Friday, March 31, 2006

Finally Friday

Ca-razy week. I'm on multi-task overload. I mean, really. A girl can only do so much.

On the good side, Shorty PJs passed the 10,000 hits-mark early in the week. I'm surprised, but I figure at least 9,850 of those are "mistake hits" - mainly folks wanting shorty pajamas. Still, the counter looks impressive, eh?

On the down side, it seems that certain of you haven't been able to comment for a while. Don't know what the problem is - I've checked and re-checked the comment settings on the dashboard and all seems fine. Hm. I promise I'm not blocking any of my fearless readers.

Speaking of fearless - anybody know of a modest, rent-stabilized apartment in Manhattan/Brooklyn? OK. Well, then does anybody know how I can win the lottery really, really quickly - say, by Monday? OK, then. Um. Which bridge do you think would be the best to live under until I find a suitable place? Sigh.

Ah, never mind. It's Friday! Light the cigars and pour a martini! Enjoy the weekend, my friends!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bird by bird

I'm completely overwhelmed when I look around my little house that has barely contained me and my belongings (plus holdovers of Kate's) for thirteen years. I don't know where to start. The timeline to get my stuff in order is pretty darn short, so I have got to get off the dime and start sorting things into "Keep," "Donate," "Sell," "Trash." Where's that irritating "Life Laundry" woman when I need her?

Closets, cupboards, out-in-the-open stuff, and the attic. Dear God, the attic! Every time I gravitate toward a likely-looking starting point, I end up walking away, shaking my head.

The whole thing reminds me of that wonderful Anne Lamott book, Bird by Bird. The title comes from a story about her little brother, who was faced with a school report on birds. He was fretting and stressing at the kitchen table, when his father walked in and asked what he was doing. The boy told him that he had a big report to do on birds and he just couldn't figure out where to start. His father patted him on the shoulder and said, "Bird by bird, son. Bird by bird."

Now, if I can just decide which bird to start with . . .

If anyone has any advice on this, let me know. Soon!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Spring is springin'

Glorious spring day in Atlanta, Georgia. Enjoy!

Meme de la meme

Tamar tagged me while I was snortin' sheetrock dust in Mississippi last week, and this is the first chance I've had to post it. It's long, but you might find something of interest here. I never tag anyone back (yes, I'm the notorious chain-letter breaker . . .), but play along if you're so inclined. Here we go:
  1. Who is the last person you high-fived? I high-fived lots of people last week - Amanda, Ella, the Minnesota boys. Anytime that sheetrock goes up straight and with socket cutouts perfectly placed, it's high-five time. But Amanda also taught us "little five" - squish your fingers together and kinda peck the hand of the other person.
  2. If you were drafted into a war, would you survive? Yes. I'm obnoxious that way. Though whoever was trying to draft me would have to chase after me and drag me to boot camp first.
  3. Do you sleep with the TV on? No. I don't have a TV in my bedroom. The only time I would sleep with the TV on is if I forgot to turn it off in the den before going to bed.
  4. Have you ever drank milk out of the carton? Probably sometime in my life I have, though a specific instance doesn't come to mind.
  5. Have you ever won a spelling bee? No. I'm an excellent speller, but I have to write words down to spell them correctly. Spelling outloud in a competition ain't my forte.
  6. Have you ever been stung by a bee? Yes. Fortunately, I'm not allergic. A little wet baking soda compound has always worked for me.
  7. How fast can you type? Pretty fast. 60-65 wpm. Miss Spivey (8th grade typing teacher) would be so proud.
  8. Are you afraid of the dark? No.
  9. Eye color? Green
  10. Have you ever made out at a drive-in? Yes. Night Call Nurses. 1972. And some Burt Reynolds swamp-zombie-thing around the same time. Perhaps I've said too much . . .
  11. When was the last time you chose a bath over a shower? Every night. I shower every morning and relax in a bath every night before bed. Because I want to and because I can.
  12. Do you knock on wood? All the time. In fact, I knock on anything and pretend it's wood.
  13. Do you floss daily? Yes.
  14. Can you hula hoop? Not very well anymore. I was great at it as a kid. I think the problem is in the fact that the hoops are too small for me now and you need a certain amount of distance between a spreading waistline and the hoop to get it going. I bet if you give me a hula hoop with a 6-foot diameter, I'd be da' bomb!
  15. Are you good at keeping secrets? Yep.
  16. What do you want for Christmas? A fresh tree, a crackling fire, carols, laughter, and dear family and friends around me. (Remember, I am the Christmas Queen. Is it too early to decorate?)
  17. Do you know the Muffin Man? Yes, he lives in Drury Lane-o. I know the Michelin Man, too. Plus, Mr. Goodwrench and Mr. Peanut. I'm very popular.
  18. Do you talk in your sleep? Yes.
  19. Who wrote the book of love? I think it was a woman named Mabel. But the book itself is hard to find.
  20. Have you ever flown a kite? Yes - several times as a kid, and several times as an big girl.
  21. Do you wish on your fallen lashes? Yes. Right now all the wishes involve finding an affordable apartment in New York. Hm.
  22. Do you consider yourself successful? Yes, especially in my wealth of a loving family and friends.
  23. How many people are on your contact list of your cell? I hate cellphones. Hate 'em. Did I mention I hate 'em? But I do have one to use on the road. Six people are on my contact list - 2 of 'em me (home/work).
  24. Have you ever asked for a pony? Please. What self-respecting young girl hasn't asked for a pony? I gave it up around age 7.
  25. Plans for tomorrow? Work, then music rehearsal for a little cabaret entertainment we're doing for my church's centennial celebration. I hope to eat several times during the day, as well.
  26. Can you juggle? No - if you mean balls, pins, etc. Yes - if you mean life in general.
  27. Missing someone now? Not really.
  28. When was the last time you told someone "I love you?" Yesterday. Daughter Kate.
  29. And truly meant it? Of course.
  30. How often do you drink? Might pour myself a gin and tonic once a week. Maybe not.
  31. How are you feeling today? Physically fine, otherwise - stressed.
  32. What do you say too much? Can't think of anything off the top of my head - maybe I should ask someone around me what they think.
  33. Have you ever been suspended or expelled from school? No. Such a goody-two-shoes.
  34. What are you looking forward to? My upcoming radical life/career change.
  35. Have you ever crawled through a window? Many times. Sometimes for good, sometimes for - um - not so good.
  36. Have you ever eaten dogfood? I eaten things that tasted like I think dogfood would taste, but no. Never eaten dogfood.
  37. Can you handle the truth? Yeah - I gotta, don't I?
  38. Do you like green eggs and ham? No. The book's OK, though, Sam I Am.
  39. Any cool scars? Are we talking inside or outside? I have the usual appendix, knee-scrape scars, but nothing that looks like the Virgin Mary or anything.

