Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fallen Star

Once again I find myself out of the mainstream.

When I replay childhood memories, Michael Jackson is not on the soundtrack. I never learned to moonwalk. I didn't even have any of his records (although I did buy a couple of Jackson 5 tracks on iTunes the other day).

Since I wasn't paying much attention to the first half of his life, Jackson was a tragic figure to me. I can't think of anyone, public or private, who seemed more tortured, more uncomfortable in his own skin.

His death didn't strike me as surprising, much less shocking. Given his long downward trajectory, the circumstances seem to fit like a glove.

All Grown Up

It's hard to believe that both of our crap myrtles fit in the back of my Camry wagon nine years ago.

Butt Hollow = Death Valley for a lot of flora, but these things have thrived. They're an odd couple, the tall, thin Potomac eclipsed by its flashy, voluptuous sister, Muskogee, which decided to bloom strangely early this year:

If you look closely, you can see the Potomac standing demurely (and greenly) back, like Wendy and Carnie Wilson sharing a stage.

Photo by Dansel Adams.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Peggy.

Fr(ee) Association

When I type fr into the blog's search window, it suggests:
fred barnes
french penises
I find this hilarious.

No Child Left Behind

And to think I was disturbed by the contents of our dog walker's freezer ...

The latest episode of "Obsessed" featured a woman who'd had a miscarriage at eight weeks. She persuaded the doctor to let her take the fetus home, where she stashed it in - that's right - the freezer. And there it remained. Even the Santorums buried theirs eventually.

My mom was watching with me, and her facial expressions were almost as entertaining as the program.

Kevin Bacon and Brothers

From Awkward Family Photos, which now includes great stories like this one.

Thanks to Laurie, who could probably make a few contributions of her own.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Peggy.

'Here's to the Violets'

"It is an injustice that, in this room, many of you pay your tax money to the very public institutions that deny you rights other Americans enjoy; pay your tax money for public schools that will not accept you as legal parents; pay your tax money for the paper on which they print the goddamn marriage licenses you cannot get."
I was already a big fan of Patricia Clarkson, but now it's approaching adoration.


Both Sides Now

He called her a tart, which she was. In fact, a whole array of tarts ...
Not your average Economist obit.

From Clark.
© 2009 Derek Maingot

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hard by the Tracks

I could deal with a freight train more easily than a bad neighborhood. You should be able to walk around your own block.

From Riley.
Walk-of-shame on Sunday mistaken for churchgoer.

From Six Word Stories.

Holler Back

(Actually the front, as we turn our ass to the street.)

Photos by Danny Leibovitz.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rock Bottom

Wouldn't it be ironic if I got so addicted to "Obsessed" that I ended up on the show?

The episode I saw yesterday featured a woman who was almost literally scared shitless. So deep was her fecophobia, she ate as little as possible, with nary a nibble of a fruit or vegetable.

When she eventually did use the toilet, she'd spend hours in the shower afterwards, performing an elaborate ritual that involved an enema and a toothbrush* (Why the latter? "I can't get far enough inside with my fingers." Duh.) She'd keep at it until she bled, because she didn't feel truly clean otherwise. You know how it is.

At least they were able to help her. They struck out with the other subject, a man who wanted to live indefinitely because he was sure life in the future would be way cooler. He was attempting to achieve this by taking scads of supplements and darting into various gyms as many as 10 times a day for oddly brief workouts. Good luck, buddy. I'm sure they'll be wowed by your hair plugs in 2050.

Given my fascination with the topic, I was looking forward to the profile of the hoarder, but I watched it today and found it something of a letdown. No crazy cat lady, just a sad old queen who missed his dead mother and had an unrequited crush on his only friend. Depressing as hell, but not terribly interesting. In the end he did what so many do when there's nothing left to live for: he joined a book club.

* What I couldn't grasp was how someone ostensibly obsessed with germs and cleanliness could use the same nasty toothbrush over and over for that purpose.

Thanks to Kristine for the links.

