<![CDATA[Thistle Brown - Blog]]>Sun, 21 Feb 2016 05:20:20 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Here Kitty, Kitty]]>Sun, 16 Sep 2012 00:13:04 GMThttp://www.thistlebrown.com/blog/here-kitty-kittyIt is very difficult for me to wrap my mind around the domestication of non-human animals. Imagine! 20,000 years ago, humans began to do that. And it changed the world.

In the present, are we not fascinated when we think on it that, even now, wild animals are most often not living in our homes. Non-human primates look like fun, but they were never meant to live a human sort of life. And all too often, he their lives do not have a happy ending. Zoos – particularly petting zoos – are the place to get up close and personal.

The most common pets are cats and dogs. If kittens are left to their mothers too long and without being handled by humans, they do not usually make good pets. Puppies are, after all, dogs. Unless they are mistreated, dogs usually make wonderful pets, depending on breed and intelligence.

It always strikes me as something marvelous that when I call my cat, she runs to me immediately. Please note: It has nothing to do with food: She eats only kibble which is available at all times.

Dogs are most easily trained, and a treat may be the best way to train a dog. To train cats is something else altogether.

Watch what a cat does on his or her own. If  you enjoy the activity, let the cat know that with a bit of something to entice the cat until the event or trick is automatic when whatever the treat is on offer. This can be tricky. Cats are not the pushovers that dogs usually are. My cat turns up her nose at any so-called treat. She’s simply not interested. I’ve never met a dog who didn’t go bonkers over a bit of this ’n that, sometimes a revolting bit of this 'n that

Horses are most often quite large, even the more delicate Arabians. And, after all, even the smallest horse has teeth and hooves and it pays to know what is required. Slow and easy conversation along with petting - and starting on a youngster - usually gets the best results. If  you want to give horses treats, be sure they will not get him or her “hot,” as with too much sweet feed. Carrots and apples need to be cut up: Yes, they do. Feeding treats will not really endear you to a horse because their walnut sized brains don’t function that way. Not to fret, their hearts are enormous, which is where “That horse has heart” comes from. Yes, ya gotta have heart.

What’s my point? I continue to marvel that having pets (as in petting) has been available to humans for so very long. What we take for granted has been developed over more than twenty thousand years. Is that not remarkable?

Clearly, I found it so and that’s why I have remarked on it.

For the past seven-and-a-half years, I’ve had one cat. It was my experience that, with some exceptions - most often males - cats prefer the companionship of other cats. Now this singleton is quite dog-like (it’s okay, she’s asleep and won’t be miffed with my mentioning “dog”). She has a routine and knows when I’ve quit working at the computer and will sit in another chair to knit or read. While I’m in motion, she runs from the cat tree into the office and onto a lamp table to my left. I must then let her groom my left arm for she has nothing else to groom except herself. My arm is much more satisfying, evidently.

I’ve had thousand of requests for another blog. Oh-all-right! I’ve had six. As I’ve said on Facebook, I’ve been attached to the computer and finishing edits on one book and just sent a second book to the publisher. When the pub date is only a couple of weeks hence, I’ll say so on Facebook and here and on Amazon’s Opera Forum, maybe walk about in a sandwich board, have the name of the first book tattooed on my forehead… all suggestions are welcome. I love to write, however frustrating it can be.

In the first book, I had one conversation in triplet and another, in duplicate. Those errors happened in one revision after another. Are both books now perfect? I would guess not. But there it is. I’ll have no chance of editing A Taste for Truth, that’s a done deal. The next book will have a galley and I will be able to make changes there.

So! I’ve wandered around between domesticated animals in a small way, then managed to sashay into planting seeds of interest for two books. The best advertising is always accomplished by word of mouth.

<![CDATA[Power Up / Power Down ...]]>Fri, 06 Jul 2012 11:40:05 GMThttp://www.thistlebrown.com/blog/power-up-power-downOnce upon a time and not so long ago in a land close by, young Tom Edison said, “Let there be light!” And lo! there was light. That was the beginning of the end of the simple lives that we had known.

