Monday, January 31, 2011

A most excellent occasion.

This weekend, I hosted a grand (if slightly early) party in celebration of Himself's upcoming birthday, and some of the loveliest folks were in attendance.

The esteemed Old NFO arrived in town first Friday afternoon, followed closely by Vine and FarmGirl (bringing an offering of delectable brew from the Nerds).
Then Chris joined us for dinner and finally AmbulanceDriver arrived late. The next morning Jennifer and EvylRobot arrived, the fruit of their loins in tow. We headed out to the local greasy spoon for breakfast and ruled the roost in the non-smoking room. Then JPG and Holly arrived (deviled-eggs!!!), followed soon by MattG and his lovely missus. The party was in full swing by the time the marvelous Christina appeared, in from a hard day's slog and with a big pot of delicious chili. Somewhere in the festivities, Gneil the Gnome made an appearance and took a samurai whack at the traditional birthday cake. Kitchen bitches did oodles of dishes for me, lessening the chore load and making the cooking a little more efficient.

Fire roaring in the chimenea on Saturday night, we sat around and told stories and a grand time was had by all. Squirrels got up to mischief but managed to avoid a proper seeing-to. See previous redneck party post for details.

Great ideas were hatched and still more were germinated. Holly and I really must start our holster manufacturing operation. We're going to make bra holsters and call them Cannon Cups™. [cheeseball tag line: "Hey, guys! Check out these guns!"]... Possible alternate blog title: Sprechen Sie Bitch? Possibly a vocal ensemble is in the offing. More on all these later.

Some dear folks couldn't attend and they were sorely missed, but it was a most excellent occasion, and I thank all our friends for making the trek out to Little Town.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Redneck party, 1.0

Don't be a squirrel. Don't be a squirrel and run into my roof. Don't run into my roof while I'm hosting a party.

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Re: Previous Post which I stated my views on proper singing and pointed out an example of its diametric opposite...

I don't normally post my response to comments on the main blog page, but these comments so amused me that I have to point them out, lest anyone should miss them.

Joe Allen, referring to the Bette Midler video quipped :

Joe Allen said...
I wasn't looking at first - I thought the first one was Barry White with a head cold...

BTW, just saw on Regretsy some NSFW footwear for you:

Then some clever soul offered:

Anonymous said...
Classically trained = music snob. Nobody cares about your opinion.

To which came the gallant rejoinder:

Joe Allen said...
Anonymous = cloth-eared nincompoop.

I'd always wondered what sort of idle slackwit heaves themselves off the couch to respond "no opinion" to phone polls, now I know.

I'll not bother to point out that even the most rudimentary instruction can enhance and increase one's appreciation and understanding of any art form - it's clear that you're not burdened with an overabundance of education of any sort.

I'll just ask that if you're going to be boorish enough to insult our fine hostess, at least have the decency to sign your own name to it.

While you're having a listen to your "fuzzy warbles", have a look at the shoe link I posted earlier. It's directly applicable.

I can't say it any better than Joe did, but I will add that it's giggle-inducing to think that someonone make a big production of saying that no one cares about my opinion. I am struck by the irony that they cared enough to come here and read in the first place, and will probably come back to see if I got an ouchie from the cruel words. If you must know, I chuckled.

Friday, January 28, 2011

the dividend of years of improper vocal technique: train wreck

oh. em. gee.

You may or may not know that like several on me blogroll, I am a classically trained singer. Yes, it sounds frouffy and pretentious, but it's true. I can ho jo to ho with the best of them, baby. Or worst. For reals.

I started vocal training well into adulthood, and one result of my rigorous training was that while my enjoyment of non-classical music was undiminished, I brought a much more critical ear to the table and technical failings could impede my ability to hear a piece of music for its own merits.

I always found slightly askew music appealing and now I better understand why. I adored Richard Butler's vocalisation in the Psychedelic Furs. Same with David Gahan of Depeche Mode. Now I recognize that part of their wonky appeal is that each of these singers doesn't quite center their pitch over the note they are singing. Gahan is an example of a singer whose vibrato takes them a smidge away from the tone they are singing and makes it sound almost off-key, and this is part of his charm. Butler's technique is odd with a forced vibrato and this probably plays in to his pitch issues. But I love them. My affection for their sounds are firmly cemented.

