Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Before or After?

Vice President Dick Cheney offended by Amenesty International

I just want to know if this was before or after his luncheon with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? Did they order Panda patties and Green Sea Turtle Soup?

After lunch, he was quoted as saying, "Holocaust? What holocaust?"

Lone Blog in the Wilderness

Evil development marches on, unabated…

Now 137 acres at the east end of our road is up for sale to the first lucky developer with a bribe… bet they’ll name the subdivision Shady Oaks and fell all the trees to make access roads for the 240 houses they can cram in. I’m so sick of this. Just spoke to someone who lives in Utah, by the Kennecott mine. They live in a small community of 12K that is bordered by land owned by the mining corporation. Instead of keeping the land for future mining, they sold it and now the house building will begin – swelling the town to 30K in the next five years. Even a mine shaft in the desert is not safe.

This is so disgusting. I wish I were Buddhist. Buddhists have no attachments (which makes it really hard for them to vacuum under a couch).

Speaking of too many people on the planet…

The Pope is urging Italians to boycott a referendum aimed at repealing restrictions on artificial insemination and embryonic research. At one time, Italy was among the world’s most liberal countries in terms of artificial means for getting pregnant, producing some of the oldest moms and imposing few restrictions on reproductive experimentation.

In December of 2003, laws were passed by the Italy’s center-right government cracking down on all aspects of assisted fertility. Now all fertilized eggs (limit 3) must be implanted at once – you can’t freeze some for later, or destroy any. You also cannot screen embryos for abnormalities. I’m totally against these restrictions, and will watch with interest as I feel these issues will continue to face America as well.

When it come to stem cell research (something I emphatically support – remember when dissecting cadavers was taboo? – get over it people) Bush has threatened to veto any such bill that crosses his desk. Incidentally, he hasn’t vetoed anything yet – threatened to, many times, but as the House and Senate are Republican majority, it hasn’t been needed.

But really, the issue here is: do we need federal funds supporting stem cell research? Of course not. Just because Korea is five years ahead of us on the creation of Super Soldiers is no reason to throw a couple of billion at the problem. Private labs will do just fine. I’m sick of Viagra commercials, aren’t you? Now I want to be told to ask my doctor for Stem-topia™ for what ails me. Can’t wait to who gets to drive the Stem-Cell Stock Car, or what celebrity will convince me Stem-Cell therapy is hip and glamorous.

Thought for the Day: Goals are Dreams with Deadlines – Diana Scharf Hunt

I love deadlines. Especially the whooshing noise they make as they go roaring past…

Monday, May 30, 2005

A Blog About Nearly Everything!

Just had some of that ‘seedless’ watermelon…

A) it has seeds
B) it is nowhere near as good as ‘regular’

I’d like one of those square watermelons, much easier to put in the fridge.

Still reading “A Short History of Nearly Everything”, and it’s quite superb.
One of the more thought provoking little tidbits is the history of lead additives – especially in motor fuel. It detailed how GM, DuPont and Standard Oil conspired to use lead to stop engine ping and knock when they knew full well it was killing a staggering amount of workers (and a vast many more were left permanently impaired) in their poorly ventilated shops. Also loved the part where the U.S. (joined by just about every other nation that had radioactive waste) dumped barrels of deadly goo off the shore of California and about 50 other ocean sites around the world for years. If the barrels floated, the Navy gunners would shoot the barrels full of holes to sink them, thus letting all the waste out…. These were not special-lined barrels, designed to withstand an atomic blast, just run-of-the-mill 55 gallon drums. If nothing else, the book convinces you mankind is but a flash on the planet, soon to destroy himself or be destroyed by the inevitable march of time. At any time a volcano, virus or asteroid could wipe us all out. Periodic mass extinctions on earth are normal operating procedure, and I for one feel better knowing mankind will most likely be wiped out with very little trace. Why so cynical? Look around.

Not much time to write today – it was a warm, perfect sunny day! After so many cold and wet ones, it was especially welcome and I took the opportunity to put on my Red, White and Blue bikini (in honor of the holiday) and bask a little. I have no desire for a tan – my complexion is ‘three days dead’ and can only be upgraded to ‘Casper the friendly Melanoma’ with prolonged exposure, but I do need to feel the sun to charge up my internal thermometer, just like my pet reptiles.

Got the Vette out for a little. Need more ‘nice weather’ time to give it a full detailing and coat of polish. It will soon be ready for local cruise nights and low-pressure car events. A Corvette show like Bloomington Gold would never accept my car, but I love it just the same and intend on driving it. I have long wanted to start my own website ‘needanothervette.com’ to solicit funds so I can buy her a little sister. Perhaps I should work on that a bit…

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Free Gift With Purchase

Went to Arlington Park Race Track (Thoroughbred horse racing) Friday afternoon. If you need any proven methods to pick winners, just ask me. I have 47 that do not work, so you can skip right over those. Can’t pick any right, don’t know what my problem is… it got to the point where I was deliberately selecting the ugliest horse with the worse record and still not winning anything. The law of averages says I should have had at least some hits. I hope the groundskeeper at the park is appreciative – I paid his salary for the year. On the plus side, I bought a nice T-shirt in the gift shop. They have a really nice gift shop.

Ok, let’s face it, there aren’t many gift shops I dislike. I can think of one though- we were in Hannibal Missouri doing a Mark Twain weekend. There were these little clapboard houses that were turned into shops and museums to capitalize on their favorite son. We went into this house where the front was a gift shop and an elderly woman told us for a few dollars we could go into the museum/haunted house area. Now what Mark Twain has to do with a haunted house, I’m not really sure. Perhaps it was supposed to be the caves Tom and Becky were lost in, or something. She said there would be a tour guide and wax figures depicting Twain and his family, and characters from his books, etc. Then you walked through the haunted house and ‘exited through the gift shop’. Ever notice how every tourist trap exits through the gift shop? And I’m sucker enough to spend big buck whenever I do…

So we pay a nominal fee (which is a good thing, as you read on…) and enter another room. Behind a large pane of glass are less than a dozen wax figures, all in one “room”. A college student rattles off a spiel she has memorized while each figure is illuminated by a spotlight in turn. Whoo! Now that’s excitement. Then we clump around in the dark haunted area, where nothing is as frightening as the loss of my $2 to the old lady.

That whole weekend was lame. We took a “paddle boat” cruise down the Mississippi, only to find that the boat had an artificial paddle wheel. It didn’t move. It was just wood slats on a semi circle that hid the actual submerged propeller. At least that attraction had a decent gift shop. Mr. Right bought me a beautiful throw with a globe and animals of the world woven into it. Still have it, very nice. About the greatest gift shop was at Mote Marine…

Thursday, May 26, 2005

And in Other News...

Today’s Headlines

Convicted Child Molester Found Dead – foul play not suspected

Yeah. How hard did they look for it?

Higher Gas Prices and Construction Awaits Drivers

Well, if G.W. would bring the troops home from Iraq and put them to work repairing the roads, bet we’d see an improvement in both

Runaway Bride Faces up to $11,000 in Fines

Oh, I’m sure she’ll pay it; she’s always followed through on her commitments before…

Secret FBI Records Cite Quran Abuse Allegations

But does anybody apologize to Newsweek? Noooooo….

That whole situation ticks me off beyond belief. I support Newsweek, and I’m so far in the minority, I doubt it even pays to detail why. Newsweek bowed to government pressure, which proves who controls the press. I can’t help but think the government WANTS things like the photos and reports of abuse aired. It furthers their end to create a showdown between Christianity and Islam, and a few innocent people like myself will suffer. Support Atheism. It’s a non-prophet religion.

Interesting moral dilemma of the week: Saw a TV news segment on a former newscaster who faces prison time for the solicitation of sex from a minor. The story goes: a family man and professional TV newscaster enjoys Internet chat rooms and ‘talking dirty’ with the people he meets online. One profile he checks out is that of a 15-year-old girl. He starts a correspondence with her, including sexual talk. After a very long time of this (a year? I don’t recall) he arranges a face to face meeting with her, supposedly for sex. He shows up at the apartment address he was given, where police arrest him. His version of the story is he thought it would be a much older woman awaiting him, not a 15-year-old. His wife is standing by him, as are his two young girls.

What should his punishment be? He faces jail or probation of course, but he also fears having to register as a sex offender the rest of his life.

Now, I’m very happy a crime was prevented. I didn’t get to see any of his conversations, but I doubt his defense. Why not meet the woman for coffee first, if he understood people on the net misrepresent themselves?* He should certainly be punished. Hopefully, to the extent he will not repeat the crime. But do I think he should register as a sex offender? No. No crime was committed. Just the intent. If I buy a gun while thinking of murder, then change my mind, was a crime committed? This falls into the whole area of entrapment, and it can only go so far.

Speaking of entrapment, wonder if Mr. Right will try to get me to help with this whole stain the house project? I’m all for being a do-it-yourselfer if it saves a few bucks. Heck, I’d embalm a family member myself if possible. I’ll bet formaldehyde in 55 gallon drums is pretty reasonable, and I’ve seen a few episodes of CSI…

Staining sounds pretty dull. I’m from the MTV generation. More than 30 seconds of something causes my mind to wander. Reason #456 as to “Why I’m Not a Famous Author”.

*I’m actually a loving, giving, sweet charitable person who thinks of others first; nothing like my on-line persona. Ha!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Human Stain

So let’s see…there’s about what, 52 hours until the Memorial Day weekend? My husband, Mr. Right (It wasn’t until after our marriage that I discovered his first name is Always) has announced that he will stain our house. In one 3-day weekend. This coming 3 day weekend. Oh, you say, he must have measured the house, calculated the square footage, determined the type and amount of stain needed, ordered it two weeks in advance, and rented scaffolding and other paint-related paraphernalia. Yeah, right. I think there’s a roller in the basement. Somewhere.

How do men accomplish anything? How many times have you heard men blamed for wars? Ever hear of the 100 Years War? Executed by women, this conflict would have taken an afternoon at most. Men?

Did you bring the arrows?

Um, no. Did you?

No. But I’ve got a sword here…

We’ve got a catapult, but no ammo…

Ok, everybody, let’s meet back here tomorrow at dawn…

Dawn? That’s pretty early. Can’t we sleep in til 10?

Shall we just postpone the whole thing until after jousting

Yeah, that works for me.

But let’s come out here every day, so the wenches don’t get wise-


Heard a rash of teenage vandalism has broken out in the county, especially in movie theater parking lots. One man had obscenities carved into the side of his red Corvette convertible. Now I’m really paranoid* and don’t want to leave my car alone for even a minute. If I do go to a movie, it will be a drive in, and I’ll be invoking my constitutional right to bear arms.

Hear about the movie theater that was robbed by the guy in the Darth Vader mask? Demanded money and fled on foot. What, the X Wing in the shop?

Thought for the Day: Can you even imagine a world with no hypothetical situations?

What I’m Reading: A Short History of Nearly Everything
What I’m Watching: Channel 5 News
What I’m Listening as I write this: Angel of Retribution
What I’m Recommending: Not trying to fool me with low gas prices on a holiday weekend; I know you will keep them artificially high forever, Axis of Evil
Stay away from: Vegetarians

*Actually I’m a paranoid with low-self esteem. I don’t think anybody important is out to get me.

Blogger Girl is Back!

Sorry about the hiatus. But that’s the thing about writing: you must be very motivated and disciplined to do it. This explains why I don’t have any thing on the best seller list. Or the remainder bin, for that matter. Like the wise saying goes: better to be a has-been than a never-was. *Sigh* I admit it. I’m a never-gonna-be.

Husband had a bit of a time getting back from his business trip to Florida. His flight was to leave at 3:17 p.m., but the plane had a mechanical problem. Yeah, right, how about a work slowdown by disgruntled pension-less airplane mechanics? They were told to wait, as United would not cancel the flight (since that might result in a refund or passengers taking a bus or something). Finally they were told a 7:45 p.m. arrival would be turned around and flown back to Chicago to get them out by 8 p.m. At 8:30 the pilot shows up and says no one told him about the return flight, so he went and checked into a local hotel thinking his shift was over. Oh, yeah, I want my life in this company’s hands…

Loved the excitement of the Preakness Stakes this Saturday! Afleet Alex made an unbelievable recovery to win, one for the record books and something I really didn’t think a race horse could do. After nearly falling to his knees, he pulled away strongly going on to a commanding win of nearly five lengths. Had he fell, the consequences for him, his jockey, and others on the track could have been devastating. Furthermore, had he not won, a foul may have disqualified second place finisher, Scrappy T; possibly leading to third place finisher (and Kentucky Derby winner) Giacomo being declared the winner. An intriguing premise, to say the least.

Gas prices have declined about four cents a gallon. Wheeee. Big whoop. Nice to know I have to pay MORE at the pump because the war in Iraq is so expensive. Oh, sorry, I mean the liberation of Iraq. We won the war, lost the occupation. Let’s face it, we’re trying to train these people to ‘police themselves’. Shoot their own insurgent countrymen. It’s a complex issue – did we learn nothing from our own civil war? Of course not.

Continuing to save up for the yet-to-be-named new car I intend to purchase before October. Got a key in the mail for a local car dealership. If the key starts the car you win it! Yeah, right. The dealership wins your name and address, that’s all. Still, I will try.

I don’t know why I’m in such a writing slump, this should be getting easier, not harder. It’s not lack of ideas, it’s just lack of execution. I have some topics to cover, but don’t know where to begin, or am just too lazy to begin. Reminds me of a quote I saw today. There was no attribution, but I love it: A conclusion is the place you got tired of thinking.

In conclusion….

I will try to write tomorrow if you will try to read tomorrow. Although I really think you have the lesser of commitments! If you are not entertained, you won’t come back. See all that pressure on me?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Too Busy to Blog

Sorry I haven't posted anything lately, but hope to put some new material up soon.
Stay tuned.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Doctored Blog

Just saw the last episode of ER featuring Doctor Carter (Noah Wyle). I think he’s really cute and will miss him on the show, but my real crush was Dr. Romano. I wonder why they killed him off – contract dispute? I wanted to write an episode where he met a paleontologist (think Sue) who was at the Field on assignment and left to go fossil hunting in Mongolia, breaking his heart. I’ll have to pick another character to use that script on…

Worried about my car with the freak hailstorm we had today. I’ll have to inspect it carefully in the morning. Saw a car I really liked in the parking lot at work: a Dodge Stratus. It was black and a little sporty-looking. But this brings up the fact that someone already has the car I want…I can’t possibly get the same one! Today it was sporting a fuzzy leopard steering wheel cover and plastic cherries from the rear view mirror. Now I’m really dying to know who owns it Perhaps I could get a similar one and put some decals on it to make it unique. Love black. Impossible to keep clean, but for one shining moment it’s breathtaking.

Am I the only one suspicious about how Jesse Jackson was so quick to forgive Vicente Fox? Skeptical about the inert grenade heaved at Bush in Georgia? Even more incredulous that they have a “Freedom Square” to gather in? The only one who thinks there’s a connection between the deaths of select Lincoln Park Zoo animals and Condoleeza Rice’s foreign policy? Or the small aircraft invading D.C. airspace precisely when Nancy Regan and Laura Bush were having a meeting? Don’t worry; I’ll tie all of these up in a unified conspiracy theory for you soon.
From Jay Leno’s Tonight Show Monolog: Did you hear President Bush wants to explore alternative energy sources? His new solar power plan involves sending troops to the sun…

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

White Tie Optional

Ok, by now you are wondering what prompted yesterday’s little travel missive. The husband went on a business trip to Orlando this Saturday to attend a software certification conference. As I expected, 25 minutes before a car is to arrive and take him to the airport, he is deciding what to pack. And yes, I did throw out his favorite suitcase. Never mind that it was over 20 years old and the hinges were rusting into the clothing compartment, that was his FAVORITE, dammit, and I was just being mean to discard it. I do that a lot. Just ask about the t-shirt with the Japanese writing on it…

He asks if I can pack him a toiletry bag. Oh, sure. Glad to help. Do you want me to pack clothes too? No! I respect your opinion and want input, but I want to select the clothes myself, he says. Um, ok. I’ll stand way over here and just shout suggestions. Be sure to pack both my electric razor and straight razor with shaving cream. He’s a blonde with no stubble problems, why the over kill? Whatever. Pack toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, aspirin, sunscreen, antacid, floss, q-tips, etc. Select a nice paperback book to read in the airport and pack a little snack baggie with nuts, gum and dried fruit. I joke that he will call me from the hotel to ask if I packed a certain item.

Inquire if he has written down flight numbers and times for me just in case. Get look as if I am speaking Esperanto. Never mind. If I hear of any plane crashes, I’ll just file a claim and let the airline shoulder the burden of proving otherwise. Oh, you’re taking United? Best of luck to you. If the company blew my pension plan, I might just loosen up the left wing myself.

He’s not sure what to bring. The conference brochure said Dress: Casual, comfortable clothes.

Now for any normal human being, that shouldn’t be a problem. But if there is one sartorially-challenged group that needs far more than a single sentence telling them how to dress, it’s Computer Geeks. A better marketing company would have known that far more guidance is needed for this group, and it wouldn’t hurt if you could speak their language…
If (year your pants were in style ≥ age of t-shirt) then Pocket Protector is Optional
Plaids are not a subset of [things that go with stripes]
Full Dress-Battle Klingon wear discouraged, but ladies may pick up their free Lt. Uhura costume at the sign-in desk!

I suggest that he should speak to his carpool buddy who goes on lots of business trips. Perhaps he would have suggestions of what to pack from past experiences. No, he snarls. Why not? His wife does all the packing for him. Ah. I suggest a pair of jeans, a pair of khaki pants, and three pairs of shorts. He says it’s for six days, he needs more. (I have yet to see a man point and say: Hey, he wore those tan pants yesterday! Does he really think that belt goes with those pants?) Whatever.

He’s done stuffing 3 pairs of shoes, two dress pants, shorts, socks, more underwear than I suspected he owned and about a dozen shirts into a check luggage and carry-on. “Did you get the stuff from the kitchen?” I ask. What stuff? “You know, the kitchen sink…”

He called me tonight. Said he did not sleep well last night; had indigestion. “I packed antacids”, I point out. Oh. I didn’t really look. I said I wouldn’t call about that…

Tells me they took the certification test already, but he won’t know the results for two weeks. “Two weeks!”, I exclaim. “Do you have the instructor’s home address so you can call and argue over the ones they marked wrong? It was true-false, right, and some of them were neither, right?” Do I know him or what??

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll try to change the topic for tomorrow. Lucas has a new film out, which should be good for a couple hundred words….

Travel Blog

I don’t know travel plans are like at your house, but here’s what happens at ours.

Trip one month away:

Me: Mark date on calendar. Make sure not to plan any other events (dentist appointment, lunch dates, elective surgery) right before or during this time.
Him: That’s a month away. I have plenty of time.

Me: Go online to research weather conditions of area. Note hurricanes are expected.
Him: It’s Florida. Pack shorts.

Me: Check out list of things to do in the area, noting cost, dates and times of operation. Print out little coupons for attractions.
Him: Florida. Shorts.

Me: Make list of things I will need to bring. List any credit cards or other valuables taken in case of emergency.
Him: I know how to pack. Shorts.

Two Weeks Before:

Me: Make sure camera has batteries and little travel size supplies are ready to go. Decide on a ‘theme color’ so items packed will all mix and match. Make tough decisions on how to make the most of the fewest pieces of clothing.
Him: How long does it take to pack shorts?

Me: Try on clothing and select items to bring, including a minimum of three pairs of shoes for various terrain. Pack clothing steamer.
Him: What doesn’t go with shorts?

One Week Before:

Me: Select books to bring. Pick jewelry that will go with outfits. Cancel mail and newspaper delivery.
Him: There’s a whole week yet. Plenty of time.

Me: Get hair and nails done.
Him: Maybe I should get a haircut too.

Two Days Before:

Me: Leave itinerary with numbers of hotels, etc. with a family member
Him: Mention in passing to sister that she needs to water our plants, feed pets, etc. Figure she has a key or knows how to jiggle a window to get in. Don’t really specify when we are planning to return.

One day before:

Me: Get good night’s sleep, busy day coming up
Him: I want a haircut. My hairdresser should drop everything to see me now. Didn’t she know we were going on vacation? I thought my wife told her everything.

Me: look over check list one last time to make sure nothing is forgotten
Him: Wonders why clothes he wants to bring are dirty or do not fit any more.
Packs enough for two other time zones and climates. Complains wife threw out favorite piece of luggage.

Day Of:

Me: In car, looking disgusted as 6 a.m. leave time creeps towards 10 a.m. departure.
Him: Ask if wife has seen atlas or his favorite watch. Get in car. Realize sunglasses were forgotten. Go back for sunglasses; bring more sunscreen despite the two bottles wife has already packed. Mention he should have checked the oil/added air to the tires/overhauled the engine before the trip, but it’s too late now.

We’re There:

Him: Oh my God! I forgot to pack my bathing suit!
Me: Shut up and wear your shorts.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Half Off Your Next Blog Post!

So I go to Meijer’s the other day, ostensibly to pick up some groceries. Meijer’s is this huge 24 hour super store that sells everything from milk to underwear. Usually I shop at Wal-Mart as they are slightly cheaper, but that night I just couldn’t face the dirty over crowded paean to the lowest bidder (it’s estimated that 80% of their suppliers are from China – don’t get me started on how I oppose our foreign policy towards China, but it hasn’t stopped me from making the Walton family richer).

As I pull in I see a newer Toyota Celica in the parking lot. This one makes mine look downright anemic – it has a ground effects package and wing spoiler. Great. What aisle do they sell new cars in? Probably near the garden section.

