Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

I have just come home from traipsing my old neighborhood with my friend, Laurie. We have a tradition of walking the dogs and sneaking up to houses where they’ve left candy on the porch and helping ourselves to treats.

I know, this doesn’t sound very grown up. I never really cottoned to the idea of growing up. Candy tastes so much sweeter when you’ve quietly crept up on someone’s porch and fished through their bowl of treats looking for M&M’s with peanuts or Almond Joys. Knowing that any second they could swing the front door open with a giant swoosh and make you feel like an idiot made it all the better as your ran through the dew-soaked grass out to the anominity of the street.

Tonight we had the added pleasure of stopping by one house in which the two adult men occupants had decorated the yard with giant spider webs, tombstones, skulls, haystacks, about 40 candles in glass jars, a video shining on the side of the house with really spooky things, and a fog machine. They also had adult treats – Jello shooters and lemon drops.

I wonder if the inventor of Jello ever thought that one day someone would add vodka instead of water to the Jello mix?

Anyway these things gave us antifreeze to wander the streets, enjoying people’s carved pumpkins and Halloween decorations. At one place there

was a bowl on the porch, but you had to go down a longish driveway, up several steps, and across the porch. There was a big picture window that the homeowner could look out and see you.

I hesitated – it was a daunting obstacle course just to get a piece of candy. I really did NOT want to be confronted by some grown-up

“I’m going for it,” Laurie said.

I followed her – I couldn’t stay behind. I’m supposed to be the brave one. So I shuffled up behind her. We tiptoed up the stairs and crouched and crept across the porch until we reached the bowl, which was up on a pedestal. I was looking through the candy, deciding what to pick when all of a sudden there is a huge crash at the glass door directly behind me. A ferocious 500 pound dog had flung itself against the door and barked so loud it rattled the boards on the porch. I never saw the dog because I took off running the second I heard that massive THUMP he made on the glass, but in my mind he was as big and vicious as Stephen King’s Cujo.

It was wonderful! What a great time we had. We stopped back by the lemon drop house to take in a little more Halloween ambiance, and then walked back home under the clear sky splashed with sparkling stars and a sliver moon to light our way, pockets full of sneaked candy to show for our labors. I hope all of you found a little adventure tonight – it’s good for the soul. I will leave you with this cool Halloween card. Enjoy!

Greatest Halloween Card Ever ... Click Here

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bad Wine and Spotted Dick

This blog post is going to be a recap of interesting things that happened today. For one, I went to church and the priest had some wine he was getting ready to bless for communion when he stopped cold and said, “There’s something wrong with the wine.” He turned to the choir director, “Can you give us some music while we get this taken care of?”

The pianist started playing a song and one of the altar guys took the wine and headed back to the room behind the altar. The priest stood there looking over the congregation, and I wondered, “What could be wrong with the wine? Maybe it turned to vinegar and he took that little drink and nearly gagged. Or maybe it had a fly doing the backstroke in there. Or maybe there was green mold floating on top. Or maybe it had a tarantula in it. That last one was far fetched there aren’t any tarantulas around here, but there was quite a bit of time to kill so I had to get creative.

This is the same priest I wrote about last week – the one that I won the raffle for him to come and bless my house. I have not set that up yet because I still haven’t decided on the correct protocol – do I have him for lunch, etc. or just have him do a slam, bam, thank you ma’am type of blessing and send him on his way. After today’s events I’m glad I’ve been indecisive, because now when he comes I can ask him what happened to the wine.

The altar guy eventually brought new wine out and the service continued, but it was quite unusual.

Another odd thing that happened was that I got behind the zebra car on the freeway. What are the chances of that? There’s this white car that parks a few blocks from my house and someone has painted stripes on it to look like a zebra. On the trunk they’ve mounted a tail. My daughter and I have seen it parked, and we always say, “Look at that zebra car. Who would paint their car like a zebra?”

So today I went down the ramp and got on the freeway, and this zebra car was exactly in front of me. I watched that zebra tail – complete with a realistic black tuft at the end – for several miles, twitching in the wind. I got so excited I texted my daughter, “That zebra car is in front of me on the freeway.” She immediately texted back, “Are you texting while you’re driving?” I didn’t answer her.

This evening my cousin Nancy from Memphis called and started telling me a funny story about an older man she was visiting – the husband of an elderly friend of hers who had passed away. Each time she visited him in the nursing home she’d ask him questions. He’d say, “Now why are you doing this?” She’d tell him it was because he’d lived an interesting life and she wanted to record his story. Finally he asked her again and she gave him the same answer. He looked at her for a couple of minutes and said, “You know, I’ve had an operation.”

Nancy and I both burst out laughing when she told me this. “He thought you were hitting on him,” I said, “and he wanted to make sure you knew he couldn’t make any little Nancy babies.”

“And then there was the time I was at the grocery store,” Nancy said. She was on a roll. “There was this attractive older woman walking down the aisle and I was behind her for a good ways. Finally she stopped at the same place I was going to stop. I was right beside her, and I reached for a can of Spotted Dick.”

“Spotted WHAT?” I said.

“Spotted Dick. I picked up the can and said to the woman, just to make conversation because she was right beside me, “Have you ever had any of this?

“The woman looked puzzled and said, ‘Why, I don’t believe I have.’ She turned away quickly and scurried down the aisle.”

“She thought you were hitting on her, too! My gosh, Nancy, do you just stalk old folks so you can hit on them – it doesn’t matter if they’re male or female? Can you imagine that poor old woman, knowing someone is following her down the aisles. She finally stops thinking the stalker will pass, and instead the crazy woman tries to make a pass at her with a can of Spotted Dick?”

We laughed until we couldn’t breathe.

“What the heck is Spotted Dick anyway?” I asked, wiping the tears from my eyes.

“It’s sponge cake in a can,” Nancy said, and we laughed all over again at the absurdity of that.

“Who puts sponge cake in a can? And then names it Spotted Dick? Oh my gosh!”

Anyway, as you can see, this has been a most interesting day. And I was fretting because I didn’t know what to write about….

Excavating the Empty Nest

I finished shoveling out my daughter’s room today. It was part two of the cleaning - I got about halfway done a few days after she left for college but after a few hours I just closed the door. It was like that TV show where people hoard things and won’t throw them away. She not only kept every single item she’s ever claimed as hers since she was an infant – such as seashells, pretty rocks, pieces of Barbies (they didn’t seem to survive with all their limbs intact for very long), she also kept ever candy wrapper and potato chip bag she snuck into her room and ate late at night, wadding up the evidence and tossing it under the bed.

I found two portable phones that have been lost for years under there.

Her room hasn’t been really clean in years. Sure, we’d change the sheets and dust and vacuum – but she’d simply take everything that was in the middle of the floor and piled on top of her dresser and toss them under the bed and into the closet. It would appear to be clean for a day or two, and then it looked like Hoarders again.

I used to “help” my kids clean their rooms every few weeks – usually before we had a party. They threw clothes, toys, and school work in the floor and cleared out enough of a path to walk through. It would take hours to get those rooms clean.

First we’d pull out all the dirty clothes, some of which had been used stuffed into the closet still wet and muddy to better cultivate mold and mildew and the odors they cause. Then we’d put away all the books that were piled on the floor beside the bed, away from the door so your couldn’t see them. Then we’d arrange the stuffed animals and large toys back on the shelves. That all went pretty fast.

The worst was those little odds and ends left on the floor – things that didn’t really have a specific place, such as the toys they got for free from McDonalds or those little things they’d win at arcades when they cashed in their tickets.

They hated to throw away anything – it all had some wonderful function or memory tied to it, but by the time I’d gotten through all the garbage and junk up until that point, I was ready to be done. I did not want to sort that little stuff. Somehow they had manage to wander out of the room to get something to eat and hadn’t come back.

I finally created a new bin for the McDonald’s toys and little stuff. Some were never even opened. One of these days they’ll be worth a fortune, I’m sure.

Kindof like those Beanie Babies. My son’s friend, Dylan, was obsessed with them. Every time a new one came out, which was about three times a day, he’d get his dad to drive them to the mall so they could buy it. They bought tag protectors to keep the tags from getting crumpled, because that made their “investment” more valuable.

I used to say, “How can something that they are selling to every kid in the universe and a whole lot of their parents be an investment? Something has to be rare before it’s valuable. They’re selling millions of these.” They wouldn’t listen because they kept hearing on the commercials (made by the company selling the Beanie Babies) that they were collector’s items.

Those Beanie Babies are in two duffle bags in my son’s room. They never really played with them, although they’d dump them on the floor and pick them up one at a time to admire them and talk about how valuable they were, like Midas counting his gold. They also threw a substantial amount of money away on Pokemon cards for the same reason.

Today when I was cleaning my daughter’s room, lots of good memories flooded into my head, so I guess it was worth it – at least I can open the door now. I will be one happy mother if I never make another memory of cleaning their rooms. If I en, and I am so thankful that I won’t have to add any new memories of cleaning her room again. I can’t even imagine what her dorm room looks like, and thank goodness I don’t have to.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Dog's Frito Feet

My dog’s feet smell like Fritos. She’s lying beside me as I type on my laptop on the sofa, and she just changed positions. The smell of Fritos wafted into the air like some doggish incense.

