Saturday, September 30, 2006


Some of what were thought to be cucumber plants, yellow flowers, tendrils, and all, turn out to be watermelons, now bearing tiny green, faintly striped melons. These will have sprouted from watermelon seeds put out there for the creatures or to germinate, whichever happens first. We had thought they were going to be those old-fashioned lemon cucumbers.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Staving off boredom, part three

In addition to mentally designing custom postage or thinking up one- or two-word domain names not already taken, lately I've been creating business cards with custom job-titles for that specialty consultant enterprise. Everybody spends some at some point in a one-person operation billed as "You-fill-in-the-blank Associates" or the "You-fill-in-the-blank Group" or even the "You-fill-in-the-blank Institute." Yes; it's true. I've been spending way too much time in boring meetings and the like where one must appear to be alert and polite.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

It's not

It's not peacock blue. It's closer to robin's egg blue. It's Tiffany blue. The color used to cover pasteboard boxes in which items from Tiffany are packaged has its own Pantone number. It's trademarked. I'm not sure where I very recently saw this color described as peacock blue. But I know where I saw an accessory described as a wood-handled purse or something like that: it was in the local daily, in the fashion section. The object was a vintage Bermuda bag. Some junk domain-name-squatter has actually registered "" I notice that there are a lot of copies of Pappagallo shoes out there, the most popular style of which was itself a copy of the classic Belgian shoes design. The horrible ones with the big flower were virtually twinned for a while to be sold by the Talbots people.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


These are empty:
Pomander, by Caswell-Massey
Bigarade, by Nina Ricci
Epices, by L'Aromarine
These are not:
Eau de Toilette Orange, Santal et Petitgrain, by L'Aromarine
Number Six, by Caswell-Massey
Florida Water, by Laboratorios del Pueblo
Bellodgia, by Caron
Coriandre, by Jean Couturier
Bowling Green, by Geoffrey Beene
Hungary Water, by Crabtree & Evelyn
Hoyt's Cologne, by the Hoyt Co., Memphis, Tennessee
Rose Geranium, by Floris
Plenty of perfumers are copying Bowling Green these days. I still use for other purposes the corrugated cardboard cylinders in which the bottles originally were packaged. Hoyt's came from Kash-Karry, and I've also seen it at Fiesta and, long ago, at the old Grove Drug; from time to time, the Vermont Country Store has carried it. I'm going to be very sad when the last Hungary Water is gone. I've always believed that this is helpful for returning to sleep once awakened. Before it had a screw-on top this smellum used to be stoppered with a cork. I always saved the bottles for holding flowers. I don't know what I'd do if Rose Geranium ever ended production. It's a very subtle scent, with a touch of smokiness. Rose geranium essential oil, which is quite expensive these days, doesn't come close. Since it's been in manufacture for so long, I suppose that it will continue on. At the Floris shop, change is returned on a small cushion. The employees in the tiny shop may even wear white gloves.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Rounding up the info-bits

I've been fooling around with EverNote. My copy of my beloved InfoSelect (once Tornado) is too ancient to be upgraded and I decided that it's too expensive to begin anew right now. OneNote would mean giving money to MicroSoft, which gets too much already. So far I've been enjoying EverNote, confiding to it all the notes on those little scraps found everywhere around here. I haven't tried importing any templates yet. I used to love the way that patterns could be discerned and new insights gained from various aspects of Tornado / Infoselect. If I write something down, I'm likely to remember it forever (unless it's a string of numbers; even then, there's a better chance of remembering numerical information if it's been written down). Information that comes through the ears is soon forgotten unless it's a live music performance. Information that's read is likely to be remembered. The same's true for what's seen. Writing it down is the magic key; keyboarding it reinforces the memory; being able to sort and search and locate is a bonus.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Pink shamrocks

Now that it's cooler, all the little clumps of Oxalis drummondii are coming to life, showing not just leaves but flowers as well. All the older houses have these. I happen to think that the yellow wood sorrel, treated even more like a weed by most, is pretty, too, but those are seen in the spring only and soon disappear in the heat.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

