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September 30, 2005

sing and dance with david wells!

In lieu of voodoo, which I've been asked not to engage in, as it didn't work out so well last season.

wellygirl.jpg

Two and a half hours til game time.

We will now sing the Yankee theme song (download)
Lyrics below. Now start singing.

Y.A.N.K.E.E.S.
Here come the YANKEES
Let's get behind and cheer the YANKEES
They're gonna learn to fear the YANKEES
Everyone knows they play to win, cause

They're the New York YANKEES
Show them today why your the YANKEES
No other way when your the YANKEES
Wadda ya say we win a brand, new, ballgame

We're gonna shout when ya powder the ball
We're gonna scream, "put it over the wall"
The other teams gonna know what it means to play the
Y.A.N.K.E.E.S
We love the Yankees
Shout it out loud , We Love The YANKEES
We're really proud of our YANKEES
And we're gonna win today
2, 3, 4, Hit, Run, Fight, Score, Go! Go! Go!

We're gonna shout when ya powder the ball
We're gonna scream "put it over the wall yo"
The other teams gonna know what it means to play the
Y.A.N.K.E.E.S
We love the Yankees
Shout it out loud, We Love The YANKEES
We're really proud of our YANKEES
And we're gonna win today

Y.A.N.K.E.E.S. Yes

100 words on that nancy boy "Superhero"

Today's theme at 100 Words is:

Describe unto us all a completely useless superpower that one might possess.

And I did. Which I repost here for your pleasure, if you only promise to go over and read/rate the others and maybe try to write your own.

click for bigger

The ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Winner and New Category:
Rock Movies

ramones

Well, who didn't see that coming? Well deserved, in my opinion.

And on we move to the next category, which is:

ROCK MOVIE

Rock movie can be several things: a movie about rock and roll (Rock and Roll High School), a movie whose plot revolves around rock and roll (Detroit Rock City), a rockumentary (Song Remains the Same) a fictional rockumentary (Spinal Tap), etc. Other examples include Almost Famous, The Kids Are Alright, Sid and Nancy, Some Kind of Monster and The Rutles. This is a wide open field. Have fun with it, interpret at will (that's why we have two voting posts on each category) and don't forget to include a short testimonial.

boobies [and andrew sullivan pitching for the other team]

Need I remind you about the boobie-thon? Yes? Well then here's your reminder (and the 'thon is featured in Wired today).

The official launch is tomorrow. And yes, I will be participating.

boobie-thon 2005

One more thing.

wells.jpg David Wells
sully.jpgAndrew Sullivan.

Hmmm? Is there something you're not telling us, Andrew?

Let's Play Three!
Yanks, Sox and a Green Monster memory

Can you feel it in the air? The electricity, the magic, the pure adrenaline of baseball in the fall? No? Then you aren't in New York or Boston.

Things are going to be baseball heavy around here today and this weekend as the Yankees and the Red Sox face off in a season-ending series that will determine which team gets the division title.

Can the Yanks rid themselves of the stink of last year, turning tables on the Sox to re-capture the rivalry crown and perhaps restart the dreaded curse on Boston? Or will the Sox carry on from last year and lord it over the Yanks once again, setting us up for an entire winter of gloating and that special Boston brand of arrogance?

The Yanks are in first place as of right now, one game ahead. Will this come down to the proverbial wire, with a one game playoff on Monday? That would be rock and suck at the same time, as I don't know if my nerves could handle another game like that.

Another game, you say? Why yes, there was another one game playoff many years ago between the two teams. In fact, Sunday marks the 27th anniversary of the day Bucky Dent became Bucky Fucking Dent. Am I going to tell that story again? You better believe it. Today is the perfect day to retell such a grand tale.

torrez.jpeOctober 2, 1978. Junior year at my Catholic high school. Because the kids in my school came from all over Long Island, we would often stay after school, hanging out in the front lobby or the grass by the side of the parking lot instead of asking our parents to drive us all over creation.

The previous August I had a sweet sixteen party, one of those dress-up, dancing affairs where we played nothing but Who records and my friends got in trouble for sneaking Vodka into the pitchers of soda.

Those drunken friends, Kevin, Tim and Chris, had chipped in to buy me a wonderful birthday present: a portable radio. Keep in mind this was in the days before boom boxes. This radio was small, had no cassette player or 8-track player, just an AM/FM radio, which was all I wanted. Their intention in getting me this particular present was so I wouldn’t rush home after school during the baseball playoffs - I could stay after and hang out with them and listen to the games (which used to be played in the afternoon) on my portable radio.

On October 2nd of that year, there was a one-playoff game for the AL East title. Yankees. Red Sox. Fenway. This is what baseball was all about. This is the stuff that rivalries are made of.

I listened to most of the game in front of the school while everyone else was smoking or starting fights or whatever it was we did in those days. I held the radio up to my ear and did a play-by-play for everyone who was interested. As the game wore on the tension grew, everyone gathered around me on the lawn and I turned the volume up. And then the late bus came. I had to leave them all there, scrambling to find another radio.

My school district didn’t give us private school kids our own yellow buses. We had passes that allowed us to take the public buses for free. So for the four miles home, I had a bus full of commuters gathered around my seat, crossing their fingers, praying, waving lucky rabbits feet in the air.

The moment happened when I got off at my stop. It was a 1/4 mile walk to my house, down one straight road. I had the radio up to my ear again as Dent came up to bat. My heart was beating fast, my nerves were tingling. I went into a half-run, hoping that I could make it to my house - which I could see all the way at the end of the block - before anything great happened. And there was no doubt in my mind, I felt it in every nerve in my body, that something grand was about to happen.

The only reason the Yanks left Dent in to hit in the seventh inning of a game they were losing 2-0 was because they were out of spare infielders.

Before his home run, Dent fouled a ball off his foot, hopping around in pain and asking the trainer to come out and take a look. After walking around a bit, Dent decided he was OK and went back into the box.

Mickey Rivers was on deck, and the Yanks leadoff hitter had been closely observing Dent the entire time. While most everyone in Fenway Park was watching Dent grimace in pain, Rivers noticed that the bat Dent was using was the same one that Rivers had used earlier in the game — and Rivers knew the bat was cracked. He grabbed a bat-boy and sent him to the plate with the bat he was holding, and Dent took the new lumber despite being in the middle of an at-bat.

And then it happened. Dent swung at a Torrez fastball. It was going, going, gone. A three run homer. I don’t even remember the call of the play on the radio because I was whooping it up, all by myself on the sidewalk. I heard the happy roar of a man coming from inside the house I was passing. I was literally jumping in the air. I broke into a sprint and ran the rest of the way home, where my mother, who was the source of all things Yankees for me, was standing in the kitchen, waiting for me. High fives all around. The Yankees went on to win, 5-4.

If you are not a sports fan, there is no way I can explain that feeling to you; there is no adequate way to describe the pure adrenaline, the joy, the exuberance of listening to the call of Dent's home run. It wasn't just that the Yankees won, it was that they beat the Red Sox. In Boston. In a one game playoff. It was so in-your-face, so perfect, so fairy tale ending, that - for a day or so at least - you didn't care what happened in the games after that, because you just experienced the pinnacle of being a Yankee fan.

Bucky Dent sails one over the Green Monster. My number two moment on my list of Greatest Sports Moments Ever - and just the beginning of what could be a perfect weekend; the leaves are changing, the weather is absolute fall and the Yankees are facing the Red Sox. It just doesn't get better than this.

Update: The YES network is showing the Bucky Dent game right now! I won't be able to leave for work until I see the home run.

September 29, 2005

The ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Punk-Off Poll

[poll closed/removed, click on "hall of fame" link for winner]

I'm going to repeat what I said before: There will be eleventybillion categories. Your favorite band will probably get in under one of them even if they don't get in now. I'm also taking the "best" qualifier off the awards so we can revisit categories again. After all, there are a LOT of good bands in each category, especially this one. But only one in bands that sing about monsters and whose name rhymes with isfits.

The Fifth Annual Halloween Mix Suggestion Box

It's that time again. I present to you the Fifth Annual Halloween Mix CD suggestion box.

This year I am looking to set up the speakers in our pumpkin patch of evil in order to set a sinister sort of tone for our trick-or-treaters.

In the past, we relied on songs that either mention Halloween or are about Halloween or even have themes relating to monsters or ghosts or just evil in general (think Maiden's Number of the Beast). This year, I will accept all those suggestions AS WELL AS any spooky music you can think of, be it goofy novelty songs, classical pieces, movie scores, etc. Anything you think would make a good soundtrack for our little slice of suburban spookiness.

Caption, Please

soxchewie.jpg
An actor playing Chewbacca throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to a game between the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday Sept. 28, 2005.

Oh please, someone make a Johnny Damon joke.

I am SO ready for this weekend. I'm about to break open a whole new bottle of ass whooping voodoo. Bring it, suckers.

The ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Winner And New Category:
PunkoRama

acdc2

This was a tough one. Queen came close and Kiss had a lot of defenders, but in the end, it was the cannon that did it. Don't ever doubt that. FIRE! You can see testimonials here and here.

And now, we go for our first punk rock inductee into this Hall of Fame. TC has come up with the category:

Best Old School Punk Band/Artist - '76-86.

This would include punk bands and post punk bands/artists, but NOT new wave bands, as they will have their own categories sooner or later. If you need me to identify the difference between punk and new wave, then you don't deserve to be voting in this particular category. Capice? (And this is why I have two rounds of voting on each category, to sort of weed out the lame nominations). Also, keep in mind that there will be hundreds of categories and if your favorite punk band doesn't get in on this round, they may get in on, say, the "most vicious stage show" or "best band to wear make-up" categories.

Get nominating. Include a short testimonial, please.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

I am going to take the BEST off the awards and just put bands in under categories without the BEST qualifier. This way, down the road we can induct bands and artists who didn't make the first cut in the same category. So there can be more rock anthems and more punk bands and more bands that write songs about monsters and whose name starts with M and ends in Isfits. So if your punk band doesn't make it this time, I'll open the vote again in the weeks ahead and induct maybe three or four bands at a time.

It's a Halloween Soda, it's a dessert topping, it's a floor wax!

The Jones Soda company is known for coming up with strange, holiday-centric flavors. Not to mention their weird regular flavors, like the daughter's favorite - blue bubblegum. Who wants to drink a soda that tastes like blue gum? Who even wants blue flavored gum in the first place?

I think it was Thanksgiving 2003 that Jones came out with the Turkey and Gravy soda. Last year it was Green Bean Casserole soda. Sort of like a Willy Wonka "meal in a stick of gum" idea. Without the nutrients.

So I was quite unsurprised to see, while strolling through the Target Halloween section, Jones Halloween flavored soda. It comes in tiny cans (small enough to be given out as Halloween treats, I would think) and four flavors, only two of which Target had in stock:

jones-2
click for bigger

Candy Corn and Caramel Apple (missing are the Scary Berry Lemonade and the Strawberry Slime, neither of which sound overly unappetizing).

Let me preface all this by saying that I loathe soda. I hate carbonated beverages as a whole, except for Guinness beer stout, which is smooth and rich and would never come in ridiculous flavors. Carbonation is the devil, it is born of evil and the bubbles are made from the flatulence of Satan himself. So the sacrifice I made here just to entertain and inform is a great one. Recognize, k?

The Candy Corn flavor looks like something pissed out by a person with a rare genital defect. It's quite reminsicent of Surge soda (the only soda I'll ever own up to actually liking, though I mostly drank it in its flat state, mixed with vodka) in that way:

jones-1
click for bigger.

And because it looks like toxic piss from a diseased penis, it's almost oxymoronic that the soda tastes like ass. Now, I really have no idea what ass tastes like, but I can assume that if ever I were to lick an ass, for whatever reason - and I don't mean just lick the baby fresh bottom of Jessica Alba's perfect rear end, but lick, say, the crack of King Kong Bundy's ass after he got said ass kicked by Andre the Giant, that's what this soda could be compared unfavorably to. All you have to know about this soda is that it has the appearance of what nuclear waste might look like. You could even say it glows.

Honestly, is there anyone out there who likes candy corn even in its natural, candy form? Mmmm...sugary wax shaped like a vegetable! No, it's not even shaped like corn. I've never seen a perfectly triangular piece of corn, have you? Maybe this wasn't the best Halloween candy to put into liquid form. You know what I'd like to see? Reeses Peanut Butter Cup soda. Now there's a Halloween candy. It even comes year round in Halloween colored packaging. Kids go crazy when you hand out Reeses on Halloween. You put a couple of those peanut butter cups in their grub bags and you are the Queen of the block.

Now, I know other people have reviewed these sodas before (and in a much more funny/extreme/ironic/post-modern way than I have) and I'm sure these drinks have been referred to by every adjective from toxic to rancid. I am going to shock - and probably appall - you here by saying that I like the Caramel Apple soda just fine. Considering my fear of carbonation, this is no small feat. The Caramel Apple soda actually looks normal, (the color of cream soda, in fact) and tastes like those lollipops that are really pieces of delicious, creamy caramel covered in a green apple candy coating. I love those pops because I love caramel apples. And I love anything that can make me feel like I've eaten a one without actually losing a filling to the caramel. Hence, I sort of like this soda and I would probably even venture to love it, to have a relationship of sorts with it, if it weren't for the satanic carbonation. Also, I've discovered that two or three sips is enough because after the third, you get that feeling as if your teeth have been coated in a sheen of sugar and it's crystalizing and forming a thin layer of rock candy right over your molars.

So, in summary (as they say in all science experiments):

pp.gifThe Candy Corn soda gets a rating of an asstastic one teeny tiny pumpkin and the only reason it didn't get zero or even 1/2 is because it tries. The whole idea of Halloween flavored soda is a brilliant one and I have to give it some props.

pp.gifpp.gifThe Caramel Apple Soda gets two pumpkins; while better than the Candy Corn flavor, it's still soda, and it makes my teeth hurt.

I'll continue with Halloween treat reviews as long as I can find something to review that Matt hasn't already.

Update: I just decided that I really am going to give out these sodas as Halloween treats. I'll get one of those giant size witches cauldrons, fill it with ice and dump an assload of Jones Halloween soda cans in there. I'll still have candy, but I have a feeling my caudldron of liquid sugar is going to be a huge hit.

September 28, 2005

Rock Athem Finalists and Stuff

So something crawled in my stomach, burrowed there and died. Just thought I'd share.

The finalists for Rock Anthem are:

AC/DC - For Those About to Rock
Queen - We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions
Kiss - Rock and Roll All Night

Leave your choice in the comments with a short testimonial and, if you can think of one, a category for tomorrow's voting as I can't come up with anything right now as I'm too busy dying.

I'm off to read the new Gaimain until I throw up/fall asleep/whichever comes first.

I really need to get my hair cut*

I got in a mood today. Misery loves company so here ya go.

Dashboard Confessional - Screaming Infidelities.

I wish I had the other version of this song, but I can't find it. Oh well. Enjoy. Or not.

*my hair, it's everywhere

ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: A Winner and a New Category:
Best Rock Anthem

crue

Like what I did with the statue? I'm getting all fancy now. I may have to go back and fix the previous three.

Obviously, Crue is the winner in the Hair Metal category, by a wide, wide margin.

Testimonials:

* Because Vince Neil killed the competition (RIP, Hanoi Rocks), Nikki Six returned from the dead, Mick Mars is still at it with a completely fused spine, and Tommy Lee went to college.
* "Girls, Girls, Girls" was my first rock cassette, and I played the hell out of it.
* They started out with leather and studs, switched to lace and makeup and wound up in plain jeans and t-shirts. Their look changed but they continually put out some really great rock songs. Shout at the Devil.
* Clearly the winner has to have an umlaut.

And now that we've had that induction ceremony (I swear, there was a ceremony with flowers and crowns and crying runners-up) we can move on to the next category.

This one will go into the "Songs" wing of the Hall of Fame when it is built (out of legos):

Best Rock Anthems

You know the rock anthem. It's that song that brings the house down. The song that gets played after you've held up your Bic lighter for so long that you have tiny ridges in thumb, the song that makes the crowd stomp their feet so hard that the stadium shakes, the song that they turn the house lights on for so you can see the entire arena rock the fuck out together. It's a band's identifying song, the one that they save for the encore. Got it?

[You can find a starting list here, if you need some ideas]

Update:

For the record, my picks (as of this moment)

We Will Rock You
Rock and Roll All Night and, what should be the clear winner:

For Those About to Rock.

Dude, cannon balls. Come ON.

Wednesday Musical Chairs: I'm Guilty

This week's Wednesday Musical Chairs theme is: Guilty Pleasure Albums.

I had to think long and hard about this one. I mean, if I'm going to purge myself of a musical sin, I may as well make it a good one, right? Just put it out here so everyone can make fun of me, ridicule me, mock me, whatever.

So I went through a mental list. And I realized something about myself. I am guilty as sin. I came up with at least 25 albums I own and listen to that I consider a guilty pleasure. A few I gave weight to and discarded for one reason or another:

Kid Rock - Devil Without a Cause
Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet
Def Leppard - Pyromania
Any Broadway musical soundtrack
Air Supply's greatest hits
Journey - Infinity

And the list goes on. Yea, so I was listening to Skid Row the other day and liking it. And yea, I like Neil Diamond. And the Bee Gees. That's right, I listen to some disco. Emo? I've got tons of it; Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, Hawthorne Heights, the list goes on. Pop punk? Yep, I love Blink 182 and All American Rejects. Then there's Abba and 70's bubblegum pop and ODB. One of my favorite songs ever is Sister Christian, for chrissakes! Kelly Clarkson! YES, I LISTEN TO KELLY CLARKSON. And NSYNC. My GOD, I am absolutely PURGING here, yes I listen to NSYNC, I dance to Bye Bye Bye, I absolutely adore It's Gonna Be Me and while we are here I may as well confess that I also like Backstreet Boys' Larger Than Life Guilty, guilty, guilty.

So what could I possibly listen to that would be worse than any of that, that would be leave me feeling so guilty that I feel in the very pit of my soul that I've done something so wrong, so very, very wrong that I need to recant my atheism and go back to church just to confess to this very sin and even then, bathing in a sea of Hail Marys wouldn't help me?

lp.jpg

Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory.

The odd thing is, I have no idea why this makes me feel so guilty. Maybe because so many people think of Linkin Park as the band that made nu-metal radio friendly (a bad thing). Maybe because, when it comes down to it, they are nothing more than NSYNC with guitars and without the dance steps. Maybe because they are so reviled, so hated in so many music fandom circles or because they are known as the band kids listen to when they are curled up in a ball in their bedroom closet, wishing away the world and crying that nobody loves them and life isn't fair. Whiny, angsty, melodramatic rock. Kind of like Nirvana without teeth.

So why do I like it so much? I have no idea. I don't know what pulls me into listening to Hybrid Theory. I just like it. A lot.

Go ahead, mock me. But the rule is you are not allowed to mock me without leaving your own confession.

September 27, 2005

The ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Hair Metal Finalists and a Question

It's kind of obvious who is going to win, but I feel the necessity to put it to a vote anyhow.

Also, I just want to remind you that when bands are inducted, they are not inducted specifically under the category that you voted them in on, they just get in under the "rock and roll" umbrella category. The categories are just my way of making it easier to pick bands one or two at a time then just making the voting process a chaotic free for all.

Now I notice that in the post asking for category suggestions, many of you suggested categories relating to songs or albums or specific people or events.

Would you like to see that kind of stuff inducted into the HoF? Things like best guitar riff, Betty Ford Memorial Trophy for Distinguished Achievement in Substance Abuse, best power ballad, best rock and roll movie, etc? The possibilities for this hall are endless. If you want to do that, I can go back and fix the previous trophies so they have categories on them. I guess we could just give Rush the People's Choice Award.

Suggestions, comments, ideas? Because I am running with this thing, as I was out of stuff to blog about besides Halloween anyhow.

Today's Musical Question: Power Play

Dave at Garfield Ridge asks the burning question:

what are the best power openings to rock songs? Not necessarily the same chords as those found in the rest of the song (although in the case of "Unchained" they are the same), but which songs kick ass from the very beginning? Which ones get you pumped just from the first five or ten notes alone?

Dave's answer is Unchained by Van Halen and I'm going to agree with him on the sole basis that I just so happen to have Unchained in my head as it was the last song I listened to in the car.

Although that answer won't stand more than ten minutes before I come up with forty more.

And go share your answers with Dave, too.

J-E-T-S, W? T? F?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

The Jets just signed Vinny Testaverde.

That's what you call plugging a leaking hole with a strainer.

As both a Jet and Packers fan, I have only one thing to say:

Hello, hockey season.

ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Categories

I need some new categories. So far we've had the free for all with Rush, the "A" list (Alice Cooper and AC/DC) and now hair metal.

I need HUNDREDS of categories! Be whimsicial, creative, outrageous, serious, idiotic, suggestive, ridiculous, smart, funny, eh......you know what I mean. Come up with a bunch of good categories and I don't even care if you creat a category that is specifically tailored to getting your favorite band into the HoF.

Update: I think you guys are missing one point; these stupid categories are just a way to get a band into the hall. Everyone gets in under the same umbrella: Rock And Fucking Roll. I'm only using the categories as a way to get bands in one or two at a time.

I'm not making sense. Carry on. We'll muddle through this somehow.

Free People Read Freely

In 2001 and 2002 I did something called the Banned Books Project (the remnants of which you can see here) and here.

The BBP coincided both years with Banned Books Week. And what is BBW?

Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, the annual event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.

Mostly, the project brings attention to those pieces of literature which have been challenged (by parents, school districts, etc.) or banned outright, due to content or subject matter that they perceive to be offensive or inappapropriate.

I think in recent years the original vision of Banned Books Week has been clouded by too much politics being brought into the mix. Which is too bad, really.

Anyhow, I'm not in the mood to get into the political aspects of all this (read Dr. Frank's post on BBW from last year). Obviously, banning books is a bad idea. But people have had bad/goofy/ridiculous/alarming ideas about what YOU should or shouldn't be reading/listening to/watching for ages and it's never going to stop. Between the people all the way on the left and the people all they way on the right, they'd want just about everything out there taken away. If it's not for religious/moral reasons then it's for reasons that stretch the idea of political correctness to new boundaries.

What it comes down to, in my eyes, is that some people think children are delicate little flowers who should be given the idea that life is all about flowers and rainbows and fuzzy kittens and no one every talks bad about anyone or calls anyone names, no one ever questions authority or talks back to parents, no one ever gets hurt or bleeds or acts out in violence, teenagers never have sex or break hearts or smoke cigarettes or drink or experiment with drugs or use foul language or cut out of school, that people don't use racial slurs or tell offensive jokes and are never demeaning to women, that we can cut reality out of history, that gay people don't, or shouldn't, exist, that nothing frightening ever happens, that people don't get divorced or die ugly deaths or get murdered, that kids aren't mean to each other and that boys don't flirt with girls, that kids don't get depressed or angry, that scaring children with silly ghost stories will warp their little minds forever, that shielding them from war and death and the harshness of life is a good thing, that science fiction destroys your brain cells, that being a free thinker is dangerous, that sex is dirty, that people are always nice to each other and don't make judgments based on religion or ethnicity, that people never used figures of speech that could now be considered wrong....you get the picture.

One of the most frequently banned books of 2004 is the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey, for offensive language and modeling bad behavior.

They banned Captain Underpants. That, my friends, is it in a nutshell. Who the hell takes it upon themselves to spend the time and expend the effort to get Captain Freaking Underpants BANNED? Who is that sensitive, that uptight that they think there is something wrong with an eight year old kid telling fart jokes? EIGHT YEAR OLD KIDS ARE SUPPOSED TO TELL FART JOKES.

STOP trying to make our kids - and by kids I mean from preK all the way through high school - into little robotrons who all subscribe to the same morals, ideals, sense of humor, way of life. Let them discover life for what it really is instead of taking all this away from them only to have them discover - much too late - that life isn't like that at all. And what the hell is so wrong with laughing at a superhero in a diaper?

What is wrong with letting kids read what life really has in store for them, for seeing what's really out there instead of some fake plastic world where none of the things you think are bad for them exist? By depriving them of these ideas you lose the chance to teach about them. By keeping them sheltered you lost the chance to talk about things they may face. By not allowing them into the lives of others through books, you make them think there is no other way of life out there but theirs. You're stifling their creativity, keeping their minds from growing and keeping THEM from growing as human beings. How can you learn about life if you are not allowed to experience it all, including the good and bad? You can't wait until a child is 18 before you open up the world to them.

Wow, I've gone completely off track here. Sorry.


Below is the list of the 100 Most Frequently Banned Books. I've bolded the titles I've read.

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

hair metal votes; ball of confusion [updated]

I've been told I need to make the guidelines for voting on the new entry to the HoF clearer.

Not looking for the greatest hair or biggest hair, per se, but the best band that had big hair.

Yes, I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but we are nomingating in the category of BEST HAIR METAL BAND.

Leave your nominations here instead of there, and don't forget a testimonial.

Update: To further define hair metal:

Wikipedia -
Hair metal is a type of hard rock that arose in the late 1970s, in the United States, and was a strong force in popular music throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Such bands are frequently called hair bands. Pejorative terms for hair metal include poodle rock, due to the teased, bushy hair of many performers, or other derogatory terms, such as cock rock reflect a fixation on sexual lyrics and deeds and the lack of respect afforded by some music critics.

Though hair metal started in the 70's, techinically, we are going to stay on course here with 80's hair metal. For specifics, see the list here, the requirements for hair metal bands here, another list here, a hair metal playlist here.

I wish my old friend Brandy was around; she's the hair metal expert. And where's Mikey when you need him?

Ok, read those links. You'll understand what hair metal is. Though some of you, I suspect, need no reminding.

poison2.jpg

September 26, 2005

The ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Double Entry! (and a new, hairy category)

I kept tallying and people kept adding comments, so we're just going to induct two this time around. That's the nice thing about having a "make up the rules as you go along" Hall of Fame.

acooper acdc

  • The first cassette I ever bought, on my own, with my own hard earned money, was "Dirty Deeds". Let's face it, they've got the biggest balls of them all!
  • AC/DC, clearly. The music is fun and loud and makes you smile. And Beavis wears the band's shirt.
  • It's not even a contest in my mind. [AC/DC] have been one of the greatest bands to listen to (and play along with) since day one. FIRE!!
  • Two words: "School's Out."
  • Alice changed the face of rock 'n' roll. Without Alice, we would not have had the New York Dolls, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Kiss would not look the same, Ozzy would not have been as outrageous.
    * AC/DC - ..they are the epitomy of rock and roll. Loud, balls to the wall rock. No pretty boys. No big hair. No gimmicks
  • Alice Cooper. The man turned tragic makeup and torn stockings into true Rock and Roll, without coming off all femmy.

More testimonial here. Congrats to both artists (who join Rush in the hall), neither of whom will ever know that this glory has been bestowed upon them.

And now, the nomination process for a new category begins:

Two words: Big. Hair. Or, as my friend Jon put it: Greatest Contribution to the American Salon Haircare Product Industry 1979-1985

Please add a sentence or two of testimony to your choice.

Caption, Please

aw.jpg
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan is arrested by United States Park police outside the White House on Monday, Sept. 26, 2005 in Washington

Have at it. I'll be back this evening with

The ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: "A" List

I've narrowed down the A choices (and sorry Faith, but Asia doesn't quite cut it).

The following are going to fight it out to be the second inductee in our hall (and I say our, because this HoF belongs to ALL of us):

  • Alice Cooper (who gets here under "A" and not "C" because the band was named Alice Cooper at the start)
  • AC/DC
  • Anthrax
  • Alice in Chains

Not only do you have to vote, but you have to give at least one sentence in testimonial so I can use the testimony in the induction ceremony (see, Rush).

The winner will be announced this evening, along with a new category. And remember, just because three bands will be shut out this time doesn't mean they won't get in on another ballot, as the categories are going to cover just about everything imagineable.

questionable content?

Comments are fixed, thank you.

This is what happens when you put "" in your blacklist by mistake. Everything becomes questionable content.

Which, when you think about it, is true.

Pondering Death on a Monday Morning

My uncle has six months to live.

We've known for a few weeks that he has cancer and he's dying, but he was given a death sentence of sorts this weekend. Oh, I know; you know people who were told they had weeks or months to live and they survived for a long time. Uncle E's cancer has nested in three different places, including his brain, and is not responding to treatment. So hope is not a big commodity around here.

I think of life as infinite sometimes. I'm sure we all do. Oh, we know we're going to die at some point, but we don't think about it much. We makes plans for tomorrow, for the upcoming holidays. Sometimes we make plans for a vacation next year or a wedding in two years. We put money away towards retirement. We look forward as if life is always going to be ours.

So what does one do or think when they've been told their life is finite? Not just finite in a human nature way, but finite with a number, with a marked distance. Six months? You can see the goal posts from here.

It's easy to say enjoy what time you have left to the fullest; that's probably the first thing that pops into everyone's mind. But when you have cancer traveling through all ports in your body, it's hard to carpe diem. In fact, the diem should be carped way before you're handed your ticket out. It's almost cruel to think that some people are told beforehand that they're going to die and they're too sick to actually do something with the time they have left.

Do you sit there and wait, knowing that soon you will be consumed by pain, that you won't be able to breathe on your own or eat or even get up to go to the bathroom, that parts of your body, one by one, will stop working and there will come a point when your brain will be so overcome with cancer that you won't even know your own name, that at your last moments your wife or son or daughter will be putting ice on your lips to keep them wet and crying over your ravished body?

I'm sure you try to stave off the pain and the falling apart by thinking happy thoughts and looking on the bright side of life and all. That's what they say, anyhow. Think positive. If you think good, you'll feel good! Easy to say when it's not your body being eaten alive by sickness. But I'm guessing that no matter how much "living" a dying person does, that little black cloud of impending death is hard to shake off for long periods of time.

Moments before my dad called last night to tell me about my uncle's bad news, I read this:

Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.

...

We built fires even on summer evenings, because the fog came in. Fires said we were home, we had drawn the circle, we were safe through the night. I lighted the candles. John asked for a second drink before sitting down. I gave it to him. We sat down. My attention was on mixing the salad.

John was talking, then he wasn't.

It's a very powerful piece by author Joan Didion about the night her husband died - suddenly, without warning, during dinner. He was talking, and then he wasn't.

I started thinking hard about that, about losing someone you love so dearly so suddenly, without a chance to say good-bye, I love you, thank you, about second guessing every last moment, about the guilt of not having said the nice things enough and the bad things too much and no way to rectify that or make up for it. No warning shot, no time frame, just...gone, like that.

And then a phone call from my father and I was thinking in opposite terms; a chance to fill in with love the gaps that life's business left. A chance to say all the things and unsay some things and hold, kiss, cherish.

And now I think of these things not from the view of the dying, but from the view of those who will live on after death has its way with a loved one. While it can't be easy to walk around knowing that you are going to cease to exist in a short while, I wonder if it's not harder for spouses, children, grandchildren and others to face the days ahead of life without. Dinner with an empty space at the table. Holidays without that resounding laugh. His space behind the counter at the deli he owns, a void that will engulf the entire community, an emptiness where he used to be.

Yes, it's that way for everyone who experiences the death of someone they cherish, but imagine knowing this is coming, and you spend your days taking care of your husband or wife, making them comfortable, soothing them and holding their hand and trying your best to make the last days not so horrible for them and all the while you're thinking of what happens next, the planning of the funeral, the people gathered together, the life that begins for you after those people with their casseroles and sympathy leave. The emptiness. Knowing that's coming.

Would I rather have someone I love taken from me suddenly and without warning or would I like to have some time to spend, even if that time is spent at a bedside in a hospice? I don't know. It's not mine to choose anyhow, of course, but things - like the phone call about my uncle or the man I saw on Saturday, laying sprawled in the steet, his mangled motorcyle next to him, paramedics working fervently to save him, that get me thinking of enormous questions like this, the answers to which don't really matter at all and only serve to remind you that life, it sure is random.

September 25, 2005

food porn

snausages

More there.

I heart IHOP and their French Toast Festival.

something I've been meaning to ask you since June or so

I just kept forgetting and this reminded me.

What's your favorite Twilight Zone episode?

out and about

I'm going to be spending the day doing...stuff; some Halloween decorating, some yardwork, a trip to IHOP for their French Toast Festival and who knows what else. Where the day takes you and all.

It's a great day to be outside. 65 degrees, party sunny, nice fall breeze. My kind of living.

ghost clouds

Blue skies, nothing but blue skies.....

September 24, 2005

Lady in White - A re-review

They re-issued Lady in White on DVD last week, so of course I bought it, being that I'm always telling people it's such a great movie.

We watched it tonight.

It sucks when something isn't nearly as good as you remember it. I guess it goes back to that whole nostalgia v. memory thing.

It's not that the movie as a whole is bad. It's just, well...the special effects are beyond cheesy, the dialogue is pedestrian, the directing is uneven and my god, the foreshadowing is like having the director smash you in the brain with a ten ton hammer that has advance plot points engraved on it.

I remembered it as a great movie. It was only mediocre. I keep thinking of all the things I would have done with it instead. It could have been awesome. Very frustrating to watch a movie you really want to love - a movie with a good plot and storyline - but the directing and writing keeps you from getting too attached to it. Like, you think you want to date it, take it home and make love to it, but after spending ten minutes with it you realize you'd rather be just friends.

And Lukas Haas has HUGE ears. I bet he can hear the gods whisper with those things.

Engines pumping and thumping in time

Went to the classic car show in Point Lookout today, with the intention of seeing the Batmobile. We ended up staying a good hour or so, just walking around looking at the cars. I've never been much of a car buff, but I think I'll start going to more of these shows (they are EVERYWHERE on Long Island); when you look at cars as a works of art rather than just a machine that gets you from A to B, you see them in a totally different way. Automobiles also happen to be very photogenic.

I usually put all the thumbnails here, but that's too much work. Here's a sampling. If they interest you, click away. 37 photos in all (I shot 90), including the Mach 5, the Flintstone car and Dragula.



www.flickr.com

The ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The "A" List

Now that Rush has been inducted, we need to give them some company. I haven't really figured out how I'm going to do this, so we're going to just wing it each time I'm looking for new nominees.

Today, we are going to do it by the letter. The letter A, in fact.

Name any band/artist starting with the letter A that you think you should be in the ASV RandR HoF, which is a by the people for the people HoF, unlike that other worthless hunk of junk in Cleveland (and please go by LAST name of artist, not FIRST).

Space is limited to one band AT THIS TIME. A band may be nominated under the A rule and not get in, but that's not to say they won't get in under the eleventybillion other categories I come up with. I'll gather the nominees and put it up to a vote, though the vote will count more for bands/artists whose nominators give testimony with their choices.

I just thought of four A's off the top of my head that are deserving. Get busy.

--------

NOTE: THIS POLL IS CLOSED. SEE HERE TO VOTE ON THE FINAL "A" FOUR.

Weather is here

Intrepid ASV ahurricane reporter Dave in Texas, sends along this email and some photos:

Worked tonight at the Bell County Expo Center, and the municipal center where 350 evacuees are staying through the storm. They had all been on the road since yesterday, pulling into places like our town for meals and rest.
This group will stay here through the storm. The elderly gentleman raising his hat is Raymond. Raymond is from New Orleans, the lower ninth ward. He's been staying in Houston, however they moved him out due to Rita.

Raymond does not know where they are moving him. He is not sure when he will go home.

He asked me to say "thank you" to everyone who has helped him.

The family pictured is a man named Raul, his wife and two kids. They left their home in south Houston yesterday morning, and just made it here today (central Texas). They were given gasoline once by a guy in a truck in Giddings, and once by a truck from the Texas Dept. of Transportation. They had a decent dinner, and are ready for bed. They'll ride out the storm here in our convention center.

A little encouraging message on the back window of the school bus. Everyone looked like they'd had a long day.

The three kids in the last photo jumped up and said "take our picture"! So I did.

They'll be safe this weekend.

Thanks, Dave! But let's not tell Oliver Willis that there really are shelters and buses out of town, because that would just destroy his world view and leave him without another avenue to blame Republicans for everything.

September 23, 2005

ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: First Inductee

rush

By overwhelming choice, via the people. Testify:

  • Their 'Chronicles' album was one of the first my children, ages 17 to 21, stole from my collection. I think that says something about their talent.
  • the 2112 Overture left an impression on me
  • I think they rock, man
  • "Trees" pretty much says it all. It was a monumental piece of expression (even if it didn't get much airplay).
  • Jews rock.
  • They’ve beaten psoriasis, arthritis and hearing loss and still rocked out with their largest crowd ever just two years ago.
  • .... the move where the lights blinked off for a moment and when they came back up they had new guitars,not missing a beat.
  • I'm delighted to see them be the first inductees into the ASV R&R HoF, and the snooty "rock critic" crowd can suck on that like a sour persimmon.
  • The first rock band where the drummer could be considered a musician
  • I love Rush because they are the antithesis of the Def Leppard "how many times can we make Pyromania before people notice" syndrome

And there you have it.

I'm not sure how to proceed from here. Should I do genres? Years? Just hold it up to a vote? Go with a choice of my own? Who should the next inductee be?

we're all gonna die

panic.jpg

Anyone else thinking the end times are near? Not a rapture or anything like that; I think maybe the planet Earth is revolting against us. Or we opened the gates to Hell. Maybe this is what happens when humans progress too fast. And maybe we're just little toys being played with by some supergiant race of evil children. Oh, I could go on. But I won't.

And not for nothing, this is one of the reasons I say that if Long Island was ever in a situation where we had to evacuate, I wouldn't. I'm not going to take the chance that I'll be stuck on the LIE for twelve hours and never even make it out before the shit hits the fan and die right there in a traffic jam with stalled out cars and exploding buses and overheating trucks and nowhere to go. I'd rather die in my own home, thankyouverymuch.

Just be aware, people. The end is nigh. In fact, I think you should all spend some time right here confessing to your deepest, darkest secrets before the world explodes. Get it out of your system so you can die with a clear conscience.

Maybe I'll tell you about that one time, at the zoo. Just to purge myself of it. So I can go on to my next life (hopefully as either a cat or a bass player) with a bit of purity.

did someone say boobies?

boobie-thon 2005

Yes, I did.

It's the Fourth Annual Boobie-thon, where we show our stuff off to benefit charity. This year there are two causes; as always, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, in addition tothe American Red Cross.

The Boobie-thon has raised over $17,000 for breast cancer awareness.

The 'thon begins in earnest on October 1st, but you can get your boob shots in early, if you want. The rules and all other FAQs are right here. You can see examples/previous submissions here(NSFW). And here are all the boobies (again, NSFW - and the main page of the 'thon always remains SFW).

It's a great cause (a double cause, this year!), so open your wallets and/or your shirts.

Update: all fixed now, that was a strange Moveable Type/Firefox issue this morning, I think.

random thought of the morning

If I believe in ghosts and spirits and demons and all that, does that mean I can't really be an atheist? Do I have to believe in some sort of God or afterlife to believe that ghosts are real?

Who knew that reading ghost stories could be so life altering?

September 22, 2005

limelight

Wow, what a long, busy day.

But I did manage to do this while I ate my very late dinner.

asvrrhf.jpg

First inductee tomorrow and it's Rush, thanks to a groundswell of support by THE PEOPLE. Because the ASV R&R HoF is all about what the people want.

If you have something to say in support of Rush, please do. I need some kind of testimony for their induction ceremony.

One Free Minute

Did I mention I'm really busy today?

What would you say, given one free minute of anonymous public speech?

Me, I'd go with Badger, badger, badger, badger! Mushroom, mushroom! Snake! Over and over. For 58 seconds.

I'd use the last two seconds to shout BOOBIES!

Anonymity rules.

Listomatic: Worst Horror/Scary Movies

We've talk about great horror movies over and over again. For a different take on my Halloween schtick, let's talk really, really bad horror/scary movies.

  1. Troll - recognizable actors do not help this low-budget, poorly scripted movie. It's as if the director was torn between making a scary children's and a horror parody. Neither Sonny Bono nor a character named Harry Potter can save this movie from being anything but BAD.
  2. Ring 2 - I called this "generic, uneven, predictable, poorly directed, hastily written, nonsenical." It also gave me the best unintentional laugh I've had during a horror movie. One word: Deer.
  3. The Village - I believe that when I reviewed this movie, I used the words asscake, assfrosting and ass-spoon.
  4. Parasite 3D - I actually saw this in the movie theater (1982) and I was all excited to see my favorite General Hospital actress - an unkown Demi Moore - make her big screen debut (ok, she made that movie Choices in '81, but I don't think anyone saw that). Awful does not begin to describe the acting, the writing, the directing or the effects. I've created better 3D on acid trips.
  5. Jeepers Creepers - so bad it displaced Kazaam as #1 on my Worst. Movie. Ever. list.
  6. Halloween H20 - this series should have been murdered after two
  7. (Tie) Stephen King movies: Children of the Corn and all its sequels, Christine, Cujo, The Dark Half, Dreamcatcher, Maximum Overdrive, The Shining (remake), Lawnmower Man 1 and 2, The Mangler 1, 2 and 3, Pet Sematary Two, Silver Bullet, The Tommyknockers and Secret Window, which rated five pieces of crap on the crap-o-meter. I am convinced Johnny Depp owed someone a favor.
  8. Blair Witch Project - Boooooooooooooooooooooring. I got ants in my pants after five minutes and the payoff was NOT worth the numb ass I got from sitting there trying not to fall asleep.
  9. House of 1,000 Corpses/Devil's Rejects - I love me some Rob Zombie but dude, stick to making music. There's a thin line between homage and uh...the opposite of homage.
  10. Any Friday the 13th movie after the first - ch-ch-ch-ch-ch gets real old, real fast, especially when you don't give a crap about any of the characters who are about to get slashed. Never before have I rooted so hard for the killer. Don't even get me started on Jason X.
  11. Land of the Dead - Romero's Return of the Clones

I could really go on like this for a while, but I'll let you take over from here.

Horror Haiku

I was going through my archives looking for horror movies I reviewed (for the soon to be appearing list of worst horror movies ever) and I came across some haikus I wrote about monster movies. Enjoy. Or not.

Mothra

Look! Up in the sky!
It's a bird! It's a plane! No...
It's just a damn moth

Godzilla

Once he was so fierce
If only Godzilla knew
Broderick ruined him

Night of the Lepus

Killer rabbits lurk!
Wait - that's Bill in a bunny suit!
great FX, my ass.

Eight Legged Freaks

Almost as bad as
Jeepers Creepers, but not quite
David Arquette sucks.

Plan 9 From Outer Space

Hey, did you ever
See Johnny Depp in Ed Wood?
Then you'd understand.

Feel free.

September 21, 2005

Rita

Laurence has collected a list of area bloggers covering Rita, which is now a category 5 hurricane. He's also joining the Houston Chron stormwatchers group.

Laurence is Houston and says he's riding it out as they aren't in the direct line. For now.

I told him to point the cam outside so we can watch.

50 Halloween Stories: #6 ½

Half, because this is - wait for it - half a story! I wrote Part I, lost my mojo and then decided that the best way to move on is to put the first half up, thus forcing me to finish off the story. One thing to remember about these stories: they are all first drafts. Just keep that in mind.

AM I DEMON (a temporary title)

“Do you believe in demons?”
He asked this of her nonchalantly, as he cut a piece of cake and slid it onto her plate.
“Chocolate Ganache. Made it myself.”
He hovered over her and waited expectantly while she chewed, swallowed, licked her lips.
“Well?”
“It’s to die for,” she said and dug in for more.
“Hah, no, not the cake. I know that’s good. The demons. Do you believe in them?”
He pulled out the chair next to her, sat down and stared at her like a child waiting for the answer to his questions about Santa Claus.
“Ahh, yes and no.”
He pouted. “Oh come on, Diane. There’s no yes and no to this.”
“Of course there is, Roger. It’s not like saying ‘do you believe in ghosts?’ because ghosts either are or aren’t. People can rise from the dead in spirit form or they can’t. With demons, it’s harder to say. I think demons live inside some of us, as if the devil has lodged in the soul.”
“So you believe in the devil?”
“Yes...”
“And you believe that he can manifest himself in humans?”
“Well, yes...”
“And that makes a human a demon?”
“Right.” She wasn’t sure if that’s what she meant at all, but it seemed to satisfy Roger.
“So someone who, say, pushes their car into a lake with her two children strapped inside in order to please her boyfriend....is that a demon?”
“Ah, no. That’s a psychotic bitch.”
“Maybe, maybe not. Doesn’t that sound like something the devil would do?”
“The devil wouldn’t end up in jail.” She grabbed a napkin and wiped chocolate frosting off her lips. “Roger, I thought we came here to talk about our brother.”
“We are, in a way.” He stood and began to clear the dishes from the table. Diane absently wiped down the table in front of her with the chocolate-stained napkin. “You’re being vague, Roger. Can you just get to the point.”
Roger was already half way to the kitchen with the dirty dishes and cups. He yelled back over his shoulder, “I THINK CHARLES IS A DEMON!” as if he were dishing dirt about his favorite actress. Diane sighed. She knew that no matter how flippant Roger was about it and no matter how much she tried to dismiss the whole idea as ridiculous, she agreed with Roger. She had for some time, in fact, and was taken aback when Roger asked her the demon question earlier. For months now, she tried to tell herself that Charles was evil, demonic, a monster, but her conscience as well as her realist nature batted down that idea each time and she shoved it back into that corner of her mind where she kept thoughts that didn’t deserve daylight. But now, now that Roger had come out and said it, maybe she could release it.
“I think so, too,” she said quietly.
“Huh?” Roger came back into the dining room with two glasses of wine. “Say something, sis?”
Diane cleared her throat. “I said I think so, too. I think Charles may be a demon.” She nearly choked on that last world and Roger handed her the glass of Chardonnay. She gulped it down sloppily, wiped her lips with the back of her hand.
“Where is he?”
Roger stood up. “Follow me.”

------

to be continued

The ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

That's it. I wasted too much of the past few days arguing about the Hall of Fame ballots and discussing the shame that is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Who died and left them HoF boss, anyhow? How does one go about becoming the "official" RandR HoF? Just because some guy with a lot of money says so doesn't make it so.

So - and you know what's coming next - I'm starting the ASV Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There will be no ridiculous exhibits or long lines or televised ceremonies with Bono hugging people. And best of all, YOU get to decide who is in this particular Hall of Fame.

I'm not even going to get into categories or years yet. I just want you to nominate your picks for the Hall of Fame. I have no criteria for this hall; your band doesn't have to be in existence any certain amount of time (hell it could even be a fake band, like Spinal Tap). All I ask is that you give at least one sentence of explanation for your nomination, even if it's to say "because Innagaddadavida rocked, man." Everyone has a chance in my hall. And people like Van Halen and Black Sabbath do NOT get locked out.

Make your nominations now.

generational questions for the day

Thinking out loud, basically, but inviting you into the conversation I've been having with myself (I bore myself to sleep sometimes).

Is there a generation in between baby boomers and Generation X? Was that the ME generation and, if so, what years does that encompass?

How is your generation defined? Or, how do you define your generation; by its living standards, its pop culture, its social structure or the world events that happened and how you reacted to them?

Is it stupid to label generations and subscribe such qualities to them? Would it be better to just say "what decade(s) did you grow up in?" as in "I am a child of the 60s/70s." Even then it gets confusing. What I mean is, do you identify yourself with a specific decade or decades and why or why not? What parts of those decades do you identify with? Are there certain pop culture references that you attach yourself to - music, tv shows, etc.?

And what do you think this generation (kids now in high school/junior high) will bring to the table, or how will they be defined?

That's enough questions to go on, I think. Add what you want. I'll write longer on this another day, but I'm really interested in your thoughts.

Fall

orange2

September 21. My favorite day of the year. Even though it will be at least 80 degrees today, it is officially autumn and I rejoice in the new season.

Autumn swoops in and I move into another realm of living. My adrenaline kicks in. My energy level bursts forth. My desire to get things done, to start new projects and complete old ones, to write, create, and just live all fire their jets at the same time and I am a rocket ready to take off.

It's 60 degrees right now, at 5am. It's almost dark out at this hour of the morning; the stars are slightly visible and the moon gives a silvery glow to the autumn clouds moving in. The trees make noise in the wind, like the rustling of paper, and when the leaves move the birds move with them; crows and doves and gulls taking flight, spreading their wings against the lightening sky.

A few leaves fall to the ground; they are tinged with the first yellows of fall. The dark yellows come first and its just on the edges of the leaves, as if the weather didn't have enough time to fulyl work its magic before these early leaves became victim to the season. Soon, the reds will appear, then the browns and oranges and the trees will look like a forest fire, all those burning colors set against the grayish morning skies of October.

The trip to the nursery comes soon enough. Pumpkins, bales of hay, mums in colors that mimic the trees, a few scarecrows and a wooden black cat complete the package. I used to have a small, plastic cauldron filled to the brim with gourds of ridiculous shapes and sizes, but the squirrels would come and have a feast, leaving my cauldron overturned as if a beggar witch had come in the evening looking for scraps. Now, I just buy a few gourds and throw them right in the garden. The squirrels thank me by leaving my pumpkins alone.

It's neer too early to decorate for the upcoming season. perhaps in the old neighborhood, I would be mocked for the September 21st arrival of dancing skeletons in the window and fiery mums lining the walkway. But on this block my penchant for fall has been rivaled; the neighbors across the street have already erected their scarecrows and lined up their jack-o-lanterns. They all stare at me as I pull back the curtain, grinning, welcoming me into their world.

This week, everything I buy at the nursery and everything I have stored in the garge wil be set up on the lawn in a precise formation. It is my homage to the time of the season. To the crisp air, the incredible colors, the creepy fall moon, the witches and goblins that haunt the neighborhood on the last day of the month, the readiness.

And what am I ready for? For everything. For trading in my tank tops for sweatshirts, for taking the air conditioners out and putting the storm windows in. For putting the cover on the pool and the summer toys in the shed and dragging out the fake spiderwebs and well-worn scarecrows. For the anticipation of everything that comes after October; apple pies, family gatherings, hay rides, Christmas lists, the shopping. The last of the leaves finally letting go of the trees, leaving them looking like bony fingers pointing at dull grey skies, until one of those fingers pokes a hole in the clouds and the snow comes down, bringing with it winter and hot chocolate and warm fires.

It is fall. My calendar does not have to tell me this. When I walk outside at night and the wind is an old, dangerous witch whispering secrets in my ear, cold and ticklish, it's time. I feel my first goose-bump shiver of fall. The anticipation of spending an entire month soaking up the finest artwork nature has to offer, backdropped with a barely audible, but fully present, crackle and hiss of electricty in the air; this is what being alive, being in the here and now is all about.

It is autumn and I am fully alive.

September 20, 2005

die, fanboy, die

I know I said this before but it bears repeating:

People who go to bookstores and then proceed to sit - usually while reading an entire book (and that book is, without fail, either a tits and ass manga or Marvel superhero book) - cross-legged on the floor in the graphic novels section, thereby taking up the entire aisle and never, ever making an attempt to move or get their ass up when someone is trying to look at the shelves they are blocking, should be SHOT.

It is a bookstore. Not your living room. Buy the fucking book and take it home. Or if you're going to browse at least have the decency to go sit in one of the many comfy chairs that places like Borders affords you instead of sitting right there in the stacks touching yourself while you read.

That is all.

Best of SNL: I'm not that strong a swimmer

84aswimmers1.jpgI'm on this comedy kick (which is odd, given that I am also on a scary stories kick), and I was talking with some co-workers about our favorite Saturday Night Live skits.

Of course, you can talk for hours about that. You first go over the old stuff, back from the SNL golden days, and then all the skits from when it got funny again, and then that other brief stint when it was really funny and then the skits from recent years, mostly with guest stars, that stand out through all the crap.

Googling around a bit, I came up with the transcript from one of my all time favorite skits (below).

So, what's your favorite(s)? (I'm working on my list)

Synchronized Swimmers

Gerald.....Harry Shearer
Lawrence.....Martin Short
Director.....Christopher Guest

[ open on an underwater camera angled upward to see Gerald & Lawrence on the surface above, as they jump into the pool below and begin their synchronized swimming routine. ]
Gerald: Oh, it's not going to be easy. My brother and I know. Men have never done synchronized swimming in a sanctioned competition in this country. Officially, it's got like a zero acceptance rate.

[ cut to Gerald & Lawrence sitting and chatting ]

Lawrence: I don't swim.

Gerald: Lawrence doesn't swim. So.. I mean, no, of course not.. no one's going to just walk up and hand us a gold medal. Men's syncro isn't even in the '88 Olympics yet.

Lawrence: That's okay, because we could use the time. 'Cause I'm not.. I'm not that strong a swimmer.

Gerald: But I mean, that just means, you know, for '92, we're a lock for the gold.

[ cut to Gerald & Lawrence doing more of their routine in the pool ]

Gerald: I remember it was a Friday. I was coming home. My wife, Abby, asked me, "Honey, is there something wrong?" And I said, "No, there's nothing wrong. I've made a decision. I'm leaving the accounting firm, and Lawrence and I are gonig to pursue a dream that we have, and that basically synchronized swimming is going to be our lives for the rest of this century."

[ cut to Gerald's wife, Abby ]

Abby: At first, I was sullen, because it turned our lives upseide-down, you know? But then I realized that it wasmaking Gerald really happy.. after being down for so long. I just decided that.. this was going to be great. [ cut to visual of Abby walking up a suburban sidewalk with a suitcase of wares ] Going back to work was a challenge.. but I found a whole outlet of experience.. and, let me tell you, you meet so many new people in the course of one day.

[ Abby knocks on door, but is ignored after being noticed from the window ]

Gerald: She's been great. I'm really fond of the lady.

[ cut to a Director helping Gerald & Lawrence with their routine ]

Director: 1, 2, 3, 4 - here it goes. This is like a mirror between you, and then he goes this way, and then let's say you were to point at each other. You're doing the same thing, aren't you? No, you're not angry at him..

Gerald: No, I'm not.

Director: No, you're just pointing at him. "Hey, you! I know you! I know you!" Let's hear the waggle. The waggle. Yes, just let me see this.. [ waggles ] Yeah, you remember that.. Maybe not.

[ cut to Director discussing his work withGerald & Lawrence ]

Director: Working with them has also given me a goose - if I may use that expression. I've been directing regional theater - "Shakespeare in the Park" - and if I ever do that again, I'm just going to, you know, kill myself with a Veg-o-Matic.

[ cut to more directing ]

Director: We dig a hole, we dig a hole, we dig a hole..

Director Voice-Over: And the great thing about these boys is they are thinking gold. I mean, who would want to wear bronze, anyway?

[ the boys learn underwater breathing techniques ]

Director: Be aware of the waterlines. So start holding your noses now! And hold your breath! Count: 1, 2.. you're underwater - I am, too, but I'm talking, this is just pretend - 2, 3, 4.. look at the fish going by, you see people's feet? Can you hold it any longer? No. So, burst out of the water, and aren't you glad to be out of the water? Lawrence, aren't you glad?

Lawrence: Yes.

Director: Yes!

[ cut to Gerald & Lawrence on the deck, Lawrence performing an on-deck dance routine ]

Director Voice-Over: Although the judges don't count it, deck work is a very important part of Lawrence's preparation for the gold, and that's allowed to come from within in. He can be surprisingly creative.

[ Gerald & Larence jump into the water ]

Lawrence: The underwater part is really challenging. In a way, it's what makes this sport a sport. The male rules are a lot tougher. We can only touch the bottom with the balls of our feet, or else it's five-eighths of a point off.

[ cut to behind-the-scenes grooming before the next bout of practice ]

[ cut to Gerald & Lawrence in the water showing off their best synchronized swimming skills ]

Lawrence Voice-Over: The music is chosen to express different moods: happy, underwater.. we'll argue sometimes about it, but I think Gerald trusts my tastes.

Gerald Voice-Over: There just comes a time in your life where you have to take yourself to the limit. We have the opportunity to do something that no one has ever done before. And we're going for it.

[ Gerald & Lawrence finish their synchronized swimming and wave to the empty crowd ]

SNL Transcripts

teh funny

danecook.jpg

I just now discovered this guy, thanks to my daughter (I immediately returned the favor by lending her my Eddie Izzard collection).

I listened to the CD on the way in to work and, let me tell you, there's no better way to start the day than to laugh hysterically all the way to your office. Good thing my windows are tinted.

Dane's official site is here . He's made quite a few clips available, so go watch them if you have never seen him.

Now that I'm on this comedy kick, I'm looking for other comedians. I like Izzard, Bill Hicks and Mitch Hedberg. Anyone else like that out there? I've already turned a bunch of my comedy collection into mp3s - Carlin, old Eddie Murphy, Pryor, etc. I've also been on this old SNL kick, but I'll talk about that later.

Who's your favorite comedian?

Grim grinning ghosts

Used to be that telling a good ghost story to a kid would elicit screams of horror and week's worth of nightmares. Now that all the good urban legends have been made into movies, it's getting harder and harder to give a really good fright to a naive child. And isn't that what Halloween is all about? Scaring the piss out of the innocent children? Hey, don't look at me like that, that's what my own mother told me!

If you want to give a good scare, it's all in how you tell it. A low, whispering voice. Anticipatory pauses. And the extended silence at the end of your story to give the kiddies a moment to think about the implications of not heeding the warning the story provides.

The first legendary ghost story I remember (aside from Lonesome Ghosts), was the tale of the ghostly hitchhiker. I read that one myself in a collection of ghost stories I took out of the library - a perfect book in that it kept me up at night, yet I couldn't stop reading it.

This was before dead babysitters and microwaved babies became all the rage in scary stories. I liked the ghosts; they were almost benign in that I was pretty sure (just pretty sure, not positive) that the stories were fake. I didn't have to believe in ghosts, because there was no proof that they existed. But deranged strangers slicing and dicing babysitters? Totally believable. There's different levels of being scared, and the new urban legends going around at the time (1970's) served a dual purpose; they scared the living shit out of us and they also made us hesitant to go anywhere or do anything alone.

The first of the madman legends I remember was the date gone awry. Guy picks up girl. Guy and girl drive out to the country. Car runs out of gas. You know the rest. But do you know it from having it told to you or do you know it from seeing it in a movie? Because let me tell you, when you're no more than ten years old and your babysitter is telling you the story, the scare factor is tenfold that of watching some B-class actress scream her way through a scene.

The guy decided to walk to the nearest gas station. The girl waited in the car, because it was too long a walk to make in her high heels. Soon after her boyfriend left, she heard a sound outside the car. Like a scritch...scritch...scritch...she though the boyfriend was tapping at the window, so she unlocked the door and waited for him to get in. No one opened the door and still she heard the scritch...scritch...scritch...so she decided to see what was making the noise....she stepped out the car, looked around and saw nothing. That is, until she looked up. And there, hanging from the tree was her boyfriend. Dead. His lifeless body swayed in the breeze, making his sneakers slide across the roof of the car. That was the sound she had been hearing. Her. Dead. Boyfriend.

I didn't exactly scream, but I do recall the goosebumps that ran up and down my arms. The babysitter asked if I was scared. Not wanting to disappoint her, I told her no. I didn't want her to think I was a baby. Well, that backfired because she launched into another story. And another - the man with the hook, the girl with the ribbon around her neck, the one legged man thumping up the stairs, the call is coming from inside the house - I did build up my scary story portfolio that night, and even if it came at the expense of sleep, it was worth it. For the next few months, I regaled relatives with my repertoire of fear inducing stories.

I missed the real ghost stories. Slice and dice stories are great to an extent, but I missed being scared in the way that leaves you afraid of the dark. Not afraid of masked men with knives or hooks for arms, but afraid of the things you can't see.

I think the first legendary ghost story I read was the one about the guy who picks up a young female hitchiker. She's wearing a party dress. He goes back to her house the next day for some reason, and the parents tell him that the girl has been dead for years. There were thousands of stories like that one, told over and over again, with different settings and different characters but the same basic premise, and I read them all. I loved the thrill of the being chilled. And then there were the classic stories; The Monkey's Paw, Sleepy Hollow - and my mother introduced me to Poe (through Vincent Price movies) and I read The Tell Tale Heart and The Raven over and over again and then scoured the library for more like that and found Algernon Blackwood and hordes of Victorian ghost stories and Shirley Jackson, and expanded from ghosts to demons and vampires and witches and werewolves and creatures with no name that I was sure were hiding under my bed at night.

The best thing about these stories is that they are short, so you can tell them to your friends in the dark of night with only the yellow eye of a dim flashlight for light - being the teller of the tale made them seem less fearful in a way, like you were taking ownership of the story. I learned how to do voices and sound effects and where to pause and where to gasp to emphasize the terror and fright. Still, there's nothing like having a ghost story told to you, especially through a book, in a low lit bedroom, close to midnight, by yourself.

The thrill of being chilled.

As always, there's a survey attached.

What's your favorite ghost story/scary urban legend? Think you have one I haven't heard before? I'm always up for some new scares.

September 19, 2005

Wither the Class of '80?

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has snubbed the class of 1980. I take this personally as I AM the class of 1980. Granted, some really shitty music came out that year, but they couldn't find ONE band with a 1980 debut album fit for the Hall?

I'm going to save my WHY THE FUCK ISN'T VAN HALEN IN THE HALL OF FAME post for another day. Makes me sad and puppy-eyed just thinking about it. It's freaking Hagar's fault! It's Cherone's fault! It's...yea, another day.

Anyhow: Can anyone identify a single band/artist that debuted in 1980 deserving of place on the ballot?

Update, in relation to comments:

The article refers to artists appearing on the ballot for the first time. Because of the 25 year rule, artists debuting in 1980 are eligble for the first time to be on the ballot. None made it.

Black Sabbath is up for I think the seventh year in a row.

Although the Pretenders album debuted in 1980, the HOF says they started in 79 and inducted them last year .

U2 was also inducted last year (meaning they are considered to technically have a 1979 debut), and by last year I mean this year. Which is confusing, I know.

The ballot for this year was just mailed out, which means it's really for next year. I think.

Another update: I believe in the power of Iron Maiden. I bet they get in eventually.

/more cowbell

sometimes there are no words

The relatively unknown (but trying reaaaallllly hard to be known) screenwriter Tess Smith at last night's Emmy Awards.


click for bigger

Tess, last year's outfit (and drunken posturing) didn't do you any good, because people are still saying, one year later, Who the fuck is Tess Smith? But this kinda worked for you, because now people will be able to answer: "Tess Smith? That's the bald chick!"

I was going to do a caption contest for this, but....what can you say?

100 Words of Piracy (Plus a song)

This is the last of the pirate themed stuff for today - I've had enough!

I decided to post my 100 words contribution for today here also, because it serves an an entry into my own contest (below). The theme is:

you must actually use some saucy pirate lingo within your 100 words today. Oh, and it has to be include at least three speakers.

My dual purpose entry:

Pissing in the Wind

They sailed the seas
night and day
in search of land and treasure

Grim they were,
ripe and dirty,
the crew of SS Pleasure

They beat their wenches.
hoisted grog,
and sang shanties on the deck

And when they docked
they raped and pillaged,
left each town a wreck

“We have no fear!”
the captain laughed,
as he pissed into the sea

“No quarter!”
cried the first mate
as he also aimed his pee

And then the Pleasure
began to list
and the sides to give

Poseidon reared his head above
“That will teach you
to piss where I live!”

And now, my favorite pirate related song: Sex Pistols, Friggin in the Riggin (lyrics below)

Thanks to Tesco for the mp3

It was on the good ship Venus
By Christ, ya shoulda seen us
The figurehead was a whore in bed
And the mast, a mammoth penis

The captain of this lugger
He was a dirty bugger
He wasn't fit to shovel shit
From one place to another

Chorus:
Friggin' in the riggin'
Friggin' in the riggin'
Friggin' in the riggin'
There was fuck all else to do

The captains name was Morgan
By Christ, he was a gorgon
Ten times a day he'd stop and play
With his fuckin' organ

The first mate's name was Cooper
By Christ he was a trooper.
He jerked and jerked until he worked
Himself into a stupor

Chorus

The second mate was Andy
By Christ, he had a dandy
Till they crushed his cock on a jagged rock
For cumming in the brandy

The cabin boy was Flipper
He was a fuckin' nipper
He stuffed his ass with broken glass
And circumcised the skipper

Chorus

The Captain's wife was Mabel
To fuck she was not able
So the dirty shits, they nailed her tits
Across the barroom table

The Captain had a daughter
Who fell in deep sea water
And by her squeals we knew the eels
Had found 'er sexual quarters

Pirate Poetry Jam

Well, it turns out I have a case of the Mondays (not really, just kind of busy) and I won't be able to continue my pirating ways until later in the afteroon.

So here's a contest.

Pirate poetry: may be in the form of limerick, haiku, didatic, ode, free verse, whatever floats your boat. No limits on words either way. Just a big old free for all pirate poetry jam.

The only rule is that your poem must be about, well, pirates. Or pirate things. Or piracy.

Listomatic: Sing a Song of Pirates

[Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day, scroll down for more piratey stuff]

Songs with Pirates in the title

  • Earlameyer The Butt Pirate - Bloodhound Gang
  • Gimme the Life of a Pirate - Olsen Twins
  • Last Saskatchewan Pirate - Arrogant Worms
  • The Pirates That Don't Do Anything - Relient K
  • Pirate Jenny - Nina Simone
  • A Pirate's Prayer - Zao
  • Europa and the Pirate Twins - Thomas Dolby
  • Pirate Looks at 40 - Jimmy Buffet
  • Pirate's Life - Vandals
  • Pirate Love - New York Dolls
  • Pirates - Emerson Lake & Palmer
  • Pirates - Tori Amos
  • Aquabats - Capt Hamton And His Midget Pirates

arrr.jpg

QOD: Pirate Edition

I think these are age old questions, mulled over since the beginning of time. Or since pirates, anyhow.

Who would win in the following fights:

Pirates v. ninjas
Pirates v. evil clowns
Pirates v. aliens
Pirates v. zombies

Avast ye Scalliwags! Splice the mainbrace!

savvyAvast, ye scalliwags, today be t' greatest holiday after Halloween, Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Today will be all pirate, all t' time here at ASV (not really, but maybe). T' festivities will include lists, a limerick contest, stories, links and lots o' pirate fun. First, I offer you this story I wrote for 100 words when t' theme was piracy. It be a nod t' me favorite pirate story o' all, one played, not read.

Scott sends me to a flat in London.

What a bloody mess. Smashed rum bottles, cracker crumbs, a shelf with a slew of books. I pull one out at random; it’s splotched with blood and the cover informs that the magic word is "Yoho!"

Pirates. I should have known. Damn you, Scott.

Against my better judgment, I mutter "Yoho!" and woosh, I’m on a beach, in view of a pirate ship. I sigh. I know that somewhere between the stinking pirates and buried treasure there’s going to be a dark cave.

I’m likely to be eaten by a grue.

For all you pirate fans, today's theme at 100 words be related t' Talk Like a Pirate Day. I expect every one o' you pirate fans t' head on over and give it a whirl.

English to Pirate translator.
Pirate lingo

Stay tuned for an exciting day of piracy, high seas and random fun. If ye like pirates, that is.

[click on that image for a photo of my favorite pirate]

September 18, 2005

fair enough

I have not had a good photo taking weekend. First the moon fiasco, and now this. I just never bothered to fix the settings on the camera after doing some weird shots this morning and my photos from the street fair are full of noise. Oh well, I post them anyhow because I can.

yellow wheee tilt the-big-guns soylent-green-is-frooooooog red-white-and-green over-easy oh-shit of-the-united-horse-of-amer kamikaze jaws-of-death j-e-t-s is-that-janine-turner i-want-a-pony i-pledge-allegience-to-the- i-am-emo hang-ups frogger flags faces-frozen-in-terror day-is-done david-ice-cream a-game-of-darts

Click each for humungoid size and droll commentary.

Kiss my balls, you filthy hamburger eating Americans!

Thanks to Allah (through LGF), I discovered that our buddies in Belgium have decreed hating America to be all the rage.

"Down with America" is the title of a recent song by the popular Belgian musician Raymond van het Groenewoud. Written in Dutch and published by EMI , "Weg met Amerika" ("Down with America") will be available in record shops as of next week, and was played on Belgian state radio last Thursday and Friday

Those wacky Belgians!

I've decided to help them out with their quest to make this Down With America song the newest thing to sweep their nation. What does a catchy song need (besides ridiculous lyrics and a good beat) to be a pop sensation? It needs a line dance! I the Belgians follow my advice, Down with America will soon be the number one requested song at weddings and birthday parties and even in night clubs. Come on kids, just follow the motions! (And yes, these are the REAL lyrics. Stupendous!)

Hamburgers and coke, yes you already knew (pretend to be sipping coke)
But do you also know the cause of the general decay? (two steps forward)
Short-sighted thinking, loud talking (make yapping motion with hand, two steps to the left)
Sticking to one-liners forever (hold up one finger, two steps to the right)
Down with America! Down with the jerks from America (give two thumbs down as you spin full circle)
Down with America! [...] (another thumbs down as you kick up your right leg)

Down with American colonialism (step forward, pointing down)
Down with that ugly, biting English (step back, make yapping motion with right hand)
All the Anglo-Saxon pretence, arrogance (spin)
Yes, a hot pick up their ass (slap own ass)
And that is that [...] (spin again)

I am from the Belgian, the European panel (two steps forward, heil Hitler sign)
And I ask you: "Clear my channel! Clear my channel!" (wave hands in air like you just don't care)
Megalomaniac unicellular idiots (jump around, jump around, get up get up and jump down)
Kiss my ass, yes, kiss my balls (slap ass, blow kiss to balls, clap hands and spin)

At the end of the song, everyone joins hands, gathers in a circle and move toward the center of the circle shouting HAMBURGERS AND COKE! HAMBURGERS AND COKE!

Repeat as necessary.

50 Halloween Stories: #5

The Cat Came Back

Twice he brought mice. Bloody, ragged stumps of rodent left on the doorstep.

“Good kitty, Bradford,” is what Oswald said because he knew that the cat was only offering him a gift. How was a cat to know that humans don’t think half-eaten, blood-caked rats make good presents?

Once he brought a bird, a beautiful blue jay torn to shreds by angry claws. Oswald’s front stoop was littered with feathers and smears of jay innards.

The duck was probably the worst. Oswald found the poor thing splayed out on the doormat, bleeding into the flowered letters on the welcome mat, feathers everywhere. It was days before he could get the gut stains out of the W and the E.

Or perhaps the worst was the rabbit, its body ripped open, entrails hanging, so fresh that the rabbit was still warm, so mutilated that Oswald threw up right into the gaping hole that was once the bunny’s abdomen.

Oswald tried to tell Bradford that he didn’t want these presents. But Bradford, being a cat, couldn’t understand that. Oswald scolded him and sprayed him with water every time the decrepit corpse of an animal was deposited on the doorstep, but Bradford would just look at him like “What? What did I do wrong?” and Oswald realized the futility in teaching this cat how not to drag his bloodied victims home.

The morning when Oswald opened the front door to retrieve the paper and found only the neighbor’s racing pigeon, headless and pried open, he had enough. Tired of cleaning up blood and burying his “gifts,” Oswald took Bradford to the woods and left him there. He consoled his conscience with the fact that Oswald must be a wild, feral cat by nature and he would be better off running free through the woods where he could pounce on owls and sparrows and woodchucks to his heart’s delight.

The next morning when Oswald opened his front door to find only the newspaper and no blood or guts or stinking animals with intestines hanging out, he felt better about his decision.

It wasn’t until the following morning, when Oswald found Bradford’s bloody, bodiless head on his doormat, eyes fixated in horror, flies milling around its ears, that he knew he had bigger problems than a killer cat.

----

This started out as a 100 word story.

sunday morning backyard photo shoot

Headed out to the backyard today with camera, intent on beginning a documentation of the trees changing from summer wardrobe to fall and then winter. I'm thinking of shootin gthe same tree over a series of months. Ok, this sounds interesting to me, anyhow.

Before I could shoot the tree, I got distracted by some bugs in the wild, overgrown, out-of-control fauna by the fence. And then I saw this rotted flower and I thought, hey, that would be interesting, to put that photo of the rotted, brownish flower next to the photo I took of it when it was purple and flourishing.

It wasn't until I opened up the picture on the computer that I realized, that's no flower, it's a MONSTER and it's going to crawl off the vine tonight, sneak into my house and terorrize and eat us all.

Click it and go to the original size (choose "all sizes" and then "orignal size"). Tell me that thing isn't either an alien or some form of the devil.

gaping maw

I also got Spidey, who curled up in a ball and refused to have his photo taken:

hairy monsters and super creeps

Unlike Mr. Fly, who posed and strutted for me like he was doing a stint in Fashion Week:

just buzzin'around

And then I took some pictures of Spidey's web, because I think spider webs are one of the neatest things nature has to offer. The workmanship is amazing. I usually have bad luck )trying to get web photos, but this one was in good light.

tangled web

These turned out better than my attempt at shooting the moon last night (I'll try that again tonight, taking a reader's suggestion to use a frozen bag of peas as a makeshift stabilizer for the camera).

Now, back to the yard to start documenting the trees. Riveting stuff, I tell you.

September 17, 2005

Nature: The show that never ends

I've been trying to take photos of the harvest moon but I can't find my tripod and I've had so much caffeine today I'm shaking like a crack addict with Parkinson's so the pictures I did take all are all have trails that make it look like the moon is a giant ass showing its crack to the world.

It really is beautiful. Step outside if you can. The moon is bloated and perfectly rounded and blood orange and I swear, it's close enough to take a bite out of.

On the other side of the sky, we have a heat lightning storm raging on. It looks like the gods are waging a war behind the clouds.