Even the Amish have found they need the materials that they had - not so long ago - shunned as being against the Purpose of God and the godly. I suppose I should be ashamed of teasing an Amish woman I found in the market. Really, I meant no harm and forgot that she might not be up to my sense of  humor (I’ve had two husbands warn me about my sense of fun).

I speak to Amish whenever I find the opportunity because most non-Amish are anti-Amish and it pains me in the same way that it pains me when all creatures are not being treated with love. So there we were in the produce section and I chatted her up by remarking how lovely were the fruits and vegetables at the same time I wished they’d stay that way longer.

She said, “Oh! I save them in the refrigerator in the basement.”

I grinned, saying, “You realize you’re going to hell,” my laughter ringing.

She paled, horrified.

I leapt into the breech, soothing her, “That was a joke! I was kidding! You’re not going to hell.”

Fortunately, I didn’t launch into one of my theological exegeses, any of which would have been lost on this lovely simple woman who didn’t need anything else from me. Then it was that her teenage daughter appeared. Forgetting my good intentions, I chirped, “Oh! How pretty you are.”

More bad news: The Amish do not address personal beauty in any way AT ALL! That said, the daughter was clearly pleased. I bade them good day and split before I showered them with more insults.

Now back to created power, created power that we so love that some of us spend money on what is powerful that we don’t truly need. And I’m writing on one of those luxuries. Of course, I need a computer. I’ve needed a computer since 1983, although at the time, it did nothing but process words. With the advent of the modem, all was lost and would never return: Our simple lives had been rent asunder.

The beginning of the end of life as we knew it: Electric light and the telephone and the radio; but nothing compared to the event of the automobile. We have been in yet another industrial revolution with the advantage of cyber space. Even the USPS (privately owned, remember) can’t stay above water. And yet, we do need postal service: Try sending cartons through the computer.

There is nothing wrong with luxury items - and those luxuries are what we take for granted UNTIL WE HAVE WEATHER THAT SHUTS DOWN THE OUTSIDE POWER SOURCE. And it’s happening more and more frequently. Whether it’s storms or merely the pressure of air conditioning, the grids are overworked - overpowered, in fact - until they just give up. In winter, it’s likely to be ice storms in the North, the South moving along nicely. In the sub-tropics, the hurricane season is most often over by then. And isn’t it puzzling that when hurricane winds and storm surges take out homes, that those houses and condos are built again - and sometimes, again and again? And in the same place that took them down before, and before that.

What I’m going on about is that most of us have no idea how to deal with hot and cold without created power. It was only a handful of years ago, that women did laundry beating clothing on a rock or by rubbing it on a washboard - or only with their hands.

Parents who can afford it, shower their children with more stuff than I am able to list. I suppose it’s cheap of me to remind those parents that there are more humans and other animals going hungry . . . even in the United State of America.

Question: Why are we spending enormous sums of money on political campaigns rather than putting food in the mouths of the hungry? Yes, I know the verse, and it’s been too often used as reasons for yet one more stained glass window: In the Gospel of Matthew, we learn: For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. This is a reference to some cranky person decrying spending money on stuff (specifically perfumed ointment to pour on Jesus’ head)To the Faithful, He is with you always, so there’s no reason not to spend money on those who need - genuinely need - help. There is little more breathtaking than man-made (okay, human-made for you fussy sorts) cathedrals. I’ve seen magnificent natural wonders - and of course, they are wonder-full. But to enter a magnificent cathedral is something else entirely, the experiences not to be compared. There is little that is intrinsically bad.

Planet Earth will never return to anything resembling health. We can only hope for enough to be accomplished to make it habitable.

<![CDATA[Words I Never Want to Hear Again]]>Fri, 08 Jun 2012 01:21:30 GMThttp://www.thistlebrown.com/blog/june-07th-2012
  • At the end of the day
  • Awesome
  • Amazing
  • It’s a miracle
  • Just sayin’
  • That sucks
  • That blows
  • Fuckin’ A (unless you’re military and the A stands for “affirmative”)
  • It’s a small world
  • Tell me about it
  • Basically
  • Literally
  • Err mispronounced as “air” when it’s “ur.” “Error it may be, but without the “or,” it is “ur.”
  • Really!
  • Really?
  • Seriously?
  • As if
  • Pick your battles
Moving from there, let’s take a look at mispronounced words: Harassed! This is difficult because the “rule” is that double consonants enjoy the stressed accent. Nonetheless, it’s not ‘hareASSED, but HAREassed. Just as the composer’s name is PURcell and not purCELL.

