flightless hag

A chronicle of the adventures of birdwoman: a lonely, talentless freak who wanders the internet in search of entertainment.

My Photo
Location: Philly

I'm a 40-something married white female, survivor of weight watchers, avid reader of pulp. Dogs (not cats), extreme right (handed, not politics), ENTJ, alto, wanna-be knitter.

November 29, 2004

Call me Juvenile...

but I love Juvenile fiction. And I'm not alone.

In his list of things Stephen King was thankful for (he has a feature called the Pop of King in Entertainment Weekly): "
I'm thankful that Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke, was almost as good as its lyrical first reviews...but it's not Harry Potter for grown-ups, as so many of them said. Harry Potter is Harry Potter for grown-ups, you dweebs. " (emphasis mine)

(you tell 'em! two wings up!)

Madame P.C., That's Not Me

Throughout my life, I've considered myself a conservative.

  • I like to give to charity voluntarily (read my lips, no new taxes!).
  • I despise welfare, of the individual and corporate kind.
  • I think prayer should be allowed in school (though I don't think it should be mandatory).
  • I think that war is a necessary evil.
But every once in a while, something comes along and makes me feel like a raging hippie. One of those things is abortion rights. The other is gay rights.

I simply cannot understand what threat people feel from gays. And gay marriage, it seems like a no brainer to me. Yet people want to ban it.

There's the argument "marriage is for family". If that's the case, Mr Kerry and Ms Heinz shouldn't have been allowed to tie the knot. Nor should anyone who is beyond menopausal years.

There's the "argument" that this is a foot in the door to polygamy and bestiality. That is simply ridiculous. Two consenting adults - nuff said.

Then there's the bible-banger argument. Gays are a blight on the face of society. Nothing sums up the nauseating idiocy of this belief more brilliantly than the Jack Chick tract, "the birds and the bees".

Some artistic critiquing from me, the least artistic person in the world:
Teacher woman is a total dog. Woof Woof.
Check out how all the Gays (and Gay must be capitalized, like Satan always is) have their own imps!
Kids who condemn Queers (does anyone still use that term?) to lakes of fire have wide-eyed, innocent beauty.

I sometimes wish I could live in the simplistic black and white world of Christians like Mr. Chick. But that daggone ole LOGIC thing seems to get in the way. Oh, well.


November 27, 2004

Oh, Baby, What a Wrong Number

John Grogan, one of the two reasons I still subscribe to the Philadelphia Inquirer (the other being the funny papers), had a great column that I almost missed. You know, you come back from Thanksgiving with the in-laws, and the last thing you want to tackle is the pound-and-a-half of yellowing newspapers thrown haphazardly on your front porch.

But, as the boys all "rested", I sorted. And this evening, I read this story of a lesson in toll-free numbers. Not all toll-free's start with 1-800. Unfortunately for a bevvy of old ladies, the number for a toll-free hot-sex line is the same as the number for a fabric store which advertises during prime biddy-television. Only, the fabric store is supposed to be 1-877.

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. But I'll reckon that this old lady learned, after being exposed to some new graphic language and mental pictures she really didn't want, that toll-free doesn't mean 1-800!


Behold and See as You Pass By

It was sometime around my sixteenth year. I don't think my grandmother had died yet. Mom, Aunt Edie, and I had gone to the Fairdale Cemetery to put flowers on all the graves of our relatives.

I helped carry the flowers and the water jugs to the graves - most of my Mom's family is in the same area in this very small cemetery. Fairdale is another small village in north-eastern PA, and most of the families have been there since they kicked the Indians out.

In that cemetery alone, I have found my Grandmother's grandparents (born in the 1820's) . Others are buried in similar situations - cemeteries off the beaten path (on what used to be the beaten path, when cowpaths, not geology, determined roads). But the genealogy thing is new for me. When I was sixteen, I just thought cemeteries were cool.

I was a geek, even then.

The late-May Sunday afternoon was sunny, cool, and damp, as I remember it. Fairdale is never very hot, in my memory. Even in the July dog-days, Fairdale remains temperate. I was wearing jeans and a cotton sweater as I meandered away from my gossiping mother and aunt - I didn't really care how the Jones girls were doing.

There, there was a family, with four, no five, infant headstones. Could you imagine? And that one. A child, perished in the early 1800's. What a beautiful marker. After the marking of the child's name and the length of his life (to the day, as I recall), there was a brief verse. It was old and worn with acid rain, but I could still make out:

"Behold and See as You Pass By
As you are Now so Once was I
As I am Now, you soon will Be.."
But the fourth line was covered in weeds. This was the oldest part of the cemetery, and the township does a great job mowing all these little cemeteries, but you can't expect them to weed-whack every last old stone. So I stooped to pull back the weeds...

"As I am Now, you soon will Be
Prepare for Death..."
and at that point, there was a nest of something wiggly and hairy and leggy and it jumped out at me and completely freaked me out. I never saw the end of that poem. I never found that gravestone again.

Fast forward sixteen years or so. My library has a large-art fettish, or so it seems. A few years ago, they had some big ceramic dog out front. This summer, in the field next to the library, they put up a fake cemetery. It contained all sorts of re-made old stones of 18th and 19th century American Authors. (They even put up a dead tree and some dead leaves from the previous autumn.) The very first stone gave me the verse I had missed, the completion of a story that was half as old as I was...

"Prepare for Death and Follow Me"
I still think it's kinda wiggin that a marker for a 9 year old would be so morbid, but those were the times. Death was a constant companion, and children were more likely to die than live. Childbirth killed as many women as it spared. It's no wonder the settlers were so religious - if life sucks that much, you'd better hope the afterlife is better. What would be the point, otherwise?

In my own Thanksgiving prayers, I thanked God that I am alive here (as opposed to there, where I could be stoned just for walking outside without a male relative), and now (as opposed to then, where I almost certainly would have died trying to birth my first son).


November 21, 2004

Run, Forrest, Run

Years ago, I scoffed at anyone who ran long distance. Oh, I would ooh and aah at the fact that these crazy mo-fo's would jog 26 miles at a pop. (that's a marathon. 26 miles. Yikes.) But my standard saying was: "I only run when I'm chased."

I've always been overweight, ranging from slightly to more than slightly. I have a heavy frame (I am big boned, and I build muscle quickly), and I was never "huge". But, about a year after my first son's birth, I was hitting the scales at about 200 pounds. As I am only 5'4", that's kinda large-marge-ish.

Hitting the pool just wasn't working it for me. I lost about ten pounds over a four month period. In one last-ditch effort, I joined Weight Watchers.

The first week, I lost six pounds.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Anyone who knows about weight loss knows about water loss. Watch the first two episodes of NBC's The Biggest Loser and you'll see what I'm talking about. But, for me, I stuck with weight watchers, and week after week, the weight came off.

One thing that helped me a tremendous amount was the bargaining for food. If you exercise a certain amount, you get to eat more! So, I started running.

I started slowly, in January of 2002. I started jogging around my block. It seemed to take a long time, so I took the car out to see how far I was going. I was going 1.5 miles! So I started looking for more interesting paths. By June, I was running five to seven miles a day, five days a week. I got down to 137 pounds. I was SO psyched.

Then I got pregnant. (and there's another story there...)

I gained 37 pounds in my second pregnancy, and I've lost all but 10 of them. I know how to lose that weight if I choose. But I choose to eat more than I should. I'm 4 pounds above my weight watchers "goal weight", but I'm very happy.

And I still run.

I don't run as much as I did PT (pre timmy) (I'm trying to save my knees through my 50's at least), but I still put in from 3 to 7 miles, 4 to 5 times a week, depending on how I feel.

Some days, still, at 100 metres out, I want to turn around and go home. Other days, like Saturday, seven miles down, and I probably still could have gone another one or two.

Running has changed my life. I'm not a racer. I don't have any t-shirts. But it's changed me. And it works. For me.

When people ask me how I lost weight, I say "diet and exercise". They ask "which diet?" I say weight watchers, but am careful to note that different strokes for different folks and all that.

One thing that always amazes me is the amount of unsolicited advice people give when they find out you're trying to lose weight. "Why do you diet so much? just exercise more," says the man who is at least 30 pounds overweight. "You're doing the wrong kind of exercise. Running isn't the best one," says the skinny kid who still has a metabolism that allows him to eat out daily. Can't wait til he's 35! But the people who have actually fought this battle - we all know. Whatever works for you. Find it, and use it.

I never, ever thought I would sy this, but running is it for me!


November 20, 2004

I wondered what BCE stood for!!

LaShawn Barber has a post (a number of them, actually) over at her site about the Common Contempt For Christ. Actually, it's about the movement afoot by "serious scholars" to replace AD and BC with CE and BCE, respectively. Something about AD/BC being too Christ-o-centric in our oh-so-secular world, and intimidating to those who remain true to the new Gods of Secularity (irony intended). I have a few comments of my own to add to this:

  • I always thought that BCE was Before Christ E?. Didn't know what the E was. And I'm not alone in that assumption.
  • Most folks I know think AD means After Dead. How silly. Anyway, that's what they think. So, perhaps a change of letters would be a little more clear. After all, if you think BC is before Christ and AD is after dead, that leaves 33 years (+/- 3 years) unaccounted for! Besides, Anno Domini, that's latin. And Latin is, like, DEAD, right? [/airhead-mode]

I do think that the absolute fear most people have of religion - Christianity and Judaism in particular - is intensely stupid. Removing the cross from a flag, telling a brass ensemble they can't play Christmas carols (even though no words are used) because they make people think about a Christian holiday, and that's somehow intimidating - this is all such a senseless waste of time and effort. It's been hundreds of years since the last witch hunt, and, as far as I know, the Jews haven't done any serious moving and shaking since the time of Jericho. So, what's the cause of fear, folks? Where's the intimidation?

