Friday, August 31, 2007

August Happiness -- Friday 31

These kids today. As a result of my own very bad planning, I ended up in front of the high school this afternoon as classes let out. To make it worse, it seems half of the 3,150 students were headed to the same fastfood restaurant as I. The sidewalk was so crowded I felt I could pick up my feet and just be swept along with the crowd. The restaurant was no better. I hate crowds, so I started getting pissy. UNTIL something occurred to me: These kids were nice.

• None of them had lit a cigarette, even after they were safely off school property.
• They were noisy, of course, but not profane or cruel. Just loud. As students just released from school should be.
• The group was racially diverse and mixed.
• Some of them were wearing VANS! God, it was good to see those shoes again! Gotta get me some.

It made me feel better about the future.

It's true!

Take this test at Tickle

Your signature city is New York

What's Your Signature City?

Whether you like to have lots of options at your fingertips or you like to be in a metropolitan environment that's buzzing with energy, the Big Apple is the perfect place for you. Maybe you like to mix and mingle at some of the edgiest restaurants, shops, and clubs in the world. Or maybe you like to be in the middle of it all — in the bright lights and big city.

One night could be dinner and a show on Broadway, a stroll through Central Park the next, or a trip to the Met the next. From Grand Central Station to Greenwich Village, New York's got some of the biggest and edgiest things to see and do anywhere in the world. No wonder a trendsetter like you would be right at home in the Big Apple.

Gal's Note: If I didn't live in Chicago, and I had more $$, I'd want to be in New York.

Thanks to my fellow "New Yorker," Kwizgiver.

Friday's Feast #13

Who is the easiest person for you to talk to? My best friend. We never run out of things to say.

If you could live in any ancient city during the height of the quality of its society and culture, which one would you choose? It's funny, but I've never really wanted to travel back to ancient times … Maybe Jerusalem?

What is the most exciting event you’ve ever witnessed? I was actually within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field when my beloved, future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, got his 3000th strike out. Baseball is a game of stats, and it was terrific to be there, in person (and in the cold, wet drizzle), when he achieved this milestone.

Main Course
If you were a celebrity, what would you do for a publicity stunt? I suppose that I would be both rich and famous, which means I would have a huge house at my disposal. So I'd love to do what I heard that Julia Roberts once did -- I'd go to an animal shelter and just adopt as many pets as I legally could at one time. This way I could shine a spotlight on all the homeless pets out there, and remind people that a stray is just as loving a companion as a purebred.

What do you consider the ideal age to have a first child? Interesting question, but I don't think there's one perfect answer. I bet every woman would respond differently, depending on her health, her relationship, her finances, etc.

For more information, or to whip up your own feast, visit

May I have your attention, please? You are looking at an award-winning blog.

Look what I got from Alison! It lends a touch of class to the place, doesn't it? (And if you haven't visited her blog, swing on by. She's an award-winner, too!)

August Happiness -- Thursday 30

CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! I had a rough day at work. Then I got home, started to do laundry, and one of the dryers in our laundry room started smoking. Oh, good! Not only was it dangerous, it made my fresh laundry smell like a Girl Scout campfire. I was so tense, so pissed. And then … Hey! Hey! Holy mackerel! No doubt about it! The game came on and it was all forgotten as I watched the Cubs win a close one against the Brewers. It helps that the Cards lost, too. I love this team. I love Lou. And I feel fortunate to have something that can just cleanse away all the shit of the day and leave me happy, happy, happy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #31 -- Who almost played that part?

Thirteen Famous Movie Roles
that Were Nearly
Played by Someone Else

Legend has it that before Bogart was cast in Casablanca, Ronald Reagan was actually a contender for the role. Ronald Reagan as Rick Blaine, the cinema’s ultimate romantic? Ronald Reagan as the ideal champion of the underdog? Ronald Reagan saying, "Here's looking at you, kid?" Oh! The horror!

That got me thinking about other rumored first choices for roles very much identified with other actors. Some are interesting alternatives, while others are best filed under, “Huh? What?”

1. Bruce Willis as Danny Ocean in Ocean’s 11 (actually played by George Clooney)

2. Sandra Bullock as Maggie in Million Dollar Baby (Hilary Swank)

3. Demi Moore as Lucy in While You Were Sleeping (Sandra Bullock)

4. Molly Ringwald as Molly in Ghost (Demi Moore)

5. Will Smith as Neo in The Matrix (Keanu Reeves)

6. Al Pacino as Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July (Tom Cruise)

7. Sally Field as Loretta in Moonstruck (Cher)

8. Cher as Thelma in Thelma & Louise (Geena Davis)

9. Jane Fonda as Norma Rae (Sally Field)

10. Meg Ryan as Clarice in Silence of the Lambs (Jodie Foster)

11. Paul Newman as Quint in Jaws (Robert Shaw)

12. Goldie Hawn as Roxie in Chicago (Renee Zellwegger)

13. Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Arc (Harrison Ford)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Mama Pajama gets in the Wayback Machine and brings back hits form the 1980s
2. Tink has a very ACTIVE TT
3. Suprina's bumperstickers will make you smile
4. Impworks goes beyond the Beatles to celebrate all that is Liverpool
5. Nicole's TT takes us on a trip to the salon
6. Nicholas' TT is book titles. Very specific book titles.
7. Damozel compares and contrasts the American and British politcal systems
8. Comedy Plus has 13 bumpersticks with attitude
9. Susan Helene Gottfried's TT is the unvarnished truth about Shapeshifter groupies
10. Mummifiedx5 shares what she cannot live without
11. Janet has a TT that's all Z
12. According to Lori's TT, I'm older than dirt.
13. DK shares perceptive quotes about art, writing and creating
14. If only Worksformom knew then what she knows now ...
15. Nancy shares award-winning photos … her own!
16. Sasha's TT is very positive and uplifting.
17. Kat is very productive when she's waiting in line.
18. Jenny McB fills us in on her hectic life.
19. Emmy Rose's TT is about movies, too, but it's more romantic than post
20. l^2 bids farewell to summer
21. Tanabata's TT is gloriously peaceful.
22. Joshua's ambitious TT encompasses everything from shopping in France to curing cancer!
23. Busy91 has a pleasantly surprising cinematic TT.
24. J. Lynne shares 13 universal truths.
25. Harlekwin introduces a hysterical new vocabulary
26. Elisa shares 13 books she enjoyed so much she read them twice
27. Starrlight gives us a list of riotous rock quotes.
28. Sniz takes us on a tour of Walmart
29. Go back to school with Mama Lee and pick up some excuses for cutting class.
30. In honor Leona Helmsley's wealthy heiress pup, Bernie lists 13 famous dogs
31. Callista highlights some funny, funny commercials.
32. Maribeth's TT is a list of positive symbols and what they mean.
33. Sparky Duck and Pink have 13 questions for the President.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