I shop very carefully, aware that many prices are suspect. I whip out my coupons and decide to buy everything there: cleaning products, personal products, food, drugs, whatever. Hauling out the huge filing cabinet of coupons at my disposal, I do pretty well. I find dish soap 2 for $5, plus a coupon. Cat food is another victory: They seem to be discontinuing the 3.5 lb. bags, and they are marked down cheaper than if you bought the one 7 lb. bag. Add my two 75 cent off coupons for each bag, and it’s cheaper per pound than the 14 lb bag. Score! Ok, so I had to take the only remaining bags, the Indoor less-active cat formula and the Kitten formula. Mix the two together and you get just the nutrition needed for an almost-one-year-old outdoor cat, right? Right. (Don’t ask how I’m going to provide prescription drugs for my husband’s old age. All I will say is it involves a bottle of generic aspirin, some outdated GNC vitamins and a mortar and pestle.)

I ask a female employee, “If I were Miracle Whip, where would I be hiding?” She directs me to aisle 12 where I find that apparently ‘picnic season’ means a $1 per jar price increase. No way. I make a mental note to stock up next January and grab the generic store brand of salad dressing.

After about an hour and a half of wandering the aisles armed with coupons and a calculator, I’m ready to check out. Suddenly an announcement is made that there are additional coupons to be had from the greeters. Hey! Now they tell me? The bored cart lady says she doesn’t have any. I find a rack some four feet from her and look it over. I find it annoying that everything is printed in English and Spanish, and several highlight imported products, making it hard for me to concentrate. I decide nothing is worth going back for, and move to the checkout. With this many coupons, I’m not going near the self-check aisle. I hate them, why should I have to do all the work and summon someone over to look at my stupid coupons when done? I redeem $15.65 in coupons. Whoo-hoo! Now that’s shopping. If this doesn’t excite you wildly, you’re missing a leg on your chromosomes. I dream of the day when I get 6 bags of groceries and they owe me $15, but it hasn’t happened yet.

I bask in the glow of ‘good shopping’ for 24 hours. Then I find an unused coupon in my purse. I should have gotten another dollar off. Now I’m bummed. Can’t shake the feeling I was ripped off. Could have bought some gas with that buck. I’m such a failure.

Heard the new pope put the previous pope on the fast track to sainthood. Can’t shake the comparison that Ford pardoned Nixon….

Well, well, well…Alice Cooper saved the day at the celebrity golf tournament this afternoon. He was extremely modest about it also. How did Catherine Zeta-Jones and Heather Locklear keep their hands off him? Must have been because they were with their husbands.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Alive and Well in the Suburbs

Yes, Virginia, rock and roll lives, as evidenced by Friday night’s Cinco de Cabo concert at the Rosemont Theater. The Red Rocker Sammy Hagar performed an awesome sold-out show of almost three hours for loyal fans like ourselves. Sammy’s band, the Waboritas, were stupendous, and it was very nice to see Mona, the bass player, as an integral part of the show. There were two drummers and the sound was excellent. Sammy’s voice was great and he did a very nice retrospective selection of his almost thirty years of solo and group material.

The crowd was older than I expected, and some had traveled from places like La Porte, IN. Very few young people in attendance; I guess I expected more teen headbangers, but this was a Waborita crowd, decked out in Hawaiian wear, more reminiscent of a Jimmy Buffet concert than a metal fest. Surprisingly, many concert goers did have Van Hagar shirts on, something I know the Van Halen purists out there feel is a sore spot. I loved Sammy before Van Halen, and I respect the Roth days, but loved Sammy with the band as well. And what have they done without him??? Hmmm.

Although hubby was disappointed he didn’t do Space Station #5, I was pleased he hit most of my all time favorites: Red, Best of Both Worlds, Bad Motorscooter, Heavy Metal, and the one that brought the house down – I Can’t Drive 55. I was kind of surprised that one got the largest crowd response, if only infinitesimally.* Sammy basically wore out the crowd, playing with just one brief intermission. After the intermission, the band was known as Los Tres Gusanos, as Michael Anthony joined Sammy and drummer David Lauser. I never noticed how short Anthony was until he stood next to Sammy, who I don’t think is particularly tall. We’re talking Hobbit here. Wizard of Oz extra.

Anyhoo, Sammy was more than gracious to the fans, signing every shirt, hat and banner thrown at him on stage while putting on a heck of a show. This is one area where I must admit amazement at the Country Western music industry, and how fan-oriented the performers are. They hold fan appreciation events and always acknowledge their debt for the support of the public that buys their music and attends their shows. When’s the last time the Rolling Stones deigned to sign autographs? Being the Bad Boys of rock and roll means charging $200 for a ticket and getting away in a helicopter before the fans figure out there won’t be an encore.

Tickets were $50, but the real rip-off was $15 for parking! That’s ridiculous. It was $20 for ‘valet’ parking, and some took advantage of that option. At least I felt like I got my money’s worth and would see him again (this was the third time for me, and it’s still fresh).

*The computer spell check says two ‘l’s, the dictionary one. Which is it?

What I’m Reading: Life&Style magazine
What I’m Watching: Fox
What I’m Listening to in the Car: Not 4 Sale
What I’m Recommending: It’s Only Rock and Roll, But I Like It
Stay away from: Ticketmaster tyranny

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Father Nature, I Presume

It’s the middle of May and I have on a cashmere sweater – what’s wrong with this picture? I’m sick of being cold! I haven’t even been out rollerblading once yet this season. Sunday was beautiful, but as explained, I had to waitress and did not have time to try out the skates. Mother Nature is not a woman. If she were, things would be much more pleasant. Not to mention organized. As soon as I’m God, I’ll fix all that. Sixteen hours of daylight each day, average temp 80 degrees, thunderstorms by appointment and mostly at night….

It really poured rain yesterday, and we certainly needed it, but my day was starting very badly. My travel mug of coffee sprung a mysterious leak and dripped all over the cup tray as I slogged along behind a Ford that thought 35 MPH was suitable on a wide open rural road. About then the Check Engine light came on. As you’ve probably figured out, these lights tell you nothing about the status of your engine, or exactly how soon it should be checked, but are instead sly marketing tools designed to get you into a dealership so they can scare you into unnecessary service.

“Yep, it’s the master cylinder backup alert sensor module. I’d replace that right away if I were you. It’s only a $32 part, but it could save your life. Oh, tax and labor? $279. See, we have to remove all four wheels, the shock absorbers, bushings…”

I hate idiot lights. I can’t tell you how nice it is to get into my 37-year-old Corvette and be able to see actual gauges. Watching your car slowly overheat as you cross the Nevada desert is one of life’s little pleasures not to be missed. The voltage regulator is going crazy and burning up? Enjoy the jumpiness of the ammeter for awhile before seeking a new heavy duty alternator in the back woods of Canada. Oil pressure dropping dangerously? Really need to get a decent rebuild sometime soon. Til then, a quart of oil every 400 miles should take care of it.

I think idiot lights should be more creative and reflect real-life driving conditions. Think of how useful the “Ha Ha” light could be… a little violet light blinks Ha! as soon as the car passes out of warranty. It’s just the manufacturers’ way of reminding you they are no longer paying for anything that might go wrong from here on out, and boy are they glad you won’t be in every month with each nitpicky thing noticed.

What about the Obsolete light? This orange flashing ‘frownie face’ lets you know when your last payment has been made. Your car is now an outdated dinosaur that needs to be replaced with something newer, fancier, and more expensive. What fun is there in a paid off vehicle?

Closely related is the Humiliation light. This baby blinks green with envy when a superior make and model of car passes you. It’s just a visual reminder of your inadequacy in both income and horsepower.

Or a Get Some Taste in Music sensor for the radio? And for the obsessive – compulsive car cleaners like myself, there could be a dash light that flashes brown when your car gets muddy. It could appear on a little car silhouette on a screen that would indicate where the offending goo hit – bugs on bumper, mud on wheels, bird poop on roof, etc. When encountering tar, the whole icon would flash and an audible ‘whoop whoop’ would alert the driver to spend the rest of the day scraping goo off the undercarriage.

What I’m Reading: Washington Nannies
What I’m Watching: ER
What I’m Listening to in the Car: Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper
What I’m Recommending: Getting a Life
Stay away from: Movies featuring Jar Jar Binks

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Unsolicited Advice of the Day

Don’t let your kid play with the tyke down the block whose daddy just got out of prison. Especially if he has a history of chasing people around with a chainsaw and refuses to go to anger management classes.

If that’s not a death penalty case, I don’t know what is.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Would you like fries with that?

Have to play Emergency Waitress ™ today, so not much time to post. For those of you who do not understand Emergency Waitress ™, it is this: only the most menial low paying jobs are the ones when the management show any appreciation to a worker who tries.

Given the general pool of applicants, this is not surprising. I can recall being thanked for showing up on my second day of work at Wal-Mart. I occasionally work up to three jobs at a time to finance my shoe shopping and Corvette owning proclivities, so I’ve done everything from work in a doctor’s office to fast food service. Waitressing is a great way to make some part-time cash, but when it is summer, I find it impossible to give up a beautiful day. So I quit. Except I couldn’t. They refused my resignation. Why can’t this be the attitude at my day job?

Oh, please don’t quit – we need you! You never call in sick! You may not be able
to get the order right, but you are really pleasant about it! And you come in at
a moment’s notice… no, you can’t quit. Keep the apron. We’ll call you!

Thus, Emergency Waitress™ was born. And I’ve trademarked her. Her super power is the ability to screw up any order no matter how small.

Oh, you wanted another beer, didn’t you? Asked about twenty minutes ago, if I
recall…Fish? I thought you said steak. No, really. I have it right here…well,
what do you know? Fish alright. Guess you did. Be right back…

I think the whole Emergency Waitress™ thing will make a great Graphic Novel. Tokyo Pop, are you listening?

I’m very glad a long-shot won the Kentucky Derby. If Bellamy Road had turned in another performance like the Wood Memorial, it would have turned into a ‘the next Secretariat’ circus. I want to own the next Triple Crown winner!

What I’m Reading: Newspapers
What I’m Watching: The Simpsons
What I’m Listening to in the Car: Loyal Looper CD
What I’m Recommending: More beautiful days like this
Stay away from: Guilt occupations

Friday, May 06, 2005

American Idle

So what’s this big fuss about American Idol judge Paula Abdul cozying up to one of the young contestants? What’s the point of a little power if you can’t abuse it? From what I understand, she doesn’t really ‘pick’ a winner, the home viewers supposedly do - so what’s the big fuss? The whiny loser is pissed because she no longer calls him on their special ‘love phone’. Can you hear me now? I’m over you.

