Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions


It has come to the attention of the Topiary Cow that once again, the year has passed with far too little dedication to the ancient Art of Topiary.

Even worse, the worthy cause of Topiary World Domination has stalled, sidelined by a lack of sufficiently sharp shears and the regrettable, yet inevitable, rise of Powered Hedge Clippers.

Imposing forms--vast embroidered parterre designs; fanciful creatures; and classic lollipops, spirals, and obelisks must speedily be returned to Garden Prominence, whether it manifest as single creatures or complex displays of abstract motifs.

A fresh approach, determination, enthusiasm and dedication to leafy greens are called for!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Aussie Corner

Pretty sure Peter Walsh is from Australia. Anyway, picked up How to Organize and figured he, or his editor, are on some interesting drugs.

How else to explain a book which transitions from how to organize drawers, bills, and filing cabinets and then proceeds to How to Tour the Louvre, How to Prepare for a Terrorist Attack, How to Survive an Ebola Outbreak?

Then, opening the revered Clarion-Ledger this morning, found a story on Peter Terry and his wife, who traveled from their home in Bathurst, New South Wales, to receive treatment for post thrombotic syndrome from vascular surgeons in Mississippi.

Small world. But organized, very, very well organized.


Monday, December 29, 2008


I received a Christmas card and letter from Cheye Calvo, Mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland and his wife. You may remember about six months ago county para-military squads broke down his door, shot and killed his two dogs and detained him, his wife and mother-in-law for hours handcuffed on the floor. I had written them a sympathy card.

I found this interesting site, with details of these warrantless, deadly force paramilitary invasions of private homes. It is good to look up before you move anywhere. Some areas are apparently notorious for unrestrained force by "officials."

Raid Map

The so-called "police" in this raid still admit no wrong-doing, although no charges were ever brought against the Mayor or his now-deceased dogs.

The mayor and his wife are still trying to get answers and are trying to put their life back together. Topiary is hoping they sue every single "official" involved in any way and at the least get them fired.


Saturday, December 27, 2008


Gusts of wind. Dark clouds coming.

Topiary is home where the wind cannot ruffle the serene composure of trimmed branches.

The reason this may be rough? The temperature here is in the high 70's. And the front moving in will be in the 40's. When weather collides, tornadoes form. Very strange for Christmas. Here's a picture taken at noon today.

Hope everyone is enjoying warm breezes without the threat of Weather. What is that creepy banging noise outside the house?
(Topiary now huddled in an interior room)


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day the Earth Stood Still

Nothing like moo-vies for Christmas afternoon. And despite reviews, The Day The Earth Stood Still was good. Keanu was good, too bad about the obligatory "cute kid" but John Hamm was excellent and made up for it. And Cow doesn't care what anybody says, the special effects were cool!

As for Adam Sandler's "Bedtime Stories" Cow must sadly ask, what is the world coming to when he is the star of the moovie and Guy Pearce is only a supporting role. What bizarro world is this?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Moo-ry Christmas Everyone!

Topiary wishes all readers a happy holiday, a Most Moo-ry Christmas, and hopes that everyone finds just the perfect presents under the tree, cute stockings filled with treats, much melodious music and absolutely no weight gain no matter how many treats you eat!

Plus of course, Cow wishes everyone a perfectly trimmed Topiary of whatever species, in their life.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Cow hates it when books promise so much more than they deliver.

Buyology: The Truth and Lies about Why We Buy, seems so interesting. Let's use MRI using to explore the brain's reaction to advertising!

- Anti-smoking warnings actually make smokers want to smoke;
- People rarely remember products for ads they see;
- Indirect advertising in movies has no effect unless its tied into the plot.

Cow has a sneaking suspicion they also tested book jacket colors, found that yellow sells fastest, and figured to get their $25 bucks before anyone noticed there was only one page of actual content.


Confluence of Events

Cow accepted a Christmas visit invitation. Presents were exchanged, but Cow made a rather hasty exit. Why?

This friend has many dogs. And many cats. And they have fleas. Oh yes. Cow was petting a cat and saw one. Absolutely.

This friend is a lovely soul, a lover of books, a charming and gracious hostess. She has a house crammed full of interesting artwork, and good things to eat. She's been a friend for many years. But cleanliness is not her strong point. And, she absolutely denies the presence of fleas. No, I've never had a problem, she asserts.

Upon returning home, Cow (to avoid cross-contamination) removes all clothing, dumps it immediately into a hot washer filled with bleach and soap, scrubs her Topiary Shoes and leaves them outside. Sprays the car seat with bug killer. Cow had worn her best, most washable Topiary Christmas Garments, having anticipated this. Cow, you see, is terrified of getting fleas in her house. So, she takes precautions. No problem.

This visit, though, there were not only fleas, but Influenza on the part of the children. Dear Lord, one was vomiting repeatedly during the visit. Every time Topiary got up to leave she was pressed to stay--no, no, you mustn't leave yet! Dearie me.

What's that they say about Christmas being a time for sharing?


Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Decor

The ducks, or maybe they are geese, decided my neighbor's house didn't have enough decorations.

You'll have to click on it to see the critter-augmented porch. They go perfectly with the red-and-green color scheme.

So, Christmas is coming and people are either making plans with relatives, getting out of town or battening down the hatches for the Big Storm.

The Land of Topiary will be decorating the blog soon, with stylish yet tasteful Holiday Topiary.


Thursday, December 18, 2008


After listening to the history of the Pakistan-India partition, (done, in a hurry, by an apparently ignorant and uncaring officer), Cow reflects on our world, run by managers.

Prez Bush, who knew about the mortgage defaults years ago but allowed it to continue; German officers who carpet-bombed Rotterdam despite an agreement not to bomb civilian targets; Bernie Maddox, "managing" people's money in the oldest of frauds, a Ponzi scheme; the SEC, its highly-paid managers apparently playing darts in a pub as billions were ripped off.

All across the board--through ancient times and the present, the military, politicians, government, private companies--managers run things. People have an implicit belief that those in authority know what they are doing. That because they are highly paid, and hold high positions, they deserve them.

Cow lets a bitter "ha!" escape under her breath.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.

Cow thinking of offering this excuse up:

"Please don't buy me anything this year. From now on, I'm only exchanging presents with relatives."

Wonder if it will work. Cow exasperated enough to give it a try.


What Would Jackie Do?

After reading the sprightly and amusing What Would Jackie Do?" Cow is inspired.

Must get one of those WWJD bracelets, asap...

Strange fact: among the books Jackie Kennedy edited while at Doubleday is "The Cartoon History of the Universe." Jackie said it was a better summation than many she'd read.

Isn't that cool? She was smart as well as beautiful.


Weekend Report, II

A good time was had by all at the Birthday Party!

Read: Darwin Awards, Next Evolution; What Would Jackie Do?, which contains guides for living from Jackie Kennedy's examples; All Too Human, about the Kennedys, The Curious World of Christmas by Niall Edworthy, and The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker. Excerpt:

“One of the least examined trends in the US today is the broad decline in the status and treatment of American workers. Health coverage, pension benefits, job security, workloads, stress levels and wages have grown worse for millions of workers. A disconnect has emerged, with corporate profits soaring while workers’ wages stagnated. Even though corporate profits doubled November 2001-2008, and even though employee productivity has risen more than 15 percent since then, the average wage for the typical American worker has risen just 1 percent. With the sub-prime mortgage crisis threatening to pull the economy into recession, some economists say this may be the first time in history that the typical working household goes through an economic expansion without any increase in income whatsoever.”

Steven Greenhouse, The Big Squeeze, 2008.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Weekend Report

Mouses rescued: 1
Books read: 5
Gym visits: 1
Parties attended: 1
Housework done: 0

Details to follow shortly.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tail of the Lizard

Cats found Lizard last night in the kitchen. Actually the cats found him, but Cow was quick enough to remove the interesting new cat toy and relocate him safely outside before he received injury.

Mississippi is going through Weather... it was 29 degrees F last night...unusually cold...for the American South.

Imagine Cow's dismay when this morning, lizard was still there, outside, not moving. And no longer green, but dark brown.

Topiary brought Lizard, still on the wall of his Tupperwear home, inside onto a heating pad. With the lid on top, but not sealed, for protection from roaming cat predators. After about an hour he started moving around and turned green again. Lizard has now been re-located to a bushy, leafy area with lots of tree cover. Cow will check on him tonight.

Cow thinks more people and things should have a deus ex machina.

Cow's been watching "Secret Millionaire" where rich people live in the poor part of town, find a worthy cause and donate $100,000. The good thing about the show is there are a lot of truly motivated people actually trying to make a difference in this world. The lines of people waiting just to have a meal, were eye-opening.

The sad thing is, these do-gooders toil in obscurity for the most part, with little help unless the Secret Millionaire happens to find them, while our politicians give billions of dollars to private companies run by heartless, corrupt old men.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thin on the Ground

Astute persons may have noticed Topiary postings being a little sparse. We've had a week of severe weather, first tornadoes, then drenching rain, now snow and sleet.

The good news is, get to leave work early! Bad news is, sorry about not posting much. Will be back up to speed soon!

Love to all from Topiary!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Saw Australia, and admits she still prefers the director's "Strictly Ballroom."

Though she certainly appreciates his thoughtfulness in showing us Hugh Jackman dousing himself with water.

Topiary admires Nicole Kidman, she just doesn't feel any connection to any of her characters. Can admire her beauty, without really caring what happens to her. Alas.

Also saw the first hour or so of The Punisher. Went because of being a fan of Julie Benz, who could not make up for this muck of a movie.


Fat and Happy

Possum came to visit last night, and looked fat and happy (on the end of the screen porch there).

Fat, probably because he's coming in finishing the remains of the feral cat's dinner. Happy, because his little primordial brain has figured out where the food is, and remembers to go there every night to get it.

Funny how animals are treated as not so smart, but know quite a bit, really.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

Cow has been making her way through the complete Hercules DVD set, with commentaries.

Luscious, mind-bogglingly beautiful scenery, amazing costumes showing intricate leather work and hand-loomed cloth, bad guys, beautiful ladies, all-powerful gods, strengthy heroes, this series has it all.

One episode (The Gladiator) has video commentary by both stars.

Sidekick Michael Hurst's commentary films him against a truly dreadful plaid couch, watching the show.

Star Kevin Sorbo's commentary shows him with a goblet on his side table, next to a Hercules sword. A framed picture of himself as Hercules is beside his TV. And an even bigger picture of himself as Hercules hangs on the back wall.

Okay. The only way Cow can account for the self-love evidenced by this room and still hang onto her adolescent crush on Sorbo is:

-His wife decorated it, and hung the room with pictures of the way she wished he still looked;
-the DVD commentary crew decorated it, and thought they'd better remind people who Sorbo was, in case they forgot.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Just in Time

From Tim T who brings us: Creative uses of modern environmental concepts: The Amazing Cholesterol Offset Scheme!

Just as smoke-spewing companies can offset their pollution by buying credits from non-polluters (please, someone, explain how that results in clean air or water) now we can pay to offset personal overconsumption of resources onto others. Guiltless chocolate! Gumballs, rumballs, popcorn balls! Cake, pie, brownies, cookies!

Cow really likes this idea.


Evil Empires

American car companies are back wanting bailouts, again.

Cow thinks these Detroit automakers are the Evil Empire. Not only for the oversized hogs they produce, not only because their repair and reliability records are abysmal, but because the huge vehicles make people afraid to drive small cars. Thus we march further and faster towards global meltdown.

But, on the upside, Topiary found a brand-new newspaper stand, fully stocked with Sunday papers, at her grocery store this weekend. Actually IN the grocery store part, so you didn't even have to stand in a second line to get one. Whoopee!


Monday, December 01, 2008


Images from Thanksgiving: Friend's Smart Car

Friend's son riding motorcycle

Three guests squeezed onto this couch

Raccoon enjoying Thanksgiving buffet back at Topiary Land

Friends outside enjoying cigars and view
And Cow went for a walk on Thanksgiving, 68 degrees at 5:00 pm. Nice.
Hope everyone else had fun too!