Friday, June 13, 2008

Ida & Martin's little girl

Maybe my age is showing, but this new look from the Nicole Miller collection says only one thing to me "Hello, Rhoda Morgenstern!" Would Valerie Harper not have rocked this one? With giant hoop earrings and an arm full of bracelets. And probably a Guatemalan tote bag. $20 says she's wearing leather, knee-high boots with chunky ruber heels.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Keep talking

All those years that people thought I was some sort of masochist for taking the train. "Oh, I couldn't schedule around the train. If I want to go, I just want to go. I don't know how you can put up with it." I'd smile and shake my head and say, "Ah, it's not so bad." And if I'd mention the $2,000 a year I was saving (gas + insurance + parking), they'd understand, but still they'd look at me like I had a screw loose. Now that it's over $3,000, and rising by the minute, I'm looking a little less nutty. Nutty like a fox, baby.

And there are more and more people jumping on my bandwagon. More cars in the public transit parking lot. More people period on the trains, rich and poor. I'm lucky in that I am on the magic train, that is almost never crowded on my way to work in the morning. But coming home, I usually ride the whole way standing up. A small price to pay, and it doesn't do my ever expanding booty any harm either. I pop in my iPod, and jam out all the way home. I'm not complaining too hard.

Cause I'd have to be complaining pretty dang loud to be heard over the Johnny Come Latelies. "Why don't they run more trains. I can't believe it's so crowded. You know this is paid for by taxes. The city should do something. Look at all these people standing. Wah, wah, wah." You know what? I had a seat before you showed up.

Public transit in Dallas is far from perfect. But I can count on my fingers the number of times there's been a real problems in the nearly 8 years I've been riding. The trains are clean. They run pretty close to on time. Yeah, the service isn't as frequent as I'd like. And it would be nice if there were more lines going to different parts of the city. But until now, people haven't really seen the benefit of public transit. It was something for po' folk and greenies. Now people are seeing it's something else. It's a safety net for everybody in times like now, when it's hard to make ends meet, whether you're on your way to a job as a fry cook or a CFO. When it's tough all over, that inconvenient old train looks a lot less inconvenient. If gas prices go down, everybody can go back to their cars if they want to, like nothing ever happened.

But for now, I'm hoping they'll keep on complaining. Maybe a bunch of complaining people will get public transit in Dallas the attention and support it deserves. It would be nice to see the system expanded. You can't really have a great town without great public transportation. But it's a hard sell on the tax base when they don't see how they personally benefit. The silver lining in the current economic dark cloud could be that Dallas sees public transit as what it is - good for all of Dallas.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hulk not (box office) smash!!

I just don't get The Incredible Hulk movie. I just don't get it. Wasn't the first one a ginormous flop? Wasn't it just like 5 minutes ago? Was there a reason why they went back to this well?

Okay. I admit. I'm not the target audience. The Hulk was never one of my favorites. Big, dumb, inarticulate guy with anger issues? No tanks. Don't like them sitting next to me at the bar. Don't like them up on the big screen. And seriously. After the first few times you Hulk out, wouldn't you go get a valium prescription. You know. A little something to take the rage off?

But then they make a movie that's in all other ways realistic. Live action. Location shots. Big, green cartoon. You know, I try to get into it. I'm rolling along. Arm guys. Laboratories. Big, green cartoon. And I'm out of it again. And this time they get Edward Norton, a guy known for his methody/veritas/realistic type acting. [Seriously, what was Norton thinking? Does he have gambling debts or something?] And then undermine everything he does with this very, very unrealistic Hulk.

I know CGI is all big and fancy schmancy, but I think they're budget could have been better spent on some good prosthetics. Like Abe Sapien in Hell Boy. The creature work on him was awesome. I totally believed it. Hulk? Not so much. I would have actually been better if they'd taken an actor and put some green body paint and a black wig on him a la Lou Ferigno. Are they just fresh out of beefy dudes in Hollywood? Couldn't they have just greened up somebody like John Cena? (Hold on while I picture that one. Heh-heh-heh. Niiiiice.)

Needless to say, this one won't be tempting me. I don't care if it's got Tim Roth. I don't care if it's got the best script since Citizen Kane. I don't care if they're giving out free t-shirts, cold beer and a chair massage in the theater. Let me re-cap - big, green cartoon. And I am out.

