Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hollywood Sign

Anyone want to purchase the Hollywood Sign?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Reincarnated Voice

A couple of weeks ago I caught an episode of this new show Killer Instinct. It's an okay show in my opinion. I like Chi McBride and I'm curious to see if his career has taken him the level where he will always be portraying the older statesman so to speak. Sort of like a low-rent Morgan Freeman. No offense to either actor intended. I love them both.

As much as I like the CSI's, I'm getting kind of bored of their sometimes over-the-top grossness. There's just too many CSI copycats on the tube. This show seemed like it might be a bit different plus it's in my other fantasy city (other than any place in a Alaska) San Francisco.

I actually became transfixed by this show because of one of the leads Johnny Messner. Yes, he's easy on the eyes, but it was his voice that attracted me. I kept thinking where did I hear his voice before. Finally I closed my eyes and listened to him and I thought, "Good grief, it's Jack Webb's voice in a much hotter body".

If anyone out there is old enough to remember Dragnet or Jack Webb tell me isn't Johnny Messner's voice eerily like Mr. Webb's voice?

Monday, November 28, 2005

First Impressions

Over the holiday I ended up running into someone I used to work with. We ended up having lunch together and I realized how much I missed this person. We are so very different, but our personalities mesh somehow and we always have really good talks and lots of laughs.

It wasn't always that way. When I first met S. I didn't think much of her. It wasn't that I didn't like her. I just didn't think much of her. I always forget my cardinal rule, "Don't judge a book by its cover". Or in this case don't judge someone by an initial meeting. You never know what's going on with people, they may not feel well, they could be having a very bad day or even a bad moment. You just can't take what you might think as a brush off personally. Nine times out of ten it has nothing to do with you. I think most of us have huge egos and we all tend to delve into solipsism from time to time. We think everything is about us.

I'm glad that S. and I got to know each other and got to be friends. I have to keep remembering my cardinal rule and also remember that most of the time "it's not me".

Otherwise the holidays were nice. Fairly non-eventful. A. and I had a nice time, visited with some friends, relaxed and did some things for our baby-the house. Still struggling with a nasty sinus situation that I refuse to go to the doctors for, but other than that things are fine. Except for being back at work. I wish I liked it here, but I don't and I can't imagine that I ever will. As an adult I know you do what's required to earn a living, and I am greatful to have a job. There's many that don't. I just have always felt there has to be something more than this, and I'm terrified that I will never find it or if I do I'll be too old to do anything about it.

I like to end these entried with an appropriate quote and the best one I can think of is "Don't judge a book by its cover". I can't located who this is attributed to. I found one item that said this is a proverb from the 1920s. If anyone has any information on this quote or proverb please let me know.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Friday Round Up

Boxed sets are a great gift idea. They are a bit expensive of course, that's why they were created, but I think they do make a great presentation. This Calvin & Hobbes boxed set would make a great gift for the Calvin & Hobbes fan. I love the autumnal colors of the outside covering.

I have never been much of a comic reader. I loved Peanuts and would like to have all of the Peanuts Complete Sets, but other than that I think I have only read Cathy when it first came out and now I read Boondocks by the amazing Aaron McGruder.

I'm a bit late with this because this would have been more appropriate garb for Halloween, but it's still awfully cute.

I am a nut about grammar and the correct pronunciation of words, and I work very hard at both. I love words and it's important to me to speak well and to attempt to use words correctly. Until I lost my memory I had much better conversational skills than I do now. There isn't a day that goes by that I am not upset about this. I don't shed tears about it anymore, but I'm ticked off each and every day. I just can't find the words fast enough anymore. I digress. One of the words that has always driven me a bit mad is normalcy. The word should be normality. The credit is always given to Warren G. Harding for saying something about returning to a "state of normalcy" after WWII. There are all sorts of stories about this. Normalcy is in all of the dictionaries I've checked and it's part of our everyday lexicon. Still makes me crazy.

I like to find out I am not alone in my grammar pet peeves. Apparently someone feels the same way about the word literally. Or rather the abuse of the word literally.

