But Who's Counting?

Whether you called it hot depended upon how willing you were to share all your hot experiences, but yesterday was warm. I walked into the grocery store yesterday and made a little bet with myself, and sure enough, standing in line, the guy in front of me was going on about how, by God, he’d lived in hot places before and this was NOTHING. Everybody has a story.

It was beautiful, though, and I spent it inside for the most part, fan blaring and tied to the computer for income reasons, and at the end of the day I wanted some more heat.

Habanero heat. Just a little pepper goodness, after a long day. Nothing heavy; a little generic salsa dosed with red magic, a few chips, that oughta do it.

So I took down my food scale, measured out salsa in 30-gram increments, then did the same with the chips. A little mental calculation and I had myself a 350-calorie snack.

Not that it mattered. I was going to eat all the damn tortilla chips I wanted. I just needed to know what I was getting, because I’m all over the numbers thing now.

Not just with food; that’s a remnant of an autumn of weight loss, is all. And this is nothing new for me; all of my life I’ve loved adding up numbers, seeing what they told me and where they were taking me. The spreadsheet was invented for me. Math any higher than basic algebra is a mystery to me, but I like my arithmetic.

It’s become more of a tool lately, though, a little trick in an undisciplined life. If, at the end of the day, I can add up the calories and the miles and the dollars and the words and the laundry and the hours, I can somehow see where I managed to slap together a day that wasn’t wasted.

A philosophical issue, then. Wasted. You might scoff. I have memories of such days. And now Freddy Fender. Damn.

So July is hereby Numbers Month on this blog. It is my favorite month, and this year a couple of notable numbers come to pass toward the end — I have the Big Five-Oh, and on the 30th is our 25th wedding anniversary. How that happened is a mystery and a miracle, but I’m feeling very sentimental these days.

So I’ve decided to make lists. Fifty this and fifty that. Maybe a few 25s. Fifty Favorite Films. Twenty-Five Times My Wife Should Have Divorced Me. It’ll be fun. Suggestions are welcome. Tipping is, of course, discretionary.

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Quote Of The Day

From this TIME article about a contemporary movement in churches to encourage conjugal bliss among their (married, of course; heterosexual, one assumes) congregation:

One participant expressed a yearning to see her husband dressed as a police officer. The Good Book offers no specifics on that, so Stacy Spencer allowed that it was up to the woman, “as long as you’re not lusting after a particular officer. Jesus talked about spiritual adultery, and that could be spiritual adultery. But if it’s just a generic cop, go for it.”

The old “generic cop” pastoral counseling trick. Works every time.

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What The…?

I’m shocked. Shocked.

RALEIGH — Thanks to some text message-savvy grandchildren, North Carolina drivers whose license plates have the potentially offensive “WTF” letter combination can replace the tags for free.

Officials learned last year the common acronym stands for a vulgar phrase in e-mail and cell phone text messages. DMV officials got word of the plates last July when a 60-year-old technology teacher from Fayetteville complained about the plate after her teenage grandchildren clued her in.

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Scratch Ticket

Read this fascinating article on itching in the New Yorker with plenty of moisturizer on hand. Also nail clippers, maybe.

One morning, after she was awakened by her bedside alarm, she sat up and, she recalled, “this fluid came down my face, this greenish liquid.” She pressed a square of gauze to her head and went to see her doctor again. M. showed the doctor the fluid on the dressing. The doctor looked closely at the wound. She shined a light on it and in M.’s eyes. Then she walked out of the room and called an ambulance. Only in the Emergency Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, after the doctors started swarming, and one told her she needed surgery now, did M. learn what had happened. She had scratched through her skull during the night—and all the way into her brain.

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High pressure.
85 degrees.
Iced tea.


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Edible Estates


I think this is a great idea. I want to turn my entire lawn into a vegetable garden too.

And my garage into a movie theater.

And my kitchen into a kitchen. And my bathroom…

The problem, as Haeg sees it, is that the “hyper-manicured lawn” is looking increasingly out of date. In the 1950s, when suburbia first began to sprawl, a perfectly trimmed front yard embodied the post-war prosperity Americans aspired to. Today, amid rising fuel costs, food safety scares and growing environmental awareness, a chemically treated and verdant but nutritionally barren lawn seems wasteful, he says.

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