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Shhh. She finally fell asleep.

Far out, man. Gracie's out of it.I am currently thanking all my stars, God, anyone who is listening, God, Gracie, and, well, God. Being yowled at for more than eleven hours tends to make me religious when there is finally peace.

I don't dare catch a shot of her napping, because the flash would probably wake her, but here's where she's currently nesting: On the sofa where I slept from six to nine this morning, in my spare quilt. Notice her eyes. That's not sleepiness, that is the mark of a drugged-out cat.

Blessed, blessed silence.

You just know that she's going to wake up the moment I post this and start making myself dinner.

The good news is the sedatives are wearing off a bit. She still wobbles when she walks (but she doesn't fall down), and she leaps fairly well now. The bad news is she thinks she needs me to be with her. All the time. And that Tig seems to think he can stop her from yowling and acting strangely by beating her up. Canned air is a wonderful disciplinary tool for cats.

I'm hungry. I'm going to make myself the steak I defrosted, and probably some home-made french fries for comfort, and I'm going to have ice cream for dessert. I think I need it. I think I need some more ibuprofen, too.

I'm starting to believe that one of my correspondents was right about the Mercury in retrograde thing. I just can't catch a break today. She just woke up. I didn't even get a chance to post this.

We interrupt this weblog

You know, I was going into a long post about why there won't be much action on this weblog today, but let me just say this: If you have a cat that has asthma, and needs her prednosone, it is probably not a good idea to give her three sedatives instead of three prednosone pills. In other words: When you get woken up in the middle of the night by a cat having an asthma attack, make sure you read the label on the pill bottle before dosing your cat with the wrong medicine.

Gracie yowls when she's sedated. Constantly. Unceasingly. Without stopping.

And she started at 6:00 this morning.



Snow day

Walk, Willow, walk!It is late, just after 10 p.m., and I am tired and still rather sore, but far less than I was at this time last night. Thanks to all of you who worried that I did break my coccyx after all; your concerns are sweet, but I'm pretty sure I really did land on the softest, fattest part of my body. But I'll be careful, and get to the doctor if there's a need. (I did discover that sleeping on my left side was the least painful way to sleep, and I wonder if my thinking of the extra pounds in my tuchus was what made me dream about fat women all night.)

Meantime, there was a lot more snow by Heidi's than there was by me, but it was still not the major event they'd forecast. It was about three or four inches. Enough to please the children and mess up the roads, not so much to stop things dead for a few days.Worf gets the boot

I had intended to get out and play a bit, but my soreness and the fact that, well, it was damned cold out, prevented me. But sometime this afternoon, after Heidi and I shoveled the bridge in front of the house (I'll explain another time), we decided to take the dogs out and play in the snow. Now, some of you may be thinking that Willow is walking me (left), not that I am walking Willow, and you would be right. Wow, is she strong. Oh, and yes, that's Worf with yet another of my belongings (right). My boot. Which was drying on the mat until he decided he was feeling frisky and wanted me to chase him. That was actually before we took the dogs out into the yard. Heidi insisted that Worf was as good as any Iditarod sled dog, and tried to get him to pull her on the sled, and only succeeded in getting him to pull her into a tree every single time. I wish I had pictures of that, but I was laughing so hard watching her that I didn't even think to go inside and get the camera. Willow, on the other hand, fairly flew me down the driveway, but I bailed out halfway because I just knew she was going to take me straight into the creek. By the way, when one has fallen on one's behind on a stone stair the previous day, one should not be sled riding. Just a note for the future, in case it ever happens to one. Er, you.

Say. I'm having so much fun writing blogs like this one. Think I'd lose most of my readers if I stopped being serious and just let this place go to the dogs?

Okay, so it was bad, but I said I was tired.



Snowfall. Merylfall.