On those days when you are really bored why not have a try at creating some poetry. Online magnetic poetry can easily fill up an hour or two.

I am originally from the Pittsburgh, PA area. Of course like most regions Pittsburghers and those from around the area have a certain way of speaking. Now since I have been away for a long time I have lost my "accent", but I still remember all of my Pittsburghese. See if you can talk like us.

Fig Newtons and Scotch is going away for awhile. Have a great weekend and for those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving have a nice one, and for those of you who don't have a nice day off.

"No longer forward nor behind I look in hope or fear; But, grateful, take the good I find, The best of now and here." (John Greenleaf Whittier)

Thursday, November 17, 2005


One of the things that I haven't talked about much in this blog is music. I like all types of music. A. and I have a lot of cds and they run the gamut from Mozart to Leroy Anderson, from Buju Banton to Peabo, from Ella to Jill Sobule, from the Moody Blues to Dean Martin, from Martina McBride to Django Reinhardt, from Paul Hardcastle to Nat King Cole, from 3 Mo' Tenors to Usher, from Renee Fleming to Etta James, from Israel Kamakawiwo'ole to Dan Fogleberg, from the Carpenters to Los Indios Tabajaras, from The Smith Sisters to Maroon 5, from Lavay Smith to Mahalia Jackson,from Sarah Brightman to Shakira, from Evelyn Glennie to Ottmar Liebert,from Keiko Matsui to Joe Sample. I could go on and on and on and on.

Since I am always making lists and I've been quite bored lately my newest list has to do with song titles. I am trying to make a list of song titles that ask a question.

So far I don't have very many. This is much harder than I thought. If you know of any please feel free to send them my way.

Here goes (title and performer or title and composer:

1. Is That All There Is? Peggy Lee
2. Aint' That a Shame? Fats Domino
3. What'll I Do? Written by Irving Berlin-performed by
4. Ain't It a Pretty Night? Floyd Carlisle (composer)
5. Do You Know the Way to San Jose? Dionne Warwick
6. What's Goin' On? Marvin Gaye
7. What's Happening Brother? Marvin Gaye
8. What's Your Name? Don & Juan
9. Who's Sorry Now? Connie Francis
10.Are You Lonesome Tonight? Elvis Presley
11.What Do You Get When You Fall in Love?Dionne Warwick
12.Are You There? Dionee Warwick
13.What Can I Say? Boz Scaggs
14.Why'd You Lie? Colin James
15.What's It Gonna Be? Dusty Springfield
16.When Will I Be Loved? Everly Brothers
17.What Child Is This? Adolphe Adam (composer)
18.Why Don't You Do Right? Peggy Lee
19.Aren't You Glad Your You? Rosemary Clooney
20.Do I Love You? Ella Fitzgerald
21.Why Do Fools Fall in Love? Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers
22.Can I Get A Witness Marvin Gaye

Okay, that's all I have.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Don't Cha

Most people that know me well know that I love all sorts of music and that I love to dance. Perhaps that is why I can't get that Pussycat Dolls song Don't Cha out of my head. I liked their rendition of Sway, but at least it wasn't trapped in my head like Don't Cha is. Most people who know me, especially those people from "back in the day" know that I am a frustrated burlesque queen anyway. I may look like a mild-mannered, midle age whose hobbies could be doily making and reading, but believe you me-inside there's a wild, militant barfly trying to escape. Perhaps that's what appeals to me in this rather sexist song. Right now I wish that I were somewhere dancing my heart out to it either tune; sexist or not.

Over the weekend I heard that Coke is phasing out Diet Vanilla Coke and Vanilla Coke. GOOD GRIEF!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's probably all for the best. I have really been doing a half-decent job of having only a couple of Cokes a week, and must have sucked down enough Vanilla Coke to float the Queen Mary (yes, I know she doesn't float anymore). Oh my goodness, Vanilla Coke was wonderful, and oh so addictive. So long sweet friend.

Most of you are already of aware of Google Maps, but are you aware that Google Maps can be used to track your calories and mileage?

