Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Monday morning, just before she woke up, Fio dreamed she had walked into a large IBM-type building, teeming with people. She peeked into various rooms and finally found an empty one that looked remarkably like a hotel room so she moved in for the night. The next morning, a woman came in, shepherding another woman who looked sick. They acted startled to see Fio there, but she assured them she was just leaving. She also suggested the sick woman use the other bed because the woman was sick already, which meant her immune system was down, and Fio figured she might have left some germs on the bed she had used.

Then Fio packed up and left, which was okay with her because she understood that, if she looked, there would always be another room somewhere.

Fiorella's life has had its ups and downs, and, being Fiorella, she's taken the downs hard because she thought it was the end of the road. But now she thinks she'll try to take it easy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

St. Michele

St. Matthew tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, but Michele Bachmann begs to differ. According to her, the earthquake along the Spotsylvania Fault and the hurricane that swept the Eastern seaboard are signals of God's dissatisfaction with the state of the union--gay marriage, national health care, inheritance taxes, environmental protection, etc.

Whoops--her spokesperson says it was all a joke. But then, that's our Michele. Not a serious bone in her body.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Good Eats

Willie Wonka and Harry Potter--they knew it all along. Turns out that all chocolate, not just dark chocolate, is good for you. A recent British study seems to show that consumption of chocolate is beneficial to the heart, helping to stave off heart attacks and strokes.

So any day now, Fio is expecting a study touting the benefits of eating fried chicken. Col. Sanders may yet be hailed as a pioneer in dietary health care.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Succor Denied

N-o-o-o-o-o-o! Tell me it isn't so! Local meteorologists are calling for a temperature of 110 today and extending our triple-digit weather into early September.

What teasers those weathermen are. They made forecasts of rain possibilities that never materialized and now have reneged on their promise of cooler weather come September.

At this rate, Fio and Husband are going to be trekking gray water out to the landscaping till they themselves are old and gray.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Concerning the Diamond Star

Apparently everything we have here on Earth is out there, to greater or lesser degrees, in the universe too. The stars, planets, and asteroids are composed of the same stuff we are. In a way, it's a little disappointing--Fiorella expected new and different elements. But then, we only view things through our own lenses and, like dogs can't see colors, might be missing something.

Hmmm. If everything is the same in hardware, maybe it's the same in software too. Maybe somewhere in the universe there are equivalents to the life forms we have here on Earth, not the same, but similar, like the way eco slots are filled by varying species on different continents.

But she's not betting on it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

All Together

Well, it's official. The most up-to-date DNA analyses have shown that everyone's a mongrel. All humans have the genes of Neanderthals or their recently-discovered cousins, the Denisovans, incorporated into their DNA. For a while, it looked like Africans had escaped the melange, but further research indicated some of the blended humans had returned to the dark continent and infected its stay-at-home inhabitants too.

In a way, it's sort of comforting, like learning that a rare, interesting species didn't die out after all. In fact, it's living within us.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Ah, the end of the drought is in sight. Our Special Utility District has ratcheted us down from Stage 4 watering restrictions to stage 3. We can now use our in-ground system once a week on our designated day and hose by hand on another designated day. Fio and Husband ran the system yesterday evening and the ground is still damp this morning.

We'll continue supplying bath water to the planting beds on the other days, of course, which leads to a problem. What can we do with our agua usada on the days we can legally water with agua pura? Certainly not just send it down the drain like we used to. Maybe buy a couple of big vinyl trash cans to siphon it into for when times get tough again.

And they will.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wreaking Geologic Havoc

No, no! This is wrong! the United States isn't supposed to have an earthquake--maybe in California, but anything can happen there. Certainly not up east, where people mind their own business.

Fiorella grew up with the perception that the earth convulsed only in places with unstable governments, like South America, Africa, and the Balkans. What a shock when Mount St. Helen's blew. And now there's the Spotsylvania Fault acting up.

Do you think it's the Tea Party?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Is it time to rethink the rear-facing carseat for infants?

