Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bones

In addition to the ribbons! The wrappings! The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings! my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed every episode of Bones we could get our little mouse on (via Hulu - thanks Kim) this Christmas vacation. For those of you who know the characters, the following 21 seconds should send you into spasms of laughter.



For those of you who don't - I cannot recommend the show enough: it always starts with a badly decomposed body and goes straight up from there using forensic science, inductive and deductive reasoning, and the genuine affection/sexual tension between the two intelligent and highly motivated main characters - a beautiful genius forsensic anthropologist and an virile and honest FBI agent.

And more good news! On New Year's Day, there's a Bones marathon on TNT!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Color My World

Okay, who’s attaching those offensive footers to the bottom of my emails?

“Help make the earth a greener place. If possible resist printing this email and join us in saving paper.”

I…just…...can’t………..resist! [print] Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. It feels so good to be so bad.


First of all, who, exactly, is “us”? ‘Cause I know I didn’t write that stuff. Secondly, can I print it out in huge letters on lots of green paper and lay it out in the yard? That will surely make the earth a little greener, particularly right now. And finally, “if possible, resist”? (I added the comma. Apparently, they also resist punctuation.) Are you kidding me? I will do exactly what I consider to be the right thing for me to do under the circumstances and in no way will consider saving paper, unless, of course, I choose to save paper for some real purpose like not wanting to waste money, or needing to conserve the little paper I have before I can get to the store to replenish my supply! They do still sell paper at the store, right? It hasn’t been taken off the shelves for killing the planet yet, has it?

I have been tired of the greenies for a long time. I have obviously been aware of the companies who are adopting green policies, but concluded that it’s just a part of their marketing plans. Now the insidious propaganda campaigning to embrace the green outside of St. Patrick’s Day has spread so far that it has actually attached itself under my name. This, I will not tolerate and shall be met with my full fury!

All right. I’ll start slowly and work my way toward full fury.

I will begin by putting one of these on the bottom of all my email correspondence in a small effort to counterbalance the absolute tripe to which we have all become unwitting accomplices:

“Pave the world and slope it toward the ocean”; or, “Stop Plate Tectonics!”

They are neither more extreme, nor more ridiculous than heeding the global green siren and attempting to regulate the climate of the earth.

Regarding the color of our planet, I can say only two things for certain: I will never knowingly contribute to its “greening” and that I am slowly contributing to its whitening, which is much more of a concern to me.
________________________________

Here is Stephen’s email signature contribution: Please disregard any anti-industrial environmentalist propaganda that may be automatically appended to this message. Such messages not only contradict my own views, but are detrimental to the human race. - SRB”

He's a keeper.

Beribboned Battlements

As someone whose has publicly given thanks to the inventor of control top pantyhose, I appreciate this sweet little poem by Robert Louis Stevenson and offer it in the hope of sharing the joy that good things bring.

Now Bare to the Beholder's Eye

Now bare to the beholder's eye
Your late denuded bindings lie,
Subsiding slowly where they fell,
A disinvested citadel;
The obdurate corset, Cupid's foe,
The Dutchman's breeches frilled below.
Those that the lover notes to note,
And white and crackling petticoat.

From these, that on the ground repose,
Their lady lately re-arose;
And laying by the lady's name,
A living woman re-became.
Of her, that from the public eye
They do enclose and fortify,
Now, lying scattered as they fell,
An indiscreeter tale they tell:
Of that more soft and secret her
Whose daylong fortresses they were,
By fading warmth, by lingering print,
These now discarded scabbards hint.

A twofold change the ladies know:
First, in the morn the bugles blow,
And they, with floral hues and scents,
Man their beribboned battlements.
But let the stars appear, and they
Shed inhumanities away;
And from the changeling fashion see,
Through comic and through sweet degree,
In nature's toilet unsurpassed,
Forth leaps the laughing girl at last.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ho, Ho, H'OCON!

Now I know what I want for Christmas, but it's too darn late.

I'm going to have to do go into extreme saving (or returning) mode. Do you think I can return the two new hubs assemblies and bearings I needed to get on the front wheels of my car today for the low, low price of $800? Nah. Me neither.

Well I'm sure I'll think of something because being from the Boston area, there is really no excuse to miss it this year. Besides, I think I volunteered to line up some museum field trips for other OBloggers.

I'm already pretty darn excited!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday At Our House

This is what it looks like outside our house right now.



And it doesn't show signs of stopping (but it does show signs of tree damage from the recent ice storm - and man! those downed limbs are heavy).

But this is what it looks like inside.

The unbidden reading of the History At Our House notes by the 10 year-old to her father who is busy with holiday baking.

Life is good.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Day!


This is my daughter's white board version of a snow day (the overlapping snow overloaded in the center is due to my attempt to fill in where the flash left a bright white circle - she took the picture and erased it before I could try to take one without the flash). She assures me that Sally, on the left, is not a nun, but rather likes to wear all black. I particularly enjoy the snow angel. Can you tell who made it? I'll give you a hint: follow the snow tracks.

