Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Stupid Headline of the Day

Be careful overseas, State Department warns

One imagines that "new" makes up the majority of the word "news" for a freaking reason.

I'm getting closer...


He looks like he's about to pull a Fonzie. Or, worse, "Finger Guns."

The Ties That Bind and Choke the Living Hell Out of You So That No One Can Hear You Screaming

My aunt Cathy e-mailed me for the first time in years. I haven't seen her since I was 15 years old. That side of the family... meh... not so fun. Anyway, Cathy is my mother's sister, and I have tried to respect that. But she's been snidely insulting since the day I was born. Granted, the e-mail she sent was mild, but I just couldn't abide it. Their smug self-importance and backwater ways have irritated me for far too long.

From: Aunt Cathy
To: the Niece Who Always Disappointed Us

PLEASE REMOVE ME AND YOUR AUNT CINDY FROM YOUR E-MAIL LIST.

From: Stacey
To: Aunt Cathy

I will be happy to remove you from the list. I accidentally merged the family and work lists together. Hello to you, too, by the way.

Love,
Stacey

From: Aunt Cathy
To: The Daughter of the Daughter Who Married That Papist From Texas of All Places

Stacey:
There is no need for sarcasm. I do not want my e-mail address broadcast on some mass mailing list. It never fails that after one of those messages arrives, I being to get smutty and unwanted trash e-mails. I am simply asking you to refrain from distributing my private e-mail address all over the internet.

I would be happy to speak to your parents about it.
Aunt Cathy

From: Enraged
To: No Relation of Mine
CC: Both Parents

Aunt Cathy -

That wasn't sarcasm. That was lighthearted ribbing. But feel free to speak to my parents about it. I'm 33 years old, not 12. Your e-mail has been removed, and I won't be using it again.

Not that I have ever had any reason to.

Stacey McGowen-Hudson

PS - Sorry, mom and dad.

From: Queen Negatron of the Planet Negator
To: Petulent Child
CC: the Parents Who Were Clearly Unable to Raise Her Right

This is an outrageous and uncalled for response to a simple request. [...] Plus, I don't care how old you are, it's never too late to learn to be more thoughtful and considerate.

Sis, please handle this.

From: Are You Freaking Kidding Me?
To: Has Never Moved Out of Her Mother's House
CC: My Beloved Parents

My mother has no need to handle anything where I am concerned. It was only an accident that my personal and work lists merged during a software upgrade. But I only hear from you when there is a complaint, so there's your lesson in thoughtful and considerate.

Let's not communicate any longer. I haven't seen you in more than a decade, and we don't really have anything in common other than my mother, who doesn't deserve this kind of stress. So don't take my behavior out on her. I make my own choices and I stand by them.

Best Regards and Goodbye,
Stacey

--------------------
------------------------------------------------------------

She'll be happy to speak to my parents about it? Go right ahead. Maybe they'll take away my television privileges and I won't be able to go to the Homecoming dance. How will I ever get a date to the prom?!

I set the server to reject all of her e-mails. But they still keep getting through.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OOOh, Fascinating Update!

Neither side of my family is known for letting things go. So I really didn't think that was the end...

From: The Wicked Bitch
To: the Parents Who Have Stood Behind Me Through This
No CC to me

Disrespectful and Incredible! Believe me I WILL NOT communicate with Stacey ever again. She has taken a simple request, and a reasonable one, and made it into a personal insult. I am absolutely astonished!

Bee-yotch

From: My Awesome Mom
To: Her Cold-Hearted Sister
CC: Me

[...] Stacey is a very warm, loving, talented person, is a great mother, and is never disrespectful. You sounded angry, she took it seriously. She removed you from the list, tried to be humorous about it; and it didn't work. [...] If this gets through, I will be surprised. You use to have me blocked out. I haven't even tried in a long time. I hope this is the end of this. [...] I know what happened. I have seen all of the e-mails. I don't think we need to be consulted. Stacey is an adult and can handle herself just fine.

Sis

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wow! Yay, Mom!

I think it's hilarious that she finds my behavior "outrageous," "incredible" and "astonishing." She must lead an extremely boring life. I am rarely more than "sleepy," "dopey" and "grumpy."


Monday, March 26, 2007

I'm watching yoooooouuuuu....!



He cannot escape me!

My job is awesome

A.C. is a fantastic copy editor, always worried about the little things that could hurt our credibility.

"Isn't motherfucker one word?" she asks.

...

"Are you blogging that!?" she asks.
"Yeah..."
"Isn't it sad when I know your blogging face?"

I love my job.

Nerd+Nerd=Dork


Here’s what Katie Hansen said about Scott. He probably knows her as Katie Brooks.

Heh, just read the yard sale blog. Very funny! Your friend is a good writer. I actually know her husband Scott. We went to highschool together and we were drama geeks and on the dance team together. Actually we sort of founded the dance team. You will have to tease Scott next time you see him about our choreographed numbers to Posion by Alice Cooper, and I don't remember wich Duran Duran song, but if anyone has it on video it would be really funny I'm sure.

Amsterdammit!

"Jason and I saw that movie in Amsterdam," A.W. says.
"Love it!" says A.C.
"We also saw 'Elizabeth' with Cate Blanchett," she says.
"Weren't there any Amsterdam-y movies playing?" I ask.
"I don't know. I don't remember," she muses. "But you know you can get a beer in the movie theaters over there. You can smoke if you want to..."
"You can get fries with mayonnaise," I say.
"Yep," she nods.
"And a Royale with Cheese."

The Winner, and Still Champion!

Scott received word today that he won an AP Award for his coverage of James Brown's death. That's my husband, everyone! Witness his greatness!

Stupid Headline of the Day

"Hormone may explain teen moodiness."



We need science for that?

Wha...?

"So I got caught by a train this morning, and on the back of every car was a sign stamped that said, 'Do not hump,'" Amy says.
I stare at her in disbelief. "Nuh-uhhhh!"
"Yes!"
"Do not hump what?!"
"I don't know!"

UPDATE: Thanks, Jim!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Influential

Emerson is in a foul mood because "Branny" and "Dada" left. Well, sorry, but your grandparents live in Atlanta, and they need to get back. Besides, you've had enough sugar. So, anyway, they're gone and she's pissed. And hungry.

"Emmie eat?" she asks me from the doorway.
"Sure, Emmie. I made you some fish, and green beans, and sweet potatoes," I coo, as we walk into the kitchen.
"NOOOOoooo!" she half-shrieks, and throws herself against the refrigerator.
"You don't want fish?"
She shakes her head.
"Well, what would you like for dinner?"
"Um... aya keem?" she asks, hopefully. I laugh. No ice cream tonight.
"No, ma'am. You have to eat your fish first."
"NOOOooooo!"
"Well, I'm sorry. That's the way it is." I walk back into the living room.
When I turn around, she cuts her eyes at me.
"Wha-eber." she says.
"What?" I ask, not sure what she's just said.
"WHA-EBER!" she yells. And then stomps off, repeating herself. "Wha-eber. wha-eber. whaaaa-eber!


Well... at least I know that she listens to me.

She's Going the Distance...

What happens when you hold a yard sale to raise money for cancer and no one comes?

6:30 a.m. - Amy and Nola arrive at my house with a truckload of stuff. I am still frantically hopping around shirtless with one leg in my jeans, hair wet, as they arrive, looking fresh and rested and super freaking cute. I can't even imagine how Amy manages this every day of her life. Sometimes I want to poke her with my copy editing pen. But not hard.

6:45 a.m. - We begin setting up in the pre-dawn light.

7:30 a.m. - the clothes rack goes up. Thanks for the loaner, Tom and Maryanne.
7:31 a.m. - the clothes rack falls over. We pick it up and meticulously brush off the clothes.

7:59 a.m. - the clothes rack falls over again. We pick it up and carefully brush off the clothes.
8 a.m. - the yard sale is officially open. We survey our work. Meh. S'okay.

8:30 a.m. - we sit and listen to birds chirping. It is a beautiful morning, and Emerson and Nola and having a ball together.

8:35 a.m. - the clothes rack falls over again. We laugh and pick it up, brushing the clothes off some.
8:45 a.m. - our next-door-neighbor donates a cute leather modern chair and matching ottoman.

9 a.m. - we sit and listen to crickets chirping. My stomach starts growling.

9:15 a.m. - a tumbleweed blows through the yard.
9:16 a.m. - in its wake, the clothes rack falls over. We glare at it in disgust. Then we pick it up again.

9:30 a.m. - Lo! A customer!
9:32 a.m. - Goodbye, customer.
9:33 a.m. - The scent of desperation wafts through the air.

9:35 a.m. - A car rolls by slowly.
"You know you wanna stop, bitch," I mutter. I hear Amy snort.
"That's my mad sales skills there," I say.
"I see that."

9:45 a.m. - Amy goes for McDonalds. Probably to get away from my incessant talking.

10 a.m. - My parents arrive from Atlanta. The inevitable decline into sugar overload begins for the children.

10:30 a.m. - Amy returns from McDonalds. We all go in the house and eat breakfast, watching the yard out the front window. Like we needed to.
10:34 a.m. - The clothes rack falls over. Eh, fuck it.

11 a.m. - Lo! A customer. We rush out and pick up the clothes rack.
11:10 a.m. - Hey, $5. Rock on. Surprisingly, none of it was off the clothes rack.
11:11 a.m. - Which just fell over again.

noon - We're sitting on the porch with my husband.
"Y'all need to let me do this," he says.
"Oh, okay, genius. Go sell something." (To the masses of people NOT wandering through the yard.)
A van pulls up and three women get out.
"There's your chance, Scott," Amy says.
"Yeah, get on it, honey."
"Just wait. You have to give them a minute."
"Oh, he's got a whole philosophy of yard sale-ing."
Scott sucks on his cigarette thoughtfully, then ambles off the porch. "How you doing, ladies?" he calls as he approaches.
"Yeah, be sure to tell them all about the cancer research with the cigarette in your hand," Amy says quietly and I snort-laugh.
Scott does make a nice effort, but in the end gets called away by other things. I move in to close the deal. The haul is $50: $20 in sales, and $30 in donations. Gee, it's too bad I'm such a shitty salesperson, Scott, or they might not have been the largest sale of the day.

1 p.m. - A blond man in cargo shorts arrives outside.
"Hey, you have a customer," dad says from the couch where he and Mom are watching "Shaun of the Dead." I peer hopefully outside.
"Nope. That's just Amy's husband."

1:25 p.m. - We muse about how much longer we should make this effort. The clothes rack long ago collapsed in the gravel and no one has made even the slightest move to pick it up.
"Y'all are the only people I have ever known who held a yard sale and ended up with more stuff at the end of it," Scott laughs. Perhaps it was a mistake to solicit donations from the community.

2 p.m. - In the end, three truckloads go to the Salvation Army. Maybe they'll have better luck. The final total: $150. Among the surprising leftovers that remain to be ebay-ed: two computer printers, one with two ink cartridges included, two lawnmowers, a set of golf clubs, 250 CDs, 100 books, four huge garbage bags of clothes, a really pretty crib, a $300 jogger stroller, an unopened tabletop grill...

and one clothes rack.

But you can still help. If you read this blog (and I know that 800 of you do a month, you bunch of weirdos!) see if you can click here and find even just $5 to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Someone in your life has been affected by cancer. You know what a horrible disease it is. So do it for your grandfather, who you never got to know like you wanted. Do it for John Edwards' wife, who has two young children to raise while batting bone cancer. Do it for my husband's father, who died when Scott was just 12 years old. Do it for my grandmother, who died of breast cancer long before I was born. Do it for my aunt, who had part of her face cut away because of skin cancer. Do it for all the women who have died of cervical cancer over the years, because no one considered that a virus might be to blame. Do it for all of people who fell prey to Big Tobacco. Do it for yourself, because you never know who will get it next. And wouldn't it be nice if they found a cure?

Consider all of that, and then, again, click here and see if you can find the amount equal to these things for which you may already make room in your budget:

a soda from the vending machine: $1
a Starbucks beverage: $3.50
one movie ticket: $8
a new book: $15
a casual meal for two: $25
a detail on your car: $50
a trip to Sam's Club: $100
a weekend in Hilton Head: $500
a week in Orlando: $1,000

Those are nice things to have, but so is the ability to watch your kids grow up.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Stupid Headline of the Day

Wolfgang Puck puts mercy on menu across USA
If only we could serve some to the detainees at Gitmo.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Stupid Headline of the Day

"Wolfgang Puck’s new kindler, gentler menu."

At least the story satisfied my burning curiosity.

I'm just asking...

You don't have to be a media critic to know that FOX News utilizes every propaganda trick imaginable. Agenda Setting is a fully-owned subsidiary of FOX News, Inc. In other words, they frame their issues, choose their guests and pose their questions in such as way that, in court, a judge would hold them in contempt for "leading the witness." I already hold them in contempt. But, speaking of posing a question...

The Daily Show says: "FOX has figured out that by simply by putting a question mark at the end of something, you can say F**king anything."

You'll never view the FOX news "subheads" the same way again:

http://www.crooksandliars.com/index.php?s=tds-question

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Stupid Headline of the Day

"Online anonymity lets users gets nasty" (scroll to bottom) -- and it lets their copy editors gets stupid.

My dad is funny

My parents (Emerson calls them "Branny" and "Dadada") are coming down this weekend to see Emerson, and will take her to the park. I made some suggestions, and my dad e-mailed me about it.

Branny just told me she is bringing Easter eggs for Em to hunt and she already knows about the big slide. Don't ask me how she knows about the big slide, she just does. She said it goes with being a Branny. What do I know!

Your mom told me I wasn't funny at all, just ignorant of how to express myself. I guess she can't help herself, being from Alabama and having her family. I've worked for over thirty seven years on changing her ways, and she has fought me tooth and nail the entire time. I'm running out of tooths and she is running out of nails, so maybe she is learning something.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Welcome to the New & Improved Metro Spirit!

C.P. cracks me up. I am recreating his post on the Metro Spirit blog here. Because I can. And it's better than anything I could have come up with. Plus he has a sweet new haircut.

The new Spirit - now with more water!

Lots of water.

Design desks after the levees broke.

Alice reacts to the damage. Not a shiny happy people.

Quick thinking: The Hoover Dam of paper towels stays the flood.

The indominable human spirit... in the face of wet carpet!

The heroes arrive.

Stupid Headline of the Day

CLASSIC CASE OF 'ROID RAGE

"Pro wrestlers linked to steroid use" That's kind of like saying: Pro actors linked to Meridia use. Not exactly shocking news.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Idiot Headline of the Day

"Fort Gordon burn creates dense smoke" Fire make smoke?! Since when?!

Perfect Parents? No Such Thing!

Guest Post: Scott Hudson

There is no such thing as the “perfect parent.” Parenting is every bit as much a learning experience as is childhood. Yet, some people never get it. My wife and I waited until our mid-thirties to have a young ‘un (hey! Speak for yourself! I’m 29.95, and I’m on sale!), primarily because we were terrified of the responsibility.

Once we knew for sure that the little one was coming, we immediately unplugged the cable TV. The decision was not based on morality concerns alone, we simply did not want our kid to be chained to a television. We also needed badly to save money! Also, We wanted her to explore, we wanted her to read, and most importantly; we wanted her to interact with other people.

Without even really trying hard, my wife had little Emmy talking in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language long before her second birthday. Yet, we still slip up. I dropped something in the kitchen the other day and said “Oh S*&%.” Before I knew it, Emmy was walking around pointing at her doll mimicking me. How do you explain to a toddler not to say a curse word? Well, I guess the answer to that is to not curse yourself. A learning curve it is, no doubt.

I learned from the best, I suppose. My dad was a man who believed in “spare the rod, and spoil the child,” which is something I disagree with in adulthood. I believe discipline can be taught without violence. So dad wasn’t perfect either, but until his death he was always involved in my life. When I was too young to make good decisions on my own, he made them for me. Once, when I was about 10 years old, my parents told me I could choose four “rock and roll” albums as my Christmas presents. I was elated! Mom and I went to the store and I chose what I wanted based on what I had heard other kids raving about.

Later that night, I listened at the vent as my parents argued.

Dad: Patsy! What were you thinking? Culture Club?
Mom: What’s wrong with it?
Dad: Look at the album cover!
Mom: What? I don’t understand.
Dad: That is a MAN, Patsy.
Mom: The girl…there…is a…
Dad: Yes.
Mom: Oh, dear.
Dad: And look at the lyrics of this Prince record…”Let’s pretend we’re married…”

And so it went.

When I woke up on Christmas morning I received four records all right: four records that my father picked out for me. I got “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys, “Abbey Road” by the Beatles, “Creedence Clearwater Revival Live,” and “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye. Of course, he noticed my disappointment. He then sat with me and put on “Because” by the Beatles. I was hooked. We listened to all of those records together until I eventually wore them all out and it has never escaped me that nearly all of those albums are in Billboards Top 20 of all time. None of the ones I originally chose ended up on that list.

Parenting is never perfect; there is no scientific formula. Parenting is teaching and learning at the same time. Parenting means spending time with kids and talking to kids. It means sharing your interests and learning about theirs. It is about spending time and showing them the world rather than letting them figure it out on their own. My Dad and Mom gave me that gift and I am determined to pass it along to Emmy. They screwed up a few times, as will I; however, it is always better to try and strive and almost reach a goal rather than give up and rely on Ritalin, MTV, Playstation 9000, and social workers to bring along the next generation.

When I see Mary Liz’s kids show off their talents in public, hear Joe Bowles’ kids hanging off of Daddy while he tries to give a quick comment on the phone, have my friend Bill Brown’s kid Trevor run up and hug me at daycare, and witness the incredible success my siblings have earned for themselves, I realize there are plenty of parents out there for me to emulate. I just feel so sorry for those kids who miss out on the most important thing in childhood: their parents.

Scott

I Need a Spanking

I've had too much caffeine and Prozac today. I've become kind of a whirling dervish of gaiety and snarkiness. I'm gayly snarky. I'm really happy about being a smart-ass to all who cross my path. I am sure I am irritating everyone around me with my incessant talking and occassional bout of cackling to myself over some thought-of-but-unspoken comment.

"I'm sorry!" I moan to A.C. "Bad Stacey is back."
"Really?" said J.R., the intern. "I couldn't tell the difference."
Hmm. I meant to say ex-intern.

Oh, snap!

Scott usually calls me a number of times throughout the day. But he didn't this morning. About noon I looked at A.C. and mentioned that. She furrowed her brow and said, "That is kind of strange." By 1 p.m., I was losing my mind and broke down and called him.

Me: "Hey, what's up?"
Him: "Nothing. What's up with you?"
Me: "You haven't called me today."
Him: "Well, you always hang up on me."
Me: "What? I do not!"
Him (mimicking me): "Whatdoyouwant? I'mverybusyandimportant! Myblogiswaiting!"

Okay. Maybe.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Induction Suction


Hagar: Dude! What up?! Congrats!
Stipe: Don't touch me.
Hagar: Bro! You're one of us now!
Stipe: I will never be one of you. Never!
H: Hey, have a beer!
St: I don't drink alcohol.
H: ... uh .... toke?
S: Oh, okay, sure! Thanks!
H: Bro! See? It's all about the love!
S: Love is for the living.
H: Okay, Nosferatu.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

That's Augusta...

"Goddamn," I hear T.G. mutter.
"Why are we cursing? Can I curse, too?" I ask.
"Yeah," he says.
"We just realized that the name of this soup kitchen that serves mostly African-Americans is called Masters Table," C.P. says.
"Noooo. That's not... that's not what they had in mind," I insist.
"No, sure, but still..."
"Is that's what they meant, they would have called it Massah Table."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Even Dogs Get Sick

SCOTT WITH SCRABBLE AT THREE MONTHS

Our firstborn, Scrabble, started acting funny the other day. He was not his usual self, moped around, and cried if you touched his belly. Of course, our reaction was: do we take him to the emergency clinic and spend a $1,000 we do not have?

