Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I'm flying out tomorrow morning to an undisclosed location where I will be wining and dining with Arabella, Mignon, Mrs. Harridan and Teebs until Sunday at a B-List Blogger Extravaganza. I'm not sure whether I need anxiety meds more to haul myself onto the plane (massive fear of flying) or to lounge out by the pool in a bathing suit. Maybe both. Mr. Half bought me laptop last night and I'm getting a crash course in making it work. Until stay classy!A Perfect Post

Thanks to Teebs who nominated my "Life Menu" post for the Perfect Post Award. Just for that...I'm buying you a drink! My nomination for the May installment of the Perfect Post goes to Jess over at "Drowning in Kids" The post is called "Success" and I think it's important to realize that many of the skills/abilities we take for granted today as adults were once huge challenges. We can't forget to celebrate those successes...large and small with those we love. It's all about the baby steps. One foot in front of the other. Day after day.

Monday, May 29, 2006


It seems necessary at this juncture to make a point-- or simply re-emphasize said point-- which may have become buried in my heated response to some of my more caustic commenters. You do not have to agree with what you read here. I would be surprised if everyone did. You are free to express your view here...even if it differs from mine. In civilized society, this is called a "discussion". As I've said, if I was the kind of person who only tolerated nice thoughts, I would delete everything I didn't like. The only comment I've deleted yesterday was one of my own.

Likewise, I don't have to like your responses. Especially those which confuse my views with those made by commenters. I am free to address the parts of the comments with which I agree or take issue. That also falls under the heading of "discussion". Not enjoying a personal attack doesn't necessarily make me someone who doesn't like controversy. It makes me a human being.

See...there are commenters and there are friends. I know the difference and there are plenty of other bloggers/commenters/friends out there who know the difference, too. I'm aware that by requiring people to "own" their comments (by not allowing anonymous remarks) I'm likely to lose a good portion of the more emotionally stable folks out there who just stopped by for a look this weekend. I do regret that. Those who persist in pretending that such a move makes me intolerant of a spirited discussion don't make such a presumption true. There is a vast difference between an anonymous comment that expresses an opposing view (Such as comments from those who still like Tom Cruise) and the equivalent of a verbal drive-by shooting.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Now I know just how Amalah felt last week

I remember my first commenter. I posted some inane bit of writing about Christmas cards--I think-- and within 10 minutes a guy sent me a note. Ahh....good times. I didn't know him and he hasn't been back since. No matter....he was doing what I assume we all do...surfing around and trying to find writing that makes us sit up and take notice. I hope that guy went on to find a blog (or several) that suited his taste better. Like they say in "The Godfather", 'It's not's just business." Liking or not liking a blog, that is.

What sticks out most in my mind right now is that he didn't feel the need to leave a slasher note telling me how hard my writing/opinion sucked the big pudding and how he stumbled across my festering pustule of a blog and how he's never coming back because of my opinion of Christmas card-sending or how my complaints about living in a democracy where Christmas card sending is a tradition are really a subversive attack on God and why am I bitching about the fact that I don't have time to take a decent picture of my kids for the card while homeless people aren't getting fed and the terrorists are winning and how in the name of Bill O' Reilly is it that I'm not aware that Africa is a beautiful continent and how adopted kids are real and not pretend and deserve to be counted as such by those who laugh at their movie star parents?

I'm appreciating that guy an awful lot right this moment. In honor of him I would like to stop here and address a few people/points specifically.

**Who could have predicted the vitriolic responses from people who, while claiming I don't know shit about Angelina Jolie's personal life (NEVER CLAIMED TO) can follow up that claim with a syncophantic tribute to AJ's blemishless life of philanthropy and compassion while simulaneously besmirching the truly sacrificial life's work of a well-loved nun by daring to compare the two? THAT'S RIGHT CUTEESMILEZ, I'M TALKING TO YOU. YEAH...I KNOW YOU SAID YOU WON'T BE BACK (and from your lips to God's ears, I hope that's true) BUT IT'S ALSO TRUE THAT NARCISSISTS LIKE YOU CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HOW PEOPLE RESPOND TO STINKBOMBS OF "WISDOM" SUCH AS THE ONE YOU DROPPED HERE, SO MAYBE YOU'LL COME BACK TO PEEK THROUGH THE FENCE. I'LL BREAK IT DOWN FOR YOU, SISTER. NO ONE HERE THINKS YOU KNOW SHIT ABOUT JOLIE EITHER. THE TRUTH IS...NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT HER...OR ANYONE ELSE WHO IS FAMOUS. THE HOLLYWOOD SPIN WORKS BOTH WAYS. HALF OF THE CRAP WE HEAR ABOUT IS THE WORK OF LYING PUBLICITY AGENTS AND IT COVERS UP THE STUFF WE DON'T HEAR ABOUT THAT'S PROBABLY STRANGER THAN FICTION.

Take that story about Oprah --a woman with about a bascrillion dollars in the bank--for instance and how she's throwing Vince and Jennifer an 8 million dollar wedding? It's about as plausible as it is implausible, no? I mean she threw that Legends Ball deal where guests were spooning liquid gold soup out of platinum bowls and The Goddess That Is Oprah presented everyone from whom she claims to have gained influence and inspiration-- from Halle Berry to Dr. Maya Angelou-- with chandelier-sized diamond earrings and everyone sobbed into their Valentino-clad cleavages and sang praise songs about Miss O...a woman who could buy and sell each and every one of them many times over. Aaaaa-men!

So believing the wedding story is just as easy as not. The same goes for my speculation regarding the outcomes of the Cruise/Holmes engagement and the Jolie/Pitt partnering. And I'm not going to apologize for my opinion about those people. People who don't like what they read here and feel the urge to tarry and be uncivilized at the same time should not feel obligated to continue reading ...please don't let the door hit you on the way out.

In addition--

**To "Anonymous" who accused me of being anti-feminist for describing Jolie as "acting like a man": My description wasn't a compliment, dear and I wasn't endorsing the archaic tradition of gender roles. I HATE gender roles...regardless of whatever justification one uses. What I was implying was that men usually do the leaving when abandonment of family is the order of the day. I'm not praising the practice. I'm condemning it. It just so happens that it's Jolie who is calling the shots in this relationship and I predict a bad end to her relationship with Brad. I'm just making an observation and though the horizon looks dire for the following claim, I still believe that it's a free country...for the moment. Don't kill the messenger.

**To "Anonymous" (Who knew there were so many people named Anonymous???) who thinks I don't have any strong women in my life. That's right, Einstein...ignore the other 130+ posts on this blog where I talk about me or my family and friends and USE JUST THIS ONE about famous people to make assumptions about me. I have plenty of strong women in my life ( I just hope you never have to meet either of my sisters in a dark alley)...they just don't need to wear the blood of their husbands/sons/brothers/lovers in a vial around their necks or tattoo a Cambodian bar code on their backs to prove it. (Note to anyone with a tattoo....I don't have a problem with tattoos. Really. I can't say I won't ever get one.)

**To "Anonymous" who thinks I don't like adopted children and that I hate Africa and to another "Anonymous" who adopted a kid from Ethopia and thinks I'm dissing her kid or adopted kids or adopted kids from foreign countries ( Why else would she be so pissed?) as well as yet another "Anonymous" who thinks I'm favoring Jennifer Aniston over Angelina I would ask you all to put down the crackpipes and READ THE POST AGAIN. S-L-O-W-L-Y. And no...I don't mind it if your lips move while you read. See the pretty words? Do I question Angelina's trip to Africa (which was really just a way to find a private place to give birth and not a Goodwill mission of mercy at all)? No I do not. Please do not confuse my words with the words of other commenters.

Do you see the words "Jennifer Aniston" in that post? Do you? Of course you don't. It's because they're not there. I made no assumptions about prior marriages or pairings. Don't pretend that I did just to give you something to write about. Do I malign in any way the babies of foreign countries? Of course not. I loves me some babies...all colors. And you...that first "Anonymous" commenter who got upset because I didn't count Maddox and Zahara as the first kids of Pitt? Well...they're not his...yet. And besides....the post was a comparison of two men with a movie to promote and who were paired with a woman who was not yet his wife who was also heavily pregnant with his child. I was looking at the behaviors of those two men. Nothing else. My words should not in anyway threaten your memberships in the Angelina Jolie Fanclub International, so step off!

To "Funo" who haltingly claimed that I had TOO MUCH TIME on my hands to set the pretty stones in a row. Yeah's called being an artist, Funo. Read my profile. Sometimes people pay me MONEY to paint pretty things for them...and that requires the time you speak of. Yes, I do like salad (thanks for asking) and yes I'm glad that, after three kids, I don't look like Carnie Wilson. However, your opinion about the length of my husband's hair (Oh...I get it...yours is falling out!!) is stepping over the line between casual observation and cruising for a non-surgical facial alteration. If you see me on the cover of the Enquirer, feel free to offer your opinions about me. Otherwise the only person who appears to be burdened with too much time on his hands is you, given your need (and Time!!) to scroll through my Flickr account before offering comments.

**Someone left behind the stunning generalization claiming "ALL DAD'S (sic) ARE GREAT". Really? All of them? Don't feel you have to answer too quickly. Because I think there's a mother of two little boys, ages 4 & 8, (whose father threw them off of the roof of a 15-story hotel this week in Miami Beach) who would disagree with you right now. Do you own a newspaper or a television?

**And for the record....someone needs to check the date on the post before fretting about the fact that I don't write about IMPORTANT WORLD AFFAIRS LIKE INDONESIA!! My post was written on Thursday the 25th!! The debacle in Indonesia didn't happen until Saturday. Get a calendar and don't come back until you do!

**Please me from the semi-literate rantings of those who claim they simply logged onto their computers to "check their e-mail" and, instead, found my blog. Aside from the fact that it is technologically impossible to find me merely by checking your e-mail (While you are no doubt awaiting a message from your buddy who has a really great porn sight for you to check out), it is important for you to know that your opinion, like that of so many others who want the benefit of being heavyhanded with their criticism while maintaining the all-important anonymity, loses much of its validity when you offer said comments without letting us know who you are. Sure...I have a site meter that tells me where you guys are located and your ISP numbers. But your comments--minus any referring blog/e-mail/website--are really just a limp slap, rather than the powerful punches you intended.

**To the guy who thinks I'm not aware that America isn't what it used to be? What?? You think I can't see the changes? You think I don't know that my rights aren't getting sold to Halliburton so that someone else can listen in on my conversations and then read a whitewashed version of today's news on FOX? that hurts my feelings! But I don't think it has a damned thing to do with baby Shiloh being born in Namibia. Try again.

I do appreciate the folks who dropped by to say hello (even anonymously) and decided to stick around for the fracas. I hope you come back when the room isn't so crowded with idiots. Please know that my decision to prohibit anonymous comments on the blog from here on out is not because of you. Not everyone who comments necessarily wants a blog or has one. That's fine. It's because of the other eleventy-three "anonymous" people who are too cowardly to let me know who they are but who still want to make salacious claims against me without having to face the obvious verbal rebuttal that follows. Here's where you get off.

If I didn't like criticism I would simply delete what I didn't like. I LOVE a good fight...I just enjoy it more when I know who I'm having it with. I've never deleted comments before now and I probably won't unless someone decides to get really filthy. I think I'll leave these as they are so that others can more fully appreciate the writings of those whose atrocious reading comprehension is exceeded only by their shameful inability to use a dictionary or utilize simple subject/verb agreement. I love all my commenters...even the ones who disagree with me...just as long as they sign the nasty note with their real names before wrapping it around a brick and hurling it through my window!! And of course, I don't mind the nicer folks who find it necessary not to use their names. It does, however, leave me feeling *sigh* a little empty.

As far as I'm concerned, the discussion is over. It is for that reason that I've disabled the comments for that post only. Just that one. I've heard it all...even the nice stuff. I'm pouring myself a glass of wine and going to my happy place. I'll see you all on Tuesday.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Just a thought

Brad Pitt declined to attend the Cannes Film Festival to promote his new movie "Babel" and remains in Namibia with Angelina Jolie. He cited the imminent birth of their first child together as good enough reason to stay behind and act like a father.

Compare this with Tom Cruise's pathetic bid for attention (not to mention a hit movie...FOR A CHANGE!) by leaving his extremely pregnant captive human incubator--er--fiancee, Katie Holmes, in order to plug "Mission Impossible 3" on another continent. Yeah, yeah...he made it back for the spawning, but the damage has been done, you monkey-spanking freak.

Not that it matters. I don't give either couple a snowball's chance in Hell of lasting another year or two (at the most), but I thought the contrast was worthy of a remark. Trust me on this. Jolie, who's playing the role of the man in this coupling, will give Pitt the heave-ho once she's finished draining him of his man-juice OR until she delivers her next child in a hut near the Arctic Circle while being midwifed by kindly Harp Seals. Katie Holmes will take a powder as soon as her drugs wear off and she can chew through the restraints.

