Thursday, June 21, 2007

Holiday, Part Deux

In my ongoing quest for world domination, my Beloved and I are taking the offspring on his first trip to jolly olde England. the one place on earth where you're guaranteed not to be the biggest queen in town.

We'll go back live on July 2. Hopefully, I'll come back with more than "escalator" stories.

Until then, remember our mantra: there's always someone out there more stupid than you.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

SOMEBODY Didn't Get the Memo.

This just in from News 8 Austin:

"Priest drives truck into restaurant injuring several."

"Father Karel Fink was charged with driving while intoxicated after he drove his pickup truck through the front of La Cabana restaurant in Smithville Monday."

I don't know about the Smithville jail, but I'm betting Father Karel is in for some "rhythm and (not so) gentle repetition."

The Road to Hell

I almost never find myself in agreement with the Vatican. In theory, I like red Prada shoes, but not on this Pope. He always looks like he’s on his way to a gay cocktail party (and believe me, it wouldn’t be the first time I’d criticized some old queen’s shoes at one of those).

But now the Vatican has tackled one of my pet (peeve) projects head-on. As only the Vatican could.

Apparently, La Papa was getting all stressed out by the aggressive driving in Rome. In fact, he was heard to say, (loosely translated from Italian), “I do declare! All this testosterone is giving me the vapors!”

Here I present to you "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road," aka The Ten Commandments of Driving

1. You shall not kill.
2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.
3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.
4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.
5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.
6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.
7. Support the families of accident victims.
8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.
9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.
10. Feel responsible toward others.

In the interest of not going directly to Hell, without passing “Go,” I’ll let you write your own snarky comments to the actual commandments—although I find it unbearably pretentious, in fact almost blasphemous, that they chose to use the same construct as one of Christianity’s most revered documents. But what do I know, maybe they’re just big Letterman fans in Vatican City. Or maybe they just screened QT’s new flick in the Cardinals’ dorm.

The supporting paper also suggested praying before you buckle your seat belt. Please. Anyone who has ever been in Italian traffic knows you’re pretty much praying the whole time to make it out alive! (This might be the first time in recorded history that the Vatican recommended praying LESS? Interesting.)

In fact, they suggested that reciting the rosary would make you a better driver, because the “"rhythm and gentle repetition does not distract the driver's attention." Oh, yeah? Ask a teenager about “rhythm and gentle repetition” and whether it’s a distraction to their driving or not.

It also talked about the dangers of prostitution in cars (?!?!?!? As opposed to . . . what? Is the incidence of getting an STD greater if there’s a stick shift involved?).

At the end of the day, though, ANYTHING that will get people to drive better is all right by me. Although I can just see it now, Missy Catholic Soccer Mom, in her big ass Suburban with a carpool full of kids, juggling a skim, no-foam mocha latte, a steering wheel, her cell phone AND a rosary.

Lord help us!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

You've Got Mail! . . . er . . . You HAD Mail . . . um. . . LOOK! A TERRORIST!

I’m not usually one to gloat, but I can’t help it. After years of digging for wrongdoing in the Clinton Administration, the Republicans are turning out to be the evildoers afterall. Hee-Hee-Hee!

According to every news outlet that publishes, E-mail records are missing for 51 of the 88 White House aides with Republican Party accounts. 88 people on the White House staff are doing political work? Is that a lot? Sure seems like it? Wish that many people had weighed in on Iraq strategy.

According to the White House, these accounts were set up to avoid the appearance of impropriety, keeping political work separate from “official” business. Well, so much for that theory. Investigators claim the accounts were used to circumvent the Presidential Records Act, put in place after another Republican Dick tarnished the White House like no one before or since (although history may give this Bush the nod).

The craziest thing about the story though is that of the 675,000 (seriously!) individual emails from the White House, 144,000 (no, seriously!!!!) were from KARL ROVE! SHUT the fuck up! People, that’s insane. That’s 2000 emails a MONTH from the evildwarfwhiterapper. 2000 friggin’ emails a month! If someone sent me 2000 emails a month, I’d have a restraining order against them.

So when, exactly, was Mr. Rove doing the business of the country? Or does he just work that Blackberry like Mr. Miyagi works chopsticks? ‘Cuz ya know there ain’t no "LOL" or "OMG" in Mr. Rove’s emails. I’m thinking more along the lines of "War and Peace (The Blackberry Chronicles)."

Of course, all of the “spokespeople,” or “muppets” as I like to call them (you KNOW Rove’s got one hand up their asses, controlling every word—I guess we know what the other hand is doing now--emailing!) came scurrying out to decry the “partisan” report.

GOP spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt: “(the report) jumped the gun and appears to be representing Democrats' partisan spin as fact."

"Not only have we been clear that we are continuing our efforts to search for e-mails (did you look in Laura’s bedroom? I hear it’s not being used much), but there is no basis for an assumption that any e-mail not already found would be of an official nature."

