Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com


Home of Jenny the Pirate



This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.


We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.


 Nice is different than good.


Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962



Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors


I am a Blue Star Mother




Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =



The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were






Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.


Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson



When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks



 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.


Keep To The Code








You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts




Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move



Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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Sweet summertime, goodbye

Now that summer has melted into fall, we're left with memories of Things We Managed To Accomplish While It Was Sweltering Outside.

This year's TWMTAWIWSO include taking my two middle grandchildren to the store for school supplies.

Allissa and Andrew are attending a private faith-based school for the first time this year; up until now, they have been home schooled.

Our daughter -- their mother -- took home schooling very seriously. Everyone was up and dressed, breakfast done, each morning by the time Melanie left for her special-needs class at the nearby elementary school.

They had a classroom in the lower level of their house, and each day's priority was lessons. 

As a result, the children's academic test scores are high and they were primed for traditional schooling. They are enjoying it immensely.

Melanie is home this year, with her mother carrying out her various therapies and applying the methods used to train her to be more self-sufficient.

Melly will turn fourteen in December; she's becoming a young lady and she's not shy about what she likes and doesn't like. She very much likes hanging out with her mother all day, but she knows there will be work involved, and personal responsibility.

Mel didn't get to visit us by herself during the summer; her sibs came and she will be staying with us for a few days later this year.

In addition to buying school supplies while they were here, TG and the aunties and I took the children to a new café and sweet shop that has opened up near our house.

At the Chocolate Factory and Coffee Shoppe everyone was allowed to pick out a treat. The older children chose some things to take home and share with their parents and Melanie as well.

The girls and I got coffee and we all sat around the shop's big hearth in comfy couches and chairs, and enjoyed our snack. 

I want to go back on a cool and rainy fall day, when there's a fire in the grate.

Later that day, we took the kids out to visit an elderly lady who is the mother of one of my dearest friends.

Along with our school supplies, we had bought a metric ton of construction paper, plus stickers, so that the children could make cards for the lady we were going to visit.

We also took her a potted raspberry-pink Kalanchoe, which she loved, and which I am told is thriving -- mainly because I got it quickly out of my hands before I could kill it.

A miniature donkey by the name of Moses lives on the lady's rural property, along with some chickens. The children fed Moses crackers and marshmallows until he ran for cover.

It was approximately a million degrees outside, with eight-thousand-percent humidity.

The sweet lady invited us back inside, where she gave the children refreshing popsicles.

On the way home, we visited Costco and bought even more treats to enjoy throughout the rest of the children's visit. 

The days are cooling now; summertime has turned to go.

We're grateful because while summer holds its own special charms and we love it for itself alone, autumn is just about everyone's favorite.

It's almost Ahhhhctober.

And that is all for now.


Happy Tuesday


I've bean to the crown

You know I exist to bring you not only experiences, and pictures of those experiences, but the commentary that both deserve.

And the explanations that you deserve.

But I'm pretty sure there's no need for explanation when it comes to Chicago's Crown Fountain.

The installation, completed in 2004, comprises two fifty-foot-tall glass block towers with a reflecting pool between them.

The "face" of each tower is a massive video screen, displaying the actual faces of ordinary Chicagoans (facing one another as though communicating) blinking, smiling, staring, and blowing water kisses.

The water jetting from the mouths is said to have been inspired by gargoyles -- which, I'm not sure if you know this, but if it doesn't spit water, it's not a gargoyle. It's a grotesque.

At any rate, mist and spray moisten anyone walking within twenty feet of the structures, which do, gargoyle-like, spit water from their LED video mouths.

People cavort in the reflecting pool, which is so shallow as to be more like a low place where the water collects. I didn't try it, but I doubt it's even ankle deep. I don't believe it would attract ducks.

Water sluices down the towers for much of the year. In winter, for obvious reasons, the glass block is lit from within and the water is turned off.

We wouldn't want two fifty-foot ice blocks on our hands. Gets a trifle nippy there a few hundred yards from the shores of Lake Michigan, where Millennium Park is situated.

Crown Fountain is at the edge of that newer twenty-five-acre park, all of which -- and then some -- was for decades known as Grant Park.

The fountain gets its name from the wealthy and influential Chicago family who commissioned it into existence and paid the seventeen-million-dollar freight.

Do I like it? To say that the jury is still out is likely the closest we'll come to my feelings in the matter, for a long time to come.

It may even require a second visit before a conclusion may be reached.

The source of my ambivalence is that, although the Crown Fountain was interesting to look at, it wasn't exciting. In any way. As such it failed to touch or move me. It illuminated nothing.

When I walked away, I didn't miss it. I guess we could say I found it boring.

I could go into why I think that's the case, but I'd probably offend someone.

And we wouldn't want that.

You may have seen photos of the highly reflective Cloud Gate sculpture -- known colloquially as the bean -- which sits a stone's throw from the Crown Fountain, drawing thousands of visitors each day.

Here's me taking a picture of TG standing in front of the bean. If you look closely, you can see us both. Haha.

Although I find much to be charmed by in the country, I'm a city girl by nature. As such, the urban sprawl never fails to fascinate.

Among cities I've visited, Chicago is far and away my favorite. It has the sort of energy I understand.

So if the Crown Fountain fails to impress in the way another design might have? I can forgive that.

Because next time I visit Chicago, among the familiar sights there will something else to notice, to marvel at, to wonder about, and to show you.

And that is all for now.


Happy Thursday


The skies were black

Photo Courtesy Maribeth BruinsHurricane Florence wasn't one anymore, by the time she reached us. She'd been stripped of her title.

After all the hoopla that we endured for a week preceding the event, do you know what she turned out to be?

A rainy day.

And as rainy days go, it wasn't even an exceptionally rainy one. Not even close.

We got perhaps an inch of rain.


Granted, the wind kicked up and some gusts on Saturday were scary, only because we're surrounded by tall trees and I have a phobia that one will fall on me.

Our power never faltered. 

I love rainy days so, for me, it was like a holiday. I sat in my cozy chair in the sun room, holding Rizzo (who was a trifle nervous and whined a time or two) and enjoyed the unfolding climatic (though ultimately anticlimactic) drama.

Such excitement. Be still, my heart.

It's not my intention to trivialize the experience of our neighbors to the north, in the great state of North Carolina.

We have family who live there. They had torrential rain, but since they live in the western half of the tar heel state, they didn't face catastrophic flooding as did those in the eastern half.

And those folks have our prayers.

Meanwhile my friend and blogging buddy, Mari, was on vacation in the American West and sent me this picture of a magnificent raven hanging out in Utah.

I adore ravens. Isn't he special?

Glossy black, with attitude. A commanding presence on his rock.

May we all take our stand and stare down the day, feathers shining.

And that is all for now.


Happy Monday


The pirate prepares

For near on a week now, all we've heard about in the news is apocalyptic doom coming our way in the form of Hurricane Florence.

Death by weather.

And for some, Florence's effects will indeed be devastating. They have my prayers, and I mean that.

But since I live in Columbia, South Carolina -- the city smack-dab in the middle of the Palmetto State that now, most models show taking the brunt of the hurricane (or what's left of it) on Sunday morning, I am interested in how the storm may affect me.

And my family, of course, and our property.

So naturally, I've been watching the ongoing weather forecasts, waiting for dire predictions to be issued for my ZIP code.

Let's pull over and park here for a mo.

I would like to say thank you and blow a kiss toward each friend who has called, texted, and/or emailed both TG and me to check on us.

I've heard from folks in Michigan, Indiana, Florida, and Maryland. Most, but not all, are blogging buddies. TG has been contacted by friends from college days, buddies from back in the day, just making sure we're all right and wondering if there's anything they can do.

Likewise we have gotten in touch with a few friends who live in the coastal areas of the Carolinas.

One faraway family member, concerned for our safety, got in touch with Audrey.

It means a lot that so many would think of us, and take their time to let us know. So if you've made an effort, we're sincerely grateful. 

OK so back to the subject of our local forecast.

For a week we've been tapping our apps many times each day to see what's in store.

And for as many days as we've been checking, the outlook hasn't changed much: We are in for a rainy, windy weekend.

And that's all. Although various news outlets are predicting four feet of rain in some areas (and that may indeed happen just as they say), our predictions are for three inches at most.

Sad, that; we've had a dry summer and would welcome more rain.

Even so, Audrey came over and helped me to clear the decks of anything outside the house that can fall, flatten, or fly. The front porch has been denuded of my bistro set and I even took down the American flag lest it be lifted and lofted in a hurricanic wind gust, becoming a patriotic projectile.

Out back, we've removed solar lights that stick up from the large ceramic pots, tossed all of the floaties and noodles and rings and vests and goggles and balls and toys into the pool shed, and brought every tube and bottle of cream and spray, plus extra pairs of sunglasses, into the house.

I folded the umbrella and stored all but the heaviest pieces of outdoor furniture in the garage, together with every cushion and pillow that could end up in Georgia if the aforesaid wind gusts materialize.

I took down wind chimes but left the hummingbird feeder, since last September the littles fed during Hurricane Irma.

And now we wait.

If our power goes out, I'll call the kids and go where there's air conditioning and TV.

Likewise I told them all that if they're left in the dark but our lights are on, they're welcome to sleep and eat here.

At any rate we're prepared to ride it out. Currently, outside it's sunny and breezy, with zero chance of precipitation on this calendar day.

I promise that I will let everyone know what happens, after it's happened.

Maybe even while it's happening.

It all depends on how interesting the whole thing turns out to be.

And that is all for now.


Happy Thursday


Stand tall, tower

In late August, TG and I spent several days in Chicago. 

You know: the town the Obamas sorta kinda call home, when they're not trotting jet-setting the globe as multi-millionaire celebrities protected by retinues of heavily armed secret service men and women.

You may remember that we visited the Windy City last year but only overnight, for a Cubs game.

We spent an evening at Wrigley Field this time too, but we stayed longer in the city. We had ample opportunity to relax and enjoy a comfortable hotel room and devour delicious brunches and absorb the big-city sights and walk and take pictures on the Magnificent Mile.

Since we had not done this in the last fifteen years, we'd never seen some of the new skyscrapers making Chicago's famously stunning skyline even more breathtaking.

By the way, Chicago was home to the first skyscraper in the world. The ten-story Home Insurance Building, on South LaSalle Street, was completed in 1885.

It was demolished in 1931, the same year the Empire State Building became the world's tallest building, a distinction that stood until the construction of the doomed World Trade Center towers in 1970.

Chicago is home to two of the top five tallest buildings in the United States.

The Sears Tower (I refuse to call it the Willis Tower; even the distinguished and knowledgeable docent guide for our 75-minute architectural tour on the Chicago River lectured: How do you pronounce W-I-L-L-I-S? Sears.) is the second tallest, behind the new One World Trade in New York.

Third tallest is 432 Park Avenue, also in New York.

Fourth tallest is the Trump International Hotel and Tower on Wabash Avenue, where the Mag Mile meets the Chicago River.

It glitters there, sharing sky space with the iconic Wrigley Building.

Former President Obama gloated and preened as he read his snarky self-serving speechwriter-written hit piece last week at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, openly mocking President Trump and taking credit for the economic turnarounds we've seen in the last eighteen months.

Right. And if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.

Given their idol's track record, methinks the progressiliberals must be feeling super desperate to drag their has-been out of mothballs in the runup to the midterms. He's known for doing more harm than good.

But as per usual, ex-President Obama is the eighth wonder of the world. In his own eyes. The trademark smirk says it all.

Even if he doesn't have a gorgeous skyscraper that bears his name, soaring and sparkling over the most elegant hotel-retail district of one of the most dynamic and thriving cities in the world.

Still and all, cheer up. Right here in Columbia, there's a filling station named after him.

But at the time of year when we are admonished to Never Forget, remember:

Unlike President Trump, he didn't build that.

Or anything else either.

And that is all for now.


Happy Monday


Scratching the itch

Here's the thing: mosquitoes love me. 

Because they love me, they find me. And when they find me, they find me tasty.

The moment I step outside during any month of the year in which mosquitoes are alive and kicking, I will end up with itchy welts on my arms and legs.

If I am in the pool, they will bite my face and shoulders. I'm like catnip to the little suckers.

In South Carolina, the hungry-mosquito months are actually most months.

It's not that we have a mosquito problem; honestly you almost never see one. They completely ignore TG and several other members of our family.

But if there is a single skeeter about, it will home in on me like a heat-guided missile and have a nibble or two or ten before I can say aarrrrrrrghhhh.

They don't die until the first frost -- sometimes that's December -- and a whole new crop shows up with the pollen in March.

We used to have a citronella candle but it melted into a useless blob. And yes; I know about Skin So Soft. And yes; it really does work. Skeeters avoid those coated with it.