You heard it here first.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Homing Instinct

Teebs posted about dreams the other day and it got me to thinking about my own. I think I've previously written in this space about the way I dream at night. Unlike Mr. Half, I don't dream about accomplishments or abilities. I'm unable to summon the kind of fanciful attitude--even when unconscious-- that allows me to achieve greatness. In my dream life I never become a leader or a famous person. I can't seem to remember that, because it's a dream, I can do the impossible. I don't take control of any situation. Ever. I'm incapable of flying.

The dreams I remember usually find me at the mercy of forces that move me like a chess piece around the board of life. In them I'm usually trying to extricate myself from a situation involving a bad choice or mistakes that cost me indepenence and that threaten my safety and that of those I love. Fear and regret are constant themes and the nightmares which don't feature me running from danger or dogged by authority figures that would tie me down and limit my physical, emotional or intellectual movement are few and far between.

I never dream about my childhood or early adolescence. I don't dream about high school. I'm like a person who has experienced a traumatic head injury and my memory will only go back just so far. My sophomore year of college is where it starts...maybe because I probably didn't start thinking for myself until then. It's the year I made friends with guys from a particular of whom would end up being my husband.

My one consistent dream theme is this place: J.C. Hotard "Hilton" Hall on the campus of Texas A&M University. It mostly involves a scenario wherein I've forgotten to Q-drop a particularly challenging or boring class and I've just stopped attending class at all. (I used to dream that I'd forgotten to check my mail for so long that I could no longer remember the mailbox combination, but that's another post) It's a few weeks before the final and I need to find the professor and beg for clemency...either that or begin a cramming session of such spectacular proportion that food and sleep become minor annoyances, rather than necessities. But every dream that involves college finds me walking/driving/running/biking in a northward direction to the Hilton.

"The Hilton" was a guy's dorm. Built in 1923 it originally housed men and women who worked in the Food Services department for the university. It didn't become Dorm 13 until the 1950s and it didn't get air-conditioning until 1981. It was the cheapest dorm on campus and, esthetically speaking, it was the crummiest. Still, it was surrounded by two grassy lawns and trees. It had those cool windows that cranked open and outward. On Spring evenings you could turn up the stereo, prop your feet up on the sill, drink a cold beer and feel the breeze on your feet. The Hilton was also conveniently located a stone's throw from The Dixie Chicken.

It was rarely silent there. Sound traveled down the uncarpeted first floor and up the concrete stairwells. Guys shouting or laughing or singing...badly. One guy in a first floor corner room played the soundtrack to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" almost constantly. The sounds of people watching "M*A*S*H" in the tv rooms or that of someone bouncing a basketball. People playing volleyball in the yard or grilling burgers outside the RA's room.

Christmas featured fir trees hung upside down from the ceiling in hall windows and decorated with lights and women's underwear. Bong water ritually dumped out of the windows produced spectacular results of a horticultural nature. When the men of Hotard conducted a panty raid, they made sure to call on a couple of southside men's dorms which harbored a good portion of the campus' "frat rats", a fact that allowed them to pretend-- with wicked antagonism--that these guys were panty-wearers as well. And when the yearbook called for each residence hall to name a sweetheart, the Hilton's residents decided one particular year on the dorm's housekeeper, Louise.

Mr. Half's room sported charcoal sketches on the cinderblock wall. Steely Dan's "Bodhisattva" blared from the speakers. The first time I ate venison was in a stew he made for me on a hotplate in his room. Don't ask me how. In these dreams I'm trying to get back to a place where the lights are always blazing...even at night. Where you could always find a friend and a bit of interesting conversation. A place where the curfew rules were lax and women were always welcome. Some of my best studying was done there. The guys who lived there back in my day are, of course, long gone. They're scientists and engineers and university professors. And one just left a position at the Pentagon. Regardless of political affiliation or socio-economic status, they would all tell you that there was literally "no place like the Hilton". In fact, when the circa-1923 doors were replaced with new ones, one former resident kept his. It now functions as the door to one of the bathrooms in his home. Mr. Half rescued the plastic number #109 from the door of his freshman year room.

I can't tell you why the source of my best dreams center on a place I never lived. What does it mean when I say I've thrown away my own dorm shirts but that I own two vintage Hotard Shirts and bought a third one that says "Save Hotard" when the university threatened to turn it into office space? It's a threat which became a reality last year. Perhaps it's because Hotard was a place where I began to get the impression that maybe...just maybe.. guys had a better shot at a bigger life than girls did. More freedom. More latitude to experiment and make mistakes and perhaps I'm thinking that getting back to Hotard will allow me to grab some of that freedom for myself.

Maybe--in those dreams--I'm just trying to get back to the beginning. Maybe I want to see the way we used to be...Mr. Half and me...untouched by worries of kids, paying for college, overwork or getting older. Maybe in one dream I'll change my major before it's too late and become something that actually makes me happy. Maybe I'll learn to be brave or original or daring. Or maybe I'm just looking for a young, long-haired guy with a red beard and an earring ambling towards me with his hand outstretched. When that happens, it'll be the best dream of all.

Paging Dr. Freud. Paging Dr. Freud...

Where do you go most often in your dreams?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Brush with Fame

Years ago I drove to a neighboring city where the author Pat Conroy ("The Great Santini", "Prince of Tides") was doing a book signing for his new book, "Beach Music". I took with me my very ragged copy of Santini and stood in an incredibly long line for my turn to have his signature on it as well as the new book.

The line took a long time to make its way to the table where Conroy sat and as I got closer I was able to see why. Pat Conroy took time to chat with every person. It was more than just a book signing. Conroy was a studier of people and talking to them seemed to make him light up from within. One man who was just ahead of me wanted to tell the author that he was--like Conroy-- a graduate of The Citadel and this sparked a warm conversation.

When it was my turn he took the books I offered for his signature and asked me what I did. Now, at the time I was the at-home mother of three boys who were 1, 5 & 6, but I was also a regular reviewer for a large newspaper as well as for a university press literary journal. I told Mr. Conroy that I reviewd books. He was immediately interested. I told him I had lost my bid to review his book as several other reviewers had already rushed to claim the privilege.

He said, "So what are you reviewing right now? I'm always interested in what others are reading and I'm making a list of their suggestions." I told him I was reviewing Gabriel Garcia Marquez' "Love in the Time of Cholera". Conroy scribbled the title on a list next to him and then asked if I had ever read Marquez' "One Hundred Years of Solitude". I said that I had and that I loved the magical imagery and the author's obvious love for food and its preparation. His books were riddled with it. Conroy--a man whose books include a similar tendency-- agreed and then right there quoted the entire opening paragraph from "One Hundred Years of Solitude". FROM MEMORY!!! I went home and checked it out.

A French couple stood right behind me and had their picture taken with Pat Conroy and then snapped this one of me. I got it in the mail about a month later. It hangs in my office.

Of course when I told my dad about the encounter he couldn't believe that I didn't tell Pat Conroy about my children. Hu-what??? It was a book signing. There were time limits. We were there to talk about books. What did kids have to do with that context?

"Dad...he asked me what I did. I interpreted that to mean he wanted to know what brought me to that bookstore. Books!! Books are what brought me there. "

"Yes, but he asked you what you did, didn't he?"

"Yes, and I told him that I was a book reviewer...because I am."

"But you don't spend the greater percentage of your day writing. You spend it taking care of children."

"Yeah...but I don't think taking care of kids is what made me want to stand in line. And I don't think it would have been the best answer to his question. Is there a rule about how I spend my day that dictates how I can define myself?"

"I think there is...yes."


So....aside from my sweet father's incredible and totally exasperating need to see me as nothing more than June Cleaver with a college degree, I was still able to file that brief conversation with Pat Conroy under the AWESOME column when tallying up "Life's Experiences".

Have you had a brush with fame? Did that person turn out to be better or worse than you thought?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Denny we hardly knew ye...

Damn you, writers of "Grey's Anatomy"! A pox on thee and your houses for squandering ink and paper in order to kill off dear Denny in such a cruel and cavalier manner. Did he not lie abed and endure the all indignities of his illness? Yea, the catheter and the backless hospital gown sought to bring him low, but they could not do it. So you summoned your demonic muses in order to concoct a lonely death for our hero and because you did, we weep openly and unashamed.

Still...cast your eyes upon his last moments in the arms of his beloved. Even in death, is he not fair? Though the breath has been snatched from his lips, are they not full and shapely? His noble brow from which death can ne'er alter the manly architecture rests fair upon the pillow. The soft shadow his lashes make upon his rosy cheek belies the Reaper's touch.

Cry not for his absence, my friends, for Showtime's "Weeds" is still yours for the asking and he speaks as a voice from beyond the grave. Indeed, his presence can be also felt on the Supernatural. Hie thee quickly and without delay to JeffreyDeanMorgan.Net and let your hearts be calmed.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Meme Questions I Felt Like Answering

2. ARE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My middle name is Patricia. I'm named for my mother's best friend since 2nd grade.
3. DO YOU WISH ON STARS? Only falling ones.
4. WHEN DID YOU CRY LAST? Around noon today. It's been a rough couple of days. I don't cry easily, willingly or well.
5. DO YOU LIKE YOUR OWN HANDWRITING? Not really. I have no consistent way of writing. It's a cross between printing and cursive. Since I type more frequently now than I write things by hand, my writing is worse than ever.
6. FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Whatever they put on a Subway Italian BMT. Second? Kosher Bologna.
7. WHEN IS YOUR BIRTHDAY? March 24th. Same as Harry Houdini and Steve McQueen.
8. MOST EMBARRSSING CD? Anything by Michael Jackson
9. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I don't know if I'd want to be friends with me. I do know I would never want to be my enemy.
10. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Burned the ones from my sucky teenage life. I have part of one I kept when my kids were little and another one about their lives--not mine. This blog isn't my journal, though. I'm pretty sure of that.
11. WOULD YOU EVEN BUNGEE JUMP? Oh HAY-ULL no! Falling from any height for any reason is something I strive to avoid.
12. FAVORITE CEREAL? For a pure sugar rush...Captain Crunch. If I want to feel proud of myself--Cheerios.
13. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES BEFORE YOU TAKE THEM OFF? None of my shoes tie...except my running shoes. I untie the long-distance shoes because they're the newer ones. The older pairs I usually don't bother to untie.
14. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS A STRONG PERSON? Physically...yes. I'm rarely--almost never--sick. My body can still move well and I have strong legs and arms. Emotionally? Hmmm. I can handle it when things go wrong with my kids, but I do tend to crater while I'm fixing whatever went wrong. My kids think I'm like the mom on "Malcolm in the Middle". I'm the Queen of the Screaming FreakOut. Yeah...I'll be able to bandage your dangling and bloody limbs or load you into the car and take you to the ER without throwing up, but I'll for sure be crying and screaming at you the entire way, "WHAT IN HELL DID YOU DO TO YOURSELF???"
15. FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch. Bluebell's Moo-llennium Crunch. My dad's homemade peppermint.
16. SHOE SIZE? Somewhere between a 9 1/2 and a 10 in regular shoes. 10 1/2 in a running shoe.
17. RED OR PINK? I hate pink. Red all the way.
18. LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? How much time do you have? Probably the fact that I've got to talk every issue to death before I get it straight in my head. I've got to run laps around it and study it from every angle. Make notes...and read those notes aloud. Then I've got to talk, and talk and talk. I even make my own self sick of me. If it's not straight in my head before I go to bed...I won't sleep. But there are so many other unfavorite things....really...the list is endless.
19. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? I miss the person I used to be before half of my life got away from me. The things I used to know and the skills I used to have. And I never thought I'd say this (because I'm really rotten with old people), but I miss my grandparents. I miss what they could teach me and I don't think it's until you're older that you think of all the stuff you wish you could ask.
20. BOOKS YOU ARE READING: "The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries" by Marilyn Johnson. Also..."Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See.
21. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Sometimes. Glasses mostly.
22. LAST THING YOU ATE? M&M cookies and a glass of milk.
23. FAVORITE OFFICE SUPPLY? There's nothing quite as promising as a fresh notebook. Its uses are endless. Also...the perfect pen. A pen that feels good in your hand and its ink flows across the paper. It's a zen thing.
24. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST ON TV? The recording I made of the"Grey's Anatomy" season finale. OH. MY. GOD. THEYKILLEDDENNYTHEYKILLEDDENNYTHEYKILLEDDENNY!!! As the actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Denny) is shown, Mr. Half asks me if I think he's cute. "Yeah...only in a purely sexual way!"

Monday, May 15, 2006

Everything You Always Wanted to Know

Tonight I attended a ceremony for academic achievement and among those honored were 20 of the graduating seniors receiving the Principal's Award for academic achievement and community service. Among those 20 were seniors bound for University of Chicago, Northwestern, Rice, Brown, Washington University and MIT. Fresh-faced and eager to face the world of higher education. Idealistic. Full of plans. Exhausted from the rigors of graduating with distinction from a high school with a reputation as an academic powerhouse.

