No z-z-z-z-z for these bees

Some mornings we don't want to climb out from under our quilts to get the day going, right? It helps if we have had enough sleep. Elementary age students need nine hours of sleep under their warm and comfy quilts to really concentrate and learn at school in the daytime. Preschool students need ten or eleven hours. Moms need a solid twelve but that will happen when pigs fly. Art teachers are still trying to catch up from when their own sons were little.

Being The Bedtime Enforcer is tough and rarely applauded duty. No parent wants to be the consistent bedtime villain, but teachers silently salute your efforts. Well-rested children are focused, inquisitive, conscientious, polite, and imaginative. They are the kids who make it worth throwing off our comfy quilt, starting the Mr. Coffee, and heading to the shower in the morning.

We have been playing with the word "bee" during our quilt art project as we piece together many art techniques to create some fine collages. The quilting bee is a symbol of collaboration and community. Bees are just fabulous creatures, and so easy to draw since they look like flying hotdogs with stripes!

My preschool children are insistent that bees "stink". They claim all bees have "stinkers" on their tails. I'll be planning an art project with lots of G forces next, as I, in my apparently delusional grown-up teacher state, thought bees had "stingers".

Alas, it isn't the bees that stink. You ain't smelled nothin' until you've opened a vintage bottle of overly warm Chateau de Elmer's . When you reach to the back of the art supply shelf scary things await. They may remind you of the stink of the 1968 Heidi Bowl, a vivid memory of my childhood:

Trivia: This was the TV adaptation of "Heidi" that, through no fault of its own, became embroiled in a U.S. broadcasting brouhaha known to this day as the "Heidi Bowl." On Sunday, 17 Nov 1968, the NBC television network was scheduled to begin airing "Heidi" at 7pm Eastern Standard Time, following coverage of an American Football League game between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders. The game ran long; however, with the Jets leading the Raiders, 32-to-29, NBC broke away to begin "Heidi" on schedule. During the remaining minute of play (which was extended by penalties and timeouts), Oakland managed to score two touchdowns, and ended up beating New York, 43-to-32. Outraged football fans inundated NBC switchboards. The network expressed regret, saying it had intended to stay with the football game until it ended, and blaming a series of miscommunications for the gaffe. A result of this fiasco is that NFL television contracts require games to be televised in their entirety.

My father tells stories of the Great Depression. As a young boy he learned that the best way to get a delicious lunch in the dusty Thirties was to hang around the ladies making quilts. I just hope they won't serve cottage cheese.

Carl on your answering machine, Nash for three

Starting April eighth, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, will air at eleven a.m. Saturdays instead of Sundays at one p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM. This is great! Ever since I found that KUCV in Nebraska airs WWDTM at ten a.m. Saturdays I've had to use the streaming online audio to get my fix faster.

Good things are better when shared across generations. Few things beat the glow of a cafe breakfast with your teen sons, their healthy appetites, and their grandparents.

I love discovering that my dad is equally partial to Wait Wait on NPR, and to the wind quintets of Janacek. We sat in shared delight watching Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns make nirvana three-pointers one evening.

Maybe the best was sharing the quest for the the true Tuna Frenchee. The real deal is the goal of the King's archaeologists. Where can we uncover that perfect food of the Olympians? Is the sandwich perfectly battered and deep-fried? Are the frescoes as fresh as the day they were painted? Where can we salute the Starkist and stripes? Word of the Day verisimilitude \ver-uh-suh-MIL-uh-tood; -tyood\, noun:1. The appearance of truth; the quality of seeming to be true.2. Something that has the appearance of being true or real.

The cheese frenchee sandwiches at Amigos at 70th and A Streets in Lincoln are okay, but they won't satisfy a true connoisseur of the old King's drive-in frenchees. Don and Millie's Lenten tuna frenchees are closer on both batter and filling.

