Leslie's Omnibus

Route Change

Robert Frost (1874–1963).
Mountain Interval. 1920.

1. The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Who Should Paint You: Alfred Gockel
All American yet funky, you inspire an artist's imagination.

And while not everyone will understand your portrait, you will!

(A tip of the cap to the Jedi.)

Professor Althouse is thinking about selling her house and moving into a condo. She asks about the downside, but fails to ask about the upside -- which, to my way of thinking, is in winnowing down the stuff in your life into that which is really important and that which you can let go of. There's a real beauty in both, as far as I'm concerned.

Book Your Ticket

I've said it before and I'll say it again, James Frey's A Million Little Pieces is a wonderful fictionalized memoir.

True confessions: I bought the book because the cover looked interesting -- not because Oprah recommended it. In fact, I usually avoid Oprah's Book Club suggestions, because they are by-and-large overwhelmingly depresssing or, oddly enough, even more overwhelmingly depressing.

Anyway, I read the book before James Frye appeared on the Oprah show. I've known a few people who've gone through rehab -- specifically Hazelden -- and his description of the program didn't ring entirely true. In addition, I've been on enough airplanes to question whether or not anyone in the condition he described himself to be in would be allowed to board a commercial flight in anything less than a straight jacket... and with a keeper.

Then I watched the Oprah segment with his interview. After having read the book, I found it quite odd that Mr. Frey does not appear to have what should be a large and noticeable scar on either cheek... even though the book clearly states that he had a huge hole in his cheek -- that had been there for days before being treated. Do you see one? I sure don't.

But I still really loved the book for both its writing style and its message. You see, at that point, I assumed that Frey had done what a lot of storytellers do -- embellished his story for visceral impact. I also assumed that it was a story, not completely factual. Beautifully written, but a story.

So I read it again. In my second read-through, the whole Lily story line sounded less real to me, as it was dreamier and less likely than most bodice-rippers I've read. The male friendships, on the other hand, rang entirely true. If you write what you know, well... this led me to believe more than ever that, while terrific prose, the book was more fiction than true memoir.

At the point when The Smoking Gun came out with the Frey story, I really wondered what the big deal was. Was it really the fact that Frey embellished, or was it that Oprah was embarrassed/betrayed?

If this is to be believed, Oprah knew or should have known that there were problems with Frey's veracity long before she ever chose to interview him and give him a wider audience. I predict that at least one head is going to roll at Harpo Studios, if it hasn't already happened.

I have another question, though. How come no one is picking on James' mother, who sat in the audience and nodded approvingly through his entire first interview with Oprah? Surely Mom knew her kid was... um... gilding the lily, didn't she? After all, if AMLP is to be believed, Mom and Dad actually met Lily.

Finally, I also read and enjoyed My Friend Leonard, and I did so before the whole TSG brouhaha blew up. But I was also convinced the writing in MFL was an even more fictionalized memoir.

Look, if you want a ripping good read that you will have a hard time putting down, read AMLP. If you want the God's honest truth, though, don't expect it any more from AMLP than you could from Frey's own character in the book.

Selfish. No impulse control. Angry. Self-destructive.

Does anyone else see a pattern here?

That, in the end, may be the biggest message of all from James Frey -- just because you survive rehab doesn't make you the citizen of the year.

And speaking of a million little pieces... what a shame!

Rules of the Road

My BlogMama dishes up some smart rules for newbies in ANY business.

Common sense: it's not just for attorneys any more.

Down Memory Lane

There are times when looking back is a pleasure, and times when it's very painful.

I was living in New Hampshire at the time of this disaster. Christa McAulliffe was our teacher. Every child of school age in the state of New Hampshire was watching when the Challenger disintegrated, and many of us "working stiffs" were glued to television sets in conference rooms and anywhere else we could find a television set.

Maybe it was time-delayed. But even 20 years later, those images are fresh and immediate to me.

Say a prayer today in memory of those astronauts who indeed reached out and touched the face of God.


I went to the doc today for a follow-up to the sleep study I did a few days ago.

The results? Yep. I have moderate sleep apnea. I had no idea how many times a night I stop breathing until the doc showed me the graphs from the study. No wonder the Buckaroo was scared witless!

So what's the next step? Well, I have to go back to the sleep center next Thursday, and let them once again wire me up like the pre-surgery Bionic Woman. I'll have wires connected from the top of my head down to my ankles. Then they strap on some sensors around the waist and a chest sensor that gets strapped under the armpits and above the boobs. (We're talking major glamor, baby!) They stick the sensors to your face and scalp with some goop that's the consistency of rubber cement.* By the time morning rolls around, my hair will make these folks look stylish. Yes, indeedy -- I'll have seriously scary hair.

On top of that, I'll be hooked up to one of these dealies and they'll tweak the air pressure all night until they figure out just how much is enough to keep me breathing all through the night without over-inflating my sinuses.**

Not so bad, you say? Well get a load of this exotic sleepwear. (I'll probably end up with this one, which is not nearly so hideous looking or feeling. I think.)

Sleep studies and treatment for apnea are not for the vain and certainly not for sissies. So there.

*It takes DAYS to get this shit out of your hair and off of your skin.

**If you've ever been on an airplane and felt your ears plug up when the cabin pressurizes, then just take that feeling and shift it from your ears to your sinuses. Odd, but not too bad.

From the Rowdies in the Back of the Bus

Who knew the good folks at CNN had such a great sense of humor?

(A tip of the cap to Barry.)

That's it! I've gotta talk the Chai-rista into joining us for the blogmeet in Austin.

(This girl's got blown-eyed blodger written all over her.)

From my pal Dan W., Ringmaster of the Clothing Optional Joke List:

If you have raised kids (or been one), and gone through the pet syndrome including toilet-flush burials for dead goldfish, the story below will have you laughing out LOUD!

Overview: I had to take my son's lizard to the vet. Here's what happened:

Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell me there was "something wrong" with one of the two lizards he holds prisoner in his room. "He's just lying there looking sick," he told me. "I'm serious, Dad. Can you help?"

I put my best lizard-healer statement on my face and followed him into his bedroom. One of the little lizards was indeed lying on his back, looking stressed. I immediately knew what to do.
"Honey," I called, "come look at the lizard!"

"Oh my gosh," my wife diagnosed after a minute. "She's having babies."

"What?" my son demanded. "But their names are Bert and Ernie, Mom!"

I was equally outraged. "Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we didn't want them to reproduce," I accused my wife.

"Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?" she inquired.

(I actually think she said this sarcastically!)

"No, but you were supposed to get two boys!" I reminded her, (in my most loving, calm, sweet voice, while gritting my teeth together).

"Yeah, Bert and Ernie!" my son agreed.

"Well, it's just a little hard to tell on some guys, you know," she informed me.

(Again with the sarcasm, you think?)

By now the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on. I shrugged, deciding to make the best of it.

"Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience, I announced. "We're about to witness the miracle of birth."

"Oh, gross!" they shrieked.

