Saturday, September 11, 2010

3083 All quiet

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life.
Laughing at someone else's can shorten it."
-- Cullen Hightower --


I thought yesterday was quiet. Today is even worse. There's nothing happening even on the internet - no email, almost no blog updates, no comments anywhere. Nothing.

I've been working my way down through the sewing pile. It's disgusting. There are things there that needed hemming before I could wear them (I have to hem everything), and when I try them on now they're too big. Already. They still have tags on them.

I think maybe I'll see if I can find some fried chicken somewhere. Sudden hunger for fried chicken.

Friday, September 10, 2010

3082 Friday

Friday, September 10, 2010

"The saying ‘Getting there is half the fun’ became obsolete with the advent of commercial airlines."
-- Henry J. Tillman --


Man, nothin' happening. Really dead around here. It's getting colder, and I'm already hating winter.

Daughter is starting to realize the advantages of my moving down there. She was eating celery while we were talking on the phone today, and I said that I rarely buy celery because I end up throwing most of it away, and she said, "Me, too", and we decided we could buy one bunch of celery and share it. Also cabbage heads, and bags of baby spinach, and... and... and.

Also, she'd like to cultivate some private clients but she doesn't want to be alone with clients, so she's been working in spas, and acupuncturist and chiropractor's offices, where she has to pay rent or share the fees. I pointed out that if she has a client to her house, I can sit in her living room and read so she's not alone, and if she doesn't have enough room in her house, she can use mine.

Suddenly Mom-across-the-street doesn't sound so scary.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

3081 HOTW - James Clement

“Conceal a flaw, and the world will imagine the worst.”
-- Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis) --


Time for a younger one.

Honey of the Week - James Clement, from "Survivor". One heck of a nice guy in a very pretty package, with the amazingly smooth and soft deep voice that gets me every time. I don't usually care for heavy muscles, but James didn't get his in a gym, he got them incidentally, by digging graves, so that makes them ok.

He was on "Survivor" three times. Perceived as a threat in competitions and socially, he was voted out the first time, medically evacuated because of a dangerously infected cut the second time, and the third time he badly injured his knee, so was voted out.

The third season he was on ("Heroes vs Villains", he was a hero, of course), he came across as angry, and a bit of a bully. I think that his outside friends had given him advice after the first season, that he was too honest and too nice, and that's what had been his downfall the first time, so he tried to be tougher. I also think that the show's editing was slanted, which he also claims in an interview.

Whatever. He still does it for me.

James in action. Somebody added stupid music, so I advise turning the volume way down.

3080 Bazinga, or however that goes...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you;
but if you really make them think, they'll hate you."
-- Don Marquis --


Piper asked me yesterday if I'd sold the remaining stock for buying the new house. I said not yet, but since the builder was having it inspected that day for the occupancy permit, closing will be soon, and I'd have to sell the stock soon. Piper advised me to hold off as long as I could.

Now, Piper is one of those super conservative ditto-heads who parrots political crap without thinking about what he's saying. He and his Wall Street cronies exemplify "I've got mine; screw you."

What he said next left an opening a mile wide, and he didn't see the incoming missile until it hit.

He said,"Hold off as long as you can, because I 100% guarantee that after the mid-term elections and the Republicans are back in control of Congress, the market will shoot back up."

I replied, "Well, I can't wait that long. I'm going to be forced to sell while the Republicans are still holding the market down to scare people into voting for them."

Boom! Direct hit.

3079 This is a new one

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Death occurs when the stock of health falls below a certain threshold"
(Written by an economist. No wonder it‘s called the dismal science.)


Many people have problems with "its" and "it's". This version is at least inventive.

Found on a restaurant website: "GREEK, ITALIAN & AMERICAN CUISINE AT ITS' FINEST".

I'm not sure what they were thinking.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

3078 I cry

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

All wounds heal best in the open air.


After an email exchange with a friend this evening, I was curious about the high school dropout rate (it's 50% in the Albany schools). So I went to, and clicked on "National".

In the article, by the Alliance for Excellent Education, in the paragraph bemoaning the depressed future of high school dropouts, I found this sentence:
The costs of dropping out are born not just by individuals, but by the communities in which they live, and the rest of society.
Born? I cried.

Nobody teaches about homonyms and homophones any more.


3077 Wrangling Spiders

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Definition of politeness: Acceptable hypocrisy.


On my post about staying bedbug-free by keeping spiders, The Queen left the following comment: "Gary is of the same mind. You could make quite a business of rustling spiders, bringing them into infested houses, and then collecting them again after they had cleaned out the infestation. Just need to microchip them."

When I stopped laughing at the thought of microchipping and wrangling spiders, I thought about it a little more.

It CAN be done! We'd need a way to collect them when the job's done without injuring them, and I have a solution.

Scientists are always gluing colored dots and tiny chips to bugs. What we'd need to do is glue tiny bits of iron to the spider's backs. Then when the job is done, we'd just need to wave an electromagnet (that we can turn on and off to capture and release) around the rooms to collect our spiders. We should use a variety of spider that carries its eggs and/or babies around with them so we could continually increase the herd. Of course, some will hatch and disperse at the customer's house, but that could be considered a bonus to the customer.


I have spiders living behind and under the head of my bed. Two varieties - wolf spiders and cellar spiders. The wolf spiders are hairy, stocky, and dark. The cellar spiders are tiny, almost transparent, long-legged. They are so transparent we used to call them ghost spiders. They're the guys that build the webs in ceiling corners.

Sometimes while I'm lying on my belly doing crosswords or reading in bed, a spider will run across the end of my bed under my nose. It never pleases me, but they're too fast to smack. (Besides, they protect me from bedbugs.)

Last night a relatively large cellar spider ran halfway across the pillow, stopped, and seemed confused. I used my pencil to knock it to the side, the direction it had been headed, where it fell into another cellar spider's web, built between the side of my bed and the bookcase.


I think the reason it had stopped and seemed confused was because of the other spider's web, which would have been very new. How it knew it was there I don't know. I guess it saw it, although it was invisible to me. Anyway, "my" spider was female, and the web belonged to a male, judging by their relative sizes. When my spider hit the web, all Hell broke loose.

The male ran immediately to the disturbance in its web, and the female tore herself loose and tried to run away. The male caught her by the leg, and they rolled around a bit, then she got free and tore off the web and up the wall, and he tore back to safety behind the bookcase. As fast as they run across my pillow, I'd never seen them move this fast.

I don't think it was a case of a rejected suitor. When food is scarce, cellar spiders turn cannibal.

Monday, September 06, 2010

3076 Bras to go

Monday, September 6, 2010

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word
is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
-- Mark Twain --


If anyone out there wears 38DD, I have a bunch of new bras, some with tags still on, looking for a new drawer to languish in. Go to my profile, and email me your address, and you've got 'em.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

3075 More Brain Purge

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"A specification that will not fit on one page of 8.5x11 inch paper cannot be understood."
-- Mark Ardis --


It is reported that the attendance at Glenn Beck's gathering last weekend was about 350 thousand. Some people are considering this a proof of interest and support.

Yeah, but interest in what? If there's an announcement that at 5 pm tomorrow, a train will pass xyz intersection, nobody will show up at the intersection at 5 pm, except for perhaps a few train lovers. But if the announcement is that at 5 pm tomorrow, there will be a train wreck at xyz intersection, I can guarantee thousands in attendance. This does not demonstrate a love of trains.

So how many of the people there were hoping for a wreck? I know if I lived anywhere near the Lincoln Memorial, I might have been there, because if something historic happened, I wouldn't want to miss it.


There was a 10-foot python captured on a porch in Farmington, Ark., last week. It had a lump in its middle from having recently eaten a chicken. The authorities put out a call for the owners to claim him, saying that if it wasn't claimed within three days, it would be released to the wild.

What?! Released to the wild? A 10-foot python? Like they're native to Arkansas? Are they not aware of the rogue snake problems in Florida? Don't they like small pets? Or small children?

Ok. Arkansas is off the list of potential warmer places to retire to.

It has been claimed by the owners, thank goodness, and animal control people had found a safari park willing to take it if it came to that, but my head is still bonging over the "release to the wild" plan.


I buy peaches and nectarines at local farm stands, and I always ask, "Are these cling or freestone?", and the clerks (usually the farm/orchard family members) not only don't know which, they don't know what I mean. I find this very odd.

I ask because I can eat a freestone in the car. Clings are very messy to eat and have to wait until I get home. So far the local peaches are running 50/50.


When I went to Morocco, the guide told us that in the souks, we must never pay the price asked, that we must bargain, that to pay the first price asked is an insult.

The "experts" say you almost never have to pay the listed price for anything, including hotel rooms, as long as you can talk to someone who has the authority to reduce the price, like a manager or the store owner. Almost everything can be bargained down. Yes, even here in the US. In fact, it's not only expected when you buy a house or a car, you'd be considered an idiot if you don't.

I have great difficulty bargaining.

It was especially difficult in Morocco, because almost everything interesting that we looked at in the souk stalls was handmade, and even the requested price was already very low, and after seeing how so many of the people lived, I felt guilty "taking advantage" of their need to sell. But except for a few occasions, I did bargain. I probably still ended up paying more than I had to, evidenced by the fact that most of the stall owners threw in a gift with the purchase, but at least I saved face for both of us.

I'm very proud of my bargaining for Hal, and only a tiny bit guilty. I knew that the dealership was having a tight time, luxury cars just aren't selling these days, but it's difficult to feel responsible for the welfare of a luxury car salesman. Not like a little old half-blind Moroccan woman who spent days embroidering a blouse. It's hard to tell her that her time isn't worth $2 a day.

Otherwise? Bargaining's not easy. I brag that I rarely pay retail for anything significant, almost never for clothing, but that's because I shop auctions, outlets, resale shops, Woots, and sales, where I don't have to worry about taking advantage of anyone. If it ain't on sale, I don't need it.


I read that sales of Kindles and cousins and downloaded books are outstripping sales of paper-based books, and eventually publishers will no longer publish non-electronic books because the publishing costs will not be covered by the sales.

I have two thoughts about that.

First, this means that eventually there will be no new paper books. Duh. But has anyone considered what that means? You have to purchase every book you download. That means that every reading of the book is a new purchase, since you can't exactly lend the book to a friend, or pass it on, or "release it to the wild", or resell it. Not easily or legally, anyway. Paper books can be read hundreds of times on one purchase. I-books have to be purchased by each and every reader.

(The courts have recently ruled that legally downloaded music has not been purchased, by the way. It has been "licensed". This could easily be extended to i-books.)

Second, it means that paper books will become rare collectibles. Maybe I shouldn't get rid of the few thousand books I was planning to liberate. Some of them might be valuable in a decade or so, even if they're not first editions.