I went to the library to bring back some overdue books and pay the fine. Then I left and walked down the steps, which were covered with salt, because it's going to snow tonight. This was around 4 p.m. The snow is expected to fall around 8. Well, the salt was half-melted, creating a wet, mushy slush. I slipped on the stairs, my legs went flying out from under me, and I landed on the edge of the stairs on my butt, slid down a bit, exclaimed only one swear word, and lay there not moving while everyone who saw me stopped laughing long enough to say, "Don't move!"

You know, you may not knock the wind out of yourself by falling on your ass, but let me tell you, the incredible shock of pain is quite able to stop you from taking another breath for a while. The number of people telling me not to move really had no idea how redundant their words were. I think I should have let them bring me to a doctor or something, but I just sat up slowly, then tried my arms and legs and decided I wasn't dead, and wondered exactly where your coccyx is. I was pretty sure I hadn't landed on it, because you can kind of tell when the middle of your ass is suddenly thunking down on a hard slate stair, and ohmigod, am I going to have a bruise in the top, bottom, and middle of my ass. (Bless the ol' gluteous maximus. Saved me from great harm. I don't feel so bad now about all that holiday weight I put on.)

I have spent the last several hours trying desperately not to sit. I've found that standing is good, walking up stairs is very bad and must be done slowly, and driving over the speed bumps in my Wrangler is sheer agony and cannot be borne. Someone come down here immediately and get rid of all the speed bumps, or trade me for a Grand Cherokee until my butt feels better. Manomanoman. Just remembering the first bump is enough to bring tears to my eyes.

Anyway. I'm heading over to Heidi's tonight, because G. thinks I'll have more fun in the snow over there than I will over here, what with their sleds and dogs and children and hilly driveway, although I'm wondering a bit whether or not I'll be trying the toboggan tomorrow (right now, I'm leaning towards "not"). I'll be taking pictures, of course, and no, I will not be taking pictures of my bruised butt. But thanks for asking.

The necessities of life

Food. Shelter. Warmth. Three necessities of life in the wintertime. I had the first two, but not the last, until a few minutes ago. What's most annoying is that it was just a pilot light that had gone out. But watching the repairman fix it made me realize that I don't exactly know all the ins and outs of a furnace, so I think I'll just call the maintenance department again if I have a problem. I'd like to be able to call Terry Oglesby, what with reading all about his prowess at fixing things, but he lives kinda far away, and I think his wife might have something to say about it.

Speaking of Terry, he sent me to one of the funniest weblogs I've ever read, The Compleat Redneck, which seems to exist to chronicle the adventures of Cletus. Scroll up once you've finished reading that one, because Cletus' adventures are a phenomenon that went on my regular reading list. These are the kind of blogs that are a joy to discover. The other night, when I was feeling a bit low, I went over first to Possumblog and then to Billie Joe Bob's BBQ, and I felt better right quick, as they would say.

I'm sorta jealous that I can't become a member of the Axis of Weevil, but I don't even know who John Moses Browning is, let alone what he looks like. Then again, I do know the names of most of the towns off the exits of the New Jersey Turnpike, and I can find my way around New York, so maybe we can make it some kind of tradeoff. Tour guide for when the Axis comes north to visit.

And while I'm thinking Weevilly stuff, it was Mac Thomason who first introduced me to the Axis. He's on my must-read list, too, and has been for quite some time. Maybe if we're really nice to him, he'll write another Captain Euro post. There's that terrorist's convention—er, peace conference being held in Egypt to which he may be able to add some EU panache.

Jews in space

You gotta love the irony of this one. The first Israeli astronaut, Col. Ilan Ramon, is one of the pilots that flew into Iraq and bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981. (Lest we forget, the entire world condemned Israel for that action back then. Boy, don't they feel stupid today?)

He's also the son of a Holocaust survivor, and brought some family photos (see? We're still here!), as well as the artwork of a child victim of the Holocaust. So let's look at this in its proper order. Hitler and the Nazis didn't manage to kill Ramon's mother, who managed to survive Auschwitz, get to Israel, and bear a son who stopped a latter-day mass murderer from attaining nuclear weapons.

