Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bug Season

For those of us NOT vacationing in Hawaii, bug season has begun.

The season of long sleeves, long pants or a whole lotta bug spray.

Cow thinks summer would be more enjoyable were it not for these flying, biting, crawling critters. But doubtless, they have important jobs to do, whether it's supplying themselves as food or eating others.

Cow would just like to remove her leafy limbs from the process.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Then....and Now

Pierce Brosnan and his wife vacationing in Hawaii this week....

and the way they were in 1997:

Ahh. The Good Life.



Interesting article about a victim of identity theft who was unable to interest most law enforcement to prosecute the thief.

Cow wonders when sworn law officers were allowed to choose which laws they enforce?

And, Cow would like to be the beneficiary of this latitude.

Alas! Cow is suffering the effects of having let her vehicle inspection sticker expire. Caught in a holiday roadblock, Cow was pretty confident:

-Seatbelt: on.
-License Plate: up to date.
-Driver's Licence: present.
-Proof of insurance: check.
-No outstanding warrants: naturally.
-Speeding: nope.
-Topiary: green, trimmed and orderly.

Argh. Forgot about that little windshield sticker, the yearly proof that your car has brake lights, headlights, and turnsignals. Costs about five bucks.

And the fine for this having expired? $120.00. One hundred and twenty dollars.

While millions of immigrants flaunt the laws of our country by entering and working here illegally, the police crack down on expired stickers.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Cow wonders when or if gasoline prices will curtail the continual spread of towns into forest, and perhaps revive the idea of a walkable neighborhood....

Wouldn't that be nice?


Saturday, May 24, 2008


Topiary went to the moovies today. She saw about the first hour of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.... then she saw about 30 minutes of Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian. ...then she saw around an hour of Iron Man.

Cow would be happy to sit through entire moovies if only they weren't so slow, or boring, or predictable, or (name your poison).

Strangely enough, despite the distraction of the drug-ravaged face of Robert Downey and the strangely unappealing red-wigged Gwenyth Paltrow, Iron Man was the best. Cow did keep imagining though how much better it could have been with a leading man not wearing his history of addictions with quite so many lines in his face, and a side-kick with some chemistry instead of the wooden Ms. Paltrow.

As for the Crystal Skull, the first scene was really good, though it was clear George Lucas reached back to the days of American Graffiti and showed his car obsession once again. To hard-core Indiana Jones fans Cow is sure the moovie will be a delight. Cow just wasn't hooked though.

Glad to see a preview with Guy Pearce in a leading role...will be looking forward to that.

Hope everyone in the US is having a good three-day weekend. For those in the Congo and in Britain, Monday is Memorial Day, a holiday which Americans celebrate by eating. Like they do every other holiday.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008


It seems there are some newcomers to the Topiary Cow's humble blog.

Newcomers with questions.

Cow has answers.

Yes, the Land of Topiary is a real place. Residents include The Topiary Bunny, who is young, energetic, and primarily concerned with snacks.

Topiary Bunny has a great sensitivity to any issues concerning carrots, or carrot cake (yum) but is sensitive and easily hurt at people's lack of caring about the important issues of Bunnies.

The Topiary Moose and Eskimo reside in the northern section of the Land of Topiary. They spend days lolling about admiring the scenery, fishing, and bewailing the lack of sunlight.

Occasionally, they post on blogs, but because of the time change, posts occur at irregular hours and often must be dug out from snow drifts.

For awhile, there was a Topiary Sea Serpent but he seems to have disappeared into the Loch and has not been seen for some time.



Inspired by Gorilla Banana's delicious poetry and Viscount Galbi's mouth-watering verse, Cow has composed an Ode. No, no, please, no applause. Why, it's nothing. (Cow bashfully bowing to audience).

To My Neighbor

Dearest Neighbor
It is seven am
On a weekend
And sometimes, weekdays.

What do you do over there
With that noise
Digging a tunnel to freakin' China?

Noise should be used for Topiary
Instead of for evil.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008


See, you've got your small red bananas. And your big, need-to-be-cooked plantain. And the supermarket Cavendish banana.

Cow has been reading a couple books* about Bananas.

Encouraged by the surprising facts garnered by this pastime, Cow tried the red bananas, and even fried a plantain.

Results: You must be really, really certain the red bananas are ripe. Otherwise it really isn't possible to spit it out fast enough. When ripe though they taste about the same as the Cavendish.

Plantains: if you want a fried banana, it's pretty good.

Why, you ask, is Cow trying these new bananas? There is a banana fungus poised to obliberate the Cavendish, and nobody can stop it. It caused the loss of the Gros Michel in the 1920's (first big banana blight) and now there's another surge of ambitious fungi. So flexibility in banana consumption will be essential.

Kind of like when the polar bears are extinct from global warming, we'll just have to use other kind of bears. Right?


*Bananas!: How The United Fruit Company Shaped the World by Peter Chapman; and
Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel

Monday, May 19, 2008


Cow very happily stumbled across the blog My Napoleon Obsession.

Luckily Cow is long over her own Napoleon obsession. She hardly remembers her partiality for the Egyptian campaign, and the meticulous diaries of Bourrienne (before he was kicked to the curb for profiteering). It's been at least a ...year... since she traveled to a Napoleonic exhibit.

