Thursday, December 31, 2009


Found the "extended Director's cut" of The Lords of Dogtown in the $4.00 bin at a large retailers, and it is fantastic.

Movie is about street skateboarding, but actually, almost better than the movie, are all the extras: interviews with all the original 1970's skateboarders who were generously given parts in the film by director Catherine Hardwicke, the deleted scenes, behind the scenes-scenes, and truly harrowing footage of the results when the actors and stuntmen wiped out, as they did with alarming regularity. And even a terrifying bit of footage as the Director herself overbalances and falls into a dry concrete swimming pool, ouch.

There is nothing like a good obsession to get your mind off, let's see, everything else!

These actors practiced surfboarding and skateboarding for 6 hours a day for a couple months to get ready, which makes Cow's relatively modest goals for 2010 seem paltry, but here goes:

-Find at least two single girlfriends to hang out with (Cow is going to start with joining the Sierra Club and possibly expand to another group) instead of, at the present time, having all her girlfriends be married. Married girlfriends just don't have the same concerns, and the friendship they offer is too limited, and usually all tied up with their kids.*

-study for at least one hour a day, starting with a big fat Excel 2007 book, going on to some others, to improve her skills, to improve her chances of getting a job Somewhere Else than Mississippi, in a couple years.

-Let go of everything else and just enjoy life.

Okay, those are fairly easy goals, so Cow wishes, not only every one else just as easily accomplishable New Year's Resolutions, but also the happiness of a New Year.

2010 Moo!

*by the way, Cow sympathizes with all the single guys who say they never meet any single women, because, Cow never meets them either! Where they are hiding, who knows, but will keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Single during the Holly-days

As everyone knows, you can find everything on the Internet. With that in mind, Cow did some research on this knotty problem of Singlehood at Christmas.

There's the Men's point of view: be careful who you bed, you might regret it. This is refreshingly straight-forward; especially the part about being attracted to "unstable lunatics" because they are the life of the party.

We could just Get Away From It All with a travel trip designed especially for singles: a walk to Donnington Castle for Christmas, followed by some live music and dining....

In case we DO find ourselves batting away intrusive questions, here's some snappy comebacks and a cute picture of a single's Christmas tree.

It's all about cognitive distortion according to: Dr. Victoria, writing from Ireland.

We could just join the Christmas resistance movement: against the shopping.

Delving deeply into the problem:

"Sadly, Christmas can be the unhappiest time of the year for many people - either through family troubles coming to a head as members meet for the big day, or through the despair of having no family at all, and feeling desperately lonely."

If you have a history of unhappy Christmases with your family, the first option to consider is whether to see your birth family at all.
"Where considerable damage has been wreaked, and there is no hope of change, it can be preferable to sever contact. This is often the best option as continuing to see the offending person only causes further heartbreak."

But then, if your own family doesn't value you, why would anyone? And, how then to ever trust anyone, if closeness just means people hurt you?

"Well, sadly there are no quick fixes, particularly if you're looking to change other people's behaviors. The first and foremost rule of counseling is that it is very difficult to change other people. But you can change yourself. And therein lies your power." Cow likes this Beth McHugh, who has posted these thoughtful comments.

Topiary hopes everyone in Blog-Land survived the holiday, with their shrubbery mostly intact. Topiary, for one, will be heading to a far-away beach next year.

Heartfelt Moo!

Disappearing Topiary

Sad to say the King Kong Topiary wasn't enough to save The Tavern on the Green Restaurant in New York's Central Park, closing due to bankruptcy.

Haven't ever visited but it looks nice, with lots of green accents.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Up in the Air, Down in the Dumps

The first half of "Up in the Air" was screamingly funny, original, witty, all the good things you would like while suffering being packed like a sardine into the holiday theatre crowd.

What the heck happened after hour one? Instead of a funny and witty comedy the director, or somebody, decided it had to be a "relationship" movie with "deep meaning" for the main character, showing his flaws, depressing life and making sure we get a sad ending. Too bad.

Cow cautiously recommends this movie because the first half was good enough to make up for the rest of it.

When will Hollywood realize we would like the "Happy Ending" please, our own lives have enough sad depressing stuff we don't need to pay to see it on screen.


Monday, December 28, 2009


Some Dear Readers, at times, express their loneliness. Has Cow got the book for them!

"Why Men Fear Marriage" by RM Johnson, (so afraid of commitment he won't put his name or photo on the book) will have you happily resolving never to date again.

By the time he's done explaining that it's all about how much money you make, how slender you are, how he might stay with you a few years but not really want to be with you, and how he'll resent any children you have from previous relationships, you will be overjoyed to be single rather than with someone who thinks even an iota like this man.

Yes, Cow usually does put a link to books she reviews, but this book was so cynical, so cold, and so horrid she won't.

In fact, Cow is leaving for the Shampoo Parlour right now to wash this author right out of her Topiary!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lovely Christmas Surprise!

Topiary, toddling down to the Topiary Mailbox, found a lovely surprise!

Yes, by Air Mail, all the way from Australia, with an intriguing foreign stamp, a lovely, big, gold envelope!

What is this surprise? Why, the most cool Christmas card ever! With wonderful little stand-out cut-outs! Illustrating the song! Just the absolutely best, prettiest Christmas card ever!

Why, who could have been thinking of Topiary during the festive holiday season? Inside: a clue.

(Topiary admits that she has only ONE acquaintance Down Under, so she might, just possibly, have guessed who sent it even without the artistic signature and cute hellos!)

Topiary wishes Linda in Australia, and all her Land of Topiary readers, a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fantastic Read

Just finished Captain Sullenberger's book, "Highest Duty". Readers may remember the Captain from his Hudson River Landing after his plane was hit by geese.

This was a very interesting book, filled with facts such as: US Airways doesn't give crew meals (Captain mentions his peanut butter and jelly sandwich packed for long flights), and that the emergency handbooks no longer have tabs, as a cost-saving measure, meaning that in an emergency, such as having both engines go out, the co-pilot has to flip through the book looking for the relevant information.

Captain S is very generous in the book, giving credit to his co-pilot Captain Skiles, the air traffic controller, etc. As described in the book, the co-pilot had almost as much to do with the success as he did, yet was given none of the credit. Such is fame.

This was a fast-paced read and was an interesting step into the life of someone who had been flying since high school, a fact all the passengers, for sure, probably were glad of.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

That one track

Topiary has finally figured out how music groups come up with one great track, when all the rest of their music is crap.

For example, the Black Ghosts have a fantastic song, Full Moon, which was on the Twilight movie soundtrack, and among a lot of great songs is easily one of the best, with great vocals, really wonderful acoustic sound, good tempo, stunning.

So, you listen to the rest of the album, which is full of synthesized and electric crap and guys screaming, and wonder, wtf?

Cow's decided, for that one track, some homeless musician wandered into the studio and recorded it, and it was so good, they kept in on the CD. Mystery solved.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ships with Painted Sails

From the Herald de Paris Ancient City found on ocean floor....and from Donovan:

The continent of Atlantis was an island, which lay before the great flood, in the area we now call the Atlantic Ocean

So great an area of land that from her western shores
Those beautiful sailors journeyed to the South
And the North Americas with ease
In their ships with painted sails

To the East, Africa was a neighbor
Across a short strait of sea miles
The great Egyptian age is but a remnant of the Atlantian culture
The antediluvian kings colonized the world;
All the Gods who play in the mythological dramas
In all legends from all lands were from fair Atlantis

Knowing her fate, Atlantis sent out ships
To all corners of the Earth
On board were the
Twelve: The poet, the physician, the farmer, the scientist
The magician and the other so-called Gods of our legends

Though Gods they were
And as the elders of our time choose to remain blind
Let us rejoice and let us sing
And dance and ring in the new
Hail Atlantis!

Way down below the ocean where I want to be, she may be...

Clip of Donovan singing Atlantis

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Numerati

Topiary will sum this book up for you: Very smart foreign-born US math whizzes are analyzing all our output to figure out:

-how to make us work harder,
-social groupings and sidelining of workers,
-how to substitute somebody in our job for less pay,
-how to sell us more crap,
-how to predict trends,
-if we are terrorists,
-how to tailor our health insurance costs to our behavior,
-early Alzheimer's by the reduction of complexity of our writings,
-how to match us with partners.

This was a very interesting book and carries the Topiary seal of approval, for the author did quite a bit of work researching his subject and interviewing pertinent people.

"Instead of knocking on our door, data miners break our documents into thousands of components and then sift through them obsessively."..."Tribes are defined not by neighborhood, race, tax bracket; instead, machines analyze our words and drop us into tribes..."

Tribal Topiary, swimming in a data bucket with a bunch of Topiary of various trimmings, what a thought.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Taylor Lautner is too nice

Looked at the Taylor Lautner interview, and was aghast at the rudeness of the interview questions. Are interviewers now allowed to be as rude and pushy as they want?

At the first question, ("have you ever done a line...") Lautner's rep should have pulled the poor guy outta there. Instead he had to suffer through the rest of this prat's interview as the guy mercilessly grilled him on prying, obnoxious, personal questions.

As for Rolling Stone, NO it was not purchased, and will not be, unless and until they teach their employees some manners. What a shame they cashed in on Lautner's physique after insulting him so badly.

The interviewer needs to be trimmed by extremely sharp shears.

Aggrieved Moo!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Too many people

Diane Francis of the Financial Post, writes The real inconvenient truth overhanging the UN's Copenhagen conference is not that the climate is warming or cooling, but that humans are overpopulating the world. The world's other species, vegetation, resources, oceans, arable land, water supplies and atmosphere are being pushed out of existence as a result of humanity's soaring reproduction rate."

And, from the China Daily News
"Dealing with climate change is not simply an issue of CO2 emission reduction but a comprehensive challenge involving political, economic, social, cultural and ecological issues, and the population concern fits right into the picture."

Finally, a few people have the courage to mention what has become taboo: overpopulation.

Cow is subjected at this time of year to endless pleas to buy stuff for poor children. Yet birth control has been cheap and easily available for over 40 years. If people can't afford to feed, clothe and buy presents for their offspring, why did they have them?

The answer is, people are very good at doing what they are paid to do. The US through tax breaks, subsidies and cash grants pays people to have children.

Cow hoping this will change and the world will once again be dominated by Topiary, as it should be.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Search

Cow was in the moo-d for a little Christmas music.

In particular, she had heard a great live version of "Carol of the Bells" performed by the high-school band. How hard, she thought, would it be to find a good CD of that?

Very hard, it turns out. After about two days of looking at CDs with the handy "listen" feature so you can hear bits of them, Cow found:

--many, many albums of Christmas music played so slow the musicians must be on Ambien (hello David Archuleta, Barry Manilow and Jim Brickman)
--albums of strange combos (cajun-easy-listening provided by Michael McDonald)
--albums with Too Much Orchestra or chorale backup (Faith Hill, Straight No Chaser)
--albums with so much electric guitar the ear quails (shudder, Mannheim)
--albums with just the right acoustic backing, where you can actually hear one violin instead of 50, but with such excruciatingly bad vocals (Bob Dylan's Christmas in the Heart) the reindeer and any children within range would be crying from fear. In fact, Cow listened to every preview track of this album, entranced with horror, at just how badly these songs can be sung.

Cow did purchase an album: Alison Brown Quartet, Evergreen, a quirky mix of banjo, mandolin and some vocals. Link not provided because Cow only tells you this to inform you, not to sell you things. But Cow wishes all good luck on their search through "brass-only", "country-only", "easy piano-only" "jazz-only" Christmas music and hopes they find just what they are looking for!


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Neighbor--Dilemma

Regular readers will recall Topiary's neighbor, whose husband hit on her and whose wife, presuming Something Went On (which it didn't) seemed to drop the friendship.

So imagine Topiary's surprise when a ringy-dingy from the wife was received yesterday, with an invite not only to stop by that day (which Topiary did) but also an invite for Christmas Dinner.

Now, Topiary does not have any competing invites for the Special Day...but feels rather uneasy:

-it's hard being the only "non-relative" at festive celebrations;
-it would be nice to chat with wife, and daughter, but won't be nice to have to chat to husband;
-the food will be good;
-they are all book-and-movie people so there will be things to talk about;
-absence of competing invitations.

