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:

allopreening

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.

Goodbye.

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?