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

Monday, March 31, 2008

My Husband is the Coolest!

AUGUSTA, GA. - Scott won TWO AP AWARDS this year. He got an honorable mention in Best Use of Sound, which is all the more incredible since he does the vast majority of his mixing from our home computer, using an odd, individual kind of jerry-rigged mixture of digital and analog technologies.

But in the most fiercely competitive category, he won First Place for General Reporting for a story he did on the Augusta Commission in which one of the commissioners went off, complaining about the others. It wasn't this commissioner's finest moment, but he stands by his opinions and refuses to back down from them. He's a principled kind of guy.

Anyway, we're so excited for him, and so proud. I think he needs a present. A sexy one.

A Short List

Here are some house rules that bear repeating. I won't say to whom they are directed, but I think that the individual(s) will read this and understand.

1. Underwear does not go in the hallway floor.
2. Flushing is not optional.
3. If I leave a perfectly clean house and return in the space of merely 30 minutes, there is no excuse for a tornado having hit our living room.
4. Unless, you know, an actual tornado hits the living room - and then I still expect you to clean up before I get home!
5. One should not open and close the exterior doors more than a dozen times in one hour. You wanna know why our heating bill was $300? Go get warmed up in the backyard and them come inside to the coldest friggin' house on the block and read the dang bill again.
6. We do not need to leave a light on in the house when we go to sleep. It will be night. We will be asleep. What, precisely, are we supposed to be illuminating?

Thank you. Please make a mental note of these things, and then get back to me with any thoughts you may have.

Nutty Goodness

If there's one thing people should know about me, it's how much I love nuts.

No! Not that kind!

The kind that you put in your mouth.

Stop laughing, 'tards!

The kind you chew.

Well, that shut you all up with a quickness, didn't it?

So, here's what I DON'T like: horrible canned nuts that could be as old as the dirt they grew in and nobody would ever be able to tell.

People don't think of it this way, but nuts are produce. They ripen and spoil, and they should be served as fresh as possible. There's nothing worse, to me, than biting into one of those dry old crumbly things out of someone's stash of trail mix.

Thank Jebus that the people at Back to Nature agree with me. I might be weird, but I haven't actually purchased nuts in a long time - no, fellow Southerners, not even our beloved pecans. I just never know what I'm getting! But the Back to Nature trail mixes (something I love more than nuts? Nuts with dried fruit. I feel a little like a Kalahari Bushperson eating it, but that's part of the fun) are sold in the produce section. That tells me that these people are coming at their jobs from the right angle. One taste, and you'll know that they DO their jobs right, too.

Y'all, usually I think I'm lucky that I get sent product samples. But sometimes I get a sample and wish I'd never heard of a product. With this one, though, I wish I'd heard of them long ago.

Trust me, if you're a fan of nuts (and I know you are, too! STOP. LAUGHING) you'll want to give these a try.

Time to Go to Confession

Smooth Move

A.C. tosses me a peanut butter pretzel. Yum.
"Want some more?" she asks.
Heck, yeah. "Just two," I say.
"Two won't be nearly enough," A.W. says.
"She's already had 10," A.C. snickers.
"No, I had some chocolate rice cakes earlier," I say.
"That doesn't count," A.W. says.
"It's still chocolate flavored."
"So is Ex-Lax but I wouldn't call it that."

Wrinkle-Free

AUGUSTA, GA. - "You guys, I was reading this article the other day about anti-aging products," I say.
"What? Why?" A.C. interrupts.
"Because I have wrinkles!"
"Where?"
I move my right eyebrow - hell, yes, I am THAT specific - revealing the deeply etched frown line that has appeared over the past couple of years.
"You are crazy. There is nothing there." she dismisses me.
"Whatever. Anyway, they said that there are only three ingredients that actually work: alpha hydroxy, vitamin C and Retinol. And all the rest are-"
"Made up?" she interrupts.
"Yes!"
"That kills me. All the words they make up."
"Oh, I have a new one for you. This line at CVS that I saw last night all shiny and high-end and top-shelf said 'Now with bio-communicators!'" I make a face like, WTF?
"How stupid do they think we are?"
"I know!"
A.W. pipes up from behind me: "That's funny, because I was about to say, 'Ooh, bio-communicators? I have to have that!'"

How Much Will You Get Back?

AUGUSTA, GA. - How much will you be receiving from the feds in the much-discussed economic stimulus tax return? Just check out the IRS website to find out! And don't spend it all in one place!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Star Wars Explained By a 3-Year-Old



Man, I bet her nerd dad is proud.

Stupid Headline of the Day

Saturday, March 29, 2008 By No comments

Madonna gets outspoken

Because she's been so quiet and demure all these years?

This Baby Will Have You Crying With Laughter

Friday, March 28, 2008

NEWS FLASH!

Peeps, listen up: Bob's dog is getting braces.

Stupid Headline of the Day

Friday, March 28, 2008 By No comments

Why We Don't Do Restaurant Reviews


A.C. is eating something that looks like a tongue depressor.
"What the hell are you eating?" I ask, horrified.
"It's Soy Joy all natural fruit and soy bar," A.C. replies, with a shrug. I watch her.
"Can you break me off a tiny piece of that?" I ask. I have to know what it tastes like.
She tears off a chunk the size of a matchbox.
"I don't want that big old turd!" I exclaim.
She laughs and throws it at me.
I take a bite...
It's... gritty... and sweeter than I'd have imagined... and not good. Hell, it's not even food.
"Here!" I chirp to A.W. "Try a bite!"
She pops it in her mouth and all but gags. "It tastes like banana-flavored drywall!"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More Awards! I Forgot About This Post From Sept. 26, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Reconize

I won a very special honor today, one that I was not expecting.

"It's official," Scott told me today. "I'm being submitted for the Edward R. Murrow Award."
"That's awesome!" I said. "That reminds me: I meant to tell you that I won something already!"
His mouth opened and his eyebrows raised in surprised delight. "What?"
"I entered the Paul Newman's Own recipe contest and I won third place!"
"Wow, honey, that's great!"
"Yes!" I laughed, pulling out my prize. "I am one of only 100 people in the continental United States to win this flexible cutting board!"

Boo-yah!
In your face, jealous bitches!

Foundation Doubles Prize Money

AUGUSTA, GA. - The Porter Fleming Writing Competition will accept entries in the categories of Short Stories (2,500 words max), Poetry (one poem per page, three poems per entry); Nonfiction (Article or Personal Essay, 2,000 words max), a Playwriting (15 pages max) until June 13.

There is a $10 entry fee, and any resident of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina are eligible to participate. Top Prize in each category is $1,500; Second Prize is $800; Third Prize is $500.

Call the Greater Augusta Arts Council for more information: 706-826-4702 or augustaarts.com.

For the Fans! Rap on!

Rap Artists.com just set up their site, and are they already on their way, or what? it's great that someone has put together a site devoted strictly to the flow and artistry of rap music. No more browsing through ridiculous lists of artists of mixed-genre, where even sorting by name or album gets more entries than you care to read. RapArtists.com tries to bring to you the most up to date hip hop news, gossip, music and anything related to the hip hop scene - but purely for entertainment purposes!

Check out featured artist Nas, along with rankings of the top artists, the top albums, and the top songs. Watch for information about tours and new releases. Chat about your favorites - and your most hated - in their online forums. RapArtists.com is the most convenient way to check out information about music in the genres you like most.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Lost" Poll Results

What do you want to see more of on "Lost?"
  • 80% of you wanted to see more shirtless Sawyer.
  • 20% of you wanted to see more island mystery.
Nothing else even ranked.

