Wednesday, November 30, 2005

One reads books...

in order to gain the privilege of living more than one life. People who don't read are trapped in a mine shaft, even if they think the sun is shining.
Words of wisdom from Garrison Keillor.

Get Lost

I'm here to help with your Christmas shopping: ABC has a Lost store for the Lost fan on your Christmas list. (Shhh...don't tell my son M).

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Better even than two front teeth...

This comes to me from my friend F and frankly is the only thing either of us wants to find under our tree...

Monday, November 28, 2005

My life in one sentence

I just remembered that I bought a book on getting organized a few months ago, but I don't remember where I put it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Maybe Tony Blair HAS made himself useful

If the current stories circulating about Bush's plan to bomb Al-Jazeera prove to be true, including the part about Tony Blair's talking him out of it, perhaps we ought to start looking at Blair in a new light.

Maybe Blair isn't a total sellout. Maybe by embracing Bush's cause rather than opposing it, he's actually been working to mitigate the damage.

While the White House spins the story as lies, lies, and more lies, it's not hard to imagine a plan like this coming from an administration that has no use for dissenting opinions.

Maybe, too, we now understand why the New York Times let Judy Miller carry on as long as she did.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Just one question for now

My life is crowded with work and my blogging of late has been limited to peeking into others' blogs, but I have been mulling over one question for days now that simply must be asked.

In this incredibly technology-based world where we can, for instance, download Google Earth and practically see the individual shingles on our own roofs and where, on advanced sonograms, we can see the facial features of an unborn child (though those photos are rather creepy), why, why, why, why, why are surveillance photos and videos from stores, banks, hotel lobbies, etc. -- where capturing a reasonable likeness of a thief or murderer is, you know, kind of useful -- always so grainy and blurry that they are, essentially, useless?

What do you mean do I recognize the man in that photo? That's a man?

My life is an indie flick and I'm totally cool with that

The Movie Of Your Life Is An Indie Flick

You do things your own way - and it's made for colorful times.
Your life hasn't turned out how anyone expected, thank goodness!

Your best movie matches: Clerks, Garden State, Napoleon Dynamite

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Bitty's one-tree orange grove

Today we picked and ate three of the seventeen or so oranges on my tree. This is the first year that the tree, which cost $5 about 10 years ago, has produced more than two oranges. They were heavy with juice and had a subtle but sweet flavor: they were utterly perfect. My gardening secret?

I completely neglect the tree.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I am Schroeder

You are Schroeder!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

But so are 21% of those who take the quiz. Can it be? Can there be so many people Just Like Me out there?

Who are you?

Coming attractions

I fear I'll never find the time to pay proper attention to this blog again!

Part of me would love to comment on all the political goings-on, although I also must acknowledge that there are abundant blogs doing a better job than I ever could. So I'm not missed.

Part of me also wants to discuss my recent trip to Illinois (with a few hours spent in Iowa, a few seconds of that devoted to my being face down in Iowa mud!). On the trip, I learned two seemingly contradictory things:

You can go home again. (I was born in Chicago, lived in Rock Island my first four years, and visited Illinois many summers during my childhood.)

People often say that we should travel to other countries because it allows us to see the world from a different perspective. I say spending a week in the rural midwest if you don't already live there just might accomplish the same goal. I frequently felt that I WAS in another country (not a feeling I had on my earlier trip to California, by the way), and I say that with love and a sense of wonder.
As I think about my little blog and my desire to attend to it (which I have no real time to do right now), I also recognize that the whole blogging thing is a tad narcissistic. At the same time, I love to read blogs because they provide me a peek into the lives and minds of others without the gatekeeping mechanism that formal publishing creates. So, I might be a narcissist, but I'm also adding to the collective voice on the web that says this is what it means to be an "ordinary" person.

Bitty's blog, to be continued...someday soon, I hope.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

ANTS 2!!!! : The Ants are Winning

But for a few stragglers, the ants seem to be gone from my closet. This would appear to be a victory, but now the question is: where did they go? My proud little moment of stirring them up may have served to make them move on to a place I'd even less like to encounter them.

If this is psychological warfare, the ants are winning.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Screwed on a bed

Yeah, you read that right.

Here's another example of the total lack of ethics in commerce today, in case you haven't seen enough.

Man buys mattress set, major label mattress set. It's a dog, however, a real piece o' junk, and he'd really like the company to honor its warranty.

