Saturday, May 30, 2009

So much for that standard lecture

For twenty years my kids have known one simple, invariable rule of life:

If you say in Dad's presence, "That's not fair," then you will instantly be informed by Dad that, "Life's not fair," and he will usually add, "Get over it." This is, Dad considers, one of the most important things Granddaddy ever taught him. (Clearly Granddaddy and Dad aren't the only old codgers who lead with this advice; Charles Sykes has a very close variant of it in his excellent list of Rules Kids Won't Learn In School.) And my children have never had an effective comeback for it; the best they've ever come up with is, "Aw, Da-a-a-d!"

So yesterday evening Rusty and Kinya and I helped my friend Sylvia and her daughter Damaris move the last of their big furniture out of storage into their newly rented house. This task was complicated, by the way, by the fact that the pickup truck Randy had loaned me for the weekend seems to have a bad battery, and thus Miss Damaris had to jump-start the pickup truck at the start and end of every trip to the storage facility, plus at the gas station where I filled up the truck. But we did eventually finish, and in the process Miss Damaris learned how to jump-start a car, which I was appalled to discover nobody had ever explained to her.

By then it was getting close to seven o'clock, and Miss Damaris decided to come along with us to the Far East Chinese buffet restaurant for dinner. Sylvia couldn't come along because she had to go to work...and now that Sylvia isn't around, I shall return to referring to Miss Damaris as "Miss Daniela." (Sylvia calls her by her middle name "Damaris," you see, which Sylvia rightly thinks is a lovely name; and therefore so do the people at La Casa; but at the coffee shop and among her friends and to her brother Daniel she is "Daniela." So out of respect for Sylvia, who is after all the girl's mom, I call the young lady "Miss Damaris" whenever her mother's around or when I'm at church, and "Miss Daniela" on other occasions. And if you think that's confusing, then just wait until I explain to you how to decide when you should address Kristina as "Kristina" and when she is more properly referred to as "Leroy.")

Well, we're sitting around the table at Far East while Kinya and Miss Daniela chatter on and I join in on the conversation now and then in between coaching Rusty on restaurant table manners. And then for some reason, I can't remember exactly why now, Miss Daniela starts complaining (partly for comic effect) that her parents have been way easier on her nine-years-younger brother Daniel than they were on her. (Never heard that one from an older brother or sister before, have ya?) And inevitably...

MISS DANIELA: ...and I suppose it's probably a good thing that my dad and mom were so hard on me, but still, it's not fair.

[Kristina can't help but look instantly in my direction because she has a horrible suspicion of what's coming, namely, that Papa is going to embarrass her by giving her twenty-four-year-old friend his standard parental lecture. Well, since I hate disappointing my children...]

MR. PIERCE: [chuckling] Now, Miss Daniela, I'm not trying to treat you like you're one of my daughters, you understand...but whenever my kids say, "It's not fair," I always tell them, "Kid, life isn't fair -- get over it."

MISS DANIELA: [giving me her best mock glare and bringing her fist down sharply on the table] Well, we can make it fair! -- [looks sideways at Kinya] can't we, Kristina?"

KRISTINA: [gleefully] Yes we can!

So much for my kids not knowing a comeback to Papa's "Life's not fair, get over it," line. So, Miss Daniela:

1. Good one! I have to admit, that was pretty funny; I couldn't help laughing.

2. [glaring in my own turn] You're a...a...a Democrat, aren't you?!?

3. You're not allowed around my kids any more. (Naw, I'm just kiddin'.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nice one from the your friendly neighborhood Cajun

So I'm telling Randy Guidry today about my all-time favorite stupid game show answer...

PERIL: ...and the hostess turns to the next guy and asks, "England's Queen Victoria suffered from what hereditary disease common among European royalty?" And he says, "Um...umm...syphilis!"

RANDY: [laughs delightedly for a moment, then says in tones of mock enlightenment] So that's what "Victoria's secret" was! I always wondered about that...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This would be a lot funnier if I hadn't just seen the picture in the previous post

So this guy walks up the the prettiest girl in the bar, flashes her his winningest smile, and says, "Hey, gorgeous, where have you been all my life?"

She smiles back. "Well, for the first half of it, I was waiting to be born..."

Cowboy hats are wonderful things...

...right up until you take 'em off.

Man, I look old in this picture. I hadn't realized I had aged so much in the last three years.

American Genius Dept

I first got to know the show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in its original British incarnation, with Chris Tarrant. This was back when Aquila had put my whole family on the expense account and set us up in a flat in Westminster, and we all got hooked. So we were delighted to find out that the show was going to the U.S.

What a disappointment, in two ways:

1. Regis Philbin? Regis Phrickin' Philbin? The guy who (for reasons I do not myself understand) makes me, at the very sound of his voice, want to find a blunt instrument and beat His Royal Smarminess to a pulp, even though I have no reason whatsoever to think he's actually smarmy? That wanker? (Oh, sorry, I had temporarily shifted mentally back to English standards of what constitutes polite language. Besides, sometime le mot juste...well, that's the word that just precisely sums up what he strikes me as.) My reaction is completely and utterly unfair to the guy, who may be the nicest man in the world...but that doesn't change the fact that I am as incapable of watching that little smirk of his, and that...I guess he would call it "amusing patter"...oh, Lordy, it's fingernails-on-the-chalkboard time. And I'm expected to downgrade from Chris Tarrant to that...that...[words, or at least polite ones, fail me]...that?

2. But even more striking: what was up with the questions? I mean, the questions you got in England were serious questions. But in the American version you could go for a walk until they got up to at least $100,000 because up until that point it was kindergarten time. Did the producers really think we Americans were that stupid?

So I didn't watch the American version, and I haven't in a while. But I had a sore throat this morning and was worried about coming into the office; so I've been pounding away all day in the coffee shop. And some of my software wasn't working a little while ago, and it was taking forever to download the patch; so I leaned back in my chair while I waited and glanced up at the muted TV. And there was this woman...

Well, let's put it this way. Supreme Court material, she isn't. I wasn't paying terribly close attention until they asked the following question:

Q. Which of the following American tourist attractions is man-made?
Answers: Brooklyn Bridge, Rocky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Yosemite Falls

This was even dumber stuff than I remembered from back in the day.

I shake my head and turn to talk for a moment to Miss Aileen, and then look back just in time to see the following question pop up:

Q. Which of the following pop stars shares her first name with the French name for the fourth month of the year?
Answers: Kelly Clarkson, Ashlee Simpson, Avril Lavigne, Beyoncé Knowles.

