How was this ever okay? The term Indian became controversial in my adult life, somehow — I mean, we knew we didn’t live in India — but the grinning mascot could not ever have been okay. Could it?
I like the new name better … but, couldn’t the cartoon fastball have used more work?
I must have been partially asleep during the Olympic opening ceremonies. I “remember” these things, and yet they can’t be real:
The announcer said that the Winter Olympics are in “just a few months” and I thought, “The Winter Olympics are in just a few months and no one is canceling them?” But it’s true, if they start in February, technically they are in six months, right?
There was an ad for a weird all-electric car that talks to you, and Gary said, “That is our next car,” and I thought, “That is our current car,” but ours doesn’t use the floor mats to indicate who it is addressing.
Then Gary turned the Parade of Nations into the Parade of Mask-Shaming, with particular contempt for Nose-Exposers.
A globe of drones appeared in the sky:
… and then they didn’t show it flying away, or exploding, or turning into a giant virus, or else they did and I was asleep.
I was particularly perplexed by the end of the ceremony, when they had celebrities sing the song Imagine in English (at least the parts I was awake for). Huh, I thought, shouldn’t the celebrity from each country sing in their native language?
And then, worse, they sang the Olympic Anthem in English. I began to suspect that this isn’t an “International” Olympic Committee. I mean, I know NBC pre-tapes the opening ceremony and edits it to focus on the English version of speeches, and the First Lady, and so on, but did they sing the Olympic Anthem in every language and then just air the English one? Or they might have and I just slept through it.
Fox was busy last week.
He chased what I imagine was a bunny:
He relaxed enough to sit down and have raccoons sneak up on him:
He did a little side step in the yard after a squirrel knocked the camera off kilter:
Speaking of wildlife …
News channels and People Magazine have had much to say about how this raccoon looks embarrassed after firefighters caught him raiding a house.
That raccoon isn’t embarrassed. He doesn’t like the light. It’s night time, he says, why is it so bright in here? And also, where are the big piles of nuts, both shelled and unshelled?
So, okay, people with kids now get an extra $250-$350 per child as a tax credit because of the pandemic. That’s a good thing. Don’t begrudge that a bit.
But, why? It would make sense if unemployed parents got the extra cash, because I know kids are expensive. But these are working parents. I’d say it was so you could get daycare, but that’s nowhere near enough money for daycare.
All I can think is that it’s some social-engineering-dystopian-scheme to pay people to re-populate the earth that’s been semi-decimated from the pandemic. Fewer people, fewer consumers to have confidence? Fewer Amazon purchases, hence more global depression?
There has to be a bottom line reason here: Uncle Sam doesn’t just feel sorry for Mom and Dad.
Friday I was playing Code Monkey by Jonathon Coulton on repeat at Maximum Alexa Volume just so I could hear this line over and over again:
“Code Monkey think/ maybe manager / wanna write / goddamned / login page himself”
… but then the new Barenaked Ladies CD Detour de Force landed on my porch.
Overall, 14 tracks. I am only guessing about themes here, but:
3 Songs about being a child: Man Made Lake, Big Back Yard, Live Well
2 Songs about being in a band: Good Life, Roll Out
2 Songs criticizing Current Dim-witted Fascist Society: Flat Earth, New Disaster
3 Vague Worrisome Songs about Relationships: Flip, Here Together, God Forbid
2 Songs Complaining about Suburban Life: Bylaw, The National Park
2 Songs Remaining That Sound Like Other Songs : Paul Chambers which sounds like a 60’s LP my Dad would have, Internal Dynamo (which sounds like Liz Phair on Exile In Guyville)
I couldn’t find one typo. I thought there was one (b-apostrophe-y), but it’s a reference to BNL evidently hiring the tour manager away from Great Big Sea.
My favorite song is Man Made Lake, for the lyrics and progression, and then after that New Disaster, primarily for the rhyme “Stay tuned for scary monsters … But first a word from sponsors.”
My very favorite line overall is from Good Life: “It comes to pass / it doesn’t come to stay.”
It feels as if all my friends are going on vacation, meeting up, going to Hawaii.
Enjoy your Prague Summer, I say, we’re going to be locked back down when it gets cold. I don’t see any way to get the US sufficiently vaccinated. And now this Delta variant is causing new cases in half the states, so the virus is not only back on the upswing but 1,000 times more communicable. In fact, Saint Louis has already gone backward and re-instituted the indoor mask mandate.
On top of that, this week Pfizer said the shots we got last spring are losing effectiveness, after which they they said oopsies, and apologized to Dr. Fauci, and then clarified the immunosuppressed could still get a booster maybe, and thank you.
Evidently Biden wants people going door to door dispensing shots, but I don’t see that resulting in anything but door-to-door gun displays. What might work is the 1917 model: arrest anyone without a mask.
It’s sour grapes, I know, and small-minded. You people having fun, you will pay, says the shut-in. (Except for the people in New Zealand, you have fun, you made rules and followed them like rational people.)
How new is my car? When I get in I still smell “that” smell. It has been on the road less than t5 times.
Last weekend it let me know that one tire was two psi less that the other tires, and that I could continue driving, but if you care to know, here is a graphic of your car and HOW MUCH AIR IS IN EACH TIRE and see, one of them has 37 psi not 39. I haven’t put air in a tire since 1985, so that was a fun hour-long project. Air costs money now, did you know that? I let a lot of air out of the tire before I realized that.
That was last week. This week I scratched it. I don’t know how an empty plastic trash bin could scratch a metal car, but it did.
I understand that step one of recovery is denial, and step one of car scratches is take it to the car wash and see if the automatic pummeling buffs it out, so I’m doing that tomorrow.
Someday I will tire of hearing of bears roaming my area, but today is not that day.
Two bits of bear news.
I have long wanted to watch The Petrified Forest, because it stars the elegant, languorous Leslie Howard, he of the high forehead, the foregone front-runner for Ashley Wilkes.
Gary has been on a Humphrey Bogart kick lately too, so this was all up in our demographic.
Sadly, I hated it. I might have enjoyed it more had I not been distracted by Baby Boy Bogart, in his first big role, who sounded as if he were in a high-school play.
And his arms. Why?
Now that I look it up online I read that he was positioning his arms like someone who was accustomed to being in shackles. I’m sure that was a nicety all the convicts in the audience in 1936 appreciated.
This moved so slowly that I longed for the action scenes - and you know I tend to fall asleep in action scenes. Typical action scene in the last half: Bogart points a gun at Howard. Howard talks about art for five minutes. Bogart does not shoot him. So disappointing.
Not as disappointing as (almost) guessing the ending to Les Diaboliques, but close.
(I wonder what people say instead of “as the crow files” where there are no crows. Is it “as the kiwi hops?”)
(I am actually looking up another way to say as the crow files.)
Anyway, there’s a new bear in town, and while it says this bear is in West County, I don’t want anyone to think I live in pricey West County where the cheapest home costs a million dollars. I’m on the other side of the river. Driving directions say I’m 17 miles away, but that’s for the bears who can’t swim. I’d say I’m 7 miles away from the bear who, and I’m quoting here, had the nerve to show up in “a gated community.”
(Oh. “Beeline” or, duh, straight line.)
Theres a rough draft of the first part, the very middle but is still being ignored, and the last part is now plotted out in greater detail. There is an equal distribution of teeny index cards on the magnetic white board, that’s what I’m saying.
She has an ending and a path out of her difficulties now, and it’s pretty fun. I’m replacing all the “something happens that results in x” to detailed ways “x” comes to be.
One way one “x” comes to be, given x equaling “Maggie loses consciousness,” is that she accidentally knocks herself out mixing bleach and an acetone-based industrial solvent used in oil fields, which handily fits with plot points I already established.
She was originally going to mix bleach and either lemon juice, vinegar, or ammonia, all mild acids, all capable of making chlorine gas, but then I asked Gary about his own experience accidentally making chlorine gas, and one does not lose consciousness as much as one runs away from the green bubbling mass, coughs, cries, and then dies or does not die, but no loss of consciousness.
“Well damn,” I said, and then (and I’m telling you this right up front), I Googled “how do you make chloroform?” Bleach and acetone, which is often found in industrial solvents found in oil fields. (Gary campaigned for gas poisoning, but there have already been references to gas blindness and madness and we can’t blame everything on gas.)
So, if I’m on trial someday and someone’s been chloroformed, consider this post my alibi.
Remember the gel Roundup plant killer?
Off to YouTube, then, and I learned it works best if dabbed near the roots. That did the trick, and all my other plants are fine. Highly recommend.
This week the cliffs went from this:
… to this:
Things went south there. I was trying to cut back on the contrast. Should have stopped. I liked the contrast. But you know, I was able to glaze the pansy, maybe I can take one more shot at correcting this. Maybe if I scumble white on parts and correct the angle of the waves.
[I literally scrape off paint and add more paint.] Well now it looks like this. I am stopping.
So, now I have turned on representing things in books, and now I plan to do one alla prima birdbath that represent the photos I have taken of my birdbath at various times of day, ala Monet. I’m going to make a template so they all are exact but for the colors.
