Monday, December 31, 2007


I've never had a single thing against Dick Clark. Far as I know, he put together a bunch of teeny-boppers I couldn't understand or follow as a little girl, then went on to another kind of fame.

Tonight, as I watched the ball drop in New York, the old gentleman appeared as though he'd been drug out of the box.

For that, the boomers have to account. It is a new millenium, after all.
We have a problem at home.

Charlie has remembered "Merry Christmas," but no amount of repetition can convince him to try "Happy New Year."

One reason is that the phrase has none of his favorite "k" or "hard c" sounds.

Here is an article about how to say "Happy New Year" in other languages.

Greek looks like a good one for him.

I like the Czech: "Stastny novy rok!"

Friday, December 28, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How odd.
Lucy has another egg this morning.
I think I'll use the fried turkey left over from Monday night to make a variation of white bean chili.

We had a version at Ruby Tuesday's last week that was surprisingly tasty. They use navy beans. It had a good dab of cumin in it, but also something else that created an Indian underflavor. Coriander, maybe?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I've been a pretty good girl this year, so maybe you'll help me out.

What is the name of the song playing in this video found at Tim Blair's?

I haven't heard it in years and I like it.

Charlie is not cooperating this year, so here's a continuation from last year.

Merry Christmas, y'all!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I had a basket in my hand and was standing alone in the long, wide aisle between the frozen food cases when this song came over the speaker.

To be a dancer! It was the perfect time to hoof it up Gene Kelly-style.
Lucy has an egg this morning.

The drive home was pretty good, threatened only by a rain-front that we drove into on the edge of town. It was raining so hard that Lyman pulled off the road. There was no seeing ahead. Of course, plenty of cars bullied on, based on faith I suppose.

When we finally took the curve at Natchez Regional Hospital, we saw two ambulances taking off in that direction.

None of which is as bad as the snowy pile-up in Kansas. That was a nightmare.

I still have nothing for the boys' stockings. We weren't casually shopping at the coast. Unless they wanted a pack or two of #10 flathead bolts, we weren't in a place to buy.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Who is riding his crotch rocket up and down Perdido Beach Boulevard?

Ah, no one. That's the new refrigerator. That can't be right. We'll call GE when we get home.

Now that things are replaced and repaired (more or less) and tidy and clean, it's time for us to leave.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Our condo association is recommending that all owners replace their icemaker lines with braided steel ones to prevent water damage.

So we bought one. When the boy who delivered and installed the fridge turned on the water, the end popped off and the faucet sprayed him, the enclosure and the ceiling. Another trip to Home Depot.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

We finally met our next door neighbor down here. We've talked and done business, but have never seen flesh.

This guy is so tall that he can reach up and bounce his fingers on an 8 foot ceiling.

He's from Michigan and married a Mobile girl. And he has dimples.

Into every life a little rain must fall ...

I decided to go with strap chair replacements on the balcony. These are from Dr. Strap in Florida. They look much better-built than the old chairs from Finkel Furniture, but we'll see how they do.

The old ones were placed here in 1984, but only saw hard use since 2001. Seven years isn't bad for the cost.

And they're comfortable.
Humpf. The refrigerator will come tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We know they like this part.

Will they like the new stuff?
If everything tocks along as it's going, I'll consider this more than a successful trip. More like an early Christmas present.

The new refrigerator will be delivered tomorrow. It is about the same adequate model we have now, with no bells or whistles other than an icemaker. Maybe hurricanes will stay at bay (say Guantanamo), and this one will last a bit longer.

The new bedspread is in the house. I spent more on it than I like (not $3000), but it's in the right colors and fabric and it's HERE, which counts a lot for a non-shopper like me.

Overall inventory is good. Missing a soup spoon, which I'd guess had a ride in the garbage disposal as so many do. But even so, there are enough. As there are enough plates and bowls and such. Maybe another wine glass or three. The pots lack lids. I'll look for another set of those. And a new notebook for our collection of menus and attractions for guests.

Lyman has fixed the dripping kitchen faucet with the part we ordered from American Standard. He replaced the faulty dimmer switch. We'll fix the odd moisture droop in the popcorn ceiling in the living room today. Did you know that stuff comes in spray cans? Installed two light bulbs in closed ceiling fixtures. Sorry, no can do CFLs in those. There's a discoloration above the showerhead in one bathroom which a can of flat white spray paint will handle. New kick-down door stop.

Chem-Dry will come next Wednesday to clean the traffic areas of the bedrooms and take care of a few small spots on the blue sofa.

So all is well. We'll leave Friday or Saturday for home.

Our snowbirds will arrive from Michigan the weekend after Christmas. They've been with us since 2001. And they're cold.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I've been busy today, preparing for a short inventory trip to the coast which will entail buying a new refrigerator to replace the one we bought about eight years ago. The door has rusted along the gasket at the bottom. I see no way to repair it. We're talking flaking rust here, not the odd orange color. I knew this in May, but staggered through the summer.

I have two new strap chairs for the snowbirds. We'll replace four more on their rental checks. I have a bedspread ordered to replace the one that went missing in the master bedroom sometime in August.

We will leave tomorrow and hope to return on Saturday. Lyman's older son will look after the birds. The younger one will come in on Sunday. I don't have a thing for their stockings yet.

I feel hateful already.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Louisiana Supreme Court will not hear Glenn Lipsey's appeal.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We drove around looking at Christmas lights last night. Good cheer!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Well I never.

Those dark bumps look to be seeds sprouting, too.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

How much is whole turkey selling for in your locale?

I didn't check local whole birds, but smoked turkey necks, used by fat-conscious cooks for seasoning greens and such, are $1.89 a pound at the local market, ten cents less than hamhocks. Heck, raw turkey necks are 99 cents a pound.

That sounds outrageous to me. Of course, $1.99 for hamhocks sounds outrageous to me, too.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Today I'm cooking chicken and dumplings for the first time since September 2005.

I told Lyman then that it would be a long time before I made them again.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Under certain conditions, the concrete under our carport would "sweat" and become slick as glass. The last time I went down this spring, I did a half-split, which broke the fall but pulled a groin muscle.

A couple of weeks ago, we applied the UCoat It kit that we ordered this summer.

Today is the right kind of day, and the coating works.

UPDATE: Jordana, here is a picture of part of the UCoated carport. On my monitor, the color looks right.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

And there we are.

I'd say Sarah's is far more artistic than mine.

UPDATE: Oh, my. Is that ever good. I served it with fresh whipped cream and a couple of Louisiana strawberries.

Thank you, Sarah. And Happy Hanukkah!
For some reason, I own a 10" springform pan, but not a 9". If the recipe weren't layered I'd make do.

Off to Blankenstein's.

UPDATE: Question: If I bake this cheesecake today, and want to serve it Friday, is it all right to refrigerate it in the pan until that morning? This pan is non-stick.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Lucy visits Dr. Debbie today for a trim -- flight feathers, toenails, beak.

And for the first time since, oh, July, Charlie sang "We wish you a merry Christmas" this morning.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Lawyers for defeated sheriff's candidate Glenn Lipsey have filed a "writ of application" with the Louisiana Supreme Court, according to the Concordia Sentinel. The Democrat has more.
Our household has determined to institute turtle soup as a Christmas dinner dish. Michael asked for it for his birthday this past weekend.

