Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I haven't written about the disaster in the Louisianna/Mississippi areas because there really isn't much to say. It was a horrible mess that could have been prevented if their government had really bothered to be prepared.

It's a sad fact of life that governments rarely plan ahead. Each regime does what they need to do if the reward is tangible and immediate. It's a lot harder to justify spending money, time and energy on a project that may help mitigate a disaster in an unforseen future, when you can hope that the next people in power will be saddled with the problem.

The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks are a classic example of this way of thinking. Everyone knew it was coming, and most politicos knew that the World Trade Center was a strategic goal for the terrorists. *I* did, and I'll bet that you did, too. Yet, everyone kept hoping that they wouldn't have to deal with it. The truth is that if such an event is a known eventuality, everyone needs to be ready for it.

Now, due to their states' ill-preparedness, there are many lives and futures lost and many people who were lulled into a false sense of security. It will mean that Federal money and resources will have to be used for states that should have been planning for this all along.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Discrimination at KFC

OK, this is going to be a more controversial post. If you're allergic to controversy, pass up on this one today, and come back tomorrow. Maybe by then I'll find something less threatening.

Yesterday evening my son (Saurkid) and I swung by KFC for dinner. He always gets the Kid's Laptop meal (their kids' meals are excellent). We got home, opened up our meals, and dug in while we chatted about our day (remember, I am not a domestic goddess, though I'm a good cook when I have the time). During a lull in the coversation, Saurkid began to idly read aloud a portion of the box his meal came in.

The whole theme of the box was "What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?" There were all sorts of jobs, from scientist to engineer. Every one of those jobs had a boy pictured next to it, except for the 'writer' job, which had a girl. There were about 6-8 boys, and only the one girl. And what was she writing? Some sappy story about a princess who is rescued by a prince and lives happily ever after with him.

Great message to send to all the kids out there, KFC. A girl can't do anything technical - oh no! She's lucky if she can get to be a writer, fall in love with some guy that will rescue her and give her a reason for living. With any luck, he will be the engineer.

Wow does that infuriate me. How can any company in this era put out such a regressive message? Many of us women have spent decades overcoming that stereotype. Many others have lived through great disappointments, looking for the Prince Charming that never came. My mother is (among other things) a women's counselor (I also do some counseling; another story for another time). As she has always wisely said to many women, "You keep looking for Prince Charming, yet you are no Cinderella."

I am no militant feminist, but I will be contacting KFC today. Perhaps when I use my full title (Dr. Saurkraut), they will realize that women can do more than be the bit players in the game of life.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Thrill of the Hunt

Let's take the time to talk about those of us that are addicted to 'deals'. You know the ones I mean, and I'm betting you understand our sickness, even if you aren't the garage-sale-thrift-shop junkie that I am.

OK, yes, I am a thrift shop junkie. There, I said it.

Today I was in the area of this one marvellous thrift shop and I just had to take that detour. This obsessive-compulsive voice whispered to me, reminding me of the time I found the $3 necklace that I sold on Ebay for $45. So, I sauntered in (I was 'just looking'). An hour later, I sauntered out again ($60 poorer).

I won't bore you with the details. But, suffice to say that the haul is worth at least twice that. Some will go to friends and family as gifts (people who are looking for certain things). Some will stay here and go on display. But I just bought some things that I've never seen before, and they're striking! One is Fenton glassware in an incredible, eerie cream/green satin color, one is an eclectic piece of milkglass shot through with vibrant baby blue, one piece is a handthrown and handpainted italian pitcher... I am just overwhelmed by these finds. I will gloat over them for a short while, and then pass them on to the homes they need to go to.

But let's face it: I'm not a domestic goddess. I'm not buying the items to display. Instead, they are the trophies that I have brought home just as my ancestress probably dragged home a chunk of Mammoth meat after a long day of hunting.

P.S. I forgot to add: There was one interesting find today, but I didn't want to bother spending $5 for it. It was a large concrete garden plaque that read "People are the colored flowers in the garden: The truth is one." Now that was probably a great buy simply because it made as much sense as some of the fortunes I get in Chinese fortune cookies.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Lingerie Customer From Hell

Here's another Customer From Hell Story. This took place in the 90s when I was a manager for a major high-end department store. I had a staff of 30 that I was responsible for (it was my first job out of college!) and I was working a minimum of 50-60 hours a week for peanuts.

I have so many stories from there, I hardly know where to begin. For instance, one day I saw a wealthy mother and her spoiled daughter (about 6 years old) walking through our kids' department. "Mommy, mommy," whined the little girl, "I want THAT dress!"

"No, darling," said the mom. "I've taken you everywhere today and have bought you tons of stuff. That's enough."

"Mommy, I WANT it. C'mon mommy, let me have it," demanded the little girl.

"Mommy said no," replied her mom.

"F*ck you," replied the monster. The mom continued her shopping as if she hadn't heard a thing.

But here's the main story I'd like to share with you today. I oversaw many departments. One of them was the lingerie department. It was one of the Flagship Stores for the company, which meant that my department got more scrutiny (and I did too). My departments had to be in tip-top shape.

My lingerie department was having a huge sale. Now, that meant tons of women flooding the dressing rooms with armfuls of lingerie. To add to all that, some of the women would try on THONG UNDERWEAR without wearing any underwear. That would mean that as soon as we discovered the nasty underwear, we would gingerly pick it up with some tissue and throw it away, making a note in our log so that it didn't count against us during inventory.

It was almost closing time, and my best salesperson was with me, going through a mountain of lingerie behind the sales desk that was piled so high, it came up to my waist. We were marking out any nasty underwear, and re-hanging the rest.

Up walked two black women. We looked up and smiled automatically, asking if we could help. They told us that they were looking around, and walked off for a couple of moments. They were back shortly, and asked to speak to the manager.

"I'm the manager," I replied brightly. "Can I help you?"

One of the woman looked at the other one, and shook her head. "No," she said. "Then we need to speak to the STORE manager."

"Is anything wrong?" I asked. "No," she replied, "Just lemme speak to the store manager."

To add to the stress, the store manager that was on that night was a women who would've gladly poisoned me any day.

I called her, and she came out.

"How can I help you ladies?" she asked.

The main spokeswoman pointed dramatically at us. "These women," she began, "ignored us and wouldn't help us. Then THAT woman" (she pointed to me) "called me a n*gger."

My salesperson's jumped to my defense. "That is a flat out LIE," she flamed. "How DARE you?"

"No, let them talk. Don't say another word," I ordered her, putting a restraining hand on her arm.

The store manager, who (although she would have liked to think the worst of me) was incredulous. She repeated it to verify what they said, and they nodded. Yup, that's what happened.

She took their names and phone numbers and promised that the matter would be investigated fully. The next day she took the info to The Store Manager (she was only one of two assistants) who immediately dismissed the incident.

What in the world happened? Well, there are all sorts of scams that go on in retail. Sometimes thieves are bold. They might snatch the clothes off a display near the exit and run to a waiting car. Sometimes they try a more subtle scam. I don't know what they thought the payoff might be, but I assume they were hoping for a gift certificate or a shopping spree at our expense. After all, they wouldn't have to pay for it! But they didn't care about the price that others would have to pay.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fun Childhood Rhymes

I have all these wonderful rhymes that my highly-literate family used to recite to me when I was little. Have you ever heard of any of these? I can still rattle them off just as if I was 5 again:

Adam and Eve and Pinchmetite
Went down to the river to bathe.
Adam and Ever were drownded
(NOTE: you have to say 'drownded' instead of 'drowned')
Now who do you think was saved?

(then the unsuspecting victim says "Pinchmetite" and you pinch them)

I never saw a purple cow,
I hope I never see one.
But I can tell you anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

Then there is this old chestnut that my grandmother taught me in some sort of pig latin:

Once there was a bittle lum,
Sitting on an urbstone,
Chewing gubber rum.
Along came a molicepan and said "Simme gum."
"Tixie on your nintype," said the bittle lum.

If anyone has heard of THAT one before, I'll eat my gubber rum.

My grandmother was one of the world's first female journalists and she wrote the gossip column for a major newspaper in New York for many years. She loved words, rhymes, and wordplay of any sort.

So, what rhymes do YOU remember?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Look What We've Found Part Deux

Well, apparently we have a Mama Possum up in the attic who is the possum equivalent of white trash, because she keeps having babies and abandoning them. If this keeps up, I will have to open up a Possum Rehab Center.

I was shaken awake at 2 AM today by The Other Half. I opened my bleary eyes to find him holding this new addition to The Possum Collection. Apparently he had heard a small sneeze in the utility room (this man has the ears of a cat!) and he had gone and lay in wait for an hour before he found this among the laundry.

My house is under construction, and there is a hole in the roof of the utility room leading up into the attic. Obviously this baby fell through the hole, and landed in the laundry. I don't know if it's a boy or girl, and this one is so young, I don't know if it will survive. I have it nestled in a plastic file box with a towel, some water, and some soft puppy food. It can't be more than a month old. I guess it'll go to the vets tomorrow morning and we'll try to decide what to do with it then.

Meanwhile, Pie is growing in leaps and bounds and is at least twice this one's size now. What should we name this one? Cookie?

I am apparently being gifted with a herd. Or is that a rat pack? I am beginning to wonder if I should mark them all 'Return to Sender.'

Thursday, August 25, 2005

America Losing Key Jobs

I went to the doctor's today for a check-up. While I sat there, waiting, a medical sales rep walked in. I struck up a conversation with her, since we both are in sales. She was engaging of course (you have to be if you're in sales) and very open about her job. I'd always been curious about what it took to be a pharmaceutical sales rep and she told me all about it. She also said it was almost impossible to break into the industry because anyone in pharmaceutical sales knows they have a good thing and they don't usually leave the industry. Instead, they migrate to different companies periodically.

But what she told me really shocked me, and gave me something to think about. She said "I think that we (pharmaceutical sales people) will all be phased out within a couple years. Laws are changing, and so we can't give out samples like we used to. Also, doctors can now go online to get what they need. We're going to be obsolete."

Scary. It's scary because it's not just her. The fun, eclectic jobs and the high-end jobs are all threatened right now. The jobs that we said we wanted to be when we grew up (doctors, top sales positions such as brokers and sales reps, engineers, executives, etc.) are all being replaced, outsourced, or forced out of business. Instead, we are sending jobs overseas or accepting lesser substitutes (such as nurse practitioners instead of doctors).

I'm seeing a growth of jobs in the low-end service sector. Everywhere I go there is never a shortage of workers at fast-food restaurants, drugstores or supermarkets. I have grown increasingly aware of it, as the administration so proudly trumpets that unemployment is declining. Sure, it's declining, but the increase is in the lower-end jobs. For instance, my friend's husband is an electrical engineer who can't find work in his field, so he must settle for installing cable instead. This man is a college educated engineer!

America's brain trust is declining rapidly. We are approaching the point where we will need to rely on foreign countries and their citizens too much. And by then, it will be too late.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Speed Blogging

Tonight I'm Speed Blogging due to the fact that my schedule's been tight lately. Usually I like to post my blog every morning. I don't like this end-of-the-day blogging. By then my mind is worn out and I'm ready to settle in, burn a couple candles, make a soothing cuppa hot tea, and read a good book.

So, my apologies to those of you, my Blogger Buddies, who are putting up with my currently erratic schedule.

Let me fill you in on the highlights:

1. Ozma's evil ex-fiance died. She was miserable. Now she's on the slow road to recovery. I've been there for her all the way (as much as I could be).
2. I turned in my official resignation today. I start my own business on October 1st. I am very nervous.
3. I have been missing out on News and Events, sadly. I am a big reader, but simply haven't had time for it. I will be back in the swing of things shortly!
4. Mike's Hard Cranberry Lemonade tastes really good after a long, hot, stressful day of drinking bitter coffee with powdered creamer.
5. So does Ozma's Chicken & Yellow Rice.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Customers From Hell

This is just the beginning of the stories of the Customers From Hell. I plan to periodically tell you about these monsters. I see them as an example of what not to be, ever. Despite that my degrees are in other areas, I've been in sales since I was 15 years old. I'm a natural, and found my calling early while other kids were serving fries through a drive-in window. That didn't make me any better than they were, but I can tell you that I enjoyed my job a great deal more!

This first Customer From Hell story took place when I was in my late teens. I was a Perfume Model at a major department store in the 80s. Back then, department stores had huge budgets which were also supplemented by the major cosmetic companies. They would often collaborate and hire people to represent certain lines, and walk throughout the store approaching customers and doing their best to persuade them to buy a particular fragrance.