Office Karaoke

A.W.: (singing, out of nowhere): Jeremiah was a bullfrog!
Me: (mimicking guitar) Bow-now-wow!
A.W.: Was a good friend of mine!
Me: Bow-now-wow!
A.W: That's all I know.
M.F.: (singing) I never understood a single word he said but I helped him drink his wine. He always had some mighty fine wine!
A.C.: (getting in on the action) Joooooooooy to the world! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the boys and girls! Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea! Joy to you and me!

[silence]

Me: Hey, why was Jeremiah a bullfrog?
A.W.: [guffaws] I don't know.
M.F.: Because he was a good friend of mine?

Does anybody know?

Le Moo

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 By No comments

Emmie: "Can you get her in herew?" "Can you put Dora in da cow?"
Me: "Sure. Because what is Dora without a cow suit?"
Emmie: "mmmmoooooOOOOOOooo!"

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ew.

Me: "Hey, J.C., E.B. left her disinfectant. Maybe you wanna use it on Juanita's mouth?"
J.C.: "Put my what in her mouth?"
A.W.: "You had to expect that was coming."
Me: "No, actually, I didn't."

Post Delayed One Month By Photos - Dang Verizon!

In full swing: I guess local restaurants made all the money they needed on Valentine’s Day. By Saturday, they were all tuckered out, as we discovered when a friend who ranks highly at the state’s largest business magazine came to visit.

After rejecting TakoSushi because the wait was too long, we headed downtown. We should have headed to Washington Road. Asking to be seated after 9 p.m., but long before 10 p.m., at three restaurants - Blue Sky Kitchen, Nacho Mama's and The Boll Weevil - was akin to asking for a free meal. Two places refused to seat anyone else, and one offered us only dessert menus.

It didn’t seem an unreasonable time frame to us — about what you’d get if you went to a 7 p.m. movie and then headed to dinner. What do you think?

We ended up at IHOP at 10:15, starving and pissed, dragging our 3-year-old with us at a time we always swore we never would. It's nearly 2 hours past her bedtime. But we required certain considerations for our friend, who is a vegetarian with food allergies, and I thought IHOP, having such a diverse menu, could meet them.

(L) My elbow, although it reminds me of something else.
(R) Doodle-bug up past her bedtime and loving every minute of it.
She takes her coloring very seriously.

Emmie was the only person in our party not irritated with the entire
city of Augusta by the time our food got there. She was having a blast.
Do you see how everyone in the background seems to be glaring at us?
I think they wants their own princess Belle dresses, too.
Especially that guy on the right.

An Actual Conversation with a Mellow Mushroom Employee

AUGUSTA, GA. - Mellow Mushroom is like the abusive boyfriend you keep running back to. No matter how many times they beat you down, you have to go back. In my case, it's based almost entirely on the "Ezperanza" dressing and the Jerk Chicken Hoagie (not together). But there's always something charming about those significant others, isn't there? Else you wouldn't keep returning.

But every time we call in an order - and I mean every time - it's as though no one there has ever taken an order before in their lives.

"Okay, I'm going to call this in now. Last chance for changes!"
[Dialing phone]
[Telephone picks up.]
[Telephone slams back down again.]
"Crap."
[Dialing phone]
"Mellow Mushroom, um... can I help you?" a nasally teenage voice drones over the line.
"Yeah, don't hang up on me again!" I laugh.
"Um... did I hang up on you?" she drones. Do you remember the cartoon "Daria?" The way she talked? Like that, but without the ennui.
"Well, maybe not. Someone did. Listen, may I place a to-go order, please?" I ask.
"Um... yeah... let me get someone for you."
[hold]
She comes back on the line: "Mellow Mushroom, um... can I help you?"
"Yeah, it's still me. I wanted to place a to-go order?"
"Oh, yeah. Hold one."
[hold]
She comes back on. "Okay. What would you like?"
"I'd like a large Magical Mystery Tour, a-"
"Will that be all?" she interrupts.
"No. I'd also like a large with Italian sausage, portobello, green peppers and onions, and-"
"Will that be all?" she interrupts.
"Uh, no. I'm ordering for the office. I'd also like a calzone with mozerella, pineapple and feta cheese," I say, which I pronounce "fay-ta," because I have always pronounced it that way and no one has ever corrected me.
"Feh-ta!" Amy corrects.
"Fayta, feh-ta, whatever," I chuckle.
"Feh-ta," the stoner on the phone corrects me. Like she knows.
"Okay, and a chicken caesar salad, substitute chicken with jerk tofu, and - "
"Okay, you want a chicken caesar with.. what?"
"A chicken caesar, no chicken, sub jerk tofu."
"You want jerk chicken instead of regular?"
"No, I want no chicken. I want to substitute jerk tofu."
"Oh... so... okay... uh..."
"A chicken caesar salad. But instead of jerk chicken, we want jerk tofu. No chicken."
"Will that be all?" she asks.
"No. Almost."
"Sorry. I'm kind of new at this."
"It's cool. And we'd like a Spinach salad, with both esperanza and honey mustard dressing on the side."[silence] "Hello?" I ask.
"Oh, will that be all?" she asks.
"Yeah. That's all."
She runs through the order, stumbles a bit on the salad again, and then, lo, another salad confuses her, lettuce being all squirrelly and stuff.
"So, did you want the honey mustard on the side?"
"Yeah, and the esperanza, please."
"Well, um... it comes with the esperanza."
"Right. But on the side."
"But it's already there."
[silence. Now I'm confused.]
"But it's in the box, right?"
"I guess."
"But not on the lettuce. We'd like it on the side, please."
"Well, but it's all mixed up in there."
[sigh]
"No. We'd like the salad dry, with both dressings on the side."
"Okay, I guess."
We run through the credit card info. Without incident.
"Is that all I need to run a credit card?" she asks.
[Wait. What?]
"Um, I think so."
"But, is that all I need?" she asks again.
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure," I answer.
"Okay. I'm... I'm going to get the guy in charge to run this."
"Okay, thanks. We appreciate it."
"Okay. I'm really sorry. I'm new at this," she laughs softly, clearly embarrased.
"That's cool. Thanks for your help today," I chirp.

[We hang up. There are a few seconds of eye-rolling and snarky comments. "Put down the bong and take the order!" A.C. said.]

"Hey, Stacey," B.L. calls. "Did you use A.C.2's card?"
"Uh, yeah..." I answer, confused.
A.C. laughs: "It's over the limit!" [It's a corporate card. That would be bad.]
B.L. talks for a minute and hangs up the phone: "She wrote down the number wrong."
A.C.: "Big surprise there."

I could have made the pizza myself in the time it took me to call it in.

Good work from local teachers

Emma discusses her piece with Children's Art Walk founder Bruce Klassen.

AUGUSTA, GA. - Bruce Klassen reports that his organization received a Porter Fleming grant last week to continue the good work they've been doing with the kids at Heritage Academy. Their Bee's Knees show has almost sold out.

The program is looking to expand - Klassen expects a few other large donations - and will be making what he termed "some interesting, non-traditional moves" soon. Non-traditional for public charities, that is.

"One of our next 'gigs' is going to be four of us (three kids) giving paintings to Walton Rehab for their 'Unknown' Artist fund raiser," Klassen said. "So, again, the kids get a totally different success experience, giving their paintings to raise money.