I hope we can find more turtle for Christmas.

This Friday we hold the Christmas luncheon for the adults in the family. The menu is simple this year: boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce, green salad, shrimp sauce piquant(Creole) with rice, garlic bread and chocolate layered cheesecake with whipped cream. Sarah has a picture of the cheesecake at her place today. I found the recipe through her. Happy birthday, Mr. G!

I know that's two shrimp dishes, but Lyman's family loves shrimp, and anyone (including restaurants) would be proud to serve the sauce piquant from this book.

The family would only be happier if we'd fry some shrimp, too.

UPDATE: Hmmm, better change that "adults in the family." How about "parents in the family"?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Oh no! I was hoping LSU would play a nice, comfortable bowl game.

Now the Tigers will play Ohio State for the National Championship.
Sorta makes you homesick, don't it, Scott?

(Thanks, Mr. Reynolds.)

Your Score: Poppy Seeds

You scored 75% intoxication, 25% hotness, 50% complexity, and 75% craziness!

You are Poppy Seeds! You seem innocent enough, but you're dangerous. You sneak up on people with your seductive ways, hiding in plain sight. When you grow to your full potential, those who really get to know you just can't leave you alone - they're hooked for life.

Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Mmmm, kolaches.

(Thanks, Tony.)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I'm picking out pecans this morning. I plan to make the recipe here.

They've been through a mechanical cracker, but they're small and some were missed.

These lazy, selfish parrots could be a lot of help here. But nooooo...

UPDATE: I think that we can increase the seasonings for household tastes. Otherwise a good holiday addition. Thank you, Diane.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mr. Lipsey's appeal was dismissed.

Here is the court's opinion, written by Judge Ulysses G. Thibodeaux.

The Sentinel has excerpted the opinion here. It's a little easier to read.

UPDATE: My opinion, which is not that of an election lawyer, is that Mr. Lipsey was between a rock and a hard place concerning due diligence prior to the vote. If he had followed up on his allegations that some Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office employees were being forced to register to vote illegally, and to vote for Mr. Maxwell (beats me how their votes could be proved), he would have endangered some jobs and aroused ire among the very employees that he would have headed had he won. I suppose there could have been some surprise challenges on election day.

One of the requirements for holding a position in the CPSO is to reside within Concordia Parish, as is one of the requirements for voting in Concordia Parish. So each employee voter that he outed for illegal registration due to residency requirements was also holding their job against the rules*.

That's no way to make friends.

UPDATE II: Not just the state of Louisiana is loathe to overturn elections. Better to make your case and and have good turnout on election day. One of Mr. Lipsey's problems regarding fraud is that only something around 7,000 of 13,000 registered voters voted at all. He had a large excess pool to draw from.

On the other hand, in one of the elections Huey Long had control of, St. Bernard Parish turned out more than 3,000 votes in a parish with 2,500 something registered voters.

* There is nothing illegal about sheriff's office employees living outside the parish, Lyman says. A handbook requirement.
Nobody can carry on like an overwrought southerner.

This sheriff's race has brought on a lot of high emotion. The decision from the appellate court should be announced in the next few hours. The Democrat's story with comments is here. (I expect those comments to be closed anytime now.)

The Concordia Sentinel saw fit to publish an editorial condemning undocumented accusations by anonymous persons in local and national forums.

On one public local board,, some people took exception to this editorial, and have defended their right to post opinions anonymously. To a degree, I agree with them. In a small region like this, there is occasion for reprisal against whistleblowers. What I haven't seen is a lot of evidence of legal wrongdoing.

But that's not to my point. My point is that Scarlett O'Hara herself might consider the following statement a little emphatic:
And this editorial has the gall to state that we should bare our throats with our true identities so the knife of corruption can slice into us without reason.
And it's just not as lyrical as this one.

UPDATE: I do think that southerners can sense their Shakespeare better than anyone else.

"Oh, that this too, too solid flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew ..."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Check out this Volokh post for a fun geography game.
I had no idea that Patricia Cornwell is a lesbian.

Not that it makes any difference. I'll still be looking forward to new novels.

(Thanks, Mr. Blair.)
Fabio, Fabio. You're still a fine-looking man, but hon, you're 48. Isn't it time to cut your hair?

Samson you ain't.

(Thanks, Ms. Althouse.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Food Network was built on Emeril's popularity, but I won't miss him.

His show had become predictable and tedious.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Lucy laid an egg at 9:24 p.m.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Lucy is tired and tucked after seeing her big brothers.
I could never do a split.

Thanks, Nate.

You don't see much of this since Ed Sullivan went off the air.
Jason is reading Choke. It looks like fun.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


2 tablespoons margarine or butter
2 large onions, sliced in rings
3 carrots, sliced
1/2 medium bell pepper, sliced in rings
1/2 pound fresh green beans, long snaps
2 large tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

In a skillet melt the margarine. Add onions and sauté until light brown. Place the onion, carrots, bell pepper, green beans, tomatoes and parsley in a greased 2-quart shallow casserole. Mix lightly and add the seasonings. Bake the casserole, covered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until the vegetables are tender, stirring once. Serves 8.

From this book.
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

I'll tell you our menu in Michael's words:
Spinach salad from the garden, chicken stuffed with rice and mushrooms, fresh vegetable casserole, maque choux, dinner rolls, and pork ribs in the oven for dessert.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

When Lyman's sons come home to visit, they always bring loads of laundry.

There are never any sheets in there.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Well, whaddya know.

I don't like'em much, but I do have a couple of intricate stalks of silk ivy that I use in the living room. Some places want that organic frilliness. And they were some kind of dusty.

I used the salt method, in a kitchen garbage bag, and they're much better. Thanks, Sue D.

Monday, November 19, 2007

... and I need to get Huey Long back to the library.

We've had some drama around the local sheriff's election on October 20.

Resolution here. The Democrat has found it necessary to close comments on some stories regarding this election.

UPDATE: More here and here.

Now that's a little scary.

(Thanks, Sarah.)
Mostly Cajun points out PC madness in publishing children's books.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Alkahest? (Free Rice)

I just found this picture of Charlie in the camera. I like it.

He appears to have had a bath.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

All right. I give up now.

Does "kerf" mean 1) expert 2) hobo 3) notch 4) mushroom?

I'll go for notch.

This year, the next satsuma tree up the row is loaded.
Here is the picture of a pretty pink poppy that kitchen hand mentioned below, with a story.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Mine was one of these -- that tangerine one back there, with a white vinyl top. If you'll scroll down you'll see an example of the "deluxe" plaid interior.

My friend Sam named it "Wanda".

That's all bad enough, but I couldn't keep a water pump in it.

UPDATE: My next car was a totally gray Nissan Sentra.
"That's fine with me."
Ms. Althouse has something else interesting today.

Fact is, people need makeup on TV. How will they overcome the difference in appearance between regular and high-definition television while it lasts?

A commenter at Hit & Run said that on his HDTV, the only person near the stage during last night's Democratic debate who didn't look 150 years old was Mr. Obama.

