Monday, December 22, 2008

Overheard online


This post isn't going to be filled with much original thought.  I've spent more frivolous time on the computer in the last five days than in the last month, facebooking, twittering, and just surfing around.  One thing is certain - an overactive snowstorm brings out the humor in people more than grumpiness, if online comment is an indicator, and I decided to post some of my discoveries here.  Consider this my Index of Recent Cool Things. 

I follow a few people on Twitter.  They include the Unshelved and Wondermark authors, as well as a graphic artist/webcomic guy, and a library in Scotland.  Some recent tweets that I think are quotable:

"That's the thing about experimental cooking.  You might just have to have something else for dinner."

"On creativity:  We must be willing to suck, so we can learn and improve.  We must also be free to believe we do not suck, so we don't give up."

"I woke up for no good reason, then proceeded to worry about everything I could possibly ever worry about.  So I'm up.  Just me and Doctor Who." (posted around 2 a.m.)

"I am no longer scared of certain sections of department stores the way I was at 13." 

I can only imagine which department store sections a 13-year-old boy would be reluctant to visit.

David Malki, of Wondermark fame, posted an intriguing challenge on his website:  send a Christmas card to a complete stranger.  I accepted the challenge and I eagerly await the results - consequences? - if any should occur.  I didn't include our short newsletter because our 25th anniversary photo is in there, a photo which has brought us considerable notoriety over the last month.  Anyway, off went the card.  It's funny what a little 'outside the box' activity can do for my day.

Another twitter post took me to a "year in pictures" site.  It's an international look, not the usual what-happened-in-the-U.S. set.  War, disaster, injustice, and grief is well-chronicled in this 40-photo collection, making it a sometimes disturbing set to view, but the disastrous is mixed in with photos of amazing and interesting events.  I looked at photo #23 for a long time - Massai tribesmen in modern clothing, armed with bows and arrows, battling another tribe (off-camera).  I am an optimist, believing that I can, at the very least, make a difference within my immediate sphere.  I'm especially mindful of that when I see photos such as these.

It's snowing, again.  Despite the inconvenience, the power outages, the life-threatening conditions for those without homes...I love the snow.  

It's Christmas Eve.  Time to do the last of my baking.

May you enjoy peace, warmth, and all good things.  And stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

By popular demand...


...here is another Mastersingers mp3, a chapter from The Highway Code. Alas, I don't have the "lyrics" to this one so you'll really have to pay attention while you listen.  This piece is concerned with Rules Pertaining To Pedestrians. I prefer the Weather Report, but Highway Code is still fun.  I am mentally transported to St. Mark's Compline service when I listen to these mp3s.

Terry and Rory have been in and out of the branch recently, helping with signage changes and other sundry tasks.  Visits by these guys are delightfully bright spots in our day.  I was surprised to see Terry in Biography, thinking he had headed back to Sylvan Way after a morning visit.  Approaching from behind, I said, "You're back!" to which Terry replied (turning toward me) "Yes, and here's my front!"

Facebook has been great fun lately as more KRL folk join in.  I've been on facebook for a couple of years, having joined well before krl2.0.   I had signed on hoping to find other hammered dulcimer players.  I found one, so that was a bust, but I've found other people and interest groups to connect with, including former staff.

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.  I appreciate the ability to read what people are doing, see their photos, and celebrate milestones with them.  However, I was determined to avoid most of the applications.  When I first signed on with one (I think it was iRead), the application asked me if it was ok that they access all my information, including my Friends List.  Hmm.  I flung caution to the wind and clicked OK and that was that.  What harm could one app do?

But now... my connection to so many facebook friends (hereafter known as ffs) has opened wide the door to apps, especially recently.  Now I have a virtual Christmas Tree, as do other ffs, and we can give each other virtual gifts to put under it.  We can also send ornaments to one another.  I'm participating in a Snowball War.  I'm poking people.  I'm giving them plants for their L'il Green Patches.  It's the classic camel-in-the-tent situation - the camel wants in, so it puts its nose into the tent.  A nose doesn't take up much room, so you let it remain.  The rest of the head comes in.  Eventually the front legs sneak in, then the torso...before you know it, the whole camel is in the tent and you're wondering when did this happen?

So.  Facebook applications.  I do draw the line at some of them, like the eCards app.  There's a disclaimer, of course - facebook is not responsible for the content contained in these messages - and I am disinclined to open the ones that have been sent to me.  I once ended up with an app I didn't ask for, a dating service; I had to go through a convoluted process to disengage from the thing.  

One of the best things about facebook?  Some dear neighbors moved to Florida many years ago and we missed them deeply.  Janice and I would have unintended adventures while doing mundane things like shopping together at Costco.  The adventures were frequent enough that I became Ethel to Janice's Lucy.  Behold, Janice is on facebook!  Now we have a standing date - chatting via Online Friends every Monday afternoon.

I have Christmas lights to put up, real ones rather than the virtual kind.  Next time?  Chimes & Lights, perhaps.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Weather Report

November was a busy month - lots of shift-coverage at the branch, removal of two screws from my arm, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, family home from college. . .wow.

Now we're rollicking into December. I've been practicing Christmas and Holiday music for a couple of months, preparing for events and performances. I love the medieval tunes, especially Personent Hodie, because they're so suitable for harp and dulcimer. Every year, I must hum them over and over to get them lodged in my head. Once they're in, I can play them. If I play something incorrectly, the incorrect hammering pattern goes right to my brain and I have to dislodge it by playing it correctly. It's not good to be nearby when that happens because you will hear those difficult bars played again and again and again (accompanied by dismayed exclamations) until I get it right. It's a mystery to me why the wrong thing sticks immediately while the correct pattern needs all that repetition.

I'm not skilled at reading music. Instead, I listen repeatedly to a recording to learn the tune. Most of the music is in my iTunes library, which is handy but also distracting. There are all kinds of things in my Medieval folder, not just Christmas, and I get sidetracked into listening to some of them. Weather Report, performed by The Mastersingers, is one of my favorites. This is in my Medieval folder because it's done in Gregorian Chant. I'll finish this post with the "lyrics", an actual United Kingdom weather report from the 1960s. (The only non-report line is the final one.) You can read along as they sing, if you open this blog in another tab before clicking on the title to listen to the mp3.


Good morning, here is the weather forecast for today until midnight. First the general situation. A ridge of high pressure over the Azores is moving slowly northeast and will begin to affect southwestern districts of the British Isles by late evening.

The cold front now affecting southeast districts will gradually move north. Fog has developed overnight in much of England and parts of Wales. In some districts it is rather dense. This will lift and clear by mid-morning almost everywhere and the rest of the day will be fine with unbroken sunshine.

