Thursday, September 27, 2007

Home trends that shouldn't be

Remember the Fuller Brush Man? If you don't, you're probably under 40, and you probably don't remember milkmen, paperboys, and the Helms Bakery truck either. I remember 'our' salesman - he was a older, bejowled man with glasses, a suit and tie, hat, and a big case filled with combs, brushes, cleaning products and the like. When he'd come by, my mom would make me answer the door. I'd have to lie about her being busy, or taking a nap, or something. My mom still has one of the letter openers.

I just thought of something: My mother-in-law worked in the Fuller Brush factory in New York in the 1950's.

Anyway, I get this catalog in the mail called "Home Trends, Practical Products For Practical People." This catalog hocks many household items, minus the annoying salesguy. I don't know why it keeps coming - I never buy anything. Like the old salesman at our door, it doesn't take 'no' for an answer.

There are hundreds of household products listed in there, many of them 'as seen on TV'. Lots of them are, in fact, practical.

Then there are the disturbing products. Here are a few.



I really hate bugs, but I particularly hate the ones that might crawl inside my bed and chew on me while I'm asleep. The thought is enough to make me sleep on the kitchen table. But I don't what's worse - bugs in my bed or inhaling insecticide all night.




If I choose to buy this rather than stop eating like a pig, just shoot me. Really.




Wear 'Frownies' to bed, and wake up wrinkle free, husband free and boyfriend free.




Did you move a desk into the bathroom? Just how long were you intending to sit there?




Sorry honey. Santa won't be coming down the chimney this year. He was absorbed by the alien tree outside.

Taste of Torrance, Wilson Park McCondos





Last week's Taste was the good, this week it's the bad and the ugly.

These pictures are only a partial view of the massive infestation currently going on near Wilson Park. The name? The Village on Oak-Acacia. I sincerely doubt there are oaks or acacias anywhere near here. The developer, Standard Pacific Homes, is located in Irvine, a planned community where they're used to rack n' stack development in strawberry, vanilla and chocolate.

I've included a Mapquest arial view of the abomination, before construction - the pink outline gives you an idea of the size of the project. Note that the 44 acre Wilson Park is the green area to the south.



In April of this year, a fire burnt some parts of the project, but unfortunately, construction continues, dammit.

If you thought the commute on Crenshaw Blvd. was already awful, especially on Tuesday, just wait until these cracker boxes fill up. And get ready for an influx of commuters into the surrounding residential neighborhoods as they attempt to avoid the traffic nightmare that will soon become a reality.

As a side note, our planning commission has its eye on the Roadium property on Redondo Beach Blvd. as a possible "high density" development site in the future...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bike Riding, 101

I caught a glimpse of my next-door-neighbor learning to ride a bike.

This of itself is not news. What makes it newsworthy is my neighbor is an adult woman, Indian or Pakistani AND dressed in the traditional garb.

My niece, who first witnessed the event, called it to my attention. She recommended that it would make for a good blog entry.
I had to agree.

I think it's very commendable that someone well into adulthood would learn to ride a bike. It's not like when you were a kid and the adult in your life would hold you up until you got the hang of it. When you're grown up, you're on your own. Your neighbors will look at you like you're nuts, kids will laugh at you when you fall, and cars will blow their horns. It's not pretty.

The poor woman was sitting in the middle of our street during rush hour. She was frozen to the seat, straddling the bike, unable to move. I suspect the long 'sari' she was wearing didn't help matters much. After much honking and near misses by passing cars, another neighbor helped her off the street.

Honestly, I would have helped, but we were loading the car, trying to be inconspicuous while staring. And the naughty worm in me will be peeking out the window to see if she's willing to give it another try.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Gewgaw, Matchstick Dispenser



Need a matchstick? This little device will conveniently pick up and deliver whenever the need arises.

Most people use these for toothpicks, but the original US Patent states it was for matchsticks - the kind you could strike anywhere to ignite.

Of course, for me, one wasn't enough - I have three. Each one is slightly different, but they're all woodpeckers.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Taste of Torrance, Wilson Park Treehouse






This is a fun structure at the Charles Wilson Park on Crenshaw Blvd., just north of Sepulveda Blvd. My nephew Doodle loves to run around and around and around...

I really like the hand painted signs and log cabin feel.

Now, if we could only keep out the riff raff, it would be perfect.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Achtung!

A perfectly good typeface has fallen from grace, and thugs have 'jacked it.

