Category Archives: News

Observations Tied by a Single Strand of RNA

We all hear wrenching COVID stories. This column isn’t about that. Though important, we’re not discussing that today. Today we laugh, as able.

Regarding what humanity is doing to defend itself against this nasty l’il microvarmint, there’s an expression that applies: “We’re building the plane while flying it.” Worldwide, we’ve been trying things out on the fly, not knowing if some step we take will send passengers down the chute, eject the pilot, or blow the plane up entirely. One thing, however, we do have control over. That is isolating our masked selves, and continue reducing the spread. I know: yawn. It’s inhuman.

While I understand crawling the walls, going out of your skin, and pulling your hair out, not necessarily in that order, try to remember that someone somewhere has things way worse than you. Sure, I’d love to go to the library, gym, movies, church, concerts, sporting events, get a hair job. Who wouldn’t? I tell people I tried something new: I dyed my roots white. Like it? Me neither.

But as for whackos protesting for their “rights” to have these businesses open (I can and must get my massage! Your church must open!), what about the right of others to stay alive? Suck it up and tough it out, man. If you don’t care, then you don’t know anyone who’s died. You will—this isn’t magically going away next week. Stay home and amuse yourself. Unless you’re being beaten or belittled by a deranged housemate – then yes, get the heck out. Just open the door and run.

I’ve often joked about survivalists stockpiling canned goods and ammo. Well, look who’s laughing now…all the way to the bunker.  Here now some other deep thots stockpiled from the nutters I call friends. Feel free to submit your own.

Randolph: I know I’m on a roller coaster, but I’m learning to lean so I don’t throw up.

Florida: What does your jigsaw puzzle say about you?

Upstate NY:  Face Timing with parents over 80 includes no visuals beyond foreheads.

Tewksbury MA:   And the hour-plus getting them set up to Facetime or Zoom.

Maryland: I’m letting my eyebrows grow wild and I’m starting to look mannish, yo.

Middlebury:  Spending all this time at home is too much togetherness for couples or families.   Every time I turn around, my spouse is there. Outside, people coming towards us don’t move over to maintain 6 feet.  Then there are the idiots in grocery stores who won’t follow the required one-way pattern in the aisles. I hold my breath.

D.C.: Finally know what enough sleep feels like! But I’d give it back to feel safe and secure.

Cape Cod:  While dog walking, the empty nip bottles along my route now replaced by discarded latex gloves is depressing. However, nearly everyone I pass smiles. People acknowledge that we need friendliness to get us through. Refreshing! People distance-gather at Falmouth harbor at sunset. We call it The Ha-ba Ba(think: Boston accent).

Reading: Mankind should use this incarceration wisely, because when it ends, we’re going to go NUTS working and frolicking and there will be NO time for introspection, thank GOD.

Contoocook: If a hairdresser wants to open her shop, no problem. Just sign forms that say you and your customers are refusing medical care if you get sick. You’re on your own.

Bethel: With sport facilities closed, the shooting range is ACTIVE – and louder, with less traffic drowning it out. Wait. I hear silence. Did they shut it down?

N. Carolina: I’m relishing the time at home with my 7 YO – I got my buddy back!

SoRo: My old lady hair is coming in. I’ve hated the pollution, time and expense of coloring it, so now I’ll see…it’s a weird gift that we can all try out going Natural at the same time.

Braintree:  The courses should all open. In golf, you’re allowed to touch only your own balls.

Pets looking at us, all Why you home every day…and why ain’t I gettin’ more grub as a result?

Boston: Our area was expecting 75 mph winds. Authorities said to “secure loose objects” outside, and to buy ice and candles. I’m like, wow, should I pick up a scalpel in case I need to unexpectedly perform surgery? The real answer: maybe. Anything seems possible now.

Well! Thank you, nutters. I end with a lovely sentiment from a friend in New York City who is a veteran of The Moth and has survived so many cinema-worthy escapades I call him Steve McQueen.

