Thursday, December 31, 2009
One recalls fondly the early days of air travel in which folks wore their Sunday best, including hats and overcoats. Presumably, they wore clean underwear in case of an accident.
SPeaking of, I always wondered about that: if you're in an accident, isn't it more likely your underwear won't be clean, depending on the severity of the accident?
Anyhoo, I would be bitching about this no matter who was president- the lack of formality bespeaks a casualness toward his duty that is unconscionable.
That is my opinion, and I'm sure it's worth every penny you paid for it. I just wanted to say it.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Grandpa left us with a freshy funny. Friday, he was responding to treatment and seemed on the mend. A female nurse came in to check his depend/diaper thing, and as she pulled the waistband back, he grinned and said "IT'S A BOY!"
Yes, more happiness than sadness, though it was tremendously sad. Middle of the day here and I just got home. Time to cuddle with my pups and get some rest.
All the best to all of you, and thank you for your kindnesses.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
My grandfather was in a pretty severe car accident about a dozen years ago, or so.
He was turning onto a 2 lane highway. Under normal circumstances, Grandpa would have had plenty of time to get across the road, but just about that time a teenager came flying up the hilly road in his truck doing about 100 miles per hour and t-boned Grandpa's pickup.
Now this didn't do Grandpa any good, but the teenager was in far worse shape behind the whole event, and I suppose that based on Grandpa's admittedly advanced years, the kid would take the opportunity to sue.
Grandpa's truck was totaled, but the engine was not completely trashed, so he sold it to someone else in town. In court, one particular exchange struck us all as quite funny when an asshat lawyer was unleashed upon Grandpa:
Asshat Lawyer: Now, I understand you sold the engine. What did you sell it for? [Asshat L. wanted to know the amount of the transaction]
Grandpa: Well, someone wanted to buy it, and so I sold it to him.
Anyway, justice prevailed and I think Grandpa was found to be no more at fault than was the rocketing cub.
A few years before, Grandpa was puttering around on the farm on the tractor, when the tractor stalled (same tractor from the ape-shit/bush hog event from a couple weeks ago) and died completely. He climbed off the tractor and got into its innards and directly the thing started back up, but he'd left it in gear when it stalled and it lurched forward, knocked him down and ran squarely over his pelvis. Naturally, the tractor was heading straight for the pond, and the much-abused man climbed to his feet, ran and stopped the tractor in time.
Grandpa was in the hospital after this event, but remarkably, no bones were broken. He was severely bruised and very sore. I'd say he was about 78 at the time.
So a female nurse came into the room to see how he was doing, and she started to pull back the covers while saying "let's see how you're doing here" and he said "but we hardly know each other."
He got so tickled telling that story, that it makes me laugh to remember it. Grandpa is one of those people who has this nasal sort of snort-wheeze thing going on when he laughs, and if the cornball joke he just told you doesn't get you, that laugh surely will.
One amazing moment to me was recently I was half-heartedly watching the 1956 John Wayne film The Searchers when a very familiar voice just jumped out at me. A minor character in that film - Charlie - is played by Ken Curtis, whose accent and phonation sound identical to the diction and sound of my grandfather's voice. The funny thing is that I saw that film a long time ago and I never noticed the similarity. But the point of departure is that Charlie in the film sounds like a slow-witted hick, and Grandpa speaks deliberately with impeccable grammar.
Grandpa didn't go to school past elementary grades, but his is an incredibly keen mind, and he's one of those rare people who can add or subtract huge sums in rows of numbers in his head faster than you can punch the numbers into a calculator.
Grandpa is salty, a bit ornery, and incredibly stubborn. Most everyone in my clan is mule-headed, and I sometimes wonder how we stand each other. Then again, we all have our little quirks that keep the rest laughing, so I guess we'll just go on loving each other and thinking that for all its flaws, our family was a pretty nice one in which to land. We're not fancy or rich in the worldly sense, but we have a good time.
12/27/2009 - Enjoying the journey is to know the true riches of life. Grandpa will by buried next to my dear Grandmother this morning.
Fantastic bowling neon sign from Hot Springs Arkansas. This sign cycles three phases - first is just the red neon "Bowling", second is just the white pin and ball, and the third is both of those lit along with "Snack Bar" in white on the bottom. The cycle flashes back and forth for in about a 10 second series. I love neons like this. This is a super-cool art form. Beautiful.
One popular sport in the country has always been coon hunting. Raccoons are plentiful, destructive and a nuisance in general, so it makes good sport to go out and give the dogs a thrill by rustling some up and letting the dogs go in for the kill.
Grandpa bred blue-tick coon dogs and won lots of trophies. These dogs were brought from several regions of France in pre-colonial era, and in the early 20th century breeders would travel to the Ozarks and remote areas of Louisiana to buy coon hunting dogs of the most pure bloodline from the original Gascogne. They were grandpa's abiding passion and he devoted countless hours to breeding and training these ultimate hunting machines. Intrepid scenthounds, even blind blueticks make masterful tracker/hunters suffering no deficit in competition with sighted dogs.
These dogs are beautiful animals with a deep baleful howl that must be terrifying to raccoons. To me their bark is by association the right sound to hear reporting through the hallowed columns of the forest on cold dark nights. Grandpa also had several redbone hounds which were larger, and truly magnificent dogs, but the blueticks were his specialization.
Invariably sleeping on the sofa at Grandma and Grandpa's, I remember staring out sleepily from under my quilts as dad and Grandpa made ready to go out hunting in the middle of winter nights. They'd be pulling on hunting boots and attaching the wires on the carbide lamps they wore on their hats, attached to wet-cell batteries worn on their belts. Grandpa always had the wet-cells in plastic Ideal brand bread sacks, which grandma never threw away, along with twist-ties. I remember the smell of those lamps too, the vaguely sulphuric tang of the odor that wasn't unpleasant to me.
Anyway, he told a story that painted such a vivid picture that I wish I had a photograph of the scene he witnessed.
Out with the dogs one winter night, the air was incredibly still, and the trees and the dead grasses were all encrusted in a thick layer of ice. He said the moon was so bright you could almost read a newspaper by it, and it illuminated a scene of enchantment in the cold silence of the night forest.
The dogs had treed coon after coon that night, and in his words, "I decided to honor the dogs by letting them catch this coon." The coon was treed, the dogs howling at it, and Grandpa pulled out his hand axe and set about felling the tree.
My dad said once that Grandpa was so remarkably efficient at felling trees that there was no wasted motion and you'd best stand back, because the wood chips would be flying.
Anyway, down came the tree and the coon was on the ground and was off, dogs in hot pursuit. As they progressed through the woods-- coon, dogs and man-- all the frozen grasses in their path shattered sending diamond fragments up into a glimmering shower in the still night air.
He said it was one of the most beautiful visions of his life. I can well imagine it's precisely this sort of moment that a sportsman lives for. Who says men have no appreciation of aesthetics?
Saturday, December 26, 2009
For now, though, here's one I don't think I've ever told on the blog.
During or right after the Great Depression, surveyors were combing the backwoods all over the nation, mapping out the terrain and charting every nook and cranny. Way back in the woods and miles from anything which passed for a footpath, one surveyor had broken his ankle, and the other surveyor had found his way out to fetch help. Grandpa was there, and knew all the countryside. Grandpa was not a large man, but he was a tough as a pine knot. The surveyors were wringing their hands, wondering what to do in those hills full of cold mountain springs and overgrown ravines to be traversed. Grandpa resolutely and without a word picked the man up on his shoulder and walked him out of there. Grandpa had a lot of grit, and he wasn't a stitch on my Grandma for grit. The best of both of them made my dad, and I just hope for a thimble of what my Dad has.
I'm sad today, but I'm thankful that I lived to see this many years with my Grandpa still in the world, his horrid filddle-playing and all (funny how his bad fiddle playing is a warm memory!). Grandparents are special people. They have patience for their grandchildren in a way they didn't have the time or maturity to have with their own children. It's a blessing to be able to experience that. I feel very blessed indeed.
I don't know if I'll be back to a computer for the next few days, and there will be some Grandpa posts up and I'll moderate comments when I get back. I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers, and thank you for the kind words you've already said.