"The tea doesn't judge itself"

This is wisdom from Jet Li's Fearless. It's a little like Jesse Duplantis and his preaching that "if the suit don't fit, it ain't yours." This movie makes no concessions to Western tastes. We loved it. It had the open-ended and leisurely qualities of a folk saga. There were many familiar faces in this Mandarin movie besides Jet Li as Huo Yuenjia. We also saw a preview for a new Chow Yun-Fat movie with Gong Li, The Curse of the Golden Flower, which looks sumptuous.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Humming and buzzing

The hummingbirds busy themselves with the lantanas and the Turk's caps. We're seeing many, many honeybees. Some volunteer nasturtiums have appeared, both in pots and in the ground. The oxblood lilies continue to be a show. Some leaves have now shot up.

Friday, September 22, 2006

And what happened was entirely different

The property owner left a written note saying the pruning would be "a small branch up high," implying one branch of one tree. A functionary on the public payroll said "a few small limbs," but nothing about whether from one tree or, if more, how many. The original note from yet another functionary spoke of "some trees." And what happened was not only different, but worse. Thank you, speculators who build additions that block access from the original pole and cause neighbors' trees to be mutilated so that service can come from another.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Time for them to go

Colourings 11 836
Body Shop 05 830
Nutralush Rosestone
Superlustrous Creme 86 Sklinlight
Superlustrous Creme 87 Fleshtone
Superlustrous Creme 88 Naturally Nude
Moondrops Luminesque Golddipped Rose 28

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


This seems as though it's bullion laid on and tacked down in various places. It's one of a pair of embroidered objects that came to us as gifts from Turkey. The pattern on each is the same, but it's very clear that they were executed by different people. The fabric is a sateen of some sort. They're either pillow shams or nightdress cases. This shows one quadrant of the front of one of them. The metallic embroidery material is not silver in color; it's gold. The red is a warmer tone, not captured well by the stupid free all-in-one that I'm now being forced to use instead of my faithful H-P scanner that I can't get to initialize with this equipment, at least not yet. It's difficult to find much on line about embroidery in any detail, surprisingly, and especially not about bullion and bullion work. I did reacquaint myself with stumpwork, though.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Twining and flying

The cooler weather has brought another attempt by the roses to leaf out again and also blossoms all over the chiles and the lantanas. The lantanas are going into that phase just in time to suit all the monarch butterflies we're suddenly seeing. Even the morning glories are beginning to look alive again. We counted 18 flowers this morning, which may not seem like many, but it is. And speaking of vines, the resurgent cucumbers are stretching out, just covered with yellow flowers everywhere. They're attractive to the honeybees. We expect clockvine flowers soon.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Many more to come

More rain brings more oxblood lilies. It wouldn't seem possible to have more where the first ones appeared, but we do. Now, the oak motte is really coming into its own. Mack's flower bed is showing the first color.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Or maybe one of those "I'm feeling you-fill-in-the-blank" deals that some on-line journal or blog providers furnish. What would be the appropriate one? Let's just say that, once chain saws, condolence letters, deadlines for required continuing education, perfidy, and several other ingredients are stirred in, the result is you-fill-in-the-blank. Only eye of newt is lacking.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Michael Corcoran obviously heard the same Van Morrison music at the Dillo that we did. It's difficult to believe that it was so long ago. There's nothing like a choice between standing somewhere around the edges or else sitting down on the hard floor that's probably at least a half-inch deep in beer in most places....Somewhere on one of the ugly buildings that's just been topped out there's a "come and take it" Gonzalez flag; I can't remember whether we saw it on Robertson Hill or on the one across the street from Ebenezer Baptist. I like it....Sometimes the music's from one direction; sometimes from another; both are squelched within five minutes or so. We did hear a very good stretch of Los TexManiacs along the way, though.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Some like the bits, but this is the kibble. At last somebody mentioned Don Politico's in connection with AWR and those days. Thanks, Kelso! Scholz's has been mentioned, also, now, a time or two. And thanks, local daily, for that great picture today of the entire commissioners' court at Wooldridge Park, with AWR in a demure little shirtwaist, Moya in a guayabera (probably from Slax at Twin Oaks; what are the odds?), and the rest in top-to-bottom Highway Department - Sans-A-Belt - J. C. Penney sartorial splendor, mentioning Honts, especially, for his topper! . . . Every time we think that the oxblood lilies are past their peak, we're proven wrong. The main clumps are probably at their peak; the oak motte has not yet reached it; Mack's flower bed shows nothing yet and neither do some other sites scattered around according to squirrel whim....Thank you again, library, for your entertaining entertainment. We've been enjoying Harold Lloyd one-reelers new to us. We've seen all the longer works, so it's wonderful to know that there are so many of these. Some of the sequences are very elaborate and filmed without a break, as though they were a Fred-and-Ginger dance scene. The musical accompaniment to these is excellent. We saw the feature-length movies with the very best of live piano accompaniment. Buster will always be my favorite, but Harold Lloyd is a close second, with Chaplin far behind, except for his one-reelers. Jackie Chan has spoken of his admiration for Buster Keaton, but it seems pretty clear that he's watched a lot of HL as well.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A great raconteur