His dealer took a look at the mattress but has yet to tell him if it is being honnored [sic] under its 10 year warranty.


[The buyer] says you need a magnifying glass to see what's covered and what's not covered because of the fine print.


One of the company owners promised to take a look at the mattress but said they were informed there's a stain and a stain may void the warranty.

Simmons' offices were closed on Friday, but their website states that if the product is stained or soiled, Simmons reserves the right to deny warranty coverage.

It's a well-known fact that stains damage the structural integrity of mattresses. Yeah, right.

Writing the "stain clause" into the warranty is dealing in bad faith, plain and simple. Show me a mattress of any age that isn't stained! Even if it's slept upon by the chastest of nuns, the drool and sweat factors alone are going to visit some itty bitty stain on the upholstery. By writing in the "stain clause," Simmons virtually guarantees never to have to make good on any warranty.

The customer is no longer right; instead, the corporate behemoths strive to avoid the logical and the moral.

That's just so wrong.


I'm a big believer in synchronicity, defined by Merriam Webster as:

the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality -- used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung
Numerous times I've had things come into my life just before or just as I need them, whether those things were ideas or objects or advice.

Over the weekend I was catching up on my blog reading, and found Waveflux's amusing and self-effacing tale of dealing with a home-improvement nightmare. Central to the horror was an infestation of carpenter ants and their eradication by a pest-control professional through the use of "some kind of dust" that the ants would walk through, leading to their deaths and those of their peers. I hazarded a guess that the dust might have been boric acid.


Late yesterday I filled up the bathroom closet with freshly laundered towels. This morning I reached into that same closet for the pink one on top ... and set into motion a hundred -- maybe more -- really pissed off ants that had been homesteading under the towel.

I really hate ants.

I'm not sure these are the carpenter kind since several of them bit me and I just don't remember the carpenters being that aggressive. Maybe they are and we've just never had this kind of run-in before. Several more ants managed to jump on me and I was still frantically brushing off their biting little selves when I got to the kitchen. I still had phantom ants crawling all over me fifteen minutes later.

What to do?

I could have sprayed them, but that would have just stained and smelled up my towels and my bathroom and would have disbursed their angry little selves all over the bathroom where I still had to take a shower. Then I remembered Waveflux's "some kind of dust" and poured a generous helping of boric acid into a little glass dish. Synchronicity. I set it out on the shelf next to the towels and then showered.

Just before I left for the day, I reached inside the closet one more time, grabbed the edge of the pink towel, shook it like a wet dog, and as the ants went flying, I took off a-runnin'.

I hope the ants enjoy their dish full of poison. I hope it works.

To be continued.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Traffic paralyzed; 26 cattle die after truck turns over on I-74

Carnage and misery everywhere...!

I've returned from my trip, at least as far as my office. I hope to make it to my actual home within a few hours.

Yesterday my son and I traveled from my grandmother's home in western Illinois to my son's home in eastern South Carolina, more or less straight through.

It's the less part that I must share with you, dear reader.

We were making pretty good time when, outside Cincinnati, traffic suddenly crawled to a near-stop. We all hate when that happens, don't we? After a half hour or so of inching forward, the line of traffic gave up the pretense and we all just stopped. Once it became clear that forward movement wasn't going to resume any time soon, my son decided to get out of the car and ask the trucker next to us what was going on, since of course truckers always know what's happening on the road.

A few minutes later, my son returned and turned off the engine.

"It's going to be a while," he said. "A cattle truck overturned and they're busy shooting cattle up there."

A tractor-trailer carrying cattle rolled over early Wednesday morning, turning Interstate 74 into a cattle range and delaying the morning commutes of tens of thousands of motorists, some for hours.

The single-truck accident left 26 cattle dead, shut Interstate 74 and a 2½-mile section of Interstate 275 for more than 10 hours and caused gridlock on local roads throughout western Hamilton County.

Officials closed the two highways because they worried the 13 surviving cattle were spooked and could dart in and out of traffic.

(Video here.)
Sheriff deputies and volunteers -- some on horseback -- rounded up five but resorted to shooting the others when they could not capture them after hours of trying.

Most of the animals had been rounded up in the morning but got away.
We were lucky enough to reach our exit before we reached the intersection where, indeed, amateurs were trying to herd cattle on the interstate and were, indeed, shooting cattle.

It was still a bad day for the thirteen cattle who survived the accident; they continued their the slaughterhouse.

We, on the other hand, made it home just fine.