Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Say What?

Eduardo Gold, a 2009 winner in the World Bank’s “100 Ideas to Save the Planet” competition is whitewashing a mountain peak with three of his friends. Yep. Seriously.

No, this is not a ploy to create a paint shortage in order to raise prices. The premise is that global warming is causing glaciers to melt. Peru used to be home for twenty-two percent of all tropical glaciers one of which was on the Chalon Sombrero peak.

The premise is that whitewashing the mountain will reflect solar heat back into space thus allowing the glacier to re-grow. Peru’s climate change chief decided to allow the project to proceed because it’s relatively inexpensive and environmentally friendly.

Um okay but I have questions. Wouldn’t the glacier that melted have been relatively white or light colored to begin with? Not to mention cold? Shouldn’t it have been able to deflect enough heat all by itself, thereby not melting into extinction? How is painting the rocks going to work better than an existing field of ice?

Let’s take it a step further. If it does work, will each and every non-snow covered mountain peak be painted in a worldwide effort to put an end to global warming? Should we all go out and paint our roofs too? Go back to cement highways and parking lots instead of macadam?

One more thought. Who’s making the paint? What happens if it comes from China and is recalled because it’s not as environmentally safe as originally claimed?

Note: I’d like to thank Jimmy Ray and Missy Davis for providing the topic of today’s ramble on last night’s Wordmachinist Live Poetry Show. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go here and find out.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Let's Review

You dial the phone, making a call to a company, not your best bud. Someone answers, offering the standard greeting of good afternoon followed by the company name.

Do you:

a. Start out by asking “Who’s this?” before you say anything else?

b. Ask “Is this [insert company name that was just included in the greeting you heard]”?

c. Completely ignore the person who answered and continue to carrying on the conversation you were having with the person standing next to you?

d. Bark out the name of the individual with whom you wish to speak, saying absolutely nothing else?

e. Begin a conversation immediately as if you’re speaking with someone you know intimately and not the perfect stranger who answered?

f. Ask the person who answered to take off their shoes?

You venture into a business for the specific purpose of obtaining employment there.

Do you:

a. Chat loudly on your cell phone, answering several calls while requesting the application?

b. Bring along two of your friends and have a very personal conversation while filling out the application?

c. Ask the individual who handed you the application whom you’ve never encountered before in your entire life to be a reference for you?

d. Bring small children with you and allow them to scream, cry, spill sodas, drop candy/food on the floor, and/or run around the office, ignoring them the length of time it takes you to fill out the application?

e. Wear your swimming suit with a less than adequate cover over it?

f. Tell the individual who handed you the application your unabridged life story even though they are obviously busy performing their required job duties?

The good news – I didn’t hurt anyone today even though it’s still hot, I still haven’t slept and I’m still grumpy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I Am Grumpy

Seriously grumpy. From the heat. It’s been in the 90’s with humidity for days. The radio people keep saying storms are imminent but they never materialize. That makes me grumpy too. I like storms. They shouldn’t promise things they can’t deliver. Yeah, I know. Predicting thunderstorms on days like this has pretty good odds of happening but not always so they should word it differently.

Hmm, I wonder if I could find some sleazy lawyer who could sue the weather bureau for me for generating false hopes. If I won, I could maybe have air conditioning in my house. So I could sleep. And then I might not be as grumpy as I am. Or I could sue them for lots and lots and move someplace where it doesn’t get this hot. I could stand to go outside then. That would help with the grumpiness factor too. And I could cuddle Beau without feeling like I’m going to suffocate. How can one little 2½ pound mini cat generate so much heat?

I whistled Jingle Bells a few times this afternoon, trying to convince myself it wasn’t as hot as it is. Didn’t help. But it did make people wonder which I don’t see as a bad thing. Of course I tend to do that without even trying. Ooh, maybe I should try. Can you imagine how bad I could be with a little effort?

The vacuum and I had a Nike moment Saturday. No, not that kind of Nike moment. Sheesh. With a vacuum cleaner? Really? That’s a bit twisted, even for me. Anyway, as I was saying before your minds drifted into the gutter, the vacuum and I tousled and I won. I decided it was entirely useless, clogged as it was, and would need to be replaced anyway so there would be no harm in my taking it apart. So I took out all the screws I could find, with Beau’s assistance, and got a six inch solid plug of Quinn fur out of the internal tube leading to the collection basket. Major design flaw having an elbow in it like it does. But I dug it out and managed to get the thing back together, with only one screw left over and now it’s working just fine again. Ha!

Stay cool and send any and all storms my way.

Note: Receiving one of the pins in the picture above would go a long way to improving my mood too. Hint, hint, hint.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I Give Up

It’s way too hot for the third day in a row and predicted to be even hotter over the weekend.

My land line phone is screwed up which is messing with my internet.

My cell phone is fluky.

My vacuum cleaner is irreparably clogged.

Quinn’s mega-fur is starting to get matted, that which hasn’t fallen out to clog my vacuum, and he attempts to bite me when I try to help. If he doesn’t let me brush him soon I’ll eventually need to take him to the vet and get his back shaved which will involve major tranquillizers.

Just about everyone whose I crossed paths with today was being influenced by tomorrow’s full moon.

I could go on and on but I won’t. I’m sure you have enough issues of your own and don’t need to hear about mine too. Unless I write them all into a county song. Hmm, might be easier to accomplish that the book I'm working on since the characters apparently hate me again. Maybe they're having full moonitis too.

I’m going into hiding until things are better. Happy weekend.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thank You Kindly

As you know, I disconnected my TV provider a few months ago. Nope, don’t miss it one bit. For the past several weeks whenever I felt the need for mindless entertainment I’ve been rewatching Due South. Ever see it? If not, I recommend it.

The premise – a Mounty trailed the killer of his father to Chicago and ended up staying on at the Canadian Consulate, becoming a liaison with the Chicago police. There’s enough action in each episode to keep it interesting, humor in the form of Diefenbaker, an opinionated deaf wolf who’s addicted to junk food, and the ghost of the dead father who hands out crime-solving advice. The Mounty is beyond honorable and polite, meticulous, and full of stories about growing up in the Northwest Territories which drives the Chicago cop crazy at times.

All in all it’s a decent show and I’m disappointed to be on the last episode. I wish there had been more than three seasons. But I am happy to report that the last episode ties everything up nicely instead of just ending with all sorts of questions hanging out there.

Anybody have a suggestion for what series I should get to watch next?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In the News

McDonald’s may be sued for making kids fat by marketing the toys contained in Happy Meals. The claim is that McDonald’s advertising is turning the nation’s kids into an army of word of mouth drones who nag their parents ceaselessly until they give in and buy them Happy Meals so they can have the toys. McDonald’s disagrees. Yes, they do use the toys as a marketing device but Happy Meals have small portions with healthy options so it’s not their fault if your kid is fat.

A man in Cuba was released from prison after a year for buying cement on the black market to be used in a construction project. He’s being permitted to serve out the last four months at home. He was convicted when most are released with a slap on the wrist and a fine because the Cuban government wanted to silence his criticism of them.

Fifteen people were convicted in Saudi Arabia for mingling with unrelated members of the opposite sex. The adults received one to two years of jail time plus an unspecified number of lashes. The minor involved got 80 lashes, no time served. Saudi Arabia interprets Islamic laws very strictly.

San Francisco passed a law requiring cell phone retailers to post the amount of radiation emitted by each model. Around the same time the results of a study were released in the UK stating that living close to cell towers while pregnant has no impact on the occurrence of cancer in children. They estimate that the radiation from towers for a full day is equivalent to 30 minutes cell phone usage.

And one final thing – According to the UN who issues an annual report on such things, Peru’s coca crop grew for the fourth straight year coming closer to knocking Columbia out of the top producer spot. Coca is the bush from which the raw material to make cocaine is obtained.

Yeah, this is why I don’t usually read the paper.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Prayer

Standing in the deluge
Soaking up the rain
Rivulets from the cloud burst
Wash away my pain.

Screaming out my hurt
Lightning flashes near me
Oh the injustice
God of Thunder, hear me.

Please All Powerful One
Take me from this piteous life
Save me from the loathing
Amidst this artificial strife.

Whisk me away to tempestuous shores
Some locale where nature abounds
A place without this industrial stench
Societal chains, mechanical sounds.

Give me peace, please let me soar
Pleading for just one good day
God of Thunder
To Thee for this I pray.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm Old

Yesterday was my great aunt’s birthday. She’s 94, still living on her own, still taking on the world. Amazing. I don’t know how she does it. Unfortunately there was no cake but we did go out for a very nice lunch at Olive Garden, her choice.

We were chatting and she told me how she remembers electricity being installed in her house when she was a child. She remembers life before central heating, getting the first coal furnace then switching over to oil. Heating water on the stove for her bath. Can you imagine all the other things that have changed in her lifetime?

Talking to her made me wonder what else will change for me. I remember getting the first color TV to watch the five channels we got, six depending on the weather. I remember replacing our rotary telephone with a push button one. Arcades without digital games. What a big deal Polaroid cameras were. Manual car windows. Not needing to dial the area code when you're calling within it. Life without computers and cell phones.

How about you? What’s the biggest new thing you’ve experienced?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Go Read This

A very brilliant friend of mine wrote something to make us all think. You really need to read this. Seriously, it's important.


Once, I had a friend

And it was amazing
I could be wholly, truly, entirely me

Without boundaries
Without fear
Without censure

I was defenseless

But it was okay
It was good
Better than good

Happy or sad
Silly or serious
Brave or scared
Weak or strong

All of me was accepted

Until the day it changed

And my friend was my friend no more

My moods – grated
My presence – annoyed
My ideas – spurned

My happiness withered
Disappeared with the forbidden treasure of friendship

Personality reined in
Thoughts contained
Humor hidden

Back behind the walls


Yes, I had a friend


Thursday, June 17, 2010


Where’d it go? No, I don’t mean we’re all being taxed to death or prices are sky rocketing so we don’t have any left. I’m asking literally what is happening to all of it that used to float around out there.

I don’t know about where you are but I’m seeing less and less actual cash money exchange hands in the places I go. Everyone is using cards, making a simple purchase of a $1.65 cup of coffee take forever. Especially when the woman in question had to stand at the counter, blocking everyone behind her as she pulled out her checkbook and recorded the transaction. Hey, maybe we could add an express line for people who still operate on a cash basis.

As I see it, there must be oodles and oodles of bills piling up somewhere. I have a solution for this growing problem. I’d like to offer my house as a supplemental storage facility to alleviate the overcrowding as I’m sure is occurring. I promise to take very good care of it. I will recycle it back into the universe at a steady rate, thereby ensuring that I never run out of space. Seriously, you can trust me to do this for you on an on-going basis. I won’t get bored and abandon the task in a month or two, should the responsibility be entrusted to me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Want!

SWAT boots. Yeah, I really do.

I was flipping through a catalog for outfitting criminal justice personnel today and came across the footwear section. Several different styles are seriously cute and now I think I have to have at least one pair. Hmm, probably two, one black and one khaki.

What? You don’t think professional SWAT people choose their footwear based on the cuteness factor. I think you’re wrong. I read the blurbs and all the offerings seemed to have the same basic functionality – slip-resistant soles, non-metal supports so you don’t set off metal detectors, pathogen blocking, durability, flexibility for streets or uneven ground. So what’s left? Mm hmm, how cute they are.

I was highly disappointed however. The pair I liked best didn’t come small enough for me. What’s up with that? There are female SWAT team members. The manufacturer needs to get with it and offer smaller sizes too. Why should guys be the only ones who get the niftiest shoes?