I'm afraid I'll never understand.

But I understand now that BCE is Before Christ's Era, and CE is Christ's Era. That's all I need to know.

November 19, 2004

Supahman Fan

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a show on television called The Adventures of Superman. It starred a man who flew around in his longjohns saving the city of Metropolis and mild-mannerd-ly flirted incessantly with this stuffy, mischievous chick named Lois.

When I was a kid, the local PBS channel was in the habit of picking up older shows and showing them right around supper time. Thus, I picked up the habit of watching shows like Superman. (PBS also introduced me to Dark Shadows, but that's a story for another time.)

Time went on. I grew, fell in love with other television shows, and PBS stopped showing Superman. When the movies came out, I wasn't in a position to watch them. So Superman faded from my mind, to be replaced by other shows and characters , like Barnabus Collins, or the leads from Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

Then, when I was in grad school, a miracle occurred. ABC created a new Superman show:Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman . This show was a different take than the one I remembered. It was more about Clark and Lois than about Superman. The famous line is:

"Clark is who I am; Superman is what I can do."

I loved that show.

I loved that show so much, that I picked up a hobby I hadn't used since eighth grade. I wrote stories about the characters from the show. I'd like to say that I started this writing spontaneously, but that ain't so. I stumbled across a group of people on the internet who were fans and were doing something called they called "fanfic".

Well, you say tomayto, I say tomahto. I was in.

Seven years later (gods, it can't have been that long!) I'm still in. I don't write much or often, but there's always a file out there, open, waiting for the muses to inspire me to finish it. You, if you are interested (if you even exist), can find some of my work, among that of scores of others, at the Lois and Clark fanfic archive. The story I am the happiest with is A Father's Wisdom.

The stories in the archive are a mixture of many types, but most of them are true to the L&C universe - the Superman universe that made me love Superman.

I hear they're making another Superman movie. As a minor comic fan, I've seen all sorts of Superman books and series. But none of them appeal. I'll buy Superman toys, but for me, Superman is a fixed character that was created by the ABC team.

Funny, when I watch the show now, I sometimes want to cringe. By the end of the series, it had broken with canon (other survivors of Krypton?) and had dissolved to a "villan of the week" premise. There were two fantastic villans in the series - their Lex Luthor, and another recurring dude by the name of Tempus - but otherwise, the villans were mostly camp.

I've moved to love the show as it is seen through the eyes of the fans - in fanfic. And I love the Superman that fanfic shows me. Go on over there. Read some fic (I'd recommend zoomway and nan smith among other authors.) Tell 'em Betsy sent you!


November 18, 2004

He That Ruleth Over Men Must Be Just


When I was in college (Temple University, home of the majestic Owls and several crackheads), I had some strange jobs to support my education habit. One of them was Alto section lead at a church downtown. We sang all sorts of stuff, all of it sacred, of course. The choir director was a very tempermental organist, but man, he was a good musician. I honestly felt bad for him, because dealing with musicians is never easy. Dealing with a group of divas is downright impossible. I knew that, because I was a science major who hung out with musicians.


One of the pieces we did back then was this piece that had the above quote in it: "He That Ruleth Over Men Must Be Just". I remember the organ line behind it. I remember singing that line and a few lines after it... but they didn't seem to make any sense! I figured I had mixed up two pieces that had similar tunes, or some such nonsense. Put aside the fact that, twenty-plus years later, I can still sing the pieces I learned in middle school chorus. (Much to John's chagrin.) Music is usually like that, for me. But maybe this time, my mind has screwed up. Maybe I'm getting senile. It runs in the family, you know...

Google to the rescue.

The piece is "The Last Words of David" by Randall Thompson. Who, by the way, is a great choral composer. (Amazon eventually found me a CD to purchase. Again, the internet to the rescue!)

One of the webpages I found had an mp3 of the piece. So, I listened. Sure enough, the words make NO SENSE!! If you're interested, here's what Dave had to say, according to King James's theologians and translators:
"He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of
God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a
morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear
shining after rain. "

Say, what?

