Tuesday, October 14, 2008

an anecdote that will probably interest precisely one reader of this blog

Sophia Hawthorne used to call Herman Melville "Mr. Omoo." I find this rather charming. That is all.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

the radical scaling back of one's expectations

I was in the grocery store a couple of days ago, and was trying to purchase less and get more out of the whole experience. I went ahead and splurged on a very expensive (okay, comparatively speaking) Honeycrisp apple. It was exceptionally good. I'm not kidding around, this apple restored my faith in agriculture, median voters, and the American economic system. I kind of now want to tell everyone who's all tied up in knots over the current world situation: go eat a really good apple, and really concentrate* on it while you are eating it. This little Zen sort of moment will do you a world of good.

* by concentrate on it, I mean really think about everything that has to do with this apple. Hold it in your hand, look at it, think about how it grew, and how you ended up getting it, and feel the heft and weight of it, then eat it slowly and think about the texture and the taste. Okay, fine, make fun of me -- I'll go sign up for an OCD support group now.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

apocalypse postponed; what to read while you wait

I have been reading a great deal (which sounds remarkably like "I have travelled a good deal in Concord...") and I can definitively recommend the following for a fine diversion, which might come in handy about now, if you are sick to death of politics and politicking and the Cassandrine wails of the media. Yes, I know that titles of books are to be underlined, but I'm on a clamshell terminal here and that is not working out.

"Uncivil Seasons" by Michael Malone
"The Decameron" by Bocaccio
"The Persian Expedition" of Xenophon (I love the little snarky asides -- like the part where he describes the Syrians as very nice but oddly entranced by fish)
"The Red Book Mabinogion"
"The Normans in Sicily" by John Julius Norwich
"Girls on the Run" by John Ashbery
"Local Wonders" by Ted Kooser
"The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" by David Wroblewski (I know, it's an Oprah, but I started it before she signed off on it)
"Genie du christianisme" by Chateaubriand
"Hymn of the Universe" by Teilhard de Chardin
"Akt und Sein" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Isis Unveiled" by Helena Blavatsky (I know, I kept meaning to get to it, and now I did)

books you can skip, if you want:
"Special Topics in Calamity Physics" by Marissa Pessl
"Sweetheart" by Chelsea Cain

This is for those of you keeping score at home. Just doin' my part to keep people reading, in the face of crushing indifference.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?

Well, things seem fairly dire at this point, so in that greatest of all American traditions, I've decided to just not think about it. I mean, I lay awake last night in a complete cold sweat thinking about global financial meltdown and was all panicked and upset...so at about 4 am, I got up and played with my dogs and decided to watch a DVD collection of Warner Bros. cartoons that a friend of mine gave me. I felt much better. Everyone else seems to have some kind of plan -- Henry Paulson, Newt Gingrich, innumerable bloggers -- mine is, as of right now, to eat chocolate pudding and play with my dogs. I believe that Congress should buy everyone a pony. It would improve the fundamentals of the livestock/equine breeding market, and the nation's hay-baling equipment manufacturers. Also, the construction industry -- we're all going to need barns. It's no stupider than other stuff I've heard in the last 72 hours.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

...and the ambiance has that certain je ne sais quoi

This is the funniest thing I have read in weeks -- Camille Paglia, via Salon.

"One reason I live in the leafy suburbs of Philadelphia and have never moved to New York or Washington is that, as a cultural analyst, I want to remain in touch with the mainstream of American life. I frequent fast-food restaurants, shop at the mall, and periodically visit Wal-Mart (its bird-seed section is nonpareil)."

Its bird-seed section. Is. Nonpareil.

I snorted sodapop out my nose. I'm trying to imagine Camille in all sorts of places she would consider plebeian, describing them in her own "you little people need an anthropologist to tell you what's what" sort of way.

Camille Paglia at Burger King: their ground-beef patty sandwiches are exquisite.
Camille Paglia at Costco: the ready availability of 20-pound jars of mayonnaise and packages of frozen shrimp the size of peat-moss bags is toujours perdrix.
Camille Paglia at Kohl's: the 80%-off rack is sine qua non.
Camille Paglia at Kansas Speedway: the tailgating is a veritable Montmartre (immediately preceding the French Revolution).
Camille Paglia at Tractor Supply Company: its vast selection of bagged pet foods and John Deere-logoed outerwear reveals a Midwestern weltanschauung of thrift and practicality.