My family thinks the dog’s feet smell pleasant, whereas our personal human feet are disgusting, especially when they’ve been in sweaty tennis shoes. Perhaps that’s the problem. If we did not wear synthetic footwear for hours on end, would we have pleasant smelling feet too?

This is for future pondering because we want to focus on the dog’s feet right now and ask the question, how on earth did a dog’s feet come to smell like a corn chip?

A corn chip is made of corn and salt all smashed down together, baked until it has that perfect crunch, and sealed in a bag that is impossible for humans to penetrate without a sharp object or very strong teeth. It used to be that you’d get a guy to open a jar for you, mostly so he’d feel like he had some degree of worth in this world, but now you have to find a guy to get into a bag of chips. Sometimes, if there’s no guy handy, I’ve had to tear at these bags with my teeth like some savage jackal-like creature, over and over, getting a small bit of bag each time, spitting it out and tearing some more until I excavate a hole big enough to plunge my fist through.

So the grains and salts and other things that go into a corn chip – the chemical composition as it were – and the baking which alters, or at least dehydrates the chemicals – and the packaging which protects the baked chip until the year 4010 because air doesn’t have teeth to penetrate the seal – how in the universe can THAT smell like my dog’s feet?

My dog’s feet always smell like Fritos except just after a bath, at which time she runs outside and tries to roll in anything to cover up the good smell of doggie shampoo with something more friendly to the canine nose such as a dead rodent In advanced stages of decay. Within a day, the Frito feet are back – all four of them. The rest of the dog may be foul, but those feet are pleasant.

It’s a mystery someone needs to solve, because there is something very, very sick about smelling a dog’s feet and craving Fritos with cream cheese.

If you’ve never tried it, take a normal Frito – not the big ones – and scrape it through a container of Philadelphia cream cheese. It’s quite tasty. Don’t go in too deep or the Frito will break off. BEWARE – you will go through a whole container of cream cheese pretty quick and become a big fat lard because you won’t have the willpower to stop eating them, they’re that good.

Back to the subject, which is, why does my dog have Frito feet? If you know the answer, please don’t hesitate to send it to me via a package containing Fritos. I’m running low.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Paradox of Paradoxes, Part 2

This article continues the rambling I started yesterday about paradoxes.

On Sunday I was wishing for two things, that I would get my luck back and win a raffle for the first time in a coon’s age, and that I’d win a pie, preferably a tasty pie like peach or blackberry or strawberry rhubarb.

Lo and behold, the first raffle number called was mine! I broke my long dry spell of no raffle prizes. I could just taste that flaky piecrust. Then they announced my prize.

A visit from the priest to bless my house.

Lord have mercy.

(a) My husband is an atheist. Not an agnostic/on the fence kind of believer who’s just not sure. He is absolutely positive there is no God and people like me are simply deceiving ourselves and not right in the head.

(2) I’m a Catholic who likes to go to church on Sunday because I feel good about it, but I arrive a little late and don’t hang around after Mass glad-handing with the parishioners. I slip in and slip out like a thief. That’s not to say I haven’t given back, because I spent years teaching Sunday school and serving on assorted committees. But I’ve never even met this new priest and I HIGHLY suspect he doesn’t appreciate that he’s ten minutes into the service when the side door creaks open and I slink in and duck into the first empty pew.

So when my raffle number was called, the priest came over and shook my hand. “Call the office and we’ll get this scheduled,” he said.

Get what scheduled? Will he just come over and stand on the doorstep with me holding the door open, hand firmly on the door knob, unsure whether to invite him in and not knowing what to do with him if he says yes. Should I have him over for dinner? Lunch? Dessert? Coffee? Cocktails?

My husband loves to cook and invite people over, but when I told him about my prize he said, “I don’t need to be here for that.” He doesn’t want to get into a religious discussion with anyone under any circumstances. For me, it’s not even that the man is a priest, it’s more that he’s a perfect stranger.

On the other hand, I believe things don’t happen by coincidence. I won that raffle for a reason. My quandary is more, “What kind of hospitality do I extend to this gentleman coming to bless my house?” rather than, “Holy moly, what the heck am I going to talk about?”

The last time I talked to a priest was at a party. I’d just come back from Italy and started blabbering about the Vatican. “It was beautiful but kindof creepy the way they had all those old Popes in coffins all over the place and there was that embalmed Pope in a glass coffin that gave me the eevy jeevies. What’s up with that?”

The priest excused himself immediately and went to talk with a hunchbacked old woman who, apparently, afforded better opportunity for sparkling conversation than the likes of me.

As you can see, talking to priests is not my forte, hence my shyness about how to handle this visit to my home, though Lord knows this place could use a blessing, and a good cleaning, for that matter. Which is another stumbling block – I’d have to clean. Maybe I could have him come just before Thanksgiving, when I’m going to have to buckle down and get the vacuum out anyway.

Oh well, there are many considerations for me to consider, so I’ll close this long dissertation on raffles, paradoxes and priests. I will leave you with one final paradox, apropos to these most recent events: Be careful what you wish for because it may come true.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Paradox of Paradoxes

’ve had an exhausting day of trying to set up meetings. Granted it’s easier with email than making a bunch of phone calls, but still it just takes forever.

Come to think of it, it seems like everything takes forever but then how come nothing lasts forever. Quite the paradox. Here’s some other paradoxes for you, but first, we need to define paradox for our illiterate readers. Only you know if you fit in that category and I’m not here to judge. I’m here to define this in simple terms even you can understand:

A paradox is two things that don’t make sense – that are illogical. To remember it, think of para like a “pair a” things that don’t add up. Here are some samples of para – doxes like I promised in the last paragraph:

You can save money by spending it.

Youth is wasted on the young.

I can resist anything but temptation.

Nobody goes to that restaurant, it's too crowded.

Don't go near the water until you've learned to swim.

If you fall down and break your leg, don’t come running to me.

That’s enough paradoxes.

That last sentence was not a paradox, by the way.

Neither was that one.

So I was talking about things lasting forever. This topic has dragged on for quite some time, and perhaps you might say that it, in fact, has lasted forever.

That might be true except that I am about to bring it to an abrupt halt wiith one story that might illustrate several key points.

I was in church on Sunday and they were having this stewardship fair so they wanted us to go over to coffee and donuts and visit the various tables to learn about volunteer opportunities. Each table you went to and talked with someone, they gave you a raffle ticket. The prize was a pie. I collected as many as I could. I didn’t even care what kind of pie it was. I like all pies except apple, which I will eat with abandon but only if another pie isn’t handy.

About a year ago I quit winning raffles. Prior to that I could not lose. If there were raffle tickets given out, I won, even if I had a torn raffle ticket with shoe prints all over it that I picked up off a greasy floor.

And then, just like someone had turned off the luck faucet, I went into a dry spell where I didn’t win any raffles.

You might think, “How many raffles is this woman exposed to?” And I would say, “Who wants to know?” Then you’d say, “What’s it to you?” and I’d say, “It’s none of your freaking business,” and you’d say, “I’m damn well making it my business,” and I’d say, “Well you can damn well try and see how far that gets you,” and then you would lunge at my throat with your long, yellow fingernails and try to strangle me, and I’d take off running – in a zigzag pattern so you couldn’t shoot me, and you’d jump in your car and try to run me down, and I’d duck around a corner and find myself in a dark alley with a brick wall at the end and no way out, then you’d turn the corner and I’d be spotlighted as you bore down on the accelerator, and then I’d scream and we’d break for commercial..

Yes, I suppose some things do last forever, like this article, which is……..TO BE CONTINUED.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Aging Gracelessly

As we age, our bodies go through changes. Some are good – like when I was pregnant and my hair got thick – and some are bad – like aches and pains and wrinkles.

But there’s one change I’ve recently encountered that is working out just fine. For some crazy, inexplicable reason, I no longer fart – I burp instead.

Please do not think I’m trying to be crude. I’m just relating the simple facts. I used to pass gas on a fairly consistent basis, i.e. whenever I was awake. I could pass gas on demand, something I used to punctuate social interactions such as:

My brother: “How do you like my haircut?”

Me: “Pffffffft.”


My brother: “What did you think of my speech?”

Me: “Pfffffff ffffff ffffff fffff ffffft.”

As welcome as this communication tool was, it sometimes became a problem. Being gassy by nature was bad enough, but when I ate legumes, which was every chance I got, it became nearly unbearable for my loved ones to be on the same street with me. I have emptied cars full of people when legume-propelled emissions accidently erupted without warning, completely out of my control.

I’ll admit I enjoyed, to some extent, the leverage these incidents afforded me. Such as:

My brother: “I’m not moving.”

Me: “You better or I’ll fart.”

Recently, however, I have been burping, rather loudly, from the very depths of my internal areas. These things are audible from three rooms away, but they lack the persuasive qualities of gas. On the other hand, they don’t cause me nearly as much misery, especially after eating legumes, so I am not complaining. This is one thing Mother Nature got right.

The Boomerang Backpack

When my son was in high school, I got a call from someone who said, “Do you have a son named Chris?”

“Yes,” I said slowly, worried that he was either injured, or more likely, in trouble.

“Does he have a backpack?”

“Yeah,” I said, even more slowly. “Why?”

“I found it in a ditch and thought he might like it back.”

“In a ditch? Where?”

“On Arnold Street.”