Me? I was a late bloomer in everything I ever did and I did not blaze any trails as an award-winner. A voracious reader and writer, I've had the unhappy misfortune to discover my life's purpose about 20 minutes before I exited any given institution. I didn't believe in myself until right before I got out of high school. I did fine but nothing spectacular. I didn't have to try very hard to be a A/B student...and so I didn't. I missed belonging to the National Honor Society...not because of my grades, but because I didn't belong to enough clubs to qualify for the requisite number of service points. Mr. Half graduated 6th in a class of 600 and later, he graduated cum laude from the same university where I graduated thank ya lawdy. Except for the hours I've spent tutoring, reviewing, and otherwise assisting my kids with every report, test or project they've ever been assigned, any inability on their part to to achieve academic stardom is something I'll have to blame on my lame genetics. I say this knowing my kids have already outshone me time and time again in that arena. Watching these kids take their turn on the academic stage was like having to listen to the one-thousandth refrain of the Underachiever's Anthem...the one that plays over and over in my head. But I digress.

There were three girls named Stacy throughout my school career. Stacy Smith (she of the enormous breasts), Stacy Jones (short and freckled and a bad student) and me...the girl who would have been entirely forgettable had I not had a hard-to-pronounce last name that had 13 letters in it. Both of the others have dropped from sight. Neither of those two Stacys were around for the last big high school reunion and it makes me wonder about other people I used to know. People with whom I never had a real relationship but who stick in my mind for one small thing that they did.'s not the stars or the losers I wonder about tonight. It's the marginal folks. The people who stay in my memory because I saw them do one thing that made them memory-worthy. Whatever happened to:

Diane Black: The girl who threw up orange all over the desk behind me in 3rd grade. I don't remember another blessed thing about her.
Rodney: The guy who taped black candy suckers to the Valentine cards (back when you had to give one to everyone in the class) of the kids he didn't like. You got a red one if he liked you. I got a black one. Surprised?
Sue Jacobs: A dedicated paste eater all during 1st grade. Mrs. Castleberry told her it was made out of cows and horses and she'd turn into one if she kept it up. Later, when I started the evening shift at a Six Flags gift shop one summer, Sue was my manager. She had given up the paste.
Deborah Kleinman: The girl who told me her mother was a whale and her dad was a camel. Later became the fashion model in Paris. Or so she said. She was pretty gorgeous. But that was at the ten year reunion...when none of us looked too bad. Yet.
Brian: The one kid who cried on the first day of 1st grade. Cried for his mother. Okay...he wailed. And she kept looking at him through the window in the classroom door. He'd see her and then he'd start crying again. He became a psychiatrist and moved to Florida. But I haven't seen him in many years.
Les: The bell rang on the last class of the last day of school (Mrs. Castleberry's class again) and he jumped out of the window, instead of using the door like everyone else.
Rhonda: The girl who never used normal-sized pencils but--instead--used those really ginormous pencils that they sell at the circus. You know...clown pencils with the big tassels that hang off of the erasers.
Greg: Jumped off of the swingset and broke his leg during Kindergarten recess. I remember the fuss they was like a scene from E.R. He was a weird kid, but not as weird as his brother, who was the first date I ever had. Snuck me into an R-Rated movie that I wasn't supposed to see and then, because I hadn't perfected my lying skills, I immediately ratted myself out to my mother when she asked me what movie I had seen. My punishment wasn't nearly as bad as the kiss I received from Greg's brother...a guy who obviously suffered mightily from an excess of saliva and who didn't mind licking my face in the process of trying to extricate my wisdom teeth with his tongue. No, Doug...I don't really care what happened to you . I heard you became a doctor like your dad....probably a gynocologist. Greg's probably a pin setter at the local bowling alley...but he's probably not a jerk.
Dan - You moved here from New York and we were lab partners Physical Science during our freshman year. You told me you were born in a taxi. I thought that was so cool. Where did you go after graduation?
Sharon Forbes- You brought your parents' copy of "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex" to school in 8th grade. You wrapped it in aluminum foil and the teacher thought we were studying our Spanish in class. We were studying allright.

That's good for a start. What people stick out in your mind?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

And then it was quiet...

Yes, I admit that I refer to Mother's Day as "the fake holiday". It's true that I don't have a lot of regard for a day which, while making a ton of money for Hallmark, seems to bring our culture no closer to anything resembling genuine respect or admiration for the the portion of the population that supplies you (me/us/everyone) with an increased quality of well as life itself.

When it's time to celebrate Father's Day, what do we do? Hmmm....well...women put in a full day's work at the office and then come home and do the same. We shop for the groceries and plan the celebration. We cook and clean for the company that we'll host. We buy and wrap the gifts and then after everyone leaves...we clean up the mess.

But when it's time for Mother's Day, what happens? In many cases I see women doing the exact same thing as they did for Father's Day...except they don't buy their own gift. See, those of us mothers who are still in the trenches? Many of us have mothers who are still living and worthy of their long-ago accomplishments as the primary caregivers of children. But who is going to do all the work?? This question seems to throw so many men into a huge quandry. Who indeed? Cleaning? Shopping for food and preparing a meal? PLUS a gift??? How can we do all this? Wouldn't it be easier just to take everyone out to dinner? seems to be easy to celebrate multiple generations of Father's Day honorees because the gender which supplies so much of the unsung "MAN-power", in addition to making the money that makes so many other things possible, is doing what they always do every day of the year. When you stop to consider what a total SHUTDOWN of tradition it requires to pay the same kind of homage to women...well...maybe you see my point. It isn't the same. And while you probably won't see too many guys cooking their own Father's Day dinner, I've seen more than my share of women contributing to a dinner that honors their own mothers while simultaneously cancelling out the intent of the celebration for their own role as a mother.

My own Mother's Day was spent with my parents and Mr. Half's parents and my sister and her family. Yes, I shopped for some of the food and I cleaned the house, but Mr. Half did as well. Mr. Half cooked burgers and all of the sons cleaned their rooms and did yardwork. The oldest son made a fabulous apple cobbler and the middle son did the dishes with his dad while I sat in the back and watched an episode of "I Love Lucy" with my mother and sister.

All in was a good day. Better than most Mother's Days wherein tradition reared its ugly head and too many females wound up scraping dishes after the feast and the gift opening. Still, the grocery store was filled with women...a couple still sporting their Mother's Day corsages...slogging through the store getting food and toilet paper that others were unwilling or unable to buy. I saw a man in the parking lot flying a kite with his kid. Maybe he was giving the wife a few minutes alone to breath and form a coherent sentence while he took the kid out for some fun. Most likely she was one of those in the store doing the shopping for the meal. I wanted to scream at him, "Get your country ass home and make your wife a meal for a change"...but lacking the proper information I only cursed him under my breath. But in a nice way.

The men in my house are learning what it means to appreciate the one person in our house whose endless list of mind numbing responsibilities doesn't get consistently validated by a Boy Scout merit badge, or a big fat A+ or even a nice paycheck. I hope it's a lesson they'll take with them. Because it's only when women take the day off that certain others are made to realize how much of the sky we really hold up. Think how great life would be if we didn't have to spend the other 364 days trying to keep them from forgetting.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Life Menu

I stopped in at Whoorl's today to check in and see how things are going now that she's well into her pregnancy with the little Whoorlito. Her photo at 27 weeks shows her to be disgustingly ethereal and gorgeous. You can still see the bones in her face and her hands, unlike my own while pregnant-- don't in the least resemble small hams. Where's the back fat bulging over the industrial-sized bra and the multiple chins? Why does Whoorl get to look like Catherine Zeta Jones after a year on the South Beach Diet? Why? Why?

I'm sorry, but where in the rule book does it say that other women are permitted to grow even more beautiful while gestating while my own pondorously amorphous self --as a pregnant person--took the task of cell division to an Olympic level and I wound up looking more like Monty Python's Mr. Creosote. Or merely a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade float...depicting Mr. Creosote. Not once, not twice, but three times were satellites able to pinpoint my whereabouts on Earth from the far reaches of outer space while I was incubating our sons. Verily I say unto you: I was quite large. And lo, it was not pretty and Mr. Half was sore afraid that I would not be able to deflate back to my normal self.

The writer Amy Krouse Rosenthal used to write about something called Life Menus where each person has certain things that they are given that are gifts, such as good hair or the ability to navigate airports well or the good fortune to have never had acne as a teenager. Among those things that make them look like those lucky, lucky individuals who get to drive fast without ever getting a ticket or who live off trustfunds or whose cool parents bought them a pet monkey when they were a kid--among those gifts are the negative issues. Drawbacks like webbed toes or migraine headaches or bizarre and rash-inducing allergies to anything made out of metal or wood. Or a spastic colon.

It helps to validate the idea that no one is really perfect. Case in point: Tom Cruise.

Handsome? Yes. Rich? Sure. Talented? Marginally. BUT SWEET BUTTER ON A BISCUIT! the guy is only a few sofas away from the edge of reason, isn't he? Allow him to run around unchecked for a few more years and I'm afraid he's going to go the way of Howard Hughes when, at the height of his mental illness, he refused to touch doorknobs or bathe and he wore empty Kleenex boxes for house shoes.

Years ago I knew this woman. Our kids went to the same school and she and I worked out at the same gym. She was a fairly intelligent woman. Unlike me, she didn't seem to be too interested in ever having a career so I assumed she was thrilled to leave the house for the maid to clean while spending her days shopping with the scads of money her Dr. Husband made and going to Junior League meetings. Her life, it seemed ideal. She had the most gorgeous skin ever. Even in winter when my own untanned appendages could not be safely viewed in direct sunlight without the protection of polarized sunglasses, she had a honeyed and healthy glow. She had a great body, decent kids and fabulous clothes and were it not for the time I heard her comment on how, when reading in bed at night, she had to take special care not to turn the pages of her Bible so that they crackled and disturbed Dr. Husband while he slumbered, I thought she led an enviable life.
Until the day a friend told me that her father, also a wealthy man, had been murdered in his own house about seven years prior. That's the cosmic trade-off, you see?

The Life Menu, she is a harsh mistress.

And because she is-- it all makes sense when I consider the people I used to think had it all. No one has it all and if you envy anyone for the things about his/her life you think you want you'll also have to take the bad stuff that you can't see as part of the package. Like this one:

Good in math
Builds custom furniture
Can't dance
Oprah is a distant cousin
Has a sixth toe


Tone deaf and blind in one eye
Owns a lake house
allergic to ice cream
Wins at poker
speaks Italian

So, I weighed 200 pounds a lot at the end of my pregnancies! There's one for the menu! I also didn't inherit my Dad's fabulous olive complexion so unless I adhere to a strict schedule of monitored tanning and moisturizing, I enter the swimsuit season looking like that albino kid from the movie, "Powder"-- only not nearly as smart and I can't bend forks with my mind. So here's the rest of my list:

Quick with words/artistic
No longer a natural blonde
I ran a marathon in '98
Bad at Monopoly
Alternately cynical and gullible about life
Afraid to fly

What's on your menu?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


April 26, 1991
Journal entry

I am now fully initiated into the motherhood community. We had our first visit to the emergency room. Never mind that the day was already on the skids by noon and descended straight into Hell by 4 p.m. No, that wasn't enough. Both boys refused to take a nap today. Greyson climbed out of his crib and filled Tucker's with toys of every size--all the way to the railing. Tucker removed some needlepoint pictures off of the wall by climbing onto a chair. Greyson opened the refrigerator, dropped a dozen eggs on the floor and took a loaf of French bread out of the grocery sack and shared it with Tucker. During "naptime" he stripped his crib of its sheets--twice--removed his diaper and peed on the bed, after which he showed Tucker how to strip his own mattress. For an encore, Tucker fell off of the sofa and cut his head on the coffee table, requiring a trip to the Emergency Room and two staples to close the cut. Tomorrow I'm scheduled to donate for the Blood Drive. After today do I have any to spare?


You know how people always tell you that most bad days, after enough time passes, will seem pretty funny from that distant perspective? It's true.

Monday, May 08, 2006

It never hurts to ask

Mr. Half and I bought this house when we married and during the 8 1/2 years we lived there, it was also home to all of our sons. We outgrew it quickly and though we were glad to move into a larger house with potential for the additions and modifications we've provided, it never changed the way we felt about our first house.

We take the kids by occasionally...just to see what's been done. The neighborhood is certainly one we'd never consider living in now and the young family/retired and elderly/seminary student population that once resided in these houses is gone. Still...the house bears the marks of our having been there.

The book ledge that wraps around all four walls of our old bedroom-- the shelf near the ceiling--was built by Mr. Half for our overflow books that were weighing down the floor-to-ceiling shelves in the livingroom, kitchen, and dining room. The skylight in the kitchen with shelves for plants was also something we put in. The backyard has an old greenhouse--again by Mr. Half--that eventually became a toolshed. Someone painted the nursery, but if they were to scrape away the paint on the ceiling they'd find a sky blue surface studded with beautiful clouds.

Today I sat down and wrote a letter to the owner...a person I've never met nor spoken to. I told him about the truck Mr. Half had in college and how, when he got rid of it, he took a blowtorch and cut out a piece of the fender in the shape of a big heart and gave it to me. I used it in my garden and around the potted plants in the back. Some toddler hands must have thoughtfully put it someplace else, because when we moved to this house 11 1/2 years ago we realized it was missing. I know where it is. It's in that old backyard...lost in the monkey grass under the bathroom window or in the wild iris. Or buried in the flowering Vinca. I told the owner of our old home about the people from whom we bought it and how they hated to sell it and how we loved it totally until it was our turn to leave. It's a happy house with some good karma. I told him about the gift made for me by my romantic husband and how I wondered if anyone had come across a rusty piece of metal in the shape of a heart.

Maybe he'll think I'm a nut and throw the letter into the trash, along with the picture of the house when we sold it and a couple of shots of the interior when we lived there. But maybe--just maybe--he's a happy man living a contented life in a house that makes him feel good. Maybe the house I described to him is one which continues to provide shelter and love. And that feeling will inspire him to dig around in the backyard weeds and then sit down to send a reply.
You never know.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


We watched the New York Yankees leave the Texas Rangers in the dust for the third time this week...and this afternoon found us at AmeriQuest Field witnessing the devastation in person. Bummer. But that's not what this post is about. It's about keeping your eyes and ears open and finding out that a ballpark contains as varied an array of humanity as the bus station or the airport or the DMV. Sometimes edifying and, at turns, disgusting...but always entertaining.

Overheard Remark # 1

The guy behind us, a Yankees fan, continually referred to Ranger's player Mark Teixeira (pronounced Tuh-Sheera) as "Texi-ara". He did this despite the announcer's continual narration of the game wherein the correct pronunciation of the name was heard no less than 50 times. This hearkens back to a long-ago post where we discussed blatant mis-pronounciations of words by our friends and colleagues. Further proof that some individuals, when confronted with repeated information about correct pronounciation of words, will insist on using the ones they're currently committed to.
Overheard Remark #2

The same guy behind us was taking it upon himself to "educate" his wife/girlfriend about the correct way to read the scoreboard. He elaborated about how "E" stood for Errors and "R" stood for Runs. He explained every detail of the scoreboard. He was fairly loud and heavyhanded in his explanation, as though she were hard of hearing or perhaps...simple. When the JumboTron displayed the picture and stats for the Yankee's Robinson Cano, it revealed that he was from San Pedro, DR. The woman asked him what DR meant and he said, " means he's from the Dominican Republican. Or, if you prefer, the Dominica Republica." Girlfriend said, "Well...which one is it?" He told her that one was English and one was Spanish, but in this country we refer to his country as Dominican Republican. There were a few seconds of quiet before the girlfriend said, "Uh....I don't think that's right." He was fairly indignant, having just appointed himself her baseball mentor/educator and insisted that this was the name of the country.Seen & Overheard #3

Mr. Half takes a trip to one of the many men's restrooms when upon entering he sees a drunk/ill teenage girl on the floor near the sinks. A stadium attendant had just reached the bathroom and had begun trying to assist her.

Attendant: "Uh...Miss? Excuse me...but are you drunk?"
Girl: "Uh-huh".
Attendant: "Okay...are you aware that you're in the men's bathroom?"
Girl: "Uh......yeahhhhhh"


In that crush of humanity, however, you'll also find some incredible gems. Teebs called me the other day and we had a lovely talk. For the record, she sounds nothing like a robot and I tried not to offend her with my Texas accent. I'm looking forward to flying to an undisclosed location in June and meeting her along with Mignon (not pronounced like the bacon-wrapped meat...I've been practicing), Arabella & Mrs. Harridan. Anyone who'd like to take a chance and meet us there needs to contact Arabella STAT!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Coffee Is Not The Boss Of Me

Somewhere along the way as I was learning how to read, dress myself, multiply fractions and change the oil in my car, I forgot to learn to like coffee. I gave it a lame try during my early adulthood and I believe I accidentally ingested some as a kid and--really--that was enough for me. The bitter taste was horrendous and even doctored with a fistful of sugar and an entire cow's worth of milk, the taste was like battery acid stirred with a black licorice whip.

At the time I don't think anyone in my family dwelled too much over my negative reaction because, like many things in life, coffee is an acquired taste and it's not unusual for children to reject drinking something that causes them to shudder involuntarily. My first shot of bourbon was a walk in the park compared During college at A&M, when staying awake was the prime motivator for learning which of the food groups contained the necessary amount of caffeine to maintain a conscious state for 72 hours straight, many of my friends fell victim to the coffee demon. After college, the necessity of staying awake using artificial means was replaced by the need to perform 90 minutes of office work using the same artificial means.

Please don't think I'm judging here. My own drug of choice was a combination of No Doz, M&Ms and a large Coke. Probably no better for me than a cup of coffee would be...maybe worse...but after college I stopped taking No Doz and I can go months without an M&M or even a soda. And staying up all night lost its buzz the minute the first kid was born.

Eventually, enough time passes that a young adult finally convinces himself/herself that coffee tastes good...good enough to drink every day. Several times a day. Constantly. By then they're totally hooked and before you know it, these same people are blaming headaches, crankiness, unproductivity at work and homicidal thoughts on the fact that they didn't get their coffee fix. Despite that, my mother maintains that coffee is nothing more than a "social drink". It hasn't helped that Starbucks has taken over the world, aiding and abetting society with their legally addictive stimulants. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying. And I wouldn't need to say anything at all were it not for the fact that my parents have struggled mightily with the concept that I don't drink the stuff.

Had my body failed to go through puberty or had I left the family fold to vote Democratic ---oh, wait--I did do that last thing--I don't think my parents could be any more surprised or dismayed. It is impossible to have a meal with my them that my dear father doesn't offer me coffee and then snicker. It's become a repetitive joke and it was one I laughed at the first few times it came up, but when I started pointing out how often THEY drank it, things started to get testy.

I would pause here to relay the saga of a long drive to Tennessee where one sister and I felt that we should accompany our parents to a family funeral rather than take a different car and just worry about their safety the whole way, but I'll give you the Reader's Digest version. How long is it from here to the eastern part of Tennessee? 12 hours? 15? Mom packed a huge thermos of hot coffee and in between conversations about family intrigue and listening to their music at decibels that allow them to hear but which also cause younger people to bleed from their ears , Mom and Dad talked about coffee. About the coffee they were drinking at that moment and about good coffee they'd had in the past.Coffee as an ingredient in other dishes. Coffee beans and different flavors of coffee. Great vacations--some in Europe--which were capped off by some even greater coffee in a sidewalk cafe. Also, they talked about foods that tasted good... with coffee. Some retired people use long drives to point out historical markers or antique shops. My parents intend to pinpoint every coffee stand between here and both coasts. "Hey...didn't we stop there for coffee once?" was heard more than it should have been. Two junkies talking about where to score some blow could not have been more repetitive or irritating. But I'm saving the details of that trip for another post.

Somehow, I guess, they feel I've failed to completely join the tribe of adults who can't enjoy life on the planet unless they're burning a tongue on a fresh cup of java or leaving coffee rings on the finance reports at work. I happen to think that I function just fine without it. Mother claims she can stop any time she wants to...but she just doesn't want to. And I could be the next President of the United States and my father will still get his biggest thrill out of offering me coffee ice cream, coffee pie or chocolate-covered coffee beans. I'm just praying that no one will make them aware of the fact that Coca-Cola just added coffee flavor to their newest crime against nature...Coke Blak. My friend Peggy says that once your parents start getting old, "you gotta love them where they are". It just so happens that where they are some of the time is all up in my face about coffee. And even though they're mostly joking, it makes me weary.

DISCLAIMER: My parents are really very lovely people and if you met them on the street they'd probably invite you over immediately for coffee and pie. I send you there with my blessings

And now for the part where I bring everything to a close with a point of trivia that is germane to my post.Since 1939 Margaret Hamilton has frightened the bejeebers out of generations of children.She aged into a really nice old lady who did not kidnap dogs nor consort with flying, bi-pedal monkeys. Near the end of her life she did, with great success, do commercials where she portrayed an elderly woman who shared the secrets of her favorite beverage with kith and kin. The beverage? Maxwell House Coffee.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A creepier father than Tom Cruise? You decide.

A well-to-do former classmate (and her husband) of Mr. Half's is celebrating the 18th birthday of their daughter and the father of this girl is buying her a very special gift. Can you guess what it might be?

A car? Nope.

A gigantic party for several hundred of her closest friends? Sorry.

A Hawaiian vacation? Guess again.

Expensive jewelry? You're getting colder.

Give up?

BOOBS, people of the internet. He's buying her some new boobs.

**silence but for the chirping of crickets**

boobs, you ask? What was wrong with the old ones? And when I say old, I'm really just referring to the set she was born with. There's nothing old about being 18 and even if the entire 7th Fleet has had a personal encounter with her "chestal region", it's my opinion that this child's hooters still retain at least a smidgen of that new car smell. Relatively speaking, of course.

By now you're probably casting about in your imagination for a clue to the turn of events that might persuade a seemingly well-intentioned father of normal intelligence to purchase a bigger set of knockers for his barely-legal daughter. Was she born without breasts? Has she been the victim of a flesh-eating disease or a disfiguing car accident. Did the window accidentally close on them as she was sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night? Shark bite, perhaps?

No...none of those. I've seen the girl. She's magazine-style beautiful. Blonde. Tanned. Thin. She competed in the Miss Teen Texas or some similar objectifying contest and it was on cable access. She was the runner-up. I've seen her in a low cut evening gown. It all checks out. Two very nice-sized boobs. A matched set, from all accounts. Yeah, yeah....I know all about the tricks using bra technology employing a suspension bridge philosophy to create the illusion of a bigger rack. Or when all else fails...duct tape. So what of it? So Daddy's little girl wasn't born with the breasts of a pole dancer. That's Life in the Big Titty--er--City, kiddo. Besides, the warranty on the original set hasn't even come close to expiring yet.

There are about a million things wrong with this scenario, but the one that raises the biggest red flag for me are the words this girl was saying at a recent party of her fellow high school graduates. To wit: "My daddy is buying me new boobs for my 18th birthday." DADDY????

Sorry if I sound like a Puritan who just landed on Plymouth Rock, but I'm pretty certain that the words "Dad" and "Daughter's breasts" should never have occasion to occupy space in the same sentence. Where's the loving parental conversation that points out how fortunate she is to be so intelligent AND so beautiful? Who is reminding her about the dangers of this type of surgery...and--yes--the extraordinarily STUPID amount of money required for a painful procedure that only reinforces her need to capitalize on her looks? She's not a grown woman who is capable of making and paying for this very personal decision herself. She's 18 and, as she's so proudly and publicly pointed out, it's her father's way of saying, "Happy Birthday, Sweetheart".

Unlike me, she hasn't yet shot three kids out of her nether regions. Sons with the appetite of young wolverines who could suck the chrome off of a trailer hitch and who joyfully reduced my formerly "firm upstanders" into sad shadows of their former selves. This girl won't hit middle age for another 22 years, so the whole sagging thing is only a very distant worry. What's all the hurry to turn decent and "unmauled" breasts into flotation devices? I just don't get it.

What ever happened to getting a nice set of matching luggage?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Celebrity Trivia that involves someone besides Ms.Lohan, the Federlines or Paris Hilton.


1. Desi Arnaz' (husband of Lucille Ball for those of you just emerging from a long coma) father was the mayor of Santiago, Cuba. Ventura Boulevard in California was named after Arnaz' great-great grandmother. One of his grandfathers was a co-founder of Bacardi Rum. The other was the doctor assigned to Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders after their ride up San Juan Hill.

2. The father of actor Wallace "Inconceivable!" Shawn ("The Princess Bride" and "My Dinner with Andre") was William Shawn. The elder Shawn took over the editorship of The New Yorker Magazine when it's creator and first editor, Harold Ross, died unexpectedly.

3. John Pankow (Ira Buchman on the sitcom "Mad About You") is the younger brother of musician, James Pankow...trombonist extraordinaire for the legendary group, "Chicago".

4. Actress Tyne Daly and her brother, actor Tim Daly are the grandchildren of the late Chief Justice Earl Warren who, among other things, was the name behind the Warren Commission which investigated the death of President John F. Kennedy.

5. "New Yorker" writer, humorist and lifelong Caucasian, Dorothy Parker ("Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses") made provisions to be cremated upon her death. Her ashes are scattered at the headquarters of the NAACP.

6. Children's book illustrator Louis Darling ("Ramona the Pest") was, along with his artist-wife Lois, a nature illustrator of some renown. Both of them were the artists/illustrators for Rachel Carson's landmark and very controversial book on environmentalism, " Silent Spring".

7. Actor Paul Giamatti ("Sideways") and his brother Marcus ("Judging Amy) have a famous father... former baseball commissioner, Bart Giamatti.

8. The Tin Woodman's (Jack Haley) son married Dorothy's ( Judy Garland) daughter when nutcase, Liza Minelli married her only straight husband, Jack Haley, Jr.

9. The coat worn by Frank Morgan when he played Professor Marvel in "The Wizard of Oz" actually belonged to the writer of the OZ books, L.Frank Baum. During filming, Morgan turned the pockets of the coat inside out to dry the sweat and they saw the tag advertising for whom the coat, purchased from a used-clothing emporium, had originally been made. A call to the widow of Baum confirmed that the coat had indeed been his.

10. Parts of the unburned Atlanta set used in the movie "Gone With the Wind" were used to depict downtown Mayberry during all seasons of the classic "Andy Griffith Show".

I've got a few more, but I seem to be dating myself with some of these older that's all for now.