Why, it's like a great big thumb in the eye to both Hitler and Saddam. In the words of a well-known Jewish comedian: Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

Gratuitous cat picture

This is how I meant to start the morning posts. I finally managed to catch Gracie in her part of the kitty condo. Tig hogs the top, so she gets the cylinder with the window.

Gracie in the kitty condo

That's my girl. I've been attempting to get this particular shot for, oh, two months now. That would be as long as I've had the digital camera. The reason the cylinder is all torn up is because Tig believes the hemp rope is for the little people to use, so while Gracie sharpens her claws on the rope-covered post, Tig slowly denudes the condo of its carpeting, thus ensuring that I will have to have it recovered at some point.

Hey, my cats were demanding equal time, what with my putting pictures of—horrors!—dogs on this weblog.

A matter of degrees says it's 22 degrees outside. The electric heater that Heidi got me for Chanukah says it's 56 degrees at a foot above floor level. The thermostat says it's 64 degrees at eye level. (My eye level, anyway.) And the oven is on 250 degrees.

Because my heat isn't working.

I think it's going to be an interesting day.



Still more weird search requests

It's been a while since I've done this one. But I've been saving up the odd or freaky or just plain sick and twisted search requests (at least, the ones I could bear) for your amusement.

Mideast Madness

naked pictures of saudi arabia men: And may I say: Ew.

jeddah sunroof: Wow. Talk about your really stupid person. A sunroof in the desert.

pics of palestinians kicking jews ass: Yeah, that happens so often, too. Keep dreaming, moron.

Secret Deodorant advertising Israel: Shh. It's a secret. We could tell you, but then the Mossad would kill you.

hairy guy from iran in under wear: And may I say: Ew. Ewewewewewew!


Gollum Jews Anti-Semitism Lord of the Rings: Wow. You are so reaching on this one, dude.

Viggo Mortenson%27s son Henry: You think maybe an easier search might have been Henry Mortensen?

I don't want to know dept.

second toe longer picture: It's known as Morton's foot. I have it. And I'm not taking a picture of my foot and putting it on my website, either. Sicko.

gil synagogue condom: Something you want to say to us, Gil? And in synagogue? Shame!

international society of hurling: There's an organization for drunk college students? An international organization?

news anchor describing scrotum: I do not want to know. I do not want to know.

fat women crushing bugs: Not just women now, but fat ones. In high heels, no doubt. Sigh.

Creature features

biggest banana slug picture: This is all Alex's fault.

banana slug sex Ariolimax dolichophallus: You see? Alex. All Alex. What are those latin terms anyway? Calling Doc Weevil... no, wait. I'll bet they're disgusting. Never mind. Besides, if you sound the last one out, it sounds rude enough.

dog pees when sees husband: Which begs the question: What is the husband doing to scare the pee out of the dog? Actually, here's where I get to impress you with my doggy knowledge, all of which has been learned from Heidi: That's a submissive behavior. The dog is acknowledging the husband's leadership of the pack. Sexist dog.

cat food canned corn: Wow, that's truly disgusting. I'll bet you can find it for sale in all the best pet stores, though.

Ha-WHAT?! (Thanks, Bear. I like that phrase.)

Korean sneaker washer: Yeah. Ha-WHAT?

catalog hot bird chanels: Ditto.

dave winer is a moron: I didn't say that. You found my weblog with that phrase?

what is the difference betwwen today and the 1950s: Um, about 50 years.

sun rise on February 5 in Springfield Massachusetts: Was it good for you?

The latest Carnival of the Vanities is up

It's #17, and ohmigod, did I really consent to hosting the next one? Yikes!

I already read a few. Recommended that I've read so far:

Susanna Cornett's Freedom of Speech Means Everyone

Eleven-Day Empire slams Eric Alterman (go, James!) and then goes and gets all mushy on someone else

Fred's waxing poetic about the winter wind. Here's my poem: The wind blows. Brrr. Cold! Ya think I can get a prize for it?

Jamie McDonald writes a letter to the producers of the X-10 camera ad. Hilarious! And is that your dog and baby, or did you just borrow them for the picture?

This one is really powerful. A nurse tells of a ten-year-old patient who is dying. Or at least, she tries to tell it.

Solonor made a comic strip. And it's funny, too.

Okay. The rest you have to read yourself. Check it out.

Natural selection hits the blogosphere

Spoons is the latest casualty of the "Blogging vs. Real Life" conundrum. I'm not surprised. It is inevitable that the crowd of bloggers will thin. While I don't think that blogging has yet reached its saturation point, I do believe we'll begin to see more and more bloggers hang up their browsers and go back to reading other weblogs and leaving the occasional comment. Or they'll band together and create group weblogs, like Adil and Joe Katzman at Winds of Change. Silflay Hraka began as a group blog. Silent Running and Kesher Talk have morphed into group blogs. It's a good thing that often improves a blog while cutting down on the amount of time one person needs to devote to running it.

Having the time to write is a weblogging essential. It goes without saying that if I had to take care of small children, or worked a job that required a lot of overtime, I wouldn't be writing nearly as much. But the time factor alone is not the main explanation for blogging. Blogging takes a certain dedication. Oh, sure, anyone can link to a news story and write a one-line summary, sometimes funny, sometimes snarky, sometimes just a command to "Go read. NOW!" Anyone can put up a journal of their daily doings. But not anyone can write a weblog that people keep returning to, and it takes much more than dedication to keep doing this for nothing.

The standard line in the publishing industry is that nobody ever goes into it for the money. That's absolutely true. Editors are not generally highly-paid professionals. The vast majority of authors do not make a living wage. Most midlist writers "supplement" their income by having other jobs to pay the bills while they write.

We write for the love of it. We edit for the love of it. And if you're not weblogging because you love it, you're going to join the growing list of ex-webloggers.

Yes, this takes up a lot of time. There are days when I start the morning with breakfast at the computer and don't really leave until it's time for dinner, and then sit back down for a last hour or two before bedtime. But that's because writing is what I do, and weblogging has become my current genre. I don't do this because it was a neat new fad that I discovered and thought I'd try. I started this weblog first to encourage myself to write every day, then to sharpen my essay skills, and, as I wrote more and more regularly, and discovered that people were actually reading what I wrote and coming back for more, I realized that it's something to love. That it's something to be proud of. That it can affect events taking place far away from me. That I can help other people. But mostly, I get to put my words out to an audience. You folks would be amazed at the power a positive letter has on me, and on other bloggers. When you're not getting paid, a compliment goes a very long way. But I'm digressing.

I used to get story ideas while doing the dishes or the housecleaning chores or taking a shower. Now, I get essay ideas for my weblog. Topics for subjects hit me between loads of laundry, and are perfected while cooking dinner. Then they're put onto a blank page to see if they work, and if they do, you see them. If they don't, they're in the spike file until I manage to make them work or give up on them completely. An essay like this one takes an hour or two. A post like the one below is of the five-to-ten-minute variety. If you're a weblogger and you think about blogging all the time, odds are you'll keep on blogging no matter what. If you're a weblogger in your spare time and find that family obligations are starting to be compromised by your blogging, you'll go the way of Spoons and Stephen Green and the many others who quietly shut down their blogs and spent more time with their families.

It's not that there's anything wrong with that. It's natural selection in action. The thinning of the herd shows that the blogosphere is evolving. It's a good thing, although we'll miss the ones that fold up their tents.



Apologies all around

I'm sorry. I've been busy the last few days (see below), and I'm tired, and behind in email, and there have been typos galore in my posts (thanks tons, Steven dJ!), and all I want to do now—and now is 10:20 p.m. Tuesday night—is sit down and read a little more in The Carnivorous Carnival, the latest in the Series of Unfortunate Events (thanks again, Shanti!), and go to bed. And tomorrow, I have a zillion things to do when I get up (which will hopefully not be until 9 or 10), but I'll do my best to make sure that "write more blogs!" is on the list.