And now, here is the Shipping forecast for the next twenty-four hours: Viking, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber, Thames, Dover, White, Portland, Plymouth, Biscay, Finistere, Sole, Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea, Shannon, Rockall, Malin, Hebrides, Bailey, Fair Isle, Faeroes, South East Iceland will continue to be affected by weather for several days.

Now the outlook for Wednesday and Thursday. There will be drizzle in the south and periods of continuous rain are expected later, interspersed with scattered showers.

Northern England, Northern Ireland, and Southern Scotland will have occasional thunder. Temperatures will fall during the night and there may be local showers of sleet or snow.

Over central Scotland, temperatures will fall rapidly at dusk, giving rise to hail and freezing fog. Heavy snowfalls are expected in the north of Scotland and gale force winds are likely to cause extensive drifting.

In the extreme north of Scotland, a warm air stream will bring torrential rain and widespread flooding.

In brief, the weather will be normal for the time of year.


Wasn't that fun? Stay tuned.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Another bookdrop oddity


They just keep a'comin'.  On Wednesday, I found a set of false Bubba teeth at the bottom of the bin.

When I went hunting for an image to display of Bubba teeth, I found this hilarious Baby Binky on The Hutchings Four blog.  Binkies have come a long, long way since our kids were this age.

I am home for a couple of days, recovering from minor surgery - two screws and some wire were removed from my arm.  The only peculiar thing in my recovery is my left hand.  Due to injected pain meds and novocaine, both my ulnar and radial nerves are comatose.  This means I can curl my hand into a fist but can't uncurl it, and Neville isn't talking at all.  It's the quietest my hand has been since I broke my arm nearly a year ago.

That's it for this post, since I'm a one-handed typist.  Mr. Bean, the series, awaits to help me pass the time.  Stay tuned.


Monday, October 13, 2008

You found what??


Just when we think we've seen it all...someone used what appears to be a soft wad of dryer lint for a bookmark.

The Cass District Library System offers this page on their public website.  It contains light-hearted admonitions regarding patron use of library materials.  I especially enjoy the graphic at the top of the page and the summary at the very bottom.  We should add something like it to our own public website.

Next time:  Overheard at the library.  Stay tuned.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Family Gatherings


We've returned from a joyous occasion - the wedding of a niece.  My husband's side of the family is a humorous group.  Three states are represented, Montana, Colorado, and Washington.  We laugh a lot when we're together and I miss them tremendously when our gatherings end.

Weddings, of course, afford many opportunities for hilarity.  The best-planned preparations can hit momentary snags.  Unforeseen issues may arise.  Simple things often become strangely complicated.  This wedding was no exception, but it speaks to the temperaments of the family that many of the problems ended up just fine, with good stories to tell as a result.

The wedding was to be held outdoors, at 5:30 p.m., in Missoula.  It almost never rains there in early October but guess what?  The forecast for The Big Day:  90% chance of rain.  Sunny on the days before, sunny on the days after, but rain on the special day.  The Father Of The Bride kept an eye on a trusted weather website.  At one point, the forecast was revised to include the phrase dangerous weather.  As you may imagine, this led to deeply-felt musings on the part of the family regarding contingency plans.

It did, indeed, rain.  We awoke to a downpour.  But the reception tents had been erected the day before, so at least that part would be dry.  We all had assignments and headed off.  Some went to the tents to decorate, others went off to pick up food platters, the members of the wedding party did whatever it is that wedding parties do.  As the day progressed, the skies brightened and there was great rejoicing.  Then, thirty minutes before the ceremony, in came the rain!  But it passed after fifteen minutes and we all toweled off the chairs.  The wedding happened outdoors just as the bride had hoped.  Chilly but mostly dry, and absolutely beautiful.

After the ceremony, we retired to the reception tents.  There were a couple of standing heaters in there, as well as collective body heat.  We were warming up when the call for Family Photos came, and we all trooped out to the photo area.  Hoo!  The wind had begun to blow in earnest and it was cold.  We laughed as we huddled together in the manner of Emperor Penguins.  The photographer finally got us arranged, and just before the photo, Alden said "Say 'freeze'!"  We hightailed it back to the warmth of the tents after our group was photographed.

Later in the evening, the Maid of Honor was beginning her Toast when the lights went out.  The Colorado contingent went off to see what the problem might be.  They found that two extension cords had become unplugged.  Easy to fix!  Holding the ends aloft, they ceremoniously plugged the two cords back together.  Nothing happened.  Hm.  They followed the cords to the primary outlet and discovered the plug's prongs were bent and sparking.  After bending the prongs back into their proper shape, they plugged in the cord and heard cheers from the tent.  Success!

Other memories:  the surprise music for the processional (the end-of-the-movie duet from Juno), the groom almost completely disappearing beneath the bridal gown in search of the garter, Grandma Ida (at 85) boldly standing in the Single Women group hoping to catch the bouquet, Carly Simon's Itsy Bitsy Spider as the music for the groom's dance with his mom, a DJ with a great sense of humor (Y...M...CA...sing it in spanish!...Y...M...CA..A..), all of the cousins having a grand time dancing.

I am a happy Aunt.

As promised, the Mango Buttercream recipe:

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. mango puree
1 tsp lime zest
1 tbsp lime juice
3 c. powdered sugar

1. Cream the butter until it's light and fluffy, about 2 minutes
2. Add the mango puree, zest, and juice, and mix well
3. Gradually add the icing sugar until it's your desired spreading/piping consistency.  If it gets too stiff, thin it with a little milk or a bit more mango.

To get the mango puree, I purchased a jar of mango (look in the refrigerated section of Produce), then mashed it up.  It worked just fine.  The first time I made this, I was bereft of limes but the icing was still yummy.  I actually had limes the second time I made it, and it was even better.  Who needs the cupcake?

Next time:  I have no idea.  Stay tuned.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Neville and the Short Pencil Saga


I've been completely off The Drug for two weeks.  Neville seems to be doing mostly ok with this, not many wild twinges or zaps.  My outer fingers are a little puffier and the shiny-skin look is back, but Neville is just bipping along in a mild fashion.  And I'm still a little fog-brained but that's getting better, too.  At least I remember recent conversations now, something I had trouble with a month ago. 

It's been awhile since I've mentioned YouTube.  The danger with YouTube is in the search results.  I may not find what I was looking for but the Related Videos offer so many other possibilities.  An example:  while looking for a video about library bookdrops, something interesting presented itself in Related Videos (not related to bookdrops at all, by the way.)   Pencil Spinning Tutorial - talk about distraction.  This is what I did during part of my 25th-Wedding-Anniversary.  Wouldn't it be cool to be able to do this?  I could compete on America's Got Talent.  Or not, since I haven't yet made it past the ability to do the thumb-spin.  But I'm not giving up.  My husband despairs.

