Leslie's Omnibus


Jeeze! I wonder if I can talk my boss into implementing this policy for Spring/Summer work hours?


A girl can hope, can't she?

Oh, boy! Not only do we have a theme song for the blown-eyed blowout in Austin, now we have a challenge, too. Heaven help us all...

Am I ready? No way, Jose. But I will be by tomorrow morning. See you Monday with lots of funny stories!

Traveling Companions

The Divine Miss Marilyn remains on blogging restriction until she acknow- ledges that the word "no" applies to her... and that people belong at the dinner table and cats belong under it, not on it.

She's still sulking. (She'll be more motivated when her Grand Passion comes back from blogging hiatus.)

Tiger Boots, on the other hand, has promised to guard the bonsai and the bills while I'm in Austin. (And, yes. That's how the Buckaroo got his nickname.)

She's being particularly agreeable because she wants me to hurry up and finish her interview with her current crush and get it sent in.

(As soon as I get back from Austin. I promise.)

Don't forget to visit the Friday Ark over at The Modulator. Also stop by the Carnival of the Cats, which will be hosted by Furry Paws, starting this Sunday evening.


Once again, these stupid quizzes peg me:

You Are a Warrior Soul

You're a strong person and sometimes seen as intimidating.

You don't give up. You're committed and brave.

Truly adventuresome, you are not afraid of going to battle.

Extremely protective of loved ones, you root for the underdog.

You are picky about details and rigorous in your methods.

You also value honesty and fairness a great deal.

You can be outspoken, intimidating, headstrong, and demanding.

You're a hardliner who demands the best from themselves and others.

Souls you are most compatible with: Old Soul and Peacemaker Soul

Very, very true. Scary, but true of anyone who knows me well.

(A tip of the cap to Old Crankypants.)

Running on Fumes

I needed a while to process the response I got from Hilton Hotels Corporation, as well as the feedback and more info I got from some of the milbloggers and others before wandering into what I believe will be "interesting" (as in the old Chinese curse) territory.

While I did not talk directly to Marc Grossman, I did indeed speak with Matt Hart, President and COO of Hilton Hotels Corporation. I have to tell you, there was nothing insincere, nothing glib about Mr. Hart. In fact, I felt a little bit sorry for the man. He sounded tired and completely overwhelmed. While the GM of the Capitol Hilton may be a PR-challenged, Mr. Hart himself expressed that this is Hilton's worst PR nightmare.

As for Mr. Grossman's letter, he's a Sr. VP of Corporate Communications. Of
course his letter is going to sound polished. That's his job.

I believe Kelleher's response to these questions:

· Was anyone with corporate communications/public relations involved in this decision prior to it getting publicity? No.

· Who from corporate communications/public relations and legal were involved in reviewing and/or vetting the answers to these questions? These answers none. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss them as best I can with you. Communications from corporate can be addressed to Lisa Cole, Dir of Communications.

· Was this a local business decision, i.e. made by you or within the management of the Capital Hilton; or, was this decision made on a corporate level? If the latter, where in the corporate hierarchy was this decision made? It was a local lease decision.

It appears that Corporate has been handed a paper sack containing a hive full of angry bees by a rogue General Manager. If you are up to your ass in emails and bad publicity, the last thing you do is go out and answer questions, in print, without clearing every single word with Corporate Communications... and you'd be even smarter to fly it all past the General Counsel. Clearly Kelleher is an idiot... and harmful to the corporation.

As for the folks up at the board level... well... when you're being told you are a really, really, really terrible person, instinct is to defend yourself, not to reach out directly to the people calling you those bad names. Some people are better at resisting the impulse to strike back than others. I'm tipping my cap to Mr. Hart, for the courtesy of calling me directly. The letter from Grossman was good, but Mr. Hart's phone call was exactly what HHC should be doing a hell of a lot more of.

Many years ago I worked for a family law attorney, and if I learned one thing from that experience, it's that when there's a divorce, there's always at least a little fault on both sides. I watched people waste huge amounts time, emotion and money on placing blame, rather than working together to come to an quick and equitable settlement that leaves everyone with some dignity intact.

To the folks at Hilton -- at this point it's not about whether or not there are issues with the owners of Fran O'Brien's. It's not about "winning." It's not about being "right." It's about public perception of HHC, and I'd hazzard a guess that right now HHC has a lower approval rating than Osama bin Ladin. That's not good. You can still be heroes. Go read some of those blog posts linked above. Forget, "We have no choice by the discontinue the relationship with Fran O'Brien's." From a public perception point of view, you have no choice but to reopen negotiations." It'll buy you more in goodwill in the long run than you'll ever get back in cash by kicking them out.

