Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thanksgiving Day: The CliffsNotes Edition

In lieu of ordering a dinner from the local Tom Thumb, like I normally do (for the last 4+ years), I opted for my parents and I to have dinner at Boston Market. It's going to take a long time to write all of this out in detail, so I've opted to go the CliffsNotes version, which seems to have been successful in getting my experience across in previous posts.

Location: My house
Situation: Their arrival

Me: Hey! {hug}
Mother: Hi! {hug}
{during hug} I brought you some potatoes and here's that pillow I was telling you about I wanna show you what I brought he wants to fix your front door I need to use the bathroom
Me: {already overwhelmed} Um okay. Why don't you actually cross the threshold, take a breath and let me say hi to Daddy. Then you can tell me all about it, okay? {muttering 'Jesus Christ' under my breath, while she makes a beeline for the kitchen}
Daddy: Hi son! {hug} I wanna fix this door for you. I don't want the wind to catch the door and break it.
Me: I told you that you don't have to do that. It's been that way for years now. So far it hasn't been a problem. Besides, it's Thanksgiving. I don't want you playing handyman all day long.
Daddy: But I want to. It needs fixing.
Me: {sigh} Okay....but you don't have to.

Half an hour later: 3 "My back is killing me" comments and 8,656 mini one-sided conversations with my mother...

Me: Are we going to go eat dinner or what? He can always work on that later.
Mother: Yeah, let's go. Mike, put the stuff up and you can finish it later. We wanna go eat.
Daddy: Okay, just a minute.

Fifteen minutes later...(+ the 5 minutes it takes my father to climb into the backseat)

Location: The interior of my car.
Situation: On our way to Boston Market.

Mother: Your car looks so nice, did you just clean it? {Yet another one of those perpetual questions}
Me: Thanks. No. It's a sty. {I always have newspapers scattered everywhere}
Mother: Oh no, I think it looks nice. Now where is this place?
Me: The same place I told you when you asked me the last 4x I talked to you on the phone. It's still off the street where my first apartment was when I first moved here.
Mother: Oh. {clueless} What's it called?
Me: {sigh} Boston Market
Mother: Sssss! {checks to make sure her seatbelt is tightly fastened (This is the sound of her sucking in terrified breath through her gritted teeth as I pass a car in the turn lane. She lives in mortal fear that they will change their mind and pull out in front of me, 'cause "people are crazy." This too has been happening for the last 15 years.)} Can you turn down the air conditioner? It's drying my eyes out.
Me: Jesus Christ, it's always something. Close the vents if it's blowing on you. I'm not gonna turn it off because as soon as I do then you'll be "hot."
{she proceeds to close all the vents....sigh}
Mother: Sssss! {As we turn the corner onto another street}

Location: Boston Market
Situation: Ordering dinner

At this point they act like they were just hatched and this big, bright world of ordering food is an alien concept to them. We do a Three Stooges routine, bumbling around, taking turns pushing the other to go first, insisting the other go first...etc. Finally my mother goes first, like we originally intended 8 minutes and 6 dance steps ago.

Daddy, naturally wants something not on the menu: ham. Mother is losing her mind over the Sophie's Choice of pumpkin, apple or pecan pie. Goddamn! Just pick something already!

I go find us a booth and attempt to tell my mother where we are sitting so this too doesn't blow her mind. She's too busy hoarding napkins, Sweet 'n Low and eating utensils to hear me and initially is baffled as to my whereabouts. She locates me and we take the food off the trays and I insist she let me put her gargantuan purse in the booth with me so that Daddy doesn't have to straddle the fuckin' edge of the seat. She reluctantly gives in, informing me that she has "medication in there!!"

After the cashier chases my father down to sign the credit card receipt, we all finally sit down. Daddy insists on grace and proceeds to bless everyone in their zip code as well as those who can't be here, etc. Okay, we get it. Thankful. Yes. Let's wrap it up, padre.

We eat. My turkey/gravy is cold. I don't like the stuffing (it's too crunchy). I say nothing. I don't want to start a domino effect (too late). Naturally everything is "just fine" to them...except...Mother doesn't like the cornbread, it's "too sweet." She also doesn't like the yam casserole for the same reason. And the stuffing, well it has carrots and corn in it. Weird. BUT "it's all good." Then comes the pie in space-age containers that have both my parents stumped. Considering they have opposable thumbs, and have managed to find their way home on more than one occasion, I assume they can handle it. I assumed wrong. Frustrated at their ineptness, I instinctively take them, open them and hand them back to them. "M-m-m-m pie!"

Me: I want to stop by Walgreen's on the way home and see if my Christmas cards are ready yet. I might as well, since it's on the way. It'll save me a trip later.
Mother: (Having pawned off handfuls of various sized/shaped "bargain" Christmas cards on me just a week ago {matching envelopes? What's that?}, she's mystified) You ordered more Christmas cards?
Me: Yes.
Mother: Why? I just gave you some Christmas cards the other day.
Me: Yes, I know. Because I wanted to.
Mother: (proceeds to talk about how she gave me Christmas cards for another 10 minutes before she realizes no one is listening)
Me: I'm not very hungry. I'm going to take my pie with me and eat it later.
Mother: Hand me my purse, I need to take my medication. (to my Dad) Did you bring your medication?
Daddy: No, I forgot.
Mother: I knew you were going to, that's why I told you. He takes medication for....blah blah blah. (to Daddy) Get up for a minute, I need to go to the bathroom. (My mother is the Surgeon General of public bathrooms. She's yet to to have not been to one in any place we have ever gone since the beginning of time.)

After picking up my Christmas cards, my father "covertly" (he thinks) stands behind me, pretending to make small talk to the clerk, all in order to see how much I paid for them, because my Christmas card purchase dictates the economy. During the ride home, Mother wants to know how much they cost. Frustrated, I tell her "What difference does it make? It's over now. They're paid for. Don't worry about it."

Location: My house
Situation: Movie time

When it comes to movies, it's not hard to please my parents. I just have to keep some key elements in mind. And believe it or not, it's not the usual stuff like profanity, sex or violence that're the culprits:

[1] No films with a distinctive visual style: editing, cinematography, narration, dream sequences, flashbacks, etc. All these things that define a movie for me, blow their mind. I'll never forget the time we were watching Romeo is Bleeding (I love that movie, BTW) and towards the end of the film the main character gets shot. Dead. The scene was edited in a way that showed the viewer different vantage points of the character being shot. Mystified, my father asked: "Why'd she shoot him 3 times?" SIGH. I no longer have the patience to explain these things.

[2] No films with Whoopi Goldberg. Even though I personally love Whoopi, if I have to hear my mother's relentless comments about how ugly she (re: Whoopi) is, I'll have to choke her. Yes, we get it. She's ugly. Get over it.

[3] No movies with subtitles or accents, otherwise I'll be bombarded with "What'd he/she say?" and the film will last an eternity. And yes, even with the subtitles option turned on.

[4] Nothing too gory. Not because they can't handle it, but because my father will get disgusted at how "stupid" all the violence is and will continually scoff throughout the film. Anything that unnerves him (overtly silly humor, supernatural elements, urban teen apparel, Jack, the spokesclown for Jack in the Box {he detests him}) is instantly deemed "stupid" by my father.

[5] No Science Fiction. It'll just blow their minds.

I rented Bad Santa and the recent live-action movie version of Peter Pan. They loved Bad Santa...I'm not so sure about Peter Pan. My mother missed half of the latter film because she was too busy:

[1] Ferreting around in her goddamn purse.
[2] Commenting, for the 6th time, about how "big" the mouth of one of the actresses in Peter Pan was. (irony personified)
[3] Talking to my father about something trivial, every time I left the room to refill their drinks, get popcorn, go to the bathroom, etc. She knows I fucking HATE when she talks throughout a goddamn movie, so she holds off until I leave the room. Every single time. Then (it never fails), she doesn't know who characters are, what's going on or why something happened. It's maddening to be an hour into a movie and be asked "Who's that?" and it's the goddamn main character! WTF?!?

The credits finally roll and they leave. I breath a sigh of relief and go lie down. Fa la friggin' lah, la la la lah. I'm already entertaining the idea of a MIA Christmas.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

'Tis the Season to Be Crabby

*Today is part one of a long, personal rant. You have been warned.

So, another Thanksgiving has come and gone. I trust everyone had a happy one. I spent mine with my parents. Deem from that what you will.

I'm an only child. I love my parents. I've always thought of them as ageless, never really perceiving them as "old." That's changed over the last few of years as I've realized that they are indeed getting old...and on my nerves.

As some of you may or may not know, I chose to spend the holidays alone last year. Though I initially had qualms about it, I reminded myself what the previous year's holidays were like and that made it just that much easier to arrive at my conclusion. The holiday season brings with it some industrial-strength stress. It was so nice not to have to deal with it for once. If I had no conscience I could continue to celebrate the holidays alone. However, I have that self-induced fear that "this could be their last Thanksgiving/Christmas." Guilt sucks.

