Friday, September 30, 2011

Toting It Up

Add one more to the list.

Remember that Nephew Barney was married in September, Friend Paula's daughter will be married in October, Friend Suzy's daughter in November, and Fio's own daughter in December. Today Fio received a message from Cousin Sydney. Her daughter is engaged and, I cannot but assume, will marry in January.

Is there something in the air?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Perry's Good Points

Interesting that Perry is getting dinged for two of his stands that Fio likes--saying no to a border fence and saying yes to educating the children of illegal immigrants.

Fiorella thinks a border fence would be be useless. Haven't those Yankees heard of how many fully-fitted tunnels are found under the current fences each year? Besides, the expense would be horrific.

And about education, Fio votes yes. She always has. Education is the essence of civilization.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fresh Meat?

So now New Jersey governor Chris Christie is considering a leap into the lions' den. You can bet that the other candidates, Rick Perry's lone star blood still dripping from their mouths, are gnashing their teeth and sharpening their claws.

Maybe it's a mutual suicide pact. All the carnage sorta makes you yearn for the day when everything was decided discreetly in smoke-filled back rooms.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Population Prediction

The way it's looking now, a hundred years from now, half the population of the country will be descended from Duggars, Gosselins, and FLDSers. Yeah, real people just aren't breeding that much anymore.

But then again, the Martians may invade and put an end to all of us.

Monday, September 26, 2011

DNA Discoveries

Fiorella was surprised that the Australian Aborigine DNA had not been sequenced until recently, and now she's wondering about other unique populations, like the hairy Ainu, the African pygmies, some of the primitive tribes of India.

It's exciting, after years of political correctness about us all being exactly the same except for genetic accidents of skin color, to learn that we are all different.

But then, Fiorella has always been unique.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Continuing Guilt

It's not just guilt--it's a yen for control. Taking responsibility for the things that bad people do to us gives us the idea that somehow, we could have prevented our victimization.

In actuality, we have no control over our lives. People are mugged for no reason and stolen from at the least opportunity. Qualified, hard-working people can't get jobs or are fired out of hand. Madmen kill good people at random from university towers. We develop strange illnesses or conditions. We age when we don't want to.

So we, who are powerless, embrace the illusion of power and call it responsibility.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lutheran Guilt

Pastor Karl got mugged a couple of months ago. As he was picking up trash around the church, a transient walked across the grounds. Pastor gave him an innocuous greeting, and, when the man didn't respond, repeated himself. So man beat him up and stole his wallet. As Pastor Karl explained to Fiorella, it was his own fault. He shouldn't have tried to communicate with the man after he didn't acknowledge his first greeting.

Fiorella disagrees. What Pastor Karl did was give the man a second chance, which is a behavior pattern she admires--that he gives people second chances, and thirds, and fourths, and forevers.

But Fiorella understands his guilt. After all, she took personal responsibility for her purse being stolen in HEB. However, on deeper reflection, her guilt is just as misplaced as Pastor Karl's. People should be safe from mugging, no matter what they say or how often they say it. And purses should be safe, even if left unattended in a grocery cart.

Fio was a victim. Pastor Karl was a victim. The thief and the mugger are the guilty ones.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Original Aborigines

Fiorella is so excited about the DNA discovery that Australian Aborigines really are aborigines--original people! Yes, 70,000 years ago, when the oceans were low, they left Africa and wandered along the Asian coastline across to Australia, making them "one of the oldest continuous populations outside of Africa" as well as the "population with the longest association with the land on which they live today."

Geneticists are talking about several migrations from Africa now, and even some doubling back. The history of mankind gets more and more complicated very time you turn around. What next? Fio's Neanderthal blood zings with interest.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fiorella, the Prude

From the unisex of the 1970's to the sex, sex, sex of today--the pendulum has made its exaggerated swing. And it's all out in the open, from backless wedding dresses to celebrity sex tapes to children's beauty pageants.

The latest brouhaha (love that word) concerns the three-year-old dressed like Julia Roberts' Pretty Woman prostitute, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Magazines, movies, TV sit-coms--they're all focused on sex, and none too subtly either.

It bothers Fio that children are growing up in so sexualized an environment. People, how about some discretion?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Weddings are in the air. Friend Paula's daughter will marry in October, Friend Suzy's daughter's wedding is planned for November, and, over the weekend, Husband and Fio will meet with Daughter to work out her wedding plans.

Mothers out there, there is hope when you least expect it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Topping Off the Portents


Monday, September 19, 2011

Further Portents

Not only did it rain on Saturday, but Fio received an email announcement of Nephew Barney's marriage, And the custom picture frame she's making seems to be working out. And there's the possibility of an eye operation to repair a scarred macula, restoring Fio's depth vision.

Surely that literary agent is right around the corner.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wet Portent

It was like British rain when it began yesterday afternoon, genteel and ladylike. Then it strengthened to an all-American downpour, lasting for about an hour. For the first day in what--three months?--Fio didn't have to hand water. Her spirits soared. The deluge was unpredicted and unexpected, which opens Fio's imagination to other possibilities. Maybe she will land an agent and a publisher. Maybe her children will continue the family line. Maybe the drought will end.

What Fio was calling fiction yesterday is what she embraces as hope today.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


What separates us from the beasts is that we humans live in deliberate fiction--our political beliefs, superstitions, entertainment, whatever. Animals have no illusions and no imaginations.

They're the sane ones.

Friday, September 16, 2011


If her handlers would let her, Michele Bachmann would probably say the Texas wildfire is God's way of telling Rick Perry to bow out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. But when Fiorella opened up the newspaper this morning, she learned there's a wildfire raging in northern Minnesota too.

Maybe God has a message for both of them.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Varmint after Varmint

Fiorella is nothing if not obsessive. So, having racked up armadillo number six on her scorecard yesterday, she raced downstairs this morning and checked to see if there was a number seven.

Yes! The trap had been sprung, but what was that in it? It looked like--it was! A skunk!

Be interesting to see how the trapper man handles this one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Saving Grace

Fiorella came downstairs this morning and opened the Google news to stories of death, despair, and disaster. The newspaper then informed her that average family income has dropped, there's no rain in the offing for the next twelve months, and the Bastrop fire is still smoldering. To top it off, Fio realized she'd been so sleepy last last that she let the bath water out of the tub instead of saving it for watering the plants. Loser day all the way.

Until she checked the armadillo trap. Yea! Caught number six!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Realistic Fiction

People use fiction to escape from their own realities. The stories that have lasted through the ages have all been epic fantasies--The Iliad and The Odyssey, Beowulf. And think of our era's best sellers--a mistreated boy who becomes a renowned wizard, a teenager loved by a compassionate vampire.

But Fiorella also needs her fiction to be plausible. Even the one vampire novel she wrote made sense.

Dear God, she'll never get published.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Brave New World

Of course, there are no jobs. We've gone and automated everything.

The mantra was that once the work was handled by machines, there would be plenty of jobs designing, building, controlling, and repairing them. But that employment area has diminished, if not dried up.

Even the perennial stand-by, teaching, has taken a hit, especially in higher education. Why hire full-time live bodies for the classroom when one underpaid computer-savvy part-timer can handle twice as many students by remote control from three states away?

Look around. Our autos and appliances are more-and-more built by machines. Our records are kept by machines. Our finances are calculated by machines.

Let's face it. Humans are being phased out.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Revenge of the Armadillos

Never throw a stick at an armadillo during the day because it will take its revenge at night.

Half an hour ago, Fiorella connected the hose up to her bathtub water to allay the thirst of the planting beds. Within five minutes, she discovered they'd been ravaged by a certain grub-eating hard-shelled beastie--or maybe a whole tribe of them. Yes, the deep hole next to the gas pipe has been redug and the mountain laurels have been virtually uprooted and the whole place looks like it's been harrowed.

But the trap was still empty.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Change of Habit

The armadillos are getting bolder, or at least one of them is.

Yesterday afternoon, about 4:30, Husband wandered into the front room and looked out the window. There, waddling down our driveway in the dappled sunlight, was a big, fat armadillo. As we watched, it hopped into the yard and start digging away at the zoysia grass. Husband got his shoes on, ran outside, and threw a stick at the beastie, which skedaddled back into across the driveway into the woods beyond.

And we thought armadillos were nocturnal.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Apparently after her first place finish in the Iowa straw vote, Michele Bachmann is fading fast. She understands why, of course--it's everyone else's fault. She's an independent thinker, a prophet in her own time, but her handlers reined her in, tried to smooth off her rough corners, like when they insisted she was joking when she said that bad weather was God's wrath directed at the current administration and modern mores.

Sarah Palin reacts the same way to adversity. The buck never stops with her--it's her handlers or sexism or the lamestream media.

Com'on, ladies. You're in the big leagues now. Time to man up.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Oz Again

When she was a kid, Fiorella played Glinda the Good in a Baylor Children's Theater production of The Wizard of Oz so there was no way she could miss the Georgetown Palace Theater's version. Both productions, of course, were based on the Judy Garland movie rather than the L. Frank Baum book. After all, the movie is what everyone remembers. But she sure wishes the Palace had put its own stamp on the story instead of directing its actors to ape every nuance of the Hollywood cast.

Dorothy, the star, was somewhat wooden but had a strong, good singing voice. However, her over-earnest speaking cadences quickly became irritating. In fact, somewhere along the line, they got so annoying that Fio found herself pulling for the wicked witch, who had a terrific laugh.