By Tuesday he seemed worse, so I called the vet.

Vet: Hello, blah blah blah Animal Clinic, how can I help you?
Me: I think my dog is dying.
Vet: Okay, calm down. What are your dog's symptoms?
Me: Well, he is shaking, he won't eat, he is lethargic.
Vet: He's shaking and he's lethargic?
Me: Yeah, I mean he's a Rat Terrier, so he always shakes, but I guess he's shaking more than usual.
Vet: Is that all?
Me: He won't eat.
Vet: And?
Me: He doesn't want to go outside.
Vet: And?
Me: Well, he just doesn't look right.
Vet: How does he look?
Me: He looks like he's dying!
Vet: Okay, let me ask you a few questions.
Me: Alright.
Vet: Is he vomiting?
Me: No.
Vet: Diarrhea?
Me: No.
Vet: Unstable on his feet?
Me: No.
Vet: Sensitive to light?
Me: No.
Vet: Sensitive to sound?
Me: No.
Vet: Bleeding?
Me: No.
Vet: What is he doing right now?
Me: Watching TV.
Vet: You let your dog watch TV?
Me: Yeah, well...it's the animal show on PBS, he loves it.
Vet: Okay.
Me: I also leave talk radio on when I'm gone, so that balances out the TV, right?
Vet: Uh, huh...I guess so.
Me: So is he dying?
Vet: Probably not.
Me: But he could have Encephalitis!
Vet: He doesn't have Encephalitis.
Me: Are you sure?
Vet: Quite sure. Horses and people get Encephalitis, not usually dogs.
Me: But it could happen.
Vet: It would be very rare.
Me: So, then he may have it!
Vet: He doesn't have the symptoms. Is there anything else I can help you with?
Me: Yes, what should I do?
Vet: About what?
Me: My dog!
Vet: Watch him for a couple of days; if his condition worsens then bring him in for a checkup.
Me: That's all?
Vet: That's all, have a nice...
Me: But he could have rabies!
Vet: Has he been left outside unattended?
Me: No.
Vet: Then he doesn't have rabies.
Me: Are you sure?
Vet: Quite sure.
Me: So I should just watch him?
Vet: Yes, he probably has a tummy ache. Just remember, even little doggies get sick from time to time.
Me: They do?
Vet: Yes, they do.

Thank God, the damned mutt made a full recovery and is back eating my socks, barking at the mailman, and begging to go out every five minutes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Poop on Parade

So we moved to 1) escape the idiots threatening us because of my husband's job, and 2) have a bigger place. But in the process, we acquired a piano. We finally got more living space and then the Hulking Piano of Untuned Doom sucked it away!

Then Scott hung everything that we own on the walls this weekend and now it looks like we live in someone's Victorian sitting room. Freaking historical crap everywhere and I'm afraid to move anything because god knows when it might fall apart. The only good thing is that he finally hung his guitars on the wall so I'm not constantly knocking one over and hearing him curse about it!

Okay, that was a lot of unnecessary complaining. And it's not bad. If you like living in a museum of history... Actually, I do everything I can to mess up his plan. Like, I bought a Dia del Muerto/Frieda Kahlo collage piece from a local artist. It's going right on the piano. And I bought a bright green lopsided coffee carafe from a high school ceramics student that sits prominently on the equally bright yellow hutch in the kitchen. I never have gotten around to painting that darn thing. But the best part about the carafe is that it can't even be used to hold coffee because the interior wasn't glazed. It's basically a big useless super green box with a spout and a lid that doesn't fit properly. In my head, I call it my "sticks in the yard" piece, in honor of Dad's secret pastime.

The Saga of the Septic Tank at my parents' house may soon come to an end for Mom and Dad. I am so happy to hear that because I was about to tear my ears off and hide them in a box just so I wouldn't have to listen to the updates anymore. But I was afraid that someone might try to pantomime the story, and that would just be wrong.

Bah-dum-bum!

UGA'S REDCOAT MARCHING BAND

We're discussing the incident reports from local schools. They are so horribly disturbing: rape, molestation, guns, knives, posession of 21 bags of marijuana (!!)... Emerson is going into a convent. Now. A.W. makes a "these kids today" comment, and we all begin to compare our own experiences to those of the students at these local middle and high schools.

"It's nothing new," says C.P., who grew up in the rural Pacific Northwest. "Kids brought knives to my school."
"Yeah, but didn't they go skin a deer or something later?" I ask.
"Sure," T.G. interjects. "Kids brought guns to my high school because they went hunting in the morning and hunting after school."
"Yeah, but the Redcoats were coming," I snicker.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Snake Charmer


At a festival meeting...

Me: "...and ants and snakes were a problem last year."
S.P.: "Really?"
A.C: "One."
Me: "Still, we're 90% sure that it was poisonous."
B.D: "Where are those religious people when you need them? They show up at First Friday. I bet we could toss the snake into the middle of a crowd of them and they'd know what to do with it."

Blogging for Love


A local newspaper ran a cover story lately on finding love in online dating sites. The ads on the sites reflect a basic impulse in life. If you have not found love, then you are probably looking for it. And why not look online? Perceptions about this changed so much in the 1990s with the Internet boom.

“It’s gone way down,” Dr. Andrea Baker, the author of “Double Click: Romance and Commitment Among Online Couples” and a sociologist at Ohio University, said about the negative stigma.

And that's probably because they're highly effective ways to meet a mate. A recent study found that 12 percent of recently married or engaged couples met through an online relationship service. I think that's because people who are looking for a relationship are encouraged to be honest about it online, which establishes realistic expectations that are often absent from traditional methods.

But these sites they study - match.com, eharmony - are big business. If you want to communicate with other people using the service, the monthly subscription is usually somewhere around $29.99. I think it's stupid to have to pay to find your perfect date.

Unlike those other pay sites, like Yahoo Personals, JustSayHi.com is 100% free. Think about it: no monthly fees, sure; but also no bar tabs, wasted tickets to movies or the theater, no stilted dinners at hipster restaurants with crappy food that you chose just to impress someone. Now you can find someone who likes NASCAR, barbecue, Ford F-150s and fly-fishing - in New York City! Or find someone who wants to take ballroom dancing, eat sushi, watch indie films and paint - in Wichita! There is no end to the positives when it comes to online dating. It's fast, it's entertaining, it's safe, it can be as personal or as anonymous as you like. And what's to lose when it's free? Amazing.

I'm glad I met my mate already - or my match, depending on how you look at it - but if I hadn't, I would definitely give online dating a try. It's a no-brainer.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Egocentrism

"I was a philosophy major in college for a while," J.R. said.
"Me, too! I thought I could change the world just by thinking about it," I said.
"Not me. I was just really full of myself."

Ethics in Government


I know that people are convinced that media employees have no ethics, but it's just not true. If you knew all the stuff that we would like to run with and can't, you'd storm government buildings and throw the bastards out. It would be like Custers Last Stand, with Custer once again representing a government whose policies and practices have taken horribly wrong turns.

There's something that happens to good people when they take office. Moral, ethical people get blindsided by their own egos and emotions, and act in ways they would normally find reprehensible. I wonder if outgoing politicians can even recognize themselves in the mirror.

Most of them don't do anything illegal or even obvious. But they take their influence and use it solely for their own benefit in situations where they may not be breaking the letter of the law, but they are certainly in violation of the spirit of the law. Most of them think that they aren't doing anything wrong because they generally couldn't be prosecuted for their actions.

I think we can agree that the laws of the land don't necessarily define what is "right" and what is "wrong." They are societal minimums. They are the worst behaviors defined by society, the line one has to cross before we throw up our collective hands and say, "Enough, already!"

I've known a couple of good people who have been elected to political offices. I have been excited by their ascension, positive that their goodness will spill over into the bodies they are charged with representing, whether they be city, county, or state entities - or even just committee chairs for a community organization, like a park authority or board.

But then they begin making independent decisions that clearly do not take anyone else in mind. I've watched sadly from the sidelines, disappointment rising in my throat like vomit, trying to remember all the reasons anyone voted for them. More often than not, those reason begin with, "Well, we thought..." They never end well.

Now, however, one local politician has begun wielding his behind-the-scenes influence in such a way as to remind me that people never work for the good of a cause without expecting some gain to themselves. In this case, that expected gain seems to be unfailing goodwill, and has not expanded to something more devious or deceitful. But expecting - and, through back channels, demanding - unquestioning positivity feels like jackboots marching over my brain.

I don't mind being reminded that what the media does has a very immediate effect on people. Most of the time the effect I have is overwhelmingly positive. I also don't mind being called to the carpet when I am wrong. We are in the business of believability and that means that we should get it right the first time. When we don't, we should explain that we got it wrong, then set the record straight. It's our responsibility not only as professionals, but also as people. I like to think that almost everyone in the media will stand up to be counted when their mistakes are pointed out. Not so much Nancy Grace. Or Bill O'Reilly. But almost everyone.

But getting it wrong is not being malicious. It's simply a mistake. Enacting retribution for that mistake... that's malice. And juvenile. In short, it's not the kind of behavior that inspires respect or admiration. It inspires suspicion.

I really hope that the individuals who are enjoying their newfound authority will learn, eventually, to depersonalize the situation. You can't please all of the people all of the time, and it's a really hard lesson for people of privelege to learn. But it isn't an impossible lesson. I hope that it takes hold soon.

She Did It Again!!!!


My morning ritual:

1. Wake up, scratch my head and then my ass and sleepily get ready to take Emmy to daycare.
2. The coffee begins kicking in when I am on Boy Scout Road; however, I am still sleepy and dreaming of one thing: a nice, warm bath.
3. Arrive back home to a frigid apartment and shake off my clothes.
4. Reach into the bathtub and pull the handle to start the bathwater.
5. Get soaked by a flood of 30-below water cascading out of the shower head.
6. Run through the apartment wet as hell, screaming every obcenity imaginable.

After my tirade I realize the only person who cares is sitting at her desk laughing and plotting her next move. Dr. Evil must be paying her extra. It has happened every day this month.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Kristy Swanson Hasn't Aged Well


Does anyone remember the "Flowers in the Attic" books? Yeah. Then you know how scared I am right now.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

More Bureaucracy

So we moved, and we have a new unlisted number. All caught up now? Good.

Anyway, the telephone service in the old place went out on March 1, which was the same day we were supposed to have service in our new place. Five days and four telephone calls later… still nothing.

"Wow, looks like we really screwed up your transfer," the technician said.
Yeah, a little bit. Now let's see how long it takes me to straighten this out with billing.

Cornholio

I just have to congratulate my husband for finding a brand of toilet paper that is actually made with cardboard. I never realized how important it is to exfoliate the nether regions - which are my favorite regions, by the way.

Or they were. Now they are my angriest regions.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Those Freaky Germans

Our cleaning woman didn't come this weekend and the trash cans are overflowing.
"Hey, E.B., can your cane do double duty as a trash compactor," J.W. asks.
"NO," E.B. replies. "Perhaps you didn't see me with the Lysol last week. Besides that, I'm completely German anal."*
I stop as I mull this over. Then I see that J.W. has stopped. It's as though a little cartoon thought bubble is floating over his head.
"NO." I point at him.
He bursts into laughter.
"Thank you for stopping me," he says.
"Yeah, well, you need stopping."

* She actually said "germ anal," as in "anal-retentive about cleanliness for the sake of my health," but that is not at all what we heard.

Beaurocracy

In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups—the police who investigate crimes, and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. This is my story.

AUGUSTA, GA -- So the police called and said that they found my purse, with my wallet, driver's license, and Social Security card in it. They used those items to help locate me so that I could get those items back. Then they sent a postcard to my home in order to notify me of the case number and procedure as to retrieving those items. That was really nice of them, and I appreciated it. I called them today.

Me: Hi! May I speak with Sgt. Hardin?
Voice-on-Phone: He's not here. May I take a message?
Me: Uh, sure. This is Stacey McGowen-Hudson, and I am calling in reference to--
VOP (interrupting): Hold on...
... (paper shuffling)
VOP: Okay.
Me: So I'm calling in reference to--
VOP (interrupting): No, start over.
Me: Okay. This is Stacey McGowen-Hudson, and I am calling reference to case no. xxxxxx. I just wanted to know how to retrieve my purse.
VOP: Did you receive a postcard?
Me: Yes, ma'am.
VOP: Okay. When did you want to pick it up?
Me: Oh, you know, whenever I can.
VOP: Well, I go to lunch at 12:30 p.m.
Me: No, it would be tomorrow or the next day.
VOP: Okay. Just bring your ID.
Me: My ID?
VOP: Yes.
Me: But my ID got stolen with my purse.
VOP: Well, we need something to identify you.
Me: But it's all in my purse.
VOP: We have to have something.
Me: The driver's license in my purse isn't enough?
VOP: No.
Me: But I don't have anything else. Can I bring the postcard?
VOP: No. Something with your name and address on it. A bill, or something.
Me: Oh. A bill. Okay. I'll find something. Thanks, I--
(click)

I just want to point out that the postcard IS a piece of mail with my name and address on it.

Cleanliness is Next to Chanel No. 5

Overheard at the copy machine:

A.C.: You smell good today.
A.W.: Thanks. I took a shower.

Campaign for Change


Ann Coulter, long known for her sugary sweet delivery and too-nice approach to politics, has joined in the gay rights movement. Coulter came out in favor of gay marriage when supporting John Edwards' campaign for president. She also is appalled at the recent spate of bigoted language used by celebrities, and donated $1 million to the 9-11 widows' fund. That Ann Coulter, with her generous, giving spirit. She makes me proud to be an American.

Augusta Has No Real Crime Problem

Before Corey sent me this, I was mad about my car window getting busted out. Not so much anymore.

FEBRUARY 10: Hat Saroeun, 49, died instantly when a hand grenade exploded at 10pm in Anlong Svay village, Banteay Meanchey province. His wife, Lang Sim, 44, told police Saroeun committed suicide when she refused to have sex with him after he returned home after leaving her a month earlier.

FEBRUARY 11: Police are looking for Keo Tech, 32, who they said escaped after killing Long Vanna, 47, while he was sleeping in a hammock at 2:15pm beneath his house in Ang Romdoul village, Kampot province. A neighbor told police Tech drove a bicycle to Vanna's house and chopped him several times in the head with an ax then escaped. The neighbor said the pair had argued at midday while they were eating food and drinking wine.

FEBRUARY 12: Soeung Kanthida, 16, a student, was taken to a clinic and later transferred to Calmette Hospital, where she died from head injuries, after jumping from the fourth floor of Pannasastra university where she studied in Chatomuk commune, Phnom Penh. A student said Kanthida was sad after her boyfriend gave a flower to another woman during on Valentine's day.