To the angry hordes -- Kelleher's canned and snotty answers are not the same answers I got from Mr. Hart.
Instead of saying that HHC isn't being responsive, send him a letter (9336 Civic Center Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210), a fax (310-205-7686) or an email (matthew_hart@hilton.com). Do it with an open hand, rather than a clenched fist. You just might get a personal phone call in return. And you're more likely get the results you're looking for that way, too.

One more thing -- When I spoke with Mr. Hart, I told him I was going to post about our conversation. He told me that wasn't necessary. Yes, I believe it was necessary.


For Christina and Mostly Cajun, I offer up the Uncylopedia's section on New Orleans:

"The state bird is the Sitting Duck."

Sorry. It made me laugh.

This gal is going on the blogroll today. (I can't believe she and her mom channeled a phone call between the Princess Mom and me. Too weird.)

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Never think a small-time blogger can't get heard in a big way.

I just had a phone call from Matt Hart, who is President and COO of Hilton Hotels Corporation. It seems Mr. Hart got my letter, and he wanted to respond in person.

Apparently the MSM has picked up on Fran O'Brien's story, and HHC is feeling the heat.

Here's what I took away from the conversation: The Capital Hilton is managed by a contractor. The nice folks at HHC are not happy with how that management has handled inquiries into the Fran O'Brien's matter. Hilton corporate brass has stepped in.

Mr. Hart stressed to me that this is the worst kind of PR the Hilton could ask for, and they are doing everything in their power to address all of the issues raised.

One -- Hilton intends to continue the Friday night dinner tradition. Perhaps some of the bigger Milbloggers should contact Mr. Hart directly about coordinating with Hilton on this?

Two -- Mr. Hart told me that "The owners of Fran O'Brien's are not working out. The business has not been a good fit with Hilton and they are losing money. They have not paid several months' rent." He also suggested that they might using Milblogger sympathies to buy themselves more time.

Holy Smokes! I just got a fax from Marc Grossman, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs. I think I'll just quote it in its entirety:
Thank you for writing. Please allow me to address the issues and allegation contained both in your letter and your blog. Unfortunately, there's been much information; perhaps I can clarify the situation.

First, the reason the Fran O'Brien's lease is not being renewed is that the restaurant was not paying its rent, along with a myriad of other lease violations including maintenance and safety violations. This is not a recent development; it has been going on for quite some time, and we have attempted to rectify the situation, but to no avail. We have no choice but to discontinue the relationship with Fran O'Brien's.

Second, because we do in fact honor both our veterans and the tradition of these eventsx, we have offered to the group to continue hosting them... just at a different location within the hotel. We hope they accept the offer.

Your comment that "you just don't want the restaurant there" is only true insofar as they have refused to pay their rent. From a business standpoint, what other reasonable conclusion could be reached? But importantly, from a "social" standpoint, we are also being reasonable in offerin to continue having the dinners at our hotel.

One more thing that might be of interest. In your blog you intimate that Fran O'Brien's has been paying for these dinners. That's not true. Outside organizations pay for the events. Hilton has offered to not only continue being the location for the dinners, but pay for them as well.

I hope this is helpful.
Very helpful, indeed Mr. Grossman. Thank both you and Mr. Hart for your phenomenally rapid responses.

I will encourage others with questions to both share the information you've shared with me, and to contact Hilton directly if more questions arise.

I'd like to note that I started this post immediately after hanging up with Mr. Hart and the fax from Mr. Grossman came in right in the middle of drafting the post.

If they'll answer questions from a secretary from Chicago, they'll answer questions from you. I'm impressed.


Very interesting...

I am a classic spoons!
Find your own pose!

... and accurate:

Classic Spoons Traits and Tendencies: Critics may write off Classic Spoons as too "vanilla," but people who dismiss this pose as flavorless clearly have never been properly spooned. Proper placement may be easy to achieve, but a true Classic Spoons is more than two bodies curled back-to-front. It's a rare couple indeed who can create the almost tangible bubble of comfort, safety, and emotional agreement that surrounds this pose. Some theorize that it requires thighs of similar lengths, others claim it takes two outsized hearts to generate even a passable Spoons. But almost everyone agrees that a bona fide Classic Spoons is a clear sign of a pair that is well balanced and complementarily scented.

Comfort Zone: Classic Spoons is a Sun Sleeper pose. Other Sun poses to explore include The Seatbelt and The Heimlich.

Health Note: Your unusually low blood pressure may prevent you from giving blood or joining some small armies.

(A tip of the cap to Jennifer.)

Chartered Excursions -- Austin, TX

I'm getting excited, people.

The blown-eyed blodgmeet is only a few days away... and Shoe has drafted the blown-eyes to write a theme song. Egads! A couple of margaritas under our belts and we'll be singing that song on the streets of Austin. Eeyore's party. Guns and ammo. Granola-eating hippies. And tipsy blown-eyed blodgers singing about nipple rings.

Sheesh. We're going to make my doppleganger seem tame.

Yep. We'll be doing our part to Keep Austin Weird.

I can hardly wait.

Reminder to self: You are not 21 any more, remember? Pace yourself.

Reminder to self: Pack a lampshade. And aspirin.

Memo to Livey: How could you possibly be nervous about any of this???


Note to the folks Hilton Hotels Corporation: See?

The good folks at Crown Plaza Hotel know the meaning of hospitality, and will do nothing but benefit from their generosity.


Have you learned your lesson yet? (Nah. Probably not.)

(A tip of the cap to LT Smash.)


Your Famous Last Words Will Be:

"I can pass this guy."

(Just thought you'd like to know.)

Book Your Ticket

I swiped this meme from Poppy Cedes:

Rules: BOLD those you’ve read, ITALICIZE the ones you’ve been meaning to read.

Alcott, Louisa May–Little Women
Allende, Isabel–The House of Spirits
Angelou, Maya–I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Atwood, Margaret–Cat’s Eye
Austen, Jane–Emma
Bambara, Toni Cade–Salt Eaters
Barnes, Djuna–Nightwood
de Beauvoir, Simone–The Second Sex
Blume, Judy–Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret
Burnett, Frances–The Secret Garden
Bronte, Charlotte–Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily–Wuthering Heights
Buck, Pearl S.–The Good Earth
Byatt, A.S.–Possession
Cather, Willa–My Antonia
Christie, Agatha–Murder on the Orient Express
Cisneros, Sandra–The House on Mango Street
Clinton, Hillary Rodham–Living History
Cooper, Anna Julia–A Voice From the South
Danticat, Edwidge–Breath, Eyes, Memory
Davis, Angela–Women, Culture, and Politics
Desai, Anita–Clear Light of Day
Dickinson, Emily–Collected Poems
Duncan, Lois–I Know What You Did Last Summer
DuMaurier, Daphne–Rebecca
Eliot, George–Middlemarch
Emecheta, Buchi–Second Class Citizen
Erdrich, Louise–Tracks
Esquivel, Laura–Like Water for Chocolate
Flagg, Fannie–Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Friedan, Betty–The Feminine Mystique
Frank, Anne–Diary of a Young Girl
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins–The Yellow Wallpaper
Gordimer, Nadine–July’s People
Grafton, Sue–S is for Silence
Hamilton, Edith–Mythology
Highsmith, Patricia–The Talented Mr. Ripley
Hooks, Bell–Bone Black
Hurston, Zora Neale–Dust Tracks on the Road
Jacobs, Harriet–Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Jackson, Helen Hunt–Ramona
Jackson, Shirley–The Haunting of Hill House
Jong, Erica–Fear of Flying
Keene, Carolyn–The Nancy Drew Mysteries (any of them)
Kidd, Sue Monk–The Secret Life of Bees
Kincaid, Jamaica–Lucy
Kingsolver, Barbara–The Poisonwood Bible
Kingston, Maxine Hong–The Woman Warrior
Larsen, Nella–Passing
L’Engle, Madeleine–A Wrinkle in Time
Le Guin, Ursula K.–The Left Hand of Darkness
Lee, Harper–To Kill a Mockingbird
Lessing, Doris–The Golden Notebook
Lively, Penelope–Moon Tiger
Lorde, Audre–The Cancer Journals
Martin, Ann M.–The Babysitters Club Series
McCullers, Carson–The Member of the Wedding
McMillan, Terry–Disappearing Acts
Markandaya, Kamala–Nectar in a Sieve
Marshall, Paule–Brown Girl, Brownstones
Mitchell, Margaret–Gone with the Wind
Montgomery, Lucy–Anne of Green Gables
Morgan, Joan–When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost
Morrison, Toni–Song of Solomon
Murasaki, Lady Shikibu–The Tale of Genji
Munro, Alice–Lives of Girls and Women
Murdoch, Iris–A Severed Head
Naylor, Gloria–Mama Day
Niffenegger, Audrey–The Time Traveller’s Wife
Oates, Joyce Carol–We Were the Mulvaneys
O’Connor, Flannery–A Good Man is Hard to Find
Piercy, Marge–Woman on the Edge of Time
Picoult, Jodi–My Sister’s Keeper
Plath, Sylvia–The Bell Jar
Porter, Katharine Anne–Ship of Fools
Proulx, E. Annie–The Shipping News
Rand, Ayn–The Fountainhead
Ray, Rachel–365: No Repeats
Rhys, Jean–Wide Sargasso Sea
Robinson, Marilynne–Housekeeping
Rocha, Sharon–For Laci
Sebold, Alice–The Lovely Bones
Shelley, Mary–Frankenstein
Smith, Betty–A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Smith, Zadie–White Teeth
Spark, Muriel–The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Spyri, Johanna–Heidi
Strout, Elizabeth–Amy and Isabelle
Steel, Danielle–The House
Tan, Amy–The Joy Luck Club
Tannen, Deborah–You’re Wearing That
Ulrich, Laurel–A Midwife’s Tale
Urquhart, Jane–Away
Walker, Alice–The Temple of My Familiar
Welty, Eudora–One Writer’s Beginnings
Wharton, Edith–Age of Innocence
Wilder, Laura Ingalls–Little House in the Big Woods
Wollstonecraft, Mary–A Vindication of the Rights of Women
Woolf, Virginia–A Room of One’s Own


