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While I was recently walking through IKEA, admiring the signs in ersatz-Swedish, my lower back decided to go into one of its intermittent spasms. By the time I got home I was hobbled. So far a bottle of Motrin and a dollop of Ben-Gay have had little efficacy.  It spoiled my evening. I had hoped to do a few things but the psoas muscles are on strike. I was going to clean out the freezers this evening but this now has to wait. I’ve been obliged to sit still and not move, something that doesn’t come easy to me.  On the bright side, I have time to sit and think and compose.

The House of Spo has two freezers. One is the pull-out drawer under the fridge and the other is a standing white cube-shaped type. Both are full up with tupperware and freezer bags of dubious nature and  unrecognized objects.  I was being naif thinking I would be able to remember what is what and when I put them in. Frozen they all look alike, other than the slices of Christmas pudding which I daresay is two years old now. I suspect even frozen foods have a ‘shelf life’ and I should either thaw and eat what’s there or throw them out as lost causes.

Before I put anything else in cryogenic containers I should come up with some plan of action to identify and keep tabs of what’s in there.  What is obvious are the frozen vegetables and the frozen pizzas. The former seem to stay for months while the latter tend to  escape Houdini-style no matter how deep I bury them under the mystery meats.

Certainly the simplest solution is pull out the unknown blocks one at a time and let them thaw and reveal themselves. As it is nearly 40C here this wouldn’t take long. In the past I am often disappointed along the line of why I bothered to freeze that in the first place.*

Spo-fans are welcome to leave tips in the comment how they manage the contents of their freezers.  The more bold ones can give me their addresses so I can ship them surprise packages.


*I suspect the answer is simple one: guilt. I make a large something or other, and then I feel too bad about washing it down the waste-pipe. So I freeze it for a nebulous later. Like Walt Disney, I hear.

I was watching clips from “Mommie Dearest” the other day when I realized I was silently rooting for Joan. I don’t think that was the original intent of the director, but there it is. Her children are so revolting they don’t evoke empathy.  I caught myself smiling when she lets loose with the slaps.

It is curious how revolting behavior is sometimes seen not as noxious but as hilarious. Sometimes when I have a patient who is being beastly to their spouse I ask them point blank would they pull that rubbish on their best friend. “Certainly not” is the usual response. So why do that crap to your mate. Bottom line: because they can get away with it. I seldom evoke shame in a patient but sometimes it is just what the doctor ordered.

I recently heard a report questioning the supposition the rich are more rude than the poor. I doubt it. Thanks to Hair Furor being arrogant and pushy is now lauded rather than seen as something shameful. If I had pulled any of his shenanigans in my youth  Father would have given me a sensible shaking and told me to knock it off right now.

Miss Manner advises we should never return rudeness with rudeness for this is stooping. My mother said similar about setting a good example. The women in my family were fine ladies all but they all had a bit of Joan’s don’t f-ck with me fellows temperament. I could be cheeky with my uncles but never with my aunts. I am now at the age I can successfully use “The Voice”, a severe tone of chastisement they all pulled out from beneath their lady-like demeanors whenever rudeness was at hand.  The Bene Gesserit could have learned a few things from the Spo-matrons.  “You stop that! That’s ugly!”  I learned if you add a ‘because’ to the ‘that’s ugly’ the power of the Voice magnifies.  Alas, if I use the feminine version of The Voice I sound like a snippy queen, but if I use the masculine (think Humphrey Bogart in ‘Casablanca’) it works better for me. I seldom have to wave around any wire hangers.


GoldfishCrackers_EmbeddedIn my grandmother’s kitchen was a glass container not with cookies but crackers, and not just any rubbishy type. They were Goldfish crackers. Most of the time they were pale white (lightly salted) but sometimes they were orange (cheddar). Once in a while they were pretzels. No matter what incarnation they exhibited they were always goldfish shaped. I was dazzled. I’ve always had a taste for starches rather than sweets. Later in life I discovered Grandmother Spo did not make them herself but they originated  from a marvelous faraway place called Pepperidge Farms. I didn’t know where lay this dreamy and enchanted place but I was most grateful for their industry – and I could buy them at the supermarket. I would eat by the handful if left unsupervised.

Brother #2 and I had in our bedroom a little metal lamp which had a grill top which would get quite hot. We discovered we could place Goldfish crackers on top and hey presto! we soon had a hot tasty crunchy treat. We thought ourselves clever.

Later in life I discovered PF made even more delicious delights: cookies and bread. bread.jpgPepperidge Farms Very Thin Bread is Urs Truly’s official bread for toast.* PF makes an array of cookies I still find most delightful for tea. It is hard to pinpoint down a favorite. I am curious to hear from Spo-fans which one is theirs. The Milano cookie is good but my favorite is The Geneva. Geneva cookies with lapsang tea is tea time worthy of the gods.

Alas, alas Goldfish crackers rank up there with nasty chips. I shudder to think of the glycemic index of that self-indulgence. They are official off the menu. I suppose once in awhile I could treat myself to a bag but there is no stopping me from eating the whole bag in one sitting.

Next weekend Someone is away all weekend at the comic convention and I will be home alone for three days. I will be very busy and industrial. I just may treat myself to toast in the morning, tea and cookies in the afternoon, and a bag of Goldfish in the evening. A large one. Cheddar. No rubbish.


Someone wants to go out tomorrow night after work with his coworker to a near-by pub called Bitter and Twisted, a precise and amusing name for a local watering hole. There’s just one problem with this plan: the place doesn’t exist.  In the past we’ve tried several times to locate it (after hearing tales of fabulous potations). After a few feckless attempts we found it located in a rather empty-looking apartment building. Through the windows and the closed door we saw chairs turned upside down on tables. It looked quite unused . I think we’ve tried three or four different times at different of the day to find it open – all to no avail.  My conclusion: the front is a façade and the place is not open – ever.

Lounging in imaginary restaurants and fantastical bars is a hobby of mine viz. I continually hear of good eats and drinks only to find nothing there. The places has either moved or have closed. Perhaps I missed in the review you need a port-key or time-hole to get there, sort of like that off-number train station in the Harry Potter series.

Yelp is particularly good at locating non-existent bars and restaurants. I search for a local Chinese diner;  it tells me The Shrangri-la (oh the writing on the wall!) is only a mile away and I go there and lo! it’s a laundromat.

If Someone et. al. meet at the designated Bitter and Twisted only to find it closed or transformed into a SUBWAY it will be a disappointment but no surprise. We can go down the street to The Prancing Pony, The Boar’s Head, or (my favorite) The Admiral Benbow Inn.



iTunes sent notice I’ve been blocked from further attempts to log in as I have exhausted the number of allotted password attempts. In its flaunting of power Apple tells me it will send me some sort of ‘next step’ – in a few days. Meanwhile I stand out in the snow like Henry IV waiting for Gregory’s pardon. Oh the embarrassment.

Long time ago I took the advice of some great expert who said not to have a simple or ubiquitous password for on-line activities. I see his point. While “Urspo1234” was a memorable passe-partout, it got a ’10 for looks and a ‘0’ for security.  I went to using different passwords (each more complicated than the other) for every on-line activity. Now I can’t remember which one goes with Facebook vs. Create a Cookbook vs. Merrill Lynch etc. Some of these pass codes change regularly, which further complicates the matter. I suppose I should write all of them down on a piece of paper but I fear I will lose that too and be in desperate straits.*

Speaking of passwords I recently sent a terse email to my bosses remonstrating if they don’t do something about the office passcode I will do so myself. Cassandra-like I’ve lamented for years the clinic’s password is the worst:

  1. it is the same code unaltered for years.
  2. everyone uses the same code.
  3. It consists of a simple word; one could crack it quick as a quarter-note.

I hope the latest malware matter coming out of Europe is enough to get them to see sense. So far there is no response. Oh the pain.

Meanwhile I am at the mercy of Apple and its moods to give me a temporary code so I can establish a new one. According to ‘How safe is my password?’ my modest proposal of  Applscks&fu2  is good for 30,000 years and it is quite memorable.


* I’ve heard tell you can put all register all your passcodes at one website that works as  an on-line safety deposit box. What happens though when that gets hacked or (in an ironical moment) I can’t remember the password to enter it?

I recently made a couple of shirts with giraffes for a couple of Spo-fans who adore them so.  Giraffes do not personally float my boat but I see the attraction. Any zoo or wildlife fund knows what gets people to open their wallets like nothing else is a charismatic megafauna A.K.A a cute animal. People go gaga over these critters with their big eyes and furry pelts. One just wants to hug them to bits.  If a nasty-looking reptile or insect is in danger of extinction no one cares, but if a panda-bear is in jeopardy than that’s a different story.  Urs Truly is no exception. I too have my favorites:




They are odd-looking creatures with an odd-sounding name. Merely saying the word makes me smile.  What’s not to love?



Fascinating!  Large blubbery sea-slugs with tusks of seemingly no use or sense. Someone was having a good time putting this one together.  They are almost as good as a Baku. You walrus hurt the one you love.



The dears! They seem to spend their entire lives sitting in hot tubs lost in a dwam and not bothered to do anything. They have a pained Jack Benny look to them as if  they have a deep thought or a sick headache.



It’s the eyes, and the sense they want to cuddle you to bits. Please don’t feed them buns and things.




They are my favorite charismatic megafauna.

manpool  Aaron the pool man is a genius. The cement pond has gone from a semi-swamp to limpid blue. It is clean, cool, and refreshing, like my men. What a joy to come home after a hot day, strip of one’s trousers etc. and dive right in. I am actually enjoying the pool rather than seeing it as a problem. The pool light went out due to seepage. Aaron P. says he will have us a new light by week’s end. The new one will have chatoyant disco colors for swimming in red, purple, or green brilliance – guaranteed to keep away the evil things that lurk below in the dark wanting to drag me down as I can’t see them.

donald_trump_clown_anti_trump_2016_postcard-r85028c006e144aed9ba4d45d5d9f5c40_vgbaq_8byvr_324I am not one to write about politics but it’s quite painful watching the naufragous news coming out of the White House. I wonder if the GOP politicians will connect the dots if they continue to support such shenanigans spewing out you-know-who their political futures will go down the swanny.  Oh the pain.

This evening I ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant. I was pleased to read the menu and realize I understood most of it. My lessons must be working.  I recently found a Spanish lessons podcast quite fascinating. For one thing they teach Spanish as spoken in Spain. Words likes “thank you” are pronounced not like ‘grass-see-us’ but as ‘grathhhh-e-ess”. It makes me wonder if everyone in Madrid has a lisp. I tried some of these diphthongs and rolling Rs at work with thems who speak Spanish who learned their versions in Mexico and Cuba. They looked at me like I had had a stroke.  The two teachers, a man and a woman, are from Scotland. Their Scottish accents are sometimes harder for me to understand than their Spanish (which they speak well). If I keep this up I will be fluent in a Highlands-style Spanish no one will understand.


The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections sent me a deputation of the sort that causes people to lock the doors, hide the liquor, and pretend they aren’t at home. The accomplice email was full of the worst sounding language, excoriating me on yesterday’s entry. In their unanimous opinion Pablo Escobar nee The Clicking Device was the most boring entry they’ve read since the time I wrote about the dust bunnies under the bed. They extoled me not to fill the blog with rubbish about house and office objects (curious or otherwise) and to ‘put out’ as it were with something zany, exciting, and captivating – or else.

There is nothing like the threat of bodily harm to inspire writing.

Yesterday a scorpion was found in the knife drawer. Rather than crushing it under a 16 ton weight (the usual remedy for bugs among the utensils) I decided to use a blow torch hoping for 100% efficacy and cleansing by fire. The smoke and fire drove out a few more scorpions who were upset at the fuss, which agitated the Cup Fairies and Car Key Gnomes from their slumbers. They started a lamentation to rival an orchestra of scorched cats. Harper came into the kitchen thinking there must be something to eat in all this ruckus. Alas, the doggie-treats were incinerated along with several of the Cup Fairies. She added furtive howls to the disconsolate chorus  – and who do you suppose shows up next? Henrik the Ghost! I haven’t heard from him in ages; I thought he had skidooed.  He just stood there, lugubrious, looking at toaster, the mix-master, and the tea kettle as if he had never seen these things before, although this was hard to belief. He said something to the vociferous imps I didn’t catch (for it was quite noisy).  Whatever he said it was doing no good for hound and hobgoblins both became more agitated. I put Harper in the back yard and wondered if I should save the sewing machine.

I don’t know who called the fire department but by the time they showed up the ghost and fairies had all dissipated and I was left alone standing in a ruined kitchen with a barking dog and a pile of torched scorpions. The fine fellows asked a few questions to see if I was deranged. After concluding I wasn’t they gave me a stern lecture about using RAID next time.  One of the firemen (who was well over four feet) gave Harper a doggie-snack and she immediately calmed down. Mercifully there was no shooting.