"Well, isn't THAT just great! What are we going to do with a litter of tiny little lizard babies?" my wife wanted to know.

(I really do think she was being snotty here, too. Don't you?)

We peered at the patient. After much struggling, what looked like a tiny foot would appear briefly, vanishing a scant second later.

"We don't appear to be making much progress," I noted.

"It's breech," my wife whispered, horrified.

"Do something, Dad!" my son urged.

"Okay, okay." Squeamishly, I reached in and grabbed the foot when it next appeared, giving it a gingerly tug. It disappeared. I tried several more times with the same results.

"Should I call 911?" my eldest daughter wanted to know. "Maybe they could talk us through the trauma."

(You see a pattern here with the females in my house?)

"Let's get Ernie to the vet," I said grimly.

We drove to the vet with my son holding the cage in his lap.

"Breathe, Ernie, breathe," he urged.

"I don't think lizards do Lamaze," his mother noted to him.

(Women can be so cruel to their own young. I mean what she does to me is one thing, but this boy is of her womb, for God's sake.)

The Vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little animal through a magnifying glass.

"What do you think, Doc, a C-section?" I suggested scientifically.

"Oh, very interesting," he murmured. "Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, may I speak to you privately for a moment?"

I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside.

"Is Ernie going to be okay?" my wife asked.

"Oh, perfectly," the Vet assured us. "This lizard is not in labor. In fact, that isn't EVER going to happen... Ernie is a boy. You see, Ernie is a young male. And occasionally, as they come into maturity, like most male species, they um....um....masturbate just the way he did, lying on his back." He blushed, glancing at my wife. "Well, you know what I'm saying, Mr. Cameron."

We were silent, absorbing this.

"So Ernie's just...just... excited," my wife offered.

"Exactly," the vet replied, relieved that we understood.

More silence. Then my viscous, cruel wife started to giggle. And giggle. And then even laugh loudly.

"What's so funny?" I demanded, knowing, but not believing that the woman I married would commit the upcoming affront to my flawless manliness.

Tears were now running down her face. "It's just...that... I'm picturing you pulling on its... its... teeny little..." she gasped for more air to bellow in laughter once more.

"That's enough," I warned.

We thanked the Vet and hurriedly bundled the lizards and our son back into the car. He was glad everything was going to be okay.

"I know Ernie's really thankful for what you've done, Dad," he told me.

"Oh, you have NO idea," my wife agreed, collapsing with laughter.

2 - Lizards - $140...
1 - Cage - $50...
Trip to the Vet - $30...
Memory of your husband pulling on a lizard's wacker.....Priceless

Bus Fumes

Razzle-fratzing identity thieves!


Quote of the day: "[I]t’s another case in which an actress appearing without make-up has been mistaken for powerful acting. In Hollywood, plain is the new retarded."

(Darren is the newest addition to my blogroll.)

Given that I am a very social person, it's no surprise to me that my score in this test was a 9.

(A tip of the cap to Catfish, who scored a 27.)

The geekiest quiz ever:

Which Canon of Statutory Construction Are You?

You are "Noscitur a socii"!

You look to neighboring words to shed light on the meaning of ambiguous words.

You're a sociable canon, and always look at everything in context. However, you're useless by yourself.

Which Canon of Statutory Construction are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

(A tip of the cap to Professor Bainbridge.)

From the Rowdies in the Back of the Bus

Shamelessly swiped from Ellison:

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Leslie!

  1. Scientists have discovered that Leslie can smell the presence of autism in children.
  2. The Vikings believed that the Northern lights were caused by Leslie as she rode out to collect warriors slain in battle.
  3. You can tell if Leslie has been hard-boiled by spinning her. If she stands up, she is hard-boiled.
  4. Dolphins sleep at night just below the surface of Leslie, and frequently rise to the surface for air!
  5. Leslie can remain conscious for fifteen to twenty seconds after being decapitated.
  6. Fish travel in schools, but whales travel in Leslie!
  7. Forty percent of the world's almonds and twenty percent of the world's peanuts are used in the manufacture of Leslie!
  8. A rhinoceros horn is made from compacted Leslie.
  9. Leslie invented the wheel in the fourth millennium BC!
  10. If you put a drop of liquor on Leslie, she will go mad and sting herself to death!

I am interested in - do tell me about


Kelly is on a roll today. See if you can read this with a straight face. I know I couldn't do it!

Mamacita is also delivering the laughs today.

Nancy V. tips us that there's going to be a change in hurricane naming conventions:

Well, it appears African Americans have found something else to be pissed about.

A black congresswoman reputedly complained that the names of hurricanes are all Caucasian or Hispanic-sounding names.She would prefer some names that reflect African-American culture such as Chamiqua, LaShanda, Woeisha, Tyrone, Otis and Jamal.

Can you hear it now? A black weatherman in Houston saying... "Wordup, Muthas! Hehr-i-cane Chamiqua be headin' fo' Galveston like Leroy on a crotch rocket! Bitch be a category fo'! So, turn off dem chitlins, grab yo' chirren, leave yo crib and head fo' de nearest gov'ment office fo yo FREE shit".

From Catfish:

Just wanted to let you know that the new Homeland Security Bill has passed. Things will be different now and Internet surfing will be tracked by what the FBI calls a "non-intrusive method." The FBI says you will not notice anything different. For a demonstration, click here.

(Incidentally, we are at war, so all this privacy stuff is really misdirected, that is unless you have something to hide.)


Here's an interesting quiz. What kind of a survivor are you?

A Magnum PI movie is still in the works? Dear God, don't tell the Princess Mom! I don't know if her heart can take it if they make the movie without her boy Tom.

(She worships Tom Selleck* like the Manolo worships the Hasselhoff.)

*Little known fact about the Princess Mom: I gave her a Tom Selleck poster for her birthday one year as a gag gift. She was thrilled and, unbeknownst to My Father, The Prince Among Men, she hung the damned thing up on the back of her closet door. For years every night before she went to bed, she blew her boy Tom a kiss goodnight.

I'm. Not. Kidding.


Bus Fumes

Barry Beelzebub cranks out a rant worthy of the Old Grumpypants seal of approval.

Education and global warming all in one post.

Cor' blimey! It's a luvverly fing.

One more thing to set your shorts on fire:

How they vote in the United Nations:

Below are the actual voting records of various Arabic/Islamic States which are recorded in both the US State Department and United Nations records:

Kuwait votes against the United State s 67% of the time
Qatar votes against the United States 67% of the time
Morocco votes against the United State s 70% of the time
United Arab Emirates votes against the U. S. 70% of the time.
Jordan votes against the United State s 71% of the time.
Tunisia votes against the United State s 71% of the time.
Saudi Arabia votes against the United State s 73% of the time.
Yemen votes against the United State s 74% of the time.
Algeria votes against the United State s 74% of the time.
Oman votes against the United State s 74% of the time.
Sudan votes against the United State s 75% of the time.
Pakistan votes against the United State s 75% of the time.
Libya votes against the United State s 76% of the time.
Egypt votes against the United State s 79% of the time.
Lebanon votes against the United State s 80% of the time.
India votes against the United State s 81% of the time.
Syria votes against the United State s 84% of the time.
Mauritania votes against the United State s 87% of the time.

