Monday, May 29, 2017

Rainy Day and the Peace Monger

Today being both the last Monday of the month and Memorial Day (observed), Rainy Day and I take a moment to thank all of those men and women who braved their fears and wear or wore a military uniform, or a fire department uniform or a police uniform. Rainy D and I appreciate your sacrifices to do your part to keep us safe.

And a very special Thank You to the spouses of those people who gave unstintingly of their support!

Peace Monger
            Rainy Day hates wars.  She agrees with the bumper sticker stating wars are unhealthy for children and other living things.  During the 1960s, she protested the Viet Nam War the only way she knew (yes, back then Vietnam was two words.).  While her classmates wore tie dyed clothes and long straight hair festooned with flowers (to which Rainy D is highly allergic), Rainy D cut her thick curly hair (to be honest, she was a tad jealous of those people who had long and straight hair!) and enlisted in the WAC.  While Jane Fonda slept with the North Vietnamese, Rainy D slept on the ground in Alabama during Basic Training too close for comfort to deadly, unseen, (but heard, she swears!) pygmy rattlers.

            Rainy D never understood the hippie's protest movement.  She always thought the best way to end a war was to win it--or it would haunt you forever.  Look, she is fond of saying, at the South.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Deranged Thoughts from a Dizzy Dame

Have you ever had vertigo? I got clobbered with it about 18 years or so ago, and clobbered hard. Spent three days in bed with on foot on the floor and one hand on the wall, and did my best to keep my corner of the room from spinning on three separate axes. It was like waking up at the end of the night before when there was no night before, therefor I had no reason to feel that way. I believe it was John Steinbeck who admonished that if one was going to drink a lot of booze, they had not right to complain about a headache the next morning. But what if you hadn't had anything to drink and felt like you were in the middle of a week-long bender???

Eventually, it cleared up; eventually, I made it to the doctor who said it was Menier's disease. For years, it hasn't bothered me other than momentary feelings of dizzy if I tilt my head back too far. Until a couple months ago when I decided to take down a couple of valences and put up some curtain rods. Uh, no. Not a smart move. They still don't have anything to treat it, just the symptoms. I ended up hiring someone to come in and do it for me.

Made it to the sofa before I fell, and there I stayed. Fortunately, it wasn't as bad as the initial blast from the past, but it's still hanging on, albeit mildly. Ever spent time in a small boat out in big water? It takes a bit to develop those sea legs, and then you come home, get off the boat onto dry and non-moving land, but you're still walking on sea legs; the only problem is, the earth isn't rocking and rolling. That where I am at the moment—walking on sea legs on a solid, non-moving floor. It's a bit of a bother, and somewhat difficult using the computer because I have to hold my head at an angle my ears really dislike.

All that is to tell you why I didn't get Odds n Bods posted yesterday. I spent the day on the sofa. Reading. And thinking. Really thinking. Great thoughts. Some of the best thoughts. (I'm sorry, I can't keep that line of adjectives going.) Especially after the news out of Manchester, England last night.

They determined it was a suicide bomber at Ariana Grande's concert, but they had not yet released his name. I haven't turned on the tube yet this morning; so don't know if they have done so by now. But it got me to thinking (you remember, those really, really great thoughts from above?). Do these people genuinely care about a bona fide religion/reason when they blow themselves and others up? Or is it they want their 15 minutes of fame, even if they have to die to get it? The more people they kill and injure, the longer their fame?

I tend to think it just might be the latter. Fame. Any attention is better than no attention.

What would happen if, when the authorities identify the perp, they did not release his name? What if he was listed as John Doe, Victim? What would happen if, when one of the terrorist groups claimed it, their name was not released? What if they stopped getting publicity? I'm not suggesting, by a long shot, that it not be reported, just reported that authorities know who did it and are not releasing his (or her) name, or the organization (if any) to which he (or she) belonged. Would it make a difference? I dunno, it's just my deranged thought for today. A day late, and a dollar short. Have a great rest of the week.

