Thursday, January 20, 2011


Me: "Do you really think that asthma is entirely psychosomatic?"

Damian: "Mostly. Everyone knows it. It's really well-documented. When they look at other countries that are less developed, they don't have those problems. So, it's psychosomatic."

*small pause*

"Either that or it's an allergy to money."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rain Falls

The only good thing to come out of Saturday's shootings in Tucson happened today, when I heard Bill Clinton say that demonizing political language "falls on the unhinged and the hinged alike." I was delighted by the word "hinged." It reminds me of such contructions as "ept" or "gusted" and I must incorporated it into my vocabulary: "Yeah, overall, despite his troubles, I think in this case he's acting pretty hinged."

I would like to collect other adaptations of the "falls on the just and the unjust alike" idiom, but I don't know how to frame a google search for them. Did you hear that? I don't know how to frame a google search.

I did find this: "Prayer is of no avail. The lightning falls on the just and the unjust in accordance with natural laws." —Robert Ingersoll, nineteenth-century orator

In a different vein, in what seems to be a Christmas letter from the pastor of a church in Canada, whilst talking about A Charlie Brown Christmas, the writer says, "In Canada, God also causes it to snow on the just and the unjust alike, and so we can all have a white Christmas, regardless of our morality; for it's not our morality that's the issue—but it’s our holiness that will be called into account!"

I don't understand religion.

Continuing (oddly enough) with the Charlie Brown theme, there's this:

And, finally, Cormac McCarthy's take on it is that:

"The rain falls upon the just
And also on the unjust fellas
But mostly it falls upon the just
Cause the unjust have the just's umbrellas"

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Cryptic Tonsil

According to the radio, today is National Clean Off Your Desk Day. I, however, am choosing to exercise my god-given American right to celebrate every day as National Don't Tell Me What the Hell to Do Day.

So, I have a sore throat, which almost never happens. In fact, last time I had a cold was over two years ago. I was so appalled by the Terrible Betrayal that I actually took a flashlight this morning and looked at my throat in the mirror, and found one of my tonsils all swole up. Like Doubting Thomas, I had to touch it, and it has the size and approximate consistency of a shooter marble. It almost reaches my uvula (which I have always looked upon as the body part most nearly like those hangy-downy things that for unknown reasons obscenely caress the top of your luggage when it goes into the x-ray machine at the airport).

This just in: don't try to gargle with seasoned rice vinegar in warm water. Its failure as a therapeutic vinegar is second only to that of balsamic.

Added: I kind of suck at gargling.

So, anyway, I drove Mom and Dad and Anja up to the de Young in San Francisco to see the Impressionist exhibit. It was refreshingly not full of the paintings-I'm-ready-to-set-on-fire-because-I-have-seen-them-on-pretty-much-every-calendar-and-"inspirational"-wall poster-ever category, though, really, dude, I don't think even fat women need to be painted as though their torsos look like the bodies of annular worms.

To wit:

According to an article in Smithsonian Magazine from February, 2010, "As long ago as 1913, the American Impressionist Mary Cassatt wrote a friend that Renoir was painting abominable pictures 'of enormously fat red women with very small heads.'" I'm not sure I would agree with "enormously," though nor would I agree with L.A. County Museum of Art's Claudia Einecke, who claims, “He’s using the body for expressive purposes. Hopefully, nowadays, we understand that beauty or the body comes in many different shapes. People can stop saying, 'Oh yuck, these are ugly, fat women.'" I don't care that the women are fat, but that they LOOK LIKE ANNULAR WORMS. Maybe that was your impression, Renoir, but in this case I will say your impression was dumb.

Oh, and I don't have cryptic tonsils, I just really like the phrase.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

What They'll Do

There were all of these news items on the radio today about the Republicans taking over the House of Representatives, and between bouts of just Turning Off the Radio, I kept yelling answers to the question, "What will the Republicans do now?"

My answers included:

Screw over the poor.

Institute REAL death panels, just like in Arizona!

Deny climate change.

Start tattooing immigrants.

Be totally stupid.


All in all, not the most productive news-listening day for me. Luckily, I wasn't in the car that much, and thus only listened to the radio sporadically.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Cat Is Better Now

I love my kitten—who is not a kitten at all but a three-year-old cat—with a love that is completely out of proportion to the fact that she is a cat. I got her when I was 39, right when it became really really clear that I really really wasn't going to ever have children, and she has an endearing ever-kittenish personality that worked on me to make me love her, as I just said, disproportionately. Last week, she was sick with something that (despite Very Expensive Tests) remains a mystery, but had ratcheted up her temperature to almost 105°. She wouldn't eat or drink or be happy. But, after a course of antibiotics, she is all better, which is so relieving that I feel dizzy. Here is a picture of her:

She's gone back to crying for pets, and running around, and being ridiculous and my life is thus much improved and I'm grateful to my vet, despite the expense, and I'm weirdly grateful to HER for being kind enough to get better.


Only the third day in, and I already missed a day. The reason: I was so irritable for the first half of the day that Everything Single Thing felt like sandpaper. Then Anja and I took a 6-mile hike with the intensity and fervor of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. Then I was pretty much incoherent for the rest of the evening. Today, I shall do better.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

This Poem Comes to Me This Time of Year

Perhaps it's cheating, but today's post is a poem by Helen Pinkerton, c. 2002


Nature Note: The California Poison Oak

Dry summers flaw the leaf to a rose flame
Where, as a vine, it seems to flicker higher
Than live-oaks it consumes, or where it leaps
As a free-standing shrub or tree—ablaze
In wild-oat hay fields. Yet, with winter come,
The stems shrink back and almost disappear
In sinuous tangles, while a few white drupes
That look like snowberries hang to trick the eyes.

Nothing will warn but old experience
The ignorant damp hand that comes to dig
In winter rain the dormant trillium:
Seeking to bring a wild spring beauty home
It finds, as parasitic as a drug,
Pain stinging flesh that brushed the stems but once.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Last year for Fun-a-Day I did an Explore-a-Day, and then printed out photos of my explores and fastened them to some grape stakes along with some words written onto tea-dyed gift tags. It turned out okay. Mom did Leaf-a-Day, wherein she pressed a leaf or leaves each day, then mounted them on paper and made a mobile. It was cool.

This year, Mom is doing Recipe-a-Day, in which she is rewriting her recipes onto new cards. She's quite exercised by the whole idea, and had it planned months ago. I, on the other hand, just figured out that in the interest of writing, a skill I fear I am losing (if I ever had it, really) I am going to do a Post-a-Day. I don't know if anyone will read them, but that's not the point.

So, random thought for New Year's Day: as I listen to my various public radio podcasts, I keep hearing a sponsorship message about the new Chevrolet Volt, with the tagline, "It's More Car Than Electric." My reaction, every single time is, "No, it's not."

I like this person's take on the slogan: "Maybe 'The electric car you can just put gas in on those days when you’re not giving a crap about the environment' was too long."