Eagle's Nest observatory
Tuesday, November 9 2004
I had yet another cowboy plumbing job on Eagle's Nest Road today, this time with a brand new client referred to me by Elevator House Lady. She was Muriel, a tiny 94 year old widow living in a house at the road's dead end with her six cats. I'm developing an appreciation for the weird creative magic flowing up and down Eagle's Nest Road, so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to see that across an open field from Muriel's house was a small astronomical observatory, complete with telescope and motorized dome. According to Muriel, though, it has been abandoned for many years. It was originally built by her husband, who, like the father of Elevator House Lady, was something of a Eagle's Nest renaissance man.
Today's job was to replace a leaky faucet mechanism in the bathtub. Everything installed in the bathroom was so old that I worried I wouldn't be able to find a suitable replacement, but Hertzog's Hardware in Kingston had the exact part I needed in stock. While I worked, Muriel petted her blind Himalayan cat on the kitchen table table, read the New Yorker, and listened to National Public Radio. When I asked her about where to put my trash, she insisted that a tough plastic blister pack could be recycled.
This evening, after I'd pissed away far too much time on the masonry details of my new boiler room ventilation project, I visited the Meatlocker People to play a rousing game of Scrabble, a game I have not played in many months. I won the game, but just barely. Mr. Meatlocker rallied near the end and ended just six points shy of my score. Conversation kept coming back to the post-election online phenom known as SorryEverybody.com, wherein humble liberals from America post there apologies to the world for the idiocy of their Bush-electing countrymen. Ms. Meatlocker says that when she first saw the site, it was a single page with about a dozen photographs on it. Now the photos have been paginated into many dozens of pages and the site gets so much traffic it can occasionally be hard to reach. The backend appears to be getting constant developer attention, and we can all easily imagine it ultimately transforming into a database-driven matching service. Already, many of the latest pictures feature scrawny college girls making goo goo eyes into the camera. (Obviously, though, the site is going to have to start collecting metadata first.) Strange as this feels to write, SorryEverybody.com might be the best thing to come out of the election debacle so far. I can't say it was worth it, but it warms my heart just to know it exists.
In other news, my brother Don turned forty years old today. He always arrives at such milestones three years, three months, and seven days before I do. Decades always loom especially large, of course. In the local Staunton, Virginia newspaper (which, my father tells me, had endorsed George W. Bush) it used to be common for people to take out classified advertisements sending birthdays congratulations to a friend or family member. When people couldn't think of anything to say in these ads, they'd pick from a list of canned sentiments penned by the crack editorial staff. A particularly common one to see was, "Lordy Lordy, Look who's Forty!" No, I'm not surprised to learn that this newspaper endorsed the re-election of America's quantifiably worst president ever.
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