Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Today's Top Story


Hey, Mac!

I know Windows is awful. Everyone knows Windows is awful. Windows is like the faint smell of piss in a subway: it's there, and there's nothing you can do about it.
Shitasmia is my new favorite word.

From Peggy.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

This is my question: Is anyone keeping score? Is there any way to know for sure if we are, on the whole, making some sort of vague yet palpable progress, advancing the human experiment even a little? Or are we merely regressing into a sticky black puddle of prelapsarian goo?
Mark Morford on the state of the union.

Harvest Moon

From Caroline.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fall In!

I know: it’s not officially fall until I come a-beggin’ for the Walk to Defeat ALS. Sorry to keep you waiting. The event is later than usual this year, hence the delay. It had nothing whatsoever to do with my chronic procrastination.

November 1st will mark a milestone: the 10th annual walk for our chapter and for my personal team, the Jackals. To put that into perspective, consider that the vast majority of ALS patients die within five years of diagnosis. Why I’m still here after 12 years is anyone’s guess. Mostly it’s dumb luck, but I’m sure part of the reason is the great care I get from my family and friends, my aides, and an ever-growing army of medical professionals. (This year I added a dermatologist and a urologist. With ALS, the glamour never ends.)

For the past decade, the ALS Association’s DC/MD/VA Chapter has been an indispensable part of my support network. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them. The caring and dedicated staff helps me and hundreds of others stay comfortable, safe, and productive by offering assistive technology, medical equipment, and monthly support groups, among many other things. The array of programs and services is ever growing, thanks to your generous assistance.

I hope you’ll consider sponsoring me for the Walk to Defeat ALS. There are two ways to do so: by going to my page on the walk site or by making out a check to the ALS Association and mailing it to me at 1611 Preston Road, Alexandria, VA 22302. Support in any amount is greatly appreciated, and contributions are fully tax deductible.

If you’re free on November 1st, come join the Jackals on the Mall. We have a great time, and there’s always room in the pack.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Blowin' in the Wind


Fool's Errand

Remember, facts do not matter. The actual Obama plan itself does not matter. Fear of change, fear of the "Other," fear of the scary black socialist president, fear that yet another important shift is taking place that they cannot understand and which therefore makes them thrash around like a trapped animal? This is all that matters.

Self-service Deli

From Peggy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Now We Are Three

"Where's the little one?"
A week later, we still manage to bum someone out almost every time we go for a walk. One or two have even cried.

If we get another dog, maybe it should be churlish and ugly so no one's sad when it's gone.

Photo by Karen.

End of Season

Photos by Dansel Adams.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Amateur marksman. Professional asshole. Bulls-eye.

J. Kingston Pierce
Six Word Stories

Just Edie

Of all the tributes I've seen to "Little Edie" Beale, this is easily the most, um, original.


Nothing Like a Dame

Dench is not at all what I expected. On the one hand, I am used to reading that she is saintly, sweet and suburban. This is clearly not the case. She wears her anger with twinkling pride.
From Riley.

Back to Nature

From Peggy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Peggy.

'Are You Going to Finish That?'

Three different friends sent me this:

I ... learned that cancer time and dog time aren’t so different. We know that our dogs’ lives are compressed into 10 to 15 years, that their brilliant flames burn even more quickly than our own. Time is compressed, too, when you have cancer, and even after. You can’t take 10 years from now for granted, or next year for that matter.
Thanks to Florence, Peggy, and Kay.

Separated at Birth?

'We Is America'

Margaret, I guess if you get enough morons congregating in one particular geographical area, eventually they will vote a fellow moron to represent them in Congress. Kind of like sleeping with your cousin – eventually your offspring are not going to be right in the head. But the idiot parade coming out of South Carolina seems to be getting longer and longer these days.
From Derek.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Today's Top Story

From Peggy.

Overheard in the Holler

Hymn-singing new aide: Do they praise God at your church?

Me: Um, very quietly.

Aide: Oh, I can't do that. I have to shout it out! (Starts singing.)

Me: (Tries to picture this in Quaker meeting.)

Lost and Found

In situations like this, the Cursing Mommy recommends that you take three deep breaths, concentrate inwardly on some attractive and relaxing vacation scene, and scream “Fuck!” at the top of your lungs. There—I feel better. Don’t you?
From Laurie.

Snap To It

From Riley.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Arrivederci, Amico

When I had to put my last dog to sleep, one of the few things that made me feel better was something my friend Jo said. He put it more eloquently, but the gist was this: Pets are here to have fun. That’s their job in life. And when they’re not having fun anymore, it’s our job to do the right thing.

Zap was clearly not having fun anymore. All of a sudden, the dog with the fathomless appetite wasn’t finishing his meals. When each breath became a struggle and he had trouble getting comfortable, there was only one thing left that we could do. We called his kindly young vet, who came over on his afternoon off. As Dan and I stroked him and sobbed our farewells, Zap settled into his final nap in his cozy bed on my lap, the way we traveled on road trips.

We always said that Zap was our sun, the dazzling star at the center of our orbit. And now we find ourselves sadly off kilter, bereft of our source of light and warmth. It’s going to be a cold winter.

There’s no way I can explain what Zap was to me, but I have to try.

When I met Dan, I’d never heard of an Italian greyhound and had rarely given much thought to toy dogs. Zap changed that forever.

I will never know how so much personality, so much character, could be contained in such a little package. Every so often, even recently, I’d be struck anew: I can’t believe he’s so small. Clever, too. When we first got Devo, we were trying to figure out what commands he knew. “Sit!” we said repeatedly until Zap, exasperated, lifted his paw and slapped Devo on the ass. Put your butt on the floor so they’ll give you a treat, dummy!

Some dogs take a while to warm up to you. Not Zap. He welcomed me from the start, figuring correctly that two daddies meant twice the love. His favorite spot was between us, where he was guaranteed maximum attention. That dog had me wrapped around his bony little finger from the first day to the last.

Zap was regal yet comical. A whore for the camera, he’d pop up in photos like Forrest Gump. He was happiest running on the beach, basking in a patch of sun, or swaddled in fleece or flannel. With his narrow body and matchless burrowing skills, you learned to do a Zap check before sitting down. (There were several close calls over the years, but tragedy was always averted.) He was a master napper, quick to share his expertise and guidance. Above all, he adored being adored.

An inveterate schmooze, Zap was a diplomat from canine to human society. He made friends wherever he went, charming strangers and drawing smiles. When we lived in Oakland and Dan had a more flexible schedule, he and Zap volunteered for canine therapy, visiting nursing homes and hospitals. Zap craved attention almost as much as food, and his winsome manner got him more than anyone else I’ve known.

Flipping through a dog book once, I went to the Italian greyhound page and was amused to read: “Purpose: lady’s companion.” Another suggested an IG would make a good pet for an invalid. I scoffed at the time – who would walk the poor thing? – but later learned how true it was.

On disability since 1999, I spent probably 95 percent of the past decade in Zap’s immediate company. Throughout my long, slow decline, he was at my side – often literally, curled up against me in a toasty little ball. He slept with me every night, his sleek body molding itself to the contours of my not-so-sleek form. It felt nice in warm weather and sublime in cold: comfort in its most primal form.

Zap took all my changes in stride: the clumsiness, the ever-growing array of medical equipment. To him, my retirement offered constant companionship, immobility made me a great snuggling partner, and the wheelchair meant my lap was always available. In return, I appointed myself his acolyte, making his comfort my singular mission. If I couldn’t join him on the sofa anymore, I could at least tuck a blanket around him.

Only in the past week did I begin to realize the enormity of Zap’s role in my response to ALS. In the grim, grinding march of the disease, as the frustrations, losses, and indignities piled up, I never felt overwhelmed, because that miraculous little creature was always there to keep my spirits up with licks, hamming, or a shared nap.

This lady could not imagine a better companion.

Photo by Dan.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Two Men's Trash

From Kay.


In 1938, Nicholas Winton, then a young stockbroker, was due to go skiing with friends in Switzerland when he received a phone call urging him to change his plans and visit Prague, where an emergency was unfolding.
From Peggy.
Stonehenge receives running repairs
In this scene, captured in the summer of 1952, broken stones are lifted from the site of Stonehenge in Wiltshire to be repaired. Stonehenge, built perhaps 5,000 years ago, was an impressive engineering feat, requiring time and vast amounts of manual labour. The stones that remain today represent Stonehenge in ruin. Before the modern conservation era, many stones fell or were removed over generations for home construction or road repair. Today, English Heritage
is the custodian of the site, committed to its preservation.

More flashbacks here.

From Riley.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Date With Cartman

A friend reports:
So i was visiting my sister in denver for the past few days. we went out with a friend of hers who told her that her friend eric, who my sister had met a few days ago, really liked her, and she wanted to see if she wanted to hang out with him again, as maybe they could get to know one another better, and my sister was like "yeah, he was cool, that would be fun." i then learned that eric is 38, a film colorist, and was childhood friends with the guys who created south park. they based cartman on him. apparently he was the kid who was always saying "screw you guys, i'm going home." i immediately told her that she HAD to go out with him at least once. they did last night, after i flew home. she texted me that he's short, fat, and has a red porsche, but she thinks he's funny.

i really want this to work out. i want to meet him.

Hee Haw

Her friends call her Nanette. Nanette Fabray - get it?


All the Bellhops and Whistles

From Riley.

Role Play

My new favorite site:

From Derek.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Today's Top Story

"I was just jumping up and down going, 'Thank you, Lord. Here am I — 42, thinking my baby days are over — and you've blessed us with another one.'"
From Kay, who shares my disgust.

Rest Stop

This location likely would have met with Michael’s approval. He once commissioned his own special Last Supper painting and for years it hung directly over his bed at Neverland Ranch. In Jackson’s version he occupies the center space where Jesus is usually seen and instead of the disciples there are some of Jackson’s heroes painted in, among them Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Elvis Presley and Little Richard.
From Riley.

Get It Yourself

Nerd Boyfriend tells you where you can go.

From Peggy.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Ugg Factor

From Marty comes this only-in-Washington story:
Ok, I’m waiting after getting my allergy shot this morning FOREVER to get an elevator. On the bench on the other side of the elevator bank was this woman wearing purple Uggs drinking from a Dean and DeLuca coffee cup. How odd, I thought, it’s not that cold out. Her feet are really going to sweat. The woman soon walks over and makes sure the button is pushed. It is, but she pushes it anyway. You know how we all do that as if it’s going to make a difference. All the sudden, upon closer inspection, I realize it’s Maureen Dowd. Dowd is the right word because she looks dowdy. Short black skirt, green blouse with a white sequined sweater over it. And the purple Uggs. Bizarre. I’m quietly pleased that she looks like a bag lady. The elevator comes and we get on.

The elevator stops a couple of floors down and this old couple get on. The woman smiles to everyone in the elevator as she gets on with that “I know you know who I am” look. But not in an obnoxious way. It’s just clear that she’s used to doing that. It’s Madeleine Albright and her OLD husband. Mo is slouching in the corner of the elevator, pretending not to notice. When we get to the lobby we all get out and walk out into the lovely morning sunshine. Mo never acknowledges or approaches Secretary Albright. I guess I figured she would. Perhaps they’ve never met.


And the moral of the story is don’t ever get next to Maureen Dowd when she takes off her shoes because her feet probably stink.

Towering In-fern-o

From Derek.

Stuff It

Jeremy Bentham prefers to think inside the box, thank you very much.

From Peggy.
Flames burn near a cross during the Station Fire in the Big Tujunga area
of Los Angeles, August 29. Firefighters battling four wildfires around
Los Angeles saved hundreds of homes in an affluent coastal community
but struggled against a larger fire coming down the mountains
toward another exclusive suburb. (Reuters/Gene Blevins)

From Riley.