August Happiness -- Wednesday 29

My wonderful new workout shorts! They're too long and too baggy to be "appropriate." Instead of the stout middle-aged pigeon I am, I look like a 14 year old boy hanging around under the net, just waiting for a pick-up game. But damn if they aren't soooooo comfortable! If it wasn't for this pesky job, and the accompanying paycheck I receive tomorrow, I believe I might still be on the treadmill.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August Happiness -- Tuesday 28

All this and heaven, too! CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! A come-from-behind victory against the Brewers to cement that first-place standing. Even better, I got home just in time to see the first pitch because after work, I stopped and had a burger and a beer with my best friend! He was on his way to the airport -- in town less than 24 hours -- but at least we got to see each other. For the first time since June. Right now, I am a gloriously happy gal.

Heads & Tails #3

You can find this week's theme over at meme-mistress Skittles' Place.

HOBBY, or anything that rhymes with HOBBY.

I'll take the more literal, and easier, way out and go with my hobby. After giving it a bit of thought, and looking at my books, movies and CDs, I'd say my hobby is the 1960s.

Whether it's the Beatles, the Kennedys,
Ron Santo and the 1969 Cubs, That Girl! or Carnaby Street and Mary Quant, I find that decade endlessly fascinating. And, with George W. Bush comparing Viet Nam with Iraq, I'm reminded that in many ways the 1960s influence is still very, very strong.

For more information about Heads & Tails, or to play along yourself, visit Skittles' Place.

August Happiness -- Monday 27

My furry roommates. I'm in an exasperating mood tonight. I don't want to be alone, but everyone annoys me. I'm even pissed at the Cubs for having a night off when I feel like watching them play. When I'm like this -- meaning not fit for human contact -- I consider myself very lucky to share my home with three such diverse and fascinating felines. Charlotte likes to spend time with me as soon as I get home, chatting about the events of her day. After this intensely social interlude and her big meal of the day, she simply must retire under the bed to rest. Then Joe will tuck himself as close to me as possible, helping me go through the mail, return calls/emails, etc., until he dozes off, a warm and comforting presence beside me. And Rey spends all night keeping me up to date on his activities and whereabouts. (MOW! I'm high atop the armoire. MOW! I'm flossing with a plastic bag in the kitchen! MOW! There's someone in the hall who wants to meet me!) These three, with their huge hearts and divergent personalities, are dependably good for whatever happens to ail me.

Monday, August 27, 2007

But his life looks SO GOOD from here

Owen Wilson, who writes as well as acts and makes tens of millions a year and has one of the cutest broken noses in film history, is in the hospital. Early reports are that he tried to take his own life, and his short statement ("I respectfully ask that the media allow me to receive care and heal in private during this difficult time.") doesn't seem to dispel that impression.

I know I should be up in arms about Alberto Gonzalez and his rumored replacement (who has handled the Katrina aftermath so exquisitely). But this bothers me more. First of all, because I've enjoyed Owen Wilson's work every time I've seen him on screen, going back to a big-budget but still cheesy horror film called The Haunting back in 1999. And because when anyone who seems to have it all ends up in such a dark place, it first makes me say, "What the fu ...?" and then it breaks my heart.

Kinda creepy ...

Found this book quiz over at Sparky's place. It's so on-target it makes me a little uncomfortable.

You're Compassion Fatigue!

by Susan Moeller

You used to care, but now it's just getting too difficult. You cared about the plight of people in lands near and far, but now the media has bombarded you with images of suffering to the point that you just don't have the energy to go on. You've become cold and heartless, as though you'd lived in New York City for a year or so. But you stand as a serious example to all others that they should turn off their TV sets and start caring again.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Observations from the health club

I did 30 minutes of cardio and 16 reps each on machines designed to strengthen my flabby arms and tighten my fat ass. Because I was felt I deserved a reward, and because I'm PMS-in and am jonesing in a big way for a burger, I had planned to stop at McDonald's on the way back to my office.

As I grabbing my gym bag, I saw it. A woman was wearing just the dress I used to be able to carry off … when I had my former arms and ass. The pang of longing I felt as I looked that dress was palpable.

Of course, so were my burger cravings. I couldn't bear the thought of a salad. So I went a healthier route for the protein my hormones told me I must, MUST have. At Ada's Deli I ordered salmon salad on wheat. Omega-3s, vitamin D, calcium -- all those came with my sandwich but not with a Big Mac. Am I not a good girl (or at least, a better girl than I would have been with a fast food burger)?

I'll gaze at this photo again tonight to inspire me to graze on a friggin' salad with dinner.

August Happiness -- Sunday 26

Watching the Cubs game with my nephew. He's starting second grade on Wednesday, and this is a very cool age. He's curious and funny and feeling very independent, very sure of himself. Plus he now has the patience for baseball (in years gone by he was more interested in the vendors selling food behind home plate than what the batter was doing). We discussed my current favorite player, my all-time favorite players, and Grandma Ruth's favorite player, Ryne Sandberg. He was born after my grandmother, his great-grandmother, died, so it's good that he know her through stories like this. The generational component of Cub fandom is as important to me as the ivy and the cold beer.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings #8

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Uneven :: Jagged
  2. Wonder :: Stevie
  3. Spider :: Man
  4. Emma :: Thompson
  5. Swing:: Slide
  6. Orbit :: Gum
  7. Flirt :: Fun
  8. Donation :: Good
  9. Veil :: Religious
  10. Atmosphere :: Mood
For more information, or to play along yourself, visit Unconscious Mutterings.

August Happiness -- Saturday 25

My weekly $2 dream. Before I go to sleep tonight, I'm tossing out my two losing Illinois State Lottery tickets. It doesn't bother me that I didn't win. Since 9:30 on Thursday morning, when I purchased them, I have been very merrily spending my prospective millions. The $2 was an investment in imagination and optimism, and it was fun while it lasted.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I found this over at Kwizgiver's place.

Band? The Lads (aka Beatles)
Singer? Broooooce (Springsteen)
Actor? Bruce Willis
Actress? Julia Roberts
Movie? The Way We Were
Music Video? If This Is It (Huey buried to his head in the sand)
Color? Blue
Animal? Domestic: Cat; Wild: Okapi
Person? My best friend
Lip gloss flavor? Strawberry
Flavor? Chocolate!
Drink? Coke
Food? Burgers
Song? "I Will" from The White Album
Pizza Topping? Sausage
Memory? Waking up because my then-boyfriend was hugging me so tight in his sleep. It was very sweet.
Alcoholic beverage? Cosmo
Game? Baseball
Video Game? Parachute on my iPod
Author? Just one? That's hard ... Right now I'm reading a lot of chick lit by Marian Keys
Artist? McKnight
Class? Oh Puh-leeez! I'm too old for this!
Place to be? Tucked in the corner of my sofa
Thing to do? Quiet time
Person to talk to? My best friend or my mom (depends on the topic)
Messenger Service? Fed Ex
Toy as a child? My Lassie Dog
Toy as a non-child? My iPod
Kind of jewelry? Rings
Size bed? Full or Queen
Hair color on a guy? Dark
Hair color on a girl? Hmm ... don't care, actually
Eye color on a guy? Dark
Eye color on a girl? I don't care
Part of the body on a guy? Hair
Part of the body on a girl? Hand or shoulder, because it's where her purse is and I'm always looking for new bag ideas
TV show? L&O: SVU
TV star? Mariska Hargitay
Book? JFK: Reckless Youth
Genre of movies? Romantic comedy
Genre of books? Mystery
Reality show? American Idol
Anime? Huh?
Pattern? Solid
Holiday? Christmas
Sport? Baseball
Athlete? Future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux
Teacher/Boss? Mike (my current boss)
Scent? Lovely by SJP
Soap? Don't have a favorite
Shampoo? Quantum Moisturizing Shampoo
Conditioner? Quantum Moisturizing Conditioner
Time of day? Early morning/late at night
Store? Border's
Kind of underwear? My Hanes white cotton panties (no nylon for this gal)
Kind of club? One of my friends' parties are better than any club, so I'll say "John's livingroom"
Style of clothing? Casual


Rubbing my eyes, thrilled to see it really happened!

After a thrilling Friday night of baseball, I woke up to see it all really is true!

SOLE POSSESSION OF NINTH PLACE. With his 343rd win last night, my beloved, future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux became the 9th winningest pitcher in the history of the game. It was a very hot night in Philly and he ran through more than one jersey, but he did it. The adrenaline rush inspired by a rather dirty play at second woke up the bats, and my fully-grown Precious Moments pitcher reigned supreme. Congratulations, Professor!

SOLE POSSESSION OF FIRST PLACE. The Cubs beat the Diamondbacks and rose to 1.5 games over the Brewers. And the team is doing this without Alfonso Soriano! Just imagine what happens when he returns to line-up!

Saturday Special #6

~Personal Preferences~

1. Quiet evening at home or Out on the town? My partygirl days are over, so my first impulse is to stay home. But every once in a while I like to go out on the town with friends.

2. Watch a movie or Reading a good book? Oooooo … this is such a tough one because I love them both so much! If it's a choice between watching a movie on DVD/cable or a book, I'll choose the book. But if it's actually going to the movies, sitting in a dark theater and eating Sno-Caps, I'll choose the movie.

3. Order a meal or Cooking one yourself? Ordering! So much less clean up afterward.

4. Going for a walk or Taking a ride in the car? Walking.

For more information, or to hop on board yourself, visit The Saturday Special Meme.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The "intense emotions" part is sure right

What color is your soul painted?


Your soul is painted the color red, which embodies the characteristics of love, strength, physical energy, sex, passion, courage, protection, excitement, speed, leadership, power, danger, and respect. Red is the color of the element Fire, and is associated with blood, life and death, birth, volcanoes, and intense emotions.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz

Quizzes and Personality Tests

August Happiness -- Friday 24

The NFL did the right thing. They suspended Michael Vick indefinitely and without pay. While right now, the plea Vick agreed to appears vague in terms of exactly what he is willing to admit, the NFL was definite:

"Your admitted conduct was not only illegal, but also cruel and reprehensible. Your team, the NFL, and NFL fans have all been hurt by your actions."

While the gist of the Commissioner's statement is about gambling -- naturally the worst sin a professional athlete can commit -- there's no doubt that when he used the word, "cruel," he was referring to the dog fighting.

I'm so happy that the NFL has taken a stand, one that can't be misunderstood. Since sports are such a big part of our culture, it's a good thing for kids, for fans, and, of course, for all of us.

Friday's Feast #12

Say there’s a book written about your life. Who would you want to narrate the audio version
Carrie Fisher. There's something about her voice that makes her sound as though she's always in on the joke.

Take the letters from your favorite kind of nut and write a sentence. (Example: Perhaps every avenue needs understanding today.)
Woody Allen loves nubuck umbrella tree stands.

If you could go back in time and spend one week in another decade, which decade would you choose?
1960s. I'd like to see, as an adult, what looked so cool to me as a child.

Main Course
Name a song that brings back memories for you.
"Just the Way You Are." Corny, corny, corny, I know. But it's accompanied by such a sweet memory!

Do you prefer to wash your hands in cold water or warm water?

For more information, or to play along, visit Friday's Feast.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

August Happiness -- Thursday 23

My cats are dry and safe. It's been storming like crazy here and, for the first time in decades, the areas close to the city were under a tornado warning. At work they herded us into the hallway and away from windows. We were all quite jocular about it -- like kids during a fire drill -- but my heart wasn't in it. I wanted to get home. I live on the top floor and the trees that touch my windows, the ones the cats usually enjoy because of the birds and squirrels, suddenly seemed dangerous. As I walked the three blocks from the el station to my building, I noticed all the tree limbs in the street. The trees in front of my building lost a lot of big, thick branches, but they looked fine. As I rode up in the elevator, my heart was beating like crazy. I wouldn't be able to relax until I did a head count.

I'm happy, happy, HAPPY to report all three of my furry roommates are safe and, as of this stormy moment, two are fine. Joe, my enormous gray and white tom, hates storms. They're one of the few things that scare my normally brave boy. Because he's so big, it's hard for him to find good places to hide at times like this. As I write, my massive fellow is huddled under an old dresser in my walk-in closet. I explained that the tornado warning is over, but he only trusts his own ears and feline sonar.

On nights like this, I'm happy I was able to adopt these three, but sorry I can't give a home to three more.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #30 -- Easy Ways to Give

Back-to-school is an expensive time in many households. Vacation bills are coming in. Gas and dairy prices are sky-high. Money is tight everywhere. But that’s the very reason why this can be an especially hard time for charities. Not only do they get less in donations when money is tight, they often receive more requests for help.

This week’s TT includes easy, inexpensive ways to pitch in and help your neighborhood and world. None of them will put a dent in your budget, but any one of them can make a difference to causes that matter to you – and making a difference is always a great way to brighten your day.

This list is by no means exhaustive. But hopefully it will spur some thought and inspire a little action. If we all do a bit more, we can make a big difference.

1. Goodwill. Soon it will be time to put the shorts and t-shirts away and get reacquainted with sweaters and coats. As you make the big seasonal switch, take a good look at what you’re unpacking. If you can part with any of it, why not consider Goodwill?

2. Operation Shoebox. This wonderful organization is dedicated to helping our soldiers overseas feel a bit closer to home with shoeboxes filled with comforts. I send condiment packets – catsup, mustard, relish – because I eat so much take-out. But there are tons of other things they need, too, and like the condiment packets, they’re things you may already have. All you need to invest in is a padded envelope and postage.

3. The Animal Rescue Site. This sounds almost too good to be true, but with a simple click you can help feed homeless animals in shelters all over the country. Go to and look for the big purple button.

4. The Literacy Site. Still got a little energy left in your clicking finger? Then go to the Literacy Site tab at and help a child get a book or his or her own. I promise, it costs you nothing. But, since these sites are sponsored by the companies you see when you click, it would be helpful in the long run if you stop and take a look at their ads. The Animal Rescue Site also has links to charities that support causes including breast cancer research, conservation, children’s health and feeding the hungry.

5. This search engine is a joint venture of ABC News and Yahoo! Go there when you’re investigating something online, choose a charity that you want to benefit (I always pick the ASPCA), and search merrily away, knowing you’ve helped.

6. America’s Second Harvest Food Bank locator. Whenever I go to the store, I pick up something that costs less than $1 and put it aside for my local food pantry. (This includes drugstores; after all, CVS, RiteAid and Walgreens all sell Gerber baby foods for less than $1.) I find that every month I have accumulated a full bag of groceries to donate, without making a negligible difference to my food budget. My church supports our food pantry, but if you don’t where the food bank is in your neighborhood, visit

7. Network for Good. Perhaps you’d rather donate time than money, but you’re not sure how or where to start. That’s where the Network for Good comes in. They’ll be happy to match you with a charity in your neighborhood.

8. If you’re like me, and animals have a special place in your heart, visit They offer many innovative ways to help – from signing up to volunteer at a local animal shelter or widgets you can ad to your blog to help raise money for, and awareness of, homeless animals.

9. Labels for Education. Campbell’s will provide free educational equipment to schools in exchange for proofs of purchase from their brands.

10. Just Give. Do you have do-gooder friends with birthdays or anniversaries coming up? Visit and instead of a gift, order a Just Give gift certificate. Then your friend can redeem it as a contribution to the charity of his or her choice.

11. iGive. Shop online through the portal, and a portion of your purchase will go to the not-for-profit of your choice. I’ve used this site to order through,, and Sephora and have raised more than $50 for the local shelter where I got my skinny beige tomcat/wildman, Reynaldo.

12. Target RedCard. Shop as you normally would, but pay with your Target Store Card or Target Visa and Target will donate a portion of the purchase to the school you choose.

13. Ask about the Matching Gift Program where you work. I’m amazed when I hear that a corporation has money left in their Matching Gift Program at the end of the year. If your company offers to match qualifying contributions, it just makes sense to take advantage of it … even if the paperwork is a pain.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Toni's TT is all about the Discovery Channel's Mike Rowe
2. Suprina celebrates her beautiful daughter's birthday
3. Nicholas tells us what not to do when visiting the UK
4. Jill is a West of Mars Groupie who tells us all about Dave from ShapeShifter
5. Thomma Lyn takes a closer look at ShapeShifter, too, but through Lana's eyes
6. Malcolm's TT is about movies that were unwisely turned into TV shows
7. Cupcake, a dedicated teacher, hopes we consider Communities in Schools when we give
8. Damozel has a great TT about our tax dollars, and where they go.
9. Comedy Plus helps us speak (and laugh) in British
10. Lori's TT is a must-read/must-heed for parents of teens
11. Wacky Mommy takes us along on a dining tour of The West
12. Jenny McB invites us to see and smell the world of back-to-school
13. Parent and teacher Bob looks at the back-to-school supply list
14. L^2 shows us how her gorgeous pups respond to that famous rock band, Shapeshifter
15. Kat tells us what she wants to do before turning 30
16. Marina shares one of the most awesome TBR lists I've ever seen!
17. Harlekwin takes her camera, and us, on an overnight trip to Oregon
18. Rush on over to qtpies and see if you can win her TT Blogaversary Contest
19. Wendy invites us over, and gives us 13 reasons to come back
20. Tinkerbell celebrates all that is little Maia
21. Mo has a thought-provoking, musical TT
22. Norma shares her summer of 07 memories
23. 30Plus Teacher has interesting/shocking facts about reading
24. Sparky Duck has a photographic TT about the beautiful state of Arizona
25. J Lynne is a big believer
26. Check out 13 different moods and views of Miss Wisabus
27. Gabriella's TT is about her upcoming book … and it's audience participation!
28. Kendra's TT is about what NOT to feed your dog. Very important!
29. Erin shares words that are just FUN.
30. Joy dreams of traveling to these 13 places
31. Lori's Light Extemporanea lists her impressive, albeit not terribly glamorous, talents
32. Elisa shares some 13 books that became movies
33. Mama Lee has some terrific back-to-school GAP commercials
34. Judy Callerman warns us off these 13 cliches
35. See how Callista kept herself occupied while locked in her daughter's room
36. Natalie's happy TT is here

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

August Happiness -- Wednesday 22

FREE LUNCH! One of our clients is McDonald's and, to celebrate the anniversary of the Big Mac, we each got a free "two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickle onion on a sesame seed bun." My favorite food is free food. I'll have a salad for dinner.

Who said math would be involved?

This is the only dark cloud on my sunny Cubby horizon: CALCULATIONS! Baseball has always been a game of stats, and I love analyzing them as well as the next fan. But they're always based on at-bats from games gone by and someone has always done the math for me. Now, as this fantabulous season draws to an end, I am confronted with having to figure out where the Cubs are in the standings vis-a-vis Milwaukee and St. Louis. It's making me crazy! I know I should also be following the Wildcard Race, but I simply can't do that on my own. My old brain would explode!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

August Happiness -- Tuesday 21

The lunchtime cruise with my cousin. OK, raise your hand if you saw this coming. I know, I know … I always dread stuff like this and it's never that bad. Maybe it was the sunshine on a day that was supposed to be rainy, or the unusually good lunch or the Bay Breeze I ordered (to get the souvenir glass, of course), but I had a good time.

When I saw how gray Rose was, I realized it's been two years since I saw her last. None of us is getting younger. She loves me very much and is proud of me. I owe her so much. A few pleasant hours on the Lake, enjoying food and booze and watching the city I love go by is really such a tiny way to repay that debt.

I can be a hideous, awful brat. But at least I'm honest. And hopefully I can learn from today and be a better gal going forward.

Heads & Tails #2

This week's meme is about the times luck has played a part in our lives.

For me, the one that's top of mind is HEALTH INSURANCE. I work in an industry -- advertising -- where comprehensive and affordable health insurance is an expected benefit. I think it's because hiring is competitive and agencies know that when a person is interviewing, or considering jumping ship, we compare the benefits different companies offer.

I know, though, that I'm lucky. Very lucky. If I have an ache or pain, I go to the doctor, hand over my insurance card, and only pay a portion of the customary and acceptable charge. If I need a preventative test -- like a mammogram, pap smear or a cholesterol check -- I just go and get it done, confident that if I'm charged at all, it will be minimal. The most I pay for a prescription is $40 -- generics are as little as $5. I recently had restorative dental work done, and much of that was covered by our dental plan.

My sister is not as lucky. She's a stay-at-home mom and her husband works in home maintenance/janitorial service. Their annual deductible is $2,500. He lost his job recently and the COBRA charge is crippling. And, as luck (there's that word again) would have it, now is when my sister has developed health problems. There are diagnostic tests involved, and while more expensive that they can afford, they still not $2,500. And naturally, now is when her tooth broke, and her family has no dental coverage whatsoever. Nor do they have any prescription coverage.

Two sisters/two very different stories. I'm lucky that I'm covered, she's unlucky because she's not. And it has had an impact on both our lives.

For more information about Heads & Tails, and to participate yourself, visit Skittles Place.

Monday, August 20, 2007

August Happiness -- Monday 20

Chats. I was only on the phone a total of perhaps an hour today, but those three short calls made me feel so happy and reconnected. My sea-faring cousin called me this morning to confirm our Tuesday plans and, lo and behold, she sounded happy! Maybe tomorrow won't be so bad, after all! Then my best friend called and we chatted as he rode in the cab to his hotel, and that brief, gossipy call reassured me that we're on our way back to being us again. And I called to check on my mom. My niece -- my older sister's daughter -- is on her way back home tomorrow after a few days with Grandma and it was terrific to hear how well their visit went. Those three phone calls will make it possible for me to go to sleep happy tonight.

A Grown-Up Meme

This meme is called Grown-Up Questions and I got it from Kwizgiver. Compare your own answers to Kwiz' and mine, and be sure to leave me a comment if you choose to participate.

1. Do you have a college degree?

2.What was the amount of your last electric bill?

3. Do you have life insurance?

4. How many hours per week do you work?

5. Have you ever attended a Toastmasters event?
Don't even know what that is

6. Favorite place to attend Happy Hour?
Monk's Pub at Lake and Wells. FREE peanuts!

7. How many miles is your commute to work each day (one way)?
12 miles

8. What time do you get up every morning for work?
6:00 AM

9. What is your definition of sleeping in late?
Past 6:00. (My definition doesn't matter -- it's my cat Reynaldo who decides how late I am allowed to sleep.)

10. Do you check your cholesterol on a yearly basis?
Yes. This old gal has high cholesterol.

11. How large was your first cell phone bill?
Approx. $59

12. Does your employer provide good health insurance?
Yes. I'm lucky. The dental coverage is pretty decent, too.

13. Did you use the internet to write a research paper?
No. I went to school before Al Gore invented the Internet.

14. Have you attended a High School reunion?
Dear God, NO!

15. How many jobs have you held in your professional career?
I'm on my 8th company.

16. Have you ever been fired or laid off from a job?
Yes, in Autumn 2002. That layoff is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I was soooo burned out.

17. What is your favorite drink?
Classic Coke. Or, if we're talking booze, a Cosmo.

18. What is the most expensive bottle of wine that you have in your refrigerator?
$3.49 on sale. Arbor Mist Strawberry White Zinfandel. I can be a very low-brow gal.

19. Have you been divorced?
No. If you don't marry, you can't divorce.

20. How old were you when you stopped getting ID-ed for Alcohol?
Some nice older waitress carded me at lunch about 3 years ago. God bless her.

21. Favorite casino?
Sahara on the Las Vegas strip. I hope they haven't torn it down, too. I ended my slot machine stint $12 ahead.

22. Are you happier now than you were in high school?
YES! Yes.

23. Did you ever have Hypercolor shirts?
No. Unfamiliar with the concept.

24. Do you remember when Michael Jackson was black and was attracted to older people?
Yes. That was 2 or 3 noses ago.

25. Do you remember when MTV actually played music videos?
Yes. Martha was my favorite VJ.

26. Have you had a will made?
Yes. Living will, too.

27. What music was in your cd / cassette player when you were 16?
The two "Runs." Band on the and Born to.

28. Favorite fancy / upscale restaurant?
Brasserie Jo in Chicago's Loop. When I worked on John Kerry's Presidential campaign, they donated one of their private dining rooms to us and I plug them any time I can. (312) 595-0800

29. How long has it been since you attended a kegger?
Late 80s.

30. Where were you when you found out about 9-11?
I was tying my shoes, getting ready to catch the 8:10 train, when I heard about it from Matt Lauer on The Today Show. Rode the train in, crying, listening to my Walkman. I heard the Pentagon get hit through my headphones. Got to work in one of Chicago's higher profile skyscrapers, only to be escorted out and sent back home by the Chicago cops. I will never, ever forget it.

So the Tough Guy took a plea

This from "Michael Vick's lawyer said Monday the NFL star will plead guilty to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges, putting the Atlanta Falcons quarterback's career in jeopardy and leaving him subject to a prison term."

This spares Mr. Vick a trial, which would have put him in front of a jury of his peers. It's a good bet (no pun intended) that least one of of those jurors would have a beloved dog at home … a dog not that different from the more than half-dozen dogs Vick was accused of killing. Perhaps another would have a kitty cat … not unlike the cats, small dogs and rabbits that were torn apart by pit bulls as part of their "training" at Vick's Bad Newz Kennels. And I think it's highly likely that all the jurors would be familiar with Lassie and Old Yeller.

Therefore accepting the plea deal was a wise move, if not a particularly "tough" one. I mean, wouldn't a real "tough" guy gladly face the most dangerous scenario possible to prove his worth? I'd say that Mr. Vick is now an "underperforming" tough guy. Remember what happened to "underperforming" dogs, the dogs that weren't "tough," at Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels? Those dogs were drown or hanged.

Instead of that appalling piece of shit, Michael Vick, I'm showing a pit bull pup. Innocent creatures like this baby don't deserve the abuse or the heartache dispensed at Bad Newz Kennels for "profit" and "entertainment."

Thanks, Mo!

I was awarded the Thoughtful Blogger Award by Mo: "For those who answer blog comments, emails, and make their visitors feel at home on their blogs. For the people who take others feelings into consideration before speaking out and who are kind and courteous."

Awards are always nice, but especially one awarded by Mo: she who also has a tail-less cat, who takes her dogs along to shuttle launches, who loves her books and her birds and her hubby. Mo is always a joy to read.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

August Happiness -- Sunday 19

Accomplishment! I can be a fabulously lazy old gal, and this weekend I've been unable to fight my slothful impulses. Until tonight! In burst of enthusiasm, I organized my one of my closets. It took over an hour and a glass of White Zinfandel, but it's done. I've got a couple pairs of slacks and lots and lots and LOTS of hangers for Goodwill. (To borrow a lyric, "All the empty hangers, where do they all come from? All the empty hangers, where do they all belong?")

At least I'm honest with myself, and my blog

My teen years were rough. My parents' marriage was dissolving and because they unwisely chose to stay together for "the sake of the children," the children suffered. My older sister -- a year ahead of me in school -- handled it especially badly. She acted out by getting pregnant at least twice (accompanied by abortions) and becoming violent with my mother and me. However, as is the rule in my family, none of this was ever discussed. She was pretty and on the Honor Roll. To the outside world, she was The Good Daughter. And as always with my family, it's the outside world who's opinion mattered.

I was The Bad Daughter. Think Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club. I read Sylvia Plath, wore lumpy clothes, cut classes, listened to what my father called "African Mao-Mao Music" (meaning anything with a beat) and demanded to be left alone. If you didn't heed my warning and insisted on interacting with me, I spoke my mind. While I went to church regularly and kept my hymen intact, I was less presentable to the outside world, which within my family is the cardinal sin. I was not only disillusioned by the hypocrisy of it all (which seemed to mirror Wateregate and Viet Nam), I also felt personally assailed.

Through those rough times, my #1 ally was my Cousin Rose. A decade my senior, she made her own way in the world. Lived single and independent. Traveled the world. I poured out my heart to her in long letters, and she responded by visiting Chicago regularly and intervened on my part with my grandparents (and if you knew my maternal grandmother, you know that took guts). If it hadn't been for Rose, her understanding and her example, I could very easily have slipped into drugs.

Rose suffered an incredibly painful divorce about 10 years ago and it changed her. She is angry about how much she devoted to a man who could leave her so easily for another and she is bitter about having sacrificed her opportunity to have kids. She sustained the kind of body blow it's hard to bounce back from, and my heart goes out to her.

But I find it difficult to be around her. Little makes her happy anymore. Everything is too expensive or too stupid for her to invest her time in. Nothing much interests her, except for fantasy/sci-fi (Harry Potter, Star Wars) and fixating on her half-empty glass.

She's in town this week and we're spending Tuesday together. I booked us on a Lake Michigan cruise. I told her it's because I love my city so much and I want her to see it from a new angle. The reality is: (1) a cruise has a predetermined beginning and end, so if she starts getting on my nerves I can reassure myself it will be over soon and (2) it's a booze cruise, so I can anesthetize myself if need be.

It's not pretty, but it's the awful truth.

Unconscious Mutterings #7

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Darling :: "Oh, Darling!" (Beatles)
  2. Majesty :: "Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl …" (Beatles)
  3. Pebble :: Beach
  4. Fate :: Destiny
  5. Instant :: "Instant Karma's gonna get you" (John Lennon)
  6. Screen :: Play
  7. Unplugged :: MTV Unplugged
  8. Dairy :: Milk
  9. Benefactor :: Financial Help
  10. Market :: Wall Street
Wonder why my answers were so Beatle-related this week …

For more information, or to play yourself, visit Unconscious Mutterings.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

August Happiness -- Saturday 18

Doing nothing. I paid a few bills, ran a few errands, did a (very) little vacuuming, but mostly I relaxed and read. No urgent demands on my time. Then this evening it was just me, the cats, and the Cubs. Bliss! I know that tomorrow I must be more productive and social. But today was delicious.

