09 November, 2008

National Precedent?

...If good looks was a minute, you know that you could be an hour/ the way you stole my heart, you know you could have been a crook/ and baby you're so smart, you know you could have been a schoolbook....

It is 7 PM on Sunday 9 November 2008, and I'd like to share a few noteworthy politicky statistics. I've seen few presidential elections, and have paid attention to fewer, plus my memory is notably unreliable, so maybe this has happened before.

List Number One:

New York Times Paperback Non-Fiction Best Sellers

Top 5 at a Glance

1. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

2. MARLEY & ME, by John Grogan

3. THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, by Barack Obama

4. DREAMS FROM MY FATHER, by Barack Obama

5. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilber

Number three and number four, not bad.

List Number Two:

Amazon's Best Seller List, Updated Hourly

1. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (Vintage)
by Barack Obama (Author)

2. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
by Barack Obama (Author)

3. Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4)
by Stephenie Meyer (Author)

4. Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, Book 3)
by Stephenie Meyer (Author)

5. The Shack
by William P. Young (Author)

6. New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2)
by Stephenie Meyer (Author)

7. Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)
by Stephenie Meyer (Author)

8. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Standard Edition
by J. K. Rowling (Author)

9. Too Fat to Fish
by Artie Lange (Author), Anthony Bozza (Author)

10.Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
by Barack Obama (Author)

Numbers one, two and ten, hoo-boy!

Aaaaaand List Number Three:

Barnes And Noble's Best Seller List

1.The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama(Paperback)

2.Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama (Paperback)

3.Change We Can Believe In by Barack Obama(Paperback)

4.The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Harry Potter Series)by J. K. Rowling (Hardcover)

5.The Twilight Saga Collection by Stephenie Meyer (Hardcover)

Numbers one, two and three! Whoo-hoo!

So let's give it up for a best-selling author and our next president! Yes indeedey, ladies and gentlemen, no misunderestimating this guy!

Unless this HAS happened before, in which case, please return to your normal state of cynical apathy.

(The Way You Do The Things You Do; The Temptations)

04 November, 2008

RE: Election

...freedom's day has still to dawn, we've never yet lost heart!/ we'll fight it out until the end - we'll fight for we cannot fail/ we know we'll win although they have our lads in Crumlin jail....

Dear John,

We applaud your efforts on the behalf of the Republican party. But, dude, it's not as if you ever really had a shot. Eight years of national economic rape makes Conservatives look bad and the chances of a Republican for a third term in a row pretty slim anyway, but then you have to go up against someone young, good-looking, and articulate. Man, can that guy put together a sentence. It's completely true that he comes off as rational, while you sputter and fume like a cartoon character. Some people even compare him to JFK, and you know what a bunch of slavering idiots Americans were over that overeducated prettyboy.

So, anyway, just wanted to say don't be too bummed about this, and we appreciate you taking one for the team.


The Republican Party

(Irish Republican Prison Song; The Wolf Tones)

17 October, 2008

Hero, Villain

...Where have all the good men gone/ and where are all the gods?/ where's the street-wise Hercules/ to fight the rising odds?....

The air is clear and cool. Mist hangs over the parking lot. It looks like a good day.

The grounds, still spongy from last weekend's downpour, give us a bit of trouble. In our morning procession, I step with my left and sink- deep, deep- then step with my right, expecting to pull free.

I do not pull free.

I tug on the swath of organza that connects me to my daughter, then pull on the elastics and fling the fabric away from myself.

If I go down, I'm going alone.

I manage to pull the right stilt free, and beckon (with no little urgency) to a patron who has been paying attention while I use the right stilt to balance and feel for a solid spot. The man comes to my side, plants his feet firmly and extends a strong arm for me to use to lever myself out of the mire.

I yank my left stilt with a hip-jolting pull, and bow to my hero. His friends applaud him, and he bows back. A kind, observant woman picks up the trailing organza and hands it to me as I hurry to catch my compatriots. They've gotten maybe ten yards. I reassemble, and the front two have no idea of my brief panic.

I later discover nine inches of mud on the bottom of my stilt.

The day goes smoothly. We are merry and bright, which is the extent of our job description. A translucent redhead at the top of the joust-bowl looks at me expectantly. She has a small baby in her arms. The top of the list is slippery with unanchored dust, and none too flat, but she hasn't thought of that. I hold out my hands, and she passes him up. Her companions do not object. They seem to not even have a camera.

We are stilted up a long time. When more than 20 thousand guests arrive, we like to make ALL of them happy. Plus it takes awhile to wade through them. We're nearing home base, and a family of costumed patrons grins at us. She holds a small boy in green satin leiderhosen. We grin back. "You want him?" she asks. Well, no. Okay, yes. What, you folk don't have a camera, either? Are you kidding me? Can someone answer me this, why would you hand your kid to a stiltwalker if you didn't want a picture of the event? Sigh.

We lurk over to the tall rail at O'Shucks pub and hang out with some folk who become our friends forever, and buy us beers and oyster shooters. We walk a straight line, then run away to shed our long legs. Mimic and I head out for a bite to eat, happy to be there, happy to be anywhere.

And then the photographer shows up.

