Friday, November 30, 2007

30 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You are conscientious and thorough in all you do and have the confidence and respect of your friends. You are positive, quick-tempered and impulsive ; have a keen sense of humor, a clear mind and good judgment. Marry early in life and your home life will be happy and pleasant.
There are no others listed in the book, so for a thorough approach to your celebration of this day, perhaps you might wish to include these notables: Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Phillip Bleedin' Sidney, Shirley Chisholm, Abbie Hoffman, G. Gordon Liddy, Ernst Chladni, Gustav Dalén, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Jonathan Swift, Dr. John McCrae, Lucy Maud Montgomery, David Mamet, Gordon Parks, Oliver Winchester, Andrea Palladio, Brownie McGhee, Robert Nighthawk, Roger Glover, June Pointer, Billy Idol, Clay Aiken, Dick Clark, Ridley Scott, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Richard Crenna, Robert Guillaume, Colin Mochrie, Alan Sherman, Ben Stiller, Elisha Cuthbert, Virginia Mayo, Bo Jackson, Bill Walsh, Firpo Marberry
and Mandy Patinkin. Prepare to diet...
after the cake.

Keep yer filthy green paws off my beer fridge!

I don't have much in this life. In fact, by American standards, I qualify as dirt poor -- I don't own a car, I don't have cable or satellite tv, I don't have a phone of my own, I don't even own a working computer, any more (thx, Mom, for the use of yours!). My house is crumbling around my ears (thx, kittehs!) and I'm ungainfully unemployed (thx, IL gummint, thx to my crazy ancestors who handed down the crazy gene, and thx also to uneven sidewalks in Chicago!).

But still, I have one thing to which I can still cling: I have a lovely 1950s or early '60s Coldspot refrigerator with pink-and-coppertone interior, out there in my non-car-holding garage. In the summer, I clean that puppy up, plug it in, and fill it with my favorite beverages, so they'll be handy for all of us folks who play in the dirt in my back yard.

But now, some eco-wackos are saying that it's a bad thing, and they want to take that luxury away from me and others like me. They think that beer fridges are causing the icecap in the arctic circle to shrink, and Canada to thaw. Well, I say, Canada needs a longer growing season! Pass me those six-packs -- I'm gonna head right back out to scrub my machine out, and I'm gonna plug it in just a little early, this time. Anyone up for a really cold one?

Friday Catblog: Night Watch (but not Rembrandt's)

TiGrr has decided he has to protect me from the other kitties in the house, lately. He's been sitting on my chest while I watch television, and making sure that nobody else comes near enough to obstruct my view as effectively as he does. That leaves Maus at the foot of the bed, killing whatever small objects she can tear into.Night watch
This time, it was a rabbit fur pompon, and my toes beneath the down comforter.

Protect your toes and pompons! Check out other beasties, at Modulator's Friday Ark #167, and, on Sunday evening, stop in at the CotC, this weekend to be hosted by somebody or other -- they'll announce it soon, I expect, and I'll do my darnedest to link it on time.

Update: CotC will be at This, That & The Other Thing. I can't wait!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

29 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You would rather do things yourself than direct others in doing it. You are quick, impulsive and very energetic; shrewd and capable and have good intuitive judgment. You like the out-of-doors, travel and have many interests outside of your regular routine. You are loving and understanding.
Since the book says nothing about anybody else sharing this day with you, be understanding and offer to celebrate the day with these notables: Paul Simon, Jacques Chirac, Sir John Ambrose Fleming, Christian Doppler, C. S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, Louisa May Alcott, Gaetano Donizetti, Billy Strayhorn, Silvio Rodriguez, John Mayall, Denny Doherty, Chuck Mangione, Michael Dempsey, Busby Berkeley, Joel Coen, Yakima Canutt, Don Cheadle, Tom Sizemore, Fran Ryan, Cathy Moriarty, Gena Lee Nolin, Kim Delaney, Garry Shandling, Peter Bergman, Howie Mandel, Vin Scully, Minnie Minoso, Shannon Brown, Ashley Force, Virginia Ruth "Dagmar" Egnor
and Roger Troutman.