Ann Richards, q.e.p.d., took a lot of secrets and a lot of stories with her. There'll be plenty of tales told when the old Travis County gang gets together. I'm glad that Ave Bonar has made UT a repository of her negatives and other information. I bought a lot of those sets of post cards as presents for friends and relatives scattered all over the place and people were very happy to have them. If the images are up on the Web someplace, I haven't found them; the copyright issues are probably very involved. We laughed this morning to see that wonderful photo of Moya and Richards from Travis County political days in the 'Seventies. They both looked so young. No photograph could possibly ever capture two of the great eye-twinklers the world has ever seen. AWR lived a bold and full life. How many women born when she was accomplished so much in the public arena?

For now I see the true old times are dead,
When every morning brought a noble chance,
And every chance brought out a noble knight.
Such times have been not since the light that led
The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
But now the whole Round Table is dissolv’d
Which was an image of the mighty world,
And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds.”

And slowly answer’d Arthur from the barge:
The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have liv’d my life, and that which I have done
May He within himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
But now farewell. I am going a long way
With these thou seëst—if indeed I go
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)—
To the island-valley of Avilion;
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadow’d, happy, fair with orchard lawns
And bowery hollows crown’d with summer sea,
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound.”


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Special delivery

We watched Entrega inmediata from the library. This is a black-and-white version, with no subtitles. The date is 1963, it turns out. I'd predicted it would be from 1960 to 1963. K. had not seen Cantinflas before, not even in Around the World in 80 Days, where his role was almost silent, as I remember. Most of Entrega is filmed on a set, but there are some street scenes. We enjoyed the dancing scenes, as well. It seems odd that there would be a spy / counter-espionage plot at that late date, although the enemies of the nation were not named. Cantinflas is a lettercarrier when he becomes enmeshed and he returned to his job when the details are mopped up. The only person that I recognized in this was Emma Roldan. This cinemexicano link has enlaces for sources of information in Spanish. We were talking about La vida no vale nada and about how much trouble Pablo finds himself in at times because he's illiterate. As recently as Mi pequena traviesa there was a character who was a public scribe.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


This year we recognize them. Last year we thought they were some sort of aphid or scale or something. We haven't noticed any monarch butterflies among the gulf fritillaries but there must have been at least one female sometime recently because those eggs weren't always there. They've been laid on the asclepias (milkweed) in pots, right near where the pods will develop from the blossoms.

Monday, September 11, 2006

La vida no vale nada

This was found at the library. The black-and-white photograph was one that would have suited a 'forties film noir, but this turns out to be from 1954 or 1955. Pedro Infante won the Mexican equivalent of an American Academy award for this performance. The imdb and others that use its summations have got it all wrong, describing some other movie altogether. This is a picaresque tale divided unevenly into episodes. The print of origin was not a very good one, or at least was better in some parts than in others. There are at least two famous songs from this movie and then there was another that may be famous but wasn't familiar to me, about a tree, but I haven't yet found anything about it. We especially loved the first episide, which was quite anti-clerical in tone. The second had a great bakery scene. The third major sequence was very operatic (it would have been Italian verismo). No movie sites found have much information about this movie or say anything useful; the best is this excerpt from Loving Pedro Infante, by Denise Chavez (also available from the library).