Relax! English is most probably the most different language on Earth -- and it takes many forms depending on which English-speaking country is speaking it. Imagine how mind-blowing it is for émigrés to step onto our shores and be hit with impossible quirks of English.  

“Break a leg,” is said to stage performers. What does that mean? Some time ago and in Great Britain it meant to BEND the leg, as in taking a bow. Bend in this case was break, as in break fast which has become a compound word: Breakfast.

And please stop “Between you and I” for it is very incorrect. It will probably make no difference to you to know that it is objective case (look on the internet). To speak correctly would be, “Between you and ME.”

What’s really disturbing is that there are educated persons who lack familiarity with correct usage. Will the world stop spinning? No -- but I wish my brain would. I am appalled by otherwise educated persons who do not have the least notion about what is and is not, correct. I’m not speaking about regional amusements, such as “all y’all” which I find amusing and charming. One of my favorites is “Lawzzy Muzzy” which in the Deep South is Lord have mercy! Evidently, someone thought that was just this side of blasphemy or at the very least, intolerably rude.

Not everyone is keen on language - his own or someone else's. I am, however, addressing those who should own more than a merely working knowledge of our common language. Do I ever get down? Absolutely! I’m having fun, but I am most certainly able to speak clearly and correctly without being stiff. Our politicians need a bit of help when it comes to English - at least American English. Moreover, stop droppin’ the “g” on participles and its cousin, the gerund. (Okay, these days, the gerund has sunk to - are you ready? - a noun modifier: swimming is fun, walking is healthy, eating is necessary -  you get the idea.

While I’m here, please sound the first “c” in accessories is if it were a K. It’s aKcesseories, not “uhsessories.”

Television is no help at all. I remember a newsperson who pronounced Tucson as TUKson.

Those persons (people implies a group) who seek employment - depending on what sort of employment - would do well to be well-spoken.]]>
<![CDATA[Get a Clue: It’s Colonel Custard in the Kitchen . . .]]>Thu, 26 Apr 2012 11:37:03 GMThttp://www.thistlebrown.com/blog/get-a-clue-its-colonel-custard-in-the-kitchen Indeed he is and ready to celebrate his name with milk and eggs, sugar and vanilla. And he’s going to start simple, very simple.


Whether baked in cups or in one container, the ingredients are the same, only the oven temperature and baking time are different.

For each cup of milk (I prefer half-and-half or heavy cream) you’ll need one large or extra large egg (jumbo eggs have a lot of white compared to their yolks and are great for recipes calling for egg WHITES).

Heat the oven to 350º
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of sugar (or more, if  you’ve a sweet tooth)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla, according to individual taste
That’s it!

If  you have a large utility pitcher, mix the ingredients in that for ease in pouring; and a fine-meshed sieve to catch anything that isn’t smooth.

Have ready a large kettle of hot water - let it simmer, it’s not hurting anything.

Heat the milk on top of the stove or in a microwave until it is really hot. Obviously, you’ll choose the correct means of  holding said milk, right?

Beat the eggs - not too much - add the sugar and vanilla and beat again - not too much.

When the milk is truly hot, pour it VERY slowly into the egg mixture while stirring all the time with a spoon. When the eggs are tempered (and won’t turn into very loose scrambled eggs), pour in the rest of the milk. Use the mixer for a small whirl. With a spoon or bowl scraper, again stir the mixture to make sure all the eggy mixture has been thoroughly combined.

Have ready a 9x12” baking pan. Arrange six custard cups (Pyrex, pottery, whatever is oven safe). Strain the custard mixture (evenly) into the cups.

Now comes the topping - or not. If  you do not like freshly grated nutmeg, a baked custard can stand on its  own. I LOVE freshly grated nutmeg and grate it heavily over each cup. Do what pleases you.

