Monday, August 27, 2007

Stick It

The Minnesota State Fair opened last Thursday. From now until Labor Day (I think) every loyal son/daughter of the North Star State is more or less expected to attend their Great Annual Get-Together.

DIH attended the fair last year. She thought that would let her off for, say, a decade or two. But apparently no such luck. I will probably have to go again.

Last year we went with Rachel, The State Fair Commando. She had not only mapped out every event she wanted us to hit ( the Butter Portraits were a big draw), she had mapped out every food stand she wanted to try. This is how DIH became acquainted with things like "Pickle-on-a-Stick" and deep fried Twinkies.

The pickle-on-a-stick tasted remarkably similar to your basic pickle-not-on-a-stick, and DIH was mystified as to why it was presented impaled. This is the main reason why I did not try the Pork-Chop-on-a-Stick. I figured that would be a letdown, too.

Before I moved here a former North Star resident told me that Minnesotans will eat anything on a stick. This probably accounts for most of the food served at the State Fair.

It's easy to make fun of this culinary habit. I mean, come on, just look at this year's offerings. Sloppy joes on a stick. Spaghetti on a stick. Key lime pie on a stick. S'mores on a stick, which isn't much of an innovation given that you have to have a stick to make a s'more in the first place.

But DIH will resist the urge to ridicule for the simple reason that she assumes Minnesotans have heard it all before. I imagine being a member of the Tribe That Eats From Sticks is a little like being a Catholic. Every newcomer to the North probably thinks he's being a riot when he says things like "Where's my margarita-on-a-stick?" or "My kabob comes on a stick, right?"
The same way converts think they're being really hilarious when they make Bingo jokes. Do they never ask themselves "Am I really sure they havent' heard this one before?"

So no "stick" jokes.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


There are, DIH has learned. pros and cons to talking to oneself.

Some of the pros:

It's amazing how the crowd parts to let you through if you're the lady muttering to herself.
You always have company.
Hm.. I seem to be out of pros.

Some of the cons:

Embarrasses your family. Which, come to think of it, can also be considered a pro in the right circumstances.
The guy next to you in yoga class might hear you. Especially if you happen to be muttering something like "man-boobs, man-boobs."
Somebody might come back with "You talkin' to me?" Then you have to play Movie Trivia with him until he gets bored.

I guess I was just lucky today with the "man-boobs' bit. The guy was too busy admiring his perfet form int he mirror to notice, or care. Still I'd better get back to breaking the habit. Movie Trivia loses its charm after about ninth grade.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Phil Rizzuto

Philip Francis Rizzuto, AKA "The Scooter." Played his first game for the New York Yankees in April 1941; retired in 1956. Inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. After retiring from the field Rizzuto was an announcer for the Yankees.

Surely one of the most beloved personalities in baseball, The Scooter died last week at the age of 89. Generations of fans remember him fondly, first as the incredibly fast little guy chasing balls on the diamond, then as the slightly, uh, well, let's say as a broadcaster he had a style all his own.

But DIH reveres him as one of the greatest American poets.

In 1993 two of his fans,Tom Peyer and Hart Seeley, put their finger on the secret to the Scooter's one of a kind style: Every game he narrated, he narrated in blank verse.

Peyer and Seeley published some of the Scooter's finest work in the collection, "O Holy Cow: The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto." (Hopewell, NJ: The Ecco Press, 1993.)

In memory of the Scooter, DIH shares some of his poetry today.

[May 5, 1987. New York at Chicago. Joe Niekro pitcheing to Carlton Fisk. Second inning, no outs, bases mepty, no score.]

"The Bridge"

Two balls and a strike.
You knwo what they had on TV today, White?
'Bridge on the River Kwai.'
Everybody should have gotten an Academy Award for that movie.
I dont' know how manytimes I've seen it.
About forty times.
Alec Guiness!
William Holden!
Three and one the count.
I just heard somebody whistle.
You know that song?
That's what they whistle.
Nobody out.
And he pops it up.

[June 27, 1991. New York at Boston. Wade Taylor pitching to Tony Pena. Seventh inning, no outs, bases mepty. Ynakees lead 8-0.]

A little high
Two balls
No strikes.

Riverview Medical Center
Is down the Jersey Shore.

Three balls
No strikes.

[August 14, 1992. New York at Chicago. Alex Fernandez pithcing to Matt Nokes. Seventh inning, two out, bases empty. White Sox lead 2-0]

You know,
I was just thinking.
It's tough
To evatualte players
When you're out
On the golf course.

And finally, one that is especially dear to DIH's heart. for reasons regular readers of this blog will understand:

[June 7, 1991. Texas at New York. Joyhn Habyan pitching to Steve Buechele. Ninth inning, one out, bases empty. Tie score 4-4]

In the backyard we got a lot of trees.
In our home I've watched them leap
From limb to limb.

Did you ever get one in your attic?
They're not too cute
When they get in your attic,
I'll tell you that.

I would not harm a squirrel.
I don't want to get those animal lovers...
I got them in my attic.
No, I got,
But I got a squirrel cage
And trapped them in the cage
Then took them out in the woods
Over by Yogi's house
And dropped them off.

Rest in peace, Scooter. You spread a lot of joy.


DIH notes with sadness the retirement of "Wuzzadem," the hilarious and insightful blog from the West Coast.

I wish John and his bride were still on the blog trail. Maybe they'll start another blog somewhere. Or maybe Wuzza has won the recognition he deserves and has gone on to write his stuff for pay somehwere.

In any case, DIH wishes the Wuzzas all the best, They're a great team, and they will be missed.

Friday, August 17, 2007


This came this afternoon. It's from a member of our parish.

> "... Can you please ask everyone to pray for my niece, Stacy Anne Stubbs who was killed in a
> head on crash this week by an 18 year old who was text messaging a friend
> and crossed over into the oncoming lane of traffic . She died at the
> scene of the accident. The 18 year old died a day later. My niece has a
> 6 year old daughter, Rebecca who was she was completely devoted to and
> who will be lost without her. My sister and brother in law are
> devastated. I just saw this niece 2 weeks ago when I was in NJ with Peter
> and Jason as she was visiting from Arizona where she lives. Please tell
> your teenage kids who drive to NEVER text message while driving. "

As I said, unbelievable. And heartbreaking.
Please pray for this family.

Where Was This Guy When Michael Moore Needed Him?

In today's Star-Tribune film critic Colin Covert reviews "Arctic Tale," the story of Nanu the polar bear and Seela the walrus, whose world is being slowly destroyed by global warming. The review is so priceless DIH feels compelled to quote at length. Translations provided.

"Arctic Tale Warms the Heart"

"'Arctic Tale ' inhabits the gray area between nature documentary and fictionalized wilderness adventure, not that the distinction will mean much to the young audiences it was made for."

You know that "grey area." It's usually called "made-up stuff." Like, I don't know, "Milo and Otis." The makers of which, as DIH recalls, never claimed they were making a documentary. But that was before MIchael Moore, so now we call it "the grey area." Sounds better than "fiction" or "fairy tale." But don't worry, kids are too dumb to care about the difference.

"Creatively edited from 15 years' worth of footage...."

I'm pretty sure this means "made up from tons of clips strung together." Hm. Where was the phrase "creatively edited" when DIH needed it? "But Professor, I was just doing some creative editing!" Might have come in handy. Uh-oh. Teachers out there: watch for "creative editing." It doesnt' sound right somehow.

"Written by Al Gore's daughter Kristina and invitingly narrated by Queen Latifah..."

Not "By Kristina Gore." You might have missed the point if he'd just said "Kristina Gore." You might have wondered "Hey, I wonder if she's any relation?" But see,this way you dont' have to. This way you know she's Al Gore's daughter. Which makes her something more important than just any writer. And the narration by "Queen Latifah" (does anyone out there know her real name?) is "Inviting," not trashy-mouthed like much of her earlier work. So it's ok to take the kids. Who are too dumb to care about what's real and what's made up, so they won't mind the whole "Queen" thing either.

"Selective editing shows the creatures on best behavior (showing how walruses devour seals would traumatize the little ones)."

And expose their little brains to a lie, too. Everybody knows all baby seals are killed by wicked furriers and Big Oil Interests.

"The animals are too cute for words..."

When a writer says anything is "too cute for words" it usually means "I am so sick of writing this drivel, I'll just say it's 'too cute for words.' That way I won't have to think of any. Oh man, am I ever gonna have myself a margarita after work..."

"There are suspenseful moments when the families encounter danger, sad passages and a smattering of low comedy: Walruses are evidently flatulent creatures, and the sound of the whole blubbery pack letting it rip is guaranteed to be the funniest thing your 6-year-old has ever heard."

Think of what that will do for dinner table behavior. Worth the price of admission in itself.

"For slightly older audiences there's the sly observation that Seela's tusks are filling out nicely and the boy seals are taking notice."

Hubba-blubba! Hey Mom- does Janie have, you know, 'tusks' yet? Is she gonna get some? Ha ha, ha ha, Janie's getting tu-usks...

"[The film's} message that life is getting more challenging for arctic creatures is presented plainly and without preaching. We are shown that icecaps are shrinking, once-frozen floes are defrosting to the point that they won't support a full-grown bear's body weight, and icebergs where walruses could rest are disappearing."