For now, a memory of trips to Grandma and Grandpa's house I posted in October of 2007
Saturday nights spent at Grandma and Grandpa's house in the Ozarks meant an endless loop of Hee Haw. Good stuff. I love that gossip song, too, but I can't find it...
HEE HAW THE NEXT GENERATION:
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
This is the cleanest snow I've ever tasted, so mebbe some snow ice cream later? Good thing the larder is full, because I was going to get a couple things at the store and I couldn't even get out of the driveway. Under the 1' of snow drifted across the driveway is a layer of ice. I was up til about 2AM making jewelry this morning and it was raining torrentially, and I thought it would turn to ice. Apparently, it did and there's a layer of ice under all this snow.
So, I'm in for however long I need to be in. This means if I don't post for a day or two, I'm snug as a bug and cuddled up with my smelly dogs, and wishing you all a Merry Christmas. I'm sad I won't be able to drive to Dallas County and see my folks and all my dear family, but the roads are impassable here, and I'm safer home. Also, I'm still recovering from pneumonia, and sitting a day or two in a cold car in a ditch would proabably set me back just a skoshy bit. Thank goodness for gas heating, eh?
In case I don't get to say it here tomorrow, thanks to all you lovely folks who read and comment here on my blog. It warms my heart to be part of this blogger community, and I'm always thrilled to pass along thoughts and pictures of things which delight, amuse and sometimes infuriate me. You'se a good bunch of folks, and I wish you all a very happy and warm Christmas.
I was just about to hit the publish button when I got a call from Dad saying my grandfather is in a bad way up in Arkansas, and things don't look good, so I may be finding a way out in the weather after all. If you can spare a warm thought or a prayer for my grandpa, I'd be most grateful.
Now, older and wiser, the same AP shills are saying Recovery not as strong as previously thought. They do project the economy "will end the year on stronger footing." Uh, please qualify what you mean by stronger. Do you mean stronger than the economy was five minutes ago, five months ago or at the height of the Great Depression? Or do you mean the gubmint's foot will be more firmly ensconced in the taxpayers' collective posterior than it already was? Do tell. We await more pearls of wisdom from you, AP.
Do journalism schools give degrees in asshattery?
I've been making jewelry lately. I made this necklace Wednesday night [sorry, not the best photo] with mother of pearl, citrine, pearls dyed green, moss agate, peridot, quartz and some copper bits. I've been using teeny copper beads as spacers. I got those from a dealer who sells mostly Thai hilltribe silver, but generally has exotic pieces in the wholesale section at the international gem shows. It's nice to be cranking out some jewelry again, but it'll be even better when I have real space to have access more of my supplies. Right now I'm working with some manky old tools, because my primo ones are in a bag in a box who-knows-where. Anyway, it feels good to plunge my hands into beads again. :)
My work ethic is what it is because I have parents who taught me about integrity. I give the same level of care and attention even to people who call in yelling and implacable. I don't do this for the praise of even one caller a week, but I admit, it does make me feel much, much better about what I'm doing when I do hear that.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I pop bubble wrap at 12.33 bubbles per second!
I popped 196 bubbles in 15.9 seconds
I know: it's a sickness.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Liability, boys and girls. Those people probably, under threat of firing, have to comply with company protocol when it comes to rendering aid to people when in uniform and on company time. Did she fill out all the appropriate forms? Who will be responsible for paying for the services of those professionals? Of course, this is all outrageous, but on some level, I don't blame those folks - they were in an impossible situation. Is this the kind of economy where anyone can flout company regulation and "do the right thing?"
Yes, it's inhumane, but as someone told me yesterday at my job: "you have to make a decision: do you want to do everything you can to help the customer, or do you want to keep your job?"
Should dire moments come down to such decisions? No.
Is that the world we live in? Yes.
And for the record, I think Britany Murphy died of pneumonia. That crap will kill ya.
Call me kooky.
I don't like deodorants with antiperspirants. I think antiperspirants aren't good for you, but it is nigh impossible to find a deodorant without the antiperspirants, these days. And even harder to find one that is truly unscented. Come to that, I hate deodorants wot smell like perfume, or fruit, or flowers, or anything. I don't want my deodorant or my shampoo to smell like cantaloupe, lemon or mint. Why no garlic-smelling stuff? See my point? If I'm un-smelling, I want to be un-smelling all the way, mkay? By the way, I think someone could make a mint if they made a perfume based on Hoppe's 9, don't you?