“I was a guest lecturer for the School of Visual Arts before the shutdown. They wanted someone who could speak about the connection between storytelling and design and somehow they found me. I told them that for the first time in human history, hundreds of millions of people are going to bed and waking up with exactly the same set of worries at exactly the same time and that we need to find a way to bond over this experience because we are proving what is possible once we act together.”

Yes! Act together, though apart. End global bickering. Unite! Good day.

 

hazmat dog link.

If You Listen to One (calming!) How-to on COVID Precautions….

…this is the one. Dr. David Price of Weill Cornell. If you’ve been putting it off, watch now.

I dare you to stop watching before it’s over. The Q&A very good at end.

https://vimeo.com/399733860

 

Best Face Mask Sewing Info, per my Fiber Artist SIL

Information about Sewing Masks in the time of COVID-19

Two K-cup Waste Alternatives

Since Keurig was bought by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in 2006, the K-cup waste issue has been a long and local one. Here are two alternatives that work. Aside from, obviously, not using them at all.

Problem is, many workplaces have this as the only coffee maker. And I’m pretty sure it’s one of the most re-gifted items ever. People get one as a gift, re-wrap it, pass it on, and on and on, until it finally makes its way to someone who says, “Okay.”

First, if you’ve got a bunch of K-cups you already bought, you can cut the lids off with this little baby and recycle the plastic housings. Not perfect, because recycling is a dirty, energy-consuming process. The recycle a cup® , available all over the place, is fun to use:

recycle-a-cup

Second and better, the reusable  Solofill Cup® vastly improves the “coffee cage” that had in past incarnations brewed a terrible cup of coffee. Available all over the place. Brew on.

solo-fill

 

The Other Energy Potion

energy lgEvery young person I meet lately at a cash register or whatever is, like, all shaky. I think they’re pounding that bottled 12-hour AWAKE chemical crap.

Try this, kids. Slopeside Syrup. You won’t get rattled and it tastes good, too.

How to Tell Your Guests to Conserve Water

water disciplineWith wells, you never know what’ll happen. I’ve known more than one family that has had to carry buckets of water inside from a brook for various purposes, including toilet use. No fun at all, esp. in winter.

This summer, groundwater levels are not a problem. But when they are, my friend’s father’s advisory, printed and mounted at every sink, conveys the message with a distinctive and poetic economy of words.

And Let’s Not Forget the Amateur Craftspersons

flugencrafter…whose work brings untold joy to All, including this piece lovingly crafted by an amateur New Hampshire Flügenkrafter in good standing.

What, pray tell, is flügen? Go here.

Learn it. Love it. Live it.

One Woman’s Rebellion

Sniff awn THISSome of us have had it with people pounding on each other all over planet Earth century after century. How can this be? What gets into their heads — and stays there?

By way of passive resistance, I placed this humble dahlia on my front porch facing the symbolically violent road work going on just yards away (loud, chaotic, foul-smelling, with big machines). Dahlia shines her pink face at the mess, “Mornin’, perpetrators. Sniff awn this.”

A little Kent State-y, maybe, but sometimes a posy is the best you can do.

 

The Sane Need Not Apply

reb schubMy neighbor Rebecca, a no-nonsense Iron Woman tuffie, once emerged from her apartment with cuts and bruises like she’d lost a round with a threshing machine. No, she said, it was the Death Race. She’d been asleep for two days.

One of Vermont’s crazier offerings, the upcoming Death Race is a twisted, punishing exercise in x-treme sport nutterness. For one thing, particpants are not told until the last minute when it will actually begin. Articles detailing it appear here and here.  Its competitors mystify regular folk; they also entertain. Thank you, nutters.

I say: know when to give up.  Also: barbed wire is not your friend. Good luck!

Total nutter.

Total nutter.