Terry cloth

I'm easily amused, but this gave me a chuckle:

Bathmat and houseslippers http://housewife.splinder.com/

Now if someone could invent the Mr. Coffee Shower Massage!


You still have time, whatever time is

Fans of magic realism fiction still have a week to see Jose Rivera's "Cloud Tectonics" performed at the Kitchen Dog Theater. This is a very satisfying work challenging you to ponder your personal relationship with time. It's Pink Floyd meets One Hundred Years of Solitude, so those concert t-shirts should be long-lasting 100% cotton. Most splendid, the musical theme for Celestina del Sol is Chick Corea's Return to Forever.

My personal favorite Garcia Marquez novel is Love in the Time of Cholera. "Cloud Tectonics" could be subtitled Love Without Time in Los Angeles. Forces beyond your control will move you.

Rite of Spring Weekend

Taxes and cleaning made up most of my weekend, and I had that splendid sense of accomplishment and relief I get when I've finally behaved like a grown-up and bit the bullet. Today was a time for rewarding myself with artistic refueling.

As I performed my solo piece, "Interpretive Dance with Swiffer Duster," through the condo in my spring green leotard and tights* Saturday I decided I needed musical accompaniment to cover the sounds of creaking knees and scare the spiders away before I whacked the cobwebs. Ah, yes. Stravinsky. Pagan frenzy with new furnace filter and vacuum cleaner bag!

A few years back I read Howard Gardner's book, Creating Minds, about Stravinsky, Einstein, Freud, Martha Graham, Picasso, Eliot, and Gandhi. The seven subjects illustrate Gardner's theory of seven types of intelligence, as well as his pondering of the sources and price for creative genius. I do not think any of these people followed instructions for fluffing their Swiffer Duster "like it's never been fluffed".

So, what Stravinsky should I hear? Was there one cd I could buy with my gift certificate that would do the cleaning frenzy and educate me about this genius? I put the question to my panel of experts--family and friends on my email list. I put weird questions to them all the time, so this is nothing new. When I asked for input about Igor they probably thought I meant I-gor from "Young Frankenstein". Anyway, they sent wonderful responses. Perhaps my panel of experts would rather write their thoughts and memories about Stravinsky than participate in those other rites of spring--cleaning and taxes.

And yes, I spent the gift certificate on a double cd of the London Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado conducting.

*Okay, this part is fiction. You can relax and erase that scary mental image.


Swiffer cult update

Just over a year ago this blog correspondent went under cover, DEEP under a cover of dust and grime, to report to you about the cult of Swiffervangelism that had sucked my sister into its clutches. I am just back from Nebraska with an update on the growing influence of the cult. Dan Rather is my inspiration, as I would rather blog than actually use my new Swiffer Duster with extendable handle. It looks so pristene straight out of the box!

My real sister, Sister Mary Swifferetta, has brought my dad along into the Swiffer lifestyle. He's got cleaning gizmos for the toilet, and for the bath and shower. He's got the duster, and I have to admit the Swiffer Duster does some serious dusting without stirring up particulate matter.

Just as a test, not as a rabid new convert or anything like that, I got a Swiffer Duster with extendable handle for the condo. It is out of the box, and I have watched the online demo "Fluff your Duster like its never been fluffed". This demo should be sung by Isaac Hayes now that he's off "South Park". It's a little bit "Shaft" and a little bit "Ghostbusters".

I'll offer more details once I have actually participated in some Swiffer Duster frenzy accompanied by Stravinsky!


Degauss, De Goss, degreased, and out of Degas

How long have I been sitting here staring at the DEGAUSS FUNC. RECALL^ on the computer monitor? In my funk I can't recall. It could have been the whole dark, rainy weekend. I don't have the faintest idea what Degauss means, or how it might function if I got up my nerve to push one of the buttons.

While I was in Lincoln I did a major degrease recall func^ on the light fixtures in the kitchen and dining room with Mr. Clean. And boy, that bald guy can dance.

