Thursday, December 07, 2006
On this historic day, something from Yahoo News:
Pearl Harbor survivors meet for last time
By JAYMES SONG, Associated Press Writer
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - With their number quickly dwindling, survivors of Pearl Harbor will gather Thursday one last time to honor those killed by the Japanese 65 years ago, and to mark a day that lives in infamy.
This will be their last visit to this watery grave to share stories, exchange smiles, find peace and salute their fallen friends. This, they say, will be their final farewell.
"This will be one to remember," said Mal Middlesworth, president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. "It's going to be something that we'll cherish forever."
The survivors have met here every five years for four decades, but they're now in their 80s or 90s and are not counting on a 70th reunion. They have made every effort to report for one final roll call.
"We're like the dodo bird. We're almost extinct," said Middlesworth, now an 83-year-old retiree from Upland, Calif., but then — on Dec. 7, 1941 — an 18-year-old Marine on the USS San Francisco.
Nearly 500 survivors from across the nation were expected to make the trip to Hawaii, bringing with them 1,300 family members, numerous wheelchairs and too many haunting memories.
Memories of a shocking, two-hour aerial raid that destroyed or heavily damaged 21 ships and 320 aircraft, that killed 2,390 people and wounded 1,178 others, that plunged the United States into World War II and set in motion the events that led to atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
"I suspect not many people have thought about this, but we're witnessing history," said Daniel Martinez, chief historian at the USS Arizona Memorial. "We are seeing the passing of a generation."
The attack may have occurred 65 years ago, but survivors say they can still hear the explosions, smell the burning flesh, taste the sea water and hear the cries.
"The younger ones were crying, 'Mom! Mom! Mom!'" said Edward Chun, who witnessed the attack from the Ten-Ten dock, just a couple hundred yards away from Battleship Row.
Chun, 83, had just begun his workday as a civilian pipe fitter when he was thrust into assisting in everything from spraying water on the ships to aiding casualties.
"From the time the first bomb dropped and for the next 15 minutes, it was complete chaos," he said. "Nobody knew what was going on. Everybody was running around like a chicken with their head cut off."
Chun saw the Oklahoma and West Virginia torpedoed by Japanese aircraft. He heard the tapping of sailors trapped in the hulls of sunken ships. He escaped death when Ten-Ten was strafed, leaving behind dead and wounded.
"How I never got hit, I don't know," said Chun, who was later drafted and served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. "I'll tell you a secret: When your number comes up, you're going to go. Well, every morning I get up, I change my number."
Everett Hyland doesn't know how he stayed alive when almost everyone around him didn't. He was radioman aboard the Pennsylvania, which was in Dry Dock No. 1, and was helping transport ammunition to the anti-aircraft gun when a bomb exploded.
Badly burned, Hyland regained consciousness 18 days later, on Christmas night. During that time, his older brother visited.
"The only way he knew it was me was the tag on my toe," Hyland said. "He (later) told me we looked like roast turkeys lined up."
Today, scar tissue covers most of his arms and legs.
"I got a quick facial out of it. I used to be a freckled-faced kid," he said. "I don't have any lips. They could fix faces, but they couldn't build any lips."
And he was lucky.
Many of the dead were teenage sailors and Marines away from home for the first time. They died before they had an opportunity to get married, have children, build lives.
Four in five servicemen on the USS Arizona — 1,177 in all — did not survive the day. It was the greatest loss of life of any ship in U.S. naval history. They remain entombed in the battleship's sunken hull, which still seeps oil every few seconds, leaving a colorful sheen on the harbor water.
The survivors say they have more than horrific memories to offer. "Remember Pearl Harbor" is just the first half of the association's motto; the rest is "Keep America alert."
Martinez said many Pearl Harbor survivors were disheartened by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, "as if they had not done their job hard enough."
Once again, it seemed that America had been caught sleeping. Interest in Pearl Harbor and its aging survivors surged. The old soldiers are much in demand — to sign autographs, walk in parades, speak to classrooms and pose for pictures. Visits to the USS Arizona Memorial are at record levels.
Not that everyone sees similarities between the two attacks. "There is no comparison," Hyland said. "That was terrorists killing a pile of civilians. Here, you had professional fighters versus professional fighters. Two different things."
There are those who are unable to forgive the Japanese, But others testify to the power of reconciliation.
"There are some guys that are going to die with hate in their heart. I don't have in me any hatred in my heart," said 87-year-old survivor Lee Soucy, of Plainview, Texas. "They were doing their job just like we were."
Hyland, who was almost killed in the attack, married a woman from Japan. They met at the 50th Pearl Harbor anniversary and wed the following year.
"I got over it a long time ago," he said.
Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, who dubbed Americans who came of age during the Great Depression and World War II "the greatest generation," agreed to be keynote speaker for Thursday's ceremony. A moment of silence at 7:55 a.m. was to mark the time when the attack began.
Martinez, the USS Arizona historian, likened it to another reunion 68 years ago — the final gathering of Civil War veterans in Gettysburg, Pa., when aging warriors in blue and gray shook hands and shared war stories. In 1938, as in 2006, the nation faced an uncertain future in a world gripped by conflict.
"The passing of that generation had its moment and we're going to have ours," he said.
But some veterans don't believe, or refuse to accept, that this will be the last major gathering.
"They claimed the 60th was going to be the last one. Now they have the 65th. When they have the 70th, then they'll be claiming, 'This will be the last one,'" Hyland said. "They've been crying wolf too many times."
Hyland does accept the fact that their numbers are falling fast.
"We all have our turn and our turn is getting closer," he said.
But until then, they are drawn to Pearl Harbor, and to each other. Military historian Douglas Smith, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I., says they are proud of their service and eager to return "to their glory days," but most of all they revel in the bonds they formed long ago, when they were young.
The bond is so strong that some ask to have their ashes interred inside the Arizona, laid to rest with shipmates who were not so fortunate as to survive Dec. 7, 1941.
"They're coming home," Middlesworth said. "They feel they're coming home."
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I feel bad that I haven’t written lately. School has been a bear and work has been kicking my butt as well, so the desire to write has been extremely limited. Besides the above, there really has not been much worth writing about. Sure, Michael Richards has been interesting (for about 2 seconds) and the Reichen/Lance Bass breakup did make me wonder: “Who?” But, on the whole, there has not been much worth discussing: Civil War in Iraq—who hasn’t written about that? Brittany flashing The Beav’—while I’m sure that’s one of the Four Horsemen, I’m not moved to write about it.
I know I’m not alone, as some of my favorite blogs have not been posting either: The FAF has been posting his columns from school, EGL announced he’s probably going to stop writing altogether, Ari at Diaspora South writes about once a month, Douchebag of The Week does not post weekly... in fact, the only consistent blog of late has been Michele’s (thank God, it's very entertaining).
But today, I decided I should write. Today, finally something happened so incredibly important, so vital to our nation that I can’t not discuss it: A plane was recently forced to the ground because of some woman’s gas.
Question: Just what-in-the-name-of-all-that-is-holy did she eat? My God—to bring down a plane with a fart—that has got to be lethal. I don’t think she should be filled with shame at all over this. I would be damn proud. In fact, I would be offering my services to the U.S. government for duty in Iraq. If that thing is terrifying at 34,000 feet, can you imagine just how nasty it would be at 110 degrees?
