Toad in the Hole July 2006 Archives

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July 31, 2006

Bon Mot of the Week, Duo Twofer

You'll have to click here since I can't copy from that blog, but I thought it was kinda timely, for a wisecrack. I'd further qualify the broad statement that doves are poor fliers, but only to limit it to "over long distances."

On a later entry, Stu himself boned a mot, too, about Mel Gibson's recent chatty reaction to being busted for DUI: "However, wow, the booze loosened the strap on his morality mask."

If I ever get down South again, I'll buy yiz both a beer. AND I'll mess with your cubical shrubs.

Posted at 02:50 AM | Comments (5)

July 29, 2006

Spare the Hair Days

Got to thinking about this when I posted the shot of Matt and his by-products.

Last place we lived, I had a pretty good garden, mostly because over the 12 years there I had less obstruction and annoyance connected with it, fewer fatalities in general, and only rare human-inflicted damage. We were in the ground-floor flat; the bedroom was in back, and there was an overhang from the upstairs deck over one window. I grew native wild ginger (some Asarum) and such shade plants there, and got into the habit of cleaning my hairbrush and dropping the hairballs into that patch, where they disappeared neatly under the Asarum leaves and, I figured, contributed some slow-release nitrogen to the soil.

One year, partly to obscure the stench from the ill-cared-for dogs next door, we planted a pink jasmine vine next to another bedroom window and trained it up along the side of the frame. The next year, house finches nested in that thick tangle, which was gratifying indeed.

In early autumn, when the birds had gone a-wandering in their little finch gangs, I decided to thin the vine out. When I cut into it, I found the finches' nest -- made of bits of straw and grass and plant matter, and quite a lot of my easily-recognizable hair. Now, you want a moment of connection with Great Nature? Plus, I felt as if I'd had a hand, so to speak, in paying the ecosystem that year.

I don't know what ever happened to my great-grandmother's hair receiver, but I'm thinking I need to find its extra-large equivalent one of these days.

Posted at 06:05 PM | Comments (8)

July 28, 2006

That Heat Wave

We took off for the mountains early on in the famous California heat wave, and it was plenty hot up there too. Before we left, I took pity on Matt and gave him a quick once-over with a flea comb -- NB, not a slicker or currycomb, just yer basic flea comb.

Here's Matt with the resuts of that five-minute grooming:


Posted at 10:42 PM | Comments (4)

July 26, 2006

I Am a Part of All That I Have Met (again)

Especially the meadow at Yuba Pass, where we camped Sunday night through this morning, and where it's clearly a great year for mosquitoes. But we saw things -- black-backed woodpecker, yearlingish cinnamon bear, black terns, lotsa posies, a great hatch of some big orange fritillary (Mormon? Great Spangled? We have to check it out with more fieldguides.), well, I'll consult Joe's notes.

If any of the bazillion photos we took came out reasonably well, I'll upload a pile to Flickr and link them here in the next couple of days. Dios mio, it was hot up there. I understand it was even hotter down here. And there weren't flocks of white-faced ibis along the roads here either. So.

I'm pretty sure we have a hundred bites between us. Pass the Benadryl.

Posted at 11:45 PM | Comments (3)

July 22, 2006

Post-Friday Cat Blogging

This is why his name is Matt the Cat.

Matt on stairmat closer

I don't know what he was staring at, but it took some carryin' on to get his attention.

Matt, sm, head up

That mat used to be the doormat; it got moved to the landing of the front steps when we got a mat with a hibiscus pattern. (As you can see, we have something of a tropical thing going on out front.) In winter, it grows a nice crop of grass, Kenilworth ivy, and false freesia, whose seeds you can see as little dark-red beads just this side of Matt, if you blow the photo up and look closely.

In other news: It's about the fourth Spare-theAir day in a row, if it's official. These occur when heat, sun, inversions, little or no sea breeze, and whatever else conspire to make the air here crappy and brown and painful to breathe. "They" get a bit stingy about declaring these since there's a financial disincentive in the form of an official promise that public transit -- BART and the bus systems, at least -- will be free for riders on StA days. It was to be only the first three, after which funding ran out, but some granting body came through with more money.