Arnold Street - the deserted road near our house? How did that happen?

“Well, sure, he’d like it back, I’ll come right over and get it.”

A few minutes later I’m looking at this threadbare backpack with odds and ends of junk in it. Someone must have stolen it and swiped the good stuff before they threw it out the window.

When Chris got home later, I held the backpack up and said, “Look what I found.”

His mouth dropped open and his eyes got wide. “Where the heck did that come from?”

“Somebody discovered it on Arnold Street in a ditch.”

“Oh my gosh,” he said.

“When did you lose it? Was it stolen or what?”

“Uh, no. It’s just a piece of junk. I wasn’t using it anymore.”

“Then how did it get in the ditch?”

“Uh, well, I threw it out the window.”

“You WHAT!?”

“I didn’t need it anymore and it was just cluttering up my car, so I tossed it out the window.”

“You don’t just toss something out the window. Why didn’t you bring it home and throw it in the garbage?”

“I don’t know. What kind of person picks up a ratty old backpack in a ditch?”

“What kind of person THROWS a backpack in a ditch?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t need it anymore. Are there any cookies left?”

“You know better than to litter, for crying out loud. Some stranger has to call me because my son throws a backpack out the window.” I paused to show my utter dismay about the situation. “They’re on the counter.”

And that was the end of the whole incredible incident. It turned out to be a mini-commentary on what happens to kids when they get to be teenagers. You hound your children for years and years, trying to teach them to be good citizens, and they turn into teenagers and get a car and end up throwing everything you’ve taught them out the window like an old backpack.

If you’re lucky, as a parent, some of it will start to come back to them when they leave those teen years behind – and they’re not trying to be the exact opposite of that good little boy or girl that you worked so hard to mold. And hopefully, those life lessons will come back around and start to make sense - just like that old backpack. (Well, I don’t know if the backpack made sense, but it seemed like a profound way to end this, don’t you agree?)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Even Idiots Get Miracles Sometimes

I was desperate the other day and made a pact with God. I said I’d write for one half hour a day. It was better than selling my soul to the devil, and I actually enjoy writing, but I’m just so (cue the violin) crazy busy.

That was in the morning. I went to work and slogged through the pile in my inbox that just keeps growing even as I get things done. I kept thinking, “I’ve got to leave here by 3:45 at the latest to get to the permit office on time.”

Obstacles and phone calls and crises distracted me until it was 4:20 – on a Friday night with horrendous rush hour traffic. I snatched up my Mac and rushed out the door, cursing myself for waiting so long.

I started praying that the traffic would part like the Red Sea and I could somehow get all the way across town in time.

The good Lord did his best to get people out of my way, but it was still slow going. I developed a headache, and escalated the nasty tongue lashing about what a stupid idiot I was for not leaving earlier and what the hell was I thinking – I know traffic is much worse on Friday afternoon, I don’t know why, maybe everyone’s headed out of town or going out to dinner, but it’s always like that and I know that good and well and what the eff was I thinking and why can’t I ever get anywhere on freaking time????

I was blessed to compress a journey that should have taken an hour into exactly 39 minutes – it was 4:59 when I pulled into the permit office parking lot, grabbed my purse, slammed the car door, and breathlessly dashed to the counter and said, “I need to pick up a permit.”

The lady behind the counter said, “We close for permits at 4:30 – didn’t they tell you that when they called to say the permit was ready?”

I buried my head in my hands, partly because I had that splitting headache, and partly because I couldn’t believe I had driven like a maniac and I couldn’t believe I had waited so long to leave the office, and knowing my crew needed that permit on Monday and the permit office was closed Monday and what in the name of everything holy was I going to do? I stayed there with my head buried in my hands running all this through my mind like a drowning person sees their life before their eyes until finally I let out a huge sigh and looked up at the lady. She looked at me like I was the most pitiful human being on the face of the planet. She said, “Let’s just look at this for a second and see.”

She proceeded to click on the computer and look at the paperwork and click some more and look some more and click and look, and said, “Do you know if you owe any money on this?” I handed her the check and she printed out the permit.
I learned a lesson that day about faith, hope, and love. I saw all of them compressed in that little bit of time. I was praying like a maniac every time I came up on the bumper of a slow moving car; every time I could see a bunch of those red lights on the freeway which meant that the cars in front of me were slowing down or stopping; every time I came to a red light. I knew that I would not make it, even my GPS said there wasn’t enough time, but I also knew that God has the ability to make things happen when it doesn’t really seem like it’s possible. So I had faith that he would somehow get me there. I also hoped it would happen, and I hoped that I wouldn’t get turned away by some technicality.