UPDATE: One of the commenters at Althouse says that the pron industry is much dismayed by the higher resolutions.
Cutting edge? London? Aw shoot, they do that at Dimples ever night.

(Thanks, Ms. Althouse.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Have you seen these?

Lyman brought a pack home this week. They do smell and taste like grapes, or to be true, like grape soda.
I have a request.

A few weeks ago I had a hankering for graham crackers. I bought a box of Nabiscos, and I've eaten most of them. They were dandy.

But what's better, and would be more wholesome for Janis and the birds, would be a nice homemade digestive biscuit.

I've found a few recipes. Do you have one that you use?
I'm with Dr. Taylor. Surely they're kidding.
Gail Collins of the New York Times sure enough doesn't like John Edwards:
Something weird is going on with John Edwards, who was cheerfulness incarnate when four years ago he was the moderate-Southerner-who-can-speak-to-the-Reagan-Democrats. Then he morphed into a sorrowful populist who thought we should vote for him because he cared the most about the poor. Now he’s running around like a rabid gerbil, telling people he should be president because he’s the angriest. Soon, he’s going to run out of adjectives to embody.
"A rabid gerbil?" That's unkind.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I've never tried to grow poppies.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Time to pick on Tony.

In this post he comments that men do not have good fits for jock straps, either.

So I suggest that you use the same water displacement technique. And let your engineers take it on. (I'd think there is some kind of codpiece with gel for professional athletes.)

It's near Thanksgiving, so the best vessel I can recommend is a turkey pot. Parts will fit, won't they?
I was wandering around the blogs at The New Republic, and found this post.

Go on, go on ... waste an hour or so.

UPDATE: Well, by golly, I thank Robert Graves for I, Claudius. Claudication means "lameness."

Friday, November 09, 2007

Hard for me to fathom how measuring the weight of one's breasts would help with overall fit. I'd suppose my breasts weigh about the same as they did when I was 22. They just aren't in the same places.

But I do like this comment: "If men wore bras you can bet your life a bra would have been designed which fits, flatters and feels comfortable to wear!"- Leanne, Notts UK

UPDATE: I like the looks of this line.

UPDATE II: Now I'm thinking, how could I be so sexist as to agree with Leanne? Where are the women engineers looking to our comfort? They darned sure aren't designing shoes. And it is an engineering problem rather than a fashion problem, at least at my age.
Your Inner European is Russian!

Mysterious and exotic.
You've got a great balance of danger and allure.

Well, now. My inner musician is Tchaikovsky, and my inner European is Russian. A pattern develops.

(Thanks, Ms. Postrel.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

cash advance

Hard to say what that means, but I'll expect a "cease and desist" letter from MENSA anyday now.

(Thanks, Possum.)
Oh, wow!

I might have to buy a couple of those for the sons' stockings.

(Thanks, Latino.)

Then maybe a couple of certificates for carbon credits to offset their auto use. Wouldn't that be cool?

I think that would be enough.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I've read up to page 690 of the nearly 900 page biography of Huey Long. At this point, he has become a U.S. Senator and is in conflict with FDR, which is showing in the home state.

But I want to go back (pp. 537-8), to where Mr. Long was organizing the race for his succession to governor of LA. Earl Long, as his brother and party organizer, thought the lieutenant governorship was his for the asking. His older brother disagreed. So the whole Long family took to the stump against each other, most aligned with Earl.

Mr. Williams writes this:
[Huey] would begin the story by describing a social gathering popular with rural Protestants -- an "all-day singing" at the church, with "dinner on the grounds." At such a meeting in Winnfield, he would continue, the mothers had laid their babies on a pallet under a tree during the dinner. As they were clearing the table, a violent storm suddenly broke. Each mother hastily collected her child. But there was one baby that nobody would claim, an ugly, squalling brat. Mrs. Long, unwilling to see the child abandoned, had taken it home and adopted it. "That was Earl."
So Huey Long said.
Thank you, Mr. Drum.

The most telling paragraph, considering the general tenor of Democratic comment in the blogosphere, is this one:
Many conservative Christian leaders say they can count on the specter of a second Clinton presidency to fire up their constituents. But the prospect of an Obama-Giuliani race is another matter. “You would have a bunch of people who traditionally vote Republican going over to Obama,” said the Rev. Donald Wildmon, founder of the Christian conservative American Family Association of Tupelo, Miss., known for its consumer boycotts over obscenity or gay issues.
That upsets the assumption of racism in the South, I would say. The Republicans he's talking about aren't black.

And help us, this was said in Kansas rather than Louisiana, not that it might'nt be: "“Obama sounds too much like Osama,” said Kayla Nickel of Westlink. “When he says his name, I am like, ‘I am not voting for a Muslim!’"

Like, Kayla, are you an ignorant xenophobe, or what?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It's such a pretty day, I ... cleaned my refrigerator!

That should be good for a day or two.
It's cool outside today.

Try for the first time a posole? Or go with tried and true Ally's Green Chili?

What to do, what to do?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

C'mon, Tigers. Alabama ain't all that.

Now, Nick's something.

Oh, poor Sweeties, didn't I tell you to stay outside?

What an awful way to die.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I have moved on to this book. And I have a question for anyone who can answer.

The "Old Regulars" political machine in New Orleans refused to allow natural gas to be piped into the city, keeping the citizenry dependent on more expensive "artificial gas". What was this artificial gas? The author doesn't say.

And how about "Swords Lee" as a name? Beats "Ashley Wilkes" anyday.

UPDATE: In 1927, Riley J. Wilson was one of the candidates for governor of Louisiana. He grew up in poor circumstances and often talked of having to go barefoot as a child. Huey Long said, "I can go Mr. Wilson one better; I was born barefoot."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

For a little Halloween atmosphere.
Lyman called the IRS (that's the federal income tax agency in the US) for a reason.

He was put on hold. The recorded voice said, "Our representatives are helping other customers. Please hold."

Customers? CUSTOMERS?!!!!

Talking to the IRS is always a horror story, with zombies.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Oh, that color."

I'm looking at the ribbing of the sweatshirt I'm wearing today. It's a dedicated "small paint sweatshirt".

Why do I keep clothes so long?

The babyshit mustard paint on this shirt, what designers now call "Tuscany gold", is the artefact of a bad yellow color that my mother chose for the house I grew up in. It wasn't badly her fault. She didn't try it before she painted, that's all. She wanted champagne and wound up with light lager. She asked me to paint a door.

This color was for the trim.
Lucy has another egg. It was there yesterday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Back in the day, in the suburbs of Dallas, our newspaper group ran pretty baby contests.

It was more fun than a lot of revenue projects. Babies are a funny lot. But the revenue benefits were iffy. The project was time consuming. It raised printing costs. Where our papers sold in newsstands, people would pay for one paper and steal another half dozen for the ballot forms.

At any rate, if you'd like to look at the baby pictures at the Alexandria Town Talk newspaper, they're here.

I'd guess the contest is easier to manage online.

UPDATE: I like the expression on #088. How about the dimples on #032? #436 has enormous eyes. #077 is going to cut my Social Security payments.

