Friday, July 29, 2005

Is it just me?

I've noticed a trend here in Fake Cow County. There are more and more businesses that have religious names and/or churchy sayings on their marquees. Roto-rooters for Jeezus and things like that.

For years I have groused about the chicken joint that insists on displaying the teeth-grindingly inane Jeezus Luvs Y'all type of drivel on their sing. There is a pizza place down the street that has done largely the same thing with their marquee sign, but it wasn't quite as saccharine-y.

Recently the pizza folks have taken the focus off the Kingdom and shifted to more product-oriented slogans. I hate to admit it, but they should have stayed with the Jeezus stuff.

Their first non-religious slogan made me blink and look twice, but then I thought maybe my head was just in the gutter. The sign said "You turn our ovens on!" It made me think of the lyrics to the old jazz song "Slow Rollin' Mama":

'Cause I'm a slow rollin' mama
And I need a big long rollin' pin
To get it ready and just right
For my red hot oven.

(Don't tell me current music is any worse than the old stuff! Hip Hop may be less euphamistic, but its not any more blatant in its subject matter.)

This week they updated their sign: "You put the pep in our pepperoni."

Is it just me?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Paying Homage

I don't know about you, but I do a lot of things that are an homage. This has come up a lot in conversations lately. I'm not talking about the big things - monuments, gatherings, and what have you. I'm more interested in the little things.

My friend J. is paying homage with a lamp. As long as she has it, it remains connected to the story of its previous owner. If it went to the thrift shop along with the rest of the stuff, it would still be the coolest lamp ever, but the story would be severed from it.

Reverendmother recently wrote a series of remembrances. Part of the rememberance was a bag of dirt. No more, no less. But the dirt was an homage. And the bag of dirt kept a story going. From one generation to the next.

I just bought the DVD of one of my favorite obscure movies of all time. It was a British show that was on Mystery! in 1996 or 97. Its a pretty stupid mystery but I fell in love with the story because it is all about homage. The murder itself is totally irrelevant and just a vehicle for a character to travel around Britain to honor, in mostly very small ways, all the bits and pieces of life that are important to him.

Homage, for me, is not about the big picture.

Exploring cemeteries is a partly about homage for me. I love gravestones that give you a hint about the story, instead of just a name and a couple of dates. Sometimes the story is in the items that surround the grave itself - a particular flower or a possession imebedded in concrete. A hundred years ago people wrote epitaphs. You got a small piece of the wit, wisdom or story of the life remembered. I'm beginning to see more and more contemporary stones that tell stories. Instead of a pithy saying there may be a laser cut granite portrait of the person's house, dog, truck, farm or boat. Its nice to know a little more of the story. Remeber the old saying "take a button and sew a vest to it"? I am a champion vest sewer.

What do you do to celebrate stories?

How do you pay homage?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Its 4:30 a.m.

...and I have nothing to say.

Ho hum. Don't you hate not being able to sleep? My internal clock is all messed up. I keep going to bed by 10:00 p.m., thoroughly exhausted. Then my eyes pop open at 3:30 a.m. each and every morning. This is one of those mornings when I can't convince myself to go back to sleep. If my clock was skewed in the opposite direction, I would at least get to watch some cool TV - like The Daily Show or the rest of last night's Thin Man movie marathon on Turner Classic Movies. But at 3:30 a.m., if you don't care about the sorry state of your skin or how to rotisserize that damn chicken ("Set it and forget it!") there is just nothing on.

So I am entertaining myself at your expense here on the internet. Here's what I know so far:

1. I don't have to go to work today. Or tomorrow. I don't have anything I have to do or anywhere I have to go. HA!

2. I went to church last Wednesday night. I did not spontaneously combust nor did a chorus of angels greet me at the door. I might go again tonight. (Jackson, aka Mr. Cleaver, is tired of cooking supper. He claims he can feed me there cheaper than cooking. However, I plan to milk whatever saintly benefits out of this that I can. I think we will at least get our Christian cards punched. When you fill it up you get eternal life or a free video tape rental. Your choice.)

3. I'm hungry. But it seems a crime to cook at this hour of the morning.

4. My parents have recently moved to a town of 11,000 people. There are 65 churches in that town. That's one church for every some little number of people. I don't know a lot of math, but I know that is an ungodly number of churches.