Check out the Children’s Art Walk Show and Sale at The Bee’s Knees, or follow this link to their website and online gallery and store: childrensartwalk.com

(Made of Synthetic) Material Girl

AUGUSTA, GA. - How, exactly, has Madonna moved backwards in time, and why can't other celebrities who want some work done follow her lead?

Get With the Global Program

AUGUSTA, GA. - It's a fact that immigration has changed the face of America. From its founding to our future, the country will never look or sound like what our forefathers expected. But it's been that way over our entire history. From the Irish in the 1800s to the Southeast Asians in the 1980s, to Latinos in the last 20 years, our culture embraces them - and their presence invigorates our nation. These immigrants infuse us with fragrant foods, colorful histories and a growing workforce.

The Indian community in the United States added more than 640,000 to its number in the last five years, a growth rate with no precedent in the history of Indian immigration to the U.S.
From 1,678,765 in 2000, the population grew to 2,319,222 in 2005, a growth rate of 38%, the highest for any Asian community. The 2000 Census found the Indians the fastest growing community showing an increase of 106% during 1990-2000.

But that means we have to be able not only to reach them with social, medical and government services, but also to identify their needs and market to them. IAFL Translation & Interpretation Services helps businesses around the world to respond to those needs by offering Hindi translation.

Along with Hindi, nearly 30 other languages are spoken in India and neighboring countries whose populations have also exploded in the U.S. in recent years: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. IAFL Translation & Interpretation Services can help reach them, too, with Arabic translation and Farsi translation.

After nearly 20 years, they've acquired a client list of some of the top companies across the planet, including those on the Fortune 500 list. With Ford just yesterday divesting itself of Jaguar and Land Rover to India's Tata Motors, you can see how a familiarity with the countries, the languages and the culture of this region can be a great asset. They can provide more than just interpretation of documents, but also related services such as subtitling, DTP and translation for the hearing-impaired for use in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iran, Myanmar(Burma) and Bhutan. A complete list of the languages IAFL Translation & Interpretation Services can translate follows below:

We provide translations in practically all languages including English, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, Farsi(Persian), Dari, Pushto(Pashto/Pushtu), Punjabi, Bengali, Gujarati(Gujurati/Gujerati), Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Sinhala(Sinhalese/Singhalese), Nepali, Tibetan, Myanmarese(Burmese), Bodo(Boro), Bhutanese, Sanskrit, Assamese, Kashmiri(Koshur), Konkani, Oriya, Dogri, Manipuri(Meitei), Sindhi, etc.

Photos of anything, anywhere, and at any time

This photo from one of the earliest known professional baseball games is just an example of the photo archives from the New York Public Library. Free and open online access to over 600,000 digital images, from a library whose holdings total more than 43 million items. Yeah, it's pretty comprehensive.

This massive compilation from the New York Public Library collects images from primary sources and printed rarities such as illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, illustrated books, rare prints and photographs, short-lived prints and more.

Know what you're looking for? Search by a specific keyword and jump right to your results. Just browsing? Peruse through thousands of subjects and names or digitally leaf through NYPL categories like Cities & Buildings, Arts & Literature or Nature & Science to find the most interesting, bizarre and beautiful images from the distant past to more recent publishings.

Friday, March 21, 2008

It Just Goes to 11

"Good lord!" Scott exclaims.
"What?"
"I'm been holding forever!" he says, pointing to the phone at his ear.
"You know, that phone has a call timer, and I don't think it counts to 'forever.'"

But Chuck Norris has. Twice.

How Stuff Works


From black holes to déjà vu, find out how the world really works.

Every day we rely on a lot of stuff to help us get things done. But how much do we really know about the objects that surround us? That was the question HowStuffWorks.com was founded on in 1998 — and it's been giving credible, unbiased and easy-to-understand explanations since.

Visit HowStuffWorks

Fight at Mill Creek High School, Gwinnett County, Ga.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Shocking!

B.O.: "Stacey? Do know Professor Wright? From ASU?"
Me: "No. But I know Professor WRONG!" I toss out. Bad-dum-dum!
Alice and I collapse into gales of laughter, because a terrible, stupid, untimely pun made at your boss is always seriously funny.
A.C.: "Stacey gets all of her jokes off Popsicle sticks."

Better Than a Yard Sale?


Classic quid pro quo — trade things you have for things you want. With swaptree's unique "multiple-way trade algorithms," as soon as you post an item for exchange, you'll see hundreds of things you could get for it.

Unlike other online trading communities, on swaptree you don't have to spend time searching for and negotiating trades or dealing with a points system. Join for free, list what you have (either by ISBN or UPC number or by clicking a "Have It" button if you see your item featured on the site) and add things to your "Items I Want" list (the same way). swaptree will instantly alert you when you have a valid trade with a "Get Now" button next to something you wanted. Click it and you're set. The only thing you pay for is shipping your item (usually under $2.50 via USPS).

Creative Byline, for writers


The traditional model of book publishing involves researching interested editors, searching books that were published a year ago or websites that might never have been updated. When you find an editor you think might be interested, you package up your manuscript and put it in the mail. Then you wait. And you wait. It could be months before you hear a thing.

Creative Byline employs first readers, who have expertise in writing and publishing. They'll read your children's picture book or a synopsis, outline, and first three chapters of a longer work. And they'll give you (or your writing friend!) useful feedback that you can use to polish your work so you know that it's ready to be reviewed by an editor, who's a professional critic!

The service provides:
  • Helpful coaching from first readers
  • Target the editors you want
  • Guaranteed connection to the editor you choose
  • Discounted submissions for you and your friends

Happy (late) St. Paddy's Day!

Thanks, Penny!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What Would Your Dog Say if He Could Speak?

Polly See

"We have a no-jeans policy at work," Scott explained to me.
"Your fly is open," I pointed out. "They got a policy about that?"

New Zombie Movie Looks Sweet!

American Zombie, the trailer



How to Kill a Zombie, from "American Zombie"




Zombies for Jesus, From "American Zombie"

Monday, March 17, 2008

Your Tax Dollars at Work



Rich-moNd County, people! Do you even know where you are?!

Blue Grassed

AUGUSTA, GA. - Apparently, downtown Columbia canceled most of their St. Patrick's Day festival, at which the Avett Brothers were supposed to play.

A.C.: "We were leaving the festival when they announced inside the tent that it was canceled, and you could hear this giant roar go up from the crowd. I was like, come on before there's a riot."
A.W.: "Wow. A bluegrass riot."


Banjos! Give us banjos!

If I Have to Explain to You Why This is Stupid, You Might as Well Have the Lobotomy Now

Monday, March 17, 2008 By 1 comment

AUGUSTA, GA. - A RANT FOR THE Dilbert cartoon strip in your newspaper. I find it offensive to be using Jesus for a cartoon character's name.






Sunday, March 16, 2008

Huh? What the - ?!


AUGUSTA, GA. - They came in ranking last in the SEC, and had to play two games in nine hours (one during a tornado). But they stunned Arkansas, and the nation. How? If there's one constant about UGA sports teams, it's their ability to throw away an opportunity to win. Nevermore? We'll see.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Georgia Dome Hit by Tornado

Saturday, March 15, 2008 By No comments

Live broadcast of tornado on Raycom during Alabama vs Mississippi State game on WTTO Channel 21 in Birmingham.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Metro Spirit's Best Day Ever, OR What We Do When Amy's Not Around

AmCar and RayB aren't content to catch freebies. They throw back the ones' they don't want. Later, RayB ran out and stuck a Metro Spirit sticker to the 95 Rock van. Wuzzup, Joe White?!

The Pope. In Augusta. False idol? You be the judge.

Marty Stuart with Graphic Designer Heather Young (right)
Associate Publisher Amber Carlson (left) jumped in when she saw Stuart's hair.
She thought there was a pageant going on somewhere.


Metro Spirit staff hard at work. Beer makes selling, writing and designing better.
(L-R): He-Yo, Er.T., and JayC (fake rap names are awesome)
Ain't no party like a Metro Spirit party, 'cause a Metro Spirit party don't stop.

See that in Stuart's hand? Yes, baby. That's a Metro Spirit newspaper.

So it's St. Paddy's Day around here, and if there' s a parking spot left in the entire 5 block radius I'll be surprised. One of our ad reps parked her car in a reserved spot because it was the only space open. Y'all, this NEVER happens. We are very respectful of other people who work in the building. In TWO YEARS this has never happened.

But the woman whose space was taken wasn't about to be reasonable. She blocked the ad rep's car in with her own and called and left a nasty message that she wouldn't move it until the ad rep came up and apologized to her. The problem is that in the process she blocked in six other cars.

One of our employees left a message that she should move her car because of this. And the woman came in here demanding to see a supervisor, and when I offered to help, began cursing at me. It was kind of awesome. I'll admit that I baited her by demanding that she watch her language (when really I could give a flying crap about what kind of language people use). She freaked out and yelled at me and stomped outside and around the building.

It was, to say the least, amusing, because it was over a parking space. But the worst is when three different employees tried to appease her in the parking lot. "You white bastard," she said to one of them. "I'm going to blow your head off."

In the meantime, a big ol' redneck rebel flag flying float went by on Broad Street, as part of the parade. They had a big ol' outhouse on the stupid thing, and they were shooting people with Super Soakers. Three toddlers got it full in the face. Pandemonium ensued. A.W. came in laughing so hard at the stupidity of everyone and their grandma that I thought she was crying really hard.

"No," she gasped. "This is the best day ever. We should all just go home and go to bed."

To recap what happened today:
  • The Cincinatti Kid came by to stalk Tom
  • Erika performed a rousing dance routine to "Roll Out" by Ludacris
  • Had lunch from Taco Town
  • JayC gave his girlfriend a black eye (with makeup, but it still sounds bad)
  • St. Paddy's Day parade started rolling.
  • An employee is threatened with a shooting by a crazy woman who works in a law office
  • Marty Stuart - woohoo!
  • Babies sprayed in the face
  • RayB punks 95 Rock (suckas!)
  • Alice gets pinched by some random douchebag on the street ("Hey, where's your green?" J.C., "You should've said, 'Hey, where's your frat house?'")
All in all, a very satisfying day.


And if you see the woman who drives this car, for Christ's sake,
get out of her way. She might be trying to park.

This Blows

My co-workers are all outside drinking green beer and watching the St. Paddy's Day parade, while I'm writing. And also? Yeah, A.W.'s family is in the parade and they're throwing jello shots. Dang, man! That's my kind of parade!

UPDATE: A.W.'s family disappointed us by throwing green beads instead. We want liquor!

That 'Not-so-Fresh' Feeling

Hi, guys. I know we haven’t talked or hung out in a while. I’m sorry about that. But, I’m feeling a little dirty. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy what we do together. I’m just not comfortable with the arrangement anymore. You know, I have things that I want for myself and I’d like to think that people can meet me without cringing. I don’t like the way strangers look at me anymore. It’s like they know what’s inside of me. In short, I think that we should part ways. If you would be so kind as to clear out your stuff, I’d really appreciate it. And, no offense, but the sooner the better. The faster it’s gone, well… the better I’ll feel.

Love,

The Metro Spirit Refrigerator

Too Much Time on Their Hands

Why I Didn't Major in Speech Communications

AUGUSTA, GA. - I was a guest speaker yesterday at the Augusta State University Communications Festival. I don't know how I fooled these lovely people into thinking that I had something interesting to say (because I didn't) but they listened politely anyway.

After I sat back down from my rambling monologue that told them really nothing new, the lovely and talented Karen Gordon stood up to say a little about me. Mom, wife, etc., and "She has been described as having 'an electrifying personality' by Dr. Garvey."

Not content to accept what I hope was a compliment and not some roundabout way of saying "Ask your doctor about Ativan," I piped up.

"I hope that doesn't mean that I'm too shocking," I giggled.

(Silence)

"Shocking!" I repeated, despite my Internal Nerd Warning System beeping out a High Alert.

(Silence)

Karen waited a polite moment before moving on to Steven Walpert, who is an actual professional with things to say. I thank everyone for not chucking tomatoes at my head while I was still on stage. It was not my finest moment.

My Boyfriend Says Hi!

Friday, March 14, 2008 By No comments

To expand the idea of the "Ghosts" project, Nine Inch Nails is inviting anyone and everyone to create visuals to accompany the album's music. In a few months, they'll be gathering the entries we feel are particularly exceptional and highlighting them. There are no rules to this - be as creative as you like. Create a music video, or a short film or something completely abstract. Use only one track from the album, or use multiple tracks. Only one caveat: Incorporating copyrighted materials (clips from movies, music by other artists, etc) into your video might limit our ability to feature it in the future.

To submit your video, join the Ghosts group at http://www.youtube.com/group/ninghosts and add your video to the group. Good luck, and enjoy.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Where Even More Math in J-School Can't Help Me

AUGUSTA, GA. - So I interviewed this asshole Ukrainian-Israeli-American violinist last night. I dunno; maybe it was the language barrier. Maybe it was how little time I had to prep for the interview, due to increased workload. Maybe it was the fact that I know f-all about Ukrainian-Israeli-American violin playing because one cannot know everything, okay?

But it did not go well. There were periods of silence that were not part of my technique to draw people into a discussion when they have little to say. I also had a lot of old information from his bio, like that he lives in New York, when actually he lives in Chicago. So I came off looking like I know f-all about Ukrainian-Israeli-American violin playing, big surprise.

The asshole needs to update his press info. I'm not freaking psychic.

But the worst is when I was trying to draw out some kind of family or life stories, and I asked him how his music had been influenced by spending long periods in three disparate cultures.
"Well, I don't think it has influenced my music at all," he retorted.
"How interesting," I tried to cover. I mean, how can you not be influenced by the culture in which you live? You're exposed to new ideas and new ways of presenting music and, above all, you're exposed to new music.
"What brought you from the Ukraine to Israel in the first place?"
"Well, I'm Jewish. I would think that's fairly self-explanatory."

And that's all the time we have on I Give Up Will You Just Tell Me SOMETHING I Can Write Down. Tune in next week when I interview an Albanian alligator wrestler who suffers from debilitating herpetophobia. Until then, good night.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

This Came in the Mail. We're Not Sure Why


I think this might be some kind of press release. I'm just not sure. It was one page, and the back side was completely blank. Reminds me of the time I was reading some instructions to install a thermostat in my old apartment. They were entirely in Spanish, except when I got to the last page, it stated in big capital letters in plain English: "THIS PAGE IS BLANK."

Okay, I didn't say it was exactly like that. I just said it reminded me of that.

Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys and Trisha Yearwood Walk into a Bar...

