Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dead Bat Encounter

Deceased Myotis lucifugus

An untimely end for one of the healthy bats not suffering from White Nose Syndrome.

Stairway of the Damned

Condemned Stairway

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Like Lemmings Off A Cliff

Coast Guard on the Ohio River, Pittsburgh

That dread time is nigh upon us, the G-20 and thousands of law enforcement officers have descended upon the city. Reportedly the reason that Pittsburgh was selected to host the summit is because 17 other cities turned down the honor. Which means we were picked because we're easy and said 'yes'. It's going to be nearly impossible to get into downtown starting, I don't know, yesterday. The rivers are even closed off to boat and barge traffic.
MK is coming to my house this weekend because I promised to give her candy and a foot rub. I probably could have skipped the candy dangling, foot rubs seem to be a big motivator for her.
Anyway, that is it. Pittsburgh is a ghost town patrolled by the legions that chased us out and shut us down. It'll be interesting to see what sort of protests take place. I should grab my camera and venture forth to capture this historic event, but I have a fear of being tazered by a rattled cop in riot gear.
At least on Saturday we're taking advantage of being in parts north of the city and going a hike with the Pittsburgh Wilderness Women. Great name for a club. Makes me wish I still had that coonskin cap from childhood.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fringe 2.1

Fringe 2.1, "A New Day In The Old Town"

First, Agent Dunham returns to her world proper, in smashing fashion, crashing through the tinted windshield of an SUV.
Second, we've got an interloping assassin, a soldier shape shifter, possibly from the alternate universe, on a mission to interrogate and then neutralize Dunham. Orders given by a self typing typewriter. This post would certainly be more arbitrary, if not more interesting, if I had one of those.
For her part, after the smash and crash, Dunham is reportedly brain dead, lying in a persistent vegetative state in the hospital, until, that is, she comes to her senses in a fit of Greek. Believe me, in the context of this show, it all makes perfect sense.
The would be killer takes on the guise of Dunham's attending nurse and soon discovers that Dunham can't recall anything yet from her visit to the other side. She's still a bit brain dead, not all brain dead, just a smidgen. The nurse/soldier attempts to strangle the bed-ridden Dunham, only to be shot by new-on-the-Fringe- scene Agent Jessup, who is accompanied by Peter and Agent Charlie Acevido. The nurse/soldier, shot twice in the back, jumps out a window and flees to through the cargo bay into the hospital's basement, or, as realtors like to say, Lower Level. Charlie encounters the nurse/soldier first, near the incinerator, and squeezes off two quick shots before the scene cuts to Peter and Jessup. When they arrive the nurse/soldier is dead and there's a device used to facilitate the shape shifting lying on the cement floor.
End of story? Not so fast. Charlie, Agent Acevido is later dumped into the incinerator by none other than the nurse/soldier, now FBI agent/soldier, what killed him.
A few thoughts:
Who is going to do the autopsy on the nurse's body? Two things will present themselves to them at this time: She was shot only once, not four times, and the wound was post mortem. Oh, a third thing, she died of a broken neck.
Nina Sharp and Deputy Director Broyles kissed!!! To say that I did not see that coming does not do my myopic vision justice. Completely blind-sided.
The Greek phrase that Dunham uttered upon her miraculous recovery was something that Peter's mother used to say to him every night at bedtime. "Be a better man than your father."
Jessup seemingly has found a possible link between the Fringe Files and the book of Revelations.
An episode of The X-Files was playing in the background when the first guy was murdered.

Finally, best Walter lines:
"He invented the Ho Ho!"
"That is correct, Astericks."
I wonder at what point he'll just start saying 'Astrid'.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I pick up a lot of books second hand. You never know what you're going to find at a yard sale, a thrift store, the library. Sometimes I stumble across a true treasure (like the first edition of Tales of Sherlock Holmes), and sometimes I come across things people have left in books (cards, letters, bills, photographs). The latter fell in my lap today, a card and several cat pics. The card was from a mother to her son, written March 9, 1999, while he was in rehab to deal with alcoholism. It seemed invasive to read the card, so I set it down, but then I picked it back up and finished reading it. In a hand that was not easy to decipher she wrote lovingly of how she much she cared for him, but how he has to get this help so that he can manage the disease and move forward with his life, and how she and Newton (the cat) are always there for him.
Of course then I wondered what's happened to this man, his mother, and the cat in the last 10 years. Did he get sober? Did it stick? Is the cat still alive? Are any of them still alive? Will I write a letter to Reichter while he's off at basic training and he'll use it as a bookmarker and then someday someone else will come across what I said to him? Imagine how the tendrils of our lives get flung so far afield, falling into random hands.
Maybe we should all leave a note in a book.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Precious Beagle Moments