Now, we love photographers. We will pose all day for a busload of photogs with lenses worth more than both our cars together. We like little kids with paper box cameras. Camcorders do not offend us, though it's increasingly hard to tell which cameras are 'cording. Okay, your cellphone camera: we have little respect for this, especially if you don't know how it works. Sorry, lady... not posing and re-posing while you learn to use it. But still. People with cameras make us look beautiful. We love them.

Now, this fellow (I use 'fellow' with a deep and rare awareness of insufficient vocabulary) pretended he was not photographing us.

Usually, I am happy to pretend to not be posing while a photog in search of a candid pretends to not be shooting. Understand this: over the years, I've learned that EVERY motion, EVERY expression, must be deliberate and chosen for the moment.

This, this fellow followed us around. I heard repeated clicking of his shutter button. When we turned to smile at him, he turned away and pretended he hadn't been shooting. He followed us for a full five minutes, shooting and trying to pretend he hadn't been.

He never lifted his camera to his face. It remained hung around his neck, lens at belly level. He was shooting our asses.

If it had been one shot, and the guy had grinned and waved after being caught at it, I wouldn't've minded being shot in the ass.

This is creepy, and makes me angry. I find Columbina nearby chatting with some fancy patrons, and complain to her, (refreshing to have a conversation with someone who does NOT sigh "Oh, dear, I'm bad at charades- I have no idea what you're trying to say"), and she informs me that Mr. Creepy Fellow has been spotted following teen-ish girls, doing the same thing, and yes, it was creepy. (I make the 'creepy' face, and she knows). I wish I had it in me to laugh and feel flattered. She promises to keep her eye out for him, and I have more than half a mind to find security, but by this time I've lost him in the crowd.

Suddenly, I have no appetite. Mimic chooses an ice cream, and we return to camp. As we clean up and put away the stilts, I tell her again the story of the morning hero. I know she's heard it. She knows I know.

She knows why I tell it again.

Two days left, and the '08 season is over.

(Holding Out For A Hero; Bonnie Tyler)

03 October, 2008

You Betcha!

...Texas always seemed so big/ but you know you're in the largest state in the union/ when you're anchored down in Anchorage....

So my nutty neighbor wanders over, drunk, (a common state), and in the course of asking me to look after things a bit around his house- finally he remembered about the cat- suggested I would be "just a fucking riot" as Sarah Palin.

I wasn't sure whether to be flattered or offended. I pointed out that Tina Fey seems to have that pretty well covered already. I've been compared to Sandra Bullock, any number of 'models' of My First Sex Teacher, (no, you do NOT get an url), and "that girl on Just Shoot Me", who has a name; it's Laura SanGiacomo.

There is limited gain in resembling minor stars, especially ones who are not currently "hot". I'm not sure there's even much of a market for AngelinaJolie-alikes, and she is certainly the definition of HOTT. Yes, with two Ts. TomCruise-alikes, though, have been popular for three decades. Since I don't sing, Marilyn was never an option, and I'm not quite, uh, generous enough for Mae West. I've been Betsy Ross, however: even ancient, fictitious politics are big business. My pal who plays FDR gets some play with that, plus his Nixon's always popular; my friend Jim has earned a lot of money portraying a president whose policies he can't admire- at least, not if he wants to retain the title of 'actor'- and a girlfriend of mine was briefly rolling in it- "I coulda bought a car," because she resembled Monica Lewinsky.

So, Sarah Palin? And me?

It could be the beginning of a profitable relationship.

If I can get past the research.

(Anchored Down In Anchorage; Michelle Shocked)

30 September, 2008

Answer's Yes.

...Come dance with me baby/ in the summer rain/ I remember the rain on our skin/ and his kisses hotter than the Santa Ana winds....

Yes, it was muddy. Yes, it was Pyrate Invasion Weekend. Yes, we show up and perform when it rains. Yes, the patrons came out, though not as many as we'd've liked. Yes, we walked stilts. Yes, it was tricky getting out of the parking lot. Yes, we have three weekends left. Yes, I'm getting tired, but mostly of laundry rather than performance. Yes, I'll recognize you, if you come close enough; remember I'm near-sighted.

Sidebar: A couple of guys come up to us. Mimi! they holler. I turn. Hah! I know you guys!
Where's Max? I point. He and his sister are heading another direction with Didi. Zizi and I stick around for reminiscence, not that she has any yet. I know these guys. Not their names, though probably they've said them more than once. Their faces. Most Favored Patrons, from long ago. I look around and spread my hands at them. What are you looking for? I point to them. Us! Where've we been! Yes. I can't believe you remember us! I count my fingers, four, five, six? Has it been five years, they wonder. I make a face. Yes, well, he- the redhead points to the sunglasses guy- was in Yerp for the last four years. I can't believe she remembers us! And he- the sunglasses guy points to the redhead- has two kids now. I make incredulous faces and point to myself; I have two kids, and I still show up. Mimi! I can't believe she remembers us. Off they go, these two guys, to hunt up significant others, offspring, uncles, whatever, and I hold someone's grandbaby for a photo. Here they are! Redhead has twins. He hands me one of them, despite the worried frown of his spouse. I roll my eyes, and extend my other arm. You sure? They're heavy! They ARE heavy. But not too much, and not covered in cheesedust. But they cry, even though I've kept them facing away from me. Sometimes the perspective change is overly startling. The laughing family gets a couple of shots, and I hand back the fussy twins. Mimi! She remembers us! I blow kisses and find Zizi again. She's made friends with seleventeen little kids and their two generations of elders. Sigh. Well, we can't both gravitate towards beered up single guys who keep showing up until they've become family men. Back home, I find an elderly photograph album. Here's Redhead, with me draped all over him. And here I am with both of them, and yes, Sunglasses is wearing shades in that photo as well. Probably the first photo they brought to me the day the second was taken. I assume there's a third, taken when they gave me the second, but between Yerp and the twins, who knows where it might be. I slide the photograph out of its sleeve. There's a date on the back: September, 1991.

