Thursday, December 31, 2009

A thought on proper attire...

After all the flap about the CIC's spokesperson's inane statements about the system working, Obama had to say something official in the grand tradition of damage control. I won't waste time looking for the photo, but images I saw on the internet showed him in what looked like a studio with an American flag in the background and in a jacket and dress shirt, but no tie. I don't care if an acting CIC is on vacation, if they can get it together enough to put together a studio setting to address our nation, they can by golly locate a tie. Please, no yammering on about him being on vacation-- to wear a ring of power is to have no vacation, or somesuch.

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.

Forget the flatiron...

My hair is curly, and figuring out how to manage it was long the bane of my existence. I figured what's the point of putting a man on the moon if we can't come up with chemicals on earth that make my hair manageable and purty?
Well? I'm waiting.

See? Life without a fabulous mane would be, well, less than fabulous. Fortunately, someone invented Miracle 7 leave-in conditioner. Trust me on this one - if you want to straighten your hair with minimal damage, forget the flatiron and invest instead in a good round brush (boar-bristle, please) and a decent dryer with an air concentrator and a bottle of Miracle 7.

Good stuff.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

more of the same on the way...

I thought we might be done with blizzards for a while. This photo is from Saturday and as you can see, two days after the snow and ice arrived, it was planning to stay for the long haul. This looks like a wet road, right? Was not. Was a solid sheet of very contented ice with some water on top and runoff sluicing down the sides of the bridge, clearly intending to hang about a bit. In fact, when I got back to the area this afternoon, the rolling fields by the highway were still blanketed in white, and there are big, icebergy chunks of mucky snow/ice on the sides of the road.

Got home Tuesday and turned the heat up (brrrrr!) and the snow started falling again. Hopefully it won't be so dramatic as last time!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

'Die Geschichte Einer Mutter'

from the album Shimmering, Warm and Bright by Bel Canto

Wondrously lovely music for a snowy winter day. This still sounds amazing to me 17 years after I first heard it. I hope you like it, too.

Wiped out...

The weekend was bittersweet. The funeral was lovely and we had more laughs and grins than tears.

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

From April 2007...

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.

Yay, Grandpa.

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.

August 1 2006 Post

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 today, a good memory:

Grandpa had a good day yesterday and was feeling much more chipper, seemed on the mend. My aunts N and J were with him when he slipped away at 3:00 this morning. Grandpa asked me once to sing at his funeral, and I promised I would. In a few minutes, I'm heading out for Dallas County to meet up with my folks and ride on up to the Ozarks with them right away. I'm loading a couple of my favorite grandpa posts for the next couple days. I'm really sad, but Grandpa had a good, long life and we've all got some phenomenal stories about this extraordinary man.

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...


Friday, December 25, 2009

White Christmas

The blizzard has stopped its blast, but the ghost of it remains. I wonder if I'll be able to get out of the driveway today? *shrug* Plenty of food and tea here, and sweet pups for which to exploit their warmth and cuddle factor.

Grandpa was responding well to treatment, and hopefully will pull through. :)


Talking to my brother yesterday, he told me a funny story. My sister-in-law has been feeding some rogue chickens that have appeared in their upscale Dallas neighborhood, and the neighbor next door is quite put out with the chicken poop on his deck and porch. He complained to my brother who told him that he would deal with the issue finally but could not take time at the present to do so, but would do a half-measure in the mean time. Brudder got an inflatable owl with a motion detector that hoots and eyes light up when anything comes near. Also, he put a little sign on a stake next to the owl reading "Owl Gore. Back off or I'll take away the internet."

Yeah, it runs in the family.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Poor Pupsicle! Hairy Biscuits Edition.

Okay. I put the sweater on Praline and Chuy got this windbreaker/anorak style jacket on with legs built in. He looks so dashing and fly with his little assless pants. What a rake! He didn't want to walk in the snow, but the hunden needed to potty, so we walked a bit, but the wee lad had to be carried the last 50 yards back to the house. We were only out a few minutes and when we got back to the house, our footprints had already drifted up and you couldn't see we'd just walked through on the way out.

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.

two things: witch's breasticle, brass bra.