Pencils.  You would not believe how much YouTube time is devoted to pencils.

Who among us has used a short yellow pencil in the library?  Ever wonder how they got there?  Short Pencil Saga takes you on a journey from the forest to the library.

Not the most riveting blog entry, but there it is.  Next time?  Mango Buttercream Icing.  Stay tuned.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Found in the bookdrop...


In library work, processing returned items is a mundane task most of the time. We count the discs in CD and DVD cases to ensure that all are present. We briefly flip through each book to check for damage or personal items like photos.

If you do this task for any length of time, you will notice that there is often a correlation between a book's problem and the subject matter of the book. Things that have come through in the last several years include a number of dog obedience books bearing evidence of a puppy's attention. Books about cockatiels and parakeets have shown up with pecked covers; parenting books have been returned with a ragged corner still moist from its encounter with a teething child.   Kayaking Around the Sound came back so wet it nearly dripped.

We've seen cookbooks with substantial oil splatters and gardening books with leafy matter between the pages.   A novel came back with, believe it or not, a slice of uncooked bacon used as a bookmark.

All of this leads up to a couple of things returned to the bookdrop last week:

1.  A cutting bit from a tile-cutting tool, resting in the middle of Tiling 1-2-3.

2.  $728 cash, nestled within a book about how to stop misplacing things.  Before this book came in, the top cash amount found in a book was a $50 bill.

Libraries.  Stick around long enough and you'll have Tales To Tell, most of them involving a smile.

In other news, I dropped off my first Read And Release book yesterday (a Taylor Caldwell novel) as a member of BookCrossing.  It will be interesting to see how well (or not) this works in Port Orchard.  I may be more successful if I leave books where the moiling masses are, i.e. a Seattle ferry vs the local laundromat.

I still haven't blogged about Cupcakes and at this point probably won't anytime soon.  But I will say that I tried a recipe for Mango Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream.  The cupcake was okay but the icing...whoa...I could eat the icing on its own.  If you like cupcakes, either baking or eating, you might enjoy Couture Cupcakes.  Sometimes she shares her recipes, sometimes she doesn't, but her blog is almost always a good read.  And I learn things unsuspected about the cupcake world - did you know there's an Iron Cupcake competition?  In the most recent one, entries had to contain sweet basil in the ingredient list.  Hmm.  I like sweet basil, but...

Will you look at that!  I blogged about cupcakes, after all.  I'll post the Mango Buttercream recipe next time.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Shameless self-promotion


GarageBand + iTunes = my very own mp3s out there for the world to discover.  After several years of playing my hammered dulcimer in public places and being asked "Do you have a CD?", I may be able to say, "You betcha."  The learning curve has been very steep.  Blessings to online GarageBand forums and GarageBand for Dummies,  as well as my in-house IT department (daughter and son).

If you want to hear one of my tunes, Scotch Cap (traditional English tune circa 1651), go to ReverbNation and search Dulcigal.

Next time:  Cupcakes.  BookCrossing.  (I know, I know...)  Stay tuned.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Library Tales


It looks like this is a once-a-month blog, at least for the summer.  Time, as mentioned in my previous post, flies by.

With the economy in a bit of a slump, the library has become even busier than it was before.  We had over 600 people come through our door last Friday, even with no program to draw them in.  And with more people coming in, there are more great stories to tell.  My favorite reference question so far is actually two consecutive title queries.

First patron:  Do you have Eat, Love, Pray?
Second patron, two minutes later:  Do you have I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell?

Snicker...yes to both, but it's Eat, Pray, Love.

The Hound and the Baskervilles, Breaking Down (aka Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer), and the Junie Johnson (B. Jones) series were some other items sought by readers.  One must be diplomatic while serving at the reference desk.

I had the glorious experience of hunting for a specific book for a patron.  He had read a book from our branch two years ago.  He didn't remember the title or the author, but it had airplanes on the cover and the spine was grey.  I received enough clues through our conversation to actually locate the item in the catalog.  All hail the Reference Interview!  Best of all, it was checked in and on the shelf.  (The spine was red.)

More things are checking out, of course, now that people are visiting us instead of Barnes and Noble.  As checked-out books are returned, and I see the condition they're in, I have to conclude that some patrons are forgetting that the book they're reading is a library book, not one they've purchased.  Underlining, dog-ears, stains of all kinds, broken spines...whomever coined the term "Gentle Reader" never helped process a library bookdrop.

Next time:  Cupcakes and Bookcrossing.  Honest.

Reference question:  Gentle Reader, coinage of.  Was it Asimov?  Or F.P.A. of New Yorker fame?  Aha!  Dorothy Parker?  I used to know this...stay tuned...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Summer thoughts and Webcomics


Summer warmth has finally arrived.  Our tomatoes and petunias are no longer sulking.  We can sit on our north-facing deck in the evenings (without jackets and blankets!) and watch the burgeoning wildlife:  Flickers feasting on our huckleberries, squirrels leaping acrobatically through the hemlocks, Stellar Jays dueling with the squirrels for the sunflower seeds in the feeder, raccoons lumbering through...we're a fortunate lot, we are.

I'm not on the computer much, now that the outdoors has warmed.  But we're a fickle bunch at my house.  If it gets too warm, back inside we go.  Too warm, for us, is 80-85 degrees - we're Nordic and we wilt.

I've been unusually aware of how fleeting things are.  My grandmother (who lived to the grand age of 103.5) warned me that this would happen.  The older you get, she said, the faster it goes.  My family is gone, with Grandma the last to depart two summers ago.  Why am I so aware of this now?  Maybe because the weather has warmed and I'm spending some quiet time on our deck, time to slow down and ponder things like the cycles of life.

We still have plenty of family on Ken's side, within driving distance if we want a road trip to Montana or Colorado.  All of the cousins are in college now, two of them married.  Families change as the circle grows.  There's a poignancy to family gatherings.  All the grandparents have passed on and I have become one of the older ones, the ones who tell the stories, share memories, bring out the photos and other family ephemera.  And I wonder which of the younger ones will be interested in preserving the things of this particular family era.

Mind you, these thoughts aren't depressing.  It's more of an awareness and it's a good thing.  A sort of carpe diem.

On the humor side, because this is, after all, a humor blog, I enjoy the following webcomics and thought I'd share them here.

