Thursday, July 24, 2008

Another toy camera

Call it SpongeBob. I don't think that any kid capable of dealing with the tiny Phillips-head screw that keeps the battery compartment from being easy-open will want to use something that looks so toy-like. The only three pix so far, all indoors, are very pointillistic. This camera ("Nickelodeon SpongeBob SquarePants Micro VGA/CIF 300K Pixel Digital Camera - Yellow") has made me into Seurat.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Talk about a misspent youth!

I found an old issue (October 2007) of New Mexico magazine that had been overlooked. It's about Bryan Berg and the construction of giant houses of cards. His book is called Stacking the Deck. I can't believe that he uses a leaf-blower to demolish these creations. I suppose that he has led a life resembling those of the skate-board and yo-yo wizards I have known.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Lurid package

On the carton, blurry and crude, are depicted a steak with two or three thin onion rings atop it, two skewers of shish-kebab items (meat and two veg), two hot dogs, and an ear of corn partly exposed in its aluminum-foil wrapper. The Flamepro hibachi, "the professionals choice," was imported from China by the Four Star International Trading Company, of Cleveland, Ohio. Assembly required some pounding with a hammer in order to make the holes align. One hole wasn't punched all the way through. One screw had a faulty thread. The "special" price, very boldly announced within one of those jagged-edged exploding outlines, was $9.99. We acquired it for less than that, about a decade ago, from the seasonal aisle at Albertsons, at summer's end. This grill was the reserve outdoor cooker and has waited all this time for its predecessor to rust through completely. Now, there must be a quest to locate a successor hibachi to store for that grilling emergency that will occur when rusting out from all-weather exposure calls the replacement into play.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Unintentionally humorous

So, most of the salmonella cases have been found in Texas. Federal investigators have moved beyond the tomato and are now looking at salsa in general and at jalapenos in particular. The fun begins with the headline: "Jalapenos Probed in Outbreak." Today's Wall Street Journal article includes an explanation for the uninformed of what a jalapeno is. And the quotes from the Texas Restaurant Association person are priceless. "To blame salsa brings nothing to the table" is merely a sample. I love it that the TRA owns the "restaurantville" domain and that the image across the top of the home page, at least for today, is a frieze of chile peppers.

Friday, July 04, 2008

What went wrong with the rate of savings

It all started when banks did away with passbooks. There was a lot of satisfaction gained from putting some money in the bank and having your passbook returned after being run through that neat-o machine to enter the deposit and compute the resulting new balance. Banks used to encourage savings at an early age, sometimes through once-a-week school programs encouraging regular deposits as small as a quarter or fifty cents. The disappearance of passbooks somehow took away a lot of the inducement to save; that immediate reward, the tangible evidence, was gone. It was soon after the disappearance of passbooks that banks started to discourage the small saver or individual customer just as much as possible, from cutting branch hours to making people go through hell to prove their identity. It used to be that, even with the minimum-wage pay earned by tellers, back when they needed to know something, a branch would keep the same staff for years at a time. You knew them, and they knew you. No more. Those days are long gone. This entry should be tagged "handbasket." But I'm serious. Most people only know the interest accruing on their revolving credit-card debt, if they know that, and the positive pleasures of compound interest are now familiar only to the few.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Salad with personality

This is a composed, not a tossed, salad. The olive optics are courtesy of Goya via H-E-B. The whiskers are a last-minute embellishment. What a soulful expression! Do we detect a furrowed brow? This conceit's not mine, but it was my idea to capture it for posterity with the Concord Mini EyeQ sans flash.