Monday, January 28, 2008

Sequins in My Eyes

When I was a little girl, I wanted to twirl fire batons.

We lived directly across the street from the local high school and I would stare, transfixed, each Friday night as the buxom high school babes in their skin-tight sequins would AquaNet the hell out their 60’s up-dos, then take a match to the ends of their batons.

To a budding queen in a Dallas suburb, THIS was the very definition of glamour.

Fast forward (mumbles) years. My slightly filled out frame, splayed on the sofa with the big screen TV, belly just flat enough to balance a cocktail on. My annual ritual begins. The Miss America Pageant.

And there, in living color, was a contestant who actually had wanted to twirl fire batons for her talent, but the organizers wouldn’t let her for safety reasons! Unfortunately, she was eliminated, clutching three (plain ol') batons to her chest and trying to keep from crying.

Then the host let her “twirl to commercial.” So, so wrong. But she twirled her little heart out for the three-second fade to the plug for some hygiene product.

Now, I’m sure most of you stopped watching this dreck years ago. That’s probably why the ratings have plummeted and the show is now on basic cable. That and the complete and utter cultural irrelevance. The fake smiles, the disingenuous answers and the smell of stupidity masked by the stench of hair product and allergy-inducing perfumes.

God love ‘em. They tried so hard this year. They even had a mini-reality show leading up to the big day. Michael Urie, a standout on Ugly Betty, was the host of the reality show. He should have used his strike time for something more useful. His career may not recover. Although he was smart enough not to appear on the actual telecast. Clinton from What Not to Wear took that one for the team.

And when Miss Michigan walked out in her HIDEOUS evening gown, looking like she’d run right over from her Ice Capades performance, you KNEW. You KNEW she was the next Miss America.

She was the perfect clash of class and trash. And that’s why I tune in religiously. To see one little ticky-tack girl's dream come true.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Just When You Thought It Was Gonna Be Different . . .

One of my all-time favorite jokes is, “How can you tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.”

While not exactly germane to today’s topic, my two favorite candidates for President seem to have “lost their manners,” as my sweet mama would say (although that’s actually her euphemism for farting. But it kind of works here).

The AP lead their story on the Democratic debates with “Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama accused each other of repeatedly and deliberately distorting the truth for political gain Monday night . . .”

Nuh-UH! They did not! Seriously? Two politicians “deliberately distorting the truth for political gain” and making inflammatory accusations against their opponent? Why, that’s practically unheard of in these United States.

Of course, after they quoted some of the dialogue, I kind of wished I had watched. Apparently, it was as close to a bitch fight as these two are going to get. And poor John Edwards. He’d got his hair did all pretty-like and nobody was paying ANY attention to him.

At one point, he jumped in, “Are there three people in this debate, not two?”

Well, if you have to ask . . .

I found myself wandering off into the fantasy of a full-on throwdown between the TWO Senators (perhaps with Edwards standing naked, just outside the fray? Hey, I'm a homo. And he's a hottie. sort of.)

OBAMA: I’ve had just about enough of your mouth, woman!

CLINTON: You better BACK UP OFF ME! I will beat your ass with your own shoe, which I might add ain’t very big for tall man. You wouldn’t be first man whose ass I had broken a boot off up in.

OBAMA: Bitch, please! If you had ever learned how to give a blowjob, your husband wouldn’t have embarrassed himself in the cupboard with the fat chick. George Bush is our President because of YOU!

CLINTON: Oh, that’s some fine shit coming from the son of a Muslim! What kind of name is “obama” anyway? Sounds awfully familiar . . . hmmm . . . where could I have heard a name like that before?

OBAMA: Oh, yeah? What about “Rodham?” That’s some prime Arkansas shit right there. Sounds like a sound effect from Deliverance. Where’s your banjo, baby?

CLINTON (sniffling): I . . . am . . . from . . . Illinois. The land of Lincoln. And I have tried (sob) so . . . hard. So hard . . . to keep this civil. Why? Why are you so mean to me? I thought we were friends . . .