I've generally balked at so-called-popular music. I always listened to music which was often technically and generally textually superior to the mass-marketed crap on the radio. I am exceedingly fond of P.J. Harvey (who has some interesting pitch issues going on occasionally, and on her, it's smokin' hawt) and Dead Can Dance and Imogen Heap. In the spirit of full disclosure, Whitney Houston makes me want to scratch my own eardrums out, and Bette Midler's The Wind Beneath My Wings made my skin crawl in a not-good way. Bette was a great cabaret act, but the belting is not something one can sustain for a lifetime, unless you're Ethel Merman. She is not Ethel Merman. Celine Dion I can handle in (extremely) small doses (there is a little good technique going on there, but I do feel she abuses her instrument) such as a background piece of music in a loud restaurant scene in a movie for, like 5 seconds(no theme songs, please), and then that's it. That's me done with Celine Dion for the next decade. Oogy-quotient aside, Michael Jackson, admittedly, wrote some very melodically compelling music, but I never bought it and I certainly did tire of hearing him everywhere, all the time.

There are good singers, and then there are good vocalists. Very few have the felicity to possess both qualities. Bruce Springsteen? Scary voice, good singer. Neil Young? Eerie, odd voice, decent singer, better songwriter. Get the idea? Dione Warwick, great voice, great singer, but some scary vibrato issues. Apparently Whitney took the wrong lessons from the work of her auntie. Dolly Parton, good but odd voice, brilliant singer. Ronnie James Dio, superb instrument, very fine singer.

I am awed by the melodies of Burt Bacharach. Remember the Martini&Rossi ad campaign he did in the 70s with Angie Dickinson? That's just hawt. Say yes! Anyhoo, about 10 or so years ago, Burt teamed up with Elvis Costello (odd voice, brilliant singer and also superb songwriter) and they penned one of my all-time favorite songs, God Give Me Strength, which was featured in the film Grace Of My Heart and masterfully sung by (great voice, great singer) Kristen Vigard. This song is extremely complex in composition and the range is a brutal one for the chesty, typical vocal style of pop music. This is a song that 99.999% of the singers on the planet should reserve for the sanctity of their own showers when they are home alone. In the middle of nowhere.

So, on TV, in front of me and everybody, Bette Midler had to take a whack at the beehive and the result is a vocal train-wreck that made me absolutely doubt my senses. This is so incredibly poorly done that-- like watching an exploding septic tank-- I simply cannot look away. If this had been my first hearing of this song, I would have thought it was never in the same room with Messrs. Bacharach and Costello, let alone penned by them. The fawning comments below make me want to spew. I expect the link will be killed about 5 minutes after I put this up, but I'm doing it anyway. What you hear in this clip is the dividend of decades of improper singing.

Bette, honey, just stop. Please. You're hurting the children. You're hurting me. You're spoogeing up my favorite song, lady. Remove this from your repertoire. Immediately.

That is all.

Come to that, stop listening to Bette and wash the bad taste out with the version of it properly done:

What does inalienable mean?

Yes, a busy week, and I am perhaps late to say so, but I believe free speech is not just a right for protected classes like incumbents or the politically correct.

Not two whole months ago I linked a post by TJIC which I found profoundly inspiring. The link in my blog post is now dead because TJIC's blog can no longer be read, having been taken down by authorities who also came to take his guns, although he has committed no crime. Come to find out, TJIC said something on his blog following the Tucson mass murder to which certain officials took great exception.

I'm thinking of all the hate speech that is protected because the targets of hate speech were conservatives or of a traditionally Catholic or Protestant bent. A filmmaker produced a work depicting the assassination of George W. Bush while he was still president and that was soberly regarded as protected intellectual discourse. While we are on that tack, Andres Serrano's photograph Piss-Christ depicted a Crucifix dunked in a glass of the artist's urine-- again, this was regarded as free speech and legitimate creative expression. The artist said this was not meant as a slight on Catholicism but as a statement on the commercialization of their faith, but I contend he packaged it as a product as effectively as any secular dealer of liturgical accessories ever did. Bastard. Again: free speech. He gets to do something virulently offensive to myriad Catholics around the globe and be lauded as original and profound and clever. But don't you dare say anything negative-- however true-- about some backward neanderthal religion practiced by misogynistic goatherds from regions that would never have invented the wheel if someone hadn't rolled one in to them. Don't you dare criticize the anointed of our political body-- they matter and you don't, and I don't, and TJIC doesn't.

I say that is absolute twaddle. I am an American. No matter how anyone may try to twist our perceptions of the intentions of our founding fathers and the penetrating brilliance of the documents they drafted to ensure that our freedoms would endure through the ages, the truth is simple and absolute and always there for the reading.

I have the right to express my views, even if someone disagrees with me. So do you. So does TJIC. Don't like what I say on my blog? Get your own. I will applaud your tenacity and the energy you give to support your beliefs, even if I disagree with you and refuse to link you. We are still Americans.

My fervent hope is that whoever launched this attack on free speech will rethink their stance and recognize that their actions have set us on a slippery slope on which our clutching grasp will find no purchase, and then it's all over but the crying. My hope is that very soon, my link to TJIC's blog is again active.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A pair of clafoutis gone wild

I'm pretty much going to

be baking and cooking non-stop for the next 24 hours. Dear friends are on the way.
Blackberry on left, blueberry on right. *poof!*

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Taking shape in fits and starts...

I chose Minwax Golden Pecan for the stain for the living room Beadboard and I worried it might look too ruddy, but instead it just looks nice and warm, to me. We may finish this ceiling by Friday. *squeeeeee!*

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Avian rage/hot-winged victory

So help me, I'm addicted to Angry Birds.

Now that I know the back-story, well, I want to help those little birdies fight the good fight.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I have to do some of my homework assignments online...

Monday after class, Himself was rustling up some venison chili in the kitchen. He asked if he could open a bottle of red wine from the pantry to dump some in the chili and I said sure. I pecked away at my math problems online and then a brain-wave struck: wouldn't this all be better with a glass of wine? I asked him would he be so kind as to bring me a glass of the stuff. A minute later, he came in the room with bottle and glass and said, smirking, "well, alright, but I'm not sure you should drink and derive."

waka! waka! waka!!!
He had me at cornball.

Watched Dog Soldiers afterward to wash the bitter taste of higher learning out of my mouth. Excellent movie. LOVED the references to all the other films. Was fabulous. The characters were actually likeable. Oh, and I guessed immediately the chick was one of them. MM hmm. Yep. Sure did.

Oh, and Spoon is teh ossum. You've gotta love a guy who vows to wrack the monster who's about to eat him with a raging bout of loose stools.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ya gotta die of something...

A study suggests that sleeping with pets may be harmful to humans, even resulting severe illness or death. I'm going to let this marinate a bit and prolly come back and gripe a bunch more later, but for now, I'll say my two little dogs are very clean little beasts. They are indoor pets and and are not eating vermin in my yard. In fact, they pretty much have never had fleas and they are seen to by the vet at regular intervals. If they were outdoor dogs, I might not, but I pretty much never plan to have a full-time outdoor dog.

At first blush, this looks to me to be on par with the "you can get a mortal brain infection from picking your nose" type stories. You may die from space junk falling on you as you walk to the mailbox. We've all gotta die from something.

I sleep with my dogs and have no intention to stop. If that's lethal, then what a way to go, eh? I'll take my snuggly little parasites any day.

A messy mess that's messy

I won't abuse you with the before picture -- the "After" is chaotic enough. There is a serious dearth of closet space in my house, so Saturday night I put together this closet-y thing in the space where the sawhorse table was with the tools and things that have been used for ripping out/repairing on the house. This was not the red-letter day accomplishment that the actual installation of an actual closet will be, but it is certainly a welcome and hallowed event. Can actual home organization be far behind? Hopefully not.

BTW, that other wheelie cart at the end of the room has the paint and stain cans, and yes, there are some clothes piled on top. The wood at the end of the room is the beadboard awaiting stain and then installation into the living room ceiling. See? Messy!