Wondermark is one of the more unusual webcomics. Do you have an outside-of-the-box sense of humor?  You might have fun with this one.  David Malki browses his (seemingly) vast collection of Victorian images and pulls them together to create a twice-weekly strip.  The illustrations are Victorian, the subject matter is sometimes anything but.  This is a very busy man.  He has just released Beards of Our Forefathers, a print collection of his strips; he weaves stories about Wondermark Manor, which is shared in installments via email and also available on his website; he established the Facebook and Flickr groups, Bears In Ill-Fitting Hats.  Malki is a fine artist (and filmmaker - see his award-winning short film, Expendable) whose own work surpasses the illustrations he uses.

MyLifeInCube is one man's expression of his lot in life:  working in a cubicle.  This is a single panel comic rather than a strip.  One of the things I enjoy most about this webcomic is the use of unexpected materials.  One day it may be drawn on a fast food napkin, the next on memo paper with a sticky note in one corner.

So.  Off to the great outdoors to water the garden.

Next time?  Cupcakes and Bookcrossing.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Time Marches On

It's a dangerous thing to let so much time slip by between posts - there are now far too many things to blog about.  This is probably why I have never been much of a diarist, even as a teen; it was too daunting to try to write about everything that happened.  I'm not sure why I thought I had to write about everything. Perhaps I felt I had to live up to the standard set by Anne Frank, or Samuel Pepys (whose diary I discovered in 6th grade, and whose name I blithely mispronounced until someone set me straight in my mid-thirties.)

Over the course of the last month, I could have blogged at length about fresh YouTube discoveries, peculiar and fascinating books discovered in KRL's collection, and The Spelling Bee.  There were missed opportunities to natter about Neville's newest quirks.  (Natter.  I use that word often enough in the branch that others are beginning to use it too.)   A discussion about terrible puns was certainly blog-fodder, as was one of those notorious forwarded emails that turned out to be really funny.

So, what to do?

Highlights, that's what, a nice breezy run through some of the funny things in my month, in no particular order:

* Lauri alerted me to a book at the Manchester Branch, Scouts In Bondage, and Other Violations of Literary Propriety, a humorous look at book covers from long ago.  Some titles were innocent enough in their time but have become a little eyebrow-raising in today's vernacular.  Some are included because the author's name suits the title to an unfortunate degree.  However, one book's inclusion has me puzzled - I can't figure out why it violates literary propriety.  This is probably just as well.  No doubt something on that cover is yet another (happily unknown to me) euphemism for a Naughty Bit.

* As an inveterate fan of YouTube, I am compelled to share a discovery.  Elevator, by Runaway Box, is a weekly YouTube series.  Each episode is one-to-two minutes long and always takes place in The Elevator.  Here is one of my favorites, Bluetooth Assault, first in a three-part Bluetooth run.

* Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer, the punchline for a two-paragraph joke that I don't want to type out.  Sorry!  If you want the two paragraphs, let me know.

* Neville.  Previously-numb parts of my hand, including my little finger, are starting to wake up.  This is a good news/bad news kind of thing.  The good news - it means Neville is continuing to heal. The bad news - that part of my hand is hyper-sensitive.  When I put my hand on something that is slightly-less-than-room-temperature, like the page of a book, most of my hand doesn't notice anything but that little finger thinks it's resting on an ice cube and sends a frantic "Get me out of here!" message to the brain.

And that's that.

Next time:  the Spelling Bee.  Perhaps.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tchotchkes and YouTube, or How to ignore Blog Etiquette

I have the delightful honor of serving on the library's team in the Literacy Council Spelling Bee, an annual fundraiser.  We are "Off The Shelf" this year.  None of the three of us are pedigreed Librarians but, because the public tends to lump us all together (if we work for the library then, by golly, we are librarians), we have planned our costumes accordingly.  We will be your grandmother's librarians, complete with choreographed date-stamping when we spell a word correctly.  Assuming we can find three contraband date-stampers.

We looked over the word list together and divided it up according to education and experience.  One member knows German, one knows French, and one knows Pig Latin.  (I won't be much use in the foreign language department.)  Each section in the word list has its own Challenging Words, and that's where tchotchke showed up.  Yiddish!

I went right to the bookshelf as soon as I arrived home, found Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish, and settled in for an hour of happy reunion with this amazing language.  We use many Yiddish words in our family, despite our staunchly Scandinavian/British roots.  In rereading the book, I discovered that we've been misusing one of them all these years.  Shlock, for us, refers to a casserole of unfortunate texture and indeterminate ingredients, but it really means a shoddy, cheaply made, or defective article.  Which, in a broad sense, legitimately describes some of those past entrees.  Our kids have done minor comedy routines based on 'meals we have known'.

Our daughter pointed me to Demetri Martin, via YouTube.  He's been featured on Comedy Central; his routines are fairly clean for a young comedian, with an occasional bleeped word.  His specialty is using an easel and pad of paper, as you'll see if you click on his name.  Demetri isn't one of those laugh-out-loud comedians, at least for me, but he makes me smile (Grapes, the fruit of hope) so I wanted to mention him.  Standup comedy has to be one of the toughest things to do, especially with so much to live up to.  How do you follow in the footsteps of Bob Hope, Bill Cosby, or Jerry Seinfeld?  Bob Newhart?  Billy Crystal? 

My email is often blessed with missives from Microsoft, little newsletters that tell me how to use my Office products more efficiently, or provide tips on Web 2.0 subjects.  A recent newsletter concerned blogging.  It stressed the importance of keeping a post on-topic rather than wandering around.  Apparently serious blog readers are deeply annoyed by posts that include more than what the title offers or have ill-defined tags.  The newsletter went on and on about it, and I began to feel a little defensive.  I don't even provide tags, most of the time.  Mine could be the Poster Blog for Bad Blog Etiquette.

Oh well.

Next time:  Spelling Bee report.  Stay tuned.
  

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Hair-Raising X-ray


Here it is.  My arm won the "Worst Break I've Ever Seen" award from my surgeon and my physical therapist. As you can see, it took two plates, seven hefty screws, and some wire to put me back together.  That big screw appears to stick out through my skin at the elbow.  In person, it doesn't actually poke through but it sure looks like it would if given half a chance.

In other news, the same business that brought us 'Port Orcherd' is now blessing us with 'Port Orcard'.  South Sound Cinemas is advertising the film 10'000 BC.  Sigh...  Happily, the South Kitsap Mall sign sported 'Beds/Dininig Sets' for less than 24 hours before it was corrected.

Another short-n-sweet posting. Next time? Demetri Martin. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

7-Up Through My Nose

It's an inelegant way to start a blogpost, I know, but that is what has just happened to me.  I was catching up on Rex Parker's Great Paperback Project and April 9th's post was hilarious, with unfortunate consequences.  My nose has recovered.  I'm still laughing.  And blogging about it.

