Monday, December 10, 2007

Oz Eggmore? I know Ozymandius! He's Lady Eggmore's grandson.

So there was no interpretive dancing.

There wasn't even any circle dancing.

But there were cookies and latkes and stories and songs

Including one surprising new song. The lyrics were about flickering candles.

Our song leader played a few bars on the electric keyboard. The tune was strangely familiar. It had a shrill syncopated honky-tonk feel to it. I started to laugh. A few people looked at me oddly. How could notes without words be funny? I looked over at my daughter. She was laughing too.

Maddy said: do you know what this is?

 I replied: Peter Cottontail!

She said: I know!

The vamp bars concluded. As we launched into the words, we both applied that slight southwestern rasp to our vowel sounds best befitting the style of the music.

Happy Holidays from Priss Prisstofferson 21314 to Blogshares and to all of my readers near and far!


Friday, September 07, 2007

Another Day, another candidate

Fred Thompson seems to be slightly brain-damaged. Not to a degree of vegetable-itude, but there are clues in his speaking style that suggest permanent effects of a few solid knocks to the head. Oh look, the Google tells me that his spin organizations are bragging about his High
School football experience, and specifically that he wasn’t concerned when he got knocked down. Well, commendations on a non-whiny demeanor, but consolations on the attendant loss of emotional expression and the reduction in sharpness of enunciation. Has any capacity for compassion, conservative or otherwise, been retained? This year many of the Republican hopefuls exude an air of physical frailty. The one exception is Giuliani, with his cardio-fitness and irritating perkiness. Last week I saw several magazine covers with illustrations of Giuliani along with Clinton and Obama. It was interesting that they didn't include Romney. Was Romney omitted from the spotlight out of predjudice, or are publishers trying to sell Giuliani as a psuedo-Democrat, as the perfect middle of the road-er, simply because he is from the east coast? If he were elected, he would support whatever the republicans in Congress asked him to. The press may try to assign him the perception of having good intentions, but he would sign the same bills that any other Republican would.

But I've ventured into policy and I wanted to talk about style. Thompson is seen as the one hope to draw in those non-denominational fundamentalist family values voters who the regressive tax policy, anti-health care, anti-school proponents can't win without. His religious affiliation is one they share, and the halting speech adds folksiness to his image. Primary voters don't make their choices based on who they think will do well across the country, they look at the issues and at how candidates talk about them. If Romney should become the nominee, it is going to be fun to watch the right regroup to embrace him, and float third-party candidates, and even vote for church-going Democrats who value their families.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Total Eclipse

Climactic vagaries and inattention have generally combined to hide the Lunar Eclipses from me. This time they failed to hand off duties in any theoretical or coincidental alliance. I pitched the viewing idea to the PrissKids; our own driveway, or perhaps a park? Staying up all night appealed, but the celestial event garnered no underage excitement. What about if I brought coffee? No. Snacks? Maybe. My daughter asked if she could invite a friend or two. I said OK, and decided to try the Junior High football field. While surrounded by trees, it is large enough that we might be able to find a spot central enough to see well. One of its parking lots is un-gated.

Inviting others threatened to get out of hand when friend number two said she would be asking a bunch of people to join us. I told my daughter that if more than a few kids were coming I wasn't comfortable being the only parent present. We packed blankets and pillows, and tucked a box of pretzels into the backpack. One of her pals showed up, and the girls baked lemon cupcakes to take along.

We set out just before just 1:00 AM, to pick up the other bud on our way. But there are always complications. Zbig weaseled out of coming with us, because the Maddy posse is too hyper for him. And as we rounded the first corner, my daughter casually mentioned that we were also picking up the friend`s twin brother.

Harrumph. If her scheme had not been concealed, I could have leveraged the the presence of an awkward non-blabby guy to get Zbig to accompany us. Or barring that, have have made it into a girls-only evening. So there I was with my kid and her emo-Goth-Wiccan-Protestant pals, one of whom disappeared with the Y-Chromosome twin for more than two hours. (Both sets of parents have been appraised of this potential unseemliness.)

