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Archive for February, 2010

Oh, dear. Please tell me the chief of staff here isn’t named “Himmler.”

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Happy birthday, Mom

Today would have been my mother’s 91st birthday, and so it’s fitting to repost a remembrance of her I wrote a few years ago:

Mom was born Edna Catherine Parr in 1919. She hated her first name, so her friends knew her as “Catherine” or “Kay.” She came from English and German stock. Her English family, the Parrs, I’ve traced back to the 18th century — a village in Suffolk called “Exning.” Her German ancestors, the Zelts, apparently came from Bavaria or Alsace early in the 19th century. My great-great-grandfather who came to America, Jacob Zelt, was a brewer in pre-Civil War Pennsylvania. Near as I can tell, he lied about his age to avoid being drafted into the Union Army. Sneaky devil. :)

Unlike her older brother and sister, Mom wasn’t an extraordinary student in school. By her own admission, she was “too interested in boys.” She was the editor of her senior class yearbook (San Bernardino High, 1937. I have a copy!), however. She met Dad soon after graduating, which lead to their marriage in 1938 and four children after that. (In case you’re wondering, my siblings Rick, Sharon, and Larry were 19, 15, and 13 when I was born in 1958.)

I can’t speak for my brothers and sister, but Mom and I were best friends. With her children grown and gone, I was a chance for her to have a second family. She had a very nuturing nature, and often said she wanted nothing more than to be a mother. (Those who slag stay-at-home moms, take note.) At the same time, she loved meeting people so, when we were old enough to be in school, she took part-time jobs in retail, which she loved. She had a marvellous way with customers.

She didn’t have the varied careers Dad did, but she was a rock of steadiness for us. A good Catholic, she refused to get a divorce, even though they were separated several times before I was born. (I should be grateful, since I wouldn’t be here to write this, otherwise!) She loved the Church, and always nattered at me that I should start going again. Sorry, Mom. :)

Mom was always very supportive of me, paradoxically being both over-protective and yet encouraging me to push myself. Her philosophy of raising children, “You don’t have to be the best. We’re proud of you if you just always try your best,” is something I want to pass on to my own, should I ever have any.

Lest anyone think she was a demure Donna Reed-type, forget it. Mom always encouraged her children to stand up for themselves. More than once in grammar school I was told “You never hit someone first. But, if someone hits you, you him them right back. Even if it’s a girl.” And if someone in any way threatened or attacked her family — watch out. The German in her came out, real quick. She may have been short, but she could have intimidated Andre the Giant. (What is it about our parents that, even when we’re bigger and stronger, they can put us in our place with one word or look?)

To give you an idea of what she was like, let me relate one story. When I was in the 6th or 7th grade, after we had moved to Sacramento, I was riding bikes with a friend on a Saturday afternoon. I don’t even remember the kid’s name – let’s call him “Mike. ” We got to my house, and I brought Mike in for lunch. Mom wasn’t expecting us, but she made us sandwiches and chips and sat and talked with us. Just doing the “Mom thing.” When we left, as we were getting on our bikes, Mike turned to me and said “I wish your Mom was my Mom.”

It didn’t hit me until years later, but, think about that. How sad was his life that he wanted someone else for a mother, and how lucky was I? I don’t have a quantifiable answer, but I do know I was damn lucky. Even late in her life, when I published my first book, she made over it like it was something she wanted to pin to the fridge with a magnet. And, you know what? I was glad.

So, happy birthday, Mom. I hope there were daffodils on the table and all your collies, from Queenie to Melody, were there with you.

Miss you.

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It must get lonely in Iceland

An Icelandic expert tells us that sex with Elves is much better than sex with mere humans:

Here’s how it works. These so-called elves or “hidden people” find horny men or women who are out alone wandering the deserted moon craters or whatever and appear to them. These are not your run-of-the-mill, gnome-like creatures; these elfin people are tall and beautiful and emit a certain kind of light from their skin. If you are not sold already, I should mention that they are also great at dirty talk, able to sexually read your mind, extremely flexible, masters at oral sex, and allegedly give you the orgasm of your life every single time. Maybe that’s what Bjork is always singing about?

Click for video of the interview. Rated Hard-R for graphic language, if you’re the sensitive type.

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Some weird facts about absolute zero. Here’s one that really surprised me:

What is the coldest place in the solar system?

The lowest temperature ever measured in the solar system was on the Moon. Last year, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter measured temperatures as low as −240°C in permanently shadowed craters near the lunar south pole. That’s around 10 degrees colder than temperatures measured on Pluto so far. Brrrrrrrrr.

Poor Pluto. It always gets picked on. First it doesn’t get to be a real planet anymore, and now it’s not even the coldest place in the solar system. I half expect it to wander off to some remote nebula to pout for a few thousand years.

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A word of advice for Sandra Bullock: Next Valentine’s Day, just send flowers:

Sandra Bullock was left in agony after trying to cut and dye her pubic hair into the shape of a pink heart.

Sandra Bullock burned herself dying her pubic hair.

The actress – who is married to motorcycle enthusiast Jesse James – admits she was horrified when her special Valentine’s Day (14.02.10) grooming efforts went wrong.

She explained: “I decided for Valentine’s Day I would do a special hair thing. I wanted to try to create a pink heart shape with my lower hair. It was painful.

“You had to bleach it first. There’s something about bleach that feels like acid. Then I had to shave it. I was in so much pain, but I kept going and put the pink dye on and it went the wrong colour.”

Oh… ouch!! After all that, a final indignity.

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