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As one enters La Casa de Spo through the garage one goes first into the laundry room in which stands an old wooden IKEA kitchen island. The top, now faded with use, is handy to place items just in from the car. On the blue and yellow stand lives a large blue piggy bank in which to put loose change. Down the board and nearest to the door is a shallow leather square-shape dish designated “The Key Bowl”. As one can guess by the name this shallow black receptacle is for keys. When used properly The Car Key Gnomes are prevented from hiding our keys around the house. Someone in the house (I won’t say who) has yet to connect the dots car keys go into the key bowl. One often sees car keys sitting on the island literally next to the key bowl. This infuriates the other member of the household who puts them into the key bowl. This often leads to the offender wondering out loud where the heck are his keys which in turn makes the one who fixed the matter inform the miscreant his missing keys are in the key bowl where they belong which leads to physical altercations that if this keeps going will lead to murders and suicide.*  The only defense for the one who doesn’t put keys in the proper place is The Key Bowl is rawther full. This is surprising as there ought to be only four sets:

Keys to the Elantra (my car).

Keys to The Precious (Someone’s convertible).

Keys to the backyard gate.

Spare key for the front door for any houseguests and gentlemen callers.

At last look there are nearly a dozen sets on various key rings.

We may have our differences as to where to put down the keys (one of us just wrong) but we both wonder how did all these keys get there. I have an urge to throw out the keys that don’t seem to have any value – perhaps they are from old cars or bicycle locks – but you know what will happen.  As soon as they are tossed a week later we will need to unlock something only to realize the key is gone. I think this weekend I may go to Home Depot and purchase some key ID tags in bright gay colors and label the ones with recognized functions. The keys of which there is no lock (sad!) will be strung on a large key ring labelled ‘WTF”. Being of a charitable nature I will donate the lot to The Car Key Gnomes who can move them around the house to their hearts’ content. For the keys were actually use I hope to find some sort of electronic device that emits a plangent lamentation if said keys are not placed appropriately in The Key Bowl.  For a while La Casa de Spo will resemble an orchestra of scorched cats until the offender finally learns to use The Key Bowl.

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*For the sake of entertainment I’ve allowed myself one or two equivocations. Please don’t write in.

“Enough about food!” said the email from Herbert The Great.* I’ve been ordered to lay off the subjects of food, walking the dog, shirts, and office shenanigans. This doesn’t give me much to write about. I could say something about my attempt to lose weight – again – but I’m certain that too will cause lamentations in the Halls of Heorot Jr.

I am in the market to buy a Kobold. Thems who aren’t familiar with Kobolds: they are a sort of elf-fairy-folk who live and work in mines, particularly German ones. Amazon.com has several miniature figurines of the sort used in Dungeons & Dragons but that’s not what I am looking for.  I want a proper Kobold  – no rubbish and no Knocker. My favorite watering hole in town is Kobalt which is named after the color which is named after the ore and/or the Kobolds. These things get rawther intertwined. I figured if I could get one of these fine fellows (who are well under four feet) to work at the bar he could help up the waitstaff and tidy up under the tables (with an occasional ‘goose’ to the patrons).  Goodness knows thems that work at Kobal could use the help. Since the ’50s the mining industry here in Arizona has gone to pot so there must be scores of out of work Kobolds in need of gainful employment to prevent them from idle and wanton destroyment. It is a win-win situation.  Maybe some of these Tommyknocker-types have bartending skills and can make me a decent aviation cocktail which is sorely lacking in the current bartenders. Oh the pain.

On the other hand I shouldn’t be too glib about the goblin-folk. They the type to take kindly to disrespect or ill treatment. Imagine some drunken queen accidently or purposely kicking a Kobold under the Kobalt table! Suddenly all the drinks taste off or the place catches fire or (worse!) it turns into a biker bar. Perhaps I should just get one of Mr. Benzo’s Kobold figurines to sit among the bottles of booze like a sinister Elf on the Shelf.  “Geezus am I drunk or is there an ugly little man peering at me from behind the Hendrik’s?” If the Kobold at Kobalt thing doesn’t work out I can bring him home to join the gallimaufry of goblins at La Casa de Spo. He can manage the rock lawn.

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*Herbert recently added “The Great” to his electronic signature. He also uses ‘HTG’. I don’t remember TBHSR voting him this titular title so I suspect it is self-dubbed. The ancient Germanic word for “The Great’ is probably better translated as “The Pretty Good” Either way it has the same letters.

Key West Blue

I associate a color with each month of the year. Sky blue is August’s hue for every day this month  is bright with such.

1 August is a big day in my cosmic calendar. It is the birthday of my grandfather Charles for whom I was named after (middle name). It is also the birthday of his twin sister “Grandma” Susan. I think of this day as ‘Ancestors Day’ when I think of them. Grandfather liked martinis; I always have one this day in their honor.

My Nordic pagan blood bubbles a bit on this day for 1 August is also Lammas Day, which heralds the first day of autumn. It ends 31 October which is Samhain or Hallowe’en, of which I am crackers.

The summer months of June and July rush by but August seems more quiet and mature in rate and tone. August 2019 is the first August in ages I won’t have a weeklong holiday to Canada (worse luck!) so the four weeks will feel slower than usual. I will use this time to better my diet and exercise.  I currently weigh 81 kilos (oh the embarrassment!). I have nothing to do and nowhere to go so I won’t be tempted by Tim Horton doughnuts and Poutine and other Canadian delicacies. “Austere August” let’s call this. It’s a good time to slim down lest I be mistaken for The Great Pumpkin ninety days hence.

Addlepated (adjective):  being mixed up and confused

Yesterday for a treat I made Mitchell is Moving’s five-can hot dish. My subconscious took the recipe literally as I forgot to add the one cup of milk to the mix prior to baking. It turned out ok albeit dry. This is not the first time I’ve gone over a recipe double and triple-checking things only to miss an ingredient. Perhaps it was the heat that had addled my pate. Yesterday I started a new blood pressure medication; perhaps that had something to do with me messing up. Occam’s razor suggests my hummingbird-brain was just in high gear. It seems to be getting worse not better in time. By sixty I won’t be able to recall anything post-ten minutes.

Another confusion in my life is the health insurance. I have until 1 August to decide whether to stay with what I have or change plans. I suspect both options are abysmal. The first step is trying to deduce the loop-de-loop of logging in. This requires I remember my email and password. The ‘forgotten password” option seems to send a code to the email I don’t remember either. If I were of a paranoid nature I’d suspect this is being done on purpose to prevent me from entering.  It must be just how folks feel when trying to vote as thems in power have made it impossible for them to do so. Someone (always the rationalist) interprets this Kafkaesque situation in a less-sinister form; it is mere operation error. I on the other hand suspect the Nargles.

It’s hell when you want the world to make sense and it doesn’t. As a boy I thought the country generally sensible with only a few patches of absurdity that the reasonable ones would keep in check. Oh the pain.

In fifteen minutes my work days starts; another week commences. It looks to be another hot one where the days blur together. I guess I should just eat the lotus and be at ease with my inability to connect-the-dots.  It’s like living in Hooterville without its charms.

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It’s been a mad mad mad week what with work demands and all. Last night Someone and I took a friend to “Aida” something she had never seen.* It was enjoyable spending a night not doing paperwork for once. Unfortunately I am up to my oxters in homework; it’s going to be a long and tedious weekend.

Insanity

Spo-fans may be interested to know not one jockstrap ad has appeared in my phone or on the website. At intermission I signed onto Twitter to have a look see: no undergarments of any sort were in sight. It was just the usual seething cesspool of endless gunge so I hung up. One sympathetic Spo-fan (the dear!) sent some photos via email in order to cheer me up. As Mr. Pepys likes to say in his diary it pleased me very much.

Duolingo the language app tells me I’ve had a 120 day-long streak of Spanish lessons. I am pleased to say I am reading Spanish at a grammar school level but there’s a sensation I’ve been had. The other day I tried to speak some Spanish to one of the receptionists only to discover I could do so. I really should hire someone to speak with. Rather than fecklessly saying ‘jockstrap’ into the cellphone I should wish for some nice hombre bonito to appear and ask me how is my mother and is it raining there and what are you wearing that sort of stuff. This would be better than all the Duolingos in the world.

At work I started putting little gold star stickers on the checkout slips of the patients doing ducky. It is a whimsical perhaps mawkish move I thought would create a smile at most. Patience above! Patients are getting off on this. You think they had won the lottery. Many peel off the star from the paper in order to take them home with them. It’s nice to know simple acts of kindness can make such an impact.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections like to remind me if I am going to write ‘one of those wretched random thoughts entries’ they should total an odd number. They are wildly superstitious about even numbered things so this is here to stave off bad luck that comes in the form of thirteen Icelandic trolls (?)  who are the equivalent to Urs Truly’s Cup Sprites. I looked up this fairy cabal and now I am sorely tempted to leave this entry at ‘four’ as I want to meet them. But then again I wouldn’t get the TBDHSR gold sticker equivalent which is a dead thrall.  Groovy.

 

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*She liked it.

I am not one to go for conspiracy theories. I am all too aware of the human propensity to make meaning out of gobbledygook and see patterns where there aren’t any.* I have one exception: technology. This one has some legitimate foundation upon which to build my fortress of fear. It seems every week I hear about another machination involving our use of the internet and apps. The other day I watched a Youtube video** that fed suspicion I can’t trust my cellphone no further than I can kick it. The fellow in the video had ruined a kitchen pan. He exclaimed out loud to his girlfriend who was also in the kitchen he needs to get a new pan. The next morning when he went online the first thing he saw were ads for pans. Was this just an uncanny coincidence? It turns out no. Here’s the simplified explanation:

When we sign the agreements on social media in the fine print we allow said sites to gain access to our phones. This allows our phones to listen for key words, such as ‘pan’. This is sold to advertisers who in turn send ads to us. This is a common occurrence. If we visit a web site or walk by a business (while using public Wi-Fi) the barons communicate with our phones in order to pitch things.

I suppose this is not ‘news’ to the more tech-savvy Spo-fans but to Urs Truly it was a bit of a shockeroo. Long ago I tried turning off the switches in my phone disallowing it to yap behind my back but did this really assure privacy? Should I succumb to the belief in vogue there is no more privacy and why care or bother?

This week I am in the process of testing the hypothesis. Yesterday I started saying out loud and clear towards my phone “I need a new jockstrap”. While working I repeated this in a variety of ways.  “Gee, I guess I should go on line and look for jockstraps”. I used ‘jockstrap” rather than say “a piston engine” on the hopes if I was to be bombarded by ads at least they would be of interest.

So far no such luck. There have been no ads appearing for jockstraps or athletic gear etc. In a way it’s a disappointment. Thems who are paranoid are never assured or relieved by data that doesn’t support their fears. I should be grateful the hypothesis is either wrong or my attempts towards achieving privacy works.

So much for the phone. Now to the internet. Today I am posting this blog entry on line with the title as you can read it. Let’s see what happens when WordPress and the others get their technie-paws on this one. I will keep you posted if any ads for supportive undergarments appear.

By the way I really could use a new jockstrap so this is a win-win situation.

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NOTE: this is not porn, this is bait.

 

*This phenomenon has a name: pareidolia. It is the basis for more misery in human history than wars, disease, famine, and strip malls.

**The irony of this is Youtube will no doubt send me countless links for more videos of likewise contents so I will spend even more time exposed to their ads. This shite never ends.

 

 

weather-thermometer-hot-thermometer-hotToday I finally got caught up in my blog reading. I was pleased as punch to do so.  I was feeling some guilt about this; now I feel better. I don’t know why exactly I should feel bad about a past time. It must be just the way a Lutheran feels – or how they look anyway. 

It’s the hottest time of the year and I don’t want to do nuttin. The cement pond is of no help for the afternoon sun warms it to the temperature of bathwater. I stop dressing up for work for the summer sun warms the office to the point no AC or floor fan can keep up. It shall be a tedious eight weeks. Never mind summer, bring on Halloween. 

It’s a dog’s life here in the dog days. Someone gave Harper a bath. She suffers these indignities with a glum countenance but I think she likes the cool water. Afterwards she has a good shake and estivates the day away.

Alas there are no July/August plans to escape the ardent Valley of the Sun so we have to find what cool places we can. We go to the bars more in the summer time as they keep them quite cool – cooler than our abode which is a comfortable 80F  (compared to 110F out of doors). Trouble is after one drink in a cold dark climes that are the bars I am ready to sleep. Going to the grocery store is better but one tends to buy more as one lingers before facing the inevitable leaving the store to go home.  
Happily we are stocked up with fizzy water and I keep a pitcher of water in the fridge along with some lemon slices. I pour myself a glass and turn on the floor fan and feel like royalty.  It’s 10PM or so and the outside is still above body temperature. I will have me some aqua fria con limon and bid you all good night and hope for the Muses (or someone like them) to give me a proper blog entry idea than this one. 

 

I am in a pugnacious mood today.

Someone and I recently got our colonoscopies. They were the same type of ‘scope and they were done by the same physician at the same office, done a week apart. We have the same insurance. His bill was ~40$ while mine was ~ 700$. When we questioned this discrepancy we were told it’s because I have a h/o polyps and he does not. The insurance company saw his as ‘prevention’ and mine was something else.  Speaking as a patient and as a physician the US medical system sucks the big one. There goes the summer travel budget. The USA could fix this inhumane system but we don’t. It’s like an old man too anxious and set in his ways who would rather keep trying to use the same defective toaster rather than buying a new one he is not familiar with.

Yesterday the pharmaceutical representative brought in Indian food for lunch. I asked mine to be made ‘Indian hot’.  Oh the pain. Last night was spent with abominable abdominals with borborygmos of ballistic proportions.  This misery can not pass (figuratively speaking) soon enough. I am getting too old for this sort of nonsense.  Better stick with Tewkesbury rats and hold the hot sauce.

The 40-50 C summer temperatures are here obliging one to stay indoors and estivate for the next eight weeks. This will be the first summer in decades we don’t have a week-long holiday in August to get the hell out.  I hope there’s enough iced tea to last. Long island iced teas sound even better if I can remember the recipe.

I’ve turned off the news for a while. Who needs it. Politics, plane crashes and bad weather – I’ve got enough to last me a life time.   The only silver lining of this retreat is I may finally finish reading Pepys diary; I’ve got one more year to go.

Finally, to end on a less sour note, here’s a fun word:

Congery:   [n.] the use of different and successive words or phrases that all mean the same thing, used to make a point.

That’s all. Finished. That’s it. Done.

 

 

First – I want to apologize to my fellow blogger-buddies about my lack of reciprocal readings of your blogs. I feel bad about this. The week(s) leading up to this weekend holiday have been brutal. I’ve had no time to do much let along read blogs.  I hope to remember this anon.  

Yesterday while driving to Santa Fe I achieved at Duolingo 100 days in a row of Spanish lessons. Que excelente! I wish I could say this means I am able to speak Spanish but it has not, as demonstrated last night at the bar. The bartender/waiter was too polite not to tell me I sounded dreadful as his tip was in question. I read Spanish at a grade level and I know a lot of nouns and adjectives. I also know a lot of statements like “La vaca lavo su ropa ayer.” which are charming but probably not very useful.  What I really need to do is actually speak Spanish with someone but whenever I do I am suddenly at loss what to say. 

Another milestone finished (somewhere west of Albuquerque) was the food magazines.  Recent Spo-fans may not be aware of this lofty project. Years ago The Lovely Neighbor gave me piles of old food magazines. Every time I go on a road trip I take a handful of Gourmet and Bon Appetite magazines and I rip out the recipes that look interesting to make.  I guess we should have gone on more road trips as this took years to accomplish.  I now have a massive accordion file of potential dishes.  Part II (hopefully faster than the first) is to put them in some sort of order and throw out the redundancies and on second-thought no thank you items.*  Step III is actually starting to make some of these things. I hope they are good as I’ve spent a hell of a lot of time doing this. 

The third project in the eight hour trek was catching up on Audio-books. We have heaps neither one of us is tackling. I was ready to discuss all sorts of topics with Someone about Life, The Universe, and House matters but we listened to “Circe” for most of the ride.  So far it’s a good book.  

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Accomplishments are all very well but today is Friday which will be mostly make it up as we go along. As it is the eve of my birthday I will use this as an excuse to buy something scrumptious if something leaps off the shelf at me. Tonight is the opera. The Santa Fe Opera is a splendid out-of-doors setting to hear lovely music about people dying in awful ways. Tonight we hear the opera “The Pearl Fishers” which I recall ends badly for somebody I forget whom.  The opera is best known for a duet of two dudes. 

It’s lovely and I hope I am awake for it. 

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections is a lot like Youtube: both become officially outraged at offenses at content but they don’t put a stop to things when they see the comments are coming in. TBDHSR fustigated me that Harper is ‘not that old” and knock off the equivocations. However they were pleased as punch to see the numbers of thoughtful comments from yesterday’s entry. Nevertheless they advised me I write about something insipid to calm things down a bit. So here’s a boring one.

Every med school as an unofficial panacea; mine was ‘Push fluids’. They needn’t have worried as I am continually watching my intake. After all I am a ‘water sign’ who lives in a roasting desert.  I am grateful to have a menu of moistures from which to choose.

Tap water –

What comes out of the pipes here isn’t too bad. Our water comes from the Colorado River basin. Goodness knows how many kidneys it passes through before it goes through mine but it seems OK. It tastes only a bit ‘off’ and this is only noted when compared to bottled or treated water. It has a slightly chalk taste to it. I have no overt qualms to drink it on the grounds some water is better than none. However, it makes awful tea for on the surface of the cooled cuppa there is a most unappetizing slight chemical oil slick.

I give Arizona tap water 3 stars.

Filtered water –

Under the sink is contraption resembling pan pines that filters the tap water before it goes the fridge to make the ice cubes. There is also a dispenser off the sink. I’ve forgotten what it horrible feints it filters. Whatever it allegedly removes the results are the water tastes better. This is the ‘house water’, the WOC (Water of choice). It has a less of flat taste. Once a year some nice man comes to change the filters. Like the manufacturing of sausages I don’t ask.

I give AZ filtered water 4 stars.

Bottled water –

Nowadays it is not PC to drink bottled water as it makes a for a lot of plastic waste. I drink some only when I am on the run and can’t find a drinking fountain. I suspect most bottled water is just sales huckom so I always buy what’s cheapest.

I give bottled water 2 stars.

Evian water –

OK I lied, this one is different. Evian water has a soft alkaline taste as if it has been through a rock pile. It is frightfully expensive and I always feel guilty for drinking some.  It seems to have disappeared from all the AZ gas stations so that’s a mercy. I sometimes keep a six pack in my office fridge mostly to impress the new patients who ask for a drink. Lugging Evian water to and from work is a bit of a task, which worsens its already bad carbon footprint.

I give Evian 4 stars.

Carbonated water –

Sometimes it is fun to have a some fizzywater. They don’t lack for variety; the number of flavors seem to have accelerated in the past year. In a double blind taste test I discovered the generic store stuff tastes nearly as good as La Croix so I buy Albertsons. Curiously I am still thirsty after I drink them.

I give fizzy-water 3 stars

My favorite water –

This would be the tap water that originates from The Great Lakes whether in Chicago or Grosse Pointe. No doubt this is cognitive bias on my part as it is the water I grew up drinking. I should do another double-blind taste test but there is a part of me that likes to believe it is the best water and don’t question me.

I give Lake Michigan water 5 stars.

Keep hydrated this summer!

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