Thursday, January 31, 2008

So they called me a cockeyed optimist, immature and incredibly green...

Last night MDH and I watched Rock Docs - NY77 - The Coolest Year in Hell on VH1 Classics from the cozy comfort of our loveseat in the den of our suburban Michigan home. NY77 is 2 hours about 1 year in 1 city. If you have VH1 Classics and happened to have been alive in 1977, or have any interest in Hip-Hop, Punk Rock or American history I strongly suggest you watch it.

I was alive in 1977.

I was only 9, but I remember the big black out and asking my mother why all the people went crazy just because the lights went out. I remember the Son of Sam serial murders and seeing New York City on the news all the time because of the transit strikes, garbage workers strikes, gang problems, drug problems and the general decrepitude and sleaze that seemed to have layered itself over the city like a dirty haze. I lived in Columbus, Ohio which seemed like a world away and I guess it probably was (and still is).

1977 was the year that I learned people could be dangerous and the world (big cities in particular) a scary place.

Prior to 1977 my images of New York were those of old movies from the 1940's, 50's and early 60's. Doris Day, a small town girl in the big city, having lunch at the automat while thwarting the advances of Cary Grant in That Touch of Mink, or Fred Astaire gliding across the dance floors of elegant night clubs, and Shirley MacLaine in Sweet Charity singing Cock-Eyed Optimist while she danced through Central Park.

Before 1977 I didn't realize that New York was a real place with real people living in it and real problems. I guess the 1977 image is the one that stuck because after that it didn't look so appealing.

Of all the places I've been, NYC is still not among them.

When I was 16 I drove through parts of the city on a bus from Newark Airport to JFK to catch a flight to Paris. By this age I had seen Woody Allen films, owned Talking Heads records, read Interview Magazine had an awareness of CBGB's and the Algonquin Round Table, so the city had started to take on a new appeal. My face was pressed against the window the whole time so I could soak it all in, but sitting on a bus in bumper to bumper traffic, doesn't count has having been there.

I'll get there someday for a little visit.

Well, I've started to ramble at this point, so I'll just say - see the Rock Doc thingy if you want and I hope that when I do finally get there, that it's more like the opening credits from Woody Allen's Manhattan, and less like Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis in the Out of Towners.

Hey! How could I forget to tell you about my interview by Suzel Sass! I feel like such a starlet... Thanks Suze!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

For Your Amusement

Based on SRU's comment in my last post about traveling I looked up this review I did last year. I was stuck there for a full, miserable 7 days. Thank Dog the people at the clinic were terrific.

Snow Day for a Grown Up Lady

As I was putting the finishing touches on my hair-do this morning the phone rang, like it always seems to do, just as I'm about to walk out the door. Thankfully, for a change, I didn't ignore it, because it was my recruiter guy calling to reschedule the 10am "orientation" appointment I was busily making myself beautiful for. The roads and driving conditions here are pretty bad today in the tundra.

So for the first time since I was in high school - I've got a snow day.


I'm all made up. Hair done, eyes shining and no where to go. I'm tempted to head back into the bathroom and wash it all off, but I think I'll remain cute awhile longer.

Anyhoo... as I walked into the living room to put my outfit back in the closet I decided I liked the juxtaposition of the crisp tweed, cashmere and silk against the backdrop of our sloppy book shelves. It pretty much sums us up as a couple, and having my clothes all over the place is usually part of the mix.

You can see the beautiful raku vase made by my good friend Nature Boy (husband of my also good friend Madame La Prof) directly over top of my outfit. It's sitting next to MDH's fez that he bought at a yard sale that has been a featured tzchachki in our home since we first shacked up. MDH's military books and biographies are mixed in with my collection of fiction and a photo of my parents at our wedding.

I think I'll spend my snow day doing some terribly unproductive things that I would normally feel too guilty to do, like play the Sims and watch old movies I've been saving on the DVR for just such an occasion. Namely, and appropriately, The Lady Vanishes and The Lady Eve.

It's such a load off to spend a day with no job hunting.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I've Been Everywhere Part 2

Reading Tara's post listing all the places she's been prompted me to ponder my own travels. I started going through my old expense reports, which I needed to do anyway because we're getting ready to do our taxes, and counted 38 states I've been to in the last 5 years.

The names of the places are mostly familiar and some of them stand out more than others because of the length of time I spent there, frequency of visits and sometimes just the sheer weirdness of the people or the town.

Anyhoo... here's an official "Good-bye" to my old career in the form of an overview of the the little stroll I took down memory lane as I perused my old expense reports:

Worst "Hotel":
Methlab, MD
It seemed that people (rather unsavory people) were living in this "hotel" as if it were an apartment building. The place reeked of mildew, curry and body odor. Once in my room I immediately called MDH who began working furiously to find me alternative accommodations in the area. There were none with any vacancies.

As I was sitting on the bed, lamenting the horrible and possibly dangerous surroundings with my husband, I heard the a key turn in the lock on the door and a strange man walked into my room. I dropped the phone and screamed at the man, who didn't speak English, but clearly understood "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE MOTHERFUCKER!!" and the gesture implied by an angry frightened woman coming after him swinging a chair at this head. (Turns out the man was some kind of confused maintenance person, but still lucky to have removed himself before I smashed his fuckin' brains out.)

It was this incident that caused MDH, who of course heard the whole thing because he was still on the phone when it happened, to suggest that perhaps I should find another job.

Worst Hotel, Honorary Mention:
Truckstopwhore, Nevada
To start with, I had a horrible head cold. I stayed in a motel attached to the town's casino. The bed had one thin blanket and one pillow on it that I'm fairly certain was just a busted vacuum cleaner bag with a pillow case over it. My cell phone didn't work, there was no Internet service and I couldn't even use dial-up because the phone was actually attached to the wall with a permanent cable. As an added bonus - there was no TV. It was not unlike what I imagine prison to be. The vet was really nice and offered to let me stay at her house, but that could have been even weirder so I politely refused. It was only 2 days. I survived.
Crabbiest (Catty-est?) Clinic Staff:
Pick One
It's a tie between every single "cats only" clinic I've ever been to. I feel bad to say it, because one of the pleasures of my job was meeting the mostly wonderful and amazing people, but "cats only" clinics tend to be staffed with unpleasant grouches. I'm sure their foul moods have a lot to do with the fact that nearly all of these clinics reek of cat piss.