#396 seems to have a wild sense of humor. She's my fave.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's 54 degrees out there today. It hasn't been as low as 54 at night here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I am reading this book. How in the world do you pronounce the name Delesdernier?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Which Classical Music Composer are You?
created with
You scored as Tchaikovsky

You are Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky! One of the most well know Russian composers today, Tchaikovsky drew much inspiration from folk songs and his own melancholy. He was homosexual but conceal it through a failed marriage and several other ill-fated relationships.



J.S. Bach


Franz Liszt


Hector Berlioz


Antonin Dvorak


The verification for this post is zmvynbiy, which might mean something in Russian.

(Thank you, Chef Tony.)
They're doing it again, and this story provides as good an example as any:
Jindal, 36, will be the nation's youngest sitting governor. The son of Indian immigrants, he will also be the first Indian American governor in U.S. history, and the first nonwhite to hold the job in Louisiana since Reconstruction (emphasis mine).
Raise your hand if you've ever lived in a state with a non-white governor. Which state was it, and what was the governor's name?

In the twentieth century, Hawaii had some non-white governors, Douglas Wilder was the African-American governor of Virginia for a while, and Deval Patrick is currently governor of Massachusetts. Anyone else?

UPDATE: Bruce Moomaw over at James Joyner's place brings up Gary Locke, the Chinese-American governor of Washington for a period, and Bill Richardson, the mostly Hispanic governor of New Mexico. That's a big four on the continent.
Lucy has another egg. I don't know whether it belongs to the 20th or the 21st.

She broke the other one from this clutch.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

This story raises a smile.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Before I forget, Lucy laid an egg at 10:50 p.m. on October 17.
Mr. Paul Palubicki and Peg Britton have posted different exercises to find the candidates who hold opinions closest to yours.

The one at Paul's place is far more comprehensive, but Peg's is fine for a quick look.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My rump would not be so sore if I'd listened to my mama and spent more time cleaning baseboards than painting them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A friend sent us this video of Snowball, the dancing cockatoo.

This boy has some rhythm.

If that dancer is not your type, try this one.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

You know, I've been figuring our electric savings from our improvements wrong.

After changing some lightbulbs, I estimate the baseload of our house to be about 900kW a month. That includes refrigerators and computers, washer and dryer, lights and ventilation. That can't be changed without replacing appliances.

Changing the windows and ducts, and sealing the chase, the recessed lights and air supply boots affect air-conditioning usage, or later, gas usage.

So today, when I read the meter for a months usage at 1486, and compare it to last year's usage for the same month, 1811 with an estimated baseload of 1000 kW, I should calculate the variable energy savings. Let's see, 811-586=225, 225/811=27.7. Absolute savings is 17.9 percent.

But all of this is senseless without a comparison of degree days for the two reporting periods. If you have a source where I can find historical numbers, I'd be most appreciative. I can find a month's worth at

How are you doing, Mr. Gore? Congratulations on the prize.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Beware! Wet paint!
African Grey parrots have the reputation for being smart, but watch this macaw.

The tape is in French. If that bothers you, turn the sound down.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Margaret is one of the great names for women. What did her friends call her, Frederick?

What did you call her? I called mine "Mother". She was tired of "Mama" many years ago.

Everyone, including grandchildren, calls Lyman's mother "Girl".

It's no fun at all going south if you can't go all Tennessee Williams, now, is it?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Do di do, ah, do di do.
Wait just a damn minute, Gary Post-Tribune.

20,000 people from across the nation didn't descend on Jena, Louisiana, because they thought it was a problem unique to the Deep South. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were explicit in their motives regarding the march in Jena: to call attention to racially unfair prosecution across the country.

Why they couldn't do that at home is a different question, and I don't know enough to go there.

However, a little point Gary might take into consideration is from this article in the Concordia Sentinel:
While hate groups exist all over the country, it is erroneous to say the Ku Klux Klan still operates here, Ingram said, adding that the only Klan organization he knows of today is in Indiana.
Stanley Nelson is investigating a 60's Klan murder in Ferriday.

UPDATE: That goes for you, too, John Mellencamp.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Mostly Cajun has one of the best Boudreaux jokes I've read in a long time. And it's clean!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I visited my new doctor's office this morning. More get acquainted stuff, mainly, with a liquid nitrogen treatment of a seborrheic keratosis that had emerged on my back.

The doctor is one of five doctors in the clinic. The waiting room is large, and today, cold. Is this one of those buildings that's cold in the summer and hot in the winter?

Charlie was carrying on in his cage before I left this morning. His most-used phrase now is "Mr. Wolf," most often done as a call. He might howl or might not.

So in a seamless transition from home to doctor's office, the first patient called after I arrived was Mr. Wolf.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I woke this morning to an e-mail from the director of Warnings. He was googling his name and found this entry from last year.

It's been over 25 years since we've exchanged greetings.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

We're painting, off and on. Then trying to mollify the birds, because neither of them takes kindly to being banished to the back room while paint fumes subside.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lyman had a birthday on September 12. He is 61.

We're watching Florida State play Colorado.

Jimbo Fisher left his position as offensive coordinator for LSU to go to Florida State.

"Why?" I asked.

"He may become head coach when Bobby Bowden retires," he said.

"How old is he?" I asked.

"I don't know. He's younger than I am."

"Nearly everybody is younger than you are."

Friday, September 14, 2007

We are painting. Later.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Some scientists discount Dr. Pepperberg's work with Alex. Let me see ...

Let's look at this article, this paragraph:
Pepperberg's research remains controversial, with some skeptics maintaining that Alex's apparent mastery of language revealed nothing more than a very sophisticated version of conditioned responses. Pepperberg says that is hard to reconcile with such findings as Alex's 80% accuracy in counting objects. In her peer-reviewed papers, she has said that he seemed to have intelligence comparable to a five-year-old child, but emotional behaviour more like a two-year-old.
My readers know that Charlie goes "bonk." He even calls himself a "bonky boy." That means that he falls, with a noise. Sometimes that noise is "splat," and he winds up in the vet's office.

He's well enough to come out of the cage now. The other night, he was on the top rung of the Parrot Tower. Lyman set part of an ear of corn between the dishes there at the top.

Charlie piddled with it for a while, then it dropped to the tray with a loud noise. Charlie said, "Charlie go bonk." Well, he did make it go bonk.

If that was a "sophisticated conditioned response," maybe all of our language is based on "sophisticated conditioned responses."
Fritz Schranck has returned to blogging after attending to family matters.

He offers a memorial to 9/11 from Blue Man Group.

(Thank you, Mr. Schranck.)
Oh, no! Alex died. He was 31.

According to Dr. Irene Pepperberg, his last words to her were on last Thursday night:
You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you.
In other parrot news, Lucy laid an egg on the evening of September 9.

UPDATE: There seems to be some confusion about Alex's last words. They might have been, "You'll be in tomorrow."

(Thanks, Mr. Farber.)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

No investigation at all has been done about the arson at the Jena high school, from what I can tell. Who has an interest in the new building?
Your Personality Cluster is Introverted Intuition

You are:

Multilayered and complex
Inspired and driven to achieve your goals
A visionary with a complete life plan
Intuitive enough to understand difficult problems, ideas, and people

If you say so, but I think those four questions provide a thin dataset for a personality evaluation.

