the best and worst of a day in retail

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of George Tiller.

"I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence."

--President Barack Obama

Dr. Tiller was serving as an Usher at this morning's services at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Witchita, KS. His wife was in attendance. A baptism was scheduled to be performed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What's in a name?

Uber-American, Mark Krikorian, over at the always thoughtful and provocative NRO, has stubbed the big toe of his brain's language center. It seems that the muy formidabile Sonia Sotomayor causes the poor man pain by clinging to the Spanish pronunciation of her surname. Shopgirlove knows it's hard, but Mark, the boo-boo in your temporal lobes shouldn't affect the functioning of your occipital lobes. Just because you can't remember how to pronounce Judge Sotomayor's name doesn't excuse you from having to write with logic and clarity. Shopgirlove would like to draw your attention to a few problemas

"...the whole Latina/Latino thing -- English dropped gender in nouns, what, 1,000 years ago?" Shopgirlove has to give him credit for the m-dash, but she hadn't noticed the third person singular going neuter. Nor certain quaint holdovers from our francophone youth: "My she's yar!"
"...[some emails suggest] we should just pronounce [a name] the way the bearer of the name prefers, including one who pronounces her name 'freed' even though it's spelled 'fried,' like fried rice. (I think Cathy Seipp of blessed memory did the reverse -- 'sipe' instead of 'seep.')"
Again, lovely m-dash. Just by the way, ie in German is pronounced ee and ei is pronounced eye. Mark, this is an excellent suggestion, don't you agree? Mark does not agree: " unnatural [English] pronunciation is something we shouldn't be giving in to." (Ooopsies! Dangling.) Pray tell, why not? Well, it turns out that Mark's antecedents stopped correcting Americans on the pronunciation of his last name at some point along the way: "...'ian' is one syllable..." so no one else should either! So there! Shopgirlove does not like this, no she doesn't. Not one bit. You see, her given name is one of those English-defying combinations of letters that, pronounced correctly in the Irish, she has been assured sounds rather beautiful. (Spelling it is another story, but Mark doesn't seem too interested in spelling.)
"But one of the areas where conformity is appropriate is how your new countrymen say your name, since that's not something the rest of us can just ignore, unlike what church you go to or what you eat for lunch." Just who are these new countrymen, Mark? The approximately 43,000,000 Latinos in this country? And to whom are they new? Certainly not to Judge Sotomayor -- she of the Bronx. In New York. In the United States of America.
Sometimes a rose smells even sweeter when it's a rosa.

Fugue this!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

How is this funny?

It's not.

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Those who have served. Those who have supported them. Buffalo Soldiers and Lionesses. Citizens and not.  They have suffered at the hands of enemies and far too often have harmed themselves. At 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, a grateful nation honors the fallen.

The woods of Courton July 1918

We are like 
The leaves
Of Autumn
Upon the trees

-Giuseppe Ungaretti (my translation)

    Bosco di Courton luglio 1918

    Si sta come
    Sugli alberi
    Le foglie.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Grown up pops

No, Silly! Not those Pops! Popsicles! Shopgirlove doesn't have much of a sweet tooth. So, when the weather turns steamy, she feels a little left out on the frozen goodie front. But why not make savory chilled treats? Something for a more sophisticated palate? Not to denigrate the lovely fudgesicle, mind you...but some taste buds shrivel at sugar. Others have gone before her but she has some ideas of her own, why not just freeze any salty, saucy dish you love:

Bloody Mary pops (would need jello; as would any booze-based pop,) Mexican pea pudding pops, shrimp cocktail pops, French onion soup pops (substitute mini grilled cheeses for the croutons as an accompaniment,) oyster shooter pops! Why not?

Shopgirlove couldn't find any mature looking popsicle molds, but Fred has these "Cool Jazz" ice cube trays that would really steal the show.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Shopgirlove loves a controversy.  Boston delivers pretty consistently: busing, corruption, disappearing gangsters, gigantic public works projects, the Catholic Church, and the always entertaining university presidents, not to mention the equally entertaining students.  But nothing is quite as much fun as local art and architecture! Brandeis announced it was going to sell off the remarkable collection of the Rose Art Museum and fired the Director. That didn't go over very well... MIT bought an international, edgy, landmark that promptly fell apart. Contemporary art got a new home that turned its back on the patrons. (Also falling apart. Check out the electrical tape on the back railings.) Ah, and then there's Renzo Piano.  Povero Piano! The FAA had a little  problem with his vision competing with the vision of those silly airplane pilots and the people of Cambridge had the gall to suggest that Harvard should maybe limit the grand  experimental gestures to non-residential sites.  The crimson tide rolled back and settled for a rehab, sorry "transformation," of its existing space. But the Piano plan that got even Shopgirlove deeply perturbed? Tear down the carriage house at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. STOP THE MADNESS!

However, there is a new jewel on the local scene: massport unveiled a memorial to the 9/11 victims on American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175. Thank you to Moskow Linn Architects for an example of modern design that honors purpose and beauty.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Swine flu vs. the Conficker worm

Shopgirlove isn't really all that worried about the latest flu pandemic.  While the Spanish flu was nothing to sneeze at, the ill-named Swine flu is statistically only slightly more deadly than every other flu strain seen in the recent past.  

But, the worm!!!!  Shopgirlove is really quite unnerved by the Conficker worm.  She mentioned it in passing some time ago--more of an aside really in a post about the frightening state of the economy.  However, having done a little research and having experienced some alarming stutters with her own laptop, she is beginning to think this is one virus we may be underestimating. Shopgirlove is pretty sure swine flu won't matter that much if hospitals are infected with this new pandemic.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Shopgirlove was utterly undone by a strange little film called "The Story of the Weeping Camel." She has no way to express the impact of this cinematic journey--except to say that it managed to distill everything of any weight in the human experience to one universal tale that relied entirely on sight and sound. Watch it without the subtitles. This story rises above dialect. It rises above plot. And action. And big names. It is nothing more, nor less, than the most compelling argument for the role that art can play in our lives if we let it. And the role that we could play if we truly accepted our responsibility to the world we have shaped: for better or for worse. 

It is astonishing.