Archive for June, 2010

Busy Weekend II

June 30, 2010

Robin update: Mrs. Robin continues to fly squawking away from the nest each time we – or at least I – enter or leave by the back door. Larry’s been making multiple trips a day so she pretty much ignores him. But we think at least one of the babies has hatched. Larry saw something and I’m pretty sure I heard some high-pitched cheeping this afternoon.

To continue with the weekend activities, I hustled home after lunch on Friday so I could get ready for the basketball game. As mentioned, friends had given us tickets to watch the Connecticut Sun play the Phoenix Mercury. We had a plethora of former UConn players: Tina Charles, Renée Montgomery and Asjha Jones for the Sun. Diana Taurasi and Ketia Swanier for the Mercury.

We left the house at 5:30 and encountered surprisingly little traffic for a hot summer weekend evening until we crossed the Connecticut River. I-95 narrows to two lanes and can be congested at 10 a.m. on a Wednesday, so I was not surprised that we hit a jam. At one point  we passed a car and Larry said, “That looks like Harvey and Nancy.” It was a small red car with a peace symbol, but I’m thinking, what are the odds that our friends would be headed to the casino at the same time? We parked the car and waited for two elevators, which were jammed with people. As I was about to suffocate from the heat and thinking maybe the stairs would be a good idea, an empty elevator arrived. We alighted on the ground floor, and who should step off the elevator next to us? Harvey and Nancy! They had free tickets from their gambling points. It was a confluence of circumstances because a minute either way, and we would never have found each other. We wound up sitting almost opposite each other at either end of the court. We joined them afterward as they ate. We ate at Bubba’s before the game — Larry had pulled pork. My stomach was in questionable mode, and I had a few pieces of calamari (not as good as the offering at Cypress) and a Caesar salad, tiny amount of dressing.

The game was fabulous – the Sun were down by a bunch in the first half with D.T. racking up her usual mega points. (I made a quick trip to the ladies room and she had added six to her total while I was gone.) Only one other Mercury player was hitting, though, and gradually the Sun came back. D.T. wound up with 26 points, but Tina Charles came through with 19 plus an amazing 23 rebounds. That woman is so fast that I lose track of the ball when she’s in control. The outcome remained in doubt right up to the end, and the final score, 82-79, reflected the excitement of most of the game. We were shocked at how much weight Diana had lost since she played for UConn. Her arms and legs look really skinny, but not as skinny as her teammate DeWanna Bonner, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 136 pounds. The woman’s arms and legs look like matchsticks!

Only two aspects of the evening detracted from an otherwise stellar time. First, as mentioned, was the officiating. True incompetence does not begin to describe it. Those who know say that the ability of the refs in college basketball hasn’t risen with the improvement in the play. Well, that goes double, triple, and quadruple for the WNBA. They missed fouls. They called fouls that weren’t there. They missed travels. They infuriated both coaches and all the players. In the end it’s hard to say whether improved officiating would have changed the outcome, but it sure would have made all of us, players, coaches and fans, feel better.

The other thing that bothered me had nothing to do with the game. We were sitting above the media table, and at one point I said to Larry, “Do you notice anything unusual about that line-up?” He looked for a second and said, “It’s all guys.” I said, “Yup. All white guys.” And I didn’t add, mostly middle-aged, bald guys. Except for Rebecca Lobo, with whom we left the arena (she’s 6 feet 4 inches and a more sensible 185 pounds BUT SHE WEARS HEELS!!!), there was not a single female covering this particular Women’s National Basketball Association game. She was probably also the youngest media person. Pathetic that not one of the newspapers, television stations, web outlets, etc. etc. can break the mold with a woman or a minority at the table.

I forgot about being upset because I was having fun texting Harv across the court and Deb, who was on her way back from South Dakota but stuck in Wisconsin because of bad weather. Thank God for text messages because the arena was so loud there was no way anyone could hear an actual call.

Tomorrow: Reds McMillan’s funeral


Busy Weekend I

June 28, 2010

My lunch Friday afternoon with Barbara Sicherman served up intellectual fodder, great company, and a delicious meal. Barbara and I first encountered each other on the web after I discovered that she had mentioned my mother in Well-Read Lives (see “What I’m Reading Now,” June eighth) We met in person for the first time Friday.

Barbara is retired from Trinity College, where she was professor of history and American studies. She recalled fondly participating in the 1992 Ann Petry Conference, the one at which my mother tried to hide in the back of the room and was mortified that someone followed her into the bathroom. (For a more complete account of the day see At Home Inside: A Daughter’s Tribute to Ann Petry)

Barbara recently came back to Connecticut from a book tour for Well-Read Lives. And more recently she had presented a paper at a  conference on occupational and environmental health. Her topic was familiar to her: Alice Hamilton founded the field of occupational health and was Harvard’s first female professor. I’m headed out to buy Barbara’s Alice Hamilton: A Life in Letters. We commiserated over the lack of vitality in the presentation of many academic papers. She asked about Read to Succeed (“Notes for a Poetic Evening,’ April 10; “Read To Succeed Blog,” January 26; “Profiles in Courage,” November 9, 2009) and told me about a young woman she had mentored through her senior year in high school.

Barbara also introduced me to Linda Kelly, who is president of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. She was having lunch two tables away from us. Another friend stopped by on her way out and talked of her success in selling paintings and sculpture.

These social contacts were the result of our dining at Max’s Oyster Bar, which is near her house. I must admit I was a bit nervous about eating there because I’d only been for dinner when the place was generally so crowded and so noisy it was well nigh impossible to hear oneself think. All was well, however, as the place was more than half empty except for the tables outside where people were braving 85+ degree heat. Since it was a Max restaurant, the food was, of course, stellar. Barbara had a shrimp chopped salad with Gorgonzola cheese, while I had linguine with smoked salmon and morels, served in a lemon butter sauce. I even found a parking space in the lot across the street. All in all, the weekend began in the best possible manner.

Tomorrow: Replay of the basketball game.

Make-up Entry

June 28, 2010

As promised here’s the make-up entry. Short and sweet because I’m still doing weekend chores at 8 p.m. on Sunday and have barely touched the paper. I’ll give details on a number of these topics as the week progresses.

I had lunch Friday afternoon with Barbara Sicherman, author of Well-Read Lives: How Books Inspired a Generation of American Women A delightful lunch with a brilliant woman.

That evening Larry and I watched the Sun beat the Phoenix Mercury. We ran into friends Harvey and Nancy getting off the elevator (more on that in a future entry) and enjoyed everything about the game except for the officiating, which sucked. I had been feeling light-headed with a bit of an upset stomach and did Bubba’s a total disservice by having a salad with dressing on the side and a few pieces of calamari before the game.

Saturday a.m. I went to the funeral Edward “Reds” McMillan. I did not know him well but served on the community foundation board and know his foster daughter Traci Higgins much better. She’s a testament to his ability to mentor and support.

By the end of the funeral I was freezing, even though the temp had risen to 80-plus. Then I discovered my voice was gone and I was having a sinus attack unlike no other. The sinus problem aggravated the upset stomach. I dissed the housework, drank about a gallon of water, and crawled into bed from which I emerged to eat a bowl of soup. I arose finally at about 6 p.m. My greatest effort thereafter was heating up a bit of food and climbing back into bed at about 9:30 p.m.

This a.m. I felt well enough to walk to the store for the NY Times and for the Hartford Courant, which contained my op-ed about the lost gravestones.

‘Lost in Hartford’s Old North Cemetery’

The thrill of finding the graves of my great-grandparents remains with me to this day. I just wish the stones remained as well. My cousin Ashley James and I discovered the family plot in Old North Cemetery. It was fall, and dead leaves were blowing everywhere, encouraged by the city workers they heaped them into massive piles.

Ash and I had walked around for some time and eventually asked one of the workers if he could direct us to Section I. He gestured toward the back of the cemetery and said, “It’s over there somewhere.”

We meandered up and down the rows. Finally at the back of the cemetery near Bethel Street, I saw “James” and then “Anna E., daughter of Houston” with a space between the “of” and her maiden name as if someone might add a first name later. The stone belonged to my great-grandmother, Anna Estelle Houston James, who died of tuberculosis in 1894. I yelled, “Ash, I found them, I found them!” Together we examined the stones clustered under a huge tree. There was the patriarch, our great-grandfather, Willis Samuel James; our great-aunt and uncle, Harriet and Fuller; and Willis’s daughter, Beatrice, by his third wife. Newer stones covered the graves of another of Willis’s children from his first marriage who died in 1952. Another older stone lay face down. We turned it over but found the inscription impossible to read.

Ash took photos. I pulled some weeds and swept cobwebs and whatnot off the stones.

