Leslie's Omnibus


My Soul Sister writes compelling descriptions about the people she meets daily on the real omnibus she rides. Nice of her to write such a flattering portrait of moi. (Heh!) Bus Queen. Yeah. I like it.

Tootin' the Horn

There's a winner of the 23rd Annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. (I'm not sure I'd want that distinction, however...)

Rules of the Road

The fashion police throw the book at her. And rightly so. She violated every rule of fashion ever written in one swell foop.

Traveling Companions

Laurence Simon asks the cats how to fill up all the empty space in the Houston Galleria.

Tiger Boots: "With hidey-mousies and catnip socks. Lots of 'em!"

The Divine Miss Marilyn: "With comfy kitty beds just like this."

Update: Don't forget -- there are a lot more traveling companions aboard the Friday Ark!

From the Rowdies in the Back of the Bus

Put your beverage down and swallow before you read this. Really.

This, too.

From Nancy V.: Football FINALLY makes sense..........

A guy took his blonde girlfriend to her first football game. They had great seats right behind their team's bench. After the game, he asked her how she liked the experience.

"Oh, I really liked it," she replied, "especially the tight pants and all the big muscles, but I just couldn't understand why they were killing each other over 25 cents."

Dumbfounded, her date asked, "What do you mean?"

"Well, they flipped a coin, one team got it and then for the rest of the game, all they kept screaming was: 'Get the quarterback! Get the quarterback!' I'm like... Helloooooo? It's only 25 cents!!!!

On Dogs:

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.

- Anonymous

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.

- Will Rogers

Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.

- Ann Landers

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

- Ben Williams

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than they love themselves.

- Josh Billings

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.

- Andy Rooney

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.

- M. Acklam

I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.

- Rita Rudner

Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never bathed a dog.

- Franklin P.

If your dog is fat, YOU aren't getting enough exercise.

- Unknown

My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That's almost $21.00 in dog money.

- Joe Weinstein

Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? We come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul - chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!

- Anne Tyler

You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, 'My God, you're right! I never would've thought of that!'

- Dave Barry

Dogs are not our whole life, but they do make our lives whole.

- Roger Caras

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them.

- Phil Pastoret

My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am.

- Unknown

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.

"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

"Excuse me!" he called to the man. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in."

"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.

"There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.

"This is Heaven," he answered.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."

Vocabulary Lesson of the Day:

In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship, and it was also before commercial fertilizer's invention, so large shipments of manure were common. It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by-product is methane gas.

As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles, you can see what could (and did) happen. Methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined what caused the explosions.

After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term "Ship High In Transit" on them which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.

Thus evolved the term "S.H.I.T.," (Ship High In Transit) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day.

[You probably did not know the true history of this word. Neither did I. I thought it was a golf term.]

More for pet lovers:

Dear Beloved Pets:

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, bark, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years -- canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I can not stress this enough!

To return the kindness of your obedience, my dear pets, I have posted the following on our front door so visitors to our home know what the rules are here:

Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and Like to Complain About Our Pets:

1. They live here. You don't.

2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"niture.)

3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

4. Dogs and cats are better than kids. They eat less, don't ask for money all the time,
are easier to train, usually come when called (this does not apply to most cats), never drive your car, don't hang out with drug-using friends, don't smoke or drink, don't worry about having to buy the latest fashions, don't wear your clothes, and don't need a gazillion dollars for college.
Also, if they get pregnant, you can sell the children.

From Elizabeth:


There once was a little pink lady. She had a little pink house and a little pink dress and a little pink dog. This lady sold Avon.

One day the lady was walking down a street selling her Avon when she came across a little red house. She pressed the doorbell. In the little red house lived a little red man. He was taking a bath in his little red bathtub when he heard his little red doorbell ring.

"There goes my doorbell" he said to himself as he climbed out of his little red bath. He grabbed a little red towel and put it around his waist and walked down his little red stairs to his little red door.

But, when he opened the door, his little red towel slipped and fell off.

The little pink lady screamed and ran out across the street. A car coming down the road hit her and she died.

Moral: never cross the street when the little red man is flashing.

Actual Personals From Jewish Newspapers:

  1. Divorced Jewish man seeks partner to attend shul with, light Shabbos candles, celebrate holidays, build Sukkah together, attend brisses and Bar Mitzvahs. Religion not important.
  2. Israeli professor, 41, with 18 years of teaching in my behind. Looking for American-born woman who speaks English very good.
  3. I am a sensitive Jewish prince to whom you can open your heart to share your innermost thoughts and deepest secrets. Confide in me. I'll understand your insecurities. No fatties, please.
  4. Jewish male, 34. Very successful, smart, independent, self-made. Looking for girl whose father will hire me.
  5. Single Jewish woman, 29, into disco, mountain climbing, skiing, track and field. Has slight limp.


Sisters of Mercy

A man is driving down a deserted stretch of highway, when he notices a sign out the corner of his eye.

It reads SISTERS OF MERCY HOUSE OF PROSTITUTION - 10 MILES. He thinks it is a figment of his imagination so he drives on without a second thought.

Soon, he sees another sign which reads SISTER OF MERCY HOUSE OF PROSTITUTION - 5 MILES and realizes these sign are for real.

When he drives past a third sign saying SISTERS OF MERCY HOUSE OF PROSTITUTION - NEXT RIGHT, his curiosity gets the best of him and he pulls into the drive.

On the far side of the parking lot is a somber stone building with a small sign next to the door reading SISTERS OF MERCY.

He climbs the steps and rings the bell.

The door is answered by a nun in a long black habit who asks, "What may we do for you, my son?"