So, this year I opted to have them over ON the day of Thanksgiving, in lieu of them spending the previous night. I've decided I can't deal with the overnights, however brief, anymore. It's way too much work. It's comparative to pulling a retarded, deaf, three-legged dog on a leash through the park.

Here's some background into my parents:

My father is 75 and my mother is 10 years his junior. Contradictory to beliefs ingrained in their psyches, they are not crippled, deaf or physically unhealthy. My father was diagnosed with Cancer (lymph nodes in the throat/tongue) over 2 years ago. In the process of his chemotherapy he lost a considerable amount of weight and claimed to have lost the ability to taste things. He's been milking it ever since. He wields it whenever and wherever it will garner him the most attention. He's fallen and he can't get up. Before you get sad or say "Awww," (after reading the next few paragraphs) let me inform you that he successfully completed chemo and is now Cancer-free.

How do I know he supposedly can't taste things (though people he knows that have gone through the exact same ordeal, and same physical location, have somehow managed to regain their sense of taste)? Because he reminds us anytime we go somewhere to eat as well as at least every 45 minutes about how he can't taste this or that "anymore." Yet he manages to have taste buds when it comes to things he likes. It's a miracle! Praise the Lord! Is this to say that he never, truly had taste issues? Of course not. I'm just saying the ship has sailed on this excuse. Meanwhile, his teeth will rot out of his head from all the things he CAN taste. Gee. Who knew ice cream, pie, cake, McDonald's, pizza, cookies and all his favorite dishes would be so doggone tasty? Go figure. But somehow, easy meals like soup, sandwiches and leftovers are now "yucky."

In addition, he never ceases to work into a conversation (at least once per visit) how loose his pants, underwear, shirts, etc. are now. Because he's so svelte. Cancer: the ultimate calorie burner. He brandishes his weight as if he single-handedly invented the concept of weight loss. We get it. You lost weight. Congratulations. Now either buy some clothes that fit or shut the fuck up about it. News Flash: You're not the only Cancer survivor in existence.

His most recent prize-winning move: Recently while ordering LUNCH at Whataburger, he inquired about breakfast and was informed that they stop serving breakfast at 10am. He then proceeds to tell them that Jack in the Box serves breakfast all day long. Guess what, asshole, this ain't Jack in the Box. Welcome to Whataburger.

Bullet Points:

• My father's back is always "killing" him. He's been dying since 1982.

• My mother has gotten into the habit of asking me the same question repeatedly. She apparently thinks that if she asks it enough I'll eventually give her the answer she wants to hear. And no, she doesn't have a hearing problem. I made her go get her hearing checked. Perfect hearing.

She's dug a hundred different assorted sweaters/sweatshirts, etc. out of the closet that used to be mine when I was in grade school. They're all "so nice" she's convinced they'll still fit me. Yeah, maybe when I was 11. I pick out the few I want for sentimental reasons, and leave the rest:

Mother: How about this one?
Me: No, I picked out the ones I wanted already. Thanks, though.
Mother: Are you sure? Look at it. You used to wear this all the time. You don't want it?
Me: No.
Mother: But it's orange. You love orange. You could wear it under a sweater.
Me: I said "NO"
Mother: Okay then. I don't know why you wouldn't want it though.... (picks up another one) How about this one?
[ This goes on until I finally have to tell her: "Look, I'm not going to keep doing this with you. I know you're not deaf. I told you I picked out the ones I wanted. Do I have to start ignoring you completely?" ]
Then she puts on the faux "sad-face" and says okay. Fifteen minutes later we go through it all over again, but this time it's with canned goods, laundry detergent, mothballs, plants, knickknacks, kitchen utensils...

• My Dad is perpetually on the verge of financial destitution...yet always somehow manages to buy yet another riding lawnmower, multiple mechanical weeders, fixer-upper vehicles, etc. I've heard stories that make Oliver Twist look like an episode of Full House. Though he has multiple things he could sell if he were truly as hard up as he claims (land, multiple vehicles, multiple properties (bldgs), duplicate landscaping equipment, etc.). These tales of woe have been falling on deaf ears since 1986.

• My mother is perpetually digging in her goddamn purse for something. We could be in an airplane, plummeting to our fiery doom and she'd be digging for a goddamn Kleenex, pill, car key, exact change, mirror, fingernail clippers, lipstick, eye drops, etc. It especially drives me INSANE when she does it while we're trying to watch a movie at home. She inevitably misses something because of it and then is hopelessly "lost."

• When visiting, my mother feels compelled to give me a running commentary on what she is doing at all times and why. She's going to the bathroom, but she's not going to flush it because Daddy is going next and it'll save water and she's going to get a glass of water in the kitchen and she's putting her glass "right here" so don't put it away and she needs to blow her nose but she needs a Kleenex first and her foot itches, but she doesn't know why... She's never not talking.

These are the same exact questions my parents have been asking me for the last 25 years:

"You like tomatoes?"
I've never liked tomatoes. Never.
"You don't like watermelon?"
I haven't liked watermelon since I was 7.
"You like beans?"
I haven't liked beans since I was 4.
"What kind of popcorn is this?"
(It doesn't matter. They will never pay $5 for a box of microwave popcorn when they can get a box of shit brand microwave popcorn for $2 (or less!), then complain that it doesn't taste as good. Gee, imagine that. Besides, I've been telling her "Pop Secret: Homestyle" for the last 10 years and she's yet to buy a box of it.)
"What do you want for your birthday, Christmas, etc.?"
(It doesn't matter. You stopped listening 15 years ago. Whatever it is it's never cheap enough. Why go through the motions? Just send me a card.)

And for the record: Yes, I'm thankful that my father is Cancer-free. Yes, I do realize that some people's parents are no longer around (all the more reason for me to be grateful). Yes, I am thankful my parents are still a part of my life. Yes, I will miss them terribly when they are gone. Yes, I will most-likely be lost without my parents. And to reiterate: Yes, I love my parents dearly. Yes, I'm grateful that my parents love me so much. There, hopefully that will deter any mournful, scornful comments from bleeding hearts.

NOTE: Normally, I make a conscious effort not to blog about personal matters, so be content in the knowledge that this is a rare post. After all, I have to vent somewhere, and like it or not, this is it. It's here or the clock tower.

*Tomorrow, part 2: Thanksgiving Day: The CliffsNotes Edition

Ronald MacDonald Robs Wendy's

MANCHESTER, N.H. (The Dallas Morning News) - You'd think that just working at a Wendy's restaurant would be difficult for Ronald MacDonald.

Now, 22-year-old MacDonald – no relation to Ronald McDonald, the clown – has been charged with stealing money from a safe at a Wendy's restaurant location in New Hampshire.

Police said the restaurant manager called police early Monday, and said he found MacDonald and another employee taking money from the safe at about 1:30 a.m.

MacDonald and Steve Lemay, 20, both of Manchester, N.H., were detained at the store until police arrived.

Monday, November 28, 2005


A while back I mentioned that I purchased the movie Birth on DVD. I'd been wanting to see it, and since it didn't last long at the theater, I opted to buy a used copy at the local Hollywood Video.

Having read/heard in numerous reviews of the film about some of the "risque" scenes, I already knew that it wouldn't last long at the box office. Especially considering that the scenes in question involved the #1 untouchable movie deity, when it comes to controversy: a child. If you're familiar with cinema then you know that children have been off limits when it comes to mainstream American cinema, especially in the last 10+ years. The last one I can recall off the top of my head was Pet Sematary. Working at a video store at the time it was released on VHS, I thought I'd never hear the end of people bemoaning "I didn't like that the little boy got killed." Personally, even I was surprised that the director had the wuevos when it came to keeping that scene true to the book.

Already familiar with the negative buzz surrounding the film, I thought I knew what to expect. I occasionally forget my surroundings and have to remind myself that I live in a red state, where anything remotely unconventional can send shockwaves through mindsets and cause people to race to find out from their peers just what their opinion should be and why.

Long before ever seeing the film I already knew I would probably like it. I'd heard tales of how "perverted" and "disturbing" the movie was; particularly "the bathtub scene." Judging from the hype, I'd expected graphic nudity, adolescent stunt junk, even sex scenes bordering on the pornographic.

However, I also fell in like with Nicole Kidman's look in the film, as well as how beautiful, from a cinematography standpoint, the film was. Not to mention the fact that I'd recently seen (and enjoyed) the 1977 film Audrey Rose and the plots seemed somewhat similar: A woman becomes convinced that a ten year old boy is the reincarnation of her dead husband.

As I was standing at the checkout counter at Hollywood Video, purchasing my DVDs (3 for $25), the cashier, while removing their security tags, cautiously asked me if I'd seen Birth. I told him that I hadn't, to which he replied "Well, it's kiiiiinda..."controversial"." He went on to warn me that "a lot" of their customers had brought it back and had wanted their money back because of a few of the scenes in the movie. I said "Oh, if you're talking about the whole bathtub scene, etc., I already know about that." He replied "Yeah. That scene and a few others." I said "Well, I'm not that anal retentive." He replied nervously "Oh...heh heh...okay." Then I mentally rolled my eyes and thought to myself 'people are such schmucks.'

So, I get home, watch the movie, half-expecting some scenes boarding on bad taste...that never came. I don't get it. The bathtub scene was sooooo not a big deal. There wasn't even any nudity for God's sake! I mean the movie is rated 'R' and I still don't know why. I mean, I know why the MPAA gave it an 'R' ("sexuality"....oh no!), but personally, I don't get it. I think what was implied was much more disturbing that what actually happened. I'm not saying that adult-on-child romance isn't creepy, but it's imperative to the P-L-O-T. HELLO!? It's not like they were just doing this to see if they could "get away" with something or create controversy. Disturbing or not, there are 3 or 4 scenes that are necessary to the telling of the story. What's wrong with people today? Surely you don't expect me to believe there are that many sheltered, ignorant people out there. God, can you imagine? Wow. Just 'wow.'

Personally, I liked the movie a lot. I was sucked in from the beginning after I saw Anne Heche's character (while on the way to an engagement party with her husband) suddenly excuse herself, claiming to have forgotten the engagement gift. Once alone, she produces the wrapped gift from beneath her coat, runs across the street and buries it in the park. WTF!? She then purchases a replacement gift, has it wrapped and returns to the party as if nothing has taken place. I had to know what was in that box! I was hooked. And I have to admit, I never saw the ending coming. The only similarities with Audrey Rose was the reincarnation issue. Nowhere near as dark, but creepy on a different level.

So, if you haven't seen the film or have been scared off that it'll be too graphic, you have nothing to worry about. Just another case of scare tactics courtesy of The Prude Patrol. It's a perfectly good movie if you're open-minded enough to give it a chance. You can pick up a copy of the DVD cheap over at, for around $6, and that includes shipping!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Tom Cruise Has X-Ray Eyes!

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Not every family can afford one at a price tag of up to $200,000 but actor Tom Cruise says he bought a sonogram machine for his pregnant fiance Katie Holmes so that they can monitor the development of their child.

In an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters to be aired on a November 29 television special about the "most fascinating people of 2005," Cruise said: "I'm going to donate it to a hospital when we are done."

A sonogram machine, which uses ultra-sound to look at a fetus's development, can cost between $150,000 and $200,000, according to People Magazine which published excerpts from the interview on Wednesday.

Cruise said he did not know the gender of the child but said if he did, he would not reveal it. Walters then asked him, "So what do you see?" and he answered "a little baby."

The couple revealed last month that Holmes, 26, was pregnant and in the Walters interview, Cruise said, "We are going to get married in summer or early fall. We don't have a date set yet."


It's so sad to see that someone I grew up thinking was soooo hot (The masturbation scene in Risky Business...the locker room scene in All the Right Moves...the volleyball scene from Top Gun...*sigh*), has deteriorated into such a nutcluster. Sad, sad, sad.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Dingleberries, Start Your Engines!

It's that time of year again. When we get together with loved ones, count our blessings and stomp the shit out of our fellow man, all in the name of scoring the bargain du jour on the disposable crap du jour that will make our holiday complete. You had me at "Xbox 360." Jeezuuus...people are fuckin' garbage. Read on:

ELKTON, Maryland (AP) — A melee erupted among a crowd of shoppers in the rush for the new Xbox 360 video game console at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in northeast Maryland.

It took 10 police officers to restore order.

A crowd of about 300 people waited as much as 12 hours for the game, considered a must-have item this holiday season, to go on sale at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. But an announcement from a store manager that the Xboxes would be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, instead of using a number system devised by customers, triggered the mayhem.

"That's when all hell broke loose," said Ben DiSabatino IV, a 23-year-old Bear, Delaware, resident, who had been waiting in line since 4 p.m.

Some customers were knocked down and trampled, though there were no serious injuries, said Elkton Police Lt. Lawrence Waldridge.

Wal-Mart canceled the sale and police ordered everyone to leave.


It's the annual Running of the Ignorant Assholes; let the savings commence! When I read this story I had a serious case of deja vu. I thought to myself "Hasn't this become somewhat of a tradition at Wal-Mart? Didn't I read something similar to this before?" Yes. Yes, I did. And though Wal-Mart seems to be the reigning king of the trailer park, when it comes to these 'incidents,' it's happening all over the place. I'll admit I like to save money as much as the next person, but when it gets this outta control, I find it ugly and disgusting. How can these "winners" live with themselves, knowing they "scored" some bargain at the expense of another human being's welfare? Read on for more holiday cheer:

72-year-old Woman Injured at Sawgrass Brandsmart; Mayhem Breaks Out at Kendall Wal-Mart

Bargain-hungry Shoppers

Let the Shopping Frenzy Begin

80's Book Memories - Vol. I: Twilight Series

When I was growing up in the 80's, I was a hardcore reader of multiple "young adult" series of books. The main three being: [1] Twilight, [2] Dark Forces and [3] Private School. Each series had their own brand of horror & supernatural-themes, and I couldn't get enough of their intriguing cover art, not to mention the stories contained therein. Heck, I was so into the Twilight series that I joined their "fan club" (membership application inside each book) and was a proud card-carrying member (not to mention the sweet bookmark they sent me!) in good standing. Twenty years later, I still have the majority of my collection intact, with only a few gone MIA over the last 15 years of moving, etc.

Personally, other authors in the genre of "young adult series" at the time, like Christopher Pike and R.L Stine just didn't do it for me. Though Pike was somewhat around the same time as the series mentioned above (1985), most of the Twilight and Dark Forces series preceded his work. Stine's work started taking off around 1989, at least 3 years after the success of both the Twilight and Dark Forces series. I bought a few of Pike's and Stine's books, but they were too marshmallow-y for my tastes. Too much teen angst, too little carnage. That's what made the Twilight and Dark Forces series so great; they weren't afraid of shedding some blood. But when it came to Pike's and Stine's work, the characters always went the pussy route and "narrowly escaped" many of their situations unscathed, or the occasional scrape or broken limb. Bor-ring. With the series I read, the suspense was always there, keeping you turning the pages, anticipating what would happen next and to whom.

I recently started purchasing old copies (via of volumes that I either never got around to buying back in the 80's or have lost track of over the years. Here's what I didn't know: Apparently the Twilight series was repackaged and rereleased back in the early 90's. I found this out the hard way when I ordered a copy of The Initiation (one of my all-time favorites! {It's about vampires infiltrating a prep yes, it's non-fiction}) Having loved the original artwork of the Twilight series versions, I was more than a little disappointed when I saw the "new" cover. Eh. It's okay, but I'd rather have the original version of the cover. *Click the image of The Initiation to see a side-by-side comparison of Then vs Now. No contest.

• The Twilight series; "Where Darkness Begins," was a series of 25 different stories. Each book had a different tale of suspense with a supernatural tone.

• The Private School series; "When Classes End, The Horror Begins...," was a series of 6 ongoing stories that revolved around an exclusive boarding school known as Thaler Academy. Little do the students know that the school and even the town was infested with aliens...until it was too late.

I loved these books because the aliens were these super-creepy-looking werewolf creatures. The covers always creeped me out. Really fun, engrossing reads. I own the first 4 and just ordered the last 2 in the series, online. Can't wait to revisit Thaler Academy!

• The Dark Forces series; "The time is now...The battle is between Good and Evil...And the place? It could be your high school...," was a series of 15 (as far as I know) different stories. Each book offering a tale of the supernatural and/or black arts.

Pardon me while I wax sentimental, but one distinctive thing you have to admit about all these series is that they all had really great cover art. I think that was a BIG part of why I loved them all so much. It may sound hokey, but you just don't see that same level of imagination and detail in today's teen series cover art. A bygone era. *sigh*

*This is volume 1 of 3. Next week: The Dark Forces and Private School series.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Aftermath

Things That I Am Thankful For

1. Valerian and alcoholic beverages.
2. That "The Holidays" only come once a year.
3. That I don't live with my parents.
4. That I don't own a firearm.
5. Friends, both real and virtual.
6. The people who read my blog.
7. The people whose blogs I read.
8. That there are still things that I derive enjoyment from.
9. My home.
10. My parents (even though they can work a nerve like nobody's business).

Happy Thanksgiving!

[ click me! ]

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Inventor of Stove Top Stuffing, Dies at 74

NEW YORK TIMES — Ruth M. Siems, a retired home economist whose best-known innovation will make its appearance, welcome or otherwise, in millions of homes tomorrow, died on Nov. 13 at her home in Newburgh, Ind. Ms. Siems, an inventor of Stove Top stuffing, was 74. The cause was a heart attack, according to the Warrick County coroner's office in Boonville, Ind.

Ms. Siems (pronounced "Seems") spent more than three decades on the staff of General Foods, which introduced the Stove Top brand in 1972. Today, Kraft Foods, which now owns the brand, sells about 60 million boxes of it at Thanksgiving, a company spokeswoman said.

Prepared in five minutes on the stove or in the microwave, Stove Top stuffing comes in a range of flavors, including turkey, chicken, beef, cornbread and sourdough. Comforting or campy, Stove Top stuffing is an enduring emblem of postwar convenience culture. Its early advertising tag line, "Stuffing instead of potatoes?" remains in the collective consciousness.

As Laura Shapiro, the author of "Something From the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950's America" (Viking, 2004), said in a telephone interview yesterday:

"Stove Top made it possible to have the stuffing without the turkey, probably something no cook would ever have dreamed of but people eating Thanksgiving dinner might well have thought of: 'Take away everything else; just leave me here with the stuffing!' It's kind of like eating the chocolate chips without the cookies."

Stove Top's premise is threefold. First, it offers speed. Second, it divorces the stuffing from the bird, sparing cooks the nasty business of having to root around in the clammy interior of an animal. Third, it frees stuffing from the yoke of Thanksgiving; it can be cooked and eaten on a moment's notice any day of the year.

In 1975, General Foods was awarded United States Patent No. 3,870,803 for the product, generically called Instant Stuffing Mix. Ms. Siems is listed first among the inventors, followed by Anthony C. Capossela Jr., John F. Halligan and C. Robert Wyss.

The secret lay in the crumb size. If the dried bread crumb is too small, adding water to it makes a soggy mass; too large, and the result is gravel. In other words, as the patent explains, "The nature of the cell structure and overall texture of the dried bread crumb employed in this invention is of great importance if a stuffing which will hydrate in a matter of minutes to the proper texture and mouthfeel is to be prepared."

A member of the research and development staff at General Foods, Ms. Siems was instrumental, her sister Suzanne Porter said, in arriving at the precise crumb dimensions - about the size of a pencil eraser.

Ruth Miriam Siems was born in Evansville, Ind., on Feb. 20, 1931. She earned an undergraduate degree in home economics from Purdue University in 1953, and after graduation took a job at the General Foods plant in Evansville, where she worked on flours and cake mixes. She moved to the company's technical center in Tarrytown, N.Y., not long afterward. Ms. Siems retired in 1985. Besides Ms. Porter, of Copley, Ohio, Ms. Siems is survived by another sister, Rosemary Snyder, of Chicago; and a brother, David, of Milford, Mich.

As a mark of just how deeply inscribed on the American palate Ms. Siems's stuffing has become, there are several recipes, available on the Internet, that promise to reproduce the taste of Stove Top from scratch, using fresh ingredients.

Being such a fan of all aspects of pop culture, it's always sad to me when someone who has become somewhat of an icon to the food industry passes away. It's like hearing that the man who supplied the voice of The Pillsbursy Doughboy (Paul Frees) has passed away.

I know that whenever I had a hankerin' for chicken and stuffing, I often used Stove Top stuffing. And even though I remember the commercials with the tagline "Stove Top Stuffing instead of potatoes," I still made both. LOL! There was always room for me to love both.

Rest in peace, Ms. Siems.

And the Loser Winner is...

I receive all matters of ill-conceived spam e-mails hawking everything from barely legal Asian 'tang to Christian debt consolidation. In addition, I also get a number of fake e-mails supposedly from America Online (my ISP), eBay, PayPal, and the list goes on and on and on. These faux e-mails usually are telling me that my credit card information needs to be updated, has been lost, has expired, etc. etc. You name it, I get it.

Recently I received what has to be the hands-down winner of Worst Hoax E-mail of 2005. Check it out and see if you can spot the things that might tip you off that it's a fake. Click on the second image to check my choices against yours. Enjoy!

[ click images for more detail ]

Vatican Says Homo a No-go

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican is toughening its stand against gay candidates for the priesthood, specifying in a new document that even men with ``transitory'' homosexual tendencies must overcome their urges for at least three years before entering the clergy.

A long-awaited ``Instruction,'' due to be released next week, was posted Tuesday on the Internet by the Italian Catholic news agency Adista. A church official who has read the document confirmed its authenticity; he asked that his name not be used because the piece has not been published by the Vatican.

Critics of the policy warned that, if enforced, it will likely result in seminarians lying about their orientation and will decrease the already dwindling number of priests in the United States. Estimates of the percentage of gays in U.S. seminaries and the priesthood range from 25 percent to 50 percent, according to a research review by the Rev. Donald Cozzens, an author of ``The Changing Face of the Priesthood.''

The document from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education says the church deeply respects homosexuals. But it also says it ``cannot admit to the seminary and the sacred orders those who practice homosexuality, present deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or support so-called gay culture.''

``Those people find themselves, in fact, in a situation that presents a grave obstacle to a correct relationship with men and women. One cannot ignore the negative consequences that can stem from the ordination of people with deeply rooted homosexual tendencies,'' it said. ``If instead it is a case of homosexual tendencies that are merely the expression of a transitory problem, for example as in the case of an unfinished adolescence, they must however have been clearly overcome for at least three years before ordination as a deacon.''

*To read the story in its entirety, click here.

Still looking for more gay-bashing fun under the guise of God's will? Well, look no further! Check out this whimsical game I found over at God Hates

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Me Looka Like a Man

Recently over at Myspace, one of my friends posted a bulletin entitled: I Look Just Like... It contained a link to My, which has "face recognition software" installed. You just upload a photo of yourself and it will scan your face and give you a list of famous people that you resemble. Pretty cool stuff. Here's who I got, in order of appearance: (From L to R)

Edmund Husserl (German philosopher)
Orlando Bloom (Actor)
Nora Jones (Singer)
John Cleese (Actor)
Diego Rivera (Socialist Mexican painter)
Margaret Thatcher (WTF?) (Prime Minister of England 1979-1990)
Peter Gabriel (Singer)
Leon Trotsky (Russian revolutionary and Communist theorist)
Mika Hakkinen (Finnish racing driver)
Iain banks (Author)

I'd be interested in seeing who you get. Share with me!

Collage Casserole

*I take a lot of photos with my digital camera. After I've used some of them in my posts, I often times have some leftover images. These are those photos.

[1] Crispy, crunchy, tri-colored bell peppers! Mmmm! On sale too! Great for freezing and using later.

[2] Aaaiiigggh! It's monkey madness at the Hangman's House of Horrors! One of the many various haunted houses that opens up every Halloween.

[3] Mmmmm Prairie Belt Smoked Sausage. Bleah. I hate "Vienna Sausage" so I know I'd probably hate this too. But it has a great label!

[4] Boxes of Halloween cookies at a nearby grocery store.

[5] One of the various graffiti-like paintings at my favorite place to eat pizza: Nizza Pizza. I enjoyed a few slices of their delicious, oven-baked pizza just the other night. One of the great things about their pizza: Reheated in the oven at 300º for 12 minutes and the crust is crispy, crunchy and just as delicious as the day you ordered it! Now that's good pizza. You sure can't do that with most pizza chain pizza.

Recently overheard while having dinner there: " day these boobs are gonna milk all over you. Ready boobs? Start milkin'!" Um....okaaay

[6] A late lunch/dinner at my favorite BBQ place. I was in the mood for an ice-cold root beer, so I thought 'why not' and ordered both root beer and tea (I drink a lot). I always order an extra bun because the portions for the sandwiches are insanely large. Enough for me to make 2 sandwiches! Mmmmm, chopped beef BBQ!

[7] My birthday cake! I order one every year. I stopped having them put my name on it, since: [A] I know who I am now. And [B] No more sad, pitiful looks from the cashier, baker, assorted employees once they realize I've ordered my own birthday cake. Whatevva. I do what I want.

[8/9] I took these pictures especially for my friend Cheeky. I once blogged about picking up some fresh, hot kolaches from the local Shipley's Donuts, and she commented on how she misses them. I present ham/cheese kolache and sausage/cheese kolache. Mmmmmm!

[10] What a wonderful omen to see parked next to me at a stoplight...on my birthday. *sigh*

[11] Giant jack o' lantern!! I first noticed this huge, inflated pumpkin while on my way home from Fort Worth. Yet another sign that Halloween is a comin'. This is one of the various Halloween stores that pop ups around this time of year. Chock-full of spooky things to make that Halloween party just right. Fun!

[12] The perfect fall day to air out some of my favorite snuggly blankets and throws. Even Mister Bunny got a little freshening up! Mmmm! Thanks Antibacterial Febreze!

[13] A picturesque photo I decided to take while in transit home. One of the few patches of road that wasn't littered with dead bodies. I swear to God, I dunno what happened. As I drew closer to my parents home they were everywhere: Armadillos, raccoons, possums, turtles, dogs, cats, koalas (I just threw that last one in there to see if you were paying attention). You name it. Maybe they had a conversation with my mother. That'd do it.

First off, I'm one of those people (pussies?) that prefers to avert his eyes and think happy thoughts anytime I drive near where an animal has been run over. It just makes me sad and kinda churns my stomach. HOWEVER, at the risk of sounding overly morbid, I actually contemplated taking a few pictures of some of them. Not the disgusting ones, but some of the ones that struck me as funny. I know that sounds contradictory, but let me explain. There was this one armadillo (a raccoon too) that was literally lying on his back with all four feet straight up in the air. Stiff as a board. It just made me chuckle because it looked just like in all those cheesy cartoons I grew up with. Annnyway, I didn't do it (said sulkingly). [1] 'cause I thought someone out there might get all up in my Kool-Aid and [2] I was running on fumes and needed to get to a gas station ASAP. So see, I do have a conscience...sorta.

[14] "What's taking you so damn long?! How long's it take to return a video? Hey! There's a PetsMart nearby! Get me some Pup-Peroni!"

[15] Lunch on a rainy afternoon at Catfish Sam's, a locally-owned retaurant; Chicken strips, a baked potato and a side of gravy for dippin' (can you tell I'm a pepper fiend?). The irony: In all the years that I've frequented this place, I've never once ordered fish. Weird, huh? Great complimentary hushpuppies basket, though!

[16] The Catfish Sam's logo, freshly-painted on various discs around the building.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Say What? Vol. 5

Caption This! *Click image for full story

The Pussy Generation

A few weeks ago, the local news did a "shocking" news story on how today's teens could be in store for long-term physical harm because of how doggone heavy their backpacks are. There were woeful tales from various teens about how heavy their backpacks can get, along with images of kids walking home from school with back-breaking loads that shouldn't even be wished upon the heartiest of pack mules! Why, at one point there was even a dramatic weighing-in of the typical school child's backpack. It was horrifying! Many times I had to avert my eyes, fearing that I'd see some child have to actually leave their iPod or cellular phone at home! OMG!

Why, look what CNN had to say about it: ""Concerned that students who lug heavy backpacks will develop spinal problems, lawmakers in two states may go further than any others to try to reduce excess pounds. New Jersey lawmakers are weighing a bill that proposes setting maximum weight standards for textbooks, while a California measure would require school districts to figure out ways to reduce the weight. Other states have done studies of backpack weight and children's back pain, but none have passed legislation requiring schools to do something about it."

And just the other day I ran across this life-or-death question over at : "When assigning homework, what do teachers need to consider? How do teachers accommodate the different sizes of their students, while still expecting all of their students to have the books and materials they need to do their class work and homework each day?"

It's reaching epidemic proportions, people! Forget Weapons of Mass-Destruction, we've got real issues to deal with! The very future of our children's lives are hanging in the balance!! { insert long, loud, sarcastic donkey fart noise here }

What-ever. What I wanna know is who's putting a gun to these kid's heads and making them carry the entire contents of their locker around in their backpack? I know I haven't been in school in awhile, but don't kids still get assigned lockers? Surely the Gestapo doesn't roam the halls with a stopwatch. Surely they have time between classes to get the appropriate book for their next class. I know it's a radical concept, but it's worked for generations.

I'm so beyond sick-and-tired of today's parents (and their kids) acting as if every little thing is something to start a coalition over. Whether it's cheerleading's "risque" moves, healthy meals fortified with fluoride & Ginkgo biloba, obsessing over S.A.T. scores or making sure their angel can be reached by cell phone at all times, enough already! Jesus Christ! If it's not one thing, it's another. Today's generation of parents and their kids are the biggest bunch of pussies since The Vagina Monologues hit the stage. What's next, a 3-hour school day complete with mandatory Starbuck's breaks* and sensitivity training? Jeezus!

*Click the hyperlink to read: 'Starbucks Could Teach Students, Educators the Business of Joe'

Saturday, November 19, 2005

R-rated Movie Costs Teacher His Job

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution — Ed Youngblood said he never considered the rating of the movie "Elizabeth" when he showed it to his English literature class. "I didn't think about it being R-rated," he said. "It's such a good movie."

That decision has cost the popular South Gwinnett High School teacher his job. Youngblood, 62, said he resigned Wednesday after being given the choice of stepping down or being fired by Gwinnett County Public Schools.

The resignation has upset many current and former students at South Gwinnett. "I understand that Mr. Youngblood broke a rule and you have to be punished, but I wouldn't expect him to be forced out for this," said Marcus Spencer, a former student who now attends Georgia State University.

Gwinnett County Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said she does not know if Youngblood was given that ultimatum. She said that Youngblood chose to resign after being told that an investigation had begun. "It was clear that he did not follow the process," Roach said.

Youngblood taught for 37 years before retiring at the end of the 2004-2005 school year. He continued working this year on a part-time basis, teaching British literature and Advanced Placement English. He is known as a demanding but popular teacher. "If anybody were to give him substandard work, he'd let you know all about it," said South Gwinnett alumnus Jonathan Townley, a junior at Georgia Tech. "He expected better things from us."

Youngblood showed the movie as the class was beginning study of the Elizabethan period. Released in 1998, the movie is a portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The Motion Picture Association of America gave it an R rating for violence and sexuality. Youngblood said he had shown it once before with no complaints.

Gwinnett teachers are required to submit unapproved teaching materials to a board of students, teachers and parents for review. The board can approve or deny the usage of the material, or mandate that the teachers first gain parental permission. Youngblood showed the movie without going through any of those steps, Roach said. "Teachers know it's there and know if they want to bring in something that is not a part of approved instructional material, then this is how they need to go about doing it," Roach said.

Roach said that after the movie was shown two weeks ago, the school and the county office received complaints. That prompted an investigation.

At a meeting with a county school official last Wednesday, Youngblood said he was prepared to apologize in writing to parents and teachers. But Youngblood said he was told he had a choice between resigning or being fired and he had five minutes to make his decision. "I couldn't believe it," Youngblood said, who added that he chose to resign to not jeopardize other opportunities.

Spencer said he and others are considering some form of protest in hopes of restoring their former teacher.

It is at least the second instance of a teacher resigning after showing an R-rated movie at the school. In 2002, two special-education teachers were forced to resign after showing the 1981 comedy "History of the World Part I."

Geeeeeeeeeee-zus. My friend Nathan sent me this article with the subject head "People suck." Indeed they do. I can't tell you how angry this makes me. Yeah, sure rules are made to be followed, etc. etc., but this is beyond ludicrous. In this day and age how many fuckin' teachers out there have stayed with their job for 37 years? The man obviously takes pride in his job, so what, we toss him out on his ass for showing a 'R'-rated movie to his high school English Lit. class? Gimme a fuckin' break! With more than half of 15- to 19-year-olds already sexually active, something as nominal as culture is going to send them reeling towards the fire and brimstone? Puhlease!

I remember when I was in high school, our French teacher showed us 2 'PG'-rated French films, Jean de Florette and it's sequel Manon des sources (Manon of the Spring). Manon had an oh-so-brief scene where you saw the nude backside of the lead character bathing in a waterfall. Pfft. Big deal! She (the teacher) even "warned" us ahead of time, just in case anyone with sensitive capabilities needed to be elsewhere during its showing. We were all mature enough to handle it. Afterwards, none of us were in need of extensive therapy nor was our teacher subjected to hours of mandatory "sensitivty training."

And that's what pisses me off the most, I think. The retarded parents who pitched a fit over this. I could understand the lone student (there's always one...more today, I'm sure) who lives in a fuckin' vacuum and craves attention. We had those in our school "back in the day" as well. You know the types: The kids (usually girls) who get the vapors in Biology class during the reproduction lecture, complete with visuals of the uterus (gasp!) and the penis (huh?). The ones who think masturbation is "gross" and don't do that. One of ours was named Andrea. The mere reference to masturbation sent her reeling into a symphony of "ews" and "that's disgusting." She claimed she never masturbated. Yeah, right, Andrea. Now she has multiple children. She must be the proud owner of Magic Vag™, from the makers of "Intelligent" Design™.

My point is that parents and their biproducts are too goddamn sensitive. Now I know what generations before me meant when they say they miss "the good ol' days." I miss them too. Back when people had bigger things to worry about than catching a glimpse of boob at the Super Bowl and/or whether or not their children get taught some fairy tale concept of evolution. Bring on the unicorns and rainbows!

I know I have a handful of educators who read my blog on occasion. I'd be interested in what they have to say about Gen whY (AKA Echo Boom/Byte Block/Internet Generation/South Park Generation/Babies On Board/Millennial Generation)/Gen Z. I know the consensus among my friends and I are that one thing is for certain: Neither can spell for shit.

- Part 2 of my rant about 'The Pussy Generation' coming on Monday.

Knoxville Takes Polygraph Test

Contact Music — Jessica Simpson's relationship with Johnny Knoxville came under scrutiny, when the former Jackass star was surprised with an on-air polygraph test during a radio interview.

Simpson and Knoxville, who are both happily married to other people, have long been fighting off rumours that they embarked on a romance while shooting their new movie The Dukes of Hazzard.

And Knoxville was stunned when he arrived for an interview with US shock jock Howard Stern and was asked to take a lie detector test, where the questions included if he had sex with Simpson, if they'd ever tongue-kissed and if he ever thought about the singer while "pleasuring himself".

After answering no to all questions, the polygraph indicated that he did not have sex with Simpson, but that he did kiss her and pictured her while pleasuring himself. Knoxville says, "I don't put any faith in that test."

His representative adds, "The lie detector test was all in good fun. Johnny thought it was hilarious."

Epilogue: When I first read this article's headline, my first thought was "Jesus Christ! How insecure is his wife?!," simply because I've read sooo many articles about how "furious" she is about all this (the rumors of infidelity), so much so that both Johnny and Jessica have made multiple attempts during interviews to defuse the situation. As far as I'm concerned, the only thing Johnny is guilty of is being so damn cute! ROWR!

Then, after I read the context of the story and realized the polygraph test took place on The Howard Stern Show, all bets were off. My apologies JK's wife (AKA Melanie). Besides, this happened back in early August, but I just found out about it so it's still news to me. Humor me and pretend like it's news to you too.

Friday, November 18, 2005


San Francisco Chronicle — Most of the 4 million people who saw director Robert Greenwald's last movie, a critique of Fox News called "Outfoxed," caught it at a house party. The independent film ignited liberal audiences last year without the benefit of a Hollywood distributor, major studio or much of a theatrical release.

Labor and faith groups are shooting higher with this week's premiere of Greenwald's "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price": They hope to use the film to coalesce a social movement around criticism of the world's largest retailer.

Wal-Mart is countering with a campaign worthy of the final days before an election -- even circulating a review panning Greenwald's directorial efforts in a 1980 Olivia Newton-John vehicle. And Wal-Mart officials haven't even seen the new film yet. That will change after San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom presides over Wednesday's West Coast premiere -- at a Fort Mason benefit screening.

"Wal-Mart" DVDs will screen at more than 6,800 locales, including house parties, churches and labor halls. There will be plenty of opportunities to see the film in politically blue parts of the country such as New York and San Francisco, a city with no Wal-Marts but 11 scheduled screenings. However, there will also be a dozen showings in both deep-red Kansas and Georgia, and others in rural areas where Wal-Marts dominate the landscape.

Many of the screenings will happen during a "Wal-Mart Week of Action" starting Nov. 13. More than 400 groups, including the Sierra Club and Service Employees International Union, will use the film's premiere to publicize their anger at the nation's largest private employer.

Their grievances are the ones labor and liberal groups have been pushing for several years -- that nearly half Wal-Mart's employees have no private health insurance or are on Medicaid, that most of its stock is produced by cheap overseas labor, and that by building stores on the fringes of towns, it contributes to sprawl and destruction of the environment.

"Our goal isn't to close Wal-Mart down," said Greenwald, who paid for half the film's $2 million production costs himself. The rest was paid for by two private liberal donors. "It is to make it a better, more humane company toward its employees and the communities it is in."

*To read the story in its entirety, click here or click the image above to go directly to the official movie site.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tyra's Keepin' it Real...Again

ABC News — Supermodel Tyra Banks has made a career out of turning heads with her voluptuous body, sexy strut and skimpy outfits. When she donned a "fat suit" that gave the appearance that the slender Banks weighed 350 pounds, heads turned, too. But this time, she faced laughter, stares and nasty comments.

"The people that were staring and laughing in my face — that shocked me the most," Banks said. "As soon as I entered the store — when I went shopping — I immediately heard snickers. Immediately! I just was appalled and, and and hurt!"

Banks wore the fat suit for an upcoming episode of her talk show, "The Tyra Banks Show." In addition to shopping and riding the bus wearing the suit, she went on three blind dates, which will also air on the show. "One of them was so outright rude and hurtful!" she said of her dates.

Banks asked her date what his parents would think if he brought her home. He responded: "They'll be like: 'What's wrong with you?' " When Banks revealed her real identity to a date, he went gaga. But, he still admitted that when he thought she was a 350-pound woman, he would not have gone out with her again.

At the end of her 15-hour fat suit stunt, Banks had the luxury of taking off her costume and returning to her supermodel figure. She said she hopes people will learn a lesson from the poor treatment she endured. "There's no excuse for rudeness. There's no excuse for ugliness. And there's no excuse for nastiness and that's what I experienced," Banks said."

Wow. Tyra's really pushin' the envelope with her new talk show. What's next? Sending a homo undercover to a KKK rally to see how many friends he can make? Favorite parts of the episode include:

• The dramatic opening where Tyra talks directly to the camera and "shares" with us, the audience. on how this "experience" has "changed her life...(wait for it...wait for it...dramatic swell...) forever!" (The word of the day is SHARE...she says it like 10x. We get it. You're sharing.)

• The inevitable tear-shedding scene (sans actual tears), where Tyra makes it all about her. I almost bought it...until she snapped back with "We'll be right back!" There's a Lifetime movie with her name on it somewhere.

Actually, Tyra's alright. I enjoy her other show America's Next Top Model, but I just can't get into her "talk show." She's trying way too hard to show how "real" she is and it's achingly obvious. Sorry, but once the word "supermodel" is attached to your name, reality is out the window. You can toss in all the "gurl"/"child" and faux ghettoliciousness you want, I'm not buying it. Oprah does it too and we all got to witness firsthand what a spoiled bitch she turned out to be.

The fat suit concept was already getting old around the time Goldie Hawn did it back in 1992 during the filming of Death Becomes Her. Since then, everyone else on planet Hollywood has donned one at some point in time:

Courteney Cox in Friends
Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor
Martin Lawrence in Big Momma's House
Gwyneth Paltrow in Shallow Hal
Gwyneth says: ""I got a real sense of what it would be like to be that overweight, and every pretty girl should be forced to do that," Yeah, whatever Gwyneth. Nice to see you're still full of shit. Whatta trooper.
Mike Myers in Austin Powers
Julia Roberts in America's Sweethearts
Martin Short in Primetime Glick
• And most recently, Ryan Reynolds in Just Friends.

And the list goes on. Okay, we get it already! Whatta transformation...blah blah blah. It wreaks of the whole Charlize Theron fad of beautiful women showing us that they can "transform" themselves into someone homely and unrecognizable, only to pull off the mask and "surprise" us all at just how beautiful they really are. Whatever. The thing I find most amusing is that Tyra seems to be genuinely surprised at the response she got when she was "fat." Um, DOI! What'd she expect? Puhlease. Beautiful people are completely clueless to how the real world actually operates. They've become so accustomed to people falling all over themselves to do things for them that they've forgotten what it's like to actually earn something, whether it be a job, customer service, etc., which reminds me of a story...

Years ago I had a friend named Patrick. At the time I was working at a video store and he was one of our regular customers. Patrick was a very attractive 12 year-old. Okaaaaay, maybe I'm exaggerating...a little. He wasn't that young, but that's how you feel when someone is 7 years your junior. To cut a long story short, against my better judgement, we got to be friends and started hanging out together. Which is weird, because as much as I contend that I don't make a conscious effort to befriend people considerably younger than me (simply because they're usually too insipid and I just don't have the energy to be a mentor), most of my friends have been younger than me. Go figure. Maybe it's because most people my age are too uptight and/or castrated coupled. But I digress:

One afternoon Patrick and I went to the "gay" area of Dallas, AKA the Oak Lawn/Cedar Springs area. We went to a video store that I'd been a member at for nearly 8 years. At the time, they were one of the best video stores in Dallas. They had everything a cinemaphile could ever want. Tons of out-of-print stuff, etc. Naturally, they also rented gay adult movies (i.e. porno). Patrick had some videos that were late and needed to return them. They were extremely late. We're talking weeks.

So, we go in and he goes to turn in his movies, telling them that they were late. The clerk was nauseatingly giddy, what with getting the opportunity to wait on Patrick. And, you guessed it; all late fees were voided. No explanation needed or wanted. In all the years I'd been renting there, on the rare occasion that I turned something in late, I couldn't have gotten past a late fee if my life depended on it. Then, to add insult to injury, I'd left my I.D. in the car, and even though I had other forms of I.D. with me, they would not rent to me until I walked the 2 blocks back to the car to get it! Meanwhile, Patrick's closest form of I.D. is his dental records and they rented to him while I was walking back to the car to retrieve my I.D.! THEN we went to the movies afterwards and after I get my drink and box of stale popcorn, Patrick orders the same thing and they insist in getting him some "fresh" popcorn, which they then proceed to make post-haste. Nice.

And that's just one of the reasons The Beautiful Ones (as Prince calls them) are on my shit list. They're a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live with them...or be friends with them...or date them...or talk to them... *File under: sour grapes.*

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pulchritude Thy Name is Johnny!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

While I Was Out...

During my absence, instead of doing a little dance, making a little love and getting down tonight, I opted to...

What's Happening!! marathon...The Incredible Hulk marathon...Kolchak: The Night Stalker marathon...Vh1: We are the 80's...Something Weird OnDemand...Martin Mystery
Comments: I'm really enjoying Vh1's We are the 80's. I'd assumed it was yet another "I Love the 80's" spinoff, which are fun to an extent, but then there's such a thing as overkill, so I hadn't bothered to watch or paid it much attention. Well, as it turns out, We are the 80's is a 30 minute block of all-80's music videos! How cool is that?! I've been enjoying seeing videos I haven't seen in years, not to mention seeing videos for songs that I'd never seen before. Growing up, we didn't have cable, so I missed out on a steady diet of MTV until I went off to college. I was relegated to shows like Friday Night Videos and American Bandstand (and later on, Night Flight). The video that really took me back (*shown): Alphaville: Big in Japan (though you may be more familiar with them singing the '89 song Forever Young on the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack). I used to think the lead singer was so dreamy...unfortunately he hasn't aged all that well. :(

Also, as I've mentioned before, here where I live, when you have digital cable you automatically have something called OnDemand. OD offers up a seemingly limitless archive of just about everything you'd ever wanna see (movies, TV shows, cartoons, etc.), when you wanna see it. Just browse through the on screen menu, pick out what you wanna watch and click! Fun! It's stopped me from lamenting "There's nothing good on TV."

As you know, I've discovered and rediscovered all kinds of groovy things since I got OD: Ripe TV's Kung Faux, Maude, The Facts of Life, etc. Well, my latest addiction is the newly-added Something Weird category!! For those who aren't familiar with the folks at Something Weird, they are helping to keep the deliciously-cheesy world "B" Horror Movies, Sexploitation films (Burlesque acts: Think Teaserama), Ephemeral Films (Think the "shorts" from MST3K), Drive-in movie trailers and other fair. If you remember (and loved, like I did) the '94 late-night TV show Reel Wild Cinema, hosted by Sandra Bernhard, then you know what I mean. It too was a Something Weird biproduct.

Annnnyway, my point is that now OD offers a Something Weird category with subcategories and I am loving it. Watching movies like Teenage Strangler, Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory and so much more! I have to admit, I think the ephemeral films are my favorite.

Local Politics:
Recently Proposition 2 (click the hyperlink to go to my past post) was on the ballot and failed miserably (no surprise...remember, I live in Texas). Of course I couldn't escape the topic even if I wanted to. The local news, newspaper and radio was abuzz the closer the voting day drew near, not to mention the aftermath. The "division of church and state?" What's that?

Personally, for me, I could give a shit about the whole kit 'n kaboodle (ring, certificate, cerimony, terminology, etc.) aspect of it all. I think that's all just window dressing anyway. I'm much more interested in the civil liberties aspect of it (having a legal right to insurance, hospital visitation, assets, wills, children, etc.). I wholeheartedly didn't expect the prop to pass, but it's still very depressing to know that you live somewhere where the majority of people have two faces (though, admittedly, some just have the one), are nice to your face and have no problem taking your money (goods, services, taxes for school children I don't even have, etc.), yet behind the smiling facade they'd just as soon send you off to a concentration camp...all in the name of Jesus. Amen...and pass the ammo.

By no means do I expect them to embrace the "lifestyle," but it's just depressing to be surrounded by bigots. You live somewhere your whole life only to find out that the bigots outweigh the good, rational people. It's disheartening. The really sad part is the people in my own neighborhood who had the Prop 2 signs in their yard (A stick figure drawing of a man and a woman and a mathematical-like equation for the slogan: "1 Man + 1 Woman= Marriage"). I even got some pictures of some homemade Jesuslicious signs posted on a telephone pole just up the street. The irony: carved in the sidewalk directly in front of the house that the signs were nearest to (and where I suspect the person lives who put them up, judging from the exterior) was this pentagram-looking star. LOL! Of course, I had to take a picture of that too.

I'll be venting more about this topic at a later date. I may have been out of commission blogwise, but I still blogged about things that went on in my absence.

In addition to the numerous books/CDs/DVDs I purchased on, eBay, various book sales, etc., I also bought my first new piece of furniture in like 7 years. It feels like a landmark for me since I picked it out and paid for it myself, in lieu of my parents delegating what they thought I should get. Pardon me while I gush:

On a recent trip to the Dillard's outlet, to pick up some new sweaters (the kind that button old fogies like me wear), I noticed that they sold furniture there as well (this is like my 3rd time there...tells you how observant I am). I decided to check out what they had (tons of couches/love seats), and that's when I saw it: The chair of my dreams. LOL! It was a Mission-style chair (well, technically a modern update on the Mission style) with warm brown leather seating and wide arms. Awesome. I'm usually not a leather fan (I've O.D.'ed on it, since it seems like everyone around here gets a hardon for leather furniture and "southwest" shit), but I really liked the design of the chair. Plus, it was big and comfy.

Now this next part is not to brag, but you know how I love a bargain, so think of it as me doing a happy-dance over saving lots of money. The chair was originally $900, but was marked $, you get to take an additional 20% off of that price, which makes it $, I signed up for a Dillard's card in order to take advantage of getting an additional 10% off my first month's purchases, which brought the price to $386 x 8% sales tax ($31). So, I ended up getting a $900 chair for $417! WOO HOO! I was super-excited! I was also happy to find out later (according to a friend) that Lane is a high-quality brand of furniture. I lucked out all the way around.

So, I get home and find out that "real" furniture is heavy as fuck. I eventually get the chair inside and I'm being all giggly and queer about it...touching it...standing back and looking at it from a distance...coming in from another room...etc. Then I sit in it and find's also a recliner! Me likee! I started laughing once it reclined because I honestly had no idea that it did that (typical me...rheeee!). It didn't look like a recliner to me. So, needless to say, my parents, who have been harping on the fact that they want me to get a recliner (because I'll like it so much...i.e. they'll like it so much), will be pleasantly surprised as well.

Schlotzsky's cream of potato and bacon soup is to die for! Seriously. It's orgasmic.
Tootsie Roll Pops
• The latest "Win a FREE iPod Nano" gimmick game: Smacking that monkey with a boomerang never gets old!
Method's green tea and aloe hand soap. OMG, it smells soooooo good. Also try: Cucumber, Lemongrass and Pink Grapefruit. I thought I'd like the Pomegranate, but it was waaay too sweet-smelling for my taste.
Wheat Thins sun-dried tomato and basil crackers are great! Perfect with a little pepper turkey, provolone and a dash of Claussen dill relish or peach preserves on top.
• Mini Moon Pies
Whataburger's new Peppercorn Ranch Chicken/bacon sandwich is amazing. They have great chicken. If you like spicy ranch, you'll love it.
WebMD's 'Mood Buster Matching Game': Think Mahjong meets Pop-Up Video. When you make a match, a little box pops up with misc. info. Fun! *You need to have Shockwave installed to play

Me x 5

Loup tagged me about a week ago and I'm finally getting around to posting my answers:

10 years ago – I was in college, still unaware that dating was a complete waste of time
8 years ago - Miserable in an apartment, wanting a "permanant" place to call home
4-7 years ago – Working at a job I loved with people I loved working with
2 years ago – On the fast track to Loserville
NowWaiting for Godot

Five yummy things:
1) Spaghetti
2) Chocolate silk pie
3) Schlotzsky's cream of potato/bacon soup
4) Denny's shrimp platter
5) Ham & provolone sub from Galligaskin's

Five songs I know by heart:
1) I Know There's Something Going On by Frida
2) Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue by Crystal Gayle
3) I Drove All Night by Cyndi Lauper (not the shitball Celine Dion version)
4) Xanadu by Olivia Newton-John
5) Send Me an Angel by Real Life

Five things I would do with a lot of money:
1) Move to another state
2) Pay off my parent's debts
3) Go to fat camp (as long as the camp isn't called Camp Crystal Lake...they've been having some problems there for some time now)
4) Open my own shop of some kind...bookstore/sandwich store specializing in hard-to-find titles and classic movies
5) Visit my online friends and take em' shoppin'!

Five places I would like to escape to:
1) New England
2) Italy
3) Door County, Wisconsin
4) Salem during Halloween
5) France

Five things I would never wear:
1) A 'Small' anything
2) A toupee
3) A tank top
4) Man jewelry
5) A do rag

Five favorite TV shows:
1) The Daily Show
2) Twin Peaks
3) Martin Mystery
4) The Barkleys (think The Honeymooners as animated dogs)
5) Wait Till Your Father Gets Home (think an animated version of All in the Family)

Five things I enjoy doing:
1) Reading
2) Huggin' kitties
3) Blogging
4) People watching
5) Shopping for books/movies

Five favorite toys:
1) DVD player
2) Digital camera
3) iPod (if I had one)
4) My iMac
5) My Scrabble electronic game

Monday, November 14, 2005

Vampires, Interior Design and the World of Tomorrow

As I've mentioned before, book sales are abundant in the month of October, here in Texas. There's a couple of book sales in particular that I look forward to each year.

If you read last year's post (or this year's, for that matter), then you know that whenever you go to a book sale you can usually count on coming in contact with some real goobers. This is one of them.

Meet The Hummingbird. I dubbed him "The Hummingbird" because he hummed non-stop the entire duration of his shopping spree. I use the term "shopping spree" loosely, since he didn't actually buy anything. Instead, asking his wife if she saw this or this or between humming solos. Put him, The Jingler (you know the ones...they stand there and play a chorus of Jingle Bells with the change in their pocket) and The Whistler (i.e. my father) in an enclosed space and you have a recipe for insanity.

Oh, and get a load of this horseshit. What could only be described as the "brainchild" of some corporate "team player," this year, for the first time, a lot of the tables (esp. those up front, near the entrance) were "sponsored by" some schmuck representing the "Henderson Financial Group." Do you believe this shit? Just when I think I've seen it all, we get card tables at a women's church group-sponsored book sale, now being "sponsored" by some asshole looking for a cheap (really cheap) plug. Whoever came up with this "marketing strategy," needs a swift, hard kick in the nuts, and I'd like to be the one to deliver it.

The Dracula Scrapbook by Peter Haining © 1976
Comments: Once I saw the contents of this coffee table book I knew I had to get it. Brimming with great vampire images! I especially love the book covers and the comic book images. In the plus category: The original dustjacket is still intact! Most copies of this book are missing their dust jacket.

Amphigorey Also by Edward Gorey © 1983
Comments: This book was a Barnes & Noble "exclusive" back in 1983. Only available at B&N, this may prove to eventually be somewhat of a collector's item. In brand-new condition with dust jacket intact.

Popular Mechanics Magazine © February 1951
Comments: You gotta love this cover. I found it laying in the bottom of a box under one of the tables. It's kinda beat up, but the front image looks great (which is the sole reason I bought it), plus there are tons of great retro ads inside.

I adore (does that sound too gay?), I love the old 40's & 50's high concepts of what "the future" will hold; jet packs, food pellets, flying cars. Can you imagine if everyday people were allowed to own and operate their own personal helicopters, like we do cars today? Catastrophe! Will never happen. People would be falling out of the sky like rocks.

The New World of Plastics by Alfred Lewis © 1963
Comments: Once I saw the images inside this book I knew I had to buy it. Filled with loads of wonderfully-cheesy images of people singing the praises of the wonder of the new plastics!

Mother's Guide and Index: The Child's World Volume 6 © 1955
Comments: Again, the images sucked me in. The book is all about the do's and dont's of raising children. From how to deal with temper tantrums to how to discipline your child. It's wonderfully out of

Better Homes and Gardens Creative Decorating on a Budget © 1974
Comments: I own a lot of 70's interior design books. I love looking through them. Most people have some unoriginal, stereotypical ideas about what defines a particular decade. You see it all the time on decorating shows over at HGTV. You know, stuff like: The 50's: Pink/turquoise/black & white. Boomerang/kidney shapes. Jukeboxes, records, malt shops. The 60's: "Psychadelic" colors. Lava lamps, bright plastics, funky lamps. The 70's: Orange/Avocado/Brown. Shag carpeting, wood paneling, anything Bicentennial. Even The 80's: Pastel colors, neon colors. Overstuffed furniture. Chrome, leather, bold patterns.

Not that I'm some kind of maverick, but I like to look beyond the stereotypes and at the design. And that's why I love the interior design books of the 70's. Kitsch aside, they had some great design going on in the 70's. I'd love to have a 70's-style home interior. The homes of the 70's have a lot more personality and warmth than anything you see today. Interiors today are much too quick to relegate a "theme"/"concept" or particular color scheme. I'll take 70's interior design any old day.

Batman © 1977
Comments: This will go great with my other fully-animated paperbacks of Spider-Man, Teen Titans and Doctor Strange! Whee!

Kewtee Bear- Santa's Helper by Alan Reed, Bert Stout & Truman Quigley © 1956
Color by Number coloring book
The Dynamite Book of Bummers by Jared Lee © 1978
Comments: Now you know I had to by this. I've already blogged about my love of Dynamite and other school-friendly magazines of the 70's and 80's.

*Not shown
• Naturally I found LOADS of new retro cook booklets too! If you read my other blog, Jam Handy!, then you'll see them all eventually.
Complete Book of High School Wrestling by Robert L. Brown and Dr. Kenneth Ober © 1963
Comments: I bought this because it is brimming with retrolicious photographs of various wrestling moves, positions, etc. Not homoerotic at all.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Feelings, Wo-o-o Feelings

I've been feeling kinda blah lately, so I've decided to take a brief hiatus from blogging. I'm going to take some time to regroup, work on some future blog posts and curl up in my sock drawer, and sleep for days. I'm sure whatever it is will pass and I'll be back blogging in no time. It won't be a long time, maybe a week. Two, tops.

In the meantime, I'm giving each of you an assignment. I've decided to resurrect an idea that I used last fall, called The Photo Genie.

Here's how it works: Think of 3 photos you'd like to see posted on my blog. (Things around my house, things that I own, etc.)

To get an idea of what people asked for last year, click here, here and here.

I'll continue to update my other blog Jam Handy!, only because I have months worth of entries already archived. Otherwise, I won't be accessible online. Instead of my own private Idaho, I'll have my own private deprivation chamber. Think of it as me being away on vacation somewhere fabulous sans the postcards...and the photographs...and the jetlag...and the fun...

Hopefully you'll bear with me and come see me when I get back. In the meantime, there's always the archives.
Paul: I'm....sorry. Is he all right?
Holly: Sure. Sure. He's okay. Aren't you, Cat? Poor old Cat. Poor slob. Poor slob without a name. I don't have the right to give him one. We don't belong to each other. We just took up one day. I don't want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I'm not sure where that is, but I know what it's like. It's like Tiffany's.
Paul: Tiffany's? You mean the jewelry store?
Holly: That's right. I'm crazy about Tiffany's. Listen. You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul: The "mean reds?" You mean, like the blues?
Holly: No. The blues are because you're getting fat or it's been raining too long. You're just sad, that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid, and you don't know what you're afraid of. Don't you ever get that feeling?
Paul: Sure. Some people call it angst.
Holly: When I get it, what does any good is to jump into a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away. The quietness, the proud look. Nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany's, then... then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name...I'm sorry. You wanted something. Oh, the telephone.
*Much thanks to Mona for permitting me to use her picture of her sweet kitty, Hillary.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Kibbles 'n Bits

• A robber of a convenience store in St. Joseph, Missouri threatened to set the store on fire if the clerk didn't give him the money in the register. The clerk cooperated, but the guy set the store on fire anyway. He then attempted to set the gas pumps ablaze but was chased off by customers. A short time later he was stabbed to death during another attempted robbery of another convenience store.

Hilarious! Good riddance.

• I just saw a commercial for Best Buy and the announcer actually said "The home of award-winning personalized service." LMAO! What-ever! Who issued the award? It sure as hell wasn't one of their customers. Some things just go together: Peanut butter & jelly, milk & cookies... Best Buy & customer service...not so much.

If you've ever shopped at Best Buy you know firsthand just how clueless the employees are. Forget asking them for any information on anything. If it's not on the item's description card, forget it.

It's almost as good as those "No more late fees" commercials by Blockbuster.

• This Bird Flu propaganda is outta control. I'm so not buying into it. The people getting all worked up over this are the same retards who stockpiled duct tape and plastic back when "Y2K" was the panic word du jour. Not unlike the hoards of retards here in Texas who rush the grocery store at the first news of snow/ice. You can count on it like clockwork every December/January. You'd think that another ice age was coming by the way people around here react, stockpiling groceries as if The Day After Tomorrow was looming imminent. Puhlease, I see women get dramatic in the refrigerated section of the grocery store; clasping their arms together and making chattering sounds. Brrrr! Gimme a fuckin' break. Makes me wonder what these pussies would do if they had to deal with some real severe weather. Queers.

Also, I love that Bush wants 7.1 billion to spend on fighting the Bird Flu should it become a "pandemic." Should his "plan" be approved, it whould be operational by the year 2010.

Can you see me rolling my eyes?

• Did anyone see the JesusSquirrel on FOX's Trading Spouses tonight? OMG, she is fuckin' nuttier than a Mr.Peanut turd! In case you missed it, it's part 1 of 2. Part two (when the real shit hits the fan, judging from the preview) airs next Wednesday at 8.

The cuckoo bird I'm referring to is Marguerite Perrin. She is a mondo JesusSquirrel, in every sense of the word. I love how she claims to be this hardcore Christian, yet whenever something she doesn't agree with comes along or something she deems a threat to her "faith," she goes apeshit and immediately starts falling apart. Wow. She sounds stable. Not. She's in serious need of a mental health practitioner (not to mention orthodontist). She's an embarrassment to toothless Christians everywhere.

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