Monday, May 15, 2017


I've seen virga many times, but didn't know what it was. The most spectacular times I was in, or near, Death Valley. Unfortunately, I was driving, and couldn't stop to take pictures, so will have to use one stolen from the web. (I do have a photo I took of it in the Arctic, but can't find that photo album. You'll just have to trust me.)

Virga is rain that evaporates before it hits the ground. You can see it, and maybe smell it, but not feel it. The heat and the extreme dry of the desert, takes it before it reaches the ground.

A short Youtube video of virga:  (This is instead of a stolen photo)

How's your imagination? Can you imagine being in a wagon train headed for California and crossing Death Valley, or any desert, needing water, literally dying of thirst, and heat, and seeing rainclouds accumulate overhead?

Can you imagine the joy at the anticipation of soon feeling cooling, life-giving rain falling upon you? Can you imagine all the prayers of thanksgiving from everyone in the train, for surely all of them prayed at that time.

Can you imagine the pain, the frustration, and the anger as you and everyone else knelt, arms and faces raised to receive that cool, wet benediction only to see it evaporate a few feet above you?

I wonder how many died of thirst under a raincloud.

Death Valley is one of my favorite places. It is hot, it is dry, and to me, it is beautiful. I have been fortunate to have been rained on in Death Valley. Real, wet, rain. I have been more fortunate to have had an automobile in good working condition, air conditioning, and lots of bottled water while there. None of which were available to the pioneers.

Many years ago, I made a comment to my Auntie Marie about the "good old days" (i.e., the days of the pioneer and or the old west) and received a lecture like none I had received from my history teachers, or from anyone else.

My Auntie Marie, being no spring chicken, lived through a lot of those "good old days." So did her mother, my Grandma Good who married at her age 13 and came west in a covered wagon. Grandpa helped build the railroad, grandma cooked for the men. Between the two of them, I got an education. Knowing how I loved a good pickle, that I considered it the bestest food available, they took great delight telling me how anyone with a dirty, snot-covered hand, could reach into the pickle barrel and fish around for the perfect pickle; about how a scratch that got infected could kill a person—and often did. I heard how their friends died from drinking dirty water, how more babies died than lived, which is one reason for large families—of course, lack of birth control contributed to the large families, too.

I listen to people today talk about 'back then' meaning when Father Knows Best played on the tube, when husbands did the real work and the little women stayed home to raise the children and clean house. When women were barely considered human, and not able to function, let alone care for themselves with a modicum of sense on their own. They needed a husband. A man to care for them, to think for them, because he knows best.

What I find interesting is the number of women who buy into that idea. I can understand why the men do, but for the life of me, I can't understand why women do. Is it the lack of self-responsibility most of us were raised under? And when we are of an age to be self-responsible, don't know how? Or don't care? Because it's too much work? Because sex is way too much fun, and the only socially acceptable way of having lots of it is marriage?

Maybe, like the early pioneers on the desert, they expect the rain, the external, to save them. By the time they figure out their faith has been misplaced, that the rain is only virga, it's too late.

Monday, May 8, 2017

"Oh. They're Drainers..."

Now, don't be shocked, but a few years go, I read a book. Yes. I did. A whole book, from cover to cover. It was by a Madison Avenue ad man. I don't remember a great deal from the book, other than it was interesting. Well, one item was both interesting AND memorable. Commercials are made to irritate you. Yes, they do it deliberately—the psychology being if you're irritated, when you go to the store you'll remember the brand, but not why you remember it. And if you remember it, you'll buy it.

Ad for Anchor Hocking glass--stolen from the web

I remember thinking that made sense, and started paying attention to commercials and the products I bought. They were right. Now, if a commercial irritates me, I make a mental note to remember why, and when I go shopping I avoid those brands. 

There is a particular commercial out now, for a fruit packing company that just drives me up the wall. The supercilious woman says to her companion about the other couple across the table from them who stab and drain a container of fruit, before opening it to get rid of the syrup (and are soooo surprised everyone doesn't). Ms. Supercilious says, "Oh. They're drainers." She says other things, too, but I mute the screen for the rest of the commercial. It will be a long time before I buy anything from the Dole Company. And, after looking online, I see I'm not alone in my detestation of this commercial—even if it is, on the Madison Avenue Irritability scale, a mighty fine ten.