In general terms, it's called Blackletter. Other names include Textualis, and Fraktur. (There are differences, but for our purposes, it's not that important) When I see it, I think of college diplomas, or manuscripts , like the Gutenburg Bible, or even Hawaiian jewelry.

Many cheap or free type houses label Blackletter as 'Old English' - which is, well, wrong. Old English actually looks different, and is an older typeface...but related to this story just the same.

'Gothic' is another name for Blackletter. The term is a disparaging one, and means barbaric; those hoity-toity Italians had labeled it such in the 1400's. I guess they weren't too fond of their northern neighbors. They preferred 'Carolingian', a more legible, curvacious and sexy type, which they believed was developed by the ancient Romans. They were wrong (it was related to...Old English!), but that didn't stop them from putting on airs and turning up their noses at Blackletter/Gothic. However, Gothic remained popular with the English, the French and of course, the Germans.

Even when the rest of the Continent relegated Gothic to the unpopular table, Germany, as well as Switzerland and Austria, remained Gothic's loyal fans. They put their own twist on in, renamed it Fraktur, and used it in newspapers, books and signage. It wasn't until the 18th century that Fraktur received a little competition from pesky newcomer, Antiqua Roman - a serifed typeface, styled after the snooty Carolingian. It looked more like today's modern serifed type. However, in Germany, Antiqua was used for scientific writings mostly, and Fraktur was used for pretty much everything else.

Even today, Fraktur graces the front page of many German newspapers.

Unfortunately, this genuinely classy and historic font has since fallen in with a bad crowd.

If you look at the tats and insignias worn by gang bangers, especially the latino and skinhead variety, you'll notice they favor the Blackletter/Gothic/Fraktur style of type. The montage below is culled from the internet. I had to wash my hands afterward:



In a way, getting a tat that looks like a fancy manuscript is like having a GangBanger University diploma permanently etched on your body. Maybe that's one reason it's so darn popular.

However, what they don't know is the type they love, the type they fawn over, the type they believe is so macho and aryan, the type they etch on their bodies and stick on their clothing was absolutely despised by the über hemmeroid himself, Adolph Hitler. So much so, in fact, that this proclaimation was released in 1941:

"It is false to regard or describe the so-called Gothic typeface as a German typeface. In reality the so-called Gothic typeface consists of Schwabacher-Jewish letters. Just as they later came to own the newspapers, the Jews living in Germany also owned the printing presses when the printing of books was introduced and thus came about the strong influx into Germany of Schwabacher-Jewish letters.

Today the Führer, in a discussion with Herr Reichsleiter Amann [Reich Leader for the Press] and the printing company owner Herr Adolf Müller, decided that Antiqua [Roman] type is henceforth to be designated as the standard typeface. Gradually, all printed matter should be converted to this standard typeface. As soon as possible in regard to school textbooks, only the standard script will be taught in village and elementary schools.

The use of Schwabacher-Jewish letters by authorities will in future cease; certificates of appointment for officials, street signs, and the like, will in future only be produced in standard lettering."


What? Who? Huh?

Führer Adolph believed that Fraktur was part of (drum roll)........a jewish conspiracy. Of course, this guy probably thought gravel was a jewish conspiracy. So the Nazis killed off the venerable Fraktur and replaced it with that girly-man typeface, Antiqua Roman. (As you can see, it's a perfectly nice typeface, really.)


There's nothing funny about Nazis, gangs and hate groups. They're loathsome, infected boils on the arse of humanity. But I gotta tell you, I'm getting a little kick knowing that there's a sewer full of neo-nazis/thug/terrorists out there prancin' around wearing stuff that would make Adolph spin in his grave.

I think Blackletter is having the last laugh.

That explains it!

I received a tiny 'boomp' in visitors recently. Heck, could it be the wit and polished writing?

Of course not.

It was this site, a 'top drawer' South Bay blog that makes me kinda embarrassed to say I have a blog.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Gewgaw, Old Toy Dump Truck


We moved into this house in 1999. Two other families have lived here since 1960, the year it was built.

While digging in the garden, I unearthed this little treasure, a 1960's Matchbox Dodge dumptruck, made by Lesney in England. I didn't have the heart to toss it. It reminds me that, even though we own this house, we're just temporary caretakers, really. When and if we ever move, I'm going to bury this again where I found it.

