Monday, January 30, 2012

In Which I Leave A Note, Write A List, Have A Laugh, And Make A Plea Against Nevermore

January is over!  Now where did the time go?  Finish taking down those Christmas decorations, (You know who you are!  Honestly, how can you stand yourselves?) and I'll see what little Leftover Thoughtlets are leaping around.

##Here is a note I left for my husband last week when I went out to dinner with one of my ladyfriends:  If Rondo doesn't go, move Iguodala to Rondo's spot at Guard; move Noah up to Forward (Iguodala's spot)!  Sigh. I know, right? On the one hand, some of you are in awe--and rightfully so--at my awesome fantasy roster!  On the other hand, the rest of you are shaking your heads and saying, "Holy crap.  What the hell is wrong with her?" and plotting a massive Virtual Friends Support Network Rescue Project wherein you will each agree to have me live with you for a week until I remember that I should be acting far more loftily and artsy, not worrying over Rajon Rondo's extended wrist injury and the fact that his absence is killing the West Egg Gatsbys' lineup right now.

##How hilarious are the republicans right now?  I know...who?  We have one Serial Adulterer endorsing another (after he inexplicably endorsed "We, The People" on the dais with a real Comedy Channel candidate), and the party that espouses capitalism and big business and tax breaks and keeping your own money is ripping into the candidate who is the Poster Child for all those things.  I don't know about you, but I'm waiting for Michele Bachmann to endorse.  After all, she said God told her to run for political office.  Now, I'm not sure how He felt about her quitting and all--do you think He weighed in on that, or was that totally her call?--but I'd love to hear who He thinks should be President now that He's changed His mind about her.  (Hey, maybe Mitt can use that as an example of why his own flip-flopping is really okay.  Even God is a flip-flopper!  There ya go, Mitt.  You can have that.)

##Marlowe moved to the top of the Most Favoured Cat list.  Admittedly, this is a short list and subject to caprice and fits of snark by its originator.  Earlier this month as Rick was in the shower and I was in the kitchen, she emerged through the cat door from the basement.  She trotted very proudly toward me with something in her mouth.  My eyes grew wide.  I hollered in to Rick, "Rick!  Rick!  Marlowe caught a mouse!"  She had, indeed, caught a very large brown field mouse in the basement.  Good heavens, who am I kidding?  The thing was huge.  And dead. Really, really dead.  Marlowe was so proud, and Piper was mildly interested. Rick finally came out of the bathroom, completely unclothed, and calmly took a paper plate, said, "Okay, Marlowe, I'll take over from here," and took it out to the trash.  I proceeded to lavish treats on the cat and only later did I realize what it all meant:  There was at least one mouse in my home. 

##Nancy, longtime reader and commenter, sent me a terribly sad news item that I wanted to share.  Knowing my fondness for all things Edgar Allan Poe, and my championing for his legacy, she knew that I'd want to know of the apparent end of the Poe Toaster tradition.  This is the third year in a row that the mysterious visitor to the author's grave did not appear with the usual cognac and rose.  That did not move me anywhere near as much as this part of the article did:  "Baltimore recently cut funding for the museum at the rowhouse where Poe lived with relatives from 1832 to 1835, before he found fame as a writer. It must close if it does not become self-sustaining by June."  I find this heartbreaking.  In 1875 a local schoolteacher started a campaign called "Pennies for Poe" in order to fund a dignified and suitable monument for this important writer who was wrongly characterized, vilified by his worst enemy in an obituary and biography which stood as the only sources for this man's life story for a generation.  The Pennies for Poe campaign has been revived on a small scale; I'm saddened that the president of the Poe Society hasn't hit up the big name horror authors who have credited Edgar with inspiring them; perhaps he will. All the same, he sounds like he's given up already.  I'm adding a link to the campaign to my sidebar.  I don't think Baltimore having a football team named the Ravens is enough of a remembrance to Edgar and his legacy.

Now that's a real sports fantasy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Daring To Wear Black: Confessions From A Cathouse

Let's face it:  A good deal of my day now includes The Cats.  (Whether I like it or not.)  Especially this winter, when I am not so much Out And About due to cooler weather, we are indoors together for hours on end, and if I am inert, one of them is often on my lap or trying to get on my lap, making meaningfully sinister and baleful glances at the laptop desk which is in His Or Her Spot. 

