Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Shallow Women

As I wrote yesterday, I'm enjoying Ex Boyfriend Jewelry right now. I have some items posted, and I've already sold 4 items. Unlike Ebay, they charge nothing and the service and comraderie are free and fun.

However, I shudder to see the women who post trashy statements like this one:

Ok, check this out! I'm dating this dude, and he turned out crazy, we broke up, and he bought himself an new car..thinking he'd get me back! SIKE! Later, I decide to go out on ONE final date (i really just wanted to ride in the new car! It was sweet!) ..Anyway! Then after dinner, he decides he's gonna give me a "gift" and it was this BEAUTIFUL diamond ring with biggets on it and everything...but it was too big! lol! I've NEVER worn it, and I've had it since Christmas '07. So...I'm tryin to sell it! I do know it's worth $4,500!


Not only are her grammar and spelling poor (does she really think that 'psych' is spelled 'sike'?! What does she think 'sike' means?) but the entire thing is bathed in the putrescent glow of overweening vanity.

Does she really think we buy the story? It makes no sense at all. One wonders what the true story is behind it.

Then there are the unimaginative women like the one who writes:

from no bueno ex-husband

Uh, yeah... don't trouble yourself to play by the rules by explaining the situation. And what's up with the Meximerican? No habla anglais?

But the posts are often worth the read, and I have already met some very cool women who have become instant penpals. And, best of all, I've sold some things that I would never have sold otherwise!

On Friday: Back to politics.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ex Boyfriend Jewelry

Wow, it's Tuesday? Where did Monday go?

I guess I've been a little too busy lately, as my high blood pressure and my mother's raised eyebrows show. I've also been bailing out on working out, and I feel it.

So what's been keeping me so busy? My usual work, of course. Even though the economy's slowed down significantly, I still stay busy. And there's also the perpetual construction that goes on in my home. I live caked in a fine layer of dust, tracking drywall mud hither and yon.

But I've recently discovered an awesome site called Ex Boyfriend Jewelry Dot Com. It started up only a couple of months ago, but word is spreading like wildfire.

Those of us who've received jewelry and gifts from the exes in our past can go here and sell our torrid reminders, dish a little dirt, and make a little money.

It's an idea that's generating tremendous interest! In fact, they've recently had this site mentioned on the Today Show, as well as on a major radio show that's in our local area (which is how *I* heard of it). I'm sure that there are other venues that are picking it up as you read this, because Grazia Magazine in the U.K. just wrote to me and asked if they could feature one of my stories in their upcoming weekly edition.

There are some amazing bargains here. Some of the items have been worn, but all have unpleasant memories associated with them, so the owners are happy to let go. Of course there are some women who are obviously wanting to get top dollar for an item that is no longer top dollar, but there are others who are being more than reasonable in their pricing. Prices range from $5 to thousands of dollars, but all are lower than standard retail prices.

Check it out: And, while you're there, sell something yourself! Just make sure you've got something that makes the reading worthwhile.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dancing Away from Good Taste

I have a friend whose stepdaughter attends the Expressions Academy of Dance in the small suburb of Seminole in the Tampa Bay area. She has been disturbed for a while, because for two recitals in a row they have had the older girls do a dance routine out of the Broadway play "Chicago", which is hardly suitable material for young girls.

The last two times they had a recital, the girls dressed like sluts and danced very suggestively. The first year, the tableau was in a jail cell, where they danced to a number about the different ways they had murdered the men in their lives. They did this while performing a campy dance number which included spreading their legs apart a great deal. I actually attended that one, myself, and can attest to this from first-hand experience.

The second time, they sang about how expendable boys were, and that they were only to be used and thrown away. This was again accompanied by dress that would make a hooker blush. There were a couple additional routines that were just a boy short of a Paris Hilton sex tape.

Today my friend called me, quite angry, to tell me that she tried to talk to the owner. My friend (let's call her Samantha) is known to be very straightforward. That can sometimes be taken as rude, but anyone who is intelligent can tell the difference. Sam doesn't swear, she doesn't try to pick fights, but she does want answers and she digs for them. She holds a juris doctorate and she's no dummy.