Monday, we rode BART free, Joe to lunch somewhere south, San Leandro or something, and both of us to meet a fellow freelancer for wine and talk in SF. We took the Muni underground back to the BART station, too. It was quite civilized, for all that the riffraff were present in presumably greater numbers than usual. "Riffraff" would include us, I guess, on the MUNI, because we would've walked the five double-length blocks from the wine bar to the Civic Center station rather than riding the ten or so to the Powell Street station if we'd had to think about and fumble for Muni fares. And we'd've been having dinner at home later than 9PM if we'd done that, because the walking we did do was wearing me out fast. I don't do well when the air's nasty.

I think Thursday and Friday were official, and I'm not sure about Wednesday. But I'm here to tell you that it's hot and evil and irritating out there, that, though I'm not on the dire straits that Vibrating Liz seems to be in (scary!), I'm slowed down and depressed and grouchy and it hurts to breathe deep. Makes it hard to do strenuous things like, oh, think, too.

Posted at 04:50 PM | Comments (6)

July 18, 2006

Field Trip of the Week

An old friend who I haven't seen in way too long has, as I thought she might, one of those up-close-and-personal and rational views of the current horror in Lebanon. Hi, Leila!

Posted at 08:26 PM | Comments (5)

July 15, 2006

Sorta Counter-Twisty Post

Or: Your Tit Parade

Twisty posted a post-op shot of herself. The good news is that she's vertical and able to lift a camera. In fact, that's good enough news for the moment. I hope somebody's given her a taco by now.

So a month or so ago, on pure spec, I bought a four-dollar bra at Ross Dress-for-Less. (Which has Old Fart Discount Days every Tuesday, and I'm an old enough fart to qualify.) Wonder of wonders, it fits, and looks better with a couple of shirts I have than the old faithful (but pricey -- $30) Elita Not-a-Bomber Bra (really, that's what its name is, right there on the tag) I've been buying at Title Nine.

The bra was from Sears. There's a Sears in the dreadful soulless shopping mall on the hill above Richmond, so I went there to see if I could score a couple more. Foolish me, I bought two without trying them on, and 38B is not just a looser version of 36B and it's not like Warner's bras, which I used to trust would fit; evidently there's no consistency about proportions or construction within the brand. So I returned them and tried on five-count'em-five bras and found two that work, but not so well as the original. I suppose, given my usual luck with these things, that the one I like was at Ross because Sears has discontinued the model.

Sears has evidently substituted alarums (but no excursions) for adequate staffing. There's one checkout stand, with two registers, among the Juniors, Petites, Misses, and Woman's World (meaning big) and lingerie, sox, handbag, and accessories departments. (Are sox lingerie? If they're women's sox?) ("Lingerie" is a useful word insofar as it includes both underwear and nightclothes, which you'll notice are always located next to each other in stores. Interesting set of categories, when you think about it. Is it that you don't ordinarily go out in public with either of them on the outside?)

(If I add enough parentheses to this will I be able to hold my boobs off my belly without buying sweatshop underwear?)

Anyway, there's that one desk, and one set of fitting rooms for the whole floor, located near the store's mall exit where it might reward the fleet-of-foot shoplifter. Over the fitting rooms is a sign to the effect that only three items are allowed, and the rooms are subject to closing at any time. (After school?) I'm trying to remember if there was anything about monitors... Well, but there was an alarm, and after I'd hung two bras to wait on the go-back rack and walked in with my divinely-ordained three, it went off. High-pitched annoying squealing, yeuch. I went back out and said to the lone clerk, "Evidently I've alarmed your alarm. What does this mean?"

She said, "Oh, it means nothing. It just goes off -- don't worry about it."

So I re-entered ("Squeeee squeeee squeeeeee...") and tried on three, put my shirt on to swap the two rejects for the two I'd left on the rack, tried on more. This is inherently an ego-slamming chore anyway and the pair of young boys running around while their mom tried something on didn't help, but at least they didn't peek under the walls or open the door or anything obnoxious. The alarm quit after maybe a minute, maybe two, but squeeee'd again when they all came in. Then stopped again. Another women did the same thing I did, came in, set off the squeeeeee, went back out to inquire, came in again, setting it off once more... I'm sure it loosened a few fillings. Nasty.

The clerk, to her credit, was as helpful as she could have been -- even left my first set-asides on the rack when she cleared the rest of it; this took some goodwill and attention . She also had bunches of customers needing to check out at unpredictable intervals, standing behind the ever-helpful blue U-shaped line with arrows and footprints on the floor. She was ignoring the alarm completely, except to reassure people that it meant nothing. No security people in sight either, and I can usually spot them. (Good thing I'm honest.)

