dminmem

dminmem

26 December 2008

Remembering Miss Kitt



We'll miss you Eartha.

Taking Life on Life's Terms

He'd been complaining about our visit for days. First, his house was dirty and he needed to clean. Then the fence was destroyed when the neighbor's cherry tree fell during the last bad storm a couple of months ago meaning that Billie and Georgia wouldn't be confined to the back yard. Then there were complaints about his split shifts at the hospital. None of this mattered to Cameron and me, we weren't visiting to judge his cleaning abilities, let the dogs run amok or interfere with is work schedule.

Then there was "I don't want to hear one iota about my drinking."

Two weeks before, at a meeting with my sponsor at Starbucks, I had expressed concern to Matthew about staying with Thom. Not because Thom has "fallen off the wagon" after more than five years or that we've been "on it" for three months, but because I didn't trust him not to try coercing or berating us into joining him. Interestingly, after that meeting at the coffee shop Matthew and I drove to my first Spiritual Angle study meeting where the topic dealt with avoiding situations in which we once participated and how such an approach may be considered a contrast to recovery and/or spiritual growth. Since that meeting, many of the others I've attended have been dealing with family, expectations, disappointment, resentment and a myriad of other emotions that surface at any time but particularly during the holidays. What I've taken away from these sessions is that I need to accept what comes my way and be at peace about it.

I suppose by telling Cameron when he returned from Knoxville in October that I may just want to stay home with him and make this Christmas about us -- that we needed some "us" time -- I had been prepared to stay in Memphis. At the time I couldn't wrap my thoughts around the six-hour drive north, the interstate, the usual drama at Thom's, the constant driving from his house, to my mother's house, to my father's house, to my sister Tina's house, to this restaurant to meet this friend, to another to meet that friend, the tired six-hour drive back to Memphis all within two half-days and two full days. I liken the experience to being a deer in headlights for the entire time.

But, around Thanksgiving we had decided that a trip home for Christmas would be nice. I didn't ship any gifts to my family with the exception of my sister, Lisa, who was in Biloxi without enough vacation time to make the trip to "Kentuckiana," because I would be there. I was looking forward to the feeling I get when we drive into Louisville from the south, seeing "my city's" beautiful skyline, calling my mother to say, "we're here," stopping at White Castle for "six with mustard, ketchup, onions and pickle with their delicious crinkle-cut fries and a Big Red before settling in for rest at Thom's for the night, making plans for the next day to share time and gifts at my mother's with my family around the Christmas tree. I could drive to Scottsburg to see Norma at Renslow's Bargain Barn and deliver her some cookies. I could do all the things that run me ragged but keep me connected to people and places I love once a year.

So, to say that I was getting excited about the trip -- finishing laundry, pulling together dog necessities, vitamins, charging cameras, and taking gift inventory -- would be an understatement. I didn't realize that while I was preparing for the trip that my expectations were building. Of course, I knew what to expect, generally, as I have done this for many, many years. I expected there to be some sort of drama with Thom. I didn't, however, expect it to put me in a place to make a decision about whether or not to go home -- at literally the last minute.

Returning home from a Came to Believe meeting around 1:30 on Christmas Eve, hours before we would pack the car and head to Louisville, I got a call from Thom, who said, "you're going to have to find another place to stay. The roof leaked and flooded the living room and soaked the sofa. I'm going to have to dry out everything and wash the sofa cushions." He went on about "him, him, him" as he's so prone to do. I bit my tongue. I didn't say "we can figure it out." I simply said, "Thom, go take care of your stuff. Goodbye."

After I put down my phone, I went to the bedroom where Cameron was napping and said, "we're staying home." I worked really hard at not getting angry with Thom's insipid self-absorption. I realized that getting angry was a sign of my own self-centeredness. I called Lisa and commiserated with her for a minute about not going home. But, during that conversation I realized that both of us were really at peace about being hours away from the rest of our family. I called everyone in Louisville to tell them how our plans had changed and wish them a "Merry Christmas."

Since then, Cameron, Edith, Georgia, Billie and I have had a wonderful Christmas. We still are. The tree is lit. Music has been playing. I talked to Lisa on Christmas morning while she unwrapped her gifts. We're baking cookies and watching movies. We're having "us" time. I'm packing up gifts and homemade fruitcakes today and sending them north. We might even brave the outside world and do a little shopping this afternoon.

Let it suffice to say that I am working at taking life on life's terms while letting go of my expectations. It's difficult to do but I'm learning.

22 December 2008

Beatitudes.

From Wikipedia: "possessing an inward contentedness and joy that is not affected by the physical circumstances"

Saturday was a partly cloudy unusually warm day for December in Memphis. I got up early and spent some time reading e-mail, going over some paperwork, addressed some "straggler" Christmas cards that were overlooked during the first writing exercise and prepared three gifts for shipping to Biloxi, Orlando and San Francisco. It's amazing to me how quickly time passes when you're busy and under the gun to get things done. I think I made it to The Mail Center on Madison around 2:00 P.M. There, Mark took my three packages and packed them up and surprised me with stamps for the remaining eight cards I had to mail just as the USPS carrier came in. So far, things were going very well.

Leaving there I reluctantly headed east to BFE because Costco had something I wanted to get Cameron for Christmas. Close to my desination on eastbound I-40, about a mile from the Germantown Road exit, I was nearly rear-ended by a giant-white "schoolbus" (read: Chevy Tahoe) and the turquoise minivan behind it because the woman driving the Tahoe was talking on the phone and failed to notice that I had turned on my emergency flashers a mile earlier to indicate "pay attention, we're slowing from 85 to a dead standstill! Screeching tires on vehicles equipped with anti-lock brakes is very unnerving.

After reassuring myself that I hadn't peed my pants, traffic started moving again and I made it into Costco wondering if this whole retailer-driven side of Christmas is all really worth the hassle, safety risk or credit debt. In my heart I felt a resounding "no."

The "item" I sought was conspicuously missing from the shelves where it usually sits amongst it's overstocked siblings. I was mortified. In order to keep the trip from being a complete waste of time I walked back to the meat department and grabbed a package of generously cut New York Strips. Then cutting through the DVD and books section on my way to the cavernous cleaning supply aisles I picked up a "Jethro-sized" jug of Tide HE and made my way to the checkouts. I ran over a half-mile to the Hoover store and was surprised to see it plastered with "Going out of Business" signs. Inside it was nearly empty. There was a lone, white Constellation marked down to $99 among some random models which were also reduced. I knew I wasn't finding what I was looking for there. But I did manage to snag the last bag of Type "C" HEPA filter bags for my hovering wonder.

From the access road leaving the Hoover store I looked at the traffic on Germantown Parkway and decided to scrap my shopping plans for the day. It just wasn't worth the stress or irritation. Once I got home I was mentally worn out. I told Cameron I wanted to take a nap. Four hours later I woke up thinking it was the next morning. We made dinner and I decided I'd try my conquest for his gifts Sunday morning. I was content with that decision.