Life with Neville is much easier these days.  I hope to be off The Drug sooner rather than later, but there is no doubt it has tamed my nasty nerve.  Neville is now like a soft harp playing in the background, occasionally interrupted by a kettledrum solo or trombone riff.


I haven't forgotten the hair-raising x-ray.  It needs to be scanned.  Stay tuned.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spiderwick Chronicals

The March 14 date of this posting is a lie.  I started it way back then, but actually finished and posted it today, March 31.

Yes, I know how to spell Chronicles but our local cinema sure doesn't.  That misspelling up there is displayed on the South Sound Cinema What's Playing sign.  I get to see it twice a day and I wince every time.  Port Orchard business signs are a blighted bunch, as evidenced by the following messages exhibited over the past year (not, by any means, a complete list):

Thank You, Port Orcherd
Under "New" Management
Come in for a "special" deal

As indicated in those examples, the improper use of quotation marks is responsible for most of the bad signage.  People must be unaware of the unfortunate ironic turn their sign may take.  I attribute this problem to the overuse of air quotes, people mimicing quotation marks in the air as they say a word. 

And apostrophe misuse?  Don't get me started.  It isn't that I'm a grand expert on the subject.  It just bothers me when the basics of spelling or grammar are slighted.  (Hm...the spellchecker is having fits over my use of the word mimicing, which just goes to show that I can be as uninformed as anybody.)

It's confession time:  I am a pathological proofreader.  My eyes go straight to an error whenever I read something, no matter how unimportant the document may be.  It could be a milk carton, a playlist, a poster, a webpage...if there's an incorrect word or bad punctation, I see it whether I want to or not. And once I see it, I want to fix it.  I have never made this public, but I once used a pen to correct a really awful punctuation error in an upscale menu, and yes, the menu was in English.  I went so far as to quietly correct all the other menus within reach.  We were waiting for a table and I had to do it while my husband (and the hostess) wasn't looking.

Correcting a document that is not my own could be considered defacement, I suppose, but I'm in good company. Ann Fadiman, in her book Ex Libris, reports that her father, Clifton Fadiman, routinely corrected menus in posh restaurants.  He even corrected library books, corrections which "he viewed not as defacements but as improvements."  So there.

To my credit: though sorely tempted, I have never drawn a mustache on a publicly-displayed portrait.

Next time:  by popular demand, hair-raising x-rays.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Other natural curiosities

Have you read Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad?  It's a personal favorite and I reread it regularly.  There is a section in which he begins to describe his Ascent Of Vesuvius but is distracted and writes about something semi-related, resumes with Ascent Of Vesuvius, derails with something else...he does eventually complete the narrative of his Ascent Of Vesuvius.

My blog is a bit like that.

Natural curiosities.

We visited the Woodland Park Zoo with another couple, some years ago.  During this visit we came to the Hippo section and encountered a sign with the question "How long can hippos remain underwater?"  There, before us, was a lake for the hippos.  Presumably the hippos were in it, underwater, since there were no hippos in sight.  We made ourselves comfortable and waited to learn the answer to the question.  Twenty-five minutes later we began to doubt the presence of hippos.  The fact that it took that long says something about our collective...um...patience.  Now, when we encounter a dubious claim, we mutter to one another, yeah, and how long can hippos stay underwater?

We also visited the Gorilla exhibit.  There was such a crowd at the viewing area that we had to be satisfied with watching from the fringe.  We couldn't see much, just one really big gorilla who meandered through the shrubbery.  He finally settled himself on a rock after something on the ground caught his eye.  He slowly reached down, grasped the object, and brought it up for closer scrutiny.  The crowd tittered as it became clear what the object was: a fecal deposit.  The tittering changed to appalled gasps as the gorilla, with a thoughtful expression, began to eat it.  Within a couple of minutes, we had the viewing area completely to ourselves.

It was a fine day at the zoo.

Next time:  the trials of an inveterate proofreader.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Neville and the cinematic arts

Neville has had the upper hand these last three days.  I have a lot of things in my arsenal to deal with Neville, but I must use them randomly because Neville adapts.  It feels like I'm engaging The Borg.

Fortunately for me, a couple of distractions have arrived:  The entire series of Blackadder from the library, and The Darjeeling Limited from Netflix.  I'm quickly becoming a fan of Wes Anderson.  I loved The Royal Tennenbaums, and I found Darjeeling to be as wonderful.  Anderson lets the audience discover his characters through visual and verbal clues; both movies are the sort that one watches several times because there are so many subtle things.  You have to pay attention. 


For some reason, after watching The Darjeeling Limited, I was suddenly homesick for the Harvard Exit.  This was my favorite theater when I lived the single life in Seattle.  Housed in an old (supposedly haunted) building on Capitol Hill, the theater hosted terrific film series' like MGM Musicals and Films Of Akira Kurosawa.  They had a Mixed Foreign Film series which included Diva and Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears.  Babette's Feast may have been in there, too.  Three wonderful films.  Foreign films tend to take their time with a story, and the humor comes from the everyday interactions and relationships.  And now I know why I'm homesick for the Harvard Exit.  The Darjeeling Limited is a lot like those foreign films of my movie-going past.

The MGM Musicals series was great fun.  It included Singing In The Rain, which is just about the only movie that makes me laugh out loud.  Every time.  The Seattle Public Library had a book with the choreography for the famous scene where Gene Kelly sings the title song.  The book listed every step of the scene, allowing anyone to learn and perform it exactly as it was in the film.  I checked it out and several of us attempted to learn the routine.  We decided someone would have to be mildly demented to actually accomplish this dance.  The book went back to the library well before its due date.

A friend once told me that he wished his life was like a musical, where people could break out in song any time and nobody would think it strange if he danced in the street.  I agreed with him up to a point, but what if your personal musical was more like West Side Story than The Music Man?

This post has meandered around a bit and not a word regarding Other Natural Curiosities.  Maybe I'll get to those curiosities next time.  Stay tuned.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Birds, and other natural curiosities

So, birds.  As I said before, we've had some wonderful encounters with the feathered folk.  One of our funniest?  The day a bird knocked itself silly when it flew into our kitchen window.  We were all sitting by the window at the time and we hurried outside to find the injured, possibly deceased, bird.  We found the poor thing cushioned in the daylilies, blinking up at us, so we located a shoebox and lined it with a towel. Into the box went the bird.  We put the lid on the box and brought the package inside, hoping that a warm, dark, and quiet place would help our guest recover.  Our two teens headed off to an event and we settled into our morning routine.