Whew! How self-involved was that?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Catchin' Up

Uf golly (new term learned from our Minnesota crew last week). Seems like I haven't posted a real, live, little-miss-know-it-all Shortys post in a while, so I'd better make up for lost time. Odds and ends of the past couple of weeks:

So glad the remaining peacemaker hostages were found alive and rescued (even if they felt sort of compromised in the bargain). Wonder if Tom's story will be told soon. We'll just have to wait and see.

Item listed in this months Harper's Index (love that thing) noted something to the effect that 1 in 5 people come down with a severe cold within a couple of days of a 4 hour+ trip via airplane. Duh. My recent trip to San Francisco springs eye-wateringly, throat-scratchingly to mind. . .

I'm finding the whole South Park vs. Scientology thing hilarious. Don't watch a lot of SP for the very reason that it often reaches a point in the episode that tips me across the "whoa, too far!" line. I do appreciate Trey and Matt's brilliance and their ability to be an equal-opportunity offender (that's why I don't take too much of what they do to heart). I happened to see the original broadcast of the Scientology episode last year, so nyeh-nyeh-nyeh Comedy Central (who pulled it from the schedule last week).

So why did red-headed Donna on That 70's Show dye her hair blonde this season? She's not nearly as appealing anymore. Trivial, I know, but it bugs me. Go back red, girlfriend!

Oh. Read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Mark Haddon) while I was gym-sleeping in Mississippi last week. Good one. About an autistic. Anybody else read this one?

Back to work. Or looking for NY apartments online. Or verklempting about everything I have to get done before my final move. You get the picture.

Monday, March 27, 2006

New York state of mind

Start spreading the news. I'm leavin' today. Well, not today, really, but soon. Yes, friends and neighbors, I got the job in New York. All details aren't set yet, as I got the news last Thursday on the back deck of Regina and David's house with a drill in my hand and sheetrock dust coming outta my nose.

So. I made it. Background check and all. There's lots to do before I travel nawth. I have to decide what to do about my house (rent/sell) and start cleaning out the attic and closets. Need to find a place to live in NY. Well, just a mountain of things.

But that's the news. Ya-hoo!

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Got back home yesterday - safe, sound, and tired. I'll catch up with you after my Sunday afternoon nap.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Here at the Ministry of Silly Snores . . .

Communal living gives you all sorts of insight into humanity, both positive and negative. Here at Camp Coast Care, we eat and sleep in a school gymnasium. Partitions are set up to give some tinge of privacy - ha and ha - 20-30 cots per area, plus an area in the balcony. Here are a couple of my communal sleeping insights for the week:
  1. People sleep in a variety of clothing - flannel bottoms and t-shirts, silky gowns, sweat suits, lovely robes, and yes, even shorty pjs (but not Shorty PJs - flannel bottoms/t-shirt is my gig here).
  2. People have different sleep patterns. Lights out at 10pm here, but some of us stay up later reading by flashlight (guilty!), some fall right to sleep then get up in the wee hours to play cards with other night owls some are up and down all night to go to the bathroom, some hit their cots at 2am after taking conversations to the tents outside. (But lights on at 6:30am, whatever the sleep pattern.)
  3. People make an infinite number of sounds when they sleep. Moans, giggles, grunts, coughs. But the greatest variety is in the snoring category. Remember the song in Mary Poppins "I Love to Laugh," where Bert and Albert go through all the types of ways people laugh? Well, we could do the same for snoring. One of our crew hit her cot after most everyone else was asleep last night, and she said it was a screamingly funny symphony of snores. Soft rattled breathing to ear-splitting, window-shattering nuclear explosions - they're all here, my friends. All night, every night. Bring ear-plugs if you're a light sleeper.
  4. People have different wake-up patterns. Some hop right out of bed, scurry to the loo, and come out shiny bright and ready for breakfast. Other have to open one eye slowly and work themselves up to swinging their feet over the side of the cot and crawling to do their morning ablutions.

I've been a good trouper in this big gym living situation and it's been a lot easier and more fun than I ever imagined. But I'm starting to fantasize about tomorrow night and sinking my sheetrock, trash-hauling body into my own sweet bed. Ahhh!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Beyond tired

Too tired to blog, but wanted to share a few pictures. Enjoy!

Amanda and Ella mud and tape the ceiling of a back bedroom.

The chicks responsible for sheetrocking and mudding this spectacular bedroom - Amanda, moi, homeowner Regina, and Ella.

Pier at Pass Christian

That's it for now - must shake the dust outta my hair!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mississippi muck

MIssissippi muck
Originally uploaded by iread2k.
Ah, the stuff of life. Though we're working on a house that has already been reclaimed, the house across the street is only just being "mucked out." Here's a shot of what was scooped out by the volunteers today. While we were working putting up sheetrock and finishing the walls of Regina and David's house, another group spent the day pulling out furnishings, wallboard, and insulation that has been sitting in watery rot for seven months. I reeeeaaallly salute those brave volunteers.

More hidden talents

Goodbye, mudder; hello, drywaller. I'm on my second day working with sheetrock. We have an all-chick team finishing up a back bedroom - Amanda, Ella, Regina (the homeowner), and moi - and we are doing a bang-up job (and I mean that in a good way). We hoist, measure, cut, and install the drywall. I am a madwoman with a drill, I tell ya'! Yesterday, I made the comment that I'd been screwing all day and my arm was sore. Um. You know what I mean, right?

I so enjoy working with Regina - we get to hear her story as we work. She and her family are living in FEMA trailers north of Long Beach, and they come in to their assorted houses during the day to help the work crews. She told us this morning that yesterday was the most fun she'd had working on the house (we did have a good time, plus we were very productive). That was an awesome thing to hear.

Anyway, gotta get some lunch, then back to the house. Thanks for your good wishes on this, everyone!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Mississippi Mud Chick

I have a new skill to add to my resume - mudder. Yes, you heard it right, friends. Old Shorty can spread "mud" on drywall joints with the best of 'em. And I was, of course, working with the best of 'em - Ella and Amanda. We hooked up with a team from Minnesota - a bunch of laugh-riot guys - and spent most of the day yukking and mudding. Made the time go a whole lot faster, I tell you.

We were working on Regina's (back row, right) house in a neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The house across the street will have to be demolished. She said that the owners got stuck on the roof, plus on up in a tree, during the aftermath of the storm. But the house is a total loss, so I Regina's one of the lucky ones. Her home has already been mucked out and new studs, insulation, and drywall up. Well, mostly up. There's still quite a bit of drywall happening (we're letting the boys do that) as we join the wall bits with our mud.

We sang everything from "I Walk The Line" and "American Pie" to "Earl" (Dixie Chicks) to keep the flow going. Same song, second verse tomorrow. I'm I tired old mudder, I am!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Goin' coastal

Mississippi Gulf Coastal, that is. I'm heading down there for a week to help with the clean-up and relief effort. Hurricane Katrina completely devastated the area, and after almost seven months there's still a lot of work to do. I'm excited about diggin' in and getting my hands dirty, just to lend support however I can. Also, I think it's important to see it for myself, be a witness to what happened there.

Don't know how much I'll be able to blog throughout the week. I hear there are internet connections at the school gym in which we'll be sleeping (with 200 of our new best friends), so I hope to get out some Shorty news. First priority will be the group blog Gone Coastal, so check it out if you're so inclined.

No news yet on the job front. I'm glad I'll be out-of-pocket for a week so that I won't be thinking about it so much.

Take care of the rest of the world while I'm gone. When I get back we'll have a spirited discussion about South Park vs. Scientology. Yikes!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Stop with the remakes, already!

Alfie, thumbs-up.

Alfie, thumbs-down
Not a week goes by that there's not some big hoopla about a forthcoming new rendition of an old film or television show.

