Thursday, June 30, 2005
I also predict Cheney will have a mysterious bout of ‘good health’ when election time comes around again. Most likely they will run Jeb, however.
John Walton, age 58, son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, died in a plane crash Monday. The experimental ultralight went down in Wyoming. Board member John was listed as the 11th richest person in the world by Forbes Magazine, worth an estimated eighteen billion dollars. He was tied with brother Jim, just ahead of sister Alice and mother Helen. Hey, Matlock! I’d check those three out first. Just a suggestion.
Went to a township meeting regarding our area growth plan. It was very fascinating, but my butt has a time limit as to how long it can be in contact with a hard metal folding chair. Ouch.
I had planned on showing up in a long sundress and wide-brimmed hat, driving my Corvette, and bringing a glass of ice tea. I’d sit with a straw fan that had the word ‘NO’ on it and swish it every time growth was mentioned, but that kind of fell through. Took the Toyota and Mr. This Won’t Take More Than a Few Minutes, Right?
The event drew 22 people who sat for two hours and viewed slide shows from our planning commission and the county conservation district. We learned about water flow, topography and current zoning designations. When they asked for questions at the end, I almost said, “Where’s the refreshments?”, but resisted.
Learned some incredible things about my neighborhood. Like: of the 21 endangered animals of Illinois, we are home to 18, including my buddy the Blanding’s Turtle. (Mr. Right is breathing a sigh of relief here, as he was concerned our vacation would be spent taking the Vette to Indiana, where I would instruct him to drive slowly with the top down at dusk so I could catch the endangered Indiana Bat in a large butterfly net to bring back with us…)
Our creek water is among the best and cleanest in the state (grade B: it will support trout, but does not act as a trout breeding ground). Rare plants grow here, and no one knows why. Well, something to do with those slow but persistent glaciers. Ephemeral pools and wetlands abound. We were once home to elk, buffalo and cougars. Think I’ll spearhead a reintroduce the puma effort: Block Industrial Growth: Citizens Against The Subdivisions – Nature Only Welcome
(Big Cats Now).
We have the highest point in the county, and the second highest elevation in Illinois.
Our township is the most rural in the county – the last bastion of nature to be found for miles. Almost 10 percent of farmers have applied for farm land preservation status. This just means if a subdivision moves in next door, they can’t complain about the dust and chemicals and have the farm closed down. Yeah. Right.
As exciting as this all may be, the bottom line is again of misery and heartbreak.
We have a wonderful plan to control growth, but it’s not worth the slide screen it was shown on, as developers will just go to the county and threaten to sue everyone in sight until they get their own way. I left even more depressed than I arrived, once I realized everything that will be lost.
What I’m Reading: Naked by David Sedaris
What I’m listening to in my Car: Freakonomics
What I’m Recommending: Freakonomics
Stay away from: Places that charge to watch fireworks. It’s un-American.
Friday, June 24, 2005
Spent most of the week calling up people who hate the heat. You know, those sissies who want to move to Canada and wear parkas 24/7.
I say witty things like, “Hot enough for ya?”
“Think we’ve hit triple digits yet?”
“This is the coolest it will be all day” (early calls)
“Was it hot today? I hadn’t noticed.” (late calls)
I’m a real stitch.
Canada? What’s with that? Now, a country with a low population density that speaks English in most parts is a real draw, I must admit. But paying over 60% of my wages in taxes for universal health care and never thawing out is not something that has me packing my bags. What little I’ve seen of Canada didn’t impress me. Too Expensive. Especially gas. Scenic, but that was on the one day the roads were clear of ice, July 5th.
How the cavemen did it is beyond me. Perhaps the formation of a spoken and written language can be linked to living in certain climes – did these hardy souls have 17 grunts for ‘cold’? Storytelling certainly would have been popular as a way to pass the ice age. Much written language can be traced to warmer areas. Perhaps northern fingers were too frozen to hold a stylus? Ink unable to flow?
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Gas prices are climbing and I’m ticked. A recent ‘town hall’ type meeting on the topic had few attendees and it was concluded that people aren’t that upset about gas prices. I will begin a letter writing campaign to debunk that myth.
Our township land use meeting will be held tomorrow night. I’m showing up in a business suit and taking the Vette to let those farmers in overalls know that us dinks don’t want any low-income high-density housing or gravel roads in these here parts.
Forget Classmates.com. I’m going to the Chicago Police Department’s new anti-prostitution website to look up the old gang!
Perhaps a few celebrities will show up now and then, as well!