Sometime later Ken and I sat down for a cup of tea.  We had heard nothing from the bird, no flutterings or chirps, so Ken removed the lid.  Was the bird still counted among the living?  Yup, just lying there and blinking.  Ken left the lid off and returned to the table saying that perhaps a little light would help.  I responded "What if it helps too much and the bird flies out of the box?"  "Oh, that won't happen yet", Ken replied, just as the bird hopped up onto the edge of the box.

We went into Red Alert.

It was clear that the bird was still a bit dazed.  Without speaking, we moved in slow motion, me toward the door and Ken toward the bird-on-the-box.  He picked up the box, the bird watching him from its perch.  Slowly, oh so slowly, Ken made his way through the kitchen and out the door, setting the box on the sunny porch step.  The question now was, would this bird be able to fly safely to a tree before one of the neighborhood cats discovered it?  We settled onto the grass a few feet from the bird, watching, ready to defend the bird from any passing predators.  At last, with a chirp, it flew into the nearest Fir.  Our job was done.

Our teens returned home shortly after this.  We excitedly told them, in full detail, what had happened with the bird.  Amy's response was "Cool!" and she headed to her room.  Alden stood with us for a few minutes, then fixed us with a stern expression and said, in a lowered voice, "Ok, what really happened with the bird?"  If the bird had died, well, we would have waited and buried it with full family attendance, as we have always done.  It took a long time to convince him that we weren't trying to shield anyone from a sad ending.

And that's it this time around.  Next time?  Other Natural Curiosities.

Stay tuned.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rockin' Robin


A wonderful thing happened this morning - I woke up to a robin singing.  And he wasn't the only one.  Did all the spring birds fly home together?  All those lost-for-the-winter sounds echoing around our backyard was almost orchestral.

Then I heard our Mystery Bird.  In February?? I usually don't hear this bird until April.  It's an elusive one.  It always sounds like it's in our cottonwood, but nobody in the family has ever been able to locate it.  We're hampered by the fact that we don't know what we're looking for.  It sounds like a dove/great horned owl mix with a pigeonesque warble at the end.  Since the cottonwood is currently bereft of leaves, I thought I might have half a chance of actually seeing the bird this morning, but no.  Not even with field glasses.  I'm beginning to think we're dealing with a bird that has ventriloquist abilities.  Maybe it isn't a bird at all. Perhaps our backyard hosts a family of rare Northwestern Whooing Frogs.

When we lived in Seattle, we had all the usual birds like robins, song sparrows, house wrens, and crows, to name a few. We had occasional encounters with them, beyond the birdfeeder.  We extracted a juvenile crow from a rose bush once, while the parents expressed their alarm by swooping around our heads.  When we moved to South Kitsap, we began to see a far greater variety at our feeders.  At the appearance of a new bird, someone would sound the New Bird Alert and we'd quickly grab the identification guide.

The neighborhood has provided some bird sightings apart from the feeders.  Our kids came breathlessly into the house, one summer afternoon, to report that a tropical bird was in one of our trees.  It was squawking loudly.  We figured that somebody's pet had escaped and, sure enough, as we stood there watching it a neighbor came up and asked if we'd seen her bird.  The bird grew silent when she approached - this was one savvy bird that didn't want to go home.  Traitors that we were, we pointed to it.  It flew off and landed in one of her trees.  Her family spent the next several days trying to catch it.  This was a seriously-expensive bird, so the whole neighborhood went On Watch - somebody always knew where the bird was.  It finally flew right to her, presumably due to hunger.

Another time, I was gazing out the window while washing dishes and was startled to see a male peacock sauntering down the street.  I called the neighbor two doors down and let her know that a peacock was headed her way.  Hers was a well-behaved four-child household and I thought they might like to see it.  They liked it very much.  We watched all evening to see if it would return, but it didn't.

Last summer, I looked out the window just in time to see a mother duck and nine very young ducklings lined up behind her, walking up the street.  My first thought was Oh no! because our arterial street is a dangerous route for wildlife - due to dogs, cars, and children - but they made it safely into a neighbor's garden.  That garden is a wildlife paradise, with lots of shrubs and low plants for cover, and a small pond.  It's a good place to raise ducklings, except for the fact that it's only partially fenced.  Later that summer, a roaming Beagle discovered the little family and scattered them far and wide.  Several of us spent the next few hours gathering them back together.  One neighbor snagged the Beagle, marched him home, and made sure that the owners put him back on his tether.  This Beagle is not well-loved by the neighborhood.  He visits all of us, rampaging as he goes.  I frequently see him on unescorted walkabouts.

My kitchen and dining room windows look out onto the neighborhood.  It's the sunny side of the house and I'm usually near one window or the other when I'm home.  I could easily turn into the classic Neighborhood Busybody because I can see everything that happens on the street.  I can hear nearly everything too, if it's said outdoors.  Our house is located in an acoustically-odd spot and our garage door acts as a sound board.  We discovered this shortly after we moved in so, when we introduced ourselves to our immediate neighbors, we mentioned the peculiar sound-collecting ability of our house, in the spirit of just so you know.

Anyway, birds.  If you'd like to hear some North American Bird songs, click on the title of this post.

Next time:  more thoughts about birds.  Ah, Spring!  Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stray Shopping Carts

This is a quick post.

A couple of weeks ago, Dee booktalked some books that could be considered, at the very least, unusual.  I've just discovered that one of them, Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: a Guide to Field Identification, was published because of a website. You should visit  The Stray Shopping Cart Project and look around, especially if you could use a smile.  

Blogger.  It has it all.

On a post-krl2.0 note, I tried to add an image of the book and just couldn't do it.  I did it in previous posts so what's the problem (she muttered)?  Maybe it's The Drug.

Next time? Honestly, who knows, given my penchant for nosing around the 'Net?  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Neville vs. The Drug

The score thus far is Neville 1, The Drug 2.

I've learned a lot about the world of the nerve, thanks to Diane, my physical therapist.  Now I know where the nerves in my arm and hand live, and what they're called, and which fingers they affect.  I know that an injured nerve can affect muscle loss and circulation, and prompt the formation of unnecessary scar tissue.  I know why, when I drink something cold, I can feel the cold go right down my arm (Neville is very, very alert.)

When all is well, a nerve checks in with the brain at a slow, steady pace, a sort of bip.....bip.....bip.....bip..... When something goes awry, the pace speeds up to get the brain's full attention, bipbipbipbipbipbip.  The Drug is supposed to help the nerve calm down and increase the blood flow around it.  The Drug has a score of 2 because 1) my arm's circulation has noticeably improved and 2) I'm actually able to sleep, which means Neville's bipping has slowed down.  Neville gets one point because my lower arm and hand is still mighty prickly. The only soothing surface is paper, especially newsprint.  All fabrics feel like woolly burlap.  Thank goodness for short-sleeved clothing.

