Thursday, December 28, 2006


In Memoriam

It's always sad to lose a former president, but at least it will keep the others off the streets while attending his funeral. Wonder if Betty will give out daypasses from the clinic so all the celebrities can attend?

Only unelected president? Oh, wait, that describes Dubya too...

Words to Live By

"I still can't believe that people I know, my peers, are making babies.
I'm too lazy to make a salad."
Hellura Lyle

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Name a stakes race after injured race horse Barbaro? Great idea!

Remove Sir Barton's name from said race so Barbaro can replace him? Bad idea!

Why on earth can't a new race be created to honor Barbaro? Not that this kind of official name flip-flopping is without precedent, I'm just saying there is no justification. Inaugurated in 1993, the 1 1/16 mile race for three-year-olds commemorates the first Triple Crown winner Sir Barton's 1919 achievement. Why the change?

Horse fans, speak up! There are plenty of races to go around! Why should one modern horse cancel out another from an earlier era?

In other Barbaro news, a children's book is planned, and there's a TY plush of Barbaro I must get my hands on!

Why Didn't I Think of That?

From a humorous Chicago Tribune article:

What I'm currently using...

--PolarFleece Blogging Gear. That stereotype about blogging being an activity done in one's pajamas is so Web 1.0. Put it "to bed" forever by purchasing our special Cozy Fleece Bloggin' Sack and matching Blog Clogs: Indoor Footwear for Bloggers. The first is a shapeless, 200-weight, man-size zip-in bag that's just perfect for thinking great thoughts or starting flame wars (it's fire retardant!). The second are one-size-fits-all, and our testers say they're like walking on clouds, although they're great, too, for just wearing as you sit in your computer chair all day long. Sack: $25 with rudimentary sleeves, $20 with simple armholes. Clogs: $15, whole sizes only, please. Specify navy blue for political bloggers, pink for "mommy bloggers."

-Second Life Tees. If you're an aficionado of the online world Second Life, you've probably had hours and hours -- and hours and hours -- of fun. But you've probably also heard complaints from flesh-and-blood people about "reality," "addiction" and "ridiculousness." They just don't get it! To help them understand, our new line of T-shirts lets you wear your lifestyle choice with pride. Printed in 1970s computer font on heavyweight cotton T's, slogans include "Get a (Second) Life," "Second Life Is Way Cooler than Dungeons and Dragons," "Two Lives Are Better than One" and the new "My Girlfriend Went on Second Life and All I Got Was Dumped. Oh, and This T-Shirt." $20. With each purchase, you'll also get a digital version of the shirt for your online avatar to wear inside Second Life itself. What could be cooler than that?

Cheap Cash-mere

Hey, I didn’t know. I just didn’t know.
Baa-aa-d for the Environment!
Before picking up this
Chicago Tribune article, I never knew the environmental costs of the cheap cashmere sweaters I’ve been stocking up on the past several years. I just figured prices came down as chains such as Fields, TJ Maxx and Kohl’s offered their customers 1-ply lower quality cashmere and cashmere-blend offerings. I bit. I thought it the greatest thing to have a cashmere hoodie and V-necks in multiple colors. I even bagged an awesome yellow cardigan that had a tiny flaw in it and was thus relegated to the clearance rack. I had no idea I had helped create the dustbowl of the 00s.

In the case of cashmere, America snapped up a record-smashing 10.5 million
Chinese sweaters last year, 15 times as many as a decade ago, and far more than
every cashmere sweater imported last year from Italy and the United Kingdom
combined.It's impossible to say how much any single product contributes to
China's choking air pollution. But the spike in demand for cashmere is taking a
toll on the soil, air and water in China as well as the U.S.--a cost that never
appears on any store's tag. And many consumers are unaware of the link.

Reading the article, you will learn how overgrazing has created a desert, which in turn creates deadly duststorms, erosion, and of course, loss of habitat for all animals and humans.

A storm in 2002 forced 1.8 million South Koreans to seek medical help and
cost the country $7.8 billion in damage to industries such as airlines and
semiconductors, said the state-run Korea Environment Institute.

Knowing China, can I really count this an accident?

However, before we blame my closet for the ills of global climate change, I’d like to point out many factors helped this disaster occur; the least of which would be my pawing through sweater displays while shop clerks wince. (Yes, I have to touch every one before deciding which half dozen to try on, and no, I can’t fold them all back up nice and flat like you do…)

Mao, and his great ideas for rampant development and factory farms…
Jiang Zemin, for seeing a buck without creating a sustainability plan…
America, for even trading with China without attaching the proper strings,
and of course, the root of all evil on the planet: Human Overpopulation.

So think twice before buying that next downy-soft sweater. I know I will. As somebody who owns a yard big enough for a goat, and knows a friend with a loom…I may just produce my own. For more on the topic, visit:

Monday, December 25, 2006

Words to Live By

"The Vatican came down with
a new ruling; no surrogate mothers.
Good thing they didn't make this rule
before Jesus was born."
Elayne Boosler

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Narcissists Rejoice!

See, Mom? I did amount to something! Time Magazine's Person of the Year, no less. Excuse me while I update my resume...

Gosh, it seems Time didn't notify their sponsor of the issue, Chrysler Corporation, of their sly pick in advance. Why should they? What harm could it do?

Chrysler was only too happy to pay millions to be the sole advertiser and purveyor of this witty campaign:

"You might not be Time Person of the Year. But you can drive like you are."

If you're looking for any marketing managers, I'm sure you can find this bunch on this morning...

Heh, heh, heh. Go ahead, buy that marked down Sebring sedan. YOU deserve it.

Don't Get My Hopes Up (Again)

Infertility crisis? Yeah, right. Supposedly the movie never explains why. That's because there are always a few ticket holders like myself in the crowd - Lex Luther wannabes, looking for ideas.
What if chaos didn't ensue? What if everyone took a deep breath and relaxed? Enjoyed nature, once there was some room for it. Took better care of the people already here? Nobody wants to see that movie. Real Estate Developers would have it banned. Heck, the Huggies people are probably tyring to sue Oprah right now for not having adopted an African orphan yet...

Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Lizardkind

Hmmm… seems there’s a bit of competition in the field of ‘dressing and photographing lizards’.

"Thank you David Letterman, Brian, Mike, Ryan, Jerry and all the staff at
Late Night with Letterman! I had a lot of fun on your show!" -- Lily

At just 10-years old, Florida native and entrepreneur Lily Capehart is
gaining international acclaim for her unique ability to catch and "hypnotize"
the wild South Florida anole lizards.
Lily’s gift was realized at the young age of two when according to her mother, Dina, Lily chased down and captured the critters wherever they went. Unlike most girls her age, instead of playing with dolls, Lily dresses up and plays with lizards. With her uncanny ability to “relax” and “hypnotize” them, Lily began dressing the lizards in costumes and creating whimsical scenes. Lily’s photographer father, Lucien Capehart, immortalized the colorful creations. The wonderful world of “Lizard-Ville”™ was born. Lily, with help from her mom, has parlayed “Lizard-ville”™
into a line of greeting cards and artwork. Eventually there will be children’s books published. As Lily is quick to note, “all these lizards were handled with love and respect and in no way were they harmed in any way, shape or form”.

Worse yet, she’s been on David Letterman, quite an achievement. My guys have yet to be invited. Just as well. Paul Schafer would probably frighten them

Thursday, December 21, 2006

But Wait, There's More!

Oh, my God!!!

Remind me again about what people did BI? (Before Internet) Specifically BYT?

I mean, if I don't have a life now, what was I doing back in the day? Honestly, I have this friend who doesn't have a computer at all. No connection whatsoever. I asked her: how do you ever expect your teenage daughter to meet 45-year-old sex offenders? Really now. Shouldn't I call Child Services?

More importantly, shouldn't I get a video camera? I mean, if this gets play...

I just keep thinking about how my life would be so different today if I had accessed the internet as tween. The Feds would have busted down our door, and my mother would still be trying to get me released from Gitanamo...

They would have passed a law to protect the pedophiles from me...

Hollywood Herps

Hey! What gives?
Once again, a reptile is featured in a national commercial making money for its keeper when my little couch potatoes are just sitting around brumating. I really need to put my guys to work. The missed opportunities are endless!

There's Mr. Turtle from My Name is Earl...
The Geiko Gecko...
and now, the Jeep Bearded Dragon!

Oh, Don't Get My Hopes Up

By MARIA CHENG, AP Medical Writer

A flu virus as deadly as the one that caused the 1918 Spanish flu could kill as many as 81 million worldwide if it struck today, a new study estimates. By applying historical death rates to modern population data, the researchers calculated a death toll of 51 million to 81 million, with a median estimate of 62 million.

Besides Blogging

I've been reading:

The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
Love this series! Cute and funny.

The Girls: A Novel by Lori Lansens
I'm not done yet, but this is a great book - the author is a great writer and does a beautiful job of imagining the inner lives of conjoined twins.


Eric Clapton Crossroads

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett
Could I sit down and read a Pratchett novel? Doubtful. But on audio? Greatest thing on Earth!!

From AudioFile

Terry Pratchett's hilarious prose is significantly enhanced by the narrative skills of Stephen Briggs. The story, another in the Discworld saga, highlights the recruiting efforts of a small country chronically at war with its neighbors. A rotund sergeant and weasely corporal sweep through a small town, and one of the misfits who volunteers to thwart them is Polly Perks, disguised as a teenaged boy barely of age. Briggs takes on the misfits and makes them shine. As the little group proceeds from one improbable adventure to the next, Briggs and Pratchett are magnificent. D.A.W. 2004 Audie Award Finalist © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

A Smart 27

Would have scored higher, but I'm slow on the uptake when it comes to math...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Hark the Herald Lizards Sing !

Yes, the lizards are dressed as little angels this year, although it’s hard to see the wings in this photo. Also, the more astute among you may have also noticed there are only two Bearded Dragon lizards featured this year. The youngest, Snappy, passed away this summer; hence the ‘angels with harps’ theme. Although our holiday will be a little sadder without Snap, we are celebrating just the same. That means massive amounts of trans-fats, because you never know if the ban might be successful.
Merry Christmas to all, and Best Wishes Towards Getting a Life in the New Year!!

Top Twenty Signs You Need to Get a Life …

You’ve spent more time procrastinating about this post than actually writing it…

You read the Letters to the Editor Page to find out who your friends are…and enemies.

You have to have a long talk with your spouse about how the living room has a one-trophy limit…

Al Gore won’t return your calls…

You scour the clearance racks for doll clothes that look like they might fit your Bearded Dragons…

The local shopping mall sends you a get well card if you miss a week…

Your watch dog is sleeping on the package the UPS man left…

Donald Rumsfeld asks if he can use you as a reference…

You wonder what’s in pepperoni; but not too long, because it’s your favorite food…

Your cat has a more active social life than you do…

The number of shoes in your closet far exceeds anything featured on Sex in the City…

Your hunting party introduces new member Dick Cheney…

You solve your home appliance problems by typing “Maytag Sucks” into a Google search engine…

The thought of global warming pleases you…

Your biggest charitable contribution of the year went to “Keep it Field’s”…

Salman Rushdie gets out more than you do…

The last home-cooked meal you made ended in “Helper”…

Judith Regan says she’ll never ask your opinion on anything again…

You use your pet fish as a barometer…

But the #1 way to tell you need a life is:

You look forward to getting a Christmas card with lizards on it every year!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Slower but Safer

The Mostest!

Kudos to Arlington Park Racetrack for making the expensive decision to switch to a synthetic racing surface to minimize injuries for both horses and riders.

From the

Arlington Park, where at least 21 Thoroughbred horses had to be euthanized after leg injuries on the dirt track during the 2006 racing season, will replace the dirt with a synthetic racing surface next year.

Arlington Park president Roy Arnold said Thursday that the track will invest $10 million to install the new surface. The project should be completed before Arlington's 2007 race meet, which opens May 4.

Synthetic surfaces were pioneered in Europe, and have been found to reduce injuries and drain water faster than traditional dirt tracks.

However, horses run slower on the rubbery stuff, and early observations tend to favor turf horses switching to synthetic over dirt horses making the change. Time will tell, but I for one wonder if training and most races could be conducted on synthetics, with some dirt tracks preserved for super-speed horses that want to go for a record.

After reading the book
Man O' War: A Legend Like Lightning, I do believe he was never truly tested. Since our greats of the past raced on dirt, I would want an even comparison for the next equine star.

Ragin' Romaine

Now health officials believe lettuce, and not green onions, may be to blame for the recent E. coli outbreak that sickened 71 people in five states.

(Onions everywhere cried with relief.)

Perhaps a new restaurant chain called "Lettuce Infect You" is in order here...

Ask not for whom the Taco Bell Tolls...

Words to Live By

"When two people decide to get a divorce,
it isn't a sign tht they 'don't understand' one another,
but a sign that they have, at last, begun to."
Helen Rowland

I'd Scratch Your Eyes Out For This!

Love this leopard coat from L.A.M.B. !

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."
Mark Twain

So I'm in the lunch room at work reading this newspaper column on "Fashion Don'ts" about how you shouldn't be dressed in head-to-toe animal prints over the age of forty. Hmmm. I look down at my Zebra business suit and shrug. Can't win 'em all. I didn't know there was a statue of limitations on tacky. Has anyone notified Elton John?

Sorry, but animal prints are my bread-and-butter. I have leopard (snow and african), giraffe, snake, cheeta, zebra, aligator...

Dressed to Kill

I must have this outfit!!!

I despise Eva Longoria, but when I saw this photo, I decided that I would publicly declare her my BFF for this outfit. Heck, I'd even go on The View and say it. That's how bad I want this outfit. The only info given is that the mink wrap is a Cassin for $7,495. Does Eva have garage sales?

Another Case of Auto Abuse

You know, I could get $500 in salon and spa services, then hire a professional photographer and still not look as good as the celebrity mug shots as of late. Perhaps I need to find that Los Angeles cop who works the Hollywood night shift taking photos for my next big head shot portfolio. I can't get the idiots at the DMV to take a decent picture, that's for sure.

My guess is they didn't even try to hold Nicole over night. She's so skinny, she would have slipped right through the bars anyway.

Doggone Heartwarming

And get that filthy bird an Avian Flu Shot as well...

Here's a sweet story about how a microchip helped reunite a family with their beloved pet.

...two years after a hurricane blew down a back-yard fence in Florida and set free a golden retriever named Sam-I-Am, the wayward pooch was found in McHenry County.

Veterinarians in McHenry County were stunned as well when they discovered a microchip in the scruff of the dog's neck that placed his home more than 1,200
miles to the southeast.

This is great as a voluntary way to track your pet, however, recent efforts to force all pet owners to chip their pets are too Big Brother for my taste. And rabies vacinations for cats is plain ludicrous. NWH, Sept. 10th:

"The biggest reason is that McHenry County is the only county in northeastern Illinois that doesn't have cat registration," County Board Chairman Ken Koehler, R-Crystal Lake said. "Because of diseases and the large number of rabies cases in wild animals, it only makes common sense."