I was heating up some Chicken Parmesan for lunch, and as always I thought, “Chicken Par-MEEE-zhun” as that is how we pronounced it in my youth, and it occurred to me that the mis-pronunciation of Italian food names might be a way to highlight my heroine’s adjustment to her new environment. I’d been trying to think of slang she wouldn’t know but pronunciation’s less jarring.
And then various characters weighed in on pronunciation and that was a whole scene, and then one of the ladies made a snide remark about oil workers and that was another scene.
And then it wrote it down on the refrigerator whiteboard and it all stopped, damn it. Do real writers just have these episodes all the time?
I was excited when someone told me they now have Roundup weed killer in gel form. This is perfect for my bed of ground cover transplanted from Moms that is now overrun with chameleon plant.
Every year I pull up the invasive chameleon plant and it pops right back up, as if severing the root grid makes two more. It’s enmeshed with Mom’s good transplanted ground cover. Every other leaf is good and the next is evil. And of course, I can’t spray accurately enough to kill only the evil ones.
Supposedly, i can apply this gel to the offending plant leaves and skip the virtuous leaves.
Someone is going to mistake it for jumbo size extra strength men’s deodorant. You peel off the foil on top just like deodorant. Then they will apply it to their armpits and get cancer.
This is a really bad packaging idea. Hope it works on the chameleon plant.
This week the pansy got an extra dose of brown to calm everything down. So it went from this:
… to this:
… to this:
I like my cliffs better than the one in the book. And frankly, I have begun to notice little inconsistencies in the book - it seems almost as if they correct things from step to step and they do not cop to it.
The fox that brings me so much joy visited us nightly, and then some over-protective raccoon mom went after him with her claws. The fox cried. It was a heartbreaking sound.
After that, no fox.
It would appear the Fox has found out that momma opossums are much better natured than momma raccoons.
This week the pansies went from this:
… to this:
Close to this?
No! Sigh … I know, I got carried away with the light green. Maybe I’ll do a golden-brown wash over everything. I always say that. Maybe this time I’ll do it. But I kind of like the carnival colors in mine, too.
The seascape went from this:
… to this:
I suppose Saint Valentine is in heaven (one assumes) and cringes when he hears, “Have a sexy Saint Valentine’s Day.”
Which is to say, again, people at work said, ”Enjoy your Memorial Day!”
I mean, to be fair, I am going to enjoy a day off, but still.
I have been taking some time off from the novel. I hit the midpoint, in which things go seriously south for the heroine, and I took a break because I felt it needed to settle.
That was three weeks ago. For some reason all the characters woke up and said things in my brain this week. The waitress said a snide thing about the gambler. The neighbor made a remark about the radio. The heroine suggested we change the end entirely, which was surprising, but I will humor her.
Three weeks and the break is over, it would seem. At this rate it will be done in 2022.
Look at the ears and the tail! Incredible.
Fox is paying us a visit once or twice a night every night now. Completely stole the show from the baby raccoons.
I have a new staple. Garlic cream sauce. So, so garlicky. Head of garlic distilled down make garlic-infused cream studded with garlic and THEN FLAVORED WITH GARLIC POWDER because why the hell not.
I put this on everything for two weeks. I just sniffed myself. I waft a nimbus of garlic in my wake.
Fair warning, the original recipe linked below begins with four pork chops, which have no purpose I can see but to add a layer of complexity to the garlic cream sauce. I used four chicken breasts instead the second time I made this, and then the third time I just upped the butter by a tablespoon. I did a taste test between a pork chop version and the extra tablespoon of butter version and I couldn’t tell the difference.
I take the whole head of garlic, chop off the top, put it on a square of foil, add a little olive oil, salt and pepper, wad it up, and roast it on the highest setting the air fryer has for 20 minutes. You could adjust that. I really don’t know what this would be in minced garlic numbers. I think this would be pretty bad with minced garlic from the jar.
While that’s cooling I measure everything out. I combine the chicken stick and lemon juice, and then the garlic powder (hahaha seriously) and cream. Then I dismantle the head of garlic, you know, do that thing where you squeeze the garlic heads out of the papery skins. Then I wash my hands.
Heat the olive oil and butter at medium heat and lightly brown the garlic (they say three minutes). Don’t burn it. Scoot all the garlic to one side of the pan, and toss the flour over the butter on the other side of the pan so you donor end up with floury garlic. Stir it and cook that a minute or so until it makes a roux.
Mush up the garlic heads with a fork if you are a delicate princess, then gradually add the chicken stock /Lemon juice combo, as you do with a roux, then stir in the cream / garlic powder combo. Cook that down until it’s really thick and bubbly, but don’t boil it.
Taste it and add salt and pepper, if you need to. It gets a bit thicker in the fridge.
Slather it on pork, catfish, chicken, scrambled eggs, sausage and biscuits.