So, Yes, we are open three more weekends; do please come visit me if you haven't yet, and usually do. Because Yes, I see thousands of people, but I'm always particularly thrilled to see YOU.

(Summer Rain; Belinda Carlisle)

26 September, 2008

Uphill's Easier

...take it down/ climb a mountain and turn around....

Overheard last weekend:

"Wow, that's GOTTA be hard! Downhill on stilts over all that mulch!"

Um, not so much, really....


(Landslide; Fleetwood Mac)

23 September, 2008

On Point:

...down dooby doo down down, comma comma/ down dooby doo down down....

Wednesday is National Punctuation Day! Read all about it.

In honor of NPD, I found some fun sites for your exploration and enjoyment. If you're confused about the marks themselves, the punctuation tree will help you.

If you're ready for a bit of a quiz, Lynne Truss has one on comma and apostrophe use.

Commas are relevant to our civil rights; don't miss this article about the Second Amendment.

Those pesky commas can also cost us money.

Comma Quirk Irks Rogers
Sunday, August 06, 2006
From Monday's Globe and Mail

It could be the most costly piece of punctuation in Canada.

A grammatical blunder may force Rogers Communications Inc. to pay an extra $2.13-million to use utility poles in the Maritimes after the placement of a comma in a contract permitted the deal's cancellation.

The controversial comma sent lawyers and telecommunications regulators scrambling for their English textbooks in a bitter 18-month dispute that serves as an expensive reminder of the importance of punctuation.

Rogers thought it had a five-year deal with Aliant Inc. to string Rogers' cable lines across thousands of utility poles in the Maritimes for an annual fee of $9.60 per pole. But early last year, Rogers was informed that the contract was being cancelled and the rates were going up. Impossible, Rogers thought, since its contract was iron-clad until the spring of 2007 and could potentially be renewed for another five years.

Armed with the rules of grammar and punctuation, Aliant disagreed. The construction of a single sentence in the 14-page contract allowed the entire deal to be scrapped with only one-year's notice, the company argued.

Language buffs take note — Page 7 of the contract states: The agreement “shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party.”

Rogers' intent in 2002 was to lock into a long-term deal of at least five years. But when regulators with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) parsed the wording, they reached another conclusion.

The validity of the contract and the millions of dollars at stake all came down to one point — the second comma in the sentence.

Had it not been there, the right to cancel wouldn't have applied to the first five years of the contract and Rogers would be protected from the higher rates it now faces.

“Based on the rules of punctuation,” the comma in question “allows for the termination of the [contract] at any time, without cause, upon one-year's written notice,” the regulator said.

Rogers was dumbfounded. The company said it never would have signed a contract to use roughly 91,000 utility poles that could be cancelled on such short notice. Its lawyers tried in vain to argue the intent of the deal trumped the significance of a comma. “This is clearly not what the parties intended,” Rogers said in a letter to the CRTC.

But the CRTC disagreed. And the consequences are significant.

The contract would have shielded Rogers from rate increases that will see its costs jump as high as $28.05 per pole. Instead, the company will likely end up paying about $2.13-million more than expected, based on rough calculations.

Despite the victory, Aliant won't reap the bulk of the proceeds. The poles are mostly owned by Fredericton-based utility NB Power, which contracted out the administration of the business to Aliant at the time the contract was signed.

Neither Rogers nor Aliant could be reached for comment on the ruling. In one of several letters to the CRTC, Aliant called the matter “a basic rule of punctuation,” taking a swipe at Rogers' assertion that the comma could be ignored.

“This is a classic case of where the placement of a comma has great importance,” Aliant said.

Now, just for fun, a photoblog of
unnecessary quotation marks
, and one that's not much to do with punctuation, but that made me laugh most heartily at the funny un-grammar.

Speaking of which, LOLCats.

I Has A 'Postrofee.

(Breaking Up Is Hard To Do; Neil Sedaka)

11 September, 2008

Half Wet

...Here is the rainbow I've been prayin' for/ It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)/ Sun-Shiny day....

Sunday, gorgeous and bright, was a day that the troupe termed "ideal", as our sets went smoothly and we felt as though we had good interactions all around. Though the grounds were squashy, we stilted up and we contributed to the textural quality thereof with squareish 1x1 holes.

On Saturday, while Hanna spent her wetness upon us, we only LOOKED dry entertaining the six hundred intrepid souls who waded in play.

"These two women came in," my jeweler pal tells me, "who had driven three hours to come to the festival today." I express astonishment. She laughs. "I know! But here's the thing that amazed me: they seemed perfectly normal!"

