Friday, 30 June 2006

"Put On A Happy Face" - Original Broadway Cast of "Bye Bye Birdie", 1960

(Click on the image for a larger version.)

This is "Murray", our cow skull from Alamogordo, New Mexico. It's a long story why we named him Murray. He oversees our stairwell, on the wall of our upstairs landing. I moved him over to England, along with my furniture and other personal belongings, in December 2002.

A couple of years ago, he nearly scared the pants/trousers off the alarm system tech when the man came here for the annual inspection of the system.

We have decorated Murray for the World Cup.

(Click on the image for a larger version.)

His name, temporarily, is Murraydinho!


Thursday, 29 June 2006

"Grow Your Garden" - Steve Kowalczyk, 1995

I didn't get to see my friend Cindy yesterday. So first thing this morning, on the way to our Stagecoach bus into Oxford, she gave me two wonderful birthday presents.

One is a "Allium Sphaerocephalon" plant. Here's what its flowers look like:

I know almost nothing about Allium plants but have admired them ever since I moved to England 3-1/2 years ago. After doing a little research as I eat my lunch, it seems that this particular variety is usually called "Ornamental Onions" (or sometimes even "Ornamental Drumstick Onions") in the US. However, here in the UK, apparently it's more commonly known as "Round-Headed Leek". The blooms start out, in the early summer, completely green. But by late-summer, they turn the "claret" color shown in the photo.

Cool, huh?

Cindy's other present is a beautifully-illustrated book about trees and shrubs. It's a perfect gift for me, as there are so many wonderful plants and trees over here that I know nothing about..and want to learn so much about!

Those two thoughtful gifts have another interesting connection, too, besides the fact that my friend gave them both to me this morning. In the process of looking up information about the Allium plant, I have bumped into a website/blog called Zanthan Gardens. Zanthan Gardens is a fascinating, very personal site about someone's garden in Austin, Texas. Now, Austin -- and even more specifically the nearby Texas Hill Country -- will always hold a piece of my heart. I bookmarked it immediately as a site to visit again, when I have more time.

And then I noticed a very interesting blog entry within the Zanthan Gardens site. It was called "Alien Landscape". I was intrigued. And if you'll follow the link, you'll also see what I found. What an interesting coincidence to read the comments from an American gardener taking a look at "spring" in England, with its mysterious flowers and trees!

I love these coincidental (or not???) connections, don't you?


Wednesday, 28 June 2006

"Pick Yer Nose (And Eat It)" - Peter & the Test Tube Babies, 1985

Today is my birthday. I don't want to talk about which one it is.

I have received some really nice things today. But one of my favorites is a birthday card which has come from a longtime friend. The cards that he and his wife send me always have the same theme. Take a look for yourself...

What's the story behind this? Perhaps I will tell you about it over a bottle of wine some time.

I just can't figure out how he manages to keep finding "booger cards", year after year!

And I won't reveal the identity of the sender and his wife either...but YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! ;)


Tuesday, 27 June 2006

"Whole Lotta Love" - Led Zeppelin, 1969

Sorry for being a bit quiet. I've been under-the-weather but am now starting to feel a little better. So I'll start catching up by relating a story from last week...for your possible entertainment!

Friday, John and I went to visit his mum -- my Mom-in-Law -- in Swindon. We had a great evening at a local golf club, having dinner and then participating (with her team) in a quiz night. Yes...we won!

It was, to me, a "very British" evening, and I loved it! Even the food served in the buffet was classicly British. My favorite was something I'd heard about but had never eaten before -- Toad in the Hole. It's essentially Yorkshire pudding with nice sausages in it. Ok, ok...I know...not the healthiest of dishes, but it was very very good.

But then I got to thinking.

Here I was in a golf club's dining room. I'm eating Toad in the Hole.

Shouldn't it have been called Toad in the Hole in One?


Thursday, 22 June 2006

"Ebony and Ivory" - Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder, 1982

The US team is out of the World Cup as of this afternoon. John and I consoled ourselves with something we'd brought back from our last trip to the States...

I truly believe that Oreo cookies are one of God's gifts to humanity.

And John learned today that I'm a "twister"...and I eat the side with the least frosting first.


Listening to: David Gilmour, "On An Island"

Sunday, 18 June 2006

"When I'm Sixty-Four" - Beatles, 1967

That's what Paul McCartney looked like when, as a girl in Salem, Illinois, I first fell in love with him. I still love him today...although, to be fair, I now realize that he's too full of himself to really be my type. ;)

Anyway, today is Paul's 64th birthday. He was born on the 18th of June 1942. (Can you believe that, after all these years, I can still remember all of the Beatles' birthdates? What a sad commentary on my life...!) And today, as Lord Celery's readers know, it's also Father's Day. I read somewhere that Paul originally completed "When I'm Sixty-Four" for his own father, on his 64th birthday back in the 60's.