(Thanks, Diane.)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I have been reading a bit about the Jena 6. It's a big, messy story about Jena, a little town west of Vidalia.

What people will put in comments sections amazes me. In the comments of this account, oh, about 1/4 of the way down on the right scrollbar, you'll find someone who blames the whole business on -- who else -- "the Jews."

I say, let's blame it on global warming. It all started with a shade tree, didn't it?

UPDATE: And to defuse the situation for the new school year, the administrators cut down the tree.

My, my.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Roscoe the tiger, now Mike VI of LSU, is doing very well.

He's playing in his new environment like a 330 pound kitten, which he is.

He doesn't seem to be oppressed.

See, I can catblog, too.
Meh. I'll give it a shot anyway.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Shellie Tomlinson doesn't seem to get bent if I steal something something from her so long as she gets credit. Here's something from her letter file today:
Dear Shellie,

I heard that Bubba went to the local revival. When the minister finished his sermon, he invited anyone that needed a special prayer to come forward. Bubba got in line and when his turn came, the minister asked him what he needed a prayer for. Bubba stated that he needed a special prayer for his hearing. The minister placed one finger in Bubba's ear, the other hand on Bubba's head and prayed. When he finished, he asked Bubba if that helped his hearing. Bubba said he didn't know yet because the hearing wasn't till next week in Baton Rouge.

Bob Barrett in Oak Grove, LA

Monday, September 03, 2007

Thanks to Medpundit for proving, once again, that the Internet is a wondrous place.
Charlie has learned to say "Mister Wolf." He also does a serviceable howl.

Clever boy that he is, yesterday he combined the two: "Mr. Wooo-oooooo-oooooooo-ooolf."

I hadn't thought of that.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Getting ready for some football

30 pounds of raw peanuts on the boil to make snacks for the season. They'll soak in salted water to taste, drain, then be frozen for later use. There's another 30 pound sack, too.

Boiled peanuts were new to me when I came South.

The September issue of Southern Living magazine has recipes for boiled peanuts and one for boiled peanut hummus. (Pssst! Chick peas are cheaper and easier.)
Lyman's son e-mailed this rhapsody to Southern football by Wright Thompson.

Neither here nor there, except for this phrase, which I haven't heard before:
... messier than a small town divorce ...

Friday, August 31, 2007

I have read quite a bit about the Senator Craig incident, and scores of comments.

Many people find themselves "disgusted," or offended at the breach of etiquette, or consider his behavior a breach of privacy. But I haven't seen one comment that mentioned the word "modesty."

Has the word totally dropped from the vocabulary?

My sense of modesty is offended by the whole notion of "stall sex" in public restrooms, and I suspect that's true for many others. But they no longer have the word to express it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Alrighty, then. The new utility bill has come.

I am embarrassed to report that last year's usage for 7/13 to 8/13 was 2797 kW. This year's is 1848. That is a 32 nearly 34 percent improvement.

However, part of that decrease was due to July being unusually cool this year. We had many overcast or rainy days with below normal temperatures. The temperatures for the 12 or 13 days of August included in this bill were average or above, a few of them record highs.

Next month's bill promises to be the whopper this year. All of August has been hot.

While I have sealed the air supply boots to the drywall in the ceiling, I still haven't sealed the recessed can lights. That comes with painting the ceiling, which, as it turns out, has come back to me. And I haven't been up to it.

UPDATE: There should be some calculations I can do using degree days. Can any of you tell me how that would work? I'm thinking something along the lines of kW-baseload/degree days. Or something. Anything besides messing with fire-resistant caulk around the lights that I don't have trim-sets for.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I saw Boz Scaggs in Fort Worth when I was young woman, maybe 21. He was one sexy boy in his day. Here he is in 2004.

Ain't those backup singers cool?
Much to the chagrin of PETA, LSU has obtained a new tiger to become the mascot for the school.

Roscoe, soon to be renamed Mike VI, is a Siberian-Bengal mix who will grow to 700 pounds. At two, he's only 300 pounds.

Look at those paws.

He'll live here, and have the best veterinary care that LSU can offer.
Eric Scheie has come up with the most interesting angle, to me, of the Sen. Craig affair.

Public restrooms noted for hot gay action are featured at one site called "". I was wondering how a non-local person learns about such places.

What a distasteful business altogether. I don't think people should even use cell-phones in public restrooms.

UPDATE: Furthermore, I'd prefer that you not call me from your private restroom while you're using the toilet.

If you'd like to chat while taking a hot, bubbly soak I'll listen.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I missed the demise of the "Queen of Mean", who died on August 20.

She was generous to her friend.
It's not such a bad thing.

I'm ready to run errands.

I just finished a seven-day course of antibiotics and steroids after that vicious head cold descended into my chest. I'm confident that I can attend to business without horrifying the public by hacking up my spleen.
There is no virtue in my rising at 5:30 a.m.

I might have overcome the odd and weirdly familiar dream of all those blond people in the big house.

A bathroom run in the early hours isn't unusual or particularly disruptive.

But the mosquito was a particularly persistent and annoying one.

Hail to the mornin'. Now run along and leave me alone.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Welcome rain.

Friday, August 24, 2007

In her message, Charlotte included her cell number. I called and spoke to her.

She told me that she spoke to an owner who consulted an interior decorator regarding her one-bedroom condominium. The decorator said she would do it for $30,000, and quoted $3000 for a bedspread.

What makes a $3000 bedspread?
The bedspread at the condo is missing. The rental agency doesn't know why.

But do you know what? I just received a note from Charlotte today. She's now at Island Interiors.
I might even have Youngblood Hawke on the bookshelf. It was one of my father's books.

I lived in New York City between fall of 1978 and Christmas of 1983. Mr. Drum, in the city were two or three Mexican restaurants, none of them good. It was easier to find good Cajun food there than Mexican, or for me, Tex-Mex. What was the name of the place on Ninth Avenue? Or was it Tenth?

I transferred my love of spicy Tex-Mex to Indian without much regret.

Now the spicy comes from Cajun, and I miss both the others.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oh, Mr. Edwards, please get real:
Will we halt global warming, protect our environment and humanity from the cataclysmic consequences of inaction and leave our children a livable world rich in the resources that were left to us?
One way to start is to not build a 28,000 square foot housing and recreation complex for a single family on previously timbered land.

Just a thought. I know that's small potatoes in the big scheme of things, but I've always understood it helps if we each do our small part.
You Are a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

You life your life in a free form, artistic style.
You are incredibly creative and at times, quite messy.
Deep down, you are a kid at heart. And you aren't afraid to express it.

Your best friend: The Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Club Sandwich

(Thanks, Diane.)
The Chauncey Bailey story gets uglier everyday.

Here's something from BET.

More from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I clean my bathroom floors on my knees.

Yesterday, when I went in to finish up the floor in the back, there was a tiny pink lizard, about 1-3/4", underneath the kick space of the vanity.

I looked around, and the only thing I could find to contain it was an empty Rolaids bottle. So I chased it around and picked it up, and put it outside on the grass.

I thought, "All that calcium can't be good for a baby." So I changed the faucet to "mist" and washed him down.

I hope I didn't drown him.

