Saturday, September 30, 2006
Wow, things have been so hectic and there's been lots of stress lately. What is in the air this year??? 3 friends have had appendicitis, several people I know very well and love have died, and it seems like things keep popping up to thwart my natural tendency toward light-heartedness. Still, I'll keep fighting through it. I'm a flamboyant weirdo--I admit that--but please don't think I'm a drama queen and thriving on all this upheaval. I'm still looking for the laugh in every silver cloud.

I found out Thursday a very dear family friend died suddenly in his sleep Wed night/Thu morning, so I'm driving up to Oklahoma with me mum Saturday morning for the funeral. He wasn't a young man, but he wasn't that old either--maybe 70ish-- and I thought I'd see him again. He was a delightful human being and I'll always remember him warmly. He was a Southern(US) Irish-type tenor, and once we sang a duet together(I'll Fly Away), he on melody and me on harmony - it was one of my favorite times singing in public. I'm going to treasure that memory as long as I live.

Anyway, we'll drive to the town a ways south of Oklahoma City and then drive back after the service. I expect I'll get some fabulous photos in OK, at least I hope so. Not that we ever run out of stuff to talk about, but I brought David Sedaris' book Dress your Family in Corduroy on tape to listen to - those stories are a scream. I love hearing him talking about his ultra off-kilter family. The best stories about his family are about his parents in Me Talk Pretty One Day. I don't know - maybe this is a peculiar inclination -- but I find it oddly comforting that there are people out there with such kooky tendencies - it makes me feel a trifle more normal.

I haven't resorted to blogging at work, but I'm having difficulty staying focused and on-task lately at my job. My favorite resident came in today and she and I had a gab-fest that was just out-of-control - I'll bet we talked about 30 minutes without drawing breath. And I didn't want to stop then. We've decided we have the same mental illness. We feel normal when we're together. That's good, isn't it?

Anyway - I'm taking care of all my responsibilities, but I don't want to feel I'm just eking by. Then again, my tendency is to go overboard and do too much. Maybe I've torqued down to a reasonable level of commitment? I suppose time will tell.

I've been off coffee for 4 years now, but I'm sorta thinking of dipping my toe back into the carafe. Will let you know how that works out.

Have a great weekend, folks!
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Friday, September 29, 2006

OK, by popular demand, here are some of my crappy little beads. Yeah, I know they're wonky, but they are just right for my wonky jewelry.

Here's a story from this weekend AND about 28 years ago.
In the late 70s, my grandpa and grandma had built a new house about 100 yards from their old one, this time with an indoor outhouse. Creeping out to the outhouse to pee in the middle of the night, I was gripped by an abiding fear that a copperhead snake would bite me on the butt, and consequently I lay awake there many a night, near to bursting rather than risk it.

So the Grands' new house with indoor bathrooms was a glorious thing, but I really wasn't accustomed to the low water pressure situation that came with being off the grid. One event in particular scarred me for life, I'm sure.

In my early teens at their house once, I went to the bathroom only to discover I was afflicted with a case of direer. Horrors!

As would anyone in my delicate state with such fragile sensibilities, I thriftily used about half a roll of tissue on tidy-up duty. I flushed several times, and it all seemed to be gone, anchors aweigh!

To my utter horror, the next person in the bathroom was Grandpa, for whom the new toilet happily regurgitated a goodly portion of what I'd insisted it swallow.

Grandpa then fished the entire mess out of the toilet and carried it into the living room in a bucket showing all and sundry while saying "I just want you to look at what someone put in the toilet!" I took my cues and feigned casual surprise (well, I WAS surprised but not about what had been in the toilet) and hoped no one had kept careful track of who had made the most recent trek to the WC. I was mortified.

Flash forward to last weekend: Haunted by the specter of that day all those years ago, I went into the bathroom and noticed a bit of toilet paper from the last visitor had not gone all the way down the hatch, and even though I could hear the water was still running to fill up the tank, I hit the plunger, knowing no one had been in the bathroom for quite a while - the tank must almost be full.

Not so. I flushed and the water but not the toilet paper in the bowl went down, to be replenished by no more water. PANIC!

Oh shit. What's Grandpa gonna do this time?

So of course, it became my mission in life to fix this situation.

I pulled the lid off the tank and peered in, and water was running into the tank, but at a snail's pee trickle pace, and it was going to take forever at this rate. I looked around for any kind of vessel with which to bail water from the sink into the tank. The only thing I found was grandma's delicate little china cup on the counter with a capacity of maybe 3 ounces. Right. I needed to fill a 5 gallon tank. Might as well start bailing.

I'm short and the sink was a pretty long stretch for me between it and the toilet, so I braced on my left arm and started filling the cup and pouring it into the tank with the right.

I achieved something of a trance-like state. After I'd added about a gallon 3 ounces at a time, a tremor quaked up my stressed left arm and I jolted out of my daze and realized this was ludicrous. I broke down into gales of laughter at how incredibly silly I was, and I felt weak from the exertion and the laughter.

I sneaked into the kitchen and got a couple of large drinking glasses and began to fill the tank. That done, I flushed it and goody - everything went away.

THEN I used the toilet, refilled the tank, and flushed and refilled it again. Mischief managed!
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Thursday, September 28, 2006
Mom's doing much better - and thank you to everyone who sent well-wishes. I've also found out my dear friend over at "Something to Say" blog (I've known her about 20 years!) is recovering from this weekend's appendectomy - sheesh!

I have to replenish the stock of my jewelry in one store and get a case of it ready for another store (they've been waiting for about a year), and this means I have many an hour to spend on the torch right now, hot or not. I managed to eke out 4 beads before I was absolutely blinded by sweat just now. I'm obsessed with the combination of ivory color Moretti glass from Italy when torched with silver leaf, because the silver reacts with oxides in the ivory glass and makes a mottled stone sort of effect. I promise it's prettier than it sounds.

Last night I got on the torch for a while and I melted some ivory rods, wrapped the molten ends in silver foil, and then used my 12" tweezers to gather up a blob of glass and pull that into a long stringer (smaller in diameter than a pencil lead) that I could use like a pen to embellish other beads in with silvered ivory scrollwork. I used these stringers tonight, and I did the scrollwork on base beads of ivory, and the effect should be quite nice. Actually, I'm looking forward to having a big palette of fresh new beads to draw from when putting jewelry together. You really do get sick of looking at the old things you've done - it's so been-there and boring -- at least it's that way for me.

I SO approve of Project Runway keeping all 4 of the last group of contestants - they were all quite talented and I thought it would have been a shame to send any one of them home. I can't wait to see the show next week when they have a chance to talk trash about each other in person. I'm already wanting to stab that cheater guy in the neck with a pencil - he is such a titty-baby.

I'm about 2/3 finished with The Canticle for Leibowitz, which is a book LJ over at Life on Earth and Other Accidents recommended to me, and I want to tell her thanks and say what a delightful read it is. It's funny how something brilliant can have existed your entire life (this was published about 4 years before i was born, I think) and yet it's this new and fresh revelation when you find it in your path. Love it.

OK. Work-related unburdening ahead.
As I've said before, I really strive to take people at face value, but I've come to recognize a particularly sad stereotype that I wish I never had to encounter: rich-girl coke-whores. By now I can tell them on the phone - they are ALWAYS "just around the corner" and they always have to see an apartment immediately, and they can't quite tell you what they want space- or price-wise, and they can only give you the most vague details. Then they show up having gone from quite energetic on the phone to a strung-out, eyes-at-half-mast appearance. Almost invariably they are driving some hot-shit Benz or Lexus and sporting boatloads of high-priced garb/accessories. I assume these women have wealthy families or have wealthy sugar-daddies. In either case, I'd rather not see it. I find it distressing even to talk to such people. It's not even because they are such time wasters (yes, I've had some rent before and probably will again), it's just that for all the slick cars and designer threads, I find these overly-polished robotic women to be as unattractive as a toothless meth-hag. Zombies.
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

LIVE! NUDE! COWS!

I can't tell you how thrilled I was to get this cow shot on Sunday when I went to the farm of my mom's childhood friend. We spent most of the day on Mary's farm and I got some fabulous cow shots - they are sooooo cute. I snapped one photo of Mary holding a bottle of water while the smart cow - Einstein - drank from it. I told her that she is missing out on a major niche in the boutique cheese/dairy market - high-toned cows that only ever drink water from bottles - very exclusive. I don't think she was going for it, though.

Anyway, we had a blast talking and she told us a lot about their farm, more of which I'll tell later. She talked about what a pain in the ass it is to raise Longhorns because they are mean and skinny and don't fetch as much per pound on the market as an Angus or some other yummy variety. They raise Angus only. She did give me this tip for cooking longhorn beef stew: Throw all the ingredients in the pot and throw in a horseshoe and put over a big fire. When the horseshoe is tender, you know the beef will be ready.

Here's a little sumpin'sumpin' about the wedding: the kiss. The kiss at a wedding should be a chaste, brief event not involving tongues. The one exception to this rule would be if yours is the sort of wedding with people standing around in cut-off-sleeved t-shirts drinking beer from cans - tongue kissing is probably expected at those sorts of weddings. In this case, the 50-something groom looked like he was using his tongue to collect tonsil-swabbings from his 40-something bride - a little juvenile, maybe. Or maybe he was trying to jump-start the old viagra. Who knows.

Anyway, I hope they are happy. Bless her heart, her step-father said it was adultery to divorce her drug-addicted abusive Ex and that it was adultery to re-marry, so naturally he was not in attendance. You just can't win with some people.

Here's to all those hell-bound re-marrying whores who manage to keep bitterness at bay enough to take a stab at love a second time around. Long may they wave.

So, in that funny little way life has of saying "mud in your eye!" (it's called irony) mom came down with what we have best been able to identify as food poisoning, the worst of which hit on Sunday night. No, she didn't eat any spinach, and didn't inhale deeply over a flushing low-flow toilet. I felt terrible for her, because she was truly miserable, plus I really worry about anything that might put a strain on her heart, like protracted bouts of pukiness. [Mom was the youngest, and her siblings all died before the age of 60, two of them with heart problems. Mom is 60 now.] We were going to drive part of the way home Sunday night and save 4 or 5 hours' driving for Monday and get home late Monday morning, but we stopped early Sunday night. She still felt like crap Monday morning, but felt recovered enough to attempt the drive home, and we made it the rest of the way in.

She's much better as of Tuesday night, though still feeling a bit weak. I wish I'd had the food poisoning instead of her, but we don't get our 'druthers, do we? Anyway, despite that unexpected event, the trip was a fantastic time, and we were very early on saying how we need to take more road trips together. We laughed a lot, and it seems we never take enough time just to talk like we should, so we got a lot of great catching up done.

Just the same, it's good to be home.
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Monday, September 25, 2006

I'm not so great at divining which camera settings are ideal for which situations yet, but I was thrilled to have the opportunity to snap these rare mammatus clouds Friday afternoon in Arkansas between Mother Nature's bouts of tornadic fits. They were spectacular, and only the second time I remember seeing this type of cloud.

Sorry not a very long post for now, but I'll try to get a more detailed one in later in the day on Tuesday.

Exhausted.

I was able to get some naso-centric cow pictures of which long I had dreamt, and I'll show you one tomorrow. Cows are so incredibly cute. Had a lovely trip, but it had its complications too. More details in about 12 hours or so. Have a great day!
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We're baaack! Film at eleven.
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Saturday, September 23, 2006
She always was a cool customer, and he was handsome and dashing, and they were each considered the catch of the county, but they were really too cool to ever acknowledge they might be a good match.

One Friday night her friend told him that she wanted him to give them a ride home from the movies. Then the friend told her that he wanted to give them a ride home from the movies, and things progressed in tiny steps.

They continued in this manner with a cool humor that would define their relationship, a sort of intellectual dance.

Once he was driving her home from West Plains Missouri and he didn't say a word, but decided to test her mettle. The car was a white '57 Ford --one he'd no doubt souped up to a frightening degree, and he was a back-woods Andretti.

Keep in mind this was before the era of safety belts in automobiles.

On a great stretch of roadway across the southern plains of Missouri, he floored it and waited for her to react. A lesser woman would have begged him to stop, would have screamed, would have bargained for a more sane pace, but she was determined that she could ride as fast as he could, and she didn't bat an eye, and stared steadfastly forward, not reacting. Coolness personified.

The winds were high on the plains that day, and despite his steady hand at the wheel, there was the inevitable bit of drift. He probably decided she wasn't going to wimp out after all, so he eased it down. When she reckoned they had slowed considerably, she allowed herself a peek over from the corner of her eye at the speedometer. Despite the scores of mph they had slowed, the speedometer was still pegged at 120.

Yup. That's my mom in 1963. She's still a sassy cool customer, and stubborn enough to go as fast as he can drive.

More great tales from the road when I return. I'm really enjoying the trip with my mom. I may not be able to post again until Monday. We'll see.

Have you seen on the news in the past 24 hours about all the torrential rain, flooding, and tornados in NE Arkansas? Well, we're in the big middle of that. Last night, I got some delicious photos of rare mammatus clouds which I'll post next week. I was thrilled to snap those - I've only ever seen them a few times, and they are spectacular to behold.

Have a great weekend.
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Friday, September 22, 2006
OH - Tonight, Cowboys and Indians are playing over at Lee Harvey's http://leeharveys.com at 8:30. I sure do wish I could be there - fantastic band and a fabulous dive bar with a huge mess of tacky faded beer signs from the 1970s-- sold gold! Then tomorrow, Lee Harvey's is hosting Petty Theft, the world's best Tom Petty tribute band. Sorry not to hot-link, but blogger won't let me do that from the Mac, for some reason.
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I had my hair did today.

My hairdresser is a sexy chick who is half-French, and she's wild and funny and we have similarly twisted senses of humor. We laugh like hyenas when we get together. We talk about style, fashion, celebrities, and the drama of the moment, whatever that may be. She's the only person I know who rides the rides at the State Fair, never worrying about whether all the little bolts were properly tightened when they set that shit up. She actually persuaded me to get on a roller coaster there with her last time I went. She may be the only person I know who is as zany as me, or moreso. Poor woman!

Anyway, I saw a man across the salon who looked extremely familiar, but I was mid-sentence and didn't want to break my meter, so I quickly forgot about it.

In a little bit, Fran and I were in the washroom, my head in a basin and her washing my hair as I chattered merrily along about the latest celebrity poop. I noticed that the man was having his hair washed at the next station, but again, I blathered on. I was saying that considering the front-and-center photographs recently of Paris Hilton's and Lindsay Lohan's naked *ahem* personal areas, and considering the recent you tube footage of Paris Hilton laughing her head off when a doughy ugly rich boy was calling Lindsay a "fire crotch" --well, it was just ironic Paris laughed at "fire crotch" considering how much uglier than Lindsay's Paris' was.

I have to say I'm generally opposed to cosmetic surgery on principle, but I think it's time both these girls put their money where their mouths are and have a little procedure. Seriously ugly. I mean ugly in the sense that a rather balanced set of equipment is to be desired. Paris herself made me wonder if it's possible to herniate a labia. (what is singular - labium?) Anyway, she needs a labiectomy or some sort of tuck. ew. I mean, dammit! If you are going to be such an exhibitionist, you'd better make sure everything is properly arranged before you go throwing caution to the wind.

I don't know about you, but I'll never stay in a Hilton Hotel for the rest of my life. That rich kids are such colossal screw-ups is understandable, but I can cast my memory back to a time when after an acute public embarrassment, the effed-up rich kid would have the decency to go underground for a wee bit before having another flare-up. Paris Hilton, in contrast, is the never-ending Herpes outbreak that will not be ignored, dammit!

After her kidnapping and Helsinki syndrome and being forced to rob a bank with the Symbionese Liberation Army, fabulously rich kid Patty Hearst went on to have a somewhat normal and private life, later delighting us by popping up in John Waters movies and being murdered by etiquette-happy Kathleen Turner for wearing white shoes after Labor Day.

Not so:Paris Hilton. Her night-vision home movie sexcapades wove their unctuous slime-trail all over the web, her eyes glowing like the raccoon digging through the trash that she is - and that's not enough! She has to show us her vagina. EW! I'm amazed she hasn't gotten it a tv show yet, because she will not rest until every last one of us has seen it.

Anyway, back to the salon. We were howling with mirth, and I noticed the two guys were laughing with us, and then I knew I recognized the laugh. He's a handsome man named Gary who had a loft in Dallas in the same building I lived in at one point.

Gary has this mellifluous voice that is so dreamy, you could drift off just listening to him read a phone book.

Oh, and Gary played David Austen - the brother of character Winter Austen on that old soap opera "The Edge of Night." [my brush with fame!] Anyway, we laughed and laughed. It was so incredible to see him.

Gary works at an upscale shop in Dallas that wants to put in a case of my jewelry. I really need to get on the ball and do that, but I've been so over-committed and stressed out and not dealing with the pressure well, frankly. And did I mention I have completion issues? I'm very good at starting things, but finishing them? Not so much.

Anyway. tra la!

Today I'm heading back to Arkansas for a weddin'. Yup, it's a weddin'.

Now, I don't know if there will be a shivaree, but my sister told me about a shivaree she went to once about 15 years ago or so.

Dad's aunt Geneva (my dog-breeding grandpa's sister) had been a widow for about 15 years, and a man from church courted her and they decided to get married. She was about 70, and he was probably late 70s, just a companionship thing.

Well, late that night, a whole bunch of family members snuck up around Geneva's house with tin cans with coins inside and wrenches and metal things to bang together and generally make a ruckus, as if to disturb some romantic goings-on. It was all a good-natured joke, and apparently this is a very country thing to do, and something that used to be done all the time when people wed.

My sister grabbed an obliging coffee can at Grandpa's house and dropped a few small rocks in .
When the mayhem commenced, sister shook her can, only to be doused by a fetid shower of tobacco juice - for she had unwittingly grabbed a can Grandpa had been using as a spittoon.

There's a moral to that story that I don't even think I have to tell you.

I will say that it's remarkable how often spittoon mis-haps have turned up in both her and my stories from childhood. You haven't lived until you've climbed out the car at the end of a road trip and went to bed, only to awaken the next day to find that in the process of riding down the road with your arm resting on the open window, you acquired a peppering of tobacco freckles courtesy of the dipper/chewer in the front seat. Think of it as some sort of anointing or initiation. It was funny to me back then, too. Probably my sister was hostile and angry about it, though, knowing her. Were you, sister?

Whew, I'm exhausted and rambling. So here's the deal. I'll try to post from the road, but it may be one of those retarded audio blogs that make you question my sanity, so I apologize in advance. Yes, I know I'm a goober.
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Thursday, September 21, 2006
LJ over at Life on Earth and Other Accidents mentioned in her recent post that she'd love to see a sunset in Arizona.

I say seeing a sunset in the American Southwest is something everyone should strive to do at least once in their lives.

My maternal grandma moved out to Arizona in 2000 (my maternal grandpa died in 1987) and I tried to make at least one roadtrip out per year to visit her. I'm not generally an early riser, but something about the desert atmosphere completely re-wires my circadian clock. So one moring I woke up insanely early, and I peeked out at the mountains beyond our room in Willcox in SE Arizona.

The growing light of the morning on the iron-rich peaks of the mountains was an absolute revelation. The light grows in intensity so gradually that you can't discern it's changing before your very eyes, and then it happens: the upper rim of the sun's saucer slips above the horizon and a wash of pink sweeps instantly over everything - it's an achingly beautiful sight.

After that first day, it's impossible for me to sleep through sunrise when I'm on trips like that - I have to be on the road at the moment of pinkness - it's like some travel companion I have to be moving in tandem with.

I can imagine this would be particularly magnificent on a scooter. Well, in my case, in a sidecar.

Conclusion - by all means, see the sunsets in Arizona, but don't miss out on the thrill of a desert sunrise. You'll thank me.
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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Isn't amazing what cute fuzzy little noodles E. Coli look like? Never judge a book by the cover, though, because these be some bad little hombres.

My theory is that we're only going to see more outbreaks like this, thanks in large part to low-flow toilets. That's right - those toilets that use an explosive force to push product through the terlit at high velocity seem to have the effect of atomizing poo, and my theory is people are going to have e. coli infections in lots of ungodly places because of this, like the nose or the eyeball. Then again, I'm no expert. Just my opinion.

Now, don't you love how I go from talking about Chanel sunglasses one day to e. coli infections in the nose the next? You'd better read fast, because I'm a short attention span blogger. Cheers!
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Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Beauty 101

NOT to say that I'm a colossal label whore or anything, but I sorta am. So sue me. Nothing gets rid of the bitter tang of tragic highway-induced doggie deaths than a goodly dose of Chanel. Am I right? Of course I'm right.

I've been scouring the entire house since Friday trying to find the last ungodly expensive pair of sunglasses I had, also Chanel. I won't lie - I hated that I'd lost the expensive things, but holy crap, I've got a road trip coming up this weekend and I won't be on the road for 4 or 5 days without sunglasses - it's simply not to be endured.

Now, I think having an innate sense of style gives one a great deal of leeway when it comes to dressing and accessorizing. If you're the tiniest bit savvy and very sassy, you can pull off a very smart look with a small amount of dinero and a lot of ingenuity. However, there are a few tiny things I would never chintz out on, and they all fall under the purview of "things worn on or about the face and/or on the feet." Everything else is negotiable.

But I'm chasing rabbits, aren't I?

Anyway, the last I really remembered my sunglasses was at Mama's Daughters' Diner on Friday, and I was thinking I left them on the table, maybe. I drove down there today just to ask, and nope, they hadn't seen them.
I called the office, and Lisa told me nope, I didn't leave them there.

The only thing I could imagine was I'd left them on the table at M'sDs' and someone other patron picked them up. Oh well, back to square one.

So I went to the Lenscrafters (the one by Neiman's at Northpark) which has a superb selection of Chanel. All the little glasses were in lockdown with little handcuffies holding them in bondage. It was never meant to be that way!

Anyway, I chose this pair shown in pink, but in the mostly black version with a bit of pink trim - aren't they the cutest?

So there's a curvature to the lenses that means they had to send them off to a central location to have the prescription lenses put in, so I'll get them in about a week.

I came home and sat in back with the doglet for a while with a good book and dozed.
I came back in and started picking up some things, and I started picking up laundry from the table and guess what was lurking underneath?

Yup. Now I'll have another pair to alternate with my old sunglasses which I didn't lose after all, and it's a good thing they turned up, since my new ones won't be ready in time for the road trip. After all, we are within a month of my 41st birthday, and I strive to make a habit of celebrating birth month. I guess in that sense, I'm running behind. Hmmm, what ELSE do I need???
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Monday was a much better day for me, with gorgeous weather and a bit of a chance to relax.

...but what made the dog thing all worse was that I was feeling blue already, I think, having been thinking of and missing my paternal grandmother. I was already a bit sad and the dog thing gave me a jolt that made it impossible not to cry. I'm not generally a melancholy person, but I admit losing both my grandmothers in a 10 month period was definitely a 1-2 punch.

I almost never go to church, but went Sunday night (before the dog-icide) to see my mom and dad. The very first hymn they told us to turn to was one I'd sung at my dad's mom's funeral in April.

I am trained as a classical vocalist and almost no singing situation intimidates me. I sang 4 things at the funeral, and held it together until the very last line of the last song but couldn't sing the last 3 words. It was sort of like having a task in the service gave me a purpose to focus on, and singing for my grandma was a way of honoring all she means to me, and what an absolute saint she was.

However, Sunday night, I could barely breathe as that song brought it all back. About halfway through the hymn, safely ensconced in a sea of voices, I managed to squeak along, but it's amazing that after 5 months it all seems too fresh. I mentioned this to dad, and he said that wasn't lost on him, either, that he'd been affected by the memory, too.

We went to dinner after the service and then over to my folks' house, and dad talked quite a bit about his mom, about what an incredible soul she is, about how she's the kind of person we should all aspire to be. Too true.

I also thought of my mom, losing her own dear mother when she was just 14, and at that age, you don't what life is, really, and you haven't begun to get enough of all you're going to need from your folks. Mom said it was decades before she could hear the song from her mom's funeral without crying.

And let's face it, there's no good time to ever lose the real-life angels you've been blessed to know.

I guess I'm really rambling here. I think part of the abiding need I have for my dog is that the dynamic between master and dog is always like when you have the tickly little baby and blow a raspberry on its belly - it's just sweet and innocent and no words are really necessary.

With the people we love, though, it's too too much. The rib-bursting enormity of feeling is agonizing and it's complex and devastating and buoying and elevating--too much so to ever adequately convey.

I'm thankful for her and for the man she inspired my dad to be. She was gracious, kind and generous. She was the soft answer that turned away wrath. She was loving, steady and constant, and it's so ironic that the quietest, most unassuming person in the family leaves the most gaping hole by her departure.

I will always miss her, but I'm thankful I had her for so long.

Anyway, as I said, I'm feeling much much better. I have real gratitude for my life and my grandma, and I forgive the poor wayward person who ran over the dog. I'm sure they were upset by it, too, and I hope they'll just be more careful in future.
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Monday, September 18, 2006
Not much in the mood to post.
Driving home on a busy highway tonight, I thought I saw something in the road ahead which I hoped I was very wrong about. Almost leaning against the concrete barrier dividing the north from southbound lanes of I-35, I saw the gangly legs of a good-size dog, and there was enough traffic that I knew even if I didn't hit this poor terrified creature, that it was probably doomed.

Still, I slowed down, put on my brakes. I hated to do this on a highway, but I also don't want to hit a big dog, either - that could have caused me to wreck, too. This looked to be a Weimaraner or a German Shorthaired Pointer, some dog with that kind of look. It was probably about 50 pounds.

The vehicle behind me was too close on my tail to really slow down, so they pulled around on my right and floored it, squarely hitting the dog just as it ran from in front of my vehicle. The dog didn't suffer - that could only have been a fatal blow, so at least it was over quickly.

Of course, I could hear the dog being hit so loudly that I almost could feel it. I felt so awful for the poor thing and angry at the other driver for being so impatient -- what if that had been a child in the road?

The fact that my own dog was run over (she survived) by a car not even a year ago doesn't help when it comes to how chilled I felt about that poor dog.

Sorry for being dull, I just felt like venting. I guess the moral of this story is that whether the roads are wet or dry, the motorist ahead of you may have a very valid reason for slowing down or braking.
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Sunday, September 17, 2006

For many years, my grandpa was a breeder of Blue Tick Coon hounds. I looked up these dogs on wikipedia, and I was amazed by what a pureblood and old breed of dog this was. I think I mentioned all that in my post about my grandpa a couple months back.

What I didn't tell you then was that grandpa was fanatical about these dogs. Because one always strives for the perfect hunting dog, grandpa was super-picky about how these dogs were bred.

For those of you who've never been blessed (or cursed) to be in the company of male and female dogs when a female is in season, well, they can be very determined creatures, and they seem to have a demonic drive to hook up.

Once grandpa went in to town in the car with my dad (about 8 years old) in the back seat with a female dog, and my uncle in the front seat with a male. Grandpa had a way of walking up the high street and stopping and talking to all and sundry, and his kids still talk of what eternities they languished in the car while grandpa did his requisite chin-wagging with the locals.

[It is important here to note that in the South, only women are capable of gossip. Endless hours spent by men talking about other people's business is merely a frank exchange of information vital to the proper functioning of the community.]

On this particular occasion, the female dog was in heat, and grandpa admonished dad and my uncle that if these two dogs united--well--they were made to understand they'd get a be-all end-all whuppin,' an event not to be desired.

Dad was holding onto the female by the collar, and she was most determined, as Uncle Wayne barely managed to restrain the male. Dad said the male was "about to get the job done."

I don't know what verbiage exchanged between dad and my uncle, but I do know they were desperate not to get the whuppin', so Wayne had a stroke of genius that relieved them of the threat of raw backsides while cleverly incorporating a stripe of sadism for which he is known far and wide.

Holding onto the collar of the male in one hand, he reached over with the other and popped the cigarette lighter in on the dash and waited. When the lighter popped back out, Wayne pulled it out of the dash and applied the red-hot coils onto the dog's scrotum.

Ironically, a flaming set of balls instantly cooled the romantic ardor of the male dog, and he lost all interest in the bitch in the back seat. The dogs settled down, grandpa returned to the vehicle none the wiser, and dad and Wayne lived yet another day without being thrashed within an inch of their lives.

Mischief managed.

Dad said for the remainder of its days that dog had a perfectly burned circle on its nutsack. Grandpa never noticed.
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Saturday, September 16, 2006
Celebrity Snark
I saw a blurb on the news recently that Sean Penn was raging against the machine and making like a politician on the campaign trail. I noticed, too, he has a new film coming out, a super-preachy, man'o'da'peoples kinda movie. Please, spare us. I predict audiences will stay away in droves.

What I'm wondering is how a megalomaniac like that ever married a megalomaniac like Madonna. You know they each woke up every morning thinking "now, if I'm ever going to rule the world, I'm going to have to kill him/her one day soon..."

I saw an image of Cindy Crawford and husband with their pre-school age child, and the child was flipping off the cameraman taking the photo. What kind of break with reality does one have to have in order to teach and/or allow their little child to make gestures that connote a non-romantic sexual act? I mean, shit, I know she's a model and all, but even with all the trappings of wealth and fame, how can a person be so short-sighted as to deny their child any sort of innocence? Fuh'd up...

Oh, back to Sean Penn. Sean is very pro gun-control. So imagine how boggling it was a few years ago when his muscle car was stolen in L.A. WITH his personal firearms inside. Same for Rosie O'Donnell - VERY gun control, but her personal body guards are packing. Some animals are more equal than others... Bottom line is we the great unwashed are not capable of handling the very things THEY the enlightened are entitled to. After all, there are never mass murder attempts in places where guns are banned.
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Thursday, September 14, 2006



I'm not saying that Lukas Rossi - the monchichi who won Rockstar Supernova - is not cute, but he does bear a more-than-passing resemblance to Chaka from Land of the Lost. He has nice teeth, by the way. Someone I know thinks he's the cutest thing ever and she is perpetually swooning over him. Um, like I said, cute, but I'm not seeing the rest of it. Maybe it's because I'm a jaded old hausfrau. Maybe it's just because he's such a pup.

I thought it was interesting how the whole show came down to the two people with the most distinctive vocal qualities.

It was strange that Dilana tore a calf muscle last Tuesday, and had to be carried around that day and had crutches the following day, and then yesterday she had to have a cane to get about, yet tonight she was prancing around the stage unassisted. Hm. I was just shocked she didn't do any of her patented David Lee Roth air-splits. Sympathy ploy, anyone? Pity party, table for one. She would've gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for those nosy kids.

I thought Toby should've won, but his career may be better for not having won after all - he's a good songwriter and he can do entirely his own thing, obviously.

OK, now let's address the issue of me getting sucked into reality shows. I have to go back again and give the disclaimer that the ONLY reason I'm regularly watching broadcast tv shows for the first time in my life, really, is because I now have DVR and can skip through the commercials which make me pathologically annoyed.

I'm SO glad Laura won Project Runway's challenge tonight. When they showed the previews of her so crestfallen and crying, I was certain they were just teasing - that she wasn't about to be kicked off. Then a short bit before the show it occurred to me that maybe she had a miscarriage, and Meatloaf himself would have called that a "pretty big downer." Anyway, she deserved to win.
My prediction is Uli will go home next week.

Anyone watching Million Dollar Listing? That Peter Deep guy was so supremely loathesome that I felt hostile toward him. I can't wish him to go down in flames since he so obviously already does, but he was a wholly repugnant person. It will be fun to see how they savage his homely ass on The Soup this weekend. He buried a St. Joseph effigy in the back yard and recited a "prayer" to St. Joseph to help him sell his house, thus proving that any moron can get their mitts on a million-dollar house in L.A.

Me? Petty? Bilious? You betcha. I gives as good as I gets.

Oh, and anyone else watching that wickedly delicious show from Laura Kightlinger on IFC, "The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman?" I love the stuffing out of this show.

Sad celebrity news: Whitney has filed for divorce from Bobby Brown. Now, I know I'm going to get serious shit for this, 'specially those of you who know me, but I'm going to do it like a band-aid and just quickly get it out there: I think Bobby is kinda hot. I kept seeing "Being Bobby Brown" referred to on The Soup and I checked out an episode once, and it was really funny, despite being a bit sad and disturbing. I thought Bobby was witty and playful, and sexy in a way, so that totally caught me off guard. And hell, Bobby may have served hard time, but he seems WWAAAAY more together than Whitney. 'cause, you know, Crack is Whack.
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Welcome to my world. Whatever bug crawled up everyone's ass last week is still snugly ensconced there and apparently thriving. Here's the .jpg from the email I told y'all about last week. Well, I shouldn't bitch - things are smoothing out a teeny bit. I still reserve the right to bitch.
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Wednesday, September 13, 2006


It's good to see the pontiffs get so tarted up when they go abroad. LOVE the red shoes - that's just my speed, actually. Quite smart. And you must love the intimate little wave - so demure. He reminds me a bit of Uncle Fester. I wonder if he does that trick with the light bulb? And apparently Tim Gunn of Project Runway is his left-hand man. Who knew TG was in so tight at the Vatican? I was never tipped off on PR when he deadpanned to the camera "I wanna give a shout-out to my homeys in da V.C." Silly me.
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Tuesday, September 12, 2006





OK, so the cake looks mildly, um, well, gooberoid. But it's our cake and we liked it. Or some of the family did, anyway. Everyone raved about the butter/hazelnut cream icing, but I didn't like the cake, and neither did nephew. I'm guessing that those of you who are quick on the up-take will discern that nephew's name is Frank. When he was still in the hangar, his big sister - the fetching young lass here donning the remains of the Nemo pinata - started calling him Frankenstein. By the time he arrived, we all thought it was fitting to call him Frank since that's what we'd called him all along already. It just fit him. I am glad his mom and dad agreed with the rest of us that he would be a good Frank.

Frankie did his 4th birthday party topless, and why not? It was hot.

There's also a picture of my dad, Frankie's proud grandpa with the birthday boy himself. They are two peas in a pod.
And then there's Frank with Colton, his best buddy in the neighborhood. They have a good time together, and Colton is over all the time. They looked cute with matching kool-aid moustaches.

Frank got lots of guy toys and he had a blast. It is gratifying to see little ones having such a good time, and it was sweet to see his big sister doting on him and trying to make sure he had the best time possible. She's a good big sister, and he's a sweet little brother. Ah, bliss!
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Sunday, September 10, 2006
I had a wonderful, lengthy phone call tonight from my dear friend Kim over at Something To Say blog. It's amazing that we've known each other about 19 years now.

She's a multi-talented artist and has always been a great inspiration to me. We talked tonight of the creative sandtraps we creative folk booby-trap our creative realms with - things like "the studio is too messy to work in" or "the studio is clean and I don't want to mess it up." Making anything worth making involves an enormous mess, generally. But then again, that's half the fun of it. So, play with your food. Make mud pies. Tap dance in the taxi line.

You know those cans of compressed air that you blow the fuzz out of your keyboard with? I need a mental version of that, something to clean out the cobwebs between my ears...

I was thinking about the croc hunter Steve Irwin, and that business of him pulling the barb out of his chest. Um, do stingrays lose their barb when they deploy it, like a honeybee or a scorpion? Or was there this big flappy-winged fish flopping about on him while they were trying to make it not so? Or was a stingray harmed in the filming of that segment?

Anyway. I thought he was a jolly good sport, and it was sad, but I rather think he would have preferred to go the way he did rather than sitting at a desk counting beans, even if it meant a longer life and a safe retirement.

Tomorrow is bear-killer's birthday party, and I spent the entire day making him a huge cake. It's a rectangle and I split the cake and put raspberry on one side and apricot on the other in the middle, and I made buttercream frosting which is EVIL. Evil evil evil stuff. 1.5 pounds of butter in one recipe is pure-dee wicked on a stick. I mixed nutella in with the top layer of icing so it's kinda brownish, and then I'll have piles of crumbled cookies on top with little Bob the Builder backhoes and bulldozers pushing them around. I hope it'll be cute. Picture tomorrow, maybe, unless it's embarrassingly bad, in which case I'll never mention it again.

Cheers & happy Sunday.
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Friday, September 08, 2006

Four years ago today it was raining--not a brutal hammering rain--just the gentle sort of rain you get at the end of summer when things are cooling down a bit. On that day we also were graced with the arrival of a fearless, intrepid boy, my nephew. You may recognize the gun and the pajamas from earlier when I posted his ferocious bear-killer face and stance. This was take one, when I first said "make a mean bear-killer face." This was one of those moments when I had to make a conscious effort not to laugh at his ardor, because he was just so excited by the thought of killing a bear that he didn't have the self-awareness to look truly mean. What a brute, eh?

He is an absolute joy, and as with his sister - when I think about how happy he makes me, I could cry like a baby.

He's small now, but I know one day he'll be a huge man, a natural athlete, and probably more adventurous than will be healthy for his old auntie's nerves. He wants to be a pilot, and he would carry a light saber daily if that were possible, and I believe he'll probably kill a bear someday - he's not the sort to give up on a dream. So for now, I'll just sit back and cherish how delighted I am that my sister and brother-in-law brought such a wonderful gift into our family as this little man, our pocket Atlas. And I'll always remember his arrival during a late-summer rain, a harbinger of the unsurpassably lovely changing of the seasons. Happy Birthday, Bear-Killer! Aunt Phlegmmy loves you very, very much.
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Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Doglet is the first dog I've had of my own, and I got her when she was just a pup. Well, in my mid-20s, I was just a pup, too.

When I was growing up, we had several dogs for hunting--bird dogs or coon dogs-- but only once did we have a family dog that I felt some affinity for, and that was the only fur-bearing pet mom ever allowed in the house. Well, there was that Betta fish my brother had for, like, 6 years, but he didn't do cuddly. Then there was the kitten mom let me "have" when I was 4 in Mississippi, but kitty couldn't come in the house, so one night kitty disappeared, and I would pitifully ask the mailman every day to check in the blue mailbox at the end of the street to see if my kitty was stuck inside.

We lived in the Memphis area, and a family we knew were moving to Texas and didn't want to take their poodle, Peppy, with them, so they bequeathed him on us. Peppy was sweet and probably a bit of a dim bulb in the way a small over-bred variety of poodle can be. He was a loving little beast, but he was sort of a tofu dog - he sorta took on whatever flavor you projected on him.

We didn't have a fenced yard, so sometimes we'd just let him outside on his own. One night he was at the door begging us to let him out at almost my bedtime, and it was very cold. I was in a thin little cotton nightdress with pastel embroidered flowers, and I remember begging my mother to let me take Peppy out and put him on the chain that was staked in front, but she wouldn't let me because it was late and too cold, I wasn't dressed, etc. I was about 9.

So, in the way that things always seemed so often to go wrong for me in my childhood, Peppy wasn't out the door 5 seconds before we heard the brakes of the VW Beetle squeal on the pavement in front of our house. I looked out the door, and everything looked black and white except that incongruously, cheerfully yellow car beneath the streetlamp, Peppy's lifeblood spreading black on the pavement.

Peppy was hit and probably killed instantly - though I never asked. Naturally, I was inconsolable.
[gawd, more than 30 years ago and I'm misting up over this(what a sap!), and the whole point of this story is actually funny, believe or not. wait for it.]

I went in my bedroom and threw myself facedown on the bed and squalled myself to sleep. It was a shitty little moment.

My brother, one year older, went with my dad to do away with Peppy. No backyard service for our dearly departed pet, no breaking up frozen earth to bury him. I never asked what they did with him, but my brother told me several years ago, and I just couldn't stop laughing. Here's what he told me:

They drove out to the municipal landfill, which at that time of night was closed, naturally. However, around this dump was about a 30' fence. They drove along the fence a ways until dad divined the perfect spot. Dad got out of the car and carried Peppy by the scruff, poor thing.

What happened next, the way my brother describes it, was what made me laugh until my sides ached, laugh until tears streamed down my face. I'm just glad he waited 20-some years to tell me about it, because the loss was still too fresh. It was just so funny that out of this tragic situation where I'd lost what amounted to an animated pillow came one of those seminal moments where my brother stood in awe of the physical power of our dad.

Dad carried the pitiful carcass by the scruff, and walked into a shadow. Brother saw him draw back Peppy in his right hand - the wind-up, and then up, up and away went Peppy. Let's just say that sweet chariot didn't need to swing very low to pick up this passenger. Brother said that dog not only cleared the fence, but seemed to go up forever, and that he was amazed to see that doughy ball of fur was so aerodynamic.

I got over Peppy. Peppy wasn't mine mine all mine. Doglet, however, is mine in a way I'll never possess another person or pet, and I'm wondering if you only get one of those in a lifetime. I just hope I don't have to lose her soon. Needless to say, I won't rely on my dad for arranging her disposal.

Now, my sister(9 years younger than me) is obviously the genius of the family. She had a way of manipulating mom (the one who especially hates furry things in the house) that was pure poetry. I was in high school, and sister begged for a puppy for years. At that point, I was interested in other things and indifferent to the idea of getting a pet, but I did marvel at what finally made mom relent and get sister a dog.

Sister talked about a dog constantly, and pouted, sulked, screamed and threw fits, but nothing worked until the day she adopted Fred.

Fred was a housefly sister found dead on a window sill. Sister made a cozy little home for Fred in a shoebox, and Fred and his shoebox were then her constant companions. Road trip? Not without Fred. Fred and his shoebox went everywhere with the family.

Needless to say, several months of exhibitionistic doting on Fred paid off. Mom relented and let sister have Fluffy, a pretty little American Eskimo pup. Fred was quickly forgotten.
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Tuesday, September 05, 2006
My beloved doglet will be 15 on October 31, and she's really started to feel the effects of her wild youth in recent years. Jack Russell terriers bounce constantly when they are young, but it plays havoc with their hips later in life. As a younger dog, she could spring up 5 feet from standing still, and higher with a running start. They were apparently bred for maniac sorts of traits. I love it and I adore her intrepid spirit, but it's exhausting.

Anyway, lately the old girl is more fragile on some days than others, and I give her a Glucosamine/Condroitin chew every morning and evening, but generally I've assumed she's done with jumping up on the kitchen counters.

Not so fast.

I left a bag on the counter today with the leavings of a Boston Market meal (chicken bones!) and part of an old cheesecake from the refrigerator.

When I came home from the store, she had demonstrated that her problem-solving skills are as refined as ever. She jumped up on a chair on the other side of the kitchen, leaped a few feet over to a slightly-higher barstool, then up onto the bar and over onto the kitchen counter, knocking things off onto the floor nearly every step of the way. Of course, nothing remains of the Boston Market meal or the cheesecake, other than the icky containers up-ended on the floor.

crazy bitch.
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Monday, September 04, 2006

One of my earliest forays into the world of employment involved a stint checking groceries at Winn-Dixie supermarket.

After closing, the stocker guys would all be busy re-stocking all the shelves, and their night was just beginning as I would tidy up the registers and clean all the front of the store. One more of my duties was to return all non-sold items throughout the store to their appropriate area.

One thing the guys liked to do was make crafty arrangements of fruit to surprise me with when I walked through the produce department, generally involving 2 peaches, some parsley and a banana. They'd be busting a gut trying to not react so they could see my moral outrage. Instead I'd quip something like someone's missing out on a brilliant career in the art world, where they could be drawing, painting or photographing the male genitalia all they liked.

Here's a universal truth I'm certain even Martha Stewart would agree with:
Bananas have no graceful way of fitting into a fruit basket. Leave the bananas out.
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Sunday, September 03, 2006
tickersoid tagged me on the book meme, so here goes:
1. One book you have read more than once. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez. A brilliant writer and conjurer of worlds. Even if some of his sentences do run 3 pages long. Believe it or not, even with my short attention span I manage to get wrapped up in his writing.
2. One book you would want on a desert Island: A tossup between the Florence King Reader and the Roald Dahl Omnibus. Both brilliant, funny, and endlessly entertaining. Then again, I might prefer "how to survive and live well on a desert Island for dummies." Chapters in this book would include manufacturing coconut wine, cultivating a kitchen garden, self-surgery and how to emulate all aspects of fresh beef using common island ingredients.
3. One book that made you laugh. Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady by Florence King. The story of Flo's genteel Southern Granny trying to mold our heroine into a proper Lady is filled with hilarity.
4. One book that made you cry. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. Beautifully written. A slow starter that totally snuck up on me.
5. One book I wish I had written. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
6. One book I wish had never been written. The Koran. I don't think I need to 'splain you this one.
7. One book I am currently reading. Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell B.C. is a delight to read. Fun.
8. One book I have meant to read. The Penelopeiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood This is the story of the Iliad but told from Penelope's perspective, the wife who stayed home and remained faithful until the very end after 15 or so years, and all this before the advent of cell phones or telegraph wires, or private investigative agencies.
9. One book that changed your life. um. Do magazines count? If so, then Fiber Arts magazine. Or Vogue. Or Dwell. Or Marie Claire Maison. Or, yeah, a book - Nigella Lawson's How To Be a Domestic Goddess.
10. I tag... LJ, Kim, Kelly, Fathairybastard, and anyone else who'd like to join in the fun.

Husband took me to Texas de Brazil tonight, which is ALWAYS a safe bet for wife-pleasin'. I drank a superb red zin with dinner called Leaping Frog from Napa Valley- and it was a glorious complement to all that delicious meat. Here's to the vegetarians of the world who leave more for us who know what to do with our carnivorous urges. TdB is a Churrascaria - (I THINK that's how it's spelled) which is a Brazilian steak house. All these young Brazilian guys in gauchos come around with big spits of meat and they give you whatever cut you want. Funny thing is that I have concluded that every one of these guys is walking around thinking "yeah, _I_ am the hot Brazilian gaucho here tonight."

Anyway, LOVE this food, had a grand time.

Finished up with a papaya ice cream. Not that I want to sashay over into the territory of huge oversharing, but this dessert has a --shall we say-- expedient effect on the digestive system. My recommendation is either don't linger after the papaya thing, or take it to go and eat it when you are already in your pajamas at home, or nude, or wearing just anything with an expandable waistband. Seriously. We've been home for hours and my stomach is still making sounds you would only expect to hear on the muppet show. Or from Yoda. And I'm not generally fragile in the digestive department... I'm just saying...
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Saturday, September 02, 2006
[This is an ancient draft I found in me blog. The second line mystifies me - I think my evil twin has been horning in on my blog and leaving little calling cards to surprise me]

Universal truths that ensure an unbreachable gulf between me and Martha Stewart:

I am to pastels as to she is to hooker pads.

I will never, ever host a clam bake.

[WHAT on earth, I wonder, did I mean by "hooker pads?" Anyone have any theories for me?]
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Friday, September 01, 2006
I was driving in the area of South Dallas today where some old warehouses were altered to mimic the form of middle-eastern buildings, then all painted sort of an anemic baby-doodie brown. This was done for the making of the TV movie "The Jessica Lynch story, which was about the rescue of a hot soldier-babe from the Iraqi army early on in the current proceedings. Anyway, the interior of these warehouses continue to be used as ever. So today it really cracked me up to be driving up the street seeing the minarets and arabic graffiti, only to hear Tejano music spilling out the open windows. It was kind of beautiful, actually. I wished I could do a YouTube post of that.

That Karr guy who claimed to have killed JonBenet Ramsey just wanted to get out of one of those shit-stain jails they have in Thailand. Oh, and considering how lax they are on sexual abuse of women and children, it's damned scary to think what one would have to do to actually get jailed for perversion there. Voila! Free trip home. Odds of survival or at least the survival of his teeth just went waaaaay up when he was deported. Personally, I think he needs to be put in a lock box with that dancing frog that sings "Hello my baby! Hello my honey! Hello my ragtime gal!" and buried in the foundation of a new skyscraper. Open it up to give him fresh eats and water in about 100 years. It just makes good sense.
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Name: Phlegmfatale
Location: Elsewhere, Texas, USA

I'm not whining;
I'm unburdening.
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