How many times has Fiorella opened up the paper to read about yet another young child dying from overheating in the back seat of a loving parent's car? Of course, one should always check to see if baby is still on board, but schedules change and young parents' lives are occupied with fifty million other concerns so it must be hard to remember whether or not there's a sleeping baby on the other side of an ever-present carseat.

Let's face it--the rear-facing carseat gives better protection in case of wrecks, but puts the child in more danger of being forgotten. Maybe it's time to run the comparative statistics.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Morgan Wins

Christine O'Donnell walking out on her interview was a publicity bonanza for Piers Morgan.

O'Donnell appeared on his talk show to promote her book, Troublemaker, but more so to promote her own particular political viewpoint. Fio gives her credit--she's articulate as all get-out. Yet, in the end, it's all slogans.

What ostensibly got O'Donnell's goat was Morgan questioning her about her views, as expressed in her book, about same-sex marriage, masturbation and something else Fio can't remember. Even though O'Donnell was on the program to promote her book, she didn't want to talk about these points, which might interest prospective readers, but about her views of government, which were sort of boring and ran toward demagoguery.

She also objected to Morgan's "rudeness," saying that, as his guest, she should be the one to determine the topics of conversation. Sorry, babe. It doesn't work that way. It's a talk show, not your own private infomercial. Morgan is after ratings and people are less likely to switch channels if you're talking about hot topics than lecturing at them about the founding fathers.

Christine O'Donnell--she might not be a witch, but she certainly is a troublemaker. And an egomaniacal one at that.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Join Me!

Fiorella got up ten minutes ago feeling Tony Tiger g-r-e-a-t! Maybe it's that she and Husband celebrated Fio's birthday belatedly by going out to eat with Brother and Sister-in-law last night. Maybe it's that Fiorella had a glass of wine with dinner--okay, half a glass, but that's half a glass more than she usually drinks. Maybe it's the half a hydrocodone Fio took earlier in the day. (Hmmm--Fio does things by halves.) Maybe it's that, for the first time in four days, she slept through the night, despite the pain in her hip joint--trucking several half-gallon bottles of water up and down the stairs every day has its consequences.

Whatever, Fio feels fabulous, and hopes you do too!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Miracle Man

Rick Perry's selling the "Texas miracle" like snake oil, but he's attributing it to himself rather than the Almighty.

Perry's interested in medical miracles too, like the HPV vaccine that he tried to make mandatory for young girls and the recent experimental stem-cell surgery he himself underwent to cure his bad back.

But Fiorella thinks the major miracle is that Perry's stayed in office so long. And Fio knows for sure the Almighty had nothing to do with that.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mornin', Ma'am

Fiorella Plum, pioneer woman. She got up at dawn, fed the livestock, watered the crops, and fought off hordes of pestilent varmints.

Okay, okay--she staggered out of bed at seven, gave Wendy Dog her kibbles, hosed the planting beds with used bathwater, and put a couple of deer to flight just by opening the front door.

That's just about as pioneer as Fio gets.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cowboy Rick's Latest Adventure

If Rick Perry's going to run for president, Fio wishes he'd be more statesmanlike. Sure, the Texas stereotype is fun when one is visiting friends and relatives out of state, but when one is trying to get the nation to take you seriously? Perry's acting like a leftover from the B-Bar-B Riders.

Attention radio fans, boys and girls! The hombre in the ten-gallon hat just galloped onto the political stage with laser-sighted six guns a-blazin'. Your cue, Rick!

Gonna hang Bernanke from the highest tree, podnuh, and them pointy-headed scientist fellers who think the world's a-gittin' hotter can swing right along beside him.

As a Texan, Fiorella finds all the play-acting downrght embarrassing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

En Pointe!

Dancers really get around, especially when they're around pop stars.

We all remember Britney Spears and dancer Kevin Federline, who, post-divorce, gets a big chunk of her income for taking care of their kids while she's off regenerating her career. And now there's Madonna and French dancer Brahim Saibat, but, unlike Britney, Madonna seems to be keeping her pas de deux partner at home.

Just think, guys--do a few plies and you too can--uh--dance with the stars.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Converted to Crime

Fiorella and Husband have long despaired of the current television scene--you know, only a couple of decent shows a week buried in five hundred channels of desperation programming. Husband doesn't like reality shows and will leave the room when Fio's favorite, The Little Couple, comes on. And Fio doesn't like crime dramas, which are Husband's favorites, so she did other things while he watched his favorite, NCIS. Gradually, of course, she started watching it too.

The show grew on her, and now she's just as big a fan as Husband. She likes the definition and interaction of the characters: smarmy Tony, idealistic McGee, up-tight Zeeba, intense Abbie, philosophical Ducky, flint-hard Gibbs. In fact, she likes NCIS so much that she gave Husband the go-ahead to buy a season of it on DVD.

Now if she can just get him to watch The Little Couple.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bachmann, Palin, and Perry

The Iowa straw poll has demonstrated its irrelevancy for the second electoral season in a row. Four years ago it ranked Mitt Romney at the top of Republican voter selection and John McCain tenth. This year, Michele Bachmann placed first, but Fio just doesn't think she's gonna pan out.

Speaking of not panning out, Fio notices that Sarah Palin's star is fading fast. Wonder how much she can get for that tour bus on resale? Maybe Rick Perry could buy it and travel around the country putting on tent revivals.

Speaking of Rick Perry, have you ever seen such a showboat? Brings to mind Elmer Gantry.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Snippets of the Drought

Fiorella is pleased to announce that Miz Duggar has a new offspring. It's midway between her and the next verbena, which, since they sleep in the same bed, Fio is now calling Jim Bob.
Husband discovered the sugar water in the hummingbird feeder had fermented into alcohol. So did the hummingbirds.
The only good thing about the drought is that we'll have more dead trees to cut down for firewood come October. How's that for making lemonade out of lemons?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hard Head

Did Fiorella ever tell you she has extra dense bones? She first learned about it several years ago when a medical techie told her that she'd never get osteoporosis because her bones were more dense than those of women half her age.

But it makes sense. Fio's favorite beverage is milk, she's never broken a bone, and, as a child, she had trouble learning how to float in the YWCA pool because she sank like the proverbial stone. That also accounts for the fact that--ahem--she's always looked like she weighs less than the scales say.

One drawback, though. Fio read that people with dense bones are more likely to get prostate cancer.

But Fio doesn't think she's gonna lose any sleep over that one.

Friday, August 12, 2011

In Thrall to a Watering Schedule

The bathtub watering system was sort of fun at first, but now it's gotten onerous. Fio is tired of hobbling up and down the stairs to set the pond motor and straighten the hoses. She's tired of spending at least an hour a day outside in the 100-degree heat with watering. She's tired of filling milk bottles with the bath water left over from the siphon.

But losing the plantings would be worse. Pray for rain.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Zion's Barnyard

One more thing about the FLDS and then Fiorella will let the topic drop--maybe.

The ratio of women to men--doesn't it make you think of a herd of cattle with just one bull? Of course, Jeffs was generous and allowed subservient bulls to accumulate their own small herds, but he kept the sweetest, freshest heifers for himself.

To further the bovine analogy, consider the African tribes in which wealth is measured in cattle. Using that standard, Jeffs, with his seventy-nine wives, is a modern Croesus. And with him collecting welfare checks for seventy-eight unemployed single mothers, he may be even richer.

Yes, the FLDS women are not just cash cows, but the geese that lay the golden eggs.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Fio wants to save the world. She wants to repair the economy, to give everyone jobs, to provide medical care as needed, to break up abusive religious sects, to bring hope to the hopeless, to persuade people to love one another.

But all she can do is write her stories and paint her pictures and sing her songs. She hopes you can do more.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Loose Men Alert

Ever noticed that women and children dominate the television screen in news reports about the FLDS compounds? That's because the ratio of women to men in the sex sect is at least five to one. Or perhaps Fio should say, to the men allowed to stay in the cult. By now, everyone's heard about the "lost boys," the young males thrown out on their own when they are old enough to compete for wives with the older men.

