12 December 2005

More Later

Ok. I was watching yet another dismal performance on The Apprentice Martha Stewart. We watched in agony as Charles took a moment to remove the cigar that says "I have an oral fixation with large tubular objects and this is the most socially acceptable one I can get away with in public" to utter an unnecessary comment about something that happened that was clearly obvious. Stick that thing back in your mouth and shut up. You're the reason the show has been canceled.

Well, not really. But, I digress.

Cut to a commercial for the Jeep Commander. Yet another entry into the gas-guzzling arena of SUVs that will never see anything remotely resembling off-road, driving up on a beach from out of the ocean. I can see the headline now. "Family drowns while trying to sight-see in the ocean, driving their Jeep Commander."

Watch the Commander navigate this Wal-Mart parking lot.

07 December 2005

I'm waiting

for the first dumbass to drive their Jeep Commander into the ocean.

More later.

02 December 2005

Education? Library?

Don't you love it when you sign into eBay and do a search for something only to find that some moron thinks what they're trying to sell is something it's not? Because something has a Coca-Cola logo doesn't make it authentic or "vintage"? Because something is ceramic doesn't make it McCoy. What makes it even more ridiculous is that when they're not sure of what it is they are listing it comes up in your search with a "?" after the name.

McCoy? Shawnee?

It's kind of like what I saw on television last night. I couldn't sleep. It was 2 AM. I started channel surfing and happened upon Family Feud. I thought it would be mindless enough to put me to sleep so I left it there. Viewers were introduced to the champions who had apparently been on the show three times, so far. Then, we met the the challengers. They all greeted the host with Billy Bob teeth in their mouths. Ha ha. Really funny. Both teams were comprised of 30 to 40-something year-old sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts.

During the third round, two team members were asked to come to the podium, placing one hand on the response button and the other behind their backs. The question was, "Besides the United States, name a 'great" country."

I should known what happened was coming.

The challenging Billy Bobs hit the button first and gave a legitimate answer. But it wasn't the biggest response, based upon the number of people surveyed, giving the returning champions' team member a chance to steal. After a pregnant pause she got the wrong answer buzzer and big, red, on-screen "X" without uttering a word. Not even "um".

The Billy Bobs decided to play and continued matching responses. Anticipating that the Bobs would eventually get "buzzed and "X"ed for not matching answers three times, the champions huddled to discuss what their answer should be. The Billy Bobs missed three times. Two answers were left on the board.

Scoring zero for the first two rounds, the champions were given this second opportunity to steal and remain in the game by matching either of the two remaining country names. They broke out of their huddle and stood back at their respective places and began yelling "Africa", "Europe". Eventually the team leader settled on "Europe". Of course, they were buzzed and "X"ed, and the Bobs won.

Country? Continent?

I don't know why I am surprised.

18 November 2005

I guess there's too much to say

I'm sitting here listening to John Mayer as I am finally loading all of my CDs into iTunes. "83" is playing, and the song makes me long for more innocent days. Maybe it's getting older, but lately I'm remembering so many childhood experiences. There's a phrase in "83" that makes me think of my little brother and how much I miss him and the relationship we had when we were kids.

I just wish he knew that I've never stopped feeling for him the way I did then.

We were inseperable until I turned 15, got a job, saved enough money for my first car. I left home at 18 in a fit of independence. If you had lived there, you'd understand. I had to get out. I got engaged, went off to college, found out she was seeing someone else, broke up, met new people at college and eventually accepted being gay.

At the time my mother rejected me and lectured me about things in the Bible (I could go on about my beliefs and that I think the purity of the Bible has been compromised throughout the last 2,000 years -- but not here, not now). And since my brother was only eleven and still at home, I was kept pretty far away. I am sure he felt abandoned and didn't understand. I don't know what he was told. I don't suppose things will ever be like they were for us. We live hundreds of miles from each other and see one another barely once a year. He's busy, on the road most of the time and rarely answers his phone.

But I am proud of him, I love him. And, I miss him.

14 November 2005

Oh, Joy. Part 2

In reference to my earlier post today, it has been a pretty good day. No heated arguments with AEs. I made a lot of progress on an annual report I'm working on until I "shut down" at 5:15, realizing that the format I had chosen won't work because I am already at 38 pages without the cover -- and we've budgeted 36 including cover.

I am just feeling a bit contemplative right now.

First, I'm sad that I am home now, alone, with the exception of Doris and Billie who constantly need a cookie and will stalk me if they don't get it (whose fault is that?, you may ask). The love of my life is going to be gone for the next three days -- and these feelings are not unusual. For the last thirteen years he's been gone several days a week, working, and I miss him every minute he's gone. I know this may sound so petty given the thousands of families who live without their loved ones while they are in Iraq or stationed in Germany or wherever else to protect our way of living -- be it truth or not -- but it's tough. He is my best friend. We do most everything together.

There are a few things we don't share. One of them is finances. And, before I left my office tonight I checked my bank balance so I could be educated about what I had available to pay bills tomorrow. It wasn't pretty. And, I really was surprised by what I learned. "F"-ing math. How the hell one little mistake in subtraction ends up in $200+ overdraft charges still escapes me after all these years.

So, as I was driving home, I thought I'd come home and do some sort of "audit" so I could give American Express an honest answer about when they could expect my account to be paid. I got out of the car, walked up the steps to the front porch and peeked in the windows to see two very excited 50+ pound dogs waiting for me to open the door. And, honestly, I was equally as excited to see them. Talk about unconditional love.

Before I opened the door, I opened the mailbox. Hooray! Two new magazines, one in a white wrapper to hide its identity from the rest of the world, and another chock full of things that I couldn't possibly afford. Even though I knew that these were either distractions from the course I'd set for myself for the evening, or answered prayers to divert my attention from the disaster called my finances, I opened the one in the white overwrap first, guessing it was "Out". I opened a few envelopes that littered the pile of mail that contained offers for refinancing my house because creditors are doubling minimum payments that asked, "can you handle it", or another for the "safe driver" at my address. I opened the other magazine, "Departures" which I am sure AmEx will repossess once I send them back my Platinum card. I threw away the Macy's mattress offer that comes seemingly every week and a couple of other usless wastes of paper.

So, I figured that a martini and a cigarette was a good way to start the evening before I began my audit. And a quick glance at what "Out" had in store for this month wouldn't hurt. I made the drink, grabbed my cigs and phone and went out back. Sitting my drink on the bar, I grabbed the koi food and fed the eagerly awaiting fish. I sat down, loved on Doris while Billie was in the back forty searching for an imaginary intruder and noticed a note I'd scrawled on a pad Saturday night when a friend, one I've had since third grade, called me after having been out of touch for four years. So, I programmed the number into my phone and tried to give him a call. He's on a ranch somewhere in Wyoming where they don't have mobile phone towers, so I'm sure he'll get the message later.

I picked up "Out",and was immediately intrigued by an entry in the Contents: ART + DESIGN "Speeding". Actually, I was probably more intrigued by the black and white photo referencing the article -- rough trade with boxing gloves on. So, I looked at that first. I read the article and thought, "I think I'd like that book in my library of 'art books'". Then I flipped backward to read Cynthia O'Neill's article, "Life, The Musical." It was about the pending opening of the screen version of "Rent".

First, if you haven't seen "Rent" on stage, you must. O'Neill mentions seeing it in East Village before it moved to Broadway. I was lucky enough to see it at the Normandie Theatre after it had moved. It was very moving. Sad, but uplifting. Almost empowering. Kind of like O'Neill's retelling of the events leading up the the successful production of the show. Some people might be uncomfortable with some of the story. But they need to get past that. Reading her words about meeting the author of the musical during the time he was developing the work, his death before the show opened and how this all touched her moved me to tears. Especially when you consider the "coincidence" that Jonathan Larson, the author of "Rent" had contacted her a second time to ask her to speak to his cast on January 17, 1996. This was her 38th wedding anniversary, her first without her husband. He had died in 1995.

Yes, I do believe in divine intervention, or that everything happens for a reason. This was obviously a wonderful experience for her. And, if she'd said "no" to the phone call, imagine what she'd have missed.

I don't know what the future holds for me, but for now, I am thankful to be alive, to be loved, to love. I am glad to have had a good day at work. I feel blessed to have been able to come home to a warm home with anxioulsly-awaiting "children". I'll love my leftover spaghetti and get on with figuring out how I'm going to pay these bills. And, I am thankful that I have bills I can't pay, at least for today.

Anyone want to buy a built-only-one-year 1967 Grand Prix convertible that needs a little work for $13,000?

Oh, Joy.

No, really. It's Monday morning, I made it to work on time and the traffic meeting went very smoothly. We even had a couple of laughs. It looks like I'll be having a good day. I hope you do too.