Most definitely NOT allowed here
 I don't mind the Idea Of It so much as I mind the hair.  Good Heavens, The Hair.

I know, I know:  I signed up for this when I brought them home, as my mother, St. Patsy reminded me not too long ago, but holy crap!  Not only are they covered with it, but they spread it all over.  Constantly.

And it does not matter how often I brush and comb them--and that is an ordeal, let me tell you, because they walk all over the goddam place and will not sit still--they shed and shed and shed.  These cats shed like...oh, I don't they simply cannot help it and they must do it.

And will someone please tell me why Cat Beds are made of polar fleece, which is the single most cat-hair clutching material known to mankind, second only to sticky tape?  I spent approximately eleventy hours last weekend vacuuming the cat beds--with my Dyson--and even then could not get all the cat hair out of/off of them.

It's abusive.

My bathrobe (also made of fleece) looks like I am trying to make a Halloween costume in order to be either A) a very large cat or B) a sad old hoarder. 

Here is Rick's Helpful Suggestion!  "Nance.  Did you ever try vacuuming the cats with that brush attachment?"

I kept my Helpful Suggestion for him to myself because I am still on my personal path of Continuous Improvement which includes Patience and The Thumper Rule.

Finally, in a related conversation:

Nance:  (reading from newspaper aloud)  Rick, there is a cat show ad in the paper.  Can you imagine?  It says there will be "vendors selling cat toys, cat trees, and other cat accessories."
Rick:  Oh, I bet.
Nance:  Will there be a booth with crumpled paper balls, milk jug lids, and twist ties?
Rick:  And wine corks?
Nance:  Or one with boxes and clothes baskets?
Rick:  Had we known, we could have rented a space and made a little extra money.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

That's Okay, I'm Just Not Into Martians, Either

Those of us who have been married for eleventy thousand years snicker at books like Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus or even the more recent He's Just Not That Into You because they are like studies that tell us we'll eat more from bigger bowls. 

Duh.  All obvious info. 


Scene opens on living room.  Nance is in her chair, reading from newspaper.  Rick is lounging on floor, messing with iPhone and various apps.

Nance (finishing news item aloud)...So!  How about that?  How does that sound?
Rick (not looking up, barely audible)  We could do that.  That would be okay.  Maybe then you would stop hating me so much.
Nance(rather impassioned) Hating you?!  Rick, don't even joke like that.  I could never hate you.  You could disappoint me, or make me sad, or make me angry with you, but I could never actually hate you.  Not ever.
Rick (intently looking at his phone)  Why isn't there a single Arby's anywhere near where I work?

End Scene

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Whoever Said "Things Can Always Get Worse" Should Say It To Stamps.Com. Never Mind--We Can Do It!

A recent commercial for advises, "There's nothing worse than going to the post office and waiting in line."


Now, taking into account that the creators of this ad will stipulate that waiting at the P.O. is nothing compared to the truly terrible events that can occur in the course of our lives, such as terminal illness, death of a loved one, shark attack, or even a traumatic automobile accident, here is my

List of Ten Things I Think Are Worse Than Waiting In Line At The Post Office
(in no particular order)

1.  Dropping a new package of Oreos before you even get one cookie
2.  Losing a contact lens down the bathroom drain
3.  Having to clean Piper's back end because of a residue issue
4.  Undergoing a transvaginal sonogram with a Foley catheter in
5.  Drinking the Very Last Bottle of 2007 Cattail Creek Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
6.  Moving the furniture to vacuum
7.  Standing in a store and calculating--in my head--the best deal
8.  Cleaning the stovetop or any of the stainless appliances in the kitchen
9.  Being forced to use self-checkout at the grocery store
10.  Navigating automated telephone menus & listening to staticky, garbled hold music

I find all of these ten things to be peevish and horrid.  Gladly would I trade any of them to stand in the post office line for anyone who would take the bullet on one of these for me.  So, who is willing to trade one of my Ten for a post office line session?  Anyone?

Anyone?  Ah, well.  Then tell me some of your Worse Things in Comments.

Friday, January 06, 2012

It's Time For A Public Service Announcement: Had To Be Said

We here at the Dept. would like to take a Time Out from (somewhat) Regularly (ha ha) Scheduled Programming in order to make a Public Service Announcement.