White House spokesman Tony Snow: "We have seen a number of times right now where people have been putting together investigations to see what sticks." Mostly people who took a master class from Ken Starr, maybe?

RNC lawyer Eric Kuwana: “ (the documents) are from a limited period of time years ago, have no articulated connection to the investigations of the committee, and very well may be the type and nature of political documents that are specifically exempt from the Presidential Records Act."

Hmmm. “may very well be . . .?” I say “may very well be NOT.”

Wonder how long it will take them to scare up a terror alert?

What? Fresh video this morning of a suicide bomber "graduation day?"

You're good, Rove. You're Evil. But you're good.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Black Hat Chronicles

So, I have this dear friend who is living in Britain. And she has been known to quaff a pint or two. And drunk dial. Fortunately, she is terrifically amusing and I seldom mind her late night ramblings. When she lived in the states, I didn’t usually hear them until the next morning. However, with the time difference between Texas and the U.K., I now get to experience them live, in surround sound.

The latest was a Thursday night introduction to the new boyfriend, Steve. And a plea for a black Stetson. Apparently, she had decided that her adorable British boyfriend needed a bad ass black hat to complete the ensemble. And if the following sentence doesn’t convince you of how seriously I take my friendships, I don’t know what will.

I went to a western wear shop. Sober. In broad daylight.

And it was trippier than ANYTHING Alice saw. Believe me. Give me hallucinations over cowpeople ANY DAY. THIS was MY alternate universe.

Now, growing up, I had a brother who was a rodeo cowboy. So it’s not like I’ve never been around the vibe, right? And who hasn’t lusted after a hot cowboy or two?

But thangs is differnt in our country now. The Dixie Chicks are considered “communists” by most of the people I was shopping with. American Idol Carrie Underwood sings about the joys of destroying her cheatin’ man’s “pretty little souped up four-wheel drive” (which is completely oxymoronic in my book, anyway) and George Bush is still president.

Forget the fucking HEARTland. I’m ready for some BRAINland.

And the Saddles, Boots and Such Wearhouse isn’t going be the capital of Brainland, I can assure you.

I literally could have wandered into a store in a foreign country and not felt more like an outsider. These were not my people. My people don’t buy matching plaid, pearl-buttoned western cut shirts for Daddy and Son (although I convinced myself it had to be a Father’s Day affectation. Come on, I had to protect my sanity somehow!) My people don’t wear their pants so tight that they walk funny. That’s not a horse thing, y’all. It’s the jeans. Most of these people wouldn’t know how to ride a horse if it crawled up under ‘em.

But I patiently waded through the confederate flag bandanas and assorted yeehaw merchandise, grabbed a black hat on sale and got the hell out.

“Mission accomplished,” I crowed into the phone.

“Oh, sweetie! Didn’t you get my text message Friday morning? Steve is over. Done. I’ll explain when I see you. But needless to say, I won’t be needing the hat. I hope it’s not too much trouble to return it.”

No. No trouble at all. I’d like nothing better than to hear another tale of barrel racing gone awry. Or wonder if someone taught them to conjugate that way, or if it's genetic. No. No trouble.

On second thought, I wonder how I’d look in a black hat?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Or Maybe He Was Just Giving Me The Finger

I saw something the other day that has had me scratchin’ my noggin ever since. It doesn’t fall in the category of “stupid.” But it does fall in the category of “unusual.” Mostly because I’ve never seen anything like it before.

I was cruising around town on my daily mission (spreading joy and wonder is a full-time job!) when I saw it. A deaf guy walking down the street. Talking to himself. In sign language.

Now, anyone who lives in an urban environment sees/hears people talking to themselves on the street on a daily basis. It can be amusing, nonsensical, threatening or just plain sad. And it’s usually accompanied by a request for money and an assault on the olfactory system.

This fellow appeared to be in complete control of his faculties. He was perfectly well-dressed and groomed. But he was walking down the street signing to himself.

Is this common? We have a fairly large deaf population here in Austin. And I’ve been exposed to a few folks socially who happened to be deaf. I even have a former employee who moonlighted as a deaf interpreter. Man, if I could have Samantha Stevensed him into my car at that moment I would have. Not only could he have told me whether the behavior was common on not, he could have eavesdropped for me.

I mean, seriously, once I got over the initial curiosity factor, I was DYING to know what was prompting his soliloquy. Missed the bus? Jilted by a lover? Fucked up a job interview? Rehearsing for a play? Swarm of flies?

Or maybe just reciting his grocery list over and over again, so he wouldn’t forget. Cheese, bread, beer, condoms. Cheese, bread, beer, condoms. Okay, so that’s MY grocery list, but you get the point.

And then there’s the whole “mirror factor.” If you’re signing to yourself, do you have to do it in mirror image, so you’ll know what you’re talking about? Or would it be like listening to a record played backward?

Shit, I’ll probably be muttering to myself about this all day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

To Honk or Not to Honk . . .

I was watching this amazing show we have on PBS here in Austin, called “Downtown.” They did a piece on Poetry Slam, and it inspired me to write my own free verse. Remember to read it with vigor. That’s what makes is “SLAM!”

It’s called a turn signal.
A truly basic concept

To signal (to me)
A turn (by you)
. . . in the very near future.
Maybe even now.

Not at some undetermined spot down the road
Where something shiny catches your eye
And causes you to veer from your preordained course.

Nor should you just, on a whim
Veer suddenly from the course
You led me to believe you were taking.
Maybe due to a complete lack of ANY INDICATION OTHERWISE.

Maybe it’s an undereducation issue
Maybe you’re just plain dumb.
Maybe you think you’re a rebel
And the rules don’t apply to you.

Maybe you should have to drive behind yourself for a block or two.

That might cure you.
Or it might just piss you off.

Does The "Beep" Mean I've Won Something?

Airport Security.

I’ve come to believe that they’re not there to protect us from terrorists as much as they’re there to protect us from stupid travelers. God bless ‘em. It’s an impossible task.

Now, anyone who has eyes or ears that work knows that airport security is an aggressively heightened state. The agents don’t cotton to veiled threats, or pieces of metal in your bags. But it’s a pretty straightforward experience. Or so one would think.

Obviously, heading overseas, we went through a number of security screenings. Now, it must be said that I’m one of those people who actually arrives at the airport 2 hours early. I find that, not only does it keep me from getting stressed out, it provides me great comic relief and fodder for this blog. All in all, not a bad deal. So let’s dive right in, shall we?

To the young, obviously affluent father with a child in a stroller and an anger management problem: Don’t say nasty things to the TSA agents. They have WAY more power than you. And they don’t care who your daddy is. But hearing you whimper, “We’re just trying to make our flight,” was worth the price of a plane ticket.

Or the barely twentysomething boy in the sideways baseball cap who couldn’t figure out which gate he was looking for and referred to the TSA agents as “those assholes” (out of earshot) for searching him for “no reason.” I’m thinking maybe the fact that you were TWEAKING your ass off and had about nineteen visible piercings might have played into it. Try not to blink so often next time.

Or the wannabe alt-rock young man, lost in his own thoughts, who couldn’t quite grasp the concept of putting your belt, shoes and any metal through xray, but actually carrying your boarding pass. It literally took him three tries to get it right.


“Boarding Pass?”

“Uh . . .”


Even the jaded TSA folk were rolling their eyes on that one.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Stupid Travel Tales, Part One

So the latest stop on The Beloved World Birthday Tour was Paris. Given France’s elevation to “butt of all jokes and harborer of evil” by our current administration, I was expecting a less-than-gracious welcome by the French people. After all, the Parisians aren’t known for their exuberance toward American tourists to begin with. I could only imagine how it would be now.

What a shocker. They were nice. Not smug, we-told-you-so nice (although it must be noted, they did tell us so), but gracious-and-friendly, nice.

The one exception was the cabbie to the airport, who pretended he couldn’t understand a word of my French. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t speak fluent, or even conversational French. But, dude, seriously. I speak French like a five-year old. Pretty simple construction there. For example, he didn’t understand “Charles De Gaulle.” S’il vous plait!

I guess thousands of years of civilized living has made the French a bit more circumspect about our young buck of a nation. Or maybe they think the bulk of Americans have finally realized what a doofus GW is, and they’ve decided to cut us some slack. Or maybe they’re still swallowing the fact that they’ve elected a conservative to lead their nation as well.

Now comes the crazy part. Most of the Americans in Paris behave like the denizens of this blog. Jesus H. I swear these people still churn their own butter. My favorite was at the Louvre, which is a bit like one of those glass ant farms with that giant pyramid. There are escalators everywhere, with people buzzing about. And wouldn’t you know it, Ma Kettle “gits own tha wrong wun.” Now, any normal person would just go to the top, where there is an identical escalator heading right back down again. Not Ma! She decides to turn around and push her way BACK DOWN THE UP escalator, reuniting with her cross-eyed offspring.

And of course, there were plenty of the turistas who got to the top of the escalator and stopped to figure out which way to go. That’s one of my personal faves. In the evil glee department: The crowd literally forced me to run over a couple of those people. And I confess, it was satisfying. Who knew trampling could be fun?!

And of course the people who take pictures of themselves next to some piece of art, which is right next to a NO PHOTOS sign. In fact, I’m guessing that many people wind up with that sign in their pictures.

Mostly, though, we strolled for miles along beautiful boulevards, along picturesque back streets and canals, enjoying every moment of being in one of the most romantic and remarkable cities on earth.