Which version are we to believe?

10 days ago, I put up a blog post telling about a top White House aide saying "everybody agrees the recession is over."

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?

not the best picture ever, but...

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. :)

The day the milkman of human kindness left an extra pint...

Wednesday was a good day. A couple crappy things happened, but they were overshadowed by good things. A co-worker told me I am the kindest, most thoughtful person she's ever worked with and said it was a pleasure to work with me. :) Then at the end of the day on the phones, someone said I'd been an exceptional help (I'd been working to resolve a problem for her for two days). I told her she'd made my day, and then she said she would really like to tell someone, a supervisor perhaps, what a help I'd been. I then said she'd made my week. Of course, I sent her directly to my supervisor. I've been getting about one of those calls a week lately where someone wants to thank my boss for having me on staff. One coon-ass guy last week told me he wanted to tell my boss that I was "the shit." I said "please do" and put him through. :P

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

Don't you have something important to be doing right now?

In that case, distract yourself with some virtual bubble wrap.

I pop bubble wrap at 12.33 bubbles per second!

I popped 196 bubbles in 15.9 seconds
Can you beat my score?

I know: it's a sickness.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

bits and bobs...

Did you hear about the two NYC paramedics on break in a restaurant not trying to help the 6 month pregnant woman working there who collapsed? Why wouldn't trained professionals try to help some random person they see who is ill?

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.

Problems with Products.

I went to WalMark today to stock up on some stuff and I'm really annoyed about two things: deodorant and toothpaste.

Call me kooky.

Thank you.

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

Favorite shopping find this Christmas...

...well, favorite widely available thing, anyway.

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 In fact, they promise a pre-Christmas delivery is still possible.

My policy on gifting is just like going to the store hungry or like that pre-flight spiel from the cabin crew. Don't shop for groceries on an empty stomach. You know they say when the oxygen mask drops from the overhead to pop one on yourself before snapping one on the passengers/children around you? Well, how can you properly gift others if you haven't gifted yourself? I'm just saying. Plus you probably need to test efficacy and make sure you're giving quality products to others. It's the only way to be sure.

*blink* *blink*
By the way, the last time I bought a mug exactly like this, it was at Awahnee Hotel in Yosemite, and the previous time I saw one of these was at the gift shop in the city of Rochester, Kent museum. Oddly enough, I found a set of 4 mugs in exactly this style [but different decoration] from the same maker, Rosanna, this weekend at a greatly discounted rate at Tuesday Morning. Great stuff!
*Rosie called them beakers, so I'm guessing that's an English thing. I like it, too, because it makes me think of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's assistant/guinea pig/Igor

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: the puppies of others...

Here's little wrinkles. He's the one I would have taken of the litter. The circumstances of my life right now will not permit me to take on the additional responsibility of a new puppeh. Plus, I need to work on better behaviour from the two pups I already have before I bring in another baby to break in. Wrinkle was adopted by a couple who adored him, and I'm sure they'll shower him with the affection such sweet wrinkles demand. I think he's the one in the group photo with the wings outspread like Dumbo ears.

Two of the six pups have been spoken for, and my sis wants to keep Fat Girl. I hope she gets to-- FG is an adorable wiener. They still have snub noses yet, and they are sweet little things. I feel a little wistful, but these pups were not meant to be mine. I hope they all have lovely, happy lives with folks who spoil them rotten. Wiener dogs are tyrants and excel at bending their humans to their will, so I'm sure they have a good shot at being the pampered, overly-indulged things I wish them to be.

Dogspeed, little furballs!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tesla Coil does Darth Vader

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

Send a Nasa virtual postcard to the International Space Station

Isn't this one of the coolest geeky things ever?

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

In Which Our Heroine Lays It On A Little Thick...

Thursday my computer froze up at work. Fortunately, I was between calls, so I blocked more calls from coming in and called the IT department up in Ill-Annoys. The folks in IT are generally wit-deprived, so this sort of makes me stop and smell the roses whilst bending them to my will. Or whatever.

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

Headline: Woods Doctor Probed...

Story here. Uh, hasn't Tiger done enough probing already?