Stop it. Now. I cannot believe that there aren't creative writers - both young and old - just popping with new fabulous ideas for movies. Do we really have to rehash Dallas (Jennifer Lopez as Sue Ellen, my friends) or Welcome Back, Kotter? Seriously. You know things are bad when classic TV shows like Bewitched, The Flintstones, and so forth are the only source of screenplay inspiration. Did ya' make 'em better than the 24-minute originals? Noooooo.

And the creative cretins in Hollywood don't stop there. Look at what they did to the completely superb 1966 film Alfie last year. Aargh! And there's talk about making a new Mary Poppins and Sound of Music. Why? Why? These are beautifully crafted films that, trust me, no one will improve upon. And did we really need to see yet one more iteration of King Kong? Just leave it to Fay Wray and move on, Peter Jackson. Stick to Hobbits.

Why not go after new stuff? OR, at the very least, look for movies that had wonderful stories but were weak in the production/performance areas? Too much work? Don't know a good story from a bad one? (Well, that's obvious.)

If you ever think about remaking To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone With The Wind, Citizen Kane, any of the iconic 70's edgy stuff - I'm comin' after ya'. And shelve the Mary Poppins/Sound of Music ideas, as well, you soul-less buncha' creatively-challenged money-worshippers!

OK, feeling better now that I got that stuff off my chest. Agree? Disagree? Don't really care, as long as you understand that I'm right about this.

'Nuff Said

Yep. That's my plan for the day.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Best Wearin' o' the Green Flicks

It's been a long, dry spell since one of my infamous holiday film lists (I ignore New Years and Valentine's Day), but I'm more than willing to jump on My Favorite St. Patrick's Day Movies. So without further ado (or adieu):

Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959). The. Best. Not gonna take any arguments on this one. That banshee scared the wee outta me when I was a kid! So it's Disney - what, you wanna make somethin' of it? You get singin' and dancin' and drinkin' and little people and a young Sean Connery.

The Secret of Roan Inish (1995). Selkies and beautiful scenery and an interesting story. And not as scary as the banshee in Darby O'Gill. Written and directed by John Sayles.

The Luck of the Irish (1948). Tyrone Power is saved from a life of power and greed by his own personal leprechaun. The scenes from "Ireland" (in quotes, since we're talking "Hollywood Ireland") are tinted green. How appropriate, eh?

Ryan's Daughter (1970). Sarah Miles gets her head shaved because she's carrying on with a British soldier. John Mills - virtually unrecognizable - is the village idiot (and carried off the Oscar that year). Robert Mitchum is the long-suffering school-teacher husband of Miles. An epic by David Lean. Sort of an Irish Dr. Zhivago.

Finian's Rainbow (1968). Fred Astaire, Petula Clark, and Tommy Steele star in the screen adaptation of the Broadway classic that gave us such wonderful songs as "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?," "Look to the Rainbow," "Old Devil Moon," and "When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love." I feel sort of ho-hum about this movie - it's very 1968-ish sylistically - but I do so love the music. Oh, well. How ARE things in Glocca Morra, by the way?

Waking Ned Devine (1998). OK. It's worth it just to see the old guy ride the bicycle nekkid. Ha! And c'mon, we'd do the same thing if a friend who'd just won the big lottery dropped dead. Oh! And when the busy-body went over the cliff in the phone booth! Another ha!

OK, well I'll stop there. Of course I know I left off Going My Way/Bells of St. Mary's (see my Christmas list), The Quiet Man, Circle of Friends, and all the Leprechaun horror films, but I don't have all day, ya' know!

It's about time to start pouring the green coloring into the beer - better go now. Got a favorite you want to add?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

50 years of My Fair Lady

OK, here's a good thing that happened on the Ides of March. Fifty years ago today My Fair Lady premiered on Broadway. It ran for 2,717 performances, by the way. As much as I appreciate Audrey Hepburn, she was no Julie Andrews where Eliza was concerned. Fie on Jack Warner for denying generations the chance to see Julie's landmark performance!

Give it up for Julie, Rex, and the gang today. Flip through your LPs until you get to the iconic album cover with Al Hirschfield's drawing and, with a little bit of luck, you'll get to enjoy one of the most perfect cast recordings of all time. Loverly!


Beware the Ides of March! I just learned that dear Julius Caesar was murdered 2050 years ago today (not really, since we've had a calendar change or two since then, but stay with me here). Thanks to Shakespeare, we all spend the 15th of March avoiding friends in cloaks and togas who might be wielding sharp objects. My eyes will be especially skinned for any weapon Garth might be concealing under his Mr. Rogers sweater.

Hm. Cloaks, togas, sharp objects. Metaphors for all sorts of things. Here's what I hope to avoid today:

Irate clients
Irate bosses
Funny smells
Funny rashes
Bad music
Bad news

All of this is highly subjective, but the gods know from whence I'm coming. I think I'll just take a tip from that great movie (S)Ideways and drink a lot of red wine today (no merlot). Then I won't much care about bad music, funny smells, and irate bosses.

