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Sometimes I love writing my column. This week I wrote about Go Topless Day. Yes, it’s pretty much about what you think it is. And boobs. I got to write “boob” in the newspaper as if it’s a professional term to be wielded with a straight face.

Not only that, but I also found out about this crazy, UFO-based religion, Raelism … which advocates Go Topless Day … because it’s totally logical that women running around topless is intrinsically linked to alien visitation. Extraterrestrials are only coming here for the boobs. Remember that.

I hope the NSA doesn’t catalog my search history.

They’ll be all, like, WTF? at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

I really should have a category called “TMI” or “Chica! Have some dignity, don’t share everything.” That said, cover your ears and plug up your eyes, cuz you know what’s coming: a crass moment of over sharing.

It sounds like the beginning of joke that ends with a punchline like “So, the doctor says you’re gonna die,” but I’m coming right out to say it: I got this rash [insert laugh track here].

Seriously, a little rash on my face beside my nose. Yes, right there, cuddled up next to the most eye-catching feature of my face. I had the rash once before 7-8 years ago and–of course–just threw out the really expensive tube of antibiotic I had to use for it way back when. The antibiotic only came in a roughly one-gelatinous-pound tube that cost about a third of a paycheck, and then I only had to use one micro-smidgen of it to rid myself of the face oogy, so my big investment just sat there on the shelf, deteriorating way past its warranty. That’s when I tossed it … and two months later is when I needed it again. Damn you, Irony.

Anyway, just like last time, I rushed right in to the emergency room … in a pink tutu singing the star spangled banner while I juggled three plates with my feet. Get real.

I decided to work on fixing it myself (and stick with me here because you do not know where this is going).

I tried washing the speck of rash thoroughly three times a day. It got a little worse.

Tried over-the-counter anti-biotic for a few days. Got worse.

Thought about it maybe being a bacterial imbalance issue (don’t ask me why I went there, you really don’t want that information), so I tried ph neutralizing with a saline rinse. Kept progressing.

And a boric acid rinse. Ditto. (I’m telling you, do not ask me how I know these things.)

And then ph changing with bigger guns: vinegar. Got much worse (wups).

Now with the reddish, bumpy patch about the area of a dime–with disturbing hints of the larger-patch-to-be, I decided to screw the ph angle and try fighting bad bacteria with good bacteria, so (and don’t judge me) I dabbed a few grains of acidophilus on the area. Of course, it got w–wait a minute, it got better.

It got better? Yes, it got better! Now don’t that beat all.

The only obvious course of action, then, was to really slather that stuff on there. The problem was, though, that for this remedy to work I needed to slather a powdery white substance around my nose. And leave it there.

I looked like I’d taken a header into someone’s heaping stash of cocaine. Not really a daytime look. Y’know?

So there I was, every night for a few weeks, quietly, nonchalantly, kind of sneakily, going to bed after John with a large swath of my face slathered down with a white slurry of acidophilus.

It was not pretty. I did not feel sexy. But the rash made me feel the same way too, with some of those “oh, hell, don’t touch me there” overtones.

Though I am healed by the magical powers of acidophilus powder, I am not a doctor and this is way off label use of this product–plus, it is not recommended for use by anyone who is having a new friend of the expecting-sex nature over for a sleepover, or anyone who would like to meet that kind of friend during the treatment period–so I’ll just say, do not use this to fix anything, even acne.

I will just throw this out there into the wind:  If anyone knows someone with one of those swanky spas where they do seaweed wraps and mud baths, tell them they’re missing out on this: acidophilus slurry soaks. I would totally pay someone to let me soak in a tub of this stuff.

Y’know, if it was fresh at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com


So, how’s your day at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

This from an article by The Associated Press today about an ongoing criminal investigation in Montana’s capitol city, Helena:

“The Independent Record (newspaper) reports police are looking for anyone who has information about who stole the gnomes and vandalized the school by trying to glue them to the buildings.”

Usually, by the time I get to the fifth page of proofing I’m about dead from power reading (because when I read really fast, my lips get tired from sounding out the words that rapid-fire) and, of course, from actually having to read the news (because they make me read all of the stories, even the ones I don’t like, the boring ones, the stupid ones, the pointless ones, the gory ones, the depressing ones — all of them — it makes my brain hurt).

And then something makes me laugh out loud.

Well, it’s gems like that that keep me coming back to work … and, of course, the charming ambiance created by the editorial department (which is populated by an odd pack of beings who seem to be the progeny of a drunken, late-night pairing between some kind of evil-genius nerds and standard issue carnival workers).

So there is that at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

Just thought I’d throw that out there.

I am, apparently, having flashback week in my head. It started with the product name Super Elastic Bubble Plastic just popping into my brain while I was cooking supper one night. We were such silly, stupid children trying to blow those enormous plastic bubbles, when we should’ve just spent our days huffing this stuff. The things they gave children for toys in those carefree days of innocence.

The Super Elastic Bubble Plastic ingredients list led me to think of another childhood favorite now deemed too dangerous for youth to be mucking around with: lawn darts. Outlawing lawn darts? What do the kids play chicken with these days? Seriously, if you don’t have lawn darts to throw at your brother it can lead to some repressed anger issues.

Now, I’m channeling America, the band, making for the perfect soundtrack for ’70s flashbacks, right?

I was showering the night before last and broke into this lyric: “Ooooh, Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man/that he didn’t, didn’t already have.” I literally stopped scrubbing long enough to ask myself, out loud, “What the hell?” shrugged and continued on with: “And cause never was a reason for believing in the Tropic of Sir Galahad,” which of course, is all wrong, but cut me some slack, I was like 9 when the album was released and listening to it on the AM station in our old Chevy Suburban or on a hand held transistor radio.

Besides, those boys obviously were sniffing Super Elastic Bubble Plastic when they came up with lyrics. What does “Smoke glass stain bright color/Image going down, down, down, down/Soapsuds green like bubbles” really mean? Especially to a 9-year-old too naive to huff the chemical goo her parents gave her?

I’m spinning round, round, round, round at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

Last weekend we went to Saturday Market for some fresh veg, maybe a little pig on a pole (which is barbecued pork kabobs, so get your mind out of whatever trash heap it was wallowing in — I know what kind of people hang out on this blog). I took my camera to capture there and share here a little slice of my Americana pie.

Totally forgot the camera in the car. Buh-rilliant, yes, but the fresh foods were calling me — I was deliriously hypnotized by their siren song.

But later in the day I realized I could make it up to all you lovely readers when I discovered baby beaks sticking out of the barn swallow nest in my horse shelter.

I really did put in an effort to get cutesy-pie, fuzzy-wuzzy baby bird pictures. I love the little birdlets all nestled in their downy home, squawking for supper from mama, and was eager to share. I climbed my tall fence and perched on the top rail, wedged under the shed eaves, getting slivers in my ass on one end and in my forehead on the other.

I snapped photos (ignoring the message from my camera to turn the stoopid flash on). They all turned out not so good. So I took a few more with the flash enabled. They turned out much more almost discernible.

Crappy creepy barn swallow photo No.1.

As luck would have it, the only time one of the little beggars poked its head out of the nest was when I was starting the muscle twitch to bring fingers around to the flippy-uppy flashy-thingy. Yeah, I was so excited, and uncoordinated from changing my mind, that my effort resulted in this bizarro piece of double exposure. I’m holding my breath waiting for the Pulitzer announcement.

After raising the flash, I waited, and I waited, and I waited, and I waited for one of the little cretins to raise its head again. No. But the nice thing about digital cameras is that you simply cannot take too many crappy photos. Even with the flash, I got a couple dozen photos that look like this gem on the right below … and even more that make it look really good by comparison.

Crappy creepy barn swallow photo No.2.

I chose this photo to share because it’s one of the more betterish ones, and it also clearly illustrates just how disappointingly creepy these baby birds were. Where is the cutesy-pie downy softness? What happened to their fuzzy-wuzzies? I do not feel an urge to koochy-coo these homely birdlets.

Yes, I understand, they’re probably spankin’ fresh newborns — they probably deserve my pity — but I had chickens as a kid and their chicklets popped out of the egg, fluffed their matted fuzz in a warm breeze and phoofed out into an instant urge to be scooped up for a cuddle. I don’t mind saying that I was disappointed in these three baby barn swallows. Can they even hope that their mother loves them?

Go ahead and tell me that you feel any different looking at these practically bald, eye-bulging amoebas with their mama’s down humped up behind them. … And what in hell’s hand basket is that spindly black thing on the left? A wing? Nu-uh, looks like a giant creepy spider leg to me.

I was convinced, within moments of my first viewing of this photo blown up full-sized on my big, uber-resolution monitor, that what we’re seeing here is a genetic mutation experiment gone horribly awry.

This creature, I thought, is the newly formulated, three-bird-headed, downy-backed tarantula, escaped from a secret lab near you. Its bite is venomous, from all three heads, but the one on the left will also eat you (starting with your squishy eyeballs). It can wrap a grown human into a cocoon in under 7 minutes. It travels at speeds up to 44 mph over short distances. It sees in the dark, and it knows where you live.

The face that will haunt your dreams tonight.

Then I saw this last photo. And I haven’t slept well for days.

WTF is that fourth creature at the left of the photo?! Seriously, it can’t be a baby bird. Can it? No way.

That — that thing — must be what’s wrong with all the rest of the picture, and I don’t mean this snapshot. I mean the bigger picture that should be the lovely tweety-bird, zip-a-dee-doo-dah life of the three baby swallows. That thing is some kind of succubus draining the life, the cuteness, the very soft downiness from their beings. I fear now that the little tyke in the first photo was crying for help.

I want to save them, I really do, but I’m afraid to go out there in case that thing is ready to attach itself to a larger, more succulent banquet.

Such as myself at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

While on a camping trip with her boyfriend on Mt. Hood, 28-year-old Oregon teacher Pamela Salant up and fell from a 50-foot cliff while searching alone for a choice camping spot on Mt. Hood. She gashed her leg open and broke her tibia during her fall and spent the night alone and broken at the base of the cliff.

Upon waking in pain in the morning, she decided to scootch herself on her backside to water and make her way down the creek to the Columbia River. In the article on msnbc.com, Ms. Salant is quoted speaking quite eloquently about scrounging for berries and deciding to eat a few caterpillars and slugs to ward off starvation. She eluded her rescuers three nights in the wilderness before being found and taken to medical attention.

Ain’t that just like a Pam.

She injures herself in a spectacular, and quite possibly a little bit stupid, accident. (I mean, who looks for a campsite next to a 50-foot cliff?); goes to great measures to save herself, but foils her rescuers’ efforts with every reasoned decision she makes (e.g. she parked her scootcher next to a waterfall, so she had water, but the crashing water drown out the sound of the rescue helicopters); and in the end, waxes most poetic about her freaky food choices on the lost-girl mountain menu. Apparently, Pams the whole world ’round do not like to be hungry.

It totally could’ve been me out there, fail-hiking on that mountain.

One of my first thoughts about her misadventure was: “I’ll bet the view from up on that cliff was awesome.” I mean, before the fall and, y’know, everything after that … except the waterfall. Yeah, that crystal cascade was probably breathtaking. Noisy. But spectacularly noisy. Right?

I’m all about being Pamtastic here at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

I am back from outer space … no wait, that’s a song lyric … I am back from the crazy storm that is Christmas and the other storm that is illness. (And why is it that I never have the dramatic illnesses that garner sympathy from witnesses? I’m just gawd-awful tired and icky — for which I should be thankful, I know, but I’m not. Whatever.)

And I should be inundating you with all the clever and witty things that have happened in the past week. But there wasn’t anything. Seriously, there was a sore throat and a fever and some warm air and and some driving and some frivolity and some cold air and some snow and some colder air. That’s it. Oh, and some presents, for which I am grateful, so there’s that.

But, I had to pull a weekly column out of my ass. It wasn’t pretty.

I can offer you only this CNN-originated article from a site called http://www.news-around-the-world.com which, I think is fair to assume, translates its American news back into English from a Japanese news site for Spanish-speaking nationals by utilizing the ESL skills of outsourced Swahilis subcontracted to the United Nations on a speech-wreaking mission.

In fact, I’m so compelled to share this article with you that I’m pasting it here verbatim in case the link gets broken in the future. It’s a rather long article, but if you’re thinking of skipping the read altogether I encourage you not to. You wouldn’t want to miss such compelling gems as: “Those delays could impact a burble gist elsewhere as a laboring pass movement hebdomad approaches.”

Western states facing huge snowstorm

(CNN) — A Brobdingnagian season assail was moving the West Coast on Sunday, poised to shitting up to 10 feet of deceive in whatever higher elevations, and feat broad and possibleness mudslides in modify symptom patch impacting dynamical conditions and expose travel, forecasters said.

A season assail warning remained in gist finished weekday salutation for California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, from falls to Kings Canyon, according to the National Weather Service. “Storm totals of 5 to 10 feet above 7,000 feet are likely,” the defy assist said, and periods of onerous deceive module move finished Monday. High winds are also prognosticate for the region.

“Travel into the broad land of the gray Sierra Nevada haw be difficult, if not impossible,” according to forecasters.

“It’s feat to be an all-day onslaught,” CNN meteorologist painter Wolf said. Areas from Denver westward module wager rain, he said.

At modify elevations, onerous fall was feat winkle broad in a sort of locations. Flood advisories and watches were posted nearly the whole size of California, from town to San Diego. Los Angeles had conventional 2 to 3 inches of fall as of most 2:30 a.m. Sunday, and “more momentous rain” was on the way, forecasters said.

Flooding in the San Joaquin valley, which includes metropolis and Sacramento, is a “firm possibility,” Wolf said. Footage from Sacramento showed drivers creeping finished liquid on roadways.

And with the onerous fall comes the danger of mudslides, especially in areas nearby Los Angeles strained by this year’s wildfires, where there is no aggregation to kibosh the grime in place, Wolf said. The grime becomes saturated, and somberness pulls it downward.

“Some secondary detritus and sway slides impact already been reportable primeval this morning,” said a Southern Calif. batch consultatory issued by the National Weather Service, “and this danger module probable move finished this morning.” The danger could also be delayed, message it module not diminish when the rains kibosh and could become later, Wolf said.

The assail — actually a program of storms — were triggered by “deep continual moisture” originating from the semitropic Pacific and surging northeastward, CNN meteorologist Sean moneyman said. The phenomenon is ofttimes titled the “Pineapple Express,” he said, because the wetness originates nearby the American islands.

The program module change the location finished Wednesday, with the strongest portions still to come, moneyman said Saturday. Rainfall amounts could accomplish 10 to 12 inches in whatever symptom and 18 inches in unaccompanied areas, he said.

The storms could be the strongest to impact gray Calif. since Jan 2005, he said, when up to 32 inches of fall came in a five-day period.

On Saturday, there were more than 260 superhighway crashes in Los Angeles County and unincorporated areas because of the rain, said Calif. Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs. That is compared with 48 terminal Saturday, when it was not raining, he said.

Most of the crashes were “minor fender-benders,” he said, but digit grouping died in a break in Santa Clarita. “We conceive the utility was meet feat likewise alacritous in that case,” he said.

About 5,000 customers forfeited noesis in gray California, said Steve Conroy of Southern Calif. Edison, but he noted that is a diminutive proportionality of the company’s 5.4 meg customers.

The large difficulty the consort visaged Sat was drivers motion likewise alacritous and sliding into poles, feat whatever assist interruptions, Conroy said. The consort serves whatever of the elevation areas and has crews in locate there, he said. “Overall, we’re in beatific shape.”

About 2,100 customers forfeited noesis primeval Sun in the Highland Park Atlantic of Los Angeles, but noesis had been remodeled as of most 6:30 Sun morning, said Maychelle Yee, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The outages were belike weather-related, she said.

Further north, broad winds strained Seattle, downing trees and noesis lines, and sound discover noesis to most 100,000 people. Most of those had been remodeled as of Sunday. Footage from Spokane, Washington, showed drivers crashing as they slid downbound a achromatic hill.

Besides the possibleness for agency closures, expose movement could be strained in cities including San Francisco; Los Angeles; Seattle; Portland, Oregon; and Salt Lake City, Wolf said. Those delays could impact a burble gist elsewhere as a laboring pass movement hebdomad approaches.

As of 8:20 a.m., the exclusive retard posted on the agent Aviation Administration’s website was in San Francisco, where incoming flights were experiencing a retard of more than an hour.

CNN’s Nick metropolis contributed to this report

And really, I think there isn’t much left to say after reading that article, unless you’d like to read what is basically the original article (with updates and additions).

“Overall, we’re in beatific shape” at: pam@viewfromthenorth40.com

 

If your office party includes a “Chinese” auction gift exchange (no Chinese people are actually auctioned or otherwise harmed in this process), I have the perfect recommendation.

I know how these things go, having participated in a “Chinese” auction or two (where I learned about the Chinese-people-not-up-for-bid thing). Some people bring the gag gifts. Some people bring things they would like, but you wouldn’t be caught dead using/wearing/owning. And some people get in on some awesome sale, like 90 percent off at the local Herberger’s store, and give a gift that makes everyone who doesn’t get the chance to steal it envious and everyone who brought a traditional tacky gift feel like a heel. Ah, Christmas.

I am not a smart shopper, and I’m morally against paying money for cheesy crap.

So that left me, about four hours before the party (my version of planning ahead), sitting in the car with John waiting for a burger in the drive-through line wondering what to bring to the party that would be fun and not contribute to the piles of useless, lame regiftables in anyone’s home.

Since our next stop was the local custom smoked-meats shop, it occurred to us that we should get some of their premium bacon for a gift. Yes, bacon.

And some of you might be wondering why I didn’t at least get some thuringer or summer sausage that people could serve at a holiday party with cheese and crackers. And you’re right, that’s a grand idea. Practical, with a touch of elegance (in a hick-relevant kind of way, y’know).

My only argument is this: If you picture yourself in a room full of your colleagues (in their various states of polite discomfort and deteriorating sobriety), unwrapping a package and then holding in your hand a lovely tube of thuringer for the holidays — then you picture the same scene (complete with several layers of ice cream bag “wrapping paper”) and wind up with a slab of bacon in your hands, which one is going to make you laugh?

I rest my case.

And the post-party consensus: Well played, funny girl, well played. Of course, it certainly helped that the boss, transplanted here in Hicksville from an alternate socio-economic universe in the SoCal vector, wound up choosing said bacon. Some moments make the pain of social interaction worthwhile, priceless even.

Bacon, it’s what’s for Christmas at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com

I guess it’s not just the government who ruins everything.

We’ve had our dog Cooper for about five years. On most days that I have left for work and at other random moments of leaving, I’ve said to Cooper some version of: “OK, Cooper, keep our honey company.”

“See you later, puppy. Keep our honey company.”

“You be a good dog, Coop. Keep our honey company.”

“I hate to go, so you keep our honey company.”

And you get it, right. It’s a habit now. A common part of my day. I do it reflexively, no thought whatsoever. I walk away from the dog … and I say the thing.

Then one day a few weeks ago, in the throes of a fit of verbal dyslexia, I swapped a few letters from two words and created a whole different meaning. It has ruined everything.

I have ruined everything.

To explain how this has happened, while using this visual media, I’ll use the homophones of my new words to better illustrate the degree of my error:

Instead of: “Good boy, Cooper, you keep our honey company.”

I swapped the H and the C and said: “Good boy, Cooper, you keep our cunny hump-iny.”

What!? Eeeeew. Ew. Ew. Ew. No, no, ew. He’s just an innocent doggy. And I can’t take it back. The phrase is now stuck there in my head, (ironically) along with, though second to, the impulse to say the original “keep our honey company” line.

I start out: “Cooper, you keep ou—” and I become conscious of what could go drastically wrong, and I finish with: “Ulghk! Grrrahg! Just be a good boy.”

The halcyon days of my innocence are gone, polluted forever by, well, me. I am seriously in need of a new shtick.

I think it’s possible to have hyperbolic homophonia at: pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com