glasses with his Perrier and laughed. He had forced the laugh, and he thought it must have shown because there was an awkward silence afterward. Damn it. He wanted to make things right with Brandye, to gratefully accept her friendship like he should have done to begin with. And he sure as hell didn't want to be reminded of his criminal status.

"To Maud-Ann," Gino said, "without whom my sorry ass would still –" Without warning, Gino's voice faltered and he could not speak.

"Hear, hear," said Howard, and it was echoed around the room.

Maud-Ann said, "I'm dying to know what Danny's found out about all this. Let's get to it." She squeezed Gino's hand.

Howard gestured for everyone to be seated in his spacious Mission-style living room. "Danny?" he said.

Danny stood and pulled his Moleskine reporter's notebook from his inside jacket pocket. "Okay," he said, flipping pages, "I'll start with the victim's wife, Tammy Simms.

Drink: White Zinfandel

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Kinky Last Night, Drunk Tonight!

Yes, this is shaping up to be a fine weekend.

Look what Pooks discovered:

Get details of NaDruWriNi here.

Make Papa proud.

Silly Saturday #6

Haute couture is silly.*

Watch a fashion show on TV and count how many times the runway reviewer uses the word "important," as in, "patent leather is very important this season."

* of course, this doesn't apply to handbags. ahem.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Get Kinky Tonight!

The Kinkster, Independent Texas gubernatorial candidate, will be on Letterman tonight - don't miss it!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

And They're Off! (but only a little)

Anyone starting NaNoWriMo today? (That's National Novel Writing Month, where insane people choose the second-most insane month in which to write a novel. A whole novel. In one month. So, okay, they're off more than just a little, IMO.)

Two in our writers' group are doing this. I admire their effort, I really do. However, I must point out that it's the two males in the group, and THEY don't have to worry about putting Thanksgiving dinner together and stuff like that (at least I don't think they do.) THEY have wives.

One of them is semi-retired, but the other one has a real day job. The semi-retired one has opted out of the writers' group for this month, but the one with the full-time job is going to hang in with us, somehow.

Which brings me to the question of time management. I know that we are each given the exact amount of time, no more, no less, than anyone else. I used to work full time, and I wrote my first novel then (but not in a month!) Now that I'm retired, it seems like I'm busier than ever. At the start of every week I think I'll make a major dent in my WIP (Work in Progress), but then the end of the week arrives and I've done diddly squat about it.

I think it's more a question of energy than time. I was born tired. I've never been a high-energy type. By the time I've done everything that needs to be done, run all the errands, walked the dogs, and cleaned the cat litter box, I'm pooped. I'm ready for Dr. Phil and a nap. That's just pathetic.

When Tomcat's parents were here for a visit, we marvelled at how much energy they have and how much they seem to get done. What's up with that? Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?

I can't say that I don't have the time to do NaNoWriMo, but I sure don't have the energy to devote to it.

I wish the guys in our group THE BEST OF LUCK with this, and the rest of the group is looking forward to reading what they come up with.

By the way, Pooks says there's also going to be a National Screenwriting Month, which will be in June (a much more sensible month than November.)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tell Us Tuesday #5

Happy Halloween!

Tell us, either here in the Comments or on your own blog, if you're wearing a costume this year, and what it is.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

More Moleskine Bliss

Moleskine has come out with a City Edition!

I simply must have the London one. Not that I would dare write in it; I just have to possess it.

There's a detailed discussion of the City Edition's sensuous pleasures at this guy's blog under the heading "Stationery Porn." (This is my second favorite type of porn, btw, the first being handbags.)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Silly Saturday #5


Do you know why ducks are so funny? I don't either*, but as Petey Fisk of Greater Tuna would say, "Let's talk about ducks."

Probably my first memory of ducks involved the Secret Word Duck on Groucho Marx's TV show, You Bet Your Life. At the beginning of the show, before the contestants came out, this duck would descend holding a card with the secret "woid," as Groucho would say. The audience would know what the word was, but not the contestants. When they came out on stage, Groucho would chat with them, steering them to subjects that might get them to say the word. The closer the conversation got to someone saying that word, the more the studio audience (and we at home) would twitter. When someone did say the word, they won a hundred dollars.

No, I don't think it was Donald Duck or Daffy Duck that first grabbed my childhood attention; I believe it was the Secret Word Duck. I was in love with words (and free money) even then.

