Friday, February 29, 2008

Twirling my inner disco ball and celebrating 20 mugging-free years...

I Want You by Cabaret Voltaire

From the collection of Crap I Still Have On Vinyl, Dude.
This video is a sort of Nosferatu goonie who's coming in to menace females who are up to their own business, including fitful sleeping, fit-throwin' and dancing in the dark. In the end, the creepula-type is menaced by the females and slinks, shamed, back into his coffin.

We likee!

* side note - once I was chatting in IM with FatHairyBastard and he sent me links for stuff he likes which largely ran to Floydus Digitalis and I sent him this. He apparently practically spewed beer out of his nose and fell over himself to type back that this was the kind of music they tortured Noriega out of his house with.

Rilly? Noriega couldn't hang with my kind of stuff? What a wimp.
Teach your children well.

One thing that's really jumped out at me from the comments on my 20 year muggiversary is all you wonderful men who are concerned about the females in your lives. This is an issue in which reality has a stark, cold break with the inanity of popular ideology: to lie back and think of England is not an option. If you can not teach your daughters to defend themselves, it is incumbent upon you to get them to whatever martial arts/self defense training best works with their learning methods, and when possible, arm them with the ultimate of equalizers. I'm not being politically correct there, either - I'm an audio/kinesthetic learner. I retain more of a lecture if I'm doodling and listening. You need to help your girls recognize what style works for them, and as one particularly astute blogger noted, find a self-defense teacher or system that works with the way their particular brain is wired.

One of my favorite movies is The Edge, and it cites an aboriginal legend of a rabbit and a couger. It asks why is the rabbit unafraid of the cougar and the answer is the rabbit is smarter than the cougar. Women need to find the way to tap their inner strengths and make the most of them, because we do not have size and strength on which to rely.

I have to say your belief in and encouragement of the strength and cunning of your daughters and wives is the best investment you could make. Thank heaven for little girls, eh? The balance between what's great about men and what's great about women is a profound thing.

Thank you for the validation of the young woman I was who felt very alone 20 years ago. I was so sure I was right.

May your women kick every bit of ass that trifles with them.

This is going to be an odd post for me, and if it's boring or terrible, then I apologize in advance, but this won't be my usual ball-of-fluff. It's just that I have a story I've never mentioned here (I don't think) and it turns out this is the day to post it, if ever there is one.

Though I'm not one to hang a lot of significance on dates, leap day brought itself into sharp relief for me forevermore on February 29 of 1988. I'm probably one of the least superstitious folk you'll ever meet, but when leap day comes back around, I always remember 1988.

I was 22 and working for the US Post Office at the Bulk Mail Center, armpit of the greater Dallas metro area. I had some office details, but mostly I threw around 70 pound sacks of mail for a living. Yes, I was fit and healthy, but then again, at 5'2" I was still no Linda Hamilton. I was paid well and liked the work itself, if not the way the place was run. I went to Europe occasionally, went to every concert that took my fancy, and I was having the proverbial fun a girl was meant to have, very carefree.

I generally didn't hang out with co-workers, although I found some to be passably nice and even pleasant to talk to. One couple I liked in particular kept asking me to meet them out at a bar in a large entertainment district at the west end of downtown. One day, I finally agreed and I showed up-- leap day. I was wearing ballet flats, olive cotton pants and a white tank shirt with little purple lilacs. Oddly, I carried a small purse that night with a long strap crossed diagonally from my right shoulder to my left hip-- I normally didn't carry a purse, finding them cumbersome and a general pain in the butt. The olive pants had no pockets, though, so the catch-all accessory was a must that night. There were a lot of people around, and I felt fairly comfortable, even though I wasn't that familiar with this complex of bars and restaurants. It was still early enough to be light outside.

I walked around the corner where the couple said they'd meet me and instead of my colleagues I saw two tall black men walking toward me. They were memorable because they were both wearing very tight white jeans and white t-shirts, also tight. Strange to coordinate in such a way. Hmm. Whatever. I've always been the never-met-a-stranger type, and I made eye contact with one of the men and started to say "hello," but I instantly sensed menace(?!) in his gaze and I averted my eyes. I heard the words come out of his mouth as if they were shouted from the other side of a field:
"Give me your purse."

What? No! He didn't say that. Brain can't process this.
Yes, it happened very fast but I could chart and graph every scintilla of the experience.
I kept moving forward and the man nearest me reached and grabbed the part of my purse strap over my sternum as he said
"Give me your fucking purse."

I have less than a fraction of a second to process what's happening, I flip through my memory bank of their attire, and considering the tightness of their clothing, I decide they are not carrying guns, and I plan my course of action and move forward with it. I give him the only response which made sense in my universe:

"No fucking way."

People all around. People everywhere. Every direction I look there are people. How can this be happening?

my hands go instinctively to my purse grasping at the corners, a strap extending from each desperately clutching palm as they push me down.
I am in a foetal position around my purse, on my knees. They each are beating with one hand on the back of my neck and on my spine, each pulling on one side of the purse strap with the other hand. I see people standing around in an ovine stupor, useless. I see Madras plaid shorts with hideous tourista white socks. The fists on my spine surprise me - in a way they don't hurt, I feel the force of the blows but it's not that bad, for some reason. I'm on my knees looking around for any help, any port in a storm, and I see a silver BMW sedan with two white couples, men in front, women in back seat, stopped in the street, staring gape-mouthed. "Muffy, look! How quaint-- a mugging!"

Isn't anyone going to help me? A mere female chick being beaten up by two big goons? What in Hades is wrong with this picture?

When will this stop? I earned the privilege to have this purse and all it contains, you sniveling piece of shit-- I busted my ass, I sweated, this is mine. I'm hanging on for dear life, and I can hang on for an hour, if need be. Someone has got to stop this. this must stop. SOmeone will come along. Someone...

my heart sinks as the leather betrays me and one side of the strap snaps free from the bag. as if this were planned - as if they'd been practicing this very move for weeks, the instant the strap breaks free, the guy on the other side grabs the little bag from the underside and pulls the straps clean out of my hands, free, and they are off and running. For hours I won't feel the rope-burns on my palms. I run into the street after them immediately and they run into a parking lot. I stand in the street, screaming yelling an inarticulate babble of rage and despair - what just happened to me?

A big Irish cop comes on the scene and gently guides me out of the street onto the sidewalk by the parking lot where the goons both ran. He was the beginning of the universe setting itself aright. A security guard for the parking lot who "saw the whole thing" came over to lend a hand, acting like the calm voice of reason to my sputtered, breathy regurgitation of events. Thanks, pal. Really.

The goons pull up in a 70s car and out of the parking lot exit. The officer does nothing to stop them. They drive away. We get make, model and license plate number.

Emergency room, bruising, no serious injuries. In coming weeks I field an array of variations on "why didn't you just give it to him?" and am told by all and sundry that I'm a moron for not just handing my stuff over on demand.

My dad got in touch the detectives who were handling the case. My dad is the same kind of salt-of-the-earth man they were - the men who make things right. I felt they were as committed as my dad to the objective of holding these dirtbags accountable. We were told it was highly unlikely a mugger would ever be caught, and even more unlikely he'd be positively identified in a lineup. I could see their faces, though, and I still can - identification would be a snap.

In late April, I got a call from the detective: the car was pulled over in connection with another robbery, and could they bring some photos by the BMC for me to look at? I identified the man who was driving the car. The detective would later testify that I shuddered when I saw his photograph.

His pubic defender insisted I identify him in a live lineup - I had named the wrong guy. Again, I had no difficulty in fingering the excrescent congregation of flesh which matched the image seared on my brain.

The trial was set, and so began a pattern: I'd take the day off, meet my dad at the courthouse, then the pubic defender would ask that the trial be postponed at the last minute. This happened about 4 times.

Finally, the day of reckoning came about. The assistant district attorney was a pistol-of-a-woman and one of my personal heroines. On a pound-for-pound basis, she whupped him way more on the stand than he had done me on the street on February 29. She had the most fetchingly homey east-Texas drawl you ever heard - her voice was the aural equivalent of a big, old comfy leather chair - HOME! When the sentencing phase came around, I'll never forget the words with which she admonished the jury:

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we have asked for a sentence of 20 years and a $10,000 fine, but you do not have to issue that sentence: you may sentence him for more if you think it is appropriate."

I was elated. Props to the lady in shining armor on the white horse! Finally, someone steadfastly in my corner, someone who agreed and said for the record that- dammit- this was my purse to which I had sole right.

In the end he got 7 years and $5,000 fine. He did a plea bargain on all the other charges against him, including raping another inmate, so he probably ended up cooling his heels in lockup for at least a couple more leap days. Happy endings.

It was an incredibly strange adventure. I wish it never had happened, but I learned a whole lot. I learned that bad crap can happen to you and that you can still survive. I learned that other people are very afraid. I learned that other people will try to shame you into validating their fear-based approach to life. I learned that you can not shrink from threat and just hope it will go away. I learned that if you have no plan to react to a physical attack, you won't really know what to do when faced with that situation. I learned that in the moment of real crisis, no one is going to step in and save me: I'll have to save myself.

If I'm ever in that position again-- unarmed and under attack -- I mean to come away from the experience(even if dead) with at least the trophy of one eyeball from my tormentor with which to festoon my trophy case. Next time would/will be tooth-and-nail. If I have time to access it, my weighty little Leatherman will be slammed forcefully into an accommodating temple-- I will do my best to kill with my bare, immaculately manicured hands: no more Mr. Nice Bitch. There are kneecaps, eyeballs, shins, insteps and wedding tackle among the array of vulnerable areas on an attacker, and I'll set about my business if I must.

I didn't believe in just handing it over, and I don't even moreso now than ever. I'm still no Linda Hamilton, but I think this is a principle that applies not just to possessions or your life, but to our very freedoms and rights as human beings. Don't just give it away without a fight. Passivity gets you nothing but soundly and thoroughly ensconced in the bitch-seat, and you teach the aggressors they were right to disdain you.

Yeah, it's possible someone will divest me of a handbag in the future, but next time, I'm going to take something in exchange, including a heaping helping of their DNA.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ, and all that stuff.
Thanks for the recommendation, rabbit!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I haven't talked a lot about the doglet lately, but she's not been feeling very well. She turned 16 on Halloween, and while that's not an un-heard age of for a Jack Russell Terrier, she's definitely an old lady now.

The problem is that she's been puking her food up every time she eats. Sometimes it's many hours later when this happens. Anyway, I took her to the vet and had bloodwork done, but haven't gotten an answer from them about what's going on. I spent about $200 on this visit, and I've called twice and asked the Dr. to call me back. Once one of her flunkies called back 2 days later and left a voice mail asking me what the problem was.

I adore my Vet and I think she's fantastic (if expensive) but the staff at her clinic lately are beneath sucking. For example, the day I took her in 2 weeks ago, I splained why I set the appointment, and when I arrived with her, I told them the catalog of complaints. The person who checked us in asked again "now what was wrong with her ears?" and I said I hadn't mentioned her ears, and went through the laundry list again. I was dropping her off and would pick her up at the end of the day. That afternoon, the vet called and left me a message and said doglet looked good and seemed okay, and she couldn't find anything wrong with her ears. So the dimwit at the check-in heard me catalog her ailments TWICE and proceeded to ignore what I told her and wrote something about her ears on the card. I tried not to act impatient when I explained to the vet what had been happening, and she decided to do a blood panel and make sure everything was working properly.

I spoke to a receptionist on the phone Wednesday morning who said she'd have the Dr call me before the day is over. I never heard from the doctor. Meanwhile, it's hard for me to get a full night of sleep when my little dog pukes on me at 4ayem. I had to exile her from the bedroom, and it distresses me not to let her sleep on the bed when I suspect she's feeling poorly. I don't want to make her sad in addition to sick.

Holly's sent me her vet's contact info, and I'm going by my vet's office Thursday morning to pick up all her records and the bloodwork from the 15th and taking her elsewhere from now on.

Do you think I'm over-reacting? I suspect that what's wrong with her is not enormous, but you never know. I hate to think of how frantic I would be in this case if I thought my dog were at death's door. Tell me if I'm being a drama-queen. I think waiting nearly 2 weeks for a clear answer is asking a bit much of a concerned pet devotee.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Photoshop gone wild?

Garsh! I think it's great that, like little parrotfish Nemo, this woman with the gimpy fin has found her place in the world and is even celebrated as a pin-up sort of person.

Seriously - GQ must have one of the most esteemed art direction staffs of all men's magazines, so why this wonky cut-up of her right leg, the mangling of which fairly jumped off the page at me? D'ya think they thought she was fat and needed to be pared down a bit before publishing? I don't get it. On the other hand, it's rather refreshing to see prison-tattoo perspectives on such a high-end publication.

I don't know what all this means, but I think I like it!
Anyone else having trouble accessing Hotmail? I tried it about 4 hours ago, and it's still not working. Harumph.

Update: Okay, 6:20 pm here and it seems to have been back to normal for the past few hours. That was weird, though. I wonder if it had to do with the Florida blackout thingie?

Your babies' caddy...

Perhaps Loretta Lynn said it best when she sang "One's on the way."

Brangelina are specking another froot to spring from they loins.

Gallery of the Absurd posted this fabulous illo of a hands-free multi-baby caddy for the mom-on-the-go. Circling the bowl, as it were...
Did you year about the 44 year old diabetic woman who died on an American Airlines flight from Haiti to NYC?

Of course, only her intimates and physician know the true nature of her medical history, but in my opinion, if this fragile woman was likely to die from a lack of oxygen on an airplane, she should not have traveled via that means of conveyance. Seriously. The article mentions that in addition to diabetes, the woman suffered from heart disease. How often do we hear of 88-year olds dropping dead on commercial flights? Not very often. Um, if you're unhealthy, maybe you should keep your ass home and not burden non-medical-professionals with the dilemma of how to treat your medical crisis at 37,000 feet, ya think?

Of course, it's a sad, heart-rending story, and it's sad for someone to expire so early in life. However, if the airline had caused this woman's death, then you'd be hearing stories like this in the news every day of the week.

I feel for the cabin crew, and I feel for the airline, because they'll never hear the end of this. The fact is that unhealthy people fly all the time and don't drop dead in transit, generally speaking. In fact, every person who travels via commercial aircraft is statistically more likely to die in the car to- and from- the airport than they are on the plane.

I just hope this doesn't end up in a lawsuit thing. I can just see a spate of Weekend-at-Bernie's style copy-cat hijinks wherein scheisters try to capitalize on gravely ill associates in order to bilk airlines in wrongful death suits.

The Nineties had the $3 million dollar McDonald's coffee spill. This could be the new thing for the Oughties. *much eyerolling here*

Monday, February 25, 2008

A couple things have always confused me. Yes, I could look this stuff up on a series of toobs, but I'm a bum, so I come to you sexy people for answers.

Is it "all tolled" or "all told?"
"All tolled" is what I always thought the expression was-- that everything had been accounted for and metered.
"All told" would connote the final word had been spoken on a subject.

Which do you think? (I'll bet Breda knows.)

The other thing is an expression I've heard but never seen in print. Okay, yes, I'm lazy. "To damn one with __________ praise" -- meaning to give a backhanded compliment. Do you fill the blank with "faint" or "feigned?"

I'm just wondering.

Isn't it funny that you can hear an expression or a name of something all your life and you never question it?

My accent is fairly mid-western with the occasional southern twang and colloquialisms out the wazoo. However, I realized about 6 months ago that I have all my life pronounced "binoculars" with 2 r's. Yes. It's embarrassing to admit, but these days I stop myself an instant before I try to utter "ber-noc-u-lurs."

I'm not exaggerating. Yes. I'm just that fancy, lavishing my orations with unnecessary consonants and diphthongs not found in nature.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Finally, they gave an Oscar to someone who performed brilliantly in a film. I don't just approve of this one because she looks like the twin of my baby sister, but that doesn't hurt, either.

*le pout*
Does this mean my head is mostly empty? I hate to argue with very scientifically obtained data, but...

...and it can't be that I keep my mouth shut about, well, about much.

For Thud (a Pratchett reference? You must be a superior human being) I found this site which lists active Drive-In theaters in the USA. There I found this page on which you may click for a particular state and see the currently active DI's there. I hope you get a chance to visit one - though it's a less common thing these days, the Drive-In theater was a big part of the great American love-affair with the automobile, and was a golden moment, in its way. With names like Starlite, Astro and Apollo, even their names were somewhat romantic, in a lot of cases.
I noticed that this theater in the Texas panhandle (thanks for the tip, LawDog) is not listed on their site, though, so it may not include all drive-ins which might be in your area. I'd say an extensive search might yield more theaters than listed here, and would definitely be worht the effort.

Happy hunting!

When we first moved to Texas, our family went to see Superman at the Astro drive-in in Dallas. This was a massive Drive-In with 3 huge screens. In the back seat, I made free to look out at the other screens at 4- and 8- o'clock. I don't remember 8 o'clock, but 4 o'clock was featuring Kentucky Fried Movie. Of course, I couldn't hear what was going on, but it looked completely insane, so I was naturally much more interested in that than the Christopher Reeve action. The image from KFM which seared itself on my brain permanently was a shot of what appeared to be poop landing on the head of a babydoll. Do I mis-remember? I've never watched that movie, which is a funny thing, considering what arcane and bizarre movies I've consciously sought out in my adult life. Anyway, at one point, I laughed out loud and Mom realized I wasn't watching the same film as she, and she scolded me soundly. I kept watching to see what was going on in the other films. I've always been a multi-tasker.

Tuesday nights at the Astro were $5 for a carload, and scores of cars would arrive and disgorge themselves of uncomfortable amounts of humanity.

In the summer, one night a week at Victory Park next to American Airlines, they show a classic or cult film on their big screen. You can bring lawn chairs and a picnic. I haven't been, but I'm told it's pretty neat.

Also, sometimes in the Observer, I've seen an ad for a rogue drive-in thingie where they project a film onto a building or solid surface and people just show up to watch it. They don't advertise where for obvious reasons, but everyone gets an email sort of at the last minute telling them where to convene. I'll try and get more information on that - it always sounded fun to me.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

And speaking of Drive-In theaters, remember those coil incense-type thingies you could light and stand on the dashboard to repel mosquitoes? (Does anyone call it a dashboard anymore?) Those things were prolly outlawed by the FDA. It might be fun, though, just for giggles, to burn some coil incense at a drive-in just for the sake of nostalgia. I personally love some incense, but I'm very olfactorily-oriented, and things I find stinky can send me right 'round the bend. I thought those insect repellent coils were a right stinky lot. Funny thing is, though, now I'd sort of like to smell one again.
One odd thing I always LOVED the smell of was leaded gasoline. (Can we blame any of my warping on that, perhaps? Actually, I'll give leaded gasoline credit for my rapist wit.) Remember that? It had a smell that was tremendously appealing. Today's gas smells not-so-nice to me. When I was a kid on road trips and we'd stop to re-fuel and re-stock moon pies and RC, I'd sorta linger a bit near the gas pump before getting back in the car. *bliss*
Okay. Maybe not that near the pump - I didn't get high or anything - just liked it.
Oh, and schnoobie's comment reminded me, and yes, I've mentioned it before, but I was utterly besotted with the smell of freshly printed mimeograph "ditto" sheets - Nice! They felt wet and cool to the touch, and that lovely pale indigo ink was wonderful. I would always volunteer to help pass out anything mimeo'd. Sweet!
Happy birthday to my sweet Mother!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Chief Drive-In Theatre
Quanah, Texas

Don't know how long this one's been defunct, but it's mighty weedy and the screen complex is fairly delapidated. It was cool to see this sentinel standing its lonely watch on a country road outside town.

By the way, there's a functioning drive-in in Granbury and I think I saw one in Tyler recently. There should be more drive-in theaters around, IMHO.

Speaking of the glory days of cinema-- over at Anarchangel, Chris has a great post up about the heyday of great film actors and how today's lot compare. This is an entertaining post with mentions of some exceptional films.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

One of the cool things about eating at a diner is that they seat you at a table with complete strangers. I always take a book in case my table mates aren't wise enough to capitalize on the opportunity to delight in conversation with your humble narrator. 4 out of 5 times, I never even open the book before I'm drawn into the table chat.

This week I met a woman of exceptional style. She was fabulous and as sweet as pie, and we talked the whole meal through. She said it was great to get a proper meal with all the trimmings, that she'd been married 47 years and that she cooked the first 20, her husband cooked the second 20, and now they eat at restaurants all the time.

I noticed the soft and very pretty Southern accent, and before I could ask, she mentioned being from Alabama, and that her husband was from Mississippi. I asked if they'd met at Ole Miss, and she said "goodness, no!" Seemed to me she looked really young to have been married 47 years. Her father'd owned a building which housed a radio station, and he admonished her never to pay any mind to the "trash" that worked at that station. Naturally, she fell completely in love with a rock and roll disc jockey at the age of 16. I asked her what her father thought of her choice, and she said "you don't want to know."

She knew he was the one for her, she said. He said he wanted to marry her, but that he only made $90 a week and could not possibly marry her until he made $120 a week. Shortly thereafter, he was offered a job in San Diego making $150 a week, so they eloped and to California there they came. That was 1961.

She said that first 20 years, she'd get up quietly at 4:30 every morning and cook the full compliment of breakfast illuminated only by the dim light of the open refrigerator. It's funny to think about a 16-year old doing that whole routine, isn't it?

She asked about me and my life, and we talked about college and domestic responsibilities. I told her about my plans and my newbie career and all that, and she asked me for my card and said she'd be happy to pass my info along to anyone she knew who might need help. I thought that was very lovely of her. She gave me her card too. It was really nice.

Last week, I got to hear a born-to-be-mild guy boring the crap out of his co-worker by rambling on about his motorsickle exploits. That amused me mightily, as the other guy clearly was not at all interested, never even uttering so much as a "yeah" or an "uh-huh" as his eyes scanned the room repeatedly. I thought of the head-caving-in-boredom of listening to this dry-as-toast boor and then of The Fly squeaking "Help me! Help me!" Before that day, I figured that it wasn't possible for someone with a motorcycle to be a dullard. Now I know the truth: if you have a motorcycle, that doesn't make you not a dork.
I was at the office late Wednesday and delivering a notice to every resident, when I passed by one who was standing outside his doorway, smoking a cigarette in the evening air. I complimented his pool table and he asked if I'd like to play. It was a nice pool table, but I honestly had to wonder if any female had ever taken him up on his offer to play strip pool. Sheesh.

This is what comes of taking people at face value: some rascals think that I'm so quiescent and accepting that maybe they can get away with some kind of crap. I told him just for that bit of insouciance, I was going to raise his rent. Oh well, at least we both got a good chuckle out of it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I went to high school with someone who works with Dad now. I also went to school with his brother, J, who turned out to be a colossal whore, a Chippendale's dancer and ultimately, a pervy (not good-pervy: bad-pervy) meth-head luzr.
Well, apparently J's so off his nut (hee) that he is telling all and sundry that he broke his penis. Dad was amazed and found several occasions to mention it recently when chirrins weren't around, to the horrified amusement of all. (usually I'm the first to pop off with juvenile ribaldry, so Dad has to over-achieve to get the one-up) Thankfully he spared the details on the event itself, but one can imagine. I'll not abuse your tender sensibilities with a literal description of the affliction as it was related to me, but suffice to say they were un-natural (read: 90° angles and mentions of the shapes of traditionally non-penis-shaped fruits) and disturbing in the extreme, and that grand description ended with "and it still works."
The really funny part is that Dad told his 93-year-old father about it, who listened with rapt fascination. Now every time Dad calls Grandpa, Grandpa has to have a progress report, and asks Dad to tell the story all over again.
I'll bet if you had a map of the Ozarks with yarn stretching from place-to-place where that story had burned up the phone lines within hours of the original conversation, there'd be a massive, convoluted tangle of thread. Dad got a kick out of the fact that at his age, Grandpa still has the ability to wonder with childlike fascination at all the glories of humanity. I told Dad that Grandpa will probably live at least five extra years on the fuel of that story alone, and hopefully to see how it all turned out.
I don't think I want to know. I'd say it's already a safe bet there's a nasty, burning drip at the end of J's rainbow.
bra·zen /ˈbreɪzən/
1. shameless or impudent: brazen presumption.

Check out this article about a couple worthless teenage hos who robbed a 9 year old girl scout selling cookies in front of a Winn-Dixie in Lake Worth Florida. The wastrels then came back the next day to taunt the little girl, and were promptly arrested.

If you click on the video file on the article, you'll be treated to the insipid whining of one of the perp bitches bemoaning the fact that after all their hard work to steal that $160-ish dollars from the girl scout and getting arrested and everything, they should at least have gotten to keep the money.

Staggering, innit?

h/t to Attila the Mom
In comments, Myron said this, and I concur so wholeheartedly that I thought it should go into the text of the post:
They needed a little creative sentencing as practiced by my congressman, Ted Poe when he was on the bench in Houston. Something like stand next to the cookie table wearing a sign saying "I tried to steal from these Girl Scouts."

Yes, those on the bench should be similarly creative more often. I'm all for bawdy, loud behaviour in the proper context, but having no shame about committing crime is something which should be routed out of our culture at every juncture. I do believe in redemption and in moving on and making something of oneself, but you can tell by their attitude that these girls are at the high and pretty end of a steep, low and nasty decline, and being brought up short may be the only wake-up they ever could or would heed. I don't think it'll happen. They're channeling Paris Hilton.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I haven't the remotest remembrance where I got this photo of the Stay-Puft marshmallow car, but, oh, what the heck!

Contender for Asshat Of The Year award:

A resident had a party and thought it'd be really groovy to just stick his ratty old washer/dryer out under the covered parking. Mind you, this is not a white trash community. There are no cars on blocks. My 2005 Hyundai is one of the oldest, cheapest cars to be found there.

I saw the W/D the next day and told maintenance to remove it from the property immediately, that the owner of our company would come unglued if they saw such trash sitting about. Maintenance approached the owner of the W/D.

Maintenance Person: We were told to remove your washer/dryer - would you like us to move them back into your apartment for you?
Asshat Of The Year: No. I really want to sell them. Do you know anyone who might want to buy them?
MP: Maybe. I'll ask. How much do you want for the pair?
AOTY: I want $100. If you haul them off and sell them I'll give you some money.
MP: *shrugs*
AOTY: Tell you what - if you'll sell them for me, I'll give you five dollars.

Maintenance took the W/D and sold it, dutifully bringing back the $100. Asshat of the Year didn't pay them the five bucks.

The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

What is up with someone who can so rudely misuse people and then screw them out of the obscenely pitiful amount he pledged to give them for their efforts? Actually, I think the offer of $5 for hauling off his unwanted old crap was more insulting than the fact that he didn't pay them. Better not to have offered at all.

Once a woman came to look at an apartment, saw AOTY on the property and told me a story about how he was in her store trying to dicker more money off on some $300 orange pants that were discounted 90%. He was enraged that the clerk wouldn't lower the price, and demanded to speak to the manager, who also was like: "that's the price, dude."

He paid the $30, and to the swank OOBER-hepcats running that chic boutique he's eternally branded as the most inveterate cheapskate of losers. She told me to call her back when that guy moved away, because she really wanted to live there, but didn't need the drama.
Good call, I'd say.
You have to feel sorry for someone like that- it must be very lonely to be unable to value other humans out of simple decency. How wretched to make everything about screwing someone out of a penny or two. Seeing someone like that who was obviously reared by jackals and rattlesnakes, I feel pretty humbled and privileged for the upbringing I received. I was already proud of that, but it's nice to be reminded. I should send him a thank you card.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Remember about 20 years ago, not long after the advent of ATM machines, here in Texas we could go to the 7-11 and buy a ticket for a Southwest Airlines flight to San Antonio for $29 or $39 each way? No identification required? The ATM would spit out your ticket voucher thingie.

Ah, simpler times.
From Mark over at Talk Radio Blogger I found out about this really cool typing quiz:

92 words

Touch Typing

I used to be really fast at typing. I still have fair manual dexterity, but, ya know... I got all excited when it came up 92 wpm, so I did it again but got all spazzy and froze up, and promptly flopped down to 72wpm. Meh.
Sunday I went three places in a row (two retail, one a restaurant) and heard Natalie Merchant songs in each place. I like some of her stuff, but mostly, I get sick of the holier-than-thou adenoidal preaching. Her buddy the pansexual Michael Stipe wore out his welcome with me in the same way. I listen to lots of artists with whom I may differ politically, but I reserve the right to ignore the message if the music has other edifying qualities. Picking through markdown towels at Storegasm™, the last thing I want to hear is some sanctimonious gasbag bleating on about child abuse. Frankly, stores make me want to abuse the parents of squalling, snotty little brats, so back off with the ham-fisted heavy routine, already, Natalie.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weeks of cool, moderate weather have deluded me into thinking I have some control over my hair. It's been smooth, straight-to-wavy. You know: manageable.

My hair has been on a 3 day mission to let me know who's the real boss of me. She means well but she's sort of a mess. She's channeling Magrat Garlick.

I left a IKEA yesterday (which was positively clotted with humanity) during an hours-long downpour. I walked under my umbrella pushing a buggy of a few glass things I'd bought'n. At the car, the tissue wrapping the glass stuff was soaked, so I had to set the umbrella down and pick up the glass things from the cart with both hands. 5 seconds in the in the rain and suddenly my hair was very heavy. What once hung below my shoulder blades was now thick, ropelike coils of completely soaked hair hanging now only to my shoulders. As it dried, it got larger and larger.

If my hair must be the boss of me, I wish it were more of a benevolent dictator.
A couple weeks ago, DBA Dude posted links to a couple songs by Feist, and I immediately fell in like. I'd heard her 1234 song on an Ipod commercial, and I'd sort of dismissed her as semi-confectionary variety poptart, but I find she's a much more substantial artist than that. I was wrong, and I'm so glad DBA pointed her out so I could give her a serious listen.

One song that's a clear standout on the cd for me was Sea Lion Woman, which I find absolutely captivating with its very African syncopated percussion, hand-clapping and call-and-response ostinato. I was impressed that Feist had the artistic breadth to compose such a thing. The tone clusters toward the end are thrilling rather than glancing, and Feist is something of a beast on the guitar. I really like her and she's been in constant play in me vehicle these two weeks. Give this a listen, and see how it evolves. The instrumentation is very stripped-down and yet still fleshy, somehow. More than the sum of its parts, or somesuch.

Then I learned that Sea Lion Woman was in fact composed by my most cherished Nina Simone. Listening to this performance of Ms. Simone in Barcelona in 1988, I rather think she would have been delighted by the direction Feist took the song. Well done on both.
Self-defense 101-347 *grisly film clip alert*

This is one of my favorite scenes in all of filmdom. It's vulgar and it's gory and extraordinarily unlikely, but it's a beautiful reversal. In this scene, the kitten kills the cobra. Never give up-- never give in. Never walk willingly to your own slaughter.

I keep thinking of that guy who killed those 5 women at the Lane Bryant store in Illinois-- there's a possibility that together they outweighed him five-fold -- how's come they didn't at least dogpile him? I'm baffled by the passivity. I'm not blaming them for being murdered, but I'm sad they didn't find a way to --if not take the melon farmer out-- at least prevent him from killing all of them. Shocking.

I remembered a passage from a post by LawDog sometime last year, and it really struck a chord on awareness which I think bears repeating:

...seeing what you are looking at is an invaluable aid to surviving. Don't just look at Street, Urban, Dingy, One Ea. -- see it: where are the ways out (both standard and non-traditional), how many people are present, possible improvised tools, ambush points -- see all of this, but also see the other things. The things that speak to you and lift your spirits. Decorations. Colours. Horned toads.

By all means, stop and smell the roses, but keep your eyes peeled for weirdos.

Armed with guns or no, I keep waiting for people to wise up and beat the ever-loving shit out of one of these lunatics. There was the CHL woman in Colorado who stopped the guy killing people at that church-- we need more of that to happen, but barring that, people need to grab onto anything at their disposal. How about taking a page from the terrorists' book and using those box-cutters-- they had to have those in the backroom of that store? Then again, I suppose the sheeple mentality which allows people to stand docile whilst awaiting slaughter is what comes of an entitlement society: "someone else will save me, I'll just wait for the gub'mint to show up and fix this."

Here Arquette should have won an award for best deployment of Elvis statuary. Then there's her creative use of the corkscrew, derision, shampoo, lid to the toilet tank, hairspray and lighter combo, shotgun, more corkscrew action, and shotgun as blunt instrument/primal scream therapy accessory.

James Gandolfini and Patricia Arquette in True Romance, which features a riveting scene with Dennis Hopper as a retired policeman and Christopher Walken as a big mob boss trying to wheedle information out of Hopper. Brilliant scene. Gary Oldman is a bad guy too. Great film, if you've the stomach for it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Product report:

Um. Can you think of any wine you'd like to drink at body-temperature?
I think the two-beer can baseball cap method makes more sense.
Not to in any way impugn the noble art of the Domina, but what kind of a dirtbag do you have to be to set off the alarm bells in the head of a professional Dominatrix? You'd have to be someone like San Francisco radio talk-show host Bernie Ward.

Here are a couple salvos from his golden cannon of wisdom(via Wikipedia):

On September 30, 2002, Ward appeared on CNN with Wolf Blitzer and discussed possible military action against Iraq. He commented regarding Saddam Hussein by stating that, "Hussein has not shown any threat to anyone," and that the "Kurds were prospering very well in the north even as al Qaeda has used some of their connections with the Kurds."

Rocket surgeon, he ain't.

I'll not abuse your sensibilities by reprinting the ghastly dialogue documented in his indictment. I will say, though, that considering he is not to have unsupervised contact with children other than his own, and given that the subject of his online sexual discussions was often sexual encounters with his own children, I wonder that his children have not been taken away from him? After all, anyone else in the country would be clapped into legirons at the merest suggestion of interfering with their own children.

Could it be that as an admired mouthpiece (or would that be "tool?") of the west coast liberal media, that he sort of gets a pass on erotic musings about children?

I'm also noticing this indictment was handed down in December, yet it's just now filtering out to all and sundry. I'm just saying if Bernie Ward did what he's accused of doing, and if he'd been a conservative, he would already have been lynched. Not so long ago, you couldn't hear yourself think above the hue and cry of the bawling calf that is the mainstream media in the throes of moral outrage over two grown men (one, a conservative! Bad man! Bad man!) playing footsie under a bathroom stall divider.

I'm bloody sick of the double standard.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Watching the trailer for the new Indiana Jones movie reminded me of this toothsome bit of snarkery over at

I'd like to see a TV documentary on those ancient civilisations whose main legacy to the modern world are vast, complex networks of booby-trapped underground caverns, of the type so often discovered by the likes of Indiana Jones and Lara Croft. There are so many unanswered questions: How did they become so technologically advanced? What was the significance in their religious belief system of the elaborate booby-trap and of killing people thousands of years after their civilisation itself had died? How long was the apprenticeship to become a master booby-trap maker? Did they progress from making 'fire-once' booby-traps to making those which could slaughter multiple victims over a period of time? How did they test the booby-traps?

That's exactly what I wondered-- figured they must have invented the re-set button millennia before the advent of Pong. Go here to see these and other engaging questions on booby-trapping civilisations and a lively discussion of same. Fun.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine by Sheffield artist Richard Hawley

I love this video. Happy Valentine's Day.

I named my doglet Valentine because (get out your barfbags) she's such a little sweetheart. No, I didn't get her on Valentine's day, and she wasn't a gift. She was actually born on Halloween in 1991, and she was about 8 weeks old when I got her. If I had to name her all over again, knowing what I know, I'd name her something fierce. Mephistopheleeza, perhaps. I have a million little pet names for her, most often I call her bun-bun or bunny-dog. I also call her Doggles, and lately that's morphed into Bundoggle. Whatever. She can puke everywhere and chew up shoes (yes, I can forgive her even that) and try to pick fights with dogs 10 times her size, and I'll always tell you that-- like Greebo-- she's just an old softie, really.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I kept my eyes closed when I woke up, drifting in the warm fluffy down comforter cloud of coziness, when I thought of my favorite Irregular Choice shoes. The ones with the leather trim filligreed like lace. Yeah, the ones with 6" platform heels. Sorta black-Minnie-Mouse-on-'roids effect. Yes, I had to put them on. They look great with my pajamas, by the way. I'm wearing them now.

So then I thought I needed to get to and see if they still have this model in stock in the nude color leather, and alas, they do not. Disappointment is part of life, though, eh? Then something caught my eye, and my pulse started racing...

Just when I thought there was no room in my heart for any more love, along come these little deadlies:

zomg! I think I have to have them. Blue is so my color. Am I crazy, or are these kind of space-vixeny?

They'll be the cheapest shoes I've bought in absolute ages. Plus it's been at least a decade since I bought myself a pair of metallic shoes, so this is downright thrifty. AND they'll be here in time for the next Gogol Bordello show, even though I was thinking of wearing the Minnie-Mousers. Ah, the agony and the ecstasy of decisions...


So after I hit "post" in blogger, I hauled ass to my handbag in the other room, revving the old plastic as I wrenched it from my wallet. I returned to Zappos to see this little glory is only available in a size 6. Extensive searching landed me at the doorstep of, which also doesn't have this in stock. Have emailed inquiry to the company in full-bore grovel mode. Will keep you posted.

The good news, though, is I found the platform Mary Janes in the nude color (and half the price I originally paid) but also in Silver. Should I buy both? Am sorely tempted. *le sigh*

Tuesday was a day of extreme highs and lows. Here is a high:

For lunch, I went to what I was told was the most authentic Chinese eatery in the Dallas area, First Chinese BBQ at 111 Greenville in Richardson. Walked through the door, and looked into the hot case of meat to the right. Whole ducks with they feets and heads on, necks artfully twisted 'round into a curlicue, a row of duckie rockettes? Check. Entire BBQed head of a sizeable hawg? Check. Prep pan of roasted nebulous meaty bits, including what were clearly tripe and a rather large hog ear (thought those were just for dogs!), and sundry other little deadlies? Check. *Squeals of delight from the peanut gallery*

Here's the deal, and what inspired me to go there.

I've seen Anthony Bourdain eat pork skin right off the roasted hawg on his show in several locations. One was in a remote hamlet in the Shangri-La episode. The most mouth-watering one was a pork stand on a beach in Puerto Rico. Apparently, hours of basting and roasting yield wonderfully moist, smoky pork with a skin that simply cracked off, looking like thin peanut brittle. OOOOOOOH! *snap!* I wondered what that could possibly be like, and surmised from AB's utterances of sheer bliss that this must be some of the ultimate food, evah.

I was talking to a chef I know on Saturday, and asked if he knew of any place locally to get this kind of roasted pork. Without hesitating he directed me to this FCBBQ. Good call, although next time I intend to harrass a group of people into going with me, because this would be best if there are about 10 people and you can order 6 (or 15!) different dishes and try lots of things. The prices are relatively low and the portions are huge.

Oh, but the pork? Good googly moogly, you've got to try it. It's very smoky and moist, and some pieces are a bit fatty, but even those bits are glorious. And the skin? The flavor is a very hot, very fresh genetically superior cousin to the pork rinds you get in a bag. Yeah, I mean, there is the faintest naff of that kind of flavor, but it's sooooo much better. Yes, it snaps and crunches when you bite into it.

Oh, and I asked for "crunchy pork" and the Chinese lady pointed to it on the menu, and it just says "barbecue pork."

Other people have raved about the noodle dishes and about the duck, so I'll try each of those in future, hopefully soon. So, anyhoo, I know it's not wonderfully presented here or anything, but it really is the most fabulous stuff. You folks who live in the area have got to go there. Let me know when you do and what you think of it.

Cheers, m'dears!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Even Cowgirls get the bulls.

[I'm going to forgive myself for that. Sorry. Couldn't resist. Sorry. Sorry. Erm. Uh. Excuse me.]

Anyway, I've been in ecstasies of revulsion over this wall art on a Mexican bar, La Potranquita Night Club, at the not-nice end Harry Hines. Of course, the horror/fascination factor renders this baffling thing absolutely sublime. Some days, I actually love this town.

See how the clever artist applied the art directly to plywood or masonite so that it can be taken with the owners when this venue finally flops. Also take a moment to admire how the sturdy bull balances his weight and that of the bawdy lass on his dainty front hooves, as he has no legs in back. See the look of abject bliss on his face as Ferdinand skips daintily through the daffodils.

Sorry. Drifted there for a moment.

Plus, we all get to finally find out what Sarah MacLachlan has been doing with herself since Lilth Fair went bust. (I didn't say "tits-up" there. Are you proud of me?) Seeing as burlesque acts have sprung up like mushrooms after a rain, you gotta get a gimmick if you wanna get ahead. Cool gimmick, Sarah. I'm impressed!

Yippie-Ki-Yay, Melon Farmers!

I've lived in 5 different lofts and have had hundreds of neighbors whom I've known personally in those buildings. Now, of course, to varying degrees, I know more than 100 residents at my work at any given time, over the past 4.5 years. I had a new experience on Tuesday.

T. has always been such a delightful person. Several years ago, she was living in the Piggly Wiggly building and met my sister and her family who were also living there at the time. My sister told me about this lovely person she'd sit on the deck and chat with in the evenings. T had a pair of Afghan hounds, and I remember my sister telling me that one day after 9-11, some redneck dork-on-'roids rolled down the street in his pickup truck screaming at her that her dogs were responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans. I know: wtf?

Flash forward a few years, and T had moved off to Colorado, thinking the clear, dry air would be better for her breathing. Not so. The higher altitude made matters worse. Oddly, she called my apartments when she was looking for an apartment back in Dallas. She told me she'd lived at Piggly Wiggly and I put 2 and 2 together and we had a grand old time laughing about the Afghan hound thing, and she even got to be back in touch with my sister.

Friday I did something very unusual-- I left my real estate briefcase in my apartment office. I never do that.

Sunday I had an appointment and had to swing by the office for my papers and business cards and wossit. I found T standing in front of office, chatting with another neighbor. I joined in the conversation for a few minutes, and things turned to property matters. T told me a concern she had, and I told her I was on the case and that I was going to take care of it and evict the offending party, if necessary. She's shy and not one to complain readily, and I felt angry and indignant for her that someone would try to abuse her good nature. Mama mad now. No one messes with my baby chicks.

Anyway, I realized we were talking about unpleasantness for a few minutes and I said to both of them, looking into their eyes, that although I felt overwhelmed with righteous anger when people abuse the system and their neighbors, that I have to pull that back in and remember that 99.99% of our residents were good people, and that some-- like the two-- of them made my job a joy and were the sum total of what was rewarding about my work. They smiled and acted kind of "aw, shucksy," and I grabbed my briefcase and ran to my appointment, telling them how nice it was to see them.

Within 29 hours, sweet darling 35-year-old T had died of a profound asthma attack at work on Monday. Her sister called me Tuesday to make arrangements for wrapping up her apartment details. I was utterly crestfallen. She and I had exchanged text messages Monday morning. No. I just saw her. I can hear her voice in my head. No neighbor or resident has ever passed away. This is difficult to process.

I'm so sad, but I'm so thankful I got a chance to know her. I am thankful that I'm not afraid of looking foolish if I tell people how very fond I am of them. I'm thankful I forgot my briefcase Friday and got one last chance to see her wonderful self. We none of us are guaranteed a moment here, and it would be a shame to depart having left a nice and supportive word unsaid. And it seems so strange that this little quirk of time and happenstance would have given me a last chance to say to her that I cared and appreciated her.

T was often seen walking dogs for out-of-town neighbors, and she was always kind and friendly. After her health problems in Colorado, I'm so pleased she made it back to Dallas and that she landed in a safe, warm place with people who were so ready to fall in love with her lovely spirit and buoy her up with their friendship. I'm glad she was in a place where she was loved. We should all be so lucky. Then again, I think T was loved because she was willing to love. Not a bad way to live.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I think we're going to need a bigger Obit.

Roy Scheider died today.
I loved that guy.
He was delicious as über-gantsta in my guilty-pleasure movie Romeo Is Bleeding. He looked a lot like Eric Roberts, don't you think? I guess that means he looks like Julia Roberts. He was great in Erin Brokovich.

Happy Trails, Roy!

It pains me to compose (wrote that initially as compost) this post, but I fear I must. This hurts me more than it hurts you.

I have always adored this guy. After all, his band's name came from Barbarella, so everything that follows must be tolerably cool, right? He was not the prettiest young man, but he had a look that was solid bank in the early 80s.

Flash forward these two+ decades, and things are getting a bit rough around the edges. Hot and sexy heart-throb must be a vile pedestal to fall from, but a bit of perspective might serve one well in this instance. I'd say abandon the whole fashionista/must-not-age, dammit!/overly-groomed aesthetic and embrace the doughy, loping onset of middle-agedom in a way the rest of us all can respect. After all, his wife is still a supermodel, and he's prolly a gajillionaire.

When one starts listing toward the Lady Elaine Fairchild dropoff, I advise one to let go of the preenery that makes one look like a subject for and embrace the regular-guy-him-on-holiday look in the bottom photo. It's more real, and it's way more sexy.

That's my opinion, for what it's worth. Okay. It ain't worth much. But it needed to be said.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Two days ago I was cleaning out some old boxes of flotsam and jetsam and came across a disposable camera I'd snapped pics with in 2002. Had them developed, and it turns out they were my darling niece on one of our girlie days way back then, before she was in school. She's 4 or 5 here. I wasn't working, so the world was our oyster on our days together. Here, she is on the roof of the loft I lived in at the time near downtown. Notice what a non-event the symbols of power, commerce and modernity appear when compared with a pretty girl.

First, we'd go to Cafe Brazil in Deep Ellum for breakfast, where we'd make our list. We'd always sit in Angel's section, and she really doted on the girl, which we all loved. There were always police officers dining there, and niece always seemed to be noticed by them. We'd have a grand time. She would write out the list in her baby script, including Cafe Brazil as the first entry. Our lists included things like going to the discount bread store at Mrs. Baird's on Mockingbird and then going over to White Rock Lake to feed the ducks with cheap older bread. Sometimes we went to Froggie's Five and Dime, and we went to the museum and lots of other places. We also went to eat many different kinds of food, and through Thai, Japanese, Greek, Vietnamese and a bunch of restaurants, Thai is really her favorite. (You should see her demolish an order of sticky rice with mango!) She was proficient with chopsticks by about age 3, and with her big blue eyes and perfect swing bob, she looked like a little anime heroine.

She still causes a fuss everywhere she goes, and she's so genteel, gracious, lovely and modest. I wouldn't intentionally have failed to develop these 6 years ago, but they turned out to be such a marvelous surprise. Go to my Dallas Photo Blog (which I have neglected shamefully) to see a photo of her at Mrs. Baird's bread factory on Mockingbird. We took the grand tour that day, plastic hairnets and all. It was great.

Good times.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

O-my-darlin' Lin of the New Mexican badlands linked this fabulous commercial, and I just had to pass it along. I especially love the lintbrush. Good stuff.

23 by blonde redhead

Friday, February 08, 2008

When you think about the terrible burden of responsibility that goes with the office of the Presidency, don't you think someone who has held and graduated from that office should be ready for a quieter, less-public life? Other presidents have comported themselves as statesmen after retiring from the Presidency without being cloying media-whores. They enter office looking bright, optimistic and in some cases dewey-eyed. They exit office looking grayed, frayed and more than a little haggard. The physical wear-and-tear of that profession has got to be brutal. Anyway, considering what an exhausting, daily fight it must be, isn't it a little freaky that two people in the same couple would crave more of that after 8 years? I think it's incredibly un-natural, and I wonder about such a thirst for power-- it's warped.

Don't let the dress trick you.

Douchebaggery 5.0

Were you so busy spending money on your Ferrari or Bentley that not only do you live in a house that would blow down if you farted, you also have no garage for said righteous ride?

Well, happy days are here again, darlin'! Introducing the Car Capsule, an inflatable plastic bubble guaranteed to keep your hoop-d free of dust, garden tools and other funky things.


Oh, and a fascinating discussion on re-building the Titanic over at the gorgeously clever Enjoy!
Barbara of Bad Tempered Zombie fame tagged me on a meme I actually respect, for a change, ceptin' for the fact that my answers will prove me to be a complete numnutz when it comes to things literary. Oh well. So be it.

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

Um, lots of selections from Oprah's book club, but I confess I tried to read Catcher in the Rye and just couldn't do it. I actually think it's geared to the adolescent and doesn't hold up for folks who have a bit firmer grip...

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

Would like to have a wild throw-down with Gus McCrae, Evgeny Onegin and Moll Flanders (could prolly get a few pointers from each) and the event would be a Dionysian-style festival of over-indulgences

You are told you can't die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realise it's past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

Aw crap. Um. Any of that unctuously sentimental dreck by Nicholas Sparks. *kinda puked in my mouth just then. Yucky poo.*

Come on, we've all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you've read, when in fact you've been nowhere near it?

Um, most of the "must-read" list of literary classics...

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to 'reread' it that you haven't? Which book?

I don't think so. As evidenced by this blog, I have no fear of appearing ignorant before other folks, so no use social pressure. Once I'm bored, that's forever, baby. That ship has left the station.

You've been appointed Book Advisor to a VIP (who's not a big reader). What's the first book you'd recommend and why? (if you feel like you'd have to know the person, go ahead of personalise the VIP.

I would recommend a good translation of The Count of Monte Cristo, which is a riveting and timeless tale. Revenge never goes out of style.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

My choice for fluency would definitely be French for Proust and the like. A very close second would be Russian for Pushkin and many other brilliant novelist/poets.

A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

Lonesome Dove. No question. Rich reading, that.

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What's one bookish thing you 'discovered' from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?

Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. This is some of my favorite reading of all time, and destined to be a favorite, always

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she's granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

My dream library has a very good sound system and a massive supply of Shoyeido's Morning Zen incense, though that's probably not very good for the books. The room is circular with book shelves extending nearly all the way up the 16' walls to the cupola with little porthole windows. There are gas-light sconces around the room. A ladder attaches to a track around the room so that obscure texts may be plucked from top shelves on occasion. There is a chaise longue (yeah, it freaks me out too that they're spelling "lounge" "longue" these days, but who am I to argue?), a comfy, well-worn button tufted-leather sofa and a nice bin with a few blankies for cold days. A nice wine/liquor cabinet stands at the ready, and oh, there are books too. My books are not necessarily fancy, stained as they are with the drippings from curry and tomato soup, but they are well-loved. Occasionally, I'll have gatherings there and will invite at least one person to smoke a pipe or cigar, because I likes the fragrance.

Um, that didn't have much to do with books, did it?

Oh, well, reading is all about conjuring up another world, innit? I like my dream liberry. It's a good one.

Okay, I almost never meme, and tag folks even less frequently, but I think this is a good one, so if the following folks feel like giving it a whirl, I'd love to read their responses:

DBA Dude
Roberta X

It would be very interesting to see if there's any overlap on the memes of the wonder-twins Tam & Roberta...

Same goes for anyone on my blogroll - I'd love to see what you have to say. It'd have to be better than mine, right?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

At last: something from Burning Man of which I approve wholeheartedly. Motorized bunny-slipper scooters. Love the tractor seat. I'd drive that.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Am currently besotted with Milosh.

Milosh does this thing I really like that Steve Miller does-- doubling his own voice on the octave down-- makes for great texture. Atmosphere.

His new cd will be out sometime soon, and Dallas native Ryan Obermeyer will be doing the cover art. You may recognize Imogen Heap from the frontspiece of Ryan's site.

Anyhoo, this music oozes cool ambience. Kinda vibey, kinda exotic, kinda sexy. Enjoy.

Move over global warming, primary elections and the price of teacakes in Chinatown:

Tom Jones has insured his chest hair for $7 million (3.5 million pounds). Lloyd's of London said "we can re-hair him. We have the technology."


Weird Karma Loop?
Psychic Phenomenon?

I'll blather; you decide.

Last weekend I issued violations to a host of vehicles on my property and then called to have them towed. I hate doing this, because on such occasions, there will invariably be a resident who forgot to give their guest a pass for their dashboard, and the vehicles of legit guests will be swept with the tide to the tow lot.

There were so many interlopers this night that I absolutely dreaded learning after-the-fact how many were actual guests of residents, but I sucked it up and issued the violations even-handedly. I met with the first tow truck driver, and went home, leaving them to their work.

Sunday morning, I was baffled to learn from the tow company that only a handful of cars had been towed, the rest having cleared out of the lot. Greater than my surprise, though, was my relief.

Monday, a resident called to tell me of a neighbor who had gleefully pranced out on the lot and removed the parking violation cards after the first wave of towtrucks came and went. The caller also said when the tow trucks returned, Prancer leaned out of his window and said (verbatim) "Ha! Ha! You don't know which cars to tow, now! Ha! Ha!" The tow drivers didn't hear him, so he repeated this several more times. You have to love this kindergarten-ese from a man in his 30s. Meanwhile, his neighbors were steamed that he prevented parking violators from being held accountable--my presence there had been the result of a deluge of desperate calls from residents who had no place on property to park.

In fact, I benefited from symbolism over substance, having demonstrated my commitment to community policy, and he prevented guests' vehicles from being towed. Rather than annoy me, Prancer did me a huge favor: I enjoy the high regard of residents, and don't have to catch the flak from disgruntled ones. His little caper to cause me difficulty achieved the opposite, and made himself look asinine to his neighbors in the process. How sweet is that?

It's funny how things work out sometimes. I almost feel like sending the guy a thank you card, but this'll have to do: neener! neener! neener!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Product Report: Torch Sheer color lipstick by LOLA

Beautiful lipstick with just enough color for those days when "Harlot Red" is a bit much. You know what I mean?
Plus, extra points for best lipstick packaging ever.

One more thing-- run(yes, RUN) out to your local Target and fill your buggy with as many Merona Microfiber Fishnet tights as you can afford. They were about $5.99, but they're prolly marked down by now. They come in black, brown and charcoal gray and are the best fishnets ever. They don't make your feet sore and the only seams are at the toes. They feel great, too. I bought 10 pair and I'm going back for more-- I'm stocking up.

Separated at birth?

I mean this in only the most complimentary sense. I really like George Jones. I like hedgehogs, too. But something about their physiognomy is very similar: there is a directional pull to a central point, a force which sucks every fiber of their being to a terminus which-- like gravity or the perfect souffle-- suggests the divine order of everything-in-its-place and As It Should Be™. Yes, that point is the dainty little plug of a snout. KEWT! George's features sorta all bunch up in the middle, as if he were born with a flat face and it all pulled and tugged and squoze up as the little nose bump was formed from the wet clay. Yeah, camera angle plays a role, and his face doesn't look so hedgehoggy here, but I thought the 'do was African Pygmy Hedgehog all-the-way, so this is the entry that won out. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Lin sent me this some time ago, and I've meant to post it, but it's just not been the right day until today.

Saturday I went to Luby's to have some vegetables for lunch, and at one point, there was a loud percussive "POP" near the front of the dining room and all conversation immediately ceased. Suddenly, a small boy--maybe 3 years old-- began to cry. Standing next to him was a little girl with a balloon, and it was easy to surmise that his balloon had just popped. The room remained silent. There was a long line for the cash register, but the cashier stood up and walked over to the bundle of fresh balloons, pulled one from the bouquet and walked it over to the little boy. No one in the register line seemed to mind or to be impatient. Slowly, the hum of conversation and the tink of cutlery on plates again filled the air. I wondered how many people like me thought of that day in 1991 in a Killeen Luby's where this woman's parents were murdered by a lunatic. I wonder how many people, like me, said a silent thank you under their breath that the sound we heard was a balloon popping, and not something more sinister.

However, unlike all those years ago, I would put good money on the likelihood of some of today's fellow Luby's patrons packing heat and doing so legally, and I call that a beautiful thing.