Sunday, December 31, 2006
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
MARTHA AIRS HER DIRTY LINEN
By CATHY BURKE
December 17, 2006 -- She's no prison rat.
And her new $1,200 "vibrator" is "a very good tool," ex-con domestic diva Martha Stewart confided in a raunchy riposte with Sirius Satellite Radio colleague Howard Stern.
The usually stiff-shirt Stewart showed her down-and-dirty side last week.
She recalled dating Mayor Bloomberg "years ago" - and confessed she couldn't get past the Hannibal Lecter character while dating "Silence of the Lambs" actor Anthony Hopkins.
"Do you want someone eating your brain while you are sitting in your beautiful dining room in Maine?" she wondered. "I would have probably had a very nice relationship with Anthony Hopkins but I couldn't get past the Lecter thing."
She called her current beau a filthy-rich Microsoft retiree with his own plane and boat. "Those guys have all the toys," she said.
The woman imprisoned for the ImClone insider-trading scandal also said she ran into "girls with mustaches and girls with beards [who] would ask me for lunch" behind bars.
"They also wanted to learn," she added ". . . Everybody in prison has a business plan."
She said she always told guards that she'd simply fallen whenever they asked her to snitch on who had bruised her arm.
And she's still fuming at Donald Trump over her axed spinoff of "The Apprentice." "Don't sit us next to each other," she said.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
The other day, someone of my acquaintance was driving her four-year-old granddaughter and a young friend to the performance of a traditional holiday ballet. She's normally mild of manner, but a late start and another complication had set her nerves on edge long before the cabbie cut her off.
"Fucker!" she hissed reflexively.
A moment later, inevitably, came the small voice from the back seat: "What did you say, Grandma?"
Thinking fast, she said, "Oh, I was just saying hi to Mr. Fucker," trying to make it sound more like "Focker" this time. "He's driving that taxi up there. Hi, Mr. Focker!" She gave a little wave.
That seemed to satisfy the girl. But Grandma's going to hold her breath for another day or two, and she'll probably be a little anxious the next couple of times her son or daughter-in-law calls.
This could just as well have happened in my family. We're about 10 years past that point now, but I'm sure my nephew's vocabulary got plenty of entries from my mom.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
So says this guy. And he should know, because he's an "author, advertising copywriter, columnist, teacher, pioneer thinker, chronicler of the miraculous, and spokesman for the worldwide house church community." He's so smart, he wrote The Meaning of Life.
Check out his site. I'm sure you'll be every bit as impressed as I was.
Friday, December 15, 2006
The first effort was actually in Birmingham, "the arsehole of England," but their group isn't nearly as melodic as Helsinki's. No one does misery like Scandinavians.
Now the phenomenon is spreading. Could this be the magic bullet for the Middle East?
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Toilet blocked by 2m snake
SCHOOL teacher Kate Poole called for help when she found her toilet was blocked – and couldn't work out why.
A plumber peered into the porcelain bowl – and found a huge snake looking back at him.
The 2m carpet python was living in the septic tank at the property in Howard Springs, 20km south of Darwin. Parks and Wildlife ranger Peter Phillips said the snake had probably poked its head out of the toilet "for a bit of a look around".
He tried to pull it out through the bowl – "but it was stuck around the S-bend".
The snake was finally caught by lifting the septic tank cover and using special tongs.
Ms Poole, 58, a part-time relief teacher, had met the snake before when it killed a baby possum that used to come to her door for a feed with its mother.
"It was crushing the possum," she said. "I managed to free the poor animal by lifting up the snake with a crutch but it was too late – the possum was dead." She didn't hold a grudge and was happy to see the python liberated from her toilet and septic tank.
Mr Phillips said the snake was a fine specimen – "he's got a nice big boof head and no sign of disease".
The operation brought back memories for plumber Mick Pittman – he used to catch crocodiles and is known as Crocodile Mick.
That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway
Let's Fix Democracy in This Country First
If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran
If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President
Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?
George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight
Impeachment: It's Not Just for Blowjobs Anymore
America: One Nation, Under Surveillance
They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It
Whose God Do You Kill For?
Jail to the Chief
No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq?
Bush: God's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap
Bad President! No Banana.
We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language
We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them
Is It Vietnam Yet?
Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either
Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Handbasket?
You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.
