Category: Uncategorized

Phone Poem

Ciro is the most of my favorite is not responsible.

(This was produced by the predictive text of my phone. It’s a computer-generated poem in the Dada tradition.)

Angela J: I don’t have time on twitter I just miss quiz.

Matt: Have you been able to read the sandbox for the gameplay that is not going on at the end?

Lauren: I’m a huge fan on three years of the new bar in brightest minds to be.

Kirsten: I don’t know if you are a good person or a person who is a good person.

Edward: The fact I can see you soon as possible, and to get my nails, are you doing it wrong?

John: Ciro and I am not a good one who is still not happy with her sight words.

Rebecca: I have a lot of cards and I have the education and experience you disprove the show I mentioned at the last rehearsal dinner with a director of the day in a fevered dream state.

NHPR Floriography Interview

Here’s an interview I did with New Hampshire Public Radio, which you can stream on their website; I’m right at the beginning of the episode. They invited me on because they liked my language of flowers article and hoped I had more anecdotes to share. Which I did. Go listen.

Something I mention in the interivew is that the meanings of carnations and of roses vary a lot depending on the color. What I don’t think to say, but should have, is that roses often describe the status of a relationship – whether it’s romantic or sexual or pure friendship; whether there’s jealousy. Carnations are helpful as responses to questions – yes, no, maybe. (Maybe is indicated by stripes, of course.)

Bersaglieri! Avanti!

Today, the Bersaglieri will be running/parading/running through Pescara. They’re a military unit that started in the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1836 (pre-unification!) which is known primarily for (1) wearing hats with many, many feathers (2) running everywhere instead of marching.

I am told they are very popular with the children of Italy, because what’s more adult and impressive than a lot of feathers in your hat and running everywhere? Nothing.

Apparently, during the Crimean war, they briefly switched to a fez, in imitation of the French zouaves, but this was obviously a mistake and they quickly switched back again. Mostly. They do still like the fez and the red beret. But cermonially, when it’s time to mean business, black feathers. For instance, when they deploy with NATO they attach huge bunches of black feathers to their NATO helmets.

The black feather hat is called a vaira. Now you know all the important bits of Italian military history.

Bersaglieri web

(Although I’m making fun of my own sincere fixation on hats, the actually important bit is the running. Sometimes while blowing a fanfare. The idea is that they can run or bicycle fast enough to keep pace with cavalry or tanks.)

The Most American Dessert

Although we say “American as apple pie,” the most in-your-face “this is America” dessert has to be the banana sundae. y/n

Joseph:  This needs extensive side-by-side taste tests before I’m willing to commit.

Mark: Agree. Growing up I had apple pie now and then, but I had a few thousand Dairy Queen banana sundaes.

Romie: I’ve probably eaten more apple pies…but a fair few of them were English. (The Bramley apple, as far as I’m concerned, is the best pie apple. And it doesn’t travel well.) Meanwhile, putting stuff on top of stuff on top of stuff on top of stuff, all of it variations of sugar?    

Mindy: Also, for the nerds among us, it could be pointed out that the apples we use for pie are not native to North America. Maybe it should be “American as pumpkin pie.” For a F You this is ‘Merica Land of Gluttony dessert, might I also suggest the Vermonster.


Image may contain: 1 person, eating, sitting, hat and food

Katherine: I’m gonna say no, because it contains fruit. I’d say the most American desserts are Twinkies. Maybe Oreos. Manufactured, branded, sugar and fat delivery sources. Some sort of Mississippi Mud Pie if we’re going for the pie thing.

Romie: Oreos are pretty inexplicable. I mean, I love them. But do they make sense? No.  I will say that US residents love bananas, which have occasionally reached “craze” status, perhaps because they are very sugary and fatty. Mmmmm bananas.  Legit, we learn the song “Yes, We Have No Bananas” in U.S. History class. It is the main thing we learn about the 1920s.

Mark: They’re also dirt cheap.

Katherine: I did not learn about “Yes We Have No Bananas” in my AP U.S. History Class! and I feel cheated.

Romie: Totally cheated! It was definitely in the non-AP just regular U.S. history textbook in Texas, which as I understand it pretty much controls the national textbook market.

Katherine: Related – Most British desserts – Eton Mess, Stick Toffee Pudding. Most Canadian – Butter tarts, anything containing maple syrup, tim hortons donuts.