I start to roll my eyes -- but then it begins to sink in on me that the contestant looks distressed. And then she says something to the hostess, and the next thing you know the little Ask The Audience graph goes up, and I realize the contestant just had to use a lifeline.

I'm flabbergasted. I can't wait to see what comes next. And a moment later, here comes the next question:

Q. The New York Islanders logo features a silhouette of what island?
Answers: Long Island, Key West, Hilton Head, Nantucket

Hm, let's see: I never have bothered to watch hockey and couldn't pick the New York Islanders logo out of a lineup with the Three Little Pigs, the Three Blind Mice, and Randy Guidry's personal crawfish pusher. But I think it's a safe bet that the island on the New York Islanders logo is, you know, in, like, New York.

The next thing you know she's calling a friend. Her friend guides her safely past the bottomless pit of elimination by gently guiding her to the "Long Island" choice. And that brings us to the next question:

Q. On a standard QWERTY computer keyboard [when I was a kid it was the standard QWERTY typewriter keyboard, which just goes to show how old I am], which of the following letters is NOT directly above the space bar?
Answers: M, B, P, V.

She has one lifeline left: "2x." I have never heard of this lifeline, but it turns out to be basically that you get two guesses.

"V!" her lips mouth soundlessly, and the hostess looks at her pityingly as the V is removed, leaving her with one more guess and three choices to pick from.


Um...thanks for playing. I guess.

I guess maybe the American producers knew something about Americans I didn't know?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

As a public service to the Broadway-attending contingent among my Gentile Readers...

...I hereby provide the Russian bits of the song "To Life!" which is surely one of the few tri-lingual songs ever to make it big on Broadway. ("L'chaim!" is Hebrew for "To life!" and "Za vásha zdoróvya!" is Russian for "To your health!" The third language is, you know, English.) I just discovered that every site I could find that purports to have the lyrics simply leaves the Russian bits out. What's up with that? Anyway, fortunately it's pretty simple Russian (unless I'm subconsciously editing it into something that makes sense to me, like the little boy quoting the 23rd Psalm as a warning that his Sunday School teacher was going to be stalking him for the foreseeable future: "Surely good Miss Murphy will follow me all the days of my life...")

Anyway, what the Russian sings to Tevye and Lazar Wolf is:

Za vásha zdoróvya! [To your health!]
Heaven bless you both! Na zd'róvya! [Your health!]
May you have good health
And may we live together in peace!
May you both be favored with the future of your choice!
May you live to see a thousand reasons to rejoice!

Just thought y'all would like to know.

Oh, and playing this track in the car with Sean gave me an opportunity to enhance his vocabulary with the term "left-handed compliment," which he hadn't heard before. You'll find few better examples than:

We'll lift our glass and sip a drop of schnapps
In honor of the great good luck that favors you
We know that when good fortune favors two such men
It stands to reason we deserve it too!

[UPDATE: What was I thinking? That's not a left-handed compliment...because there's no apparent compliment in it. It's just an insult that's subtle enough to probably sneak by a guy who's already on his fifth shot of vodka. So I'd say that qualifies as a Teaching Fail. Oh, well.]

Anywhere, here are the complete lyrics:

To life, to life, l'chaim!
L'chaim, l'chaim, to life!
[Tevye] Here's to the father I tried to be
[Lazar Wolf] Here's to my bride-to-be
Drink l'chaim, to life, to life, l'chaim!
L'chaim, l'chaim, to life!
Life has a way of confusing us,
Blessing and bruising us,
Drink l'chaim, to life!
God would like us to be joyful
Even when our hearts lie panting on the floor.
How much more can we be joyful
When there's really something to be joyful for?
To life, to life, l'chaim!
[Tevye] To Tzeitel, my daughter... [Lazar Wolf] My wife!
It gives you something to think about,
Something to drink about,
Drink l'chaim, to life!

[some spoken dialogue, then]

To Lazar Wolf! To Tevye!
To Tzeitel, your daughter... [Lazar Wolf] my wife!
May all your futures be pleasant ones,
Not like our present ones,
Drink l'chaim, to life, to life, l'chaim!
L'chaim, l'chaim, to life!
It takes a wedding to make us say,
"Let's live another day,"
Drink l'chaim, to life!

We'll raise a glass and sip a drop of schnapps
In honor of the great good luck that favors you,
We know that when good fortune favors two such men
It stands to reason, we deserve it too!
To us and our good fortune!
Be happy, be healthy, long life!
And if our good fortune never comes,
Here's to whatever comes,
Drink l'chaim, to life!

[Russian] Aaiiiiii...
Za vásha zdoróvya! [To your health!]
Heaven bless you both! Na zd'róvya! [Your health!]
May you have good health
And may we live together in peace!
May you both be favored with the future of your choice!
May you live to see a thousand reasons to rejoice!

[Russians, first half solo descant over second half chorus]
Za vásha zdoróvya! [To your health!]
Heaven bless you both! Na zd'róvya! [Your health!]
May you have good health
And may we live together in peace!
May you both be favored with the future of your choice!
May you live to see a thousand reasons to rejoice!

We'll raise a glass and sip a drop of schnapps
In honor of the great good luck that favors you,
We know that when good fortune favors two such men
It stands to reason, we deserve it too!
To us and our good fortune!
Be happy, be healthy, long life!
And if our good fortune never comes,
Here's to whatever comes,
Drink l'chaim, to life!
[Tevye] To life!

P.S. Yes, the pun in the title was deliberate.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ethnic Authenticity Dept

This is Larry's Mexican Restaurant.

And this is Larry.

No, no, just kidding. I mean, the picture's just some random Vietnamese guy. But Larry's Mexican Restaurant is real, since we drove past it today on our way to Matagorda Beach.

We did not choose to try Larry's Mexican food, I have to admit. I was afraid the tamales might be an old family recipe from Larry's know, the one from Manchester...

So I'm profiling. So sue me.

It's the useless information that sticks

I was apologizing to a friend for not remembering the ages and names of her children, and sadly admitted that while tons of information sticks in my head, it's mostly the useless random bits that stick...
...[me in the e-mail to her]...And I don't think I ever told you that I was an absolute thorn in the side of a fellow who was trying to give an intracompany presentation about BG's LNG (liquified natural gas) shipping operations. First of all we have the following exchange:

PRESENTER: What kinds of ships still use steam propulsion? [The point he wishes to make, is that only LNG ships still use steam propulsion, because we use the constant evaporation of the cargo to turn the turbines. But I do not realize that this is his point and proceed forthwith to sabotage it.]

THORN IN HIS SIDE: Nuclear subs still do, don't they? [I know this is true because I've seen The World Is Not Enough.]

PRESENTER:, yeah. Well, the only SURFACE ships that still use steam propulsion... [continues, somewhat impaired, with his point]

Later on, when it comes time for questions, nobody has any questions at first; so he says, "Just in case nobody had any questions for ME, I've prepared a couple of questions for YOU. Does anybody know where the word 'posh' comes from?"

THORN IN HIS SIDE: [raising hand again] It's "Port Out, Starboard Home," right? [Which I know because I was working in London when the Spice Girls were the rage and one of the traders at my London client thought it was pretty funny that Posh Spice was named after the side of a ship.]

PRESENTER: [looking very surprised and just a touch crestfallen] Why, yes, actually, that's right. Why don't you explain to everybody what that means?...
Of course, if the guy had asked a question that actually had anything to do with how we make money shipping LNG around the world, I probably would have had no idea what the answer was...unless it had come up during a baseball game or something. In that case it probably would have stuck because of the baseball association...

Um...I guess that's impressive...

So my friend Daniel is explaining to me that he has figured out that it blows girls away if you actually listen to what they're saying in all that endless talking they do, and then you carefully bring it up again a few days later in a subsequent conversation. And he starts listing off this impressive list of things he knows about one particular female friend of his (I don't know whether there's a space between "girl" and "friend" because, being a guy, I didn't bother to ask):

DANIEL: ...and I know what town she's from in Mexico, and I know her birthday, and I know she's Hispanic, and I know her favorite song...

PERIL: [unable to keep from interrupting delightedly] Wait a minute, did you just say you know she's Hispanic?

DANIEL: Um... [looks a bit embarrassed]

PERIL: [grinning] Hey, you know what? Your sister over there [nodding toward his sister Damaris, who like Daniel is the brown-skinned, black-haired, black-eyed, fluently Spanish-speaking Mexican child of two Mexican parents] -- if I'm not mistaken, I think I remember she told me once that she's Hispanic...[waits expectantly for Daniel to be impressed]...

DANIEL: [grinning back] Yeah, I guess maybe that's not so impressive.

PERIL: [who, despite the teasing, perceives quite clearly that this fifteen-year-old boy knows way too damned much about girls] And by the way, Daniel -- stay away from my daughter.

Ah, well, if the boy couldn't stand to be teased, he'd've killed off the friendship long before now.

A favorite scene in Heidi

And if you haven't read Johanna Spyri's masterwork in a while...why the heck not?

At any rate, the not-terribly-bright child-goatherd Peter, with his inarticulate delight in Heidi's company and his frequently untamed behavior, has back-to-back moments that I get a huge kick out of. The old doctor has come to visit Heidi, much to Peter's fury, since it drives Peter crazy that every time visitors come to see Heidi, she spends her time with the visitors instead of him. So he carefully takes up a position in a little hollow behind the doctor's back and pantomimes beating the holy medical decree out of the doctor with some ferocious shadow-boxing.

And then the doctor presents Peter with the hugest, most delightful lunch the boy has ever seen in his whole grindingly-impoverished life and heads further up the Alm with Heidi to see her favorite flower-pasture.

At first Peter starts to tuck in...but then he can't help but feeling guilty about having beaten the doctor's shadow black and blue right before the doctor turned out to be the most generous person he has ever met. So finally...well, we'll let Ms. Spyri tell it herself:
...when he saw the wonderful piece of meat he trembled for joy, and peeped again to make quite sure. Slowly he put his hand into the bag, then quickly withdrew it, as if really afraid to take what was there. It had suddenly come into Peter's head how he had been standing behind the gentleman who had given him all this superb feast, and had threatened him with his fists; and sorrow for this conduct prevented him from eating his dinner with satisfaction.

After a moment or two he sprang up, and running to the hollow, again stretched out his hands in the air, and made signs of smoothing out all the motions he had before made of hatred and anger. He continued this strange action until he felt satisfied that he had obliterated all indications of unkindness, and could return to eat his longed-for dinner with a good conscience.
While I'm at it, I might as well tell you what is my single favorite moment in the whole book (and that's saying something because I love the whole thing). I doubt very much it's what you would expect...unless you know me very well indeed, in which case you probably won't be surprised.

When the doctor comes to visit Heidi, she races halfway down the mountain to meet him, expecting Klara to be with him. Alas, Klara has been too ill to come on this visit, and Heidi is disappointed; but she is far too good-mannered and likes the doctor far too much to pout and whine about it. So they go on up to the hut, and there the doctor tells Heidi and her grandfather the whole story -- and "then he whispered in Heidi's ear that something would soon come up the mountain that had travelled with him from Frankfurt, and that its arrival would give her much more pleasure than the old doctor's."

They have lunch there on the mountainside, taking a couple of pages to do it, and then they spot a man toiling up the mountainside with a huge load on its shoulders. It is an immense load of presents for Heidi from Klara:
There was a long, thick mantle, with a warm hood attached, for Heidi to wear, instead of being wrapped in the sack, so that the little girl could walk by herself when she visited the grandmother. Then came a thick, soft shawl, for the blind woman to wrap about her in the cold weather, when the wind whistled so fiercely about the cottage. Then came the great box of fresh cakes, which also was intended for the grandmother, and following upon it, a huge sausage. This Klara had at first intended solely for Peter's consumption, because he never had any change from the black bread and cheese; but she decided after further consideration, to send it to his mother, lest Peter should make himself ill by eating it all at once. Then there was a bag of tobacco for the grandfather, who was so fond of smoking his pipe on the bench in front of the hut in the afternoon. After these came a quantity of mysterious packages of all shorts, which Klara had prepared to surprise and please her little friend.
And so the packages are opened, and Heidi is practically speechless with joy, and the two gentlemen sit smoking their pipes and talking as Heidi unwraps each of her treasures one by one. And then...
After further examination of her treasures, Heidi came and stood before her two old friends, as they sat puffing huge clouds of smoke into the cool air, and when there was a pause in their conversation, she said decidedly, "No, there is nothing that has given me more pleasure than the good old doctor."
And there is nothing that gives me more pleasure in the entire book than the image of that charming, deeply courteous and whole-heartedly loving little girl, patiently waiting for a pause in the conversation to respond to a line the doctor had tossed away light-heartedly hours earlier. For courtesy and thoughtfulness do not come naturally to most children, and are seen today very rarely indeed; and yet it is courtesy and thoughtfulness more than anything else that make human society in the end a source of joy rather than irritation. Those of you who have been reading the blog recently know of course that I have been happily attending La Casa de Celebración for some time; those of you who have been reading the blog rather longer know that I originally decided to try La Casa because I couldn't resist going to see what kind of church was still turning out young people as impressive as my young friend Miss Daniela. But those of you who have read the blog now for years may still remember exactly how it was that Miss Daniela vaulted, instantly and permanently, into my personal pantheon of all-time favorite people.

And if you know me well enough to remember that, then you won't be surprised by which Heidi moment it is that I have selected as my favorite. (Other than, of course, the untoppable service the little Swiss maid performed in depriving the lost souls of Raider Nation of the pleasure of seeing the Raiders' comeback in the Heidi Bowl.)

New post up at Contriti Corde

It was a pretty thought-provoking sermon this morning down at La Casa.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My apologies to Escalante's...

...because this turns out not to be their fault -- exactly the same sign is up inside the men's room in the Marriot half a block away, where we of La Casa de Celebración meet, come ev'ry Sunday mornin'. (Obviously we're very redneck Hispanics at La Casa -- which is to say, mis hermanos en Jesucristo provide plenty of Hispanic and I provide plenty of redneck. I suspect that until you've heard me singing a high tenor descant above the melody in my rich Okie español, you haven't...well, not lived, le mot juste has temporarily escaped me.)

At any rate, obviously the Sugar Land city council has actually passed some sort of law requiring every business in the area to put this sign up inside the men's rooms. Because, you know, God forbid some guy should drink while he was pregnant.

Thank God for guvmint, or else who would protect us from ourselves? And isn't it a good thing that city councilmen (or whatever local branch of busybodies passed this rule) are smarter than we are? I can't wait until they take over health care and solve all our medical problems -- such as, for example, fetal alcohol syndrome from fathers' drinking while pregnant. Paradise is just around the corner, bay-bee!

On a related note, an old joke from the Soviet Union:

Q. What's the best job to land if you never want to be unemployed for the rest of your life?
A. Sitting on a wall looking for the coming of True Communism.

To refresh your memory, here's the sign -- which, I remind you, appears to be posted in every men's room within a few blocks of the Sugar Land City Hall (based on my large sample size of, um, two separate establishments):

Child Service Fail

The local hair salon has the following sign on its window, which I present without further comment:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Now that enough time has gone by that I don't think anybody will remember who said it...

...I can post this classic example of vendor gobbledygook when trying to find a way to say, "Our software can't do that," without actually admitting straightforwardly that their software can't do what you need it to do:

"I'm sure we'll evolutionize on that."

I wrote that down a year ago and just ran across it today while cleaning out old no-longer-useful papers...and now I can throw away the paper it was written on.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Peril winds up looking silly three separate times in forty-eight hours

1. It turns out that it is, not in fact, a sign of stupidity when one checks with the fast-food joint just to make sure that their root beer is caffeine-free. Various commenters both on-line and off-line, all of whom seem to have been much more diligent parents than I, have pointed out that there are indeed caffeinated root beers on the market, and that responsible parents proactively protect their children from the nefarious versions.

On the bright side, it's easy to learn something new every day when one has rich fields of virgin ignorance still unplowed in the breezy wide-open spaces of one's mind.

2. Trisha (or is it Tricia?), my co-worker, was walking toward the trade-floor doors and I gallantly decided to save her the trouble of digging out her badge by opening the door for her. I give the door a good yank, but the electric eye doesn't seem to have disengaged the lock yet. I try it again; still doesn't work. I glare in exasperation at the little housing where the electric eye lurks, then look back down at the door...and notice the sign, and also the smile that Trisha is trying, though not very hard and not very successfully, to hide. I push the door open and Trisha says helpfully, "It's the other push."

3. There was something else very moronic that I did today, and that's actually the story I meant to tell, but I was saving the best for last. Unfortunately, having distracted myself by telling the first two stories, I am now horrified to discover that I can't remember the story I actually started off intending to tell. I'm not making this up; I've genuinely gone absolutely blank.

So [exasperated sigh] I guess that makes four times.

Two health updates

1. Denae Liong is doing much better and is expected to come home from the hospital tomorrow morning. Thanks to all who prayed.

2. The special-formulation, anti-rheumatic-fever injection penicillen potion that the specialist prescribed for Kristina, turns out -- according to Walgreen's -- to be unavailable in the U.S. So I'll have to get back in touch with Dr. Lo on Monday and try to figure out what his backup plan was. So that's kind of a bummer...

3. ...but at least the afternoon we spent at the cardiologist's office today was an unqualified success: absolutely no apparent damage to Kinya's heart. So while the rheumatic fever has given her a miserable three or four months, it hasn't done us any permanent harm, and -- assuming we can track down a useful variant of penicillen -- we should have things well under control moving forward. Again, thanks to all who prayed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Urgent prayer request

Denae Liong -- one of Duane and Desiree's four-year-old twin daughters -- is in Texas Children's Hospital and is in pretty bad shape -- 104-degree fever, not responding to antibiotics, now it's pneumonia. Please pray for them.

Anya is all packed and is going to move into the Liongs' house until Denae is out of the hospital. She'll take over responsibility for Denae's sister Deion until Denae is better, so that Duane and Desiree can concentrate on Danae.

Again, please pray for that family, very hard.

Men's Room Fail

Sign I saw this afternoon on the interior side of the door to the men's room at Escalante's in Sugar Land:

And before you say it...yes, that's what I instantly thought, too. But I stuck my head out into the hall and checked, and I really was in the men's room.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

In the last couple of weeks I’ve bought about half a dozen copies of this book:

I ran across it on Amazon and couldn’t resist buying a copy. Having bought it, and read it, I promptly bought about half a dozen more for various people I was sure would get a kick out of it. (That is, by the way, the point of this heretofore cryptic post -- Kris with a K not only was delighted to get her hands on PPZ, but she also sent me a very charming hand-written thank-you note and included a copy of The Eyre Affair, which every lover of literature should read and which I hadn't yet gotten around to acquiring a copy of. Happy times all around.)

To really, properly enjoy this book to its fullest, one ought to be the sort of Jane Austen fan who has most of Pride and Prejudice memorized. And also a big fan of zombie movies. there’s you a demographic. Got “best-seller” written all over it. I meet the first half of the qualifications, of course, but not the second. Still and all, it’s well enough done for me to have gotten well more than an ordinary ration of belly-laughs out of it.

A couple of quotations will give you a good idea of the flavor of the book at its best. You, Gentle Reader, of course remember – since like myself you have Pride and Prejudice memorized – the impression Bingley and his party, and especially Mr. Darcy, make upon us when first we meet them and hear the report of Mr. Darcy’s having over ten thousand a year. Well, here’s how it happens this time:
Mr. Bingley was good-looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. His sisters were fine women, with an air of decided fashion, but little in the way of combat training. His brother-in-law, Mr. Hurst, merely looked the gentleman; but his friend Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien -- and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having slaughtered more than a thousand unmentionables since the fall of Cambridge.
And then there’s the ever-so-satisfying scene in which Mr. Darcy, who has been taught by the unwitting Lady Catherine to hope as he had scarcely dared hope before, makes his second proposal to Elizabeth:
"It taught me to hope," said he, "as I had scarcely allowed myself to hope before. I knew enough of your disposition to be certain that, had you been absolutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have beheaded Lady Catherine without a moment's hesitation."

Elizabeth coloured and laughed as she replied, “Yes, you know enough of my temper to believe me capable of that. After abusing you so abominably to your face, I could have no scruple in beheading any number of your relations.”
At least, that is PPZ at its best if you are, like me, a fan of Pride and Prejudice rather than of zombie movies. The zombie devotee, on the other hand, may prefer passages such as:
A few of the guests, who had the misfortune of being too near the windows, were seized and feasted on at once. When Elizabeth stood, she saw Mrs. Long struggle to free herself as two female dreadfuls bit into her head, cracking her skull like a walnut, and sending a shower of dark blood spouting as high as the chandeliers.

As guests fled in every direction, Mr. Bennet's voice cut through the commotion. "Girls! Pentagram of Death!"

Elizabeth immediately joined her four sisters, Jane, Mary, Catherine, and Lydia in the center of the dance floor. Each girl produced a dagger from her ankle and stood at the tip of an imaginary star. From the center of the room, they began stepping outward in unison -- each thrusting a razor-sharp dagger with one hand, the other hand modestly tucked into the small of her back.

From a corner of the room, Mr. Darcy watched Elizabeth and her sisters work their way outward, beheading zombie after zombie as they went. He knew of only one other woman in all of Great Britain who wielded a dagger with such skill, such grace, and deadly accuracy.
I have the very strong impression that Seth Grahame-Smith's true love is zombies and that Pride and Prejudice simply came easily to his hand as a convenient target. Thus I find the book rather uneven, and while I think some of Grahame-Smith's plot and character changes are inspired, others I thought were quite unfortunate. For example, I thought it was a great pity that he decided to make Mr. Bennet openly sarcastic toward and verbally abusive of Mrs. Bennet – though it may be that modern young persons simply can’t fathom the idea of detesting somebody and not flaming them. (For example, in the literally unwatchable Keira Knightley movie, the scriptwriter and presumably Ms. Knightley herself simply can’t rest until they have at least once required the character to whom they refer, apparently in mockery, as “Elizabeth,” to scream shrewishly at both her parents something along the lines of, “Oh, why can’t you leave me in peace just once!” This, despite the fact that most of Austin’s whole point is that Elizabeth ends up happy, and Lydia wretched, precisely because Elizabeth would never under any circumstances or provocation stoop to speaking with such disrespect and discourtesy to her parents, while Lydia sees no more harm in such behavior than...well, than does the typical modern Hollywood actress. Then again, it could have been worse -- Bridget Jones’s Diary was written by a woman who kicked Elizabeth out of the book entirely and moved Lydia into Elizabeth’s role, then spent an entire book fantasizing about how Lydia could eventually find true happiness with Darcy, apparently without the slightest comprehension that she had chosen Lydia as her heroine rather than Elizabeth. The result was an extremely funny book and movie, but one in which even as one laughs with Bridget, one laughs at the implicit folly of Ms. Fielding – a book and movie at the end of which one knows that, as much as one can’t help but like Bridget, Mark Darcy has just made a mistake he’ll spend the rest of his life regretting. The number of modern English women who model their behavior after Lydia’s and then sit around mystified as to why their life doesn’t turn out as satisfactorily as did Elizabeth’s, is as far as I can tell from the Bridget-worship pretty bloody staggering. But I digress.)

At the same time, there is a plot twist that I wouldn’t have thought of (and that I don’t want to spoil) that strikes me as near-genius. Let’s just say that it takes Mr. Collins, “one of the stupidest men in all England,” and cranks his Stupidometer up to eleven, as Nigel Tufnel might have it. And to have Elizabeth incur Lady Catherine’s displeasure while at Rosings, not through her playing the piano unskillfully, but instead by her killing several of Lady Catherine’s favorite pet ninjas in an after-dinner display of combat skills...and to transform Lady Catherine’s final confrontation with Elizabeth into a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon send-up complete with midair swordplay...

Well, you can put up with plenty of pages that don’t quite work out in order to get to the ones that so spectacularly succeed.

I sent a copy to my parents, and their reaction has been (a) priceless and (b) about what I'd expect. My father is enjoying the book immensely -- fifteen pages or so at a time, which is all he can take before the parodic zombie gore gets to him. Meanwhile my mother thinks the idea is hilarious in theory but can't make herself even think of reading it -- in fact, when my father is done with his fifteen pages, he is careful to make sure to leave the book lying face down lest my mother accidentally catch another glimpse of the front cover and be thereby further traumatized.

Anyway, this is a book that has everything, or, as the back cover has it, a book that "comes complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses." If you can stand the odd bits of cannibalism, rotting corpses, and fountains of dark blood, and you know Pride and Prejudice well enough to understand the parody, then I heartily recommend PPZ.

I will mention one other thing about the book I find highly amusing. The authors are officially listed as "Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith," meaning that Jane Austen is the primary author. As a result, the local Borders at one point had Pride and Prejudice and Zombies shelved in the Classic Literature section alongside Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and so forth. Apparently the Complete Works of Jane Austen have undergone augmentation...

The Peril confuses a teenager

So Kegan and I are waiting for our turn at the Arby's drive-through when, having already rolled down my window --

Wait a second, I just realized something. I very sincerely doubt that my children have ever in their entire lives rolled down a window. Have they ever even seen a car with a window that works on a hand crank that you turn round and round in circles to raise and lower your window? Yet more evidence that I ain't been raisin' my chilluns proper. And while we're on the subject: today Anya wanted to know what is the English for цепочка [tsyépochka], and when I told her it was a "keychain," she said in confusion, "key...chain?"

"Yes, Anya, I know they aren't really 'chains' now, but we still call them that in English." And in Russian, too, actually, once I thought about it, since tsyépochka means something like "cute little chainlet". I thought she thought it was weird to call it a "chain" but actually she was just trying to practice the pronunciation. But the point is that I suddenly realized it's odd to call those little things "chains." So, yeah, Anya, it's a "chain," and while we're at it -- reach over there to that little button on your door and "roll down" your window...

Where was I? Oh, yes. So, I already have the window rolled down, which lets me hear quite plainly when the woman in front of me asks, "Is your root beer caffeine-free?"

Now here's a question for you Gentle Readers: is that really as stupid a question as it seems like to me? What's next, "Is your ginger ale caffeine free?" "Is your Gatorade caffeine-free?" "What about your distilled water -- it doesn't have caffeine in it, does it?" "No, ma'am, it doesn't...well, except for our boiled Swiss water, of course." At any rate, I thought it was pretty hilarious to be asking whether a fast-food joint could offer caffeine-free root beer; plus the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I'm the perfect target audience for that new concept drink, "Mountain Root." Considering how much root beer I drink anyway, I'd never again have to raid the BG refrigerators and force down a Mountain Dew in the early afternoon after an unduly somniferous lunch.

Well, she pulls away, and now its our turn.


DAD: [to Kegan] Whatcha want?

KEGAN: A #8 combo.

DAD: [to Teenager Dude] Can we get a #8 combo, please?

TEENAGER DUDE: What would you like to drink with that?

DAD: [to Kegan] Drink?

KEGAN: Root beer.

DAD: [to Teenager Dude] Let's have a root beer...[decides he can't resist] Caffeine-free, if you have it.


[more silence]

TEENAGER DUDE: [in obvious confusion] I'm sorry, sir, what kind of drink did you order again?...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This can't actually be a real movie...can it?

Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus.

Oops, I seem to have forgotten an update

Apparently I never got around to mentioning that I have escaped Two-Bedroom Apartment Hell (which wasn't really all that hellish except every other weekend when I was sharing it with, and more importantly cooking in its tiny kitchen for, nine kids). So here's the timeline:

1. Dessie decides she wants a divorce; my irreplaceable friends Duane and Desiree offer me the guest bedroom in their three-bedroom house, in which spare bedroom I live for the next six months. Dessie signs a temporary agreement to vacate the house during my weekends so that I can be with the kids without the kids' having to have their lives unduly disturbed. I live in the Liongs' spare bedroom during the week and in the upstairs living room of the family house every other weekend.

2. Dessie moves to another house a few blocks away from her previous one, but still in the same neighborhood. At first I continue to spend my weekends at the new house with the kids, but let's just say that that ceases to be desirable and leave it at that. The Troika come to live at the Liongs' house with me while I search frantically around for an apartment.

3. I find a two-bedroom apartment and the Troika and I move out of the Liongs' house.

4. I stop spending my periods of possession at Dessie's house; we switch to having all nine kids come spend every other weekend in my two-bedroom apartment.

5. Duane and Desiree finish paying off their house (in five years!) and ask if I would be inclined to rent that house if they were to buy a new and better one. I accept with alacrity, to the great satisfaction of all concerned.

6. I move into the house right about the time the divorce is finalized (this was last November) and convert the dining room and office into fourth and fifth bedrooms. Rusty comes to live with us, and we reach the present arrangement in which each of the four kids who live with me has his or her own room, and when the other kids come to visit they sleep in the living room (which living room is about as big as that whole apartment was).

Oh, and Duane leaves his big-screen TV behind. Woo-hoo!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A personal note to Kris with a K

1. You're very welcome.

2. Thanks very much -- I have read it, and even bought the complete Jasper Fforde for my parents for Christmas, but I hadn't gotten around to buying them for myself. It was perfect.

Sports Analysis Line of the Day

From the WSJ's ruminations on Calvin Fever, in re overnight jockey sensation Calvin Borel:
What makes Mr. Borel's feat so impressive, of course, is that he's done it aboard two different horses. The first was Mine That Bird, whom Borel steered toward a rail-hugging 50-to-1 win at the Derby. On Saturday it was the majestic filly Rachel Alexandra, whom Mr. Borel took wire to wire for the win (barely nudging a charging Bird). Next up is the Belmont Stakes -- and, to challenge himself, Mr. Borel will ride either a Pomeranian, or a very small iguana.

HT: Jennifer

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Devil's Dictionary: Kleptomaniac (n.)

A rich thief.

The Devil's Dictionary: Kilt (n.)

A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland.

The Devil's Dictionary: Kill (v. t.)

To create a vacancy without nominating a successor.

[Does not always apply; see Bathsheba, Affair Of.]

Well, would you like to take a shot at explaining it?

Conversation between self and Rusty this morning, in re our friend Roy, who happily ran a coffee shop back in the day until his partner cheated him out of his half of the investment and forced the business to close (or something more or less along those lines), and who is I would suppose in his mid-fifties:

RUSTY: Dad, do you remember Mr. Roy?

DAD: Of course I do.

RUSTY: He works in a computer store now.

DAD: Yes, I know.

RUSTY: I wish he still worked in a coffee shop. We should get him a job in the coffee shop [meaning Java Dave's, at which I am so regular a customer, and Kinya so regular a barista, that I think perhaps Rusty thinks I own the joint].

DAD: [chuckles] Rusty, I don't think Mr. Roy liked working in a coffee shop so much as he liked owning the coffee shop -- I don't think he'd like working in somebody else's coffee shop.

RUSTY: Oh, yeah. [Thinks a moment] Well, maybe someday I'll be rich and I can buy him his own coffee shop... [meditatively] if he's still alive.

DAD: [can't talk and laugh at the same time]

RUSTY: [plaintively] Dad, what's so funny?

Now, Gentle Reader, would you like to take a whack at explaining to Rusty why what he said is funny? 'Cause Rusty's dad doesn't know where to start, exactly.

The Devil's Dictionary: Justice (n.)

A commodity which in a more or less adulterated condition the State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Only the good die young, I guess

They didn't come much better than Wayman Tisdale -- and I mean as a person, where it counts, not as a basketball player, where it doesn't really.

I don't know what to say. There are just so few people like him, you would think God would owe it to the rest of us to let all of 'em live to be a hundred.

Forty-four years old. Man. Just too young.

Requiescat in pace, brother.

The Devil's Dictionary: Jealousy (n.)

Unduly concerned about the preservation of that which can be lost only if not worth keeping.

The Devil's Dictionary: Intimacy (n.)

A relation into which fools are providentially drawn for their mutual destruction.

The Devil's Dictionary: Interpreter (n.)

One who enables two persons of different languages to understand each other by repeating to each what it would have been to the interpreter's advantage for the other to have said.

The Devil's Dictionary: Insurrection (n.)

An unsuccessful revolution. Disaffection's failure to substitute misrule for bad government.

