Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fly Away--Far Away

Don't waste your money on The Green Hornet. Husband suggested a movie night so he consulted Pay for View and selected one of his old comic book favorites. The popcorn was good, but the movie stunk. No--"stunk" might be awful but interesting, like looking at your bruised face after eye surgery. Green Hornet was more like "dead in the water."

Everyone overacted except Kato, who phoned in the role. Fio doesn't blame him--the politically-correct version of the faithful valet as a sterotypical Asian genius was embarrassing.

Whoever played the leading role was T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E. Husband kept asking why the actor was always shouting. Again, though, who can blame Insect Man--the story was an embarrassing mishmash of hyperboles and cliches.

Not that Fio and Husband saw the whole thing through. Twenty minutes later, the popcorn gone and the movie getting worse by the minute, they ditched Hornet and stuck RED in the DVD player.

The movie was even better the second time around. The nuanced, low-key performances by all the players riveted our attention, the plot hung together like glue, and the violence was delightful. Fio and Husband had a wonderful evening after all.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Fio's no Lance Armstrong fan, but it's so long in the past that she really doesn't care whether he was was doping or not. Besides, she bets everyone else in the race was doping too. Actually, she's wondered whether illegal substances have any real effect on athletes than psychological.
Fio's also been thinking about Charlie Sheen, who's also finally drifted off the public radar. It was exciting while it lasted--he was like a supernova, growing bigger and bigger until he finally exploded. But when the stardust cleared, Sheen was nothing but a burnt-out dwarf.
Another headline-grabber Fio doesn't care about is Arnold Schwarzenegger. What a sleaze.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Electronic Salute

Fiorella is fighting the good fight again, this time against mark-ups on her document pages. She doesn't use the feature herself so it was a BIG surprise to her when a contest coordinator emailed her that one of her entries had red and blue marks all over it. Aaack!

Fiorella has been soliciting advice from all and sundry, and Husband has very nicely manned his computer and let her send him copies of the document after she's pushed various suggested keys, etc. Still no change. Still red and blue marks all over the white paper.

Hey, that's it! Fio's computer is patriotic!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


One thing Fio can tell you: the state of English instruction in Russia is abysmal. "Im Kate. wright me." the message implores. But it isn't Kate, who's just back from her honeymoon with William--it's Elza.

"My name is Elza,im From Russia I like to internet meeting," she continues, finally identifying herself. "I find you mail in google. If you are interesting to chat, meet, change photos, hot webcam talk with me please visit my site:xxxxx. Simle find "Elza"

Obviously the Cold War is over.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pied Pipers

To the list of loonies in the world, add the Dallas conspiracy theorist who's decided the Tucson shootings were a hoax and has inspired similarly deranged people to confront the victims with their supposed fraud.

First Harold Camping, then this guy. What is it with these nuts, and why do they attract followers?

The phenomenon isn't new. In fact, it's happened down through history--look up Savonarola in Google. Think of Hitler. Think of Jim Jones, the Kool-Aid man.

Fio's take is that some people prefer to turn their brains over to anyone who will stand on a soapbox and tell them what to do.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Royal Perogative

Hey, Bicycle Guy! Fiorella saw you Wednesday afternoon about 3:15 on LaVaca at Nineteenth. You were dressing down the driver of a delivery truck for following too close.

Two minutes later you cut into my lane on Nineteenth, and, riding like the wind, turned left against the red light and no-left-turn sign.

Fiorella didn't realize that owning a bike made one king of the road.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Grit your teeth and cinch up your saddlebags--Fiorella is going to start querying agents again, and she's nervous about her prospects. Last time, she had three bites, which scared her to death, and three ultimate rejections, which half-relieved her and half-depressed her. What she's after now is a "yup."

But what if NO ONE is in the least interested this time around? What if the romance agents organization is circulating her name and the first page of her ms and is rolling in the aisles with laughter?

It's going to be a wild ride, and Fio will probably get thrown again, maybe even trampled underfoot. But gotta get on that bronc and try.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Who's Left on the Right?

