It's Been A While, Hasn't It?

Well, yes it has. I've been lazy. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Today, I finally put the old car out to pasture. I'm now the owner of an Impulse Red Pearl-colored 2005 Toyota Corolla CE. For the first time in ages, I have an automatic transmission. My last three cars all had sticks. The new Corolla is peppy and seems to want to drive over the speed limit. I will have to try to rein in that tendency. And it has that new car smell... Mmmmmmm.


Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones

I spotted a rather creepy postcard in the mail last night. It was from a town in the Czech Republic and the picture was of a chandelier made of human bones. The picture is from the ossuary at Sedlec, a suburb of the Czech town of Kutna Hora. The entire interior of the church is decorated with the bones of tens of thousands of people (I read 30,000 in one place and 40,000 in another). Rather morbid. It does fit with the medieval mindset, which emphasized how transitory life was and how death and decay awaited all, meaning that they should focus their attention on the afterlife rather than worldly pursuits.

(Update: After a little more research, I found that the church wasn't decorated with the bones until 1870! The artist was a Czech woodcarver named Frantisek Rint. It is actually kind of disappointing, since it would be a better story if it had happened in the Dark Ages. Alas, sometimes the truth isn't quite so entertaining.)

Here is a site which has a gallery with pictures from the ossuary: Frisco's Kutna Hora - Sedlec Ossuary Page



Looks Like A Shitty Day

We're not going to catch the full brunt of Hurricane Dennis here in southwest Florida, but we are going to have a windy, rainy, thundery day. It's going to pass to our west, but we'll still get tropical storm force winds. I had already completed my hurricane preps, so I'll just stay home today and ride it out. Hopefully the power will stay on.

If you're the praying type, you might want to say one for the folks in Cuba who are getting hammered now, and for the people living along the northern Gulf Coast who will get hit tomorrow.


Ill Winds and Silver Linings

"It's an ill wind that blows no good."

"Every dark cloud has a silver lining."

And I'm sure there's an aphorism about the bright side of splitting out the seam of your pants along the back pocket (and if not, there should be). Why? Because I managed to parlay that particular "wardrobe malfunction" into an early out this morning, getting an early start on my vacation by an hour. I'm not exactly sure why the CFF (Catastrophic Fabric Failure) occurred, because the jeans I was wearing weren't particularly tight. They were a bit worn, well broken-in, the way a good pair of jeans should be. I think the CFF occurred when one of the gates was accidentally left open on our last run of the day, and mail started flying out. I quickly stopped the machine and then squatted to pick up the letters on the floor. A little later, I paid a visit to the restroom and noticed that I had about a two-inch long rip along the inside seam of the back pocket. I was wearing a t-shirt which covered part of the blowout, fortunately. I went and found one of the supervisors and managed to talk my way into an early out at 6:30. The jeans, alas, will have to be retired.

Earlier this week, someone at work was cleaning out one of the desks in the office and happened across several group pictures taken in early 1992. We were able to pinpoint the year because some people were holding up signs saying "Get well soon, Ron," for one of the Tour 3 supervisors from that time, who unfortunately passed away. It was fun to look back at the pictures from 13 years ago, seeing some old friends that I haven't thought about in years, as well as seeing the old LSM machines (which have been extinct for almost a decade) in the background of some of the pictures. Most of the people in the pictures are long gone from our facility, having bid out to one of the stations, retired, been fired or just moved on, but several of the others are still around. Some have changed dramatically in appearance over the years, while others look almost unchanged. I was happy, however, that it was only Tour 3 people in the pictures, so that I didn't have to confront the image of my much younger self.