Sputtering Mad

Apparently the folks at the Capitol Hilton aren't too happy to be on the receiving end of hundreds (maybe thousands? One can hope...) unhappy emails asking pesky questions about why the Fran O'Brien's lease isn't being renewed. If they think the email they sent to me (and it's about as canned as it gets, so I'm not the only one receiving it) is going to placate anyone with two active brain cells, they've got another thing coming.

What did the email say, you ask?
Your e-mail has been forwarded to me, Brian Kelleher, General Manager, of The Capital Hilton. Thank you for your expression of concern regarding the Fran O’Brien’s restaurant.
I emailed you directly, you moron, and I knew exactly who you are and what your title was already. Expression of concern? Expression of outrage, is more accurate.
I appreciate your interest and would like to take this opportunity to respond to you personally.
Liar, liar, pants on fire. You want me and all of my ilk to go away and leave you alone; hence, this canned response. There's nothing even remotely personal about the content of your response. Which secretary forwarded this on your behalf?
For strictly business reasons related solely to the inability to reach a new lease agreement, the Capital Hilton has elected to terminate the lease with the operator of Fran O’Brien’s restaurant at the hotel. This decision was not at all related to the Friday night dinners for disabled veterans but rather a result of lease negotiations that failed. The hotel has offered to host and sponsor the dinner and expressed interest in working closely with Walter Reed so that the Friday night tradition can continue. Furthermore, the hotel is in discussions with one of the sponsors of the Friday night dinners to continue their support of the dinners.
Bull. Pucky. You just don't want the restaurant there.

By the way -- "expressed an interest" is not "have made a commitment." And we see how far being in discussions with you got the nice folks at Fran O'Brien's. Do you actually believe your own bullshit?
The Capital Hilton prides itself on its involvement and support of many community organizations and events and has provided complimentary or discounted rooms to families with veterans in the hospital, donated facilities to military organizations and most recently hosted a meeting for 300 people.
Whoopdeedoo. I'm sure you host lots of meetings for 300 people. Can you be more specific? (I mean, you could be talking about anything from a retreat for nuns to the Man/Boy Love Association, right?)

Have any of these things done anything for the morale of wounded troops at Walter Reed anywhere near the scale of the Friday night dinners at Fran O'Brien's? I think not.

Oh. And has it cost the Capital Hilton anywhere near what Fran O'Brien's has been shelling out for dinners for these wounded soldiers? Giving a room that might not otherwise have been occupied is not on the same scale as opening your wallet and feeding people.
Brian Kelleher
General Manager, Capital Hilton
Sincerely? My Aunt Fanny.

