Monthly Archives: June 2012

Deep Thoughts in Modern Tymes

WHEN I’M NOT letting my white zinfandel breathe, scanning headlines (Did Romney’s Father Really Grow Up Poor?) without reading the actual article, applying Porcelana®, or falling behind with the Kardashians, I’m collecting deep thoughts to deliver unto you, dear Reader. Some come from the ethers; others are harvested from friends and strangers, otherwise known as intellectual property theft.

This week’s found art came from a kid in Silver Lake in an inflatable kayak. An inflatable kayak is a terrible idea, in part because the wind blows it around.  As he flailed with not only the wrong kind of boat but absolutely the wrong kind of paddle, he said to no one in particular, “I hope I don’t capsize myself.”  That is a deep thought, young man. So many of us feel that way.

Another gem was the road signs in Massachusetts advising, “Increase Safety for All.”  It’s patronizing and not remotely deep—yet succinct, and for some reason I wish I’d written it myself.

I collect for redistribution not only deep thoughts, but weird thoughts, easy enough in these Modern Tymes. Currently, plenty is insufferable and weird: “trending” cannibalism, gas prices like we lived in Europe (sheesh!), real estate nightmares, stores and restaurants closing, disastrous weather, the fact that “invasive species” is a commonly understood term, technological hassles, technological threats, technology allowing—nay, encouraging—annoying perversions like Weinergate…all weird.

Ah, technology: always changing, always vexing, ever of interest. Years ago, when an actor delivered a terrible performance, it was said in Hollywood that it was so bad he’d “phoned the part in.” Later, it became, “He faxed the part in.” I wonder (at 4 a.m.) if they now say, “He e-mailed it in.” “He texted it.”  “He posted it on FaceBook.” And—importantly—what’s next?  “He microthermed it in.”  “He zoontagged it.”  For as much as we are baffled and plagued by technology, we remain curious about its future. What the heck are they gonna come up with next?  In medicine, in transpo, in energy, surveillance (ick), communication? We have no bloody idea. It could be good, it could be bad, but one thing is certain: it’s gonna be weird.

It’s fun going backwards, too, when mining deep thoughts. Recently, I recalled for the first time in decades that as a young girl I went through various phases with the help of library books: a card tricks phase, a bird calls phase, and a whittling phase (for what? What does one do with pointed sticks?) These by myself with no prompting and no friends involved. Did I fancy myself some kind of magician? A young Dr. Doolittle? A woodsy craftswoman or small killer of small mammals?  Who knows what deep thoughts children think; point is it’s a riot to remember something you haven’t thought about in years…one of the few—and unsung—advantages of aging. Consulting old friends is valuable, because they recollect stuff you’ve totally forgotten. As a pal once said when I told her something hilarious she’d done that she had no memory of whatsoever, “That’s why we have friends. To remember our own lives.”

Sooper couples such as Beyonce + Jay-Z and Gisele + Tom, were obviously designed by God to make the rest of us feel small, crippled, and useless. But our own children? They’re more talented than we were, less drunk, smarter, and have the limbs of gazelles. This towering super-race came from us? Also weird: they don’t get together. They hide alone in their bedrooms texting or Skyping each other with the door closed. I used to see a neighbor kid doing this in his darkened living room wearing a headlamp, possibly to illuminate his face for his “friends”.  My guess is the same crazy teen conversations go on as ever, just without the warmth of human contact. But they’re not dying to get out of their parents’ houses?! That’s just weird. I hope they don’t capsize themselves.

Among my fave lines to hear on old TV shows, in addition to “I’ll see you in court!” or any variation on “Touch her again and I’ll kill you,” is the Dynasty era’s “I will destroy you.”*  Do people these days text each other [brief!] threats like, “C U in the ICU.” Surely they do. They don’t fax it in and they definitely don’t say it in person. That would demand a degree of effort—and closeness—unthinkable in Modern Tymes.

No tech for me this weekend, or weirdly isolating forms of communication. I’m lakin’ it. In nature with actual humans.  I’ll see you in court. Good day.

*Nod to comic Fran Solamita, c. 1987

Ann Aikens can be reached via e-mail at and Twitter at @uvgvt (

I Love My iPhone®

I don’t get how it works, at all, any of it.  But I know how to dress it.

UVG’s 1st choice left; 2nd choice right.

1st Choice: PureGear’s well-engineered case with cover (cover slides on, gorgeously) with a sturdy kickstand so you can prop up your phone at your desk. Go to eBay and enter “Snap On Shell Holster Combo Case” to view its excellence. I got mine from The Prune Danish. They ship fast, plus who doesn’t want to buy something from The Prune Danish?

Get your PureGear here.

2nd Choice: Incipio’s SILICRYLIC® Double Cover. That’s like slipping a spongy wetsuit under your hard case. The wetsuit covers your + – buttons without compromising them. When you drop it, your phone makes a soft landing.

Dropped Phone Flight Pattern with Incipio’s “Double Cover”

It doesn’t have a cover, so make one or enlist the aid of your craftly craftswomen.

Custom Cover

This Is Your Brain on Liquid Manure

All my artists crapped out on me so this will have to do.  Ann Aikens 2012, Sharpie® and pencil on reused printer paper taken from the office.

Vermont has many seasons, including Ski Season, Mud Season, and Black Fly Season. Spring is Fertilizer Season, which means the varnishing of the Land with  liquid manure. While natural, this vile potion comprises not only manure, but plenty of ripe urine (there’s your eye-burning factor right there.) The strongest-smelling means of application is  the low-cost  “Spray ‘er good, Jeremiah.” They try to do it just before it rains, but they don’t always catch it right so it roasts in the hot sun for an indescribable finishing note of putrefaction.

Some use  swine manure—if you’ve never caught a whiff of that, don’t. And we have very few CAFOs in Vermont, thank God. If this doesn’t make you buy local, nothing will.

Have neighbors making your life hell? Get your own manure spreader. You’ll bring them to their knees, lit. and fig. But you didn’t hear it here.

Commencement 2012 – Go, Mass.

Read this faculty speech by Wellesley High School English teacher David McCullough, Jr. The writing is gorgeous. Boggling are the negative comments  (“smug”? He’s ANTI-smug. And to those poo-pooing his call for selflessness: awaken to what brings happiness, America!)  The naysayers don’t get what matters during these bizarre Modern Tymes; they prolly sleep spooning their generic trophies.  That, or they didn’t read it all the way through. How modern.

McCullough:  You had me at “Weddings are bride-centric pageantry.”

I’m Your Venus – Not

Another Sunny Day in Vermont

My dad laughs and laughs when he sees a solar panel in Vermont. No last-visible-Venus-transit-in-our-lifetime for Bonzo.

But that’s why Al Gore invented the Internet.  Here’s what we’re missing.

Living the Dream

Who needs bread?

I don’t know who invented inserting pimientos and olives into loaves of meat (served best on…paper); obviously, it was an Italian, but that doesn’t really narrow it down. Point is, when I went to photograph this little beauty, I didn’t notice the maple syrup in the background. Probably because there’s so much syrup here that we don’t even see it. We use jugs of it as door stoppers, medicine balls, spare tires, home plate, nautical ballast, aeronautical ballast, emotional ballast, whatever.

Somebody’s going to see this and get an idea.  Vermonters will put maple syrup on anything.

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