What are you avoiding today?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Love my baby girl

Last night sister Cindy, brother-in-law Buck, nephew Mikey, daughter Kate, and I went to dinner then to Peachtree Tavern for Monday Night Karaoke. Kate and Mikey are regulars and had invited the 'rents to hear 'em sing.

Well, Mikey was tired and opted not to do one of his famous Neil Diamond numbers, but Kate - ever the performer - did two songs.

The second was "Your Baby Girl" and she chose it especially for me. Here are some of the lyrics:

I know that I’m on my way.
Well, I can tell every time I play.
An' I know it’s worth all the dues I pay,
When I can write to you and say:
"Dear Mom and Dad,
I’ll send money. I’m so rich that it ain’t funny.
Well it oughtta be more than enough to get you through.
Please don’t worry 'cause I’m all right,
See, I’m stayin’ here at the Ritz tonight
Whaddya know, we made our dreams come true.
An' there are fancy cars an' diamond rings,
But you know that they don't mean a thing.
Well, they all add up to nothin' compared to you.
Well, remember me in ribbons an' curls.
I still love you more than anything in the world:
Love,"Your baby girl."

Not only can my baby girl knock your socks off singing, she's a sweetie pie to boot. Must go shed a tear now . . .

Science Tuesday: Sleep patterns, hairy lobsters, and a clever Russian princess

I haven't indulged my love of the New York Times' Science Times section in a while, so I thought I'd make up for it today. Consider it a little Tuesday gift from the gods of journalism.

Seems a lot of people think they have sleep disorders when really all they have are good old-fashioned primitive sleep patterns. I often go to sleep for a few hours, then wake up and read for a couple of hours, then go back to sleep until the alarm goes off. Other folks take an hour or two to fall asleep, then conk out for the rest of the night. These patterns aren't so unusual, according to researchers. Artificial light has caused humans to compress natural sleep cycles into shorter periods, which works for some people but not those of us with "primitive bimodal sleep" rhythms. Read about it here.

Are heart attacks really more common on Mondays? Yup, says a study monitoring these kinds of statistics in several countries. In fact, Mondays pose a 20% greater heart attack risk for men and a 15% greater risk for women. The cause? Who knows? Heavy weekend drinking? The stress of having to go back to work? Too many people living out old Carpenters tunes (Rainy Days and Mondays . . . )? Just be careful out there!

Ever hear of Ekaterina Dashkova? Yeah, me neither. Seems Kat was an enlightened young thang sharing the earth and the love of science with Ben Franklin. The two brains met only once, but they corresponded until his death. Dashkova, the first woman to head a national sciences academy, took over the directorship of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Russia and restored its intellectual respectability. You know that impressed old Ben - he liked women in any shape or form, but really loved the smart ones. Read more here.

And what's with these hairy lobsters recently discovered in the South Pacific? They look like something Andy Warhol would come up with, doncha' think? Weird. Read more and see a picture here.

That's it for now. Nobody's payin' me to teach you science, ya' know!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Why In-a-gadda-da-vida doesn't make me think about financial investments

Those of us of a certain generation are constantly being bombarded by commercial ads that use the music of our lives. Nothing new here - we've been the rats in the great global marketing wheel since we were born - toys, cereal, pimple cream, stuff, stuff, stuff. A few years ago it was all Beatles/Dave Clark 5/Motown music for car or fast food ads - the cute bouncy mod-mini-skirt music.

I was resentful - what happened to jingle writers? - but sucked it up and moved on.

But now - now! - all the financial investment firms are trying to court us with drug rock tunes of the late 60's and 70s. What?! There are several floating around, but the one that pushed me over the line is Fidelity's use of In-a-gadda-da-vida. Really. Guess no one explained to the 24-year-old marketing whiz kid creating the commercial that songs like that make you think of doing the opposite of investment. In fact, it kinda makes you wonder where all the good times went and at what point we started worrying more about stuff than, you know, stuff. You might want to invest, but not in stocks and bonds, if you get my drift.

So, stop it right now, you Madison Avenue whippersnappers. Go back to paying clever jingle-writers to boost your commercial ads.

In-a-gadda-da-vida to spur financial investments? Something about it just makes me really, really hungry for junk food, for some reason. Cheez Whiz and brownies, anyone?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Goodbye, Classmate, you did us proud.

Chattanooga High School Class of 1969.

What an unbelievable, awful turn of events. Keep Tom's family in your thoughts and prayers. Can't imagine what they're going through.

Tom's gone.

Just confirmed. Tom Fox has been killed. His body was found this morning in Iraq. My God.

School words

Every so often I'll hear a word on NPR or television news that rings a school bell with me. You know the words I mean - the ones that were used a lot in the classroom pertaining to specific areas of studies or behavior that you never run across in real life unless you're a rocket scientist or farmer or prissy old crone (and there's nothing to say you can't be all three at the same time).

