Saturday, January 30, 2010

Good Eats

If you should find yourself in northeast Iowa, as you could, even inadvertantly if you're a faithful GPS follower, you can believe the hype (voted best in Iowa) about the cinnamon rolls at Ruby's in Decorah. The pizza at the Main Feature in Waukon is sinfully good, which is odd since the restaurant/theatre is owned by a church. (Over)eating their taco pizza makes you believe that once they've led you to God they're going to send you to Him.
Now we're killing time in our room at the O'hare Hilton before walking through the tunnel to the terminal and flying to Boston. The overpriced food here must be aimed at travelers on corporate expense accounts. I feel doubly ripped off, first by paying $27 for yogurt, muffins and coffee and second as a mutual fund owner that must be paying for those corporate drones. I bet a lot of those guys splurge, too, and get cold cereal. When will they feel Main Street's contempt for their lavish lifestyle?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More Iowa Observations

We were walking in downtown Decorah today where it was, as the Weather Channel says, 3 degrees, feels like-14. My sister called from the California desert. She asked about the weather. I said, "It's sunny and crisp. Of course I'm talking about my fingers."
Also, I've been sitting on a bench in Walmart for the last hour waiting for Karen. Some Amish ladies came in and shopped. As they were leaving, I noticed they had detergent in their cart, but surely they don't have washing machines.

Where the Buffalo Roam, and Then I Swallow Them Whole

As you might expect, since I've been on vacation, I've been eating too much and putting on weight. You know how a snake looks when it swallows a goat? I look like I swallowed that snake.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Medical Tourism: Avoiding the High Cost of American Health Care Without Avoiding America

Yesterday, On a whim, I dropped into a dentist's office and got a quote on doing some work my Anchorage dentist had recommended. There, it was going to cost $1100. Here in Iowa, it was only $125, so today, I plopped myself down in the chair and had a filling replaced. I should have known something was up when my Anchorage dentist replaced all those cotton balls with $100 bills.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fox News: In Iowa "Yesteday Was Dreadful."

Yesterday we drove from Chicago to Iowa. You know how we mock those boobs that follow their GPS without looking out their windows until they are trying to dig their way out of a snowbank with a Triscuit? We were like that, except as Karen pointed out, we didn't even have a Triscuit. After crossing the Mississippi River, non-GPS users like I used to be, turn right and drive on the highway to Waukon. Rather than do that, the GPS recommended that we drive on county roads which in a blizzard are indistinguishable from county driveways or county backyards. The snow was unmarked by tire tracks until we drove through, the first perhaps since Daniel Boone first paved it. Eventually, like the great trailblazer himself (although we were in a Tahoe, not a Trailblazer) we fetched up at the Stoney Creek Inn.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Angle of Repose

A couple of days ago, I was mandated to work 13 hours. Not to belabor this point, but it would be so much cheaper for the postal service to hire transitional employees than to pay people at the top of the pay scale triple time. The postal service would be "penny wise, pound foolish" if they were penny wise. That night I had trouble sleeping, and then the next night I had to get up early to go to the airport because we were flying to Chicago. I figured I'd easily sleep on the plane because the white noise I listen to every night (on my iPhone) is, get this, the cabin of a 737. I see now, though, that to fully replicate the 737 experience, I'd need to employ a large man to grab the back of my bed and hit it with his knees.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Only in America, or "I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus"

Do you remember how we mocked those boobs at Enron that invested all their 401K money in Enron, so that when Enron collapsed, they had no retirement? But aren't we all in a similar boat since our health care is tied to employment, so just when you lose your job, you also lose your health insurance?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Stars Brave Rain at Golden Globes" BBC News

Boy, I knew that heroism had been defined down when I got a t-shirt that said I was a hero for donating blood, but at least I had to face a needle.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sonic The Audiobook

I downloaded the audiobook version of The Elegance of the Hedgehog onto my phone today at lunch, and listened to it at work today. The autodidactic concierge had a thought I identified with, "I may be indigent in name, position, and appearance, but in my own mind, I am an unrivaled goddess." A friend called soon after that and told me about his other friend that has an iPhone. I told him that I thought she might enjoy this book on the trip they're taking, but he said she was taking books made out of paper, just like the Bunyans (John and Paul). I guess it's like they say, when it comes to books, you've got to cut a few trees. Other cultures have similar sayings; in those old, stringent, Prussian grammar schools they used to say, "If you want to make an umlaut, you've got to break a few legs."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Old Curiosity Shopper

Nick Hornby claims that Dickens is the best author that ever lived. He quotes two interminable pages from David Copperfield about a minor character that we (if we ever read the book which we're guessing we won't) never see again. What's curious, is that reading Nick Hornby about David Copperfield, is so much better than reading Dickens about David Copperfield.
In the meantime, I've downloaded Travels With Herodotus, The Interrogative Mood, and the audiobook, The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie (Unabridged).
Any recommendations?