In the meantime, a quick one: G. got a DVD player for his birthday, and I bought him the DVD of Young Frankenstein, figuring that everyone loves Mel Brooks' best movie. I figured rightly. Last night, G. and Sorena and I watched it, and in the middle of the scene late in the film when the townspeople, armed with pitchforks and torches, are looking for the monster, Sorena turns to me and says, "That must be what it was like for the Baudelaire orphans when the Village of Fowl Devotees went after them." (You have to read The Vile Village, but the Baudelaires were, indeed, chased by a torch-and-pitchfork-bearing mob.)

Well, Heidi and I thought it was hilarious. And of course, the new catchphrase is "Put the candle back!" which, again, you have to have seen Young Frankenstein to truly enjoy. Go rent the movie if you've never seen it, and take my word for it that the Snicket comment was funny. I'll be back in the morning.

The Zionist conspiracy™ extends to the Arabic News

Remember how mad Egypt got at Israel for pointing out that Abu Abbas, the mastermind behind the Achille Lauro hijacking was in town for the terrorist's convention—I mean, peace talks—that Egypt was sponsoring?

Well, apparently the Zionists control the Arabic News, because here's an article from January 7th, which is, let's see, the same exact day the Jerusalem Post article came out.

The sonofabitch sent out a press release about his trip to Egypt. Guess he forgot to send one to the Italians and the American State Department, hm?

Funny, though. Egypt doesn't seem to have gotten the memo, either. Or perhaps they did, and are just using the whole thing as an excuse to be angry with Israel?

Naaaah. Who'd believe something like that?

A paean to moms

The last few days I got to experience a bit of what most mothers of young children have to do every day. On Sunday night, I went to Heidi's after dinner, slept in the guest room, and got up early the next morning to drive Sorena to school. Then I drove home, had a fast breakfast, put up a new post, and ran out the door to go to the Holocaust Museum for some promised volunteer work. After that was done, I went to the JCC to discover why I was a non-person instead of a member receiving, say, membership material once a month. Then I had another errand to run which took me until nearly 2, by which time I was quite tired, and finally headed back to my apartment for a quick snack and a bit of relaxation and some email-answering before running out at 3 to pick up Sorena and bring her home. I chatted with Heidi while she was washing the dogs for a while, and then decided I could use a shower as well, so off to the guest room for a shower and then to begin writing another post for the weblog. Of course, if I'd been in the real mom role, I wouldn't have sat down to shower or write the post until much later that night, as there was still dinner to be cooked and normal dinnertime and after-dinner chores to be done. Luckily for me, Heidi cooked dinner, so I could take some private time.

Then one more morning of taking Sorena to school (and boy, did she not want to get up this morning), and now I'm home and can relax. Well, except that I have to finish my kids' report cards and make lesson plans for today's religious school session, and take back my overdue library books, and do a little food shopping. And come up with a budget for the Holocaust Museum's grant request and call the Shoah Museum today and—okay, so I'll relax tomorrow.

Which leads me to the question: What moron was it that started that rumor that housewives sit around eating bon-bons all day? Because frankly, I know a lot of mothers who stay home to take care of their children, and not one of them has ever had any spare time until after the kids were in bed.

I am so looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.



Children here and children there

It was an extremely busy day today, starting with driving Sorena to school. I spent the night at Heidi and G.'s because a couple of weeks ago, a fuel truck being driven by a teenager who didn't pay attention to either local speed laws or the sign that said "STOP AHEAD" went through a stop sign and hit Heidi's car, but luckily, it hit the back of her car and so the damage was all to the vehicle. The insurance company would only pay for three days of a rental car, and those three days are up. So I drove Sorena to school, which is ten minutes from my apartment. I had to be downtown early this morning to do some work at the Virginia Holocaust Museum, and it wasn't much of a stretch to get up a bit earlier and 25 miles south of my home. (Okay, it was, but this is my best friend, so I tend to go the extra mile or twenty-five.)

