Monday, September 30, 2002

No matter how improbable the incidents recounted in the movie "Mad Love" or "Juana la Loca" (the initiation of the marriage, the shearing, the parto behind the curtains in the retrete, drinking cold water as the attributed proximate cause of death, etc., etc.), they all appear in accounts of Felipe el hermoso and Juana. The movie subtitles call her "Joan the Mad," but I've always known her as Joanna the Mad and even think there's been an opera at sometime based on her life. Alibris finds a historical novel from the 'fifties called "The Prisoner of Tordesillas." Apparently Juana of Castile is the non-loca name by which she's known.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

In the Realm of Factoids was found a truly wonderful article about licorice. Since the article appeared in Vogue magazine, of all places, there's no possibility of linking to it. Vogue, along with all the Conde Nast publications, has a virtual non-presence. The person who wrote this great piece must be the same one who wrote about figs not so long ago. That article brought the realization that it's a kadota fig tree that stands in our back yard. Oregon canned fruit is high in the Google ranks when the search is for "kadota fig." This is the company with the beautiful labels.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

Since we've actually subscribed to TV y Novelas, we're getting lots of junk mail in Spanish, plus a better class of free mailing labels. We also received a free name-engraved pen (not bad), the first for quite a while. These same people in Amsterdam have a giant party store. Evidently there are only so many themes in the business, and patriotic is big right now. These items cost more when flame-proof, which no doubt is a requirement for school settings. The drop in the number of catalogues and promotional mail during the last year has been a trial, particularly when it's now admitted that the result of consolidation of carrier routes.

Los dos Gilbertos are at a Jamaica around here somewhere this weekend, playing for free--too bad we can't go. Discos Joey must be redoing its site. In the meantime, nothing can be found that used to be there. Hacienda Records does better, though it doesn't have all the track lists. I just love the voice blend, but I've never been able to find my favorite songs by them in recorded form, even thoy they always play them live. Ricky Naranjo y los Gamblers are around this weekend also. And so are los Garcia. I've never been able to find anything about a jamaica as a fundraiser and have never been able to find out whether this is an expression peculiar to Texas. I don't remember jamaicas in New Mexico. Any dictionary, even one of regionalisms, just talks about "flor de jamaica." A recipe just calls for the dried flowers and some water.

Friday, September 27, 2002

I love my new sol de mexico.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

We're still catching up. Last weekend's NYT men's fashion tabloid had a feature on Stephen Chow. Apparently, "they" are going to release "Shaolin Soccer" in a dubbed version. It's kind of a stinker, except for the Evil team and the all-female opponents, but the publicity machine claims that this movie has already made more money than any Hong Kong movie to date. And now the Shaolin monks want to trademark "Shaolin" and "Shaolin Temple." I can't find out whether the actual site of the temple has been used for any of the movies we've seen (or at least, I'm not going to take the time!)..

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Spider lillies (lycoris) and still a few schoolhouse lillies delight the eye, along with cypress vine gone crazy blooming way up in the pecan tree.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

There's still some of the old Austin out there. This week the solid-waste service is picking up "large brush" and I took ours out to the curb early yesterday morning, spending some time sawing up the longer items. The diameter limit is eight inches. Ours was oak, ligustrum, and pecan and tending toward the diameter limit. Two thirty-ish women were one step ahead of the crane and the chipper and moving fast. It had taken me a couple of hours just to carry stuff out front, but one woman filled the bed of the pickup in almost no time. I'm glad it was stacked neatly and that someone could use it. I h-a-t-e wood chippers and had my ear-protectors ready but didn't need 'em. In the old days, the takers would have come to the door to ask, as people did for the most worthless items.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Club Desvelado polished off "Annie Kilburn" in the second sitting. I don't recall having read a life chronology before and hadn't realized that Howells was a founding member of the NAACP. Nothing I've read about his work points out that much of his fiction is a study of the institution of marriage.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

How wonderful are wished-for visitors! It's such a shame that K. missed out on the fun. As it turned out, postponing meant that the worst of the heat was avoided, always a plus. Had things worked out otherwise, we could all have hit Luby's or Matt's together and had all of us here. Once again, I forgot to explain that the grand display of flags represents nothing more than parade souvenirs!

Saturday, September 21, 2002

This coming Sunday will be our chance to see Miss Venezuela. Last year, for the first time ever, it was done a bit on the cheap and wasn't the fabulous extravaganza of the past (except for the amazing ball gowns). I think I usually cheer on Miss Nueva Esparta and that K's favorite tends to be Miss Amazonas. There seems to be no Miss Carabobo listed this year; sometimes we vie to bet on her. The contest has already happened, but since it's not covered in the Statesman, the winner will be news to us!

Friday, September 20, 2002

It's great to know that Silver Bay is still out there and looking pretty much the same. I'll never forget seeing facial scarification for the first time. The staff still comes from all over the world.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

In "April Hopes" I loved the pictures of life for the confortable class in the District of Columbia, resort hotel life, and Campobello as a nineteenth-century getaway. In all the times we've been nearby, we've never taken that particular ferry. Somewhere lately that I can't remember there was a fatuous piece about Star Island. When I was a kid I remember reading books by Celia Thaxter. What her poems were I'd never be able to remember, but they, like those of Mrs. Hemans, Longfellow, Whittier, and others of that era, certainly took their place in elementary-school English books of my era. It appears that the illustrations that I recall were not just of her garden but were from her own hand.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

This is a great month for hearing from those known in past lives.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Club Desvelado is done with "The Minister's Charge" and now on to "April Hopes."