Impeach Cheney First
Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too
The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century
What Part of "Bush Lied" Don't You Understand?
One Nation Under Clod
2004: Embarrassed. 2005: Horrified. 2006: Terrified.
Bush Never Exhaled
At Least Nixon Resigned
Republicans for Voldemort
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
In recent years she's developed a taste for outsider art and a talent for finding good stuff. Pathologically generous, she's as likely to buy a piece for a friend as she is for herself. I've been a grateful beneficiary more than once, and the latest offering is my favorite so far.
It's a portrait of Condoleezza Rice, our estimable secretary of state. Condi is not wearing her famous dominatrix boots in the picture. In fact, she's not wearing anything except pearl earrings, a gold necklace, and a sly smile. Oh, and a huge phallus, which probably explains her expression. Appropriately, the title is Mine's Bigger Than Yours.
The picture hangs proudly in our hallway, where I can see it from my bed, framed by the doorway. It's been there for almost two months now, and it's been a hoot watching people's reactions: lots of hearty laughter, given the political views of most of our visitors, but also a pair or two of pursed lips. What can I say? Butt Hollow just isn't a Martha Stewart sort of household. No seascapes or still lifes for us.
This is clearly not a case of art imitating life, but it would explain a great deal about the administration's approach to foreign policy.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
Tori's Sale Attracts HundredsCheck out Tori's official site. It's a treat.
Tori Spelling's yard sale attracted about 300 people this past weekend. Reportedly, people even came from out of town for the sale. As a result, traffic jams occurred and news helicopters flew overhead capturing the chaos. Among the items purchased by bargain-hunters were paintings, lingerie, a rubber duck, a $25 plastic Starbucks mug and a whip.
Phila Belle Blackwell
Erlease B. Proctor
Luva Dotson Gant
Clarence T. Finkle
Lisbon Jack Gober
Cmdr. Herschel Head
Edna B. Head
(Ms.) Temprest Tennille
Durward and Vandalia Taylor
Junella Shade Lovett
Rev. Kahlfani Drummer
Vondaleera Higginbotham George
(Ms.) Ozell Jones
Wilma Knight White
Orman Z. Rippeon
Luola Murchison Hurkamp "Lola" Beaver
W.G. Snuffy Walden
Vendetta M. Forney
Annie Stringer Necessary
Sir Ninian Buchan-Hepburn
(Mr.) Gwan Gamble
Jean S. Pookrum
(Mrs.) Ossie Fryer
Hattie V. Ivey
Harry Hurt III
Effie Mae Funderburk
(Mrs.) Starr Topken
Ida Mae Day
Tyrone L. King Jr. Armstead
(Mr.) Delaware Barbour
Meta Dohrmann Driessnack
(Ms.) Crata Vaughn
Clayton, Leona, and Lynelle Stunkard
Earline Fludd-Minor and brother Wilbur Pierre "Tookie" Fludd
Mellowese and Lenericha Pegues
Carolyn Bacon Cave
Bland Janice Holly
Capt. Urial Leach
Fannie, Luevenia, Pandora, and Candy Carey
Elvis, BaRonie, and Shaneena Wright
Brig. Edward Grismond Beaumont Davies-Scourfield
Cielle Fink Block
Rosetta Dent Napper
Braxton and Twanna Wiggins
Preston, Ettrina, and Marquise Vanzego
(Mrs.) Laculia P. Williams
(Ms.) Tamale Walton
Melvin T. Bumbrey
LaVell and LeVell Calhoun (twin brothers)
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
And then there are the excerpts:
Most vegetarians complain about missing the taste of bacon. Not me, I complain about my liver disease. And rural postal services. Man, 40. Box no. 3143.
You're a brunette, 6', long legs, 25-30, intelligent, articulate and drop-dead gorgeous. I, on the other hand, am 4'10", have the looks of Hervé Villechaize and carry an odour of wheat. No returns and no refunds at box no. 3321.
I'll see you at the LRB singles night. I'll be the one breathing heavily and stroking my thighs by the 'art' books. Asthmatic, varicosed F (93) seeks M to 30 with enough puff in him to push me uphill to the post office. This is not a euphemism. Box no. 4632.
Mature gentleman (62), aged well, noble grey looks, fit and active, sound mind and unfazed by the fickle demands of modern society seeks . . . damn it, I have to pee again. Box no. 4143.