But when I got there and realized I was too late, that I wasn’t going to get that permit, even though I walked in the door with a full 30 seconds to spare, it ended up being love that softened the clerk into giving me that permit even though she wasn’t supposed to – to have mercy on my wretched, headached soul and rationalize to herself, “this poor woman, do I really have the heart to send her home and make her come back?”

When I walked out and got in my car I started crying. I don’t know if they were tears of joy or just incredible tears of relief but it was just this magnificent release of overwhelming emotion and the feeling of God’s hand resting on my shoulder and realizing he’d done me a humongous favor and it’s still hard to believe that God and that woman had compassion for an idiot like me.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Magnificient Spit

Today I was behind a car waiting at a stoplight, and I noticed it was a single guy in the driver’s seat with his arm on the back of the passenger seat. Why I observed this I don’t know, but just at that second I saw two white masses, side by side, come sailing out of the passenger window, fly over the grassy strip on the side of the road, and hit a bush a good fifteen feet away.

It could only have been spit or lugies propelled by a slingshot mouth that could launch a sputnik. I was utterly amazed. You just don’t see freaks of nature like this every day. In fact, I’ve never seen a lugie hurled that far.

That’s probably why he had his arm on the passenger seat – to hold him steady.
My daughter won a watermelon spitting contest in kindergarten. I was quite the proud little momma. She beat everyone by several feet. That child’s mouth was lethal – even to this day you should never EVER get near her teeth if she’s mad at you. You risk coming away with a missing hunk of forearm. But even she could not have launched spit that far.

What was so amazing is that he was so accurate. He had the opening of a window to get through, and you might not think that’s difficult but it is. Not that I’ve ever spit out the passenger side – I’m not brave enough for that and besides I don’t spit. Never have except if a bug flies in my mouth or something. But on occasion I will eat an apple and find myself holding a sticky core and nowhere to put it. I start thinking about the little birdies or rodents that would be delighted to munch on that core, and why should I deprive them?

But you can’t throw it out the driver’s door, not in the US anyway – maybe in England. You’d end up with the core in the road, and then some little furry thing would get squashed flatter than a tortilla. So I have to throw them out the passenger door. And I have to thrust really really hard or else it will land in the road and then – out of guilt – I’d have to turn around and go back to move the apple lest I worry all day about some little sweet gift of nature getting it’s eyeballs popped out when it was it by a diesel truck as it tried to pull the apple out of the road.

So I cock my elbow and bring the hand holding the apple all the way in front of my face to get more leverage, and then I fling the arm toward the passenger window as hard as I can.

Nine times out of ten it hits the inside door and leaves a wet, mushy spot before landing on the passenger seat and rolling onto the floor, going front to back on the hairy carpet like some golf course lawn mower, leaving a trail of apple juice over every fuzzy inch.

This is why I was so amazed that the guy got those lugies out the window today. And that they flew so far. It really was truly amazing. Wish you could have seen it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Beware the Ides of March Part 2

First I feel a little guilty about disparaging George Clooney’s movie last night. But not guilty enough that I’m going to keep quiet because I’ve been thinking more about it. The movie was called Ides of March, about a good politician with good ideas who would probably have done very good things for the country except that he made a mistake and in order to cover that mistake up, he had to compromise his values or else lose the election.

That part was pretty good, because you often wonder if politicians start out being slimeballs, but this movie shows you they can be regular people wanting to save the world but then they have this fatal flaw (generally located between their legs) that causes their downfall or at least becomes their main focus in life – not the ideals they went into politics for in the first place.

That part was eye opening and gave me a more sympathetic perspective on the life of politicians. But there was a part of the plot that just didn’t add up, and it distracted from everything. In fact, it made it the whole movie seem ludicrous.

But I can’t talk about it or it will spoil the movie if you decide to go see it. But I will say this. It was like someone said, “We need to show that this politician was a good guy but people forced him to compromise against his will because if he didn’t, his mistake would be exposed and he’d lose the election and then he wouldn’t be able to do all the good things he set out to do when he first got into politics. So what could that be? Think. Think really hard. What is something a politician could do that would put him in a compromised position. Come on, we’ve got to think of something. Mmmm, how about a good looking intern?”

That’s how it seemed like the plot got put together. And it just didn’t add up. You can have great actors and great filming and wonderful settings and love interests, but if the story seems contrived, the whole thing crumbles.
Enough of that movie – it was irritating but I have to get on with my life. I’m changing the subject.