Debunkin' Junkin'

Everyone who knows me well enough, knows I like to haunt thrift stores. Some people call them second-hand stores. In England, they call them charity shops. I like them because I like old things, and I like the idea of recycling perfectly usable stuff. I mean, would you rather buy a set of dishes that was made in China with questionable lead content, or a cool retro 50's set made in the good old USA for pennies on the dollar...er, with questionable lead content?

There are several stores within a few miles of my home. Goodwill has several shops, Salvation Army has one large store on PCH, and there's an assortment of smaller charitable and church thrift shops. I like to shop them all, but, for all you junkers out there, I do have some opinions about them.

1. Goodwill: In the old days, I remember Goodwill Industries being the charity that hired the handicapped to repair and refurbish donated items. Now, they also are committed to job training and placement for the disadvantaged, which is a good thing.

The problem is, their stores stink.

Lately, say, about the last few years, they've been selling items from Target. Target donates their left-over merchandise that doesn't sell, even after it's been marked down.. Most of it is pure unadulterated junk. Unfortunately, this merchandise takes up a lot of wall and floor space at Goodwill. I wonder what Goodwill does with the personal items that people donate, as little of it appears to end up in the store, other than clothing. I hope it's going somewhere, other than an employee's ebay store. Overall, their prices are higher than other thrift stores. In addition, they are unpleasant to deal with when you call them to pick up large items like appliances and furniture. Nothing short of flawless is acceptable and they usually refuse to pick up. But that isn't the worst of their problems.

In one extremely revolting instance, an insider reportedly stole millions from Goodwill. This, combined with all the other issues (and a really gross experience I had at the one on Western Ave.), leads me to choose other organizations to donate to, and I rarely shop at Goodwill stores.

2. The Salvation Army. They don't have as many stores as Goodwill, but they're better. The one store in Torrance on PCH is a pretty good store. It has furniture, clothes, housewares, and appliances. It also has a 'antique' section where the more quality or collectible items are located. You can drop off furniture and donations, but The Army also whines if you ask them to pick up items for donation. In other words, don't bother. If you have to donate, drop it off at the store during store hours.

3. Disabled Veterans: There are no Disabled Veterans thrift stores in the immediate area, but they do have a really good store in Long Beach. I like these guys because they will pick up just about anything, if you have enough of it. My son's basketball team had a rummage sale at our home, and DA picked up everything that didn't sell, except for a computer. Also, what you donate ends up in the Long Beach store (I've seen stuff I've donated in the store.) So you know it's going toward a local charity.

4. Discount Center: By far my favorite is not the most well known. Since I have a booth at the local Memory Lanes, I'm looking for good prices in addition to a great selection. This one is the best - it's FULL, it's CHEAP, it's got VARIETY, and it's relatively neat. The cashiers are usually pretty friendly. I donate items here because the stuff is sold here, and not shipped to another store. I typically drop off items here; I don't know if they pick up.

5. There are a couple of church shops in Lomita. Alpine Attic, on Lomita Blvd. and Palos Verdes Resale. These are a hit and miss because they are small, but I like them for the ambiance and the cute little old church ladies - so honest and neat you know all your donations go into the store. This is something to keep in mind when you're looking for a place to donate. It's difficult (if not impossible) for them to accept large furniture items, and they don't pick up.

6. Habitat for Humanity: This store/warehouse is unique. It sells stuff one might find at a Home Depot, like cabinets, windows, doors, fixtures, sinks, etc. Some of these items are pulled out of homes or businesses that are about to remodel. Some of these are special orders that didn't work out. They also have random household goodies. The good stuff moves fast. Located on Figueroa in Carson.

7. Little Company of Mary Thrift: Lots of stuffed jammed into a tiny store. Where the Hawthorne and Torrance Blvds COLLIDE.

8. Craigslist.com: It's not a thrift store, obviously, and it's not ebay. It's like the Pennysaver, except with photos, and FREE. I'm mentioning it because if you're looking to sell an item, rather than donate it, it's a great option to having a yard sale, or listing an item in the local paper. It's also a great option if you're looking for something specific, and you hate getting your hands dirty. I've sold things and bought things on Craigslist very successfully.

Well, now you know where I find my Gew Gaws. There are other places, but the above is where I shop the most. If you've never gone junking, I'd recommend bringing handwipes and cash, although the two largest chains accept credit cards. Most importantly, keep the smaller shops in mind when looking for a place to donate your gently used items. Oh, and take a look at this blog - I wish I could write so well. Happy hunting!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Truth About Bottled Water....Eeeww!

