Archive | July 2013

The Bluebird Effect


Seeing bluebirds make me think of happiness. This of course makes me happy. Then I smile, and that reinforces the happiness.

A couple years back, a bluebird was never seen here. Now there are bluebirds everywhere, so it’s rather impossible not to be happy — everywhere.

Of course, happiness doesn’t have to be attached to anything (or anyone). It is possible just to be happy, with no reason for it.

But I find bluebirds are a great excuse.

Now that sounds painful!

Remember The  Guardian, the now award-winning UK newspaper that broke the NSA scandal and left Edward Snowden perpetually trapped in an airport terminal?

Well, they’re only human.  They make mistakes too, as this recent posting to their web-version’s front page proved.


At first I thought it was a health-related story. A new drug trial gone horribly wrong. So I skimmed the brief descriptor — hail, Ed Balls, getting harder, for everyone?

Uh, say whaaat? Was this a Brit version of the Weiner scandal? I clicked the article immediately.

The actual article was titled Growth boost puts Labour on back foot.  It was just the usual story about disparity in the economic recovery. How disappointing.

Still, in these days of “not much money, O but Honey,” a weekday laugh is worth its weight in gold (ok, maybe sterling).

The new edition

article-2242350-05713C6D0000044D-466_306x423 Of course I’m talking about the new royal edition 4.0, ie, HRH The Prince of Cambridge.  Congrats to the new parents! No “Christian” name will be announced any time soon but I’ll say George, David, or Richard.  Or a combination of those. None of those names are “in use.” I’d also say auburn hair and blue eyes.

  • George is patron saint of England.
  • David is patron saint of Wales.
  • Richard (also an English saint) is a safe choice though, as its illustriousness combined with its lack of use by anyone else in the family circle makes it appropriate. And HRH Cambridge was born on the cusp of Leo, so Richard the Lionhearted II?

Henry is possible because, like William, it’s a name from the Norman Line. However, it’s probably too much like Harry.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall . . . Hey! I’m talking to you!


A friend gave me a black mirror (or Claude glass). It’s a piece of glass with one side painted black. If you then hold it up to something, it allows you to better see a scene’s values –that is, which objects in the scene are lightest, which are darkest. Supposedly, it reduces and simplifies the image so one can get to the essence of it.

Sometimes I look at myself in the glass and I wonder, in life, what are my highlights, what are my darks, what are my middle values. Most people, after all, do have some sort of scale. But the truth is, I’m horrible with values.


Values don’t make any sense to me. I can’t see them. So I can’t see the point of them.  Color makes sense to me. Life is in color. I totally see the point of color.


Come to think of it, that really explains a lot. Guess I’ll be regifting that mirror.

The Poisoner’s Dilemma


My neighborhood is having an outbreak of pocket gophers and I am the Rubicon.


To one side is “Pelouse.” His place is the epicenter. He has about 50 holes in his front lawn, even under walkways — so walk at your own risk.

If you recon the area, it’s obvious the holes radiate out from Pelouse’s place to the Southwest for a good half mile. No one’s lawn is safe. It’s war.


My other neighbor, “Gazon,” had a couple of holes in his otherwise emerald field, but I sprayed Critter Ridder on them because I’m a good person — and because the excavation dirt was being dumped on my driveway.

I managed to help Gazon, but at a terrible cost. My lawn turned into the gopher version of the Somme overnight. I tried to laugh it off as free lawn aeration, but . . .  after various numerous humane methods failed, leaving my lawn completely ruined and down to dirt, I was forced to extreme measures.

Late at night, for the last month, I go out and put teaspoons of poison bait into the gopher holes. I feel awful about it, but it’s the only thing that works. Sadly, I have to keep doing it because every time one dies, another moves in. I’m having to kill off all Pelouse’s gophers — one by one — and try to stay ahead of the breeding curve.

Last night Gazon caught me — long silver spoon in hand, baiting by moonlight. There really wasn’t much I could say at 9:30 PM to cover up my heinous deed. So I told him the truth. He wasn’t outraged, thank God. In fact, he just wanted to know what I used.

I’m very supportive of nature. I really am. But some days, when it gets to the point one can’t skip across one’s own lawn for fear of breaking an ankle . . . .  Good Gravy! Break out mechanized weaponry!

Mes yeux on the maillot jaune


This is a visual approximation of my latest — same look in the eyes, same weird combination of refinement and horsiness. He’s sort of a friend of the family. By “sort of” I mean I might be dating my father’s ex-lover’s son.

My father was in the Service, before he met my mother. While stationed overseas, he made fast friends with a local guy. He dated this friend’s sister. But things didn’t work. She married someone else almost immediately after they broke. And, 9 months later . . . “Der Rosenkavalier” was born.

Der’s family lives in Holland. But he’s of French-Belgian parents. He’s a businessman. He works for his father’s firm. It’s all very . . . boring, except boring is definitely not a word you’d used to describe Der himself.

Der’s mother asked her brother to ask my father to send me to meet him at the airport and make sure he got settled okay.  It’s weird being in a strange city. I get that. It’s good to have someone you can call, someone to show you around and tell you the skinny.

I really did not expect to be much more than Der’s “in case of emergency” contact. But, we bonded immediately — mutual love of Le Tour.

He landed in the wee hours. After a few formalities, we went to his hotel, where he asked the desk clerk, “How can I find the Tour?”

I knew what he meant. What station did he want to tune into? But the hotel didn’t carry that station. That’s right, free porn but no Tour de France!

I explained to him that he could get the Tour on his laptop, for a small fee, while in the US. He wasn’t best pleased. So we dropped his bags and I took him to a cyclist’s cafe I know. During July, it opens when the TDF Live show starts.

We had breakfast, with various cyclists, and watched on a giant flat screen as the Australian team, Orica-GreenEDGE, redeemed themselves from the Day 1 stuck bus fiasco. After that I left him at his hotel.

He arrived unexpectedly at our 4th of July block party, with champange. “After all, the French did help the Americans win their independence.”

And then there were fireworks!

All You Need Is . . . Love?


At a 4th of July block party with some neighbors, including the lesbian couple legally married in CA before the Prop 8 case went to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the conversation turned to recent Supreme Court events.

What the SCOTUS decisions mean is pretty simple. Basically, federal and state laws defining marriage as one man and one woman violate the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. Translation, gay people have a right to be married.

Some states may wish to argue their law is legal still, but why waste taxpayer money and state attorney general and federal court time?

In the 9th Cir Court’s territory (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon) all states have  laws exactly like California’s Prop 8. Those states would all be appealing to the same 9th Cir Court California did. They’d use the same arguments. They’d get the same answer: not legal.

And then what? A state’s Attorney General would take it to the Supreme Court? The same court that just ruled the same  definition built into a federal law is illegal? It’s just folly for any state to pursue such a course.

Even more ridiculous? Putting gay marriage on a state ballot.  The courts have effectively decided the issue.

Asking people to vote on gay marriage state by state in 2013 is like asking people to vote on reinstituting slavery state by state in 2013. Slavery was outlawed by the 13th Amendment. It’s decided already. There’s no option to reinstituting slavery now just because 51% of voters in a state think it’s a good idea.

Smart states will vacate their illegal amendments immediately, saving time, money and fruitless labor.  And they’d do well to finish their work, by restoring democracy to marriage. Remember democracy? It’s where one US citizen equal with all other US citizens.

Happy 4th!