Sunday, October 17, 2010

Interesting Weekend

When I came home from work on Friday, my cable AND my TV were out.  We called AT&T and were told a technician would be out between when we called and 9pm.  They never showed.  

Oh - also - our phone was out.  Saturday came and we were promised a technician would be out before noon.  Noon came and went.  Nada.  Finally, around 3pm, AT&T showed up and fixed the problem.  Really?  Not a big deal.  I worked in the garden all day anyway - and Friday night I read books.

However, this afternoon around 5pm, the toilet clogged.  It clogged so badly that it backed up into the tub.  We tried chemicals, boiling water, plunging until our arms fell off.  Nada.

So we called Roto Rooter.  I remember their commercials from when I was a child - a cheery woman's voice sings "Roto Rooter - that's the name" a man's very bass voice sings "and away go troubles down the drain".  The women's voice pipes up one more time "Roto Rooter!!".

They told us they would be at our house no later than 11:30pm.  Sigh.  The bathtub was full of smelly brown stuff - guess what that might be?  The toilet was full of suds from the chemicals and soap we had put in.  

The good news is Roto Rooter showed up at about 10:45pm, and they roto rootered the whole house.  The main guy got up on the roof (who knew?) and throughout our small house could be heard the sound of the metal rooter going deep into our drain and out into the pipe that connects us to city water and sewage in the back yard.  My husband now knows for sure where that pipe is - and Roto Rooter put a treatment in that guarantees their work for 6 months.  This cost us $385.00.  Yes, that is a lot of money, but when you have and it is out of service, that price seems quite good, especially when the work is guaranteed.  I could hear that rooter thingy going for at least 15 minutes - and my husband said he could hear gurgling under the lawn in the back yard.  Weird....but tres bueno!!  

An eventful, but good weekend has come and gone - tomorrow is a work day.  Night night everyone.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

So Funny!!

I have not used Messaging on a phone before - until now.  I am at work and had to instant message one of my coworkers who is not here regarding an issue.  After I received an answer to my question, I attempted to be "cute" and use "message spelling" in the form of:

kthnx - this is pronounced 'K (short for okay), Thanks.

Instead my helpful Messaging program in my phone used spellcheck to guess what I wanted to say and when I pressed the "SEND" button, it sent:


Picturing my coworker scratching his head and trying to figure out what the heck I was trying to say, I hurriedly typed, "Freaking spellck".

But my handy spellcheck kicked in again and when I pressed "SEND", it sent:

Freaking speck.

OK - now my coworker is sure that I'm officially wacko.  He sends me:


As I read my two screwed up messages I begin to laugh hysterically.  When things go wrong, slapstick wrong, stupid wrong - it makes me just laugh so hard I cry.  It's just so serendipitously FUNNY.

My final attempt - after laughing - I attempt to type "Are u loling?  I am", which, of course you can anticipate didn't come out that way.

When I pressed, "SEND",  my coworker received:
Are u liking?  I am.

At which he sent me two emoticons.  They were a smiley face with a gun facing it's brain.  That made me laugh harder.

Now that the fiasco of messaging is over, I went through my settings and found that under "Keyboard" I had "auto spellcheck" on.  I turned it off - and should have no further difficulty or hilarity with this feature.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cutest Youtube Video EVER

This little boy is very articulate, and he likes Betty White.  He notes that she has blond hair and that she's beautiful.  How cute is this???


Yes - you read that right.  For the first time in my life, except for MAYBE one time 7 years ago when there MIGHT have been a female Painted Bunting in our yard (their color is all green), we had the apex, the climax, the utmost B.I.R.D. for me in our yard this morning.   Below is the poor photo from 2006 of what I thought might be a female Painted Bunting. 

Wait for it comes......tom ta da da.......a PAINTED BUNTING - MALE.  My husband and I have always joked that once we have a Painted Bunting in our yard, we can move.  We will have achieved all there is to achieve in back yard bird feeding.  We've had a tired Cardinal (he was migrating, hence his bar fight looks), which we thought was exciting, because we never get Cardinals.  We've had American Redstarts, both male and female.  We've had Common Yellowthroats, Nanday Conures (a parrot species), Yellow Rumped Warblers and Palm Warblers. But never have we had a Painted Bunting.

Heck - we've gone out into the Everglades to see them and didn't see any.  We've gone to places where birders said they've seen tons of them - nada.  

This lady doesn't get them until December, so I wonder why this one is here so early - and in Eastern Florida, which is far more rare than Western Florida, where Pollywog Creek is published. 
I've died and gone to heaven.  Life will be on a downtrend after this - what could be better than this???  

