Thursday, March 30, 2006


In the Olympics of Slack, I would be considered an overachiever.

As I mentioned last month, the in-laws will arrive from San Francisco on Saturday. Joy. Countdown to hearing how everything in Texas sucks. How Californians are all environmentally friendly - that's what they tell themselves when they recycle plastic, glass and paper to salve their consciences because they all spend 2 or more hours per day inundating the environment with petrochemical fumes during their commute into town to do their jobs which are much more important to the world than anything going on here in Texas.

... I have this big event I have to sell my jewelry in in 10 days, and I've been dragging my feet making up new stock to display and sell. Yes, I've been such a slacker that I have only started making new beads for the event in earnest tonight, and not VERY earnest at that. I don't even feel guilty - it's just that when all the family is gathered next week at my Mother-In-Law & FIL's new home, I want a reason to HAVE to bugger off early. "Oh shit - I've gotta go make some beads and jewelry. Darn! I wish I could spend more time with you guys!"

So, I've dawdled and dawdled, squandering precious hours with the elan of a seasoned veteran. After getting up before the crack of noon today, I showered and went outside and lounged by the pool nekkid save for a big luxurious robe, wet hair caressed by the breeze, reading my book, my toes running through the fur on my little dog's flanks. Lazy, but wonderful. I won't regret that hour spent...

Like I said last time, they're staying for a week, and I will be AMAZED if they don't move over to my (filthy) house within 3 days of arriving, so even working on my jewelry I wouldn't be off the hook. Maybe it's the meds, because I feel anesthetized to all this stuff. Add to this the fact that my big sales event coincides with the weekend all my clan is gathering in Arkansas to celebrate my grandparent's - geez - like their 70th wedding anniversary.

Grandpa is not someone I'm overly fond of, but I feel for him, poor old cadger. Grandma, on the other hand, is a gorgeous person whom I dearly love, but she has Alzheimer's, and has often left the building when you see her, leaving a hostile, aggressive woman in her place. It's heartbreaking. As I've been listening to the Neko Case cd, this one song about madness keeps reminding me of her - Dirty Knife.

He sang nursery rhymes to paralyze
The wolves that eddy out the corner of his eyes
But they squared him frozen where he stood
In the glow of the furniture piled high for firewood
And the blood runs crazy...

Terrors borne of a lonely, treacherous place where nothing and no one is familiar, a world peopled by strangers with menace in their eyes. I grieve that I won't be seeing Grandma that weekend, and yet, something in me is relieved, too. And the worst of it all is knowing the torment my darling father suffers because of this. I would give anything to spare him that heartache - he's one of the kindest, gentlest souls on earth, which is very like my grandma is/was.

Sorry, this turned into a bit of a ramble, dinnit? I'll try to be more amusing next time...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

This is my new pal Erin. I've declared we are going to open a head shop together when we're old ladies and call it the stoned pony™, even though I don't do anything illegal anymore and strongly urge everyone else to follow my pristine (lately) example, unless they are buying lifestyle accessories which are purely decorative from our store... Anyhoo.

This is her horse, Pops, a 7 year old Arabian. This orange confection is the matador shirt she had to wear for showing in the Western Style, before the pony was up to snuff for English style. She thinks this $500 shirt is garish, and I think it's fabulous, even though it has no fringe down the back of the sleeves. The Dale Evans neckerchief just makes the look. Anyway, I think she looks like a million, gaudy or not.

But about the horse. Pops could get a job at an airport if they ever run out of german shepherds. Apparently, horsie's first trainer liked to indulge in a bit of herb before training sessions, and got Pops into the habit of getting the US RDA of vitamins T, H, and C. Did you know people bake horses by blowing the smoke in their ears? Consequently, this horse never lost the urge to imbibe and would never pass up an opportunity to get comfortably numb. Now, considering how easily spooked horses are, it seems like this could backfire woefully if one started getting paranoid, worrying about the 5-0, etc...
Erin met some chick at a show once, and Pops was obsessed with her purse and would not be dissuaded from nuzzling the handbag. This freaked the woman out, but later on, she pulled out a joint, and Erin said "A-ha, THAT's what he was after." The horse can smell weed a mile away, apparently, and he's mad for it.
I'd like to see an under-achiever pothead horse, sitting around watching Andy Griffith and Mister Ed re-runs, outmoded butt-sprung ugly old velour couch, industrial bag of cheetos and a pony keg of beer at hand. There'll be a picture of dogs playing cards on the wall, and the tv remote will be controlled by a clopper. Clop On, Clop Off. The owner would nag "we never go anywhere anymore - what do you want to do with your life? We never talk." The horse's giant head would sway toward the owner, eyes rolling balefully, as if to say "you talkin' to me?"

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

OK, kind of a crap photo, but you get an idea of how my studio is shaping up. Yes, the walls are chartreuse. Today I went to IKEA (yes, my horse knows the way to carry my chariot) and got this lovely red peanut table. How cute is that? Got my new tv & dvd player yesterday, so at long last I can stop making jewelry on the coffee table - now I just need to switch out that cable box for one with DVR feature, and I'll be in hog heaven. Plus, this will just be more comfortable anyway. I love my red sparkly-vinyl chair on casters, and the bright green walls are visual caffeine. Plus I've got lots of my favorite knick-knacky shit around the studio which keeps it out of the rest of the house. Well, not completely, but it is nice to have the inspringly wacky stuff around the work area. I told husband he'll probably be nostalgic for me making a mess on the coffee table, and he'll probably say "Ritter, would you come make some jewelry in the living room again?" Probably. That's what I'm thinking. After all, I was working on a couple necklaces a bit ago and watching Ed vs Spencer on BBC America, and he came and laid on the floor. I'll have to put in a doggie bed for the bitch, too, and maybe some throw pillows if husband is going to be hanging out on the floor. Will post more as this progresses.

I'm emailing Chris Levack to see if it's true, but I was told that the Austin artist made this shelf. It's one of my favorite things, and though you can't tell, I've got a collection of flapper-era powder boxes and compacts and chalkware nekkid half-dolls residing there. Click here to see some great sculpture by Chris Levack.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Separated at birth...
Now don't get me wrong. I really do like Sandy Bullock. Apparently my dad thinks she's cute and deflected mom's rancor by saying she looks like George Hamilton. Well. Maybe so, but she's still hot. Seems to me that invoking the spectre of some garish person of your own sex would be the eyecandy buzzkill that would toll the deathknell of a serious crush. Then again, dad being a guy and all - who understand how that brain works anyhoo?
Sandra Bullock wins mad props too for marrying a guy who can administer an oil change. Between you and me - effete himbo Hollywood type males are useless.
And when it comes to British men, I find Geoffrey Hughes who plays Onslow on Keeping Up Appearances WAAAAY more attractive than milquetoast Hugh Grant.
I mentioned I turned 40 in October but that wasn't the moment of onset of older sensibilities, actually, although I've yet to succumb to actual decrepitude. The moment for me was probably aged 35, when watching Gladiator and I realized that I thought the hottest man in the cast was actually Oliver Reed, the hard-ball lover of life who played the august Proximo, gladiator slave-trader in the film. Then again, I once heard it said that old age is when you stop looking at the young girls and start looking at their mothers. Uh, right. Well, we know you guys never stop looking at any of us, but in the case of women, the same might be said.
Incidentally, about Oliver Reed, he died during filming of Gladiator, and Ridley Scott spent $3 million to reproduce his likeness for final scenes of the film. From imdb:
He died of a heart attack in a bar after downing three bottles of Captain Morgan's Jamaica rum, eight bottles of German beer, numerous doubles of Famous Grouse whiskey, and beating five much younger Royal Navy sailors at arm-wrestling. His bar bill for that final lunch time totaled 270 Maltese lira, almost £450.
Party on, dude!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I mentioned last week on a rainy day I went on a book-and-music-buying rampage. When I buy multiple cds, I'll choose one to start with, and then I hold the others in reserve, hoarding them back like little rarities, each to be enjoyed as its own experience, not all squandered in one swell foop. Knowing my favorite would be the Neko Case's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, I started with the wonderful island magic of Martin Denny's exotic world. Great stuff, that. I mentioned that would be the essential lounging-by-the-pool music this year, in addition to the Spongebob Squarepants soundtrack which has great stuff from the likes of Motörhead.

Neko Case has turned out to be an astonishing find for me. Her powerful vocals are womanly yet vulnerable, with occasional moments of pure heartbreak that are evocative of the great classic queens of country music like Kitty Wells and Donna Fargo and the venerated Patsy Cline - the stuff I grew up hearing in the car on road trips - classic country/western swing. Click here to listen on Amazon

For me by far the most bewitching track on the cd - Star Witness - sandwiches details of a fatal car crash with narrative about a likely unhealthy juvenile relationship:

My true love drowned in a dirty old pan of oil
that did run from the block
of a Falcon sedan 1969, The paper said '75
there were no survivors, none found alive...

achingly beautiful, the refrain says there's such dandy wolves round town tonight...

...hey pretty baby get high with me, we can go to my sister's if we say we'll watch the baby
the sound of your voice yanks my neck on a chain
and I would do anything to see you again...

You can feel the static in her cheap polyester nightgown as she sings the final words with a pure, plaintive clarity that is evocative of Dolly Parton's sweetest moments:

My nightgown sweeps the pavement
Don't let him die
Oh how I forgot

We are left to wonder if she died in the wreckage too, or if she only lost a piece of her heart - there were no survivors, none found alive. All this bittersweet heartbreak is underpinned by gorgeous guitars that call to mind faded photographs and dusty western sunsets. Great road music.

Anyway, incredible cd, this. Grab your bonnet and sashay right out and pick this one up - you'll thank me.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Yes, since acquiring a DVR feature on my cable television, I've gone to the edge and been sucked into the vortex of crap television. Having the ability to watch later and zip through the commercials has completely changed my tolerance level for tv. I hate all the fake suspense, and I hate most of the reality shows, Project Runway being an exception, the contestants having to bring more to the table than a certifiable pulse.

Late last season, I began watching American Idol. I know. The shame. The shame. Anyway, there's a 21 year old woman from North Carolina who has been working the extreme hick angle overtime.
Simon: You're a minx!
MC gay - er, guy: Do you know what that is?
Ellie Mae: I'm a mink!

MC: Simon said your performance was ballsy.
Ellie Mae: What's a ballsy?

Anyway, I'm so sick of the bitch that I hope she's overplayed her hand at last, her momma is who-knows-where, and her daddy is in prison, so she was raised by a pack of coon dogs on the edges of some backwoods burg. Last night's program was amazing, because they piled the makeup on her, and she looked tarted up like the slutty little girls on SouthPark. Ew. It was just too much. Go away, please.

In perhaps the strangest segue, out of morbid curiosity, I was flipping channels and stopped on Home Shopping Network, or hell, as you may prefer to think of it. Hawking some Birkenstock-like sandals that could easily substitute for birth-control was an enthusiastic poofter German guy with a mah-velous manicure, darling. Anyhoo. He looked a little like Trey Parker, co-creator of South Park. Fondling a denim monstrosity of a handbag with a metal snap-ball closure, he said "I just love those big balls!" and you know what? I'll bet he does.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Sunday's Toronto Star cites a Berkeley study here that says whiny spoiled children grow up to be conservatives, and confident, self-sufficient children grow up to be liberals.
These 100 children were followed from the 1960s forward. I think this conclusion has more than a bit to do with the fact that the study was conducted in Berkeley, the incubator for fin-de-siecle liberalism. Naturally, in the hothouse of American liberalism, liberals WOULD feel confident and self-sufficient, buoyed up by such an enabling atmosphere. Someone who is a contemporary, independent thinker WOULD feel put-upon and paranoid in such an environment that does not welcome differing ideas. Seriously - for all their claims of open-mindedness, places like Berkeley are some of the most hostile environments to voice an opinion that does not fall in lock[goose]step with the herd.
Husband's comments on this issue:
I'm sure it was a double-blind totally objective study.
OTOH, if that's really true, then the future of our country is in great shape.
He's got a point - I see no end of whining children no matter where I go in the country. Yeah, even California. Then again, I'll be able to make a case-study about a California child in about a week-and-a-half. Film at eleven.
5 minutes later:
No wait, I just have to come back here and add a bit more, for my own sake. I am an artist, a free-thinker, and a wild person. I'm independent and have NEVER been a whiner - I don't even nag husband (he often says he wishes I would). I don't need alcohol or drugs to tap into my inner banshee - it's always there, just beneath the surface. I am open-minded and friendly, and non-judgmental of everyone I meet. I make fast friends to whom I'm devoted for life. Because of these traits, acquaintances generally assume I'm a liberal, and feel free to vent their paranoid ravings believing I'll agree with them.
Economically, however, I AM conservative. I think that some social services and safety nets for our communities ARE necessary, but I think that should be done at local and state level, and I think there are simply too many laws on the books at every echelon of US government. 60+ years of the New Deal have created an entirely new dependent class with no incentive to do otherwise than remain firmly clamped on the government teat. (Someday when I have more time, I'll tell you about my California relatives who enjoy the cyclical slavery legacy of our welfare system.)
And THAT, my dears, is why this study has me so cheesed off. No doubt, this bit of pap was funded by taxes confiscated from yours truly, and OK, NOW I'm whining. Let's see a comparably "objective" study made in an Indiana or Kansas farming community - backbone of our very nation - and I'll bet you'll see another result entirely.
I have a lot of stuff to do today, but I just had to vent. Don't be surprised if I come back and vent some more later, for my dander-she is up!
two hours later:
OK, I've had some time curled up with the wonderful diversion of a book, and now I'm calmer. Let me say this study infuriates me because it was conducted in the name of science and has been honed into a political spear. My blathering on about myself and what a study in contradictions I am makes the point that people are more complex than can be serviced by one political ideology, and the people who can be so straight party-line are not doing much thinking, in my opinion. In the John Lydon interview I posted a couple weeks ago, he said "Institutions will not ruin us," but to that I would add "unless we allow them to." This desperate need of the media to compartmentalize the populace into groups is a pat way to manage us and pretend to be addressing our needs and interests at large, when in fact, we as a society are more complex and differing. My balking at the implied "even-tempered cool" (Ted Kennedy? Cindy Sheehan? John Kerry? Really.) of liberals is based on my perception that it is a very liberal element of our society that is sullying freedoms I hold dear. I call it the hall-monitor mentality - the element among us who wants to prevent people from smoking, from plastering the ten commandments on public buildings while forcing us to turn to mecca at sunset, and who go see films like "Supersize Me" and the factually specious films of Michael Moore.
Mark my words: It is precisely this element that will be sifting through your grocery receipts looking for purchases of beer, twinkies and cigarettes to deny you medical services when you are in need late in life. Can a fat tax be far away? I think not.

Really cool old Xavier Sager post card I bought of comely young lass being vivisected by an icky bunch of Edwardian doctor-types.
Oddly compelling. She doesn't seem to mind.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Click HERE for a .wav of Dallas Demigod Reverend Horton Heat extolling the virtues of steak from his cd "Smoke 'em if ya got 'em." Good stuff.

Eat steak, eat steak eat a big ol' steer
Eat steak, eat steak do we have one dear?
Eat beef, eat beef it's a mighty good food
It's a grade A meal when I'm in the mood.

Cowpokes'll come from a near and far
When you throw a few rib-eyes on the fire
Roberto Duran ate two before a fight'
Cause it gives a mighty man an awful lot of mighty might

UNTAPPED RESOURCE. Um, I'm not going to touch this one. Just passing along information.

Husband and I went to Texas de Brazil for dinner last night. LOVE that place. TdB is a
churrascaria, [Brazilian steakhouse] and all the Brazilian boys in gauchos come around to the tables with meat on spits. Gotta love it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

(Sorry - blogger photo is wonky right now - will add later. )

I ordered some supplies for the office at my part-time job, and now I'm on crap mailing lists, and these appalling catalogs keep coming to the office, addressed to me, of course. My current favorite is the tackiest one so far which includes all manner of drain-unclogging products, toilet seat pads, and house shoes with mop-bottoms so you can dust your floor as you shuffle around the house. Seriously. But by far, my favorite product is the Nippits™ which are like little adhesive rubbermaid daisies you can stick on your breasteses to keep the nipples from showing through. This amazes me. Why cover up all that creamy goodness?? Besides, If I can't hyp-mo-tize you with my bewitching eyes, then I'll have to resort to plan B and pull you in with my twin tractor beams of feminine mojo. Everybody wins.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Our pool level has risen more than 6 inches since the rain started in the wee hours of yesterday morning. Glorious! I crave rain - I'm always more creative and energized during dreary weather - so it's ironic that I live in such a dry place as Texas. Still, the people here are very friendly and at least there is an upside.

Soundtrack for this rainy day:

One of my favorite songs ever "Swamp Thing" from Strange Times by Chameleons UK - released 1986. Incredible song.

Also, listening to the vibey- mood-enhancing "Spiritual Spiritual" by B-tribe. Exquisite. Particularly track #8, which is an hypnotic ambient variation on Joaquin Rodrigo's extraordinary Adagio from "Concierto de Aranjuez." Dreamy.

Books/Music wot I bought today Just went to the local book/music/coffee emporium and picked up the next novel in the Outlander series, and Purple Hibiscus which I'll read as soon as I finish my book today. Some series of books, such a Piers Anthony - I like to read consecutively, because they are generally fast and pretty entertaining. The Outlander series is more of a palate cleanser, light, bodice-ripper-ish without succumbing to a Harlequin Romance degree of schlock, and I'll read them in-between heavier reading. I also picked up new cds by Neko Case and The Wood Brothers, and an ultra groovy space-age-jungle-lounge re-issue called The Best of Martin Denny's Exotica, which will be required listening when I'm tooling around town with the sun roof open this summer and while lolling with a book in/around the pool.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

In the words of Loreena Bobbit - It won't be long now...

In a fracas with the Chicago police, a man
severed his own penis and threw it at police officers. Apparently Jakob Fik was distraught over difficulties with his girlfriend in Poland when he began throwing knives and ultimately his amputated limb at the policemen. Not only do they list his name, but they also put his street address in the Chicago Sun Times, so the humiliation may be complete. I don't know, I find that amazing for some reason, printing his address. Just in case anyone's in doubt, you want to know if it's your neighbor who went whack with a knife. I'm all for disclosure and all that, but it seems, I dunno... If I went bananas and created a bad-news story, I'd at least prefer the anonymity of just having my name and not address listed in the daily rag. Oh, and what was he thinking? "shit! I'll show her - I'll cut my own dick off - then she'll be sorry." I have to say, it must have been an impressive thing if it reached all the way to Poland.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Pat's!

Had a marvelous time out with dear, evil Liz for sushi and darling wicked Lisa for lunch. I introduced Lisa to a place entirely new to her (she was smitten - for I know all the hep joints in town), and Liz and I ate little fried crabs that looked like the face-huggers from alien. Ah, sweet revenge! That dish was called Kogani Kara Age. Some of the little legs fell off, but your humble narrator is nothing if not deft with a pair of chopsticks and no amount of chitinous material was spared.

We had a marvelous sashimi Aji (Spanish Mackerel), and the waitress took the car
cass to the kitchen and fried it for us, and I got the tail fins, and Liz graciously allowed me to eat most of the head, including both eyeballs. Yum! What's the point of eating something that had a face if you don't eat the face, right?Liz had some difficulty controlling her paper chopstick wrapper, and I suggested chopstick/wrapper coupling wmv.s may be an unrealized niche online market.

The immaculate Robin Guthrie has a cd coming out in May, and you can hear a dreamy track

I understand enormous storms are in the forecast for the weekend for north Texas, and I'm going to sit doing beadwork in a much-windowed room and enjoy the display. I can't wait - LOVE LOVE lurve dreary weather. Sweet.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Here's me, today, charging up the tollway, windows down, sunroof open, long curls flying medusa-like upward in the perfect afternoon air. The soundtrack: Split, the 1994 cd by Lush. Favorite tracks: 6 & 8. Good shit. I think the immaculate Robin Guthrie may have produced this one? I think I remember reading somewhere he said they were appropriately named as they drank a phenomenal amount. Cheers! New shoes arrived, sushi in half an hour, beautiful weather, perfect day. Giddy.
I've been watching the crap cinematic realization of Michael Crichton's Timeline, and trust me, it's a guilty pleasure, because there are Scotsmen in it, even if one of them is Billy Connolly. There is more schlock-per-square-inch in that film than in Wayne Newton's smalls, but I'm giddy with the antics, nonetheless. In the most odd sort of parallel, I'm reading a book called Outlander about a nurse who steps through a time portal between standing stones and zips back a couple hundred years and hooks up with a big beefy Highlander. Yes, I'm glad you asked: he DOES spank her, in fact. It only took half the book to get to that part, but they made it worthwhile. Besides - John Wayne spanked women all the time in films. What's not to like? Perhaps Michael Chrichton should throw in some spankies in to turn out a better film in future? It may not be germane to the story line, but it will be most edifying for the people who have to watch it, yeah?
Ugh - barely over two weeks until the California in-laws arrive to tell us what a squalid, lowly, in-bred existence we live here. Joy. Yawn.
Woohoo - going to lunch with my naughty twin Lisa today (Thursday), and then going to dinner with evil friend Liz. Sushi. Yum. Wickedness will ensue. Friday blog may be waylaid, and if so, I'll return upon recovering on Saturday!
Maybe my new shoes will arrive before dinner? Ah, bliss!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Nestled like a viper in the bosom of Dallas lies the tony enclave of Highland Park, where husband went to school. This exclusive community is just about the whitest place you've ever seen. Having grown up in less rarefied air, this non-integrated environ is bizarre and rather suspect to me. Husband's graduating class of 350 boasted maybe 5 non-whites, he speculates. There is absolutely nothing wrong with people living in the the most swell digs they can afford, and I in no way mean to impugn every person living in or from that community. However, I do think there is some very disturbing group-think that is imbued in many people who live in such an isolated state.

I've never been one to slavishly adhere to political correctness, and heaven knows I don't expect people to say they aren't racists when in fact, they are the textbook definition, but I wonder how so many can be so oblivious to the obnoxious way they appear to the other races and social strata they come in contact with.

A man I know told me this story today:

About 20 years ago or so, two Highland Park women went to New York City and stayed in an upper-crust hotel. They got onto the elevator, and at another floor, a black man with a large dog got on the elevator. I'm sure they huddled together like nervous colts. The elevator door closed, and the man said in a commanding voice "Sit." The two women slid to the floor, afraid to disobey, not looking at the man, and not considering that the command was meant for the man's dog. How do people that ignorant remember to breathe? Bizarre maybe, but you'd think that was where the story ended.

But you would be wrong.

When the women checked out of their hotel, their bill had been paid by the black man, the baseball great Reggie Jackson. Naturally, at that point they were appropriately embarrassed. They concluded that he felt sorry for them because they were so silly. I would conclude otherwise.

This reminds me of the reporterette on the scene in the Turin olympics recentl
y who was interviewing the black American speed skater after he won the gold medal. Rather than asking him technical questions about the superb race he had just won, the dumb broad sort of sputtered and then said "are you angry?" I'm sure he was focusing on other things, but in that situation, it would be very easy to take offense to someone baiting you after the most important moment of your athletic career.
I guess I just don't understand feeling set apart in that way. Frankly, homogeneity is crashingly dull. Plus, life's just too short for that bullshit.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Well, it seems that the gussy-up for my blog is just about done, and boy am I exhausted. The list of links is by no means complete, and I'll be adding more folks over the next week or so. If I've missed you and you wanna blog roll me, feel free to steal the link button down at the left, and do email or comment to me and I'll add your sweet little ass! I think Cat at BlogTogs did an amazing job capturing the spirit of my blog, and I hope the new digs make coming here a little more interesting for everyone. As ever, thanks for reading, you sexy, sexy people!

Monday, March 13, 2006

I've stated here before that I'm medicated. Oddly enough, during a confluence of overwhelming events last year (April 15, the death throes of a most beloved grandmother, sundry stresses) I was persuaded by my doctor to try an anti-depressant. Best thing I've done in a LOOOONG time. Seriously, it made me feel like I had my life back. Things were still serious and sad, but it didn't grind me into the ground, ya know? So along about November, I was contacted by my insurance company and told I had to change my prescription from the one that was working to one that was one atom off, chemically. At first, I didn't notice a tremendous difference, but eventually, I was back to the same old crap-- activity level of a veal, sleeping habits of a housecat, chemically grumpy, not the energetic, wickedly gleeful grumpy that is my natural state which I'm sure you know and love. A few weeks ago I called my doctor up and said "Um, I gotta have my old shit back. Mama needs her medicine." Turns out, the reason they changed me was money, and the new medicine was $7/month, whereas the good shit was $30/month. Seriously. Pocket change - less than a cup of coffee per day. I was infuriated. I'm glad I learned about this before hitting an age where a larger number of pharmaceuticals are required for general health purposes. The object lesson is not to be cowed by the mofos at your insurance company into switching from something that solves the problem - that is the entire reason for their existence - fixing what ails you. I should have asked more questions at the time. Now, a few weeks back on my propers, I've attacked the Close Encounters Laundry Pile™, I'm not craving sleep all the time, and I just feel better in general. Incidentally, Lexapro™ (God bless Forest Laboratories) has not affected my substantial libido one bit, and I am delighted to report zero erection difficulties. Heh heh.
All this is not to say that I'm a walking, talking advert for the anti-depressant industry. I think there is something to be said for going through the grief process au naturel, but sometimes the hard-wiring of the limbic system is simply too ingrained to overcome when it comes to dealing with stress. There may come a day when I wean myself off this, but I don't know when that will be. For now, me and my daily dose are officially happy together, and I'm sticking with it like white on rice.

"Old age ain't no place for sissies."
Bette Davis

Bette still living it up but looking shockingly ancient on Carson in the early 80s. Trust me - this is more garish in color, but I had a heck of a time finding it at all. On the other hand, the old gal was still smoking her balls off and was sassy as hell, so you can call it a good life, at the end of the day.

Anyhoo, my point is, sorta, after a young adult lifetime of exacting image control, it's a long way to fall when gravity takes its toll and people like Madonna start actually having fewer good angles from which to be viewed. Hence, the dazzle camouflage of Madonna showing her body to excess in every single appearance - distracts from wrinkles, loose skin, etc. Madonna's "look what I can do" desperation to show her flexibility is leading her down the path to looking like a garish send-up of the sad old yoga-cat-lady in A Clockwork Orange who gets bludgeoned with the big rocking wedding tackle mod sculpture. Not pretty.

Imagine what a different image Bette would have presented in a prim, matronly dress, eschewing her cigarettes to sit nervously and soak up some of the last bits of applause to rain down on a glorious cinematic career. Hell no. She put on a fancy frock that covered the stringy birdlike body, got her makeup on and her hair 'did, smoking the shit out of some cigarettes and probably swigging a good stiff whiskey in that coffee mug. Long may she wave. Wallow in it, darling, wallow!
Now, perhaps Bette didn't use sunscreen in the golden-baked Hollywood glam studio years, but here in the 21st century it's just irresponsible for Vanity Fair to perch the über-freckled Lindsey Lohan on the beach without appropriate cover. Can you say "melanoma," boys and girls? There. I thought you could. Never mind her eating disorder, Flimsy may be due for an early demise if she doesn't stock up on the sunblock. I'm just saying.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

We hang by a very slender thread.
I just got off the phone with my father. My sissy, brother-in-law, niece and nephew - all precious to me beyone measure - are on the road and barely missed intimate involvement in an horrific tragedy. This morning they were about an hour east of Little Rock on the highway when a Ford Explorer came across the median from the other direction heading directly for their truck. Brother-in-law did some heroic driving and missed the oncoming vehicle in what must have taken off a layer of paint. Their windshield is broken, and there is all manner of scratches and cosmetic damage to the vehicle and tire damage from detritus in the road. My sister had been asleep and heard debris hitting the car. The Explorer driver had fallen asleep. They pulled over on the shoulder and several 18 wheelers behind them stopped too, saying he must have done some mean driving to avoid impact - they couldn't believe what they saw.
Sissy stayed in the car and called 911 as Brother in law went down into the ditch where the Explorer lay, cubed like a foil pack into the size of a compact car, and the driver was climbing up up the ditch side crying and screaming that he'd killed his sister. Indeed, my super-tough ex-Marine BIL said the sight of it was the worst thing he's ever seen.
I'm so sorry for that man and I'm sorry for his sister and their whole family, but right now I am so thankful mine are ok.

excellent John Lydon appearance on Jimmy Kimmel recently. Gotta love it. Straight shooter.

John's thoughts on American Idol from this interview:

"They're trying to incorporate you into their methodology, and if you're writing music and you're singing things and you believe in what you're doing, it's from your heart, and that' s the thing those institutions negate on."

After 6 years formal vocal training for a classical operatic career (didn't happen) I can say that what John said there is something that runs through EVERY thread of the music industry. A university music program is a political animal that is designed to KILL THE JOY OF MUSIC. And you can take that to the bank, my darlings.

added Sunday midday - The funny thing is that when I knew of John simply as the godhead of the Sex Pistols and PiL, although I agreed with so much of what he said lyrically, I never thought he was a person who could sit still, but ever since Rotten TV, I have come to see him as someone with a very peaceful, well-grounded inner core who knows exactly who he is and sees the bullshit coming from a mile away and is not afraid to call a dog a dog. THAT's what I mean when I say he's a straight shooter. He's my kind of people, and with the gravitas of physical maturity now that he's hit the ripe old age of 50, I actually find him really attractive. Wow. Now I never saw that coming!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Former Yugoslav tyrant Slobodan Milosevic was found dead in his cell today of natural causes, aged 64. Called the "Butcher of the Balkans" he was known for a campaign of bloodshed that precipitated the breakup of Yugoslavia. The international tribunal of the United Nations found him guilty of war crimes, and he has been imprisoned at the Hague and on trial there since 2002. He is the first sitting head of state to be tried by the UN tribunal.
But let's get to the core of the issue. Yugoslavia is a region that has been embroiled in bitter social turmoil for many hundreds of years. So what if, like Saddam Hussein, a naturally elected leader of a country wants to kill a few thousand or million of the nobodies under their auspices? Right? It's no one else's business, right? Like Saddam Hussein, Slobodan should have lived out his natural life running his own country as he saw fit, because who are we, the international community, to dictate what is moral for another country? Again, what are the deaths of thousands or millions of Serbs, Croats, Kurds, Shiites, Hutus or Tutsis? Right? Who cares?
I care. I think genocide is an outrage whether the tyrannized people have skin color like mine or not. All my life I will feel chagrined at the failure of the civilized world to act and prevent the bloodbath in Rwanda, and I think we in the West deserve to be haunted by those images, if only to embolden us to stand up to tyranny and intervene on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Phlegmmy's most girly HALLOWEEN COSTUME:
1970, I had just turned 5, and mom got me the coolest outfit - I was the girl bugaloo - I felt SOOOOO pretty! Proving you can be a groovy chick at the ripe old age of 5.

Oh, on the subject of the in-laws' new fancy digs - apparently husband and I are going over on Saturday night to take a gander at the place. Too bad my cell phone camera is on the fritz, or I could regale you with pictures as well as madcap tales afterward. More on that later...

Sadly, I finished reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell yesterday. As I was getting closer to the end, I slowed down and spaced it out rather than charging like a bull as per usual. The prose was simply too beautifully written to rush. It's satisfying when I read a book and none of it has turned out like I expected. Hopefully the author will write sequels to this one.

Here is my current obsession, and can you believe it? For once they are not John Fluevogs. These are the cutest shoes I've seen in 2 or 3 weeks, honest! They are sassy. To paraphrase Air Supply, I can't live if living is without these shoes.
About Madonna's Angry Inch, for the befuddled in the peanut gallery: a few years ago there was a wild rock-opera musical movie (first it was a play, I think) called Hedwig and the Angry Inch about a man in Germany who wanted to become an American citizen and had a sex change to marry an American G.I., but the surgery was a bit botched, so now rather than being one gender or t'other, Hedwig has the ubiquitous angry inch.
Glad y'all like my new blog togs. Cat did an awesome job. Yes, I'm shaking my fanny a bit over here. Woohoo!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Seminal rock and roll moment for your humble narrator. Bauhaus' immaculate remake of T-Rex Telegram Sam. Their Ziggy Stardust also held with my insistence that if you are to cover a classic song, you must improve on it - otherwise, leave it alone. Then there was Lagartija Nick, which only cemented my ardor for them. Me in high school in the early eighties, craving something that went up to 11, this floated my bobber and made me swear off pop radio and MTV forever. Pa-tooey. Hard, driving nasty rock with a brain, Peter Murphy's commanding sinister baritone at the helm. Yee haw!

I said automatic shoes
give me 3-D vision and the California blues
Telegram Sam
You're my main man

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Um, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed, but I think Madonna has an angry inch! Angry inch! AN-GA-RY INCH!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The good folks at Cute Overload have some incredible Jack Russell photos. My favorites: the dog paws from under the covers is a cute and familiar sight. Love the brokeleg forlorn puppy. He looks repentant. And finally, nothing in the world makes an art form of relaxing like a Jack Russell Terrier. Shameless tarts! You know I love them.

Monday, March 06, 2006

While we're celebrating my Southern rearing, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you a few of my early tobacco and firearms experiences.
When I was about 4 and we lived in Mississippi, my brother had a bb gun that was as tall as I was. It took all my strength to cock that sucker, but I managed. Daddy had a new watch which I laid on the floor, face-up. Now I had seen a magazine ad of an elephant standing on a watch (Timex ad, y'all), and I decided to put daddy's watch to the test. I held the bb gun perpendicular to the ground laying flush on the face of the watch, and proceeded to blow the guts out of the watch. I wondered why an elephant could stand on it but it couldn't take a bb to the face.
This is incidentally the first lie I remember telling.
Dad: Phlegmmy! Why did you do that?
Me: I was aiming at my toe
Dad: I wish you had HIT your toe!
Visiting the maternal grandparents in NE Arkansas, ancient Aunt Eulah (my kind of gal, I now know) with the glint in her eye, was sitting on her own in the kitchen with a big glass of chocolate powder. I was about 3. I said "I like that." She said "You do? Well, go get you a spoon and you can eat all you want! But you have to eat all you take." Having no sense of moderation, I chose a BIG spoon. Yes, I dipped liberally into the glass and shoveled it in, and the instant evil bitter taste of snuff dazzled my wits - my eyes must have been huge - and an atomic explosion of dry snuff sprayed forth from my miserable mouth and nose, and Aunt Eulah cackled for hours.
Living in Memphis, about age 5. Karen from across the street was over, and my mom knew we were too quiet and something must have been up. She heard hushed voices from the bathroom, pushed open the door to see me and Karen looking guilty in a room covered in snuff powder. Dad was never a dipper, and she didn't know what inspired him to get that. Maybe it was a cosmic plan that I have something to play with that day.
Flash forward a few years. Grandpa Smith's farm in NE Arkansas. Yes, by now you have surmised that I come from a long line of snuff-dippers and tobacco chewers, and the answer is yes, the men in the family dipped and chewed, too. I do recall being a very young child and thinking when one's chin gets wrinkly enough that the wicking effect (capillary action) pulls a fine thread of tobacco colored juice down one's chin, it's time to give it up - very unladylike. Anyway, grandpa has always been a big tobacco chewer, and he'd spit his juice in white plastic gallon-milk jugs.
Now, there is a particular kind of heat we get in the south that is unlike anywhere else, and I think it takes people of a certain type of mettle to tolerate this indigenous blend of heat and moisture. Apparently tobacco-laden spittle is made of more fragile stuff. About 50 yards from the back of the house and right near the outhouse, grandpa had a huge mound of these milk jugs, in which the spittle-juice had fermented and bloated like a week-old dead warthog. Brother had the neat idea of relieving the pressure with the application of a liberal peppering of pellets from his pellet gun, which we both did. Oh my brothers and sisters, it was a glorious sight - streams of hot tobacco juice, liberated from their plastic prisons, bursting forth and spraying into the turgid air. It looked like a Sam Peckinpah film- so many ribbons of tobacco bursting forth - classic overkill in the cinematic tradition. The greatest delight, though, was the satisfying "thwunk!" the pellets made as they penetrated the plastic. Superlative!
When I was about 8, the men folk were out in front of Grandpa's house and smoking cigars. I asked if I could try it - all the other kids did - but they inhaled and got sick. I smoked it for about 5 minutes and then handed it back to go play. Dad and uncles laughed that I didn't turn green and puke like the other kids. Yeah, I'm real hardcore like that.
Finally, I'll tell you my favorite shooting experience was the time - maybe 15 years ago? - when dad got out the muzzle-loader the patriarch used in the Civil War, and we fired that puppy on grandpa's farm. It was a marvelous feeling, firing this huge magnificent beast that was the constant companion to gggg-grandpa 150 years ago, or so. There's also something really cool about preparing a weapon like that for firing - more ritualized than simply snapping on a cartridge or slipping a shell into a chamber. I recommend it.
These are far from being my only tobacco/firearms stories, but they are my favorites. I know you are wondering, and I confess that I do not dip or chew, and I only rarely smoke cigars these days.
By the way, my dad read my post from yesterday, and I think he'd want me to let you know he said it was "gross" and "smutty." I think that's his way of saying he's not responsible for the monster that sprang forth from his and mom's loins. Blame me.