U.S. Foreign Aid to those that hate us:
  • Egypt, for example, after voting 79% of the time against the United State s, still receives $2 billion annually in US Foreign Aid.
  • Jordan votes 71% against the United States and receives $192,814,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.
  • Pakistan votes 75% against the United States receives $6,721,000 annually in US Foreign Aid.
  • India votes 81% against the United States receives $143,699,000 annually.

Perhaps it is time to get out of the UN and give the tax savings back to the American workers who are having to skimp and sacrifice to pay the taxes (and gasoline)?


You Are a Lace Bra!
Dreamy, romantic, and ultra-feminine

You're a womanly woman who makes guys feel like men

Your perfect guy is strong, determined, and handsome, with a softer side that only you can draw out

Made you look!

(A tip of the cap to Colleen.)

Hey, Zonker! Who let your midget loose? (Fierce? Yes, indeedy, he looks fierce.)

If they're going to recreate a train wreck, wouldn't you think they'd at least use stunt doubles?


Book Your Ticket

Jennifer reviews Jessica Cutler's new book, saving me the trouble of reading that piece of tripe. Blech!

Goody. That means I can instead turn my attention to "Blog Marketing" and "Naked Conversations," both of which arrived today. Whoohoo! Brain food!

From the Rowdies in the Back of the Bus

From Elizabeth comes this first class rant about one of my least favorite coffee vendors:

This is Jackie Mason's take on Starbuck's. Be sure to remember Jackie Mason's voice as you read.


If I said to you, "I have a great idea for a business. I'll open a whole new type of coffee shop. Instead of charging 60 cents for coffee, I'll charge $2.50, $3.50, $4.50, and $5.50. Not only that, I'll have no tables, no chairs, no water, no free refills, no waiters, no busboys, serve it in cardboard cups, and have the customer clean it up for 20 minutes after they're finished."

Would you say to me, "That's the greatest idea for a business I ever heard! We can open a chain of these all over the world!" No, you would put me right into a sanitarium.

And it's burnt coffee! It's burnt coffee at Starbuck's, be honest about it. If you get burnt coffee in a coffee shop, you call a cop.

You say, "It's the bottom of the pot. I don't drink from the bottom of the pot." But when it's burnt at Starbuck's, they say, "Oh, it's a special roast. It's a special bean from Argentina ....."

The bean is in your head!!!

I know burnt!!!

You want coffee in a coffee shop, that's 60 cents. But at Starbuck's, if it's Cafe Latte: $3.50.Cafe Creamier: $4.50.Caffe Suisse: $9.50. For each French word, another four dollars. Why does a little cream in coffee make it worth $3.50? Go into any coffee shop; they'll give you all the cream you want until you're blue in the face. 40 million people are walking around in coffee shops with pitchers of cream: "Here's all the cream you want!" And it's still 60 cents. You know why? Because it's called "coffee." You want cinnamon in your coffee? Ask for cinnamon in a coffee shop; they'll give you all the cinnamon you want. Do they ask you for more money because it's cinnamon? It's the same price for cinnamon in your coffee as for coffee without cinnamon - 60 cents, that's it.

But not in Starbucks. Over there, it's Cinnamonnier - $9.50.You want a refill in a regular coffee shop, they'll give you all the refills you want until you drop dead. You can come in when you're 27 and keep drinking coffee until you're 98, and they'll start begging you: "Here, You want more coffee?" Do you know that you can't get a refill at Starbucks? A refill is a dollar fifty, two refills, $4.50. Three refills, $19.50.So, for four cups of coffee - $35.00.

And there're no chairs in those Starbucks. Instead, they have these high stools. You ever see these stools? You haven't been on a chair that high since you were two. Seventy-three year old Jews are climbing and climbing to get to the top of the chair. And when they get to the top, they can't even drink the coffee because there's 12 people around one little table, and everybody's saying, "Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me....." Then they can't get off the chair. Old Jews are begging Gentiles, "Mister, could you get me off this?"

Do you remember what a cafeteria was? In poor neighborhoods all over this country, they went to a cafeteria because there were no waiters and no service. And so poor people could save money on a tip. Cafeterias didn't have regular tables or chairs either. They gave coffee to you in a cardboard cup. So because of that you paid less for the coffee. You got less, so you paid less. It's all the same at Starbucks - no chairs, no service, a cardboard cup for your coffee - except in Starbucks, the less you get, the more it costs. By the time they give you nothing, it's worth four times as much!

Am I exaggerating? Did you ever try to buy a cookie in Starbuck's? Buy a cookie in a regular coffee shop. You can tear down a building with that cookie. And the whole cookie is 60 cents. At Starbuck's, you're going to have to hire a detective to find that cookie, and it's $9.50. And you can't put butter on it because they want extra. Do you know that if you buy a bagel, you pay extra for cream cheese in Starbuck's? Cream cheese, another 60 Cents. A knife to put it on, 32 cents. If it reaches the bagel, 48 cents.

That bagel costs you $3.12. And they don't give you the butter or the cream cheese. They don't give it to you. They tell you where it is. "Oh, you want butter? It's over there. Cream cheese? Over here. Sugar? Sugar is here."

Now you become your own waiter. You walk around with a tray. "I'll take the cookie. Where's the butter? The butter's here. Where's the cream cheese? The cream cheese is there." You walked around for an hour and a half selecting items, and then the guy at the cash register has a glass in front of him that says "Tips." You're waiting on tables for an hour, and you owe him money?

Then there's a sign that says please clean it up when you're finished. They don't give you a waiter or a busboy. Now you've become the janitor. Now you have to start cleaning up the place. Old Jews are walking around Cleaning up Starbuck's. "Oh, he's got dirt too? Wait, I'll clean this up." They clean up the place for an hour and a half.

Starbuck's can only get away with it because they have French titles for everything, %$#%^&*.

And I say this with the highest respect, because I don't like to talk about People.

Bus Fumes

By the way -- who told Phillip Morris, RJ Reynolds and the new fancy smoking lounge in Chicago that I've quit smoking?


All of a sudden I'm getting coupons for $4 off a carton of smokes and a free cup of java at the smoking lounge.

It's a communist plot! (And you thought the cold war was over... Hah!)

No Smoking on the Bus

First, many, many thanks to all the folks who have expressed good wishes and tips for staying on the straight path in my quest to quit smoking. You have no idea how uplifting that has been for me. I'm at 10 days and counting, smoke-free.

A couple of people have asked what the effects nicotine nasal spray feels like. It does not produce an immediate head rush. It does not crush the craving instantly. But it is damned effective.

Here's what happens:

You tilt your head back a little and squirt the stuff in one nostril. You do not inhale. You do not let the stuff drip down the back of your throat... and you have to remember to breathe (because your first instinct is to hold your breath when you do this). You pinch that nostril shut and try not to gag on the heavily perfumy stink. You squint one eye from the stinging up your nose to try to keep from tearing up.

Repeat with the other nostril.

By the time you're done, you realize the craving has either just gone away or you can't imagine the combination of a drag on a cigarette and that gacky perfume taste and smell that you can't get out of your nose or the back of your throat. That, all by itself, kills the craving.

There's no way on earth I'll ever get used to the nasal spray, let alone hooked on it. More and more, I'm associating the desire for a cigarette with the scent and sensation of the nasal spray. Uck.

It's getting a little easier every day. (And the Zyban is keeping me from weeping hysterically or shrieking like a harpy at everyone within a fifty mile range of me during this process. Amazingly, I don't have the withdrawal jitters that I've had in the past. Whoohoo!)

Thanks again for your support! I can do this.


It's posts like this that make me glad to call Ellison "friend." He always makes me laugh!

Bus Fumes

Some days are easier than others with this quitting smoking thing. Today I'm having a not-so-easy day, as the little devil who sometimes sits on my left shoulder has been whispering naughty suggestions in my ear. You know:

The bargaining kind of suggestions.

The "you can have just one and it won't hurt you" kind of suggestions.

The "nobody will know" kind of suggestions.

I'm having trouble shaking the little booger off today, but I will win this round. The devil may be sly, but I'm a pure-D stubborn German and I'll last longer than he will in this game of wills.


Old Crankypants dishes up the quote of the day:

"I don't know precisely when the purpose of government morphed from protecting 'Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness' into 'Micro-Managing Your Life Down to the Molecular Level,' but it has."


Now I know where Zonker goes to get his style inspiration. (Takes your breath away, doesn't it?)

Rules of the Road

The ever-so-shy and retiring Contagion has tagged me with "Rule of Four" meme:

Four Jobs I’ve had:
  • Camp Counselor
  • Resume Consultant
  • Rental Agent
  • Pinch-Hit Waitress at a Fancy French Restaurant one New Year's Eve
Four Movies I could watch over and over and have:
Four places I’ve lived:
  • Belmont, MA
  • Brook Park, OH
  • Pease AFB, Portsmouth, NH
  • Naperville, IL
Four TV Shows I love to watch:

Four Places I’ve been on vacation:
  • Cape Cod, MA (my Nana and Grandpa lived there)
  • Whitchurch, England
  • Taos, NM
  • Panama Canal
Four Websites I visit daily:
[Note: I'd have put my Adopted BlogBrother on the list, but he posts so infrequently I only check in with him once a week.]

Four Favorite foods:
  • Fat
  • Salt
  • Bacon (see points 1 and 2)
  • Cheese (see points 1 and 2)
Four Places I’d rather be:
Four people to whom to inflict this upon:
  • Stephanie -- A newbie blogger who can use the exposure.
  • Mamacita -- Because she really is one of the cool kids.
  • Shoe -- Because she cracks me up on a regular basis.
  • Talula -- Because I didn't get time to get to know her at the blogmeet.

Chartered Excursion -- Wolf Park

Aw, maaaaaaaaan! I can't go... but that doesn't mean you can't. Howl on the Prowl at Wolf Park.

You'll meet some great people. I guarantee it!

Tootin' the Horn

Hey, Yabu! I got your black howler monkey right here for you!


Bus Fumes

Day 5, still not smoking. At all. Not going to, either.

It's easier in some ways than it's been in the past. I really do think it's the combination of the Zyban (keeps depression at bay) and the nasal spray (helps with the nicotine withdrawal). I'm not a complete shrieking maniac, which I have turned into every time I've quit (managed to quit for 10 years) or tried to quit (after I got stupid and started smoking again. Who starts smoking after 10 clean years, I ask you???) in the past.

Still, quitting smoking isn't a cakewalk. While my spirits are good and I don't crave the taste very much, my lungs are yelling like crazy for their old friend Virgina Slim Ultralight Menthol. Right now, dammit!

Mostly, it's like a persistent itch that I know I can't scratch. In my head, I know the itch will go away. My body is paying no attention to reason. That'll change, but changing habits comes slowly.

The first few days I used the nasal spray the minimum number of times. Today I'm snorting the stuff like a cocaine addict. Whatever gets me through the day without lighting up is a good thing.

I know Day 3 is supposed to be the make or break day. Hah! It's somewhere around Day 21 for me. Been down that road before. I'll beat this yet.

Do me a favor and say a prayer or two for Buckaroo Bonsai, who's catching the worst of my crankiness. It's hard not to be really bitchy when a heavy smoker asks how you're doing with quitting, then tells you to "get over yourself" when you report you're struggling and out of sorts.

(Don't worry. He's hidden all the sharp implements and heavy objects at home.)

Count Me In!

I've booked my room for the Austin, TX edition of the blown-eyed blodgers blogmeet.

C'mon! It's after tax season, so there's no excuse. Come join us.

You already know how I feel about blogmeets, don't you?


Sorry to have been postless for a couple of days. Buckaroo Bonsai and I took a few days off to visit the Sweetheart of Shell Knob, MO and her Big-Hearted Beau.

Smoke-free three days. I'm beginning to equate the desire to smoke with the smell (spoiled roses) and sensation (stings!) of the Nicotrol Inhaler. Gack. That would make anyone want to quit. The Zyban helps. That being said, I'm still a pretty grumpy camper.

I'm off this evening to get wired for the sleep study. This ought to be interesting....

More tomorrow.


Update: We've got a winner! It's Basil of Basil's Blog. I've sent him an email notification. Congratulations, Basil!

I've re-arranged the order and moved this up to the top, because I really, really, really want to see my comments filled up. El Capitan suggests I offer a prize. You can't have my ashtrays or lighters -- those are going to Buckaroo Bonsai. (He'll quit smoking or not on his own schedule, that's up to him, not me.)

Be the 29th original commenter (and my own comments don't count) and win a $20.00 Potbelly's gift card from me!

(Yes. I'm being optimistic. A girl can hope, can't she?)

Anywhooooo............... It's National De-Lurking Week... which means you are highly encouraged (see challenge above) to drop a line in the comments. Really.

(Keep in mind, I have no Site Meter. Unless you drop a comment, I'll never even know you were here. Unless, of course, you choose to stick a pin in my Frappr! map. That's cool, too.)

I think this is great. I, myself, spent every Wednesday night of my 7th and 8th grade school years learning to waltz, foxtrot, rhumba, polka, Lindy and more at Bobby Rivers School of Dance in Glen Ellyn, IL. On the third Thursday of every month, I was also there to dance with the cadets from Marmion Military Academy. Yes, indeedy. I was an completely (un)abashed geek in Jr. High...


Via Agent Bedhead:

You Have Your PhD in Men

You understand men almost better than anyone.

You accept that guys are very different, and you read signals well.

Work what you know about men, and your relationships will be blissful.


Was Og visiting New York this week? If so, the answer to this question would be "BOTH".

iPod: "It's just not right."


Well that would have been a sight, wouldn't it? (The mind boggles.)


That gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Just put on your big girl panties and deal with it," now doesn't it?

We share the same name. Dear Jesus!

Who says only girls get to have fun with "Passion Pants"? Are you man enough?

End of the Line

Happy trails, Cowboy Ray.

From the Rowdies in the Back of the Bus


Mujibar was trying to get into the USA legally through Immigration.

The Officer said, "Mujibar, you have passed all the tests so far, but there is one more test. Unless you pass it, you cannot enter the United States of America."

Mujibar said, "I am ready."

The officer said, "Make a sentence using the words Yellow, Pink and Green."

Mujibar thought for a few minutes and said, "Mister Officer, I am ready."

The Officer said, "Go ahead."

Mujibar said, "The telephone goes green, green, green, and I pink it up, say, 'Yellow, this is Mujibar.'"

Mujibar now lives in a neighborhood near you and works at a Verizon help desk. I talked to him yesterday.

From Elizabeth -- Bedtime Poems for Big Kids

Mary had a little pig,
She kept it fat and plastered;
And when the price of pork went up,
She shot the little bastard.

Mary had a little lamb,
Her father shot it dead.
Now it goes to school with her,
Between two hunks of bread.

Jack & Jill went up the hill
To have a little fun.
Stupid Jill forgot the pill
And now they have a son.

Simple Simon met a Pie man going to the fair.
Said Simple Simon to the Pie man, "What have you got there?"
Said the Pie man unto Simon, "Pies, you dumb ass!"

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the kings' horses,
And all the kings' men.
Had scrambled eggs,
For breakfast again.

Hey diddle, diddle, the cat took a piddle,
All over the bedside clock.
The little dog laughed to see such fun.
Then died of electric shock.

Georgie Porgy Pudding and Pie,
Kissed the girls and made them cry.
And when the boys came out to play,
He kissed them too 'cause he was gay.

There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good, she was very, very good.
But when she was bad........
She got a fur coat, jewels, a waterfront condo, and a sports car.

Bus Fumes

So call it a fictionalized memoir fer cripesakes. No matter how you slice it, it's still damn fine reading.

Speaking of books, Daniel Drezner ponders whether or not to buy Ana Marie Cox's new book and concludes:

"In the end, I suspect I'll grab a copy, because a) The excerpts I've seen do match Cox's spicy wit...."

Surely there's a typo in there. He meant "twit," not "wit," didn't he?

I'm sick of smoking. I'm sick of the smell. I'm sick of it taking two to three times as long to get over a chest cold as a non-smoker. I'm tired of the expense. I'm tired of having something have this much control over my body. I can't believe I've been through my mom's chemo and radiation treatments for lung cancer, and I'm still smoking. That's lunacy.

I started on Zyban yesterday. Five days of one pill a day, then up the dose to two pills a day and quit smoking. Yes. I'm quitting. I pick up a nicotine nasal spray tonight. As of Saturday, I'm a non-smoker.

Once I do this, I don't ever intend to put myself through this again. Failure is not an option. If the Zyban and the inhaler don't work, I'll go the accupuncture route. Or hypnosis. Or laser treatment.

Whatever it takes, I'm not doing this any more.

So, yeah. The next couple of weeks are not going to be the most pleasant of times for me (or Buckaroo Bonsai, probably).

On top of this, there's good reason to believe I have sleep apnea, so on Monday night I take myself off to a sleep center for testing.

Here's the really fun part: "Avoid caffeine or stimulants for 12 hours before your scheduled time of arrival at the sleep center, unless prescribed by your doctor."


No coffee or alcohol while I'm already jonesing for a smoke. They'll either be peeling me off the ceiling or I'll immediately be out like a light from the shock to my system. Either way, I ought to be a real charmer by Tuesday morning.

Say a prayer for Buckaroo Bonsai... and my bosses, coworkers and friends.

Me? I'll be a bitch. But I'll be a non-smoking bitch.


"I don't care, man. That shit's atrocious."


Roadside Diversions

J-Walk points the way to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Go thee there and worship His Noodly Holiness.

(Posted especially for El Capitan and Mark A. Rayner!)

Chartered Excursion -- Recap

It really was The Schiznitzes at Fritz's -- both the people and the food. The Schiznitz, indeed.

  1. It's a bit disconcerting to walk into a room of people you've never met before and hear the words, "There she is!" from the back of the room. That's a blogmeet for you -- deja vu all over again. They're all your friends -- some old, some new. You're just seeing their faces and hearing their voices for the first time.
  2. If you're shy, bloggers won't let you feel awkward for very long. We're noisy. We're nosey. We're opinionated. We have wicked senses of humor. And we want you to like us.
  3. Not a blogger and still going to a blogmeet? See No. 2 above. Yes. We want you to join us. (Just ask Buckaroo Bonsai, who has been warmly welcomed at two separate blogmeets now!)
  4. There's never enough time to talk to everyone as much as you want to. (Darn it all, anyway!)
  5. The drinks will flow and the food will be abundant and delicious.
  6. The conversations will be fascinating.
  7. There will be some surprises. There always are.
  8. You'll be adding names to your blogroll almost as soon as you get home.
So... who did I get to spend some quality time with?

Our wonderful host, T1G. (Ummm, Joe? See No. 2 above. Now do you believe me???) He's the kind of guy you want to shoot the shit and drink brewskies with... all evening long. In fact, the Buckaroo and I are already talking about making the trek back to do just that... and soon.

Contagion (kilted, as promised, and also garbed in his hard won Dr. Phat Tony teeshirt) and Ktreva (unkilted and a decidedly modern maiden -- those pix just don't do her justice). Don't forget, folks -- he's shy. Very shy. ('Scuse me while I sneak out the back door and laugh my ass off, okay?) If we could bottle his energy, we could put OPEC out of business.

Graumagus, who hasn't posted much lately, but is a a real sweetheart. Quiet. Dry, dry sense of humor. (Watch out for the twinkle in his eye, which is hidden behind eyeglasses. Just when you think he's completely serious, you'll be pithily zinged.)

Og. Let's be clear -- I love this guy. How can you not love a guy who can make a long haul trucker blush at the drop of a hat? He's a handsome booger, besides. I'm not kidding.

Richmond, who is drop-dead gorgeous, sweet and genuine. (And she thinks I write funny stuff. She's on my good list forever for that.) This gal can share a room with Moogie, Dana and me at any blogmeet, any time. It would be the best slumber party ever. I don't give much higher compliments than that.

Jake Jacobsen and The Bald Chick -- who also work in the downtown area. They are the keepers of Freedom Folks. Smart, passionate, intense -- da bodathem. We're meeting for cocktails after work some time soon.

Matty O'Blackfive. This was particularly interesting, as Matt really tries to keep his blog focused on the military, not on himself. It was great finally meeting the Man of Mystery, let alone being able to break bread with the man. If you get the chance to meet him, go, go, GO! (He can't continue to be a Man of Mystery if I share his secrets, now can he?)

Blake, who we're lobbying hard to put together a blogmeet that includes a personal tour of Wolf Park -- especially for a Full Moon Howl Night. (Interested? Drop him a note and tell him so!) Another wonderful storyteller... and a hell of a nice guy.

Harvey, of Bad Example fame. I'm afraid I was the bad example last night, and not Harvey, though. That's on the one hand. On the other hand, how can you not love and respect a guy willing to deliver such a sound spanking to one of the blog Pantheon? He's another one whose naughiness kind of sneaks up on you when you least expect it.

So..................... Who didn't I get to spend much time with?

Tammi -- But if she needs some help with that little project we discussed briefly, I'm in!

Teresa -- Another Beantown Betty. Jeeze, I feel bad! She flies across the country for a blogmeet and I get to spend all of about five minutes with her! Next time, Teresa. I promise.

TNT -- The lovely lady that Harvey keeps in love notes. I really do want to get to know the woman who inspires that kind of love and devotion!

Sarah (Harvey's niece) and Talula. Time ran out on the clock. Poop! Next time, for sure, okay?

Buckaroo Bonsai, who chatted with several of the ladies I missed, the bartender, the owners of Fritz's and more. Of course, we did plenty of talking on the way home. (Divide and conquer! That's our strategy.)

The food was great. The conversation was wild. The kilt was... plaid. The sporran was hairy and had balls of steel. Tammi is still paying for forgetting the stained glass thingie in contagions truck. (Stay tuned.) Someone was taking pictures, thank goodness. I'll be glad to see them when they're up. Me? I was too busy gabbing to bother with my camera.

Gah! Just like at the blogmeet, I've run out of time today.

P.S. -- One final note of thanks to Eric, who sponsored the cocktails. You are the best. And we'll return the favor next time we see you.

One of the discussions that arose was the possibility of persuading Ferdie's Pet Bruce to set up an Illinois... or maybe Midwest... bloggers' community similar to the Cat Lover's Community, both to boost Ecosystem traffic and to make it easier to identify more local bloggers. Whaddaya think, Ferdie? Can you exert your formidable influence?


Omigosh! Jeff has discovered the Arabic cousin of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

(Play the FSM game here.)

That Noodly Appendage kind of squicks me out.


Your Mood Ring is Dark Green


(A tip of the cap to Jay Solo.)

Update: The link is fixed AND the color changed. What a difference a day makes!

Down Memory Lane

Jennifer has entered a contest for describing the worst date ever. I gotta tell you, her story is a real... um... pisser. Go vote here.

So why put this under the heading of "Down Memory Lane"? Well... it brings to mind what was probably my worst date ever, and one of the many, many reasons I hate dating to this day.

Set your Wayback Machine (this one, not this one) for about 1991.

I was newly divorced and working for Price Waterhouse in Chicago. I had gotten friendly with the Director of Marketing, who was a bit older than me, female, single and not liking singleton life much at all. If there was a way to meet a guy, she'd try it, and usually dragged me along, kicking and screaming in protest.

Sandy took me to several singles dances, at which I was always at least 20 years younger than any man there. It felt like dancing with my father to loud and cheesy disco music at a distant relative's wedding. Blech.

She then took me to the hot new singles club where all the local goombas hung out with their mistresses, who wore tight, strapless leather dresses, taped-up cleavage, big hair, ankle bracelets and drank foo-foo girlie drinks. Yep. Most of the "single" guys were married. And the ones that weren't married were real knuckle-dragging wise guys. Lovely. Just my style.

The real winner of a hare-brained scheme that had me questioning her motives and my own sanity was when she talked me into posting a singles ad in the Chicago Reader. Keep in mind that in those ancient times, there were no online postings, and, unfortunately no pictures. (That probably would have solved a whole bunch right there!) You placed an ad in the classifieds, and the Reader set you up with an anonymous voicemail box. You left a voicemail message telling a little about yourself, then dialed in every once in a while (okay, several times a day) to see who might have left an interesting message. You only called the ones who you felt had some possibility. (This was also in the Dark Ages before the advent of *69 or Caller ID.) This double-blind setup was supposed to keep you "safe". Hah!

This might have been bad enough, but Sandy made me agree to meet everyone who gave halfway good phone conversation, and she would do the same. The objective was quantity, not quality. Hooboy, did that eventually turn out to be huge a mistake!

Now, before I get to the prize winner of bad dates ever, I must admit that I also met some pretty nice guys. Architects, lawyers, musicians, accountants, salesmen, the guy who did the traffic 'copter reports for Channel 5 News, even. Short guys, tall guys, funny guys, geeky guys, smart guys -- a whole borgaschmord of okay or better-than-okay guys.

And then.... there was "The Consultant."

We must have had a decent telephone conversation. I don't remember much, except that he mentioned that he lived in Lakepoint Towers. Yes, indeedy -- the very place Oprah calls home. Lakepoint Towers! Well. That meant he was living in a swanky joint that couldn't possibly come cheap. He must be pretty successful if he could swing that kind of monthly rent or mortgage. Alrighty, then! Down to business. I agreed to meet him at his apartment, and we would go on to dinner from there.

(Yes, yes, yes. Go ahead and shake your head. I deserve it.)

He met me at the door to the apartment wearing a John Fava outfit, down to the (pointy) bald head and bare feet. He led me through the nicely-appointed living room, past the dining room and into his "office." The office contained three austere pieces of furniture: a desk and two chairs. No art. He arranged the chairs so that we were sitting face to face and knee to knee, me with my back to the view.

Then the interrogation began -- family, job history, relationship history, religious preference, likes, dislikes, pets. He fired off question after question like a drill sergeant.

Then came the lecture. His love of martial arts. His hatred of regulatory agencies of any kind. His vegetarianism. His hatred of regulatory agencies of any kind. His entreprenurial success. His hatred of regulatory agencies of any kind. His expectations for a dating relationship. His hatred of regulatory agencies of any kind.

Oddly, he never blinked through the entire... um... conversation. Not once. Except... when I asked him why he hated regulatory agencies so much.

Then I blinked... when he told me he'd been arrested twice for practicing medicine without a license.

Oops. Time to go. And I did.


When did Old Crankypants change his name to John Stossel??? Jeeze! The only thing he left out was the phrase, "We're all gonna die!"

Quote of the day: "I was so miserable you'd have thought I spent a day with a liberal."

I had that same cold. In fact, I'm STILL getting over it.

Speaking of Old Crankypants, Nancy V. sent this New Year's message just for him!

Chartered Excursions -- StillmanValley, IL

T1G is giving last call for what Og has referred to as

[T]he big Clusterfuck of biblical Proportions?

That's what we oughta call it, the ClusterCloister.

Or The Shits in Fritz
Or stillborn in stillman.

Or that which I prefer to call it, "The Shiznitzes at Fritz's"

Whatever you choose to call it, it's going to be FUN. Sign up ASAP.


Is is just me, or is this the ultimate in tacky rubber-necking?