Junior and baby Bela

I keep this pic up on the 'fridge to remind me exactly what Bela does with her ears right before she's about to do evil. They flare out at the sides instead of lying flat, and then she nips at you, eats a magic marker and poops purple for days.
In this instance, when I took this photo, Bela twisted free and bit a hole in Junior's sweater. After that she ran around like a maniac while I chased her with a fly swatter and shaking a can of pennies. Eventually we all calmed down and watched 'The Bold and the Beautiful'.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scibbles Up In Smoke

Creation in Crayon, a Study

This was lying around and I was finally straightening up, so before I pitched it, I scanned it and saved it for all eternity. Then it went in the burn barrel and sent a tiny prayer up in smoke.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Orchids Phipps Conservatory

My Day

I spent this morning and part of the afternoon with my sister, Junior, and her three grandchildren. The grandchildren are all perfectly charming, enchanting little cherubs, a true blessing on humanity. No, really! We played some games, blew some bubbles, somebody walked around pantless after a successful trip to the potty. All in all more pleasant than usual around a 4 yo, 2 yo and infant. Infants are over-rated anyway. Sure, it's cool to have this tiny person, but let's face it; until you can support your own head, you have little to offer.
I did particularly enjoy my opportunity to boss the toddlers around. Pumice my feet! Light my cigarette! Eat that spider! It was better than making my mom cry over Scrabble.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lamb's Quarters

Lamb's Quarters

This is just about my favorite edible weed! Click here to read more about it, if you feel so inclined.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oh Figs!

MK's neighbor, Carl, is moving and he gave us his much coveted, by me at least, fig tree! I ate a fig off it last night and it was delicious. Sweet and almost juicy, more pulpy than actually juicy, I suppose. Still stellar in my estimation!
Tomorrow I finally head off for jury selection. If I'm not selected than i just get sent home, and if I am selected I have to sit in on trial at the end of the month. Here's hoping I get the boot!

Crow Skull in Contrast

Remembered that crow skull I boiled up a couple of months ago? Yeah, me too. I'm tinkering with it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Tears of an Existentialist Clown

Bliss in Orange

Until this weekend I had no idea that the Lingerie Football League (I wouldn't click on that link if I were you) existed. While out walking Bela I picked up a free copy of the afternoon Tribune-Review and buried somewhere between the sports section and the entertainment section was a piece about the Miami Caliente of the LFL. Scantily clad women playing full contact football available only on pay-per-view (a season pass is only $125 for all 20 games!), begs the question: What frat boy cooked up this scheme?
First, a little history about the LFL: The first LFL game took place during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime as a pay-per-view alternative to the actual halftime activities. Team Dream (now the Los Angeles Temptation) defeated Team Euphoria (now the New York Euphoria) 6-0. Since then 10 teams have been added to the league and 2009 marks the first full schedule for the league.
The season kicked off this past weekend with a match between the hosting Chicago Bliss and the Miami Caliente. Bliss won 29-19, but who cares about the score? The stands were packed with cheering men who got to drink buckets of beer and watch some form of football being played by women in their underwear and hockey helmets. What's the deal with the hockey helmets? I should be asking what's the deal with the uniforms, but that's a given, and I don't want to appear to be too obvious in my observations. I'll lose my credibility.
Oh, speaking of credibility, here's what Caliente wide reciever Kaley Tuning had to say about the LFL: "I've seen people say it is a joke and it is degrading and it makes me mad. We are real athletes."
Do I find the league degrading and objectifying? Of course! It's utterly ridiculous, worse even than donkey basketball. It's just too ridiculous to even fully comprehend the level of its ridiculousness, which of course means that it's raking in the bucks and probably isn't going to go away anytime soon.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Go Figure

It appears to be an inevitable outcome that my youngest son, my baby, is hellbent on joining the Air Force Reserves. He, along with his father (I resisted using the adjective 'hapless' because I'm trying to be nicer, dammit), visited the recruiting office this morning. Riechter was all excited, nervous, a little too thrilled at all of the prospects. As long as he passes his physical, drug test, and aptitude test, then he can be sworn in by his father because he, at onetime long, long ago, was an officer in the Air Force. He should sail through his physical without issue, and I asked him if he's ever around Junior and D-Man when they're smoking pot, and he said no, which makes the drug test look good, so as long as he doesn't panic during his written exam, he should be good to go...
My baby! Yes, I'm going to be That Woman, wailing over her man-child shipping off to some hell hole in Texas (it's my understanding that all of Texas, to some degree, is hell. They're very Dante-ian down there) for basic training and god knows what else.
I do not come from military people. The men in my family are all too contrary to take orders, and probably too cowardly to risk their necks for anyone other than themselves. I'm probably being overly pat and harsh, but I've never felt inclined to delve deeper into why there's not one traceable ancestor who has served in the military. But, on Riechter's father's side of the family, all of the men at some point go into the military, where they get scarred for life, and thereby become men. It's a tradition.
Honestly, I can't say that I understand why he has to do this, but he feels that he does, and he really, really wants to, or MK and I would've talked him out of it by now. Part of me is also proud, but that proud part has to stand in the long shadow of my we shall see how this turns out.