Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.


 Contact me at yetanotherjournal (at) mindspring (dot) com

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» Saturday, February 28, 2009
Curses...Coughing Again
Out of nowhere, I woke up sometime after 2 a.m. coughing. Coughing loud enough to wake James and have him say "that doesn't sound good." Coughing long enough to take me past 3 a.m. with no relief, even thought I got up and had some water. My nose was running and my eyes were itching, so I surmised it was nothing more than my allergy reacting to all those damn trees that are blooming: it started with the flowering plum (or cherry, whatever the purply ones are) and the forsythia, and now the jonquils are up and I noticed just this morning that the Bradford pear trees are showing blooms as well, and the pink flowering cherries. Gah.

Anyway, up at nine feeling as if I were a cartoon character that got hit by a steamroller. We went to Hair Day today and I was pretty much half-awake through the whole experience. Phyllis and Oreta were talking about teaching, as always, and I'm so glad I don't have to go to school today!

We had a treat at one point: we looked out the window into the little stand of trees behind the Butlers' house and there was a big, beautiful pileated woodpecker pecking about looking for food. He's a large fellow (described as "nearly as large as a crow," the largest of the woodpeckers). On the way there we had also seen a wild turkey wandering around the front lawn of a little Baptist church on Macland Road.

After haircuts and chat and lunch, we had to leave so that James could get to his IPMS meeting. I came home, put my bag down, stretched out on the couch, and fell asleep for three hours. It was a reflection on how bad I felt that when I woke up I didn't feel any better, except that the headache that I'd had since ten a.m. was finally gone, despite the fact that I'd taken three ibuprofin about eleven. The Tylenol was what finally helped.

James got in and we went to do the shopping, as they are suddenly, incredibly were predicting snow for tomorrow, perhaps one to three inches. In-credible. It's going to have to happen quickly, since at this point it's still 52°F! We went to Costco for milk and some other coupon things (sponges, Clorox 2, etc.) that were running out tomorrow, made a quick stop at Michaels, then went to Kroger. Unfortunately got there after the pharmacy closed, so James will have to go back tomorrow to pick the prescriptions up.

I wonder if it really will snow! In prep I have filled up the bird feeder. Would be nice to have some snow...hope I feel better to enjoy it. Damn, my throat hurts. Had soup for supper and it didn't help much at all. During supper we watched the most recent Doctor Strange movie, the animated one. Interesting; went back to the origin story...was the sister made up for the movie, though? I don't remember a sister in the "original" origin story.

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» Friday, February 27, 2009
Damp, Dreary, Depressing
That's the type of day it was, like a day borrowed from November. Not as much work as I wanted accomplished: I couldn't get ahold of one person and couldn't finish another order because it wants shipping costs added to it and I can't obligate funds. Outside it has clouded, rained, drizzled, poured. Even Willow stayed retreated in her crate most of the day.

Listened to the Aureole "Christmas Wishes" today. I heard several of these pieces when XM was doing their "Classical Christmas" channel. Lovely music: this is a trio of women, playing harp, violin, and flute. Most of the offerings are very ethereal, perfect for a day such as today, but there is an occasional mischievous insertion, like one cut that turns into a light jazz tempo.

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» Thursday, February 26, 2009
Oh, Yeah...


Backyard Bird Count Cert

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Fontophiles: Aim!
Deep Font Challenge

Via Elaine...thanks!

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» Wednesday, February 25, 2009
The Return of Sharona?
An interview with Tony Shalhoub in Starry Constellation Magazine as Monk comes to an end. Could we possibly see Sharona one more time?

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Going Home Again
What a neat story! (Warning: video is nearly 9 minutes long.)

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» Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Temptation in a Coffee Mug
James made this last night. He used 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 of Splenda. We had no chocolate chips, so he used Andes Mint chips instead. And we were virtuous and split the result, which was very dense. Not sure if that was because of the Splenda substitution or not, since sugar helps the rising process. It also wasn't chocolaty enough for either of us. I wonder if you could swap one of the tablespoons of milk for a tablespoon of chocolate syrup. :-)
Five Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

4 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons oil

3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)

a small splash of vanilla extract

1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

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The "Another Microslop Error" Exercise Program
My work e-mail box looked odd on Monday morning. An entire bunch of mail I had deleted last week was suddenly back in the folder. So I culled it out and deleted it again.

This morning I had an appointment at 10:10 to pick up my Smart Card. I had duly checked the "accept" button on the e-mail and an appointment with an alarm was placed on my calendar in Outlook.

At about 10:24 I glanced at the clock, noticed the time and the lack of alarm, yelped "Holy shit!" and dashed out of my cubicle, down the hall, down two flights of stairs and across the parking lot, sans coat but no time to get cold thinking I was late.

Luckily the appointment lasted until 10:30, so now I have the card (which I have to be careful with because it does things like wipe the programming on credit cards and bus passes). Er...but what happened to my alarm? All I can think of is that it got overridden by whatever brought back all that deleted mail yesterday. Too weird, because usually the alarms in Outlook...pardon the pun...go off like clockwork.

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Everything Comes at Once
Busy day yesterday, including having to re-advertise an order that was advertised improperly (thought it was on GSA schedule, but it wasn't, which completely changed the procedure). Came home with a nasty headache from the fluorescents, and struggled to get Willow walked, make the bed, and watch the rest of The Ellen Degeneres Show before I succumbed to a dark room and a couple of ibuprofin.

I am getting quite addicted to Ellen; it's just plain silly most of the time and a good antidote to a long day. Yesterday the guest was Meredith Vieira, who I remember waaaaay back from her days at WJAR-TV in Providence. She was on the news and her Today partner, Matt Lauer, was the host of the Providence edition of PM Magazine. (PM Magazine and Evening Magazine were turned out by Group W[estinghouse] broadcasting; if you were a Group W station you were Evening Magazine, and non-Group W stations had PM Magazine. Certain national segments would be filmed for each show: a profile of a popular television show, perhaps, or an inside glimpse of a commercial, actor, political figure, national monument, event, etc., maybe a health segment or lifestyle story, then time was left for the individual cities to put in their own local segments. Evening, for instance, did several features about St. Elsewhere and Cheers filming on location in Boston, had profiles of local personalities like Rex Trailer and Major Mudd—hmmm, wonder if they did an Ask the Manager segment ever—and PM had profiles of Providence Journal television critic Jack Major, RI cartoonist Don Bousquet, and segments on the Roger Williams Park Zoo.)

Anyway, Ellen and Meredith had supposedly concocted a plan to "get" Matt Lauer by calling him on the phone and saying Meredith needed him to confirm who she was to a restaurant owner who wouldn't accept her corporate card without her drivers license, which she'd "forgotten." Turned out Matt, Ellen, and the audience were all in on the reverse prank, which had Matt telling the restaurant owner (Ellen playing the part) that he thought the woman was a fraud. This is typical of the silliness, but the part I liked best was when they just were talking about liking...[shhhhh, 'cause it's silly]...The Bachelor. They sounded just like my mom and my godmother talking about their soap operas. I can hear my godmother now, saying, "Oh, Mary, what a liar that girl is..." It was a happy "blast from the past."

