Sunday, November 18, 2007

Monday, November 19 - Lynn Lempel

I spent a couple of hours today working our booth at the Alternative Christmas Fair, an alternative gifting opportunity that benefits local and international agencies. You can honor a friend or loved one with a gift of a latrine in San Salvador, a forest planting in Haiti, or gorilla protection in Rwanda. Right here at home, we could provide a doorbell or window for Habitat for Humanity, a case of canned goods for the local food bank, or meals at our Soup Kitchen. Every year I buy something for everyone in my family. This year my gifts include snacks and milk for preschoolers in the Gaza Strip, a case of peanut butter, a solar cooker for a family in Kenya, a day of skiing for a disabled person...and a latrine. There's something for everyone.

Just being there left me feeling incredibly good all day. While I was gone, beef stew simmered in the crockpot, so we had a hearty dinner without a lot of work. Yep...just a good day all around.

And an easy puzzle on top of that, with just enough of a Monday challenge and some interesting words.

The theme is revealed at 40A: Where you may find the ends of 17-, 23-, 52- and 63-Across (paper), and the theme answers are:

17A: Subversive group (FIFTH COLUMN). I'm not familiar with the expression, but here's what Wikipedia has to say.

23A: Soap or lotion, say (TOILET ARTICLE). As a kid, I thought that was a funny expression. I guess I still do.

52A: Notorious stigma (SCARLET LETTER). In the old movies, it looked like an applique on her dress...this one looks like it means business. I don't know about you, but I'd definitely behave myself.

63A: Coveted film honor (BEST PICTURE).

Not incredibly inspiring, but I don't think Monday themes need to be. There was some fill that I found particularly good, though.

5A: "Jeepers!" (cripes). That's not something I've ever said, but my friend's grandmother used to say something like that. It made me smile to think about her.

15A: Native name for Mount McKinley (Denali).

29A: Gardner of Hollywood (Ava). It's always a good day when Ava's in the puzzle.

34A: Suspect's excuse (alibi).

68A: Drooling dog in "Garfield" (Odie). I don't much care for Garfield, but I think Odie is sweet. Then again, I'm a dog person.

3D: One who'll easily lend money for a hard-luck story (soft touch). If you're that kind of person, do not become a social worker. I have been known to help out some of my favorites once or twice...truth be told, most of us have...but they always think the money has come from a local church. Some people just need a hand up.

4D: Fuel by the litre (petrol). I'm also a soft touch for all things Brit.

9D: New York city where Mark Twain is buried (Elmira).

33D: Marsh plant (sedge). Have never heard of it or seen it, but here's the scoop on it.

35D: Period between (interlude).

37D: Curve-billed wader (ibis). I know it's in the puzzle fairly often, but I've always liked the word. And it's a very cool-looking bird.

I liked the crossing of 22A: Repulsive (vile) with 22D: Pharmacy containers (vials).

Also liked the crossing of 1A: Bit of smoke (wisp) with 1D: Blow gently (waft). The word wisp brings back a very old memory...Will o' the Wisp, the Leon Russell CD (actually, what I had was the album) with one of my very favorite songs, Lady Blue. You can hear Leon sing it here. I just listened to it's just as beautiful now as it was back then.

I should also mention 36D: Jefferson's first vice president (Burr). I didn't know it, and I'd be willing to bet there are others who don't. It will probably be the reason for most Google hits today...on this blog and others.

Well, I see that I posted four pictures instead of three, but it will have to do. Sometimes this OCD stuff just isn't worth the trouble.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


wendy said...

I vowed I would ask the next time this happened - at what school does a freshman wear a BEANIE? Isn't that old school, or was my freshman year incredibly different from everyone else's?

Liked the VIAL/VILE intersection too. And a word I use a lot - TROLLED.

Anonymous said...

Very nice write up, Linda. Nice nature pics. The extra one can be for last night! I love your spirit of giving, too. There are people in need everywhere and the scales are tipped heavily this way. Good sentiment going into the holiday season, which I assume has started, since the Christmas lights are up in LA.

Re: Aaron Burr, he's a really colorful character. He almost beat out Jefferson for the presidency. They tied and it went to the house or senate or whatever they did back then to break the tie. Burr lost and was Vice President for a term. In the middle of his term, he and Alexander Hamilton got into a big fight; Hamilton was calling him names in the press. Slander! Libel! Words you never heard in the Bible! So Burr challenged him to a duel, which they had, and Hamilton was killed. Burr was charged with murder, but was acquitted, I think, or it was thrown out. He claimed Hamilton fired first and missed. Then, he finished up being Vice President. He was also later tried for treason, (Jefferson was out to get him), but he got out of that, too, and ended up practicing law. Now *those* were the days. Gore Vidal wrote a great book about him: Burr (catchy title)

MBG said...

This was a nice little puzzle. Nothing special, but fun.

I liked the cross of BEST PICTURE and HESTON. He must have starred in at least one Best Picture. Ben Hur, perhaps?

Linda, I love your gift-giving idea. What a wonderful way to remember friends and family and at the same time do some good for those who desperately need it.

Wendy, I wore a beanie for the first quarter of my freshman year. But that was an age ago, back in the days of dorm mothers and curfews. I can't believe anyone does beanies anymore.

Anonymous said...


Thought of you when I saw Ava Gardner in the puzzle.

Great holiday ideas but felt I should alert you to what your milk money in Gaza may be spent on:

Mark Oliver and agencies
Wednesday May 9, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

An image taken from Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV of a Mickey Mouse lookalike. Photograph: AP

Walt Disney's daughter today described Hamas as "pure evil" for creating a television show in which a Mickey Mouse-style character encourages violent resistance to Israel and the US.
The al-Aqsa television station of Hamas, which dominates the Palestinian government, started showing Tomorrow's Pioneers last month. It is hosted by a presenter called Farfur, who dresses in a Mickey Mouse suit.

He advises children to drink their milk as well as encouraging what Israeli critics have described as "hate-filled propaganda" against the "Zionist occupation" of Palestine.

In one clip which has appeared on YouTube, a young viewer speaking to Farfur by telephone recites a poem which includes the lines: "Rafah sings 'Oh, oh' Its answer is an AK-47".

As the poem is being read out, Farfur pretends to shoot an assault rifle. Another child tells Farfur: "It is the time of death, we will fight a war".

Today, Diane Disney Miller, 73, attacked the appropriation of Mickey Mouse, the comic character created in 1928 that became the Walt Disney company's most familiar icon.

Ms Miller, who is the only surviving child of Walt Disney, who died in 1966, told the New York Daily News: "Of course I feel personal about Mickey Mouse, but it could be Barney as well.

"It's not just Mickey, it's indoctrinating children like this, teaching them to be evil. The world loves children and this is just going against the grain of humanity ... What we're dealing with here is pure evil and you can't ignore that."

In the show, Farfur's co-host is a young girl called Saraa who speaks about the struggle against Israel and the US. Farfur tells children they must pray in the mosque five times a day until there is "world leadership under Islamic leadership".

The clip on YouTube includes a call for the US to pull out of Iraq and criticism of the US president, George Bush, and the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.

Israeli National News criticised the show, which it says broadcasts from Gaza via satellite to the Arab world, describing it as "teaching kids to hate and kill".

Linda G said...

profphil, that's pretty horrifying, to say the least.

The Christmas Fair is sponsored by Grand Valley Peace & Justice, with Alternative Gifts International. The intention is to empower the poorest of the poor to sustain life and build a future. I don't know how/if they've researched the agencies that benefit from's possible that the need is the priority.

Ava...few readers of this blog will miss that one ; )