Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 8

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Here we are in Round 8.  On to our question.

Last week the SUXORZ Awards were presented.  SUXORZ critiques social media and selects the worst failures and public gaffes. 

Who won the What Were They Thinking? category?


In his review of the movie, Identity Thief
 Rex Reed called starring actress
Melissa McCarthy a hippo?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
The First Lady announcing the Oscar for Best Picture?
Hostmaster:   incorrect.

Renee Zellweger appeared to be drunk
while presenting Best Song and
Best Original Score at the Oscars?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Belvedere Vodka's ad featuring a man
 with a lascivious expression grabbing
 a frightened woman. 
The caption reads:  Unlike Some People  
Belvedere Always Goes Down Smoothly?

Hostmaster:  correct.

This ends Round 8.  Our score:
Fluffy/Molly   4
Bryan/Cyndi   4 

 There's a War on Women. 
But Melissa McCarthy really should
 lose weight.  She looks terrible.
   And it is not healthy to be fat.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Smell That, Part 2. A Cautionary Scent

There was a bad smell in my basement

The good news is it doesn't smell anymore.

The scary news is what caused the smell.  It's something for which we are supposed to be on alert.  There's even a nasty scent added to it to warn us of its presence.  Yep.  You guessed it.  Gas.

There was a gas leak in the basement!  It had been leaking for a while.  Indeed, according to the gas bill that came later, it had been leaking for weeks.  Somehow members of my household were spared.  None of  us passed out.  None of the resident birds went the way of the canary in the mine shaft. 

A meter reader doing his rounds heard a hisssss.  Next thing you know a technician is replacing the flexible leaky pipe with a rigid non leaky pipe. 

The technician assured me that the soundness of that pipe will outlive us all. 

It turns out that gas doesn't always smell the way you think it does and flex pipes may be flexible but they are not as strong, not as reliable as rigid solid pipe. 

Sometimes the wisest approach is rigid.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Guinea Pigs

It is thought that Guinea Pigs, also known as Cavies, were first domesticated by the Incas.  Today, people in Peru enjoy Guinea Pig marinated in such things as black pepper, cumin, red chilies and paprika, then fried or grilled.

Many folks prefer Guinea Pigs as pets.  They are mellow creatures who don't mind being held and petted.  They require only a small cage, figure a minimum of 2 square feet per Cavy.  They don't need an exercise wheel or swimming pool, simply a safe place to sleep at night and some material on the floor to absorb their elimination.  Of course, the larger the cage, the less often you must scoop out the soiled material.  Material?  Try sawdust, hay, newspaper, commercial pet bedding. 

A rabbit and a guinea pig can be housed together

It's a good idea to cover the cage, not because the Cavy might escape (they have short legs and a sort of egg plant shaped body leaving them disinclined to such athletics as climbing) but to keep him safe from such dangers as the family cat. 

Pet stores sell pelleted food suitable for Cavies.  If you also offer fresh vegetables, fruit, some dried alfalfa or timothy, clover, water, and a salt lick, the Guinea Pig's diet is in good shape.

Cavies have 4 toes on their front feet and 3 toes on their rear feet.  From time to time, the toe nails need to be trimmed.  This is done easily with the same kind of nail clipper you use on your own nails.

enjoying a romp in the yard on a balmy day

Some Guinea Pig Facts

- life span:  7-8 years

-  gestation: 63-70 days

-  litter size:  1 to 6

-  weight:  approximately 1 pound

-  length:  8-10 inches

- hair:  short, medium or long in assorted colors (and combos) white, yellow, tan, brown, grey, black

- no tail


Why are they called Guinea Pigs?
This is unclear.  They are not from a placed called Guinea.  Perhaps they travelled to England on slave ships via Guinea.  Then again, the old English word for foreign is guinea.  Maybe Cavies were sold for 21 shillings, which is called a guinea.  They are rodents, not pigs, but the Cavy grunts, whistles and squeals in pig-like style.  This may account for the pig part of Guinea Pig.

They are called Cavies because under the scientific classification they are of the Family Caviidae and the Genus Cavias.

See a nice picture.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

This is Not About the Roof

The room we call the den is located at the back of the house.  It's one of those additions that presents a less than seamless quality in the overall look of the house.  Still, we like the room and use it a great deal.  That's why we're fixing it rather than tearing it down.

When you don't have an unlimited budget like the guests on This Old House, you do the best you can.  When we moved in, some eighteen years ago, we put a nice deck on the top of that room.

Alas, flat roofs don't last as long as shingled roofs and before you know it there's water dripping inside and onto the carpet.  The tree that once shaded the deck had to be cut down leaving the deck unappealing to all but nude sunbathers.

The work was scheduled to begin last Friday.  It snowed.  They didn't come, so I called the office.  The owner of the company answered the phone.  I remarked that nobody has come today, are we going to reschedule?  The owner said it's obvious why no one came.  I said, obvious or not, I was taken aback that no one called.  Oh, well, says the owner, so and so called in sick. 

Saturday was a beautiful day.  I pruned some small trees in my yard.  No one came to work on the roof.

On Monday, the crew appeared.  It was quite windy.  The crew chief told me he once fell two stories off a roof on a windy day.  He broke both wrists and his pelvis.  Bummer.  We began discussing the job at hand.  I explained to him that the pond needed to be covered and provided an ashtray for them to put their butts.  Crew Chief assured me they would cover the pond and they would pick up all their butts and they'd be back soon to get to work.

On Tuesday the workers dismantled the deck.  They scraped off the old roof. They tore off trim and siding, then hurled it across the yard, keeping it handy to be reapplied after they put on the nice new shingle roofing.  They stained the driveway with rust from their trailer.  It's only rust, they said.

Wednesday they did not cover the pond.  I didn't notice it right away because I was staying out of their way.  I trusted them.  After I demanded they cover the pond, I went inside and cried.  Then I got down on my knees and prayed that nothing fell into the pond that will harm the fish and frogs and dragonfly larvae that live in that pond. 

There is a dent in the air conditioner.  It is, or was, in pristine condition.  That air conditioner is only about two years old. There are sharp shards of metal littering the lawn because one of the worker's idea of cleaning up was to take a leaf blower to the driveway.

I don't trust the workers.  Trust.  Trust is one of the words this roofing company displays on their letterhead and ads and whatnot, along with other words:  Excellence, Integrity, Respect.

These words have meaning.  Surely it is not out dated as old fashioned to believe that when you do a job for somebody you strive for Excellence.  You behave with Integrity.  You Respect others, not just other people, but their stuff too. 

And Trust?  So many times over the years, people have handed me their house key.  They Trust me to enter their home, snap a leash on their precious dog and take him out for a walk.  They Trust that I will return the dog and lock the door behind me.  They Trust that I won't leave my chewing gum under their kitchen table, rifle through their medicine cabinet, help myself to a snack out of their refrigerator, or spontaneously borrow a book off their shelf.

This morning around 10:15, they arrived.  Crew Chief and I greeted each other stiffly.  From the corner of my eye, I could have sworn there was a cigarette butt on the driveway.

He said, "how are you?"
"I am well,"  I said.  "How are you?"
"I am blessed,"  he said. 

Crew Chief went on to assure me that they will wrap it up in a couple of hours and the dumpster will be removed today....

The Lenten Season is a time of Prayer, Fasting and Charity.  It is also a time for reflection.  I'll be thinking about Trust.  Clearly, the Lord has lessons for me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pop Culture Frenzy: Round 7

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Let's get on with our question.

Hasbro asked Monopoly fans to select a new token to replace the iron.  What is the new token?


A vampire?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Molly?
A squirrel?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Fluffy?

A drone?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Bryan?
An assault rifle?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.   Molly?
A pair of silicone breast implants?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Cyndi?
Saline breast implants?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Molly?
A cat?

Hostmaster:  correct.  
We wrap up another round.
Round 7
Fluffy/Molly  4
Bryan/Cyndi   3
Monopoly fans have thrown down a litter scoop wielding gauntlet.
The age old rivalry
 of dog and cat is brought to the fore.
  Hail the Scottie token.  We will not retreat.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Javas are Nesting!

My lovely pair of Java finches have been collecting scraps of fabric and facial tissue (that I casually slip into their cage) and fluffing them up inside of a souped up milk carton.

Milk carton?  Yes.  Here's a cool design for a finch nest made of a milk carton.  I built a milk carton nest from the design and placed it in the cage.  The Javas ignored it. 

Then, it occurred to me that Javas are bigger than most finches and maybe they'd prefer a larger nesting box.  So I rigged up another milk carton with more square inch-age.

For the past couple of days, the birds have been spending more and more time inside the milk carton.  Incubating an egg perhaps?

Stay tuned!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Breed Profile: Yorkshire Terrier

During the 1800's weavers from Scotland brought their little dogs with them to work in English mills.  Those dogs were bred with assorted terriers, many now extinct, to develop what became known as the Yorkshire Terrier.  At first, the Yorkie worked as a ratter and pet for working class folks.  Soon the upper class noticed the pretty dogs.  The Yorkie was bred down in size- the better to be a lapdog.  The Yorkshire Terrier may have gotten smaller but he did not lose his vermin hunting prowess, nor his spunky attitude.

Yorkie puppy

Yorkie adult

Some Yorkie Facts

- height at shoulder:  8-9 inches

- weight:  under 7 pounds

-  life span:  14-16 years

- the long silky coat requires regular brushing to keep it looking good and free from mats

The Yorkshire Terrier is intelligent, nosey, self confident and determined.  That's why training a  willful, easily bored, frequently distracted, stubborn Yorkie is challenging.

Though delicate looking and seeming to belong tucked onto a lap, the Yorkie is a terrier.  Terriers can certainly be affectionate and enjoy a nice cuddle,  they also like to keep busy exploring, hunting varmints and supervising the other members of the household.  Thus, as a Yorkie might say, if you want a lap dog, get a King Charles Spaniel.

Yorkie Manifesto

-  who you calling small?!  I am most certainly not small.

-  if you want a dog that cheerfully endures ear pulling by toddlers, get a Golden Retriever

-  I am beautiful even with mouse entrails in my beard

Yorkshire Terriers are high energy dogs that need exercise.  Due to their small size, a short walk and some play around the house, along with their bustling nature, keeps them fit.  Other pets and Yorkies can live peacefully together.  However, supervision may be needed with larger dogs as the Yorkie can be pushy and more aggressive than his brawn can back up.  Pets such as hamsters, must be protected, as that terrier spirit is likely to see them as prey. 

Young children may inadvertently injure the petite Yorkshire Terrier, therefore, this is a breed best suited to adults and older gentler children.

Always alert to goings on, the Yorkie is a good watchdog.  He is not shy about barking.

Next Breed Profile:  Collie!