Friday, January 30, 2009


Random musings after a glance at today's news headlines-

-If you're a governor who's been caught on tape auctioning off a US Senate seat, at least have the balls to attend your own impeachment trial. You'll still be impeached, but you'll at least preserve a shred of human dignity, and show an ounce of respect for all the citizens who once voted for you. Unless, of course, you really are as nutty as a jar of Planters Peanuts.

-Speaking of which, after all we've learned about the peanut processing plant that has killed, what, a dozen people so far, does anyone out there really still believe the food industry is able to self-regulate?

-If you're a mom with six kids who is "surprised" that after taking fertility drugs you suddenly have eight more, you're on route to lose an IQ contest with bread mold.

-I used to have a lot of respect for Jason Varitek.

-After running the country into the ground over the last eight years, House and Senate Republicans owe it to all of us to just shut the fuck up and punch the "yes" button during each vote for a while.

-People who gave money to pass California's Proposition 8 (which banned same-sex marriage) just went to court to get an exemption from California campaign-finance disclosure laws which mandate that their names be publicly available. They lost. Welcome to Democracy, guys. When you give money to take away your fellow citizens rights, don't expect to get extra rights for yourself in return.

-After having one of its worst years on record, 80% of Wall Street workers got bonuses averaging $112,000 last year. 64% of them don't think they got enough. That, in a nutshell, is what's gone wrong with the country.

-Joe Torre is The Man.

-Just months after Sarah Palin burst onto the national scene, a volcano near Anchorage, Alaska is about to erupt. Maybe there actually is a vengeful God...


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

R.I.P., John Updike

Fare thee well, we say.
Your writing kept us all young.
Kid fans say, "Adieu".

Monday, January 26, 2009

Why B Normal?

Just when you thought the inauguration of Barack Obama had made it safe to come out from under the covers, there are new Looney Tunes out there, making a good case for just staying in bed until Spring.

Here in Massachusetts a former state Senator, who was caught on an FBI camera stuffing envelopes of cash into her bra, has explained that this was perfectly innocent- friends have given her over $70,000 in cash in white envelopes over the last few years, and there was never any suggestion that they were owed any political favors back. I'm so glad she cleared that up, and it leaves me thinking I need to go out and get a new group of friends.

Oh yes, and our House Speaker is resigning because it came out that a lobbyist paid tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills for his family, so life is back to normal in the Bay State.

We at least seem normal when compared with Texas, where the State Board of Education is taking another whack at Evolution. Yes, folks, Evolution is "just a theory", and so are gravity and plate tectonics. Personally, I want the Texas board to rule that all school textbooks have to include equal time for my theory, that the earth's continents ride around on the backs of giant, subterranean, fire-belching turtles.

And what discussion of "normality" would be complete without reference to Illinois Governor Rod "Bats in the Belfry" Blagojevich, who was caught on tape trying to sell a Senate seat? Yesterday he told the newspaper that his arrest by the FBI was comparable to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and that in trying to put his tribulations into perspective, "I thought about Mandela, Dr. King, [and] Gandhi."

You keep thinking, there, Rod, you'll get that insanity plea accepted yet. Well, at least you don't live here (I think this must be W's new address)-

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dear World-

This just in from my brother-in-law-

Dear World:

We, the United States of America , your top quality supplier of the ideals of liberty and democracy, would like to apologize for our 2001-2008 interruption in service. The technical fault that led to this eight-year service outage has been located, and the software responsible was replaced November 4. Early tests of the newly installed program indicate that we are now operating correctly, and we expect it to be fully functional on January 20. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage. We look forward to resuming full service and hope to improve in years to come.

We thank you for your patience and understanding.


The United States of America

Saturday, January 17, 2009

No Aqua Vita, Prego.

Venice is flooding again, but you have to love the spirit of the Italians...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just Give Me Some Shoulder Pads-

I don’t care what anyone says- the 80s were a lot of fun. And 10 bonus points for being able to name the movie this song was featured in (50 bonus points for being able to describe the scene).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

10 Things I Learned from My Cats-

A week or so ago one of the national Sunday newspaper magazines had a story titled “ten things You Can Learn from Your Pet. That got me thinking about all the valuable lessons I have learned over the years from our cats-

10. If you have a tummy ache, hacking up disgusting things in someone else’s slippers will make you feel better.

9. You can always get what you want by wailing loudly enough for it.

8. A good goal in life is to sleep all day in the sun.

7. Canned horse meat is tasty.

6. So are mouse heads.

5. It’s never a bad time to lick yourself.

4. There’s nothing quite as amusing as an empty cardboard box.

3. Couches are for shredding.

2. People will forgive anything if you’re cute.

1. As long as you don’t get caught, it’s ok to pee on the carpet.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Random Thoughts-

OK, here is my reply to Sarah on Facebook. The challenge is to post 25 random things about you. All you BLOGGERS, go nuts!!

(yes, that is me gathering corn at age 5).


1. It doesn’t matter what time I go to bed, I’m awake and unable to sleep after sunrise. I love waking up with the sun, but on the very rare occasions when I get to bed at 2 a.m., it’s a drag.

2. In my 20s I was a part-time roadie for several Boston-area bands.

3. I love ducks. In my 30s I raised multiple families of domestic ducks, and invented the under-appreciated wintertime folk art of “Ducky Doodles”, for which you need 400 wild mallards, 20 pounds of cracked corn, and something pithy (or rude) you want to spell out in the snow.