He answers, "I saw your signs along the highway, and was interested in possibly doing some business."

"Very well, my son. Please follow me."

He is led through many winding passages is soon quite disoriented. The nun stops at a closed door, and tells the man, "Please knock on this door."

He does as he is told and his knock is answered by another nun dressed in a long habit and holding a tin cup.

This nun instructs, "Please place $50 in the cup, then go through the large wooden door at the end of this hallway."

He gets $50 out of his wallet and places it in the second nun's cup. He trots eagerly down the hall and slips through the door, pulling it shut behind him.

As the door locks behind him, he finds himself back in the parking lot, facing another small sign which reads:


How a Cat's Brain Works (from Marian):


Calling All Prayer Warriors!

Dana writes that Brianna and her family need prayers, and lots of them. I know there are Prayer Warriors out there. Crank up the prayer chain, please. You can and do work wonders.

Update: The news is not good. Your prayers count. Every single one.

Bus Fumes

This is morally repugnant??? To quote Old Crankypants, "My aching ass!" In Illinois one method of apprehending felons for whom there are outstanding warrants is by advertising in newspapers that they are due back tax refunds. When they show up to claim their "refunds," they get cuffs slapped on, too. I suppose Ms. Stillman would find that morally repugnant, as well.

The fact of the matter is, these people are not "immigrant workers." They are illegal aliens, and the last place on earth they should be working is on a military base. The safety of our military and civil service personnel should come far before worrying about rounding up and deporting people who have no business being in this country in the first place.

You want morally repugnant, lady? This and this and this fit the bill. Get your priorities straight, would you?

Traveling Companions

Cats lack a sweet tooth?

Huh. I guess nobody bothered to that to tell the Divine Miss Marilyn. One of her favorite things is to "share" cookies with me. And by share, I mean she's made a beeline for me as fast as I can get a box open or wrapper off and in my face challenging me bite for bite.

She considers ice cream a culinary art form. She thinks cantaloupe is God's ambrosia for cats. She thinks coffee cake is a misnomer -- it should be kitty cake.

Nope. Cats don't have a sweet tooth. Nuh uh.

Laurence Simon asks the cats what they think of Mel Gibson's new movie with the dialogue all in Mayan.

Tiger Boots says: "See this toy? It's Mayan. All Mayan."


Tootin' the Horn

Woot! (It's about time.) Godspeed and safe journey to the Discovery crew.

Traffic Alert

Buckaroo Bonzai's dad and stepmom arrive tonight. Work is crazy. Thus, blogging will more than likely be light for the next few days.

Driver's Test

The suave and debonair Ellison issued a challenge to which I felt compelled to respond. Here are his questions and my answers:

  1. If you could live anywhere you wanted on the planet for a year, where would it be? Why? Would your choice be any different if it were a lifetime move?

    Whitchurch, Hampshire, UK. I have friends there, and every time I've visited I prayed for a green card to magically appear so I didn't have to go home. It's the largest village in the UK, which is right next to Overton, the smallest town -- and they're both about the same size (i.e., tiny). With 8 pubs and several charming B&Bs, the locals get to know you... and your history... very quickly. (In fact, on my last visit I took my mom along, and the locals were asking after her at the Railway Pub for almost a month after we got back.) Speaking of the railway, Whitchurch is a great jumping off place for day trips all over the U.K. And most of the trains feature conductors with little trolleys offering tea, coffee, snacks and spirits. It's a lovely way to travel.

    Chicken tikka masala. The food hall at Harrod's (especially the cheeses). Harvey Nick's. High tea at the Ritz... or the Savoy... or the Dorchester. Flying kites at Watership Down (yes, it's a place and I've been there). The chance to meet the author of Watership Down over drinks at one of the local pubs. (Yes, Richard Adams lives in Whitchurch!) Fred's luscious bacon sandwiches for brekkie. Champers on the back porch with Suzie and Fred. A ploughman's lunch at the Mayfly Pub.

    A lifetime move there? Sign me up!

  2. What is your favorite restaurant? Why do you like it?

    My all-time favorite restaurant no longer exists in its original incarnation. When I first moved to Chicago, Andies Restaurant was a hole-in-the-wall storefront restaurant serving Greek and Lebanese food. It's a block away from one of my favorite bookstores, so I could pick up a book and stroll down the street to have a quiet dinner and satisfying read. (Heh!)
    You walked in the door of Andies to be greeted by the grill (always something sizzling on it) and half a dozen young, recently-emigrated Lebanese waiters eager to seat you at one of ten or so small tables. The food was (and still is) always superb. The service was always... ummmm... amusing. "You, Lady. Why you always reading a book? Why no mens they buy you the dinner?" The first time I was there I patiently explained that I wasn't dating anyone at the time. Thereafter, I never paid for a glass of wine again. Why? At one point or another every one of those waiters had a divorced father or uncle sitting at a corner table, sipping coffee, chain smoking and waiving happily (and hopefully) at me. The waiter would come over and present me with a glass of wine "compliments of my uncle." An old gypsy lady selling roses would come through every night. "My father, he would like the beautiful lady to have this."

    These days Andies still has wonderful food, but the tacky fake brick and Mediterranean kitsch decor is gone. The grill has been banished to the back of the restaurant. The Lebanese waiters have all be replaced by yuppsters, gays and theater types. Man! I miss the good old days.

  3. You have the chance to be President of the U.S. for one year. What would your priorities be?

    First priority would be to build a political power base. You can't do squat in D.C. without it. I'd look for representatives and senators with whom I had issues in common, even if it was only one issue, and build relationships from there. If you can get bipartisan support, you can do almost anything.