I spent the morning at the museum, which is currently in new digs in Shockoe Bottom, near the riverfront, in a century-old warehouse that used to belong to the state. It's being refurbished, but it's a beautiful old building that just begs to be made into lofts for professional couples. Instead, it's being made into replicas of parts of Auschwitz and Buchenwald and Displaced Persons Camps and the farm on which Jay Ipsen and his family hid underground for months, in rooms so small you'd swear a family couldn't fit in them.

My job this morning was to get in touch with the Holocaust Museum in Washington and the Shoah Museum in California to try to get copies of certain videos they have of Virginian survivors' and liberators' oral histories. Then, of course, there were other things to do, and some boxes to move, and a tour to be taken, and before I knew it, it was time to leave and run a few personal errands before getting home for a brief respite. Then, off to pick up Sorena and head off to Heidi's again.

Sorena, who is nine, is a wonderful, bright, caring child. I pick her up from school most Fridays and drive to Heidi's for dinner. A few weeks ago Sorena gave me some home-made cards she'd drawn in school. They were for my cats, one for each. They were extremely cute, and typical child-level artwork. She made me promise that I would show the cards to my cats. (Of course I did. I promised.)

I saw some other children's drawings today. At the Holocaust Museum, Laura, a full-time (unpaid!) volunteer, was going through a CD-ROM of children's drawings. These were made by children in the Terezin transit camp, where Jews were held before being shipped to the concentration camps. Mrs. Friedl Dicker-Brandeis organized art classes there. Over 15,000 children passed through Terazin. Barely 100 survived. But two suitcases full of drawings were hidden by Dicker-Brandeis' husband before he was sent to Auschwitz. The suitcases were recovered after the war. One of the recovered pictures that I saw this afternoon depicts a man with a Star of David on his chest, hanging from a gallows, while a bearded man carrying a Torah and leading a wagon with a coffin in it stands near. Another is a drawing of a crowd of villagers with pitchforks standing near a man with a gun who is forcing the village Jews, carrying suitcases, out of town. Hauntingly, there is a rainbow in the distance, as if the child thinks the Jews are going to a better place. Another picture seems quite innocuous at first glance: It is a picture of large city buildings on the other side of a fence, and only when you look at the caption—"The world beyond the gate"—do you realize that the gate is guarded and the child's world perforce ends on this side of it.

Laura is looking for just the right pictures to add to the museum's displays. We talked about how heart-wrenching it is to look through the pictures, and how difficult to choose between them. Even more heart-wrenching is knowing that nearly all of the creators of those drawings died before they really had a chance to live.

There's a new drawing on Heidi's kitchen wall. It's called "Monkey jumping," and it's a picture of a monkey jumping in the rain. The rain is blue. The monkey is taller than the tree it is jumping over. Sorena drew it, of course. She'll draw a picture for me anytime I ask. It's not something I ever thought about before. But I don't know that I'll be looking at children's artwork in quite the same way ever again.

What you missed

The final (I hope) salvo in the Bread Wars, although I never did get around to the Biscuit Wars. There are a couple of posts by Terry Oglesby and Windrider that need pointing out, but I'm away from a web connection at the moment, so I can't find the specific links. Not a whole lot more, unless you haven't been here since Thursday, in which case I flexed my geek muscles and reminisced about trying to write a personal ad for the New Yorker.

And I'm off for a morning of volunteer work at the Virginia Holocaust Museum, more of which I'll be writing about later.



Meanwhile, over in Israeli blogland

Did I remember to tell you that Ribbity Frog is back? No? Well, he is. And nobody disses the Arab press, or the Israeli press, for that matter, as well and as humorously as he.

But Gil is taking a study break. I'll miss you, Gil, but you need to keep those grades up.