These ads try too hard to be funny. Not me, I'm a natural. Juggling, monkey-faced idiot (M, 36). Box no. 5312.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Even with a minimum of buttons, snaps, and zippers, it's become increasingly challenging to pull my pants up and keep them there.
Lying on my bed the other day, catching my breath after one such struggle, an epiphany surfaced from some dark recess of memory: Maybe it would be easier in this position. I gave it a try, and indeed it was. Gravity was no longer working against me.
I did not invent this technique. It was widely practiced by girls during my early teen years, when skintight jeans were de rigueur. The names Jordache and Sasson probably don't mean much to other generations, but they meant everything at the time. Girls would yank them on and totter around triumphantly, laughing off the dark rumors about fainting, blood clots, and sterility. Who knew back then that these brave young heroines would reach far into the future one day to lend me a hand?
Flatulence Forces Plane to Land
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of flatulence, authorities said.
The Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur from the matches, said Lynne Lowrance, spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority. All 99 passengers and five crew members were taken off and screened while the plane was searched and luggage was screened.
The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a "body odor," Lowrance said. She had an unspecified medical condition, authorities said.
"It's humorous in a way but you feel sorry for the individual, as well," she said. "It's unusual that someone would go to those measures to cover it up."
The flight took off again, but the woman was not allowed back on the plane. The woman, who was not identified, was not charged in the incident.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Truth be told, I'm a little jealous that the following will never be said of me:
[A] lot of the time, she says, the money went to the hookers hanging out at his house -- "Daddy, the whores need to be paid"-- and not to paying child support to his many ex-wives raising kids far from the Hollywood Hills. So hers was a childhood of abundance and of lack, of private jets and welfare checks, of elaborate vacations in Hawaii and a gig selling hot dogs on the beach when she was 13.
She is the daughter of an exceedingly complicated African American icon who famously set himself on fire, and an equally complicated blond, blue-eyed Jewish woman who fervently believed that she was black. In a new autobiography, Pryor writes of lighting candles for Shabbat with one set of grandparents and also listening attentively to her great-grandmother, a onetime bordello owner, breaking down racial realities as she shuffled a tarot deck: "You black, Rainy. The world's gonna see Rain as a [black person] no matter what her mother is."
The book describes her mother as a jive-talking dancer with a fondness for wearing Afro wigs -- it was the '60s -- and quoting Malcolm X.
When she was 4, her mother introduced Rain to her father. The book recounts that he took one look at her and said, "Ain't denying this one's mine!" That night, during a sleepover at Pryor's home, she wandered into her father's bedroom. She'd heard noises and she was afraid. She saw her father on top of a blond woman and ran out of the room.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Greatness: Reagan, Churchill, and the Making of Extraordinary LeadersAmong the "extensive and profound" parallels the author uncovered:
Steven F. Hayward
Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill were true giants of the twentieth century, but somehow historians have failed to notice the many similarities between these extraordinary leaders. Until now.
- "[M]any of Churchill’s friends would say to him — 'Winston, you missed your calling in life. You should have been an actor.'" And Ronald Reagan was an actor!
- "They both had a fondness for vigorous outdoor labor. Churchill spent years building a large brick wall by himself at his country home, Chartwell, while Reagan built long fences out of telephone poles at his ranch, as well as endlessly cutting brush."*
- "And of course they both loved horses."**
* I see room for another cowboy-president in a future edition.
** Hayward notes that "[b]oth were in the cavalry," but I believe he's confusing Reagan's film roles with actual military experience -- just as the Gipper himself did on occasion.
Monday, December 04, 2006
This one, for instance:
CHARLES MacLEOD PLUNKETTSome families have more boys than girls, and vice versa. And then there are the Plunketts, who apparently managed to produce seven generations of males without the assistance of a single woman. Remarkable. I guess theirs truly is a man's world.
On October 25, 2006. Father of Charles Hendrix Plunkett of Maryland and the late Ernest MacLeod Plunkett; grandfather of Charles F. Plunkett; great-grandfather of Charles C.K. and R.I. Plunkett; great-grandson of the late Lt. Col. William Henry Plunkett; grandson of the late Rear Adm. Charles Peshall Plunkett; and son of the late Lt. Charles Tuck Plunkett, USN.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Pardon my French, but holy fucking shit!
I finally saw An Inconvenient Truth last week, so I already knew the planet is doomed. Still, must we hasten it so wantonly?
* In moderation. In moderation, damn it!
- Douglas Brinkley: "Move Over, Hoover"
- Eric Foner: "He's the Worst Ever"
- Vincent J. Cannato: "Time's on His Side"
- David Greenberg: "At Least He's Not Nixon"
- Michael Lind: "He's Only Fifth Worst"
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Rosalie BradfordAmong all those big figures, the one that really struck me was the eight-foot width. She was as big across as a standard ceiling height.
Once Weighed Over 1,000 Pounds
Rosalie Bradford, 63, who held records for being the world's heaviest woman and for losing the most weight, died Nov. 30 at a hospital in Lakeland, Fla.
Publicist Stephen Nortier said the cause of death won't be known until a medical examiner's report, but Ms. Bradford had spent the past year bedridden with complications from having her lymph nodes severed years ago. She weighed about 400 pounds just before dying.
Ms. Bradford weighed 1,050 pounds in January 1987, according to the 1994 Guinness Book of Records. She lost 736 pounds, to weigh 314 pounds, in September 1992, according to the record book. At her largest, Bradford was 8 feet wide.
She credited Richard Simmons, the fitness guru, with helping her lose weight. The two began corresponding after a friend of hers wrote Simmons when she tried to commit suicide.
Ms. Bradford blamed her lifelong battle with obesity on abandonment, which bred a food addiction. Her Web site claims her peak weight was more than 1,200 pounds.
If, like me, you are riveted and want to learn more, check out her site.
Friday, December 01, 2006
The agency looks like a small, private version of Britain's venerable National Trust, which offers hundreds of quirky properties. We rented a cottage in rural Devon three years ago, and it was one of my best vacations ever.
Great browsing at both sites.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
As for ALS, everyone knows that Lou Gehrig had it; he gave his name to the disease. Almost as well known are Stephen Hawking and Morrie Schwartz, the latter famous mostly because he had ALS. I was also aware that our numbers included David Niven, Jacob Javits, and Catfish Hunter.
But yesterday, after nearly a decade in Club ALS, I was astonished to learn that one of my comrades was Mao Zedong. Mao Zedong!
Nowhere was this mentioned in the orientation kit. As a former flack, I understand the reluctance to tout mass murderers among your membership. Still, you'd think I'd have heard about it sometime over the past 10 years. When Andrew Cunanan shot Versace, the gays could speak of nothing else for at least a week. "He went to prep school with my cousin!" "My ex's ex had a blind date with him!"
If I can make peace, however grudgingly, with my affiliation with Tricky Dick, I guess I can accept Chairman Mao.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Full story here.
At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.
"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.
"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.
"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"
"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.
The incident even provoked a huffy outburst from George Will. Someone get that guy some Ex-Lax.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I saw an interview with the subject, and she seemed boundlessly bitter and more than slightly unhinged. If you didn't recognize her, you'd think "trailer trash" before "Hollywood royalty." But she did have a rough childhood, bless her heart.
Monday, November 27, 2006
I don't watch Rachael Ray*, but I can think of many worthy celebrity subjects: Dr. Phil, Celine Dion, the late Steve Irwin, anyone with a crafts show ...
And of course there are countless noncelebrity topics. There used to be a brilliant site called the Dysfunctional Family Circus, which I appreciated as much as I loathe the comic that it parodied. It's gone now, but one blessed soul had the foresight to save and post some of the best. The original "Family Circus" is so criminally insipid, I want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon whenever they accidentally stray near it.
* Why does she spell her name that way, anyhow? Rachel is spelled Rachel.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Somehow, I don't think the Creation Museum's creators* meant for it to be a place of high hilarity or a temple of irony. But this description in the Guardian makes it seem exceedingly promising in those regards. Leave it to a lefty Brit to write a magnificent sendup with just the right amount of restraint.
I'm clearly not among the facility's target market, yet I almost feel like checking it out when it opens next year -- if only to learn how the Grand Canyon was carved in a few months. It's pretty big, you know; I always thought it took at least a year or two.
* Do they call themselves that?
Friday, November 24, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Somehow The Post overlooked the final turd he left on the carpet. The New York Times, by contrast, found it worthy of an editorial.
A whole chapter on entertaining the elderly -- in large-print type -- advises: Turn up the heat, turn down the music, serve a bland meal about 4 p.m. and thread some needles for them to take home. "With all the special attention needed, one might ask, why entertain the elderly?," she inquires, then answers: Because "soon you will be in their comfort shoes, and wouldn't it be nice to be invited to a party?"
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
That would be no big deal for a healthy person, who could either stop the fall or push himself up afterwards. But it’s a lot trickier when your arms don’t work.
I remained prone for a while – mulling, pondering, considering, weighing, plotting. Then I began wriggling and thrashing, trying various things, all with one crucial goal: staying off the floor. Once I’m fully down, even Dan can barely get me up.
After a seeming eternity, I managed to wedge my toes under the wheelchair and maneuver my ass into an acceptable position on the bed. (People sometimes ask how I occupy my time. Now you know.)
As I lay there catching my breath, an image appeared in my head: that of a cockroach on its back, kicking in frantic futility, its only hope a serendipitous puff of wind. I was stuck on my front, granted, and would have required a tornado to flip me over, but the parallel seems apt nonetheless.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Ebba Jo Spettel
Ebay and Ulonda Shamwell
Odie and Etta Waple
Vesta B. Dick
Grace D. "Bunny" Kok
Phyllis Queen Commodore
(Ms.) Rozzetter Richardson
Lovella and Symphonette Nelson (sisters)
(Ms.) Verdell Estep
Julius U. Hoke
Steptoe and Alzata Wrenn
Billie Jo Nutter
Lucy Diggs Slowe
Sneed B. Collard III
Johnnie Mae Shingles
(Ms.) TaShai LaMhi Cheeseman
(Mrs.) Beany Brown
Rev. Burnard Furbush
Dr. Ellen Leibenhaut Leibenluft
(Mr.) Pleasant Bullock
Patricia Curtin Hankey
Ebony, Maghongany, and Cynnamon Gayden (siblings)
(Mrs.) Wanza Wiley
(Ms.) Clove Galilee
Melba Sue McGlamary
(Mr.) Downie Deen
Mary Pearl Munsterteiger
Rev. Roosevelt Dickens
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter
(Ms.) Vergie E. Bodenstein
Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller
(Mr.) Crogher Devalentine Butler
Sylvanus and Ozie Sneade
William B. Tubby
Marjorie Gray Brown
(Miss) Lawnie Lee Browne
Wiley and Virgie Bratcher
Jane Traylor Hauser
(Mr.) Verl J. Wilfong
Hazel Wilfong Bean
Columbus and Colonious Knight (brothers)
Eartharene Prophet, Mervin Prezzy, and Willodean Plummer (siblings)
Herma Gant Leatherwood
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Some trenchant lines, among them:
"If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, pick up another sport."
"We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't put those beliefs into practice."
Friday, November 17, 2006
She's also a philosopher, bless her heart. In this hilarious clip, she explains her "seven portals to peace and order." Don't miss the end.
And always remember: "It's only beauty that can feed the spirit."
That said, this video seemed freaky enough to warrant posting.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Anti-gay-marriage measures were handily approved in seven of eight states, but still the bishops felt unfulfilled. So they convened at their headquarters, a dank, musty warren of caverns deep in the Ozarks, where they donned their flashy robes, gnashed their yellow teeth, beat their pale, flabby man-breasts, and wailed mightily.
"We've made it clear where we stand, but we must do more," said one bishop as a small boy emerged from under his robe and scurried away. "I agree," said another. "Society reviles the gays less each day. We must smash them down before it's too late." "I'm with you," said a third. "Next thing you know, women will want a place in the clergy." A collective gasp cut through the cool, damp air, and the circle of puffy white faces clenched in horror, their gin blossoms reddening further at the ghastly thought. They decided on a course of action.
This, in turn, forced the Baptists' hand. Having long prided themselves on outdoing the Catholics at intolerance, homophobia, and all-around backwardness, they realized immediately that they had to act. So they called an emergency meeting at their lair, somewhere between the second and third layers of the earth's crust, and drew up their own plan.
You can read about both actions here, with a dash of Presbyterianism thrown in for good measure.
* Certain restrictions apply.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I'd love to see it in person, but that seems unlikely, to say the least. The pilgrimage involves multiple flights, a 12-hour car ride, and a long, steep hike through the jungle, complete with rope bridges.
Someone check it out while it's still unspoiled and bring me back pictures.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the densest element yet known to science. The new element has been named Bushcronium; its symbol is W. Bushcronium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311.
These particles are held together by dark forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Bushcronium's mass actually increases over time, as morons randomly interact with various elements in the atmosphere and become assistant deputy neutrons in a Bushcronium molecule, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that Bushcronium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "critical morass."
When catalyzed with money, Bushcronium activates Foxnewsium, an element that radiates orders-of-magnitude more energy, albeit as incoherent noise, since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
We were like doppelgangers back then, except he played varsity baseball, basketball, and football, while I was in the marching band. It was a huge relief when he graduated and I could spread my wings senior year.
I was so busy celebrating the Dems' takeover, especially George Allen's richly deserved defeat, that I hadn't gotten around to writing about the amendment. The editorial board of Staunton's News Leader beat me to it -- and said everything I would have.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Some might question the value of guidance from the advisor of the least articulate leader in modern history. You have to admit, though, she kept her charges on message -- no matter how implausible or false.
The best part of the piece is the analysis by psychologists.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
When you first buy a house, you think of it as an inanimate collection of rooms. But a house is more like a complex organism. Even though it may look presentable, you know that it is gradually disintegrating, that its arteries are clogging. In my house we have learned, over time, to ignore the things that are broken, the accumulated crud in the louvers, the peeling paint, the scuff marks and dents and divots. But after the walnuts fire, our eyes opened, and we realized [cue shrieking violins] that we live in squalor.As we say in Quaker meeting, "The friend speaks my mind."
Read the full essay here.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Many moons ago, as a freshly minted member of Club ALS, I happened to read something that struck me so profoundly I contacted the writer to tell her so. I've forgotten the topic and the context, but the author, Zana Abdul Rahman, has been my penpal ever since. We're bound by ALS and separated by geography: she lives in Australia.
Some years back, Zana put together Cornflower Blues, a book of essays by people with ALS, including the two of us, on how they cope with the disease. Producing a book is a heavy task under any circumstances; when you're physically disabled the effort is herculean. Having read many of Zana's journal entries, I harbor an intense hope that she'll publish another volume.
We've known each other for about nine years now, and Zana and I should have checked out long ago, but we're both still here -- a fact of enormous comfort to me. She recently sent some pictures from her garden, giving me a taste of spring in mid-autumn.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
The term lodge had always conjured images of commodious rusticity in my mind. Rough-hewn timbers, crackling fires in stone hearths, maybe some antlers on a wall and a bear rug underfoot.
In West Virginia, it seems, the definition is somewhat looser and can in fact include a hostelry with no structure in sight that could be considered an actual lodge. The owners conferred lodgehood on their establishment simply by naming it the Cheat River Lodge. (For comparison, see "war on drugs," "war on poverty," or "war on terror.") Easy as 'possum pie.
My mental lodge didn't have pink wall-to-wall carpeting or acoustical ceiling tile. It certainly didn't use striped wallpaper and a border to create the illusion of a wainscot. (Even my dentist finally realized that was a decorating no-no; word apparently takes longer to reach the hollers of West Virginny.) The higher paper was a floral print of uncertain subject. When I studied it closely, the blooms looked strangely like artichokes. But I was more troubled by the dehumidifier, air purifier, and two (!) electronic air fresheners. Most worrisome of all was the fact that the "lodge" was built against the base of a massive cliff. I half expected to wake up with a boulder on my face.
The impetus for our vacationette was to gawk at some fall foliage. Like me, the color was well past its prime, but we did manage to find some vivid patches, especially at lower elevations and in sheltered little pockets, of which there are many. Saw a pheasant, a chipmunk, and a few deer too. Oh, and lots of roadkill, of course.
The rest of the stereotypes were hit or miss. I saw many men with bushy beards, but nary a soul settin' on a porch strummin' a banjo, to my great disappointment. Plenty of rusting cars (and other objects) in yards, but mostly newer models, including a couple of Land Rovers. And scads of trailers, a disturbing number of which were situated in floodplains, as if taunting fate. But only one outhouse.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
After reading a reference in the paper to John Ashcroft's "Let the Eagle Soar," the song -- if you can call it that -- burrowed into my brain like a botfly, playing in an endless taunting loop until I nearly lost the precious remaining shreds of my sanity. I was finally able to exorcise the evil by crawling to the stereo and turning on good music -- loud -- for several minutes.
I'd honestly rather be waterboarded or have electrodes attached to my naughty bits. Which got me thinking: Do you suppose they "Ashcroft" the "guests" at Guantanamo? I'd say anything they wanted just to make the bad noise stop.
Click the link above for the full version ... if you dare.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Yesterday an especially shrill voice managed to rise above the din. It belonged to that porcine man with the crazy eyes. He was standing in front of his alma mater, the Bill Frist School of Neurology, apparently still in withdrawal from his OxyContin habit. This is what he had to say.
Hateful? Extremely. Wrong? Completely. It would be laughable if he didn't have such a big audience. But he does. And they vote.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Act I: A woman shrieks at her companion, berating him loudly, publicly, and at length.
Act II: Shortly thereafter, she falls on the floor in the throes of a seizure. A pair of "shockingly fat" EMTs arrive promptly. One asks whether the woman is prone to seizures, to which her companion replies: "No, but she is a drunk."
Friday, October 20, 2006
Mildred Magazine (daughter: Joanne Book; stepdaughter: Phyllis Press)
Audray Smoot Blizard
James Bond Romans
Lonnie and Geneva Lovely
Prof. Lucius Outlaw
Rhonisha Good Fortunato
Maverick and Maven McGann (brother and sister)
Azel Q. and Verna D. Lester
Thursday, October 19, 2006
So now we know the story of Mark Foley's formative trauma. At least there's one thing he wasn't lying about. And yet, it explains little and excuses nothing.
As Valerie Cherish might have said, "I did not need to see that!" But I did see it, and now you can too.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
NoVa and RoVa: Welcome to a State Of Disagreement
Recent polls confirm the common assumption that Northern Virginians tend to be much more liberal than those in the rest of the state. In fact, NoVa seems to be a world apart from RoVa (the rest of Virginia). In NoVa, for example, when people speak of a "trailer," they mean a movie ad, and in RoVa "sprawl" is what you do on the couch after Sunday dinner.
Herewith, a few more ways NoVa differs from RoVa:
· In RoVa, they hope the South will rise again. In NoVa, they hope the souffle will.
· In NoVa, a lab is the family dog. In RoVa, a lab is the family meth business.
· In NoVa, people spend their dough at Starbucks, shooting the breeze. In RoVa, people spend time in the breeze, shooting does and bucks.
· In NoVa, a "fur piece" is something a woman wears on a special occasion. In RoVa, a "fur piece" is unit of distance.
· In RoVa, people pick blackberries. In NoVa, people click BlackBerrys.
· In NoVa, they listen to NPR. In RoVa, they listen to the NRA.
· NoVa has Crate & Barrel. RoVa has Cracker Barrel.
· NoVa: Chain Bridge. RoVa: Chain saw.
· In RoVa, they like freshly killed venison. In NoVa, they like Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
-- Style staff
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The transition from working girl to welfare queen forced many changes for me. Salon haircuts were one of the first casualties of my austerity budget, and it's been quite a comedown. The chic little storefront has been supplanted by a suburban strip mall, designer robes by tatty nylon smocks, hushed elegance by cacophonous din. "Would you like some herbal tea?" has given way to "NEXT!"
Yesterday I went to the beauty parlor for my monthly rinse-and-set (actually the $14 basic coif at the local Hair Cuttery). I must have been distracted by the cascade of clippings, which at this point seem more salt than pepper, because the result looked OK when I was prompted to give a nod of approval.
An hour later, when I glanced in a mirror at home, there was no denying the ugly truth. I'd been given the Hair Butchery special: the little-retarded-boy cut. Not the dreaded salad-bowl 'do, but the one where the hair is cut in a straight line over the forehead. The kind of haircut your mother might give you in the kitchen, only my mom was never that cheap or that mean.
I like to say that vanity is the first casualty of ALS, but I must have a little left or I wouldn't be burning with shame today. I'm tempted to grab a pair of scissors and go at these bangs myself. With my shaky hands, I'd probably lose an eye, but at least then I wouldn't have to avoid mirrors.