Because, understandably, we expect the crazies.

Mr. Squeeze keeps his feet comfy in the black wellies he's wearing beneath his sillypants all day long. "Vulcanized rubber, not exactly period, I know, but I don't care, I don't care," and he does two or three seconds worth of dancing. Pretty good Garland, considering he's a straight historical combat artist.

And black.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

(I Can See Clearly Now; Bob Marley)

01 September, 2008

Inevitable, Eventually

...baby baby, please let me hold him/ I wanna make him stay up all night....

There is no reason that it should work, but it does. A kilt, sunglasses, a Rogues tee shirt, a pin-studded black leather biker vest and a real for sure Santa Claus beard ought to look terrible. He looks fantastic.

It's Festival time again. Outfits of all descriptions are on display for the next seven weekends.

Our bubbles are appreciated, and brightly dressed panto clowns sneaking through the village gets more attention than it deserves. We form a bright barrier between squishable patrons and working elephants, and provide a distraction while EMTs revive an overly marinated young lady lying prone on the path. But my naughty habit of baby-nabbing catches up with me at last.

A woman has seen me take a small girl up high in the air and return her unharmed. She brings her own child for a photo, then without warning snatches her up and shoves her into my unprepared arms. I smile grimly for the shot, managing not to stumble, then walk away. "Give my child back!" she shrieks. What? You gave her to me, this grubby, cheese-dust smeared urchin. GAVE her. The child begins to cry. I hand her over, irritated expression deliberately in place, brushing orange grime from my costume.

Hand ME a filthy child, will you? Not again, I bet.

(Stay Up Late; Talking Heads)

19 August, 2008

Limited Time

...so tired of losing- I got nothing to do and all day to do it/ I go out cruisin' but I've no place to go and all night to get there....

Okay, here it is: you have two weeks left in which to wear your white shoes. Live it up. Enjoy. And then put them away until Memorial Day.

Do NOT make me go all Serial Mom on your asses.

(Too Much Time On My Hands; Styx)

11 August, 2008

Ask Not

...a thousand million questions/ about hate and death and war....

I don't bother even to READ these things. So if you've sent one, I still don't know your favorite brand of orange juice. However, I do many things for my sister that baffle even me.

1. When did I get up? not sure... I went to bed at 5:38, but fell asleep on the sofa at 1:00am, so maybe 5:38? but then I woke at 6:00 to turn off the alarm, got up at 8:30 but haven't done anything yet...

2. Diamonds or Pearls? What kind of budget do you think I have? Silver and copper, mostly

3. Last film... Wal- E

4.Favorite TV show? Law and Order, CSI, NCIS, Numbers.... but not Cold Case. I HAAAAATE Cold Case

5. What do I usually have for breakfast? I don't "usually" anything.

6. Maiden name is middle name

7. A convertible!

8. Favorite sandwich.. uh... oh, wait, I know this one... there was this little place in I think it was Virginia, anyway, it was called the Traveling Troll, and it was Muenster cheese, avocado slices and sprouts on whole grain bread with... um, goddess dressing? or remoulade? anyway, when I went back another time, it wasn't yummy like I remembered, so my favorite sandwich is the memory of a sandwich that I had once upon a time. I don't like sprouts anymore, but haven't given up trying to replicate the feeling of the Traveling Troll.

(see? it's an absurd answer. Some of these questions are just absurd.)

9. Despised characteristic... lack of compassion. Oh, that wasn't so hard. I thought surely there were a bazillion things that annoyed me about other people...

10. Favorite clothing item??? depends on what I want to wear!

11. Anywhere in the world on vacation... depends. How long do I have? What season is it? How much money can I spend? Is anyone going with me, or am I by myself? If I'm not alone, who is it that's with me? How many? Who's buying? Where's my drink? Wait, what?

12. Bathroom isn't any color. It's under construction.

13. Favorite clothing brand? You've gotta be kidding me.

Well, hang on a tic.... I do end up with a lot of Old Navy stuff I like, and I kind of love my Victoria's Secret purchases.

14. Retire? From what? You mean someday I have to stop getting paid to help other people have fun? Why? because I turn old and stuff?

(You see how some of these questions are unanswerable because they simply lead to more questions....)

15. Memorable birthday... oh, I dunno... the good ones I don't really remember in the morning... WAIT! when I was turning 21, Hawk took me to King's Dominion for two days, and we drove down in his Nova and had such a good time in the car together that I didn't care if we went to the park at all, but we did, and then it rained so everyone left but then the rain stopped and we had the park almost all to ourselves. Of course, I may be mixing up the memories of like three different trips here, because memorable requires having a memory that works accurately, rather than pleasantly. I enjoy my memories, but I don't know if they're true.

16. Favorite sport to watch... oh, come ON... actually, I CAN answer this one: I like to watch triathalons when my sister is competing. Because her face is so beautiful when she sees us.

17. (How long IS this quiz? You should take my quiz on Facebook; it's only 13 questions.)

18., 19, See above

20. Favorite saying... I'm a writer. I can't have favorites. I have to use what's appropriate to the situation. But maybe I will invent a favorite: What would Yogi (Berra) say?

21. I think you know my birthday.

22. Morning or night? What kind of a question is that? I have narcolepsy and insomnia. Does 3 AM qualify as morning, or night?

