Happiness is …

April 15, 2006


… taking a nap on a warm pile of laundry fresh from
the dryer.


Icky Chicks

March 12, 2006

I hate celebrities who suffer under the delusion that a modicum of fame means that their liberal political opinions are eagerly sought after by the world at large (sadly, nowadays this means that I hate a LOT of celebrities). I also hate country music (not just a lot of it, ALL of it). Both of these antipathies are conveniently combined in Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, who during a London concert in 2003 pontificated, “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” Oh Natalie, Natalie, didn’t your mother teach you that shamelessly pandering to the anti-American sentiments of a foreign audience is naughty, and liable to result in fans using your CDs as kindling?

Now the Dixie Chicks are coming out with a new album, entitled DESPERATELY SEEKING PUBLICITY … um, I mean TAKING THE LONG WAY HOME, which includes a “controversial” new song penned by Maines called “Not Ready To Make Nice”, commenting on the brouhaha caused by her previous outburst. Here is a sample of the lyrics:

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

Parts of this hackneyed tripe-fest sound like they were machine-translated from Serbo-Croatian (“Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should”), despite the fact that Maines had the help of a co-writer, Dan Wilson, formerly of Semisonic. God only knows what she would have produced on her own; I’m guessing it would have gone something like this:

Bush bad
Me not like
Want to run him over
With my trike
Pay attention to me me me me me me me
Man I could go for some pork rinds right about now
Bush bad

Look Away, Baby, Look Away

March 10, 2006

Taking pictures of my cats is fun. And by “fun” I mean “a frustrating, hellish ordeal that would be fun if only my frigging cats would cooperate for ten frakking seconds, I mean Jeebus Farging Cripes, is that really asking so flipping much?!?” (Note skillful and subtle use of Lenten euphemisms.)

Tiffy is a particularly difficult subject, since it is a given that the moment she realizes my lens is trained on her, she will suddenly realize that The Most Fascinating Thing Ever has suddenly and magically appeared far, far across the room at a precise 90º angle AWAY from the camera. Thus I tend to get a lot of pictures of Tiffy that look like this:

“Wow, that imaginary bug and/or
micron-wide speck on the wall in the
next room has certainly captured my

Of course, the solution to this is to yell “Woo-hoo, Widdle Tiffums! Wook at Daddee! Wooky-wooky!” in a shrill, fishwife-like voice while holding up one hand and wiggling the fingers while hoping that my other hand can manage to hold the camera still enough to snap a non-blurry picture, should my humiliating antics be sufficient to tear Tiffy’s attention away from the manifestation of the Virgin Mary juggling a chainsaw, bowling ball, and flaming Tiki torch or whatever the heck is so blasted interesting over there in the opposite direction I want my cat to be looking.

If I am lucky, the result is a picture like this:

“Your wriggling digits and shrill,
womanly cries have momentarily
captured my attention, human.”

While cute, Tiffy’s expression still has a vaguely “What the HELL?” quality to it — one familiar from many baby pictures I’ve seen, where you know the photographer must have been yelling “Woo-hoo, Widdle Baby! Wook at Mr. Professional Baby-Photographer! Wooky-wooky!” while waving a rattle off camera. Oh well, at least I’m not alone in my humiliation.

100-Word Book Review: “Ring”

March 10, 2006

“Only 100 words, because you’d like to think you have better things to do.”

Ring, by Koji Suzuki

Good: This English translation of the original novel by the “Stephen King of Japan” provides enough surprises — think smallpox viruses holding a grudge and “testicular feminization syndrome” — to keep even jaded aficionados of the Japanese and American movie adaptations engrossed right up to the end. Bad: The translation is slightly clumsy at times, and the single most horrific scene in the movie versions — Sadako/Samara slithering out of the TV — isn’t in the novel. WTF?!?: Someone in the Art Department thought a hot pink op-art cover screamed “Unrelenting Tale of Horror”. Uh, NO. Grade: B+.

She’s a Cute Little Bastet, Isn’t She?

March 3, 2006

I’m a kreptacular photographer, I’ll admit. A few years ago I bought my first (and so far only) digital camera second-hand from Carl — a Kodak DC290 Zoom with a mere 2.1 megapixels (and given my lack of skill, that’s probably more pixels than I deserve). It’s a testament to the high-tech photographic smarts built into digital cameras that they can enable even inept shutterbugs like me to occasionally take really cool photographs, like this one of Mimi (snapped earlier this week, using ambient light):

“It’s both a stereo AND a bun-warmer!
Who knew?”

