Monday, October 31, 2005


Frightening Thoughts For Adults

1) Why does the Virgin Mary only appear to Catholics? You never hear of her appearing to a group of Buddhist Monks, for instance. Imagine the confusion!

2) Why does my local bank have braille on it's drive-thru?

3) Why is it fashionable for teens to look like they're homeless and haven't bathed in a month? And are they actually attracted to each other? If so, why? Or does this follow the cockroach principal: We don't know how they are attracted to each other, but they must be, since they breed.

4) Do a check in your area if you have kids, to see where the child molesters are. Many places have websites that you can find out if there's a molester in your area. There's one in mine, and he likes little boys. Then check with your police department to find out your ordinances. Here, it is illegal for child molesters to have their lights on tonight, or have any Halloween decorations outside.


Saturday, October 29, 2005


OK everyone! It's the weekend, and you know what that means! Yup! It's time for the group story! In the spirit of Halloween, we're going to do a scary story.

The Rules

As always, please keep any bad language to a minimum (as you remember, there are kids who read this particular post). And don't forget to pick up the story where the last person left off. If you accidentally post at the same time someone else did, whoever gets published first is the one who has continued the story. So, if you end up publishing at the same time and you've come in second, take the challenge and re-write (it doesn't happen often).


The van pulled up to the curb and 5 people spilled out. They were young and exuberant, laughing at something (perhaps a joke). The driver was still jangling his keys as they looked about.

"What a quaint old town!" said a girl in the group. She was petite and pretty; a redhead with a generous sprinkling of freckles across the bridge of her nose.

There weren't many people on the street, but it was still early in the evening and the streetlights had just turned on. As an elderly person scuttled by them, he scowled. "Hey, excuse me!" shouted the girl. "Can you help us?"

The man halted reluctantly, and turned to them.

"Um, can you tell us where there's a good diner here?" asked the girl.

"Nope. And if you know what's good for you, you'll get out of this place," he hissed as he turned to go.

"Whoa there, fella!" said the driver, grabbing him by his arm. "Oh Steve, let him go," sighed the redhead.

"No, Tracy," said Steve stubbornly. "Stay out of this. Look, old man... I don't know where you learned your manners, but that's no way to speak to a lady." The man angrily shook off Steve's hand and said "Lady? Looks like a two-bit tramp to me!"

Tracy's jaw dropped. Behind her, her companions tried to stifle their giggles. "How'd he figure that out so fast?" whispered one of them. Tracy whirled on her. "Shut it, Lisa!" she snapped.

What happened next came incredibly fast. Steve grabbed for the man again, who suddenly seemed to grow in stature. The man also reached for Steve, and pulled him in towards himself. His mouth opened wide showing not one, but two jagged rows of sharp teeth. As he spun Steve around, he simultaneously put him in a headlock and began to tear into his throat. Steve screamed in inhuman agony.

At first the group stood there in shock. Then Tracy started toward Steve. One of the men behind her grabbed her and yanked her back. "No, Tracy," he shouted. "It's too late! Let's get outta here!"

Tracy looked, and realized he was right. Steve was obviously beyond help. "Omigodomigod!" she sobbed in fright.

"Get back in the van!" another man yelled.

"Wait a minute!" yelled Lisa. "Steve has the car keys!"

"Get in the van anyway," Tracy screeched, panicked. "We can lock the doors!" They scrambled into the van, falling over each other in their attempt to get in and get the doors closed.

Once they were inside, and the doors were locked, one of the men said "Look, everyone. Listen to me! That is some freaky sh*t that just happened. We're obviously either in some nightmare, or in the middle of a real-life horror movie. We need to be prepared for whatever it is. If life imitates art, then there are some rules that all horror movies follow. First..."

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Verbal Abuser

One day I was shopping with my boyfriend's daughter, "Bugs", at the Burlington Factory Store. We 'needed' shoes, and she is always begging for matching mother-daughter outfits, so we figured we'd shop around a little. As we were browsing in the shoe department, we heard a man yelling.

We peered around the edge of one of the aisles, and saw a family with a shopping cart. The baby was sitting in the actual cart itself, and a little girl (no more than 3 years old) was standing in the cart with tears in her eyes, while the man yelled at her at the top of his lungs.

He was showing extreme aggression: his body tensed, hands clenched, and he was only a couple inches from her face. Her mother stood behind the cart, showing from her body language that she was both terrified and embarrassed. She glanced about nervously at the people who were leaning into the aisle, watching the scene.

"How would you like it?" he screamed. "What if I yanked you right out of the cart by your arm? I might rip your shoulder out of its socket! You should never do that to your baby brother! I should f*cking teach you a lesson! I should do it!!!" I need to add that the baby was laying there peacefully, watching the whole proceedings with wide-open eyes, so apparently whatever she did was hardly traumatic to him.

The little girl stood there, trembling with tears coursing down her cheeks. I sighed. Another *sshole. I almost said "C'mon, let's go back," to Bugs until I saw her face. She was stricken. She had never seen such verbal abuse. He kept ranting and raving.

That's when I made my decision. "Come with me," I told her. I marched up to the man, and said loudly "Take it outside. You're being verbally abusive to your daughter, and I don't need my child subjected to this!"

He turned in wonder and stared at me. His wife also stared, her eyes growing even larger. The entire department store was silent except for their little girl, who was breathing in deep, jerky sobs.

"What did you f*cking say to me?!" he snarled.

"I said take it outside!" I said even louder. "I'll give you a head start before I call the cops! This is unacceptable behavior!" I turned to his wife. "And if he treats his daughter like that, he probably treats you like garbage too," I told her. "You need to stick up for your kids!"

He clenched his fist and bowed his chest out at me. "Why I outta..." he began.

"Go ahead!" I yelled. "Hit me instead and see how fast I'll have you thrown in jail. Go on! I dare you! Do it! Otherwise, get your sorry *ss out of here. We don't need to hear your mouth!"

