Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hey, Amazon Just Delivered My Copy of "The American Heritage Illustrated Dictionary of Political Words and Phrases."

I looked up "irony":

"Obama Angrily Denounces Gun-Rights Groups as Willful Liars."

Monday, April 15, 2013

Annette: Two Degrees of Separation, and Two Great Ladies Take a Certain Style With Them

Many years ago, especially MANY years before the Memsahib Era, when I had more hair and less of the rest of me, I was at P.J. Clarke’s in Chicago with my chum Doug, when a woman approached me.   Her name, as I recall, was Jackie.  Despite the dim light, I could see that she was well within tolerances – she had a scruffy Princess Di look about her, kind of a sexy little piece of brass.

I believe the word for what she did to me was “accosted,” and she said: “I’ll bet you wouldn't accept if I called and asked you to lunch.” (That's how you know how many years and pounds ago this was.)   She did, and I did.

I don’t remember much about the lunch, except that to her, Annette Funicello was “Aunt Annette.” Her uncle, Jack Gilardi, was Annette’s first husband, with whom she had three children. 

So Jackie, wherever you are, my condolences.

*     *     *
 Annette, Annette.  You didn’t rescue England or shame the Soviet Union like Margaret Thatcher, whose day of death you shared, but you moved a lot of movie tickets and a lot of adolescent trousers.  More than Baroness Thatcher, anyway.  (Although how could anyone fantasize about Annette?) 

As I considered the interesting coincidence of the simultaneous passing of two such different ladies, I was struck by one element of their individual styles that they shared.  One doesn't see women much choose it these days.  But I loved the look and still do.

Annette Funicello, Margaret Thatcher, RIP.  

We all pass, and the permanent is impermanent. 

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

You Cannot Trust Ladybugs

So I’m at Callahan’s yesterday buying some flowers for some pots I keep in our backyard.  At the checkout stand my attention is drawn to some movement off to one side.  It was a display of translucent sleeves of live ladybugs, 1500 per sleeve, it said, scrabbling uncomfortably over one another.   There was a sponge in there to keep things  moist, and because the market for sleeves of hundreds of dead ladybugs is negligible.   

The card said that they were buddies of the backyard, voracious consumers of aphids and fungus because they reproduced prodigiously – not such ladies after all! -- and would keep the landscaping blight-free all season long.   

Now I had never seen any aphids or fungus in our lushly landscaped postage-stamp backyard, but ‘phids – well, you know how they are.  And fungi!  You never know when their population might explode – their morals are also notoriously suspect – and attack the house.  

I was seized with the passion to liberate these little pals of innocent greenery and I bought two sleeves.  (By the way, ladybugs are not true bugs; they are beetles, and your entomologist would prefer that you refer to them as “ladybird beetles.”)  

I followed the directions with care, refrigerating them for an hour before release into the cool of the early evening onto pre-moistened plants, so they would have something to drink after escaping from that rancid little sponge.  I slit opened the sleeves and placed them on a couple of bushes.  They escaped with alacrity and began exploring the bushes.  Some took to the air as I spent some time removing a few of the more adventuresome ones from my person.  (I really need to throw out that “Eau de Maggot” aftershave.)  

I went inside and over the next two hours discovered a few that had hitched a ride in the folds of my ladybug-releasing outfit (loose fitting camo and a “BigButt Cigar” promotional cap I was gifted at a local smoke shop where I used to trade).   

Huh.  “48 Hours” fans, I guess.  

I went out this morning expecting to encounter a riotous banquet of Coccinellidae  munching merrily on landscape pests.  In my tour of the backyard, I saw precisely one ladybug.  


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