23. Shoe Size!?? Oh! My! God! How long IS this quiz?

24. Pets? Why yes. Including a brand new lizard named Chim-Chim, to go with the hermit crabs Spritle and Speed.

25. Exciting news, exciting news.... does being featured poet in October count as exciting? no, not really. Oh! I am writing the October murder mystery, Death Expo.

26.What did I want to be when I was little...other than big? Well, I wanted to be an actor. Hey, guess what! My parents mocked me, but what do I get paid to do, hmmm?

27. How am I today? Oh, please. See Question 8.

28. Favorite candy is 65% or better semi-sweet chocolate bars that I keep in the freezer and eat one square at a time.

29. Favorite flower... you know, I've always admired Queen Anne's Lace. I know it's technically a weed, but it grows under the most adverse circumstances, is extremely tough but manages to be delicate-looking, has a sort of spicy smell, and if you put coloring in the water, the lace turns fancy colors.

30. What day on the calend... you've got to be kidding me.

31. Listening to? low grade hum of the computer in the next room.

32. Last thing I ate... like a meal? yesterday's dinner, catfish, corn and green beans. Unless the ricecracker nut snackmix counts. And then it's that.

33. I absolutely wish on stars, even when I'm not sure they're stars. I've probably wished on airplanes quite a bit, which if you think about it isn't any sillier than wishing on stars. I wish on the moon now, too, since Glass Menagerie. And I wish on eyelashes, dandelions, white horses, loads of hay and coins I throw in fountains.

34. If I were a crayon. Jeeebuz, who makes up these things?

35., 36., 37., see above.

38. Yes, I have a sibling. It is because of her that I'm spending NINE THOUSAND HOURS on this questionare. Usually I don't even read them because I mostly don't give a shit what's the last thing you ate or your shoe size.

39. I don't have a favorite day. Alternatively, they are all my favorite. What kind of a question is that?

40. Favorite toy... my sister, I guess. She was fun company, and we had great pretend games. She would talk on the pretend phone and only have one half of the conversation. I always had to be both ends.

41. Of course, summer. Despite the damn mosquitos.

42. Hugs or kisses? Giving or receiving? Are you wearing a stuffed character suit? How sweaty am I? How sweaty are you? Where would you be putting those kisses? Have we met before? Are you crying? Do you bite a little when you kiss? See, it's JUST NOT THAT SIMPLE.

43. Coffee or tea? What time is it? What sort of tea? Am I cold? Are we in New Orleans? Because if we're in New Orleans, IT'S COFFEE. Anywhere else, it depends.

44. Chocolate or vanilla...now that's pretty narrow. It's like asking Elvis or Beatles. Really? I mean, I tasted this one ice cream, probably 2 summers ago, called SPF 31 and it tasted like sunscreen, but in a good way. Boy I loved that. What was the question?

45. Why would I e-mail my friends if I DIDN'T want them to send back? That question makes no sense.

46. Last time I cried... a real cry or just teary? I snivel at things people don't understand. I cried for ET. I still do. EVERY TIME. Big Fish made me cry. I don't think Wal-E made me cry, but I don't remember.


48. Friend I've had longest... well, I've known Shirley since Jr. High, but we see each other one time a year, and she does all the talking, because I'm working... I guess Coco, unless Hawk counts. Or! There's this guy, and we were friends when we were like fourteen years old, and we still talk once or twice a year, does that count?

49. Last night... what DID I do last night? Oh, drove back from Lebanon, PA with a car full of gear including a bucket, long striped socks, a duster, four pair of sunglasses, an unfinished hat, three parasols, a lot of towels, one pair of stilts, and a lizard.

50. Favorite smell? Not just one I like, or several ones I like, but FAVORITE? Because fresh-baked bread is nice, but so is kettle corn. And the smell of sun on sand is good, plus if you add in the smell of ocean... I like the smell of elephants; I think it's funny. It always makes me smile. I like the smell of tanning oil, and the air when it's going to rain, and sweet briar rose in the spring. Baby shampoo. Wild rice pilaf. Diesel, sweat and cigarettes. HOW CAN I CHOOSE A FAVORITE?

51. Yes, I'm afraid of two things: Having someone cut into me with something sharp (makes surgery extremely unpleasant) and having a bat in my hair.

52. Salty or sweet? Yes.

53. How many keys on my... shit. I don't know. At least three. Unless the beer opener counts.

54. Years at my current job? My job of being a self-employed itinerant? Mmmm...twelve. The hours are great but the health care plan stinks.

55. Towns I've lived in... Ann Arbor. Detroit. Terre Haute. Jasonville. Baltimore. Linthicum Heights. Brooklyn. Brooklyn. Brooklyn.

56. Do I make friends easily? Probably you should ask my friends. If I have some. Which is still under examinations. I'm just saying.

57. How many people will I...? Only the one that sent it to me, plus my blog.

58. Oh, seriously? How many responses... please. Enough is enough already.

Believe it or not, I don't really care what your weather is just now.

(Question; The Moody Blues)

07 August, 2008

International Amusement

....a pista nos llaman los matadores/ Haces q cualquiera se enamore/ Cuando bailas al ritmo de los tambores....

Hi, I'm back, watching the Olympics. I'll have a better post soon, but I just wanted to say hello....

Sorry. Flashbacks. Too much L D S in the sixties.

The Olympics are coming. China is enforcing its "no homeless" policy, and removing as many "Chinglish" signs as it can manage.

In foreign national tongue, funny thing are funny which take for serious instructment when at home.

In fact, my subtitle, "finally, it is accepted as self-evident" is very nearly Chinglish. Or a zen koan. I haven't decided. I got it in my fortune cookie. It is to date my favorite fortune ever, even including the dirty ones.

And then there's this:

In my house, "Rawr-ra-ra-rawr- ra-ra-ra-ra-rawr" is replacing "blah blah yadda yadda".

Ancient creatures rapping about fossil fuel, it was only a matter of time....

Repeating syllables= funny. Not just in English. Evidently. Meet Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo,
...a man with the incredible power of hearing the voices of hair and using his own [hair] to fight. He uses his power to fight off the Margarita Empire and all of EmperorTsuru Tsuruiina's minions who are stealing the hair off of anyone they find..

I'll say it again: the Japanese are weird.

On our own shores, there is also monstrous weirdness. Somebody needs to tell the Weekly World News that Batboy's got competition! Too bad that brilliantly bad paper is now defunct.

Or is it?

(Gasolina; Daddy Yankee)*

31 July, 2008

Summer Reading

...in a perfect world where everyone was equal/ I'd still own the film rights and be working on the sequel...


The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman. The premise of this book is "What would happen to the things we've built if humans stopped existing on the planet?" It's anthropological, biological, ecological, and just fascinating reading. I've already promised it to someone, and I'm only to page 60.

Why Things Bite Back, technology and the revenge of unintended consequences, by Edward Tenner. I have a feeling this is going to be a sort of sociological examination of consumerism, and will be as much about attitudes and expectations as mechanics. It was this very combination that made me love Why We Buy, the science of shopping, by Paco Underhill. I think of 'unintended consequences' in relation to the drug industry, except lately I've begun to suspect that drug companies are inventing ailments in order to sell useless drugs that cause side effects, requiring other drugs. I'll admit to being paranoid; this doesn't mean my theory's wrong. Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation: the dark side of the all-American meal, also an examination of consumerism, was engaging and moved along, but didn't precisely have a plot, so I'm not sure how it could be made into a movie. Despite the presence of Patricia Arquette, I haven't seen it; anybody? Worth renting?

The Third Domain, the untold story of archaea and the future of biotechnology, by Tim Friend. This begins with the author underwater, in a particularly filthy puddle in New York City's Central Park. It's a scientific exploration of microbes, and it reads like a Michael Crichton novel. By the way, his (Crichton's) novel, Next, (not well reviewed) was not that bad. Okay, not Jurassic Park, but not bad. It raised interesting questions, coined a couple of terms I expect to hear in common use fairly soon, and had some wry funny bits. And a monkey.


The Mind And The Brain, neuroplasticity and the power of mental force, by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. and Sharon Begley. It's about the way our brains can and will remap themselves based on how we use them. There are some uncomfortably vivid descriptions of certain experiments that were crucial parts of the phenomena under discussion, which were tough to get through, but the writing is engaging and accessible without being simplistic or condescending. This is now one of the three books I give away regularly.

Still on tap:

You Suck, by Christopher Moore. It's a novel. I'm saving it. Chris Moore doesn't write fast enough to suit me.

(Everyday I Write The Book; Elvis Costello)

29 July, 2008

Not You

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

You nuzzled and kissed me as we stood outside my mother's house. You nipped my neck in different places to hear the noises I made, laughing into my throat, holding me perfectly in your arms.

And then you said, "We have to stop."

I looked at you, and you said, "I can't risk a scandal, because I want to run for office someday."

It seemed to make sense at the time, but when I woke I realized that you running for office may be the funniest thing I ever heard.

Who was wearing your face in my dream? Who was wearing MINE?

24 July, 2008

Provocative Plates

...clothes she wears, the sexy ways/ make an old man wish for younger days/ she knows she’s built and knows how to please....

The expensive import bears a tag reading GR8FRMS, which makes me wonder:

Plastic Surgeon?
Tax Accountant?

It's a conservative blue color, so I'm betting on Tax Accountant.

In other news, KEEPING FAITH was reviewed in the Sun by Mary Johnson, reprinted in part as follows:

For the second consecutive year, CAC is offering a work by Mark Scharf, one of this area's foremost playwrights with over 40 plays produced and a former three-term chairman of the festival.

Keeping Faith is his first attempt at writing a full-length comedy, an endeavor he succeeds in by creating overly protective, anger-driven parents bungling an attempt to abduct their 18-year-old daughter on the eve of her wedding to a man more than twice her age.

Scharf has expert assistance from CAC veteran comedy director C.J. Crowe and her four-person cast, each skilled at projecting human frailties to coax our chuckles of recognition.

I will be performing as Mimi during Youth Camp Day at PARF next week, as well as their Opening Weekend of August 9&10. Already? Sheeeee-yit. I'll be performing Silent Stories, something I no longer do in Maryland, so if that was a favorite of yours (or if you've never seen it and want to), please come and enjoy. I'd wear a red carnation so you'll know me, but it would wilt in the heat.