After a ho-hum first scene at the Kansas farm, the stage came alive in Munchkinland. Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion were well-cast, with Scarecrow appropriately commanding the stage. However, Lion's imitations of Bert Lahr didn't go over well because Lahr's distinctive cute-isms aren't familiar to today's audience. Actually, the scenes that were loaded with kids (the Palace runs a popular children's theater program) were the most electric.

The second act let down a little, but Fio loved the flying monkey. And the melting of the witch was riveting; Fio hadn't even noticed the trap door. A humorous flub that the audience enjoyed occurred when a "dog bark" came from stage right while Toto was supposedly stage left, unmasking the Wizard. (Full disclosure--in the BCT production, Lion's tail came off and he threw it offstage. Someone else threw it back, Lion threw it offstage again, etc. The parental audience was rolling in the aisles.)

The dance numbers were right on, us usual, but that's Jessica Kelpsch Smart for you. Fio especially liked the whirling tornado and the tap-dancing crows. The band was so faultless that Fio didn't realize till almost the end of the show that it was stuck up in the rafters, above the production. And the costuming was spectacular, especially the crows and the poppies, but Dorothy's wig looked like--well--a wig.

The director made good use of the aisles on either side of the audience, but Fio didn't think the switching between the real and the stuffed Toto worked, although she must recuse herself on that score because in BCT's production, a child played Toto. A bigger problem was the double casting of very recognizable characters. Thus Nikki Bora, who started the show as Aunt Em, also showed up as an Oz lady, a Winky guard, and a monkey. In fact, because of the scarcity of males in community theater, the uber-macho Winky marching brigade was almost all female.

The biggest problem with The Wizard of Oz is that it is a derivation of an iconic movie, and Fio admits that although she carped about the slavish imitation of the original actors' performances, the production would have seemed wrong without them. RIP, Dorothy. It's time to retire.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fio to the Rescue

The weather has changed! We're down into double digit highs again, and last night our low was 55.

Now if it will just rain.

But wait--Fio has a plan to take care of that situation, a plan that will benefit the whole nation. Those planes that are swooping up all that water from reservoirs and dropping it on the wildfires--when the fires are out, how about having said planes suck up loads from places that have too much water right now, like Louisiana and the East Coast, and dropping it all over the parched earth of Central Texas?

Thank you for your applause, and, no, Fio is not running for office.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


As far as Fio can tell, the Muslim and Mormon visions of heaven are similar--they're both for men, with women as accessories.
With the earthquake in Alaska and the wildfires in Texas, Fio is surprised Bachmann hasn't blamed them on Palin and Perry for posing a threat to her political ambitions.
Eighty days of temperatures in the triple digits. That's almost a quarter of the year. Tell me again that the weather extremes of global warming aren't real.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Fio was thinking about writing a review of a play she and Husband saw Friday night, or perhaps a nice tribute to Labor Day. Then a fire raging in the Central Texas area consumed the home of a family she knows.

Daily we read the newspapers and watch television reports about human tragedy, but reality hits home when someone we know is involved. Our hearts go out to the victims, but their loss reminds us that we too are vulnerable.

Husband checked the hoses last night, as though he and Firefighter Fio could hold off a blaze on their own, and Fio has made a list of what to grab, just in case. In fact, she's going to stow family photos in her car this morning.

God bless. Be prepared.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Got number five the other night!

Yes! After gorging itself on grubs and worms and half-destroying one of our planting beds, a big, fat armadillo waddled into the trap set next to the gas pipe which feeds our house. Apparently armadillos aren't too bright--two others have been caught by the same trap in the same location.

And now the trap is set for number six.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Fio has had an idea for a short story rattling around in her head for a couple of months. It's about a It's a planet sucked into itself--a dwarf star.

The gimmick is that heaviest, densest woman in the world gains one last pound and starts sinking into the earth. Her gravity pulls everything in after her and the world turns inside out. Then, pop! and it's gone, a black hole in its place.

Couple of kinks to get worked out yet, but maybe Fio will apply her ever-fertile brain to it after she finishes her current romance project.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Size of It

That explains it.

Fiorella, who has been all sizes at one time or another, couldn't understand how buxom beauties on TV could claim to wear sizes that seemed to Fio would be way too small for them. Then yesterday she read in the newspaper that manufacturers of women's clothing have been "adjusting" sizes for the past several years so that what used to be a "6" is now a "0."

Now, back when Fio wore the old size six, she had some friends who wore size two, which makes her wonder. What size do teen-tiny women wear now--are they into negative numbers?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Summer Squall

Hey, Mr. Weatherman,
You told a lie!
Said our temps were going down
Instead of staying high!

What happened to that ninety-eight
Predicted for today?
And what about those thunderstorms
You said would come our way?

I'm tired of rising from my bed
At the crack of dawn
To empty out my bathtub water
On our browning lawn.

So, you'd better fix our weather fast
The way that it should be
Or, sure as shootin', I'll fix you--
By turning off TV!