AUGUSTA, GA. - Charles Tremblay shot this video with music producer Sean Clyde, who is an Augusta resident. Clyde, known in the industry as "Cleezy," has worked on recent music for Snoop Dogg, Trish Yearwood and Alicia Keys. Check out our cover story on him at this link.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Awful Mother, Redux

So, another thing that goes without saying is that as a parent, you will eventually lose your child for a short while. It will cause you cardiac arrhythmia, and you will think one of three things:
1) This child will be the death of me
2) I will be the death of this child
3) I am dead

In almost overwhelming numbers, mothers tend to fall into the first category. The second category is reserved for those mothers who take the blame for everything. The third category is reserved for those mothers who just can’t take it anymore.

I’m in the second category, and I hate it. Everything, I think, is my fault. The birthmark on her shoulder. The fact that I have to call her name 10 times before she hears me. The smashed index finger — oh, wait, that was me. Global warming. I’ve never had a lot of confidence in my mothering skills, but as Emmie gets older and displays at least a few bare moments of politeness, helpfulness and cheer, I have gained more confidence.

But then I lost her.

One moment she was trying on a pair of size 10 women’s linen peep-toe heels (what? Is that odd for a three-year-old?) in the shoe section at Target, the next she was gone. I mean it, people. I turned, put the shoebox I was holding back on the shelf, turned back, and SHAZAM! She was gone. Her pink flowered boots were still sitting there.

I spun in place. “Emmie?”
Nothing.
I trotted to end of the aisle and checked all directions. “Emmie?!”
I dashed to the other end of the aisle and did the same. “EMMIE?!”

I did a quick lap around the shoe section, dashed in to maternity, checked athletic wear and returned. A store associate stopped me.

“Can I help you?”
“Yes!” I was breathless. “My little girl. Three years old. Short blonde curly hair. Pink striped hoodie.”
“We’ll find her. What’s her name?”
“Emerson.” My voice shook. I could feel me about to lose my composure.
She patted my arm and smiled: “Happens all the time. Haven’t lost one yet.”

We took two different routes, each calling her name. I tried variants: pleading, teasing, demanding, threatening, saddened. The store associate mainly tried guilt and playfulness. Foolish woman. My child feels no guilt and this is playing to her.

Finally, a woman’s voice called with amusement, “I found a little girl.”
I dashed back to the same aisle I’d last seen her, but still all I saw were her boots. The woman gestured to a low shelf. There, wedged onto the second to bottom shelf, was a giggling three year old. How she managed to fit there, I’ll never know. But unless you crouched down, you’d never see her. The woman had been looking for a pair of shoes in her size.

“Emmie!” I gasped, and she slid off the shelf, laughing.
“Not good, Emmie!” I scolded her, near tears, and picked her up.

I was embarrassed, but the two ladies seemed not to question my ability to parent my own child. The store associate grinned and chirped, “I told you it would be okay. See you later!” while the lovely older elegant woman stood and watched us putting Emmie’s boots back on. She was dressed in such a way as to make me wonder what she was doing in Target, of all places. She was in designer duds, head to toe.

“Thank you so much, ma’am,” I said, genuinely grateful.
She threw back her gorgeous grey hair and laughed, “Oh, honey, there’s nothing easy about that age.”
Then she swooped out of the aisle as though she had wings.

I held Emmie while she patted my face.
“Don’ be sad, mama. Don’ cry.” She whispered intently.
“Please don’t ever hide from mommy like that. I would be so upset if I lost you,” I pleaded, smooching her all over her face. “I just missed you so much, Emmie.”
She nodded, sagely. “An’ den you cry like a little baby.”

Hmm... Why don't you go hide again while I check on the car?

Somebody loves me!

AUGUSTA, GA. - I may not win a bloggie - or a weblog award, or a best of blogs, or anything else. But someone out there loves me. Parenting Publications of America just released their annual PPA Awards, and I won first place for general feature writing! Woo-hoo!

My father's response: "Do you get a raise? A promotion?"
No, dad. I get a piece of paper, and this write-up from the judges:

Gold: Metro Augusta Parent, “Bad Rabbit: The True Diary of a Pregnancy,” Stacey Hudson, writer; Amy Christian, editor.

It may be true that where pregnancy is concerned, it’s all been said before — but rarely with this much laugh-out-loud humor. A fresh voice brings new life to this familiar tale, which is unflinching in its honesty. For every woman who has ever been there and every man who has stood beside her, here’s testimony that a sense of humor is the saving grace.

But, even BETTER (and if you've ever tried to organize these things, you'll appreciate it) is that Copy Editor Extraordinare Alice Wynn won Second Place for her calendar listings! The judges said:

Silver: Metro Augusta Parent; Amy Christian, editor; Alice Wynn, web and listings editor

Readers find a wide variety of information in these listings, including useful sections such as Home Schooling resources, Baby Care, and Childbirth Preparation. There is a distinct impression that just about anything that happens can be found in this calendar.

And, finally, our long-lost Creative Director, Betsy Hartman Everest, won first place for a cover illustration. The judges said:

Gold: Metro Augusta Parent; Amy Christian, editor; Betsy Everest, creative director

A combination of saturated, pop-art style colors grab the reader’s attention. The interplay between each hand’s color and the opposing color behind it create strong contrasts that give life to the composition and keep the eye moving around the page.

This is how much respect it warrants us. Alice came and asked me to write a photo caption for my Bite story for this week's issue.
"No, I'm sorry," I laughed, holding up my hands. "I'm very busy writing award-winning features stories and I cannot be bothered with your silly caption."
She tossed the page on my desk anyway: "You know, 'Vanity Fair' ain't calling you yet."

Update: Alice just called her dad to tell him that she won a silver award. His first question: "Do you get any money?" Amy and I laughed. Dads are all alike.

Math Skillz. We Has Them.

A.C. is whispering to herself and flipping her fingers.
"Whatcha counting there, A.C.?" I ask.
"Days of the week," she replies.
"Uh, there are seven of them."
"Yeah, I know that, smarty pants. I'm just seeing how many there are between now and next Wednesday."

Actually, it's not that far out of context...

Don't Even Try, People

We have an awesome mail carrier here at the Spirit, an ebullient Latino man with a big voice and a beautiful soul. Every day is a great day to him, and if your day is going badly, he'll make you feel better for a minute... unless you're one of the grumpy old ladies who work here.

"Good afternoon Metro Spirit!" he booms as he enters the building and sets the mail down with a flourish. "It's a beautiful day today!"
"Well, we're stuck inside so we wouldn't know," A.W. mutters.
"Yeah, so thanks for reminding us," A.C. chimes in out of his earshot.
I can't help but laugh.
"Is that what you were talking about on your blog?" A.C. asks, and A.W. guffaws.
I grin: "The Triumverate of Testiness? Yup. Pretty much."

Only Nine Fingers and 10 Toes After I Got Hold of Her

It’s not talked about much in parenting circles. It’s a source of shame. But it’s also an unavoidable fact. At some point in your lives, you will accidentally injure your child.

It’s not enough these days that you feel guilty about the injury. Now you worry about what other people will think — and whether they’ll call DFACS on you. It happened to my parents once, unjustly, and they never again spoke to these particular neighbors… not that many people did anyway. They were kind of horrible.

So this weekend, it was my turn. My husband hates shopping, so I try to take care of it as much as possible. This weekend, I had grocery shopping, home repair shopping, clothing returns, toiletry issues and — hell; I know I forgot to do something… well, whatever. Emmie loves to go to the grocery store with me and help to pick out the food. It’s always the same food, but she gets very excited about putting it in the cart for me.