Here's a website devoted to "Marxism," called Why A Duck?

And then there's the immortal Duck Soup, a look at wars and the people who make them, still relevant today.

*I suspect it has something to do with the waddle.

Friday, October 27, 2006

It's Here!

The new Chapterhouse!
Welcome to my space oddity.
How do you like it?
Awesome, huh?
Designed by Lavender Dawn at Dreamscape.
She's awesome, too.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

It's Almost Here

Last transmission from Dave Bowman, 2001: "My God, it's full of stars!"

Next transmission, 2010:

Dave Bowman: You see, something's going to happen....

Heywood Floyd: What? What's going to happen?

Dave Bowman: Something wonderful.

Heywood Floyd: What?

Dave Bowman: I understand how you feel. You see, it's all very clear to me now. The whole thing. It's wonderful.

But enough about Iraq; let's talk about the economy!

(I heart Molly Ivins)

Bush economy 'doing remarkably well'
Molly Ivins - Creators Syndicate

10.24.06 - AUSTIN, Texas -- Oh, goody. According to the White House press office, President Bush will spend much of the next two weeks discussing what a swell economy we have. Did you know that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is at its highest point EVER? And the NASDAQ, ditto. Wow, breathtaking, huh? But the Dow is not a good indicator of how things are really going for the majority of Americans.
I just love listening to the Bushies play with numbers. When Bush took over in 2001, he had predicted a surplus of $516 billion for fiscal year 2006. Last week, the administration announced a 2006 deficit of $248 billion, missing its projection for this year by $764 billion. Bush said the numbers are "proof that pro-growth economic policies work" and are "an example of sound fiscal policies here in Washington."
This is highly reminiscent of Dick Cheney's recent observation about the Iraqi government, "If you look at the general, overall situation, they're doing remarkably well."
Bush's main talking point on the budget is that he "cut the deficit in half" -- that would be from 2004, the year the White House inflated the projected deficit for political reasons. Even conservatives disagree. Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation said, "The White House has a track record of projecting budget numbers to be a lot worse than they end up, which therefore helps them defeat the gloomy expectations and declare victory." If Bush does manage to make the tax cuts permanent, it will add more than $3 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. The federal budget would be virtually in balance if there had been no tax cuts.
Bush's version of "doing remarkably well" includes a trade gap -- now a record $69.9 billion -- up 2.7 percent since July. "Short of a big correction in consumer spending, the best we can hope for is that the trade deficit stabilizes," Stephen Stanley, chief economist at RBS Greenwich Capital, told
Meanwhile, what we see in the economy as a whole is an immense shift of wealth from the poor and middle class to the very rich. It seems a little painful to have to point this out yet again after six solid years of it, but these are lies, damn lies and statistics.
Just to give you an idea of how dependable the Bush numbers are, the Department of Health and Human Services put out a press release a few weeks ago telling senior citizens they will have "new options with low costs" and that monthly premiums in '07 will be the same as in '06.
"The Medicare prescription drug benefit... just keeps getting better," burbled HHS. They seem to have been taking too much in the way of prescription drugs. Rep. Henry Waxman, one of the most singularly useful members of Congress, found that average premiums will actually increase by over 10 percent next year. And for the lowest-priced plans, average premiums will be up over 44 percent. "It is not merely confusing arithmetic, it is deceptive advertising," said Waxman.
While lightening the tax burden for the rich, other parts of the Bush economic program continue to undermine the middle class in this country. As you may recall, in 2005 the credit industry successfully rammed a disgraceful bankruptcy reform bill through Congress. It's working out just the way we expected it to: Middle class families are borrowing more than ever to make ends meet. Most families go under if: (a) they lose a job or (b) they have a health emergency crisis.
One attorney sums up the legislation's impact: "It's designed to make life miserable for anybody who owes money. It's a help-the-banks, squish-the-little-guy law."
Bush's remarkably good economy is only good for the richest -- for the rest of us, incomes are stagnant and education and health care costs are skyrocketing. The Republican Congress blindly rubber-stamps policies designed to help only a few. Are you better off than you were six years ago?
(c) 2006 Creators Syndicate

It's Getting Closer

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Coming Soon

Watch this space.

Oh Well

It finally happened. I lost my virginity. Yes, for the first time I was pulled over by a cop in traffic.

He sauntered up to my car and tapped the registration sticker on my windshield. "The reason I pulled you over, ma'am," he said, "is because your vehicle registration has expired."

I looked at the sticker and read the expiration date aloud. "September, 2007?"

"Oh. You've already got it on there. Sorry. I called in your license number and I guess the registration didn't make it into the computer yet."

He didn't even ask to see my driver's license. Just said to have a nice day.

Well, I didn't. I spent the rest of the day wondering why he had called in my license number. Maybe it was racial profiling; I don't know.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tell Us Tuesday #4

Tell us, either here in Comments or leave a link to your own blog:

You've been given a once-in-a-lifetime roundtrip ticket to the past on a time machine. To what destination and time period would you go, and why? Sorry, you can't go forward in time, nor can you go back to any point in your own (current) lifetime.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Clutter Clearing

Pandora has a great post about clearing out the clutter in your life. She writes:

Let me define clutter - it's anything that makes you unhealthy, unhappy,
uncomfortable or just plain cranky. It usually comes into your life by
invitation, but sometimes it just seeps under the door like that pesky tree dust
and you don't know it's there until you are sweeping out the debris.

This is a great concept and one that we can personally apply to our physical environment, our minds, and our relationships.

Clutter in our physical environment: This is what we normally think of when we talk about clutter. It's when the whole house starts looking like the junk drawer. Think how energy-draining it is to spend hours looking for some important document. Talk about making you cranky!

Cluttered mind: If you apply Pandora's definition here, this kind of clutter includes unhealthy religious beliefs. We can all immediately think of the unhealthy belief that has people blowing themselves and others up to somehow glorify their god.

Radical Islamists are not alone in the unhealthy-belief department, however. A common Christian one goes something like this: suffering in silence earns you a crown in heaven. This prevents you from standing up for yourself, making you take on every project you're asked to do because you're too unhealthy to say "no," and generally being an over-burdened, martyred pain in the ass to everyone around you.

It also applies to harmful thought patterns - no one likes me, I never win, life's unfair, etc.

Relationship clutter: This could include anything from the truly harmful, like abusive spouses and toxic family members, to the merely annoying, like whiners and high-maintenance drama queens.

Clearing the clutter from one's personal life is healthy, but Pandora's post also got me to thinking about how her definition could be applied nationally (or better yet, globally.) Saaaay, we have just such an opportunity coming up in a couple of weeks, don't we?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Silly Saturday

Hey, remember burp guns? I don't either, but they're baaaack.

This mommy doesn't just burp her baby, she burps AT the baby.

Ever see what a burp looks like?

And now, thanks to the wonders of technology, you can CREATE YOUR OWN BURP and then ... email it to a friend! (I am not your friend.)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Take That, Klingon Bastards!

Remember how the Klingons could cloak their Birds of Prey and sneak up on our Federation Starships?

Well check this out:

Scientists create cloak of invisibility

It looks like we've caught up with Klingon technology for real! Either that, or we captured one of their ships and reverse engineered it...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Texas State Fair

Is it just me, or did the Fair this year have to do with cars, cars, and more cars?

We took the folks to the Fair last weekend - had a great time and the weather was fantastic - but ... good grief, unless you're a car fanatic, there wasn't much else to see.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Today and Who's Going Home Tonight and Stuff

It's just about time for Dancing With the Stars to come on - and I'm thinking that Jerry Springer will surely be the one to go home tonight. I think he wants to, and maybe his fans will let him now that we're getting down to the finals.

I have the front doors open and a cool breeze is coming in - I can hardly believe it. After the brutal summer we've had, this is a slice of heaven.

Speaking of which, Tomcat's mom makes the best rum cake I ever drank ate! Damn, girl - that was awesome! They left yesterday morning after a visit that was too damn short.

Writers' group today ended badly when one of the members got her feelers hurt and left. You know, we are a sensitive bunch. If we weren't, we'd be accountants or something. Maybe she'll cool down and come back to us. But when I got home, my stomach was in knots and I headed straight for the wine. I hate shit like this. Why can't we all just get along? Who said that, anyway? Oh wait.

I don't have to cook tonight - yay - because Tomcat's at a DeMolay meeting. He's a Chapter Dad. DeMolay meant so much to him when he was growing up. Now that he's reached a Significant Age, he finds himself with the title of "Dad." It creeped him out at first, I think.

Now, for John who was creeped out by the nose hair picture further down, here's something sweet:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tell Us Tuesday #3

We just had a GREAT visit from Tom's parents over the weekend.

I'm going to borrow something my m-i-l suggested for TUT#3. She read somewhere that it would be a great idea for a person just starting adulthood to begin studying a subject they're interested in so that by the time they retire, they'd be an expert in that subject. She said she wished she had done that, but has no idea what subject she might have chosen.

This reminded me of the late Tony Randall, who became an expert on hummingbirds.

Tell us what subject you would choose to be an expert in.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Silly Saturday

I don't understand all the fuss about bad hair days. If one morning you wake up with a bad hair, just pluck it out and go on about your business. That's what I do. Duh.

Here are some real hairy facts.

Oh, and watch out for those wild hares.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Book Meme

The Duke of Earle at Romantic Ramblings tagged me for a book meme. Great - I love memes, especially about books.

1) One book that changed your life:

Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnacht. A book of daily readings that helped me appreciate and live life in the moment.

2) One book that you’d read more than once:

The six original Dune books by Frank Herbert.

3) One book you’d want on a deserted island:

My current manuscript. Oh, and some blank Moleskines and a pen.

4) One book that made you laugh:

Skinny Legs And All by Tom Robbins. Deep and profoundly funny.

5) One book that made you cry:

The Sparrow (and The Children of God, its sequel) by Mary Doria Russell. Emilio Sandoz is a character that will be in my heart forever. It's outrageous that they've picked Brad Pitt to play him in the movie, and plan to change Sandoz' ethnicity to Australian so he can play the part. This is so wrong. Johnny Depp would be a magnificent Emilio (so would a younger Al Pacino.) The Sparrow is about mankind's first contact with an alien civilization. While the United Nations tries to figure out the best way to approach them, the Jesuits quietly fund an expedition. Listen to this from the book: "The Jesuit scientists went to learn, not to proselytize. They went so that they might come to know and love God's other children. They went for the reason Jesuits have always gone to the furthest frontiers of human exploration. They went ad majorem Dei gloriam: for the greater glory of God. They meant no harm." Russell grabs you with that intriguing statement, doesn't she? "They meant no harm."

6) One book you wish you’d written:

Watership Down, by Richard Adams. A stunning masterpiece. Besides, I adore rabbits.

7) One book you wish had never been written:

I was tempted to say the Koran because of the fanaticism it seems to have inspired, but then, one could say the same about the Bible. Of course, books don't cause evil, people do. I can't seriously say that I wish certain books had never been written. Okay, maybe I could say anything by Ann Coulter, mostly because of the pitiful waste of trees.

8) One book you're currently reading:

This is terrible because I'm not reading anything at the moment! Usually I have two or three books going. The last two fiction books I've read were A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (the fifth or sixth in her Outlander series) and Hunters of Dune, the latest in the Dune series written by Frank Herbert's son.

9) One book you've been meaning to read:

Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It, by Juan Williams.

10) Tag five people:

Pooks, Pandora, Lavender Dawn, Garnie, Cynthia.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tell Us Tuesday #2

(Answer here in Comments, or leave a comment telling us where to find your answer.)

Everyone fantasizes about what they'd do if they won a million dollars, but here's something a little different:

Tell us what you would do if you won a thousand dollars. The rules are, you have to spend it, but you can't pay bills with it, save, invest, give it away, or spend it on someone else.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Clueless in Baghdad Washington

Rice's Baffling Mideast Trip [click for full article]

Dodging bullets while hyping progress is not a convincing performance by
the secretary of state.

AFTER CIRCLING THE BAGHDAD airport for 40 minutes because of mortar and rocket fire, traveling by helicopter to the Green Zone to avoid the deadly bomb-strewn highway into the city and holding a meeting with President Jalal Talabani in darkness because the power was suddenly cut off, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held a news conference Thursday to talk about all the progress being made in Iraq.

This kind of clueless happy talk in the face of overwhelming evidence to
the contrary might produce great material for political satirists, but it's not
very encouraging for those looking for signs of hope in the Middle East.

This is progress? It's a civil war, people. Wake up.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Silly Saturday

Ahem. Bok-bok Bok-BOK!