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Game day

Everyone encountered was very pleasant and Austin felt like a small town again. It's as frightening and dangerous as ever to travel on foot from one side of IH-35 to the other, even by the "best" routes, ones with the narrowest crossings and the most traffic signals. This is certainly by design. We were laughing about people setting out objects at their driveway turn-ins, not so much to keep people from parking in front of and blocking the driveway as to keep bad drivers in giant, heavy vehicles from using them to turn around in rather than just drive around the block. These are the people who leave broken curbs and driveway pavement, tracks in lawns and gardens, and scrape marks. It was too bad to miss what may have been great band music but the attempt was pleasant. All those pale Ohio people will be sunburned when they get home.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Desmesne denizens

We've seen two anoles, two hummingbirds at once, more and more oxblood lilies, quite a few clouded sulphur and gulf fritillary butterflies, and resurgent lantana, Turk's cap, milkweed, wild sunflowers, orange cosmos, plumbago, cucumbers, and chile blossoms. The tithonia is coming to the end but will stay up or just be bent down so that the creatures may benefit from the seeds. We haven't seen a zebra longwing all summer long. Despite the more moderate temperatures, the birds still enjoy bathing in and drinking from the three sizes of plant coasters on the catio. All of a sudden the hyacinth beans are blooming a lot and the morning glories are producing a few flowers. Torenia in pots needs to be snipped back but not before these new blooms induced by the little break in the weather are done.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Caray, Caray!

This blog recapitulates in English the goings-on of the Univision telenovelas and does so expansively. It must be titled in tribute to the gossipy spinster aunt (la tia Isabel, played by Mariana Karr) in Alborada. This is an entertaining catch-up for any missed episodes of La fea más bella. There are teasers for a new telenovela with Cesar Evora. Only if Cesar is in one will K. watch it. He is a great actor with a great voice, and he should give nostril-flaring lessons. I read that Mundo de fieras started out to be 200 episodes but has been so successful that another 100 have been added.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Still made in the US of A

The laces on the Nike shoes soon tore, being loosely woven and not of good quality. They've been worn knotted for a couple of years. Academy had a good shoelace display and so some Shoe Gear 63-inch flat laces came home. The package bears this language, labeled "Unconditional Guarantee": "If not 100% satisfied with these laces, return them to R.I. Textile Co. with original receipt and we will replace them at no charge." The Rhode Island Textile Co. is in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and has been there since 1913. I love these statements from the "why choose us" page: "Whatever your narrow fabric needs, we probably make it or will develop a new style to your specifications...Depending on elastic width, we offer rolled, spooled and festooned put-ups to accomodate our customers' sewing needs. Tipped, heat-cut, barbed and assembled products in pre-cut lengths, are also available...With our in-house printing, we custom print brands or logo on elastics and laces with consistant shade and spacing...Rhode Island Textile Company is the largest manufacturer of small diameter braided cords in North America! We offer elastic and non-elastic cords in all sizes, colors and materials. We also offer custom cut and assembled cords...We also offer a wide variety of tassels and twisted cords. From bookmark tassels, honor cords, menu cords, floss and chainette tassels, you'll find value and the service you are looking for here at Rhode Island Textile Company...We are the largest supplier of military specification laces used in Combat Boots, Jungle-Desert Boots, Assault Boots, Muk Luk, Women's & Men's Dress shoes...To prevent poke-through of underwires, we developed our unique underwire contour tapes made with high tenacity nylon and with a built-in curve for smooth sewing on swimsuit bras...Rhode Island Textile Co. is one of the largest suppliers of tipped shoelaces in the United States, with imitation leather laces and hiker laces available in all lengths...Rhode Island Textile Co. is one of the world's very few manufacturers of all-cotton, dyeable Cluny lace."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