Years ago, there was a marvelous commercial on TV with a couple of ex-Football stars. Their commercial went the other direction. I loved it. I laughed every time I saw it. I don't have a clue what it was for (I do remember it was for a product I never used, so didn't have to remember it), but it was hysterically funny. On the Madison Avenue scale, it probably wasn't all that great. It was probably a 2 on their scale. No one remembered the product, but they remembered how funny it was. I know, out of all the people I asked about it,  none of them could remember the product, but they all remembered the commercial. Of course, that was my own non-scientific poll and not worth the paper it wasn't printed on.

If a commercial is offensive, I write or call the company and tell them why I find their commercial offensive. Often, the commercials have been pulled. I like to think it's because of my call or letter. One time, I heard a very offensive commercial on the radio as I drove to work. I actually spent my lunch hour tracking down the agency, and the person to talk to, and explained WHY I found it so offensive. The nice lady from the ad agency listened to me, and agreed. She just thought it was fun and silly, and hadn't given any thought to how it might sound to others. I never heard it again.

So, if a commercial irritates you, figure out why. Give the Ad Agency credit for a good commercial. Or, if it's offensive, contact the company or the station that played it and let them know why you find it so.

What commercials irritate you? What ones are offensive to you? Let's discuss.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Bubbles and Joe Btfsplk

Everyone loves bubbles! Babies love to make them – especially with strained peas – and everyone loves them in the bath, the shower, and most especially in their drinks. We will stand by the hour and watch bubbles come up from the depths, or blow them into the air. Bubbles make us happy, and a bubbly person is a happy person. Besides, it's much easier to say, and spell, bubbles than it is effervescence.
Swiped from the www
 Many years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, in another time, another era, when I drove 50 miles to work every morning and 51 miles home every night,* I came upon an idea somewhere. It seemed like such a good idea, I stopped at the grocery store and bought a bottle of bubbles. You know, that kind of skinny bottle of soapy water with the wire wand with an open hoop attached, and put it in my car.

Sure enough, a couple of days later, as the sun was shining (yes, even in Seattle the sun shines now and then. Not very often. And we don't like to talk about it when it does, it tends to make people visit and stay.) I got caught in one of those horrid traffic jams on I-5 in downtown Seattle. I looked around at my neighbors, and they were rapidly becoming clones of Joe Btfsplk.** A freeway full of Joe Btfsplks. Horrors! Can you imagine going to work surrounded by hundreds of Joe Btfsplks? Each one spreading his or her own doom and gloom—all because of a traffic jam. I couldn't. Besides, I was a technical illustrator, and worked with pens and inks, and Joe's rain cloud would make the ink on my drawings run.

I opened my window, opened the bottle of bubbles, and began to blow bubbles. I blew them out the window; I blew them out the sunroof. And, ya know what? Every one of those Joe clones smiled. Their rain clouds of doom evaporated into that oh-so-rare Seattle Sunshine.

The bottle of bubbles stayed in my car, and anytime I found myself stuck in traffic, I blew bubbles. And people smiled. Some laughed. I got waves of the whole hand, not just a finger.

Spring is here. We're going to be stuck in traffic whether we're commuting to a job or to our favorite coffee shop. If we drive, it's gonna happen. Get a bottle of bubbles and have some fun. Watch your temporary neighbors as they react.

*Yep, it's true. I often drove south through Seattle on I-5 to get to work and back through Bellevue to get home. There was a one-mile difference.

**For those of you too young (is there such a thing?) to remember Li'l Abner by Al Capp, Joe Btfsplk was a kind-hearted soul, but he carried his very own rain cloud of doom over him all the time. No matter what or where, he was rained on, and whoever was around him also shared the deluge. Oh, and according to the web, which would never, ever lie, it's pronounced by, what else? Blowing bubbles! Check this out