EDWARDS: That’s right. Tear each other UP! I’ll be the nominee for sho’! (Well, I had to give him at least one line. What do you think he is, superfluous decoration?)

Monday, January 21, 2008

What's Your Dream?

I came across a beautiful quote this weekend:

“The mind of an enlightened human being is flexible and adaptable. The mind of the ignorant person is conditioned and fixed.”

Boy, I wish I had seen that years ago, before I bought all those Father’s Day gifts thinking it would make a difference.

But today is more about a spiritual father. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now, I know that there was a small army of people who were instrumental in the Civil Rights movement. But it is one individual who is credited with really being the catalyst for change, a passionate leader who mobilized his people and made them believe that America could be a better place. That it was possible for them to see a life that was free from hatred and discrimination and poverty. I admire him very much.

Today provides the perfect opportunity to reflect at how far we have come as a society that tolerates individual differences and embraces diversity. If only that were true.

With apologies to Dr. King, I submit:

I have a dream, too.

That one day, all preachers will proffer love and tolerance, not fear and hatred.

That we the people will no longer accept stupidity and under-education as an option.

That poverty will be seen as everyone's problem, not just the problem of those experiencing it first-hand.

That we will encourage our children to be unique and to value the uniqueness of others, rather than assimilating and teasing those who dare to be different.

That politicians will actually tell us what they want to do for us and how they plan to do it; tell us why we SHOULD vote for them, not why we shouldn’t vote for their opponent.

That all Americans will actually become involved in the political process. “Majority rules” only applies when a majority votes.

That our government will spend less on war and more on education. You know, if we paid teachers like we pay lawyers, we might see a country on the rise, not a country in decline.

That the media will finally scrutinize the decisions of Bush and Cheney as rigorously as they scrutinized President Clinton.

That the general populace will finally become OUTRAGED at the amount of money we are pouring into the Iraq war. What could we have done in our own country with $500 BILLION?????

That anyone wanting a license to drive in this country would have to have rigorous training and an actual driving test.

That people will stop dismissing the effects of climate change for purely political reasons or greed.

That we will begin to treat this planet like it’s the only one we have, not like we can move to a new one when this one’s spent.

That someone will either explain to me EXACTLY how my marrying my beloved has any impact on any heterosexual relationship AT ALL, or SHUT THE HELL UP.

That The Right Reverend Huckabeeloo will be caught in a compromising position with a goat. While Pat Robertson and Fred Phelps watch.

That the people of America will stop playing victim and start accepting responsibility for their actions.

That someone (besides Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) will actually do something to help the real victims who lost everything in Hurrican Katrina.

That people will just ignore Britney Spears and O.J. Simpson and Ann Coulter.

That the writers will come to terms and get back to work, so that Nashville Star can stay on an obscure cable channel, where all reality programming belongs.

That I will find a way to exercise more often than I drink.

Add yours to the list, smart people! What’s your dream?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Let Us Learn. Or Make Us Pray. DON'T Heart Huckabee.

About 14 years ago, here in the great state of Texas, we had a remarkably progressive Governor who was gearing up to run for re-election. Her likely challenger was the doofus son of a former president. No one really gave him much of a chance. After all, he was kind of a simpleton. He had never held elected office. He had never really had much interest in politics beyond partying at the White House. And everything he’d ever touched in his professional life had been a COLOSSAL failure. (Foreshadowing, anyone?)

But now, he was born again. Clean and sober. And the next thing you know GW and his loverly librarian wife are in THE FUCKING WHITE HOUSE?!?!?!?!?

I throw this out as a cautionary tale. Lots of smarties are shaking their heads at the Right Reverend Huckabee. (Seriously, people, this is what we should be calling him. By his own perception, he is guided more by God than by Governance, so why not drop the bullshit Gov. title and call him what he is).

My fear is that we are not taking the Huckabee threat seriously. Through whatever excuses we care to offer, we Smart-Americans allowed the stupid people to ambush us. Twice. We shake our heads and wonder how we could elect someone as ridiculously stupid as GW, but there is a fair likelihood that RR Huck will take the Republican nomination.

And that, my friends, is a frightening thought. I’m sure you’ve seen the latest quotes? Huckabee wants to remove one of the fundamental tenets of the Constitution, namely the separation of church and state.

He thinks gay marriage is on par with bestiality. Ironically, as loyal readers know, bestiality is legal in 19 more states than gay marriage. I’m betting his home state of Ar-kin-saw is on that list. Maybe that explains his confusion.

I could go on and on (actually, I kind of already have!), but know this: Huckabee wants America to be ruled by “God’s law.”

So much for “land of the free.”

Now let’s make sure it’s still the “home of the brave.” Encourage the Republicans you know (admit it, you know a couple) to denounce Huckabee. I don’t know why it is, but it seems the less education you have, the louder you scream, the more you want uninformed vitriol to be heard.

Maybe it’s that everything seems black and white when you’re stupid. Maybe as you get more learnin’ you discover all these nuances and shades of gray.

Simple people want to keep it simple. But sometimes it's just not. Sometimes it's VERY complicated. Which is why we MUST elect smart people. And to do that, smart people need to get off their asses.

Second, make sure you contribute, campaign and vote. When you’re having cocktails or folks over for dinner, let politics in the room. Having a spirited conversation about the issues facing our country may have been considered impolite by our parents, but it is critical now.

And when someone says that Sens. Clinton and Obama are “unelectable” make them explain why. I’m shocked at how many people repeat this old saw as if it’s carved in stone. If we WANT them to be electable, they will be.

And as much as I love fodder for this blog, I would love even more for America to not be the butt of an international joke anymore.

Smart-Americans, it's time to fight. Are you with me?

Paging Mr. Darwin. Mr. C. Darwin.

In the “ya think” category, one of the victims of the tiger “attack” at the SF Zoo (the tiger’s claims of self-defense are starting to be more plausible by the minute) admitted that the three had been smoking weed and drinking vodka before going on their version of “wilding.”

Apparently, they thought standing on the railing of the enclosure and taunting the Siberian tiger would be a really cool way to ride their buzz. They insisted that they never threw anything at the big kitty. Everyone who believes they were able to exercise that modicum of self control, raise your hands.


Their literal buzz-kill was compounded by the fact that the tiger enclosure had a wall that was “4 feet shorter than the recommended minimum.”


“My bad!” said the zookeeper.

I’m betting the tiger smelled the weed on the boys and thought, “MMMMM, herb-roasted dumb-ass for dinner.”

My one bit of advice for the surviving boys—if you’re ever struck by this desire again. Stick to the simians. They don’t call it “tigering around” for a a reason.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Are There Only Two Colors in Our Rainbow?

You know, Austin is an insanely creative city. We have lots of cool artists. Live music out the wazoo. But there’s one area where we are sorely lacking: architecture.

I’ve been pondering this for quite some time, as my sleepy little hometown turns into a bustling mini-metropolis. We have experienced a building boom unlike any in recent history. The good news? Lots of cool new places to shop, eat and live. The bad news? Apparently these builders and architects think there are only two colors in the palette—sand and burnt orange.

Now, I can understand that a lot of these good old boys went to my alma mater, UT (whose burnt orange and white color scheme is pervasive around here). But seriously? Every fucking new building?

The new Hilton Hotel. The Marriot Courtyard. The Whole Foods Whorld Headquarters. I could go on. And on. People are even repainting old buildings in shades of sand and orange. It’s epidemic.

So stop it. Grab a fucking color wheel! Why do you want your building to look like every other building? Is it lack of imagination? Lack of adventure? Lack of eyes that see in color?

Meanwhile, fucking Beijingis building a spate of high-end buildings so that the city will look uber-cool for the Olympics. (Rem Koolhaas’ latest is truly amazing. Check it out.)

Now, granted, Beijing is spending $40 Billion. And most of our local projects probably don’t have the financial wherewithal to hire a Rem Koolhaas or a Zaha Hadid, or even a Frank Gehry. But surely there are local architects who’d give their left mansard to emulate one of the greats.

To the handful of builders who have chosen other options, bless you. Your architecture is still fairly predictable, but look how your otherwise-plain building stands out in crowd.

Would it kill you to make a statement?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Someone Needs to Ask the Anal Probing Questions!

Every once in a while, my friend HOK and I blog on the same subject. She writes an amazing blog on balancing wifeyness, mommyness and professional lady land, with knitting, running and the occasional migraine as the glue. (

She is also terrified of UFOs, which I find highly amusing (sorry HOK!). Mostly cuz I’m evil like that.

So when I saw the article on CNN about UFO sightings in the greater Stephenville/Dublin/Hico area, I knew what I was going to be writing about. I didn’t realize that HOK would address it as well. But I ain’t skeered, as we say in certain parts of Texas (mostly the sheep-fucker parts).

Now, first I must confess that I spent many a lazy summer day at my grandparent’s farm in Stephenville. And the only flying object I ever saw had wings and chirped. (Unless you count the Turley’s lunging German Shepherd. I still have a little souvenir on my right cheek from that one.)

But Stephenville is country as country gets. The article says that “several dozen people, including a pilot, a county constable and business owners” have seen the “UFO.” HOK seems to think that gives the story some credibility.

I would like to remind you all, gentle readers, that Stephenville is closer to the shallow end of the gene pool. Even though there’s a perfectly respectable college there (affiliated with Texas A&M U, gol darn it!), it’s still not a brainiac watering hole. So the fact that someone owns a business or got elected Constable isn't necessarily a rousing endorsement of credibility.

But let’s get to the quotes, shall we.

From Steve Allen, who owns a freight company, and said the object was a mile long and half a mile wide:

“"People wonder what in the world it is because this is the Bible Belt, and everyone is afraid it's the end of times.”

Now, for me, the “end of times” refers to Happy Hour. But did you ever think, Steve, that maybe this object is the giant BUCKLE of the bible belt? Or maybe, just maybe, are you so fucking stupid as to not realize that an object hovering near the ground that was a MILE long and a HALF MILE wide would have blocked the sun?

I would shit my pants and cry for mama if I saw that, not sit around going, “Well, golly! That thang shore is big” (I reserve that phrase for more private times.)

Mr. Gray Matter went on to say, “"It was positively, absolutely nothing from these parts."

Yeah, well that could make it a book or a molar or a clue, if you want to get picky about it.

From machinist Ricky Sorrells, who saw a large flat metallic object hovering about 300 feet over his fields:

"You hear about big bass or big buck in the area, but this is a different deal. It feels good to hear that other people saw something, because that means I'm not crazy."

No, Ricky, that’s not exactly what it means. It just means you may have actually seen something. You may still be crazy.

According to CNN,Sorrells went on to say that he has seen the object several times. He even watched it through his rifle's telescopic lens (uh, that would be a “scope”) and described it as very large and without seams, nuts or bolts.

Hmm. No nuts. So at least we know it’s female.

The Air Force, which has SEVERAL bases nearby, said they “didn’t see nuthin’.” And the article also reveals that the Air Force no longer investigates UFOs. So . . . that means there’s either a SECRET government agency responsible for investigating UFOs. Or . . . the object(s) belong to the Air Force in the first place.

Hmmm. Would our government really keep secrets from us?

Monday, January 14, 2008

How To Make a Simple Dish Complicated

Austin is blessed with a great number of good taco places. One of my new favorites is actually just a mobile kitchen parked in a vacant lot with a few tables and chairs scattered around. Not exactly a custom kitchen, but good enough to make tacos in, right? Can’t imagine they do much actual prep there, but again it works.

I guess not everyone pays that much attention to the set up, however. The delightfully, “um, like” sorority girl in front of me had definite ideas about how she wanted her taco. Unfortunately, she wanted something that wasn’t on the menu.

After staring at the fairly basic, but delicious, menu for an excruciatingly long time, Missy says, “Um . . . What I really want is a carnitas taco.”


The young woman in the window (who must be thinking, “Bitch, you’ve been looking at the damn menu since Carter was president and you still don’t realize we don’t have any fucking carnitas?) said, very politely “We don’t have carnitas.”

Missy exhaled loudly. Then, with a newfound sharpness to her already whiny sorority voice, said, “Well . . . then can I get the green chile pork taco? But I don’t want any cilantro. Or lime. Or onion.”

“Okay, so one green chile pork taco. Do you want the avocado and the queso fresca?”

“YES! I just don’t want ONIONS. OKAY?”

“So . . . do you want the lime and cilantro after all?

“I really just want a carnitas taco.”

Okay, people, you know at this point that O’Pine is about to make his own sorority girl taco and force feed it to her friends. I’m sure she just couldn’t figure out why, if they had the pork, they couldn’t make something JUST FOR HER. Never occurred to her that, given the cramped conditions of the catering truck, they probably had prepared all the food elsewhere. Besides, what difference does it make what's in the taco? She's only going to throw it up as soon as she gets home.

I placed my order and tried to find a table as far away from the Princess/Victims as I could. And wished that I could order mine, hold the whine.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Mama Don't Play

This from CNN: After finding alcohol in her 19-year old son's car, Jane Hambleton decided to sell the car. But she didn’t want anyone thinking there was anything wrong with it and she saw a great opportunity for others to learn from his mistake. So she place the following ad in the local paper:

"OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet."

Jane Hambleon is now automatically nominated for my Mom of the Year Award, should I ever actually give one out.

Rock on, Jane!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Liq Me The Wrong Way

Just down the street from the house is a little neighborhood liquor store. It’s the second outpost of one of my longtime favorite liquor stores (yup, I drink a lot. Sue me.). The odd thing is, the two stores are only located about 9 blocks apart.

Today, I was searching for several bottles of a local vodka (Tito’s—delicious) to put in some gift bags for visiting dignitaries. The original location of the liquor store was out of the small ones, but said the other location (on my way home—but then, isn’t a liquor store always on my way home?) had some in stock.

Ninety seconds later I’m standing in the vodka aisle of the second store, grabbing the aforementioned bottles. Then I noticed that the price was $1.50 higher per bottle than at the first store.

Now, normally, I’m not cheap. In fact, I’m probably a little irrational when it comes to that. I actually take issue with people who penny nitpick.

But this struck me as quite odd, so I inquired.

“The rent is higher in this location,” said the Asian surfer-dude in his best SoCal accent. “But I can give ‘em to you at the same price as the other location.”

“Cool, bra!” I said (not really, but I wanted to), “Thanks.”

Now, I’ve shopped in a lot of places. I’ve shopped at a lot of chains. And generally, in my experience, the cost of an item is consistent between locations of the same store. So WTF? Now what am I supposed to do?

Do I stop going to this “chain” altogether? Do I drive the extra nine blocks to the original store to take advantage of their lower rent? Or should I just get really drunk on the gift vodka and black the whole thing out?

Surely it’s five o’clock somewhere.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Passing Thought

While I would love to think that the young woman missing from the Appalachian Trail might be found alive somewhere in the wilderness, I think we all already know her fate.

How, O’Pine? How can YOU know her fate?

Simple. Cherchez les Dents.

See, the last person she was seen alive with was described as having “no teeth.” Now, while I expect that is far more common in the Appalachian regions, it’s still pretty much a red flag.

Normal people have teeth. They may be store-bought, but at least they’re in there. Put “no teeth” and “wilderness trail” together? Might as well cue the banjo music. And it’s probably going to be a dirge.

Aside from the obvious parallel between “dentally challenged” and “mentally challenged” you just don’t see a whole lot of toothless people succeeding in the real world. (yes, Amy Winehouse—the toast of the music world--is missing a fairly prominent tooth. But then again, look where her personal life is at the moment.)

So, in the spirit of Johnnie Cochran, I offer this advice to wayward hikers coming upon a stranger. “If you see gums, then you must run.”

Friday, January 4, 2008

Farmers, Lock Up Your Daught--er, Goats!

In case you were wondering whose side to take in the previous comment wars about Florida (if you can call 4 comments a war. “Skirmish” is such a pussy word, though.)

So the headline in the Miami Herald reads:

Goat abuse sparks outcry

And the subhead is:

The case of a goat who was raped and killed has prompted a push for a bill that would outlaw bestiality in Florida.

I’m sorry, can you run that by me one more time?

Bestiality is LEGAL in Florida? WTF, Flo? Who do you think you are, East Texas?

Further shocking news—bestiality is actually legal in 20 states. But they didn’t say which ones. And I’m a blogger, not a researcher. Anyone? Anyone? I’m guessing at least one ends in “ama.” And another one probably ends in “ippi.” But I’m just guessing.

Now, I grew up in a rural area. And there was a lot of joking about sheep fucking. And I was pretty sure, even then, that it wasn’t all joking. We used to say things like, “are you my daaaaddy? But I never in my wildest dreams imagined that there was someplace in the civilized world where it hadn’t been outlawed. Okay, Thailand, maybe. But that’s just to generate tourist dollars.

Of course, it should come as no surprise that Floridians fuck animals. They sure fucked US in 2000.

The goat in question was named Meg and she was a family pet. Apparently of the Penthouse variety. And the really, really creepy thing was that, when she died—she was pregnant with twins. Now I DON’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW what kind of twins those were. But I’m thinking I’m starting to understand Florida politics even more.

It would certainly explain Katherine Harris’ stubborn streak. And the fact that she always ate cans for lunch.

(ED. NOTE: The one sane person apparently made T-shirts that said, “Baaaa means NO!” How do I get my hands on one of those?)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Banned From the Mall!

If you told someone you spent New Year’s Eve in jail, I’m pretty sure they would instantly think it was for a DUI or a Public Intoxication. Not so much for Florida State student Franz Leger (great name, by the way. “Alo, my name is Franz Leger). See Franz likes to wear his trousers baggy. Not sure how baggy, but apparently baggy enough to get banned from the mall. Of course, it’s probably the same mall that sold him the baggy pants, but that’s commerce. This was criminal.

(Digression: Banned from the mall?!?!?!? Seriously?!?!? Does the mall have a secret little judicial system operating behind the food court?!?)

See, Franz and his family decided to go to the mall on New Year’s Eve. And Franz apparently chose to wear his baggy pants again. But since he’d already been banned, he was arrested for trespassing.

Yep, you heard it right. A college student was arrested for “trespassing” at a mall because he’d been banned for wearing baggy pants.

Now, I’ve never been a big fan of this particular fashion statement. But I also don’t understand how conservative motherfuckers think that they can legislate fashion. I understand indecency, but this is Florida, for Christ’s sake. People GO THERE to walk around mostly naked on the beach.

Five members of Franz's family came to his defense. And THEY got arrested for trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. I’m sure the phrase, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me” was used at some point during the fracas. Along with, "But we don't even know Ashton Kutcher. How can we get Punk'd?!)

The cops, of course, said they did everything “by the book.” (available at B.Dalton, if you’re interested.)

The Leger family, of course, said they’ll be talking to a lawyer.

Sure hope that after-Christmas sale went well at the Mall. They’re going to be writing a mighty big check.

Happy New Year!

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I should have posted this yesterday. You're probably thinking that I was too hung over to post yesterday, but you'd be wrong!!

I started the New Year with a five mile walk around our beautiful Town Lake on New Year's morning. And before you think I might break an arm patting myself on the back, it wasn't my doing. My Beloved dragged my ass there. But I'm glad he did. It was nice to start the year that way. Literally and symbolically.

Still working on my resolutions, but chief among them is the commitment to write more. Starting with this blog. Not sure what that means, but I'll know it when I see it. : )

Keep up the fight. The Stupid People are in the hunt.