Friday, April 17, 2009

Shall I pour?

Well, last night was the annual Heart Association Cotes du Coeur pre-party that I volunteer at. It’s always an experience. The Cliff Notes version of the party is that it’s an event for the sponsors and big dollar donors, where they get to sample a special flight of wines and meet the winemakers who are featured at the event. Lots of cardiologists, wine aficionados and local bigwigs. And it’s always a hoot to watch rich people get their crunk on.

I didn’t actually get an invitation this year to be a pourer. Possibly because they had a change in staff at the Heart association, and their list of volunteers got lost. Or possibly because I had been blacklisted. I’ve been known to tell the winemakers that “I’m really a beer girl” or “I like plonk”. What can I do? They back me into a corner. The have the brazen effrontery to ask "So what wines do you like?" Really. The nerve. And I don’t have to like wine to put it into a glass. Plus, I can reel off the patter with the best of them about “a rich flavor with hints of chocolate, blackberry and cassis, and a top note of hickory”. (Which to me could also describe barbecue sauce, but whatevs.) But despite my beer ravaged palate, BomB (Buddy of my Blog) Mo snuck me in anyway. And a good thing too. She was in imminent danger of needing to be rescued from a South American lech. But that’s her story, and I’ll let her tell it if she chooses.

But I always feel like I’ve had a glimpse of what it would be like to be a Victorian maid when I work one of these things. Very upstairs/downstairs. I try to be anonymous and unobtrusive. Smile vaguely, avoid direct eye contact, fill the glass, nod humbly. Some of the guests act like you’re a fancy corkscrew with a serving arm attachment. Others act like you’re another guest who just picked up a bottle to help out the hostess, and start to chat. I actually find it easier to be a wizbang bottle opener than to make with the chit-chat. Add rich people to the list of things that freak me out. I’m sure they’re simply lovely people. But really. NOKD.

A good lesson

Here's the other side of the "Crimes and Compassion" coin. If it's hard to know what to do with a John Demjanjuk, it is easy to know what to do for an Irena Sendler.

I'm going to go ahead and recommend watching the Hallmark Hall of Fame about her on Sunday, "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler" (9-11 Eastern, on CBS). I don't know if it's any good. But it's a story that I wish more people knew, and almost any way the story is told is for the good. It's the story of the people in Poland who, at great personal risk, worked to save thousands of Jewish children from the ghettos and transportation, and the fate that people like John Demjanjuk would have had in store for them.

I don't really know what justice for a guard at Sobibor would be. But it's easy to say what to do in response to a woman like Irena Sendler: if you are called upon, go and do likewise.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Things with wings

Okay, all the sudden birds start to freak me out.

Occasionally, something that has never bothered me before all the sudden will seem weird. Like I went through this cherub phase when I was just out of college. It was during that whole Cherub Romance poster fad. Everybody had one. Some people went overboard. I won’t name names, but the person who had an entire cherub bathroom complete with toilet cover and cherub wallpaper border knows who she is. I admit, I had the poster. Prominently displayed in my entryway. One day, I walked in, and bang. It hit me. That’s really creepy. I had to throw away the poster. And then it was like all cherubs creeped me out. Like willies and chills creeped out. And then it was all angel stuff. I just don’t like it.

Now, it’s birds. One day I looked at them and thought “They don’t have arms.” Which of course they do. Adapted arms. But with their wings back they just look all amputated. Creepy. Then I wondered what they would look like with arms. Ohdeargod. Now I can’t stop thinking about birds with arms. Now everything about them weirds me out. Their little beady eyes. Their pointy beaks. Those lizardy feet. They way they kind of hop around. Oh, now I’m just all creeped out

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tool Time

Well, just in time, my new powder room faucet arrived.

Isn't it cute? I saw the cross handles, and who could resist? I think I've picked out the light fixture too. I just need to run to the Depot, and take a second look. And I've ordered the kitchen faucet, so it should be here on Friday. Which will just leave a mirror for the PR and a garbage disposal for the kitchen. My mom has warned me to buy some sort of high horsepower disposal, just in case somebody decides to shove a whole chicken down the drain. Not sure why this is important, but Mummy assures me it is.

Just in time because, Contractor Steve arrives on Friday. First off is getting rid of the (ugh) mold and squishy dry wall. I have done everything I can not to look in that bathroom. Just ooks me out no end. I just try to keep the door shut and imagine my rockin' new water closet when it's done.