Quote of the day: "Tonight was a TOTAL waste of make up." I'll use that one some day...

From the Rowdies in the Back of the Bus

From Deborah S.:

Kid Science Theory:

The beguiling ideas about science quoted here were gleaned from essays, exams, and classroom discussions. Most were from 5th and 6th graders. They illustrate Mark Twain's contention that the "most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop."

Q: What is one horsepower?
A: One horsepower is the amount of energy it takes to drag a horse 500 feet in one second.

You can listen to thunder after lightening and tell how close you came.

The law of gravity says no fair jumping up without coming back down.

When they broke open molecules, they found they were only stuffed with atoms. But when they broke open atoms, they found them stuffed with explosions.

When people run around and around in circles we say they are crazy. When planets do it we say they are orbiting.

Rainbows are just to look at, not to really understand.

While the earth seems to be knowingly keeping its distance from the sun, it is really only centrificating.

Someday we may discover how to make magnets that can point in any direction.

South America has cold summers and hot winters, but somehow they still manage.

Most books now say our sun is a star. But it still knows how to change back into a sun in the daytime.

Water freezes at 32 degrees and boils at 212 degrees. There are 180 degrees between freezing and boiling because there are 180 degrees between north and south.

A vibration is a motion that cannot make up its mind which way it wants to go.

There are 26 vitamins in all, but some of the letters are yet to be discovered. Finding them all means living forever.

There is a tremendous weight pushing down on the center of the Earth because of so much population stomping around up there these days.

Lime is a green-tasting rock.

Many dead animals in the past changed to fossils while others preferred to be oil.

Genetics explain why you look like your father and if you don't why you should.

Vacuums are nothings. We only mention them to let them know we know they're there.

Some oxygen molecules help fires burn while others help make water, so sometimes it's brother against brother.

Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun. But I have never been able to make out the numbers.

We say the cause of perfume disappearing is evaporation. Evaporation gets blamed for a lot of things people forget to put the top on.

To most people solutions mean finding the answers. But to chemists solutions are things that are still all mixed up.

In looking at a drop of water under a microscope, we find there are twice as many H's as O's.

Clouds are high flying fogs.

I am not sure how clouds get formed. But the clouds know how to do it, and that is the important thing.

Clouds just keep circling the earth around and around. And around. There is not much else to do.
Water vapor gets together in a cloud. When it is big enough to be called a drop, it does.

Humidity is the experience of looking for air and finding water.

We keep track of the humidity in the air so we won't drown when we breathe.

Rain is often known as soft water, oppositely known as hail.

Rain is saved up in cloud banks.

In some rocks you can find the fossil footprints of fishes.

Cyanide is so poisonous that one drop of it on a dogs tongue will kill the strongest man.

A blizzard is when it snows sideways.

A hurricane is a breeze of a bigly size.

A monsoon is a French gentleman.

Thunder is a rich source of loudness.

Isotherms and isobars are even more important than their names sound.

It is so hot in some places that the people there have to live in other places.

The wind is like the air, only pushier. [Sounds like some politicians I can think of...]

More kid stuff sent by Nancy V.:

These are real answers given by children.

Q: Name the four seasons.
A: Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Q: Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink.
A: Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.

Q: How is dew formed?
A: The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.

Q: How can you delay milk turning sour?
A: Keep it in the cow.

Q: What causes the tides in the oceans?
A: The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon. All wate rtends to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature hates a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.

Q: What are steroids?
A: Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.

Q: What happens to your body as you age?
A: When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.

Q: What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
A: He says good-bye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.

Q: Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A: Premature death.

Q: What is artificial insemination?
A: When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow.

Q: How are the main parts of the body categorized? (e.g., abdomen.)
A: The body is consisted into three parts - the brainium, the borax andthe abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain; the boraxcontains the heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity contains the fivebowels, A, E, I, O, and U.

Q: What is the fibula?
A: A small lie.

Q: What does "varicose" mean?
A: Nearby.

Q: Give the meaning of the term "Caesarean Section"
A: The Caesarean Section is a district in Rome.

Q: What does the word "benign" mean?'
A: Benign is what you will be after you be eight.

Elizabeth pointed me toward this:

Special Bulletin from the Pentagon

The Pentagon announced today the formation of a new 500-man elite fighting unit called the United States Redneck Special Forces.

These Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas boys will be dropped off into Iraq and have been given only the following facts about terrorists:

1. The season opened today.
2. There is no limit.
3. They taste just like chicken.
4. They don't like beer, pickups, country music or Jesus.
5. They are DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the death of Dale Earnhardt.

We expect the problem in Iraq to be over by Friday.

Legal secretary Nancy V. also sends this lawyer joke:

A guy in a bar stood up and shouted, "Lawyers are assholes!"

A guy at the other end of the bar shouted back "I resent that.

The first guy asked "Are you a lawyer?"

The second guy responded "No, I'm an asshole!"

For Old Grumpypants, when he's having a sleepless night:

Here's a fun game to play. The object of the game is to move the red block around without getting hit by the blue blocks or touching the black walls. If you can go longer than 18 seconds you are phenomenal. I was told that the US Air Force uses this for fighter pilots. They are expected to go for at least 2 minutes. Give it a try!!

From Paul Frye (who I hadn't heard from in a while):

Ole is a farmer in Minnesota.

He is in need of a new milk cow and hears about one for sale over in Nordakota ( that would be North Dakota for you non Scandhoovians out there). He drives to the Nordakota farm and looks over the cow. Ole reaches under to see if she gives milk. When he grabs the teat and pulls, the cow farts. Ole is very suprised.

He looks at the farmer who is selling the cow, then reaches under the cow to try again. He grabs another teat, pulls, and the cow farts again. Milk does come out however, so after some discussion with the cow's owner, Ole decides to buy the cow and take her home.

When he gets back to Minnesota, he calls over his neighbor, Sven, and says, "Hey, Sven, come and look at dis here new cow I yust bought. Pull her teat, and see vat happens."

Sven reaches under, pulls the teat and the cow farts. Sven looks at Ole and says, "You bought dis here cow in Nordakota, didn't yah?"

Ole is very suprised since he hadn't told Sven about his trip.

Ole replies, "Yah dats right. but, how did you know?

Sven says, "My wife is from Nordakota."

From Buckaroo Bonsai's StepMama (i.e., the Sweetheart of Shell Knob, MO) to my BlogMama:

The Blonde Year in Review

January -- Took her new scarf back to the store because it was too tight.

February - Couldn't work in a pharmacy because the bottles wouldn't fit into the typewriter.

March - Got excited when she finished a jigsaw puzzle in 6 months because the box said "2-4 years."

April - Was trapped on an escalator for hours when the power went out.

May - Couldn't make Kool-Aid because 8 cups of water won't fit into those little packets.

June - Couldn't learn to water ski because she couldn't find a lake with a slope.

July - After losing in a breast stroke swimming competition, complained to the judges that the other swimmers were using their arms.