Most Rural:
Cowflop, MI
This was an equine clinic with a very cool doctor/owner who specialized in race horses and it was foaling season so there were lots of cute baby horsies prancing about. The clinic was about a 3 hour drive from home, but once I got off the highway it was 3 miles on a rutted dirt road, then turn on another dirt road and drive another 2 miles. The training was performed in a dusty old barn and the nearest hotel was 45 mins away. At least I racked up a lot of good mileage reimbursement.

Most Crazy Doctor/Clinic Owner
Baboon Buttock, MI
The poor man had whipped himself into a red-faced, blustering frenzy long before I arrived. The first day he was in a constant state of freak out and challenging me throughout the training to the point that I had to give him a time out and explain that he was wasting my time (which was really his time that he was paying me for) by being ridiculous. I handed him a brand new legal pad and told him to write down his questions instead of interrupting the training every 5 seconds and that we would address all of his concerns when the training was over at the end of the day, which we did. He seemed to have calmed down, but the next day when I arrived at the clinic, he wasn't there because he'd gone to the emergency room with heart palpitations. With him out of the picture the rest of the training went great. He is fine now, by the way.

Most Crazy Doctor/Clinic Owner - Honorable Mention
Whackadoo, KY
It was only my 3rd solo training and I was still learning the software myself. The owner was an older, country vet who had printed, read and memorized all 650 pages of the reference manual prior to my arrival, causing him to know more about the software than me. I was impressed with his brilliant memory, but the guy followed me around, buzzing questions like a goddamn horsefly. There was no relief from his incessant quizzing. At one point he followed me into the ladies room and I thought I would cry.

Most Fun Clinic
Bongwater, CA
There was just something special about this place and all the people who worked there. The manager was so relaxed about everything and fully prepared for the training (without having memorized the manual). To my amazement they had done all of the pre-training work I had assigned to them before I arrived. The clinic was in a big strip mall and there were lots of great little independently owned restaurants (best carne esada I've ever had) and a terrific little coffee shop right next door. Since they had prepared so much before the training I got to spend more time getting to know them and having a laugh. BTW - although they were very laid back, nobody was high as far as I know. I just think the word bongwater is funny.

Biggest Waste of Time
Pick One
Clinics that refused to close or even scale down the number of appointments they booked during the training (I would make this suggestion a priority in conversations with them in the weeks before I arrived) caused me to sit, sometimes for several hours, with nobody to train. Of course these are the same people that give you a bad evaluation, saying they didn't learn enough from the training.

Ah well...
Out with the old, in with the new...

A whole new world of things to bitch and moan about awaits when my new job starts on Feb 13th.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm Hired

No post today.

Only this: Some very wise people have decided to bring me into their project management team - in exchange for money. Yes. I got a job.

Pardon me won't you? I have to put a load of towels in the dryer and after that I am going to spend the rest of the day calling everyone that I have been avoiding for the last 7 months and squealing into the phone at them.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

24 Hour Weenie People

I have lots of things to write about, but most of them are of the long-ish story telling variety and I'm not in the mood to flesh them out today. Besides, it's bill paying day for MDH and he's probably going to boot me out of the office at any moment. He is currently performing his usual Sunday afternoon routine of watching the talking head brigade (Face the Nation, Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, etc..) while simultaneously watching UMass basketball on his laptop and shouting to himself, so I have a little time.

Here instead I'll tell you about our evening out. We forgot to take the camera. I don't have any actual photographic proof, but Rachel, Playtah and Aria were there as witnesses that MDH and I actually went out on a Saturday night.

We went to Billy's Lounge, which is a terrific little bar near our house. Technically it's within walking distance, but since we live in the fucking tundra, we drove. Aria's father's band were the featured performers of the night with the lovely Aria filling in for the regular female vocalist. She, along with the rest of the band, kicked ass. They played the kind of crowd pleasing R&B, Funk and Soul standards that make even the fuddiest of fleece wearing duddies get up and dance.

As we were leaving the bar I noticed that it was 12:50am and that I had a terrible hankerin' for a chili dog. MDH was not keen on the idea. I whined and put up a fuss until I realized that I was the driver, so I shut up and just drove straight to the 24 hour weenie restaurant instead of going home. It's weird that such things as 24 hour hot dog joints exist in a dullsville boring town that normally shuts completely down by 11PM, but I'm so very glad that they do. It's almost all we've got.

By the time we got to the weenie store MDH had decided not only that chili dogs were just the ticket, but also declared me "A Genius!" and trudged across the slushy parking lot to buy our late night snack while I waited in the toasty warm car.

We ate the sloppy doggies back at home hovering over paper towels on the sofa in the den and stayed up until almost 3am talking and laughing.

How did I get so lucky?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Orange Stained Meme Whore

I've been tagged again and I don't mind because I'm a meme whore. Meme's are especially good for days like today when I feel like writing something but have absolutely nothing good to say (even though the lady carding me for wine at the grocery today said she thought I looked like I was in my 20's which normally thrills me).

Many air kisses are going out to Renaissance Woman for perking me up by tagging me to share 6 non important things/habits/quirks about yourself. .

1. I always wear a watch, even to bed. I take it off to shower, otherwise it's on my wrist. I have waterproof sports watches to wear on vacations where I'll be swimming or snorkeling. Last January I left the house in a hurry to catch a flight and forgot to put my watch back on after I showered. I was practically twitching and shivering until my layover flight in Minneapolis. Once there I busted my ass running for a store I knew sold watches so I could buy a new one before my next flight left on the other side of the airport. I paid way too much, but the idea of being away from home working in the middle of nowhere without a watch was unbearable.

2. I think it sounds really trite when people say "I love him/her to death". What the fuck is that supposed to mean anyway? In my mind it's just a way of qualifying that you're not an asshole because it always seems to be followed by "but" and then something not so nice. Just say the not so nice thing and I'll figure out on my own whether or not you "love" the person anyway and are an asshole for saying the not so nice thing about them.

3. It bugs me when someone (these days it's my husband, but he's improving) empties the ice cube trays and puts them back in the freezer without refilling them. I long for a fridge with an ice maker.

4. I love oranges and grapefruits. My mom sends me big boxes of them from the fruit stand near her house in Florida a few times a year. Right now I'm working my way through a box of Honey Bells she sent last week. I eat 2 at a sitting, but I'm a little bummed out because my right thumbnail broke down to the quick the other day and that is my orange peeling nail.

5. I realized yesterday, to my astonishment, that I had gone an entire week and not eaten or drank (drunk? whatever.) anything with sugar in it. It wasn't something I intentionally set out to do but I just haven't had a sweet tooth (and still don't). It probably has a lot to do with the Honey Bells and perhaps is the reason why when I weighed myself this morning I found I've lost 2 lbs.

6. It bums me out when a raindrop or a drip from an awning or something lands directly on my head, right in the middle of where I part my hair, and then just rolls around on my scalp.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Boysh Are Back In Town or... Fuzzy Memories

MDH has kicked it into high gear this week as he plots a pilgrimage with 3 of his 4 brothers to Las Vegas for the Superbowl.

"But Lady", you might ask, "isn't the Superbowl in Tempe, AZ this year?" And to you I would reply, "Why, yes. Yes it is."

Here is the plan as I understand it so far:

MDH will fly to Las Vegas next Thursday, along with his brothers Miami and Syracuse to meet with their other brother LV, who I normally refer to in this blog as Las Vegas, because I have named his brothers by location (which wasn't so smart in hindsight because what if one or more of them moves?) with the exception of his brother Knucklehead (because he is a knucklehead wherever he goes and Cambridge sounds way too educated and important sounding of a handle to give him). For the purposes clearing up any confusion in today's post brother Las Vegas will be referred to as LV.
Are you with me so far?

Moving on then...

Where was I? Oh, yes, MDH and his slightly less knuckleheaded brothers are meeting in the city of Las Vegas next Thursday with the hopes that between the 4 of them someone will have been able to score Superbowl tickets. How this is supposed to happen, I haven't a clue. I assume it won't be above board, based on the thuggish character of his brothers, so I don't ask.

If the tickets are scored the group will (hopefully) sober up and rent a car with which to drive from Las Vegas to Tempe, AZ and attend the game.

If the tickets are not scored the group will remain hammered and watch the game together in one of their hotel suites or in the Caesar's Palace Sports Betting Lounge.

I have a feeling they will not make it to the game.

The last time they were all in Las Vegas MDH was having such a good time that he called me from what sounded like a combination of a Girl's Gone Wild video and a scene from Animal House and slurringly and lovingly asked if I minded if he stayed an extra day. He's a grown man, we have no children. What do I care? Go ahead my darling, stay an extra day. Party responsibly.

MDH: Hunna Bunna (Honey Bunny) me n' LV wanna shtay till tommmmma, tommma...

Me: Tomorrow?

MDH: yhu

Me: Why? What's up?

MDH: Otish Day n' the nights are playin and there'sh a toga party an Jenny McCarthy ish here n' Otish saysh for me to tell you "hi". (I had met some of the members of the band on a flight a few months prior and I'm sure they had no recollection of it.)

Me: OK.

MDH: yer smost wunnerful baby I wishyu were here right now I'd take yer mine armsn givya a big...

I could smell his scotchy breath through the phone from 2000 miles away.

Me: We can talk about it when you get home baby. Have a good time. I'm going to hang up now. Come home safe, OK?

MDH: Hunna Bunna, hunna bunna I jush wanna tell yoo shanks I love yoo soo mush...

He went on, but I hung up.

Half an hour later I received a call from the American Express Fraud Department about an attempted suspicious cash withdrawal of $4000 on the card from an ATM machine at Caesar's Palace.

Half an hour after that I received a call from Visa's Fraud folks on the same topic for the same amount.

I told them both to deny the transactions because MDH is really happy and generous when polluted and probably trying to buy a round of drinks for the entire audience at Cirque Du Soleil, but there was also the possibility that he had had his pocket picked by Miami's "date" or been robbed at gunpoint.

Anyhoo... I think it's pretty obvious that I'm not a jealous type, but don't fuck with our bank account. So next weekend I'll be manning the phone here at home, ready to nix the crazy credit card cash withdrawals hoping like hell Otis Day & The Nights have a gig elsewhere.

Here is a sampling of the amazing photos MDH took at the toga party:
Not sure.
No idea.
Kind of like when you point to something for a dog and it looks at your finger.
With regard to the photo at the top: Betcha can't tell which one is Knucklehead.

Random Find

It's a butt kind of week I guess...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In Response To Your Google Search Query #8

Dear Person Who Found My Blog Via The Search Query "having tubs put in your ears",

Sweetie, I cannot imagine this is a good idea, but welcome to my blog just the same!

You are barking up the wrong lady if you are expecting a thumbs up for this adventure.

It's true, I'm old fashioned and behind the times, and so being I'm not a huge fan of any of the sorts of body mutilations, piercings and tattoos that seem to be so popular with you young people these days. While tattoos and piercings can be beautiful and make a statement to the world about what kind of person you are isn't it much easier, not to mention much less expensive and painful, to just get a message t-shirt or bumper sticker?

In any case, I think you will find having tubs in your ears will make your every day life very complicated, for instance, how will you ever be able to fit into a phone booth? Imagine your discomfort and possible embarrassment when you are no longer able to fit into a public restroom stall.

We all suffer for vanity and fashion, but even if you choose a lighter weight material like fiberglass, the strain on your neck and lower back could be unbearable. Besides the wear and tear from every day living would probably cause you to have to have the tubs reglazed periodically and I can't even imagine how painful and costly that might be.

Lastly, I think you should consider the people around you and how annoyed they will be when sitting next to you on the bus or behind you at the movies.


I hope it's not too late, but if your heart is set on it, perhaps you can try out a less permanent alternative, like clip-on tubs and see how that flies before you make such a huge commitment to body mutilation.

Best Wishes & Kindest Regards!
The Lady

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I'm Sure Your Family Is Weird Too

The infantile humor, butthole themed post I wrote the other day made me think about my little sister a lot so I thought I would share a story about her, our family and how sometimes when you teach your children that something they do is fun or funny, it may seem quite bizarre and unfunny when witnessed by others.

For example: My sister's habit of hiding behind the wall that divided the kitchen from the bedroom hallway, then jumping out with arms stretched wide, naked and yelling "Surprise!"

We were surprised the first time. It was an original idea she cooked up on her own. Even though nobody actually taught her to do it, my parents and I accidentally encouraged her by not being able to maintain our composure and laughing every time she did it, which for a short time was quite often.

She liked to make people laugh.

Of course, no matter how hilarious, there was no excuse for this behavior and she would be scolded severely and told to put her clothes back on, but my sister was not fooled by our parent’s stern tone. She knew it was damn funny because she could clearly see that our parents were barely holding it together, ready to bust out laughing again at any moment.

Meanwhile my parents lived in fear that she would perform “Surprise I'm Naked" in front of company.

It might even have been funny or cute to people outside our family if she was 3 or 4, but alas she was 11 during her naked surprise phase. As some of you may already know, my sister had Down Syndrome and although intellectually she really was about 3 or 4, people outside of our nuclear family probably would've found the naked surprise game unsettling and unfunny and rightly so.

Eventually our mother laid down the law, forced herself to wear a poker face, threatened my father and me within an inch of our lives if we dared start laughing and put a stop to the naked surprise game.

(I suppose I should give you a little more background - so if you want you can read this older post I wrote about my sister several months ago - but don't you dare feel sorry or sad because that's not why I write about her - in fact quite the opposite.)

My sister had the learning disabilities and almond shaped eyes that a lot of people naturally associate with Down Syndrome, but it also caused her to have a huge protruding tongue and the roof of her mouth to be shaped like an exaggerated lower case "n". Normal sounding speech was very difficult and frustrating for her. We all learned sign language to help her communicate, but the kid liked to talk - a lot.

Nobody but our parents and I could ever understand what the hell my sister was saying. I was probably better at it than anybody and acted as translator most of the time.

Like any normal kid, she also liked TV - a lot. In addition to cartoons, such as Scooby-Doo and all the other kid oriented shows, she loved the variety shows that used to be on in the 70's and 80's like Hee Haw, Lawrence Welk, Barbara Mandrell & the Mandrell Sisters, Sonny & Cher, and so on. With the exception of Hee Haw and Lawrence Welk, didn't we all? (No? Alrighty.)

Based upon her love a TV, cartoons, and variety shows, she liked to play a little game we called Scooby-Doo. It was easy enough to play. Basically it’s a name calling game where my sister would point in your face and say “Scooby-Doo” in an accusatory tone, followed by a big grin and a fit of giggles. The correct response, if you chose to play along, was to point in her face and call her Scooby-Doo right back. She would mix it up from time to time by using other names combed from her TV watching repertoire, based on whatever TV show, character or celebrity she was interested in at the time.

Because her speech was impaired it came out sounding like this:

Scooby-Doo = Dooby-Doop

Bo Duke = Bo Doop

Grover = Grober

David Hasselhoff = Dabid Hall

Sonny & Cher = Dunny Chair

It was delightful that something so simple could make her so happy. She could play at this game all day, which could at times, as I’m sure you can imagine, be pretty annoying, especially if you were trying to read or watch TV. However, since it was fairly uncomplicated and the power of her crazy charm was completely irresistible, we usually indulged her and played anyway, saying the names back at her correctly, but using the same accusatory tone.

It seemed like a harmless enough game until she developed her bizarre passion for Bob Hope.

Her love of variety shows peaked with Bob Hope specials. She would bring the TV Guide to my mother, jumping and squealing whenever she saw a promo for the next Bob Hope Special to make sure my mom knew what day and time it was on so she wouldn't miss it. Bob Hope's specials would be her main topic of conversation for the weeks and days prior to the airing of the show. Naturally during these times Bob Hope would be the primary focus of the Scooby-Doo name calling game.

Bob Hope = Bah Ho

Probably because we knew that she was saying Bob Hope, it never dawned on us that it sounded like Butthole, until my mom got a call from my sister's teacher when she started playing the game at school.

That was the end of the Scooby-Doo game. Sort of. My parents and I still call each other Ba Ho sometimes as an inside joke in my sister's honor. We laugh our buttholes off.

Since you read through all that, here is a picture of my sister and me taken around the time of the surprise naked escapades. She's sporting a chocolate cookie mustache and I look like I've just farted and blamed it on her. Or is it the other way around?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Parlez Vous Frenchie?

My gorgeous friend Frenchie, whose "I am a teacher" letter to the editor I posted a few days ago has started her own blog and given herself the new moniker Madame La Prof. Check it out and say howdy whydontcha?

Monday, January 21, 2008

How To Be Puerile... Butts 'R Funny

Chuck Norris has been in the news quite a lot lately. Mainly because he has apparently been surgically attached to the hip of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

Every time I see Chuck Norris I fall into a fit of giggles because Amy and I used to call his old TV show Walker, Texas Butthole. Although we never watched this show, calling it Walker, Texas Butthole was very entertaining to the point that sometimes I forget the real title.

Anyhoo... We eventually added the word butt or butthole to any other movie or show we found objectionable and the result was always amusing.

Since I've been seeing so much of him lately and I am mostly unfamiliar with his body of work I thought it would be fun to visit IMDB and see what other of Chuck Norris's titles could be similarly abused. To my idiotic delight, quite a few:

Butthole! Butthole! (1977)
Tagline: A town without justice. A butthole without fear.
Plot: Truck driver searches for his butthole, who has disappeared in a town run by a corrupt judge. Karate ensues.

Buttholes Wear Black (1978)
Tagline: The C.I.A. can't afford John T. Booker... alive.
Plot: An ex-US Army commando must find the reason why buttholes from his unit are being systematically murdered before he is next. Karate ensues.

A Force of Butt (1979)
Tagline: He hears the butthole. He sees the butthole. He's the only butthole who can stop the killing.
Plot: A team of undercover buttholes is conducting an investigation when things mysteriously begin to go haywire. Karate ensues.

Lone Wolf McButthole (1983)
Tagline: The 'Mad Dog' Criminal...The 'Lone Butthole' Lawman...The Ultimate Showdown.
Plot: The archetypal renegade Texas Butthole wages war against a drug kingpin with automatic weapons, his butthole and martial arts after a gun battle leaves his partner dead. Karate ensues.

Our fun little juvenile game translates well to some other titles from TV shows and movies that got way more attention and accolades than they deserved and/or feature actors I dislike:

Touched By a Butthole


Diagnosis Butthole

Dances With Head Up Butt

Message In A Butthole

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Evening Snooze

If you were to talk to me about national or international current events you would find that I'm fairly well informed. I've had a subscription to Newsweek since I moved out of my parents house 19 years ago. I listen to NPR throughout the day, read The New Yorker, The Economist, Vanity Fair (the perfume ads drive me batty), and watch BBC World News at least 3 times a week.

I don't like confrontation, so it is unlikely that I will share my opinion about politics with you here in this blog or anywhere else. You will learn all you need to know about my tastes and leanings by having read the paragraph above and then reading the paragraph below.

Because I live with MDH, who is constantly listening to and reading news all day while he's working I'm even more informed. He also checks in with the false gods of news everyday; Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and that irritating Hannity guy. He calls it "taking one for the team", because he likes to also keep abreast of what's going on in the land of ridiculous exaggerations, made up news and endless crazy speculation.

He can't seem to stomach Bill O'Reilly though and won't give his show the time of day.

Anyhoo... what I'm trying to say here is I am aware and informed on most things national and global, but I tend to either get all riled up or bored to death every time I watch the news or read a newspaper with any serious intent.

So while MDH is snug in our den switching back and forth between Face the Nation and This Week with George Stephanopoulos on the TV while he watches Tim Russert on his laptop, and contentedly jeering, I'm in the office reading News of the Weird online. Perhaps the rumors are true and there is nothing but cotton candy between my ears, but I can only take so much news and opinion before I will run away screaming.

Fuck the Presidential Primaries, foreign policy screw ups and climbing oil prices - here are some of my favorite recent stories from News of the Weird.

Police in Mount Lebanon, Pa., said in December that no illegal acts were involved, but some parents still want to know why the nondenominational Christian Mount Lebanon Young Life club had staged a teenagers' social event during which boys wore adult diapers, bibs and bonnets and sat in girls' laps while being spoon-fed. Said youth minister O.J. Wandrisco, the skits were not "dirty," but "to break down the walls and let (the kids) have fun." A previous skit involved, according to a parent, kids eating chocolate pudding out of diapers. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12-8-07]

Dr. Paul Schum, 50, the principal of the Catholic Bethlehem High School in Bardstown, Ky., was arrested in October on prostitution-related charges after he was discovered loitering in an alley, dressed as a woman, in leather and fishnet stockings and with fake breasts. A local priest, presumably intending to help Dr. Schum, said dressing as a woman didn't sound like something Schum would be involved in, "(b)ut again, we're in the Halloween season." (Dr. Schum eventually resigned, and the prosecutor chose to drop the charge.) [WAVE-TV (Louisville), 10-31-07, 12-20-07]

Mr. Sandy Wong, 45, was sentenced in November in Edmonton, Alberta, to 90 days in jail for three counts of indecent exposure, including masturbating with his pants down while sitting on the roof of a BMW at a local agriculture fair. According to a psychiatrist, Wong said he is sexually attracted to the BMW's roof because "it's curved like a woman's body," but he also has been aroused by a 1967 Camaro, a 1965 Chevy Bel Air, a 2005 MiniCooper and a 1991 Buick Century. [Edmonton Sun, 11-23-07]

A 32-year-old man was found dead, stuck in the cat door of his girlfriend's St. Augustine, Fla., house after she had kicked him out. Said a friend, "(H)is head was caught ... like he was (trying) to reach up and unlock the door ..." [WKMG-TV (Orlando), 11-12-07]

Saturday, January 19, 2008

An Imaginary Unsent Memo

To: Marketing Team
From: Person Who Has the Common Sense That God Gave a Goose
RE: Bowflex Revolution Home Gym Web Ad


I've reviewed the proofs for the latest ad for our Revolution Home Gym and noticed a large problem. Anybody else see it? No?

How about the woman in the photo appears to be bent backwards at the waist with her robotic legs over her ears? How about that?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Frenchie's Letter - A Guest Post

This evening I'm busy being all lovey and wifely so I give you a guest post in the form of a letter to the editor of a local Ohio newspaper written by my good friend Frenchie (gorgeous wife of my also very good friend Nature Boy). It's a response to nasty comments made and letters written during a teachers contract dispute, by parents and residents in the community where she teaches. Take it away Frenchie:

More or less, we were having a contract dispute over salary. We were in month #7 working off the old contract when I wrote this. We were holding out for more money for 2 reasons: a) we'd taken shitty salary increases in the two previous contract negotiations in 2005 and 2003; b) the school board had given the principals a really high salary increase in 2005 after giving us shitty ones (we got 2% the first year and 1% the second year, and they gave the principals 4% on top of all the other perks they already get that we don't).

We saw their crappy proposal as an issue of respect more than being about the money. Sadly enough, in the end they didn't budge and we ended up accepting their proposal, but I think it was just because they wore us down to the point where most of us didn't have any fight left in us.

I am a teacher.
I smile at your children when I see them everyday.
I listen to your children when they need to unload.
I listen to your children when they are brimming with excitement to tell me about their weekend.
I grade papers on the couch in the evenings while my four-year old works puzzles on the living room floor.
I loan your children lunch money when they forget theirs at home.
I supply endless Kleenex for runny noses.
I schedule make-up tests and extra help sessions before school and after school, and sometimes during my only lunch break.
I ask your children to exceed their own expectations.
I spend hours planning engaging lessons that keep heads from falling asleep on desktops.
I write my own tests and quizzes even though our textbook company sends us pre-written ones, because I feel theirs are substandard.
I have a homework completion raffle every week and I buy the prizes.
I buy my own materials if there’s not enough money left in the budget for them.
I call you at home if your child’s grades are slipping.
When the conversation sidetracks into what a wonderful child your teenager used to be, I listen and smile and don’t interrupt, even though it has nothing to do with the reason I’m calling.
I thank you for doing your best as a parent, because I know that we both want the best for your child.
None of this is in my contract.
My paycheck would remain the same if I did not do these things.
The majority of teachers I work with have a list this long or longer.
We love this community and we care about your children.
Please reciprocate by encouraging the Board of Education to end the standoff.
We’re not looking to get rich. We just want to feel appreciated.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tidy Up Playlist

Last night I topped off a husbandless week by going out to Karaoke with Rachel and Aria. I drank two beers and sang a decent rendition of "Something to Talk About", cheered loud hillbilly Ya-hoo's when a group of folks I'd never seen there before chose a Red Hot Chili Peppers tune and broke out in goosebumps when Aria belted "I'm Every Woman" and some Christina Aguilera song I think was called "Impossible", hitting every note perfectly. Rachel busted out my finale (it was my finale because I left afterwards) with "Let's Hear It for the Boy".

It was a good time, but the party is over.

This morning while sitting in the den, having my tea I heard a rustling of papers and looked over to see our cat Turtle making a pathetic attempt to look nonplussed after squeezing himself into his favorite napping spot. Over the course of the week I'd thoughtlessly covered it up with a pile of mail, newspapers and a pair of shoes. He laid down, draped one of his front legs across the heel of the shoe, and gave me a withering, disgusted look.

"Loud and clear, buddy" I said getting up. "I'm on it."

I've had 4 days of walking by piles of clothes and kicking off my shoes where I stand and leaving them where they lay. There are piles of unopened mail in nearly every room in my house. Even by my normal standards of bachelor living when MDH is away I've been a slob. I've hung my jackets and scarves on the treadmill instead of walking 10 feet and hanging them properly in the foyer closet and set a new roll of toilet paper 1 foot away on the side of the tub instead of simply replacing the old roll in the holder which is inches from the toilet.

I've already mentioned the fact that I have to vacuum the den. I won't take you there again.

These types of sloppiness are all simple enough to remedy, but not for me because I notice things as I straighten and end up losing focus.

As I bend over to pick up a pair of shoes from the kitchen floor I notice an errant splash of what appears to be spaghetti sauce on the baseboard under a cabinet. As I reach for the cleaner to wipe the cabinet I notice how dusty the window sill has gotten. As I lean across the sink to wipe down the window sill I notice all the crumbs that have gathered in the toaster.

The kitchen is typically the cleanest room in my house so I can already see how the rest of the day is going to pan out and now I'm irritated.

What better way to remedy irritation and make cleaning a little more tolerable than music?

So while I'm busy tidying up and going of on cleaning tangents I'll share with you some samples from what I like to call the Cleaning Playlist:

I Zimbra by Talking Heads - Who wouldn't want to scrub a toilet to this?

Blues In the Night by Artie Shaw - Just try not to to remove your rubber gloves burlesque stripper style when you listen to this. It simply cannot be done.

Rock Steady by Aretha Franklin - Changing the sheets.

Whammy Kiss by The B52's - Sorting the mail.

Beercan by Beck - A great song for gathering recylcing.

Hem of Your Garment by Cake - Helps me start the laundry and put away shoes.

Me, Myself & I by De La Soul - Windexing mirrors.

Cold Beverage by G. Love & Special Sauce - Time for a break.

Mother's Little Helper by the Rolling Stones - Still break time.

Sexbomb by Tom Jones - Swing your hips and sing into the mop handle.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Chocolate Cake, Toenail Clippings & Virtual Fashion

With MDH away this week in Dallas for his annual presentation to his department to justify why they should keep him in their employ, I've had some time to kick back, have the house and the computer to myself and regress into a slovenly cave woman.

The Things I Haven't Done:
1. Washed a dish
2. Shaved anything
3. Laundry
4. Read, watched or listened to the news
5. Pretended to care about sports
6. Cooked

Things I Have Barely Done:
1. Leave the house - just once for a grocery store run for chocolate cake.
2. Eat
3. Sleep
4. Answer the phone

Things I Have Forced Myself to Do:
1. Shower
2. Job search endlessly (contributes to the barely sleeping)
3. Feed and play with the cat
4. Take out the garbage which is normally MDH's chore
5. Call my mother (OK, I haven't done this yet but I will)

Things I Have Willingly Done With No Remorse Since No One Is Around to Witness or Complain:
1. Designed and furnished a new Sims house

2. Downloaded new designer outfits for my Sims to wear (I'm a total slobbo, but at least my Sims are fashionable)

3. Ate hummus and cucumber slices for dinner with a giant hunk of chocolate cake for dessert

4. Drank milk straight from the container

5. Watched Celebrity Rehab (OK, I feel a little remorseful about this)

6. Cut my toenails in the den while watching Celebrity Rehab and letting the "chips" fall where they may (I'll run the sweeper tomorrow and MDH won't be any the wiser)

7. Trimmed the cats toenails in the den letting the
"chips" fall, etc. etc.

8. Ate and drank from paper plates and plastic cups (so I don't have to do the dishes)

9. Watched Persuasion, which I recorded in high def from Masterpiece (formerly known as Masterpiece Theatre) uninterrupted (didn't answer the phone when it rang a kabillion times)

10. Blog, blog, blog
Tomorrow it's back to a more a normal life of cleaning, cooking, and acting like I a give a damn about sports. Meanwhile I've had a very enjoyable time being a lazy pig and have made some solid headway in the post holiday job searching (two good bites and a possible interview coming up).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lady Recommends a Film

Last Wednesday night my friend Rachel called me to square up some plans we were making to get together for dinner and a movie. The conversation started with a common question you might ask when you call up a friend in the evening, "What are you doing?"

Generally when you tell someone you're watching a movie they might want to know what it is and what it's about. So of course when I told her I was watching a movie she asked, "Oh, what is it?" Probably she was expecting that I'd say "Terminator" or "Sleepless in Seattle" or some other movie title that any normal person might recognize and immediately relate to.

For me though, answering this question is always trickier than you might imagine because I prefer non-mainstream kinds of stuff. For example, at the time I was watching a documentary about an Australian wall paper designer.

It's nearly impossible to make that sound interesting so in order not to come across like a total dork I felt the need to qualify the film and over explain the plot and characters and rationalize why I might be watching such a film. Rachel insisted that it sounded cool, but I blathered on and on about it just the same.

Anyhoo... I thought I'd blather about it here too.

Yes. I watched a brilliant documentary by Australian director Gillian Armstrong called Unfolding Florence, about the larger than life Florence Broadhurst who was murdered at the age of 78 and best known for her silk screened wallpapers and fabrics she began to design at age 60.

Armstrong let's Broadhurst tell her own story, interspersed with old photos, Monty Python-like animation, and interviews of family, friends and former employees sitting in front of backdrops of her amazing designs. It's a documentary for people who don't like documentaries. I happen to like documentaries so I loved it.

It's a terrific film and if anyone out there is interested in Jazz Age Paris, London during the Blitz and flamboyant old ladies who put on airs and have a great eye for design, then you should watch it.

Her fabrics and wallpapers are still available here and prints can be purchased as art.

Here is very short interview with the director that includes a taste of what the film is like:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Feelin' Groovy

Today, because I'm feeling a little blue and don't feel much like pulling a story out of my dragging ass, I thought I would take you on a little tour of Ladyland and post photos of a few of my favorite things around the house.

First stop - the powder room off the kitchen and the view of what you see when you sit on the can. Black and white photos of Paris in the 1950's that I cut out of an old calendar with an exacto knife and pasted into $5 frames I bought at Cost Plus.

Next Stop - The Den where you see a view of my favorite little nook which includes a painted screen (the other side is painted to look like shelves with old books) with a little Venetian marionette hanging on it, MDH's Superbowl hat from when the Patriots went in 2001, the little side table I trash picked 20 years ago and the lamp Amy got me for my birthday in 2006.

Here is what you see when you sit in my nook - a little thing we like to call "The Dude". MDH kept him as collateral for money loaned to a ne'er do well ex-girlfriend. She still calls sometimes and asks for it back, but he claims eminent domain and also knows she will never cough up the dough she owes him. The Dude is very fragile as he is made from cut and layered styrofoam, so we can't keep him anywhere near heat or sunlight. He really should be kept away from me too, as I have broken him in two different places over the years, betcha can't tell where! I'm crafty.
Now we're in the kitchen where you will see my lovely paint color test on the left that was given a rousing thumbs down by my friend Rachel who thinks I should go for a more vibrant color. I agree, but we're going to try to sell this shitbird of a house in the next couple of years and most house hunters seem to prefer bland. Oh yes, you can also see the most expensive art I have ever purchased - 4 black and white photos of the old North Market in Columbus back in the 1950's, in el cheapo frames I also bought at Cost Plus.

On the other side of the kitchen you will find my favorite cabinet filled with MDH's colorful collection of Comfest plastic beer mugs from every year going back to 1994. I bitch about them because they take up so much space in the cupboard, but really I'm just as sentimental about Comfest as MDH and the bright colors are cheerful. Also note MDH's other kitchen decor contribution - the Three Stooges sketch.

Last stop in the kitchen, my crab clock given to me by Amy for my 40th birthday last summer. She got it in Rehoboth Beach. She goes every summer with her family and always brings me back something cute. She also knows I love clocks.

I was going to post more, but I started to feel a lot better and almost downright groovy - so here's the last one. It's me, in my new favorite yellow sweater with my favorite Beautiful Katamari screen saver in the background and a post it note with the name of my new favorite wine on it (Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2004 Nicolas Potel). I have to go put on some Blistex now, my lips look chapped in the picture.
Have a groovy Monday.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Your Lucky Has Run Out

In honor of my best friend Amy's birthday I thought I would share a story about Amy's devotion to her dignity and her little dog Rita.

Rita is a 12 year old, 15 pound, black and white Rat Terrier with a little snub of a hot dog for a tail. She is hands down the cutest and most frustrating dog I have ever known.

She is yappy, obstinate, has the worst friggin' breath paired with the longest, slimiest tongue in the entire galaxy and wants nothing more than to lick endlessly inside your ears until she tastes your brain.

This is why when I am at Amy's house I never pick Rita up, lay down on the floor or allow my head to be anywhere near the level of that dog's reeking snout.

Even though Rita sheds enough to knit another dog, her breath smells like rotten eggs and her feet like Chili-Cheese Fritos, Amy loves this goddamn dog almost as much as she loves her own daughter LBL. Sometimes I wonder though, because Rita doesn't lie, ask for money, or whine about having to practice piano.

I helped Amy pick Rita out of the litter when she was a wee, bitty puppy, so in spite of all her smelly and irritating insubordination, I love Rita too. I however can say for sure that I love Amy's daughter more than Rita because along with many other wonderful qualities, at least LBL comes when you call her and nobody has to clean up her shit from the back yard.

Next to licking inside people's heads, all Rita wants in life is to sleep, sit or stand next to Amy - in exactly that order. Which is why she doesn't try to lick inside Amy's head. Ever. Rita needs desperately to be with Amy at all times (unless I'm there, and then she wants to sleep, sit or stand next to me) and knows that if she tries to taste Amy's brain that Amy will not hold her or let her sit next to her.

Rita has never had any training whatsoever (surprised?) and as I mentioned before, she is obstinate and she doesn't come when you call her. She will just stand there and look at you, lie down, or to prove herself to be even more of an asshole, turn around and walk away. She won't even come for Amy.

