Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Series: My Grammy Loves Me

My Grammy brought over a very old box filled up with everything I'd ever given her. And I was a high-output factory of creative abundance.

The first thing I would like to spotlight from the box are the following 4"x4" square pieces of paper. Each paper features a unique design. There are ten total.

I have a vague recollection of hawking the lot for five cents a piece. Grammy was my best customer. Mrs. Howard, our babysitter, refused to purchase anything despite scorchingly persistent salesmanship.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Adventures in Natural Selection : Begetting Today Easier Than Before

Grammy R explains diaper maintenance, circa 1945:

Step 1: Scrape poop from dirty diaper into toilet.
Step 2: Throw diaper into a pail of water and deoderizer.
Step 3: After pail fills up, scrub diapers in bathtub using washboard.
Step 4: Put scrubbed diapers into large pot on stove.
Step 5: Bring to a boil.
Step 6: Hang diapers on clothes line to dry.

Repeat bi-weekly for approximately 3 years.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Pearls of Wisdom from my Pop: Reeling in Road Rabbits

Sethie was probably six or seven years old when he lined up with Dad for the start of his first 5k fun run.

Ready. Set. Bang. Hundreds of pounding sneakers burst onto the open road. A kid flashed by and Sethie turned on the giddyup. Tried to keep up with him.

Dad-san trotted up alongside Sethie. He lay his hand on the Nutchie's shoulder and said, "Slow down. Pace yourself. You'll catch that kid soon enough."

And he did.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Safety First at David's Surprise Birthday Party

I didn't realize the cute top I unearthed in Century 21 cost $356 until I was already in the dressing room and noticed the Miu Miu tres fancy price tag. Immediately, I began to hyperventilate from sticker shock. And also because the top's death grip on my middle-lung aviolis made breathing a slim possibility.

Good things started to happen when I noticed a sale sticker. Fifty percent off. I found another one. Fifty percent off again. Then there was a smallish green dot. Because I'm quick like this even through a haze of oxygen deprivation, I know a big sale price-slashing dot when I see it. In the end, the shirt cost $15. I would have gasped with glee had I been able to intake air.

I decided to wear my new Miu Miu top to David's surprise birthday party. In preparation, I inserted a contingency shirt into a hermetically sealed zip-lock baggie. I stowed the baggie in my handbag. I informed my friend Lynn, who is trustworthy when faced with medical crises, that should I begin to asphyxiate to please unzip me or strongly suggest an outfit change.

I think I stretched out the top or something because events transpired with a surprising amount of ventilation and no ambulances.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Subject: Andrew Loves His New Employer for Unfortunate Reasons

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Andrew wrote (and cc:ed a lot of people):

So I have been here in Austin for a straight week, stuck in training from 8 - 6 every day...

This morning in the company cafeteria, as I waited for my breakfast burrito, Bryan Adams was playing in the background. Now THAT is cool all on it's own. Then the song ends and ANOTHER Bryan Adams song comes on. That's when I realize, they are not just playing some 80's mix, they are rockin' the entire album at 7:30 AM.

If I can get Metallica played during lunch I am moving down here.

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Reply All:

I KNOW! I was so psyched to come into work today and rock out to the entire Loverboy album on back-to-back play. I don’t know why Bryan Adams’ old sock went for a grand on eBay when those red leather gonorrific ass cheek pants didn’t even get a bid. If I can lock down some Men at Work over lunch I’ll go work at your company.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Single-Handedly turning our Globe into a Deluxe Baked Good

Diane and Ken have a neighbor remarkably free from the ravages of caring about anybody else but herself. She is raising a fifth grader. Meaning, this perversion has been going on for at least five years:
  • Every school day morning, Mom auto-starts her SUV so it has fifteen minutes to warm up to toasty.
  • She and junior get into the car.
  • They drive down the driveway.
  • They idle by the mailbox until the bus comes.
  • Mom does a K-turn and motors back up to the house.
Let's do the math. An idling car emits 20 times the air pollution of one traveling 30mph. So this lazy ass has produced over 1000 pounds of air pollution so far to commemorate her son's academic career. She has undoubtedly beavered a hole in the ozone layer bigger than the Yankees' payroll.

But here is the demented irony:
  • Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution because they breathe faster than adults and inhale more air per pound of body weight.

  • Many people believe that they are protected from air pollution if they remain inside their vehicles. Not so according to a report by the International Center for Technology Assessment (CTA). CTA found that exposure to most auto pollutants, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO), is much higher inside vehicles.

  • VOCs and CO are linked to serious health problems:

    • aggravate bronchitis, heart disease, emphysema and asthma;
    • lead to hospital admissions and emergency room visits
    • impair the body's immune system defenses, making people more susceptible to respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis and pneumonia.
    • cause cancer
    • according to the EPA, are proven to "shorten life."
  • And the highest exposure to these toxins occurs when idling-- sitting in traffic congestion on highways or in a line-up of idling vehicles. (Oh yes, and also when you commute to your mailbox).

I only hope the fumes knock her cold before she kills the rest of us, including her own kid.

(Yeah, I'll be celebrating blog action day on October 15.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Buck for a Cluck

From the bottom of the black hole called the Great Depression, in the steamy depths of New York City, my grammy's mom had twenty-five cents to feed her family. It wasn't looking good.

Then she found a dollar underneath the elevator shaft.

She went to the Bronx Market and bought a mouthwatering chicken.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Armed and Legged Guard Ensures Bountiful Harvest

My pile is always hot. In years past, despite my God-given talent in the area of composting, marauding bastard-ass aphids and their Aryan white fly comrades strangled my tomatoes in their locust death grip. Ghastly stringy leafless carnage littered my garden.

This year, I called in mercenaries. I hired a smallish plastic pouch of bloodthirsty warriors with experience in theatres of war like the FlowerHouse. I'm talking about Green Lace Wings. Putting an end to chicanery and
fruit looting.

My boys are downhome ferocious kungfu fighters, even when they're just little baby larvae. Their tiny mandibles chomp up any squishy body encountered.

Take that, Bug Nemeses!

Check it:

I might commission a parade. Hoist all the Lace Wings up on a microscopic float and trottle around the cul de sac.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Little League Side Show Politically Correct Situation

Tom, driving by Volunteer Park:

“What a great arm on that kid. He fired the ball from left field all the way to home plate.”

"Whoa. Hold on a second here. That’s no kid. It’s a midget. They’re all midgets. It’s Midget League.”

“I mean Little League.”

“I mean Little People League.”

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Prague in Retrospect : Disneyland-esque Gilded Shadowbox

The legend says if Prague wants you, she will call to you.

Either she didn't want me, or I had a hard time hearing her. Her soul is buried under the deadweight of a million tourists. I forged the squashed streets like a salmon against the current, nerfed between loudtalking man-night-outers, half of Japan, and legions of hausfraus relentlessly price shopping oddly creepy marionettes.

But maybe not much has changed.

Prague was built with the money of foreign rulers: Holy Roman Emperors, Nazis, Soviets. In the past thousand years, there's barely been five decades in a row where the Czechs have been in charge.

Yet ten centuries of architectural wonderworks piled on top of each other is tough to overlook. You've got your rigged out medieval cathedral kicking a Bolshevik concrete bunker jammed up against some tres fancy art nouveau bauble. The overall effect is breathtaking. Everyone says so.

But not so long ago, in the abject communist 80's, only gypsies possessed the swashbuckling pluck to shack up inside Prague. The city had decayed into a condemned, dirty pit. But I wonder. Did any real live Czechs move back in when the gypsies got thrown out on their resourceful petards? When the capitalistic werewolves licked their chops and hustled to clean up this glorious golden egg tourist attraction?

I've read that neither the ties of blood nor the ties of place can be sustained without the shared effort of will.

Maybe the deathblows of this century annihilated so many strands of memory that the palpable spirit of Prague unraveled. Could be that empty the empty air of a facade filled the vacuum. Could be I got voted off the island.

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