Bugs watched with her mouth hanging open. Oh yes, I have a temper, but I use it judiciously. Hey, I was a tomboy who grew up with brothers. There is little that I fear. And I know this: when you confront a bully, he dries up and slinks on to the next person who won't call his bluff. Usually.

"You b*tch," he growled.

"Yup," I agreed, "that's me! Now get out of here! I'm calling the cops in 5 minutes, and there are plenty of witnesses in here. I'm betting you don't want that kind of trouble, right?"

Muttering under his breath, he said roughly "C'mon!" to his wife, and they started away. He cast a glance over his shoulder at me. I stood there, staring right back at him. He turned, and they left.

I turned to Bugs. "Never let a man treat you or your children that way," I said. "Never."

"Wow!" was all she could say. She'd never seen me do anything like that. She got a quirky grin on her face.

Other people who had witnessed the exchange snuck into the aisle. "Are you OK?" asked a man.

"I'm fine, actually," I said, which was partially true. I was shaking a bit from the adrenaline rush. But I wondered why, out of all of these people, I was the only one who had been courageous enough to say that enough was enough. Why is it that there are so many sheep, and not enough shephards?

I walked up the aisle a couple minutes later to make sure the family had left, and the store personnel assured me that they'd gone immediately. I hope that I made that mother think for once, but I doubt it. In fact, I was lucky she didn't turn on me, too. That is typical in situations of domestic abuse.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Tidbits: Can You Believe This?


WalMart, a company that keeps getting sued by it's employees for various types of discrimination, is ripe for another lawsuit.

An internal memo sent to the company's board of directors has surfaced that outlines a plan to get rid of aging and unhealthy employees in order to keep their healthcare costs down!

And you thought Mr. Smiley was just a nice guy, trying to get you the best prices possible. Incidentally, WalMart is the same company that is continually accused of going into a marketplace, driving the small businesses out by undercutting their prices, and then once the Mom & Pop businesses are gone, they raise their prices again.

I don't shop there. Do you? You might want to think about it.

Janet Jackson Issues Denial

Janet says she doesn't have this 18 year old kid running around. Where are the reporters? It's easy enough to tell! Does her sister have a daughter named Renee who's 18 and sings like a bird? I mean, there must be some record of her, unless she was raised in an ivory tower. Instead, they're busy printing denials. Are reporters only pretty mouthpieces?

Newspaper Asks: Was Florida Ready?

Of course it was ready! Well, it was as ready as Florida could get. I mean, c'mon here! If someone wasn't prepared by now then they deserved to get blown away. Sorry! We can't wring our hands over people that choose to stand in the middle of a highway in front of a Mac truck!

P.S. After I wrote this I got a call from a good client of mine in Miami, who didn't get a generator, and is now without power. She has two 9 year old twin girls and they are miserable. So, despite all my tough talk, I'll probably be driving that generator down to her this weekend. :P I'm a sucker for a hard-luck story.

Pop N' Lock

To put a smile on your face, go to my friend Eddo's blog and click on the link to see an incredibly fun music video.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Prison Reform Needed

Today the St. Petersburg Times (the #1 newspaper in the Tampa Bay Area) broke a story about how a former inmate is suing Prison Health Services Inc. (PHS) for the terrible neglect she suffered while she was in Hillsborough County Jail. As a result, she lost her eyesight. Another woman is suing PHS because as a result of their neglect, her baby died. Both stories appear to be very genuine. If you read the article, you will be shocked.

The article also mentions that "A yearlong examination of Prison Health Services by the New York Times published this year revealed repeated instances of flawed and sometimes fatal medical care in other parts of the country."

It would be nice to say that these are the exceptions. But while we focus our attention on the atrocities overseas, we would also be wise to look backwards into our own backyards.

Interestingly enough, if you do a Google on prison reform, you don't come back with many American organizations, although there are plenty of them in the UK. Perhaps Americans still have enough of a Puritanical bent that they believe all prisoners "get what they deserve." But we also need to remember that there are many inmates who go to prison for a non-violent crime such as theft, but receive the death penalty instead.

Those of you who've grown to know me over this last year know that I'm no whining, liberal sissy. But I have heard many stories from inmates' mouths about the atrocities that they suffered in prison. These are men and women who are trying to do the right thing now, and stay out of prison. Some of the stories will curl your hair.

"Why not go public with this?" I have asked. "Are you kidding?" they've said. They fear the repercussions from the guards or inmates, because they can reach you even if they're behind bars. Or, if these former inmates end up back in prison again, their lives will be worthless. Why take the chance? You're out already!

I have heard of one man who was simply despised. He was immature, young, and whiny. One night a group of men attacked him and took turns raping him, despite his cries and screams for help. The guards are often bribed to look the other way. And the guards are scared, too. Thankfully, I am told that despite what Hollywood films indicate, there are very few rapes. However, any rape is one rape too many.

Another story is of the first day a bus of inmates arrived at a Florida prison. This is when the guards want to "make an example" of someone. They singled out a large man who was not even openly defiant, and beat him to death in front of everyone's eyes. Later, when a hearing was convened, all the prisoners were warned to say nothing. They knew if they ratted the guards out, there was no prison they could be transferred to that would keep them safe. The case was dropped. I believe his death was ruled an 'accident'. I wonder what the coroner had to say about that.

Drug rings exist in every prison. Guards are either paid to participate or keep their mouths shut. Many guards are users, too.

What are the solutions? Constant surveillance? But who's guarding the guards? And can they be bought or threatened?

If public outcry grows strong enough, prison reform will happen. But right now, those who are most believable are the ones that are keeping their mouths shut.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Shallow Janet Jackson & James DeBarge

In another example of just how screwed up the Jackson family is, another family secret is out. Today it was announced that Janet Jackson secretly had a daughter at age 18 with her then husband, James DeBarge. Their daughter, Renee, is 18 now and has been raised by Janet's sister. During those 18 years, Janet has been flitting in an out of relationships and music deals. (Don't ask me about James; I don't have a clue). Please don't tell me that because they are celebrities they are special and should be held to lower standards.

Was this better than aborting the baby? Yes! Could they have adopted the baby out? Sure! But how about a good old-fashioned sense of responsibility? The press is chortling about this one, as if a ming vase was suddenly discovered in a garage sale. Instead, they should be discussing the failings of a society that produced two shallow stars who felt that stardom was such an important goal that they would keep marriages and children secret from the American public.*

If they were poor and starving, I can understand giving the child away to a home where she could be cherished. But both had the money to afford nannies, and Janet obviously has extended family to help. It wouldn't have cramped their style! Please don't point out that they didn't want the child. This is obvious! But I'm practical enough to tell you that this is not an excuse, either.

Of course, this is the same society that pays illiterate sports figures millions, and throws chump change at our teachers. And we wonder why jobs are being sent overseas and our kids are less educated than ever before. We need to get our priorities straight. We need to demand accountability again. And we need to be shocked when people don't behave responsibly, instead of celebrating.

P.S. In the interest of fairness, I should add that these allegations are made by one of the DeBarge brothers. However, sources believe the allegations to be true. How do you like that? I love citing sources. It sounds so impressive. I'm sure that's why half of the reporters out there love saying that.

* Janet kept a later marriage secret for many years.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Doctors: Just What Did Their Transcripts Read?

I've always wondered when I get a new doctor: Did he or she get a 'C' in med school in my area of need, or did they ace that particular subject?

For instance, I have a close family member that has had prostate cancer twice. After his first bout, he watched his blood levels carefully, and charted them. When he saw an increasing rise in his results, he flagged the doctor. However, the doctor told him not to worry about it. When my relative insisted on being further tested, the doctor sighed and told him that he would humor him, but there was no evidence that the cancer had returned. The test results came back and guess what? It had returned. If he had been left to the tender care of the doctor, my relative would be pushing up daisies by now. And this is a doctor that is respected in our large metropolitan area.

Then, of course, you've heard of all the mistaken surgeries, haven't you? You haven't? Well, in the early 90s, the doctors at a hospital within 2 miles of the University of Florida kept messing up. One person went in needing a leg removed, but got the other one removed instead. Two for the price of one, you might say. The same thing happened with a woman who was in to have one breast removed, but the other one was taken instead. Still another one involved someone having a hand removed, and guessed it... two for the price of one. These SNAFUs were reported regularly in the newspaper until someone finally got motivated to do something about it and the hospital began to crack down on their staff. How would you have liked to have been one of the last ones, because no one was motivated enough to do anything about it until after your turn had come?

I used to tell my husband that if I were bleeding to death in front of his very eyes, he was to take me to the other hospital which was much further away. I figured I'd stand a better chance.

I've had increasing neck pain for over 6 years. The first doctor I went to (my GP) told me I was too much of a type 'A' and should relax a little. He prescribed mild sedatives.

When the pain got bad enough, I went to a chiropractor. When he did an x-ray as a precursor to treatment, he came in white-faced and told me to get dressed. He said he refused to do any treatment on me until I had had an MRI and referred me back to my original doctor.

When I got to my original doctor, he sneered a bit. Chiropractors, you know... the closest thing to modern witchdoctors. That is, until he popped the X-ray up on the lightscreen and stopped talking. That's when I got sent for my MRI.

After that, I got a rash of treatments: cortisone injections in my neck, stronger muscle relaxants, physical therapy, referral to an osteopathic surgeon. This all took place over a number of years, because no one really took my pain seriously. I guess I'm a little too understated for my own good. Grabbing the doctor by the throat and screaming in agony probably would've worked.

The osteopath ordered more tests, and I got all sorts of MRIs, catscans, and whatnot. But whenever I went back and complained of the pain, he ordered me for more useless physical therapy.

I finally called my new GP and asked for a referral to someone who was reputed to be excellent. I showed up in his offices only to be referred for a discogram (which I've discussed earlier in my blog). Up until then, no one had bothered to tell me about this little test, which shows exactly what is wrong with the disks in the neck.

6 years later, and we now know the source of the pain: I have three cracked disks that require surgery. Wouldn't it have been nice to have discovered this years ago, before my quality of life had been severely impacted?

Thank you for listening. This is the end of my tirade.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

It Came From Outer Space

It's the weekend, and time for our group story! As usual, please keep your contributions as clean as possible, as kids read this particular post. And don't forget to pick up where the last contributor left off!

It Came From Outer Space

"Joe, you really gave her a price that was too low," complained Pete. Joe casually leaned out of the driver's side window and spit. He started up the old truck. "Naw," said Joe. "I was fair about it, that's all."

"Fair?" snorted Pete. "You practically said you'd do it for free."

"I don't believe in taking candy from babies, or more than I need from little old ladies," said Joe succinctly.

"Well it ain't right," said Pete, slumping back in his seat. "How're we gonna make a living if you're always giving everyone rock-bottom prices?" Then he paused. "God gawd," he said. "There sure is a helluvalotta dust up ahead!"

Joe nodded. "Roll your window up so we don't choke on it," he instructed. In another moment they were in the thick of the dust cloud. Joe slowed down considerably.

"I hate living in the desert," complained Pete. "It's always so damned dusty! I feel like I'm caked in dust from morning till night."

"Just cuz you're my brother doesn't mean I won't slap you silly," said Joe. "Shaddup. I'm driving, here."

Suddenly out of the dust loomed a massive rock. Joe slammed on his brakes, and the old truck began to skid, protesting all the way. They came to a stop, only feet from the bolder. "What the...?" Joe began.

"It's a meteor, Joe!" exclaimed Pete. "A goddurned meteor!"

"Well, it's sitting in my path," stated Joe, Master of the Obvious. "How're we gonna get around it?"

"Don't worry about that," said Pete excitedly. "I'll bet it's finders-keepers! This is a huge one! Maybe we could sell it!"

Friday, October 21, 2005


Why is it that the majority of our storms are hurricanes, not himicanes? When I was a kid in the 70s (yeah, yeah - now you know I'm 30something) they started using men's names for hurricanes because it was suddenly deemed sexist to name brutal storms after women only.