We made the find seven years ago and returned on the first hot day last summer because Ash is making a documentary about our family and wanted footage of the graves. Once we left the path that bisects the north and south portions of the cemetery, we found ourselves nearly hip deep in weeds. The place looked as though it had not seen the blade of a mower for at least a year. Even the stones of the Colts and the Olmsteds wore a forlorn, bedraggled look. Many of the legible stones were so covered with vines they were unreadable. The more we walked the more concerned I grew about ticks on my skin and dog manure on my sandals and feet. But we persevered. Finally it became obvious that we would have to wait until the weeds died to locate the graves.

We made another foray in early March. This time the grass was short, and the only danger we encountered was the swamp created by the massive rainstorms that preceded our visit. Again, we walked and walked and walked – we saw the Colt enclave again. We passed graves of the U.S. Colored Troops. We walked through the Irish section. We walked through the Jewish section. We found several gravestones that had been broken, which someone had piled on top of each other. We covered the entire seventeen acres except for the section immediately inside the main entrance. After two hours, we knew we would not find our ancestors’ graves.

Just as we were about to give up, Ash called, “I found Charles.” His flat stone read, “Charles James 1866-1952.” Touching it at right angles was another stone, “Lillian P. James 1872-1951.” A third, older stone that had broken from a pedestal lay nearby. I subsequently learned that it was a stone belonging to Lillian’s mother, Isabella Lee Pierce. The rest of the area was covered with pieces of a huge tree. We made another circuit and then surveyed the area from a little hill. The entire section was empty except for those three graves.

First I cried. Then I grew furious. What had the city done with my great-grandparents?

I left messages for John Timm, who has charge of the city-owned cemeteries. We met in early April and toured the area. The entire back half of the cemetery had standing water, courtesy of the downpours that had inundated the area the day before. We took a circuitous route but again located the graves of Charles, Lillian, and Isabella. I spotted a small marker with a “J” on it, indicating the boundary of the family plot.

Timm promised to pull the city records and call or email me. That was on April 3. I’ve not heard anything since, despite emails and phone calls.

Quick Hit, One Day Late

June 25, 2010

Yesterday was supposed to be a quick hit because I started working on a long-form entry comparing two nineteenth century authors and the weather service was terrorizing us with the threat of tornadoes. (One actually did hit Bridgeport.)  But it turned into a no-hit because of the weather and because we dashed out the door to join Larry’s Vietnam veteran buddies at their weekly dinner. We haven’t been in ages and felt it was time.

Anyway, here’s what was supposed to go up on Thursday. I’ll post one over the weekend because tonight we’re going to watch the Connecticut Sun play the Phoenix Mercury. We’re rooting for the Sun, which has three former UConn players, except we also want to cheer for ex-Husky Diana Taurasi. It’s a win either way.

Wednesday nearly tied Tuesday for problems. I turned on the A/C in the bedroom for the first time Wed. night. The temp had reached the point where I was willing to put up with the racket just because it was sooo hot outside. Anyway I had settled into bed for maybe two minutes and bam! the power went out. We scouted around and discovered that it was in fact the entire neighborhood and not just a freak circuit breaker in the house. Stumbled around a bit more and found the flashlights. Of course almost stepped on the cat in the process of stumbling before finding the light. Called Northeast Utilities (ah, the benefits of a landline not attached to a cordless phone). Got Voicemail Mary saying that the company was aware of an outage in the area and that restoration of power normally takes “up to three hours.” Of course there isn’t a human to be found anywhere. Finally returned to bed and fell asleep before I became drenched with sweat. One blessing: it was absolutely quiet, with no fans, no A/C, nothing except the occasional car passing by. Woke up Thursday a.m. to find that the power had been out just exactly one and half hours. No further information is available from any news source, or from NU.

The rest of today I intended to catch up on work and clean my desk, even though it would obviously be an exercise in futility. In the afternoon as I was hustling to finish some odds and ends, a thunderstorm rolled through, I decided to ignore it and keep working. Well, the power dimmed enough to cut the wi-fi signal but the computer stayed on. However, today it has been nothing but sludge.

Here and There, This and That

June 24, 2010

Today had the makings of becoming a repeat of yesterday but was redeemed by a perfectly delightful lunch with my friends Thelma and Linda. More on that later in the entry.