So I've got blood to the right and flashes of brilliant light to the left and a soundtrack of rolling, bass heavy thunder playing over it all

Nature kicks all kinds of ass.

The Horror!

Yes, I've made another one of these montage things.

This one consists of movies; all horror, scary, creepy, slasher flicks, what have you. That genre.

Some of the images are from the posters or covers to the movies; a few others are actual scenes from the movies. I tried to cover all the bases, so there are classic horror movies, B-movies, current films and good flicks as well as really, really bad ones. Some will be incredibly easy, some might leave you scratching your head, if you're not a fan of the genre.

montage of horrors
clicking will bring you to a larger version, might be easier to see some of the images.

NOTE: I am making all comments WHITE so as not to ruin it for everyone. If you know how to do this yourself, please do. If you want to see someone else's answers, just highlight the comment.

September 16, 2005

And they're off (Kids of Katrina update)

The boxes of school supplies and baby items for Kids of Katrina and other assorted sundry are on their way to Texas and LA.

Thanks to uship.com, a wonderful driver named Tim (and his cousin, whose name I forget, I'm sorry!) came to fetch the packages late this afternoon. Tim and his cousin couldn't have been nicer guys. They loaded the truck with help from my husband and by 6:30, they were back on the road again (I think they were making a little stop at Krispy Kreme first).

I'm going to work on making a list of everything we sent, plus every single person who helped, donated money and or supplies or provided a needed service.

Trish and Dave will let me know when the stuff arrives at its respective destinations.

Some pictures from the load up today:

supplies-6 supplies-5 supplies-4 supplies-2 supplies-1
click each for bigger.

Also today, it was decided - thanks to reader Jeanne - that the supplies I am buying from schoolkidz.com will go to the Burger Center in Austin, where about 150 kids displaced by Katrina will be starting school next week.

50 Halloween Stories: #4

[yea, I wrote this last month. But I didn't say anything about not using old stories, and this one fits the theme]

Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

Henry passed the booth four, five, six times. He circled the bazaar, purchasing a glass bottle, pickled herring and anise seeds along the way. Each time he ended up in front of the red and white striped booth, staring at the wrinkly woman with the “Kisses, $1.00" sign around her neck.

There was nothing else in her booth. Just the chair she sat on and a bucket for dollars. The bucket was empty and Henry felt awful for the woman that no one wanted to kiss.

Something pulled Henry to the booth; something he could not resist. On his seventh time around, after purchasing a cap made of skunk fur and unable to hold any more purchases, he found himself back at the kissing booth, staring at the old woman and her crooked smile and sagging skin.

Henry fished a dollar coin from his pocket. He dropped it in the bucket and it clanked and clattered while Henry leaned down awkwardly to kiss the woman.

“No,” the woman whispered. “I kiss you.” She stood and Henry could hear her bones move against each other; her back cracked, her knees clicked, her body protested the movement, as if it had been years since the woman had used those muscles and bones. She moved her lips towards Henry’s cheek. The smell of rotting fruit and something long dead clung to her skin and Henry fought off the urge to twist his head; he must have this kiss, he thought. A dollar’s worth, anyhow.

He felt her cracked lips brush against his skin and he shuddered. She then grabbed Henry’s face, her hands pressed firm against his cheeks and ears, her grip surprisingly strong. As she moved in to kiss him full on the lips, Henry saw something small and white emerge from the woman’s mouth; the maggot crawled down her lip, stopping to suck on the flesh. Henry felt the day’s take of pickled herring churn in his stomach and rise up to his throat, he would surely throw up on the woman’s face if she didn’t move. He tried again to turn his head, but the woman’s hands were like steel. He couldn’t turn an inch either way.

Her lips met Henry’s and as he tried to scream, her tongue entered his mouth and Henry felt it slide across his own tongue, reaching down his throat, slithering its way through his body like a snake and then blackness as the bile and woman’s tongue met and made breathing difficult, if impossible.

If later that day you asked anyone who was searching the bazaar grounds for the missing young man named Henry about the old woman and the kissing booth, they would say no such thing existed.

And it doesn't. At least not for them.

a question for the guys

Help me out with this one guys, ok?

When the Olsen twins or Lindsay or Paris lose enough weight to make them look like Ethiopans, you say they look disgusting.

When you look at Kate Moss or Jessica Alba, you think "eat a sandwich."

So when Liv Tyler gains some weight
and looks like an average, normal woman, men all over the world decide they have one less woman to jack off to.

Yea, she put on a few pounds (she's also a new mother), but if that's FAT then I must be a fucking cow.

What are the standards for beauty these days anyhow? Skinny is no good, having some meat on your bones is no good, so what is it you want?

the sound of one hand gaming

I've been waiting since May for news of the Nintendo Revolution controller. And now here it is:

Nintendo Revolution Controller

Nintendo breaks with more than 20 years of video game history by abandoning the traditional controller held with two hands and introducing an all-new freehand-style unit held with one hand. The intuitive, pioneering interface allows players to run, jump, spin, slide, shoot, steer, accelerate, bank, dive, kick, throw and score in a way never experienced in the history of gaming. “The feeling is so natural and real, as soon as players use the controller, their minds will spin with the possibilities of how this will change gaming as we know it today,” explains Satoru Iwata, Nintendo president. “This is an extremely exciting innovation – one that will thrill current players and entice new ones.” When picked up and pointed at the screen, the controller gives a lightning-quick element of interaction, sensing motion, depth, positioning and targeting dictated by movement of the controller itself.

Read the rest of that.

One hand? I don't know if my old-school brain will ever adapt to playing a video game with one hand. This seems revolutionary (no pun intended) and all, but what the hell will I do with my other hand? That's rhetorical, kids.

It does have an adapter (pictured, very Dreamcast reminiscent) so old dog/new tricks people like me can continue with the two-handed way of gaming, and the innovations on this controller are mouth-watering, so until I read all the articles stating what a piece of crap it is, I will believe that Nintendo has not let me down. Except for believing that video games were meant to be played with one hand.

I laid down my twenty dollar deposit at EB World for a Revolution months ago. I'm starting to feel that little tingle of excitement now.

Ahh they come in colors, too!

nintendo controllers color

There's a much more detailed explanation and review of of the controller here, as well as more purty pictures.

Hhah the comments there are amusing. Xbox and PS fanboys will shit all over anything Nintedo ever does.

IGN has an in depth look at the controller and how it might work with specific games.

Here's a video demonstration.

Also, I just thought of this: How many of us have sat in front of a video game, twisting and turning the controller as we manipulate charaters as if that's really going to help you? Now it WILL. Awesome.

I am sold.

Lots of people do not like it. I am not one of them.

Update, for those worrying about using controllers beside this one:

The top of Revolution has four GameCube controller ports that will allow the system to be compatible with the original controllers, Nintendo's wireless Wavebird controller, the DK Bongos, the Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance cable, and the Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix dance pads.

From wikipedia.

Nintendo's willingness to be backwards compatable is where others fail.

More discussion, pictures, links here.

I Want Candy

The truck for the Kids of Katrina stuff will be here this am - I still have a few labels to slap on and loose ends to tie up AND I did something terrible to my right arm, where I can't fully extend it without screaming in pain. So pardon the Halloween repeat. Just trying to keep in the spirit.

Today's Halloween topic is candy suckage. What kind of suckage? Oh, you know what kind. The kind that comes in a cute little Halloween baggie that you think contains candy but only contains a travel size tube of toothpaste. The kind that at first says "ooh candy corn!" but quickly turns into "Pttoooie! Last year's candy corn? Fucker!"

appleevil.jpgI had an unnerving moment last Halloween. I was standing on my neighbor's porch eyeing the cache of goodie bags he had ready for the mass of costumed kiddies heading his way. He had a few dozen little plastic baggies stuffed with carrot and celery sticks. Yes. Carrots and celery. For a Halloween treat. As I backed away from this evil man's house, I thought "I am so fisking this guy when I get home." Who fisks Halloween treats? A sick, demented blogger apparently.

But, a sick demented blogger who fisks Halloween candy always has an audience that not only appreciates such an endeavor, but has stories of their own to tell. We all had that one neighbor who hated children so much that, instead of just closing the door on Halloween, she would get her jollies by handing out little tricks instead of treats.

We had the Spider Lady and she handed out pennies. Two. Freaking. Pennies. And she cackled while she dropped those suckers in our bags. But we were anything but complacent little children dressed up in fuzzy bunny costumes. No, we were suburban terror. A gang of twelve year old kids in search of that elusive sugar rush. We were the crack whores of our time, stealing the costumes of our little sisters and brothers just so we could go knock down a few old ladies to get our hands on some Sugar Daddies. Ah, good times. Good times.

And just because I'm in a giving mood, I'll throw in a physics lesson: when thrown by a sugar-deprived teenager, a penny will make a dent in aluminum siding.

Hey, we had to do something with the tricks we got to go along with our treats. Ten year old candy corn? Sprinkle a little water on it and it will stick to the windshield of Mr. "Keep Your Ball Out of My Yard" Brown's brand new Lincoln Continental! Wax vampire teeth? If you warm those things up in the palm of your hand they become malleable. Malleable enough to fashion a waxy covering for the windshield wipers on Officer Goldberg's parked patrol car.

Don't look at me like that. We were destined to be juvenile delinquents. Haven't you ever seen Over the Edge?

And the apples. Who in their right mind would give out apples when they know that any parent who sees that fruit in their kids' bag will immediately take out a machete and hack the damn thing to death in search of that elusive razor blade. Personally, I think there were some parents that actually wanted to find the blade in the apple. It was a prize, a brass ring, a suburban legend that, if true, would propel the average Stepford housewife to new heights of fame. I could envision Mrs. Green, her long Clairol hair tied back in a ribbon, holding the rusted razor blade aloft like Charlie holding his golden ticket. Her name would be splashed across the town weekly, her beaming smile belying the sick-to-her-stomach fear that some crazed madman was out there. Then she would entice the other housewives on the block into forming a posse of the pony-tailed, mad mothers bearing pitchforks and torches, hell bent on finding out who put that razor blade in Billy's Granny Smith.

Of course, in the end it turns out that it was Mrs. Clairol herself who stuck the razor blade in that apple, and it would become a sad social commentary on the boredom that befalls housewives in suburbia. Walter Cronkite would air a special on it and three days later, Mrs. Clairol would check into a clinic to overcome her addiction to mother's little helper.

Uh..where was I? I was talking about Halloween candy, right?

Razor blades and used candy corn aside, what was the worst thing you got in your Halloween bag? Expose your neighbors for what they were: cheap, evil bastards.

September 15, 2005

Listomatic: pizza flavored pizza

Foods that are ok for pizza toppings:

  • Pepperoni
  • Sausage
  • Ground beef
  • Onions
  • Green peppers
  • Black olives
  • Mushrooms
  • Salami
  • Bacon
  • Garlic
  • fresh tomatoes

Foods that are NOT pizza toppings

  • pineapple
  • eggs
  • pasta of any kind
  • ranch dressing
  • carrots
  • potatoes in any form
  • lettuce
  • barecue sauce
  • tuna

oh god no. no. nooooooooooooooooo

Please please please please please please let this be an ugly little rumor. If this is true I swear I will hunt him down and kill him before he can ruin one of the greatest joys of my life.

Apparently, Ashton Kutcher's name has shown up on the cast listing for next year's remake of EVIL DEAD,

They're talking about this on the IMDB boards too, but I'm not registering just so I can see what a bunch of illiterate twits are saying.

I'm sure (I hope)this will end up to be a rumor, but why, why whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy do people have to fuck with us like this?

Update: And it goes without saying that I'm not happy that it's being remade AT ALL.

50 Halloween Stories: #3

[I just finished this and I haven't really gone over it yet. Feel free to critique or say something horrible about the ending, which I'm not sure I like, meaning that's how I wanted it to end, but not necessarily how I wanted to write it]

Garden of Earthly Delights

When the first pumpkins rose up, small and more brown than orange, Mr. Englebright ripped them from their vines and handed them out to the neighborhood children. They simply laughed and threw them in the streets, more gestures aimed at ridiculing him. They squished the gifted pumpkins with bicycle tires and baseball bats and skateboards and soon the heavy tires of Explorers and Navigators laden with snotty babies and groceries rode over the remnants of the pumpkins, plastering the seeds and skin into the pavement where they became an All You Can Eat Buffet for seagulls and crows.

This made Mr. Englebright mad. He had offered the pumpkins as a Welcome-Wagon gift in reverse, thinking that giving a piece of himself, his garden, his babies, to the neighborhood kids would finally make him welcome.

Mr. Englebright stalked back into his house, saying nothing to the ungrateful children who stood around watching the birds peck at the pumpkin guts and muttering rude nicknames for him under their breath.

Soon, the bigger pumpkins arrived, shapely and large and a proper shade of orange. The parents of the ungrateful little slobs would walk past the house during their power strides around the block and whistle appreciatively or remark to Mr. Englebright about the orangeness, the largeness of his pumpkins.

One day Mrs. Merriweather stopped mid gait and gawked at the monstrous pumpkins rising from the garden like fall moons.

“That is quite a lovely pumpkin patch you have there.”
“Mmhmm” Mr. Englebright refused to engage in conversation with a woman who could raise such a beast as Devon Merriweather.
“They would really make excellent carving pumpkins,” she said in the form of a request phrased as a nonchalant sentence. Mr. Englebright wasn’t stupid. He knew what she was getting at.
“Well, Mrs. Meriweather, I already handed out pumpkins and your son saw fit to smash his in the street and ride his skateboard through the innards.”
“Oh come ON, now. Mr. Englebright. Those weren’t good pumpkins. They were runts.”
“The point is,” he said, ignoring her insult, “they were a gift from me and they smashed them right in front of me.”
“Oh, Jesusmaryjoseph, get over it. A gift.” She rolled her eyes.
Mr. Englebright turned to her and said “Your son and his friends are snotty little prigs, Mrs. Meriweather. And I can see the rotten apples do not fall far from the tree.”
Mrs. Meriweather gasped a bit and as her mouth hung open, waiting for her brain to fire off the correct indignant verbiage, Mr. Englebright stalked away into his sunroom, slamming the screen door behind him. The thin walls of the sunroom shuddered and Mrs. Meriweather stood by the pumpkin patch a moment before she stuck up her middle finger at the space where Mr. Englebright berated her.

“You know what?” she said to nobody in particular. “Fuck him.”

She bent down and pulled the largest, smoothest, orangest pumpkin off of its vine. She scanned the street and looked toward Mr. Englebright’s sunroom to make sure no one had seen her and then she lumbered down Williams Court, balancing the pumpkin on her hip like a weighty laundry basket, smug in her vindictiveness.

She had intended to carve the pumpkin, even gave thought to carving a likeness of Mr. Englebright’s face into it, but the thing was so huge, so perfect that Mrs. Meriweather, ever the happy homemaker, decided to bake a delicious pumpkin pie. No, no..not even a pumpkin pie. Pumpkin muffins, so all of Devon’s little friends could surreptitiously share in the bounty of Mr. Englebright’s gardening skills.

As Mrs. Meriweather was happily buzzing around her kitchen in her little checkered apron lining up the baking soda and flour and cinnamon and leveling off the brown sugar, Mr. Englebright was standing in his garden in the very spot where an rather large and rather orange pumpkin once lay, befuddled, flummoxed and, after doing a sort of math theorem in his head having to do with pumpkins and Mrs. Meriweather, enraged.

Mr. Englebright was not the sort to let his rage get the better of him. He simmered and stewed and stroked his scraggly gray beard for an inordinate amount of time, just standing right there in the garden, the sun slowly sinking, and it was not until the darkest of sunset shadows was cast over the shallow imprint of where his missing pumpkin once was that Mr. Englebright did a slow walk back through his yard, into the sunroom and down, down, down the winding, splintered steps into his workshop.
---

“Best cupcakes EVER, mom!”
“Totally, Mrs. M. I don’t even like pumpkin and these taste amazing.”

Mrs. Meriweather beamed a thousand watt smile across her kitchen at the boys.

“What’s your secret, Mrs. M?”

Should she tell them? Oh, how could she not?

“The secret, boys, is Mr. Englebright.” She put her hand up nervously to her mouth like a dainty woman about to let loose a forbidden word. “I stole the pumpkin from him!” She nearly giggled.

The boys howled with laughter and lined up to smack a high-five into Mrs. M’s manicured hand.
“Way to go, mom.”
“Yea, way to give it back to that old creep, Mrs. M.”
“Fuck, yea,” said Mrs. M., and the boys nodded approvingly.

----

Devon Meriweather woke at 1am with a need, a desire to see Mr. Englebright’s pumpkins. There was no rhyme nor reason to his need, it just was. He rose out of bed, slipped into his sweatshirt and headed down the stairs and out the door. Four minutes later, his mother, struck by the same sudden need, also walked out the door. In the street they met Kevin and Ryan and Brad and a couple of other kids, all with vapid smiles and dazed eyes. Kevin said, “Nice muffins, Mrs. M.,” and the others mumbled the same.

They walked like a troop of somnambulists, Mrs. Meriweather their yawning, lumbering den mother, until they came to the corner of Williams and Forest, where Mr. Englebright’s house and yard filled the expanse of the curve. They each straddled over the wood post fence and tromped across the lawn toward the pumpkin patch. And one by one they filed right into the patch, each boy, and then Mrs. M. digging their heels into a spot in the ground, burrowing their feet in the damp soil.

As the minutes and hours wore on, they became a bizarre garden of flesh and bone, vines trailing up and around their legs, their skin becoming like vinyl, soft and lumpy and quite orange, their faces contorting until they disappeared completely, just rounded lines formed up and down around their heads. And all the while they could think and breathe and see and hear. They could not move, they could not scream, they could not escape the path of fate that Mr. Englebright had set them on. They could only stand and witness what was happening to each other. They could only glance - while their eyes could still see - and see skin turning orange and legs entwining with leaves and feel the pain of transformation, a pain that Mr. Englebright probably could have lessened but chose not to.

Mr. Englebright stood silently in the sunroom, watching through the screen door. He waited while the moon moved through thin clouds, shedding odd light and shadows upon the planted humans. He waited while a light rain fell, while the clouds moved, while the moon waned and he didn’t move from his perched place at the door until the last of Mrs. Meriweather’s face was obscured by a thick skin of pumpkin.

He pulled the boys from the patch first, so Mrs. Meriweather could watch each boy being ripped from the ground and dragged into the house. He saved Devon for last and for a brief moment held him upright in front of the Mrs. Meriweather pumpkin and then chided himself for gloating, for wasting valuable time. When the boys were all dragged down to the workroom, Mr. Englebright came back for Mrs. M., and whispered to her in a sing-song fashion as he slid her across the lawn, into the sunroom and down, down, down the stairs.

"Do you like Halloween, Mrs. Meriweather, do you?"
Clunk, her body went on the stairs
"It’s my favorite holiday."
Clunk
"I love to decorate."
Clunk
"Especially with pumpkins."
Clunk
"Lovely, lovely pumpkins."
Clunk
"You know what I like? Scarecrows with pumpkin heads! That’s just spooky, don’t you think, Mrs. Meriweather?"
Clunk

Finally, Mrs. M. was heaved onto the pile of pumpkin boys, all the while screaming inside her head, Nononononononononooooooooo, but unheard by anyone but herself.

-----

“Don’t you just love Halloween, Mr. Roberts?” Mr. Englebright was standing on his porch, talking to the postman.
“I do, Mr. Englebright. I love the weather, the atmosphere. It’s a great time of year.”
He handed Mr. Englebright a few bills and the latest copy of People. “And I just love those pumpkin heads on your scarecrows!” He looked over toward Mr. Englebright’s garden, where a row of small scarecrows and one larger one hung on makeshift crosses, each with a pumpkin head, each head with a face carved into a frozen grimace of horror and pain. “That ought to scare the bejesus out of the obnoxious boys around here.”
“Oh, yes,” said Mr. Englebright. “I’m sure.”

QOD: When good bands go bad

Something to argue about while I finish off story #3 in the 50 Halloween Tales thing.

Simple:

Good bands, terrible songs.

Think along the lines of Kiss's I Was Made for Loving You.

/idea stolen from my favorite radio station's morning show

Updates:

Someone mentioned the Stones, and I'd have to Emotional Rescue is a terrible, terrible song.

Someone else mentions Hot Dog by Led Zeppelin. I remember when that album came out, the radio stations went crazy for that song and it made me cringe.

I just thought of another: Queen, Radio GaGa

Spray it, don't say it

Click on the image to write your own graffiti on the wall of crap (I thought briefly about naming it Wall of Voodoo).


Click here to sign my Graffiti Wall! (Powered by
PicLibs.com)

Be nice, k? Don't make me take it down.

I'm guessing you have to refresh this page to see updated graffiti.

[Note: exclamation points don't work with the graffiti font]

Kids of Katrina updates

Things are tying up with Kids of Katrina . We got the word yesterday that a truck will be here (at my house) to pick up the stuff - 140 boxes at last count and people are still dropping items off - tomorrow.

I'd like to give a HUGE thanks to uship.com who arranged for the transport of the goods and Aaron for putting that together and dealing with my anxieties and general pushiness. I spoke to the driver yesterday; very nice guy who is eager to do something to help.

Trish will be meeting the truck in Texas. Because the Houston school district reached its limits on accepting supplies, we had to find somewhere else to send them. I, of course, panicked, but Trish just called the Chamber of Commerce to find out who needed the items the most. Trish's follow up email:

OK, I have a destination. I live in a very small town outside of Houston and I called the chamber of commerce and the shelters to find out where the needs are. The Red Cross is overwhelmed with donations and they have an over abundance of supplies right now. In Dayton, Liberty, Baytown and surrounding suburbs of Houston, they are getting less donations. There are 3 apartment complexes that are each housing 30 families each. The manager of the apartments, Susan Shepherd, said that they have NOTHING, and are last on the list to get donations and the kids have no supplies and are registering for school today. She started crying when I called her and asked her if I could get the stuff to her there. She said she would accept delivery of all the supplies and the various apartment complex staff would help unload the supplies. I told her that I would take the morning/afternoon (whatever) off and help, and make sure it got to the right place.

So all the school supplies, plus the baby items (diapers, wipes, NEW clothing, food, toys, books, stuffed animals) and lots of personal hygeine products (oh and a baby walker, and bouncy seat, and children's medication) will go right into the hands of people who need it most.

Trish has arranged for a radio station to be there when the truck arrives and she will also be taking photos, which I will post here. Trish also said that she is going to try to keep tabs on these families and maybe when Christmas rolls around, we can do something nice for them.

When the truck is unloaded there, Tim the driver will head over to Baton Rouge, where Dave will be waiting for the enormous amount of school supplies to be delivered.

Thank you a million times to both Dave and Trish for all they have done to make this a success.

And to all of you who donated items and/or money - you've seen the pictures of just how much we have to send down. All the readers who donated, my co-workers and neighbors and family and friends - just amazing. And everything is new and top of the line, people really went all out to make these children feel good.

I want to call attention to Yvonne , who started up her own drive in California in conjunction with Kids of Katrina. Not only did she get all her neighbors to donate, she got the PO to ship the stuff down to Trish for free and then (I hope she doesn't kill me for printing her mail):

I just ran into a nurse at target. She had just come back from San Antonio where she said the victims are being completely ignored. She told me of a lady she met. Her husband was killed in the storm. She is having a baby, due on the 30th. She also has a daughter who's 8 and a son who's 5.

She said they had bought her a cell phone so they could keep in touch and she gave me her phone number. I was scared to call, but I did and I spoke with her. She has NOTHING. She said she has nothing for the baby. So, I'm getting stuff for her and shipping her what I can, even some of my clothes (maternity and NON maternity, she happens to be my size). I'm going to post about it, so if anyone has things they can help her with, they can do so.

The nurse told me she's OUTRAGED at how the people who aren't at the Astrodome are being completely ignored, she said she called the mayor and the LA times because it's disgusting her and she's angry.

It was so crazy, speaking to someone who's actually been affected and who was left without anything. I was crying while talking to her. She sounded very grateful and it feels good to know I'll be helping, even if it only is a little.

If you are in the San Antonio area and want to help this woman (and others like her), let me know and I'll put you in touch with Yvonne.

So, I still have $1000 left to spend of the donated money and this is what I'm going to do: schoolkidz.com (coincidentally, I gave them a plug here back in July)has Hurricane Relief Kits for students - a ton of supplies in one package for five dollars each. I'm going to order 200 of those and schoolkidz is going to pick up the shipping tab. I'm going to pick one of the places here to have the supplies delivered to unless you know of a specific school district in ANY state taking in kids that might need these kits.

So that's where we are at. I spent the last two days measuring boxes (so uship could get an accurate idea of what kind of truck we needed) and now labeling each box as to whether it's going to Houston or Baton Rouge. I'm going to take one last picture of what my house looks like (I've loved doing this, but I want my house back!) and then I'll take photos of the stuff going on the truck tomorrow and then it's on to Trish and Dave.

Again, thank you to EVERYONE. I'll have a more formal list of thank yous - and I mean listing EVERYONE who sent items/donated (and 99% of the Amazon orders were delivered to me on time!) to the cause. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

September 14, 2005

Another Music Meme: Ten Albums

I stole this one from Sheila .

Ten albums I would recommend you add to your collection (No compilations or 'best of' collections permitted)

Like Sheila, my suggestions would vary from day to day. I also tried to stay away from the obvious (like Faith No More albums) albums that are probably in most people's record collection to begin with.

  1. Brand New - Deja Entendu
  2. Mr. Bungle - California
  3. Skinlab - Bound, Gagged and Blindfolded
  4. Far - Water and Solutions
  5. Aztec Camera - High Land, Hard Rain
  6. Life of Agony - River Runs Red
  7. Toadies - Rubberneck
  8. Clutch - Clutch
  9. AFI - The Art of Drowning
  10. Portishead - Dummy

OMGWTFPEEPEE!

HOLY SHIT! THE PRESIDENT HAS A BLADDER AND HE PEEEEEEEEEEEEEES! DID YOU HEAR THAT? THE PRESIDENT GOES PEE PEE!

OMG! IMPEACH HIM NOW!

DID YOU HEAR ME MOTHERFUCKERS? GEORGE W. BUSH USES THE POTTY!!!11111!!! WTF??? OMGLOLLERSKATES!!


*

name that evil pumpkin patch!

We decided what to do with our yard this year for Halloween.

Imagine it: The Evil Pumpkin Patch. Ohhh yes.

We're going to cover both sides of the lawn in pumpkins. But not just any pumpkins. We're talking the most evil, gruesome, horrific, weird, scary pumpkin patch EVER.

For instance:


[from extreme pumpkins ]

So what we need is a) ideas for scary, bizarre pumpkins (even fake pumpkins will do) and a name for our evil pumpkin patch. And any other ideas you can think of to make our evil little patch more evil-er.

random camera phone picture

atfh
Chili's, Westbury, NY

The Aqua Teen gang fight against cancer!

QOD: And then the hand came out of the grave!

I know we've done this before, but I'm on a horror movie kick right now (part of my Halloween preparation) and it's a good question:

What's the scariest MOMENT from a horror movie? What scene made you jump out of your seat or cover your eyes? Which moment from a scary movie haunts your sleep to this day?

I'll put mine up in a bit.

Updates:

JFH says:

Friday the 13th: When the guy realizes that blood is dripping on him from the above bunk, and before he can sit up, a hand comes from underneath the bed, holding him down by his forehead as an arrow comes up through his chest from below.

I was terrified of sleeping in a bunk bed after that. We went upstate to visit relatives and they had bunk beds and I REFUSED to sleep in that room because of the F13th scene.

Also: There's a scene in The Believers (a Martin Sheen movie about voodoo) where the wife steps in a small puddle on the kitchen floor (obstensibly made to appear by voodoo) at the same time she touches the coffee maker and she fries to death. I swear to you, I am still afraid to touch the coffee maker to THIS DAY. I have to check the floor first to make sure there isn't a spot of water. It wasn't even a scary moment, as far as scary movies go, but it scared me enough to leave an imprint.

Wednesday Musical Chairs: Damn, I Wish I Wrote That

Today's musical chairs topic is (it is Wednesday, right?) Which song do you wish you wrote? (All musical chairs posts by other contributors can now be found here)

I thought long and hard about this one. After all, there are so many songs with great lyrics, so many songs that inspire me, make me cry or give me hope. There are songs where the lyrics flow like poetry or read like a novel, song that I listen to and think, damn, those are some amazing lyrics. But I don't think "so you wish you wrote" really means "the greatest song ever written."

While choosing my song, I listened to a bunch of Nick Cave and Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Iron Maiden, even some Beck and Lagwagon and The Smiths and on and on and on.

All those songs I listened to are wonderful in and of themselves (and certainly a few of them just had that "damn I wish I wrote that line moment), but it was taking a trip back to my own songwriting days (when I assumed that songwriting consisted of writing awkward poetry and handing it over to a friend who could sort of play guitar) when I knew what song - or at least what songwriter - I would choose.

See, I always wanted to be clever. Clever, as far as songwriting goes, means you have the ability to be witty and punchy while remaning serious. Ironic poetry? Maybe. I could never pull of clever. I wanted to write songs that could make people smile at my turn of phrase, grin at my witty use of rhyme schemes, chuckle at my cleverness, yet, when the song is over, think well, that kind of hit me in the gut. Does anyone do that? Is there a songwriter that has accomplished what I wanted to? Yes, there is. And his name is Dr. Frank, he of The Mr. T. Experience and this blog.

Honestly, I wish I wrote all his songs. Who else could invoke Hitler's love life and still come off as sympathetic? And while there are a crapload of MTX songs I could have chosen for this one, the one song I really, really wish I wrote, the one song that makes me simmer with a friendly sort of jealousy, the song that is quietly angry and quietly sad, which uses cleverness and wit and charming rhymes to such a degree that you don't even realize the defeat within and, most of all, the song that makes me say I wish I wrote that is:

I Don't Need You Now (Download and LISTEN to it while you read the lyrics)

There was a time when I thought I would die everytime I thought of you. I'd cry and think myself into a state and drink myself to sleep too late. But what was pulling us and me apart was only breaking in my broken heart: now it's controlled again, on hold again, and more broken in than it's ever been.

So I don't need you now. I can't believe how I ever wondered how I'd ever make it without you-- thinking about you, but I don't need you now.

There was a time when I thought I should try to make myself hate you to get by. It wasn't hard to do, to think of you and all the things you put me through. But now I've had some time to contemplate, and I've discovered other things to hate. There's still bitterness I can't resist, but you're moving to the bottom of a pretty long list.

So I don't hate you now, and I don't even want to checkmate you now. I still don't like how much you don't want me to touch you, but I don't hate you now.

And if I'm crying, well what did you expect? I've been trying, but I still don't know how not to be a wreck.

And though I'm still aware you're still out there, still busy breaking someone's heart somewhere, and though to you it's nothing new, for once I've got no explaining to do.

Cause I don't know you now, and I don't have anything to show you now, except for all of these apologies that I don't owe you now.

Courtney chose Wish You Were Here (which was on my short list)
Tesco chose London Calling

Find out more about MTX (and buy their albums!) here .

September 13, 2005

caption, please

50 Halloween Stories: #2

Also posted at today's 100 Words.

Death of a Cliche

The entrance was a gaping maw of sharp teeth, with pointed fangs painted a gruesome shade of yellow protruding from lava-red gums flecked with black.

A small cart wended its way around two bottom teeth, clicking along the track that would take Julie and Evan along the Tunnel to Hell for just two tokens apiece.

Of course, you are expecting that this story will end with the ride really having been Hell’s entrance and the couple becoming trapped in Satan’s pit, never seen again.

But you would be wrong. See, the ride caught fire and killed them before Satan could.

---

Today's theme is amusement/carnival/theme park. No matter what I wrote, it came out like a run-on cliche. Hence, this story.

This is Halloween (2005): An Old Fashioned Halloween

[I know, it's barely mid September and the weather still says summer, but I am in full Halloween mode.]

Halloween has changed.

Back in the day (and by that, I mean over 30 years ago), political correctness was still a thing of the future. So we dressed up for Halloween as gypsies and bums and hobos (the latter two later known as The Homeless or The Housing Deprived) and other stereotypical costumes. No one really paid attention to the fact that we might have been insulting someone because no one cared. Halloween was about candy and dressing up and being scared. End of story.

Most of the boys at the time did the usual horror costumes: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and the proverbial white-sheeted ghost. They would jump out from behind the bushes and scare the girls and we would scream in exaggerated fright and run to the doorstep of the next house on the block.

We had parades at school and some of the kids would march around with fake, dripping blood and rubber masks with mutilated eyeballs. The goriness was all part of the fun. That's what Halloween was for: shrieking and screaming through the neighborhood and finishing it off with a family viewing of Chiller Theater, munching on the candy loot while hanging onto Mom in fright.

But times have changed and we'll have none of that gory, scary stuff anymore. Kids are vulnerable and impressionable, don't you know? The blood might scare them. The costumes might offend someone. I mean, what if some kid in your school had his whole family murdered by a crazed ax-weilding monster? Don't you think that costume would make him feel sad, Johnny?

Even in the junior high school, where the kids are old enough to go see scary movies on their own and wise enough to know that Freddy Krueger doesn't exist, notices come home about appropriate Halloween wear. No blood. No gore. Nothing scary. Nothing that might be deemed offensive to anyone, anyhwere. Please wear only costumes of famous literary characters or great people like scientists and inventors.

orange10Right. Like a 14 year old wants to dress up like Huck Finn. No, a 14 year old - if he was even going to dress up at all on Halloween - would most likely don one of those rubber masks that turn your face into something out of a Stephen King movie. Even the girls want to dress as Freddy or Jason. No Madam Curies here.

Schools have scaled back their Halloween festivities, anyhow. Some people are offended by the Halloween itself, calling it an invitation to the devil, a terrible day that shows children that evil exists in the world. Some think you worship Satan if you celebrate Halloween.

It's about the candy, stupid. Yes, I know Halloween has a long history behind it, I know the origins of the day are lost on almost everyone now. But this is what we grew up with: a day to get scared and get candy. Nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with historical figures. Schools are changing their Halloween parties into Fall Festivals, complete with cutesy songs and plays about Johnny Appleseed and cookies shaped like squirrels. No costumes, kids, unless you want to dress up like your favorite leaf!

I got your PC Halloween right here. I refuse to teach my children that Halloween is anything other than a day to scare and be scared; each year I vow to show my kids what this holiday used to be like, before it became sanitized in the school system just like everything else.

I arm them with frightening costumes and socks filled with shaving cream and let them loose on the neighborhood - along with several dozen other kids whose parents remember what Halloween is supposed to be like. And when they get home, their bags filled with goodies, smelling like they went swimming in a pool of Barbasol, we pop in some good old scary movies. The black and white kind, with outrageous monsters and thin plots and lots of screaming. We dump all their candy on the floor, sort out the healthy stuff and the pennies, and stuff ourselves on chocolate and sour gummie worms.

Long live the ghosts of Halloween past.

[Ok, so my kids don't really trick or treat anymore, but we still manage to have some excellent Halloweens together]

50 Halloween Stories #1

I think I'll sort of cheat with the first one and reprint a story from the early days of 100 Words. I was actually thinking of fleshing this one out, so I might do that.

The theme was a picture:

Click for bigger

-------
Who You Gonna Call?

The frightful noises that came from that house could rattle one’s brain. Always the screams and wails and then the dead animals on the porch in the morning.

They held a town meeting and decided to burn the place down.

I told them to just leave it be, stay away. But nobody listens to a 98 year old man. Nobody.

They went in, all torches and pitchforks, like a gang of hillbilly Ghostbusters. Not a one came out. And now the only things left breathing in this town are that house and myself.

Me, I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

-------

September 12, 2005

Late Entry QOD

The theme for this week's (Wednesday's) musical chairs posting is "The song you wish you wrote." We decided we mean lyrically, not musically.

I have a couple of songs in mind. Haven't made my final decision yet.

What would you choose?

300 words

I've decided to repost some of my favorite stories from 100 words here.

The theme on this day was dice.

-----
She stared long and hard at him, eyes narrowed, fingers drumming. It was her intent to make him nervous, to cause him to make the wrong decision. He gave an annoyed glance before he finally made his choice and marked his score.

She cackled, “That was a stupid choice for this late in the game,” then shook the cup and tumbled a straight onto the table. “Booya, dumbass!”

He ignored her, flicked his wrist and poured the dice once, twice and, after the third roll, stood and pumped his fists as five fours stared back at his grandmother.

Yahtzee, motherfucker!”
----------

The theme on this day was mystery key

------- Dear King Frederic,

I still can’t define the monster. A giant duck? A mutant dragon? Its stiff motions belied its swiftness and I often backed away, especially when the thing would bang its teeth together in anger.

I eventually slew the monster and retrieved the mysterious key from its clenches, but not before it laid its teeth into my back.

I killed many bats as I navigated the maze to the final door. You were right, your Majesty. The key fit.

The chalice is at long last yours, King. But I have paid my life for it.

Game over, indeed.
----------------

And this day's (pops) theme was piracy

-------
Scott sends me to a flat in London.

What a bloody mess. Smashed rum bottles, cracker crumbs, a shelf with a slew of books. I pull one out at random; it’s splotched with blood and the cover informs that the magic word is "Yoho!"

Pirates. I should have known. Damn you, Scott.

Against my better judgment, I mutter "Yoho!" and woosh, I’m on a beach, in view of a pirate ship. I sigh. I know that somewhere between the stinking pirates and buried treasure there’s going to be a dark cave.

I’m likely to be eaten by a grue.
--------

That's a few of the goofier stories I wrote.

50 Halloween Stories

Well, that's what I'm intending, anyhow.

I want to write 50 short shorts (think between 100-200 words, maybe a bit more sometimes) between now and Halloween, all with a theme related to Halloween OR Halloween type things like zombies and ghosts and goblins and razor blade apples.

Make some suggestions. You can suggest titles if you want (sometimes that's a great jumping off point for a story), themes, characters, settings, etc. You can use a single word or picture like we do at 100 words some days.

I'll post them as I write them and I vow to have FIFTY of these stories written before October 31, 2005.

Expect an abundance of Halloween themed posts between now and then, too. Best. Holiday. Ever.

Today's homework: suggest new rules for the movie industry

Last week I wrote about reasons why the movie industry is losing money.

Today, we are going to suggest some new rules for the industry to make movies as a whole better, more creative, fresher and interesting. In short, we will tell them how to to stop making movies that suck.

Some of my new rules for Hollywood:

  • No more talking animals
  • Chase Uwe Boll out of town
  • No more movies taken from video games
  • No more cop-buddy movies in which the stoic, straight laced guy is paired up with the bumbling, comedic guy
  • No more singers/rock stars masquerading as actors (see, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Mandy Moore)
  • Stop building good movies around bad actors
  • I understand the need for sequels, but let's stop them at three
  • Good athletes do not always make for good actors (see, Brian Bosworth, Shaq)
  • Movies taken from television shows are outlawed
  • Stop even trying to make horror movies. Hollywood forgot how to do scary and I'd rather just rely on my DVD/VHS collection for a scare than sit through another supposedly creepy Japanese-inspired movie starring children and water.
  • No actor can star in more than three films per year (see, Jude Law)
  • More of: ninjas, pirates, zombies, evil clowns and Gary Oldman; preferably in the same movie

Your turn!

Jim has more here.

September 11, 2005

kids of katrina update

Everything is finally boxed. It took four people about five hours of sorting, packing, taping, labeling, stacking, etc., but it's done and the boxes are stacked almost neatly in three different rooms and we can almost walk through the house now without bumping into a stack of school supplies or diapers.

We're just waiting on an exact shipping time and then I can relax.

I will be spending the remainder of the donated money at schoolkidz.com, purchasing as many Hurricane Relief packs as the money will buy (probably close to 200 kits). Each kit contains pencils, eraseable marker, eraser, filler paper, pens, pencil sharpener, 2 notebooks, ruler, scissors, glue stick, pencil case, crayons, and 2 folders, for just five dollars each! Schoolkidz.com will be picking up the shipping on this. Thank you, Steve!

I had the pleasure of meeting the vivacious, amazing Sheila O'Malley today. She trudged all the way out the Island by train lugging a suitcase packed with about 200 lbs. of school supplies. Thank you, Sheila!

And now, I just sit back and wait for the Family Guy season premiere.

today

wtc3
I still think about it on days like this, when the sky is a deep blue, the clouds are perfectly formed bundles of white, the air is crisp and cool; chilly enough for long sleeves but warm enough to keep the windows in the car rolled down. It was a just like that day. It was a perfect day, for a while.

I still think about it every time a plane flies low overhead, casting a quick shadow over my house. Sometimes just the noise of a plane approaching will jar my memory.

I still think about it when I look at the New York City skyline.

I still think about it when I see my father in his firefighter dress uniform.

I still think about it daily, but it's only when reminders like a perfect pre-autumn day or the roar of a jet engine kick up the dust where I store all those memories. It's not there, right out front any more. And when I do think about it, the thoughts are fleeting, sometimes lasting only seconds. It's not like it used to be, when the mere sight of an airplane could send me into a tailspin. It's not like it used to be, where just mentioning it could make me spend the rest of the day talking, writing, emoting about it.

I think that's a good thing, no? Time marches on, as do our lives. Just because you don't think about it as often doesn't mean you don't remember.

I dreamed last night about firemen and burning buildings and memorials. So it's there, it's all there saved and stored, but put away in place that only comes alive when dreamed about, or when disturbed by a perfect blue sky or a glimpse of the city from the view of a bridge. That's good, I tell myself.

But sometimes you do want to think about it. You can't help it. When the sky is the same and the date is the same and maybe you read someone else's words about it and it comes back, you want to remember, for some reason. Because you have to. Or you read your own words, and it comes back and you remember, because you have to:

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

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

When I got home, I woke Justin, who was still sleeping after spending all night working on a project. In my fear and disbelief, I blurted out something like, wake up the world is ending, and we turned on the television and stared for hours and I just remember this numbness going through me, the goosebumps of fear and horror that rose on my arms.

Isn't that funny that it's the weather I remember more than anything? The absolute perfection of that day. The way the sky looked, the way the sun felt, the way the breeze blew, the temperature, the shape of the clouds. It's like a curse, that every day of perfection like that, I should think of this.

I've finished putting up my archives online. There's more, but this is as much as I felt like rehashing.

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

The Days After

Afterthoughts

heroes

ganci



www.flickr.com

September 10, 2005

a collage

Just so you have an idea of what was collected/bought:

katrina-collection-collage
click for enormous size

Now that all has to be boxed, taped, labeled, etc.

Master Shake is going crazy. I don't think cats like disruption much.

you would think...

That when you explain to the manager of a large store that you want to spend about $2000 in his place of business and that all of the items purchased with that money will be going to victims of Hurricane Katrina that he would be, you know, helpful. And you would think that after you explain to him that you would like to purchase cases of paper, notebooks, pens, etc. because you have to ship them and that would make it easier, he wouldn't a) not be bothered to check and see if there are cases of any of those things in the storeroom or b) tell you when you ge to the register that the cases have to be ripped open in order to scan each item, thus making the reason for buying cases in the first place moot. And you would think that when YOU came up with the idea of getting one of each item off the shelf so they can be scanned and the boxes will not have to be open, that the stupid clerk standing there would, oh, help you get those items instead of saying "go to aisles 5, 1, 7 and the back wall to get them." But...no.

And you would think that spending $2200 would be easy, not hard, and that you wouldn't have to go to three stores and still have money left over. But...no.

And you would think that I could remember where I parked my car after coming out of BJ's Warehouse and not walk around with a cart full of stuff for twenty minutes. But...no.

Anyhow, I literally can't walk through my house anymore. There's nowhere for us to go. Boxes upon boxes upon boxes, stacks and more stacks of supplies and baby stuff and books and assorted sundry. The hallway walls are lined with bags.

I still have plenty of money left and I think with the rest I am going to take a nice offer from schoolkidz.com to handle getting the rest of the supplies bought and sent. As it is, I don't think I could fit anything else on the truck that's coming. You people are almost TOO generous!

More updates and some pictures later. I think I need a drink. And then I have to go get some boxes to organize all this stuff and start packing, taping, labeling, etc. Maybe I should hold off on the drinks.

it's never too early

It was time to take down the summer header. Past due, even.

This picture is made up of two photos:

seasons and orange2.

It's my first time trying to merge photos like that. You can see a larger version here.

Musical accompaniment:

Misfits: Halloween
and, for the hell of it, AFI covering the same song.

my commentary on last night's yankee game


Sometimes the headlines are all you need.

tip of the yankee cap to solonor

more from the memory hole

Part 2 of my 9/11 archives has been posted (see here for reference). Day two is short (I did cut out some extraneous stuff). I'll post day three later - that was the day of Pete's wake. I can't believe it's been four years.

Kids of Katrina update later, for those looking.

September 09, 2005

29 Reasons Why The Movie Industry is Losing Money

It's not the piracy of movies by the public. It's the piracy of movies by the industry.

All of these upcoming movies (2005/2006) are either remakes or sequels:

  1. Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  2. Underworld: Evolution
  3. Big Momma's House 2
  4. Stargate SG-1: The Alliance
  5. Cutting Edge 2, The
  6. Bambi II
  7. Pink Panther, The
  8. Net 2.0, The
  9. Cheating Death: Final Destination 3
  10. Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction
  11. Hills Have Eyes, The
  12. Shaggy Dog, The
  13. Scary Movie 4
  14. Mission: Impossible III
  15. Poseidon
  16. X-Men 3
  17. Omen 666, The
  18. Charlotte's Web
  19. Superman Returns
  20. Evan Almighty
  21. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  22. Garfield 2
  23. Brother Bear II
  24. Untitled Texas Chainsaw Massacre Prequel
  25. Casino Royale
  26. Grudge 2, The
  27. Santa Clause 3, The
  28. Fox and the Hound II
  29. Sunset Boulevard

No one is going to the movies because the movies they are making either suck or are fall into the been there, done that category. I mean, is there really a need for Cutting Edge 2? What kind of "creative" mind thinks this is a good idea? Who is going to pay to see that?

Yes, there are movies I am looking forward to:

Monday Night at the Rock 'N Bowl
Grandma's Boy
Star Party
Chinjeolhan geumjassi
Little One, The
Notorious Bettie Page, The
Hills Have Eyes, The
Fall of Night, The
Primal Scream
Beast, The
Cars
Eragon
Mustang Sally
Vacancy
CandyAppleBlack
Click
Last Guy on Earth, The
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Monster House
Ant Bully
Return of Zoom, The
Mesengers, The
Swindlers of Doom, The
Primal Scream
Little Man
Untitled Texas Chainsaw Massacre Prequel
Crazy Eights
Hallowed
Trick or Treat
Evil Behind You
Arthur and the Minimoys
Poultrygeist: Attack of the Chicken Zombies!

A lot of horror movies coming out. I will see them all in the hopes of finding one that will actually give me a scare.

IMDB links for all these movies here.

out of the memory hole

I've decided to put my 9/11 archives online. Until now, they only existed in the Trapper Keeper of the internet known as archive.org; I had switched to a new host that October or so and I never bothered transferring my older blogging stuff (February - October 2001) over to the new site.

I hesitated especially to repost the 911 stuff. I don't know why, I just never wanted it here. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I need to save all of that; it's a complete record of my discovery of and reaction to the events that unfolded on 9/11/01 and the days after. It's all the news, the rumors, the emotions, the subsequent self-discoveries that came with all of that.

I'm putting up my posts from the first few days, and then certain posts from the months after that had anything to do with that day. After that, I'll attach some of my later essays revolving around 9/11 to what will be my archived personal history of 9/11.

It's kind of disconcerting to re-read all of this. It brings it all back in raw form, which is why I never bothered to upload all of it. But, as with many things, I've changed my mind on the importance of keeping it all in one place.

The archive of day one is here. I'm going to try to get the rest posted over the weekend.

prayer

I know a lot of my fellow atheists/agnostics are up in arms about Bush declaring a day of prayer, but I'm not going to join their chorus.

Just let it go. So, he has asked people to pray. He hasn't ordered anyone to pray. It's not mandatory. Just like people who take offense to the Pledge of Allegiance, ignore it if you must, but don't make such a big deal out of it that you get in the way of people who do not take offense to it.

While I don't pray or even have a God to pray to, I understand what it is like to need faith during terrible times. If this is what comforts people, what makes them feel hope or peace, why would you want to take that away from them?

I'm sure in the past that I've made snide remarks about days of praying, but I guess I've mellowed in my old age. Or maybe I've matured enough to understand the whole different strokes for different folks thing and I can't be bothered to waste my energy ridiculing people for trying to find hope in a chaotic time.

There's a difference between people blaming God for an act of nature or crediting God for saving certain lives over others and people taking comfort in the act of praying together as one voice, in a nation that is made up largely of people who do believe in one God or another. It's not like Bush has ordered everyone to pray to God to smite atheists or Democrats or anyone. It's just prayer and if you do not believe in God or the power of prayer, then how can this possibly bother you? What affect can it have on you to allow people their day or moment of clasped hands and silent devotions? None. None at all.

We all have our ways of finding peace or hope. We meditate or listen to music or sit in the garden or hold our children and we try to find a place that makes us feel warmth or solace or even hope. For you, it's listening to Mozart while drinking green tea. For someone else, it's saying the rosary and asking their God to help those in need.

The fact that our president has called for a day of prayer should be the biggest worry you have. Let it go, already.

Update: Laurence has made a poll so you can vote on which God for me to pray to (he forgot that I have no god before me but Mike Patton)

September 08, 2005

kids of katrina update - with photo goodness!

kidsofkatrina2.gif

First:

Please note that I am closing the Kids of Katrina Amazon whislist, as anything ordered at this point definitely will NOT get here in time.

Thanks again and again to everyone who donated through PayPal and everyone who has helped me get this off the ground and running. Your generosity with both your time and money and the warmth and love in your hearts for your fellow humans is something that cannot be overstated.

Just an FYI, the following Amazon packages arrived today: Janice, Jeffrey (4), Nancy, Allan (2), Elaine, June (2), Rodney, Elizabeth, Jennifer and Melanie. Thank you!!

The following photos were taken earlier today - since then several more people (including Beth, who found KoK through Google, Hi Beth!) stopped by to drop items off. I still have more at work to pick up, my sister has more at her work and my other sister has an SUV FULL of goods to bring over.

Keep in mind that I still have $2,250 to spend on supplies - the generosity of all of you cannot be overstated. We are probably going to do that shopping on Saturday (will document it photgraphically).

Click all photos for bigger (and view at original size to see notes):

katrina-collection-1 katrina-collection-2 katrina-collection-3 katrina-collection-4 katrina-collection-5

I want to mention again all the people who have helped make this possible:

My sisters Jo-Anne and Lisa and my friends Barbara and Bonnie
Aaron
Dave
Trish
Donald
Dan
Debbie
Aaron
Dave
Yvonne
Tari
Jennifer
Tammy Bruce
Sheila
Rob
Beth
Stephen

QOD: Travelin' Man

Another day, another question stolen from TFark [I'm still sick, in fact I'm quite sure I'm dying over here, so don't expect much the rest of the day in the way of content, except Kids of Katrina updates].

If you were a time traveler and could live anywhere in the world during any period of time, either fiction or reality, where would you live?

Update: I was told this is too hard and I should allow people the ability to give two answers - one real, one fictional. So go with that if you want.

Van Sluts and Kung Fu: 1975 in Music

kidsofkatrina2.gif

A while ago I did a music list thing where I listed the top 100 songs of my high school graduation year and whether I liked them or not.

A couple of people who picked up the meme didn't like thier high school year songs, so they did it for the year they were 13.

Ok, I'll bite, but I'm going to be different, of course, and write something about each song. (note, I got halfway through to 69 and decided to the rest later this morning)

1. Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function here and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year
2. 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. Love Will Keep Us Together, The Captain and Tennille: this is one of those songs that I hate, yet I can sing all the way through.
2. Rhinestone Cowboy, Glen Campbell: Another one I hate. I just never got the whole "rhinestone cowboy" thing and to this day when I hear this song, I imagine the Marlboro man wearing a sequined jacket.
3. Philadelphia Freedom, Elton John Ok, it's not a great song. In fact, it's pretty cheesy. But I was a HUGE Elton John fan when I was 13 and I have good memories associated with this one.
4. Before The Next Teardrop Falls, Freddy Fender
5. My Eyes Adored You, Frankie Valli: Stalker song. My eyes adored you, though I never laid a hand on you.... This is how I developed a terrible fear of Frankie Valli.
6. Shining Star, Earth, Wind and Fire I always had a thing for EW&F, though this song has been ruined by that commercial.
7. Fame, David Bowie I had this 45. I'd stand in front of the mirror, with my very Bowie-like haircut singing "is it any wonder, i reject you first" over and over again to get it just right.
8. Laughter In The Rain, Neil Sedaka I don't know why I loathe this song, I just do. Neil Sedaka gives me the creeps.
9. One Of These Nights, Eagles Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the Eagles?
10. Thank God I'm A Country Boy, John Denver Admission time: I do like this song. When I was 13, I would never let anyone know how much I liked it, but looking back, I bet I wasn't the only one sitting in my room, doing some faux square dance, singing cakes on the griddle. What? I was?
11. Jive Talkin', Bee Gees Oh geez. More confessions. Yea, I told everyone DISCO SUCKS but I liked the Bee Gees. I was supposed to take that to my grave.
12. Best Of My Love, Eagles see above
13. Lovin' You, Minnie Riperton Is there really a person alive who likes this song? Step forward, because I have a recording of a cat in heat I'd like to sell you.
14. Kung Fu Fighting, Carl Douglas Anyone who doesn't like this song is a communist.
15. Black Water, Doobie Brothers> Me and Bobby T., under the Tilt-a-Whirl at the church fair, smoking Parlaiments and making out (this actually didn't happen until I was 16, but it still applies)
16. Ballroom Blitz, Sweet Had the 45. One of the greatest rock songs EVER. After sitting in my room knee-slapping to John Denver, this song was the antitode that washed the nerd cooties off of me.
17. (Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song, B.J. Thomas Hahaha his name is BJ! Hey, I was 13.
18. He Don't Love You (Like I Love You), Tony Orlando and Dawn Tony Orlando also gave me the creeps. I guess 1975 was the Year of the Creepy Singer.
19. At Seventeen, Janis Ian Vomitorium
20. Pick Up The Pieces, Average White Band Even at the tender age of 13, I appreciated what it mean to be funky. This song made me wish I could dance.
21. The Hustle, Van McCoy and The Soul City Symphony Last week, my neighbors had a party and they played this song about 50 times. Each time, my body would involuntarily get up and start hustling. Yes, 30 years later, I can still do The Hustle. I hate you, Van McCoy.
22. Lady Marmalade, Labelle I liked it then because it was different, it was sexy and just wrong. Everyone walked around whispering Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir because it was naughty.
23. Why Can't We Be Friends?, War I still listen to this song at least once a week. Had the 45 (I don't know why I remember this, but the label was tan), practically war that record out that summer.
24. Love Wont Let Me Wait, Major Harris
25. Boogie On Reggae Woman, Stevie Wonder
26. Wasted Days And Wasted Nights, Freddy Fender I only remember the opening lines to this song and I really wish I didn't.
27. Fight The Power, Pt. 1, Isley Brothers Man, I was funkier than I ever gave myself credit for.
28. Angie Baby, Helen Reddy If I could strike through twice, I would. Not only do I have this unexplaind disdain for Helen Reddy, but this song is about Angie, I don't know, swallowing the souls of young boys or something.
29. Jackie Blue, Ozark Mountain Daredevils Yea, so I hated this girl named Jackie, hence, I hated the song.
30. Fire, Ohio Players Listening to the Ohio Players made me feel like I was mature.
31. Magic, Pilot This one goes down on record as being one of my most hated songs ever. It sounded like an opening jingle to an evil children's show.
32. Please Mr. Postman, Carpenters Don't even get me started on this song.
33. Sister Golden Hair, America One of those songs I like, but couldn't reallly explain why.
34. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Elton John Like I said, I was a huge Elton fan, but this song caused a rift between me and a few of my Beatles loving friends.
35. Mandy, Barry Manilow I swear I don't like this song. I swear I don't sing Barry Manilow songs in the shower. I swear I never had this record.
36. Have You Never Been Mellow, Olivia Newton-John My neighbor Debbie thought she could sing like Olivia. She brought this record over one day and made me sit there while she sang along with it. That was my first experience with torture.
37. Could It Be Magic, Barry Manilow See above.
38. Cat's In The Cradle, Harry Chapin I think I am the only person alive who despises this song. It literally makes me cringe in horror.
39. Wildfire Michael Murphy Songs about horses suck.
40. I'm Not Lisa, Jessi Colter You know, if the guy is still pining for Lisa - and probably calls out her name when you make love - you should just give up and leave him. Even though you said you wouldn't. Which would prove that all women are heartless bitches just like Lisa.
41. Listen To What The Man Said, Paul Mccartney and Wings You know how much I hate Frankie Valli? Multiply that by 40 and you get my loathing for Paul McCartney. The man must hold the record for most inane songs by a former rock star.
42. I'm Not In Love, 10cc see here
43. I Can Help, Billy Swan File this under meh.
44. Fallin' In Love, Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds see, meh
45. Feelings, Morris Albert What, you ask? She LIKES this song? Well, it's a long running inside joke in my family. If you ever meet anyone in my family, just walk up to them and say "I have feeling, you know!" and see what happens.
46. Chevy Van, Sammy Johns The 70's were a strange time, indeed. This song about a van slut was, suprisingly, not used to sell Chevy vans.
47. When Will I Be Loved, Linda Ronstadt Me and Linda just did not get along, aurally.
48. You're The First, The Last, My Everthing, Barry White If you don't like this song, you are a loveless, heartless machine of a person.
49. Please Mr Please, Olivia Newton-John See above.
50. You're No Good, Linda Ronstadt See above.
51. Dynomite, Bazuka
52. Walking In Rhythm, Blackbyrds 1975 was a good year for bland.
53. The Way We Were / Try To Remember, Gladys Knight and The Pips
54. Midnight Blue, Melissa Manchester Was she the chick with the really long hair? Or was that the Midnight at the Oasis lady? Or are they the same?
55. Don't Call Us, We'll Call You, Sugarloaf
56. Poetry Man, Phoebe Snow
57. How Long, Ace Is it me or did half the songs on this list sound exactly the same?
58. Express, B.T. Express
59. That's The Way Of The World, Earth, Wind and Fire
60. Lady, Styx The first time I heard this, I was sure the singer was a woman. And then I saw a picture of Tommy Shaw and I was like, told ya it's a woman!
61. Bad Time, Grand Funk Is it ever a good time to be in love? Not according to 70's music. Everyone was getting fucked over by someone.
62. Only Women Bleed, Alice Cooper When you learn everything you know about life from rock and roll, you can be left confused and bewildered. Are women the creeps, or are men? Or is everyone a creep when it comes to love and I should just make a vow of celibacy and solitude, right now, at 13 years old?
63. Doctor's Orders, Carol Douglas
64. Get Down Tonight, K.C. and The Sunshine Band I'm learning a bit about myself here. I am learning that I didn't hate disco as much as I told people I did. Do a little dance. Make a little love. How can you NOT get jiggy with that?

To be continued

65. You Are So Beautiful / It's A Sin When You Love Somebody, Joe Cocker See Creepy Man theme
66. One Man Woman-One Woman Man, Paul Anka and Odia Coates
67. Feel Like Makin' Love, Bad Company I wasn't sure whether to bold this one or not. I liked it then, not so much now. Bad Company has not withstood the test of time.
68. How Sweet It Is, James Taylor See my aversion to all songs that exude sweet, candy-coated love.
69. Dance With Me, Orleans
70. Cut The Cake, Average White Band
71. Never Can Say Goodbye, Gloria Gaynor
72. I Don't Like To Sleep Alone, Paul Anka
73. Morning Side Of The Mountain, Donny and Marie Osmond
74. Some Kind Of Wonderful, Grand Funk
75. When Will I See You Again, Three Degrees
76. Get Down, Get Down (Get On The Floor), Joe Simon
77. I'm Sorry / Calypso, John Denver
78. Killer Queen, Queen
79. Shoeshine Boy, Eddie Kendricks
80. Do It (Til You're Satisfied), B.T. Express
81. Can't Get It Out Of My Head, Electric Light Orchestra
82. Sha-La-La (Makes Me Happy), Al Green
83. Lonely People, America
84. You Got The Love, Rufus
85. The Rockford Files, Mike Pos
86. It Only Takes A Minute, Tavares
87. No No Song / Snookeroo, Ringo Starr
88. Junior's Farm / Sally G, Paul McCartney and Wings
89. Bungle In The Jungle, Jethro Tull
90. Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance), Leo Sayer
91. Someone Saved My Life Tonight, Elton John
92. Misty, Ray Stevens
93. Bad Blood, Neil Sedaka
94. Only Yesterday, Carpenters
95. I'm On Fire, Dwight Twilley Band
96. Only You, Ringo Starr
97. Third Rate Romance, Amazing Rhythm Aces
98. You Aint Seen Nothin' Yet / Free Wheelin', Bachman-Turner Overdrive
99. Swearin' To God, Frankie Valli
100. Get Dancin', Disco Tex and The Sex-O-lettes

September 07, 2005

vanderlay

vanderlay

That George has really done well for himself!

So, am I the only one that documents getting a new driveway?

truckin

KoK updates and some NoLa metal

First: Elizabeth, Rodney and Nancy, your Amazon shipments arrived. Thank you so much.

For everyone worried that their Amazon orders will not get here in time, no fear: whatever is not here to put on my truck, I will deliver to one of the literally hundreds of schools and organizations around here that are sending trucks down. I also heard that some of the evacuees will be coming to Long Island, so I can always get stuff diretly to those families if it doesn't arrive at my house in time.

Today has not been a great day as I feel like crap on a stick, and I completely forgot about Wednesday musical chairs day and my promise to write something up about NoLa heavy metal. Unfortunately, I don't think I can put something together. My rotted brain is not going to do justice to a good topic and, therefore, I will wait until Thursday or Friday to do it.

However, I do have one song from you by my favorite New Orleans band, from an album that would be on my list of music to take to a desert island:

Crowbar - Planets Collide (from the album Odd Fellows Rest)

Enjoy! (warning: very, very heavy - if you like your music bright and poptastic, this is not going to be your thing).

Apologies to my fellow musical chairs bloggers. Those who did get posts up today are Courtney, covering Alex Chilton and Andrew who covered Lucinda Williams

an cool interlude

Here are some penguins because I don't feel like talking anymore.

showers of the penguins

Everybody loves penguins. EVERYBODY. In fact, I like penguins more than I like people.

kidsofkatrina2.gif


I'm off to get a doctor-ordered cat scan of my sinuses. Whee.

Oh, and for an update: The Amazon packages are starting to roll in, my neighbors are piling stuff up at my door and the donations keep coming. Thank you everyone. Still waiting on an exact ship date, but it looks the stuff IS going to both Baton Rouge and Houston. I'll be in touch with you Houston people very soon.

on second thought....

Mark Steyn:

On 9/11, the federal government failed the people; last week, local and state government failed the people. On 9/11, they stuck to the 30-year-old plan; last week, they didn't bother implementing the state-of-the-art 21st-century plan. Why argue about which level of bureaucracy you prefer to be let down by?

What he said.

I just realized how naive that post below is, how idealist, written by someone who lives in this fairy tale world where people are willing to drop pretenses and biases to work together toward a common goal, the goal in this case being helping the people hit by Hurricane Katrina to recover.

The energy spent digging up stories and dirt, parsing words, arguing semantics, pointing out slip-of-tongues, pointing in general and playing a game of my side is better than yours could probably fuel this nation for all time. I simply can not get over the sheer amount of newspaper articles, editorials, blog posts and sound bites from people turning a hurricane into a Republican/Democrat war of blame.

I'm not saying blame shouldn't be placed and people should not be held accountable for what went wrong. But to use this whole tragedy for political gain, to take up the mantle as cheerleader for your party in the wake of thousands of deaths, to have this attitude that this must be drawn along party lines, this must be an us v. them issue, that this is a call to arms, to gather your weapon of words and stand blindly and loyally behind your R or D and get ready to sling the bows and arrows until one of you is declared the winner by virtue of being blamed the least - that's just reprehensible. And it flies in the face of everything I wrote below. I'm an idiot to think that people would put down their badges of loyalty to make things better, to figure out what went wrong and where it went wrong, to help, to do something other than playing Encyclopedia Brown, Hurricane Detective, finding clues as to who said the worst thing and when they said it and how it charts their party on the Better Than You leaderboard. The teams are right now tied for blame but..what's this? He called Louisiana a city instead of a state? Score! The Democrats take the lead in the I'm Better Than You SuperBowl!

I think I prefer to remain naive in my little fairy tale world where everyone works together to make things right, rather than separately to widen the gulf between us.

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Times Like These

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---

[Note: I am ill today and, despite wanting to stay in bed and drown myself in NyQuil, I still have a million things to do. I'm just going to move this post from yesterday up here and get back to the blog later. And please note: I have very little tolerance for people who use my comments to vomit up their opinions when said opinions not only have ZERO to do with the post at hand, but pretty much run opposite to it. Just so you know]

I’ve been thinking about 9/11 a lot this past week, watching the way Americans have reacted to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. I remember that feeling of togetherness, of community in the days after the planes hit and I am feeling that now, on a grand scale.

A lot of people say “it takes a tragedy to bring people together,” but I don’t believe that. Communities are always coming together to help each other out. When you have a nationally televised disaster like Katrina or 9/11, there’s an intense focus on the rally to help; the internet and 24 hour cable news have seen to it that every moment of a national calamity, no matter how big or small, is televised, printed, spread around like a wild meme and brought to you live, both the good and the bad, the heartwarming and the ugly, in full color and twenty point font. That is the nature of media - to sensationalize both ends of things, to bring you the most poignant and the most brutal, in graphic detail.

So in bringing you the stories of people helping one another, they do it in the most hyperbolic way possible; all their stories have a “in times like these” ring to them. In times like these we help each other. In times like these we pull together. In times like these we open our hearts.

But that’s not so, at least not in the way they portray it. The these in times like these means, in the case of mass media, national tragedy. Huge tragedy. Miles of dead, injured, lost people, a string of heartache enough to go around the country twice, a profound loss, a grief shared among millions.

Times like these happen every day, in every state, in most communities. You don’t see them because they aren’t huge, there aren’t enough sick people or dead bodies or crying children to make it to the nightly news or the front page of a web site. Somewhere right now in America, a community is rallying to find a bone marrow donor for one of its residents. Somewhere right now in America, a community group is building a wheelchair ramp on the house of a car accident victim. Somewhere right now in America, a school is collecting clothing for a family who lost everything in a house fire. Somewhere right now in America, neighbors are cooking a week’s worth of dinner for a husband and father who just buried his wife. Times like these are all around us, every day. And Americans respond, quietly and without fanfare, without Geraldo or Oprah or Larry King ever finding out about it, without a celebrity and his personal photographer standing by, without websites putting up links and buttons.

It’s good that we can do this. It’s good that we can turn on the tv and see these wonderful stories of heroism and altruism and empathy. It’s good that we can get on the internet, click a few buttons and find a place to help out, to donate, to give. It’s wonderful to have the good moments side by side with the bad and the ugly, to take the edge off, to give us those much needed silver linings.

We should just remember when watching and reading all of this that moments like these happen every day, but on a much smaller scale. That we, as Americans, have a lot to be proud of. We do not “need” a large scale tragedy to pull us together. We do this every day. The people who have emailed me, literally hundreds of people, in the past few days, offering help with Kids of Katrina, these are people that do this kind of thing regularly. They are there for their neighbors, just as they are there for total strangers. America is filled with people of enormous heart and generosity, and we must remember that. As the negative moments in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina go on display for all to see, we must counter that with not just the images of people rushing to New Orleans and Mississippi to help, of people in all states opening their arms and wallets and homes wide for total strangers, but with the knowledge that this is America. Not the people trying to make political, cultural or racial hay out of this, not the people taking a vulnerable moment and trying to see how they can profit off of it, not the people who took the opportunity to show their most inhumane traits, but the people who have reached out, who have come to the rescue, who have given a hand, a dollar, a book, a hug. These are the people that make up my America, the people that do this kind of thing every day, not just in times like these.

kidsofkatrina2.gif

September 06, 2005

mmmmmm.......flo-naz

The stress-related sore throat and the various allergy-related symptoms were just the manifestation of a larger, uglier beast known as the raging sinus infection.

Quickly, I just want to say that it looks like Baton Rouge is a go as well as Houston for Kids of Katrina. Supplies are piling up at home and in my workplace, money sitting in PayPal just waiting for me to get to National Wholesale Liquidators and buy out their supplies.

I owe a lot of people email. I've read it all, but I just can't answer it. I am zombified by this infection.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, there's always tomorrow.

G'night.

kidsofkatrina2.gif

institutionalized

Have you ever gone to WalMart on the day when everyone is trying to fill out school supply lists? I nearly cried. I was stuck in the aisle between a hyperactive five year old ramming his cart into my heels and an enormous woman who kept waving the flab of her upper arms in my face as she hooted and hollered about "God damn WalMart doesn't have a God damn thing she ever wants," and she would not budge so I just kept asking her to please hand me a hole puncher. All I wanted was a hole puncher and she wouldn't give it to me, just one hole puncher and....

So we left. Went to Target and the school supply aisles had been crunched and squeezed into three feet of shelving behind the blow up Frankensteins and next to the prepare-ye-Christmas-is-coming garlands. A couple of notebooks, a lone orange Sharpie and two NSync folders left over from 1998 was what made up the entire secton. Seven frustrated mothers and one perspiring father were frothing at the mouth, cursing Target for clearing out the school stuff to make way for Holidays that aren't even around the corner yet and I was about to join the chorus, just raise my hands in the air and scream and.....OH MY GOD IS THAT JONES CANDY CORN SODA?? The hell with dividers and hole punches, I grabbed a four-pack of the soda and a four-pack of Jones Caramel Apple soda and hightailed it to the cash register, stopping only to scoop up two black one inch binders left lying in the aisle, the exact binders that DJ needed that I couldn't find anywhere else and maybe, just maybe he was right and he did have a lucky day today, though I doubt it had anything to do with his "lucky" Iron Maiden shirt that he wants to wear every. single. day.

The following conversation ensues, with me saying all my parts in a hoarse whisper, which adds a nice effect to the absurdity of it.

No, you can't wear it every day.
I had a good day today. I never have a good day at school. The shirt is LUCKY.
Your Pink Floyd shirt is lucky, too.
How do you know?
Because..uh....it told me.
My shirt told you it was lucky?
Yea.
What did it say?
It said, "hey, I'm a lucky shirt, make DJ wear me tomorrow!"
Mom?
Yea?
You're crazy.

Anyhow, he's wearing the Floyd shirt tomorrow, not because it's lucky and not because it talks, but because he spilled Snapple on Eddie. I heard him apologize to the shirt. I swear. So I snuck up on him and said I'M NOT CRAZY, YOU'RE THE ONE WHO'S CRAZY!

Deep breath.

I still need a hole puncher.

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more stuff

This story made me blubber like a little girl. In a good way.

I will NOT be on the Tammy Bruce show today, as previously announced, as my voice has disappeared (as it always does when I'm tired and stressed out). It will happen later in the week, I will let you know when.

I'd just like to thank Tammy publicly for her support of Kids of Katrina.

Thank you also to Joelle of Snappy Hour for these great buttons which you may use if you want to link to the project:

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kidsofkatrina1.gif

more kids of katrina updates, info

Instead of answering 127 pieces of email all asking for the same info, I am going to do it here.

For those asking about ways to participate in Kids for Katrina, go here.

For those who have started their own drives and are looking for specific addresses to send the goods to, go here.

For those who want to know if I can send a truck to their area as well, I have to say that depends on how much supplies I collect from my neighbors and co-workers and how much I get in donations. I am doing what I can and right now I know I'll have enough to go to Houston School District and hopefully enough to go to Baton Rouge - also, for every shipment I send out, that means I need a truck and driver donated. All I can tell you is to try to go through your own community, see if you can get shipping donated and use the link above to figure out where to send it. Every day, new cities are being added to the list of people taking in survivors. Over one million people need our help.

For those looking for similar drives, try here or here.

For those who email to ask why bother when so many other people are doing it, I ask you to go here: One million people displaced. No matter how many flats of water and shoes and school supplies you see, it's probably not enough.

Also, I will be on the Tammy Bruce show at 12:30 EST today, talking about Kids of Katrina.

If I think of anything else or find more emailed questions to answer, I'll do it here.

One other note, if you are planning on sending supplies to me through the Amazon wishlist, I would suggest doing it today or tomorrow to make sure the stuff gets here on time (and don't worry, if it doesn't, I will send it down).

Today's Email Special: Texas Responds

KIDS OF KATRINA

My "correspondent" in Texas (hey, he has written here before) was out and about in Texas this week, helping where he could The following is his report, with photos:

FWIW, in my hometown, and hundreds of communities all over Texas, we're setting up long-term shelters for the victims of Katrina. It's not just Houston and San Antonio... it's places you never heard of. Killeen, Mexia, Corsicana, Athens, Corpus Christi, Kingsville... places with nothing more to offer than a civic center or a high school gym, but it will work.
My own hometown (pop 57,000) is taking in about 400.. I was up at a recently closed grocery store working with some people getting it ready. There were about a hundred there today - the Army has been great (Ft. Hood is very close) - the 13th Corps Support Command is bringing a portable shower rig out.

I'm beginning to understand now how Texas is managing to take up to 200,000 displaced people.

And others are stepping up as well of course (I even saw on Fox that Massachusetts is taking in 2500 immediately). oday and yesterday were all about "get supplies ready". Food, water, clothes, diapers, formula, blankets.

It occurs to me as the days unfold that it's not too soon to start thinking about children and Christmas. Random thought.

We're being told (by FEMA and state agencies, coordinating through local officials) to get a place ready for refugees, but there's no clear indication about who will arrive when. That's due in large part to how communities are responding with "here's what we can do" and that picture changes daily. I talked to a friend of mine this morning who said there are hundreds who arrived yesterday at the Hilton in Grapevine (near DFW airport).

So we're getting ready but we're not sure what for. A preposition is a terrible thing to end a sentence with. Ahem.

If the location is deemed not needed, we will pack up this stuff and ship it wherever we're asked. BTW, this is Temple, Texas, about a half hour south of Waco, an hour north of Austin.

The last picture is one of a 1st Cav convoy I caught on the way home.. interestingly they were headed north on I-35 instead of south and east. I called a 1st Sgt. I know in the Cav and he said they were going to cut east south of Dallas and head east cause the highways back into the area are more open from Shreveport south. The Cav boys were taking generators and water purifying equipment with them.

If you want info about a specific shot, let me know. The older guy lifting his hat off is a guy named Leroy.. it was pretty warm in the building today (no ac until people are going to be housed there). The guy behind him and to the left is a local contractor named Lowell - he put off three jobs this weekend to help coordinate this. My youngest kid worked with them today too.

texas shoes leroy supplies water clothes helping-hand helping-hands convoy

And let me just add to Dave's email: If you think that looks like a lot of stuff, just remember the over one million people have been displaced by Katrina.

Kids of Katrina

Project Backpack
Katrina Kids relief
Donate your RV or trailer

September 05, 2005

drawing flies

I'm really beyond exhausted. Besides spending most of my waking hours on the Kids of Katrina drive (willingly - not complaining), I'm also helping a local politician with his campaign/website, and school starts tomorrow and we are trying desperately to get ourselves together for that. Always with the last minute things. You know how it is.

I am going to make an attempt to answer all my emails right now, so patience, grasshopper, your information is forthcoming.

And I've got nothing else for you tonight except more pictures (taken today) and more reminders.

with x's in my eyes and drawing flies all in the golden afternoon nothing but blue skies

Kids of Katrina (all the info you need there)

Amazon wishlist for Katrina kids.

i am cat blogger

It only took a week, but I've become one of those cat people.

strike a pose
click for bigger, more kitty pictures there

Cutest thing ever.

But so, so tempermental.

Good neighbors

Kids of Katrina donations

Two women from around the corner dropped all these supplies off today (everything from backpacks and calculators to erasers). It's a great start, and they said that all of the people on their block would be stopping by this week with donations. They also offered to help organize everything when it gets closer to shipment day.

We've got over $1500 in Paypal donations so far, and the Amazon wishlist is getting filled up. I have four people asking for donations at their respective churches and I haven't even started at work yet.

People are good.

Kids of Katrina
[Click for more info, Paypal and whishlist links and other ways to help]

random camera phone picture:
it's beginning to look a lot like....

It's beginning to look a lot like.......

it
(click for bigger)

Christmas? In September?

This was in the lobby of my local grocery store today. The ruler is to show you how huge this thing is. It has swirling snow and lights, too.

The end of the year sure does come fast once August gets here.

burninating and more katrina stuff

Kids of Katrina fund/supplies drive

I woke up today feel dizzy and with a burning hole in my stomach. Don't know what it all means but this is certainly not good timing on the part of my body. I do not need to fall apart the day before the kids go back to school, and with the Kids of Katrina thing in full force. DJ has baseball practice today, I still haven't finished filling out all the school forms or making sure everyone has clothes and supplies arranged for tomorrow, Nat has to work at 3 and I'm supposed to be at my sister's for a bbq at 2, I desperately need to go food shopping. meanwhile still trying to coordinate a lot of things with the school supplies and all I can think about is how my stomach seems to have caught fire. Maybe all those flame wars on Fark finally got to me. Flame, fire, get it?

Anyhow. Does anyone have any idea of how many people have been left homeless by Katrina? I keep getting emails from people who have refugees (and no, I don't think that's a bad word) in their state, it seems like they are spreading out to so many states and I just wonder how many people are there who need help and how can I make the Kids of Katrina funds/collections stretch to all of the towns, cities, states that are taking in children who have nothing but what they are wearing?

I see a lot of people saying that it's useless to send clothes and goods, that what they need is money, but that is NOT the case and I know this because I have people WAITING in Houston and Baton Rouge for these kids, people telling me how much the tangible stuff is needed, that while money is good, it takes a while for the results of those donations to trickle down to them - food, shelter, water, that's being taking care of by the money, but basic needs like school supplies, little things like pacifiers and bottle liners, things that make a difference to a traumatized child like a stuffed animal or a book to lose herself in, that's what we need to get down there, as well as money funnelled through major organizations - the personal touch of having supplies and toys handed to them might make a difference between having hope and not having hope, might make a kid smile for the first time in days.

I had another idea - I'm going to go up to the elementary school here tomorrow and ask if they could have kids make cards for the kids in Houston and Baton Rouge and wherever else we get to send trucks of supplies to. You can't underestimate the worth of something like that to a child who has just been through hell.

Ok, just thinking out loud. And I was going to apologize for the blog being all Katrina, all the time and for the fact that my writing has taken a dump and I keep writing in disjointed thoughts and fragmented sentences but...nah. If you're tired of this come back some other time. Or not. I'll warn you right now, I'm going to spend the next week talking about this and begging for money and donations and looking for the good news stories and what have you - even on Wednesday, when I do my weekly musical gods post, I'll be concentrating on New Orleans metal this week (so if you have any notes or thoughts on that email me) and...running on long enough..

oh..if you are going to donate through Amazon, that is, sending me school supplies or whatnot through this Amazon whishlist, I suggest you do it by Wednesday the latest just to make sure it gets here in time. I think we might hold off on shipping until next week, just to give everyone at work and around town here to get stuff together to get on the truck - most of the kids aren't going to start school right away anyhow and even if they do, they will always need these supplies.

Anyhow, I have to go rummage for some Tums. I haven't even spell checked this post so just ignore the typos or whatever, please. kthnxbye.

Kids of Katrina

P.S. And Aaron, who is coordinating the shipping for me, just told me that some of the refugees are coming into Illinois, in fact read this. How many states are taking people in. I want to get something to all of these kids. And I don't mean to be ignoring the adults, I just always think of the kids first, just being a mother, I guess does that to you. I know Solonor said something about taking in people in Florida. And I hear Philly is taking refugees, too. So...would it be possible to get something to all these places? Probably not, but I'm going to at least try.

September 04, 2005

Good News Part VII

Kids of Katrina info here
-----

I haven't forgotten. Continuing on.

  • Our community has opened its arms to family, friends and strangers who fled to escape the storm. Daily Post reporters have been swamped with stories of kindness and generosity. We're getting as many as we can into the paper. But time and space prevent us from relating all the good news and heartwarming stories.
  • Really good news: Over $1,000 in contributions to the Kids of Katrina fund so far!

You know the drill. Got links to heartwarming stories from NO or Mississippi or wherever, leave them in the comments. I'm off to find more.

More here

I don't know where my fixation with the name katrina comes from, but I'm trying to catch all instances of it - let me know if I missed any. Katrina, not katrina. Repeat.

Ok, I am exhausted. I will continue the good news tomorrow. Please, if you find stories, let me know.

Why

If you haven't cried in the past few days, you probably will watching this .

I had kept from crying until now. I lost it, completely.

I don't even know what to say. I just think everyone should watch this and when everyone who is alive is rescued and out of danger and all the victims have food and clothing and shelter, then we ask the simple question that has been on my mind - and probably yours - for days.

Why?

an alternate way to participate in kids of katrina

Kids of katrina info here
-----

A LOT of people have been asking "How can I send stuff through you, without using Paypal or using the time/money to ship things over to you, just to have them shipped down there?" Or something to that affect.

Here's how!

I started a new Amazon wishlist called Kids of katrina, with just school supplies and stuff on the original list on the wishlist. Anything ordered today or tomorrow should definitely be shipped here in time to get on the truck.

The wishlist is here.

It's new, being added to as I write this by the lovely Jennifer. Thank you, Jennifer!

Also, if you would rather just send the stuff to the areas yourself, please check this page for addresses, contact info, etc.

It doesn't really matter who you send the stuff through (though I DO appreciate those that want to go through Kids of katrina) as long as it gets there. Here are some other people collecting:

Project Backpack
Decablog toy drive

And I know, I know, this is all I've been writing about. Deal.

Update: Holy, wow! So much stuff has been purchased already. THANK YOU!

acknowledging everyone...

An amazing amount of donations came in today. Thank you everyone, I am trying to get personal thank you emails out as soon as the donations come in.

Thank you, Charles, for sending people here.

Thank you for your generosity, Tammy Bruce (and I will be on Tammy's show Tuesday morning to talk about Kids of katrina).

Please note that this would not, in any way, shape or form, be happening without:

My sister Jo-Anne. my friends Barbara and Bonnie
Donald
Dan
Debbie
Trish
Aaron
Yvonne
Tari
Dave
Sheila
Rob
Beth
Stephen

And everyone who donated, and everyone so far who has linked, and if I left anyone out, please forgive me and let me know.

I have a lot of shopping to do. You people are wonderful.

And if you are waiting on an email response from me, I am so sorry - please email me again, michele.catalanoATgmailDOTcom.

I am an incredibly disorganized person, so I'm doing the best I can at all this and may need some reminders or nudging if you are waiting on me for something.

Yes, there still is good news...

And this is my favorite story yet.

Shelter resident Rochelle Smith, a Jackson-area woman who was homeless before the storm, heard of Williams' plight on Thursday and decided that a lack of wedding dress or cake wasn't going to stop the couple from having their special day.

On Saturday, the couple were married.

As children played and weary survivors slept, Williams and Kirsh exchanged vows before an Episcopalian minister and a crowd seated in folding chairs. Some snapped photos with instant cameras, while others used camera phones to capture the moment.

I was wondering whether or not to continue with the "good news" postings. I think this story has just inspired me to continue.

Lists, Addresses, New URL for the supply drive

For those who want to send items directly to the affected areas, this site has a huge list of places that are taking/handing out donations and what they specifically need.

I have made a separate page for the drive. If you are linking, please link to this page:

Kids of Katrina

Please refer to that page in the future, I will let you know if it's been updated. I will make a giant list of everyone who is helping with this and add it on there.

Funny, I just got an email from someone asking why I am bothering, that it's redundant, that there are so many people sending stuff I shouldn't even be doing this. Imagine if everyone thought like that? If everyone said, someone else is doing it, so I won't bother? And you know what? Even if they end up with extra stuff, there is always someone in need of supplies, clothing, etc. Always.

Again, for the all people asking how they can get a school supplies drive started, all I can tell you is to call your local shipping companies and see if you can get a truck donated for the cause. Print up flyers, put them around your neighborhood, pass them out at work, have your kids take them to school. Look at the list of addresses in that first link, and the contact info - pick a place, see exactly what they need and send it there. I don't think any amount of any goods is too much, so don't worry about overwhelming the people, I believe they will just pass what they can't use on to people who can.

i will hypnotize you with cat pictures!
(Another Kids of Katrina post)

what? i will eat your soul

Master Shake is adjusting well to her home. She has become somewhat fixated with my husband and follows him around the house and I think she has a little streak of jealousy toward me. She likes to watch television, attack little wads of paper and sleep in our closet. So far, she's a lot of fun and I think DJ may be only slighlty allergic to her.

And now, Master Shake has a message for you all:

Meow!

Which means:

I am overwhelmed with emails from people Houston and other areas in Texas telling me what they need. I started with school supplies specifically, but now I am trying to get together some toys and games for the kids, socks, basic toiletry supplies and books. I have specific shelters where these things need to go and several people who are looking to pick up packages at our Houston drop off point.

I am afraid I won't have enough to go around. I am counting on my neighbors and co-workers to come through for me; so far only two neighbors have brought over school supplies and I won't even be able to get started collecting at work until Tuesday (tomorrow is a holiday). I am so afraid that I won't have enough, that we won't fill one truck let alone two (one for Baton Rouge). I know that probably ALL of you have donated to one charity or another already and I don't want to ask to often, but I could really use more donations so I can go out and buy the things people are emailing and asking for.

I know other people are asking if they can do the same and I don't know what to tell them - they want to send the stuff to ME to put on the truck to go down there, but the shipping cost is prohibitive and it seems redundant to send it here to Long Island and then there - all I can tell you is to call around to shipping companies and if you get a drive started in your neighborhood see if one of those companies will donate the shipping. I want to help everyone get their drives off the ground, I really do, but I did not do this alone, I have Aaron and Trish and Kimberly and Donald and Dan and other people making calls for me, doing a lot of the leg work, finding out what's needed, putting me in touch with the right people, coordinating things (and I will get in touch with ALL of you as soon as I get the definite ship date from uship.com which probably will not be until Tuesday).

I am kind of overwhelmed right now with anxiety that I won't have enough, or that I can't help all the people who need/want my help. I'm hearing from people in Florida, too, that there are so many refugees there and they need their basic needs met and the people who are taking them in need help - I am doing the best I can (WE are doing the best WE can), what I need is for anyone in the Long Island area who can collect goods for me at their work or schools or from their neighbors and drop them off to my house to email me and we can work that out, and also donations. I really need donations to get to the stores and get new school supplies and decks of cards and books and even stuff for the babies, they need pacifiers and bottle liners - the little things people don't always think about.

I hate to spend every day on this site just begging and asking for help over and over again but I will until I get this done yet, what more can anyone ask of people? Everyone I know has given in some form already. There are just so many people to help. The magnitude of this, the amount of people stranded and homeless and without anything....I wonder if anyone is collecting for the people in Mississippi...

Ok, rambling again. I am going to gather my thoughts and pull myself together and hope for the best with this.

Have I thanked you all again for all your help? Ok, thank you. And I don't just mean thank you for helping ME do this, I mean thank you in general, to anyone who has done anything to help this people - we should all thank each other for just being good to each other, for giving each other faith in humanity....

Ok, I'll stop now. Stopping.

If you need more info on Kids of Katrina, please click on the graphic, it's all there.

[And I just realized that some of the thank you emails I sent out said Hurrican katrina, not Katrina. No idea why katrina keeps coming out instead of Katrina.]

Update: Here is a list of places to send items, contact info for people collecting, and items need. (thanks carol)

September 03, 2005

craaaaaazy

Anyone else see Celine Dion on Larry King?

On the looters: "These people have never touched things like this before. LET THEM!

And then:

GET A KAYAK!!!!!

Put....another person in....the KAYAK!!!!

And then:

Cheese Whiz!

I swear to you, she said something about a mother and cheese whiz. Just wait. Someone will have the video soon.

And then Larry King, the crazy motherfucker himself, asks her to SING! She is flipping out, she's crying, she's screaming, she's making rowing motions and he asks her to sing. And she does.

I'm sure that interview was supposed to be poignant, but we were cracking up. We haven't laughed that hard since watching Mikey Meyers' face when Kanye West went batshit on live tv last night.

[If you missed it, it will be rebroadcast at midnight EST]

[I really needed that moment of bizarre levity. Thanks, Celine!]

update on the school supplies

Things are moving along at a fast pace with the Kids of Katrina school supplies drive [please see here for specifics on the drive and how to help]:

A couple of notes:

We have a definite place for the supplies to go to - there is already an agency coordinating deliveries of school supplies and we will send them there.

I have a few specific teachers/schools I've heard from and some of the packages will be marked just for them.

My friend Dan (the one who was at the Astrodome the other night) let me know about a church in Houston that is taking in refugees. They need toys and games for the kids as well as school supplies. So if anyone wants specifically to donate money to purchase toys for the kids, I do believe that PayPal has a place where you can leave a note, or you can just email me and let me know.

The kids also are in dire need of socks and shoes. I'm going to let my co-workers and neighbors know about this, maybe we can collect some of those items also.

Thanks again to Trish who is coordinating everything in Houston, I could not accomplish this without her and thanks to all who donated time and/or money.

If you are in Houston and volunteered to help and did not hear from me yet, PLEASE email me again, put HOUSTON in the header, I am swamped with email and might have overlooked yours.

I had my kids go around the neighborhood and leave flyers in mailboxes yesterday, and two people knocked on my door already today with bags of school stuff. We are off to a great start. Please help keep this going, let people know about it.

If anyone has any other suggestions/contacts/whatever, just email. I will be out for a few hours but I will answer all emails tonight.

more on good news and school supplies

I will be out most of the day today. I ask two things of you. One, please, if you can, spread the word about this:


Click for more info, if you are going to link, please use that specific URL

[And I will have updates on the progress with that this evening]

Two, please, please see the good news post below - I would love it if everyone who stops by here goes and finds one "good news" link to put on that post when I get home (just leave the link in the comments).

And thanks to everyone who has emailed links and offers of help/money/contacts/ideas.

Good News, Part VI

[Side note: I am really behind on my email, trying desperately to catch up, I WILL answer all today]

Ok, I have not given up yet. Let's roll on.

To recap: good news from New Orleans or Mississippi, people helping each other, heartwarming stories, reuinited families, you know the drill by now. Leave all relevant links in the comments. There are six parts to this series.

  • Attention knitters:
I am collecting knitted or crocheted goods for the smallest victims. For right now, things such as baby bootees or small children socks are probably best; as we get more into fall, things like sweaters and blankets will be needed. I will take anything I receive to the Northwest Assistance Ministry to distribute to those in need. Leave a comment with your e-mail if you would like more details. Raid your stash, knit for the babies!

random camera phone picture

Just for something different.

27955506_93767965_0.jpeg
guitar lesson

September 02, 2005

good news, etc.

Just wanted to let you know that although I've been absent most of the day, I have been updating the Good News, part V thread.

I'm trying to catch up on my email, I have a zillion mails from people who want to help out with the school supplies - I have Trish organizing things in Houston, please email me contact info if you want to help out there. I am in serious need of help in Baton Rouge, I have only Dave there so far. And thanks to everyone who put money in the PayPal, and I'll mention it again for those who are emailing asking how to donate school supplies if they aren't in my area:

My Paypal button is on the left sidebar. If you donate, I will use the money to purchase school supplies to put on the truck. Simple as that. You have to trust a complete stranger with your money, yes - but I think a lot of readers will vouch for me, I've done things like this before.

Thank you a million times to everyone who has sent good news links, volunteered to help out with the school thing or have actually gone there and helped out, like Tari. Like I said to her in email today, it may not be my place to thank you, but someone should, so I will. We will.

Update:

I notice a LOT of Long Island visitors in my referrals. If any of you want to come help load up the truck when we are ready, please email me, micheleREMOVETHIS.catalanoATgmail.com.

Everyone else, please use that address, too, if you need to contact me. I forget to check the other address sometimes.

Bloggers, if you could link to this, that would be great - the more people that know about it, the more possible contacts in both cities I'm likely to make, the more donations for supplies I'll get, etc.

kidskatrina.jpg

Just heard from someone in Orlando is who coordinating a school supply drive there - I'm putting her in contact with my Houston contact. This is wonderful!

katrina1.jpg katrina2.jpg

Thanks to Dave, my Baton Rouge contact, for those images.

School Supplies Drive is a GO!!!
[Official Kids of Katrina post]

[Please note the drive now has it's own page, go here]

Just got an email from Aaron at Free Will blog.

We got it: Uship.com, an open marketplace for freight drivers, is "95% sure" they can sponsor [the school supplies drive] outright, but they say they'll definitely find a way to make it happen.

Thank you so much, Aaron.

I am trying to get a truck to both Houston and Baton Rouge, and possibly San Antonio. Which means we'll need a lot of supplies. A LOT.

What I need is people in both places to coordinate on that end for me. I need a drop off point - the best place would be the school district building, but a firehouse would do. I know there are already some firehouses collecting stuff in Houston until the 5th, but I doubt I would get what I collect down there before then. In fact, with the holiday weekend, that's impossible.

So anyone in Houston or Baton Rouge, if you could help out on that end, that would be great.

I will also be accepting PayPal donations for those who want me to pick up supplies for them to add to the collection. I'll probably be getting most of the supplies from the local dollar stores, so a little money goes a long way.

I'm going to make a poster to distribute at work and throughout my neigborhood. If anyone is in the Long Island area and wants to help out, just send me an email.

Thank you to everyone who did so much legwork on this, and if you are still looking into shipping, please don't stop. Maybe we can get this set up in other cities, too.

Again, anyone who wants to be a contact in Houston who can work out a drop off point for the supplies, that would be great.

EVERY CENT will go towards purchasing school supplies for the kids. I will even cover whatever cut PayPal takes out.

I'm calling this the Kids of Katrina School Drive Fund. Just FYI.

Update again: I have a contact in Houston (Trish) who will see to it that the supplies get to the schools and the Astrodome itself, as I understand they are setting up classrooms right inside the stadium. Trish is also gathering people to help her distribute the supplies. Please email me if you are in Houston and want to help.

And thank you, everyone who has gone above and beyond in helping to get this off the ground. Debbie, Aaron, Trish, Donald, Dave, everyone.

For those who want to a post to link to, or further explanation, see below.

Kids of Katrina School Supplies drive is just what it sounds like.

I will be collecting school supplies from my fellow employees and my neighbors to send to Houston and Baton Rouge. Shipping will be supplied by uship.com.

I have people on the ground in both Houston and Baton Rouge who will accept the delivery and get them to the schools where they are needed the most.

For those who would like to participate by having me buy school supplies to put on the truck for them, you can use my PayPal link on the left sidebar to do that.

If anyone else in Baton Rouge or Houston wants to help, please email me.

Anyone who wants to link to this so that I may come up with more people to help out either here on Long Island or in either BR or Houston, or more donations, or people who may get the idea to start this in their own towns, please link to THIS post. Feel free to use one of the graphics above.

I am anticipating that I will be loading the truck by the end of next week. I will let you know when I have a definite date.

Thank you to the many, many people who have gone above and beyond on this already. This is definitely a group project, not a solo one. I would not be doing this if not for the generosity of so many people.

Good News, Part V [udpated]

[Please note there is a part 6 here]


Click for more info, if you are going to link, please use that specific URL (Freepers, maybe you might link to this drive? Please?)

I'm ready to start a new thread of good news, and I think you are all ready to read it.

I've got a lot of work on my desk to catch up right now, so I'm asking you all to please search around and find the good news for me, just leave the links in the comments.

Thank you.

Update: I probably should have clarified. To repeat:

I'm collecting 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.

  • The Texas Dept of Health and Human Services are giving all evacuees 2 months of food stamps with no questions asked with driver’s license. They can also give information on free gas and reduced housing. The web site is www.hhsc.state.tx.us/. In Houston, they should call 713-767-2000 for the nearest Health and Human Services facility.
  • From reader Tari:
    Just wanted to let you know I’ve been over to the Dome this AM – amazing sight. There are people all over the parking lots – hanging clothes for donation on the fences, unloading crates of water, soap, you name it. After I read your post of Dave’s email I headed to Target for some diapers (and yes, tampons and the like, thanks to your suggestion) and then went over to the Dome. There are people directing traffic, showing you where to park with your stuff, the works. Not the most perfect and orderly set up, but cheerful, slightly chaotic, and from the looks of things, very very helpful to the people in need. My next trip will be with baggies with personal items in them – I’m taking the kids out of school at noon so they can help me put them all together (my 5 year old keeps reminding me that he needs to do something to help the people from LA - well, here’s his chance). I just sent a mass email to all of his friends’ moms and we’ll see if some others can come to help us out. I’ll let you know how it all goes.

Here's the best news that people in New Orleans could hope for right now:

top.katfri20.jpg

Buses have arrived, as have convoys with supplies.

  • "A lot of people have been really good to me in my life," said Walker, a 51-year-old independent contractor who said he canceled three jobs Thursday to volunteer for a month on the Gulf Coast at an emergency shelter. "It's time to pay back."

Notes from the Astrodome

From my friend Dan, who went to the Astrodome to help out and posted this on TFark and gave me permission to post it here. Just so you can get a sense of what's going on down there.

I hardly know what to say.

I was fuming about the inadequate response to the problem yesterday. It was eating at me all day. I wanted to jump up, go out, and solve the entire thing single-handedly.

Well, at about 11PM last night, the local ABC affiliate came in with breaking news. The Astrodome had reached maximum capacity, and they were turning the buses around. Then somebody from the county intervened, and the buses would stay.

Then, a guy from the Red Cross called the station. He said that anybody who could help should come downtown, that the need was much greater than they had anticipated. He said the police had been refusing access to people showing up with food and supplies, but they'd changed the policy and anybody who could help should come. He said they were overwhelmed at the dome, and were looking for other areas to set up.

