Sunday, September 30, 2007


Who in Their Right Mind?

This past Thursday was the season premiere of CSI. The final show of last season had Sara Sidle stuck under an overturned car in the desert. She looked dead. A psychopathic woman put her in this position. The season premiere, of course, picked up where the story left off. (Wouldn't it be killer if they didn't & just left us hanging?)

As I was watching, I started mentally recounting how many of the CSIs have been kidnapped or put into other nasty situations:

Nick Stokes - kidnapped and buried alive in a Plexiglas box
Gil Grissom - hunted by a psychopath
Catherine Willows - slipped a date-rape drug, wakes up in a hotel room with no memory of what happened
Greg Sanders - tries to save a person being attacked, ends up killing someone, gets sued by family

Add to this a lab explosion and other nasty job pressures and you have to start wondering, who on earth would want to go into this line of work?

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Saturday, September 29, 2007


FtTP - Cesar Millan + John Edward

We had a friend over for dinner tonight. Within the course of our conversation, we came up with a strange idea for Frankensteining the Talent Pool - Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, plus John Edward, the medium (he sees dead people). Here's the reasoning: Combining the two would allow for a medium to keep spirits in a "calm, submissive state." And if the spirits get bucky, the medium could just say, "Tsst, tsst," and put spirits in their place.

Trust me, the conversation was much funnier when we talked about it than how it's showing up here, especially because my hubby does this hilarious impression of Cesar's phrase "calm, submissive state." Here's the link for Cesar's own website. The one above is for his National Geographic show.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007


Tie One On

I can tie a necktie in the dark with my eyes closed. Okay, so that's redundant. Either way, I can't see. The point is that I can tie a necktie without seeing. I had to do it this morning. Young Son was having class pictures taken and he wanted to wear a suit jacket and tie. His choice, not mine. Strange little boy, he is. He does not yet know how to tie a tie, so he thrust it at me while I was still in bed half asleep. I tied it and handed it back.

Where did I learn such a skill? Where any self-respecting girl learns such skills - from my dad. Back in high school wearing a tie with a boxy jacket was the thing - sort of Annie Hall - and I asked my dad to show me how to tie one properly. He showed me two different ways. I probably also borrowed the tie from him. He wasn't wearing them, but he had a bunch.

My husband doesn't wear ties, either. They strangle him. He wore one for our wedding and again for the awards banquet during the Atlanta trip. He told me he must really love me in order to put up with the noose, although I didn't make it a requirement for the Atlanta trip. He said if I bury him in a tie, he'll come back to haunt me. I don't intend to, so no worries there.

This all reminds me of a post I read on the Dangerous Intersection blog yesterday. Erich Vieth recommends that men all over America should get together and liberate themselves from neckties by having a tie-burning event. Hey, go for it. Most of us ladies gave up our girdles ages ago. (Thank God!)

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007


FtTP - Feist + Mika

Rianna has saved the day by sending me a blog post idea. Sometimes I just can't get into the mood to post something here - last night was just such a night - and it helps when I get a suggestion. I would have posted this Frankensteining the Talent Pool combo last night, but wanted to get Rianna's permission to do so first. So, here goes:

FtTP: Feist + Mika

I've discussed Mika here before. Lovely, upbeat music, he's got. I heard Feist through a commercial first and wondered who was performing. My husband looked it up and told me the name, which I promptly forgot. Then Rianna reminded me through her email last night. Feist, which sounds like it could be the name of a group, appears to be the name of a female performer. She has an ethereal sound, happy with a smidge of melancholy. Check out her 1, 2, 3, 4 on YouTube. This is the song from the commercial. I'll tell you, she and Mika could certainly have a fashion-sharing party. They both appear to enjoy dancing, too.

Thanks, Rianna!

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Monday, September 24, 2007


Two Movies Watched

I've heard there are some great movies out there. That's what people tell me anyway. And I wistfully reply that I'm horribly behind on movie watching. I never seem to have two hours to kill at a time. Which makes it quite amazing that I watched not one, but two movies this past weekend.

The first, recommended by a friend, was "Almost Famous," a sweet film about a 15-year-old wunderkind writer, William Miller, who is asked to write an article for Rolling Stone on an up-and-coming band called Stillwater. Frances McDormand plays the boy's mother, Elaine Miller. She's a stitch. "Don't do drugs" is her favorite piece of advice. It's priceless when she gives the what-for to the lead guitarist of the band at one point in the movie. Philip Seymour Hoffman fully inhabits the character Lester Bangs, who is a disaffected rock-n-roll writer serving as William's mentor. The film features several other well-known actors - Kate Hudson, Anna Paquin, Jimmy Fallon. Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand were nominated for Oscars for the film, and the movie won one for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. If you check it out, pay close attention to what the tour bus says while on tour, and then what is says after the airplane scene.

Okay, second film. This, too, was recommended by the same friend as above and we watched it at her house. It's called "Zeitgeist" and it should scare the shit out of any thinking person. "Zeitgeist" is labeled a documentary and it has an amateurish, made in a back bedroom quality, with lots of black and fuzzy screens backed by narration. Don't let that deter you from the message of the movie. Well, the many messages of the movie.

The first part starts with a discussion of religion, showing how the facets of Jesus' life actually showed up in many previous religions and were attributed to different gods. Another part deals with the Federal Reserve. Did you know that the Federal Reserve is a private bank? And that the U.S. government borrows its money from the Federal Reserve with interest? I didn't.

Another part looks at 9/11 and the investigation of this national tragedy. Several demolition experts appeared on the film and said that what happened to the Twin Towers and Building 7 of the World Trade Center looked just like a planned demolition. The buildings - three of them, no less - would not have come down the way they did without this being a planned demolition. There was other evidence to support this, such as the many reports of an explosion in the basement of one of the towers prior to the planes hitting. Also, Building 7 was not struck by a plane at all, but it collapsed like the others did. (How did I miss the whole Building 7 story?)

The point of the movie, according to the website, is as follows:

Zeitgeist was created as a non-profit filmiac expression to inspire people to start looking at the world from a more critical perspective and to understand that very often things are not what the
population at large think they are."

The film's creator(s) (whoever he/she/they may be - it's not obvious from the website) also encourage people to do more research and figure things out for themselves, instead of following the powerful (or the movie) without question. It certainly has me thinking and eager to check out the facts presented. "Zeitgeist" can be downloaded from the website. Start exercising your brain's synapses.

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Writing Day Success

Woot! Woot! Woot! Time for the touch-down happy dance. Today's a writing day and I finally finished the ninth story in my Greenville series. I got hung up for a while on a particular part, so finishing feels great. It remains to be seen whether my writing through the glitch will be effective, or if it's complete crap and I'll have to rewrite it, but at this point, I'm done. One story left. Whew!

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Thursday, September 20, 2007


The Voice in My Head

There are days when I feel like a head case - like I'm living solely in a mental realm without any real connection to the physical. Days when I'm having long conversations with the voice in my head. (Notice I said 'voice,' not 'voices.' There's only one in there and it's all me, baby.) I tend to slip into the mental realm when I've been on the computer too much, or when I'm tired. I was in that space yesterday, and started there today. I become aware of the sensation after a while because I start feeling off balance. There's nothing like a physical, deal-with-me-now emergency to pull me back out. Buckets of rain water to remove from a basement. What fun.

While I was thinking of the interplay between the mental and physical realms, I realized that when I was a young adult, I thought I was a very mental person, like I could live in my head and be very happy there. I was mistaken. I've never been completely mental. And I've also very much enjoyed the physical all the way along. I took gymnastics as a kid, and still enjoy dancing. As an artist, I'm drawn to creating images of the human body. Bone studies are a kick. At one time I thought I might become a naturopath and I love studying anatomy, physiology, and medicine. When it comes to writing, my stories are peppered with human physicality. (My Greenville stories have quite a number of bathroom scenes.) I'm especially interested in how the body betrays humans. There's no escaping it, this vehicle of the mental. It's how our souls play with the world.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007


FtTP - Richard Cheese

This is super cool - a Frankensteining the Talent Pool dream come true. Richard Cheese has a spot on his website wherein readers/listeners can suggest songs for him to "swankify." Of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I suggested he swankify Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" and something, anything from Dave Matthews Band. I narrowed it down to four, though - "I Did It," "What Would You Say," "Halloween," and "Louisiana Bayou." Let the swankification begin. Now I'll have to wait and see if these songs are swank-worthy.

Here are a couple of other FtTPs concerning Mr. Richard Cheese.

Cheese + Micheal Buble (Buble has the sense of humor to pull this off.)

Cheese opening for the Rev. Horton Heat.

Everything goes with Cheese.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007


The World May Now Come to a Screeching Halt

The world may now come to a screeching halt. I've discovered the Big Band sounds of Richard Cheese. I first vaguely heard Mr. Cheese this past July during an art show in which my husband's motorcycle table was on display. Someone had thrown a mixed bunch of songs (whether on CD or digital, I'm not sure) over the intercom and I was hearing strains of songs that were familiar, but not quite the way I knew them. We asked who this crazy cover artist was and got the name - Dick Cheese.

This past weekend while we were together for my sister's wedding, my brother handed my hubby a Richard Cheese CD, "Lounge Against the Machine." Mr. Cheese takes "alternative standards" - i.e. familiar songs from the disaffected youth of today - and gussies them up with a Big Band snap and swing. This particular disk has covers of U2's "Bullet the Blue Sky," the Offspring's "Come Out and Play," the Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right," and Radiohead's "Creep." If you've never heard Dick Cheese, you are in for a surprise. For one, he enunciates so well that you'll be able to understand lyrics you thought you'd heard before, but hadn't really because the original singers screamed and growled through them, emoting all comprehension straight out of their songs. For another, he sings swear words with such confidence that you'll laugh your ass off. I know I have. Not quite sure what I'm sitting on right now, but hey, it's worth it for the Cheese.
There are other humorous touches to Cheese's songs. His version of "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails sounds like a Sesame Street tune with hints of the Peanuts appearing in the middle. His cover of the Garbage song "Only Happy When It Rains" features bits of "Singing in the Rain."

Dick Cheese isn't for the faint of art, but then what popular music by the disaffected youth of today is?

I'm going to YouTube right now and see if I can find some more Richard Cheese.

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Monday, September 17, 2007


Behold! A Coffee Cup!

Okay, this is my last story from Atlanta - at least for now, unless something reminds me of the trip again.

On Thursday, September 6, on the first day of the museum conference, there was a special treat planned. Cokie Roberts was due to speak right before lunch. My hubby and I were keen to hear her. I had a couple of morning sessions to attend. Hubby wasn't interested in the museum sessions, so he found a spot to sit and read in one of the hotel's public areas.

After my second morning session, my husband came into the conference room and handed me a paper coffee cup. From Starbucks, no less. I looked at it and said, "So?" And he grinned and told me the story of The Cup. He had been sitting in an area with several clusters of chairs and tables. Minding his own business. Reading. There were three people in the next cluster over, two men and a woman. He didn't pay much attention to the group, until they got up. He noticed that they had left their garbage all over the table. Upon their leaving, he recognized the woman. She was Cokie Roberts. And she'd left her coffee cup on the table. My husband, cheeky guy that he is, picked up Cokie Roberts' coffee cup. As a souvenir. To keep forever. In a shrine. With an up-light. And a picture of Cokie. The thing you have to know about my husband is that he is not impressed by fame for fame's sake. For him, this is all a laugh-riot, poking a little fun at those who take fame too seriously. So, now we have Cokie Roberts' paper coffee cup sitting on top of our kitchen cupboards. Awaiting the enshrining.

By the way, if you ever have a chance to hear Cokie speak, jump. She's witty and intelligent and fun to listen to. Gracious, too.

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Evaporation of Intimidation

During the last session of the museum conference, which happened on Saturday morning, I met Greg Britton, the director of the Minnesota Historical Society Press (MHS Press). The session was on building a publishing enterprise within a historical society. MHS Press puts out some gorgeous books and I'd link to their site online, but I'm getting an error when I attempt it, so I'll just link to MHS' home page instead. Anyway, they create fab books and here was the director, so I was intimidated. No idea why, really, but I sucked it up and went to meet Mr. Britton after the session was over. I had a couple of technical questions, which probably sounded lame, but I asked anyway, shaking in my shoes the whole time.

Then came time for the awards banquet and a bunch of us Minnesotans had agreed to meet outside the Grand Ballroom ahead of time. And, who should I see, but Greg Britton. I was on the verge of feeling intimidated again and then he said something about wishing he could attend the Dave Matthews Band concert that night, and suddenly the feeling of intimidation evaporated. A small commonality was all it took.

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World's Longest Escalator

We now return to our regularly scheduled Atlanta tourism station broadcast. I'm going to get a little post happy today and try to finish up on our Atlanta trip. Life just keeps happening, so I don't want to drag this on for too many days.

Let's turn our attention to CNN Center. On Saturday the 8th, Hubby and I had the afternoon to putter around. We had an awards banquet to attend that evening, so we couldn't do a touristy activity far away. We decided to take a tour of CNN, which is headquartered in the CNN Center in Atlanta, which was conveniently attached to our hotel. We could see part of it from a hallway on the sixth floor of the hotel. Here you see a shot of the escalator that is the beginning of the tour.

Before you enter CNN, you go through a security check, sort of like the one you go through at the airport. No one is allowed to take pictures. It's a good thing we couldn't - at least from the standpoint of the guy sleeping in the newsroom with his hands in his pants. (I'm not making this up.) It was a fine, fluff tour, with more traveling through hallways and down stairs than any hard-hitting information. The most impressive thing to us was discovering that the escalator we had traveled up - the very one you see pictured here - is the largest free-standing escalator in the world. It's five or six stories, by our estimation, and was originally built as part of a Sid & Marty Krofft theme park. (Sid & Marty Krofft of H.R. Pufnstuf, Sigmund & the Sea Monsters, and Land of the Lost fame.) That was the original purpose of the CNN Center - a theme park. It went bankrupt within five months. All that's left is the escalator, which we have had the privilege to ride.

While I'm sorry I can't give you an escalator ride, here is an online tour of CNN.

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The Wedding

We're back. Jeez, that's starting to be a regular sentence here at Filter & Splice. We're back. This time from my sister's wedding. She married the guy she's been living with for the past six years, which is quite something because she was never going to get married again after her first. This guy, my new brother-in-law, is totally a keeper. Sweet with my sister, fun to talk to, a real gem. We've actually had trouble calling him my sister's boyfriend over the years because he has seemed like our brother-in-law for all that time.

It's finally official, but not without some chaos first. My sister had a plan - at least I'm pretty sure she did - but she didn't communicate it to anyone prior to the wedding. Where do the tents go? How do you want them arranged? How about the table and chairs? The table for the unity candle? What time are pictures again? Where do you want the grill for the pig? The food tables? When are we eating? Are we eating? Some of us simply had to take charge and get things done. To complicate things, it was extraordinarily windy and cold that day. The bridesmaids (including me) were dressed in sleeveless gowns and we were goose-pimply and teeth-chattery.

My sister and her youngest daughter left to have their hair and makeup done on Saturday morning and didn't return until about noon. The wedding was scheduled for 2 o'clock. We had to figure all of this stuff out, plus get dressed in about 4 hours. I think it was a good thing my sister was away. She gets so stressed by these sorts of events - even when she's not the center of the activities - that she would have wound herself up into greater knots. The rest of us did what we had to do and things were pretty much ready by 2. Except Mom, who decided she had to use the bathroom at the last minute. Not a big thing, except you have to understand that we were walking a huge, bumpy, farm field distance between the second backyard, where the wedding was being held, and the house. The wedding itself went without a hitch - except for that one REALLY IMPORTANT hitch. My husband's sister performed the ceremony. She's a UCC minister, you know. My sister was gorgeous - naturally - and the groom was handsome in his tux with camo vest and hunting boots. (It was hunting opener, so only true love could have forced the hunterly guys to show up for this event.)

As soon as the wedding was over and the guests were all properly received, my sister and her husband went elsewhere for a visit with a granddaughter they rarely get to see. The wedding party changed into more sensible clothes - including a winter jacket for me - it was that cold - and we set up the food. My hubby had been roasting a pig all day, the one that my sister and her hubby had been raising for the occasion. It was delicious. Once the happy couple returned, after some prodding to get them to come to the meal, we ate. Food was followed by wedding cake, music, a bonfire, visiting, and clean-up. Then, blessed sleep.

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Friday, September 14, 2007


We Interrupt This Broadcast

We interrupt this regularly scheduled broadcast of the Atlanta tourism station to bring you the following announcement:

Mary's sister is getting married tomorrow. Mary is leaving today for her sister's house and won't be back for a couple of days. Blog posting suspended until then.

Have a great weekend! :)

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Atlanta Botanical Gardens

And now for a continuation of the Atlanta trip recap . . . .

On Friday last (a week ago), after some morning museum stuff, the Hubby and I caught the train - and then a MARTA bus - to the Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG). The garden is on the north side of Piedmont Park. My brother suggested that we go to Piedmont Park, but when we saw there was a botanical garden, we were all over it. It was a hot, hot, hot, clear day. Good thing we had water. ABG is beautiful. There are pieces of artwork mixed in among the plants. We took lots of pictures, a few of which are above. The top picture is a sculpture tucked in along one of the walking paths. The second and third photos are of two glass pieces done by Dale Chihuly. Chihuly is a glass god. Really. If you aren't impressed by these two pieces, check out the other work on his website. His biography is worth a read, too. The green piece above is in the Conservatory near the rain forest area. When I walked in, I thought it was a real plant. Isn't it gorgeous with all the mist? That mist was a lifesaver, cooling us down after strolling through the sweaty heat outside. The fourth photo is of orchids from the orchid room. And the fifth photo? The green one is me.

After we were through at ABG, we walked around to Piedmont Park. Piedmont is HUGE! There's a pond in the park, and ball fields, and a place big enough to hold 50,000 people for a Dave Matthews Band concert. Well, if I couldn't go to the concert Saturday night, at least I could visit the park Friday and see where they were going to play. As we moved from the north part of the park to the south, we were trying to figure out where the concert would be. We ran into an area that was roped off, with signs that said that area was closed for an event. It didn't make sense. The area was rolling hills and trees - not good for a concert at all. As we continued down the road, we ran into Budweiser and ice semis and U-Haul trucks. We looked back toward the north, into an area partially hidden by trees, and saw the stage. Aha! We found the concert site. By this time, we were dragging and we'd reached the south entrance to the park, so we left and caught a bus back to town. This particular concert by DMB was a green concert. Because there is very little parking around Piedmont Park, concert-goers were encouraged to use MARTA to come to the concert. Very cool of the band to think of such things in order to reduce global warming. We used MARTA because we are cheap and lazy.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007



I have days worth of Atlanta observations to dole out, which means that I'm hesitating while trying to decide what to tell you about next.

Let's turn to southern hospitality. I have to say that everyone we interacted with in Atlanta was kind and helpful, from the lady who helped us purchase our Breeze passes for the MARTA train, to the concierge who recommended the restaurant Thrive, to the Italian waiter at Thrive (his name was Erjon (pronounced Aaron) - he's been in the United States three years and is in school) to the police officers who helped us with directions to the bus driver who took us to the Atlanta Botanical Garden (he told us the secret to the good life is to never go into debt - pay cash for everything) to the man who took our admission fee at the Atlanta Botanical Garden who informed us that he's seen evidence of global warming in Atlanta. Even the panhandlers were soft-spoken and helpful while attempting to pry cash out of us unsuspecting tourists.

Far and away my favorite of all was Karlos, our waiter at the Omni Hotel. We first met Karlos at a small museums luncheon on Thursday. He stood out immediately because of his skill at his job and his regal bearing. He was attentive beyond belief. If he saw anyone hesitate or look in need of something, he was immediately at the table to offer his assistance. Watching him was like watching professional ballet, he was so smooth in his movements. I did not catch his name at the small museums luncheon, but found it out later during the awards banquet on Saturday night. When Hubby and I got seated, Karlos suddenly appeared and I was so surprised and pleased to see him that I blurted out, "Oh, goody! We get you again tonight!" I was delighted to be able to watch him work again. It's pure joy to see someone perform a job so well, and especially a job as hard as waiting tables. At the end of the banquet, Hubby and I saw him clearing tables and I was determined to go shake his hand, which I did. I complimented him on his work and he said that hearing that was better than getting a tip. He asked if Hubby and I were married and when we answered in the affirmative, he asked how long. We said eighteen years and his eyes grew wide and he gave us a smile and said he hoped his upcoming marriage would last that long. He is due to get married in December. We congratulated him and wished him well. If he is anywhere near as attentive to his future wife as he was to us, his marriage will indeed be long and fruitful.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Centennial Olympic Park

I'm still playing catch-up after our trip to Atlanta, so to make things easy tonight, I'm going to post more pictures. Across the street from our hotel was the Centennial Olympic Park, which as a fun fountain of spray jets that issue forth from the Olympic rings embedded into a large brick plaza. (There are memorial bricks all along the plazas and walking paths in this park.) Atlanta is hot and people are encouraged to enter this particular fountain, but not the others in the park. Unfortunately, the evening we had our camera, there were no people in the fountain. Watching little kids in it was the best. The spray jets do a variety of things - sometimes going full bore, at other times spraying in bursts or patterns. Before they blow, you can hear a hissing sound and then a phoomp! Here are photos showing several views.

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Monday, September 10, 2007


The View from Room 636

Lucky you! I'm going to subject you to photos from our trip to Atlanta. We stayed at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Room 636. I'm going to see how Blogger sticks these photos in. They look a bit wonky while I'm in the screen to write this post.

The first photo is a shot of the back side of the Omni Hotel looking straight up. I love taking photos from this sharp angle. It makes the building loom. The second is a distance shot of the hotel and CNN Center taken from the Centennial Olympic Park (more about the park in a later post). The CNN Center and Omni Hotel are connected, which may not be readily apparent from the photos. The third shot is of the view out of our room, which was on the sixth floor of the hotel. Quite a bustling intersection down below. Very touristy area.

You're not going to see this in any of my pictures, but there were cops everywhere. Cops on motorcycles. Cops on bicycles. Cops in cars. Probably because there were so many tourists and this is CNN's headquarters.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007


We're Back!

We have returned from Atlanta. I see that yesterday was the 1-year anniversary of this here li'l ol' blog. Happy Blogday! More to follow from Atlanta.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007


On a Lighter Note - ATCs

I couldn't very well bop off to Atlanta and leave you with that last depressing post. I've made several artist trading cards that are shown here for your viewing and meditative pleasure. The last one in the series is by Eldest Son. Ta ta for now.

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Monday, September 03, 2007


Waiting for the Rapture

I found three articles through Reddit yesterday that scared the bejesus out of me. Two were about the U.S. government's plans to attack Iran. One of these was a story on Daily Kos about a woman in the Navy who reported that the military has been given orders to line up their Tomahawk missiles. Unfortunately, the story seems to be gone now. It was under the heading:

Daily Kos: "We Are Going To Hit Iran. Bigtime"


The other story is at the Times Online out of London.

The third story, which has now been flagged for removal and no longer appears, was on Craigslist out of Boston. It was a set of instructions for how to survive if the United States bombs the crap out of your country. The whole thing made me want to go hide in the woods and create my own self-sustaining settlement.

What is this world coming to? Oh, wait. Let me answer that on behalf of the President. He wants us to undergo the Apocalypse so that he can have his Rapture. If this is what the Rapture is all about, count me out.

P.S. This communication is probably being monitored by our government - you know, the one that says we have all this freedom. Humph!

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Sunday, September 02, 2007


Atlanta on My Mind

The Hubby and I are going to Atlanta this week on a work-related trip. Having gone to Portland, Oregon, two years ago, I still have in mind the airport rigamarole. That whole business scares me, what with the paranoia caused by Homeland Security. Our goal is to have only carry-on luggage. During the Portland trip my checked bag got lost and I'm not eager to experience that again. It did get delivered the next day, but what if it had gone into some black hole of lost luggage forever? I shudder to think. Each of us is allowed one carry-on piece, plus one personal item. There are all sorts of rules about what is allowed in carry-on luggage and how you're supposed to pack it. Liquids and gels under 3 ounces have to go into a plastic quart-sized baggie. Trouble is, I don't know whether all of the liquid/gel items go into one baggie, or if each goes into its own baggie. Luckily we don't have a whole lot in the way of liquid/gel items. Do solid deodorants count as a liquid? It wouldn't seem so, but does it have to go into the baggie, too? This whole thing just makes me nuts. Why doesn't the airport just require us to unpack all of our suitcases in front of security personnel and be done with it? Sure, it would cripple air travel as we know it, but wouldn't we all feel so much safer? (That's sarcasm, folks.)

Along with packing, the other thing that I tend to do before long trips is to have a mad cleaning frenzy in the house. I don't know if it's because I think I might not make it back alive, or if I simply like to come home to a clean house. I prefer the latter explanation, because the first is too morbid. Besides, I'm going to live to be well into my nineties. So there. Yesterday I cleaned our downstairs bathroom to within an inch of its life. I even scrubbed the shower, which I haven't done in ages. And by ages I don't mean to falsely imply that I cleaned it a mere two weeks ago. I mean that I haven't cleaned it in so long that I don't remember when I last did it. Hey, it's a shower. We stand in it and the sweat and filth and body odor wash down the drain.

Hubby did a bunch of cleaning, too. Vacuumed and mopped the floors, and basic tidying. He also made bread that was to die for. We had guests over last night - seven altogether - and four loaves of bread disappeared instantaneously. He made more bread today. Mmmm, mmmm. Dipped in a mixture of Roma tomatoes and basil from the herb garden, it makes a meal unto itself.

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