  • First jolt of the morning came in the form of two shiny new garbage cans in the middle of the driveway. I thought maybe Larry had changed our trash collector, but it turned out that we’re joining the era of “single-stream recycling” where one tosses newspapers, cans, bottles, and plastic into one bin and trash in the other. No human hands touch it until it arrives at the transfer station. The truck picks up the can on a swing arm, so there will no longer be a guy running along as it rolls down the street. It also means that the company will have to send two trucks instead of one. Two trucks vs. one; new garbage cans; making someone sort piles of recyclables. I’m wondering if there really is a savings here.
  • Next excitement was an update from Windows. I wish these people would get their act together because the computer slowed yet again and then I had to do a reboot. Got a portion of my writing done, but the sludginess meant that I had to wait until I came back from lunch to finish.
  • When I was finally able to get to my email, I discovered that the aerobic workout I had tried to download from iTunes over the weekend did indeed work. Apple had sent the bill but couldn’t get the tunes into my computer because the “bonjour service” was suspended. How do you suspend a good morning? You either have one or you don’t. This morning and yesterday morning were a don’t. Anyway I revived bonjour and off we went – at a snail’s pace as these downloads use up beaucoup bandwidth. I was still trying to finish my writing stint so this delay was particularly annoying. And forget about backing up the word file. The thumb drive and iTunes don’t play well with each other.
  • That particular episode ended well at about 5 p.m. when I was able to find the downloads on the computer and the Nano. So I launched myself into Aerobics Nonstop. Favorite tunes: “Addicted to Love,” “U Can’t Touch This,” the stalker song aka “Every Breath You Take” (which is a joke because no one can follow all those breaths when they’ve speeded  everything up to an average of about 130 beats per minute,) and the favorite of the moment, “Gonna Make You Sweat.” Given the heat and humidity, I’m sweatin’ in the basement, which is 20 degrees cooler and has a dehumidifier so the sweat has a chance to evaporate.
  • Next I braved the stifling heat (88 on the homeward trip) and got out the door for lunch a few minutes late. We went to Sushi California where Linda had sushi for the first time. We had a great time talking, giggling. A review of the restaurant will follow at some point but there will be no Sushi Friday blog this week as I have other plans.
  • More frustration after I dropped the ladies at their respective abodes because I forgot Stop & Shop doesn’t sell the kind of dry food that Isis eats. I have to go to Cromwell for it and was not about to visit two supermarkets in one day. So until Friday she’ll be dining on Newman’s Own (love the cartoon).
  • My take on the McChrystal story in Rolling Stone; The reporter may be a brilliant journalist, but he’s also an arrogant SOB, and I’m not so sure about the brilliant part, either. When Michelle Norris of “All Things Considered” asked if the general would “admonish” his staff for making anti-Biden jokes, Michael Hastings responded, “Have you hung out with the military much?” After she replied, “I certainly haven’t spent the kind of time that you spent with military” he sounded both defensive and patronizing. It reminded me of Bill Clinton’s answers at press conferences where he would say something like, “The fact that you’re asking that question shows you have no understanding of the issue.” Hastings must have pretty limited people skills, too, since he was surprised that his article has caused such a firestorm. Or maybe he’s always worked in jobs where insulting his boss’s boss is acceptable. I agree with the comment on the NPR web site: “this journalist is surprised???? Geeze, what is his IQ about 80?”

Thrilled This Day Is Over

June 23, 2010

It began auspiciously enough. I staggered around until the caffeine jolted me awake, wrote in the journal, and started my writing stint. About 9 I took a break so my mother-in-law could see Gisele in Iraq on Skype. The reception is best at mid-morning EDT, so I gathered up computer and vid cam. Warning bells should have gone off when I had to drive around the block and found no parking spaces at her apartment building, no parking spaces the entire length of the street and no parking spaces on the street around the corner. I wound up three blocks away, which is normally not a bad thing, except that I was carrying my computer, the web cam, my purse, and a full cup of coffee. It was headed toward 80 with humidity in the 70 percent range.

When I got to Ma’s I booted up the computer and tried to get a wi-fi connection. Ha! It said I was connected, but I really wasn’t. So Ma and Gisele chatted on the phone as they normally do. I was able to show her photos of the house with its fresh coat of paint and of the nest on the deck..

Returned home and wrote some more. Just as I was about to power down the computer, the anti-virus program decided to perform a scan, so I waited and then ran out the door for my volunteer stint at the hospital. Drove around and around looking for a parking space. Had to circle the block but finally found one. As I was walking in the door, I realized I was wearing sandals, which is a total no-no if one has patient contact. Even if they were allowed, my feet wouldn’t have survived two-plus hours of walking up and down the stairs. The elevators seem to be in a perpetual state of repair, so I just hike up and down. Returned home for the shoes. Good thing I pulled out of the lot because a security guard was radioing the tag numbers to see if staff and volunteers were parking in spaces intended for visitors. He was still there when I got back so I wound up parking three-plus blocks away. I don’t know if the city has cut back on spaces or everyone just decided to go downtown today but it was still congested when I left the hospital a couple of hours later.

