I’m so quotable

This is kind of weird, but you can buy greeting cards and fridge magnets printed with a quote by me.  It wasn’t the most brilliant thing I ever said, but someone at Quotable Cards plucked it off the internet and wrote up a contract, so I signed.

Got a kid who is graduating or otherwise leaving the nest?  You could go with Rudyard Kipling’s “If,” or Robert Frost’s “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” or, heaven help us, Dr. Seuss’ most tedious work, “Oh the places you’ll go.”  OR, you could send them a Simcha Fisher original:


Cards and magnets available here.  Because what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t hawk stuff?


Gaudi and the Highlander Principle

Happy birthday to Atoni Gaudi, the mad builder of Barcelona.  When I was visiting my sister when she lived there, we toured La Sagrada Familia, which he started in 1883 and which is still unfinished.  Gaudi’s trademark style is the “sandcastle” look and feel

with mind-bending curves and Seussian angles

with bright colors and unexpected juxtapositions of heavy geometric shapes.  I don’t actually know what the conventional wisdom is about Gaudi’s architecture, especially La Sagrada Familia.  Do traditionally-minded folks recoil in horror, because it’s so . . . well, gaudy?

and really does look like some insane person built a sandcastle and then enlarged it and painted it with Prang Tempras?  Or do people easily recognize that his stuff, while weird and disorienting, is architecturally brilliant, and transmits a sensation of giddiness and exaltation?

Maybe it’s easier to tell in person how fantastic it is.  I always wonder about that, when I see pictures of some ucky new church or piece of sculpture that the Catholic internet hates.  Architecture is, after all, designed to be seen in person, in the actual light and from the actual perspective of someone who’s actually there, and photos don’t necessarily catch anything of that experience.

On the other hand, Gaudi falls under the Highlander Principle of art:  there can be only one.  It was really great one time.  But that’s it!  One guy can get away with it!  No more!  The same goes for Jackson Pollock, John Cage, and, in a way, G. M. Hopkins.  You love the experience, but you don’t necessarily want any imitators or influencees.

What do you think of Gaudi?  Have you seen his stuff in person?


We’re getting a dog.

It’s a long story, but the basic principle is, “If you’re gonna do something stupid, go big.”  So we have an appointment to drive three hours and pick up a nice little puppy who happens to be a Great Dane/German Shepherd mix.  I have zero experience with dogs, but my husband has owned tons of them.  So I know he’ll have this guy completely under control in no time, no matter how big he gets.

” . . . and once you and I get ‘fetch’ down pat, I’m gonna train Mama how to use Photoshop, because this is just embarrassing.”


While we’re waiting for this little guy to be weaned, we’re thinking of names.  All the kids except the baby (so that’s ages 4 to 15) contributed ideas.  Here is our list, which may or may not be funny to anyone outside the family:

  • Rosette
  • Hammer Dammer
  • Shambles
  • Captain Bananas
  • Sharkbait
  • Bowie
  • Minion
  • Kirby
  • Bucket
  • Chickenbutt
  • Bleah
  • Woof
  • Tesla
  • Rufus
  • Terminator
  • Master of Darkness
  • Rover
  • Toby
  • Cody
  • Puckett
  • Brainiac
  • Broody
  • Haddock
  • Sharkface
  • Tadpole
  • Samwise
  • Sam
  • Ham
  • Sebastian
  • Hammy
  • Short Round
  • Lando
  • Gandolf
  • Dumbledore
  • Voldemort
  • Bananagram
  • Moovie-doovie
  • Grommit
  • Yoshi
  • Ramen
  • Pop
  • Popcorn
  • Wii-wii
  • Count Marshmallow
  • Captain Flower
  • Eye of Death
  • Shatner
  • Bum
  • William
  • Chips
  • Stinker
  • Gulliver
  • Mama
  • Nuffie
  • Door-door
  • Poison Dart Frog
  • Eyeballs
  • Piggie
  • Snarkytreepig
  • Farthead
  • Yarp
  • Narp
  • Bongo
  • Wolfie
  • Mushroom Breath
  • Patch
  • Tenderheart

I feel like, no matter what we officially choose, it’s going to be Captain Bananas.



Oh, Francis-haters, you sound very lovely when you get played that way.

Good heavens, I’m completely disgusted at some of the comments I’m reading aboutPope Francis’ “snub” of some concert.


Here’s the only completely sensible thing I’ve heard: this is a big deal about nothing.  As one commenter pointed out, maybe the guy had diarrhea and didn’t feel like telling anyone.  Maybe an old friend is on his death bed.  Who the heck knows?  We don’t.  I’m fairly sure it wasn’t just a passive aggressive fabrication when “an archbishop told the crowd of cardinals and Italian dignitaries that an ‘urgent commitment that cannot be postponed’ would prevent Francis from attending.”

Here’s the thing:  you outraged ones, do you seriously not realize that you’re getting played by the media?  Some pissy cardinal got mad and told the media that it was a story.  It’s not.  Think I’m wrong?  Do you really think that Benedict went to every last thing on his schedule for eight years?  Really?  He never skipped anything, ever?  Or if he did skip something, were you there to see how he let people know he wouldn’t be there, and were you also there to see how Francis let people know he wouldn’t be there?  And Benedict did it right, and Francis did it wrong, every time, because if Benedict did it wrong, then the media would have written a story about it?  And Francis deliberately arranged for there to be an empty chair, but Benedict definitely and personally made sure that nobody was disappointed ever?  You know this?  Because of all the stories you’ve read, written by the totally impartial media, whom you have always trusted in the past to get all the details right about all things Catholic?

Please.  You. Are. Getting. Played.  If you don’t like him, fine.  (I think you’re nuts, but what do I know.)  But if you’re seriously calling him “tyrannical” for not showing up at a concert, or refusing to pray for him because, according to a transcript of some unscripted discussion, you think he’s not properly grateful for prayers, then you have a serious problem.

The same goes if you like the pope, and you have read a few stories and have concluded that he is Sending a Signal to the Musico-Ecclesial Complex about how, from now on, we will be scraping all the gold leaf off St. Peter’s and melting it down to buy clean needles for addicts and christening gowns for the children of prostitutes.  People.  Get a grip.  He’s a very interesting pope.  But this just plain isn’t a story.

Yeah, I feel kinda bad for the people who practiced their music and then didn’t get to play for the pope.  That stuff happens sometimes.  But I have no sympathy for people who are just horrified, just bowled over with revulsion and dismay, at his rejection of everything that has been sacred to us lo these many years.  Because the people who are the most horrified are the same people who pooh-pooh their fellow Catholics who leave the Church over truly painful issues — things like divorce and remarriage, or the abuse scandal.  You expect the entire world to just . . . . get over stuff, and yet you are climbing up your own assholes over an empty chair at a concert.

Yeah, so, that’s what I think.


Seven Quick Takes, In Which I May Be a Bit Dehydrated

1.  Yay, Patheos tech team!  They brought my archives over from my old blog.  My pages, too, which I’ll be updating soon.  Stay tuned for a list of top ten favorite posts, or at least top posts which seem entertaining without triggering any calls to child protective services.

2.  My Register post is up:  The Happiest Voice.  Last week I had The Saddest Voice.  I think I’m onto something here.  Stay tuned next Friday for The Voice Which Best Exemplifies Perfect Indifference.

3.  In a recent bout of economizing, I told my husband I was ready to downgrade on gin. I am now the proud owner of a nice, big bottle of something called New Amsterdam, and for all I know it does taste exactly like New Amsterdam.

But more importantly, stone cheap.


(My husband, being a gentleman, did tap on it before he bought it, to make sure the bottle was actually glass.)  It’s not quite as smooth as my favorite Tanqueray, but it tastes fine.  But the next day, I remembered something I used to know:  when you buy liquor, what you’re really paying for is the next day.


(Sorry, I just realized this is the second time this week I’ve used an adorable animal to express my inner disposition.  This stops now.)

4.  Speaking of thrift, my son recently showed me his toes.  He was wearing sneakers at the time.  So I had a free moment and headed to the Salvation Army to look for some replacement shoes.  They didn’t have anything for him, but they did have these for $5:


which I had no choice but to buy for my 7-year-old daughter.  They have little disks built into the sole, so you can spin around like a beeeutiful spinning ballerina princess ballerina.  Now obviously, a seven-year-old girl is capable of spinning around without the aid of a special shoes; but then you don’t get to be the greatest mother in the world for ten minutes until you say no to a third ice pop.

5.  100 years ago, Igor “Why You Do Me That Way” Stravinsky premiered his insane, herky jerky, dissonant Rite of Spring

It doesn’t get really nutso until about the 3:33 mark.  People were so upset by what they heard and saw that there was a riot.  A RIOT, because the music wasn’t beautiful, and people still wanted and expected art and music to be beautiful.

Now, I’m of two minds here.  I like Stravinsky, and I’m not one of those people who insists on all harmony all the time.  I’ve sat through John Cage concerts, and I listened hard.  I went to Die Alte Pinakothek and did not skip the abstract expressionists, but lavished my eyeballs all over them all afternoon long.  On the other hand, I want to give those concert rioters a medal, because first there was the Rite of Spring, and now there’s this.  Where were the rioters when these folks



took the stage?  To poop on stage?  Because art, that’s why?  I would make some puns about the heavy load that an artist bears, but I’m too busy weeping until I’m dead.

6.   If you hear anything about whether or not print newspapers can survive, here’s something to keep in mind:  my husband is a reporter, and the other night he emailed me to let me know that he was running late, and that he would be bringing home some cheese.  He said that a cheesemaker owed the paper some money for advertising, and that they had persuaded the ad guy to let them pay their bill in cheese.  So, there you are.  Buy newspapers when you can, before the business acumen leads them to trade in the good camera for a sack full of magic beans and five shares of Enron.

7.  And here is a common potoo:


You may think the photographer just caught him at a bad moment, but no — that’swhat the common potoo always looks like.  This particular potoo is named Igor Stravinsky, and he looks like his week has been about as much fun as mine.

Hey, happy Friday!  And happy summer, dammit!  Finally.