Thursday, March 1, 2007

Dumped in from my last blog

Well, I found it complicated to navigate around my other blog site, so I am abandoning it and setting up my new home here. I had only had a blog there for a few weeks anyway, so no loss. Here's what I had written so far.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Anniversaries and a fresh start

I've been a non-smoker for four months today.


All praise to the quit drug I took ( and the online quit community I joined ( And to myself, too: I'm the one who chooses daily not to smoke!

Today is also the one-year anniversary of Big Orange's death. Big Orange was a beautiful old thing, and he died at the age of 22. Video here:

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Fun with Lala

I’ve been an obsessive trader on since I learned about it a month or so ago, basically switching out all my old, underplayed CDs with ones I’ve always wanted, or ones I lent out and never got back: "Sgt. Pepper," for example – a happy reunion!

I had heard Kate Rusby on a station I created that keyed off Eliza Carthy, so I put her album “Sleepless” on my Lala trading list and got it. I found it not to be entirely my thing, basically not as traditional as I expected it to be… it wasn’t bad or anything, she’s obviously a very talented songwriter and whatnot, it’s just that I’m in a rather “trad” phase right now.

In any case, I sent it off to someone else on Lala who wanted it. On the envelope I wrote: “A little too Allison Krauss-y for my liking, but it was fine – hope you enjoy.”

I got a message back from the trader who got it, as follows:

This just arrived. Thanks for the notes on the envelope! I'm not familiar with Eliza Carthy - will have to check her out. It's so funny that you wrote that Kate is sometimes too Allison Krauss-y for you, since it was a member of Allison's band who recommended Kate to me! Guess that's not a problem for him!


I got a kick out of that.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Ice sculptures

Scott and I went to Plymouth today to see the ice sculptures:

A frozen but festive afternoon!

Friday, 26 January 2007

Stamps for supper

There's a new Chinese postage stamp coming out in honor of the Year of the Pig:

But the best part of it is... it's sweet-and-sour pork flavored.


Thursday, 25 January 2007

Correspondence with a cat-hater

My dad hates cats. He considers them filthy creatures that serve no purpose except to cause sneezing.

He and my mother are going to be visiting in a couple of months, and they ordered a certain soap that they like to be delivered to my place for them to collect when they arrive. My dad's instructions were:

They should arrive in a couple of days, and we would like to ask you to simply put them aside away from the cat and we'll bring them home in March.

Today's correspondence made me chuckle:

Dad: Any scent of those soaps yet?

Me: Yep, they arrived yesterday. We took them out and rubbed them on the cat. I hope that’s okay.

Dad: Oh. I forgot to mention that I ordered them specially for me. They contain a certain anti cat chemical similar to rat poison, except that it only works on cats. Well, you'll have a clean flat soon.

Me: And I forgot to mention that the vet told us that Hank has a special anti-poison enzyme in his system, very rare, that has the strange side effect of dissolving any cat poisons that come into contact with him. So Hank is fine, but your soaps have all dissolved. Sorry – hope they weren’t too expensive.

Dad: Ah, but. These are special soaps that have just been put into the market, about which your small-town vet would never even hear. The soap dissolves, but reshapes again like in Terminator 2, and attacks the cat from inside. Ol' Hank would simply explode. Yuck, I'd hate to clear up the mess.

Me: Oh, dear. Hmmm. Guess I won’t have a clean apartment after all, then...

It'll probably keep going. But you get the general idea.

Monday, 22 January 2007

Something fun

Here's a fun toy.

Write up some lyrics (or just some nonsense) and have the great pop stars of the world sing them for you.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

"Jesus Camp"

Just watched the film "Jesus Camp," a documentary about the rapidly growing Evangelical movement and particularly the children growing up in it.

Really well done: maybe not particularly objective, but I would imagine it's hard to be! I came away very aware of how genuine, caring, innocent, and righteous the Evangelicals truly believe themselves to be. Some people will see this and say, "Praise God! Isn't it wonderful?" and others will be - well - terrified.

Friday, 19 January 2007

Eureka Dejavu

Eureka Dejavu is a character in Second Life. In real life she's a journalist. While I have long since lost interest in wandering aimlessly around Second Life myself, I still visit her blog:

She seems to be really studying the sociological phenomenon of having a virtual life. Innerestin' stuff. Funny, too.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Sun and ice

A handful of pictures from the recent ice-storm phenomenon here in southeastern Michigan:

But, really, it was impossible to capture. It simply looked like a fantasy world out there, as though some glass artist had painstakingly created a movie set that looked much like our regular one except that every single thing was encased in ice.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Sometimes I love the French

Protest can't stop march of time
he Scotsman, January 2, 2007

HUNDREDS of French demonstrators saw in the New Year - by holding a protest against it. People carrying banners reading "No to 2007" and "Now is better" marched through the streets of Nantes. They called on the United Nations to stop the "mad race" of time and declare the indefinite suspension of the future. The protest was an attempt to make fun of French people's apparent fondness of saying no to any kind of change and as a different way to "celebrate" New Year. When their demonstration failed and the bells sounded the start of 2007, they quickly moved on to the next stage of they campaign - chanting "No to 2008".

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Pray on, fellas...

Sarah has alerted me to the availability of this delightful item: a canvas painting of George W. deep in prayer with his Presidential colleagues Lincoln and Washington. (I love the fact that the each of the deceased gentlemen has respectfully removed his highly representative headgear.) Yours framed for only $175.

As my sister would say, "Oo-er! That's full on!"

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Headline headache

An e-mail from Patsy:

When even The Times writes headlines such as 'The Slowdown in the Housing Market is Gaining Speed,' surely it is the end of the world.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007


An e-mail from my mother in Copenhagen:

"Thursday night I went to the dress rehearsal of "Lohengrin." This is the unconventional production that comes from Germany, the one in which most of the action takes place in a classroom. Only the very last scene is not in the classroom. The chorus members are all dressed as pupils, the boys in shorts and knee socks, the girls in short uniform-type dresses. The king wears green shorts and shirt and a papier-mache crown of yellow. Etc. There's a lot of clowning around among the kids throughout the whole thing. I have to admit that it was entertaining, never a dull moment! I think what happened is that I became schizophrenic: I enjoyed the comedy stuff on one level and the serious, magnificent music accompanying a story about holiness on a different level. But I definitely do not believe that the two parts were ever joined as a whole. The chorus was excellent and so was the orchestra. A couple of the soloists were fine, too, but the rest of them are just not of that standard. Kasper uses almost all Danish singers, not like Elaine Padmore who made this house much more international and high quality. But in spite of all that, it was a pleasurable experience, even just being in that impressive lobby area during the intervals. Oh, I almost forgot: M. told me about the stage director's words to the chorus about the production. One thing that struck me had to do with the fact that I felt several times during the production that the "mob," that is the noblemen, were very easily swayed. First they believed Lohengrin, then they believed Friederich, back and forth, easily led. The director said that the fellow who had originally conceived this production was thinking of "The Lord of the Flies" when he emphasized that point. Just as in that book, children can be easily led, easily swayed. A neat insight, don't you think?"

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

A letter from 1930

After my grandparents had died and we were sorting through their house, I found the following letter, addressed to my grandfather, written in faded pencil on a yellowed, lined piece of paper, and apparently shoved randomly into a blank notebook. My mother doesn't know who Agnes Josee is, and now I guess we'll never know!

May 25 / 30

Dear Clifford.

If you and Roy wants to come in to Muskegon I guess Etta will be going in Saturday night because she wants to be in there for Sunday to start to work. So if yous want to go why yous can take her in and she’ll show you where we live. I heard yous were over to the dance Saturday. My grandmother told me what you said about me but I don’t beleave a thing what you say or anybody else. I might be over to the dance Friday night if I stay out with Etta. I was over to the dam today watching the men work. I heard you was tight Saturday night. Say you know Saturday night when I was over to the dance and came home my mother says where was you I told her and she just laughed she said she thought that we ran into a ditch or got in a reck other wise you got me home early enough. My grandmother knock at the window. Just to see what yous would do. She laughed till she couldn’t move the way you jumped up off that seat. You tell Roy he better watch out. My mother thinks yous boys are nice. Yous can come in any Saturday and stay till Sunday or come in Sunday for all day. Write and tell me if yous can come Saturday night so we’ll have the house fixed up. Let Etta know if yous are comeing because if yous are I guess she’ll be going in to work. Well I guess I have ran out of gas.

From your loving friend

Agnes S. Josee
Miss Agnes Josee
R. R. 7 Jackson Ave.