Monday, March 31, 2008
Maybe Robert Mugabe will accept this as an invitation to step down gracefully, maybe he won't. I hope he does. I think he's a mad despot, but he actually has a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of history by stepping down now.
Zimbabwe has been locked in a spiral of doom for years while Western countries and South Africa have done nothing to rescue it. It's a country of tremendous resources and resilience. It shouldn't have to be this way.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
I've never voted Republican in my life. Really. I did once abstain in a particular Senate race (though voted on the rest of the ballot) to avoid voting against Fred Thompson. Local connections, ya know. Anyway, I'd rather eat a razor blade than vote for McCain. That dude is nutso. He wants another 100 years in Iraq. He's a neo-con, but not like the current lot. He actually believes in that stuff. His domestic policies will be same-old, same-old disaster that Bush-Cheney have brought us, but his foreign policy will be Bush-and-a-half. No thanks.
Now, I can do enough math that I see that an Obama nomination is a real possibility (though not cast in stone). But Obama and his camp have played so sexist and so dirty and his supporters swung negative so fast and for so long that I think I'd really have a hard time voting for that guy. Of course, I don't want more of the same in the White House, but I'm not willing to have my vote taken for granted by people who've treated my candidate so despicably.
So, what's Obama's strategy for winning back people like me? How can he win me? Can that Obama camp learn to be nice, learn to bridge the divide come Autumn? If they're starting to lose a life-long Democrat like me (who, wasn't against Obama in the beginning, btw) how are they going to win over the waiverers and the typical white voters who are probably even less forgiving of a certain kind of politics?
I despair for the Democratic party. I know for a fact the Republicans are laughing up their sleeve and salivating over the prospect of an Obama nomination.
Vote Hillary Clinton - the unity candidate.
I'm not alone! Via Tennessee Guerilla Women I have stolen a link list of pissed off Hillary supporters.
Riverdaughter: If he can ignore you now and treat you like $#$%, what makes you think he’s going to change after you’re married to him?
Anglachel: Hillary must surrender, and her supporters had best learn to lean back and enjoy it, or else we just can't tell what these wild young 'uns might take it into their heads to do.
Reclusive Leftist: Personally I’m reminded of the way male animals fluff up their fur and making big threat displays to scare off the other males and intimidate the females.
Donna Darko: Their disrespect for the working class people of this country is so visible to me, so transparent, that I am continually just grossed out by their sexism and their classism, and their sense of entitlement.
Corrente: All of these folks have tried to argue that this "Tonya Harding option" stuff was from some supposedly objective anonymous DNC official. Nope — this is something straight from Obama’s people as I expected. ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told a crowd in Vinton, Iowa Thursday that he’s not going to pull a Tonya Harding on his rival candidates.
Men for Hillary: Today, I Begin my Independence from the Democratic Party!
Friday, March 28, 2008
But then he said that it should be like a British sitcom, with just six episodes instead of the longer American series. And it should probably only run for one season.
Me: Are you saying I don't have enough material?
Him: Well, there's a limit to your quirkiness, the second series just wouldn't be as good.
Problem is, we'd need jobs, you know to keep eating and stuff. And my career has been built into kind of a niche thing that doesn't really exist in the US. And his job isn't exactly one of those things that you can find on every street corner either.
And when the ViL came home today telling me someone he came in contact with through his work had died, probably from complications of tuberculosis. I was like - we have to get out of here. (I have a bit of a TB phobia and once left a job because I thought my miniscule exposure risk was entirely too high).
I'm seriously thinking about setting up a PayPal repatriation fund. How much do you think the Brits would pay to get rid of me?
The weather has been spectacularly awful. Rain, rain, cold, drizzle, drab, glum, gray.
Finally, some decent light, so I got out to the park as quick as I could to take some photos.
But the wind was so gusty that I had a hard to time grabbing a focus on my subjects as they were always being blown out of the frame.
I did get the occasional good shot. Here's one (I think). A hellebore going to seed.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
- wow, what a set of choppers - he has jaws of steel
- oh my god, he has a piece of glass in his mouth
- that's why we can't have nice things around here
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
This week we have the happy circumstance of a nursery place but not yet back in full (or full-ish) time work. So I dropped the kid at the daycare and took myself to the Victoria and Albert to look at the stuff and to take some pictures. Like the one above, which could be turned into a Christmas card if I could be bothered to send such things out.
No visit to a museum is complete without a visit to the museum shop (and the one at the V&A is practically unavoidable given that it's dead centre in the building). I perused the expensive goo-gaws and desirable design items. Two things caught my eye - child sized fake Japanese armor (so cool, but Buddy's not old enough) and baby sized cotton kimonos.