Monday, September 16, 2002

Poor GWB. The Economist, which is not unfriendly, has published t-h-e most unbecoming photograph, with every capillary in its full glory.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

The Bobbsey Twins are still out there. Somebody still remembers little Maida, too. And Honey Bunch. And Ruth Fielding. My favorite of these was "Ruth Fielding and the Gypsies," which had a cover like this. And the Five Little Peppers. I liked FLP and How They Grew and FLP Midway. Who could forget Polly, Phronsie, and Jasper? Never before had I read anything about Margaret Sidney.

Saturday, September 14, 2002

Poor K. had to play catch-up. Since this was a weekend of no visitors, settling down with a book was a treat. But for the omelet, a breakfast described in "The Minister's Charge" sounded really good: planked shad, followed by a choice of chicken or pork chops, followed by omelets, and accompanied by a dish of radishes and olives in ice and I forget what else. Fish and meat for breakfast, at a civilized hour like nine or ten in the morning, will always seem right to me. Out of curiosity, I Googled on "radishes for breakfast" and was taken to the Bobbsey Twins. Obviously, the ones I read were all published before 1927.

Friday, September 13, 2002

Mun2 is sort of a Wayne's World for young Latinos but at least it has a video count-down. I heard a new Banda el recodo song that I really liked, and I've found a site for letras that's great in and of itself and that also links to a list of lyric servers. Most of the videos in rotation now are for Mexican acts, with the exception of young Iglesias and of Bobby Pulido with a truly charming clip of Vanidosa. He's not playing the acordeon himself but the video prominently features the acordeonista, who must be responsible for that hook.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

K. had the chance to sing a rousing version of Blessed Assurance, which is another of the songs that I was once able to play on the piano. Fanny Crosby, who wrote it and many others, was blind. We haven't been successful in finding William Clark in Dallas, but found an interesting travel site. Club Desvelado has just begun The Minister's Charge and is enjoying it very much. I've been struck by how little the word "forenoon" is used these days. We never used the word "morning."

Wednesday, September 11, 2002


Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Soon we must embark upon a new quest. After at least a decade of use, one of our 20-ounce Aladdin insulated mugs is becoming troublesome to open. Evidently these are much used as promotional items and there's a thriving market for add-ons to make them spillproof on motorcycles. We might as well be searching for the Holy Grail.

Monday, September 09, 2002

At last we were able to spend half a day in comparative idleness. With the exception of a few issues of Texas Gardener, I am entirely caught up with periodicals. The torrents have called forth the schoolhouse lillies in greater numbers than ever before.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

After the rain, two years after it was laid down, the aggregate from the slurry coat continues to wash down the hill and into the water. There's always a build-up at corners and it's still being thrown up onto the lawn. The attraction of this horror is that proper asphalt surfacing costs three times more. It doesn't need to be said that, apart from the loose aggregate, the entire surface itself is full of cracks.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

Casualties of the Labor Day weekend were my out-of-the-house reading glasses and the daguerrotype case that holds the tintype of us taken at the Eastman House. The former must have been left behind at the Alamo Draft House. The latter was in beautiful condition, but now has a crack: Pine & Bell's, 316 & 305 River Street. The website for the National Register of Historic Places really stinks: no illustration.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Laramie (the television western) came to mind for the first time in decades. We were reading an article about Hoagy Carmichael that mentioned his role on that show. We could remember him from this prompting and also the appearance of one of the actors. Turns out he's Robert Fuller, from Troy, New York, who went on to Wagon Train and many other TV shows. RVH used to play a great many Hoagy pieces. Some I love; others I actively dislike. I'd certainly forgotten that he wrote "Heart and Soul." This is a great Hoagy site because it lists his entire song catalogue, complete with copyright date and publisher.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

As a Certified Rantor, I feel compelled to lament the illegal use of blinding spotlights that spill over onto adjacent property, not that there's any apparent mechanism to enforce provisions against this egregious ugliness and intrusion. The worst of the latest example is that any use of our own yard triggers these lights, or does when they're not just plain left on all night long.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Saturday night we arrived home to find a good-sized plastic flag planted in the street right-of-way. Every property had one, to which was attached a real-estate broker's card. Some took offense at everything about this promotion, but I thought it looked very festive the next day. Some people have left their flags out. Ours has joined the numerous parade souvenirs that always cause a second look when people enter the house for the first time--our little patriotic shrine, as people think of it, though it really is just a collection of souvenirs sharing space with poppies acquired at Veterans' Day parades.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

K. spent the day preparing for the week to come. It was time to turn attention yet again to the attempt to sell the accursed out-of-state vehicle. It's so good to live in Texas and not somewhere else, for instance in the jurisdiction where it took from July 5 to September 28 to obtain a reissued duplicate car title. The sheaf of documents weighs well over a pound. It really does appear that it took the intervention of a state legislator, attention from a conscientious citizen-services rep, extensive e-mail correspondence, and the threatened intervention of an attorney to shake this stuff loose at last, and the matter is far from completed yet!

Monday, September 02, 2002

There was little time for Katz's again before being due at the airport. K. forgot to have a real milkshake. There are huge mugs of supposedly fresh orange juice and grapefruit juice. It must be from Good Flow.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

Whether under duress or not, six people managed to get themselves to Maudie's for breakfast--again, jammed, and we even beat the rush. There seem to be no beehives at Butler Park these days, but the location is still prime and people were out there, even though the temp was well over 95 degrees. It was off to the Alamo Draft House for a bad Stephen Chow vehicle.