Just a tiny warrior battling the dragon of ignorance and modern
day lunacy ...


Monday, December 29, 2008

Janet Napolitano is Cramping My Style

The similarities are alarming. We both possess two X chromosomes. We both have a touch of gray in the hair. We both share the same last name. When I Google my name, hers pops up. How can the average person possibly distinguish between us?

To clear up any confusion, I offer the following distinctions and clarifications:

1. Janet and I enjoy equally brilliant legal minds. Janet uses hers to govern the state Arizona and she has formerly depended on her gifts to groom testimony destined for the U.S. Senate and to draft briefs for a prestigious law firm. I, of course, hone my legal skills to interpret the subtleties in my homeowner's association covenants. These skills are particularly useful when waging complaints against neighbors who neglect to remove seasonal decorations in a timely fashion.

2. Janet attracted the attention of President-elect Obama by endorsing him early and providing him with unwavering support in the final months of his campaign. I have attracted the attention of President-elect Obama by strategically placing an Obama-Biden campaign sticker on the rear of my car. (Well ... truthfully, I never actually put it on my car. I kinda hate bumper stickers, but it does occupy a prominent place in my kitchen window, which means if Barack Obama were in my house, he could read it easily ... if he went into the kitchen, I mean.)

3. President-elect Obama selected Janet to be the new director of Homeland Security, and I was once asked to serve on a neighborhood watch committee. These are very similar positions that involve vigilance and thoughtful recommendations about many issues, including perceived public threats such as garish exterior decorations displayed long after the holiday has ended.

4. I live in the Washington, D.C. area, and Janet will soon join me as a local resident. Frankly, I'm a little nervous about this. I value my anonymity, and there could be confusion. I imagine situations where local merchants, restaurant owners, auto mechanics, etc. offer me free services to curry favor with the new administration. Federal laws prevent Janet from accepting these kinds of benefits, but would these regulations apply to me? Hmmm ... Maybe I should consult an attorney.

5. I'm taller. 5 feet and 7 inches to be exact.

So, if you find yourself in the Washington area, and you see a wise-looking, well-spoken woman standing close to President Obama, look closely. If she's shorter than 5' 7", it's probably the other Ms. Napolitano.



Rhymes With ...

Quick! Think of two happy words that rhyme with room.
Can't? Neither can I.


Dark, dusty, deserted living room,
Guest-less, you are no more than a tomb.
Absent parties, music, and laughter,
You stand empty like the day after.


To dispel your wintery gloom
With fresh paint and decorations, I will groom
Your tan walls and simple window moulding
With colors exotic and bolding!


Lush fabrics! Bright artwork! Banish the doom!
Treasured objects and heirlooms I will exhume
From basement boxes - statues soon proudly displayed!
Mantles and table tops gorgeously arrayed!


Oh, wait, I forgot, this blush won't bloom
My plans are always grander than the room.
Motivation slipping, vision fading ... I probably blew it.
I just cannot be Martha Stewart.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

"You Even Need a License to Catch a Fish, But They Let Any(body) Be a Father."

I just read the recipe for a successful family. It was there in black & white in the classified section of my local newspaper: "A beautiful home, loving attorney, nurturing fulltime mom, and holidays with extended family await your baby." It's so simple! If only I had known!

I've been stumbling through this parenting, family-building thing for a few years now. Sometimes it seems to work; often it's messy and unsatisfying. I mostly figured out the "holidays" and "beautiful home" bits, but there are moments when something is clearly lacking.

An attorney.

A loving attorney. This means that the attorney loves ... the kids? the law? himself? Hard to discern from the brief ad, but strong emotion and a license from the state bar association are obvious prerequisites to parenthood.

I see some clear benefits to this in-house attorney business. Discussions over curfews, bedtimes, responsibilities, and vegetables could be brokered by a professional mediator. It's pure poetry. No more fussing about cluttered rooms, unfinished homework, temper tantrums, or sodden towels. All matters are now handled by the loving attorney. Contracts are devised, ratified, and binding. Breach of contract will result in civil action. Settlements are non-negotiable.

The docket in my house would quickly fill. This would necessitate a loving judge and eventually an empaneled loving jury. Perhaps a loving bailiff and loving court reporter should follow. Of course, not all matters are resolved in the first round, and a loving appellate court is never a bad idea.

Wait a minute!

A proxy already exists! I remember now. My word is law and it's irrevocable.
Cancel the loving attorney, and re-write the ad. "Sporadically clean home, caring yet flawed parents, unvarnished truth about life await ..."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Joaquin Phoenix and I Are Both Retiring From Film ...

Joaquin has made his announcement and now it's time to make mine.

I am officially retiring from the movie industry.

Don't despair, my loyal fans. You'll always have my music videos, books, scandals, screenplays, and recipes to anticipate. I'm not dropping out of the public eye altogether, it's just that I must harness my boundless talent and focus it in areas that amuse me most. Let's not think of this as Good - Bye, but rather as ... until we meet again.

As I have your attention, I would also like to announce the launch of my new fragrance. It's called DELUSION, a senuous blend of sandalwood, lavender, and epoxy. The eau de parfum retails for $150 an ounce, and I can assure you that it will provide you with the immediate allure of a retired movie star and MacArthur award aspirant.

I must further publicize that I have withdrawn my name from consideration in the Food Network's cherry pie bake-off. This should immediately dispel the rumor that I have already accepted the cash prize and a guest spot on the The View. I regret that I cannot appear.

Friends and loyal fans will quickly notice that I have altered my appearance to make myself inconspicuous to the onslaught of paparazzi. No longer will I appear in faded blue jeans. From this point forward, I will favor the dark, un-pre-washed variety. For full anonymity, I will begin to part my hair on the left, not the right. In this manner, I can preserve my identity as a private citizen.

I will also donate my Jiffy Lube preferred customer card to a local charity. With only two additional visits, the recipient will be entitled to a free oil change. The stunning generosity of this is apparent, but I must embrace the adage that reminds: To whom much is given, much is expected.

Please, please, I beg you to accept what you cannot change. Joaquin and I must follow our hearts. The sweet siren of the movie industry can hold no more sway over us. I retire gracefully and completely.

Look for me no further than ... the other side of the camera. I would like to announce that I have reinvented myself as a director!

Help! My Mall is Disappearing!

I'm not much of a shopper. In fact, I sorta hate it. Most of my holiday or birthday shopping is accomplished online, and only the most dire, personal needs will force me into the local mall. Obviously, I don't visit enough because when I went yesterday, the mall was gone. More precisely, the buildings were still there. Same brightly colored entrances, same neatly groomed exterior landscaping, but the interior was populated by changelings. Stepping inside, I felt like Alice through the Looking Glass. It still looked like the mall, but ... it was like the anti-mall. Gone were the familiar signs above Foot Locker, Bath and Bodyworks, the Disney Store, Bailey, Banks, and Biddle, and others. Mysterious names jumped out at me. What happened? Where were the national chain, name brand stores?

Passing a once familiar spot, I was riveted by the display. Crammed into every corner were large volumes of merchandise. Every square inch of what was once the Bombay Company was filled with heavily shellacked, sleek, "international" furniture. Blinding reflective surfaces bounced light around the space. The front display boasted enormous, ceramic, cream and gilt water fountains of nudes that would have made a pimp blush. Where was the Bombay Company? Didn't I buy a lamp here once? OK. OK. Maybe it was 15 years ago, but I still have the lamp. Wasn't my purchase enough to keep them in business? Hey, I'm back ... maybe I'll buy a mirror this time. Hello? Anyone?

Considering the other shopping options around me, I felt doomed. Glumly I shuffled along the unfamiliar landscape. Other shoppers appeared merry. Bags rustled. Credit cards were swiped. Smiling customers gloated over purchases. I swam solo through the sea of weekend consumers like a trout making its way upstream. Attempting to reorient myself, I focused more consciously on the store names. Something about them seemed slightly, vaguely, nearly familiar. I paused in front of Magic Health Plus! (exclamation point obviously an official part of the name). World Wide Gifts? International Furniture and Luggage? Take a Journeys? DTLR? An epiphany flashed - The store names read like SPAM SUBJECT LINES!

Clever manufacturers have eliminated the glossy corporate American-themed middle man and are shilling directly to the consumer!

Maybe this is a good thing. The mirrors at International Furniture and Gifts are cheaper than the ones sold by the Bombay Company. World Wide Gifts and Luggage sells ... you guessed it - luggage and wallets, and these are cheaper than the pricey leather store it replaced. Magic Health Plus! offers on-site massage and reflexology services, a boon for weary shoppers.

Of course, there might be a downside to all this direct marketing. Faithful patrons parked outside of the once popular Coffee Bean seemed oblivious to its new moniker - The Jumbo Cafe.

As for me, I retreat back to my shell. I wait until the next shopping emergency pushes me into the local shrine to capitalism. The Magic Turbo Aqua Spa and Frying Pan Emporium await!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ummm ... About that $700 Billion ... What If?

Could I have just a tad? Just a wee scotch? A little something, you know ... for the effort? Some of it was my tax money, right? So maybe a tiny throwback to old Ma and Pa middle America would be ... ummm ... fair? I promise to use it wisely. I will do my part to stimulate the economy - maybe paint the bathroom, plant a shrub or two, pay the electric bill, eat.

'Cuz here's the thing ... I don't know where the $700 billion came from and I don't understand where it's gonna go. Seriously, where was the $700 billion before last week? It's not like the $20 bill you found in the pocket of your winter coat. Or the torn $5 wedged between your carseat and the console. Where in the heck does $700 billion come from? Did George Bush spy a little glint in the grass when he was hitting a few dingers on the White House lawn? After a few minutes of investigatory diggin' he yodeled out to Laura, "Holy crap, I found this Mason jar buried in the Rose Garden and it has like 700 billion dollars in it! Bonus!"

I don't think so.

In the end the money comes out my pocket and yours and your mom's and your 2 month old baby's future pocket because this is the price of greed, and somebody has to pay the bill ... or in this case the $700 billion. It hurts today and it will hurt for many tomorrows...

...which brings me back to my original thought. What if, just what if, the $700 billion was given instead as grants to fund people with good ideas, like innovations in manufacturing or inspiration in the arts, or programs that promoted self-sufficiency, or schools that taught economic literacy, or neighborhoods that planted community gardens. What if that $700 billion was the stuff of a trillion micro-loans, for ordinary people to dream, to grow, to create, and to do great things? And what if those micro-loans helped wonderful ideas to flourish, and what if we could share those wonderful ideas with the world? And what if those with power realized that the biggest investment that any nation can make is in its people. Just ... what if?

Friday, October 3, 2008

"The Fall Will Probably Kill Ya!"

Ice blue eyes squeezed shut. Head thrown back against the rock. Tan and tawny Adam's apple raised to the sky in an expression of unabashed glee. "Whaddaya crazy? Can't swim? The fall will probably kill ya!" Paul Newman - in the cliff jump scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ...

Evocative and monumental, this scene, this moment never fails to thrill me. I've seen it a hundred times in re-runs on t.v., repeats on YouTube, but it's fresh each time. I am transported back to the moment when I stole downstairs for some illicit, late night t.v. time. I was twelve. My parents were asleep. It was about 3:00 a.m. and Butch and Sundance lit up the flickering screen of the old t.v. At twelve, love is a tangible thing - a crush of emotions that is palpable in every fibre. But at twelve, sex is still a mystery. Sure, I knew about the mechanics. I had listened to the lesson with a lot of curiosity and a little disgust. Why anyone would bother remained the obvious question in my young mind.

Until Butch.

Head thrown back, tawny neck open to the sky and I wanted to ... kiss that neck ... sniff that skin ... feel that pulsing laugh under my hand. Something changed in that moment. I felt a flutter in my lower belly sending a shiver of near-fear through me. In that moment, around 3:00 a.m., on an early morning in 1977, I knew. Butch was the trigger.

Butch was right. The fall will probably kill ya. The descent is swift and the plunge is cold, but if you survive, the water's fine. Those icy-blues were part of my awakening, those tiny, halting steps made from childhood to womanhood. Sweeter than my first real kiss, Butch stays with me forever - forever on the brink, forever at the edge, forever pushing risk in the face of insurmountable danger.

Thanks, Paul Newman. For...ahem ... everything.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Test Your Common Knowledge

As a public service, this blog will provide occasional quizzes to challenge the reader. Please note that the correct "common knowledge" answers are listed at the end of the posting.

Question 1
Zachary Taylor is
a. the kid who delivers your newspaper
b. the twelfth President of the United States
c. a member of the Jonas Brothers Band
d. a really cool and classy name for a boy, and if I ever have a boy, I'm gonna like-totally-name him Zachary Taylor!!!

Question 2
A cougar is
a. probably the mascot for the local high school football team
b. a large solitary, predatory cat, indigenous to the Americas
c. the last car grandaddy drove
d. a well-preserved, 40+ woman with good clothes and hair, who spends an indecent amount of time chatting up the 20-something interns in her office

Question 3
The correct pronunciation of ennui is
a. eee - nu - i
b. aan - wee
c. en - nu - i
d. Wasn't Enus that nephew of Boss Hogg that done give the Duke Boys a peck o' trouble?

Question 4
Complete the following sentence with the correct response.
When Mary cuts the pie, please ask her to save a piece for _____
a. us and me
b. you and me
c. you and I
d. Mebbe it should be "you and me" but that can't be kerect because my mom always yelled when I said, "Me and him wanna watch t.v." so I don't never hardly say me.

Question 5
The word impactful
a. means "having great impact"
b. is not a word
c. can only be used as a word in government publications
d. will be a word by the time you read this

Common Knowledge answers: 1-d; 2-d; 3-b; 4-c; 5-d (n.b. - The quizmaster has already entertained and rejected assertions that "d" is the correct answer for 3. Let's face it, Dukes of Hazzard jokes are just way too damn old to still be relevant.)

Asteroid!

Dig a hole. Line it with concrete. Dig a well. Construct elaborate manual syphon system to pull potable water into concrete bunker. Stock bunker with provisions, hundreds, no thousands of cans of food. Store clothing, blankets, flashlights, batteries, first aid, playing cards, books, gold coins, back issues of Rolling Stone magazine, and toothpaste.

Wait.

The asteroid is coming.

It must be. How do I know? It's logical.

We have completely exhausted the litany of disasters on this planet; therefore, the next threat must be extra-terrestial.

We're poised on the tenterhooks of fear ... tainted milk, meat, candy, toys; antibiotic-resistant bacteria; falling dollar; rising inflation; war; terrorism; hurricanes; tsunamis; airplane safety; poisoned plastic products; global warming ... enough already! What else can go wrong?

Asteroid.

Let's face it. We're overdue. It's been a coupla thousand millenia since we had a good collision from outer space. The planet is overpopulated; food is expensive and limited; natural resources are ravaged; human competition for everything is wickedly fierce; the globe's heating up faster than a drunken frat boy watching the spice channel. The timing is right.

An asteroid would neatly cull the population. Its effects would cool down the planet considerably. The strongest, most well-adapted species would survive and the weaker, endangered ones would not. What emerges after a few thousand years would be a leaner, stronger, cooler planet. Sorta an "extreme makeover" on a planetary scale.

The human survivors would be well adapted to colder climes. Animal life would teem with a fresh explosion new features. Plant life would richly populate every available corner of earth. It would be like a Garden of Eden, but you know, Part 2 The Sequel. After a few more thousand years, some wise guy with a pre-frontal lobe a little bigger than his brothers will figure out how to make pictures of the things most important to him and his extended family. In a few more hundred years ... well, you get the idea. History does have that tendency to ... ahem ... repeat itself.

But, it's all good.

Because somewhere in the distant future, some other future pamphleteer will watch and wait and warn his counterparts to ... dig a hole.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Vampires - You're Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

The wildly popular novel series Twilight will debut its first movie in late November. Obsessed youth with (or without) a pulse are salivating to attend the first midnight showing. In the series, teen vampires, some friendly and some not, go about their teen lives, seeking, suffering, sharing angst, committing horrible acts of murder by cannibalism, falling in love ... you know, the regular stuff.

Vampires have always dwelt among us. Not all may don the black cape, Goth make-up, and pointy-toed boots. Many are beautifully deceptive. They retain the outward appearance of a regular human, but their insidious temperament ruins the lives of their hosts.

Modern day vampires can be divided into three categories:

Houseguests,

Teenagers,

and Adult Children who live with their parents

Cautious individuals should arm themselves against these nefarious parasites.

Of course, the average human has the strongest defense against the first category. Houseguests can only invade with invitation, so the prudent homeowner will not extend an invitation to the vampire-houseguest variety.

Teenagers present a unique defense challenge. The vampire-teenager begins life as an innocent baby. An instinctive desire to protect compels humans to invite the embryonic vampire into the house. Successfully incorporating himself into all aspects of family life, the embryonic vampire will not begin to manifest his terrifying characteristics until puberty. By this point it is too late to eject the creature. The vampire-teenager has successfully identified human weaknesses in his adult host, and will not hesitate to use this advantage. Victims of the vampire-teenager may console themselves by sharing wounds and strategies with other sufferers. Fortunately, vampire-teenagers tire quickly of their hosts and usually leave spontaneously somewhere around the start of the third decade of life.

Many humans experience a brief period of calm after escaping the clutches of the vampire-teen.

Beware of this lull ...

The most dangerous and deadly form of vampire is that of the vampire-adult child who has moved home with his parents. These vampires lack shame and self-motivation. Feigning assistance to the parents, these vampires prey ceaselessly on their aging hosts. The vampire-adult child quickly establishes a successful pattern of sharing meals, mooching cash, driving the old Buick, and draining the hot water tank. All this received in exchange for the occasional effort on trash day and vague promises of cleaning the garage. The elderly host is weak and may feel responsible for the unsuccessful vampire-adult child. Avoid this dangerous trap! Vampire-adult children can drain checking accounts, eat up the equity of a reverse mortgage, and drive a wedge between parents and self-sufficient, authentic human children.

Vampire-adult children are the purest parasites, sucking the fortunes, life, and blood out of the living.

Be vigilant.

Your encounter with the Nosferatu may be as close as the phone call from that college roommate-who-just-happens-to-be-in-town-but-couldn't-get-a-hotel-room-even-though-you-live-in-a-major-city. The next vampire attack could evolve from that sweet toddler gurgling and rolling at your feet. And your life and fortune may be seriously threatened by the following words, "Mom? (tearful hiccup) Is it ok if I crash with you for a while?"

Saturday, September 20, 2008

OBiden or McPalin? You decide.

Introducing the McPalin sandwich!

Here's our "secret" recipe - shhhh ... don't tell!

Take one well-seasoned and tough piece of rawhide. Age for 7 decades before final service.

Add one juicy, slightly overripe tomato. Dress tomato with oily platitudes.

Sandwich rawhide and tomato between stale heels of our daily bread.

Garnish with one slightly wilted U.S. dollar.

Sprinkle on a generous helping of pork, and enjoy!

Cost: nothing - You will receive $300 in federal tax cuts with purchase!

Not in the mood for a sandwich?

Please enjoy our delicious brew - OBiden Ale!

OBiden Ale starts with only the finest ingredients collected from all over the globe.

The rich flavors of Africa mingle with luscious, amber waves of American grain.

A little "luck of the Irish" gives the brew that common-man-I-don't-mind-a-long-commute believable flavor.

The ale is cooked for five successive six year cycles, yet maintains that youthful, inexperienced flavor that says it's fresh from the brewery. OBiden Ale is also available in a non-alcoholic brew.

Cost: To be determined by focus groups staged in major cities and rural hamlets beginning in late September 2008.

Not sure which to choose? Well ... you can't enjoy them together, so you better decide soon.

History of the World - Part 4-year-old

Gentle Reader,

In this heated run-up to the November election, my preschooler presents us with an elegant solution to the great creation vs. evolution debate. Successfully condensing the history of the world down to four key events, his summary offers something for those on both sides of the argument.

"OK. OK. So there were dinosaurs, then cavemen, then the Battle of Gettysburg, and now we have now."

Ardent creationists are thrilled by the nearly simultaneous sequence of dinosaurs and cavemen.

Logical disciples of Darwin recognize that a sequence, however slight, exists.

Mention of the Battle of Gettysburg appeals to the patriot on both sides of the aisle.

And, of course, we have now. In this now, anything can happen.

God's will is known only to Him, and we can pray for strength to submit to His plan for the world.

or

Man is capable of self-determination, and grassroots organization coupled with a strong message will shape the destiny of the nation.

It's the possibility that makes it interesting. Anything can happen and usually does.

Stay tuned.