The moon show was profound. It didn't need the embellishment of those auto-hypnotic rituals used to impart intensity into programmed celebrations. The full disk of the moon was painfully bright to look at. Unfiltered binoculars were overkill. The first twenty minutes were: Is anything happening? Which side? Yes, they are dancing in the moonlight. That is what girls do. A constellation that may have been Cetus was brilliant overhead.

A shadow arrived, beginning in the upper left quadrant. Time for pretzels and mooncake! We had the field completely to ourselves, and the kidlets launched into a series of Eagles and Beatles vocalizations. Were these people 14, or 54? That was when one of them, feeling ignored, sulked away to write in her diary by flashlight. She gradually increased her distance from us. Our non-female moon-viewer vanished as well.

The moon`s disk went through half, and was down to crescent when the dark area became visible in gray, turning toward lavender. As the shadow approached full coverage, swirls of orange showed, and then it darkened to a mottled reddish brown. More stars could be seen now. The familiar Dippers popped out overhead and Orion had risen.

Air temperature had dropped. I poured coffee into my 1950s turquoise plastic cups. The remaining occupants on my blanket demonstrated that they were not of the Javanese faith: Mmm, smells good. It`s so warm! This needs sugar, way more sugar! I cant drink this. The child conversation morphed into a discussion of llamas, Eventually substituting the cameloid term for most nouns and many verbs.

The full Eclipse phase seemed to last forever, the brown going back to purplish and remaining that way for nearly an hour. The moon arced across the sky and dipped into tree territory. I walked to the track and climbed into the 30-seat mini-bleachers. Then, as the shadow lessened, the moon took on a three-dimensional quality. The gradation between shadowed edges and glowing center made it feel like the true globe that it is. Our wandering couple reappeared and I asked them not to leave again.

A stark white patch showed before 5:00 AM, and grew quickly. My eyes had adjusted to darkness, so at first it seemed brighter than it had earlier. At 5:22 I was was ready to leave. (The official beginning and ending times were from 00:52 to 06:22 August 28, 2007.)

Blankets and pillows were repacked and we pulled out of the concealed parking lot.
I parked the Geminis with their parents and headed home. Looking west as we drove, the full moon was still high. It was bright enough to compete with traffic lights and shop windows.

Explain symbols in the map.
Map of sky above 21°18'21"N 157°51'36"W at Tue 2007 Aug 28 11:00 UTC

Saturday, July 21, 2007


(Sing this to the tune of Love is In The Air. The unitalicized parts are spoken.)



and if you think that something is hidden
that you've got it safely tucked away
i assure you it won't stay forbidden
because seek and destroy's how we play!



lolcats are always on missions
on a stealth undercover foray
we dont lolly-gag making decisions
we're the cats that have something to say

lolcats are everywhere oo--oo-oo woo--oo-oo
lolcats are everywhere oo--oo-oo woo--oo-oo

Waiter, there's LOLCAT in my soup!
It`s catching Albondigas!

Waiter, now the cat is in my salad, what's it doing there?
Stalking animal cracker croutons!



the pond in ur yard is inviting
it's more fun than a big ball of twine
got my eyes peeled for the next frog sighting
all ur base koi are gonna be mine

lolcats are everywhere oo--oo-oo woo--oo-oo
lolcats are everywhere oo--oo-oo woo--oo-oo

Why did the lolcat cross the road?
To look for a cheeseburger!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Give em Hell Helen

My local PBS (Channel 9) shows a BBC news report late at night. It generally takes a more critical look at US government policy than our namby pamby networks do. Last night they showed a clip from a presidential news conference where Helen Thomas, not decked out in her Reagan era shocking red dress, but clad modestly in a pale blue skirt and cardigan WAS LECTURING President Bush to the effect of:

You caused this war, and you could stop it!

Thomas is stooped over with age at nearly 87, but is still vigorous, loud, and dramatic. It was great to see.

I'd like to add link to a transcript of the news conference if it is online, and to get the exact quote. The references to it I've found so far don't seem to be accurate.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bird Rescue

A starling fell down my chimney today. I was watching the ladies of the view when I heard a scuffling that was louder than the usual squirrel on the roof or woodpeckers trying a taste of the siding. I followed the noise to the living room fireplace where a small bird was trapped behind the steel mesh curtain. I wondered if it could fly out again, but after watching it try a few times and go crashing down, it was apparent that it couldn't do this on its own. With each attempt, more soot was stirred up into the air and cast out onto the hearth. The bird's lungs must have been taking in a heavy dose of ash particles. I didn't want to let it fly around indoors, and I didn't want to get pecked, but leaving it in place to die slowly of dehydration and black lung disease would be too cruel. In the garage, I found a huge plastic tote that was somewhat transparent and a board to cover it with. I parted the screen to the width of the plastic box, and used the board to cover the remaining gap at the top. Amazingly, after only a few minutes, the bird hopped right in. I lowered the board, mousetrap-style, and then was able to move it and close the lid of the tote. Out on the deck when I opened the tote, the bird wasn't able to get enough loft to escape. But as soon as I turned the container on its side, the bird flew away, lighting in the branches of a tall pine.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Swim Smut

Yesterday I walked into a a hardware store and bought a complete ballcock assembly. I didn't blush or giggle. I am however, posting about it on my journal. That's the equivalent of giggling about it now.

Now for what it took for me to get back in the water:

*I bought a new swimsuit. It is tastefully black.
Feeling confident at having the appropriate wardrobe, I renewed my pool membership.

*In acknowledgment that post-workout muscle fatigue makes it even tougher to step on the clutch, and that I generally have trouble doing that even under normal conditions, I picked up that other really old Volvo that I'd been considering getting. It's an automatic. That's right, I bought a car.

*On the way to said pool, I stopped at a sporting goods shop and purchased a new pair of goggles.

Lap count first day out (Friday): 10 kick board, 10 crawl, 6 kick board.
Lap count for Wednesday: 2 kick board, 20 crawl, and 8 kick board. Then asked the white-haired guy in the next lane if he liked the hand paddles he was using. He handed them over for me to try, so I I did 2 more crawl with them.

Lovely as it was, the experience did not achieve perfection. The pool is too warm, the hot tub is not hot enough, and neither are the showers. I won't be bothering with the tub anymore, It doesn't feel good enough to warrant the time spent.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wild Saffron

(Sing this to the tune of: It's Amore)

Elton's electrical boots
Match his scratchy hair suit
It's a mo-array

Monday, March 12, 2007

All of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Kids Go for a Swim in the Hot Tub

(Sing this to the tune of: That's Amore)

Rachel TeeVee chef pro

Wed Shakespeare"s Othello
Now She's a Moor-Ray

The happy couple are said to be honeymooning in the Congo.

Filk Mania Continues

(Sing this to the tune of: That's Amore)

When you're a BrontÄ—
And Heathcliff's far away
That's a Moor. Eh?

Variations on a Squeam

(Sing this to the tune of: That's Amore)

When the sun's in the skies
And it just starts to rise
That's a morn. Eh?

Make a white sauce with cheese
Pour it over green peas
That's a mornay

Do controlled study
Sole survivor's B
Data's a mourn A

Should a Parliament need
More "Aye" votes to proceed
That's a more "Nay"

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Stop me before I filk again! More Amore

(Sing these to the tune of: That's Amore)

Here's another recycled one:

When you toast marshmallows,
Place on Grahams, add chocos
That's a 'smore


Prayer to a bird profane
Hebrew words used in vain
That's a Sh'ma Ra


What can I say about "The Callahan Touch?" Put simply, this book is crap. In the course of moving some books off of shelves and into boxes, (more on that sitch will be shared if all goes well,) I came upon one of those Spider Robinson books that he cranked out between real novels to pick up cash, and to see the names of all of his friends set into type. Crap it is, but fun crap. A pause to race through it uncovered a section of parody lyrics to "That's Amore." The lawnmower verse was missing, it must be in another of the Crosstime Chronicles. My best recollection of it goes:

Runs on gas, Goes putt-putt
And your grass, it can cut
That's a mower eh?

And It's possible that I might have seen these before:

Milwauk' goil, newsroom toil
Mister Grant is her foil
That's a Mary

Man from Ork I think he
tried to grope Mindy's knee
Said she, "Mork 'kay"

Drawfs or dads, Springer cads
And the wives of thse lads
Also go on Maury

Dorothy's aunt dug for gold
Struck it rich, so I'm told
That's Em ore

There are many more, and I've decided to add some original (as far as I know) contributions to this Amaretto libretto.

Zee French bride eez lovely
and her husb, what of lui?
That's a mari

Dress of blue, 72
Martyr dudes, she well knew
That's um, a houri

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

PrissLand Update

March came in like a lion with 4 inches of snowfall on Feb 28th in the evening as Maddy and I made our way back from her orchestra rehearsal and an inescapable grocery run. This adhesive snow was the latest ever in two decades at this location. The previous record was February 20th, set back soon after I moved in. The Volvo is a full-size vehicle with rubber tires. It lacks those crampon studded boots favored by frozen-waterfall climbers. We parked at the bottom of the steepest part, grabbed most of the provisions, and hiked in. Zbig was dispatched with a backpack to get the rest.

I am happy to say that my new spring shoes came through the ordeal unscathed. My hamstrings were not so lucky, and I've been battling leg cramps ever since. The ibuprofen industry is benefiting enormously. School was canceled Thursday, but resumed Friday as the streets had returned to full navigability.

Monday brought another downtown odyssey. As part of my continuing quest for expert advice, it was revealed that should I have to give sworn testimony, there will be no Bible, and that it's a "sworn or affirmed" statement. Yay for secularity. And don't worry, I haven't violated the rights of any field mice, so my freedom is not in jeopardy. There were several stops, and I ended up walking a few miles. I got home by 11 AM, and plunged into cleaning.

The fun resumed on Tuesday with a garage door technician paying me a call (and with my paying him a fee.) There was also some gardening. The dishwasher is suffering malfunction, and a kitchen faucet part has succumbed to metal fatigue. Today I consult with an expert in yet another discipline: the wonderful world of plumbing.

. . .

Last night, I went to the orchestra concert. The kids were incredible. Maddy had a small solo. Afterward, band booster parents honored our players with a cookie and juice reception. Junior High Students still get excited about sugar :)

I've never understood why movie mobsters cry at the opera. It's violins that do it for me.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ov Glove, Kitt Mitt

(Click here for a transcript of the Feb 18th Interview)

Not being from Massachusetts, I haven’t had much occasion to witness Mitt Romney in action. Now, thanks to This Week with George Stephanopoulos, I know how Mitt and his wife Ann perform in response to a gentle fawning delivery of what might have been tough questions had they not rehearsed answers to them all.

Before looking at their answers, The questions deserve attention. It has become George’s standard practice to ask Presidential candidates how their faith “informs” their politics. This is an incorrect use of the English language. It is true that one can glean information from a non sentient source such as a book, or by observing the natural world. But informing is volitional. For it to happen, a thinking being must act. George, until you change your question to: What does God inform you as (He or She) whispers into your ear, choose a different word. Stop taking the lyric, “for the Bible tells me so” as as anything but colloquial.

The candidate’s shift from support for the availability of abortion and of same-sex marriage that was required to be elected Governor of a liberal state, to opposing both, as is required of a national Republican candidate was covered well. Romney answered unapologetically. It was perfectly natural, he had simply evolved in his thinking. In fact all of his responses were like that. It was a policy of sidestep some things, but convey all experiences as positives. Changes in heart are not evidence of past mistakes, but purely of current victories. Rhetorically it was quite effective.

In Massachusetts he supports public funding for “faith-based institutions” when they are performing a “non-faith role.” I would have liked to see Stephanopoulos ask about specific examples. Does Romney think these non-faith functions could include schools? And do they include the “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” many of which currently receive public monies.

Quite aside from picking up votes from the faithful, and a sometimes justified perception that non-government soup kitchens can do tasks efficiently, kicking in money to private and non-profit concerns is easy on a State budget. The people doing the work will not be added to State employee healthcare or retirement, it’s up to their own employers. They might even be volunteering their time! Romney is opposed to universal healthcare, he favors a system where more people could buy insurance policies. Interestingly, the topics of retirement and Social Security were missing from this interview.

Most amusing to me was that Stephanopoulos introduced Romney as “movie star handsome.” He does have a certain charm to his speaking style. Then I noticed those little flighty Reganesque flourishes. His speech is metrosexual! Voters went for it in the 1980s, I wonder if will do the trick now.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Slow Suttee

Tomorrow the Regis and Kelly show will do their annual Valentine's week wedding. It will feature a young viewer couple chosen for their endearing qualities. Along with the excitement of a glorious gown and the latest fashion in cake, we know that an element of tragedy accompanies this nuptial feast. The groom suffers from an autoimmune disease that destroyed his kidneys. His kidney transplant (from his father) is failing, and without another one, he may not be long for this world. Luckily, his bride-to-be is a perfect match.

Using organs from living donors with relative safety from immediate mortality is still a new technology. Practitioners describe the long-term health effects as “minimal,” I think it’s likely that there have not been enough multiple-year follow-up studies.

Going strictly by my perceptions of news reports, there seems to be a trend of kidney donations between spouses in a female to male direction. It may be that the underlying diseases are more prevalent in men. It’s certain that older men who can afford extensive health care often have younger spouses. If there really is a disproportionate flow of working parts from women to men, it should be stopped. Tissue banks could easily balance the numbers according to sex, and I believe that they should.

When a family member or acquaintance wants to donate a kidney but isn’t a match, sometimes another twosome can be found who aren’t a match for each other, but can be cross-matched with the first pair. To prevent donors from changing their minds after their own partner has received an organ, all four people are anesthetized and operated on simultaneously. This swapping can be done with more than two pairs. I found an article about five transfers done at once. Judging by the first names, the recipients included two women and three men, the donors were all female.

The Valentine groom’s mother may donate one of her kidneys before they resort to harvesting (yes, harvesting is the word used in the transplantation world) one from his bride. But it must be so comforting to have one in reserve.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Not kdice but also nice

Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!

( kdice is an online mini version of the board game risk.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mourning becomes Electric

Today I saw a flag flying at half-mast. I wondered if someone important had died.

Then I remembered.

It's still shaloshim for Gerald Ford.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


The power stayed on last night despite some impressively bad weather. I used the fireplace anyway. I like my fireplace.

Fun purchase yesterday: 1950's aluminum end table with chic airplane-style architecture. It was four dollars and ninety-nine cents.

On Thursday I went downtown. On my drive in, it started to rain. Then the drops on my windshield took on that tell-tale paw print shape. Yes, they were turning into sleet as the temperature plummeted. Soon they became halves of styrofoam peanuts that bounced away as they landed. Managing to avoid the orange cones and half-laid train tracks on Fairview Avenue, I parked in Belltown and walked south. Funny sight along the way: some one and two-foot tall letters from an Avis car rental sign were sitting on the sidewalk. It wasn't obvious if they were going to be rehung, or thrown away. I resisted a twinge of temptation to take one, and I wonder if anyone succumbed to a similar urge.


Getting good legal advice is really good.


I'm posting today from the Peace vigil. I just had a convo with Pedro the Japanese Monk. I took a turn reading the names of some of the fallen. It was more emotional than I expected.