My dad's house is in better shape than my crazy condo. Back home in Plano I was inspired to do a refrigerator Degross Skunc recall^ before I bought groceries and the rains began.

It's possible the young man in this photo is my great grandfather, Paul Goss. I drove through Auburn, Nebraska on Thursday. Something twinged in the lost junior high locker combination Goss recall^ func of my memory. Paul's father, Albert Goss, was a photographer in Auburn.

I'm not older than dirt, but I am older than Etch-a-Sketch. True, if you shake me a bit I tend to erase! Etch-a-Sketch is a mere forty-six years old.

One entry found for degauss:

Main Entry: Pronunciation: (")dE-'gausFunction: transitive verbEtymology: de- + gauss, after Karl F. Gauss: to remove or neutralize the magnetic field of - de·gauss·er noun

Ever wonder what that "degauss" button on your monitor does besides make a buzzing noise and cause the screen to go crazy for a second? Though that's its main purpose, the degauss button has another useful feature. To understand it, you'll first need to know that the earth has natural magnetic fields. The magnetic charges from these fields can build up inside your monitor, causing a loss of color accuracy. Degaussing scares the bad magnetism out of the monitor and fills it with ...

To scare bad magnetism, it is useful to know the dance moves for the Funky Chicken.


Driving Miss Dante

There's purgatory. There's limbo. And then there's DFW airport. Talk about your circles of Hell! "Unintelligent design" is the cover story of the March Discover magazine, but it isn't about confusing the ramps for arrivals and departures.

Feeling confused and trapped, and perhaps sucked down into the vortex? Don't feel alone. Freaking because three lanes are merging into one in just twenty feet? Wondering if clear directional guidance in the parking garages is reserved for baptized true believers? What does it mean if your flight is changed to a different gate and baggage claim turnstile?

I'm betting the afterlife is a lot like baggage claim. Your stuff pops up from the chute, then drops down to the carousel to circle and circle unclaimed for all eternity.

I can still see my high school English teacher drawing Inferno diagrams on the chalkboard. That was well before scientists encountered the enormous mimivirus that looks suspiciously like the design for the airport terminal. I'm hoping there will be a Cliff's Notes for DFW soon!


These words of wisdom hang on the basement wall at the old homestead. They still ring true long after the olden 1980s:

Six phases of a project

  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Disillusionment
  3. Panic
  4. Search for the Guilty
  5. Punishment of the Innocent
  6. Praise and Honors for the Non Participants

These even older words from Grandma's house get truer by the year:

We grow too soon oldt
Und too late schmardt

Now this wise reminder for my far-roaming sons:


I've made the pattern, and I'm looking for my embroidery hoop.


Use your head to choose presidential library site

In my gratitude journal I am thanking my lucky stars my name isn't Letitia Fitch. Letitia was the first wife of Iowa millionaire Fred W. Fitch, the shampoo mogul. In 1892 he whomped up a snake-oil concoction to market in hand-blown glass bottles as the "Ideal Hair Grower and Dandruff Cure". Fred and Letitia separated in 1923, and divorced in 1926, by which time Fitch was living with Gertrude, a former maid twenty-four years his junior. We will restrain ourselves from saying he was scratching that itch. In 1946 the FTC decided that dandruff was not an abnormal condition, and therefore could not be cured, improving many folks' self-esteem. *

My dad has been singing the Fitch shampoo jingle all week. Are you ready?

Don't despair,
Use your head,
Save your hair!
Use Fitch Shampoo!

If it itches
Use Fitch's!

The jingle was performed by Tommy Dorsey, Guy Lombardo, Benny Goodman, and others on the "Fitch Bandwagon" radio show. It would make a terrific campaign song for Texas' own incumbent Governor Goodhair, Republican Rick Perry. The Fitch product line was eventually sold to Bristol-Myers, the company that brought us Body On Tap shampoo with beer, and the warning not to take internally.