Sweat isn't born stinky, but turns stinky when bacteria cause it to ferment. Yeah, that's pretty disgusting to think about, but I think it's got to be bad for you to stop a natural process like sweating. After all, sweat is one way by which toxins leave your body, right? Would you plug up other areas from which toxins evacuate your system? [If yes, then please don't answer.] Anyway, I think it's strange and bad to stop that function. Maybe it's silly of me. Maybe I'd feel differently about it if I were a more sweaty person. In any case, I'd rather deal with sweat than use any aluminum chloride or aluminum-compound based anti-perspirants - that crap can't be good for you. But maybe I'm wrong and I'm silly for putting up with sweat. Like I said-- feel free to call me kooky.
Now on to toothpaste-- just as it is now nearly impossible to find soap which is not anti-bacterial [duh! the soap breaks the cell walls of grime and other oogy things, dunnit? thus it am soap], why is it so hard to find toothpaste that doesn't promise primarily to whiten one's teeth? I want my mouth clean and my teeth healthy. Looking fairly white would be nice, but I don't want eerily white teeth badly enough to use whitening products which would make them more sensitive to hot or cold foods. I don't get that. Bleaching teeth can't be good for them, and I don't care to trade the long-term health of my teeth for them looking blindingly white. In that spirit, I refuse to buy a toothpaste whose package promises whitening, thus am I met with a shrinking array of choices on the toothpaste aisle. *harumph*
I also have no intention of quitting my iced tea habit, regardless of the stains. I could quit anytime I wanted to. I'm not an addict. Yeah, I could walk away from it.
...but I ain't gonna. WYSIWYG.
Monday, December 21, 2009
These marvelous china cups are the absolute best for coffee, tea and pretty much any hot drink you could want. My dear friend Rosie from England turned me on to these beakers*, and they are a wonderfully generous size, feel lovely in the hand, and are available emblazoned in 18th century-style initials from Amazon.com. In fact, they promise a pre-Christmas delivery is still possible.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
ArcAttack performs the Imperial March with 8 foot Tesla Coil. Love the chain-mail Faraday body suit replete with boots and franken-helmet. FUN! Note the pulsing fluourescent light in the background.
Would Star Wars have been so epic without John Williams' majestic soundtrack? I think not. It's amazing how cool and fresh the oober-villain theme song always sounds to me. Maybe I'm dated and just can't hear it, but this is brilliant music. The fact that something as inorganic-sounding as this instrumentation can manage to be so compelling is testament to what superbly crafted music this is. What a grand thing.
If you have about 10 minutes to kill, you may want to mosey over and watch
ArcAttack: Audio Modulated Thunder Music Pleases Thor
At the link here, Nasa gives folks the hookup to send holiday greetings to the folks on the ISS.
Ain't technology grand?
Friday, December 18, 2009
Hello, this is John, how are you?
I'm wonderful! My computer, on the other hand is hosed-up.
What seems to be the problem?
My mouse won't move. Nothing's happening.
Is the light on under the mouse?
Hit the windows button on the keyboard. What happens?
A little menu popped up on the lower left of the monitor.
Follow the cord of the mouse to the back of the computer.
Are you sure? I'm dressed fancy today and it's really dirty back there. Yuck.
*nervous chuckle from other end of phone*
I'm sending you my dry-cleaning bill.
*pulled cord out of port on back of cpu, then prugged in again*
Is it working yet?
Here's where I did my best Bill-Paxton-Texan accent: "It's a Christmas Miracle!"
*more nervous laughter*
The veal in the cube across from me said OMG! He'll think we're all hicks and rednecks down here!
I said "aren't we?"
If I'd been really thinking, I'd've said "stop yer grinnin' and drop yer linen!" but the Christmas miracle thing worked for the season, anyhoo. Every day is a good day to quote Bill Paxton.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
There's an article recently about how it's an exceptional situation that postal workers in Connecticut are stashing mail so they can meet their quotas or whatever.