Olivia Wilde ("Thirteen" from House) was also a guest. Apparently she is married to the son of an Italian prince. I didn't even know they still had princes in Italy. Looked the fellow up. He even comes with a castle!

Anyway, busy night at the television (why are all the good things all on at once?): new House, which we watched, while recording Antiques Roadshow, which we watched afterwards, and a new Animal Cops Houston while History Detectives was recording, which we can watch tonight, or whenever. Knock on wood, we should have the last Rosemary and Thyme disk by Wednesday. Love those two; pity they aren't making any more.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RUPERT HOLMES!
Songwriter, playwright, author, creator of one of the best television shows ever—the wonderful Remember WENN, and just all-around nice person.

Hopefully we will be able to see Curtains when it's scheduled to tour here in the fall. Mystery musical...and takes place in Boston...what else could you ask for? :-)

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Will They Solve an 81-Year-Old Mystery?
Sub Joining Hunt for Lost Hero Amundsen's Plane

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» Sunday, February 22, 2009
Sunday, Sunday
James rose at some ungodly hour this morning and went to work; I snuggled back down for a few hours and awoke at nine. I had a bowl of oatmeal and some English muffins for breakfast, then went to Costco. I've discovered the best time to go to Costco: 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning! Picked up milk and granola bars and tried something called "Greens to Go." It is a vegetable powder you put into a 16-ounce water bottle and its supposed to give you the benefits of five servings of fruits and vegetables. They say its best drunk ice cold; mine was tapwater cold...the taste is described as apple/melon, but it tasted more like kiwi to me. Not bad, but of course not fifteen minutes later I was burping it up. Don't know why I'm surprised; it happens with everything I eat except plain bread, milk and oatmeal.

Got cash when I checked out, then filled up with gasoline, and stopped at the QT for a newspaper. There was a Michael's coupon, so I drove up the road to get a craft item. Petsmart was next door, so I walked there and got Willow a new stuffed hedgehog (what we call her "monkey"). They were starting to set up for pet adoptions.

Before I went home I stopped at Food Depot for some sugar-free ice cream bars, and then I was in for the rest of the day. James had left some boneless pork ribs simmering in the crock pot and the house was filled with the heavenly scent of pork. He told me to turn it to "keep warm" at 1 p.m., but when I checked it, only the meat underneath, still in the liquid, was tender; the meat on top was still tough. I swapped the tender meat on the bottom with the tough on top and by 2:30 everything was tender and I turned it down to "keep warm." In the meantime I read the paper and refilled the bird feeder.

I can see the feeder from where I am sitting right now, as I watch "The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln." A little while ago I watched the squirrel raid the feeder, so went out there and spread a coating of cayenne pepper on the top of the seed. A little while later he came back, took one sniff of the feeder, and headed back down the deck again!

This is a great special...but all the American Experience shows are. I wish Dish would quit mis-framing things on WPBA and GPB!

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» Saturday, February 21, 2009
An Angel in the Freezer and Other Saturday Stories
We didn't sleep in too long this morning, as we had to be at the Milford Road Baptist Church by eleven.

Nothing mysterious about it: James had just decided to try out something called "Angel Food Ministries." It's sort of like a buying club for grocery staples. For $30 you supposedly get enough food to feed a family of four for a week. That must count just the meat and a few sides, because the extra stuff that comes with it just won't work for lunches and breakfast, too: you get a dozen eggs and some cereal for breakfast, for instance, and that's all. However, we did get a good deal of meat: four six-ounce sirloin steaks, two pounds of chicken breasts, one pound of boneless pork chops, two pounds of breaded chicken nuggets, a 28-ounce Salisbury steak entree, a pound of bacon, and a pack of hot dogs, plus for a few more dollars we got an extra meat package with four more thick bone-in chops, two big rib-eyes, eight small hamburgers, and a pound of mild Italian sausage. Part of the profits go to charity.

Once we got home and stuffed our freezer full, stuffed the dishwasher and cleaned the sink and a part of the counters, and refilled water bottles for the car, it was time for more amusing pursuits. We drove out to the Borders at East Cobb where James found a new David Weber novel that wasn't scheduled out until next month. Perfect conjunction with coupon, methinks! I broke down and bought the Little Women Abroad book. With a 40 percent off coupon and a $5 off Rewards Coupon it was more affordable than a used copy. I also picked up a couple of things that were on deep clearance for gifts. One was marked 50 percent off and they took 75! I like that type of luck.

Also stopped at Michaels to get a few small things to finish more of those craft items I can't mention. :-) Then we went on to the hobby shop and stayed and chatted for awhile.

Finally it was about four and we were getting hungry (I'd had oatmeal, a cup of Mandarin oranges, and a plain burger all day, and an ice cream as "dessert early," and was starving). First we had to stop by Kroger and get a couple of prescriptions and the usual groceries: bananas, yogurt, and all that. We had no ideas for supper, so we got one of those Hormel prepared things, roast pork in gravy, and a loaf of French bread.

And before we headed home we hit the Borders on the East-West Connector one more time. James used his coupon on a gift and I spent mine on what looks like a silly book, but one can use a laugh now and then.

The pork-in-gravy was...okay. I asked James, "Does this taste peculiar?" and he said, "It's not bad, if that's what you mean, but it tastes more like ham than pork!" That's what I couldn't put my finger on! Oh, well, the bread was good and we had it with a "side" of This Old House! I love this Brooklyn project. Later I put What's My Line? on.

(Terrible news from the What's My Line? fan group: GSN is going to stop showing it after March, replacing it with...more Family Feud. Geez, as if it isn't on all the time now. If you are watching and enjoying WML...contact GSN!)

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» Friday, February 20, 2009
With Page and Paint
Since I was going to Borders anyway, I stopped at Lowes this morning and bought another bag of safflower seed, plus two suet cakes since the flock finished the last one yesterday. I don't know what they were doing in the insecticide shelving area (across from the birdseed and the rat poison), but it smelled strongly of glue, not the Elmer-y kind, but the strong-scented kind that my mom used to use when she used to "glue in" making jewelry (I remember visiting the gluing-in department at Trifari as a very little girl and will remember that stink forever).

Finished there, I went next door and picked up the gift I mentioned previously as well as the British edition of Country Living, then drove via the East-West Connector to the other Borders at Parkway Pointe (don't blame me for the "e"—it's how it's spelt, even if it looks silly) to pick up Silent on the Moor. I took a peek at the new Maisie Dobbs, Among the Mad, which is enroute from Amazon.com. Yum!

On the way home I stopped at Michaels and bought a few little things for three craft projects. Also walked through Dollar Tree and the computer department of Best Buy; nothing there my cup of tea, so came home, mixed the safflower seed in with the existing batch. The little brown-headed nuthatches were so hungry they came to the feeder before I'd gone back inside. They'd grab a seed, look at me, and hide behind the feeder, although one just hung on the suet and ate unconcernedly.

Next I had lunch while listening to Clark Howard, then worked on the three little craft projects, which I can't show you because they're undercover until birthdays/Christmas.

However, I did finally assemble the two Ken Jenkins animal items I bought in Gatlinburg in November. I didn't have the money for the full prints, so I bought a small square "poster" card (like those "Motivational" pictures they use at work) of a red fox and her kit, and a greeting card of a wolf with several hour-old cubs (this latter came in an envelope with two paw-prints on the flap). I had a frame I wasn't using, and arranged the two cards on black construction paper on the frame backing. I cut around the pawprints from the envelope flap with a decorative scissors, then used some fern and mushroom stickers to get the arrangement below. (Not a good pic, but I couldn't use flash or pull up the shade; there's already reflection enough in the glass.)

Ken Jenkins cards

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Oooooh!
40 percent off one book Borders coupons for today and tomorrow! I think I'm going out to buy at least one book to stash away as a Christmas gift (if it's still there, of course). What's even better is there is no minimum purchase; you can even buy a paperback with one of these.

Pity it isn't in two weeks when there is a new Harry Dresden novel and new Molly Murphy mystery due out in paperback and a new Julia Grey out in trade paperback (but I will look anyway to see if Amazon's release dates are wrong; often they are). :-)

[Later: Aha! Silent on the Moor was out!]

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A Dangerous Sound
I went out just a few minutes ago to refill the bird feeder and put out some fresh suet. The temperature's standing at freezing and the little birds need fuel to keep them warm. I stepped out on the porch and heard something I didn't want to hear.

James told me earlier in the week that we had a hawk that's taken up residence in our neighborhood. He caught the hawk, in fact, sitting on the deck rails that day. I'm not going to spout twaddle about "that evil hawk." He's just doing what he does, and like it or not, little birds are on his menu. I just wish he'd stalk them somewhere else, not at my feeder. But it is nature's way.*

I heard the hawk crying out as I went to fill the feeder. Hunt more afield, please? Catch the damn squirrels. :-)

Listening to the different hawk sounds on Cornell's "All About Birds" site, I guess it's a red-tail. They're "the" hawk species around here anyway. (If you are interested in wild birds, the Cornell site is great. Click on the "BIRD GUIDE" icon and then search on whatever bird you are interested in. You'll get a full page of description with nesting habits, interesting facts, photos of all stages of the bird development, and QuickTime samples of the bird's sounds.)



* ::sigh:: Every time I hear the words "nature's way," all I can hear is Maple LaMarsh auditioning at WENN: "Ohhh, Jeb...when the bear killed your father, it was nature's way."

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» Thursday, February 19, 2009
All Calm Here
But there was nothing but tornado coverage on local television last night. The 10 p.m. news on Fox was one big weather report instead.

Now the news is coming in: at least ten tornadoes touched down last night in various areas in North Georgia. It seemed as if every fifteen minutes the weather reporter was warning some town to get to shelter right now. They showed homes on the news tonight: sides torn away, collapsed, roofs gone.

Thank God, we got moments of hard rain, some lightning, but no hail and no damage that I could see. The power blipped once and killed the DSL for a while.

Ironically today it was clear but cold, in the 40s, with a cutting wind that wormed its way under your jacket collar. On days like this I pull the shades all the way up for some natural heating and Willow basks in the squares of sunlight on the carpet ("it's a dog thing; you wouldn't understand"—oh, I do...I stand in them when my toes get cold enough!).

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» Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Ah, Spring...When A Young Person's Thoughts Turn Lightly to...
...tornado watches.

It's been mostly grey and sullen all day, with minute-long sunny breaks in early afternoon and some lightening of the clouds. A warm front did a Sherman and went marching through Georgia early this morning, bringing the temperatures up to mid-60s. This may sound lovely and balmy to you, but when trailed by storms it's recipe time for tornadoes. The weather radio started blatting about 4:30 and I took Willow outside just as the first random drops of rain began to fall.

Well, damn, the tornado siren just went off...

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» Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Speaking of Old Television Series...
...who remembers this one? Run Buddy Run / Jack Sheldon

Jack Sheldon is also the voice of the poor beleagured Bill in the Schoolhouse Rock favorite "Just a Bill." ("I'm just a bill, here on Capitol Hill...")

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Ooooh, Cool!
DVDs Planned for The Mothers-In-Law With Kaye Ballard and Eve Arden

Thanks for the tip, Ivan...one of my favorites from the past. Two seasons were done, one with Roger C. Carmel as Kaye Ballard's husband, a television scriptwriter, and the second with Richard Deacon replacing Carmel. (I've heard two versions of why Carmel left: the more popular was that he got into a salary dispute with producer Desi Arnaz; the other I heard just recently was that Carmel had drug problems—as one of those internet rumors, you can take it with giant grains of sea salt.) Anyway, hilarious series, with positive press—even Cleveland Amory liked it, as I remember. (Ah, the good old days when Mr. Curmudgeon himself did the TV Guide series reviews.)

My favorite episode was entitled (according to TV.com, which can also occasionally be salty) "I'd Tell You I Love You, But I'm Not Speaking to You." Fall-down funny scene of the six trying to arrange for a "group sensitivity session" (remember, this was the 60s) after Jerry and Susie's quarrel spreads throughout the family, with Brooks West (Eve Arden's real-life husband) as the psychologist. I loved this one so much I audio taped it.

I'm with Ivan, though, and I'm sure Mike would agree: where the heck is Our Miss Brooks????

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Are We There Yet?
After performing fine last week, my work computer is back doing its famous imitation of a brain-damaged sloth in a January snowstorm. It's complaining its virus definitions are out of date, I can print from Word, but not from Word within ICE (it sayd I don't have a printer installed; I saved the file to PDF and printed it that way), Windows is blinking its little yellow shield at me in an accusing manner, and it's just taken me an hour to print out six pages because the damnfool thing is so slow.

I found out last week one of the reasons it is so slow—there's now an option I can press to get my system info and this thing is trying to run Microslop Outlook, ICE with Word within it, and Internet Explorer (what I usually have open regularly) while slogging along on 512MB of RAM. I've got 2GB at home; it's like driving a school bus after using a sports car all weekend.

Ooops, Windows says it's ready to install updates. Maybe that will help...

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» Monday, February 16, 2009
Holiday Weekend
A quiet Sunday during which we put pleasure before business—we went to Barnes & Noble, since we hadn't been for a while. When we finished browsing there, we had a coupon for a twofer beverage at Borders, so we treated ourselves to a Cocoa Trio. James bought an orange cake, about the size of a large muffin, for us to share as well. It was quite good, not overly sweet like most purchased cakes. Also made a stop at Michaels; found some supplies for something I could use as a gift.

Michaels is next door to Petsmart, which was doing pet adoptions. For once they had small dogs! They had two darling little terriers there, both females, one a particolor Cairn and the other a wirehair mix. The little Cairn looked a lot like Willow with folded ears and more white on her. She was even undershot and smiled at us with that little upside down grin that Wil has. Awww. Gosh, I would have taken either or both of them home in a minute. Pity Wil doesn't like other dogs.

Finally we got back to business: went to Lowes so that James could look for some piping, and then to Kroger to stock up on the usual weekly things and also some birdseed (which we nearly forgot) for the ravening flock. We refilled the birdseed container and almost immediately a fluttering flotilla came gathering around.

It was after four by then and we spent the rest of the afternoon reading the newspaper and catching up on some things we had recorded. Got a real surprise watching Antiques Roadshow—this was the episode we missed on account of Westminster and I had recorded the second showing—about fifteen minutes into this showing (part 3 from Dallas), a very familiar woman showed up with an unusual rocking chair made in 1884 in Italy. She had bought it in Pennsylvania five years ago and was told it was from the estate of P.T. Barnum, and the appraiser told her it was probably worth about $15,000, more if she could prove it actually was Barnum's. Anyway, I kept squinting at her and finally rolled the DVR back a little and said to James "Isn't that Ronnie Claire Edwards?" [Corabeth Godsey from The Waltons]. He said it sure looked and sounded like her, so I did a little web surfing and found out she did indeed appear on this installment. Too Cool.

This particular edition of Antiques Roadshow also featured Frances Hodgson Burnett memorabilia (including the first page of her manuscript for Little Lord Fauntleroy) owned by her great-granddaughter—the woman's grandfather was Vivian Burnett, who inspired the Cedric Errol character!

We also watched some What's My Line? and the final two episodes of the first disk of the third series (there, that should be enough numbers...LOL!) of Rosemary and Thyme.

We had found some thick pork chops on the markdown shelf at Kroger a week or two back and James grilled them for supper tonight after marinating them in teriyaki sauce. Oh, gosh, they were delicious. I could have eaten all of mine since we never did have any lunch, but put some back for a lunch for work. Yum!

James asked at one point, "What are you going to do tomorrow?" Well, I had no plans for today. I did sweep and then wash the kitchen floor, ditto for the hall bath, did a load of towels, swept the foyer and the downstairs hall, and thawed and cooked some chicken for supper (men goof off on their day off; women do housework <g>). We had Michaels and JoAnn coupons, but I couldn't see going off to look for things I really don't need. Between Gatlinburg and fall and Thanksgiving and Christmas and the party, I spent a ton of money. Not good. I'm trying to be better this year.

So I settled in and watched two of the Region 2 Disney films I bought a few months ago: Big Red and The Moon-Spinners. I had the latter recorded off the Disney Channel (back when they showed real Disney programming) and had never bought the DVD because it was done in full screen. Big Red and That Darn Cat were also released in full screen in the U.S., but all three were widescreen in their Region 2 incarnations.

I may have seen Big Red in widescreen in a theatre, but I don't remember it. I chiefly remember it from airing on The Wonderful World of Color. The only resemblance that this film has to the Jim Kjelgaard story is that there is a boy who loves an Irish setter named "Red," who belongs to a Mr. Haggin who lives on the Wintapi estate. Usually I hate it when they change the story of a book, but Disney's Big Red is good enough to stand on its own. It's the story of 13-year-old French-Canadian orphan Renè Dumont (the original character is a 17-year-old backwoods boy named Danny Pickett whose father is still alive) who, after the death of his guardian uncle, seeks work at the Wintapi kennel of Mr. Haggin, a cold man obsessed with money. We find out indirectly that he has never gotten over the death of his son, who was in the military. Today multiple "morses" would probably be made over Haggin's withdrawn state and there would be this big sappy ending where he breaks down crying, but back then movies were more subtle. We find out about the son only because of a photo picked up and briefly commented on by the housekeeper; everything else is implied. This isn't a big flashy movie, just a plain tale of a boy and a dog in the vein of Kevin Sullivan's Anne of Green Gables. Just lovely, and even better in the original widescreen.

The Moon-Spinners is based on a romantic suspense novel by Mary Stewart and is basically "Stewart-lite," with her heroine reduced to being a teenager (Hayley Mills in her first adult role for Disney) and the story altered somewhat (Lambis in the film is one of the villains, in the book is one of the "good guys.") Still, there is certain charm in the Cretan setting, and suspenseful moments (I still jumped when the hand appeared in the crypt!) and it looks great in widescreen (I would only have seen it widescreen in a theatre, but that was long ago). The Region 2 edition is definitely not restored—quite a bit of dust and threads, including one that skitters right in a scene with Nikky and her aunt—but the color is bright and true.

When I finished with Disney I put on the copy of Misty I bought Saturday. This film is from 1961, and I probably never saw it in a movie theatre; I only saw it for the first time on videotape, and, sadly, that experience was terrible. There was something wrong with the tape and it jumped and shimmied, so I didn't really get to enjoy it until I bought the full-screen DVD, and even that was a bit of a disappointment since it was definitely not meant to be viewed fullscreen (it was originally done in Cinemascope) and the print was a bit faded as well. The new widescreen version is great. I'm still ambivalent about how the story was filmed—it's pretty close to the original novel, but the business with everyone thinking the family was on hard times because the kids were working so hard always set badly with me.

Something cool, though; I found the DVD company's e-mail address online and sent them a note complimenting them on the widescreen release and asking if they could possibly release a widescreen edition of A Dog of Flanders (the David Ladd version). I actually received an e-mail in return a few hours later! They said they are looking into re-releasing the film, but it being widescreen would depend on if they could find a widescreen print. I hope there's one somewhere, especially as that movie was filmed in Antwerp and has some very beautiful location footage, including that of a cathedral and some Peter Paul Rubens paintings.

I cooked chicken thighs for supper, which we had with mushroom-flavor rice, and watched Jeopardy, House, and Antiques Roadshow.

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» Sunday, February 15, 2009
Remember the Television Musical Pinocchio?
You either loved it or you hated it, but here it is, from 1976, in eight parts:

Pinocchio, part 1
Pinocchio, part 2
Pinocchio, part 3
Pinocchio, part 4
Pinocchio, part 5
Pinocchio, part 6
Pinocchio, part 7
Pinocchio, part 8

Heck, if nothing else it has Danny Kaye in it!

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» Saturday, February 14, 2009
Travels With Valentine
We had gifts first thing this morning. It wasn't really a surprise since we both knew what we were getting each other, but that was okay. James' gift isn't released yet (volume two of Steve Canyon on DVD), but I did have a little extra surprise for him: a DVD of four episodes of the other Milton Caniff television series, Terry and the Pirates. This is one of those public domain sets, so I expect the picture isn't very good, but it's a nice bit of lagniappe.

James gave me what I dearly desired: a reproduction Shepard's clock. It's only about five inches tall, but has lots of nice memories behind it. It was the place to meet if you were separated when shopping in downtown Providence. One day when I was about eight, I chased the Santa Claus and the reindeer who were in the Christmas parade and was separated from my mother. She found me exactly where she had told me to go in case I was ever lost: next to the Shepard's clock.