Frankly, due to my ongoing cable TV saga (don't ask, puce smoke starts shooting from my ears if I talk about it), I'm already sick of having people tromping in and out of my house. No matter how nice service are, it's in the door/out the door/in the door/out the door. I refuse to clean the entry tile until it's all done. Though, I am glad to say that the porch fence is finally done, and may the lord have mercy on their souls for the mess they made. I will reluctantly admit that the result does look nice.

But that's the thing. It will all look nice in the end. It will all be worth it. Dammit. It better all be worth it.

Crime and Compassion

It’s a weird coincidence that the Phil Spector and John Demjanjuk cases have come to a head at almost the same time. They both really challenge me on what it means to be compassionate and how far the bonds of sympathy should go. Though in slightly different ways.

I think Spector really did kill Lana Clarkson. I also think he’s a nut. A very damaged little human being, who despite the financial resources available to him, never got adequate help. But how do you punish a guy who’s sane enough to maintain a successful career, but not sane enough to resist the temptations caused by uncontrolled paranoia and a gun obsession. And that’s my question: Did he not get help because of the paranoia? Or was he aware of his issues and chose not to get help out of arrogance? I don’t know; maybe that’s even the same thing. Regardless, he is old, tiny and whacko. Not a good recipe for a prisoner. His victim deserves justice. I’m just not sure what that would be.

Then there’s John Demjanjuk. There’s reasonable evidence that he was the most dreaded guard at one of the worst death camp in Nazis occupied Poland. But he’s had an entire life, away from Poland, and away from Sobibor. Maybe he changed in that time. Lived a normal life as a good husband and father. But obviously he didn’t change enough to become an actually good man. A good man would have stepped forward to say “This is what I’ve done. I’m ready for judgment.” He hid. And when he could no longer hide, he tried to avoid prosecution. So maybe he’s not pure evil any more. He’s just the banal form of evil. No longer committing atrocities. Just placidly living with his guilt. For decades, until he’s old and sick. A full, uneventful life that his victims did not get a chance to have. And now he’s asking for mercy. Part of me thinks that he should be hauled into court, on a stretcher, trailing his IV bags, in order to make him face the totality of his sins. It’s what he deserves. And what the people he murdered deserve. But there is still a part of me that wants to honor the decencies of humanity that he ignored. If we have to behave like monsters in order to punish a monster, aren’t we letting evil win? But, if we don’t, and we let him get away with it, all of it, and how much more can we ask those who suffered so much to bear?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's all the hullaballoo for?

I’m not watching American Idol this year. Not even out of the corner of my eye. But I am kind of curious about all the flap there is that one of the contestants may be gay this year (yeah, this year). Is it possible for America to elect a gay Idol? I love a good flap. More than the next person. But seriously, why on earth is this even a question?

American Idol is about pop. And in pop, butch fails, soft prevails. If you’re a macho man, go sing metal, because candy ain’t gonna love ya. Let’s face it, nobody wants to hear Jason Statham sing Puppy Love (actually I would pay good money to see that, but I’m probably not your average consumer). Soft, sweet, non-threatening, that’s what gets the little girls (and some of the boys) to open up their Hello Kitty wallets. If a guy looks rough and ready, he’s going to be a hard sell to the screaming teeny-boppers and teeny-boppers at heart. [Okay, you say Tom Jones sings pop. Granted. But he’s a sex machine, and an exception that proves the rule. Conversely, there's Morrissey: gay but not soft, and, guess what, he doesn't sing pop.]

Take the case of Zac Efron. Admit it, he reads gayish. Cute as hell, but gayish. I don’t know him. He could be straight. He and Doris Hudgens make an adorable couple - sorry Vanessa Hudgens. But honestly, I wouldn’t put it past Disney to have figured out that a whiff of the, as my father would put it, “poofie boy” (I know. We’re working on it.) sells big time when it comes to the teen girl audience. He could be grown in some lab in Anaheim. The perfect tween market specimen: straight, yet ever so slightly effeminate. They may even have told him to gay it up a bit, to move a couple million more units. Seeming gay, even when you aren’t, may be the most devious marketing scheme in history. It never hurt Duran Duran.

And anyway, what does it matter? He’s a singer. All that matters is how he sounds. Would I love George Michael any more if he liked girls? Would his love songs sound more achy? Would his dance songs be any more rump shaking? Nah. Leave the Idol kid alone. A difference that makes no difference is no difference.

IRS Poster Child

So last night I sit down to do my taxes (Stop judging me. Taxes are math. I was an English major. Math and me don’t get along. Now if you had to submit your taxes in iambic pentameter, I’m your girl.). And I go to the little pile that I create at the beginning of the year where I dump anything taxish, then promptly forget about until April 13. It’s my system.

W-2 – got it. House taxes – check, check, check. Mortgage statement – checky check. 1099 – . . . 1099 – . . . Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuu##. I start flipping through my mail pile. My desk. My cabinets. The shredder pile. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Then desk, cabinets, shredder pile, again, again, again. Nothing.

I start going into the shame spiral of all time. Oh, hell, just hell. How could I be this irresponsible? I’m an adult. I’ve been paying taxes for a quarter of a freaking century. Oh, geez, oh, hell. I know better. I do better. How the hell did this happen?!?!?!?!?!!? I’m on the shame spiral, and circling fast.

I call my bank. “I’m so sorry. I’m so stupid. I don’t know how I let this happen. I’m just so embarrassed. I know I left this to the last minute. I’m usually more responsible than this. Not much more responsible. But more than this. Please forgive me. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Don’t hate me. Help me. You look pretty.”

“Oh, here it is. You earned $7.54 in interest. We don’t send out a statement if it’s less that $10. So you actually never got one.”

Oh. Okay. Good to know.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wonder how he feels about Vatican 2 now;_ylt=Avoq0OEX_GbVP_P86.PDg3txFb8C

Do ya suppose it had anything to do with him developing a late-life case of the crazy eye?

Oh, well, yeah. I suppose there was other stuff it could be too.


You know, I just find that this whole Somali pirates thing is just killing my pirate buzz. It's hard to maintain your romantic, Jack Sparrow and Errol Flynn induced warm fuzzies about charming pirates who sail the high seas in pursuit of rum and wenches and lace cuffs, when people are out there kidnapping and killing people and stealing stuff. I mean, dude. That's just not cool. There's being a pirate and there's being a pirate.

I mean, I had always thought that if I wanted to get out of the rat race, piracy was a valid career path. You know. Swinging from yardarms. Firing cannons. Singing drinking songs. Wearing thigh high boots without having to be a hooker. Using "avast" in everyday conversation. But if I have to actually shoot people, that's no fun. That's like going from one rat race to another. With guns.

I wish those people would jsut stop ruining it for me.


Okay. Fair warning. If you receive a whackadoodle e-mail about a flower and a washing machine from me, I apologize. But it's a contest. And I'd sell my own mother's e-mail address to the Prince of Hell for a chance at that kelly green, eco-friendly washer and dryer. And at the very least, I plan on handing my mother's e-mail address to Kelly Ripa without a qualm in the world. It's GREEN. And it's GREEN. I really have no choice. Now if I could just stop my eyes from spinning like pinwheels, I'll be able to compose my list people who will be going under the bus, or uhm, dear friends who I want to share this wonderful opportunity with. Love ya, mean it.

Expert Testimony

Grossness alert - if you have an aversion to vomit, skip this one.;_ylt=AnptPVR7tjOxG98bsLK5TnxvzwcF

If they're looking for a volunteer, look no further. I'm approximately the right height, and about 10 pounds heavier. But I do also have migraines. And if this guy killed his wife while she was throwing up during a migraine, the son of a bitch must pay. I verge on being an expert witness here. I've had migraines for over 25 years. Over that time, I've been better and been worse. Most of the time, I get pain, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, muscle weakness and vertigo. But I'd say I've averaged 3 headaches a year that led to outright vomitting. Which gets to be some really depressing math when you work it out. But that's about 75 times that I've worshipped at the Altar of the Porcelain Goddess due to migraine.

In all of those experiences, I've seen it all. I've yerped a little or yakked a lot, felt better immediately after or collapsed next to the toilet and cried in misery for hours, and I've walked to the toilet just in case or not even made it to the bathroom. But I have never, NEVER had my face anywhere near water level. Not even close. Nobody sticks their own head inside the bowl while they throw up. The whole story just sounds fishy to me. And as somebody who's been there, I'd be more than willing to help send him to jail if he really did do what the prosecution says.

Of course, also as somebody who's been there, if it really is possible to drown like this, yikes. One more thing to worry about.

TIME: Quotes of the Day