Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When the Swedes Finally Invade and Become Our New Overlords, I Will Be a Prize Worker in Their Factory

I've been assembling a lot of assemble-yourself furniture recently

Double Your Fun

Back in the day, there was a lady I used to wait on with some frequency. She would come in with one or the other of two men, both of whom she seemed to know quite well. This struck me as rather saucy.

Then, one evening, both men were there. And there were two of her.

Twins are tricky.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Redrum! RedRUM!

Happy Inconsequential-Statement-of-Preference Monday:

You know what I like? Painting. Not pictures. Walls. (And I'm not alone in this—I know you're out there.) I'm currently painting our downstairs bathroom red. It had (quite recently) been painted a pale lavender, but it somehow wound up feeling like a douche commercial from the Seventies.* So we're changing it to red. The red is much better.

* You don't really see douche commercials on TV anymore. When did that happen? And were they actually all purple-hues, beaches, and sunsets? That's the way I remember them.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

White house

But Seriously...

Seriously, Randy Newman—what's up with that? I don't get it. Really. Not at all. Does that make me bad?

Seems likely...
Venezia Pizza Pie Italian Foods

Slim-Pensées: You Are What You Don't Eat

Dietary restrictions are the measure of the neurosis.
Orange house.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Micro-Story Friday: Dog-Check... Aisle Two

This is a story, a very small story. There is no plot arc, no catharsis, no denouement. It's a very small story.

I was in Langenstein's, the small fancy Uptown grocery, on the second aisle scanning the shelves for something or other. Who do I see coming down the aisle? My dog, Penny.

Penny is a very good dog. Back when I had a truck (alas alack...), she would ride around in the back and would diligently stay there if I had to quickly duck in somewhere. But this time, apparently, she'd grown bored and decided to see where the action was.

She'd jumped out of the truck, walked in through the automatic doors, walked all the way up the first aisle past the pickled products, walked past the prepared foods, finally turned down the second aisle and found me. She was very pleased with herself and wagged her tail gleefully.

Nobody had said a thing. Had they not seen her? Had they seen her and been too befuddled to do anything? Or were they just cool-like-that? (The latter seems unlikely.) I wonder.

This has been Micro-Story Friday. Good day.

Slim-Pensées: You Are What You Feet

Because I have a sinful love of erudite pretension, I think (maybe) I'll start a series of pensées, little aphoristic scraps of this and that—and whatnot and the other—to share with you, the unfortunate reader. Here's one:
The shoes are the measure of the man. (Corollary: The lady-shoes are the measure of the lady.)
Proceed as you see fit.

I'm unambiguously a pair of size-eleven low-top black Chucks. What are you?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Battle Royale: Squelch-A-Thon 2007

It's that time again. Are you ready? Who dares face the mighty "squelch"? Are you word enough? The nominations are in, and it's a crowded field:
  • squelch
  • rictus
  • bossanova
  • crabby
  • naughty
  • knickers
  • lunch
  • marplot
  • higler
  • fuzzier
  • troika
  • lambast
  • squeamish
  • jejune
  • stupendous
  • taint
  • kerfuffle
  • Garth
  • delicious
There's many a fine word, but at the end of the day only one will stand victorious.* Who will it be? Gird your belt. Grit your teeth. Place your vote. It's going to be a bloodbath.

Let's get ready to rummmblllllllllle!

* Of course, the rest are winners too—everybody's a winner!—just in more loser-ish ways.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Truck on Down Where the Mambos Swing

Oh lordie, I'm tired

Mardi Gras crept up on this year. We've been so busy with the house (and weren't the Saints just playing football and wasn't it just Christmas before that?) that we barely knew it was coming. And then it was here. And parades were rolling. And suddenly we were doing all those things—navigating the intricate parade-time traffic-scape, scouting for a good spot, hoisting kids, going to parties, cursing Endymion, hollering with glee at the high-school marching bands, catching loads of crap and hauling it home for the kids to strew about the house, getting very tired and feeling like we could sleep for a century, and so on—all while going about the business of life: work, parade, wield paintbrush and screwdriver, parade, work, work, parade, work, parade, wield paintbrush and screwdriver, parade, birthday party, wield paintbrush and screwdriver, parade, parade, parade, and now, once again, work.