I have sat next to people that smelled of a bizarre curry/onion/b.o. smell that cannot be accurately described and 2 hours into the flight—a full eight hours before we would begin our decent—they belched so heinously that it slowly began to melt the tray (already in its upright and locked position), and even though it hung in the air for the rest of the flight, still we did not land. Now, some poor woman rips one and they practically ditch the plane? Jeez… since when did American Airlines start serving Super Chipolte Chili with onions, cheese and plenty of super-hot jalapenos? All I ever get is a stale bag of nuts… and I have to beg for that.
What does this mean for future air travel? We can’t bring jells or liquids on the plane… are they going to be asking us about what we ate? “What did you eat within the last 12 hours? Was it spicy?” I don't know about you, but I think grounding a flight for farting is awful. Frankly, it stinks.*
*Come on... like you'd expect me NOT to use a pun like that. Honestly, how could I not?
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
THE BIG ELECTION STORY:
Britney Spears has elected to dump K-Fed! White-trash dudes wearing wife-beaters and walking around with an undeserved sense of superiority are in shock.
Coincidentally, America has elected to dump the Republicans, resulting in the House of Representatives—and most likely, the Senate—returning to the Democrats. Neo-Christian White dudes wearing blue button-downs and walking around with an undeserved sense of superiority are in shock.
In other news, Karl Rove is going back to Hell…
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
War sucks, doesn't it? Paying extremely high gas prices are a bitch. I wish the air was cleaner and my taxes went to something other than Haliburton. It would be nice if our National Parks were fully funded, wouldn't it? It would be fantastic if the government got off our backs. Stem cell research could save millions of lives... if it were funded.
You can sit there and bitch about the country or you can do something about it. Your vote is your voice, make yourself heard.
Be a real American and vote.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Well, Ted Haggard admitted to his indiscretions, however, instead of just coming clean (so to speak) he had to continue his self-hating ways. In a letter to his parishioners he wrote: "The fact is, I am guilty of sexually immoral conduct. I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a side of me so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it most of my adult life."
Jeez, dude, there are worse things than being gay. You could be a meth addict… oh… Yeah, you’re pretty screwed.
This is sad for his family, sad for his church, just plain sad for everyone… except for me. I’m enjoying this shit SO much! Pride goeth before the fall, baby. What’s that from?—The Bible? Shakespeare? Mel Gibson? Who knows, but whenever someone gets on their high horse and preaches hate, I’m always waiting for the fall. I think that’s why I am enjoying any news coverage of the White House—I think we all now know exactly what expression the crew of the Titanic had on their faces that cold April night.
What makes me really enjoy this is that EVERY adult American is right now thinking about gay sex. They don’t want to, but they are thinking about it: “What exactly did they do?” they wonder… and then the images start popping into their head. If you really want to know what they were doing, try this: remove the word “massage” from all Haggard’s comments and replace them with “my ass plowed.” You don’t pay a hustler for a blow job, or to screw them—you can find that for free at any sleazy bookstore.** No, when you want to get your freak on, you hire a professional—he won’t leave any marks, he’ll be more careful about protection, and you’ll be able to walk the next day.
I wonder what Rush Limbaugh has to say on the matter? He weighed in so gracefully with the Michael J. Fox debate (Rush knows a lot about over-medicating), so I’m sure he knows something about paying for sex…
As a bonus, here’s “America’s Best Christian™, Miss Betty Bowers and what she thinks of the whole Haggard fiasco.
*For those of you who do not watch The Actor’s Studio, host John Lipton asks everyone to answer from “the great” Bernard Pivot’s list of questions, one, of which is “What is your favorite swearword?” Holly Hunter’s was “cocksucker.”
**Do not ask me how I know… I just do.
Friday, November 03, 2006
One of the many reasons I’m going to Hell (none being that I am gay) is how much I enjoy when things like this happen. Ted Haggard, evangelical Christian and opposer of gay marriage, has been revealed as having paid for sex 36 times over the last three years. Oh, and the kicker? He was also using drugs.
Can we say “Delicious!”?
Teddy-boy does not believe in gay marriage, but hot man-on-(drugged) man sex is apparently being “faithful” to his wife and five kids. I love it when one can interpret vague passages in The Bible to condemn gay relationships, but when it comes to The Ten Commandments themselves—and in particular, the seventh—somehow there is ‘wiggle room.’ Where’s the tranny-hooker when you need one? I don’t think The Bible mentions tranny-hookers (the jury is still out on Mary Magdalene…)
What next for the good reverend? Does he come out—leaving the wife and kids? Will he be leading next year’s San Francisco Gay Pride Parade? I am sure Haggard will use the “I take full responsibility—but it was the addiction, not me” approach so successfully used by Mel Gibson and Reverend Phelps* is the biggest homo of them all? Honestly, no one thinks about gays and gay sex as much as that man—not even gays themselves. Seriously, I have better things to do with my time than to think about two guys screwing around… like thinking of three guys screwing around.**
I think we had better start looking for the next Haggard in politics, because you know they are out there. Start looking for those who bash gays the most and you are on target: Dubya? Maybe. Condeleeza? No, she likes Karl Rove? Something tells me he’s not just gay, he’s so anti-gay, he has got to be into some weird and twisted fetish-sex that I am actually salivating while I wait for that press release.
*I know what website I’ve linked to… and what I have not linked to.
** You knew that was coming, didn’t you? Of course you did—you’re smart.
Friday, October 20, 2006
By Kevin Tillman
Editor's Note: Kevin Tillman joined the Army with his brother Pat in 2002, and they served together in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pat was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. Kevin, who was discharged in 2005, has written a powerful, must-read document.
It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we get out.
Much has happened since we handed over our voice:
Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.
Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.
Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.
Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.
Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.
Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.
Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.
Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.
Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.
Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.
Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.
Somehow torture is tolerated.
Somehow lying is tolerated.
Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.
Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.
Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.
Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.
Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.
Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.
Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.
Somehow this is tolerated.
Somehow nobody is accountable for this.
In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.
Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.
Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,
(originally published on Truthdig.com)
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I got an email the other day from an old friend congratulating me on the 20th anniversary of my ‘zine Block Talk™, the precursor to my ‘zine and subsequent blog both titled Slap & Tickle.
Back in the day, I was a manager for Century Theatres—or as I affectionately refer to them as “the bastards at Syufy. Back in those days, they were not called Century Theatres, they were “Syufy Luxury Theatres.” The theaters were massive domes which sat anywhere between 450 – 1000 people. No shoeboxes for these luxury theatres, no siree…
We were young and we were in charge. I knew few people working in the theaters that were over 30—and those that were older were often old-timers who hadn’t seen 50 in over a decade… so, there was a bit of a Lord of the Flies thing going on. Total irresponsibility, total ‘managed chaos’ and totally fun. Totally.*
Block Talk™ got started because the bastards at Syufy had a newsletter called Platter Chatter** and each district had to submit information to be included. I was the editor for the San Jose division.
The problem was, not a lot was going on that was exciting… or exciting enough to be included in Platter Chatter (a read often referred to in the company as being “dryer than a popcorn fart.”***). I would often get complaints from other managers that I had failed to include whatever pointless information a theater had submitted because it did not show up in the oh-so-prestigious Platter Chatter. Who gave a shit if their per-person took a 3 cent jump? Honestly, the way Syufy kept raising prices, it was impossible not to get that to happen.
The problem was, I was submitting this boring information and no one in our Corporate Office could give a rat’s ass about them (and our theaters had TONS of rats. Seriously. Tones.) In desperation, I created Block Talk™ and what I submitted to Corporate, I sent to all the theaters.
I quickly discovered I needed to “contain [my] smartass comments.” Because, after my first issue, my district manager came up to me and said, “You need to contain your smartass comments.” That spawned the Block Talk™ Annex. Which had articles, stories, and artwork that Corporate need not see—especially, if I wanted to keep my job.
There were some bits of genius in there—all by individuals other than myself. Chris Sanford and Matthew Keller created some brilliant and hysterical work. I looked through it the other day and realized so much has changed. Many are married, a number of us came out, a surprising number have moved away, and Century Theatres has been sold to some crappy company out of Plano, Texas. However, in a small way and in significantly different format, Block Talk™ is still around.
For those of you who never got to enjoy “The Exciting Adventures of Jolly Joe” featuring the crime solving mysteries of Syufy Sam, or experience “Dan Koje: Ambulance Driver on the Edge,”I will try and get permission from the writer to publish excerpts—(perhaps even the whole series? Who knows? It’s a wild crazy world!)
Twenty years… it goes by fast.
*It was the 80’s…
**Sort of an inside joke… an unfunny inside joke, but an inside joke none-the-less.
***The driest of all known farts…
Today, the 300 millionth U.S. baby was born this morning at 7:46am EST. The U.S. is only the third nation in history to have reached that number of citizens. We are way behind China and India in people, but we far surpass them in terms of global warming. Whooo-hooo! We’re number 1! We’re number! We’re number! USA! USA! USA!
Welcome baby #300 million. I hope you live a long, long life—because we need someone to pay off the mind-blowing, soul-crushing debt that Bush has left for you. Now, get to work!
PS: No, that picture is NOT of me...
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Do you ever get the feeling that Republicans think about gay sex more than gays do? Oh, and when they think "gay sex" it's actually weird, twisted, perverted shit that no gay man would want to think about...
Ben Stein (who I used to think of as a "nice Jewish boy") made some choice comments, read them HERE. Ben Stein, you are not a "nice Jewish boy." No, not at all. In fact, you're a sick fuck.
Do I have to state this again?* Eighty-Nine percent of all child molestations are "STRAIGHT" MEN preying on LITTLE GIRLS and of that ninety percent are members of the family or close family friends. Putting Ben's hypothesis to work, I believe that straight men are true perverts...
*Apparently, I do.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
It’s that time of year again, I am walking in the annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk-For-A-Cure on October 8. In the past, several readers were very generous and donated to the campaign. I’m hoping that my few readers will again make the effort.
Juvenile Diabetes effects more than 18 million Americans, with a new diagnoses every hour. Insulin is not a cure and the destructive nature of this disease seriously impacts not only the quality of life of the patient, but their life expectancy as well.
There is hope and in the last few years the JDRF has made great strides in funding research that has brought the cure ever closer. With your help, we can find a cure.
I believe that every dollar counts*, so please give whatever you can and, I will be forever grateful. Along with my gratitude, I will also give you a place of honor on the S&T page noting you as a kind, generous and giving person!
It’s best to donate online and you can do that by clicking HERE. (Check out my thermometer!)
Again, thank you for helping to stop this terrible disease.
*Of course, more dollars count more…
Monday, September 25, 2006
I was driving into San Francisco this weekend for the Folsom Street Fair and plastered on the support columns for the overpasses were large signs, proclaiming: “End the Bush Rigeme Now!”
How do you expect people to take your cause seriously if you can’t fucking spell regime correctly?
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
So I was looking at my Cluster Map this morning and I was amazed that all around the world in countries I may never have heard of (“thank you inferior public ‘educashun’ system”), people are clicking on my site!
I’m sure that many of those that clicked on this site were looking—in vain—for Giada DeLaurentiis’ boobs (keep looking guys… keep looking) or a searching for ‘shirtless Anderson Cooper’ (when you find it, call me, okay?). Regardless of why they came here, they came and I am counting them as a visitor, even if they only stayed for a minute or so (average time here :57… are you fast readers, or does it take that long to realize that I suck?
Anyway, looking at the map, I noticed some small dots in the middle of several oceans. Where the hell are those islands? I know Hawaii and the Canary Islands off Europe, but there is a dot down in the Pacific, Atlantic Ocean and Indian Oceans that just make me wonder if it is a ship at sea—because I do not think there are actual islands there (well, according to the maps in 10th grade at Willow Glen High School ("Home of the Rams!")—who knows about the maps in 11th, 12th and college—I stopped looking at maps when I started looking at guys).
So, I went to Google Earth (which I have nothing but problems with—there is a glich and it annoys me to no end—but still, it’s Google, so it’s better than anything else out there). Guess what? There are islands out there! (Stupid pulik skools map…)
A special ‘thank you’ to those who visited from São Miguel, Pitcairn Islands, and Maldives (isn’t that some kind of salad?).* I am almost certain that you are of questionable nature and searching for items of equal or greater questionable nature—and that makes you my friend.
*Yeah, I know… it’s endive—it’s a joke. I may have gone to a lousy skuul, but I done be a-read’n Martha Stewart…
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Every now and again I see a picture that begs to be recaptioned. For example, the picture above was found in a local paper and it is pretty awful. I’m not sure what chubbly is doing, but it is awkward at best. Dude appears to not just be dragging his heel, but trying to pull up the flooring with it. And Miss Priss looks like she’s vainly trying to escape a panic attack.
Disliking immensely the caption from the paper, I decided to try and come up with something more fitting to the actual picture:
Synchronized Dance Team Gets Off to Rocky Start
It’s True: White People Can’t Dance
Local Man Wins Talent Contest By Firing Ping-Pong Balls Out His Ass
Study Says ‘Some People Never Outgrow Awkward Phase’
Guy With Hot Dance Moves Really Gets The Chicks
Torn Between Two Lovers…
That’s all I could come up with off the top of my head… got a good caption? Let me know.
Monday, September 11, 2006
My friend Wylea is in her fourth year of raising money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society/Team in Training. Below is a fundraising note she sent me. If you can, please give—she is trying to raise $6000 for this very worthy cause.
I want to share with you the story of Ronda and her dad Ron Goldstone. He, along with many others, is the reason I keep doing this...a cure has got to be found. Ronda was on our walk team last Winter season. In May of 2005 she learned that her dad, Ron had been diagnosed with Leukemia. To say the very least, she was devastated. She was starting a new job, fostering a relationship with her boyfriend Rob and living in a new place in the Silicon Valley—a long way from her dad and family in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Ronda didn’t have a marathon on her “to do” list. She joined the team for a chance to fight blood cancers, for a chance to find a cure, a chance to spend more time with her dad. She learned that many of Ron’s caregivers had also participated in TNT which made it easy for him to relay his daughter’s stories and share in theirs. This gave Ron something more than cancer to think about. He was so proud and supportive of his daughter.