Pour the hot water half-way up the cups. Be careful when you put it in the oven - it’s hot.

Bake for 30 minutes, then check. DO NOT BAKE CUSTARD UNTIL IT NO LONGER JIGGLES. It will be more like rubber than custard. When it’s still shaky, remove from the oven. Let rest for ten minutes. Carefully lift each cup to a towel on a tray. Slip it into the refrigerator. When just cool, cover each with plastic. As well, they may then be stacked, thus saving some room in the refrigerator.

Alternately, the custard may be baked in one bowl for about 45 minutes at 325º. When baked in a bowl, unless the custard is going to be consumed at one time, you need to know how to keep the custard firm. Once cut into, the whey will leak and make a watery mess, very ugly. For instance, two days ago, I baked a custard in one bowl. After taking a portion, I tucked a sheet of paper toweling into the space left by the serving spoon. The next day, I tossed the paper and replaced it. Now the custard is all gone - yeah, I ate the whole thing. Heaven!

- - - - - - - - -

Another idea: FLAN. In Mexico it’s often made with part condensed milk. This is not to be confused with evaporated milk. Setting Mexican flan aside, we’re going to make something with 1000 less calories. Truly!

For this dessert, the custard recipe is the same, although I do recommend heavy cream - and a quart sized straight-sided bowl is preferable.

In a heavy skillet, pour 3/4 cup of white sugar. Turn the heat high and watch it when it begins to darken. With a heat resistant spoon, begin to stir the sugar. Reduce the heat when indicated. When it’s gleaming amber and every grain of sugar is gone, pour it into the waiting bowl and move the bowl to distribute the syrup. Pour the custard into the bowl and treat as you did the original immediately above. Refrigerate. To serve, press a dinner-size plate on top of the bowl. Turn it over. Wait a few seconds to let the sugar syrup do its thing. Remove the bowl and dive in.

- - - - - - - - -

CRÊME BRÛLER* may be created with the same custard - and with heavy cream, please.

Have ready an oven-safe glass or pottery 7x11” pan. It’s going to bake in a 9x13” pan, again with hot water half-way up the sides of the baking pan. Bake at 350º for 25 minutes; check to see how “done” it appears. Just as with the other versions, treat this one the same and put it in the refrigerator, uncovered. While it’s cooling, prepare the BRÛLER part.

In the meantime, that same liquid sugar used for the FLAN is prepared and then poured onto a jelly roll pan and let set. When it is set, remove it - it’ll be in pieces, and you may have to thump on it - and put it into a heavy paper bag. With rolling pin - whatever - pulverize it. (I’ve never tried this in the food processor, but it seems to me if the bowl is clean and dry it would work.)

Have ready your broiler on High and the top oven shelf about four inches from the flame.

Remove the cooled custard from the refrigerator: Sprinkle the sugar as evenly as possible over the cold custard. Set it under the broiler and WATCH IT.



You’ll know when it’s ready - but just to make sure, eyeball it after five minutes, etc.

*Brûler: I don’t know when it became “brule.” Perhaps non-French speakers heard it AS “brulay,” because that “r” would be only a hint coming from the mouth of a French person. But it really is Brûler , complete with another diacritical mark. In addition, it may be spelled Crème Brûlée. The difference may be “to burn,” and “is or has BEEN burned.” All of you out there familiar with François, sound off.
<![CDATA[I have good news and bad news ...]]>Sun, 22 Apr 2012 13:02:56 GMThttp://www.thistlebrown.com/blog/i-have-good-news-and-bad-newsThe bad news is that no matter what we do, Earth cannot recover its health and be safe for plants and what we think of as animals, including humans.

The good news is that we’re not going to be here to witness the eventual crumbling and sagging.

T. S. Eliot was correct:  The world will end not with a bang but with a whimper.

A brief perusal of what is available on the internet will reveal how far we’ve come since, say, 1945, to spoil what we had. I took it into my head to decide that the years 1945-1965 were the last “good” years. I checked on the internet to see if my thinking was correct and was pleased - and disappointed - to find that for the most part, it was.

The basic culprit is the population explosion. Personally, in that score of years, I was acquainted with few families who had less than four children; and most of my friends had five to a dozen - and don’t get started on Roman Catholics, not everyone belonged to that denomination. It was a time when the LAST war was over and peace was gonna reign.


As Puck noted: “What fools these mortals be.” We’ve not improved since Shakespeare was alive and writing with a quill, and a vocabulary of 85,000 words.

Pollution may be somewhat ameliorated, but we cannot get rid of it entirely. The seas have pockets - yes, huge pockets - of plastic. Fish believe the little bits are food and eat it. We eat the fish and the plastic. And forget about fish farms, some of them - most of them? - all of them? -  contain contamination. Lakes aren’t safe, either. The internet awaits for you to find out for yourselves.


So we shouldn’t eat fish unless a scientist tests it first to make sure it’s safe (good luck with that). And how much meat is free of pollution? Even if one raises whatever it is on the hoof, those animals eat contaminated food. And when livestock is raised in cheek-by-jowl confinement -  well, you figure it out.

Many cattle are no longer grass fed. They’re fed grain along with antibiotics to forestall the dis-ease of that grain because none of their four stomachs have the ability to digest grain as they do grass. It’s as if humans were fed grass, the result of which would be unremitting diarrhea until death. Cattle don’t have the luxury of dying naturally. They are killed.

"Are you a vegetarian?" I hear you ask.


I eat little meat because it has little appeal for me, but I do eat it. The fact is, my ancient alimentary system can’t handle much produce, contaminated or not. Speaking of which, I continue to be suspicious of “organic” products. I understand that it’s much healthier than non-organic produce. I haven’t made a study of it so I don’t know how pure the material is that it’s grown in. I can say that I’m weary of plastic tomatoes and other hydroponic produce. And unless you’ve tasted real berries, you may not mind the ones you find in today’s markets. If someone offers you real fruit, I’d advise that you not eat it - you’ll suffer the memory of its glorious flavor and never want to eat any other again.

Why will our planet die with a whimper and not a bang? Not only is Earth suffering global warming - even without our help, which is considerable - the moon is moving away half-inch by half-inch. And  how will that affect Earth? Our planet will no longer be able to sustain life as we know it. Think TIDES.

There is plenty of material on the internet for study. The bottom line is: Between global warming and Earth’s moon half-inching away, there will be consequences. There are consequences now, much of which we civilized humans have created.

It is my considered opinion that a hellish tidal-wave of cell phones is creating more pain then pleasure . . . you’ll thank me for not getting into the early onset of sexuality among children except to yell, “There’s nothing good about that!”

Time Devoted To Climate Change Has Fallen Sharply Since 2009
<![CDATA[Finlandia]]>Sun, 15 Apr 2012 21:48:46 GMThttp://www.thistlebrown.com/blog/finlandiaIt was 1939 and rapidly approaching the Christmas Season.

The six women of the Merry Hearts and their children, were gathered in Evanston, Illinois in one of the member’s houses, just as every year. The lady of the house loved to have luncheon at her house so all could enjoy her spectacular tree, the German village below and surrounding the tree, along with other colorful decorations.

I have no memory of the food, but distinctly recall the Victrola and the biggest record disk I’d ever seen. When our hostess set the needle on the spinning disk (that’s how it was done in those days), the most glorious music poured forth. It filled the room and my senses, including my skin which had immediately bloomed with goose bumps.

Oh! the timpani, the low and potent music was an attack, voluptuous and crowding the room with its beautiful intentions. It was Sibelius’ freedom cry, independence from the clutch of Mother Russia. And She was one demanding mother.

What brought back the memory was hearing Bill McLaughlin on WFMT’s Exploring Music. This week it’s offering Grieg and Sibelius - he’s skipped past Sweden and Denmark, which is just as well. (There are classical composers from those countries, but most often to be avoided; I know that’s rude, but a perusal of same will bear that out.)

Finlandia  became more and more popular for expressing freedom when performed by other orchestras in other countries. It’s often heard in the United States during Fourth of July celebrations.

Words were added and it became a hymn. Here it is in Finnish. While I’m at it, the “real” name of Finland is Suomi.
<![CDATA[Consider the lilies . . .]]>Thu, 05 Apr 2012 23:01:02 GMThttp://www.thistlebrown.com/blog/ltigtconsider-the-lilies-ltigt . . . of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Matthew 6: 28-29

As I was food shopping this morning, my heart was glad to see white lilies. I thought immediately of the above quotation, it being a favorite. However knowing what I would find when I stuck my nose in one of the flowers, I did it anyway. Inhaling nothing almost brought tears.

Yes, there was a bit of scent, but it could hardly be called fragrance. I remember Easter Sundays when one was almost assaulted with the perfume of white lilies. Remember this: White flowers have greater scent than colored ones. That’s because bees are attracted by color and the white flowers must attract them by scent. The flowers that may be colored but do not give off sweet fragrance are pollinated by flies.

As flowers - and other vegetation - have been “improved” upon, the brave flora are taken back to the drawing board to be revamped to attract something that will continue to draw bees and flies, but they never please humans longing for glorious bouquet.

The consideration of human pleasure is left to horticulturists* determined to create what they fancy will be more marketable, fragrance be damned. A good test is to smell, say, a red carnation. Then bury your nose in a white carnation. Even at this pitiful stage of growing flowers, the white will have a distinct scent that her sister does not.

When was the last time you had the pleasure of smelling roses, real roses? Unless you grow your own - and even that has gone downhill for scent - florists are selling beauty without the voluptuous experience of perfume (that’s PERfume - perFUME is a verb).

So now that we have plastic tomatoes, strawberries, melons, pineapples . . . oh, go ahead, make a list. I did buy three Red Delicious apples. They had some scent. Knowing that most of the nutrition is on the skin, I nonetheless ate the whole apple after quartering it, coring it, then filled the empty shallow holes with extra chunky peanut butter - not a lot, but enough to let me pretend the apple was good. On to more tragedy:

I haven’t seen plain old everyday half-and-half or heavy cream without the warning: Ultra-pasteurized. I do not want ultra-pasteurized anything. Like flowers without scent, this sort of cream has neither scent nor flavor. So what’s the point of ingesting fat calories for something that misses good by a mile? And have you ever tasted real milk? The FDA will never approve milk from cows that have been tested for tuberculosis and found healthy. In the meantime, there are so many farm animal diseases. If you want to know about them, the internet will help you until you’re afraid to eat anything.

It would help the planet if many of us stopped eating flesh protein, but that’s yet another subject. Would most of us agree to do without many of our comforts in exchange for a healthy planet? I believe we’re too late by far. I also believe that autism is the result of pollution. I’m so old, I remember when sex was dirty and the air was clean. There are many reasons for the problems we are experiencing today. My favorite culprit is city dwellers moving - by droves - into the suburbs. A big problem then became the need for many automobiles in a single family. In fact, it was the automobile that sent us down that greatly touted slippery slide. There have been automobiles long before Henry Ford showed up, but he really lighted the fire under this sort of transportation.

*You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think - Dorothy Parker

<![CDATA[That’s a Wrap!]]>Thu, 29 Mar 2012 18:09:23 GMThttp://www.thistlebrown.com/blog/thats-a-wrap I’ll say! Along with thousands - millions? - of others, I am tired of - fed up with - and protesting volubly about PACKAGING.

Many products cost less money than the packaging. High on any CD/DVD buyer’s complaints is the dratted packaging.

Some of us  have problems with removing caps on containers of meds, bleach, dairy products and toilet bowl cleaners (personally, I pour bleach into the toilet bowl every few weeks, let it do its thing and then scrub the bowl).

What about all the silly protection we find (since 1986) once we are actually able without too much fuss to remove caps? Of course, you had to have realized that I’ve just opened and removed protection on a plastic gallon of bleach, a plastic bottle of ibuprofen and a plastic bottle of Vitamin C.

Speaking of plastic - we were, were we not? - while we understand that glass is more expensive and tends to break, even shatter, we got along with it very well until the arrival of divine plastic.

Which just happens to pollute (as I’ve ranted earlier) all the hell over the place and I do mean HELL. What are we able to eat these days that is not subject to some or much pollution?

We have medical science that is  truly spectacular. At what price? That’s a rant I’ll save for another time and wait for the brickbats.

Now to cans: Look to the internet to learn why some cans are dangerous to one’s health. My rant happens to be about the crazy pop-tops. What? You don’t have a can opener Really? Do we know how much that pop-top is costing us? I expect that the packaging may cost more than the ingredients. These tops are found mostly on soups and stews - which I don’t buy - but I have found them on canned fruit.

If you buy cosmetics, I guarantee the packaging costs more than the ingredients. Although nail polish is not package, the bottle and brush may cost, I dunno, maybe three times as much.

The television show Sunday Morning is often enlightening as well as interesting. Yesterday, we were treated to one of the world’s most grand polo shirt. Oh-yes! Beautiful and beautifully made, right in the USA. What a good idea! The buttons only cost .3 each (wholesale), the fabric is a yard of very lovely cotton. The design is excellent (except for too short sleeves - in my opinion). This is a hellacious polo shirt. We were urged to buy it in its many colors. We need to order a half-dozen immediately. How can we pass up a bargain at a mere $150 each plus tax?

Where does the packaging come in? Oh, that! WELL! The polo shirt comes in a pretty machine-embroidered bag. So sweet, no?

As I recall, the company grossed something in the millions last year. While I’m aware that they’re manufactured in the US - as already noted - and people have jobs; and the owners pay taxes . . . 80% of the World is in Pain (remember that blog?). Rather than figure out the percentage of world hunger, try this:

Know Your World Facts about Hunger and Poverty
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

<![CDATA[Just deserts!]]>Sat, 17 Mar 2012 00:37:56 GMThttp://www.thistlebrown.com/blog/just-deserts As in: She or he got his “just deserts.” Often misspelled with a double S, as in the treat after dinner, that is incorrect spelling and incorrect pronunciation. Bear with me for a moment - I’ll get to the point shortly.

Latin is the problem here.

Deserere means “to abandon” and is where the word DESERT derives, an observation of sand and seer to the uninitiated.

Deservire is easier to  understand because it looks like (to) DESERVE. As well, it’s pronounced with the accent on the first syllable and with a very short E.

Are you with me so far?


So “just deserts” simply means he got or did not get what he deserves as in “justice” shortened to “just.”

All this is merely prelude to a chat about those among us who believe that they have the privilege to announce who deserves - or not - his/her “just deserts.” There are many gods among us who seem to have the last word.

Who among us knows, actually knows, what anyone deserves?

I suppose it’s inevitable that when a drunk driver died after hitting an abutment, someone had to declare, “He got his just deserts.” Today, it would be more likely for someone to insist, “He got just what he deserved.”

Let’s change it a bit and have him running down a young man crossing the street in front of the car. The fellow behind the wheel runs over the young man and kills him, the driver without a scratch.

How do we sort out that one?

“That young man didn’t deserve to die.”

“That driver doesn’t deserve to live.”

How do we know?

Making such thoughtless comments are so familiar that we rarely think about how ridiculous they are. What’s more, some of us are delighted when certain persons suffer from results of their own carelessness. Which of us is qualified to judge?

I’ve even been informed who “deserves” a baby girl after having a baby boy and vice versa. What do we know for sure? Too many of us confuse belief with knowledge. I may “know” that I’m a female. Yet a very good friend, a gay male and recovering alcoholic honored me by avowing, “You’re an alcoholic gay male in a female body.”

I believe that’s one of the most sincere compliments I’ve ever enjoyed. I believe: I don’t know for absolutely sure. I also believe I deserved the compliment. But I’m not absolutely sure.

There is so much confusion as to how we feel about ourselves. Some of us are so rushed we don’t have time to muse, to ponder. Some of us have nothing but time and don’t know what to do with it. And we’re continually judging ourselves, taking our spiritual pulses or just giving up altogether, life isn’t worth living. Even judging oneself may be dangerous to one’s health, physical and mental.

Too many of us live with an undercurrent of despair. That I feel bad for people who don’t read, don’t love books and music, is a judgment. Just because I fill my life with reading and listening . . . Well, look! I wouldn’t like if someone told me I’d take off a few pounds by playing tennis or just walking. I love being sedentary and doing pretty much as I please. There is no right or wrong in this instance, only choice.

And choice isn’t stagnant - one can go from interest to interest. I was often criticized for having too many interests. Perhaps. It seems to me that having too many is not nearly the problem as having too few.

What are you waiting for? Try something new. Even if you are alone in your passion. The point is to BE passionate.

I’m not judging you - or me.

<![CDATA[Tits and Ass]]>Wed, 14 Mar 2012 11:53:15 GMThttp://www.thistlebrown.com/blog/tits-and-assSong lyrics.
Imagine! The fashions of bosom and derriere change. What changes fashion? Fashion designers change fashion. It’s all commercial, you see. Money, money, money, money . . .

A few years ago, anorectic models were all the rage. A few years before they showed up, women appeared to be women for a while, and before Queen Size came lumbering along. Of course we’re gaining weight, we don’t move and too many of us eat fast food. That’s another subject.

Women who can afford - or at least pay - for so-called improvements have faux nails, breasts, butts and hair. Nail beds may develop fungus on fingers or toes. Breast enlargement is just as dangerous as many surgeries. Working on buttocks, depending on what is desired, may be dangerous, very painful and inconvenient. Wigs may cause fungus, as well. And if they are created with real hair may cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Hair extensions are damaging to one’s natural hair and may cause other - and costly - problems.

And then there’s liposuction. Don’t! Just don’t.

As I write this, the US is galloping toward $12,000,000 annually on improvements.

What price glory?

For young women particularly, what they see on small or big screens may look good. But what do these women look like without a team of caretakers and cosmeticians?

Until we have the ability to create replacement parts from our own material, why not be the best we can be without putting ourselves in danger?

And who wants a mate based on “improvements?” I’m not referring to necessary plastic surgery to correct birth defects or the result of accidents. I’m talking about vanity. And now men are getting into the act. Fear is the factor. Aging gracefully is only in style by the fearless. Would I rather have the body I had at, say, forty-five? Not if I have to give up what I’ve gained in knowledge and wisdom through the intervening years.

We’ve already ruined some dog breeds. I wouldn’t have a dog who needed cosmetic surgery, which is why I had Labrador retrievers wearing their come-as-you-are uniforms.

At the opposite end of the scale is a scale that can accommodate enormous humans. Enormous humans are the result of a number of problems:

Fast food and riding in cars instead of walking. When city people moved to suburbs they could no longer walk to appointments perhaps miles away.

Pollution from hormones and other toxic materials - fatter beeves, for instance. And now there is a dearth of bees and if bees are not there to pollinate, produce suffers. Pollution is so prevalent that we’ll never - never - be free of it again.

Compared to the volumes of material on the above subjects, this is a drop in the oceans - all the oceans. And messing about with the human body with so-called improvements is another pollution. If you’re contemplating bigger breasts, take this as a warning:

The bigger the breasts the harder they fall. Oh, sure, you could have them hoisted up every few years and risk the pollution of the surgery and the facility in general (don’t kid yourself, all hospitals - all - have varying degrees of staphylococcus and only God knows what else).

Do I sound cranky? I am cranky. It’s painful to watch what some people do to themselves just to “belong.” When parents gift their daughters bigger breasts for their sixteenth birthdays . . . yes, some parent do that . . . it’s repulsive and should be against the law in the same way pedophilia is against the law.

No one has asked my opinion. At the same time, just because opinions are free doesn’t mean they’re worthless.

I’d suggest you eat an apple, but it may be dangerous.

Not very dangerous are walking, riding a bike and for those who would have difficulty doing either, if a Y is close enough, swimming. For peace of mind, there is Yoga, Tai Chi and other forms of meditation.

Story: For a while, a friend of mine had one of her grandsons living with her and her husband. When she’d come home from work he, even at the age of four, would run to a closet and drag out the yoga pad announcing that she needed to “do yoga.” Of course, he joined right in.

Today, even with all the problems - and there are plenty - those of us who take time to tend to our being find that happiness is almost always present.