Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Why do we celebrate it?

(Alice and John Finn on the day he received his Medal of Honor)

Because of people like John Finn.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Kitchen Update

Most of my kitchen, including the stove and the refrigerator, is now in the living and dining rooms. One more cabinet is gone and all that remains of the shelves on the east wall are ghostly outlines. All the walls were prepped and cleaned yesterday. Next step is new paint.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

AAah, Chooo!

"Every season can be allergy season, depending on what you are allergic to.."- Clara Chung

I used to wake up at 4 A.M. and start sneezing, sometimes for five hours. I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness.”- James Thurber

The difference between an itch and an allergy is about one hundred bucks.”-Unknown

"Genetics plays a big role in allergies." - Shari

"Asthma doesn’t seem to bother me any more unless I’m around cigars or dogs. The thing that would bother me most would be a dog smoking a cigar." - Steve Allen

"Under human-induced climate change we expect higher wind speeds and more frequent storms will move pollen and seeds even farther from the source."- Unknown

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Storm Angel

(This photo was supposed to be yesterday's post but I seem to have hit SAVE NOW instead of PUBLISH POST when I set it up. Still, you can't keep a good image down.)

The kitchen remodel has picked up speed with the arrival of the new dishwasher and microwave range. Today we remove shelves and another cabinet so the walls can be textured and painted. Next step putting up the new cabinets.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Riders Of The Storm

Ran the dogs up at the cemetery last night and watched as a large storm moved into the area. The wind brought the smell of rain with it but we made it almost home before the storm really cranked up. My husband checked the weather and NOAA had issued a tornado warning for our county advising everyone to head for their basements. Twelve minutes later the town's tornado siren started blaring. Whoever is in charge of it needs to react more quickly, if a tornado had be heading for the town the siren would have been wailing after the fact.

My husband and I debated whether we should sleep in the basement for the night just to be safe but after checking NOAA again we decided it would be alright to sleep upstairs. I had the futon made up already since we slept in the basement Saturday night to get away from the extreme (90 degrees Fahrenheit/ 32.22 degrees Celsius) heat. We are at that time of year where it is too soon to put up the awnings because of the high winds and too soon to put in the air conditioner because of the quick changes in temperatures. Add to this the tornadoes that can grow out of these violent weather changes and you can see why I am leaving the futon in bed mode for the next week or two.

The tornado was expected to passed about four miles east of town which put it over a tiny town that is really just a crossroad at this point but still has a few houses, a grain elevator, and two other business. I will find out later this morning if anyone or anything got caught in it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Making The E-mail Rounds

Little Known Fact:

The first testicular guard, the "Cup", was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974.

That means it took only 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rainy Days Always Get Me Down

Talkin' to myself and feelin' old
Sometimes I'd like to quit
Nothing ever seems to fit

Hangin' around, nothing to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothin' is really wrong
Feelin' like I don't belong

Walkin' around, some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Funny but it seems I always wind up here with you
Nice to know somebody loves me

Funny, but it seems that it's the only thing to do
Run and find the one who loves me

What I feel has come and gone before
No need to talk it out
We know what it's all about

Hangin' around nothing to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Funny, but it seems that it's the only thing to do
Run and find the one who loves me

What I feel has come and gone before
No need to talk it out
We know what it's all about

Hangin' around nothing to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down
Hangin' around nothing to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Karen Carpenter's haunting voice always makes me feel better. I don't know why but it does.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fallen Angel 2

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fallen Angel

Update: 8:49 AM, May 19, 2010
I have a request in the comments for the story behind this image so here goes. This angel appeared up at the cemetery a few days ago. She was cocooned in plastic wrap but the strong wind over the last couple of days has shredded the plastic. She is life size and made of cast iron. She will be placed on a stone base but is awaiting the pouring of the concert pad on which the base will sit.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kitchen Update

"It's always something.
-Roseanne Roseannadanna

My husband, being the engineer that he is, decided to measure just where on the wall the new cabinets would hang. After doing so he realized that all the electrical outlets on said wall were placed too high and would have to be dropped down at least a couple of inches. This meant removing the back splash that ran the length of the wall and that is when things got a little frustrating.

First he removed the strip of decorative wood that sat above the back splash. Then he tried to peel the sections of Formica that made up the back splash off the wall. No good, the Formica was glued to the drywall. Next he got his Sawzall and cut a line across the wall right at the top edge of the Formica. This is when he found out the Formica hadn't been glued to the drywall, it had been glued to a piece of plywood that had been attached to the drywall. He got a crowbar and started prying the drywall off the joists, still hoping to take the back splash off in one piece. No good, so he took the Sawzall and started sawing the back splash into smaller sections and again used the crowbar to pull these sections off the joists. This is when he discovered that the drywall had been attached to the joists with nails and then the plywood attached through the drywall and into the joists with screws and, finally, the Formica glued over the plywood. Yep, someone had decided that screwing the plywood on to the wall and then covering the screws with Formica was was a great idea. I am sure it made his job easier but it sure made my husband's job harder.

When my husband finally removed the last section of drywall-plywood-Formica, nails and screws, he realized that if he cut the remaining drywall just above the outlet boxes it would make the job of lowering them a lot easier. We snapped a chalkline and he used his Sawzall to remove another section of drywall producing what you see below:

I've always thought the kitchen wall marked where the house originally ended and the insulation we found behind it proves it.

I kind of like this look and may just have a large piece of clear plastic put over the opening. When anyone questions it I will say it is a new style call modern-rustic.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Little Known Facts And Useless Information

According to May 2010 issue of Harper's Magazine:

-Percentage of Americans who support allowing "homosexuals" to serve in the military: 59*

-Percentage of Americans who support allowing "gay men and lesbians" to serve: 70**

-Number of cannonballs used in the Battle of the Alamo currently owned by singer Phil Collins: 18***

* & ** CBS News Poll (N.Y.C)
*** Phil Collins (Geneva)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Leap Of Faith

We have three neighborhood children, ages seven to eight, who like to come an play with our dogs. Last night they all came by and ran around the yard with Little Sally Pumpkinhead. After a bit they tired of that game and came up on the porch to play. I sort of kept an eye on them out the front door since they were crawling around on top of the three foot high brick wall that goes around the porch. When they were younger I would keep them off of it because it is about five feet off the ground and I worried they would accidentally fall off but now they are old enough to be careful or so I thought.

As I said, I was kind of keeping an eye on them while reading a book when an unusual movement caught my attention. Instead of the random horizontal motion that their moving round on the porch produced out of the corner of my eye I saw something move vertically. When I looked up one of the children was standing up on the edge of the twelve inch wide stone ledge that forms the top of the wall. He was facing the steps and at first I wasn't sure what he was doing. Then an instant before he leaped into space I realized what he was planning.

When I was five years old we lived in a hotel in the Panama Canal Zone that had a swimming pool. Each weekday while my father was at work my mother would take me and my siblings down to spend the day at the pool. My mother would sit with the other woman and we were pretty much left on our own to splash around in the water. What was amazing about this was the fact that even though our mother did not seem to be paying attention to us she always knew when we were in trouble or when we were about to do something stupid. I still remember the day my four year old brother climbed to the top of the ten foot diving board holding his swimming tube securely around his waist and then jumping off. It was something my mother allowed us to do and he had done it many time before but this time, for some reason know only to him, as he jumped he put his hands up over his head. He hit the water about 2 seconds before his tube did. I turned to look at my mother and she had already dived into the the water to pull him out.

I also "taught" myself to swim in that pool. I would hold on to the edge of the pool and inch round it until I was in water almost over my head and then put my feet up against its side. Letting go, I would push myself away from the wall with my feet. When my backward motion stopped I would dog paddle back to the edge of the pool. One day I decided I really could swim and walked down to the deep end of the pool took a few running steps and leaped into the air above the water. I leaped totally secure in the knowledge that I could swim. As my feet left the pool deck I head my mother scream, "Colleen, no!," and I knew I had made a big mistake.