One unforeseen side-effect of The Drug:  I'm humming a lot.  As posted before, I am a humming person, but the humming seems to have intensified.  I'm humming along with household appliances (like the vacuum cleaner) and, disturbingly, I'm harmonizing with them.  I've sung harmony most of my life (low alto) but this is a little over the edge.

I  recently talked with a staff member about this.  She'd been processing serials in my office and I realized that I had been humming the whole time she was there.  When I apologized for it, she said that she, too, was a hummer and completely understood.  We had a delightful conversation about the difficulties that arise from being the only hummer in a non-humming family, and how we both find ourselves humming tunes that come from who-knows-where.  We wake up with tunes in our heads.  We hum really bad songs and we don't know why we're humming them.  They are just there.   Why is it always the rotten song that surfaces when there are so many good songs in our mental archives?

Dave Barry addressed this in a column about his least favorite songs, the songs that are stuck forever in his head, and he asked his readers to vote for their least favorite song.  Over 10,000 readers wrote in, the best response he'd ever received with a column.  These people were passionate in their dislike of a particular song.  Dave tallied the votes, wrote about the results, and received even more letters.  He realized this was a book-worthy subject, which led to Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs, a book I recommend to anyone who listened to a radio between 1960-1980.  You will recognize these songs.  I bet some of them are stuck inside your head.  Should I reveal which song received the most votes for Worst Song?  Nope.  You'll have to read the book.  Besides, if I named it here, you might end up humming it.

Next week:  harmony and me.  Stay tuned.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sharing on Sharepoint


Why oh why is it so difficult to give a blogpost a title?  I'm probably trying too hard.

I'm delighted that we're at the last module, Sharepoint.  Um, I'm not delighted because it's the last one, I'm delighted that we're at Sharepoint.  Sharepoint is the new environment for most of the stuff we'll be doing and I can hardly wait for the day it's completely up and running.  The scavenger hunt was fun and provided a good look around.  Great job, Nancy!  Everyone should take a look even if they're not participating in 2.0.

I haven't posted on the Sharepoint blog yet but plan to when I'm at the branch tomorrow.

My doctor gave permission for me to start using my left hand when I type.  That is all well and good, but my little finger is still completely numb (alien appendage), and the feeling in the finger next to it is only half there, lengthwise.  Trying to type two-handedly at this point is slower than typing with one hand.  Slow but oddly entertaining. 

Other news:  today I started taking a drug that's supposed to calm Neville The Nerve.  The main side effect?  "You might feel a little cloudy first thing in the morning."  Ha!  I'm already a little "cloudy".  My brain hasn't had a break since November 30 - all Neville, all the time - and there have been many days when I can hardly think.  Cloudy is just fine, as long as Neville settles down.

Next time?  Neville vs. The Drug.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ah, to be a student

We bought our first family computer in 1994 or so. It was a Sony Vaio: sleek, charcoal-grey, one incredible gigabyte's worth of memory...and it had these cool computer-animated videos that played while it was booting up. Amazing. The Internet was a bit like Wonderland, even in its text-based form. I taught our kids the joy of Boolean (How do I find a picture of a manatee skeleton?)   I admit it, I still miss Alta Vista.  It simply took my search terms and didn't try to 0h-so-helpfully second-guess them.  Do you mean toe jam?  (No, I do not.)

We had conversations about site credibility, and how important it was to close an inappropriate window.  I wonder how many children, doing research on presidents, typed whitehouse.com instead of whitehouse.gov and got an unintended eyeful?

Students still need those conversations about using the Internet wisely.

Doggone, this is going wildly off-track. I shall refocus.

Students today don't know how good they have it when it comes to Web 2.0 stuff.  Admittedly, some of those tools are unreliable - here today, gone tomorrow - but most of the best ones will stick around.  Zoho is one of them, word processing wherever you are, especially useful on our opacs.  Alas, if only the opacs would allow tabbed windows.

I signed up with Stikkit, curious to see how useful it might be.  It could be terrific for a student, with all those organizational tools.  Useful for me?  Probably not so much.  I love computers and other technological coolness, but I don't want to be online quite that much.  At least, not for organizing myself.  I'd rather be listening to a podcast of Says You on npr.org.

And that's about it for me this time around.  There's nothing very humorous about this 2.0 section.  But, in honor of Super Tuesday, I could refer you to an article I enjoyed in the January 14 issue of U.S. News & World Report, titled "What They Should Have Said".  One quote:  "I don't approve of political jokes; I have seen too many of them get elected."

Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

"Singin' in the bathtub..."

"...happy once again, watchin' all my twoubles go swimmin' down the dwain..."

Tweeting on twitter always makes me think of Tweety Bird of Looney Tunes fame.  By acknowledging that here, I hope to make Tweety's song go away for awhile.  It has joined the "songs that are stuck in my brain" list.

Twittering can be a little addictive, depending on who you're following or who is following you, and what kind of riveting events are going on.  If you're new to Twitter, be encouraged - it  makes more sense the more you use it.

The big astonishment: when I first clicked Find And Follow, Twitter went straight to my Gmail address book and picked up anyone in there who had a Twitter account.  My immediate  housekeeping job was to clean out some of those addies.  I do not want to follow the Alaskan realtor who, three years ago, helped sell my mom's condo in Juneau.

Most of my recent twitter entries were whines about my ulnar nerve, and I'd like to note that I received many sympathetic tweets in return.  Tweeters are kind and really do pay attention.  By the way, we've named the nerve - Neville. Neville the Nerve.  Neville the Nasty Nerve.

Following the tweets of others has been surprisingly fun.  Shannon's tweets from ALA were great, as were Shirlee's regarding the vagaries of technology.  Kitsaplibrary is interesting reading as staff explore the wonders, and mysteries, of tweeting. 

I am tweeting as dulcigal.  I decided early on to use the identical username/password for everything in krl2.0.  Since dulcigal was already my gmail name, I just stuck with that.  And a good thing, too, since so many web 2.0 applications require setting up an account.  Yikes.

This post has been a bit disjointed, hasn't it?  Blame it on Neville.

That's all, folks!  Next time: the humorous side of web 2.0 for students.  Stay tuned.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Facebook

I have a Facebook site, to the amusement of my college-age kids.  (I did not ask them to add me to their Friends list.)  I created it in mid-summer 2007, before krl2.0.  I had heard that non-college folk were now allowed and I thought it might be possible to find other hammered dulcimer players or library groups.