She was in a playful mood — isn’t she always — and for a while she insisted on holding on to the bottom of the shopping cart while I pulled her along the floor on her stomach. It was early, the store was largely deserted, and it wasn’t hurting anyone. So I did it. She slid along on her tummy, protected by the giant sweater I made her put on before we left the house, and giggled and grinned. Everyone we passed laughed uproariously. One mother said, “God, I remember those days. At that age my children drove me crazy, and I couldn’t wait for them to grow up. Now miss it.”

I’m fully aware that this time of wonder, the toddler years where everything is new and beautiful and magical, will pass too quickly. Soon I’ll be dealing with things like the time my friend’s six-year-old daughter came home from first grade and reported that they boys in her class think she’s “hot.” Makes a mother see the value of a burqua.

But for now, it’s enough to watch her belly-laughing at she gets up from the tiled floor and shouts, “Dat was fun, mama!” And when I shush her for being to loud, and she says, “Don’ say shush to me!” in a perfect imitation of myself. Ah, children: the fun house mirrors of all our faults — and, hopefully, all of our strengths.

She tired of that game more quickly than I’d hoped. I would have been perfectly content to drag her throughout the meat section, the cereal aisle, the dairy department, the deli and finally the checkout aisle.

So she started throwing random things into the cart; things I would never buy, like Pop-Tarts, Dora cereal, iced chocolate chip cookies, Little Debbies, Doritos and frozen waffles. And I patiently took them back out, trying to guide her towards choosing from among acceptable foods, like which whole grain bread to choose, what flavor of rice cake and whether she wanted yellow or orange string cheese.

Then I turned around from the dairy case and saw she was missing. But, her giggling gave her away. She had crawled onto the shelf under the cart and was laying on her tummy, peeking up at me. “Les’ go, mama!” she laughed, putting her hands out in front of her like Superman. “Gooooooooo!”

I laughed. Who hasn’t ridden under the shopping cart from time to time? “Watch your hands and fingers, doodle-bug,” I said, checked to make sure she was on securely, and drove down the aisle with a lot of intentional swerving.

“Do it agin!” she laughed, and I obliged for a while. Just as we were leaving the groceries for the toiletries, the wheel caught on something. It made that “rrrrrOOOUUUUF” sound that happens when you run over one of those little plastic bits that are always lying around in Wal-mart. So I stopped to move whatever it was, and saw it: blood. Despite my many warnings and checks, the wheel had caught her finger. She was staring at her right pointer, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, engaged in that long, silent heave before the screaming begins. I snatched her up and held her tight as it hit her. It was not quiet, and it was not pretty. But we had made it to the shoe section, so I sat down with her on one of those weird stools and held her as she shrieked.

“Oh, honey, mommy is so sorry!” I repeated over and over, rocking her and while blood smeared on my sweater. I didn’t care if it ever came out. Idiot, idiot, idiot. Who lets a three-year-old ride a shopping cart shelf?! I berated myself, ignoring the memories of my own mother doing the same. Of my sister-in-law doing the same with my now-10-year-old nephew. Of mothers across the world who’ll do anything sometimes to keep their children occupied in a public place.

“Let me look at it, sweetheart,” I pleaded, and she yanked her hand away, holding it far out behind her while she cried and shook with pain. God, her little finger is going to fall off, I just know it. After some pleading, and promising not to touch it, she held it a foot away for me to examine. It wasn’t that bad. But I bet it hurt like hell.

“Okay, baby. I think you’re going to be alright,” I cooed softly. Not that it made her feel any better. She cried and cried, looking in horror at her finger. It might be the most painful thing that’s ever happened to her — besides being born to the Worst Mother in the Word — and she reacted accordingly. But, in her defense, she didn’t once ask for a pacifier. I think we’ve broken that habit finally.

“I needa Band-Aid!” she wailed. Finally, something I can DO about the situation! I snuggled her close with one arm and awkwardly pushed the buggy with the other. It took freaking 10 minutes to find the Band-Aids. Why are they so hard to find? I mean, I guess they aren’t big-money items, but there’s no reason to stick them in a file drawer in a closet in the basement with a sign saying “Beware of the Leopard,” you know? She picked out pink Barbie Band-Aids (she thought it was “pwincess” Band-Aids, or I’d never have allowed it), and I carefully wound it around her tiny finger as she sniffled and cried softly. I picked out pain-killing antibacterial ointment and let her pick out a new princess bowl-plate-cup set as a present, and found a blessedly short checkout line.

“I can’t sell you this,” the checkout lady said as I spoke softly to Emmie. What? Did I grab a bottle of cooking wine on Sunday? (Seriously. They won’t sell you cooking wine on Sundays in Georgia. It’s messed up. What if I had a piccatta emergency?!)

She was holding up my daughter’s princess dining set, the thing she hugged to her chest as she cried, the one thing that made her feel even the slightest bit better after her own mother nearly decapitated her wee finger. I’d had to cajole it out of her clutches just to get it on the checkout belt.

“Sorry?” I said, confused.

“I can’t sell this,” she said, cautiously. “It’s not 1:30, yet.”

“I don’t understand,” I said, eyeing her with venom in my heart. Emmie looked at the lady and gasped, “My pwesent!” she said with obvious delight. She held out her hands.

“Blue laws,” the cashier explained. And then I remembered: you can’t buy anything except food and groceries before 1:30 in South Carolina. Apparently, before then, you can only eat and go to church — or, it seems in my case, go to hell.

I was pissed. But there was no use taking it out on this poor woman, who makes shit wages to deal with idiots like me who run over their own child’s finger. And by the way she tensed up when she told me, she has to deal with people like me a lot.

“I understand. Just… uh… slide it under the counter where she can’t see it,” I said and tried to distract Emmie. But while Emmie doesn’t understand the frailties of the human body versus a giant shopping cart laden with 50 pounds of food and beverages, she’s no fool when it comes to her presents.

“Uh!” she squealed as the cashier slipped the set under her counter in the most obvious way possible, thanks so much, lady! Emmie looked at me, pleading, her little brows furrowed and her bloody finger held up for good measure. “Mommy, I nee’ my pwesent back?”

I leaned down. “I’m so sorry, honey, but mommy can’t buy that for you right now. It’s not time for that yet. We’ll come back and get it laters,” I said, praying that she would not freak out. She looked down at her finger, and then up at me, and blessedly, back at the cashier. “Dankoo berry mush,” she said, and waved politely, if unhappily.

The finger is fine, but the nail will probably fall off, eventually. I have been seriously considering turning myself into the police for “child abuse by stupidity.” I feel that bad about it.

Emmie’s recovering, though she had some difficulty sleeping last night, rolling over on her hand or getting it caught underneath her pillow. Since she slept with us last night that meant that we also had some difficulty sleeping. And I’m dog-tired this morning.

But I probably deserve it.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Thanks, y'all!


Not to toot my own horn... well, okay, fine, I am... but someone nominated me for Best of Blogs Best Mommy Blog! Woohoo!

Of course, I am like the Susan Lucci of blog awards. I've been nominated for them all - the bloggies, the best of blogs, bloggers choice awards, and the weblog awards. I never win. But it is an honor to be nominated. Or something. Does it come with free drinks? 'Cause that's all I really care about when it gets down to it. I don't really care so much about awards unless they come with a party. So if you see me tied to my keyboard for long periods of time, don't send an e-mail - send liquor!

