Tuesday, February 27, 2007

golly, Monday was wonderful. I didn't even take my car in to have checked out for damage.

I left the door open to the back yard so the doglet could go in & out, and several times I noticed her napping in the sun. Sweet.

It was great to have a day of no driving, no getting dolled up...

Something I wrote in the last post and on which G bro commented made me want to say a little bit more.

I referred in the Oscar post yesterday to Al Gore's science as "faulty." (I can thank John Cleese for my now-instinctive urge to type that "Fawlty") G bro commented that we hope his science is faulty.

Yes, indeed we do hope it is. I think there is some middle way that falls somewhere between devil-may-care attitudes in which the environment is laid waste for the sake of industry and being so afraid of upsetting the balance of the ecosystem that we are terrified to flip on a light switch. I refer to the current crop of freakie-outie-ness as "faulty science" because I believe a true scientist would honestly state the case that in the relatively tiny 5000 years' recorded history of humans, we haven't observed enough of natural phenomenae on our changing earth to say how and when the climate will dramatically change. I agree that it is irresponsible for us to be wasteful when we have a choice to do otherwise, but it's the hysterical language with which this concept is treated that gets my dander up. When the more intellectually honest terms "may" and "can" are exchanged for a monolithic "will," well, I get just a bit tetchy. In other words, why not say "we may have screwed up but we can improve," instead of "we ARE screwed?" If we ARE screwed, why bother trying to change anything?

This thought that we are so advanced and have achieved such a level of understanding that all discernible knowledge is within our grasp is pure-dee arrogance and hubris. One of these days there is going to be a "boy who cried wolf" effect - one can only hear so much bad news before he will stop turning on the news altogether.

Oh, great departure from all this stuff:
Right now I'm sort of obsessing over supreme cellist Jacqueline du Pre's divine recording of Elgar's Cello Concerto. Breathtaking.

YOu can see it here in 4 parts. The first link includes a bit of interview with her husband, and then about 2:20 into the video is the beginning of the performance. Astonishing.
Take about 40 minutes to watch and listen, and keep a box of hankies nearby. This music wrecks me. I love it.

#1 http://youtube.com/watch?v=kb6jjIFFizk
#2 http://youtube.com/watch?v=Qs95OJfBo-w&mode=related&search=
#3 http://youtube.com/watch?v=v4jFe1ab7vU&mode=related&search=
#4 http://youtube.com/watch?v=qtED60WHA0Q&mode=related&search=

Monday, February 26, 2007

I took the day off work today, since I'm exhausted and in the middle of a no-days-off jag until March 11.

Woke up late. It's amazing, because I've always preferred awakening naturally somewhere around the crack of noon, but crawling out of bed at 8:30 seemed gloriously late, compared to recent times.

I've been cleaning this morning, but mostly I've gathered up crap to drop off at Goodwill. What is it about a sparkling gorgeous spring-like day that seems so right for getting rid of clutter?

I have so many interests that I've accumulated too much stuff along the way. Times have changed, though. If there's something you have only a vague sentimental attachment to, you can send it on its way, confident in the fact that you can always acquire another later on ebay, should the need arise. Most likely, that day will never come, will it? I've also cleared 23 garments from my closet. YAY! Anyway, the entire back of LouLou is full of the first wave of crap for Goodwill, and there'll be more to come. Here's to spring cleaning.


I admit it: I am weak. Despite my vow otherwise, I set the DVR to record the Oscar ceremony. What an ambling congregation of twaddle that was! About 11 o'clock last night, I began watching and the 4-ish hour extravaganza took me about 45 minutes. Honestly.

Let me just touch on a few points of note:

Presenters of best director award were Francis Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas. Now who didn't see the oft passed-over-on-Oscar-night Martin Scorsese's number being up? I mean, the 4 of them were in film school together. Yeah, it was a happy night for Marty, but there were no "aha"s of surprise in the audience, nor were there at home, I suspect. Oh, and is anybody buying the cover-up of his weak chin that Lucas is doing with that beard? If anything, it makes him look deformed. I just don't know. I think he needs to stop trimming it and grow a hedge over the jowls, frankly, because it's just not working.

Best Documentary? Al Gore's self-apotheosis, of course. *Yawn* Thank goodness he invented the internet so I could promulgate harangues thereon to register my great disdain for him and all his faulty "science."

Host Ellen Degeneres joked that since this show was green, the producers wanted her to recycle some of her old jokes. I normally find her sparkly and delightful, but she seemed almost subdued compared to her usual vivacious show persona - perhaps she was under some weird pressure we could never guess at.

Well, it may have been green, but it was dry as toast, and this is what comes of a politically correct, monolithic lockstep bunch of numb-nuts with not the will (or the ability) to break out of the pack with all the other sheep. So glad I didn't spend more than 45 minutes on this.

Jodie Foster? Stunning.

Cate Blanchett looked amazing in that gun-metal dress, and Kate Winslet was divine in sherbet-green.

Jennifer Lopez: WTF???

Gwenyth Paltrow astonished me by looking absolutely breathtaking, and even, almost, beautiful. I think she misses the mark more than she hits it, generally, and last night she was spot-on.

One sparkling moment, however, nearly redeemed the whole spectacle. Forrest Whitaker is astonishing, and his acceptance speech for best actor revealed who he is as a person and why he acts, rather than being a laundry list of payback thank-yous and political grandstanding. Well done, for a change.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Saturday afternoon a dust storm rolled through the area. We don't get many of those, but I was thinking this had the makings of some hazardous driving conditions.

I drove home from my real estate class on I-30, and slowed to a crawl at a stop-and-go backup on the exit to I-35. I glanced in my mirror and saw a pickup truck whipping through traffic and then barreling toward the car behind me, fishtailing with no hope of stopping in time, and then the stopped car behind me was hit with such force that it was hurled into the back of mine. My eyes were doing double duty at the time, trying to figure out an escape ahead or to the side and watching the mess unfold behind me. In this time, the traffic backup slowly unclogged and cars were moving forward ahead and I was able to step on the gas a little, but not in time to avoid being hit entirely. LouLou's bumper is toast.

I called the police and they said to exchange information and get off the road. We got off the road, first, so I find myself all dressed up and standing in the parking lot of a liquor store at Industrial and Cadiz and trying to get information from less-than-forthcoming folk. The two other drivers claimed not to speak English. I interpreted this as them having no insurance. I called 911 again and said they needed to send a police car, which they did, at last.

Anyway, I'm ok, and in the grand scheme, it's a minor inconvenience. One more thing to take care of. Goody.

...I never saw the film To Live & Die In L.A., and I noticed it was making the cable movie channel circuit recently, and I set the DVR to record it. It was bad. Really, really, rilly, awkwardly, unwatchably bad. I forwarded through it and amused myself by making up little lines for the sped-up characters. There were icky 80s modern dance routines in weird makeup - cringeworthy reminders of the most hideous expressions of an era. There was one really great scene, though. William Dafoe, counterfeiter, is making some sort of resist etching on a metal plate for printing fake money. They show the inks being mixed and the printing machinery working and the multi-stamping process for the various ink colors - I felt like I was watching Crafters Coast to Coast on HGTV. That part of the film was great, if you like that sort of thing. Crafting with thugs.

One more thing from that awards dinner on Friday night. Here's a conversation I overheard:

Female #1: We really want to see that new listing on Tremont.
Female #2: Which house?
#1: The house with the olympic-size swimming pool. *gushing* Chip
and I want to see it - it's SO us!
#2: I'll tell the agent you are interested, but you know, a pool
that size is really expensive to maintain. You may want to just fill it in
and have a regular size pool put in.

I was marveling at this entire conversation - at the idea that it would be cheaper to install an entire new pool than to dump a few chlorine pellets in now and again. Well, whatever.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Friday night I went to an awards/recognition event sponsored by Preservation Dallas at the Adolphus Hotel downtown on Commerce street. This was a swell bunch of swells.

But here's the deal: event description dictated "business casual" attire. I take this to mean dressy, serious garments that one might wear to a business meeting or to a coctail party after work. I arrived in my business-casual attire to find a ballroom-full of ladies in evening wear. Seriously. I mean, I HAVE that dressy shit to wear, if only I'd'a knowed.

As it was, I wore a divine ivory Dana Buchman woven-crepe top and a $340 Dana Buchman skirt. (OK, so I got the skirt marked down for $58. I still have the tag that says $340, so whatever!) Anyway, I was wearing nice clothing, but my ensemble fairly bleated "daywear!" and "springtime!" Almost all the other women were totally in black. I knew I was in trouble when I followed the comely young naif up the stairs as I puzzled over her red silk satin gown with the muffin-top-panty-action. Two words on foundation garments for the ladies: get and some.

The new mayor of Dallas was there, as were other local luminaries, and I was on somewhat good behavior. At the cocktail reception before seating for dinner, I kept going to one bartender and topping off my sparkling water. He said "you don't want some wine?" I said "nah, I'm afraid my urge to get up on the table and dance might get the best of me if I start drinking now." He said "you should do that anyway." I said "well, only if I can keep my spurs on" and he said "I insist, pretty lady!" I think he was one of the more clever people there, just between you and me.

Still, it was an enjoyable event, and I've always loved the architecture here and there around Dallas, and it's nice to know there's an organization that celebrates the unique flavor of our city.

Ugh. Up at 6am for school, a teeny little 5 hours from now. Say it ain't so...

Friday, February 23, 2007

I officially declare this the feel-good story of the day. Enjoy!
I know it's open-season on Britney, and I'm not adding to the dogpile. I just want to quote myself from my June 19 post last year:

She's gonna crash and burn and if she lives long enough, the come-clean tell-all
when she's trying to re-launch her career as an old sad half-used-up has-been at
the age of 30 is going to be super ugly. I'm feeling sadder for her by the

When I said "if she lives long enough," I didn't genuinely believe she would die before 30. I've heard people recently say they think Britney was jealous of the press Anna-Nicole's death was getting. My dad thinks she's acting like she's on crack.

Whatever it is, I feel badly for her. I can understand the bird-flipping metaphor of shaving all her hair off, but she's acting out in a very bad, very public way. I never understood that malarkey about trashing someone else's stuff just because you broke up with them - my feeling is that someone condemned to a life void of my glorious person will be suffering enough. Then there's that bit about living well is the best revenge...

Last night on the phone I asked dad what he thought of the Britney thing, and he said "I'm disappointed - I've gone a whole week without hearing what's going on with the love-struck astronaut."

My dad can always cut to the meat of the matter.

We chatted about Paris Hilton & the trend of young starlets/media whores flashing their pudendae at the waiting photographers. I said I hoped that they didn't get too close to Paris, or a herpe might have jumped onto them.

Dad then asked if I heard of that new disease they discovered called Twerpes. I said no. He said birds get it and it doesn't kill them, but their little peckers fall off.

Thanks dad. Although end-of-the-week is a term that has lost any significance for me, I hope all of y'all have a great Friday and weekend.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

You know, it's so funny when someone you used to see on a regular basis pops up in some other context. Maybe it's a girl you see waiting tables that you run into in a restaurant. Maybe it's someone you used to work with.

I watched someone on television every week for the past few weeks with a nagging familiarity, and I finally realized who he was. When I was at music school in the late 90s, one of the current American Idol contestants was studying music at the same time. However, back then, Brandon Rogers seemed like just a kid, and of course now he's a man - hence my slowness to register familiarity. Remarkably talented, yes, but then again, in such an intensely competitive environment as a top-flight music school, there are lots of talented kids to go around. Brandon's not just a good singer, though - he's a masterful pianist, capable of flowing from gospel-style keyboards - to improvisational reverie and then into ragtime. Brandon's voice and his singing are superb - I think he'll outlast almost all the other men on the show.

I love Chris Sligh, and I think he could pull off an upset just on personality and poor song choices on the part of other singers, which is rather unlikely. No question in my mind - the top two will be Melinda Doolittle and Lakisha Jones. Actually, the thing I find superb about Chris, Brandon and these two women is they are not sparkly-eyed ding-dongs who are all "golly-gee" about the competition - they are all rather low-key in demeanor, actually. Refreshing.

Tonight was my first showing of a house for sale. Not as realtor, but it made a nice trial run. Guess what? I don't think they're gonna buy the house. This was a learning experience, for sure. I learned I need to get the specs on warranties and that sort of thing before I show a property. Strangely, though, I didn't feel nervous. I guess I've shown so many apartments (some with dead fish!) that I'm unflappable. I also know not to take it personally if they don't like it, though the criticisms be withering. I thought they hated it immediately, but they ended up staying and looking for about 50 minutes. It wasn't so bad, but I kept noticing little flaws that need to be tweaked, and I felt like I was sitting down to dinner with company when I noticed the panties on the lampshade across the room. I wasn't sure if I should point out all these flaws and say "this will be fixed prior to closing" or just pretend I didn't see them. I guess I need to figure out what's the best way to do that balancing act, because I want people to know what they are getting in advance, and not feel surprised down the road...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

...in which our Heroine succumbs to demonic influence and purchases overpriced "heirloom" tomato...
Clearly this tomato is in league with Lucifer. I feel like I should write it into my will or some such. Anyway, it was such a lovely tomato, "fooll an' plomp" as advised by Penelope Cruz in Woman On Top. Ok. So I'm a sucker. So they saw me coming, had number. I saw the price at the register and just knew I wouldn't have the will to live through schlepping back to the produce department to make another selection, so I bought it anyway.
What really beat me down about this shopping experience happened when I was on the "shaving needs" aisle and was going to buy a razor a close associate has been raving about. Especially since the weather dictates that within 5 minutes stockings will not be an option, I thought I'd make the switch to something more substantial than the disposable pieces-of-crap razors I've always used. [disclaimer: most women have razors on hand, though few of us actually need a razor for any reason. Readers should not conclude that I have hairy legs nor should they imagine me in Moses sandals with little furry tufts bursting forth from between leather strips from fat little hobbit feet.] I noticed the razors display seemed a bit odd with a sort of cage containing all the better razors. Suddenly, as I reached for the instrument of choice, there was a huge electronic doorbell sound somewhere from nearby. This freaked me out and I pulled my hand back, mostly because it hurt my ears. I reached again and *Bling! Blong!* Yeowch. I quickly realized this must be a shoplifting curtailment device. Fair enough - these are somewhat expensive items and I suppose they are therefore a target for shoplifters. The third time I managed to pull back the razor I hoped for, but not before I noticed that two manager-types were suddenly a few feet away and busily tidying up the listerine bottles and tampax. Um, ok.
Today, as happens several times a week, generally, I had to drive across downtown a couple times. Usually, I'll cross on Griffin/Field street, which takes one under the overpass for Woodall Rogers Expressway which is where the intersection is that I mentioned in my December 13, 2006 post. People on the south-bound service road are meant to Stop when they get to the big red sign that says STOP, but many people roll right through as though it isn't there. On Dec. 13, I was exiting the expressway and a bitch nearly hit me as I drove on through, what with me having the right-of-way and being royalty, and all. Then she had the nerve to chase me down and flip me off and I yelled "Stop sign!" back at the bitch. Anyway. She seemed to think she'd done nothing wrong. As I said, usually, but today I foolishly took St. Paul. Alas!
Tonight I was watching the news on the local Fox affiliate and saw an hilarious bit on that very intersection. A couple stars from Reno 911! were in town to promote their new movie which opens on Friday. The Dallas Police enlisted these guys to harrass the motorists who rolled through the stop sign. Anyway, they've posted some outtakes on their site(watch it here) and though it can be slow, it's hilarious. Especially when Lieutenant Dangle made the Mexican-American driver "Repeat after me: We will obey the laws of Texas which we won from you fair and square."
I would have made an ass of myself if I'd seen them, though, because I would have stopped and grinned at them like the simpleton I am. Some people just shouldn't be let out in public.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

For some reason, I'm apparently not meant to get enough sleep these days.

When I awoke at 6am on Sunday to run off to my class, I set my alarm clock forward two hours to ring at 8 when I HAD to get up on Monday. I went to bed Sunday night knowing I'd already set it for 8. In the blackness of Monday morning, the alarm starts shrieking over on the other side of the room (where it has to be so I'll get up, since I can hit snooze & nap for about 4 hours if it's convenient) I saw it was 6 am. Who knows what happened to me re-setting it? harumph.

Monday night I watched a DVR episode of Midsomer Murders, a mystery show from England, and started really conking out at 11:00 pm. I sort of dozed through the last 15 minutes and woke up to see who done it, then crawled off to bed. I was almost gleeful - finally, I'll get a full night of sleep - I'll probably get out of bed 15 minutes before the alarm clock! Wouldn't you know it?! I woke up about 3 and was in and out of sleep for several hours. I don't get it... Sleep.

After what seemed a record spate of consistently cold weather, it's finally getting to what we usually have half the winter here in Dallas - somewhere around the 60 degree mark. Actually, I'm wearing sandals today. I am enjoying a happy convergence of good weather concomitant with my polished toenails for once not looking all chippy as though I've been chewing on them.

Roll over, Zapruder!
I've been watching the local news on television of late. Last night it paid off with big belly laughs. Some geezer, bless his heart, from Gladewater (East of Dallas) realized he had footage of the Kennedy motorcade that fateful day in 1963. The footage is very crisp-- is actually gorgeous, the best I've seen of that day. It's incredible to see that oh-so-familiar view up Elm street, some of the same buildings extant. The crowd is ebullient - Texas was Democrat country back then - and here was the lovely couple that embodied what we as a nation were about, to their way of thinking. Anyway, the cameraman's son learned of the film recently and realized how historically significant this film was, and he negotiated with the Sixth Floor Museum to donate the film for distribution. In the interview, I giggled at the elderly gentleman's "Golly-gee" attitude that he never thought anyone would be interested in his mere little film. I thought it an ironic contrast to the over-packaged, overly documented lives of folk today. These days, one is apt to miss filming important events because they instead have the camera trained on the belching frat boy or the oblivious nose-picker.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sometimes I take my favorite pictures from the sunroof of Loulou without even aiming. This is the 29-ish floor luxury condo building Azure which is being polished off at the corner of Wolf and McKinnon streets. McKinnon is the section of Harry Hines that is northbound between downtown and the tollroad where Harry Hines splits.

By the way, Harry Hines is a boulevard - I just realized how unlikely that name would sound to the uninitiated. A part of me still likes to inwardly giggle at the name Harry Hines. This is the same part of me that giggles at fart jokes.
Golly, I'm tired. Back to work tomorrow, but at least I get to sleep until 8am instead of getting up at 6am.
I tried making meringues, but I think I need to do more research on baking times, etc. They came out foamy and crisp on the outside, yet still chewy in the middle - not as I would prefer.
Sunday the teacher was joking the woman next to me and said "you must be from Arkansas" and a few people chuckled, and I said "she may not be, but _I_ am from Arkansas," and the room erupted in laughter. After class he apologized to me and said he hoped he didn't offend me. I told him there are frightening folk from every state, but that Arkansas had come by its reputation honest, and I'm related to a few of the reasons why... I also said he shouldn't hold against Arkansas the fact that I came from there.
I'm going to have to do a crab boil soon - I'm hankering for snow crab. I stopped by my local cajun-style shuck-n-jive type joint Sunday, and they only had king crab, which I find inferior in flavor to snow crab. I ended up leaving part of this expensive meal on the plate. Next time I'll just go straight to the store and buy what I want, cook it at home and save about $10 on the meal. Pity. I hate cleaning up that kind of mess, and I pretty much don't like cooking seafood in the house.
Oh well. Have a great week!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Friday night in a zombie haze playing internet backgammon, I foolishly stayed awake until 1am.

After 30 minutes of the siren song of my alarm clock, I finally crawled, slug-like, from the morass of bedcovers and pillows.

Saturday sunrise I drove to school. Cruising past downtown, my chariot flicked in and out of the shadows cast by skyscrapers, and the blazing vibrance of morning took on a strobe effect to my tired eyes. Lovely.

Class was great - I had a different teacher today - a fantastic teacher, for a change. He was clever yet kept information moving at a hearty clip with a minimum of editorial comment. Hallelujah! I can say I have no idea of his political persuasion, for a change. I didn't arrive early so I didn't secure my usual lurker spot on the back row. A front row was empty, so I flounced to the front of the room and announced that I intended to suck up to the teacher. He laughed heartily and I knew this session would not be the solipsistic wank-fest for an egomaniacal instructor like the last 4 sessions I'd attended.

After class I was driving home and approached downtown from the west. In the east the horizon was lilac and the towers of Reunion hotel downtown blazed like stacks of fiery ingots, along with every western-facing window downtown. The sight was spectacular, breathtaking. I wish I could have shown you.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Just some general housekeeping here.

Did you know most yogurt contains gelatin? Did you know gelatin is ground-up animal bones? All these years I've thought that gelatin was ground up horse hooves and pig trotters, but not bones. --not that I have the least compunction against eating animal products, but, you know, yuck. It's funny how ground-up animal bones would sound more repugnant to me than the ground-up thick-and-curly toenails of various ungulates.

Now, blood sausage/black pudding? Yes please, and make mine a double, and be a sweetie and fetch me a Guinness while you're at it...

I heard someone say they think the Caveman from the insurance company commercial is sexy. Um, ok...

When I was in Austin to see Imogen Heap at la Zona Rosa, I saw a girl in the bathroom say to another "are you from whore island?" I didn't linger to see how that played out, but I've been quoting her ever since. AND, I've been scanning the tv listings for a new reality show called Whore Island. Thus far, none have appeared...

Several residents called to ask me about the vandalized car on property from this weekend. We've had a pretty charmed existence and very little to complain about on that score. This happened to be the new Mustang of the female half of a bitchy, useless spoiled couple. Seems every bit of glass was broken from the vehicle except the windshield right in front of the driver. I 'splained the residents that this clearly didn't happen on property or there would be a tremendous lot of glass strewn about. I also commented this must've been a hate crime...

I showed a huge apartment to 3 boys who attend SMU grad school. They thought they were players. One of them said "now, do you pay for the electricity?" I said "No, and I'm not paying your credit card bills, either." Ask a silly question...

Went to Texas de Brazil for early anniversary dinner on Thursday night. It was so cool - the fountain out front is partially frozen with veils of ice hanging down from the top tiers and with water streaming down over them - it was spectacular. This is just about my favorite restaurant anywhere. The way they season the meat is superb, and they have a phenomenal salad bar. Actually we always talk about bringing my parents there - I think they'll love it. We'll have to do that soon.

UGH - Friday already? I've got to study for class tonight. I hope the teacher this weekend is bearable. No cornball jokes, please, or at least one that doesn't spend all day saying "Badges? We don't need no stinking badges."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I don't know if folks outside of Texas are aware of the raging controversy here, but I want to throw my two cents in.

Our governor, Rick Perry, an investor in the pharmaceutical company Merck, has issued an executive order that within 2 years, all girls entering 6th grade in the state of Texas must be administered a shot of a new anti-viral drug which ostensibly will prevent these girls from contracting HPV (human papilloma virus) for a period of some years afterward. Early contraction of HPV has been linked with cervical cancer in women, and the thought process is that preventing young women from contracting HPV will result in fewer cancers.

Well, that's just ducky. Except I think it's kind of icky that the only company producing this anti-viral drug is *TA-DA!!!* Merck. OK. Let me say that again in another way. Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse. All 6th grade girls in Texas will be forced to have a $300-400 shot (on the taxpayer dime, no doubt) to minimize certain consequences of early sexual activity. People are too stupid to manage their children properly. Why not issue condoms at the door of 6th grade, too, while we're at it? Why don't we wrap every child in a 3" padding of foam rubber so they don't hurt themselves? Why should such stupid creatures be afforded enjoyment of the rights of free will? We obviously are too stupid to function.

Something else I want to know is where is the National Organization for Women on this? Why aren't they screaming about the invasion of rights of all these young future women who are being subjected to a drug which in all likelihood will kill some of them? What do they always say - if it's a woman's/girl's body, it's her choice-- whatever happened to this line of reasoning? Just say no. Why not make it an available option for young women of an age more likely to be sexually active - say, high school girls? Available, but not compulsory? Oh, and the immunity against HPV has a limited range, apparently, and the protection the drug affords has a limited life-span. Some ignorant rubes will think they have permanent protection from HPV, and that is just a host of lawsuits waiting to happen, 20 years down the road.

Oh, and while we're at it, why just immunize the girls? Why not the boys? Here's what I read over on the Centers For Disease Control's site:

Certain types of HPV have been linked to cancer of the anus and penis in

Aren't boys' penises and anuses worth protecting too? Oh, I forgot - only females are stupid enough to have to be herded into pens and given a mass sheep-dip.

The sad thing is this smacks not of concern for the future, but of an arrogant, condescending politician with a monster company in his back pocket. There may not be anything corrupt going on here, but it sure smells fishy. In fact, it stinks on ice.

And then there's the thing about Rick Perry's promotion of a company that wants to buy the Texas Lottery. Yeah, ok, fair enough. But the whole to-do about the lottery when we GOT it was that it was going to make SO much money for the Texas school systems - if it's such an all-fired cash cow, why are we going to sell it?

And I'm not saying there's anything untoward - probably just coincidence, but why is Rick Perry playing the PR rep for the company that wants to buy it, and why is his son working for that company?

It just looks bad, is what I'm saying, and I'm also saying that I am deeply chagrined that I wasted my vote on an independent gubernatorial candidate last November when I should have voted for the Democrat who actually had a chance of beating this bastard.

Oh, and one more thing: I am going to be contacting my state Representative and demanding RP's impeachment, and I hope enough of my fellow Texans will do the same. It's a long shot, but I'll always regret it if I don't do something more tangible than bitch about him on a blog.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I'm wondering how James Cromwell went from the unassuming farmer who gave a little pig a chance at herding sheep to the diabolical badman of 24 and LA Confidential. Come to that, he's been a villain in everything I've seen him in since Babe. He makes a mighty creepy one, too.

I can't believe how cold it is, suddenly. Just a few days ago I was wearing sandals. I took the dog out for a trot around the block and she climbed into her basket by the fireplace and fell into a deep sleep, and she looked like a little white bear curled up for hours after the walk.

I'd be amazed if I learned she sleeps less than 20 hours a day. Sometimes when company is over or if I'm moving from room to room and she feels the need to supervise activity, she'll get so tired after a few hours that her eye-lids obviously get heavy and she has to fight the urge to drop off to sleep. Cute little old lady. She was born on Halloween, and I got her in January. It had nothing to do with February 14, but I named her Valentine because she was such a little sweetheart. I know - sickeningly sweet, isn' t it? Still, I reserve the right to be downright corny when it comes to the doglet.

Happy Valentine's Day, people!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I DETEST the sound of Gloria Estefan's voice. Oh, she's capable enough a singer, but some quality in her voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I think it was horrid "Conga" dreck what done me in on her forever. For some reason, major retail chains like playing her music in their stores. I suppose it means I spend less time shopping, so there's a discernible dividend to this aversion.

I seem to notice every time I'm in T.J. Maxx there's some Miami Sound Machine oozing from the speakers, Estefan's cloying voice dribbling throughout the store and setting in while I'm doing my label-whore best to dig around for All-Clad cookware. It may be the way her voice sounds as though it's projected up through the mask that grates on me so. This is not quite nasal, but it sounds as if a lot of her resonance comes through the bones and tissue above the mouth, giving what I call a "hooded" quality. Anyway. She makes my skin crawl. Still, of course, I'd encourage her to keep singing, because she seems to enjoy it and obviously one or two people have enjoyed buying her records. Then again, if the tuneless, shitty humming-along in stores to her music is indicative of her prime audience, I'd say it figures.

NOT that I'm opposed to tuneless, shitty humming-along in stores. I think there's not enough of it, actually. In the case of Estefan's music, I welcome the distraction, and it's always nice (to me) to hear someone enjoying music and participating. I think the falling away of personal music-making is in some way indicative of a serious failing in our culture. Time was when at every gathering someone in the family or social circle would sit at the piano or saw away on a violin or some such, and now there is less and less of that sort of thing. I think we as a society seriously suffer for that, too. Music is not meant to be only a pre-packaged product that is so removed from one's life: rather, music should be something reflective of what is going on in life and in some way spell out a common experience. One of the greatest musical experiences in my life was walking into a pub in England with friends (about 10 years ago) and a song came through the speakers and the whole place just erupted in song, everyone singing vibrantly and full-voiced, good and bad. Don't look back in anger, I heard you say. It was a transcendent moment. Now that kind of group experience is worth leaving the house for.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Nothing clears away the stresses of life like the smell of a freshly-hatched puppy. This is Daisy, my sister's new baby. Daisy is a wiener dog, dontcha know, and she's a fine little specimen. She weighs about 3 pounds and she's barely two handfuls. Sweet little thing. She's a power-napper.
The more I think of the death of Anna Nicole Smith, the more I think we are being cheated by our celebrities in this culture-- they are a huge protected class, and should die more often as a cautionary tale for the rest of us. Time was when celebrities were devil-may-care and actually did dangerous things that might land them on the coroner's slab. Remember James Dean? How about all those genius talents who died while in their creative prime - people like Pasty Cline, Buddy Holly and Jayne Mansfield? These days celebrities are generally less substantially talented but with real staying power. That guy Screech from Head of the Class? (He's doing porn now - don't tell me you didn't see that coming) Well, he's going to be around forever. In fact, he may never do another family-friendly cinematic performance, but he'll probably hang with us until 2067 to pick up his Lifetime Achievement Oscar.™ Paris Hilton will go on flouting the dictates of good taste and decency and will become the female Keith Richards, and the world will go on turning.
Class was better this weekend. I got to go see me mum & pop Sunday and my sister brought her brood over. I held the puppy for a while. Niece and nephew are growing like weeds - it's wild how time gets away from you. Brother-in-law wore a knit cap and I said he should be working on a fishing boat, but sister kept saying he looked like a Phish fan. Sacrilege! Nephew is 4 and he'll still let you get the occasional hug, but mostly he's too busy and macho for such silliness. He marched in brandishing his cap-rifle. Sister says he has a huge arsenal and a table piled high with ammo. Merely what every growing boy requires. Niece is playing piano marvelously - it's so gratifying to hear her progress. Oh, and I heard this exchange between my parents:
Dad: That (Anna-Nicole Smith's baby) may be my baby.
Mom: In that case I'll forgive you and raise it as my own.
It was great to see the family - I don't think I've seen them all together since Christmas. I suppose I won't have that opportunity again until school is out in mid-March. Just counting the weeks...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

OK, just a brief one this time - I write my blog entries late at night and generally post around midnight - so I've got to get to sleep so I'm not bone-tired in class all day tomorrow. I hope I don't have that same teacher - fingers crossed. I'd rather watch paint dry.

This is not a fully-formed rant yet, but I'm just going to put a few more thoughts down and I may flesh it out later on, or I may never give it another thought. But I'm fickle like that.

I keep thinking of the contrast of Anna-Nicole Smith's public struggle with substance abuse and Paris Hilton's nasty (but far from surprising) behavior revealed in the Paris Exposed brouhaha recently. ANS, while remedial and pathetic in her communication skills, seemed like a sweet person, at heart. Paris Hilton, on the other hand, seems like a revolting bitch - the emodiment of vileness. The difference is that ANS was of low birth and PH will eternally be insulated from consequences for her actions by vast familial wealth. [ Well, against everything but herpes, obviously. Apparently the herpe what jumped on Paris didn't know who she was and who her family is. Who would have thunk that something smaller than bacteria would be the great equalizer?]

The question is - who would you rather use the toilet after? Of course, the correct answer is "I'd just wait till I got home."

There was the case of Donald Trump talking about what an incredibly intelligent and classy young lady Paris Hilton is, lauding her for getting her "brand" out there, and yet a mere commoner like Miss USA is publicly shamed and made to confess her transgression of being 20 and partying with NYC celebrities? A bit contradictory, I'd say. This to me boils down to a commoner being made to sing for her supper whilst the acting-out rich girl gets the free ride. I don't know which is worse - the fact that such lopsided issuance of comeuppance happens at all, or that the public in general doesn't even notice the contradiction.

And along those same lines, Roman Polanski is lauded by many to be a genius, and yet he did some things for which many a dirtbag is doing hard time in federal penitetiaries. For that matter, so did Woody Allen. But it's different when the person is already established as acclaimed or as some sort of oracle of our age - the annointed are entitled to carte blanche and seem to enjoy some sort of royal immunity from answering for their transgressions.

No matter how many times this drama is re-cast and played out, it remains a startling double-standard.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I would have sworn I posted once about the soul-sucking vacuousness that was the Anna Nicole Show trainwreck. I distinctly remember predicting her demise, but I was wrong: I said she'd be dead with 2 years, and that was 2002. Pi-tee-ful.

You know, I occasionally have very rich kids come in and rent apartments, and I have to say that some of (not ALL) the trust fund kids have been the worst, flakiest and most irresponsible tenants I've seen. Apparently, staggering wealth destroys as many people as it helps, and I'd say moreso in the case of fame. Better off out of that mess - life is complicated enough without having a supermarket rag reporting the Preparation H boxes they found in your trash bin. Then there's the matter of the blood-sucking hangers-on. Leeches.

Anyway, back when it started, I watched an episode of that show, and I simply couldn't bear it - it was too pitiful and disturbing. It seemed obvious to me that the producers must have fed her a steady diet of stupefying drugs and booze, strung out as she was.

They must feel very proud of their work, now.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

George W. Bush had it all wrong about Nancy Pelosi: she wasn't measuring for curtains in the Speaker's office, she was measuring for curtains in her taxpayer-provided personal private military jet. What a pompous ass!

What I wonder is why someone in the Hollywood community doesn't simply provide her one? After all, she's their guy. The most hilarious bit of flak I've seen in the media on this was when someone referred to her requested aircraft as a "flying Lincoln bedroom." tee hee.
...and the hits keep coming. Shaved Poodles! Ugly Hair colors! Name-dropper alert

I've just learned my friend Takesha Kizart is going to star in the title role of Puccini's Tosca with the Dallas Opera. Dunno if this is the upcoming season or the following, but it's kinda neat. She's a magnificent soprano, and this is one of the ultimate roles of the entire Operatic repertoire. I'll never forget the first time I heard her sing at school - she set spinning the wigs of a few old queens on the faculty - what a hoot.

I'm feeling horribly conflicted because remember how excited I've been about seeing Leslie & the Lys the weekend of May 2? Well, that happens to be the date of my friend Latonia Moore's debut recital at Carnegie Hall. I'd really really rilly love to go see Latonia's debut, but, I dunno. I'm so busy and stressed out. Maybe if I can cop a great deal on airfare from Priceline or something. She's the second friend from music school to debut at Carnegie Hall. My other friend was South African pianist Petronel Malan, but I didn't get to go see her debut, either. This cd of Petronel's was nominated for a couple grammys. She's lately released a cd of Transfigured Mozart which sounds delish-- give it a listen. Here is a link to a 2003 Mahler 2nd Symphony which features Latonia. You have to poke around in this to find her, but it's totally worf it - she is a magnificent soprano.

Superb musicians, all.

Why are they at Cargnegie Hall and not you, Phlegmmy?

Because they practiced, practiced practiced. I practiced, but perhaps "thank you to the academy" speeches in the bathroom mirror don't count. As Tam would say: *le sigh*

I'm not feeling bummed or anything, but I had my hir did on Monday night, and although I'm not beyond vibrant, bracing hair color, I rather aspire to stick with human hair colors found in nature. I feared the purple foam on my colorist's gloves Monday was the portent of evil. [Steer clear of a colorist on Vicodin, boys and goils] Yes, this is a hair color possibly found in nature -- I'm calling it black cherry -- but the bit of nature I'd guess it was found on would be the ass-end of an orangutan outcast from polite orangutan society for hygienic disquietude and crimes against etiquette. I'm just saying. For once, I'm longing for the fade-out and the defiant sproing! of those wily silver hairs. They'll be back before I know it anyway, and they'll have friends in tow for a sizable gathering, no doubt.

I kept looking at a woman in my Real Estate class last weekend whose hair was a sort of pinky-purple puce, and--I suspect-- not intentionally so. It was a fade-out, and she wasn't the punk-rock type, by a long shot. I felt sorry for her, like I needed to go up to her and be super-nice. Poor little stray lamb. It was funny how most among the 50 people they gathered in clutches and found their little tribes. People of all ages and ethnic groups. A few hip hop types found each other. A couple hot chicks had the gooberoid spotty hopeless white males in the room clamoring for their favor. It bears repeating: hopeless. Then, like a blinding pair of headlights in the road ahead were the lily-white pair of alpha-males, clinging together for warmth in a sea of oddities and not-the-usual-situation-in-which-they-were-firmly-in-control. I sat at the back and watched everyone else checking everyone else out - humans. We are ridiculous creatures.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

What is up with the outrageous tensile strength of plastic packaging these days?

It's really bugging me-- what chemically is different about the common plastics now that were so easy to tear away and dispense with 20 years ago?

Every CD you buy these days is over-packaged. In addition to the shrink-wrapped plastic (often requiring a utensil to rend) there is that beastly little adhesive strip along the top of the case which also must be peeled away. A rather perverse bit of irony is that this adhesive strip says "PULL" at one end, but I find it nigh impossible to remove with even the keenest of my talons - again, I use a knife.

Tonight I was opening a package of turkey from the deli, and although it was shrink-wrapped in plastic, it didn't look like it would be such a big challenge to open. However, I went through 3 of my heavy carbon-steel kitchen knives before I found one (sharp enough? what?) which would actually pierce the plastic. This is getting ridiculous.

Have you noticed that it's become almost impossible to open a potato chip bag with your hands anymore? Maybe that's a plot by the trans-fat nazis to make you start working the empty calories off before you sink your pearlies into the first snappy chip.

Most vexing.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Feast your eyes on this heart-warming tale of a NASA astronaut stalker-chick.

She was apparently married with children, but was carrying on some sort of affair with a male astronaut ("more than friendship" but "less than romantic") and she turned into a total bunny-boiler. The guy apparently was having a relationship with another woman, so the nut-case drove 1000 miles from Texas to Florida to confront her rival. Intent on making good time on the road, she wore diapers rather than stop for potty breaks. ew. How's that for a calling card to leave in your automobile for investigators to find?

Blah blah blah, the story goes, but what struck me as most bizarre is this bit at the end of the article about the object of her affections - the Michael Douglas to her Glenn Close:

A father of two children, Oefelein enjoys fishing, hiking and snowboarding,
according to his NASA biography. In December, Oefelein, 41, logged about 308
hours in space.

Now, is it just me, or does that read like a personals ad? It sounds like he's being introduced as a bachelor on The Dating Game. Oefelein likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. It also sounds like he's short one stalker now that what's-her-name has been arrested. Ladies: I think we should organize a mass-stalking. Let's converge on his next public event and throw our panties at him. Better yet - let's throw our Depends at him. He's gonna love us!

Honestly - where are publications finding these crap writers, and why don't they give me a job? I'd LOVE to be on The Daily Planet's dime when I chew pen-caps and twirl my hair through my fingers while I come up with the daily scribblings of my unquiet mind, and I promise I'll rein it in before I peg my schlock-meter. Where do I sign up?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Oh, Sunday was a big yawn in my real estate class - thought we'd never get out of there. It's not feeling like a physical grind, yet, but it is tiresome to sit from 8am until 6:30pm in the same chair. It was kind of interesting, though, because most of the other students were going out of their minds with desperation to get out and watch the ball game.
I've pretty much kept my mouth shut, just sitting at the back, trying to fight the urge to daydream and doing some spectacular doodles. At about 5:00, the teacher was talking about the Fair Housing Act and all that sort of stuff about protected classes, etc., and he talked on and on about who it's illegal to discriminate against. He said if you have cancer, you're not considered handicapped, but if you are an alcoholic, you qualify for handicapped status. I blurted "so if you're an alcoholic you can park really close to the bar." He said "you've been holding out on us, Phlegm, you're funny. You need to contribute more to the conversation." I said "Nah, I don't like showing off." Of course, my nose grew about an inch just then, sassy thing that I be.

Sunday night's Rome episode was dazzling. Pullo is SUCH a good guy and it's such a surprise to find him to be the most constant of the characters - the most true to his friends. In season one he said he was born in a slave camp, and so when he goes to help Vorenus retrieve his children from a slave camp, it is all the more meaningful. The more mature version of Caesar/Octavian is good - his manner is very like that of the younger actor, and I think he's a convincing fit.

I wish Octavia would hook up with Octavian's friend Agrippa, but we also know from history that Octavia will marry Mark Antony - that should make for interesting family gatherings--not that the writers are portraying events precisely as they occurred. Oh, and Atia is beneath contemptible these days - she's not so much fun when she's so intent on torture, murder and revenge. Obviously Octavian is carrying a grudge, and considering how Atia's defiled the family name by having Servilia kidnapped and tortured, I suspect it will be seen as an honorable thing if Octavian commits matricide. Pity, if he does, though - I'll really miss Polly Walker.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Wow - well, after 5 years of this blog, Blogger forced me to switch to beta - it told me I could skip the switch prompt one time only, and I figured what the hay and took the plunge. Amazingly - it looks like my crap made the leap with me so YAY! Especially my links to you sexy, sexy people - I'd hate to lose touch with you, and I'm too lazy/busy/glamorous to woodshed settings a la cut-n-paste mode.

Unburden mode

Today there was a different teacher at my real estate class, and I'll have him again next weekend. I think most people preferred him to the teacher from last week, but her style worked better with my learning challenges. This instructor was jovial and seemed a nice guy, but regardless his opinion, I could stand to have an entire day in a classroom without a man standing up and telegraphing his political views to all and sundry. Stick to the curriculum. As it was, we barely got out after 10.5 hours in the classroom - I honestly thought he was going to make us stay late. I'm sure all that is in the spirit of getting everyone out in time to see that big horse race tomorrow, but still - exhaustion!

I'm no dimwit, academically, but those mnemonic devices just have the effect of scrambling my brain. I marvel that most of the rest of the class seemed to welcome these little helpful things, but tell me these memory devices divorced from an explanation of the nuts and bolts of what the purpose for the words are, and you might as well be teaching me in dog-, or chicken-ese - does not compute.

The teacher last week did a fantastic breeze-through of each chapter, focusing on the most salient bits, then on to the review questions and finally to the quiz at the end of chapter. This teacher today simply started on the review with no overview so now we can answer questions, but we really don't have an understanding of the function of these important principles.

What the teacher taught us last week I couldn't have done so well on my own - I found myself feeling well pleased I'd not opted for the computer correspondence-style training. However, what I'm learning this weekend I could do myself as well at home and in a fraction of the time. Grrr.

Friday, February 02, 2007

In honor of the French ban on Smoking

To kick off their campaign to stop global warming, the French have banned lighting up in public.

Here's a golden chestnut from the one and only John Waters. I'll never forget the revelatory moment I saw this clip for the first time at the Inwood theatre at the world premiere of Basket Case II. What was forgettable was the film that was premiering that evening - it was either Basket Case II or Frankenhooker. I didn't keep careful notes, alas.

I consider myself a savvy shopper, but every once in a while I must invest in something for which it is unlikely I will ever find use beyond sheer novelty.

Take for instance this adorable "Zit Nix" pimple cozy set I bought today: I rarely have pimples and even then wouldn't festoon same with a stylized skull or mini-8-ball - I just found them irresistible.

Then there was that sheet of lick-n-stick Miso Pretty tattoos I had to have...

I'm a child. A child, I tell you.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Odd dead animal event of the workday on Wednesday: Found a small dead goldfish in the parking lot. I've puzzled and puzzled over this, and finally concluded that maybe a bird caught the fish in a koi pond or container watergarden of a nearby condo and dropped it, or maybe a cat caught it but lost interest when the little thing died.

In any case, I'm hoping this and the previous odd occurrence are merely bookends, and not the first two in a serial case of dead fish events on property. January - what an odd month. It's over.

Great moment on this week's episode of House. He's examining an overly-fastitidious Dapper-Dan type who obviously disdains House's untidy appearance. As he looks up the guy's nose with the nose-looker-upper-thingie, House asks DD if he uses toenail clippers to trim his nosehairs. DD's making smarmy remarks that House's lack of care with his appearance makes him wonder if House is lacking care in his professional endeavors.
House interrupts this acrimonious discourse with his deadpan delivery of the following:
I'm wearing a rumpled shirt and forgot to brush my hair this week.
You've got athlete's foot in your nose. I'm ready to be judged.

I LOVE that show!