Some people advocate legitimatizing polygamy as a means of opening up that "lifestyle" to scrutiny and regulation. Fio disagrees because every plural wife means one less woman in the pool of availability, which means one more male is on his own. And loose males are a dangerous commodity. Just look at the continual upheaval in the Arab world.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Five purple verbenas front our north planting bed, and Fiorella waters them daily to be sure they survive. Yes, the drought has brought out the nurturer in Fio, and she especially prizes the verbenas. Her favorite is the large one that's sent up several shoots around itself, like cloned children.

Fio calls it Miz Duggar.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Fiorella finds it distressing that Warren Jeffs raped children in the name of Jesus and former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford said God had hooked him up with his extra-marital soulmate.

That's not God talking to you, guys. That's your gonads.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Paranormal Parade

It dawned on Fiorella the other day how much of our classic literature is what we now classify as paranormal. Think about Homer's epics--the appearances of the gods and goddesses in the Iliad, plus the bizarre creatures encountered in the Odyssey. Think about Grendel and the dragon in Beowulf. In fact, think about Beowulf himself, swimming around for--eight days was it?--fully armored. Think about Spenser's Fairie Queen.

Shakespeare was something of a realist, but in Midsummer Night's Dream, he too dipped into the paranormal.

Fiction lets the mind run wild, and apparently human minds tend toward the abnormal--uh, paranormal.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Eye of the Beholder

Gypsies and Travelers are reviled for their penny ante con games, while the FLDS gets away with bilking our tax dollars for millions.

Black women with eight children on the public dole are criticized for their irresponsibility, while FLDS women with eight children on the public dole receive sympathetic news coverage.

Throwing one's young teenage sons out into the world with no education and no means of support is considered child abandonment in most jurisdictions. In FLDS territory, it's the norm.

Odd how things change if you're wearing pastel dresses and "keep sweet."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tabloid News

Fio thinks Warren Jeffs and Casey Anthony should be locked in the same cell and the key thrown away. He could rape her and she could murder him.
To think, the whole nation was fooled by a glissando of pastel dresses. And all the time, the FLDS was a sex cult.
It looks like Casey Anthony won't have to return to Florida to serve her probation. Apparently her get-out-jail-free card is even better than Lindsay Lohan's.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ever Inventive

Despite the 107-degree temperatures, our plants are thriving.

They should be. Fiorella and husband devote an hour very evening to caring for them-- and considerable ingenuity. She's told you about using plastic milk bottles, but the delivery systems have been adjusted too. The harness holding the milk bottles as they descend from the second-floor landing to the first floor dining room has been simplified to a loop on the end of the rope, and every bottle is capped to avoid accidentally washing the said dining room's floor. And Husband is, as of Monday morning, hooking the bath water hose up to a sprinkler. After all, it's agua usada so drought watering restrictions (hand-held hoses only) don't apply.

Humans, ever inventive. No wonder we trumped the Neanderthals.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Private Literature

Latest info from the trial of FLDS "prophet" Warren Jeffs is that the reason he claims the sect records are sacred is because they're meant only for God to read. Apparently the Almighty is not as all-seeing and all-knowing as we've always heard, but must rely on account books written by mere mortals . . . in English.

What a treasure trove for a the prosecutor in the case--written records of "celestial marriages," apparently even tapes of the consummation of such.

Both bizarre and terrible.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Third in Three

Our third scorpion in as many days. Fio's getting nervous. She's shaking her shoes before she puts them on and watching the floor as she walks. Pray God, ever-curious Wendy Dog doesn't encounter one of them.

Fiorella has had two close encounters with scorpions in her lifetime, once when she was a young'n in Waco and last year out here in the boondocks. The first time, the thing raced down her leg and off onto the floor. The second time it was racing up her leg and she brushed it off with her hand. Yeah, Fio has a panic reaction quicker than a scorpion's stinger.

Remember that.