This almost has a studio look to it — partly it’s Mimi’s pose, with that wonderfully formal way cats have of sitting (as if they were expecting you to carve their portrait in basalt), softened a bit by a coquettish tilt of the head; partly it’s the lighting on the blue-grey wall behind her, which looks very much like a photographer’s backdrop. Of course, a real studio photographer would have managed NOT to capture a reflection of his own huge, doughy midsection in the stereo, but other than that it’s a nice picture if I say so myself. If you click on the picture above, you can see a bigger version (you KNOW you want a better look at my gut reflection, admit it).

The top of the stereo is one of Mimi’s favorite napping places, by the way. It’s warm, it’s high up (five feet at least) so she can keep an eye on things, and the incessant “NN-chik NN-chik NN-chik NN-chik” of the trance music I prefer probably kindles reassuring memories of her mommy’s heartbeat, back when she was a kitten (either that, or cats are closet ravers, though Mimi seems to prefer catnip to Ecstasy).

Zarking fardwarks!

March 3, 2006

I originally considered calling this post “Lentblogging” — but that has all the appeal of “Watching-paint-dry-blogging”, so I went with something a bit zippier.

Wednesday, as most of you probably know, was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It’s a long-standing Christian tradition to give up something for Lent. Last year I gave up alcohol. This was successfully accomplished, but rather than feeling disciplined and devout, I mostly came away from the experience with a sense of how incredibly LONG six weeks can be.

So this year I’m trying something different — I’m giving up swearing. Over the last decade or more I’ve become quite the casual cusser, swearing often and enthusiastically with the proficiency of a Portuguese longshoreman. This not only violates the Second Commandment — that’s “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain” for those of you living in communities with active chapters of the ACLU — it has two other negative effects: 1) It is extremely rude to those around you; and 2) It makes you look like a slack-jawed mouthbreathing moron. I do NOT want to become one of those people — and we all know a few — who uses profanity as a sort of conversational Hamburger Helper: “Yeah, my effing cousin Ed called me on the effing phone at three-effing-a.m. last night and tells me his effing girlfriend effing wrecked his effing pickup…”

My most embarrassing experience with swearing happened about a year or so ago. I was chatting on the phone one evening with my nephew Brian (then seven or eight years old) while preparing dinner. I had set a small glass of milk on the diningroom table, walked into the kitchen to fetch something else, and came back to see that one of the cats had jumped up on the table and tipped over the milk, creating a huge white lake on the floor, which the other cat was dabbling in (I no longer remember which cat did what). At this point I popped a fuse and yelled (the following transcript has been euphemized for the protection of those with delicate sensibilities):

OH [invocation of Judeo-Christian deity] [verb requesting that said deity condemn to perdition] IT!!! YOU [verb describing sexual intercourse]-ING CATS!!!

All of this charming discourse went directly into the tender ears of my young nephew, courtesy of Garden Valley Telephone Company. It was NOT my finest moment, but on the plus side, I probably gave Brian a good story to tell at my wake someday.

So I’m taking advantage of Lent this year to attempt to clean up my vocabulary. I’ve slipped a few times already, though not as spectacularly as during The Dreaded Milk Incident. Wish me luck — and if you’re in the mood, post a comment telling me what YOU’RE giving up for Lent. Just keep your language clean!

Oh, and what does “Zarking fardwarks!” mean, you ask? You’ll find the answer on this handy list of fictional expletives (courtesy of Wikipedia).

Holy Sheet!

February 26, 2006

Some guy is selling a miraculous Image of Jesus on a Piece of Sheet Metal on eBay. According to the item description, “you can actually see an image of him with arms in the air or a frontal and a side image of him”. You decide:


Sorry, but I don’t see Jesus there; I see Tom Selleck with a goatee:


Incredibly, the current bid for the Holy Sheet is $676. And if you have more money than common sense, you can buy it outright for a mere $10,000!

UPDATE: At 7:32 a.m. today the Holy Sheet sold on eBay for $10,000 — Blessed Tom Selleck preserve us! The buyer was The Ticket Source, Inc., a ticket brokering service operating out of Dallas, TX. Oh … kay …