The Devil is in the DEETails

greenbaywi.gov

Litterbug, per greenbaywi.gov

A normally wry friend recently told me how his ex had pointed out his faults on her way out the door. This had made him especially dejected. I asked, “What faults?” and he explained. “You know, the disorganization, the forgetfulness, the keen desire to have my picture taken with political celebrities. . . .” I replied, “Those aren’t faults. Those are endearing traits, charming to those who love you.”

It’s been said that what attracts you to someone is what later drives you nuts. Likewise, qualities you have that delighted someone can devolve into vile faults demanding extirpation. But it’s a puzzle when someone who is leaving you feels obligated to express exactly why you’re not good enough. Why do that? Isn’t it bad enough they’re abandoning you? I once received a 13-page Dear Jane letter, detailing all I had done wrong. I see, I thought. Yes, it’s clear now. Thanks so much.

What became clear? My shortcomings? No. That the devil is alive and well. He enters people and makes them romance you, leave you, and tell you how you failed. The devil was in the details: in this case elaborately illustrated criticisms. The devil also invented call waiting, data mining, and other vexing details of modern life designed to make us willing to swap with him our souls, for just a few moments of blessed peace.

He also recruits Litterbugs. When I’m behind someone that throws a cigarette or Big Gulp out a car window, I become possessed. I honk, flash my lights, and make impolite gestures. I know this is wrong, and both Litterbug and I could rightfully say (nod to Flip Wilson), “The devil made me do it.”

Discussing this in church, a wry southern friend says with vehemence, “I want to know. What does a litterbug look like?” I know precisely what they look like but the words I’d use to describe one cannot be said in church. We work ourselves into a lather over it. Then, pews away, I hear a Vermonter of many years (90+?) say to her companion, “It always takes me by surprise, spring. It’s such a lovely transformation, especially after a hard winter.” That this woman could still be awed by how our area is like a different planet in spring, after nearly 100 of them, drives the devil right out of me.

mud from N

Gone fishin’.

I give a wry friend a candy bar named Chocolate Interlude which she promptly renames Chocolate Intervention. Then I think how in these blasted modern tymes how they add an “e” to things (e-billing, e-commerce) and how we can add our own e’s for the heck of it, to our e-underwear and our e-moxy and our e-breath. And how a wry Vermont friend said in Connecticut, “They call these pot holes?” And how nude season is nigh, and the mighty Goliath of mud has been subjugated by gravity and slender blades of grass, and nothing but nothing smells like flowering trees.

sugarandspicedkitchen.com

sugarandspicedkitchen.com

Then I attend, despite this column’s deadline, the local Legislative Breakfast. Our state senators and representatives articulatewith intelligence and fairness issues that are ridiculously complex, e.g., the GMO labeling bill just passed—and how VT will be sued by corporations. That the Governor’s so-called “Food Fight Fund” is being established, smartly, with the help of non-Vermonters, is cheering. Someone half my age pays me a compliment. I spot a granny on a riding mower. Finally—get this—technology proves heartening. I choose truelove as a password and it is denied for being “too common.” That its selection as a password is too common says something huge about humankind.

Yes, there is plenty of hard evidence of the devil’s existence, including but not limited to black flies, BP, and the Disgraceful Home Printer Ink Scandal of Modern Tymes, wherein (pricey!) ink tanks mysteriously dry up and your (infernal!) printer won’t even scan without ink. Sometimes we choose between two devils, say, black flies and DEET. A Mainer I know says you can’t go fishing without it. I use it when the biters are so vicious I don’t care if it shuts down my brain, bladder, and kidneys, though I know DEET to be compressed devil in a can.

Some days, the devil’s around every corner, seems like. Yet somehow, with an overheard “lovely transformation” and a too-common password and grannies riding mowers and a posse of wry friends, we remain eHopeful. We soldier on. If you feel disheartened, I’ll give you part of my heart, that as yet unaffected as yet by DEET and other devilment. Good luck. Good day.

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