flightless hag

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

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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.

February 27, 2006

How could anyone alive ever kno

“They say you never hear the one that gets you, but how could anyone alive ever kno”

That’s the last you hear from one of the major characters in Mary Doria Russel’s, “A Thread of Grace”.

This book is not for the faint of heart, or of stomach. It gave me nightmares, mostly because of the feeling of helplessness one gets when one reads about the Holocaust.

As the author hopes it to be, this story not true, but it is very real.

The characters are fictional, but their plight happened. There were thousands of Renzos, Mirellas, and Schramms.

I never read much of the story of the Jews of Italy. I’ve read some of Primo Levi’s work, a long time ago. But the story of the Italian people and how they tried to protect the Jews who either lived or landed in their midst is not one I’ve heard before. It’s “Schindler’s List” on a grand scale. And it breaks your heart.

I don’t know that I enjoyed this story. It was very well written: the characters are all very easily identified with, the story line is confusing, but can be followed. But as I stated before, I read it with such a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness that it was almost a painful experience.

If I honestly felt that people had learned from this history, I could at least assure myself, “It’ll never happen again.” But today’s political climate shows that people haven’t learned from this. Indeed, large portions of the world would like to deny it ever happened.

Yet, despite the fact that the overwhelming mood of the work is despair, there are great sections of this book, some loving, some ironically humorous:

“Signora Savoca lost children to influenza in 1918… she thinks the aspirin was poisoned. Her theory is that Germans were exacting revenge for their defeate in the Great War.”

“That’s absurd!” [says the German deserter.]


“Distressing to be hated because of lies, isn’t it?”

He shifts uncomfortably in his chair.

This was definitely a great reading experience, and I feel as though I have learned from the experience. But, I’m looking forward to reading my next book, a nice little ditty by Mercedes Lackey. I feel a need to smile again.



February 20, 2006

Updates, Because I Know You Care

Bill the Crab lived in the BirdHouse for three weeks. At which point, birdwoman had enough. We went to lunch at the restaurant and returned Bill to his friends. Stinky cried many crocodile tears. The restaurateurs were amazed; Bill (or Frog, as Grandma Birdwoman called him) had lived longer than any expected. He was returned to the pot of Japanese River Crabs, where the rest of the inhabitants proceed to pick him to shreds.

The Atomic clock, too, rests with the fishes. It kept good time for about a week. Then it stopped. Then it spun. Then it was off by a few hours. We changed the battery… rinse and repeat. Much spinning, finally settling on the correct time, for about a week. Then, it decided to be about 20 minutes slow. Then an hour fast. One last battery change, it spun for 2 days, we threw it out and bought a manual set clock. It’s kept perfect time since.

Sometimes, technology is not better.

I have gotten used to Folgers, and sometimes even imbibe (though I’ve mostly switched to tea). Sometimes, addictions are stronger than preferences. I now understand the bums on the corner drinking mad dog. God help me.

We threw out the lavender. The scent of bo-hunks was unsettling the equilibrium of Birdwoman’s mother (hah!). Now we’re covering natures scents with “spring breeze”.

And if anyone knows a song, perhaps by a folk group like Peter Paul and Mary, that talks about the pretty little colored houses of San Francisco, with the words “tippy top” or “ticky tock” in it somewhere, I’d much appreciate it.



February 18, 2006

My Favorite Charity

I subscribe to a magazine that’s been through hell. They have a hard time getting to publication; they are in a business that’s going the way of the dodo. Yet, I continue to subscribe.

There were times when we’d go a month or more without a copy, but then, like a resuscitated heart patient, another copy would come in the mail.

What is this magazine?

College Music Journal, now called CMJ New Music Monthly.

They expose all kinds of music and they have fantastic reviews. Nothing you can’t get off iTunes these days, however. They send you a disk of about 20 new songs on a monthly, maybe bi-monthly basis. Again, the internet provides the same.

At one point, they had new publishers coming in and they were giving a presentation for better funding – September 12, 2001 was the day scheduled for that – in Windows on the World, I believe. So runs the luck of this magazine.