Sunday morning I got up and performed my rituals. Dog stuff. Cat stuff. Coffee. E-mail. By 10 A.M. I was headed back out to BFE to Best Buy. Looking very much like one of the people whose behavior I loathe, I called my mother from the "item" aisle and talked with her about which model she thought would be best since she has one of these things. Then, Carey called and we talked about the one which was available at Sam's and coordinating a purchase there since I don't have a Walton anything, let alone a membership card. Because Carey lives on the opposite side of the city in Southaven, I called David and John to see if they'd be up to meeting me -- they live on the north side nearer to BFE.

We met there and found that the one at Sam's was a "540", between the "530" and the "560" I was considering at Best Buy. The only difference I could see was an accessory that I can buy online for $40 if Cameron decides later that he wants it. So, all said, with help from Carey, David and John, I saved $80 on the first gift which made it much easier to buy the second while I was there, saving me a trip to the Apple store.

Fast-forward to Wednesday, Christmas Eve, and I am sitting here finishing this long overdue post while Cameron puts away clean dishes and reloads the remnants of last night's inaugural fruitcake baking. It's on to laundry, last-minute gift wrapping, a noon meeting, and packing.

Joy to the World. It's Christmas! May your days be merry and bright.

07 December 2008

Mullets for Christmas

With DirecTV shuffling, deleting and adding music channels after the Sirius/XM merger I have been none too pleased to see that several of my favorites have changed or were deleted altogether and that they've added several new "head-bangin'" channels. According to the DirecTV website, my favorite classic disco is now available at "70's on 7." I fail to see how having a random disco song mixed among every other genre of 1970s music qualifies as a replacement for "Chrome."

When it comes to Christmas music, the Holly channel is back for the season along with the renamed classical channel, Holiday Pops. A third holiday station that was available last year is missing and, of course, it was the one into which I tuned. I have yet to hear a Squirrel Nut Zippers song via satellite, but I have heard enough Michael Bolton to incite an uneasy feeling in my digestive system.

Knowing that in my spiritual pursuits that I should not be judging like I have in the past, I still have to ask, "why are we hearing Michael Bolton?" Losing the mullet a few years ago amped him up on the looks scale, but as evidenced by Erik Estrada's failed attempt at vocal stardom in the eighties, a handsome face doesn't always good music make. And a trailer-park 'do would most definitely have knocked him off the handsome pedastal. (Mind you, this was long before we discovered that he was ugly on the inside.)


I am at a loss for words.


Michael Bolton's rendition of White Christmas, to quote Wesley Snipes' character Noxema Jackson in To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, "is an affront to my delicate nature." OK. I don't really have a delicate nature. But, while I was reveling in Christmas preparations, hanging the Martha Stewart Everyday wirework Christmas Card holders above the dining room doors, I thought I heard two cats fighting in a pillowcase. Or, someone straining on the toilet after eating cheese for a week. The phrase, "just like the ones I used to know" had this awful, painful sound that made my ears hurt. Please give me the White Christmas just like the ones I used to know. Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra or Darlene Love's versions would be nice.

Thankfully, this torture only lasted for three minutes or so and was followed by the obnoxious- but-more-tolerable, Toylandish diddy, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, written by Jon Rox and recorded by Gayla Peevey in 1953. I read on a YouTube post that Peevey "IS THE ORIGINAL SINGER!!!! And SHE was 11 yrs old." Even with four exclamation points I'm still not impressed.

For the remainder of the season I'm plugging my laptop into the sound system and looking up songs from albums like Cool Yule or Yule Be Miserable. I need some of Louis Armstrong's "'Zat You, Santa Claus?" or Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters' "Mele Kalikimaka."

Oh, and speaking of Mele Kalikimaka, Jones Soda has a new, delicious, limited-time, pineapple-coconut soda by the same name available exclusively at Target. There are
two other Holiday flavors: Pear Tree and Candy Cane. I've had the former, which is good, but haven't tried the latter. Yet.


I'm still stuck on the pineapple-coconut.

May you delight in the music you like and play it loud and often this holiday season. Even if it involves head-banging, questionable hairstyles and prefabricated homes on wheels.

28 November 2008

Thanks, But No Thanks

As I sit here this morning contemplating my day, I feel grateful for so much. Yesterday (Thanksgiving Day), we had the company of some new friends for a great dinner at around 4 P.M. Another friend, who we've known for years, joined the four of us later, after dinner with his family, for some Tripoley. It was an early evening, ending with Cameron and me watching Hancock with slices of apple pie and then pumpkin pie.

I can't imagine that at this hour there have been people shopping at Kohl's, for instance, for an hour-and-a-half already. Or, Target for a half-hour. That's where the "no thanks" for this post comes in. Traditionally, Cameron and I shop for our Christmas tree on Black Friday. And, that's about it. There may be an occasional stop at the grocery but retail stores are the last place we want to be on this day. It's madness. I'll be ordering some gifts online this weekend, but it's unlikely I'll do it today.

I had intended to point and shoot the preparations for Thanksgiving day like I have in the past, but those intentions were dashed when I got into the thick of it. So, there's not much to show here, but I'll share what I have.



Wednesday at lunch I went to Holliday's for some fresh flowers before a stop at Back Yard Burger for a blackened chicken sandwich combo with unsweet iced tea. When I got home I put these together for a small arrangement on the cocktail table in the living room. I love the vivid reds but have no idea what kind of flower they are.


I started the morning making Cranberry Chutney.


Then, the apple pie. Notice that I forgot to peel the apples. Of course, I didn't realize this until I cut our slices for movie watching.


And after that, it was pumpkin pie. You'd think that I'd find nutmeg in here. But the jar was nearly empty, save the "dust." I substituted allspice and am quite pleased with the results.


Next, it was deviled eggs. These were made with sour cream, horseradish, lemon juice, lime juice, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Frank's RedHot sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, cumin and kosher salt. Garnished with three capers each, they're finished with a sprinkle of fresh dill and paprika.


Then it was time for the turkey to go into the oven. It's rubbed inside and out with kosher salt. The outside was rubbed with olive oil, minced garlic and black pepper. There's fresh rosemary leaves from the garden under the skin, and a lemon with half an onion in the cavity. It was delicious.


Is the turkey ready yet?

Well, I suppose I'm about finished here. I have a load of whites in the dryer and a few things to clean up around here. We have another movie to watch before we venture out. If you're "doing" Black Friday, best of luck to you.

25 November 2008

A New Addition to "I'm a Fan"

One of Zen's followers commented on the Keith Olberman post below, so I decided to check out his links. I've added one of them to "I'm a Fan" at the right. It's a blog filled with quotes, most of which appear to help the reader keep their perspective.

Visit And I Quote here.

I'm a fan.

24 November 2008

We've Lost Our Minds

"Breaking News" from Yahoo this morning:



And according to a New York Times news alert, Citigroup will effectively halt dividend payments for the next three years and will also agree to certain executive compensation restrictions, which will be reviewed by regulators. It will also put in place the F.D.I.C.’s loan modification plan, which is similar to one it recently announced.

USAToday reports that last fall Charles Prince left Citi with a $10 million bonus, $28 million in stock and options and $1.5 million in other perks, according to the report.

An April 4, 2008 Times article by Claudia Deutsch (April 4, 2008) states:

"Shareholders and their advocates have increasingly viewed the escalation in executive compensation with concern and sometimes anger. In 2007 and 2008, numerous proxy resolutions were introduced to address the subject. Congress held several hearings on excessive pay and heard calls for action."

"The burgeoning ire has two roots. For one thing, toward the end of 2006 the Securities and Exchange Commission set tighter rules for corporate proxies requiring more information about the methods used to compile pay packages for top management. But by early 2008, as many proxies came in with a maximum of verbiage masking a minimum of information, some shareholders rebelled.

"The sinking economy also stoked shareholder discontent -- especially when executive pay rose even as share prices plummeted. It was hard to find a link between pay and performance; indeed, often the opposite was true. A study by Equilar, a compensation research firm, showed that even as the number and value of performance-based bonuses dropped in 2007, the value and prevalence of discretionary bonuses — ones not tied to performance at all — were up.

"And earned or not, paychecks remain high. The average overall compensation in 2007 for chief executives at 200 large companies that had filed proxies by the following March 28 approached $12 million."

It's no wonder our nation's corporations are bankrupt. I've lamented often on how former Northwest Airlines CEO Doug Steenland took millions in bonuses and stock by robbing the rank and file and the customers. When are we going to put these incompetents that continue to run their companies into bankruptcy at our expense on the firing line?

18 November 2008

Mulligans, True Friends and Fifteen

According to Wikipedia, "in golf, a mulligan is a retaken swing, usually due to a previously errant one." I first heard the phrase while playing disc golf with my friend, Dan and while I understood what it meant to us in those circumstances I didn't realize it was a widely accepted term. The only mulligan of which I knew was stew.

Last night while I was driving up North Parkway, headed home from a meeting at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, smoking a cigarette and punching buttons on the radio, I heard the beginning of Five For Fighting's "100 Years". Just as I crossed Poplar I decided I wasn't in the mood and pressed another button and landed on Rhianna's "Disturbia." Ordinarily I love the song, but at the moment it made me uncomfortable. Maybe it's because I lately feel, at times, like I am in Disturbia. Instead of forging ahead on the radio dial, something compelled me to go back to Five for Fighting. Before I got to the intersection I call "Parkway, Parkway, Trezevant, Summer" I was in tears listening to John Ondrasik's words.
I'm 15 for a moment
Caught in between 10 and 20
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are
I'm 22 for a moment
She feels better than ever
And we're on fire
Making our way back from Mars
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live
I'm 33 for a moment
Still the man, but you see I'm a they
A kid on the way
A family on my mind
I'm 45 for a moment
The sea is high
And I'm heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy, Time to lose yourself
Within a morning star
15 I'm all right with you
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live
Half time goes by
Suddenly you're wise
Another blink of an eye
67 is gone
The sun is getting high
We're moving on...
I'm 99 for a moment
Dying for just another moment
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are
15 there's still time for you
22 I feel her too
33 you're on your way
Every day's a new day...
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to choose
Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live
It's funny sometimes how things happen and that they often have a bigger meaning than the obvious. Seems like a lot of that has been going on over the last 58 days. Oddly, the number "15" has come up more than once. The first time I heard it was during a lecture at Family Fundamentals Weekend in Knoxville. The suggestion was made that we stop growing emotionally and spiritually when we start drinking. For me, that was at age 15. So, theoretically, I am still 15 years old.

There have been other significant mentions of "15" but none as profound as the next one. A few minutes ago I got a phone call on the office line from a friend with whom I haven't talked in over fifteen years. I can't express the feelings of warmth, love and true friendship I felt when I heard the voice coming from Louisville. It's a voice I've often needed to hear but hadn't sought for many, sometimes complicated, reasons. We've made plans to reconnect, catch up and stay in touch.

Clearly there are things larger than me happening in my life right now. And for some inexplicable reason I'm ok with it -- I'm not afraid. In fact, I feel good about it and look forward to what each moment brings. Make no mistake -- there are still obstacles. I'm just choosing not to obsess about them.

What I heard last night was a divine message that I am getting a Mulligan. Not that this is the only chance I'll have to change the way I approach living -- I get that chance every day. But in my self-centered quest for complete control in pursuit of perfection I haven't typically embraced those chances for many of my days -- the better part of just over 17,000. Sure, there have been bright days filled with promise. Some of those have even been connected together for long periods of time. But I've realized that I'll never get to perfect. I've realized the fighting to get where I want has been a fight against my best interests. Thankfully there have been a handful of special people who have loved, guided, and stood by me -- in spite of me. The thing is, I have only occasionally, if ever, loved myself as they have.

This is the sort of epiphany I have been looking for since I started down this path of healing. Taking a long, hard look at myself and letting go of the preconceived notions that have kept me from growing as a husband, friend, and colleague is tough. It's tough to admit that I have been a schmuck. It's tough to admit that by pursuing my idea of what should be I haven't been as good as I can be.

In my quest to accept the things I cannot change and my resolve to embrace the courage to change the things I can I pray that I can love me for me, for better or for worse. God, I'm listening.

14 November 2008

Oh Where Oh Where Has My Gina Bruce Gone...

I haven't seen Shawn on IM lately. I know he's busy as hell. So I visited his blog to see if there was any news. Nothing.

So, as I was there I looked at his blogroll and clicked on a link I hadn't visited in quite some time: Bitter Cup of Joe. When I got there I saw this from Funny or Die.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die
See more funny videos at Funny or Die

I LOVE IT. And, I'm going here to sign the petition.

13 November 2008

Keith Olbermann Speaks Out On Prop 8



When I checked in on my blogpal, Zen, I saw she'd posted this clip: Keith Olbermann's commentary on the passage of Prop 8 in California. Mr. Olbermann's speech is eloquent, passionate and hopefully mind-opening for the many who don't get it. This video is a must share.

12 November 2008

Oh, Goody. Another No Talent Who Sets Foul Language to a Beat, Calls it Music and Hates. Just What We Need.

After a meeting, I was enjoying the remainder of my morning listening to Fernando and Greg and catching up on e-mail when I heard the duo launch into a tyrade about "Trick Trick". Apparently this fool, "close friend and collaborator" of Eminem, doesn't want the "fags" buying his new album. Read more at AllHipHop. Or still more at Bossip. Or at Queerty.


Fugly on the inside. Kinda the same on the outside.


“I’ma go on the record right now with this. Homosexuals are probably not gonna like this album,” Trick revealed to AllHipHop.com. “I don’t want your f**got money any goddamn way. I don’t like it [homosexuality]. Carry that s**t somewhere else.”

I paused for a moment and remembered the Serenity Prayer.

Realizing that I may not have the power to influence the heart of an ignorant but sly, gimmicks-to-riches music promoter cum hate-rap artist I can at least say what I feel needs to be said. After having read the comments posted on the Bossip post from innumberable readers, I have come to the personal conclusion that better than half of these nincompoops were asleep during English class, were clearly absent during the portion of History lessons that discussed civil rights and they are woefully deficient in Sociology and the Sciences.

Of exactly which language is the phrase is "I'ma go" a part? Ignorantish? Dumbassian? Loserese?

Failure to see any parallel between the struggle of African-Americans against hate and oppression and the hate of any other group based upon biological differences such as skin color or genetics escapes me. This hatred toward gays makes about as much sense as hating someone because of the shape of their eyes.