This smacks to me of a GM who hasn't bothered to let corporate know what's going on, and certainly has no idea of how irate the public is. Worse, he doesn't seem to give a good rat's ass. And apparently his PR staff has no influence over his lack of concern.

While Buzz Patterson may recommend going through Hilton's website to email concerns, I have a suggestion to up the ante: call, write or fax Hilton's Director of Corporate Communications directly.

Have stock in Hilton? Even better. In that case, call write or fax Hilton's Vice President of Investor Relations.

Still hopping mad? Here's a list of the Directors -- drop a note to any or all of 'em.

Here's the Corporate Office info.

Have a ball letting them know how badly this entire affair has been handled. You can bet I'm going to!

Update: Here's the letter I'm sending today:

I am writing to express my dismay with the manner in which Hilton Hotels Corporation seems to be handling the closing of negotiations and eviction of Fran O’Brien’s Steak House from the Capitol Hilton in Washington, D.C. Hilton Hotels has long had a reputation for sterling hospitality. It has completely missed the mark when it comes to the handling of the Fran O’Brien’s mess.

I wrote directly to your General Manager, Brian Kelleher, to express my very real concerns that in closing this restaurant and apparently making no provisions to host the Friday night events for wounded veterans from Walter Reed Hospital, Hilton was making a grave public relations error. His response showed a complete lack of public relations skill or training.

So why am I writing to you?

First, I make reservations for my bosses, consultants who travel frequently, every day. I will not be making reservations at any Hilton Hotels for them, or for my own personal use, until and unless good faith negotiations are reopened with the owners of Fran O’Brien’s and with someone within your organization that has some common sense.

Second, I am a blogger. I have attached a copy of today’s post about this mess. Sure, I only get between 30 and 60 links a day… but I’m not the only one blogging about this. The Milbloggers are all over this story, and are successfully pushing for it to be picked up by the mainstream media.

Never underestimate the power of grassroots change agents. We are legion… and we are angry with how people who are trying to do wonderful things for wounded veterans are being evicted from the Capitol Hilton, while no arrangements to offer alternative services have been confirmed.

Shame on Hilton Hotels Corporation


Yeah, it's a quote of a quote... but just one more reason why I adore Ozzie Guillen:

My favorite quote, on players who aren't on the field for the national anthem:

"That pisses me off the most. ... First, it's the national anthem, and you have to respect this country. We have people fighting for us everywhere. And if you're not from here, you have to respect this country double. You're making money in this country, you're making a living in this country. The least you can do is stand up and hear the national anthem. That's respect."


Speaking of people I love (and can't wait to see again), go check out Shoe. The gal cracks me up.

Holy moly! Michelle is back. Now that's some bitchin' bloggin'.


This is just not true:

You Are a White Flower

A white flower tends to represent purity, simple beauty, and modesty.

At times, you are dignified like a magnolia.

And at other times, you represent great ecstasy, like a white orchid.

And more than you wish, you're a little boastful, like a white hydrangea.

I am a delicate flower. So there.

(A tip of the cap to Jay Solo, who finds all the cool quizzes.)

I got to visit with my BlogDaddy last night. He moved back to Pittsburgh in November, and he's really been missed in Chicago.

A note to the single ladies in the Pittsburgh area -- he may not be the snazziest dresser... but he's certainly the snappiest conversationalist I know. I'm almost envious.

Bus Fumes

Focused too much on materialism, celebrities and the pressure of academics, so the Brits are going to give their little darlings "happiness lessons"?

Spare. Me.
"To me, the most important job of any school is to turn out young men and women who are happy and secure -- more important that the latest bulletin from the Department for Education about whatever," explained Seldon.
Happy and secure? These kids already have colossal egos. How about shooting for well-educated and respectful, instead?

Oops. Forgot.

Mustn't bruise fragile egos, y'know.

Happy Easter!

You Are an Easter Egg

You're so sweet, you don't need candy. You much prefer the taste of artificial coloring instead.

(Yep. That's me.)


Bus Fumes


I don't know about your parents, but I know that mine would have been all over my sibs and I if we ever even thought about pulling a stunt like that -- and it wouldn't have been pretty.

Where are the parents of these children, anyway?

(A tip of the cap to Joanne Jacobs.)

I'm trying to convince myself that some pointy-headed bean counter decided that shutting down Fran O'Brien's Steak House made good financial sense, and that the decision was made at a sub-sublevel of the management hierarchy without approval from above. Go read the whole story here, and be prepared for the top of your head to explode.

The Hilton "Family"? Hilton "HHonors"? The Hiltons are in the hospitality industry, fer chrissakes! Wouldn't you think they'd know this is the worst sort of publicity they could hope for? I guess not, though.

Here's my letter to daniel_a_boyle@hilton.com:

Dear Mr. Boyle --
I make a lot of hotel reservations for my employers' business travel, frequently using Hilton Hotels. After reading the story of the closing of Fran O'Brien's Steak House in the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC, I will no longer be making reservations for them, or myself, at any Hilton hotel. I am also spreading the word of Hilton's bad faith within my company and on my personal weblog.
This is the clumsiest example of poor judgment and miserable hospitality I can have ever seen. That entrance should have been made handicapped accessible years ago -- because it is the right thing to do. Using wounded soldiers as a liability excuse is beyond the pale.
I'd like to believe that this was strictly a financial decision and done without running the idea past Hilton's public relations and marketing personnel, first. I'd also like to believe that it is a reversible decision.
Until you can assure me that Fran O'Brien's place in the Capital Hilton will remain unchanged, shame on Hilton Corporation.
Leslie Spiller

Call, write or fax your own displeasure, will you?


I guess I can be South African for today -- and celebrate
National Cleavage Day.

(A tip of the cup... er,
cap to Beautiful Jeff.)


Have you checked out the Uncyclopedia yet? I guarantee you'll get eye-popping answers to all your most pressing questions.

Who knew that Zonker's fierce midgets had formed a tribute band? (Oops! I forgot that Zonker's midgets like head-banging music.)

(A tip of the cap to Mike. It's all your fault, buddy.)

At least we know we'll have some great entertainment in Austin...

I got a note from Elizabeth: "I went into a local gas station today and asked for $5 worth of gas. The clerk farted and handed me a receipt."


Shari forgives her mother and remembers her father fondly here.
"I thank my Dad for giving me the secret to a happy life. It is this:

"Live like you will have time to die. Because if you are granted that time and you have lived right, your friends will be there. They will cry and tell you stories and laugh.

"And you will see what you did while you were here."
That reminds me of this Mike & The Mechanics song, which I hadn't heard in a long time, but seemed appropriate:

The Living Years

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I’m a prisoner
To all my father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got

You say you just don’t see it
He says it’s perfect sense
You just can’t get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defence

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It’s the bitterness that lasts

So don’t yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
You may just be o.k.

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

I wasn’t there that morning
When my father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

Tootin' the Horn

I've finally birthed my first blog child... and it's a boy! Instead of following Harvey's advice, he skipped his first post and started right out with his second.

That's my kid -- precocious (in more ways than one).


My brother and sister loved Funny Face. I, on the other hand, was always a Kool-Aid kid. How about you?

"El Mundo de Horseball"? What it bloody hell is HORSEBALL???

(Oh. So that's horseball. I still don't get it.)

I am, too:

You Are an Excellent Cook

You're a top cook, but you weren't born that way. It's taken a lot of practice, a lot of experimenting, and a lot of learning.

It's likely that you have what it takes to be a top chef, should you have the desire...

(A tip of the cap to the Accidental Jedi.)


Quote of the Day:
"There’s no more powerful guilt like panty guilt. The mental image of my mother literally 'struggling' with her tattered panties struck me as incredibly sad. What kind of son would I be if I couldn’t get past my petty insecurities to save her from her pathetic panty situation?"
Wrap your head around that one for a while, okay?

In my next life, I will be reincarnated as a lion:

"Only 18% of people will be reincarnated as a higher form of life than you.

"Remain honorable in this life, and you can expect to be rewarded in your next life."

Go to the Reincarnation Station to find out what your next incarnation will be.

(A tip of the cap to J-Walk, who's taking a minimalist approach to blogging today.)


Quote of the day: "Somewhere out there is a comet with a lampshade on its head."

(Somewhere in Chicago there was an Omnibus Driver with a lampshade on her head last night, too, if my fuzzy recall is correct.)

Things to do when I get home tonight:

#1 Write "You are not 21 any more, you blithering idiot" 100 times on the whiteboard.

#2 Take 2 aspirin.

#3 Go straight to bed.

Note to self: It's a very short stumble from "blithe" to "blithering".