The old house that Amy lived when she got Rita had a beautiful fenced in back yard for the doggie to run around in. Since Rita only wanted to be inside with Amy, she just went out long enough to do her business, after which she would wait pathetically, with doe eyes and perked ears by the screen door to be let back in.

Rita hardly ever got outside of that fence without being leashed and when she did it was a huge ordeal to get her back in. When she was younger, she ran as fast as a little 4-legged rocket in increasingly large circles so that at some point she would come close enough to almost grab. When you reached out to snag her, she would get away while the circle got bigger and bigger until an arc of it included the road in front of the house. During it all, Rita would wear a big crazy, tongue flapping grin. The louder you screamed at her, the faster the pace and the bigger that infuriating grin.

One weekday morning, Amy ventured out to the supermarket 5 blocks from her house. She was sitting at a stop sign 3 blocks from home and about 1 block away from one of the busiest streets in Columbus when she looked over and saw Rita running around in someones front yard.

She immediately put the car in park and started walking slowly over, calling softly to Rita. The dog stopped what it was doing, looked at Amy for a moment, then it bowed down in a playful stance and took off running in a crazy circular pattern a wearing a wild, tongue flapping grin.

The closer Amy got, the faster and farther away the dog ran, until it was no longer on the part of the block that was residential. She had started running in the parking lot of a strip mall on the busy street. The circular pattern getting closer and closer to the fast moving traffic.

Amy was panicked and crying, wondering how the fuck Rita got out of the yard and blaming herself for leaving the gate open.

The shrilly screaming of Rita's name through sobs, over and over at the top of her lungs is what caught the attention of the store manager working in the tuxedo shop in the strip mall, who for some reason managed to catch the dog's attention and lure it into the store.

Amy ran to the tuxedo store, shaking and crying. Once inside she scooped Rita up in her arms and sobbed a thank you to the store manager.

She walked briskly back to the car, which was still idling at the stop sign and loaded up the dog and drove back home in silence while the dog energetically hopped all around the back seat.

Amy later told to me that she realized as soon as she walked into the tuxedo shop that the dog was not Rita, but after all the fussing and screaming she didn't know what else to do but take the dog.

It was a black and white male rat terrier, with similar markings to Rita's, whose tags revealed it's name to be Lucky.

Once home she put it in the back yard and called the owner's phone number on the tags, feeling quite ridiculous, but also like she had done the right thing. The owner came and picked up the dog a couple of hours later.

That dog was indeed lucky. Lucky that Amy didn't notice it had a penis and a different colored collar than Rita. The store manager was also quite lucky that Amy didn't dump the dog in the tuxedo shop because she was too proud to admit that the dog wasn't hers after crying and carrying on with the hysterical screaming fit in the parking lot.

BTW, Rita is still kickin', smellier than ever and now only goes out to do her business while supervised on a leash. She still wants to lick my brain.

and... PS - Happy Birthday to Frenchie too!

The Music In Me

Things are pretty busy around here this week as MDH prepares for his big annual meeting in Dallas. Basically he has to qualify all the work he did in 2007 in front of his colleagues in the form of an hour long presentation. He has to puff it all up and make it look good, so he's been squirreled away in our home office this week doctoring it all and wrapping it in a big bright ribbon.

He likens it to that scene in Animal House where they all sit around and throw beercans at the projection screen. It can make or break a career so it has to be spot on.

Anyhoo... I've only been able to write or read blogs in small snatches throughout the day when he takes a break.

So since I haven't the time to write very much I'll give you all some tunes that I have plucked from my iTunes library, some of my old favorites.

You should be able to download by clicking on them:

Neighborhood by Space - this is just a silly song that sounds spooky at the same time. It always makes me laugh.

Vanishing Girl by Dukes of the Stratosphear - if this sounds familiar it's because it's the members of XTC in a little side project they did awhile back. The rest of the album, Chips from the Chocolate Fireball, is fantastic.

American Dreaming by Dead Can Dance - from their live album Toward the Within. It's the only song on the album that doesn't sound like it was recorded by banshees in a graveyard.

Primative Painters by Felt - this is a band that an old boyfriend turned me onto many, many years ago. It's a long song, and best listened to with headphones or a few candles lit for a nice make-out session. You can almost smell patchouli when you listen to it and I hope that doesn't keep you from giving it a whirl.

Sunlight Bathed the Golden Glow also by Felt - I thought I'd throw this in too so you can hear the contrast between this one and Primitive Painters.

Queen Bitch by David Bowie - it is officially the most played on my iPod and I talk about it all the time so I figured it was time to share with those of you who haven't been blessed to rock out to it. I don't use the expression "rock out" very often, so you know I love this damn song.

American Women - Butthole Surfers - My friend John shaved my hair into a mohawk and died the tips yellow and the sides bright pink before I went to this show in 1988. I do not remember anything else about the about the show or the rest of the evening. It's a sentimental old favorite and representative of a small period of time in my youth, but I won't be upset if you hate it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Nobody In Their Right Mind Would Need This - Lucky #13 Edition

His & Hers Bingo Masks
I love making fun of old people just as much as the next jerk, but it's hard enough to breathe at bingo with all of the cigarette smoke without wearing a rubber mask. Besides you wouldn't be able to see properly through those eye holes to plop your marker on the right numbers. You'd just make a damn mess.

I also think the hats are a little redundant. Of course you love bingo. You wouldn't be there if you didn't. I'd like to see a hat that conveys a more honest message, like "I Smoke and I've Got a Gambling Problem" or "This Is the Only Time I Ever Leave the House and My Kids Never Visit" but I guess there isn't enough space.

Waistband Extenders
Also known as Buy Some New Pants, Fatass. It's better than muffin top, but only marginally.

At only $3.95 a pop I suppose it's more economical than buying new pants, but really, just go ahead and unbutton your pants. You know you want to. Keep an extra set in your pocketbook for Crab Leg Night at the Golden Trough.

Hairstyle Protector
Apparently Adriana Lima was busy so they had to hire an artist to draw it instead. It appears to be made entirely of spider webs.