More fall color

The oxblood lilies are now appearing in ever greater numbers, thanks to that bit of dampness. Where there've been some, there are many more. Squirrel-planted clumps are under and completely protected by a lantana out front. Others are scattered in various places. The first lily on the oak motte has appeared. As some crops approach the tempting stage, some farmers get out there ready for some plinking with their shotguns. It's easy to understand why, with the great increase in brazen flower-stealers. It's amazing what people will do when they think that nobody's looking. We, however, have open windows, quiet fans, unimpaired hearing, and a good slightline when it comes to the very few flowers we still bother with out front. When "drop those flowers!" rings out, some run with the flowers, some drop the flowers and then run, and some mutter an insincere "sorry" and saunter on, with flowers still in hand of course, tempting one, if properly dressed, to charge out and grab them back. These last creeps are like the ones who let their dogs drop large ones and then, if they observe that they're observed, say, "Oh! I forgot to bring a newspaper tube this time. You don't happen to have one, do you?" The proper answer is, "Yeah; right!" The quality of new neighbors appears to be falling: they may drive big, new, expensive vehicles but they have tiny, cheap, ill-mannered brains. That's just one misanthrope's opinion.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Swine and CQs

If there's no rush to catch up on Harper's and the Atlantic, it's not because they lack interest; it's because the contents have lasting, not passing, value. So with peace and some time this weekend, the May issue of Harper's rose to the top of the pile. Not to be missed and already shared with others are: "Antenna of the Universe," by Don Wallace, and "Swine of the Times," by Nathanael Johnson. Somebody else appreciates these.

Monday, September 04, 2006


We're so glad we went to Lage Raho Munna Bhai. Away with ill humor! Exit audience, smiling. The many children had fun, too. This was not one with much music, but there was a fine number that included female car-wash attendants. There aren't many comedies out there these days with Gandhi as a character.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


One of the owners of MGM Indian food was retrieving a cardboard tray of beautiful objects from the trunk of a vehicle in the parking lot. She said they're called bitter melons or bitter gourds. The most resembled the "baby" version in the left column on this page, but were not unlike a combination of the two baby versions in the adjoining right column on this page. She said they were grown nearby but we didn't think to ask exactly where. They had obviously been picked very recently. She cooks them sliced and with ginger. It is said to have medicinal qualities and is a member of the cucumber family. I like it that there's a National Bitter Melon Council, with the motto "Better living through bitter melon."

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Hearts and flowers and flannel

We always knew what was inside the wrappings of packages from Grandma: books and aprons and items of flannel (or sometimes of cotton). The books also came at birthdays and on other occasions. The aprons had bibs and were sewn for man, woman, and child. All wore them during preparations for mealtimes, during meals, and when cleaning up afterwards. Adults didn't wear night-garb; kids did. It was flannel in the winter and lawn in the summer, all hand-sewn. She also made us flannel cowboy shirts with pearl-snap buttons. I was reminded of all this by reading that a founder of Lanz, Werner G. Scharff, just died. It was only upon leaving home that I knew about boughten nightwear. Lanz was popular in certain circles. Some obituaries speak of "granny gowns," but Lanz produced more than those. I once saw a very beautiful dress and found that it was Lanz. It had a white pique top with vertical darts front and back plus the usual front darts; the dirndl skirt was a heavy cotton, black printed with small white sprigs; at the waist was giant red rick-rack. This was a dress fit to go nearly anywhere. As to flannel, people often deride it, but people never feel better than they do through flannel, unless sometimes it's through a knit tee-shirt! Warning: YMMV.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Picked up without question

I notice that the City's press release on the power outage is accepted without further query. This outage extended well beyond the reported boundaries of 35, Burleson, Oltorf, and Ben White. Is there no reporting out there? We've noticed that, for the past week or so, when the stupid police helicopter or some other noise breaks into sleep, it's at times very apparent that the fans are turning more slowly (and the noise changes, too, when the blades slow), evidence of brownouts under cover of darkness. We haven't observed any daytime evidence this year.