So I think it's very cool that Paul's 64th birthday is also a Father's Day. Maybe that's a sign that the universe is in perfect alignment...or something really New-Agey like that.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads reading Lord Celery today...and Happy Birthday, Paul!


Saturday, 17 June 2006

"Celebration" - Kool and the Gang, 1980

Today is the "official" birthday of the Queen. We watched a fantastic series of events on TV late this morning which culminated with the fly-over of a collection of RAF aircraft, both old and new. The planes few right down the Mall and over Buckingham Palace.

There is an interesting series of photos on the BBC's website to commemorate the celebrations today.

I told John, as we watched on TV this morning, that it was the perfect occasion to post a photo that I took back in May. I had the opportunity to teach in a very tall office building -- probably the tallest in that part of London -- near Victoria Station. The training room used for our course was on the very top floor of the building. Our view was to the west...and believe me, it was quite a view. But one of my students slipped down to the end of the building and discovered, in a small empty office, the most amazing view of Buckingham Palace. Since I always carry a compact digi-camera with me, I started snapping away.

It was one of those to-dream-about opportunities to see Buckingham Palace from an angle I never would have expected to experience!

And here it is...and, as usual, you can click on the image to see a larger version:

So Happy Birthday again, Your Majesty! What a party the nation threw for you today!


Friday, 16 June 2006

"Just What I Needed" - Cars, 1978

To celebrate the fact that I'm about to take a week of vacation -- YEA -- I thought I'd do something frivolous today. (And, England won their World Cup match with Trinidad & Tobago last night, so that's also worth celebrating.)

I "nicked" this idea from a blog called "2 hot chiks" that I bumped into through one of the blogs I read regularly. I think the Chiks, in turn, had gotten the idea from somebody else. But then that's how these so-called memes spread around, isn't it? (And if you are like me and completely clueless what the word "memes" means, you can see "The Memes List" blog page I've just linked for a definition.)

The idea, apparently, is to type what's in quotes below into a Google search box and then make note of the first 10 results you get:

"your first name needs"

Here are the first 10 results I got that didn't have to be censored:

1. Janet needs 500 more tiles for her bathroom.

2. Janet needs access to my engineering html page.

3. Janet needs to work harder at making George jealous.

4. Janet needs to make sure there is a clear strategy for the pharmacy.

5. Janet needs to notify her clients regarding her situation.

6. Janet needs to find some other way to introduce her new music.

7. My hate for Janet needs no Dutch courage to spark it off.

8. Janet needs justice and needs her story told so that she can rest in peace.

9. Janet needs to go pee!

and finally...

10. Janet needs early notice to get documentation going.

Try it yourself...and see what happens.

Have a good weekend, everybody!


Listening to: Dixie Chicks, "Taking the Long Way"

Thursday, 15 June 2006

"(It's) All Over Bar The Shouting" - Fast Eddie Clarke, 1994

We got a brochure last night for the upcoming school fete at our local village primary school. The school is just down the road from us, so we're planning to go Saturday afternoon. It sounds like great fun, and it's a fund-raiser for a worthy cause.

A couple of items in the flyer have caught my eye, the first being the "Quad 'n' Bounce" event...

(You can click on any of the images to see a larger version.)

Note that "age restrictions apply". I first assumed that this meant no under-7's, or something similar. But then I got to thinking that perhaps this also means that John and I will get turned away if we want to "have a go"...perhaps anybody over, say, 40 won't be allowed to ride either?

Now, take a look at the list of "events", and see what's happening at 4:30...

I suppose they really could be planning a "penalty shout-out". But if so, I hope they are providing a "swear box". It might help raise a lot of money for the village school.


Listening to: Lizanne Knott, "Under the Burning Sky"

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

"Don't Get Me Confused" - Keith Hudson (late-60's/early-70's)

Today is the 14th of June, right?

I've just gotten back from the main post office in Oxford. Standing in front of me in the "queue" was a young woman -- university-student age -- holding two smallish parcels to be mailed. Each was headed a different direction. One was going to Asia, and the other was headed for Canada.

(I know what you're all thinking...yes, I was, perhaps, a bit too curious...but I was bored and had to do something while I waited!)

What particularly caught my eye was what she'd written on each of the brand-new mailing fresh marker pen and in exactly the same handwriting as the mailing address on each.

In bold lettering, the instructions said: "Do Not Open Until 23rd April".

Hmmm...that's quite a long time to wait!


Tuesday, 13 June 2006

"Charlie, Get Your Pants!" - Zydeblue, 1999

Today, I was planning to write about the first named storm in the 2006 US hurricane season -- Tropical Storm Alberto -- but something else a little lighter has come up. At the least, though, I'll refer Lord Celery's readers to one of my most-used websites, that of the US National Hurricane Center. Good luck, Florida. I really hope Alberto doesn't do too much damage.

OK. What I found to write about today is some graffiti I found painted on a wall in Oxford, as I walked to work this morning. It has me a little baffled...

(As usual, you can click on the image for a larger version.)

I've certainly heard of Oxford shirts (or Oxford-cloth shirts) but not of Oxford pants.

Perhaps there are people in Oxford walking around without any pants, and the message is asking them to please put them back on? (And in case my American readers don't know this, "pants" in the UK refers to a person's underwear, not their trousers.) If that's the case, I haven't seen any of these pantless people...luckily!

There's another possibility. In the UK, the word "pants" can also be used as a noun or an adverb to describe something or someone that's rubbish, nonsense, bad, etc. (You can also use the slang expression "pile of pants", as the BBC describes in this article on their website.) So does a disgruntled student feel that his/her time in Oxford is rubbish or dreadful, perhaps?

There has been an Oxfam campaign called "Pants to Poverty"...part of the Make Poverty History coalition. Maybe the graffiti message refers to that? Somehow, I don't think so.

Any other ideas, anybody?

I'll keep everybody posted if I figure this one out!


Monday, 12 June 2006

"Blue For Old Hawaii" - Hank Snow, 1967

In an effort to get more healthy, John and I have been taking a walk every evening after dinner. We're not doing anything fancy -- just walking around the area of our local village. But it's such a treat! We live in really beautiful part of England, and it's a pleasant time of year with nice long days.

Last night, we took a slightly different route than usual. We walked by a little Italian restaurant which serves the usual pizza, pasta, etc. As we've never eaten there before, we took a look at the menu posted out front.

Now, I'm not sure if this is a strange Italian-language spelling of the American island state or merely a typo, but we thought Lord Celery's readers would appreciate what we saw on the menu...

(Click on the image for a larger version.)


Listening to: "You Forgot It In People" - Broken Social Scene

Sunday, 11 June 2006

"Dear Dutch" - Paul K (????)

Dear Dutch:

I'm watching your World Cup first round match versus Serbia & Montenegro on BBC 1 right now.

I've been looking at the Netherlands national team roster. I've seen the list from several different sources. I'm confused about the rules for the "vans" in some of your players' surnames.

In some Dutch team listings, all are shown as "...Van...". In some, they are all shown as "...van...". And on others -- including Google -- some "Vans" are capitalized and some aren't.

Two questions here....

1> What does "van" mean in Dutch surnames anyway?

2> Should the "v" be capitalized or not...or does it vary?

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Your faithful servant,

Lord Celery

Saturday, 10 June 2006

"I Must Have Been Mistaken" - Larry Hosford, 2000

I'll just post a shortie today, since the World Cup has begun...and we're starting to get glued to the "telly" here.

John has steered me to an interesting news item on the BBC website -- "UK Music Fans Can Copy Own Tracks".

I must have been mistaken...I thought I could already legally do that! Now I'm wondering what the official US regulations are about this issue. Does anybody know?


Friday, 9 June 2006

"How Insensitive" - Frank Sinatra & Tom Jobim, 1967

Two images, published widely in the press here today, are disturbing me this morning.

The first is the
battered face of the late Abu Musab al-Zarquawi. I hope that the situation in Iraq will be improved by his removal from the equation. But I don't believe that it serves any possible humane purpose -- especially for the relationship between the Islamic and the Western worlds -- to plaster the face of a dead man on the front page of major newspapers.

The second is something I didn't discover until I went through online overnight news this morning. It's a piece of so-called art called
"Sven's Last Supper", featuring the England manager and team in place of Christ and his disciples. I think it's in poor taste.


OK...I'll get off my soapbox now and write about other, more intriguing items...

> Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go!...the World Cup begins this afternoon in Germany!

> Plus, there's an F1 Grand Prix race in England at Silverstone on Sunday.

> And...who will be evicted from the "Big Brother" house tonight -- Sam or Nikki? ;)

Have a great weekend, everybody, however you choose to spend it!


Thursday, 8 June 2006

"Everybody's Talkin' " - Harry Nilsson, 1968

This is going to be a very long day, I'm afraid. I can hardly wait for the World Cup to begin tomorrow.

If you're like me and want today to pass quickly, perhaps I can steer you to one of several World Cup blogs out there in cyberspace. I've linked the BBC Sport World Cup Blog over on the right-hand side of my Lord Celery page, as I'm sure I'll be consulting it regularly over the next two weeks. However, let me link it and a few others I've found right here, for your convenience (and my own, too, I might add):

BBC Sport World Cup 2006 blog -- I'm sure it will be slanted England's direction, but I will probably consult this blog more than most...especially to find out the latest on Wayne Rooney's foot! ("The Foot" is a source of major, breaking news in England at the moment...will he or won't he get to play in any of the World Cup matches?)

And while I'm mentioning football injuries...poor Djibril Cisse (and the French national team)! To get such a serious injury just before the start of the World Cup seems utterly unfair.

World Cup Blog -- This seems to be sponsored by AOL Sports. You can link to individual blogs for the national teams of all the countries participating.

Kasey Keller's blog for CBS -- The senior goalkeeper for the US national team has filed some blog entries prior to the World Cup. I've always been a big fan of Keller's, who once played here in England but is now in Germany, playing for Borussia Moenchengladbach. I don't know whether or not this blog will continue once the matches get underway.

NY Times' World Cup blog -- I'll want to keep an American perspective, too, won't I? ;)

Der Spiegel Online -- The German news weekly's World Cup blog, for the perspective from the host country. This link will take you to the English-language version of their blog.

Happy reading, everybody!


PS And in case you feel you need to join an organization for problem bloggers after consulting all of the links above, check out Bloggers Anonymous! I'll give due credit to my blogging friend over at Finding Blanche for that one!

Help me...I'm blogging...and I can't seem to stop...!

Wednesday, 7 June 2006

"Don't Cry For Me Argentina" - Madonna, 1996

The employees of the company I work for decided that we should do something for charity for the 2006 World Cup. So each of us who wanted to participate paid an entry fee to be assigned one of the 32 national teams participating in the matches. If his/her randomly-assigned team wins the World Cup competition, he or she will win a nice prize...and the balance of the money will be given to charity!

Our team-drawing ceremony happened this afternoon. One container contained the names of 32 of our employees (based here in in New Jersey, Calgary, and Singapore). The other container had little paper flags for each of the 32 countries with national teams in the World Cup this year. My name was drawn first, and the first flag pulled out of the box was...


I would have preferred to have been assigned the USA or England, of course (or even Trinidad and Tobago, as a joke), but I certainly could have done at lot worse than Argentina!


"How Deep Is Your Love" - Bee Gees, 1977

Judging from their over-the-top house decorations, I'd say that at least one family's love for the England national football team is very deep!

Take a look at one of the homes in the village where I live...

(Click on the photo for a larger version of the image.)

It's the first time I've ever seen a team jersey attached to the front of a house! By the way, No. 7 on the England squad is David Beckham.


Listening to: Karine Polwart, "Scribbled in Chalk"

Tuesday, 6 June 2006

"Sympathy For The Devil" - Rolling Stones, 1968

Today is "06/06/06".... or 666. It's 666 today whether you write your dates in the US or in the UK numerical format. I won't bother to give you links to the myriad of sites on the web dealing with the topic. You can find them yourself, if you'd care to do so.

Last night, as I pondered today's date, I found myself wondering where the "evil" connection to the number sequence comes from. If I've ever known, I've forgotten. On BBC Five Live this morning, they said it came from the Book of Revelation in the Bible. Now, I'm not a biblical expert, but I just don't recall hearing that one before...something about the "mark of the beast"?

(Hey...I've just thought of something. For those of you who, like me, live in the UK, you might have joined us in watching the first of a two-part "Doctor Who" last Saturday night. It was very scary! Given the subject matter, I'll bet it's not a coincidence that those two episodes straddle today's "666" date!)

I mentioned The Archive apartment building in the West Village of New York City in my Lord Celery item a few days ago. My brother and his family used to live there. We always thought it was a bit creepy that the building's address is "666 Greenwich Street". But New Yorkers aren't particularly superstitious, so I strongly suspect that residents of The Archive generally just laugh off their quirky street address.

Today also happens to be the birthday of my friend Cindy. Don't worry, Cindy, you don't scare me one little bit! I'm not especially superstitious either...and I know you don't have an evil bone in your entire body! ;) Happy Birthday!


Monday, 5 June 2006

"This One's For You" - Barry Manilow, 1976

If I made the following statement to my loyal Lord Celery readers, would any of you have a clue what I was talking about...?

"Daggy music is one way to make the hoons leave an area, because they can't stand the music."

You can get this sentence deciphered and explained in this article on the BBC News' website.

Sorry, Barry, but hearing your songs played non-stop would send me running away as well!


"Stylish" - Marlowe, 2006

One of the comments I have received on yesterday's Lord Celery item has led to today's post...I refer you to the comment from my friend Bronx Boy.

Oh yes, Bronx Boy, the Chrysler Building does indeed remain my favorite building in New York City. No doubt about it. One of my fondest memories of my 7+ years in Manhattan is the view I had of the Chrysler Building from my apartment. From this 1987 photo of me holding Mac, while out on our 32nd-floor balcony, you can see what a terrific view of the top of the Chrysler I had...

A lot of photographers used to go down to the end of my former block -- to the northeast corner of East 44th Street and 3rd Avenue -- because from there you can get one of the more complete views of the Chrysler Building. At least you could when I was living there.

But it was the view at twilight which was the best of all. When the top of the building was illuminated in front of the navy-blue Manhattan sky, it was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful man-made sites in the world.

I've found a nice photo, in the public domain, to illustrate what I mean...

Yes, Bronx Boy, the Chrysler Building will always be my favorite New York City icon. I didn't mention it yesterday simply because, unlike the Empire State Building (with its amazing observation platform), about as far into the Chrysler Building that John and I got this week back in 1996 was...



Sunday, 4 June 2006

"Hey Manhattan!" - Prefab Sprout, 1988

Today is a very special anniversary for John and me. Actually, it's a dual anniversary.

Besides being our 5-month wedding anniversary (yes, we are goofy, romantic newlyweds, still celebrating both our weekly and monthly anniversaries), this is the 10-year anniversary of the day that John and I met in person for the very first time. And the subject song reflects the fact that the meeting took place in New York City!

I will always have such a fondness for...

The Pickwick Arms Hotel (which is our favorite small hotel in NYC)

The Archive apartment building in the West Village (it was on its roof that my brother Larry took a terrific photo of John and me, with Midtown in the background..and thanks to John's Smugmug page, we found a copy of it to post below)

Village Vanguard jazz club (where Larry, John and I saw Roy Hargrove)

Empire State Building (the most romantic location in The City)

(You can click on any of the above photos for a larger version.)

Happy Anniversary, my love! I love you more with each passing day! xoxoxox


Saturday, 3 June 2006

"(Get Some) Cash for Your Trash" - Louis Armstrong, 1940's

I know you can rent cars. You can rent vans. You can rent construction or farming equipment.

But I saw this outside my Oxford office window yesterday afternoon...

(Click on the images for a larger version.)

I had no idea that you could rent a trash truck! But obviously you can, from this company based in Essex.


Friday, 2 June 2006

"Cooking It Up" - James Asher, 1998

I've just heard a great story on BBC Radio Five Live's breakfast show.

There's a student art exhibit called "25 Degrees" currently underway at the Whitehall Waterfront in Leeds. This is a exhibition of the works of this year's graduating fine arts students from the University of Leeds.

One of the graduates is a young woman of Greek heritage. In order to try to present something a bit more unconventional in the show, she hatched a plan to exhibit her Athenian grandmother actually living there in the exhibit hall while cooking traditional Greek foods and interacting with the visitors to the exhibit! Here's a link to the BBC story about "25 Degrees".

Radio 5 interviewed the student artist this morning -- sorry I can't recall her name. But she explained to Shelagh Fogarty that there's one little problem -- her grandmother only speaks Greek! So part of the exhibit itself will be the various methods of communication used by those interacting with the Greek grandmother...especially since the intention is that she will be sharing all her Greek delicacies with the visitors attending the show.

Can you imagine being a fly-on-the-wall when granddaughter explained to grandmother what she had in mind to do for her university graduation art exhibit in England? I know I would!

If any of Lord Celery's readers attend "25 Degrees", please share details with us...ok?


STILL listening to: Snow Patrol, "Eyes Open"

Thursday, 1 June 2006

"Just More of the Same" - Rosetta Stone, 1998

The Scotland - Trinidad and Tobago story continues!

This morning, as usual, I listened to
BBC Radio 5 Live's breakfast program, presented by Nicky Campbell and Shelagh Fogarty. (Best morning radio program ever, in my humble opinion!) One of the sports presenters asked Nicky, who is Scottish, what he thought about "...Scotland playing in the upcoming World Cup".

"Scotland?", Nicky asked, clearly a little baffled. "Have I missed something here?"

No, said the sports reporter, laughing. He was referring to the Trinidad and Tobago player "
Jason Scotland", who will be playing in the World Cup.

Argh! I hadn't noticed that when I looked up the
Trinidad and Tobago team roster to write the Lord Celery item a few days ago.

So the joke continues...!