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August 31, 2005

Blogging for Aid

I've joined the Katrina Blogging Relief Aid blog burst thingie. I'll be making my plea post in the morning. I think we're supposed to pick one charity to ask our readers to give to, but I'm really not sure which one to choose. I'd like to find one that gives directly to the victims of the hurricane; maybe one that has people headed down their to physically give money/goods to the victims. The less bureaucracy the better. And I'm not picky about religious denominations or political motivations or what not - as long as they get the goods/money their, I don't care what they stand for or who they pray to.

Any suggestions?

updates, and a name for kitty

The Good News post has been updated and I'm still replying to all the emails about the school supplies thing - thank you everyone for your offers of assistance. The response has been wonderful and I just hope that I do end up getting the transport donated so I can pull this off.

And now for the moment you've all been waiting for. The naming of the kitty. The winner of the poll was Mathilda. But in a spur of the moment decision - and in a bizarre, unsettling moment in which we ALL (meaning me, the husband and kids) all AGREED on something, the name of the kitty is not any from the poll, but:

Master Shake.

Yes, she's named after this bastard:


I'm sure we'll end up referring to her as "kitty" more than anything, but Master Shake is her formal name, and what went on the forms at the vet tonight.

Here, shakey shakey shakey..........

need help to help

[Comments are enabled again]

Does anyone know how I would go about getting a company to donate what's necessary - truck, space, driver, etc. - to get stuff down to New Orleans if I took up a collection.

I know everyone says just give money to Red Cross, but that's not good enough. I keep reading on websites from people in the area that they need GOODS. If I could figure out what company to call, what they would have to donate, etc., I could take up a huge collection at work and send down a truckload of goods.

Anyone have experience doing something like this? Or do you know anyone in the trucking industry, maybe at FedEx or UPS?

Update: I was thinking of having what I get donated sent to the Astrodome (where the people from the Superdome are going to relocate) and especially gathering school supplies for those kids who have been displaced (and who will be doing the open enrollment thing in Texas).

Update: Already have several people contacting trucking companies for me and someone two people emailed offering to help on the ground in Houston, if I get the stuff that far.

This is wonderful. Thank you.

Another update: I've decided to focus on collecting school supplies. I don't know why. Just what my gut is telling me to do.

Well, I am focusing on school supplies because I think there are so many kids who have been displaced and are going to strange schools, with nothing in hand. I think it might give them a little hope and maybe a smile if kind strangers from all over sent them new supplies.

Oh god, how corny did that sound?

Update: A lot of people are headed to Baton Rouge, so I'm thinking a truckload of school supplies there would work, too - and I already have a contact in the area. Thanks, Dave.

Letter from New Orleans

From reader Shank:

I work at a hospital in southeastern NC, and one of our pathologists relocated to NO a while back. He's holed up in the Ritz Carlton on Canal street and sent this missive.

He asked if to pass it along, so here it is.

Thanks to all of you who have sent your notes of concern and your prayers. I am writing this note on Tuesday at 2 p.m.. I wanted to update all of you as to the situation here. I don't know how much information you are getting but I am certain it is more than we are getting. Be advised that almost everything I am telling you is from direct observation or rumor from reasonable sources. They are allowing limited internet access, so I hope to send this dispatch today.

Personally, my family and I are fine. My family is safe in Jackson, Miss., and I am now a temporary resident of the Ritz Carleton Hotel in New Orleans. I figured if it was my time to go, I wanted to go in a place with a good wine list. In addition, this hotel is in a very old building on Canal Street that could and did sustain little damage. Many of the other hotels sustained significant loss of windows, and we expect that many of the guests may be evacuated here.

Things were obviously bad yesterday, but they are much worse today. Overnight the water arrived. Now Canal Street (true to its origins) is indeed a canal. The first floor of all downtown buildings is underwater. I have heard that Charity Hospital and Tulane are limited in their ability to care for patients because of water. Ochsner is the only hospital that remains fully functional. However, I spoke with them today and they too are on generator and losing food and water fast.

The city now has no clean water, no sewerage system, no electricity, and no real communications. Bodies are still being recovered floating in the floods. We are worried about a cholera epidemic. Even the police are without effective communications. We have a group of armed police here with us at the hotel that is admirably trying to exert some local law enforcement. This is tough because looting is now rampant. Most of it is not malicious looting. These are poor and desperate people with no housing and no medical care and no food or water trying to take care of themselves and their families.

Unfortunately, the people are armed and dangerous. We hear gunshots frequently. Most of Canal street is occupied by armed looters who have a low threshold for discharging their weapons. We hear gunshots frequently. The looters are using makeshift boats made of pieces of styrofoam to access. We are still waiting for a significant national guard presence.

The health care situation here has dramatically worsened overnight. Many people in the hotel are elderly and small children. Many other guests have unusual diseases. ... There are (Infectious Disease) physicians in at this hotel attending an HIV confection. We have commandered the world famous French Quarter Bar to turn
into an makeshift clinic. There is a team of about seven doctors and PAs and pharmacists. We anticipate that this will be the major medical facility in the central business district and French Quarter.

Our biggest adventure today was raiding the Walgreens on Canal under police escort. The pharmacy was dark and full of water. We basically scooped the entire drug sets into garbage bags and removed them. All under police excort. The looters had to be held back at gunpoint. After a dose of prophylactic Cipro I hope to be fine.

In all we are faring well. We have set up a hospital in the the French Qarter bar in the hotel, and will start admitting patients today. Many will be from the hotel, but many will not. We are anticipating dealing with multiple medical problems, medications and and acute injuries. Infection and perhaps even cholera are anticipated major problems. Food and water shortages are imminent.

The biggest question to all of us is where is the National Guard. We hear jet fignters and helicopters, but no real armed presence, and hence the rampant looting. There is no Red Cross and no Salvation Army.

In a sort of cliché way, this is an edifying experience. One is rapidly focused away from the transient and material to the bare necessities of life. It has been challenging to me to learn how to be a primary care phyisican. We are under martial law so return to our homes is impossible. I don't know how long it will be and this is my greatest fear. Despite it all, this is a soul-edifying experience. The greatest pain is to think about the loss. And how long the rebuid will take. And the horror of so many dead people .

PLEASE SEND THIS DISPATCH TO ALL YOU THING MAY BE INTERSTED IN A DISPATCH from the front. I will send more according to your interest. Hopefully their collective prayers will be answered. By the way, suture packs, sterile gloves and stethoscopes will be needed as the Ritz turns into a MASH.

looking for good news, Part II [updated!]

Please see this post from last night for details.
To repeat from yesterday:

I'm going to collect stories out of NO/Mississippi. Good stories. Stories of people helping each other, people reuniting with loved ones, companies opening their wallets wide, things like that. And pictures, too. Pictures of animals being rescued or families hugging. Feel good stuff. That's what I'm going to do.

Please leave any relevant links in the comments.

It's getting really hard to find the good stories, as all the media seem to be focusing on the deaths and looting. But I'm determined to find anything good in the tons of stories I'm wading through.


Jahne Haze, 4, looks at baby food in a shopping cart that was given to her mother outside a Super Wal-Mart in New Orleans, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Emergency personnel went into the store to get supplies and distributed it to people waiting outside.

Jonathan Harvey rescues his dog Cuddles in Gulfport, Mississippi, on Monday. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Links/stories below the fold

  • In Pittsburgh, philanthropic and faith groups called for volunteers, utility companies sent workers to the South and individuals headed off into the deepest destruction to offer medical services.

* Scott Stewart, a freshman from Biloxi, decided to organize a trip to the Coast for people interested in helping the clean-up effort and rebuilding processes. The response has been astonishing, he said.

Update: Welcome, readers from The Corner. Help me find some good stuff, please, because the pickings are getting really slim. Just leave relevant links in the comments.

  • Good can come from the worst of circumstances. KPLC's Theresa Schmidt met a woman today whose experience as an evacuee has renewed her faith in people.

[Part I of Good News here]

On the upside, I got a comment on this post about a mother looking for information about her son in Metarie. the commentor left his cell number so I sent a text message to him. I then called his mother to say I was trying and she told me that she had just receiceved a call from him, he was fine and on his way out of the city. You just have to love them internets.
  • From the comments:

    My mother, who took out our family of refugees to IHOP yesterday in Sugar Land, TX (Houston suburbs) was greeted by a pleasant surprise. She was with my two aunts and their grandchildren (about 4 of them ranging in ages from 7 - 10), and everyone commented on how well behaved they were. One woman wondered why the children were not in school, and she told them that they were from Slidell, LA escaping the hurricane. She then managed to take the check right from my mom's hands before she could protest and treated my whole family to their meal. It is stories like that that give me hope amongst all the despair. Just thought I would leave this...

Part III here

Wednesday "Rock Gods" Post

Today is Wednesday, which means it is Rock Gods Musical Chairs day. I will get back to the "Good News" postings shortly (I will be starting a second thread). Also, for those of you emailing and wondering when I am going to address the situation with the judge, please note that, due to stipulations set forth in my employment contract, I can not (and would not, anyhow) blog about it. I will also announce the kitty's name later today.

Other participants (I will link their specific posts when they go up):

Andrew (Sitting in for Andrew this week is his brother: Jimi Hendrix
Tesco: Bubba Dupree of DC Hardcore band Void
Courtney : David Bowie
Mr. Nimbus: Syd Barrett
Devilish Belle: Ramones

In today's installment of Rock Gods, I pay tribute to the many musical stylings of Mike Patton, star of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Tomahawk and Lovage and co-founder of Ipecac Recordings. It would be hard to say what I love most about Patton: the versatility of his voice - his soothing tones, his guttural screams, his passionate moans - or his lyrical and musical genius.

Here are three Mike Patton samplings, from three different eras/bands:

9308SeMike.gif1. Faith No More - Midlife Crisis (download)
It's not my absolute favorite FNM song, but it does epitomize what FNM is all about: With lyrics like your menstruating heart, it ain't bleedin' enough for two and liberal use of Patton's clenched teeth hissing and growling, Midlife Crisis is a great starting point for the uninitiated. It's got this raw anger that comes only with age; a bitterness that leaves a taste like Greek olives in your mouth and a certainty that yea, you're getting old but at least you're bound to beat the shit out of someone before you're too tired to do it.

2. Mr. Bungle - Retrovertigo.

Taken from the pure work of art known as California, Retrovertigo is, in my mind, one of the greatest songs ever recorded. It's slow, it's moody, it pulls at your gut and sucks you in and never lets you out. Patton's voice is at its finest here. He's all smooth and low one minute and powerful the next and in between there's about a billion emotions. Here, you can also get a great lesson in how to compose a tune that will forever be etched in someone's head. You'll be watching the news one day and suddenly the words to Retrovertigo will pop into your head and Mike Patton will be singing them. And you will thank me.

3. Lovage - Anger Management
Here we have a selection from another Patton band, Lovage, from the album Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By (produced by Dan the Automator and featuring the incredibly sexy voice of Jennifer Charles ). Listening to Anger Management is to put yourself in a red velvet bedroom with mirrors on the ceiling. It's sitting in a smoky barroom watching the female lounge singer lick her lips and run her hands down her sides. It's red lipstick and black garters and cigar smoke and maybe even a few dollars on the nightstand in the morning. Patton's voice is at once sultry and dangerous and, together with Charles, this tune oozes sexuality.

Patton can do it all - anger, love, jealousy, horror, sex - and he has a different voice, a different persona for each emotion, each genre he puts forth. His voice is a music instrument in itself and Patton plays it perfectly.

For those whose only experience listening to Patton comes from his nasally, spasmodic rap on Epic (you know, that video with the fish), I suggest you try out the tunes above and get a taste of what else the man has to offer.

Other essential listening:

From The Real Thing: Surprise! You're Dead!
From Angel Dust: RV
From King For a Day, Fool For a Lifetime: Gentle Art of Making Enemies
From Album of the Year: Helpless
From Fantomas - Director's Cut: The Omen (Ave Satani)(download)
From Mr. Bungle: Stubb (a Dub)
From California: Vanity Fair

Tesco's response:

Mike Patton... excellent choice. Mike is one of the early ones... Even though Faith No More's debut came out in '89, Patton's work goes back to the early eighties. A friend of mine from SoCal was playing us the Bungle demo back in '85. We had no idea that he would be the one responsible for an entire genre of metal music. Nothing but respect for Mike Patton.

Mr. Nimbus says:

Mike Patton is the Man. I remember how pleasantly surprised I was when the first Mr. Bungle CD came out and it sounded nothing like FNM. He is one seriously warped individual, and I say that with much respect.

Courtney says:

Unfortunately, Patton never grabbed my attention, other than the video with the fish. However, I remember him being this manic, buff little man, with long hair and wild eyes. I can imagine he tore up a stage like no one's business.

August 30, 2005

looking for good news from new orleans

This is what I'm going to do.

I'm going to collect stories out of NO/Mississippi. Good stories. Stories of people helping each other, people reuniting with loved ones, companies opening their wallets wide, things like that. And pictures, too. Pictures of animals being rescued or families hugging. Feel good stuff. That's what I'm going to do.

If you want the rest of the news and the links to go with it and some tireless blogging work, try Brendan Loy.

If you want to help, leave relevant links in the comments.

Update: I have my first entry already:

Steve Toolel walks through the rubble of his home after rescueing his friend's dog, Hercules, in Biloxi, Misssissippi. (AFP/Robert Sullivan)

And another:

Getty Images

The Baytown Community Center, a shelter that is located at 2407 Market St., is the temporary home for 320 refugees. Houstonians dropped off much-needed supplies, such as food, blankets, clothing and other items, at the makeshift shelter.
  • Local business owners installed 30 animal kennels at the shelter so evacuees' pets could remain with their owners. Wal-Mart is supplying the pet food.
  • Thanks, so far, to Allah and Beth for the link collecting.
  • Museums, zoos, and sports arenas in Houston are offering free/reduced admission for anyone showing a LA, AL, or MS drivers license.

Rescued pup!

  • Karolyn Bell, her newborn baby cradled against gales and lashing rain, edged over a plank between two homes in a desperate bid to outrace hurricane floods fast swallowing New Orleans.

    Bell, 26, stitches fresh in her belly from a C-section delivery at noon on Thursday, relived her ordeal as she limped barefoot, babe in arms, across a bridge Tuesday out of New Orleans' deluged Ninth District, one of the city's poorest areas..
    Read the rest.
  • "Can you pass me my cane?" Ronald Wood said as he steadied himself on the concrete barrier. "I'm kinda cold right now," he said as he climbed into a waiting ambulance. "I feel pretty sick."
  • Big Easy Bites Back:
    A sumptuous aroma of barbecued shrimp, the promise of warm beer and Hurricane cocktails drew disbelieving storm survivors to the only restaurant still open in the battered French Quarter of New Orleans.

AP Photo

  • Nurses held flashlights and ventilated patients by hand. Doctors wearing green scrubs used canoes to ferry supplies between the city's four downtown hospitals.

Ok, I need to go to bed. Please leave any relevant links in the comments and I will start a new thread in the morning. It looks like the news is just going to get worse come morning, what with the levees not being contained, and I'd really like to continue to focus on the good. Rescues, relief efforts, anything like you see linked above - if you see a good story, share the link please.

Parts 2, 3 and 4 of this are here.

Evacuating a city

They have ordered the entire city of New Orleans to be evacuated.

I suppose there was no back up plan for the people in the Superdome?

Where do you put an entire population of a city? And how do you get them all out in time, before rising waters or collapsing buildings or disease take over?

Visit Val for a list of ways to make donations and I'll repeat these again:

Second Harvest
Feed the Children
Heart to Heart
Trained volunteers needed (this is a local story, but I'm sure if you call your local Red Cross, they will have info on volunteering)

let's play a game

I need some distraction from the news and from the bizarre news day at work here today.

We played this game once before and it was a lot of fun.

Describe a plot to any movie in EXACTLY SEVEN WORDS.

No more, no less. Just seven words. Everyone can guess, no turns or anything like that. Anarchy is good in games like this.


New Orleans is all but destroyed.

I keep wanting to write about it.

But what can you say about that?

Relief aid:

Second Harvest
Feed the Children
Heart to Heart
Trained volunteers needed (this is a local story, but I'm sure if you call your local Red Cross, they will have info on volunteering)

Maybe I'll take up a collection here at work. You just feel like you should be doing something instead of sitting here gawking at pictures of people stuck on their roofs, waters rising, with nowhere to go, picture of people looting, reading stories about floating bodies and a man who had to let go of his wife in order to save his children....

Ugh. Just emailed from a friend:

They're reporting possibly "hundreds" of people killed in Biloxi, and one of their correspondents just had a nightmarish report of authorities in Hancock County, Mississippi, going house-to-house and spray-painting houses with different colors of paint depending upon whether the inhabitants are dead or not. Black if there are corpses inside, red if they're only injured. They can't get them out right now so this is the best they can do.

I am just going to cry. We had something terrible happen here at work today that has left me a bit drained and now, finally getting around to looking at all the news clips and reading the stories and going on Fark and seeing how many familiar TFers are still waiting to hear from family and friends, people who haven't heard from parents, and seeing captions on CNN like "survivors screaming for help" and - what can you do? What can you do besides sit here and, what? Wait for it all to come out ok? It's not going to, in fact, the news keeps getting worse, if anything. I heard someone jumped to his death from the upper seats in the Superdome, that it's hot as hell in there and the toilets aren't working but these people have nowhere to go, no homes to go to.

Anyhow, like I said. I don't know what to say, but I feel like I should say something. Anyone know how to go about setting up a drive for clothing, diapers, etc. and getting the stuff shipped down there, who to contact or anything?

Update: Val has some links and phone numbers and is offering t-shirts in exchange for your donations.

Name the Kitty Poll!

First, here's kittykat:

click for bigger

Now, the names and corresponding pictures:

Coraline (Neil Gaiman book)
Mathilda, from the movie Leon)
Yoshi, of Mario World fame

You CAN fill in "other" and make a different suggestion. If I like it, I'll add it in. I already considered all the names in the thread from the other night.

[Poll is below the fold so as not to slow down the page]

August 29, 2005

Lights Out

Another day, another 100 words.

Boom Boom, Out go the Lights.

I really didn't think I'd be able to come up with anything for today's theme. But I did.

Hey, I didn't say anything decent.

Demented and Sad, But Social [updated and link fixed]

Sheila reminds me that The Breakfast Club is now 20 years old.

Let me just step back a moment and say, wow. Time flies when you're...aging.

It's been a while since a Listomatic, so here's my favorite quotes from Breakfast Club:

  • Screws just fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.
  • Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?
  • If he gets up, we'll all get up, it'll be anarchy.
  • Well, Brian, this is a very nutritious lunch. All the food groups are represented. Did your mom marry Mr. Rogers?

    Brian Johnson: Uh, no. Mr. Johnson.
  • You're a neo maxi zoom dweebie.
  • Could you describe the ruckus, sir?

The thing about Breakfast Club is, when you're talking about it with your friends, you talk about it like it's comedy, you remember all the funny parts. And then you watch it again and you realize it wasn't really much of a comedy. As far as John Hughes movies go, it's melodrama; it's his English Patient. It's a full length version of one episode of Degrassi High, drawn out to a predictable conclusion.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I love Breakfast Club. I own it. I forced my children to watch it. But what seemed so clever and poignant and dramatic back in '85 just seems embarassingly hackeneyed now. Which is really par for the course, as everything I did in high school that I thought was 'cool' back then seems hackneyed now. High school isn't supposed to look good 20 years later so, in that sense, Breakfast Club has really held up well.

Cliques and detention and snarking at the principal never really go out of style, do they? Sure, Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald may have come and gone, but their awkward, bad guy/good girl romance will live forever in our hearts.

You're Allison Reynolds! "the basketcase"
quiet and shy, you stay in the shadows. That is
until you blurt out something random and Wierd.
You're artistic and misunderstood. If only
people would take the time to listen or notice

Which Breakfast Club Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Here's a whole bunch of BC quizzes.

caption, part two

Not only is she a pig, but she's looking mighty fugly these days.

caption, please

Something non-hurricane for you.


I loved this band with all my heart right up until about, oh, three weeks ago. Then something snapped. I think I just reached my saturation level. There's such a thing as overexposure, guys.

Anyhow, caption away, or just make fun of them for being middle aged guys in eyeliner.

Covering the coverage [updated - again]

There are hundreds of people blogging the hurricane right now. I think I'm going to blog the coverage. The STUPID coverage.

We'll start with this:


And the accompanying quote:

"We need to recognize we may be about to experience our equivalent of the Asian tsunami, in terms of the damage and the numbers of people that can be killed," said Ivor van Heerden, director of the Louisiana State University Public Health Research Center in Baton Rouge.

I'm going to collect alarmist, overhyped, shock-value news items and quotes. Send them along.

I'm not saying this won't or can't be devasting to the city, but why, oh why, does there have to be this comparison? Was the tsunami their earthquake? Was the SF earthquake their great flood? Come on. Soon enough there will be catchy coverage names: Hurricane Hell! Storm of the Century!

It also occurs to me that the people in Asia had no warning. New Orleans had days to prepare. Or was that enough? NZ Bear blogs about negligent homicide.

And I just heard that the Superdome roof is 1/4 gone and the stadium is leaking?

Update: a quotable quote, from CNN (via Brendan Loy):

"Everyone is just kind of looking up in awe, that this is supposed to be the safest place in New Orleans, and now the Superdome is giving way to this Superstorm."

Citizen Journalist braves the elements!

Update: Please see the comments for more disturbing coverage. And welcome AOL readers! Welcome MSNBC readers, too. Hit the main page, there's more hurricane coverage and a cheesecake picture of Jessica Simpson, and a scary picture of grown men wearing eyeliner and fondling a statue!


Atlantis? Ya think? Will the future generations of this world be left wondering if New Orleans ever existed?

Update: Right now on CNN:

Life-threatening flooding next fear

So..New Orleans does NOT disappear, is NOT the next Atlatnis, the Superdome does NOT collapse upon 10,000 people, there are NOT thousands of deaths nor corpses floating by on streams of raw sewage, but hang on New Orleans, the media will get their catastrophe yet!

NoLa, Weather, Drooling Reporters and a QOD

I'm a weather freak, one of those weird people who has the Weather Channel programed as a favorite. Snow, sleet, hail, rain, gusty wind, lightning - whatever the weather is where you are, I want to know about it. And the more dangerous the better; give me freak blizzards blanketing an entire region or thunderstorms so severe they call for hail the size of footballs.

This isn't because I like disasters, per se. I'm just a student of Mother Nature, always in awe of her incredible strength and powers. I'm fascinated by what makes a storm happen, how it travels, picks up steam and dies off. I'm mesmerized by shows of lightning and thunder, of twisters and ice storms and how all these things can convert a landscape instantaneously, whether by turning it into a white sheened wonderland or obliterating everything in its path.

Nature is something that can't be controlled and I suppose that is the main source of my wonderment. A juggernaut of bad weather headed your way is unstoppable. All you can do is hope you get the hell out of the way in time, or that you are prepared to withstand whatever it brings.

So of course I'm watching wall to wall Katrina coverage, monitoring the NHC page and checking the cams, none of which seem to be working right now.

There's something different about Katrina, though. I think it's the sense of impending doom that the media is blanketing their coverage with. The dire warnings about the city of New Orleans disappearing, the death tomb scenario of the Superdome becoming submerged, the somber details of how corpses will float up from their tombs and raw sewage will kill whoever was left standing by this hurricane. It's an apocalyptic scenario and if I'm sitting her frightened, I can't imagine what it's like for people with family in the area, let alone the people who live there.

So I'm watching the coverage now and I see that it's not going to be "as bad" as they first predicted (ohh, only a strong Category 4) and Shephard Smith is standing out on a balcony of a hotel on Bourbon Street and man, he does not look happy to be there.

So hopefully, the doomsday scenario of New Orleans being wiped off the map is just a reporter's wet dream right now. Still, it looks dangerous and scary out there and I do hope that somehow, Katrina leaves us with no more death than she has already caused.

I started writing this at 5:30 (with something else in mind completely) and I got sidetracked by obvious reports coming from my tv (It's raining. It's windy.) and morning news anchors chomping at the bit for a disasters (they could have six, ten, twelve, eleventybillion hours of hurricane weather! Any cars turned over, Jim? Can you show us some damage, please?). As much as I love weather and watching it's fury unfold, I have little tolerance for people sitting behind a desk looking obviously frustrated as they report on....nothing.

Let's cut to Andy again as he stands there in front of the swaying tree.
Andy, that tree still swaying?
Yes...I can't really hear you...
You hear that, folks? The wind is so bad Andy can't hear us...
No, no, my ear piece fell out..
Oh...Andy tell us, are you in fear for your life as this city is poised to be hit by nature's angry wrath any moment?
Actually, Dan, the storm has moved east, looks like the sun is coming out..
God damn it.
I said God planned it. Yea, it's in God's plan that you are ok.
[off camera]Do we have any reporters in Podunk? I hear some lightning hit a barn there...

Anyhow, I was reading the blog of author Poppy Z. Brite, who lives in New Orleans and she notes that she left town.

Besides the two animals and a few clothes and toiletries, here is what I brought:

-- My computer.

-- My copy of A Confederacy of Dunces signed by Thelma Toole.

-- My copy of When the Saints Go Marching In signed by Buddy D.

It's at times like these that you find out what you really cherish, I guess.

So, question of the day time. You're evacuating your home town, knowing full well that the potential is there for your home to be gone by the time the storm is over. You can only take five things (I was going to say three, but I'll be generous) with you. What do you take?

August 28, 2005

Somebody please expain to me

Why R. Kelly is popular?

Who buys those Trapped in a Closet songs?

Why is he live on MTV lyp synching every part to Closet, part 4?

What kind of drugs to you have to be on or what kind of retarded do you have to be to enjoy this?

Why does this child molesting egomaniac have a career? And a lucrative one at that?

Who listens to the closet songs - and the Sex in the Kitchen song - with a straight face?

Please explain these things to me.

Because watching Mr. Kelly do his schtick just now, and watching half the audience go crazy for it, I just lost all hope for humanity.

Ok, you know what? The dude's just out of his freaking mind. That's all there is to it. He's freaking insane. There's really something wrong with his grey matter.

Darwin Calling on New Orleans

So I was just reading on a message board about a group of people in New Orleans who are planning on defying the mandatory evacuation to have a hurricane party, in which they drink beer, wait it and, presumably, die.

I'm sure the dying part isn't in their plans because, you know, twentysomething college kids are infuckingvincible, man.

What a bunch of idiots. Seriously. This is like seeing a live wire on the ground and saying "Duhhh, I wonder what will happen if I touch it?"

You lose. Gene pool gets a little cleaner. Adios, assholes.

[I do remember hearing a story about a hurricane party during Camille, in which all the partiers but one died]

I feel bad for the tourists who are straned in the city and can't get hotel rooms that are at least three floors high. Sure, you can cram everyone into the Superdome (when was the last time that place saw full capacity?) but they're calling for a 28 wall of water to come crashing down on the city. The Superdome is going to look like Atlantis, no?

Then there's people like this:

In the French Quarter, the revelers, street musicians, tarot card readers and fortune tellers carried on like it was any other Saturday.

``I'll be here tomorrow, I'm not leaving,'' said trombonist Eddie ``Doc'' Lewis. ``I've been through typhoons, monsoons, tornadoes, hurricanes and every other phoon, soon or storm. I'm not worried.''

Down the street, psychic Jackie Wilson waited for customers at a card table, advertising ``Free sample readings.''

``I'm not leaving, we live in a 100-year-old building a block away,'' she said. ``It's survived all that time. But I tell you, this is ground-X right here. This storm is heading right for us. Get ready.'

Ok, then. You're just stupid.

You want to know what a category five hurricane does?

[click for bigger]

Would YOU hang around for that? Hell, even if I were Jim Cantore and being paid the big bucks to stick around, I wouldn't.

Good luck to everyone in New Orleans. Get the hell out and stay safe.

WWL TV feed
NOLA cams
Brendan Loy is doing a lot of hurricane blogging

Read this article on the potential effect of a hurricane striking NO.

"A couple of days ago," explains Maestri, "We actually had an exercise where we brought a fictitious Category Five Hurricane into the metropolitan area." When the computer models showed Walter Maestri what would happen after a hurricane hit New Orleans, he wrote big letters on the map: "KYAGB—kiss your ass good bye." Photo: William Brangham/NOW with Bill Moyers

The map is covered with arrows and swirls in erasable marker. They show how the fictitious hurricane crossed Key West and then smacked into New Orleans.

When the computer models showed Maestri what would happen next, he wrote big letters on the map, all in capitals.

"KYAGB—kiss your ass good bye," reads Maestri.
"Because," says Maestri, "anyone who was here when that storm came across was gone—it was body-bag time. We think 40,000 people could lose their lives in the metropolitan area."

Here's hoping for the best for the residents of New Orleans. And here's hoping the hurricane partiers wise up before it's too late.


Holy shit.


That is one frightening image.


This post is still getting a lot of hits/comments. Please not this was written before the hurricane struck. Please go to the "main" link at the top of the page and scroll down for links to stories about good news coming out of the area and ways you can help.

Another Music Meme: Gotta make a move to the town that's right for me

I am such a sucker for music memes. So here's another.

Via Johnny Bacardi and Pop Culture Gadabout:
A.) Go to musicoutfitters.com
B.) Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year
C.) Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. Do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about).


1. Call Me, Blondie
2. Another Brick In The Wall, Pink Floyd
3. Magic, Olivia Newton-John
4. Rock With You, Michael Jackson
5. Do That To Me One More Time, Captain and Tennille
6. Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Queen
7. Coming Up, Paul McCartney
8. Funkytown, Lipps, Inc.
<9. It's Still Rock And Roll To Me, Billy Joel
10. The Rose, Bette Midler
11. Escape (The Pina Colada Song), Rupert Holmes
12. Cars, Gary Numan
13. Cruisin', Smokey Robinson
14. Working My Way Back To You/Forgive Me Girl, Spinners
15. Lost In Love, Air Supply
16. Little Jeannie, Elton John
17. Ride Like The Wind, Cristopher Cross
18. Upside Down, Diana Ross
19. Please Don't Go, K.C. and The Sunshine Band
20. Babe, Styx
21. With You I'm Born Again, Billy Preston and Syreeta
22. Shining Star, Manhattans
23. Still, Commodores
24. Yes, I'm Ready, Teri De Sario With K.C.
25. Sexy Eyes, Dr. Hook
26. Steal Away, Robbie Dupree
27. Biggest Part Of Me, Ambrosia
28. This Is It, Kenny Loggins
29. Cupid-I've Loved You For A Long Time, Spinners
30. Let's Get Serious, Jermaine Jackson
31. Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer, Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes
32. Sailing, Christopher Cross
33. Longer, Dan Fogelberg
34. Coward Of The County, Kenny Rogers
35. Ladies Night, Kool and The Gang
36. Take Your Time, S.O.S. Band
37. No More Tears (Enough Is Enough), Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer
38. Too Hot, Kool and The Gang
39. More Love, Kim Carnes
40. Pop Muzik, M
41. Brass In Pocket, Pretenders
42. Special Lady, Ray, Goodman and Brown
43. Send One Your Love, Stevie Wonder
44. The Second Time Around, Shalamar
45. We Don't Talk Anymore, Cliff Richard
47. Heartache Tonight , Eagles
48. Stomp, Brothers Johnson
49. Tired Of Toein' The Line, Rocky Burnette
50. Better Love Next Time, Dr. Hook
51. Him, Rupert Holmes
52. Against The Wind, Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band
53. On The Radio, Donna Summer
54. Emotional Rescue, Rolling Stones
55. Rise, Herb Alpert
56. All Out Of Love, Air Supply
57. Cool Change, Little River Band
58. You're Only Lonely, J.D. Souther
59. Desire, Andy Gibb
60. Let My Love Open The Door, Pete Townshend
61. Daydream Believer, Anne Murray
62. I Can't Tell You Why, Eagles
63. Don't Let Go, Isaac Hayes
64. Don't Do Me Like That, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
65. She's Out Of My Life, Michael Jackson
66. Fame, Irene Cara
67. Fire Lake, Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band
68. How Do I Make You, Linda Ronstadt
69. Into The Night, Benny Mardones
70. Let Me Love You Tonight, Pure Prairie League
71. Misunderstanding, Genesis
72. An American Dream, Dirt Band
73. One Fine Day, Carole King
74. Dim All The Lights, Donna Summer
75. You May Be Right, Billy Joel
76. Hurt So Bad, Linda Ronstadt
77. Should've Never Let You Go, Neil Sedaka and Dara Sedaka
78. Pilot Of The Airwaves, Charlie Dore
79. Off The Wall, Michael Jackson
80. I Pledge My Love, Peaches and Herb
81. The Long Run, Eagles
82. Stand By Me, Mickey Gilley
83. Heartbreaker, Pat Benatar
84. Deja Vu, Dionne Warwick
85. Drivin' My Life Away, Eddie Rabbitt
86. Take The Long Way Home, Supertramp
87. Sara, Fleetwood Mac
88. Wait For Me, Daryl Hall and John Oates
89. Jo Jo, Boz Scaggs
90. September Morn, Neil Diamond
91. Give Me The Night, George Benson
92. Broken Hearted Me, Anne Murray
93. You Decorated My Life, Kenny Rogers
94. Tusk, Fleetwood Mac
95. I Wanna Be Your Lover, Prince
96. In America, Charlie Daniels Band
97. Breakdown Dead Ahead, Boz Scaggs
98. Ships, Barry Manilow
99. All Night Long, Joe Walsh
100. Refugee, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

Wow, 1980 was a horrible year for popular music. Horrible. I know 99% of the songs on there, but most of them are left blank because...meh. They were songs I heard on the radio and dismissed as not good enough to like but not bad enough to hate. Honestly, I can sing almost every single song on that chart word for word. I'm not proud of it, but it's not my fault. These things just seep into your head through some sort of top 40 radio osmosis. And they stay there forever, embedded in your brain and mosly forgotten about until one day you wake up singing Coward of the County and you don't know why. It's just your brain fucking with you, is all.

So, yea, I like Air Supply. I think I've admitted to that enough times by now. And even though I was big into the "Disco Sucks" thing, that one Donna Summer song makes me want to dance, and who in their right mind can really resist Funkytown?

And Emotional Rescue? Easily the worst song the Rolling Stones EVER made.

My god, look at that list. Olivia Newton John. Captaine and Tenille. Keeny Rogers. Bob Seger. Neil Diamon. Mickey freaking Gilley. How white bread America (read: boring) were the charts back then? No wonder I holed myself up in my room with my ginormous headphones and my satanic metal and "dangerous" punk.

Here's what I was really listening to in 1980 (not an all inclusive list, just a list of songs that were played a lot that particular year)

  • AC/DC - "You Shook Me All Night Long"
  • Split Enz - "I Got You" (wrote about that one here)
  • The Clash - "Brand New Cadillac" (need I get into the whole LONDON CALLING ROCKS thing again?)
  • Talking Heads - "Once in a Lifetime"
  • Pink Floyd - "Comfortably Numb" (yea, everyone was playing Run Like Hell or Brick in the Wall, but the stoners mellowed out Gilmour's solo)
  • The Vapors - "Turning Japanese"
  • The Jam - "That's Entertainment"
  • The Pretenders = "Tattooed Love Boys"
  • B-52's - "Dance This Mess Around"
  • The Cure - "Boys Don't Cry"
  • Boomtown Rats - "I Don't Like Mondays"
  • Van Halen - "And the Cradle Will Rock"
  • Ramones - "Rock 'n' Roll High School"
  • Steve Forbert - Romeo's Tune" (long story)
  • Utopia - "Set Me Free" (what an amazing albumP
  • Rush - "Spirit of Radio"
  • ZZ Top - "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide" (which would have been my tagline had blogs existed in 1980)
  • Peter Gabriel - Games Without Frontiers (from a truly amazing album I should write more about)
  • U2 - "I Will Follow" (best debut album ever)
  • Queen - "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
  • The Police = "Canary in a Coal Mine" (I just could not bring myself to sing that dodododadada song out loud. this one was far superior)
  • Judas Priest - "Breaking the Law" (ok, show of hands: how many of you automatically do the Beavis and Butthead thing when you hear this song?)
  • Black Sabbath - "Heaven and Hell" (Ronnie James Dio!)

August 27, 2005

and i will hug him and squeeze him and call him george!

Well, not George. Because it's a SHE.

And SHE is a wonderful, wanted birthday present from my sister, bro-in-law and nephew (who adopted this kitty's sister):

kitty3 kitty2 kitty1
click all for bigger

That's right - I am officially a CAT BLOGGER!! (And I almost titled this post "some pussy for my birthday").

So this cat needs a name. This isn't a contest or anything, I'm just looking for suggestions because I SUCK when it comes to naming live objects. My kids are lucky they aren't called Girl and Boy.

My first idea was to name it Alano. So I can say, "This is my cat...Alano." Get it? My last name is Catalano and....yea, anyhow.

Next idea was Leeloo (as in Fifth Element). But I don't want to spend my days explaining to people that we don't mean Lilo from Lilo and Stitch.

Also considered: Zelda, Lenore and Mathilda.

Natalie wanted to name it Dog. No.

Suggestion box is officially open.

a picture

Just because I like it.

life in a fishbowl

Out the rest of the day. Enjoy yours.

The Collision in Crawford! The Tumult in Texas! The Ruckus at the Ranch!

You've got your left leaning wingnuts and your right leaning wingnuts. You've got the Aryan nation, Al Sharpton, protest warriors, anti-protesters, prayer vigils, sing-a-longs, flag-sellers, preachers, anti-Semites, jingoists, moonbats, conspiracy theorists, gawkers, media and triple digit temperatures.

I smell impending disaster.

Or at least something worth grabbing a bucket of popcorn and turning on CNN for.

August 26, 2005

life aquatic

the evil eye

Took 214 pictures at the aquarium today. I posted about 1/4 of them on flckr. I'm really happy with most of them. It would awful sweet of ya to check them out. If, you know, you're into that sort of thing.

little hideaway beneath sea

Full aquarium set here. You can view them as a slideshow, though I do recommend viewing each at full size. Especially the sharks.

[cue jaws music]

An Axl to Grind

I'm not one to shy away from an opportunity to post a repeat, especially when I'm going to be gone most of the day.

And seeing as that no less than eight people have emailed the link about Slash and Duff suing Axl, I figured I'd throw this one up on the front burner again, just because I love to read the emails from the raging Axl fans who think I should be shot, hung and drowned.


[I chopped off the first part of the post for various reasons; all quoted parts are from this NYT article on Axl and the making of Chinese Democracy]

My history with Axl and company is a long and complicated one. I imagine that most metal fans who hooked on to the early GnR bandwagon followed the same path I did. Think of the seven stages of grief in reverse. From acceptance (Appetite for Destruction = welcome to my record collection!) to denial (I swear to you I never owned The Spaghetti Incident), we watched - and in some ways participated in - the slow death of a once great band. But it wasn't their years of putting out head banging, fist pumping music that was the greatest show. No, it was watching Axl Rose trying in vain to raise the Phoenix from the ashes that offered the most jaw dropping, car-wreck kind of entertainment this side of the November Rain video.1080751049_3675.jpg

Real music fans don't just buy an album, get their groove on and put the album away until later. We invest a part of ourselves in each record we buy. And, by extension, we invest a piece of ourselves in the bands we love. We form a relationship, so to speak, with the band as a whole. And it's a tenuous sort of relationship, because the only thing that ties us together is the actual music. A new album comes out, you listen for the first time and each perfectly crafted song is tantamount to being embraced by a passionate lover. Every lyric that resonates, beat that you feel in your bones, hook that captures your soul - it's like making love to the music and those who made the music (metaphorically speaking, of course). The better the anticipated album or single, the more intense the action is. So each new album we wait for is like the promise of hot, dirty sex after your partner has been away for a while. And in that essence, Chinese Democracy has been a years long cock tease.

My real lust for the band kind of faded right around Civil War. It was then I realized that GnR was the equivalent of the girl who teases you with her perky breasts for years and when you finally manage to get under the hood, you grab hold of three inches of padded bra. All that music before Use Your Illusion II was just a ruse to get us to this point. They gave us the good stuff first so they could later on sit back and make this pretentious, melodramatic drivel that they called art. There was nothing left to them. Empty D cups.

I never held a grudge against the rest of the band like I do Axl. He was - and is - a self indulgent monster whose posturing bravado could never hide the fact that he was really nothing more than a wimp, a nancy boy, a withered soul of a human being who couldn't handle criticism or competition. Yet somehow, he managed to convince himself that he was the king of the mountain and deserved every indulgence he demanded - something the attempted creation of Chinese Democracy has made all so evident, especially since he surrounded himself with people just like himself.

He accompanied Buckethead on a jaunt to Disneyland when the guitarist was drifting toward quitting, several people involved recalled; then Buckethead announced he would be more comfortable working inside a chicken coop, so one was built for him in the studio, from wood planks and chicken wire.

Out of the entire five page NYT article, that excerpt alone is what symbolizes both Axl Rose and the whole warped evolution of Guns N Roses. Ridiculous excess, indulgence, pretentiousness and the penchant for extending the idea of making an album to such ridiculous heights that, somehow, building a chicken coop for Buckethead seemed like a good way for Geffen to spend their money.

And how much money has Chinese Democracy cost to make so far?
[Axl] has racked up more than $13 million in production costs, according to Geffen documents, ranking his unfinished masterpiece as probably the most expensive recording never released.

13 million dollars to make an album that a) will probably never see the light of day and b) even if it did, would never recoup the costs to the label or even be worth listening to at this point. Who wants to hear what a lover has to say after they've kicked you in the back time and time again? At some point, you walk. You don't look back. After all the teasing - the MTV awards, the New Year's Eve show, the inlkings of what the record would sound like, the addition of people like Robin Finck to the band - to still be standing here waiting for some GnR loving is to victimize yourself.

Mr. Rose is reportedly working on the album even now in a San Fernando Valley studio. "The 'Chinese Democracy' album is very close to being completed," Merck Mercuriadis, the chief executive officer of Sanctuary Group, which manages Mr. Rose, wrote in a recent statement.

Mr. Mercuriadis was not very happy with the NYT article and wrote a letter to the editor, in which he called the author of the piece, Jeff Leeds, "the return of Jayson Blair under a pseudonym."

Axl Rose is not interested in fame, money, popularity or what the New York Times or any other paper for that matter might think of him. His only interest is making the best album he is capable of so that it can have a positive affect in 2005 on people who are enthusiasts of music and interested in Guns N' Roses. His artistic integrity is such that he has chosen to do so without compromise at great personal sacrifice which makes him a soft target for the sort of rubbish you have chosen to print. I believe he will have the last laugh.

One has to wonder if Mr. Mercuriadis really believes what he wrote. Or perhaps he is just a victim of Axl's cult of personality. Maybe Mercuriadis and Axl both really believe that Chinese Democracy will be released some day. Maybe they both believe it won't raise the bar on suckitude. And maybe they believe that whatever ragtag band Axl ends up with deserves to be called Guns N Roses. But the phrases "artistic integrity" and "great personal sacrfice" don't really come to mind when I think of Axl Rose. Is it that "artistic integrity" that's causing his old bandmates to sue him?

I prefer to remember Axl the way I first loved him; all swaying hips and high decibel screaming, causing riots, forgetting to show up for concerts, making an ass of himself in ways that are forgivable in rock and roll. The whole Chinese Democracy saga? As unforgivable as The Spaghetti Incident.

Pam Anderson Contest Winners

See contest here.

Sadly, they did not win Pamela, nor even a reasonable fascimile of her. But they did win a copy of her Pulitizer nominated daring work of fiction, Star Struck.

The first winner is JohnO, for:

I removed the clamps hours ago. Yet there they are, throbbing like a jazz-funk bass at an Earth, Wind & Fire concert. I only have 30 minutes before my speech on nanotechnology at M.I.T., so I better find a way to relieve the pain. Let's see...Tylenol, toothpaste, Band-Aids. Hemmoroid cream??!! Crazy, but maybe just crazy enough to work.

The second winner is Farmer Joe with:

Why do my nipples hurt? Well, they say that when your palm itches it means that you're going to come into some money. So in this case, well, let's just say I'm wearing new underwear. Just in case.

Congrats, guys. Please send me your mailing addresses and I'll get your prizes out Monday morning. Saturday, if you're lucky. I know you can't wait.

We're off to the aquarium for the day. Back this evening with 7,000 pictures of marine life.

Thanks to the judges: Solonor, Allah, Seki, Bonnie, Lisa and Jo-Anne.

For that not-so-fresh, stinging feeling


[click for bigger]

I don't know what's more absurd; douching with Lysol or the idea that the husband (obviously on the other side of the "ignorant" door) is acting like the wife has a bad case of cooties. Or that the woman is somehow IGNORANT because she's not so fresh. Or the use of the phrase "dainty feminine allure." Or the whole rest of the text.

And it's not a Photoshop. See here for historical background:

The Girl He Married.
Why does she spend her evenings alone?
Ohh Domestic Crisis!
A web of indifference

So remember ladies: if you are not getting any from your man, it's probably because you smell. Disinfect that cooter with Lysol today! Now in lemon fresh scent! And for those times when there's just no chance for a luxorious Lysol douche, there's wipes

[first ad via MeFi]

August 25, 2005

And then we ate Jabba

I know how riveted you are with the details of my birthday.

Here's tonight's loot:

birthday loot

And this was an anniversary present from mom and dad.


Rock. It has tea pods, too. And an niced tea spout. And coffee called buzzworthy.

It's been a great day.

Thanks to everyone who left birthday wishes and/or sent postcards. Y'all rock.

Jabba and Roses

Came home to find this cake cooling on the stove:

death's head

It's clearly Jabba the Cake. I'm going to sell this to Golden Palace.

I also came home to a box containing:


Yes, those are Godiva. No, you can't have one.

I'd like to thank my good friend and true deity for this wonderful birthday present.

I also came home to a very clean house.

It's been a good day so far, and I didn't even get the presents from my family yet.

Update: I just bit into one of the Godiva truffles.

I may have just had an orgasm in my mouth.


Trying to put together a story fortoday's theme at 100 Words I was reminded of all the overheard conversations I posted here. So, being the courteous, giving and out-of-fresh-blogging-ideas person I am, I decided to gather them all right here for your convenience.

  • At a PTA Conference

lady1: man, that really gets my goat.
lady 2: you don't have a goat
lady 1: what?
lady 2: you said it gets your goat. you don't have one. and even if you did, why would anyone want it?
lady 1: christ, it's a figure of speech
lady 2: yea i know. But..goats. you know?
long pause
lady 1: man, that really gets my tits

  • Also at a conference:

woman 1: this coffee is giving me a stomach ache
woman 2: go poop. you'll feel better
woman 1: yea. I'm gonna go drop some bombs on Afganhistan. Be back in a few.

  • In 7-11, by the coffee machine

Girl: What are we going to do tonight?
Guy: (shrugs) we could fuck for three hours or so...
Girl: Uh..I have my period.
Guy: (leeringly) not in your mouth, you don't.
(Girl slaps guy in the head)

  • Supermarket:

Woman 1: Mmmm... I love cheese danish. Let's get those.
Woman 2: Ick..no. My mom bought them once and they tasted like cum.

  • My daughter's basketball game:

Natalie (to teammate): What's your problem? You've been squirming around all night!
Girl: I...I have gas. It hurts.
Natalie. So? Fart!
Girl: I can't fart!! That's just so rude.
Natalie: You want to hear my fart motto?
Girl: I guess.
Natalie: Go with the flow, with the gas in your ass!
Girl (giggling): Go with the flow, with the gas in your ass!
Natalie: Yea, go for it!
Girl: (insert long, low fart sound here)
Natalie: See? You look better already.
Girl: I never knew a fart could be so good.
Natalie: Or smell so bad!

  • In Staples:

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.

  • Reception desk, doctor's office:

Receptionist: "Mr. Green! How have you been?"
Mr. Green (who is about 60 years old and is wearing a layer of gold chains over to go with his wide collar leisure suit): Great! I've got a twenty year old girlfriend and she's still a virgin!"
Receptionist: "Um...that's nice, Mr. Green."
Mr. Green: "Hey, I'm just kidding sweetie. You know I only date whores!"

  • Doctor's waiting room, same day as above:

Guy 1 (about 35-40 years old, has that freshly hungover look): "Hey, dude! I haven't seen you in months!
Guy 2: Oh..hey. How you been?
Guy 1: Not bad. Still not working, just drinking and shit.
Guy 2: You still fucking Samantha?
Guy 1: Nah, Samantha is fucking girls now.
Guy 2: Oh, I hear ya on that.
Guy 2: Oh, look there's that sniper thing (looks up at CNN on waiting room television). You know, I thought of you when that shit first happened.
Guy 1: Heh, you thought it was me?
Guy 2: Well, it wouldn't have been the first time you went around shooting people.

  • Supermarket:

woman: What should I make for dinner tonight?
man: Big fat titties!
woman: Excuse me?
man: Big fat titties rubbed in garlic and oil!
woman: (rolling eyes) We had chicken breast on Wednesday.

2 college age workers stacking shelves at Walgreens:

Guy: Hey, that guy was staring at your tits!
Girl: Nah, I don't think so. I've seen him in here before and I think he's gay.
Guy: Honey, even gay guys like tits.
Girl: No they don't!
Guy: Trust me on this one, ok?
Girl stares at guy for a few seconds. Guy blushes.
Girl: OH.MY.GOD! You're GAY! You are, aren't you?
Guy: I've been working here two weeks and you're just figuring that out?
Girl: Well, I...I...
Guy: As if my obsession with Elijah Wood didn't give it away?
Girl: OH.MY.GOD.
Guy: You're horrified, aren't you?
Girl: Dude, I am SO going to fix you up with my brother. You're coming over my house tonight.
Guy: OH, does he look like Elijah??

  • Parking lot at work:

Woman 1: You better go read your bible, you fucking whore!
Woman 2: I read the bible and you need to ask for forgiveness you dumb bitch!

Could this be it?

Could it finally be happening? A movie that will really be scary and creepy and not just a series of fake scares and cliched killings? A movie that will leave me sleepless and needing a nightlight? A movie that I'll be watching through fingers spread over my eyes?

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

I think this is it. Finally.

My name is talking Tina and I'm going to kill you

And you thought that mannequin was creepy.

August 24, 2005

another 100 words

Side note: The winners of the Pamela Anderson book contest will be announced tomorrow morning. Just waiting on one more judge's votes.

Perhaps you have seen this guy floating around the internet the past few days:

Every picture tells a story, right?

This is the story of Jack.

Come on, you've got 100 words in you. Share yours.

Iron Maiden, Eggs, Etc.

So a zillion people have sent me links to the story about Ozzfest fans booing Maiden and throwing eggs at them.

I'll just say this about that: Sharon Osbourne is a fucking cunt. I'm sorry, there is no other word for her. She orchestrated the entire thing and anyone who has ever dealt with her, worked in the music business or even knows someone in the rock music business will most likely tell you that yes, she is a whorebeastbitch and she absolutely is not above sabotaging other bands.

And eggs? Fucking EGGS? Who the hell brings eggs to Ozzfest? No one, that's who. They were SUPPLIED.

Go read this account of how she (and/or people at her behest) basically terrorized and ambushed Maiden. Really, read the whole thing. It's amazing.


Nobody fucks with the Maiden.

just had to get that out of my system. been stewing about it since yesterday

Aces high!

liberals under the bed

Judging from my search result and Techonorati, severyone in the blogosphere is talking about the book "Help, There Are Liberals Under My Bed."

I reviewed it TWO MONTHS AGO, people.
Get with the program.

Also, it is NOT A PARODY. Not at all.

Sad to say.

Google Talk

Anyone download it?

It's the only IM client I can connect to at work.

I'm signed in at michele.catalano


Musical Chairs: Eddie Van Halen

Last week I mentioned that I joined a consortium of music bloggers who will blog each Wednesday about music gods- We're calling it Musical Chairs. How it works is, we all pick a music god to write about and then the others can add their own thoughts to yours.

The musical chair particpants for this week (and their subjects) are:

Andrew (Steve Jones of Sex Pistols fame): Post here
Tesco (Tim Alexander of Primus): Post here
Courtney (Richard Thompson): Post here
Mr. Nimbus (George Martin): Post here

Stay tuned for permalinks for when they get their posts up; I think I'm the early riser among the group.

My subject: The one, the only EDDIE VAN HALEN.

TheManIt seems like every time I talk about Eddie Van Halen, someone has to bring up Yngwie Malmsteen. Let's get this out of the way: Yes, I know that Malmsteen did this whole show-offy thing where he played "Eruption" blindfolded, using just his two front teeth, while juggling chainsaws with one hand and wacking off to pictures of himself with the other. Or something like that. I just want to head off any ensuing discussion that will involve Mr. Malmsteen, and let you know that all mentions of him will be ignored. Let's talk about Eddie.

Eddie is a rock LEGEND

As written by Nerf Herder:

I bought Van Halen I
It was the best damn record I ever owned
TG&Y 1978
Two hand tapping guitar technique really got me off
Eruption yeah, ain't talkin' 'bout love, I'm on fire

He certainly didn't invent the two hand tapping technique, but he brought it to the forefront of rock and roll. He took that technique, toyed with it, made modifications and adjustments and variations, and turned it into his, and the band's, trademark sound. What you hear when you listen to the-guitar-solo-as-song Eruption> is a meaty, full, percussive wall of sound that you feel in your gut and heart as well as your ears.

When you put on a Van Halen song (and we're talking David Lee Roth era Van Halen here; once Eddie got it in his head that he should be playing keyboards over Sammy Hagar's schmaltzy, orchestrated, pop music love ballad crooning, Van Halen lost the plot. They do not exist outside the realm of David Lee Roth for me and, as such, when I say "Van Halen song" it applies only to those albums) everyone knows it's Van Halen. It's not Dave's voice, not Alex's drumming, not whatever the other guy in the band did. It's the guitar. It's the sound of Eddie Van Halen rocking with his cock out, Eddie manipulating that guitar like nobody's business, Eddie making your heart pound and your fist pump in the air, Eddie making you whip out your air guitar and wail away, just go crazy right there in your living room until you realize your entire family is standing there, staring at you, but then you put on Runnin' With the Devil and they all join in.

Eddie made it all look easy, too. When he played, it was like second nature to him, like it's what his hands were born to do; an effortless, smooth, precision like banging out of notes and rhythms that came across not just as screechy guitar solos, but as music - real, tuneful music. As my friend and guitarist Solonor (who points to EVH's solo in Michael Jackson's Beat It as one of his best) says:

"The thing about Eddie's solos is that they were lyrical. In my opinion, all the best guitar solos can be sung in your head after the record stops."

EVH contributed so much to rock and roll, musically and technically (but I bow out of the technical aspects of this discussion. Perhaps I'll let my son - who hero worships EVH - write about that some time).

Essential listening:

Eruption (download)
Runnin' with the Devil
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love (download)
Atomic Punk
You Really Got Me (download)

Andrew responds:

Van Halen I was THE VH record of my youth. I never owned it, but I listened to it over and over again at my friend Jesse's apartment. I think I memorized every note of Eddie Van Halen's guitar -- from the wicked, metallurgical resonance of "Runnin' With the Devil" to the choppy tones of "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" and everything else on that record -- or at least on side 1. I was fixated on side 1. The brilliance of "Eruption" and how it segued into Van Halen's more traditional, steady-rockin' cover of the Kinks' "You Really Got Me" is permanently programmed into my auditory memory. David Lee Roth's vocals on "You Really Got Me" were tougher, sexier than Ray Davies's of the Kinks, and this is one of the few cover tunes that improve upon the original, but Eddie's devastating licks and the way they punctuate, accentuate and somehow amplify DLR's vocals -- those licks are what convert this tune from just another cover into a true Van Halen classic.

Andrew makes a good point about the Eruption segue. It's like listening to Zeppelin's Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid. And YRGM is probably one of the finest reworkings of a classic song I've ever heard.

Courtney responds:

First, Yngwie, wacking off to pictures of himself? Priceless.

Also, Van Halen's lineup will ALWAYS BE: Michael Anthony, Alex Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen, and David Lee Roth. End of discussion. Ahh, ahh, zip it. Diamond Dave rules.

Now, onto Eddie. Yes, the song that immediately pops into my head when I think of Van Halen is "Running with the Devil", and you're right. It's all about that guitar. Sure, he could play fast, and sure, that two-finger thing was badass, but even when he wasn't being "Eddie Van Halen", the guitar sound of Van Halen defined a generation. I love to listen to those old riffs; they epitomize what rock and roll guitar should be. They weren't overblown, they weren't buzzy power chords at lightning speed, they were good, arpeggio-ridden, whah-whah lovely rock riffs. EVERYONE loves those riffs, admit it.

So now, reach down, in between my legs, and ease the seat back...

Courtney obviously shares my affection for old school VH. And funny thing about those words to Panama she quotes - I can't listen to that song when DJ is in the car because not only the words, but the way Dave says them - it's like listening to porn-on-tape in front of your 12 year old.

And Tesco's thoughts on EVH:

Eddie Van Halen is one of the masters. As you said, he didn't create the tapping sound but he certainly perfected it. The feel of early Van Halen can't be denied by anyone - There is definately at LEAST one VH tune that you will be nuts for whether you want to admit it or not. I'll never forget when Howard Stern
had a contest inviting his listeners to play the intro for Hot For Teacher... no one could touch it. I know one dude that can play Eddie's riffs with precision and the same feel... one... and even he'll never own up to it!

Which begs the question? What's your favorite VH song? (Anyone who says Dreams gets a bitchslap).

[Also, be sure to check back on this post later for permalinks to the other ring members' posts. ]

Update: Links fixed. I'm a moron.

August 23, 2005

100 Yellow Words



You'll have to go here to read what that's about.

you can rock the cynics if you try

Because I got King Herod's song stuck in some of your brains today, I thought I'd let everyone have this particular earworm.

King Herod's Song (Try it and See)- Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack

I much prefer the movie version to the original cast version. More oomph in the singing.

Now, for those who have never seen JCS, you're just going to have to imagine a sleazy Josh Mostel prancing and preening as he's singing this song. The whole routine is really a joy to behold, especially the kickline bit.


And really, if you've never seen it, go rent it. It's one of my favorite movies of all time. Ted Neeley is the most amazing Jesus you will ever see (besides the real one, I suppose) and Carl Anderson's performance as Judas will give you goosebumps.

You did know I have a weak spot for musicals, right?

I should blog a musical every day. Until I run out of good ones. Once you get to Paint Your Wagon, you know you're done.

Lyrics below. Sing along!

Jesus I am overjoyed to meet you face to face
You've been getting quite a name all around the place
Healing cripples, raising from the dead
And now I understand you're God
At least that's what you've said

So you are the Christ
You're the great Jesus Christ
Prove to me that you're divine
Change my water into wine
That's all you need do
Then I'll know it's all true
C'mon King of the Jews

Jesus you just won't believe
The hit you've made around here
You are all we talk about
The wonder of the year
Oh what a pity if it's all a lie
Still I'm sure that you can rock the cynics if you try

So if you are the Christ
Yes the great Jesus Christ
Prove to me that you're no fool
Walk across my swimming pool
If you do that for me
Then I'll let you go free
C'mon King of the Jews

I only ask things I'd ask
Any superstar
What is it that you have got
That puts you where you are
I am waiting, yes I'm a captive fan
I'm dying to be shown that you are not just any man

So if you are the Christ
Yes the great Jesus Christ
Feed my household with this bread
You can do it on your head
Or has something gone wrong
Why do you take so long
C'mon King of the Jews

Hey, aren't you scared of me Christ
Mister wonderful Christ
You're a joke, you're not the Lord
You're nothing but a fraud
Take him away, he's got nothing to say
Get out you King of the
Get out you King of the
Get out you King of the Jews
Get out you King of the Jews
Get out of my life

honey suckers and cloud eaters

My nectar shakes bring the bees to the yard.
bee mine
[clicky clicky to view at original size]

There's a few more bee pictures over at flckr, and then there are clouds. Mmmmm...clouds. Like nature's performance art. I know I've written these words a gazillion times before, but I could spend the rest of my life doing nothing but staring at clouds (ok, maybe I'd stop to eat or drink or pee. And get a neck massage).


Reminds me of an overheard conversation;

September 13, 2001. I was waiting for DJ to get out of school (his first week of kindergarten). The bell rang and the first little boy out the door came bounding down the steps and jumped into his waiting father's arms, like a scene out of a commercial for life insurance.

Dad: What did you do today?
Boy: The same. Looked out the window.
Dad: What did you see?
Boy: The same. Giraffes.
Dad: What were they doing?
Boy: The same. Eating the clouds.
Dad: (silence)
Boy: That's why it was nice out today. I made them eat all the clouds.
Dad: Good boy.

I love how the father indulged his son's whimsical imagination.

Go on, browse through my pictures. Just watch out for the clown.

Worst. Mother. Ever. [Updated]

Or maybe most clueless. Or stupidest.

13-Year-Old Milwaukee Boy Missing Teenager Leaves Note, Never Returns

So, the mother is frantic that someone has brainwashed her son through the internet and talked him into getting on a bus. She's scared he might be kidnapped or dead.

The kid had been spending a lot of time on the computer.

"And you said he would share things with you about who he was talking to," 12 News' Mike Anderson said.

"Yes," Terlecki said.

"And what did he say?" Anderson asked.

"He basically, there were people that were offering to send bus tickets and pick him up and take him out of state," Terlecki said.

There's clue number one, mom. And what did she do? She put blocks on the computer, but he got passed them. She limited his time, but she'd get up on the middle of the night and he'd still be on.

This is the point where a normal mother would physically take the computer away and also do some research on these people that were offering her son bus passes. But, no.

And then Justin went missing.

"He left a note that he'd be in touch, and I've heard nothing and that's not like him. He's a big mommy's boy. I think something is terribly wrong. I think somebody hurt him or killed him," Terlecki said.

Left a note? What kind of note, mom?

His mother's instincts kicked in when she realized that for the first time her son failed to come home on time. He left a note Wednesday between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. saying he'd be back by Saturday. He didn't show. "I fell apart terribly on Saturday when he didn't come home at the end of the day," Terlecki said.


Your son is 13 years old and leaves a note that he'll be gone from Wednesday to Saturday and IT'S NOT UNTIL SATURDAY THAT YOUR MOTHERLY INSTINCS KICK IN? What the HELL is wrong with you woman? If that boy comes back, he should be swooped up by social services immediately while you are forced to undergo parental training or psychiatric counseling. And stop calling him a big mommy's boy. Maybe THAT'S why he left!

Holyjesusonapogostick. What an irresponsible dumbfuck of a parent.

Some people do not deserve the breeding skills they were born with.

Update: A couple of people mentioned that the pit bull mother may be worse. I wrote about her here: Too stupid to exist.

News Flash: They found the kid, hanging with a convicted sexual offender in Arizona.


A Gathering of Links

The Pamela Anderson contest remains open through this afternoon.

That Harry Potter discussion
is still going on (over 200 comments now).

Smash is looking for a job as a project manager. Maybe you know someone who knows someone who might be hiring someone?

Engadget 1985

I've been taking part on the Phantom Professor's writing assignments.

Coheed and Cambria (remember? The band whose song I am fixated on? Have you downloaded/listened yet? Why not?) will be releasing a graphic novel based on their songs.

And just as a side note, I've had the King Herod song from Jesus Christ, Superstar (prove to me that you're divine, change my water into win) in my head for days. No matter what else I listen to, that particular song just won't leave my brain.

New favorite blogs: Dr. Jimmy's Basement Booty and Tales to Astonish!

I should probably do some work. Got links? Leave 'em below.

Happy Anniversary, Dagwood and Blondie
Or: The More Comics Strips Change....

blondie dagwoodI've been getting about a billion search requests a day for Dagwood, or some form of Dagwood and . After a bit of research, I figured out why. Dagwood and Blondie are celebrating 75 years of comic stripping together.

I was once a big fan of Dagwood and Blondie and the rest of the Bumstead family, so I wish them a very happy anniversary. It looks like the party is going to be a big one, with all kinds of characters getting invites and The official anniversary date is September 4th. The current strip and all the dailies leading up to the big day are filled with visits from other comic characters; the other invited strips are also making note of it on their own pages. News from Me offers a helpful list of which invited characters appear on which day.

I notice that many of those going to the party are from strips that I used to read as a child, but gave up on at some point. Heck, I gave up on newspaper comics all together many years ago.

Back in the day (yea, I just said back in the day, I'm a geezer like that) I waited at the front door for the newspaper boy in the morning so I could be the first to see what new adventures awaited Dondi. You don't remember Dondi, do you? He was a big-headed orphan kid who got into all kinds of adventures. I was a kid when I read Dondi, so I related to his stories. Of course, being a kid didn't stop me from reading Apartment 3G, most of which I didn't understand but followed like a soap opera anyhow. I half-heartedly followed the Peanuts gang, but my image of that whole crowd was ruined forever by an hysterical parody of the strip in Mad Magazine sometime in the 70's, with the gang as hippies. I used to read Broom Hilda and Gasoline Alley and the Amazing Spider Man and, yes, I followed the trials and tribulations of Brenda Starr right up until the moment Brooke Shields ruined the glamour for me.

Comics were thrilling back then. You really don't have to pick up a paper today to know what's happening on the comics page. In fact, I will boldly predict what today's full-paneled, full-colored strips will bring: Cathy goes on a diet! Garfield eats Lasagna! Jeffy does something precious! Dagwood makes a sandwich and/or takes a nap!

Where's the fresh jokes? Where is the satirical commentary on modern life? Is life in comic strips really that predictable? I long for the days of Spaceman Spiff, talking cows and my favorite penguin. and that weird kid named Dondi.

I imagine a world where all current comic strip characters live. Their daily lives are much like the lives they play out in the newspaper each day. Here comes Billy, running zig-zag through the neighborhood just to fetch his dad the paper, which was right on his front step all along! Ah, but next door neighbor Dagwood has had quite enough of this nonsense and runs after Billy, knocks him down and beats him with a Subway 12 incher. Cathy comes running out of her house to see what's going on and as Dagwood is mercilessly rubbing Billy's face in the dirt, Cathy gives in to her cravings and eats the Subway sandwich that Dagwood dropped. Uh, oh! Here comes the mom from For Better or Worse And they would all be entertained with a fantastic donut eating contest between Garfield and Cathy, and later on Momma will find Cathy puking her guts out and she'll realize what the rest of the world figured out long ago; Cathy has an eating disorder, most likely brought on by stress from dealing with both her overbearing mother and her passive aggressive boyfriend.

Of course, if I drew that comic land one day, it would end badly. I suppose some giant, drooling alien who goes by the name of Calvin and looks somewhat like a dinosaur would eventually stomp through town, crushing every last cliched character to death. Free at last. Ding Dong, Ziggy and his animals are dead.

I long for the days when comics weren't so treacly and warm and fuzzy. I don't want to see Grandpa's spirit hanging over Jeffy's shoulder, making sure he doesn't get hurt. If I wanted something like that, I would just start a Precious Moments collection. I want to see more strips where moms tell their sons to go play chicken with a train. I want to see more surreal silliness. I certainly don't want to see my formerly funny, cute, endearing, charming comic characters dealing with date rape and engaging in homewrecking.

One can only live so long on a steady diet of shopping and lasagna before they give up and close the paper. Sure, there are still a few comics I find funny, but I can just click and read and not have to open the paper funny page to find Dick Tracy staring up at me as if he was still relevant.

In my comic world, Dick Tracy would be retired by now, living in a one bedroom apartment where he spends his day cursing at Matlock on the television while resting another can of Miller Lite on his beer belly. Every once in a while, Brenda Starr would stop over for a visit, but things would always turn ugly when Dick reminds Brenda that she hasn't aged well at all.

Not many of them have aged well, actually. And the ones that did packed up and left the neighborhood a long time ago. Guess you gotta know when to fold 'em.

Still, I must take a moment to thank Blondie and Dagwood for the smiles and laughs they gave me, and the sandwiches Dagwood inspired me to make, back in the glory days of newspaper comics, back when the jokes were fresh and my morning highlight was reading the funnies.

[Well. This went much better than the last time I tried to blog about a comic strip character or that character's day of celebration]

August 22, 2005

Am I Demon?

Demonic Possession Detected!
You are possessed by Leonard

Leonard is demon of the first order, grand master of the sabbaths, chief of the subaltern demons, and inspector general of sorcery, black magic & witchcraft. From the waist up, Leonard has a goat's body with 3 horns on his head, a goat's beard, hair-like bristles, 2 ears like foxes, and inflamed eyes. He also has a face on his butt, which witches kiss while holding a green candle to adore him. Leonard can take the form of a bloodhound, a beef, a black bird, or a tree trunk with a gloomy face. When he attends the sabbath, he has the feet of a goose, although experts claim that he has no feet when in tree trunk form. Leonard's attitude is reserved and melancholic, but when he appears at witch and devil assemblies, he is commanding & uses situations to his advantage.

While you may be suffering some of the symptoms of Hormone Induced Migraine, only demonic possession can explain the whole package.

Admittedly, our system is less than 100% accurate so if you want to learn more about hormonal imbalance, check out Hera Clinic for Women. To learn more about demonic possession, check out Delirium's Realm.

Demonic Possession or Hormone Imbalance?

random camera phone picture

When marketing ideas go bad.

when marketing ideas go bad

Walgreen's, Bellmore, NY

Six Feet Under

Anyone else feel like they were being manipulated during the last ten minutes of the finale to Six Feet Under?

Anyone besides me think it was flat, uninspired and cliched (much like the last two seasons)?

[If you haven't watched the finale yet and plan to, I would think staying out of the comments would be a good idea]

lyrical monday

i hate
your tattoos
you have weak wrists
but i'll keep you
well it's too bad
you're married
to me.

What are you listening to right now (or what's in your head)? Just a few lyrics, not the song or artist.

The Official Pamela Anderson Give Away Contest

pandOh come ON. You didn't really think I was giving Pam away, did you? No, not even a blow up Pam. Not even a poster or video of Pam. Just her book.

As I mentioned yesterday, I received two copies of Pamela Anderson's novel Star Struck to give away here. The official blurb:

Star Wood Leigh is star struck in life and love. A hasty secret marriage to rock 'n' roll bad boy Jimi Deed triggers a chain of events that changes both of their lives. Together they soar to the heights of stardom and explore the dark side of celebrity. As their lives become more public, their secrets get even darker.

Well, they say write what you know.

And boy, does Pam get right into it. The opening of the book:

Why do my nipples hurt?

And thus, I've come up with an idea for the contest.

You are to come up with the follow-up sentences to that line. No more than five sentences. Points awarded for creativity, humor, absurdity, and quality of writing. Keeping in mind, of course, that the book is written by Pamela Anderson. Make it seem like it. And yes, grammar/spelling will count.

A panel of esteemed (and as yet unknown) judges will be sequestered starting 24 hours from now to determine the (two) winners, who will get a copy of this astounding addition to the annals of American literature.

And really, it's not just about the book. It's about winning something, anything. Like taking home that smelly, ratty stuffed turkey you won at the "throw the ring on the bottle" booth at the state fair. You didn't really want such a thing, but it proves your skill and talent and you will take it home and love it and hug it and squeeze it and call it George.

Just like that.

Contest starts now, closes tomorrow morning. Please leave all entries in the comments.

August 21, 2005

idea people needed

Simon & Schuster has been kind enough to send me two copies of Pamela Anderson's novel Star Struck to give away on the blog.

This calls for a good contest.

Any ideas?

[Allah already tossed out the obvious boobie contest idea, so don't bother going there.

I shall be reading/reviewing this week. Can't hardly wait.

100 words out of context

A 100 word story. Can you figure out what this is about without going here first?

“That’s my third broken heart this century. I’m such a loser.”

“Aww, you’re a great guy...”

“I’m a flying monkey in a fez.”

“Need I remind you she’s got no arms?”

“But she’s got that face.”

“I’ve seen better.”

“You’re a bird. What would you know?”

“I know beautiful. I used to crap on the most gorgeous statues when I was alive.”


“So, you going to Apollo’s party?”

“So I can watch her stare at his package all night?”

“Man, you’re really pining.”

“Can’t even kill myself.”

“It’s called eternal punishment for a reason, bud.”

“Thanks for the reminder.”

Let's Discuss, Part IV: Fixations

Have you ever become completely fixated on a song/album?

Recently I listened to Songs for the Deaf by Queens of the Stone Age every day, all day and night, for about five days straight. I specifically listened to "Mosquito Song" about 300 times.

This is what my Audioscrobbler playlist looks like since yesterday:


That's just when I've been sitting in this particular chair. I've listened to the song in the car, on the living room stereo and in the bedroom as well.

I go through phases with albums. I have 5,000 songs on my iPod, hundreds and hundreds of CDs, eleventybillion gigabytes of music on my computer, yet sometimes all I want is just one particular album or song over and over again. Two weeks ago it was The Mars Volta's L'Via L'Viaquez. Before that it was all of Van Halen I, over and over again. One time I listened to the Jesus Christ, Superstar soundtrack for six days straight.

What about you? Get fixated much?

easy like a sunday morning

death in the familyWe rarely use our backyard. Which is funny, because the one main thing that excited me so much about buying our house was having our own backyard.

Let's just say our yard needs work. The grass isn't really grass at all; it's more like wiry, sharp blades of of greenish, brownish steel that grow in scattered clumps. There's the circle of sand where the pool (which the previous owners left in a disastrous state) used to be. There's bushes and hedges that grow all kinds of flowers and berries, but which, like the hair of a five year old boy, look unruly and unkempt no matter how much care you give them. Basically, the yard is a mess and we're really hoping that by that start of next summer we'll have better grass, a brick patio kind of thing, and a barbecue pit/outdoor fireplace. We have plans. We just need to figure out which child to sell in order to get the money needed to put those plans in motion.

I felt like shooting some photos early this morning, so I tiptoed into the yard and was really suprised to see how much color, how much nature exists in this pit of pitifulness. The birds were chirping, the cicadas humming and the squirrels doing whatever squirrels do, which is mostly yelling at the birds to get off their lawn.

morning feedThe blackberries that were there two weeks ago are gone, replaced by some other kind of berry, probably poisonous. I caught a fly munching on one of the berries and he posed for the camera, but stupid me, I went into the jungles of my yard without my macro lens. I thanked the fly and moved on.

The flowers on the bushes are really very pretty; vivid colors, nice shape, no idea what they are because I'm not horticulturally inclined. I had a fleeting thought about keeping the bushes up when we redo the yard, but the flowers are too far and few between to justify that; the straggly branches and wild-haired leaves make me feel like the plants are in attack mode and will soon sprout claws and fingers, which they will use to drag me into their lair, which is probably inhabited by ugly trolls and leprauchans. Now, if they would come out for a photo shoot, that would really be something.

Hey, I'm just trying to make the best of what I've got right now. To you, it's a crappy looking backyard that needs ten thousand dollars worth of work to look even remotely decent. To me, it's a haven for evil creatures that lurk in the land of the living, wild bush. You take what you can get.

I'm about to go outside and try to get the squirrels and birds to pose for a group shot. I find they are usually very cooperative on Sunday mornings, as my neighbors do all their rude, loud yard work on Saturday mornings. At 7am. All of living nature disappears from our yard at the first sound of lawnmowers, power saws and some guy with eight miles of asscrack blasting Journey from a staticky boom box.

I'm not a big fan of birds. I think they are kind of evil, maybe satan's spawn, maybe messengers of the anti christ. If you look into a bird's eye, it will steal your soul. Bet you didn't know that. But they take time off from evilness on Sunday mornings. It's like their sabbath. Very few humans, save for the paper guy and the random jogger, venture out early in the AM on Sundays. So they can fly and flutter and peck on the trees without the noise of cars or jackhammers shooing them away. They put away their satan wings and do birdy things like chirp and sing and make babies. As people wake up, they step outside to fetch the paper or greet the dawn of a new day and the birds, having had their time of rest, get back to stealing souls and shitting on your head.

Sundays are for the birds. And they're waiting for me to photograph them. It's a little deal we have; they don't eat my soul if I make them out to look cute and benign in pictures. I'm probably not holding up my end of the bargain.

Or maybe I am.


[all bird photos]

August 20, 2005

Today's Viewing Booth: A DJ Saved My Life

Watch this short film.


/via MeFi

today's listening booth: welcome home

Rocking out to a new Coheed & Cambria song this morning. Sure, the album (Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness) didn't come out yet (9/20), but I've gotten my hands on this song and I want everyone to hear it so you know just how GOOD this album is going to be and then you'll all run out and buy it, so no one sue me for having this song here, I'm doing you all a FAVOR.

Trust me. This song is awesome. Put on your headphones for this one. Lyrics below.

Coheed & Cambria, Welcome Home

You could have been all i wanted
But you weren't honest
Now get in the ground
You choked off the surest of favors
But if you really loved me
You would have endured my reign

Well if you're just, as I presumed
A whore in sheep's clothing
Fucking up all i do

And if so here we stop
Then never again will you see
This in your life

Hang on to the glory at my right hand
Here lay to rest is a love ever long
With truth on the shores of confession
You seem to take premise to all of these souls

You stormed off to scar the armada
Like Jesus played letter
I'll drill through your hands
The stone for the curse you have blamed me

With love and devotion I'll die as you sleep
But you could just rat me out
To never mis-warn her happy will I become
Be true that this is no option
So rinse it, condemn you demon raiding in love

Hang on to the glory at my right hand
Here lay to rest is a love ever long
With truth on the shores of confession
You seem to take premise to all of these songs

One last kiss for you
One more wish till you
Please make up your mind girl
I'd do anything for you
One last kiss for you
One more wish till you
Please make up your mind girl
Before I hope you die

Quirks, Idiosyncrasies and weird habits

File this under Stealing a Meme from Sheila:

Write down five of your own personal idiosyncrasies.

Oy. I mean, I'm made up of idiosyncrasies. I'm one of those people that has weird personal rules and regulations that must be followed in order to maintain some form of happiness and contentment with life. As my husband often says: "I need a rule book to keep up with your weird quirks." So, from my rule book:

  • I have all kinds of rules about eating. I do not drink any fluids at all with my meals. I wait until after. It's just some kind of strange habit I've had since childhood. I can't eat and drink at the same time. And I won't drink anything carbonated, either. It's water or iced tea, to be consumed after my dinner is completely finished (the only exception I make is when I eat at Chili's because I can't resist their blackberry iced tea, it becomes part of the meal). The other thing about food is I never finish anything. I will leave one tiny crumb or piece of everything on my plate. I will leave at least one chip in a bag, one sip of coffee in a cup, one little bite of a donut. Don't ask why. I don't know.
  • I have seating quirks. When we go to a restaurant, I have to walk around the table first to see which chair best suits me. If we are given a booth, I have to stand there for about 30 seconds while I decide where to sit. Sometimes I choose the wrong seat and I will get a bad vibe as soon as I sit down. I then make everyone get up and switch seats so I can find one where I am mentally comfortable. In a movie theater, I have to sit on the end seat, preferably in the last row, middle section (the theater I frequent has three seating sections). Sometimes (as when we saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) we get there late and I have to sit somewhere else and I spend the whole movie fighting off a vague sense of uncomfortableness. Sort of related - in a public bathroom I will only use the second stall. If there's a long line and I'm forced to use a different one, I'll live, as long as it's not an end stall. I'll let someone go ahead of me before using an end stall.
  • I get up between 5-5:30 am every day. Weekday or weekend, doesn't matter. I don't even need that much time to get ready for work; I could get up at 6:30 and be out of the house in plenty of time. I'm just one of those weird morning people. If I sleep past 5:30 my entire day will feel off, it will just ruin me.
  • I have this problem with looking people (mostly strangers or people I don't know well) in the eye when talking to them. To wit, a conversation from October, 2001L

scene: Person visiting in my office. We are making small talk while he waits for a file.

Person: You have a very disconcerting habit.
Me: What's that?
Person: You don't look people in the eye when you are having a conversation with them.
Me: Eh, it's that whole "Gaze of Death" thing.
Person: hmmm?
Me: Yea. If I look at someone too long they burst into flames. Just a small, weird power I was born with.
Person: You're a....mutant?
Me: Mmhmm.
Person: So....how's Professor X?
Me: Doing good.
Person: Ok, send him my regards.
Me: Will do.

That's how I evade discussion on the subject.

  • For the fifth quirk, I'm just going to list a whole bunch of quirky, idiosyncrac things about me: I can't eat anything that is made partly of warm lettuce. This includes BLTs, which I eat as just BTs • I hate the circus. • I have to sleep with a blanket on at all times, even on the hottest nights, even if the A/C isn't working, I can't NOT be covered. • I am obsessed with not only reading license plates, but turning the letters on the plates into words. • I have a weird habit of reading signs, billboards, street signs, etc. backwards. • When walking up or down stairs, I have to count the stairs. • I am a compulsive list maker. I will even make lists of the lists I've been making. Whether or not I follow the lists is another matter. • I am terrified of bridges. I have gotten to the point where I will drive over one, but only in the middle lane. Of all the bridges I cross, going over the Throgs Neck, toward the city, is the most frightening experience. • I have this weird problem with fabrics touching each other. Towel on towel. Sweater on a rug. Broom on a rug. Felt on anything. It all gives me chills and makes my skin crawl. Just thinking about makes me clench my teeth. Oh, and teeth. If you ever put a towel in your mouth in front of me, if any kind of fabric at all touches your teeth or tongue in my presence, I will run from the room screaming. • I can't burp. I have never had a real, good burp (except maybe when I was an infant). Some people can burp on demand, I can't even get a small, baby-like burp to come forth. • My clothing is mostly dark. I used to dress only in black, but I've been able to branch out into browns and grays lately. Last night I wore a green shirt and gave everyone a heart attack. I will never, ever, ever be seen in pink. I have a deep aversion to that color. • If I could go barefoot for the rest of my life, I would. I hate shoes. Socks are cool, but I hate shoes. • I am a weather freak. The weather channel is my "home" channel on the tv.

Ok, I'm going to stop now.

Bloggers, this is a viral meme. I expect you to take up the cause at our own places, if you haven't already. Everyone else can reveal their quirks in the comments, because, don't make me stand out here emotionally naked all alone.

Update: I should add: I hate, hate, when people try to "one up" your bad health, bad experiences or yes, even quirks. There is nothing more annoying than a person who says "You had a 104 fever? Pfft, I had a 105! My dire emergency was far worse than yours. I WIN!" Which is like saying "yea, list all your idiosyncrasies, but they PALE in comparison to mine!" Does everything have to be a god damn competition? I swear, it makes me want to stab someone. Except I don't really like the feel of a metal blade sliding into flesh. Gives me the chills. Every time.

Update: Dave chimes in with his quirks.

As does that nutbag, Solonor.

August 19, 2005

to make up for the picture of harvey kietel


I hope that helps.

[stolen from here]

Oh, yea. As if Harvey wasn't bad enough, my favorite jackhole is back blogging and he wrote begging me for a link. Come over here and lick my boots like you promised, big boy.

Worst Food Product Ever

Continuing with the theme.

Really, does it get much worse than pork brains in milk gravy?

Ok, maybe sheep tongues.

Or Southern Surprise "Road Wear" Potted Possum Sauce.

If you've got worse, I'd like to see it.

Worst. Movie Scene. Ever.

[Just scroll down to see what's going on here today.]


Harvey Keitel rubbing one out in front of those two Jersey Girls in Bad Lieutenant.

I wanted to gouge my eyes out, vomit up my insides, poke my brain with a screwdriver and commit Seppuku after watching that.

Worst. Food. Ever.

We're talking fast food here.

My choice:


Mmmm...processed cardboard with pressed chicken innards flavoring.

[Jeff the Baptist agrees! And would a guy named Jeff the Baptist lie to you?]


So I'm taking a lot of flack (especially at Blogcritics) for my WORST OF stuff. Too negative. Too critical. Too subjective. Too uppity. Whatever, people. You try walking around with unrelieved pain for a week straight and we'll see just how fucking charming you turn out to be. I'm all about the negativity right now. Who wants to make a feel-good, wishy washy, BEST OF list when they are in a MOOD? No one. I'm cranky, irritable and ready to strangle the living daylights out of a cute, fuzzy bunny just to relieve myself of the darkness running through my soul right now. Tis much better to write a stupid, subjective list then kill bunnies, right? RIGHT?

So join me in my Friday Festival of Feistiness. Dig up the worst of everything you can imagine. Open a can of Hatorade. Let those negative feelings wash over you like a lake filled with piranhas. Purge yourself of all the biting commentary just building up inside you, vomit your disgust in my comments section.

I'll take the worst of whatever you can throw at me. Movies, songs (we already did bands), books, tv shows, food, restaurants, rest stops on the Jersey Turnpike, websites, cities, siblings, whatever. Anything. Let's all be Captain Negativity today, because my molar misery loves bitter, nasty company.

August 18, 2005


Between the pain, the lack of sleep and the drugs, I am delerious. Every thing is making me laugh. Giddy little bouts of mostly inappropriate laughter that will not stop.

This, most of all. I have found the perfect Halloween costume for my 12 year old son.

It comes in INFANT!
I can't stop laughing. I should just go to bed before I hurt myself.

[via Dustbury]

The Final (Band) Countdown

Alan asks:

Is there a good band named after a location?


Bay City Rollers
LA Guns

You be the judge.

Any more?

random observance

The more magnetic ribbons on a car, the worse the driver.

Let's Discuss, Part IV (The grunge thing)

My god, I won't shut up today. Well this is the last post for a while, I'm sure, as I'm headed back to the dentist for another dry socket treatment (why, oh why, do I keep wanting to call it dry rot?)

Anyhow, springing from yesterday's discussion on Pearl Jam, Nirvana and, by extension, Soundgarden, I just want to add one thing:

<strongAlice in Chains kicks all their asses and if I only had to listen to one band of that genre/era for the rest of my life, AIC would win hands down. No contest. None at all.

Worst Bands Ever: My List [updated]

[See post below for reference]

  • AC/DC (Yea, they rock out. I even like a lot of their songs. But they were completely talentless. Every song has the same. )
  • The Eagles (sorry, I just find them insipid, bland and dull)
  • Fleetwood Mac (see above)
  • Creed (Maybe if Stapp didn't have the Jesus Christ Pose all the time, I wouldn't care so much as to put them on the list)
  • King Diamond (No presents for Christmas and One Down, One to Go notwithstanding)
  • Dream Theater (talented musicians? Hell, yes? Boring and pretentious? Hell, yes)
  • Aerosmith (I fucking hate Aerosmith. That is all)
  • Kiss (Hey, I was a member of the Kiss army. They were my first live band. I still enjoy them once in a while. But they SUCK)

So much more to come, I'm sure. I'll update throughout the day, because I'm all about drinking the bad band Hatorade.


As if on cue, Collective Soul comes on my Launchcast station.

Oh, and Jefferson Starship.


More: All I have to do is leave my LaunchCast running: EUROPE! Oh, and:

Mr. Big
Damn Yankees
Skid Row

Let's Discuss, Part III: Worst Band Ever

Just to get things going on a lighter note, as I didn't mean to start the day off with that rant.

Andrew, who is part of the music ring I joined last night, has a post up asking his readers for the Worst Band Ever.

I just know you guys and gals can give him an earful. I'm sure we've discussed this before (in the guise of overrated bands) but let's have it. No rules, either. Any era, any genre, even solo musicians allowed.

Feel free to rant about your choices as well. I'll give mine later on in the morning.

School's IN forever

[this is another of those early morning/pre-coffee, unedited rants written on the fly. May be edited/changed later]

Jay Matthews in WaPo: Let's Have a 9 Hour School Day

Let's not.

Why? Why tack three more hours onto a school day when a portion of the six hours kids already attend is filled with fluff and filler? What could possibly be accomplished in three more hours besides making kids tired, bored and more anti-school then they already are?

Three extra hours of study every day added up fast. It produced hundreds of confident young scholars in an inner city school where such people are not often found. (Schools in affluent neighborhoods do not face the same pressure to extend the school day because their students often have parents who insist they do their homework, no matter how long it takes.)

Oh, I see. It's another one of these "social good" programs. Our kids will have to spend three more hours a day stuffed in a classroom, cutting into family and physical activity time, because people in certain neighborhoods don't have control over their children, or don't care.

Sorry, I'm not buying it. This amounts to three more hours of babysitting per day for people who don't want to take the time to make sure their kids are learning the skills they need to get by in life.

I barely have enough quality time with my children during the school year as it is. Between homework and projects, baseball and clubs (and my kids are only allowed to do one sport/club at a time), I think there's an hour free on weeknights for us to do anything together that's not school related.

In my eyes, that time together is far more important than anything they will teach my children in added school hours. Look at this:

They were doing a terrible job as Houston elementary school teachers but discovered that if they extended their teaching time, and mixed in some after-school motivators such as visits to the local Boys' and Girls' Club, student achievement improved dramatically. That inspired the KIPP school day, which starts at 7:30 or 8 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m., plus some Saturday morning sessions and required summer school.

What happened to letting kids be kids? There will be enough time after high school and/or college is over for these children to have a nine hour, year round workday. Saturday mornings? Sorry. That's OUR time. That's baseball time. That's sitting around in our pajamas, watching cartoons and enjoying each other's company time. That's getting in the car and driving to the beach or a museum time.

And I don't think it is the school district's responsibility to take your kids on "motivational" field trips. What happened to letting parents do the parenting? I know, there are some parents who are just not capable, or do not care enough, to provide quality parenting, but don't make my family suffer the consequences of their failings.

This has nothing to do with giving kids a better education. This about using school resources, not to mention school district dollars (paid for with YOUR taxes) to make up for lazy or non existent parenting.

It's not that I don't care about these kids, but there has to be a better way to help them out then to drag everyone else into it. I make sure my kids do their homework and project. I make sure they study. I'm sorry if there are people who are incapable of doing the same, but it's not my responsibility to give up my time, my tax dollars and quality time with my kids to rectify that. I am NOT a big a believer in the "it takes a village" theory of raising children. It's hard enough raising your own to be good, educated people with bright futures. I don't want or need the added burden of taking on someone else's kid.

My objection to a nine hour school day is not just about money, resources or raising teacher's salaries so they can provide babysitting for three hours a day; it's about what we are doing to our children. We are forcing them to grow out of childhood too fast. It's all about work, work, work and how much learning and regiment you can squeeze into one child's brain in the course of a few hours a day. Kids need some freedom. They need to gather in front of their houses and play kickball with their friends. They need to ride their bikes and play hopscotch or just sit around with a few buddies playing video games or watching movies. Why force the rituals and time constraints of the adult world onto a ten year old? Do you think this will prepare them for "real" life or toughen them up? No, it will only make them weary and humorless. Nine hour school days, plus time to do homework, projects and study leaves them no time to be children. They'll just be mini-adults. That's not fair.

Just as it's not fair to expect anyone give up three more hours a day to number crunching, spelling, history and a myriad of feel-good, wishy washy programs that chew into a portion of the school day. There are some schools that have done away with recess. Recess! It's just not natural to cram children into a building for six hours a day and not let them run loose at some point. No wonder these kids can't concentrate or get distracted. There's no time for rejuvenation. Even adults get lunch and short breaks during their workday. And most of us work a five day a week, eight hour a day job with weekends off. Yet we're now going to expect children to more than that? Does anyone else see the problem here?

I know I'm going to get attacked for being selfish and for not understanding the plight of children who don't have parents who care. But I am not your village. I am not responsible for your child. It's hard enough raising my own and doing it right. Don't expect me to make sacrifices because other people have failed. There are other ways for the city or state to help these children out without dragging every other kid into it.

And really, that's not it. That's not the whole issue. I am just so tired of bureaucrats and educators and education administrators wanting to suck the fun out of childhood.

WaPo link via Chris O'Donnell

August 17, 2005

Music Gods I

I'm joining up with Tesco's new music discussion ring, Music Gods. Today, he talks about Tool (more specifically, their guitarist, Adam Jones), so I'll add my two cents.

I've been a big fan of Tool from the beginning (claimed that he was OGT, back in '92,the first EP). I sort of lost touch with them after Salival, but I still listen to the earlier albums often enough to call myself a fan.

Listening to Tool is like opening up all of your emotional baggage at once. The heavy, dirge-like music combined with dark, haunting lyrics combine to take you on a trip through the darkest parts of your soul. Even if you've never done anything wrong in your life, the music will make you feel like you did.

So why listen to it? Because it's cathartic. The resonating rythms, the slow cadence of Maynard's throaty voice - sometimes plaintive, sometimes subtly dangerous - the emotional arrangements and the heaviness that shakes your spirit - it's like going to confession with your stereo.

[side note: The only Tool song I can't listen to is Prison Sex - it's so raw and disturbing that it makes my stomach feel queasy]

For your listening pleasure: Tool - H (lyrics below)

Look for more Music Gods posts each Wednesday.

What's coming through is alive.
What's holding up is a mirror.
But what's singing songs is a snake
Looking to turn this piss to wine.

They're both totally void of hate,
But killing me just the same.

The snake behind me hisses
What my damage could have been.
My blood before me begs me
Open up my heart again.

And I feel this coming over like a storm again.

Venomous voice, tempts me,
Drains me, bleeds me,
Leaves me cracked and empty.
Drags me down like some sweet gravity.

The snake behind me hisses
What my damage could have been.
My blood before me begs me
Open up my heart again.

And I feel this coming over like a storm again.

I am too connected to you to
Slip away, to fade away.
Days away I still feel you
Touching me, changing me,
And considerately killing me.

Without the skin,
Beneath the storm,
Under these tears
The walls came down.

And the snake is drowned and
As I look in his eyes,
My fear begins to fade
Recalling all of those times.

I could have cried then.
I should have cried then.

And as the walls come down and
As I look in your eyes
My fear begins to fade
Recalling all of the times
I have died
and will die.
It's all right.
I don't mind.

I am too connected to you to
Slip away, to fade away.
Days away I still feel you
Touching me, changing me,

And considerately killing me.

Let's Discuss, Part II

Born out of the previous Let's Discuss:

Bangles v. Go Go's

(You may bring other girl bands into the battle)

holy shit

All day, I thought it was Friday.

I can't believe it's only Wednesday.

Are you sure?

What a letdown.

Let's Discuss....

A new feature here at ASV.

Today, I offer you this quote from a male person on a message board I frequent (in response to my saying I'm not a big fan of Nirvana):

Yea, Nirvana can be a bit rough for chicks. Pearl Jam is the girly version of nirvana

Let's discuss.

Update: This wasn't meant so much to be a Nirvan v. Pearl Jam discussion, but more like, wtf does this person mean by a bit rough for chicks?

But carry on, as it's an interesting discussion nonetheless. And be sure to check out Dave's link in the comments.

QOD: Birthday Edition

Running late, got nothing original or interesting stewing in my head today, so I'll cop-out with a question.

My birthday is next week. I've gotten into the habit of buying myself a present each year (ever since the fiasco of the Worst Birthday Ever, 1996). I think this year I'm going to splurge on a jump drive, not sure yet. But that's another question for another day.

For now, I'd like to hear about your birthdays (see, what you do when you have nothing to blog about is get your readers to provide content for you!)

What's the best birthday present you ever received? Worst?

Best birthday memory? Horrible birthday stories, anyone?

I'll share mine (I have three stories to tell) later.

August 16, 2005

And that's a wrap

The tell-tale sign that summer is, for all intents and purposes, over:

We're going to Jets training camp tomorrow.

I'm just about ready to start talking about Halloween.


Go figure. I decide to avoid the obvious repeat today and I get seven emails asking me "Where is the annual Elvis post??" So, on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the death of The King, the Elvis post (originally posted August 16, 2002).

elvis-portrait2sm.jpgIt was one of those moments when you say something you know you shouldn't. But I couldn't help myself. I was fourteen and still in the throes of teenage-girl-smart-ass disease.

25 years ago tomorrow, I was sitting in the backyard listening to the radio when I heard the news. I went inside and found my mother in her room, making her bed.

"Hey, mom. Guess you won't be going to that Elvis concert next week."
"He's dead."

I may have snickered, I don't know.

Mom ran into the bathroom and turned on the little radio she kept in there. I remember the voice. I remember the exact sound of the tinny, staticy voice that relayed the news to my mother in a much softer way than I did.

Elvis was dead.

My mother's eyes filled with tears and despair while her face registered only that small "o" one's mouth makes when they hear shocking news. That "o" stayed there for a while, but the despair in her eyes had become hard and angry. She was pissed at me.

How could I have told her like that, knowing that she idolized Elvis in a pure, passionate way? How could I do that? What kind of daughter was i?

Well, I was fourteen. That's my only excuse.

I was a fourteen year old whose mother made fun of her own idolization of another self-obsessed, overly dramatic singer who similarly became a bloated replica of himself. And later, dead and bloated. Maybe it was my way of evening up the score.

My mother had this friend Noreen. Noreen was the largest woman I ever knew. Not just heavy large, but tall and wide and her hair was piled up on her head so she looked even taller. Her voice roared even when she whispered and her sneezes were legend in the neighborhood, said to be heard from at least three blocks away. She wore mumus and housecoats and tons of hairspray and sometimes she wore an ugly fur coat that made her look like a small woodland creature was nesting on her shouler.

Noreen and my mom were the Elvis duo. They worshiped him. They loved him. They knew everything about him and owned everything to do with him including Elvis commemorative plates and I think one of them had an Elvis wristwatch.

I grew up with Elvis's hips grinding in my face and his voice grinding in my ears and I have to admit that at some point, I realized what the attraction was. When I would lay in bed on summer nights, trying to sleep while my mother and Noreen and the rest of their crew played Pinochle in the kitchen and had Elvis on the stereo, I knew. His voice would come drifting into my room and I could feel the sensuality, the danger, the passion that lied within his words.

I would never tell anyone this, of course. I went about my daily business of bowing before Jim Morrison and Robert Plant and never let on that I thought Elvis was cool. Especially to my mother. That would just ruin the taut, tenous relationship that we both thrived on. Who was I to break the rite of passage of mother-teenage daughter bitterness and anger?

Noreen and my mother were going to see Elvis in August, 1977 at the Nassau Coliseum. They had seen him many times before but this one was special. They had a feeling this would be his last tour ever.

They were like little giddy school girls in the weeks leading up to the show. Sometimes my mother would take out her ticket and look at it. As I write this I realize that my mother was 39 at the time. The same age I am now. When I was fourteen, 39 was old and withered and wrinkled. 39 was too old to be getting worked up over a hip-shaking idol. Yet, here I am at 39 and I'm not old or withered or wrinkled and I would certainly get worked up over my hip-gyrating idol.

She was so happy. And I crushed her world. It would have been a much softer blow if it came from Cousin Brucie or Uncle somebody on whichever oldies station she was listening to. It would have been a bit easier to take if her teenage bag of hormones didn't make some smarmy remark about dying like a fat, beached whale.

When Noreen found out we heard her from two blocks away, bellowing and carrying on. Her booming voice sounded through the neighborhood like a siren, a mourning call for all Elvis fans in East Meadow to gather on her lawn and weep.

Not really. But it was something like that. I don't think my mother ever told Noreen the way in which she found out about the death of their hero. I probably wouldn't have lived to tell this tale if she knew. She would have kicked my ass all over town.

When Noreen died, my first thought was that she would finally get to see Elvis again. My second was that I was now safe from my mother ever spilling the beans to Noreen about my youthful indiscretion.

25 years later,my mother still has not forgiven me. Maybe that's what drives every argument we have, every nit-picky little fight we endure. Maybe she's still mad at me. I know she still resents it, still thinks about because yesterday she told my daughter that I laughed at her when Elvis died.

I didn't laugh. I may have snickered a little. Maybe.

I sent an email to my mother this morning:

I'm sorry, mom. I'm sorry I told you like that. But in a way it's your fault for making me sit through Viva Las Vegas and Jailhouse Rock, for forcing that horrid "In the Ghetto" on my ears, for making me tried fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. It's been 25 years, mom. I promise to play Elvis at my wedding next week if you promise to get over it already. Deal?

I probably should have reworded that.

Update: My mother eventually forgave me. So she says.


* Elvis is Everywhere, Mojo Nixon

house of pain

Of all the pain I've experienced in my nearlly 43 years on this plante, Dry Socket is by far the worst.

That includes childbirth.

And heartbreak.

And Dry Socket sounds like something that could be cured with a little KY Jelly and a bit of gentleness.

If only.

Update: So they packed the tooth with some medicine made of anbesol and cloves. My mouth tastes like a fucking medicine cabinet on Christmas Eve.

I need some heroin. Where can I score some? Crack? Death?

it's this rug I have


Air freshener, interior, the White Zombie - camera phone

One way to get yourself out of a bad mood is to listen to Mitch Hedberg on your drive in to work. I had to turn it off eventually because it's hard to drive when you're laughing so hard you might pee your pants.

So I'm driving and this 90+ year old lady pulls up next to me. She smiles at me, nods knowingly as if we're both in on some great secret.

And then I remembered the decal I put on the car Sunday:


The woman in the car next to me was not a human at all, but a zombie. Oh, don't look so surprised. I told you all that zombies drive around Long Island.

Anyhow. The other day I asked for help in finding an mp3 and because no one came through for me, I stopped being passive about my search and started being aggressive. I knew where to go - to the proprietor of one of my favorite blogs, Blank Forever. Within minutes of my email, Tesco replied with the song I was looking for. Bless you. Now you all should go read his blog because it's a daily treat.

Oh, the song. I shall share.

Choking Victim - 500 Channels.

And when you hate your life, no qualtities redeeming,
a million brainwashed zombies will always be heard screaming...
And when there is no hope,
I'll smoke some crack, I'll shoot some dope!
When theres no enemies,
I sit and stare at my T.V.
and in my ignorance,
I'll be a slave and sycophant!

See, it has zombies in it. This is how I tie it all together: Tesco mentioned the Misfits in the comments here, I post a picture of my Misfits air freshener, seque into zombies, show you my zombie sticker, share a song that Tesco sent me - a song that uses the word "zombies" in the lyrics.

Tied together. Like a fucking rug.

on leeches, shame and humanity

I swore I wasn't going to do this. But I've never been one to heed my own warnings.

Let me start by saying that I do not agree with most of what Cindy Sheehan is saying. I agree with her right to say it, however, and I am not going to judge her because I've never had to deal with the grief of losing a child. Everyone grieves in their own way; perhaps this is Mrs. Sheehan's way of dealing with her loss.

What's making me sick about this whole public is mess is the way the zealots on either side are fighting over Sheehan's words and publicity like vultures on a meaty carcass.

The flesh-eating leeches of the left have glommed onto Sheehan's grief as if it were some magic potion that would miraculously make all their dreams of getting Bush out of the White House come true. She's their panacea, the be-all and end-all of publicity stunts, an icon ready made for media and the furthering of agendas. Sheehan is the savior of the anti-war cause. The only problem with being a savior is the likelihood that you'll end up dying on the cross they nailed you to. The anti-war drones are giving her the microphones and keyboards and public airwaves and you can bet that when the hoopla dies down and the situation's no longer the hot media story, Sheehan will be left hanging on that cross wondering where the hell her followers went. Why, they went to the Next Big Thing, Cindy. But thanks for pushing their plight to the forefront, for getting in your digs at Israel, for bandying about the "I" word (impeachment), for being a useful tool of the left wing propaganda machine.

And what about the right? Not content to sit back and let this just play itself out, not satisfied with letting the left do their own damage by making themselves out to be blood sucking leeches, the right wingers have to get in on the act, too. And they couldn't just attack the messages (get out of Iraq, get out of Israel, you killed my son, I sacrificed my son) - no, they had to attack Cindy Sheehan herself. I guess none of them ever stopped to think about the appearance of civility or how it looks to have your cause being furthered by also taking a woman's grief and using it to your advantage.

Is it really necessary to splash her divorce papers all over the internet? Is this anybody's business? No, her personal life is NOT fair game. Her family is not fair game. And as much as it takes enormous balls of steel for Sheehan herself to pen a diary at Kos entitled Leave My Family Alone when she's the one who brought this into the public eye, it takes a person with no semblance of common decency to start gloating over Sheehan's divorce as this proves something, somehow. Do you know how common it is for couples who have suffered the loss of a child to separate? Do you think this is some win on your part, something to high five each other about? Woohooo, a family is falling apart, another point for our side! That's sick. SICK. You're just another kind of leech.

I can't believe what I'm reading lately. From those who compare Sheehan to Rosa Parks, to those who are trying desperately to dig up sordid details of her family life; from those who don’t give an ounce of shit about Sheehan or her dead son except what they can do for the cause to those who dare to tell Sheehan how to - or how not to - express her grief and oh, those who show up to oppose Sheehan by holding up pictures of her son (talk about exploitation) and those who have in the past ridiculed soldiers and are now holding up Casey Sheehan as some kind of icon. My GOD. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

The war, the election, Schiavo; I thought all those things were going to be the event to break the chasm between left and right wide open. The past week or so has made me think that no, it's going to be this one woman and her dead son that does it. And then I have second thoughts about that, too. Maybe the Sheehan story and the resulting freak show of a circus that evolved from it will be the thing that makes people disavow the wingnuts on either side. Maybe it will make the more honest, the more sincere, the more intelligent among us disassociate ourselves from the fanatic fringes, from the zealots who think that everything is justified when it comes to furthering an agenda.

This rant is not about the war and I don't want to hear or read your responses if they are going to talk about an unjustified war. Nor is it about Israel or about Bush. It's about US. It's about bloggers and political followers and the media. It's about people with seemingly noble causes, people with voices who just want to be heard. That's all well and good. That's America, a place where Cindy Sheehan can say whatever the hell she wants and where you are free to refute her. And honestly, I'd rather listen to a thousand Cindy Sheehans rant about Israel and impeachment than not be allowed to listen to her at all. But look at how we are doing this. Look at where we've ended up.

Where the hell has our humanity gone?

August 15, 2005

smoke gets in your mind

I want a cigarette in the worst way. Out of nowhere, almost seven months to the day I quit, this craving smacks me upside the head.

Oh, to feel the pull of nicotine as I suck one down. To blow smoke rings. To feel that first burn in my throat in lungs as I light up...

No, I won't.

But it's driving me crazy. Where the hell this came from, I don't know.

I would kill someone for a Marlboro Menthol Light right now. Kill. With no remorse.

I will not let the DLR/Hagar debate die until you all agree with me!

[See here for previous]

I'd like to clear up a fallacy.

I don't hate Sammy Hager. I don't even hate SH era Van Halen. I just like the Dave era better. I think Dave was the heart and soul of Van Halen and what made them so much fun to watch and listen to. Ok, so Eddie's guitar playing sort of tied the whole act together, but I really don't think VH would have had the impact they did if not for the flamboyance, theatrics, showmanship and clown-like presence of David Lee Roth.

As for those who think the Hagar era was better than the DLR era, let's compare and contrast.


I don't know about you, but if I had to choose between rocking out to Dave singing Atomic Punk and Hagar crooning When It's Love, I'm going with Dave every time.

Again, I don't hate Sammy. I don't blame him for anything. But he ain't Van Halen. He's Van Hagar. And yes, there is a difference.

More discussion on this at Blogcritics.

now get in the bedroom and make me some children

Gather, ye childless, selfish heathens and hear what the man has to say:

Willful barrenness and chosen childlessness must be named as moral rebellion. To demand that marriage means sex -- but not children -- is to defraud the creator of His joy and pleasure in seeing the saints raising His children. That is just the way it is. No kidding.

Ah, yes. Childless couples by choice are evil beings who will bring ruination upon the land!!

I have no problem with people who choose not to reproduce. In fact, I admire those who admit they don't want children rather than go through something they view as a pre-ordained ritual of life and have kids even though they don't want them or don't think they would make good parents.

And it's kind of interesting that the author of the article worships a deity that had only one child and ended up killing him.

Besides, it's not the childless couples who are spreading evil. I mean, have you met my son?

they're coming to get you, barbara

You wouldn't know what crazy was If Charles Manson was eating fruit loops on your front porch*

From Scott-O-Rama, the picnic pact:

A group of friends of the Pacer’s decided they would rather check out of this life then lose their minds to senility. They made a pact that once a year they would call one another and invite each other to a picnic. The thing is, there would be no picnic. Instead of a nice lunch outside while enjoying the splendors of nature, they would take you deep into the woods and shoot you. The idea is that if you were invited to this "picnic" and your response was "Hell no!," you proved you still had your mental faculties. You obviously remembered the pact. However if your answer was "A picnic would be lovely, dear," then it was time to fulfill the arrangement and shoot you.

madmanI like this idea. I need to find a couple of friends who would be willing to make a picnic pact with me.

I've been talking a lot about going crazy. Every since my err...episode last week, I've been tossing around the idea that I could very well be losing my mind.

My sister: "Crazy people don't know they're crazy, so you can't be crazy."

Reader Mike Ramsey, in email, says, in essence, that I can't be totally nuts if I'm actually recognizing that there are steps I should be taking to keep myself from jumping off the edge of reality.

And I remember this sociology class in college where the professor told us "A neurotic person knows they are neurotic. A psychotic person does not know they are psychotic."

All very comforting. I think. Honestly, I'm just engaging in a bit of mental hyperbole (me, hyperbolic? No. Way!) See, I've known crazy people. And I know they aren't me.

There was Emily and her husband George. They lived next door to my grandmother and were a kind of crazy I never experienced, except in novels and tv movies. They had no children. George hated children. I used to look at him as the sort who would build a house of gingerbread and candy, just to entice children into his lair, where he would kill them and feed them to his vicious dogs. Emily was a shrunken woman, always hunched over as if cowering in fear. She rarely spoke when George was around, except to answer his questions or reply to his orders.

Sometimes George would go away "on business" and Emily would invite us over. We'd cram into the small shed in their backyard, where Emily would make us tea, comb our doll's hair and pretend to be our teacher. She'd make up math worksheets and grade them, then teach us new words to spell. Her voice was soft and low and we'd have to strain to hear her. It was as if she was trained to speak in whispers; every time her voice raised an octave, her eyes would dart around nervously, looking for her demon husband, I suppose. Even at eight or nine or however young I was, I knew Emily was a tragic figure and her husband a monster who made that so.

Emily sewed new clothes for our Chrissy dolls and bake us cupcakes. And she swore us to secrecy that we would never tell George what went on inside the shed. One day, George found the fake test papers in a desk drawer and went ballistic. We had been leaning over the brick border between grandma's yard and Emily's, talking to her about school. George arrived home, rather unexpectedly, and came running into the backyard, trampling through Emily's tomato garden, waving his hands around like he was swatting unseen bees away from his head. His face was redder than the tomatoes he was squashing under foot and spittle flew from his mouth as he lumbered toward his wife.

We stood with our mouths hanging open for a second. It was almost comical, the way George looked and I had a sudden urge to laugh at him, to point and giggle, until I saw the fear in Emily's eyes. "Go," she whispered at us and we ran into grandma's house, right into the spare room, where we cranked the window open so we could hear George's tirade. I remember sticking my hands over my ears and squeezing my eyes shut because of the awful things George was saying not just to and about Emily, but about us, the kids, as if we were the evil ones, not him.

George and Emily moved away soon after that episode. Again, it wasn't until years later that the reality of the situation dawned on me.

Then there was Mary. Crazy Mary. She was a fixture in our town for so many years that I can't remember when she first started walking the streets with her shopping cart and bags, trolling around town in her baggy stockings and black skirts, wearing three or four sweaters, even on the hottest summer days.

Mary was our town bag lady. But not just an ordinary bag lady. Mary had a checking account. A home. A family. But she filled the home with so many newspaper, magazines and soft drink cans that she could no longer live in it. And she filled her family with such embarrassment and dread that they could no longer deal with her. So Mary roamed the streets of East Meadow, stopping five or six times daily in my uncle's deli, where I toiled for many years. Mary would stop at the cash register counter and berate me for things I hadn't done. Then she'd move to the meat counter and berate the guys there. She'd berate the customers, the beer delivery guy and anyone who dared look her way. She yelled at everyone except my uncle, because he looked just like Phil Donahue and she thought maybe, just maybe, he might really be Phil Donahue and she loved his show, and then she'd order her pound of head cheese, write my uncle a check and head back to the streets.

So of the three - violent George crazy, cowering Emily crazy or living in another world Mary crazy - I think I'd prefer to go the route of Mary. Like I said the other day, sometimes I feel like I'm just a few years away from walking the neighborhood in a house coat and bunny slippers, mumbling to myself and going through recycling bins looking for five cent deposit soda cans. I read somewhere - I think it was on a t shirt - that we should all live long enough to become an embarrassment to our children. I don't know that my children would be shamed by this behavior. More likely they'd drive me to the recycling center to cash in my cans, and then demand a cut of the profit.

I actually have this recurring dream, a vision of the future, where Nat has her own talk show and DJ is a famous rock star. Together, they write a book about their mother's journey to batshit craziness. The dream gives me the incentive to stay sane. I'll be damned if I let those two exploit my downward mental spiral for the sake of fame and fortune. Ungrateful bastards. After all I...

Sorry. Got carried away.

So..uh....anyone want to schedule a picnic in the woods soon?

* song lyrics...anyone?

August 14, 2005

daughter on mute

daughter on mute

Taken today, at Roosevelt Field Mall.

She's going to be 16 soon.

How the fuck did that happen?

QandA: Van Hagar

Nick asks (and you can ask, too):

Why don't you like Sammy Hagar? I think he's great. Is it because he took Dave's place? If Dave never existed, what would you think of Sammy?

Let's look at it this way.

I like peanut butter sandwiches. I like teryaki sauce. That doesn't mean I would like teryaki sauce in my peanut butter sandwich.

There's also haiku, written by my 12 year old son as a homework assignment recently:

David Lee Roth rocks
Gary Cherone doesn't count
Sammy Hagar whines

I'll let a song handle the rest:

Van Halen by Nerf Herder (download)

I bought Van Halen I
It was the best damn record I ever owned
TG&Y 1978
Two hand tapping guitar technique really got me off
Eruption yeah, ain't talkin' 'bout love, I'm on fire

Tomorrow may come
Tomorrow may never come again
Can't you hear Jamie cryin?
She's runnin' with the devil

I bought Women and Children First
Fair Warning and Van Halen II
Dance the night away
1984 my favorite record yeah I wore it down
Might as well jump

Tomorrow may come
Tomorrow may never come again
Can't you hear Jamie cryin?
She's runnin' with the devil

Is this what you wanted, Sammy Hagar?
Sammy Hagar, is this what you wanted, man?
Dave lost his hairline but you lost your cool buddy
Can't drive 55
I'll never buy your lousy records again
Again, again, again, never again



I am looking for an mp3 of the Choking Victim song 500 Channels. Anyone? Please? Help?


Well, I can't give the answer. Because I just received an email that said "Can I ask you a question?" in both the header and the body of the email. But there was no question. And when I replied to the author the email, it bounced.

So if anyone wants to ask me a question, now's the time, as I'm feeling answerable. Go ahead. Ask me anything. If I can't answer honestly, I'll make something up.

see no evil


Someone said to me that my not blogging politics anymore is like putting blinders on. No, I said. I'm still paying attention. I just choose, mostly, not to comment.

It's been hard holding back my comments the past week or so. I want to say a million things, but I've seen too many bloggers do so only to have their words edited, distorted and purposefully misconstrued to feel it's worth it to put my two (or twenty) cents out there. All my rantings have stayed at the dinner table or in emails. I'm struggling to keep those rants off this page and every time I sit down to write I think, do I really need the aggravation that comes with taking a side on an issue? Do I really need to spend all day defending my words? Nah, not really.

I've seen some atrocious behavior in the past week from some people who think of themselves as activists but are nothing more than opportunists. I've seen people react to the opportunists with even more idiocy. And I've seen the true colors of people I thought better of. If this thing were a Hollywood screenplay, I'd be laughing at the absurdity of it. But it's not. And as such, I have the urge to just put my hands over my eyes and pretend the whole thing isn't happening.

We've reached new lows. Didn't think that was possible.

August 13, 2005

eye spy

head over heels

So I went to the block party.

The best thing about taking pictures is the camera acts as a buffer between you and everyone else. I don't have to look strangers in the eye, I don't even have to make converstation; everyone sees the camera and they smile, pose or theatrically turn their heads.

Also, taking photographs turns me into an observer, rather than an unwilling participant.

Ok, so I'm not that anti-social. I did mingle and make small talk and play with the kids. But holy hell, was it hot out there. Honestly, I don't remember a day this hot and oppressive since August 1977. Yes, I do keep track of things like that in my head.

I uploaded a couple of pictures here (I especially like this one). I'll do the rest later, after I stand naked in front of the air conditioner for an hour or so.

No, no camera.

random thought of the day

My son has become the Van Halen equivalent of a Trekkie.

Fear is a Mindkiller


I was reading The Pop-Up Book of Phobias when I came across the page for clowns. I thought clown fear was a rare thing. At least I didn't think it was common enough to be included in a book about phobias, or to have a real name: Coulrophobia

Think about your fears; clowns, heights, darkness, snakes. What are you afraid of? Any idea how you got that fear? Did a clown once frighten you? Did a snake once bite you? Fall off a building? I bet not.

I'm afraid of water - deep water, wide water, open water. Yet I've never had a near drowning experience, nor any kind of experience that would make my brain go into high anxiety mode when confronted with a large body of water. Same with heights or clowns or large crowds of unfamiliar people.

Perhaps your brain comes with all these pre-set modes. It's impossible to turn them on or off or adjust their volume without some serious rewiring. And to rewire those things often means rewiring things that don't need it. In other words, fixing one thing will fuck up something else. So you have to decided at some point, is fixing one fear worth, say, turning off the switch for emotions?

Anti-anxiety drugs are good for some people. They work miracles for other anxiety/panic/fear sufferers. Some brains and bodies accept these things while others reject them. I seem to be a rejecter. Once, I gave up my soul to save my brain and decided in the end that it wasn't worth giving up 90% of who I was to save the 10% of me that was crazy.

So now here I am, full of fear and panic and anxiety once again. Since my emergency episode the other night, I've reconciled myself with the fact that I'm batshit crazy. Ok, not really, but maybe getting there. I figure it's five years before I'm a full blown agoraphobic, or at least one of those people who wander the neighborhood at 7am in bunny slippers and a house coat, collecting stray cats and empty soda cans and talking to hyacinth bushes.

My sister invited us to her block party today. For two days, I've been thinking about nothing but this block party and how many people are going to be there and how many of those people I don't know. I've been thinking of excuses for not going - my mouth still hurts from the dental work, I have a cold, I just don't feel good - and I wish I could be honest and just say to her: I'm not coming because just the idea of it is making me nervous. I don't want to spend all day with a whole bunch of people I don't know. Most of the time I don't even want to spend a whole day with a bunch of people I do know. I just want to be home, in the comfort of my own living room. And if I do go out, I want it to be on my terms, where I want to go, who I want to go with, how long I want to be there, who I want to talk to. That's just the way it is. How do I get people to recognize that without making me feel stupid? How do you say to someone "I can't come to your party because parties make me freak out" without them thinking you're an asshole?

So the anxiety of reneging on an invitation adds to the panic I've felt about accepting the invite all along. And why did I accept? Because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I do have my good days. I have moments where I can take on the world. I've been to parties and gatherings and picnics and concerts. Sometimes it's ok. Sometimes I can do it. Sometimes, not so much. This week has been bad.

The heat is stifling, I'm exhausted and the middle of August brings thoughts of getting ready for school, which always translates into dollars, which translates into anxiety which, at some point, turns into panic. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel like I can tackle that head on and I'll drag the kids school shopping, get it all done in one day and the feeling of accomplishment for having done that will let me ride a crest for a couple of days, until something like the heating bill or the threat of a hurricane or the fact that my 43rd birthday is two weeks away will knock me back down. Mostly, I don't even need that trigger to knock me off the crest. Sometimes, like Monday evening, it just happens, out of nowhere. The panic sneaks up on me like an evil clown, just jumps out of the bushes and yells BOO! and - instant freak out.

My life is a roller coaster of fear and fearlessness, of calm and panic. And I'm afraid of roller coasters.

But you know what? I've accepted it. I've accepted this is who I am and how I operate and how my mind works. I just need others to do the same.

August 12, 2005

Friday Evening Listening Booth

Soundgarden - Drawing Flies
Guns n Roses - Mr. Brownstone
Buzzcocks - What do I Get?
Primus - My Name is Mud
Wu-Tang Clan - Bring Da Ruckus

A little of this, a little of that. Enjoy.

imminent collapse

Against my better judgment, I listened to the tapes and read some of the quotes from the transcripts. I don't know why. I just did.

You think you've let go of something, turns out you haven't.

Imagine standing in a room in total, pitch black darkness. You know something is in the room with you. You're aware of it. You just can't see it. And then it kicks you in the gut.

Listening to the tapes was like that.

Bill at Pundit Guy has more.

A Place Called Paradise

Another random photo moment (previous vacation essays here)

a place called paradise

When we drove past this place - the sign says it's called Paradise Lake - I actually saw it in black and white.

When I have my camera in tow, I tend to view everything as a potential photograph and whatever I'm looking at in that moment is seen through not just my eyes, but my photographer mind. I see sepia tones, blurred visions, soft focus. In the instant it takes to scan, say, a field of flowers, my mind runs through the myriad options, like there's a copy of Photoshop in my head, and I see modes and colors that aren't there for anyone else. Very rarely does a photograph come out exactly as I viewed it in my mind. That's the beauty of digital photography, though. You can try, try, try again without wasting money or film.

So we drove past Paradise and I stuck my head out the window, snapped the camera and a rush of thoughts erupted with the one click. Black and white. This looks almost like a ghost town. No, a post-Armageddon town. No, something more desperate and bleak. Not so much the setting, but the juxtaposition of the word PARADISE with scenery that consisted of a battered barn-like building, a trailer, a dirt road and some cars.

Of course, all those things just might be someone's idea of paradise. Who's to say? What's bleak and depressing to me might be someone's escape from the things they find bleak and depressing. Maybe there's a guy - let's call him Larry - who lives just down the road apiece from Paradise Lake. He lives in a battered house that needs a new roof and better insulation. The yard is nothing more than dried hunks of brown grass growing between patches of rock and dirt. There are bills spread out on his kitchen table; utility, Exxon credit car, pharmacy. The phone's already been turned off. Electricity is next. On the wall is a picture of his wife Martha, who died last year from lung cancer. He's got a kid, a daughter, but she's off living with her grandparents, who give her things that he can't, like heat in the winter and a hot breakfast and new shoes.

So he doesn't want to look at the bills and his wife anymore. He doesn't want to stare at the thin walls that make him think of freezing winters even though right now it's summer, hot as hell summer, and the flies are coming in through the holes in the screen, gathering on the counter that hasn't been wiped clean in a week at least. He walks out the door - doesn't bother locking it because there's nothing worth stealing in the house - grabs his fishing pole and starts walking down to Paradise Lake.

Paradise Lake is stocked with trout. It's surrounded by mountains lush with greenery, bordered with wildflowers and dotted with water lilies. Larry finds his favorite place, where the water-beaten rocks, softened and smoothed by nature, jut out into the lake. He sits on the rock, casts his line and waits. He doesn't care if he catches a fish or not. In fact, he'll probably throw back whatever he catches. He just wants to sit there with the sun beating down on his shoulders, enveloping him in a warmth that seeps deep within his soul. He just wants to stare at the clouds that move across the sky, huge, pregnant clouds that remind him of childhood summers, and sometimes the sun will burst forth from behind those clouds, throwing spears of light rays towards the heavens and Larry thinks that Martha is talking to him then, saying hi from above, smiling at him even though he fucked things up so bad.

He smiles back.

A trout bites. A bullfrog leaps into the water, lands on a lily pad. From across the lake comes the shout of a young boy who has caught his first fish. The sun caresses his face. Paradise, indeed.

August 11, 2005

the miracle drug

em.jpgI had yet another tooth yanked today (the last of them to be taken from me in this seemingly endless bout of dental work). The damn thing didn't want to come out. The dentist yanked and yanked and dug and pulled and all the while I clutched the arms of the dental chair so hard I'm surprised I'm not still attached to them.

So, the pain. Ohmyfuckingjesusonapopsiclestick, the pain. I think the dentist jabbed me 40 times with that damn needle so not only is my mouth sore just from being fucked by sharp and prodding dental tools, it's hurting from all the poking and sticking of needles.

I took some codeine when I got home and all it did was make me walk around the house saying "they're coming to get you, barbara....." The pain was still there. So I popped two Excedrin Migraine and crossed my fingers.

Joy of joys, that shit works like a fucking witch doctor's panacea. Ten minutes. TEN MINUTES and the pain and throbbing and bitching and moaning were gone. Ok, so I'm still a little hopped up on the codeine (which is probably evident), but I just want to say, Excedrin Migraine, I love you and I'd have your babies if it were possible, but it's not, and not just because you're not human and don't have a sperm or anything, but because I can't have babies anymore anyhow.

I'd say I'm a bit stoned right now.

Oh god, I hope they don't drag me into the street and beat me to death!


I decided that instead of writing those long ass diary entries with the eleventybillion photo links, I'd just write about random photos, one at a time (see below). So you can peruse the vacation photos (or really, any other photos) and pick out one you'd like me to write about (and by write about, I mean that could range from anything to a full on description about the photo to a short fictional piece inspired by such).

That ought to keep me busy and focused for a bit. It's all about the focus (a reference to this, and to all the people who wrote about that, I'm going to be writing more about it, maybe tonight or tomorrow).

House of Miracles

house of miracles
click for bigger

Roscoe, NY

The sign in front used to say House of Miracles. Apparently the miracles ran out, and the retreat is closed.

Over the course of the past 35 years or so, we were told that the retreat was:

A home for unwed mothers
A place for troubled teens to get themselves together
A hideaway for serial killers who liked to prey on children while wearing clown suits
A home for members of a Mooni-type cult
A home for parents who didn't want to be parents anymore
A religious indoctrination camp
A real, honest to goodness House of Miracles, where evangelists and charismatic preachers came to practice their healing/embezzelment skills

Whatever it was, it is no more. It's a beautiful place, too, in an idyllic setting. Now, with the empty parking lot and bare sign and a lakefront that looks like a ghost town, it just seem sad and forlorn.

Across the street is a camp for Hasidic Jews. People mill about all day and into the evening; the place is bustling with business all the time. But it's like no one dares cross the street. On one side, a vibrant retreat filled with life. On the other, just lingering ghosts of past miracles and/or evil clown serial killers.

addendum to the stone soup

As an update to the post below.

Apparently, some people have a bit of a problem with reading comprehension. Either that, or they are so eager to see a cause they can martyr themselves for that they bypass the obvious. If you are one of the people who think that because I don't support the idea of mixing a commemoration of 9/11 with a support the troops rally, you have missed the entire point of the post and you owe me a fucking apology. Do you really think I'm "tired" of the military? Do you really think this has anything to do with me not being happy with how the war is going? I just don't think the two things belong together. I don't think it's right. To stretch that into me being tied of the military or that I think the families of 9/11 should be living lives of bleak existence. There are people who are so eager to run their mouths into high gear that they don't even bother to make sure how they are responding is appropriate to what they are responding to.

So I get an email calling me anti-American. You're kidding, right? Just because I think this march is a crass idea, I'm anti-American? Loosen up those knotted panties, buddy. Read the post again. How - and I ask this honestly, not rhetorically - does what I wrote make me a) anti-American and b) against the troops? Show your work, please.

The best response I've seen to this was on MeFi, where someone said:

On September 11, everyone should bring a plate of cookies to their local firehouse. Let's turn the day into a day of thanks to all the people who step out on a limb or do a dirty job no one else wants. Say thank you to EMS and sanitation workers. Thank a cop or a fireman.

I think that's a grand idea. And much more in line with what an honorable commemoration should be.