I'm going outside now.

08 November 2005


I went home last night and Cameron, who historically hasn't cooked much but has worked really hard for several weeks to give me a break from it, had dinner prepared. All I had to do was cook the already prepared pork chops. And, there was a martini on the bar and a second one in the freezer for me. Doris and Billie had baths and the entire west side of the house (kitchen, dining room and living room) had been cleaned from top to bottom yesterday. Everything sparkled. It was so nice.

Then, this morning I woke up 1/2 hour later than I had planned. I had an 8 AM dermatologists appointment. I frantically let the dogs out and feed them, make coffee, grab a clean pair of black khakis from my closet, shower, shave and begin to get dressed. DAMN! These pants have been worn twice and now the button is missing. I don't have time to find something else, so I throw on a belt and a nice shirt that I can leave untucked. I race out the door with a little more than 20 minutes to get to the doctor. I've never been to this doctor so I sort of don't know where I am going, but I know where Park Avenue is and I can read address numbers. It'll be ok. I am driving out east to my doctor's appointment to have a sometimes painful derma-fibroid-something or other scar removed from my leg.

The address is 6005 Park Avenue. Driving east on Park the numbers skip from 5999 to 6500. WTF?! So I'm late to my appointment because I passed the place two or three times before I ventured on a road named differently than the address on the building -- 6005 PARK is actually on the portico in front of the building in two and a half foot tall numerals and letters. BUT IT'S ON PRIMACY PARKWAY. Ugh. At least they had free valet parking. That saved me a little time.

07 November 2005


It's been a while since I've posted. For a lot of reasons, I guess. There has been quite a lot going in in dminmem-land. Some big stuff. Some scary stuff. Some fun stuff. I guess none of it matters, really. And, it's mostly uninteresting. And, I am tired. I have been thinking that I need to take this blog in a different direction, but I don't know what that is. There is part of me that wants to keep a lot about me and my life private. But, who want's to read about some fuck bitching about plastic mayonnaise jars?

So far, the Northwest thing is the only important post. My partner has been flying for that corporation for over fifteen years. He's paid his dues, never calls in sick, and just basically does what is expected of him very well. Numerous letters of commendation attest to that. But, the greedy corporate fucks in Minneapolis have convinced themselves that what they're trying to do is the only way to run a profitable airline. Seems to me that they need to look within the black holes that we might call their souls, and see their reverse-Robin Hood ways. They say that they have to pay ridiculous bonuses and award stocks to retain great talent. If you ask me, anyone with a little talent could figure out how to earn what most would consider a nice salary and run an airline without running it into the ground, screwing the people that operate it every day and selling us out to cheap Chinese and Indian labor.

I could go on forever about this, but I am tired of it.

But, I can't stop thinking about it. I can't stop writing letters to congresspersons. Letters to the editor. It's going to take hundreds of flight attendants and their sympathizers making their voices heard, contacting our leaders to let them in on the facts, such that CEO Doug Steenland is trying to keep out of the public's view and conveniently omitting in bankruptcy proceedings, if we expect to incite change and preserve our (their) jobs. But, I digress.

I am tired because I have kept my Air Force enlisted sister's cats for 13 months while she was transferred to a location where they couldn't be in her care. And, these are cats that wouldn't and/or couldn't assimilate into our two boxer-one cat household. So, I have been a prison warden for all these months. Crating cats is not fun for them, let alone me. But, they went back home this past week. Some closure there. And, she tells me that they are doing fine. That makes me happy. But, I am still tired, because the former office, cum cat kennel is now going to be the guest room it should have always been. Top-to-bottom cleaning for two weekends in a row just isn't my bag. A little dust really doesn't bother me. Except for kitchen, bathroom, linens or other "unhygenic" areas (thanks for the word, whacked-out Brit-former Hollywood non-star neighbor of one of my closest friends), I don't spend every Saturday cleaning the house. Every other Saturday works fine for me.

I am tired of some new rash on my historically clear face. What? It's Exzema? Oh, wait. After a week and a half on this prescription, it's changing. So, it's not exzema, now. But, we don't know what it is. My dermatologists appointment that was originally to remove a painful scar on the back of my leg now includes trying to figure out what these red lines on my cheeks that itch like crazy are, and why I have felt like my lips are on fire for two weeks. Hopefully, we'll find out and fix it. Then, there's folliculitis on my chest, apparently a bacterial infection from when I began sweating profusely at USMC Fitness Boot Camp. It's great to be in better shape. But this sucks. And, I'm tired of it and the antibiotics.