While the argument of "what makes gays gay" is still being debated among the believers of environmental/emotional influences versus the proponents of genetic proclivity versus the ignoramuses who believe "it's a choice," clearly there is enough evidence that those amongst us with any modicum of intelligence can agree that there is still more to be learned. Trying to determine "what makes us gay" makes about as much sense as trying to figure out why we have nostrils on our faces rather than behind our ears.

I'll spend a moment saying the Serenity Prayer. I'll think about what each of the phrases in it means. I'll find peace in my day. And, I'll say a little prayer for "Trick Trick." (Thank you, Dionne Warwick.) I'll pray that Christian Mathis learns a new trick, and that God shows him the way. Clearly, he's not being influenced in the ways of love now, like his mother was when she picked his name.

10 November 2008

Monday · 10 November



Don't really have much to say today, but as I begin this post I can think of a few things. Maybe later. But for right now a Luncheonette post seemed in order since I'm finally satisfying a crave I've had for a while. Today, it's Pho Saigon combination vermicelli (bún thap cam) and spring rolls (goi cuan tom) as big as my head.

The vermicelli, on a bed of shredded lettuce and bean sprouts, is topped with grilled pork, shrimp and an egg roll, garnished with julienne carrots, cucumber slices, pickled radish (daikon, I think), mint and chopped peanuts. After it's doused in fish sauce and topped with chili garlic paste it's heavenly. I couldn't wait to start, so the photo of the Styrofoam® box depicts the lunch in an altered state.


Goi Cuon Tom on left with Bún Thap Cam. Translation: YUM. More garlic pepper paste, please.

Hope you were able to satisfy a crave today. Now if we'd only get a White Castle in Memphis....

07 November 2008

And Here's to the Ignorant Bigots in Arkansas

Not only have we kept the gays in their place as second-class citizens, but we've also kept thousands of children who need loving homes out of danger.

— Bubba and Bubbalina
Concerned Arkansas residents

No 501 (c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status for Lobbyists Even if They're Using a Church as a Disguise

The Mormon Church played a significant role in getting Proposition 8 to pass by an extremely slim margin in California. Their actions were clearly lobbying, spreading fear with lies and propaganda to advance their own agenda and influence legislation. Sign the petition below to have their tax-exempt status revoked.

Visit Mormons Stole Our Rights, here.

With All This Hope I Forgot About Reality

I just received a link to CNN from my friend David, not the one I mention frequently, here, but another who proudly served this country in the military who happens to be gay and in a long-term relationship with our friend John.

I had to share. Some of the comments are great while others are from folks who cling to a religious dogma that is so misinformed. It's worth a few minutes' read.

At a moment of great inclusiveness, gay people are shut out.

02 November 2008

Forty Days and Forty Nights

It's Sunday morning. The kitchen clock says 10:57. But it's not. I usually find the end of Daylight Savings time a depressing one. The days are shorter. It's dark at the end of the business day when I'm walking to the car. But, this time, I'm not thinking too much about it.

I suppose that the promise of today and what's transpired up to this forty-first day of Cameron's and my new journey together makes such things insignificant. Gone are the evenings wasting away our time with cocktail hour. Although we spent every one of those evenings together we now feel more connected. It's almost as if the promise of our life together is brighter. We still have a lifetime of work ahead of us and it's work toward which we look forward. Hope really does spring eternal.

For today, though, there is quite a lot of other busy work ahead of us. Along with the spiritual "housecleaning" of the last five weeks there has been a physical one. After being reminded of Linda Blair in a television commercial during the Halloween festivities I could liken it to an exorcism. Years of procrastination or even denial have been finally righted with the emptying of the attic, the yard sale, the elimination of eight azaleas and a diseased mimosa. There have been meetings with contractors, plumbers and electricians. While we've been facing fears of the change within ourselves we've been facing things that were ignored, avoided or "saved" for later.

I find us living "now" more than ever. This honesty and forthright approach to baggage accumulated over our lifetimes is uncovering some old pain. But what it's revealing is the beauty and grace within us both -- that which we saw in each other sixteen years ago -- and I'm grateful for that. If we hadn't been able to see through the things we didn't understand we might not be here, together, today.

So, as I begin catching up on laundry, listing on eBay the more precious things from the attic (to which I no longer need to cling), reclaiming the windows whose views have been obstructed by air conditioners for decades, and finish closing the pool, I am thankful for the work to be done. I am thankful that I have hair that needs to be cut, plaster to dust from the furniture, a vacuum to clean the white dog hair from the rugs, a battery to charge in the Pontiac, Billie and Georgia's poop to remove from the yard, and lots of clocks and watches to set.



It's a fantastic day. I hope you enjoy this one, today, as much as I will.

27 October 2008

I'm Still Laughing

I can't help it. Although I do have a lot of respect for John McCain's service to this country, and I thought I might vote for him before this whole campaign debacle began, the Dumbya dogma is coming through loud and clear with his stance on certain matters, so I don't bristle so much at seeing him being referred to as "Geezer." That's what antiquated, out-of-touch ideology will getcha.

Sarah Palin, on the other hand, is a clueless idiot, just like Dumbya.

While I feel that calling her a "dingbat" is a disservice to Jean Stapleton's All in the Family character, Edith Bunker, I can't help but laugh out loud every time I look at this shirt. I just ordered mine. Get yours by clicking the link.

No on hate - No on 8

Shared with me by my friend Kathy. Glad to pass it on and I have my fingers crossed.

26 October 2008

Oh, to be in Nuevo California

My friend, David, who also lives in this Red State of Tennessee, sent me this and I thought it was worth sharing. It's good for a chuckle.

Dear Red States,

We're ticked off at the way you've treated California, and we've decided we're leaving.

We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us.

In case you aren't aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and the entire Northeast.

We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly:

You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states.

We get stem cell research and the best beaches.

We get Nancy Pelosi. You get Sarah Palin.

We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Wal-Mart.

We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.

We get Harvard. You get Ole Miss.

We get 85 percent of America ?s venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama.

We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make the red states pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals.

They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home.

We do wish you success in Iraq , and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country's fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation's fresh fruit, 95 percent of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam was involved in 9/11, and 61 percent of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals than we lefties.

By the way, we're taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.


Sincerely,

Blue States

Perhaps we'll be a Blue State this time around. With the turnout for early voting hope springs eternal.


22 October 2008

This Just In From MoveOn.org


TOP 5 REASONS OBAMA SUPPORTERS SHOULDN'T REST EASY


1. The polls may be wrong. This is an unprecedented election. No one knows how racism may affect what voters tell pollsters—or what they do in the voting booth. And the polls are narrowing anyway. In the last few days, John McCain has gained ground in most national polls, as his campaign has gone even more negative.

2. Dirty tricks. Republicans are already illegally purging voters from the rolls in some states. They're whipping up hysteria over ACORN to justify more challenges to new voters. Misleading flyers about the voting process have started appearing in black neighborhoods. And of course, many counties still use unsecure voting machines.

3. October surprise. In politics, 15 days is a long time. The next McCain smear could dominate the news for a week. There could be a crisis with Iran, or Bin Laden could release another tape, or worse.

4. Those who forget history... In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote after trailing by seven points in the final days of the race. In 1980, Reagan was eight points down in the polls in late October and came back to win. Races can shift—fast!