Hmmm. What to do. What to do.

Has the wife decided her suspicions were unfounded? Has she decided to be friends anyway? Will slimeball husband keep his distance?

Enquiring Cows want to know whether to accept for Christmas or not.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It looked better when the Vampires lived there

Continuing my "Nike makes too much money" thread, the vampire's house from the movie Twilight is up for sale.

Owned by a Nike executive, the house illustrates not only that people are paying way too much for shoes, but also that Nike executives seem to sadly lack any appreciation of the historical importance of Topiary in Landscape schemes.


Just what are you promoting?

So, I'm an undead Billionaire, married, and I'm going to pick up waitresses who are lucky to clear a couple hundred a day, and think that the pleasure of my company will prevent them selling their stories.

And, I'm a waitress, or hostess, or all-around pretty girl, and when the story of my affair (non-exclusive, it turns out) hits, I can drop a dime to Celebrity Lawyer Gloria Allred, and she will take me to dinner at Spago in her nice Mercedes and give cookies to the paparazzi waiting outside the door.

So, what does all this mean for Topiary? Well, in between stories from the girlfriends who say, bitterly, "Tiger never gave me ANYTHING!" and local shopkeeps who assert "Tiger is a cheapskate and tips badly" Cow has decided to no longer support Nike.

Yeah, they only gave him $60 million a year or so to wear their corporate logo, not like they owned the guy. But between seeing the million-dollar Nike manager's home used in the filming of Twilight, and the knowledge that they spent their money on a miserly cheaper who doesn't even tip the people around him, Cow will never consider buying Nike again. Rotters.


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Newer, faster, more monopolistic

The Land of Topiary has bought a super-cool dual-core gigabyte whatsis which came with Windows 7. Thank you to Craig's list for making the meetup with the guy in the parking lot possible, and a really cool machine affordable.

What gripes Topiary is how, with any movement of the mouse, the stupid Microsoftie "Bing" search engine brings up an annoying little window filled with facts and links you don't want to follow.

Just to show how completely out-of-touch Microsoft and the Bing-creating slaves are, they didn't even create an image of their product for the web. Thus the above reference to the late great Bing Crosby. By contrast, about a million images of Google are available.

Yet Bing presumes to link to crap as if we were incapable of finding it ourselves. And in a sneaky way also pushing their ulterior motives and whatever they're selling.

Mutter, mutter. Click.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

He's Got the Mooves

The Bargain Bin of Previously Viewed DVDs leapt out and grabbed Topiary and forced her to buy a few things, among them "Shine A Light" about the Rolling Stones.

Not sure whether to admire these guys for still touring at their ages, or be disgusted that they still are despite not really being able to sing the songs too well anymore.

One indisputable thing though: whatever exercise or Pilates routine Mick Jagger is on, it works.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009


At the gym several weeks ago, and some idiot was banging on the window to get in (it's card-key entry) and Topiary knew not what to do and enlisted the aid of the guy on the next bike. So there was a little conversation:

-Guy on bike: he left his keys inside
-Cow: thanks for taking care of that.

Now it bears mention that this was late at night on Tuesday. Place was pretty deserted except for Cow and Bike Guy.

And what do you know, next Tuesday, same time, same place, same bike, in came Bike Guy. Topiary said a friendly hi but being the retiring sort just kept on with her workout. No Bike Guy for the next few weeks.

Then there he was again. Came in late, sat on bike next to her, and made sure to NEVER look at her or speak. As if to say, you know, I'm here, and I'm not speaking to you, even though it's the same exact night, the same exact bike, and the same exact time.

From this Cow supposes that she pissed him off. Apparently she was expected to Do Something, that second night. And so now he's got to Show Her how little she means to him, or something.

Guys. Geeze.

If guys want to talk, why don't they just say hi instead of getting all offended that somehow whatever it was you were supposed to do, you didn't do.

It was actually pretty funny when he showed up to pointedly ignore her, he had a new workout outfit and had got a haircut.

This is why Topiary only hangs with other Topiary.