Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Oh, Right...

... You need to vent the potatoes before you bake them.

What caution did you ignore and then things blew up?

Monday, January 28, 2008

They're Back!

American bald eagles are headed back into parenting mode at the Norfolk Botanical Garden!

Since their three chicks fledged last summer, this pair has built a new nest in a different tree, and spent January courting and mating.

The Norfolk Botanical Garden has relocated its terrific eagle nest-cam (linked on my blogroll), and upgraded it with night-vision capabilities to provide 24/7 streaming video of the nest.

Cross your fingers for egg-laying in early February.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cloak of Invisibility

You probably haven’t hidden in a cabinet during a Nazi attack, as this little guy did in the screenshot from the film Life Is Beautiful.

But you've been inconspicuous somewhere. What did you see and hear?

Be inconspicuous again today. See which eavesdropped details gather juice, and put them together into a story.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Say it isn't so.

Tell me Americans aren't getting another government rebate check.

I was happy enough when the first check was announced, $600 per couple, back in the spring of 2001. They were going to be distributed in consecutive order, according to the last digits of taxpayers’ social security numbers. And you couldn't get numbers lower than mine! Except -- it went by the (grrr) Head of Household’s number, and you couldn't get higher than my husband’s.

We could afford what we needed then, and most of what we wanted -- overall, we’re not big consumers. But we’d been heads-down in work for a very long time, and it was fun to spend June, July, and August mentally putting the check toward an end-of-summer splurge.

Until finally, the last checks were mailed.

And the next week was 9/11.

The $600 is still in our bank.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rental Agreement

Consider this: A white man asks to rent the basement of a house deep in a black neighborhood.

What’s your story?

It’s the premise of Walter Mosley’s 2004 novel, The Man in My Basement. Into the story, we learn that the white man wants the basement for 65 days, starting July 1, paying $750 per day.

Now what’s your story?

[See the comments for a non-spoiler take on what Mosley did.]

Friday, January 18, 2008

American Pastoral

Your basic farm, one of thousands in the breadbasket that is America's rural Midwest. Except...

... what's that tower about?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Cry Room

A teenage boy sat alone in the cry room at the back of my church yesterday, his 15- or 16-year-old self vertical against the back wall, head propped neatly in the join of the back and side walls -- and still asleep despite the entire church having emptied out past him.

The obvious story involves some late-night adolescent exploits versus an early-morning service.

But what if his story were opposite of the obvious? That’s where it leaves stereotype and gets interesting, since each writer’s conception of opposite will be personal ... and unique.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Used Books

I keep about half of the books I buy, but sell or give away the rest after I've read them, taking great care to clear out any stray marks or papers before I part with the book.

Maybe I shouldn't be so careful?