5. Landslide. Even with Barack Obama in the White House, passing universal health care and a new clean-energy policy is going to be hard. Insurance, drug and oil companies will fight us every step of the way. We need the kind of landslide that will give Barack a huge mandate.

13 October 2008

Betty White Still Kickin' It

She's still hilarious. I'm disappointed that I only see her on Golden Girls reruns if I happen to surf past one or on PetMeds commercials.

10 October 2008

Bucking the Program

As you may have deduced, I am using the 12-step program to make some significant changes in my life. The Serenity Prayer,* a big part of the program, helps me keep things in perspective. When I'm faced with a situation to which I'm not sure how to respond, I can first, have faith that if I "let go" what's meant to happen will, but also I can think for a moment before I react.

Yet, with this post I may not be accepting "the things I cannot change" or exercising "the wisdom to know the difference" by imploring us to elect leaders that can pronounce "America" as such, not "Amurka", and "nuclear" instead of "nucular." I've heard, as Paris Hilton called him, "old white guy" say "Amurka" enough times to make me vomit. And Sarah "Pale in comparison to Joe Biden" say "nucular" so often that my further questioning of her intelligence and enlightenment seems validated. They sound just like "Dumbya". To me these are perfect examples of why we should expect more of the same failed policies under McCain/Palin leadership.

One way I can rest assured that I am following the meaning of the Serenity Prayer is that I'm having "the courage to change the things I can" by voting for change on November 4. I'm not convinced that we're getting the best opportunity for significant change by voting for Obama, but I know that we'll start to dig out of the pit of despair that "Dumbya" has squarely placed us within.

Because Obama can clearly say "America" and "nuclear" I believe that there may be more to him. When he's elected our leadership can begin to look intelligent to the rest of the world again.
* God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

27 September 2008

Today, Well Yesterday, Really

Since it's 12:44 A.M., I shouldn't really refer to now as "today", but I haven't gone to bed yet, so it's still "today."

Work was the usual, except that I took 1.5 hours personal time this morning going over paperwork and looking for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for the week. When I did go to work I pulled the Grand Prix out of the garage. Even though it needs work, driving it compares to nothing on the road in modern terms. It's fast, with a smooth ride and its just heaven.

Since I've exhausted the greeting card inventory at Inz-n-Outz looking for appropriate cards to send Cameron, I drove to Davis-Kidd Booksellers and found an ample supply of cards for encouragement, support and love. Afterwards, I stopped in at Baer's Den to talk to Jeremy for a few minutes.

It's now 7:49 P.M., Saturday, 27 September, and I'm finishing this post, so "today" is today.

After work I went to the gym for a pretty good workout. I then raced home, fed the dogs, showered and went to Holy Trinity Community Church for my first of many AA meetings. My counselor is recommending "90 meetings in 90 days," but I told her I have until October 21 to complete many of the tasks I've set out to before Cameron comes home. I'm not only cleaning house emotionally, I'm doing it literally. John helped me clear out the attic Wednesday and I'm working on collecting things from various rooms in the house for a yard sale on October 4.

After the meeting where I met some really nice, supportive folks, I drove to Schnucks and picked up some sushi and seaweed salad for dinner and some supplies for the next few days. I sat down in front of the TV for the first time in a while, watched the news and listened to the talking heads after the debate before I became bored with it and started channel surfing. Thankfully I found "What's up Doc?" playing on our local PBS station. I'd forgotten how much I liked the movie. It was a welcome diversion.

It's now Sunday morning, 28 September. And I'm still working on this post.

Yesterday, I woke up to a call from Cameron. He sounds so good. I tried not to cry and I assured him that my tears were ones of happiness. But, after not talking to him since Monday, 22 September, it was a relief to hear his voice. After a pot of coffee and a call from Cleo, I set out for Goodwill and dropped off three large bins of clothes and shoes, stopped at the Earth Complex recycling station in Cooper-Young and dumped a big box of magazines and junk mail, stopped at Homo Depot and picked up some wire grinding wheels for working on the 1953 Tappan, some double stick adhesive tape and some wood screws for transforming the bar into a secretary. This should be an easy task, since the bar is really an art deco English baking cabinet with a porcelain fold-out workspace and lots of cubbies and drawers.

After I returned home, I made an egg, cheese and ham sandwich on an English muffin for breakfast, even though it was noon. John arrived in the middle of making the thing, and I offered him one, but he wasn't hungry -- he'd eaten an entire bag of tater tots the night before and wasn't feeling too hot. Once I finished, we grabbed the chain saw and went out front and buzzed down the sixty-plus-year-old azaleas that were surrounding our seventy-plus-year-old oak tree. One had displayed signs of disease a month or two ago, and an arborist told me two years ago that I should keep them trimmed away from the tree so the base of it could dry out regularly or it would develop a fungus that would kill it. It was just time for a change and I want to preserve this tree. For now, it's so lovely seeing the magnificent trunk of the tree that I doubt anything will be planted around it in the future.

Cleo stopped by while we were finishing up the chain saw work. We decided that she'd clean the pool tomorrow (today) and she and John left. I got in the Pontiac and drove to BFE for dog food and to stop at Barnes and Noble to find the AA 12-step book. I stopped at Midtown Mini Mart on the way home for a carton of cigarettes for Cameron and lottery tickets. Once I was back home I heated up a bowl of Campbell's Select Harvest French Onion soup -- it was the first time I'd tried any of this new line of soups -- I really liked it.

I priced yard sale items for about four hours, intermittently looking up eBay auctions in preparation for some new listings I'll be posting on the auction site in the next day or so and finally stopped around 10:20, made some popcorn and settled in to watch Saturday Night Live. Billie and Georgia shared my popcorn. After it was gone I was still hungry, so I made a ham sandwich that I couldn't finish and fell asleep in the recliner without finishing SNL. I woke up and took the girls to bed with me at 4 o'clock in the morning.

It's now 9:49 A.M., and I'm about to put on my flip-flops and grab the chain saw to rid the front yard of what's left of the stumps. Then it's on to dog poop duty, mowing, weed-whacking, edging and then back in the house for laundry, vacuuming, and pricing more yard sale stuff.

Here's to hoping that the two or three readers of this so-called blog have an awesome, wonderful day.

Now is the right time.
-- Lotus Sutra

25 September 2008

Beginning to See the Light, One Day at a Time

This is an edited excerpt from an e-mail I sent to a dear friend today. This is all I can do right now to keep this excuse for a blog relevant for the time being, if it ever was...
"I started counseling yesterday and am working on having a standing appointment every day for the next month. The only day I can't see her is Fridays, when she's off. I plan to fill in with AA and church -- it helps ground me.

"Other than that I am extremely busy trying to get some long overdue things done around the house. John came over last night and helped me unload the attic -- the living room, dining room and hallway are filled with my job for tonight: sort for a yard sale (either on October 11 or 18), eBay sales, Goodwill or the trash. I still have to go through the rest of the house, but starting with the attic gives me space for the central air guys to work. Right now, the plan is for them to have the job completed the week before he comes home, but I'm trying to move it up a week (which they can accommodate).

"Aside from that, I am working on having storm windows installed and the hardwoods at least contracted for refinishing, I'm getting rid of the guest bedroom furniture (to John and David for a $100 donation to either Friends for Life or the Humane Society), buying workout equipment for that room, and if I were sure he'd be ok with it (and I think he is) I'd work on finding Edith a new home.

"I'm not overwhelmed, but I only have 26 days left and my schedule is hectic as hell (I got to work this morning at 9:45 :( ). I have counseling again today at 2. And in-between I still have to do laundry, mow the yard, clean the pool, shop, workout, and whatever else I can to whittle down off of my list. It's working. I'm getting a lot done.

"Plus, today is the fifth that I'm taking one at a time. No alcohol since Saturday. All the liquor is gone out of the house, the bar is dismantled and being transformed into a secretary/office/workspace for Cameron with a charging station and plenty of storage for whatever it is he needs. Now if I can figure out the best place for it I'll rocking and rolling.

"Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for sending him a note. I know he'll love hearing from you."
The last few days have been very difficult, promising, hopeful, uplifting, and optimistic. That's a good thing coming away from the previous 4 days of absolute hell. Remember that if you need healing not to cover it up with mood altering substances -- either through prescription or self-medication. If there is any hope for recovery it must be through introspection, analysis, and hard work. Using drugs or alcohol to mask or bury a problem only prolongs the inevitable. At some point, we must face our demons and the sooner we do it the more time we have left for a beautiful, loving, productive life.

Be the love you hope to receive.

19 September 2008

So Much For Sweet Sixteen

Without a lot of fanfare, Cameron and I celebrated our sixteenth anniversary at bowling Sunday, sharing three magnums of champagne and a toast with the league.

Since then, he's left the building. He moved into an extended stay hotel Thursday after checking into a hotel in the middle of the night Wednesday.

Since his diagnosis of Diabetes in January he's been on a few prescriptions, including what he calls a daily "happy pill" and another mood altering drug "for when he's really stressed." I think the drugs are affecting him in an adverse way. He's hyper all the time, he's lost 55 pounds and just doesn't stop. He's making me crazy because I can't get a moment's peace. He complains that I am spread too thin or that I take on too much, yet he is out talking to some small business owners about how I can help them with their advertising. He tells me to go to bed and get some rest, yet he stays up all night long waking me up every 45 minutes doing whatever he's doing.

He's gone on several junkets to Washington, D.C. and Detroit for business with AFA (his union) and NWA (his employer). Although he doesn't usually address the general public except from a microphone behind a wall during announcements on a plane, and he doesn't consider himself a public speaker, he's been standing in front of rooms filled with more than 200 people talking about the union, the company and the future of their jobs. This has been empowering to him. He told me he feels like a rock star. And I love that. But....

I feel like the Cameron I have loved for sixteen years is slipping away from me. The jury is still out. I want him to be successful. I want him to feel empowered. I want the best for him. But what he's doing scares the shit out of me -- for him, me, our relationship -- and our future.

15 September 2008

Kristen Wiig is Awesome

This is just too funny.

10 September 2008

Welcome Home. Hope You Enjoy the Smell of Cat Urine

When my sisters and brother orchestrated a meeting here to give Georgia a new home in Biloxi only to end up adopting her for ourselves we put Edith in the basement for her safety as well as the four boxers and six humans occupying the house that weekend. For some stupid reason, I left her down there for months. Actually, it wasn't a stupid reason. We had an infuriating incident here one evening that involved a house guest not following my orders about the animals, where I came home from work to find Georgia with a bloodied eye and Billie's outermost toenail on her left front paw nearly ripped out of her arm. I ended up spending six hours with both dogs at the emergency animal clinic that night. Afterward, I figured the best thing to do was keep them separate until I could figure out something else.

So, weeks into Georgia's Monday night training sessions I have decided to put Edith behind a child gate in the guest bedroom nobody uses which doubles as my dressing room. I put a new $189 LitterMaid self-cleaning litter box, a treehouse with scratching post (with some stupid stuff hanging from it with which she won't play) and a tray with her food and water in this room.

Our friend Russ suggested many, many years ago that we buy a LitterMaid. I wouldn't at the time because one of our boy cats, Gershwin, liked to stand and pee against the back of the cat box -- if there wasn't a cover on it he'd pee on the wall. But, now that we only have Edith I thought I'd give it a try. And, if I was going to go all out to make her comfortable after her four-month stint in the basement I would find the best litter I could. The LitterMaid requires clumping litter, the type I stopped using years ago because of the tracking problem. I would find the crap in some of the most undesirable places. The night we found it in our bed was the camel's backbreaking straw that put me back on Fresh Step traditional clay litter. FreshStep's pieces were larger so they didn't stick to tiny feline foot pads and end up sixty feet away in my bed. Plus, the odor control was matchless.



The Best. Ooh, I can't wait.



After some research and what promised an epiphany-like experience with the whole cat litter debacle, I bought The World's Best Cat Litter at our local Petco. I was hopeful. As I'd read, it's more expensive, but it's all natural and made from corn and is supposed to be superior in clumping and odor control. It even states on their site "How can any product call itself the 'World's Best?," and goes on to describe the three years of testing and such that allows them the claim.

"You see, our scientists made a major discovery: the highly absorbent proteins and fibers found naturally in corn actually bind cat urine and odor molecules in the litter. So, we developed a patented process that turns corn into a natural litter. It clumps better. It controls odors without the need for perfumes and scents. It’s flushable* and more sanitary. And it’s virtually dust-free, which helps eliminate tracking."

Bullshit.

Or, catshit, if you will. I am used to having people ask me in a surprised tone when they see Edith (or Ambrose and Gershwin in the past), "you have a cat?" This is because my house doesn't reflect the odor of a litter box. Unless she takes a really nasty dump. But now? Uh, it's very clear I have a cat. This is the worst litter product I have ever purchased.

The LitterMaid cleans the box within ten minutes of Edith leaving it, and puts the collected waste in a plastic bin with a carbon filter-fitted lid that contains the odors. So, either the "binding of urine and odor molecules" is failing or the clumping is failing -- allowing bits of the "bound" litter to remain in the pan and not in the collection receptacle. Oh, and did I mention that I'm having to vacuum the damned guest bedroom twice-a-day? Yep. The litter is everywhere. And, Edith isn't much for drama like some cats that will scratch the hell out of the litter slinging it all over the place before she uses the box. She is very discreet.

Suffice it to say, I will be going to our nearest pet retailer tomorrow and buying Fresh Step clumping litter and praying that the rubber mat I placed outside of the litter box collects anything that doesn't stick to Edith's feet since she ripped the carpet insert from the ramp the first day we had the LitterMaid.

And if that doesn't work, I'll go back to buy a new, domed Booda box, like the one I threw in the trash two weeks ago, and Fresh Step. Maybe I can clean the barely used LitterMaid with Nature's Miracle and sell it on eBay. Or, not. Dammit.