Some of this information is scary, especially the part about who regulates bottled water. Some language inappropriate for chillens and sensitive poysons.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Chemistry for Dummies



Chemistry sets are lame. But it wasn't always that way.

Way back when, in the day when shampoo bottles were made of glass, pocketknives were considered an appropriate gift for boys, and people parked their babies outside the supermarket, chemistry sets were a popular toy for kids. In a novelty catalog I have that dates back to 1947, several chemistry and science sets were for sale, including the one pictured below.



Not only does it come with a nice enameled steel case, but glass beakers and tubes, a glass blowing device, metal scales, and more dangerous chemicals you can shake a bunsen burner at - well, at least the alcohol lamp that comes with the kit. All this, and only $15.

The new 2007 Smithsonian kit is on sale for $59. It claims it's the safest chemistry set made - in other words, disappointingly unfun.

First indication of an absence of fun - the first warning: This set contains chemicals (NO...!) and apparatus that may be harmful...Not to be used by children except under adult supervision. Hey, those kids on the box don't have a parent watching over them - lucky...

Second indication of no fun: two and a half pages of safety warnings - like:

1. Never eat the chemicals or eat an experiement (ok, if your little snowflake eats stuff like this, maybe chemistry isn't for him)

2. By using plasticware, minimal amounts of glass, eliminating use of burners, restricting the use of heat an additional safety factor is provided (What, no FIRE???? And you call yourself a chemistry set???)

3. Prior to the MicroChemistry approach, quantitative experiments by young scientists were not possible (LIARS!!! They were possible in 1947...) 'MicroChemistry', btw, is a buzz word for 'we only give you extremely tiny amounts of these chemicals so you can't really do anything really cool, like blow up your basement.'

4. Use chemistry set equipment for experiments in your chemistry lab manual only. Because we can't risk you actually EXPERIMENTING.....

Let's face it - we're all doomed. If they can dumb down a chemistry set, what's the point. Stupid people don't go into chemistry, but this chemistry set caters to the lowest common denominator. My son received a kit like this, and it was so disappointingly dull, we just stuck it away in the closet. Even my dad was disappointed, which was a surprise.

As a young man, circa 1945, my dad collected and kept piles of articles and experiments. These experiements were in Popular Science Magazine and were aimed at students. Everything you need to carry out these experiements is NOT included in any modern 'chemistry' set. Experiments such as 'Synthesizing rubber', 'Make a Tesla coil', 'Chemistry answers the fire alarm', and 'How strong is that acid' would make most helicopter parents faint dead away.

But they all sound terribly cool.



Kenneth Swezey wrote many of these articles (although, not the radioactivity article I have scanned, above). He was like many young people of the time - he quit school at a young age, and (horrors!) persued learning on his own. "...he enjoys preparing home-chemistry articles...it helps him to realize some of the unfulfilled dreams of his childood chemistry days, when money, chemicals and apparatus were all too scarce to satisfy his intellectual curiosity."

Interestingly, the Smithsonian acquired his collection after his death. I don't believe Swezey's collection came with any safety instructions.

If you are interested in making your own chemistry set, instead of blowing $59 on plastic and safety instructions, check out this, and this, and this. Have fun!

Warning: buying your own chemicals may prove hazardous to boredom.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's not just a job



My dad served in the Navy during WW2.

He joined up, like many guys, because of Pearl Harbor. At 19 years old and 125 pounds, he joined because of a sense of duty toward his country at a time of war. Lucky for him, most of his service was right here in California. During his stint in the Navy, he learned metalurgy and surveying, was editor for the base newspaper, ran the movie house, got a tattoo, and went to China, where he met my mom.

Fast forward 65 years. While trolling the internet, I discovered the California Military Museum site. They offer to interview WW2 vets and archive the transcript. I emailed them, and to my surprise and delight, they offered to send someone to interview my dad. A nice man, Lt. Carlos, did the interview yesterday. The transcript will be saved in a database in San Diego. and shared with UCLA, the History Channel, and high school students.

According to Lt.Carlos, it gives students a glimpse into what it takes to wage war. For my dad, it was affirmation that his service, albeit not filled with bombs bursting in air, was important.