Often worried whether she was doing the right thing Ronda learned that her father’s bone marrow trans-plant could not have been performed 5 years ago. Re-search gave him a chance...research funded by groups like she was supporting...like Team in Training. After three and a half months of training Ronda, her boyfriend Rob and two others on our team completed a full marathon. It was a challenging race to say the least. There was ice on the ground, frost on their bodies and the course had been removed long before the finish line ~ they had to navigate the end of the course on their own. The blister on the bottom of Ronda’s foot was the size of a silver dollar pancake. Never before had I seen medals awarded that were more deserved.
During Ron’s treatment he often liked to wear his favorite t-shirt that read “Cancer Sucks.” Everyone on the team that went to Austin took a photo in that t-shirt to carry on our journey. When the race was finished we signed the photos to create a photo board for Ronda to bring to and share with her father. Unfortunately he never got to see the photos or read what we had written. Three days after the marathon Ronda was called home to Cincinnati. She made it just in time to see him and tell him the adventure of finishing her first marathon. She was able to slip her medal into his hand and he squeezed it...hard. He was so proud of her accomplishment. Ron was wearing his “Cancer Sucks” t-shirt when he passed away surrounded by his family.
We never got to meet Ron, but I certainly felt like I knew him. I felt like I had lost a member of my family. It’s a reason for me to keep walking ~ to find a cure! And it’s because of you we make such strides towards that cure. Your donations are greatly appreciated and make a guaranteed difference. Thank you for supporting such a wonderful cause!
If you have someone in your life that has fought or is fighting cancer, please let me know. I will proudly wear their name on my jersey on race day in honor of them...my inspiration for this journey.
If you wish to give, please go to Wylea’s donation page.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
With all the crap that has gone down with the Bush Administration over the last 5 painful years and yet President Clinton is the one who was impeached, here is a clever little song that puts the whole thing in perspective. Crank it up and enjoy (however, I wouldn't recommend this for work).
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Check out the BMW Leipzig Plant—truly amazing architecture. Click on Leipzig Plant and then select Watch. Be amazed. Be very amazed.
Speaking of amazing, Ann Mason Stockton died this week. You most likely do not know her, but you’ve heard her—or at least her harp. She was a harpist who performed in over 800 films for over 70 years. Her first film was Gone With the Wind, she also performed in Schindler’s List. Go to NPR and listen to her story and a snippet of her playing… and be amazed at such great talent.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
It’s been a busy week at work and at school, but I had to mention this little exchange I heard at school as I was passing two guys exiting from Gold’s Gym Tuesday evening:
Dude 1: Dude, I was so confused this morning, I didn’t know what day it was.
Dude 2: Dude, all I know is tomorrow is Wednesday.
Dude1: Dude, I thought today was like Tuesday…
Dude 2: No, dude, Tuesday follows Wednesday… like Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…
Although Dude 2 is the smarter of the two steroid-abusing lifters, he does not seem to understand the difference between proceeds and follows…
…okay, back to work!
Monday, August 14, 2006
Before you condem Israel for attacking Hezbollah in Lebannon, remember these words from Golda Meir:
“We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
--Golda Meir (1898 - 1978)
Friday, August 11, 2006
Mike Douglas, the host of The Mike Douglas Show which I watched everyday throughout the 1970's died today on his 81st birthday. Gene Rayburn is gone, now Mike... how I will rue the day Merv Griffin dies.
I used to run home from school to flip between Merv Griffin and Mike Douglas* (while one was singing, the other was doing their monologue), then I would wait for the guests and the fun. I loved that show. I remember seeing Tiger Woods playing golf with Bob Hope! I always thought it odd that he was broadcasting from Philadelphia--I never quite understood that, but was upset when he eventually moved to New York.
I'm sure Totie Fields would have something funny to say about Mike. He's probably in heaven interviewing her and Peggy Cass right now...
Thanks for the fun, Mike!
*Actually, Match Game was on first, but it was a block of entertainment to me. I wouldn't watch just the one they were part of a 'package deal' that kept me going until almost dinner--or until my mom sent me outside into the "fresh air".
Thursday, August 10, 2006
The other day in class, my instructor was talking to another student about men and she turned around as I muttered, “Men, they’re either straight or married…” Now, she seems pretty cool, but the look on her face was one of shock, so I wasn’t sure if she was surprised that I had just come out while making flan, or if she was bothered by it.
Today, I got the answer…
One of the ethnic cooking classes was making a dish from a country from their background and one woman did an English High Tea. Beautiful cucumber sandwiches and small pastries—all beautiful. Chef was describing it to us and walked up to me and said, “Oh, I brought something she made for you…” and handed me a fairy cake.
Class just got a lot more fun.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
After ten wonderful years together, I shaved my goatee off two weeks ago. I am still having a hard time getting used to the fact that there is no hair on my face. However, I am pleased that the white lines on my face indicating the former spot of said beard has now darkened so it is not as obvious that I just shaved my chin for the first time in a decade.
However, I miss my furry little friend...
Monday, August 07, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre: "Look, the issue with Mel Gibson is very simple. Mel Gibson is driving under intoxication. There are no Jews in sight. He can blame his car, he can blame his liquor, he can blame the sheriff. But he can't blame any Jews because there are none around. That's precisely who he blames. Yet that's the problem. That shows he has a problem with Jews."
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Today I went to Becky and Joe Robbins’ going away party in Concord (not a drive I would make for just anyone) and had a really nice time. They could not be any cuter—Italy is getting a wonderful couple.
I was a little worried when they said they were going to move to Italy. I am not sure if it is because I am envious, or was unsure if this was a good idea. But when Becky described the process she went through and how everything kept falling into place for them, I knew this was destined for them.
Their house is sold, they have their Italian citizenship and they are on their way. I wish them well on their journey and hope that life in Italy brings them great joy.
Arrivederci i miei amici, fino a che non veniamo a contatto di ancora.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Did you see the shocking cover of People Magazine this week?! I like to think of myself as keeping up to date on celebrity issues, but this just knocked me for a loop. Can you believe it? I mean, who would have thought?
I’m not talking about Lance Bass—I think Lance was the only one who did not think he was gay…
I am talking about the much more shocking item to the lower right:
Colin Farrell is sober?! What the hell is up with that? A Colin Farrell sober world is a world I want no part of. My only chance of ever getting Colin naked was if he were blind-stinking drunk.*
I stand no chance of ever getting a 10. My only chance is if a 10 gets so incredibly drunk he does not know he is hitting well below his league… and by then, it is too late for him (but so much the better for me).
So, I will have to scratch Colin Farrell off my Potential Lays if They’re Incredibly Drunk list. Now I have to work on getting Josh Hartnett to start drinking heavily… and I should send some wine to Ashton Kutcher as well.
*Naturally, I would bathe him before licking him up and down and up and down, because cigarettes, b.o. and booze do not make for a fun smell.
Big news from St. Paul, MN: they found an intact wooden toilette!! Oh, the joy. Can you smell the history? (I smell something and it ain't history.)
The part that made me laugh out loud (LOL for you IM'ers) was it was found at the "B&M Furniture Company". I had to look at the date to make sure that it was not posted on April Fools...
(And yes, I have been enjoying Wikipedia, why do you ask?)
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
...A Tropical Heatwave...
Oh. My. God. I thought I was going to die over the last few days--temperatures have been in the 100's and we Northern Californians are just not cut out for that Southern California weather. They shut down the chilled water to our A/C at work and it was 85 in the building when I walked in Monday morning.
I think the biggest problem was that there was no wind at all. It was just hot and still. Nasty stuff. I would open windows at night but there was no air movement--even with fans running all over the house, the second you were away from the fan you melted. Seriously, my poor sister is just a pool in the front entry way. I thought about sopping her up with a towel, but it was too hot.
Thankfully, a marine layer came in (i.e. fog) and it dropped about 20 degrees today--they even allowed our building access to the chilled water so by the end of the day, the temperature in the building was tolerable. Oh, lucky us.
However, another heat wave is expected next week.
We're having a heat wave,
A tropical heat wave,
The temperature's rising,I
t isn't surprising,
She certainly can can-can.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
There is an interesting New York Magazine article on Anderson Cooper, that little hottie from The Mole (and subsequently work on CNN covering hurricanes and other weather/vox populi items). In the article Anderson is asked the question about whether or not he is gay?
Anderson’s answer was a resounding “YES!” Well, actually, he disguised it, but it was a “yes” none-the-less. Anderson’s answer was “You know, I understand why people might be interested. But I just don’t talk about my personal life.”
It’s a yes or no question. “Yes, I am gay,” or “No, I am not gay.” Why would anyone hesitate in saying that they are not gay? How many straight-closeted individuals are there in the world? They must really be good at hiding, because I can not think of one in history. Anderson did not answer “no.”
So, when Anderson answered “I just don’t talk about my personal life,” he’s saying, “yes, I’m gay, but I got a career and the idiots in the red states don’t want their news coming from some prematurely gray gay hottie.”
Of course, this could all be solved by bringing out the old girlfriends. No one that privileged, educated, good-looking and successful could go through life without hooking up with a number of women along the way. Where are the old girlfriends? Let’s check his book Dispatches from the Edge, shall we?
Brother’s suicide… check
Dad’s death… check
Mother…. check, check
A mention of a girlfriend anywhere in the book… NADA!
Okay… who is he currently dating? [Crickets chirping…] Yep, that’s a big: no one. More important, there are no rumors about Anderson being seen with a woman. Nothing. You would think he would make an effort… Soledad O'Brien is single—wouldn’t they make a cute couple?
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Coop is a happy straight guy who just does not have sex with anyone. Then again, maybe he’s banging Julio Cesar Recio, the “Julio” he thanked for “his support and calm counsel” in Dispatches. But that is just a rumor that I read about here, here, here, here and here.
And here’s a picture of Julio, which, I’m sure, means nothing…
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Remember my hysterically funny friend Michele? If you don’t you’re not reading enough… Anyway, she has started a blog about her moving to Norway after living in San Francisco for most of her adult life.
She is a terrific writer and an absolute riot—I think you will enjoy it. Go on… go get your Norway on at Michele’s My Grand Adventure blog, you won’t be sorry.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Dear Mr. President,
Let me see if I get this… You think that fertilized eggs—used for in vitro fertilization, that would otherwise be thrown out—should not be used for research because that is “murder”? But, sending 2500 American soldiers to their deaths for a war you pretty much pulled out of your ass is…? What? If not "murder", then "wreckless idiocy" certainly would apply.
First, you were a joke, then you were dangerous, now you’re a dangerous joke. How I long for the days when the worst thing our president had was a stained dress from a fat girl, with approval ratings and the economy flying high.
For a Christian, you suck. You say you "know Christ," but I spoke to him last week and he said, "I don't even know that dude!"
Why don't you go do something useful like eat a bowl of pretzels or go hunting with Dick Cheney...
PS: You're a total douche...
This is the story of two of my friends who both have adopted baby girls.
Dude* adopted a baby girl from somewhere in the red states in December. I got progress reports as the date of delivery neared and then several emails right about the time the baby was born. Now I get occasional emails with pictures giving updates on the adoption process and the state of the family. The child is adorable and they are just the perfect little family…
Chick** also adopted a child recently. My friends and I heard she and her husband were attempting to adopt a few years ago and I thought I heard that they were getting a baby last summer. Then I got a notice in the spring noting that the baby had been born in September and they would be picking her up “sometime this summer.” And that was the last I heard on the matter—I have no idea when they were picking up the baby or getting back. When I inquired about a baby shower, I was told that Chick specifically requested not to have one.
The other day I heard that Chick was “disappointed” by the lack of enthusiasm from her friends and that no one had contacted her about the baby. Wha…?
Chick has a very tight close group of friends she shares things with (Chick’s Click) and the rest of us get our information from Chick’s Click. If Das Click does not say anything, then we do not know anything. Pretty simple, no?
Add to that the fact that Das Click is tight lipped (Yes, it’s a TLCC: a Tight Lipped Chick Click). Recently, one of Chick’s Click mentioned that she knew the name of “The Baby” but was “sworn to secrecy.” Is the name that bad or are they looking to copyright it out of fear someone will steal the name? Chick’s Click likes the fact that “they are in the know” and will say they “know something but can’t tell.” Then why say anything at all?
—No notification except to Click
—Click that keeps “secrets” really well
—Refusal to have a baby shower…
—Yet she is pissed we are not excited about “The Baby”? How can I be excited about something I know nothing about? Guess what? I am really excited about August 31—but I can’t tell you why or what is going to happen, but you are excited, right? Of course not.
Frankly, I consider this bad parenting. It is the parents job to cram pictures and information about “the most adorable child in the world” while their friends feign interest—it’s all in the job description.
As friends, our job is to be as excited as the parents (many times even when we aren’t…) why? It’s in our job description… As a parent, you are the child’s PR agent. I will not know if your kid is walking until the parent tells me (or the kid walks up to me—hopefully, with a cocktail in hand). These kids will never call me (unless they get a DUI in college and is too scared to call their dad and is hoping I will bail them out***—otherwise, it is all up to mom and dad to let me know how the kid is doing. How did Chick manage to reach the age of 44 and not get this information?
A friend of mine has over 2000 pictures of his 10 month old on his website… 2000! Who needs that many pictures of their child? I doubt a moment of that kid’s life is not fully documented. But that is the job of the parent. There is no child as wonderful, smart, adorable, kind, giving, funny, or as original as your child. You are to torture your friends ad nauseam with these facts and we are to smile and coo and agree and be grateful to bask in the presence of your child.
My rant aside, I love hearing information about my friend’s kids. I do not have any, so I can live vicariously through them. The wall in my office is covered with pictures of kids from friends, faculty and co-workers—proud parents all. And when they tell me of colic, tantrums and unfortunate potty training incidents, I can tell them how sorry I am for them and thank God it is not me…
I still have not heard from Chick that they are home, or even what the baby’s name is. However, through a friend, someone told me the baby’s name. I would tell you, but it is a secret…
Addendum: I am supposed to see Chick tonight… if she does not bring the kid or have pictures of said child, I am officially referring to that child as “Suri”. (7/21/06)
Addendum to the Addendum: Chick never showed that evening... left a voicemail stating that "she" (the baby) would go off "her" schedule and that "she" can get pretty cranky and throw Chick and her husband's schedule off. She never mentioned the kid's name. I am officially referring to the child as Suri. And I am yet again expecting to see Chick this weekend, so this may all change... we shall see (8/4/06)
*Not his real name, although I constantly call him that, so it's close enough.
