Thursday, August 31, 2017

Open Letter to The New Yorker

I greatly appreciated the opportunity to become acquainted with your publication via the incredibly inexpensive offer to try twelve weeks for six dollars. I find about half of the magazine germane to my life. In that I do not live in New York City, nor do I visit there often, the first half of the content detailing shows, restaurants, and other various entertainments isn't terribly useful to me. I do enjoy the longer form articles that really go in depth with a story, and naturally the cartoons, but not to the tune of over a hundred bucks for renewal. What made the decision for me to not renew my subscription was the flippant attitude of your telephone representative. You see, I was checking my credit card account online and discovered I had already been billed when your email from two months ago assured me that I would receive an email notice near the end of my current subscription so I would have the choice of opting in or out before I was billed. I received no such notice. So I called. Your customer service rep assured me that the charge would be refunded. When I mentioned that the magazine was awfully quick to charge me without the notice I was promised, he answered that things do get messed up at times. He sort of apologized but not really. It has been a week now and I still have not seen a refund posted to my credit card. May I suggest a bit of fine-tuning to the computer language that controls subscription notices and billing? Quite simply, the notice should be sent before the billing is activated. That is, after all, what you promise to the new subscriber. Computers are actually quite good at doing things in the order that they are programmed to do them. All I have to say is, if this is how you treat customers, no wonder print journalism is suffering from death throes. Finally, there aren't nearly as many cat cartoons as I had hoped there would be.

The Magical Plant Awakens

There she is, the mother plant. The descendant of the hoya cutting I have managed to keep alive for over forty years. She bloomed for me the first time back in the late nineties after years in different locations but essentially the same care. She has grown to this size from a small cutting that survived a mite infestation ten years ago. Located for the last year in the sunroom off the kitchen, she is again enjoying light from the east-facing patio door, very similar conditions to the house in South Dakota. She is thriving, but showing no sign of blooming again.

Here we have a cutting from the mother plant, situated about ten feet away from her in the dining room. The cutting gets a pretty intense dose of late afternoon light on the sill of the west-facing window. I was concerned that the leaves would get fried in the heat but no, she seems happy and has nearly doubled in size from a year ago.

I have always been amazed by the strong heliotropic tendencies of the hoya. Last night I was taking a look at a nearly perpendicular vine of the plant and discovered this!  A spur from which an umbrella-like profusion of star-shaped pink flowers will grow. I'm so excited that over the next couple of weeks my hoya will be sporting blooms again! 

On closer inspection, I found a second, more advanced spur! Considering that I'm hauling in tomatoes nearly every day now, and the recently resurrected poinsettia, my brown thumb is decidedly more green than it ever has been!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

FLOTUS at the Flood

Why in the world would the current FLOTUS wear stiletto heels to make an appearance at flood-torn Houston? I know I'm fashion-challenged and that I have only worn heels that high while sitting, but for the love of all that is holy, why isn't she wearing boots of some sort or Birkies or Crocs? At least Melania hasn't committed a faux pas of elitism by tagging her designer clothing. That, children, would have been unforgivable.

Works For Me

Water, Water Everywhere

As I listen to the story unfold on public radio concerning Hurricane Harvey, I am reminded of how damaging water can be. I know a guy who lives in Houston and have been watching his social media postings with trepidation as the rising water lapped at his front steps and garage door. Another fellow has chronicled this disastrous weather event in his blog and it's a good read. I was remembering the crazy storm here back at the beginning of May that flooded the basement and had the streets running like rivers. A block to the east, water pressure popped manhole covers aside and there were geysers spewing ten feet in the air in the middle of the street. It was surreal in how quickly it happened and was almost as quickly over with. Leaving me with a basement that took over a month to dry out completely. So much greater is the volume of water in Houston and the surrounding area, so much more damage and so many people displaced. Having experienced a minuscule version of invasive water and its accompanying havoc and how exhausting it was dealing with its aftermath, I can't begin to comprehend the damage that a full-on disaster of a flood would leave in its wake. My heart goes out to all of the residents of the gulf coast communities that have been affected. As global warming gives rise to more frequent freakish storms, leaving us with less recovery time in between and fewer dollars to clean up the mess, will we get smarter about building in marginal, flood-prone areas? All I know is, houses can be replaced, but the loss of lives can't be. So I wonder if our priorities will be reset to not just a higher elevation, but to a higher moral ground as well. 

Mad For This Hat

This is it. The hat I bought in Deadwood. A pre-birthday, happy birthday to me kind of thing. Isn't it great? Now I may feel compelled to work up a whole steampunk ensemble to go with it. More likely, I'll wear it just for fun in when colder weather arrives. If you want one, too, it also comes in black, one can be acquired here. They have all kinds of hats. And you don't have to be mad to want one, but if you want one, you probably are a bit mad already.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Why the Jazz Hands?

Judging by the fact that I'm wearing my Eagles tshirt, acquired when I saw them in 1995, and that my left hand ring finger is sporting my wedding band as well as my anniversary ring, I'm guessing this may be the summer of 1996. Mom had sent me stained glass chili peppers for my birthday, so instead of hanging them in a window to catch and color the light as intended, I attached them to wires and hung them on my ears. Just for fun. And posed for a photo, a print of which I mailed to Mom with a thank-you note for the lovely earrings she gave me for my birthday. Assuming that I'm an idiot, which I have been at various times, she responded with a letter explaining that they were not earrings, but sun-catchers, meant for home decor purposes, not meant for use as personal ear adornment devices. Ya dumb girl, she wrote, not getting that it was a joke. Good thing, too, as they were ridiculously heavy and my grin is part grimace due to that fact. I still have them, though I have not accessorized with them since this photo was snapped. They are located in the sun room, grouped with other desert-southwest-themed trinkets. File this under my often misunderstood sense of humor. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Tomato Sandwich

Open-faced. Meaning one slice of bread. Toast, actually. If you aren't of the opinion that an open-faced sandwich qualifies as an actual sandwich, go to your room. So. Toast. A generous schmear of mayo. Not salad dressing, genuine mayonnaise. Preferably Kraft or Hellman's, not the store brand and certainly not the lower fat version. Where was I? Oh, yes. Toast. Mayo. Topped with slabs of fresh garden tomato. A little salt and pepper. I recommend enjoying this delectable morsel over the sink. Because it's terribly messy if you put it together properly. Yum. Pardon me whilst I go out to the garden for today's offerings. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Twin Twins

I always find it startling to see The World Trade Center's twin towers while watching a movie. Here, particularly so, as framed by the arch in Washington Square Park. I was watching The Astronaut's Wife (1999), an intriguing mix of Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, and the recent Get Out. Here we see Charlize Theron as titular character Jillian Armocost at approximately one hour, thirty-three minutes in. She's fleeing from the most frightening thing you can imagine. Yes, you guessed it, Johnny Depp with a quite authentic Southern accent. Sweet tea, anyone? Perhaps a mint julep instead?

Looks Like Lunch

Heirloom variety Pink Brandywine.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

Waiting for the Third Shoe...

First, there was the erroneous charge of $151 appearing on my credit card. Then there was the letter from the Colorado Department of Revenue informing me that I owe over five hundred bucks in state income tax. Including over thirty dollars in penalties! When I didn't earn enough in 2016 to pay federal income tax! And I filed a Colorado form! To add to this mouldering heap, the state website is nearly non-navigable! I tried to set up an account so I could file a protest but it demanded information that I would have to go to a previous page to obtain. And if I left the current page, everything I had already entered would be lost. So I opened a second tab in order to access both pages at the same time but the site would not allow me to do that. Is it Monday?

Post-Eclipse Ruminations

It's just killing me that last night I drove through the Wyoming path of eclipse totality and didn't stop for the night so I could experience that very thing today. Viewing at home was predicted at about 94% and I incorrectly thought that would be much more significant than it was. It seems that even 99% doesn't compare with totality. Well, damn. What I did experience was interesting, though. For about 15 minutes there was a weird, twilightish glow outdoors and inside the house the light level was similar to that of near sundown. Crickets chirped, the breeze died down, and there was a definite drop in temperature. Even with the long lead time to the event, I neglected to obtain eclipse glasses so that I could view what was going on up in the sky. I was watching NASA's coverage online and the diamond ring effect was spectacular! I continued to listen to NPR's coverage into the afternoon. Making plans for 2024 now! With seven years of prep time, maybe I'll get it right. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Stand Against Racism and Hate

The current administration is inspiring to artists. Magazine covers would be dull indeed were it not for unrest and ignorance and politics. I, for one, could use a little peace and quiet. But these are exceedingly clever. When do we get to look back on this time as a brief nightmare in history?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Challenged Fashionista

Earlier this summer I went on a bit of a rant about a certain type of garment. My fashion challenged self has recently learned that these are called cold shoulders tops/sweaters/dresses. I still think it's a dumb idea. We'll wear anything, won't we?

The Best Thing I've Seen All Day

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Yes, Please

I am tickled pink to tell you that I have found a bathtub. A deep, soaking, pedestal bathtub. Not only will it fit in my tiny bathroom, it will fit through my minuscule twenty-four inch bathroom door! This means that very little destruction will be necessary for next year's bathroom redo. The website won't let me swipe pics, so a link to the pics will have to do. Only one more winter without comforting, steamy baths. This knowledge leaves me deeply happy.

This Week in America

This is free speech, girls and boys. Hateful and vile as it can be, white supremacism is alive and well in this country today. And I don't care if this image is photoshopped. It illustrates so well how people of color have been mistreated here in stark and painful candor. In the background, we see the ugly underbelly of anger and hatred revealed. In the foreground we see the integrity, tolerance, and professional demeanor of a police officer who happens to be black. This is a shameful and revealing moment, captured with succinct bluntness, either by a witness to the event or a photo editor who wanted to make a point. Either way, shame on any American who supports or applauds this sort of behavior.      

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Your Snortlaugh for Today

Don't think too hard about this one.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Senator Mazie Hirono

The Twang is the Thang

I've gotten in trouble for this on social media, but only with people who aren't aware of my personal story. So. I'll admit this freely. I have an inherent mistrust of men with a Southern accent. This distrust has its roots in the fact that my father is from Mississippi. His mellifluous way of speaking is initially disarming, it makes you drop your guard and listen intently. Initially would be the operative word here. After a while, no matter how charming the delivery, when you listen to the words the whole thing falls flat. Because it has become clear that his words and his actions have a serious disconnect. He flat out lies. About anything and everything. According to my dear departed mother, he was in the habit of telling a lie when the truth would serve him better. The thing with my dad is that he confessed to me in a boozy haze when I was nineteen that he was completely aware of the fact that he was a liar. That he could charm people to get whatever he wanted. Charm them. Tell them what they wanted to hear. This seemed to be less an unburdening of the conscience than a boastful description of a magical quality he was blessed with. This information sank into my teenage brain only to surface on pretty much every subsequent occasion when I had a conversation with my father. I recognized that he had given me a valuable gift. I had a filter to pass every word through that he told me from that point on. And like it or not, I recall what he has told me in his Southern accented voice, and I associate that sound with the lies contained within. I am happy to say there are a number of men from the American South that I love and trust. Exceptions to the rule are my dear Papa Larry, President Jimmy Carter, and Vice-President Al Gore. Lately my red flags have been flying like crazy! Every time I hear the current Attorney General speak I narrow my eyes and want to scream. Maybe he's a liar, or maybe he just has a poor memory. Maybe he's just not all that bright. All I know is, Southern accent or not, the content of what he says is laden with enough narrow-minded, discriminatory ideas that if enforced, are capable of setting us all back a century or more. I don't know about you, but this isn't the sort of time travel I'm interested in experiencing.

Monday Doesn't Work For Me

Monday, August 7, 2017

Swabbing, I Mean Scraping, The Deck

In my second afternoon of paint scraping it started to rain. The cooler weather is conducive to the task. The rain, however, is not. Except that it gets in under the paint that's still there and helps loosen it up. But then leaves the wood soft and vulnerable to damage from the scraping tools. Tomorrow is another day. I have chosen colors in the event that I ever get around to the actual painting. A nice creamy beige in a shade to coordinate with the brick on the house for horizontal surfaces accented with white for the vertical components. A similar paint job will be executed on the garden shed. I'm still committed to painting the front door a deep red. Maybe purple? Okay, so I'm not so committed. A pox on anyone who even considers throwing latex paint on top of a stained surface. I have earned a beer.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Portrait of #45 and Steve Bannon

B. Kliban sees over forty years into the future.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

I Scream, You Scream

Allow me to interrupt your Saturday morning with this fascinating bit of information. You know that debilitating pain you suffer when eating ice cream or drinking an ice-chilled beverage too quickly? It's called ice cream headache by some, brain freeze by others. But the correct, scientific term for this phenomenon is sphenopalatine ganglion neuralgia. Trying to pronounce that is enough to make your brain hurt.

Friday, August 4, 2017

WTF, Blogger?

Somebody is toying with the algorithms. That's my not so educated guess. Some days I check my stats much too much. It's a distraction from weeding or cleaning up the mess in the kitchen or scooping cat poop. Gee, I wonder how many page views I have? Or, which post is leading in views? Earlier this week, I woke up to more than four hundred overnight page views! That was pretty exciting. The next couple of days were average numbers-wise, but then yesterday we were stuck at 200 all afternoon. Which made me refresh the page numerous times. Because you never know, clicking on the refresh button might actually do something to nudge the numbers along. Today's grand total was fifteen. Fifteen! Pitiful. Just pitiful. If it's accurate! And two and a half hours into the next day, we are stuck at 2. Two! Good grief, Charlie Brown! Get this sorted so I can be less obsessed. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Bespectacled Me



Awkward Selfie

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Ant-i-Arachnid

Yes, it's plastic. Some sort of arachnid/ant hybrid thingy. Still, it freaked me out plenty when I fed Newton this afternoon. Because I didn't see it until the container was open and my hand was much too close to the ungodly thing. There. Right there. Of  course I slammed the lid back on and latched it as quickly as an old woman having a heart attack is able to. I'm fine now. Really. 

Don't Overlook Clover

Behold! A lawn of dwarf clover! Foot friendly, drought and disease resistant, low maintenance, easy to grow, chokes out weeds! Once considered a noxious weed, dwarf clover is becoming popular as a lawn plant. This is the answer to my dead backyard lawn. All I need to do is hire someone to come in and level out the ground and the rest I will be able to do. Are you weary of caring for a traditional, high-maintenance lawn? Here is where I found information. I'll let you know how this goes, though to be honest, it sounds almost too good to be true.