The Devil's Dictionary: Insurance (n.)

An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Looks like a win to me

HT: failblog

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When you know you have a problem-solver for a son

Let's say that you're a sixteen-year-old kid sitting in a waiting room, waiting for your dad to come out of the therapist's office. And you need to go the bathroom. And you don't have a pen to write a note with. And your dad's laptop is locked and you don't know the password so you can't leave him a big Microsoft Word note. Whaddaya do?

Well, if you're Sean, you start with the only place you can leave text and solve backward, taking advantage of the fact that the therapist has left a rack full of business cards out where you can get to it, and that your dad will probably remember which chair you were sitting in:

(In case you can't make out the words, Sean is apparently attempting to log in as user "had to go to bathroom - be right back".)

With all due recognition of my own lack of objectivity, I still think that's a pretty bloody creative kid.

Stylin' Twins Of The Day Dept

I can't figure out whether my favorite bit is the pants, or the guys' chokers.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Poetic Justice Dept

You know those ambulance-chasing personal injury lawyers who make pretty much everything in America, but most especially medical care, cost obscenely more than it ought to cost? You know, the kind of parasites on the productive labor of others such as John "Two Americas" Edwards, or, say, Fetterman & Associates?

Ever so often the bastards get what's comin' to 'em.

What I think is unintentionally funny is the way Turley ends up his post:
In defense of the firm, however, I fail to see how the firm is responsible for a defectively manufactured chair unless there was some warning or overt weakness. Perhaps such evidence was introduced. Otherwise, it is a bit of a harsh burden for offices to be responsible for latent defects in chairs.
But Jonathan, if the law firm actually had been negligent, and actually had deserved to pay three-quarters of a million dollars to somebody who fell out of a chair, then there would be nothing poetic about the justice. This is an entire industry that survives by inventing negligence when nothing of the sort exists, and by paying obscene amounts of money to (mostly Democratic) legislators to make sure that no meaningful tort reform ever puts a well-deserved end to their racket. Of course nobody should have to pay $750,000 to an idiot who can't even sit in a chair without falling out of it. Do you think that would stop Fetterman & Associates from demanding $750,000 -- or more, if they thought they could get it -- from the "negligent" business owner if it had happened in the office of, say, an MD rather than their own?

Now because these bastards are lawyers and would probably just as soon sue me (for slander, in this case) as look at me, it is important for me to state for the record that I know nothing specific about these particular ambulance-chasers other than (a) the fact that they were lobbying for the personal-injury business of these obviously lawsuit-happy clients at the time the celebration-worthy sadly regrettable incident took place, and (b) what their website brags they make their living at: "Motor Vehicle Accidents / Wrongful Death / Traumatic Brain Injury / Nursing Home Abuse / Insurance Claims / Serious Personal Injury." If a representative from Fetterman & Associates wishes to e-mail me and get me to take it all back, I will happily do so if he will simply give me an affirmative answer to this question:

Would you support the tort reform that recognizes wrongful litigation as an obvious tort in itself, that allows juries in personal injury cases to return verdicts of "finding for the plaintiff" (meaning the defendant has to pay for what he did to the plaintiff), "finding for the defendant" (meaning nobody pays anybody because what happened was an unfortunate incident for which nobody should be punished), and "finding that the lawsuit was frivolous" (meaning that the plaintiff AND HIS LAWYER have wrongfully harmed the defendant by conspiring to inflict upon him the tort of pain and suffering through having to defend himself against said frivolous lawsuit, and that the jury can impose penalties upon both the plaintiff AND HIS LAWYER)?

Because if so -- if you at Fetterman & Associates are willing to be held financially responsible whenever you encourage a client to file a ridiculous personal claims lawsuit against an individual who obviously doesn't deserve to have to go through the pain and suffering of a lawsuit -- then I take back everything I've said here.

But if not -- why then you bastards just got exactly what you deserve, and poetic justice has been served.

Hmmmm, perhaps I should move this one over to the political blog -- I started out just thinking it was a hilarious story, but it turned into a bit of a rant. I'll post it for now but I might move it upon further reflection.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Blog name of the day (seriously)

I think I may be in love...with the Sportress of Blogitude. That is, assuming (one presumes it's a safe assumption) that the Sportress is, you know, female.

Plus, that's a great story about Nick Urban, who is now officially my favorite NFL player.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Well, Everybody Needs To Excel At Something Dept

And these guys have found two areas at which the French excel.

(Just in case the paper decides to change the headline, it currently reads, "Survey says French excel at eating, sleeping.")

HT: Chris Greer

Why I like Bill Simmons

Because, if you can ignore the more or less constant flow of gleeful porn references, he (a) really knows NBA basketball and (b) has a lot of fun talking about it. The following is a prototypical Simmons paragraph taken from his retroactive Rockets/Lakers Game 1 diary: sound analysis, plus goofing off.
What's interesting about Artest at this point of his career: He's much better at guarding spot-up shooters (such as Rashard Lewis) and smaller post-up players (such as Paul Pierce or even David West) than he is at staying in front of someone like Kobe. In the old days, he could lock anyone down. Not anymore. On the bright side, he's single-handedly keeping alive Anthony Mason's "drawing logos and letters into my hair" gimmick from 16 years ago. So there's that.
Simmons very much enjoyed Yao's game. "I haven't been this excited by a Chinese person since General Tso." But, being Simmons, he's tuned in to the underlying fundamentals. I realize that the following isn't some super-intelligent piece of insight, because even I have noticed that Yao shoots free throws a lot better than Shaq or Wilt, but Bill's got the statistics to back it up:
Yao follows a Lakers hoop with a pretty spin move and gets fouled. He's 8-for-8 for the night, 87 percent for the regular season, 94 percent in the playoffs and 84 percent for his career. Shaq, Russell, Wilt, Ewing, Robinson, Hakeem, Mourning, Walton, Moses ... all of those guys shot in the 60s and 70s for their careers with Moses leading the way at 76 percent. It's the most interesting thing about Yao other than his obscenely gigantic height: He's the only elite center in NBA history who couldn't be fouled in crunch time.