Today as a treat we went out to Fry's. I am considering a small purchase to "stimulate the economy." (I'll mention it if I buy it. <g>) We also checked out the software and I ended up with a DVD: the 1961 movie Misty. The version I have is fullscreen, and since it was filmed on location in Chincoteague, pan-and-scan really ruined it. The company that has released the new widescreen version is the same as released the full screen version. I also have their full screen version of A Dog of Flanders. If they've released Misty in widescreen, maybe there is hope for a widescreen Dog as well, as pan-and-scan for that film sucks as well.

James got two inexpensive DVD sets, one of World War II era aircraft, and another of formerly classified briefing films from the Army Pictorial Service.

On the way back we stopped at a little Catholic store I'd seen on previous trips. It's just a pleasant little store with some pretty things, books, statuary, Bibles, medals, etc.

Stopped at the hobby shop where we remained for a while. I was reading Safire's Quoth the Maven and we were waiting until 4 p.m. when it would be dinner time and we could use our Olive Garden coupon. Turned out that was the right time to get there, too; there was only a ten minute wait. James has the chicken and shrimp carbonara and I had the claret-braised short ribs; we both had the chicken and gnocchi soup—all delicious! We brought the black-tie mousse cake home to have later.

When we left a little after five the line was out the door and the wait was forty minutes. Woot! good timing!

So then we got Costco over with. As we left with our purchases we saw a man going in dressed in a tuxedo! A little overdressed for shopping, what? I assume he was going in for some flowers.

Traffic was terrible on the way home, a result of the holiday, I suspect. We spent the waiting time munching the grapes we'd purchased.

Watched the newest Ask This Old House—they did projects you can do with kids, which included making your own miniature golf putting green and shooting off bottle rockets—and the next segment of the New York brownstone remodel. This part was filmed at Christmastime and they had a lovely snowstorm going by the end of the show!

After that I put on an episode of Rosemary and Thyme and now we are watching the declassified films. James said they are mostly from the "Market Garden" campaign.

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» Friday, February 13, 2009
It Must Be Bunnies
We were up early this morning; James ended up taking Willow out about 6:30 a.m. It seems like the rabbits are back; he saw them in our neighbor's backyard. This backyard and the next one are not fenced in, and the owners of the yard beyond frankly do not keep the yard mowed very well. Likely the rabbits are living in the tall grass back there.

It was an otherwise unremarkable day. I did two orders, got the information to do a third, called a recalcitrant vendor, returned phone calls, and all the other usual stuff. Having problems in the bathroom again, so just had soup for lunch, during which I was planning to watch the rebroadcast of American Experience's "The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln," which I recorded at midnight. Well, I tried to watch it anyway. There was background music and sound effects...but no other soundtrack. People's mouths shaped words, but none were heard. Weird. (I even tried turning on the closed captioning. There wasn't any.)

Evidently the PeptoBismol worked because I was starving by the time James arrived home. We had supper at Ken's Grill, which is a Waffle House/Huddle House by any other name, and reasonably cheap, then went to MicroCenter. James found a RAM upgrade for his EEEPC for only $10! He's already loaded it and said it runs much faster.

In the meantime we have watched tonight's Monk—quite a shock who the murder victim was!—and Jeopardy, and have gone on to What's My Line?

But our wildlife has appeared again: James just came back in from walking Willow to tell me that she had chased a rabbit in our backyard, and that the second one was now in our front yard—or rather the neighbor's front yard—under the streetlamp. Sure enough, there was the bunny, following rabbit protocol of freezing-in-place after having sensed danger. I'm sure once we are all inside he/she will disappear.

[11:20: yep, the rabbit's gone.]

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Pardon Me for Ignoring "Stump"
Not flashy, but very sleek.

2009 Winner of Best in Show Trophy

And a "senior canine" to boot: he's nine months younger than Willow, who will be eleven next month.

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» Thursday, February 12, 2009
A Girl Walks Into a Library...
...to return two books and pick up two more, and the expected happens in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

It's a lovely day, still 50s when I went out, and the sky back to being a bright winter blue with cirrus clouds crowding each other. This is perfect for "40s on 4," and some war news hot off the press as the Big Three meet in Yalta!

I was remembering an episode of The Waltons as I snapped the radio back on once out of the library. In the episode about Mary Ellen's wedding, the song "As Time Goes By" is played at a dance. I said to my mom, "That's an anachronism, isn't it? The song's from Casablanca and that's 1942—this is 1937." Mom corrected me, saying that "As Time Goes By" proceeded Casablanca by some number of years.

I'll say it did: there was Rudy Vallee singing it on the way home. :-)

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» Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Weather and Willow
About fifteen minutes ago I decided I'd better take Wil out before the squall line hit. It doesn't look like anything's behind it, but you never know. Better to take her out when it was reasonably dry.

We have been taking her out off-leash. We open the door and as she steps out on the porch we say "stop," and she does, and then we lead from there. Well, she either could't hear me over the wind, which chose that moment to gust, or really had to go, because she jumped right off the porch and onto the grass. This wouldn't have been so bad except the guys from TruGreen sprayed this morning and there was a sign on the lawn not to step on it until tomorrow. What I'd planned to do was pick her up from the porch and take her into the back yard to the woods part where they wouldn't have sprayed, and then carry her back in.

I still did that, but after that I had to take her into the downstairs bath and wash her feet off. She looked sorely puzzled about the whole affair.

Outside was a bit scary because the trees were tossing wildly in the continual gusts. Several of them were making cracking noises as their trunks and branches whipped around.

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Miserable Weather
Here it isn't even mid-February and we have spring-like storms sweeping our way. The pictures from Oklahoma are terrifying. I hope all those folks are okay. Meanwhile the mess is sweeping this way. I can't wait for it to pass. At this point I don't care if it gets colder or warmer. I have had a sinus headache from last night and the darn thing won't let go; now the pain is creeping down into the shoulder I have the arthritis in. What I want is to lie down with some ibuprofin, but I won't be done with work for over an hour. It was very muggy out when I stepped out to get the mail at lunchtime—yeah, the mailman actually came before 4:30; I was shocked, too!—and now the wind has picked up and is whistling through the windows. Schuyler occasionally whistles back. She has begun imitating one of Willow's squeak toys. It's so cute.

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» Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Thunder From Heaven
Well, this is cool.

Mythic Birthplace of Zeus Possibly Found

My mom liked Greek and Roman history; she would have loved this.

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Sensational, Inspirational, Celebrational
No, they're not named after the cab driver or the cop:

Stories Behind 20 Favorite Muppets

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» Monday, February 09, 2009
A Bit of Rhode Island History
Found this account while surfing around:

Belknap School Student Returns Seventy Years Later

My mom (whose birthday it would have been today) used to live in a house on Belknap Street in Providence; wonder if it was named after the same family.

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[eyes roll]
Does anyone ever proofread this stuff?

There's a headline on a Fox News video: "Hundreds stranded on ice flow."

It's an ice floe, folks.

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Australian Wildfires
An Explosion, a Scream, Then Silence

One of the ladies in my Christmas group is close enough to these fires to have sent photos of an eerie red horizon and big hunks of ash falling on her veranda. The last message I read from her is that she has been ordered to evacute.

If this is an arson, someone needs to pay.

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Glad I Wore Short Sleeves
47°F outside, 77° in my cubicle. How balmy! [smiles sarcastically with bared teeth]

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Aieeee! Did It Have to Be Bill Gates?
(the owner of the company who created the world's worst software, Microslop Access? Don't they have a photo of the person who created WordPerfect? <grin>)

Your result for The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test ...

Outcast Genius

70 % Nerd, 57% Geek, 70% Dork

Outcast Genius

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in all three, earning you the title of: Outcast Genius.

Outcast geniuses usually are bright enough to understand what society wants of them, and they just don't care! They are highly intelligent and passionate about the things they know are *truly* important in the world. Typically, this does not include sports, cars or make-up, but it can on occassion (and if it does then they know more than all of their friends combined in that subject).

Outcast geniuses can be very lonely, due to their being outcast from most normal groups and too smart for the room among many other types of dorks and geeks, but they can also be the types to eventually rule the world, ala Bill Gates, the prototypical Outcast Genius.

Congratulations!

Tip o' the hat to Daniel Taylor.

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» Sunday, February 08, 2009
"There's No Need to Fear..."
...taxes are done (not to mention that "Underdog" was here).

Was up late on chat last night—a varied assortment of topics including the examination questions I posted last night, John Bedford Lloyd's exploits during The Abyss, and Revolutionary War battles—and needed the sleep-in. Something odd happened before bed: it was as if my ears were plugged and all I could hear was a car or truck running. There wasn't one outside. I've had this happen before, but usually after I get into bed.

We went to BJs about 11:30 and bought this year's version of TurboTax, which was crammed into a corner between Kellogg's cereal and an HP printer. We would have bought it at Costco, but we had a coupon for it at BJs. Didn't need mandarin oranges, but also bought more of those with a coupon, along with some gravy mix and a big DVD pack of public domain Christmas movies and television shows, including A Christmas Without Snow and the infamous and goofy Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. (I saw this ages ago, back when WSBK-TV38 ran one of their "flop film festivals." It's a very strange film.)

Came home by Kroger and then past Jim Miller Park. There has been some sort of construction going on at the Austell Road side of the park for months. What used to be an empty expanse of grass that was used for overflow North Georgia Fair parking has been cleared, some diseased trees taken out, and they are completely plowing up that side of the park. Friday when I went through there I noticed they were bulldozing up the hill that heads toward County Farm Road (whoops, County Services Parkway...pardon moi). No word on their website on which's going on, but it's definitely some type of expansion. We're wondering if they're going to create a permanent venue for the Fair on that side so that the opposite side can be reserved for parking (or possibly vice versa, since they're not just flattening out the site).

When we got home I popped the TurboTax disk in the computer and did the taxes; we had gotten James' W-2 over a week ago and there was no use putting it off. We have done our taxes using TurboTax for years now, so we don't even have to bother putting in last year's figures—TT does it for us in seconds. As if to prove that our state taxes have gone up, we are getting a refund from the Feds but have to pay the state $88 (we got a $454 refund from the state last year, which shows you just how much our state taxes increased). So I e-filed for the Federal refund and just laughed at them asking me if I wanted to spend $20 to e-File the Georgia return. Hon, you'll get your return and your payment put in the mail on April 15, thank-you-very-much.

At least it's not like before we bought a house, in which we regularly owed the Feds $800 and the state $600. Spring was very expensive back then!

Before supper we watched Underdog, which I DVR'd off Encore a week or so ago. Keeping in mind that this was pretty much made for kids, my comment is "this was cute," of course with the obligatory lesson that every kids' movie has to have these days, although not banged into your head quite as obviously. Had it been meant for adults, my comment to Peter Dinklage and Jim Belushi would have been "Boy, you must be hard up for money." :-) No, really...the dog is cute, the other dog ("sweet Polly purebred") is cute, the kids aren't objectionable, and there aren't any farting jokes. Put your mind in neutral to watch this one.

Salad for supper. Yum!

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» Saturday, February 07, 2009
Whaddaya Know?
Every once in a while you will read a blog or an article that poses questions that children were supposed to answer in school 100 years ago. They are posted to show how terrible the state of education is today; that children in the late 1800s/early 1900s received a much better education. Then along comes someone who pooh-poohs the questions. Schoolchildren couldn't possibly answer these detailed, technical questions! They say these are actually questions asked of teachers to determine them fit to instruct.

Well, while wandering about Google Books again, I found copies of a publication called "The Rhode Island Schoolmaster," a periodical for...guess who!...schoolteachers. The one I found was for 1865 and contains articles about teaching of various subjects, minutes of school board meetings, stories from teachers, book and magazine reviews, and advertisements for textbooks, schooldesks, and other things of interest to teachers.

I noted with some interest that a regular feature in the magazine was a list of sample questions to pose in various classes. Please note that this magazine was for public school teachers. In 1865, public schooling consisted of grammar schools, which ended in what we would call eighth grade. Children who completed all eight grades were considered well-educated for life. Well-to-do and rich boys frequently continued on to boarding or preparatory schools; girls might attend a finishing school where they would learn to be ladies—occasionally they did attend schools where they might learn higher mathematics or Latin and Greek, but that was usually considered "unladylike" and unnecessary for a woman, whose job it was to get married, have children, and run a household. Later in the 1800s (the earliest reference I can find is to 1873), high schools came along, but, like prep and finishing schools, you originally had to pay to attend them, so most children did not go.

So the point is that any questions "set" for the students of the instructors who read this magazine would be for children no older than fourteen or perhaps fifteen. (The notation for these questions says "The following questions were given to the scholars in the First Grammar School, Bristol, R. I., in a recent examination." This would lead me to believe they were for the eighth grade class. Perhaps it was part of their "finals.")

Can you answer all the questions these eighth graders were expected to answer? I'll admit I can't! (I'm sure some of the answers for question 8 have changed, too!)
QUESTIONS IN GEOGRAPHY

1. In what latitude is the Tropic of Capricorn? How many degrees wide is the Torrid Zone? What large islands does the equator cross? At what latitude would ship enter the South Temperate Zone in sailing from the equator? Where is the Isle of Man ?

2. Where is the city of Singapore? In what latitude is Havana? Canton? Pemambuco? Mobile? Sidney? What mountains in Austria? Where is the town of Nassau? What does the Strait of Bonifacio separate? Where is the Isle of Wight?

3. Through what bodies of water would a vessel pass, in sailing from Liverpool, (England), to Calcutta? Name the capital of Dutch Guiana. Which is the higher above the level of the sea, the city of Washington or the city of Mexico? Name a country from which we obtain prunes? Name the largest city in South America.

4. Where is Chattanooga? Name five of the largest rivers in North Carolina, and the bodies of water into which they flow. Name an island from which dried currants are exported. Where is Cape Flattery? Name all the bodies of water through which a vessel would pass, in sailing from the greatest grain port in the world, to the nearest grain port in Europe.

6. Where is the city of Callao? Where are the Snow Mountains? What does Bass Strait separate? Where is Lake Baikal? Through what bodies of water would a vessel pass in sailing from the capital of Louisiana to the capital of the British Empire?

6. Name the capital of Victoria. When does the wet season occur in that part of the Torrid Zone south of the equator? What season is it now at Cape Town? What season is it now on the Island of Tasmania? Through what bodies of water would a vessel pass in sailing from the largest city in Pennsylvania, to Mocha?

7. In what direction would a boat float on the Niagara river? Two persons start from Bristol [R.I.], at the same time, and each travels at the rate of eight miles an hour, one to visit a place five degrees to the north, and the other a place five degrees to the west; which would reach his journey's' end the first? What is caoutchouc, and from what port is it principally shipped? Mention five of the largest cities in the United States, in the order of their size. Through what bodies of water must a vessel pass, in sailing from Bristol, R. I., to Bristol, England?

8. How many towns are there in Rhode Island? Which is the most southerly? Where is Jamestown? What town is the island of Prudence in? In what town is Point Judith? Name the counties in Rhode Island. What rivers flow into Mount Hope Bay? Bound Bristol. What is the population of Bristol? Name the county that Westerly is in.

9. What does the Strait of Belliale connect? Which is the farther west from Greenwich, Boston or Washington? Name the largest city in Oceanica. Where is Lake Ngami? Through what bodies of water must a vessel pass, in sailing from the largest city in Massachusetts, to the largest city in Africa?

10. How many degrees wide are each of the Temperate Zones? In which of the United States are there no counties? Where is Lake Tchad? Name the capital of Sardinia. Mention the names of two rivers that flow into the sea of Aral. What does the Strait of Sunda separate? Name the capital of New South Wales. What are the exports of Turkey in Asia? Name the capital of Honduras. Through what bodies of water must a vessel pass, in sailing from the largest city in the United States, to the capital of Turkey?
1865 issues of "The Rhode Island Schoolmaster"

1873 issues of "The Rhode Island Schoolmaster". If you type "69" in the blank next to "page" and hit enter, you will find a high school entrance exam from 1873. This later issue also has exams given to people wanting to attend the state "Normal School" (the 19th and early 20th century equivalent of getting a degree in education).

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A Warm Day in Winter
Florida is sending us some of her warm air again, the wretch.

Well, it looks as if the temperatures will still be cold at night, so I don't mind so much that it will be high 60s for the next few days. But goodness, the sun is fierce!

After a leisurely breakfast, we headed to East Cobb, since we needed things from Trader Joe's again. It seems like I have been having their chicken salad for lunch for ages, but of all the things I have in sandwiches for lunch the chicken salad is still the thing I'm least sick of. We also got the usual greens and chicken for tomorrow night's salad and both sampled the clementines they were giving out. Their trade name is "Darling Clementine." Heh. (Okay, is there any child of the 60s who can hear the name "Darling Clementine" and not hear Huckleberry Hound singing? LOL.)

Before going to Trader Joe's we stopped at Borders. I had almost determined that there was nothing there for me when I found a mystery novel called The Dante Club. I also found an autobiography of Merv Griffin for $2. (I'm thinking of discussing the Dante book further in Cozy Nook, so wander there if you're interested.)

We made a stop at the hobby shop. They were watching the original 1950s War of the Worlds in the rear, and we knew it at once from the distinctive sound of the Martian war machines zapping Los Angeles.

On the way home we stopped at Michaels so I could get some bits to finish a project, and then we "got it over with" and went to Costco. I have spent almost $200 on groceries this weekend; the freezer and the cupboard really needed restocking! We hovered covetously over the netbooks again, and wandered through the food samples, including some luscious juice that had half the usual amount of sugar (why is there sugar is fruit juice anyway; fruit is usually sweet enough! the mango was quite good and usually I detest mango juice because it's so sweet), and bought lots of chicken thighs.

In fact, the moment we got home and started putting things away, that's what I did, extracted eight of the bone-in thighs (sans the fatty skin) and placed them in the convection oven to roast. We usually eat out on Saturday night, but we're both sick of everything. James made a little gravy for his and ate it with leftover shells in white cheddar; I had mine plain with some of the baguette I bought at Trader Joe's, with a side of last night's Monk—interesting episode about Monk being swayed by his hate for the kid who bullied him in junior high, with the guy just thinking it was "fooling around" and not of any consequence—and What's My Line? and To Tell the Truth.

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» Friday, February 06, 2009
You Can Find Anything on YouTube...
...including my favorite "Weird Al" song, "I Lost On Jeopardy."

And for some laginappe: his Claymation "Jurassic Park" (I remember when this premiered on MTV).

(Heck, I remember music videos on MTV...)

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What Price Groceries and Other Friday Tales
Swung by Lowes first thing this morning for more safflower seeds for our ravening flock. I think I've seen the lamp I want for our foyer. It's a bit more than the one I originally picked out, but it's slightly larger and will fill the space better without being as ostentatious (or ugly, like the one that's there now).

Stopped next door at Borders to use my coupon and Borders Bucks to get the newest "Pink Carnation" novel, and found a novel about the 1906 San Francisco fire/earthquake in the $2 bin. Looks a bit weird, but for $2—whatever. What money I saved on the new book, though, I used to donate some coffee to the troops in Iraq.

And then it was time for today's chore: going to Walmart. Goodness, the prices have gone up! I remember when their Campbell's chicken broth was the cheapest in town. And my yogurt was 3¢ more than Kroger has been selling it for on sale. I should have expected this after WallyWorld remodeled itself to look like KMart, with all that Martha Stewart crap. The only thing I found cheaper was their generic omeprazole, which is less money than even BJs.

Last stop was Kroger, where I used our accumulated points to get gasoline at 1.579 a gallon. Good show.

This afternoon I worked on a craft project, took Willow on a walk, then sat down to watch the 2000 version of The Railway Children that aired a few days ago. In the 1970s movie version, Jennie Agutter played Bobbie, the lead character; in this version she plays Bobbie's mother. The story, based on the book by E[dith] Nesbit, is about three children and their mother, who must sell their things and move to a little cottage in the country when the father is suddenly escorted away. They live very simply and have adventures on the railway, including warning the train after a landslide and helping a Russian man who unexpectedly appears on the train platform.

It's a very leisurely story and I enjoyed this version as well as the earlier one. This one attempted to tell the entire story (there was an incident or two left out of the first movie), which I appreciated, although I think the earlier version moved a little better. The family does appear more in "wolf at the door" straits in the newer version, though. They cast Bobbie, it seemed to me, as a little older in this version, even though she wears young girls' clothing and a pinafore, since they imply she has a bit of a crush on the young man who appears late in the story.

Also of note: the father is played by Michael Kitchen of Foyle's War.

I'm changing channels right now to try to figure out what the dickens is wrong with our satellite feed. It seems to be only on the four network channels (NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox) broadcasting in HD, and has been doing this for three days now: the picture is in fits and stops (like frames are missing), pixelates, sometimes turns blue or skews sideways. It does it during the local news (and the commercials) as well as during the network programs and syndicated programs, so it's not just the network feed.

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» Thursday, February 05, 2009
Going Back in Time--Scientifically!
Look at what you can find on Google Books!