Fiorella is fascinated by the Republican presidential nominee race. Of course, it's not much of a race with so many of the entrants either opting out or shooting themselves in the foot. She's been thinking that Palin was playing it smart, waiting for the remaining candidates to turn on each other like sharks, leaving her unscathed and ready to leap on her white horse--er, her snowmobile, I mean--and ride to the rescue However, it looks like that isn't going to happen either. A new tell-all book is coming out, written by one of her former minions, and it ain't pretty.

Maybe Harold Camping's end-of-the-world prediction applied only to her.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Doomsday Postponed . . . Again

So, the day of doom has come and gone--again. Camping has decamped,I hear, nowhere to be found. But being 89, maybe he was the only one claimed, and Fiorella doesn't think it was by God.

Fio remembers her first encounter with an end of the world prophecy, when she was in elementary. The Branch Davidians were the source, and they were sure enough of Rapture that they withdrew all their kids, easily identifiable because they dressed oddly, from school. The sky was overcast and threatening as Fio trudged home from classes on the designated day, but nothing happened, not even rain. Nothing ever does. Amazing how religious zealots choose to ignore the Biblical admonition that no one will know the day or time of the Apocalypse.

Three years later, the Davidian kids were back in school and dressed normally. They'd gone Baptist in the meantime.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More Notes on Bird Brain

Alas, Tommy-knocker, aka Steelhead, is not too bright.

Cardinals are the only other birds he'll tolerate at the birdfeeder, apparently because they too have black crests. And we all know that looks can be deceiving

And, judging by our Tommy, the Jurassic Park characters didn't need high-powered rifles. All they would have had to do was show the dinosaurs a reflective surface and the dum-dums would have bashed their own brains out.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Late-breaking News

Guest blogger Gary Brandt has told Fio that President Obama did try to consult with the Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari before Osama bin Laden went down. Brandt says that, according to those on the scene, Obama walked in a square around his desk as he paced the oval office, aware that protocol dictated a phone call to the Pakistan President, but his AT&T 4G kept dropping his connection.

Following is Brandt's word-for word transcript of the call:

“Hey, Asif. Barack here. Say, you know that new mansion right next to your military base in Abbottabad? We found the snake in that mansion.”

“Yes, Barack. I just found out that very thing not more than a second before you call. I sent Minister of Military to ask him surrender. Did you want process extradition paper?”

Dead air.

Static… “Hello, Asif?”


“Asif, Barrak again. He’s with us now, but yeah, fax me the papers.”

Friday, May 20, 2011

Place Your Bets

Fiorella used to buy lottery tickets, but now she enters romance writing contests. The odds are better. All in all, she's placed in more than a third of the contests, winning first in approximately a third of those. The immediate prizes are minimal--$100 at the most, maybe a little tack pin (which Fio adores), usually a certificate, sometimes a contest logo she could stick on her website if she had one. But what's important to Fio is the potential for contact with agents and editors who could grease her way towards her ultimate goal--publication.

Who knows? She might yet end up with her million dollars--in book sales!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

KIng's Speech

Finally saw The King's Speech. A time-honored plot--protagonist has problem within self, works to overcome it, has setback, ultimately triumphs. We all love stories like this because they give us hope for ourselves--hear that, Lindsay?

Of course, the kicker here is that the protagonist, who ends up as King George VI,can't give a decent speech because of a pronounced stammer. And his fairy godmother is a brash Australian who challenges him, psychoanalyzes him, and ultimately cures him of everything but his quacking accent, which all the royals seemed to have.

Colin Firth as "Bertie" was fantastic. He had the royal arrogance and the stammer down pat. Helena Bonham-Carter's portrayal of his wife put another jewel in her acting crown. Geoffrey Rush's speech therapist hit the spot without going overboard. Fio especially liked Derek Jacobi as the small-minded archbishop and Guy Pierce as the dissolute Edward VIII, who abdicated to marry the woman he loved, then attempted to undermine the empire. Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill had the speaking part down, but the appearance seemed to be a caricature. And if you want to get persnickety, Wallis Simpson's flat mid-western accent was off-key--she was from Baltimore.

