Friday, December 30, 2005

iterate sexy experiences.

Ya gotta love the Web Economy Bullshit Generator.


CNN Reporter in New Orleans: Ma'am, How have you coped with the destruction of so many churches around New Orleans?

Lady on the Street: Oh, that don't affect me cause I get all my chicken from Popeye's.

CNN Reporter:

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

This made me cry.

A first-hand account of home-grown terrorism. A grim reminder that there is, indeed, true evil in the world.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Hmm. How did that happen? According to this report, only Britain and Sweden are honoring their commitment to cut greenhouse gases. How can that be when all of Europe cares more about the environment than the USA? All I have ever heard or read from Europe is that they care about the environment whilst Americans despoil the planet for plunder and luxury.

It's time to admit that some ugly qualities Americans/liberals/conservatives/etc have are simply ugly-assed human nature, and not exclusive to one political affiliation or ethnic group or organized country.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Living up to the name, one hankie-full-of-mucous at a time...

Sick over Christmas, and having a good time in spite of it. I only feel bad from the neck up anyhoo, so now's the time to SHOP! Woohoo! How do booze and cough suppressants mix? Same thing? Ok.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Today (yesterday) driving home from a supply run out to Rockwall, I sashayed back to Dallas listening to Monster Zero from Voyager One. It's 2 days before Christmas, 70 degrees outside and the traffic was remarkably light at 4pm. Sparse clouds formed and dragged milky trails across skies of chalcedony as I listened to this dreamy music(go to amazon and listen to track 3 - it's amazing). Jangly guitars are airy and stratospheric, underpinned by a bass that is more a feeling than tonal, a slip of spaghetti western trumpet weaves in and out with the occasional cello. The audio equivalent of the sound of ozone--like you smell at airports--we're all heading somewhere, and it can't be all bad. Beautiful.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Sometimes something hits you over the head when you least expect it. I was about an hour into a French film Jeux d'enfants when I realized the comely Marion Cotillard starring in the film bore remarkable resemblance to my sister. Seriously, they could be twins, Marion the dark haired yang, and my sister with bewitching hazel eyes and blond hair is the yin. They were born almost exactly a year apart, which is a funny coincidence, I think. Anyhoo. Pretty women- ya gotta love 'em!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

OK. It's almost boring to point out such obvious bias, but I remember being infuriated about this about a decade ago, and people thought I just had it in for Bill Clinton. Now that a Republican is in office, the media is suddenly rife with righteous indignation for the compromise of individual freedoms by the federal government in the pursuit of terrorists. To wit, in 1995 the Clinton administration basically did to our personal freedoms what everyone is whingeing about the current administration doing in the form of the Patriot act, and in the full knowlege of current senators and representatives on both sides of the aisle. If now knowing that the Clinton administration did the exact same thing and yet you are only angry at the Bush administration about this issue, you are contradicting yourself. If you are honest and open-minded, you need to consider the possibility that you may have been biased for emotional reasons rather than fact or logic. It's that simple. Denny Crane.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

You Are Dasher

You're an independent minded reindeer who never plays by the rules.

Why You're Naughty: That little coup you tried to stage against Santa last year

Why You're Nice: You secretly give naughty children presents.

Gardener's Pornography. High Country Gardens has the best stuff, and is ideal for planning blooming spaces outdoors in water-starved places like Texas. They have pre-planned xeric gardens, and here's a hint - these make incredible gifts for aging parents who can't get out to water as much as a typical garden needs, and you can plan a garden specifically to attract butterflies and/or hummingbirds. Give this to a parent or grandparent, along with the gift of helping them install the plants, and they'll have a year-round treat to remind them what a wonderful human being sprang from their loins.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

As a person with a cousin on death row in California's San Quentin, I say "God bless Arnold Schwarzenegger." I think fiscally and socially Arnie has made great strides in improving the future for California, and I think it was daring for him to take the tremendous pay cut to serve the public as a state official. I believe he has more important things to worry over than whether to bow to political pressure from nattering nabobs in his hometown of Graz Austria. Considering how people in other countries - particularly France - crowed smugly about how the national (but not the local or state) government didn't respond to help Katrina victims in NOLA, and considering the US press was WAAAAYYY more deferential to France when their little social problem erupted into terror in the suburbs of Paris, I think a more critical view need be taken of what other countries say about us, rather than using this as "constructive" criticism. Unlike letters to editor in most publications I read blaming our federal government for racism and elitism in its "non-response" to Katrina, I have yet to read a single letter or hear pundits on news programs crowing about similar cracks in the veneer of French society as indicated by the riots. Incidentally, I saw a news article last week that said that most fatalities from Katrina where white - fancy that! Therefore, I think we are wise to keep our own counsel with regard to the way the US handles everything. Democracy is the one true hope for the prosperity, health and general wellbeing of everyone in the world, and I don't see anyone but us and sore few others striving to spread the notion of individual liberties throughout the world. We should continue to send workers to help innoculate people against disease, install safe water and irrigation systems, and sponsor literacy programs throughout the world. By the way, if you'd like to make a small (or large) gesture to help someone in a lesser-developed nation, I think Heifer International is one of the best charities I've ever heard of, and I intend to give some bees to a family through that organization, and plan to do so in years to come. Haters. They're out there. I say we stick to doing what we do best and let the haters squirm as we improve the world and win the hearts and minds of those we help.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

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Um, I guess they didn't have an option of Dominatrix in that list??? Anyhoo - last of the beastly shopping for the party done, I marched triumphantly out the last store, billions of shopping bags in tow. Necessary evil of heading back to WalMart, I admired but did not touch Buck. The sickness abides in me - still want that animated trophy. Shit - did I take my medicine today???

Friday, December 16, 2005

OK. Since Big Dick gave me shit about the deer head thing, this will probably cement his opinion of me as a tacky bitch, but I LOVE this paint-by-numbers wallpaper. Big kitsch factor here, and I can see all these patterns done up in Clockwork Orange colors for a mod/retro mindfuck thingie. Remember what the brilliant James Lileks said: Nothing says yesterday like something that said tomorrow.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

OK. Holiday retail hell. Urgh. I do most of my Xmas chopping early in the year. It's just that I'm such a procrastinator that the only sensible thing for me to do is start early and avoid the mad last-minute dash. Now I'm entirely responsible for eats, drinks, music and decoration for the company Christmas party on Sunday, so I just had a rigorous reminder of why I like to avoid stores in general and at Christmas in particular. Beside the issue of an environment lousy with tubercular third-world nationals, the squalling infants in WalMart make me want to stab someone in the neck with a pencil. From afar I saw an item I actually wanted - Buck, the singing deer-head trophy - the irony of it singing "on the road again" was a nice touch - but was too tired of the whole bidness to sashay over to the display and drag it to the cart. Maybe someday I'll get my deer trophy cousin of Billy Bass. Maybe I'm too tired to make that financial choice right now anyway. Will I still love Buck tomorrow?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

We're down to the last two days of bachelorettehood, me and the doglet, since husband comes home from the wilderness of Canada on Friday. This morning she came bounding across the terrain of bedclothes like a little antelope in the veldt. Most fetching, my little bitch.

This barcode scam is in the news today, but as is common, the most interesting nugget in the story is buried and not expanded upon. A kid at uni in Boulder downloaded a home-grown barcode program and switched the barcode on a $149. ipod for a $4.99 barcode, and Target busted him. In the article it mentions another guy in Reno stole more than $200,000 of Legos with a barcode scam, and that is what I'm really curious about. Sniffing around a search engine yielded this information, and I'm just baffled someone would be so brazen and get away with it so long - they must not be hiring bright souls to fill their red shirts. He went to Target stores in about 5 or 6 states and bought up Star Wars Lego sets with a cheaper bar code and then re-sold the sets online. He apparently netted about $600,000 before caught. These were devious uses of barcode, but I think barcode tampering can be a lot of harmless fun. Take for example the shenanigans of Rob over at the magnificent -take an hour or two there - you'll thank me. Rob is scintillating wit who asks why things are the way they are and then bites back in a jovial way. Anyone who sent him a self-addressed envelope received a barcode identical to his to stick over their safeway club card which tracks customer purchases. So in one day, his card might be swiped for kitty litter in San Francisco, Jim Beam in Arizona, and tampons and froot loops in New Jersey. It was a thing of beauty. Reviling as I do the store "club cards" which compel you to exchange personal trackable information for savings, I think more of us should share barcodes, just to addle corporate demographics.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

You Are

When The Levee Breaks

You are a dominating person. People don't stand in your way. Everybody basically does what you say. And if they don't, they better start, or you just might have one of your henchmen kill them.

Just like "When the Levee Breaks" dominates Led Zeppelin IV, you dominate your world. You don't have time for nonsense (it's surprising you even took this quiz) and you would love to be dictator of the world someday.

You are dark and scary, and you probably don't at all care about this quiz, if you even bothered to read your results.

Take the Which Led Zeppelin Song Are You? Quiz

I think they must have peeked!

I've been too damned busy these recent weeks, so yestiddy I finally saw the new Harry Potter movie. I believe book 4 was the longest in the series, and there was just too much vital detail left out. When the series is re-made (in about 20 years), things will be as they should be. The Beauxbatons girls will have a pearly-sparkly aura like Glinda the Good Witch™ and Hagred's brĂ¼der will make an appearance and there will be more character development and it will be about 4 hours long. I was disappointed, and I have been very very understanding will all the other films. Actually, I suppose it's less disappointing if you see the film first, and then get the fleshed-out detail from the book. Maybe I was destined to be crestfallen.
On that score - I love love love Tim Burton's Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. It's much more menacing and off-kilter than the original film, and in my opinion is so much more in the spirit of Roald Dahl's immaculate writing. I can't recommend his adult fiction enough. His work is limned with a dark atmosphere barely on the safe side of terror, and you may slip over the edge at any moment. One short story starts with a little boy picking a scab from his knee and flicking it onto the carpet, where it is camouflaged in a sea of black/red/gold tones, and he has to traverse the hallway and not step in the lava pools... Divine.

Monday, December 12, 2005


I am in high dudgeon for this immaculate pair of John Fluevogs. I love the black/cream, but the cappuccino/pink is muy delicioso. I have hell to pay (taxes) by Dec 31 and I can't get these lovelies until after New Year, but then, look out. I'll be twisting it around town in these bad puppies like Helen of Troy with her ass on fire. WOO HOO!

--oh - remind me later to tell you about the shoe fetishist who approached me once in a bar in England. Good stuff!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Would you like chocolate sprinkles on your pastry?

OK. This court case happened in October and was splashed in the news in November, but I was too tied up with other bidness to give it proper attention, but the degree of sheer repugnance of this story has me in ecstasies of horror.

Behrouz Nahidmobarekeh, a crack-addicted Dallas cab driver, had a personality clash with the employees at a Fiesta supermarket and decided to exact his own revenge for the tongs being too short to reach the back of the cookie trays in the self-serve pastry section. He dried his own poop on papers next to his bed, and then shredded same with a cheese grater and went back to Fiesta and festooned the pastries with his home grown chocolate sprinkles. Customers complained about the foul smell in the cases, and then one of the employees saw him spreading his good cheer one day, so they video taped the pastry cases and documented the next offense and arrested him. This little stunt has earned him 5 years in Texas Department of Corrections.

Let's dissect this a bit. The wheels were off before any mention of poop. I'm going to avoid the obvious aspects of the name and go straight to the concern of a licensed employed cab driver with a crack habit? WTF??? Do they not screen such people on occasion, like, randomly or something? If not, that would explain the immaculately shitty driving of a lot of bus drivers in the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system. Let me just say they are such marauding assholes that I don't go out of my way to be courteous to them when I have the opportunity. I've pulled my big fatass truck over into the buslane in front of them on more than one occasion to make a right turn downtown without so much as a by your leave. Yeah, I said it! I gives as good as I gets. Anyway, I'll wrap up by saying that I'd lay good money on a bet that wherever Behrouz is from not only does not provide self-service pastry cases, but they don't have a soup kitchen on every corner like we do in South Dallas and jobs for crack addicts. In fact, I'll bet he couldn't find such good drugs back home. Where is the love, people? A little respect for what we do for the world, every day of the year.

Friday, December 09, 2005

...and counting. Have accomplished SOOOO much. Let me tell you what an apocalyptic slob I am. I have a terrible habit of semi-seriously sorting through the mail. All pressing bills get put into a cabinet where I keep such papers and pull them out on bill day. Everything else tends to clutter all surfaces of the kitchen, bar, the antique in the entry area, and even the coffee table. Then, I invite people over to force myself to clean up, and invariably I scrape every surface clear and dump the detritus into a box or bin which gets staged in my bedroom, out of sight of normal humans. Today I sifted through about 50 pounds of such paper. I burned and shredded much of it, threw away a lot. Have an impressive stack of unopened Vanity Fairs and Vogues. I guess I never mentioned I'm a glossy addict - magazines thrill the little cockles of my heart. It's not a problem - I can quit anytime. Uh. Anyhoo....

Caught up on some crap movies while sifting through the madness. "Sweet and Lowdown" is a marvelous Benny Goodman film from 1944. The story is totally predictable - wrong-side-of-the-tracks kid from Chicago gets a leg up from Benny and then falls for a society dame. The story is kinda crap-tastic, actually, but this flick is worth seeing if only for the costumes and hair on the women. I SWEAR the immaculate costumes and hair design for Sean Young in the film "Bladerunner" were influenced directly by this film. In fact, Sean's hairdo is a direct lift from S&LD. Great style. Breathtaking. It's this kind of panache that made America fall in love with the cinema. This film starred the goddess Linda Darnell, from Dallas, a woman for whom every angle was apparently better than the last. She's a joy to look at, 60 years later. Good stuff.

I also saw "Emperor of the North Pole" which features superb performances by Ernest Borgnine as a sadistic train engineer during the great Depression, and Lee Marvin as the hobo determined to ride his train. Keith Carradine plays a green kid who wants to learn to ride the rails, but is such a cocky shit that it's satisfying when things don't go well for him. One of the skin-crawling cliches (for me) of American film in the late 1960s and early 1970s is the cheesy male-bonding music - usually a bit of harmonica and banjo - which can turn believable dramatic tension into a morph of corn-pone plastic-banana Apple Dumpling Gang - type shit. It's one of the features that jumps out and reminds me I'm watching a film. I am more than willing to forget myself and buy a film, but I don't like being jolted out of the spell. This film is also interesting to watch because you see a lot more technical detail of the operation of a steam locomotive, as well as the climate of the depression and the culture and romance built up around the whole train mystique. OH, and one more thing - remember the tv show "Alice" from the late 1970s/early 1980s starring Linda Lavin? Well, Mel the diner owner is a trainyard worker in this film. Ah, younger Mel. Call me weird, but I always thought that guy was sexy. Just like I like my men: Big and stupid. Ok. Not stupid. He seemed a bit like a loveable brute. What girl doesn't want a bit of that? OK. Now I'm rambling...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Bachelorette days. Husband in Canada for two weeks on bidness. Me and the doglet against the world. Maybe I'll get some of my old-style middle-of-the-night cleaning done as in days of yore. I can't clean with him in the house, for some reason. Dunno why. It must be an ADD thing.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

When Chloe went into kindergarten I made a pin-the-nose-on-the-Rudolph game for the class to play for the Christmas party. I made my own goofy reindeer character and cut him out of felt and it turned out pretty much like I envisioned. Then I hand-stitched the whole thing together. I was pretty pleased with the finished product. The kids loved the game and the fabulous prizes I brought for everyone. All the little Mexican boys cheated.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Super cool giftie item for the kids on your Christmas list is this gel ant-farm - the ants eat their way through the gelatinous goo and you can watch them all the while. Neat! This and other great gift things like curiously strong magnets are available from Let your Geek Flag fly™.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

There is a chick from Madison Wisconsin from whom I bought a "failed Christmas legends" ornament last year - It was a caterpillar on a mini marlboro box - legend of the tobacco worm - hilarity ensued. Bought it as a gift for a smoking friend, but simply couldn't give it up. Anyhoo, this is some of her lampwork, and like your humble narrator, she views the world in a crafty way, albeit slightly askew. Yee haw. Go bid on this auction - you've got about 10 hours left to possess this "Christmas Rampage" and all the secrets of the universe. Mwahahahahaha!!!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Pre-prequel "The Exorcist" meets Victorian "Village of the Damned." Ew. Creepy in a way only a toddler can be.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Today at long last it is finally wet, drippy dreary and a bit chilly. This, a mere two days after I was debating whether to wear sandals to the family Thanksgiving gatherings. My poor dear hydrangea have been bewitched into a false spring and have sprouted new growth at the base. I only hope the seasonal confusion of 90 degree days in November has not made them overly vulnerable for the cold I hope may finally have arrived.

I have always eschewed the bold colors of orange and yellow in my garden, loving as I do the exquisite near-ultraviolet of lobelia, and sages in ranges of sky-blue to the color purple. I have to have intense reds and magentas, too, but no orange. Ever. Until this summer. I was besotted with these African daisies and brought them home. They continue to bloom, and I expect volunteers to come up next spring after the winter has finished off this lot. Finally crossing over to the orange side, perhaps predictably, I bought scads of obscenely orange blossoming things to complement my ultraviolets. After many years of abstinence, I am an now a full-fledged orange-addict. There are peachy-orange wallflowers(wonderful frangrance!) and similar pansies and violas, and the most remarkable turnaround for me has been the marigold. I always found the pungent odor of marigolds to be quite off-putting, even revolting. However, they are stalwart bloomers and look amazing next to my sages of varying foliage. The peachy flowers are in a pot with lavender, and that is the most stunning combination of all. Will perhaps post a photo of that later. Here are the African Daisies. I can't recommend them enough.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

All men have secrets and here is mine, so let it be known: least, that is the opinion of the pastor where my family attends. So be it.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Since her accident, doglet has been ravenous a lot of the time, and it's strange. Husband left a large new container of B complex vitamins on the dining table, and while we were gone she chewed into it and ingested about 30 or so of the things before she tired of the experience. Needless to say, she was illing the rest of the evening. The house still smells like vitamins. Ew. On my best wool rug, yet.

Can't believe the year is almost over. My jewelry was in 2 good shows this weekend, and as of Wednesday my jewelry will be available in Kittrell-Riffkind Art Glass gallery. Muy excited about that one. Fabulous gallery. I was in to pick up some rods for beadmaking today, and they asked me when I was going to bring some of my work in to sell, et voila! 4 dozen pairs they asked for. Time to get my arse in gear.

Was very sad at the outcome of the season finale of HBO's immaculate Rome series. The next season of this series will be in March of 2007, and one of my favorite characters expired. No, not Julius Caesar, although he did die too - that was no surprise, eh?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

If a cook on your Christmas list loves seafood, The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson is guaranteed to delight them. This book is a good quick read and is a rich narrative of how much has been learned about this mysterious crustacean in the past 40 years, and how people who harvest them have met the popular demand for lobster without compromising the well-being of the species. Much is told of modern research on lobsters, and you will find this book is as long on technical information as it is entertaining. Two seafood forks up. Way up.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Flying home from Arizona after seeing my grandmother for the last time, we flew over wildfires in Arizona. Something about that seemed poetic. The scale was breathtaking, and even in the blazing sunlight, a demonic red glow was occasionally evident below the billowing smoke. It was a thing of terrible beauty.

My April 12 post mentions a hanging basket I had in back a dove nested in. I finally came across the photos, which my friend Kimmer kept insisting I post, so here they are. The brilliant blue flowers (my favorite) are lobelia, the big orange blossom is a Dahlia, the flame-like orange red blossoms are Lotus Vine (Amazon Sunset) and the basket also contains asparagus fern and potato vine. I forgot how pretty it was. More garden images to come...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Vintage psycho stalker valentine. Ew. Want some candy, little girl???

Sunday, November 13, 2005

My 2 darling girls - beloved niece and much adored doglet - posing before a doggy fashion show about a week before the dog got run over by a car. She's ok, though - nothing broken- miraculously. She rolled under it like a little hot dog, and though she was in shock and just collapsed to the ground when she tried to stand a few minutes later, she has made a nearly full recovery, with the help of some pain-killer for the creaky old joints. My precious niece is one of the most fabulous humans ever, and she's only 8. Look out, world!
New look. Same old bad attitude.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

To the person who ran over my dog with their ugly car this morning:

Her 14th birthday was yesterday. I forgive you for running over her even though you were going slowly enough that you could have stopped in time to miss her if you had been paying attention to the road. It wasn't your fault that she got out of the house off-leash. What I find so inexplicable is that you could drive off and leave her little 16 pound body in the road for dead or for someone else to drive along and finish off the job. And all this before my very eyes. Thank you for the worst moment of my life.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


If you haven't heard it yet, hold your breath and you will. I was reading the hype on Madonna's new track "Hung up" for about a week before I finally heard it, and while I agree that it's a great and wonderfully danceable track in the best tradition of Madonna music, I think descriptions of it as the second coming are vastly overblown. What's most striking on this track is how heavily it borrows from the brilliant productions of Giorgio Moroder--most particularly the inimitable soundtrack to the film "Midnight Express," and even "I feel love" which he produced for Donna Summer. There's also an ABBA-esque quality to the vocals. Don't get me wrong - this is gorgeous stuff put together in a new and pleasing way, but it's still a re-hash. The ready accessibility of "Hung Up" will probably save this cd from the obscurity of Madonna's previous effort, but it's no "Hey Ya," "Clocks" or "Feel Good, Inc." and it will probably not be remembered even as Madonna's best work. "Hung up" may be as brilliant as "Ray of Light" but the former's heavy dependence on derivations of earlier hits make it less memorable as an independent stroke of genius.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Amarillo: Every state should have one!
Eccentric gazillionaire Stanly Marsh III has sponsored several sprawling kooky art installations in and around Amarillo Texas including Floating Mesa, Cadillac Ranch and a giant portable pool table. For my money, though, none of these is remotely as compelling as his loopy street signs dotted about the city in random fashion festooning the yards and alleyways of local neighborhoods. I met someone from Amarillo today, and I asked about these signs, and he said when someone wants one of the signs in their yard, they call up Marsh and his oompa-loompas arrive about 3 in the morning and erect a sign, but you have no way of choosing or divining what will be planted in your yard when you wake up the next day. Once I saw a sign with Jessica Rabbit, one with a message to Luke from his father Darth, and one simply reading "UP." My favorite, though was this: "Abilene is one of the 5 wickedest cities of modern and ancient times." Naturally. I thought - Babylon, Sodom, Gomorrah, Bangkok, Abilene. Makes sense. It was hilarious to think what kind of wonky energy and bizarre Amarillo/Abilene rivalry could have inspired that. Wish the oompa-loompas came to Dallas - I'd like one of my own...

Friday, October 21, 2005

When I was in high school, my father would drive me to my music teacher's house for my weekly lesson and the most direct route took us through an area of town where women were obviously hooking on the street. Once a sistah crossed the street right in front of our vehicle at a stop light, and she was wearing the most insanely tight jeans you've ever seen. My father said "if you put a razor near that, there'd be hind-end all over the place." He has a way with words, my pa.

My brother-in-law was studying architecture in school a few years ago, and was driving around the rather tony neighborhoods around Dallas' White Rock Lake looking at some great new houses, when an interesting thing occurred. He was driving along slowly, windows down, when he noticed a fracas in one of the yards-- several black people were yelling and gesturing wildly at him. To paraphrase, the essence of their harangue was "ain't you never seen black folks with a nice house before?" He was taken aback at the bizarre outburst. We were discussing the fabulous new rock houses in that same neighborhood and he remembered that event and told me about it. I realized which house it was, because a girlfriend of mine lived right around the corner. The house belongs to Erikah Badu. I remembered this story when I was driving down that street after visiting an art gallery last week. There were boxes and personal items all over the driveway of said house, and either someone was being thowed out, a yard sale was about to occur, or someone put a razor near a full-to-bursting storage room.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Dear Misanthropic Bitch:

I generally rely on you to be an equal-opportunity blamer, so what gives with planting the responsibilty for ineptitude in disaster response solely on the doorstep of the White House? I expected that you--like myself--would observe that the mayors and governors of Louisiana have known for decades that the levees around New Orleans were a major vulnerability and should have acted accordingly. Did it occur to you that perhaps the Democrats who have always been in office in Louisiana may have been aware that the decrepit slum of the 9th ward would be the first community demolished and this was therefore a great opportunity to get rid of a big chunk of perennial welfare recipients as well as a large portion of their criminal element by shipping them off to Houston, Dallas, Little Rock and Memphis? Why didn't they spend the money they spent on the Superdome for their shitty sports teams instead on reinforcing the levee? I'll see your tenner and raise you a fin that now that the lowest-income housing in New Orleans has been decimated, the 9th ward will be rebuilt not as a slum or even low-income housing, but as a tony enclave with (eureka--what a great idea!) sufficient shoring up of the surrouding levee. You still give good read, but a more equitable slathering of responsibility on all involved parties is appreciated.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


My dog is eating breath mints.
In defense of Kate Moss...

What follows is not a defence of drug use, but a serious question about whether the fashion industry in general should be vilified for cavalier attitudes about drug abuse.

The comely Kate Moss is under fire for admitted cocaine abuse, and she is being dropped (or at the very least not renewed) from her contracts for print-modeling couture-level fashion. Mind you, she's been compelled to admit drug abuse because she had the poor judgment to be photographed with a line of blow, and only admitted then to point out that it was the class-A white powder and not class-Z, earwaxy rocks of crack. Burberry's of London, the venerable house of Chanel, et al, did not wait for the ether-ink to dry on this confession before scrambling press-releases announcing their dissociation with their former "face." For shame.

The hypocrisy of the fashion industry and its willingness to eat its own is positively chilling. Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be runway models. I recall the staggering irony of Clinique's launch of the fragrance "Happy" several years ago whose commercials featured stick-insect-thin super models (a notoriously strung-out lot) jumping and vamping to the dulcet tune of the tragic heroine Judy Garland's "c'mon, get happy." "Heroin-chic" was an expression en vogue not so long ago and the fashion industry is positively dripping with references to and the appearance of substance abuse. They all do it. There may be a runway show in fashion week whose backstage is not awash in cocaine, but I seriously doubt it. The fact that the fashion industry is freaked out by this very public admission is indicative of a tremendous disconnect between the people they want to be influenced to pay the astronomical fees for their product and they way they conduct their own lives. If the substance abuse is not industry-wide but is simply used by the bony troops who pedal their wares on the catwalk, then how does this differ with the exploitative atmosphere of a strip club? Sure, there are a lot more zeroes on the paycheck, but I see no fundamental difference, particularly if the performer is so easily cast aside.

Her heart must be wounded with the knowledge that she did something she's likely seen thousands of other people do, and yet she is to be pilloried. Kate's Icarian fall to earth could be an ultimate un-doing, but the Western world loves a comeback story, so I hope she will weather this one and take heart in that fact.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I really wanted to laze about today and do nothing, but the sky is that wonderful pre-fall color it always seemed to be on old-fashioned calendars, and it beckoned me out to find what was at the local garden center. I planted some obscenely vivid scarlet dianthus and a gorgeous azure-blossomed variety of sage I'd never seen before. Then I got in the pool to paddle about and cool off my aching bruised leg. I did something really goofy, which was to water the plants circling the yard from the pool. I dragged the hose into it, and sprayed landward with abandon. Everything got watered thoroughly, me included, and I didn't get over-heated or put new stress on my leg. I saw the most enormous, magnificent true-yellow-and black butterfly - the largest butterfly I've ever seen, descend and have its way with my butterfly bush(black knight variety, with dusty purple-black blooms). It worked its way around spikes of the flowers, the proboscis unfurling and tucking into nectar with remarkable speed and efficiency. Next to it, a smaller butterfly worked away, an amber velvet wedge circumnavigating the tiny flowers in a gracious little waltz. I saved a honey bee that was foundering in the water. I cupped my hands together and scooped it up in the water and it found my finger and climbed up and flew away. Crisis averted. I decided to come in for a bit and go back out to the pool later with a book and a glass of wine, but I sat in a chair and dripped a little more dry before coming in, and lo and behold, I saw my very first and only hummingbird in my flowers since I moved in 14 months ago. All the toil and sweat and thought I've put into my garden has been engineered precisely for the purpose of luring butterflies and hummingbirds. Today I declare it a success, and so very worthwhile.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Today was another nicely cloudy, darkish sort of Monday, which I always love, as you may have noticed. I went to my favorite Indian restaurant in town with a book, Herself, which is an autobiography of the brilliant and fascinating English actress Elsa Lanchester, who married Charles Laughton and is probably most recognizable as the Bride of Frankenstein. I picked and chose from the buffet a lovely curry chicken, vegetable pakoras(which would no doubt send my orthodontist shrieking from the room) and upma with tamarind and mint chutneys and raita, and finished up with a bit of kheer (lovely rice pudding with almond slivers, cardamom and flavored with rose water) and a single gulab jamun. With this dessert, I had a nice steaming cup of that wonderfully fragrant hot tea called chai. Chai is a strong tea filled with finely ground spices and sweetened with a generous dose of milk. It's not overtly sweet, just wonderful in the same way Earl Grey tea is enhanced by milk or cream. My practice with Indian dessert and tea is somewhat ritualized and I always carefully skim the creamy scum of spices from the surface of my tea and lick the back of the spoon--that's the best part. Funny how something I describe as scum is my favorite bit? How very me.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The clangor of bashing president Bush at every opportunity has reached such a pitch that it now sounds a one-note symphony which makes listening unendurable. We get it—you hate George W. Bush, and you will find a way to criticize anything he does or does not do. All negative aspects of environmental, social and political issues must necessarily be his fault. Spend your energy doing something positive. You’re boring everyone around you. Can we talk about something else? Even though you don’t believe in the Antichrist, we know you think he is it. Gotcha. Now talk about something else or shut up.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

New Orleans in the wake of Katrina is in a dire state.

Let it be said there is plenty of blame to be shared for the human tragedy that has occurred, but let us admit that the worst aspects of our nature are what have wrought the man-made disaster there. 300+ years of industrialization and settlement have dried out the wetlands that would have protected the mouth of the Mississippi and Atchafalya rivers from the devastating after-effects of storm surge--a fact which cannot be blamed on any state, local or national office holder or political party--human nature is to bend our environment to our will and damn the consequences, and here we reap the rewards of that short-sightedness. Hundreds of New Orleans school buses sat idle when they may have been ferrying the poor and indigent from the city. Likewise, many thousands without vehicles could have walked a safe distance away if they had started out the morning before the storm, when mandatory evacuation of the city had already been announced. I understand there is a tendency to want to hold on to our material possessions--that is natural--but faced with cholera conditions and desperate drunks and drug addicts cut off from their suppliers, I'd grab my doggie, my plastic bag of family photos and high-tail it for high ground with my loved ones in tow. No possession I own is worth my life or those of my dear ones. I believe a mean view on life--of holding on to material goods with a desperation borne of a life of poverty--compelled many to linger in the city despite warnings from every quarter. Measured by that yardstick--many valued their possessions more than their lives. This, while natural, is a product of defective culture: the one who dies with the most toys wins. Even if the toys are water-logged and ruined? We need to change the way we view things.

On a brighter note, cities through out the south have welcomed many thousands to shelters, sporting and convention arenas. There are 10000+ evacuees in the Dallas area alone, and thousands more in Houston, Fort Worth, San Antonio and doubtless many more outlying smaller communities. I hope that we will be up to the challenge of making a true demonstration that we are capable of being kinder than mother nature, and--more importantly--capable of overcoming our baser nature to do what it takes to help neighbors in a moment of dire need.

Friday, September 02, 2005

[Happy 100th post to me]

Pity party:

Table for one.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Kind of weird.

Sometimes, if you really pay attention, you can see in someone's eyes they've gone in a completely different direction and find your pithy observations to be only so much useless palaver. Was that the instant the string broke--that snapping sound?-- that I crossed over and became
not desirable
company? I am as I ever was, except in the ways I've been externally damaged.

Insert textural shrug here
This Big Hush

Is there a fire in the sky?
Is there a moon up there?
Is anything alive now?
This darkness is what I hear
This is a breathless silence
a moment out of time
I see your face in the shadows
The tell-tale signs are in your eyes

More than I can hold in my hand
running through the gaps like water
Aching with a passion inside
deep as the river

All desire
the ashes and the fire
turning this night inside
and the light from you

Is there a flame in the dark?
is there a bright heart star?
These creatures look the same now
We freeze wherever we are
We wake alone in the blackness
We sleep whenever we fall
One dream all around us
This big hush infects us all

Holding up an animal fear
Soaking up the waves underwater
Tuned to music no-one can hear
forever in this half-light

All desire
the ashes and the fire
turning this night inside
and the light from you

Shriekback Oil and Gold

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

I wish I'd seen New Orleans just once before it got completely shredded. I fear it will be a very different place tomorrow, having lost much of its historical structure. Life below sea level seems a bad ideer.
Unshockability and awelessness...

I started taking an anti-depressant daily in late April. I had been feeling listless and depressed and hopeless, and that month started with what could be described as a 1-2 punch that turned into a raging cluster of fuck-uppedness. The first few days of medication were a glorious jolt from what had become the norm: I felt speedy and super-motivated within hours of the first sacred tablet. This was a nice transition from the perennial blues to a more remote, don't-give-a-shit phase. Oh, I still feel everything, but I feel it all differently now. The troughs have been resined in and the tops have been lopped off the peaks. While it's difficult for me to feel the depths of despair but not impossible, I don't think I could muster true euphoria if I won the lottery. I got a new vehicle a month ago, and it was not even "woohoo-giddy-new-car-smell-yippee" but more of a "oh, ok, alright, whatever, I guess it feels nice." Likewise, I was leaving work on Friday, and two women had a wreck impacting their vehicles about 10 feet from my bumper, and I was watching as if in slow motion thinking, "oh, they're gonna hit me. huh." They didn't hit me, amazingly, but my little heart gave nary a flutter, no rise in blood pressure. I don't get that shitty fluttery pre-diarrhea feeling when I drive by a police car. Nerves of steel, baby. Of course if you've read my humble blog previously you know that I have been devastated by the loss of my beloved grandmother, but other than a few protracted crying jags, that has been more like ripples spreading in a pond, the daily realization she is not there saddens me but I have to move on. There has been another shocking death in my family I'll tell about soon here, but it didn't affect me so deeply. Getting on Lexapro didn't fix everything that was wrong with my life, and it didn't make the people around me less assholian, but it did make life's stresses less emotional-rollercoaster and more navigable rocky road. After those first few giddy days, I settled into a feeling of normality for the first time in years, not haunted by constant negative thoughts. I almost never drink alcohol, I've lost a bit of avoirdupois, generally been more active and more motivated, and more in the mood to be around people occasionally. Work has been more tolerable. Better living through chemistry. I have settled into a ritual of getting an almond steamer daily from Starbucks (blessed be) and then I take my pill with that yummy drink. I feel drowsy nearly every afternoon, and if I don't get a midday nap a couple times a week, things can get a bit rough around the edges, but I can still cope. If the trade-off for feelings of despair is an overwhelming urge to sleep at times I must deny myself, I'll take that trade any day. I don't know how long this will be effective-- anti-depressants are notorious for needing tweaking right out of the blue-- but I know that for now I'm closer to contentment than at any time in a very long while, and I am resolved to be on them as long as I feel the need. If everything else on the planet falls to shit, I pray that my pharmaceutical provider holds it together for my sake. Momma needs her medicine.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

HE: You're looking smarter every day.
ME: Why? Because I'm not involved [in the big project at the office] like the rest of you?
HE: (laughs, pulling the enormous liner from the dustbin) If a man empties the garbage and a woman is not there to observe it, did it really get emptied?
ME: (staring, smirking)
HE: That's one thing Mary simply will not do - she will never take out the garbage.
ME: Nor should she--that is man's work. It was ever thus.
HE: You too?
ME: Naturally. We pick the apple. You kick it to the curb.

Friday, August 26, 2005

I depend on me.

Brilliantly illustrated by the band Elbow and the clever bloke at

I had my braces adjusted yestiddy, and the Dr. put a 3 link segment of evil rubber rings on 3 of my lower teeth, and yeowch! It's hurting like a mutha. I will not be sad to see the last of orthodontic pain - it is evil.

Monday, August 22, 2005

So, at last, the thank you letter has been written.

In the week between my grandmother's death and her funeral in early July, I composed a letter of thanks to the staff at the amazing Good Samaritan Medical Center in Arizona. The first draft was long, sentimental, an obvious stab at self-therapy in the wake of a devastating loss. Happily, I am a procrastinator by nature, and had time to go back and heavily self-edit. The letter has been much on my mind these 7 weeks, but I haven't had the heart to print the final draft. A few days before the funeral, I busied myself by going to a fine stationer's and purchasing a new quill, ink, and some fine paper for the task, and still it has been a sword of Damocles hanging heavy in the air above my head. It's rather like flipping through my address book on my cell phone and I can't bring myself to delete her phone number entry. Too painful.

Today, I finally put ink to paper and will send it off at last. This grief is terrible. Bertie understood and loved me unconditionally, and you don't get many of those in this life, and such a blessing if one of them is a grandparent. For posterity, this is the final cut:

"Dear Dr. Kalayah, Dr. Syed, et al,
Recently you and ICU staff at Good Samaritan shepherded my grandmother, Alberta Kent, through her final hours of life. I wish you could have met her in other circumstances, but I want you to know that it was a tremendous comfort to me that you so capably attended her needs at that time. Your direct but gentle presentation of options to our family was, for me, an anodyne after a battery of confusing diagnoses elsewhere. Thank you, finally, for allowing my sister and me to visit her one last time early on the morning we departed Arizona. As I left, I was too overwrought to adequately convey my gratitude. May you be eternally blessed for the work you do. Best wishes, etc..."

Friday, August 19, 2005

The greater North American doglet in her native habitat.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Today is a day of gloriously leaden skies with crackling thunder and flower-hammering rains. Only the arrival of a biting chill in the air could render this day more perfect. Fittingly, I have lolled away the day in a fit of languorous dissipation. I have fiddled with plants, napped, ate at my favorite Indian eatery - Pasand - napped, read a book, napped, read magazines, read my book some more, and now I'm overdue for a spot of napping. Heaven.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A mortgage company asked for a comment from me after a recent transaction, which they have posted on their website front page. I can't believe it. "Thank you so much, you just increased my monthly shoe allowance by $230." Seriously.
Guns don't kill people: flip-flops kill people.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I think I scare the shit out of my husband, and yet he seems mesmerized by me. He loves me so much despite the obvious fact that I possess all the cuddly qualities of a pit viper. I think it's Pandora's box for him - as long as he doesn't understand me, he'll be intrigued. Hiss!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

There's a really cool woman from Creek Nation at my orthodonist's office. She's is elegant and clever and someone I'd like to be friends with. However, in the brief bit of time I've been around that office, I have been appalled at the golly gee ignorance of her co-workers. Another (caucasian) tech in the office said her local pub hosts a Gong Show, and that she wants this Native American woman to come and do a rain dance for the show one night, "as a gag." If this white woman is Catholic, would she be offended if someone asked her to come to a smoke-filled booze-joint and re-enact sacraments of Catholic liturgy? It's not that I think the rain dance is a religious act so much as an invocation of tradition and honoring one's lineage, which are wonderfully sacred to this continent's indegenous peoples. The sad thing is I honestly believe this girl thought it was in some way a compliment to invite a Native American to share something of her culture in this talent show. For being the vitriol-spewing potty-mouth that I am, I strive not to offend people with my ignorance - sometimes I just shut up and listen rather than making big statements about things I'm unversed in. I'm sure I'm guilty of staggering ignorance, too, but I really do try. How can people be so thoughtless?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

My grandmother died today. Her last hours were spent in the I.C.U. of Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix. I wondered what their staff thought of this shrunken little lady with her daughter and granddaughters huddling about, clinging to the hope she would recover. They couldn't see a woman who was a stellar talent in a more than one hundred year family tradition of folk music, with a voice that could cut through fog. They had no inkling of a woman whose biscuits and gravy are legendary in our family. Mostly, they couldn't have any idea of the boundless love it must have taken for a woman to imbue her every child, grandchild and great-grandchild with a unique bond to her and each with a secret suspicion that they were her very favorite. In her prime, Bertie stood stalwart and strong with the spirit of the most daring generosity - her feelings were so tender, and yet she never withheld aid to the least among us. Like the gift of music and the gift of a natural cook - the alchemy that spins tiny efforts into the Herculean manna of nurturing was a formula Bertie knew well. Rather than being a footnote in this grandchild's life, Bertie was a grace note. May her soul be eternally blessed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I have a great hanging basket in the back of my house, and Bryan noticed a dove lingering about quite a bit. I have a bird feeder, so it's not so unusual to see lots of sparrows and several doves at any given moment. Yesterday, however, I went by this basket of plants and apparently spooked the dove, who flew away chortling. I looked into the basket and on top of one of the ferny plants was a rough-hewn nest with two perfect white eggs fairly glowing in the late afternoon sun. I'm going to have grandbirdies!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Great quote from Christina Ricci's character in The Opposite of Sex:
"My mother was the sort of mother who always said she was her daughter's best friend. I thought: Great! Not only do I have a shitty mother, my best friend's a loser bitch"

Friday, April 01, 2005

OK: I'll bite. If you think it's mercy to starve another creature to death, whether it's a dog, a horse, a goldfish or a person incapacitated to the point of not producing a taxable income, and yet you oppose the death penalty for confirmed murderers, you are a hypocrite. If you believe in euthanizing people who can't choose AND you support the death penalty--I can respect your consistency. If you're enough of a jerk-off to abandon a critically ill spouse and start another family with someone else, at least have the dignity to relinquish power-of-attorney to your spouse's loved ones who are still devoted to that sadly altered individual. Terri Schiavo was not being kept alive by extraordinary means-like a dialysis machine or something to keep her heart going-and in this case, it was irresponsible to starve her to death, regardless how much she was or was not aware of.
I'm sure you know that Bubonic Plague is spread by fleas. The bacterium which causes bubonic plague--Yersinia pestis--causes the entrance to the infected flea's stomach to swell shut, preventing blood from entering, and the flea can suck blood till the cows come home drained, and never sate their increasingly ravenous hunger. They then jump from host to host hoping to alleviate their suffering, biting everything and making more filthy pathogenic contacts than a toilet seat at Madison Square Garden. Now, if a mere flea with its infinitesimally small brain can be driven mad with hunger--what of the suffering of a human being when starving, even if they are in a vegetative state???
The human brain-- states of consciousness-- is a complex thing, and we are not even remotely close to unraveling its mysteries. Anti-death penalty activists cite the dozens of tragic executions of people later exonerated by DNA evidence, etc., as reason enough to discontinue the practice. Well, conversely, I argue that if there is a chance that a person may have a degree of awareness which we can't be assured of, isn't it better to continue to sustain that person if it may be done so simply as a food and water supply? It is sheer arrogance to say definitively that she can not possibly have any degree of awareness--it's hubris, sheer human folly to state otherwise. The degree of her ability to perceive is unknowable, and to act otherwise speaks volumes of a desire for taking the easy way out and getting rid of a person other people consider to be a nuisance. It's a slippery slope, and we're not wearing the right shoes--we are soleless. Today, it's people in a coma. Tomorrow it may be ALS sufferers or people with Multiple Sclerosis, and then it won't be much of a stretch to justify getting rid of groups of folks. The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson should be mandatory reading for everyone pondering this subject. You may not give a shit about Terri Schiavo, but you may give a damn when it's someone you love who is deemed expendable by society. Ask German Jews, circa 1940.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Being a lifelong Roald Dahl fan, I am ecstatic that Charlie & The Chocolate Factory is being remade, and I saw the new trailer at cinema yesterday, and it looks to be worthy of my rapt anticpation. *Giddy*