Here are some of the school words I've heard lately:
  1. Integer. Oh, come on. Real people in real life call 'em numbers, but in math class they had to be called "integers."
  2. Potash. I'm not really sure what this is - I have an image of rich, ashy dirt, but I'm not willing to stake my life on it or Google it. Remember all those geography lessons about potash and anthracite and soy beans?
  3. Mischievous. It was used a lot with me as a child. (Guess I'm doomed on that background check, hm?). Except that here in the South, it was pronounced "mis-chee-vee-us," which sounds much more wicked, don't you think? But no one really uses the word, rightly or wrongly, today. Definite school word.
  4. Permanent Record. Boy, they had us quaking in our Buster Browns over that thing. "Too many absences will go on you permanent record and you'll never get a job." "This behavior will be noted on your permanent record and you'll never get a job." "These grades will be entered in red ink on your permanent record and you'll never get a job." I asked my boss at Turner Broadcasting once if he'd checked my permanent record before hiring me, and he laughed his arse off. A few years ago I tried to track down my elementary school/junior high/high school permanent record, to no avail. I think once you made it to college, said record was thrown into the pits of Hell. Permanent, indeed. Good luck on that one, background-checkers!
  5. Tardy. Late, you mean? Can you imagine a red-faced, angry boss or client screaming as some poor schmuck gets to a meeting five minutes after the start time, "You're tardy!" Ooooh! How threatening! But schoolteachers and principals do love 'em some "tardy."

Got hundreds of 'em, but those are five that I've heard in the past few days. Any old school words lurking around in your brain?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Remember that little incident in 1977, madam. . . ?

OK, yeah. It's down to the last two competitors for the job in New York. I still think I'm the ringer. Nevertheless, I signed my life away on Tuesday, agreeing to let my potential employer run every kind of check, test, and screening they want on me - criminal, driving, drug, credit, resume, references, Coke vs. Pepsi, etc.

My fear is that a couple of goons'll show up at my door, handcuff me, and throw me in the clink for something I'm completely unaware of on said records. Did I forget to pay my taxes one year? (Nah, the IRS would of pulled me in by now.) Was I a member of a prostitution ring back in the 70's that I've blanked on? Do I show up on the FBI file? (Cool!) Will they get me mixed up with Mary "Machine Gun Mama" Brennan, mad-dog of Hackensack? Do I get a court-appointed lawyer?

There's something about signing over my right to privacy that makes me paranoid, even though I've been a pretty good girl all my life. Wonder why that is? Oh, well. Pandora's Box has been opened, so I'll just have to wait and see what happens.

(Coke, by the way. I'm from Atlanta. Pah on Pepsi. Put that in my file.)

Hangin' with the Literati

Friend Richard Croker's lecture/signing for book number two, No Greater Courage, A Novel of the Battle of Fredericksburg, took place last night and all the rich (in friends and good memories) and famous (in their dreams) turned out in force. Many of the Turner Broadcasting alums gathered to celebrate one of our own and swap catch-up stories and remember-whens.

The only one of us to make it into Richard's new tome is buddy Tony "T-Bone" Marshall (shown here with Shorty). Tony shows up as a freedman who helps out the Union army before the battle. Color me jealous - Richard was supposed to throw in a "hooker" named Mary Brennan. Darn! Anyway, props to Tone. By the way, a younger Tony (and Shorty) were shown in my earlier post about Turner's SuperStation FunTime. Before his dreadlocks days.

If you're a Civil War buff or just like a good story, you'll enjoy Richard's books. I'm talking, of course, of the American Civil War as opposed to the English or Spanish (or Iraqi) ones. Congratulations, Sir Richard - we'll get your blog up and running any day now, I'm sure.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mistress Mary is contrary. And proud of it.

Quite contrary, in fact. I'm all for politeness and sparing people's feelings up to a point, but I draw the line at fiddling with centuries-old nursery rhymes in the name of political correctness. An article in yesterday's Times of London reported that nursery schools in several areas of Britain are changing the likes of Baa-Baa Black Sheep and Humpty Dumpty to comply with the "equal opportunities approach."


Did I ever in my wildest, most 1950's segregated Southern-girl upbringing relate the black sheep in the nursery rhyme to actual black people? Nooooo. It was about a black sheep. I thought. Actually, it turns out to have something to do with 18th century wool taxes, but black folks? Uhn-uh.

And that Humpty Dumpty ended up a broken shell of an egg never haunted my nightmares. He was an egg, for goodness' sake! I was two years old. I got it. I find it hard to believe that little Oxfordians or Birminghamites are in therapy because of old Humpty. Reality TV or pop music, maybe. But not the HD.

I'm not a dwarf so I don't know how I'd feel about the Snow White thing if I were, but the fact that the sweet young thing has set up housekeeping for seven miners of any height/color/religion is the interesting part of the tale. That, and a stepmother who can turn herself into a real, live witch and hand out poison apples. Why, if I were a stepmother (whoops, I am!) who could turn herself into a witch (whoops, I know that's happened before) and hand out poison apples (whew! innocent of that one), I'd be totally offended!

I may not be a black sheep or an egg or a dwarf, but I am a Mary. Since several nursery rhymes star a Mary of one stripe or another, let me take a stand here and now. I am contrary - proud of it. Touch my nursery rhymes, and I'm comin' after ya'. I'm contrary that way.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A question of forgiveness

Much is being made today in the British press of Rev. Julie Nicholson's decision to give up her job as an inner city vicar because she is unable to forgive the men responsible for the death of her daughter in July's London bombings. She is broken-hearted and angry and cannot preach peace and reconciliation in light of her tragedy. Because she cannot forgive, she cannot ask others to do it.

Nicholson is a rare duck in these times. She is unwilling to live a dishonest life, whatever the consequences. C'mon. How many clergy-folk do you suspect (or know) are just standing up Sunday after Sunday mouthing the words and not believing or feeling any of it? But Nicholson was unwilling to do this. She truly believes that one must practice what one preaches, and she could not.

Several years ago I was done wrong by a couple of folks that I thought I could trust. You know the kind of thing I mean - big hobnail boot to the gut, repeatedly kicking you about the head and heart. Anyway, it took some time but I did forgive. It was a slow process, but it did happen.

What didn't happen was the forgetting part. Forgetting would've meant dishonoring the hurt and feelings of the event. Forgetting would've meant opening the door to a potential repeat of the abuse. Forgetting - in this case - would've meant clinging to a victim-mentality that would've dragged me under again. Yes. Sometimes forgiving does mean forgetting. But often it does not. It's a shame the two have been tied together for so long.

Maybe Julie Nicholson is right about some things being unforgivable. Blowing up my daughter in a senseless bombing would certainly qualify in my book. If the good reverend can ever, ever find herself in a place of forgiveness, she'll drop a heavy burden, but for now she needs to carry that burden because it's the only thing she can understand at the moment. And how brave to admit that even her faith and position in the church can't supply her the strength to forgive. Giving up her parish is what she had to do. She's opting instead to work out her calling in a different way, one that doesn't require her to preach to others what she herself doesn't practice.

Other church leaders and politicians could learn a little from Julie Nicholson.

(Picture: Bloomsbury Park, May 2005)

The latest on Tom Fox

First thing I heard on NPR this morning was that a new video of the hostages had been aired on Al Jazeera. But the video shows only three of the four men. Tom Fox isn't in the pictures, dated February 28. No one seems to know what to make of that. CNN story here. Telegraph story here.

Throw some kind thoughts to all the hostages.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Loose ends

A few stray threads that need tying up before facing the rest of the week:

Yes, the gutter-cleaning man I posted about a couple of weeks ago came back and did a fine job of the gutters. Still feel bad about not having enough cash on hand when he came by the first time, though.

Olympics and Oscars are behind us. No real "Ice Princess" emerged, in my mind. (And leave off with the curling business. Geez.) As for the Oscars - meh. Again, no real Ice Princess emerged (except for maybe Joaquin Phoenix - what crawled up his butt last night?).

No resolution yet on the car accident law suit. I keep getting emails from my lawyer saying the other side will settle any day now. Tick. Tock. Snoooooooooooze.

No word on Tom Fox and the other hostages in Iraq. They've passed the 100-day mark. I can't help but wonder if there's another motive emerging in keeping them and the young American journalist now that the country's verging on civil war. Maybe not.

And no word on last week's job interview. Maybe I just stunned 'em to pieces. Good thing? Bad thing? Ah, well, it's been an adventure, nonetheless.

I think that's everything. If there's something else that needs resolving (world peace, starving children, irritating pop-up ads), let me know.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Shortys

Oh, sure, everyone's talking about tonight's Oscar presentation, but I have my own awards ceremony lovingly called The Shortys. These are awards categories you'd love to see - but never will - at the Academy Awards. The Shortys call upon funny/painful/boring memories of shelling out $57.27 to see a variety of pig-in-a-poke films over the last year. 'Nary a stinkin' Price Waterhouse envelope in sight.

Here are a few of the categories that filmmakers will be jostling for tonight:
  • Best Picture to Carry on a Conversation Through
  • Best Picture to Sleep Through
  • Best Lead/Supporting Film Prop
  • Loudest, Most Irritating Film Score
  • Best Use of Food in a Movie
  • Most Tiresome Historical Drama
  • Best Wet-Your-Seat Horror Film
  • Best Wet-Your-Seat Comedy
  • Most Annoying Actor/Actress
  • Film Most Likely to Attract an Audience Full of Whiny, Yakking Kids
Well, that's a few of them. Categories change from year to year, minute to minute as I remember the previous year's filmgoing experience while watching the Oscar-fest.

