Monday, December 31, 2007

small town news

For Christmas, my aunt (my mom's sis) sent me, along with a card, copies of columns from the local newspaper of the small Texas town where my family lived in the early-mid 1980s. The clippings were sent to her back then by either my mom or dad. It's amazing what was published.Thought you might enjoy a small sampling. I've abbreviated names...don't know why. At least it eases my conscience, anyway.

From "Willow Springs" by Mattie C.
Mrs. Wade lives between us and Flood Greene's lake. She walks 3 miles a day and Wednesday it was kinda cold. Started out with a sweater on. Just before she got to where school lane runs into Clark's Ferry Road, she pulled her sweater off and laid it down beside the road with a stick on it, planned to get it on her way back home. But when she got back where she left it, the sweater was gone. Anyone who passed that way and thought they found a sweater, well they didn't. It belongs to Mrs. Wade. That's her walking sweater.

...Mattie D. called me tonight....asked if I remembered the old cistern that we got water out of to drink. Drew it out with a bucket and rope. One day dropped the bucket and rope in the cistern. Her brother Arvel S., climbed up on the cistern with a stick with a nail through the bottom to fish out the bucket. Well, he slipped, dropped the stick, it slid off and the nail stuck in his sister's eye, Mattie D. Stuck in her eye near her nose. After quite a lot of time found her mom, took Mattie to the doctor. Didn't lose her eye, just made her eye weak.
From "News of Interest" by A. Kennemer
We've lost so many friends since I wrote last. It makes me feel "blue". May C. has left us. She was dead in bed we were told. She has been with her son Joe Bob and wife Mary, many months, and Joe Bob has been sick also. The lord had to be with Mary or she couldn't have made it.
From "Pauline's News" by Pauline R.
[Mother] was much better off then than she is now. If they think they can come every other week and see about her business and check out her house and things, I would say they have another think. . . .I never took anything from mother. I can't do it and they can't either. Her doctors were there in Greenville and down there they will have to run all sorts of tests to see what is wrong with her. That knot on her neck is about 8 inches long and as much as two inches wide and stands out every bit of an inch. Another small on e has started under her chin by the big one, but no, she wouldn't go to her doctor while she was here. . . .Someone tell me just what can be done with a mother that you can't do anything with or change her mind. We have done all we can. We can't even think of one other thing to even try to do or to suggest to her--it has all been done.

We sure had a bad wind storm Tuesday night, or maybe early Wednesday morning. We didn't get but 1/2 inch of rain, but all together this week we got 2-1/2 inches. Not bad. There was also some frost in low places, but I didn't get out to see about any ice. Frost is ice, but I mean any on the water.
This last one is insanely long. Lots of info on who visited who, who's sick, who was in church, and what the weather has been like. The columns are an interesting bit of history of the time, but I can't imagine how some of this news reporting could not have come back to bite these women in the butt!

Friday, December 28, 2007

three out of four readers

...suggest trying a new venture. Sadly, that new venture did not materialize.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

born on this day

Sir Isaac Newton
Clara Barton
Cab Calloway
Annie Lennox

Several interesting people. I've no beef with the holiday. A good man is celebrated, but he wasn't actually born today. I'm just saying.

He'd probably say, "happy birthday!"


taking the piss out of me

While I was getting a kick out of my mom's melange (sometimes I wonder where these words come from) of birthday gifts, it turns out she was trying, quite literally, to take the piss out of me. I spoke to her on the phone for a bit and got the scoop on the G.O.U.T.

I've had some troubles with a joint on my right hand, and she believes it might be gout which is caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. I'm not sure that the diagnosis is correct or that this supplement will do the trick, but that was the intent.

Ok, so it's still a little funny. At least now I know the reasoning.

Monday, December 17, 2007

what's cooler than being cool?

ice cold!