I hit the water and preceded to drown. I was choking on the suffocating liquid that filled my throat and part of my brain wondered how far I would sink before I touched the bottom of the pool. Then a strong hand grabbed my left arm and started pulling me up and out of the water. It was my mother, she had saved my life. As I lay on the pool deck coughing up water I was furious with her. It was her fault I almost drown. If she hadn't yelled at me I would have been fine.

So in that instant before M____ took his leap of faith I understood how my mother felt when I made my leap of faith and I also understood how he was feeling. I kept my mouth shut knowing that if I yelled at him I would destroy his belief in his ability jump across the four foot span between him and the other side of the porch wall. He jumped out of my sight and I held my breath. I did not hear him land but I could see one of the other children and since she did not react with horror I knew he had made it to the other ledge. When my heart started beating again I said, ""M____, don't ever do that again."

I still could not see him but I heard him say in a small voice, "OK."

"M___, it was a great trick but don't ever do it again, you almost gave me a heart attack."

Small voice, "OK."

M___'s jump proves the Zen saying, Leap and the net will appear. I now realize my and my brother's leap also proved the same thing.

Now Shut-up And Go Away

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Hawaii state legislators have pass a law that allows the state Health Department to ignore those stupid requests from Birthers to see President Obama's birth certificate. The above CERTIFICATION OF LIVE BIRTH has been available online since 2008 when the Obama campaign first posted it but Birthers do not seem to understand that this is a legal record of birth and is considered the same as a "real" birth certificate.

I lost my "real" birth certificate, the one provided by the hospital where I was born, a long time ago and can only produce a copy of the New York state certificate of birth. I guess that proves I am not an American citizen either and that I should head back to the land where my father was born.

Illinois, here I come!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Never Make A Pretty Women Your Wife

I am still very busy this week so this is going to be another short and sweet post.

The other day I read this article in the Daily Telegraph reporting on a study done by the University of Valencia in Spain that suggests beautiful women are a danger to men's health. Well, well, well, Jimmy Soul was right:

If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

A pretty woman makes her husband look small
And very often causes his downfall
As soon as he marries her then she starts
To do the things that will break his heart.

But if you make an ugly woman your wife,
You'll be happy for the rest of your life,
An ugly woman cooks meals on time,
She'll always give you peace of mind.

If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

Don't let your friends say you have no taste,
Go ahead and marry anyway,
Though her face is ugly, her eyes don't match,
Take it from me she's a better catch.

If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

"Say man."

"Hey baby."

"I saw your wife the other day."


"Yeah, and she's ugly."

"Yeah, she's ugly but she sure can cook."

"Yeah, alright."

If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rings On His Toes And Other Parts

There is a man in his early sixties living in town who has facial piercings. When I first met him had just a few rings in both ears, both eyebrows, both lips and one ring in his nose. As the years passed he added more rings and small metal balls to his face. It was noticeable but not too shocking. This morning I ran into him at the post office and did my best not to let the shock I was feeling show on my face.

He now has so many piercings and so much metal on his face and ears that I no longer could really see what he looked like. He had rings completely encircling the outer rims of of both ears and large bead work earrings hanging from the upper part of each ear and both earlobes. His eyebrows were now two rows of tiny rings lined up closely together. His lips were circled with tiny metal balls. He had some kind of faux aboriginal markings on the skin that was still visible and when I glanced down to his hands I saw that they were also covered with the same kind of markings and that he had also painted his fingernails black. It was very hard for me to concentrate on what he was saying since his face was so distracting.

As he walked away I noticed he was wearing sandals and I could see that he had painted his toenails black and was wearing a ring on each one of his toes. I wondered if he also had a bellybutton ring or any piercings in his tongue. Then my mind leaped to a place I never thought it would go. "Oh God," I thought, "I hope I never see his penis."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lena Horne 1917-2010

My life has been about surviving. Along the way I also became an artist. It's been an interesting journey. One in which music became first my refuge and then my salvation.
-Lena Horne

I once had the great pleasure of seeing Lena Horne perform live at a supper club in Denver. RIP Miss Horne.