    Second, I'd be looking for people who are loyal, intelligent and articulate to rely on for information and advice in areas where I have no knowledge or expertise. I don't care how smart a person is; they have to be able to share knowledge in a timely and understandable way.

    If you've got both those bases covered, everything else on your agenda should fall a lot more easily into place.

  4. Are you a sonnet person or a limerick person? Why?

    I'm a poetry person, period. I was a lit major in college. I'll read anything and everything I can get my hands on. And it doesn't necessarily have to rhyme.

    The sonnet/limerick question may also be an indicator of whether your are a romantic at heart, or bawdy, irreverent and fun-loving. The answer is, again, YES.

  5. If you could wipe one (currently living) human being off the face of the earth - with no sin attached to the deed, no karmic reprisals of any kind - would you do it? If so, who would you make disappear?

    One??? Only one??? No fair. Much to Buckaroo Bonsai's amazement, I can be pretty bloody-minded when it comes to the extermination of vermin. It would not be good to allow me to play God in this instance. I would be merciless a lot more than once.


Almost forgot this:

  • Leave me a comment saying “Interview me, please.”
  • I will respond by asking you five questions here on my blog (ideally, not the same questions you see here.)
  • You will update your blog or website with the answers to the questions.
  • In that same post, you will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else.
  • When others comment, asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.



From the Rowdies in the Back of the Bus

From Elizabeth:

Actual Answers on a California Drivers Test

The following are a sampling of REAL answers received on exams given by the California Department of Transportation's driving school (read at Saturday Traffic School for moving violation offenders.)

Q: Do you yield when a blind pedestrian is crossing the road?
A: What for? He can't see my license plate.

Q: Who has the right of way when four cars approach a four-way stop at the same time?
A: The pick up truck with the gun rack and the bumper sticker saying "Guns don't kill people. I do."

Q: When driving through fog, what should you use?
A: Your car.

Q: How can you reduce the possibility of having an accident?
A: Be too effed up to find your keys.

Q: What problems would you face if you were arrested for drunk driving?
A: I'd probably lose my buzz a lot faster.

Q: What changes would occur in your lifestyle if you could no longer drive lawfully?
A: I would be forced to drive unlawfully.

Q: What are some points to remember when passing or being passed?
A: Make eye contact and wave "hello" if he/she is cute.

Q: What is the difference between a flashing red traffic light and a flashing yellow traffic light?
A: The color.

Q: How do you deal with heavy traffic?
A: Heavy psychedelics.

Q: What can you do to help ease a heavy traffic problem?
A: Carry loaded weapons.

Road Conditions

When you've had weather as dry as we've had here in Chicago, there's no more beautiful sight in the world than rain-slicked pavement and puddles.

If we're lucky, we'll get a little more of that tonight.



Good. The Germans are welcome to him.

End of the Line

Farewell, Mr. Doohan. I trust the "Big Guy" is beaming you up.

Road Conditions

Hot and dry.

Which means you can go here for happy hour...

... and enjoy sights like this:



"Plame" "Rove" "Wilson"

Eyes glaze over. Buzzing in my ears. Hives. Lots of 'em.

Think I'm allergic to those names?

I'm sticking my fingers in my ears, shutting my eyes and singing "la-la-la-la-laaaaaaah" at the top of my lungs until the whole thing goes the hell away. Yup. I'm really handling this in an adult manner.

My BlogDaddy hits the big time. Whoohoo!

From the Rowdies in the Back of the Bus

Rectal Philosophy? (I dare you to get through this one without giggling. Betcha can't!)

(A huge tip of the cap to Ilyka Damen.)

Nancy V. reports:

New Terrorist Catch & Release Program

US Navy Releases Terrorist

The US Navy today announced that it has released a senior Al Quaeda terrorist after questioning him extensively for 27 days while being held prisoner aboard a US aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea.

In a humanitarian gesture, the terrorist was given $50 US and a white 1962 Ford Fairlane automobile upon being released from custody.

The attached photo shows the terrorist on his way home just after being released by the Navy.



Traveling Companions

I can't go, as I've got unbreakable commitments on Sunday. If you're anywhere along the route from Fort Collins, CO to Kenosha,WI and can help, please contact Peggy Dial directly:




REASON FOR TRANSPORT: Temp Foster to Rescue

COMING FROM: Temp Foster (from kill shelter)
Fort Collins, CO

Owner Surrender (Desperate)
Festus, MO

DESTINATION: CFA Purebred Rescue, Inc
/DBA Purebred Cat Breed Rescue

Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue
Elizabeth Schuett - Foster
Arlington Heights, IL

Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue
Director: Kirsten Kranz
Kenosha, Wis. 53144

CFA Purebred Rescue, Inc
/DBA Purebred Cat Breed Rescue

Peggy Dial
Ragdoll Rescue USA/International
CFA Purebred Rescue, Inc - Transport Coordinator


AGE: 9 Years
CARRIER: Transporters Need To Provide

BREED/SPECIES: Havana Brown Cat
CARRIER: Transporters Need To Provide

AGE: 4 Years
COLOR: Calico
GENDER: Female
CARRIER: To be provided -will ride w/Birman

TROY, IL - KENOSHA, WI (2nd Try)
AGE: 7 Years
CARRIER: To be provided - Will ride w/Calico kitty


Leg 1 - Kansas City, KS - Concordia, MO - FILLED
57 Miles 53 Minutes THANKS TEDDY!
Depart: 9:00 AM Arrive: 9:55 AM

Leg 2 - Concordia MO - Columbia, MO - NEED
69 Miles 1 Hour 4 Minutes
Depart: 10:00 AM Arrive: 11:05 AM

Leg 3 - Columbia, MO - Warrenton, MO - NEED
69 Miles 1 Hour 5 Minutes
Depart: 11:10 AM Arrive: 12:15 PM

Leg 4 - Warrenton, MO - Troy, IL - NEED
73 Miles 1 Hour 14 Minutes
Depart: 12:15 PM Arrive: 1:30 PM


Leg 5- Troy, IL - Litchfield, IL - NEED
39 Miles 40 Minutes
Depart: 1:30 PM Arrive: 2:10 PM

Leg 6- Litchfield, IL - Springfield, IL - NEED
46 Miles 50 Minutes
Depart: 2:15 PM Arrive: 3:05 PM

Leg 7- Springfield, IL - Bloomington, IL - NEED
67 Miles 1 Hour 9 Minutes
Depart: 3:10 PM Arrive: 4:20 PM

Leg 8- Bloomington, IL - Pontiac, IL - FILLED
42 Miles 46 Minutes THANKS JONI!
Depart: 4:25 PM Arrive: 5:10 PM

Leg 9 - Pontiac, IL - Joliet, IL - NEED
60 Miles 1 Hour
Depart: 5:15 PM Arrive: 6:15 PM

Leg 10-Joliet, IL - Arlington Hts, IL - FILLED
48 Miles 1 Hour THANKS DIETER!
Depart: 6:20 PM Arrive: 7:20 PM


Leg 11-Arlington Hts, IL - Crystal Lake, IL - NEED
24 Miles 30 Minutes
Depart: 7:20 PM Arrive: 8:00 PM

Leg 12-Crystal Lake, IL - Kenosha, WI - FILLED
49 Miles 1 Hour 16 Minutes THANKS TOM!
Depart: 8:00 PM Arrive: 9 PM

Road Conditions

Not a cloud in the sky in Chicago


Book Your Ticket

Live in Chicago and want to get a jump on your Christmas shopping? Brent Books & Cards at 309 W. Washington Street has ALL books on sale for 50% off through the end of this month. That's right -- even books on the NYT Best Sellers List.

Shop early, shop often. And if you can shop CHEAP, more's the better.

(I'm in Heaven!)


Jude Law is an idiot. That's all there is to it.

Update: Then again, maybe not?

Too much information. Really.

Take Two, Part V

Here's Christina's challenge:

It is dawn. The first thin fingers of the morning sun are reaching across the distant waves toward the shore. She has emerged from the darkness to stand alone in quiet testament to the ability to survive and endure all the night holds.

Instinctively she knows the worst has yet to come.

"What have I done? What have I done? What have I done?" she murmured quietly as the gentle morning waves of Lake Michigan lapped at her feet.

She pulled her sweater closer around her to stop her shivers, but she kept her chilled bare feet in the water and watched the still-dark sky for the first signs of dawn. What better place to contemplate her sins -- or were they? -- than this quiet, lonely place, in an hour devoid of stars and moon and sun alike? All of her difficult choices had been made in hours just like this -- in the many shades of gray and shadow.

She believed that few good decisions were really based on black and white issues. Why make them in the brightest light of day or the deepest hours of the night? No. Better to wait until you could sift and weigh the darkest to the palest nuances of gray. The answers were there if you knew to look into the hidden corners and unturned pockets of questions and conscience.

She turned and walked south along the wet sand, her feet rhythmically slapping out all the arguments for and against her actions. It will cause a rift in the family. I can't live like this any more. My mother will be heartbroken. I deserve better than this. My father would have... WHAT? What would my father have done if he were still here?

She stopped abruptly and looked east to see the first signs of the coming sunrise. The sky began to rim the lake with deep rose, crimson and lilac. The visual sigh of soft, soothing colors sent message straight to her heart.

Before the sun could break the horizon, she decided. It is done. I can't change it now. I will not change it now.

The first affirmative rays of sunlight flashed on the water's surface. She blew out a breath, turned, squared her shoulders and slowly sloggedd up the beach to the path that would lead her home.

She quietly opened the back door, wiped her sandy feet on the sea grass doormat and entered the silent kitchen. She took the tea kettle from the stove and opened the top to add water.

“Where were you? I was worried about you,” her mother said hoarsely from behind her.

She stiffened. Was the tone accusing? Angry? Hurt? Annoyed? Concerned? It was very difficult for her to tell.

Without turning she said, “I had a lot to think about. You know I always do my best thinking near the lake. And I like the beach best when there’s no one around but the seagulls.” She added water to the kettle from the tap, set it on the stove and turned on the flame. She had to grip the knob firmly to hide the shaking of her hands.

Here it comes again, she thought. The motherlode of guilt, love, obedience, respect, fear. Always the fear.

"I'm sorry, Mom. I thought I'd be back before you were awake."

"I don't sleep well any more. It's one of the curses of growing old. Especially when my children aren't getting along. Another curse of aging."

With her back still turned to her mother, she carefully turned to the sink and turned on the taps again. Washed her hands. Reached for a water glass. Damn. Her hands still shook, and she could feel her heart begin to pound. She set the glass down again, turned, and gripped the counter behind her.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Her voice was strangled, and she had to fight the urge to wrap her arms around herself and rock. Oh, no! Not now! She looked at the table, rather than at her mother.

"Sit down, Mom. I'll warm the pot and make us some tea." She turned once more towards the sink, reached into the cabinet to the upper left, and retrieved a teapot. I can do this. She turned on the hot water tap and waited for the water to warm. Keep busy. Keep your back turned.

She could hear the soft thwap of her mother's slippers on the hardwood floors. The squeak of a chair pulled away from the kitchen table.