Say what you will about hip hop, much of it is true. But this shit is booty-shake-a-rific. No need to ponder heady and serious lyrics. Just close your eyes and get ridiculously stupid. And shake it like a Polaroid picture. Check out Linus' mad moves!

Lend me some sugar. I am you neighbor.

[I saw this first posted elsewhere and cannot for the life of me find it again. Forgive me, blog gods.]

Friday, December 14, 2007

impasse, crossroads, quandry...

Whatever you want to call it, I, um, have a friend who's smack dab in the middle of one. On behalf of this dear soul, I beseech your advice by way of a poll.

Hey, that rhymes. I like limes.

"No more rhymes now, I mean it."
"Anybody want a peanut?"

For the sake of my friend's future and (in)sanity, please find the poll in my side bar and vote, dagnabbit, VOTE!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

one last birthday post

This actually has less to do with my birthday and more with my parents.

I received my birthday package from my mom in the mail today. Couldn't help but be amused by the contrast between hers and my dad's package that I received (before my birthday, I believe).

From Pa:
- Four sheets of recipes that I'd asked for, compiled from memory. Each page with a colorful border, peppered with Slovak words, pronunciations, and translations. Without a doubt carefully thought out and worded.
The recipes:
  • Sour Mushroom Soup - a tradition at Christmas. One of my absolute favorites that Granny, my Slovakian great grandmother, used to make.
  • Caraway Soup - also one Granny made, but I don't remember it as well
  • Down-Home Chicken Dumpling Soup - sans the chicken's feet Granny used to throw in (no joke)
  • Egg Dumpling Batter and Potato Dumpling Batter (for Halushki)
- One 8 oz. (227 g) jar of Tone's Restaurant Black Pepper, touted as "the best brand on the market."
- One 1 lb (453 g) jar of Farmer Brother's Whole Caraway Seed
- One heartwarming birthday card professing faith in my abilities, and a short letter explaining the enclosures and several possible uses for the bounty of caraway.

From Ma:
- One bottle of Nutrapathic G.O.U.T. (Greater Overall Urinary Tract) dietary supplements. No explanation. Not requested. Just submitted for my intake. I don't have any problems with my urinary tract that I'm aware of.
- One winter hat—no doubt a stellar find from a local thrift store...unless ma has started shopping at J. Crew.
- One EARTH Theraputics Pedi-Care Kit, gooming essentials
- One heartwarming card wishing me happiness, restating the adage "when one door closes, another opens," and promising three (intentionally) forthcoming bags of organic popcorn.

Do you see why I love them so? Take half of him and half of her, mash them together—as disparate as they are—and you get little old me: fastidious and random.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

moon-faced and fertile

...according to this site, that describes female Monday babies—which I also am. Male Monday babies are "usually thick haired and a bit more vain about it." Much to infer from that (yeah, I don't know either).

Regardless, happy belated birthday, Nacho man! In deference to your seniority of eleven months and twenty-nine [?] days, I will oblige you your meme.

And so, I give you the Birthday List with the rules here regurgitated:
1. Go to Wikipedia.
2. In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.
3. List three events that happened on your birthday.
4. List two important birthdays and one death.
5. One holiday or observance (if any).

Three Events:
1911 - Many cities in the U.S. Midwest broke their record highs and lows on the same day as a strong cold front rolls through. (see The 11/11/11 cold wave).
1918 - World War I ends: Germany signs an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside of Compiègne in France. The war officially stops at 11:00 (The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month).
1992 - The Church of England votes to allow women to become priests.

Two Births, One Death:
1922 - Kurt Vonnegut, American novelist (d. 2007) [Maybe I should read something by him...]
1974 - Leonardo DiCaprio, American actor [OK, so not a terribly important person, but we were born on the same day and year. I liked him in What's Eating Gilbert Grape: "I could go at any time."]
1993 - Erskine Hawkins, American trumpet player and big band leader (b. 1914) [Try a sampling.]
Honorable mention: 1938 - Typhoid Mary, carrier of the typhoid disease (b. 1869). [Died of pneumonia.]

