Monday, March 31, 2008

Heads & Tails #13

This week's theme -- in honor of April 1 -- is "fool." The first thing that popped into my mind was "The Fool on the Hill," originally on the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour. I've heard Paul perform this live, and I'm still touched by the purity of his voice on the "round and round and round" part. (Dear God! I'm starting to sound like Paula Abdul on Idol!)

Here are the lyrics:

Day after day,
Alone on a hill,
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him,
They can see that he's just a fool,
And he never gives an answer,

But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round.

Well on the way,
Head in a cloud,
The man of a 1000 voices talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him,
Or the sound he appears to make,
And he never seems to notice,

But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round.

And nobody seems to like him,
They can tell what he wants to do,
And he never shows his feelings,

But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round.

Ooh, ooh,
Round and round and round.

And he never listens to them,
He knows that they're the fools
They don't like him,

The fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round.

Round and round and round

For more information, or to play along yourself, visit the Heads or Tails site.

I couldn't turn my back on them

It's after 6:00 and I'm just now leaving the office. No, I wasn't especially swamped with work on this, my first day back from vacation. I just couldn't leave until the outcome of Opening Day was decided and the game went into extra innings.

Ok, so we lost. And on Ernie Banks Day at that! Let's not forget that it was just the first game of a long and sure-to-be entertaining season. I'm just glad my boys are back.

"Nobody deserves this more"

So said Cubs All-Star third baseman and radio announcer Ron Santo at the unveiling of Ernie Banks' statue today, Opening Day, right in front of Wrigley Field.

Ernie was the first Cub player I ever "knew," my first baseball hero when I was just a tiny gal. His stats were impressive -- including 2 consecutive MVP awards and 512 homeruns. But most of all, it was Ernie's enthusiasm and charm and sportsmanship that enchanted me.

"Let's play two!" he would announce on even the cloudiest days, or even during the longest losing streak. He's the one who christened Chicago's enduring tabernacle of baseball "the friendly confines of Wrigley Field."

I love Ernie Banks, my mom loves Ernie Banks, and I'm teaching my nephew to love him, too, just as my dad and my grandparents are loving him from heaven. The whole city loves him, that's why the Mayor declared today "Ernie Banks Day." He typifies what being a Cub fan is about. And Ronnie's right, no one deserves an honor at that ballpark more.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

So many great broads, so many books to read, so little time

I am completely into the John Adams HBO mini-series, especially Abigail Adams as portrayed by Laura Linney. Sure, I knew she was the wife of one President and the mother to another. But I had no idea she was such a strong and inspirational force. Her marriage was a true partnership, as well as a love story. I'm eager to learn more about her, but I already have a book about another First Lady, the much-maligned Mary Lincoln, on my on-deck circle.

Who bears "the biggest burden" during this war?

A wise and sensitive man once said, "War, at its best, is terrible … It has deranged businesses and ruined homes and produced a national debt …" That was Abraham Lincoln back in the 1860s. It's true today.

Dick Cheyney, a most unwise and insensitive man, said that, when it comes to Iraq, "The president carries the biggest burden, obviously. He's the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans, but we are fortunate to have a group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm's way for the rest of us." For ABC's coverage of Cheyney's comments, click here.

I don't believe that the President carries a bigger burden than the kids (and they all look achingly young to me) "who voluntarily put on the uniform." I think every one of those soldiers, sailors and marines are heroes, even though I am completely disillusioned by this war.

To show my respect and gratitude, I am sending a package filled with travel-sized shampoo and body wash to Operation Shoebox. This wonderful group is committed to sending "support, snacks and personal care items" to those deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's a small gesture but it makes me happy to do it, and I hope it makes one of those brave young souls "who voluntarily put on the uniform" feel a little more comfortable, and reassured that many of us still believe they carry the biggest burden of all.

To donate items, mail them to:

Operation Shoebox
PO Box 1465
Belleview, FL 34421-1465

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Picked up at Skittles' Place

If I were …

If I were a direction I’d be… right.

If I were furniture I’d be… a swivel chair.

If I were a liquid I’d be… Coca Cola Classic.

If I were a sin I’d be… sloth.

If I were a gem/stone I’d be… lapis

If I were a metal I’d be… copper

If I were a tree I’d be… a mighty oak.

If I were a fruit I’d be… a green grape

If I were a flower I’d be… carnation.

If I were weather I’d be… highly changeable and hard to predict.

If I were a music instrument I’d be… Paul McCartney's bass.

If I were an element I’d be… water.

If I were a color I’d be… cobalt blue.

If I were an animal I’d be… an independent feline.

If I were a sound I’d be… a cat's purr.

If I were a lyric I’d be… "Pride can hurt you, too," The Beatles' "She Loves You"

If I were a song I’d be… "You Don't Know Me," by Ray Charles

If I were a music type I’d be… pop

If I were a perfume/cologne I’d be… SJP's Lovely

If I were a feeling I’d be… erratic.

If I were a book I’d be… Reckless Youth by Nigel Hamilton

If I were food I’d be… an egg

If I were a city I’d be… Chicago

If I were a taste I’d be… chocolatey

If I were a scent I’d be… available in a light cologne, a rich lotion and a fragrant bubble bath.

If I were a word I’d be… "gubernatorial" (my all-time favorite word).

If I were a verb I’d be… flex.

If I were an object I’d be… a big, oversized shoulderbag with lots of pockets.

If I were a piece of clothing I’d be… a carefully broken-in sweatshirt.

If I were a body part I’d be… skin.

If I were an facial expression I’d be… bemused.

If I were a cartoon character I’d be… Eeyore.

If I were a movie I’d be… The Way We Were

If I were a geometrical figure I’d be… something with parallel lines

If I were one of the 4 seasons I’d be… Autumn.

If I were a sentence I’d be… "I really don't need this shit."

So you have seen my answers. If you're going to play, maybe you'd like to see Barb's answers, too, at Skittles' Place.

Friday, March 28, 2008

I'm not the only one enjoying spring break

From the New York Post March 27, 2008 -- Paul McCartney and Nancy Shevell were seen riding bikes in Jumby Bay, Antigua

From the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority
Member Nancy Shevell
Recommended by: Governor of New York
Date Appointed:
June 18, 2001
Term Expires:
June 30, 2011
Board Committees:
Chair: Capital Construction/Planning and Real Estate; Member: Finance, Audit, Governance, Long Island Rail Road/Long Island Bus, Bridges and Tunnels

Gossip that I'm repeating without attribution

According to a source close to Ms Shevell and her then-husband, Bruce, she and Sir Paul have known each other for more than 10 years. She was a friend of Paul's first wife, Linda, who died of breast cancer in 1998. Ms. Shevell was diagnosed with breast cancer the year after Linda and the two women fought the disease together.

I have high hopes for this one. I love romance and would love seeing Sir Paul enjoy a happy ending. (Even though it looks like this Nancy IS a Republican.)

What I learned while hanging around in a robe

There's something healing about going off by myself. In this suburb of Atlanta, where the only decisions I had to wrestle with were whether or not to have my eyebrows shaped (I chickened out) and whether I wanted the beef bourguignon or the salmon steak (the beef was just sooo fabulous!), I was able to turn off the noise. To think about my life and how I felt about things. To give myself a little direction.

My "living piece of shit" ex-boyfriend (as he was recently christened by my oldest friend) was on my mind again as he hasn't been in years. Most vividly when I was having a neck and shoulder massage by a man. There was something chilling and awful about a man's large hands on my neck from behind. Deja terror. But good actually came of this. I reminded myself that he's only top of mind because last week he tried to reinsert himself into my life. I've decided that, "I hear him knocking, but he can't come in." Therefore he'll fade from my consciousness again. It's up to me now. I let him ruin my life once. I won't let him do so again. I just won't. And this isn't "fake it until you make it" talk. I believe every word I just wrote.

The economy is on my mind, just as it is on everyone else's. Even in what should be "the happiest place on earth." While getting an absolutely wonderful foot massage, I heard one of the Chateau Elan nail techs announce that she was knocking off early because her hours had been cut. The limo driver who ferried me between airport and spa was new to livery -- he ran a horse farm nearby and has sold off most of the horses on his way to retirement, but right now he can't get the price for his land he knows it's worth. So he spends his mornings making a few extra bucks and sharing his observations on life from behind the wheel of gray Mercedes, waiting for the real estate market to change.

I realized I feel vulnerable, too, because I have too much credit card debt. Yes, I have almost 8 months' worth of expenses tucked away and yes, I know that's a laudable nest egg. But that nest egg would last just that much longer in case of a layoff if I owed less to Citibank. Reducing my debt is not only the smart thing to do, it's the comfortable thing to do. I'm a nice old gal. I deserve to feel good about my situation. So I'm going to curb the incidental, silly spending. Not vacations like this one -- I need and deserve these. But really, NO MORE PURSES for a while! And no more books until I dent this prodigious TBR pile. I'm going to have to watch what else I piss my money away on each week. I know there must be ways to economize. I'll feel stronger and safer for doing it.

One of the best things about a vacation spent mostly in a spa-supplied robe is that I have precious little laundry to do. So I have many time-consuming tasks that simply MUST be done before Monday, so I can continue decompressing -- and maintaining this feeling of zen -- until I have to return to work and real life.

I found my color for 2008!

It's Puerto Vallarta Violet by OPI. It's light but not shimmery, feminine without being girly. I had it applied to my finger/toe nails as I sipped champagne and nibbled chocolate. Unfortunately the spa didn't have any sealed bottles for sale, so I've had to order it online. But still, it's a lovely way to remember my "ah … spa!" days at Chateau Elan.

I must note that even though my manicure is only 48 hours old, it's already a mess. I warned the manicurist that I'm very hard on my fingernails and she pooh-poohed me. I'd just never had a manicure by HER. She seemed to realize that I am indeed a hard case when she had to redo my right thumb nail three times before I even left the chair.

My toenails, however, are gorgeous. I endlessly admire their beauty.

I also had my makeup done for the first time in, perhaps, a hundred years. Lauryn, the esthetician, gave me some good advice for modernizing my eye makeup. NO mascara on the bottom lashes, instead wear eyeliner. It's something I never would have tried, and yet it does indeed draw attention to my eyes. I had a great time playing with colors and brushes.

I did stymie Lauryn by not being thrilled with the powdery mineral foundation she used. I have deep dimples, which are cool when I'm smiling but leave deep wrinkles when I'm not. Unfortunately that foundation just settles into those wrinkles and looks cakey. Poor Laryn didn't know how to wean me off my tinted moisturizer. I'll accept a little less coverage in exchange for a smoother look.

This just in! I'm an idiot!

My niece, the budding chef, takes her ingredients seriously. So when I came upon Chateau Elan's private label salad dressings, I excitedly picked up a bottle for her. It was some special onion-&-something recipe. I was so looking forward to giving it to her! So I wrapped it in tissue paper and a bag and placed it with TLC into my carry on.

Guess what I forgot: salad dressing is liquid. My foundation, my chapstick, etc., all these I put into the zip-lock baggie. I was so careful about following all the rules! How could I have overlooked the fact that salad dressing is liquid and needed to be checked?

So I see an Atlanta t-shirt, purchased at the airport gift shop, in my niece's future. Oh well … if that's the worst thing that goes down while on vacation (and it was) it was a very good trip (and it was).

More later …

Monday, March 24, 2008

How Could I Have Missed This?

I've been too preoccupied with my day-to-day life, Easter and preparing for vacation. Clearly. How else can I explain my overlooking this HUGE news story about two of my favorite most pitchers … EVER?

"(Kerry) Wood struck out two in a scoreless inning Sunday during his third appearance in four days, and the Cubs scored seven runs off Greg Maddux in a 7-3 victory over the San Diego Padres."

"Maddux was in a good mood, even after yielding six runs in the first inning. The 41-year-old right-hander, who has 347 wins, thought he was better than his final line showed. He said he was pleased to endure a 40-plus pitch first inning that included a three-run double by Ryan Theriot."

To read the entire article, click here.

So both of the pitchers who hold special places in my heart are happy and enthusiastic about the upcoming season. God love ya, boys!

Spa Sabbatical -- Almost Here!

I made these reservations back in January. I don't think I believed my vacation would ever really arrive. But it's almost here!

Chateau Elan is a winery and spa just outside of Atlanta (where it's in the 60ºs). I have my own suite (I'm on the first floor, and here's the view from my bedroom), and am looking forward to a antioxidant body exfoliation, wellness massage, makeup lesson, moisturizing bath with vichy shower, champagne and chocolate mani and pedi, hand therapy, neck/back/shoulder massage (especially for us keyboard addicts), and ultimate facial.

There are also restaurants to gorge myself in (meals included), a fitness room to work it off in (I am bringing my workout togs), and beautiful grounds to wander about.

I haven't decided if I'm going to finish my latest Lincoln book (The Day Lincoln Was Shot … hm … how do we think it ends?) or a light and romantic chick lit tome or maybe just a huge stack of magazines. One thing for sure: I am most certainly bringing my sandals. I'm not a big fan of hot weather, but this winter has gone on too, too long and my beautifully painted toes will deserve to see sunlight!

Today I've got some vacuuming and floor scrubbing to do. Litter boxes to clean. The plumber is coming by this evening to give me an estimate on repairing the pipes under my sink. I've got to pack and take a trip to the ATM (meals may be included, but gratuities and souvenirs aren't). It's more than I feel like doing, but what the hell. I have nothing but relaxation and pampering ahead of me!

Alone time is very important to me. It's important as I plan and repair and rejuvenate. It will be good for me to simply be somewhere new, with its own sounds and colors, and no easy access to my every day life. I get a clarity from adventures like this. I love my friends in Key West and look forward to visiting them each New Year's. But I also need a solitary vacation like this one.

Easter at arm's length

My mom is a natural-born hugger. And yet today, all we did squeeze each other's shoulders in greeting. I shook her hand in farewell, which made her laugh.

You see, she has a bad cold. A juicy sneeze/hacking cough cold. And I am leaving on vacation in a matter of HOURS (see the ruler at the very bottom of the page). I don't want anything to spoil my Spa Sabbatical. So I got home and toasted Easter with a big glass of Airborne.

My niece was a joy today. Funny and enthusiastic and enjoying her looong week off. She annoyed my sister (her mother) no end, but isn't that teenage girls are supposed to do? My nephew, on the other hand, made me want to scream. Even though he's a big boy/second grader, he has taken to using baby talk when speaking for his ubiquitous Pokemon characters. And since Pokemon characters can only say their names, you can imagine how obnoxious this became after awhile. The phase cannot end soon enough. I sooooo miss the good old days of Thomas the Tank Engine!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Funny Girl

I'm going to ring in Easter Sunday -- the holiest day of my year -- with Carole Lombard in My Man Godfrey. This movie has a lot of heart, a lot of relevance (both socially and spiritually, with all of its references to The Depression and redemption), and a lot of laughs. It boasts a wonderful cast, but without a doubt, my favorite is the luminous Carole Lombard.

Beautiful, graceful and stylish, she is also faster and funnier than any other actress I can think of. She is a physical and agile comedienne, unafraid to get mussed up as she leaps on beds or gets dumped in the shower (shown). She prattles her dialog off so quickly that she often finds herself charmingly out of breath. She's capable of being quiet, but not being still -- you can tell by the way her hands flutter and fly that standing by and doing/saying nothing is almost physically painful for her.

If you haven't seen this gem, or haven't seen it lately, please do. I promise you'll be glad you did. This synopsis is revised slightly from "Classic screwball comedy with Carole Lombard as madcap heiress who hires William Powell as butler after finding him on garbage dump. Actually from a wealthy Boston family, marvelously funny Powell teaches them money isn't everything."

Maybe he knew what he was doing …

… and maybe he meant well. My cat, Reynaldo, that is.

I took a nap yesterday afternoon and this offended him. He seemed to believe that if I had taken a day off, I should spend it lavishing my undivided attention on him. He expressed his frustration by knocking over and scattering the magazines I had stacked carefully beside my coffee table.

He still had some frustration left in that skinny beige body, so he took off on my unanswered mail, bills, medical and charitable receipts -- knocking over all the folders and burrowing about, leaving no sense of order.

He announced his actions with noisy howls, but I unwisely tried to ignore him. I didn't realize how active he had been, and I'm overwhelmed by how much he "accomplished" in such a short period of time.

Oh well. What can I do but look at the bright side? I'm never going to reread that US magazine article about how that bitch Angelina stood p0or Jen up at a pre-Oscar bash. And I DO need to return these book club response forms. So maybe Reynaldo felt he was helping me finally handle some of this stuff. To paraphrase that old Viet Nam-era adage, perhaps he had to destroy my living room to save it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I would be offended …

… except it's probably true.

You've Changed 32% in 10 Years

Ah, the past! You may not remember it well - because you're still living in it.

While you've changed some, you may want to update your wardrobe, music collection and circle of friends.

He was the worst thing to ever happen to me

I wasted my 20s on a man who was completely unworthy of me. He was physically abusive and emotionally cruel. A narcissist who exquisitely exploited my weaknesses to gain strength. I was young enough and neurotic enough to confuse all the sturm und drang with love. After that relationship ended, it literally took me years to rebuild my life.

He was an asshole. And everything he did to me, I allowed him to do. No one will ever again cripple me the way he did. I won't allow it.

Because this relationship had such a huge impact on my life, what happened Thursday night has had a huge impact, as well.

He emailed my friend John, trying to re-establish contact after all these years. He told John how having two daughters has changed his life. How it led him to God. How since leaving Chicago he has learned to hunt and fish. That he carries a concealed Smith and Wesson handgun.

He asked John to intercede on his behalf, to get him my permission to contact me. He says he has Googled me but doesn't even know how to start talking to me. He does, however, want to "beg on bended knee" for my forgiveness. He hopes that when I think of him, I think of the "crazy good times."

I asked John to tell him that I never want to hear from him again.

I don't forgive him. Some things really are too damaging to forgive. I hope God forgives him, but that's between him and the Lord. I'm not involved.

If he could find John's email address, he can find mine. I have to brace myself for that. But I can end it by blocking him my emailbox. I must remember that he needs my permission to torment me again, and I'm not granting it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Now is the time for all good bloggers to ...


My own little minicity is in peril! I'm afraid it grew too much too fast, and now we're suffering from massive unemployment -- due to a dearth of clicks.

Please, click the link. You don't even have to stay long (though I personally think Galtopia is a happening place). Just please, help us through this economic crisis.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

THURSDAY THIRTEEN #59 -- Have you met my fictional friend, Kinsey?


Kinsey Milhone is Sue Grafton’s creation, the heroine of the popular “Alphabet Mysteries.” So I realize Kinsey is fictional, even though she seems like a buddy. After all, we’ve gone from A Is for Alibi through T Is for Trespass together.

Earlier this year, I did a TT on Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta, the bigger-than-life, this-close-to-perfect doctor/lawyer/gourmand. While Kay is the kind of woman I hopelessly aspire to be, Kinsey is far, far more accessible. There’s nothing intimidating about my buddy Kinsey. Down-to-earth, no-nonsense, fabulously flawed and very funny, she’s as comfortable as a pair of old running shoes (her favorite footwear).

1. When she was 5 years old, she and her parents were in a car accident. Kinsey was the only survivor. While she grew up to be a successful and self-sufficient woman, Kinsey has intimacy and abandonment issues, and it’s not hard to see why.

2. She was raised by her Aunt Gin. A contented and single woman living in Santa Theresa, California, Aunt Gin did the best she could. But she never planned on having a family, and didn’t quite know what to do with a traumatized little girl. So while these two lived in the same house, we really don’t imagine them together very much.

3. Her career at Santa Theresa High seems to have been devoted to smoking pot, cussing, and doing only what was necessary to not flunk. After graduation, Kinsey joined her aunt at California Fidelity Insurance, working as a receptionist and hating it, until she was old enough to try her hand at police work.

4. It was joining the Santa Theresa Police Department that straightened our girl out. While she had big problems with the regimentation that went with being a cop – she left the force after just two years – she discovered she had a passion for investigating and protecting the good guys from the bad ones.

5. Kinsey endured two short, unsuccessful marriages. The first, to Mickey, occurred after she left the force, when her Aunt Gin died and she was emotionally adrift. Her second husband was a musician named Daniel. Since they each turn up in books, and so as not to be a spoiler, I shall say no more. Of her husbands, Kinsey has said, “I dumped the first and the second dumped me.”

6. She’s had a few lovers throughout the alphabet – Charlie, Jonah, Dietz (my favorite) and Cheyney. None of these relationships have lasted because we all know her great love is really …

7. Henry Pitts, her landlord and best friend. He’s in his 80s, but that doesn’t stop her from completely adoring him. She mentions his blue eyes often. He bakes for her, shares Happy Hour with her (he has Jack Daniels on ice, she has her wine), celebrates Christmas and birthdays with her.

8. Rosie runs Rosie’s Tavern, Kinsey’s favorite restaurant. Rosie has brightly dyed hair and wears print muumuus and annoys Kinsey no end. She is also a fabulous cook, and her tavern is Kinsey’s refuge after even the most dangerous “day at the office.” Rosie, Henry, and Henry's various siblings make up Kinsey's surrogate family.

9. Kinsey has some unconventional talents, which come in very handy in her chosen profession: lying, picking locks and snooping. She enjoys all three equally (which is to say she enjoys them all a great deal).

10. She’s not a fitness nut, but she understands that being in shape is as important to her job as a good set of picklocks. So she jogs 3 miles every day. Sometimes she enjoys it, oftentimes not.

11. She owns a single, all-purpose black dress, doesn’t wear makeup and has been known to hack at her curly hair with nail scissors.

12. She drinks lots of coffee and loves McDonald’s. Especially Q-Ps with cheese and Egg McMuffins. She has referred to fats and carbs as “nature’s antidepressants.”

13. Unlike other fictional crimefighters (like Scarpetta or Robert Parker's Spenser), Kinsey often has to resort to markedly unglamorous tasks to pay the rent. She’s served subpoenas, investigated car insurance claims and taken jobs with clients she hasn’t really cared for. Seeing her in workaday situations makes her seem more real to me.

I know that since she's already on "T," Sue Grafton will reach the end of the alphabet, and this series, soon. Too soon for my taste. I'll miss Kinsey: she who writes clues down on index cards and arranges and rearranges them, trying to solve the crime; she who cleans compulsively and never leaves home without a paperback in her purse; she who has a strict personal code and lives by it. I've enjoyed every moment I've spent with her.

Leave your link in the comments section and I'll add you here:
1) Chelle rocks out with her TT
2) Malcolm lists 13 sexy women over 50 (yet somehow neglected to include The Gal Herself; go figure)
3) SJ Reidhead has a movie TT -- and I loooove movie TTs
4) Lilibeth loves Lord of the Rings
5) Sandy Carlson takes us to Wisdom House
6) Sue answers 13 random questions
7) Anthony North doesn't have a TT, but he has displayed thought provoking posts
8) Puss Reboots displays book covers
9) Silverneurotic's posts are always worth reading (I know, I'm a regular reader)
10) Open Grove Claudia shares highlights of "Trusting Yourself"
11) Lori has a funny -- and true! -- TT about personal ads
12) Tasina has a movie TT (and I LOVE movie TTs)
13) Winter has a darkly romantic TT
14) Adelle has a gorgeous Faberge TT
15) Xakara wishes us only beautiful things for Easter
16) Ann and Renee share their personal theme songs
17) Mo reviews a book starring the one and only Kay Scarpetta
18) Lisa's TT is brought to us by the letter G
19) Candy Minx looks at the dark side of "the criminal justice system"
20) Dane's TT is about the subject he is the undisputed expert on
21) Susan Helene Gottfried shares the rites of spring
22) Mama Bear has a fabulous Beatle-related TT (and how I love the Lads!)

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! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

He persuaded me!

As we observe the 5th anniversary of the war, I'm going to quote the paper my nephew wrote in his second grade writing class. His assignment was to "use my words to persuade someone to do something." He chose to persuade "President George Bush to end the war."

"You should end the war because it kills people.
War hurts people too.

It uses money you could use to give babies free shots.
War sets a bad example for children."

He was frustrated that he had to say "free shots" when he wanted to say "free vaccinations." But he thought it was spelled v-a-x, and couldn't find it in the dictionary.

Still, he got an A. I am proud of his vocabulary, his printing (which he struggles with), and his heart.

I asked what his classmates wrote about. There were kids who wanted to persuade their parents to get them Wiis, or pets. But, he said, there were lots of papers about recycling and global warming. He was very impressed by his best friend Brandon's paper to persuade Bush to end global warming because "what would the world be like without polar bears?"

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I loved this speech

Barack Obama gave a speech today that touched on many tough issues and answered many tough questions. Race, rage, bigotry, faith, loyalty … these are not superficial topics and he handled them in a digntified, graceful and still very personal way. Here is my favorite part, the section of the speech that was, for me, key:

"This helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

"I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

"These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love."

Who among us hasn't listened to someone we love speak in politically incorrect, hurtful terms? My father died believing blacks are inherently "dirty," Jews are not patriotic, women are hyperemotional, and gays are depraved. My mom had a long way to go in understanding and appreciating that gays are people, too. My dad felt that way because he needed villains, someone to blame for his missed opportunities. My mom believed as she did because she's lived a very, very sheltered life. Yet I love my parents, and grew up because/in spite of them to have a diverse circle of friends who have enriched my life immeasurably.

I bet everyone who heard Obama's speech has a similar story. For bigotry is that pervasive in our society. We each have a story. I thank Barack Obama for describing it in those terms.

It's also a smart speech. He doesn't pander, he doesn't dumb it down. It was neither written nor delivered to be fed to us in nifty little sound bites. I appreciate the respect that showed the American people.

To paraphrase the Dixie Chicks, "I'm proud this Presidential candidate is from Illinois."

For the text of his speech, visit His Own Words.

They really hate her

"They" would be the London tabloids. Above is the front page of the London Sun.

"Her" would be Heather Mills.

She does herself no favors, to be sure. The way she's behaved during her split and subsequent divorce from Sir Paul has made her a target. She's leaked the most personal and unflattering moments of their married life (for example, Paul telling her not to nurse Baby Beatrice because he didn't "want a mouthful of breast milk") in hoping the public would take her side. They didn't.

She presents herself as a selfless charitable crusader, yet the judge who heard Mills vs. McCartney wrote:

• "Much of her evidence, both written and oral, was not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid."

• "Her tax returns disclose no charitable giving at all."

• "To some extent she is her own worst enemy. She has an explosive and volatile character."

• "In the light of the husband’s generosity towards her, as I have set out, I find the wife’s behaviour distinctly distasteful."

• "I reject her case. I am afraid I have to say her case is devoid of reality."

Still, her treatment in the British press does take my breath away. So far my favorite reference to her is as, "one-legged former porn model." And that can't be the most attractive picture of her they could find to run on page one.