I was a Perfume Model to supplement my meagre income at that moment (I was a full time college student). Sometimes if a customer wanted immediate assistance, I would walk her over to the counter where the items were and I might even ring up the purchase if the other people were busy. I wasn't supposed to do it often, but did it occasionally.

One day I had a woman who was very responsive, but also quite demanding. She wanted immediate service, the store was crammed with people (it was during the Christmas holidays) and so I walked her over to the cosmetics counter and she told me exactly what she wanted. She also demanded I ring her up right away and said she couldn't wait for anyone else to do it. So, I went behind the counter and rang up her purchase.

When I rang up a customer, I had a certain sequence I went through. I would ring her in, take her charge card (in this case) and imprint it on the sales slip. Then I would turn around, and place the slip in front of her along with the credit card next to it. I did that this time, the customer signed the paper, and turned to leave. Then she said "Oh, you almost forgot to give me my credit card."

I did, I said brightly, and told her that she had just picked it up and put it back in her wallet. "No I didn't," argued the customer, "look over there!" So, beginning to doubt my senses, I looked over at the sales counter, but there was no credit card there.

"Heyyyy, what are ya trying to pull?" asked the customer, suspiciously. I assured her that I wasn't trying to con her, and asked her to just check her wallet. "Where is the manager?" demanded the customer loudly. "I wanna speak to the manager!"

I was now breaking out into a cold sweat, and other customers and salespeople were beginning to look at us. "She stole my credit card!!!" the customer said loudly. "I wanna speak to the manager!!!"

Now I was turning bright red, and was fighting crying. The manager was summoned, and came up to the customer. "What seems to be the problem?" she asked, calmly. "This girl is trying to pull something on me!" whined the customer loudly. "She stole my credit card!!"

When the manager got the stories sorted out (I was trying not to hyperventilate at this point) she asked the customer to please look in her wallet, "Just to be sure..."

The customer snapped "Fine! But it won't be there," and dramatically grabbed her wallet, opened it up, rummaged through it, and.... came up with the card.

"Oh, there it is," she said with no change of voice. She then turned to me and added "Well, I guess you must understand how I felt," and walked out of the store to go wreak havoc on someone else's life. No apology, nothing. I was young and inexperienced at that time, and scared of my own shadow. I would've handled it differently now, of course.

This particular Customer From Hell is the Bullying Customer. That's the kind of customer that's miserable in their own life and so they go shopping so that they can take it out on others. I only wish she'd been the only one I've ever encountered.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Here are some pics of Pie that were taken today (Sunday). She is now about 5 mos. old.

She is now feeling a little more threatened by the camera flash so she's beginning to bare her teeth. She never bites, she just opens her mouth and drools. Impressive, until you stick your finger in her mouth and wiggle it around and she never chomps down.

Now she is growing more irritated with that flash...

Here is the rest of the modelling shoot...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Chinese Fortune Cookie Sayings

I love Chinese fortune cookies. Sure, you can buy them by the box but they lose their mysterious appeal then. I've had everything from the truly banal ("You like the color blue") to the truly weird ("He is over there right now, go to him") to the analytical ("It is not wise to throw stones at tigers") to the mysteriously prophetic ("Blue eyes are about to change the course of your life").

I had a friend that used to make everyone read their fortunes outloud, and then add the words "in bed" to the end of each fortune. It made for entertaining reading, if you didn't have a repressive grandmother nearby, scowling at you.

Another friend thinks that if it's authentic, every fortune cookie should begin "He who..." I disagree. Fortune cookies are a potpourri of one sentence sayings, and I won't be boxed in by that rule.

I am convinced we could write better fortunes for these clowns. Give it your best shot! Oh, and if you need a little inspiration, here are some great fortune cookie sites: Bad Cookie which has nothing but evil fortune cookie sayings, Fortune Cookie has random fortunes, and this site allows you to choose which fortune cookie you want. But don't read these first if you think you'll be easily influenced! Get creative on me!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Global Warming

Years ago when they began talking about global warming (in the 80s) I was one of the Young Republicans. (Incidentally, Churchill said "If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart.If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain." I always loved the quote even though my growth has been the reverse of that, and I feel comfortable in neither party).