Better still, I’m going to bed. Besides, I have the TV on in the background and I can’t concentrate. The remote is too far away, and I’m trying to focus but I’ve re-typed things because I kept getting distracted. And now there’s another Cialis commercial on and I can’t take it anymore. I’m sick of erectile dysfunction. I HAVE to get up and turn off that TV. When historians look back on these days and try to analyze why television went extinct, they will trace it to the outlandish proliferation of ED commercials. Someone needs to warn the Networks – a “Beware the Ides of March” soothsayer should tell them that they are running off people like me with those commercials. I can’t take it anymore. I’m getting up, turning the confounded thing off and going to bed. Goodnight.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Beware the Ides of March

We just got home from the movie, “The Ides of March.” For those of you who didn’t take Latin somewhere along the line, the “Ides” is the 15th of the month. When Julius Ceaser was out walking around Rome, a soothsayer (or sightseer) said to him, “Beware the Ides of March.”

And beware he should have, because on the Ides of March he got stabbed 23 times, led by an esteemed group of his colleagues and his good friend Brutus to whom he said these famous words, “E tu Brute?” which, roughly translated, means, “What the %$*@?”

George Clooney decided to make a film about this for modern times – about political betrayal and so forth – and by giving it this old Latin name he was evoking the similarities between ancient Rome and modern America.
Or maybe he was just trying to make a buck with a movie he hoped would draw in ticket buyers such as myself. You never know about the motivations of Hollywood. The movie seemed like an obvious remake of Bill Clinton’s dalliance with an intern and how he had such noble ideas but he let his little head do the thinking and ended up committing political suicide.

I, for one, didn’t need to watch a fake politician do all the sordid stuff these people do to get elected. I think everyone on earth, even bush people in Africa, knows that politics turns people into back scratching, blackmailing extortionists. I don’t know why I have to spend my Saturday night watching a predictable movie play out the same old story.

Every leading character in this movie either compromised their integrity, blackmailed someone, played dirty tricks, lied, betrayed their friends, or had sex with someone they shouldn’t have. It was business as usual for stereotypical politicians cynically depicted as visionaries without the backbone to do the right thing if it means they will lose the election.

Not much different that what old Julius Caesar was up to a couple thousand years ago. He should have stayed home, and I should have too.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Drive to the Airport

I took my coworker and her husband to the airport this morning. I hadn’t met her husband yet, and I wanted to make a good impression. My little dog was coming with me in the car, and she often smells like a goat. The beast rolls in everything. She cannot go outside without flopping on her back and wiggling from side to side, all four legs in the air, grinding herself into some foul smelling dead something. I’ve seen her roll on a squished earthworm – any creature that has departed this world she will hunt down and have her back smeared into it in nanoseconds. She has to do it quick because I’ll see her through the window and yell at her to stop. She pretends she can’t hear me long enough to get coated in a stench, then jumps up and looks at me like, “You talkin’ to me?”

So this morning I gave her a couple of squirts of some cheap flowery smelling stuff my daughter had bought. My husband is allergic to scents so I don’t have my own perfumes.

When I squirted that dog with a fine mist of smell, she was so insulted. She took off running like I’d poured hot water on her and tried to rub it off on the walls. She nosed down into the carpet and walked along like she was trying to shovel something, pressing one side of her face and shoulder then the other into the rug in a pitiful attempt to try and scrape the scent off.

I’m not sure why a dog can’t stand to smell good. Not this one, anyway. If I let her outside after a bath, she streaks to the grass and starts rolling just to get the smell of dirt on her. She comes back in with half the back yard clinging to her long wet hair. You can’t comb it off, it’s woven in and half the time it’s sticky – why I don’t know. But as she walks through the house it drops all over the floor like autumn leaves in a windstorm. It looks like someone’s scattered brown and green confetti over every floor in the house.

There are laws of physics that state: a 10 pound, 12 inch high dog with long black hair can collect 30 times the squared surface area of its body in yard debris consisting of tiny sticks, brown grass from last week’s mowing, and those little maple helicopters. Double the formula if the place where the dog rolls is under a sappy fir tree like the ones covering our back yard.

So this morning this dog that normally smells like a goat because it’s not practical to give her a bath every five minutes - this dog smelled like a cheap tramp. When we got in the car, the whole place filled with the sweet smell of a bouquet of sickly sweet flowers. I discovered I didn’t have any gum and I hadn’t brushed my teeth for fear of being late. Then I put on some “unscented” lotion that added an acrid element to the mix.

When my passengers got in the car, the husband who I just met immediately rolled down his window, even though it was raining. The dog, loving the fresh air, jumped into the backseat to sit on his lap, coating his jeans in that perfumed goat smell that probably lingered throughout their whole 15 hour flight to Brazil.

