Saturday, December 29, 2012

Doing Stuff is Hard

I had my Charters to the Moon brochure framed.  (The top is the original; the bottom is a scan.)

I haven't hung it up yet.  That will be a major project!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Late Bloomer

Well, it's the last day before winter break, and this is how my amaryllis looks:

It's just about to bloom, but I won't take it home because it is toxic to cats.   I hope it will keep itself fresh until January 2nd.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Today is 12/12/12!  To celebrate let's eat a dozen donuts!

Then let's break a dozen eggs!

Finally, we'll watch The Dirty Dozen...

....or perhaps Twelve Angry Men!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Krampus Link

Reed discovered a wonderful site:

Thursday, December 06, 2012

A Cold & Fuzzy Evening

 Last night Sue, Diane, Mikel, and I went to visit Jane in the North End.  Jane gave us wine and snacks to warm us up.

Then we went to Regina's Pizza.  Nobody wanted her picture taken, so I took mine.

 The pizza was great.  We ate a lot.

These pictures were above our booth.

A good time was had by all on that chilly night.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lunar Consolation

You will remember how piqued I was to learn that I missed being in the First Moon Flights Club.  In a moon-envy-induced frenzy I began collecting moony articles circa 1969 in all the newspapers we had available online.  A Los Angeles Times article* tipped me off to another moon souvenir worth having!  It seems that Trans International Airlines also capitalized on the moon-madness with a travel guide: Charters to the Moon.
"This booklet was prepared especially for the travel agent as a guide to use in planning, for his clients, future-out-of-this-world charter travel.  As the leading air charter carrier, TIA is proud to help travel agents to prepare for the future, just as we work together in the present."

A Google search located one of these brochures for sale.  For $30 I purchased my own moon souvenir!

More elaborate and goofier than the First Moon Flights Club card, this brochure lays out in detail the delights of lunar vacations."Enjoy your stay on the Moon, one of the most relaxing resorts in the Universe.  Its unique attributes include: smog-free atmosphere, no rain or snow, no breath of wind, and profound silence.  Your hotel, the Luna, is located in the Sea of Showers--which is, of course, not a sea (nor does the moon have showers)..."  "After your restful 63 1/2-hour trip by TIA '949' Super Spacecraft (you travel at speeds up to 36,000 miles per hour--six times the speed of the fastest bullet!), and after relaxation in your Luna luxery resort hotel, remember--Budget Rent-A-Mooncar serves all the Moon, with the latest model surface vehicles.  Offices: Copernicus Crater."   "For a unique experience, try a 'Moonhike.' The supporting strength of the lunar surface is much greater than previously suspected."  It goes on like that.  See large scans of the pages here for more excitement!

Now I need to find some way of preserving and displaying both sides of this brochure.

*Hulse, Jerry You May Be Man on the Moon, LA Times, June 15, 1969, pgH6.
Also mentioned in Moon Trip, Schenectady Gazette, June 16, 1969, p. 13. Found in the Google News Archive.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

New Beer in Old Bottles

Dave made some Blood Orange beer and gave me a couple of bottles.  He wisely uses old beer bottles to hold his own brew.  He warned me that I wouldn't be able to discern a blood orange taste, however, it was fruity and smooth.  Kudos to Dave the brewer!
You can't see it very clearly on this picture, but my beer mug has a picture of Robby the Robot.

I paired the beer with Corn Bread Tamale Pie, an old Joy of Cooking recipe I use again and again.  This time I replaced the ground beef with soy protein crumbles.  It's great comfort food for cold weather.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Lunar Regrets

In the 1960s Pan Am started taking reservations for its first moon flight.  Now that there is a TV show about the airlines, people are pulling out their Pan Am souvenirs, including their "First Moon Flights" Club cards.

(Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

OK, I was a moon enthusiast.  I did a report on the moon in school at some point.  Why did I not pick up on this?  I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey, which featured a Pan Am Moon shuttle, yet somehow I missed out.  I would have cherished that "First Moon Flights" Club card now that Pan Am is kaput and Youtube is filled with videos demonstrating how the moon landing was faked!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Beware of the Water-bearer

Steve got me this nice souvenir from the Provincetown Carnival.

I wondered why aliens are so skinny; you can see this one's ribs sticking out.  Steve thought it was the long space journeys.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Storm Amuses Cats.

The whole northeast was not devastated by Frankenstorm; my neighborhood came out on its feet.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Quiet Weekend

On Friday evening I joined Julie, Dave, and Sue for dinner at L'Impasto.   I had lasagne made with bechamal sauce.  It was awfully good and awfully rich.

On Saturday I watched Tabloid, which was much more interesting than I thought it would be.

Today there is a ribs festival on Cambridge St.  I took some snaps; but I ate no ribs.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Obligatory Foliage Photos

 A lovely crane is peeking through the branches.

 I photoshop-fiddled with the hue.

 Inman Square Market.
This JesusFest poster has been blocking this window for many years. I imagine people going year after year and finding no fest.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Olde Tyme Science Fiction

Harvard Magazine has a section in which readers may ask if anybody can identify a certain quotation, poem, story, etc.  A recent supplicant asked for help identifying a 1950s science fiction story vaguely remembered.  I immediately recognized the plot as an Isaac Asimov story.  Though I could not remember the title, Wikipedia's detailed bibliography of Asimov's short stories allowed me to track it down.  I then e-mailed the information in, hoping to have the glory of being the first responder.  Damn!  I was not fast enough.  The guy who won hadn't even read the story; he'd only heard a description of it.