(Brick House; Lionel Richie)

08 June, 2008

Conditions: Sticky.

..Well if it rains I don't care/ don't make no difference to me/ just take that streetcar that's goin' uptown...Oh black water, keep on rolling/ Mississippi moon won't you keep on shining on me...

People move at the pace of flowing honey, or not at all. Even blue dogs pant.

The inside is sticky with 90-degrees-plus-humidity sweat. The sleeve is soaked with riverwater. The front has a faint dusting of white powdered sugar.

This shirt is clear proof that I am in New Orleans; I may never wash it again.

(Black Water; Doobie Brothers)

03 June, 2008

Unacceptable Emission

...tell me that you want the kind of thing that money just can't buy....

It's a beautiful afternoon on the Baltimore Beltway. I'm cheerful; I'm topless. He's topless. In my rear view mirror, I notice his jaunty white hat, which matches his jaunty white golf shirt. I wonder if his trunk has space for a jaunty set of color-coordinated clubs. He pulls to the right side of me, and I smell cologne. He guns his silver 2008 Porsche Carrera 911 (retail: $93,000.00) to squash between my red 1997 Chrysler Sebring (purchased in 2007 for $4,300.00)and the Prius ahead of me. I still smell very strong, very stinky cologne. And continue to inhale this odor (oh, beg pardon: odeur, which costs more) for the next half-mile. I drop back. No relief. It's a nasal assault; I change lanes.

Proof yet again that money can't buy you taste.

(Can't Buy Me Love; The Beatles)

01 June, 2008

Unlikely Viewing

...the drink will flow and blood will spill/ and if the boys want to fight, you'd better let them....

My favorite bit of the Saturday Night Fights was when Gina Carano, after being declared the winner on a TKO, walked over to Kaitlin Young's corner and gave her a little kiss.

My next favorite bit was after the final match of the evening, when Kimbo did the same thing to Colossus Thompson. Neither of these moments made the news, naturally. I cannot disagree in any large part with this statement, which did show up:

The pacing of the show suggest the promotion needs to work out the kinks before their second broadcast. CBS viewers got less than nine minutes of action over the first hour and a half of the broadcast. The show also ran more than 45 minutes over its allotted time, no doubt sending network station affiliate general managers into apoplectic fits as they waited to cut to their local news. Such an overage would be unheard of on an Ultimate Fighting Championship telecast.

Well, no argument except "viewers got less than nine minutes of action", which they did not.

They got fewer than nine minutes of action.

(The Boys Are Back In Town; Thin Lizzy)

21 May, 2008

Teevee; News?

...there's nothing I believe in more than my own insignificance/ so why does everybody think that my words can make a difference/ I just don't have time to think up every social consequence....

In Entertainment News (an oxymoron, in my opinion; I know- nobody asked), we see art imitating, um, art. If television (Law And Order SVU) and improv (ImprovEverywhere) qualify as art; there is some disagreement.

Also, you knew it was only a matter of time before obesity was blamed for global warming. You knew that. Right? On Reuters, folks, so you know it's true.

Satuday Night Live, not precisely improv, not exactly art, and for about two decades, not even funny, has recently come up with a few watchable items, including this one.

Yep, that's the actual Senator John McCain on SNL.

And the Democratic race continues. It's entertaining, at least to those of us who don't give a shit WHO we get, as long as GWB leaves office, please God.

Is it news? Is it art? Is it improv? The people promoting this miserable contraption would like us to believe it's improv. Er, improvement. But I thought we'd said goodbye to corsets, except as, mmmmmm, recreational lingerie.

Speaking of recreation, who hasn't heard the news about Ted Kennedy? Poor Ted. He's being described as "the last lion of the Senate", and everyone everywhere is wishing him a full recovery. Excuse me? I like his iconic value, and think he provided the template for our loveably excessive ex-president Bill Clinton, but let's remember that Ted's only the most famous of a family of Congressional drunk drivers . Malignant tumor? I imagine that Mary Jo Kopechne is snickering in her grave. I guess this'll ruin his bid for the 2012 Presidential race.

Finally, I'm certain many of us were extremely anxious about the plight of pandas in earthquake-stricken China. They're going to be fine.

In case that was your top concern this week.

(Politically Correct; SR71)

13 May, 2008

Light Headed

...What I’ve got you’ve got to give it to your daughter/ You do a little dance and then you drink a little water....

In this issue: Fluffy's debut with Do Or Die Productions, website currently under construction; Fuzzy's dance recital in which her mother is convinced that the child is in fact the most perfect creature at least within range of visibility; I am instructed to skip the Mandatory Family Gathering on Mother's Day and spend the day child-free getting a manicure and a cocktail; the weather in this and every other region gets weirder and weirder; the Primaries continue; some very small dogs are born at my mother's house, to much exhaultation and snorgling; the Questing Sniff is injured and manages to not maul my arm too badly as I assist him; television is sort of exciting again; I discover to my horror the price of tickets to the Preakness Stakes and decide that maybe I won't go this year even though the race might not be at Pimlico next year after all.

In other news, one pint and ten inches.

Given, not received.

In case you went elsewhere with that.

