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September 30, 2002

babs goes to boot camp

babs goes to boot camp

I'm watching Celebrity Boot Camp.

They sure are stretching the definition of celebrity here.

I had an idea for a great sequel to this show: Celebrity Boot Camp II - Give Peace A Chance.

It will star Ed Asner, Noam Chomsky, Barbra Streisand, Susan Sarandon and Oliver Stone.

Armed with only a backpack filled with granola bars and Michael Moore books, they will be shipped off to Iraq where they will assume the role of Iraq citizens, under the tutelage of Scott Ritter.

They will spend time blending in, learning about the culture of fear that exists there, and trying not to engage the ire of Saddam.

As a final mission, they will be granted unfettered access to the presidential palaces where they will play a round of "Spot the Weapon of Mass Destruction."


No, no, Ms. Streisand, that is a generator. Umm..in case of a bad storm. You know, lighting.

Oh, of course, silly me! My what a big generator you have! Ha ha!

They will stay as long until a resolution is drafted and enacted, allowing the United States to bomb Iraq, take out Saddam and free the citizens from his reign. When the strike is about to take place, all the celebrities must join hands and form a ring around Saddam, while Barbra sings:


They sing until the rockets red glare start shining above and then - game over.

We win, Iraq wins and people who hated Yentl and Bull Durham win.

disclaimer: I'm not a right-winger, I just play one during missions to take out evil overlords who aim to destroy us. So save the emails, thanks.

it's getting hot in here

it's getting hot in here, let's take off our pinafores

I was just watching Little House on the Prarie.

That Nellie Olesen sure was a bitch.

In today's episode, Willie and Nellie use a "talking machine" to record Laura saying lovey-dovey things about the new boy, Jason. Then Nellie plays it for the whole class, much to Laura's embarassment.

Nellie was all nice to Laura in order to get her up in her bedroom where the talking machine was. I mean, how could Laura fall for something like that, given Nellie's history? Laura was just a huge Pollyana, wasn't she?

I tend to mix up episodes when I try to remember them. And then I mix up episodes from other shows, like Silver Spoons or Starsky and Hutch and they all merge together in some sitcom stew.

I'm trying to remember if they ever got even with Nellie. I think I remember her being pushed into the mud once, but then my mind mixes it all up and I keep seeing George Clooney and Tootie from Facts of Life taking Nellie for a joyride into New York City, where they leave her on a street corner until Starsky shows up just in time to save her from an evil pimp.

Did Nellie ever get leprosy and go to Hawaii to get cured? Wait, no. That was The Simpsons. And it wasn't leprosy, it was oatmeal.

And then Mary goes blind and Nellie keeps rearranging the furniture in the Ingalls home to fuck Mary up. I think. Did Laura Ingalls every say "watchoo talkin' bout, Willis?"

I don't know. I just want to bitchslap Nellie a couple of times, but then I want to bitchslap Laura, too, for being such a pussy.

hell raisers

hell raisers

Yes, this is the same post that was here last night, with additions and addendums.

The new Raising Hell is live. Go. See. Hurry.

rh_logo.jpgRaising Hell is relaunching Monday morning has relaunched with an exciting new look from Sekimori Design, a couple of new authors, and a slew of new content.

As Douglas Coupland says, all families are psychotic. We're proud to share those dysfunctional moments with you. Where else can you learn that the basic rule of family life is don't pee in the millenium falcon?

Tomorrow morning. Be there. Go there. Now.

Thank you, Robyn and Stacy, for your design, your coding, your patience and the amazing end result.

(We won't mind at all, no not at all, if you mention this on your blog tomorrow morning today. We would bribe you with money, but we have gone broke from paying off our kids to let us post embarassing stories about them.)

September 29, 2002

voting booth is open

voting booth is closed

Stuffing the ballot box is a bad way to ruin a good contest.

Anyone can send a link to twenty friends and tell them to go vote. That doesn't mean you win. Not in this place, anyhow.

Voting is null and void. Contest over. I will decide who gets the prize.

Play fair or don't play at all.

got your panties in a bunch?

got your panties in a bunch?

Reid just had to go and put this idea in my head. Of course, I ran with it out of my own free will.

New, from Blogosphere Industries, "Apology Panties," guaranteed to smooth over the most knotted affair, and Keep Hope Alive!

Made to order for any instance when a fellow blogger has gotten their panties in a bunch over nothing, but you want to smooth things over.

(click for supersize)

Apology Panties come in enough variety to cover any blogging faux pax: flame-wars, comment trolling, thinly veiled insults, direct linking, template stealing, left wing bashing and right-wing name-calling.

For the truly unapologetic, we also have "I'm sorry I offended you, but I still think you are an asshole" panties.

So unknot those panties, say you're sorry and Keep Blogging Hope Alive!

supper's ready!

supper's ready!

You've probably seen the Viking kitties by now. Cute little flash kittens in Viking horns acting out Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song. The words pop up in bubbles in the song goes on.

Wow. Seeing those words in print again brought on a flood of memories and a fit of giggles.

There was a time when I considered Led Zeppelin to be gods. Most people my age went through that phase. We quoted lyrics left and right and debated the meaning behind each song. Plant and Page were geniuses, deep thinkers, philosophers.

Yea, right. What is deep thinking to a 14 year old mesmerized by heavy guitars and pounding rythms and Robert Plant's hair turns into foolishness and pretension when you take away the haze of few joints and flights of teenage fancy.

The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!

Did we really sing these lyrics out loud? Valhalla, I am coming? How did we not break into fits of laughter when we said those words?

On we sweep with threshing oar

We must have been really stoned.

Sure, they had plenty of tunes that were about love and sex and things other than faeries and Norse gods. But those weren't the lyrics that were endlessly debated. Those were not the lyrics quoted as if they were the mantra of your life.

We sang The Battle of Nevermore as if we were story tellers. We felt the pain, the despair, the anguish. Oh, we were so deep, so in tune with our lyrical heroes.

Queen of Light took her bow, And then she turned to go,
The Prince of Peace embraced the gloom, And walked the night alone

You know, we had no idea what they were going on about. It just sounded good. It sounded like poetry. It sounded deep. In turn, we thought it made us sound scholarly and deep when we sat around ruminating about the Prince of Peace and his Queen.

Our favorite song at one point was No Quarter:

The winds of Thor are blowing cold.
They're wearing steel that's bright and true

Maybe our Tolkien-drenched minds kept us from finding the lyrics to be amusing and pretentious, like I do now. We were living in this outer realm, where hobbits existed and wars were fought between inhuman creatures. Plant knew that, he knew the mindset of the kids those days. And he played on it. Either that or he did a lot of acid.

Now, forgive me for this next part. I know that some of you consider Stairway to Heaven the Greatest Song Ever. I sure did back in the day. But please, look at these lyrics.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,
It's just a spring clean for the May queen.

One summer night, five of sat on the open tailgate of a someone's mom's station wagon, parked in the last row of a drive-in theater (double feature: Kentucky Fried Movie and Groove Tube). For two hours, we discussed the meaning behind the lyrics to that song, spending an awful lot of time on the "bustle in your hedgerow" line. We each had a different interpreation of the song. We each took our own meaning from it. And that was deep, man. I mean, wow...they spoke to each one of us in a different way. How fucking cool!

It was only years later that I realized the words probably mean nothing except that Robert Plant read a lot of books. He strung some thoughts and words from his favorite novels together, mixed them in a blender and called it Stairway to Heaven.

When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll.

Anyone care to explain that line? To be a rock and not to roll. They revisited that theme again in The Rover with the line You got me rockin' when I ought to be a-rollin', which took on a decidedly different tone than the rock and the roll from Stairway. Maybe he was just running out of words at this point, a consideration to be taken seriously when you realize that the next Zep album was Presence.

Led Zeppelin did not own the rights to bizarre lyrics passing as genius writing abilities. We enshrined Genesis (the Gabriel years) in the same manner.

From Supper's Ready:
Wandering through the chaos the battle has left,
We climb up a mountain of human flesh,
To a plateau of green grass, and green trees full of life.
A young figure sits still by the pool,
He's been stamped human bacon by some butchery tool.
(He is you.)
Social Security took care of this lad.
We watch in reverence, as Narcissus is turned to a flower

Any old school Genesis fan worth his salt knows what comes next.

A flower?

Want more? From I Know What I Like in Your Wardrobe:

When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench,
I can always hear them talk.
Me, I'm just a lawnmower - you can tell me by the way I walk

We used to recite that line over and over! Some days it was all we said. Genius! Brilliance! We each claimed to know exactly what they meant by that but none of us had a damn clue as to what the hell they were talking about. But saying that you knew, that you understood the depth and layers of Genesis made you look smart and brilliant in your own right.

And who could forget Squonk? There isn't a long-time Genesis fan alive who can't recite the end of the song:

The is of a very retiring disposition and due to its ugliness, weeps constantly. It is easy prey for hunters who simply follow a tear-stained trail. When cornered it will dissolve itself into tears. True or False?

What the hell? How did I ever think those were inspiring, thoughtful words?

Better yet, tell me why I feel so melancholy when I hear these songs. Is it just the memories of those youthful days? Or was there really something to the music and lyrics that my old age just can't see anymore? Have I gotten too old to appreciate underlying themes and visions? Should I start smoking pot again? Do I need to take Lamb Lies Down on Broadway or Physical Graffiti and listen for the subtext and meanings that I swear are not there?

Stay tuned for the next installment, when I explain why Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden is a blowhard.

September 28, 2002



I've been spacey all day today. I keep reading and hearing things wrong. I keep going into rooms and then forgetting why I'm there.

Just now, I decided to make myself a margarita, like I do every night (I blame Kymberlie, who bought us margarita glasses for our wedding). I poured the tequila, put a little ice in and then poured what I thought was the margarita mix in. I sat down to have the nice refreshing drink and, using a bendy straw, sucked down more than half the glass. Apparently, I poured in more tequila instead of the mix. Can you say head rush and heartburn all at once?

Anyhow, I've been spending all day working on Raising Hell, which will relaunch on Monday. I've been trying to write a psuedo-press release and, despite my years spent in publicity doing such a thing for a living, cannot make it work. I've been working also on the front page welcome thing for that day, a blurb to put on my own blog and an email to send out to the notification list. Nothing. Not a thing.

So I'm going to do what any sane, rational, instantly drunk person would do. I'm going to redesign my own site instead.

Mig, forgive me if this stuff isn't ready on Monday.

Looks like I picked the wrong day to develop writer's block.

(things may look wonky here for a bit)



So I'm beginning to notice how the blogosphere is basically high school, but with more elaborate insults.

If anyone wants to eat lunch with me today, I'll be in the back of the cafeteria at the nerd table. I've got Peanut M&M's.....

she's a pinball wizard

she's a pinball wizard

I was about 13 years old when I first entered the Palace. I was a tag-a-long to an older friend who was going there just to score a nickel bag.

Pinball Palace was a small, almost hidden place, tucked between the Jerry Lewis Movie theater and a specialty bra shop. From the outside, it looked forbidden and dangerous, two things that combined to point a beckoning finger at me.

Gina opened the door and I followed, knowing that this was exactly the kind of place my parents warned me about.

As soon as we stepped inside my brain went into sensory overload. The smell hit me first; cigarettes and pot and teenage sweat swirling together in the dank heat of the Palace.

The noises. The clacking of pool bools as someone yelled break!; the dings and and whistles of the twenty or so pinball machines that lined the walls; the cursing of the bikers at the pool table; the jangling of quarters in the pockets of Levis; the fist banging on the glass as a machine cried out TILT! It was all underscored by Led Zeppelin's Trampled Under Foot shouting from the jukebox, and the combination of those sounds became my own Pied Piper, begging me to follow.

I was hesitant that first day and just hung in back of Gina while she made a deal with guy at the change counter. When she was done, we went behind the movie theater, smoked a joint, and then snuck in the back door of the theater. They were showing Shampoo. We watched Warren Beatty, naked on the floor and humping the daylights out the poor girl underneath him and all I remember is a person was watching them through a window and said something like "Now that's what I call fucking!" Gina sat gaping at the screen, taking in every word, every movement, probably taking notes in her head, and all I could think about was going back to Pinball Palace.

The next Saturday, Gina took me with her for another buy. This time, I brought quarters. While Gina flirted with her dealer, I made the walk towards the machine in the far corner. The Bally Wizard.

I slowly put the quarter in, knowing full well that I would become addicted to the flashing lights and turning numbers. The quarter dropped. I hit the reset button. The silver ball popped into place and I slowly pulled back the lever, feeling the resistance of the coiled spring. I let go. The tip of the lever and the metal ball connected and as that ball went around the curve on its journey towards the playing field, it took with it my grades, my social life, my allowance. From the first loud ding when the ball rang up my first score, I was obsessed.

My fingers worked the flippers as deftly as the lady in the school office worked the typewriter. I moved this way and that, swinging my hips and nudging the machine a little to the left, a little to the right, careful not to piss it off enough to make it tilt. My eyes darted between the ball and the scoreboard and my heart skipped a beat as I saw the paper taped to the top of the glass with the high scores for the week listed. My name would be up there one day. Yes, it would.

Gina had to drag me out of the Palace. Even when my quarters ran out, I wanted to stay and watch the masters play, the guys who turned over the numbers on the scoreboard, the guys who could smoke and drink and play at the same time.

And then it wasn't just Saturdays anymore. I started walking there after school. If Gina wouldn't go there was always someone else willing to hang out and watch me play pinball with me instead of going home. We would throw a few quarters into the jukebox (three plays for twenty five cents!), and play the same line up each time. Led Zeppelin. Todd Rundgren. Deep Purple.

Sometimes I would ask my mother for a ride to the library and when she pulled away after dropping me off, I would run across Front Street and duck into the Pinball Palace. I rationalized my lying. I wasn't out doing drugs - no respectable 13 year old considered pot a real drug, not when the bad kids were doing angel dust - and I wasn't out getting pregnant like Mrs. Winslow's daughter. I was just playing pinball.

The frequency of my trips to the Palace waned when winter dug its heels in and no one wanted to walk that far. Occasionally, we would get a ride to the movie theater and slip inside the Palace instead. Each time I walked through those doors was like the first; the smell, the sounds, the pumping of my adrenaline would all be new again.

They closed Pinball Palace before the good walking weather came back. Neighbors were complaining. Community action groups were picketing. Churches were praying for the souls of the kids caught up in the glare of those flashing lights. They claimed Pinball Palace was a haven for dirty, unkempt teenagers who cursed and drank and smoked. It was stealing the life and soul of the community's young adults.

And then, it was gone. I cried, I mourned, I laid in bed at night, my fingers twitching to imaginary flippers, the game playing out in my mind. We had to find another place.

That summer, my parents sprung the news on me that they were taking me out of the "terrible" public school system. They didn't like my friends. They didn't like my attitude. Catholic high school would surely lead me on the path to a righteous life. I would make new friends, they said, friends that wouldn't drag me to those filthy pinball places, friends who wore skirts and ties and gave their quarters to the collection basket instead of machines.

By the end of the second week at the new school, I had made a few new friends just like my parents wanted me to. Momlet me stay after school each day and take the late bus home, assured that I was sitting quietly in the cafeteria with my new virtuous friends studying and doing homework.

Not quite. See, the 7-11 across the street from school held a deep dark secret in its back corner. A Bally Wizard pinball machine. My new friends, who hated ties and skirts and hoarded their quarters like gold, would watch me play for hours each day, taking bets on whether I would break the high score or not. I had a following. I was the Pinball Wizard. Catholic school was working out just fine.

Sure, 7-11 wasn't quite the same as the smoke-filled palace. But Kevin did bring along a portable cassette player each day and we listened to Genesis and Todd Rundgren while I swished and swayed and occassionally tilted.

Pinball eventually gave way to other video games; Asteroids and Galaga and Space Invaders. Arcades started popping up everywhere. My pinball skills were no longer celebrated, I was a has-been, a thing of the ancient past.

I never regret all those hours and quarters spent feeding my pinball frenzy. I never regret the time spent learning the exact angles of each machine, or feeling the excitement when my name went up on the high score chart.

My mother always told me that I was wasting away my life playing those games, that I would never get anything useful out of it. Hah. What does she know? If it wasn't for those quick relfexes and incredible hand-eye coordination I developed at Pinball Palace, I would have never kicked my son's ass at House of Dead 2 the other day.

September 27, 2002



Meryl Yourish has a spike file. You know, those posts you write and rewrite and edit and keep on the back burner because they either never get finished or never sound just the way you intended them to.

My spike file isn't exactly a file. It's all those Moveable Type posts that are marked draft instead of publish. There are two types of files that retain draft status; either they were intended to be funny but didn't even make me laugh, or they were more personal than they started out to be.

So, what's in my spike file? Snippets from the lost files of a small victory:

  • Daddy, this tastes like Grandma!"
  • Websense thinks Cheesedip is "tasteless" but they let me view Amish Tech Support?
  • When he said "Cynthia McKinney is not an anti-semite, I turned the radio off.
  • I don't want the super pump action
  • Fun hamster questions found on the internet:

    Why shouldn't I use the mircrowave to dry off my hamster?
    Do hamster have souls?
    Should my hamster be eating its poop?
    Why does my hamster have a foul smelling discharge coming out of her vulva?

    Anyone want to answer those?

speak and destroy

If you haven't already read Arthur Sibler's post "Conservative Menance" at his website, The Light of Reason, you should. He graciously allowed me to post it at my Banned Books Project.

Also at the BBP, an essay by Jesse Walker, Ban This Book, that originally appeared at Reason Online. (reprinted with permission).

allah mcbeal

allah mcbeal

If you haven't checked out the Saddam/Arafat television show post below yet, you are missing gems like this one by Nicole:

(click, etc)

I'm leaving it open to entries until tomorrow morning. Then the voting commences.

more from the PETA-files

more from the PETA-files

"Kids will be clamoring for PETA’s colorful new trading-card stickers featuring parodies of the popular cigarette brands Camel, Marlboro, Cool, and Salem. But when kids see the gruesome pictures on the backs of the cards, they’ll learn about yet another danger of smoking—cruelty to animals.

PETA’s Tobacco Torture trading-card stickers will be handed out to children at school to teach them that if they smoke, they not only put their life at risk, they also help pay to inflict suffering on innocent animals."

Clamoring for the stickers? How about cowering in fear or disgust?

I'm all for teaching the kids about the dangers of smoking, but I'd rather not do it through guilt, and I certainly don't want the extreme acticvist freaks from PETA teaching my children anything at all. Especially not when they will use phrases like this: "Experimenters have also inserted electrodes into dogs’ penises to measure the effects of cigarette smoke on their sexual performance."

I can just imagine some ten year old saying "hmm..inserting things into dogs' penises? Hmm...."

And some eight year old: "Teacher, what does he mean by sexual performance?"

Sure, these wacky cards might become the hot item on the playground. But for every Lisa Simpson who will hand them out as Valentine's cards, there's a hundred Barts who will assign a point value to the cards based on grossness and make a playground game out of them. Magic the Gathering has got nothing on the new role-playing card game, Wacky Tobacco Torture.

Should any of the misguided, overzealous folks at PETA ever come within two feet of one of my kids with any of their propaganda (that goes for the truth.com people, too), I will eat a kitten right in front of them and then kick them in the balls with my leather boots.

related: see here for Stacy's PETA rant.

the evils of state-mandated testing

the evils of state-mandated testing

DJ has started fourth grade and thus we begin the year of "teaching to the tests." There are three state mandated tests in this grade. The entire curriculum is built around exams that have no bearing whatsover on your child's grades or future.

The English Language Assessment Test (ELA) takes place from February 4-6. This means from September through February, the classroom focus will be on reading, reading and listening comprehension and writing skills. I am not saying this is a bad thing; I just think it narrows the curriculum down to the point where other skills are going unused.

Fourth grade teachers, at least in this district, have admitted that the state tests take time away from other aspects of the classroom; they especially diminish the room to be creative in class lessons. Emphasis is placed on the skills needed for whichever test is coming up, and there is very little leeway in expanding lessons.

Once the ELA tests are over, it's on to the math test, which takes place from May 6-8, quickly followed by the science test, the written portion of which takes place on May 13, with the performance portion coming up the following week.

These kids are nine and ten years old. The dates of the tests are drilled home to them, the impending tests are announced over and over again (we must finish this book before May, class!), the reasons for certain assignments announced (you will need this skill for your test!), and when you put it all together you end up with some seriously stressed out children.

You say, there's six hours in the school day, surely they can set aside an hour a day just to concentrate on the test skill so the other lessons can go on unimpeded. Not really.

Figure in an hour for lunch and recess and an hour for "specials" time, meaning art or gym or music. Take off another half hour for the fifteen minutes spent getting unpacked and settled in the morning, and the fifteen minutes gathering up belongings in the afternoon. That's 2 1/2 hours off of the day.

Then we have what they call "push-in" teachers, who come into the classroom for specialized reading or math lessons. That's another 45 minutes or so that the teacher does not have control of the classroom.

There are kids, like my son, who are pulled out for speech or other special services. Kids are pulled out for drama or band.

Add that all up and you are left with about three hours of teaching time in the classroom. In that three hours they must not only teach the lessons planned for that day, but fill those lessons with test-specific subjects.

It's no wonder DJ comes home with enough homework to kill the entire night. And it's no wonder that he's feeling stressed, only three weeks into the school year.

The spectre of even more mandated testing hangs over schools like a cloud of doom. Bush calls for tests, tests, tests. Why? What do these tests do but determine whether a district is using their state money (the distribution of which is another rant completely) to its best advantage? What does my son, who spends his entire year studying and prepping for these exams, get out of it? Will a good grade on the ELA be refecleted on his report card? No. Sure, he's learning valuable skills, but at the expense of quality in the classroom.

I've been through this already with Natalie. I know what to expect when the testing dates approach. Natalie developed a twitch two days before the test. She threw up the night before. These dates and acronyms are repeated over and over to the students all year long; when the dates are coming close, the teachers emphasize the skills needed to pass. Nine and ten year old kids should not be put under this kind of pressure. One teacher told his students that if they didn't pass the test, the district would lose state aid.

Teachers admit that the emphasis on these tests take so much time away from the important lessons children should take from the classroom; the lessons that are taught when engaging in interactive, creative assignments with their fellow students. There's no room for that kind of "frivilous" activity in the fourth grade classroom now.

The adminstrators are not seeing the forest for the trees. Instead of viewing each school as part of a whole district, they need to see each student as part of a whole school. Stop filling our classrooms with nervousness and fear and let the kids just learn without that kind of pressure, at least at this age.

September 26, 2002

saddam and arafat, together at last

saddam and arafat, together at last

I'm busy. Raising Hell is going to be relaunching with an amazing new look on Monday, and I'm trying to get that all ready to go. The Banned Books Project is rolling along. My kids have a lot of homework that I just don't understand. And Tanya, bless her heart, sent me the True Romance Special Edition DVD and checking out all the extras is sucking up a lot of time (note: director Tony Scott had to be on crack when he did the commentary). Bottom line: my brain is fried and I'm out of ideas except one. This is where you come in.

Let's play a game. Here's the scenario:

Saddam and Arafat have been exiled. Together. To combat their boredom, they bought some time on a public access channel and made a tv show.

Your job: Come up with a title and little blurb about the show. Funniest one gets a ten dollar Amazon gift certificate.

ann coulter: hair metal goddess

Ann Coulter: hair metal goddess

I guess that dream I had last night is still with me.

Sung to the tune of "18 and Life"

Right Wing For Life

Annie is a young girl, She has a heart of stone.
Thinks she’s an author, writes her fingers to the bone.
Seems like a know-it-all, comes from the Right side of town.

Fights like a witch, yeah, so no one can take her down.
She has the money, Slander’s no good at home.
She does the talk-show circuit and she fights the world alone

And now she’s

Right wing for life you got it
Right wing for life you know
Her crime’s her lines and it's
Right wing for life to go

I need serious help.

webster in the hizzouse!

webster in the hizzouse!

Brandon Cruz, who portrayed Eddie on Courtship of Eddie's Father, has replaced Jello Biafra as lead singer of the Dead Kennedys.

This could start an alarming trend. Imagine the headlines:

Danny Bonaduce joins new incarnation of The Germs.
Butch Patrick becomes the 77th lead singer of The Misfits.
Susan Olsen replaces the deceased Wendy O. Williams in The Plasmatics.
Tina Yothers set to take over for Courtney Love in Hole.
Tiffany Brissete of Small Wonder joins Devo.
Emannuel Lewis is now fronting Wu-Tang.

Feel free to add your own.

link from the evil genius



well have YOU ever seen them together?
My dream life is out of control.

Last night I dreamed that we were throwing a surprise party for my aunt. She became so furious when she realized that we were all gathered in the restaurant to celebrate her shower (I don't know what kind of shower it was, the lady is almost 70), she threw my uncle on the floor and dug her heels into his back repeatedly while beating him about the head with her oxygen tank.

My seat was all the way in the back, so I couldn't figure out what was going on, I just heard a lot of commotion and I saw Mickey Rourke and some members of Radiohead wildly applauding my aunt's histrionics. I tried to get a close-up view to take some pictures.

Eventually, we all left the restaurant and my uncle drove my aunt to the hospital, where they committed her and promised to do experimental testing on her brain cells.

We sat outside on the shore of an ocean that appears frequently in my dreams. It is a furious, gray ocean. Waves rise and fall and form whirpools when they crash into themselves. There is something lurking beneath the water, I have never been able to see what it is, but it frightens me every time. I think it might be fear itself.

I sit on a tree stump with Natalie and we stare at the blackening sky. There are explosions in the air - red, white, green, yellow sparks light up planets I have never seen before. A cacaphony of booms and whistles and bangs plays around us, and we eat popcorn and watch the sky explode.

The waves are lapping closer to us. The bombs are falling nearer to us. I tell Natalie that this is it, there's no stopping it now. She is not afraid. She stands on a log, arms outstretched, face tilted towards the fire in the sky, and starts belting out Skid Row songs. She turns her face towards me, hair flying in the firey wind, eyes lit by the glowing trails of bombs, and right before my eyes she turns into Ann Coulter.

I ask you, what could possibly be a more frightening scenario than Ann Coulter singing I Remember You?

I scream in terror and wake myself up.

I have to stop falling asleep with the tv on.

September 25, 2002

my cartoon schedule...

my cartoon schedule is better than your cartoon schedule

I've added one more to the Blogritic mass posting frenzy: One (imaginary) Saturday morning: What the weekend cartoon schedule would look like if I ruled the world.
Go over there and comment, add your own, disagree with me or just plain make fun of me for loving Wacky Races so much.

tv listing

TV Listing for Saturday, September 28, 2002

Sink Saddam: the game show

Tom Daschle and George Bush fight it out in this fast-paced quiz show. Ann Coulter and Raph Nader take turns asking the contestants questions while Saddam sits between them, tied up in a dunk tank. For every question Bush gets right, Saddam gets lowered a bit into the water. For every question Daschle gets right, Nader gets to raise Saddam's seat up a bit.

If Saddam sinks, it's Bombs over Bagdhad! If he makes it to the top of the tank and gets out, Daschle wins a date with Scott Ritter!

It's a frenzied, laugh-a-minute riot as chants of "WAR NOW!" and "GIVE PEACE A CHANCE!" rise from the audience and Saddam goes up and down just like the economy!

Be sure to catch the outtakes at the end, when Nader takes a swing at Coulter!

everyone's a critic

everyone's a critic

I'm doing my best to help Blogcritics meet their Mass Post Day goal of 180 entries in 24 hours. I have two up so far; here and here. I'll try to post more later.

There's some great stuff up there today. Take your time and look around.

analyze this

analyze this

I think someone needs a hug.

(click for really huge image)

So, what do you make of this? An arrogant misanthrope? A neo-nazi? A Nine Ninch Nails fan in a bad mood?

join us on the dark side

join us on the dark side

I finally got around to reading the articles on the smallpox vaccine from the past week.

A Newsday article states that "people with eczema also are advised not to get the inoculations because the vaccine can cause a potentially fatal skin eruption." Which means, should the situation arise where we need to be vaccinated, Natalie will be out of luck.

Or, we can hedge our bets, get her the shot, and hope that she does not get the skin eruption, which is only "potenially" fatal. Our other choice is to just let her die of smallpox? Hmmm. I guess we'll take the chance on the skin eruption.

Not that I think it will come down to this. If biological terror ever does come to rest here, I don't think any kind of vaccination program is going to help.

Nope. It's going to end up like "The Stand," where one person exhales and another catches whatever he's got and so on and so on. Some people will be naturally immune and will survive. And then we will choose up sides and trek across the country to our designated spots for good and evil, dark side or rebel force, liberals or right wingers, the damned and the saved.

The dark side will have gambling and strippers and imported beer. The other side will have potluck dinners and group hug sessions and cranberry punch. The dark side will have the Batman from Batman Beyond. The other side will have the cheesy Batman from the original series. The dark side will have an X-Box and home theater in every house. The other side will have Nintendo 64 and Betamax.

In the end, both sides will die of either starvation or a violent mutiny gone wrong. I say enjoy armageddon while you can. It doesn't last very long.

So I've packed an emergency bag for my family with walking shoes and a guide to blackjack. Should push come to shove someday, we're off to the dark side.

excuses, excuses

excuses, excuses

I knew it wouldn't be long before something like this would happen.

Cary Cimino, a former Bear Stearns partner who faces 10 years in prison when he's sentenced today for securities fraud, has asked the judge to be lenient with him because he was traumatized by the events September 11.

Psychoanalyst Alvin Kulick said that Cimino suffered a dysfunctional childhood, was "traumatized" by incarceration after his original arrest and was pushed over the top by Sept. 11. Kulick said he was particularly worried about Cimino's dreams, which "took on a more nightmarish quality."

Kulick said Cimino "identified with the people who jumped. He was one of the doomed people jumping. He felt he was trapped in a deadly place, helpless, and could only escape by hurling himself out, even if it meant death."

Dr. Robert Goldstein wrote that Cimino was experiencing Sept. 11 "flashbacks.... Incarceration would be extremely traumatic."

Well if that's the case, maybe I should send a letter to my creditors telling them I, too, was traumatized that day and shouldn't have to be forced to pay my debts because I'm having nightmares.

Didn't finish that term paper? Forgot to pay a parking ticket? Murdered your next door neighbor? Now you have a handy-dandy excuse at the ready.

This Cimino fellow seems like such a decent guy, too. He obviously has a great sense of humor:

Complicating matters is a taped 1999 conversation at Sparks Steak House, where Cimino was overheard conspiring to have a suspected informant murdered. On tape, Cimino discusses having a gangster "put a gun in [the informant's] hand, put it in his mouth, pull the trigger, make it look like a suicide."

Cimino's defense was that he was just kidding around.

The judge should look Cimino straight in the eye and say "your defense has moved me. I understand your post traumatic nightmares and I totally agree that incarceration would just add to your problems. Haha, just kidding around. You're so screwed!"

Kulick said Cimino "identified with the people who jumped. He was one of the doomed people jumping. He felt he was trapped in a deadly place, helpless, and could only escape by hurling himself out, even if it meant death."

Yea, that's pretty much what prison is going to feel like.

i am superman

Go: Carnival of the Vanities, Issue #1: a blog compendium

i am superman

People react to grief in different ways. Some dress in black for weeks on end, some spend their days and nights in their bedroom, crying, and some...well one...dresses up like Superman and heads for the mall.

Four years ago, [Mark] Wyzenbeek's estranged wife died in a car accident. The longtime pop-culture collector decided then that it was time to stop putting off his life's fantasy: Now, when the urge strikes, he hits the town as his favorite superhero. So bring on the bad stuff. He can take it.

Mark wears a Superman costume and walks around town and the mall, bringing smiles and joy to Auburn residents.

Of course, those smiles and that joy may be of the "laughing at you, not with you" variety.

A high-school-age girl flies at him, shrieking, "Superman, can I have your autograph?" He complies; she runs back to amused friends: "I got Superman's autograph!"

See that? That's why a 46-year-old man dares subject himself to ridicule. "It's fun for me, but it's all about them," Wyzenbeek says. "She was really excited. It meant a lot to her. She'll have something to tell her friends about for weeks now."

Well call me cynical, but I think that when she talks about the incident to her friends, it will not be in reverent tones.

Mark refers to his home as the "Fortress of Solitude" and he plans on fixing his car up like the Batmobile.

Now before you accuse me of stomping on this guy's dream and making fun of someone's coping skills, rest assured I am not making fun of him. I am fearing him. No, no. Fearing becoming him.

Can't you see me years from now, made slightly crazed by too much coffee and demanding children, walking around town dressed like Chun-Li or a Death? Justin will be next to me, made up like Madman and we will stomp around the streets of Long Island, teaching children about alternative superheroes and villians that will give them nightmares forever.

Our home will be much as it is now, but worse. You know those old ladies that are a bit batty and when a neighbor doesn't hear from them for days, she sends the cops over to check on the old woman and she's laying on the floor, surrounded by stacks and stacks of old newspapers and magazines? That will be us, except it will be stacks of graphic novels and comic books and back issues of Wizard.

The rare visitors we have will be introduced to our toys and action figures as if they were real. "Oh, Gracie, how nice of you to stop by. Have you met Filler Bunny?" or "Officer, please sit down while I have He-Man get you a cup of tea."

Eventually we will have submerged ourselves so deeply in our comic book world that reality will cease to exist for us. We will be two old people, sitting in our rockers, making plans to root out evil and go off on adventures with our comic friends. We will stop accepting social invitations because they will interfere with our plans for world domination. We will stop taking calls from our children and friends because they refuse to acknowledge that we have super powers.

We will don our super outfits and walk amongst the mortal humans in town. Perhaps they will ask for our autograph, perhaps they will run in fear. It doesn't matter. As long as I am living out my golden, yet slightly deranged years in the fantasy world I have spent a good portion of my life building, I'll be happy.

I think I'll look up Mark and see if I can get some helpful hints from him.

(this will possibly be included in my soon to be made category of worst.post.ever)

September 24, 2002

this is not a costume party

this is not a costume party

Another question tonight. Last night's went so well, although only one person spotted the sexual innuendo.

Do you ever feel uncomfortable leaving a comment on a blog you've never commented on before? Do you feel like the other commenters or the blogger him/herself is going to say "who the hell are you and who let you in here?" When you do comment for the first time, do you feel like you are intruding on some private party and you forgot to wear clothes? Have you ever felt that way here?

Thank you for your time.

I'm off to meet DJ's teacher. As in the past, I will bring the teacher a giant size bottle of Execdrin and the offer to pay her therapy bills at the end of the year.

did they send baby wipes, too?

did they send baby wipes, too?

Israel sent clean underwear to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat yesterday as he spent a fifth day hunkered down in his Ramallah headquarters while tanks began pulling back from the compound.

I'm sorry. That made me giggle like a five-year old.

censor this

censor this

Jesse Jackson has asked the producers of "Barbershop" to not only apologize to him, but to cut the barbs at Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King from the DVD version of the movie.

The character...says other blacks refused to give up their seats to whites in the segregated south, but that Rosa Parks got the credit because she was connected to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He also directs an expletive at Jackson.

The character is immediately condemned by others in the barbershop for being disrespectful.

Let me repeat: Jackson wants the producers to remove the jokes he found offensive from future DVD releases of the Barbershop. Should they include a warning? Warning, this motion picture has been edited from its original form to appease the sensibilities of Jesse Jackson.

There are plenty of other movies that disparage the black community as well as its leaders. Why this movie in particular? Because it makes a small joke about Jackson himself? Would he be complaining as loudly if the remark was made towards Al Sharpton?

Just because a person has done good things in their life and is looked up to by millions of people does not mean he or she is free from insults, whether they be fictional or real. Even the nicest people in the world have their detractors and to want to censor a piece of fiction because a genuinely good person had a negative comment made about them is utterly ridiculous.

Imagine if everyone bullied movie studios into editing their movies so as not to contain jokes about them. Gone would be all the punchlines about Clinton, Prince Charles, Celine Dion and any other person who has achieved fame or notoriety.

Every joke ever written will offend someone somewhere on the planet. We would have nothing to read or watch or listen to if everyone went around complaining about lines in movies. Hell, everyone else in the barber shop gets on the case of the guy who makes the comments. But that doesn't matter. If Jesse doesn't like it, censor it.

If the producers actually give in and take the lines out of the DVD version, I give up.

update: Now everything is clear. Apparently Jesse Jackson doubts that free speech is really a civil right.

By the way, if you are not reading Scrappleface religiously, you are missing out big time.

instant psychoanalysis

instant psychoanalysis

Al Gore is passive-aggressive.

update: His diagnosis has been upgraded to passive-aggressive with a bit of schizophrenia.

legislating sportsmanship

legislating sportsmanship

It was the last inning of a close game. The visiting team, the team that was ahead, was at bat.

What had been a tightly played game suddenly turned into a free-for-all as the pitcher lost control. His arm worn out, his stamina drained, he threw high and wide and wild as the opposing team scored run after run. There were no other pitchers available. The only other person on the team who could pitch had already put in two innings earlier in the game. The emergency subsitute pitcher was in the bathroom.

As the team at bat neared the seventh run of the inning, which would give them the run-rule advantage and thus ending the inning, the infield fell apart also. The second baseman stumbled while trying to scoop up a grounder. The second baseman tried to cover, but missed the ball by a mile, falling into the dirt as he did so.

The nase runners all crossed the plate. As they went into their dug-out, high-fiving and whooping it up, they laughed. They pointed at the team on the field and laughed and cackled and rolled around on the floor clutching their stomachs. Their coach stood quietly on the third base line, waiting to send home his runner and end the slaughter with the seventh run. He glanced over at his players; they were pointing at the infield, pointing at the pitcher and still giggling and smirking. The coach turned his attention back to the field, without so much as telling his players to settle down. No one was surprised at the coach or the team's lack of sportsmanship. This coach has built a reputation on being a driven, win-at-all-costs, gloating kind of guy.

Under a new legislation passed in Nassau County, Long Island yesterday, the behavior exhibited by the winning team would be a violation of law.

The "good sportsmanship" bill, sponsored by Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick) calls for parents to agree to teach their young athletes that honest effort is as important as winning.

Under the fair play agreement, arguing with an official is out. So is taunting, showboating and trash talking.

If an opponent scores on a deep pass play for the winning touchdown, for example, under the fair play agreement it would be good sportsmanship to actually show appreciation for their skills.

The above example is a true story. It happened just last week at one of DJ's games (he was on the losing end). The situation was handled when one of our coaches went over to the other team and told them that their behavior was unsportsman like and unaccaptable and should they do that again, he would report them to the league. End of story.

Legislating sportsmanship is a joke. Granted, there are extremes to bad sportsmanship, but those instances should be handled by the league or school the offending team/player belongs to. This bill does say that, but there shouldn't have to be a legislative action to put this into force.

Once again, lawmakers are taking over where parents should be stepping in. No taunting, no showboating, no arguing with the umpires...those are things that should be taught at home and drilled into the head of every kid who is playing an organized sport. The fact that these lawmakers think parents need to sign a contract saying they swear to teach these basic tenets of sports to their kids, well that says a whole lot about society, doesn't it?

It's easy to spot the parents who do not teach sportsmanship to their kids. They are the ones yelling at the 13 year-old umpires. They are the ones who yell instructions to their kid from the sidelines, telling their child to do the complete opposite of what the coach is instructing. They are the ones who chastise their child in front of everyone for swinging late or missing an easy layup. They are the ones who try make excuses for their son having a bat over the regulated size or who gives wrong information to get their 12 year old onto the 11 year old football team so he can be the biggest and strongest.

I'm all for good sportsmanship. I don't mind if the leagues set their own rules and post them somewhere. But something about having to legislate those rules of fair play rankles me. Which parent is going to be the first to start policing the games and reporting every swear word mumbled under a parent's breath to the league officials? Which coach will be the first to report a team for breaking the law when a kid throws throws his glove at the fence in frustration? The legislation will work against the good coaches and for the bad coaches in the respect that the win-win-win coaches will now be looking for the slightest infraction of this law in order to get the opposing team's best player thrown out of the playoffs.

Trust me, I know how these people work. I know the mindset of coaches who think that 10 year olds are little machines, doing work for their coach's ego.

I think that people are too quick to try and legislate the things they can't take on themselves. This isn't going to force parents to teach their children good sportsmanship. It's completely out of their hands now. All they have to say is "Johnny, don't do that or someone will report you." Not, "Johnny, don't do that because it shows disrespect to your fellow players."

Sportsmanship and respectful behavior on the playing field should be taught, not mandated.

September 23, 2002

war talk

war talk

If you haven't already, read the comments in my post Give War A Chance. Lot's of pro and anti war things going on...I love a good debate.

spit or swallow

spit or swallow

Answer for me:

If someone hands you a box of chocolates and you graciously take one into your mouth and you realize you hate the flavor, what do you do?

a) spit it out right in front of the person, showering his body with a spray of gooey stuff
b) swallow politely, even smiling as you do so
c) wait until the person is not looking and then spit it out

I thank you in advance for your answers.

give war a chance

give war a chance

I used to be an idealist. I used to think that peace was the answer to everything and that if we worked hard enough, world peace could at last be found.

I watched my older cousins protest the Vietnam war. I admired them at the time. I was only in grade school, I didn't know any better.

In high school I was a hippie-wannabe, attracted more by the music and the culture than anything else. I thought it would be cool to relive the 60's. I thought it would be neat to live in a peaceful commune and promote world togetherness. I thought we could change the world.

In the latter years of high school and after, I became a student of the counter culture. I read as much as I could find on the subject: activism, peace rallies, sit ins and anti-war sentiments.

I realized how futile the peace movement was. I realized how living in this pretend world of utopian dreams and idealism was nowhere near the reality of the existing world. I realized that the protesters of the Vietnam war did more harm than good.

Give peace a chance is a nice sentiment, but it's not based in reality. I would like to know what the anti-war faction suggests to do as an alternative to getting into a war with Iraq. How do they propose we negotiate with a madman?

Sure, you have the right to protest, but what I would like to see, rather than just shouts and name-calling, is for the protesters to come up with viable alternatives.

Unfortunately, I don't think there are any. My days of longing for peaceful solutions are over. There is no way, at least in my mind, that all these nations, all these different groups and factions and religions and levels of craziness among leaders can ever co-exist together without threats of war or hostile takeovers.

I don't want to sit around and wait for concrete proof that Iraq intends to use their weapons of mass destructions on us, because the only proof we are going to get is when it's too late to do anything about it.

The time is getting closer. The war will be brief, too brief for the anti-war activists to even get any momentum going. Soon there will be war, soon Saddam will be gone, and hopefully Arafat will follow in his wake.

It won't be world peace, but it will bring us closer to getting the cloud of imminent terrorism that hangs over us to go away.

copy machine etiquette

copy machine etiquette

I think I finally found a pet peeve that surpasses people getting on the elevator before you have had a chance to get off. I address the following to the people who have contributed to my annoyance:

Hello Office Copy Machine Users!

Do you think it it too much to ask that you put the copier back on its original settings before you leave the copy room? I mean, what could it take - three seconds - to push a button or two? I understand your need to enlarge and print sideways and double sided and upside down and backwards all at the same time; I completely know what its like to have to darken or lighten or use a special sized paper and make 45 copies, all of which the machine will collate (special button pressed) and staple (special button pressed). However, being the considerate co-worker I am, I always put the machine back to its original settings before I leave, lest the next person who comes in to use the machine to make one simple 8x11 copy ends up with 45 enlarged 8x14s with a dark background. One button -reset- will do the trick, folks. It's not brain surgery. Hell, it's not even plastic surgery. Of course, the main reason you don't take the time to hit reset is probably because you are a selfish pig who doesn't give a crap about anyone else's needs. I'll tell you what. I'll make you an offer you can't refuse. Either you press that reset button next time or I will bash your head against the copier repeatedly until it starts printing copies in your blood instead of ink. Thank you and have a lovely day.

choking the chicken

Banned Books Week is in full swing: participate.


choking the chicken

United Poultry Concerns, a group "dedicated to the Compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl," is protesting AFLAC advertisments "that represent ducks in dangerous, unnatural, and degrading situations."

The leader of this fine organization, Karen Davis, has also suggested that "it is speciesist to think that the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center was a greater tragedy than what millions of chickens endured that day and what they endure every day."

I don't even know what to say to that.

Oh, but there's more.

Orbitz, a discount airline company, is running a chicken cartoon ad that says: "Pluck the chicken and find the low fares" with an arrow pointing to the chicken saying, "Pluck me!" If you run the mouse over the bird's tail, he/she says "Ouch" and the feathers disappear, and the bird's rump turns pink. The top of the ad says: Orbitz.com - WashingtonPost.com.

There is nothing funny about pulling feathers from a live bird or putting this idea in the public domain.

Someone please tell them that it is not a "live" bird. It is a cartoon. I'm sure if my children see that ad they will run outside looking for chickens to pluck.

Do these activist groups not see the difference between reality and fantasy? What is the point of protesting every time a cartoon chicken gets choked? Believe it or not, people do teach their children the difference between fake violence and real violence. And honestly, not once during any of those AFLAC ads (that my kids love, mainly for the way the duck says "AFLACK"), did either of my children, nor myself or my husband, have the urge to run out and put a duck in a harmful situation. Get a grip, people.

Then there's my other favorite group, PETA. The most recent PETA-file has them protesting a church pig roast in Pennsylvania. Said a PETA spokesperson:

If the pig roast goes on as planned, "in good Christian tradition, we will probably bear witness of some sort," he said, adding, "although I wouldn't rule out turning over tables."

I have no beef (pun intended) with animal activists and vegans. What I do take issue with is people imposing their beliefs on others by disrupting their lives, taking physical action, harassing, or otherwise trying to coerce others to conform to their views or suffer the consequences.

This holds true not only for animal rights activists, but the environmentalists who want to slap their bumper stickers on my car or the anarchists whose "scavenger hunt" includes breaking windows and giving police cars flat tires or the religious pamphleteers who knock on my door and refuse to leave.

Even if I believe in your cause, I will never support your organization if you resort to these tactics. I will never support you if you confuse fact with fiction or get your panties in a bunch over cartoon treatment of animals. I will never in a million years support you if you compare the death of chickens to the death of thousands of people at the hands of terrorists. I will not support you if your means of getting your point across includes destroying someone's property or shoving scary literature in my kids' faces.

Extreme activism does not further your cause, it only diminishes it.

September 22, 2002

that settlement will buy you a lot of happy meals

that settlement will buy you a lot of happy meals

Two overweight teens are suing McDonald's.

"When we're suing on behalf of children, it's hard to argue that a 6, or 8 or 10-year-old child has to take full responsibility for their decisions when they're lured into McDonald's by the toys and the playground and happy meals and the birthday parties," said attorney John Banzhaf.

Those 6, 8 and 10 year olds have to get to McD's somehow. How about giving the parents of these kids some lessons in nutrition?

Each girl is at least 80 pounds overweight, according to government statistics...They have been eating at McDonald's several times a week for years.

Here's an idea. Stop going to McDonald's. Pretty simple, isn't it? They're teenagers now. Not 5, not 8, not 10. They're not "lured" in for the playgrounds or happy meals or toys, they are lured in by their desire to eat very fattening and unhealthy food several times a week. Their parents enable them by either taking them there or giving tjem the money to buy the meals. By hiring lawyers instead of dieticians, they take away any responsibility the girsl have to maintain their personal health and take care of themselves.

Instead of placing blame everywhere but themselves, these parents, children and lawyers should all hang their heads in shame that they are foisting their total lack of self-blame on the United States court system.

What are the parents going to do if they win the case? Will this solve their daughters' weight problem? Will it fix their unhealthy eating habits?

The parents of these girls should take the money they are spending on lawyers and buy themselves a clue.

link via daily pundit

note: before your respond, please note that this is not a post about overweight girls or weight issues at all. It is about accepting blame for a situation instead of placing it everywhere but on your own head.

i'm using the force to post this

i'm using the force to post this

It's "Try to stay off the Computer" Day over here, so light posting. I just want to remind everyone that Banned Books Week is in full swing and that you should head over to the Banned Books Project and participate in the "one sentence" review right NOW. Don't make me use the Jedi mind trick on you.

anger management

anger management

Yes, this story has been done to the death in the weblog world, but it is a story that has invaded my sleep.

The young woman who beat her child in a Kohl's parking lot has finally spoken about the ordeal. I was hoping she would have said "yes, I beat my child, I need to take some parenting classes and learn some anger management skills in order to become a better mother to my child."

Instead, she said "Somebody's been judge, jury and executioner of my child for a mistake I made," which are probably words that her attorney told her to say.

She is right, though. Just not in the manner she thinks she is right. Madelyne Toogood is the one who has become "judge, jury and executioner" for her child. Whether she readily admits it or not, she has sentenced her daughter to a lifetime of psychological damage, which is much more lasting than any physical damage she inflicted on the four year old.

Toogood then said ""A mistake I made happened, I'm not trying to, I apologize for it, there's nothing more I can do than that...But my child shouldn't pay for a mistake I made, and that is what she's doing."

But of course, Ms. Toogood, your child should not pay for your mistakes. But that is not the fault of the police or the media or Child Protective Services. Your daughter will be paying for a long time.

There is damning evidence on the videotape that proves Toogood did not react instantaneously to something her daughter said and did. It's in the way the mother looks around before she puts the child in the car. She looks to see if anyone is watching. And then she begins beating the girl. I can imagine the scenario; something took place in the store that pissed the mother off. Perhaps it was the fact that Kohl's would not let her return the items she came in to return. Then the daughter either dragged her feet leaving the store or whined about something and the mother said "I'm going to beat the shit out of you when we get to the car." Trust me, it is a real possibility that that is precisely how it happened.

The mother looked around. She looked for witnesses. You can see it in her body language. And then she turned and beat the child. When she finished, she strapped the girl into her car seat and beat her again.

The little girl will indeed pay for her mother's mistake. She will flinch every time her mother makes a physical move towards her. She will cower in fear when her mother is angry. She will walk on eggshells around her mother in order to not provoke her into another rage. These are lasting effects that create scars much deeper than any punch to the face will.

As a mother, I understand parental rage. I understand that primal anger that takes hold when your kids do something that pisses you off, especially if your day is not going well. I openly admit I understand the urge to take your child and slam them against a wall.

For most of us, that urge is instant and fleeting. It comes and leaves in a flash, before you attempt to act on it. The rational part of your mind takes over and you tackle the situation in another manner. Much later, probably when you are laying in bed because you can't sleep, you chastise yourself for ever feeling such anger towards your child. You lose sleep over the fact that you even thought about harming your kid.

I have never hit my children out of anger. I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of misplaced rage. I have felt the buckle of a belt land on my back, I have felt the sting of wooden spoons and wire hangers, I have felt the despair of my mother's fist landing a hard punch to my head. I swore to myself, even back then when I was quite young, that once I had children I would never hit them out of anger, I would never use household objects to teach them a lesson.

Not everyone has that rational part of the brain that can stop them in action when they are about to do something wrong. Some people are impulsive, they naturally react to bad situations with physical violence, be it throwing a batting helmet into the dugout or kicking a vending machine or beating a child. Not everyone has complete control over their emotions.

But there is a difference between wanting to strike your child because of something that child did and wanting to strike your child because you are in a bad mood and need a convenient, defenseless target.

When asked by reporters exactly what caused [Toogood] to become upset enough to strike her child, she declined to answer....I was upset, nothing in particular, my mistake.."

She was upset. Nothing in particular. She was just in a bad mood and decided to take it out on a four year old. Her own child. Perhaps it is wrong of me, but I might have reacted differently if Toogood said "my daughter was throwing a tantrum in the store and I got pissed off," or something similar to that. No, it wouldn't justify what she did in any way, shape or form. But at least then, I could say to myself, that woman needs help, she does not know how to react to a misbehaving child. That's not the case, though. She took her anger at something else out on that girl. She was re-directing her rage at another human being. She needs more than parenting classes, more than supervised visits and psychological treatment. She needs to be shown that her actions will have a lasting effect on her daughter. Not because of the media or the police or any judge. It will be because of her.

That little girl had no idea what she did wrong. She had no clue why her mother was doing that to her. She will think up a thousand reasons why she deserved that beating because, in the mind of a four year old, your mother does not hit you like that without a good reason. If this is to happen again, she will learn to fear her own mother. She will learn to behave differently around her. She will learn how to be timid and shy and spend a good part of her day shrinking into a corner so as not to upset anyone.

Toogood first needs to accept the fact that no one is to blame but herself. She needs to accept the fact that this was not a simple "mistake," but a crime with both physical and emotional bruises attached to it. It is nobody else's fault but her own that her daughter is not living with her at the moment.

Toogood stated that there were at least 50 family members that they could have placed her daughter with, instead of with strangers. But those 50 family members are the ones who shielded Toogood from the police. They refused to cooperate. They sheltered her and made excuses for her. It makes me wonder how many other times they excused her behavior or rationalized it or even worse, thought of it as acceptable.

We'll never know what went on in the Toogood household before that day. The really sad thing is, there are thousands upon thousands of households just like that, where every day children are being beaten into submission, where parents are destroying the lives of their own kids and they will grow up thinking that beating a child is normal behavior. The odds are pretty good that they will grow up to do the same to their own children.

Madelyne Toogood is just one of many parents who treat their children like punching bags. What's the answer? What's my conclusion to all this? I don't know. Just like the cycle of violence that permeates some families, this rant has no end. It continues in my head every day.

September 21, 2002

how to ensure a road rage incident

It's Banned Books Week

how to ensure a road rage incident

My car registration is up for renewal. I have to turn in my plates because New York is fickle and once again they have come up with a new design. Just when I was able to commit my license plate number to memory, too.

I'm thinking about getting one of those vanity plates. Something special, something that says me, something that sends a message to those driving behind me.

Too bad you can only have up to eight letters because I came up with the following:


Then I thought I should send some kind of political message. I couldn't come up with anything that wouldn't get my car keyed or otherwise vandalized in the middle of the night.

Oh...wait. How about OILISBLOOD? Then when those dumbass destructivists (that's my term for destructive activists) kids come around to plaster my SUV with their assinine bumper stickers, they would get all confused. She drives and SUV and she thinks oil is blood?? Their tiny little heads would explode from thinking about the contradiction there.

Then I thought I would get RUMSFELDISTHEANTICHRIST just to see if the FBI comes knocking on my door.

If I really wanted to piss people off I would get this plate and have the word "SUCK" next to the logo.

Obviously none of the above are real options. I want something that will make people fear me, make them get out of my lane and leave me alone. I want something that will keep truck drivers from cutting me off and old people from going 10 miles an hour in front of me. IWILLEATYOURSOUL is too long. IAMTHEUNDEAD is also too long and people might mistake me for a goth and try to sell me Bauhaus tickets or something.

I think I'll just settle for BRAAAINS, unless you can come up with something better.

I really need to stop watching zombie movies.

i'll make a celebrity out of you yet

i'll make a celebrity out of you yet

Stephen Green hired me as his agent. I think he's a sure bet based on the lovely song he wrote yesterday.

As soon as I get done taking the "How To Be An Agent in 5 Days" home course (taken in tandem with "How To Have No Soul"), I'll be rolling in the dough.

I got him a gig on the Carson Daily show. All he had to do was wear a dress and answer to "Britney." Difficult client that he is, he turned it down because his knees don't look good in a dress. Damn vain celebrities.

So I booked him on the next installment of Celebrity Boxing. He'll be fighting Ann Coulter. I suppose he should brush up on his name-calling tactics.

If anyone else needs an agent, just call me. I've got a copy of the American Idol slavery papers contract and I'm not afraid to use it.

On a side note, the kind doctor upped my Paxil dose by a whole bunch. Don't be frightened if I start writing about kitties and puppies and flowers. It won't last.

photoshop contest voting

photoshop contest voting and other sundry stuff

Don't forget that Banned Books Week begins today. Take part by participating in my special project.

I'm running out to a much dreaded, often cancelled and re-scheduled doctor's appointment today. No time to think of something interesting or argument-provoking to say.

Oh, wait. I did promise a prize for the best entry in this post, the one that started all my troubles yesterday.

Vote for the following entries. Use the comments below. Winner gets...something. I haven't decided yet.


If you had a problem with this photo contest, just don't vote. If you want to make a comment about it, do so in the original post, not here.

September 20, 2002

read any banned books lately?

read any banned books lately?

Banned Books Week begins tomorrow. I suppose this would be a good time to whore my own project, the aptly named Banned Books Project.

I have a little thing going on over there so you can contribute to the project with the greatest of ease and little effort.

Banned Books Week begins tomorrow. Want to contribute? Here's how:

Send me one sentence. That's right, just one sentence. Just find a book that has been banned or challenged that you have read and in one sentence, convince someone else to read it.

Go on over and leave your sentence. Celebrate your freedom to read.

he who is not dave eggers

he who is not dave eggers

Dawn Olsen intervies the Greatest Living American Writer.

And then she kissed my ass right after she interviewed him. Let me tell you, having your ass kissed by Dawn Olsen is comparable to multiple orgasms.

Anyone want a cigarette?

more fun than a barrel of feces throwing monkeys


Well this pretty much sums up the past few days around the blog world.



6:30 a.m. and it's already an interesting day.

Several people have either sent me emails or posted on their weblogs that I am a racist/hate mongerer/racial profiler for the photoshop thing below.

Most of the emails and posts accuse me of assuming that the person in the photo is Muslim or a terrorist sympathizer and that I was being racist or hating on all Arabs and/or Muslims in general.

The caption below the photo is not mine; it is a direct quote from the Yahoo news page from which I took the picture.

The fact that the man refused to be identified indicates that there was a dialogue between him and either a reporter or the photographer. The Yahoo caption clearly states the man was there in support of the terrorists in the courthouse. Had he been a white/catholic/asian/martian man sitting there supporting the terrorists, I would have had the same reaction. This is not about him being a Muslim, it is about terrorists living in our own communities while they plot and plan to kill us, and the utter defiance and arrogance of their supporters.

You want to accuse me of hating people who want to kill me? Go right ahead. That's what this is about. Show me one instance where I have said that all Muslims should be treated violently. Show me one instance where I say anything like all Arabs should be deported. Show me one instance on this entire site where I show myself to be racist in any way against the Muslim community.

It's very interesting to get email one week calling you a liberal-leftist and the next week you're accused of being a racist right winger. It's as if people can't have an opinion wihtout being shoved into a box. Which is it people? Am I a liberal? A conservative? A dangerous free thinker? A conservative lunatic? If you're going to hate me, hate me. Don't do it within a confined label, though. And really, you can do better than those insults, can't you?

And if all that backlash wasn't bad enough, there was a comment by the member of a band who appeared on the FNM tribute cd that I trashed.

And a little misunderstanding with Melly over the whole art/not art thing, and the comments on her site that accused me of being a sheep even though the commenters apparently did not read all my words before reacting to them.

Sometimes this site is more trouble than it's worth.

a child's grief

a child's grief

Everybody goes through phases where they think life has handed them a big bowl of shit. Life's unfair, why did this have to happen to me, etc. Self-pity is something we have all wallowed in at some point. And then you come across someone whose bowl of shit is a lot bigger than yours and you cut the self-pity and wonder how that person can deal with everything they have been handed.

I'm thinking of my former mother-in-law. Several years ago her father was brutally murdered. In April of 2001, her 30 year old son died of a massive heart attack. In September of that year, her mother died. Two days ago, her brother died.

Me, I'd be curled up in a fetal position in bed, railing against the bitterness of life. Not her. She is the one comforting everyone else. My son included.

DJ has not taken the death of his uncle well. It was one of those deaths that came out of nowhere. One day he was in the hospital, not feeling well and then he was dead. When I told DJ about it he cried for half an hour.

I realized at some point that he was not just crying for his uncle, but for all the other deaths that have occurred in his short life.

Last night, before his baseball game, he said he was going to try and have a good game for his Uncle Paul. Unfortunately, he had a rather crappy game. So on the way home he cried, feeling as if he was a dissapointment to his uncle who was surely watching him from the clouds above.

He then started talking about Uncle Rob, the young man who died of a heart attack. He talked about how much he misses him, how it was unfair that he died so young, how he wishes he could spend just a little more time with him. He talked about Nanny (his great-grandmother), a funny, loving woman who DJ was especially close to.

DJ feels bad that he never cried for Nanny. She died on September 12, 2001, when our lives were in a bit of upheaval and there were 3,000 other deaths staring at him from the television. Nanny's death seemed almost normal to DJ; she was old, she was sick, that is the way people are supposed to die, not by terrorism, not by crashing airplanes. He accepted her death well back then, because it was the most normal thing that happened that week.

But now he feels bad that he didn't mourn her properly. He feels bad that "everyone he loves is dying." He feels bad that when my own grandmother died (she lived upstairs from us), he was younger and didn't get to spend enough time with her even though she was just several feet away from us all the time.

I don't know what to say to him. I don't know the right words or the comforting words. I just hug him and try not to give him the pat answer of this is life and everyone dies. I recognize his feelings and tell him it's ok to cry, it's ok to mourn Nanny now even though she died over a year ago. He's only nine years old. The sensitivity and complex emotions he feels sometimes frighten me.

Is there such a thing as feeling too much, as being too empathetic? He hates when he has to play baseball against one of his friend's teams because he doesn't like to strike them out or get a hit against them. He apologizes when he reaches first base. He gets upset when I'm upset. He cries if he even imagines that someone is mad at him. I don't believe in the "boys don't cry" adage. I let him cry, I let him get his emotions out. Holding them in will only turn the sadness to anger.

So there we were, in the drive-through line at Burger King last night, and I had to pull over and get into the back seat with him and hug him, because that's all I know how to do. I can't find the words that will comfort him, I can't lie to him and tell him don't worry, I'll never die on you. I can't bring back all the people he is missing right now. I can't explain to him why his uncles are dead and there are still rotten, evil people walking around.

When we get home, he wants to find pictures of his uncle, his great-grandmothers, anyone we know who has died. He is afraid that the memories of his uncle who died last year are fading already, so we talk about him for a bit, replaying some of the moments they shared together. DJ likes mementos. He wants to have something of his uncle's to remember him by. He asks me if that's weird.

I take him into the kitchen. I want to show him something. I open the freezer and pull a tupperware container out of the back. Inside the container are four meatballs, frozen solid since 1998.

The night before my grandmother got sick, went to the hospital and never came home, she made those meatballs. She called down the stairs, like she always did, gave me the container and said they were for the kids for dinner the next evening. I put them in the freezer, knowing that we were busy the next few nights and I we weren't going to be eating dinner home for a couple of days.

After my grandmother died, I could never bring myself to throw away the meatballs. In October, it will be four years that the container is sitting in my freezer. It will probably stay there forever, because it is the last thing she gave me, her last act of love for my kids.

DJ stared at the meatballs for a few minutes and smiled.

Today is the wake, tomorrow the funeral. I won't be there; too many weird feelings and awkwardness between the ex's family and mine. I only hope DJ's father can figure out how to comfort him or say the right word to him. You can't explain. There is no explaining the complexities of life and death, especially to a nine year old. I suppose all we can do is hug and hold and let him him cry.

I wish it were easier. I wish sometimes that being a parent didn't leave me feeling helpless.

September 19, 2002

wartime fun with photoshop

wartime fun with photoshop

Deface this photo, please:

jackass.jpg A young Muslim man, who refused to give his name, shows his feelings toward the media outside the Federal Court House in Buffalo, New York September 18, 2002 where he sat to show his support for the six local suspected al-Qaida supporters who appeared inside the court...

note: the caption is not mine. It came from Yahoo news.

Send photos or link them in comments. Prize of some sort to be awarded. Bigger picture in the Yahoo link.

Thanks to Stacy for the picture.

death as art

death as art

There's art and then there's art. Stacy has a lively discussion going on at her blog about the wretched statue that sat at Rockefeller Center yesterday. I won't reiterate my thoughts about it here, you can read them there.

Now comes Gail Haffern, an New Zealand artist who sees the September 11 attacks as "wonderful."

"Four planes? I thought it was an extraordinary idea to do this, somebody declaring war against the mightiest country that has ever existed with one of its own peacetime machines. Looking at this, and being an artist, I thought what if this had been a performance piece and Osama bin Laden had declared himself an artist, how would the world have seen it then?....

"I'm saying, step away from blame. How are we to act if we act only according to blame? So many of us just think and squeal, think and squeal. This act is done and you can't fault the execution of the act. It was perfect, extraordinarily clever."

Well, generally speaking, performance artists don't normally kill thousands of people for their art, so the question of what we would have thought had bin Laden been an artist is pretty much moot.

Blame...accusation...how can we be free of these things when thinking of that day? Of course there is someone to blame. Of course there are people to accuse. Would you view a typical street murder the same way? Would you say that we should look at it without blame and accusation and perhaps look at it as a wonderful piece of performance art?

So why, when thousands of people are killed at once at the hands of a hateful, sick group of militants, should we not place blame or accuse?

[Haffern] pulls out a centrefold [of a book about the Trade Center], the towers bathed in sun like two pieces of burnished gold. "Playboy, eat your heart out," she says. "Look at this for aesthetics," before turning to pages of the buildings coming down, falling bodies twisting through the air.

Maybe I am too dense to get it. Perhaps I am culturally illiterate or the meaning of what is art escapes me. I do not look at people leaping to their death and see a lesson in aesthetics.

Haffern created a sculpture to commemorate the events of September 11.

Small signs within the [sculpture] display words such as "No Sides", Not False", "Not Equal", while a cluster of 25 polished aluminium blocks beneath it also have words on them in gold leaf: Pentagone, Chequemate, and so on.

"The installation is definitely not a political statement - it asks the viewer to take a new position free of accusation and prejudice to view the acts of September 11 with a sense of amazement...."

Right now I am viewing this artist with a sense of horrified amazement, tinged with disgust and disdain.

update: Stacy and I have decided to take the first plane out to New Zealand, find this woman and throw her out of the window of a very tall building. Then we will record the act on film strictly for its aesthetic value.

link via instapundit

truth, speculation and bending over for mass media

truth, speculation and bending over for mass media

I was listening to talk radio last night (which I find myself doing more and more often, both to escape the repetitive playing of the WhiteStrokesVinesHives faction and that Jimmy Eats World song, and because talk radio often gives me food for thought, even if it is poisoned food). Anyhow, I heard an interesting quote, it may have been on WABC770 which means I was listening to Sean Hannity at the time and I hope my liberal/lefty friends forgive me for that.

Paraphrasing what the radio voice said:

"Reporters today don't give you the fact, they give you the story. And when there's no story, they give you speculation."

Yes, I thought out loud. And then the speculation becomes the story itself.

Take the case of the mouth that shut down Miami. Here, we have a simple story. Woman overhears what she concludes to be a frightening conversation, does her patriotic duty and reports said conversation to authorities, police check out story, find there's nothing to be alarmed about, and everyone goes on their merry way. Right? Not quite the way it turned out, is it?

First the media reported the facts. Then they took the facts and turned it into a slogan-worthy story. You know, Terror in Miami, Tipster Terror, etc. Soap operas were interrupted, helicopters hovered and the country stared at CNN for hours, waiting for those bomb sniffing dogs to discover a weapon of mass destruction hidden inside of a backpack.

The speculation, combined with rumors, became larger than the story itself. Eunice Stone not only heard the medical students talking about 9/11, but they actually said the words bomb and blow up. This is not Ms. Stone's fault, she only reported what she heard. But, like any good game of telephone tag, the truth and the rumors gelled together to make a big old stew of speculation.

Soon we had explosive material in the car, and unmatched license plates and cars blowing through toll booths. How did the media - and I'm not even talking about the sensationlist media, but outlets like CNN - take such itty bitty slices of information and turn it into a whole damned pie?

I don't just mean this to be a rant about the cautionary tale of Eunice and the Three Medical Students, but about the media, and how everything becomes a story these days. Like the man on the radio said; not just facts, but stories. Take a few random facts, add some human drama, a sense of fear, alarmist rumors and perhaps a couple of lawyers and FBI spokespeople, and you have a human interest story instead of a mundane piece of information. Add a few modems and telephone lines and cell phones, and you have speculation and rumors masquerading as a news item.

Am I surprised at this? Not really. After all, this is the same media who brought us that fun-filled OJ chase all those years ago. By the time that white Bronco had used merely a gallon of gas, the facts became the story became the speculation and some people really believed that OJ had been kidnapped at gunpoint by the "real" killer.

You can't really blame them. This is what sells paper, what keeps people tuned into the same channel all day long. I don't think anyone would have kept FoxNews on the whole afternoon if they only stated the facts about the Miami case and did not turn it into the story of Miami under seige. The problem is, there are not always facts to be had. So you speculate and discuss various scenarios and interview cousins and first grade teachers to make it into a story, because if there is no story, there is no audience. And the wider the net your speculation casts, the wider the audience that will be sucked in. That's how someone goes from being Eunice Stone, Shoney's patron, to Eunice Stone, True American Patriot and Thwarter of Terror Plot. That's how someone goes from being Medical Student with Bad Judgement to Muslim With Explosives Plotting to Overthrow Florida.

It's why celebrities are big news, why the controversy over whether Ben Affleck's hair is real or not or if Mike Piazza is gay or if Martha Stewart is really an alien hell-bent on taking over the world becomes headline news. Well, not the Martha Stewart thing - I'm still working on that story.

We can sit here and blame the media all we want for blowing things out of proportion and making stories up where there are none and distorting facts to sell papers, but ultimately, the fault lies with us.

If we didn't watch or read or listen, there wouldn't be a need for catchy slogans tagged onto every disaster. They are only giving us what we want, which is to be riveted to the tv or the radio or our monitors, caught up in the fear of the moment.

We are the media's bitches.

September 18, 2002

wednesday night at the movies

wednesday night at the movies

Brains. Brains Brains! Braaaaaaaaaaaains!

can't sleep, the clowns will eat me

can't sleep, the clowns will eat me


caption, please.

reading assignment

reading assignment

I usually break out in hives when someone emails me asking if I will link them on this site. It's not the asking I don't like; it's when (almost all of the time) I don't want to link them because I check out their site and it ends up to be either offensive or illiterate.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and I am more than happy to fulfill the request of Keith Morris and point you all in the direction of GI Party:

GiParty began as a project that would allow servicemembers to publish entries to their own personal journals hosted on GiP so as to allow friends and family to keep up with the lives of those in the military.....Today, GiParty continues to expand to include a library of information centered around life in the military, and the role that our military plays in the lives of Americans.

Go have a read. And when you're done, continue with the military theme and read the story of CPO Sharkey's well-raised children.

want to buy a bridge?

want to buy a bridge?

I happen to be both a cynic and a skeptic. Basically, I believe nothing, refute everything and seriously doubt the motives of anyone.

Sometimes these traits play off of one another, and I end up debating both sides of an issue. Sure, I've heard the rumors about Flight 93. No, I don't think the plane was shot down. I don't care what the timing on the black box shows, or what "evidence" you have to support your theory, I just don't buy into the cover-up angle. On other other hand, the cynic in me casts doubt upon the stories of heroism. I think, for the most part, they are greatly exaggerated.

I've heard the conspiracy theories about the Pentagon plane. It is my job as a skeptic to refute your conspiracy theories, but it is also my job as a cynic to cast doubt upon the people who are refuting the theories that I've just refuted. You following me here?

If you send me one of those twenty-times-forwarded emails regarding the woman who grew an appendage out of her head due to aspertame use; the dying kid in Botswana who is collecting pull-tops from soda cans/the nice fellow in Nigeria who wants my social security number/a warning about looking in the back seat of my car for men brandishing ice picks, you are going to get a reply from me. And that reply will only be a link to Snopes. Sometimes, if the theory or miracle cure or heart-wrenching tale of woe you send me catches me at the right time, I will debunk your entire email line by line, including links, citations and graphs if necessary.

I wonder what kind of people fall for these scams and lies and scare tactics. Who would really send their credit card number to a stranger in another country? Is it the same people who believe that Iraq does not have nuclear weapons or Scott Ritter is a patriot or the Red Sox will win the world series or a plane did not crash into the Pentagon? Maybe the same people who believe every word that come's out of their favorite politician's mouth? The same people who believe that we can exist without cars?

People believe what they want to. I've just taken it on as my mission in life to prove to every gullible, naive person out there that the world is full of liars and cheats and fakes, and you should believe nothing until you have solid, undisputed, documented proof of the stories you are being told.

You will not be the next big winner, your cereal box will always say "please try again," your friend's cousin's neighbor did not hear two school kids say "stay away from the city on 9/11," and Jimmy Hoffa is not buried under your seat at Giants Stadium.

Please stop forwarding me your pyramid schemes and conspiracy theories. Please stop telling me that my coffee will make antennas grow out of my head in ten years. You are an adult, please stop believing in the concepts of Santa Claus and peace on earth. Or at least stop telling me about them.

ed note: It's also fun to debunk the debunkers.

September 17, 2002

life with a 7th grade girl

life with a 7th grade girl

If any of you who have my home number are attempting to call me, forget it.

Apparently the phone will be tied up for the next five years or so.

everything's ruined

everything's ruined

This has also been posted at blogcritics, a site you should all be reading religiously.


A gift, payment, declaration, or other acknowledgment of gratitude, respect, or admiration.

It would stand to reason then that a tribute album would be one where bands would show their respect and admiration for the band they are paying tribute to.

Someone forgot to tell that to the 30 bands that got together for the double cd set, Faith No More: Tribute of the Year.

Most of the bands on this cd are obscure metal/punk/undefinable genre groups that will most likely never be heard from again. A few, like Bile and Hate Dept., have had minimal success in the metal field. None of them should have ever attempted to recreate the sounds of the greatest band ever. No, I am not biased at all.

There should also be some kind of ground rules to follow when making a tribute album. Like, don't have three different bands cover the same song. Voudoo, Victims in Ecstacy and Germ Theory all render "Stripsearch" into something undistinguishable from the original tune.

Bile, best known as the aging head bangers who had a minor metal hit with "In League," cover "Midlife Crisis," one of FNM's best songs. In Bile's hands, the tune becomes something that sounds Orgy channeling Angus Young.

Imbue inteprets the angry, bitter "Gentle Art of Making Enemies" as gothic depression. SMP plays "Another Body Murdered," which FNM did with Boo-Ya Tribe for the Judgment Night soundtrack, like a kid who just got a Casio keyboard for Christmas.

Germ Theory covers my favorite FNM song, "A Small Victory" (from which my own website's name comes). They try to pull off a Mr. Bungle experimental noise turn on it, but it just comes out like Danny Elfman tunes played backwards.

This album will go down as a travesty for Faith No More fans. There was rumored to be another FNM tribute album in the works featuring Papa Roach and P.O.D. and I can only hope that it never comes to fruition. I can only take so much of this dreg disguised as adulation.

blast from the past

blast from the past

It's almost the one year anniversary of the day I lost my mind. So here, to re-hash the entire ugly episode for your amusement:

The Spitting Incident.

The day that wouldn't stop sucking...

I did something today. I did something totally incomprehensible. I believe I have lost my mind. Keep in mind the day I was having. Stress and idiot filled. Fueled by a vague sense of anger and a bad back. Spent the day writing jury charges over and over again which basically came down to saying: some people lie, some people don't. Use your judgment. But it was said in oh...18 pages. Lots of traffic and pms and people with attitudes and general crankiness.

So I'm driving home. I can take two ways. I choose which way to go based on time and traffic flow. Today I go left. I make another left and head east down Jerusalem. Traffic stops. It stops because there is a school bus with flashing lights in the right lane. Fair enough. Law says stop for school buses. I'm in the right lane, directly behind the bus. Next to me is a white Volvo with two frat boys in it. Our windows are all rolled down. It's a beautiful day. We wait. We wait some more. It's taking a really long time. And then I see why. A mechanical ramp is being rolled out of the bus. Slowly, but surely, the bus driver and an aide bring down a girl of no more than 7, in a wheelchair. She has what I assume to be CP or some debillitating disease. I watch her parents smile at her while they wait for her to get down the ramp.

Then the frat boy in the passenger seat speaks. To me, no less. He looks at me and says, smirking "Maybe if these people kept their tards at home we wouldn't have to sit here in freaking traffic, ya know?" He looks at me as if he expects an agreement. I am stunned. I am horrified. And I am in a horrible mood. I do something that I now think could have been dangerous. I lean out my window, look straight at him and spit. Yes, I spit. I have officially lost my fucking mind. Then, as he is about to scream at me, I say "I would rather have 5 kids like her than one like you, you ungrateful dumb fuck." I roll up my window quickly and lock my door. I sit there for another two minutes or so, willing the parents to please stop talking to the bus driver because I need to move the car because this guy is going to get out of his car and open fire at me. I won't look to the left. I stare straight ahead.

Finally, the lights on the bus stop flashing and the driver pulls his stop sign in. I take off and make the next available right turn and a couple of more turns down side streets until I am in another neighborhood completely. I idle at a stop sign and catch my breath.

I have lost it. Completely.

post-apocalyptic preparedness

post-apocalyptic preparedness

A Long Island school district has stockpiled potassium iodide tablets, which can protect against thyroid cancer in event of exposure to radiation from a nuclear disaster.

Parents were informed of the purchase and were given the choice to opt out of if the need ever did arise to administer the tablets to the students.

My question is, why bother? Isn't this a bit like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound? Sure, you won't get thyroid cancer in the future, but then again, if there is a nuclear disaster, your future isn't looking too rosy anyhow.

This serves as much purpose as sticking your head up your ass in the school hallway when bombs are being dropped from overhead. Sure, your limbs may fall off eventually and you'll glow in the dark and perhaps look like the kids in this family after a while, but don't worry - you won't come down with thyroid cancer!

This all got me to thinking about potential disasters - bombs, nuclear devices, tidal waves, the wrath of God, etc. - and what I would do in the event of one. The answer is pretty much the same for all of them: Die.

I live on an island. I share this island with 2.65 million other people. I'm not fleeing, because I won't be able to. The only way out of here is to head for the bridges. The hell with that. If my choice is to die sitting in traffic or to die at home I'm choosing the latter. And honestly, in the event of a nuclear attack, where the hell are you going to run to anyhow? I am not about fleeing for the sake of fleeing.

I figure we can all overdose on a lethal combination of Tylenol, that prescription codeine I have laying around, and some other stuff in the medicine cabinet that probably expired a couple of years ago. We'll just sit here and play video games until we start drooling or foaming at the mouth and a blissful over-the-counter medication death takes us out instead of a tidal wave or nuclear blast or what have you.

Who would really want to live through a nuclear blast or world wide plague, anyhow? Personally, I'd rather die than have to live out The Stand. I am not going to spend my post-apocalyptic days trekking across the U.S. to find some old woman in a rocker. I'd probably head for the other side anyhow, meeting up with the dark agents of Satan in Las Vegas, causing havoc and mayhem in the new radiated world. I'll finally be able to live that life of debauchery that I always dreamed of.

Now I'm thinking that I am woefully underprepared for an emergency of that magnitude. How does one prepare for an oncoming war, anyhow? What do you stock up on so your time spent cowering in your house listening to bombs whistle overhead is spent in the most comfortable manner possible? I'm thinking a huge bottle of tequila, a generator for the Playstation, and a couple of dozen Krispy Kreme glazed donuts ought to do it. As a matter of fact, I think I should go out today and finally buy that X-Box and justify it by claiming it as emergency preparedness gear. If I'm going to die at the hands of our enemies, I may as well go on my terms.

September 16, 2002

comic book toys instead of a rant

blog of hate a post about comic book toys to keep me from writing about hatred and getting all aggravated when I am out of tequila

This post serves no real purpose except to keep me from going off on this. Asparagirl beat me to it, anyhow.

Aaron made a post recently detailing what comics he would buy if he had the money. I was going to follow suit, but when I took stock of just how much comic book shopping we've done in the past month, and how long it will take me to catch up on what I already own, I decided to not tempt fate and start looking through lists of comics I don't have but want.

Instead, I will make a list of my other obsession - comic related toys that I am itching to purchase.

Punisher statue
Futurama ornaments
Maxx ornament
Bone statue
Madman bust
Hellboy magnet set
Milk and Cheese magnet set
Roman Dirge's Betrayal
Milk and Cheese lunchbox
Milk and Cheese Zippos
Tulip (Preacher) figure

Oh, and we bought Madman playing cards this week.

I'm going to stop now before I start hitting "add to cart" on every website.

bug spray

bug spray

I made this little graphic last night. If you should have a troll/blogroach in your comments, don't delete its rantings, just go in and paste this graphic in the idiot's comment.

Please do not link directly to the graphic, just right click and save to your own hard drive, thank you.


Oh, and I almost forgot. Go check out Rannie's 100k Photo Contest. My two entries so far are here.

obsessive compulsive stats disorder

obessive compulsive stats disorder

I've come to the conclusion that Extreme Tracking is wholly unreliable. When I view the stats from my host in the morning, I see referrals from places that ET does not track. Metafilter, Blogdex, Daypop and certain blogs do not show up in my referrall stats from ET. If I did not view my host stats, I would have never known that the Montgomery County Democrats Club of Texas supports the Banned Books Project. So basically, the stats that I have been viewing on ET are most likely wrong and under reported. The problem is, I don't know how to decipher Dreamhost's stats. It's not as clear cut as ET in that I can't tell just by looking how many hits or referrals I had yesterday. Oh please, don't look at me like that, it's not as if you don't view your stats daily either. I would just like to know, for my own personal gratification reasons, what I really average per day.

So if anyone can interpet the graphic above (click to biggie-size it) to determine just what my stats are, I would appreciate it.

180 channels and nothing on

180 channels and nothing on

When I was a kid/, the one thing I looked forward to almost as much as Christmas was the fall preview issue of TV Guide. Hey, you have to find something to interest you when you have no friends.

I would take the over-sized issue and a black pen and sit in my room for hours, circling the shows that looked good. I first went to the Saturday morning line-up, looking for returns of my favorite cartoons and new cartoons to obsess over. Then I hit the Friday and Saturday night shows, the nights I could stay up late, and then the weekday shows and finally the movies. Remember, this is in the days before VCRs, so when a major motion picture was being shown on tv, hit was a big deal.

Somewhere down the line, I developed interests in sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll other things, and my television obsession took second place to my social life (that consisted mostly of sitting in a tiny movie theater all weekend long, watching Rocky Horror and The Song Remains the Same for hours on end).

Of course, like any good addiction, my jones for television came back. I am once again a tv addict. Too bad the fall preview of TV guide does more to make me miss the past then it does to make me look forward to the new season of re-hashed ideas and bad concepts.

We watch very little broadcast tv. Most of the shows we schedule our lives around - Six Feet Under, Adult Swim, Inside the NFL - are on cable channels. With the exception of The Simpsons, there is not one broadcast tv show that I would set my watch by, especially since they cancelled Family Guy.

So the fall preview issue came last week and I decided to relive my youth a little bit. I took the magazine and a black pen and set to work circling the shows that interested me. Let's just say I was in no danger of the pen running out of ink.

Talk about redunant ideas. How many ways can you take ER or NYPD Blue and clone them before you run out of different names for the shows? More medical dramas, more police dramas, more court dramas. More gritty, urban, see the crime from my point of view dramas. Nothing circled there.

Shows about families that play their adversities for comic relief, complete with disgruntled parents, struggling marraiges, resentful teenagers and precocious grade schoolers? You got a whole handful of them coming. One of them stars Randy Quaid as a dad who "makes his living off a fake disability." Now there's a role model for the American masses.

Randy Quaid isn't the only actor that has resorted to doomed-to-fail tv shows. Denis Farina, John Ritter, Bonnie Hunt and Treat Williams all have shows coming to you as soon as next week. And disappearing soon after. Don't blink.

Was there anything that looked even remotely interesting to me? Yes, a WB show called Birds of Prey: "a new generation of wonder women is tackling the forces of evil in the Gothic gloom of New Gotham." What can I say? I have a thing for Harley Quinn.
There are remakes; Twilight Zone and Family Affair both are back with makeovers. Of the two, I would only attempt to watch Twilight Zone. Family Affair stars Tim Curry in another overacting, bloated attempt at stardom. I liked him better as a transvestite.

On the cable front, Shannon Doherty has resorted to staging "spooky pranks" on Scare Tactics and Henry Rollins will be hosting a series that tests extreme driving machines. Ice-T will take you on a tour of death-defying jobs and Donny Osmond hosts a reincarnation of $100,000 Pyramid.

The kids section of the fall preview is one page. ONE PAGE. There used to be a whole pull-out devoted to the glory of Saturday morning cartoons. I can't even find one thing worth mentioning, though we did happen to catch the premiere of Fighting Foodons on Saturday. Yes, you heard right. Fighting Foodons. Think Pokemon with chicken cutlets. I choose you, Asparagus! I won't even bother to explain. It's not worth it. As a matter of fact, the whole damn tv season isn't worth it.

What will we watch instead of the new crop of tired and stale plots being offered this season and Fox's Futurama (which I thought had been cancelled) and Simpsons? Re-runs of Pete and Pete and a whole lot of movies.

I want to make my own tv station that would show just the shows I want, including shows from the past. (Ok, that's your mission for today - tell me what shows your ultimate personal television channel would play).

It doesn't really matter anyhow. If my premonition holds true, the whole season will be pre-empted in October for a constant showing of Iraqi II: This Time It's Personal.

September 15, 2002

and now for something completely different

and now for something completey different

a small victory theater presents:


MORTICIAN: (played by played by Tony Blair):Bring out your dead!
Bring out your dead!
[clang] Bring out your dead!
[clang] Bring out your dead!
[clang] Bring out your dead!
[clang] Bring out your dead!

CUSTOMER (played by George W. Bush): Here's one -- nine pence.

DEAD PERSON (played by bin Laden): I'm not dead!


CUSTOMER: Nothing -- here's your nine pence.

DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!

MORTICIAN: Here -- he says he's not dead!

CUSTOMER: Yes, he is.


MORTICIAN: He isn't.

CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.

DEAD PERSON: I'm getting better!

CUSTOMER: No, you're not -- you'll be stone dead in a moment.

MORTICIAN: Oh, I can't take him like that -- it's against regulations.

DEAD PERSON: I don't want to go in the cart!

CUSTOMER: Oh, don't be such a baby.

MORTICIAN: I can't take him...

DEAD PERSON: I feel fine!

CUSTOMER: Oh, do us a favor...


CUSTOMER: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long.

MORTICIAN: Naaah, I got to go on to Robinson's -- they've lost nine today.

CUSTOMER: Well, when is your next round?

MORTICIAN: Thursday.

DEAD PERSON: I think I'll go for a walk.

CUSTOMER: You're not fooling anyone y'know. Look, isn't there something you can do?

DEAD PERSON: I feel happy... I feel happy. [whop]

CUSTOMER: Ah, thanks very much.

MORTICIAN: Not at all. See you on Thursday.

none of the above

none of the above

I get mail.

Sometimes I really wish people would just stick to the name-calling hate mail rather than ask the questions that are difficult to answer.

I received no less than three emails this week asking me to define myself, in political terms. What are you, is what they all want to know. Even my own mother said to me last week, I don't know how to define you.

I don't want to be a person who is easily summed up in one word. Republican. Democrat. Liberal. Conservative. I am none and all. I find it hard to describe myself by party line because neither party offers me everything I am looking for. I don't want to align myself with any side because while I fall this way on some issues, I may fall that way on others.

My father calls me a liberal and he says it like it's a dirty word. I've been called a right-wing nut because I think we should go after Saddam. If you have read this website for any amount of time you know how off-base the right-wing nut thing is.

I despise Noam Chomsky with the same hateful passion I have for Ann Coulter. I think extremists on any side of the fence are often dangerous and misguided. I would like to say I sit in the center of the political see-saw, but my weight shifst often and you can sometimes find me sliding either way. Just a little, though. Not too far over.

I am concerned about civil liberties. I am not one of those people who believes that we have to give up some liberties in order to retain our freedom. However, I am not, nor will I ever be, a member of the ACLU.

I do think that we need to take action against Saddam. If it means bombing Iraq, so be it. That does not mean I am a member of the local chapter of the Republican Club.

Yes, I do know it's about the oil. And I am all for ways of finding alternative energy sources and developing them. But I also think that the notion that we give up our cars is silly, short-sighted and utopian.

I eat meat. I love meat. But it's not like I'm going to go out into the woods and kill deer for sport. Just because I eat hamburgers does not mean I belong to the Ted Nugent fan club.

Some people are just not easily definable. You can't slap a simple label on someone and say that it defines their entire personality and outlook on life and the world at large.

Different issues speak to me in different ways. Which is why I choose to stay at the center of the see-saw so I am within reach of all options at all times. I can shift to the left, I can shift to the right, but not far enough to tip the balance entirely.

I don't want to be lumped in, I don't want a name tag, I don't want to join your coalition or your party or any kind of organization that would make me past a name tag on myself that says "Hi, I'm Michele and I am a (insert party here) and that means I believe in their entire doctrine and I never sway from the norm that the designated leaders of my party have set down for us as examples." Ok, so that would be a really big name tag, but you get my point.

It's hard to answer a lot of the questions that are posed to me in the emails I get. What's harder is when I get mail from someone saying "I thought you were on our side," and I have to tell them that I never signed up for anything and I am sorry if I disappointed you with the choices I have made, but it's my see-saw and I reserve the right to sway it whichever way I choose. It's strange how people view you with such disappointment or disdain when you make your choices known. We may agree on 55 out of 56 issues, but if that one issue that we do not agree on causes you to stop talking to me or unlink me from your blog or whitewash me with your very broad paint strokes, then that is your problem, not mine.

I do not make my political choices based on which side of the fence my friends are on. I do not shape my world views around guidelines set forth by someone's friendship or linking policy.

I am pretty much undefinable. Actually, no. If you want to stick a label on me, just call me None of the Above.

September 14, 2002

bragging rights

bragging rights

I warned you there would be pictures.

Hey, it's my blog and if I want to post pictures of my son's amazing pitching skills, then so be it. It's not like I'm posting cat stuff.

He had four strikeouts in two innings, and then he played shortstop. And when he threw his curveball, one coach said "He shouldn't be throwing that. Nope, he should not be throwing that fine, fine curveball of his."

Check out his form. Look at that wind-up. See his follow through?

I'll shut up now.


Pardon the haze, but there was a minor dirt storm kicking up through the whole game.

I'm off to Ikea. If I'm not back in two hours, call the shopping police.

corrections, clarifications and curveballs

corrections, clarifications and curve balls

A) Indymedia is not the instigator of the bumper sticker brigade. It was just on their forum.

B) I did not mean to imply that all leftists are fucknozzles. But the ones who want to make a point about destroying the environment by defacing someone else's property with stickers that were made on computers and in factories that use the very oil that they are worried about; they are fucknozzles.

C) I got the term "fucknozzle" from Faith. I cannot take credit for it, as much as I would like to.

D) Thank you to Stacy for giving me permalinks today, and I stupidly forget to mention KD the other day, who installed my trackback and comment permalinks.

E) I decided to take this opportune time to rehash my celebrity true story of the buxom blonde dimwit with the reality show on E! who I will not name, but whose initials are ANS. It's over at blogcritics.

That is all. The fall Little League season begins today and DJ is pitching. He's been working on his slider and knuckleball all week, even though the coach won't let him throw any trick pitches. Beware, there will be pictures of cute little kids in baseball uniforms later.

blogging squirrels

blogging squirrels

The air is cool, the leaves are starting to change, and fall, at least in mind if not on the calendar, is here.

The only thing I don't like about autumn is the acorns plopping from the tree every few minutes, banging against the house like war drums. The squirrels tend to gather outside my bedroom window, and they scream at each other as they fight for each acorn that falls. Yes, squirrels scream. They are mean and petty and will fight each other to the death over one little tiny nut. Last year, I saw a squirrel fall off of a tree limb as he lost his balance when another squirrel went after him. I swear to you, the other squirrel was laughing.

So when I was laying in bed today, listening to them chatter and fight, I got to thinking about blogging squirrels. You know, they crawl into their little cubbies in the tree, and sit at their little squirrel computers (they use a splitter to intercept my cable connection), and blog.


"leave my nuts alone"

I can't believe this shit. Every time I try to get some acorns to store, that bastard from the tree next door is right behind me. I think he's spying on me. I need to store as many nuts as possible because I hear that the crows from the yard across the street are planning a takeover of our tree. The lead squirrel put our danger threat at Level 2: Orange, and while I think he's overreacting, one can never be too sure. Those crows are sneaky, dangerous creatures. I'm going to gather as much food as a I can just to play it safe. I know that stupid squirrel that keeps going after my acorns thinks we should try to make peace with the crows, but he just doesn't realize how impossible that is. He is gonna be so sorry when we are under attack by the birds and I'm sitting here in my hole with enough food to get me through and all he has is that one acorn he stole from me. Dumb liberal.

Posted by: Rocky
7:56 a.m/comments (0)/trackback (0)

I need to lay off the cold medicine or get more sleep.

September 13, 2002

surrounded by idiots

surrounded by idiots

Why the extreme lefties are just as big fuckwads as the righties:

The daring, intrepid assclowns at indymedia are at it again. This time they are slapping this bumper sticker on cars in the San Fran area.

Ok, you punk ass fucknozzles - If you ever dare try this over on the east coast, and you have the balls to attempt to stick one of those on my car, I will beat you to within an inch of your life and I will make sure the cops in their cars and the paramedics in their ambulances know that you think they are the root cause of September 11 and then we will all sit around and watch while you writhe and moan in pain.

Who the fuck are you people kidding? Do you mean to tell me that you all walk, ride bikes or mopeds? Oh yea, you don't need transportation when you are just punk ass kids who do nothing but protest the country that gives them the freedom to spout their radical views. Like one supporter of this action said "The poor slobs obediently lining up like cows to slaughter in their SUV's each day -- to go to their veal fattening pens at work -- I do not envy!" It's called going to work, you dipshit. Simple concept: go to work, make money, support self and family. You have this utopian dream of a perfect world but guess what, you dimwit? Those clothes you're wearing, the paper that bumper sticker was made on, the shoes on your feet, the computer you use to spew this nonsense - they were all made by cows going to slaugher in their veal fattening pens each day. So who's supporting capitalism now?

Civil disobedience is fine, to an extent. Defacing someone's property and blaming them for a terrorist attack caused by fanatics who probably don't give a piss about your cause - that's just assinine. Grow up. Get a job. Get a life.

(Don't bother reading the comments on the thread unless you still need to be convinced that extremists on both sides of the political fence are mindless drones who should not be allowed to speak)

i could have used some chianti

i could have used some chianti

I spent a good hour today watching C-Span 2. Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Virginia) was orating a very slow, very repetive speech (which looks like it may have been a fillerbuster). Like the proverbial car wreck, I couldn't take my eyes off of the screen. He stammered, he stuttered, he stopped to look over notes and he forgot what he was saying plenty of times.

The speech, what I saw of it at least, covered everything from Constantinople and the Golden Horn to his wife's appendix and how he didn't eat breakfast. He talked for at least fifteen minutes about Saddam and how he should have had a senate - a free! senate - to confer with.

My eyes glazed over and I did something I hadn't done since my college philosophy lectures; I fell asleep with my eyes open.

I dreamed that I was eating Senator Byrd's appendix for breakfast, while his wife played a golden horn and Saddam applauded.

That's the last time I watch C-Span after taking NyQuil.

let's play "what if"

let's play "what if"

Let's consider the possibilities should this Florida thing turn out to be nothing:

Waitress gets a bad tip (or no tip at all). She's pissed. The men who left her the shitty tip are of Middle Eastern descent. How best to get even?

I'm just saying.....

*update* So by now you all know that the three guys were playing a "joke" on the woman who looked at them suspiciously. Stupid? You betcha. But I do bet that they were mighty tired of being looked at as potential terrorists all the time, though I'm sure that as scholarly men they could have come up with a better way to get their point across.

And my revenge motive was right - just in reverse.

you make me feel like dancing

you make me feel like dancing

For those who never read this story before, "I Was A Teenage Music Activist: How I Brought Down Leo Sayer" is now appearing at blogcritics.

maybe, maybe not

maybe, maybe not

Maybe my sense of foreboding is actually on to something.

First that ship off the coast of Jersey, and now this. I've been watching CNN for a bit and this seems to not be one of those "oh, we thought you were terrorists" thing.

Then again, this incident stemmed from a report from a woman who overheard three men talking in a restaurant about blowing things up. I can't imagine that any terrorist worth his WOMD would be talking out loud about these things in a public place.

Time will tell what this one pans out to be. Stay tuned.

update: Theresa found a story on the ship; it was just clay tiles. File this under "these are not the droids you're looking for."

starring bush as jason voorhees


i was going to use jason voorhees as a metaphor for bush but it didn't work

But come on, can't you picture him in a hockey mask running after Saddam?


What did I derive from Bush's speech to the U.N. yesterday? I'll paraphrase:

Dear U.N., either you start enforcing the regulations you made years ago, or we are so out of here. Either way, we are going to kick some ass, with or without your blessing, with or without the blessings of any other country. Insepctions? I don't need your stinkin' inspections!"

For the first time ever, I applauded our president. Ok, so I did it quietly and maybe I hid in the closet while I did it so no one would see me, but I applauded.

The question that remains is not will we but when will we.

I'm not alone. I know a lot of staunch liberals and lefties and general anti-Bushies that think he is doing the right thing.

So, in my dream last night, it was October 12 and there were rockets red glare going off everywhere. Lawns were on fire and people were running and I just saw this huge calendar page that said October 12. So if that's the date the bombs over Iraq go off, you can burn me at the stake.

Speaking of supernatural things, it's Friday the 13th. I don't believe in superstitions. I've never had particularly bad luck on any Friday the 13th. That is to say, I've never had a guy in a hockey mask chase me through the woods on that day. However, I did wake up with this sense of foreboding today. Just a general angst that seems to be hanging in the air.

Maybe it's that ship docked off of the coast of New Jersey that no one seems to be saying too much about. Maybe it's just residual bad feelings hangin around from Wednesday. Maybe it's this flu I have.

Maybe it's that guy in the hockey mask standing outside my window.

September 12, 2002



Is it weird that I feel some closure now? I think the spirits of September 11 stayed with me so long because while I was reliving the events of that day, I was also dreading the anniversary of it.

I watched a lot of tv yesterday, I read a lot of weblogs, I cried a whole bunch. And when I woke up today, I found a lot of the despair and anguish I had been feeling lately had left me.

Perhaps it was reading all of the stories, perhaps it was just getting another September 11 out of the way.

I'd like to say I'm looking towards the future now instead of the past, but I do believe our future includes some bombs over Bagdhad and then, a war. We do what we must to ensure that another day like September 11, 2001 never happens again.

I feel lighter today, I feel less distressed. I still feel angry, but that's just me. I think I live with a subtle anger always brewing inside of me. And that's ok; it's what keeps me thinking, writing, questioning and debating.

Now, I can move on to other subjects, like the dreamworld the U.N. lives in, and the bizzaro world the Green Party must exist in if they are seriously thinking of running super-moron Cynthia McKinney for president. And yes, the fart jokes.




I've added several new stories to "no ordinary day" today. Please, if you get a chance, check them out.

I am also collecting links from yesterday's blogs. If you know of any blogs that had tributes, memorials, essays or personal stories or anything of the sort, please let me know.

Mentally, I am feeling better today than I have felt in a year. Too bad I've got some nasty flu.

a child's thoughts

a child's thoughts

One thing I did want to do today (as I am home, sick as I've ever been), is post a couple of things DJ wrote last night, in his effort to relay his feelings about September 11. I scanned them in as images so you can see the "poems" in his own writing. I know, he needs serious spelling help.

1: Hero

2: Anniversary

3: Love

thank you

thank you

I watched a lot of tv. I went through an entire range of emotions yesterday, from angry and frustrated to a deep, complete sadness that would have overwhelmed me if I didn't get out of the house for a while.

Nothing, however, - no tv coverage, no tribute, no impassioned speech - affected me more than the words that you all left here. In an odd way, reading all the stories was comforting. I don't think I can really explain why. But it was also very draining, to spend two days reading through over one hundred stories; stories of first hand accounts, of lost loved ones, of despair and anguish and uncertainty.

I don't know how to rightfully thank each of you for sharing your thoughts, each person who stopped here to read, each person who emailed me with private notes of thanks. Please do not thank me; it is I who should thank you for allowing me - and anyone who stopped here yesterday - to glimpse into some very personal moments in your life. Every word has helped me to cope with the distraught I felt yesterday, watching everything all over again as if it were new. I shared my day with every one of you and I thank you for allowing me to do so.

I am completely drained today. I have nothing left for the moment, no words, no thoughts that haven't been said already.

Except for adding new entries to the project as they come in (and you can get to the project from the link in the post below or on the sidebar), I am going to step away from this space today. I am going to inhale the fall-like air, throw myself into my work, have lunch with some friends and enjoy the first night of the fall Little League season.

Thank you.

(Now go read this.)

September 11, 2002

no ordinary day


please click image for "no ordinary day: other voices"

September 10, 2002

it's your turn

it's your turn

I've been going over in my mind what I want to do with this space tomorrow.

I've decided.

By the time I shut off my computer and go to bed tonight, I will be done with what I set out to do this past week. I will have purged all my memories, said my piece, ranted, raved and poured my heart and soul out until the words have (almost) run dry.

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of listening to my own voice. The well is just about dry, anyhow.

I want to hear different voices. I want to hear your voice. And I want to open up this site to you tommorow, to your thoughts and emotions. I'm handing my September 11 post over to you.

What I would like you to do, what I hope you will do, is use the comments (or email if you would like) to answer a few questions. I will take each and every [coherent] response and I will collect all those words and put them here tomorrow and, after, on a its own page. I will keep adding if I have to.

I've had enough of me. I want to know about you. Answer all or none or say something else entirely. One word, one sentence, ten paragraphs, I don't care:

Where were you when it happened? How did you react? What was the rest of your day spent doing? What is your most vivid memory of that day? Of the days that followed?

For the next day, I'm turning this place over to you.

(if anyone knows how I make individual links for each comment, please email me.)

ordinary day

ordinary day

September 10, 2001. The last day of the time that will now be known as pre 9/11.

It was a Monday. I was cursing other cars on the road, cursing Blogger, which I had just switched to, just cruising along on a normal Monday.

Later, DJ's baseball game was rained out after it started and I attended a "meet the teacher" night at the middle school Natalie had just entered.

It was just an ordinary Monday and I went to sleep that night thinking that the next day would be just an ordinary Tuesday.

It may sound cliched, even dramatic, but that was the last ordinary day I had in the past year.

The reminders are always there. There are still banners, now frayed and weather-worn, hanging from overpasses. There are still flags, though not as many, waving from car antennas. There is the news, every day the news, and heightened states of terror alerts and bin Laden's face always peeking at me from one news website or another.

There hasn't been a day in the past year when I haven't thought about. When I haven't stared at the laminated card from Pete Ganci's funeral that sits in its place on my car visor.

September 10 was the last day I took my freedoms for granted, the last day I looked at planes flying low above my house with awe instead of fear, the last day that a beautiful fall morning with a clear blue sky would not evoke desperate memories.

It was the last day that my children knew of life without fear of terrorism. The last day that they felt true childhood innocence, the last day that they were too young to care about world politics.

It was an ordinary day. It's as if one day you were running through tall blades of grass with barefeet, spinning and dancing and celebrating the warmth and the next day there was winter and ice and blackened skies.

The storm never cleared. The clouds still hang overhead, always threatening, never quite storming. But they are there.

I want to run through the grass of September 10, 2001 again. I want life to feel ordinary.

September 09, 2002



he·ro: A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life:

[click images for full picture]

Yesterday in a Salon article, a woman was quoted as saying ""And really, what's all this shit about the fireman being heroes? That's their job, to be heroes. That's why they signed up. Once a month you go run into a burning building and grab a cat and the rest of the time you sit in the firehouse and play cards."

I don't know where she comes from, but that is not the way it works for New York City firemen. By the time my father left Ladder 124 in Bushwick, I don't think there was a building left to burn. He came home every night - every night -smelling of smoke and ash. He would tell us about his day and I don't recall him ever once in the twenty years he was a fireman saying that he had not gone out on a call that day.

One of his first calls when he was a rookie was on Christmas Eve. After crawling through the burning building looking for victims, he found the lifeless body of a little girl in her bedroom. It never got easier, it never got better. Each day he put his life on the line to save the lives and homes of others. He was always and will forever be my hero.

The men whose pictures you see above were the friends of my father. They all died on September 11, and they all died as heroes. Yes, they were doing their job. But they did not have to rush up those stairs. They did not have to run in when everyone else was running out. Any one of them could have turned and ran with the crowd. They didn't. They went into that building hoping to rescue survivors. They never came out.

They represent just a handful of the funerals and memorial services my father attended in the days and weeks and months after September 11. They paid the ultimate price while doing their jobs.

I would like to know what this woman considers a hero if the men above are not her definition of one.

tunnel vision

tunnel vision

I'm writing at a frenetic pace now. I can't stop. Everything I have had inside me from the last year is finally being set free. I know this place has become one-issued in the past week or so, but after Wednesday, I will stop. But for now, and for tomorrow and the next day, this is what I need to do. I hope you stick around and spend a few days with me. I could use the company.



James J. Cramer, The Making of a Hawk:

"Now I can't get it out of my head how unsafe we are. I can't get it out my head how much I believe that unless we destroy this enemy with the same deliberate force that we used to destroy our enemies in World War II, including the use of unthinkable weapons when it was clearly necessary to do so, my dreams of what my children and their children will want are, quite simply, so much pipe smoke."

It is there that James J. Cramer hits upon the reason for my anger, the reason I have gone over to the side of the war-criers. Two reasons (1,2) why I feel the need to take action and protect our future.

I fear for the future of my children. I fear if they even have a future at all. I want them to have a life free of the dark cloud of terrorism. I want them to feel safe and free like I have for most of my life. I don't want them to shudder every time a plane passes overhead. I don't ever again want to have to explain to them why children from another country are dancing in the streets as we mourn.

Peaceful settlements and understandings are the pipe-dreams. This should be realized by now. You do not negotiate or come to understandings with madmen. You take away their weapons, you take away their army, you take away their ability to strike at you. If we don't do this, we will face more days like September 11. The next time it happens, perhaps 3,000 dead will seem like nothing. Perhaps it will be you, or me, or our children buried under rubble.

They are still out there. The people who did this to the United States are still out there, still planning and plotting. And they are not the only ones. A commentator on television today compared Iraq to Eddie Haskell. Only thing is, while Eddie Haskell may have been annoying and arbrasive, he was mostly harmless. Iraq is not Eddie Haskell and we are certainly not the goofy little kid named Beaver.

We must stop them before they take what we have left away from us. We must stop them before my children have nothing to look forward to. I fear war and its repercussion, but I fear more what will happen if we do not make the first move.

With our without war or Saddam or any of the other countries who want America vanquished, I am still angry. I am pissed. My kids live in fear of airplanes flying overhead. They jump out of their skin when they hear a siren. The remnants of last September are still here, still being felt, still causing shockwaves.

I don't ever want them to go through this again.



Off the subject at hand for a moment, I just want to say that any politician whose campaign strategy involves calling my home with a pre-recorded message that you cannot hang up on automatically loses my vote.

Not that this assclown had my vote, anyhow.


From Choire:


"There are no photographs here of things blowing up. These are photographs that attempt to explain some of what it was like to live in Manhattan in the three days after the World Trade Center attack.

In the days following Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, I took about 500 photographs and destroyed most of them. I would bike home and post the ones I could stand to my blog as fast as I could. It was my way of coping. Well, one of my ways."


"This is what's really going on. Hundreds of people are lining the West Side Highway. Trucks and buses are transporting people in and out of the disaster zone. People have homemade signs, and they cheer and applaud the workers as they go in and out. "

the wall

the wall

From Metrocake, 9/18/01

image from www.metrocake.com

When I rounded that corner, I stopped and could only stare because I was unprepared for the reality of this. It is very easy to be horrified at the thought of 5,400 missing, yet very difficult to visualize exactly what that means. Is that a concert hall full of people? A football stadium? Just how many is that, exactly?

Seeing entire streets full of pleas, requests, each face attached to a history and a family who loves them -- that is something completely and utterly different.

I could never bring myself to go into the city in the days following September 11. I knew that wall was there, I knew I would have to look. And I knew that my heart would break if I were to names and faces to all the statistics.

Now, one year later, I have looked and I know. My heart breaks a little for each of them, for their families, the same way it does when I hear of any death. But to see so much heartache at once is overwhelming. Which is why, one year later, it still hurts.

picture taken by Roe of Metrocake

impact statements

impact statements

From Chris, a personal account of September 11 that struck me like no other:

"A year ago Wednesday, I was evacuated from my workplace and trudged for miles through smoke and ash and pulverized concrete and pulverized people -that's what I kept thinking, there are people in my hair, there are people on my shoes, I'm breathing people into my lungs, there are people all over me, fuck, FUCK"

And another heart-wrenching account:

"And then you see the last frame that nobody else will ever have. You see the honeycomb pieces of the first building... and we see half of the hotel that was destroyed as well. After the second building fell, the hotel, the Marriott I think, was gone. You see it cut in half from what fell from the first building and it is time stamped 10:28 and 24 seconds. Basically that time stamp is the end, because at 10:30 is when the second building came down.

"Bill was killed when the second building came down, and he was crushed under all the debris. I don't know if he jumped back under the underpass, or whether the direct debris killed him. We know in his last picture he was working to the very end, and that's telling of the commitment he had to his work."

See Bill Biggart's pictures here. (brought to my attention by Reid)

Stacy pointed out these two accounts:

"The ground begins to shake. The building groans deeply, regretfully, almost an apology for its failure to hold: "MUHHHHRUHHHHAAAAH." The building is dying. The building is sending a wave of dust and detritus to give us the bad news, and the wave is running through the streets towards us with a sad, choking sigh: "HHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAA." And then all of us all at once realize that now's the time in the movie when the nameless extras run screaming, so finally, at last, as the building begins its awful death swoon, that's what we do. "


"She saw the fusilage of the first plane blow up in front of her eyes. That's the last I've heard from her"

If you have links to any first hand accounts, please let me know.

sell the rights

sell the rights

Heard on the radio on my way in today:

Businessman Ed Fine, whose picture was seen in hundreds of newspapers (as he ran from the fallling towers in a dust-covered business suit) has been charging $500 for interviews with various media outlets.

It didn't strike me as crass opportunism until it was mentioned what Fine is charging for a two hour interview - $911.

And thus, I'm reminded of the words of Mr. Bungle:

Before you advertise
All the fame is implied
With no fortune unseen
Sell the rights
To your blight
...and you'll eat

Wake Up, The World is Ending

Three Years Later: Moving Forward

My cousin Stan's tattoo. Stan is a Lt. with the NYFD in the hazmat unit. He spent several weeks at the cleanup site, coming home only to shower and sleep for an hour or so. He is retiring from the FD next month

The thing I remember most about the early part of that day is the weather. It was a perfect day; the sky was a deep, cloudless blue and the air was filled with the comforting warmth that comes when summer starts slinking into autumn.

What I remember most about the moments after the news broke was my drive home from work. I fled my federal office building in a panic that day, still not sure if more attacks were coming, if they were happening elsewhere, if the world was ending. I drove east, towards my home, but kept looking back in my rear view mirror at the brown, smoky haze filling the sky. My hands were shaking and tears were streaming down my face and I was frightened, so frightened, because we didn't know. We did not know what would come next, or if that was the end. I looked at every car that drove next to me, at every other driver at the stop lights. They were all crying or wide-eyed or clutching their steering wheel so hard I could see their knuckles turning white.

When I got home, I woke Justin, who was still sleeping after spending all night working on a project. In my fear and disbelief, I blurted out something like, wake up the world is ending, and we turned on the television and stared for hours and I just remember this numbness going through me, the goosebumps of fear and horror that rose on my arms. Justin's mother called from Pennsylvania. It was her birthday. We talked to her for a while, assured her we were ok and then she told us to stock up on toilet paper. There was no point in wishing her a happy birthday.

What I remember most about the subsequent days is the sky and the silence. The roar of planes is a constant soundtrack when you live so close to an airport. But for those days, four of them I believe, there was not a sound coming from the skies. The silence was so huge, so cavernous, and the only thing you could see when you looked up to the sky was thin wisps of smoke rising from the west. Those days seemed like they were lived out in a dream world.

What I remember most about the nights are the candles. On the sidewalks and curbs, on stoops and porches and stairs and driveways, lined up like soldiers of flame. It was beautiful and sad, so very sad and I wondered how far a line of candles would stretch if we lit one for every victim, and the family members of every victim.

I remember these things because I never forget anything. I have never forgotten the night when my family stood out on the porch, flipping the porch light on and off in some odd celebration when the Vietnam War ended. I can remember what Natalie was wearing the day the Gulf War started - the day she took her first steps. I remember air raid drills in grammar school, questioning the futility of holding your head between your legs as bombs were going off and thinking that if it ever did come down to that, I was just going to run for it, out the front door of the school, up the slope, across the street and down the block all the way home where I would hold my mother tight and she wouldn't make me spend my last moments crouched in a hallway.

I keep every memory locked away, not just the big parts of the memories, but the little things too; the way the air felt, the way the sky looked, the smells and sounds that shared the moment with me. I write it all down, every last detail and I never forget anything.

What I remember about the first few nights after that day was hugging my children a little too tight, a little too often. I remember clinging to Justin and walking across the street to my parents' house every few minutes and just sitting there with them, not saying anything, just staring at the tv and crying. I remember feeling like one big walking cliche when I told everyone how thankful I was to have them in my life.

What I remember most about the next month is thinking how much this space meant to me at that time. How the people who read this weblog embraced me in my sadness and fear, how my words came to mean something to various people, how I had a place to get it all down, every last detail, every last sigh and tear, and how important it became to share. One year later, I still have that need, it is still important to me, and I will still continue to record every memory so that some day, I will remember everything; not just the funerals and memorial services and falling bodies and crumbling cement and steel, but the candles and the voices lifted in song and any glimpses of hope and love that lay among the rubble of the day.

September 08, 2002

win, win, swim

win, win, swim*



No, I don't stand around all day whining and bitching and complaining. In between ranting and raving I watch football. Both my teams won today - both victories hard fought and involved a lot of cursing on my part. And bitching. And moaning. And complaining. But at least it was about something else.

Now, I will end my Sunday with Adult Swim. If you haven't watched this show, by all means, do it. See that little beatnik guy up there?- (you were right the second time, Ratty)- He's from Home Movies, my favorite show of the AS lot. This is an unsolicited endorsement of the fine viewing programs shown on the Cartoon Network, Sunday nights at 10 EST.

*This has been an anger-free post.

jackasses of the world, unite

jackasses of the world, unite

You knew I couldn't stay away from the subject for too long.

Reid has written a thoughtful, poignant post about the people who want us to "get a grip" or get over the events of September 11. I can only reiterate everything both he and I and James Lileks and a host of others have said. How dare people feel they have the right to tell us to stop mourning, to stop feeling, that there are other, more important world tragedies for us to be thinking of.

It's not just because I live in New York that I feel proprietary over September 11. It is because I am human. I have emotions. I feel deeply over everything. Multiply death by 3,000 and that's a lot of emotion and despair. One year does not wipe that out.

I don't even live in New York City. I can't begin to imagine what it was like to be right there, to actually see the towers crumbling, to watch victims fall from windows to their death, to be enveloped by the smoke and dust from the falling buildings.

I watched the smoke rise from my rear view mirror as I fled work that day. I watched fire trucks zoom past me as they made their way into the city. I waited for phone calls from my firemen cousins. I watched my father as he left to go into the city to help his colleagues. I watched as my father lost friend after friend. I attended too many funerals, too many memorial services. Even one was too many. I watched my children become bewildered and frightened.

Reid takes apart this piece in the New L.A. Times by Jill Stewart, an article which takes the opportunity, three days before the anniversary, to rip apart the victims' families, the Americans who are mourning, and the police and fire departments.

"Indeed, I say without shame to America's ever-growing, increasingly troubling and loudly throbbing Cult of Nine Eleven, "For God sakes, get a grip!" "
She is just another in a long line of idiots who are spewing nonsense that because Americans are so hung up on the 3,000 victims of September 11, that must mean that we don't care about quake or flood victims in other countries. I have refuted that nonsense before, I won't take the time to do it again.
"So, on September 11, I suggest that you not light a candle for the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Plenty of others will do so for you.

Instead, say a prayer for the 20,000 obliterated in India, or the 1,100 trampled in Nigeria, or the untold dead child soldiers. Do not buy a "Let's Roll!" T-shirt, but do send a dollar to an Afghan group helping illiterate girls and boys learn to read normal childhood books. Play a small part in helping our self-indulgent nation to become a better citizen of the world. You'll feel oh so much better."

To Miss Stewart:

Pardon me, you misguided jackass. The reason we are lighting candles or whatever we are doing to remember the victims on Wednesday is because it is the one year anniversary of the attacks. I am going to be incredibly self-indulgent that day and light one hundred candles just to spite you. You know what would make me feel better? To spit in your face if I ever see you.

How dare you tell anyone to get over it? How dare you take it upon yourself to determine how or when or whom I should mourn for? And how dare you, and all the others, try to make me feel selfish and isolationist when I am grieving?

If you think the politics and views of this country suck so much, and if you think that the starving people in Africa or the victims of national disasters in other countries deserve our help, then why don't you pack your bags and go over there and help them out? Why don't you go over to Afghanistan and teach those little girls how to read? Put your money and your actions where your big fat mouth is.

I am not saying that those people do not deserve our attention, our aid or our sympathy. But this is apples and oranges, dear. September 11 to me will always be a day to recognize the victims at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and of Flight 93. If you don't want to take part in that, then just shut your mouth and be on your way. But don't you dare have the gall to tell me I am not supposed to be feeling grief.

speaking of titty twisters...

speaking of titty twisters...

(another non-September 11 post, which means I will be back on my soapbox hard and heavy later)

From the blog of Warren Ellis:

"It occurs to me that an awful lot of trouble in Gotham City could have been averted a long time ago if Batman had just ripped the Joker's nipples off.

I mean, treatment doesn't work, does it? They stick the Joker in the nuthatch, he comes out again and does the same things.

A man with the nipples ripped off him does not make the same mistakes twice.

Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot, and need the nipples ripped off them.

I mean, who's going to argue?

"Batman, I've heard disturbing reports that you ripped the Joker's nipples off."

"Choke on my fuck, Commissioner Gordon."


I mean, crime in Gotham City doesn't exactly seem to be affected by a man dressed as a bat flapping around the place. But no-one disobeys a man wearing a necklace of human nipples.

"I'm Batman" isn't cutting it in the striking-fear-into-their-hearts stakes. But "I'm Batman -- and I'm here for your nipples" is an entirely different proposition.

Criminals would see the error of their ways after a man in a black leather pervert suit had their nipples off with the edge of a Batarang, you mark my words. Or a Bat-Denipplizer."

How can you not idolize this guy? I think I'll go read Transmetropolitan while I'm waiting for my football season to start.

movies, movies and football

movies, movies (and football) (this post has nothing to do with September 11)

We finally sat down and relaxed yesterday. The past two weeks have been a blur of running around, wedding stuff, school stuff, just general craziness. Yesterday, we took a break from everything and stayed in the house all day, watching tv and talking. Things we watched:

Heist. Wow. That was probably the worst dialogue I've seen in a movie since Attack of the Clones. Every sentence was a cliche, every word uttered was laughable. The acting left a lot to be desired, and the plot was ridiculously strained. I would like that two hours back, please.

Rat Race. We sat through this...I don't know why. It wasn't stupid in the Dude, Where's My Car sense, but it was stupid enough that I hated myself for actually laughing at a few parts. It's interesting - I waver between thinking Seth Green is the cutest thing alive to thinking he's a slightly retarded imp.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail DVD: The extras on this DVD are worth the price alone. The commentary is hilarious. The English to Japanese back to Enlgish translation of some scenes had me rolling on the floor. Well worth the overpiced $30 we paid for it at Suncoast.

Blade II: I thought it was fantastic. The first time we saw it, it was on a shitty DiVx copy. It was so much better when you can actually see the action without squinting or straining your eyes.

Dusk Till Dawn DVD: If you like this movie, you must watch it with the commentary. The first time I saw DTD, I had no idea that it was a vampire movie, so I was stunned when that whole scene at the Titty Twister took place. I never get tired of this flick, ever. The commentary made it even better. (This holds true for most movies we have listened to the commentary on, with the exception of Donnie Darko, which ruined the whole mystique of the movie for me).

Willy Wonka: It was on tv, and I get suckered into watching it every time it's on. It was especially interesting to watch this time, after reading the essay at the Banned Books Project about the book/movie. (Yes, that was a hint for you to go read it)

So, we have somewhere around 180 channels on our digital cable. Most of them are movie channels. I've begun to notice something; there are some movies that are just always on. Every day, every single day of the week, you can, at some point, find Mr. Mom, Funny Farm or Firestorm. I always had this thing for Howie Long, but Firestorm tries even my patience.

Besides the movies that are on continuously, there are several actors who will appear on at least one movie channel at any given time of the day: Steven Seagal, Michael Madsen and Eric Roberts. Has Michael Madsen ever made a movie that didn't go straight to video or cable? Has he ever made a decent movie?

I am still looking for decent horror movies to purchase. I can't decide whether it's worth it or not to buy Last House on the Left. I'm sure my memory of the movie (which I saw at a double feature one Halloween with Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is a lot better than the movie actually is. Actually, all I can remember is the weener biting scene. We decided against owning I Spit on Your Grave, but we will be collecting all the Day of..Dawn of..Return of...the dead movies. Brains, anyone?

The NFL season goes into full swing today. If you need me, I'll be in front of the tv, switching between the Jets and the Packers games and most likely cursing and screaming.

September 07, 2002

up yours

up yours

Interesting umm...discussion, going on over at Dawn Olsen's blog.

Why is that people can spend a few minutes throwing insults into a comment field, yet they can't take that two extra seconds to include their name?

Oh, right. Because they are cowardly morons.

brass balls

brass balls

When news breaks, someone will be around to make a buck off of it.

All one needs to do is search eBay to find gaudy trinkets related to September 11 for sale. Even more hideous are the miscreants who dug through their grandmother's attic trying to find anything with the World Trade Center emblazoned on it to sell as commerative items, or the enterprising folks who are making money off of the war on terrorism.

It's never too early to start Christmas shopping. For the kiddies, we have Axis of Evil darts.

Is your postman special to you? Then why not buy him this WTC memorial print with the Postal Creed on it?

For the person who spends a lot of time in the bathroom, you could make his ummm...movements more enjoyable with this bin Laden toilet paper!

For the testosterone-heavy man in your life, there's an American Brass Balls coffee mug

For the techno geek in the family, there's this Osama mouse pad, because you know that every time you sit at the computer, that's the face you want to see.

Make staring at the clock even more depressing by ordering your "Remember 911" time piece!

What better way to get the kiddies involved in the war on terrorism than a bin Laden pinata? Crack his head open, get rewarded with goodies. The kids win, and terrorism doesn't!

So the more I looked at this stuff, the more my stomach turned. This couple is selling off unused WTC Observatory tickets.

The eBay sellers are out in force. Beanie babies, knives, license plates, and specially designed money are all for sale.

My favorite item by far is the John Travolta Scientology Minister September 11 Raincoat!

I'm sure there are thousands more trinkets - decorative plates and tasteless t-shirts and velvet paintings and whatever else people can plaster the twin towers on. Are people really buying this stuff? Does anyone actually want that John Travolta jacket or a 9/11 clock? I wonder how much money total has been made by greedy leeches off of this day.

Have you seen any other novelty items related to September 11? I've become obsessed with this now, I don't know why. Maybe it's a morbid curiosity, just to see what kind of get-rich-quick schemes will go through a person's mind even in the face of 3,000 dead people.



Peter J. Ganci, Jr. One of my father's best friends. The words by Teddy Roosevelt were printed on the thank you cards from the family.

I stared at those word last night -words that were printed inside the thank you cards from Pete Ganci's family - and it struck me. If your freedom is threatened, you must fight for it. If the future of your children is threatened, you must fight for it. If you want freedom, you must take a stance for it.

Plenty of people have been saying this, and I echo it: Whether you are for or against a war, a bombing, what have you, you need to back the people who are out there fighting. I am not a warmonger by any means. But I was old enough when the Vietnam War ended to remember the pain and humiliation the veterans of that war suffered when they came home.

I am just accepting the inevitable and I fervently hope that the results are what our administration wants them to be. And I am hoping that the American people - especially those who think it is a mistake to go to war - will still embrace those who are fighting for us.

I think of what Pete Ganci did on September 11, 2001. I often wonder what the his last thoughts, and the thoughts of all of the victims were. I wonder how many of them would say now, if they could "don't let this happen again".

the changed skyline

the changed skyline

Lisa: 'This photo was taken July 20, 2001 from a gambling cruise out of Freeport, NY. The cruise was awful, but so worth it because we got this shot. Rob and I argue about who actually took the picture. He saw this scene and hurried me to take the picture before the sun went down. He noticed it, but I snapped the picture!'
(click for bigger picture)

My sister Lisa snapped this picture on July 21, 2001 while on a gambling cruise out of Freeport, New York.

It's almost hard to believe that if you were to take a photograph from the same spot now, those two towers would be missing from it.

September 06, 2002

Coraline: A Review

Neil Gaiman is a master story teller. He has woven his craft in many forms; graphic novels and comic books, short stories and full length novels and even children's books. Gaiman's first foray into kiddie lit came in the form of The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish. The similarities between this and his new children's novel, Coraline, are too many to not take notice. Bored children, distracted parents, surreal surroundings and extraordinary circumstances prevail in both stories. And they are both, in essence, morality tales - the moral being, be grateful for what you have, for what you get in exchange might not be any better. The grass is not always greener, kiddies. Our heroine, Coraline - not Caroline! - has just moved into a new apartment house with her parents. She becomes bored and lonely almost immediately. She fancies herself an explorer and goes out to discover what else lies around the house, in the garden, in the apartments of the strange people that share the multi-family dwelling with her family. During her exploration, Coraline discovers a door that leads only to a brick wall. Coraline, being an explorer and an adventurer and a bored little girl (and hearing strange scurrying noises in the dark of night) thinks there is more to it. The next time she opens the door, the brick wall is gone. There is a dark hallway. And thus her adventure down the proverbial rabbit hole begins. On the other side of that hallway is Coraline's "other" mother and father. They look like her parents, they almost act like her parents. It would seem they were her parents if not for the buttons that lay where their eyes should. And they seem to pay much more attention to her than her real parents do. Coraline lingers in this strange world, torn between liking the attention her other parents are giving her and fearing it. Soon the other parents start to look less like her own. The imposter mother becomes more frightening and threatening. Once Coraline escapes from the mother's clutches, she realizes her real parents are missing. It is now her job to save them from the monsters on the other side of the hallway. Along the way, Coraline meets up with comic-book like characters; the man upstairs who trains circus mice to play music, two old women, former actresses both, who read Coraline's tea leaves and offer her protection in the form of a stone, and a mysterious, infuriating cat, reminiscent of the Chesire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. The story moves like a maze, twisting and turning and you never know what lurks around each turn. What Gaiman does in this book is magnificent; he tells a skeleton of a story, leaving the reader to use his or her imagination to fill in the flesh and bones. While the novel is recommended for children 8 and up, it is parents that the morality tale may be intended for. Coraline is a wonderful read-aloud book to enjoy with younger children (especially if you are one of those delightful grownups who likes to act out all the noises and voices in a story), and a perfect reading-with-a-nightlight-under-the-covers book for older kids. Like Goldfish, Coraline is brilliantly illustrated by Dave McKean, whose black and white sketches bring haunting reality to the cast of characters.

winer weiner whiner

Winer, Weiner, Whiner....whatever

"What kind of a country is so selfish that it doesn't see that 9-11 was tiniest big tragedy viewed from a global perspective. What about famine in Africa? What about AIDs?"

That's Mr. Winer speaking.

It amazes me that such a self-important person would place so little importance on the death of thousands.

Maybe we don't want to view this tragedy from a global perspective. Why are all the naysayers dragging famine and AIDS into this anyhow? Can we not speak of our own "tiny" tragedy without comparing it to others?

What about famine and AIDS anyhow? Did anyone who wrote about September 11 ever say that because America suffered this tragedy that no other sorrow in the world means anything?

Maybe it is the way in which the victims of September 11 died - all at once, in a violent, completely unforeseen manner - that makes it so striking.

You cannot discount the death of all those innocent victims in such an offhand manner just because people are dying elsewhere. Yes, people die every day. There are natural disasters and mass murders and lack of food and water and medicine contributing to death all over the globe. But that does not mean that we should consider the death of all the WTC victims as a "a small upheaval." Tell that to the families of the victims.

"They wonder at the spiritual vision of a person who jumps from the World Trade Center to certain death, but don't wonder about the millions of people who do the same thing with tobacco?"

Excuse me? When I light a cigarette, I am doing it by choice. I am not being forced by terrorism to make a choice between smoking and not smoking. I do not say a prayer or put my faith in a higher being to help me when I purchase a pack of cigarettes. To compare the spiritual decision of a smoker to the spiritual decision of a person who has to choose between burning to death or jumping out of the window of a skyscraper to his death is heinous.

"New York is a world city. The last gasps of isolationism will be snuffed out by more humiliation, until we get the truth, we aren't above the rest of the world, but we are part of it."

Yes, but New York is part of my world. It's part of my country. My making September 11 out to be more than an upheaval or a tiny tragedy does not mean I am an isolationist or I don't care about what's going on in the rest of the world. It doesn't mean I think that I, or my neighbors, or my fellow citizens are more important than anyone else. It only means I took it personally, as did most Americans.

Just ask the loved ones of the victims how tiny a tragedy it seems. Ask the thousands of widows and widowers and children and parents who lost someone they held close to their hearts if they should be feeling guilty about thinking only of their sorrow at this time and not of people dying of famine in Africa.

No one has a right to take your sorrow or grief away from you. No one has the right to tell you that your grief is misplaced or not big enough or not all ecompassing enough, least of all a person who places so much importance on his own sense of self.

peeing your pants is cool

I've been busy today: I posted at Blogcritics, HFSD and Banned Books.

peeing your pants is cool

Conversation overheard at OfficeMax yesterday between two young women:

Woman 1: Remember when we were little, and we used to pee behind your pool?
Woman 2: Yea, we peed right in our bathing suits!
Woman 1: And the pee would drip down our legs.
Woman 2: And then we would jump right back in the pool. How gross!
Woman 1: Yea, but the spots on your legs that had pee on them would feel all warm when you hit the cold water.
Woman 2: And then your brother caught us that day and told us that chlorine and pee mixed together would make your legs grow hair on them.
Woman 1: Dick.
(pause in the conversation)
Woman 1: Don't you wish you could just pee in your pants any time you wanted?
Woman 2: That's what Depends are for.

quality of life

quality of life

I thought for sure there would have been more attacks.

I thought that by now, bin Laden would be certainly dead and certain portions of the Middle East would be gone.

I thought we would have learned something, that people would be better and kinder and more understanding.

I did not think that this would all feel vaguely familiar, that I would watch the news and suddenly be transported back to January, 1991, the day Natalie took her very first step. The day the Gulf War started.

I did not image that, one year later, the changes I was hoping for would never materialize. I never thought that things would just get worse.

I thought things would change. That September 11 would be a day to mark, a day to remember, but never did I think it would be a day to use and abuse to further ignorant agendas.

Here's the thing about hatred and the people who propogate it: They will find any excuse, any rationality, any justification to defend their views. If they have to use a national tragedy to get their point across, they will. Hate has no boundaries. Hate has no morals, no sense of decency.

From today's Newsday:

Friday night, Sachem Quality of Life in Farmingville will host a candlelight vigil at Ground Zero to launch a weekend conference, its second annual event focused on denouncing what it sees as an invasion of undocumented migrants.

Sachem Quality of Life is a hate group masquerading as a citizen's group. Their sole purpose is to twist and turn words and actions and laws so that their members may openly and aggressively convince the members of their community to hate immigrants.

The group was started to address the problem of day laborers in the town of Farmingville.

Ray Wysolmierski, spokesman for the Sachem group [said] "What happened at Ground Zero and what's happening in Farmingville, in both cases illegal immigrants are responsible for the tragedy. We'll make the ties at the conference. We'll make an irrefutable case."

Sorry, Ray. The problem of day laborers hanging out on your corner is not a "tragedy." For a hate group such as SQL to take Septmeber 11 and make it part of their agenda, to use it as an impetus to encourage people to have disdain for others, that just proves to me that we have taken a turn for the worse.

In small type, on the bottom of the page about the 2nd National Congress of Immigration Reform conference, it says:

"Many of the potential presenters and attendees agree that the one year anniversary of 9/11 would be a very appropriate time for a conference to inform the American public about how little has actually been done to control illegal immigration and to secure our borders since 9/11. These failures further jeopardize our national security. Being that Farmingville, LI, NY is so close to Ground Zero, one day of the conference will be dedicated to a trip to "Ground Zero" and it will be pointed out that the attacks were a direct result of uncontrolled massive illegal immigration and the inability of the government to enforce its own laws."

How nice. They will stand on the site where thousands of people died and use that place to spew hatred, ignorance and skewered statistics.

Im sure that SQL is not the only hate group using September 11 for their own agenda. And I really shouldn't be surprised, given that bigots and hate mongerers rarely have any sense of common decency.

But I am still saddened. I still shake my head in disbelief when I realize how long ago that day was, and how little we have accomplished since then.

We are still, and perhaps always will be, a nation of factions, a nation where proponents of ignorance, who think they are supporting common sense and understanding, line up on one side and people who think they are proponents of common sense and understanding, but are acting like closed-minded bigots line up on the other and each side lobs verbal bombs until the cows come home. They never talk, they never make attempts to understand, they just aim and fire and insist that they have the right to victory.

I feel the need to do something. The need to belong somewhere, to use my voice, to shake people and make them understand. Sometimes this great desire washes over me to to stand up and shout and make something of myself, use my words, my voice, my anger to reach out and make change.

And then there are days, like today, when it all seems so hopeless and my voice seems so small, that I just want to get back into bed and say the hell with it. Let's just get it overwith and wage war on ourselves and the last one standing can have this ridiculous planet as their own. It's damaged goods, anyhow.

September 05, 2002



I got an email this morning from Dreamhost saying that my domain name is about to expire. Did I want to renew?

Hmm. I asked myself if I have had enough. Perhaps, especially after the past few days, I was ready to throw the towel in and let this place die a slow, painful death. Just go my merry way and never look back. Trust me, I thought long and hard about this.

So, I did what the circumstances called for.

I replaced the "kick me" sign on my back and renewed for two years.

in and out

in and out

Public Service Announcement:


Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, people. Get with the program before I have to slam your heads repeatedly in the elevator doors.

Anyone have an extra Valium?

spitting fire

spitting fire

Nope. I'm not done yet. Not by a long shot.

We have come full circle, folks. Remember the days after September 11, 2001? Hundreds of news stories of how the nation - even the world - had come together as a whole. Unity. Brotherhood. Love your neighbor. Kindness among strangers. Wasn't it heartwarming? Remember those pictures of people in other countries mourning for the 3,000 dead, lighting candles and holding vigils. Remember all the speeches about coming together as one and holding hands and getting through this together?

One year later and the chasm between this side and that side has grown ever wider. Who is on this side, and who is on that side depends on your view of things. Sometimes it's a U.S.A. vs. The Rest of the World thing, sometimes it's American v. American or liberal v. conservative. No matter how you look at it, divisiveness rules the day, one year later.

One need to look no further than the comments on this very site to see the fault line in action. But let's look further, anyhow.

You can find a nice line in the sand over at Metafilter, courtesy of someone linking to this article (which uses a spitting camel analogy that is almost laughable).

See, it's not even the fault line between America and the rest of the world that bothers me as much as the sides being drawn right here (I am speaking as an American here, so put down the keyboard and don't bother sending me that email about being isolationist). I stand somewhere in the middle of this war between Americans. As much as I am appalled at Bush's decision to make September 11 Patriot Day (do we really need to slap a label on this event, or make it a Hallmark occasion?), I am equally appalled at the behavior of UC Berkley's brass who decided that the colors red, white and blue are offensive and the Star Spangled Banner is divisive, and that neither should play a part in any September 11 tributes on campus.

I have said my piece about the above already; I do not think that September 11 should be acknowledged as a patriotic day or a day to pledge your allegiance to your country. But to say that wearing a red white and blue ribbon on that day is offensive is just ridiculous. Then there's this:

Also, to prevent the exclusion of those who don't believe in the American Flag, there will be no tribute to the flag. "The flag has become a symbol of U.S. aggression towards other countries. It seems hostile," Quindel said.

Have we lost our freaking minds? Yea, so I am not the greatest cheerleader of Bush or this country or our foreign policies. But come on people, where do you draw the line on this? This is why I sit firmly in the middle and will not align myself with either conservatives or liberal. Freedom? What's that? On either side you are either having the flag and it's symbolism shoved down your throat or you are made out to be evil if you do wave the flag.

What about other countries? 55% of Europeans think that America is partly to blame for the WTC attacks. Hey, isn't that Tony Blair I see crawling up George Bush's ass? May I quote Jane Galt here? Thank you.

In related news, 100% of Americans think that Europe was "entirely to blame" for World Wars I, II, the Holocaust, and Communist atrocities in the former Soviet Union and associated territories. 99.8% of Americans think that "The next time Europeans get themselves in any kind of trouble that requires US intervention, they can k*** my a**". And 89% of Americans think that "If those same Europeans are against invading Iraq, then it's time to put Sadaam in a whole world of hurt."

One year later and the rest of the world hates America even more. Hell, Americans hate Americans even more. We've pitted ourselves against one another, lining up on the side of bomb them or don't bomb them, flags or no flags, love or hate.

We have yet to find some common ground where we can sit and talk and say "yes, I see your point of view, now here is mine and where can we make the two meet," because no one wants to listen, they just want to rant and talk and dare you to step over the line.

How about we stop for just one minute bickering about the cause(s) of the attacks? How about we stop giving the day a name and a slogan and a label and a t-shirt? Stop making really sappy country songs about it, stop plastering your foreign car with Go America! bumper stickers, stop berating your own country and other countries, stop the name calling and face making and calls for war and calls for peace and for one goddamn moment think of the 3,000 innocent people who died. Died. Died. No longer exist. Wiped out. Taken from the families and friends and loved ones. Just shut up and think.

What are you going to accomplish by being divisive and petty? What are you going to prove by laying the blame for this whole thing on Americans themselves, who purchase oil for their cars and work for corporations? Unless you live on a communal farm and run around naked all day, eating daisies and grass, don't come to me with the bullshit that I am part of the problem.

And conversely, if you want to talk about people fighting so we can be free, then don't bitch at me for using that freedom to argue our president's policies.

I am stuck in the middle. Yea..clowns to the left of me, clowns to the right. Oh I know, I'm the whole damn circus because I can't make up my mind whether I want to bomb the hell out of the whole world or hug it.

I'm ending this rant before my head explodes. But I am not done, not by a long shot.

September 04, 2002

false idols

false idols

On tonight's Crossfire: Would it be appropriate to have the winner of American Idol sing at a September 11 ceremony?

Hmm. Would it be wrong to use a somber anniversary ceremony to plug the winner of a Fox TV show pop singer search?

Honestly, I think it would be wrong to have either of the two sing at the opening of a Wal-Mart, but that's just me.

Who thinks of these things? What kind of person is sitting in his/her office right now saying Hmmm..I wonder how I can turn a memorial service into a photo op or media event where I can whore myself/my client? Ok, besides campaigning politicians. And agents. And has-been actors and actresses who have this need to get their names in the paper at any cost.

I have a great idea. How about we all just shut up that day? How about nobody sings, nobody recites, nobody reads aloud, nobody speaks or tap dances or whatever it is the great media event people are planning. Why don't we all just shut our traps and stop bickering and fighting and trivializing and making circuses out of sadness? Silence is more respectful than some wild-haired guy in way too much make up belting out some corny lyrics.

Oh, and the comments are still running down here. Some people just continue to both amaze and amuse me with their idiocy. Rob responds nicely here.

Had enough of my September 11 talk? Too fucking bad. Hit the back button, turn off your computer, find someone else to piss on. I'm not going anywhere so you may as well.

I've got nicotine withdrawal and out of control hormones. Do not piss me off today.

obligatory first day of school pictures

obligatory first day of school pictures

Mostly for my sisters:

dj4th1.jpg nat7th2.jpg

Note the outifit DJ is wearing. After our spending a disgusting amount of money on new school clothes, DJ opted for an outfit that he wore all summer. It even has Yankee Stadium mustard stains on it.

to do list

to do list: things to ignore, places to set on fire, people to seduce

Today is the last day of my two week vacation. I had so many things planned for this time off, but things like a wedding and school shopping got in the way. So now I have to cram two weeks worth of chores into one day.

    Today's To-Do List:

  • Lobby Congress to make it illegal for Ben Affleck to make any more movies.
  • Beat Justin at Street Fighter.
  • Watch all the DVDs we bought in the past two weeks.
  • Two words: World domination.
  • Seduce Kylie Minogue (the things I do for my husband....)
  • Buy a Game Cube.
  • Buy an X-Box.
  • Regret buying a Game Cube and X-Box.
  • Read every book sitting on my nightstand.
  • Go to Target or Price Club and start a fight with someone.
  • Sleep for ten hours straight.
  • Go to Canada for some Poutine.
  • Make my weekly football picks for the pool.
  • Make my yearly prediction that the Jets will finish 8-8.
  • Find my cheesehead.
  • Figure out what that brown mass of gel in the fridge is.
  • Teach hamsters how to Moonwalk.
  • Start making deadly booby traps for Halloween pranksters who try to smash my pumpkins.
  • Defy logic.
  • Misunderstand someone.
  • Do two hours of Pilates, half hour of abslide and then eat a cheesburger with bacon and drink a milkshake.
  • Bite off the head of a Best Buy customer service rep.
  • Catch up on my cartoons.

I did some other things that were on the list but those are none of your business. Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go track down Kylie, or at least her waxy look alike.

september 11 revisted: part 4

september 11 revisted: part 4

From October 12, 2001:


There are moments that years from now will stick in your mind. Images burned somewhere in your brain that don't get tossed out with other forgotten memories. These images are usually something stark, horrifying, disastrous. A car accident. A lover turning his back and walking away forever. Things that get stuck in your psyche.

I had one of those images today. For as long as I live I will never forget the sight of sharpshooters poised on the roof of a church school, guns in hand. Two more perched on my neighbor's balcony, dressed in black, rifles ready. There were a lot of images thrown into the mix today, but none so jarring and unforgettable as that.

This is about a memorial service, but only partly so. The service was for Dan Richards; bomb squad investigator, member of the elite International Association of Bomb Investigators, Airborne Ranger, Police Officer, brother, uncle, friend. I didn't really know Dan. But I know his brother, who is like family to me, and his neices, who were my kids trusted babysitters for many years. I went to the service, as did my family, to support our friends in their time of need. But it became more than that. For so many people there, it was a memorial to the time before 9-11. A lot of the tears cried and anguish realized were a culmination of events in the past month.

This is what we have become. A nation where a bomb sweep needs to be done in a house of worship before a service. A place where helicopters have to fly overhead and men with rifles are watching your back as you gather to pay homage to someone. A place where you hold a service, not a funeral, for someone because there is no coffin, no body. Just a memory.

There were dogs. Bomb sniffing, loyal dogs, sporting red, white and blue bandanas around their necks and they stood color guard as if they were born to do that. There were policemen. Thousands of them, literally. They lined the street 10 deep and hundreds across. There were army men, Airborne men, decked out in dress gear, reassuring and scary at the same time. And in the middle of this, there were people. Regular, everyday people who aren't heros of the life saving kind. Friends, relatives, neighbors who had come to say a few words, to pat someone on the back, to tell them it will be alright.

Dan was obviously loved. Not just loved. Admired. Revered. Respected. And after all the talk, and finding out so much about him through the tears and speeches of those who knew him, I discovered one thing that kept resonating in my head. Years ago, Dan went to Bosnia on a special task force mission. He was sent there to help remove land mines. After going to a foreign country to denonate explosives and living to tell about it, this man died in practically his own backyard. Doing his job.

There were other things today. The motorcycles with their quiet roar parading up the street, flanking the limousines that held the family. The three men standing on top of a Special Services truck, playing taps on their bugles while NYPD helicopters circled overhead and someone in the church belted out Ave Maria, all at the same moment, causing me to ask my mother, "Is this real?" because in my world just a month ago, this would be a movie. Not my life.

There was the women who wrenched the heart of everyone in the place as she sang a soulful, mourning Danny Boy. The bagpipes. The standing ovation the mourners spontaneously gave to the members of the police department as they made their way out of the church. The men and women of that department streaming out with tears in the eyes of each and every one.