Full Disclosure

I'd like to officially notify both Barak Obama and John McCain that, because of special considerations that I have received through my friendships with important and influential people, I don't believe that I could withstand the vetting process, and would like to remove myself from the running from all consideration as the Vice President of the United States. And due to the scrutiny that is so prevalent, I'd like to publicly reveal all of the perqs that I have received and face the world with a clean slate:
  1. In 2008, I received extra ice cream because the guy at the Iranian cafe thinks I'm cute
  2. In 2001, I was let in to a club for free because it was ladies night, and the bouncer did not require me to show proof that I was female (I offered)
  3. In 1999, I got a two for one drink special at Applebees after 7 pm because I'm a shameless over-tipper
  4. In 1992, I was given an A on an exam because I was the only one who showed up for class the Monday after Homecoming (Thanks, Prof. Murtha)
  5. In 1984, I received a free book from Scholastic for finishing my summer reading
  6. In 1980, I got double tickets from a skeeball machine at Chuck E. Cheese
  7. In 1977, I got extra ice cream at Baskin Robbins, because the counter lady thought I was cute

So there it is. To the Republican and Democratic parties, please call off your dogs. Allow my family and I to quietly retreat from the public arena, so that we can live in peace. Thank you.

But is it art?;_ylt=AlLHTAVPe1gWbl5c1D_8Gl1vzwcF

At first you might not think these two stories were related. The first one is a fairly interesting story about a guy who built a giant erector set skyscraper in New York. The other is about a guy on trial for obscenity in California.

But skim down the first story to the last paragraph. The man was shot in the arm as a piece of performance art. I'm not sure how I should emphasize that one. Should I italicize - shot in the arm - or put in quotations - "performance art". Tough call. The second one is about a guy who does fetish and gang rape porn films who's been caught in an FBI obscenity sting. He calls scat films "art". I know exactly where the quotes belong on that one. That's right. Both of these fine gentlemen consider themselves artists.

Has art really become so hard for most people to define that it could either be the Mona Lisa or Twyla Tharpe or self-mutilation or actual film of someone being brutalized? If the test case is "I know it when I see it", and the range has become this big, then some of us aren't real clear on the distinction.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Yankee Doodle Dandy

The picture is from a weekly e-mail I get from Tuesday Morning. I loves me some Tuesday Morning. It's a shopping experience that runs the gamut of emotions from the elation of "I can't believe the bargain!" to the terror of "Who the flying fish would want to buy that?" Some people on this planet really do scare me.

And I really just can't thank Tuesday enough for this sensational shopping opportunity. Nothing says "patriot" like slapping the stars and bars on an overgrown pool floaty with a tow rope. What could be more appropriate, or truly American, than flying around the lake on a giant rubber raft decked out in the red, white and blue (and safety yellow). I get teary-eyed just looking at it. It makes those giant banana rafts look almost tasteless.
Note to self: Get to Tuesday Morning first thing, before Super Dave Osborne buys them all up.

Oh. Nice.

Sometimes you have to look at a headline and wonder. I know that writing a catchy headline is tough. You want to grab your audience's attention. Suck them in. Make them want to read your story. That's the news biz.

But seriously, dude. Referring to her as "incest dungeon girl"? Not cool. Really insensitive. And that's the kind of name that sticks. Someday, after about a lot of therapy, she's going to have to live in the real world. Does she really want to be standing at the drugstore counter, when somebody says, "Oh, my god! You're the Incest Dungeon Girl!"?

Names are powerful. You put stuff out in the Universe, and you have no control over what happens. You have to be really careful when you say stuff. Especially when it will be out there on the Internet. Call her father (or grandfather, ugh) the "Dungeon Freak". Let him wear that tag. But his victims should be treated with more care.

What a character

Thought I'd pass this along in case you missed it. NPR is running a continuing series called "In Character". They're doing these "mini-bios" about influential characters in movies, TV, plays, books and other media. And they're not all what you'd automatically think. Some of the characters have a literary snob factor (Hester Prynne from the Scarlet Letter and Captain Ahab from Moby Dick). But there are also pieces on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hannibal Lecter, Fred Sanford and Barbie. I can particularly recommend the ones on Eric Cartman (an absolute scream), Indiana Jones, Long Duk Dong and Cookie Monster. I'm very excited because I just saw they've added. . . wait for it. . . Mr. Spock!! Yes!

Each one was picked by an NPR correspondent. And they do a short profile on the character. Some talking about the way the character has been influential in society (George Jefferson), or represents a certain kind of person (Willy Loman), or means something to them personally (Buffy). I think the goal is for them to do 50 characters. Some of them you can read directly off the blog and some can be listened to as they were broadcast on NPR. They're also available for download on iTunes. They last anywhere from 5-15 minutes, and make great listening on a road trip. My sister and I had a blast listening to some of the broadcasts on the way up to Arkansas. If you look through the list, you're almost sure to find one of your own favorites.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I blame Samantha;_ylt=AlJSO69Fpowo_riXpxfaD5TVJRIF

See what sex in the city gets ya?

Sweet Tomato

Tomatoes. Latest in a long line of things that should be healthy, that should be anxiety free, that should taste like health and vitality, that you shouldn't have a second's thought about putting in your body, but could make you violently ill. Last night I was cutting up some fresh strawberries for dessert. I stopped in mid-cut, and wondered if I should go onto Yahoo!News to see if there's been a recall on strawberries. You know, just so I don't give my guests food poisoning.

Every time one of these things happens, the ROI on one of those little home hydroponics machines looks more and more attractive. Sure, you've grown yourself a $20 tomato. But it won't kill you.

Not buying it.

Profanity alert: Please note, if you are offended by profanity, please pass this entry by. Thanks.

I don't get having sympathy for Roman Polanski. I just don't. People seem to have this feeling that bye-gones should be bye-gones. Let him come back to the US. He's a genius. Yada-yada. Not to put too fine a point on it, but . . . bullshit.

Polanski was convicted of "unlawful intercourse with a minor". Which makes it sound like maybe he seduced a 17-year old. Not quite. Let's keep in mind, what he was convicted of was a plea bargain. One that wouldn't have a shot in hell of being made today. The facts of the case are that he used champagne laced with Quaalude to drug a 13-year old girl who he had lured to the home of one of his friends, and who repeatedly said "no" to his advances, and had sex with her. Keeping in mind that a 13-year old shouldn't have to say "no". A thirteen-year old shouldn't be asked by a man in his forties in the first place. If this happened on one of the Christ Matthew's Internet traps they show on Dateline, we'd want to nail his ass to the wall for just having shown up at her house with booze and drugs. We'd all think he was a dirty little perv just for showing intent. Let alone actually having had sex with a child.

But somehow, he's suffered enough because he's been "exiled" for 30 years. Exiled. In France. Somehow 64 million French people don't seem to think of living in France as a punishment. He hasn't exactly been imprisoned in the Chateau d'If. He's got the run of the country. And the fact that he's never done anything like it again seems to be taken as a mitigating factor. Oh, really? Could the fact that the entire world is now watching him perhaps be the reason he hasn't raped another child? If most pedophiles were under that much scrutiny, they wouldn't offend again either.

The bottom line is - I don't feel sorry for sex offenders who have escaped justice. I've seen no evidence of penance. I've seen no signs of remorse. The arrogant little asshole actually seems to think he's the victim. So, unfortunately, even his own conscience won't be a sufficient prison. If all we can do is keep him from coming to the United States to accept awards, then we should do it. The sting to his wounded pride may be the only real punishment he ever suffers.

Yes, we can!

Can you hear it? That's the sound of me. Rockin'. Oh, yeah baby, cause I do. Rock.

So, the electrician who installed my fans wanted a small fortune to install the light fixtures. I was willing to pay him what I consider a king's ransom to put up the fans because they needed to have those reinforcement thingies to hold the weight. The possibility of a 30-pound fan falling on me while I'm in bed asleep was not an idea I was thrilled with. So I was more than willing to dig deep to pay a professional. But when my Pops got a look at what they wanted to charge to put in 4 light fixtures, he said, "Nah. We can do that ourselves." We can? Cool.

And it turns out that not just we can do it, I can do it. I watched Dad do the first one, then I did the other 3 myself. With appropriate adult supervision. I stripped wires. I twisted things. I grounded things. I used those little turny/locky things for the wires. I didn't flinch when Dad yelled "White to white!!" Yeah, yeah, yeah. It only took us about 3 hours. It would have been shorter if I hadn't stopped to admire my handiwork each time. And to do the Boo-Yah! dance each time. You just can't rush good choreography.

The only one left to do is the one in the stairwell. Which will require a big ladder. I think it's about 8 feet. No problem. Because, as it turns out, I'm a bit of a daredevil. I had Mom & Dad over to thank them for helping out with the installations last week. And a few more people over for dessert. Where my Mom proceeds to work the crowd with stories about my toddler years, where, evidently, I enjoyed climbing to the top of 6-foot chain link fences and on top of refrigerators. So, proportionally speaking, considering that I've grown a bit since I was a squid scaling tall furniture in a single bound, an 8-foot ladder should be a piece of cake. And what was the other reason? Hmm. . . Oh, yeah! I rock!

TIME: Quotes of the Day