Anyway, if you feel like it, why dontcha vote for me? Just go here, and tell them if you think I'm pretty good. What's in it for you? My undying gratitude. What's in it for me? Maybe some reader who'll click through my ads every once in a while. That would be nice. You know. Nothing personal. I'm just sayin'.

Voting isn't live yet, but further nominations would be appreciated. The process:
  • After March 23rd, the panelists assigned to each specific category will weed through the nominations and pick what they think are the 10 most deserving blogs in that category. Panelist decisions will be based first on blog content and second on user-friendliness; a blog's visual design will only be a minor consideration. (NOTE: The last thing I designed on this blog was the name. So thank you Jebus.)

  • On April 7th we will publish the finalists, and provide a form for voting online. (NOTE: So then you should come back and vote for... someone...)

  • The fans will then vote on a their favorite in each category. 100% of the popular vote will be used to pick the winner.

  • All winners will be announced on May 5th, 2008.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Hello to my new readers!

So the ever-so-handy Google Analytics tells me that my readership has more than doubled in the past couple of days. I don't how we got so popular, 'cause it certainly isn't from my high school classmates (Hi, Rockdale County High School, Class of 1992! Don't miss you too much!).

But, thanks very much for stopping by. Here is a quick guide:

1. This blog is not intended for children or old people. If it's any explanation, my own mother doesn't even love me enough to read my blog. "God, you'll talk about anything!" she complained one day. And she hasn't been back.

2. My husband almost never blogs. That's because he can never remember his own password. It's the same as his e-mail password, but it never occurs to him to try it.

3. That's only partially true. He doesn't blog much because he has been tragically stapled to his cell phone for two years. I call him from our home phone just to get his attention. I'm only joking a little.

4. I hate cell phones. I don't have one. I will hold out for as long as possible, but realistically I know that resistance is futile. And rather out of character. I do love technology, just not the kind that inspired rudeness in people.

5. The child who inspired this blog (which admittedly could use a redesign) is now three years old. There's a lot of blogging to read through, so have fun.

6. If you have any comments, I'd love to hear them. I'll respond as soon as I can.

7. But frequently I'm busy laughing with my snarky co-conspirators at work, A.W. and A.C. They make up what I like to think of as the Triumvirate of Testiness over in the editorial corner at the Metro Spirit. I love them almost as much as my many grey sweaters.

8. And, in fact, for my personality and lifestyle (easily defined as lacking and lazy, respectively), I may have the most perfect job on the planet as the paper's arts editor. It's an office filled with smart, funny people who have great big fuzzy hearts. I won't be giving it up for a long, long time.

9. Unless I win the lottery.

10. So I'd better start playing it, don'tcha think?

Hope to hear from you soon!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Happy St. Paddy's Day

A.W.: "What is Celtic attire? Would that be a kilt or chain mail?"

I misspelled vicious at first

J.C. saunters over in a suspicious manner.
A.C.: "What are you doing?"
J.C.: "Nuttin'. What are you doing?"
Me: "Wondering what you're doing. This vicious cycle may never end."

The beer made me do it

Friday, March 07, 2008 By

B.O.: "Do y'all wanna see my tattoos?"

For sale: Smarty pants

A.C.: "I would like to point out that we ordered from Roly Poly today because they deliver, and then all three of us got in our cars and had to go get cash."
Me: "Yeah, I thought about that when I was driving to the Wachovia in North Augusta, when there's one right across the street."
A.W.: "I saw you drive by me and I was like, 'Where is she going?'"
Me: "I dunno. I got in my car and took a right on Ellis and I was like, 'What am I doing?'"
And then I just drove on to justify loosing my parking space.
A.C.: "Yeah, there's a Suntrust down here but it was kind of raining so I decided to go to the Suntrust on Walton Way. I got halfway there and I was like, 'Great. I'm almost to Roly Poly.'"
A.W.: "This is a real think tank around here."

Intelligence. We has it.

A.W.: "Did you see them trying to kill the roach this morning? It was on the ceiling above B.L.'s computer, and J.C. had a handful of pens that he kept throwing at them. Meanwhile, R.X. is in here changing light bulbs with a ladder."

Two Jokes in One Day! T.G. Goes for a Record

A.C. hangs up the phone.
A.C.: "Michael Thames just called. He just called to say he's on the Canal Authority."
T.G.: "Oh, good."
Me: "Can someone appoint me to something?"
A.C.: "Queen of the Money!"
T.G.: "Oh, the Procurement Advisory Board?"

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Turn up your BellTones

Me: Hi! I'm calling for Lee Sheridan?
Man on Phone: What?
Me: I'm sorry; I'm trying to get in touch with Lee Sheridan?
M.o.P.: What?!
Me: Lee... Sheridan?
M.o.P.: Venisha?!
Me: No, sir. LEE... SHER-I-DAN?
M.o.P: No, I'm sorry. There ain't no Lisa here, sugar.

Charity? Not Even Close


On Kiva.org, you can help the world's working poor reach economic independence. But you don't just give your money away — you loan it. Because on this site, your generosity gets repaid.

Kiva.org (a non-profit organization) is home to more than 130 entrepreneurs from the developing world looking to start up or fund a business. And whether it's raising cattle, repairing cars or selling clothes, there's one thing they all have in common: they need your help. But they're not looking for handouts — just a 6-12 month loan to get them on their feet. Which you can help with safely and easily right through Kiva.org.

The lending process is simple. Find a person you'd like to loan to, then do so using your credit card through PayPal. Kiva then transfers the funds to their local microfinance partners, who distribute the money to each business. Periodically, the partner collects repayments and provides detailed updates on how your loan is helping. Once your loan is repaid, you can either withdraw the funds or re-loan to someone new!

Kiva.org also supplies information about each of their field partners, including delinquency and default rates, the number of entrepreneurs they're sponsoring and their risk rating, so you can have a better idea of how your loan will be repaid.

Just think of it as a temporary donation.

Stupid Story of the Day: Officials: Planes Avoid Mid-Air Crash

Thursday, March 06, 2008 By No comments

The story is, basically, that nothing bad happened. More importantly, nothing bad happened and it was never in any real danger of happening. And, on top of that, nothing bad happened, it was never in any real danger of happening, and the planes were alerted by a cockpit warning system that they were in danger of something not happening.

Published: 3/6/08, 12:46 PM EDT

OBERLIN, Ohio (AP) - Two airplanes carrying more than 120 passengers narrowly averted a collision after an air traffic control trainee told a Delta Air Lines pilot to turn into the path of an oncoming plane, officials said.

One pilot flew up and the other went down, and the planes never came closer than about 400 feet in altitude and 3 miles in lateral, or horizontal, separation, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said Thursday.

Standard separation is 1,000 feet vertical and 5 miles lateral, Cory said.

A cockpit collision avoidance system alerted the pilots to the danger, in the skies east of Pittsburgh.

Did you read that? THREE MILES. FOUR HUNDRED FEET.

Professionalism. We has it.

Random finger gestures make a man look like a badass.

Super Intern!

Tiki Wilson is our intern, and she's doing a super fantastic job. She spent far too much "quality time" with us at our party last night, getting a close-up of why people say that journalism is entirely peopled with either curmudgeons or drunks. In our case, possibly both.

Don't you think Brad Owens should just yank this sign off the building and give it to her?



Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Blind Man Dancing to Lil' Boosie

This short clip was shot by our intern. Yeah, we know it's dark outside. That's what we like to call "night time." Word up.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Trailer for "The Happening"

Woo-hoo! I love M. Night Shyamalan movies!