4. I have a profound fear of heights (or, as somebody wise once pointed out, of edges).

5. My secret unfulfilled career ambition would be to write a daily cartoon strip.

6. About the same time I was raising ducks I also raised house finches, and one Christmas let them loose for a week so they could roost in the Xmas tree. They enjoyed themselves tremendously, and it was great fun to have them singing away in the tree, but (after cleaning up) I decided it was not an experiment which was worth repeating.

7. Amy & I amuse/embarrass/irritate people by breaking into duets of Tom Leher songs at the slightest provocation.

8. I love Summertime more than any other season.

9. Someday I want to spend a month chasing tornadoes.

10. I really cannot think of any other house, town or region I’d rather live in than where I live now.

11. In my one experience with group therapy, I managed to make every single member of the group hate me within 4 weeks. In the years since, I’ve come to take an odd, perverse pride in that accomplishment.

12. I’ve written two unpublished novels and a few unproduced plays. I want to get back to setting time aside each day for a new project, but keep putting it off.

13. I graduated high school in three years, took a “year off” before college, and became a living example of my guidance counselor’s warning to students that if you don’t apply to a college during your year off, you may wind up never going at all. To paraphrase Catherine Aird’s advice- "If you can't be a good example, then take pride in serving as a horrible warning."

14. I love parsnips.

15. I took 3 years of Latin in high school and am going to take it back up (someday). It’s a wonderful language.

16. I make a mean red sauce.

17. I love Zydeco music & dancing, of which, sadly, there is not much in Happy Valley.

18. I have what some have termed “a disturbing ability” to recite the lyrics to bad ‘70s and ‘80s songs.

19. We moved here in 2005, and I’m still unpacking boxes.

20. I want to create a medieval herb garden in the back yard.

21. I wish I had someone to play chess with on a regular basis.

22. As a kid I was pathologically shy, and as an adult am not a lot better.

23. I love tomatoes in any form (fresh, frozen, canned, dried) in any dish, at any meal.

24. In the 1st through 4th grades, between 1968 and 1972, I was schooled in a Pioneer Valley “Progressive” open-classroom school (the Common School), staffed by a mix of dedicated longtime teachers and UMass graduate students, where we painted a map of India on the floor, raised chickens in the classroom, and took a trip to New York where we stayed at teacher’s friends apartments.

25. I take much, much too much time over things like this, because I tend to overthink everything.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Random Wednesday Thoughts-

"Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything." -Charles Kuralt

"No one can have a higher opinion of him than I have, and I think he's a dirty little beast." -W.S. Gilbert

"If computers get too powerful, we can organize them into a committee -that will do them in." -anonymous

"Criminal: A person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation." -Howard Scott

"Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at." -Carlos A. Urbizo

"You can fool too many of the people too much of the time." -Jameas Thurber

"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example." -Mark Twain

"Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read." -Frank Zappa

"Nobody can be exactly like me. Even I have trouble doing it." -Tallulah Bankhead

"You can go a long way with a smile. You can go a lot farther with a smile and a gun." -Al Capone

"When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.'" -Theodore Roosevelt

"Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong." -Oscar Wilde

"Conscience is the inner voice that warns us that someone might be looking." -H.L. Mencken

"The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made." -Jean Giraudoux

"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Bill Watterson

"Calamities are of two kinds: misfortunes to ourselves, and good fortune to others." -Ambrose Bierce

"When you go into court you are putting your fate into the hands of twelve people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty." -Norm Corbsy

"Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow." -anonymous

"Football is a mistake. It combines the two worst elements of American life. Violence and committee meetings." -George Will

Monday, January 05, 2009

Dear Sgt. Sterno-

Malach the Merciless asks:

Dear Seargent Sterno, what is the deal with Scientologists?


Sgt. Sterno has no religious biases or prejudices against any of the religions that make the Baby Jesus cry. But Sgt. Sterno does want to point out that Scientology was created by a science-fiction writer, and was first mentioned in a science fiction short story, and suggests that if you are going to follow a religion created by a science fiction writer you may end up with Tom Cruise jumping up and down like a deranged jack-in-the-Box on Oprah's couch and make the Baby Jesus say "what a freaking idiot!"

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Dear Sgt. Sterno-

Note to MMB readers: Today we are debuting a new feature here at MMB, the "Dear Sgt. Sterno" column, which will be hosted by our own Staff Sergeant Sterno. Sgt. Sterno will be glad to answer a wide variety of questions.

Dear Sgt. Sterno- is wanting to see the Miami Dolphins lose a good enough reason to watch a football game involving the (ugh) Baltimore Ravens?

-Confused & Abused in New England

- -

Dear C&A:

Usually there is no excuse whatsoever for watching a game involving the Baltimore Ravens, but your case is special- Miami forced you New England fans not only to watch the New York Jets last weekend, but to root for them! PTUII! That allows you not only to watch this weeks Miami/Ravens game, but to hope that the Dolphins get the Holy Frigging Snot beat out of them.

-Sgt. Sterno

Based on a True Story...

My Momma has a duck-
she wears it like a hat.
I'd really, really rather
my Momma had a cat.

I wish she had a kitten,
named Rose or Friar Tuck.
A cuddly, bubbly kitten,
but no- she has a duck.

My Momma's duck is big and white,
and Poppa's awful pleased
she doesn't take it to bed at night,
'cause feathers make him sneeze.

My Momma takes her duck for walks,
she talks to it for hours,
she lets it on the couch, and once,
she put it in the shower.

My Momma's duck lives in the house,
it eats with us at meals.
When Aunt Bernice saw that one night,
she made an awful squeal.

My Momma has a lovely duck,
I can't complain 'bout that...
but I'd really, really, rather
my Momma had a cat.