Friday, January 16, 2009

Thought of the Day

Superman was an illegal alien.


Okay, well, poo.

I had planned to put out my anti-litter campaign today. But accepting the sage advice of others, I'm going out this weekend to buy real graphic design software to create my logo. After much research and bugging more knowledgable people, I've decided I can get buy with something rudimentary, but do need something that is actually designed for this purpose. Not just me dinking around with my PowerPoint program if I want results that don't look like they're smeared in Vaseline, and can be used by a variety of sources.


Okay, I'm ready to soldier on. I eat adversity for breakfast. It's the fuel of greatness. Okay, not really. I'd much prefer that this be easy. But I'm trying not to be a big old wuss-burger.

So I'm off to the Fry's tonight to buy some kind of software. Maybe I can find something that says "For ages 6 to 12" on the box. That's about my speed. I'm hoping that I'll have time over the weekend to learn the basics and have something cranked out my Tuesday. Because what I want to do really is major basic. Simple is my forte.

A Teachable Moment
This story reminded me of one of my most embarassing moments. When I was a teenager, I went on a class trip to the National Gallery of Art. Not sure what the class was. But I remember the assignment was to find 3 pieces of art that spoke to you, and write a paragraph about each.

The thing about the National Gallery (which is one of my favorite places on this planet) is that it isn't so much about finding 3 pieces of art that speak to you, it's about narrowing it down to 3 pieces. We had the run of both wings so there was art from the Middle Ages to contemporary pieces. From The White Girl to Calder mobiles

A friend and I both were attracted to one painting. A field dusted with snow. The only real features were two fence posts. Anything to do with ice or snow usually sends me running. But there was something about the simplicity of the painting that drew me in. The friend and I were standing of the picture. I looked down at the brass nameplate on the frame. All the sudden, I put the name Wyeth together with the Christina's World painting, and the Helga paintings that had just come out. Nudes. Oh, my.

Well, it was all a little too much for my teenage brain. I got excited and poked the frame next to the nameplate with the eraser end of my pencil. Instantly, one of the many navy-blazered guards came over and calmly took the pencil out of my hand. He must have been watching the chattery teenagers for just this sort of foolishness. He was an older gentleman. He gave me one of those little "no, no, no" shakes of his head. I felt about this big. And, of course, teenagers don't deal with embarassment well. So I got all indignant and huffed off, "It's not like I was going to hurt the painting. I only touched the frame." It was a teachable moment. I just wasn't very teachable at that particular moment.

I'm actually more embarassed now for the huffiness than for being flighty enough to jab at a master work with a pencil (though really, that too). He was doing his job. I made a mistake. And I should have been gracious about being corrected. Ya live. Ya learn. And I keep that little incident in my head. I may be older. But I'm still me. I'm bound to do something foolish in public again. Next time I hope I'm a bigger person when I get the pencil taken from my hand.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why should Oscar have all the fun?

Well, with all the awards season hoopla, I’m going to throw out my best picture of 2008. For me, it had to be Wall-E. Yeah, no lead up. No drama. That’s just it.

It had everything. A message about being a good person . . .er, robot. About taking care of the earth. It was straight talk about how we could really screw this up if we aren’t careful. It was dystopian scifi. And hopeful scifi. It was slapstick and action pic. It was just plain beautiful to look at. And it was the most romantic movie of the year.

Yup. That’s right. Romantic. He’s not perfect. He’s short, with a dead-end job and a cockroach for a best friend. She’s got some issues too. She’s a little cold and obsessed with her job, and she vaporizes things with her finger. But, in spite of it all, they see the good in each other. They risk their lives for each other. They will do anything to help the other do the right thing. And they live happily ever after. Sigh. Grand. That’s romantic.

Plus, he’s a straight guy who digs musical theater. What ain’t to love about that? (Okay. I admit that’s stereotyping. But, you know.)

There wasn’t another movie last year that got me the way this one did. In an era when people are thinking about things like change, hope and the future, Wall-E was the right movie at the right time.

A very, VERY short play

Scene: A small, dark room. One man stands in the center

A second man enters, rushes to the first man and grabs him by the collar.

SECOND MAN: You sold me out, asshole! I know it was you.

FIRST MAN: (Struggles away) No! No! It wasn’t me!

SM: You were the only one who knew. I didn’t give that information to anyone else.

FM: I swear, I didn’t give it to anyone else. You gotta believe me!

SM: Then how did they find me? You sold me to the highest bidder, you mercenary bastard!

FM: I wouldn’t. I couldn’t! That identity was secure.

SM: (Attacks FM and throws him to the ground) Then why’s my Inbox full of ads for Viagra? I told you – never, never give out my e-mail address!

Now you're cookin'

I've kind of started to wonder if one of the contributing factors for in people's lack of healthy diets isn't related to the death of home economics courses in school. Once upon a time, Home Ec was where a girl learned to make nutritious meals for her future husband and 2.5 kids. Then feminism came along, and girls were supposed to worry about supporting themselves, and getting out of the kitchen, and it was almost anti-feminist to know how to cook. If you don't know which end is the business bit of a stove, nobody can stick you in the kitchen and expect you to use one. It was almost self-defense.

But in the end? You still gotta eat. And whether you're a man or a woman, married or single, parent or not, the food's gotta come from somewhere. And if you don't know how to cook, you abdicate your responsiblity for your own body to whatever food purveyor will hand it to you. You don't know what's in there. You don't know how it will effect your body. And if you're in a restaurant, you probably don't know how many calories are on that plate. Plus, you are bound to whatever sort of food you can afford. And if all you can afford is cheap, I can guarantee it's not going to be very healthy.

And no. Nobody has time any more. But that doesn't rule out cooking. There are many healthy and nutritious meals that don't cost much, and can be done in a crockpot. And may actually take less time than it does to hit the Mickey D's. And if you cook enough for 2 meals, you slap half in the freezer for a double quick meal next week.

All things that I learned in Home Ec. Because I was in the border land where they opened up where you had a choice between Home Ec and shop, and there might be a boy in your Home Ec class. I think the boy that was in our class took it to meet chicks. Smart kid. Anyway, I was militant enough to not like the idea of Home Ec, but worried enough about not ending up being nicknamed "Stumpy" not to take shop. And in Home Ec I learned how to freeze a lasagna, and that when you're on a budget, beans and rice are your friends. But a lot of women my age and younger never learned how to cook. And a lot of them rely on boxed meals, frozen entrees and take-out. And some even seem to think there's something menial about knowing how to whip together a simple meal. And a lot of guys are even worse off.

Eventually we're going to have to get over cooking being "women's work", and realize that it's just a life skill. And it's just as important as knowing how to add and write a simple sentence. And has more to do with a person's health than if they participate in a sport. And is just as much a cultural activity as playing an instrument. And may play a bigger part in our nations recovery from the health crisis than any other single thing we do.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Worse than a being a boy named Sue

I'm waiting for CNN to post a story I can link to. I'll update this when it shows. But, long story short - Child Protective Services in New Jersey have taken custody of the little kids named after Nazis icons (Hitler, Himmler, etc.). [Okay, CNN never posted anything usable, but here's and ABC link:]

I cannot believe that NJ is putting me in the position that I have to defend this douche bag. There is no law against naming your kid a really, really, blindingly stupid name. Don't get me wrong - I feel for these kids. There daddy is a doink. This is not the parent any kid would pick out of the Montgomery Ward catalog. He makes bad decisions. But sometimes life sucks. Sucks bad enough that you get stuck named Adolf Hitler. I wish I could go to these kids' school and teach their little classmates to be kind to little Aryan Nation and her siblings. It's not her fault.

But that's one of the catches of living with freedom. Sometimes it requires us to be kind to people whose parents have handed them the fuzzy end of the free speech lollipop. Sometimes it requires us to take the high road when people stand at the edge of the civil liberties and spit. Sometimes being a good American requires being the better person.

Catching that great plane to the Fantasy Island in the sky,8599,1871756,00.html

Honestly, my first reaction to this story was - "Again?"

I could have sworn he died 3 or 4 years ago.

The 'Berg that took this Titanic down

Okay, this is my latest obsession - iceberg lettuce.

I know, what's to be obsessed about? It's basically just crunchy water. But that's it really. It's crunchy water!

Awhile back a friend (and I'll resist putting in sarcastic quotes around that word, because a real friend would have kept this a deep/dark secret from me that she would have taken to the grave) introduced me to the lettuce wedge at a local restaurant. It's the classic, old school wedge of iceberg lettuce, lovingly draped with bleu cheese and whored up with some crumbled bacon. I understand it was a favorite of ladies who lunch in the 50s and 60s. Basically, it was like falling in love at first sight with a guy who was not my type. Iceberg lettuce is so whatever. I don't really like bleu cheese all that much. But the bacon wasn't exactly a deal breaker. And that first taste was a wrong that was soooo right. Oh, yummm, baby.

But I knew he was bad for me. Bleu cheese is a minion of Satan, fer sure. And I just tried to forget about it. But who doesn't love the bad boy? And about 3 months ago, I just gave in.

Now I'm buying a head of lettuce a week. I don't even want to think about the jars of salad dressing. And salad dressing! I don't even like it that much on a regular salad. But slide a blob onto a chunk of iceberg and I roll over like a $4 ho. It's become my go-to dinner, replacing the bag of popcorn as the quick and dirty meal option. A whack with a big knife, and a glob of dressing on the side - it's dinner time! I don't even need the bacon crumble any more. I've slid that far. And bleu cheese, chili ranch, peppercorn Caesar - the kind of dressing doesn't even matter any more. Last night, I even bought Roquefort. I'm on the hard stuff. And really, the lettuce is just a crunchy delivery system. I'm hooked, man. It's bad. I need a support group.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It ain't salmon they're smoking

Personally, I don't partake in herbal refreshment. It would stunt my growth. But I understand that there are people who do indulge for "medicinal" purposes. And, in this case, I'll have to make an exception. Whatever the people at PETA are smoking, they need to pass that sh** on around. Cause it is evidently primo.