Bus Fumes

Arghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Half the time I use Firefox as my browser, and the other half of the time I use Internet Explorer. My template looks fine in Firefox, but my sidebar has dropped to the bottom of the page in Explorer.

(Bangs head repeatedly against monitor.)

Can anyone 'splain me how to fix this so I'm back to normal in both???

Update: I don't know who Anonymous is, but thanks from the bottom of my heart. I deleted the problem post. Now... has anybody got an icepack I can borrow? And how do you pull dents out of a monitor?


Chicago Suntimes columnist Richard Roeper asks the questions, which make a pretty damn interesting meme:

Good Guy 101

1. After you pour yourself a cup of coffee at work, there's less than a half-cup left in the pot. Do you make a fresh pot or scoot out of there, leaving the task to the co-worker who comes in next?

I always make more coffee. Nothing pisses me off more than finding that someone has either let the pot burn down to nothing or turned off the pot and walked away.

2. You see someone fall down on the sidewalk in front of you. Do you laugh or rush to help?

I help. My Methodist upbringing wouldn't allow me to do anything else.

3. When you board an airplane, do you fill your overhead bin with all your stuff or try to leave room for fellow passengers?

I try and leave room... and hope that others will pay me the same courtesy.

4. Do you always sign your e-mails -- or do you send anonymous, nasty messages from time to time?

I sign 'em. If I can't own up to my own words, I wouldn't be much of a human being.

5. When the elevator doors are about to close, do you jab the "Door Open" button or pretend not to see that person racing toward you?

Well..... that depends on my mood that day.

6. If you're at a charity event with an open bar and there's a presentation, do you remain at the bar, chatting away, or do you actually listen to the people onstage?

If I've paid good money to get into a charity event, I'm paying attention to the presentation.

7. When the light turns green and the driver in front of you doesn't immediately move, do you hit the horn within three seconds?

Nope. Five seconds, at least.

8. If you're an adult without children and you catch a foul ball at a baseball game, do you keep it for yourself or give it to a nearby kid?

I've never been in a position to do this. Does it count that when I get a Happy Meal for lunch, I give the toys to the kids in the cubes in my corner of the office?

9. Do you always keep people waiting for 15 or 20 minutes because that's just your style -- that is, do you think your time is more valuable than everybody else's?

My mom drilled punctuality into me. Being late drives me insane.

10. Have you said the words "I'm sorry" in the last week?

Yes. I meant it, too.

11. When a colleague wins an award or gets a promotion, is your first reaction to wonder why it didn't happen to you?


12. If a cashier mistakenly hands you too much money, is your first instinct to hand it back to him or pocket it?

If I notice right away, I give it back. I know their pay gets docked if their register is off at the end of a shift.

Answer key: You don't really need me to tell the "correct" answers, do you? In each of these instances, you know what you should say in order to pass the Good Guy test. So even if you gave the wrong answers most of the time, at least you recognize how you should be acting.

That's because you're a Good Guy at heart. (Aren't you?)


Traveling Companions

Let ME try to get a photo...

of the...

Divine Miss Marilyn...

and this...

is the kind of cooperation...

(or lack thereof)...

I get.

However, let Buckaroo Bonsai ask her nicely for a photo session, and look at the results.

I'm telling you, my cat likes the Buckaroo better than she likes me...

(And I'm the keeper of the stinky goodness and catnip, and procurer of great toys, too. Sheesh!)


Stop by the Friday Ark for more animal warmth. Also check out the Carnival of the Cats, which will be hosted by The Scratching Post this Sunday evening. There are more weekly cats at eatstuff's Weekend Cat Blogging which has many participants who may not be familiar to Ark or Carnival participants. And you don't have to be a blogger to stick a pin in The Catbloggers Frappr Map.


For all my friends who dig the really gross stuff, this hysterical story. (Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Professor Quippy expands on an already dandy idea. I'm digging the viking helmet.

McGeHee is feeling neglected. Go leave him a little love in his comments.

Seems like somebody's been busy polishing up his tin foil beanie... Gadzooks!

You'll do a spit-take. I promise.

Bus Fumes

I'm in awe of Mamacita:
I do not apologize in the least for stating that I believe our schools should be catering to the HIGHEST denominator, not the lowest. If we continue to award kids for merely showing up, and continue to tell a kid he’s the GREATEST because he went for a whole two hours without hitting someone, and continue to give kids limo rides and restaurant lunches for remembering to bring a pencil to class, why should we expect our bright kids, who generally get nothing because continually performing well and behaving properly doesn’t get a kid any notice in a public school, to take education seriously? Nobody else seems to be.
She's my hero. I hope I get to meet her some day.

