Friday, August 15, 2008

Bad Word

I'm going to talk about something that, yet again, doesn't really reflect well on me. At this point, you are thinking, "Woman, is there anything that you do that shows you in a good light?" To which my reply would be "Modesty prevents me . . ." blush, blush. Of course this has the lopsided effect of making me look like a giant asshole on the Internet. I swear I'm only an intermittent asshole in the real world. But I've been thinking about this a lot, so what the hell? And in fact I have sat on this post for a couple of weeks. But with Tropic Thunder coming out and the protests, it seems as good a time as any to go there:

It's the word "retard". In all it's forms. I shouldn't use the word. But I do. Frequently. I went through "Free to Be You and Me" in elementary school. I went through the "Sensitivity Awareness Symposium" in high school. I've been to corporate sensitivity training. I know better. A lot better. I still do it. It's like the uptight, white people's "N" word. But it's just soooo satisfying to say. Are you a retard? That's retarded. Quit being a 'tard. Retard. See? It just slips out. I call people I know and love retarded. I called the guy in the Jag who nearly ran me down like a dog in the streets of Dallas a retard. I think our national policy on sex education in schools is retarded.

But here's the thing. I don't know anyone who's retarded. I know people who are mentally challenged, differently-abled, learning disabled, autistic, ADD, dyslexic and even just a little slow. I wouldn't call any of those people retarded. Because they aren't. Retards have gone the way of the dodo and the dinosaur. They just don't exist any more. We've done such a good job of redefining all the categories that used to be under the broad label of "retarded", become so sensitive to those differences, that I'm not even sure if there's much of an association left there at all.

But the word is definitely still there. It's like "stupid" with stank on it. And I think some people who work with the "mentally challenged" or have a family member who is, still really, really hate that word. I can understand that. And I'm really careful about who I say it in front of. But I know I'm not the only one who uses it. And I'm not sure I'd want to just give it up. I say a lot of words that offend people. Profanity is my second language.

I should give it up. I should. But it's like the smoker who knows it's just going to kill him and keeps on puffing. It's like the black man who knows that the "n" word is destructive, and busts it out anyway. Nobody wants to give up the bad thing that they do. It's my bad thing. And I kind of love it. I can rationalize it six ways from Sunday. I should give it up. A good person would. But will I? I don't know.

Aaaaaaggghhhh! Bigfoot!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

That ain't no bull*

Okay, in spite of having had to touch an armadillo - shudder - I can say definitively one good thing came out of my participating in the Bubba Olympics yesterday. Now whenever my right hip aches, I can refer to it as an old bullriding injury.

* With a tip of the hat to good ol' Tex Earnhardt.

Built for Speedos

I can't say so far that I've given a rat's about the Olympics so far. It's been a "Oh, really? That's nice" reaction more than a "Whoa! Cool!"

But I do have to say that I'm weirdly fascinated with Michael Phelp's body. Usually, I'm fond of a long pair of legs on a fella. But he's got some stumpy pins. At least in comparison to his torso. What the hell is going on there? It looks like he was built by alien rocket engineers. Those bla-dow shoulders tapering down to the sleekest six-pack on the planet. And because of the low-rise Speedos the boys are wearing this year, you can see just how far down that definition goes. And speaking of alien technology, how are they getting those suits to stay on? The amount of tensile strength it must take that mighty stretch of Lycra to hold on to his nearly non-existant hips is practically heroic. Yeah, tell me I'm alone in staring at that waistband and wondering.

Michael Phelp's body is so developed I can't even say for sure that I find it attractive. His musculature is so far removed from anyone that I've ever met, I'm not even positive we're of the same species. But he sure as hell is fascinating.


There are things that I'm obsessed with. And I tend to end up a lot of them. Mainly because I think that there is the "perfect one" out there. I have a lot of trouble making the distinction between "need" and "want" on my obsessions. Perhaps this one will be the one that fulfills all my dreams. That and I'm fickle.

Coats. I have a major coat obsession. Possibly because I hate cold. The work week jacket. The weekend casual jacket. The weekend dressy jacket. The heavy winter coat. The dressy heavy winter coat. The all-purpose, rain or shine, monsoon proof, yet not too bulky or too tight travel jacket. You get the picture. I have a leather biker jacket. And the almost exact same thing in pleather. Because some occasions are authentic leather. And some are ironic pleather. And one shouldn't weather leather to a pleather occasion. Obviously.

Sunglasses are on the obessessed short list. Hope springs eternal when it comes to shopping for the perfect pair of sunglasses. Shoes are on the list too. Will this be the shoe that goes with everything, yet doesn't pinch my toes or make my plantar fascitis worse? And purses. Don't get me started on purses. Purses are the work of the devil. Why did I think I needed a giant green leather tote bag? Not a subtle green. Very, very kelly green. Oh, yeah. That goes with everything. It mocks me from my closet shelf. Once, I had the perfect bag. And because it was quite perfect, I carried it all the time. So I completely wore it out. I shall never be that happy again.

Maybe be someday I'll get obssessed with collecting something useful. Like first edition books. Or krugerrands.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I wanna be a cowgirl

This might surprise you - wear a western style shirt, complete with pearl buttons and silver embroidered wagon wheels in downtown Dallas in the middle of a work week, and people look at you. It's like they can't help themselves. They just go a little bug-eyed. Pretty hilarious. And honestly, I couldn't tell if it was "What is that woman wearing?" or "Damn! Is there a rodeo and nobody told me?" Texas. It could go either way.