Now, a close relative of mine is a brilliant, internationally acclaimed scientist. He is my favorite relative, and I can talk with him night and day and never need the TV, a book, or a break. When Rush Limbaugh began spouting childish mockeries of the global warming concept, The Scientist would very gently say that the evidence for global warming was quite strong. Because I knew that The Scientist was right 99% of the time, I was truly conflicted. I guess it was The Scientist that really caused me to re-evaluate my knee-jerk arch-conservative leanings. To live brilliantly, one must think brilliantly and look at all angles. That doesn't mean that conservatives are wrong all the time, any more than it means that liberals are.

Now we know that global warming is a fact. Recently scientists discovered their data was incorrect due to a factor they hadn't taken into account. They had been releasing weather balloons during the day and night, and hadn't adjusted for the fact that the temperatures would be different in the daytime. I haven't had a chance to discuss this with The Scientist yet, but I can just see him rolling his eyes.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Medical Malpractice

Doctors are protesting their increased insurance rates. They claim that they're being priced out of business. I have a friend who's a medical doctor and I disagree. Oh sure, it's harder to make sky-high salaries because insurance eats away at them, but they're still pretty comfortable compared to many others with college degrees.

I also have a friend who is a high powered attorney (picture a young Maria Shriver before she began to look like a space alien). I saw her through a pregnancy not too long ago (she now has a happy, healthy baby). Late in the pregnancy she suffered from pre-eclampsia. Getting very dizzy, she pulled over to the side of the road and blacked out momentarily. Coming to, she called her doctor's office and was told to drive to the nearest place to get her blood pressure taken, call back, and leave the results with the answering service. Confused (she was in no shape to reason anything out mentally), she did it without protest. The problem is, as she pointed out later, that if something had happened to her as she was driving the doctor would have been liable - and rightly so! She was also rather concerned that she hadn't been asked to call the doctor and give him the results, she was only to leave it with the answering service.

The funny thing is, she was never called back. That led her to believe it wasn't pre-eclampsia (which is what she had suspected it might be). However, a week later, she found that she did indeed have it.

Although my friend is an attorney, she's not lawsuit-happy. And she and the baby turned out fine. But if it had turned out differently, the doctor would be in hot water.

I could tell you other medical horror stories that I know of personally, and they're significant. And they wonder why medical malpractice is going through the roof?

Let's face it, the doctor who is initially screening you may have got a 'C' in the area that he is trying to diagnose.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Games We Play (and Updates)

I have my son fully equipped with a Playstation 2 and Xbox. He adores them. I have to limit his time on them or he'd play night and day. I've been told it's unhealthy, but I don't agree. He also reads avidly, and interracts pretty well with others. He is relatively athletic, and is taking karate. So, I don't have problems with his choice of recreation.

Now, I'm going to admit that I am still a kid. It's marvellous to have kids so that you can do kid-stuff without looking apologetically at all the stuffy adults around you. So we have lots of fun and laugh at the boring grownups and live our lives to the fullest while they are worried about how to cook the chicken for dinner. When I have to, I'm an adult. After all, someone has to clean the toilets occasionally. Life is large, and Martha Stewart isn't coming for a home inspection.

But when I try to explain to my son that I lived before there were computer games, Gameboy, and Playstation, he has a hard time comprehending it. When I was a kid, I could play for days on end with my best friend and never watch TV and never get bored. We had tons of plastic animals and made up elaborate storylines for them, full of kingdoms and adventures, and then acted them all out. We wrote stories, we drew, we played hopscotch, we climbed trees, we caught tadpoles, we played hide and seek in the neighborhoods (you can't let your kids do that here any more), we rode our bikes, went swimming, played with our animals, and beat up boys. We loved our weekends.

What did you do as a kid on the weekends back in those primitive days of yore?


Pie: I will get up some pictures of Pie very soon. But yesterday, when I had scheduled the modelling session, she had taken off.

I hunted high and low for her, and came to the conclusion that she had somehow got into the linen closet and gone through the little emergency door (there was a tiny crack where it wasn't all nailed down) and was curled up somewhere under the bathtub. I tried not to be frantic but when my friend Michelle called, she understood my worries despite the fact that she thinks I'm loony for having a baby possum. ;o)

I left out some yummy banana baby food for her, and found her peacefully curled up in her towel this morning. I guess she doesn't like 'roughing it.' I will try to get pics later today.

Ozma: Ozma's family still hasn't told her. They are reasoning that he slipped out of consciousness days ago, and there is no sense telling her until he's good and dead because there's nothing she could do anyway. I am not sure they're right, but am honoring the family's wishes. Ozma kept herself busy with housework yesterday and sounded very cheerful. She's an adorable person, someone anyone would treasure as a friend, and she's incredibly loyal. Everyone is tremendously fond of her, which is why we are all so worried.

I should add that her daughter (Jodi) is a very tough tomboy with a soft heart. She's 18 and I really like and respect this kid. When she was young (and was molested by this jerk) she did tell Ozma and Ozma's mom about it. But it was a time when they were all at odds, and Ozma and her mom thought that Jodi was just trying to make things worse. After that, Jodi clammed up and didn't speak of it to another soul until she told me about it when she turned 18. So don't be too quick in condemning Ozma for her disbelief. On the other hand, if I even suspected someone had molested my child, he would be missing his nuts.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


I usually post light and airy things on the weekend. Please forgive the seriousness of this topic. If you don't wish to read any further, check back tomorrow. But this is a topic that will affect me directly this weekend, because someone I know is dying and will probably be dead by the end of it. What makes it worse, in a way, is that I dislike him intensely, though I haven't wished any ill on him.

I have 3 to 4 really close friends. I'll tell you about them another time. It's Ozma that I am worried about today. I call her Ozma because she is a Wiccan/Catholic with eclectic beliefs and a deeply spiritual side. She has a magically magnetic personality. Her ex-fiance is dying this weekend of a cancer that has taken him quickly. He is young, and it is startling. Ozma still loves him very much.

I have told her honestly that if anyone deserves to die in agony, it is this evil man. He molested her daughter, he cheated on her and got another woman pregnant, and left her. Then he continued to toy with her for years afterward, even though he was married. I never approved of him, but she was always torn somehow. For years she didn't believe the abuse allegations but I am certain of them. Even now, she secretly questions it (I believe).

Is Ozma still in love with him? I don't know if she ever was, although she thinks she was (and is). I think she is in love with what she thought he was: But he was a cardboard facade concealing the man whose soul was rotting before his body was.

Although she knows he's dying, she doesn't know that he was taken off life support two days ago by his wife (though her family knows this). We went to tell her last night, but she wasn't there. Today they will break the news to her and we'll all do our best to keep her surrounded at all times. I hurt for her, but do not mourn for him. I feel somewhat conflicted. All I will be able to do is be with her, and hope that it's enough.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Children's Cancer Linked to Florida Power and Light (FPL)

According to an AP story released at 4:13 AM this morning, the families of two children in West Palm Beach are suing FPL because both boys have/had cancer due to FPL's mismanagement of radioactive waste.

One boy who was only 11 was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2000. The other died of brain cancer at the age of 13 in 2001. Both families point to the higher levels of strontium in the baby teeth of many of the children in the area, and cite a nuclear waste disaster in the 1970s that they blame for the problem.

What happened? Due to a plumbing mixup in the late 1970s, radioactive water was pumped into a nearby farm from the FPL power plant. It was used copiously in the fields, and was pumped daily from 1978 to 1980. From 1980 to 1982, radioactive sludge was dumped at the farm as fertilizer. When FPL discovered the problem, they reported it to the government immediately, they say. They went about cleaning it up entirely and claim that the entire mess was taken care of way before the boys were born.

There have been 29 cases of brain and central nervous system cancer in kids in St. Lucie County from 1981 to 1997. However, their local Health Department has found no pattern. I would like to know: if there is no pattern, is this type of childhood cancer common everywhere? Pattern or not, the evidence seems damning.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Heavy Metal Music & Saliva

When I was a teenager, I was a punk rocker. If and when I admit to that now, people stare at me incredulously. I am now well-groomed, wear tasteful accessories and business suits, and speak in full sentences. I'll walk by a Goth and say enviously (as I pass them) "Great outfit! I love it!" They probably wonder why someone who dresses like Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl would be admiring their "rebellious" costumes. They most likely think they're making an individual statement. What copycats.

A guilty pleasure that remains is my love of heavy metal music (although I like all types of music). I follow a lot of the latest bands and you can see me, jamming to The Gorillaz, on my way to a business appointment. One of my favorite groups is Saliva.

My friend Tony ("The Mouth of the South") used to go out of town regularly on business trips. He travelled the country and should've been recruited to write hotel reviews; he was an expert. One night he rolled into a large town late, and stopped at the nearest hotel where he had a reservation. Another guy was standing next to him, and they reached the counter at the same time. The other guy gave his name, only to find out that he wasn't registered, after all. Tony listened to the conversation as he was getting checked in. "Oh c'mon," pled the man. "You have to have something! We're the band Saliva, for god's sake!"

Tony couldn't stand it any more. "Oh you have got to be kidding," he snapped. "I've heard a lotta desperate b.s. in my life, but this is ridiculous. Like anyone would have a name as stupid as Saliva!" The guy didn't get his room.

When Tony came back into town, we went out to a nice dinner and he told me this story, laughing until he saw my face. "What?" he asked. "What?"

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Billboards I'd Like to See

Thanks to another blogger, I discovered It's a hysterical site; you should check it out. Here are some of my favorites:

Monday, August 08, 2005


Modelling is a family tradition that goes back generations. My mother and grandmother modelled also. Like them, I've never pursued it religiously because I've always answered the challenge of the mind. I despise women who get by on looks alone, or feel that they have a license to do whatever they want because they can get away with it. I think that most beautiful women never developed a personality or mind because they didn't have to. Cynical, but I dare you to disprove my theory.

I do know some beautiful women that actually have personalities, hearts and minds. But they're rare. (Michelle, who is a regular contributor in here and a personal friend of mine is one example of a beautiful woman who is balanced).

I started modelling when I was 15 years old. My first gig was with a major department store. Have you ever heard of Mannequin Modelling? (For more information on it, you can go here, just know I don't necessarily endorse everything on this site.) Anyway, you stand in the main store window, for everyone to see, as still as a mannequin. If you're really good, you'll attract crowds of people who will stand around staring at you - trying to figure out if you're real or not. I was the best in the group. I was able to stand perfectly still, hardly breathing or blinking, for long periods of time without a break.

People (especially teenage boys) would jump at you, slap the glass, or try to make you laugh. Again, if you were good you stared straight ahead - glazed eyes and aloof poise. I loved the challenge of it. When my time was over, I'd have people stop me in the mall and tell me incredulously that they almost couldn't believe I was real when they saw me in that window. I guess it was the prankster in me that took secret delight in having little old ladies walk by, pause, and do a double take; or had the satisfaction of knowing that no one had been able to shake me up.

I couldn't do it now, I just don't have the patience or time for it any more. I've had modelling agencies approach me to model full-time but I won't do it. Life is larger than modelling. I don't want to look back on my life with regret when I'm old.


Some of you may smoke, I don't know. If you do, you need to quit. I know it's not easy, but it's the agony that you will go through when you die, and the agony that you will put your loved ones through, that should motivate you now. I know. I've seen it first hand. (This includes pot, by the way, which is more carcinogenic than cigarettes. If you feel the need to enjoy illegal drugs, smoking is the worst avenue you can take.)

I've seen a woman die as I stood there, drawing her last rattling breath in front of me. You will never forget hearing The Death Rattle. It is a hideous, pervasive noise that fills an entire house. I've watched relatives and close family friends as they died, tortured, over a long period of time.

Please don't tell me that George Burns smoked till he was 100 and didn't die of lung cancer. I've heard it so often. George Burns is the exception, not the rule. There are always exceptions, but the odds are stacked against you.

I am so surprised and saddened to see how many teenagers are smoking. I never imagined that smoking would continue on in the new generations as it has. I thought that by now the only people left smoking would be the old diehards. I mourn for every family that has such a foolish teen in it. Their siblings (or possibly even their parents) will see the tragic results of their bad habit some day.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Really Bad Haiku

I had a professor once who would have us warm up before each class with a mini writing assignment. Let's try it here! Before blogging today, I want each of you to write at least one really bad haiku poem.

Haiku is easy. It doesn't have to rhyme, and it consists of three lines. The first is 5 syllables long, the second is 7, and the third is 5 again. Like this:

Steaming possum poop,
Smeared everywhere just because
I fed her dogfood.

(I had no idea that possums could get so irritated. I've spoiled Pie by feeding her gourmet salads. The vet warned me that she's smarter than a dog. She's training me well).