Happy Snow Day from Massachusetts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

12-Hour Speed Visit to NYC at Christmas Time

Having just come home from a whirlwind tour of a small bit of Manhattan at Christmas time with my husband and daughters, ages 10 and 15, I have accumulated and would like to share with you the following bits of wisdom.

Don’t:
1) Bring anyone under 14 (Could also be read as “Don’t bring anyone whose legs are not at least as long as yours, who thinks she needs to eat every 40 minutes, or thinks that the Harajuku Lovers solid perfume tops are the height of holiday fun”.) All right – you can bring them as sharing NYC with your kids is half the fun, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

2) Show up at Rockefeller Center and expect to get on the ice. If you want to skate at Rockefeller Center, get in line by 8:00AM for the 10:00 session. Sure, this endeavor blows over 1/3 of your time budget, but it is one of the quintessential New York experiences (which we didn’t have).

3) Stand in a cordoned-off line around the corner from any department store to see the windows. This will eat up an inordinate amount of your time and the payoff is zilch. You can see about as much as you need to from the regular part of the sidewalk.

4) Eat in established or chain restaurants. They don’t try hard enough to make the customers happy – though don’t discount McDonald’s which is amazingly consistent, expedient, and inexpensive (memory from last time) when those things are a priority.

Do:

1) Remember to wear light layers – the temperature may vary wildly from packed stores (inside Macy’s approximately 97 degrees F) to the windswept concrete canyons (approximately 13 degrees F).

2) Go to the top of the Empire State Building. It’s worth the time and money, particularly if you’ve never seen the views. Unfortunately the gorgeous interiors of the lobby are under restoration right now – but do try to walk around in there when they have been restored. The Art Deco plaques, ceiling, and general design are simply fabulous!

3) Do try to see the Bergdorf Goodman windows – very cool.

4) Take lots of pictures, particularly of the streets and places you’ve heard of and possibly sung about!

5) Do pay for the hansom cab ride through Central Park. Yes, it is for tourists, but, lest you forget - you are a tourist. It gives you an opportunity to rest, recombobulate, and take in the sites of the surrounding city listening to the clop-clop-clop of the hoof beats.

6) Be sensitive to the likely confusion of any old women who may be around when you attempt to replicate some silly fun with revolving doors or escalators as in the movie Elf. (You should also warn those in your party that you are likely to do either of these at any opportunity as well.)

7) Remember to warm-up before trying the escalator stunt mentioned above – a pulled groin muscle will hamper the rest of your fun.

8) Bring a map. NYC is quite easy to get around, but if you have a map, you can make the best strategic plan.

9) Make a strategic plan. Sure, you can let Seredipity be your guide, or you can be a Tourist on a Mission and make the most of your limited time.

10) Remember to wear your mink coat if you have one. All the fine ladies who lunch were wearing theirs and my daughters were trés impressed by this profusion of fur.

Things for Next Time (or Other Things I Meant to Do):

1) Visit the permanent exhibits at the Museum of Natural History.
2) Buy a Michael Kors pony hair knock-off.
3) Have Breakfast at Tiffany’s (which is to say, eat a croissant while looking in the windows just because I can).
4) Eat at Craft (love Tom).
5) Visit the Frick.
6) See Wicked (did that 3 years ago – am ready to do it again, particularly with my Wicked score loving 10 year old).
7) Visit the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
8) Find Mood Designer Fabric store and buy some fabric for girls’ dresses (the patterns for which they will get for Christmas).
9) Find the Atlas building that the designers of Project Runway live in (cool looking building).
10) Go to all the museums.

There are only so many hours in a 12 hour day (12, to be precise) so plan to go back.

I certainly have.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Lily

This is Lily decorating her Christmas tree.

I'm not sure what all this is about, but my youngest daughter has taken to drawing an entire town/mall/park/Christmas scene with recurring characters on the white board every day. I find her use of the limited dry erase marker colors interesting (I "yellowed" the star on the tree at her request). At least Lily looks happier here than when her posters weren't selling.

A Good Pruning

As CEO owner of a failing damaged company property, I got together with a few of my competitors neighbors and appealed to Congress the Board of Selectmen for a financial bailout handout. Showing both our solidarity and sensitivity to the environment, of course we drove our electric cars walked to the Capitol Town Hall before we requested the funds necessary to fix our companies properties.

After much discussion, we determined that $75 billion $200,000 ought to provide us with the necessary funding to clear the hurdles of the tough economic times weather. Rather than learning better management pruning practices from the current situation, we will use this money specifically to continue our currently inefficient business model duct tape the weak and fragile limbs back on.

After all, these are American cars trees. We must protect their manufacture growth at all costs.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Iceman Cometh

And he taketh away our telephone, internet, cable, and electricity... but not our library privileges!

Hope to be back soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Free Market Reality


What it lacks in grammatical correctness, it more than makes up for in simple understanding.

It does beg the question: why is she still wearing a skirt? Because she can (and because she hasn't purchased any pants yet - so I've been told).

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!



Just thought you'd want to know.

The Encouragement of Literature, etc.

Wisdom, and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people.

So says the Chapter 2, section 5 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts adopted on June 16th, 1780. From this brief statement (actually, one quite-long sentence as is the style of legal ease and parathetical personal comments) we arrive at the now bloated, bleeding (as in pouring out money, not necessarily a reflection of the teaching institutions churning out those liberal hearts), and broken system of public education in our state.

Industry and frugality? Yeah, right. Has anyone received a list of things that students must have in high school these days? TI-84 graphing calculators ($150-200) are all the rage. Screw knowing how to develop and envision the graph of a line in your head - just follow the calculator instructions and go! Using tools, which should take about 4 minutes to learn, has replaced the knowledge required to build new ones. And most disgustingly, personal industry has given way to community service.

I think they left out the inculcation of environmentalism, altruism, collectivism, and the complete overriding of personal judgement in the lower grades (everyone must be included).

Most importantly, however, this 228 year-old sentiment has warped from cherishing literature and science education in order to have a wise and knowledgable citizenry who will, in turn, be able to uphold our rights and liberties, into funding with individuals' tax dollars, institutionalized, one-size fits all, good citizenship education which will, in turn, guarantee future in-kind expectations and the self-feeding and incessant growth of the monster.

Grrrr.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Espalier

Today's A Word A Day is espalier. Beside being a famous restaurant in Boston, espalier is the technique of flat tree growing.

At first glance this might strike you as alternatively beautiful and crazy, but it made perfect sense inside a medieval courtyard when light was good, but space was limited. Because this maximizes sunlight on the branches, this manipulation is also a way to grow fruit trees in cooler climates where they would not normally grow.

I think it's beautiful, and unlike topiaries, has a more than just decorative purpose.

More information about the trees, shrubs, vines, and patterns of espalier can be found here.





Sunday, December 7, 2008

Virtual Christmas Cards.




These are the cards I would send out if I hadn't already sent out all of my cards and newsletters in a fit of efficiency last week.


I just love that Anne Taintor.










The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing

These are just a few of the men who are able to convey utter joy through dancing and whom I find highly entertaining.

Danny Kaye, seen here in one of my favorite songs from White Christmas (in which he and the lovely Vera-Ellen really define the art of pole dancing) is just plain wonderful. His few lines delivered after the dance are hilarious. I love watching him on screen.



Though a little younger than Kaye, Donald O’Connor was to play the role of Phil Davis in White Christmas, but in another bit of irony, fell ill due to a disease from the mule, of Francis, the Talking Mule fame. I’ve linked to a previous post about the sheer happiness his tap dance as part of “Good Morning” team from Singing in the Rain brings. Yes, Gene Kelly is awesome, but Donald is awesome AND hilarious.

And finally, Dick Van Dyke, whose dancing talents were somewhat lost on me in my youth (despite being a big fan of The Dick Van Dyke Show), but whose recent jig at the end of Night at the Museum renewed my interested in his abilities and sparked a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang evening at my house. I couldn’t find his bit in Night at the Museum, so instead, I hope you enjoy the following new-to-me clip combining Dick Van Dyke, the incomparable Mary Tyler Moore, Christmas, and dancing!




And, as if this weren’t enough joy to sustain one for an afternoon, I leave you with this extra bit of delight: Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian is expected to be out May 22, 2009, starring most of the original cast (including Dick Van Dyke) and starring Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart, no less!

Blogging: As Easy as 1,2,3

First, it's snowing. Eeeeeee!



(Someday, I'm going to post on the absolute joy that comes from watching Danny Kaye, Donald O'Connor, and Dick Van Dyke. Maybe even later today.)

Secondly, for health reasons, I'm contemplating the idea of fasting and the effects of Vitamin D. That's all. No decisions. It's really no more than contemplation at this point. [File under irony: as I am writing about diet and health, my darling husband has brought a lovely grilled cheese on fresh Italian bread to my bedside. Perhaps I need to be comtemplating these things out loud.]

And lastly, I haven't been blogging because I've had relatively little to share. I've been going about the business of being me, and I have gone into hibernation-prep mode (loading up on the essentials, not to mention the non-essentials like chocolate and pie, and now, grilled cheese sandwiches, which may have much more to do with my lack of blogging than I am willing to herein admit). But, I have been reading, trying to keep up with the wit and wisdom of my bloggy friends, and making comments hither and yon (maybe yawn is more appropriate here, for when I'm preparing for hibernation, my mind struggles to make connections beyond the cold of winter and the warmth of sharing the holidays with my husband and children).

I will be back in full swing when the inspiration or desire to share more strikes me. Maybe this practice is just the jumpstart I need.

In the meantime, I'd like to direct you to my friend Fiddler's blog which is consistent in presenting the joy of music and poetry. Enjoy!