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: weekend pleasures

I'm given to understand that one can easily spend the entirety of the weekend on the computer, just farting around. What is that when there is such joy to be found, lounging on the sofa under a pretty coverlet and a pair of pups, a good book and a massive iced tea? I was sick this week, so I decided a leisurely Saturday was in order. The pups concurred, apparently. I think I'll go back and snuggle them some more, come to that!-
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yet another reason NPR should not be funded with money confiscated from us:

NPR is biased?

Qu'elle surprise! Qu'elle horreur!

Nakedly so, one afears. Is anyone surprised? Not likely.

Mosey over to Linoge's and see how it is they go about researching and booking their guests for their informative reports.

Bastiges. I want my money back. I never wanted to fork it over in the first place. Smug, double-dealing gits.

I dreamt I was an inventor... Fur-Eez

I dreamt I invented a wax strip hair remover for pets. They were called Fur-Eez. I don't know what part of the pet I meant to be waxed, but I hope it wasnt the general coat and I hope it wasn't around facial or *aherm* personal areas.

I wonder why I invented that?

What's odd about that is I don't like overly-preened dogs, like the pom-poms on Standard Poodles, and I think it's terrible that people trim a dog's whiskers. I think one of the most adorable things about Praline is that she looks so prim and pretty yet has a big, honkin' complement of whiskers, including a pair of stray black ones that make me giggle. I clearly have a preference for dogs being the fur-bearing fuzzballs they are naturally, so I can't imagine why, in my sleep, I'd invent a hair-removal product for dogs.

I was dreaming. I'm not responsible.

Friday, January 21, 2011

blood-freezing moment...

There was a stress-fraught year about 6 years back when I was on an anti-depressant and I've said that when I got off that medicine, I never got my "oh, SHIT" back. Used to, if I were going 2 miles over the speed limit and passed a parked State Trooper, a current of white-hot-ice would shoot through my veins and I'd just KNOW I was about to be pulled over, whether or not I did actually get pulled over. Now, I could probably fly past one, 20 miles over the limit and snorting a line of meth off some chick's hip bone and have nary a blip of nerves. NOT that I would ever have done such a thing, but just for an example. I don't get freaky-outy. I don't get the panic thing these days. I'm a lot more calm.

This is a small town, and there are skunks about. Sometimes out for walkies at night, I hear coyotes yodeling in the distance. This is just part of living in the provinces, and not something I generally give a lot of consideration. Coyotes don't make it this far into town, and the 3 times I've seen a skunk within 5 blocks of my home, I've quickly reversed my steps and avoided enjoying the discord of its race.

One night this week, I was cooking and needed to run out to the market for an ingredient. I stepped out the front door, the cool evening air redolent of skunk, but still a little faint, as though it weren't terribly close. I shrugged, but looked around carefully before making my way to my car. Got in. Drove off. Came back, and was careful to sweep my headlamps wide as I turned in, looking for evidence of a skunk. No sign. *whew* I stepped out of my car and immediately my heart sank-- my oh, shit! is back. There was the very strong scent of very fresh skunk and very close by. I hoped with every fiber of my being to make it into the house without a stinky-squirty event. Yes, I moved with great purpose and economy of action and made it through the door, my heart hammering madly. I don't smoke, but I think if there'd been a nicotine patch handy, I would have slapped it on.
Speaking of skunks, this brings to mind my favorite of Ambrose Bierce's fables featuring one of these musky beasts:

A Needless Labour
AFTER waiting many a weary day to revenge himself upon a Lion for some unconsidered manifestation of contempt, a Skunk finally saw him coming, and posting himself in the path ahead uttered the inaudible discord of his race. Observing that the Lion gave no attention to the matter, the Skunk, keeping carefully out of reach, said:

'Sir, I beg leave to point out that I have set afoot an implacable odour.'

'My dear fellow,' the Lion replied, 'you have taken a needless trouble; I already knew that you are not a rose.'

Thursday, January 20, 2011

John's Phone.

Have you heard of John's Phone? They're for sale in Europe, but I wonder if they'll start selling them here? [linkie fixed now. Apparently I have Captain Tightpants on the brain. Or the link was just in there for some reason. Anyhoo.]

You can dial calls and take calls. You can turn it off. You can save numbers on a paper pad with a little pen in the back of the phone. You can turn it off. It has a volume dial, but most importantly, you can turn it off. No texty-texty. No alarm-clocks, farmville apps or lawn-mower attachments. Just a phone.

A phone you can turn off.

Ah, nostalgia.
[***my Palm phones could not be turned off. Was infeeYOOriating.]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

First day of school...

Tonight was my first day in class. It went really well. It's the course I've been dreading since I first enrolled at UNT as a music major in the mid-90s: my maths requirement for whatever degree I'll eventually earn...

The professor tells corny jokes, and that's actually fun. He seems to think even the dimmest among us have hopes for grasping the concepts, so perhaps there is yet hope for me.

I did well with Geometry but struggled with Algebra in grade school, so I've been dreading this. I'm going to study every day and hope I can surprise myself by actually learning this stuff.

*fingers crossed*

If everybody had an ocean across the USA...

then nobody'd be surfing because we'd all be under water.

At a restaurant Tuesday, Himself and I were doing the bouncy (insincere) bobbing our heads back and forth to Surfin' USA, ironic grins on our faces.

Just how baked do your beans have to be to get past the first horrible line???

Let's fluff our auras and clear away the hideous Beach Boy stench with thoughts of puppies:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Perhaps slightly Steampunk, today?

Fluevogs. I never tire of Fluevogs.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

I wearied of awards shows a long time ago... if anything truly unexpected happens at one, then I won't see it firsthand. So it was with Ricky Gervais' performance as host of the Golden Globes Sunday night. Apparently Ricky lobbed a barrage of toxic barbs at the Hollywood elite, and even some of the nominees for same awards. After a while of this ill-received, gasp-eliciting palaver, the host did not return to the stage for around an hour. Conspiracy theories were tweeted around the world. He later returned with a more subdued demeanour. Yet more gossip abounded.

Ricky is the creator of the English series The Office, of which the American series of the same title was inspired. Ricky's humour style is distinguished by an awkward, often rude and uncomfortably off-the-mark observations. He plays a boorish character, and people have loved him for that. Considering such humour is his stock in trade, I wonder who the frell expected him to do otherwise in an award show setting? Would you hire Fran Drescher to speak extemporaneously on French Symbolist poetry? No, you'd hire Fran because she's really hawt for a woman who laughs like a donkey. Would you engage a chimney sweep to engineer your wedding cake? Me neither.

Awkward, off-the-mark, boorish humour is what Gervais does, so I say if they hired him for the host job, then they deserve what they got. You can't sit around calling him a comic genius on one hand and then crying foul when he turns that caustic wit on you.

It's all fun and games until someone starts telling the truth. Hollywood has been drinking their own kool-aid for too long.
Hollywood is all about illusions, and to paraphrase a famous movie, they can't handle the truth.

I say give Ricky Gervais a raise. That guy is either immaculately stupid, or he seriously clanks when he walks.

Romantic comedy: Shining.

Isn't it amazing how different a tone the music sets in perceptions of a film?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Man-pleasin' venison

And woman-pleasin', for all that. I thought this was a pack of backstrap and I was so excited. I caramelized a couple yellow onions and baked some carrots. I opened the pack and found not backstrap but two generous venison steaks, me having grabbed the wrong package from the freezer Saturday night, apparently. I put sea salt and freshly cracked pepper on the venison steaks and then put on rubber gloves and slathered the steaks all over with a bit of bacon fat. Then I heated a skillet with sweet butter and some roughly chopped garlic, and when it was hot enough, in went the steaks. Himself took a bite before I did, and he leaned back, closed his eyes and uttered something conveying ecstasy, and I followed suit. Bambi should be proud of so auspicious a finish, and that accompanied by a lovely offering from California's Russian River Valley.

Om nom nom.

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Sunday, Puppy Sunday: cheetos!

Chuy had some quality bonding time with my brother at Christmas.

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The superb Old NFO has a post up...

about knives...

Last night I went to see the esteemed Coen Brothers' remake of True Grit and at the end where she's in the pit with the snakes, I kept thinking what a tragedy it was they left that gorgeous antler-handled knive on the mummified remains down in the pit. I think even snake-bit, I wouldn't have left such a pretty behind. *blink* *blink* That didn't come out right, and I'm not going to try to fix it. The knife was pretty, okay?

Sending my best hopes to the folks in Tunisia.

Here's to them for shaking off the oppressive rule of dictatorship. The article says that anti-government demonstrations have taken place recently in Algeria and Jordan. I hope this is a shot across the bow to the rest of the Arab world.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I think this is so amazingly cute

How to massage your 'possum from MePearl.

I am in awe of this series of possum care videos for off-the-scale cuteness. Who knew possums have natural Chi? Himself was dumbstruck, but I think he just can't handle teh kewt.

[And yes, Christina, I thought of you]

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dear darling girl:

Ant Rete loves you and always will.
Happy 14th birthday, you beautiful thing.

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Requiem for the best socks EVAR.

Somewhere among my things, I have half of the pair of my all-time-favourite socks. They feature a little anime girl with a chainsaw that says "playtime" and I think they are hella cute. I haven't seen that other sock in a long time, but I've held onto its mate, knowing it would turn up one day.

I got these socks (and oh-so-many other oober-cool things) at a marvelous little shop in Dallas called Gifted. It was such a great store and joined the ranks of other sublime gone-but-not-forgotten stores like Modern Toys and Right Brain/Left Brain.

It seems teh puppehs have a taste for my favorite sock, too. See below. Now they'll never be reunited, unless the other one, too, travels the gnarled path of puppy innards.

*le sigh* Bye bye, Daisy Chainsaw.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

black or gray?

which is better? The debate rages.

The only boxes important to save.

I think we all tend to save too many boxes around the house from bygone purchases. Did you ever find the box to something years after you kicked the old/broken/lousy article to the curb?

Yeah, me too.

Well, unless you've got collectibles for which the original box is a part of their future value, you really don't need to hold on to the original cartons and packing for pretty much everything you ever buy, EXCEPT for your whizz-bang flat-screen televisions. I say if you ever will be moving or bequeathing said article to someone else, that's one box worth keeping.

Or, if you just can't bear to have the old thing around, you can spring $90 or more for a new carton and materials from someplace like U-Haul. Personally, if I'm moving, I don't want to spend a penny more on packaging than I really have to, so, if'n I ever do buy that fabulous flatscreen tv for which I long, I'll be keeping the box, TYVM.
But all those other boxes? Get rid of them toute-de-suite.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Italian man sneezes out bullet, lives.

During New Year's hijinks, an Italian man caught a .22 round just behind the eye and sneezed it out in the emergency room. Kerchief managed. The fellow sustained damage to his retina, but is expected to fully recover.

*******speaking of the retina... I'm given to understand that Jack Russell Terriers (or so a vet told me once) are the dog most likely to suffer from detached retina, because of all the bounding around they do. Not surprising...
Former Timelord Tom Baker goes there and talk trash about his Dr Who predecessor Jon Pertwee. Tacky, tacky, even if true.
...just because it's Wednesday, let's hope the Milkman of Human Kindness leaves us all an extra pint.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A funny thing happened on the way through Outlook...

My email Inbox at work is a bit of a mess. Saturday I went in to catch up and responded to (and deleted) 40 messages therein in a couple hours, making a teeny dent in the backlog. I'm typically on the phone all day, and all this is by way of an excuse for the fact that sometimes I read the contents of an email without ever even glancing at the subject line-- right down to the meat of the matter, I say.

And so it was on Monday morning, when flipping down to the next message in line, one of the company higher-ups (who has a ranch, this being Texas and all) messaged the whole comp'nay to say that there were 4 white fluffy bunnies available to whomever should want them.

This time, I didn't resist and hit "reply to all" and sent the simple message "are these fryer size?"

A friend in another department said that a sort of shudder whooshed through their office when that email hit the in-boxes and someone muttered "oh, phlegmmy, NO."

It was only after I'd sent it that I grokked the subject line - I need to find a home for 4 pet bunnies.

Uh. *blink* *blink*

Shrewish, surly woman from another department marched over to say what a horrible person I am. So I recognize rabbit for the delicious little beast it is. So I don't have time to read the subject lines on email before replying to all. Does that make me a horrible person?

I think not.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The stately and elegant National Anthem of Hungary

Almost 3 years ago, I put up a post of an American humorist's video of Betty Butterfield accidentally becoming someone's wife number 34 whilst drunk, awakening to her horror in a covered wagon on the way to Utah and jonesing for a cigarette, all to the sound of music I did not recognize in the background.

Sunday, an anonymous commenter said

It's Hungary's national anthem. Please remove the sound, because it's not for that. I'm not a nationalist idiot, but it is far too much, thank you

I admit I've said unwittingly, shamefully insulting and ignorant things in a nation's sacred place (no, I will never tell you about the Edinburgh Castle Ugly American Moment™), but I do strive to be respectful of others' national pride [unless they are from some backwood jihadist goatherd state and when those people wantonly kill innocent folks in my neck of the woods, well, their bilious reeking-of-cheapness negated any respect I may have granted them out of my own (foreign to that lot) innate sense of decency].

To the aforementioned commenter, I am disappointed you took the video as an affront to your country's lovely anthem. I did not recognize it as your anthem, but I do think the stateliness and elegance of the piece made it an appealing background for the video which (albeit of a humourous bent), was made to illustrate the forged-steel backbone that drove the bold and pioneering spirit of folks who settled in the rugged and often desolate lands west of the Rocky Mountains in America. Some others might reasonably take offense and say the video's intent was to show Mormons as nutty, and no, they're not going to get an equal-time post such as this one. Deal with it.

I will not remove the previous video, but I will post your anthem in toto, accompanied by images of the breathtaking landscapes and beautiful cities which festoon Hungary, and all this undiminished by centuries of occupations and the hideous, stinging cruelty of communist oppression in the 20th century. Hungary is resoundingly influential on Western culture, however subtle. Even ignorant of its origins, I grew up in a Southern American household where Goulash was often found at table. I say be proud of your country, absolutely, and your National Anthem is a beautiful one. No offense was intended, and I hope your discomfort with the previous post is assuaged.


Jó kedvvel, bőséggel,
Nyújts feléje védő kart,
Ha küzd ellenséggel;
Bal sors akit régen tép,
Hozz rá víg esztendőt,
Megbűnhődte már e nép
A múltat s jövendőt!

O Lord, bless the nation of Hungary
With your grace and bounty
Extend over it your guarding arm
During strife with its enemies
Long torn by ill fate
Bring upon it a time of relief
This nation has suffered for all sins
Of the past and of the future!

Good doggies get treats.

Jack Russell Terriers have a well-earned reputation for being a trifle spastic. Miss Praline has her moments, but in the main, she's a calm and very focused little dog. Especially when there's little scraps of venison being sawed off and parceled out to puppies. She and Chuy both wait their turns patiently. Good doggies!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

On nom nom

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Dear Dad: kill more deer!

I just popped this venison into the oven for a Sunday dinner roast. Yes, that's a huge wodge of butter on top. Plus the beast has been given a grand send-off with a generous smearing of bacon fat. Mmmmmm.

Wow. I just realized I had venison from this lovely little beast last week when Himself whipped up some venison chili for me. I may have to start a sunday, Bambi Sunday series.

Full report to come.

p.s. I LURVESES my Dutch Oven. In fact, before I ever had the inkling that I would ADORE cooking, girlhood version 1.0 of me began having cooking vessel lust. That Dutch Oven in Bugs' "bring me my HOSENFEFFER" episode made me long ever-so-daisperately(that was a Scots accent on that last word, btw) for a Dutch Oven of precisely that design. And one day, I'm going to have one. Oh yes, I will.

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Sunday, Puppy Sunday: a pair of pretty pairs

A couple days ago I wore these Fluevogs to work, and sat on the bed to take them off when I got home and then wandered off into the house. Forgot and left them within pups' reach, but they didn't raise an eyebrow. It's not that the pups never chew things that I'd rather not have chewed, but they just never got into the habit of nomming shoes. Thank goodness. I admit that when I walked in the room and saw them there, my heart sank a bit, fearful that this would be the day they discovered the joys of noshing on shoe leather, but not so!

sweet relief.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Saturday night project: minding the gap

So there's this bloody huge gap between the bottom of the baseboard and where the flooring ends. I think there may have been a quarter round there, or another piece of moulding, or maybe a carpet, but there's a big gap and on cold nights, I feel a cold draft blowing up me smalls, and I don't like it. Eventually, the walls will be replaced in this room, and flooring, etc, and when that happens, well, I'll invest in better trim/baseboards. Until that time, I need to plug up the gap because we have major nasty weather blowing in tomorrow, and if it was cold at 30 degrees, I'll be the 'teens will be super-ooshy.

Don't you just love the 21st century? Expandable foam is so ossum! First I taped off the area so I can cut away the excess (hopefully) without mucking up the humble baseboard and wood flooring the house now sports.

Sequester pups in kitchen, check.
Protective eyewear, check.
Nitrile gloves, check.

*squirty foo* *squirty foo* *squirty foo*

I guess we'll see how this works, but the air has already stopped flowing in. How I've managed to not have rattlesnakes in the house is a marvel, actually.

More later.

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All your technology are culminating with us.

FarmDad sent me this link, and I think this may very well be merely the pinnacle of human achievement.

I love this SO. MUCH.

I can't stop giggling.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Do Want.

Urban Outiftters is a fun store. The clothing is a hit or miss for me, but there are lots of fun trip-toys, and they always have great decor things.

I LOVE LOVE LURVE this bedspread. Actually, several years ago, I found a $600 version of this in all-white cotton voile from someplace like Saks or somesuch and resisted temptation when I could have afforded it at the time. Silly me. Anyway, this blue ombre version is muy adorable, and I may try to figure out a way to succumb, this time...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

baker street simpson style

Topo Chico!

I love fizzy water, but it's disappointingly hard to find in stores, and then it's really expensive. I love Voss sparkling water and San Pelligrino and Ty nant, but they're all pricey if you can find them at all.

A great alternative is the Mexican sparkling water Topo Chico.

I'll just let the irony sink in for a moment. True, you go to Mexico, you're not supposed to drink the water, and here I am, drinking water bottled at the source in Mexico.

I found it online for $1.99, but it's available at a local supermarket for .75 a bottle and for .50 sometimes at Walmark. Muy delicioso at a price half or less of that of its high-falutin' counterparts.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

wonderful song, very nice voice

Other people will remember him for other songs, but I'll remember him for one of my all-time favorites, Right Down the Line. Walking toward the door of a drug store Sunday afternoon with Himself, I slowed my steps as I heard the introductory tones of this song. Sometimes I have to remind myself that he didn't spend the 70's snuggled up to a portable radio, soaking up every bit of music like some people I could name-- I don't think this tune registered at all for him. I shuffled a second, not wanting to leave the store until I heard the voice of Gerry Rafferty, always smooth and so pleasing to me. I love this song for its felicitous union of voice, instrumentation, layered harmonies and a message of faith and constancy, and that's something to which we all should aspire, in my humble opinion.

I was sad to hear Tuesday evening that he'd died yesterday. R.I.P, Gerry, and thanks for the lovely music.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Etsy and the homey arts.

Nothing evokes warm fuzzies like home-crafted articles, but I cotton the sort of crafts one would never find in Hobby Lobby. Personally, I tend toward collectibles the likes of which would horrify the ever-tasteful Martha Stewart. Collectibles like my air-travel sickbag collection.

Anyhoo, the occasional trawl through is sure to yield delights for a person like me, but even I was in ecstasies over the taxidermied two-headed duckling. But I think they shoulda let it live.
At $25, I'm almost tempted.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Epic Meal Time: Meatball Deathstar

Deathstar is not an exaggeration. This is an aneurysm on a plate. But what a way to go, says my friend Christina. I concur. It looks kinda evil, kinda yummy.

Christina and Silver came to visit Sunday night and it was a grand finish to a long weekend. I LOVE my friends! I've said that about a million times this weekend (blush) but it bears repeating.

Himself made some chili with venison I got from me Pa (thanks, Dad-- was the best EVAR!!!) and Daniel came over and we played Munchkin. Daniel is well evil at Munchkin, btw. You can always tell when he's gearing up to annihilate the room and run the table. No one was spared. Was good fun, though.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: my handsome boy

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Saturday, January 01, 2011