In fact, if you look at the top 90 career free-throw shooters, only four centers make the cut: Jack Sikma (42nd), Mike Gminski (58th), Bill Laimbeer (73rd) and Yao (86th). Of course, that would be the funniest genetically blended center of all-time: Imagine a 7-foot-6 Chinese guy with Sikma's blonde permafro, G-Mo's beard and lack of a neck, and Laimbeer's doughy body. At the very least, it would have led to the greatest basketball cards ever captured. And yet I digress.
And last of all, it's always been a surreal experience for me to listen to Yao in post-game interviews, but I could never have hoped to capture that experience so precisely as Bill does here:
And is there anything more fun than hearing a happy Yao interviewed after a hard-fought victory, when he has that giddy Chinese accent crossed with a twinge of hip-hop, only if it was happening with Andre the Giant's voice?
So now you understand why, even at this time in my life when sports have (though I can hardly believe it myself) been almost completely crowded out by kids and divorce and work, I still carefully make time to go to every couple of days and check to see if the Sports Guy has posted anything new.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Geek Formerly Known As George Dept

"George Garratt"? Hah! I, Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined, sneer at your puny "George Garratt."

Oh, wait a minute, don't I need a secret identity? Oh, @#$!@$, I didn't think of that in time! [slaps forehead with palm]


The only concern the Peril has is...if his grandmother won't speak to him anymore, he's one honking-off-of-his-mom from having no place to live...

HT: Dave.

Monday, May 04, 2009

For Hell, Dial 877-303-3344 Dept

Perhaps-not-as-well-thought-out-as-could-be-wished billboard on I-10 coming into Katy from the west:

And how was your weekend?

4:45 -- pick up Kinya at home, drop her off at work at Java Dave's.
7:00 -- pick up Merry and Sally and take 'em home to Stafford. It transpires that they have not had their dinner yet. Therefore:
7:45 -- drop off a Big Mac for Kinya at Java Dave's.
8:15 -- hie myself along with kids plus Roma to American Buffet.
9:30 -- drop the kids back off at home.
10:05 -- pick up Kinya and take her back home.

8:00 -- meet Natasha's mom in Sealy so that she and Natasha can spend the weekend shopping for graduation clothes and jewelry (or, as the jewelry salesman on the radio insists on calling it, "joolery").
9:00 -- drop Merry off at play practice at Holy Apostles in Katy.
9:15 -- Sally starts warmups for her soccer game in the old-town part of Katy.
9:30 to 10:30 -- watch Sally's team dominate the opponents, winning 3-0 in a game where so little time is spent on our half of the field that one felt guilty for not having offered to bring a book with which our goalie could have passed the time.
10:30 -- Sally's game ends; take her back to play practice so that she can practice her line.
1:00 -- pick Merry and Sally back up, along with Merry's friends Alyssa and Sarah, and take them to the mall for lunch and the shopping spree I promised 'em a while back.
2:40 -- take Alyssa home.
2:45 -- drop Merry and Sarah off at Sarah's house.
3:45 -- take Kinya to Java Dave's for the start of her shift along with Rusty.
4:30 -- finish checking e-mail and finish my Java Dave's smoothie (hey, cool, I got to take a break!).
5:00 -- go to Whole Foods, have a startling conversation with Rusty, continue on to Panda Express for food for Rusty and Kinya, and then drop Rusty and the food back off at Java Dave's. All of this actually takes a while.
6:30 -- take Sally and Anya to Russian General Store on grocery run.
7:15 -- leave from Russian General Store and go straight to the house back in Katy (not Sarah's -- different friend's house) to pick up Merry at the end of the Jonas Premiere Party).
8:00 -- Jonas Premiere Party ends; head back toward Stafford.
8:45 -- Drop Sally and Anya back off at home to eat their Russian dinners, along with Merry (who ate at the Jonas Premiere Party); go to Java Dave's and collect Rusty, who is driving Kinya (and probably, though she's too polite to say so, Miss Daniela) crazy.
9:15 -- Help Kinya and Miss Daniela clean up and close down Java Dave's. Leave la Casa half of tithe check with Miss Daniela to give to her aunt (who is the church treasurer) since I'm not going to make it la Casa tomorrow.
10:15 -- Bed.

8:45 -- Self, Rusty, Sally, Merry off to breakfast and Sunday School and Eucharist at Ascension.
12:15 -- Fazzoli's in Katy.
1:00 -- drop Merry off at play practice, Holy Apostles in Katy.
2:00 -- get to soccer fields for Sally's 3:00 make-up game, realize that I forgot to bring sneakers, decide I'd rather go barefoot than get my dress shoes muddy, suit the deed to the decision. Play goalie while Sally practices penalty kicks until the rest of the team arrives to begin warmup.
3:00 to 4:00 -- Watch Sally's team play very well except for three bad minutes at the end of the first half, during which three minute the other team unfortunately scores two goals, leading to a final score of 2-1 (first defeat of the year).
5:10 -- pick up Natasha in Sealy.
5:45 -- trade Sally for Rusty at Dessie's house.
6:30 -- get home, announce firmly that I am going to disappear and have a little time for myself while everybody else eats pelmeni, head for Java Dave's, and spend three highly recuperative hours freeing the frog in Zuma Deluxe.
9:45 -- feeling much better, help Miss Angela and Miss Daniela close up.
10:05 -- get home, spend two minutes trying to figure out what the weird rash on the tops of both feet is before finally realizing that it's sunburn.
10:10 -- climb blissfully into bed.
10:11 -- suddenly realize that I completely forgot to do laundry.
11:30 -- washer finishes.
12:45 -- clothes dry.

5:30 -- alarm rings...and the weekend is gone.

Man, I Feel Like A Woman Dept

Randy, who has apparently been living in a cave, just got all excited because he heard a song that made him think of the Redneck Peril, and so he sent me the Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman."

It was a nice gesture on his part, but as I told him, "Thanks, but I don't need the lyrics -- I've sung along often enough to have 'em memorized...'cause, ya know, sometimes, man, I feel like a woman..."

Um, Rusty, you know somethin' I don't???

The fun thing about raising kids (especially younger ones) is that you just never know what's going to come out of their mouths next.

Kinya was working Saturday night, the 4:00 to 10:00 shift. So around sixish I'm needing to bring her some dinner, and (because Saturday was a genuinely insane day) I didn't have time to cook. She asked for Panda Express, which was okay because Whole Foods is on the way and I needed to stop there anyway.

Rusty and I accordingly go to Whole Foods, where I explain to him that I'm going to just get him a bowl of soup there for his dinner, and then we get some dried mushrooms, and then I start looking for a bottle of wine. And while I'm standing there in the Bordeaux section, out of nowhere Rusty asks:

"Dad, are you still getting a pregnancy test for Kinya?"

"A pregnancy test???" I yelp. "Um -- do I need to get a pregnancy test for Kinya? Do you know something I don't know?"

Rusty blushes a fiery red (quite a trick for a Kazakh) and stammers hastily, "No, no, Dad, I asked, are you still getting Panda Express for Kinya?"