Sole possession of first place!

I don't care that it's rainy and cool. I think this is one of the most beautiful days of the whole summer! Look at where the Cubs are: first place! It's even sweeter because we beat the Cardinals to get here. It was a day of drama, too. Instead of taking batting practice, the Cubs attended the service for outfielder Cliff Floyd's dad. Then the game included two rain delays, a controversial call at home plate, and a grand slam homerun. And did I mention it ended with the Cubs at the head of the division?

Happy Birthday, Bob

Today is Robert Redford's 71st birthday. I have no objectivity whatsoever about him. I've had a crush on this man since high school. I think it's nice that in addition to being yummy, he has a fully functioning brain and a fully formed social conscience. While he has never shied away from making "popcorn movies," he has also never been one of those actors who is afraid to let his beliefs inform his art or define his public persona. He seems to live by the tagline of his next movie, Lions for Lambs: "If you don't stand for something, you might fall for anything." Plus, he starred in the best baseball movie ever made, that metaphor for life, The Natural.

Yes, he's old now. But then, so am I. As a birthday tribute to the only fair-haired boy (celeb or otherwise) that I've ever seriously, achingly lusted after, here are some of my favorite lines from my favorite Redford movies:

"Luther said I could learn from you … I already know how to drink." The Sting.

"When I walked down the street people would've looked and they would've said there goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game." The Natural.

"I'm Bob Woodward of The Washington Post." All the President's Men.

"What kind of pie?" The Way We Were.

"Keep goin', Teacher Lady." Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

"Miss Starr, you were a missed person." This Property Is Condemned.

"I was giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a bottle of tequila. We lost her, too." The Electric Horseman.

Friday, August 17, 2007

August Happiness -- Friday 17

I'm happy because my mom is happy. She's 72 and has had health problems this past year. That's why I've been so worried about the impact my sisters and their marital, financial, physical and parental woes have had on her. Those two have really dominated my mom's days lately. This weekend, though, she can shift her focus from her daughters to a granddaughter. My oldest niece has flown in to spend some time with Grandma. (The reasons why are too chaotic and complicated to go into here, because "chaotic and complicated" are the hallmarks of my sister's life.) My mother is delighted to have her here, and I'm sure they will be good for one another.

Tied for first! Tied for first! Tied for first!

The Cubs beat Pujols and his Cardinals! It was a great game, final score: 2-1. The winning streak is at two. We really needed this game, because those pesky redbirds were starting to move up onto our stubby Cubby tail. And because, at least for a few hours until Milwaukee plays tonight, WE'RE TIED FOR FIRST PLACE!

I love Rich Hill. I love Ryan Dempster. I love Jacque Jones. And most of all, I love Lou.

Go, Cubs, Go! Hey, Chicago, what do you say? Cubs are gonna win today.

Friday's Feast #11

Describe your laundry routine. Do you have a certain day when you do it all, or do you just wash whatever you need for the next day? I do it all in one session, at least two loads -- warm and cold. There's a third load if I have a lot of darks. And I always use liquid detergent. I hate it when the powder doesn't dissolve completely.

In your opinion, what age will you be when you’ll consider yourself to truly be old? 30 years ago, when Elvis died at 42, I thought he was old. Now I've outlived him. So I guess old keeps getting older.

What is one of your goals? Is it short-term, long-term, or both? Get healthier. It's a long-term goal that I think will help me achieve some short-term goals (lose weight, enhance stamina, clearer skin).

Main Course
Name something unbelievable you’ve seen or read lately. I'm watching CNN right now, coverage of those poor rescue workers in Utah who died trying to save the trapped coalminers. It's so tragic, the worst-case scenario, and if I read it in a novel, I'd say, "Oh, come on ..."

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how happy are you today? It's not even dawn yet, so it's too early to say. Naturally I hope my Cubs keep winning so I'll be a 10.

For more information, or to serve up your own feast, visit Friday's Feast.

How cool is this?

Kwizgiver has presented me with the "Nice Matters" award! I'm really thrilled. I began this blog as an online journal, something organized for me and saved on the Internet so I could access it anywhere. I never thought that I would have readers, or meet a network of bloggers I'd enjoy reading and look forward to hearing from.

From Kwizgiver's post --

"This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you've been awarded please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award."

Thank you, Ms. Kwiz. Now I get to share this with:

Book Mama (who generously shares the imperfect adventures of a beautiful family)
Gabriella Hewitt (both creative and generous)
Mo (who helped shake me out of my doldrums with the Happiness Challenge)
Jenny McB (who has cracked me up even on my sad days)
Sparky Duck (who is both a romantic softie and a horndog)
Cupcake (who is such a passionate advocate for her kids)
Hickory (Are you still out there? I still think of you and your "big city" daughter)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

August Happiness -- Thursday 16

A 12-4 victory against the Reds! Yes, the Cubs reigned supreme within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, ending a bit of a skid. I love my guys, win or lose, but winning is a lot more fun. And now that my heroes remember what winning feels like, we will be passing those pesky Brewers any day now!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #29 -- All Hail the King

as selected by
The Gal Herself

Elvis quite literally changed the world. He successfully fused country and rhythm and blues into rock and roll, and we’re all forever in his debt.

He also remains a never-ending source of campy joy to me. I love watching him come out in a cape, a jumpsuit and a belt buckle as big as my head as the band plays “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I adore it when he incongruously does karate moves in the middle of a ballad. I devour even his corniest movies and can recite the dialog. (Can you name this movie? “Them ain’t tactics, honey. That’s jes’ the beast in me.”)

But the goofy, gauche Hollywood and Vegas Elvises (Elvi?) are unable to erase the indelible imprint of his music. The time I spend making fun of peanut butter and banana sandwiches is equal to the time I spend in awe of his talent.

Thursday is the anniversary of the day Elvis Left the Building Forever, and I’m celebrating his life with 13 of my favorite Elvis songs. Even if you're not a fan, there must be at least one song here that you're familiar with. The King is that big a part of our culture.

1. Can’t Help Falling in Love with You. Like the river flows surely to the sea, darling, so it goes, some things are meant to be.
2. Burning Love. Lord Almighty! I feel my temperature rising …
3. Steamroller Blues. I’m gonna inject your soul with some sweet rock and roll, and shoot you full of rhythm and blues.
4. Suspicious Minds. We’re caught in a trap. I can’t walk out, because I love you too much, baby.
5. You Don’t Know Me. No, you don’t know the one who dreams of you at night, who longs to kiss your lips, who longs to hold you tight.
6. Love Me Tender. For my darling, I love you, and I always will.
7. Jailhouse Rock. If you can’t find a partner, use a wooden chair and ROCK!
8. Heartbreak Hotel. Since my baby left me, I found a new place to dwell. It’s down at the end of lonely street at Heartbreak Hotel.
9. Kentucky Rain. Seven lonely days and a dozen times ago, I reached out one night and you were gone.
10. If I Can Dream. If I can dream of better land where all my brothers walk hand in hand, tell me why can’t my dream come true?
11. Viva Las Vegas. There’s blackjack and poker and the roulette wheel. A fortune won and lost on every deal. All you need’s a strong heart and nerves of steel.
12. I Was the One. She lived, she loved, she laughed, she cried. And it was all for me.
13. Saved. I used to smoke and drink and dance the hootchie coo. And now I’m standing on this corner, praying for me and you.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Tink's is important -- about an eating disorder called BED
2. Sue over at the Urban Zoo shares what makes "the Zookeeper Happy"
3. Suprina is presents the pride of her home state
4. Like all charming, delightful and timely TT'ers, Malcolm has devoted his list to Elvis
5. Jenny McB finally admits that she'll never hear from my man, Clooney (and 12 other things)
6. Damn that Sharon for tormenting us with rebus puzzles!
7. Harlekwin has some truly gorgeous new banners, esp. the guy watching the TT on his bigscreen TV
8. Starrlight has a list of rocker quotes. Appropriate and sad for the anniversary of The King's death.

Like all charming, delightful and timely TT'ers, Gattina has devoted her list to Elvis
10. Damozel's TT should be required reading for young and old alike. It's about the separation of powers, and it's terrific!
11. Get happy and celebrate with Ed's joyous TT
12. Gabriella introduces slang words -- and a plug -- for her charity event for the Freeport Humane Society.
13. Sparky Duck takes us on a tour of his bookshelf
14. Nicole Austin takes on the weather. Specifically hurricanes.
15. What Works for Us shares words of wisdom
16. Jeremy's TT is about illicit drug use
16. Erin shares 13 of her favorite poems
17. Frigga has an interactive, fill-in-the-blank TT
18. Mo's TT is about manx cats in general, and Sushi the Birthday Girl specifically
19. Janet has worked her way through the alphabet to her "X" TT
20. Impworks has a culinary TT from Matta's International Foods in Liverpool, England
21. Jennie lists 13 lines of memorable movie dialog about looooove

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

August Happiness -- Wednesday 15

I'm going to dinner and then a play with my theater buddy, a former boss and long-time friend. We both work erratic hours so we enroll in the Broadway on Chicago subscription series, knowing that if we invest a chunk of change on tickets, we'd be more likely to make the time to get together.

So at least once a month I eschew jeans, dress like a grown-up, enjoy a very nice dinner with good hootch, and see a top-quality theatrical production. We've been doing this so long that I've forgotten to appreciate what a terrific city Chicago is and all is has to offer. A thriving theater district and world-class restaurants are just a 15-minute train ride from my front door. How lucky can a gal get?

"In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups."

Today at lunch I saw "the police, who investigate crime" in action. Apparently evil was done at my McDonald's. One of Chicago's finest strode in, went behind the counter and, before the curious gaze of the lunch crowd, made his way to the office where he had a brief but intense conversation with the manager and a young Hispanic female civilian (meaning she wore neither a McDonald's nor a CPD uniform). My guess is that either another customer grabbed her purse or harassed her in some way. (Since the cop came alone, it couldn't have been anything that put our lives in imminent danger.)

I hope the girl is OK. She really looked rattled. And I hope that when Dick Wolf rips this story from today's headlines, I approve of the extra who portrays me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

August Happiness -- Tuesday 14

PUPPY! My downstairs neighbors have an enormous yellow lab named Jaffa. Whenever we meet, I rub his head and coo "puppy" to him while he sniffs my purse, my laptop case, etc. I had come to feel that, in our relationship, I was actually peripheral, simply a vehicle for feline smells from upstairs or exotic city smells from the el. This morning, I was leaving for work as Jaffa and his owner were returning from their morning walk. From a full block away, he recognized me and pulled at the leash! There's nothing like being greeted a dog who knows you and is happy to see you. It was a lovely way to start my day.

Goodbye and Good Riddance, Turd Blossom

"Turd Blossom" is GWB's nickname for his good friend and close adviser, Karl Rove. (Apparently "Turd Blossom" is Texan for a lotus that grows in the mud.) Until his resignation and the accompanying sea of ink, I had no idea that's what our Commander in Chief called him. I also had no idea of his illustrious Chicago connection. From today's Tribune:

"As a 19-year-old working in Illinois, Rove used an assumed name to gain access to the headquarters of Democratic state treasurer candidate Alan Dixon. He made off with campaign stationery, which he used to print 1,000 fliers promising 'free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing' at Dixon's Chicago office. The fliers were given to homeless people on Lower Wacker Drive. Years later, Rove expressed regret for the 'youthful prank.'" Ah, the enthusiasm and boisterous nature of youth! Only a curmudgeon wouldn't see the humor in a joke at the expense of the unfortunates who live in cardboard boxes on Lower Wacker.

Turd Blossom continued down this regrettable path, though. In 1986 there was a bugging incident. In 1992, Bush 41 fired Rove for alleged leaks. Then, of course, there's the leaking and the dirty tricks and the illegal firings that Turd Blossom (allegedly) committed on behalf of this President.

Karl Rove is the best example I can think of for why politics must become more secular. As I look over his sorry resume, it makes my blood boil that this lowest-common-denominator manipulator felt comfortable telling me that my positions on security, reproductive rights and gay marriage are either not "Christian" or not "patriotic."

I don't care if Congress "gets" him. I really don't. I just hope that, for the good of the country he served so poorly, he disappears from the public eye.