I knew the cotton kimono would be overpriced, but I was willing to pay. I set my reservation price in my head and hunted for one with a price tag.
That exceeded my reservation price by some considerable margin. That's around $70. For a thin cotton baby bathrobe. Ridiculous.
Monday, March 24, 2008
For example, a crystal ball can be used to record the weather.
The Wallace guy of the Wallace Collection in London also supplied water fountains in Paris.
Sir Richard Wallace may be considered a true philanthropist, in the proper sense of the word, as opposed to certain members of the elite, for whom charitable deeds were only a way of increasing their fame. Of all his numerous contributions to Parisian heritage, the best-known, as they are still very recognizable and useful today, are the fountains which bear his name.
As a result of the siege of Paris and the Commune episode, many aqueducts had been destroyed, and the price of water, already higher than normal, went up considerably. Because of this, most of the poor found that they were unable to get water without having to pay for it. The temptation to take to liquor was strong among the lower classes, and it was considered a moral duty to keep them from falling into alcoholism. Even today, when water and hygiene are not a problem for the vast majority of Parisians, these fountains are often the only sources of free water for the homeless.
I found this out because of link left on this photo of one of the Wallace Fountains that I took on my birthday two years ago.
Britain is a country without free water fountains or a culture of giving out free water and you can see what the lower orders have come to.
And you can use a potato to fix a light fixture. We haven't done it yet, but it's on our list. (Tipped from here)
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I'm not going to let her beat me with the stick of bad parenting because my baby doesn't sleep through the night. For the record, usually he wakes, he feeds, he goes back to sleep. He's done that through teething and ear aches and recently his only really bad sleeping was when he had the stomach cruds causing diarrhea and vomiting. I think the whole sleeping through the night thing is a fallacy anyway. He used to sleep through, but he couldn't keep the weight on. He was a skinny little thing. He started waking to feed and now he's normal.
I'm not saying I wouldn't like a lot more sleep. I'm not saying that it wouldn't be nice to have one of those babies who goes down at 7 and sleeps til 7. But I'd also like to go out to the theater or dinner at an adult restaurant at the drop of a hat, too.
Her sleep solution was the old cry-it-out method. She said it would be sorted over a weekend as long as we stayed firm. Ehhhh, don't think so. Besides, that kid ain't gonna break over a couple of days.
She did have some good advice. We're going to start giving him more chewy solids more often and we're going to brush his teeth more regularly.
Sleep through the night, you must be joking.
Recently he asked if we could hear the Marty Robbins CD instead of my current frequently played Amy Winehouse.
And I said No, No, No.
Friday, March 21, 2008
So it's Easter weekend but the weather is sketchy, what to do, what to do - especially with a 9 month old baby? Well, the
And I thought there might be a chance that Buddy would be interested in some of the colorful displays and hands on stuff. There was less hands on stuff than I remembered - and what there was wasn't entirely appropriate for a baby (there's a great assortment of "hands on" musical instruments that's marvellous fun for 3+ set)
Buddy certainly liked looking at the fish.
The Horniman has a nice collection of stuffed dead critters which doesn't hold a baby's attention for very long. Though this exhibit was certainly eye catching.
Want a closer look? Yep, it's mounted dog heads.
Overall, it was a pretty good way to spend a cold and windy day and as long as we kept moving through the exhibits Buddy didn't get too bored. But this was definitely his favorite bit:
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Man, this stuff has been shunting around conservative web sites for ages, if you'd bother to read it. Which I don't. But my husband does. He's been telling me all about it - for months.
And it's amazing that Obama has been getting away with it for so long. And I've been thinking, goodness - the GOP and the press are gonna tear this guy up if he gets the nomination. But all we hear about it Hillary Clinton and her divisive nature. Well, guess what. All that stuff about Hillary is old news. Old, old, old news. We've heard it all before. Ho hum. Yawn.
Now I will say that Barack Obama has a fine turn of phrase. He is a kick-ass speaker. He is good. Almost as good as Bill Clinton, but with a better voice. So maybe he's going to turn this around for himself.
But you know who else is an arresting speaker? Obama's pastor. Jeremiah Wright. So when Obama says he doesn't remember hearing anything offensive, I gotta think that's not quite right. And that's coming from a gal who's tuned out on a lot of sermons. Audacity of hope? Audacity of thinking he was gonna get away with being associated with a kooky, woman-hating, racist preacher. The press might give him an easy ride on it now, but you know who won't give him an easy ride in the fall.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Ewww....and now I really don't want it.
(By the way, I made his with the salsa mine and Buddy's without.)