Don't be silly. Postal workers have been stashing mail forEVAR. When I worked on a letter sorting machine for 4 years, one particular co-worker would pull girlie postcards out of the mail flow and stash them where he could admire them for days or weeks. We called him Tailhook for several very good reasons, but he was typical, and postal management was in no way outraged that he was intentionally delaying the mail.
What's ironic is this article stresses a few overworked individuals stashing mail with the intention of catching up later when mail volume dropped, that this is an isolated incident. To say this is isolated is a pile of poo. At one postal facility in Dallas sometime in the past 3 years, several trailers of years-old mail was found staged, undocumented in a yard of empty trailers. This malfeasance can only be blamed on the licentious nature of at least one supervisor and of at least one corrupt person in the vehicle control office of the facility. That particular facility is the embodiment of the Peter principle, and proof positive that no government-based system is fit to run anything.
I blame a system which has, through the self-reinforcing idiocy of a management model based not on competence but on the asshattery of affirmative action, coupled with the utter corruption of a postal union which again reinforces the lowest common denominator. Let me speak plainly - there are many tens of thousands of decent, hard-working people in the postal service, and a handful of those are honest people in management. The rest of USPS management is not fit to wipe dog poop off my shoe, and I'd throw every single representative I've ever met from the American Postal Workers' Union in with them. The fact is that hundreds of thousands of decent people working as hard as they can will never be enough to overcome the entropy engendered by the dead weight of the APWU and nepotistic (don't believe their lies about fairness in promotion) USPS mangement.
I left for a lot of reasons. I really loved sorting mail. It was sifting through the BS I found intolerable. Here's to a free market and competition. It would be a wonderful world if the USPS were worthy of the highest opinion, if everyone there were committed to excellence and considered the mails a sacred trust, but I believe my own eyes and what I've seen firsthand. For every waylaid bag of mail you hear about in the media, I'd bet there are another 99 which will never again see the light of day.
If you have a decent mail carrier - think about them this Christmas. They are under brutal pressure with constant additions to their route to make up for the attrition or incompetence of co-workers, and they are often the objects of derision from managers not competent to oversee bathroom maintenance, and they get sore little support from their unions-- who can they turn to? Consider giving them a gift card for $5 at Starbucks or something. I think they can accept gifts of value up to $15 or something. Like I said, if you've got a good one, then thank your lucky stars and tell them you appreciate them. They are a dying breed, and for each one of them, they are doing the work of several of those famous loafers.
Heaven preserve us all.
In case you wondered-- I worked nine years as a distribution/LSM/parcel sorting machine clerk with the USPS. 9 years. I know what I'm talking about.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Here we see the pupples getting their feed on this morning. Hey are hungry, hungry puppehs. I was feeding them the amount recommended for their size, and they have gotten really skinny, so I've gone back to feeding them about double that amount. I mean, I was seeing ribs and I thought they looked puny. I don't want them to be fat little sausages or anything, but I like them looking like they have a little meat on their bones. After all, it's not like they are third-world dogs, or sumpin'. I expect very soon, too, I'll be cooking at home a lot and no doubt they will be scarfing up all manna which drops to the floor, so their diets will be supplemented. Dogs are great cleanup crew in that regard.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
No one does Art Cars like Texans, and this one from Houston is probably my fav-o-rite EVAR! I'm loving the lobster conductor on the extendable boom - so clever! So wrong and yet, so right. Enjoy!
h/t and a bottomless well of gratitude goes to Patricia-- baby: you know what I like!
Friday, December 11, 2009
You can obtain one over at the maker's etsy store. It's no Buck the Singing Deer, but it's still pretty darned cute!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Wait! Don't answer that. Here the out-of-work actress gets naughty for a photoshoot for Muse magazing. Please Lindsay, pretty please? Try to find a new way to bore the shit out of us?
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
...speaking of good cooking, I really need to make some of these this holiday:
Today is my last day of prescription meds for my pneumonia. A second visit to the dr last Tuesday showed I still had pneumonia in my lungs, so more meds were prescribed. I still have some chest congestion, but I'll be nursing that constantly and will be vigilant should conditions deteriorate.
This weekend I lounged with the pups and got plenty of rest. I'm feeling better. :)
Have a great week!
Sunday, December 06, 2009
All in a day's work for lucky pups.