Audrey was told early this summer that spraying yourself liberally with Body Fantasies Vanilla -- only Vanilla -- will keep the buzzy-bitey nuisances away too.

We bought some and the spray bottle hangs out on the poolside table -- along with the floaties and the goggles and the tubes of sun scream and Dagny's cloth hat full of acorns she has collected -- where the liquid gets pretty hot (maybe even boils from time to time) and, over the summer, has turned too sweet.

Almost unbearably so. It smells like a disgusting combination of rubbing alcohol and burnt sugar. But I have to grudgingly admit that it works pretty well too.

Dagny -- for whom mosquitoes have an affinity almost as strong as their OTT attraction to me -- begins clamoring the moment her mother starts changing her into her swimsuit:

I don't need the spray, Mama. I don't need the spray.

She hates both the vanilla spray and the ordeal of having it applied to her face and chest and back and legs and arms and you know the drill.

Plus, let's face it: once in the pool, that stuff is washed right off. A treacly vanilla haze hung palpably over our pool throughout June and July.

There's a freestanding Avon store about six miles from my house. Audrey went over there in early August for eye liner and snagged me some Skin So Soft Original Gelled Body Oil for six bucks.

Which is a somewhat simpler application of the famously fragrant mosquito repellent, because it's thicker, but I must say it leaves the skin feeling sticky. Tacky to the touch.

It's always something; am I right?

So, do you see those metal rocking chairs? The ones I switched out from my long-but-narrow front veranda when I got my new bistro set?

I won't be sitting there much anymore until after Thanksgiving.

That is, unless I slather on the Skin So Soft and commit to being sticky.

Not likely. But we shall see.

And that is all for now.


Happy Friday :: Happy Weekend


That's the taphophile talking

It's well known by my readers that I am a taphophile: One who enjoys wandering amongst the tombs.

A tombstone tourist, as it were. Edgar Allan Poe was a taphophile too. So if you're known by the company you keep, I am okay with that.

While in Atlanta last June to treat Dagny to the Georgia Aquarium for her fourth birthday, we swung by the St. James Episcopal Cemetery to pay our respects at the small grave of JonBenét Ramsey, who, had she not been murdered on Christmas Day at the age of six, would have turned twenty-eight exactly one month ago today.

I've visited JonBenét's poignant resting place before. It is tucked out of the way near the back fence of a small jewel of a historic cemetery in Marietta, Georgia, down the block from the church that lends it its name.

JonBenét rests near the graves of her mother Patsy, who died of cancer in 2006 at the age of forty-nine; her maternal grandmother, Nedra Paugh, who passed away in 2001 at the age of sixty-eight; and her half sister, Elizabeth, who perished in an automobile accident in 1992 at the age of twenty-two.

I find it interesting that John Ramsey's first wife's maiden name was Pasch and his second wife's maiden name was Paugh.

Pasch and Paugh. Add an LLC and it sounds like a law firm.

Mr. Ramsey moved on from the multiple tragedies and has yet another new missus, name of Jan Rousseaux Ramsey. So there's that.

At any rate, after standing near JonBenét's resting place and pondering once more the profound sadness of her short life and mysterious violent death, I allowed myself to wander toward graves nearby that I saw and photographed several years ago, the first time I came to see the infamous Ramsey family graves.

Many graves in this cemetery date to the nineteenth century. One such is an elaborate and touching monument to a young mother who apparently left this earth in the company of two of her children.

The statue is corroding and damaged, which makes me like it all the more.

Several graves are sinking into the earth, certain to disappear if time marches on as we know that it will.

One lady's name suggests that she may have been quite fragrant, as though she lived above a restaurant serving ethnic cuisine. She also died on her eighty-fifth birthday, a statistic I often look for (not the eighty-five part but the same-day-going-as-coming part) when graving, and always photograph when I find it.

I can't remember if I told you about it before, but this is the cemetery in which one gentleman's grave is covered with a legder -- a stone or granite marker that covers the entire grave.

Ledgers are generally elaborately carved with writing, dates, symbols, plaques, and even pictures, but this one is unique for being completely blank.

That is, except for one line at the very bottom:

Because your father never could grow grass.

The pithy line is "signed" and dated by the man's wife, who, according to her own nearby grave, passed away shortly after the date given.

You never know what you may find in a cemetery. Graves and their markers will surprise and delight you; they will make you smile, think, marvel, discuss, connect, recoil, and sometimes even shed a tear.

As was true the first time I visited the cemetery where the remains of JonBenét Ramsey are interred, I left with a strong sense of reluctance.

It never fails to occur to me as I drive away from such places that whereas I am free -- until the grim reaper nods in my direction -- to go about my day and my life, they must stay put. 

The young, the old. Through cold, heat, rain, wind, ice, snow, light both harsh and soft, all the sunrises, all the sunsets, each dawning, each twilight, all the dark of all the nights, until the resurrection of the dead who died in Christ, as described promised in First Thessalonians chapter Four:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

And that is all for now.


Happy Thursday


Cake and ... more cake

Each Labor Day, we celebrate our daughter Stephanie's birthday. The party concludes summer (if not the hot weather) in much the same way as our shindig in honor of Erica's birthday on Memorial Day, signals the start of summer.

You probably don't remember this because you've been so busy with your own family, but last September even as Tropical Storm Irma was bearing down on South Carolina, we all met Stephanie and her family in Charlotte, North Carolina, to have her birthday party at a Cracker Barrel.

That's because last year, due to other commitments they couldn't come to our house on Labor Day. But this year, they could.

So it was that on Monday everyone was here, including my parents, meaning we had fifteen for lunch.

TG and I got home from vacation late last Friday, so everything for our Labor Day meal and birthday party came from a Sunday-afternoon Costco run.

Remember that heavenly white Costco cake I told you about? Oh wait; having searched the IHATH archives I don't believe I actually told you about the celestial vanilla sheet cakes on sale at Costco.

Perhaps you are already savvy as to the existence of said insanely delicious Costco bakery item.

Anyway, we had chocolate because Erica was doing the shopping with me and when we were presented with the option of choosing either white/vanilla/vanilla cake or dark/chocolate/chocolate cake, she insisted on texting her sister with the question: 

For your birthday cake would you prefer vanilla or chocolate?

Within a moment, Stephanie's answer -- and the verdict -- was in:



And here I was drooling over the memory of that white cake with vanilla mousse filling ever since I tasted it at Joanna's wedding in Greenville a month ago. It was the reason I implored TG to secure a Costco membership for us immediately upon returning to Columbia. 

That cake was the only reason.

But we got the chocolate flavor. Because it's what the birthday girl wanted. And, like the vanilla version, it's mouth-wateringly rich and basically excellent.

Also like the vanilla version, the cake is offered by Costco only in a large sheet format that, if cut into small squares (which we don't; we like large slabs), serves forty-eight.

It's nine and a half pounds of cake.

The pirate could use it as a boat anchor if pressganged into a particularly piratey nautical situation.

But remember how many we were going to have at our party? Fifteen? Yeah. Not forty-eight.

We have lots of leftover cake in the freezer, just in case you're in the neighborhood and care to pop round.

Give me a heads-up and I'll put the coffee on.

For our pre-cake Labor Day feast we had deli roast beef and tender ham with thick slices of cheddar on soft buns with Duke's mayonnaise, French's yellow mustard, and the mandatory pirate pickle buffet.

Sides included fresh salad brought by my mother, Costco potato salad, wavy chips, and barbecue baked beans I made from scratch.

If you are invited to eat at my house and leave hungry, it will be your own fault.

When it was time for dessert, I made large amounts of coffee and began serving up the chocolate birthday cake with chocolate mousse filling and pink and orange and yellow frosting roses.

Before I began cutting the cake and serving it on pink paper dessert plates with pink plastic forks (our Stephanie loves pink), I made the birthday girl pose with her brightly decorated chocolate-chocolate confection. 

On her actual birthday this coming weekend, she'll doubtless have another cake and I hope it's vanilla, even though I won't be there to enjoy it.

She's already had chocolate. Nine and a half pounds of it.

Stephanie opened her gifts and pronounced that she was pleased with everything she received. The children finished up their late-summer swim and eventually it was time for all the out-of-towners to head for home.

After all, today was a school day.

Our middle two grandchildren, Allissa and Andrew, have previously been home schooled but this year are enrolled at a private school in Hickory, North Carolina, in the fifth and first grades respectively.

So far -- classes began last Wednesday -- they love it.

Know what I love? The early September quiet, with autumn peeking around the corner.

And that is all for now.


Happy Wednesday