09 September 2008

I've Always Loved KFC, But I Guess I've Become One Among the Health Conscious Public

When I opened my Yahoo Mail this morning I saw a piece of Associated Press news from my beloved Louisville. Apparently Kentucky Fried Chicken is stepping up security around Colonel Harland Sanders' original recipe for the eleven herbs and spices that helped him launch his world-famous fried chicken chain in 1950. While the vault where the recipe is kept contains samples of the spices, the "prize" according to the article is the yellowed piece of notebook paper that Sanders recorded the recipe upon in pencil, in 1940. As a child I remember being scared of Colonel Sanders when he would appear in television commercials for the chain. He was a gruff, imposing character, and accounts then and in recent years of his stubbornness and exacting expectations cement the legend. There are tales of franchisees having their equipment taken from their restaurants if they didn't follow the strict guidelines he set forth.


The radio jingle used to sing "Bring home a bucket of chicken..."

In Sellersburg, where I grew up, the restaurant offerings were slim. Until I was in my teens, there was only Freda's, a greasy spoon with great food whose sign only read "EAT", The Wheel, which in our household was thought of more a bar than restaurant, Walk's Drug Store soda fountain, and the A & W drive in. So, it was a big deal when every so often my mother would take us to Clarksville to the closest KFC. Except for the mashed potatoes which tasted like instant, we loved their food. The clerks used to call my mom "the gravy lady". Back then KFC still sold chicken livers, so we'd get those, a "Thrift Box" of 9 pieces of fried chicken, slaw, baked beans, and a quart of gravy. At home, my mother would make mashed potatoes from scratch.


The Take Home Menu: simple, varied, and no stupid bowls or sausage snackers.

As an adult, I have eaten original recipe KFC every once in a while, but in the last five years during my attempts to reach my on-again-off-again fitness goals, I have rarely eaten there. Make no mistake, I miss the hell out of it. I love KFC chicken and their cole slaw. In fact, if I do go, I'll get a 2-piece all-white, no wing meal with two sides of slaw -- because I feel today the same way I did about the potatoes when my age was in single digits (they taste fake) -- and the location closest to work and home often undercooks the baked beans (white beans that haven't cooked long enough to absorb any color or flavor from the sauce in which they're swimming).

It's sad to think that back in 1940 when Sanders devised his recipe that things would have degraded to the point that I read a lot of disparaging remarks about KFC's treatment of the chickens they sell being inhumane. And reading what I do turns my stomach. But, I've done no research to verify any claims of chickens being boiled alive. I guess I will. And I'll probably post about it later.

"KFC had a total of 14,892 locations worldwide at the end of 2007. The chain has had strong sales overseas, especially in its fast-growing China market, but has struggled in the U.S. amid a more health-conscious public."— Associated Press

Photo Credits: SA_Steve, and Neato-Coolville.

05 September 2008

No Way. No How. No Palin.

I was awestruck with how Hillary delivered her speech last week. She proved once again why she has the poise and passion to be president. And I loved her "No Way. No How. No McCain" phrase. I have to reappropriate it here.

Sarah Palin scares the shit out of me. I have been bombarded with e-mails from all of the political action groups to which I belong for days since "some old white man" as Paris Hilton called him, announced her as his pick for Vice Presidential candidate. She's supported legislation for aerial killing of wolves and bears according to one source. I'm looking for more information about her and her record.

Following a link at MoveOn, I found this:

"Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:
  • She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage.
  • Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.
  • She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000.
  • Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.
  • She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.
  • She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as a threatened species-she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.

This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family."

How freaking out of touch can one be? Making a rape victim carry her assailant's spawn full-term? Are you kidding me? Pat Buchanan? Blurring the lines between Church and State? The last thing this country needs is another self-righteous nut job in the Executive Branch.

My mother forwarded a petition to me from People for the American Way where we're being asked to make it clear that Sarah Palin doesn't speak for us. The letter we're asked to sign states:

"Sarah Palin presents herself as speaking for mainstream Americans, but her stances — against reproductive choice, against equality for gays, against freedom of speech — are extreme."

And here's the petition letter they are asking us to sign:

"During her speech in St. Paul on Wednesday night, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin purported to speak for women, small town residents, and everyone who isn’t a member of the “Washington elite.

"Sarah Palin is an intelligent, well spoken woman, but it must be made clear:

"We don’t want a country in which women who are raped are refused the right to choose abortion.

"We don’t want a country in which religious dogma is taught in public school science class.

"We don’t want a country where gay and lesbian citizens are discriminated against.

"We don’t want a country where books are banned from public libraries.

"America is strongest when we are united, not divided. When our Constitutional liberties are respected. When our politicians rely on ideas and opinions instead of distortions and attacks. The challenges we face are too big to be reduced to name-calling.

"Sarah Palin doesn’t speak for us. "

If you agree with my mother and me, please go here and sign it.

04 September 2008

For You, Black Dog

I saw you last night as I was driving home. You were in the grassy median, just a block from my house, eating something that you'd just found. I considered stopping to try and coax you into the car, but I didn't know you, and, I was concerned about what I'd do with you once I had you in my backseat. You looked happy to be doing what you were. You appeared well-fed and seemed to know where you were so I decided to let you be. I asked God to take you home.

After I'd been home for ten minutes I was standing outside in the back yard, talking to Cameron and watching Billie and Georgia play. I heard a yelp. I told Cameron that I had to go check on you. I walked the direction to where I first saw you and thought perhaps it was one of the new neighbors' dogs I'd heard because you weren't there.

I saw Cameron talking to the one of the new neighbors a couple houses down from us. I assumed that he was introducing himself as he often does. I went inside to grab a neighbors' phone list to give the new guy but when I came out they were both gone.

I looked the other direction past the park and saw them. And you. You were lying lifeless on the pavement. My heart sank. We picked you up off of the street and placed you in the grass so you wouldn't be hit again. As I walked back home to call to have you picked up I thought "what if I'd stopped and picked you up?"

As it turns out, someone else had the same idea. Our new neighbor, Robert, saw the tragic scene unfold. A man had stopped to take you off the street to safety, but he scared you. So you ran. The driver in the first lane saw what was happening and stopped for you. Sadly, the driver in the right lane didn't.

Later in night, after we shed a few tears for you, Cameron walked the eight-or-so-hundred feet to you, to pick you up from the grass to carry you down the circle to put you on our porch, out of the rain. It just didn't seem fitting to leave you where you died. I'm sorry for you. I'm sorry for those who loved you. And even though we didn't know you, we loved you, too.

03 September 2008

Keep it Comin' Love

K.C. and the Sunshine Band is perenially featured in various disco compilations and seems to be a staple for "Polyester 100" weekends on our white-bread, tiresome Top-40 station here in Memphis. While I love disco/dance/trance/electronica, I've never been a fan of the overly-repetitive, not really talented musicians that make up K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Slam together some bass beats, come up with a one sentence lyric and repeat it, over and over and over and over = classic disco?

No. Not really.

But, I chose the title of this post from one of those tedious songs because it's an appropriate way to say, "thanks for voting for Doris on jonessoda.com."



Eighty votes later, her score is still 8.34. And for that, I thank all 80 of you. If you haven't voted, please do. If you have, please don't try to vote again. Jones Soda only allows one vote per IP address and if too many attempts are made from one address they'll pull the photo -- and we don't want that!

September 12

I'm still compiling images and notes for a "Labor Day weekend trip to Troy, Alabama" post, but in the meantime I'm posting about a couple movies due to hit theaters September 12.

First, there's The Women.



Cameron and I are such big fans of the 1939 version of the movie that I've really anticipated this remake. Understanding that doing an update would cause some significant differences from George Cukor's masterpiece because times have definitely changed, I only have high expectations for this one because of the cast.


The genuine article.

Casting, is what caught my eye for the next movie. In addition to this being another Coen Brothers film, it stars Frances McDormand, George Clooney, John Malkovich, and many others whom we've grown to appreciate.



Burn After Reading looks like another gem in the Coen Brothers vault. The trailer definitely drew me in. Read more about the movie here.

So, I expect us to be spending more time than usual in a darkened theater for the next two weeks, because we go Saturday to see Kathy Griffin at the Orpheum. And, while I don't expect the show to be as raucus as The Pink Flight, it'll be a blast for sure.


Read all about it at Advocate.com.

24 August 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Reality

After reading e-mail this morning and making revisions to Brothers & Sisters Bowling League's website, I went to vw.com and built an Eos. Sort of like Cameron's but with a few adjustments. After I finished and saw the $40K+ price tag I did a quick Google search for "Passat CC".

There were several entries, including a few YouTube films (one, sort of Fellini-esqe without voice over, one with two casually dressed German "dudes" that took too long to load, and finally one from AutoWeek where the spokesperson also spoke German, but actually drove the car), and this, from Motor Trend.



Even though I keep reading conflicting stories about when this car will hit American soil, it all sounds very exciting to me. I'll have mine in black, please.

23 August 2008

Now What?

After Hillary stopped her campaign for Democratic nominee for president I pretty much stopped campaigning, too. I have been waiting to see if Barack Obama was smart enough to ask her to be his running mate. My thinking was that if the two candidates who were strongly supported by a sharply divided party were running together they'd be unstoppable.

Instead, Obama has chosen Senator Joe Biden of Delaware? Really? According to the Associated Press, shortly after the choice was leaked from inside the Obama campaign, "McCain's campaign unleashed its first attack. Spokesman Ben Porritt said in a statement that Biden had 'denounced Barack Obama's poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing — that Barack Obama is not ready to be president.'"

While Biden's foreign policy experience may play an important role in an Obama presidency, in my opinion Barack's made his first huge mistake as would-be President. I am sure that as Election Day grows nearer that many voters' minds will be made up and they'll be sure of their vote. As for me, I grow more and more unsure. I believe in the Democratic Party. I believe in our values. But right now I feel like we're beginning to look like Kerry Edwards all over again. I can't take another four years of "Dumbya" politics under the hot-headed, knee-jerk leadership of John McCain.

I'm writing in Hillary.

21 August 2008

Thursday, 21 August



Not wanting to eat any of the usual suspects that are close, quick and most likely crap, I opted for a Cherry Picker smoothie from Smoothie King with muscle builder since I plan on going to the gym this evening. While I usually go to the location at Poplar Plaza where Clif Bars are plentiful, I chose to go to the newer location on Union that's much closer to my office.

While my Cherry Picker was being made I looked at the energy/health/whatever bar selection hoping to find a delicious Apricot or Cherry Almond Clif Bar to round out my lunch. Instead, I found this:



Taken in by the nice, atypical packaging which reflected what I consider an "Archer Farms sensibility," I anticipated a delicious alternative to my favorite Clif Bar. Boy was I surprised. I don't think I've put anything this disgusting in my mouth since the piece of fermented soybean sushi I ate in Nagoya, the taste of which stayed in my mouth for the remainder of the day no matter how hard I tried getting rid of it.

After two bites I shared my disappointment with Eric and asked him to try it. He came to the same conclusion I did. It sucks.

Beauty is only skin deep after all.

20 August 2008

Kinda Wii-like and Fun

David sent me a link to this. It's fun.


dminmem after facing his manga.

19 August 2008

Oh, Tease Me. Again. Please.

Just Give Me a Happy Ending.

While looking at my Facebook CarIQ news thread, I read two stories that interest me a great deal. Hopefully, I'm not being toyed with yet again.

First there's this from Motor Authority:

Volkswagen Passat CC Gold Coast Edition debuts at Pebble Beach
Posted
Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The special edition Volkswagen Passat CC Gold Coast was unveiled over the weekend at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and is set to arrive in U.S. showrooms towards the end of the year. The car comes with a special grille and premium tri-coat paint finish with a mix of gold, brown and silver tones.

Other features include a new spoiler and 19in propeller style wheels. Inside, the car is outfitted with four ergonomically formed sport seats wrapped in leather, a three-color combination of Latte Macchiatto (no, we are not making these names up) and Cornsilk with Bronze Piping on the seats and matching accents on the dash and door trim.

Despite its faltering car market and presently weak economy, VW will need to boost sales in the U.S. if it hopes to rival Toyota in the sales race as promised by CEO Martin Winterkorn. That should be made somewhat easier with the CC’s debut, because the CC sedan is expected to be one of the first VW model in years to be more popular in the U.S. than anywhere else. VW marketing chief Detlef Wittig has said the company expects 60% of CC sales will be in the U.S. alone, and production of the car is expected to top 300,000 units over the next seven years.

U.S. models will miss out on a number of luxury items that will debut in European spec model to ensure the car’s price tag remains affordable - which is most certainly will be.

The CC will come standard in the U.S. with a 2.0L TSI engine with 200hp (147kW) and 207lb-ft of torque, available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission . Available optionally is the flagship 3.6L FSI, rated at 280hp (206kW) and 266lb-ft of torque. The 3.6L FSI comes standard with the six-speed Tiptronic transmission. Other markets will feature a base 160hp (105kW) 1.8L: TSI model and two diesel variants developing 140 (90kW) and 170hp (110kW) respectively.

The Gold Coast edition debuted at the Pebble Beach event gets the 3.6L TFSI engine, equipped with a six-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox with Tiptronic. The standard CC comes to U.S. market in the fourth quarter of 2008, with a starting price under $27,000.

dminmem's note: While the Gold Coast looks nice, I'll have black, please.


Then there's this from eGMCarTech:


The Volkswagen Concept R from 2003.

Volkswagen working on an affordable roadster and coupe

Volkswagen has reportedly resurrected plans to build an affordable, mid-engine coupe and roadster to help it reach its target of selling more than 5 million cars by 2018. According to Volkswagen CEO, Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen will have a concept version ready by the LA Auto Show in November.

Winterkorn said that if the reaction to the concept is positive, the car could hit showrooms as early as 2011.

“It is the fifth time in as many years that we have created such a car but this time, more than any other, the signs are looking good that we will get a production green light,” a senior source at Volkswagen told AutoCar .

Power is expected to come from a 1.4L TSI 4-cylinder engine producing 168-hp and a new 1.6L TDI diesel engine producing 125-hp while returning a fuel-economy of 52mpg. Both will be mated to a rear-wheel-drive architecture and a 7-speed DSG gearbox. 0-62mph is expected to come in about 7 seconds.

The unnamed car is expected to be built on an aluminium spaceframe form Audi, which AutoCar says could bring about the R4. Rumors of the Audi R4 have been killed by execs numerous times but with this Volkswagen model, Audi could also see a version with 4-cylinder engines producing up to 211-hp.

Source: AutoCar. Posted using ShareThis.