I brought the jingle singing on myself by telling Dad that I woke up one morning with a song from the 1968 movie version of the 1947 musical (with Fred Astaire and Petula Clark!), "Finian's Rainbow", stuck in my head:

When the idle poor
Become the idle rich
You'll never know
Just who is who
Or who is which.

Won't it be rich
When everyone's poor relative
Becomes a "Rockefellative",
And palms no longer itch--
What a switch!...

...And when all your neighbors
Are upper class
You won't know your 'Georges'
From your 'Astors'.

Ah, yes! Sylvestor McMonkey McBean of The Sneetches Star-Off Machine helps all the folks in Bush/Perry country believe they are equals down on the beaches at those frankfurter roasts. These guys are so Head and Shoulders above the rest.

Out in Lubbock folks are crying real, wet tears today because their proposal has been eliminated from consideration for the Dubya Presidential Library (with Speak & Spell!). The tears are fighting grass fires in the drought-stricken areas of west Texas. This might be the most beneficial thing Dubya has accomplished in his presidency.

...West Texans had pledged to raise more than $300 million for the library. They said Thursday they were disappointed but not particularly surprised that their bid had foundered.
"We regret it. But it's a big decision, and I respect it," said Mike Weiss, longtime friend of the first couple who served as co-chair of the West Texas coalition. "I always thought we were kind of a long shot.
"Most people knew we kind of had a geographical disadvantage and it was going to be hard to overcome."...

SMU and UD in Dallas have also made proposals for the No President Left Behind Library, but I am worried neither one has enough land available for the Brush Clearing Institute.

*Jun. 10, 1946
"You've got a very bad head condition," says the barber delicately.

"Dandruff, you mean?" says the victim in the chair.

Solemnly the barber nods, solemnly picks up a bottle. . . .

Magic Flute & Lion King

Do not equate pink hair and tie-dye with hippies and flakes!

Having been so recently impressed, intrigued, inspired by Zandra Rhodes' costume designs and printed fabrics for the Dallas Opera's "Magic Flute" production, it was a great treat to see the Joan Morris, Master Dyer exhibit at the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery. The Gallery in the Home Economics Building at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is showing this gem through the end of March.

Morris practices the ancient Japanese art of shibori dyeing with thoroughly modern results. She created the fabulous fabrics for Julie Taymor's Lion King costumes on Broadway and in touring productions. She works in the costume shop for Dartmouth University as a dyer for all theatre productions, but also works with the mathematics department in courses of pattern and calculus demonstrating the math behind shibori technique. With another artist, Michele Ratte, she has developed a technique for making monoprints of 23 karat gold onto her dyed fabrics with gorgeous results.


Soft Old Cheney

Turtle doves and freight train whistles wake me. I am home. Not the home of everyday life, but the home of my childhood. Not even the house of my childhood, but the magical, soft, comforting yet exciting sounds in my night memories; summer camp cabin or Grandma's pink bedroom with the rose patterned curtains. Wood floors squeaking under rocking chairs, the low hum of grown-up conversation, buzzing insects just outside the window screens, and distant thunder combine in a cushioning amniotic sphere.

South of Lincoln the country roads are poetry. "Going out Old Cheney"--that would be a lovely drive east in the county as Old Cheney Road goes from blacktop to gravel. Turn south on a mile road and cross Yankee Hill Road, Rokeby Road, Saltillo.

Old Cheney Road never reaches Cheney, the "populated place" too small to be a hamlet. Take 84th Street two miles south of Old Cheney Road to Yankee Hill to find the spot. If you are driving along Highway 2 you'll spot a large yellow barn slowly being dismantled by nature or intent. That's Cheney. Two churches, the Methodist founded in 1880. Say it softly. "Cheney" sounds like "shaney", "Cheyenne", or the gentle shun in "nation". It's not "check", "chuck", Dick.

Cheney. Cheney was platted in 1874. It was named in memory of a man by that name who was the first settler on the town-site. Cheney is shortened from Cheyney's Station the name by which the town was originally called.

Walk along the track. Rocks crunch under foot. Wind rustles the dry grass, and rattles loose pieces of the grain elevator. Pick up two rusty old spikes. Drop them in the back. They clink pleasantly as the car bumps down the gravel road back to the highway.

As for check chuck Cheney, it is true Dick Vader was born in a secure undisclosed location otherwise known as Lincoln, Nebraska. Read the fine print if you must, but please go back to the sounds above.

Cheney, Dick[chē'nē, chā'–]Pronunciation Key
Cheney, Dick (Richard Bruce Cheney), 1941–, vice president of the United States (2001–), b. Lincoln, Nebr. At 13 he and his family moved to Casper, Wyo. http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/people/A0907136.html

Vice president of the United States, former U.S. representative, and former secretary of defense. Born Richard Bruce Cheney, on January 30, 1941, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Cheney was raised in Casper, Wyoming by his parents, Marjorie and Richard H. Cheney; his father worked for the Department of Agriculture as a soil conservation agent. The younger Cheney won a scholarship to Yale University but dropped out during his second year because of poor scholastic performance. He worked for the next two years before returning to college at the University of Wyoming, where he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science by 1966. http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=9246063


Thursday's Word

Each Thursday afternoon my art student is over-the-top smitten with the sound of a new word or phrase. Two weeks ago the word was "trespassing". Last week the phrase was "Venn berrygram". Today...

May I have the envelope, please.

The Oscar goes to "Ton Foyage". This is the first award for a mangled expression wishing your friends a nice spring break vacation. Thank heaven it has nothing to do with goose liver or cheese. After listening to the phrase chanted for over an hour, it did bring up long lost memories of a 1962 Disney movie.

pate (2)
"paste," 1706, from Fr. pâté, from O.Fr. paste, earlier pastée, from paste (see paste (n.)). Pâté de foie gras (1827) is lit. "pie of fat liver;" originally served in a pastry (as still in Alsace), the phrase now chiefly in Eng. with ref. to the filling.

Degustation] Quel Fromage!
Posted on Monday, January 16, 2006. From “Adapting a Lexicon for the Flavor Description of French Cheeses,” by Annlyse Rétiveau, Delores H. Chambers, and Emilien Esteve, in Food Quality and Preference. Originally from Harper's Magazine, July 2005.

Sweaty: sour, stale, somewhat cheesy aromatics reminiscent of perspiration-generated foot odor, found in unwashed gym socks and shoes
Goaty: pungent, musty, and somewhat sour, reminiscent of wet animal hair (fur)
Animalic: a combination of aromatics associated with farm animals and the inside of a barn
Musty/earthy: a slight musty aromatic associated with raw potatoes and damp humus
Musty/dry: aromatics associated with closed air spaces, such as attics and closets
Ashy/sooty: bark-like lingering aromatics associated with a cold campfire
Fermented: combination of sour aromatics associated with green vegetation, sauerkraut, soured hay, or composted grass
Green/herbaceous: fresh, green, slightly sour aromatics associated with green vegetables, newly cut vines, snap peas
Chemical: an aromatic associated with a broad range of compounds, which may or may not include chlorine, ammonia, aldehydes, etc.
Biting: a slight burning, prickling, and/or numbness of the tongue and/or mouth surface
Butyric: an aromatic that is sour and cheesy, reminiscent of baby vomit

We saw the Disney movie "Bon Voyage" as a family at the drive-in back in the Camelot era. It probably colored my ideas about world travel for the next forty-plus years without my ever realizing it--Fred MacMurray, Jane Wyman, and Tommy Kirk, man-hole covers, the Eiffel Tower, and a special voice pronouncing "guillotine!"

Whenever your spring break begins, and wherever you are headed, ton foyage to you.