How did he come in? The windows are sealed. He was 60 feet from a door.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Kate has news!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this little guy expresses my reaction to the truncation of Terry Oglesby's Possumblog.

I found this charmer at National Geographic News.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Charlie is having fun working on Mr. Wolf. We're using the lone wolf howl example #1 here.
Ahem. Mr. Reynolds, if your wife is going to put good knives in the dishwasher, I'd suggest going with the Forschners. They're inexpensive and easy to replace.

I'm still working with my 10-inch Calphalon, but it is heavy. I plan to replace it with a Forschner when necessary.

Maybe I'll purchase a 12-inch for Christmas. That will keep the boys in line.

Friday, August 17, 2007

At the recommendation of a young man who works offshore, I have added Crown Weather Services to my bookmarks.
Lucy laid another egg last night. Let's say August 16.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I've been reading police procedurals authored by Peter Robinson.

I'm not reading them in sequence, so I was surprised to find that Inspector Banks and his wife Sandra are separated in this book. I didn't see it coming. Last I read, they were getting along fine.

What is it with these crime writers who divorce or kill off spouses? Are they undergoing similar trauma in their own lives? Wishful thinking?
Lucy laid an egg on August 13 or 14. (Sometime during that night.) It was her first since June.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

High temperatures on August 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 broke records in Vidalia.

Our thermometer showed a high of 105F yesterday, three degrees above's posted high.

No rain in sight to cool things down.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Today the meter reader comes.

I looked up the method to read our five-dial electric meter, and if my reading is right, we'll come in at least 25 percent below last year's electric usage for this month. That will mean a savings of near $70 or more on the bill, which should arrive about the 20th.

Now we're talking. It's been warm all of August so far and screaming hot the past four days, with several more top temperatures expected this week.

If I'm reading it wrong, the things we've done have actually raised our energy usage over last year's, and I can't believe that.

UPDATE: At 1:48 p.m., our thermometer is showing 103F.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I woke at 3:30 a.m. with a full-blown head cold.

It's been ages since I've had one, and I'm a big, whiny, snot-nosed baby.

Guests are due for dinner tonight.

Charlie's got the bonk.

I just noticed that he is 2-1/2 years old today.

(44 seconds)

Friday, August 10, 2007

So we tried something new in the kitchen last night, and it was quick and tasty.

We started with the "Linguine Roma" recipe on the side of a box of American Italian linguine and made a few changes.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 anchovy fillets, crushed
4 tbsp. capers
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
2 packets tuna, or 2 cans, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepared linguine

Heat olive oil in a large skillet (we used a Dutch oven). Saute onion until transparent.

Add garlic, anchovies and capers. Saute for one minute.

Add tomatoes, red pepper, and olives. Simmer for 10 minutes or so. (Lyman added a little water here. He likes "juicy" food.)

Add tuna. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer a minute or two.

Now you can either add the cooked pasta to the sauce, or spoon the sauce over pasta. We did the latter.

Nothing to it, and it was remarkably good for so little trouble.
Poor Lyman can't get credit for anything. Travis is his dad.

Boy, is the mail ever slow going out that way. A week?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I'll go back to read all of this post, but for now, I remember a conversation between the two oldest nephews in our family. It went something like this:

"And yeah, what about those girls who order a $25 steak from the menu, then eat a couple of bites?"

"Then they look at you like you're a cheapskate because you want a doggie bag."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Dr. Frank is watching the the Oakland case, too. I hadn't seen the article mentioned in this post.

He lives in Oakland.

Charlie went bonk again.

UPDATE: I don't know how he hit so hard, but his beak shows impact, too.

So he's been shaved a bit, and washed and Betadined and creamed and stuck with a needle, with the same routine coming up again tomorrow. But no collar!

Poor little birdie boy.
When is the last time I had a deep-fried pork chop?

Last night, if you must know, with a side of fresh green beans simmered with hamhock and new potatoes, fresh sliced tomatoes and hot-water cornbread.
Chris Thompson, the writer of the two stories cited below in the Chauncey Bailey murder, tells of intimidation by the Oakland group here.

And Christopher Hitchins has shot some people off on anti-Muslim tirades that aren't appropriate. Matt Zeitlin, unknown to me, and found through, makes some sense.

Why am I ragging on Mr. Bailey's murder? Because killing the messenger isn't usually done in this country. Not this way.

UPDATE: An AP report on charges filed against the group.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

I have to say, this massage chair looks more intimidating than relaxing.

It looks like a padded electric chair -- "Ol Sparky" goes upscale.

Or could be a "mandated-procedure" dental chair.
There is a curious story out of Oakland, CA, involving the murder of a newspaper editor.

When did we last hear of a newspaperman being murdered in the US because of his work? I can't remember.

UPDATE: Here is a story about journalists assassinated in the US.

UPDATE II: See the two articles mentioned in this comment to get a fix on the organization Mr. Bailey was investigating.

UPDATE III: Shanikka at Political Sapphire has a good round-up and a rant.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Jane Galt is a little off in this post.

Not having children is for me, a Nail-Patella mutant, a way of cleaning up the gene pool and avoiding a massive burden.

I have been successful in avoiding pregnancies all my life. It's called "contraception," and should be available to all at-risk women.

Now, motherly women of my status, women with the NPS genetic defect, have the option of in-vitro fertilization with a DNA scan to reject embryos that carry the gene.

I think that's good.

Who are you to chance the child I would have to rear?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Colby Cosh has posted an SCTV tribute to Ingmar Bergman.

I remember Count Floyd fondly.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lyman's parents are coming for fried bream and catfish this evening.

Today is their 66th wedding anniversary.
By way of Radley Balko, I found the Lost in America site.

Which led to a search for a picture of this cool 1960 Plymouth dashboard.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lyman found ten crisp $20s and a one dollar bill neatly folded in the parking lot at Wal-mart yesterday.

He came home and called the manager.

"I found some money in the parking lot. I won't tell you how much it is, but it's over $100."

The manager took his name and number, and said he would turn it over to the service desk with the note that Lyman had found some money.

Mrs. A called tonight. That was her 24th anniversary mad money. The check will go out tomorrow to east Mississippi.
About that change of e-mail there on the left. That is a secondary account.

The one in your files still works, too.
Discussion below turned to roofs.

Here is an article from 2004 about developing more reflective asphalt shingles.

By the time we're in the market, maybe these will be a reality. Maybe they already are. Much as I like the idea of the metal roof, we'd be the only house on the street with one, except for the historic house a few blocks up.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My brother drove up in a brand new car to collect a package of shrimp creole and fresh tomatoes today.

"Let me see your car," I said.

It looks much the same, different color, with the same good angle and good light for plucking eyebrows.

"I found out, waiting for you, that this car provides a perfect situation for plucking eyebrows. May I pluck my eyebrows in your car?"

What a weak, smiling "no".
There are other African Greys on the 'net. Thank you, Burd.
Charlie is just beginning to work on Old McDonald's farm. The only animal on Mr. McDonald's farm so far is a duck.

Charlie's duck gets around a little more than the usual duck on the farm, and needs a kiss every once in a while.
Hmmm. I'm looking over the new utility bill. This one covers the period 6/13 to 7/13.

Again, we've made a mid-cycle change. I finished the project on July 3.

