Archive for the ‘Furnishings and tools’ Category

More new things

May 20, 2023

My previous “New Things” posting (on 5/11) was about replacing household furnishings that were difficult, painful, or actively dangerous for me to use with more suitable items. As it happens, the replacements were well-designed aesthetically as well as functionally.

This morning, noting Target ads for melamine plates for picnic use — it’s the season — the colors of which offended her, my daughter Elizabeth was moved to suggest to me that I might think about replacing the thin apple-green plastic plates I’d been using, whose virtues were that they were super-lightweight (crucial for my seriously disabled hands), durable,  microwave safe, and really cheap (they’re still available: Preserve® Plateware, in #5 plastic, recyclable too). Alas, cheap in both senses: inexpensive and of inferior quality. And I hate the color.

In my kitchen cabinets I have a full set of handsome stoneware plates and dishes that Jacques and I bought for everyday use, plus a full set of elegant china for when we had guests, but now it’s all way too heavy for me to handle, and far too breakable. I can deal with a bowl, because I can hook a thumb and forefinger on the rim and then carry it safely, but plates are out of my range.

Now Elizabeth had planted in my mind the idea of replacing the cheap greenies with something better — not melamine, because it doesn’t microwave safely — but something more aesthetically pleasing, and maybe even on sale, since it’s the picnic season.


New Things

May 11, 2023

A report on  a project to replace household furnishings that are difficult, painful, or actually dangerous for me to use. With three recent advances:

— in my bedroom, a rolling utility cart serving as two laundry baskets (one for hot-water wash, one for cold-water wash; I do all the laundry myself)

— in my bathroom, a free-standing towel rack with a shelf for a bathroom wastebasket (and with poles for my towel and wash cloth and for a guest towel and wash cloth)

— in my bathroom, a scale designed for the feeble elderly (like me)

I found these objects on-line (details below, with pictures from the makers), and when they were delivered, I had my crack caregiver army (Erick Barros and Stephanie Gray, representing Bay Area Geriatric Care) to unpack them, assemble them, and dispose of the packing materials. And then (since I no longer have a way to take photographs — a separate sad story), Stephanie took photographs of the new things in their context, for me to show you.



March 16, 2023

Passed around in various forms on the net recently, this truly distant, extremely imperfect, pun, partly in German, partly in English, which does, however, come with the signature of its putative maker (Ella Niemans, who, alas, I’ve been unable to find anything about — perhaps because her name might be a joke, playing on German niemand ‘nobody’):

(#1) A monstrously complex joke alluding to  US President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 speech at the Berlin Wall, in which he declared (in his American-accented German) Ich bin ein Berliner, asserting that he was figuratively, in spirit, a citizen of Berlin

So it’s about bin liners and it’s about the Kennedy speech. Complexities on both counts.


Penguins on the town

February 26, 2023

Penguin spots — showing four penguins on holiday in New York City — by Milanese illustrator Antonio Giovanni Pinna in the 2/27/23 issue of The New Yorker:

(#1) Six of the spots: p. 21, bellhop / porter transporting the penguins in a hotel luggage cart; p. 24, special polar-temp accommodations for the penguins; p. 31, two penguins on a horse-drawn carriage ride in Central Park; p. 42, a penguin contributes to a street musician; p. 46, the four penguins emerge from the subway; p. 49, the penguins collaborate so that one of them can use a tower viewer to appreciate scenic views


Engorged in hues of blue

February 16, 2023

(seriously phallic, so not to everyone’s taste)

The readings for the day, inspired by Max Vasilatos posting on Facebook about weird garden statues:

(#1) The Penisaurus Poems; there will eventually be acknowledgments of Edward Lear and Isaac Watts, respectively

The inspiration for these poetic eruptions was just one of those weird garden statues; from the beginning of my response to MV:

[Max wrote:] “There’s one that might land me in FB jail, though amazon thinks you can put it in your yard. I have known people with this sensibility.” — that would be the blue-headed WPODWO resin Dino-Dick (which, by the way, is clearly pretty small, though the company doesn’t say how small, only that it’s “compact”).


Bizarro orientations

February 12, 2023

Two Bizarro cartoons from 2021, touching on questions of sexual orientation:

(#1) A Piraro Bizarro from 11/7/21: imperfect pun on sexual (orientation): sectional, as in sectional furniture ‘furniture made in sections’ — combined with a (perfect) pun on orientation ‘the relative physical position or direction of something’ (NOAD) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are, wow, 12 in this strip — see this Page.)

#1 raises the question of how labile sexual orientation might be: easily changed, like the arrangement of furniture in a room, just a matter of style, fashion, or whim; or more enduring and resistant to change.


(#2) A Wayno / Piraro Bizarro from 12/2/21:  a complex (but perfect) pun,  turning primarily on turn on ‘start, cause to operate’ vs. ‘arouse (sexually)’, but secondarily involving connection in both electrical and emotional senses (Dan Piraro says there are 5 of his symbols in this strip)

#2 is also a joke about visual pornography: the artwork depicts a 9v female connector, so it appeals to the 9v battery, but not to an AA battery, which needs a different sort of connective hardware.

Then there are the brand names: Enervator, a play on the brand name Energizer; and Zap, possibly a play on the Energizer MAX family of alkaline batteries, more likely just the vivid verb zap used for lightning strikes and the like.

Finally, #2 evokes two senses of hard-wired: in computers, ‘permanent, inalterable’; in behavior, ‘inborn, instinctive’. (The connecting idea is that what’s built-in can’t be changed.)


The Zwicky deer head

February 11, 2023

Annals of bizarre commerce, in today’s announcement by Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky that she has ordered an (ornamental) deer head with ZWICKY (among other things) emblazoned on it. From Miho Unexpected Things (“Striking and fun italian home decor”), where it’s one of a number of deer heads on offer:

(#1) This particular model is named Zwickypedia; ZWICKY is presumably pronounced en français, like the other words on the head

WTF!? you exclaim / ask. Why ZWICKY?


Rainbow benches

January 9, 2023

Today’s Mary, Queen of Scots Not Dead Yet posting, mostly courtesy of Tim Evanson posting on Facebook. Tim posted this photo of three gay park benches:

(#1) TE: Forest Hill Park, Cleveland Heights. Yesterday.
They had one rainbow bench. It was vandalized. Now there are three.


Home front news: the chirping comatose refrigerator

November 29, 2022

Adventures in appliances on Ramona St. Beginning the evening of Saturday 11/26 — yes, the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend in my country — when I opened the refrigerator to get things for dinner and the thing appeared to be stone-dead, for how long I couldn’t be sure. Infuriating, because the appliance was only a couple of years old; it’s an emergency replacement, installed during pandemic lockdown, for its predecessor, which experienced the mechanical equivalent of sudden total organ failure.

Now the sad story in some detail. I remind you that the chirping comatose refrigerator is happening right along with all the other challenges and afflictions of my life (not all of which I have yet posted about; the Land of Urinals posting, in particular, is still to come).

The appliance. In white, in the smaller of two available sizes.

From the Samsung site; freezer at the top, refrigerator at the bottom (with a Slide and Reach Pantry tray at the top, and crisper drawers at the bottom); my fridge opens from the other side, but that’s adjusted during installation


The Tale of Raunchy Appetizers

November 1, 2022

A gripping adventure, begun yesterday in my posting “Invitation to the groaning phallic board”, which was temporarily abandoned due to illness. The final chapter in the story of this raunchy appetizer board:

(#1) From a Facebook ad for a wooden appetizer board in the outline shape of the male genitals (head with frenulum and urethral cleft, gently bent shaft, and testicles) — highly stylized, highly schematic, but with these quite specific details; shown here with the compartments filled with appetizers of various sorts, and with accompanying bowls of other appetizers

The photo appears to be a scam come-on, created either by photographic manipulation or by the crafting of a single wooden model for advertising purposes.

My interest was in both the appetizer board (so called) and in the foodstuffs — the appetizers (though they sometimes go by other names) — that fill such boards. On appetizer boards in general, and then

some reflection on the modes of phallicity, extending my thoughts in two earlier postings, “Enhanced phallicity” of 12/10/21 (about things that are not merely phallic by nature, but (also) deliberately designed to resemble penises in some detail) and “Plush life” of 9/11/22 (about four modes of phallicity). What, in this world, are we to make of the raunchy appetizer board?