Er- that wasn't tacky of me, was it?

I didn't think so.


Since we're on a celebrity kick lately, how about the Octomom? Imagine the horror for her children when they turn out to have her original nose, lips, all her features?

I work in a place that is 95% female which some have called an estrogen ocean. They're not kidding. In the break room is a book shelf crowded with every incarnation of women's magazine known to the American marketplace. Us, People, Woman's Day, you get the picture. They're all plastered with what I guess are tv actors etc, and there was one with a photo of the octomom and some of her latest litter on the cover, promising an article within wherein the human clown-car expressed some sort of regret.

I hate to be unkind to people, and especially to babies, but seriously - if you're going to churn them out like rapid gunfire, shouldn't you make sure you throw prettier calves than these?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

There's no "I" in healthcare reform...

...but there are 4 in platitude-spouting imbecile.

Separated at birth?

Ever notice how very much Vin Diesel and Adam Sandler resemble each other?
Maybe except for the hair thing... Have they ever been in the same place at once? Hmm?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The sad truth about the US Postal Service...

Remember the joke about what the US Postal Service has in common with Kinney's shoes? Yeah, millions of loafers.

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

Curtains for Democracy

Wow! What a relief!

Up next: little streams of alcohol will come a'tricklin' down the rocks.

Now will Barry start making my car and mortgage payments already, as we were promised?

Actually, this is only so much codswallop meant to obfuscate the economic folly of an already out-of-control government attempting to take over the healthcare industry. Utter foolishness. Does anyone actually believe in Obama any more? Really? Is the shell game not obvious to everyone?

Everything's fine here. Nothing to see. Nothing to see. Pay no mind to how we in the gubmint (and kudos to a union or two) utterly buggered the automotive industry and trifled with the housing funding industries to disastrous results. Let us manage every aspect of your healthcare. We know what's best for you and we really care and you're too stupid/inept/downtrodden to do it for yourself. Pay no mind to the man behind the curtain. All is well. All is well.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's not attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, but...

Tonight's moonless night marks the zenith of the Geminid meteor shower, which may produce shooting stars about every 30 seconds. So, uh, look up toward the center of the sky above Orion as he appears in the east tonight. *SQUEEEE!* Read about it here in more detail. How about a thermos of some mulled wine and something to nibble on? Or someone. Bundle up and cuddle.
MONDAY MORNING - Uh, sadly, I followed my own instructions rather than reading the directionals on the above map. I was disappointed to not see any meteors above Orion as it climbed the sky last night, but when I went to the bathroom at 5am, I looked out the window to the west at Orion and saw -whaddayaknow- a meteor. I put on a robe and slippers and went out into the back yard and saw a handful more. Lovely! Anyway, when I was watching above Orion in the east, the area of the meteors was at or below the edge of the eastern horizon. From where I was, the meteors appeared to be heading mostly toward the north. I may try to take a peek again tonight.

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: Hungry Hungry Puppos

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

AWESTRUCK AGAIN!!! Sashimi Tabernacle Choir Art Car

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

Deerie Me!

I love these custom-papered deer trophies. Unfortunately, no deer were harmed in the making of these ornaments, so no one really got a bang out of it, but I think they are adorable.

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

Dear Santa: This time, I really mean it.

I've been terribly, terribly good. Except I'd rather have one of them Colt's Pythons, but this is pretty special. Why can't I have all of the above? Just a few little things...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Lohan: Be'ho'ed.

A Pubic Service Announcement to La Lohan:

Can Lindsey Lohan get any more trashy?

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?

She was so CUTE in Freaky Friday and seemed to have a modicum of talent. Now she doesn't do anything but, uh, gross people out. She said she wanted this photoshoot to be "iconic." I think to her that means as if someone will actually know who she is -- er, was-- in 30 years.

Iconoclastic? Uh, no.

Iconocrass, more like.

This reminds me of that story about the guy talking to his surgeon: "don't operate on me like I'm gonna die, doc- operate like I'm gonna live!" "Don't photograph me like I'm a has-be-- er, barely-was, photograph me like I'm actually Someone Of Interest."