Tom Cruise is so nuts;
He needs anti-depressants
Worse than Brooke Shields does.


There once was a girl from Nantucket... Oh wait, that's a limerick.

Give it a try! Get those creative juices flowing!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Pranking the Parents, Part Deux

As you recall from an earlier post, my parents live an elegant, reserved life in an elegant, reserved house. For Christmas, they always decorate their home in an elegant, reserved way. They have a lovely Victorian Christmas tree, and hang a beautiful, custom-made wreath on their door. That's about the extent of their decorations.

When we were kids, we'd drive by those tacky Christmas Homes in awe. You know the ones I mean: Santa is on the roof with all of his reindeer, there's a nativity up front on the lawn, and the rest of the house looks like The North Pole; complete with fake candy canes, assorted glowing lawn ornaments, lights everywhere, and faux snow (in Florida you don't usually get the real stuff, of course).

Again, being the helpful daughter that I am, I decided we needed to help The Parents get in touch with their inner Christmas Child. So I began planning about 6 months in advance. I collected lights and lawn ornaments everywhere. I found some great deals at garage sales and thrift shops. I collected santas, reindeer, large glowing candles, I believe a penguin or two, and others. I also bought a large supply of extension cords.

Every year Mom and Dad throw the Perfect Christmas Party for their Perfect Friends (as you already know). Mom (being the Martha Stewart of Florida) always trots out a lovely assortment of made-from-scratch pastries and exotic foods. Dad, ever the genial host, entertains the guests in the Elegantly Reserved Living Room where the Perfect Christmas Tree stands. (I lived with them for 18 years and still don't know how they do it so effortlessly).

I needed a co-conspirator and suckered my ex-husband in on it again. My powers of persuasion are mighty! (Now if I could only use them on my new boss at work - he is oblivious to my charm). So, on the night of the Perfect Christmas Party, my ex and I snuck up to my parents home. The kitchen and living room were in the back, but we still were deathly quiet as we tiptoed and crawled around the lawn, carefully positioning lawn ornaments and stringing festoons of light everywhere.

There were a couple times that we froze, while people could be heard inside. But when the last lawn ornament was positioned, and the first guest was leaving, we plugged everything in and...

Voila! Everyone was treated to a Christmas Lawn Display that was so bright they needed sunglasses.

Although the guests were somewhat apprehensive, Mom and Dad were appropriately appreciative, and we got eggnog. Mom makes the Perfect Eggnog.

So if you wish to prank your parents this holiday season, now is the time to begin planning.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Brief Interlude

...and now, for a brief interlude...

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have had the busiest week in years, and have been unable to blog faithfully every morning. My apologies! Normal programming will resume shortly...

Some Items of Interest:

Local St. Pete police have revised their policy on handcuffing children. If a kid is under the age of 8, a supervisor will need to be called in before they can handcuff the Kid Out of Control (KOOC). This is due to the mess that happened last year (a 5 year old KOOC that had to be taken away in handcuffs).

I visited a client today who brings her dogs to work with her every day. She declared that she had an ex employee that she had to fire recently, but that she wasn't surprised...since the employee never took to her dogs. I suppose that's as good a litmus test as any!

It is scorchingly hot here right now. My drycleaners make a fortune on me. It's in the 90s, and humid, and is positively sweltering. The cicadas outside are making 'warm weather' noise. They get more verbal the hotter it gets. My entire backyard is buzzing with the sound.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Failure of NASA

As everyone has heard by now, NASA continues to have problems. The aging dinosaur cannot compete. It is a typical example of a government behemoth run amok. Instead of continuing to throw money at the problem, the government would have been much better off if they'd closed it and developed grants to private business ventures pursuing space travel.

It's been argued that private business would not be willing to finance anything that wasn't profitable, so trips to remote moons to collect specimens could become a thing of the past. And yet, if the government was willing to pay for it, I believe that they could still get to that remote moon using better technology at a fraction of the price: As long as they dissolved NASA.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Did You Ever Have a Day When...

1. You would prefer to have a wild cat rake you over with his claws and be dipped in a vat of grain alchohol rather than spend another moment at work?

2. You wanted to try that 3 Martini Lunch you'd always heard about?

3. The only way hot coffee would help would be if you could pour it all over a difficult client?

This was one of those days.