I thought my words were incoherent! I thought I jumbled different passages or something! But this is the real deal. The KJV words just don't ring with me, though I got the jist from the music. So I turn to the good news edition (this time, though, it's an old fashioned hard copy)...
"The king who rules with justice, who rules with reverence for God,
is like the sun shining on a cloudless dawn, the sun that makes the grass
sparkle after rain."

Now that, I understand. But it wouldn't fit with Thompson's notes. His music fits the words as King James has them. If you're into choral music, give it a listen.

(I'm sure there's some commentary that one could make on GWB here, but that's not my arena!)

Living In A One Horse Town

I was listening to Blue Moves the other day, grooving along with the song titled as above, when I was filled with a kind of nostalgia.

I grew up in a one-horse town. Rather, a one-light town. Seriously. I was reared in Upstate Pennsylvania (NorthEast P.A., as we call it, here), in a former farming town by the name of Tunkhannock. (That's supposedly some Indian name for the area). I can still type that name without hesitating. I can still remember my phone number, and that to call Grandma, we just had to dial the last four digits (1563) - We were still on a party line! It's the land of my fathers and their fathers and their fathers, but right around then they kind of stole the land from some natives... but I digress.

So Tunkhannock is a beautiful little town "nestled by the Susquehanna" (river, that is). It's in the heart of the Endless Mountains (part of the Appalachians). It has beautiful autumns, freezing winters, and humid summers. I remember spending the summers with my nieces and nephews (I'm the youngest of eight children. My brothers' kids were my age) swimming in the pond, watching the adults putting in hay, camping in the fields. We hardly ever went down-town - it was so busy down in Tunkhannock!

All that traffic going through that one red light.

My dad farmed - dairy cows - as did the neighbors on both sides. But the area was changing. In the late sixties, Proctor and Gamble built a paper plant in Mehoopany - a sprawling suburb of Tunkhannock. (I actually lived in a different suburb - the village of Lemon.) With P&G came jobs, people, and the possibility of more traffic lights.

There was a Murphy's Mart and, when I got to Middle School, Fashion Bug buzzed into town! Tunkhannock grew as I did, and with High School came a McDonalds. When I went off to college, they got another light or two. Now, I think there are at least five traffic lights in town!

But, to me, it will always be the one-light town. Gay's (the hardware store), Gables (best daggone doughnuts around), and Bricks (grocer) are Tunkhannock. Sure, there's a Walmart now. And most of the farms are no longer functioning. But it's still the same old place. Love it or hate it.

I've certainly done both!

November 17, 2004

This is Kinda Phun

I'm a DBA (that's database administrator, for all you non-dweebs out there), but outside of SQL, I don't do much coding. (I know, I know, I should be doing xml at the very least, not to mention ADO and vbscript. But I'm a lazy get.)

This html stuff is kinda intriguing. I think I'll play in all my spare time.

Meanwhile, here's the husband's blog, so I can see how links work. Then I'll create a blogroll:

The Therapy Sessions

[Side note: it's kinda intriguing. Men have all sorts of fascinating noms de guerre for their wives. But women? No "the little man" (unless the husband is poorly endowed, that is), or "the old ball and chain" (unless the husband is greatly endowed, heh). etc. Must think on this.]

Tom you dirty bastard

I'll admit it. I talk a big talk, but I'm really very bad in terms of confrontations. I still relive pieces of my past in my head. I figure this is a good place to say what I really wanted to say back then.

So, here goes.


It's just a freaking football game, dude.

So, this year, you could send me the consolation card. The birds spanked the 'boys. Normally, I like birds. Not in the football sense, though. But I'd like to think if someone sent me a condolence about this game, I'd laugh.

I'm sorry that I didn't take you seriously. I'm sorry that I wasn't honest - I did have a crush on you, but that crush grew into friendship. Strong friendship. I saw how you were with your friends, and I wanted a piece of that. You're a good guy - smart and talented. But you weren't interested in me that way.

Someone else was, though. And he asked me out. And, lo and behold, I grew to really like him. I grew to love him.

Your "replacement"? No. Never. I have with him what I never had with you. Mutual respect and friendship and attraction and love. Romantic love as well as friendship love.

He never "dog-in-the-manger"-d me. He's the real deal. He's a better match for me than you ever would have been.

We're still happily married. We have two beautiful kids now. And we're still best friends.

I hope you're happy in your ivory tower. I really do. But I wish to god I'd had the balls back then to smack you around some. Because I thought we were friends. And I really would have liked to stay that way.

Welcome to the Dusty Aviary

I have made this "blog" solely to create a blogger account. Can you believe that someone hijacked my normal commenter name? Birdwoman was "not available". Big ole raspberry to that.

This blog will not be updated, most likely. So if you got here by accident, I am very sorry for wasting your surfing time.

As my dear mother would say, have a nice day, and pass it on.

(*)> <(*) (*)< squawk!