Tuesday, July 31, 2007

You Can't Handle The Truth!!

Nan vs. Oprah!!!! Okay, this is some deliciousness.

Apparently, Nan Talese, the publishing legend responsible for James Frey’s memoir, A Million Little Pieces, has decided that Oprah has gotten a little too big for her britches. At a book conference right here in the Lone Star State, Talese took Oprah to task for her ambush of Frey when he came on the show to deliver his mea culpa for not being completely truthful in his memoir. She said that Oprah owed Frey an apology for her (Oprah's) behavior. So far, no comment from Oprah, but don’t you just know there’s going to be a horse’s head in Talese’s bed or some shit like that. After all, “Oprah” spelled backward is “Don’t Fuck With Me Bitch!”

In related news, a judge has ruled that Random House, Frey’s publisher, must pay $2.35 million to people who bought the book believing it to be a work of “non-fiction.” These are apparently the same people who still think professional wrestling is legit and reality TV is . . . real.

WAKE THE FUCK UP, people! It wasn’t a fucking textbook. You bought it to give yourself a nice summer read and guess what? You got it. Everyone I know who read the book, loved the book. Does it make it less of a good book because it’s not true? (If you say “yes,” I’m calling bullshit).

All this controversy could have been handled through one simple action. MOVE THE EFFIN' BOOK TO THE FICTION SECTION. Frey didn’t need to apologize. Oprah didn’t need to aggrandaize. And Random House certainly doesn’t owe a bunch of numbnuts a refund because they were tricked into believing fiction was fact. If that’s the new bellweather, then FOX News better open up the checkbook.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Distraction of Bloggers

Sorry to have been away for a few days. Harry Potter ate my blog. I tried to ration. I really did. But then Heather read it in less than 24 hours. (Betch!) And she is one of my favorite book people. I love to talk about books with her, especially Potter. Then my sister called intermittently to tell me she was going to finish before me. So fuck it. I pushed through to the finish line.

And now I get to gloat. Because, as my dear sister said, "I'm finished. I know."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

“My Mother Drove Me to It!”

Get your math hats on, because some simple subtraction makes this one even more interesting. Eva Daley, a thirty-year old mother of a 14-year-old boy, drove her son and six of his friends (or “gang” as the kids call it these days) to a nearby park so that they could stab 13-year-old Jose Cano to death.

“Mom, can you take me and my homies to the park so we can kill Jose?”

“What? Do I look like your personal chauffeur? Damn, I’ll be glad when you’re old enough to drive yourself to your gang activities. Let me get my purse. But don’t you boys get any blood on my seats!”

“Thanks, Mom, you’re the greatest! Oh, one more thing. Would you mind dropping us off around the corner? It just doesn’t look as menacing and shit if we’re all piling out of a minivan. It doesn’t really say, “Be scared, motherfucker!”

“Language!! You better watch your mouth mister, or you won’t be killing anyone tonight! (sighs) You kids grow up so fast these days. Why when I was your age, I was only months away from getting pregnant with YOU! Life was so much simpler then”

Kind of makes me wish the makers of RU486 would create a morning after pill called RUAStupidMotherfucker? Their ad slogan would be, "Because some days you just can't wait for Darwinism."

Biting the Hand That Feeds You

So many boys and girls toil away on the fields and courts, dreaming of one day making it to the pros. So why is it that so many professional athletes wind up doing incredibly stupid, self-destructive things? The term “undereducated motherfucker” comes to mind.

So banging away on the football field wasn’t enough for Michael Vick. Being the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. Signing an incredibly lucrative, long-term deal with the Atlanta Falcons. No, something was lacking. Apparently Michael needed MORE competition and MORE money. So he went with the big dogs. Pit Bulls, specifically. And now he’s facing Federal charges for breeding dogs for fighting purposes, and killing off a bunch of dogs he considered weak.

I guess football just wasn’t butch enough for Mikey. And I hope he enjoys his time in prison, although I can’t imagine that anyone in there will be tough enough to make him his bitch. Pity.

What this really underscores is how pampered our gifted athletes are. We don’t force them to study or achieve academically, as long as they excel on the field. If you don’t agree, listen to any postgame interview. Scintillating. Nothing like a 14-word vocabulary to stoke a conversation (especially when five of those words are, “You know what I’m sayin’?”).

But, come on! Breeding Pit Bulls for fighting? I can hear the banjos from here. And the fact that Mr. Vick did it on the grounds of his McMansion in the woods doesn’t take it out of the “Deliverance” realm. You can take the wheels off the trailer, dude, but it’s still a mobile home.

Way to class it up, Michael. Way to be a role model. I reckon you’ve pissed away fifty or sixty million dollars in future earnings because of this. Not to mention your Urban Cred, dawg.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

STOP THE PRESSES! Rich White Senator Has Sex With Prostitute.

By the way, just wanted to chime in on the Senator Vitter prostitution story. Excuse me while I stifle a yawn. I don't even find it surprising, much less shocking, that a Senator had sex with a prostitute. And the fact that this happened so long ago . . . who uncovered it, the Congressional archivist?

But I would like to say BRAVO! Bravo to the Gentleman from Louisiana for handling this the way it should be handled. It was treated with an absolutely perfectly appropriate and proportionate amount of contrition and regret. Without dwelling on it or allowing it to be sensationalized. O’P applauds you.

"Wendy and I dealt with this personally several years ago," the senator said. "I believe I received forgiveness from God. I know I did from Wendy."

And guess what, people? That should be the end of that. We get SO hung up on the sex lives of our politicians, constantly looking for something that could incriminate them. Do I think that’s it’s a noble thing that he poked a prostitute? No. But I also don’t really think it’s any of our business, as long as he was doing his job as a Senator and not persecuting prostitutes along the way.

See, it’s not the activity, but the hypocrisy that gets me. Ted Haggard, preaching against his own nature. Mark Foley’s creepy Gidget fantasies (“Oh, Moon Doggie, are you wearing boxers?”) Jesse Helms and his secret black lovechild. That’s where it really rankles me.

So, as much as I like to see the Republicans hoisted on their own petards, I actually think Senator and Mrs. Vitter should be left alone on this. They’ve addressed it. It’s acknowledged. There’s no scandal. Drop it.

Oh, and also, I LOVED the quote from Mrs. Vitter from way back when (2000), when asked how she would react if her husband were to have an affair. "I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary. If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me."

No word from the Senator’s camp about the intact-ness of his bits.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Were They Storing It In Laura's Bedroom?

As if the Republicans hadn’t fucked things up enough. Apparently, they have now spent $12.5 million dollars on storage of excess ice originally intended for Katrina relief. Yep, FEMA was so well run that they sent too much ice to New Orleans (apparently they were calculating usage based on the amount of cocktails consumed during Mardi Gras). So, instead of getting rid of it, they decided to truck it all over Hell’s Half Acre and keep it in cold storage. For two years. At the aforementioned cost of TWELVE AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS!!!!!

Wow. I wonder what all they could have rebuilt in NOLA for that kind of scratch. I’m betting a WHOLE FUCKING LOT!!!!! Hell, even if you had just provided ice to all the restaurants and bars while they were trying to get back on their feet, it would have been better than spending all that money on storage. (I wonder if the cold storage company is owned by one of Bush’s “Pioneer” contributors? Wouldn’t surprise me at all.)

You know, when Bush was first running for Governor of Texas, one of the things that came out in the campaign was that he had basically run every business he’d had into the ground. And sure enough, it looks like he’s about to manage that feat again. Only now, he’s running the country!

Meanwhile, New Orleans lies crippled on the banks of the Mississippi, it’s denizens scattered to the winds. Yeah, you can still get a Hurricane at Pat O’s, if that’s your thing. But there’s a scar on the very soul of a very soulful town.