And it’s exactly like Jane Fonda calling U.S. soldiers baby killers. Right. I used to be a member of Amnesty International (past tense – I could not give up my belief that the death penalty can be warranted after a fair trial) and never dreamed I’d have to be writing letters to my own government. Chalk that one up to naiveté, I guess. We were all young once.
When Chicago isn’t busy persecuting working girls, they’re hard at work banning sparklers from city limits. Whew! Another Chicago Fire averted. Good work. Now let me get some sleep so I can wake up to fewer airports and more parks.
An eleven-year-old boy scout survived four days in the Utah wilderness without TiVo, Nintendo or a cell phone. And I thought all they taught scouts was to hate gays and non-Christians. Who knew?
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Let’s see… it’s June 20th, and this was supposed to be done over Memorial Day, so add another holiday for the Fourth of July, carry a few more rounds of golf and… Labor Day. Yep. Labor Day. That’s when it will be done.
Saw a car the other day with about a dozen of those Support Our Troops magnets between the taillights. I can’t help but imagine another car backing out from a parking space across the aisle and becoming sucked into the incredible magnetic vortex created by misplaced patriotism, causing it to smash directly into the PC – mobile. Ha!
Oh, and for those of you who do have them on your cars…remember to remove them before washing the vehicle. Water will collect behind it and rust you car out in that spot. Also move them occasionally to prevent uneven fading from the sun. And by the way red-white-and-bluers, those little ribbons are made in China. See how educational this blog is?
The weatherman* predicted this would be one of the ten best days of the year, and I was fortunate enough to have taken a vacation day. The last three days have been perfect, and I logged about 37 miles rollerblading. Sticks and stones will break your bones, and asphalt necessitates skin grafts, but I do enjoy it so. I must admit, it would be a much healthier pursuit if not for the three ice cream stands strategically located at my turn-around point.
Got the Vette out a little this weekend as well. Took it to the local Wal-Mart, just to let the employees think Sam was showing up for a surprise inspection. Can’t wait for Greenwald’s next movie expose on Wal – Mart. I’m hoping it upsets me just enough to shop there less, kind of how Super Size Me now has me ordering only the Happy Meal once a week. I know these conglomerates are bad, so I am taking baby steps to wean myself away from their strangulating grasp. I always shop for price, so if Wal-Mart had never destroyed my small town, I still would be frugal and getting a good deal. What really upsets me is that my town has the most hideous Wal-Mart in existence. It’s so tiny and creepy I hate to shop there, and only use their pharmacy because it is convenient, not because I think I’m getting the right pills or anything.
Drove to an outlet mall across the county and was appalled at the bumper to bumper traffic along the way. Especially loved the new housing development just before the mall. There was a wooden ‘privacy’ fence that looked absolutely ridiculous; it was very long and low against tall condo buildings. At a quick glance the whole development looked like a barracks, no, a prison camp. I am so sick of growth and over population.
Another thing making me sick is gas prices (says the woman who went shopping with the sixties muscle car). I saw high-octane prices of $2.50 per gallon on the way and ended up thinking $2.40 was ‘a deal’, and pulled in to fill up. The engine ran on for just a moment as I shut it off. Did she think I wasn’t going to use the 93 octane? I would have left if they only had 92 there.
In an exacting scientific experiment under controlled laboratory conditions, it was determined that Bearded Dragons do not like hot dogs. Three out of three lizards spit out the offending meat by-product (Chicken! Pork! And Beef!) after being enticed (using the ‘beg and wiggle’ method of hand-feeding) to try a taste. Box turtles do not seem to display the same aversion to slaughterhouse leftovers, but all the results of that study have yet to be compiled. Imagine how this reptilian knowledge could have affected the filming of the movie Jurassic Park. When the kids were pursued by Raptors in the kitchen area, they could have sung the Oscar Meyer Wiener song….
*The Weathermen however, predicted partly cloudy with scattered anarchism.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
The stain hasn’t even been purchased yet. He’s still hung up on the whole ‘prep’ portion of the project. First you have to power wash the house. Then he noticed the mold. Apparently you are supposed to stain a house every 2 -3 years. It’s been five, and the wood is black in places. So he is told to use a bleach solution to kill the mold, then rinse. He’s using a sprayer his brother assured him works, just needs a little cleaning. Maybe a part. Or two. Or a complete overhaul.
Mr. Right-after-leaving-the-dock almost sunk in a boat his brother also assured him had only a ‘pinhole’ leak. Or two. Or… At any rate, he should have learned something long ago about borrowed equipment.
But no. He spent hours fixing the sprayer. Hundreds of dollars buying parts. Untold wasted time and frustration when he could have went to the rental center or just hired someone to do the job. But at least we know it will be done RIGHT.