Thanks dad.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Gewgaw, Squeaking Chicken



I don't remember where or when I bought this. To play it, you hold the bottom part, and gently pull/push on the head part, and it squeaks. The squeak mechanism (if you could call it that) is made of paper that elegantly expands, somewhat like an accordian, but in a spiral. I think it's from Mexico, because the parts where the paint has chipped off shows a little terra cotta underneath. A delightful little item that serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever.

Apologies for not posting a 'gew gaw' sooner. I'm a lazy slug, so to accomodate my slugginess, I'm no longer calling this The Weekly Gew Gaw, but the just plain "Gew Gaw". I'll post as often as I'm able, or not.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Last one in is a Freemason!

While searching the You Tube site for Torrance videos that I could post, I came across a video called 'Group Stalking Torrance, CA'. I watched a short, blurry vid of some cars driving into a parking lot. I think the location is just west of the Torrance Airport near Torrance Memorial Hospital. The poster of this video claimed she and her daughter were being followed by a gang. She never explained why.

Another blurry video I found showed a guy shopping at the Whole Foods Market in Torrance. He had a hidden camera, and claimed a woman in the video was stalking him, and giving hand signals to the cashier. Unfortunately, the first 90% of the video is jumpy jittery random footage.

Of course, I had to persue and investigate this titilating concept of 'group stalking' or 'gang stalking'. Several vids came up in my search. Appparently, there are those who believe that groups of people - not just a single gang, but a collective of many gangs, go around and stalk and harass certain individuals. These gangs include (but are not exclusive to) persons from police and fire departments, white supremecist gangs, inner city gangs, Freemasons, Islamic organizations, terrorist organizations, Jews, Catholics, and of course, Jesuits (why not Franciscans, I wonder?). These groups are not in collusion with each other; often they operate independently; each group is told something different about the target individual by either a) the government, b) Freemasons, and/or Catholics c) all of the above. Allegedly, people are not only stalked, but attacked with electromagnetic or invisible electronic weaponry.

Keep browsing, and you'll notice that, according to these people, everything, (and I mean EVERYTHING) is controlled by the Freemasons and/or occultists. Secretly, Freemasons are hiding their nefarious symbols in buildings, corporate logos, and money. Who knew that basic geometric shapes - the circle, square, star, and triangle - were harbingers of evil, and I, as a designer, was duped into using these mysterious and dangerous shapes, brainwashed by these satanic organizations.

And I thought they were just shapes. Silly me.

I've determined that these people need to get back on their meds, and quickly. In the meantime, they should watch this and this, and loosen up, Jerry.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Butt-Ugly-Apartment-Next-Door UPDATE

My first blog entry was about the infamous (cue in dramatic, tension-filled music) Butt-Ugly Apartment Next Door (B.U.A.N.D).

The Power of the Post appears to have changed a few things.

First of all, Shirtless Loser is gone. Yup, he's moved out, and is currently horrifying some other neighbor with visions of his exposed flabbiness. Gone is the pooping dog - which, I found out, belonged to Shirtless Loser's dad's, Shirtless Loser Sr. Gone is S.L.'s Wench, her grim demeanor and leaky out-of-state car. Gone are the piles of trash, cigarettes, and debris left by S.L. Also gone is another person, unmentioned in my earlier post. This charming lady drove a car with a bumper sticker that read, "I F***ed Your Girlriend", but without the astericks. 'Nuff said.

Enter the new neighbors, #1 and #2. #1 is a family from either Pakistan or India. Nice people. #2 is a family from Korea with a little girl. Nice people. #3 is vacant, as it was Shirtless Loser's crib, and probably needs to be gutted, fumigated, scraped and fumigated again. I got a look at the place from the front door once. You couldn't pay me to go inside, even if it was possible to step inside without putting your foot on a frightening array of stains, trash and doggy dumps.

The best part is the families who live there now take out their trash cans on trash pick-up day AND PUT THEM AWAY THE SAME DAY! Oh, joy! Oh, rapture! And, they line up the cans neatly! BooYa!

I know this all sounds anal and petty, but if you had been living next to Ma and Pa 'The Hills Have Eyes' Kettle, you'd appreciate these small courtesies too.

The broken brickwork has been repaired - this is significant, as it's now possible to walk down the sidewalk without tripping over bricks. A novel concept that will take some getting use to. A sprinkler system has been installed in the front 'flower' bed - which is currently watering a plethora of healthy weeds, sans flowers. Hey, Rome wasn't built in a day.