In fact, it's been so long since Cow toured parts of the Continent with a now-defunct Napoleonic historical study group, she hardly remembers spending three days on the battlegrounds of Waterloo. Cow's partiality for the Battle of Trafalgar which led to it's re-enactment in a neighbor's pool is now just a dim memory.

Sinking the French fleet at Aboukir would have been fun too, but would have required explosives and a fire permit there at the end.

Ah. No. Cow has long outgrown her Napoleon obsession. Long outgrown. (Cow quickly getting Napoleonic texts down from the bookcase).

Just going to look up a few things.



Can't Buy Me Love...

But can have Topiary. These Topiary-across-the-sea were robbed of the drummer, perhaps because of some disparaging comments made, according to the Daily Mail.

Topiary feels quite a kinship with these studly hedges. She's starting, in fact, to tap her toe and sing along!



Okay, they're smart. But they're also really, really cute.

Green, gas-saving, cheap to buy and drive, all those things.

That's not the problem. The problem is all the yahoos out there driving half-ton trucks with one hand while they yap on their cell phones who won't even see you till they've run you down. Motorcyclists have the same problem.

It's only when they either make separate lanes for cyclists and small cars away from the huge SUVs and trucks, or when the tides of traffic change to be more tiny and fewer huge, will it really feel "smart" to be in the smallest thing on the road.


Thursday, May 15, 2008


Cow was behind a rather large vehicle today, emblazoned with "Armada" and "Nissan".

How far has the Spanish Armada fallen, to be used only as a name for a Japanese car. One that is a gas hog, too.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

US still making friends

"I believe cohesion in society is not served by inexplicable inequalities." The Dutch move to limit executive pay although executive salaries and cash bonuses in the Netherlands are about 25 percent of U.S. levels and half of those in Britain.

U.S. should go on diet of its own, India says

The food problem has "clearly" been created by Americans, who are eating 50 percent more calories than the average person in India, said Pradeep Mehta...

If Americans were to slim down to even the middle-class weight in India, "many hungry people in sub-Saharan Africa would find food on their plates," Mehta said. The money Americans spend on liposuction to get rid of their excess fat could be funneled to famine victims instead, he added.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Finally, Cow has met a bovine who can measure up!

It's springtime Cow luuuuuuve.



Cow is taking an eeensy trip with Gorilla Bananas to Bolivia, land of great hats.

Also the Carnaval de Oruro with musicians, parades, plays, in fact, all Cow's favorite things.

Cow is indebted to Gorilla for suggesting just the perfect getaway.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Plan

From these hard lessons, here's Cow's plan for the future.

1. It seems anytime you go to sell a house with a deadline, such as a start date for a new job,  you are at a disadvantage.

2. Remedy: sell house first. Take years to do it if necessary. After it sells, move someplace temporary (small condo, or rental) and then and only then look for a new job. 

3. When you get the new job, you can move without having to sell under a deadline.

This is Cow's plan and she's sticking to it. 

Friday, May 09, 2008


Cow wonders if it is possible to rinse out your brain. Just to forget, say, the last month or so.

Perhaps, a handy amnesia pill?

Cow is ready now with lessons learned. Class? Pencils?

1. It is not sensible to take a $50,000 loss on your home in moving to get a $6000 a year raise.

2. Even realtors who sign a paper saying they are working exclusively for you, are not.

3. In large-money negotiations, have a lawyer look at everything before you sign a thing. If that takes days, all the better.

4. Ultimately, now matter how much you have tried to educate yourself beforehand, when you are with realtors, you will need backup because they want to close the deal no matter how much of a loss you will take.

Cow hopes this humble lesson helps others avoid Falling Into a Pit.



Cow is marvelling at how she could have gone so long without knowing this most useful word. Not to be frivolous, bantering, light or flippant in any way, of course.

Thanks to Gorilla Bananas.


Thursday, May 08, 2008


Cow has been marvelling at those who can talk all day long.

Cow hasn't been in school for a while and had forgotten the ability of some to speak at great length to an audience who are not really interested.

Audiences who make important rustling noises with keys, and purses, and jackets, and newspapers, showing that they're ready to leave when the big hand is on 12 and the little hand is on five.

And yet on they speak. and on. and on.

Cow will be glad to be back to a regular job.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Cow has a change of venue this week and is Downtown.

Instead of the usual leafy pastures, Downtown offers neat old buildings, cracked sidewalks, picturesque pedestrians and policemen on Sedgways.

Cow is having fun, and hopes everyone else is too!


Friday, May 02, 2008

Found out

Cow admits it. A quick glance at her links confirms it.

She's obsessed with Daily Photo blogs. Particularly recommends the Venice Daily Photo.



Brits just have a better way with words. Instead of slow, drawling, labored sentences, they dance lightly over the longest and most complicated phrases.

And then for good measure they'll throw in a few words they think up.

For example, from louche, "I decided to bimble into Soho to join some chums for the party circuit."

Or, "Under the counter: Jim gives me a zamizdat copy of the briefing notes..." from Helminthdale.

Cow would like Americans to spice up their conversations with new words, fresh, brightly colored, crunchy or salty, sweet or spicy. Just a little something new.