Think she's kidding? Stuart Buck proves she isn't joking at all.

Joanne Jacobs also hammers the point home.

Kind of makes you want to lay your head down on your desk and weep, doesn't it?


It started with a brief discussion with an acquaintence on the subject of fatherhood. I've had this George Strait song in my head ever since:

Love Without End, Amen

I got sent home from school one day with a shiner on my eye.
Fightin’ was against the rules and it didn’t matter why.
When dad got home I told that story just like I’d rehearsed.
And then stood there on those tremblin’ knees and waited for the worst.

And he said, let me tell you a secret about a father’s love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us.
He said, daddies don’t just love their children every now and then.
It’s a love without end, amen, it’s a love without end, amen.

When I became a father in the spring of ’81
There was no doubt that stubborn boy was just like my father’s son.
And when I thought my patience had been tested to the end,
I took my daddy’s secret and I passed it on to him.

Repeat chorus:

Last night I dreamed I died and stood outside those pearly gates.
When suddenly I realized there must be some mistake.
If they know half the things I’ve done, they’ll never let me in.
And then somewhere from the other side I heard these words again.

Repeat chorus

Og is posting about his father. Normblog also has a post about fathers and sons.

This, of course, got me thinking about my own father, and how much I miss him. And that brought me around to what, I'm sure, will be my next ear worm:

Daddy's Hands

I remember Daddy's hands
Folded silently in prayer
And reaching out to hold me
When I had a nightmare
You could read quite a story
In the callouses and lines
Years of work and worry
Had left their mark behind

I remember Daddy's hands
How they held my Mama tight
And patted my back
For something done right
There are things I've forgotten
That I loved about the man
But I'll always remember
The love in Daddy's hands

Daddy's hands
Were soft and kind when I was cryin'
Daddy's hands
Were hard as steel when I'd done wrong
Daddy's hands
Weren't always gentle but I'd come to understand
There was always love in Daddy's hands

I remember Daddy's hands
Working til they bled
Sacrificed unselfishly
Just to keep us all fed
If I could do things over
I'd live my life again
And never take for granted
The love in Daddy's hands

Daddy's hands
Were soft and kind when I was cryin'
Daddy's hands
Were hard as steel when I'd done wrong
Daddy's hands
Weren't always gentle but I'd come to understand
There was always love in Daddy's hands

Daddy's hands
Were soft and kind when I was cryin'
Daddy's hands
Were hard as steel when I'd done wrong
Daddy's hands
Weren't always gentle but I'd come to understand
There was always love ............ in Daddy's hands

(Damn! I really miss my dad.)

I can be such a goober sometimes. I just had to have this:

(A tip of the cap to Ann Althouse, who pointed me here, which pointed me here. I needed this like I need a hole in the head... although they will be right at home next to my vintage Peanuts vinyl figures.)



Just thought you'd like to know:

Your Lucky Underwear Is Red

You're confident and bold, and your lucky red underwear will only make you more sure of yourself.

You have a great zest for life, and you tend to take on impossible goals - and succeed.

When it comes to love, it's hard for you to take the time to open up. You're too busy conquering the world.

So if you're looking for a little more romance, put on your red underpants. And see where their passion takes you!

(A tip of the cap to my BlogMama!)

You Belong in London

You belong in London, but you belong in many cities... Hong Kong, San Francisco, Sidney. You fit in almost anywhere.

And London is diverse and international enough to satisfy many of your tastes. From curry to Shakespeare, London (almost) has it all!

Ain't it the truth, though?

(A tip of the cap to Brian D.)

Bus Fumes

It's not just the UK... it's us.

(I'm beginning to think Buckaroo Bonsai's frequent and dire predictions that we are doomed as a culture is correct.)

Open Letter to My Sister

Guilt isn't going to work. Blame isn't going to work. Manipulation isn't going to work.

Get help. Real professional help. I'm not willing to listen to one damn thing you have to say until you do.

Four plus years of this nonsense is enough. It's not us -- it's you.

Traveling Companions

My friend, pet expert Steve Dale, finally has a blog!

Now let's see if we can't get him to submit to the Friday Ark and whatever pet carnival strikes his fancy from time to time....

Welcome to the blogosphere, Steve!


Egads! My 7th grade gymsuit is now high fashion?