Monday, June 29, 2009

Saturday Evening

Topiary spent Saturday night in a Catholic church....naw, not praying for Mr. Jackson's soul. Not homeless huddling for sanctuary. Attending a wedding!

While lulled to sleep by the interminable droning of the priest, Cow considered:

-How she would NEVER be able to rustle up 500 Topiary acquaintances to fill a church...

-How she'd like to belong to a church, if only they weren't so boring, and so family-and-kids oriented;

-How frightening it was that the microphone kept fading out as the priest spoke, and whether this was some sort of message;

-Two words on page eight of the Guide to the Service: "please kneel" horrors!

-How much relief can be generated by kindly seatmates saying "you don't have to do that" as others leave their seats for communion;

-The effects of fantastic food, a great band and an open bar at a classy reception to make the evening a rollicking success!

Cow hopes all young shrubs get just as beautiful a start. *snif* into Topiary hanky


Friday, June 26, 2009

Equal treatment

A very nice man from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office gave a media briefing today.

Mr. Jackson will be treated the same as everyone, he assured the media.

It's reassuring to know the Coroner, currently holding around 5,000 unclaimed bodies and thousands more unidentified ones, will continue it's unhurried work, unrushed by any considerations of stardom or wealth.

"Let's do these guys from skid row first, then the world-renowned star."

Interestingly, the Coroner will, for a fee of about $6,000, perform private autopsies, i.e., those not required to be done by jurisdiction.

Somehow, it's comforting to know that even there in the realm of the dead, capitalism flourishes.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hot, and hot, and hot

"No letter from my beloved for two days, no cool days, no cool nights, no drinks, no movies, no dances, no club, no pretty women, no shower bath, no poker, no people, no fun, no joy, no nothing save heat and blistering sun and scorching winds and sweat and dust and thirst and long and stifling nights and working all hours and lonesomeness and general h*ll--that's Fort Riley, Kansas."

Letter from Captain Francis Blake to his wife, trying to culture influenza bacteria from the throats of troops, August 1918.

Just a little perspective in case the heat was getting you down.

(From The Great Influenza, by John M. Barry, 2005.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Cow stumbled across the 13-page application to become a Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist in her state.

Pages requiring degrees, internships, passing scores on practical exams and supervised clinical experience. Fees required, transcripts required, testaments from other professionals required.

Cow wonders at the potential harm a poorly trained speech therapist could do, compared to, for instance, poorly trained parents.

To become a parent, doesn't matter if you have no job, no income, use drugs, want to abuse the child, am only becoming pregnant to get out of school or obtain a government check. Doesn't matter if you know nothing about babies or raising them. Doesn't matter there is no stable home or good example set. Nope, our government requires nothing at all for people to pop out as many babies as they want, and then let the taxpayer or charitable institutions support them, and later try to remedy the harm the parents have done to the child.

Cow thinks the requirements for things should be commensurate with their impact.


Friday, June 19, 2009


"Never before in history has there been such a combination of so many people and animals. In 1968 China had 5 million pigs and 12 million poultry, now it has 500 million pigs and 13 BILLION poultry.

Most pandemics began in Asia. The reason: larger numbers of people live in close contact with pigs and birds in Asia than elsewhere, so more opportunities exist for a virus to cross over from animals to humans."

Luckily, the current swine flu strain is relatively mild, and there is no need to adapt protective coloring and turn into a hedge at the present time.

But, Topiary will keep you posted.

From: The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, by John M. Barry. Penguin Books, 2005.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Blogs are free-wheeling and entertaining, and a large part of this is their anonynimity, allowing people to say what they want without fear of social constraints or reprisals.

Yes, at times, this is a bad thing.

A recent court ruling that a blogger's identity can be revealed in the local newspaper will certainly give some pause. A separate case has requested a newspaper to turn over the names, ip addresses, etc., of everyone who commented on a specific story. The newspaper is fighting it.

Newspapers, being hard-hit lately, surely should not have to defend lawsuits such as this. Bloggers operating under the knowledge that they can be exposed to the world, will probably just tone down everything they say. Boring. And lacking diversity. Too bad.

Links courtesy of The Drudge Report.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Six months in Sudan

"The story started when I was standing in a customs line, waiting to board the plane to Germany for training with Medecins Sans Frontieres, when my friend Matt called and asked why I had decided to go. I told him I wanted to see who I was when everything was taken away, when all the insulation between the world and me was removed."

Aside from his apparent death wish (he starts smoking while simultaneously praying to be sent to a war region) the author tells an interesting tale of volunteer medicine in the world's lost and forgotten places.

From Six Months in Sudan" A Young Doctor in a War-Torn Village, by James Maskalyk, Random House, 2009.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Everybody in the world knows when you're doing something really, really dorky.

Like working a second job that requires you to visit local cinemas and audit various things, like, for instance, snapping photos of patrons being handed an advertising blurb for a cell-phone upgrade when they buy their moovie tickets.

Pretty sure that adolescent boys are the all-time champions of recognizing, saluting, and grinning at really dorky jobs. Because they can't hide it at all. Not at all.


Friday, June 12, 2009

You! Yes, You! You know who you are...

Cow understands that the word verification before you post a comment is there to impede mass postings.

She admits though, not seeing why, if blog owners are in addition to requiring word verification moderating comments, and deleting any spam at that point before it is published, why also require posters type the word verification?

It's just that you're typing, and scrolling down with the mouse to submit, then you've got to go back to typing to put in the image letters, then go back to the mouse..

Cow wishing that those who moderate could do away with also requiring word verification. Seems like one or the other would be sufficient protection against spam.

Image Courtesy of Science Blogs.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Fallen

Ms. California has lost her crown but more interesting is this quote from her erstwhile boss Donald Trump:

Trump said: "To me she was the sweetest thing. Everyone else -- she treated like s**t."

Cow kind of impressed with Trump, not only for noticing, but for saying it.


Time for Lunch

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Oh my. Pause.... Oh my....Pause.... My oh my....Pause....

Cow's Topiary twitching in delight watching Jason Statham fight, and walk around, and almost smile (once) in The Transporter moovies. Not to mention roll around shirtless in motor oil. Yup.

Buff guys who do their own stunts are the reason the "pause" button was invented, Cow has decided.

The Transporter: a professional driver, with rules and standards. "Never open the package" states the Transporter, gruffly.

Cow thinking Mr. Jason Statham probably successful enough to have some rules of his own by now, (stated in a clipped, macho tone):

--Rule Number One: "Do my own stunts"
--Rule Number Two: "No smiling"
--Rule Number Three: "Minimal dialogue"
--Rule Number Four: "No Topiary on set"

Just guessing, there.


Monday, June 08, 2009


Cow freely admits she doesn't know how to 'snap' her bubble gum. She doesn't know how to blow bubbles, either (they would get caught in Topiary anyway).

Does this mean she likes or admires those who chew, and snap, and blow, and then chew some more?

Uh, no.

In fact, Cow can't understand how somebody in an office cannot understand that randomly spaced, loud snaps are at the best, a distraction, at worst, obnoxious, and Cow could go on.

That this same person sucks her teeth while eating is just another one of the many reasons Cow seizes every chance to either eat alone at her desk, go outside for lunch or create diversionary noise at every opportunity.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Ho ho ho

Cow is charmed by the Pirate Party running a candidate for the European Parliament.

Topiary is all for the free exchange of information. Companies keep grousing about the money they lose to pirates. Nobody ever talks about the money people lose to big companies by paying to see terrible movies, for poorly written software, for books that aren't worth the cover price, or CDs with only one good song on them.

Editorial cartoons of course should be protected under copyright, so should really good moovies and tv series. And who shall be the judge of quality? Why, Topiary, of course!


Monday, June 01, 2009

Eye Candy

San Francisco's Mayor Gavin, NEWSOME, is running for Governor.

Cow thinks if we elect gorgeous people, whatever their lack of qualifications, the country probably wouldn't be run any worse, and at least there'd be pretty people on the news instead of boring old "career" politicians with flabby chins and bad hair.

With this in mind, Topiary Cow will be carefully checking the mirror for stray trimmings and then sitting for a seat in Parliament, where apparently all expenses are paid by the taxpayers.