Here are some pics of this most beautiful of birds.....IN MY YARD.....omg omg omg omg:

The last fellow is a Spot Breasted Oriole, which we've had in our yard before.  There were 2 of them this morning.  They are my husband's favorite bird and South Florida is the northern limits of their range.  They are really a tropical Oriole.  What a fabulous morning!!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Various News

This story is about an Antiquarian book fair in Frankfurt, Germany.  I love old books and have been collecting them for years, but not based on worth, but interest to me.  Some of the little known titles of Christian works from the 1800's go for pennies, and I'm not talking about reprints. 

I find this portion interesting:
"But even in the musty sanctuary of the antique book tent, there is no escape from the subject of digitalisation and ebooks that has so dominated the 62nd edition of the fair.

Dan Burnstone, from ProQuest, is trying to do exactly that. His company has launched a project that aims to get all early European books printed between 1475 and 1700 online.

"We don't know how many books we are ultimately dealing with, but we think it's something like one million," said Burnstone during a high-tech presentation in the main fair halls.

"Our plan is to digitalise the holdings of several European libraries over several years."

More digital book news.  Google already has a huge selection of ebooks online, and now Microsoft is getting in the business.

Is it real or is it a forgery?  Remember the James, son of Joseph brother of Jesus ossuary?  The jury is still out as to whether this is authentic or not.  Even if it were ancient, Jesus' name is Greek-i-cized in the New Testament.  Jesus was really called "Joshua" or "Yeshua" and that was a very common name, as was Joseph and James.  In other words, it doesn't prove a thing one way or the other.  But it is fun to think this could be James of the New Testament. 

This is scary.  If you can't stay at New York City's Waldorf-Astoria without worrying about bedbugs, where CAN you stay?  What is this resurgence of such a nasty organism?  Makes you want to stay home.

Speaking of the insect world, perhaps a temporary marriage between the Army and bee scientists has finally reaped results regarding bee colony collapse disorder.  I see very few bees these days in sunny South Florida and I have a butterfly garden with lots of flowers.  It's disconcerting to say the least.

Just Thinking

Sometimes I philosophize, although the internet has one definition for this word, "speculate or theorize about fundamental or serious issues, esp. in a tedious or pompous way."  I hope I am not pompous and not too tedious.

Anyway,  mankind in general gets in trouble when they are young.  Deep, right?  Think about it.  Men have loads of testosterone and the healthy bodies to carry them wherever that testosterone leads, whether to war or lust or ambition.   Because we have a soul whose clock naturally thinks in terms of it being "now" forever, we think we will live forever.  It is not a conscious thought, but rather an unconscious one.  The conscious acknowledgement of death, usually when we are children and a pet or a relative dies, is traumatic.  The quick child immediately connects the dots about death and finds the line ending at self.

But that is conscious.  Youth, in general, in healthy people (which is much more common in this century than in past ones) brings the peak of living.  Everything is new, and those who are attractive have the added bonus - or handicap - of their beauty. 

So I've been thinking about where all the sex and blood letting and heartache and pain in the human race begins - and it begins with puberty and ends with old age.  Maybe even ends with middle age in most.  I don't see too many middle aged or old Muslims strapping bombs to themselves and trying to blow things up.  When there are riots in the Middle East, pay close attention, and you will notice that everyone is young.

It's the same with sex.  When do people have the most sex and, in these days, with the most people?  In youth. 

I've made my point.  Now carry it further.  Mankind is made for eternity, but his body is not.  He comes into life and grows into adulthood and all is well;  in fact, all may be fabulous. 

Then middle age comes.  Time inexorably passes (which has always fascinated me - time, relentless time) and the middle aged man begins to feel his own mortality.  Lets not leave women out - when I say "man", I mean humanity in general.

Young people reject the idea of God as foolish.  They don't need no stinkin' God.  Middle aged people begin to wonder if there's a God and, if it hasn't happened already, become pissed off that He isn't managing things better.  Or they continue to live life as fast as they can, trying to run ahead of the Grim Reaper.  Silly mankind.  Think of all those mid-life crises.  The men who turn in the old broad for a young filly.  The women who spend thousands of dollars on body surgery in a desperate attempt to hold onto their youthful beauty.

By the time people are old, you'd think they'd be trying to find God, since they are going to be meeting Him rather soon.  I'm not sure that happens, but if I were approaching my death - as we all really are - I'd give a lot more thought to the afterlife - is there one, is there a God and who is He? 

Isn't it funny how young people live as if their bodies are eternal, and yet, we don't see anyone from, say, 1860 around anywhere, do we?  Why not?  They're all gone, every last one, no matter how long he lived, he's gone by now.  We, too, will all pass eventually - and everything we think we own and the world that "belongs" to us, our homes, cars, family, ets. - will all either pass on, too - or will become someone elses. 

Isn't that a happy thought for Friday?  Since I believe in God and I've narrowed that further down to belief in Jesus Christ as Savior/Messiah, I have the Bible and how history has borne out the Biblical text, to comfort me in my mortality.   The rest of mankind?  I don't know how they make it through the day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Found Treasure

I've just read a story that has caught my imagination and makes me want to travel to Paris poste-haste to research the life and history of Marthe de Florian, who was 24 years old in 1898. 

The story is as follows:

In June 2010, the granddaughter of Marthe de Florian died at age 91.  Her heirs called in some professionals to find and enumerate all her property, among which was an apartment in Paris for which the "rent" (perhaps taxes or something like a maintenance fee, since the apartment was owned by the family) was paid every month and was up to date.  When the estate managers entered the apartment, they discovered it had not been unlocked for over 70 years.  Everything was as it had been left.  Marthe de Florian's granddaughter had gone to the South of France just before WWII and had never returned, although her estate kept the property payments up to date. 

Evidently, Marthe de Florian left the apartment to her descendants, who kept it as it was when she lived there in the 1890's.

Can you imagine the magic of the moment of opening that door for the first time in 70 years???  The apartment was magnificent and reflected the haute couture of Paris in the 1890's.
Marthe de Florian was a rich demimondaine or coquette (lovely words for a group of upper-class people who lived a pleasure-seeking lifestyle.  Women, especially, did not abstain from sex before marriage and they did not stay sexually loyal to their husbands once married.) 

Marthe lived in Paris in the 9th arrondissement, between the Pigalle red light district and Opera, near the Trinite church.  This is what that area looks like on Google Earth - to the right is the Trinite Church. I could easily picture the type of apartment that Marthe had as being in this area.

Here is another view of the buildings in that area, the area where Marthe de Florian would have lived in 1898.

Here are some pictures in the news of the apartment shortly after it was entered for the first time in 70 years:

The painting is the big news.  It was painted by Italian artist Giovanni Boldini in 1898.  Boldini was born in the Northern Italian city of Ferrara in 1842 and moved to Paris in 1871.  He painted many famous women, all in similar clothes, it would seem.  If you Google his name in "Images", many portraits similar to Ms. de Florian's appear.  It is a beautiful painting, however.  Art experts thought it was one that had never been heard of until they researched the archives of Boldini's widow who recorded the painting in 1951. 

It seems Ms. de Florian "entertained" her "admirers" in this apartment in the 1890's, among them Boldini.  Visiting cards from admirers, specifically Boldini, with a love note penned on the back were found tucked away in various drawers.  Marthe was also "admired" by Georges Clemenceau, Prime Minister of France from 1906 to 1909. 

The love letters she received from her many suitors were wrapped in separate packages and neatly tied with different colored ribbons. 

Just look at the pictures above and imagine.  The wallpaper is lovely, the high ceilings, the gold drapes, the huge mirror.  The vanity in the rear of the photo in the corner is breathtaking. 

Just look at the closeup of this piece of furniture.  There is a table to the left that hold a candelabra, candles of various heights, indicating use, on top.  I love the sun slanting in the window on the carpet.  I think the windows must have been shaded, otherwise there would be a faded spot on the carpet from the suns of three quarters of a century. 

What is amazing is that no one ever wondered who lived there, looked up from the street and noticed the shuttered windows - or perhaps they did and just moved on.  Imagine Hitler's armies marching into Paris in 1941 underneath that window.  I think of all the Jews looking for hiding places during the war - that one would have been perfect.  It's like a time capsule back to the 1890's - all the furniture, decoration, belongings.  The Micky Mouse is more modern, however - probably from the 20's. 

I can't find anything else about Marthe de Florian on line.  Every instance of her name is just the same news article about the painting being found in the unopened apartment.  But I'll keep searching - I know someone is going to pick up on this story and do further research.

Monday, October 4, 2010

We No Speak Americano

I found this video on Youtube and was instantly mesmerized by the complicated routine of the drumming duo as well as the old sounding Italian music:

I was so intrigued by the music and the beat that I looked further to find out more about it.  It is an outtake from a 1950's Italian song, performed by the original band below, as well as a version of it performed by Sofia Loren in "It Started in Naples"

Here's an article about the male and female drumming performers - Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding.  Evidently, they call themselves, "hand dancers" and have performed on stage in Irish style dance productions.

This is their background - evidently they can dance for real, not just with their hands - she is beautiful and she looks Italian.

Here's a charming video of the modern version of the song made to appear like a silent film:

My favorite? Really? The original - it's more melodic, less repetitive and techno. My 2nd favorite? The one with the woman and man drumming on the table - their beat is better than the techno beat.

Whatever - I LOVE LOVE this song!! It's so up! It is an example of how American pop music, specifically rock 'n roll, was imitated in post WWII Europe. The war was over! Let's be HAPPY!! Rock and roll, baby - American cars, cigarettes, music and movies.

I think I'll scroll up and listen again. I'm definitely going to look more into the European (the modern version of the song is by Yoland Be Cool - a male duo in Australia) pop.

A couple of years ago I was crazy about this song, and I consequently bought the CD, which is GREAT to clean house to - you cannot HELP but move: