7/30/2004

We Have Met The Enemy, And She Charms Our Socks Off



So I'm at the Blogger Dashboard page, and I decide to peruse the list of blogs that have recently posted comments.

And one of the first things I decide is that it really, really helps to get someone's initial attention if you give your blog a good title.

A poor title is one that's dull --- cinema, or Rita's Blog, for examples.  And I find that blog-titles tHat usE RanDoMlY mIxEd upPer anD lOweR-CasE LetTers annoy me.  And, of course, there are the ignorable titles like Asian Celebrity Sex Photos.

A good title should have a bit of the odd, the mysterious about it.  An unusual juxtaposition of words you don't expect together.

And so I click on the link to a blog titled The Duchy of Burgundy Carrots .

Which turns out to be written by "The Queen of Carrots", a woman in the Midwest, in her mid-20's, married just a couple of years, a recent mother, and settling into a new house.

She also has a law degree, is politically conservative (yikes!), supports George Bush (ackk!), and she and her husband are both members of Young Republicans (OHMIGHOD!!).

In spite of which, I find the Queen's blog quite enjoyable.

I think this is because her political views, though important to her, aren't the be-all and end-all of her life and blog. And, when she writes on matters politics, it's usually to state her own opinions, rather than to disparage the opinions of those she disagrees with.

(Disagreement -- fine. Disparagement -- this gets tiresome, and there's a lot of it in the more political blogs, of either persuasion.)(Though I must admit I do enjoy a good zinger, and give them occasionally.)

But she also, predominantly, writes -- quite well, and frequently with a self-deprecating humor -- about marriage, pregnancy and motherhood, stopped drains & other travails of home-ownership, and more.

I guess this is proof that even Republicans -- even Young Republicans! -- lead normal (and even interesting) lives sometimes.

Probably something we should try to remember.

7/22/2004

The Best of Sloganator



Back in March 2004, the Bush campaign website introduced a handy service for people who visited the site:  The Sloganator, featuring a graphic of the standard Bush/Cheney campaign logo with a nice aesthetic blue space at the top of the graphic.  Visitors could enter a slogan to appear in that blue space, and use the result to print their own campaign posters. 

What they failed to remember was that the people who visited the Bush site weren't necessarily Bush supporters.  In short order, the Sloganator had to be re-programmed to reject slogans including words that aren't supposed to be used in public.  And after a few weeks, the Sloganator was removed entirely, because too many of the people using it were having wayyyyy too much fun.

But the Web has a long memory, and if you click on this link, you'll see a slideshow of some of the best of the *ahem* irreverent Sloganator entries.



7/17/2004

Two Deaths



On my mail delivery route (26-plus years with the USPS, egad), I occasionally deliver cards:  Xmas cards, birthday cards,  anniversary cards, et cetera.
 
Then there are times where I find myself delivering cards addressed to The ______ Family.  This is almost always an indication of a death in the household.  And since the major portion of my route is a senior-community (age 55 and up) trailer park, these sometimes seem to outnumber the other cards.
 
One of my customers was a retired rural carrier, so we had talked a few times over the years.  Last year, he had a stroke, and had been mostly house-bound since then, with his wife as his caregiver.  Back a couple of weeks ago, I had been delivering mail to that particular stretch, when my customer and his wife's car pulled up to the curb, apparently returning from a doctor's visit or other errand.  The wife helped him out of the car, and then helped him walk up the shallow ramp leading to their front porch.
 
She did this by standing behind him, close, almost as if they were doing an exotic dance.  Her arms laid along his, her chest against his back.  And slowly, they went up the ramp to their home, moving as one.
 
A few days ago, the Family of ______ cards began to arrive.  Rather than leaving them in the mailbox today, I took the stack of cards to the door, where the wife told me that, yes, her husband had passed away earlier this week.  I gave her my condolences, and I also told her what had passed thru my mind that time several weeks ago:
 
I told her that that scene of her helping her husband up the ramp had been so loving and so supportive, that I had wished at the time that I had had a camera with me.
 
- - - - -
 
And later today, in the regular-house section of my route, I found much of one street blocked by solid lines of cars along both sides of the street.  Another of my customers had died (not too surprisingly; he'd been in his fifties, and very overweight) and the crowd was people coming to the post-funeral reception at his home.
 
What puzzled me for a moment was that so many of the people walking from their cars to the house were so casually dressed;  there were a great many wearing shorts and t-shirts.
 
And then I saw one of the people had a brightly-colored towel over one arm, and I remembered that my customer had owned and run a custom pool-building business.  And I realized that the reception must be not only that, but a wake for my customer.
 
And what better wake for a pool-builder than to throw a pool party?
 

7/12/2004

The Cat Story



So Michelle, who's one of son Chris' housemates, tells me about how she's woken up in the wee hours of pre-dawn by her cat Khan fighting with another cat on her bed.

Problem: Khan is the household's only cat.

So Michelle figures a stray cat has managed to get into the house. She picks up the young stranger by its scruff, goes to the front door, and tosses it out. Then goes back to bed.

Some hours later, Michelle is having coffee when Chris wakes up and stumbles from his own bedroom.

Michelle: Chris, did you maybe let Khan into the house when you got home from work last night?

Chris: Urrrrrggghhh... coffee... no.

Michelle: Did you maybe think you let Khan into the house?

Chris: No.

Michelle: Because there was a strange cat fighting with Khan, on my bed, way early this morning.

Chris: Oh. Sorry. I brought a new cat home last night.

Michelle: [very, very long pause]

Chris: Where's my cat?

The Good News: The cat, a 6-month old kitten with flamepoint markings, was found in the oleanders beside the house. Since Khan is still fighting with the new cat at every opportunity, the new kitten has been named Kirk.

7/08/2004

Egoboo Alert



Email this morning:

Dear Mr. Arthurs,

NESFA Press, as you may know, is reprinting Harry Warner's
"All Our Yesterdays," which was originally an Advent release.

As I've been working on the dust jacket, I stumbled on a
comment that you made on TNH's "Making Light" weblog shortly
after Harry died: "If someone were to write a biography of
Harry Warner Jr., I suspect it would have to be titled THE
IMMORTAL CALM. (I -never- saw him lose his temper in print.
Even in some of the most trying fanhistorical times he
always seemed one of the few islands of sanity in feuding,
fractious fandom.)"

Would it be possible for me to include this comment as part
of our dust jacket for the book? (I regret that I'm on a
very, very tight deadline...and don't know if you'll see
this by the time the DJ has to go to print. But just in
case, I figgered I'd ask!)

Regards,

Deb Geisler (for the NESFA Press)



Of course I gave a quick "Yes" in reply. But I think this is the first time I've been quoted for a dustjacket, so pardon me while I blurble.