I'm not saying Heather Mills doesn't deserve this. No one makes her appear on camera. No one forces her to cry and whine and air her personal dirty linen in public. No one insisted she throw a glass of water at her husband's lawyer in court. (Heather dismissed it by saying Paul's lawyer had simply been "baptized.") No one implored her to lie about her involvement with charitable causes. She's a 40 year old woman. She did all these things of her own volition. And she was made to look even worse because she was up against the most publicity-savvy Lad from Liverpool, who understood that by suffering in silence he'd look that much more gallant.

But still … I almost feel sorry for her.

Nailah Franklin Update -- Death Penalty Sought

Prosecutors here in Cook County have filed the necessary paperwork to seek the death penalty in the murder of Nailah Franklin.

I am not including a link to the news stories on this matter because they naturally include the suspect's name. I understand why news organizations must do that, but this blog is not journalism, it's my blog. I choose concentrate solely on Nailah Franklin. There was something about this young woman that touched and inspired her family and friends and I don't want her to be forgotten.

She was just 28 when she died last September.
She was a daughter and a sister, one of 5 girls.
She was a good student at Homewood Flossmoor High School and graduated from U of I.
She volunteered at the Chicago Urban League.
She worked for two well-known, well-respected companies, first Leo Burnett and then Eli Lilly.
Her friends fondly remember her sense of style, and how she loved all things Oprah.
Her funeral was attended by hundreds of mourners, who heard Nailah Franklin eulogized as "not just a star, but a superstar."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Vodka helps

I had dinner with my former boss this evening. I really wasn't looking forward to it, because he's discovered he has prostate cancer and wanted to explain his condition and his treatment options. I was worried about how he would look, how he would act, and how I would respond to it.

It was fine.

He enjoys talking about it. I know that may sound weird, but it's how he is. Talking about it, joking about it, and explaining it in detail demystifies it for him. So all I had to do was remain composed when he compared and contrasted radiation and surgery, told me his and his wife's rate of intercourse (twice a month) and that, because of the meds he's on, he no longer ejaculates.

The cosmo helped.

I promised him we'd do this again before his surgery next month. I'll be more used to it each time we meet.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mom was right

When I was a little girl, I had to be in bed before The Fugitive came on. It was my parents' favorite show and they tried never to miss it, so every week I heard the theme music through the bedroom wall. I knew Dr. Richard Kimble was wrongly convicted of a murder he didn't commit -- like the Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island, the show opened each week by restating the premise (though not in song).

A local TV station has begun airing reruns and I am my mother's daughter -- I've become hooked on the adventures of Dr. Richard Kimble. Unlike the Harrison Ford movie, this series concentrates on Kimble's day-to-day adventures as a fugitive, always on the run, taking menial jobs, working hard to fit in and not be noticed, as he simultaneously looked over his shoulder for Lt. Gerard -- the dogged detective he escaped -- as well as the one-armed man he believed killed his wife.

I love Janssen's horrible weariness, and his voyeurism. Every week he finds himself drawn into the lives of everyday citizens: a mother and son, abused by the man of the house … a stewardess who has just discovered the man she loves is married … farmworkers who are exploited by land owners … Kimble is sure he could help and he's tempted to stay, except he's got Gerard behind him and a date with the one-armed man ahead of him.

There's an interesting class dynamic at work on this show. Richard Kimble may be a convicted murderer, but he's also a surgeon -- which in TV land makes him smarter and more sophisticated than the food servers and fruit pickers he now moves among. Since the show aired in the early-mid 1960s, everyone smoked and drank. I love the back-combed hairdos, the enormous rotary dial phones, and how the men all wear suits and ties, even to go to the movies or a ball game.

And then there's the basic tension of the show: How long can he stay in one place? How long must he keep running? Can he find the one-armed man before he kills again?

Like my mom, I love this show.

Maybe this will help

I woke up with a tenacious, nagging headache that I just can't shake. I think it's because the air in here may not be as fresh as it could be. Cat fur/dander and litter dust, pollution that accompanies being as close to the train as I am, an antiquated heating system … I've got one of these air filter towers in my bedroom and have ordered a second for my living room. Hopefully this will help. It can't hurt, and it certainly has to be better for me than handsful of OTC painkillers. (I fear I'm becoming the Marilyn Monroe of Advil.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Appropos of nothing

He's a dependable day brightener, isn't he?

Good news! Good news!

This blog has been quite the downer lately, hasn't it? Well now I either have something positive to concentrate on, or something negative to forget about (depending on my mood). My brother-in-law starts a new job on Monday! He's had a rough time financially/professionally since last summer. Hopefully this will be a stable new beginning for him.

What's more, his wife (my spoiled baby sister) is actually working, too! She recently became a teacher's aide. The job ends when the schoolyear does, but it gives them enough to make the mortgage payment in March, April and May.

One less thing to worry about. One more thing to smile about.

Friday, March 14, 2008

As Cher would say, "Snap Out Of It!"

My former boss recently found he has prostate cancer. I sent him a note and quoted the Beatles, "Anytime at all, all you gotta do is call, and I'll be there."* I meant it when I wrote it.

This Monday afternoon he's having a consultation and another round of tests at a Loop hospital and asked if I'd meet him afterward. He wants to have a drink, unwind and talk about it before he goes home. I said yes. I meant it when I said it.

But now I'm apprehensive. This is getting all too real for me. To be honest, I don't want to go. I don't even want it to be happening.

First of all, it's his prostate. What do I know about prostates? I've talked about every bloody aspect of uterine fibroids without so much as a shiver, so it's not that I'm squeamish. It's just that it's the male reproductive system this time.

Secondly, it's cancer. I know it's non-aggressive, and I realize that since it was discovered when he was over 50, he's more likely to die of something else. But I reject him even having cancer! He and his wife have always been a very well matched couple, and now that their daughter has grown up successfully and gone, he's seemed so satisfied with his marriage and his life. I simply do not want him to have cancer. Not him, not now. No.

So I'm uncomfortable, sad and scared.

I know how this sounds: "me, me, me," and "I, I, I." I'm a selfish little beast, aren't I? HE is the one who is ill! And it would be even more monstrously selfish if I let him see how rattled this has left me.

So I'm mentally cracking myself across the face and admonishing myself to "Snap out of it!"

*Yes, it is SO the Beatles. I hate that a generation will think it was written for a bank ATM commercial!

Friday's Feast #32

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 as highest), how much do you like your own handwriting? Nine. My writing is distinctive and kinda pretty.

Do you prefer baths or showers? If I've got time, I prefer baths.

What was the last bad movie you watched? Valley of the Dolls. Deliciously awful.

Main Course
Name something you are addicted to and describe how it affects your life. Classic Coke. I'm sure it would be easier to lose weight if I could cut back and switch to water.

Which instrument is your favorite to listen to? Piano. No, guitar. No, piano …

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

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

THURSDAY THIRTEEN #58 -- What I Heard while Snooping


In January, I posted how the couple at the next table were blatantly, unashamedly eavesdropping on a friend and me as we chatted and dined. I didn’t think we were particularly interesting, nor worthy of the full attention of two strangers. But then, I thought, maybe we were. I wondered about the quality of the conversation swirling around me, tried to remember to remove my iPod, and listened in.

Here are 13 recently overheard conversations. Are they interesting? Let's just say I'm not leaving the house without my iPod ever again.

1) “Mom, I can’t believe you gave him the $500!” A man on his cell outside a restaurant. Apparently his son conned his mother (the boy’s grandmother) into “lending” him $500 for spring break.

2) “He demands a three-year commitment from all his new hires.”
“I don’t think that’s legal.”
"Yeah but he's from Europe. I wonder if he knows that."
Two women in the healthclub locker room, changing back into street clothes and discussing the first woman’s job search

3) “We have to find hot sauce.”
“I don’t think they have it here.”
“He puts hot sauce on everything!”
A pair of coworkers in line in front of me at Au Bon Pain, bringing lunch to a third who likes it spicy.

4) “You’re sure getting out of here early.”
“I’m going to get a shoe shine. He takes his time. Good way to start the weekend.”
“My wife has my weekend planned. You know, the ‘Honey Do’ list.”
Now to look at this dialog, you’d think these men were on the verge of retirement but no, they were in their 30s. I rode the elevator to the lobby with them one recent Friday.

5) “Don’t kiss me! Your cigar smells like fart!”
Woman to man picking her up at the train station. He laughed and hugged her shoulder. They seemed happy to see one another even though his cigar did indeed smell like fart.

6) “I was glad when the storm knocked that tree house down. It never looked safe to me.”
Woman seated behind me on the train. Here’s one time I was tempted to turn around and join the conversation. If the tree house never looked safe to you, how could you let your kids play in it?

7) “He seems chipper but, I dunno, under the surface there’s something. I think it’s because he doesn’t have any goals or objectives to work toward. That would make me sad, too.”
“I wish he would just face it and cry about it or something. Stop trying to be so strong or resilient or whatever. Maybe if he just faced it and dealt with it, he could make it better.”
Two women on the train, discussing their underemployed friend. Apparently he was let go in and has been unable to find a new position in his chosen profession.

8) “I told her I don’t know what she wants me to do about it! I mean, like, come on! It’s not like there’s a course at the high school called ‘vocabulary!’ Shit!”
“I don’t know why you care. She’s not your mother or even a teacher.”
Two high school girls, both wearing Obama buttons, walking up the street as they complained about some adult in their lives. I was intrigued because the first girl talked so fast and the second one spoke soooooo slooooow.

9) “Did he actually touch you?”
“No. But he came close. It was scary. It was right there in front of Macy’s!”
Couple I stood beside while waiting at a streetlight. The topic was not as it seemed. She was explaining why she doesn’t drive downtown anymore, so I assume it was her bumper that was almost touched.

10) “When was Ronald Reagan canonized, anyway? I never thought very much of him.”
“Yeah. And didn’t he have Alzheimer’s during his second term?”
Theatergoers seated beside us. This conversation completely freaked me out because a friend and I had a similar conversation earlier that very day! What are the odds?

11) “She said when she needed help to go to the bathroom, that was it. That’s when she wanted to die. Then she died in her sleep.”
“Good for her. She went in her own way.”
Two older ladies – one in a wheelchair – at the museum, discussing a mutual friend.

12) “Oh, you’re kidding! That is so arrogant.”
“I wish it had been a male hooker.”
“Men like that think they’re above the law and they aren’t.”
I assume these two women were talking about NY Gov. Elliott Spitzer, but I’m not 100% sure. I was eavesdropping on them while helping a coworker select a new suitcase at lunchtime.

13) “She’s in the hospital? NO! Things were going well for her!”
“She’s always having trouble with weight. I bet she’s been dieting too much.”
Two women in our breakroom, responding to a news story about Janet Jackson’s bout with the flu.

Leave your link in the comments and I'll add you here:
1) susiej has a delicious TT
2) Malcolm reminds us why we got up early on Saturdays
3) Chuck takes us shopping for her costume
4) Nicole Austin has a techno TT
5) Nicholas tries to help us speak English
6) Open Grove Claudia helps us shake off the doldrums
7) Adelle has an upbeat spring TT
8) Mama Kelly has a movie TT (and I LOVE movie TTs)
9) Susan introduces us to some great (albeit fictional) broads
10) Lori has an important relationship TT
11) Journeywoman has an admirable TT
12) Grandmother Wren is in a St. Paddy's Day mood
13) Linda's TT is brought to us by the letter C
14) Rims poses 13 questions
15) Bethany looks to the future
16) Dane Bramage is pondering this week
17) I wish Winter had come to my school and shared her TT on career day
18) Emmyrose has an inspirational TT
19) Marcia tempts us with a culinary TT
20) Amy the Black looks back on Mr. Rogers
21) Pop Tart revisits a very important year!
22) Lisa's TT is FFFFantastic!
23) Now go wish Kat a happy birthday!
24) Holly shares 13 nice things
25) Check out ufcfans' FIRST TT
26) Verabear shines a lovelight on her boyfriend in her TT
27) Faith puts her iPod on shuffle
28) Xakara invites us to share 13 awesome moments
29) It's All Good talks chocolate
30) Maggie's Mind has devoted her TT to her mom
31) Chris presents 13 unique weight loss tips
32) Lori shares what's on her bookshelf
33) Nissa sends cards with attitude

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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! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

He's here! Now somehow it will all be better.

Oh, I'm still surrounded by problems and heartache: upheaval at work … one friend that I now have a standing date with, on his way home from weekly appointment with his oncologist … another who is heartbroken about parting with her dog … the friend who's wrestling with the unpleasant reality of his divorce … the one who is facing major problems with her kids … the one who is assiduously not facing his need for an implanted defibrilator …

But it's OK because my best friend just rolled into town! Actually, he's in kind of a pissy mood, too, because of the client meetings he's facing all day, but I don't care. He's here! He's here!

I will tell him everything and he will listen and everything will be seem more manageable and in the proper perspective. Also, he can be depended on to make me smile and hug me. I think he's so good at this because he's a dad … Or maybe it's because he's one of the few people in this world who gets me and wouldn't change me, even if he could.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Not working for me, dawg

American Idol felt awkward and forced tonight. Not the performances, I enjoyed those. Brooke ("Let It Be"), Carly ("Come Together") and Amanda ("You Can't Do That") were especially entertaining doing some of the most important songs of my personal soundtrack.

My complaint is with Ryan Seacrest and his "banter" with Simon Cowell. It was adolescent and most of all, not funny. Let's try to remember, gentlemen, that this is a singing competition, not Last Comic Standing.

(I can't believe how into Idol I've become!)


Normally I wouldn't pay much attention to the travails of NY Governor Elliott Spitzer. You see, while most of the nation views our local Tony Rezko trial as being about Barack Obama, here we follow it to find out if/when our current governor will follow our previous governor to prison. So my plate is already full of gubernatorial corruption.

But this is too juicy for this prurient old gal to resist! Elliott Spitzer has presented himself as the new Elliott Ness, a straight arrow who will clean up the mess made by those who don't share his high standards of personal behavior. So to watch him strung up by his own peccadillos is fun.

Spitzer apparently spent $4,300 for a Washington DC assignation with a hooker on 2/13. It's the date that kept going through my mind as I watched Mrs. Spitzer silently stand by her man during his press conference. I've never been a wife, but I think that if I were her, it would really, REALLY bug me that my long-time hubby spent more on a hooker on 2/13 than he did on me the next night, Valentine's Day.

Also, I wonder what a woman has to do to earn $4,300 in one night. I know people who have spent less than that for a good used car. I'm tempted to Google it. Maybe it's time I broaden my horizons.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What the hey?

So I'm waiting patiently for the light in our village's busiest intersection to turn green when I spotted something in the street. First I noticed it was clothing. Rich, berry colored clothing. As I concentrated on it I noticed navy blue flecks. Then I saw they were boxer shorts.

How could anyone lose their berry-colored boxer shorts on the busiest corner in town on such a cold, cloudy day? I'm fascinated.

Oh, goodie!

So this morning, at about 1 AM, I was rinsing out some cans to be recycled. I hadn't been home since Thursday and naturally the sink hadn't been used in days, but even so, I was surprised to see a bug fly up from my drain. So I looked under the sink and guess what. The elbow pipe of my garbage disposal was dripping and smelled very bad.

Naturally I assumed this is why dirty, smelly water had been leaking onto my hallway carpet. However it was after midnight and a representative from the building company and a roofer were scheduled to be here at 9:00 to check out the roof and eliminate that as culprit. It's not like I could call them at that hour and cancel.

The roofer was just here and I showed him and the building rep. (who was wearing a dramatic eye patch) the leak under the sink and the spots in the hall where the carpet had been soaked.

To my surprise, the roofer and the building guy agree that it's neither the roof (the walls look fine, it's only the carpet that's messed up) nor the leaking garbage disposal (while not good, it's not big enough to cause this much damage). They believe it's the pipes in the wall that bring water up to the sink and my toilet. (They are back to back.)

I have no idea what anyone is talking about. I've only ever been in Home Depot once, and that was to use the bathroom. However I am aware that while the pipes under my sink are my responsibility, the pipes in the wall belong to the building.

Sometimes I wish I still rented. I have to remind myself how much I enjoyed that big ass tax refund, courtesy of all that mortgage interest. And that even in a slow real estate market this place is worth more than 35% more than it was when I bought it, and where else could I have gotten that return on an investment? Pissed as I am right now, I love my neighborhood, I'm even kinda fond of this place, and it's my security against living in a refrigerator box on Lower Wacker Drive.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

An imaginative way to spend a weekend

It was my oldest friend's idea. She's a member of the The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation (ALPLF) and found out through an email blast that they were presenting Having Our Say, a dramatization of The Delaney Sisters' outstanding memoir, right there in the Union Theater of the Lincoln Museum. Since it's a book she placed in my hands more than a decade ago, it was only fitting that she be the one I see the play with.

So we left for Spingfield after work on Friday night. Went to the Library and Museum on Saturday and saw a pair of fabulous new exhibits: "Packaging Presidents" about two centuries of political campaigns and "The Art of War," a very moving exhibit of almost 200 posters that illustrate how we were in WWI and WWII. Had dinner and returned to the museum after hours for the play. Stopped at the hotel bar for laughs and (believe it or not) a couple pots of tea. Took the train back today, and here I am.

It really wasn't expensive at all. Amtrak to and fro was less than $50. The hotel for two nights was $115 for each of us, but admission to the library and breakfast each day were included. The tickets to the play were less than $20 each.

But it was great fun. My oldest friend really makes me laugh. And I learned a lot. I finally saw the infamous LBJ "Daisy commercial," I was introduced to Belva Lockwood (one of America's first female lawyers and a Presidential candidate back in the 1880s), and saw how much was asked of American households in WWII. It was terrific to see Sarah and Bessie Delaney come to life. They "had their say" when they were 103 and 101 years old, the daughters of slaves, who went on to be New York's first female dentist (Bessie) and a Brooklyn home economics teacher (Sadie). I try to live by their advice: "Of every dollar, we put aside the first 10¢ for the Lord and the second dime for a rainy day."

Plus it's nice to get away: sleep in, eat breakfast that's been prepared for me, have a wildberry martini and laughs with dinner.

Not fair!

This makes me sad. I grew up on these guys, and Mike Smith was just two weeks from renewed glory. It's been said before, and I'll say it again, "Life isn't fair."


LONDON (AP) -- Dave Clark Five lead singer Mike Smith died of pneumonia Thursday, less than two weeks before the band is to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was 64.

Smith died at a hospital outside of London, his agent Margo Lewis said.

He was admitted to the intensive care unit Wednesday morning with a chest infection, a complication from a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed below the ribcage with limited use of his upper body. Lewis said he was injured when he fell from a fence at his home in Spain in September 2003.

Smith had been in the hospital since the accident, and was just released last December when he moved into a specially prepared home near the hospital with his wife.

"These last five years were extremely difficult for Mike. I am incredibly saddened to lose him, his energy and his humor, but I am comforted by the fact that he had the chance to spend his final months and days at home with his loving wife Charlie," Lewis said.

Smith wrote songs as well as singing and playing keyboards for the Dave Clark Five, one of many British rock acts whose music swept across the United States in the 1960s during the so-called British Invasion.

The Beatles are the best remembered, of course, but at the time the Dave Clark Five posed the strongest threat, commercially and critically, to their pre-eminence.

The Dave Clark Five claimed a string of U.S. hits, including "Because," "Glad All Over," and "I Like it Like That." By 1966, the band had made 12 appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show," then a record for any British group.

The group's antics were captured in John Boorman's 1965 documentary "Catch Us If You Can," which followed Smith and his band mates through the English city of Bristol.

While the group -- which broke up in 1970 -- was named after him, Dave Clark himself was the drummer.

The group is going to be inducted in the rock hall on March 10, a ceremony Lewis said Smith was trying to attend.

"We're very unhappy about the whole situation -- it's sad," Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President Joel Peresman said.

He said the ceremony would go ahead as planned, but that there would be "a little extra significance this year."

Said Lewis: "He was extremely excited and honored to have been inducted ... and I am glad that he will be remembered as a hall of famer, because he was in so many ways."

Smith is survived by his wife, Arlene (nicknamed Charlie).

Friday, March 07, 2008

I don't disagree

You Are 55% Grown Up, 45% Kid

You've grown up a good bit, but you still have a way to go before you're emotionally mature.

You have the skills to control your emotions, you just have to use them.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Idol Observation

I hate Danny Noriega. Really. There has never been a contestant on American Idol that I have detested more. He's smug, self-satisfied and precious. His overbearing arrogance isn't even amusing. it's just grating. If Kathie Lee Gifford were a skinny teenage boy with pretentious purple extensions, she'd be Danny Noriega. I predict his recording career will be as successful as hers.

Am I happy to see this snotty little twerp go home? "Ish."

There. I feel better now.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

THURSDAY THIRTEEN #57 -- Pop Goes the iPod


I have exactly 2,310 songs on my iPod and most of them are classified as “pop.” Here’s a sampling, and (to make it look like I put more work into this than just setting it on “shuffle” and skipping over the Christmas carols), it’s in the form of a quiz.

It’s a pretty eclectic collection, covering 40 years. I must give my iPod credit for putting 12 and 13 back to back because they really sound great together.

The answers are in the comments section.

1. So now you’re back from outer space. I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face.

2. I’m 45 for a moment. The sea is high and I’m heading into a crisis, chasing the years of my life.

3. I’ll be alright, one way or another. So let me go, or make me want to stay.

4. May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the light surrounding you.

5. She married when she was 20. She thought she was ready. Now she’s not so sure.

6. The rain is falling on my window pane, but we are hiding in a safer place.

7. Everybody needs a place to rest, everybody wants to have a home. Ain’t no difference what nobody says – ain’t nobody like to be alone.

8. Woke up, got out of bed. Dragged a comb across my head.

9. I dream of moments we share, but you’re not there. I’m living in a fantasy.

10. Seven lonely days and a dozen times ago, I reached out one night and you were gone.

11. I’ll be your baby, I’ll be your score. I’ll run the gun for you and so much more.

12. I don’t mind spending every day, out on the corner in the pouring rain.

13. Little darling, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter.

Put your link in the comments section and I'll add to here:
1) Melessa shares a few of her favorite brands
2) Malcolm salutes the Unsung Ladies of Song
3) Holly takes us to DisneyWorld
4) Pjazzypar has an AI TT (how fitting for tonight!)
5) Sandee shares her favorite cliches
6) Michelle fills us all in on Daylight Savings Time
7) Ornery's Wife has a sweet and sensitive TT
8) Marcia has a scrumptious TT
9) Nicholas has a literary TT, taken from his own shelves
10) Chuck reveals a love of junk food
11) Open Grove Claudia has an artsy TT
12) Losthemisphere sends us to VS blogs
13) Lori has an important, fiscal TT
14) Sandycarlson has an inspirational TT
15) Journeywoman has an ambitious TT
16) Tasina critiques today's biggest stars
17) No Nonsense Girl had an interesting week!
18) Xakara always has terrific TTs, so please go visit here (even though Firefox wouldn't let me open the link; sorry, Xakara -- I tried twice!)
19) Dane Bramage lists 13 children's books I'm positive you're not familiar with
20) Maribeth helps cure what ails us
21) Bermudabluez doesn't have a TT, but her "firsts" meme is fun
22) Corina has had a thoughtful week
23) Tips and Tricks has a bridal TT
24) Brenda's TT is saintly
25) Aline has a random TT
26) She became a butterfly concentrates on the letter D
27) Brittany's TT is all about Sweet Home Alabama
28) Lisa's TT is sponsored by the letter E
29) Tasha has an upbeat, happy TT

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Back from the precipice

Bill isn't the only "Comeback Kid" in the Clinton household. Even as pundits were writing her campaign obituary, voters in Texas and Ohio were casting their ballots for Hillary. So she won when she absolutely had to. I'm still leaning toward Obama, but I've gotta admire this old girl's guts.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Really? I didn't know that!

It's almost spring, when this Gal's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of baseball. And, of course, to my beloved, future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. Believe it or not, there are still things for me to learn about him …

• I knew he played both baseball and basketball in highschool in Las Vegas. But I didn't know he spent his early childhood on an airforce base in Madrid.

• I knew that, through his Maddux Foundation, he supports youth programs and domestic crises shelters. I didn't know that last season he provided more than a thousand Padres tickets to San Diego children's charities, too.

I love him. Rumor has it this could be his last season. How I wish he was closing out his career where it started -- in the friendly confines of beautiful Wrigley Field!

Remember the good old days?

You know, like yesterday, when a pimple on my chin seemed like the worst of my worries.

Let's see now, what happened today? Calamities listed in order of appearance:

• A coworker of mine, one of my favorites, resigned. I hate this because our account has had quite a bit of upheaval lately. I worry about what our client will think. And I'll miss him. His wife is pregnant and I was looking forward to collecting money from the team and then picking out baby clothes. Sigh.

• A friend of mine called me in tears. Her husband demands that they put their dog up for adoption. He never wanted this dog, isn't an "animal person," and simply can't stand taking care of it. The dog recently ruined their hardwood floors with his urine and well, those floors were hard to refinish. Now I cannot understand how anyone could NOT want a critter in their home. How could you see a dog day in/day out for years and be copacetic about saying goodbye? However, to be fair, her husband has always said he didn't want to care for it, and as her job gets more demanding he is stuck alone with the dog more and more. I don't know shit about marriage, but something tells me this is not about the dog. I think her husband wants some tangible proof, some sacrifice, that indicates he's still the center of her life. I don't know what it says about me, but I'd find it easier to be nice to him next time we all get together if my friend told me he'd had an affair. I think this dog thing sucks.

• Remember my former boss? The one who had a biopsy last week? Results are in. He has prostate cancer. He was vague on the details today and I didn't want to press him. He and his wife are consulting a specialist tonight. Maybe he'll feel more like sharing tomorrow.

The best part of my day was the cherry danish I had for lunch. I feel slovenly and lazy as a result of it, but it felt wickedly indulgent at the time.

Heads & Tails #19

Today's theme is 7 favorites from any category. Here are my 7 favorite Beatle songs, in no particular order:

"I Will" (Who knows how long I've loved you? I know I love you still. Shall I wait a lonely lifetime? If you want me to, I will.)

 "She Loves You" (Pride can hurt you, too. Apologize to her. Because she loves you, and you know that can't be bad.)

"Two of Us" (You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches on ahead.)

 "You're Gonna Lose that Girl" (If you don't take her out tonight, she's gonna change her mind. And I will take her out tonight and I will treat her kind.)

"Help!" (When I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody's help in any way)

"All My Loving" (Close your eyes and I'll kiss you. Tomorrow I'll miss you. Remember, I'll always be true.)

"You Like Me Too Much" (Though you've gone away this morning you'll be back again tonight, telling me there will be no next time if I just don't treat you right.)

Ah, just thinking of these made me smile!

For more information, or to play along yourself, visit Skittles' Place.