One of the Vol-in-Law's students came up to him today and said "Your wife is the Vol Abroad." Apparently, he's been doing some professorial Internet stalking.
This is one of the reasons blogging has been light.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Yep. That's right. You don't have to drag yourself out of bed early. A Palm Sunday evening service.
I was really excited about going to church in the evening (we don't like to get up) and the church people giving Buddy a little palm frond that he could wave about and we could all shout Hosannah!
But it wasn't like that. It was a perfectly nice service, but apparently mostly aimed at the young singles (who have a social directly afterwards). There were no palm fronds. And there were no other babies. Ooops. Babies in this country go to bed early. Well, all of them except for ours.
Friday, March 14, 2008
I don't have a team. I guess if I had a team I might lean toward the Braves, though apparently one of my great-grandmothers was an avid White Sox fan. And I have no animosity toward any team in major league baseball, either.
Buddy, who had about a million outfits when he was born - more than he could actually wear, has started running out of long sleeved shirts. It's a combination of fewer gifts in this size and just needing more outfits per day, what with him eating (and spilling) solids and crawling around on his belly.
So, being cheapos, we decided to go to a local used-baby-clothes sale. We arrived late, but that meant the crowds were gone and we found a table run by an American woman who had two little boys older than Buddy. She had a lot of American labels and she had a quite a few American sports themed outfits (which believe it or not aren't wildly popular amongst Wimbledon parents). We bought some hockey and basketball themed baby shoes and a baseball outfit.
Yeah, yeah I know...I don't like baseball. But this friend of mine does. And he's a huge Cards fan. And this was a little Cardinals outfit and it was only a pound ($2). And I thought, it's worth a pound just for the photos.
Was it worth it? (I just realised everything but his socks came from that woman's table. I should have got her number.)
*I have attended many t-ball games, though.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
We have a similar situation. In our bathroom. We've suffered in the semi-gloom for a long time, as two of our three sockets have the screwy-part remnants of cheap lightbulbs permanently (?) stuck in them.
And while the last lightbulb still shines, it flickers ominously. And it was from the same cheap, substandard lot as the other disintegrating lightbulbs.
With lightbulbs, as with most things, you get what you pay for.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
This is an inherited camellia - it was in the garden when I moved in. I don't like the color and I much prefer singles. But oh well. For years, it's had blossom drop - it would bloom and then immediately the dang blossoms would fall off.
But I always loved the glossy leaves and the promise of the buds. I think I've finally got the soil acidity right, because the blossoms are hanging on this year.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
how to build Arc de Triomphe using styrofoam and cardboard
Wow, the internet is amazing. But believe me, I have no idea.
I don't know how to build the Arc de Triomphe out of balsa wood or modelling clay either. But give me some flour, newspaper, some cardboard and paint and I could probably make something resembling the Parisian landmark out of paper mache.
Really. I'm pretty good with paper mache. That's probably something you didn't know.
- black jack dealer in Tunica
- personal assistant to Suggs
- golf pro (this is one for which I'm totally, totally unqualified as I've only ever played two rounds of golf in my life - both badly)
- host/presenter of goofy Saturday night variety show
- policy advisor to the President on matters of...well, it doesn't really matter - I just want to walk a piece of paper around the West Wing in an officious manner
- any job where I get to wear country-music-star style Western wear for a week (tassels and spurs, tassels and spurs)
- exhibit judge at Chelsea Flower Show
Saturday, March 08, 2008
So, and you have to love the power of the Internet for this - I say to my husband. "Do you really want a dropout to be running secret missions for the government? I bet the original bionic woman wasn't a bartender and a dropout."
And he says "Probably not."
And I say "So what was she?"
And he says "I don't know."
And I say "Well, you're the one with a laptop on your lap. Google it." And he did . And you know, you gotta love the power of the internet. How did we look up useless trivia like that back in the day?
And it turns out the original bionic woman was a tennis pro. A tennis pro? How's that much better suited for the secret action spy missioning thing than a bartender?
Do go read the Bionic Woman summary on wikipedia. If that's all true, then that was one stupid show. But I think I watched it whenever I could. I certainly dimly remember discussing the bionic woman on the playground and running with a chook-chook-chook-chook-chook-chook sound in exaggerated slow-mo.
Tennis pro is a stupid job to be going into being a secret agent, but that was the cover in I Spy. Now that's a show I'd love to see in rerun on British cable. Along with Matlock.
Friday, March 07, 2008
I like to visit Isabella plantation. It's full of magnolias, camellias, rhododendron and azaleas. So this time of year (and through the end of May) visits are especially rewarding for the floral photographer (or lovers of ericaceous plants or both).