Rex: Chocolate Pie with meringue, please.

Josh: Could count the pieces of apple pies I’ve eaten in my life on both hands. Banana split, or banana sundae, is much closer to what I would think of as quintessentially American. Or like Mark said, Dairy Queen. Anything that is multiple sweet things, mixed up with tons of other sweet things, and packaged to be big, seems like the quintessential American desert to me. Baked Alaska? No. Not that. Too highbrow.

I’m gonna say carnival food. Funnel cake is close, but actually any dessert that is battered, dipped, and fried, taking a dessert and wrapping it in another dessert, that seems like the most American thing.

Katherine: Scotland deep fries Mars bars.

Rebecca: Mac and cheese is more American.

Romie: As dessert? Is there now dessert mac and cheese?

Rebecca: ‘Murica.

Gary: I’m thinking banana pudding is in the running, as well!

Josh: That’s a good one. I think effortlessness is a decent typifier.

Amber: I don’t see why we have to chose here? Isn’t it way more American to have your banana split on top of your apple pie? Wouldn’t that also count as a full fruit serving? Just sayin’!

Impeachment Intertia

I don’t expect people to act rational and strategic. I don’t act rational and strategic most of the time myself. There’s not usually a reason to. When I need to decide what to order at a restaurant, I think “ok, that one,” and close the menu; I don’t carefully weigh the benefits of each item versus leaving the restaurant. I don’t wake up every morning and think “does it still make sense for me to be married to my husband?” or search job listings each day just in case.

Hence when the question “why aren’t Republicans impeaching Trump” comes up, I think the likliest answer is habit and tribalism. Sometimes there are options you take off the table for yourself because you don’t want too many choices all the time. Too many choices is exhausting.

I don’t think it’s a clever and crafty strategy. I don’t think it’s strategy at all. “They’re happy as long as Trump signs their bills”—so would Mike Pence, next in line. So would Paul Ryan, next next in line. “Impeachment would be embarassing”—more so than the current situation? Nah. Impeachment of Trump does not put them in a worse place than now.

However, I bet it makes you nervous when you have to drive to a place you haven’t been before, or when you call customer service to switch your phone plan, or when it’s time to get a haircut. That’s what’s stopping Republican congresspeople. That right there. Changing what you’re doing is miserable, even when you’re pretty sure you hate what’s already happening and could get out of it easy.

I mean, the other day I ordered a new computer battery because my old one died, and the new one is much better, on account of not being dead, plus storing more charge, plus elevating my laptop a little so the keyboard is at an ergonomic angle and the vents aren’t blocked. After I installed it, I had a five-minute emotional struggle to overcome my hatred of the fact that it’s not identical to the old battery.

Although, on the subject of job listings, it seems like nobody wants this FBI job. I’ll take it, as long as there’s a dental plan. I have no law enforcement experience, but I’m great at writing memos.

Nic says:  I confess I do this all the time. I remember when my family was getting a new PC in the 90s I really wanted it to have a 166Mhz (yep – Mhz) processor instead of 200Mhz because I thought 166 was a nicer number despite being objectively inferior. I even justified it by cherry picked articles arguing that the 133/166 line were more efficient pound-for-pound than the 100/200 line because of their architecture (as if I had any idea what that meant). So yep, I was definitely a proto-Fox News victim had I lived a different life.

Romie: 166 is a really nice number.

Nic: It really is

Maria says: I see your point. What I find interesting though is they seem to be latched on to Trump in a rather kamikaze way, instead of steering with the next election in mind. It’s as if they are overwhelmed with what is at hand to look ahead the way they usually do or as if they don’t think the next election is actually coming.

Lia says:  I nearly always ascribe malicious intent. I don’t mean to. I just find myself suspect of everyone’s motives. Like, I have a rule about compliments — if one person compliments me on a thing, they probably want something. If two people compliment me on a thing, it might be true, I entertain the idea of accepting these compliments at face value. If three people compliment me on something, a bucket of pig blood is about to ruin my new dress, and my telekinesis is woefully underprepared. I’m tempted to take comfort from your assertion, but I wonder if that’s indeed part of your plan.

Romie: My plan involves cake and naps. You want to be part of my plan.

Lia: This is accurate. I am in favor of both of these things.