There is also a website that encourages people to call the American Idol show and vote for the worst contestant, thereby leaving the producers with an unmarketable winner. Take that Fox! Ooooh, they’re scared! Some fans are worried this will taint the election results. Gasp! Thank goodness tainted election results would never happen with anything important, like say…a presidential election. All elections are fair and honest. Especially those handled by electronic voting machines. Or hanging chads.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Mother of all Blogs

Mother’s Day is coming up and I’ve been reading the local paper to formulate my strategy for the big day. First off, it’s free breakfast for mom at IHOP. She can have the pancakes, and I’ll get the oatmeal. How expensive can that be? Then it’s over to the local nursery for a free 4” Blooming Azalea for the first 75 moms. Not buying any thing else there, the prices are outrageous. The free Manicure for Mom package at the downtown day spa will be next. Since we’re already there, I might as well get the facial, massage and pedicure package for myself. She can wait by the magazine rack until my stuff is done. Then I’ll use my free Movie for Mom coupon over at the Cineplex. Of course, I’m picking the movie. (Hope she likes Mother’s Day Massacre on Main Street starring Freddy and Jason.) Next mom can get a free blood pressure and cholesterol screening at the Walgreen’s while I browse the makeup aisle. Then it’s over to the Suds n’ Scrub for our free car wash for mom (you didn’t think we were doing all that tooling around on my gas dime, did you?). Then it’s back home by 3 so I can get ready for my waitress job. Whew. Thank God that only comes once a year.

My husband came home and asked if I had heard about the guy who woke up after ten years in a coma. Yeah, I did. Could have nipped that in the bud by pulling the plug a decade ago. Who gets the glee of sitting down and explaining his medical bills to him? There’s a guy not on an HMO. Has the Shaivo family commented yet? Let it go….

Hear about the guy who found a finger in his custard? Unlike the Wendy’s chili incident, this one is very real. A man in Wilmington, N.C., brought a pint of frozen custard home and saw an object near the top. Thinking it was candy, he stuck it in his mouth. (You may retch now) Officials of the state dept. of agriculture investigated and found one of the shop employees did indeed lose part of a finger in a food processing machine. Wait! It gets grosser. Last July, another employee severed an index finger on the same machine. Eeeeew. Don’t order the Berry Surprise. Didn’t Stephen King do a story on that machine – the Mangler or something?

For all the ways I can point to the decline of America, sometimes I hear something that gives a ray of hope for the future. Specifically, I’m speaking about the Runaway Bride Kit on Ebay. Yes, some enterprising individual is advertising a Runaway Bride Kit after hearing about the Georgia woman who fled her fancy nuptials. The kit consists of scissors, hair dye, sunglasses and a copy of the movie Runaway Bride. They suggest it makes a great bridal shower gift. India might have all the great technical jobs, but do they have this kind of blatant make-a-buck at anyone’s’ expense ingenuity? I should hope not

What I’m Reading: Newspapers
What I’m Watching: Stacked
What I’m Listening to in the Car: Moody Blues
What I’m Recommending: Buying Ad Space on this Blog
Stay away from: Angry Bridesmaids

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I Bitch, Therefore I Blog

Well this stupid site hasn’t changed the world yet – still going to hell in a handbasket, wouldn’t you agree?

On the first day of the 20th Century, the average life expectancy was 47. On the last day of the century, it was 77. Like I’ve been telling you: too many people living way too long. Where’s the Black Plague when you need it?

Did you hear about the debate going on to abolish the practice of giving students preferential treatment when applying to a college their family attended and support financially? This came about when race-based admission polices came under fire, and now many alumni are upset their offspring cannot attend a favored University.

But guess who has spoken out AGAINST allowing schools to fast track children of wealthy patrons? George W. Bush!!!! The man who wouldn’t even have a college degree, much less one from Yale! And the policy got his party-princess daughter Barbara in there too!!! I am disgusted by the hypocrisy and you should be too. If that’s what Yale turns out, I’m just as glad I didn’t go. I was very unimpressed by the Bush daughters’ introductions at the Republican Convention. At age 6, I could have given a fire and brimstone stump speech for my daddy, not the giggling dead air time those two produced. And if my father started a war, I’d be out fighting it, not looking for a college deferment. I’d have asked for my own fighter pilot squadron and gone and bombed something just to get a few medals. I’d also want to keep any land I won. 19 is not too young for an ambassadorship or political appointment of some sort. The Bushes have a long history of having their own oil rigs, why should the girls be any different?

So – following the story of the runaway bride? The gal who got cold feet before her 14-attendant, 600 guest wedding in Georgia and hopped a bus after cutting her hair off to escape identification? The groom says he still wants to marry her. Now do you see why she wanted out? She might be charged with making false kidnap claims which resulted in a $60,000 search. I say just make her reimburse the 14 bridesmaids for those dresses, which we all know they will ‘wear again’.

Have you ever looked at Pet Rocks, or bottled drinking water and said, why didn’t I think of that? It’s amazing what people will pay good money for, and I think I’m finally on to something that might just work….a string of Gourmet Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich restaurants.

Imagine going into a swanky sit-down eatery (with a reservation of course) complete with white tablecloths and a haughty Maitre d’. You open the leather-bound menu to find a selection of exquisite breads on one page, exotic Jams, Marmalades and Jellies on another, and finally a page of nut butters: Hazelnut, Peanut, Macadamia! You tell the tuxedoed waiter what combination you would like and he asks, “Would you like the crusts removed, sir?” while raising one eyebrow. Then he suggests an imported Merlot to bring out the berries in your selection…

There would be side dishes of Potato Chip choices from around the world and a budget entrĂ©e of JTC. That’s ‘just the crusts’. Didn’t want you to think we were wastefully throwing those out. Oreos for desert. Double Stuff available upon request.

The genius of this plan is its simplicity. If the chef calls in sick, even I could keep the kitchen open. Prices would be outrageous, that’s how everyone would know it was good. It would be hailed as a return to the innocence of youth. Let’s face it, I’m getting rich on toddler food. Ha! We’d get review attention (The Wonder Bread was soft and yielding…the extra chunky danced on my palate) and lots of press.

Check Please from Channel 11 would do a whole segment on us. “As a school teacher, I thought the $148 tab for two was pricey, but I’m sure my students would have loved it! It was authentic down to the little milk carton with a straw. I even got my leftovers to go in a plain brown sack. I can’t wait to go back!”

What I’m Reading: Newspapers
What I’m Watching: borrowed DVDs
What I’m Recommending: Investment in my Restaurant, Pretentious Butter and Jelly
Stay away from: Dinner With a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Get a Life Across the Galaxy

Loved the Hitchhiker movie! I’d follow Zaphod around the universe any day – he was sufficiently babe-a-licious! Heard he used Freddie Mercury as one of his role models when developing the character, and I noticed the trademark black nail polish on one hand. Got excited when I saw Alan Rickman’s name in the opening credits, but unfortunately, he was just the voice of depressed robot Marvin. Better than nothing, I suppose. Although nothing like the
book(s) (how could it be), I thought they did a nice job of creating a cute story and some funny incidents. Not too bad.

I really relate to Arthur more than ever, what with him lying down in front of the steam rollers set on demolishing his house for a bypass, and needing the advice, "Don't Panic". My next mission is to discover an endangered plant, lichen, or Ivory Billed Woodpecker nesting site on the land under development. It’s my only hope.

Coming attractions looked good as well. Usually I can weed out the trailers that are giving all the best stuff away, and dislike more than a few of the offerings, but this time I think I would see two out of the three they showed. The new Star Wars was one. After Jar-Jar, I’ve pretty much given up on Lucas, but I will see this on the big screen just for some of the space scenes. After the last release, I don’t even expect a plot, much less a coherent one. The writing (LUCAS) is so stilted. It didn’t bother me when the first one came out, as I was much younger and dazzled by the effects. It was a straightforward story and the first two were very well-done, if not terribly literate. It was a space opera, a western; it didn’t need to be deep. But now we are facing the question of what made Darth Vader Darth Vader. How did he turn to the dark side? I expect this to fail spectacularly. Whereas I had no problem with the answer to the life, the universe and everything being 42. Makes sense to me.

Another preview was for the Pink Panther remake – a difficult proposition if ever there was one. But Steve Martin might just be able to carry this off, it looked rather amusing.

The new Herbie movie stars Lindsay Lohan, reason enough for me to skip it. It also has cartoonish special effects, another no vote. But I love the whole concept of Herbie, and he mysteriously now has a spoiler and a lot more horsepower, so I can’t dislike it completely. Just not in the theaters. Wait for cable.

That’s all for now, I have to research endangered species of Illinois. Fortunately, Sarcastica Sardonicus is not one of them. Remember, as Al Frankin says, it’s still satire, even if the target of that satire doesn’t get it.

What I’m Reading: A Brief History of Time
What I’m Watching: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
What I’m Recommending: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Stay Away From: Lindsay Lohan

Mayday, Mayday

The planned development continues unabated on our street and I hear the clock ticking on the time I have in my present house. I predict having to move within two years as the doomsday meter clicks down. Some day, long after I’m gone, someone will be sorry all the fertile topsoil of Illinois was buried beneath cheap tract housing. I only regret I will not be able to smirk and say I Told You So as famine stalks the land. Pretty much that is the only thing I live for, saying I Told You So; whether it refers to a warning I’ve issued over a hot pot on the stove, or the total destruction of mankind. It just feels good to be right, don’t you agree?

“Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone somewhere might be happy”-
Henry Mencken.

We’re going to see Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy tonight; I’ll give you a full report. I loved the books, as they broke every rule of writing. They were not plot driven, just a chance to throw out some great jokes and wry observations. Kind of like my writing, wouldn’t you agree?

Hear about the bride who got cold feet and ‘faked’ her kidnapping? As a result of wackos like her, when the young man in Elgin was kidnapped and placed in the trunk of his mother’s car, I doubted the veracity of his call to 911. Fortunately, police took it seriously and treated it as a true crime, whereas I suspected he was a teen out joyriding too late who wanted to stay out of trouble.

It’s almost Kentucky Derby time, just about the only sporting event I follow. My early pick is Sun King. Just like the name. Many horses this year are owned by celebrities, and at least two sired by Fusachi Pegasus.

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker has been confirmed as alive and living in Arkansas. This is exciting news for ornithologists and animal lovers everywhere, as the bird was long thought extinct. The last positive sighting was in 1944. Perhaps it’s the same one – just really, really old, and the last survivor. Actually, they are only supposed to live 15 years, so, my theory may not be the best one. But let’s hunt that poor thing down and clone it, just to be sure!

I am all in favor of cloning. Not to mention stem cell research and any other Franken-Science you can think of. Particle accelerators? Why not? Time travel? Sounds good to me. Remember, at one time it was a great taboo to cut into a dead body to try and discover more about the inner workings of our organs. Now cadavers are used in medical schools and autopsies are helping unlock the secrets of Alzheimer’s and Mad Cow disease. Speaking of cows, on my walk to the development area yesterday, I announced to the peacefully grazing bovines there that they would soon be homeless, and “You KNOW what happens to homeless cows, don’t you?”, I concluded. Can’t resist saying I told you so to even a herd of cattle. As the creator of Dilbert would say, I’m just a little ray of bitter sunshine, aren’t I?

What I’m Reading: A Brief History of Time
What I’m Watching: Ronin
What I’m Recommending: Jesus Land
Stay away from: uncontrolled growth