All in all, an interesting dramatization of a very human situation and a public relations bonanza for England's royal family. See--the royals are just like you and me, duckie, only they have unlimited money and power.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cynical Fio

Pakistan--fascinating how outraged the Paskistanis are--not that bin Laden was living in their midst, but that the US took him out without consulting them first.
Lindsay's reading a good script now. Probably setting the stage for her upcoming probation-breaking trial. Sorry to be cynical, but this leopard' spots, etc.
Fio thinks Hackabee was wise in deciding not to run for the Republican nomination. The candidates are going to be tearing each other to shreds this year, each one more vicious than the next, and a dog fight within a kennel produces no winners. It all started when the GOP, desperate to undermine Obama, started pandering to the Tea Party. It was a bad bargain with a million Rumplestiltskins, and now the party is stuck with it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


One week in and Tommy Titmouse is still a-knockin' on our east and north-facing windows and doors. In fact, he's gotten louder and bolder. He'll stage an attack with us standing as close as twelve inches inside the glass, frequently hanging upside down (him, not us).

Darn bird should have worn his beak down to a nubbin. Wendy Dog sleeps through his racket now, Husband ignores him, and Fio tries to. Familiarity breeds contempt. Ho-hum, are the hummingbirds using the birdfeeder yet?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Honey, I Shrank Humanity!

The armadillos are still ravaging the lawn and the birds are still after the windows. We are under attack by two ancient species.

Interestingly enough, the armadillos haven't changed for eons, but you know what the birds evolved from, which makes Fio wonder if homo sapiens will ever dwindle down to one tenth--or even one-hundredth--their current size. Interesting idea. It would mean we'd all take up a lot less space and consume a lot less food, which might save the planet. But we'd also be more vulnerable to predators. And Husband thinks we might start breeding like rabbits in the bargain.

But for a more immediate question, if the titmouse's pecking makes our windows crack, can we sue?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Avian Drama

Husband, who knows more about birds than Fiorella, has speculated that our titmouse attacks glass windows and doors because he sees his reflection in them and thinks he's fighting off a rival. Well, now he's found the real thing. This morning, husband spotted two titmice screaming and zooming in at each other, like two WWI airplanes. Yes, the birds were--uh--dogfighting. And, yes, the plural of "titmouse" is "titmice."
Fiorella doesn't believe in death, at least not for herself. She can perceive it for others--she's seen her parents in death. And she's been near it herself--pacemaker, aortic valve. Something like fainting, but not awakening. Death of the body, she accepts. But death of the thinking, perceiving, aware spirit, she cannot. Fio will live.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wake-up Call


Slept late, awakened at seven-thirty by a tapping on the window above the balcony doors opposite the bed.

The black-crested titmouse, silhouetted against the morning light, was scurrying back and forth on the window sill, pausing to flutter madly, and pecking again and again.

Who are you, blithe spirit, and why do you want in my house? And if I DID open the door to you, who would turn out to be?

Friday, May 13, 2011

If You Wondered What Happened . . . .

Fiorella is frustrated--and a little bit angry. The frustration has to do with all eighteen of her letters to Lenovo being returned as supposedly being to the wrong address. And with the trouble she is having entering the Golden Claddagh, a writing contest,including PayPal suddenly deciding her password is incorrect. The anger has to do with BlogSpot, which took down the site for a couple of hours Wednesday night but couldn't get it up again. Fio's Thursday blog was erased, then restored, but the one she had ready for today has TOTALLY disappeared. It's not even in her "edit" file any more!

Fio is P-I-S-S-E-D.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Fiorella spent most of her work life leading an insular, anonymous life teaching at colleges and universities, when what she really wanted to do was get out in the world, make a big splash, and maybe even change things for the better. Which, she hopes, is what she's doing right now, but instead of gallivanting the globe, she's sitting in her den with a computer in her lap.

Yes, our Fio is a crusader at heart. Her books feature protagonists who overcome their pasts and themselves to end up happily ever after, role models for readers to identify with and garner hope from. Of course, the HEA in romances is marriage to a rich, handsome man who's good at sex, which is not going to happen for most women. But Fio sees the formulaic ending as more symbolic of success and happiness than a promise of reality. And one can always dream.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quoth the Raven

Who's that knock-knockin' at my door? And windows?

Fio runs to the front door to see who's rapping while Wendy Dog charges up the stairs to the window on the landing. But no one's there. Returning to the den, they settle in again, Fio on the couch to continue working on chapter fifteen, Wendy on her raised bed to recover from her strenuous labor.