Storm clouds are a-brewin'

Please don't tell a nervous preschooler that we are likely to have severe storms and a tornado and "our umbrellas will not help at all". This is the beginning of spring in Tornado Alley, and the beginning of tornado obsession for preschoolers. If this student's teacher really told him that our umbrellas were useless, that person should be flogged for inciting a riot.

Like the first recorded case of bird flu (or pink eye, or head lice) in humans, the first case of tornado obsession is the tip of the spring preschooler weatherphobia epidemic. This disease spreads at light speed from preschool to play group to playground. "Oh, Lordy, Ms. Louizeey, wheeze all agonna die!"

From now until May, I dread the slightest dark cloud over the DFW Metroplex. Mass hysteria is likely to ensue. Thunder. Tornado. Katrina. Bugs. Fear of the water being turned off for plumbing repairs. Fear of flushing toilets. Fear of things that don't go down when the toilet flushes. These are all major sources of hysteria in the preschool classroom. One fear morphs into the next then compounds, swirls, kicks into warp speed, and adds those special Disney features from Pinocchio, the Lion King, Cruella DeVille, Ursula the sea witch....

Fast forward to junior high health class. Remember the color filmstrip about chewing tobacco and mouth cancer? There is no scarier footage in all of Hollywood's special effects than those technicolor photos of rotten jaws and diseased tongues. The second best motivational video award belongs to the driver training film with the teen driver whose head is sliced off "on a guy wire". Then the film shows slices of the young driver's brain, and you will never, ever want to eat the macaroni salad at a family reunion so long as you live and drive. I'm so old my sons are all beyond driver training, but I hope they are scared to death of chewing tobacco and guy wires and mayonaise.

A kindly but gruff allergist once told me that I was just too diggety dog smart and sensitive. I shouldn't read about symptoms or diseases because I really couldn't help personalizing the manifestations. "You are too sensitive to ever eat onions again," he told me. "It doesn't matter if you are actually allergic to onions or not. You have read about anaphylactic shock. You know too much for your own good." The double secret agent with the special handshake says, "If I tell you the code, I will have to kill you." This message will self-destruct. Cue the theme song.

Hypochondria is phoning the doctor whenever things don't go down the flushing toilet. It is being reallio-trulio sure that nonflushers are symptoms of fatal diseases.

hy·po·chon·dri·a (hp-kndr-) n. 1. The persistent conviction that one is or is likely to become ill, often involving symptoms when illness is neither present nor likely, and persisting despite reassurance and medical evidence to the contrary. Also called hypochondriasis. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/

For preschoolers, the equivalent is going to tell the king whenever an acorn plunks on your head or the sky gets the eensy-teensiest-weensy bit gray. Oh, my gosh! Our umbrellas will not help at all! Wheeze all agonna die! Flush and be sure to wash your hands.


Taming the busy

This is the finished "Venn Berrygram" painting. It may look frenetic to you, but it is very much calmed and tamed from its wild origins. Peer down to the early layers and you will sense the State Fair bumper car ride meets The Gnat energy. The hair on my head stands up for dread!

How do we pick the blueberries? How do we make choices in our art? Can we make things clearer? Can we let go of some parts to make the picture better? Simplifying without losing meaning, you think. You are right, and it is a life's work.

What is this, Florida?

But it was an iffy deal...

The early bird gets the wait at my precinct polling place. Jumped out of bed feeling just so incredibly perky compared to the previous days with my head cold that I decided to bop over to vote when the polls opened at seven a.m.

I vote at an elementary school gymnasium, but our schools are off for spring break this week. I took the last parking spot that wasn't handicapped in the small lot by the gym expecting the line to be long already. Funny, though. There were only three people ahead of me. The poll workers had parked in all the spots near the door. Yes, those poll workers who were going to be sitting there for twelve hours straight without moving their cars or much of their anatomy. Huh?! Apparently a voter is not considered a customer, and service is not part of the job. Hallo!? Collin County Election Commissioner! Can you hear me now?