But they still rock. I just re-upped for 3 years, even if they’ll only be around for one. I figure it’s just as worthy as a check to some arts fund, who would just use my money to buy politicians…



Stupid Questions

There was a rally in downtown Philly the other day. I heard about it on the radio. Seems a bunch of illegal immigrants were getting together to protest new legislation that would make illegal immigration a felony.

They wanted to protest their "right" to stay in the country.


OK, so the illogic of that aside. Let’s say there was a rally of muggers. They wanted to protest legislation that made their primary method of income illegal.

Wouldn’t you expect the police to go down and arrest all the self-proclaimed muggers?

I’m just asking, is all.



February 11, 2006

Brut or Polo?

Our new bathroom is windowless.

It's also the preferred... dumping ground, to put it as delicately as I can.

So, even with an exhaust fan that is meticulously used, and the odor-eater-baking-soda type stuff strategically placed, the room can be rather malodorous.

I have a plug in smelly thing for those emergencies that any such room has.

The crisp breeze cartrige was ok, citrus and vanilla were both good. I thought I couldn't go wrong. Then, I bought lavendar.

The room now smells like some greeze-ball trying to attract the chicks with his 80's cologne. Lots of 80's cologne.

I feel like Sister Christian should be playing every time I... commune with nature.




Music Diatribe

So the talking head on the radio this morning was spewing about the Grammies. He mentioned that there was “no good music being done now.” His proof was that the best rock album was U2, a band from the early 80’s, the top selling album now is Barry Manilow, and the top grossing touring acts, or 8 out of 10 of them, are all from pre-1990.

Set aside that the people who have the money to go to concerts are 35+, and that it’s very rare for our age group to have a new album to buy from one of our old favorites. Is there really no good “new” music?

The only band he said was “new” was Green Day. So, I’m going to take 1992 and on as his criteria for new.

Based on that, I’m going to list some bands that I think are making good music, some even making great music. And I’ll bet that the 2 people that read this (hi, Mom!) can add at least a few more.

First, the mid-nineties were a lot like the late sixties. You had a lot of bands who “burned out” – Nirvana, Sublime, and Blind Melon all lost their leads. Soundgarden, STP, and Rage Against the Machine all broke up. But I don’t think anyone can look at these bands and not realize each one of them is a “classic”. In fact, the classic rock stations round these parts already play this stuff.

Rock isn’t dead.

There’s Radiohead, who have consistently done well in Britain. They’ve inspired a whole troupe of bands, like Muse and the Decemberists. There’s Coldplay, the Doves, the Shins, the Dandy Warhols, Beck, Tori Amos, PJ Harvey, and all sorts of other “alternative pop” kinds of acts.

Another clunky genre is “alternative rock” with artists like System of a Down, the White Stripes, Incubus, and countless others, who are all multi-album hitters. Into the far reaches of rock, you have bands like Disturbed, Godsmack, Marilyn Manson.

The “classic rock” genre isn’t dead, either. The Darkness, Scissor Sisters, Queens of the Stoneage, Foo Fighters, Jet… all these acts pay homage to the greats of the past with truly rocking songs and even some kickin’ concept albums.

Soft rock is huge, with John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Duncan Sheik, Maroon 5, Goo Goo Dolls, Train, 5 For Fighting, and other mellow folks. And moving into electronic soft rock, there are huge world acts like AfroCelt Sound System, Zero7, Thievery Corporation, Air, Frou Frou, and countless others.

It’s not that there’s no good music being made. It’s that the execs have discovered the people they most want to sell to are 12 year olds. Tweens are not likely to buy good rock. They’re likely to buy pop, some of which is even good, like Kelly Clarkson. And that’s fine. But it’s transient, and in 10 years, no one will remember her. The good music that’s being made is in the “fringe.” It takes a little work to find it, but it’s well worth the effort.



February 03, 2006

Too Scary

Thanks for the email Uncle Tom. Now to get the double image out of my head.


February 02, 2006

File Under: You've GOT to be Kidding...

I've always heard that Republicans are dicks. And hardasses.

But hard... well... Now the majority leader is a Boehner?

or am I mispronouncing this?

(whose uncle's name was actually, really, truly, Dick Bohner.)