Posted by: chartroose | May 11, 2009

Flickr Meme

I got this idea from Chris over at Stuff as Dreams are Made On.  It looks fun and easy, so here goes:

Da Roolz

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page of results, pick an image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into
fd’s mosaic maker, or just do it yourself, like I did.

Now, the questions:
First name?
Favorite food?
What high school did you go to?
Favorite color?
Celebrity crush?
Favorite drink?
Dream vacation?
Favorite dessert?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What do you love most in life?
One word to describe you.
Your flickr name.

The answers go left to right, top to bottom.

There are a few of these that I find to be quite humorous, like #3.  That’s right, young whippersnappers, I went to high school with Mickey Rooney.  The boys wore bowties and the girls wore hats and white gloves.  Cocktail hour started at 10 a.m. and lasted until school let out.  Those were the days!

The kid in the recliner popped up when I typed “race car driver” for what I want to be when I grow up.  Yes, young whippersnappers, I’m now too old and crotchety to race cars.  Racing recliners is more my speed.  Now, where’d I put my remote?  Dagnabbit!

My favorite is the Obama t-shirt.  Yeah, young whippersnappers, I exude street cred and book smarts out of every pore in my body.  Word up, dawgs!  I should be president instead of that guy!  Legalize drugs?  Yes.  Legalize gay marriage?  Yes.  Keep abortion legal?  Yes.  On second thought, I don’t think the U.S. is quite ready for a single atheist libertarian female to be the leader of our fine country.  I don’t think the U.S. will ever be quite ready for me.  More’s the pity, dontcha think? 

If you decide to do this, leave a comment and I’ll go check you out.

Posted by: chartroose | May 7, 2009

Twitter Contest Winners!

There are 3 winners for the twitter contest:

Heather J. will get the $25 B&N gift certificate.

Jill and Carrie K. will get something else.  I haven’t decided what that something is, but I think I’m going to make it kind of whimsical. 

Heather and Carrie–I need your snail mail addresses.   Send them to chartroose at yahoo dot com.  Congrats to all!

Posted by: chartroose | May 7, 2009

Feeling Twittery

I’m not a twitterer, and I don’t really want to be one.  There is nothing I do that is so terribly important that I must announce it to the world immediately.  Also, I’m enough of a narcissist without resorting to this new “look at me, look at me” fad, not to mention that I’m a partial luddite at heart.  I refuse to carry my cell phone with me unless I’m traveling, and I turned down a free blackberry at work.  The last thing I want is to have a bunch of whiny physicians texting me all the freaking time.  Egads, I’m such an old curmudgeon!  Damn all those young techhies!  Why don’t they stay home and watch television like we did in the good old days?

Anyway, I would like to try a rather twittery game.  I got this idea from an NPR broadcast.  It was so incedibly funny that I thought I’d introduce it today.  It’s very simple:  I write a few easy “twitterish” lines about a book, and you guess the title.  Here are a few examples from NPR:

  • “Times are hard.  Sister breastfeeding homeless guy.  I’m so outta here!”  The Grapes of Wrath
  • “I hate that guy!  Actually, he’s kinda hot…”  Pride & Prejudice

I’ll write the twitters here.  You only need to write the book title in the comments section.  The first person to answer all correctly wins a $25 Barnes & Noble gift certificate.  Are you ready?  Here goes…

1.   You are not to think!  You are not to love!  We are watching you.

2.   Daisy, Daisy, have I got a mansion for you…

3.   Cannibals and flayers and FBI, oh my! (speaking of birds… Jodie Foster)

4.   Let go of my gonads!  Out, out, damn demon!  (author initials, WPB.  Linda Blair)

5.   Hey, throw this soda pop on the pony boy.  Maybe it will put the fire out.  (famous teen novel.  Matt Dillon & Patrick Swayse)

6.   I’m good, I’m evil, I’m good, I’m evil.  Dammit, where’s my lithium?  (This one is too hard.  It’s Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde) 

7.   It’s funny–one day you’re a man and the next you’re an insect.  Go figure…

8.   Do not eat those stinky pigs and hang your head in shame when you have your period.  This is nonnegotiable!

9.   Your hair is so soft.  Let me pet it.  Oops, sorry!

10.  When Irish eyes are infected…  (memoir tearjerker)

11.  Stay away from the maze.  You’ll freeze in there.  (watch out for that axe, Scatman Crothers)

12.  “Aargh, my ass is stuck!”  Let me help you, honey.  (famous children’s book(s), HUNNY!!!)

13.  How about a zipless quickie in the 1st class sink?

14.  Mom croaked.  Whatever. (author initials: AC.  He’s a French dude.  Life sucks and then you die.)

15.  Flies are yummy. (very famous horror novel.  Speaking of life sucking…)

16.  Have furry feet, will travel.

17.  I’m glad I was dressed as a ham.


Hurry and answer now! 

Posted by: chartroose | May 6, 2009

Hacking Up Some Disgusting Goo

Well. everyone, it looks like my yahoo e-mail account has been hacked.  If you have received an e-mail from me talking about a bogus business opportunity, just know that it’s NOT from me, and I will NEVER send you such unadulterated crap – not ever!

I’m going to head over to my yahoo account and see if this can be fixed.  If not, I will deactivate that account and start a new one.


Posted by: chartroose | May 1, 2009

Surfer Dude’s Guess That Gnarly Gnovel #9


Hey, all you slammin’ bloggery dudes and dudettes!  Chartroose has asked me to fill-in for her today because she has been hella busy at work for the past couple of weeks and is too bummed and burned-out to pay attention to this poor neglected blog.  Plus, she’s trippin’ about porker flu.  She’s sure she’s got it, even though she has no symptoms at all except a headache.  I keep telling her that if she mellows out, the headache will go away.  I’m a totally marley dude, so she should listen to me, don’t you think?

Anyway, chartroose has decided to let ME choose the prize this time.  This is totally sicko dece of her, and if she weren’t acting like such a total freakdudette right now, I’d give her a big hug ( =

Ahem, um, where was I…oh chyeah, I’m choosing the prize!  This prize is the most gnar gnar of all the prizes to date.  It’s a $25 online gift certificate from Ron Jon Surf Shop.  Ron Jon sells some of the sickest surfgear on the planet.  It also sells froufrou home decor and clothing, so you can find something you can use even if you’re just a smogbreather.

In case you’ve forgotten, the rules for this game are super easy.  Be the first person to correctly guess the TITLE and AUTHOR of the gnovel I’m about to explain and write your answer in the comments.  The first correct answer wins.

Are you ready?  Here’s the book:

Once upon a time, there was a gremmy little girl whose parents were always fighting.  Her father was a total narcissist and her mom was bummed all the time.  After the girl’s baby brother dies, her parents divorce, her mom is sent to the looney tuner and the little girl is sent to live with her grandmother.  She has no friends, because she’s kind of a loser-her, which is totally shommy because she tries so hard to be cool, but it just doesn’t work out.  So, the girl starts watching soaps and hanging out with an older neighbor dude.  This dude is totally scary; he thinks he’s a hero, but he’s really just a hodaddy and he hurts the poor loser girl in the worst way that a dude can hurt a chick, and it ruins her for a long time.  Many other things happen:  the girl eats a lot and becomes a moosette; she goes to college and is hell munched by her peers; her only friend gets her wasted and semi-forces her to engage in girl-on-girl sex (of the non-hot kind) and she tries to drown herself in the ocean and ends up in a looney tuner just like her mom.  When she gets out, she pursues a creepy philanderer dude and marries him.  Eventually, she divorces the creepy dude and marries a nice dude and the gnovel ends on an optimistic note. 

Whew, that was killer to explain!  What is it?  Type the title and author in the comments section.  Hurry up and be the first!

Posted by: chartroose | April 22, 2009


Hey everyone, it’s Jill’s (Fizzy Thoughts) birthday!  We should inundate her with b-day wishes, especially on this auspicious occassion.  You see, today is a biggie–little Jillora is making the transition from adolesence to adulthood; that’s right, she’s turning 40!

Jill, now that you’re old like me,
You will finally be free.

You can:

  1. Wear anything – Old ladies can dress in the strangest outfits and everyone thinks they look “cute.”
  2. Eat anything – Now that you’re old, you can finally “let yourself go.”  It’s very liberating!
  3. Say anything – If people take offense, just tell them that old women are allowed to speak their minds.  No more of this girly “sweety-sweety” stuff for you!  Now you can call ’em as you sees ’em.

Have a great day, kiddo dear Jill.  I hope you get everything you wish for, and then some.

Posted by: chartroose | April 20, 2009

The Butterfly Suncatcher Winner Is…

Chris, from Stuff as Dreams are Made On.  Yay!  Hooray!  This thrills me to no end because I adore you, Mr. Christopher!  Send your snail mail address to chartroose at yahoo dot com.  Woot!

(BTW, Chris — I finally ended up giving the Domo you sent me to Older Daughter’s gigantic Swedish boyfriend.  He just wouldn’t leave the thing alone, and we’d end up tussling over it like little kids!  I think he plays with it secretly every night after he puts on his railroad train pajamas and crawls into his little race car bed).

Posted by: chartroose | April 17, 2009

Chartroose on the Loose – Oakland, California

I’ve decided to travel down the west coast to visit a few more author sites before heading to parts unknown.  Back in the day, when I was a very young ‘un, we lived in Pacifica, CA.  On occasion, we’d head over to Oakland, but our weekend jaunts were usually confined to the closer and more exciting city of San Francisco.  I think many people did this, because Oakland was like San Fran’s red-headed stepchild.  The city experienced some major social problems during the latter half of the 20th century.  Oakland’s crime and poverty rates were among the worst in the country, and I’ve read that Oakland still struggles with these issues.

The time period in Oakland’s history that I’m interested in occurred way before those tumultuous decades.  Oakland in the early 1900’s was well on its way to becoming  an established port city, and it was here that John (Jack) London (1876 – 1916)  first appeared on the literary scene.

Jack London’s childhood history was quite colorful:  he was born out-of-wedlock in San Francisco, and he was raised by a wet nurse until his mother married John London when he was 8 months old.  The family moved to and from Oakland several times before settling there permanently in 1886.

Jack’s formal education wasn’t the greatest, but he was a smart boy and read voraciously.  His family was poor, so he tried many different jobs before settling on writing as a full-time career.  He was an oyster pirate, a sailor (which he adored), a janitor, a harbor patrolman, a gold prospector in the Klondike, and a railroad bum among other things.  He even spent a month in jail in New York for vagrancy.  During his travels as a tramp, he became acquainted with Socialism and soon became a devout follower of its philosophy.  He unsuccessfully ran  for mayor of Oakland as the Socialist Party Candidate several times during his early twenties.  He was always the champion of the underdog, and was vociferously adamant in his defense of those less fortunate than himself.

While I was conducting my little smidgeon of research on Jack’s life, I struck by the thought that he was quite extraordinary.  He was the Kerouac of his generation, and he was a man’s man and an adventurer to boot, like Hemingway.  He was strong, but he was sickly too.  He spent a substantial portion of his adult life in pain due to various stomach and kidney ailments and died of kidney failure at the age of 40.  If he had lived longer, I’ll bet he could’ve made a big difference in the world, or at least in the United States.

During his writing career, London devoted himself to writing at least 1,000 words a day.  Between 1900 and 1916, he wrote over 50 books, several hundred short stories, and scads of articles, essays and poetry.  After the publication of  The Call of the Wild in 1903, he became the most beloved and highest paid author of that period in history.  His fame spread throughout the globe, and he recieved over 10,000 letters a year from friends and fans alike.  Being handsome didn’t  hurt, either.  London was the first celebrity to endorse commercial products, like grape juice and men’s suits.


***A brief aside***
I wonder if, all things considered, Jack London was more popular than J. K. Rowling.  Hmm, grape juice for thought.


Now, finally back to Oakland.  The city has named a potion of its waterfront “Jack London Square.”  This is a touristy place featuring cheap souvenier shops and expensive seafood restaurants, but it does have one remaining authentic Jack London landmark, Heinold’s First and Last Chance Bar.

The bar was established in 1883, and London would read there as a kid and write there as an adult.

During his second marriage, Jack decided to relocate to the Sonoma Valley, which is about 80 miles north of Oakland.  He bought 140 acres in a little town called Glen Ellen and built his dream house.  It burned down a few days before the London’s were to move in, and he died before the house could be rebuilt.  He is buried on the property.  A few years after his death, his wife (Charmian) had a house/museum built and later petitioned the state of California to establish an historic site on the property after her death.  The state did, and “Jack London State Historic Park” has been in business since 1960.

Here are some pictures of the State Park:

The Museum

The Dream (aka “Wolf”) House

Jack and Charmian’s grave.  He didn’t want a headstone.

My favorite London books are The Call of the Wild and White Fang because they’re about canines, and I can’t pass up a great dog story, even if it makes me weep copious tears at the end.  It’s hard to choose a favorite between them, but I guess it must be The Call of the Wild because I love Buck so much.  I’m pretty sure that Buck is my favorite canine character, ever.  If you’d like to read these or any other Jack London books, you can find them here for free.

That’s it for this installment of Chartroose on the Loose.  Stay tuned!

Posted by: chartroose | April 15, 2009

April is the Cruellest Month…

…or at least it has been on this blog!  I’ve been reading and thinking about the most depressing things:  bullying, the Holocaust, the victimization of women, and now, to top it all off, a dying dog novel (which is the worst of all).  It’s a good thing that I love springtime more than any other time of the year, or I’d probably be ready to drive off a cliff by Friday!

In my last post, I promised everyone that I’d write about flowers and butterflies, so that’s what I’m going to do.  First of all, I’d like to mention that I’m a major butterfly fan, and if I were even more hippy dippy than I already am, I’d choose a butterfly to be one of my totem animals.  I had a “butterfly experience” many years ago that helped me change the course of my life.  I’m not going to go into details now, but the memory of all those beautiful little butterflies swarming around me during that pivotal time is still very fresh in my mind.  The butterflies looked something like this:

They were the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever seen, and there were hundreds of them!


I live in a small stucco cottage which was built in 1950.  On either side of my front door stand two ginormous choke cherry trees.  They must’ve been planted right around the time the house was built, because their shallow roots extend all the way out to the sidewalk.  The roots will send up little saplings all over the yard which I have to chop down several times a year.  If I don’t do this, these trees will eventually “choke” out all other plant life.  In spite of their annoying habit of trying to take over the world, I love my choke cherries.  There’s a pair of mourning doves that park in them every once in awhile, especially during the winter: 

Last summer, older daughter trimmed the tree that I can most easily see through my picture window, and, as a result, I’ve been discovering new birds.  There is some type of woodpecker that goes rat-a-tat-tat on one of the larger branches every once in awhile. 

As soon as she hears this, my half-wild Siamese-mix cat will jump up and perch on the windowsill and make funny little pffft-pffft sounds in the back of her throat.  Nothing will distract her when she’s in her pffft mood, not even one of my vociferous dogs telling her to get down immediately!

The most interesting bird I’ve seen in the largest choke cherry is a kestrel.  I saw it for the first time early one morning a couple of months ago, and it has been in the tree twice since then.  I wish it would stay, because it’s so beautiful and so much fun to observe.  Kestrels look like this: 

Spring has been a long time coming this year, so my choke cherries are just now beginning to bud.  When they are in full bloom, their blossoms will look something like this:

    They’ll smell delicious too!


I want to take a break from gloom and doom books, so after I’m done with the Garth Stein novel, I’d like to read something fun and carefree.  I’d like to dive into a couple of easygoing novels before going back to books that make me cry and want to drown my sorrow in drugs and alcohol (with a little bit of cutting thrown in for good measure).  Do any of you have suggestions?

If you leave a suggestion in the comments, you’ll be entered in a drawing for this cute little stained glass suncatcher: 

I’ll draw the winner’s name at around noon on Monday, April 20th.  Happy spring!

Posted by: chartroose | April 10, 2009

The Kindly Ones (Unfinished) and Social Darwinism

Jonathan Littell, 2009, 992 p.

I’ve finally given it up. The only reason I stuck with The Kindly Ones for over 500 pages is because there were a few moments of amazing philosophical brilliance in this novel which left me yearning for more.  So, I would slog through about 70 or 80 pages of Nazi officers (like Overcoatfuhrers and Underwearfuhrers–the Nazis were quite fashionable) discussing their opinions of which Jews to kill and how to kill them in order to get to the next section of brilliance.  I was like a drug addict jonesin’ for a fix, and then finding that the much-anticipated high only lasts for about 30 seconds.  What a let down!  I’m quitting this one cold turkey.

The Kindly Ones wasn’t a complete waste of time, though.  I learned quite a bit from it.  Most of the novel centers on Nazi dogma, especially their conviction that the “Aryan Race” was destined to rule the world.  The Nazis were Social Darwinists, and I decided to look up some information on it at work home during my free time.  The ideal Aryan was tall, fair, strong and athletic.  All other peoples were judged to be inferior, and those who were perceived to be genetically unfit  were disposable (and disposed of during the holocaust).  In case you’ve forgotten, in addition to the millions of Jews that were exterminated, gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally/physically disabled, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian oppositionists and many other “genetically unfit” people were also murdered.

I don’t want to make this into a huge history lesson, but I do want to clarify Social Darwinism a little bit.  Social Darwinists believe that:

1.  Biology governs every living thing, including humans.
2.  Uncontrolled population growth will eventually decimate our ecosystems and natural resources.
3.  Physical and mental traits are largely inherited, therefore humans should reproduce with the fittest mates they can find.
4.  Natural selection and genetics lead to the extinction of inferior species and the evolution of superior species.
5.  All of the above can be applied to society, thus our philosophies, religions, political systems and ethical values can also be attributed to natural selection.

When I finished reading these tenets, I became quite agitated because I believe in the first four of them (the last one is just dumb).  Does this make me a Social Darwinist?  Am I a racist, classist murderer like the monstrous members of the Nazi elite?  Am I some kind of evil skinhead type who should move to Couer d’Alene to help them prepare for their imagined war between Caucasions and African Americans?  Should I move to El Paso and patrol our borders with like-minded gun-totin’ redneck vigilante racists?  Should I become a (gasp) Republican?  I’m a terrible person!

Luckily, as I continued to read about Social Darwinism, I realized that I’m not one of them.  You have to believe in #5 to be a true Social Darwinist.  I really don’t believe in much of anything, especially if it has to do with organized religion or governmental/social constructs, so I’m off the hook.

After breathing a sigh of relief (especially about my close call with Republicanism), I continued on my e-journey, where I found one of the best academic websites I’ve ever run across.  It’s a site filled with Nazi propaganda, and you can find it here.  Some of the words and images are quite disturbing.  Here is an example:

This picture is one of many in a picture book entitled Trust No Fox on His Green Heath and No Jew on His Oath. German children actually read this in school.  Unbelievable!

Here is the text that accompanies the illustration:

But the Germans — they stand foursquare.
Look, children, and the two compare,
The German and the Jew.
Take a good look at the two
In the picture drawn for you.
A joke — you think it is only that?
Easy to guess which is which, I say:
The German stands up, the Jew gives way.
The German is a proud young man,
Able to work and able to fight.
Because he is a fine big chap,
For danger does not care a rap,
The Jew has always hated him!
Here is the Jew, as all can see,
Biggest ruffian in our country;
He thinks himself the greatest beau
And yet is the ugliest you know!

Here’s another picture from the website which further demonstrates the Nazi mindset:

The Jewish man in the picture is depicted as Satan.

That’s enough on this subject.  Next week, I’m going to focus on upbeat subjects, like flowers and butterflies!

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