Felt better after Reiki, though it was a bit disconcerting that the kitchen in the Hospice unit had no running water and thus no water and ice machine. Reiki dehydrates me so I’ve found every fountain, water cooler, etc. from the ground floor up.

After I finished, I decided it was time to have my chipped, peeling, and broken nails fixed, so I went to a new salon. Realized as I was walking in that I had forgotten to bring reading material but there is no longer a newsstand on Main Street and the bookstore was just a little too far away. Plus, the last thing I need to do at this point is buy more books. Actually it felt good to sit and do nothing. Then I realized that all I’d eaten was a bagel and I was really hungry. The nail care went well until the woman doing my pedicure tried to put my sandals on and realized she wouldn’t be able to paint my nails. So I waited an extra ten minutes in their emergency flip-flops until my toes dried.

At this point, I am planning nothing more strenuous than heating food from Its Only Natural and reading an Alexander McCall Smith mystery.

Our New Neighbors

June 22, 2010

Mr. and Mrs. Robin have built a nest on our deck railing, and we’re hoping they don’t win a Darwin award.

Hatchin' action?

Kelli, who lives next door, told Larry that she’s pretty sure it’s the same pair that tried to build right over their back door. The nest fell apart every time someone went in or out. Then the birds moved to the chandelier under the roof of the patio in their back yard. The lampshades were too small to accommodate anything the size of a robin’s nest, but Mr. and Mrs. R. must have been persistent because there were sticks all over the patio every day.

Eventually they gave up and came over here. Why they settled on the deck is beyond me. Granted the lilac provides some camouflage. But the railing is at waist level and therefore accessible. So accessible in fact, that on Friday Larry caught the big yellow feline who patrols the neighborhood skulking along the railing and peering into the nest. He installed a barricade, which must have worked.

No robin this cradle

Mom is sitting on four eggs and flies away screeching whenever I open the back door. (Larry says she ignores him.) Other oddities: Given the time of year, it’s doubly puzzling that they’ve moved so close. This has to be their second batch of offspring unless they got a late start. Mr. and Mrs. R. also ignore Isis, who takes her daily nap within six feet of them. Maybe they know she can’t reach them, but they have to be able to smell her. She also ignores them, so there’s another mystery.

I’m also monitoring some redwing blackbirds in the marsh down the street. In this case, papa bird sets up a racket, flies across the street, and perches on a stem of marsh grass, singing away until I pass by. Reminds me of cycling along the marshes in Old Saybrook when I was a kid.

Robin hatching should be imminent, and we hope that the baby birdies survive till they’re old enough to fly. Updates will follow.

Now I really understand the concept of bird brained!

And Another One Bites the Dust

June 19, 2010

Connecticut added yet another corrupt official notch to its political belt today. A jury has convicted the mayor of Hartford, Eddie Perez, of bribery and extortion and attendant conspiracies. What is it about our public officials who like to have private contractors perform work on their houses for nothing or next to nothing? Perez seems to have taken as his example ex-gov John Rowland. (See “What, Only Twelfth?”) The only difference was the ex-gov had state workers transporting and installing a hot tub. Perez was more practical, with renovations on his kitchen and bathroom.

The contractors go along because it keeps them in city or state business. At least that’s what the contractor in this case said. He told the jury he never expected to be paid for the work  and regarded it as a “cost of doing business” to keep his contract rebuilding a section of Park Street.

The other set of charges involved helping to arrange a payoff for a politician who was instrumental in Perez’s re-election in 2007. An interesting aspect of that part of the case concerned the defense that Perez is dyslexic and therefore did not read the email in which a developer (who has old convictions for counterfeiting and sale of stolen guns) claimed the politician wanted $100,000.

So now the mayor of Hartford joins former mayors of Waterbury (two, one convicted twice), and Bridgeport, along with a clutch of state senators on the felon roster. He could receive up to sixty years in prison, but based on sentences meted out to the others, my guess is he’ll get about five and be required to pay a hefty fine. Hartford’s charter has a rather convoluted procedure for the removal of the mayor or other city officials convicted of a crime. Perez did the right thing by announcing that he plans to resign.

Racism or Incompetence?

