It’s Over

I am a sometime (American) football fan. I look forward to the beginning of the season, usually. I enjoy watching some of the games. But I’m always ready for the season to be over a few weeks before it is actually over. But I also always look forward to the Superbowl. I actually love the hype and the holiday atmosphere of it. But I’m glad it’s over now.

I’m glad the Broncos won because I wanted Peyton Manning to win one more. Otherwise though, it wasn’t a great game. No great plays, nothing really memorable or amazing. We always want the Superbowl to be special and amazing but when it comes right down to it, it’s really just another game, one that is played at the end of the season when all the players are tired and beat up. Once in a while there’s a really great Superbowl but usually not.

And by the way, about Peyton Manning – can we please just give him some space for a while? We didn’t need to know immediately, just seconds after the game ended, if he’s going to play next year. We don’t need to know that today or tomorrow or next week. We don’t need to know until he’s had plenty of time to think about it and decide. I would say July or August is soon enough for us to know. Leave him alone. And stop talking about it for a while.

And one more thing – Yes, I am one of those people who goes to the kitchen and the bathroom during the game so I won’t miss the commercials. Sadly, this year there was nothing special about the commercials either. The Skittles commercial with Steven Tyler was fun but it would have been better if it had been a surprise instead of having seen it previewed earlier in the week. I liked the anti-drunk-driving spot with Helen Mirren. That was probably my favorite. There was also one with Alec Baldwin that I liked but I can’t even remember it now so I guess it really wasn’t that good. Overall, most boring Superbowl commercials ever.

That is all. Happy getting-back-to-normal-life week.

A Brief Rant

What is the freaking deal with UPS shipping charges!? It seems to me that with the price of gasoline the lowest it’s been in over a decade shipping should be going down not up. I know! I know! They have other expenses – salaries, insurance, maintenance, etc. but fuel has to be one of the biggest expenses and it freaking pisses me off when the cost of shipping is more than the price of the item I’m ordering. In this case it’s a jar of cherry butter from the Pepper Palace. It ships from Sevierville, TN. Their nearest retail store is in Branson, MO and I’m not exaggerating all that much when I say I could drive to Branson for what they charge for shipping. Next time we’re in Branson I think I’m going to buy a year’s supply of cherry butter and anything else I think I might want.

Quotes From Here and There

If you don’t like ice cream, you probably have some sort of mental issue that needs to be checked out.here

When I feel like pretending I’m a Mad Scientist, I tell people I have a closet totally devoted to the distribution of hot, maybe even scalding dihydrogen monoxide.there

The Face of Age greets the new day like a vampire at sunrise. It staggers out into the world, arms outstretched like The Mummy in search of a secret lost in the sands of time.here

Why Groundhog Day?

Groundhog Day is stupid. There! I said it! Google doesn’t even have a special doodle for today. It is probably the most unimportant “Day” on the calendar. The only good thing about Groundhog Day, other than it simply being just another day which can be either a good day or a bad day, is the movie Groundhog Day. Yes, it is pretty good – not great but kind of fun.

My understanding is that if the goundhog sees its shadow it means we will have six more weeks of winter. When I was a kid we simply took that to mean that if the sun was shining on February 2nd there would be six more weeks of cold weather (but we never actually believed that was true) because, obviously, if the sun is not shining there is no shadow for the groundhog to see. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I started hearing about Punxsutawney Phil – the Groundhog Day groundhog. Apparently, everything depends on this one particular groundhog seeing his shadow and being scared back into his burrow.

Our little friend Phil is wrong more often than he is right. “Since 1988, the groundhog was “right” 13 times and “wrong” 15 times. Of course there’s really no harm in this silly little tradition. If people enjoy it, fine. But, I’m just wondering… there must have been other date based weather superstitions so why, of them all, has Groundhog Day survived? Why does it stay so popular? I think maybe it’s because this time of year we crave a little hope, even if it’s false hope. Even if, approximately fifty percent of the time, we are disappointed.

Random Linkage

The Band Name Everyone Gets Wrong – I never noticed that before. I went and looked at my CDs and there is no “the”.

Heels – OMG! I just really don’t know what to say about these. Charles?

Air Bonsai – Want! But if I had one it would die so I guess I really don’t want one.

NY Public Library Menu Collection – Restaurant Menus from the 1800s to the 2000s, listed in reverse chronological order. (It’s a bunch of thumbnail links that take forever to load.)

UK Filmmaker Trolls Censors – Brilliantly “evil”

Darwin Awards Twitter Feed

Lewis Carroll’s Scrapbook

What the… – Business and website names based on “What the F***?”

The original inspiration for Barbie – Oh myyyy!

The Curse of Winnie the Pooh – Sad

R2D2 Humidifier – Yes! R2D2 is still the best cute little droid.

18 Absurdly Expensive Toys – I love the Alice in Wonderland toy box but not that much.

Quotes From Here and There

… if you repeat something often enough, even something blatantly false, it can become true in the minds of the people who say it and hear it.here

So let’s give a hand to the people who actually get off the couch and TRY. After all, we don’t all have magic wands at our disposal.there

No idea should be above scrutiny, just as no people should be below dignity.here

… and according to the artist himself the deal had a little help of some wine, which quite frankly comes to no surprise.”there

Why Starbucks Spells Your Name Wrong

I have never been in a Starbucks. Frankly, I feel a little intimidated by them and the whole fancy coffee culture. I’m afraid I would sound like an idiot trying to order and everyone would know that I’m a newbie and the barista would get annoyed at having to wait on someone who is soooo stupid. But anyway, I’m kind of wondering how they would mess up my name. It’s pretty simple right? It would be tempting to give them a really complicated, exotic, or totally made up name to mess with them. (Warning: F-bomb alert)

A “Nice” Day

I should be thankful that the latest “Worst Blizzard Ever” completely missed us this time. The weather has actually been very nice for January. But it is still cold and mostly gray and the local weather forecast keeps telling us that a little bit of warmth and sunshine are only a few days away. Last week Monday (today) was supposed to be warm; now this coming Friday is supposed to be warm. Yesterday was sunny and not terribly cold and this morning at 7:00 AM it was 51 degrees so I expected that today would be even better. Disappointingly, that was the today’s high. By 10:30 it had dropped to 41 degrees and it looks like it’s going to stay that way for the rest of the day. And it’s also cloudy and windy. So I am not believing the Friday forecast. Nope. Can’t fool me again.

I also had a particularly annoying trip to town this morning. First I went to a local farm and ranch supply/feed store to buy dog food. They have a spinning rack of those redneck greeting cards right by the door and there was a woman standing there looking at them, standing right in the doorway even though there was plenty of room on the other side of the rack to stand out of the way. She didn’t move out of the way when the door opened so I had to sort of squeeze by her. A few minutes later the same woman nearly ran me over with a shopping cart.

Next stop: Walmart. Another woman almost ran me over with a shopping cart in the parking lot. She blamed the wind but, although it was windy it was not windy enough to blow shopping carts around. Inside it wasn’t really busy and I was pleased that I was able to get my stuff without too much hassle but then I go to check out and a woman ahead of me in line was arguing about something. I waited a couple of minutes but the next checkout over had only one person and was down to the last few items so I moved to that checkout but then that person wanted to pay with an old-fashioned check and the automatic check reader kept rejecting it. Well, the line I was in originally cleared out so I moved back over there and finally got checked out.

Okay, so it wasn’t really all that bad a time but the “one thing after another” aspect of it really annoyed me. People not paying attention, people acting like they are the only person in the store, people refusing to accept what a store employee tells them over and over again, technology that won’t work like it’s supposed to, people who refuse to use debit cards (because those do work most of the time) and so on. It makes me just want to curl up with a book and forget everything else I was going to do today.

Random Linkage

Only the punctuation – Weird

Police Sketches of Literary Characters – Sometimes Hollywood gets pretty close, other times not so much.

Fabric Factories – Great series of photographs

Art by Robert S. Connett – Beautiful! I love these.

Saturniidae Moth Caterpillar – Beautiful and fascinating. Here’s the saturniidae moth. Nice but not the same wow factor as the caterpillar.

Hood Ornament – Interesting and amusing

Quotes From Here and There

Call me old school but I wear sweatpants for sweating not strutting.here

You might think that Welsh myth and Star Wars ships don’t really go together, but it’s my library and I say, they do.there

Back in the day, few of us could aspire to these heady heights of technology, but oh, how we dreamedhere

…but then I had to go and cover the world gravy wrestling championships in Bacup (try explaining that one to someone whose first language isn’t English)there

This ‘n’ That

The world is gray. We haven’t seen the sun for days. Right now there is a trace of snow on the ground. It’s just one degree above freezing and that will not change much today. It could be worse. It could be much worse but I’m tired of this. There’s only one thing I can do about it: sew something pink.

I finished a book and I really want to “review” it but most of what I wanted to say about it has gone from my head (and for once I do have quite a bit that I want to say about it) so I’m going to have to think about it for a while longer.

Just when you think the presidential campaign can’t get any more hilarious Sarah Palin comes along and endorses Donald Trump. I don’t usually do politics but I just had to say that.

I can’t remember if I’ve linked to this yet or not. The Mythbusters’ Adam Savage has a sister who is an artist – Kate Savage. It looks like she does mostly portraits, including some fantasy or sci-fi portraits.

I’m sort of running out of steam here so how about a funny video…

No More For a While, Please

I haven’t got around to saying anything about Alan Rickman’s passing. I didn’t know quite what to say. I never do. I looked at movie clips and couldn’t decide on one to post. But anyway, I always loved his bad guys. He first came to my attention in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and I also thought he was great in Quigly Down Under. But of course he was great in everything.

They say that celebrities die in threes and of course that’s nonsense. It’s just that we notice it when three celebrities die fairly close together. But I have to admit, when I heard that Dan Haggerty, the actor who played Grizzly Adams, had died I thought, “Well, that’s the third,” and kind of relaxed a little bit. But then Glenn Frey died. It’s a little unnerving. All I can think is “Dammit!” and “Damn! Who’s next?”

WTF??!!!

Sorry about that title but that was all I could think of. This is one of the more bizarre situations I have ever read about. Rather than trying to explain, I’ll take the easy way and just copy and paste:

My house is on a corner lot. Two years ago a newlywed couple moved in to the one house that’s beside mine. Right away they started making weird comments about the color my house was painted (yellow) and soon switched to outright demanding that I paint it a different color. My house was painted yellow when it was built it, I like the color and there is no bylaw against it or anything. They have called the police on me about it as well as the city, both of whom told them to pound sound because I hadn’t done anything wrong and there was nothing they could do. They also tried suing me in court (the suit was thrown out and they had to pay my legal fees) and getting our other neighbors together to form a Home Owner’s Association in the hopes eventually I could be forced to paint my house a different color. Our other neighbors also told them to pound sand and they have basically alienated themselves from everyone else in the neighborhood at this point.

I recently had to go out of town for something. I was gone for two weeks. When I got back two days ago my house was gray. Seriously.

There’s more. It turns out that the painting company “did nothing wrong” because they had a “valid work order” and her neighbors (who shall hereafter be referred to as The Pissy Couple) can’t be charged with trespassing because they never actually set foot on her property.

There are a lot of comments and updates to this thread and I haven’t read it all (Originally seen here via Facebook) but wow… Can you believe that? I might have mentioned before that I am somewhat militant-minded regarding the subject of busybody homeowners associations but there was no homeowners association involved in this situation. It was just the Pissy Couple deciding they couldn’t live next door to a yellow house.

If I was in this situation I would definitely try to sue. Other than that, if the woman with the formerly yellow house is correct in that the Pissy Couple has alienated the entire neighborhood she could, perhaps, enlist the neighbors’ help in making the Pissy Couple’s lives miserable. And/or since it is, apparently, legal to have your neighbor’s house painted any color you like maybe she should have the Pissy Couple’s house painted a really loud, in-your-face yellow. But I suppose that would be immature. [rolls eyes]

Oh! Oh! You know what would be really fun? If everyone in the neighborhood painted their houses yellow. Yeah, that would be awesome. (Just fantasizing here.)

David Bowie

I was never a huge fan of David Bowie but he was so iconic… Well, that’s all I can think of to say right now.

There is so much of his music that I haven’t heard. Just listened to this for the first time this morning. I sort of like it.

Open Message to a Teen Girl

Fifteen-year-old Cassy James has started a petition requesting that American Eagle Outfitters, Urban Outfitters, and Forever 21 start selling “modest, but fashionable clothing.” I really wish I could speak to and be heard by this young lady and others like her. Of course, even if I could she wouldn’t listen. I’m “too old”; I just “don’t get it.” But I have things to say and I have a blog and I’m calling on my three readers to make this go viral. I figure the chances of this girl actually reading this is about the same as the chances of me winning Powerball tonight but here goes anyway.

* * *

First of all, Crissy, I want to say that I admire you for speaking out about something that is important to you and trying to initiate change and I wish you the best of luck in your efforts. I also agree with you that these companies could have a huge positive effect on fashion and society. However, sadly, your petition is probably not going to have any effect. The only votes that matter to a store is dollars. That’s not intended as a criticism of the stores; it’s just the way business works. If you get a huge number of signatures – say, 100,000 – they might introduce a few modest fashions as a token effort but if they don’t sell well enough that will be the end of it.

The situation is not hopeless, however. First of all you need to be clear in your own mind what you really want. “modest, fashionable, age appropriate,” is rather vague. I admit I’m not a fashionable person; I know almost nothing about fashion, but I know that more modest clothing does exist. You say that these clothes are for women decades older and you want something age appropriate. I understand; that makes sense. But what, exactly is it that makes clothing age appropriate for you?

When you know what you want you need to start voting with your purse. Do you really have to shop at the three stores you mentioned? You say they are your favorite stores but why is that if they don’t have what you want? Look around. Try other stores. Try Amazon. You can find anything on Amazon. Also, you can improve clothes by the way you accessorize. If a garment is “too old looking” for you add some young jewelry. If a shirt or dress is too low cut add a scarf. If a shirt is too tight just buy the next larger size. That’s the easiest problem of all to solve.

Finally, if you can’t find what you want, learn to sew. If you know how to sew you can design and make any kind of clothes you want. If tens of thousands of girls your age just simply stopped shopping at your favorite stores they would do anything to get you back but once you see how fun and easy it is to be able to wear exactly what you want you may not want to go back.

Fascinating Fungi

We have had an unusual amount of rain recently so, even in the “dead of winter” mushrooms and fungi have appeared literally overnight. I am fascinated with the growth at the base of this dead tree.

Fungi at the base of a dead tree

Here’s the other side of the same tree.

Fungi at the base of a dead tree

And a different species on an old stump. I see these a lot but usually not this big.

Fungi on an old stump