Saturday, June 28, 2008

Direct Action

Cow admits she was impressed with the Chinese airplane passengers who refused to leave the plane when their flight was cancelled.

Topiary thinks that the possibilities and promise of Direct Action have been frightened out of Americans, except for a few environmental warriors.

And Cow thinks that's too bad.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Book Report

Cow has been reading "Between the Bridge and the River" by Craig Ferguson, the Late Late Show host.

Frankly, Cow doesn't know what to make of this book though it is entertaining in a strange disconnected way. Mostly, Cow is mightily impressed that a Mississippi Library bought this book and allows it to circulate, given the supposedly conservative climate here.

Cow has also been reading "The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes--and Why" by Amanda Ripley.

This studies both theories of human behavior in disasters and case studies through in-depth interviews with survivors of various disasters including the World Trade Center, restaurant and boat fires, hurricanes, and plane crashes. Coincidentally today there was this article finding, unsurprisingly, that business travelers in plane crashes stop for no one to get out, and those in exit rows have the best chances of getting out alive.

And what, Cow knows you are asking, does this have to do with bananas?

Only that alert reader Sandi sent Cow an article about the price of bananas. When bananas are selling in markets for 60 cents a pound, which price includes costs of harvesting them, packing them into sturdy boxes, shipping them and a profit for the grocery store, you must wonder. Especially if, like Cow, the cost of moooving your household furniture was recently estimated at $2.50 a pound.

(Cow trundling off into the sunset, wreathed with bananas, to sit in the exit row of the plane while re-reading Ferguson's book to see if maybe she missed the point).


Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Cow trundled around a parking structure today at lunch, and estimates about half or more vehicles are Large Size.

As in, not wanted by fuel-conscious buyers.

Cow wonders, if nobody's car is worth any money on sale, and nobody's house is worth anything on sale, what will everybody do?

Just wondering.


Monday, June 23, 2008


This skit where David Letterman's cue card boy interviews the head of an oil company says it all.

At least in the Land of Topiary.



Cow read that Saudi Arabia oil income is now at 1.3 Billion dollars a DAY.

Cow thinks, in this manner, we all financially contribute to global extremist movements. Because, a large part of that income is our dollars.

If it weren't for us buying their oil, they wouldn't have the money live here learning how to steer jets into buildings. To name one example.

And why are we paying them so much? Largely because we were forced into car ownership by the destruction of mass-transit, living farther out because of government policies promoting new construction in wilderness over rehabilitating existing housing in city centres, and one policy after another making sure "What's good for General Motors is good for the US."

(Cow quickly building a solar panel, a wind farm and hooking up bicycle-powered tv.)


Saturday, June 21, 2008


Get Smart is the first moovie Cow has watched all the way through this summer.

It was funny, and better than the old TV show--Smart wasn't such an idiot, and 99 wasn't as oblivious as they were in the old series. They were both sprightly, action moved quickly, jokes flowed easily, and best of all you didn't know what was going to happen hours in advance as in many moovies.

Of course they are both very easy on the eyes, too. Always helps.


Friday, June 20, 2008

The Perp Walk

Former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers were indicted and had to do the walk of shame, in handcuffs, when their attorneys were unable to negotiate a lower-key apprehension.

Cow thinks it would be weird to see your former boss paraded off. In all the companies in which she's worked, the higher-ups were imbued with a certain god-like presence, whether earned or not.

And so the mighty fall.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Rich

"Noble households had an average of 36 servants and were major employers of valets, coachmen, stable boys, hairdressers, cooks, porters, secretaries, architects,lawyers, doctors, apothecaries, bookkeepers, musicians, tutors, governesses, and a host of others."

"They engaged huge numbers of artisans to maintain and refurbish their houses, repair their carriages, tailor their clothes, and make their wigs and ordered vast quantities of food. The rich noble families analyzed each patronized 1,116 Paris merchants, from roofers to butchers to wood merchants. The economic weight of the nobility was enormous."

Cow wonders if the rich still contribute much to "people" or only to "things"...just purchasing non-local, mass-produced electronics, cars, planes or also supporting local artisans and professionals.

Had Cow not slept through so much of her economics classes, perhaps she'd have the answer.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Cow thinks it's sad the way shy men and women aren't on the same schedule.

Shy female flirts with shy male, who, being shy and somewhat lacking in self-esteem, doesn't respond. Shy female goes off feeling rejected.

Shy guy thinks about it for a few weeks or so, then decides: Hey, I think she likes me! And calls her.

Shy girl, having convinced herself she made a fool of herself by flirting, is businesslike and dismissive. Guy hangs up feeling that she is just a tease, or made a fool of him...

Thus, life is all in the timing. At least for humans.

As for Topiary of course, their timing is ALWAYS impeccable, just as their Topiary is always perfectly trimmed and stylish.


Monday, June 16, 2008


Cow has been reading "The Making of Revolutionary Paris" by the Australian researcher David Garrioch. Excerpts:

"Limited leisure time was spent with neighbors...the narrow streets were shared spaces where groups of men played bowls and skittles; women sat with their sewing, children ran free. On Sundays and evenings couples and families strolled the streets of their quarter.

It was a neighborhood obligation to exchange greetings each day, to observe rules of politeness that created a pretence of equality between people of different conditions and levels of affluence. The poor widow, living in a fifth floor attic room, the journeyman; the servant girl: all merited the polite greeting of "Monsieur" or "Madame."

Above all, local reputation and honor was a source of self-esteem. The respect of the neighborhood made life tolerable, despite its uncertainties, despite abject dependence and often grinding poverty."

Thoughts: in only fifty years, this entire life rhythm has been changed by television. Going 'out' for all entertainment is no longer required.

As for local reputation and honor...perhaps the internet has stepped in to provide feedback on others, at least on a national level. But it is a poor substitute for neighborhood knowledge of local businessmen and neighbors.


Saturday, June 14, 2008


As some observant readers may have noticed, Cow has a notebook computer now.

But continuing her boycott against the Evil Cable Company, Cow doesn't have Internet at home.

Which forces her into the sometimes salubrious company of others at the Coffee House.

Aside from the occasional horrible noise from the blender, it's amazing that such a diverse group can share a wi-fi connection to do so many different things while soothed by sugar drinks of all sorts.

Of course the comfy chairs help too. And the green paint. And tasteful Topiary decor, to which Cow adds her leafy presence. As she waits for her download.



Cow gave in to an impulse and bought some downloads from Amazon unboxed.


Waiting. and waiting. and waiting.

It takes forever for these things to download.

Cow wishing she'd just waited for the DVD.


Friday, June 13, 2008


Cow has to say, Chilean Sea bass has to be the best, melt-in-your-mouth piece of fish she's ever ever tasted.

Cow not really being a fish person, this was really, really good.

Then Cow made the mistake of looking up on the Internet, these fish.

Now they have a face. A big, expressive face. A face now Cow will think of if she ever eats this fish again.



Thursday, June 12, 2008


Cow was determined to finish her book on Hurricanes 1600-2000 before she returned it to the library.

So she read and read and then went to bed.

And didn't sleep a wink.

After rembrances of howling winds, torrential rains, capsized boats, mudslides, tornadoes, floods and uprooted trees, Cow's night was filled with fighting to survive the elements.

Kids, don't try this at home.



Cow is being really lazy and just posting a link today. Fences, security cameras, and tiny cars: this is a great site!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Cow admits these cars look threatening. The auto maker has replicated the look of frowning eyebrows with the headlights.

Or, maybe it's just Cow. The cars seem to be selling well, there are lots of them on the road.

Cow wonders whether it is intimidation value or just the desire to be in a powerful-looking car that makes people buy these.

(Cow frowning awfully trying to look scary)


Monday, June 09, 2008


Cow went to see "You Don't Mess With the Zohan."

Cow wonders when:

-Arab terrorists building bombs became likeable buffoons
-All white Americans became criminals/racists and bad guys
-All immigrants became good guys just trying to make a living
-Anybody against entire cities being populated by immigrants became a bad guy
-Israeli accents and hummus became funny
-Cruelty to cats became funny
-Cruelty to cows became funny
-Hezbollah became funny

Cow has to admit Sandler is so talented he can almost carry this off. Apparently, being a big star, Sandler's agenda is to humanize US middle-eastern immigrants even when they are solving their problems the way they did in the old country: by making bombs.

Cow is just amazed not only that this movie could be made, but that the reviews she's seen totally disregard the blatant message and sterotypes in this film and just review it as a comedy.



Cow keeps expanding her world knowledge.

For instance, Cow is still trying to Sink the Puck of Knowledge into the Goal of Truth, (getting by the Defensemen of Misinformation and then avoiding the Goalie of Obfuscation). Thanks to Baba D for crystallizing this so eloquently.

And with summer here comes timely advice from Louche: cats not on the list of good things to take camping.

Cow would be not only misinformed but sadly unamused without blogs.



Cow worked in the yard and was so happy to take a cool cleansing Topiary shower afterward.

Cow remembers living in Death Valley, where the water pipes were above-ground, so in the hot hot summers, the only cool water was from the pipes under your house.

Lasted about 3 minutes. After that the water was hot hot hot.

Cow being grateful for small things today.


Friday, June 06, 2008


Cow has been reading Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You by Sam Gosling.

Cow wishes the book hadn't meandered into quite so much Big Five personality analysis, and had been a trifle more practical-handbook. Cow hasn't finished the book yet though, it may improve.

So far Cow will never look at people who post inspirational messages in their offices the same way, though.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Movie Palaces

Cow wonders whether the old Movie Palaces, exotic temples as they were, made the content seem better.

Mall cinemas have no architectural oddities nor excesses. The audience is dressed down; there is no master of ceremonies...and going to the movies has become just another thing to do for a couple hours instead of a special experience.

Cow would like more "occasions" for which to don her Topiary finery. Especially since these spaces are air-conditioned.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Craig Ferguson

The Craig Ferguson show is so funny.

After CBS cancelled Moonlight (the best show on tv) this is the only good thing left.

Ferguson's take on the words to the Indiana Jones theme song (I am a hero, you are a loser) is now stuck in Cow's head.



Topiary Bunny and Cow took a little trip around the nether regions of her neighborhood.

These areas, previously forested, are now being turned into subdivisions. Some are tiny houses crammed together with tiny roads. Some, though, are big mansions on acreage for the rich.

Cow thinks that with few exceptions people that are rich either inherited it or are crooks. For instance, Donald Trump started his empire with money from his father. Granted, he enlarged it, but without the seed money he would probably be an "employee" too. Even those who started their own businesses often had help from parents for years before they became successful.

Bunny wanted to go door-to-door of the mansions, asking people how they got rich enough to afford these places. Empirical research is the only way to prove the truth of Cow's theory. But Cow thinks few would admit having stolen, ripped off and cheated their way to success, so all you would get would be tired feet and sore fingers from pushing so many doorbells.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008


As Cow goes about her day, she sometimes uses the drive-through bank teller for Daily Topiary Funds.

The teller has started Noticing Cow. Trying to make conversation. Asking why she's in the far lane instead of the lane closer. Attempting in every way to draw out the transaction and to personalize it with questions. Ugh.

Please. Just banking here.

Cow wondered why some Men with absolutely no encouragement except ordinary politeness, decide Somebody Likes Them.

So Cow did a little research. It is a successful evolutionary strategy to achieve reproductive maximization for Men to overestimate a Female's interest and pursue her, on the chance they are right and she IS interested. The evolutionary cost to not following up a possible mate is higher than the cost of being rejected.

Now Cow doesn't feel so bad. Because the alternatives would be to never smile and nicely greet any Men for fear they would get the wrong impression.

(Note: None of this post is in any way aimed at Kevin, Doghouse, Ultra, GB or any other beings of the Male Persuasion)



Cow belongs to a ladies-and-bovines-only gym. Why, because of the modesty factor, naturally.

That's why it's disconcerting, out of the corner of your eye, to see the newest staff member. She is of course female. But so looking like a man.

Cow wonders why that stereotype is so often manifested: gay women tend to be stocky, masculine, and unattractive. Gay men on the other hand, tend to be gorgeous.

Cow thinks there are many things in heaven and earth, not understood by Cows.


Monday, June 02, 2008


Cow has been reading Hurricanes and the Mid-Atlantic States, a history of hurricanes from the 1600's till the present.

Among the early descriptions of hurricane damage are of small buildings levelled by the winds.

Cow just doesn't understand why the 21st-century equivalent, "manufactured housing" or mobile homes as they are also known, are still allowed.

Seems nothing has been learned in 400 years.