I suspect alot of this upgrade has to do with the future building that is currently under construction around the corner. It's another three unit triplex/apartment (sigh) but it's designed to condominium specs. Which means each unit will rent for more than double what a unit in the B.U.A.N.D. does. Yikes.

So, a hearty thanks to the Big Guy Upstairs who has answered my whiny prayers. My only regret is nice neighbors don't make for interesting blog entries.

Okay, I take that back. I have no regrets.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Big Fun

Yesterday was the last day of summer vacation.

My son, his friend, and my two weekly wards (2 year old Doodle and wee tiny Blueberry) crowded my tiny abode on another toasty Tuesday. This was my first day babysitting Blueberry, and I was getting my feet wet. It went fine, with the afternoon finishing out in our backyard, the two older boys chasing around Doodle under the sprinklers, and Blueberry laughing at the dappled sunlight peeking through the Victoria Box tree.

The two younger tots were picked up early, and there was half the afternoon to contend with. "Knotts Berry Farm" , the two boys chimed. We all have a yearly pass, so although there was really only 2.5 hours left 'til the park closed, we could still steal a last bit of summer fun if I broke enough traffic laws (kidding). Off we chugged through afternoon traffic, arriving with less than two hours to enjoy.

The park was nearly empty. The last remnants of the home schooled, private schooled and public schooled roamed the park, with lines as short as we may ever be fortunate enough to experience. I only rode one ride, but the kids squeezed in several twirls and spins.

Low and behold, we bumped into friends, who joined us on our end-of-summer jaunt. One of these, Pook, coached my son in years past, and is as big a kid as any 11 year old. He leapt at the chance to pose with a person dressed as a big Snoopy dog. Sadly, he couldn't get on most of the rides; with his linebacker dimensions of 6'4" and 280 lbs, he don't fit.

Attention Knotts: if you can't accomodate a big guy, maybe he should get a price break, not unlike young children and seniors.

We parted company, and my kids went for one last dizzying spin on Silver Bullet. We bought a freshly cut geode for a souvenir, and fried chicken to-go for dinner. It was a satisfying finish to a perfect day.

Hmmm. School ends early today...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Guilty

I've noticed the longer I go without writing in my blog, the longer I go without writing in my blog.

One of my many personality flaws (now there's a subject - I'll have to make a note of it) is that I procrastinate. It's not just ordinary procrastination, as it's driven by guilt. Let me give some examples.

Guilt for not cleaning out my junk drawer.
Guilt for having enough junk to fill a drawer.
Guilt for not vacuuming behind my dresser.
Guilt for not having my son baptized.
Guilt for not cutting my husband's/son's hair often enough.
Guilt for not working full time. (actully, this one I'm not procrastinating about. Just guilt.)
Guilt for not visiting the inlaws.
Guilt for not buying gluten free bread yesterday for my mom (oops.)
Guilt for not doing something more lucrative with my artwork.
Guilt for not learning Dreamweaver fast enough.
Guilt for not excercising enough - or at all.

That's the short list. I could go on, but I'll spare you.

I procrastinate because I feel guilty, not the other way around. The more guilty I feel about something, the more likely and longer I'll procrastinate. It's a stupid waste of human energy, but I suspect that being Catholic is part of it.

Oh, guilt for not having gone to confession in about 25 years. I can see it now - Bless me father, for I have sinned - it's been 25 years since my last confession. I've lied 1627 times, I've had impure thoughts 172 times, I've cussed 17,594 times...

It's true about confession being good for the soul. I remember the relief I felt after confession, even though it was horribly embarrassing. I think Catholics have a good idea about confession. If you pray to God without actually relating your naughtiness to a real person, it's just not the same. It remains a dirty secret, and I think you're never really sure if you've been forgiven. Confession gives the whole business a more professional gloss. It's like the difference between buying something from a flea market to buying something at Bergdorfs. It might look the same, but believe me, the one from Bergdorfs feels alot better.

I suspect my 'not' doing things does qualify for a sin, albeit a venial one. Probably sloth. Any priests out there? Please email me. What would be the penance for chronic procrastinating? I'm guessing it would be more than a couple of 'Our Fathers'.

I do have an excuse for not writing sooner. I've actually had some freelance work that has been my preoccupation for the last couple of weeks, so it's not like I'm a complete slob. I hope I'll be able to get some photos around town, and have some additional worthy stories to relate to both of you.

Cross my heart, and one Act of Contrition.