Archive for February, 2009

reformedleiaJust look at this lovely puff of fur — finally ready for her close-up and she isn’t even completely freaked about the camera flash.  I am so deeply grateful to whatever it was that got Leia back into civil society.  I’ve gotten off all but one of the fur knots [it’s tricky clipping close to the neck], and she stays visible even when workmen enter the house [unless they enter her room, but that’s just sensible]. It is utterly hysterical when she wakes up abruptly from a nap and announces she wants attention.

How do I know what she wants? She keeps chattering until I come over and pet her. Even if “want!”, “here!” and “more!” are the only items in her little vocabulary, at least I can do something to show her the world is a coherent place — she can make things happen that she likes.  For months I couldn’t figure out if there _was_ anything she wanted, other than for everybody to just go to hell.

Yes, her eyes are bluer than that, but the flash washes them out. Because her eyes are blue, she’s more likely to show red-eye in photos than the other cats, but it does make it easier to tell them apart in the gloaming…


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fanfernsusbg09I know that some students take jobs at strip clubs in order to pay their way through school.  One such student self-identified last night. And yes, it was relevant to the discussion to bring up how many different contaminants might be on a dollar bill. But…errr…

[Okay, I did exacerbate the situation by suggesting a potential experiment where we took dollar bills from a strip joint, a bank, a school cafeteria, and a church collection plate, and then blotted them on agar plates. Then we could look at the bacteria that grew, and see which source had more varieties]

[Okay, I pushed it even farther and speculated that if we found significant overlap between the species found on the strip club bill and the church plate bill, we might learn something about behavior patterns and guilt. Yes, I was not entirely serious there.]

[And then I talked about this article which posits that our values have shifted to the point that many people are more willing to prosyletize about food choices rather than religious ones]

But I wasn’t quite prepared for the subsequent lively discussion about how much chemistry was done in the club scene — students recounted how people would order the testing kits to check the purity [and types of adulteration] of “Ectasy” pills, and how people would make purchasing decisions based on the chemical profiles.

This isn’t to say I was shocked by the behavior. I was more amazed at the candor, and wondered what kind of authority figure I seemed to be.  Several of the other students looked equally discomfited.

Musical selection: “Still Alive”

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Music for the ride

Got back from the store just now; got some ordinary milk [as opposed to the “Happy Cow” milk we just finished] and a few other items.  Much more interesting was the music on the local college station: “The Bones of You”, by a group called Elbow.  The repeated lyric “And I’m five years ago/And three thousand miles away” captures the flash dislocation of memory really nicely.

Here’s a link to a BBC review of the album.

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Here, here is the narwhal!

I remember seeing a narwhal tusk when my parents took me to see the Unicorn Tapestries at the Cloisters museum in New York.  It was vaguely depressing to see, because whales look nothing like horses, and how much bad faith must it have taken to pass part of one off as part of another beast entirely?

But narwhals themselves are splendid:  See BBC video of migrating narwhals navigating paths in the icy Arctic Ocean.

And narwhals are great comedy props:  See Freakazoid’s brilliant lesson in “Conversational Norwegian”.

And that’s the tooth.

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The irony of me giving advice on purse selection to my Beloved is not lost on me.fashionbagno

There I am, in one of the many Filene’s Basements [which, strangely, is on the second floor of this particular shopping area] soon to close forever, talking with my sweetheart about the delicate balance between a purse that is too small to be of any use and a bag that is large enough for an airline attendant to decide it ought to go in the hold with the other luggage.

I utter bizzare collections of sentences, such as “Well, leather can be heavy…”, “Yes, the beading is adorable”, “Can you get that up on your shoulder?” and “I could clip that bit off with wire-cutters, no problem” in the same paragraph.

At one point I walk away, locate some rather fetching jackets, and bring the prizes back for appraisal before skulking off, holding coats and potential hand-bag purchases, to stand outside the dressing rooms.  Two salespeople take turns asking if I’d like to try on x or y fur coat, since I seem to be hoverring amid them. “No, no….I just didn’t know they had bred minks in these colors before.”

Later I pick up a Kenneth Cole wallet, a nice black thing with a metal nameplate, realize that it really isn’t that much bigger than the wallet that’s wearing out in my back pocket, and decide to buy it.  I suspect it completely eliminates any femme cred I might have exhibited earlier in the day.


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This is the list for Spring 2009, ordered from Bluestone. Some items come in packs of 3, others are single plants, and usually the company throws in some surprises.

COREOPSIS Tripteriscatcover02
GARDENIA jasminoides Kleim’s Hardy
Thyme Orange Balsam
PERSICARIA Lance Corporal
PHLOX paniculata Miss Ellie
SOLIDAGO Fireworks
THYMUS serphyllum Coccineum
DIANTHUS x Horatio
HEUCHERELLA Crimson Clouds
HOLLYHOCK Old Farmyard
SALVIA nemorosa Lubeca
ASTER novae-angliae September Ruby

I’d also like to try growing some Amaranth this year from seed.  Perhaps the Midnight Gardener and I can split a packet of seeds, and compare results [although I suspect he’ll do better, as he’s more seed-savvy than I am!].

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So about that glimpse of springtime:usbgdaffs09

Then lots of lush tropical greens, where it gets really steamy: foliagensteam

Before we’re back with the rude cacti and their party favors:

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