This year's Grand Pajama Bottom Prize category? "Most Likely Reason Audiences Avoid Movie Theatres Like the Plague." And the nominees are:
  • Exorbitant Ticket Prices
  • Astronomical Movie Snacks Prices
  • Endless Commercials
  • Ear-Bleedingly Loud Sound Systems
  • Overly-Chatty Film Audiences
  • That Funny, Unidentifiable Smell . . .
Enjoy tonight's show. And remember, in Shorty PJs world, anyone giving a dorky, overly-long, sappy acceptance speech immediately has the Oscar yanked from their sweaty fingers and given to the next guy on the list. (Would that it were so . . . )

As always, feel free to add your own categories.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Have a fabulous weekend, Dahling!

The week has ground to a halt. Time to put on your weekend party clothes (or shorty PJs) and head for the hills. Get outta heah!

Just wonderin'. (Friday edition)

It's Friday, and I feel the need to empty my head of questions and supposin's that have been rattling around. Consider this post my brain's vacuum cleaner bag. (We'll figure out which trash bin to put it in later.) So, here we go:

What makes me think that toasted bread has fewer calories than untoasted bread?

Why do website entrepreneurs think that floating an irritating, jumpy little ad across my screen will make me want to buy the product (as opposed to put my fist through the monitor)?

Reese or Felicity? George or Paul?

Is it just me, or does Iraq seem to be imploding?

Why do men feel the need to spit on the sidewalk (or anywhere, for that matter)?

Why do banks have the ability to suck money outta' your account at the speed of light but not credit a deposit for 3-5 days (in this age of electronic banking)?

What's it all about, Alfie?

Pretty scary, huh? What's pinging around in your head today? (Bet it's just as scary.)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

. . . And she/he/it/they lived happily ever after.

Today's Guardian cites a poll that shows most people like their books to have happy endings. Top three favorites Pride and Prejudice, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Jane Eyre - while rife with tragedy, struggle, and death throughout - have satisfying (read: happy) endings, according to readers.

And the endings folks would change? Gone With The Wind (c'mon Rhett, cut Scarlett some slack), Wuthering Heights (stop brooding, Heathcliffe, and marry Cathy), and 1984 (don't be such a panty-waist, Winston - overthrow Big Bro').

On one hand, I understand readers' need to have everything turn out okey-dokey at the end of a ripping yarn, especially since that doesn't always (often?) happen in real life. Elizabeth Bennett's a smart cookie and deserves her Mr. Darcy. Scout, Jem, Atticus, and Boo have been through hell throughout the story and have earned reconciliation. And who would deny poor, plain Jane her happy ending?

But I don't agree that the books that don't prettify the ending are less satisfying. In fact, it seems to me that "satisfying" and "happy" aren't necessarily the same thing. Satisfying also can mean humorous, dramatic, scary, or open to interpretation. Sure, Rhett stomps out on Scarlett, but we know their paths will cross again somewhere beyond the book, don't we? And I always thought it was a proper ending for Anna Karinina to be on those train tracks. Put her out of her misery. Please.

What I require, I think, is an interesting ending. And I can't really define what I mean by interesting. I just know I don't want the book to sort of sputter out. Give me something that either resolves the main threads - happily or not - or surprises me in some way. Don't wimp out, in other words.

How about you? Happy ending or not? And feel free to give examples or the good, the bad, and the interesting.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Survivor NYC

Don't know if my torch will be doused or not after yesterday's interview. I rose to all the challenges, I think, and I didn't throw up on anybody or break into a Tourettes-rant, so I consider it a raving success. Oh. And I looked adorable (in case you're wondering - which you're not, because you knew I would look adorable, at the very least). So lots of things workin' for me.

Anyway, all five interviewers were encouraging and affable - no trick questions. (Or maybe there were trick questions, and I just didn't pick up on 'em. Hm.) I was all set to tell them what kind of tree I thought I was or justify my favorite circus animal, but no, those things didn't come up. I'll save my answers for another time, cuz they wuz good 'uns.

The night before the interview, friend Jay took me through a yuk-yukable interview process, and we came up with the most outrageous answers. Lots of food-spewing hilarity in that little French restaurant, I'll tell you. Por example: "Where do you see yourself in five years?" "On the back of a Harley, hair red and piled high, one hand hanging on to my fat geriatric hippy boyfriend and the other holding up my tube-top." I think they'd've loved that answer, personally. But - sob! - no one asked me where I expected to be in five years.

I was asked what I thought the biggest challenge to living in New York City would be, and I answered "staying out of the theatres." OK, that and affordable housing. (At least I didn't say "staying out of crack-houses and off hooker-corners." Give me some credit.)

But seriously. I think I did well, but you never know. The plan is to cull through the interviewees and call a couple back in for the ultimate reference check-o-meter and drug test-o-rama. Woo-hoo!

I do appreciate all the well-wishes and luck-to-yers that came my way before facing the firing squad. Thank you all. Stay tuned.