Friday, December 05, 2008

Plat du jour

I have absolutely no idea of what this means.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Semi-random thoughts

● I got my first senior discount for a movie on my trip to Massachusetts (not counting the one I got years ago at a theater in New Hampshire, I think, that gave it to anyone over 55!). One of the big theater chains here in NYC gives it at 60, but at the other one I frequent it's 62. And the theater I usually go to for "art films" makes you wait until 65.

● The ice-maker in my refrigerator is making noises again. As the repairman who looked at it suggested, I have turned up the freezer thermostat (i.e. less cold) as much as I can, but it's still creaking, and my Weight Watchers chocolate mousse pops are getting soft. I really don't want to spend the money to fix it, as it makes ice just fine, but it sure is annoying.

● And while we're on the subject of noisy appliances, my big television started whining the first time I turned it on after returning from my trip. It's the color wheel I'm sure. The noise went away after a few minutes, but it's a portent of a future repair. At least for the TV I have an extended warranty--assuming that Circuit City's bankruptcy doesn't end that. It's actually handled by a third party, so the warranty should be safe.

● A GPS makes driving so much easier.

● I got a call from the hotel in Lowell, MA, after I filled out their survey, complaining about various small things. Result: a credit for half of the charges, after they removed the $9.95 wi-fi fee. It pays to fill out those surveys.

● Now you can pick your exact seats when ordering tickets online for the New York Philharmonic. Yay!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Plat du jour--guest submission

Wizard alert for Virginia! Thanks to Victoria Marinelli

Let's make sure we get this right

From Overheard in the Office:
Developer: Is "buttload" hyphenated?
New guy: No, I think it's just one word.

Weekly free associations

Catching up:

  1. Sleepy :: Hollow

  2. Thanksgiving :: dinner

  3. Fifteen :: sixteen

  4. Authority :: question

  5. Bangs :: love them

  6. Curled :: up

  7. Young man :: young woman

  8. Surprised :: ??

  9. Mistake :: me?

  10. Handle it :: carefully

  1. Spit it out :: now

  2. Shadow :: eye

  3. Database :: useful

  4. Expression :: for it

  5. Boss :: None!

  6. Baby :: Baby

  7. Mystic :: Seaport

  8. Kate :: sister-in-law

  9. Boobies :: I wish

  10. Raid :: bugs

Thanks to Unconscious Mutterings.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I'll bet this gets moved to the back of the tree

Christmas Colors for the White House: Red, White and Impeach

From the Washington Post:

When Deborah Lawrence got the invitation from the White House, the Seattle-based artist decided to make a lefty political statement.

But she never expected it would hang on the official Christmas tree.

Laura Bush asked members of Congress to pick local painters to decorate ornaments for this year's 20-foot Fraser fir in the Blue Room. The globes (to be unveiled by the first lady tomorrow) are supposed to showcase something special about each congressional district. Washington state's Rep. Jim McDermott contacted a local arts organization, which asked Lawrence, a collage artist, to create the local entry.

"I was at first nauseated, then realized it was an opportunity," said Lawrence, 55, who frequently combines politics and satire in her work and saw this as the perfect way "to highlight Jim McDermott because he's a hero of mine."

The nine-inch ball is covered with swirly red and white stripes -- and, in tiny glued-on text, salutes the Democratic congressman's support for a resolution to impeach President Bush. (Also showcased: Washington state's 1919 labor strike, its suffrage movement and the violent anti-World Trade Organization riots of 1999.) Lawrence sent it off to D.C. in September and was very surprised it was accepted for the tree -- and that she was invited to this afternoon's White House reception for the artists, which she flew to D.C. to attend.

"Apparently, they didn't read it -- or Laura Bush is more progressive than I believed," Lawrence told us.

Sally McDonough, the first lady's press secretary, said yesterday that hundreds of ornaments were submitted for display and there were no plans to pull Lawrence's artwork or her invitation. But, she said, "it really is too bad. I haven't seen the ornament, but I would hope that no one would take this as an opportunity to be divisive and partisan. There is a time and place for everything, and I don't think this is either."

The comments are quite good--especially this one:
This is a microcosm of the last eight years in a nut shell. The inability for the administration to pay attention to detail.

HT to Victoria Marinelli

A deer hunter gets it

Deer gets revenge after hunter shoots him

I know there is a very large population of deer that is increasingly venturing into suburban if not urban areas in search of food, and that hunting is needed to try to keep some sort of balance, and that venison cooked properly is delicious, but I always feel sorry when deer are killed by hunters. Maybe it goes back to Bambi's mother. Mostly I think that killing fairly defenseless animals should not be considered a sport.

It seems like such an uneven contest. But this shows that once in a while a deer can get some revenge--though he died in the end anyway.

Boston photos

The first is an amazing sight: the hotel in Boston had both Coke and Pepsi products in the same vending machine. Note that Coke seemed to have sold much better than Pepsi.

I did not take the second photo. It is "Tobin Bridge 4am," the work of Phillip Jones. I saw it while visiting the Boston Athenæum, a private library that still has vestiges of an art collection. I thought the picture was stunning. I'd love to have a print of it, but I'm afraid to ask how much it would cost--we are having a sizable decrease in our income for the next few months. (This has nothing to do with the Bush recession, but now it is much more difficult to make up the decrease by shifting investments.) Maybe I'll just buy a copy of Murder Suicide by Keith Ablow--they used the photo as the cover artwork.

Back from Massachusetts

I'm back in New York. In fact I've been home since Friday evening, mostly disposing of hundreds of e-mails that came in while I was gone (plus a good number that had accumulated in the days before I left). I also wanted to catch up on the other internet sites I follow, and get in some exercise each day, because I gained two or three pounds while I was away. Saturday we went and saw Frank Langella in A Man For All Seasons as well. So I haven't wanted to take the time to blog. (If anyone is really interested in more up-to-date reports on what I'm doing, they should follow me on Twitter. There's a link at the bottom of my Twitter Update list at the right.)

Part of the reason there was so much internet stuff piled up was that the wi-fi didn't work in our hotel room in Lowell, where I went from Boston for Thanksgiving with my sister. A lot of things didn't work very well at the hotel there, and I am looking forward to filling out the online questionaire about my stay that the hotel e-mailed me yesterday. But first I want to see what shows up on my American Express bill--a discrepancy about the charges was also part of the problem.

I still have a pile of snail mail to go through, and I have to finish getting the last few things out of my suitcase. Then I will be back to what passes for normal in my life.