Imshin has returned as well. Imshin's opinions on Sharon, and insights on how Israelis consider the Brits (one more link for my essay, if I ever get it to work) are, as always, fascinating reads. And here is what she decided after her break:

While I greatly appreciate 99% of the feedback I get here, and the lovely friends whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise, I dread reading the 1% that I find unpleasant and unsettling.

One kindly soul suggested that if I can't stand the heat I should get out of the kitchen. Well, this is my kitchen, and although everyone is welcome to come and taste the broth, I think it's only fair that it should be my decision whom I choose to invite in to join me with the actual cooking. So my comments will have to be disabled for the time being, until I get over my lack of courage. Please feel free to e-mail me, though.

I agree that this is collective punishment of the worst kind, but this is just the way it's going to be for a while.

It's not collective punishment, Imshin. I don't have comments. I don't want comments. I won't have comments. And it has nothing to do with a lack of courage. Facing the threat of terrorist attacks in your daily life is courageous. Not wanting to read insulting, vicious, horribly anti-Semitic words on your own weblog has nothing to do with courage. It's quite normal to not want to be insulted and put down.

There is a lower type of life in this world that seems to think it has the right to flood your inbox and your comments with nasty, vicious trash-talk. They deliberately seek out people with which to disagree, whether or not they actually believe what they are writing. Some bloggers seem to like posting this email and trashing them right back. I figure I have better things to do with my time and simply delete it as soon as I recognize it for one of those letters. We're not getting paid to blog. It's a hobby. We're doing it for fun and for the love of it. If people want to be shits, let 'em. But you don't have to give them a forum for it. If they want a forum, let them get their own blog.

Be careful what you wish for

A few weeks ago, it became all the rage for weblogs to check and see if they were banned in China. Whenever someone discovered that their blog was not banned, they did everything they could to get banned in China.

Now China has banned Blogspot.

Well, hello, what did you people expect? You wanted it, you got it. Now quit whining. (Except you, Imshin. You never asked to be banned in the first place.)

Lazy Sunda

You see? It's so lazy I can't complete the title to this post.

Actually, it's not really been all that lazy. I taught religious school, and actually got the kids snookered into a philosophical discussion without their complaining how boring it was. We were discussing mitzvot (commandments and good deeds), and as there were many lists of them, I could say things like, "How many of you have fasted on Yom Kippur?" or "Who helped their mother make Hamentashen?" In fact, class went so well today they got a fairly long recess.

And as I needed cat food and have some overdue library books, I ran those errands after class and discovered that the library I patronize is closed on Sundays. Hm. This must be the south after all. A library closed on Sunday? Oh, what the heck, there was a small shopping center right nearby, with a J.C. Penney's, and as I have been needing slippers for months, I stopped in to check out the stores. Funny, you don't expect the anchor stores to be such mid-level stores as Penney's and Sears and then see nothing but exclusive shops like Brooks Brothers once inside, but there they were. And there was a chain restaurant in the food court called Flamer's, which made me giggle. (Gutter mind, I know, and a low sense of humor. Can't help it. Won't change it.)

But the best find was the Spencer's Gifts. Now, at last, I can once again buy t-shirts with hideously annoying slogans, ugly, kitschy lamps, and rude jokes like a bank that moons you when you drop in a coin. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you can buy it all online these days. But it's far more fun to go in and browse. The last time I went, I was with James, who is ten, and had to steer him away from the adult section. "Why can't I look at those t-shirts?" "Because they are obscene and you are ten." He thought the "Keep out" sign that also said "Spanking the Monkey!" would be perfect for his door, and couldn't understand why I was laughing and telling him no

By the way, today is the last day to nominate weblogs for the Bloggies. Go nominate. This blog started in April of 2001, so you can't nominate it for best new blogger. And I like this essay for best essay about weblogs. Modesty? Not here, you ain't gonna find it. I've got an ego the size of Montana.


Last week's blogs are archived. Looking for the Buffy Blogburst Index? Here's Israel vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary and The Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.