Lightning around the world

I have no use for rain, but I love a good thunderstorm. One of my mom's favorite stories from my childhood was when she offered that I could sleep with her during a storm, and I replied "Why? Are you scared?" Today's Big Picture has some great shots of lightning and its aftermath. Numbers 10 and 16 are especially remarkable.

Awesome, thy name is Bear Hat

Ears+Fudd flaps+Viking tails=happiness


For the stargazers

July 28th and 29th will be peak viewing time for the delta aquarid meteor shower. It is best viewed after midnight, and up to 20 meteors could be visible per hour. Kurt and I got an early view in Michigan when we each spotted several last weekend. One spanned nearly 20 degrees across the sky, making it the largest I'd ever seen. Hopefully the clouds will clear here in Indy, so we can catch some more. If not, there's always the Perseids next month.


Everyone has a story

Today's Big Picture tells stories from Israel, Tanzania, and Malaysia. The first two are heartbreaking, so it's a welcome change to see the joy on the faces of the Malaysian sea gypsies.

I need to watch more infomercials

I can't believe I've been enduring the misery of boot camp workouts when all I needed was a Hawaii Chair.

Thanks to Bev for cluing me into this fabulous product!


Invasion of the tiny toads

Walking in the woods is one of my favorite things to do when visiting Michigan. We haven't been able to take many walks this summer because of the mosquitoes, but we did venture out to see the tiny toads that have invaded the woods. I have no idea if they're juveniles or wee adults, but they are amazing! They are fully formed and about the size of a dime. Since they were all over the path, I had to be careful every time I put my foot down. The last thing I wanted was be responsible for a toad massacre. The second picture may be of a tiny frog. He was smooth and slimy with a metallic sheen and seemed more calm than his toad cousin when we held him. Who knows, there might be an entire miniature ecosystem out there. Too cool.

Tiny toad (click picture to enlarge)
Tiny frog?


This is news?

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal featured a front page article on .... wait for it ... cankles! Yes, you read that right. Wall Street Journal. Front page. Cankles.

For the uninformed (mostly men, we'll assume), cankles are calf-ankles. The term originated in the movie Shallow Hal to describe thick ankles that don't taper. Apparently, cankles are the new body part that women are supposed to loathe and spend large amounts of money to remedy. Gyms are offering 'anti-cankle' promotions, and plastic surgeons are collecting thousands of dollars to do liposuction on the area. So you've crunched away your muffin top, Botoxed your wrinkles into submission, self-tanned to a proper shade of golden-but-heaven-forbid-not-orange, and think you're looking hot? Think again. You've forgotten to stress about your ANKLES, of all things, not living up to some absurd standard of beauty designed to turn gorgeous, curvy, unique, real women into living Barbie dolls.

To women, I say: Embrace your cankles! While you're at it, embrace your muffin top and your love handles and your pale skin and everything else that beauty magazines and gyms and now the freaking Wall Street Journal tell you is wrong. Own it, flaunt it, and don't give two seconds thought to anyone who says that you are anything but beautiful. Seriously, life is too short to worry about your ankles, and you can have way more fun with your time and money than getting liposuction and doing ankle exercises.

To the Wall Street Journal and Gold's Gym and the plastic surgeons out there? Well, I'm feeling too ladylike to tell you what needs to be said. Or maybe I should. Then your next article can be on 'Angry Girl Who's Had Enough Syndrome'. Finally, a disorder I can endorse!

Photo by stockingvixen


Is it just me?

At the bottom of my blog, you will see a link for "Older posts". Go back a page and there will be another for "Newer posts". This I understand. What I don't understand are blogs that use "next" and "previously" for navigation. Does "next" refer to the next page written (aka newer) or to the next page back (aka older)? From what I've gathered, there's no consistency in how the terms are used. I should learn to just click one, see what happens, and move on. Instead I overthink, I analyze, I question, I ponder ... and then I click one, see what happens, and move on. Only I'm frustrated and wondering if I'm the only one who can't navigate a blog successfully. Does anyone else have this problem? This should not be hard.

Graphic by Denelson83


It's not summer without Chris Isaak

Chris Isaak concerts are one of my favorite summer rituals. For the past 4 years, I've traveled out of state to see him in concert (why won't you come to Indy, Chris??) and never been disappointed. This year's show was at Meadowbrook Music Festival in Rochester, Michigan. The venue had a nice parklike quality, and we were grateful to have covered seats given the intermittent sprinkles all evening. Their lawn tickets are a bargain at $15, but be warned: you are faaaar away from the stage. Chris played several songs from his new album, Mr. Lucky, plus many of his greatest hits ("Wicked Game", "Blue Hotel", "San Francisco Days"). Highlights were a gospel version of "Don't Make Me Dream About You" and a fab bongo solo by Rafael Padilla. While Chris's trademark humor was present, this year's show seemed to include more music and less banter than normal. His band Silvertone was in top form, so that was fine by me.

Chris with guitarist Hershel Yatovitz

Chris and bass player Rowland Salley

Mirror suit!


Vive la France!

Happy Bastille Day!!!


Biases confirmed

These pictures of the Venice Biennale confirm two things for me:

1) Venice is beautiful, and I must go.

2) Contemporary art perplexes me. Breaking mirrors, eh? Sure, fabulous.


Borg sandals

I can't think when my feet hurt. I'm grumpy and distracted and truly not at my best. The problem is that I have funny feet (curse you narrow heels!!), so my feet almost always hurt. Even my soft leather loafers caused me to apply 6 bandages every morning in Tokyo just to walk comfortably. How? I have no idea. It defies logic and possibly the laws of physics.

One of the happiest parts of summer is being able to wear flip flops all the time and get a reprieve from shoes that are almost-but-never-quite comfortable. This summer, I stumbled onto something even better than my usual flip flops: Borg sandals! I call them that because I got black, and the narrow "toe tube" reminds me of a Borg eyepiece from Star Trek. They're not much to look at (understatement!), but they are truly the Most Comfortable Shoes Ever. They mold perfectly to my feet, and the large toe piece secures them. They're like a flip flop without the flop. Genius!


My favorite Chinese dish in Indy

Foodies should cover their eyes. The dish to the left is not only of questionable authenticity, it also comes from a chain restaurant. The horror! Nevertheless, the Empress Chicken at Mark Pi's in Nora is hands down my favorite Chinese food in the city. The chicken is always crisp (and never weird!), the vegetables are cooked perfectly, and the sweet-spicy sauce is incredibly addictive. I've never dined with anyone who didn't love it after trying a bite. Two thumbs way up!


Bouquet of sunshine

Since Mother Nature wasn't cooperating, I brought in some lilies to brighten up the day.