The retail experience is getting more annoying and degrading every time I endure it. Trying on a bra with that stupid ink tag stuck on it, wincing at the we-assume-you're-a-thief shriek, lining up in the designated spot like cattle in a chute: feh. But all that wasn't the weirdest thing about the trip.

The weirdest thing was walking into that underwear department, with its big wall o' bras, and after a few minutes getting the creeps and needing to look over my shoulder. It was like, but not quite, the feeling of being watched.

The bras on the wall racks were mostly the kind that come with the boobs pre-molded in them. Lots of red or purple satin, florals, patterns, colors, and so forth, but every one the same shape. OK, every two the same shape. They all looked pre-occupied. They all seemed more or less self-sufficient, not like clothes on a hanger waiting to be worn. I had the oddest feeling that if I wore one of those, I could just phone in my appearance wherever I was going to be, just send the bra out all by itself and stay in bed. You have bras like that, the actual boobs are unnecessary. It's the ultimate fetish, I guess. Microwave-Ready Instaboobs. Wind-up boobs! In seventeen colors. Two hundred boobs, no waiting!

Skip the whole fraught Male Gaze thing and send in the bras. Then we can all get back to whatever we intended to do in the first place.

Posted at 12:27 AM | Comments (11)

July 13, 2006

Dammit, Barbara Boxer!

Up till now I've mostly liked Barbara Boxer. Then I heard she'd been campaigning for Joe Fucking Lieberman. Time for yet another field trip. Here, read this.

Oh yeah, and Homeland Security protection grants are going to a miniature golf course, a mule festival, and an insect zoo. I'll admit to some sympathy for the insect zoo, but I'll admit I'm amazed that a nation that so readily calls the Orkin Man will give more to protect the bugs than, for example, its citizens who get raped.

Are we citizens? Or are we kidding ourselves? Are we commodities, public facilities.... Wait, I guess "the beach at the end of the street" is a public facility too. So, less than that. I'll bet someone, somewhere, is officially protecting an outhouse from terrorists. The only public facility not being protected from terrorosts -- in fact, pretty much handed to them on a platter -- is women, especially our cunts and wombs, but don't forget our unpaid labor.

Of course, only to our own homegrown terrorists. None a them illegal alien terrorists.

Christ almighty, is this what white women in the Jim Crow South felt like? Like toilets marked "Whites Only"?

Posted at 06:17 AM | Comments (2)

July 11, 2006

Good News for Patriarchy-Blamers

In case you haven't been there lately, there's word in Twisty's latest comment string that her surgery today went well.

Posted at 02:41 AM | Comments (2)

July 10, 2006

Late Sunday Field Trip

Shakespeare's Sis addresses something some of us have heard entirely too many times. Don't miss the comments.

Posted at 06:54 AM | Comments (1)

July 07, 2006

Bon Mot of the Week

From Echidne of the Snakes July 7 post, "Who Are You Gonna Call?"

Feminists are somehow the unpaid cleaning crew (as I've written before), the crew who is supposed to turn up after dark and fix the world so that the attractive nonfeminists can live in it comfortably.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Posted at 08:02 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2006

County Fair

We spent the Fourth at the Marin County Fair. We last did this, oh, maybe five-ten years ago because Beausoleil was playing, and we did it again this time for the same reason. Nowadays just everybody has llamas and potbellied pigs and such at their county fairs, but Marin's back then had those and more other exotics than we'd expected, and one of its competitions, along with the pie-baking and jam-making, was monster-building, sponsored by Lucasfilms. (Skywalker Ranch is of course in Marin.)

The livestock this year included Clydesdales and draft mules and a good-sized Duroc sow, llamas, pleasure horses, assorted cattle (Joe: "Hey is that one a them Gurneys?") and sheep and goats, rather a lot of handsome chickens including my favorite breed*, Millefleur; ducks and geese and pigeons. By the end of the last day, several critters had presumably been taken home away from the crowds and heat.

*Apparently not a breed but a color/pattern variation of Belgian bantams, maybe others. Still the prettiest chickens I know of.

No giant anteater in the petting zoo (see comments on the post before this) but there was a little wallaby. Lots of Lucas stuff, including Empire soldiers hanging out in armor among the Exploratorium-flavored hands-on science stuff and modelbuilding and such crafts. The nexus of sci-fi and county fair and Marin-elegant craft was nifty as always.