5. I like this quote from Lewis Thomas: "The cloning of humans is on most of the lists of things to worry about from Science, along with behavior control, genetic engineering, transplanted heads, computer poetry and the unrestrained growth of plastic flowers."

Not being one to shy away from useless filler material - here is a vacation photo. Captain Katie, Superhero in Training and her magnetic sidekick, Opie Capone Jr. Opie Jr. is evidently paying homage to Elton John, circa 1977.

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

Lack of inspiration leads to imitation. Plus, I like cats.

I didn't used to. I only had dogs before I got married. Dobermans. Didn't see the use in cats. Then we moved out next to the corn field and cats became a necessity. My long-time friend, Saavik the Doberman, had died. Then I discovered gardening. So, we got cats.

Once we installed a cat door, I was thoroughly converted. Cats take care of themselves! Who knew? Early on we had quite a succession of cats. They were pretty adventurous and all chose to eventually leave and live among the coyotes, traversing the plains as mascots for the pack of wild beasts. Yeah, that's it.

Our latest couple of feline roommates have either been smarter or less adventurous. Oh, who am I kidding? They've been less adventurous and have managed to stick around for several years.

First we got Archie. Archie bites. Hard.

It's not that he's got a rotten temperament or anything. He loves people. He really does! He loves how they taste most of all. A typical dinner guest at our house will invariable say "Oh! That tickles!" at some point in the evening. Archie will have licked them on the back of the leg. Unless forcibly ejected from the room, he will continue to lick and lick and lick until he has properly prepared his entree. Then, chomp!

We paroled Archie from death row. He wasn't really guilty - probably just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Is that the face of a criminal? He had his sentence commuted. We think his experiences in prison may account for his unfortunate table manners.

Steve came along later. She was rescued by my good friend M2. M2 gave Steve to Jackson as his own little chemotherapy companion. She was so tiny and starved then. Not so much now.

Steve is a voodoo priestess. She believes she is a queen among men and all must bow down before her. Yes, there is a cat door. No, she is not going to use it. She possesses powers far beyond those of mortal men. No matter where you are in the house you can feel the heat from her otherworldly stare as she sits before the front door, demanding to be let in. She will bite if you are dense enough to ignore her commands, but she is more usually satisfied by a not-so-priestly application of claw to forearm or hand. She likes to hide in the houseplants and attack your ankles as you walk by. Each successful attack is followed by a disdainful flip of the tail and a baleful glare.

Cats crack me up!

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Throw 'em to the Lions!

I'm a big fan of NPR. It beats watching the local news or one of the national news shows in the morning. (Am I the only one that finds Katie Couric sort of frightening - like a character in a horror movie who started out ok but had their blood sucked by vampires and their brains transversed by aliens and they are trying to maintain the mask of normalcy but it is slipping just enough that you begin to realize something is horribly, horribly wrong?) My NPR station, like a lot of other such stations, barely has enough power to broadcast their way out of the proverbial paper bag. Clear Channel, they're not.

NPR station lies to the south of us and equidistant to the north is a Christian radio station of some ilk. Sometimes they play music, but it is mostly talk. They pretty much share a signal with NPR station. It is extremely frustrating.

I can pick up NPR in the south end of my house, but any further north than my bedroom door the Christian station totally interferes. Sometimes the interference is worse than others - like it was a couple of weeks ago.

I had been struggling to pick out the news from the static for almost a week. One morning I was busy trying to get my contacts to stick to my eyeballs and listening to the news/body count from Iraq when the static cleared and a voice rang out clearly for the first time in days. It was a preacher voice - you know the type - and he said: "I could tell the president how to run this county! I could run this country!" A moment's silence, then back to the static.

It was deeply disturbing. It felt like a brush with the demonic or Pat Buchanan or something. Made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

The next day, I hopped in Bob T. Truck to drive to work. The atmosphere was even more uncooperative. Although there was no static, the Christian station had totally pirated the NPR frequency and was coming in loud and clear. There was sappy singing and then the syrup-y, breathy-voiced man emoted: "This is K-LOVE. I'm Kenneth in the studio today with Lori and we hope that you, personally, have a really, really, really good day."

It wasn't even 7:30 a.m. I can't handle that kind of language first thing in the morning.

Oh, Lord, doesn't separation of church and state apply to the airwaves, too?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Those who can't, critique.