Surprised the dog and cat don’t look like little skunks with white stripes down their backs, there is so much Clorox in the air around here. Worried about the turtles, too. I predict we are not going anywhere for vacation the first week of July as we will be home staining the house. By ‘we’, I mean HIM. I’ll just check into the local Holiday Inn for a week if need be, just to get away from Chemical Central.
Remember the episode (#159 Free Paint Job) on Green Acres where they tried to paint their house, but the wood was so old and dry it sucked up the paint, no matter how much was applied? How they called the chemists from the paint company out and they finally developed a paint that would stick, but then you could hear the boards gasping for air?
Have you ever noticed what a great resource the local newspaper’s Letters to the Editor page is? I know exactly which citizens to stay away from, and which to add to my Christmas Card list. Very handy.
Chevy announced the 2006 Z06 will achieve 0-60 MPH is 3.7 seconds while still in first gear and pricing will start at $65,800. We’re talking 505 HP here. Even comes in my favorite Daytona Sunset Orange! See you at the Lotto ticket window…
Sunday, June 12, 2005
So Mr. Right –After – Work goes straight to the barn after arriving home Thursday evening. I hurry out to join him, as I noticed the very nice dress clothes he had on.
Me: What are you doing out here – trying to get your good clothes all greasy?
Him: I’m just reading the label on this sprayer.
Me: Change into work clothes!
Him: I’m just reading a label.
Me: Well, I’m going inside to read the label on the back of the Spray N’ Wash bottle. I’ll need it later.
I really can see the parallels between the Douglas couple and us – Oliver driving a tractor in a suit and tie? Mr. Right’s refusal to remove dress clothes. I have hay fever, love to shop, and possess the same cooking skills as Lisa. And sometimes, we drive over to Pixley in our convertible, just to have some intelligent conversation.
A Really Fun Holiday: Thanksgiving at the Mell-Blagojevich household.
If Howard Dean keeps making statements that inflame both parties, I may just have to send him some money.
If anyone is suffering undue pain as a result of the Supreme Court ruling against the medicinal use of marijuana, they should just call Rush Limbaugh and ask if he’s got any OxyContin left.
After acquittal, did Elizabeth and Anne Hatch call up the Bush twins to giggle and plan where to meet for a drink?
Headline: “Psychologists Probe Diary of Mom Accused in Killing”
Just what kind of field day will authorities have with this blog at my trial??
Be a patriot: Oppose the Patriot Act.
Have you been watching the new advances in brain surgery techniques? It is now possible to operate without incisions by using the Gamma Knife – not a knife at all, but gamma radiation aimed a specific site in the brain to destroy tumors. No cutting. No scars. No proof your brain has been altered. And to think I spent all that time worrying about the Patriot Act just a second ago! What I really need to worry about is what my government is secretly doing with gamma rays. Can you say Manchurian Candidate? What of the friendly folks in North Korea? Like they haven’t been using it in their Super Solider program? Can’t wait until evidence of stereotactic frames are found during the dismantling of Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
This one was hung on the mailbox across from the driveway in question. It too was created with magic markers and had some balloons tied behind it. This one said “Matt’s Party Your There”. Now granted, Matt may have just graduated preschool, for all I know. But I do know one thing. He should be so ashamed of that sign, whether he created it or failed to correct it, that he should give his diploma back.
For what it’s worth: Senator Barack Obama will meet an untimely end before the next presidential election. Let’s face it; he’s the only thing standing between Hillary and a nod for the Democratic presidential candidate nomination. Remember what happened to JFK, Jr.?
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Wanted to volunteer my bullwhip and vicious (well, at least to other male dogs) canine for the cause, but I resisted. The road commissioner already thinks I’m nuts. I call him at least twice a year letting him know I don’t want my section of the road turned to gravel. He likes to chop up pavement, and I worry. I notice how he beautifully paved the section of township roads that goes by the trustee’s houses, however…
I also asked about the ‘land use’ plan for the township. He claims it will be more restrictive. (More restrictive than what? Chicago’s?) We received a newsletter inviting us to hear the new plan later this month. Not two days later, the 127 acres went up for sale. Coincidence? I think not. The new plan most likely allows ½ acre lots with 132 unit apartment buildings on them. I see them naming the new development ‘Shady Oaks Subdivision’ and knocking down all the trees to put in roads. Hear they are asking a little over $2 million for the land. I’m sure for that price, there will be a toxic waste dump allowed, if desired. Money talks. Those without, blog.
Then I called the woman behind the lawsuit against our city in the case of a gravel pit west of town. The one approved over many residents’ objections (like every council decision). Seems the City Council sure was eager to approve this little project, and can we overlook the fact that some city officials were employed by the gravel company in the past? Can you say kickback, kiddies? The city grabbed the pit before the county could, yet got very little concession from the mining, about four cents a ton. Meanwhile another community negotiated closer to twenty-five cents a ton and many other infrastructure funding concessions for roads, etc. Anyhoo…
A local environmental group is suing the city (who has since said the mining corporation must pay legal fees to answer the suit) alleging that a recent survey of endangered and threatened wildlife was not conducted on the site before approving the project. Seems some of my pals the endangered Blanding’s turtles have a home out there, and could be disturbed.
I offered my support as a turtle lover and development hater, and we had a very nice conversation. Thank goodness somebody else out there loves turtles. Speaking of my love for animals…
Remember the post I did about the toxic waste dumping off the coast of California? Turns out that exact spot is the best place in the U.S. to see Great White Sharks in their natural habitat. For a mere $795 they will let tourists get in a cage to dive near them, and this sounds like a pretty neat vacation to me. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Jaws 3-D was a flop at the box office, but a real-live radioactive monster of the deep could be lurking out there now, just waiting for the July 4th surfers…The whole Jaws meets Godzilla thing has potential. I’ve never read any of the Meg books though, tried one and found it silly.
I suppose you have heard about the massive layoffs at GM. Industry analysts say by 2010 Toyota will be the largest auto maker in the world. Well, I for one am not rushing out to buy another Toyota. Of the few producers posting a gain, Subaru was up 1.4%. Great. There goes my negotiating leverage. On the plus side, it is now my patriotic duty to buy a new Corvette and single-handedly save the American economy. Tough job, but I’m willing to make the sacrifice.
What I’m Reading: Us Weekly: Tom and Katie Getting Married!
What I’m listening to in my Car: Robert Plant, Mighty Rearranger
What I’m Recommending: Robert Plant, Mighty Rearranger
Stay away from: Fish Finders with built-in Geiger Counters
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
I was in luck, both pools were open and available (if they are teaching classes in one, they can still host open swim in another). Enjoyed the outdoor puddle (it’s not very big, and only comes up to my neck) for a little and then took a shower. Left feeling very refreshed, when I notice a message on my cell phone. My rollerblading buddy wanted to skate, so I called back and got her VM. Said I would meet her at the trail at 6:30, a time I could make if I really hurried.
Declined Mr. Right’s offer to meet me for dinner (and I had a Pizza Hut coupon, and could have made a big show of offering to pay…darn!) so I could hurry out to the trail. I am extremely fortunate to live 20 minutes away from a world-class rollerblading-friendly trail. Unfortunately – for all the years I have spent skating – I never have mastered the whole ‘turn’ or ‘stop’ thing, and have scars to prove it.
Didn’t meet up with my skate partner, she never got my message on her cell phone. The bigger the technology, the bigger the potential it won’t work. Can you hear me now? Nope.
Did a very easy seven miles on a beautiful evening and enjoyed myself anyways. Except for the part where the trail passes the Waste Treatment Plant. Yep. Nothing quite like the septic smell of municipal waste on a ninety degree day. No lie, one time a few years back we skated by the retention pond and there were these two women in bathing suits sitting on lawn chairs looking out over the cesspool. I never did figure out if they worked there and just wore bathing suits because it was so hot, or if it was locals thinking that was a resort area. Phew.
Saw some good news in the paper today for a change! It seems the county will be having convict work crews picking up litter along the sides of our roads this summer. Seeing as our road is a huge toxic dump (I’ve seen everything from booze bottles to old furniture molding in the ditches) I really hope they come here. And give them a shovel full of hot asphalt to fill in the potholes while they are here. If they need anyone to supervise the chain gang (think Cool. Hand Luke, etc.) I’ll be happy to volunteer. I love horses, guns and dogs. I could be a very successful overseer.
Wonder if we’ll get any celebrity convicts? OJ, Robert Blake, Michael Jackson…oh, wait, they were all acquitted…. (still time to get Jackson on the latest count)
Martha Stewart could have tidied up the road and planted some daffodils while she was at it.
Hear about the auto auction two weeks ago where the Hemi Cuda went for $700,000? Yes, that’s the correct number of zeroes. Wonder who bought it? Who has a million dollars burning a hole in their pocket for something too rare to drive? It had 3,000 original miles. Where do you park a car that expensive, other than your living room? “I had the paisley curtains all picked out, and then Ted brings home this lime green muscle car and ruined my whole color palate…” Wonder if he called Geico to get the best deal on insurance for it? I think calling Lloyds of London would be your only real option…
This brings me to my favorite pastime: “If I Were the Richest Person on Earth”
Boy would there be some changes! First off, the most outrageously expensive (and worth every penny) car that I would rush out to buy would be the 1967 Corvette Convertible 427. Red, with a black stripe down the hood. This would set me back at least $200K.
I would drive it very cautiously over some nice smooth road for about ten to twenty miles, just to see how it handled. I’m not looking for a race car, I just admire this body style. I can have track time in other cars, but this specimen is for admiring. After that little jaunt, it would be on display in my Garden Room. This is a special room built on the back of my mansion that has a semicircle of glass windows. Two French doors open wide enough to drive the car in and place it on the mirrored turntable in the middle of the room. There’s a black lacquer grand piano in one corner, and lots of potted plants. The floor is oversize squares of exotic polished marble. A massive chandelier hangs from the center of the room (but not directly over the car, just in case). Think Great Gatsby.
Some visitors might like it, some might think it silly. I must admit few would remember it after having walked through my foyer…the one that looks like the last scene of the movie Jurassic Park, since Sue the dinosaur would not have gone to the Field Museum for $8 million. I would have out bid them (they were underwritten by McDonalds on that purchase – hmmmm…food that makes you fat sponsoring a skeleton….interesting) and put her (same mounting, they did a fantastic job) in my three-story entry way. Now that makes an impression on guests. If I had any. I’m not into guests. But if you’re the richest person on earth, you have to brag to someone. So I’d let people from my hometown through. Then give them job applications to be my stable help on the way out. Ha!
Monday, June 06, 2005
Mr. Right (as in, “I’ll get right to it…tomorrow”) may be conceding defeat in the whole stain the house sweepstakes. First he had to powerwash the cedar siding. While he was at it, he washed the outside windows, which I thought was great, until they dried to a soapy haze and I can no longer see out them. Then he noticed some boards looked dark. He was told if they are black, that denotes mold. The mold must be blasted with bleach, and then rinsed. He spent hours trying to hook up a sprayer to do this. It’s a huge, tiring job. He told me he thinks he is going to hire someone to stain the house. I said, this is where I insert the I-Told-You-So. Whew. I feel better now.
Polished the wheels on the Toyota and they look great – it’s going to hurt to give up that car. Very beautiful when detailed, just wish it could handle a Midwestern winter. Weird weather has kept me out of the Vette; several thunderstorms moved through our area this weekend and I didn’t want to get caught in any, so I have yet to really spend a day out and about with it. A nearby city is doing a Vette cruise night Wednesday, but storms are predicted again.
Why I Blog –
A recent survey found one of three U.S. High School students thought the press had too much freedom and even more thought the government should approve newspaper articles before they are published.
There is officially NO hope for the future.
And by the way, Newsweek ran that article about the Koran being flushed down the toilet past the pentagon before publication.
Book title that tries too hard: “Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star”.
Book that proves I should be published, if this is the kind of thing that gets a green light: Everything I Ate: A Year in the Life of my Mouth. It’s a picture book. More specifically, photographs of everything this guy ate for a year. He ate cereal almost every day. This is getting published. I. Am. Not.
Ok, so I’m not exactly the reincarnation of Sylvia Plath. But when they make a movie of my blog, I want Janeane Garofalo to play me. I want Owen Wilson for Mr. Right.
Wonder what those Jackson trial jurors are thinking??? Bet they ask the judge if they can give out the electric chair for ‘general weirdness’.
Remember, when you’ve seen one shopping center, you’ve seen a mall…
What I’m Reading: Devil in the White City
What I’m listening to in my Car: Audioslave Out of Exile
What I’m Recommending: Not Tonight Honey, by Susan Reinhardt
Stay away from: Household Chores
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
You used to ask people what they thought about things, but quite
recently you've decided to just do stuff without asking nicely. You really want to go
to the mountains, but for some reason, people won't let you, mostly because they won't let
acquire any nice sweaters. In the meantime, you're avoiding alcohol and pork and trying
to balance eating right with not falling behind in your competition with your next-door
the Country Quiz at the href="http://bluepyramid.org">Blue Pyramid
Take the quiz! It's lots of fun! Although I don't care for Pakistan, I could see I would be India or Pakistan from how the questions were leading me down the path...
Just for the record, I do not accept any funding for the views expressed on this blog. That's just because no one has offered me cash yet. Please, offer me cash.