Archive for January 8th, 2005

Stormy Weather Errands

17

We

got around to paying the January bills today. Paying the monthly bills
is always a chore we put off as long as possible, enjoying a few days
of healthy
bank balance
before nagging fiscal responsibility forces us to get out the checkbook
and attack the pile of bad news accumulating alongside our computer.

Finally, around noon, having stoically survived the psycho-fiscal damage
of writing all those checks, we discovered we were out of stamps. Looking
out
the window at the local manifestations of the wicked winter storm which
has wound it way across the nation this past week, and was at that
moment wracking New England in a particularly nasty meteorological
mishmash
which
managed
to intermingle the worst attributes of wind, rain, snow, hail and sleet,
we thanked the postal gods for placing a local Post Office on the corner
of our street, right across from the Armenian bakery.

That lasted until Norma Yvonne informed us that the local Watertown
branches of the Post Office didn’t even open on Saturday, and that we
would have
to hike or drive the long mile into Harvard Square, where the PO was
open until 3.  Which we did, finding a parking space right in front,
barely long enough for the White Whale. But we thought we could fit,
and our expertise in parallel parking is legendary, at least in our
own mind.

We embarked on what quickly became a fiendishly complicated full-contact
parking drill, with a pumped up degree of difficulty due to the ruts
of semi-solid slush and snowplow runoff. After several dozen minute forward
and backward maneuvers we managed to box ourselves completely in, literally
touching the bumpers of both the car in front and the car behind, and
half sticking out into Mt. Auburn Street at least two feet from the
curb at the closest point. After a short but intense inner struggle,
(for we hate to abandon any effort once we have undertaken it) we
decided our position was untenable and we had better disappear before
the owner
of one or the other of the contiguous cars arrived to comment on and
possibly object to our parking methodology. After an equally painstaking
disengagement we found a much more amenable spot a block down the street.

Once in the post office,we were faced with another difficult decision.  Which
design to buy? We found the holiday trio, Merry Christmas (featuring
Virgin and Child), Happy Hanukah and Kwanza a bit passe.  The only
sports stamps available were "The Early Years of Football",
when men were men, offensive linemen weighed 180 pounds and wore leather
caps like WWI fighter pilots, and the Special Olympics. The first seemed
too nostalgically macho, and the
second
too
PC. There were musical honorees we knew next to nothing about, like Earl
Scruggs,
who we think used to be on Hee Haw, and Moss Hart, who we assume was
the father of the famous drummer of the Crateful Dead, Micky Hart. The
disease stamps are always tempting, but we felt only a tenuous connection
to the only
two
diseases available this month, Breast Cancer and Sickle Cell Anemia.

So the
choice came down to two American icons; John Wayne and Buckminster Fuller.
We never really managed to embrace Wayne as a personal hero, he was always
too smug and obsequious, especially around the "little ladies". But
his rugged reticence has inspired several generations of American cowboys
and can be seen as the intellectual author of the entire Reagan revolution
and Bush’s Showdown in Arabia.  On the other hand, Buckminster Fuller,
inventor of geodesic domes and prefabricated homes planted in place
by helicopters which had previous dropped tailored explosive charges
to clear a solid base for the future homesite, has been an inspiration
to the Dowbrigade since he was a wee lad. In fact, we has a bit TOO much
of a personal favorite to slap his face on a bunch of bills, which was
all we were mailing this morning.

So we decided to get 20 stamps of each design, and to use some on correspondence
to correspondents on our naughty list and the others on correspondents
on our nice list. We’ll let you guess whose mug went out on our pile
of bills.

Tourists Run Afoul of Sensitive Snoot

1

MILAN (Reuters) – Custodians of Michelangelo’s
David are thinking of blasting air at dusty, sweaty tourists to stop
them sullying the Renaissance sex symbol.

Months after a painstaking and costly clean-up of the 500-year-old nude statue,
experts at Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia found dust and humidity brought
in by streams of tourists had begun to tarnish their top crowd-puller again.

"The tourists carry in heaps of dust from outside. Dust may sound innocent,
but the city grime contains lots of chemicals. They also bring in humidity when
it’s raining," museum director Franca Falletti told Reuters on Monday.

How about obligatory showers and a MASS
(Michelangelo Antiseptic Souvenir Scrubs) for all visitors?

from Reuters