FEBRUARY 13: Chak Bin, 21, was shot and severely wounded during an attempted robbery while carrying his friend on a motorbike at 5:30am in Toul Svay Prey 1 commune, Phnom Penh. Lim Bunhout, 19, told police three civilian gunmen on a motorbike blocked their path and hit him on the head with the butt of a handgun then shot Bin in the waist as he tried to ride away. Bunhout said Bin drove himself to Calmette Hospital for surgery.

- Translated from Khmer newspapers Koh Santepheap and Rasmei Kampuchea by Aun Pheap.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Moving Daze

It has been a tumultuous move with a 2-year-old. We work primarily around her nap times and when she is sleeping, otherwise there are a number of staircases for her to tumble down. It has been a learning experience, and I would like to share a few lessons with you:

1. We have invisible dogs living with us. There is no way our 11-lb. short hair rat terrier can shed this much.
2. We do not have dust bunnies. We have fanged dust jackrabbits. It is as though all of my diligent housework was a hallucination.
3. My housework wasn't that diligent.
4. Eazy-Off Bam! is the sugar, if you know what I'm saying. (I'm trying to stop cursing like a drunken sailor... unless there are other drunken sailors around.)
5. There are purses and shoes in our closet that I didn't even know I owned.
6. All I think about when I come across possessions I didn't know I owned is that there are some very poor children in third world countries who would never waste things like that. I wish I had never bought them in the first place.
7. On the other hand, this is the best mascara I have ever tried. It must be the brush, but I don't care. The Morris Museum Gala was awash with admirers of my eyelashes.
8. The money spent on the Morris Museum Gala could have fed 10,000 of those children you see on television.
9. And yet, I and my eyelashes had a very good time at the gala. I might buy a $50 family membership and feed even fewer starving children. It is an amazing museum with a current exhibition of Tom Nakashima's work of the last two decades. It is also a Smithsonian affiliate.
10. So back to moving... you can never have enough boxes. I wish I had purchased these. But I did not.
11. Kmart - yes, Kmart! - has this cute dress on sale. I bought it in black when I was running out grabbing a new mascara, because my last one was in the purse that was stolen out of my car. Thanks, window smashers! I'm so sorry, starving children of Africa!
12. I think I will stop saving for stupid things like Target gift certificates and donate all of my MyPoints to charity. That will assuage the guilt a little more. But not entirely. I think art is so important but it is hard to give money to the arts when I could give formula to an infant.
13. But if childrens' charities aren't your thing, try leukemia and lymphoma charities. That doesn't keep to just one age group. This crazy lady I work with is completing a triathlon to raise money for research that will hopefully lead to a cure. Help her out, peeps!

So, I got off the subject of moving. But the effort moves on. I'm sure there will be more to come.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Black Tie Blunders

Scott drove all over town yesterday looking for a black tuxedo jacket to match his pants for the Morris Museum Gala that was held last night. He was also supposed to pick up a pair of black pantyhose for me.

He comes in the door with a jacket in his hand. It is nice, but it is khaki.
"Oh, well," he says. "You know who the style icon was in the 1940s, don't you? Hitler. So at least I'm in style in one era."
Really, honey? You're going with world's-most-prolific-murderer-Hitler as your style icon? Are you serious? Oh, whatever, I think. The single-breasted jacket fits well and looks nice, and he'll be the only one there dressed this way.
"Did you get my pantyhose?" I ask. He nods and hands me the bag.
This is what I wanted. Or even this.
This is what I got.
Apparently, the gala was actually to benefit retired porn stars.
I couldn't help it. I broke out in gales of laughter.
"Honey... okay, fine, I'll wear these for you later, but seriously, where are my real pantyhose?"
"What?" He asked. "Those won't work?"

No. They wont.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Parenthood


This is the pre-editing photo of my husband and daughter that local photographer Tim Conway took for Metro Augusta Parent Magazine. Scott was featured in the inside back cover with his "Top Ten Things You Don't Know About Dads." The best: "The worst part of our day is saying goodbye at day care." The worst: "Football isn't the most important thing in the world. It only becomes that on certain days." He doesn't even like football. Emerson could make her NFL debut and he'd sleep through it.

My Spies are Everywhere

Friday, March 02, 2007 By


Scott was 40 minutes away in the next state, and still I know what he is doing. Mwaaah-ha-ha-ha! That's him on the left, talking on - you guessed it! - his cell phone.

Favorite Spam of the Day

Avocado Skeleton Buzkashi. Apparently, Buzkashi is a game like polo. But played with a skeleton made of avocado. Sounds messy.

Dr. Communications Professor: A.C. took my course "Performance for the Camera," and is determined to succeed on camera. I haven't seen her tapes yet. What's the word on how she's doing?
Me: I don't know. I myself took "Chewing My Nails For All the World to See on Camera," so I'm not one to judge. I have so many nervous ticks I make a methamphetamine addict look Zen.
Dr. Communications Professor: I remember the "Chewing My Nails...." course...very popular!