Thursday, January 31, 2013

Quit Stalin

Storyteller Laura Packer shared this posting from Imgur:

Tyrannical Valentine's Day Cards

As soon as I saw it, I thought, "Hmm...totally inappropriate VDay Cards. What an interesting idea!", and quickly came up with:

And then, after some reflection on how to be even more politically incorrect, I came up with this:

Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone! And, as we used to say in the French L├ęgume, "Don't take any wooden nookie."

(From the Book of Faces, January 31, 2013)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hayden Woods

Had a sore throat, and sinus congestion, that pretty much kept me inside for the past two weeks. I think I was indoors for a higher proportion of time than any other period in my life. Was finally feeling better, so I decided to go for a walk in the Conservation Land next to where I used to live in Lexington, back in the early 80's. 

I was renting a tiny Cape, built on a cement slab, on a large, but oddly sloped, triangular lot. The slab meant no basement, and cold floors in the Winter. At one point, I had both my brother Larry (who was in High School), and my brother Bernie (who had dropped out of College), living there with me (but that's a whole other story). It took me a while to realize that this neighborhood had probably been developed right after WWII, and that all the houses had once been exactly the same. Over the years, they had all been added onto and modified; except for mine, which was still the original Cape Cod.

(The house is no longer there. Some years ago there was an article in the Boston Globe about "Teardowns", and the pictures were of the all-new, modern structure being put up where my little house had been.)

But, I still remember going for long walks in the nearby Hayden Woods, especially the time I went out one extremely icy New Year's Day. No one else was even outside, and the only thing I heard were trees cracking from the cold. When I got back to the house, I had a thick layer of ice on my upper lip where the moisture in my breath had condensed and frozen over my moustache.

Here are some cellphone pictures from today's walk. The boardwalks are fairly new, and obviously date from much later than when I used to live there. It's impressive that Lexington, which has been settled for so long, has managed to set aside so much land. (Click on any photo to see larger versions.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Words We Need in English

Here are three things that nobody (as far as I know) has a word for yet, but should:

a) the Person who, no matter how bad things are, can always make it worse; or when something is almost settled, says the one thing that gets everyone going again,

b) an Artistic Performance that is more enjoyable for the people who are doing it, than for the people who have to watch it, and

c) a Movie that is so bad, it actually takes you longer to describe everything that is wrong with it, than it would take for your friends to see for themselves.

Here are two useful words coined by Lizzie Skurnick: Palbatross (pal-ba-tross), "the friend of a good friend, whom you don't actually like or get along with, but have to put up with"; and Stincubus (stinc-u-bus), "the source of, or causative agent behind, a demonically-persistent bad odor".

Finally, if one Helen is "enough beauty to cause the launching of 1,000 ships", and a milliHelen is "enough beauty to cause the launching of 1 ship", it follows that a microHelen would be "just enough beauty to cause the launching of a small boat".

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tree Sponges

While walking in the Conservation Land near Horn Pond in Woburn, I saw some unusual, lacy bell-shaped pods hanging from vines along the trail. At this time of year, it's typically very cold, and the trail is often blocked by trees bent over by heavy, wet snow. And there's usually a flock of Robins watching you from all along this particular trail (they stay there through the Winter), so it is a lot like walking through Gang Turf.

But today, it is warmish and very gray out, and I noticed these pods instead. Even though I have lived in New England for a very long time, I've never seen anything like them before. They must be the skeletons of some sort of plant growth, but they most resemble little loofahs that have been cut in half. Since they are growing on vines, I guess that makes them "Tree Sponges". (Click on any photo to see larger versions.)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Break in the Weather

The weather is on the mild side here, so yesterday's omelet from Cousin's Restaurant in Woburn Center reflects it: