Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hugh Laurie lager advert, 1980s
Kelly of "incredibly hot one" fame and I have been volleying emails in recent weeks over the action on Top Chef. We were both steamed at the nasty turn of events and how two of the top 3 we chose didn't make it to the final 2. Last weeks penultimate episode of season 2 delivered a shocker in that Sam--crowd favorite and American Badass™--was sent packing for serving up food that "played it safe," whilst Syndrome/Marcel foamed his way to the top 2 to vie with the mild-mannered Ilan. I've been nosing around the internet and guess what I've come across:

The ultimate spoiler from hell. If you want to find out who the winner is, click this link. Apparently for a few minutes on Monday, Food & Wine magazine accidentally posted an interview/profile of the Top Chef winner, and a savvy reader did a screenscrape et voila! Now on the F&W site, they have a little blurb saying that a reader poked around and found one of the two profiles they had done in anticipation of one or the other person winning. I mean, come on - they've known who the winner is for absolute ages. Sheesh.

Top that with the fact that if you read Marcel's MySpace page, he has some reggae track which intones something to the effect of "you can't keep me down."

Irie, bitch.

Anyway, I'm not the sort to read the last page of the book first, but I hate the suspense of waiting to see how things turn out. Yes, I'd open all presents early if that were an option. Yes, I'd happily eat dessert before the entree. Yes, I'm happy I know how Top Chef will turn out, and I'm still going to watch it tomorrow night.

But I swear I'm not going to get sucked into that Interior Designer show on Bravo.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I don't care what you believe and which side of the whole Iraq debate you come down upon.

What I CAN say for certain is that if you, for any reason on earth, vandalize the Capitol building that belongs to all of us, you are a trashy, vile piece of shit and deserve a serious beating.

Thanks for removing all doubt, morons.

There's this massive bird nest in one of the biggest trees on my property. I think I'm going to tell maintenance to not interfere with it, although I don't think anyone's living there right now.

In news unrelated to this huge nest, an African white-backed vulture escaped from the Dallas Zoo this weekend. I suspect that turkey is halfway to Brazil by now.

More cold weather coming - NICE!

Here's a modern problem I wonder if anyone else has experienced: I went to a restaurant today and miracle of miracles - the best parking spot in the joint was sitting demurely, all come-hither and I drove right into the spot. I gathered up my bag and my book and I opened the door and *HONK! HONK! HONK!* my car alarm sounded and kept going off for about 30 seconds. THen it stopped for about ten seconds and started honking again. I pushed the red button on the remote and it wouldn't stop. I put the key in the ignition - nothing. Diners are staring out of the windows and giving me the universal *screw-you* stylings of the hairy eyeball, and I'm scrambling through the owner's manual whilst simultaneously dialing my father. Seriously - it was going off and on for about 5 minutes straight by the time we finally got it sorted. I'm the kind of person who can think well under pressure, but this was so incredibly distracting that I read the words aloud from the manual to dad, and he told me to do what the book said - I literally couldn't process it! Fortunately, being addled like that is a rarity for me. What can you do but laugh?

There was a guy, a reverend of some sort, in my class this weekend who was like that. The teacher had us work in groups of 2 or 3, and we were only a few chairs apart and we were obvious partners. I would announce the correct answer to him, and then he would argue with me. I finally stuck my finger in my ear nearest him and just did my own work without discussing it with him. At the time we were to check our work against the answer key in the back of the book, he announced to me "We got number 8 and number 11 wrong." I said "I didn't. I answered them correctly."

Sometimes someone's yammering bossy voice distracts you and makes it hard to think. Sometimes some dickhead's car alarm disrupts your meal. Sometimes, your car/pet/child is dead set on behaving badly in public. I figure you've just got to stick your finger in your ear and get on with it anyway, and hopefully you don't get kicked off the plane/island/planet.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Did you know the postal service will deliver bees and chicks and insects? It's true.

Once when I worked at the Dallas Bulk Mail Center, somehow a huge crate of baby chicks got broken open, and everyone was scrambling to find all the little chicks and scoop them up. All the machinery in the building was shut down, all the forlkifts and jitneys quit moving and even the tow-line was turned off so people could listen for and find the little escapees. It was weird to be in such a cavernous place and hear the sweet little "cheep-cheep" of the chicks. I hope they didn't end up in the dead letter office in Atlanta, but there's no telling. It was kind of nice, the unexpected break, and something organic and innocent disrupting a big bustling brutal network of machinery such as that facility.

More on that crap job some other time.

Real estate school is fascinating. It's probably worth it for just about anyone to take this class at least once - I know that even if I never sell a house, I'm going to be more in control of the process if I ever buy another house for myself.

I thought the instructor was fantastic, because she's had 40 years in the business and did a lot of tough talking. Some people didn't come back after the lunch break. She talked of unscrupulous lenders (like that's a surprise?!), fraud-prone brokers and agents, and how the industry has a bad reputation with people. Crap! So, I'm going to be reviled on par with a dentist? What fresh hell, indeed?

Oh well. Anyway, she was an engaging instructor and I never nodded or drooled or fell over as I rather expected. This next couple months will be a bit of a grind, but perhaps not so bad as I feared.

ROME SPOILERS ALERT! Highlight if you want to read about tonight/next week.
Wow, Rome is getting pretty wild, eh? So the servant girl is going to die from the poison Servilia's boy put in the soup, Atia is going to torture him, and Servilia's number is finally going to be up. I suspect that this time Atia won't simply leave Servilia naked, on foot and humiliated in the streets of Rome like last time - I'm expecting capital punishment ordered by the mother of Caesar. Two fully nekkid principal actors - male yet - count 'em, and nary a tit in sight - here's to equal time! Also, next week, they will finally unveil the later model of Octavian/Augustus. It's kind of a pity they had to change actors - I thought the young guy was doing a masterful job of kicking ass in the brainiest way possible, but I suppose legions wouldn't have responded well to orders from someone whose testicles might not have dropped yet, so there you are.

I thought it was hilarious how Atia talked trash about Octavia slumming with a mere merchant's daughter right in front of the girl - Atia really is the most delicious bitch. I don't think there's a nerve in her body - she must have the limbic system of a squid. Wonderful. Anyway, I think it's probably a bad sign that Octavia has taken up smoking herb. Then again, life for women at that time was either incredibly dangerous, boring, or both, and probably getting stoned would take the edge off, I'm guessing. Smoke 'em if ya got 'em!

Pullo and Lucius got into a scrap, and it looks like Lucius has trotted off to Gaul with Mark Antony, and of course, Pullo is Octavian/Caesar's man, so I think they may end up pitted against each other on the battlefield. That would be a golden time for Pullo to de-fuse LV's ire by telling him his children are still alive. Yay! Chance for reconciliation? I certainly hope so. And I hope then that Lucius will forswear all that Son of Hades stuff. But I'm not holding my breath.

Fan-bloody-tastic show. Love it. Love. IT!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

hyuk! hyuk!
Fat Cat - Beautiful in any language!

Now the person who posted this on youtube called it "fat cat in China" but I'd bet a lung this is Japanese. I kept hearing "nekko" which I think is Japanese for "cat" and I heard "deska" which I think means "already," but I could be wrong. Anyway - I think it's so adorable that someone has come up with a manageable cat-- just keep them too fat to move. I love when the guy tucks it in for a nap! Now if only they can invent an immobile, manageable cat that is dander-free.
One thing that is sort of lost on me is buying decorations for every single holiday.

I once knew a woman who was perpetually running out to buy lots of seasonal- or holiday-oriented decorative crap, big groups of decorative items made to go together - I just don't get it. What's up with a need to constantly re-decorate and tweak the arrangement of one's home? I mean, I like putting up a Christmas Tree, but you'll never see me go overboard with decorations other than that, and even that I have to do my own way, as you know. I think if you're a person with a lot of time or a personal army of Oompa Loompas (Martha Stewart), then it's great to decorate.

Oh, actually, the one person I know whose seasonal decorating is impeccable and thoughtfully, artfully done is my longtime friend Kim over at Something to Say. Click here and scroll down to see the night photos of her pumpkins and on down to see some of her decorations with twigs and paper lanterns over the table. What Kim does with decoration is GLORIOUS, actually, and the opposite of the whole store-bought shebang I'm griping about. One look at the jack-o-lanterns will convince you what an incredible artistic eye and hand she has, but that's what's great about her decoration - it's not necessarily anything she purchased - it's the way she has of taking things and unifying elements and bringing outdoor things in and making something genuinely festive and inspiring of the surroundings.

Actually, it's not even just the way people buy entire groupings of themed seasonal stuff - it's trendy living in general that amazes me. At work I see the apartments of young people who must have purchased an entire "room" from West Elm or some such, and other than the occasional framed photo or article of clothing, there is no mix that reflects any real personality or in any way signifies the taste of the actual occupant. The home of the holiday-decorator I knew always looked like it was whisked in freshly from the Pier I floor.

Of course, I've explained that my sense of decor is of the Neo-Trashical™ school in which one mixes antiques and junk store finds with posh new appointments from hip emporia the world over. No, I have no cinder-block shelving, but beyond that, pretty much any crappy thing can tickle my fancy. But all that is reflective - it's not who I am, but symbolic of my craving for variety and texture, and though I might move things occasionally or add something to the mix once in a great while, it's part of home and if you took my stuff out and beamed in a showroom-full of "perfect" furnishings from Horchow or Ligne-Roset or wherever - I'd walk in, feel a chill and immediately say "where's all my shit?!!!" and promptly vent hella spleen on all responsible parties.

Anyway. It's funny, because when I was very young, I bought some incredible vintage pieces of furniture in thrift stores, but all the while I was thinking how I could do a smouldering decor scheme if I had a grandiose budget. Now I know that sometimes, the coolest thing you'll ever own is that wacky 50's sofa you got at Thrift Town for $40.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Wow, it's amazing what a little time capsule undeveloped film can be.

I was cleaning (fancy that!) and digging through a box of stuff from a couple years ago, and came across a disposable camera with 4 shots taken on it. Husband took it to be developed today, but I didn't know what was on it.

A couple times I wondered why these shots never turned up, but I never did try to dig through developed photos - just thought they had to be in there somewhere.

Two years ago December, we'd made our usual holiday trek out to Arizona, but I got sick and was terrified of giving a virus to my grandmother, who was in the throes of a losing battle with cancer. We turned tail at Las Cruces NM and went home, coming back a few weeks later in January. When we got there, grandma was in a much-diminished state from the previous fall. We drove home that week, and drove back in February with my sister and niece and nephew.

Anyway, every grandaughter and great granddaughter who ever woke up in Bertie's house had this special moment with her. It was an unspoken tradition, but we all ended up "helping" her make her fabulous buttermilk biscuits. I'd walked in on this early morning scene and stole a couple pictures of their moment together. It was incredibly sweet. And there it is, the same old biscuit cutter she used when I was a little girl, same wonderfully soft and smooth dough and same sweet granny.

Bertie was wearing a stocking cap because her hair was all gone. She mostly wouldn't have bothered with that, but I think she didn't want to alarm anyone. Once she was wearing a wig and ran into an acquaintance at the store, and the woman said "Well, look at that hair, Bertie! Are you trying to stay young?" Grandma said "No, I'm just trying to stay."

Anyway, seeing these photos for the first time tonight, I'm a pitiful mess. I can't believe I lost both my grandmothers in an 11 month period. I feel incredibly blessed that I got to have them both until I was nearly 40, but I wish they were still here. My grandmas were the absolute best.
Tam at View From the Porch found this golden chestnut, and I'm passing it along to you. You can pop back over there to chase its provenance. Enjoy:

"If we gave Hillary the
Medicare budget and got her to invest it in cattle futures, there'd be more than
enough money to buy insurance for everyone!

Note to self - cayenne pepper doesn't feel good in paper cuts.

Friday night I made a fantastic salad with mixed sweet baby greens, dried cranberries, feta cheese, chunks of turkey and sweet&spicy pecans I whipped up this evening. I really do love honey-roasted nuts, but it's like too much of a good thing - a little too cloying.

I took a few tablespoons Karo syrup and mixed in about 1/2 t of salt, about 1 t of cayenne pepper, about 1/2 t fresh-cracked black pepper, and about 1/2 t of sage powder. Mixed them up and put them on a foil-covered bake sheet & stuck them in a 350ish oven for about 10 minutes or so. Then turned them out onto another foil sheet, making sure they weren't all globbed up. THen when they cool, break up any bits that did manage to stick together. Next time, I'm going to sprinkle on some Japanese 5 spice powder when they are still warm and sticky - that should be delicious.
Anyway, the pepper gives the nuts a little bit more oomph and adds something to the whole salad. I mixed the greens with a simple olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing. easy peasy.

This is one of my favorite salads ever - it manages to be incredibly savory and satisfying without seeming too bland or - you know? You know how you are halfway through grazing a salad and you suddenly realize you are really sick of lettuce forever and ever? It doesn't happen with this salad.

OK, I've been really good about not trashing people lately, but someone left an apartment in such vile condition that I'm going to post photos here on Tuesday and share a few thoughts I'm having on hygiene. It's just that I'm wondering how in the course of normal usage a person might break the lid of the toilet tank. And other things... I mean, THIS makes leaving a dead animal in an apartment seem almost understated. Nasty. Ew.

I'm starting real estate school this weekend. Ugh. I'm so sleep-deprived it's getting pretty bad. If I don't fall alseep in class it will be a miracle. Ah, sleep: perchance, to drool.

See you on the other side.

Friday, January 26, 2007

It's time for an end to the celebrity stalking!
How fatuous is it when celebrities dump their spouses and then have their publicists release statements to the press???:

A spokesman said: "They have requested that they be allowed their
privacy at this time."

Translation: Please google us and come see our movie.
Tam and Hollyb have both tagged me with a meme in which I reveal 5 unusual or little-known things about myself. Seems I've done something like this recently, but here goes:

1. I prefer bottled water to city water, and I prefer sparkling water to non-carbonated, and I prefer Pellegrino to Perrier.

2. I went to court-reporting school for a bit after high school. I had the attention-span of a lit match and sort of drifted away.

3. I was a cheerleader in 8th grade, but I flaked out in my studies (it's not as if I was ever studious before) and got kicked off the squad. This sucked, because I could no longer ride to the games with my friend across the street, Lanell Antonetti, who had an adorable brother who was in high school. Oh well.

4. Same year, we were moving to Texas and my mom decided to wreak the ultimate vengeance upon me and make me repeat 8th grade, even though I passed 8th grade and was qualified to enter 9th. She was successful in that quest after lobbying the evil Principal Heath to her cause, and informed me I would repeat the 8th grade until I had a better attitude. When I got to Texas, the classes were easy and we were doing work I'd done in Arkansas in 6th or 7th grade, and I made honor roll without trying. Mom was so proud of herself for turning things around for her wayward pup. I don't think my attitude has ever changed, actually, but I certainly learned to keep my thoughts to myself. Then came blogger...

[Eek! I'm sensing a completion issues theme here. Time to change gear!]

5. I like to pick up rocks and bring them home when I travel. I have lots of rocks. I have one pretty dove gray/slate blue rock shaped sort of like Venus di Milo which I picked up on the beach at Dover in England. I also have a lot of heart-shaped rocks.

OK, I guess this was odd - I hope it wasn't too crashingly dull!

Liz' girl Bean came through the surgery very well, and thanks for all the warm wishes from all you lovely folks. I hope the results are the best possible outcome for her, and I know she's in the best of care with incredibly loving parents.

Now, you must know Liz is an incredibly learned person from a long line of brainiac folk, so intellectually she's no slouch. Anyway, she married a super-smart engineer-type guy and of course to everyone's joy they had Bean. Bean is adorable and so much a little girl and so much a little lady all at the same time. Anyway, once she was talking to someone and said "Mommy wouldn't understand that. She's an artist. Daddy and I are scientists." Mind you, this was when she was about 3.
It warms my heart when I hear she is so proud to wear the little necklace I made, because she has a great sense of style. She's recently dubbed herself the "Queen of Dallas, Texas." My kind of gal!

One of the lingering effects of the big freeze last week is the dividiend of gritty roadside filth which attaches itself to hapless vehicles as they make their way through the city. I love the silly crap people write on dirty cars. My favorite was which I saw a few years back. On the red Expedition, the white girl driving didn't do a very good job wiping away the epithet on the back glass. Actually, it was much clearer in person - you shoulda seen me scrambling for the camera as I sat waiting for her to make her left turn. The truck on the right, however, is almost poetic, isn't it? It's my favorite of the year, so far.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

This sweet girl is the daughter of a dear friend. From her mother's blog:

She has a condition called strabismus, which causes her left eye to
cross. The glasses help her align her eyes in the correct position. We also
patch her right eye for about an hour a day to help strengthen the muscles in
the other eye. Unfortunately, the muscles in her eyes that control the up/down
motions are also affected by this condition and can not be aided by patching or
glasses. The doctor was hoping that, with time (Bean has been wearing glasses
for 3 years, since she was 20 months old), those muscles would equal out in

It's not happening.

The doctors will need to perform eye surgery to correct this problem. This will be an outpatient procedure and she'll be coming right back home with mama and daddy today, but it is general anesthesia, so no matter what it will be nerve-wracking for her folks.She's scheduled for surgery at 9am, so please send a prayer or a positive thought her way. She's a future scientitst and we're all going to need her expertise.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Now, I'm not saying that someone who would splash out $2.5 Billion on a Vegas hotel would lie or cheat or anything, but I think it's mighty interesting that Steve Wynn agreed to sell this Picasso for $139 million the day before he poked his bony elbow through the canvas while giving guests a tour of his humble abode. I'm not saying that he and his fellow billionaire buddy acted in collusion to make some money AFTER he ripped the canvas, but I'm not saying they didn't, either. I AM saying I think Wonder Woman needs to round them up in her Golden Lasso of Truth.

By the way, even with the wonky shape of her costume, isn't Lynda Carter just unbelievably gorgeous? I think so.

Since I've been on a tv/movie roll for the past few days, let's hold that tack and talk about Tuesday night television.

Well, it happened-- I've officially been sucked in to the whole American Idol vortex yet again. I half-assedly watched part of one of the shows last week, and I set the dvr to record it this week, and the minute I saw the Arkansas boy walk in, I just KNEW he was a winner. He's an oddity, and no doubt about it, but I LIKE him and I like him A LOT. You have to remember I pegged last year's winner the minute I saw him. I'm just saying.

Actually, the strange thing is the Arkansas boy ( I MUST learn his name) replete with big ole hillbilly beard is from the town of Bryan, which is within about 10 miles of Evening Shade, which is where my mom went to school. Hey! Maybe we're related! Anyway. Good for him. I hope he kicks some Hollywood ass and I hope he refuses to bend to their stylists' wills. Let an Ozark boy give those talentless Hollywood dipshits what-fer.

I was also pleased to see a female with 2 full sleeves of tats made it through - they've not had a REALrocker girl yet, and I'd like to see that. Show tunes? Pa-TOOEY!

On to the State of the Union Speech. I watched the speech but my eyes were ever drawn to the face of Nancy Pelosi. Either she doing her Beulah the cow impersonation and chewing a cud, or her dentures were slipping. The weird contortions of her mouth made her look like she was trying to suppress a fart. Constantly. Anyway, I'm glad I got to see it before some image people coach her on not looking like a goober on, like, ya know, tv and stuff.

You can thank me later for that hard-hitting analysis.

If you get a chance, watch or record that fantastic 2 hour program on the Science Channel about the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. Apparently the explosion was heard on the west coast of Africa and in the outback of Australia. They said it would be the equivalent of a volcano erupting in NYC and being heard simultaneously in London and Los Angeles. Amazing. This is a dramatiztion based on the careful accounts of several survivors. My favorite is a crazy steamboat captain who's all "damn the torpedoes" and doing a Slim Pickens routine -- my kind of guy. Definitely worth tracking down.

Speaking of tracking things down, since I'm all tv obsessed at the moment, I'll try to find my favorite Black Flag video/song, TV Party. It's amazing- Henry Rollins was so young. Now I look at him and think "Hmm, monobrow and ear-whiskers." Ah, the cruel tyranny of hair in unexpected places and meanwhile it's retreating from the expected places. Oh well.
Finger-picking good

OK, an Ozark musician wins out over Black Flag. Maybe next time, Henry.
This is a delightful example of finger-picking performed by Jimmie Driftwood in 1988, and I know you'll love the story of the origin of his guitar, Barbara.
Sometime soon I'll post a recording of my grandpa playing - he was a sublime guitarist and played on a gorgeous 3/4 Martin from about the 1930s. Sounds like home to me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

In my opinion, click here to see a great reason to fly AirTran. I've gone shopping on several recent occasions, and the squalling, misbehaving brats in the stores made me want to spank the parents. Here's to an airline with the guts to remove crappy parents and their evil spawn before the plane gets off the ground.
Why is a unit of trouser or panties or shorts referred to in plural, as in "pair of" ???

I mean, it's not as though you could have just one half of one of those garments as one might with socks or shoes or earrings or mittens. How is that? One never sees half of the "pair" off sitting alone in the median of the interstate or stuffed between the sofa cushions - it is a single unit. How does that happen?

Cleaning this weekend, I watched/listened to several films I've had on dvr, some of them for months. Oddly, 4 of these films starred Samantha Morton. She's unsual, and an interesting actress. I think she's quite good, actually.

The first film was called Code 46 and featured a future world where everyone speaks some bastard language like Esperanto. Sortof a Spanish/Mandarin hybrid. Who knows? Anyway, most of the action takes place in Shanghai, and there are some spectacular shots of super-mod building interiors and some achingingly beautiful night shots of stunning architecture and neon-blazing streets that would make Vegas look dim. Great ambient sort of soundtrack too. Not an incredible movie, and actually a bit claustrophobic in ways, but if you like film, this one's worth seeing for the cinematography and soundtrack alone.

Another (English) film was an extremely odd thriller called Enduring Love which starred Samantha and delightful Welshman Rhys Ifans and Daniel Craig, lately of James Bond fame. They all witness a horrid accident and they go to try and help and one other guy is killed in the process, and Rhys (former singer of Super Furry Animals) becomes obsessed with too-cool-for-the-room Daniel Craig. It's a wild, weird story. Daniel Craig is a brilliant actor - I believe he has the potential to build a Kirk Douglas body of work with one major exception - I don't think Kirk ever whipped out the wedding tackle on film, and Daniel seems very proud of his. In fact, he seems to be in a race to best Ewan MacGregor and Harvey Keitel in the "here's waldo" competition. If someone is whipping it out all the time, I wonder if they are trying to distract from something else. "Hey, I'm such a good actor that I'm showing you my ding-dong. Aren't I intense?" No, you're horribly immodest or over-eager to air your shortcomings. Either way, it's a distraction. Seriously.

Tonight I watched a movie I wanted to see in cinema, Libertine starring Johnny Depp and (ta-da!) Samantha Morton. Yucky. Actually, what I really like about JD is it seems he'd rather play an utter gross-out than a pretty boy. Mission accomplished. His character just LOOKED like he had bad breath. Still, I'm glad I didn't go to the cinema for this one - extremely vulgar for vulgar's sake, it started to get dull. I felt like someone should have gone through the script and struck out the 6 or 7 sentences that didn't contain extreme obscenity, because they really broke the meter of the filth. But, I suppose, that was the point. At the beginning and before he got all shyphillitic, JD looked alright, even in that poncey Louis XIV-style wig. Whatever.

Monday, January 22, 2007

It's amazing the crap that the film industry gets utterly WRONG. Then again, when someone has a budget that is millions of dollars, you would think they would bother to pony up - I dunno - say, a $1000 or $5000 consultant fee to ask a seasoned expert to analyze technical things in their films which make the film-makers and prop people look like idiots.

I have this weird spatial sense , and I rarely get lost. It amazes me when someone driving the car can't remember which way we are supposed to go. I know about 20 good ways to get between A and any other point in Dallas. So when the Discovery Channel did that fictionalized "documentary" on a category 5 tornado hitting Downtown Dallas (Par-tee!), I watched with interest. Apparently, the city emergency services were in our hideous City Hall (a structure strange enough to be featured in Robocop) which is at the South side of downtown on Marilla Street. A guy--let's call him Bill--is a city meteorologist, but his wife (Jane) is in a pickup truck which breaks down east of downtown under the I-45 overpasses which are the eastern border of downtown. Bill is hanging on and trying to hold down the fort at City Hall, but Jane calls and is freaking out, so he runs out and hops in his car to save her and their wee bairn. However, when he is shown hauling ass toward her, he inexplicably is on I-30 by the Sylvan exit, which is about 3 miles west of downtown proper. Anyway, it just drove me nuts that instead of going the 1-ish mile (I'd take Young or Cadiz from City Hall to I-45) on outer downtown thoroughfares, he'd drive off practically to Fort Worth to get the scenic vista of tornado-meets-downtown on the way back in. SO, yeah, someone should have paid ME to help them line up their shots in a way that made sense. Yeah, I know. Nobody cares.

You see why I'm not good at cleaning house?

Husband is an engineer-type, and I've always enjoyed the snorts of derision that issue forth from his person when corny, got-it-wrong-to-the-degree-of-bullshitty-stuff on computers is used in movies - One of the most special of which was that tard-fest called The Net starring Sandra Bullock. SB has been in some real stinkers, but she's always fun to watch, so why not? Anyway, there's some "computer" stuff in that movie that is beneath pitiful - worth it for the unintentional giggles, alone!

Then there's Billy Bob Thornton's (horrid, in my opinion) much ballyhooed Monster's Balls. At one point, the inveterate racist BBT has come around to realizing that he's attracted to Halle Berry, whose husband he's just executed at the penal facility at which he works. He has a real Barney Fife moment when he takes HB's car to a mechanic for repair. As he's walking away from the garage--the big man--BBT sends all credibility(?) to hell when he says to the mechanic "Be sure to check those plugs and points." Now, her car is a late 80s/early 90s ride of Asian extraction. All production passenger cars are made with electronic ignitions, these days, and there ARE no points. Made after the 1970s? Pretty much no points in that dog. The points to which he would be referring if the car had points, would be breaker point distributors. The bps controlled the flow of the 20-40 thousand volts of electricity from the battery and ensured they were distributed to each spark plug at the right time. Advent of electronic ignitions mean that points is one less thaing Billy Bob Thornton has to worry his purty little haid about. Someone shoulda told him.

Next there's something in War Of The Worlds that just sticks in my craw and it has to do with the whole electromagnetic pulse, which happened at the time the aliens were beaming down. No one has seen anything but lightning, but all cars stopped working because of EMP. Tom Cruise is walking by an auto repair garage and a guy is standing by a minivan holding up a blackened starter:

Helpless mechanic: Ray, can you believe this? Starter's fried, whole damn thing!
Tom the Omniscient: Well have you tried changing the solenoid?

OK. There's a lot here to discuss here. First of all, the solenoid was actually ON the starter he was holding up, so if the "whole damn thing" is fried, well, that would include the solenoid, right? Anyway, at the suggestion of Tom, neighborhood Ombudsman, the mechanic has a Eureka! moment and turns to get back to work. Later in the film when getting out of town fast seems prudent, Tom drags his kids back to that garage where they hop in the now-functional minivan and ride off into an uncertain world. I realize that this is a movie and the premise is already incredibly thin, etc., suspension of disbelief and all that, but puh-lease! There are some universal truths that one has to ignore to buy this kind of premise in a film.

Perhaps the principal idiocy of the film is that a guy like Ray, that character, would stop to see what's going on with a mere alien invasion rather than finding his precious vintage Mustang Fastback where his teenage boy had abandoned it on the road. Let's be honest - he'd be out finding his car before saving babies from a burning hospital.

Another of these truths is the fact that anything in your car with a coil (starter coil, ignition coil) or a computer would be fried by the EMP. This means you can't just run into a shop and grab another one off the shelf and replace it and heigh-ho the vehicle back to life. Unless your car runs on Yabba-dabba-doo Caveman power a la Fred Flintstone, your chariot will not respond to your command after exposure to an EMP. Would-be escapees like the hallowed Tom & entourage would be well-served to keep a rickshaw in the garage. Bicycles? I could respect an escape on bicycles. How about an off-roading mountain bike chase? Mountain bike chases are underdone in modern cinema, aren't they? I've never seen one.

I KNOW, I just spoil everything, don't I? You'd laugh if you knew the crap films I find utterly wonderful. Am I being too picky?

The property with this marvelous gate is for sale, and I'm SO longing to buy it. I'm serious - I'd happily put my house on the market tomorrow if it meant getting this place. The main structure is a 1907 Victorian style store-front, and there is a 2br frame house in back. Super-cute. I would love it and pet it and call it George. It wouldn't be greedy for me to have two houses, would it? *blink* *blink*

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I've been on a cleaning frenzy this weekend. I've had lots of time to myself on Saturday and today and I've nearly filled our huge garbage dumper with trash in my domestic zeal. I've taken down the Christmas tree (and it's not even St. Patty's day yet!), and I've filled a big garbage bag with stuff for Goodwill.

And it really doesn't look like I've made a dent in the place. I mean, yeah, you can tell I've done something, but not so much. The sad thing is that I have lots of great, interesting things, but I really have never taken the time to organize/merchandize my crap in a way that really sells my decorating skills. They're there, there just shrouded in the enormity of my collections and acquisitions. I'm not saying it looks like Sanford & Son. Maybe Sanford & Son with slightly more uptown sensibilities.

Now my studio? That's the Sanford & Son set of jewelry-making. It has "nutty lady" written all over it. One of these days, though... Actually, Meg was prodding me to say so here, but I've been invited to participate in an art show in a gallery in Dallas along with some other Texas glass artists. I'm excited, and a little nervous. This is what is known as a kick-in-the-pants, because I'll have to produce lots of new stuff for the event, and they'll expect me to, like, ya know, not flake out. Eek. Oh, and Meg has a huge show coming up in Nelson, New Zealand, in case you're in that neck of the woods.

The good thing is that for some time now, when I've been tempted by decorative items, tchotchkes in boutiques or perfectly good crap someone left by the side of the road, I've had the mental fortitude to wheel the buggy past or not stop my chariot to adopt the abandoned treasure. And I'm calling that progress.

Actually, when I switched from driving a full-size pickup truck to LouLou the Baby Shoe (cute suv) about 18 months ago, I openly stated that I've given up picking up from the side of the road all the stuff that I'm going to "fix up." Nowadays, I've actually startled myself when I realized I drove past a yard sale without giving myself a whiplash. But I do confess I have still on occasion slowed down by junk on the curb and my accelerator foot has demonstrated a twitching, yearning inclinaton toward the brake pedal.

It's a process, right?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Proof positive that pound for pound, English television is not as stupefying as American tv

The brilliant Stephen Fry hosts a quiz show called QI in which incredibly hard questions are asked, and the contestants are given points for the creativity of their answers. There's loads of banter. Other guests of the show have included Hugh Laurie, but Alan Davies of Jonathan Creek fame seems to be the most regular contestant. As you may have noticed from the video, Davies is quite clever. Oh, and I have seen him buying vegetables. Stephen Fry's impersonations of Christopher Lee and Vincent Price are sublime.

OK. I am SO stoked.

Leslie and the Lys are bringing their Gem Sweater Collection to Dallas' white trash bar Double-Wide on May 2. On May 1, I'm probably going up to Denton to see her at Rubber Gloves, and I'm going to drag Holly B along so I'll have an excuse to sleep on her couch. Right, cuz?

Anyway. I'm more excited than I can possibly convey. You need to get those nights off work, sis.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

This will be painful.
This will be ugly.
I hate that I have to do this, but someday you'll understand that I'm doing this for your own good, and you'll thank me.

All I'm saying is that there's a mighty fine line between sad and seductive.

Even if you can't bring yourself to admit it, these two women bear remarkable resemblance. As for the American Idol contestant, I have to offer three words of advice regarding support garments: "get some" and "please."

Actually, I'm nursing a theory that this is Scarlett made up in a fat get-up to research a role.

What do you think?

Spoiler alert! To recap what I said on Tuesday about Top Chef:

It looks as though something seriously nasty is going to happen on next week's
show. I'm betting Cliff lopped off some of Marcel's hair in his sleep, and then
to do penance and try not to be kicked off for being total 'tards, Cliff and
accomplice(s) will shave heads/ dye hair ridiculous colors, etc. I think it will
be ugly.

I wasn't far off the mark: In a drunken haze, Elia and Ilan decided to shave their heads after the semi-final challenge. Then in a Schlitz Malt-liquor fueled brainwave, Cliff decided they should lop off the locks of the slumbering Marcel. So Cliff grabbed Marcel and they grappled a bit. Cliff pinned Marcel to the floor, but no one stepped up to the plate and shaved Marcel's head, and Marcel finally freed himself from Cliff's grasp, Syndrome hair intact. Very awkward scene, especially as the whole thing served to make Marcel sympathetic despite his abounding asshattery - sheesh. Cliff was expelled from the competition for his big gay wrestling moves, and, just, wow. What can you say?

All things being equal, I ultimately prefer the competition in Project Runway, although I do think Top Chef is a great show. The nature of the work means that the designers in PR are able to function and create with more autonomy, whereas the very nature of kitchen work dictates there must be some collaborative projects. Working in close quarters doesn't make for happy bedfellows, I find. Oh, and I'm SO looking forward to not hearing the word "bro" again (Marcel's favorite), like, ever.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Take 2?

FYI - DICK CLARK PRODUCTIONS has yanked all footage of Hugh Laurie's Golden Globe acceptance speech on You Tube. Pity. It was incredibly clever.
For Leazwell - An anodyne to balm 3 weeks without House

I found this on YouTube (obviously) but I have to tell you I found a photo montage of Hugh Laurie called "Panty Peeler." Though I'm a sucker for low, growly voices in men, I always see him as that long, narrow ponce he played in Blackadder II. OK, I admit, he IS actually attractive. But "panty peeler?" I'm not sure I'd call anyone that. At least not someone who's not Scottish.
Is it just mine, or is everyone having a problem with blogger today?

Folks in New Orleans will be delighted to know real help is on the way. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have taken up residence in the Crescent City, where they want their children to go to school. They have purchased a mansion in the French Quarter. Considering they generally repair to "issues" oriented areas, I think I'd be a little offended if they deemed my town worthy of descending upon.

For the record, Angelina takes a lot of flak for being kooky and out there, but other than the occasional nasty public kissing session with her brother, I've always found her to be remarkably down-to-earth and sensible. For all her glam-doll veneer, I think she makes more sense in interviews than the usual Hollywood star.
Ruh roh, raggy. I'm feeling ill-ish. I'll be brief tonight.

I've been sitting by the fire so as the mercury plummets, I've not noticed the house getting so cold. Husband has taken to wearing hoodies and keeping them up because he's cold. I'm calling him Unabomber. He doesn't seem amused.

Anyone watching American Idol? *cricket sounds*

Anyone? *more cricket sounds*

Anyone finding it utterly resistable?

Shucks, I've resisted an awards show recently-- I can weather any tv storm.

I am otherwise occupied, hear me roar. Or croak hoarsely if this sicky thing keeps up.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

T-Bones from The Naked Trucker

The Naked Trucker will be on Comedy Central Wednesday nights. NT fascinates me because I can't honestly say if I find it more hilarious or repulsive. I'd say that's a great basis for a relationship. I'll be watching.

For many years I didn't even have a television. In my early 20s, dad gave me a big tv and I would turn it on and listen to it while I cooked, cleaned and sewed. I swear I listened to Bagdad Cafe about 20 times. One day I noticed the screen was black - the picture tube had gone out. (Yeah, it had TUBES!) No telling how many hours I'd been listening to a blank tv. Anyway, I continued to use it to listen whilst puttering around the apartment, keeping the tv permanently on The Movie Channel. When I moved out of that apartment, the tv did not come with.

Then in the early 90s at a junk store for $25 I got a little Panasonic Orbitel TR-005 tv with about a 5" screen, and occasionally I'd watch Marshall Dillon on it at 2AM, the tv light mingling zenlike with the purple light of neon, filling my 16' ceilinged loft with a charming post-modern glow. Marshall Dillon was a great show, the black&white 30 minute predecessor to Gunsmoke. I still have this space-egg television and it still works, but the sound is wonky and unreliable these days. Still, it was a groovy way to have a tv without getting on the whole large-screen-and-cable bandwagon. It suited me.

When wed in 1994, husband came replete with a huge television, and I quickly filled the void of my now-thwarted social life with television. Lots and lots of television. I've always been a movie buff, so I saw every movie I'd longed to see, and then some. Some of them many, many times.

A new kind of tv addiction has sort of crept up on me, though, and it's been making me uneasy for quite some time.

I have developed the shameful habit of watching awards shows. I'm chagrined to admit all the crap I sat through without the benefit of Tivo or DVR. I did get a DVR about a year ago, and it's made award shows less soul-killing, but still, something in me hates myself for watching such vapid inanity. The sycophantic interviews on the way in, the utter lack of irony-- it's all just too embarrassing. Why does watching this mess make me want to pass around anonymous ugly notes about celebrities? Because all of Hollywood functions on a developmental level that the rest of us outgrew in junior high.

Anyway, this whole screed is by way of telling you of my breakthrough moment: I didn't set the DVR for the Golden Globes tonight, and I didn't watch or DVR any red carpet coverage. First I foreswore Vanity Fair and now I'm weaning off awards shows? Sounds like I'm on the right path-- the path to recovery.

Instead of watching tv Monday night, I DID go shop for underwear and I bought a $400 Eileen Fisher sweater for $94 - that was a sign I was doing the right thing! Anyway. I'm celebrating.

As for tv that IS worth watching, I have no intention of stopping.

Top Chef is winding down. Speaking of embarrassing oneself, Marcel had a solipsistic def (deafening) poetry slam for one on last week's episode. I'm sick of Elia. I'm pretty much sick of everyone except Ilan and Sam, and that's only because they've pretty much kept their mouths shut the whole season. It looks as though something seriously nasty is going to happen on next week's show. I'm betting Cliff lopped off some of Marcel's hair in his sleep, and then to do penance and try not to be kicked off for being total 'tards, Cliff and accomplice(s) will shave heads/ dye hair ridiculous colors, etc. I think it will be ugly.

HBO's new season of Rome kicked off to a rollicking start Sunday night. Young Octavian, who will be Caesar Augustus and whose rule was the dividing line between the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, is showing his smarts as Rome is in a shambles following the murder of his great-uncle Julius. Valiant Lucius Vorenus mourns the death of his beloved wife, and his friend from the 13th Legion Titus Pullo helps him pull himself together.

This series is shot on location at Cinecitta studios in Rome, and they doubtless have a phalanx of historians assuring accuracy of detail from everything as broad as common architecture down to details of personal adornment and social mores. It amazing how casually Romans treated the conventions of sexual intercourse. There are always servants handy to re-fill a glass or whatever while a couple is, er, uh... coupling. Also, there don't seem to be a lot of characters who demand exclusivity from their romantic partner. For example, before attending the funeral of Julius, Marc Antony demands sex of his lover, Atia- niece of Julius. He says he's never had sex with a woman in a funeral dress before and she informs him he's not about to either. He says he must have sex and will not leave the bed until he does. She turns to her servant and says "fetch him that German slut from the kitchen." Well. OK.

[In a broader sense, I think it is interesting and instructive to consider how the permissiveness of a society in one area can be indicative of moral laxitude in other areas. I think people of the West would be well-served to consider the example of the Roman Empire a cautionary tale for the way a society rots and crumbles from within. I'm just sayin'...]

Anyway, Octavian masterminds a way to stay in Rome and gain the upper hand on Brutus and the other murderers. Clever boy.

Lucius' children are kidnapped by a ruthless mobster prototype, and Pullo helps him rip, shred and tear his way through a bordello-type joint to get to the mobster, then neatly relieving said mobster of the burden of his head. Yes, I expect there will be much kicking of ass in Rome this season.

Goody goody gum drops.

Monday, January 15, 2007

It's hard to believe but my niece, the little lamb, turned 10 this week end. She's turning into quite the accomplished young lady and she still wants to be a veterinarian --I'll bet she'll do it, too, and save the lives of lots of little animals. When she was about 4, I wasn't working and I babysat her at least one day a week, and we called it our "Girly Day." We had our own little rituals - a certain place for breakfast where we'd make our "to do" list for the day, which usually included going to Froggie's 5&dime on Knox, going by the Mrs. Baird's Discount bread store to get smooshed bread to go feed the ducks. We always exchanged grins when people would say what a lovely daughter I had, and I'd just thank them, graciously. I confess I was delighted that someone would think I could have such a daughter.

She loves trying different cuisines and she likes Thai, Vietnamese, Sushi (only vegetable and cooked) and a good steak, but Greek didn't thrill her. As a little girl, her hair was always cut into a swing bob. With those big blue eyes, she looked like an anime heroine and waitstaff were always dazzled as she expertly maneuvered her chopsticks.

Sometimes we worked on little projects. I still have the little round-top papier maiche barn we made out of a shoebox and an oatmeal carton. We had a girly day about a week ago, but we didn't have a full day, so it was just Thai food and then on to Froggie's. Now I'm working all the time it seems, and she's busy with friends and school activities, and her piano playing, but I hope we'll always make a point of carving out a little time to spend together, because even when she's 6 feet tall and towers over her old auntie, she'll always be my little lamb. Happy birthday, sweetie! I love you.

Hey! I just noticed that if you click on the picture, you can find the face of another little angel in the photo. Sweet!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I had the strangest dream. I was helping Clive Owen tidy up a big marshmallow souffle baked-Alaskan thingie he made. What does it all mean? Somehow, he never struck me as the chefly sort - what was he doing cooking in my dream?

Good googly moogly - HBO's Rome starts up again Sunday night. I'm just slightly excited! Here's to the 13th Legion.
I'm besotted with the brilliant song "Strange Powers" by the Magnetic Fields

on the Ferris wheel, looking out on Coney Island
under more stars than there are prostitues in Thailand
our hair in the air, our lips blue from cotton candy
when we kiss it feels like a flying saucer landing
and I can't sleep cause you got strange powers
you're in my dreams, strange powers
in Las Vegas where the electric bills are straggring
the decor hog wild and the entertainment saccharin
what a golden age, what a time of right and reason
the consumer's king and unhappiness is treason
and I can't sleep cause you got strange powers
you're in my dreams, strange powers
the sun falls down like money, the moon pours down like mercury
the stars fall down like money, and you come down to me
and I can't sleep cause you got strange powers
you're in my dreams, strange powers


Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt wrote & sang those hilariously dour songs from the Lemony Snicket movie, just in case you're wondering.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Are people with nut allergies allergic to coconut?

Golly, I love this cold, wet, dreary weather! Today I'm going to finish reading my book by the fire. *fun*

We knew this day was coming, but someone in England was prosecuted by the RSPCA for allowing their dog to be fat. Can prosecution for being fat be far behind? Wow. Just wow.

So, it's no wonder that upon the 300th anniversary of their union, there are rumblings that Scotland may want to break away from England. No offense to the US folks not from Texas who read my blog, but I can relate to Scotland's urge, as secession has seriously crossed my mind more than once in my adult life, and most of those times have been recent.

Wow, this is like an harmonic convergence:
two scrawny overexposed American superstars in a catfight. Hollywood and the press these days are so uniformly incestuous that even if there's bad blood between celebrities, knowledge of it rarely filters down to the great unwashed. I think in Angelina vs. Madonna we have the makings of a Joan Crawford/Bette Davis rivalry redux. All I'm saying is either Madge and Ange are going to go thermonuclear or we are being set up for them starring in a re-make of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" In either case, I'm in. I'll just be sitting over here with my popcorn and beer, waiting for the fur to fly.

Good times.

Smoke me a kipper. I'll be back for breakfast.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Recently I was talking to my mom about dogs. I said I'm baffled by people who "kiss" their dogs, because as much as we want to think they are humans, they don't understand the function of a kiss in the way we do: more likely they are just taking the opportunity to lick something that smells interesting to them. I do think they have affection for us, but I don't think it's quite the same for them as it is for us.

Mom, who doesn't believe in indoor pets, agreed heartily with me. As an afterthought she added, "if you licked their behinds, they'd understand that."

I laughed out loud and said "I'm so blogging that." She chuckled and said "alright."

Now that I think about it, what struck me as so off-kilter about her statement at that moment is that I almost thought she was going to say something about how disgusting it was to let an animal lick your mouth as it might have just been licking its own rear end. Anyway. It was better the way she said it.

Tra la la.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

You may want to buckle up here, for I have set afoot a wayward ramble the likes of which I haven't done recently. (hint: someone's going to prison before it's all over). Enjoy.

When I was a little kid, my grandparents lived in Mammoth Spring Arkansas, which is the largest cold-water spring in the US, I believe. Just a couple hundred yards from the spillway below the springs, there's a bend in the river (The Spring River starts there) called the "Gooseneck." There was a cafe on the bluff over the Gooseneck which was Grandpa & Grandma's favorite haunt.

The Gooseneck had a rack of hokey hillbilly postcards with shitty puns up on the counter by the covered cake-stand full of donuts. One postcard was a cartoon of an enormous lady sitting at a soda fountain eating a sundae accompanied by the clever legend "Travel broadens one." This may have been the origin of my love-hate thing with cornball humor.

Gran & Gram gave me $5 for Christmas one year, and it was the most exciting and most fruitful shopping binge of my life. Mom and Gram took us across the border to Thayer, Missouri to a five-and-dime store, and I took my time choosing how to spend my massive wad of cash. FIVE DOLLARS! This really was a lot of money to me - I was maybe 5 and a candy bar was still ten cents. This would have been 1970.

I chose a little bottle of that clear amber-colored glue and a pot of silver glitter. I could just envision all the things I would festoon with my precious horde of glitter. It seemed so special not to buy something already glitter-encrusted, but rather to have the ability to bathe any other object in glitter--what a glorious prospect. I also bought a teeny cheap plastic baby doll with eyes that opened and shut. Mom and Gram were probably bored, but they let me take my time, and I brought all my little treasures to the counter, and although I still love bargains and shoes and pretty things, no shopping trip to John Fluevog or Neiman-Marcus or Archie McPhee has ever rivaled that one for sheer awe and excitement. I remember looking to the front of the store, and them standing patiently waiting for me to make my selections. I'll never forget the look of that store or that feeling. Nope, it'll always be with me. *magic*

Anyway, Gram and Gran spent a staggering amount of time drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes at the Gooseneck Cafe with the other old-timers. There was a jukebox and a pinball machine. Grandpa would give me a quarter for the jukebox every time we went.

Once, my cousin Charlie was in town from California. He was about 5 years older. I was about 8 or 9. I went to put my quarter in the juke box and Charlie looked over my shoulder and told me which song to play. I didn't want to play it--I didn't know it, I wanted to hear something I liked - something like Hot Rod Lincoln or Delta Dawn or some such, but, whatever.

I returned to the table and sat down. Mom glowered at me as the dulcet tones of Elton John's "The Bitch Is Back" wafted through the cafe, no doubt delighting all and sundry. She was so angry. I didn't get it. I didn't know what a bitch was - I'd never heard that word. Now, if "shit" had been in the title, I would surely have known better and wild horses couldn't have made me play it. I'd heard "shit" from some older kids on the schoolbus, and I certainly knew better which made it all the more charming, but I'd be damned if I was going to utter such a thing in my mom's presence.

At that point in my life, I really wanted to start a cussing club, wherein all members must use "shit" or "fart" in every sentence. However, everyone my age was naturally a baby, and none of them were cool enough to be invited, so I just had the cussing club inside my head. Imagine that: there were no 7- or 8-year-olds in my acquaintance I deemed sophisticated enough to be potty-mouthed with me. I'm just that fancy. I'm still having that party, by the way, but occasionally I treat hapless strangers to the delights of my cussing club. This is why if you ever meet me, you'll notice I use "shit" and "fart" on every possible occasion.

When singing opera or in church, as soloist, I've always secretly feared I'd goof up and break out of my dramatic coloratura soprano to say in normal speaking voice "SHIT!" I never have, and perhaps that fear has kept me aware and on my toes. Fear is a great motivator.

Anyway, mom looked at me as if I were the fount of all evil in the known universe. I was experiencing the Vietnamization of my relationship with her and would soon be seeking an exit strategy. I mean, shit! I didn't know. Don't look at me - it was Charlie's fault, the old fart!

Anyway. Now Charlie is on Death Row. I'm not saying it's because he made me play "The Bitch is Back" instead of "Convoy!" But he IS on Death Row.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Welcome Home Little Sister, Brother-in-law, Niece, Nephew and big stinky dog!

Someone put this nice collection of pictures together to Chris Rea's superb song "Texas" from "The Road to Hell" (I love that cd, too). There are some great photos in here that capture the romance of Texas - I don't mean to brag, it's just that there's a lot here to love.

Lessons for renters from January 2007:

a. If you keep your weed in envelopes, kindly remove it from the envelope before you submit your rent in it.
b. If you submit your rent check in an envelope along with some weed, make sure you include enough weed for the landlord to do something with. That way, your underpaid landlord can make a little money on the side by selling it to your neighbors.
c. If you must get sloppy fall-out-of-the-car-in-front-of-your-neighbors drunk, just stay home and drink.
d. (this one's a recap) Don't leave dead animals in the apartment when you move out.

That is all.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The ever-brilliant Tam over at View From the Porch had a succint nail-on-the-head post on the folly of ignoring the oil reserves in ANWR. You should click here and read it and read the interesting follow-up comments, particularly from one person who has been to ANWR and conducted 10 years of research in that region. If you think drilling in ANWR would be tragic for this nation, the world and the environment, you need to back away from the Kool-Aid table, my friend, because someone has been lying to you.

Anyway, in the comments, Erik links to a couple pictures - one from MSNBC that was purported to be ANWR, and links to a National Review Online article that show photos of what, in fact, this coastal wetland actually DOES look like. For the sake of argument, the NRO article also includes photos of what a pipeline looks like in a similar area which you can see here.

All those who commented say it better than I, but in a nutshell, they say that unlike the verdant rolling grasslands populated by buffalo from the propaganda campaign, this area is in fact a mosquito-infested vista of desolation. Winters are too cold and dark for trees to live there, and the journalist from NRO said the nearby mountains resemble piles of gravel. Apparently the earth there is so oil-rich that there are huge ponds of crude oil just sitting around, and the person who did the 10 year ANWR study said if we drill, the environment will be cleaner. Seems to me just leaving this crude everywhere would serve to kill whatever tiny bit of wildlife would otherwise be in the region.

Tam's point was that given the tension in regions of other major oil reserves in the world and/or their lunatic despot leaders, it is inevitable that we will have to dip into ANWR, and which seems a more sensible approach - finally caving and drilling in a panic after our economy is in the crapper, or a well-reasoned, calm and careful approach now while we are not desperate for oil?

I'm in.
There'll be no more meatless Tuesdays...

Well, I've got the first two of many cakes all packed up and ready to ship Tuesday. Miss Bunnydog was underfoot Monday night and doing the antsy-twisty sashay she does when she's in there's-food-around-the-corner mode. If only I'd known - Myron commented after the Sunday post that we could have just sent the half-et cake that doglet got at, him being used to sloppy seconds after his dogs got into the victuals. Of course, I learned this too late and had already unleashed Husband upon the cake carcass, so Myron will have to suffer a full, whole cake, unmolested.

Speaking of molestation, I wonder what is the origin of the euphemism "get at" when used in reference to a person interfering with another sexually? Rather odd, that.

I'm reading How to Lose Friends and Alienate People by Toby Young which is interesting reading, to say the least. I learned about this book last week when I was venting spleen on Graydon Carter and the toilet-paper quality rag that is today's Vanity Fair. Toby worked for VF under Graydon Carter and dishes up lots of gory details that merely confirm what a dirtbag I had decided GC et al must be to put out such a crap-content magazine. What surprises me, though, is that based on what I read on and with that title, I rather expected this book to be an act of contrition in which he basically apologizes for being crappy to people on his way "up." Not so, actually, he just talks a lot of trash (I suspect the people who look so bad in these stories probably found this flattering rather than something to be ashamed of) about what base snobbery and politics go on at this most elevated of all periodicals.

Did you know that the guy who plays the old man's body guard in A Clockwork Orange is the same actor who wore the Darth Vader costume in the original Star Wars? Apparently, because he's 6'7", George Lucas gave him the choice of Darth or Chewbacca. I think Darth was a good call, just based on make-up. Plus no lines to remember, right? Good acting!

Monday, January 08, 2007

War of the Worlds *SPOILER WARNING*

I flipped on the tv this weekend and got sucked in to War Of The Worlds starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning. I only saw maybe half the movie from the part where they are in the house and they come out to find the wreckage of a 747 strewn about the neighborhood.

I will say on principle I have generally detested TC, but I thought his acting was rather good at moments - will wonders never cease?

Anyhoo, my beef is with the creative choices the film makers made in depicting the aliens as particularly menacing and terrifying.

Number 1: All those people wouldn't have survived the fall from 100 meters in the crab basket. I'm just saying. We're not some jelly blobs full of free-floating goo - there's some structure in here and it's breakable.

Number 2: I realize they'd probably run over budget and had to wrap the whole mess up, but it sucked that when a group of humans finally figured out how to dismantle the alien monster machines, that the aliens suddenly die anyway of the common cold.

Number 3 - and this is the biggie: When they drop a human to earth and stick that proboscis in to his abdomen to suck out the innards, blood, and/or whatever - they were hilariously channeling the straw scene from Killer Klowns From Outer Space, the 1988 Sci-Fi satire. You see, the Klowns have come to earth to collect humans and they wrap them in these coccoon thingies and when they are ripe, they stick a straw in and suck out the . um. whatever.
I'm grossing out, now.
Anyway. I'm just saying. You've got a budget of, like, $100million to make a film, you ought to take a day for research and try to avoid the established cliches of the genre. Ya know, just for the pleasure of the movie-going audience - I mean, it's supposed to be entertaining, right?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

She was home alone, bored and lonely. Why do they leave her to knock about this place by herself when she'd rather be loose and free as the wind, running to check out all the interesting odors with which the world is teeming and occasionally chase cottontails? How can the world keep turning without her there to micromanage it?

Sure, she's an old lady these days - 15 - that's about 75 in small dog years - but doesn't she still have needs? Doesn't she still have... desires?

So what if she does have to take several dollars' worth of supplements and glucosamine/chondroitin twice a day to keep the old hips working (too much jumping off refrigerators and the like as a young pup)? All those careful, dainty steps shouldn't lure one into thinking she's not still full of ginger. Yeah, she shivers all the time, but does that warrant the humiliating donning of dresses which her Mistress insists upon? We think not. We think the convention of clothing is beneath our kind and should be left to the trivial species. But I digress.

Her mistress has been bakin
g cakes for all and sundry, and she's stood patiently by, never complaining about getting only occasional crumbs. She knew her day was coming.

Mistress sat Myron's cake, quad-wrapped in cello and taped into a tin on the coffee table, ready to sit down and bedazzle the tin. Distracted and tired on Friday night, Mistress never got around to bedazzling the cake tin and forgot about it.

So the cake sat there in all its rummy goodness, tantilizing fingers of cake scent wending their way through through tightly-wound layers of plastic and a very snug lid. "Come hither" whispered the fingers - "the glories of egg and sugar and rum and butter await inside-- it is useless to resist me."

Lo and verily did she hie and hither forth come, relishing the problem-solving challenge of removing the lid of a tin with no thumbs-- for what tin could be a match for such abiding desire?

When I got home and found the dog had been at Myron's cake (I'm making you another!), I was shocked (shocked!) to find my deaf/half-blind/geriatric doglet had made free to help herself to the cake. My 15 pound she-beast ate about a pound of a 4 pound rum-cake. That would be like a 200 pound man eating 30 pounds of rum cake - incredible!!! Anyway, I hope the old bitch is hung over!

Poor thing. It's funny to think what must go through a dog's mind. Anthropomorphism dictates we'll think dogs are vindictive (OK, Erin's wiener dog Uno IS vindictive, but he's smarter than most) and that they are ornery on purpose, but in fact, probably the closest dogs get to being human is a sheer befuddlement over the fact that we drag lots of lovely meat and other goodies back home to the cave and we don't gather 'round and dig into it all at once - what is wrong with us that we don't set to devouring all that lovely food immediately?

Once about 13 years ago I left a bag of groceries on the coffee table (same coffee table - HEY , mabye there's a connection!) and forgot about it, and a box of butter had been put in this non-cold bag and I didn't realize it. I came into the room to find she had eaten the entire pound of butter and there were little greasy-pukey butter-puddles all over the floor. Fortunately, I lived in a loft at the time and had concrete floors, but sheesh!

So, anyway, she sorta acted sheepish, but i just grabbed the camera and made her stand for photos with the carcass. After all, she's a killer - she should be proud!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The most shocking thing I've heard all week:

I was talking to a friend and she told me an old friend of hers is struggling with a 4th or 5th bout with cancer, and she has a huge inoperable tumor and is too ill for chemo and things look pretty grim.

My friend is upset because a mutual friend of theirs said to the ailing woman "You need to figure out why you keep inviting cancer back into your life."


We've all got to make our way in this world and figure it out as we go along, and I can understand that at difficult moments it's easy for some folks to look to someone materially very successful and treat them as oracles for all the ages-- you know: people like Oprah. At least, that's who I'm blaming for bullshit of this stripe that seems to be cropping up like mushrooms after a rain these days.

People speak in admonishing, hushed tones of not joking about vile or dire things because you "create bad energy" and I simply must say poppycock! These are otherwise incredibly intelligent women. (Yes, to my chagrin, I admit that everyone who has spoken in this way to me has been female, alas.) If bad things only happen to a person because they pre-ordain it by joking or being naughty or through any action or inaction, then how does this explain the lesson a newborn with a birth defect is supposed to be learning? Yeah, one might argue it's a punishment for the parents, but it's just too pat to say it's the sins of the father visited upon the child - this whole paradigm of creating the energy to welcome what you desire in life and to starve out the bad things that scare you is childish at best, and a mass-psychotic-event of magical thinking at worst.

I say embrace reality. Yes, there is pain in life and the world, and into every life a little rain will fall, but the bad things can make the good things ever more sweet.

Or at least that's the energy I'm trying to create. *wink*

Friday, January 05, 2007

Chuck over at posted this and I simply had to follow suit - hilarious.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I went to Lee Harvey's for lunch Wednesday, and I met the house cat - Bacon. I thought someone had left a black sweater or furry wrap on the barstool, and then it moved, revealing white paws and whiskers. It's funny - all the times I've been to Lee Harvey's and I've never seen the cat. I've seen lots of dogs there, though.

View Bacon Lee Harvey's MySpace page here. This cat has voodoo qualities.

Anyway, I miss living in a loft close to LH's - they have a small menu, but it was great to be able to go a couple blocks in the 'hood and find gourmet-ish food for takeaway. They have a roasted portobello mushroom sandwich, a jalapeno-jack grilled cheese sandwich, and other good things.

Anyway, we were the first people there for lunch, and Tim was working behind the bar when the phone rang. He seemed perplexed immediately. He'd answered the phone "Lee Harvey's" and some salesperson asked if they could speak to Mr. Harvey. Tim said Mr. Harvey had been dead since 1963. He was on the phone with the guy for several minutes - it was strange. He finally told the person that the owner of the bar was Seth, and he told the guy it was hit-or-miss on calling when Seth might be there.

When Tim got off the phone, he said that some months back someone told the telemarketer that Mr. Harvey was on an extended cruise but would return in January and they could call back then. We laughed and laughed.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

More from Anna Russell

This whole bit from Anna Russell is fantastic, called "How to Write a Gilbert&Sullivan Operetta." Gilbert and Sullivan operettas made much hay of a caste-type system and snob-appeal, and their stock-and-trade was to make great sport of the serving class - very mean! Anyway, I love her - even at this late stage (I would guess she was well advanced into her 70s in this recording) you can see what a vibrant, clever and lively soul she is on stage. She actually had a disastrous entry into the professional opera realm in the early 1930s when, as poor Santuzza in Leoncavallo's Cavaleria Rusticana, she knocked over an entire set backdrop - mortifying! Anyway, she was incredibly clever and someone urged her to make public performances of her musical satire, and a star was born. I love it. I hope you get a giggle.

Here's a link to the Anna Russell Shrine page where there are several audio clips available.
OK, well I've got it all except the backstabbing & independently wealthy bit...

I just noticed in the new issue of Opera News magazine that the brilliant operatic comedienne Miss Anna Russell died in October. She was side-splittingly funny, and her analysis of Wagner's Ring Cycle will bring you to tears, literally. I can't think of her without laughing - what a delight she was. In fact, I'm going to post another clip from her along with this one. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I was just listening to Don't Stop Believing by Journey. When I was in 9th grade, my band went to Disneyland, and Journey was all the rage. I, of course, was listening to British imports and stuff that couldn't be found on radio, but I was ok with a lot of what was going on in pop and rock and roll. I even rather liked Journey, compared to a lot of the crap on the radio at the time. Still, Bauhaus, Gang of Four and Killing Joke were my thing, and I'm rather proud of having better taste than the pedestrian traffic would allow.

One heifer in my band, an obnoxious clarinet player named Rhonda, was obsessed with Journey and I'll bet I heard Open Arms about 100 times there and back on that California trail of torture. Turned me smack off Journey until about two years ago. I still won't be running out and buying a Journey cd, but at least I can hear them without my skin crawling these days.

When I was about 15, our family went to California over the Christmas holidays to see relatives. A second cousin was visiting our mutual great aunt. He pulled out a cassette tape and played what he insisted was his band doing a cover of Don't Stop Believing, playing one little passage over and over and explaining that he played a slightly different flourish on the guitar there than the original, but he did admit it was otherwise indistinguishable from the original--he was just that good. Uh, yeah. You have to wonder about the compulsive liar types - it's a little sad and a little startling that they think people are so gullible. I remember thinking what an ass he was and that it would probably seem rude if I registered my disbelief, so I just said, "ah, wow, that's really good because it sounds like Journey to me."

Anyway, he's a deputy sheriff now - isn't that comforting?

I always had a spectacular imagination. I remember one particularly mortifying whopper I told once, and to further seal my shame, I'm going to share it with you now.

Aunt and Uncle (she's my pop's sister) are incredibly industrious and put themselves through college and became educators, both eventually taking the role of principals in various school districts. They were(are) known as a formidable pair who brooked no B/S when it came to teenager antics. They were particularly sought out by school districts who had problems controlling the delinquents in their classrooms. Uncle is as nice as the day is long, but he's a huge athletic guy, and would use this to his advantage when necessary. Once a couple troubled youths in his high school who were brought to his office after some sort of fisticuff. These kids thought they were badasses and could intimidate any mere school official. Uncle told them they were going to get in line and stay in line or he'd give them what-for. Then he jumped flat-footed from the ground up to the top of his desk and did a sort of gorilla pose and said "I'm a WILD man!", all crazy-eyed and menacing. Apparently the boys 'bout peed themselves before they got away from him that day, and were thenceforth model students.

So, wait for it. The idiotic lie I told - well, gosh, this is horrid - I had to tell him something impressive about how I could relate to what a tough school he had. (I was about 7, second grade) I told him I saw one kid pull another kid's eyeball out with a stick.

Whew! I'm back. I was shaking so hard from laughing that I had to stop typing for a couple minutes and wipe away the tears. The horrors! What on EARTH made me do that? [Of course, I never saw a kid poke another kid's eyeball out, thank goodness.]

Uncle said "he did? You saw that happen?"
Me, the very picture of second-grade credulity, wide-eyed and nodding: "Yeah! It was gross!"

I remember visualizing how it might have happened, the three of us standing near the street, our backs furtively turned toward the schoolhouse and the joy-killing eyes of the teacher. Inexplicably, I remember envisioning an intestine-like 2 foot rope of viscera spooling out behind the eyeball from the void of the eye socket-- I had not, as yet, made a great study of anatomy, though I did know the neck bone was connected to the head bone.

I would occasionally tell lies as a little kid, but not usually such fantastic, impossible ones. More often mine were more the garden-variety less-verifiable kind like wiping a wet washrag over my teeth and saying that yes, I had brushed my teeth. Fortunately, I learned rather early that the danger of lying was that lies might result in a switching, and we hated those. No, indeed, if one were to tell lies and not get a whipping, one must learn nuance and subtlety and be very, very good at it. Ultimately, lying wasn't worth the mental energy it took to maintain the buttressing that kept the bad story alive.

About 10 years ago, I mentioned my lie to Uncle, about how it made my blood run cold to think that I would ever have been silly enough to utter such absolute twaddle, but he very politely didn't seem to recall it at all. I suppose my whopper seemed minor and had been crowded out of his memory by more impressive spinners of baloney.

Anyway, you have to wonder about people who never grow out of the lying thing - it's got to be absolutely exhausting, and isn't life complicated enough without that? Sheesh.
How to Celebrate the New Year 101

London New Year 2007 Fireworks display. This one's almost 11 minutes, but worth it. For those who haven't seen it, the big circular thing is "London Eye," a 150 meter ferris wheel on the South bank of the Thames river. Spectacular display, and I love how often you can hear the oohs and aahs of the gathered crowd. Those Brits certainly know how to throw a party. I'm glad they got to have the display despite the nasty weather they've been having. Enjoy.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year, peoples!

Since the world failed to fall apart last night, this is probably as good a day as any to talk about celebrities.

Most of you probably heard about Sean Puffy Combs' scandale de semaine in which some of his clothing line was pulled from the shelves just before Christmas when it was discovered that some of the fake fur trim was, in fact, the outer casing of an actual wild dog living in Southeast Asia. Why would anyone bitch about this? This is like an airline upgrade or bonus anytime minutes on your cellular plan - free crap! Yay!

On the table at mom's this morning I noticed a newspaper ad for Sean's fragrance line called Unforgiveable. Irony, anyone? Make mine a double with a chaser of K-Fed's new fragrance, Humility 101.

Paris Hilton's Just Me comes with a complimentary cooling cucumber balm for razor burn.

Top Chef guest Anthony Bourdain could make a musky, earthy scent called Flintstonian, and I'd probably buy that one, just for cleverness alone. His show is starting in a couple weeks. Goody.

Oh, and speaking of shows that start in a couple weeks, Rome will parade the sweat-soaked 13th Legion back across the screen on January 14th. Hee Haw. Apparently it didn't all end when they killed Caesar at the end of last season. Who knew? Between you and me, I suspect Antony and Cleopatra will get up to some mischief. Good or bad, I'll be watching. They should make an episode just of sweat drying on Titus Pullo, don't you think?

By the way, when I was about 4, I officiously announced to my mother that when I had a daughter one day, I'd name her Cleopatrice. (pronounced klee-OH-PA-triss). She probably uttered a silent prayer that I'd never have daughters.

I remain childless.