Submitted (heh, get it?) for your amusement today is an oldie but goodie:

Subservient Chicken is at your command.

Then, if you get tired of that, there's THIS.

For the cultural-minded, read about the historic Chicken Ranch HERE (The silly part is that it was closed down.)

And finally, visit a whole website devoted to CHICKEN JOKES!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Pier One Rocks!

The morning started out with one of my least favorite things, the annual mammogram. Ladies, you know what I'm talkin' about: (^)(<) ouch ouch then (>)(~) and (<)(^) and so forth.

I needed a bit of retail therapy after that. We don't quite have enough living room seating yet, so I stopped by Pier One to see what they had in wicker furniture. I fell in love with a quaint little settee. Only it wouldn't fit into my hatchback (too big by about just a smidge.) Called Tomcat, but the company truck isn't available today, or even over the weekend. The delivery fee is outrageous (they use an outside source.)

Just when I'm contemplating whether it's worth renting a truck from Home Despot, or asking a friend of a friend who has a pickup truck if he's available this weekend, the Manager asks where I live, and then he offers to deliver it to me in his SUV when his assistant comes in this afternoon!

I couldn't believe it. You know, just when you think there aren't any nice people anymore, something like this happens and makes your day! Since he's the manager, I won't insult him by offering cash, but I will give him a bottle of wine.

Just goes to show, even if your day starts with getting your boobies squashed, it can end up with a nice place to park your buns!

Pier One is having a sale this weekend, so please keep that in mind when you're out shopping. If you live in Dallas, email me and I'll tell you which store to go to.

Happy weekend, everybody - and don't forget, tomorrow is Silly Saturday here at Chapterhouse.

(One tiny hint: bok bok.)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Plumbing the Depths

I learn something every time the plumbers come out to the house, which is more often than I'd like - not the learning something, the plumbing problems.

Did you know that crawling around underneath houses can get you electrocuted? That's why one guy stays outside while the other guy goes under there, in case they need to turn off the electricity in a hurry.

There are wires under the house along with all those pipes down there. With the humidity, plus possible leaks, it's a dangerous situation if someone comes in contact with a wire. They explained that if a 220 wire zaps you, it'll knock you away from it. It might take half your finger off in the process, but at least you just get a quick zap. If it's a 110, however, the current will hold you forever unless the electricity is turned off. Not a good way to go.

And another thing: it's not a good idea to take an extension cord down there with you. Use a flashlight instead of taking a task light under there. Don't use power tools, either.

Tomcat's been under the house before, and is planning to go back again to do something about the loose boards on the porch that keep coming up. Now that we know about the electrical situation, we can use the buddy system that the plumbers use.

Just thought I'd pass this on!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"Tell Us Tuesday" #1

I started "Silly Saturday" last weekend, which was just an excuse to find something silly to blog about and start the weekend off with a laugh.

Then, I wanted to come up with something more interactive, and thought of this: Tell Us Tuesday. You'll-like-it-it'll-be-fun-I-promise! Maybe it'll even get me you to keep writing about whatever the subject is and inspire you for the rest of the week!

So, every Tuesday I'll have a subject for you to tell us about. You can tell us here in the comments section, or leave a comment telling us where to look - like on your own blog.

The subject might be something from your past, or what you think or feel about certain things, your future plans, people you admire, places you've been, experiences you've had, and anything else I can think of.

Okay? Okay, here goes:

Tell Us Tuesday #1

Tell us about your favorite teacher.

I'll start:

My favorite teacher was Mr. Best. Yes, that was his real name. He taught Social Studies (do they still call it that, I wonder?)

He was unusual in three respects. First, he was a man. Most teachers were, and still are, I guess, females.

Second, he was a bachelor, which may have been a euphemism for gay back then. Funny, he didn't look gay :) but whatever, he was referred to as a bachelor by the other teachers.

Third, he was environmentally conscious waaaay back before that term was even invented. He rode to school on a motor scooter to save gas. He told us to conserve water by not letting the tap run while we brushed our teeth. He admonished us not to be wasteful.

I liked Mr. Best because he seemed to like me. I don't know why, exactly, but he seemed to like me. Once, I had almost forgotten that an assignment was due the next day, so the night before I threw together a notebook about the Vietnam war. All I did, basically, was cut out pictures and text from Life magazine. I felt guilty about not doing anything original, but Mr. Best gave me an A+!