I got some money from the safe and left, within 15 minutes. I bought as many loaves of bread and sandwich buns as I could fit in the truck, and I headed for the Astrodome. At the first gate, they asked "What do you think you're doing?" I said it was bread for the Red Cross. "You can't drop that off here, try the other side." I drove around to the other side of the complex, and was about to get waved through when a caravan of expensive cars and trucks stopped traffic. Apparently, the vehicles belonged to college football players who had been playing last night. I was absolutely disgusted. We're sitting out there with food, water, clothing, etc., and we have to be delayed so some kid can get his Escalade out.

I finally got to the drop off point and a team of volunteers emptied the truck and gave me directions. I went to the Dome, and this is where I run out of words.

It was an ocean of blankets. Almost nobody had any belongings, maybe a single backpack or purse. There are old people, infants, middle-aged moms and dads, and everything in between... in the Astrodome. I hate this word, but it was surreal.

I found a Red Cross station and checked in, getting an armband, a nametag, and nothing else. It took me probably 20 minutes to figure out that there was absolutely no coordination, anywhere, and NOBODY knew what to do. So I just started handing out blankets, and directing people around. Somebody needed a prescription filled, so we found the right place together.

Sometime around 1AM a Red Cross guy asked me to get some people together and go over to the Arena, because they had decided to start putting people there. I didn't have to ask, everybody around me quickly volunteered. We headed over to the Arena. On the way, it became clear that this was not a homeless shelter, or a food bank. It's a project of an entirely different magnitude. People were everywhere. On the lawns, on the streets, sitting on curbs, sitting on cars, huddled under trees and statues. It was incredible.

I got over to the Arena to find it mostly empty. Red Cross and law enforcement were in the building, but just kinda mulling around. The entire Arena building was encircled by buses, with the adjacent parking lot completely packed with more buses waiting to get in line. I honestly don't know how they kept the people on the buses, I guess everyone was just too tired to be upset anymore.

There was no organization at the Arena, either. I counted 3 "uniformed" Red Cross workers. Trucks started backing up to the front of the building, and guys came from everywhere to start unloading the stuff. Cots and blankets, for the most part. We set up the cots and then everybody kinda looked around like... um, now what? It was almost sickening the way people were so casual about what was happening. Outside the building, I could see people lined up, basically, as far as I could see. But they couldn't come in because all we had were cots and blankets.

Everybody spread out around the building. I found a working ice machine with about 30 bags of ice still inside, and got a guy to help me. We gathered up all the Coca Cola concession carts we could find and filled them with ice and bottled water. I tried taking some ice to the infirmary but they had nowhere to keep it, and much worse problems on their hands.

A lot of people were just sitting there, silent, and sad. It was obvious they needed medical care, but there were very few people to administer it. They ran out of basic supplies before the main doors were even open. I made several trips back and forth between the Dome and the Arena to arrange for trades of surplus goods, but it turned out that they all needed the same things. Medicine, soap, towels, and "comfort kits," which is apparently a pack of toiletries.

Finally, the Red Cross at the Arena discovered what I'd been telling them for hours - Section C of the Arena was wide open. The only thing there was, yes, "my" ice machine. They rerouted the delivery trucks to come to the back of the building, and food and other supplies starting showing up. At around 6AM, I was too tired to be helpful, and I decided to leave. The walk back to the truck was one of the most depressing things I've ever experienced. I'm not sure if we made a difference, but we tried. I met a lot of other Houstonians who felt basically the same way. It turns out that nearly all of us had been watching ABC-13 at the same time, and had been motivated to get up and try to help by the same guy. The Red Cross guy. I don't know his name, but that single guy had a bigger impact than anyone else.

So I'm sure I'm leaving things out, I'm sure some of this doesn't make sense. I can't really make sense of it, either. All I know is that they need medicine and soap at the Astrodome. Donate to the Red Cross, or do whatever you can.

Dan is headed back out to the Astrodome, he said also that ....there were people in there with obvious mental problems, sitting and rocking back and forth... a woman with a freshly amputated leg, all sorts of stuff. It was mayhem..

This is like something out of a novel or a cheesy disaster movie. You never expect it to be like this, not here.

If you are anywhere near Houston, think about putting together some comfort kits and getting them over to the Astrodome. I think something like that would include baby wipes (I would say soap, but who knows when these people will be able to get to a washroom), toothpaste, toothbrush, or maybe just mouthwash?, a comb or brush, tissues - or maybe you can just bring over basic supplies, clothing, food and here's something people forget about, personal feminine products like tampons and pads and such, diapers for the babies and more wipes, even coloring books and crayons for the kids to keep them occuppied. Anything.

Update, just in from reader Darth:

If you are able, please inform your readers that the Star of Hope Shelter in Houston can use whatever help you can provide. They are one of the largest homeless shelters in Houston and I can vouch for the people working there...when I was homeless they treated me with dignity and kindness...

Here is a link to their webpage for Katrina:

http://www.sohmission.org/KatrinaHelp.html

Hurrican victims, if able, can contact them at this number: 713-440-5336

Volunteers can contact the mission at this number: 713-440-5322

I appreciate any info you can relay...

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

For every bad, there's a good. I keep telling myself that.

For every story about someone losing a loved one, there's someone finding out that a loved one is safe.

For every idiot saying that the people who stayed in New Orleans don't deserve to be helped, there's a story like this:


Alice Wilder,10, Elena Page, 13, Coco Wilder,12, and Mary Perot, 12, from left, call on passing cars, as they continue to collect funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005, in Brighton, N.Y. The money will be doanted to the Ameriacn Red Cross. AP Photo/ Carlos Ortiz

For every jackass who emails me and asks when I'm going to stop writing about this, there's someone who emails me with links to good news stories, or offers of help with the school supplies drive.

For every looter in New Orleans, there's ten people doing things like this:


photo from Washington Post

For every blogger who has spent seemingly every waking minute using this as an opportunity to drive home political messages, there are ten bloggers doing what they can to get help where it's needed.

For ever religious "leader" spouting off idiocy, there are dozens of pastors, ministers, priests, nuns, doing anything they can to comfort those who need it.

For everyone who thinks someone else will pick up the slack and help out, there's this:

We have PLENTY of room in our house to take in a few families who have survived Katrina. I don't want to put a number on it because I'm sure we can fit more than I could come up with in my head. My kids are willing to combine rooms, so we could probably take in 3-4 families of 4, possibly more.

I just heard the mayor of New Orleans crying on CNN.

The Astrodome is full and can't take any more refugees.

There has been an explosion (possibly hazmat) in the area of the Superdome.

People are dying like animals on the street.

And everywhere - in newspapers, on blogs, on message boards, on tv - there are people who, swathed in safety and comfort and not anywhere near New Orleans, are saying things like "they had warnings, they should have gotten out," or "it's their fault for living there in the first place." It's the equivalent of that absurd line from Airplane! (they bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash.) which was so funny because it was absurd - ha ha, who would really say a thing like that? Well, people are.

It's easy to sit here and second guess those people (and I am not talking about those who stayed because they though the idea of a "hurricane party" a bright one) who stayed. Maybe some of them did just refuse to leave because of some sort of bravado, but I'm guessing that's not the case with the majority. There were a lot of people without the means to go or a place to go to. What about the sick, the elderly, the handicapped? What about those with no cars? Some people had no choice but to stay. And yes, some people stayed on their own accord, and I'm going to backtrack a bit on something I wrote about earlier and say, I don't blame them.

I've been thinking about this. I live on an island. If there were a warning to get the hell out (let's say a weather related potential disaster headed this way), I don't know that I would go. Chances that I would get off the island are slim to none, anyhow. Perhaps if I lived closer to the city line I'd have a chance to get over a bridge and away from here, but it's more likely that I'd be stuck in a sea of escaping cars that moved an inch an hour. I would much rather stick it out and possibly survive, or even die in my own home, clinging to my loved ones, than drown while sitting in traffic on the Long Island Expressway, trying to get off the island. I already sat in flood waters on the LIE once, when I was about 14. We saw a coffin drift out of a hearse. I'll pass on having that experience again.

You just don't know. I don't understand the callousness of people who turn their backs on those who need help because they feel it's deserved. I don't understand the cruelty of those who are taking the looters and shooters and making them the poster children for every single refugee in the area now, as if that's what they all are.

And while we are on the subject, I don't understand those that don't understand the anger of the people down there. No, not the shooters, but those who are near rioting and yelling and cursing every one of their government officials. They have lost everything, some of them having lost people, not just possessions. They have nothing to go home to, nothing to go forward to. They are starving. Hot. Tired. Sick. They have small children, elderly parents or are sick themselves. They are frustrated and, in some cases, dying. There are tourists who are completely stranded, left to sleep on street corners. There are kids without parents, parents without their kids, people in need of medicine who are going without, people dying on the streets right in front of them, bodies pushed to the side and left there to rot in the heat. How would you react? What would you be doing? Put yourself in that place for a minute or two.

How easy it is to sit here and Monday morning quarterback a freaking hurricane, like it was some great game and now you're going over the X's and O's and figuring out who to bench the next time.

Save it. There will be plenty of time for blame later. There will be plenty of people "benched" over this. You'll get your pound of flesh eventually. For now, we should all, every one of us, be figuring out what we can do to help.

I think some people, watching from their living rooms where they can just turn off the tv and get on with their lives, don't understand the magnitude of this. We are talking more dead people than 9/11. I bet, that when all is said and done, the death toll is closer to 10,000 than not.

Maybe there is nothing we can do from here except give whatever dollars we can to a charity or send some clothes or basic supplies down. But what we should NOT do is make this into a political fight, at least not yet. There is a lot of sadness and anger in this country right now, I don't think we should be spending our days right now calling for heads to roll or making political hay out of a disaster. Yes, we should question why things have gone the way they have, if only to get it on the right track. Ok, I don't know what I'm saying, I'm talking in circles right now and probably to myself as no one has read down this far in my ridiculous monologue, but I, too, am frustrated. And somewhat angry. And sad. And I am all those things in my dry, warm living room. I just wish people would take themselves mentally out of that comfort zone for just a few minutes and imagine themselves in the situation of the people they would turn away from. Imagine being there and then knowing that there are fellow Americans sitting around discussing how you deserve to be standing there in filth, hopeless and hungry and wondering if you're going to die before you get help.

And this is why I keep doing the good news things, because I want to believe. I want to believe that humanity is good, that people are good, that things are going to be rectified, that the good souls outweigh the bad, that our government is doing all it can to help these people, that one day the affected people will have rebuilt lives and hope for the future.

Yes, I have questions. I have complaints. I want to know a lot of things about the way this was (or wasn't) handled. As Americans, we deserve to know this, we have the right to know why hospitals weren't evacuated and why this seems like one fuck up after another. But later. There is so much time for that later. Right now, we should not be stopping our leaders and politicians to answer our questions, we should just let them go do what they are supposed to be doing. Later. There is always later for the second guessing and and accusations and pitchforks and torches. And answers.

We are supposed to, as humans, be compassionate. I've seen some behavior in the past few days that make me doubt that compassion and empathy are inherent in human beings. But there are stories, the good stories, the heart warming things, the people opening up their hearts and homes and wallets, that make me believe that all the scum of the earth can never outnumber the good.

September 01, 2005

update on the school supplies

Everytime I'm about to lose my faith in humanity, someone sends a link to something good.

And I just received this mail:

I have two drivers who will go down and one who is asking his boss to donate a truck. I working with a contact in the trucking business who is also a local disk jockey, and we have written a letter to all transportation companies in the area looking for the donation of one or more trucks. He is also putting the plea on the air. I've spoken to our Canadian Line Haul Carrier and asked them to post a plea to their drivers, most of who own their own trucks, and can travel/work in the US. My fingers are crossed and my hopes are high. I'll keep you posted.

Spirits lifted. I may actually be able to get this thing off the ground, thanks to the hard work and generosity of the people who responded to my plea for help.

Not enough thanks to go around.

Blogging the Good, Part IV

First, if you are looking to donate, please consider Strengthen the Good.

And on with part four of the good news (now all gathered here):

Thanks to Angel for collecting links.

[I need to catch up on my sleep - please keep leaving links and I will refresh this post tomorrow]

calming down and looking up

Instead of addressing people who have chosen to lash out at each other instead of speaking constructively or offering up better ideas instead of striking down the ideas already offered, or just spending all their time bashing, bashing, bashing without so much as a whisper of help, I'll say this:

I was mostly mad at people who keep saying "they deserved it" or something like that. They didn't get out in time, they live in a sinkhole, etc., etc. Nobody deserves death. Nobody deserves to have their homes and businesses swept away, their families killed, their lives ruined. And please look at the situation they are in before you call them ugly names just because they are screaming and yelling and damn near rioting: They are hot, tired, hungry, some of them are sick, missing family members, they have lost all they had and they have no freaking clue what's going on, where they are going to go or when someone is going to help them. How would you react? Just ask yourself that.

Anyhow.

The response I got to the school supply idea has been overwhelming. I have no definite plans yet, still working a lot of avenues, but would you believe I had several people offer to take time out from their jobs to drive the collected goods down there themselves? My faith in humanity lives on. I got offers of money, of calling in favors, of help here and in Houston. People are mostly good, I really believe that.

It looks like we won't be sending anything to Baton Rouge for a while. From the sound of it, no trucking company will go anywhere near the place until the surrounding areas are secure, cleaned up and safe. So we'll still go with getting the stuff to the Astrodome. As soon as I get some kind of definite transport plan in place, I will let you all know.

Thanks to everyone who offered assistance.

Here's something from the Lone Star Times, blogging live from the Astrodome.

Just went to Astrodome area. Dropped off $250 of Caprisun juice drinks. Dropped off $250 worth of Church’s Fried Chicken. Went to the parking lot where the Fiesta is. The Texans there were all graciously helping. The Louisianans were all very thankful. Is this a great world or what? Mark Russell

People are good. People are good. Yes, it's a great world and we (or I) have to sit back and remember that for every word of something horrible on tv, there is something good happening. Someone is being rescued. Someone is being reunited. Someone is being fed, medicated, clothed, found, hugged, thanked.

And thank you all who offered advice on Master Shake (the kitty). We are dealing with the news, haven't told the kids and feel no need to tell them. We'll just love the little gal the best we can while she's ours.

Anyhow, yes, I will still be collecting good news. I'm going to start a fresh thread later, just to have it up top.

Update: As far as the blogging for relief thing goes, I had no idea we were supposed to keep track of what our readers donate. How would I know that? Am I supposed to ask people for a freaking receipt to prove they donated and where they donated? A leaderboard? If this was just about giving, why keep tabs? Why show people that blog A raised a zillion dollars, but blog B, who posted with as much sincerity, only raised ten dollars? Why ask your readers at all? I don't get the necessity of something like that. But that's just me.

And 22 countries so far have offered aid. So shut up about that, k?

I'm a freaking blogging juggernaut right now. I'm in a mood and I won't shut up. I'll probably delete half this shit later. I apologize for these half assed posts.

note to self: Less coffee, more finding of good stories

i am angry

Is anyone else a bit angry today?

This is an open thread. Feel free to let fly.

[I have to leave the house for a while. Please find me some "good news" links? Please?]

Update: What? You want me to explain? There's about 500 things to be angry about right now including, but not limited to, ineptness, incompetence, looters, people shooting at rescue help, people with absolutely no capacity for empathy or sympathy, moral absolutists, people who refuse to generate even a modicum of understanding of people in a dire situation, lack of responsibility, lack of preparedness, helplessness and the general suckiness of a good portion of human beings. So many people fail at humanity, on a daily basis.

Update again: Hah, this is kind of funny. Everyone thinks I'm angry about what THEY are angry about. Getting "fuck, yea!" emails for things that weren't even on my mind.

Apparently, some people have taken the words "I'm angry" and used their Little Orphan Annie decoder rings to figure out that what I really meant was "I blame Bush and ONLY Bush for everything." Uh....don't hold your breath waiting for that post, it's not coming. In fact, if you're one of those people who spent the past three days posting nothing but potshots at Bush in regards to Katrina, you're on my list. Not that you care, but you're on the list.

in other news

This may seem like nothing in the midst of bigger things, but the vet called this morning to say the new kitty's feline leukemia test came back positive.

Anyone have any experience with this? I am beyond sad right now.

[And on Fox News news, Shepard Smith just said something like, right now, here in the U.S., there is an elderly man laying dead in the side of the road and authorities are just passing him by]

Jesus. I'm going out for a drive.

Good News, Part III [updated]

[Today is Blog for Relief day]

Please see here and here for previous entries.

Thankfully, I've received enough links to start a new thread.

To recap a bit:

I'm collecting 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.

The group of mostly teenagers and young adults pooled what little money they had to buy diapers for the babies and fuel for the bus.

  • Suddenly, a woman emerged from the water and began walking toward her. She had long, disheveled black hair. "Mamma?" she shouted.

    "Oh my God, oh my God," the old woman screamed, kissing Glendalyn's hand and pressing it against her forehead.

[Thanks to Angie for the above links]

  • UA Extends Fall Admission, Free/Reduced Tuition to Students at Universities Devastated by Hurricane
    Please leave any relevant links/stories in the comments, thanks.

Speaking of good news, I can't even keep up with the emails from people willing to help find some transport for the school supplies I want to collect. Quite a few people have put money in my PayPal to purchase supplies, thank you, thank you a million times. I will post as soon as I get some definite information on getting the stuff down there, and thank you also to those who offered to accept and distribute the deliveries in Houston and Baton Rouge. I will be in contact with you.

  • "I'm thinking about moving back to Dallas. Anybody, anybody looking for a good telephone technician -- here I am," he said with a laugh.

    A local executive with a communications company took Hughes' half-joking comment to heart.
  • Countries from Russia to Venezuela offered assistance for victims of Hurricane Katrina yesterday but said they will wait to hear from the United States what is needed before they send the aid.
    Sympathy and condolences also poured in from around the world.

Just in case you were one of those wondering where the help from other nations is...

  • From the comments:

just wanted to let everyone know that UT-Austin is offering admission to students from New Orleans' universities and colleges, plus office space and use of libraries and other facilities to faculty and grad students. Details here.

Help Find the Missing

Matt had an idea:

He created a guest login for people that would like to post requests for information about loved ones.

I know there are a lot of sites doing this, but blogs tend to rise to the top of Google searches (and quickly, at that) so if people post the info on blog, perhaps someone doing a search for a loved one will find the info quicker.

Andy is doing it also.

I've had trouble with open logins in the past and I won't be home to monitor the site, so if anyone wants to leave information about finding relatives, please use the comments, and then go over to the links provided above and post at those sites.

Please also use this if you are trying to let people know you are ok. Just put in your name and where you are now.

And the more bloggers that do this, the more likely the names will pop up in searches and, hopefully, the more likely that people will be reunited with loved ones or at least get some info on them.

gougers

This gas station was $2.79 yesterday morning. By 6pm, it was this:

gas.jpeg

And the Mobil across the street was still selling at $2.79. Guy down the block - $2.76.

What freaking nerve.

watching it all unfold...

[Today is Blog for Relief day]

I'm watching a thread develop on Fark right now, in which a few people are listening to New Orleans police scanners.

This is frightening.

"Tell the firemen to turn around and leave. We can't secure them. We're not onterested in the fire in the Superdome right now."

Shots have been fired.

Hundreds of people are showing up at the Superdome demanding buses out of town.

"can't secure firemen... tell them to turn back"

Shots fired at helicopters...

People are rioting, going nuts over there. Who can blame them? Have you read the story about the conditions in the Superdome? Any idea what the people in the cities and towns are going through. Anyone who is berating the citizens for being angry and acting out on it (and by that I don't mean shooting at rescuers or police) hasn't tried to put themselves in their place. It has to be frustrating. They are hungry, tired, they just lost everything they own, including a place to sleep. They are hot, poor, exhausted and have no place to go and right now, probably no hope. Smoke in the dome will make people panic, which will make for pandemonium. What the hell is going on down there? It's like civilization has disappeared.

I'm stunned at everything, at how poorly this is going, at the response, at how ill prepared the government seemed to be for this, at everything.

This is the worst disaster to happen to America in recent times. Yes, the worst. The ramifications from this, the eventual death toll, the long lasting effects - absolutely the worst.

"dome filled with smoke"

"fire is under control it will take hours to get the smoke out of the superdome. the perimeter is not holding."

Buses to Houston have been suspended because of unrest.

These people need our help. Desperately.

Check out this blog:

It is a zoo out there though, make no mistake. It's the wild kingdom. It's Lord of the Flies. That doesn't mean there's murder on every street corner. But what it does mean is that the rule of law has collapsed, that there is no order, and that property rights cannot and are not being enforced. Anyone who is on the streets is in immediate danger of being robbed and killed. It's that bad.

Update: I lost the scanner feed, last I head was breakfast was being served at two gates, so I hope things are under control now.

Blog For Relief Day

bfr.jpg

Today is Blog for Relief day, as organized by Instapundit and NZ Bear.

(photo: Carolyn Cole / LAT)I don't have a specific charity in mind to ask you to donate to; everyone has their favorite charities for one reason or another and all I ask is that you - if you haven't already - give a few dollars to them today.

One suggestion I would like to make, however, is to give some money to Paul over at Wizbang. Paul is in the thick of the destruction down there and he is trying to help out people he encounters:

Probably 90% of the money will be spent on rent for people who have no homes. That is by far the biggest problem. Hotel rates hover in the mid $80 range... that's $2400 a month with no way to cook food. I've seen a few people sleeping in their cars.

He is accepting Paypal through Kevin, who is covering the Paypal fees for him, so all the money goes directly to Paul, who will distribute it as he sees fit.

If you are short on cash and don't have the money to spare, perhaps you can go to your local blood bank and give blood. Or you can contact local churches and service organizations to see if they are doing any relief work, maybe you could help collect goods for them or load up trucks. I'm sure if you hit the website of your local paper, there will be a list of local relief efforts you can take part in.

Perhaps you can start a fund drive at work; if you do, see if your company will do matching donations.

Talk to the principal at your kids' schools to see if you can get a relief drive started within. I thought it might be a nice idea for school kids to make cards to send to the affected children - something to let them know people are thinking about them.

Personally, I've given to Mennonite Disaster Service. I'm also trying to get together a local drive to collect school supplies for displaced children.

If I think of any other ideas (that can be done in lieu of giving cash) during the day, I'll post them. And by all means, if you have a favorite charity, please leave a link in the comments.

Also try the Network for Good. There are a few animal charities listed there, for those inclined to help the furry guys.

Instapundit has more links to lists plus, at the same link, the first list of bloggers participating in the Blog for Relief Day.

Here's a complete list of blogs that are participating thus far.

Update: I'm still doing the Good News thing. If I get enough - and it's getting increasingly hard to find good news - I'll start a third post.

Another update: If you have personal favorite charities (besides the big ones like SA or Red Cross or Catholic Charities) please leave a link in the comments and I'll be happy to list them up here.

Terriorists has a list of pet rescue links

[technorati keywords: flood aid, hurricane katrina]

From the comments:
The local community foundations in the impacted areas are an excellent way to get money where it is needed most. The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has set up the following two funds:

The Hurricane Katrina Displaced Residents Fund will benefit those individuals evacuated to Baton Rouge from the hurricane impacted areas in Greater New Orleans, who are now unable to return for what may be an extended period. Early official estimates suggest that as many as 500,000 individuals may be required to remain in our area for up to six months, and they will face numerous challenges related to housing, food, education, healthcare and basic survival necessities. This fund will support those entities and programs in our area that endeavor to meet these critical needs, as well as address the impact this influx of residents will have on our community.

The Hurricane Katrina New Orleans Recovery Fund will focus on the rebuilding of infrastructure to provide basic human services to residents of these devastated areas. The Baton Rouge Area Foundation will coordinate closely with federal, state and local officials in an attempt to provide resources to programs and efforts that positively and immediately impact the quality of life of these individuals, and contribute to the overall rebuilding of critical service delivery mechanisms in the New Orleans area.

If you would like to make a secure financial donation to one or both of these funds using your credit card go to:

Additionally, donations by check should be mailed or delivered to the Foundation's office at 402 North Fourth Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802.

Please note this from Aaron:

I've done quite a bit of work in air freight, ground freight, and ground transportation by bus and truck. If you have a humanitarian project for New Orleans or the Gulf Coast that requires this, I have contacts (or contacts who have contacts) in every major city in the United States and Canada, and in most medium-sized cities. Feel free to click on my name ("Aaron") at the bottom of this post to email me and we'll talk. If you're looking for donated services, I can't guarantee that anybody will say yes, but I can try. Otherwise, I'll do what I can to help raise money for it.