The park service is redoing a path from one of the parking lots to the plantation and they found an extra special surprise recently. An unexploded World War Two bomb. Bloody Germans, messing up our park.
The bomb was detonated in a controlled explosion and the work carried on.
I'd like to say that we'd walked over that spot a million times, just to heighten the drama on the old blog. But we hadn't - we tend to approach the plantation from a slightly different direction.
The work on the path where the bomb was found
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
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Does anybody know what a "slightly" problem is. Could be a technical banking term.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
- I'm really hoping that Hillary Clinton does well today. But I'm not staying up for the returns.
- Buddy sounds like he's got a smoker's cough. Which is ridiculous, because he doesn't really have the manual dexterity to use a lighter yet.
- The British government is talking about having mandatory public/voluntary service before becoming a citizen. Not sure what I think about that - mandatory voluntary service. I think all public policy should pass an oxymoron test. On the other hand, I've actually done the public service that I need to qualify and I just did it out civic duty.
- Gary Gygax, of D&D fame, is dead.
- Margaret Hodge, Minister of Culture (that's the job I'd want!) said that the Proms - a great British institution - weren't actually embracing a wide enough section of British life or some such rubbish. Hello! It's the one big public event where people actually seem proud to be British. I guess that's the problem for people like her. Maybe the Labour government should work on being proud to be British themselves before making citizenship even more onerous.
Land of Hope and Glory
And though not as overtly patriotic - you gotta love the fantasia of British sea songs, too.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Saturday, March 01, 2008
This morning on our way out to the new cemetery section's grand opening (yes, I will tell you all about it), I told the Vol-in-Law that I had to get back in time to watch the boys in re-run.
He did his little eye roll and said "I married a middle-class girl."
In this week's American Idol theme, the little filmed vignettes of the contestants were all based around "what America doesn't know about me". And the responses were "I'm a hula dancer", "I'm a drag racer", "I ride a Harley, but I also love to read," and so on... But one of them was "I don't like different kind of foods to touch on my plate." Two minutes of "green bean juice running into other food icks me out" and so on...
I thought to myself: Hey girl, America really didn't want to know that about you - so now America is gonna send you home. And America did.
After three years of blogging, I reckon there's very little that America doesn't know about me that it might have wanted to know or that I didn't want America to know (wait, does that make sense? No, it doesn't - eh, work it out)
Here's one thing America already knows about me. I go to the local cemetery events. My local cemetery has events and I go to them. I've been the open day, the re-dedication of the civilian war memorial and today the grand opening of a new section of the cemetery - a vaulted burial village. A thanatopia, a necropolis if you will. It's all supposed to be landscaped and nice and easy, just slide open the doors and pop in the dead.
In fact, the grand opening was supposed to be (I guess) a little presentation about the future of burial and then a demonstration of loading up the vaults and then some light refreshments (yes, seriously).
I've been really wanting to go because I wanted to know what kind of person shows up to such a thing. (Yes, I do recognise the irony.)
So, we go and there's no one else there. No one. True, we were a little late, but it looked like we were the only people to show up. And there was nothing going on. Although the new vaults had been prepared ready for the demonstration.
So what does the Vol-in-Law say? He says: "Now we know exactly what kind of person shows up to these kinds of things." And if I shared that story as an American Idol contestant, well - I pretty much would deserve to get sent home.
Ok, so what was the burial village like? Well, let me say this. Just roll me in an old carpet and throw me in a dumpster, 'cause that's the way I'd rather end up than in that stinky old burial village.
It was half-ass. Nah, it was a quarter ass. The burial vault things were ok though there was an overreliance on resin - a cheapo material. It was the landscaping was absolutely atrocious. To me, it sort of signified the absolute worst about public private partnerships. Yes, the contractor had probably planted out the requisite number of trees. But the soil wasn't prepared properly, the trees were absolutely the wrong kind of trees (cheapy pines for an area with very questionable drainage that had been stripped of topsoil during construction), and the sodding was a joke. If that plant material isn't 90% dead by July, I'll eat my hat. Looked to me like the partnership was poorly specified and our neighbouring council (which owns the cemetery) got taken for a ride. Shameful.
The pre-prepared burial vaults do make sense though - particularly in a country that is very short of burial space and where traditionally there have been multiple burials in the same plot. This system allows you to easily layer at least three caskets in the same vault without disturbing either previous occupants or your neighbours.
Folks are dying to get in.
Pile 'em high and stack 'em deep. Note the sod just plunked down on piled up subsoil.
Parenting tip: Babies don't respond to "Hey Buddy, I don't think that's a good idea."