June 18, 2010

I had read complaints about’s new format for pre-1850 U.S. census listings. The complaints need to be much, much louder. After struggling I can only conclude that the compilers are either deliberately racist or are lacking in the ability to analyze data. (After 1850, the census was supposed to name each individual and the search can be made in categories of “black,” “colored,” “mulatto,” etc., except for 1860 where Ancestry doesn’t include racial designation.)

Before 1850 the census only listed heads of household and the number of residents by age range. For example in 1840, the categories included white males under 5, 5 under 10, 10 under 15, 15 under 20, and then in 10-year increments to 100 and upwards. A separate set of columns had the same listings for white females. The options for free people of color and for slaves included slots for ages under 10, 10 under 24, 24 under 35, 36 under 55, 56 under 100 and 100 and upwards.

Until recently one could search the census records posted on Ancestry by name, state, county and township. Someone decided to add options so that now one can insert numbers in six categories: free white persons under 20, 20 “thru” [sic] 49, “number of total free white persons” [shouldn’t it be total number?]; number of total free colored persons; number of total slaves; and number of total all persons.

What’s wrong with this scenario? Well, if one is looking for a family of color but doesn’t know how many are in the household in 1840, one goes through extreme aggravation. In order to find households with free people of color one has to look for everyone with the last name and examine the last two columns to find a discrepancy between “free white persons” and “number of total persons.” If there’s a family living by themselves, then the search is fairly easy because the rest of the columns are blank. But if individuals or a family are living with white people, then the examination requires comparing total white people and total people in each instance. Given a common last name (I was searching for Pierce, first name unknown and spelled Peerce, Pearce, Peirce, and so forth), needle in haystack doesn’t begin to describe the search if one isn’t exactly sure where the family lived.

Putting “black” or “colored” into the keyword search won’t produce any results. I’m sure Ancestry justified its decision by including the largest categories, but has really made some of my research difficult. With one exception, which I would have found with the old search, I’ve been unable to find any of the people I’m fairly sure should be in the area.

To add to the insult. I’ve been trying to use the reference Library CD that came with my family tree program. It launches maybe 5 percent of the time and then locks up my computer when it tries to link to the web. I’ve yet to be able to see a single item in it.

If the cite didn’t have a monopoly on family research I’d quit.

Good News

June 17, 2010

After yesterday’s depressing topic, here are some bits of good news, things to make one chuckle, or maybe not.

  • Headline of the day: “Idaho police arrest woman, 74, for allegedly pouring mayonnaise in library’s book drop box.” The best part of the story was the reference to “condiment-related crimes.” It reminded me of someone I heard of who was trying to get a draft deferment during the Vietnam War. He smeared his paperwork with mustard, then ketchup, and finally mayonnaise. He sent the latter set of papers with a note, “Pretty soon, you’ll have to keep my file in the refrigerator.” He received a 4-F deferment on psychiatric grounds, but it had nothing to do with the sandwich spreads.
  • More states are banning distracted driving. I don’t see much enforcement in Connecticut, and the number of people holding phones to their ears hasn’t decreased, but there’s always hope.
  • On the subject of motoring, the campaign for Drive Like Your Kids Live Here has great potential, but the cynical journalist side of me says that some psycho is going to say himself (most likely it’ll be a guy), “That’s right. I’ll run over the little bastards just like I did with my own kids. It’s good for ’em.” I hope and pray it doesn’t happen, but the world is certainly sick and twisted enough to make room for such lunacy.
  • Starbucks is going to offer free wi-fi. I guess that counts as good news even if the coffee still sucks.
  • This “Doonesbury” appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. Love the image of the Goddess as a bored diva.
  • What’s wrong with Cougars aside from the image conjured by the word? There’s major discrimination raging on the internet, I suspect it is mostly controlled by middle-aged men who like the idea of allowing their peers to find much younger women but are repelled when their middle-aged ex-wives go after boy-toys. So they allow DateAMillionaire but ban The NYTimes article on the subject is good. The photo, priceless.
  • Fun on Skype. So I finally got the camera set up – though I do NOT like looking at myself in the little window – can’t it get rid of the wrinkles, saggy jaw, etc.? I Skyped Anna on Sunday – that was fun, but I feel rather locked into the computer chair. Can’t wander around the house while I talk. We talked to Larry’s sister in Iraq this morning. It’s seven hours ahead, and she was still at work so we couldn’t have video. Now I’m an hour or so from Skyping Ash and Kathryn who are three hours behind on the West Coast. I could see how this thing could keep a person up all day and all night.