I am a freelancer in the publishing industry, so words are very important to me. I'm a leftist living in a world gone mad, so politics are very important to me. I'm an environmentalist living in a degrading world, so pick up your damn trash, get rid of your gas guzzlers, and don't touch ANWR, you self-absorbed capitalists!

Do leave comments: let's make this a conversation. If you prefer, you can contact me at friuduric at yahoo dot com.

30 November 2006

The End of a Rough Month

Warning: If siblings follow links, they may catch a glimpse of things they may not want to see just yet.

You’re adults. Consider yourselves warned.

November was not a good month. Although I had great plans (that Christmas Goal thing and NaNoWriMo), after about the 7th I was swamped with work, so I had to put any “me time” activities aside. The Emotional Flux hung out for a while, and that was unexpected. Then, I got the Thanksgiving sinus infection, and although I have been treated with this antibiotic before, this time it has hit my body hard. Above and beyond the typical antibiotic side effects, I’ve had a headache every day since I started the pills. Luckily it is tamed with ibuprofen, but I’ve never had to take painkillers for over a week before.

December is already looking up, though. First, I turned Impera’s writing teacher on to NaNoWriMo, and not only did she get her classes to participate, but she actually made the 50,000-word goal (so I wrote vicariously through a 7th grade teacher). Rock on, Ms. G!

Then, yesterday I put the last big project of November in the mail. So today I rewarded myself by not doing any editing. Instead, I went fabric shopping.

29 November 2006

Offered Without Comment

Last week, a couple were threatened with fines of $25 a day by their homeowners’ association unless they removed a four-foot wreath shaped like a peace symbol from the front of their house.

The fines have been dropped, and the three-member board of the association has resigned...

In its original letter to the couple, Lisa Jensen and Bill Trimarco, the association said some neighbors had found the peace symbol politically “divisive.”

A board member later told a newspaper that he thought the familiar circle with angled lines was also, perhaps, a sign of the devil...

Mr. Trimarco said he put up the wreath as a general symbol of peace on earth, not as a commentary on the Iraq war or another political statement. In any case, there are now more peace symbols in Pagosa Springs, a town of 1,700 people 200 miles southwest of Denver, than probably ever in its history.

Read the entire article at the New York Times.

Bullets Over the Heartland, Education Edition

  • In 1999, 2 of 11 middle schools in our Midwest capital had 50% or more students eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch.
  • In 2006, 8 of those 11 same middle schools met that criteria.
  • The combined on-time high school graduation rate for our district is 79% (this is actually a pretty good number, nationally).
  • Some of the kids in the class of 2005 (see the first bullet) were a part of a national cohort program called GEAR UP. Of the kids who were a part of the GEAR UP program, 96% graduated from high school on time.
  • Of those GEAR UP kids, 95% went on to college.

  • 28 November 2006


    If I roll my eyes when reading an author's list of desired changes because, beyond the fact that the requested changes are linguistically wrong, the author says these changes must be made because it is "better grammer," am I one?

    27 November 2006

    Craft Post, In Which I Remember the Good Old Days

    Receiving a package from my Secret Pal reminded me that part of the deal of the exchange is not only blogging on a regular basis and thanking the sender when you receive a gift, but to post about crafting (mainly knitting or crocheting, of course). Secret Pal and Hostess, I have been remiss. But that's because I am stuck. This is a picture of the Emma Jacket. Here's a joke for you: When I ordered the yarn in the first week of October I thought to myself, "I'll have this done in 3 weeks so I can still wear it this Fall." Hah! First, it was very dull, knitting in stockinette and increasing every now and again. Then, I had two sleeves to knit. Again, dull, dull, dull. Now, I am ready to cut the steeks and add the lapel, but I cannot figure out what the directions say. I should go to a local yarn shop (LYS) and have someone explain. But (1) I haven't had much time recently, (2) one of the two LYSs is owned by a man who knows nothing about knitting, he just figured this was a cool shop idea; so if one of his assistants isn't in, I'm s-o-o-l, (3) the holidays are upon us and I have gifts to make! And I haven't even started yet! (Family: don't worry, it won't be knitting this year).

    Remember the red socks I started in July? Not done. (I'll update with link later; this is actually a 15-min work break here.) My blue lace socks took forever, too. Some harlots who will remain nameless knit a sock a day. Heaven help me. I haven't been able to finish much at all lately.

    And that is why (Patty my SP hostess, ignore the next few words!) I am cheating right now. I went and pulled Jennifer (brunette) and Rebecca (blonde) from the Animal Park and asked them to take a look at the Emma Jacket. I made these Waldorf dolls for Impera and Trixie about 7 years ago. They received the doll-making kit on Christmas morning, and by New Year's Eve both dolls were finished, and they each had a dress (with bloomers, that the little hussies have supposedly "lost") and a flannel coat. I did that in 6 days. Six days, people. But at least I am posting about crafting. And you all can ooh and aah about my 7-year-old doll-making skills.

    Where did my "oomph" go? I don't know. But I sure wish I could find it!

    25 November 2006

    Secret Pal Strikes Again!

    We received another package from my Secret Pal; this one was full of Christmas-wrapped gifts! I say "we" because not only were there Tim Tams, which I am duty-bound to share, but there was a wrapped gift for each girl and for the Consort, too:

    Three kinds of Tim Tams, plus little Tim Tam balls. Each of us received a bear ornament -- very cute! (This reminds me, we'll probably have to get a tree soon seeing as we'll be trekking across 1,000 miles to spend Christmas on the East Coast...) And, to round it out, some very soft Australian wool in lavender with gray flecks. Oh! I forgot to take a picture of the book. It's called Colours of the Country: Celebrating ten years of the Alice Springs Beanie Festival. Gorgeous knit and crochet hats with amazing colors (that's how I spell it, you see). There are patterns in the back of the book, and--golly gee--the yarn I received in the package is the same kind that's called for in the patterns ;-)

    Thank you Secret Pal, We all love the package and all its goodies!

    24 November 2006

    Fell on Black Days*

    Today is known in the United States as Black Friday. “Wow! That must be bad,” you might say. That would be a reasonable guess, considering Black Monday was a bad day, many times. Black Tuesday followed on the heels of the 1929’s Black Monday. Lest you think that American economics takes all the name days, Black Wednesday is all about the UK (well, and George Soros, of course). Everybody has heard of Black Thursday, but it is more infamous than you may think. Black Saturday also recalls several violent incidents, and Black Sunday defined a decade.

    But, no. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, is named that because this is the day that retailers finally go into the black (that is, they start making a profit). (There may be other historical dates remembered as Black Friday, but when the man on the street is asked what Black Friday represents, this is the one he’ll mention.) People can begin shopping as early as 5 o’clock in the morning**. 12:01 am in some places, I saw on the television news last night. Thanksgiving being a pretty light news day (or maybe this is what the news focuses on all the time, I wouldn’t know, these two days that I’ve been home alone is the first time I’ve watched television news in … gosh, I don’t know, years***, I think), the three network stations filled a good portion of their half hour pablum with tips on how to do best (wear running shoes, start in the back of the store, make lists, bring snacks so you don’t waste time at the food court) and spotlights on everyday people who become Back Friday Shopping Heroes (they scan the Black Friday ad Web sites, they have a plan of attack, they divide and conquer).

    Prices are slashed, special deals are offered to those who shop early, or shop often. It’s all about the Buy! Buy! BUY!!!!

    What does “the American way of life” mean to most people? If you ask them, most people say things like—freedom, the right to vote, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of the press—high and mighty ideals. But that’s just how they “talk the talk.” If you look at how most Americans “walk the walk,” you’ll notice that it’s all about consumption. Over-consumption. Of food. Of natural resources. Of consumer goods. Of anything and everything. Trash. Trash. Trash.

    For shame. A day fighting with millions of others (over 65 million last year, they said on the news last night) over clothes and gadgets and trinkets that will only be used for a season or two? A day of rudeness (“I saw that first!”) and greed (“I’ll buy four of those!”)? Is that really what it’s all about?


    For years we’ve been passively participating in Buy Nothing Day (which also happens to be today). Mostly because shopping is not in the top ten things I do for fun (it’s not anywhere on my “fun” list at all, actually—but you guessed that already, didn’t you?) Now that I’ve seen the newscasts, it makes the point of the protest more important. (And no, I won’t be shopping tomorrow or Sunday, either.)

    Take a walk. Play a game with friends or family. Read a book. Be a person, not a consumer.

    Thus endeth the sermonizing.

    *Tip of the hat to Soundgarden.

    **If you have thought that I have exaggerated in the past about not really being in sync with American culture, let me tell you that when I first saw on the news that stores were opening at 5 a.m., I thought 2006 was the first year this is occurring, and I was outraged. Then, I realized this is just par for the course on Black Friday. Can this be true? Has this been going on around me for years without me knowing about it? Can someone confirm this?

    ***I get my news from The New York Times online and from National Public Radio.

    23 November 2006

    Hey, It's Thursday, Where Did the Week Go?

    Happy Thanksgiving, to all those who celebrate it!

    To all of you who have been visiting this week, wondering what the heck was going on (considering that I promised you the Story of My Macs on Monday, and here we are Thursday…), I offer this brief recap:

    My Mac’s electrical system finally gave a week ago today, so I spent last Friday saving what I could on CD and completing a project on Poppa, our second-generation blue iMac, who is already in semi-retirement. I told the Consort that I didn’t want a new computer right now (not a good time to spend money wantonly, you understand). My work doesn’t require memory-heavy software (the internet, Word, and [for some projects] a pencil suffice, with a dash of Excel tossed in for flavor), and we have that in Poppa. Saturday morning I woke with a dread thought: all my iTunes music and my 1,066 [don’t gasp, I know some of you have more!] digital photos were still on my laptop!!! (Yes, I back up my work files regularly, but I never thought to back up that fun stuff, mea culpa.)

    There was no other option. The Consort and I hurriedly dressed and went out to look at new Macs. The Consort did a quick ebay and MacMall search first, so we’d have something to compare to when out in the world of new computers. Secondary Mac retailers had no better deals than what we found at the Apple store, so I am now the proud owner of an 80-GB, Intel Duo processor, CD/DVD-writable, white MacBook. Plus, because I was buying a new computer, they recaptured my entire hard-drive from the dead Mac to my new one at a discounted price, and we got a new printer, for free. With an automatic backup package thrown in for good measure. (I’m still riding the high so don’t you be asking me about price right now. Let’s just say that in one fell swoop my Christmas and birthday gifts for the next x years came early.)

    There you go: the recap.

    Then, balance needing to reassert itself, I finally succumbed to the sickness that everyone else in the family has had, to one degree or another, since October. My body being what it is, this meant that in me, the sickness resolved itself into a sinus infection. Kind of like the one I had in May. Remember that? (Except this time, no crying in front of the pharmacist.)

    The plan for Thanksgiving this year was to spend it at Dancing Rabbit, where we’d visit with all those cool people, listen to Impera play fiddle with Tamar, and have an all-around good time. Which is what the Consort and the girls are doing right now. I couldn’t imagine bringing my sickness with me to share with everyone there, plus, although I have antibiotics, they haven’t fully kicked in yet, so images of me with my ever-growing pile of tissues dragging myself from one couch to another for Thanksgiving didn’t seem like too much fun.

    My Thanksgiving this year is me, the dog, the cat, the bird, the rat, and the rabbit. So you see, I’ve got lots of company. My appetite isn’t very strong, so no typical fare for me. We’ve got some eggs and frozen organic asparagus, so I may make ersatz eggs benedict later. (I also rented the first disc of Six Feet Under, and I started watching it last night. I didn’t know what to expect, but heck, it’s pretty good!)

    Growing up, I dreaded the traditional Thanksgiving go-around-the-table-and-tell-us-all what-you-are-thankful-for. It always seemed a bit forced to me. So I swore I wouldn’t do it when I was in charge of my own thanksgivings. I don’t think we’ve done it (Three of Four: Did we do it last year?). But I did want to say thank you to all my visitors on this blog. I’ve enjoyed your comments, suggestions, empathy (when I needed it), quips, jokes, and friendship. I hope they’ll continue for a long time. And I promise I won’t give you smallpoxy blankets or trade you glass beads for your blog.*

    *(Because I know you know that I can’t let such a good excuse to mention the shortfalls of capitalism nee imperialism go by without at least a jab at the chin. Just wait until tomorrow. I suppose I’ll have to post at 5 fricking a.m. to make it authentic. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just wait.)

    20 November 2006

    Quick Update

    Thanks for all your kind words about my dead mac. It wasn't a typical mac, and I will explain tomorrow why. But I did get my project out the door on Friday, the battery worked long enough for me to grab my email correspondence onto a CD one last time.

    One tidbit from the weekend: On Saturday, the girls were off to a cast party for the play Dracula they put on with their 4-H group. Parents were invited to stay, or go off and have some kid-free hours. We decided to have a romantic evening with take-out and a movie. There's nothing like a love story to get a couple feeling snuggly. So, we rented V for Vendetta.

    We both liked it more than we thought we would. Has anybody else seen it? I never read the DC comic, so I couldn't speak to the transition from page to film, but the political / terrorism / crowd control aspect resonated pretty strongly with the past 5 years or so. Ah, yes, politics. The ultimate in romantic interlude.

    17 November 2006

    Computer malfunction

    Won't be posting anything entertaining today. Won't be responding to emails you may have sent me in the past 24 hours.

    My laptop has decided yesterday was a good day to die.

    I have a project due Monday, and three others hot on its heels.

    Am trying to recapture email correspondence with authors to be able to get project out the door.

    Hope to be back to a semblance of normalcy on Monday.

    16 November 2006

    Why Is It?

    That when I think to myself, "OK, you've whined long enough on the blog, it's time to be a bit more chipper," I come across the following news:

    Woman Kicked Off Plane for Breast-Feeding Baby (Moral: Let Delta fail in bankruptcy.)

    UCLA Student Tasered Repeatedly at UCLA (Hmmm, his name is Mostafa Tabatabainejad.)

    CNN's Beck to first-ever Muslim congressman: "[W]hat I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies' " (Since when has CNN become Baby FOX?)

    15 November 2006

    If I Were the Kind of Person who Used Voodoo Dolls,

    Today I’d be sticking pins into:

  • The owner of the fax machine that is calling my telephone every 12 minutes.
  • The office manager at my doctor’s office, who, in this year of overabundance of flu vaccine, ordered too little.
  • The person who honks and honks and honks when they stop by to pick up their friend in the apartment building next door. (I know you have a cell phone: use the damn thing!)

  • 14 November 2006

    "How To" Bonanza

    Still in the midst of soothing authors who thought their submitted and accepted paper would be published as is, journal style and consistency across articles be damned. Which is taking away from the meat of the work.

    The Emotional Flux have retreated from the Main Square into the warehouse district, sending out sorties only now and again.

    Here are some informational how-tos I came across last night (as usual, third time's the charm for me). I plan to take these recommendations to heart. Starting right away

    Which means--Sorry, guys, I just can't skank around with you all anymore. I'm sure you understand.

    13 November 2006

    Something I Like

    Currently, my personality is being held hostage by a group called The Emotional Flux. I don't know what they want. They usually come and wreak havoc for a day or two, but they aren't consistent, and they haven't been here for a while, and really, in re-reading my post from late last week, I think they've been hiding in the shadows for a while.

    Seeing the pile of papers on my desk and the DUE DATES on the calendar, I have not much to entertain you with anyway, as Duty calls.

    But I did want to mention that one thing that makes me happy is hearing both girls practicing their clarinet and violin at the same time, but separately. Then it feels like I'm living in a conservatory of music, the practice rooms buzzing with activity, and I can let the musics wash over me.

    Pretty cool.

    11 November 2006

    Secret Pal Contest #2

    The hostess for our group is holding a second contest this month. If I post a photo of some knitted washcloths that I made, I might win some yarn. (You can insert here my previous little comment about liking to win things.) I made a bunch of baby feet washcloths for Cowgirl's second baby. This little boy has two sets of doting grandparents, a set of doting parents, an older brother who has outgrown lots of cool stuff, and they live in the furnace that is known as Texas.

    So what use would a knitted anything be for this baby? I'll tell you: if it's got wool in it, not a heck of a lot. But cotton washcloths, hey, those are always useful, right? In making this project I learned how to make bobbles (I don't know if you can tell from the pics, but the toes are mini bobbles). I sometimes think bobbles are over-used in knitting. A toddler dress decorated with cables and bobbles? A sweater adorned with random bobbles? Not for me. But baby toes? Now that's a fine use of bobbles.

    10 November 2006

    The State of My Glass, with Rebuttal by the Consort

    Boy I hate it when work gets in the way of blogging! (And, dare I say, NaNoWriting. I’m still under 3,000 words. Impera, who is participating with her class, is way ahead of me. Sheesh!) I’ve been extremely productive these past two days, and I need to put in probably about 5 more days like that. But—whew!—man, hard work takes a toll on my lifestyle.

    So, *sigh*, yeah, there were elections on Tuesday, and, hey, that was a surprise, wasn’t it? I didn’t really think to blog about it much because others do such a better job, and, to tell the truth, my glass-half-empty mentality has kicked in big time. We have a majority in both House and Senate! (But 51 to 49? There ain’t a lot of power there, my friends.) (And that will mean the Dems have two years to look inefficient and really piss people off, so that they’ll vote Republican in 2008. [I wonder if that’s why Allen conceded Virginia so quickly?]) There’s gonna be some serious change in the first 100 hours! Pelosi said so! (Yeah, but like I said to karan last night, no talk of the environment, despite the research that just came out last week about the next 50 years = end of earth as we know it. [OK, I’m exaggerating. A bit.]) If the planet implodes, it doesn’t really matter who’s in charge of committees, dammit.

    The past six years have been bad for the country, on so many levels. And my immediate reaction to the wins was happy in a “Hah. Screw THEM!” sort of way. That showed me how partisan I’ve gotten. How partisan we’ve all gotten. I blame Republicans (surprise, surprise). Starting Back with Gingrich and his nastiness, all the way to the present administration. (Man, they impeached Clinton for lying about having consensual sex with one woman. The consequences of his actions? A dirty dress. But now Dems want to play all nice and aren’t thinking of impeaching a man for lying to the people of this country about the reasons for going to war. The consequences of his actions? 2,850 soldiers dead; 20,887 wounded. Radical Islam on the rise around the world [in the UK!]. Civil war in Iraq. Instability in the region… Should I go on?)

    You want more good news tempered with bad news? Democrats won the House. In part because people like Jim Leach (IA Republican) got ousted. But Leach was one of the few Repubs who voted AGAINST the war. Democrats won the Senate. In part because people like Lincoln Chafee (RI Republican) got ousted. But Chafee was a thoughtful guy. A MODERATE. And today he sank any hopes the administration had of getting Bolton confirmed as UN ambassador during the lame duck session: “The American people have spoken out against the president's agenda on a number of fronts, and presumably one of those is on foreign policy. And at this late stage in my term, I'm not going to endorse something the American people have spoken out against.” (Entire article at NYT.) *Sigh*. *Double sigh*.

    Man, I need some chocolate. (Anybody got some organic choc on them?)

    I have this very funny post in gothic style rattling around in my head. But this came out instead. Maybe I’ll get it out this weekend. Right now, I’ve got to get enthused about shareholder agreements, regulatory instruments, and speculative investment attacks. (Is it any wonder I’m glass-half-empty right now?)

    But I leave you with a final comment from the Consort:

    08 November 2006

    A Baking Fable

    OK, Cate, just because of your gentle chiding, and despite the pile of work on my desk, I present the following post.

    Back in the summer, we picked some black raspberries and I thought, “Hey, I can make mini-pies with these! We have the mini pie tins ... they’ll look beyooootiful!”

    So I made the crust, and mixed the berries with some spices and some flour for thickening. I had not considered the heat in the kitchen from the preheating oven, added to the heat from the outdoors. Our air conditioner wasn’t strong enough (I hadn’t set it cold enough) to keep things working in this hot environment. I hadn’t prepared enough crust. I thought I had a plan, but instead of beautiful mini-pies, we got this:

    (The members of my partyfamily said they tasted really good, but really, what else would you expect your partyfamily to say?)

    This weekend, the Consort bought some cooking apples, but not enough for a pie. I thought, “Hey, I can make apple mini-pies with these! They’ll be made without tins, so the girls can bring some to school as dessert – won’t that be a treat!”

    Not to be boring, I decided to incorporate some grated cheddar cheese in the crust. This was all new and high-tech, but heck, the best place to test things out is in the field, right? I peeled, cored, and sliced the apples. I mixed in the spices. When I went to roll out the dough, the texture was all wrong. But I persevered. I smooshed and I squooshed, and maybe used the dough a little too roughly. Instead of nice little packets of goodness, in the end I just man-handled the crust around the filling, and we got this:

    (The members of my partyfamily say they smell delicious, but really, what else would you expect your partyfamily to say?)

    What I’m trying to say is, Rummy, I think I know how you may be feeling. Maybe it would have worked out better if your realm, like mine, was a one-party system.

    07 November 2006

    Did You Vote Yet?


    Then what the heck are you doing wasting time reading blogs!

    Close this window right now. Go vote. I'm being patriotic by not have interesting material today.


    06 November 2006

    Monday Public Service Announcement

    I saw this at EditorMom, and warned her I'd tell all of you about it.

    Ever wish there was a broad spectrum medication for a wide variety of ailments? Something like aspirin, but a heck of a lot better?

    You might just want to try this (office workers: warning, it's a sound file).

    03 November 2006

    The Me in Today

    I offer you a slice of my day, in the style of the Reference list I worked on today:

    Clean, I. M. I didn't shower today. Cleanliness 32(10):735-757.
    Perk, Ienjoy. I spent the day in sweatpants and sweater. Good Freelancing 29:1276-1281.
    Going-Crazy, Slowly. To take a break, I made some bread. In: Proceedings of the Leftover Oatmeal Society, pages 107-112. Limerick, November.
    Ercisor, X. I also walked the dog. Your Pet and You 13:889-922.
    Hatted, U. R. and Gloved, T. O. O. It was warmer out than I expected. Understanding (Or Not) Meteorologists, chapter 7. New York: Academic Press.
    Howbuzy, Wasi. Because of the work on my desk, I didn't have time to visit my Must-Read blogs. Bummer 77:54632-54639.
    Whiner, Sheeza. Let alone the ones I go to for fun. In: Fun? What's that?: A Complainer’s Primer, edited by P. D. Q. Attentionloss. Cambridge, MIT Press.
    Listmaker, Profeshun L. This weekend I must: Work on NaNoWriMo, work on my knitting, and TAKE IT EASY. Doing it All Quarterly 9:88-101.

    Yes. It was in single-spaced 6-pt font. You betcha there’s going to be extra charges. If I lose my eyesight, I’m out of a career!

    Well, Knock Me Over with a Feather

    Impera's mock trial team advanced to the playoffs, which they competed in last night.

    And now, they will be competing in the State Finals!

    OK. We now return you to the regularly scheduled blog about ME.

    01 November 2006

    Score! (Update!)

    Remember in July, when I waxed poetic about vintners with a sense of humor? And how a few days later I told you that the folks at Jest wine offered to send me a few bottles in appreciation?

    Well, they never came. I figured it was my own hubris, talking about the gift as if it had already arrived, that made it a no-show. But, last week, considering three months a suitable amount of time to wait, I emailed them a "...Hello?" And guess what arrived today?

    Mmm mmmm! And just in the nick of time, too! Because, as you probably heard today, "Researchers at the Harvard Medical School and the National Institute on Aging report that a natural substance found in red wine, known as resveratrol, offsets the bad effects of a high-calorie diet in mice and significantly extends their lifespan."* Woo hoo! Who needs a 6-week portion restructuring? Jes' gimme some wine!

    Oh, and considering this was Day 1 of NaNoWriMo, I guess I should give you that score as well. 893 words. Pffffft. Remember, my goal is 2,500 words per weekday. So this is bad. Well, it's good if I had 50 days to do this thing. But I only have 21. But I have an excuse! Four (yep, count'em--4) projects came in yesterday, and that means NaNoWriMo should have happened in October. Or February. But not now. Plus -- I had packages to mail at the post office (long lines), books and CDs to pick up at the library (they don't open until 10 am), and this morning I helped turn Impera into a mini-lawyer for the Middle School Mock Trial competition, which started at 9:30 (and all that seriously cut into my morning-which-is-always-my-most-productive-part-of-the-day time).
    Holy crap! Their team made it to the top 5 and continues in the playoffs tomorrow!

    *And let us all discount the previous day's article, on how serious calorie restriction leads to longer life, as patent hogwash. Because they didn't get published in Nature. So there.

    Warning to my British Readership

    Someone Googled "scarves to bind & gag with" this morning (and found my site ... how disturbing).

    Anyway, if you are near Lambeth and you notice a stranger acting all strange, GET YOURSELF TO A WELL-LIT AND POPULATED AREA, STAT!

    (Maybe carry around a pair of scissors, so you can cut the scarf as they try to bind & gag you with it.)