"The Largest One on Record"

Things are connected in ways that we don't always see at first. A couple weeks ago I was listening to an iTunes U lecture about the Roman Empire and the Emperor Hadrian. He was a hands-on kind of emperor, traveling around getting things done.
This week I listened to The Zombie Survival Guide, and it turns out that Hadrian's Wall was built to "isolate Northern Caledonia from the rest of the island." after a Class III zombie outbreak.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Lord Giveth, and He Taketh Away. Everybody Else Just Says They Will

Yesterday, we didn't get a newspaper, nor was our garbage hauled away.
I did find a book I'd been meaning to read for awhile, Sarah's copy of The Polysyllabic Spree. So those of you that were going to recommend an e-book to load onto my phone can feel cheated. Everyone else, and I'm pretty sure I mean everyone else, can be relieved that Nick Hornby probably has some pretty good ideas in that regard.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Good Job! You Know What That Means.

I checked my e-mail first thing this morning, very first thing because I was still in bed. iPhones, is there anything they can't do?
Very exciting, because this blog got a comment, which implied I had a reader, and they said, "Good job!!!!!!!!!!!" I published it right then and there. It wasn't till I came upstairs to look at the comment on a life-size screen that I realized that the exclamation points were a link and when I clicked on it, it went to a porn site. I've resisted the temptation to click on google's "Monetize" button and now some merchant of smut was going to try to make money off my reader. Not on my watch.

Later today, I was standing on the Wii Fit trying to hold the Palm Tree yoga pose. The little red line that represented my center of balance looked like a Jackson Pollock tribute, but the Wii paramahansa said, with the exact same sincerity as the spammer, "Good job."

By the way, since no one, except the spammer, had an opinion about Edwin Drood, I've dropped it. I'm starting to load the phone with e-books for the trip we're taking in a couple of weeks and I'm open to recommendations.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

If Charles Dickens Couldn't Finish It, Do I Have To?

I read a review of Drood* recently. It sounded interesting, but since it's based on The Mystery of Edwin Drood, left unfinished by Charles Dickens, I thought I should read that first. I'm about a third of the way through it, and so far, the mystery is, will I ever start to care about any of the characters? I was encouraged to believe that Dickens had somehow stopped being a verbose bore** by rereading A Christmas Carol, but so far I just want to knock their heads together. Marry her, don't marry her, whatever, just stop talking about it. Or, if that's too hard, open the closet, get the jam, and then close the door. Just close the freaking door, no one cares if "...the jams, as being of a less masculine temperment, and as wearing curlpapers, announced themselves in soft whisper, to be Raspberry, Gooseberry, Apricot, Plum, Damson, Apple and Peach. Okay, I am a little interested in what a Damson*** is, but there are paragraphs of this stuff arranging themselves into pages, and then these self-same pages marshalling themselves into chapters and marching in their blurry ranks until the mind reels, hands are thrown up and endless blog posts are composed.

*What does it tell you that the review said that Drood was "overlong"?
**I went to look for synonyms for boring, and reading the list was more interesting than Edwin Drood
***It's a plum, a plum which was already in the list. It's so obvious now, that he was being paid by the word.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

“Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called "walking."”~George Bush

The cowboy mentality, used to be, if not the American ideal, at least a point of Texan pride. But now, a correspondent tells me, and I believe it because I saw it on Youtube, that her congressman from Houston is afraid to bring terrorists to American prisons at least in part because of danger to people nearby. But they're not radioactive, or anything, and even if they're really strong, couldn't we control them with silver bullets, or kryptonite, or you know, prison cells?

Monday, January 04, 2010

"My, What Big Teeth You Have"

We went to the dentist today and had our teeth, and our FSA cleaned out for the year. For a dentist, a mouth is like a gold mine. I don't enjoy dental visits, and it's not really the pain, it's those noises, the scraper being dragged across my teeth, and the high pitched whine coming from my throat.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

01/2/10 Today Only: Madam I'm Adam. Or My Contribution To The Form: Tap A Toyota Pat

Today must be a big day for Janus worshipers. I don't go that far, but I must tell you that I'm slightly thrilled when my odometer reads the same backwards as forwards.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year, Like That's Gonna Help

"... thinking positively does little good in the long run, and can, in fact, do harm."
That's what I've been trying to tell you. According to the article I read, happiness researchers are irritated when people deny their cheerful nostrums. Welcome to my world.

"Not even you can hide
You see, you're just like me
I hope you're satisfied"~Bob Dylan, of course