I'm all for political correctness, but this is taking things a bit to far. I won't even get on my soapbox about censorship, etc., but I am outraged about this. What the hell is wrong with Harper Collins? They already made a huge faux pas when they colorized Charlotte's Web (IMO)now this. And stop making Goodnight Moon so huge. It's supposed to be a cozy, not Olympic size swimming pool sprawling. Geez!!!

I leave you with something that has probably made Geoffrey Chaucer's bones tremble. The lyrics to Shaft in Middle English. Can you dig it??

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Growing up in a small, rural community was wonderful in so many ways. Of course at the time I couldn't wait to get away. Now I miss it so very much.

This was a place where if your neighbors barn burned down, everyone got together to help rebuild it. This was a place where everyone knew everyone, and all of their business. This was a place where the owner of the feed store, taught school and drove the bookmobile. This was a place that once when I was driving down the road Mrs. Krauss came out to the side of the road and flagged me down. She told me that my mother had just called and asked her if she could catch me she needed to get some more of the Krauss'fabulous apples for the pies she was baking. This was a place where I not only knew all of the two-legged animals, I also knew all of the four-legged animals too.

I miss all of that . That sense of community. Yes, there were some drawbacks, especially when we first moved out to the country, but I am not going to get into that here. For the most part it was great.

The Syracuse Cultural Workers publishes a wonderful catalog full of posters, buttons and a wonderful calendar. The 2005 edition is hanging on my wall. They call themselves peace and justice publishers and they have wonderful products dedicated to both, and more.

The following sentiment about community building is available in a poster and bookmark in English and Spanish.

How To Build Community

Turn off the TV. Leave your house.

Greet people.

Look up when you’re walking.

Sit on your stoop. Plant flowers.

Use your library. Play together.

Buy from your local merchants.

Share what you have. Help a lost dog.

Take children to the park. Honor elders.

Support neighborhood schools.

Fix it even when you did not break it.

Have pot luck suppers. Garden together.

Pick up litter. Read stories aloud.

Dance in the street.

Talk to the mail carrier.

Listen to the birds. Put up a swing.

Help carry something heavy.

Barter for your goods.

Start a tradition. Ask a question.

Hire young people for odd jobs.

Organize a block party.

Bake extra and share.

Ask for help when you need it.

Open your shades. Sing together.

Share your skills.

Take back the night.

Turn up the music. Turn down the music.

Listen before you react to anger.

Mediate a conflict. Seek to understand.

Learn from new and uncomfortable angles.

Know that no one is silent though many are not heard.

Work to change this.

"A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess."
-A. Philip Randolph

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hazard Yet Forward

Hazard Yet Forward is the motto for Seton Hill College. That is where I went for undergrad. I remember the first time I went into the cafeteria. I had gone to the wonderful salad bar, eaten my lunch and went to empty my tray. Just as I was getting ready to leave I looked above the doors and there it was in beautiful medieval looking script"Hazard Yet Forward".

I was later to learn that this was the motto of a distinguished Scottish family-the Seton family.

Seton Hill College (SHC), yes it was college when I went there, not university like it is now. SHC was a Catholic, all female liberal arts college run by the Sisters of Charity. Located in Greensburg, PA on top of a huge hill. (better to protect all the virgins from the townies). I absolutely grew to love it. I wasn't too thrilled my freshman year. All of those roomates were a bit much for me. For the next 3 years I had a private room, which I seldom if ever locked. I remember I started locking it, but then I forgot my keys a couple of times. These rooms had transoms at the top of the door. I can remember climbing up the door and shimmying through the transom, balancing on the built-in dresser that was right by the door and down to the floor. When I think of this now I marvel at being so small I could fit through the transom. Too much junk in the trunk for that these days. I was always a good climber, and I still am, but geez!!

For 3 years I had the same room in Canevin Lowe Hall. On each floor there was a nun. Now that I think about it, it must have been hard for the nuns. In my freshman year we petitioned and had a sit-in so that we could have open dorms. What this consisted of was on Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Sundays we could have "boys in our rooms". WHOOPIE!!!!!!!!!! Each nun had a suite at the end of the hall. My floor had Sister Mimi Jo. Actually it was Sr. Miriam Joseph. She was this amazing Poetry and English Lit professor. She was elderly then, and you just knew that it must have been something for her to have to live on a floor with a bunch of rowdy women and then to have men on the floor on the weekends. During the week if a man was on the floor say to fix something all you would here is, "Man on the floor", "Man on the floor". I had Sr. Mimi Jo for a poetry class where I totally embarrassed myself by butchering Wordsworth's A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal. I actually butchered some part of Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn as well. Just too introverted to speak in front of people. I'm actually to introverted to speak to one person most times, but that's just something I have to deal with day in and day out.

When I went to SHC only females were admitted. If an SHC student wanted to take some courses at our brother school, St. Vincents College you were permitted to do that, and vice versa. St. Vincents is located in Latrobe, PA. Home of Arnold Palmer and Rolling Rock beer (yak spit and bear pee).

Through the years there was much scuttlebutt about Seton Hill going coed. I always thought it would never happen, but then in 2002 the school went officially coed. Now we have Seton Hill University. I don't think I will ever get used to that. Seton Hill was the one place that I really felt empowered. I don't think I have felt that way about too much of anything since then. There was just something about those professors, mostly nuns, mostly female, pushing you to do your best, encouraging you to try new things.

I know that I should look at this as not abandonment of women's programs, but as an expansion of women's education to include men, but it still doesn't set well with me.

SHC has changed in other ways as well. They now have a nursing program, new dorms have been built, and I hear the library is better than ever.

I wonder if the students still go "tearoom", "borrow" the cafeteria trays to go sledding, have the big bonfire to usher in autumn, during mid-terms and finals have the cafeteria open until late at night with all sorts of snacks available and have the ice cream parties. (that's where I learned that maple walnut ice cream mixed with peanut butter and french vanilla ice cream with hot fudge and pretzels really is heaven))

I am not a "stay in touch" sort of person. I burn bridges very easily, but I always make sure that the SHC alumni office has my contact information. I love reading the Forward and all of the other SHC information.

I miss who I was then and I miss all of the wondeful friends that I made there. I loved those women and I know that they loved me. I have yet to find that sort of camaraderie anywhere else,and I am very grateful that I had that in my life if for only a short time.

"Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education".
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910), Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday Round Up

If you are going to be doing some entertaining this week and have misplaced your favorite drink recipes neve fear, Droogle is here. What is Droogle? Droogle is a very large collection of drink recipes, cocktail recipes and more.

Stewart Kennedy, president of Kennedy Foods must have some imagination. He came up with Peanut Butter Slices. Who would have thunk? I haven't tried these, but I can't get over thinking this is just a bit weird. I was never thrilled with peeling the plastic off of orange cheese. Now peanut butter. Might have to investigate. If anyone has tried this let me know how it tastes.

Elmer Dressler, Jr. passed away on October 16, 2005. His name might not be familiar, but some of the characters he provided the voice for are. Mr. Dressler was the voice of the Jolly Green Giant (Ho, Ho, Ho), and Snap of Snap, Crackle and Pop the Rice Kripies boys. He was 80 years old. (via just

There are so many wonderful things that the Internet does, but one thing that it does so well is provide a venue of sorts for artists of all kinds. Tiny Showcase is an online gallery of "tiny works of art". Each week a different artist is showcased. There is a wide array of styles and each artist donates a portion of their proceeds to a charity of their choosing.

I think most people who are looking for information, all sorts of information Google it. We've even made Google a verb. What if you can't find what you are looking for on Google? No need to fret. Post your query on Can't Find It On Google. I think this sort of thing is fine, but there are people who are trained to assist other people that are looking for information. They are called LIBRARIANS folks. You don't even need to be near a public library to have your questions answered. There are numerous Ask A Librarian links that one can access right from their computer. You might have to wait a few days for a response. If you need your answer right away try a live reference librarian. I used this quite a few times when I was in school and it's really fun. I had never, and will never, experience a chat room, but this is sort of like a chat room I would think. You type your question, wait a minute or two and a librarian comes on and responds. It's great. Here is a partial list of collaborative live reference sites. Funny, I really was only going to mention the Can't Find It On Google site and then shut-up about. Sorry I got on my using librarians rant.

Have a great weekend.

"The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries".
— Cosmos

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Dia de Los Muertos, Dia de Los Angelitos

Today and tomorrow are Dia(s) de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. It coincides with the Catholic All Saints Day and All Souls Day. This is the day to honor the dead-the gone, but not forgotten. Now some say that today is actually Dia de Los Angelitos-the day to remember lost children and that tomorrow November 2nd is the day that adult souls returen- Dia de Los Muertos..

I have long been a taphophile. And what is that you ask. A taphophile is someone who loves cemeteries and funerals. Well, I'm not big on funerals, but I love nothing more than walking through cemeteries, reading the headstones and looking at all of the mausoleums. Even as a teenager my friends would want to go to the Quaker Church cemetery in my town. There were gravestones there that dated back to the 1700's. They wanted to go there to "mess about". I wanted to go there and read all of the upright tombstones and just be there.

I have neve quite figured out what it is about the upright tombstones. I just find them more comforting, for lack of a better word, somehow than the flush-to-the-ground stones.

There was an article in the October 26, 2005 Guardian about "Dark Tourism". Dark tourism is visiting sites where tragedy has occurred or visiting cemeteries. The article is interesting and names some popular cemetery destinations.

The other night I watched a special on cemeteries that was actually called A Cemetery Special. This documentary was done by one of my favorite documentarians Rick Sebak. He also produced and narrated the Hot Dog Program, Sandwiches That You Will Like and An Ice Cream Show.

The latest Sebak documentary tkes the viewer to rural garden cemeteries, the famous Mount Auburn Cemetery in Boston, and the Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia. This much-visited cemetery sold it's last family plot in 1884, but volunteers are working to restore this cemetery to it's once Victorian grandeur. I think my favorite was the Birch Hill Cemetery in Fairbanks, Alaska. This cemetery has a mixture of native and non-native graves. Because of the frozen ground they don't dig graves in the winter. If you die in the winter you are put into cold storage until the spring thaw and then you are buried. Often there are homemade wooden markers and visitors leave a lot of personal objects and mementos atop the graves.

I think my favorite cemetery in my area is Rock Creek Cemetery. Depending on what way I go home from work, I pass it twice a day. Rock Creek Cemetery has a lot of noted folks buried in it's vast acreage, but the cemetery is most famous for the statue most commonly known as Grief. The actually name of the statue sculpted by Augustus St. Gaudens as a memorial to Henry Adams' wife Marian Hooper "Clover" Adams is The Mystery of the Hereafter and The Peace of God that Passeth Understanding.

My dream is to visit Colma, California. Colma, California is about 50 miles from San Francisco. The town actually has more dead citizens than live. It has 17 cemeteries-16 for humans, one for pets. Colma became the location of a large number of cemeteries when San Francisco, the town's powerful neighbor to the north, passed an ordinance in 1900 outlawing the construction of any more cemeteries in the city (mainly because of increased property values making the cost of using land for cemeteries prohibitive), and then passed another ordinance in 1912 evicting all existing cemeteries from city limits. (A similar scenario prevails in New York City's borough of Manhattan, where only one active cemetery still exists — the Trinity Church Cemetery and Crematory, at the intersection of 155th Street and Broadway, on the northwestern edge of Harlem). The relocation of cemeteries from San Francisco to Colma is the subject of A Second Final Rest: The History of San Francisco's Lost Cemeteries, (2005) a documentary by Trina Lopez.(from Wikipedia)

I always think that we should always remember those that have gone,and carry them in our hearts, but to also remember those that are stil here, that make our lives a little bit better on a daily basis.

"Be happy while you're living, for you're a long time dead".
-Scottish Proverb