Sam called Lara, the owner, to ask her if there was going to be another offensive number this year. She was blunt enough to even state that she found it offensive during the last two years. At this, Lara bridled and told her that she wasn't going to discuss any upcoming routines.

Sam persisted in trying to get an answer. As she told me later, if the material was offensive again, only her husband would go (to show support of his daughter). If the material wasn't offensive this year, the entire family could go. That includes Sam, her husband, their two sons, and her mother.

Lara told Sam that they repeatedly got rave reviews for those particular routines, and again stated to Sam that she wouldn't tell her the details and wouldn't tell her what was going to be on stage this year. Finally, as Sam persisted, Lara hung up on her.

Sam then called one of the main sponsors of the dance studio, in hopes of getting an answer. As she told me later, she figured that a sponsor was tacitly sanctioning the material and might be close enough to know what was on the programme. The sponsor started out a little friendlier, but ultimately refused to help Sam pursue the matter any further, telling her that if Lara refused to help Sam and her family, then she would too.

Upon a little investigation, I found out why the sponsor was so defensive of Lara. This 'sponsor' is actually an employee of Lara's.

Sam had called both anonymously, as she was afraid of getting her stepdaughter into any trouble. As Sam says, their family has classic morals and they're born-again Christians, and most people find such beliefs to be more offensive than a proctologist at a hemorrhoid convention. Sam now tells me that she is exceedingly glad she stayed anonymous.

But Sam is in a quandary: What should she do?

I told her that I think it's time for Sam's husband to talk to his ex-wife about the 'quality' of this dance studio, when there are so many dance studios they can choose from! But Sam's husband doesn't want to rock the boat.

So, I see no way out of the situation and I happen to agree with Sam. Why should she expose her entire family to such garbage?

As for the owners of the Expressions Academy of Dance, they should be ashamed of themselves. This is exactly the sort of thing that encourages child exploitation.

Has no one there heard of JonBenet Ramsey?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Alicia Keys is Nuts

In a recent interview with Blender Magazine, Alicia Keys blew a fuse. According to Blender, Keys claims:

“‘Gangsta rap’ was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. ‘Gangsta rap’ didn’t exist.” She says that the rivalry between slain artists Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. was fueled “by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing.”

Uh huh. What's Alicia been smoking lately, and has she been sharing it with Britney Spears?

First of all, the childish mindset behind this is simply appalling. Such beliefs are called 'magical thinking' and they're the mark of an immature mind. This isn't simply someone's well-reasoned opinion: It is, in musical terminology, a few keys short of a piano.

Secondly, I would like to make the observation that if Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. were 'great black leaders', then the black community needs some higher standards. They were no more 'leaders' than Michael Vick was. Sadly, even though they weren't leaders, all those men were idealized by many black people.

For example, in November of 2007, Vick was named the favorite NFL star among the black youth of America. Others idealize Shakur and B.I.G. even though those men were violent thugs who died from making their own choices in life: If you go looking for trouble, you'll find it.

In contrast, these guys make Martin Luther King look like a saint. Although MLK plagiarized and cheated on his wife repeatedly, at least he preached peace and unity and overall he brought positive changes to the black community.

But Alicia's comments bring me back to something I mourned in another post on MLK Day this year:

Is Booker T. Washington so far removed from our lowered standards that he seems like an almost fictional character?

What of George Washington Carver, who made contributions to not simply a small segment of society but to society as a whole, while serving as an upstanding role model? Is he also to be disregarded because he is simply 'old school' and our modern work ethic (or lack of it) cannot come close to his standards?
My friend Rosie (who's black) agrees with me: She doesn't get it either. And there are many intelligent, educated black people who would fall in step with Rosie. But why don't more black people make better choices for their role models?

Finally, the deaths of Shakur and B.I.G. occurred during the Clinton administration. If Alicia truly believes this garbage, are we to assume she's voting Republican this year?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nightmare Disorder

I suffer from a rare problem called Nightmare Disorder. Only 1 - 2% of the population has it: Leave it to me to be different.

It's a horrifically unpleasant ailment that is sometimes associated with other physical or mental illnesses which, thankfully, I don't have. I haven't written about Nightmare Disorder before, because I have lived with it all of my life and therefore it seems normal to me. I'm sure when you're done reading about it, you'll be thankful that it's not normal for you.

Remember the Freddy Krueger series? He always came to people in vivid nightmares and killed them in their sleep. Well, I often have those types of nightmares but, unlike Freddy's victims, I survive to see each morning.

If they could package my nightmares, George Romero would be jealous. If I wanted to be a horror writer, I could make a fortune. I've read Stephen King and Dean Koontz's novels and find them to be merely childplay (I find Koontz's novels to be relaxing, in fact). But I've hesitated to try my hand at the genre, for fear that it would make my nightmares even worse. After all, what I can dream up is so much scarier than what they've ever written.

What's particular to the Nightmare Disorder is that you have dreams like this very frequently. I have them every night.

I've had terrible nightmares for as long as I can remember. I recall being very young and believing myself to be awake, watching ravenous wolves leaping about in my bedroom.

I was once very sick, and during a fitful night, I dreamed my mother had come to the door of my bedroom. She turned on the hall light, the light streaming from behind her. She stood in the doorway, almost looking like an angel, wearing a floorlength nightgown. Then she slowly smiled at me, revealing fangs which dripped blood. I still can see every detail, including the drop of blood on her chin and the light winking off her fangs.

When I grew older and was married and in college, I passed into a second stage where I would wake up in a panic, run to the bathroom, and vomit continually until I was sedated. After a few years of this, I was able to psych myself out of growing so upset, but it still occasionally happened (although I haven't had a bout in years now).

No one really knows what causes Nightmare Disorder. Various suggestions abound. At times it's been linked to Borderline Personality Disorders (which I don't have), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (nope), heredity (possibly), and having a high IQ and highly artistic and sensitive nature (which I do have).

There is no known cure. Usually psychiatric treatment is recommended, so that the sufferer can get to the heart of their problems and find ways to solve them in a healthy manner. This doesn't work for me: I know what stresses me, I know how to solve it, but the nightmares continue with or without stressors.

The only other option is possibly anti-anxiety medications. But why should someone who is otherwise healthy (and non-anxious by day) take any additional medications if they can soldier through the ailment?

So, I persist in dealing with the regular nightmares.

Perhaps if they had suddenly sprung upon me, I would have sought treatment actively. But they've been a part of my life for so long that I've never sensed the urgency. Lately they've been getting worse, so I'm beginning to rethink my options even though I've avoided adding another bottle to the medicine cabinet.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oprah's Freaky Faith & Dishonest Attorneys

Deception is The Same as Lying

I recently heard an interview with the attorney and author of "How Can You Defend Those People?". In it, the author makes excuses for attorneys who defend people that they know are guilty. He says (rather self-righteously) that everyone deserves a trial and defending such scum as child molestors is 'just a job'.

Yes, everyone deserves a trial. But have we, as a society, forgotten that deception is every bit as bad as outright lying? And isn't it deceptive to indicate that the defendant is innocent when, in fact, you know for a fact that he is guilty?

All the self-justification in the world will not absolve you of such a crime.

The Non-Religious Religion

Why? Why bother practicing a non-religious religion like Unitarian Universalism? I just don't get it.

If you believe that all religions lead to the same god (as Oprah Winfrey does) then why bother practicing anything at all? Make up your own, and make it a really good, self-indulgent one like Satanism, which no longer preaches human sacrifice but does preach complete licentiousness. Or, if the name "Satanism" turns you off, make up another name for it.

Just don't try to pollute MY religion by redefining it to your standards. Don't tell me that the cross stands for all of mankind's eternal struggle. Don't tell me that Jesus is archetypal and not literal. I don't need your help interpreting my religion, thank you: Go get your own.

That is, of course, unless mine is the true faith and that's why you're so threatened by it. I'm not telling you how to run your TV show, please don't tell me how to run my church.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Great Parental Dog Search

This weekend, Dad and Mom decided to do a little shopping. Dad shot us kids a letter about it, and I thought I'd share it with you. I've written about their dog, Dogzilla, before.

After breakfast today we thought we'd go to the humane society and see if there might be a suitable playmate there for Dogzilla. We did this and found the usual collection of mournful pit bull mixes, Shepherd mixes, retired greyhounds (which I DO like, but they are not very compatible with small dogs, which they instinctively chase, I'm told) and a male Lhasa Apsa named Jack. Jack seemed nice enough, but had the largest instrument that I have ever seen on a small dog. Maybe on any dog. Perhaps he should have been named Dick. Well, anyway, like all dogs they offer, he was missing part of his apparatus, since had been neutered when he was brought in, by a lady who alleged that he was a lapdog who she had become too ill to care for. Myself, I think he had been a stud in his former life.

The volunteer, a very nice young man, suggested that we bring Dogzilla in to see how they got along, so we did that. Dogzilla did not like the place. She liked Jack even less, who continually attempted to seduce her. This suggested that it would be a bad idea to leave them alone together in the future -- I mean that Jack, who was about half Dogzilla's size and much less vicious, would probably end up dead. Not wishing to confront the accompanying mess, we decided against Mr. Longfellow.

So, once again we are a monocaninous family. Having familial examples of bi and even tricanonomy before our eyes, we may revisit the matter in North Carolina, when we have more time, including more time to supervise the acclimation process.

(Of course *I* am the one with the three dogs.) I have tried to persuade Mom and Dad to get another. However, finding a playmate for Dogzilla seems to be a difficult task. Does anyone have any suggestions of breeds that might be more compatible?

Incidentally, we think Dogzilla is a bulldog/Cairn terrier mix - but who knows? All I know is she has a flaky temperment and big jaws.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Windy Weather

Today was a sunny but very windy day, so plenty of twigs and leaves were blowing onto Mr. Clean's lawn. It was good to see him out there, stooping earnestly over each encroacher, blue underwear crowning over the top of his jean shorts. Somehow, I got the feeling that if there were a nuclear holocaust, Mr. Clean would be outside, picking ashes out of his lawn.

Some of us said "screw work!" and went to the beach. We would've gone sailing, except that my catamaran is still being worked on and we want the hulls to be in tip-top shape (they're undergoing a paint job).

But because I'm prone to burning, I opted to bring along my umbrella. Everyone spread out towels, and my friend John galiantly struggled with my umbrella as it blew inside out. Twice. We finally settled for planting it sideways in the sand, and I crammed my towel within it's shadowy recesses, squirming under the pole to get comfortable with a good book.

Throughout the two hours we spent at the beach, sand continued to blow constantly. Towels were covered regularly, and I routinely shook out my book.

Finally growing tired of being sandblasted, we packed everything up and hit the road again. As we drove up to my house, we could see Mr. Clean diligently picking up leaves and twigs. Again.

This promises to be a blustery weekend, so Mr. Clean will have his work cut out for him.

It kind of gives you a warm feeling to know that consistency and dedication still exist in this world, even if they usually belong only to the Obsessive-Compulsive.

It gives me an even warmer feeling to remember that Mr. Clean does not live with me. I'm sure Mr. Clean would heartily agree with that.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

OK, Now it's Just Plain Hot

It's as if God woke up yesterday and said "Enough of this cool weather. I'm done!"

In Florida we really don't see much of a transition in our weather. One day it's hot, the next day it's cold. Well, cold in Floridian standards, which means 60 degrees or under.

Now we've gone from nice, cool mornings and evenings to suddenly needing our airconditioners on 24/7. Those suckers crank on and off all day, keeping our homes at a nice, even temperature.

Whenever this immediate change of seasons occurs, I always think back to the natives in the late 1800s. Those poor strawberry farmers and cattle ranchers were living in perpetual heat, unless it was winter when they'd get a cold snap and their crops would freeze over.

But whether it was winter or summer, those women wore long dresses. Long dresses!

In modern times, I'd challenge you to find a woman who wears pantyhose. And although a professional woman in a business suit without pantyhose looks like an unmade bed, the trend persists. I look at these women and wonder what sort of mothers they had. And yet, they have an excuse: The heat can be scorching! (Of course, they might consider ditching the fully lined woolen suit instead)

Now my son tells me that the latest research indicates that the sun will actually start growing colder in about 10 years, which will make Florida even more desirable. Apparently, I may be sitting on prime real estate!

But, until then, it's just plain hot.