The poll workers were wandering around taping notices on the wall of the gym and fussing through a stack of papers. And fussing. And fussing. And putting on nametags. And announcing loudly that the school custodian didn't arrive to let them into the gym on time to get set up. After they fussed with papers some more they started fretting about the computerized voting machines that were not "powering up" even though they had been plugged in for over twenty-four hours. Like a fantasy from "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," they were counting off the percent of the charging, and phoning the admiral of the fleet. "Sixty-two, sixty-eight, seventy-one..." They don't consider the possibility of swearing each other in until the machines creep into the functioning charge level. They don't imagine that it might be good to explain to the new gal on the crew that the voters (waiting against the wall on the other side of the gym like the opposite sex at the first middle school social) sign their names right side up on the list. It will just be upside down to her. If there are more than two dozen Dems in the precinct to process between seven a.m. and seven p.m. this gal will be in big trouble.

Republicans are forming a long and grumpy line. They are going to call Somebody! This is unacceptable! Their time is money!

We three Democrats are chatting and laughing, even though we didn't have breakfast yet. We are used to disorganization, of course. We are the party of Will Rogers:

I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.

Yes, I finally got to vote, and to rush home for some breakfast before work. Yes, I got a sticker to wear. I even got an invitation to the precinct convention tonight, but, hey, I've already met my Fun Quota for today. I am thinking about applying for the job of county polling station manager, though...


Wasting the weekend with Aetna.com

Dear Aetna.com,

On one page of your website it says,

Print, complete and mail the Order Form with your 90 day prescriptions to:
Aetna Rx Home Delivery.

On another page it states,

Maximum Days Supply
Up to a 60 day supply

It also indicates that personalized plan information by telephone is

Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

So after spending much of the morning clicking hither and thither through the website seeking the definitive answer about my mail-in Rx plan, I attempted the telephone method. The automated voice recognition fellow was a very pleasant, polite bass. Maybe I could date him. He sounded about 5'11". It would be easy getting acquainted as he already seemed to know so much about me, like my name and birthday. He was good at anticipating what I was about to say, such as when he just guessed right out of the blue that my ID number might begin with a "W". He didn't just talk, talk, talk about his job or sports, and was pleased to ask me little questions and listen to my replies. I took his offered arm as we skirted the puddles on the glistening sidewalk, under the misty glow of the streetlights. We went around the corner to that quiet spot with no ferns to have a drink together. He asked if I would please call him during normal business hours. Then, like lots of guys, he just disappeared into the void, giving me no answers, and no further options. At least I hadn't put on pantyhose!


Zat was Venn, Diz is Now

What is a Venn diagram? You know them, even if you don't know you do. They are those intersecting circle illustrations that describe specific populations.

First, you lassoo all women in one corral. Then you swing your lariat around everyone in the United States. Next you snare everybody born 1946-1956 in a noose. Then you enclose all the art teachers in a pink bubble, and all bloggers in a cyber circle. These circles all buy tickets for the bumper cars at the Texas State Fair where they bump into and overlap each other. Don Ho sings "Tiny Bubbles" with Lawrence Welk's champagne music bubble machine and Mr. Moose dropping ping pong balls on Captain Kangaroo.

Hua li'i
I ka waina
Au hau'oli
I ka wa au inu

Tiny bubbles
Make me warm all over
With a feelin' that
I'm gonna love you till the end of time

Who a leakied is so last week. This week it is who a barfied. Put a dozen first graders in a circle. One of them projectile vomits. In their panic and body-functions exhilaration, the eleven run right through the barf on the rug in attempts to flee. This requires a different diagram and a big can of Lysol.

The elementary art students had different ideas about Robert McCloskey's childrens' classic, Blueberries For Sal. One student drew manic overlapping circles for giant blueberries. He was making a "Venn berrygram!"


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