But it's just goes to show how homogenized Dallas is getting. Once upon a time, a cowboy shirt would have been at least considered snappy dressing (ha ha), if not comme il faut. About the only people you see wearing western shirts in downtown Big D are greasy alterna-rock-country singers any more. And most of them get by wearing a trucker hat and a faux vintage beer shirt from Urban Outfitters. Oh, you can still see real western wear, but it tends to be outside the city limits. Most people are too self-conscious to strut the pearl buttons where somebody they work with might see them.

Not me. If I'm invited to a cowboy barbecue and Bubba Olympics (no, I'm not exaggerating there), I will come dressed appropriately. My Mama raised me right. I can also be appropriately attired for a luau, Fat Tuesday fete, white trash bash or Chinese New Year. And can come up with something for just about any themed occasion on very short notice. I believe firmly in getting into the spirit of things. It helps that I'm virtually unembarassable.

So, me and my too cute shirt are off to eat some barbecue and shoot some cans (evidently this is what one does at a Bubba Olympics). Yeehaw, baby.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nobody every tells me anything

First off: Do not be alarmed. Everything is fine. This is post hoc blogging. I repeat, everything is fine. Or will be.

Anyway. My Mom calls me. She has that tone in her voice. Something is up. As in something like bad. Not something like "We won a car!" My Mom goes to zero on the phone when something is wrong. Quiet. Uber calm. No fluff. It's just straight on. So, Dad is in the hospital. It was planned. He didn't want anyone to know. He's not doing quite as well as they wanted.


It's something he needed taken care of for awhile. But, being a man, he put it off to the last possible minute. And he was having more bleeding than he should. And his blood pressure was in the crapper. They had told my parents that he would be in for one to five days. It was looking like it might be five.

My folks do this to me and my sibs all the time. My great-grandfather was dead for almost 6 months before I found out. For years, I thought I had a vision conversion problem as a child. Turns out it was really my brother who had the problem. They just made me do the exercises so he would too. I didn't find that out until last year. I keep expecting some day that I'm going to say, "Geez, my lower back itches." And my Mom will say, "Oh, that's just where they removed your tail when you were a baby. The doctors took care of it. You never knew. It was fine."

Seriously, I don't think we're rich enough to be considered WASPs. But in the denial/repression department, we've got a very WASPy thing going on. It's like the longer they can get away without telling me stuff the easier it will be when I find out. It's not like they lie, per se. They just kind of delay notification. And for some of it, I don't know, maybe they're right. I just get this really bizarre sense of "Whoa. Shit. What the hell?" And I don't think I'm terrible to tell bad news too. I try not to fall apart, be strong, handle myself. But for some reason, this was a pattern they started long ago, and haven't felt it necessary to change even though I'm an adult. Or so I hear.

Anyway, Dad's doing much better. He's lucid. His blood pressure's going back to normal. And, as requested, I will save my visit until he's back home. Unless they've got a full house since the older brother who was stolen by the Gypsys and is now Prime Minister of Canada has decided to drop in for a visit.

Obviously the Chinese Olympic Committee doesn't watch TMC

The Chinese once again prove that those who don't know their Hollywood musical classics are doomed to repeat them. As two little girls are forced to re-enact Singing in the Rain. I feel moderate sympathy for the pretty one. And she will probably be know forevermore as just that - "the Pretty One." Of course the subtext is the pretty yet talentless Milli Vanilli hack. But she is indeed a pretty child, and the pretty tend to land on their feet. And she may not be able to really sing, but hell that's what post-production is for.

I do feel a lot more concern for the kid who, by implication, is the ugly one. Though she's not. She's a kid. With a kid's face. Bless her, I think she's cute as a bug. And a nice set of pipes on her. But how do you deal with the fact that basically emissaries of your entire country deemed you not aesthetically pleasing enough to represent the Chinese people to the world? That's just effed up. Just makes my heart hurt. I hope she's got good parents who will help her put it all in perspective. It's the world that's messed up, not you, honey. You just keep singing, and don't pay any attention to the jackasses, and you'll be just fine.

But, if it's any comfort, in this particular re-enactment of musical magic, you get to be Debbie Reynolds. You stay true to your heart, and you'll get to walk off into the sunset with Gene Kelly. And if he's not Donald O'Connor (my personal preference), Gene ain't too shabby. And you'll have a wonderful long career, and be China's sweetheart, and in 2079 do a fantastic guest shot on the remake of Will and Grace. That's a lot to look forward too.

PS - If you run into a Chinese version of Eddie Fisher someday, just say "no". Save yourself the heartache!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Shutchyo mouth

Isaac Hayes brought so much joy to the world. First in music, singer, songwriter and producer. With his raw stage presence he influenced generations of performers. R. Kelly only wishes he was Isaac Hayes. And Kanye cries a little every night that he Isaac Hayes got to the title Black Moses first. Then his incomparable voice work as Chef on South Park.

But as a final gift of entertainment, we got to experience newscasters around the country intoning in their somber obituary voices (accompanied by the head slightly tilted to the right, eyebrows just a little pinched, tiny sympathetic nod), "a musician known throughout the world, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and an Oscar winner for his "Theme from Shaft"." Daaaaamn right.

TIME: Quotes of the Day