She filled the china pot with hot water, and two teacups, as well. She turned of the taps and reached for another cupboard door.

"English Breakfast, Darjeeling or Chamomile?"

"Chamomile, I think. It's soothing to the stomach. And you look like you could use it."

Damn it to hell, the woman can read me like a book.


The kettle startled her with a shrieking whistle and she whirled to turn off the burner. She dumped out the water in the teapot, spooned in loose, dried buds, and poured in steaming water from the kettle, then reached into a nearby drawer and pulled out a fuzzy knitted cozy and fitted it over the teapot. The pounding had reached from her heart to between her ears. The early warning signs of a tension headache traced tentative fingers up the back of her skull and up to her temples.

"Another panic attack, dear?"

"No!" She almost shouted. Then she caught herself, and notice for the first time the exhaustion and concern on her mother's face. "I'm sorry. Yes. I can't help it."

"You know that I love all of my children the same, don't you?"

No, Mom. I don't. You love Stephen for his brashness. You love Michael for his neediness. And you love me because I'm supposed to be responsible and forgiving, just like you.

"Of course I do."

"Then tell me what happened. I heard you on the phone with Michael last night."

I couldn't forgive him any more, Mom. I couldn't forgive his selfishness. I couldn't forgive his arrogance. I couldn't take hearing one more time how he lived his life very well without my input... or my love. And I couldn't allow him to use you one more time. So I told him he wasn't my brother any more. He laughed. He LAUGHED!

So I did it. So you have three children, but I now only have one brother.

"A small misunderstanding." She placed the teapot, cups and tea strainer on a tray and carried them to the table. She held the strainer over her mother's cup and poured.

"Drink your tea, Mom. It'll warm you."

And I'm giving up my guilt for anger, Mom. It'll warm me.

Road Conditions

Another beautiful day in Chicago. Wish I could join those tourists...



Bus Fumes

Not racist? Playful invitation to a Holocaust Rememberence celebration? A joke?

Watch it all, if you can. I know I am well and truly disgusted. Nice to know there's no such thing as anti-semitism in the Netherlands.

(A tip of the cap to Hatewatch at Winds of Change.)

Chilling. “Even many in the Islamic world do not understand.” Inshallah, I certainly hope that is true.

Tootin' the Horn

At last, someone has taken pity on me! Richthofen of Blind Chick Racing educated me in how to set up a blogroll. This means two things: 1) I have an Adopted Baby BlogBrother (Nope. He can't get rid of me now!); and, 2) I'll be adding my favorite reads on a regular basis. Enjoy!

Road Conditions

It's a beautiful day in Chicago today.


Jesus H. Christ! Here's another thing that's a MUST DISCUSS with your kids. I don't envy parents these days...

(A tip of the cap to Bill Quick.)

Received this morning from Robert Shurbet of Take Back the Memorial:

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (responsible for rebuilding at Ground Zero as well as choosing the IFC for the site) is having a board meeting today. This presents an excellent opportunity to make your voice heard!

If you are able, please take a moment to make a phone call and let the LMDC know that you believe cutural institutions such as the IFC and The Drawing Center have no place at Ground Zero and the memorial quadrant should be devoted to February 26, 1993 (first WTC bombing) and September 11, 2001 alone.

Lower Manhattan Development Corporation
Phone: (212) 962-2300
TTY Phone: (212) 962-0045
Fax: (212) 962-2431/33

Reading the Road Signs

I've been very critical of the MSM's coverage of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, so it comes as a surprise to read this article, which shows that plainly the MSM as not entirely at fault. Kudos to Mr. Lacey for his candor and suggestions for change. Let's hope someone in a position to really address the way the military deals with the media sees this article... and makes some changes for the positive.

(A tip of the cap to Joe Katzman.)

Bus Fumes

Once again Senator Durbin proves he is from the "Do as I say, not say as I do" school of politics.

I don't understand why there was a "shocked silence." This has been obvious all along.

This is unbelievable. What a complete and utter fustercluck.

The only good news? "The Audit Team found high quality care of animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo. In addition, the Audit Team believes that the Lincoln Park Zoo maintains a deep concern for the welfare of individual animals and for animal populations both in captivity and in the wild."

Good. I love LPZ.


[Y]ou should be in a good emotional place because there are ups and downs of any game and you are going to need to make sure that there is a fixed point inside of you that can not be altered by any circumstance. That fixed point must always remind you that you are not the results of your bad dates. You're a good person who deserves to get what you want, even if you are a slut who just wants to get laid.

Yes, indeedy.

Me, too. It's a head-scratcher for sure.


Snorting whipped cream in the dairy case? Jeeze! And I thought this was wierd.


I always thought that the male/female dating scene was a war zone.

Risawn, though, says, "[O]ne of the amusing things I've discovered about dating in a War Zone is finding unique things to do. Other then, you know, make out. In bunkers. You can go into any given bunker here on Bondsteel and find something unusual in it. Like, say Bunker 2050. Has a blow up Mattress inside of it. Yeah, you know whats going on there!"


Jada Pinkett Smith just became a hero in my eyes.


Thank goodness I've got you-know-who in my life and don't have to go through this nonsense any more.


Postcards for Acidman

Key calls them toe p(o)rn. I prefer to think of them as "digital" art. At any rate, here's the last of them, from our final night at sea:

Joyce the Flight Attendant:

Party Gal Pam:

Sue from Oz:

One tired Omnibus Driver:

Reality sets in and we land in Ft. Lauderdale:

I sure as heck wasn't ready to go home yet.


Fox News calls them "homicide bombers." Too right.

A little good news for single gals everywhere: it's BACK.