Los Angeles Time obit.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Hamlet T. Barry III

(Mike Keefe, Denver Post)

Chips, I still think passing the name Hamlet T. Barry down three generations was a cruel thing to do. Say "Hi" to my mom when you see her.

(Denver Post editorial about the passing of Chips Barry here.)

I'll Be Gone The Rest Of The Week

We started the kitchen remodel by taking down the drop ceiling. That big square open area in the second photo is where a big chuck of the old plaster ceiling fell a few months ago. It has been cleaned up and squared so that a piece of sheet rock can be put there.

The next two photos show the before and after in the hallway. You can see the line where the drop ceiling used to hang clearly in the second photo. We are going from a 7 foot ceiling to a 9 1/2 foot ceiling. Just getting rid of that drop ceiling makes the kitchen feel bigger.

They also ran an electrical line for the new dishwasher and rerouted the lights. I should have taken a photo of how the light fixture in the hallway was connected to the original kitchen light fixture (which was to the right and in front of that upper cabinet) by an electrical cable that hung down between the old junction box and the "new" junction box for the "new" (aka- the one we just took out) light fixture . That big old fluorescent light box was rigged the same way. You can hide a multitude of electrical sins with a drop ceiling.

Be back Monday.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Little King

Last Sunday one of my favorite comic strips, Patrick McDonnell's MUTTS, warmed my heart when it paid tribute to another comic strip creator Otto Soglow (1990-1975) in this strip:

The above strip is referencing Soglow's own strip, THE LITTLE KING, which Soglow created in 1931 and continued drawing until his death in 1975:

THE LITTLE KING is one of the first comic strips I remember reading since it usually had no words; all you had to do was follow the drawings. At the height of his fame the tiny king was a big man. There were LITTLE KING comic books, LITTLE KING toys, and LITTLE KING puzzles. He shilled for Pepsi-cola, Standard Oil, Tops Gum and even had his own brand cigarettes:

As you can see the line between adult comic strips and children comic strips was blurry for awhile there. I remember Fred and Barney of The Flintstones doing commercials for Winston cigarettes. Not only did THE LITTLE KING do advertising, he became a movie star when Van Beuren Studios released 12 animated cartoons staring the little guy. He even made one with Betty Boop:

I haven't thought about THE LITTLE KING in years and writing this post has reminded me of just how much comic pleasure the little man gave me as a small child. Many thanks, Mr. Soglow.

Monday, May 03, 2010

What Happened To Quality?

I have a pair of GAP jeans that always give me problems. At first I thought one of my legs was shorter than the other or that my hips were canted at a slight angle since the bottom of one of the jean legs always dragged along the ground. It dragged enough to get caught on the bottom of my shoe when I walked. Then I got the brilliant idea to measure the legs of the jeans and found one (the one that dragged) was almost a half-inch longer that the other. No wonder I was always tripping. How can something like that happen?

The other day I was reading a book and reached the end of a page right in the middle of a sentence and when I turned to the next page I was looking at the start of a new chapter. Thinking I had accidentally turned two pages I scuffed the page in my hand with my fingers to see if it would separate into two pages but no, I only had one page. I checked the page numbers and, no, no pages missing. The only thing missing were the rest of the sentence and any words, sentences, or paragraphs right after that. How can something like that happen?

There is one news blog that I read online and I am appalled by the quality of the writing and lack of copy editing skills I find it it. It has a reporter's byline but I have a sneaking suspicion that an intern is writing it- and badly, I might add- without anyone checking it before it is publish. How can something like that happen?

And speaking of newspapers, I've also notice that some newspapers think that just because they have a Corrections section they really do not have to check their facts since they can just apologize for their errors the next day. How can something like that happen?

I could go on and on but I won't. I just ask, whatever happened to pride in workmanship?