Popular Mechanics

Popular Science

(Here are also a few issues of a nostalgia magazine, Liberty, from the 1970s, with reprints of articles from the original Liberty.)

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At Least It's Not a Paper Processing Plant
New Yorkers Stuck With Syrupy Smell, But Can Breathe Easy

I'm with Bloomberg: there are worse scents, but after 9/11 I understand the unease.

What made me really laugh is that I have issued purchase orders to this company.

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» Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Time of New Tech
Along with working all day I finished, rather late, one of my annual tasks, updating all the copyright dates on my web pages. I've been doing a multiple search and replace on them over the years and it has mucked up some of the dates badly. So I was pulling some of them up one at the time to check out the dates. I realized I hadn't updated any of my holiday countdowns, either...one hadn't been changed last year, either.

I am enjoying one new tech update. When I joined the Yahoo group "Christmas to the Max" almost three years ago, I decided to read the messages online only because of the great deal of mail generated by the group (100-200 messages a day are not uncommon). Since I download e-mail every morning before work, and since the group messages often contain multiple photos of some craft project or decorating scheme, I didn't want to have to wait on it when I should be going out the door. Also, I would have had to use one of our scarce Earthlink e-mails to respond to any posts downloaded, even though I have dozens of e-mail addresses available on my domain, since I was having that e-mail authentication problem.

Unfortunately you can't see most of the photos when you read on the web, so I've missed some cool things. So now that I had the authentication thing beat, I set up the Outlook Express that was automatically loaded on my laptop with a new domain e-mail that I created expressly for the Christmas group, and now can read and reply all the messages and see all the photos in e-mail. Cool.

Also got two loads of clothes washed and took a short walk at lunchtime (note: slippers, even those with thick soles, are not conducive to walking).

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Turning Back the Clock
Rabbit Ears Get Reprieve With Digital TV Delay
Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat from New York, said having a working TV is also important for the safety of those with older sets.

"They are going to lose the most important connection to the outside world and emergency response -- the television," he said.
Erm...there is this thing called "radio"—in fact it was my experience with my mom and other relatives that older people listened to radio as much as or more than television.

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Seed, Glorious Seed
Sixteen degrees when I got up, hovering around zero with the the wind chill—hard to believe the forecast is for 60°F on Friday! I filled the bird feeder and put out more suet just after James left for work and now there's a riot of birds at the feeder: both cardinals, chickadees, brown-headed and white-breasted nuthatches, sparrows, the downy woodpeckers, tufted titmice, and a pine warbler as finely marked as this fellow.

There are some light clouds above as well, and for a while a light, light swirl of bright flurries have been dancing at the windows, playing tag around the busy birds, the fine motes dotted with the occasional larger flake.

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» Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Beating Head Against Wall
It's a wonder they don't stick me on the roof at work, considering how often I'm barking "G-d d-mn-d -ssh-le piece of Microslop-based junk!" at various applications (if not shouting at the computer in general). Not feeling well today—sleepless, queasy, headachy, despite several drugs...feels like the "stomach flu" I've heard complaints about from others—but dragged in anyway due to work overdue, only to discover I had to rebuild three of the five orders I did because of changes they made over the weekend to the software. Because of this change, my dates are now not accurate and there's nothing I can do about it because it's been a problem for years which has been complained about and never fixed. So if the suits in DC aren't getting correct numbers it's not because I didn't try. Infuriatingly frustrating.

At home this reaction sends Willow slinking into her crate ("Mommy's barking at the not-a-walk again") and Schuyler just blinks at me with owl eyes ("She's scolding again"). At least the computer at home is powered by more than a hamster in a wheel!

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» Monday, February 02, 2009
Bleak February
A long, cold rain most of the day, which began with disordered dreams and a chronic headache, accompanied by icy feet. Not a pleasant day. Perked up only when James came home. Steak stir-fry with carrots, celery and cashews for supper, with plain potatoes on the side. Good episode of House. New episode of Animal Cops Philadelphia.

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» Sunday, February 01, 2009
Super Sunday
I awoke this morning from the darnedest dream. We were with a bunch of other people at a big building—it was supposedly someone's home, but there was an entire area that was like an enclosed dormitory, with a kitchen, and a little snack bar—awaiting a personal visit by...Diana Ross. (I kid you not.) We were each going to present her with a gift. I had a gift ready, then looked at it and decided it was unsuitable and prepared to give her a Barbie-like doll instead. It was one of those dreams where every so often you thought "what am I doing--this doesn't make any sense"!

We decided to get some exercise today and take a stroll around Town Center Mall. I'll admit there was some method in my madness; I wanted to see if they had more café au lait tea lights at Yankee Candle, as I am running out, but they were out, too. Did find a couple of gifts to put away, and made the mistake of going in the Disney Store, where I found a wonderful stuffed Bolt (who turned out to be on sale). He's so cute!

We had chicken and salad for supper while watching the Puppy Bowl, then fast-forwarded our way through most of the first half of the Super Bowl to see the commercials. I loved the NBC commercial for their new Monday night, and there was one very short ad for Jay Leno's new prime time series. The H&R Block "Death" commercial was kinda funny, too. My favorite, though, were the three Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale commercials, especially the one where the Clydesdale is romancing the circus horse.

The Star Trek preview also looked interested, although it was moving so fast it was hard to tell. I noticed they did get someone who vaguely resembled DeForest Kelley to play the younger Leonard McCoy; at least he had a resemblance in the ad.

The 3-D commercial and preview for tomorrow's 3-D Chuck were interesting, but I don't think people with glasses get the full effect. I could still see the two colors at the edges of images, so did not get a complete 3-D effect, although I did experience the "popping out" of images. The bit with the football players dancing with the monsters came out best. After 3 minutes, or whatever it was, with the glasses on, though, my eyes started to hurt. Not sure if I could sit through a whole show with 3-D glasses.

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Paws Down Victory
Man, what a great game! I saw some of the best plays ever this afternoon, including a rookie who made more touchdowns than all the other players combined—even one for the other team! Now, that's sportsmanship!

Of course I'm talking about Puppy Bowl V. What a great display of prowess from the players. The rookie mentioned above, an adorable beagle pup named "Matilda," won MVP (most valuable puppy). Another beagle named "Madeleine" was also a smashing player.

One of the cutest players was a brown and white Australian shepherd named "Eli," and there was also "Elvira," the phenomenal Catahoula mix. Rating a #1 on the cute factor, however, was "Ocee," a Pekingese who held his own with the larger dogs. Sadly, "Griffey" the white Labrador was booted from the game by the ref for improper moves.

Not all of the players were revved by the game. "Schroder," the husky/beagle mix, seemed to prefer being quietly in the corner.

There was even a streaker on the field! [A Mexican Hairless.] I haven't seen a streaker in years.

The Kitty Half-Time Show was quite spectacular. Lots of color and confetti! The grey tabbies were the superior players; however a pale marmalade cat wins for cutest mew.

Now over to the clumsy human play of the Stupor Bowl. Have our 3-D glasses; waiting for those Clydesdale commercials!

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