And you know Al Gore's daughter (what's her first name again? oh, well, doesn't matter) would never preach. Even when poor little Nanu's mother is probably going to die next time she tries to rest on an ice floe. She'll probably die. Just like Bambi's mama. It's a cruel world. And - and- (sob), it's all our own fault! (Sniff) Forget I said that last part. No preaching. Promise.

"The film concludes with household tips for comabitng global wraming, which might now have much effect in themseves, but offer a starting point for discussion."

Let me get this straight. This film, which never, ever "preaches," ends with a list of instructions? Giving moms more stuff to do? And even Mr. Covert admits that the "household tips" are completely useless? Oh no, Mr Covert, they're not useless! Anything that makes a 6-year-old more of a nuisance than usual is not purposeless! Think of the opportunities! "Mom! You didn't recycle the newspaper! YOU'RE KILLING SEELA! WAAAAAHHH!"

"Whether you're more attuned to adorable animals or environmental issues, 'Arctic Tale' is pretty cool."

Some issues are just too adorable for words. Maybe that's why the global warming debate is over. You're not allowed to debate any more. Shut up. Listen to your children. Who, we're making damn sure, are listening to us.

I see a school field trip coming on.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Take This Simple Test

When buying handsoap for your powder room, you:

a) buy only antibacterial soap. Germs bad.
b) stick with whatever bar soap is on sale. Cheap and effective.
c) always get the pricer liquid stuff that comes out of the dispenser pre-foamed. Rubbing your hands together is work, after all.

You are selecting wine for your dinner party (you're having beef tenderloin). You:

a) talk to the guy in the wine store and follow his advice- nothing but the best for your guests.
b) stick with the six-dollar magnum of Chilean stuff. You know your friends, it's not like they're going to know the difference.
c) buy whatever pinot or merlot comes with a screw-off cap. Corks are a pain.

You're getting a dog! Which breed do you look for?

a) Labradors! Adorable, unflappable, sweet- the perfect pet.
b) some designer mini-breed you can put in a carry-on bag and stick under the seat on the plane. This way you don't have to pay for a kennel whenever you go away.
c) Standard poodle. Practically train themselves and no shedding, so no clean-up.

If you answered (c) to the above, congratulations! You are every bit as lazy as DIH! And let me tell you not everyone can make that claim.

All this is by way of apology for a) not blogging much lately and b) never finishing my blogroll. Even I'm impressed with that one. But I am turning over a new leaf. I am exercising every day (will complain about that later), balancing my checkbook, and vowing to catch up on things like blogrolls.

Seriously. I mean it this time.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Why I Hate My Horoscope

This is Aries for today :

"The planets encourage you to stretch you powers of imagination, observation and memory."

The planets are a little late on that last one. They should've toldme to stretch the memory cells earlier. If they had Imight not have shown up at 8am for a dentist's appointment that isn't until two o'clock.

Thanks, planets.

Of course, the prospect of stretching my imagination is not exactly a thrill, either. Or at least so I thought, until I turned to today's "Blog of Note" that dear old Blogger recommends:

"Surviving Hollywood."

Aspiring screenwriters submit taglines for their proposed scrrenplays. (Oh dear, DIH just used "aspiring" and "proposed" in the same sentence. Never, never, never get up this early for a dentist again.)
If their submissions are any competition then stretching one's imagination ain't what it used to be.

Some blockbuster ideas:




True, taglines always sound a little on the hokey side. But come on- understudy goes on and blows off the roof? What, has somebody resurrected Ruby Keeler or something? Hey- there's an idea!


I better get some coffee. Or some more sleep. Or something.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

This Made My Day

Hope it makes yours.

Play the Video and take heart!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Toy Story

DIH has spent several hours lately clearing out her kid's room. Out with the old, in with the new, at least in theory. She has sorted through drawers and boxes and plastic bins, pawed through bookshelves and scrounged around under beds.

Lessons learned:

1. The Chinese really are trying to take over the country. They will arrive by night and quietly take over while everyone is still trying to dig their way out from under the mountains of Happy Meals toys that will trap us in our homes within the next three years. Be forewarned.

2. There is no such thing as an "educational toy." No matter what high-minded thing you lug home, if your kid never learns to put it away when he's done with it no education has been accomplished. Nothing useful, anyway.

3. If the person who invented "Floam" is not in hell, then there is no such place.

4. Ditto whoever gave you the "Junior Percussionist" set.

5. Barbie has a Bad Hair Life and will always end up barefoot and/or naked. So enough with the body envy.

6. Polly Pockets has a nicer life than you will ever have. Just accept it.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Last night at 6:05 pm the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis collapsed. It was rush hour, and there was a Twins game in town. The bridge was packed.

As of 9pm last night the "rescue" operation became a "recovery." So far at least nine people are dead and 20 injured.

Please pray for the victims and their families.

This is a sad day in Minnesota.