Sheesh. Camille Paglia, everywoman. (slaps hand to forehead, rolling of eyes)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

View halloo to one and all. I have been a little depressed, which I am chalking up to the election season (now 50% longer! with lemon-freshened enzymes!). I go home at the end of the day, looking forward to no electronic input of any kind. I have been reading a lot of Greeks and Romans and historians thereof, to remind myself that really, things were not exactly *better* as the Normans grew to power in Sicily. It occurs to me that the Fall of the Roman Empire might have been hastened had there been 24-hour cable news coverage of it.

I have a question -- do we, as a country, now have on hand a quantity of portable trailers that outgas somewhat-less formaldehyde than previously? Because it appears that we may need them, in the same darn place we needed them before. Don't even get me started.

I was given something called "Amish friendship bread" today, which appears to be a kind of sourdough starter for a kind of quickbread. If you can call something that takes ten days of mixing and adding stuff a quickbread. Not sure what this is supposed to be -- will I eat it and discard all my clothing with zippers? I'll have a slice and suddenly feel compelled to go to a barn-raising? I'll let you know.

My perusal of Tacitus proceeds apace. My Latin, rusty from disuse, is getting progressively better. I find that the more I read in another language, the less time I have for reading political blogs and comments areas of newspapers, and the better I feel about the world. Here's the scorecard so far: Germanicus? Awesome. Agrippina? Not so much. Crispus? Thumbs up. Tiberius? Kind of a creep.

I wish there were some sort of modern-day Tacitus. I suspect that if such a person exists, he/she is, in fact, a political blogger. It is thus with a kind of hope-tinged regret that I find myself reading many, many, many of these kinds of blogs. Mostly, it makes me exasperated that this great opportunity (i.e., the opening up of the great digital podium for all to speak) has attracted so many people who, quite frankly, cannot write. "You with your jejune little grammatical rules! How dare you tell me, The Chronicler of Our Age, that I need a better understanding of the subjunctive mood? How dare you! You are in thrall to the mainstream media! You are keeping me down, man! You're part of the problem! You don't want to hear the truth! You are threatened by the Glorious Coming Wave of Citizen Journalists! Spelling is patriarchal oppression! Oops, out of time -- gotta go feed my cats and watch teh Battlestar Galacticaz. 111000011010zz!!"

Whatever. I blame the iPod for all of this. You somehow end up getting the idea that the world revolves around YOU and your playlist. It's all about customizing things for this big collective "you" out there. Like, heaven forfend that you should have to sit through a Journey song you don't like or something. Perish the thought that you might have to get along with people who don't agree with you. Horrors -- the idea of reading something that makes your blood boil with rage? Forget it, who needs that kind of stress? Just keep reading and listening and thinking about stuff that you already know you like. Slag off all the people who disagree with you, embrace those who seem to be just like you. No problem. To quote Aaron Sorkin (which I don't recommend as, say, a habit): "Hubris, yeah, that always turns out well."

forecast for region: sunny, 20% ch t-strms, high of 87. mstly clear after 8, low in the upper 60s.
forecast for my house: shady, 40% ch mowing lawn, 20% ch baking Amish bread, 100% ch playing with dogs. extended forecast: reading, with a chance of housecleaning on Saturday. 30% ch of journeying Sunday to Leavenworth County to look at a sunflower farm. 0% ch of watching political commentary on television. It is remarkable how much better you feel about the world when you just. turn. it. off. Not to mention how much more time you find you have on your hands to knit, bake a pie, think a thought, look at the sky.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

hot hot heat is bug bug bugging me.

No, not the band, though I'm not wild about them either. It's hot, by which I mean HOT, which means that I am now exceedingly cranky and a little depressed, which is a mean trick when you're already taking boatloads of antidepressants. I have this theory that I have some kind of reverse SAD kind of disorder. Actually it might have to do with high barometric pressure. I am no biometeorologist (which I hold in a similar regard to homeopathy -- I guess it means something to some people, and if it works for you, go with it...but, seriously, I can't quite follow the logic. If infinitesimal concentrations of, say, arsenic are better for you than the largest -- something I can't really argue with -- shouldn't I be the picture of health because I am consuming the smallest concentration of arsenic possible, which is to say none?) but I think there may be something to this. Prairie high pressure is fierce and strong and unrelenting, much like our folk heroes of yore (Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, Laura Ingalls Wilder). I just cheer up when we get rain and storms, which I think may have something to do with the lower barometric pressure. I actually have no idea, I just like rain and get sulky when we go a month or two without any.

The dogs are unhappy, too, which makes some sense (I would be especially grumpy if I were to be stuck in a longhaired sweater in this weather). Though not all that much, as we go out of our way to let them out in the morning, when it's cooler, and then they get to stay inside the air-conditioned house all day, lounging about on our beds and couches, taking an occasional break from napping in order to bark at a squirrel or something outside the window. It's a rough life.

I will probably always, the rest of my life, associate Lawrence with oppressive heat -- when I was in high school and then college, it always seemed as though it was 10 or more degrees hotter on any given day in Lawrence than it was in Olathe. Not that this is a bad thing. I just associate Lawrence summers with sweltering. Though nothing, nothing, I repeat NOTHING is as hot as an un-airconditioned summer in Washington, DC. I used to live in a beautiful old pre-WWI building with french doors and high ceilings, and no airconditioning. I ended up getting an airconditioner for the bedroom (I don't care how hot it is anywhere else in the house; you just have to be able to sleep) and I'd go in there at the end of the day and it would be like plunging into a swimming pool. As long as I live, I don't know that I will ever feel such unalloyed bliss as that first moment walking into that room after a long day of work and commuting with the lunatics on the bus and trudging up the 5 flights of stairs. Which just goes, I suppose, to show that sometimes innovations and the modern are not necessarily always better. I mean, really -- if you're in climate-controlled surroundings all the time, where's the absolute relief of walking into a room a full 35 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature of the house? If there's always call-waiting, how will you ever know the relief of hearing the phone actually ring after an hour straight of getting a busy signal?

In keeping with my general upsetted-ness, I have been reading John Kelly's "The Great Mortality," all about the Black Plague. This book is great. Just FYI -- I understand if you aren't keen on plunging into several hundred pages on the decimation of Europe -- but it's really good. Even if it does kind of make a person want to move a hundred miles away from her nearest neighbor (which in Kansas is actually a legitimate possibility, at least out west).

Anyway. There's nothing to be done, really, about the heat, so go have a Fudgsicle and sit in front of a fan and read something good. I am reading the Venerable Bede, which is remarkable for many reasons, not the least of which is the wackadoo Angle, Saxon, and Jute(-ish?) names. If I get another dog, I'm naming him Ethelred.

Friday, July 4, 2008

when, in the course of human events, yo...

Happy Independence Day. It's good not to be under the thumb of a detested regent suffering from mental illness. Or at least, so I am assured. Hee.
I stopped off at the grocery store last night. The 16-ish-year-old fellow hired to put my purchases into a sack had nothing to do, as I generally do not require sacks from the Hy-Vee, because I carry around a giant LL Bean Boat-n-Tote for just such an eventuality. Anyway. So this kid says, "what are you doing for the 4th of July?" and I, being me, say "celebrating our nation's independence from the yoke of British monarchy, how about you?" and this sends him into a fit of giggles. He then told me a story about how his neighbors across the street are British, and didn't know what the deal was with the 4th being a holiday. I was skeptical. Surely if you are in the USA, and you are British, you are clear on the fact that the USA (U-S-A! U-S-A!) has this deal about being ex-British. I mean, maybe you don't know that it falls on the 4th of July, but you probably know that we have, as a country, sort of got this vested and adamant interest in being independent, and that we generally take any opportunity at all to deck ourselves out in red, white and blue, and eat high-fat meats cooked over charcoal. Anyhow.

The kid said his neighbors didn't see what the deal was. I suggested that maybe they were, as the British say, "having him on." I then proposed that if said British expats have a swimming pool, he and his friends go chuck a couple of boxes of teabags into it. Down with the King! Down with the tea tax! And the Stamp Tax! Whoo! Stupid Redcoats! Yankees rule, Tories drool! Kid looked confused. Oh, well.

Stay safe. Don't stick sparklers in the ground and go running around barefoot. Remember: a significant number of maimings occur following the utterance of the following sentence: "Hey, watch this." A significant number of amputations tend to follow the addendum of "Hang on...hold my beer."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

home again, again

Okay, so remember how I wasn't home because I went to Louisville? Well, then I was not home because of a burst pipe. Kelly and I are now back in Perry after 6 fun-filled nights and 5 sun-drenched days in glamourous, exotic Topeka. (Thanks, Corcorans! Y'all are aces! Thanks for the bed and the breakfasts!) Things we learned:

1) gas is more expensive in Topeka
2) our commuting from Topeka to Lawrence on a regular basis would not be in anyone's best interest
3) you can turn off the water to your house with one of those vise-grip wrenches
4) ...but it is easier with the grabby iron pole thing that the water department uses
5) our cordless phones can serve as walkie-talkies
6) mysteriously, we had a pipe extend underneath and past the house that went to absolutely nowhere. I am considering displaying it as art, calling it "The Ted Stevens Memorial Water Pipe to Nowhere." (this funny, really -- google "Ketchikan Alaska" or possibly "Gravina Island Bridge" and see whatcha get)
7) it is apparently unwise to join copper pipe to steel pipe
8) those tall weedy things that you kind of sometimes just let grow near the perimeter of the house because, heck, they're not bothering anything? Cut 'em down. Seriously, no, cut them down now.

But anyway, now we're home again. Again. Stop by, swap howdies. Have a glass of water, now that it's running again and is not the color of blood. *

* water not the color of blood is a potentially limited-time offer, based on outward worldwide apocalyptic indications. Requests for water not the color of blood after postmillennial or amillennial dispensation may not be honored by the management due to availability constraints. Colorless water availability improves in absence of locusts, hail, leprosy, Wormwood, celestial trumpet soundings, bowls being poured out upon the seas, and reconstructions of the Temple of Solomon. Tax, title and destination fee may apply.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

home again home again jiggity-jig

Howdy -- for those to whom it seemed like I vanished from the earth, that is not what happened. I went (on the spur-of-the-moment) to Louisville to see my family. So, that being said, I did not
-- get trapped underneath a collapsed pile of records
-- go see Lawrence of Arabia on a big screen for 72 hours straight
-- perish of langours
-- lock myself in a room to read all of the books in the "Twilight" saga
-- lock myself in a room to read all of the works of Epictetus
-- go on an all-5-season Wire-watching jag
-- finish my book
-- edit my book
-- make more notecards for organizing my book
-- clean my house
-- walk my dogs
-- whip up a Tournedos Rossini, accompanied by Pommes de Terre dauphinoise, with Souffle Rothschild for dessert

That being said, I'm back from Louisville, we did not blow away in a storm, and I am no further along with anything than I was when I left. :-( More soon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

to kill a snake, one must cut off the head

So I was at the grocery the other day and they were having a sale on organic yogurt. 50 cents a cup. Okay, I'm game...plus, the other kinds of non-organic yogurts were a dollar a cup. Whatever -- it's yogurt, it's made with strawberries -- how bad can it be?

Answer: exceedingly bad. You know that scene in the movie "Big" where Tom Hanks takes a bite of caviar and sour cream and then goes ballistic trying to get it out of his mouth? That kind of bad. So I look at the ingredients list, because -- seriously, this stuff was really bad. Anyway, the bottom of the container tells me it's not spoiled, which was definitely the first thing that went through my mind. The next thing it tells me is that it's made naturally (which I had assumed, because...it's organic yogurt. Says so right on the container). The next thing it tells me is that it is flavored with organic strawberry puree. Okey-dokey. Then I look at the parenthetical ingredients for the organic strawberry puree. Strawberries (check), water (check), tomato-lycopene concentrate (che...wait, what?) . Then, finally, as I am throwing the container away (in flagrant violation of pro-animal protection, pro-recycling, green, Birkenstock-y standards), it dawns on me -- the name of this product is "Cultural Revolution." It had not occurred to me as I purchased it that in general, you probably don't want to name your delicious yogurt product after a program instituted by Mao Zedong. "Look for our other delicious products...Great Leap Forwards Tofu Bites, Year Zero Frozen Spinach Lasagna, and Glorious Proletariat brand Organic Yam Chips!"

I'm just sayin'. Let my experience inform your purchasing choices, in defiance of the running-dog lackeys of the imperialist West.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

gloom, despair, agony on me; deep, dark depression, excessive misery

For those of you who were forced to watch "Hee Haw" as a child...and you know who you are...well, the title of this post will jog your memory a bit. I never understood why that segment of the show was supposed to be funny.

Anyway, YES, I know that I have not posted anything in a while, and YES, I'm sorry about it, and NO, there's nothing I can do about it now, so cut me some slack.

Here's what's been happening: bad weather every gosh-darn day. Telling people to get out of the way of tornadoes, lightning, hail, and other accoutrements of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Kelly and I bought a car. I will put a picture of the Element up sometime soon, because it is just so darn cute. I love this car. It is irrational to love a car, but I do. Because, you know, I'm stupid, or something.

I had a birthday. It was fine. My mother is having a birthday today. I assume it, too, is fine.

My nephew kinda-sorta broke his leg by falling off a couch (yep, those would be the Lorson catastrophic-stuff-happens-to-us-in-nominally-benign-circumstances genes, all right). You can learn more about this at schindlersinkentucky.blogspot.com. Cute pictures of a kid in a bright green cast abound.

The dogs have been keyed up and on-edge for days. I am assuming this is because of the weather. On Friday night, Finnegan came in and woke me up and would not leave me alone until I agreed to go downstairs with him. I sat down in a chair in the downstairs bedroom and was watching the Weather Channel (geeks of the world, unite!), and he was still unhappy. He kept nudging me, and then pushing me, and whimpering. So I stood up, and he pushed me into the bathroom. Which is where we go in moderately severe weather -- if I can hear the tornado sirens going off, we go outside and get in the creepy underground storm shelter. Anyway, Finnegan was determined, so I gave in and ended up sitting in the bathroom for an hour, until he calmed down. Dogs? Love 'em. They endlessly surprise you.

Nothing else to report, really. The book is coming along slowly, because I am a lazy bum with no sense of self-preservation or ambition. The house, however, has never been tidier. It is amazing how much energy I have for vacuuming and dusting when I know I should be writing instead. The lilacs have finished blooming for now, though they may make another run at it. Our magenta peonies have bloomed; the pink are ready to go any day now. Also, the irises are up and our poppies are blooming.

Happy birthday, Mom! Eat cake, go out for dinner, go wild. I'm glad you were born.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

that gum you like is coming back in style

I try to stay away from the politics here, but seriously? Worst debate I've ever seen. Makes me embarrassed to be a part of the profession to which I've devoted 20 years.

Who thought it would be a good idea to let Stephanopoulos -- who was on the freaking Clinton payroll, for crying out loud -- ask questions at this thing?

Who thought it would be a good idea for him to ask a question about the flipping Weather Underground, apparently suggested by none other than the august, wise, non-agenda-oriented, utterly fair and with-no-axe-to-grind Sean Hannity? I was hoping his followup would be on the Symbionese Liberation Army, or possibly Tupac Amaru. Whip inflation now! Dig that crazy new single by the Average White Band! Didja see my new macrame plant-holder? Wanna come over and see my pet rock?

Charlie Gibson -- what? Seriously, if you are that heated up over the capital gains tax (at least, heated up that apparently you are going to have to pay it at some point), you need to get someone else to host this debate.

The question on "What would you ask George W. Bush to do after he leaves office?" I hated both responses to this question. I thought they were disrespectful. There is a correct answer to this question: it is "I would ask him what he would like to do, and then have him do it." A runner-up: "I would ask him to be in charge of promoting faith-based initiatives."

All in all, I am so angry at ABC I cannot see straight. Way to go, shill-bots. Next time they have a debate on ABC, I think the moderators should just spout non-sequiturs from "Twin Peaks." It would be about as informative and enlightening.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

this trend can now officially die

You know, I am a fan of pop music -- always have been. To the grave dismay of my friends and now my husband, I'm a singles kinda gal. I don't care that much about albums, unless they are
a) Exile on Main Street
b) Maggot Brain
c) New Amerykah
d) Shoot Out the Lights
e) Laughing Stock
f) The Blues and the Abstract Truth.

Anyway, I like singles. And in the 80s, I liked them even more than I do now. So imagine my joy at discovering the latest internet meme:


You got RickRolled! Okay, done now. Old people get it, your trend is finished. Thought I will probably still think the random playing/direction to/interruption of events with this song is kind of funny for at least another week or two.

Also? In case you were wondering? The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar blog for the LA Times is completely great. Scroll down and look for his post on why people always thought he was so angry -- this is hilarious.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

it turns out this stuff does come up again someday

Okay, so you should go take this quiz. It's oddly empowering.
(click on the title of this posting, and it will link you to the quiz.)

I'm not going to explicitly brag about this, because it is after all pretty much a test for 12-year-olds, but I did quite well.

NCAA tourney brackets due soon. If you want to play along but don't know anyone to have a bracket contest with, zap me an e-mail and I'll hook you up.

Rediscovered enjoyable food of the month: Chee-tos Puffs. If you have not seen the commercial where the girl loads up some obnoxious lady's laundry with these, you should check it out.

Music of the week: New Amerykah, by Erykah Badu. It's great. Also? Elton John's Madman Across the Water.

Book of the week: The Life of Samuel Johnson.

Forecast: cloudy, chance of fog, N winds 10-15, high 52.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

as a member of the grammar police, I hereby make a citizens' arrest

I read this online at blogs.abcnews.com:

"Clinton campaign finance committee member, former vice presidential candidate, and former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, D-NY, told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, Ca., that, 'If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.'"

I refer Representative Ferraro to the following tutorial:

Seriously, I am so sick of this election.

Monday, February 25, 2008

the academy of motion picture arts and sciences

...still has some 'splainin' to do, if you ask me, but all in all I was okay with the Oscars last night. Tilda Swinton is possibly the coolest girl on the planet, from wearing that weird Uncle Arthur-y black smoking jacket thing to wearing, apparently, no makeup, to giving George Clooney grief about his stint as Batman. I kind of wanted Julie Christie to win best actress, but everyone I know who saw "La Vie En Rose" said that Cotillard woman was amazing, so I'm okay with that. Let's hear it for Diablo Cody, who managed to look just like every woman I've seen at a Lawrence wedding in the last 5 years (i.e., bare arms with marginally inappropriate tattoos, dyed hair in a Louise Brooks bob, red-red lipstick). And Javier Bardem, taking time out to apologize for rockin' the Prince Valiant 'do in the movie role of his life thusfar. And who was that girl with Viggo Mortensen? Was it his daughter with Exene Cervenka? Because that kid is going to be the coolest girl on the planet when Tilda Swinton decides to abdicate. *** this just in: my sister informs me that the girl is Viggo's niece, Sydney. Viggo and Exene have a son but no daughters. Apparently, Henry Mortensen is a DJ, a poet, and attends Columbia University. Thanks, Wikipedia! This has no bearing on the fact that Sydney is going to be a very cool young woman when she grows up. ***

Still, AMPAS, I wanna rumble with you, because there is no way that "GoodFellas" was not the best movie that year that you all went with "Dances With Wolves." Dorks.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

the secret history of mr. crankypants

Well, I just finished reading Procopius's Anekdota, and I have learned two things. Number the first: my Greek is not as bad as I thought. Another three or four books and it should be back where it needs to be. Number the second: wow, this book is one of the few I have ever read that probably should be called "scurrilous." This guy *hated* Theodora, and I'm not too sure why. I know why he was peeved about Antonina, and other sources back him up on the idea that she was a mean-spirited nouveau-riche with very little to recommend her, but seriously -- this guy completely had it in for Theodora. He seems to have not liked Belisarius much, either -- again, other sources say he was kinda insufferable, too, so I'm cutting Procopius some slack on that front. On the upside, Procopius would be far less fawning and much more entertaining on the subject of LiLo, Paris, Tara, the catastro-trainwreckasaurus that is Britney, et al, than Jezebel or TMZ.

In short, I believe that I have found the Ted Casablanca of the archaic world. There are even little moments in Anekdota that you honestly would not be far wrong in translating as "One Blind Vice."

I decided, upon finishing up this book, to take a couple days off from the Greek to work on a hat. Characteristically, I will finish it pretty much when this cold snap ends. It's being worked in Trinity stitch, which you may know as popcorn or blackberry stitch. It's a bit of a pain, but I think that's just because I'm at the point where I had to upsize the needles and add in 42 stitches to the round and I didn't leave a lot of give in the stitches I'd been working as the ribbing. Oops. Also, it appears this may end up being too small for me. (My own dumb fault -- I didn't knit a swatch for gauge.) So one of you lucky (4) readers may end up as the recipient of a charcoal-gray knitted hat with cute little knobbly deedlybobbers all over it. I'll see if I can think up a contest. Also: your head should be smaller than mine...I'm a 7 & 3/8ths, which I know from acquiring a fitted Louisville Bats cap a couple of years ago. You'd think I would have measured the circumference of said cap and knitted accordingly, but you'd be giving me far too much credit for craftiness, subtlety and guile.

Finally: I am mortified, as I spent much of yesterday announcing in dire tones that we were expecting 8 inches of snow. It appears that we are now expecting only two inches of snow. Curse you, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration! I'll fix your little red wagon one of these days! (Picture your faithful narrator, shaking her clenched fists at the sky.) On the upside -- well, I'm not having to deal with 8 inches of snow.

Also: I decided that I will go to the Democratic caucus on SuperAmazingMegaJumboTuesday. A report will appear here. The mechanics of caucusing are unknown to me; I hope it does not involve fisticuffs. Just in case, I'm going to brush up on the Marquess of Queensberry rules. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, January 21, 2008

this is the Andy Rooney episode.

In honor of the writers' strike, I am going to publish a post here that involves the simple stringing together of possibly unrelated sentences. Writing is hard; why knock myself out over this? Especially while my brothers and sisters are on the picket lines? Solidarity forever!

Brr, it's cold in Kansas.
Ever wonder why it's impossible to find a shower curtain made in the USA rather than in China?
I sure do like macaroni and cheese.
I hope the Giants win the Super Bowl.
I do not plan to watch the Super Bowl.
I plan to watch the Puppy Bowl.
I think I'll tape it so on the day that Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney clinch their respective party nominations, I can watch the Puppy Bowl again, which will cheer me up immensely.
My friend Aimee is going to have a baby boy.
Apparently they are thinking of naming him Dexter, of which I strongly approve.
My dogs Finnegan and Beatrice have lately been behaving so adorably that it is almost painful.
I wish I had a newer car, but I can't afford one.
I feel better about myself when I don't watch television.
I have been reading Flavius Josephus's "The War of the Jewish People against the Romans" and it is remarkably interesting.
I like those slipper socks that have grippers on the soles.
I decided to purchase some cheap jewelry to wear on the tv show that I host. It occurred to me that I should try to look like the people who look good on TV when I'm on TV. So that means big costume jewelry necklaces and modestly-scoop-necked shirts.
My skin is ridiculously dry. I have more lotions and creams stockpiled for this condition than the average Walgreens store.
My hair's too short.
I wish I had a really good book of fiction to read, which I had not already read.
Try as I might, I just can't seem to enjoy Victor Hugo.
I believe that I have unfairly dismissed Eric Dolphy for his avant-gardism.
I have been too lenient in my judgment of Gustave Flaubert, and too harsh against Turgenev.
I am sick of eating oatmeal.
I wish I knew how to play the cello.
I cannot figure out who is watching all of these Law & Order television series.

Wow -- it all makes sense now. I, too, could crank out columns by the bushel like Andy Rooney and Larry King. Seriously, doing it this way is a *lot* easier.

Friday, January 11, 2008

live free or die -- are those my only two choices?

well, I try to stay away from the politics on here but I just have to ask: what is up with the New Hampshire people? Over the years, I have found that I like the *idea* of the common-sense, stoical Yankee...only to find that the *reality* of these sorts of people is disappointing in the extreme. A-yuh. I once got to go to Vermont, and I was very pleased at the prospect, with high hopes for bonding with laconic, no-frills farmer types: I returned, sadder but wiser, and aware that there are a great number of high-end spas run by ruthlessly mercenary New Englanders who look like they're chiseled out of stone. Also: take the Ben & Jerry's tour. But I digress. I just didn't like the sort of "we're going to vote however the heck we want just to spite those gullible rubes in Iowa, who fall prey to television advertising and promotional flyahs. We're the first in the nation because we are sensible and smaht and we'll show you fools! We know best! Stick yah dadgum poll right up in the...no, better yet, I'll answer your goshdahned poll and lie to yuh because you non-Yankee types are morons! We know, because you ah all up here buying metric tons of those maple-sugah candies! And ovahpriced, ovahaged cheese! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha, live free or die, suckahs! See ya next Novembah!" that was going on.

That having been said: can we just get this whole thing over with? The sniping between Obama supporters and Clinton supporters is giving me a headache. The sniping between Huckabee supporters and Thompson supporters is giving me indigestion. It's almost enough to make me actually watch Nancy Grace.

Friday, January 4, 2008

so may I introduce to you....the one and only Britney Spears

seriously. I just...I mean...wow.

"we hope you have enjoyed the show...we're sorry, but it's time to go."
Creative Commons License
A Microscopic Cog in a Catastrophic Plan by Laura Lorson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at witheringexhaustion.blogspot.com.