Everybody Get Up!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

28 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You are gentle, kind and loving, but sometimes domineering. You are independent, uncommunicative and have a great deal of self-confidence in your own ability. You should marry early in life, your love is strong and you need love and devotion in return.
There is nobody else named in the book for this day, so perhaps some of these notables need your birthday devotion: John Bunyan, Helen Magill White, Prince Hitachi, Gary "I love eating Rice" Hart, Russell Alan Hulse, Friedrich Engels, William Blake, Yves Thériault, Nancy Mitford, Berry Gordy, Jr., Randy Newman, Matt Cameron, Paul Shaffer, Rose Bampton, Joe Dante, S. Epatha Merkerson, Judd Nelson, Hope Lange, Gloria Grahame, Jon Stewart, Anna Nicole Smith, Alexander Godunov, Henry Bacon, Dave Righetti

Anyone have a recipe for Purple Sage Birthday Cake?

Dogblog: Shopped out

The turkey is no more. Black Friday has come and gone.
Shopped out
Clyde is resting up for the next round of holiday fun.

Don't forget to visit Modulator, for Friday Ark. Lotsa nice critters linked there.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

27 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You are humorous and easy-going, an omnivorous reader, a careful student and a clear thinker. You are aggressive and original. You make a good leader, both in society and business. You like to excel in what you do, either in sports or in any serious undertaking.
You also share this day with Gaylord Zimmerman, as well as these other notables: Chaim Weizmann, Tim Pawlenty, Benigno Aquino, Jr., Anders Celsius, Sir John Maddox, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Gail Sheehy, James Agee, L. Sprague De Camp, Kevin Henkes, Buffalo Bob Smith, Jayne Kennedy, Robin Givens, William Fichtner, Fisher Stevens, Michael Vartan, Jaleel White, Steve Oedekerk, Ernie Wise, David Merrick, Al Jackson, Eddie Rabbitt, Daryl Stuermer, Charlie Burchill, Charlie Benante, Mike Bordin, Chick Hearn, Jimmy Rollins, Nick Van Exel, Ken O'Brien, Pierre Mondou, James D. Wetherbee, Manolo ,-) Blahnik, Bruce Lee,

and Jimi Hendrix.

Don't get caught in traffic on your way to the party!

Monday, November 26, 2007

26 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You are kind, generous, upright and capable of great self-sacrifice. You are a favorite among friends and dearly loved by your family. You have a strong, magnetic personality and many warm friends.
Even so, there is nobody written into the book to share this birthdate with you, so you will have to make the sacrifice, and celebrate the day with these notables: Sarah Grimke, John Harvard, Henry Dunster, Edward Higgins, Bill Wilson, Porter Goss, Bruno Hauptmann, Norbert Weiner, Rudolf König, Rodney Jory, Karl Ziegler, Willis Carrier William Cowper, Eugene Ionesco, Frederik Pohl, Charles M. Schultz, Roz Chast, Eric Sevareid, Rich Little, Ernie Coombs, Daniel Davis, Jean Terrell, John McVie, Lefty Gomez, Edna Campbell

and Tina Turner.

Way cool.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

25 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
Quiet and unassuming, you are very capable and possess good executive ability. You think logiaclly, have good judgment, always keep your emotions under control and are rarely enthusiastic. You love music, art and travel and are quite adaptable. Your home is all-important to you.

Keep those emotions under control when we point out that there is nobody written into this book to share this day with you. Settle for enjoying the day with these other birthday celebrants: Catherine of Braganza, Augusto Pinochet, Nikolai Vavilov, Ernst Schröder, Yoriyuki Arima, Reinhard Furrer, Carrie Nation, Pope John XXIII, Rudolf Höss, Jeffrey Skilling, Joe Gans, Bernie Kosar, Donovan McNabb, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Gibbs, Bucky Dent, Merrill C. Meigs, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Helen Hoover Santmyer, Poul Anderson, Ben Stein, Ricardo Montalban, Jeffrey Hunter, Jill Hennessy, Christina Applegate, Percy Sledge, Bev Bevan, Amy Grant, Amber Hagerman
and the Bush twins, Barbara and Jenna.
Partaaaay! Need I say more?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