Monday, June 15, 2009


If you think it's hard to imagine what your life would be like if your husband dropped dead at the age of 44, imagine how much harder it would be if you discover he'd been leading a double life.
From Riley.

Don't Shoot the Messenger

There's something you should know.


Body Language

Tattoos are reverse time machines: with time travel you can send a warning back to your younger self, with tattoos you send a mistake forward to your older self.

From Kristine.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Riley.
Even though the last time we saw each other you were in handcuffs and shackles, it was the fact that your hair looked terrible that made me laugh.
From Dear Old Love.

Daddy Longlegs

At a nearby strip mall today, my eye was caught by a very tall, very thin man. Like most people on this warm, sunny day, he was wearing shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. Unlike most people, he was wearing dress shoes and socks, both black.

The flashbacks struck like lightning in a summer storm: vivid memories of my dad wearing similar ensembles on vacation. The mountains, the Outer Banks, Florida ... 70, 80, 90 degrees ... always shorts with the black socks and shoes.

The odd thing about this guy wasn't the getup itself, but the fact that he seemed too young to be wearing it. To pull off that look, you need a passel of mortified kids either far ahead of you or far behind.

For Karen, whose father has a similar sense of style - or at least did during her formative years.

Happy Flag Day

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Peggy.

Gag Reflex

Our sofa suddenly began groaning when sat upon. Big people, little people - doesn't matter.

It's been going on for a week now, and it still makes me laugh. Good times.

Whither Evil

It used to be so easy. Every day, every headline, every pronouncement or misunderestimation from Dubya brought a new opportunity for your colon to clench and your breath to turn sour and the universe's skin to crawl. A single glance at Karl Rove and you were instantly swarmed with visions of tiny worms eating through the flesh of a sweet little bunny until it turned black and rotten and Rick Santorum. You had but to utter the words "Trent Lott" in the presence of children and the screaming wouldn't subside for three straight days. Remember?
More musing from Mark Morford.
The waxwork heads of various celebrities sit on a table waiting to be repaired
or melted down at Madame Tussaud's waxworks museum, London, circa 1950.
(George Pickow/Three Lions/Getty Images)

From Riley.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pet Peeve

It used to happen all the time. "Feed those dogs!" people would shout as they drove by. Now in their dotage, the dogs are thinner than ever, but we haven't been catcalled in quite a while.

They get so many compliments from strangers, I'd almost forgotten the woman in the East Bay dog park who looked at Zap and sniffed, "I would've gotten a different color." This from a dumpy middle-aged woman walking an equally undistinguished-looking dog.

This brought it all back.

On a Roll

Doggy Poo (2004)

This charmingly eccentric cartoon from Korea features a little mound of dog poo on a quest to find meaning and purpose in his life. Left all alone on the side of the road and feeling abandoned and helpless, he believes his life is without value. Luckily, the despondent poo is befriended by a dandelion sprite who helps him recognize his worth. The film includes a behind-the-scenes documentary, music video, alternate endings and more.
My sister sent me this, remarking: "I didn't know it was possible for dog shit to have a life, to say nothing of that life having meaning and purpose."

Nor did I, but I put it at the top of our Netflix queue so I could learn all about it.

'Sad Results of a Flirtation'

"This blog has you written all over it," Terry declared.

No kidding. Check out the introduction:
My current research has me looking through microfilmed tabloid newspapers of the 1930s. My progress is greatly impeded by my inability to scroll past unrelated “human interest” stories, most of them tiny nightmares like something out of Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts (which you should read immediately if you haven’t already). Anyway, I’ve started this blog as a place to memorialize these spectral and transient tragedies.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today's Top Story

The potentially fatal episode began when Madsen returned from a seniors' bus trip to Cache Creek Casino Resort on the evening of May 27. "I love the Indian casino. They have such wonderful buffets," Madsen said.

But she skipped the buffet before boarding the bus for home.
From Peggy.

A Few Good Men

From Caroline, who's sorry to miss all this.

Black Celebration

From Wendy.

Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza

From Kristine, who asks, simply, "Why?"

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

"The future will be better tomorrow."

Dan Quayle

One Man's Trash

Maybe I don't have OCD after all. Maybe I'm just a little fussy and a little neurotic.

I finally checked out the new A&E show "Obsessed," and the people they profile are profoundly afflicted. Like the woman who became a basket case after her father's death in a traffic accident. (Speaking of which, isn't it disingenuous to say someone "passed away" when he drove into a bus? "Crashed away" would be a lot more accurate.)

Among other quirks, she'd kept the box of personal effects the police had given her. It seems she was in the habit of donning the ruined outfit Dad was wearing at the time, including a blood-stained undershirt.

Then there was the gay guy whose germophobia was so severe he didn't keep a single wastebasket in the house. Whenever he had something to throw away, he walked it out to the garbage can in the driveway.

As part of his corrective treatment, the therapist went to his place - the starkest home I've ever seen - and announced after a few minutes that she needed to use the toilet. "One other thing," she said, almost as an afterthought: "I'm having my period."

I can't wait for the hoarders.
I told someone our story the other day. They said it was romantic, but I had to remind them that it was actually a tragedy.
From Dear Old Love.
Los Angeles: A customer looks at the many possible hairstyles of
Barack Obama at a barber shop. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

From Riley.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Today's Top Story

If Plain Pamela catches on with kids, company officials said, she may soon be joined by an entire line of fun, psychologically reassuring friends. Already in the works for the fall are Lil'-Too-Drunk Linda, whose debilitating dependence on alcohol will make any girl feel better about her own unstable home life, and Plain Pamela's Sympathetic Gay Friend, Craig.
From Kristine.

No Wake Zone

My uncle and aunt were in town not long ago and brought two of my cousins over for a visit. While they were here, my aunt and cousins took Zap and Devo out.

My mother did the next walk, and when she got back she reported that a neighbor had stopped her to ask if everything was okay, citing "all the visitors" and "strangers walking the dogs."

I don't really know the woman, but I realized right away what she was thinking, because my drama-hungry mind works the same way: long illness + family onslaught - holiday = death.

Mom assured her that all was well, and she expressed relief. I bet she was secretly a little disappointed, though. I would've been.

Bali High-test

© 2009 Derek Maingot

Friday, June 05, 2009

"When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that
not all the performers are well trained."

Edward R. Murrow

'As If'

"Hey Dick. Satan called. He wants his worldview back."
Mark Morford at his withering best.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The face you made right before climax always reminded me of clowns. I hated clowns. So I’d close my eyes and fake it so you’d finish faster. Clowns don’t scare me anymore, but you still do.
From Dear Old Love.

Word of the Day


One day several years ago, when I still ate real food, I was planning to have a Trader Joe's wrap for lunch. (I believe it was my favorite kind: Oriental chicken salad.) I took it out of the fridge, unwrapped it, and left it on the table to warm up a bit.

I was sitting in a patch of sun, reading a book or magazine, when I noticed Devo sit up, suddenly alert. As he started across the room, I looked ahead to see Zap dragging my sandwich down the hall. It was an arresting sight, as Trader Joe's wraps are big and heavy, while Zap is neither, weighing 18 pounds at most. Evidently his determination matched his greed.

My voice was iffy even then, especially in moments of agitation, but I made enough noise to bring the cleaning woman running, which stopped the petit larcenist in his thieving tracks. Annoyed though I was to lose my lunch, I had to admire Zap's ambition.

Thanks to Peggy for the link.

Over the Line

From Riley.

Lifestyles of the Sick and Shameless

"I made The Times?! Oh ... I see ..."

Thanks to Ken for unearthing this.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Peggy.
I’m disappointed that you’re now dating someone
who uses the term ‘LOL’ unironically. Didn’t we
used to make fun of people like that?
From Dear Old Love.

Coco Puffs

That's my drag name. What's yours?


East Side Story

Man in a Dress: The description of this photo, taken during
a getaway to Bad Schandau in a resort region in Saxony
on May 1, 1952, is unusually brief: "Coworker Kurt."

From Riley.