South Korea - Pepero Day

I tag Ms. Liz. Write, dagnabbit, write! [If you don't, I may have to post a photo of you in a union suit in downtown Denver. Don't think I won't!]

speak of the devil

I am ashamed.

It's no wonder that the many good people of my country go unnoticed.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

i speak for the trees

Have you heard the saying, "can't see the forest for the trees"? Well, forget about it for a minute. I'd like you to take a closer look at those trees. I'd like to make an argument in favor of occasional myopia.

To those who may revel in the idea of the downfall or a comeuppance for the US, I'm well aware that my government has done its share of evil. Even so, sometimes the big picture is a thin wash. Sometimes the angels are in the details.

Let's zoom in. Here's one focal point. See that lady with the improvised, green bucket drum and the drumsticks?

That's my mom. That's Washington, D.C. in the background. She took a break from picketing alongside the highway in her hometown to take a loooong bus trip out for this march. She also walked with others in the local 4th of July parade, protesting the war and was received by both hoots and heckling from the crowd. She has since moved from a blue state to a red state, into a small and very modest home—the first she's ever independently owned in her life. No doubt she'll be speaking her mind in her new neighborhood, too, but you'll not see that speck of blue on the map.

Or maybe cast your mind's eye on my pops who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War (Yes, I know. Another one we shouldn't have taken on.), and then spent many years advocating for veterans whose bodies and minds were ravaged by war and who were then left to pick up the pieces on their own. He researched their medical conditions and symptoms, and presented their cases in hopes of securing compensation and benefits from the government. Now my dad is getting older, has many health issues, and receives substandard medical attention from the local VA Medical Center.

Or my oldest, closest, and most lovely girlfriend. She joined the Army Reserve pre-conflict to get money for education, ended up in our current foolhardy war for over a year, and came back with a cocktail of service-related health issues—some ever present and others that drop in from time to time just to remind her that they're still in residence. For a living, she works with families in crisis, helping parents with developmental delays find ways to improve parenting skills so that they can keep their children. Needless to say, it's a job that regularly puts her heart through a wringer. She worries about her husband getting laid off from his job, and about her toddler, a little piece of her heart now out walking around in the world.

I understand that the bad rap comes from truth. This informs my weltanschauung. I'm guilty of dogging my country, too, but it is a country, after all, populated with many good people. Maybe you could root for them? Some of us are trying to do right.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

All this aside, much love to my Canadian peeps. Peace out.

The Golden Compass

Though my grandmother would look at me with concern and say an extra prayer for me (I'm sure I'm a fixture on the prayer list) for saying this (I'm also sure it will come up...and I will still say it because it's true): I loved this movie. I loved the books, and of course they outshine, but even so, I loved this movie.

Of course Ian McKellen
Of course Sam Elliott (with Kathy Bates, of course)
Of course Nicole Kidman
Eva Green? Perfect.
Dakota Blue Richards? Perfect.
Ben Walker? Perfect.
Jim Carter and Tom Courtenay? Perfect and perfect.
Daniel Craig? Meh.

Such strong characters and so well played. The initial scenes with Iorek and Lyra put a lump in my throat, and it just got better and better. Three syllable words kept popping in my head like triumphant and majestic. I typically have a very low tolerance for computer generated images, but even these didn't distract.

Phooey to all the nay sayers. Phooey, I say. I can't wait for the next one. How could there not be a next one?

I'm not certain how the movie will be received by those who haven't read the book. Hopefully, they will give it a try regardless. I initially chose to read The Golden Compass for a class assignment. I was a skeptical reader of fantasy/scifi, and had a tough time at the start, but about a quarter of the way into it, I was hooked through to the end of the trilogy. The audio book by Random House-Listening Library is phenomenal for anyone, and if you're not a big reader, it's a great way to go. Pullman reads along with a full cast:

I'm totally geeking out on this. Check out my kick ass dæmon: