Thursday, November 20, 2008


I don't believe an alpaca ever requires an explanation or justification, but I will just say that this captivating camelid turned up at the annual town festival in June, and no less than three people mocked me for being EXTREMELY EXCITED about it. Before that day I thought alpacas were possibly some kind of sheep, which was an idea I picked up during Debbie Fiderer's job interview with President Bartlet:

I saw your resume, so we don't need to talk about that. What have you been doing recently?

I'm an alpaca farmer.

Like the sweaters?

Before they're sweaters.


After the sweaters part, I was picturing some kind of weird sheep. But they're not some kind of weird sheep, they're some kind of weird camel. Or maybe some kind of weird llama. Or just some-kind-of-weird, full stop. Particularly when they're freshly shorn. Example:

Is it me, or does he kind of look like he's wearing PANTALOONS?

You might think, as I did, that a more amusing animal couldn't exist. But wait! There's more!

This hairstyle seems familiar, does it not? But where have you seen it before? Let us look more closely.

Yes, that's right. But for the eyeliner, this alpaca could double as Prince.

I have to say I never thought I would (a) spend as long as I just did looking at pictures of Prince, or (b) find a reason to mention Prince in this blog. But moving on. Alpacas not only have great hair but make very entertaining noises, and because they have side vision, if you talk to them, they turn their heads to the side and look at you intently with one eye, as if to say, I see that you are laughing at my elegant coiffure, and I am rising above it.

Alpacas have good tempers and don't spit, although if they did I guarantee you I'd find it funny and charming. Alpaca fiber is very soft and practically hypoallergenic. For normal people that just means it won't give you hives, but I take it as a sign that they evolved primarily for the purpose of being hugged. I believe alpacas could be an improving element in any home, office, party, or lifestyle. I would never be cranky if I had an alpaca. I would probably take up running again. And I would remember to take vitamins -- if I even needed them once I got an alpaca. No doubt the sun would shine more, and little forest animals would help us do our hair every morning, and someone would figure out how to save Social Security. Incidentally, I believe the same exact thing of capybaras. If everyone had a capybara, the world would be a better place. If everyone had a capybara AND an alpaca, it would be like paradise on earth. Or, possibly I was just meant to live in South America. Or a zoo. Or an asylum of some kind. Wherever, as long as there are alpacas.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

there are no stupid questions

Setting out for a hike in a relentless northern California rain, a ranger pulls up:
Ranger: Going for a hike?
I: yup!
Ranger: You got your rain gear?
co-spelunker: yup!
Ranger: But did you leave your brains at home?

12 miles later we pondered the same question as we hitchhiked back to our car...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

I ran across an article on the BBC website yesterday about the top ten most annoying things people say, and one of them was the use of the word "literally" when the person using it is not speaking literally at all. This conversation I heard recently came to mind as a perfect example and I am sharing it with you first of all as a cautionary tale and secondly because it still makes me laugh.

A: This depiction of reporters isn't actually realistic. I was a reporter for many years. For the most part, they're not that rabid.
B: But wasn't there ever a story you literally would have killed for?
A: No, I never would have killed someone for a story.
B: But literally, you wouldn't have killed for a story?
A: . . . No.