For the past, oh, what seemed to us...eleventy billion years, a variety of clutch-popping, Glen Beckistan-residing, NASCAR-watching, Walmart-shopping, double-digit-IQ-testing, Sarah Palin-fantasizing, War On Christmas-complaining, homophobic hee-haws have been gleefully hauling out their massive snowblowers during a frigid January blizzard and guffawing, "Whar's Al Gore's global warmin' now, huh?"

Oh, you sad twits.  Where are you now?

Allow me to quote from one of their favourite places, The Weather Channel, where it is noted that "record-breaking warmth engulfed portions of the Midwest Thursday afternoon. Temperatures have reached up to 40 degrees above early January averages in North Dakota. Minot, N.D. (61 degrees) and Williston, N.D. (58 degrees) have both set all-time record highs for the month of January! In Minot, 61 degrees is the average high for late April. "

And lest they think it is only North Dakota basking in such temperate bliss,"daily record highs have been set in Des Moines, Iowa (65 degrees), Rapid City, S.D. (73 degrees), International Falls, Minn. (46 degrees), St. Louis, Mo. (66 degrees) and Fargo, N.D. (55 degrees), to name a few locations" are also toasty this winter.  In fact, allow me to show you some pictures.

This map shows you the high temperatures expected for Friday, today, in the USA, aka The Greatest Country In The World (to the Climate Change Deniers, for whom "global" means the US anyway).  In my town in NEO today, we are currently at a screamin' hot 55.  As of today, I have only worn my winter coat ONE TIME.  And you know how I am. Tomorrow, the high is forecast to be 42. And except for Sunday, which is forecast to be 37, we will not be lower than the forties any day for the next five.  This is January, may I remind you, and in Ohio.

This map shows you how many degrees above average the temperatures forecast for today, Friday, will be.  Holy crap.  Look how hot Iowa is even though all the republicans have already left.  Even the Yoopers are feeling the heat up there.  They are probably in sandals and Bermuda shorts.

So, I'm waiting, all you Global Warming Self-Styled Experts.  You're awfully quiet.  And so is my snowblower.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The DoN Literary Potato Peeler Society: An Exercise In Fiction

I've been writing a little lately, and I find that I've become fascinated by style and voice and diction.  This is probably because I reintroduced fiction after a long absence of it in my reading canon.  And I am continually amazed--truly, amazed--by the power that a writer has to lead the reader around, to make him feel whatever he/she wants him to feel, simply by the force of putting certain words into a certain order.

It's just so...Machiavellian, almost. Come peel potatoes with this woman.

=*= Verdele sighed, grasped the peeler a little more firmly, and pushed it the length of the russet in her hand. It was not a job she liked.  It was what her granny would call tedious, but pronounce it tee-jus, and Verdele heartily agreed.  Push, turn, push, turn; it wasn't hard work, but it seemed silly that it was still done this same way, and in this day and age!  It was just too bad that the Rotato didn't take off.  Now that was an invention that every housewife could have used! Verdele sighed again.  Oh well.  At least when all the potatoes were peeled, she could move on to the quick work of the knife.  Cut, chunk, dice. Nice and fast.  And she could reward herself with a hunk of raw potato, crunchy with salt.

=*= At the sink Verdele gripped the potato peeler, silently cursing.  She hated this chore, hated it. It was mindless and stupid.  Once, the peeler, designed to be drawn toward her to skin the potato, got caught on an eye.  In her fury she pulled harder; the blade dislodged suddenly and bit into the soft flesh of her wrist.  Her husband had laughed when she showed him the wound and told him what happened. Laughed!  She had never eaten mashed potatoes--or any peeled potatoes--again. If he noticed, he never said, and he wanted mashed potatoes tonight.

=*= "Hello?...Oh, hi....No, I can talk if you don't mind being on speaker while I get dinner ready....He's at work, of course....I'm fine being home alone, really....Don't be worried about me....I do just fine on my meds, and I have a nice routine.  Like right now, I'm peeling potatoes for dinner. It's very calming and relaxing.  So repetitive, and it's great in that I can see my progress, you know?  Each potato goes from brown to white, then I can cut them up and cook them, yadda yadda yadda....I mean, it's not so crazy and chaotic and intangible like what I did in the city for all those years, you know?  I mean, it was meetings every day--two or three a day, really--and constantly 'Verdele Verdele Verdele', and putting out fires, so to speak, but never seeing the end of anything, you know?...But like, these potatoes?  I peel them, I cut them up, I mash them, and I eat them. I see it all through. I mean, you know?"
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