24 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You are very conceited, have good self-control, are ambitious and idealistic, but lack perseverance and quite often fall short of attaining your goal. You are musical and artistic, steadfast in your love, loyal to your own friends and loving in your home.
Dorothy Reidner–1927 shares this birthdate with you, and (don't let it go to your head) so do these noted persons: Zachary Taylor, Itzhak Ben-Zvi, Charles XI of Sweden, Marlin Fitzwater, Simon van der Meer, Thomas Dick, Baruch Spinoza, Dale Carnegie, Carlo Collodi, William F. Buckley, Jr., Arundhati Roy, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Spider Robinson, Forrest J Ackerman, Paul Robinett, Scott Joplin, Pete Best, Clem "Elvis Ramone" Burke, John Squire, Tony Rombola, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Ted Bundy, Denise Crosby, Colin Hanks, Thierry Lhermitte, Dwight Schultz, Billy Connolly, Irwin Allen, Paul Tagliabue, Dave Bing, Steve Yeager, Christian Laflamme

Get this party started!

Friday, November 23, 2007

23 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You are determined and venturesome, even to the verge of recklessness ; you are so positive in your opinions that when you know a thing to be right, it is almost impossible to move you. People sometimes accuse you of being stubborn. You are just honest and very exacting. You love with passion and vigor.
Nobody has been written into the book to share this day with you, so try venturing into party zones with these birthday celebrants: Franklin Pierce, José Napoleón Duarte, Bobby Rush, Erté, Johannes Diderik van der Waals, Isaac Todhunter, John Wallis, Prospero Alpini, Hal Lindsey, William H. Bonney, Boris Karloff, Robert Towne, David Rappaport, Maxwell Caulfield, Franco Nero, Bruce Hornsby, Miley Cyrus, Scoop Jackson, Stephen Brust, Robert Barnard, Nelson S. Bond, Nirad C. Chaudhuri,

Friday Catblog: old fashioned holiday & Maus likewise

Maus has been enjoying this traditional holiday the old-fashioned way: she gulped down a big chunk of turkey before it could get away.


She -- along with the rest of us out here in Forgottonia -- hopes you had a very happy Thanksgiving Day, wanting for nothing.

And, to save other kitties from hunger (and dogs, too, if you must) Maus asks that you

And don't forget to check out the other beasties, at Modulator's Friday Ark #166, and, on Sunday (or immediately thereafter) visit the CotC, this weekend to be hosted, thankfully, by Begin Each Day As If It Were on Purpose.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

22 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You let the wrongs of others worry you and seem to feel it is up to you to correct them. You are serious and studious, enjoy only the highest type of literature. You are always careful of appearances, and are generally cautious. Your love is strong and deep.
Nobody shares the day with you (at least, not in the book). However, cast aside your worries and lift a glass of some heady potable in honor of these other birthday babies: Tom West, Paul Oswald Ahnert, Sir Andrew Fielding Huxley, Louis Eugène Félix Néel, Richard Carmona, John Nance Garner, Charles DeGaulle, Robert Cavelier de La Salle, Wiley Post, Thomas Cook, Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, George Eliot, Wilhelm Friedmannn Bach, Benjamin Britten, Hoagy Carmichael, Jesse Colin Young, Steven Van Zandt, Tina Weymouth, Tom Conti, Robert Vaughn, Geraldine Page, Mariel Hemingway, Jamie Lee Curtis, Terry Gilliam, Rodney Dangerfield, Lew Burdette, Billie Jean King, Boris Becker, David Pelletier, Shawn Fanning

and Harley Earl.

Somebody could get ideas for a birthday gift...

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

I hope everybody has been having a wonderful day, with feast and with family (that includes extended family -- kin and kindred). I am now going to prop myself up in a corner and pretend I wish I had not had that last bite of Jackie's (original Woolworth recipe) pumpkin custard pie. My abdominal wall may regret the last action, but the taste buds cry out for still more.

Happy Thanksgiving! May you have much for which to be thankful.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

21 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You are somewhat sensitive but considerate of the feelings and opinions of others. You are prompt, dependable, able and competent; and ardent reader, clear thinker and an interesting and entertaining conversationalist. Your home is dear to you and you are very fond of children.
There is nobody listed in the book, of whose feelings you should be considerate on this birthday, but perhaps you may wish a happy birthday to these other notables who share the day with you: René Magritte, Revaz Dogonadze, Voltaire, Elizabeth George Speare, Marilyn French, Nicolette Sheridan, Marlo Thomas, Goldie Hawn, Juliet Mills, Joseph Campanella, Alexander Siddig, Ken Griffey, Jr., Troy Aikman, Stan Musial, Tom Horn, Coleman Hawkins, Dr. John, Björk, Dasha, Dick Durbin, Mollie Steimer
and Richard Marcinko.

Be careful of what he brings to the party!

It snoweth!

Winter is icumen in... the first traces of snow began to drift past the window about a half hour ago. It's stopped, right now, but the forecast promises us an inch or so, overnight. That ought to make the highways lots of fun, for those who have to travel over the river and through the woods.

Drive carefully, if you're on the roads of northern Illinois. We want to see you stuffing your faces at the dinner table, not gluing those faces together at the hospital.

And, while you're around here, thinking of seasons and Thanksgiving, my column has been posted at its usual location, Friday's Klips. Enjoy.

Dogblog: What shoe doin' Clyde?

When I took my trip out west, I had packed a pair of "girly" shoes, in case I needed to dress up a bit. I never wore the shoes, so, when I came back home, it never occurred to me that those shoes might be even remotely interesting to a dog.

Imagine my surprise at seeing Clyde lay claim to them as they lay on the rug by my feet.
The Shoes
At first, I thought he was simply licking some peculiar flavor off them (I have no idea what all might have rubbed off onto them in the suitcase. The luggage has traveled much more than have I).
Like them, Clyde?

But just licking them was not enough. Clyde was bound and determined to remove and consume the silly little bow on the toe of the right shoe.

So, Clyde, do you like my cute little Girly shoes?

Be sure to stop by Modulator's Friday Ark. Critters linked there don't necessarily demolish footwear, but they're still pretty spiffy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

20 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You have positive opinions, but are not argumentative. You keep your own counsel and never violate a confidence. You are trustworthy and reliable and have much latent ability. Your friends are only those who have interests similar to yours. You should marry early in life.

Can you keep this confidence? There isn't any name written in the book for today, so you're all alone in celebrating your birthday -- unless you count these notables: John Bolton (his mustache would arrive later, with much fanfare), Robert Byrd, Joseph Biden, Timothy Gowers, Otto von Guericke, Chester Gould, Nadine Gordimer, Dick Smothers, Fran Allison, Kaye Ballard, Veronica Hamel, Bo Derek, Sean Young, Estelle Parsons, Alistair Cooke, Norman Greenbaum, Joe Walsh, Dierks Bentley, Duane Allman, Rick Monday, Mark Gastineau, Peregrine White (Happy Thanksgiving!)

and Edwin Hubble.

Far out!

Monday, November 19, 2007

19 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
Your life is uneventful and runs in a smooth and orderly manner. You are happy and contented, honest and affectionate. You are generally a very pleasant companion, but when your personal comfort is threatened you are apt to be a bit selfish. You are sociable and have many warm friends.

None of those warm friends has been listed in the book, so try to have a happy birthday with these other notables, instead: Indira Gandhi, James A. Garfield, Rani Lakshmi Bai, Emperor Go-Kashiwabara, Jeane Kirkpatrick, George Rogers Clark, Billy Sunday, Tommy Thompson, Tom Harkin, Georg Hermann Quincke, Tatyana Alexeyevna Afanasyeva, Arthur R. von Hippel, Norman Cantor, Peter Drucker, Gene Tierney, Glynnis O'Connor, Jodie Foster, Allison Janney, Kathleen Quinlan, Meg Ryan, Alan Young, Clifton Webb, Ned Sparks, William Russell, Dan Haggerty, Jason Scott Lee, Robert Beltran, Terry Farrell, Dick Cavett, Larry King, Ted Turner, Matt Sorum, Tommy Dorsey, Savion Glover, Roy Campanella, Ahmad Rashad, Gail Devers, Kerri Strug, Calvin Klein
and Rocco DiSpirito.

I hope he's bringing the cake. Or, maybe I should hope he is the cake?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

18 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You are conscientious, ambitious, accurate and just. You do not act hastily, but are steady and reliable. You are both artistic and musical and have high ideals. You are jovial, hearty and fun-loving, and will be happily married.

Stellar (or, more accurately, lunar) golfer.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

17 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You have good judgment, are a careful manager and a shrewd manipulator. Your ideas are practical and you consider all details before entering into any undertaking. You are affectionate, tender and dependable. Your friends rely on your judgment and have absolute faith in you.

You also have this day all to yourself, unless you count these other noted individuals: Vespasian, Howard "Yeeaaaaaargh!" Dean, Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, Eugene Wigner, Stanley Cohen, Lise Meitner, August Ferdinand Möbius, Shelby Foote, Bob Mathias, Isamu Noguchi, Charles Eastlake, Agnolo Bronzino, Martin Barre, Gordon Lightfoot, Richard Fortus, Rollie Stiles, Tom Seaver, Elvin Hayes, Martin Scorsese, Lorne Michaels, Lee Strasburg, Rance Howard, Lauren Hutton, Daisy Fuentes, RuPaul, Rock Hudson, Danny DeVito, Stephen Root, Dean Paul Martin
and Peter Cook...

making the other angels laugh out loud.

Doll show a modest success

Members of the Warren County Doll Club had their Doll and Toy Show and Sale today. Mom and I shared a table, selling off those dolls we'd picked up over the years and recently decided we didn't need any more.

The two of us had three eight-foot tables full of dolls and toys -- and ours wasn't the largest selection. Other members had four tables stacked with shelves, to serve double-level or more. The funny thing is, for having only a half-dozen members actually showing and selling, we had a truly wide variety of items.

Mine tended toward the mid- to late-twentieth century, with plenty of Christmas-related dolls and figurines, and a few cars and tractors and the like (I had an Ertl John Deere for dirt cheap). But Mary Sullivan had plenty of sweet new porcelain babies, plus quite a cache of action figures, including all the members of KISS, in their original blister packs, and a couple of STNG 9-inch dolls (hard to walk away from Captain Picard, even when he's teetoncey!). Maxine Hiett had about forty of her kewpie dolls, plus a number of lovely portrait dolls and a careful selection of magnificent antique bisque ladies. Karen Ruggles brought to the show several dozen pieces of doll furniture, many fit to use with the 18" American Girl Series, as well as some simple play furniture, a passel of beanie babies, and an assortment of other lovelies. Jan Speer laid out everything from a boxload of little 10¢ dollies to a few seriously collectible kids' books (and some guidebks to collecting dolls) to a charming pair of portraits of Jack and Jackie Kennedy in wedding attire, and, like the Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat, side-by-side on the table sat Dubya and Rosie. Esther Diehl featured an array including plush monkeys and Cabbage Patch Kids.

Mom & I didn't make a killing, selling off our little things, but we made some space in her guest room, and had a great time in the company of some spiffy people -- plus, we may have persuaded at least one -- and possibly two -- more people to come to our meetings, perhaps to join the club.

As far as I'm concerned, that was the primary purpose of the events.

We likes making our new friends, almost as much as we likes our old friends. And we likes playing with toys, even in public.

Friday, November 16, 2007

16 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You are intellectual, capable and discerning, fond of good literature and are a convincing and fluent talker. You have a deep and spiritual nature, are orthodox in your views, and spend little time in unknown fields. Your love is strong and deep and you will receive a true devotion in return.
Nobody is deep enough to share your birthday, from the book, but try a little time with these notables: Tiberius Claudius Nero, Oswald Mosley, W.C. Handy, Hubert Sumlin, Willie Carson, Terry Labonte, Dwight Gooden, Oksana Baiul, Burgess Meredith, David Leisure, Clu Galagher, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Marg Helgenberger, Martha Plimpton, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Lisa Bonet, Chinua Achebe, Michael Cimino, Dean McDermott,
and Gemma Atkinson.

Her intellect is showing...

Friday Catblog: a Puzzler!

hey, ma!
i duz ur puzzelz in ink
i duz yer puzzelz for ya... in ink!

Fortunately, they're just the TV Guide Puzzles, or I'd be worried about having a smarty-cat.

For more clever beasties, be sure to visit Modulator's Friday Ark #165, and, on Sunday evening, check out the CotC, this week to be hosted by Pet's Garden Blog.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

15 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You are persevering, patient and attentive to detail and have considerable originality. You are practical and not in the least subject to flattery. You are quiet and self-contained, enjoy the company of your own sex, like the out-of-doors and are the favorite in your own circle.

You share your day with Clyde B. Zimmerman, as well as these other originals: Louis Bertrand Castel, William Herschel, Georgia O'Keeffe, Joseph Wapner, Daniel Barenboim, C.W. McCall, Mantovani, Petula Clark, Ed Asner, Erwin Rommel, Yaphet Kotto, Sam Waterston, Bill Richardson, Beverly D'Angelo, Kevin Eubanks, Iskander Mirza, Felix Frankfurter, William Pitt,
and Randy Savage...

because Beef is good for you.

Dogblog: Friendliness is next to Dogliness

Irish Wolfhounds @ library
This past Saturday, a pair of Irish Wolfhounds were the guests at Children's Reading Hour at our local library.

Friendliness is next to Dogliness
They were verrrry friendly puppies (and yes, they were still growing).
Sadly, Clyde wasn't ready to share us with anybody, and
O! I perish!
handled the new scents on us rather ungraciously... until we gave him some biscuits.

Need still more doggies? Be sure to visit Modulator's Friday Ark.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

14 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You judge hastily and lose your temper easily, although you do not give way to violent fits of passion. You do not harbor any resentment and although you are prone to speak hastily, you are sorry afterwards. You are magnetic and people follow you readily.

Please do not resent Patsy Clabough–1946 for sharing your birthday, as these other notables do, as well: Leopold Mozart, Fanny Mendelssohn, Patrick Warburton, Adam Walsh, William Steig, Astrid Lindgren, Aaron Copland, Jawaharlal Nehru, Brian Keith, Mamie Eisenhower, John Henry Barbee, Dick Powell, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Dominique de Villepin, McLean Stevenson, Jimmy Piersall, P. J. O'Rourke, D. B. Sweeney, Laura San Giacomo, Peter Norton, Yanni, Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons, Josh Duhamel, Nina Gordon, Prince Charles, Stephen Bishop, Curt Schilling, Paul McGann, Joseph McCarthy, Frederick Banting, Robert Fulton, Edward White, William of Orange, Condoleezza Rice

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

13 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You are frank, honest and outspoken. You like a change of environment but are not too unhappy if your desires are not gratified. You read a great deal; are a fluent talker and very entertaining. Your home life will be happy and contented if you marry young.
You share your birthday with Edwin L. Hillers–1927. Also, you may be happy and contented to celebrate with these other birthday celebrants: Bertel Thorvaldsen, Robert Louis Stevenson, General Joseph Hooker, Fred Phelps, Ron Artest, Edwin Booth, Jimmy Kimmel, Chris Noth, Joe Mantegna, Whoopi Goldberg, Vinny Testaverde, Monique Coleman, Mel Stottlemyre, Garry Marshall, Eva Zeisel, Louis Brandeis, John Drew, Jr., Max Dehn, Ayaan Hirsi Ali
and Jack Elam.

Support Your Local Fortune Teller.

Tuesday Tummy #14

Maus is only offering a coy little peek at her tummy, this week.chewing coyly
If you try to get more, she'll flip, and

use her laser eyes on you.

Looking for more dangerous beasties? Be sure to visit Modulator's Friday Ark, and don't miss the CotC, at Justin's Random Thoughts.

Happy Birthday to Eva Zeisel!

There are lots of folks out in the world who have never heard of Eva Zeisel -- in fact, I hadn't, until only a few years ago. In the art world, the name is often everything. Today, Chihuly and Picasso and other successes have become practically household names, for their revolutionizing their media. But in the world of ceramics, the hand is all. Eva Zeisel has one heck of a hand.

There are plenty of sources for her biography, but too often they skip over the brief time, in the early 1950s, she spent here in Monmouth, IL (except when they're trying to buy or sell pieces she designed/crafted while here, at Western Stoneware).

There's a fellow who comes the the local auctions, now and again (he used to come every week, but his health is fragile... he's probably only about 10 years younger than Zeisel, after all), who worked pretty much all his adult life at the Monmouth Pottery, primarily making cups and mugs. One day, when the auction house had about a dozen locally-made Zeisel pieces up for sale, the gentleman commented that he had worked with her, and had never been impressed by her and never much liked her stuff -- it just didn't look strong enough, or words to that effect.

I have to admit, I look at them and think of fluids, of motion, of laughter and whimsy, and the gent at the auction didn't strike me as one who had a sense of humor about dishes. He likes the chunky, clunky, almost purely utilitarian stuff with the horrid green glazes, and the drip-glaze pieces.

If it weren't for Eva Zeisel's works, I suspect tableware would still be serious, stiff, and depressingly formal -- or worse, permanently 1970s-avocado-green-ugly. Certainly stoneware -- and Western Stoneware -- took on new light when she first cast clay.

I raise a glass in honor of her birth, one century and one year ago, today.

Monday, November 12, 2007

12 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
A fine retentive memory and a good mind for details are your chief characteristics. You are amiable, magnetic and intuitive; a favorite among your friends and always welcome at social gatherings. You like to travel and to read about it. You will have an harmonious and happy life.
Anna Dodge and Dilys Shears 1926 have happy lives like yours, having also been born on this date some years back. Join the social gathering of these birthday celebrants, as well: Charles (be afraid!) Manson, Tonya (watch your knees!) Harding, Sammy (watch it fly!) Sosa, Nadia Comaneci, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, David Schwimmer, Neil Young, Wallace Shawn, Jo Stafford, Grace Kelly, DeWitt Wallace, Jack Oakie, Michael Ende, Booker T (and the MG's) Jones, Megan Mullally, Brian Hyland, John Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, Qi Jiguang
and Auguste Rodin.

Just think! You could be bronzed, too!

Culver endangers lives to save a dime

This weekend, with the price of a barrel of crude oil dancing around the C-note, Iowa's governor, Chet Culver announced he would lift safety restrictions on the most explosive trucks barreling along the Midwestern highways. For the next month or so, those rolling bombs will not be subject to one of the most practical (and still too weak) laws of safety, as the drivers will be allowed to drive past their bedtimes, as it were.

Truckers have limits on how many consecutive hours they can be behind the wheel of a rolling big rig for a reason. According to some experts, fatigue is the number one factor in fatal truck accidents. So, why allow trucking companies to override the one policy designed to prevent the majority of fatalities?

If Culver were serious about reducing the financial burden on commuters, should he not have gone to the state legislature and pressed them to drop a few taxes off the stuff? Instead, he offers a stopgap measure which, as relief, is unproven, and as a safety hazard, is clearly documented.

One might think Iowa's Culver has been studying Illinois politics, by the way he's reacting to the predictable price increase. On this side of the Big Muddy, we call it pandering. Over there, it could be lethal.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

11 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You are shrewd, determined, argumentative and take a strong stand against opposition when you think you are in the right. You do not like to be driven, but for love you will do a great deal. You have many friends and are generally happy and entertaining.
You do not have another person listed in the book to have as a birthday-mate, but perhaps you will entertain some of these notable birthday persons: Leonardo DiCaprio, Calista Flockhart, Jonathan Winters, Alger Hiss, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Demi Moore, Pat O'Brien, George Patton, Carlos Fuentes, Barbara Boxer, J. H. C. Whitehead, Stubby Kaye, Mose Allison, Stanley Tucci,

Saturday, November 10, 2007

10 November Fortune Teller says

Your birthday today:
You like to lead and will not take a secondary position if you can possibly help it. You are very public spirited and quite philanthropic. You love travel, reading and music. You should marry someone who is sympathetic towards your broad interests.

Nobody had a name written into the book for today. So lead these other notables in celebrating the day, instead: Ellen Pompeo, Donna Fargo, Claude Raines, Martin Luther, Greg Lake, MacKenzie Phillips, Russell Means, Sir Tim Rice, Jack Scalia, Vincent Schiavelli, Roy Scheider, William Hogarth, Bill Bryson, Neil Gaiman, Roland Emmerich, Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov, Vachel Lindsay, Richard Burton

and composer/conductor Ennio Morricone.
He's the Good.

Update: Don't forget the Marines are another year older, today!

Week in the Desert, part 5

Where were we? Ah, yes. Halloween afternoon. I was wearing the socks with the glow-in-the-dark "BOO!" printed all over them. We had seen the Liberace Museum, picked up my brother-in-law, and headed for

The Valley of Fire.

It's a bit of a drive up the interstate from Las Vegas... but Interstate HWY 15 is smooth and clear, once you leave Las Vegas city limits, and it's really only about an hour, at most -- less than a third, I think, of the journey required to reach Zion National Park (we didn't have the time for that, this trip).

Basically, from North Las Vegas to Nellis AFB, I15 was relatively clear, and then beyond that, cars were few and far between. It was early afternoon, so we were heading out after the noon rush and before the big evening rush hour(s). The desert scenery looks pretty soft,
Along the interstate
click any image for larger view

but even there, it's unforgiving (and they'll tell you so, in the tv shows set in Lost Wages). And the geologic uplift appears fairly gentle and orderly, until
Approach you head eastward-ish, on the Valley of Fire Highway, past those rolling, gently erose hills and tumble into the sharp-and-pointyland which marks the edge of Valley of Fire State Park.

The VoF Highway was freshly paved and so smooth I think even grocery carts wouldn't shimmy on it. It was the only smooth thing for miles.

Enter the valley
The brush is prickly, the sand is rocky, and the hills... well, the hills are shock of red rock
crisp, to say the least.

As we approached the park, we passed at least six stretch limousines and one standard limo, all exiting the park. We asked later at the park's visitor center what the story was, and the woman at the counter said "Halloween Wedding." I'm thinking it was an awesome place to hold a party, but by the look of things, these folks had more money than sense. Nonetheless, they (and we) weren't the only people coming through the park that afternoon. I had to wait a long, long time to get pictures of some of these places without a couple of cars smack dab in the center of the scenic vistas... In particular, the Beehives had one jack.... um... oblivious soul park right next to the biggest outcropping take a few pictures, and then stand outside his car talking first to somebody on his cell phone, and then with somebody in a car which stopped on the highway directly in front of him.
The Beehives
These stones, "the Beehives," stand between one and two stories high. I didn't get a chance at the bigger ones, though (see above).

balanced delicately
Still near the Beehives, just looking south-ish.
Same general vicinity.

We went from there to Atlatl Rock, where my camera batteries quit working. So I depend upon my seester's camera for evidence that I thumbed my nose at (a) my fear of heights and (b) my fear of pain coming down stairs, and climbed the steps to the observation platform. I'm thinking it was about 50-60 feet up (in the range of 15-18 m.). My imagination may have altered dimensions, but I don't think too substantially.

One [expletive deleted] strode right past the "PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB" sign and went up the rock face to where the petroglyphs were, and then had to climb the fence to get onto the platform where his wife and tween-aged daughter waited for him. Lovely addition to the erosion of the site and its artifacts... Guess what? He spoke French.

Anyway, another couple of people showed up, obeyed the rules regarding stair usage, and even very kindly took a picture of my seester and me at the landing, midpoint on my climb back down, while I was resting my [insert swear-word here] knee.

From Atlatl Rock, it was off to the Visitor Center, so I could buy batteries and... post cards.

Outside the center, the desert was in bloom:
Desert Gold

Subtle blooms

We took advantage of the clean facilities (wondering why they didn't have those water-saving commodes) then left the center, headed down to Seven Sisters. Here are two of them, with one seester.
My seester @ Seven Sisters

Seester in shadow of Sister
one seester in the shadow of a Sister...

Sun & 1 of Seven Sisters
And the Sister which cast that shadow on the seester.

Soon after, exhaustion set in. Heck, we'd been on our feet since 6 a.m. local time, and it was fast approaching 5 p.m., with only a light lunch. So we headed in the direction of
Out of valley, approach Lake Mead Drive
Lake Mead Drive (or is it Road -- or Boulevard?)

On Lake Mead Drive looking west
and then back down to the city of sin, for supper around Fremont Street, in time to catch the Experience, complete with VIVA VISION (they spell it with all caps). I bought myself some postcards (surprise!) and a tacky little glitter-globe magnet for Mom, since she collects magnets.

We didn't misbehave too badly during the show or at the "Lucky 7" $7.77 buffet in whichever casino/hotel we wandered into (by then I was too tired to tell one casino from the next). But I did have some soft-serve frozen dairy product, in a cone, for dessert, with insufficient lactase tablets to counter its effects. Don't tell anybody. I only regretted it a little, in the wee hours.

We got back to our rooms in Primm around 10 p.m. local time. We had to be up and moving the next morning by 5:30, for more steak-and-eggs breakfast and more car stuff, at NACE.