"Cat registration is a huge component of rabies prevention," McNulty said. "We definitely have seen rabies in McHenry County in wild animals, especially bats, so the potential for cats to get rabies, either indoor or outdoor, is out there. Any animal they could come in contact if they are outside, or even inside, could carry rabies."

WRONG!! Just another example of government intrusion, fostering public hysteria over a non-existant threat in the hopes of generating tax revenue from fear. As the California Animal Care Coalition notes:

Unfortunately, although a microchip can be a helpful backup form of identification for an animal, it should not be considered a 'fail-safe'. Many of our member agencies have reported problems with the microchips themselves ('floating' from the injection area, the lack of availability of a truly universal scanner that will identify the microchips of any manufacturer, and also with the registries that microchip manufacturers are supposed to maintain)."

"The author and supporters do not present any statistical evidence that this legislation will reduce the number of animals euthanized in the state's animal shelters."

"It will be impractical to charge fees high enough to recover local agency costs."
"The establishment of a local registry is beyond the capabilities of many small agencies and the national registries do not have a history of being adequately maintain or accessible." (They are referring to the various national microchip recovery services/registries.)

"Developing and implementing this registration program will add additional workload to animal control agencies that have limited resources and are already challenged with meeting their existing responsibilities." (They are referring to an animal control microchip registry or possibly the annual registration required of breeders and pet dealers.)

As the Opinon column of the Northwest Herald notes,

It is hard to justify registering cats, other than to create a new revenue stream for government. And microchips should be voluntary. Government should butt out.

It's just another way to create revenue and issue tickets to those hordes of 'non-compliants'. You know, the little old lady living in poverty who can't afford one for her housecat.

You Know it’s the End of All Civilization When…

It’s easier to get on a U.S. Postage stamp than Wikipedia!
We're Wiki Worthy!

Back in the day, the U.S. Postal Service had standards. You had to be not only important, but dead to make it on a stamp. (Number one selling stamp of all time? Elvis.)

New issues were the subject of great speculation and debate. Bribes offered to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee! Nothing uglier than a bunch of philatelists threatening to glue the Postmaster General to an oversized envelope…

Now, it’s as easy as paying $17.95 for twenty stamps and you can have postage featuring any picture you care to upload. Hmm.. is this an automated program or is there some arbiter of good taste weeding out the pornographic stuff? Only one way to find out…

How will this change the face of the next stamp collecting convention?
Nerd #1: I’ve got a great Bobby Joe Muskegan, age 2. Cutest thing you ever saw, his gramma Lacy only did a print run of 60 for Christmas 06 and I’ve got a block of four...
Nerd #2: (with pretension) Sorry, I only collect government-issued stamps.

Another stupid revenue-producing plan allows stamp nuts the chance to
purchase postage that has left the atmosphere.

Richard Kapp, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., who recently paid $280 to have UP
Aerospace carry four stamps on its next launch, hopes the suborbital trip will
add value to his stamp collection."It's a hobby--flying stamps--though at some
point it could be a commercial venture," said Kapp, an aerospace engineer.

Oh, wow, that is so worth paying extra. Especially considering there is no way to prove a particular item has ever been in orbit.

Wikipedia on the other hand, has standards. From the Chicago Tribune:

Casual readers might assume that Wikipedia's goal is a complete account of
all earthly knowledge, but the site maintains a rather elaborate set of criteria
for admission. The several thousand unpaid volunteers who write and edit
Wikipedia spend a lot of energy ensuring that people, bands, companies and
everything else meet what it calls "notability guidelines."

Let's sum it up this way: Not everyone is Wiki-worthy.In fact, Wikipedia jettisons more than 100 entries each day, many of them from people who posted autobiographies after registering on the site. (Writing your own entry, as we will see, is "strongly discouraged.") The list of nominated rejects is posted each day on a page titled "articles for deletion," and because all of Wikipedia is transparent and public,
anyone can watch the editors' votes roll in, and witness those ultimately deemed
non-notable get cyber-gonged off the stage. Type "wikipedia deletion log" into
Google for a peek at the latest.

What becomes of these booted entries? Might I suggest starting my own website where (for a low, low fee) the losers are posted?

The Not Ready For WikiTime Posters?

I think this has potential, people!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Who Knew?

Prompted by a comment to yesterday's post, I decided to try and find out what happened to another Rockford mall, Colonial Village. Turns out there's a whole website devoted to those dinosaurs of youthful shopping pleasure, ! This cool site features personal reminisces of malls, lists of locations and stores, what led to their demise, ultimate fates, etc.
(Check out the Dictionary for a definition of Mallmanac). They also have a Machesney Park listing, perhaps I'll submit a little something for them as well!

For example:

Colonial Village Mall was sold to a church last year. Its two big stores were JC Penneys and Bergners. JC Penneys left a few years ago to a brand new addition at the CherryVale Mall in Rockford (about 5 miles away), and Bergners finally closed down this year.

It was a smaller mall with probably about 10 stores inside, and a few more stores attached outside. It also had a three or four screen theater separate from the mall. There was a large parking garage attached to the Bergners store. When I was a kid around 1977, My mother used to take us kids to see Santa there. I can remember Bergners, Penney's, Striderite, Fashion Bug, Swiss Colony, and an ice cream shop inside. (among a few other stores).

Monday, December 11, 2006

Maytag Sucks III

How does Maytag suck? Let me count the ways…
President of Maytag, ignoring my calls
Just to bring you up to speed on the whole sordid mess, I still have a growing pile of unwashed laundry. For fun, I typed Maytag Sucks into Google in the hopes of finding other disgruntled bloggers like myself. I did. Oh, I did.

Turns out, not only have hundreds of other people had the exact same problem with their exact same washers, but that there is a class-action lawsuit against Maytag regarding the flaw. But of course, we don’t qualify, say Maytag. Our warranty is up and we didn’t file with the lawsuit before 2005. Sorry, Maytag. You haven’t heard the last from me. You have a product with a known flaw and despite there ‘not being a recall’, you have been found liable in a court of law. I just love the low regard you have for your formerly good standing in the industry and total disregard for your customers. I’m sure your CEO just got another hefty bonus and doesn’t do any laundry himself, so what does he care? How many clothes do you need anyway on your own private island? Grrr…

So I decided to call Home Depot, where I bought the machine. That’s when I ran into Clayton. Now, I don’t know for sure that Clayton is a divorced alcoholic in his late forties that lives with his mother, but let’s just call it a hunch, OK? And let’s just note that the scathing letter to Maytag will be followed by one to the Home Depot headquarters detailing exactly how thrilled I was with Clayton’s helpfulness. Clayton’s manager was much more agreeable, and said he would try to help, but reported getting ‘an attitude’ from Maytag as well. At least he tried.

Al found a seller on eBay selling a fix-it kit for the problem. Gee, think it’s pretty prevalent if you can make a living off of auctioning off replacement parts? So that’s where we are at: holding a letter from Maytag that says the washer is out of warranty and our responsibility, and awaiting an eBay auction item that may or may not fix the problem.

Al went to his Mom’s and did three loads of laundry. Mine is still awaiting the return of the Neptune. Should have named it the Pluto.

Homeland Insecurity

So I’m at work when someone tells me there was a terrorist plot foiled at Cherry Vale Mall. It’s a sizeable two-story mall in Rockford that I frequent to this day. Sometimes I’ll take my Vette in the summer and enjoy the drive over, but now that Marshall Field’s is gone there’s not much incentive left.

For many years Rockford was the second largest city in Illinois. Now it’s Aurora. Everyone keeps telling me about the killer designer outlet mall in Aurora, but I haven’t gone yet. It’s quite a cruise from here, and I’d like Al to go with me so I don’t get lost. Al takes every opportunity to point out all the crime and killings in Aurora in the hopes that I won’t go. This of course, led me to believe that the Cherry Vale incident was manufactured by my husband to keep me from buying shoes. Never!

Just look at
these folks to prove I’m not alone!

MENTOR, Ohio -- An electrical fire that filled a
department store with thick smoke didn't deter holiday shoppers, and
firefighters had to block the doors to keep customers from coming in,
authorities said.No one was injured in the fire at Dillards South at Great Lakes
Mall on Wednesday, but some bargain hunters were inconvenienced."It was
amazing," said Mentor fire Battalion Chief Joe Busher. "Even though there was
heavy smoke in there, they all wanted to stay and shop. We even had to put
people at the door to keep people from coming in."

I can just see myself demanding entrance: “But my 30% off coupon expires TODAY!!” At the very least, I’d go back the next day for the fire sale… “Oooh! Smoky grey pumps, half off! *Hack* A little smelly, but still…*Cough, Cough*”

What of the growing evidence that shopping is a biological impulse designed to keep me alive? Just look what
Janet Cromley of the LA Times has to say:

Most are on a mission that can only be described as
primal, say behavior experts and mental health professionals. In the truest
sense, they are bringing home the bacon – whatever it takes – and in the process
they are reinforcing a sense of personal mastery in their skillful procurement
of coveted items. When they’re successful, the feeling is similar to the triumph
of a hunter bringing home the kill, even if the kill is actually a TMX


Regardless of what brings them to the sales, nearly all the shoppers share
one characteristic: Like tigers on the hunt, they are tracking down and pouncing
on something of perceived value. In doing so, they are relying on an instinct as
old as mankind.In this case, the prey is a sale item. And, as savvy shoppers
know, sale items are more precious than retail items, both at home and on the

Al thinks he’s so great bagging trophy bucks. I’ll show him! I demand equal time. I want a framed receipt hung in the living room to prove my prowess in bargain-hunting. Why, just the other day I got this great deal on the Pirates of the Caribbean 2 movie on DVD. The special edition is usually $24.95, but my local Meijer’s store had it for $19.99. Then they added this spectacular deal where they would give you a Stouffer’s pizza bread ($3.59) and 14 oz Holiday M&Ms ($2.34) FREE with purchase! If you also bought two Rayovac packages of batteries ($2.19 each for AA) you also got $4 off the DVD!! THEN I saw a sign on the batteries that said buy two and get $2 off gas at their gas station!!! Bingo!! I hit the DVD lottery!! Whee! That’s better than standing in a tree for three hours in subzero weather hoping to get a shot at something a hundred yards away. Then shooting my house.

Anyhoo, after suspecting Mr. Right was behind the terror reports I decided to call my parents. They weren’t home. Sometimes they shop there! Oh my God! What if they went to the mall? And don’t know my size?

Yeah, that’s about how worried I was about jihad.

However, Rockford’s other mall,
Machesney Park, (1979) looks as if it has already befallen a grenade attack. Just two weeks ago I was in the area and stopped in. I saw a JC Penney outlet on one end and a Bergner’s on the other. I parked near the Bergner’s and went to look for a few Christmas gifts. I also thought it might be a good time to get a makeover at the LancĂ´me counter as well.

The store can only be described as icky. The merchandise looked old, and only a few shoppers were milling about. Creeped out, I decided to walk down to the JC Penney outlet. This is a long one-story mall with brick pavers making a little red brick road down various wings. The place was practically dark. Almost every store was gone, locked and boarded up. At one time this mall housed 70 stores. Now there are three and a garage sale. I saw one place down a corridor that looked like they bought the stuff TJ Maxx couldn’t sell. I overheard one young sales clerk telling another how to go on welfare and get your furnished apartment paid for. Lovely. I moved on.

There was a GNC vitamin store being pulled down by some workmen, but other than that, silence. The cinema wing was black. What had once been fountains and planters were now stark and bare. My heels made loud clicky noises against the floor and suddenly the distance between stores seemed immense. A man sat in a metal folding chair running a garage sale outside of a store front. A torn cardboard sign hand-lettered in permanent marker advertised 2 for $10 by some junk. He and his merchandise were well past their expiration dates. I kept clicking.

At Penney’s, I asked a young gal if they had Petites. Yes, she replied. I stood there. She kept shuffling hangars. “Are they just mixed in?” I finally asked. Yes, she replied. Well, with customer service like that, no wonder this mall is booming. I selected a pair of ninety-nine cent socks and went to a register. I asked what the deal was with the death mall. The girl said she has heard conflicting stories. One is, they will tear the mall down. She said Penney’s owns their space, so she didn’t know how that would work. I imagined a large translucent sheet of plastic being stapled to the former mall inlet and they would just tell her to wear a sweater at that register. She also had heard they were going to bring in discount stores. Like dollar stores? She named some store I had never heard of, but again, I thought of TJ Maxx rejects.

I wandered back to Bergner’s with a death grip on my purse. The other people here cannot be shopping, they must be looking to hold the place up. From the looks of it, they would get more by grabbing my purse.

An elderly couple was ahead of me, lamenting the fact the mall was not decorated for Christmas. Hello? Have you folks not noticed there’s a big problem here?

Of course it’s decorated – for a Tim Burton movie. Just ahead I saw a woman use a drinking fountain. Wait! I wanted to scream. You have no idea what will come out of that faucet! She seemed to survive the incident and continued on ahead.

How sad. I loved this place as a teenager. It was a big deal to go to the mall on a Saturday and shop. At the time it was bright and vibrant. Now, I couldn’t wait to go home and sterilize my new socks.

Which… I haven’t been able to do yet because MAYTAG SUCKS!!!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Hobbit Scorned

Revenge of the Geeks!
Gandalf sad.

Seems cyberspace is up in arms over reports that Peter Jackson will not direct The Hobbit. Can fan buzz move Hollywood executives? Or is this all just playing into their publicity-seeking hands?

Either way, it reinforces my new favorite saying for when I get upset with Al:

"I'm so blogging about you!" *

*use your Comic Book Man voice

Feelin' Lucky Punk?

Hey, it’s time for my favorite game: Blame the Victim.
I turn your attention to a local headline.

Apparently if the police can’t protect you, and you decide to put an end to the persecution yourself, you will be charged with a crime while the police mull over whether the perpetrator deserves a ticket, or other minor charge. I am so sick of this mentality! Time to change our laws! See: Texas.

Need I cite a few other instances? Recently a homeowner physically restrained a teen girl who was pounding on doors and running away. Her parents are suing the man for knocking her to the ground and holding her for police. Or the turkey farmer who held a suspicious man at gunpoint after area police failed to respond to two calls for over 45 minutes?

WOODSTOCK -- A Marengo man was behind bars Monday for allegedly shooting a man he believed was breaking into his vehicle while it was parked in his driveway early Sunday.Jerry P. Sweat, 42, 402 Menge Road, was being held in the McHenry County Jail on $75,000 bond for charges of aggravated battery with a firearm and reckless discharge of a firearm. The most serious charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years

Sweat told police his attention was drawn to his driveway about 4:20 a.m. Sunday after an outside motion-detection light* was activated. Sweat saw two people he did not know near his vehicle, police said. He then yelled and shot at them with a .22-caliber rifle, police said.

One man escaped, but the other, Patrick K. Gaughan, 18, was shot three times: in the hand, buttock and shoulder. He treated at and released from Memorial Medical Center in Woodstock.

“You have the right to protect life and property, but if they’re not in your residence in a threatening manner, you cannot just shoot them,” McHenry County Sheriff’s Lt. Don Carlson said.

Why not? I think we should all post signs in our yards:
If you don’t care to obey the law, don’t expect that I will.

Sure, I can understand not wanting a firearm discharged in city limits. However, it is all too apparent that police have been unable to prevent large numbers of automobile vandalism in the area. A close friend of mine had her car seriously damaged not far from where this incident took place. Being a more rural area under a different police jurisdiction, she was told there ‘are no officers on duty during the weekends at night’ and that she would have to wait until Monday morning to file a report. She asked if a county or state squad could respond as she thought the suspects were still in the area. Her request was denied. I ask you, which will deter crime more? Fifteen Monday morning complaints? Or one .22 in the butt of an offender?

No charges had been filed Monday against either of the two men alleged to have broken into Sweat’s vehicle.


Ron Liepnitz, who lives next to Sweat, said there has been a string of car burglaries in the neighborhood recently. He said his car was entered on Friday but nothing was taken.“Police came by Sunday and said they caught the guy,” Liepnitz said. “But they didn’t say anything about a shooting – that will remind me not to go to my neighbor’s to borrow sugar.”

But could you perhaps send him a thank-you note, as he has done more for neighborhood crime prevention than the police ever have?

And by the way, in case you were wondering about the little angels' family:

The shooting victim, Patrick Gaughan, is the younger brother to Kevin and Brian Gaughan, who have filed a civil-rights lawsuit against two state police investigators and the city of Marengo, among others.

The brothers allege that police beat them during a 2004 interrogation.Prosecutors, however, have filed felony charges against the brothers for filing a false police report for their account of the incident.

I am an automobile enthusiast and gun owner. I suggest you don’t find out how I might respond. Because my guess is, you won’t be filing your own report.

I’d also like to point out the next day’s headline in the same paper: Police Offer Tips to Avoid Vandals. The article goes on to detail holiday decoration vandalism and puts the burden on victims to ‘increase security around their homes’ by installing motion detector lighting* and putting your name on decorations. Or, “Call police”. Yeah, big fat help. Sorry. I’m not buying it.
These folks have a much better idea. And these...

*Works great, doesn't it? You can wave at your stuff as it leaves.

Maytag Sucks

Don't give me that look, buster.

Just as an update to the whole washing machine thing, we have been without a washer for a week now. Which means we now have two weeks of dirty laundry accumulated. As you can guess, this situation might catch up with me in September of 2008, providing I didn’t buy anything new between now and then.

Al on the other hand, is running around in shorts and a T-Shirt (the last clean things he has) during the coldest December this area has seen in over twenty years. Seems I’ll be busy this weekend founding the Maytag Sucks website, for our five year old Neptune washer has blown up.

After doing some research, Al finds that a new circuit board costs over $175. Add this to the $70+ service charge for a repairman to just walk in the door, we’re looking at quite a hefty bill, possibly half the purchase price of the water-saving marvel that was supposed to last us thirty trouble-free years. Yeah, lonely Maytag repairman my eye. Try the service call costs so much because he’d have to fly out from Hawaii.

Anyhoo, Al has wasted several hours on the phone trying to get a schematic so he can replace the resistor himself. First they say they will e-mail him one. They never do. Then Maytag claims they don’t have one, but he can buy a service manual. Another person then says it is not included in their service manual. He calls a local repair shop who says he can look at one of their (unburnt) ones. They should have some more coming in Thursday, the two they had on hand have already gone out. Yep, these things are burning up right and left, yet Maytag says there is no recall on our model. Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate one is needed, so Al says we are going to write a letter to Maytag management to complain. By we, he adds, I mean you. I hate it when he appropriates MY sayings to him!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

What Kind of Reader are You?

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Many thanks to Kane Citizen for the quiz, and introducing me to a great blog, the Annoyed Librarian.

The only question I had issue with was the one about when a movie version comes out based on a favorite book: I would attend the movie and periodically stage whisper "THAT'S not how the book went..." I love doing that to Mr. Right!

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
(with no bookshelves!)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Photo Time!!!

White Tiger, Mirage Casino
Puffy Enjoying a Good Book
A Monitor at the Mandalay Bay Aquarium

WILD Alligator, Key West, FL
Sick Sea Turtle, Turtle Hospital, Marathon, FL
Sorry to overload you on my home movies, so to speak, but there are millions of photos I've been wanting to post, and could never figure out how to resize properly for loading online. I still don't know how to do it the right way, but I did discover a time consuming back door method of using a photo editing software to cut them for emailing, and saved them after they converted it. So... until I buy real photo editing software, this will have to do. Enjoy. This is only 1/1000 of what I'd like to feature, but going forward, I'll be able to use more relevant pictures. Whew!

"Today at the Feeder"

Ok, I wish I could explain why I can't put my photo with the last post, or why I have to resize my photos in the most time-consuming, stupid way possible, but who cares, because here's some now. I will try a few more, because I'd like to show you some old ones taken in Vegas, etc.

An Inconvenient Flakey-ness

Gotta love these three-day weekends!

I don’t know where Al Gore is getting this warming crap, but we just had a massive snowstorm that kept me from work today (boo-hoo). Great chance to catch up on the blog!

How bad was it? Let’s put it this way: Mr. Right was supposed to be out shooting those furry terrorists, but canceled. Around here, missing deer hunting season is like saying “Who really cares which football team is the best? That whole Super Bowl thing is over rated.”

I quickly discovered that keeping loaded shotguns around wasn’t such a hot idea – as having Mr. Right underfoot all day is a challenge. I mean, daytime TV sucks, but The Price is Right? What’s his fascination with the dumb game shows? As a kid I watched nothing but, so I guess I got it all out of my system years ago.

I caught some Oprah show on how people who get huge windfalls of money are frequently broke and miserable a few years later. They gave a statistic of 70% of people blow the whole amount in two years or something…

This would NOT happen to me. I think windfalls are just magnifiers: If you are good with money now, you would be with more. If not…

They showed some woman who won $15 million in a lottery and blew it all on trips, boats, cars, etc. She spoke about how much she gave to family and how now two of her brothers don’t speak to her anymore (despite giving them $30K each right off the bat). Her friends turned out to be opportunists only interested in the dollars. She said there are times she wishes the win had never happened.

Then a financial adviser came on to give suggestions, and they were all obvious common sense items I would put into practice. I would have no problems with a windfall. I’m not generous now, and I sure wouldn’t be with more money. I have no credit card debt now, and I would not incur any. I’d just be a lot happier and more secure. I’d like to ‘not work’ and have a bigger piece of property. Better house, better cars, better teeth, better internet connection, you know; the basics. Oh, yeah, two TVs. Definitely.

The most upsetting segment (to me) was the one where they showed this woman who had some kind of fashion boutique or something, and made tons of money. Fabulous homes, trips, parties, etc. But she felt like a phony, so she turned to drugs. Lost her husband, house, children, everything. Ended up living on the street addicted to cocaine. Now she has learned money doesn’t make the man, the man makes the money… Sob! How beautiful (not). This woman made me sick. To have all that and lose it is much more upsetting to me than the ones who won some money and gave it away or mismanaged it. This woman let a whole business go down the drain because she couldn’t budget or stay away from drugs. Apparently there’s something wrong with me in that I can’t amass such a fortune, but these idiots can do it with out trying and then whimper over how they felt unworthy and had such low self-esteem they were afraid of being ‘found out’ as frauds…Guess good self esteem won’t get you anywhere in life. Especially not a book contract.

So I’m taking these great pictures of birds at our feeder during the snowstorm, and Al says “Take that one…” I turn to him and say he can have ONE electronic device at a time: the remote or the camera. Men. He also thinks the cardinals are too fat, and he needs to stop feeding them so much…Funny. He never tells me to buy fewer groceries.

We’ve been measuring our snow, and it ranges from 9”-16” in various (not obviously drifted) spots. This whole new world of weather forecasting and information-share is unfamiliar to me. Area schools began announcing closings at 6 p.m. last night! Back in my day, they waited until almost 6:30 a.m. and if the school superintendent couldn’t make it to the office, they maybe called it off. O’Hare Airport cancelled flights the night before as well. Chicago TV stations were showing pictures (just like mine) and snow measurements from listeners around the state who emailed them in. They would show the actual browser window on screen and click on people’s attachments! They encouraged participation in the whole human interest angle and kept interviewing IDOT officials, airport officials, etc. I found it rather entertaining.

So if Al didn’t have enough to do with the shoveling, putting up with me, etc. around here, the washing machine just decided to break. Suddenly the spin cycle was not removing the water, leaving me with a sopping wet mess of permanent press.

Now, you may recall the last little household fix-it incident of the leaky kitchen sink pipe. Seems these new houses with plastic pipe leave a little something to be desired in the ability to tighten and keep a seal. I reported water under the sink by shouting ‘emergency!’ to Al. Al came in and began assessing the situation. He pulled the items under the sink out and began muttering about too much crap kept under the sink. Oh, so suddenly it’s my fault for not leaving stuff laying about in full view as he is fond of doing. I like to pile stuff in closets and drawers and slam them shut, hoping for the best. That’s my idea of ‘tidy’. Once every so often I organize things and they look fantastic – for about a month. Then I won’t do it again for a year.

Anyhoo, when he tried to tighten the pipe, the whole thing came off in his hand. I said, Oh, now there’s an emergency…

Great. So this took many an hour to rectify, after which I had to find new hiding places for 55% of the items formerly stored under the sink to mollify Mr. Too Much Clutter on the Right. (Now this was the same man who made the rule “no items on top of the chest freezer”. Makes sense. Can’t open the freezer if it’s being used as a junk table. I changed my ways. Didn’t use it as a garage dumping ground. Can we open the freezer? Nope. His tools are all over it. 24-7.)

As I’m deciding what to throw away, I hand Al a grimy trigger bottle that says window cleaner. Why did you put this under here? I accuse. I didn’t, he says. I thought you did. We laugh, and I tell him to throw it out. Obviously it’s old and not needed. I found it in the garage three weeks later. On the freezer.

So now after having established the floor-cleaner-causes-leaky-pipes correlation, I am anxiously awaiting his latest postulate on ‘buying too many clothes causes washing machine failure’.

Nice try, engineering geek, but your theory is all wet. The repairman is scheduled for tomorrow. $$$$$ Great. Just Great.