Yesterday started at seven-sumthin'-sumthin' in the morning with breakfast burritos, an annual tradition that I usually prepare for a large group, but due to the haphazard nature of this years festivities it was just us—and the girls didn't even eat theirs, but Sarah and I sure enjoyed them. (Secret ingredient: Mrs. Renfro's Green Salsa—one of the best things in life.) Then we had a few tantrums from Little Miss I'm-Three-Now about what costume she was going to wear. (The adults, alas, didn't manage to costume this year.) And—miraculously—we were out of the house by a little past eight.

Next stop, Zulu (and some Indians) at Jackson and Oretha Castle Haley. (We got three coconuts! In such situations my height by itself is of little use, but my height combined with cute kids is a force to be reckoned with.) Then Rex and friends on St. Charles. Later, peace, quiet, butterbeans, and bathrooms—a lovely respite—at a conveniently located home nearby. After that, the long and thoroughly entertaining trek amid cops, drunks, Christians, and trash back to the car (where we encountered a whole bunch more Indians—a fortuitous finale to our long outing).

Finally, home, an early dinner on the porch chit-chatting with the neighbors, and an early bath and bedtime for the kids. Then, sitting. More sitting. And finally, early-to-bed for the grown-ups as well.

Damn fine, all in all.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Un Nouveau Tricycle (et un Gâteau des Roi pour la Bébé de Carnaval)*











Note: Some photographs in this series will make very little sense if you don't know what a king cake is.

* Or something like that. Despite the ridiculous number of years I spent studying it, my French ain't nuthin'.

Trois Années



So the wee lass, lil Junie, turns three today. (She's a Carnival baby.) There was lots of a cake and various goodies including her very first tricycle. We went for an inaugural ride in the park today. She (quite rightly) thinks she's a bad-ass.

Congratulations, girlie-girl.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

We Don't Need Another Hero

"Squelch" has crushed—nay, squelched—the competition. (Congratulations, Elizabeth, you must be very proud.) But is it the Best Word in the Whole Wide World? That remains to be seen. On to round two! Who are the challengers? (Marco has kicked things off by nominating the very excellent "rictus".) Who dares join him in battling the fearsome "squelch"? Bring it on! An indeterminate number of words enter, one word leave! An indeterminate number of words enter, one word leave! An indeterminate number of words enter, one word leave! An indeterminate number of words enter, one word leave!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

We gave the gals each a little box of candy hearts.* One of them said "HOME RUN". Does that seem quite right? What if it said "3RD BASE"?**

* Little known fact, in pagan times suitors presented their loved ones with baskets of actual hearts engraved with sweet, sassy, and romantic messages. True story. Check the interweb.

** Ahh, trash-talking the contents of candy hearts... takes me back to the
good ol' days.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Talking Texican Taco

My Spanish is sadly almost non-existent, but in honor of our newest strain of culinary cultcha, I am learning to speak rudimentary Taco. I'm not quite up to speed. "Fajitas" is beef;* I've got that. But I've been getting tripped up by the whole "carnitas" / "pastor" thing. I'm now coming to understand that they're both (at least usually) pork, and it's a difference of preparation. What's the difference?

And I'm not sure how universal this terminology is.** We're talking Texican taco here. Is there a tacologist in the house? Can anyone from the Big-Britched Land to the West shed some light on the subject?

* And "lengua" is tongue. And "chicharron" is pork rind. (I first came to know chicharron as the delicious, crispy little things served at Pupuseria Divino Corazon, the fantastic—and sadly, still closed since the storm—Honduran restaurant on the West Bank. The chicharron served at the taco stands is a different beast: soft, fatty, and globule-like. I can't claim they're my favorite.)

** The first couple of
Google hits for "pork pastor" talk about pineapple. There's definitely no pineapple involved in any of the tacos I've had.

"Stupid Motherf…"

I saw this the other day:



A cop car that made a poorly judged left turn and ran into a streetcar.* The Orleans Parish prisoners (lounging in the car, wearing the orange jumpsuits and snazzy yellow sweats) seemed quite pleased with the situation. To my mind, the funniest thing about the scenario is imagining their comments immediately after the accident.

* A few years back, my mother made a similar poorly judged left turn with similar consequences. Perhaps she can find some consolation in knowing that the authorities are capable of the same mistake. And at least she didn't have an O.P.P. peanut gallery in the back seat.

"Leave the Grapefruit Alone..."

The following is a direct quote from Sarah:
"Leave the grapefruit alone… Don't lick the fridge!"
Parenting is a strange business.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Muffaletta Raconteur

Surprise, surprise! In the interest of making things over-complicated, let's actually do this thing all official-like. (I know we said there would be no rules, but precisely because we said there would be no rules, making rules is the unruliest thing we could do. Tricky, huh? We're the Outback Steakhouse of the blogosphere.)

The challengers have been submitted. Place your vote:
  1. nabob
  2. pizza
  3. kumquat
  4. muffaletta
  5. raconteur
  6. sizzle
  7. kerfuffle
  8. squelch
  9. callipygian
  10. schadenfreude
  11. serendipities
  12. eleemosynary
  13. dork
In the event of a tie, the finalists will battle to the death in a pendulum pit filled with Wesson oil.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Best Word in the Whole Wide World

I'm really very fond of the "Battle Royale" methodology as a tool for selecting the best among a set of many things. It's quite simple.
  1. Arbitrarily pick any two items from the set.
  2. Choose the best of the two, the reigning champion, and toss the loser.
  3. Arbitrarily pick a new item, the challenger.
  4. Compare the reigning champion to the challenger, choose the best of the two, and toss the loser.
  5. Repeat until there are no more challengers. What you're left with is the best.
We're all familiar with this process. It shows up all the time in that thing you people call "sports". But I like the idea of applying the "Battle Royale" to anything.

I was first introduced to the generalized form by our dear friend Herr Professor M (also known as the "King of the Categorical Imperative" or the "Ayatollah of Ethics-ola" though his closest friends usually just call him the "Kant-meister") who used it for selecting videos at the store. In those pre-Netflixian days, I was myself desperately prone to wasting countless hours in the video store lost in an indecisive tizzy, and I took his message to heart.

Of course we've used the "BR-technique" before here at Slimbolala with our thwarted attempt to determine the Best Thing in the Whole Wide World. (Who can forget the legendary Carol Channing vs. Turkey Pot Pie debates?) But perhaps our ambitions were too grand. (Fly not so close to the sun, O Slimbo! Your wings will fail you!*) Perhaps we tried too hard.

So let's tackle something simpler, something nice and easy. How about let's just figure out the Best Word in the Whole Wide World. As always, there are absolutely no rules or guidelines—other than, um, all those rules and guidelines at the top of this post with all the little numbers—that way, it crashes quicker and burns brighter. (Ooh, pretty!) So let's get started—me first. (It's my blog. Git yer own damn blog.) I'm going with:
na·bob
n.
  1. (Historical) A Muslim official or governor under the Mogul empire.
  2. A very wealthy or influential person.
Your turn. Top that.

* This is my second lame Daedalus reference in recent memory. What's up with that?**

** This is my umpteenth lame "What's up with that?" reference in recent memory. What's up with that?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Yet Still More Genuine Conversations With Little People

Little person: Oh fiddlesticks!

Me: Why'd you say that?

Little person: It's just something you say when you don't want to say 'Oh shit!'

Me: Oh...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Clean Scandinavian Living