Sea kittens? This is like the idea that your friends who've been up at 4 in the morning (to use the HIMYM euphemism) "eating sandwiches" call you up to tell you this brilliant idea they came up with.

And to PETA I say the same thing I would tell to the people calling me at the asscrack of dawn to tell me that they're going to solve global warming by getting everybody on the planet to chew Mentos with their mouth open - put it down. You've had enough.


It's not going to rain in Texas. I look up the weather forecast and it's sunny as far as the eye can see. Sun, sun, sun. Look out, Texas. You may be in for the greatest drought in recorded history. Dustbowl? Nothing. The plants will suffer. The lawns will dry up and die. Say goodbye to lakes, rivers and streams. Parched. Parched, I tell you!

You know how I know it may never rain here again?

I bought galoshes.

The litter campaign - continued

Well, I've been thinking about it. I need to start smaller than a statewide campaign. I need to start grassroots. Small. Viral. Uhm, cheap. What I really need to do is figure out how this is done on the small scale before I start trying to wrangle an entire state. I don't have the resources, financial or mental, to do anything huge. I need to work up to the big fight.

So, I'm going to start campaigning directly to the people I understand. Moderate to severe hippie-freaks. Malcontents, with a sense of humor. People who aren't really "joiners" but like to contribute. People who do things because they like doing the right thing, not because somebody "said so". People who are basically lazy, but will get off their butts for a good cause. My people.

I have my idea (more later, I'm being a little bit of a secret squirrel about it right now - I don't know why), and I'll have the big premiere once I've got things figured out. I'm suffering from major delusions of grandeur right now, which I'm fighting valiantly to keep under control. But I hope it will work, even in a small way. I've got to figure out how to create a logo and how to get some bumper stickers or buttons or something. Maybe even t-shirts. Whoa! Settle down there, cowgirl.

But all my little wheels are turning. It's kind of a gas. So keep your ears open. I'll be back atcha soon!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Some times bad movies are the best movies

So I finally got around to watching In the Name of the King. I busted on it a little back when it came out for featuring Burt Reynolds as the king in a sword and sorcerer flick. That's right. Stoker Ace referred to as "Your Majesty". Why of course. It's practically type-casting. I finally decided to check it out on DVD when it hit on 4 "Worst of 2008" lists. I mean, how could I not?
It's in that realm of films that can be referred to as the "Jason Statham Kicks Somebody's Ass" oeuvre. And this one could have been titled Jason Statham Goes Medieval on Somebody's Ass. Or approximately. The whole thing was that kind of vaguely European Middle Ages/Dungeons and Dragons setting, where our hero swings a broadsword and a boomerang. Uh-huh. I counted swords from five separate eras, armor from 2 continents and costumes that looked like they were picked up at Peter Jackson's garage sale. And, speaking of Lord of the Rings, the bad guys looked like creatures that were so hokey looking they couldn't even be used in Orc crowd scenes.

And that pretty much sums up the entire movie. Logic? Out the window. The plot seemed to be dreamed up by two 8-year old boys who kept saying "And then you know what would be cool? - Amazons! And ninjas!" I was lauging my patootie off. And really, that's the pure joy of a movie this bad. It can't get worse. And then it does! Like Ray Liotta looking like Liberace's evil twin in a rhinestone encrusted shawl collar chewing scenery like he's got a bad case of pica. Or Ron Perlman spouting fortune cookie wisdom. Or Matthew Lillard* playing bug nuts. No actually. That makes sense. Matthew Lillard excels at playing bug nuts. But then you get to where you have Burt Reynolds playing the king in a movie that has John Rhys-Davies - who looks like a king, sounds like a king and acts like a king. But isn't the king. Which, in it's own way, makes sense too. Because if he played the king, then he couldn't get stuck with all the exposition - "You remember, sire, years ago, you had a son who died when . . ." And of course, you need tons of exposition because the plot skips these giant things that you really need to know for anything to make sense, and then you need somebody to fill you in because you're saying "What the fruitcake is going on?" Because why make sense when you could be watching Jason Statham kick somebody's ass?

Anyway, you will be seeing this movie on the $5 rack at your local Target someday soon. And it's just about worth that for the laughs that you can get watching this movie go on the koo-koo death spiral of all time. Use the money you would have spent on a good movie to buy a jug of Gallo, and turn it into a drinking game. Every time something whackadoodle happens, you take a drink. Make that two jugs of Gallo.

* Yes, all these people and more names you'd recognize were in this train wreck. I'm kind of thinking that Uwe Bolle is either a very persuasive son-of-a-gun, or has a dozen private investigators on retainer who do nothing but dig up dirt on movie stars so that they can be blackmailed into being in the next Uwe Bolle production. Except for Ron Perlman. That dude will act in anything.

TIME: Quotes of the Day