The convertible's top has stopped working. And, I've already spent several hundred dollars on a new motor and installation. But, because that happened year before last, I have no warranty. I want to keep the rare antique, but I am beginning to think that this isn't just the right time in my life to have it. Will I find a buyer that will pay what it's worth? Not anytime soon, I fear.

I'm tired of my credit cards are maxed out -- making big payments only to be strapped and have an emergency come up that I can't ignore. I'm tired of knowing that I haven't managed my money well for the last year. Just two short years ago, I was completely debt free (with the exception of my car payment and the mortgage).

I'm tired of my Passat -- both the car and the lease.

I am tired of working on projects that should have been completed in less than three months that are now nearing two years on the job log. Especially ones where the AE and I disagree on the direction the project is going -- which requires that I burn even more brain cells coming up with two or three different ideas until we compromise on something that will be rejected because the only input we get is "we want something 'cool'".

I guess I'm tired of being here, today. My husband is waiting for me at home. And, he's on vacation this week. I need to go home, give him a kiss, pet my children and make a martini. Then, he and I can talk over a couple of cigarettes on the patio. It will be nice. And, I can relax.

I'll worry about what direction I want this blog to take some other time, I guess.

26 September 2005

Let's Replace American Workers With Terrorists

I recently read that Doug Steenland, CEO of Northwest Airlines, and his colleagues, are attempting to replace 4,000 U.S. flight attendants with foreign nationals as part of NWA's restructuring/bankruptcy plan.

Apparently, there is a loophole in how work rules and visas would allow such a situation to become fact. To paraphrase a letter from Helen T. O'Brien, Detroit-based Negotiations Representative for Professional Flight Attendants Association: "a foreign national flight attendant may be permitted to operate some flights within the U.S. without a green card. Generally, flight crews (as well as merchant marine crews) are permitted to operate within the U.S. under what is called a C1/D visa." Let's say a flight originates in Beijing, staffed with a Chinese crew that posesses C1/D visas. It lands in Seattle. Once in the U.S., Northwest Scheduling can use foreign nationals to cover flights that a U.S. flight attendant would have covered by stringing several domestic flights together over a two-day period, with a third day of flying that includes either returning to Beijing, or even a "turn" to and from Canada (because Canadian trips are considered "international"). This scenario could continue for the duration of the visa. And, depending on which country the foreign national is from, the visa could be good for six weeks or six months.

Since 9/11, flight attendants have been placed in a more active role providing safe and secure flights -- which is the role for which they were initially trained. Annually, from the time that they are hired and successfully complete their initial two-month training course, they are required to spend at least two days reviewing safety and operational procedures for each of the different aircraft on which they fly -- with both "hands-on" and written exercises. If they fail, they don't fly.

They are trained safety professionals who only serve drinks for the comfort and convenience of the passengers. To demonstrate what lack of regard Steenland has for the flight attendant workforce, I have been told that in meetings with other NWA brass that he referred to flight attendants as "glorified vending machines." This is infuriating. Fight attendants are assigned safety procedures pre-, during and post flight. Each and every flight attendant has a task to perform to maintain the safety of each aircraft Northwest operates. Flight decks are barricaded and bullet-proof. Flight attendants are the last line of defense on-board U.S.-based air carriers.

Outsourcing these jobs is a very real threat to our national security, not to mention down right un-American. For Steenland and other NWA executives to take multi-million dollar bonuses one week before they gutted the mechanics workforce isn't evidence of bargaining in good faith. These people are destroying our livelihood and the safety of our skies.

To illustrate my opinion on what we'd be inviting by hiring foreign nationals to fly domestic flights, I'll tell you what we experienced on our European cruise in 2001. After completing a great day in and around Ephesus, Turkey, we settled in for a nap in our stateroom. It was September 11. At 4:30 p.m., my mother-in-law came to wake us up. A plane had hit the World Trade Center. Of course, I pictured King Kong, probably an isolated incident where a private plane had lost it's bearings.

We watched the rest of the events unfold in horror on CNN and BBC World. As the ship left Ephesus for Istanbul we were unsure of what was going to happen at home, on the ship, or anywhere else for that matter. We couldn't fly home. We stayed in Istanbul, on the ship, for four extra days. Princess Cruises took care of us for the duration of the stay. The staff on the ship was comprised of people from all over the world. While always courteous, gracious and helpful, we were surprised by the comments from one crewmember, in particular. We had become acquainted this bartender over several conversations. She was from Romania. The evening after the attacks, our friends from Germany were talking with us and two other friends from California about what had happened. Our bartender's response to the events was, "we've lived with this sort of thing all of our lives. Now you know what it's like."

Gee, thanks. Where's the compassion? I don't ever remember watching the events that have happened in the Ukraine, or anywhere else in the world, and thinking "oh, well. That's them." I have made donations to various causes around the world. I do care about what happens to people outside our country.

Is this complete lack of regard for us and our nation what we want "serving Pepsi" on our domestic flights? Just imagine if some of the new flight attendants from around the world are a bit more passionate about their disregard for us and our way of life.

29 August 2005

God, I hate these people

Since the beginning of time envy and greed has shaped the world. I suppose it's human nature. But to become civilized we have learned to treat each other with respect, celebrate our differences and live together in harmony, right?

Since I cannot figure out how to seperate my rage this will probably be long and rambling.

Will someone please tell Bush that we know he is a liar? Can we get him a ticket on the clue bus?

We know that his motivation is all for himself and his cronies. None of what he is doing is for the good of the world. What he is doing is all for himself and his "2% of the population friends." And he's doing it by distracting the public with other things. Like not responding to hurricane Katrina and the disasters in New Orleans, Gulfport and Biloxi in the proper manner. And, to deflect the blame, he's pointing fingers at Louisiana's government.

Excuse me? FEMA doesn't fall under Governor Blanco's jurisdiction.

I am constantly disgusted with the Bush administration's spin on their agenda. Every day I read of permanent tax breaks for this industry or permanent elimination of estate tax. Permanent this. Permanent that. Corporate greed run amok. I see CEOs, CFOs and COOs take millions of dollars in bonuses from their struggling industries — ones that they have helped cripple — while they expect the people who actually do the work to foot the bill either through slashing salaries, underfunding pensions or both. I watch as industries are laying off workers who have spent their entire careers building these corporations to magnificent heights have the lives they've planned through retirement crushed by a bunch of greedy, heartless bastards.

The arrogance of these so-called leaders, particularly the self-righteous Dubya and his apparently blind disciples, is embarrasing for us all over the world. Surely they realize that as they have swiftly rewritten laws and regulations to pat the backs and pad the pockets of family, friends, supporters and the wealthy few, that we — the many who realize that what they've done and continue to do is like a cancer upon the health of this country — can and will elect leaders who will reverse their poor, corrupt actions just as quickly. Six years ago, we had a president who couldn't, apparently, keep his pants on. But we were in good shape. We didn't have a $500 billion deficit. We weren't paying $4+/gallon for gasoline.

Hurricane? Save it. If we weren't already wasting lives and money chasing after the ever elusive weapons of mass destruction, we'd be better prepared to care for our own, here on the Gulf Coast, and in New Orleans.

16 August 2005

Who comes up with this crap?

I am driving home from my job in advertising, and I already know the answer to this question: some poor schmuck chained to a desk expected to come up with something "creative" for a moron with a marketing degree that has no idea how to be creative... yet they have the final say, don't they, because they're paying the bills.

No, that doesn't make them smart or creative, but I still have to pay my mortgage.

"Gourmet Combo to Go" is what I just saw on an outdoor board for Krystal. This is false advertising. There is nothing on the menu at Krystal that can be considered "gourmet". KRYSTAL. A dry square bun with a puck of beef, a dry square bun with a puck of chicken and a dry teeny weenie on a bun, slathered with chili and cheese are not gourmet. Even if you throw in the high-calorie, chemically modified, sugar laden, over-iced soft drink and the crappy fries. Not even the ketchup helps.


Just like Extreme Jell-o. What!? What the hell is extreme about Jell-o? A hideous food-coloring combination that resembles snot? I don't think so. What's extreme is that these corporations will stop at nothing to get people to buy their poor excuses for food. Let's see, we're losing marketshare because people are getting better educated about what they eat -- they don't care to eat the by-products of horse hooves.

Hmm. I know! Let's market to people that don't know any better (read: kids) who will help create demand for another few years.

Not cool. Anybody see the segment in the movie "Super Size Me" where we're told about how Sodexho, among others, has successfully filled our schools with crap -- all backed by the major food corporations? And, how about the vignette about the school for problem children, in Appleton, Wisconsin, where the lunch ladies prepare food like they did many years ago? No prepared foods? No convenience foods? No instant-from-the-box foods?

Those kids don't seem to be so problematic anymore. They're not eating chopped, pressed pork lips enhanced for flavor! Or, powdered flakes of so-called potatoes whipped into an unappetizing, oddly-flavored plop. Because their bodies are chemically functioning like they should be, many of the problems with aggression, attention disorders and other maladies have virtually disappeared. They're getting good grades and improving. Guess what? The superintendent says it costs the same to run the cafeteria this way.

Our options at the grocery aren't getting any slimmer, although fewer and further between. I am going continue buying my "Always Fresh" vegetables from Easy-Way. I'm going to buy free-range chickens at the health food store. All-natural beef can come from mail order. And, cooking on Sundays for the week is not a hard thing to do. In the end, I'll eat better and have all the convenience I need from a Tupperware container or FoodSaver bag. And, it'll be gourmet.

04 August 2005

High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Kate Hopkins,, suggests creating a clearinghouse of food and beverages that contain it. Health horrors and corporate greed are debated at

Although I've avoided a lot of processed food in the past, watching "Super Size Me" disgusted me to the point that I went through my entire kitchen to rid my pantry of anything with HFCS in it. I rarely ever eat fast food, and I cook at home rather than eating out. But, there a are still a few things I'll rarely indulge in, like an occaisonal Coca-Cola or Mountain Dew, but most everything else is outta here.

I think it's funny that what used to be regular back in the sixties, is now light. Like DelMonte Peaches, for instance. The "regular" has twice the calories and contains HFCS, while the light version contains sugar, instead. For the last ten days, my nephews-in-law were here for a visit. I wanted to make them a pie and I needed a graham cracker crust. I normally avoid pre-packaged and/or convenience foods, but because I was pressed for time, I considered a store bought graham cracker crust. I found HFCS on the labels for both Nabisco Honey Maid Graham Cracker Crusts and Honey Maid Graham Cracker Crumbs. I gave up and bought berries and natural ice cream.

I'm sure, at least for the moment, our livers are thanking us. Read up on HFCS. It'll change the way you look at shopping for groceries.

12 July 2005

My neighbors' house was fine

I was outside, under the lanai at 7:30 in the morning, enjoying a cup of coffee and watching the koi in the pond. I started hearing this really faint, digital-sounding beep noise. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. I listened a little and decided to ignore it because it wasn't anything at my house. I went inside to check the weather to decide if I was going to drive the Grand Prix. Rain and a 38 year-old convertible whose top is on the fritz don't get along too well.

Oddly, the satellite signal went completely out as soon as I got to the television. So, in the japanese bathrobe that had picked up during my first visit to Japan -- one in which an idiot in a beat-up pickup yelled "fag" at me for wearing outside last spring while driving by -- I went outside to see if there was a bird on the dish. Nothing.

But, I heard the beeping again. Intrigued, I started walking around and noticed that it was louder near my neighbors' window air conditioner. So, knowing that they'd already left for work, I walked around front and looked in their front door's window. The living room was filled with smoke, much like that which fills a home when something is burned in the kitchen. And, it smelled like that, too. I ran inside and looked for the keys to their house, but remembered when I didn't find them that Gene had borrowed them when he lost his set. He'd never replaced them.

So, I looked for Cindie's work number on our handy-dandy "University Circle Neighbors" list, which I try to keep updated for all of the neighbors at least twice a year, on the bulletin board. As things usually go it wasn't there. Then, I remembered telling Cameron a couple weeks earlier to give the new neighbors our copy because I didn't have any extras. So, I called another neighbor to get Cindie's work number, which turned out to be out of date. First with a number change. Then, with her transfer from Methodist University to Methodist North. So, with the third number as supplied by her former co-workers, I got in touch with her.

When I told her about the smoke detector and the smoke, and that I didn't have keys anymore, she said "call the Fire Department".

MFD kicked in the door. Came back to me, said "you did good, sir" and placed a big, gasoline-powered fan at the front door to pull the smoke out of the house. Apparently, there was a skillet on the stove, with only a light coating of oil inside, smoldering on top of the gas range.

When Cindie arrived at the house, the smoke was cleared and the stove was off and the skillet was in the sink. That's when I learned the rest of the story. The fireman told her that a skillet was left on. She said, "we didn't use that skillet this morning."

He said, "is one of the knobs always missing from your stove?"

That's when she said, "the dog did it."

Perplexed, the fireman said, "the only dog I saw was a little one in a crate." Cindie ran inside to look for Max, the fourteen-year-old yellow Laborador. While she was gone, I explained to the fireman what was going on. Apparently, Max has done this before. He opens the refrigerator, too. He's eaten a complete box of petit fours, among other things. He has left the door open and ruined all of the food.

27 June 2005

I don't like the plastic. It feels cheap.

I've rarely tried other brands of mayonnaise when my grocer's shelves were devoid of Hellmann's. Most often, I'll drive to another store to find Hellmann's. If, however, I have chosen to substitute, (for the record there is no substitute), I either look forward to running out of whatever brand I've "substituted" quickly or I throw it out as soon as I have finished my potato or tuna salad so I can replace it with Hellmann's. Four generations of my family have preferred Hellmann's. It's as close to homemade as it gets. I don't mind paying a premium for it because it's the best, and it comes in glass jars.

Oh, wait. Best Foods has begun to stock my grocer's shelves with Hellmann's in plastic jars. I purchased my first jar of Hellmann's in plastic while at Costco a couple of weeks ago. At first, surprise. Then repulsion. The plastic feels cheap and nasty -- a lot like the way I feel about Kraft mayonnaise. Or Miracle Whip (unless I am making cole slaw).

Plastic sucks. It cheapens whatever it contains. The glass containers add value. Glass containers say "we cherish our product, our brand. It's important to us to put it in the best container."

Take Coca-Cola for instance. Or, Pepsi, 7-up, Mountain Dew, Dr Pepper. They all taste better out of glass. Brown plastic beer bottles? Stupid. Plastic squeeze bottles of Heinz ketchup? Come on. Heinz gave up a big part of their brand when they did away with the small glass bottle with the "57" on it. In a diner once, while the voice of Carly Simon sang in my head as I waited for ketchup to grace my plate, a cheerful experienced waitress told me, "tap the 57". It worked, and ever since then when I want ketchup, I tap the "57". But, the only way that piece of pop culture stays with me is because I refill my glass ketchup bottle like I learned to when I was waiting tables.

Oh, sure. We can argue that plastic is unbreakable. That's why it's perfect for shampoo. Or, bleach. Food and beverages belong in glass bottles and jars.

20 June 2005

No news is good news

I am amazed at how much more relaxed I am after spending the weekend outdoors. No TV. No CNN. No FoxNews. I don't know if we've ever done that all weekend. The first I heard about Iraq in three days was this morning on the way to the airport. I didn't realize how therapeutic it is to ignore current events every once in a while.

Current events being what they are, I have just had enough right now.

It's not that I don't care about what's going on in the world. I am just sick of/tired of/digusted with/sometimes crazed with hate for:

* Bullshit excuses and trumped up reasons for us to be at war.
* Rhetoric.
* Corrupt politicians getting kickbacks for legislation they enact.
* Lawmakers getting richer from legislation that they pass -- all the while bitching about so-called special interest groups.
* CEOs of corporations who cheat their employees and investors. (Not just the heads of Enron, Tyco and MCI, but also the CEOs of major airlines asking for caps on pensions in a congressional hearing that aired on CSPAN last week. These are the same creeps that negotiated hundreds of millions in pay cuts from their employees. And, magically, the company can then afford to give these assholes $300 million in "retention bonuses." Exactly what miracles are these people performing that they need a six-figure bonus in addition to their six- or sometimes seven-figure salaries? And who are the idiots on the boards of these companies that allow this to happen? Without the employees that they are screwing they have no company.

When will we pull our heads out of the sand and hold these crooks accountable for their actions?

11 May 2005

Baby, you can't drive my Car. Especially in Memphis.

The thought of everyone driving like me sounds very utopian, for me at least. We would always wear our safety belts. We would always use turn signals. We would make sure all of the lights/indicators work on our cars. We would avoid "wolf packs" like we were taught in driver's ed. Tailgating would be avoided because driver's ed also taught us to allow a "car length for every 10 miles per hour" between us and the car in front of us. If we realized that we were about to miss a turn, we would continue around the block -- rather than stopping traffic to wait for a clear opportunity to make an illegal turn across five lanes of traffic in our ragged-out, smoking, registration expired, likely uninsured pieces of junk.

We would not cut anyone off -- ever. When exiting a parking lot or entering traffic from a side street, we would look at all of the traffic -- not just the space between us and the next car. So very often some idiot will pull out into traffic without any hope of accelerating fast enough to keep oncoming drivers from having to engage the anti-locks or swerve into another lane to keep from hitting them. And, of course, there's never anyone behind the car that the idiot pulled in front of -- for miles.

There would be no morons who seem to have flunked logic class: there is a set amount of braking distance available when approaching a stop -- largely depending on the vehicle being driven. Cutting in front of a large moving object greatly reduces the braking distance within which it has to stop unless being smashed into the intersection of crossing traffic is what 's desired. I think I understand how the semi-tractor-trailer drivers feel after they've run over someone who has cut in front of them.

We wouldn't drive giant SUVs unless we frequently traveled unpaved irregular terrain, like in the commercials for the stupid wastes of plastic, steel and fossil fuels. What is the purpose of having one of these monstrosities if the only surface those tires are going to contact is concrete, asphalt or gravel? I mean, come on! I have a friend who lives in rural Arkansas and does just fine driving his Cadillac on a gravel/dirt road between his farm and the state highway. A trip to Target, Piggly Wiggly or WalMart isn't going to require 4-wheel drive traction and enough cargo space to haul a fully-equipped kitchen over creeks and brambles. The biggest roadblock likely encountered by any driver is another idiot on a cell phone driving a giant SUV.

We wouldn't choose talking on the cell phone over driving while behind the wheel. If the call is that damned important, can anybody say hands free? What can be more important than driving when you're behind the (expletive deleted) wheel!?

Then, of course, we would not allow DVD players into the mix. Have we lost our minds? Apparently, we've lost all ability to rear our children without enlisting the help of the almighty screen. What happened to coloring books or road trip games to engage the imagination while traveling by car? Some of my fondest memories involve my sisters, brother and me in the car, traveling together with one or both of my parents, singing songs, talking, interacting. Being a family. Conducting activities that don't distract the driving parent. No, today, it's park your child's overweight butt, Twinkie or a Big Mac in hand, in front of a screen and ignore them.

Of course, it's not just the parents. While driving south on I-95 from Fort Lauderdale to Miami I was passed by a red '64 Impala. Beautiful. It definitely caught my attention. What I found incredible, though, was that the "gansta" driving was enjoying porn on a dash-mounted DVD screen at about 70 m.p.h. So the ridiculous gets worse. Thank heaven he was the only one in the car. I think. When I heard that Tennessee legislators were actually having to consider a law to ban playing porn in automobiles I couldn't believe my ears. Now we're so stupid that we can't even decide whether or not it's appropriate -- to play porn in our cars while talking on our cell phones, traveling at 70 m.p.h. -- without a lawmaker telling us so. I just don't understand what has happened to the common sense we used to have. I understand not wanting to drive an extra block, but why should my mistake be at someone else's expense? I understand the all important need to be "constantly accessible", but I don't understand why you can't pull off of the roadway if that damn phone conversation is so important. I understand not wanting to drive a "minivan" when you have kids and soccer balls and bicycles to haul. What about a smaller SUV, or even a station wagon?


03 May 2005

Is there a vitamin supplement for that?

As I sit here pondering this whole blog thing, I am also considering the two, full, legal-sized pages that are my incomplete "things to do" lists -- one for work and one for home. The work list takes care of itself because I live by the almighty deadline. But, the list at home contains such things as "hang gutters, install storm windows", and "bar lighting". I think I have ADD. I can't seem to stay focused on any one thing long enough to complete it. So, I am making a conscious effort to whittle away at the list.

At the moment, I don't know of anything in nature to help me with this lack of concentration thing. Thanks to the well-funded pharmaceutical industry, however, I can take a synthetic substance that no doubt was derived from something never intended for human consumption. A drug that should reign me in. And as a special bonus, I'll also have anal leakage, a stabbing pain in the head, my penis will fall off and I'll grow a third arm.

I find it incredible that these drug makers can legally put drugs on the market that cause the ridiculous lists of side effects we're subjected to at the end of one of their uplifting, life changing, 30-second fairy tales on TV where we see some brainwashed idiot running through a field of daisies with nary an allergy problem or animated white blobs of emotion go from sad to glad. Yeah, buddy. I really can identify with a white blob.

Too bad they don't show the whole story, you know, Depends and all.

Ok. I've diverted long enough. Time to get back on that illustration I am working on.

Coming Soon

I have to leave now.