30 June 2006

Sweater Set

Brad from Massachusetts sent me this article about the latest award won by the fair-ish city in which we live (Phoenix). How do I feel about it? A little lukewarm.

26 June 2006

Dry Heat My Eye

This is not going to matter to most of you, so you can just stop reading. Sorry. This is one of those things I just want to have on the record, so I am putting it on my blog. So, good-bye. Thanks for stopping by.

Today is the 16th anniversary of the hottest day in the recorded history of Phoenix. On 26 June 1990 the temperature hit 122 degrees. It was so hot that the airplanes at Sky Harbor International Airport had to stop flying because their engine settings did not include information on how to fly at a temperature that high.

Yes, it was hot.

I guess it wasn't so bad. I mean, anything over 110 really is like putting your head inside an oven, so a few more degrees is not going to much matter. I think the worst thing about it was just the day before we set a record with 120 degrees. How redundant is that?

Anyway, I was living here in Phoenix on that day. Although born in Phoenix I escaped moved to San Francisco in 1979 and had returned to Phoenix only a couple years earlier. (Long story as to why I came back.) I was driving around that day in my old Buick that had no air conditioning doing something that I cannot even remember now as having been important enough to be in that heat. Ick!

Suffice it to say, it was horrid. Three people died that day from the heat.

Illustration is by Matt Hinrichs.

20 June 2006

Cancer? I Don't Even Know Her!

I went to my dermatologist last week to have some weird skin things looked at and removed. I'm fine, thank you.

I've gone to my skin doc at least once a year for about eight years. After all, I am a walking poster child for skin cancer. Not that I've ever had any (only one pre-cancer, and two pre-pre-cancers); but I am blonde, blueish-eyed, fair complected; and spent those formative years in the sun in Phoenix and by the beaches of southern California. Back in the 1960s, who knew from skin cancer?

Anyway, I started going to make sure I didn't have any of those bizarro things that could actually be problems. My stuff has all been benign this and nothing that. Whew!

But, what is really odd, is that two people I know -- one from work, one neighbor -- both recently went in for regular screenings and both were found to have cancers! That's right! Not only did they not really see anything on their skin, in one case I could not even see where it was. This is so scary. My stuff is all at least slightly visible. Theirs? Nothing.

I have been a proponent of responsible skin treatment for many years. I try to stay out of the worst of the daily sun, and wear anti-sun creams whenever I cannot. Now, I am even more wary of bad sun days -- and you should be too.

You really should develop a relationship with a skin doc. Go just for a screening. Then, go if you see anything strange developing on your skin. Most of the time what you will find is benign; but it only takes one malignant skin cancer to make life very unpleasant.

What's even worse, if you are a person with darker skin, your cancers can actually be worse! Eeek! This is not funny, really. Don't play around with skin cancer.

More about skin cancer in people with dark skin in this Los Angeles Times

An organization from which you can learn more about skin cancer is

18 June 2006

HIM's Back!

You might remember in April that I wrote about one of the coolest shows on television -- How It's Made. Shortly after I wrote that entry, HIM went on hiatus. Well, it's back -- and the Discovery Channel's got it.

If you want to know the process for making those ubiquitous, everyday objects, then HIM is for you.

Check it out! Discovery Channel upcoming episodes.

15 June 2006

Thank You, Mr. President

I made a vow to never discuss politics or religion on this blog -- and I am basically keeping to that.

However, I want to take a moment to send a very sincere "Thank you" to our president, George W. Bush, for doing something that made me say "WTF?" on not one, but several occasions today: creating the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument.

The monument -- larger than the combined area of 46 of our 50 states -- is home to many endangered marine animals, including the very rare Hawaiian Monk Seal (pictured), the green sea turtle, the Laysan albatross; and is regularly home to 14,000,000 nesting Pacific sea birds.

This is one of the biggest positive events in the history of environmental protection.

More on this momentous event will be found here.

12 June 2006

Ow! Quit it!

Just got tagged (which has never before happened) by the lovely Sarah. So, here we go.

The instructions:

1. Go to Wikipedia.

2. In the search box, type your birth month and day (but not year).

3. List three events that happened on your birthday.
4. List two important birthdays and one interesting death.

5. One holiday or observance (if any).

1940 I knew about this before, but Bugs Bunny and I share the same official birthday (it's listed as an event on Wiki). When I discovered this fact, it was like a light bulb going off in my head: I have always loved BB, and always acted like him (and still do, I'm afraid, stopping just short of dresses and lipstick). It explains a lot about me, this little fact.

1866 The Transatlantic Cable was completed, allowing speedier communication across the ocean.

3: 1921 Researchers at the University of Toronto discovered insulin. Hmmm.