I’m not kidding. They may even be cute enough to forego the constant wearing of my crocs, though not entirely. Oh by the way, my birthday’s coming up. If you don’t know what else to get me…

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Lost in the void
Trapped in a sea of nothing
No beginnings
No endings
A never-ending spiral through the blankness
Not really day though not really night
Indeterminate sameness
Time lost all meaning long ago
Or was it just yesterday?
No sense of color
Feeling nothing but blah
Living in limbo
Dying in limbo
Listening to the emptiness
Until there is not even the nothingness left to drift through

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Weekend

All those choices of things to do last weekend and I did none of them.

Instead I went to the greenhouse to collect some flowers. I walked in the door to find a bunch of ducks playing under one of the tables. Typical mallards and tame as can be. They walked along with me for a bit, checking out the flowers, helping me to choose until they were distracted by their wading pool.

As I was leaving, I asked their story. They were a gift to the owner’s granddaughter as Easter peeps but her mom wasn’t in favor of keeping them. For their protection, they lived in the greenhouse until they grew a bit, with the intention of releasing them at the nearby stream with the wild ducks. They’ve done so several times but each time they’ve returned within ten minutes. The greenhouse doors are left ajar while they are open for business so the ducks could leave if they chose to but it seems they prefer to stay.

I ended up with petunias in pinks and purples which I then took and planted in a yard not my own. Yeah, I’m at it again. My yard has been taken over by damn strawberry plants. I have no space left for flowers so I have to plant them elsewhere to enjoy.

Another stop I made was the yarn shop. Very deceptive place it is. The air conditioning there is on really high, I’m sure to help inspire customers to knit. There are so many pretty yarns to choose from but I already had something specific in mind for my next project. Still, it didn’t prevent me from wandering around and touching everything to see what I might want to use after that one’s finished.

I also took Beau for his first round of kitten shots. He’s nearly doubled in size, up to almost two whole pounds! He, of course, thinks he’s all grown up. He’s too old to hang out and play with me like he was doing. These days he spends his time with the big cats, ignoring me. Well, except when he annoys them too much and they put him in his place. Then he comes running to curl up on my shoulder again.

Do anything interesting?

Friday, June 11, 2010


Reading sure is hopping these days. I don’t know how the people here manage to contain the excitement. There’s so much to do these next few weekends I don’t know how we’ll fit it all in.

Tonight – Out to the local strip club to see the woman who tempted Jesse away from Sandra. No need to say more on this one, is there?

Tomorrow – The Flying Circus Air Show at the airfield in the metropolis of Bethel. (For those of you unfamiliar with the area Bethel is a bit northwest of Reading. Be very careful if you’re heading that way. Blink and you’ll miss it.) Anyway, this is a real 1920’s style air show complete with barnstorming aerobatics and biplane rides. An all day event. The show’s at 2:00, rides before and after.

If that doesn’t interest you, Boyertown Fun Days are going on at the other end of the county. Pig races at 11:00. A twirling demonstration at noon. A second twirling demonstration by a different organization at 2:00. Martial arts demos at 5:00 and 6:00. And if you’re hungry there’s a late afternoon pig roast. It doesn’t specify but I suspect that’s how they motivate the pigs to race, by telling them that the losers will become dinner.

In the evening, it’s back to Al’s for a second performance by Ms. McGee.

If you make it through this weekend, next weekend there’s a chili cook-off at the local tobacco shop. While you’re waiting to judge that, you can participate in the Longest Ash competition. Their ad says to come out to enjoy the sights and sounds of the battle. Um, you’ll have to figure out what exactly that one means for yourself since I can’t tell if they’re referring to the ash thing or the chili.

At the same time, Danny Bonaduce is Appearing Live! (let’s hope so) at a local car dealership. I know it might be too much for some but I recommend checking out the set up for the cooking, running out to meet Danny and then racing back to do some chili sampling as you let your cigar burn away.

Reading – the entertainment capital of the universe. Aren’t I just so lucky to live here?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June 10

Today would have been my father’s 81st birthday.

He died years ago, leaving so many questions unasked, so many explanations untendered. There are things I’ll never know but still really need to.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I’m out of em.

Sorts were originally used as the name for blocks of letters used in typesetting. Being out of them was clearly not a good thing if you were intending to print something.

Yeah, I’m out of that kind too.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Lately I’ve found myself doing Sudoku puzzles. The methodical logic required seems to still the rampant mind bounce that’s been going on far too frequently. I know. Funny, isn’t it? Me being deliberately logical.

The objective, in case you live in a cave, is to use every number, 1 through 9 without repeating that number in any column, row, or 3 X 3 square within the 9 X 9 grid. Simple, right? Well, yeah, sometimes it is. And sometimes I make such a disastrous mess of it that there’s no possibility of it will ever coming out right.

But the point isn’t really to complete the puzzle. For me, it’s more to take a moment and squelch all the noise going on within my head. As much as I’m able to anyway. It reorganizes me and makes me able to concentrate again. Until the next bizarre thought flits through my mind and it’s off and running again.

What do you do when your imagination refuses to quit and needs to be toned down a bit?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Now You Know

Mozzarella cheese. Nummy, right? Perfect with just about everything. But do you know where it comes from? There are several theories but here’s the one I like best.

If you’re thinking Italy you would be wrong. Not originally anyway, though the Romans are very involved in its history. Two thousand years ago, the Roman Empire was extensive. One of the conquered regions was Egypt. At the time, Julius Caesar sent Anthony to oversee the conquest.

As legend goes, Anthony fell in love with Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. They supposedly spent hours cruising the Nile on barges pulled by water buffalo, feasting on cheese made from the milk of these animals. Soon the cheese, dubbed mozzarella, became associated with the passion the pair shared.

Anthony enjoyed it so much, he sent water buffalo and instructions on how to make the cheese back to Rome as a gift for Caesar. It was a huge hit which led to water buffalo being bred in Italy in order to make enough cheese for the populous. Over time, mozzarella was attributed to Italy and could not be duplicated anywhere.

Most mozzarella is now made from cow’s milk worldwide instead of the traditional water buffalo milk. Even so, there is no comparison to the delicate flavor of fresh mozzarella. And no, that stuff that comes shredded in bags at all grocery stores really doesn’t count.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I am objectionable. According to Classmatesdotcom that is. Repeatedly, they send out emails urging me to post what I’m doing now. So I did. Due to the confidential nature of my day job I can’t really say much other than I work at a halfway house. Only now, after years on the Classmates site, it seems my other job as a published author is unacceptable to mention.

Over time, I’ve posted pictures of my book covers. Again, at the request of the site propaganda. “Let your friends see what you’re doing.” Well what I’m doing is writing erotic romances and the covers are my way of showing people. They also encourage members to post bulletins of what’s new in their lives. In my case that means book releases.

Yesterday, I went to add my newest book, Second Act, since I now have a cover and a release day, July 2nd. I logged on, only to find that all my photos and announcements are hidden due to “objectionable” content. I haven’t posted excerpts or even blurbs as I was sure that would have caused too much of a stir. Nor have I posted information on either my or the publishers’ websites for people to learn more since that is definitely against their rules. All I shared were covers which yes, are suggestive but there is no true nudity, no exposed parts.

So what Classmates really wants to know about are the nice, pleasant little mundane things and not anything that is remotely interesting or out of their comfort zone. Bully for them. I refuse to apologize for what I do. In fact, I’m damn proud of myself for accomplishing what I have. If anyone wants to sneer at me for it I suggest you give it a try. Go on. Write your own erotic romance novel, submit it to the foremost publisher in that genre and get your manuscript accepted. Once you do, let me know when your book is coming out. I’ll post all the pertinent info here for everyone to see.

As for Classmates, as soon as I figure out how, I will be removing my profile from their discriminatory site entirely. I will not be associated with any organization that exhibits such blatant censorship. Let someone else be treated as their redheaded stepchild. I’m done.

Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's That Time Again

This Friday through Sunday there’s a huge gathering at the Reading Airport, the twentieth annual WWII Weekend. Expected attendance –25,000 plus 1800 re-enactors. The first year there were only 1000 people total. Quite a difference!

The focus this year is on a complete immersion into the time period. There will be a re-created French village that will host several skirmishes along with encampments styled on each of the European, Mediterranean and Pacific theaters. They even go so far as to bring in bamboo so there’s the proper foliage. On Saturday and Sunday there’s a huge frontline battle scheduled at 3:00.

Re-enactors spend the entire weekend in character, some of whom are going to be sharing period stories near the hanger displays. In addition to the camps and battles, there is also a home front area, including a 1940’s department store which will be open for business. In the evenings there’s a special dinner followed by dancing.

Ooh, I almost forgot to mention the planes. Reportedly, more than ever are coming in this year, making the event the largest of its kind in the country. There will be many fly-bys throughout the weekend, some of which you can purchase tickets for and actually ride along, as well as planes open on the ground to poke around in.

Carrying the theme one step farther, the summer’s MidDay Café in downtown Reading will kick off Friday from 11:30 to 1:30. It’s scheduled to be a D-Day celebration complete with a restored vehicle convoy, B-25’s overhead, period music and food from local restaurants. Hmm, I’m only two blocks from that, perhaps I’ll wander over.

Admission to the MidDay Café is free. Gates at the airport open daily at 8:30 a.m. and there is a three-day pass available for a reduced fee. For complete information, go here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mission Accomplished!

You may remember me mentioning that I’d undertaken a knitting project – an Aran knit sweater with different center panels on the front and back. Well, last weekend I finished assembling it and did the neck. It’s all done and I’m very pleased with the result.

I’m also extremely proud of myself since I had little idea what I was doing when I began. I’d never made any sort of cable or popcorn before and I can now do both. Intricate, double cables in addition to simple ones. I also picked up stitches to form the neck, something else I hadn’t attempted before. Overall, it’s damn impressive even if I do say so myself.

Tomorrow, I’m off to show the ladies at the yarn shop whose belief in my ability to have this come out anything close to resembling a sweater was questionable at best. I think while I’m there I’ll pick up yarn for another project. There’s a second sweater in the pattern book I used that’s just stunning and I know someone it would look lovely on. If I work at it I might have it finished in time for Christmas which is when I’m giving away the first one even though the recipient already knows of its existence.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Today is Bixby’s birthday. He’s nineteen. Nineteen! He had so many problems the first two years of his life I had serious doubts that he’d make it to his third year let alone his nineteenth. But here he is. Ruling the house, keeping the rest of the fur babies in line, commandeering whatever sleeping spot he chooses at any given moment.

Bix has never been what you’d call an affectionate kitty. Not with people anyway. He adored Igor, one of the older resident cats from the day he moved in. They were instantly inseparable even though I brought home Bixby’s littermate along with him. It’s only the past few years, since Igor died, that Bix has begun to tolerate attention from me. And I think that’s only because I followed him around for months as he stomped up and down the stairs, searching the house for his buddy, Igor, after he was gone. When he eventually tired and sat still he’d lean against me and let him pet him, giving me that sad kitty look the whole time. It was a very long couple of months and again, I wasn’t sure Bix would survive it. He’d lost his bestest pal and he was beyond depressed. Yes, cats do stomp and yes, they do get depressed. Over the years he’s seen other kitties come and go but none have held a spot in Bix’s heart like Igor did.

Beau, the latest addition to the bunch, is providing Bixby with endless hours of entertainment. I swear he sits beside me, rolling his eyes and laughing Beau’s kitten antics. It only took one swat and a half a growl to make Beau understand he was not to pounce on any part of Bix. I wonder if I could convince him to explain that my toes are off limits too.

Anyway, it’s kitty birthday today. Join the celebration. Tuna for all!