So what do you do if you, like us, suddenly have a lot of house but not a lot of stuff? You do what we did this weekend. You:
  1. Get up at the crack of dawn Saturday and drop the kids off with dear, kid-enabled friends.
  2. Drive to the airport and get on a plane to Houston. (See Sean Payton, reigning king of Who Dat Nation, sitting with his family in First Class. Decide not to bug him because you don't want to be that guy/gal.)
  3. Fly to Houston, land, and rent a mini-van.
  4. Drive to Ikea. (On the way, listen to a radio talk show about drag racing—and occasionally other racing: "If it's got wheels and they race it in Texas, we talk about it!")
  5. Spend eight hours (really) in Ikea selecting and purchasing a holy-bejeezus-load of household wares and furnishings, stopping at appropriate intervals to eat one-and-a-half meals and drink lots of coffee in the Swedishly-efficient cafeteria. (Intensive shopping requires ample sustenance and caffeination.) WARNING: At the six-and-a-half hour mark, your spouse may slip into a catatonic stupor in the bedding and textiles section. Do not let him/her purchase anything in this state! Guide him/her gently through to the next section and wait until his/her eyes regain focus before proceeding.
  6. Load the holy-bejeezus-load of household wares and furnishings (flat-packed for easy cramming) into the minivan.
  7. Eat a late, crappy, much-needed dinner at McDonald's. Think to yourself, "Wow, Texas is so Texas!"
  8. Drive the many hours back home, hurtling through the swampy darkness, flipping around the radio dial and listening to the surprisingly good and eclectic buffet of late Saturday night programming: AC/DC, "Highway to Hell"; Duran Duran, "Girls on Film"; Patsy Cline, "Walkin' After Midnight"; some Tejano song that may or may not have been a cover of some Buddy Holly song; some Blind Willie Johnson song, the name of which I can't recall because he sings it all-gravelly and it's hard to understand what he's saying; Morris Day and the Time, "The Bird"; Taco, "Putting on the Ritz" (the extended version); a Cajun-accordion rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely"; the B-52's, "Love Shack"; and much much more.
  9. Arrive at home in the small hours of the morning and unload like a demon. Go to bed.
  10. Wake up, return the mini-van, and retrieve the kids from the dear, kid-enabled friends. Spend the rest of the day guzzling coffee, reading wordless internationalized instructions, and groggily fumbling with small hex-wrenches. (Optionally, stab yourself in the hand with a Phillips head screwdriver, resulting in a deep and surprisingly painful mono-stigmata.)
  11. Bask in the warm glow of clean Scandinavian living.
I will provide these instructions in wordless internationalized form as soon as I can figure out the proper diagrammatic rendition of "some Tejano song that may or may not have been a cover of some Buddy Holly song".

Friday, February 02, 2007

Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day. This is my story to honor this day:
When I was coming up, I had a dog, Prince. Prince was a beautiful collie with long delicate features and flowing majestic hair, the spitting image of Lassie.

But Prince was a redneck, a straight up country dog with all the habits and hobbies of a country dog. He was perpetually infested with ticks—in his ears, throughout his coat, everywhere. (Being a country boy with all the habits and hobbies of a country boy, this didn't bother me in the least—I was, myself, not infrequently infested with ticks, though I personally preferred to remove mine before they reached the "plump as a grape" stage.) His lovely coat was matted and thick, natty with dreads. He roamed freely, sometimes disappearing for hours (or, on one distressing occasion, days) at a time.

He loved to chase things, sometimes small, nerdy boys; more frequently small, furry animals, particularly groundhogs. And he didn't just chase them—this was no mere exercise in futility—he would catch the groundhog at the scruff behind the ears, lift it up, and vigorously shake it back and forth until its neck snapped. Then he would gleefully prance about with it, proudly displaying his prize to all. Finally, he would trot off to some hidden cove and feast on it.

Once he found a nest of baby groundhogs. It was just like a Beatrix Potter story except if Beatrix Potter had been completely evil. It wasn't pretty.
Today is Groundhog Day. That was my story to honor this day.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Jambo, Slimbo

As we slowly slowly* settle into our de-lovely house, we're going through the boxes of salvaged stuff that I hastily stashed upstairs in those frantic, wretched weeks after the storm, and to our pleasant surprise**, we're discovering various beloved items we thought we'd lost—including photographs.



Here's wee little Yours Truly in Nanyuki, Kenya back in 1976 or so. I believe those are my mother's sunglasses. Sharp. (I find it funny that I dress pretty much the same today as I did thirty years ago—except for the short-shorts. No short-shorts.)

* Kids make everything hard. (Damn them and their ceaseless need for attention, love, and sustenance.) On any given Saturday or Sunday, we're lucky if we get a good hour of unpacking done. When's that Nanny-Bot going to be perfected?

** Given the circumstances, this confusion was to be expected. After a week of slopping out the sodden muck, I had about two hours to pack up what was left, and my storage system was less than rigorous. Everything that wasn't moldy got tossed in a bag or a box and hastily toted upstairs to the two undamaged rooms. (The
demitasses spent the past year and a half in a garbage bag in the bathtub. Remarkably, they seem to be just fine.)