1901 in honor of my love of OTR (which stands for Old Time Radio, although I prefer to call it radio drama and comedy) Rudy Vallee, the crooner, who was star of The Fleischmann Yeast Hour (among other things).

1916 Another OTR-related person: Keenan Wynn, radio actor himself, but also son of early radio pioneer (and vaudeville star) Ed Wynn.


1: 1946 Fellow writer
Gertrude Stein, for whom rose is a rose, and who insists there is no there there.

Holiday or Observance
Apparently, 27 July is a
boring day for holidays or observances.

Now, I am tagging my sweetie Matt because he's just over in the next room.

11 June 2006

Meerkat Place

Next on "Meerkat Manor": Will Flower be able to keep her family together? Can Shakespeare survive his injury? And what about Daisy's pups? Will they survive the brutal South African desert? But then, what about Carlos?...

We started watching this wonderful family saga last Friday on Animal Planet, and it is some of the best television this summer.

Cambridge University has been studying the Whiskers, a family of meerkats, for ten years. They have cameras set up around the family's three-square-mile territory and inside their burrows. Cameras follow the meerkats as they forage for food, bicker, breed, and groom. These 30-minute episodes are filled with such drama and interest that they just fly by.

If you want to know more about meerkats (which are not meer cats), here are some links:

Here is some background about the show.

Here you can meet the

Here are other things you can
do -- like take a Meerkat quiz.

10 June 2006

I am Sheep, Hear Me "Baa!"

Yes, it's true: I am now one of the Ipod Nationites, spreading through the world rather faster than N5H1 (that's the bird flu). I now not only have my own, personal Ipod, I actually have Itunes, and a bunch of cables.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been using an ipod for nearly three years. It's been filled with a huge number of vintage radio dramas and comedies that I listen to in bed en route to slumberland. (Is that a registered trademark?) Anyway, my dear S.O. has been patient and kind; and been using his Mac to update my Ipod because my stinky old pc could not run the necessary software.

Now, with the advent of my fancy new Dell pc, I can leap forth to the 21st century. Whee!

Not only do I have Itunes and the Ipod updater installed, I actually installed my own Firewire PCI card -- all by my little self! (And it actually works. Go figure.) I am now entrenched in putting all my vintage radio programs on my ipod, cataloguing them cleverly, and organizing them to the nth degree. Organization is good.

The illustration is by none other than me! Yes, it's true! I guess I am not the untalented moron I always envisioned myself to be. (Take that, Picasso!)

09 June 2006

In Camera

Weegee (pictured) is one of those really lucky people who led a life I wish I could have led. New York in the 1930s and 1940s! Getting to crime scenes before the police! Photographs! Victims! Cops! Wow!

The New York Times has a
review of a new exhibition of some of his works. Wow!

06 June 2006

I'm a Wimpy Suck-Ass Piece of Sh*t

I don't make this up:

You Are 14% Evil

You are good. So good, that you make evil people squirm.

Just remember, you may need to turn to the dark side to get what you want!

I'm just glad they didn't ask any questions about wanting to help little duckies across the street, or start an animal shelter in Eureka. Then I really would be screwed up.

02 June 2006

Putting the "Z" in Architecture

I could not tell you how long I have been a fan of great 20th-Century design. It's been a long time that I have loved the work of Charles and Ray Eames, Mies van der Roe, Norman Bel Geddes, Eileen Gray, Russel Wright and so many others

Within that general field, I love great architectural design -- starting with the givens like Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Albert Frey; and, more recently, Bob Alexander.

Totally unknown to me until a couple years ago, one woman was working behind the scenes to bring architecture screaming into the 21st Century: Zaha Hadid.

I first discovered Hadid in 2004 when the New York Times did an article about the critically lauded new home for the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati.

The new center (pictured) wowwed me beyond words. I sent the article to my significant other (Matt), a graphic designer, and he loved it too.

Imagine my surprise shortly after when word came that Hadid had been awarded the Oscar of architecture: the Pritzker Architecture Prize -- the first woman ever so honored.

Now, thirty years of her work is on display at the Guggenheim, in New York. An article about the show is
here. (Make sure to visit the multi-media slideshow accessible from the article.)

01 June 2006

Lucky for Timmy

Here is some interesting information about the great Everydog, Lassie. (Surpassed, I dare say, by only one other Everydog, Snoopy.)

By now, I am sure everyone knows that she was really a he (actually a series of hes); but did you know all the Lassies past and present were related? Neither did I. How interesting is that?

Is That a Fig Leaf Between Your Legs, Or...

Then there is this fascinating bit of information about the earliest domesticated fruit.

And you thought they were popular just as a trendy bit of clothing.