$12.5 million. To store ice. It’s beyond stupid. It’s cruel.

Monday, July 16, 2007

When Liberals Start to Sound Conservative

So the Republicans swept into office 7 years ago on a promise of “compassionate conservatism” (whatever the fuck that means) and their usual rhetoric about fiscal responsibility. I have yet to see ANY compassion and as for their fiscal talents, let me just say that I wouldn’t hire any of ‘em to manage my business.


That's Five Hundred BILLION dollars. Half a TRILLION!!! That mind-boggling, almost incomprehensible amount is how much the U.S. has spent on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. And last week it was announced that Al Qaeda is nearly back to the strength it was pre 9/11. Nice job, George. Your cowboy mentality has turned out to be less John Wayne and more Don Knotts (If you haven’t ever seen Shakiest Gun in the West, run, don’t walk. And it’s made even funnier if you picture GW in the role).

I can’t even begin to imagine what else we could have done with that amount of money. Eradicate homelessness was mentioned several billion ago. I’m imagining we could have upgraded our educational system tremendously. Put a dent in poverty. Rebuild New Orleans. Invest in renewable energy sources. Solve the colonia problems that exist on our own borders. Fix our highways. Get rid of gang violence. And probably still had enough left over to buy Britney some panties.

I mean, honestly, how many Americans would have supported this effort if we had known the price tag that came with it. And how many Americans are stupid enough to not realize that this is WHAT THEY ARE PAYING TAXES FOR!!!! Nearly one third of the American budget is going to this war. And I don’t care how you slice it. There is no sound fiscal policy anywhere near this.

I’m pretty confident that the more we learn about the Bush administration, the more we will realize it is the most inept and corrupt in history. It will take us decades to regain the respect of the world community. And I hope that whomever is elected our next President—and there are some excellent choices out there—will make that a priority.

By the way, isn’t summer when the impeaches are in season?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Putting the “Suck” in “Dress for Success”

So the headline reads “Business Casual Causes Confusion.” The article talks about how the younger generation is wearing flip flops and Capri pants to work, thinking that’s appropriate business casual attire. Now, as a blogger, my definition of “business casual” means boxers and a tee shirt. But I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t fly in corporate America. I’m clear on that.

Not so much for 24-year old Jennifer Cohen. Apparently, her grasp of her company’s dress policy wasn’t as firm as she thought. So she was, according to the article, “stunned when an older colleague pulled her aside to tell her she was dressing inappropriately.” Her idea of business casual? Bermuda shorts, sleeveless tops and flip flops.

"Each generation seems to have a different idea of what is acceptable in the workplace, and in this situation I was highly offended," says Cohen.

WTF? You were offended? Honey, here’s a helpful hint: if you would have looked great at a clambake, you’re probably not dressed up enough for the client presentation.

"I was actually not allowed to attend a meeting because my attire was deemed 'inappropriate.’”

OMG! You were “actually not allowed to attend a meeting?” Sha! WTF ever! And they were probably going to vote on which boys to invite to the mixer!! You should SO hate them. Forever.

Miss Brainiac continues, “People my age are taught to express themselves, and saying something negative about someone's fashion is saying something negative about them."

Okay, first off, people your age don’t seem to be taught much of anything, much less to “express themselves.” Secondly, I have the strange feeling that people don’t need your fashion choices to find negative things to say about you. And finally, I’m also sensing that you have said an evil thing or two about what someone else was wearing!

Perhaps the most telling info in the article came from an April survey conducted by Monster.com. They asked 18,000 employees what the worst offenses were when it comes to business casual.

55% said tank tops and exposed undergarments were most the most egregious offenses. 30% chose flip-flops. And in what can only be described as an attack of the stupid people, only 8% were “put off by Hawaiian-print shirts.”

Ewww. Now THAT’S offensive.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sweet. But SOOOOOO Gay.

So, if you didn’t know by now, Tori Spelling has gone and gotten herself a reverend license. Before you laugh the snot out of your nose, it’s actually kind of cool. Tori and her husband own a bed and breakfast and Tori wants to make it a bit of a wedding destination. Since nobody would flock to get married by the hubby (whose name escapes me . . . and everybody else), it was decided that Tori would be the officiant in the family.

Her first ceremony? A gay couple. Tori writes in her blog:

"I will never forget that night and was so proud to witness first hand what I already knew… that Love is pure and true Love knows no gender. As I put Liam down to bed that evening I told him that he will one day find true love. A love that unites him as one with his soulmate. He will be raised knowing that true love is the ultimate and pure love know no age, gender, or race. I’ve found it, Tony and Dex have found it, and I wish love to all that seek it. Don’t ever let anyone tell you who to Love. Only our hearts can dictate that.”

Okay. I’m totally down with that. Love it (with a capital L, just like Tori). But as the guy who laughs at funerals AND weddings, I’m required by law to snark.

She also went into some detail about the ceremony. Excerpted here for your enjoyment.

“It was so beautiful as I united Tony and Dex as life partners in love. They wrote their own beautiful vows and there was so much love surrounding them that there wasnt a dry eye in the driveway!” (The DRIVEWAY? It’s an effin’ wedding Tori, can’t you be more romantic than that?!?!? And wouldn’t you like to get ahold of those vows! Probably cribbed some old Olivia Newton John. “I honestly love you, Dex!—Okay, on a complete side note, the best wedding vows ever were in the movie Miami Rhapsody, where the husband writes his own vows a la Dr. Seuss. But I digress.)

“We had amazing Martini’s (sic) ( thank you Krol Vodka) that we named after the couples favorite Broadway musicals.” (Try the Wicked martini—it’s better than Cats.)

“We danced to 80’s,70’s,house, and got a show stopping performance of “Caberet” from one of our grooms.” (After all, what good IS sitting alone in your room? Although at this point, I’m thinking “groom” is the wrong word.)

“Dean (THAT’S his name!) and I took Liam out onto the dance floor and he had his first dance in our arms. The three of us swayed and smiled to Madonna.“

“It was a magical evening of pure love.” The only things missing were collectible figurines and porn stars. But, hey, there’s always next time.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Mending Fences

I’m not really as big a whiner as I appear to be. I really just have one fundamental wish for the world: that everyone would do what it is they’re supposed to do. Lately, though, that just hasn’t been my lot in life. And I’ve been a less-nice person because of it.

See, we’re doing a small facelift Chez O’Pine. New fence. New color for the house. New landscaping. Now, don’t get me wrong—this isn’t my first time at the contractor rodeo. (I once had a guy remodeling a bathroom install crown molding, even though we’d never discussed this and I hadn’t been consulted on picking out the molding.) You’d think I’d be used to the lies and excuses. Because those are two things that contractors do better than anything. I think they must earn merit badges from their union, or something.

Add to that the fact that there is nothing—NOTHING—in this world that pisses me off faster than somebody who tries to play me for stupid. Which is how I came to have a bit of a tough conversation with my fence guy. See, while we were away for 5 days, he managed to finish exactly two sections of fence. Two six foot sections. Maybe three hours worth of work. In 5 days. And he put the boards on the wrong side. Don’t know why. He had already successfully completed 50 or 60 feet of fence with only minor glitches. But when he turned the corner, he decided to switch the fence orientation.

So I guess I was glad he got so little work done?!?!? (great choice of logic, eh?)

Now, my housesitter told me that it rained non-stop while we were gone, so that explained the lack of progress on the fence. But then I get the weekly bill. For three more days than he could have possibly worked. I pushed. He caved. I paid him what he was legitimately owed. The end.

Or so I thought. After a couple of days of wondering what happened to the fence guy, he shows up wanting to revisit the invoice. He says he’s sure he worked those days. I was a little less polite. “Considering how little work got done, I don’t know that I’d be bragging about taking three days to do it, “ I said. He wasn’t sure how to respond to this one.

The good part of all this is that the fence is fabulous. He’s done a really nice job.

The bad part is that it’s now almost a week later. We’ve had a little bit of rain, but mostly the weather has been passable. And my fence is still sitting undone. He came by Friday and said he’d been sick. Said they’d be here on Saturday. Now it’s Monday and I’m going to have to call him and harangue him in order to get my fence done.

And I can’t help thinking how much easier this process would be if he would only have done what he agreed to do. Nothing more. Nothing less.

But apparently that is WAY too much to ask in today’s world.

Friday, July 6, 2007

My Little Corner of the World--MINE!

I had a disturbing little crystal ball moment on our delayed flight home. We were on the tarmac, waiting to take off, but stalled because a weather front was moving through. The pilot informed us that it would be 20 or 30 minutes, so we should feel free to use our cell phones.

Okay, anyone on the planet who is in favor of cell phone usage in flight should be treated to Viet Cong POW torture techniques. Or forced to sit on the plane I was on. I can’t decide which is worse. Just as blogs have given voice to far too many people with nothing to say (guilty!) cell phones in tight confines are criminal.

You wouldn’t believe the banality of the things that people actually burn minutes on, not to mention the incredibly personal details that emerge, shared with several hundred strangers. My dear Gardog has the absolute best retort for these people. He figures “If I can hear them, then I must be part of the conversation,” and he adds commentary.

The looks he gets from the people on the phones is priceless. They look mortally offended and affronted, until they realize that HE wasn’t eavesdropping. They were forcing his unwitting participation, so why not have fun with it.

It’s part of a bigger issue I see with contemporary humans. Everywhere I go, I see people who are completely unaware of their surroundings, or the people nearby. Or in the case of the snack lady at the movies, they obviously just don’t care. After buying three of everything at the concession stand, she turns, with her mountain of sugar and barks, “Outta my way!” to the people in the next line. Oh my.

Was she kidding? I hope so. But it didn’t sound like it.

Or the guy in the parking lot of the taco place. I’m parked next to him. As I’m getting out of my driver’s side, he’s leaning into his passenger side and rips a series of joyful noises in my general direction. WTF? Welcome to Taco Shack, may I take your order?

Or the guy who rear-ended me (not in a good way) on the Houston freeway last week. There was no damage, so he just waved and drove on, even though I had pulled to the side. This in traffic that had been stop and go for miles. I got his license number and called the police, who were singularly unhelpful, didn’t really care, pretty much told me so. Great.

I fear that we have become a population of individualists. Fuck my neighbor. What about MY needs? If my behavior troubles you, that’s YOUR problem.

Whatever happened to the golden rule? Do unto others? I guess people find it harder than they think to bend over backwards.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Since I Been Gone

You know, there’s really nothing like a vacation. It gives you a chance to step back and take a deep breath from the grueling life that is blogging. I actually had someone say to me the other day, “How can you tell when a blogger is on vacation? He gets dressed.” Ha. Ha.

I’ll have you know that my vacation was a study in field research. In fact, I’m sure the IRS will let me deduct most of my vacation expenses.

Of course, I had the usual travel experiences. Delayed flights. Crazy rookies going through security. Oh, yeah, and the little troop of Christian kids doing missionary work in England.

What, the Vatican didn’t need any proselytizing?

Of course, Jesus didn’t give the troop leader sense enough to keep his little line of single filers from stopping at the top of a fucking escalator.

So I did a little “missionary” work of my own, barking “MOVE! MOVE! MOVE!” while clapping my hands rhythmically. And the children parted like the Red Sea. Funny how fast faith can crumble in the face of a big queen with a booming voice. I felt positively Elizabethan. (“PHILLIP! Get me a biscuit! And a gin.”)

Ahhh, it’s good to be Queen! And good to be back. Stay tuned.