Legit recipe is here on Salt and Lavender
This week the pansies went from this:
… but wait. I happened to remember that’s from the book that tells you step-by-step what to do. Wow, did I go far afield. Whoops.
But that was the plan, right? To go my own way?
… so now it’s this:
The next project? I have no more off-color salt shakers. I do have some miniature figurines, or I could do one of the more challenging step by steps.
… like this one:
I don’t know who marketed the movie The Death of Stalin when it came out four years ago, but either they were an idiot or a genius.
I didn’t see a trailer, but I saw a clip of the council of Ministers rushing to fawn on Stalin’s daughter, and it struck me as a drama. I think I might have seen the clip on CNN because it was banned in Russia. Plus, it was showing all the Serious Theaters in town, and even though it had Steve Buscemi and Jeffrey Tambor in it, I thought, well, it’s all those actors who do comedy and drama both (probably why I thought Steve Carrell was in it) … and … and … no.
It is a comedy, but it’s so dark that I kept taking it seriously. That’s when they got me.
I thought I could come to the blog to find out how old my pink laptop is - all I see is a reference to Gary having paid it off in May of 2009.
It held on until May of 2021, so 12 years. It did need the lid replaced once. But, the CD tray went out when I had two more un-streamable CDs to burn, dang it.
It has joined the other old computers in the basement PC graveyard, waiting for the resurrection when cyberattacks make all technology obsolete and we go back to pre-cloud Windows 7.
Yesterday, Gary checked some old unseen backyard videos, and he reported the foxes are back. The one in the first few seconds is checking to see if lamb and rice dog food is still in the menu.
Rabbit is on the menu in the last second for the second fox.
Related: Bears of Saint Louis. The bears continue to migrate north from South County. St. Louis’ most recent tourist bear started 30 miles south in Pacific. Not sure where he is today.
Today, Gary said, “I’m going to check the latest video and check for any more fox visits.”
I said, “You want foxes to visit, you’ll have to feed them rabbit. They won’t be interested in peanuts.”
(Ignore the scene-stealing spider.)
This week the salt shakers went from this:
Large areas are wrong but some parts are right, so it’s a wash and I am stopping.
[LATER] I realize now I didn’t paint in the salt shaker holes on her salt shaker breasts, so now she just looks like a naked women posing amid giant salt shakers. I like the idea that in the 2090s someone will find this at a garage sale and not understand it at all.
The pansy went from this:
Remember how last summer was the summer of Bruno the bear? Bruno the black bear was in my neighborhood looking for a mate.
Well, a bear has been seen in the Saint Louis area, two days in a row, (no make that three, now there’s a photo on Facebook putting the bear in Brentwood). So, perhaps it’s two or three bears, and perhaps last year’s bear Bruno was a scout, doing recon for future bear missions. (Maybe he’s done that ever since he was a cub Scout.)
Evidently the bear situation is so bad they are opening up bear season later to select people. Watch out, bears. You can find sanctuary in my backyard.
LATE BREAKING UPDATE: the bear spent too long up a tree and they shot him with a tranquilizer gun and carried him off to a farm upstate. Well, I don’t know where he is.
All I know is I got a lot of delight out of the constant reminders: “Do not take selfies with the bear.”
Cyber-criminals have attacked the U.S.’s biggest oil pipeline. From the Wall Street journal article:
“Inventories of gasoline have been readied for the summer driving season and usually get replenished every five to six days. … The fuel artery is critical to supplying the northeastern U.S. and other markets, and extended shutdowns of the pipeline have caused fuel prices to jump in previous years. … An outage lasting more than five days could have sharp consequences for fuel supplies.”
Then they quote an expert:
“If you were looking at the top 20 public targets that you could really wreak havoc with by screwing with the software, the Colonial Pipeline is in that group … It’s a big deal.”
Hah! Not for me.
The new electric Mini Cooper has a built-in game.
If you get in, activate the voice commands, and say, “My mini! Activate! Minimalism!” then it shows you a graphic of a fish in a fishbowl, and if you waste electricity while driving, the water sloshes out of the fishbowl and the fish is dismayed. You can see the non-electric version in action here.
My newer one is a little more 3-D.
I have looked at my efficiency data already with the iPhone app and I am 3 out of 5. Of course now I want to see that in fish terms.
Of course what I really want to do is see if I can kill the fish.
I gave it a shot yesterday. When I drove like a old lady, the fish leapt out of the bowl and caught a star. When I floored the accelerator, the fish’s mouth gaped open in horror, and an image of a foot flooring an accelerator popped up on-screen.
But flooring it is soooooo satisfying. No gearing up, no shifting, you’re just suddenly I n warp speed with no waiting. I am afraid my fish is going to be very unhappy with me.