Not nearly enough camping has been going on this summer, so when we ended up with an unexpectedly free weekend, we went to Palo Duro Canyon. Its only an hour from home and is the second largest canyon in the United States. Check out this website for a really detailed description. You can see the canyon for yourself if you watch the final scene of Indian Jones and the Last Crusade. They filmed the riding-off-into-the-sunset scene at Palo Duro.

We also got tickets for Texas Legacies. It is the play, now in its third season, that replaced the Texas Outdoor Musical Drama. This year is the 40th anniversary of the huge amphitheater with a canyon wall as a backdrop and the low-brow musical history show in the foreground.

I have seen "Texas" at least a half-dozen times. The show was always more of a place than a play. It wasn't great drama, it was great staging. On the other hand, there were likeable characters, athletic dancers and pleasant, if forgetable, music. The story presented a "cliff" notes version of Panhandle history told in the story of a pioneer town's patriarchs. Not bad.

This was my first time to see the new play, "Texas Legacies".

When I was in school, seventh grade included a year-long course in Texas history. We all made diaramas of the Alamo or the birthplace of Sam Houston or the
Southfork Ranch. (Well, maybe not the last one.) "Texas Legacies" may well be the dramatization of a seventh grade history class research paper.

Legacies uses the same plot as the original play - tell the story of local history through reminicense of the pioneering couple who tamed the land and became benevolent cattle barrons. Then they pack in all sorts of fragments of history. None of the fragments give enough history and none of the characters have enough character. The historical snipettes are told in flashback. (I love how "young" Col. MacKenzie was actually just "shorter" Col. MacKenzie.) The non-flashbacks are flat-as-the-caprock strings of cliche that barely attempt to tell a story, they just segue to the next flashback.

Really and truely - the first play wasn't that great either. We kept going back for the scenery not the scenes. This play doesn't attempt high drama either, but somehow its outdated predecessor, with its 1950's style story telling had sort of a retro appeal, if nothing else. "Texas Legacies" updated the 1950's special effects and some of the 1950's story-telling style, but didn't replace it with anything better.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Willy Wonka! Willy Wonka!

It was awesome.

And if he used Keith Richards for inspiration before, this time it was Michael Jackson.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Now I just need to find a couple of good books.

I received my bookmarks in the mail yesterday from Mindy's blog swap. They're great! (Insert Tony the Tiger voice.) The ones I received, whether by accident or design, had a theme:

I received a really beautiful marker from Judy. It is a picture of Louis Comfort Tiffany's Lily Window located in the First Presbyterian Church of Hoboken, New Jersey. It is a beautiful stained glass window. I really like lilies, so I was thrilled with the book mark. Thank you!

Then I received two markers from
Songbird and her daughter The Princess. They sat down at the dining room table, huffed a little Mod Podge and began tearing up tissue paper. The results were a couple of way cool book marks that look a whole lot like stained glass. Mr. Tiffany would be proud and so am I. (This Mod Podge appears to be really cool stuff. I am going to have to try it out.) Thank you!

I really enjoyed swaping with everyone. I get really excited about getting something in the mail, other than bills.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I always did like John Belushi.


You are a Samurai.
You are full of honour and value respect. You
are not really the stereotypical hero, but you
do fight for good. Just in your own way. For
you, it is most certainly okay to kill an evil
person, if it is for justice and peace. You
also don't belive in mourning all the time and
think that once you've hit a bad stage in life
you just have to get up again. It's pointless
to concentrate on emotional pain and better to
just get on with everything. You also are a
down to earth type of person and think before
you act. Impulsive people may annoy you

Main weapon: Sword
Quote: "Always do the right thing.
This will gratify some people and astonish the
rest" -Mark Twain
Facial expression: Small smile

What Type of Killer Are You? [cool pictures]
brought to you by Quizilla

So, what kind of a killer are you?

Hang in there.

This is one of my favorite photos. I call it


It is actually stuffed animals hanging at the back of a game tent at the fair in the Big Town. (Big Town would really rather be called Big City. But it is a town. Even though Chicken Big the Weatherman insists on pleading for people in the "metro" to run for their lives.) This photo also reminds me a lot of this site. And if you click on that link and cannot appreciate the sheer genius of the cakes going on there, then I pity your small, pale soul.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The most recent was a squish-n-wipe operation.

Sometimes being a feminist can be damn inconveient.

Yeah, I know you already know this. And no, I've never been nearly arrested at a protest or testified in a lawsuit or had to buck the powers that be to have my talents recognized despite being female.

I was once a fill-in speaker on a panel for the local American Association of University Women group. The panel was made up of local big/medium wigs discussing how they had advanced in their careers despite the obstacles presented by our patriarchical society. Being a good 20 years younger than anyone else on the panel, all I could say was that I was greatfull for all the work they'd done before, because I hadn't had to deal with any such problems. (I think the group was somewhat underwhelmed. They haven't asked me back. Ha ha!)

There are still issues though. One is bugs. I hate bugs. I hate 'em a lot. I especially hate the crunchy/squishsy sound they make when you step on them. Eew. There are others who hate them more. One such person is my good friend ER (not to be confused with the E. of the Naked Little Palestinian Man story). She sometimes comments under the name ChevyPickup. She hates bugs a whole lot.

We work on the bottom floor of a four-story, otherwise abandoned old hotel. There are three floors of rat, mouse and pigeon droppings hanging over our heads. And there are bugs. Every morning when ER gets to work you can hear her exclaim upon entering her office: "Oh, GROSS!" I guess she must give off bad vibes or something, because her office always has the most dead bugs littering the place in the mornings.

When I first started working here she would call one of the guys to go de-bug her office. I just couldn't stand it. In defence of my gender I had to do something. I debated with her. I cajoled. I prodded. She still insisted on calling some man to rid her of the insect carcasses instead of doing it herself.

So, I came to realize that if I were to proclaim convictions, then I must work in support of them. Sort of a "faith without works is dead" kind of a thing. Now I clean the bugs from ER's office each morning and dispose of them in a trash can at the far end of the building. I still hate 'em so she pays me with a coke each time. Its a nasty job, but I am doin' my part for the movement! (Plus queching my morning thirst. Generally with a caffeine free Diet Dr. Pepper. "Cept on those days when I have a headache or things have started out wrong and I imbibe that sweat nectar of the gods - plain ol' Dr. Pepper - straight up.)

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Vacations are good. Then you come back to reality.

In addition to longing for a job with a more casual dress code (although we're no longer required to wear pantyhose) I often wish for a job that continued in my absence. Like working as a checker at a grocery store. The same people come through the lines and they get checked out by someone else while you are gone. When you come back later, they are not all lined up in front of your register impatiently waiting for you to check them out so they can put the melted ice cream and spoiled eggs in their car and go home.

Oh well.

Amuse yourselves with spooky woods while I get back to work.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


I am only recently returned from a perfectly sudorific vacation. Our previous record of pluvious adventure has ceased.

Our travels included an amusement park, capable of great horripilation, and a zoo - always an effective nepenth.

And I purchased a tome - about sesquipedalation.

I just got back from a sweaty trip. Our previous record of rainy travel is ended. We went to an amusement park and got good goosebumps. We also went to the zoo, which is good for what ails you. And I bought a book about inordinantly long words: "2000 Most Challenging and Obscure Words" by Norman W. Schur.

We traveled with Opie Capone, Mrs. Capone and their daughter, Opie Jr. No one maimed or scarred anyone else. We travel with them pretty often so the two only children that we have between us get to experience the joys of sibling travelery.

The kids had a great time at the amusement park and zoo, but probably had just as much fun in the hotel swimming pool. Kate the kid has a talent for securing playmates that must come from being an only child. Jackson relayed a conversation he overheard between her and a boy she played with in the pool:

Kid - "Is that old wrestler-looking guy your dad?"
Kate - "The one with the bald head and the tatoo?"
Kid - "Yeah."
Kate - "Yeah, that's my dad."
Kid - "Cool."

Jackson also gets the award for finding the most disturbing bathroom graffiti: "If you give the devil his due, you won't have anything left over to tip Jesus." Thanks folks, my name is Jesus and I'll be here nightly through the end of the week. And leave a little something for your waiteress, too.

Opie Jr., who just turned five, spent a lot of time trying to keep Jackson in line. She learned at an early age that her aunt, Ray-Ray (she couldn't say SpookyRach yet) was not just your average aunt, but a superhero in disguise. You can ask her "Who is Ray-Ray?" and she will tell you "Wonder Woman".

Well. Sort of. She also had trouble saying Wonder Woman, so it has become ingrained her little pink brain that I am Woman-Woman. She spent the week saying "Watch out, Uncle Jackson! Ray-Ray is Woman-Woman!"

Hear me roar-roar.

Circumambages - instances of deviousness or indirectness in speech or writing.