E.g. chicken quilts:
Chicken Quilt

And a chicken tote, big enough to tote a chicken or two but probably made with other cargo in mind:

Chicken Tote

And ceramics -- dang, I keep forgetting I can't rotate shots taken with the small camera, but no way was I going to schlep the big one through the fair. Anyway, the hands here are about adult-lifesized:

Chicken, um, Sculpture

Here's a model, labeled "Squird," that made me think of PZ Myers:


In a nod to the County Fairness of the thing, the Weinermobile was present.


We looked in -- the vinyl floorcovering features a big squirt of mustard -- but neither of us sang the jingle. I know you wondered. The two young women shepherding the immobile Weinermobile gave us each a teeny red plastic weiner whistle, though. I'm going to stop thinking about that right now.

We got to the funnelcake stand at exactly the right moment -- no line to speak of, and we had to wait about half a minute for the funnelcakes to come out of the fryer. I didn't get to take a picture because we just sat down in the shade and ate. Perfect -- light. crisp, and shedding powdered sugar all over us.

And Beausoleil's second (as far as I can remember) appearance at the Fair was great; they did a blistering set, and sold copies of the new 30th anniversary live-performances CD at the back of the tent. The usual dancers were usually dancing, though two-stepping on a grass surface is a bit different. So here's a shot for Vibrating Liz:

Mike Doucet

Whirly dancers and all.

We're so damned old we went home before the fireworks.

Posted at 05:54 PM | Comments (8)

July 04, 2006


A firecracker for the Fourth of July.


And a wish for a good day, whether it's an official holiday by you or not.

We're off to the Marin County Fair, and I'm wondering if they still have a giant anteater in the petting zoo there.

Posted at 06:37 PM | Comments (3)

Language Notes

I found the following mysterious sentence on the Web site of my old hometown, the Borough of Paxtang, Pennsylvania:

The company has set up water buffaloes for affected customers to utilize at the GIANT on Linglestown Road in Susquehanna Township and in front of the Colonial Park Mall near Red Lobster. Affected customers should bring clean containers in which to store the water.

The concrete meaning of "water buffaloes" is fairly clear from context, but that's the first I've heard the phrase not in connection with these:

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And wouldn't you like to have that in your job description?

Posted at 05:52 AM | Comments (2)

The Sunday Random Award

Best cover of a pop song, this decade at least: Richard Thompson's "Oops, I Did It Again." The version on his zillion years of pop music collection is good, but the live one on the recent big box set is wonderful. Especially the "I'm not that innocent" line.

Particulars on request. There's also a version of "Danny Boy" that calls for pogo-ing, or at least a really vigorous two-step.

Meanwhile, I'm getting really really bored with the latest microorganism I'm entertaining in my respiratory system. Enough already. Go away. Feagh.

Posted at 05:26 AM | Comments (3)

July 01, 2006

Just Sayin'

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Actual license plate*, photographed in the parking lot of a restaurant outside Hot Springs. Arkansas.

(*Arkansas is a one-plate state: official license plates ride on the back of a vehicle, so people can put any old thing on the front plate niche. I'd known there was an influx of Latinos, but was idly surprised at how many were named Jesus and then wondered how more than one had managed to get vanity plates with their names on them, until the penny dropped and I realized they were Christian souvenirs.)

So I've been watching the news about the papilloma-virus immunizations, thrilled that they exist finally and just cynical enough to expect the nonsense that came from the wingiest of the wingnuts. One Christian mother was quoted to the effect that she lived her life so as not to need to worry about the virus (the one that causes a lot of cervical cancer, and is sexually transmitted) and she was raising her daughter to live the same way.

This leads me to suspect that this lady has her husband chained in the basement, and, more to the point, is raising a little boy similarly chained, to be her future son-in-law. Maybe more than one, so her daughter will have a choice? I wonder if the leftovers will be released into the population, sold on eBay, or humanely euthanized. Unless one is completely blinded by the Woman = Sex nonsensical subconscious theme, one must figure out PDQ that one must guarantee not only one's fingerpuppets', excuse me, daughters' constant seamless "chastity" to protect her from cervical HPV and cancer; one must also guarantee that of her future husband. No sowing of wild oats. No off-base foolin' around on shore leave. No slips ever, because while God may forgive, biology doesn't.

And of course it won't be Hubby/Son-in-Law/Boywillbe-boy who suffers and dies for his sins. It will be his sweet unsullied wife, Christianlady's daughter.

This statement of the perfectly obvious brought to you by Toadhut, your one-stop shoppe for Saying It Yet Again.

Posted at 04:41 AM | Comments (4)