31 March 2013

The Egg

Sometimes, you just find yourself poking around the free! out of copyright! books on the Project Gutenberg website. Right? Okay, maybe that's just me.

But look, here's an egg.

the moral of this verse is applicable to the young: be terse

You know, for Easter. It's not dyed, and it's not hiding under a hydrangea, but it's an Easter egg none-the-less.

Go forth, nibble the heads off of bunnies and make egg salad with the dozens of eggs you undoubtably dyed.

Happy spring!

This egg is from A Moral Alphabet, by Hilaire Belloc, illustrated by Basil Blackwood.

29 March 2013

[Found] Poetry Friday: Brain Flame


Quite, in a virulent wafer but vacantly happens, the compensator –

Poised the beeps of minutes
not of he run
squat after I
to let infrequently on past that vast extravagance.

Achieving this can make your brain flame in different ways.

The moment was even and was not longer,

And it frowned dry.

There screwed the ended ocean in the plainness.

Why yes, I did just clean out the folder of "comments awaiting moderation", all of which were spam.

25 March 2013


A friend, an earthy-crunchy friend (and I use that with great affection, being of the generally earthy-crunchy persuasion myself) recently wrote a post railing about the ingredients in a box of cereal, and the attendant false advertising that promotes cereal as healthy.

As it happens, her post appeared in my Reader[1] on a day when I'd eaten shredded wheat for breakfast. I love shredded wheat. The big biscuits, not that spoon-sized stuff. I love splitting the shards off of the big biscuits - which I usually eat one & a half of, because they come three to an inside sleeve, so one sleeve is two breakfasts if you're a little OCD. They have wonderful mouthfeel, it's fun to splinter them apart, and inexplicably, they always remind me of my grandfather, Owl.

I digress. The reason I mention the shredded wheat is because I'd been struck by the verbiage on the back of the box:

An ingredient list that is so good we have NOTHING TO HIDE.

Indeed, the only thing on the Post shredded wheat ingredient list is whole grain wheat.

But by declaiming so boldly that this box of cereal has nothing to hide, do they not tar every other box of cereal in their line up? Take Waffle Crisps: the first ingredient is sugar[2]. Or Fruity Pebbles: the second ingredient is sugar, and they're laced with artificial colors[3]. These cereals do indeed have things to hide, like sugar and hydrogenated oils and artificial colors and artificial flavors and purportedly "natural" flavors that were probably fabricated in a plant hard along the New Jersey Turnpike.

Eat real food, people. Pick your cereals with care, and step away from the Fruity Pebbles.

1. Dear Google, I hate you.

2. Waffle Crisps: Sugar, Wheat Flour, Corn Flour, Whole Grain Oat Flour, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Caramel Color, Soy Lecithin, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Turmeric (Color). Bht Added To Packaging Material To Preserve Product Freshness

3. Fruity Pebbles: Rice, Sugar, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut And Palm Kernel Oils), Salt, Contains Less Than 0.5% Of Natural And Artificial Flavor, Red 40, Yellow 6, Turmeric Oleoresin (Color), Blue 1, Yellow 5, Blue 2, Bha (To Help Protect Flavor).

21 March 2013

Sentimental, Protective?

Sometimes I think I’m lacking some parental-sentimental gene, or maybe it’s a parental-protective gene. I didn’t weep when my kid went off to kindergarten (though I did take a picture). I don’t get verklempt at the school plays. I might kvell sometimes, but I’m just as likely to mock.

The other night, there was an orientation for parents of kids going to middle school next year. (I know, how did that happen? She can’t be that old.) So I went – isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? The email announcing the orientation session read, in part, as follows:

It's an exciting and sometimes stressful time as your child(ren) prepare to enter middle school next year. If you are interested, the following are upcoming information sessions pertaining to this transition.

What I realized partly through this waste of a Tuesday evening was that the Administration and/or the PTA think that the transition to middle school is stressful for PARENTS. This was all about using cute fifth graders in a scripted Q&A to assuage parents who are all freaked out about locker combinations, and walking down hallways alone, and OMFG guidance.

In the middle school my kid will attend, there are three guidance counselors and a psychologist and a part-time social worker – for about 700 kids. That seems excessive to me, excessive to the point of coddling all the precious snowflakes.

Did you have a guidance counselor in middle school? I’m fairly sure I didn’t, and if there was one in the school, it was to address the bad kids. We did have guidance counselors in high school, but there their sole purpose seemed to be to help navigate the college application process. (My guidance counselor suggested I should apply to a school that I didn’t even deign to consider a “safety” school – I always thought she was aiming kids low so that her stats would look better.)

I'm thinking that perhaps I'll skip the second orientation meeting, dubbed "Middle School 101" which includes such scintillating topics as "friendship/social development" and "how to prepare your child for middle school". Do I really need to waste another evening getting answers to questions I don't have?  Does that make me a bad mother?

Really, all I'm worried about is how we're going to get her out of the house by 7:30 in the morning, given that most days she's asleep until 8.

15 March 2013

Ides of March

You know that certain kind of spam you get when a friend gets hacked? It appears to be from them, it’s to you and a few other people you don’t know, it includes a link full of consonants that screams “don’t click me” (if you have good spam ESP) and it’s invariably from someone using either AOL or Yahoo.

I got one of those this morning. I opened up the email on my phone and did a double take. Email from a man who’s been dead a year. Subject: Hot Copy. But the truly eerie thing about it? One of the other “recipients” was my mother, who’s been dead for four years.

Are Eddie and Moky somewhere together, writing hot copy about Joyce and Eliot? I like to think so, though I know better.

14 March 2013

Pies for Pi Day

In Massachusetts all the way
From Boston down to Buzzards Bay
They feed you till you want to die
On rhubarb pie and pumpkin pie,
And horrible huckleberry pie,
And when you summon strength to cry,
"What is there else that I can try?"
They stare at you in mild surprise
And serve you other kinds of pies.*

May your Pi Day be full of pie.

* Excerpt from On Food, from New Cautionary Tales, Hilaire Belloc, 1931