We all cried. We sobbed. And it wasn't just for Dan, because some of us hardly knew him. And it wasn't just for his family, even though we were there for them. It was for everyone. For every single person who is living out this nightmare. And I don't care if you are from Timbuktu or right here in New York, whether you were there when it happened or knew someone who died or if you never even spoke to a person who has been within 3 states of New York. We are all grieving. We have all been touched in a horrible way by this. I cried for every single person in America today. I cried because we live in fear, because we need armed guards at funerals, because our lives are narrower and straighter than they used to be. I cried for every person like Dan Richards, who lived his life protecting people and died doing the same.

I felt like I was part of a movie script today, surrounded by guns and helicopters and bomb sniffing dogs while church arias blared in the background. I kept waiting for someone to yell "Cut!" I'm still waiting.

The images and feelings from that day were all magnified by the intenisty - the immediacy - of the situation. While some of the wording may seem overwrought today, that is what I felt then.

first day jitters

first day jitters

The first day of school.

I used to both love and fear that day. I have always had a love affair with autumn; the crisp weather, teh changing leaves, the new notebooks and sharpened pencils and an array of new clothes hanging in my closet.

I remember what I wore the first day of kindergarten, in 1967. It was a dress, brown and orange plaid on the bottom, plain brown up top with two buttons going down. My hair was short, and I wore a circular tag around my neck that had my name printed on it. I had on thin brown socks and a pair of MaryJanes, and my mother took my picture on the front steps of the school.

On the first day of high school (9th grade, 1976), I wore brown Levi corduroys, Earth shoes and a brown and orange button down silk Huckapoo shirt. No one took a picture of me, I wore no name tag, and I was more afraid of school that day than I was as a five year old. Nine years of public school torture can sure turn you around like that.

But this isn't about me. It's about Natalie and DJ and that restless, excited feeling they had last night as they tried to sleep, and the differences in them as they approach school.

DJ checks his backpack every few minutes, making sure his name is on all his supplies, that I didn't forget anything off the list, that all twelve of his number two pencils are sharpened. He asks me four times to check the list we received from his teacher. Do we have everything? Am I sure I have the right room number? He makes me check the school calendar to find out when the standardized tests take place this year. He can't concentrate on the Yankee game, even though they are playing Boston. His mind is too busy racing with the the possibilities of everything that could go wrong.

Natalie is busy putting patches on her backpack. She checks her outfit twice, changes her mind and pulls out a different shirt. She agonizes over which shoes to wear. She organizes her morning stuff; make-up, brush, hair accessories, jewelry. She is yapping on the phone as she does this, a conversation based around which boys will be in their classes and what posters they will hang in their lockers and when the first dance is. She finishes her preparations, forgetting to put a notebook and pen in her backpack, and watches American Idol with such intense concentration that you would never know she is starting 7th grade in the morning.

And what about mom and step-dad? We sit in the living room, pondering the school year. Will DJ finally come out of his shell and make friends this year? Will his teacher challenge him more than his third grade teacher did? Will Natalie ever be organized enough to not forget something each day? Will she find seventh grade to be academically challenging or will she be so concerned with boys and makeup an dances that she will fail everything? We talk about what we were doing as seventh graders. We figure out ways to keep her away from drugs and cigarettes and alcohol and boys. A convent comes to mind. Military school, perhaps. We worry that DJ is too intense, too anal, too hard on himself. We imagine that he is laying in bed, tossing and turning and fretting over imagined hardships of fourth grade.

Two minutes later, we hear a "Whoohoo!" come from DJ's room as Robin Ventura hits his 26th homer. We relax a bit, knowing that DJ has relaxed enough to enjoy the game.

Meanwhile, Natalie is frantically dialing the American Idol hotline, trying to get her vote in. I go in the room and remind her that she has to get up early in the morning. A look of fear briefly crosses her face. "Mom," she says, "I'm nervous and excited at the same time." I understand completely, because you never forget that anticipation of the first day of school.

Two minutes later, she is sound asleep, snoring even. I check on DJ and he too is sleeping like a baby, as they say, smiling in his sleep. He's probably replaying Ventura's home run in his dream.

Meanwhile, I spend the night tossing and turning and dreaming about spelling tests and surprise quizzes and lost bus passes and ugly brown corduroys that I once thought were cool. Let the kids sleep soundly, I will do all their worrying for them.

September 03, 2002

Q & A

Q & A

Reid eloquently answers my questions of the other day.

Never one to pass up an opportunity to bring Monty Python into the mix, I should tell you I still get a giggle when I think of Reid's comparison of Al Qaeda to the Black Knight.

obligatory wedding pictures

obligatory wedding pictures


They aren't in any real order:

1. Cutting the cake, with mom and dad and kids
2. Dancing with DJ to Linkin Park
3. My sister Jo-Anne and her husband Lew, who put the whole wedding together
4. Justin dancing with my mom
5. Kissyface
6. Another kissyface
7. My sister Lisa and her fiance Rob, who will be getting married next June
8. Natalie with PJ, my friend Bonnie's son
9. Signing the marraige certificate
10. Aerial view of the vows
11. The beautiful decor my sisters created
12. Again with the cake cutting

There's more, but you get the picture.

how many enemies can dance on the head of a blogger?

how many enemies can dance on the head of a blogger? (updated)

There used to be a post here.

I'm not in the habit of self-editing, but it occurred to me at some point that I forgot to take my Paxil today and I was in passive aggressive self pity mode. I hate that part of me.

So I self edited, which I reserve the right to do, seeing that it's my toys, my rules, etc.

I left the comments up just to remind me of a few things.

As you were.

books are crack

books are crack

"You wouldn't put heroin if front of your children and say its okay to try it.."

A person equates childhood classics to heroin.

Also, two personal notes:

Lisa, please deposit my checks today, thank you.
Rachael, please contact me. I can't find your email address.

september 11: part 3

September 11 revisted: part 3 in a series

My father received this cross as a gift from another fireman. It was handmade by that person, carved from the steel that remained of the World Trade Center.

cross1th.jpg cross10th.jpg cross4th.jpg cross8th.jpg cross9th.jpg

I hate touching it, yet I can't help but to touch it.

As I wrote on April 3: I ran my fingers across the discolored metal. It was rough and heavy and parts of it flaked beneath my fingers. My mind could not reconcile that piece of worn steel with the towers that used to be part of the New York skyline.

September 02, 2002

target is hell

Target is hell and all the shoppers are little devils

For a person who loathes shopping, I sure have done my share this past week. School clothes, school supplies, tourist-type shopping, spending our small cache of wedding money on video games and comic books and toys - we hit every mall, every strip mall, every free standing store in ten different towns the past few days.

I thought I hit the wall on Saturday when we went to the smarmy, uppity Roosevelt Field Mall. I nearly killed at least three different people, and had to be physically restrained from driving my foot up the ass of another.

But no, I take on more than I can handle, as usual. I lost it in Target today.

As much as I hate to say it, it's women shoppers that drive me crazy. Not just any women shoppers, but upper middle class suburban moms who think that the world belongs to them and their children and anyone else in it is an annoyance.

The back-to-school aisles at Target were teeming with moms and dads and kiddies all frantically trying to do last minute shopping. Everyone had a list, everyone was cursing one thing or another on the list that they just couldn't find. A ruler. I wanted a simple, 12 inch ruler and there wasn't one to be had.

Mrs. BitchMom wanted a ruler, too. She also wanted crayons, markers and loose leaf paper, all of which (besides the ruler) were within five feet of her, clearly marked. Instead of getting them herself, she held the list out to the poor kid in the red vest and asked which of those items they had in stock. He pointed to the bins full of crayons, markers and loose leaf paper. She said Well, can you just get them for me while I look for a bra for my daughter? The dude blinked his eyes in surprise. And, much to his credit, he said no, he couldn't. As he walked away, Mrs. BitchMom turned to me and said "well then what the hell do those lazy asses do to earn their minimum wage, anyhow?" I looked at the floor, where she had dumped out an entire box of erasers looking for that one elusive purple eraser that her daughter had to have. "They clean up the messes that customers leave," I said, and walked away.

I run into her again later in the backpack aisle. Her son is standing up in the cart and jumping up and down while BitchMom says in a bored voice, "Danny, no. Danny, sit down. Danny, stop." Danny doesn't stop. Danny falls down and goes boom. Danny hits head on the side of the cart. He begins to wail and mommy reaches down and hugs her little pumpkin, because the bad, bad cart was so mean to him to treat him like that. She actually hit the cart and said those words - bad, bad, cart! Danny, who couldn't have been more than five, looked up at his mom and said "you should sue the fucking idiots who made this cart!" BitchMom giggled.

Daughter Bitch, who was about twelve, came running down the aisle, slamming into my cart with hers as she did. "Could you like, move?" she said to me in that teenage girl smart ass way. "Like um, no," I said in that way I answer my own daughter when she is being sarcastic.

(Let me interject to say I have quit smoking again. Yea, it had only been about twelve hours or so at that point, but if you ever quit smoking I'm sure you know what my mood was like, given the absolute need to have nicotine in my system plus my frayed nerves from having dealt with assholes in malls all week.)

So, the daughter moves her cart back, back, back, back all the way to the end of the aisle until she can't go any more and she backs into a display of notebooks. About forty books fall to the floor, scattering all over the aisle. The daughter, amazingly, bends down to start picking up the books. BitchMom grabs the daughter by her shoulders and says "Don't do that. that's what the help is for." Mom and daughter and son strut away, kicking fallen books to the side as they go.

There was smoke coming out of my ears at this point. I wanted to stab her. I wanted to slice and dice her. I wanted to pull every piece of her hair out and tear off her head and shit down her neck. I wanted to hurt her so very, very badly.

I took a deep breath and followed behind her, watching her ass shake back and forth, a size sixteen behind in a size six pair of low rise jeans. I walked. She shook. The love handles she had collected since she probably used to be a size six blubbered up and down and up and down as she walked, her midriff t-shirt not nearly long enough to cover the fatty deposits on her hips. I mean, I'm no size six either, but at least I don't dress like I think I am.

Anyhow, I followed her to the registers and lost her when we got on different lines. I did hear angelic little Danny cry for some gum and call his mother a bastard when he didn't get it.

We checked out at the same time. We headed for the door, side by side and I had to fight the urge to start ramming her cart with mine and challenging her to a battle right there in the entrance to the store. And then I took a deep breath. And I was going to leave it all alone. That is, until my car accidently (I swear) caught on hers as we were trying to get out the door. "Can you watch where the fuck you are going, idiot?" she says to me.

I stop. I stare. I could do a million things here, but they would all end up with me calling a bail bondsman. I could say a million things, but most of them would probably go right over her head. So I say the only thing I could think of that would most likely make her cry herself to sleep tonight:

"You really should not wear that outfit in public. You look totally fat."

The look on her face was better than any satisfaction a cigarette could have given me.

*I would like to end this by saying that I am not going shopping again for a long time, but sadly, I am addicted to Target and will probably be back there tomorrow. Maybe I'll bring a stun gun.

fie to that sei!

fie to that sei!*

I'm addicted to Word Racer at Yahoo Games. I play whenever I get the chance (that is, whenever I feel like neglecting the laundry or dishes or human contact) and you can usually find me in the fast paced/rated rooms. I am competitive by nature, and I will not play unless there is somewhere near a full room and the people in that room are giving me a run for my money. And I think some of them cheat, but that's another story.

Anyhow, the game bugs me sometimes. There are so many words, especially the three letter words, that I never heard of. And then there are words that I know exist, but the game says it is not a word. Some contractions are ok, others aren't. Some foreign words are good, others are not. Acronyms are ok - in certain instances. The problem is, they use dictionary.com for their spell checking, and dictionary.com does list acronyms and slang, but does not encompass the whole range of either. For instance, shit and piss are ok, but poopy and doody aren't (I know, just stay with me here). So the game gets frustrating when you keep expecting your words to score you points and they don't and meanwhile, your opponents are getting points for words like het and twa and taka (which is a basic unit of currency in Bangladesh as I've discovered, but they would not allow me to use kroon, which is the basic unit of currency in Estonia).

The good thing is, I am not just wasting away hours by playing a stupid game. I am expanding my vocabulary. Look at the words I've discovered in the past few days:

gan: \Gan\, imp. of Gin. [See Gin, v.] Began; commenced.

ait: n. Chiefly British A small island.

roc n. A mythical bird of prey having enormous size and strength.

seel tr.v. seeled, seel·ing, seels To stitch closed the eyes of (a falcon).

jessn. A short strap fastened around the leg of a hawk or other bird used in falconry, to which a leash may be fastened.

seg \Seg\, n. [Probably from the root of L. secare to cut.] A castrated bull. [Prov. Eng. & Scot.]

stob n. Chiefly Southern U.S. A short straight piece of wood, such as a stake.

Look, I can use them all in one little story!

The roc gan down towards the ait where he swooped up a falcon. He undid the falcon's jess with the intention of taking it home to his mother so she could seel the falcon, making a nice, blind little plaything for the roc. However, the seg that was the rightful owner of the falcon got angry and beat the roc to death with a stob. The end.

I have justified my existense.

*basically means I dissaprove of the whale

september 11 revisited: part 2 in a series

September 11 revisted: part 2 in a series

Please skip this post if you think that a) enough has already been written about September 11 or b) you think Americans should just get on with their lives and stop whining

CNN Poll: Majority say U.S. is not back to normal.

So what do you define as normal?

Today's Newsday has a story of a 15 year old Muslim boy attacked and beaten in front of his mother. The cretins who beat this innocent boy accused the kid of being responisble for attacking the World Trade Center, and asked him if he was connected to bin Laden.

The thing is, if the two attackers and their onlookers did not beat this boy, it would have been someone else. If September 11 never happened, these men would still be biased morons, and they may have turned their anger towards someone of another nationality, another race.

In the aftermath of September 2001, too many people used the tragedy as an excuse for bad behavior. Not hate crimes in particular, but just misguided anger and hostility. I have always had this problem with facing down aggression with more aggression.

I wrote on October 21, 2001:

What I have a problem with is the glorification of his impending doom. As I drive, I see cars and vans with pictures of Laden taped to the back windows, targets drawn on his face and bullet holes sketched onto his forehead. I see banners hanging on parkway overpasses, with slogans like "Kick his ass, USA!" and "Death to bin Laden!" I hear them in restaurants and schools and grocery stores, plotting the most evil, violent death possible. But I don't see this alone. My children see it. They hear it. They see this country hell bent on revenge and death and destruction, and they see people waving their death wishes around like flags.

Violence begets violence. We know this. It is the basis of all wars. But it doesn't have to be so consuming. It doesn't have to be so bold and in your face. When they say "make a joyful noise" I don't think they mean shouts of war. I don't like the way we are teaching the future leaders of this country that an almost gleeful violence is the way to confront your enemies. That's what the WWF is for.

Don't get me wrong, please. I am not saying that Laden shouldn't be dealt anything less than death. I'm just asking, can we tone it down a bit? Can we not seem so giddy about taking lives? Can we not be so gung ho about the systematic destruction of another country? Can we not be so glib about revenge and war?

Think about what kids are seeing. Think about the signs and banners and posters that promote spilled blood. Think about the fact that this country already has a problem with hostile, angry kids who do not know how to act upon those feeling without reaching for a gun. Think about the message your slogans are sending.

And here's the problem. This is normal. America is full of trigger-happy, violence prone, knee-jerk reactionaries. And they need a slogan for everything. A slogan for your war, a slogan for your disasters, a slogan for your vengeance.

When they say has America returned to normal, do they mean are hate crimes against people other than Muslims resuming? Do they mean are murders and rapes and child abuse occurring at their normal pace?

It was like this before last year. September 11 just gave the ignorant morons of our society another racial group to target. And unfortunately, all the rhetoric and slogans and bumper stickers gave them, in their minds, justification for their violence and hatred.

Oh, it should be noted that the two attackers of the young Muslim boy were arrested when they returned to the scene to look for their glasses. Which just goes to show you the level of intelligence we are dealing with when it comes to hatred and violence.

The CNN poll asks, Has America returned to normal?

Can someone please define for me what normal is in this regard? Do they mean have people stopped using patriotism as justification for anger? Was the country really any different before this?

*ed. note: You don't have to be American to respond to this post!

September 01, 2002

putting the 'personal' in website

putting the "personal" in website

Not to beat a dead horse, but anyone who construes anything I write about September 11 as flag-waving, jingoistic or overly patriotic has not been reading this website very long.

Today's post and any posts regarding that day that follow it are not meant as a "one nation come together" thing.

I, for one, am not happy with some turn of events in the past year. I am not happy with the current policital situation. I am not happy with the masses of organzations, individuals and elected officials who want to turn the day into a political rally or national holiday.

I just want to pay homage to those who lost their lives.

I just want to show people a glimpse of those who I knew who died that day.

I just want say what has been in my heart and on my mind since that day.

This is not about America, this is about me.

It's not about patriotism, it's about mourning.

I don't need a memorial service to remind me of that day. I don't need a commercial-filled special program on the television. I don't need a specially written song, a poem, a movie, a reenactment, a sculpture, a newscaster, a baseball player, a head of state or a website to remind me.

I certainly do not need a commemorative coin or plaque or CD to help keep the day in my memory.

I am going to spend that day far away from any television or radio or newspaper. I don't need the media telling me how or where to mourn or grieve.

For those of you who thought that's what the previous two posts were about, you are mistaken.

This is my website and it's all about me. Nothing more, nothing less. Me.

can of worms

can of worms

This is interesting. I decided to use my weblog - my space, my domain - to vent my feelings about the upcoming anniversary of September 11.

Now, I've been made to feel as if my feelings are wrong and/or trivial. First, in the comments below, and then in this email (I will not post the sender's name or email address):

I'm generally not one to criticize the material on someone elses blog considering the shitty content I put on mine, BUT. Don't you think that the september 11th tragedy has been beaten to a pulp by every single type of content? Somone recently said that its(sic) so we don't forget. How can we. They are driving it into our brain unforgivingly. They use it to sell Ford trucks, insurance, you name it. Its been used to start a war that has obviously not gotten us very far. I'm waiting for the 9/11 pez dispenser myself. Whats my point? I know you live in the area and where directly effected but, I have to say I'm tired of it and believe that most others are as well. I would just hate to see you fall into the 9/11 oh what a trajedy(sic)! Toyota! Type scam. but, maybe its already to late.

I don't know why, but I suddenly feel as if I've been beaten up. It takes an awful lot to make me break down in tears (since the anti-depressants, anyhow) but I'm sitting here crying and I can't figure out why.

Did my post offend anyone else? It wasn't meant to be like that.

Perhaps I should stick to movie reviews and fart jokes? Would that be better than actually showing any emotion over an event that obiviously had a profound influence on the last year of my life?



It's September. I'll be reviewing/writing about something to do with September 11 ever morning until that date.

The morning of September 11 was a bit mundane, posting wise. I had just switched from using an FTP on a free hosting site to having my own domain and using Blogger.

At 5:40 a.m, my I was complaining about people protesting Halloween.

At 9:00 a.m., I was sitting at work, tryiing to figure out how to get Blogger to put my posts in the right order.

At 9:02, everything changed.

9:49 and the news was confusing, misleading and frightening:

The pentagon has been hit. New York city has been closed off. The White House is being evacuated. I know you know all of this already. This is so fucking frightening. I'm sitting here in a federal building and I'm getting nervous. Ok, they just said the Washington Mall is on fire. Shit.Shit.Shit.

9:49 AM

By 12:20, things have gone from scary to surreal:

This is really eerie. The silence outside. Living so close to Kennedy Airport, the sound of planes getting ready to land is a constant drone throughout the day. And now the skies are empty except for the thin veil of smoke drifting slowly this way. I am in the twilight zone

7:41: My cousins, both firemen working the scene, make contact with the family. We have been watching the news for about nine straight hours:

We decided to go over to my mom's house and have dinner with the family. My dad is very upset about all the firemen that are unaccounted for. He knows so many of them. We finally heard from one of my cousins and we saw the other on television, so we know they are ok. Big relief. But still, it's disconcerting to think that they are in the middle of this all, digging through rubble and hoping against hope to find someone alive. Every structure around there is so unsafe right now.

And still, I am watching the news, unable to take my eyes off of it, yet also unable to put it all together in my head. I am not feeling anything now. I am numb.

8:09 p.m. Confirmation of the news my father was dreading; his close friend, Peter Ganci, is dead.

10:52, details of horror come in.

By 11:08, I have had enough. I go to bed. I didn't sleep, but laid there, CNN muted on the tv, staring at horrifying graphics flashing across the screen.

That was just about a year ago. Sometimes it seems like only days, and other times it feels like another lifetime ago.

So many people say to me that nothing has changed. The world is still the same, life goes on, people get back to the business of living mundane lives.


Sometimes I will be sitting in my dad's backyard with him, just watching a ball game and having a beer, and out of nowhere dad will say, "I miss him so much."

Has your world changed? Has your life changed? Remember when you clutched your loved ones and swore to live each day to the fullest and be thankful for life and everything in it? Have you done that?