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Allan and Rebecca graciously invited me to take part the charming Washington Grove July 4 festivities–how grand to attend this splendid patriotic event! We assembled in the park, the band marched in and took their places–then came the Raising of the Flag, The Musket Volley Salute, a stirring rendition of O Say Can You See, and then The Parade. After all the excitement, we recuperated on Allan’s elegant back porch, and Allan and Rebecca served up a delicious lunch.
I chatted with one of their neighbors, also a new grandmother. We engaged in Granny PhotoBragging. She showed me a pic of her grandson eating ice cream, and I said my grandson is not allowed sugary foods.
Allan sagely murmured, “ah, the Malvolio Diet'” When questioned he explained: “No more cakes and ale.”

Ha HA! Such a wag!

Netflix sent me the next movie in my queue–The Mill on the Floss, which I contemplated without any great enthusiasm–yes, yes, love George Eliot, but really, these passionate Victorians, one loses patience with them. However, time passed and I eventually peeled off its red robe and set it onto the little DVD turntable.
BUT–mais qu’est-ce c’est? EH? Here was a whole lot of medieval imagery–Madonnas, peasants, and Rutger Hauer in robes and a black toque.
Where were Tom and Maggie Tulliver?
AH.
This was a movie called the Mill AND THE CROSS, a very different movie indeed. I sat bemused. This was not at all what I expected.
Though it was, it turned out, a very interesting movie indeed: a brilliant bringing to life of Breugal’s painting, The Way to Calgary. Really, like being inside the painting, with the magical scenery, odd stormy skies, and horsemen riding over the green fields dressed in bright red tunics.

The details of life in the 1500’s seemed very well observed to me, and how powerful the vision of the man crowned with thorns, staggering under the weight of the cross he dragged–the anguish of his mother, the dumb sorrow of the peasants. Moving, very.
However–NOT, as I said, quite the entertainment I had expected.

Metro Coffee

In a humble attempt to win back the esteem of their customers–disheartened and alienated after months of terrible commutes–the Washington Metro had minions handing out coupons for a Free (Medium size) Mc’Coffee yesterday. Each coupon bore a breezy message about much our support was appreciated, and how during the SafeTrackSurge they did THREE YEARS WORK IN ONE YEAR!

I, uh—well, very nice, Metro! Good try, at least.
I gave the coupon (and the usual dollar) to the the beggar lady who stands on the corner every Friday, and she gave me her blessing, as she does every week.
And as always, I figure I’m safe for another week at least.

Every summer I struggle with the Water Features that so enhance my garden–the gentle sound of gurgling water bestows such peace, is so very pleasing.
Related image
[NOTE: image may differ from actual garden experience]
So very displeasing however is the process to set it a-gurgling. The pipes, the pumps, the hours squatting in the grass ensuring not only a day of subsequent backache but also affording the mosquitoes excellent access to all parts of my body.
This year I was mightily tempted to hire a stout fellow to assail the larger fountain and DIG IT OUT OF THE GROUND, removing it from my sight forever.
However, I resisted, cleaned out the horrid sludge it had accumulated over the winter, bought a new pump, and set it to work. Success!

Instantly visited by a pair of youthful cardinals, agog to test it out.

The little lion fountain was quite another case, however. The inner piping had become almost solid with mold/grunge/dead insects, and refused my every effort to ream it out. SURGERY was required.
This involves a sharp blade and WATER PROOF CEMENT, comrades. But do I quail? Well, yes, a bit.

PROCEDURE

  • Cut square(ish)hole in fountain back, retaining cut piece.
    • (NOTE: this exposes the little inner reservoir where the water gathers so that it wells out of the lion’s jaws and does not spurt in an unseemly manner.]
    • [NOTE 2: This delicate artistry is why one cannot simply ream a pipe cleaner down its throat.]
  • Give the now exposed piping what for, until it is clean like whistle.
  • Open can of cement. MY, it is well sealed. Use crowbar if necessary.
    • HA! You thought it was a ready-to-use paste! Not so. It is a powder.
      • A toxic powder, btw
    • Get out the vacuum cleaner and clean the spilled heaps of toxic cement powder off the table and rug.
    • [NOTE: cement powder is not that poisonous to cats or humans, at least not in small amounts]

Assembling Tools and Materials

  • Carefully mix cement powder and water .
  • Throw out the mixture and start again, this time with 3 parts of cement to 1 of water, rather than the reverse, you idiot. Reading the instructions, such a good idea.
  • Glue carefully retained cut out piece back onto fountain with the cement. Then cover all the gaps with cement.

FountainRepair

You are a genius! Hurrah! Now, put it back on the wall outside, fill it with water, set the pump going and enjoy the delightful burbling fountain. Success!

In other news, when I sat down to watch a movie last night, there was a fizzling sound and suddenly only the front speakers were working, the rest silent as the grave.
Oh, I am FORTUNE’S FOOL.

Metro does it again!

This morning there looked to be standing room only in the train as it surged into the station, so I darted towards the end of the train, where seats are often available when all the other cars are crammed end to end–and found a seat! Hurrah!
Which was such a blessing, as the train abruptly stopped in a dark tunnel enroute, and stayed there for half an hour. Half an hour is nothing much when you are seated comfortably–as I was–with a charming book to read–as I did.
NOT the case for hundreds of other people, who promptly took to Twitter to vent their rage and frustration. They had PLENTY of time to choose the most venomous language and the most apropos images.

Image result for sloth crossing road
“Tuesday morning commute on the Redline”

Ear Worm for you

Having made the mistake of listening to old folk songs, I now find that my brain can’t stop singing Four Rode By. Please click on this link so that you too can become infected with this grand song!
Four rode by,
Rode through here,
Three Mclean boys and that wild Alex Hare.

Alex HARE– heavens, perhaps a long lost great great great uncle!
Who did no credit to the family, however. Hanged.

There are some charming pictures of the 17th century Japanese reaction to their foreign invaders-those horrifying Hairy Barbarians!

Too too disgusting.

HOWEVER, it turns out that modern Asian ladies are not viewing this facial hair with anything like the disapprobation of their ancestors.
There was a story in yesterday’s Journal about a youthful Indonesian entrepreneur who aspired to the bearded hipster look as an aid in his romantic endeavours–but his face, like that of so many Asian men, refused to sprout anything but sparse pathetic wisps. So he started rubbing his cheeks with minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine. AHA! Luscious facial abundance! The ladies giving him the eye! And he has now embarked into a profitable career in helping other Asian youths acquire that oh-so-lovable chin fuzz.
There is no end to what young men will do for the sake of young ladies.
An interesting side note in the article mentioned a study of English facial hair fashions (1842-1971), which found that beards and moustaches burgeoned whenever there were more men competing for fewer women–as is the case in Indonesia today.

Image result for victorian beards

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