Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

Cheating Florists’ Hearts

February 9, 2011

Everybody thinks of Valentines Day as a moment of love and commitment and trust.

A nice, local flower. Trust me, I grew it and photographed it. But watch out for on line, deceptive florists, especially with Valentine's Day coming up.

But it seems there’s a scam behind everything these days, and on-line florists are using the Web to rip off legitimate local flower shops.

Scams just really say “I Love You,” don’t they?

This is something I never would have thought of, but according to yesterday’s Burlington Free Press, on line florists are using quirks in Google searches to basically cheat your local home town florist, and maybe the people who are buying the blooms for their loved ones.

Say you’re in Burlington, Vermont and want to buy a dozen roses for your hottie. So you go to Google and type in “Burlington, Vermont florists” and up pops the names of a bunch of legitimate, for real and customer-friendly Vermont flower shops.

So you click on, say “Local Chappell Flowers,” because, as reporter Dan D’Ambrosio writes in his article, there is a Burlington business called Chappell’s Florist.

The problem is, you click on the link and you unwittingly end up at a place like Wesley Berry Flowers in Michigan. What happens when you place your order is Wesley, or whatever scammer there is, makes the local florist arrange the flowers, then keeps a steep fee at the expense of the local florist.

The consumer often ends up paying extra, and the florist loses money, and the state loses out on sales taxes.

And there’s quality control problems with these out of state scam businesses, so your flowers might not end up with the intended recipient, or they will be all wrong.

If you Google “Wesley Berry Flowers,” you get complaint after rant after histrionics over what many customers say is poor service and worse. As I said, you can’t believe everything you see on the Internet, but gawd.

They say nothing says it like flowers, and apparently nothing says ire like a screwed up flower order.

Hmm, I wonder if the owners of these sketchy on line florist companys also cheat on their spouses?

The whole thing sort of smacks of going to a funeral to steal the flowers at the gravesite to give to your honey. Icky.

Legislation is pending in Vermont to end this problem, but buyer beware. Just because you found a local link on Google, doesn’t mean it’s really a local business.

Your best bet these days is to, whenever possible, just physically go to the store you want to buy stuff from.



Great Video: Year in 60 Seconds

January 2, 2011

This video is from 2009, but since it’s New Year’s weekend, it’s a good time to watch this: Somebody in Oslo, Norway recorded a year in 60 seconds.

He did it in such a way so that instead of a series of still photographs, he has brief snippets of action, which really captures the flow of the year in nature. More info on how he did it is here

And below, is the excellent video:


New Year Flower

January 1, 2011

You always want to start the New Year on an optimistic, sunny note, so I’ll give you a flower.

A flower in my house enjoys some New Year's Eve winter sunshine

I caught it in my house as the sun streamed through my windows yesterday.

Happy New Year!

The Happy New Year Penguin

December 31, 2010

I just couldn’t resist posting this video on New Year’s Eve. It’s new, from a zoo in Japan, which shows a joyful penguin.

What makes it perfect is the Auld Lang Syne song in the background, the falling snow and the other penguins standing around, seemingly saying, “What got into him?”

The video is guaranteed to make you smile, and I hope 2011 makes you as happy as the little penguin in the vid:

Mom’s Cat 1, Darlusz, 0

December 26, 2010

“Oooh, dah foot, it hurt.”

That was Darlusz Zabagaiski, the ceramic, resin Polish frog who lives here. He’s my mascot and muse.  He’s in pain this morning.

The moaning was annoying, but I had to be sympathetic. Darlusz’s foot is broken, and I have to find some glue to at least partially patch him up.

Darlusz the frog tries to become friends with Simon, my mother's cat. Simon was unimpressed.

I brought Darlusz down to the family Christmas celebration in West Rutland, Vermont. Everybody had a good time, except my mother’s grumpy fat cat Simon.

Darlusz always tries to make friends with everyone and everything, but Simon would have none of it. Darlusz broke his foot trying to dash away from a swipe from Simon’s paw. Darlusz’s sin was he got too close to the cat, and was too cheerful.

Simon HATES cheerful.

“Dat kot, viscious,” Darlusz said, using the Polish word for cat.

“I warned you Simon’s mean, that you should stay away,” I said.

Darlusz nurses a broken foot this morning. He broke it yesterday trying to get away from my mother's cat, who was trying to attack Darlusz.

“Yeah, I know dat. But it Christmas. It time for da peace and da love. I tot we have, what you call, cease fire.”

“Cats never abide by cease fires,” I said.

Darlusz sighed. “Well, you patch me up best you can in next coupla dayz. I still had da fun. You family iz veddy nice. Why you mom act nice and her cat so mean?”

“Just one of life’s mysteries,” I said.

“At least I ate well,” Darlusz said, always looking for the bright side. “All dat food you mom and you sisters make. Good! And we ate da Polish candy Denis got. Dat was some treat. Why we wait so long to eat da Polish candy?  Denis nice guy brought it to you two week ago. Why not eat right away?”

“Because you would have ate it all up before my parents tried it,” I said. “So I wanted to wait for Christmas so we could all share. And wasn’t it fun for you and my dad to translate the Polish words on the packages for us?”

“Ya, dat true. I like da label on one, Krowlewska. Mean ‘like a king’ in Polish.  We ate like da kings, no?”

“Yes, and that Polish candy was delicious,” I replied.  “We really have to thank Denis. And what was that on the other package, what did it say?”

“Wesolych Swiat,”  Darlusz said. “It mean happy holiday.”

“An’ you no, even my foot, it broke, but I still have happy day,” Darlusz concluded.

All I Want For Christmas…..

December 24, 2010

It’s Christmas Eve, a delightful one here in Vermont.

The sun is out, there’s fresh, powdery snow on the ground and the shoppers as of mid-afternoon are making their last-minute purchases. I feel like I’m experiencing a Currier and Ives overdose.

Looks like Santa's getting an eyeful of my Christmas wish list.

I know it’s a little late to mention this, but I have a Christmas wish list. The good news is it’s not too late to obtain it. Most of them are free, and painless for most people,  and can be enjoyed by everyone.  The wish list is also hopelessly unrealistic, but unlike most adults, I still believe in Santa. So he might still come through with items on the following:

—Henceforth, all people in public office or running for office must say things that are factually true. They can have controversial opinions, but they can’t just make stuff up. Like John Boehner’s comment that people who are fighting global warming think carbon dioxide is a carcinogen. Uh, no John, they never said that, so go cry in a corner. You’re good at crying, right?

— I don’t like censorship, but I will make one exception: I wish all news outlets will not constantly update us on all train wreck celebrities’ latest mishaps. I never want to hear that Lindsay Lohan was drunk again, that Miley Cyrus may or may not be a lesbian, that Paris Hilton has coke residue on her lip, or Lady Gaga was boorish at a baseball game. If any of these people do something momentous,or God forbid important,  go ahead and tell us, but otherwise, we’re better off not knowing about them.

—- From now on, I want people who are not king of the world to not act like they are king of the world. That means, no butting in line at the store, not pulling a hissy fit if the car in front of you is driving too slowly, not whining that the world owes you, well, the world. None of us are that special, and we can all share our toys, can’t we?

—- Maybe Santa will bring less hate. That means we don’t get hysterical or cruel, or discriminatory when we encounter someone that’s different from what we are. People say the more variety the better, and I agree with that. So why do some people lash out and get unpleasant like a rabid skunk every time an immigrant, a racial minority, a gay person, or any other person who is “different” crosses our path? And why do we even put up with the rabid skunks anyway?

—- I hope Santa brings less angst about religion. We all have different faiths. Let’s stop yelling at each other that my God is better than your God, OK? If Christmas is a religious holiday to you, then celebrate it that way. If you view it as a secular holiday, go that route. But I’m going to barf the next time somebody yells (obviously falsely) that the secular world has “declared war on Christmas.” And there are a few of those secular types who roll their eyes at the people going to church. To them, I say, the harm is in going to church on Christmas if your so inclined is…..what?

— My last request from Santa in this Christmas wish list is probably the most realistic: I hope all readers of this blog, all my friends and family, and all the good people out there have the best holiday season ever, and a New Year full of joy, accomplishment, warmth and anything great that can possibly come along.

Thank you all for helping make my life so much fun.

My Christmas Tradition With Darlene Love

December 23, 2010

Christmas is all about tradition, so I might as well jump on that bandwagon.

About this time last year,  I posted a video of Darlene Love singing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on “Late Night With David Letterman”

The great Darlene Love belting out "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" On "Late Night with David Letterman"

Love sings the song every December on Letterman’s show. The tune is one of my favorite holiday songs, so I might as do what Letterman does and have Love sing her signature Christmas song on my blog every year.

By the way, Love, 68, is to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year. Long overdue, in my opinion. She is a national treasure.

So here’s a clip of her on Letterman, last year.  It’s so much fun to watch. Funny how a slightly sad Christmas song can still make you feel so good.

Christmas Tree Photos

December 23, 2010

I was playing around with my camera, as I like to do, because I’ve taken an interest in photography.

A colorful, shiny ornament on our living room Christmas tree

I’m not that good yet, I’m learning the ropes, but the process sure is fun.

Jeff decorated our Christmas tree this year in our St. Albans, Vermont home and he did an amazing job with it.

My photos of the entire tree are OK, but I decided to do a few detail shots too. They’re not perfect, but they’re nice.  I figured it would be a different approach than the usual “let’s get the entire tree.”

Some decorations near the top of our Christmas tree

Click on the photos to make them bigger as they look better that way.

The shots I took made me learn how to do it better in the future, so that’s a great thing.

Another ornament on our Christmas tree

Bill Maher Nails Christmas Perfectly

December 21, 2010

Bill Maher has come out with the BEST Christmas greeting ever. The best because it torpedoes the two pillars of American fetishism: Extreme, fake devotion to religion, and extreme, real devotion to getting more and more stuff.

Bill Maher just issued the Best Christmas Message Ever

I had no idea Maher was so good at reading my mind.

Props to Emily McManamy for alerting us to Maher’s video via Facebook. It’s a must watch.

Oh Christmas Tree… OUCH!

December 10, 2010

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree.
How lethal thou boughs are.

Watch this quick happy holiday video to see what I mean, and to get a chuckle.