But here we are, in 2005, and I've noticed a disturbing pattern: most of the terribly destructive hurricanes have female names!

So, I've hit upon a plan. I think we stop giving these storms any female names whatsoever and perhaps that will discourage them. I also think that we need more interesting names, so we can watch those annoying TV personalities choke over them. I suggest:

CoCo Chanel
Jemima Puddleduck
Walla Walla

(All but a couple are real words, but who cares?) They can call me next year for a new list. I'll be happy to supply them.

Can you see a perky little anchor woman trying to put on her serious frowny-face and say "Hurricane Snugglebunnies is bearing down on the Florida coast..." And you know the type of reporter who has "Intrepid" as his title, as in "Intrepid John Smith of ABC News"? Well, imagine Intrepid John Smith out there in the gusting wind, talking about how Hurricane Iggypop is causing massive storm surges.

The hurricane (or should I say himicane) would be so humiliated it would just dry up and slink away to another corner of the earth, where it might be given a decent name. Of course, it might not, but at least we'd be entertained as it ravaged us.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Space Aliens

Several years ago, I consulted a man on how to publish his manuscript. In fact, he gave me a signed copy of the thing and it's somewhere around here, but who knows where I've tucked it away or if it ever got published by anyone. It didn't interest me at all.

You see, it was all about his encounters with extra-terrestrials and also had the stories of other survivors of such encounters. His wife was with him at our meeting also, and she was as earnest as he was about the whole thing. So why wasn't I more impressed? I just remain highly skeptical that most people have truly experienced such an encounter. And the manuscript was badly written, may I add.

Michelle and I were talking about UFOs this weekend. There's no doubt in my mind that many people have seen something that can't be explained away easily as experimental planes. Let's face it; we weren't exactly neanderthals in the 1950s when a rash of sightings occurred. Those people had seen their share of earthly airplanes and whatnot. As Michelle pointed out, it's not easy to explain away all the stories about Area 51.

My ex-mother-in-law is the most staid, dull, factual person I've ever met. This woman has no imagination whatsoever and is the soul of practicality. But many years ago, she confided in me that she had seen a UFO in the 1940s. That took me by surprise. She was functional, sane in all other aspects, and didn't have the ability to cook up such a story. She also was truthful to a fault (being a born-again Christian) and almost never told this story to people for fear of appearing either a liar or just plain nuts.

My ex-Mother-in-Law's Story: She was a farm girl, who had been walking through a field when she tripped and fell. Turning over to get up, she saw an unbelievably huge object hovering directly above her. Then it took off and zigzagged at an impossibly fast rate across the sky and disappeared over the horizon.

Now, some people say UFOs are the product of diseased minds or wishful thinking. I don't think she qualifies in either category. Some born-again Christians say there is room in their belief system for UFOs, others say they could be demons just messing with people's minds. Other people actually believe it's possible, and some believe it's probable. As I've mentioned before, my assistant believes wholeheartedly in UFOs. I do have to say, in the interest of objective reporting, that although I love her dearly she is a wee bit eccentric.

I don't know what to believe, but I am pretty certain that if aliens exist, they're not doing some of these silly little encounters that people like to relate. I mean, if you were a space alien, would you? Of course, that's assuming all space aliens are of a scientific mindset. They could simply be frat boys, pranking the rubes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I haven't talked about the band 727 before. I guess it's because I'm very close friends with one of the guys in the band, and I didn't want it to seem like bragging. I also didn't want to appear to be a gushing 'follower' or an idiotic groupie, because these guys have serious talent. They're so good that they recently signed with a famous promoter.

If you click on the 727 link, you'll hear the song "Killing My Sunshine." Once you hear it (even if you don't like alternative music), you'll understand why they are about ready to explode onto the national scene. You can also see where they're playing, and read a couple articles on them. And if you go see them, chances are that I'll be there too.

They're playing at Guavaween this year, which is really exciting because Guavaween is huge here. Think Mardi Gras, and you've got the concept.

They also do a free guitar give-away periodically, but you've gotta be present to win so that lets some of you out. I think that's a pretty cool gimmick!

This area has churned out some top-notch musicians, including Jim Morrison of the Doors (one of my older friends grew up with him and remembers Jim crashing on his couch on the weekends). Creedence Clearwater Revival also came from (obviously) Clearwater. Other talent came from here or ended up living in this area (like Tom Petty and the Hearbreakers, The Bellamy Brothers, Hulk Hogan, John Travolta, a couple guys from famous 'Boy Bands', etc.) And if you go further south, you can add at least half of everyone in the music scene, including Jimmy Buffet. So, I think these guys have a good shot at making it, don't you?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

My Brother in Okinawa

My brother is a Marine. Because I don't reveal any real names in my blog, let's call him Paco. No, we're not hispanic. It's his childhood nickname. I probably should call him something fiercer, since he's a marine and all...

Anyway, Paco moved to Okinawa several months ago. He's 5 years younger than I am, so of course when he called me today I had to be the annoying big sister and tell him how cute he was when he was 3 years old (he really was adorable, though!). Now he's a tall, handsome lanky muscular guy. We also caught each other up on our lives. He'll be reading this blog from now on (I forgot to mention it to him before) so perhaps he'll contribute to it too, if he isn't too busy.

Paco told me all about the island. It's as beautiful and warm as Florida, he told me, and the beaches are gorgeous. There are also a lot of mixed families there, because color isn't really seen as much of a barrier. However, the Japanese government encourages prostitutes from the Phillipines so the Marines will leave the Japanese girls alone (I'm sure that's not on any of the tourist websites). Paco says many of the Marines go to Thailand for their prostitutes also, where AIDS and other horrible sexual diseases run rampant. You would think that whole market would've dried up the moment AIDS appeared on the scene, wouldn't you?

Here's a couple of pictures of their fabulous beaches. Clearwater, Florida, has one of the top beaches in the nation. Our sugar-fine sand is spectacular. But this definately rivals Clearwater's beach.
Paco also says the restaurants and the foods are incredible. Our version of a Japanese Steak House in America is nowhere near as marvellous as the real thing. Over there they have elaborate presentations which include fileting the meat at the table. Paco told me what that type of restaurant is called, and I even wrote it down, but I can't find it now.

He says he may stay for another year. Although I will miss him, I really can't blame him.

Of course I worry about him going to war. As many of you know, I don't think we belong over in Iraq anymore (although I'm a moderate Republican). We've done our job, and we're not the world's policemen. I don't think we're 'betraying' our troops by saying that the government should call it off. The government is quick to accuse us of such a thing so that they can continue with their campaign, unchallenged. I haven't fallen for that, and I hope you haven't either. Of course I should add that Paco may or may not agree with me; this is my blog, and I alone am responsible for that sentiment.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Miss Florida Teen All American

CORRECTION: I wrote the post below before I discovered that she had been Miss Florida Teen All American a couple of years ago. Because they enter each year, these girls may lose the title one year and regain it the next. The really confusing part is, there are so many pageants I don't know how anyone can remember who has what title.

I recently had the business opportunity to meet for a couple hours with one of the recent runners up for Miss Florida Teen. Michelle was kind enough to watch the kids. Since our kids get along so great (what a blessing) it was easier for her (I hope). While they were off shopping for Halloween costumes, I was meeting with this debutante. Isn't she lovely?

What surprised me was how genuine she was. She is not a snob (her mother is the most down-to-earth person that I've met in a long time) and she is very bright and artistic.

Because of where life has taken me, I've met many models and celebs in my lifetime, and some can be annoyingly self-centered. The ones that are genuine get there because they are driven to succeed. It's not exactly an ego-thing. It's more of this constant itch to top whatever you did last time.

This girl has the itch. I think she'll go far.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


OK, it's the weekend. It's become traditional to have a group story over the weekend. However, last weekend the story dried up. Let's give it another try this weekend, and if it doesn't go anywhere, I'll cut back to maybe once every other weekend or once a month (let me know what you think).

As always, the rules are: 1. Please keep the language as clean as you can. Remember, there are kids that read this particular post. 2. Pick up the story where the last entry left off. 3. Get creative!

Today we're travelling to the Old West. I grew up on Zane Grey and loved his stories (until I grew older and realized how chauvenistic his writings were). I still love re-reading some of his old stories, though I choke a bit over his prose. So in the spirit of Zane Grey, let the story begin!


The horseman at the top of the ridge reigned his horse in. He sat there, contemplating the town below. If a passerby had seen him, he would have noticed the strongly set mouth and the determined eyes with a hint of steel in their color.

He had journeyed many miles to get to this destination, and it showed. The dust of many weeks of travel hung heavily on him...

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Biker Babe

I have an unusual job. It has me doing a multitude of things. Multi-tasking? Nah. Multi-tasking is for wimps. Look at it as a juggler who has 100 balls up in the air at one time, and he's got them in a loop-de-loop. The problem is, it's very complex and you can drop a ball at any time if you're not careful. And that may effect all the other balls, too. It's a nightmare.

When I left to start my own business, I thought it would get easier. Instead, it just got a great deal harder because word spread that I was leaving and I was inundated by people who wanted to do business with me. I've made arrangements to give my assistant more hours starting next week. She is not The Biker Babe, by the way. She's a peaceful buddhist with a sweet temperment and good phone personality. But, this is about The Biker Babe. So, let me return to my story:

I went to a new client's house the other day. I hadn't met her before. I'd talked to her on the phone, though, and had summed her up as a tough lady with a grating accent. I pictured her as an older woman, chubby, with badly bleached hair with 2" roots. You know how you form a picture of someone before you see them? Come to think of it, I wonder what you see me as. Very few of you know what I look like. I can't put my pic up because there are too many wackos out there.

Anyway, I got to her house, and there she was: petite, cute, with short pretty blond hair - chainsmoking like a fiend. She was wearing tight denim jeans and a cut-off black biker shirt and boots. I get along with almost anyone, so she told me a lot while I was spending a couple hours with her (I wish Michelle had been with me, she enjoys studying people). I have always been a 'father confessor'. People end up telling me everything, for some reason.

"Yeah," she said (honestly), "I'm a tramp. I love sleeping around. If my boyfriend's outta town, I'd better not end up at the local bar or I'll be in someone else's bed. But I'm a mean drunk and I carry a switchblade. We got into a fight the other day, and my boyfriend called me a c*nt. I've never been called that before in my life. So, I cut him."

"You cut him?" I asked, clarifying this.

"Yup," she said, taking a long cool drag off her cigarette. "Sliced him about two inches along on his side. Taught him a lesson." She indicated how long the cut was with her fingers spread apart.

Interesting. People like this intrigue me. I always dig as deep as I can to see what is at the root of their dysfunction. Call it a keen interest with the psychology of the mind, or call it just plain unwholesome fascination.

"Hmm," I said non-committedly. I do counseling, and I've learned how to hmm with the best of them.

By the end of it, she told me that she was a born-again Christian who was very backslidden, an alcoholic, drug-user, violent, molested repeatedly as a child and had been raped multiple times throughout her life. If I had more time with her, I could tell her exactly what was motivating her to lead the life she was living, and I'd be able to tell her what she would need to do to change it. But that was not what I was there for and I had not been asked for help.

How much of her story was true? I'd say about 80% of it. I've encountered women like this before. It's a typical personality profile for a prostitute, for instance. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that she turned tricks at one time, and may have served time in jail. That would likely be when she 'became' a born-again Christian. Prison 'conversions' are common and last usually between 30-90 days after the convict is released (except for sporadic returns to it when in need).

Most people who want to help women like this have no true understanding of what they're dealing with. They think that if you take the woman out of the situation she's in, she'll be fine.

What they don't realize is that you can take the woman out of the ghettos, but you can't usually take the ghettos out of the woman.

This type of woman will be busy repeating her problems until she keels over or is killed by someone. Why? Because she lacks the motivation to control herself. Until she takes responsibility for her own actions, she will never conquer them.

I will never say anything conclusively. But I will say objectively that this woman stands an excellent chance of being dead within 10 years. 20, if she's lucky. She is a ticking time-bomb, and there are a lot of people out there that can light her fuse.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Polanco's Challenge & Pod Coffee

We are all playing games this week. I was tagged by Dddragon, and in turn I tagged 5 unfortunate victims; one of them was Polanco. She challenged me to use this sentence in a blog: ”I had intended to take my kids with me (it's rated PG-13) but I am so glad that I decided to check it out first.”

Now, I could cheat and say that I just used it and continue on. But, I am rising to the challenge.

The Life and Times of Bill Clinton

”I had intended to take my kids with me (it's rated PG-13) but I am so glad that I decided to check it out first.”

...OK, nuff said.

Pod Coffee

Where have I been??? I have discovered the joys of Pod Coffee. Do you know what it is? It's basically coffee in tea bags, glorified by a savvy marketing department, which makes it possible to effortlessly brew only one cup of coffee at a time.

For anywhere from $20 to $300, you can buy a Pod Coffee machine, select the coffee(s) of your choice, and you are in Coffee Nirvana.

After doing a lot of homework (and reading many articles in I settled on the Gevalia Kaffe Pod Offer. Because it's Gevalia, and it's gourmet coffee, it has to be spelled differently than Americans spell it. But for only $30, you get 4 different varieties of specialty coffee pods (your pick) and a matching machine (worth $70).

OH, the rapture of it all! This is incredible coffee. Just as there are wine connoisseurs, there are coffee afficianados. These coffee snobs turn their noses up at Folgers (I read one of them comparing Folgers to beer. I assume he liked wine, but perhaps he was a Jack Daniels kinda guy) But you know what? They were right about Gevalia. This is good stuff!

So if you are home alone as much as I am, where you don't want to brew an entire pot of coffee for only you, try the Gevalia Kaffe Pod Offer. That is, unless you can afford this incredible machine by Tassimo for $170. Click on the System Demo button at the bottom left of the page, and be prepared to be wowed. Make sure you have your speakers on, too. You also might want to check out this series of machines.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Saur's Top 10 Reasons Why Heavy Metal is Better Than Rap

1. It takes a real man to sing about gouging his own eyes out. Only wimps with low self-esteem talk about how big their d*cks and their bank accounts are.

2. Heavy metal singers follow a tune. They may sing in a raspy voice, but at least they sing.

3. Heavy metal bands write their own music and aren’t lazy enough to ‘sample’ from songs out of the past.

4. Heavy metal bands usually pride themselves on being intelligent.
Angst-ridden, but intelligent. Rappers pride themselves on their lack of intelligence.

5. Heavy metal bands write better lyrics than rappers do. But if you’re limited to talking about the size of your d*ck and your bank account, maybe you wouldn’t be able to write quality lyrics, either.

6. Heavy metal bands have cool names like Saliva, Dysrhymthia, and 727. Rappers have names that sound like things kindegardners call each other.

7. Heavy metal bands don’t hunt each other down and kill each other like dogs. And most heavy metal musicians haven’t served time in prison. Well... if they have it wasn’t for killing a fellow heavy metal musician.

8. Most heavy metal musicians don’t wear gold caps on their teeth.

9. Most heavy metal music uses English as it’s primary language.

And the Number 1 Reason Heavy Metal is better than Rap:

10. Heavy metal bands have hot groupies who wear leather. Rappers have ho's and bitches.

I’ve Been Tagged!

Dddragon has tagged me.

1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same.

My 23rd post was on June 30, 2005 (I have a couple blogs and wasn’t blogging daily in this one till June) titled War of the Worlds: Don’t Bother.

The fifth sentence was:

”I had intended to take my kids with me (it's rated PG-13) but I am so glad that I decided to check it out first.”

Wow, this is as bad as those emails that make you feel guilty if you don’t play along! At least Dddragon didn’t tell me I’d lose my toenails if I didn’t tag 5 other people! OK, I’m going to tag:

Mr. Gator
The Lazy Iguana

Let the plague spread! Mwahahahaha…

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Weeki Wachee Mermaids Music Video

Supergrass/Mermaids Video
Save Our Tails

Most people who live in Florida are aware of our mermaids. But those of you out of our state have probably never experienced them.

Weeki Wachee is a unique town. It has beautiful, crystal clear springs that are nice and cool (72 degrees) even in Florida's muggy 90+ degree heat during the summers. The spring is so deep that the opening has never been found.

You can spend an afternoon tubing (unless you have a short attention span like *I* do) or play in a small waterpark, or get a boat and idle down the river. If you like cave diving, this is the place to do it. The underwater views are breathtaking.

But best of all, Weeki Wachee has mermaids.

In the late 1940s, an ex-Navy Seal discovered the springs at Weeki Wachee. He decided to build an attraction there. He recruited beautiful girls and trained them to wear costumes and breathe underwater, performing water ballet and other tricks. They could (and can) eat and drink underwater while juggling an airhose, and do it gracefully. They represent all the magic that we long so desperately for.

From the time I was a very little girl, I was enchanted by the mermaids. I used to beg my family to drive me to Weeki Wachee to see them. We sat in an old, dark theater with cement floors and thick, heavy floor-to-ceiling curtains. Someone would come out and speak about the mermaids and I would shift about restlessly, waiting for them to shut up and step away so the curtains could go up and the magic be revealed.

The theater would go dark, the curtains would part, and there in front of the audience was a panoramic underwater view of a massive natural area with steep walls of rock dappled with light. In the center of our view were the beautiful mermaids with glittering tails and smiles, waving to us before they began the show. I would be so excited, I would get teary.

I was very impressed with the one who could eat the banana underwater. Looking back, I assume many of the men were, too. I also adored how they could do complete head-over-heels loops so gracefully and I practiced it many times at home, until I could also do it.

Years later, I took a group of us up to Weeki Wachee and we again experienced the mermaids. Now they no longer perform tricks and ballet. Instead, they perform plays, using balletic movements. It is still as enchanting, and more sophisticated than it had to be for an audience of the 1970s.

However, Weeki Wachee is a town that is away from the mainstream. It's not near Orlando, Tampa, or Miami (the main cities) and therefore it doesn't have a large support group. Recently, it was announced that they might have to close. Public outcry was immediate. Those of us who grew up with the mermaids were shocked to realize that this tradition might not continue.

So a group was formed to 'Save Our Tails'. Until now, this was only important to Floridians. But a group called Supergrass discovered the mermaids, and produced a video for and about them. The music is great and the footage is fascinating. Click on the link above to see it. And, if you can, donate a little something to our mermaids or write to them and ask how you can help. And while you're at it, check out the roster of their beautiful mermaids.

P.S. I just discovered that Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid was filmed there. My mom loves this movie. I wonder if she knows?

Monday, October 10, 2005

I Win an Award

Because it's important that I retain my anonymity, I can't disclose too much. However, I wanted to share this with you: I just won a major literary award! I'm very excited about it.

What Would You Like to See?

It seems that many of you are losing interest in the weekend story format, so I will go back to my regular, daily format again. However, feel free to continue to add to the story throughout the week! Would you like to see that story format once a month instead? What would you like to see?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The House

It's October. If you've noticed, every TV station is ramping up for Halloween. There are trailers for every scary movie ever made, and even the TV shows are featuring Halloween themes. So, in the spirit of Halloween, let's write our own scary story. I've always been partial to haunted house themes.

Remember, as always, keep the language as clean as possible (kids read this) and try to keep the blatant sexual innuendos to a minimum. Remember to pick up the story where the last person left off. This story will go through the weekend.

NOTE: Per Fred's suggestion, when our old stories retire, they reside here for your reading pleasure.

Dr. Zebblebrot had been no ordinary doctor. Although he had taught Human Anatomy & Physiology at the local university, he dabbled in other things outside of the classroom. He had been famous for his seances, and often invited his students to attend. His large mansion (an inherited family abode) served as a spooky setting for summoning up the dead. When a 19-year old girl went missing, the seances stopped. However, Dr. Zebblebrot continued to delve into the unknown.

As Dr. Zebblebrot aged, he grew ever more eccentric. He eventually retired from the University, but could be seen walking through his home with a candle in one hand, arguing animatedly with (from what could be seen) absolutely no one. Rumors started and grew. Dr. Zebblebrot ignored them all. In his final days, he could be seen pacing the roof of his mansion, back and forth, as if possessed.

When Dr. Zebblebrot's body was found, no one was surprised to discover that he had plunged to his death from a parapet. There was little left to be buried. He appeared to have been torn to pieces, but where the pieces went; no one knew. This gave rise to speculations (among the immature) about ghosts and demons, but such fantasies were not taken seriously by the cooler heads in the community.

Dr. Zebblebrot had left his mansion to his closest family member: his niece, Cimra. Why he had chosen her out of all his family members was anyone's guess. Perhaps her exotic name had captured his imagination. Perhaps he sensed a kindred spirit. Whatever the reason, he had been very clear about one thing. The mansion was not to be sold. If Cimra and her family chose not to live in the mansion, then the mansion would next go to the historical preservation society in town.

When Cimra was informed of this, her decision was immediate. Of course she would move into the family mansion. Dr. Zebblebrot's sister, Mabel, tried very hard to dissuade Cimra. "I just don't like the feel of it, dear," protested her mother. "Why not donate it to the historical society and have done with it? You can always visit it." However, Cimra remained intractible.

Two months after Dr. Zebblebrot's demise, Cimra and her husband pulled up in front of the mansion. Another car pulled up behind them, spilling out five more college friends who were eager to stay the weekend and help Cimra get the house in order.

"Sweet!" said Trevor, throwing a football to Cimra's husband, Jim. "This place is totally goth!"

Jim caught the football and lobbed it to John. John leaped for it, lost his footing, and skidded on the gravel. As he got up, dusting himself off, he said "I am starving. When was the last time we ate?" Then he paused for a moment and stooped down. "Hey wait a minute, I've found something!" he said.

Everyone crowded around Jim to see what he picked up. It was a ring with the initials CZ carved on it's face. "It was uncle Camron's," breathed Cimra. "I'd recognize it anywhere! I wonder how it got here?" Then another girl who had come up behind her pronounced "I'll bet he had it on him when he died. It must've fallen off when he hit the ground."

"Eww, gross, Brittany!" squealed another girl. "Do you have to remind us about that? That is so nasty!"

"Look," said Brittany, "I'm just stating the obvious. Duh. Get a grip, Courtney."

"OK, everyone. We're all hungry. Let's unload the groceries from the car and get inside and get started," said Cimra firmly.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Tampa's Corrupt Government

I was a political consultant and campaign manager for many campaigns. I got out of politics because it stinks like three-day old fish. Today I'm singling out Tampa's leaders, although (frankly) virtually all leaders are corrupt. I have stories that would curl your hair.

Today the St. Pete Times ran a story that amazed me from the sheer chutzpah that is shown. Tampa's City Council has voted to allow themselves to accept gifts that are valued at more than $100. Their justification for this greed is that they are expected to attend certain events that have ticket prices which are valued at more than $100. Yet, they were very careful to not bar themselves from accepting ANY gifts. Besides, if they are 'expected' to attend these events, then the city should PAY for them to go. Right?

They justify this by pointing to state law, which is much more lenient (and allows people in government to accept larger gifts from lobbyists and special interest groups).

The Tampa City Council hasn't made their final decision on this, so if you don't approve, tell them loud and clear. And while you're at it, you might want to let your state and local officials know that you don't approve of their taking such obvious bribes, either.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lurid War Photos in Exchange for Porn

Some of you may have heard of this already. It's in Daniel's blog, but it's not in many other places. As Daniel has pointed out, the press has been strangely quiet about this one (unless I missed something somewhere).

I was never thrilled with the Abu Ghraib situation. Although the pictures were less horrifying than what any terrorist atrocities were, American soldiers have a duty to behave much better than the terrorists because we are supposed to have higher standards. They are animals, but we pride ourselves in our humanity. We have always believed we should rise above such animalistic behaviors. Abu Ghraib showed the world that not all Americans are so noble.

Now we have another instance that once again reminds the world that we have our trash, just as the Muslim world has their trash. I still believe that the majority of our soldiers are more noble than any terrorist. But there is no sugar-coating the fact that anyone who takes trophy photos of mutilated terrorist corpses in order to display them for entertainment is a piece of scum. To make it worse, these photos were used in exchange for porn.

So now we are sending the message to the Arab world that some of our troops are such low-life trash that they violated the Geveva Convention* in exchange for porn. Not only is the first reprehensible, but porn is also seen as repulsive in the Muslim world (and most Americans also frown on it). They will once again be pointing at Americans as a depraved society, and we are running out of excuses.

Where is the military leadership? And what is the Bush administration going to do about this?

*The Geneva Conventions include Protocol 1, added in 1977 but not ratified by the U.S., Iraq or Afghanistan. It mentions that all parties in a conflict must respect victims' remains, though doesn't mention the photographing of dead bodies.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Day Three: The Reckoning

I am STILL having troubles with my fax. No, let me rephrase that. There are no troubles. It simply is not working. Now they tell me there's a system problem and it will be DEFINATELY fixed by 1 PM my time. I remain skeptical and am about to cancel my service.

I also am positively SWAMPED. I never imagined that it would be so busy. I was chained to my desk all day Monday, on the road all day Tuesday, and wayyyy behind today. I had less work when I worked for someone else!

I continue to deal with pain, so I am sitting here, with my neck encased in ice like a mackerel in a fish shop. At least I have that option at home. I'd die before I displayed myself like that to my clients and business contacts. Can you imagine? What a conversation starter. "So, what'd you do to your neck?" "Oh, I just had three long needles poked into it from the front all the way to the back. Let me tell you about it!" No thanks.

Today I have another meeting and I am wondering how I can fit it in with everything else falling behind like this. I will have to hire an assistant full-time (I already have one part time). That sounds much more glamorous than it really is, may I add. I have less money, and now must pay someone to handle additional work. Let's hope this lessens as the week progresses. No, wait a minute... I probably should hope it continues...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I am frustrated. I have an account with a company called It's a great service (supposedly) because for a low price you get a toll-free fax number with unlimited incoming faxes. But, you apparently get what you pay for.

I haven't been getting my faxes delivered to my email inbox. The two times I've been in live-chat help, the operators could barely speak (or write) English. Now, this is NOT an opportunity to be xenophobic. But, really! C'mon! If you're going to work with English-speaking people, you might want to find some.

Here's a typical conversation:

Sherwin: my name Sherwin, how may i help please
Saurkraut: I am not getting my faxes delivered to my email address
Sherwin: May i know what is username please:
Saurkraut: Saurkraut
Sherwin: Please hold while I check your account
Saurkraut: thank you
Sherwin: May i know what your email address?
Sherwin: Thank you
(wait for 5 minutes...)
Saurkraut: any luck figuring it out?
Saurkraut: hello?
Sherwin: Im in your account now , please wait while im checking
Saurkraut: ok, thanks
Sherwin: We will send you a test fax to you number
Saurkraut: ok
Sherwin: Do you recieve a fax before?
Saurkraut: no
Sherwin: How long you can't recieve fax?
Saurkraut: I still haven't received long do you think it will take?
(another interminable wait...)

ARGH! So much for being a global community.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

My First Day on My Own

Monday is the start of my new business. Although I'll be doing the same things I've always done, I'll do it without a safety net now.

Owning your own business has both good and bad points. The good: You get to do what you want, when you want (within reason) and you are in total control of your own destiny. The bad: You don't have the big corporation to rely on, there is no more support staff (unless you hire them yourself) and you are suddenly in charge of all the little things you never had to worry about before.

I have everything in place, and people eager to do business with me. I will succeed. But it is still scary. I look back to the time when I was a little girl (and in many ways I am still that little girl). I never imagined I would be doing this. By now, I thought I would have my first novel published. Instead, I have a much more lucrative opportunity. I am living the American Dream.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Avast, Ye Land Lubbers!

It's time for our weekend story! As always, please contribute to it as often as you'd like. Just keep it as clean as possible (kids will be reading this). Remember to pick up the story where the last contributor left off.

Although One Eyed Joe was feared among his men, he was feared by others even more. His cruelty was renown and One Eyed Joe never took prisoners, unless there was a ransom involved. He was careful where he put to port, because he was wanted in almost every country where he would immediately be put to death. In England it would be by hanging, in France - the guillotine. One Eyed Joe was too fond of his own neck to take unneccesarry risks, so he often sought harbor in islands and other out-of-the-way places.

This evening, One Eyed Joe put to port so that he could replenish his stores. He was running out of rum, and they had no limes left. With no limes, his crew ran the risk of scurvy and he couldn't have that. He needed a relatively healthy crew.

As always, the men had been warned to be careful. They knew that their ship was to be referred to as "The Red Rose", and their captain was merely known as "Gentleman Joe." They had already gone ashore with just a skeleton crew left aboard. One Eyed Joe had supervised the loading of the new stores all afternoon. Now it was time for him to go ashore as well, and have a little fun.

"Rawk! Trouble tonight, trouble tonight!" squawked a beautiful multi-colored parrot. "Arr, Polly," said One Eyed Joe, as he removed her from her perch in his cabin. "It's time to hit the town."

Beer Cheese Soup

OK, this is a recipe that is getting requested, but I'm going to put it in Tabasamu's recipe blog (you'll see her link to the right). Just look under her Vanilla Cream Pie post.