This year's usage is 2062 kW compared to last year's 2278 for the same period -- a savings of about 9.5 percent.

We still haven't done the ceiling work which will entail sealing up the leaks around the air supply boots and recessed lights. I plan to do that this week.

According to my calculations (100w X 24 hours X 30 days=72,000w, 72,000/1000w=72kW), changing out the recessed light bulbs over the bar should save up to 72 kW a month, which is nothing to ignore -- about 3.5 percent of this month's usage.

After that, there's not a lot more we can do before we replace the old clothes dryer when it's needed. It would no doubt help to replace the air-conditioning unit we bought in 1996, but it's working fine.

Our base electrical load, i.e. without the air conditioner, was as low as 1011 kW in the winter months. The bill covering 7/13 to 8/13 is historically the highest around here. Yikes, you should have seen it when we had the swimming pool.

Mr. Byrd, the auditor, said that given the shade around this house, the new insulated windows will likely show their utility more in the winter months when we will be comparing natural gas usage.

This post begins my sixth year of blogging.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Out of the blue, Lyman started whistling this song today.

Neither of us could think of its name or who performed it. We both listened to Herb Alpert when we were younger, though. My family owned that album.

We thought it was instrumental. I started by looking at Ventures recordings.

I still like it.

UPDATE: And for some reason, I remember that Ventures Telstar album cover, but I don't remember having that at home. Maybe we did. I certainly remember Green Onions.

Here we go. There were about three minutes to the whole encounter, all of the same tone.

I like the way Lucy flounces off the screen and Charlie looks at the camera -- "What'd I do?"

(1 minute 18 seconds)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tomorrow morning, I'll try to edit and upload a tape of a solicitation of allopreening gone all wrong.

I had the camera set up to record Charlie singing "We've got the bonk," but he was more interested in the camera than singing.

Then Lucy came along. You'll see that Charlie could use some improvement in the art of persuasion.

UPDATE: More background on allopreening.
Steven Taylor points to the story on Queen's guitarist working on earning a doctorate in astrophysics.

Mr. Brian May is 60. Not the usual path for an aging rock star.
For Charlie:

I think she's one of the best girl rock singers, even if this is a lousy recording.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

All in all, I like this guy on CFLS.

I'm not so sure about that incandescent surcharge. We have a lot of people in our region struggling by. There's a lot of difference between a 25 cent light bulb and a $2 light bulb when the bills come in.

Here is a video of Charlie for you to listen to. These are just a couple of moments from a 14 minute tape.

Charlie seems to making this sound at will. Again, he seems in perfect health.

(1 minute 33 seconds)
The incandescent lightbulbs in the recessed lights over the bar finally blew. These lights are on 24 hours a day.

We replaced them with Lowe's Bright Effects CFL bulbs that we bought at the coast in May.

The color of the light is good, but it is much brighter than the incandescents that we used there. We'll need to shop for the next step down, I think. We can save these to use over the sink.

UPDATE: Hah. We changed the dimmer out to a straight switch to use these bulbs. Now I can't find a lower wattage R30, but there are dimmable R30s. At a formidable price, I might add. Maybe the 13-watt R30s are in the stores.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Charlie has been making an odd little whistling sound that I thought might indicate a cold. But he has no nasal discharges, no sneezing or coughing and nothing is off about him -- his appetite is good, his eyes are clear, he's steady and vocal. His droppings are normal.

I first heard the tiny whistle when he was approaching Lucy to have her preen his head after emerging from captivity.

So, is allopreening "it"?

Or is it a heretofore unobserved symptom of early stage aspergillosis?

What a neurotic mother I would be.
New word today:


I'm looking, I'm looking.

Allopreening in owls. This is pertinent:
Usually, the bird that initiated allopreening indicated its intent by staring at the other bird and uttering low cooing or whistling calls. If the other bird was receptive, it usually stared back, sometimes giving low cooing calls. After this brief solicitation exchange, one bird would fly or walk to a position beside the other (if it was not already in this position), where it would lean over and begin to preen the other's head. Typically, allopreening birds perched side by side, facing in the same direction (Fig. 1). Both birds partially or entirely closed their eyelids and nictitating membranes while allopreening, a behavior also described for the Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis) (Harrison 1965).

Preening was concentrated around the facial area, the top of the head, and the side of the head facing the preener. The recipient usually moved its head, as if to facilitate preening in whatever area was being preened. Most frequently, this consisted of lowering the head to expose the nape and top of the head or turning the head slightly toward the preener to expose the facial area.

Although most bouts began with one bird preening the other, preening usually became reciprocal or simultaneous as bouts proceeded. One bird would preen the other for a period, then roles would be reversed, often several times in a single bout. Simultaneous allopreening (both birds allopreening at the same time) occurred most frequently during periods of a few seconds when birds were changing roles as reciprocal allopreeners.

While allopreening, owls frequently made vocal cooing or whistling sounds that were just barely audible. Infrequently, a short staccato series of chittering notes was also given.

Both sexes initiated allopreening bouts, but we did not record which sex initiated them most frequently. Bouts lasted from only a few seconds (infrequently) to several minutes and usually ended when one or both birds seemed to lose interest in allopreening and went to sleep or began to autopreen. When one bird wished to terminate allopreening but the other bird persisted, the former usually sidled (or flew) away.

The mechanics of allopreening were similar to autopreening; the preener would mandibulate or nibble the feathers of the other bird, occasionally sliding one or more feathers between its mandibles with a gentle vibrating motion. The principal dif- ferences between allopreening and autopreening were that allopreening motions were more rapid, and no attempt was made to preen a particular area or feather thoroughly. The rapidity of allopreening motions left the impression that owls were "running their bills through each others'... feathers," as described by Miller (1974). We never observed any instance in which owls jabbed or tugged at each other in an aggressive manner while allopreening. Paragraphs mine -- Janis
Well, dearies (English novels again), that's in owls, and bonding pairs. Lucy will nip Charlie, much as my mother would bonk my head with a hairbrush if I wouldn't sit still.

Charlie approaches Lucy as a juvenile to an adult bird (aka Mama). He never offers to preen her, and would likely be out of line if he tried.

I'm interested in the "whistling sound that is barely audible."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lucy turned six years old yesterday!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I don't know about you, but that prodded me into nagging Lyman to finally produce a will for me.

I do, in this marriage, legally hold some immoveable property which would pass to my brothers and sister and their offspring were I not to channel it back to the rightful heirs, my stepsons.

Let me live through the night to gather some witnesses.
This letter was published June 15, 2007, in the Natchez Democrat.

This obituary note was published today, July 14.

She was my sweet lady doctor.

My father-in-law told me of this yesterday. He was not clear on cause of death, but heard that she contracted an uncontrollable infection.

She's She was just about my age. My father-in-law commented, "God is no respecter of persons."

UPDATE: Here is a story.

UPDATE II: An updated obituary here.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I flicked down the visor on my side of the car to check my makeup, and said, "Ooooh."

That mirror at that angle would be perfect for plucking eyebrows. As it was, it showed the ones I missed.

Do you think my brother will let me come sit in his Infiniti to pluck my brows?

It's not as though it would break his starch or anything.
That is one boring drive. It might have been better had I been driving, but not by much. Charles is himself much better now, with the occasional relapse, as he had a couple of weekends ago -- with the fever and the beat-up feeling.

Jackson is about two hours away. It has all the popular stores, and local establishments, too. But after two hours of flatlands, who cares?

Sick people are dragged up and down that road all the time. Jackson has the hospitals and specialists, too.

New Orleans is farther -- 2-1/2 hours -- but the drive seems easier. Of course, in that direction one will eventually arrive in New Orleans.
I'm going to Jackson.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dr. Alice has a post up about the difficulties doctors face when asked to sign death certificates.

A few months back, she had a series of posts about a medical mission to Guatamala.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Today is Possum's birthday!

This is as good a time as any to point to this post from Sean Kinsell.
Chris takes dozens of good photographs, but I like the last one in this series.

And just an aside: I was about 25 when I had my ears pierced. When it was done I had to sit in the mall with my head between my knees. I was mutilated!
Thank you, Mr. Welch.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

How do you keep a silly boy from going bonk when he plays so hard that he is that unbalanced?

Look at those flight feathers.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Fred Thompson's wife, Jeri Kehn, has been drawing comment. She's a smart, accomplished, good-looking blonde of forty.

But, by gosh, that blue dress is as tacky as can be. No one of any age or build is going to look classy in that dress. It might be appropriate for Lucinda Faberge (see comments).

Frederick's of Hollywood doesn't come close.

Here's my challenge to you. Find a source for a dress that sleazy looking.

(Thanks, Irrational Woman, for the images.)

Friday, July 06, 2007

And as the load spun there arose such a clatter,
That I rose from my chair to see what was the matter,
And after it quit, and the water had cleared,
And the dryer was running, I said what have we here?

It was a roofing nail poking through one of the drain holes in the washing machine tub. Had it not been raining, the repairman would have been on his way. He thinks there's no harm done.
This ring would be a fair replacement for the lost band. I think I pulled it off my finger gummed up with mastic in a paper towel and set it aside. Then forgot the ring was in the towel and whisked it all into the trash.

I went to the mall. Zales has a white-gold replacement for $250. I don't think so. But I did use the ring sizers on my finger. I wear a 4-1/2.

I've a couple more places to check before ordering online.

UPDATE: No, it's a four. And the nice man at Reynolds' Jewelry has ordered one for me.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Finished "project" here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I lost my wedding band.

Duct mastic is a soft material about the consistency of cream-cheese frosting fresh, and it dries to the consistency of gum on the sidewalk or thereabouts.

I must have taken the ring along with mastic when I was cleaning my hands with paper towels.

It's no material loss. It was a silver band from the French Market in New Orleans that cost $5. But I feel right nekkid.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Now I'm ready to extend heartiest congratulations to Mrs. Schranck for earning her Ph.D.

Meaning no disrespect, Ma'am, but she ain't a spring chicken either.
Finished! I'll let it cure overnight and take a picture tomorrow.

Believe me, it's not pretty.

See that flap of backing up there? It has to go before I do anything further. It's at about fingertip height as I stretch above that crossbrace. (Lyman made the cut in the duct board and I won't be thanking him for it anytime soon. My fault, too. When I measured the cut in the board, I could have allowed a good three more inches for the top piece, and been working lower here at the bottom. I forgot about the cursed brace. Well, I'll know next time. Ha, ha, ha.)

And that damnable crossbrace. The vent opening is not framed well, which will entail building some little walls of duct board right around the mouth of the vent. This might be the only crummy detail in an otherwise very well-built house. And I want my Daddy.
Astrologically, I am an Aquarian with Virgo rising, so I read both horoscopes, when I read them at all.

It reads for Virgo today: Occasionally, we all have to perform some tasks or assignments we find distasteful, and today may be just one of those days for you. If you smile instead of frown, it'll make it easier.

They have my number today. I'll show you in a few minutes.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

That's the progress so far. This afternoon, I'm going to seal those upper edges and seams with mastic. Then I can do away with the turkey pot.

Finishing that open wall can be done standing sitting on the ground.

UPDATE: That part is done. Do I get an "honorary lizard" badge or something?

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Gary Farber posts a link to an NYT criticism of the new animated film Ratatouille.

We saw a trailer for it last night, and Lyman wants to go see it. In a theater.

We haven't gone to a theater for a movie together yet in nearly 14 years.
I been in "the hole" today. But I don't think I'll finish today.

There's some trick I'll need to learn about slithering out of that slot when I cover up my crossbeam.

For height, I'm using a 12-inch diameter, 16-inch tall turkey pot. It's sturdy, and it fits.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Let me tell you, kids, it's hot.

The truck brought the materials for "the project" today.

I went by the city office and picked up a printout of our energy usage from January 2006 to date.

The reads come at midmonth. Last year's electric use was 1989 Kw hours for the period from 5/14-6/13. This year's is 1833. The windows were installed on the 30th of May, so we're only seeing half a month's worth of savings this cycle. The next read should be more revealing.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I heard this song on the radio in the car today.

Silly boy.
Charlie sings "We've got the bonk", instead.

Sing what you know, yes?

He's out of the cage and running for a few weeks now.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

So Butch, the really nice air conditioner guy, came by today to look at the "project" while I was napping.

Lyman said that as Butch looked up the chute he could see the wheels turning. Backwards.

Lyman said, "We could do it ourselves."

Butch said, "I'll have the materials delivered for you tomorrow."

UPDATE: Surely they're all kidding.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

So, Mr. Wade Byrd, the energy auditor, returned yesterday to see what we have done, and we haven't done enough.

His instructions weren't clear (he agrees) on sealing the return chase on our HVAC system.

That means taking this panel off.

Then one enters this space which is 18" x 34" x 8' raw.

He wants that lined with duct board and sealed with non-toxic duct mastic to force the system to use only properly cooled or heated return air to reduce the load on the system and protect the evaporator coils from filth. It will be a cool 12" x 24" (give or take an inch) sealed. Now these things are usually finished with sheetrock during construction.

Lyman can get in there, but I think he'd have a fit trying to do the work. I am going to go ahead and vacuum the thing with the shop vac, and decide if I can stand it. Whoever does it needs to be pretty darn slender. And I'd have to buy and learn to operate a nail gun.

And we just might hire someone else. Someone skinny and flexible. Gumby might be able.

UPDATE: No. No nail gun. 1.5 inch roofing nails and a hammer at broad intervals.

I've vacuumed the space out, made a call to Mr. Byrd for some direction, and set on doing this myself.

Now I need some materials -- 2 4x10 sheets of duct board, a gallon of mastic, and about a pound of roofing nails. And a small ladder that I can fit into the space.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Lyman cooked alligator scalloppine again last night, and yes it was good, again.

You might not remember, but I did write one time about being a "lacto-ovo" vegetarian for a couple of years when I was about 22. I gave it up because it was not healthy for me, as demonstrated by a stress fracture in my foot that refused to knit after four weeks in a cast.

Anyway, I do have the occasional qualm when I eat a piece of meat. I refuse to eat quail anymore. Lucy and Charlie would pluck to about the size of one.

However, I can't gather a lot of sympathy for this face.