After watching it, does anyone else think zombies? ...

Anyone?

Is it just me...?

Monday, March 03, 2008

When your child misbehaves in public

"Come on, Emmie! We have to go get Daddy some dinners!" I chirp, as I unbuckle her from her seat belt at the German restaurant, Augsburg Haus.

"Yeah!" she nods and clambers out of the car. "He sad! He hun-gee. We nee' geh him sumpin' to eat!"

I steer her around waiters and other diners and pop her in a seat at the bar while I pay for dinner.

"Don't touch that, Emmie."

"I said, don't touch that, sweetie-pie."

"Emmie! Did you hear me?"

"Sorry. What do I owe again? Crap. What did he order, gold bullion?!"

"Emmie? What did mommy say?" "I not touch it! Dora touch it!"

"Em- what? Dora touch it? Oh, your doll."

"Okay, thank you for your help. Come on, sweetie! What do we say?" "Dankoo!" "Very good."

A nice server lifts her out of her chair. "Dankoo berry mush!" she says. I beam with pride and begin herding her towards the door.

"Nooooooo!" she squeals. Nearby diners look up. "I don' wanna go home!"

"But, sweetheart, Daddy is hungry. We have his dinners! We have to take it to him or he will be sad!"

"Nooooooooo!" she squeals, and scuttles under a table, pulling a chair in behind her.
(Sigh....)

In the corner a table of Richmond County Sheriff's Deputies are enjoying their dinner. So I can't offer to sell her, and I can't beat her. Hmmm. What other parenting techniques can there be? (I kid! Don't come and take her, DFACS! I also have never even suggested that I might like to sell her on ebay, so don't uh... read the rest of this blog!)

I put the food bag down and lean in: "Emerson. Do you remember earlier today when we were at the party?"

"Uh-huh!" she brightened.

"Do you remember when mommy wouldn't let you go to the store?"

"Yeah..." she looked saddened by the memory. The police officers are grinning at us, but trying to do it in a way that I don't notice.

"Why did mommy take you home and not to the store?"

"Uh... 'cause I runned away and I clime da hill and I tush da cookies."

"Right. But mainly because you ran away and hid under the table. What are you doing now?"

"I hide unner da table. Can you come an' fine me?"

"I think I already did, sweetheart. Now, do you want another time out?"

"No..."

"Do you want Daddy to be sad? Or hungry?"

"No..."

"Then let's go take him his dinners, doodle-bug."

She thought for a minute and then scrambled out. Thank god. The cops go back to their spaetzle.

"Thank you, sweetie," I started for the door. "Now, when we... Emmie?"

She was still sitting on the stairs. At least she wasn't under the table anymore.

"Honey? Will you come with mommy?"

She stood up and backed up the stairs to the raised dining area. Crap... the deputies are taking more of an active interest, and two older gentleman at a table are glancing at Emmie in irritation.

"Emmie? Will you come help mommy bring daddy his dinner?"

She backs further away. If I snatch her up, she'll kick and scream the whole way. And I hate manhandling her. And I don't know how the deputies might take it. I don't want their frowny faces aimed in my direction.

I step towards her. She giggles and ducks behind the railing. Damn. She wants to play. We just can't. Scott is at home and in pain, and he might need my help. And I have to pee. And I'm hungry. And I'm frickin' tired. And it's a half-hour before her bedtime.

"Okay, roodle-doo. I see you laters!" I turn and walk towards the door. She steps towards me, looking worried.

"Bye-bye, sweetie! I leabing!" Why do I baby talk in public? Can someone make it stop?

"Mama?!" she calls. The deputies are watching openly now.

"I gotta go, doodle! You coming?"

"No, I don' wanna go home!" she jerks her body like she's having a seizure. Play it smart, Stacey, or they'll be sour braten all over the car - and perhaps an arrest record in your future.

"I not go home, doodle!" English, woman! Speak English! "I go to store!"

"I wanna go to da store!"

"Well, come on!"

She runs happily to her lying jerk of a mother, who manipulated her into the parking lot where she could scream to her heart's content. I strap her in her car seat and tell her that because she hid from me under the table, she could not go to the store. She had to go home to time-out.

For a moment, there was a shocked silence. Had she been 16, there would have been a series of shrieked, "You're the worst mother in the world! I wish you were dead! I hate you Ihateyou Ihateyou!" But I know that will come in time. For now, there was only the high-pitched shrieking that comes when the woman you trust most in the world has willingly betrayed that trust.

The worst part: we were never going to go to the store.

Headline Writing - an Inside Look

"Why are we calling the Number 9 story 'Pet Sounds?'" T.G. asks.
"It's the title of a Beach Boys album and I thought it was funny," I said. "I guess it might not be the best choice for a headline about a Beatles tribute band."
"Don't we have a Beatles reference we can use?" T.G. asks.
"I don't know. Do you have a suggestion for a Humane Society fundraiser?" I ask.
A.W. pipes up from behind me: "How about I am the Walrus?"

Hee.

I'll Be Here all Week! Tip Your Server!

A.W.: "Oooh, it's Colo-rectal Cancer Awareness Month."
Me: "Oh, that'd be a great theme for 'Bite This.'"
A.W.: "What would you list?"
Me: "Chili... corn... peanuts..."
A.W.: "Indian food..."
Me: "Hot sauce..."

Altered States

Monday, March 03, 2008 By No comments

People like to pigeonhole other people. "There are two kinds of people. Those who divide people into two types, and those who don't. - Edward A. Murphy, Jr. of "Murphy's Laws"

I do. I divide the world into People Who Get Garfield, and People Who Would Like to See Him as Roadkill.

But this website, by an anonymous author, shows how funny "Garfield" is, without the title character. They digitally remove the cat from the comic and it becomes an examination on the frailties of mankind. Or, at least, one kind of man... the kind who would own a cat like Garfield. Prepare to reexamine your philosophy textbooks - and get out the psych books for good measure.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Vocabulary for the Modern Office

Assmosis: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss.

Blamestorming: Sitting around in a group discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.

Seagull Manager: A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, shits over everything and then leaves.

Blowing your buffer: Losing your train of thought.

Salmon day: [A fave] The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.

Chainsaw consultant: An outside expert brought in to reduce the employee headcount, leaving the brass with clean hands.

CLM: Career-Limiting Move. Used among microserfs to describe illadvised activity. Trashing your boss while he or she is within earshot is a serious CLM.

Adminisphere: The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

Dilberted: To be exploited and oppressed by your boss. Derived from the experiences of Dilbert, the geek-in-hell comic strip character. "I've been dilberted again. The old man revised the specs for the fourth time this week."

Flight Risk: Used to describe employees who are suspected of planning to leave the company or department soon.

404: Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found", meaning that the requested document could not be located. "Don't bother asking him... He's 404, man."

Keyboard Plaque: The disgusting buildup of dirt and crud found on computer keyboards.

Ohnosecond: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake.

Ercussive Maintenance: The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

Prairie Dogging: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a "cube farm" (an office full of cubicles) and everyone's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.

Umfriend: A sexual relation of dubious standing or a concealed intimate relationship, as in "This is Dale, my...um...friend."

Yuppie Food Stamps: The ubiquitous $20 bills spewed out of ATMs everywhere. Often used
when trying to split the bill after a meal: "We all owe $8 each, but all anybody's got is yuppie food stamps."