And that photo of her with the cigarette balanced on her lip? I won't insult the hardworking diner waitresses of the world by saying she looks like she's gonna say "what're you having, sugar?" or "kiss my grits!" Oh no. She looks like she should be working in a diner as a short-order cook. Yeah - she's Mel all over. Except Vic Tayback was actually kind of hot and prolly had some actual skills like how to make me a scrambled-egg sandwich. Oh, and he could act.
Who wants five miles of junkie-ash flopping into their hashbrown scramble?

Not me.

h/t to that ever-clever Tolewyn

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


There's nothing I can say!

I have no words!

h/t to Breda

I wonder why they reminded you of me? *G*

Monday, December 07, 2009

Of Mausers and Muffins, and other weekend bits...

LawDog and I had occasion to motor out to meet the Maven of Meringue Brigid for steak and stories. Having chatted on the phone for years, Brigid and I met in Dallas in March, so it was lovely to reacquaint and have time to mull over our stories over a lovely meal. I told her that I had mused to myself that I'd prefer we were eating a meal she had prepared. LawDog told stories that make me worry about him, frankly, and we had many a laugh. It's really nice to get together with friends from the blogging community, innit?

...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

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: reading assistants

This is from a Sunday afternoon about 14 months ago. As you can see, Chuy was a freshly minted pup, and Praline was still a pup her ownself. Sunday afternoons lazing about on the sofa and reading were very fine times, indeed. Snuggling. Snacking. Getting between me and my reading material. Power napping.

All in a day's work for lucky pups.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dig that Spacey Vibe! Music to smile to...

Ska-style Star Trek Theme

Truly, the ukelele is under-represented in the futuristic film theme department, don't you think?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Coolest. Nail. Polish. EVAR.

About 10 years ago I had a matte finish gun-metal gray nail polish which I used until it was no more. Generally, I'll wear red, or sometimes something electric and not-found-in-nature colours, but lately I've been trying to find a proper gray. My favourite reds will be used up entirely, but most of my polish dies a lonely death at the back of the bathroom cabinet, gloppy, gooey and unsung. Sally Hanson had a pearly bluish colour called "gun metal" which Breda and I both wore on the same day almost exactly a year ago-- good taste, that gal. [I'm still squeeing from Tam's comment that we were covered in awesome sauce.]

Anyway, I have found a new polish to excel them all. One to rule and to bind them. er, sorry.

I went to Sally Beauty Supply last night, and even though I'd looked for a proper shark-gray colour recently there, I sighed, thought "what the hey" and looked again. I walked away from the nail polish display disappointed but unsurprised. I picked up a small item and went to the counter anyway and lo and behold, awaiting me at the register was a special display with three matte metallic colours, including this splendid Iron Butterfly by Orly. (better closeups of the product can be seen here at someone's nail polish blog)

Anyhoo, I think it's a seasonal offering and not part of their permanent collection so get it while you can. I may pick up a spare bottle. I'm squeeing.

The Guns of Brixton

I'm generally opposed to remakes of anything by The Clash, but this is a delicious take by Nouvelle Vague, who will be touring the states in a couple months.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Please don't think me cheeky, butt someone really should get to the bottom of this...

Would it be ass-inine of me to say I hope someone cracks the case soon?

Seriously, though-- do you think it is possible her butt didn't look marvelous before the surgery?

I don't. Pity. As commenters have mentioned, vanity always gets one in the end.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

NEWS FLASH: I do NOT like these shoes.

I do not care for them, have no urge to try them on, and will not even harbor fantasies of having them even just for the sake of having them.

I'm not lying. I just thought you might like to know there are actually shoes on earth I don't aspire to own.

I realize that in a world of millions of shoe designs, one will occasionally run out of names, but Promiscuous as a shoe brand? Better still, these are referred to as BOOTS. There's lots I could say, just now, but for once I'll hold my keyboard.

*NOT to say there's anything wrong with brass poles and what-have-yous...

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Funny Text Message Exchange:

ME: You at work?
THEM: Nah. Sitting nekkid in a beanbag chair, eating Cheetos.

Living the dream.

Is this year really almost over?