From the Rowdies in the Back of the Bus

Hilarious quotes can be found here. Guaranteed giggles abound!

From Nancy V.:

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submittals to its yearly contest in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

1. Coffee (n.): the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.): appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.): to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.): to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy~nilly (adj.): impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.): describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.): to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n.): olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.): emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.): a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.): a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.): the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n): a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.): a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.): The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.): an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

From Elizabeth, a complete waste of good vodka:

VODKA - Not Just For Drinking

1. To remove a bandage painlessly, saturate the bandage with vodka. The solvent dissolves the adhesive.

2. To clean the caulking around bathtubs and showers, fill a trigger spray bottle with vodka, spray the caulking, let set five minutes and wash clean. The alcohol in the vodka kills mould and mildew.

3. To clean your eyeglasses, simply wipe the lenses with a soft, clean cloth dampened with vodka. The alcohol in the vodka cleans the glass and kills germs.

4. Prolong the life of razors by filling a cup with vodka and letting your safety razor blade soak in the alcohol after shaving. The vodka disinfects the blade and prevents rusting.

5. Spray vodka on vomit stains, scrub with a brush, then blot dry.

6. Using a cotton ball, apply vodka to your face as an astringent to cleanse the skin and tighten pores.

7. Add a jigger of vodka to a 12 ounce bottle of shampoo. The alcohol cleanses the scalp, removes toxins from hair, and stimulates the growth of healthy hair.

8. Fill a sixteen ounce trigger spray bottle and spray bees or wasps to kill them.

9. Pour one half cup vodka and one half cup water in a Ziplock freezer bag, and freeze for a slushy, refreezable ice pack for aches, pain, or black eyes.

10. Fill a clean, used mayonnaise jar with freshly packed lavender flowers, fill the jar with vodka, seal the lid tightly and set in the sun for three days. Strain liquid through a coffee filter, then apply the tincture to aches and pains.

11. Make your own mouthwash by mixing nine tablespoons powered cinnamon with one cup vodka. Seal in an airtight container for two weeks. Strain through a coffee filter. Mix with warm water and rinse your mouth. Don't swallow.

12. Using a Q-tip, apply vodka to a cold sore to help it dry out.

13. If a blister opens, pour vodka over the raw skin as a local anaesthetic that also disinfects the exposed dermis.

14. To treat dandruff, mix one cup vodka with two teaspoons crushed rosemary let sit for two days, strain through a coffee filter and massage into your scalp and let dry.

15. To treat an earache put a few drops of vodka in your ear. Let set for a few minutes. Then drain. The vodka will kill the bacteria that is causing pain in your ear.

16. To relieve a fever, use a washcloth to rub vodka on your chest and back as a liniment.

17. To cure foot odor, wash your feet with vodka.

18. Vodka will disinfect and alleviate a jellyfish sting.

19. Pour vodka over an area affected with poison ivy to remove the urushiol oil from your skin.

20. Swish a shot of vodka over an aching tooth. Allow your gums to absorb some of the alcohol to numb the pain.

Or, in our humble opinion.... bypass all the inconvenience and drink the damn stuff! You'll be entirely disinfected from the inside and out, and later .... when you pee, make sure to aim for that mildew in the shower. It will remove the mildew, and empty your bladder in one easy step, and you'll have a joyous time doing it !! [Oh. Well that's more like it.]

Elizabeth claims there's a man in here:

I found him. Did you?

As opposed to, say, meaner ones?

She's completely nuts. He's hilarious. And entirely justified.

(A tip of the cap to Ken Lammers.)

Too funny!

Postcards for Acidman


And more Panama:

My favorite photo -- Aruba:

Ah! AhhhhhhhhROOOOOOOOObahhhhhhhhh!!!



Since you're reading this, I know you have a computer. If you have kids, too, please go to Snopes and read this post regarding Dust-Off, a common cleaner used by computer owners.

Long ago, my younger brother huffed from CO2 cannisters you could get at any liquor store. I didn't find out about it until about 10 years after he stopped. In fact, I didn't know about huffing AT ALL.

Please, make sure YOU... and your kids... know what huffing is, and just how dangerous it can be. It's amazing what kids can and will get into without your knowledge. Inventive little buggers, aren't they?

Bus Fumes

Bus fumes, British style:

But the best coverage was kicked off by that guff from the Mayor of France with his “maintenant, je suis il Londoner ici” nonsense. No you are not. WE are; you lost, remember?

Personally I don’t like the sound of the French trying to muscle in on our gig with all of this “ich bin eine chirpy Cockney geezer, ain’t I my old Dutch” lark. Fuck off and get your own bomb; this is nothing to do with you.

And this, too:
Ignoring for a moment both the stiff upper and lower lips of our Prime Minister which prevent him from talking properly, I’ve not noticed any Blitz spirit. All I’ve seen is what you always see from us lot in times of dire emergency and national threat – which is essentially a response of “do piss off you bloody camel-shagger, you’re making me late for the pub”. Blair could do worse than adopting a touch of this “Oi, fucking keep it down” attitude and less of the hand-wringing feebleness.

Brilliant. Bloody brilliant.

(A tip of the cap to Kim Du Toit.)

Unbelievable. Fred Phelps gets even more offensive. I didn't think it was possible.

That's not only not chic... it's incredibly tacky.


How 'bout them apples? Bet you won't hear much about this from the MSM.

(A tip of the cap to the gang at Winds of Change.)

Amen, Rev. Sensing!

Ready for a little more good news today?

How cool is this??? No messy extra cables!

Tootin' the Horn

Happy first blogiversary to me!