In our Home Economics class (whatever do they call that now?), we had to make a skirt. The teacher invited Mr. Best to the classroom to watch the "fashion show." I remember his smile when I walked down the aisle wearing my ensemble. That smile meant so much to me because it was the approval that I craved. All of this was so innocent back then - there was not the slightest hint of anything improper. Can male teachers watch 12 and 13-yr-old girls model these days?

I remember another assignment he gave us, which was to write a newspaper headline to be dated 20 years in the future. Mine was, "Vietnam War Rages On."

Yes, I was a budding protestor even back then.

Now, it's your turn!
Tell us about your favorite teacher.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Finally ...

... I was able to unpack my Christmas gift from Pooks last year - a Jane Austen action figure!

It was in a box in the "laundry room," still in its original package. I hadn't unpacked it to put on my desk because I thought I would be moving to North Carolina any minute.

Well, I did move, but only across town. Finding this gift was like Christmas all over again - thanks, Pooks!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Silly Saturday

Some molecules have silly names, like crapinon, dickite, and arsole.

Go here for a whole list of them!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Big Brother?

One thing London is famous for is its thousands of security cameras.

Next week, The City of Dallas will install 40 surveillance cameras to monitor activities in its downtown area.

Here's what I don't understand: Why does this upset (some) people? Why are they screaming "Big Brother?"

How is this an infringement on our privacy if the cameras are located in public places? I say if it's legal for a flesh-and-blood cop to stand in the same place as the camera, then what's the difference? If a cop can stand at the intersection of Main and First Streets of Anytown, USA, and legally watch everything that's going on there, why is having a camera positioned in the same area considered an intrusion?

Aren't we just taking advantage of modern tech to make it easier and cheaper to keep an eye out for crime? We stopped using horse-drawn fire wagons loaded with water barrels when better tech became available, didn't we? So why all the fuss over surveillance cameras in public places?

I don't get it.

Yeah, That's About It

Here's a neat thing.

And another.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Face on Mars

Over thirty years ago, NASA took this surface picture of Mars' Cydonia region. Ever since, people have speculated that this was an indication of intelligent life on the planet. Some even said it was Elvis (proving, once again, that whether Earth has intelligent life is still in question.)

Fast forward to present day, and the ESA (European Space Agency) recently sends back this image of the same area.

Conclusion: For crying out loud, people. Obvy, it isn't Elvis!
It's Michael Jackson after all those face lifts!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Even the Weather Embarrasses This Administration

White House said to bar hurricane report

Apparently, global warming, like evolution, is:

. something one has to "believe" in, and

. politically damaging to the government

What does this remind you of, this suppression of science because its findings contradict the king pope politboro president?

This Old Thing?

How long does a new outfit have to hang in the closet before you can wear it?

According to my mother, that time was always vague, indeterminate. The only certainty was that you couldn't wear the outfit because it was new.

I mean, at what point, exactly, would this new outfit transform itself into a wearable garment? A week? A month? And would that be a 30-day or a 31-day month? Sixty days? What?

Lookit, you go shopping for new clothes because ... you need new clothes, right? But then you can't wear them because they're ... new.

To this day, I feel guilty about wearing something new the day after I buy it. It's like everyone will know that I'm wearing something new - no, not just new, but too new. Un-aged. Brought forth from the closet before its time. Undecanted.

Was your mom the same way, or was it just mine?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Who Knew?

Your Hidden Talent
You have the natural talent of rocking the boat, thwarting the system.And while this may not seem big, it can be.It's people like you who serve as the catalysts to major cultural changes.You're just a bit behind the scenes, so no one really notices.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Getting Kinky

Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman is making news lately. That is, he's making news NOW, suddenly and mysteriously, about a certain word he used 26 years ago: the "N" word. No, not that "N" word, the "Negro" "N" word. The fact that he used this word in a COMEDY ROUTINE MAKING FUN OF RACISTS is apparently being "overlooked" by the press.

Conclusion: The Kinkster must be getting waaaaay too close in the polls for the comfort of the Republican incumbent and Democratic opponent.

Idiotically, the NAACP has apparently bought into this nonsense and is demanding an apology.

Here's one of my favorite Kinky Friedman bumper stickers:

Yeah, what a "racist."