(Give It Away; Red Hot Chili Peppers)

11 May, 2008

Live Mother

...let's all get up and dance to a song/that was a hit before your mother was born/though she was born a long, long time ago....

It was Mother's Day several years ago that I passed a cemetary, and wryly observed many people bringing live flowers to their dead mothers.

I started to cry because I suddenly realized that one day, I would be one of those people.

I bring flowers to my mother more often now.

I bet you will, too.

(Your Mother Should Know; The Beatles)

25 April, 2008

Easy Yes

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

He calls. I ask if he's gone on his date yet. He hasn't. I offer to set him up with an exotic ballet teacher I know. He is enthusiastic. He asks me for a date, and so next Tuesday I'll eat something unpronounceable in Little Italy.

I think about this. If I had said No, I'm slammed, it wouldn't have been a lie, or a personal rejection, because he knows I love him forever.

Easy enough, I suppose, to ask out a woman whose first response is always Yes.

06 March, 2008

Monkey Hear....

...when their eloquence escapes you/ their logic ties you up and rapes you....

Heard on the street:

"Stop yer fuckin' cussing!"

If only she'd added "you little bastard".

THAT would have been perfect.

(De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da; The Police)

26 February, 2008

Monday, Yeah.

...hands are tied/ my body bruised/ she's got me with/ nothing to win and/ nothing left to lose/ and you give yourself away/ and you give yourself away....

Every so often, a day rubs me raw, takes a hot wet hook and drags my heart out all over the front of my shirt, which is why I don't wear white.

On these days, I'm grateful for things such as this,

which are testament to too much free time.

What watching (and sharing) this tribute to geekhood says about me is perhaps better left unexamined.

(With Or Without You; U2)

20 February, 2008

Geographically Unspecific

...life's not pretty even though/ I've tried so hard to make it so/ mornings are such cold distress....

"I've gotta hit the road early, because it's going to snow."

Now, you know 'it's going to snow' doesn't mean anything to me.

He sighs, restrains himself -barely- from rolling his eyes.

"Sorry. It's going to snow HERE. Today."

Right. You should hit the road, then.

And, several hours later, it is snowing, today, right here in Baltimore.

Because, honestly, I don't much care if it's snowing (again) in Vermont.

(Snowblind; Styx)

23 January, 2008

News? Uhm.

...about a lucky man who made the grade/ and though the news was rather sad/ I just had to laugh...

Is it news? I dunno. Is it funny? I dunno. Is there anything to laugh at? Depends. Is there a point to this? Probably not.

"The war in Iraq isn’t ever going to end and the economy’s not getting better and the goddamn Presidential campaign, which is now in its 374th week and feels like having your faith in democracy pulled out through your nose with a long skinny hook, is only halfway through. But hey did anyone else hear about this mass U.F.O. sighting in Texas?" - Tim Kreider

Yeah. Didn't I just hear this in The Onion?

"...if you're not bitter, you're not participating. " -Craig Ferguson

In local irony, which is only darkly funny, the bitter is embedded, like permafrost. Anybody got a cardboard box?

And this funny-odd, not funny-ha-ha discovery makes me question my definition of the word 'snake', because until just now, I thought it was 'limbless lizard'.

Speaking of limbless, remember little Lakshmi?

Oh, and obviously, another young starlet was sleeping with one or more Kennedys.

Other explanations are simply transparent cover-up attempts.

(A Day In The Life; The Beatles)

21 January, 2008

Love, despite...

...put on a little makeup, makeup/make sure they get your good side, good side...

Intent, she peers into my face, examining it minutely.

"Here, Mama. I think you need some of this."

She hands me a lipstick.

Really? I thought the point of children was that they thought you were wonderful all the time.

Oh. Do I need brightening up?

"Well, you just look... you'll..."

I watch her struggle for some belated diplomacy.

"....you just look, um, you look more like yourself when you're wearing makeup."

Ah. Do I now.

Good to know.

(Goody Two-Shoes; Adam Ant)

17 January, 2008

Provocative? Possibly.

...You can step outside your little world [step outside]/ you can talk to a pretty girl/ she's everything you dream about/ but don't fall in love....

People have put up their holiday decorations so early... pre-Thanksgiving, sometimes, that by the time the New Year rolls around, the houses look like so many high-dollar prostitutes past their prime, bows bleached pale and ragged at the edges, strands of lights askew and half dark, once-fluffy loops of garland loosened and trailing dispiritedly in the chilly breeze.

Our tree is yet standing, in all its artificial glory.

I've been absent from the virtual world, because I've been slammed in the real one. Plus I've found a new habit:

a philanthropic vocabulary game

which has been keeping me busy, and playing at Level 46, when I desperately wish to play at or above Level 48.

It's snowing here right now, which I like, but it's turning to rain as it gets dark, which I don't like, because our unplowed hill will turn into a sheet of ice. Maybe I'll play at a higher level once I learn all these words for snow.

The rest of this Wednesday's links are about beauty.

Here are some large-as-life beauties, and an article about retro beauty .

You can get your slice of that retro pie here at Atomic Cheesecake Studios.

Oh, and a shoe blog? Hello!

Of course, if you want shoes for snow, you might look here, or for a more traditional look, here.

Though they're hardly what I'd call beautiful.

(She's A Beauty; The Tubes)