I had the whole mess cleaned up before Someone came home for supper. I purposely burned the Blue Apron dinner, hoping to cover up the redolence of smoke and charred kitchen appliances. Happily this worked. All the same, our gourmet dinner was ruined so we went out that night to Pei Wei. I got extra vegetables on my Pad Thai to promote healthy digestion.


My stomach hurts and I am too tired to think of anything interesting.   Until I can think up something, here are some fantastic fantasticals who lurk around the Spo-house.


Baku   The Baku was created by the gods after all the other animals were made, using the leftover parts. His diet consists of bad dreams. In Japan if a child has a nightmare they are told to call on The Baku to come take away their bad dream. The Baku is often put aside a sleeping child sort of like a teddy bear or night light. Mine does pretty good for I seldom have bad dreams, which are usually about being attacked by fantastic beasts.

Location:  Bedroom dresser


Earl Imp  This michevious sprite likes to plop himself down in cups of hot water when your back is turned. His trousers are full of tea leaves which turns the water brown as he relaxes. It’s a bit unappetizing to consider but he does make a splendid cuppa.

Location: Among the tea things.


The Mind Hag  She suddenly appears whenever I am facing a frustrating matter or a vexing problem like trying to find the corner in a round room or where on earth did I place my glasses which I can’t find as I can’t see to find them.

Location:  Urspo’s brain


Henrik The Ghost  I don’t have a good photo of him for he is a ghost after all. Understudy for Henrik The Ghost is Henrik Ibsen The Playwright, who wrote a splendid play called “Ghosts” so you can imagine.

Location: The east side of the house / on the library shelf, respectively.


The Cup Fairy  He is forever moving my mugs about and placing half-consumed containers throughout the house.  Nothing gives him pleasure more, unless you count shifting about the car keys.

Location: oh lordy he and his cohorts are everywhere.


Urs Truly  Technically he is not a fantastic beast but a psychiatrist (Board Certified). He’s a nice fellow really; please don’t feed him buns and things.

Location: Dunno. He doesn’t sit still long in the same spot.


Father will sometimes look an object that has become worn-out and dog-eared only to shake his head and announce in a sad countenance said-object “has had the course”. To reach this stage is a sad thing; the long-time often-cherished object needs to be tossed out and replaced, and not without some remorse for doing so.

I am afraid my intrepid U of Michigan gym bag has had the course. It shows much wear and tear. Last night as I hoisted onto my shoulder the strap tore away from the nylon setting. I can forgo the strap and carry it around like a doctor’s bag I suppose, but I know it is just a matter of time before these handles go too. I used it nearly every day; I can take comfort it had a good and useful life.

Like a lot of men who have favorite items of clothes, shoes, or belongings, I don’t want to throw it out but hang on as long as possible and often too long at that. It was a Christmas present from Brother #4. I daresay I will call him up and find out where he got it rather than buying something different.

I wonder if women walk around noticing each other’s purses like I do with gym bags. When I am not inspecting the fellows who carry them I am looking at their gym bags. Here in PHX they fall into two categories: the purple/yellow type with ASU logos and the non-descript type, usually black. Mine was the only bright blue and yellow bag. It was noticed. That isn’t always good. Most of the time my U of M gym bag elicited conversations from thems from the Midwest, particularly if they once upon a time lived in Michigan. Men in the locker room might engage in friendly banter if they were alumni from this-that-or-the-other Big 10 schools.

michiganwolverinesvsohiostatebuckeyesclassicfootballrivalryOnce in a while as I walk in or out of the gym and I encounter a fellow wearing  a deplorable red and white T-shirt. Our eyes meet and narrow. We stiffen as if suddenly sickened at some awful confrontation. I am the one who usually speaks first, often making  the comment if we keep approaching we are likely to explode like matter/anti-matter. This diffuses the tense situation and it sometimes causes  confusion in the red/white person just enough to get away before they assault me.

Mercifully there is no shooting.

I am fairly certain I will get a replicate gym bag, not out of fanatic alumni loyalty for I like the familiar and the bag is a conversation starter – it is always good for chatting up the fellow next to me in the locker room. While he is admiring my Maize and Blue I am admiring oh you get the idea.

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