**Oddly enough, that is her name… (I kid. It’s not. Seriously, it’s not… it’s another Chick you’re thinking of…)
***Which I will totally do. What can I say? It’s in the job description…
Monday, July 17, 2006
Today is my birthday... I'm 42. Good Lord, I was hoping for so much more by this age. When I was a kid, I used to think of what I would be like when I was older. I turned 36 in the year 2000 and that was sort of the benchmark for me growing up: "What will I be like at 36?"
I thought I'd be married (ha!--remember, I was a kid...) and that I'd have a really cool job like, oh, managing an office at some cool company like IBM, or something. Yeah, that was the dream... (remember, it was the 70's and that was a cool dream. I never said it was a GROOVY dream, just a cool one--I was raised by Republicans, so my view of the world is skewed.)
And my birthday's would be these wild and fun celebrations and all my (hundreds) of friends would be there--it would be wild.
It all flashed on me in the middle of my SafeServ sanitation class tonight as I was trying to stay awake--it's interesting, but I'm tired.* There I was, single me sitting in a class wondering what turn did I make that brought me here? Sure, I feel my life is finally on track again, but when the fuck did it get so off track?
Needless to say, there was no surprise party or any other such "event" for my birthday... Oh, poor me--Lebanon is in ruins, Israel is attacking everyone, Iraq could not be any closer to a civil war if Abe Lincoln were president and I'm feeling sorry for myself. At least I have my sense of perspective: it's all about me!
Or, it could be because, in my state of self pity I came home, opened up a bottle of my delicious** bottle of Limocello and, after two glasses, I am feeling no pain. Happy birthday to me, indeed!
*No, really, it is interesting. You're reading about a man who, after taking this class, will never again eat ground beef, never go to a fast-food restaurant, and will never look at an egg the same way again. But, you... you go on and enjoy your meal. I'll just prepare for your inevitable doom....
**If I do say so myself--and I do. Damn, this shit is g-o-o-o-d! Mmmmm... lemony-alcohol.
My friends Becky and Joe Robbins are leaving California after ten years and moving to Italy. Italy. Friggin’ Italy.
I’m not sure if I wrote about them before, but they are an adorable couple that I have known for almost eight years. Becky and I used to work together when I first started here and we have kept in touch over the years.
She and her husband, Joe (what a cutie) have a painting business in Concord (the SF Bay Area) and through that they got on the Home & Garden TV show Landscape Smart this year. I guess business has been good because they recently made the decision to move to Italy. It seems that all my friends are moving to Europe! I guess there are worse places to live (like Concord).
They are moving to Sestri Levante on the Mediterranean coast of Italy. As I find out what they intend to do for a living in Italy, I will let you know and if you are so inclined to visit the lovely city of Sestri Levante, you can look them up.
It is a strange thing with friends, when they live close, you do not have to see each other all the time and that is okay. However, the second they move far away, you miss them all the time...
In the meantime, check out the picture above and enjoy the view…
Friday, July 14, 2006
Far be it from me to be an expert on what is sexy… although, I am an expert on porn: lovely, wonderful, filthy, dirty porn. However, today I was perusing a wonderful site (full of lovely images of wonderful men doing filthy things, making me feel deliciously dirty) and I came across this picture:
I mean, honestly…. THAT is sexy? No, no my friends. That is desperation! That is not lovely, wonderful, filthy or dirty… that is just freaky-weird is what that is. What the hell did the photographer say to him?
“Okay, Ed* I want you to give me your sexiest turn… and when you do—surprise me!”
I’m sure the photographer was surprised at that… who wouldn’t be? I’m positive that he was so surprised he ran out of the studio screaming. Yet, it managed to make it onto a porn site. There were hundreds (thousands?) of pictures on this site, one hot, hunky man after another… and then “Surprise!”
Who was the genius that thought this needed to be included on the site? Did they only have 49,999 pictures and needed just one more to put them over the top? Do they buy pictures in bulk and this was just snuck in?
What must his friends think?
“Hey, Ed** nice pictures of you on that porn site… but that one…”
“Which one?” Ed*** asks incredulously.
“Surprise!” another friend chimes in sarcastically.
Ed looks down, dejected, “He said to surprise him…”
“Sweetie,” his fag hag friend says stroking his shoulder (but not really wanting to touch him because she’s finally over this whole fag-hag thing and wants to find a guy she can have a real relationship with—sex, damnit! She wants sex!), “that’s not surprise—that’s more of an attack…”
“Closer to molestation…” added another friend, not being helpful in the least.
Anyhow, I’m sure Ed (but really Jim) is really embarrassed about the whole thing, but it’s out there, you know? The whole world is going to see his "surprise."
You know, if that weren’t bad enough, what most his mother think? You’re child poses nude… where did you go wrong? Your child poses nude for a gay website… who’s to blame? (Father? Cousin? Neighbor? Priest?) Your child does a poses nude and looks like that? Now that is an unfortunate surprise.
*I’m sure that’s not his real name. His real name is probably Dick but that wouldn’t be right for a porn star, would it?
**Still not his real name…
***You got this, right? I don’t have to keep telling you, right? (By the way... his real name is Jim, don't ask me how I know...)
Monday, July 10, 2006
Monday, July 03, 2006
Culinary school begins next week, so my last hurrah going out on a Sunday was last night. Since today is a semi-holiday (it’s Fourth of July Eve!), I could stay out really late and have some great fun.*
I called my buddy Scotty (not to be confused with Scooter—two different Scotts… and neither is Scottish—interesting, no?**) Scotty tends to be a bit more shy and I make attempts to get him to come out of his shell and join in the big gay fun.
Oddly enough, I am secretly shy myself, so it is a fierce internal struggle to fake being confident and not to curl up in a ball in the corner of the bar. As I walk into any bar I have to make “deals” with myself: “Okay, two beers and you have to stay for at least an hour…” or “I will make myself talk to one person…” I’m sure it’s very attractive walking up to the bar, whispering to myself. Very, very attractive. With two outspoken blokes like us heading into a bar, only fun and happiness can ensue.
In my limited bar experience, I find that I spend most of my time just standing there, muttering to myself to go talk to guys who look over, see me muttering to myself and they run. Literally. They see me look over and take off in a full-on run. I spend a lot of times in bars standing by myself watching people race by.
We got ourselves worked up watching the Superman Returns, the new Superdude is pretty hot and Scotty was openly drooling over him through the whole movie. He kept muttering, “Oh my God!” practically every time the man from Krypton was on the screen. When Jor-El’s boy’s little outfit got ripped off, Scotty squealed. No shit. Girly squeal. People moved. No… they left, actually. Parents gathered their children and left. I felt like a leper… Since I was already an outcast, why not head over to the bar right away?
We get to the bar—located in beautiful downtown Oakland in what I am sure can only be described as the “crime-ridden underbelly district” of the city. We head upstairs and the bar is doing some brisk business. Immediately I am thinking with this many people, we are bound to meet (meat?) someone.
I order beers for Scotty and I—and I ask the cute bartender (the amazingly hot, buffed and perfectly hairy-chested Adrian) if the beer bust is going on (“All you can drink for $6!”) and he looks at me like I just asked him to put his shirt back on. Then he looks past me to Scotty and says, “Hi, I haven’t seen you before…” Adrian has never said that to me—even when I was new. Adrian and Scotty start chatting and the next thing you know, he offers Scotty (and I) the beer bust!
With drinks in hand, I saw a friend of a friend (who I mistakenly—and consistently—refer to as “Cole”), so I went over and said hello, chatted for a bit and went back to Scotty, who looked like an wounded tuna surrounded by sharks… they were literally circling. Every guy was checking out Scotty, the leper (“hello—me!”) was pretty much left alone. Scotty would walk up to the bar and Adrian would walk away from prepping some other guy’s drink to help him. Whenever I went up to the bar is when Adrian decided he needed to clean out the drains…
It went on like this all night long. To make matters worse, I was the designated driver, so I could not drown my sorrows in alcohol… delicious, mind-numbing, alcohol.
Cole, who has never spoken to me other than when prompted by his friends or when I make the first gesture, comes over to introduce himself. (I swear I showered and I can’t get any freakin’ love?!) “We’ll show you around,” Cole winked to Scotty. Thanks for not showing me around, Cole!
Scotty, shy-shy Scotty, was practically sprawled on the bar flirting with Adrian when I had finally had enough. The three guys around the bar that I had simultaneously been checking out all night*** had each found someone and were leaving—not one of them even looked in my direction… they all looked towards Scotty. I somehow thought they were looking at me from across the room, however, I achieved the one thing I longed for in locker rooms: I was invisible.
I walked up to Scotty and told him I was going to the bathroom and we would be leaving. Adrian gave me the look of death. I wanted to tell him to fuck off, but he was too cute. (damnit!)
When I came out of the bar, Adrian was out from behind the bar hugging Scotty goodbye. It was like the final scene of Casablanca. I can not say for certain, but Adrian quite possibly had tears in his eyes. They exchanged numbers and I am sure they will be happy.
A little hungry and probably a teeny bit drunk we decided to drive over to Taco Bell (I said I was the designated driver, I did not say I was a good one). One bite of my Burrito Supreme and it exploded down my shirt. That shit is hot! I dropped Scotty off at his place and drove home reeking of ‘supreme sauce’ (and not the good kind, if you know what I mean… Eww. Even I found that offensive).
So my last chance at getting some lovin’ (or a good grope) until I am out of school next year is gone. On the plus side, being as invisible as I was last night, when I go back, Adrian will think I am new!
*Meaning: I could get laid and not worry about getting up in the morning.
**I didn’t think so, but it never hurts to ask...
***There are always three:
Number 1: The guy I really, really want, but could never get
Number 2: The guy I think is adorable, but will most likely end up with number one, or someone that is wrong I am blinded.
Number 3: The guy I am most likely to get. (I should take this opportunity to note that in New Orleans, I managed to get my Number 1 choice TWICE! I fucking love New Orleans…)
Friday, June 30, 2006
My dear friend Michele and her adorable husband Ian have moved to Norway. Why, you may ask... hell if I know. I guess they thought it would be fun to live where the winters are very, very dark and bitterly cold. Sounds like paradise to me.
Anyway, Michele and I have been corresponding and below is a bit of her response to an email I sent last week. She's a fricken crack-up and it's obvioius from the letter why I love her so: she's sweet and funny--a combo you don't find too often.
Oh my god, thank you for your note. It is really nice to hear from you! I don't mean that in a "Why don't you ever write kind of way," but in a "I-don'-t-keep-in-touch-thank-you-for-remembering-me" kind of way. And I am so sorry I have not written! I have not had regular access to a computer or a consistent internet connection for the last six weeks and it's been driving right around the bend! Any feelings of isolation and loneliness I have felt since I got here have been compounded, in a terrible way, by not being able to say "howdy" to my friends via email.
Chris, I have so much to tell you about all of the things that I have experienced since I got here! Unfortunately, it's, like, 10:30pm now and I have had a couple of glasses of wine and am finding it difficult to type.... The Draconian Norwegian alcohol laws may have contributed to my sadly decreasing level of tolerance, which is an occurrence of tragic proportions, but, whatever the reason, I am unable to communicate coherently at this moment. It's okay, though---my pent-up mumblings about life in Norway can wait another day or two, for sure. :-)
I'm sorry as well that I have not forwarded to you pictures of any Norwegians hot hunks of burning love. There are a couple of reasons: 1) the sightings of such HHBL are sadly rare (!!??); and, 2) when I do see one, I don't have my camera with me. I'll try to be more diligent in the future. Would you believe me if I said that, when I see a stone-cold babe, I totally think of you? It's true, it really is.
I miss you very much, and miss communicating with you on a semi-regular basis. I am really hoping that, now that I have my machine back, I'll be boring you with Nordic news ASAP. Aren't you the lucky one? :-)
Ian and I are okay, although currently too busy for our own comfort. The container arriving is a good thing, a marvelous thing, but the unpacking, moving, and organizing of all of our stuff is exhausting at best. And, sadly, my "honeymoon-I-love-Noway" phase is over, as the fun, shiny newness of the experience has worn off. The annoying, "different" things that were interesting four weeks ago are now just irritating. Isn't that sad? It's kind of like dating, isn't it? The first month can be quite excellent, and, then, oh god, the snoring, the farting, the nose noises, the bizarre sexual demands, the emotional baggage...you know what I'm talking about. Okay, so Norway hasn't made any strange sexual demands of me yet, but she is snoring and farting and emptying my pockets at an alarming rate that is ebbing away at my initial lust for her. Taxing, tea-totaling, expensive bitch!!! I tire of you!
Anyway, more details later, I promise. Ian and I are going to Britain this weekend for family stuff, but will be back on Monday and I will write more then.
So, please, write again soon! :-) I love you, and hope you are well. And, again, that is so awesome that you are starting school next week. Good on you for following your passions. If only the California courts said that same thing....
I'll send pictures soon, too! Thank you for writing! I'll write again soon!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Hmmm, let’s scan the headlines and see what’s going on in the world, shall we?
“Israel and Palestine…” Like that isn’t new… “Guantanamo…” Blah, blah, blah
“Gains on terrorists…” Whatever. “Not enough National Guardsman to patrol borders…” At least the price of fruit won’t be going up. “Flooding in the East?” It’s just water, come on—what’s the big deal? “Corporate corruption?” Like that’s new. “Kid dies at DisneyWorld…” Didn’t that just happen last month…?
Come on! Where’s the real news. Wait. Did I miss something? Was there something important in the headlines? Yes, I did! Rob Schneider is okay? He collapsed on a movie set? My God! Call Entertainment Tonight! Get that alcoholic guy from Access Hollywood! Call Larry King! Wait! Better get Anderson Cooper for this breaking story, because this… this is important!
Yes, that is the actual headline section from Comcast.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Far be it from me to judge someone else’s habits… but since you probably know me by now, you know I am going to do it anyhow.
My co-worker and friend Scooter has this thing he likes to call “The Process.”* Every morning he buys an English Muffin at our cafeteria and toasts it. (That’s not the weird part… keep reading.) While it is toasting, he takes three—not one, not two, but three!—pats of foil-wrapped butter and holds them between his palms to warm them. (still not the weird part… keep going).
Half-way through the toasting process, he pops the muffin up and rotates it 180 degrees to ensure it is properly toasted on both top and bottom. Everything he does with this process is specific and timed. God help you if you slow him down… (Yeah, yeah, ‘strange’ but not really weird. I’m telling you, keep reading).
Once his muffin has been properly toasted (which, much to my chagrin is not a euphemism for anything), he puts the muffin on a paper plate and tops it with another paper plate (to “seal in” the warmth) and then tops that with the pats of butter (to further soften the butter). Again, all significant and integral parts of “The Process.” (And yes, still odd, and even a bit strange… but it gets weirder).
We are now at a time-critical juncture as Scooter must get back to his office so that his muffin is still warm, where he can put on the 1 ½ pats of butter per slice and eat while it is still at “prime temperature.”
This morning, L-Man ran into a problem with his breakfast and had to walk over to the cashier. Scooter left us to rush his English muffin back to his office. Scooters reason being the time it took L-Man to return the (not vegetarian)vegetarian burrito**—less than two minutes—“The Process” would be interrupted. (That’s it! That’s where it zoomed into freaky-weird country! You leave your friends because you have to ‘rush’ your English muffin back to your office? Dude, that’s just freaky fucking bizarre--we're talking about a flimsy English muffin! A danish? I might understand. An actual muffin? Maybe. But you have got to get those little nooks and crannies back to your office? Totally fucking bizarre).
Contrast that to me: I stop by the “El Crapito” toaster oven in the break room on my way to the shower in the morning and toss in my English muffin for about 10 minutes. The oven sucks, so it is always a crap-shoot as to whether my muffin will come out slightly toasted or burned beyond recognition. Frankly, I like the burned bits—they are little bits of heaven if you ask me***—so I can deal with whatever L’il Toaster Oven From Hell gives me.
When I come by for it on my way back to my office I can tell by the smoke content in the air just how burnt my English muffin is. For me, the critical point in my “process” is whether or not to dunk. Actually, that is answered by the toaster oven: if said muffin is burnt to a crisp, I need to dunk; otherwise I don’t. Sometimes I reverse that just to keep myself alert.
I guess we all have our odd morning processes, so I really should not judge someone else’s process as weird. Then again, some processes are just bat-shit insane and I have got to say something.
And don't even get me started on what he does with Australian Toaster Biscuits...
* I like to call it “weird.”
** aka: Vegetarian Burrito with ham! Did I mention the caterers in our cafeteria are the worst? They are.
*** You didn’t but I’m telling you anyhow.
Monday, June 26, 2006
I haven't had a chance to read the article, but look at the little blub from Google: "Calif. Port Closed Amid Possible Threat" and then a picture of Miss Oprah Winfrey right next to it. Never under estimate the power of Miss Winfrey...
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I'm back from New Orleans! Did you miss me? Did you know I was gone?
I had an amazing time in Nawlins... the people were so incredibly friendly, and so appreciative that we were visiting.
There is much to tell about the weekend (especially about "Killer Eyes Brian" and "Hottie Jim")--but I've got to go through the 400 pictures I took on the trip and upload them to flickr.
I'll write more later, but have to say that New Orleans is such a wonderful city--despite the word you hear on the news, it is safe to travel there and the French Quarter is up and running full steam (speaking of steam: Good Lord, it is hot down there. Seriously, seriously hot. Tarzan kinda hot...).
In the meantime, dream of a Cafe au lait and declicious Beignets...
Thursday, June 15, 2006
I've complained enough for a while, so here's a little diversion for all you kids: You get to play Jackson Pollack (without the drinking and the car accident). Drag your cursor around and the paint will "drip." Click on the mouse and the color changes. Above is the amazing "painting" I "created" with my "talent."
Enjoy yourselves (feel free to email me your results, I'd like to see what kind of "talent" my reader(s?) have).
I read this comment on an article about Dubya kidding a blind reporter about wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day… Could he be more of an ass? I shouldn’t ask that, because every time I think ‘he can’t do any more damage,’ he does.
If A Girl Isn’t Pretty…
This made me smile…
Monday, June 05, 2006
When I was a child and some generous family friend or relative gave me a gift, I had to make the dreaded ‘thank you phone call.’ It was usually to some relative we did not see too often and I had little interest in talking to them when they were in the room, much less on the phone. As a kid, trying to talk to any adult on the phone was difficult, talking to an adult you had no interest in was absolute agony.
For group gifts it was easier: mom would dial and one by one, my brothers, sister and I would take the phone and talk to our benefactor. I liked going last because I could glean the blest from their remarks and come up with something clever… until they asked a question.
If prepared, I can answer anything. Unprepared, I can not tell you what time it is with a digital clock in hand. I tend to go blank when any questions are asked. Even if I raise my hand, once called upon my brain locks up and I forget why I have my hand in the air.
After a couple of years it became a bit easier. I learned to wait for them to ask questions like “What have you been up to?” and the always classic “How is school?” I knew the answers to these and robotically would repeat the same answers each and every conversation.* I knew never to ask a question as that would only prolong the conversation.
I never felt free to tell them what I wanted to talk about: How my favorite summer activities were playing cars in the dirt, and sitting around in the big cherry tree in the back (but not the smaller ones), eating cherries and seeing how many pits I could keep in my mouth without swallowing (26… I believe it’s a neighborhood record). I wanted to talk about how Carol Burnett was the funniest show ever and that along with Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart Saturday night was the best night for television. How lying on our side lawn in the dark, staring up at the stars in the night sky with my friends around me was the best feeling ever. No one ever asked and I never thought to bring it up. Besides, without knowing they were going to deviate from the standard questions ahead of time, I wouldn’t have known how to answer (why no one ever thought of submitting questions in advance was beyond me).
However, on rare and lucky occasions, I would call and get the answering machine! No stilted conversation. No awkward silences. Just pure “Thank you so much for the gift, I love it. I’m sorry you weren’t home, maybe I’ll try again another time.” Meaining: “Maybe I’ll try and miss you again next year!”
However, I think they were equally grateful they did not have to talk to me. Seriously, they knew the answers to the questions as much as I knew what questions were coming. Something tells me Uncle Frank was screening his calls…
Today I got home and there was a phone message from my niece and nephews thanking me for their birthday gifts. The phone was dutifully passed around from one to the next and the relief that they did not have to actually speak to me was evidently clear.
Even though they are teenagers the message they left varied only slightly from the messages they left when they were little kids. They still have not figured out the best way to say thank you and avoid any kind of awkward silences or painfully stilted voicemails. A lesson taught to me by my mother when I was ten and it is a brilliantly simple idea that continues to serve me well: get out a piece of paper and write a thank you note.
*Answer to Question #1: “Not much.”
Answer to Question #2: “Fine.”