Tap. Tap-tap. Fio and Wendy rush to their stations again, still to no avail. Fiorella steps outside to see if a FedEx delivery person maybe dropped a package at on the porch and sped silently back up the drive. But no package, no nobody, no nothing.

Tap-tap-tap. Wendy rushes all over the house, barking and looking out, but Fio heads straight to the glass front door just in time to catch a glimpse of a lavender-colored bird sporting a dramatic black crest.

When Husband gets home, he hauls out his mother's old copy of Field Guide to Texas Birds and looks for likely candidates, but none quite fit the--uh--bill. "Is there such a thing as a black-crested titmouse?" Fio asked. Where that came from, she'll never know, but it was spot on, pages 172 and 141.

So now Fio has an identity for her avian visitor, but why the constant visitation?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Armadillo Repellent

The armadillos are back so Fiorella is using the same no-cost repellent as last year, and it's working. In fact, it's working better this year because Husband has devised a dispenser that allows Fiorella to walk along the edges of the planting beds, dribbling the repellent out in an even stream as she goes.

What he did was hammer a nail through the lid of a one-quart plastic milk bottle to make a small-diameter hole (adding another, tiny hole because of something to do with air pressure). So simple, so clever, so economical. All Fio has to do is fill the bottle with home-produced repellent, snap the lid back on, and walk the walk.

Ah! Country living!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Eyes, Neighborhood, Writing

Fio's recovery is progressing. The skin around her eyes has gone from red and black to yellow and purple.
Cedar Hollow Road looks like a drunken Arab wrote all over it with black tar, which means either a dribble truck drove down its length or the county is repairing cracks left by the winter freeze. Guess elections are right around the corner.
Fio got turned down by all three agents who expressed interest in her, which is discouraging. On the other hand, failure is the route to success

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers' Day 2011

It's Mothers' Day--
Thanks for the call
The gifts and bouquet,
But most of all
Thanks for your love

Saturday, May 7, 2011


In olden times, ladies covered up when the sun was out--broad-brimmed hats, high necks, long sleeves, even gloves. All of which were discarded in the golden days of tanning, skin cancer, and premature aging.

What goes around comes around. Fio now pulls on gloves when she drives, especially on the left hand, which has already developed two and a half brown spots. And she wears longer sleeves and buttons her blouses to the top.

Oh, for a poke bonnet.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Out, Out, Damned Spot!

Freckle-free Fio
Hard to say and weird to be
With chemicals peeling her skin, that's she

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Award on Time

Fiorella was down yesterday. She'd been working on the rewrite of a chapter all day and still wasn't satisfied. How depressing. Here she was, trying so hard to get published, and she couldn't even straighten a chapter out. Finally she tossed the whole thing and walked up the driveway to pick up the mail.

It was the usual stuff--a few catalogs, a medical bill, some stupid advertisements, and . . . an envelope from the Linda Howard Award of Excellence. When Fio opened it back at the house, she found a silver book mark engraved with her name and the name of the contest which she had won two months earlier.

She'd known the award was going to come, but how wonderful that it arrived exactly when she needed it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Fiorella cannot say she is glad that Osama bin Laden is dead. In fact, she can't bring herself to be happy about the death of anyone. She would have preferred that Osama had repented his evil ways and lived a better life.

But he didn't.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

News Clips

After The Donald's performance at the White House correspondents' annual dinner, word is that Sesame Street is negotiating to replace Oscar the Grouch with Trump the Grump.
Interesting that certain Islamic clerics are objecting to bin Laden's burial at sea as being contrary to Islamic tradition, but didn't have an ounce of objection when he was alive and killing innocent people by the barrelful.
Love the coverage of Kate Middleton as being "raised from the gutter" by William. Some gutter--her parents are millionaires.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Chump Twins

Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee--
I think that I have never seen
A funnier combo on TV
Than Donald Trump and Charlie Sheen

One has hair and one has flair
And each one is a millionaire--
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum,
The reigning kings of tedium,
With vacuum in the cranium.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Back to the Womb

Fiorella's a water baby. When she can't sleep on the couch or the bed, she takes to the tub, where she's been putting in some quality post-surgery zzzs.

Not bad for someone who took three years to learn how to float.