Some thanks are in order:

To Kevin Heller who nudged (er, shoved) me in the direction of blogging and Rebecca Blood for both her book and her encouraging emails -- Fairy Blogparents extraordinaire.

To Kevin Barkes, the best Blogdaddy a girl could ever ask for.

To Blonde Justice, my Blogmama, even if she doesn't acknowledge me. If it weren't for her, I'd still be sending out a daily email instead of blogging. (Will somebody please convince her I'm a blog kid worth claiming?)

To some terrific women who inspired, amazed and offered the hand of friendship: Dana, Kelley, Key, Christina, Lila, Michele and Moogie.

Some charming gentlemen who did the same: Jeff, the Manolo, Acidman, Pejman, Patterico, Spoons, Straight White Guy, Velociman, Zonker, Dax, Kevin and Denny.

One of these days one of these good folks is really going to take pity on me and teach me how to put up a site meter. And a blogroll. A whole year later, and I'm still one of the biggest techno-tards on the planet. (And as soon as I figure out how to put up a blogroll, all of the above-mentioned folks will be on it.)

A lot has happened in a year:

Some dear friends got hitched. They share an anniversary with this blog.

I lost my mom.

I found my mom.

I changed my mind about hating dating.

I danced with a famous guy.

I read a bunch of books. (Too many posts to link!)

I rode to the rescue.

I went on the cruise of a lifetime:

An awful lot of my rowdy friends sent me an awful lot of jokes. (Way too many to link.)

I got some really lousy news about my mom.

I became a superhero. (Scroll down.)

I was the Ringmaster for a Carnival.

I squirrel-blogged.

The news got better.

My little traveling companion met Buckaroo Bonsai's four-footed buddy.

My neighborhood went to hell in a handbasket.

I had the best Valentine's Day ever.

Mom took us on another roller coaster ride.

My plans went awry.

Zonker administered a written exam.

I embarked on a really cool project.

I took a trip to Florida.

I went back to Florida.

I got to relate the best news of all.

I got totally surprised. (And honored.)

I took a trip down Memory Lane.

My project finally came together.

I fumed (too many times to link). I laughed. Occasionally I cried.

Oh, yeah. And somewhere in there, not only did I stop hating dating, I actually fell in love.

Not a bad year, huh?

P.S. -- The new year isn't starting off too badly, either. Next week, I get to spin a yarn.

Prayer Warriors, Unite!

Now it's gotten personal. Please send prayers for Nugget's friend.

(A tip of the cap to Her Feistyness.)

Roadside Diversions

A couple of good ones today:

The Carnival of the Recipes and the Friday Ark. The combo is better than a petting zoo with a hotdog stand. Way better.

Postcards for Acidman

Joyce the flight attendant and I stayed up all night in between Costa Rica and Panama:

Why? So we'd be awake in time to go through the first lock of the Panama Canal:

Blurry, you say? Well... you try taking digital photos in the dark and without a tripod, after an all night cocktail party, and see if you do better.

See? I didn't just take foot pictures...

Traveling Companions

Tiger Boots and the Divine Miss Marilyn:


Bus Fumes

It's deja vu. On 9/11, we thought one of my colleagues was on the plane from Boston to L.A. It took us 24 hours to track him down -- alive -- and my heart was in my throat the entire time.

Thank goodness we heard by noon today that the employees in all three of our London offices are safe.

I send up a prayer for the dead and the injured. I send up a prayer for the people of the U.K.

For detailed reporting on the bombings and their aftermath, I suggest you go to Instapundit,
The Command Post, Jeff Jarvis and Tim Blair. They have loads of links.


Trevor wondered whether he should change his blog. Four words, Trevor: Don't change a thing.

Postcards for Acidman

A couple of my girlfriends on shipboard caught me taking pictures of my tootsies, and wanted to know what the story was. When I explained my silliness, they insisted on joining in.

Joyce, at sea, between Costa Rica and the Panama Canal:


Tootin' the Horn

Another one of my favorite bloggers is having a blogiversary. If you're not reading him regularly, what are you waiting for?


Put down whatever you're drinking before clicking on this link. (You'll thank me for the warning.)

Postcards for Acidman


Costa Rica:



"The saga of CortiSlim involves a Mormon opera singer, two ex-convicts, a toy inventor and a chunk of tree bark."

How could you not want to read this?

(A tip of the cap to Patterico.)

One good reason for getting out of bed today. A dandy reason, indeed.

Postcards for Acidman

During my cruise last fall, I gleefully memorialized the trip by taking pictures of Rob's biggest passion in every port along the way. Unfortunately, at the time Blogger didn't allow you to upload photos and I didn't have outside hosting services. Neither did I know that Rob doesn't ever accept an email with an attachment.

Well. Blogger has finally fixed all that, so I can finally post these. Good thing. Rob is having a crankypants day. Maybe these will cheer him up:

Cabo San Lucas:


That's it for today. After all, postcards never arrive all on the same day.

Tootin' the Horn

It sure is great to receive good news!

It's a Cold Day In...

I absolutely agree with Oliver Willis. (Refer to title, above.) Pinch me. I must be dreaming.

Memorial Marker

On this day, the true birthday of our great nation, let us remember the Declaration of Independence and the remarkable men who made it a reality.

Happy Birthday, America!

Designated Driver

It's the holiday weekend. Whip yourself up a blender full of these, and make sure you have a designated driver:

Omnibus Driver's Raise the Roof Raspberry Daquiris

In a blender place:

1 small can frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate
1 pint fresh raspberries, rinsed and drained (Save a few for garnish)

Fill the empty concentrate can to the brim with your favorite light rum and dump it in the blender.

Fill the blender to the brim with ice cubes.