I’m not so sure I made a good impression.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Middleman Mentality in America Part 2

What’s this got to do with middlemen? Back in the day, you could go to a “doctor” and he’d do what he could for you and send you home. Now there is no such thing as just a plain doctor. You go to your (insert whatever you call the person you go to for stuff – like your gynecologist or internist or proctologist), and then s/he refers you to someone else – usually a drug company to get some antibiotic or cough syrup, or to another doctor, called a specialist because he doesn’t know anything about the human body except that one special part – be it the brain or kidneys or intestines. Don’t even ask him about that wart on your big toe – he doesn’t know what to do about it except to refer you to a toe specialist.

What’s the connection? The person you call “doctor” is a middleman for the drug companies and specialists, and the drug companies are the middleman between you and staying healthy in the first place.

Where did all these middle people come from? I just heard on the TV that in the last hundred or so years, the population of the world went from 1 billion to almost 7 billion. All those people have to have jobs – and since all the regular jobs were filled, then we in America created all these middlemen jobs to keep these people busy and off the streets.

A hundred years ago, your town had one doctor and all the drugs he had were in a little black back that opened at the top. I always liked those bags. No zippers. I don’t know how they kept them closed, but in the movies the doc just pulled the two handles apart and took out a little clear bottle with a cork in it, and that cured anything from hoof and mouth disease to tapeworm.

Today, these middlemen are everywhere. You can’t call anyone directly if they have a business, you have to go through a receptionist. You can’t buy a new car from a salesperson, you have to go through the guy who makes you feel like your breaking his company but he’s going to – against his better judgment – give you a fantastic deal and an outrageous trade-in allowance on your beater if you’ll sign right now. You have to get a wedding planner to coordinate your wedding, and a realtor to help you buy a house. These positions give all those extra people something to do.

I’m not saying I’m against drug companies, or doctors, or anything else in particular. But it rankles when I think of drug companies inventing these cures for things that could easily be fixed with a little lifestyle change. The commercials should be like, “If you are losing bone density, get up right now, RIGHT NOW I SAID, and get some exercise, you big fat lard. You do NOT need this pill I’m pushing. And you do not need to hound your doctor into prescribing it to you.”

But that would be stupid for the drug companies to do. So it appears middlemen are here to stay, for better or for worse. Otherwise the unemployment rate would soar and Obama (yo mama) would never get that jobs bill passed.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Middleman Mentality in America

I just saw a commercial on TV that showed a close-up of a big leg, broken and mending in a lumpy grey cast that looked like it had been globbed on by a kindergartner.

I could comment on the shoddy workmanship of orthopedic practioners, but let’s move forward to the purpose of this article – the reason for that commercial.

It was an alert to people with osteoporosis that they could sue their doctors if they had broken various bones since starting drugs prescribed by their doctors to prevent osteoporosis.

I promise not to use any more big words after this next couple of osteoporosises, because they are too hard to type. If you don’t know what osteoporosis is, come out of your wilderness cave and turn on the TV. There you will learn, among other things, that it is impossible to get or maintain an erection in America. You will also find out that several drugs - developed by good, honest drug companies - have been prescribed to help prevent osteoporosis – drugs whose very purpose was to make things all better in the “O-word” area of people’s lives – and now we come to find out that these selfsame drugs had in fact been causing the very symptom – THE VERY SYMPTOM – that they have been relentlously tauting as a cure on TV, in magazines, and everywhere else visible to the human eye – yes, these drugs that were meant to prevent broken bones caused by the O-word actually CAUSE broken bones.

You might be wondering, what kind of a person can produce the run-on sentence in the last paragraph and get away with it. But we’re not here to talk about grammer for crying out loud (or spelling either, for that matter), we’re here to talk about something I’m sure I’ll remember if I reread what I just wrote.

Yes, we’re here to talk about the middleman mentality in America. What do commercials about drug companies being sued have to do with that? Something, you can bet your bottom dollar on that.

It’s just this. The big-O can be helped by weight-bearing exercise and a healthy diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D. Healthy diet refers to foods in the non-potato chip/non-pork-rind family. Weight-bearing means getting off the couch and bearing your weight around the block a few times, as well as using your arms to lift some weight – like your chocolate-smeared, bawling toddler with the diaper sagging to his ankles, and so forth. Many, many Americans refuse to exercise, preferring to sit in the comfort of their home and watch people on TV very much like themselves who waddle around and scream obscenities at their friends and loved ones all day long.

This is where the drug companies come in – the middlemen in the health care industry. They create drugs for all the billions of Americans in the aforementioned paragraph so they won’t HAVE to exercise or give up the foods they love, such as beer and cigarettes. Instead they can take a pill.

In the case of the O-word, the pill is supposed to help prevent broken bones. So if you’ve got a bone that broke because you took a drug to keep that was supposed to keep it from breaking – a perfectly good bone that might not have broken, left to its own devices, for years and years – then you have the right to sue the #*)@! out of the drug company, according to these commercials.

To be continued….if I don’t forget