August - Told her blonde friend to hurry when trying to get into their locked car using a coat hanger because it was starting to rain and the top was down.

September - When asked what the capital of California was: answered "C."

October - Hates M & M's because they are so hard to peel.

November - Baked a turkey for 4 days because the instructions said 1 hour per pound and she weighed 96 lbs.

December - Couldn't call 911 because there was no "11" on any phone button.

Also from the SOSKM, a little test:

If all of the desserts listed below were sitting in front of you, which would you choose? Pick your dessert, then look to see what Psychiatrists think about you. (Sorry you can only pick one dessert... and do not scroll down below the list)

1. Angel Food Cake
2. Brownies
3. Lemon Meringue
4. Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Icing
5. Strawberry Short Cake
6. Chocolate on Chocolate
7. Ice Cream
8. Carrot Cake

NO. You can't change your mind once you scroll down! So think carefully what your choice will be.

OK - Now that you've made your choice, this is what research says about you!

1. ANGEL FOOD CAKE...Sweet, loving, cuddly. You love all warm and fuzzy items. A little nutty at times. Sometimes you need an ice cream cone at the end of the day. Others perceive you as being childlike and immature at times.

2. BROWNIES...You are adventurous, love new ideas, are a champion of underdogs and a slayer of dragons. When tempers flare up, you whip out your saber. You are always the oddball with a unique sense of humor and direction. You tend to be very loyal.

3. LEMON MERINGUE...Smooth, sexy, & articulate with your hands, you are an excellent after-dinner speaker and a good teacher. But don't try to walk and chew gum at the same time. A bit of a diva at times, but you have many friends.

4. VANILLA CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING... Fun-loving, sassy, humorous. Not very grounded in life; very indecisive and lack motivation. Everyone enjoys being around you, but you are a practical joker. Others should be cautious in making you mad. However, you are a friend for life.

5. STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE... Romantic, warm, loving. You care about other people, can be counted on in a pinch and expect the same in return. Intuitively keen. Can be very emotional.

6. CHOCOLATE ON CHOCOLATE... Sexy; always ready to give and receive. Very creative, adventurous, ambitious, and passionate. You can appear to have a cold exterior but are warm on the inside. Not afraid to take chances. Will not settle for anything average in life. Love to laugh.

7. ICE CREAM...You like sports, whether it be baseball, football, basketball, or soccer. If you could, you would like to participate,but you enjoy watching sports. You don't like to give up the remote control. You tend to be self-centered and high maintenance.

8. CARROT CAKE...You are a very fun loving person, who likes to laugh. You are fun to be with. People like to hang out with you. You are a very warm hearted person and a little quirky at times. You have many loyal friends.

[My choice? Lemon Meringue.]

From Catfish:

Mother Superior called all the Nuns together one evening and said to them: "I must tell you all something. We have a case of Gonorrhea in the convent."

"Thank God," said an elderly Nun at the back. "I'm so sick of Chardonnay."


I'm blaming Contagion for this one.

How You Live Your Life
You tend to deprive yourself of things you crave, for your own good.
You say whatever is on your mind. Other people's reactions don't phase you.
Your friends tend to be a as quirky as you are - which is saying a lot!
You tend to dream big, but you worry that your dreams aren't attainable.

(What can you expect from a man who sports kilts and hiking boots?)

Speaking of men in interesting garb (or lack thereof), I don't suppose I could get Og to recreate this scene at Fritz's, do you think? Please???

Bus Fumes

I guess some people just don't get the message:

New York Daily News

Memory lapse
Monday, January 2nd, 2006

Congress and U.S. taxpayers gave the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. $2.78 billion to redevelop the World Trade Center site, entrusting them with the duty of building a magnificent memorial to the victims of Sept. 11, 2001. Just months before construction of the memorial is slated to begin, the LMDC is offering the American public a bargain basement version of Michael Arad's "Reflecting Absence."

The LMDC's latest iteration of Arad's design is one that is 31% smaller than the original, and the central waterfalls - the most powerful design feature - will only operate nine months out of the year. LMDC continues to shrink the memorial despite the fact the original design was too small to accommodate the estimated millions who will make a pilgrimage to the site. The memorial is being built with only one way in and one way out, putting the safety and security of future visitors in peril.

It is insulting that with all of the financial resources at its disposal the LMDC would try to foist an ever-shrinking memorial on the American people and then ask them to pay for it.

The fact that LMDC failed to consider the extra costs involved with heating the memorial's massive waterfalls so they may flow in the winter months reflects its gross mismanagement of the redevelopment. As reported in the Daily News, LMDC has misspent millions in tax dollars on projects completely unrelated to Sept. 11, such as giving $10 million to SoHo's Drawing Center and funding the pet projects of wealthy elites who serve on the LMDC board as they continue to shrink the memorial and refuse to pay heating bills.

Take Back the Memorial, an alliance of major Sept. 11 family groups, began at a time when LMDC's lack of focus nearly led to the placement of the International Freedom Center on sacred ground. Now, to the detriment of future visitors to the memorial, it appears that money has followed LMDC's misplaced priorities as evidenced by the allocation of $50 million to an unrelated cultural facility. Millions have also been spent on the Snohetta building design and we still don't know what it will contain, if it is even built at all.

We would like to be able to say that the WTC Memorial Foundation should take over, but some changes need to be made first. The foundation has said that the memorial is the priority, but actions speak louder than words. Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg, both members of the foundation's board, have yet to make a personal donation to the memorial.

It seems evident that the cultural facilities, not the memorial, are the true priority of some individuals who have been charged with building the memorial. The majority of Sept. 11 families are withholding donations until America gets a memorial design it deserves, one that preserves our national heritage, provides for the safety of visitors and honors the dead by telling their story without distraction.

We want a memorial that isn't crammed into a basement space, hidden from the light of day. We want public access to the physical remains of the twin tower footprints at bedrock.

The WTC Memorial Foundation must focus its attention on the Sept. 11 memorial. Board members whose priority is not the memorial must be replaced. As long as their focus remains on extraneous cultural matters they will continue to have difficulty raising funds.

LMDC, which must get its priorities straight, would benefit from new leadership. If changes aren't made fast in both the LMDC and the WTC Memorial Foundation, they will not only fail to honor those who died at that site on Sept. 11, 2001, but they will continue to fail us all.

Gardner and Reilly, who lost family members in the World Trade Center attack, are co-organizers of the Take Back the Memorial campaign.

From the Rowdies in the Back of the Bus

The Sweetheart of Shell Knob, MO has a little advice on how to stay young:

1. Try everything twice. On Madame's tombstone (of Wayland and Madame), she said she wanted this epitaph: "Tried everything twice...loved it both times!"

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down. (Keep this in mind if you are one of those grouches).

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain get idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer's!

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and lots of time with HIM/HER.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life is our self. LIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county or to a foreign country, but NOT a guilt trip.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them at every opportunity.

[To all my blogging buddies, and you know who you are, see No. 10 above. Yep. I love every one of you!]