Blend until slushy.

Pour yourself a nice big glass, and pop what's left in the blender in the freezer to keep'em slushy. (The pitcher won't last till morning. I guarantee.) Garnish with a fresh raspberry or two, and a spring of fresh mint if you've got it. Heaven!


The Birthday Girl has Take Two, Part IV up. I haven't had a chance to read them all yet, but, if history is any indication, it's another humdinger of a group of writers. I know what I'm going to be reading this weekend.

Tootin' the Horn

With Independence Day right around the corner, how about going to one of these organizations and offering time, talents or tithes to support those who are still defending our freedom?

Roadside Diner

I never submit anything for the Carnival of the Recipes, but I whipped this up for Buckaroo Bonsai last night, and he's been raving about it ever since:

Omnibus Driver's "Whoohoo! Summer Ragout"

You'll need:

4-6 Links of Italian Sausage (I use a mix of sweet and hot) cut into 1" pieces
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Who measures? Certainly not I!)
1/2 Large Sweet Bell Pepper (I like to use yellow or orange for color), seeded, cored and cut into chunky bits
1/2 Medium Yellow Onion, peeled and cut into good-sized chunks
1 6-8" Zucchini, cut into 1/4-1/2" slices
1 lb. White Mushrooms, cut into 1/2" slices
Minced Garlic -- to taste (I use about one heaping soup spoon full)
1 Healthy Handful Fresh Basil, rough chopped
Lemon Pepper -- to taste (I use about 1/2 teaspoon)
Spike or Lawry's Seasoned Salt -- to taste
If you like a bit more kick, you can add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to taste
1 14.5 oz. Can Redgold Tomatoes -- Italian-style
Good Dry Red Wine -- to taste

Drizzle a little EVOO in a medium-hot skillet. Add the sausage chunks and sauté until brown. Remove pieces to drain on a paper towel.

Drizzle a little more EVOO into the skillet and add bell pepper, onions, zucchini and garlic. Sauté until slightly glassy (the veggies, not you).

Add the mushrooms and continue sautéing until onions are glassy, peppers are glossy and mushrooms have browned.

Toss in the basil and stir around until it wilts a bit.

Add seasonings and tomatoes.

Plop the sausage chunks back into the pot.

Sample the broth, then add red wine to taste. (Pour yourself a glass while you're at it.)

Bring up to a boil, then cover and simmer for at least half an hour. (The longer it simmers, the better the flavors meld.)

You can serve this over pasta or rice, but I prefer it in all its naked glory, with some good crusty bread (an Assiago cheese bread is superb) for sopping up the juices.

Leftovers? Before putting them into a storage container, rinse and drain one 14.5 oz. can of cannelini beans and stir into the ragout. Pop into the fridge. Serve chilled on a bed of arugala for a delicious cold summer "chili." Yum.

From the Rowdies in the Back of the Bus

The Sweetheart of Shell Knob, MO sends this highly accurate parody:

Barbies for ILLINOIS girls

Highland Park Barbie: This trendy homemaker Barbie is available with the Lexus or BMW SUV, gets lost easily, and has no full-time occupation. Traffic-jamming cell phone sold separately. Optional matching gym outfit.

Cicero Barbie: This recently paroled Barbie comes with a 9 mm handgun, a Ray Lewis knife, a low-rider Chevrolet with oversized wheels and tinted windows, and a Meth Lab Ken. Also available in a Mexican version.

Naperville Barbie: This yuppie Barbie comes with choice of a BMW sports car or a souped up Hummer 2, Starbucks cup, credit card and shallow Ken.

Peoria Barbie: This model comes in Wrangler jeans two sizes too small, a NASCAR shirt, big hair, a six pack of Coors Light, and a Hank, Jr., CD set. She can spit over 5 feet, and she can kick Ken's hiney when she's drunk. A pickup is available with Confederate flag bumper stickers.

Halsted Barbie: This Barbie actually comes in two variations. One has long gray hair and arch-less feet, Birkenstocks, no makeup, and a mutt. Or boycut brown highlighted hair, Abercrombie Tee and cargos, combat boots and a pit-bull.

Humboldt Barbie: This bee-atch of a Barbie comes with a knife to stab other Barbies in the back, miniskirt and tons of makeup. They are working on developing a "Hyde Park Barbie," but she keeps getting shot.

Lake Forest and Kenilworth Barbie: This true blonde shops exclusively in town. She drives a Land Rover (sold separately). She has an MBA from Northwestern but has never worked outside the home. Her child's stroller is bigger than your car, and her tennis trophies are discreetly hidden behind CEO Ken's golf trophies. She knows enough Spanish to talk with the nanny, Tagalog to speak to the cook, and Polish for the house painter and housekeeper, respectively. Her family owns a winery in Napa, but she buys cases of "2-Buck Chuck" at Trader Joe's. Hence the need for the rear-loading Land Rover.

Berwyn Barbie: Big hair sprayed black, with overdone makeup and housecoat, cooks up a batch of mean meatballs and lasagna and the ever popular chocolate chip cookies. Comes with plastic covered sofas.

Wrigleyville Barbie: Cubs hat and tank top, bleacher tan, Kosher hotdog and overpriced Old Style in hand. Ken is dressed in the Cubs satin jacket, hat, and headphones, and has a mark in his palm where the game ball landed once. His lawyer is sold separately.

Moogie's thinging "Thong Thung Blue"... or thumbthing like that. (Thorry. Jutht can't help mythelf. Thilly, thilly me.)

New baby stories for my sister-in-law, who's expecting a sibling for TMBCITW some time in late September...

Jutht sthop it, already.