I started reading science fiction pretty young; I remember reading the Space Cat series and Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars.

In later years I had a subscription to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.  There are some stories that stick with me but, like the questioner above, I cannot recall the title or author.  In one such story, the Earth passed through some kind of field that stripped animals of the ability to kill other animals.  I think the plot stuck with me because war disappeared without pain or effort.  Along comes this field; violence is banned.  A bullfighter could not bring himself to do his bullfighting job.  A lion starved to death, because he was an obligate carnivore.  I felt sorry for the lion, though the author said it was necessary for the New World to flourish.

Now I realize that such a New World is unworkable.  Rabbits, deer, small fish, and other former prey would eat all the plants in no time.  Soon the whole animal kingdom would starve to death, cursing that allegedly utopian field!  Good thing it was just a story!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Enduring Icons and Bright Ideas.

While reading the Beloit Mindset List for the class of 2016, I stopped at # 27:

Outdated icons with images of floppy discs for “save,” a telephone for “phone,” and a snail mail envelope for “mail” have oddly decorated their tablets and smart phone screens.

I hadn't really thought about that before.  Suddenly a light went on in my head.

I had been idlely wondering if, since the familiar incandescent light bulb is being  phased out, would the newer fluorescent bulbs come to represent bright ideas.  However, these other ancient icons have persevered; why not the old light bulb?

I have a theory in connection with the bright-idea idea.  I remember little drawings of Thomas Edison with his light bulb hovering above his head in a thinking-cloud frame.  This was the pictograph of Edison inventing the light bulb. I think this image led to the now common use of the pictograph above for having a bright idea.  Maybe people zillions of years in the future will still use this icon and have no idea why it should represent a bright idea.

Think about that, will you.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Not a Kitchen Nightmare

The last time my neighbor and I did a Costco run, one of the samples tables was touting this fake ground beef:

It tasted good, and I wanted to reduce my red meat consumption as painlessly as possible, so I bought some.  Then I cooked an eggplant, put it in a pan with some of the fake beef and a jar of store-bought basil pasta sauce and simmered the whole mess for a spell.  Then I poured it over penne.  It was quite tasty.

This is significant because most of my spontaneous cooking experiments turn out OK at best and sometimes just plain bad.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

A Pair of Back-to-School Poems

by Kay Ryan

Crow school
is basic and
short as a rule—
just the rudiments
of quid pro crow
for most students.
Then each lives out
his unenlightened
span, adding his
bit of blight
to the collected
history of pushing out
the sweeter species;
briefly swaggering the
swagger of his
aggravating ancestors
down my street.
And every time
I like him
when we meet.
(The Best of It, Grove: New York, 2010, p. 225)

by Stevie Smith

Let all the little poets be gathered together in classes
And let prizes be given to them by the Prize Asses
And let them be sure to call all the little poets young
And worse follow what's bad begun
But do not expect the Muse to attend this school
Why look already how far off she has flown, she is no fool.

(Collected Poems, New Directions: New York, 1983, p. 269)

Saturday, September 01, 2012

It's Better to Have Gifts than Receipts!

Here are the gifts I bought for myself in New Mexico.

 I remember the title of this post from a Smothers Brothers record, but I haven't followed this up.  

Amber earrings

Reversible hemp coat.

The back of the blue side.

Loose-weave cotton shawl.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Post-Vacation Processing

Naturally, when I get back from vacation, I start Photoshopping the photos.

A Duotone of the Santa Fe Opera House.

The Valles Caldera modified.

Dad's house.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


There were a zillion prairie dogs in the Valles Caldera, but I couldn't get a good shot of any of them.  The closest I got was one of a prairie dog butt as it dived into its hole.  I had to borrow pictures from Chuck.  Here they are, after the usual Photoshopping.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Missing Word

I am indebted to Chuck for recovering the word retronym (of which there are many examples).  I had learned it long ago, then forgot the word while remembering the definition.  Why does my brain do this?

retronym, n.

Pronunciation:  Brit. /ˈrɛtrə(ʊ)nɪm/ , U.S. /ˈrɛtroʊˌnɪm/
Etymology:  < retro- prefix + -onym comb. form.
orig. U.S.

  A neologism created for an existing object or concept because the exact meaning of the original term used for it has become ambiguous (usually as a result of a new development, technological advance, etc.).A retronym typically consists of the original term combined with a modifying word.

1980   W. Safire in N.Y. Times Mag. 27 July 8/1   Frank Mankiewicz, president of National Public Radio, collects these terms and calls them ‘retronyms’—nouns that have taken an adjective to stay up-to-date and to fend off newer terms. Other retronyms include ‘hard-cover book’.
1988   Washington Post (Electronic ed.) 6 Nov. g1   True art lay elsewhere, probably in what we now, in a classic retronym, call ‘live drama’.
1995   I. L. Allen City in Slang ix. 229   The name East Village was borrow prestige from the name of Greenwich Village or just The Village, which then became the retronym West Village.
2003   Edmonton (Alberta) Jrnl. (Nexis) 22 Nov. a13   Older folks, who actually grew up when all clocks had moving hands, phones had dials and wires, and milk was just plain old milk, are usually familiar with both the item and its retronym (analogue clock, rotary and land-line phones and whole milk).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back From NM

I spent a week in New Mexico.  I saw five operas and one concert, hiked in Bandelier and the Valles Caldera, went to Santa Fe and Tesuque.  Here are a few photos.

For more these and more photos in a variety of sizes go to: