Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ordinary Girl is firing up a new blog. Welcome back, honey!
Define irony.

A former exterminator was lost in the Australian outback and facing dehydration and starvation, he resorted to eating termites. After 4 days, Aboriginals came upon him and rescued him. "Termites don't taste too bad," he said.
You might have noticed I have perhaps an excessive love of music.

We didn't have an abundance of records at my house when I was a kid, but what we did have was of impeccable quality. I remember specifically "Early Orbison" as well as an LP of James Bond tunes (no, I won't sing Underneath the Mango Tree for you , even though I could) and precious few others.

What I do most keenly remember is an album of songs by Jim Reeves who is forever cemented in my heart as one of the great voices of the 20th century.

Gentleman Jim.

Isn't it sad that no current entertainment icon really fits the bill to be called "gentleman" these days? Amusements abound, but true refinement is unfortunately a rarity.

It would be glorious if some velvet voiced baritone [catch me, I'm swooning!] stepped up to the hero plate on some massive scale, but instead, we'll suffice to admire the myriad acts of gentility carried out by all the lovely regular guys who surround us on a daily basis. That, of course, is enough, but it's so nice to hear a performer whose talents seem to be an extension of some great personal strength of character, rather than the happy accident of a dna crapshoot.

Jim Reeves is the embodiment of what is best about 20th century American music. Here was a honeyed voice, undemanding and yet undeniable, assertively melodic and utterly masculine. Jim Reeves is one of the greatest musicians of the entire epoch of recorded music.

44 years ago today, Jim Reeves piloted his craft from Batesville, Arkansas, a town I've traveled through every trip on the way to and from to visit my grandfolk every trip for nearly 30 years. Flying into a violent storm, Reeves died when he crashed the plane on its way to Nashville.

It's so odd to think about this marvelous talent who speaks to me even having been dead before my birth. It's incredible to think that someone long gone could so strike their imprint upon your entire perception of life, but that's not a new thing, either. We all need heroes, and as heroes go, I think Jim Reeves must have been an exceptional man.

You know that spacecraft that was shot into space mebbe 30 or so years ago with recordings of famous human events contained therein to communicate our worthiness(or lack thereof) to possible alien species out in the cosmic boonies?

Well, they probably included clips of The Captain and Tenille, but they should have included samples of Jim Reeves. I think he cast us all in a more favourable light.

Bless him.

Stand At Your Window by Jim Reeves
What's funny is this is SUCH a stalker song, and yet guided by Jim Reeves, it seems a lovely and wistful soft country song. Good stuff. Enjoy!

don't hate me because i'm beautiful.
I wasn't shooting for adorable.
├╝ber-bitch was what I aimed for.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Auntie Hols gets some puppy breath therapy 7/25/08
Teh puppeh is fine as frog hair. She is 8 pounds of cute in a 2.3 pound bag. (ha, schnoobie!)

A neighbor stopped me yesterday and told me his girlfriend wants to abduct my puppeh. I said she'd have a fight on her hands.

Took Praline to the vet on Monday for her second round of shots. Dr. Parker came by the desk as we were checking in, and said "oh, that puppy is going to get some very unattractive spots, I can tell it's going to be an ugly dog. You'd better leave it with us," and he grinned, besotted. Says I "you think you may be able to find a home for her, one that would overlook her deficiencies?" He said "I do."

She proceeded to do the little charmer routine with all the people in the waiting room--even the cat people. Everyone just grinned like a bunch of loonies at her. She's just like that, my doggie is.

In the exam room, they took her temperature and she did protest much, howling like they were skinning her alive. Poor baby. The shot wasn't much better. Thank goodness they trimmed her little needle claws before the other indignities. She was figuring out about them. Various assistants kept coming into the room to coo and giggle over her. They all had to hold her. Most brought treats.

Time for the doctor to come in, and the two vets drew straws to see which would get to examine my puppy. She sat demurely, patiently as she was examined, primly crossing her front paws at the ankle as she lowered to her belly on the table. She's got great style.

As of today we can go to the dogpark and meet other doggies. YAYS!

Breda linked a Nellie McKay song earlier this week, and she has the best dog song ever. It fits.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Friday afternoon I got a call from a vendor I deal with on a weekly basis asking if I'd like to go to the Bryan Adams/Foreigner concert on Saturday night. I wouldn't have sought those tickets, but thought it might be fun. Holly had just come by my office to meet my puplet, and we picked up the tickets on the way to dinner at House Of Blues. I axt Hols if she wanted to come to the concert with me. Lo and behold, if they weren't VIP tickets, including VIP parking and the whole ball of wax.

I did like a few Bryan Adams songs, but only really became aware of him after high school. On the other hand, for me Foreigner was ever evocative of kids my age or slightly older who were getting up to mischief-- the kids who were drinking and smoking pot, both of which I had no use for. For some reason, the idea of teenagers getting polluted was particularly seedy and sad to me, and not my cup of tea. Even with that association, there were a few Foreigner songs I really liked, and the vocalist was quite good. I would generally take pains to avoid any nostalgia-oriented concert, but this seemed like a lark. Why not?

Saturday evening Hols and I went for the yummy chile rellenos at Matt's Rancho Martinez, and then moseyed over to the Superpages Center and arrived just in time for the show. Walking in, I saw a lot of people reliving their heyday. I looked around and thought "Damn! These people got old." Not me man. No way. No how. Not much, anyhoo.

Our box seats were super-comfortable. Unfortunately, a 6'12" man in the row in front of the box stood for nearly the first half of Bryan Adams' set. Good for him-- I'd hate his short ass to miss out on anything. Anyway, BA sounded great. The problem was rather than losing myself in the collective revisionism of "those were the best days of my life" songs from the glory days, the music made me feel a little sad. I've never felt like what was on the radio was reflective of my life, and although I know the hit music of my lifetime is in some way branded on my psyche and might be recognized by an outsider, I just don't see it as being a part of who I am or was at any moment in my life. When everyone was foaming at the mouth over Janet Jackson, I was eagerly awaiting new offerings by Love & Rockets and Cocteau Twins. Sundry hairgod bands came and went and I wondered if Killing Joke would ever come to town (they did, finally in 1991). I eschewed big arena pop and rock concerts in favor of the small venue peopled by a devoted and more cerebral following. This was the expression of where I was at the moment. [Yeah, Butthole Surfers' Hairway to Steven is super-brainy stuff! the editor]

Anyhoo, to hear Bryan Adams singing "baby you're all I want when you're lying here in my arms," I felt really wistful because everyone seemed swept along a cresting wave of bliss, and it just wasn't there for me. Yeah, he's a fantastic musician, and that song is beautifully written, but that sappy, gooey sort of love song extols a kind of feeling I suppose I've never really believed existed. Maybe that's my problem - I'm too cynical for pop fluff love songs. Anyway, it made me sad to sit there and think that the manufacturer left out my romance chip. What does that feel like? Aw, heck. Screw it. Ironically, I think Foreigner neglected to sing "I want to know what love is." Or maybe I was running my mouth when they did that number and missed it utterly. Wouldn't surprise me.

At the end of BA's set, he did two more songs for an encore with just his harmonica and guitar. That was the best part of the show, in my opinion. Holly and I hastened to the VIP bar with its (glory the day of our deliverance) air conditioner and air conditioned bathrooms. It was, like, 102 degrees that day, y'all. We went into the bathroom and I was finishing up at the sink, washing my hands, when a stall door flew open behind me. It was a pretty-ish sort of woman, obviously deee-runk to the gills, and sitting on the terlit with her drawers around her knees. She said "I'm so glad y'all are still here with me!" I don't know if she'd confused us with other companions, but she'd obviously heard me and Holly talking. She finally said "I'm so drunk!" Really? We didn't notice. *blink* *blink* That was colorful. We left the loo and I said "dibs on blogging that" and Holly said "you can have it. You were the one talking to her" in an accusatory tone. I felt taken aback, as if I'd just been told that I was asking for it. What can I say? I'm a weirdo magnet.

Back to the bar, we bought a couple ghastly expensive drinks so we could sit in the A/C a little longer. Furriner took the stage about 10pm, and we stayed and watched the show on the big screens in the bar. We giggled about the strange men who were harrassing the barkeep. We think guys with bad toupees shouldn't pick fights, for they are vulnerable in very obvious ways. You'll have to see Holly's blog - I'm sure her take on the event will make for better reading.

We went back into the arena for some of the Foreigner set, and drumgod Jason Bonham was actually quite impressive. The best moment of the show was when Juke Box Hero morphed into the vamp from Whole Lotta Love and the singer launched into "you need foolin." Okay, that part was actually fantastic. But otherwise, it was a trip down someone else's memory lane.

The people watching was priceless, though. These days, rather than beers and lighters, audience members hoist aloft bottled water and sherbet-colored frozen fruit drinks in oddly shaped plastic vessels. Riches to be mined, the veins of fashion emergency fodder were more vast than their matrices. *shudder* Holly looked amazing in a white linen dress, and I wore something I'd wear to a movie. Yeah, I looked like I work in an office-- so what? At least I didn't pour my 2008 ass into my 1985 jeans with a "Frankie Say" t-shirt. One guy looked like he was channeling the singer from Loverboy with the bandanna and everything. I got out my celica foam and googled "hanky code" but we never figured out what message he was trying to convey.

Anyway, it was fun, even with the not so exultant moments, and I'm glad we went. Times out with Holly are always a blast, and we each seem perpetually to be inducing one another to snort beverage out our noses. Irreverent women-- ya gotta love us.

I dunno, though: thinking back to the times when all these songs came out-- those weren't the best days of my life. Maybe these are? Somehow, though, I don't think I'll ever get there-- feeling like one moment excelled all others. I think a balanced life features a sobering mixture of the good and the bad, and if you are riding high and feeling untouchable/unbeatable/unstoppable, you are due for a major tumble. Maybe it's just best not to take any of it for granted.

Then again, maybe that is the ultimate function of nostalgia - to feel that everything happens in its time and place, and that even with bittersweet perspectives on what has been, you have ended up where you ought to be.
Who knows?
Ask me again in 30 years.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sarah Vaughan rocks Peter Gunn.

Good stuff!


It looks like I'm going to be singing at a charity event with a big band and everything early next year. I'm soooooo excited! I won't be the only singer (or even featured) and it's probably best that way, but it'll be fun. I'll be singing some standards and most especially the Peter Gunn theme, which is super-vampy and oober-cool.

Now, I'll have to find the perfect pair of shoes...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Old Knives' Tales? This is funny to me, but until last week, it was something I'd only seen in a movie.

I told a friend I got my dad a nice pocket knife for his birthday, and she said I'd have to tell him to give me a coin. I asked why, and she said because if he didn't give me a coin in exchange for the knife, then the knife would cut the relationship.

I am not a superstitious person. In fact, I wish I could be a little more superstitious than I am, but there it is.

Have you heard of this coin exchange custom, or is this just an old knives' tale? Am I being a poopy-headed spoil sport for not playing along?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

One more mystery of the cosmos unrrrrrraveled: (roll your rrrrrrs, darrrrrlinks*!)

Aurora borealis not just another bunch of pretty lights, but am, in fact, aurora psoriasis, or stellar dandruff.

Thanks for flaking out on us, Sun. Way to go!

It's true. I didn't make any** of it up.

*channeling Eva Gabor

deer diree,

i like naps.
wen mommeh laffs, i
put my snout in hir mouf.
she gives me kewt fudz,
but i m not kewt.
i m feerce.

-teh puppeh

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Miss Praline lurves watching Jack Russell Terrier vids on YouTube. She really likes this one:

It's so funny, because she'll sit up, stock still and watch like she's taking notes.

By the way, if you ever get a chance to see Jack Russell Terrier races, don't miss it, because it's one of the funniest things you'll ever see.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Interpol
Slow Hands

oozing coolness
I suggest there should be an entire range of Puppy Breath aromatherapy products.

The smells from the other end of her, well, I'll not abuse your sensibilities by attempting to describe, but...

Funny thing about JRTs is their tidy, pink little rear-ends. Before a Code Dos bathroom event, sometimes Valentine got what I called a DBPO: dookie bootie pokey-outey. One off-kilter individual spoke laughingly of slicing off a few washers. OTOH, Praline has the most unmistakable *ahem* event horizon I've ever seen. I don't have to bother asking "do you need to go out?" I mean, it's sort of the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

Good doggie for letting momma know.
Have you heard the story about the British 3 year old who disappeared from the hotel room while the family vacationed in Portugal a little over a year ago? Her name was Madeleine, and the case has been extremely high-profile with even her parents being reviewed by Portuguese police as suspects in Maddy's disappearance.

Portuguese authorities have decided to drop the case for lack of conclusive evidence, and now Maddy's parents apparently will sue them for bungling the case.

I'm not saying these people should ever give up on the hope of again seeing their daughter, but there seems a complete lack of culpability on their part as to their own hands in their daughter's disappearance. The mother and father put their two children to bed in a foreign country in a hotel, and went out to dinner with friends at 10:30PM.

I don't mean to be unkind, but those parents are in great part responsible for the disappearance of their child, and I wonder how one could take enough leave of their senses that they could blithely go out to dinner leaving two small children alone at night with no adults to check on them? I understand the need to assign blame for their grief to someone else, but I think basic decency should stay their hand when it comes to the thought of suing the authorities who have spent a tremendous amount of energy and resources to try and resolve the result of the parents' own negligence.

I'm sad for that little girl, and I'm sad for the parents. They could sue all and sundry, even successfully, over the whole sad affair, but I wonder how they'd put their guilt to sleep at night?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Here at the Phlegm Propulsion Laboratory™, we're working round-the-clock to keep you up to snuff on the very finest goods and services to be had in our modern age. We often are approached on the street and asked "why do you do it, Phlegmmy?" We shrug our demure shoulders, smile and say "because we care."


We're giving until it hurts here.

And it's all for you baby.

And it's just that good.

Anyhoo, we poke about the cobwebby, dank, spooky, anarobic corners of the internet, risking nightmares and nasty infection, and all of this to insure that you--our gentle reader, and I mean you personally-- don't miss out on anything that may change your life for the better.

To that end, may we suggest:

Oh, sure, you want your teeth to be clean and free of placque, but without the nuisance of fresh, minty breath which might give the ladies the wrong ideer about your kissability. I mean, you really do give a rat's rear end about your teeth and gums being leading indicators of health and whatnot, but go around with fresh breath and some wild city woman may try and kiss you, and then where would you be?

Well, I'll tell you where you'd be: you'd be all luvved up in a web of cross-eyed gossamer bliss the likes of which would stagger the appetites of Casanova, Don Juan and Bill Clinton combined, but that's beside the point, because you don't want that because then you might be happy for five minutes and then what would you have to complain about?

Anyhoo, Bacon Floss. Keeping America beautiful.

If you're not ready to go whole-hog on the bacon breath end of the spectrum, there's the half-measure of bacon and mint flavored breath mints.

Each one of these mints tastes like a delicious slice of crispy bacon with just a hint of mint flavor to give it that extra punch!

Go buy some. You know you want to.
And we're here to enable you.

It's what we do.

Love ya!

Mean it!

This story from back in April stuck in my craw, just a bit.

A San Francisco couple (software engineer and a realtor) bought a 6-unit apartment building for $995,000. They immediately evicted several tenants and tried to evict all 6, but were sued by a serial litigant resident, disabled, who had also bilked the previous landlord for untold thou$and$. Based on his lawsuit, both landlords were incarcerated. One member of the couple is out of jail on $350,000 bond and the other is waiting to be sprung for a $250,000 bond. Her bond was originally $350,000, but the judge reduced the bond size. I wonder why? Clearly, these people were a real danger to society and needed to be locked up. It's not like they were some rapist from Oakland, or something, $10,000 bond, etc.

Apparently in San Francisco, there is a law that residents may not be evicted in order to charge higher rents to the next residents. What I'm wondering about is the terminology and what constitutes "eviction" in California, but there are apparently 14 situations in which eviction is deemed appropriate. I rather wonder that there are any such "situations." It makes sense to me that-- in keeping with other idiocy in the land of the fruit and nuts-- real estate laws would effectively hobble commerce and the folks who lubricate the economy in favor of dead-beat non-contributors. But what happened here sounds to me NOT like eviction, but like the people were evicted after refusing to pay higher rates. (at least in Texas) there is no rule or law that a landlord MUST renew a lease, and why should a private property owner be FORCED to keep a bad or under-qualified tenant on a property-- how does this fall under the purview of local/state or federal govs? Also, what asshat thought it was a good idea to say landlords couldn't raise their rates concommitant with the rise of common area utility/fuel costs, taxes, etc.,? What would be the point of owning anything if you are guaranteed an equation of diminishing returns? I have no doubt that as in Texas, in California, someone who buys a rental property is obliged to fulfill the terms of lease agreed upon by the previous owner, and for the full life of that lease agreement. However, after the lease is up and given the agreed-upon period for notice of renewal or move-out notice, then the tenant has no legal beef if the landlord chooses not to renew their lease. I think this is fair. Else, we'd all just be living in Pacific Heights world where landlords would be in the permanent bitch seat with exploitative residents.

Apparently, San Francisco enforces a city-wide form of rent-control, keeping rents lower than the market rate for the same property when sold as a condo or townhome. One rather wonders why anyone bothers to provide rental property there at all, considering how restrictive the city code is for landlords.

The landlords in this case apparently tried to intimidate the tenant into leaving, including instructing maintenance people to destroy parts of the building to render it uninhabitable.

I'm not defending these landlords- their scorched-earth methods sound lame and self-defeatist to me- but I wonder how anyone could expect property owners who provide vitally needed accommodation to those who want to live in the city but can't afford an entire building themselves to give it away free or at a loss? This is insanity.

Monday, July 21, 2008

...and they called it puppy love!

Is it just me, or she really as cute as I think she is?

Saturday was such a LONG, exhausting day that I knew I wouldn't sleep well unless I got a nice shower before bed. I brought Praline into the bathroom with me and shut the door. Now, my shower curtain is clear plastic, so she could totally see me the whole time, but after a few minutes, I heard a mournful sound, half howl/half chortle, and looked over to see her fretting and trying to climb into the tub with me. I know she could see me - I don't understand why they anxiety! One day soon, a half-hearted hop will land her in the tub with me. I hope she likes being clean.

She's got lots of personality, and I'm enjoying getting to know her. She's such a soft little thing, too, with her smooth, pink baby-piggy belly. Her tail will straighten out or curl up and seems to be a mood/interest indicator, but I'm not versed in what the curl indicates just yet. It will be fun finding out.

Sorry- I'm kind of foaming at the mouth about all things puppy-related lately. This blog won't be turning into a one-note symphony-- I'll settle down. Eventually. Probably about the time she makes sawdust of a favorite piece of furniture, or something. Even then, I'll still think she's pretty grand. :)


Monday afternoon, I'm going out to look at another little house near a lake that may be a good prospect for me. But then again, driving up in the country around Grayson county, I really, really like the gentle hills around there. It was a nice reminder that there's not just one-and-only-perfect-spot out in the country. Pick a spot on the map, I spose.

Have a great week!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

When I arrived at the farm in Grayson county Saturday afternoon, this pup came spilling out onto the porch with a couple pups of another breed. They were playing and giggling as pups do, when one of the other dogs snuck up on the Jack Russell and she jumped straight up in the air and spun around midair to confront her attacker. Popcorn seemed a great name for her. Or Pop Tart. Or Pinball. But no, not quite right.
Yeah, so, it was mebbe 5 minutes later I told the breeder "yeah, I really want her, I'll take her if you'll let me," and thus was the deal made. I stayed for a while and got to meet her mother, a pretty female who very much resembled Valentine. Nice.
Back in the kitchen to sign the papers, I scooped up the wiggly pup again to pet her sweet self, and she nestled onto my shoulder and promptly went to sleep. I felt her limbs go soft and rubbery against my shoulder, and I knew this was the right thing to do. The breeder and her assistant marveled at the sight of a JRT calming down so instantly and dropping off to sleep when held by a stranger. Somehow, it seemed like a wonderful thing.
I misted up and cried a bit on the way home, but this time, my tears for the loss of Valentine were comingled with tears of joy that I'm starting a new adventure with this other marvelous little creature. I thought back to that cold winter night 17 years ago when doglet came home zipped up in my leather jacket, sleeping like a log and so very content- I had no idea that I had embarked upon a remarkable relationship. Now I know the gravity, and it's a big deal.
As for her pedigree, the breeder is researching it. The pedigree goes back 4 generations, and my dog would be probably at least 6 or 7 generations back. What is definitively known is that Valentine's father is in the bloodline of this pup, as is the male who sired Valentine's pups, so it's possible she is a descendant of Valentine, but at this point, it's moot. I fell in lurve, and I'm gonna keep her.
She's pretty and sparky, but she's also a power-napper. She slept the entire 90 minutes back to Dallas, and when we went into Canine Commissary on Mockingbird, she was the belle of the ball-- all the other customers were coming up and asking about her, oohing and aahing. Little charmer!
So, now I have the proud honor of presenting Miss Praline. Yes, another gooey/cutey-pie name from me, but she's like a tooth-ache-inducing lump of sticky-sweet goodness with a goodly helping of nuts thrown in for good measure. She's a funny pup, and loves (or indulges) lots of petting, even while she's asleep. In the past 10 hours, I've grinned and laughed more than the previous 3 weeks combined.
I'll try to post more and better pics during the day on Sunday.
It's good to have a dog in the house again.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

This afternoon we get to meet 'chudder.

I hope we like 'chudder.

She sure is a cute little spitfire. Reminds me a bit of a certain little someone I knew once, another ferocious killer of socks.

Watch this space.

Dear Associated Press/MSNBC:

AK be Alaska.

I will point out it took an ignernt Arkie like myself to school you on this. Those folks in Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama can always lose weight, but stupid goes clean to the bone, baby.
Love ya!
Mean it!

I'm a bit olfactory sensitive, I must say.
I'm offended, for example, that dishwashing liquid should come in ANY scent-- I mean, if the goal is that my dishes will be clean of any grime or soap, then WHY oh WHY would I want them to smell like lemons or sunflowers or green apples? This drives me to distraction.

THAT said, I am, in fact, a bit of a scent whore. I tend to prefer exotic, spicy scents more commonly preferred by European women, versus the tame, lame overly-saccharine scents favored by American women. Yuck. Boring.

it was with tremendous excitement that I learned from my friend Kelly (Ordinary Girl) of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and their cruel garden of dark delights. Can't wait to try these on for sighs.

Seriously, I'm all aquiver. They have scent families based on works of Neil Gaiman (can you feature it?!!!), Mad Tea Party, Steamworks for the Steampunk set, and other fragrance groups too fierce to mention.

I'll give a full report when I've investigated further...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Click here to see some Marines from Regimental Combat Team 1 visiting a KFC for some southern-fried goodness in Fallujah. All the comforts of home.

Er, well, at least one of them. Now if only the Colonel served chicken fried bacon...
Last week after it dawned on me that there might be descendents of my Valentine running around the planet, I did a bit of sleuthing and found the breeder whence I acquired the doglet. She owned the dog who sired Miss V's pups, and she kept MY pick of the litter as stud fee. Well, apparently, she bred doglet's pup.

She's double-checking the pedigree on a puppy she has now, and if it's a direct descendant of my dog, I may be making a trip to nor'east Texas this weekend to make her acquaintance. I wasn't going to get another dog this soon, but if there's a chance to have a great-great-great-great grandpuppy of the bunnydog, well, I'm up for it.

I don't know whether to ask you to keep your fingers crossed that it is or isn't descended of her. I'll let you know when I have news.
I'm not going to mention any names, but I'm going to talk trash for a moment about a city in the area wot's name starts with a big "D."

The city in question has had an inferiority complex for ever-so-long, and I think this drives its denizens to go overboard to show its wealth/quality/cosmopolitanliness (is that a word? who cares?) to the world by the most flamboyant means possible. A spot of unpleasantness which hurtled it onto the world stage some 4.5 decades back has been a major contributing factor to the low civic self-esteem, and local bigwigs have sought at every turn to demonstrate the merit of the place.

Not long back, some people got all lathered up to come up with a new, modern and ultimate (final?) solution to The Homeless Problem. Pour scores of millions of taxpayer dollars into a homeless facility which will feature storage units and a cafeteria and opportunities for jobs and training and all these people will magically get off the streets, right? Because everyone wants to work and earn their keep, right? The Man has been trampling them and keeping them down, right, and preventing them from earning a living or having a decent life of self-respect, responsibility and personal accomplishment, right? The man wants them on crack and going unbathed for weeks-- nay-- months at a time, right?


So, where was I?
Oh, yeah, million$ and million$.

It was telling that at the opening of said facility a few months back, only a few cherry-picked homeless were allowed in attendance, as the place was thronging with media there to laud the dawn of this new, halcyon age of enlightenment and other warm-and-fuzzy stuff.

Flash forward - apparently, this facility has acted as a magnet, and homeless from the surrounding states have thronged to it. Get this-- this multi-million dollar facility is designed to sleep 300 per night, yet is instead filled beyond capacity to accommodate more like about 1000. Billed as a progressive solution, this facility has a goal of helping people to recover from homelessness.

Unfortunately, down-on-their luck folk from neighboring states have flocked to the high-toned Hooverville, only to find themselves the victims of the local network of thuggish, street-hardened homeless reprobates who have moved their formal court from under overpasses and into the hallowed halls of this progressive palace. The homeless mecca, hoping to usher in a kinder, gentler and religion-free way of addressing homelessness, ensured there would be no police presence in the facility. Apparently, people from out-of-state have been robbed, beaten and even raped in that place, and yet there continues to be a no-police policy. The only way police will be allowed on premises, in fact, is if a 9-1-1 call originates from the facility.

So, now, rather than being assailed simply at intersections for money for meth and crack, folks in that county are now having their pockets picked by the local .guv to pay for the posh digs from which the reprobates run their little fiefdom.

Also, in the past several months, crime rates have doubled, trebled and quadrupled in the areas radiating from the new homeless facility. Robberies have increased dramatically, including carjackings and the like. It seems that by taking an altruistic tack on adressing the problem, the nastiness has only been compounded exponentially for the folks who live and work in the immediate area.

I'm wondering how this is supposed to be a solution? If we have to pay for them anyway, why don't we set up their free facility out in the middle of nowhere, instead of where the rest of us are trying to have a decent life? Can we buy them an island, or something? Can't we just give them a vacation (i.e., one-way ticket) to somewhere-- anywhere-- else? It'd be cheaper, even at first-class rates, and it would certainly be safer for the residents of D.

I'm just saying...

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Did you see this?
It's just teh kewlest!

Western Spagetti by PES

Then there's the ultimate in warcraft which is of course hideous clown heads bursting from skeleton key materiel and a goober pea warhead. Pure poetry.


Shark toofie asteroids and pizza Pac-Man ghosts with sunny-side-up eggs for eyes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

You know, I like some pretty out-there designs and colors and all that, but I think this top by Chloe (and available at Saks for a cool $445) is singularly hideous. The girl is really cute, but I think no one on earth is cute enough to overcome the pure-dee ugly of the top, except maybe a puppy. I mean, am I right about this? This is freaking me out. Yuck.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's nice to be Ewan MacGregor['s masseuse].

Masseuses at a spa in London got into a catfight recently at the Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow over who would be the one to administer a cranial massage to the great Scot. No word on what he was wearing that day.
I bought a cd by Air called Pocket Symphony (super-cool website) about 6 months ago or so. Never cracked it open until about a month ago.

Fantastic, much of it wonderfully ambient and a little evocative of a more rhythmically driven sort of Moon and the Melodies by Cocteau Twins and Harold Budd. Great stuff. There's one track that reminds me of gamelan, which I love. One of the songs is written by and features vocals of Jarvis Cocker, so the cool quotient is oober-high on this one.

Someone set the song Mer du Japon to this video of Tokyo trains to quite lovely effect, in my opinion. Enjoy!

Monday, July 14, 2008


One of the cutey-pie, feel-good stories of the day -

In the zoo in Amsterdam, a newborn red panda was rejected by its mother, but has been adopted by a cat which is nursing the little panda along with her litter of four kittens. The baby is tiny, as red pandas are considerably smaller than black and white pandas. Anyway, isn't that sweet?

I thought so!

Oh, the irony.

I have to say that although I think Madonna generally looks pretty ropey and frightening lately, I think she actually looks GOOD here with no makeup on and with just regular-person sort of hair, albeit with a $995 dye job. Yeah, the boxer shorts with the stocking biker shorts are a curiosity and those arms? Don't get me started... but I think she looks better than usual here. I'm just saying.

That's why it strikes me so funny that MSNBC's fashion goons are giving her no end of shit about this look. Tsk. Tsk.

Um, no offense if you're one of those people who really, rilly like Budweiser, but in my opinion, it should have been left where the original source deposited it.[see illustration]

Now the Belgian company which makes Stella Artois has reached terms to purchase Budweiser. Now maybe they'll re-think their process, or something.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Massive tip of the Stetson to Brigid for this quiz chock-full of asskickery:

What Kind of a Western Bad-Ass are You?
created with
You scored as John Wayne

You a classic all American cowboy who does the right thing. When you're sober. Which means occasionally. You like horses, the outdoors, whiskey, hot tempered women, whiskey, and bourbon.

Clint Eastwood


John Wayne


Charles Bronson


Lee Marvin


Lee Van Cleef


Good thing I like hot-tempered women- I'm beset on all sides with 'em! Let's see, there's Hols, and my sis and my mom...

As for the "when I'm sober" thingie, Um, I don't really drink very often, actually, but I reserve the right to drink any time I feel like it, dammit. Someone once told me that if you work in property management very long, you'll do one of three things to excess: smoke, drink or cuss. Well, I don't smoke and I don't drink much, but I cuss. A lot. It's therapeutic.

Fill your hand, you son of a bitch!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Born to be mild.

Let me see if I can write this.
Friday was a long-assed day, and my number was apparently up in the interesting character sweeps.

First thing at work, I had a voice mail from a locator telling me an art dealer was moving to town and would be perfect for one of my apartments and would be arriving shortly.

He showed up quite soon, and I was a little surprised that he didn't seem like an aloof, pretentious ass. He was interesting and very down-to-business. We talked terms on the apartment and went over to see same. I showed him the space which has an exterior door, and he said he'd like keep his Harley inside the apartment, but it wouldn't fit through the door. He held his hands up high and wide, and I exclaimed, childlike "You have a chopper?!!!"

He said "don't worry-- I'll give you a ride." I think I turned several shades between pink and red and turned to walk toward the office, describing property amenities as I went.

I told him I had a painting by a 20th century Texas modernist painter that I may be interested in selling, and he came to my apartment and I showed it to him. [wanna see my etchings, little boy?] By the way, if my place has been recently hosed out, it's not uncommon for me to show my own space to prospective residents. He was impressed with the painting, promised to check with online auction records and get back to me with an approximate value.

He called me back in the afternoon and told me a similar painting sold late last year for about $2600+. SWEET! I'm thinking if I got even half of that, it would go a long way toward a house downpayment. Yays.

And then the convo turned back to bidness:

Him: Will you be mad if I rent an apartment somewhere else?
Me: Not at all. I'm pretty philosophical about such things-- the last thing I want to do is have someone rent here and feel miserable or hoodwinked the whole time.
Him: Good, because I just submitted an application on another apartment
Me: Well, thanks for letting me know. But does this mean I won't get my chopper ride?
Him: Oh, no, you'll get your chopper ride. From the moment I first laid eyes on you, you were destined for the chopper.
Me: Wow. I think this is the second time today I'm blushing.
Him: Hey now-- has some other man been flirting at you?
Me: No, it was you both times.

I knew that blouse was too tight.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Watch as something so very wrong gets wronger and wrongerer.

I LURVES this wideo. ZOMG! I think I'm ASIAN!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

You're in my thoughts today.

It's been forever since I've bitched about a resident, Bidet Boy* having been out of my life for yonks, but have I told you lately I have some of the loveliest, sweetest residents going? Yes, I have a few special-needs cases, but generally, they are a bunch of lovely people, and even the serial problem-children have a few good qualities to recommend them. Today I came home and there was an exquisite orchid by my front door. Someone heard about my dog, and left this grand thing for me to find. It really was tremendously kind and thoughtful. I was surprised and my heart was warmed. It felt a lot like I felt when all you nice people said such lovely and comforting things last week.
Tam had a post up Wednesday about a greasy little heart-attack-on-a-stick that is the deep-fried bananas foster which will be debuting at state fairs nationwide this year. That reminded me of a video which someone linked in the past (was it you, Xavier?) on CHICKEN FRIED BACON.

I'll let that sink in for a second.

Your eyes did not deceive you:




I don't know about you, but it sounds really, RILLY good to me. You can get it at a place called Sodolak's Original Country Inn in Snook, Texas, which I think is somewhere near College Station. That's Aggieland, appropriately enough. Now, if they could just serve it on a stick...

I'm still obsessed with Interpol, but I've been alternating 2 of their cds with the ever-exquisite In Rainbows by Radiohead. Below is All I Need from that release against a sumptuous setting of footage from the 1996 film Microcosmos. Who knew a hatching mosquito could look so elegant and lovely? Gorgeous footage and a lovely song.


*the doo doo brown is not coincidental, btw

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

One of my residents has the freakiest little chihuahua I've ever seen. The best I can figure, this anklebiter is (nearly) two pounds of pure evil with a bile chaser. She's white, impossbily tiny and yet she's fat. She's like a little white brick with legs at each corner. Oh, and she bit the crap out of my finger as I petted the other dog in the household a few weeks ago. LOVE. HER. She reminds me of Brain from Pinky and the Brain. I'm sure she's up to something.

An Irish girl with two wiener dogs lived here for a while. Gorgeous thing with a twisted sense of humour, she named the first wienerdog "Uno" as it had been a gift from her first husband. The second husband gave her "Dos." She holds in reserve the threat of a "Tres" to keep hubby number dos in line. Actually, they're a great couple and will always be together, but the dog thing is priceless.

I keep dog treats in my office for the fur residents, and the wieners would make a break for my building every chance they got. LOVED the wieners, and they loved me. Uno and Dos learned the sound of my car, and would always get in a dither whenever they knew I'd arrived for the day.

I got into the bad habit of rolling down my car window when I saw them and saying "WIENER!" in my outdoor voice. They LURVED it. The terrible thing is, though, that now every time I see a wiener dog, I have the nearly irresistable urge to shout "WIENER" and sometimes the wiener dog owners don't understand. I should expect that anyone who has a wiener dog in the first place should have a better sense of humour than that, don't you?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

My Car by Atlas Sound

I like the song, but I LOVE the stuffing out of this video. This is my kind of crap.

After 15 years of true love and two children, a man spent about $2000 and 20 hours under the tattoo pins having his common-law wife's image emblazoned on his back. Unfortunately, she'd just embarked upon an affair with an east-european co-worker, and left his ass in an inky spray of dust.

You just have to wonder...

By the way, I googled "prison tattoos" and this little Paris Hilton number came up first. Rather delicious, oui?
Made of Fail...

Someone's working overtime to make McCain more exciting...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Entertainment Scientists Warn Miley Cyrus Will Be Depleted by 2013
Reading blogs this weekend, I noticed Peter's July 4 post linking to an article on two British schoolboys who were punished for refusing to pray to Allah during a class on religious studies.

It seems to me that for a great long while, British society has been bending over backward to be accommodating and politically correct toward its Muslim citizens. Of course, it's their country, but it's disturbing that they've learned nothing of the lessons of Muslim wag-the-dog Europe in recent years, including threats to cartoonists who depict der Prophet or the Muslim Parisien suburb where the police dare not go.

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I read Sunday that Britain's Minister of International Development said that today's Muslims feel like "the Jews of Europe."

It's amazing that in the same news week where 12 year olds are being chastened for not praying to a deity in which they don't believe, Muslims are whining and likening themselves to the folks who were robbed of their worldly possessions down to and including the very fillings in their teeth and then marched into showers to be gassed to death.

Methinks they doth protest too much.


On a lighter note, someone I know has a Muslim Kuwaiti relative who married a Jewish girl some years back, both lovely kids. He told me about the wedding, and that the parties of the groom and of the bride faced off across the banquet hall for the reception. The bride's party proceeded to get soused as the groom's teetotaling family looked scornfully across the dance floor, which was teeming with the usual sort of revelry one expects to see at a wedding. He said it was surreal, and one of the most delightful things he'd ever seen. He said he kept waiting for the boil to burst and waves of bilious hostility to come lapping out, but things concluded peacefully, after all.

I saw the couple at a store about 2 months ago, and they look very happy.

Ah, bless!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

My Interpol fixation continues apace.

Slow Hands
The sellers decided to go with the cash bidder for their house. They said they would prefer to sell to me, but were eager to close the transaction more quickly than I could have, and they also were fearful that it wouldn't pass the inspection for my financing.

I'm disappointed, but I understand, and I expect it's all for the best. At least I had the paperwork and flurry of faxes with which to interrupt Tuesday's would-have-been perpetual crying jag. That's also the first time I've written and submitted an offer in attempt to buy a house for myself, so I'll be ready next time.

Did you know you can do that, too? I think anyone in Texas can download a pdf of the contract from the TREC(TX real estate commission) site and submit it for themselves, and it's not incredibly difficult. The only kind of tricky part is the legal description of the property, which you need to make absolutely certain you have correct, that being the block and lot(s) of the property. For example, if the property has a double-lot, then you need to be sure you name both lots on the legal line.

Anyhoo. If anyone hears of a great deal on a little house at least an hour or two from Dallas, drop me a line. Something else will come along.
Con Jungle Visits...

A man imprisoned for and who has admitted to killing several [several, as in at least 20] western tourists in various Asian countries may be released on "lack of evidence" from Nepalese detention. His 2004 conviction was for the 1975 murder of a Canadian tourist in Katmandu. He fell in lurve with his court interpreter, and is now confident of his release, at which time he'll travel to France to marry the hot young thing 44 years his junior. Despite his admissions of guilt, it seems he'll be sprung based on a lack of strong evidence and also on procedural error.


No word on where the happy couple is registered.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Parking Lot puddles are the deliciousest. 1993
Somewhere in Lake Fork, there's an old fish that tells his grandbasslings about the time the fearsome fur-bearing airbreather gave him a sound licking. SRSLY. She licked and licked and licked and licked, and he didn't seem pleased. We finally put him back in the lake, deeming he'd suffered enough. She, however, was ready for more.

Me and my Gal about 1995.
She doesn't seem particularly pleased with the sack-of-potatoes pose, but she was pretty good-natured about putting up with my crap. So long as I didn't make her wear stupid outfits. In that Rocky Horror fantasie in pink metallic that I posted with my Tuesday tribute, I always fancied I sensed eye-daggers coming my way. Oh, the indignity! She was way too rough-and-tumble to fool about with poncey ribbons-and-bows type crap, ever ready as she was to jump into the fray.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Texas is a state of mind, in a way. People here proudly proclaim their native birth status on bumper stickers and the like. There's also more than a few folks driving around here with bumper stickers saying "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could." It's definitely a state of mind, and Texas is a very big-tent sort of place. The people are friendly and those of us of a more *ahem* eccentric bent are often looked kindly upon, if pityingly so, by friends and neighbors. The great thing is that more folks are welcome and embraced as new members of the community.

In 2002 I was living in a loft in the NuGrape soda building on south Ervay in Dallas. This was where Jack Ruby had opened his first Dallas burlesque joint - a seedy dive called the Silver Slipper Lounge. [No, the Ghost of Strippers Past never appeared.] Anyway, the September 11 had happened the year before, and here even 10 months later everyone was still on edge. Although friends and I didn't discuss it, I think many of our lives were limned with a horrid undercurrent of wondering when the next shoe would drop, and things like holidays were anticipated with some degree of trepidation, as though that would be a moment of particular vulnerability.

Anyway, that was the first or second year of a huge firework festival in Dallas called Trinity Riverfest, with an award-winning team having been secured to create a singular firework display. We residents, friends and family gathered on the rooftop deck to watch the light show. Some climbed over the railings to scamper over to the roof of the adjacent art deco theater where they could lay on the slanted roof and watch reclining and in comfort.

We oohed and aahed at all the appropriate moments. The firework display was appropriately spectacular, and I think I wasn't the only one there thinking of how profoundly blessed we were to be here and now, and to enjoy the opportunities and freedoms we have had, and what a precious treasure that really is. When the reporting echoes of the grand finale's final bursts reached us, we stood in silence, the 40 or so of us. I think we were all overcome, and no words seemed big enough.

Over at the back corner, one of the taller among my neighbors, a lovely man named Bradley Bandfield, began to sing "God Bless America" and within 10 words we'd all joined in. It was the perfect ending to July 4th for all of us. For me, it seemed that so much stress and grief and anxiety was instantly washed away in the tide of good feeling pouring forth at that moment.

I knew a little about that song's composer, Irving Berlin, and I knew that he was a staunchly patriotic soul. Born in 1888, his Jewish family came to the USA in 1893 to escape the Russian pogroms. Irving enjoyed massive success with his first hit Alexander's Ragtime Band in 1911, and despite this fame and celebrity, he enlisted in the US Army in WWI. It was during this time he composed God Bless America for a musical he was writing to entertain fellow troops, but he decided not to use it at the time. This song was later revealed to much welcome in 1939. Some at the time even felt that the national anthem should be changed to this song.

Anyway, this was all by way of pulling focus from my then-lately habitude of unsettling thoughts that random haters from the world over wanted to come here and kill Americans for being American, and put the emphasis back in my mind on the fact that at one point or another, nearly all of us came here from somewhere else. I think that intrepid, pioneering spirit forges a bond of kinship amongst those who strive for freedom and excellence in their lives.

It's exciting to think how rather than be eternally hounded by fears and angst after such cruel beginnings, that instead someone like Irving Berlin turned his energy into a wellspring of gratitude and good humour for the nation that welcomed his family to come and take their chances and make a good life out of whatever meagre raw material they could scrounge. July 4, 2002 and since then, I've treasured this memory and have considered the fact that many folks I'm privileged to call fellow Americans were not born here. They just got here as fast as they could. Bless 'em.

And Happy Birthday, America!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

My first dogless Wednesday morning I was rudely awakened by some activist group marching down a nearby street around 9AM with some guy singing a call-and-response style chant into a bullhorn loudly enough that I could distinguish every word he said from the crumpled morass of pillows and blankies. I think they were foaming-at-the-mouth-supporters of Obama. Keep the change, indeed. Bastards.

I did get a good night of sleep, perhaps in part due to the cumulative exhaustion of more than a week of worry and poor sleep. I made it through the day without crying, except for misting up once at lunch. After work, my heart broke as I slipped my key in the door and I scrambled in to dissolve in private. Must get a grip.

Get a grip I did, as I went to my gun club to meet the lovely gunsmith and get my .38 S&W back from him. It's working much MUCH better now. I fired about 75 rounds through it with none of the former problem, namely a sort of sticking sensation which meant I couldn't pull the trigger all the way through. It's so much more smooth now. I had two types of .38 cartridge with me and the heavier ones I had much better accuracy with. I can't tell you why, but that seems to be the case-- any thoughts? I mean can cartridge weight effect accuracy, or could there have been other factors?

A couple guys introduced themselves to me and one let me shoot his dad's 1950 S&W .22 revolver. It was big, long, heavy and super-sweet, as I shot a group in the space of about a quarter from 10 yards without trying. That was fun. I told him the gunsmith had just done my trigger, and he politely asked if he might try it, because he was curious about the work done by that gunsmith. Turns out, his hands were too big for my .38 so he really didn't get a feel for it, at all, unfortunately. Still it was nice to chat with new people for a few minutes.

I am still loving shooting the Ruger Mark II, but I think my best shooting is with dad's High Standard .22 revolver(and with that other guy's dad's gun!). Plus revolvers are just FUN. Admit it: they're fun to handle and to load, and I don't need an extra accessory like the one I need to help me slip cartridges in the magazine of the Ruger.

Oh, and my blister is back. Someday I'll have a callous there, instead. Never thought I'd see the day when I'd be thrilled to have a callous on my index finger, but now I find I'm quite looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

One Art

by Elizabeth Bishop
The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Of all the gin joints...

The subject of an FBI manhunt suspected of 8 grisly slayings happened into a bar that just so happened to be a local police hangout. He asked the barkeep for a glass of water and went to the little boys' room. Discussion amongst the patrons amounted to "yep. That's our guy."

He was arrested without incident. Nice when they just have to wait for the critters to show up.

I found a little house overlooking a lake a comfortable distance from Dallas. It's not ON the water, so I wouldn't have to pay for waterfront maintenance, but from the porch swing you can see the light on the water as the sun sets. It needs considerable work, but it's got a huge rock fireplace, and NO popcorn ceilings. YAYS! Anyway, I'd be putting a lot of sweat-equity into it, but I think I need a big project, right about now. I offered a contract on it Tuesday night and we'll see if they take me up on it. Sadly, I have a competitor for the house, but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed. It has 3 sheds and a big garage, so I'd definitely have studio space out there. No word on the fishing prospects on the lake, but I'll bet a person could manage to enjoy it, in any case.

Anyway, it has a huge porch as wide as the house, and a double lot that would be great for a dog. Or two. Or a whole pack... If I don't get it, I'll continue to look for something similar outside of town. I'll be philosophical - the sellers seem like lovely people, and they need to do what makes best economic sense for themselves. Still, I hope my offer is more attractive, because I can already see the landscaping I'd do there, and it'd be grand, on a smallish-sort of scale. Plans to remove to remote environs continue apace... If this doesn't work out, something else will come along.
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I want to say a hearty thank you to all of you who came by Tuesday to commiserate the loss of my beloved doglet. Thank you, personally, every one of you who came by whether or not you commented. Thank you for sharing your memories and experiences and warm wishes. Making the call to end her suffering was the most anguished decision of my life, but your kind words and sympathy helped ease my grief. One day I'll have another dog, and I'll treasure every moment, and savor the memories of Valentine as I do so. I'll also cherish the kind encouragement you've shown. Thanks again.


Much Beloved

Intrepid Soul


Fabulous Bitch

31 October 1991 - 1 July 2008

I wrote this 5 days ago during the tear-soaked night I realized you have so little time left with me. You were always such a furry streak of lightning that the thought of you getting old was unfathomable. I always rather fancied that one day you'd expire of sheer exuberance after one of our marathon fetch sessions. Like any mortal creature, though, you have lived long enough to be betrayed by your superb little body. As your back limbs became impaired, you've stalwartly muddled through on what looks like grim determination, and that grit alone has made me never want to let you go. I've prayed every day since I wrote this that today wouldn't be the day I have to choose to let you go. I didn't get the easy option of not choosing, though. In the end it's not a question of my selfish need to keep you but of the intolerable sight of one of the world's most intrepid creatures peering out through a haze of pain and bewilderment.

You taught me so much about life and about love. You made me realize I could love a little dog more than any material possession on earth. You have been the embodiment of what I see as the very best of myself. I know in some ways I haven't been the best mistress, but I've tried to learn as I've gone along and you've always seemed so happy with me. I will always remember fondly and miss that moment every night when you'd curl up under the covers by my feet. I'll always remember the countless funny things you did, our silly little rituals and the quirky secret society populated by you and I alone.

Thank you for everything, Valentine. Thank you for being mine.

If I live to be 100, you'll forever be my one and only little bunny dog. I'll always treasure the memory of you. Life without you will be less sweet, but I'll always remember what you've taught me, and I'll carry you in my heart, always.


La Valse d'Amelie by Yann Tiersen