Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Refrigerator Posting

With one of my own kids about to become a grandparent, it does seem a little late to start bragging about stuff they brought home from primary school, but I just have to show you.   Found this in a bottom drawer I'm cleaning out, couldn't think why I'd bothered to save this bird report -- then I read the p.s.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Baffling New Yorker

These days I measure how much brain power I’m losing by the number of New Yorker cartoons I don’t get.  And we’ve set a record -- hit a new high, or rather a new low, with the current issue.  Take this one:  the men on the left-hand bench are having no luck trying to feed the ducks, who scurry to the bareheaded man on the back bench.  Caption says “You can't compete with a retired pharmacist.”
In the past, when I still had all my wits, I’d assume a puzzling cartoon probably referred to some current Manhattan situation.  After all, when they named that magazine The New Yorker, they weren’t thinking about Buffalo.  So maybe there’s a scandal in Brooklyn about a retired pharmacists who’s dealing drugs?  Would someone let me know?
But with this issue I set a record.  Take this next one;  Evidently the Bogeyman has a shrewish wife,  whom we can’t see, and she’s complaining that he doesn’t run the vacuum.  But why is she upset about that,  when that bedroom is in perfect order?  Why are we in a bedroom altogether?  Can someone please explain?
Seventeen pages later, we find ourselves on a subway train.  Husband says “Everyone just relax while my wife figures out what’s in her eye” and indeed she is poking at an eye.  Oh – wait a minute!  It's hard to tell -- has the husband has just pulled the emergency cord?  And is that the joke?  Do you suppose?
Then on page 110, we find this one – “Steve invalidates his wedding vows through the clever use of homophones.”  That one, of course, sent me to the Internet for a definition of homophones, and we do see, if we look closely at that whispered caption, that Steven's response is "Eye dew."
So nu?

And on page 126, the most baffling one of all.  These creatures are dismantling what?  A tank?  Why?  Or is it a Moon Rover?  They’ve set it up on cement blocks and they’re stealing the metal tires?  Are we on Mars?  I'll bet this one really IS a Manhattan reference.
Maybe Upstaters aren't meant to read that magazine at all.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

plus le meme chose

...He says of the Syrian affairs that the ...French and Russians have been intriguing there is no doubt...the spirit which all over the East is so easily roused just now...Musselman fanaticism--The result is terrific, and of course the English Govt. are as keen to stop these horrors and to restore order as any, but the plan proposed by the French would...have been the signal for a universal massacre of Christians...--with great difficulty they have got it modified...

I may have mentioned that I'm reading my way through all my old books before giving them away?  The bit above comes from the Letters of Lady Augusta Stanley, and she wrote it to her sister from Queen Victoria's summer home in Osborne, on July 18, 1860.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

nor sleet, nor gloom of night

Found this yesterday in a bottom drawer I haven’t opened for lo these many years.
First off, the stamp.  A quick google tells us that the buying power of that stamp today would be 29 cents, so it really was a bargain.  And let's consider what service it bought..
For starters, I hadn’t been on the faculty at Westbrook for more than a year.
Next, there’s no street address given -- and in addition, we'd moved just a few months before.
And – my last name was no longer Handleman.
That envelope reached me just fine. 

So what did the letter say?  I re-read it last week – can’t seem to find it now.  Maybe it got into the throw-out pile. 
In it, that literary agent assured me he was still interested in the book I was writing.  I seem to remember he'd contacted me after seeing an article I’d written in a national magazine, and we had indeed discussed a book.  But what do you suppose it was to be about?
Beats me. 
By the date of that postmark I’d married and was happy as clam with a new baby. 
Did not publish my first book until 30 years later.  It was a real estate textbook.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Macy's Service

Internet shopping was invented for my old age. Instead of limping painfully around the malls, I sit here eating lunch at the desk, while the computer searches the markets of the world for just what I want.  But I could use some new sheets, and the other day when Macy’s newspaper ad offered door-buster bargains (only until 1 p. m.) –
You just can’t buy sheets without feeling the fabric first.  So off I went to Southtown Mall for the first time in ages.  A good omen: there was what my kids call the Babe Spot, the handicap parking slot right next to the main entrance, vacant and just waiting for me.
Then up the escalator – household goods in these stores are always on the second floor, past the children’s wear.  Found just the right sheets, one set for the king size I still use, one for the guest room  queen.  Women waiting at the cashier’s counter took one look at me and stepped aside.  I don’t think it was just the cane.  I do need a haircut, and in the dry indoor air -- Fright Wig is the term that comes to mind.  So the witch gratefully hobbled to the head of the line, and yes -- I got the exciting doorbuster prices!
Off to the down escalator, and there I was amazed to find myself stopped short, downright scared.  The bags weren’t that heavy – when I got home I actually weighed them, about five pounds each. 
Pete’s sake – before that pre-diabetes scare a few years ago, I was 30 pounds heavier  and never had any problem with an escalator.  Maybe it was managing the cane.  At any rate, I finally planned how to step on,  and then spent  the next ten seconds worrying about to get off. 
But none of this is what I started out to tell you.  As I stepped off the escalator, a tall man in a dark suit suddenly appeared and said “Can I carry those for you?”   And as he was wearing some sort of a badge, I surrendered  my two bags.  He took them all the way out to my car --and it was way below freezing out there.  So what I want to know is, does Macy’s have a  drive to fight Internet shopping with all sorts of new personal service?  Or have they always sent the Floor Manager (which it turned out he was) to rescue Lttle Old Ladies, and I just never looked Little Old enough to run into it before?  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Last Night at the Lobster

At the Red Lobster the other night – and btw, if you like that restaurant, you might enjoy Stuart  O’Nan’s novel Last Night at the Lobster, but let’s not digress – our beverages came with interesting straws, and I did want a photo to show you.  My cell phone has a camera and I could probably figure out how to take a picture, but I'd have no idea how to get it out of the phone after that.  It's not a smart phone, it's a dumb phone.

So Amy laid her straw on the menu for contrast, and photographed it so that the tip showed.  It was, as you can see, firmly and irrevocably sealed tight.
The other end of those straws, though, was completely open.
So that was good.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Days of Infamy

Years ago, when a movie about the Alamo came on TV, my husband the Canadian said we didn’t need to watch it.  “I know,” he said. “REMEMBER THE ALAMO!  Big U. S. victory, right?”

“No,” said I.  “Big U. S. defeat.  Everybody died.” 

So why DOES this country memorialize defeats?  Come on, can you think of any day of the year that celebrates a big victory?  Any inspirational slogan?
All I really know about the Spanish American War is  “REMEMBER THE MAINE!”  Wasn’t that a ship that sank?
And within my lifetime, a disaster that has not only a slogan but a day named after it – and a song.  I still remember all the words, but you probably don’t, so here it is:


Monday, December 2, 2013

Stay Tuned

 This isn't a post, it's just an apology for no post.  Over the Thanksgiving weekend we ended up with people sleeping in the office, on the livingroom couch...and now everyone's gone.  I bade farewell to each departure with "Did you remember to take your toothbrush?  your chargers?" -- those being the items most often left behind.  So far, though,  all that's turned up is a pair of jeans, a shopping bag called an Envirosac, and -- at first I thought that was a pacifier, but -- maybe it's a bicycle bell?
So I'm afraid this morning is devoted to laundry, and clearly this is going to be a good day for re-arranging the linen closet.  But don't touch that dial!  As they say on TV just before giving us five minutes of commercials -- we'll be right back.  With some fascinating posts.  Just not today.