You know what? If they held a support the troops march on any other day, I would be all for it. My issue on this is not with them, it's not even with the war. It's with the juxtaposition of supporting the military and honoring the victims - and heroes - of 9/11. I just can't reconcile the two in my mind.

If you honestly think that I no longer support the troops or I am "tired" of the military or that I was intending in any way to be condescending towards anyone in the military or fighting this war, then don't ever again try to consider yourself my friend. Don't profess to think you know me at all. You are sadly, sadly mistaken and you are the one who is being condescending, not to mention off-base, thick headed and single minded.

I see how it is. You make a few comments here and there about how you disagree with some things the administration does and suddenly there's a crowd of arrows headed toward your head. Heaven forbid you say anything that can be taken as negative towards our president and his administration and their choices. If you're going to be part of a political party, make sure you take it all, lock, stock and barrel. Make sure you don't question or go against the grain. That's anti-American, don't you know?

I have no use for right wingers or left wingers. You all can kiss my ass. It's six of one, half dozen of another. Say something in support of the troops and the lefties see you as a mindless drone who practices the Hitler salute in front of the mirror at night. Say something against Bush and the righties call you a dirty hippie who flirts with treason.

Some may call that a lose/lose situation. I call it the price of being honest about your beliefs.

Update: Timmer says his "tired of military" comments were not directed at me, but my feelings about the whole thing and the ensuing comments/emails still stand. I just wish the people who email me had the balls to put their thoughts down in the comments.

August 10, 2005

making stone soup of 9/11

I've stewed about this all day and tried to figure out how to word it so my point would get across without sounding too strident and whatnot but, what the hell, I'm just going to come out and say it.

Let me quote, first:

The Pentagon will hold a massive march and country music concert to mark the fourth anniversary of 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an unusual announcement tucked into an Iraq war briefing yesterday. "This year the Department of Defense will initiate an America Supports You Freedom Walk," Rumsfeld said, adding that the march would remind people of "the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation."
Q: What is America Supports You?
R: " America Supports You," is a nationwide program launched by the Department of Defense (DoD) to recognize citizens' support for our military men and women and communicate that support to members of our Armed Forces at home and abroad.


The America Supports You Freedom Walk is the fourth September 11 commemorative activity sponsored by the DoD. The goal for the 5th anniversary in 2006 is for each state to host a Freedom Walk in order to provide an opportunity for as many citizens as possible to reflect on the importance of freedom.

The word "crass" immediately comes to mind. Call me crazy, but I just don't think that a commemoration of 9/11 should be mixed in with a "support the troops" march. You know what this is? A thinly veiled pro-war rally. And concert!

It's four years later. I think at this point we should be diminishing the pomp and circumstance of the commememorations, not addding to it. The purpose of the event is "to remember the victims of September 11, honor our troops and celebrate our freedom." I don't think it's right to do those things together. It's an opportunistic move designed to make people feel good about a war that a lot of people don't feel good about it. Mixing the "let freedom ring" chorus in with the funeral dirge that is still ringing in the hearts of the victims' families is just shy of vile.

I do support the troops. I do cherish my freedom. And I do like a good concert. But how those things fit in with remembering those who died on September 11, 2001 is beyond me. I think that at this point, the administration has chosen to remember the event, not the people. They've chosen to celebrate the start of a time of war rather than memorialize the end of nearly 3,000 lives.

That's a shame.

[Please read the update to this post here]

National Underwear Day: Show Your Stuff/Survey

In keeping with my reputation as a blogger of taste, maturity and intellect, it is my duty to not only inform you that today is National Underwear Day, but to entice you take part in it by showing me your goods.

There are many words for underwear, you know. Panties, bloomers, thongs, tighty whities, boxers, lingerie, drawers, underpants, etc.

Some people go without (commando, free-ball), some people like to show their panties by wearing pants that go down to their buttcrack, some people even like to wear their underwear over their pants. Undies are quite the versatile piece of clothing. I've even seen people wear panties on their head (I can't believe I gave my panties to a geek!).

I don't have one particular type of panties I wear. It depends on the situation, the day of the month or how fat/thin I'm feeling that day. My underwear ranges from Cookie Monster thong to silky, lacy black numbers to plain old white Hanes to these:


Let's show our support for this day. It's early morning, which leaves you plenty of time to get into the spirit of things by letting your undies peek out of your pants a bit or flashing a complete stranger so you can show off that multi-colored bra. I mean, Sponge Bob walks around in his tighty whities, so why can't we be as proud of our undergarments?

Let's see those unmentionables! Send me (or post in the comments) a safe for work picture of your boxers emerging from your waistband or your bra strap slipping down your shoulder. Pull that thong up a bit and show us what you're made of. Take those Spiderman underoos out of your drawer and snap a shot of them.

Ok, if you're camera shy you can just take part in the great debate. Boxers, briefs or commando, guys? Panties, thongs or grandma-style bloomers, ladies? What's under your clothes today?

Mountains and Molehills: A Vacation Diary
Part III: Cemetery Gates

[Excerpts (and additions) from the (handwritten!) diary I kept on vacation. All links to go photos taken on said vacation. This will probably be five or six parts, so if you're not interested you might want to skip the next 24 hours or so around here. Part 1 here, part II here.]

crooked-cemetery-17The Roscoe Cemetery is located on a steep hill. You have to literally drive off the beaten path to get there; a gravel road that traverses over a single lane bridge takes you up a winding path to a parking area. There's a newer section of the cemetery, with fresh graves, smooth headstones that shine like glass, replete with mementos lined up like museum displays.. We walk to the other side of the cemetery, the part that rolls up and down with the terrain, where the birth dates are in the 1800s, the graves are laid out haphazardly and the headstones are splayed out like loose, crooked teeth.

I try to walk between the graves, to show some respect to the dead by not stepping on their burial place, but this cemetery is laid out so that's impossible and I nearly tiptoe across the grass, as if my footsteps would disturb the endless sleep of the dead.

There are simple stones carved with just names and dates. I stare at these stones, finger the letters carved within and wonder about Louisa and Elizabeth- who were they, how did they die, where they mothers, wives? Perhaps Louisa was poor, which is why her headstone is so plain, so non descriptive, unlike the Cages, whose burial place is adorned with a tree carved from stone, sitting among the simpler headstones like a welcome sign to a summer retreat. I try to clear some moss off of Russell's grave and I find myself saying out loud, though in a whisper "was that your first or last name?" The moss is embedded in the letters and tell Russell I'm sorry I couldn't fix his bed up for him.

Many of the graves are those of children, babies and teenagers who died in a time when it was common to lose a child. Still, that doesn't make it any easier to read the dates on a headstone and realize that below the ground lies the remains of an infant who never saw her first birthday, or a mother buried alongside her five year old son.

There are monuments and statues among the tumbled stones and flat, simple plates. Angels and chess pieces and the Cage tree stand tall, if a little tilted, like sentries overlooking the highway below.

The quiet is overwhelming. Even with the rush of a few cars and trucks below and the distant sound of water rushing over rocks, the quiet within the cemetery is heavy and reverent. Even a whispered "look at this one!" seems out of place and disrespectful. We trod back up the hill again, wending our way around William and Marinda, past the part where the ground sinks and rises, behind a thoughtful Jesus, pondering the mountain range, back to our car and the living, leaving behind that feeling of complete peace I always feel within cemetery gates.

I think about the cemetery now, hours later, sitting once again cross legged on the bed, staring out the window at mountains and lush trees and ducks moving slowly across the lake. I think I've change my mind about being cremated. I think about the relatives of Mildred, who still take care of her grave and bring her flowers and have a place to go to talk to her. I think of my own grandmother (also Mildred) and grandfather, lying next to each other in Holy Rood Cemetery and how, every time I drive down Old Country Road, past the cemetery, I wave to them, silly as that may seem. It gives me peace to know they, in some small way, still exist. When I go to their graves and see fresh flowers and plants and mementos of love, I know that people still think of them. They are here, in a way. Would I deny my own children or the rest of my family that just because I have a fear of being buried? I'll be dead. What difference would it make to me then? None. So if my family wants a place to talk to me after I'm gone, to feel like they are visiting me, I can give that to them, I suppose. I just hope they don't come too often. I like my alone time.

[All cemetery photos here, all vacation phots (thus far) here]

August 09, 2005

random thought of the day

So you've probably heard of food porn, right?

I was strolling through Google Image Search, hunting for picturs of , a competitive eating champion.


And the phrase food bukkake came to mind.

Told you it was random.

Oh, and for the two or three of you not bored enough by my words, I'm back at 100 words.

Mountains and Molehills: A Vacation Diary
Part II

[Excerpts (and additions) from the (handwritten!) diary I kept on vacation. All links to go photos taken on said vacation. This will probably be five or six parts, so if you're not interested you might want to skip the next 24 hours or so around here. Part 1 here.]

It's a bit strange for a claustrophobic to hate open spaces, isn't it? But I do. Put me in a boat in the middle of the ocean or a field that seems to go on forever and I'll be in deep panic mode within seconds. I just hate not being able to see the end of something. It's why long car rides find me anxious towards the end of the ride; I know the finish line is up ahead, but until I can see it, it's almost like I can't breathe until I get there.

greenery on the goThis lake isn't exactly wide open space; I can look ahead or behind me and see either side, both dotted with homes and docks and boats. To the left is the closer end that tightens up with a beaver damn (though in all my years coming to this lake I've never seen a beaver and I'm starting to think that they only existed in the minds of my older cousins), which narrows into a tiny patch of land, that opens up into a tangle of streams, leading out to Trout Brook Road (which is nothing more than dirt and gravel carved out of the mountain). It is in this spot that I tread soft ground, marveling at the way the bed of moss springs up and down as I press my feet upon it and then suddenly I am sinking, my right foot being sucked downward into muck and mud and who knows what else and as I panic (quicksand! death!) I move my left foot back and find refuge on a thick tree root. My daughter grabs one hand, my husband the other and they pull. My foot and leg come out of the swampy dirt with a puckering sound, leaving my sneaker behind. The phrase "nature abhors a vacuum" runs through my mind as the space where my foot was fills with spongy, wet dirt. My husband manages to tug my sneaker to safety and we collapse in fits of laughter in the nearby, dry field; me, laughing at myself and the way I screamed "Help, I'm going doooooooooown!" and the other two laughing more at me than with me, which was ok as I'm sure it looked funny from their point of view.

Our laughter echoes through the mountains and I remember being seven or eight years old, standing in almost the same spot, shouting out "Hello!" just to hear my voice reverberate through the woods and over the lake.

Anyhow, back to the lake. To the right, the lake opens up and stretches out far enough so you can't see the end. I know it's there, I know that the end is made to look like a beach, with a sandy shore and deck chairs, and there's a dock just bobbing up and down in the middle of the lake "beach" and it all gathers and rides out under a wooden bridge, where a waterfall spills the remains of the lake out into a wide, rock-strewn stream.

When we were small, we chased each other out to the dock and took turns diving off into the murk of the lake. I was braver then than I am now; even though I've always had a fear of water, I made a show of not being afraid back then. What would my cousins think if I refused to swim or jump or dive? So I swam with the fish and salamanders, my legs often getting tangled up in underwater vines or caught up in lily pads and I would scream as if snakes were wrapping themselves around me. Back by the house, where the water wasn't as clear as it was by the beach, I would don my red canvas tennis sneakers before stepping into the lake. Just gently putting your foot into the water, lightly stepping on the muddy bottom, would cause a smoky uproot of whatever dreck lay on the bottom of Lake Muskoday. How did I ever swim in that? Where is that bravery now? Now, I look at the lake and see a monster ready to swallow me up. I see water without end. I see depths unknown, dark, dangerous waters filled with, what? Trout? Newts? It doesn't matter. It's water and it's dark and when I'm out there in the paddle boat, holding on for dear life, my family nearly in tears laughing at my abject terror of a freaking lake, it may as well be a five headed, forked tongue, fire-breathing dragon. That's what an open space is, in my mind. That's what the depth of water is, a never ending lake or ocean, a giant field, a road with exits far and few between all are. How odd is that it is the same monster as a closed, dark closet, a crowded elevator or any tight, confined space? The mind is a mysterious thing.

All photos (uploaded so far, I took 555) here.

[more to come]

Mountains and Molehills: A Vacation Diary
Part I

[Excerpts (and additions) from the (handwritten!) diary I kept on vacation. All links to go photos taken on said vacation. This will probably be five or six parts, so if you're not interested you might want to skip the next 24 hours or so around here]

sunset 3We set out at 5am, an ungodly hour for most people, but prime time for a morning person like myself. There are very few cars on the road at that time of the morning, and we made pretty quick work of the trip to Roscoe.

The farther we got from home, the more I realized how conflicted I am about the need for routine and familiarity and the feeling of having a cocoon of safety and comfort built around you.

I wanted to detach, to separate myself from civilization, technology, traffic, ringing phones and copy machines and computer screens and screaming neighbors and blaring horns. Yet as the signs of departure from home loomed - the crossing of the bridges, the narrowing of roads, the mountains rising up from the ground - I became nervous about the detachment. It's not that I would miss the internet or cell phone service or air conditioning; it's more like I would miss what those things represent: the confines of home. How strange to want to slip out of confinement, to be afraid of confinement, even emotional or mental confinement to the point of a mental sort of claustrophobia, and then to feel afraid because you are not confined.

Once we turned off Route 17 and into the town of Roscoe, I felt better. Roscoe is back-of-the-hand familiar. You turn into town, which consists of a small group of stores, some of which have been standing since I was a small child. Raimondo's restuarant, the grocery store, the fish supply store and, of course, the Roscoe train and museum.

From there it's a ten minute ride to the house in the woods. There's something about the ride from here to there that is almost magical in its ability to wipe out everything you left behind. It's like coming into a clearing and seeing only what's in front of you - sky, trees, grass - and hearing only what's around you - insects, wind, moving water - and knowing nothing else but the pure beauty of nature. Every stress, every worry, every minute detail of life is swept away and that feeling that we all get too often, that life is just whooshing by us at 100mph, it's all gone. You're at a standstill, a weird place where time and calendars and dollars, for a few moments anyhow, mean nothing.

You're driving on smooth curves cut into mountains, Johnny Cash on the stereo, the double yellow line uncoiling before you in a slithering series of ups and downs that make your stomach jump. On your left is the glassy surface of an enormous lake , the sky a deep shade of blue that you thought existed only in crayon boxes. On your right, a crop of wildflowers emerge in a blurred splash of blue and yellow and orange and behind the flowers the land rises up and centuries old trees tower above, the sun glittering through leaves and branches that have existed through hundreds of years of storms and changing landscape.

When you drive the same roads at night, they take on such a different shape and color. Even at dusk, the roads are washed in shadows; still black shadows of trees and flitting, gray shadows of bats that swoop and circle. The bumps in the road seem larger, the hills steeper, the woods menancing. The slow cadence of Queens of the Stone Age's Mosquito Song performs a fitting tribute to the sounds that play over the music - a constant buzz that is not just one bug, but thousands and thousands of all different breeds of insects waiting for a body to pounce on, a dead animal to feast on. They come in from the waters when the lights go down, hiding from the bats that have come out for dinner. You roll up the car windows to drown out the sound, and to keep out anything that might be lurking in the woods because we all know that things lurk out here at night.

Fat and soft, pink and weak
Foot and thigh, tongue and cheek
You know I'm told they swallow you whole
Skin and bone
Cutting boards and hanging hooks
Bloody knives, cooking books
Promising you won't feel a thing
At all

All photos (uploaded so far, I took 555) here.

[more to come]

August 08, 2005



That's me all blurry on the stretcher there, just about two hours ago.

I was just sitting here minding my own business, uploading vacation photos when a wave of intense dizziness hit me and I nearly fell out of the chair. I stood up, walked around, drank some water and figured it was just a passing phase. A minute later, another round of dizziness and shortness of breath hit.

I've had panic attacks before as most of you know, but nothing ever like this. This was more than some general floating anxiety. I literally couldn't breathe right. When I have anxiety attacks, I know that the feeling that I can't breathe is all in my head and I can usually stop it. This was something else entirely. I thought I was going to die before anyone could do anything to help me. I'm talking life-passing-in-front-of-your-eyes moment. Which, of course, made me panic, making the not breathing thing even worse.

My daughter just kept getting my water, not knowing what else to do. My son just stood there wide-eyed and panicky. I told my husband to call my mother (I don't know why) and then I told him to call an ambulance - which let him know how serious it was. I've never in all my shortness of breath moments ever asked for helpe from anyone, let alone paramedics.

So the ambulance came, the neighbors all gathered in front of my house, being nosy and curious and wondering what the hell was going on and there's five men in my house, all of whom know my father through the fire department, and I realize that I'm not wearing a bra. After they shoved an IV in my arm and took my blood pressure and attached all kinds of electrode things to me, I excused myself to run into the bathroom and put a bra on. Which is a difficult thing to do when you have wires and whatnot sticking out from every spot on your abdomen.

They had to use the stretcher, even though I pleaded with them not to, and all the neighbors gawked and whispered while they packed me in and turned the siren on. Wooowooooo!

Anyhow, bottom line is, I'm pretty healthy. The EKG came back normal, blood pressure normal, blood work normal. However, I've been directed to cut my caffeine, drink lots of water, stay out of the heat for a few days, see my doctor about my insomnia (I actually had to sign a paper saying I would do this), get some rest, chill out, calm down, etc., etc. Easier said than done.

I still feel a little lightheaded right now and I know I'm exhausted (yet not tired, if you know what I mean). It's good to know I have a good ticker and all and that it wasn't any of the weird things that went through my mind (bitten by a strange bug upstate, poisoned by the government, controlled by aliens, simultaneous sudden onset of every disease known to mankind, gamma rays, though I don't know if they tested for gamma rays or poison) and I'm just going to try to "chill out" as the doctor prescribed by looking at my vacation photos and shouting SERENITY NOW!

Back to civilization


420 miles and 555 photos later, we're back. And it's so damn good to be home in my own house with my own bed and my own shower and my 500 channels. Not that I didn't love the vacation; it was a great experience as always. It's just always good to come back home.

I've started uploading the 500+ pictures I took, if you care to look. It's going to take a while, as I'm doing them in batches so I can put up descriptions and whatnot. I'm kind of pleased with a lot of the photos, so I hope you take a look.

I'm going to spend most of the evening getting the rest of the pictures up and then I'll probably do a photessay in the morning for anyone who's interested in reading/seeing.

It was really nice being disconnected from everything for a while, but I think I missed this place a bit.