I read the article Social Networking in Libraries.  This article was written in May 2006, before Facebook opened up membership to the non-student public.  I enjoyed reading it and I'd like to comment on two of the points that I believe are particularly important.

First point - "If you want to prevent all the problems of MySpace and Facebook, the key is educating the parents and making them get involved in their childrens' online lives."  Um, making them get involved?  How about helping them get involved?  One major role KRL could potentially play in all of this is offering classes on the many kinds of sites and web tools that are out there.  The Click! program, with its focus on learning technology, would be a reasonable place to offer training and information about social networking sites and Web 2.0.  Create a class and invite the parents/public to come on in.  Or utilize our web-savvy teens to teach workshops.

Second point - "I do not think that there is anything inherently 'cool' or useful about having a (library) profile on these sites.  Just like any social software tool, it's what you do with it that matters." (my emphasis.)  Amen and amen!  Our challenge is choosing the best tools to engage the public with the library, and using those tools deliberately and creatively.

One thing I've noticed - students are intrigued when they discover that I know what these sites and webtools are, and how they work.  We've had some great conversations when I've asked them how they use these things; I've received tips on using my Facebook more effectively, and they've learned some things from me about other online stuff.  Having a working knowledge of all that we're covering in krl2.0 can give us opportunities to connect with many of our patrons.

And now, since this is a humor blog, I'd like to mention a recurring thing that is happening to me:  I find myself humming incongruous tunes at odd times.  Let me say here that I'm a humming person.  I hum all the time.  (Just ask the PT staff.  Ask my husband.)  The difference is in what I'm humming.  Maybe it's due to watching far more television than usual in the last month, because commercial jingles figure heavily in the tune list, especially from car commercials...He's a maniac, maniac...  I even found myself  humming the Beethoven bit from Hyundai duh duh duh duh.  Duh indeed.

Other tunes I've caught myself humming?  Basketball jones, I've got a basketball jones...  Where did that come from??  I was a junior in high school when that was on the radio.  Why did my mind dredge that one up from my murky brainy depths when there are so many others to choose from?  I'm no longer on oxycodone, so I can't blame drugs.

Next time: perhaps more riveting thoughts on the effects of too much free time.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Ow Ow Ow


It's January 6th already??

My New Year's epiphany:  I am a big wimp.  I had some significant surgeries between age 3 and 16, with months spent in the hospital, so I thought a broken arm would be relatively easy to endure.  However, as I've learned from some who've had broken arms, it all depends.  It all depends on where it breaks.  It all depends on what kind of break it is (my break was more of a shredding.)  I landed on my elbow, seriously annoying my ulna nerve, and it will continue to be annoyed for months while it heals, and that is why I'm a wimp.  May I whine?  It feels like I've just bumped my funny bone, 24 hours a day.  

I've tried many distractions.

Ineffective distractions - jigsaw puzzles, most television shows, crosswords, sudoku (although WebMD has a very nice online sudoku), writing thank you notes and letters, and reading.  Reading anything is worse than not reading.  That's a first, believe me.  My current checkout list has four things on it.  It hasn't been that small since I was seven years old.

Somewhat effective distractions - browsing Blogger, browsing staff blogs, watching Judge Alex and Judge Marilyn, trying to play my hammered dulcimer (mostly one-handed), and household chores.  My doctor would have something to say about those last two.  I'm not telling him.

Best distractions  - cleaning out my office (shred, shred, shred) and watching DVDS of my favorite funny people.  Four of those DVDs are what's on my checkout list.  They have kept me from going mad.

In the last two posts I promised that I would visit the subject of Comedians.  It's mighty handy that my sanity has been preserved by them for the last couple of weeks!  Here's my viewing list so far:

The Marx brothers.  I love 'em, and I've revisited all of their films.  They didn't always hit a bullseye with a film - Groucho often referred to the 'turkey' they were making - but there are inspired moments in all of them.  Night At The Opera has the most cohesive plot and the stateroom scene is not to be missed.  Duck Soup?  The "mirror" scene (they all look like Groucho when wearing a nightcap and mustache), 'Hail Freedonia', and the lemonade vendor.  Harpo (harp) and Chico (piano) are always showcased somehow, and there are additional songs for Groucho and the ubiquitous romantic couple.  I never tire of hearing "Hooray For Captain Spaulding" or "Lydia The Tattooed Lady" (you can learn a lot from Lydia).

Monty Python's Flying Circus.  Modern-day Marx Brothers.  I watched all fourteen discs.  Oh my.

How To Irritate People.  Courtesy of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, and Michael Palin.

Eddie Izzard.  "Dress To Kill" and "Glorious".  I've mentioned before that I deplore his exuberant use of a certain word.  However, we lived in Scotland for awhile and we heard that word all the time.  It was eff-effity-eff, so I give him some slack.  He is funny.  He is Darth Vader getting no respect in a cafeteria line on the Death Star.  He is a steward on Church Of England Airlines.  Heads-up if you decide to watch his DVD - Eddie is...um...flamboyant.

Rowan Atkinson.  I'm halfway through Mr. Bean (the series).  I'm awaiting Blackadder.

Wodehouse Playhouse.  I saw this series on PBS a couple of decades ago and was delighted to discover the DVDs on our library shelf.  This is the best of both worlds, P.G. Wodehouse done by BBC Television.  John Alderton and Pauline Collins bring those characters right out of the books.  If you haven't seen these, you must.  Put them on hold at the library or go to Netflix.  Do it.

Bill Cosby.  We still have his LPs.  He was funny then, he is funny now.  Maybe funnier, because his monologues explore the joys of growing older and having unexpected adventures (like a proctologist visit.)  Alas that I'm old enough to relate to a lot of his observations!  There's a Facebook group, Gettin' Old Ain't For Sissies, and Bill Crosby's humor affirms it.

Frank Caliendo.  I watch him on Youtube.  He's an impressionist, which sort of understates it because he can be anybody.  He goes from George Bush to Bill Clinton seamlessly.  He does everybody from Seinfeld except Elaine.  I have laughed out loud at some of his stuff.  We don't have cable, so I can't watch his show on TBS.  I must depend on the kindness of strangers to put excerpts on YouTube.

Smothers Brothers.  Loved this show way back when.  Now I sing along with them (Black is the color of my love's true hair...)  I owned all their records, so the words are engraved into my brain.  I still have my Pat Paulsen For President button.

That's my list.  Those are all the folk who have helped me ignore my arm for awhile, and I'm grateful.

Next post?  Probably a whine.  Stay tuned.