Just stopping
for a phrophylactic glass of water before heading back to the halloween block party because this shit is OFF THE HOOK
It's a Tradition
Like "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," I must watch (and post) this classic every year.

I can watch this over and over and over and over...
An Inconvenient Truth
Despite our contentious political climate, you will find Godless immoral sodomite Commie abortion-lovers who want to deprive hard-working people of their rightful wages working right alongside hateful Christofascist capitalists environmental rapists who want to deprive hard-working people of their rightful wages.

In fact, they are often working hand-in-hand at food pantries, recycling centers and other community-minded charitable organizations. They are patrons of the arts, show up at their kids' schools, and coach youth sports. They visit their grandmas and oppose domestic violence.

I guess I'm confused; who exactly is telling us the "other side" is evil, and why? Are they so afraid we might start talking to each other?
Buzz, Buzz, Buzz
Terribly important things are buzzing through my head. Some of them are quite depressing, like this.

Actually, a lot of trivial things are stuck in there, too.

But I have only a few more days of Nablopomo, so... today shall be bad haiku/poetry day.

my dog is smelly
but she hates to take a bath
and she weighs a lot

oh, potato chips
why must you be so tasty?
you are bad for me

Fritos are the devil's toenails
I hear Satan's laughter in my head with every crunch
Lured to our demise by delicious madness
Will this foul temptation never end?

Thursday is garbage day
no matter where I roam
it seems the trash cans must go out
whether rubbermaid or chrome
what strange coincidence compels
that every home I seek
the garbage sits nightly upon the curb
in the middle of the week

Things I need to buy include
votive candles
bags of candy
something for dinner tonight


Stop bothering me, dog!
I'm not walking you in the rain
Stop bothering me, dog!
You really are a pain
Stop bothering me, dog!
You had something to eat
Stop bothering me, dog!
I'm not giving you a treat

(oh, alright...)
Flash Fiction Friday: A Minnesota Mystery
This week's Flash Fiction Friday entry, starter sentence in blue:

"The strange man dressed as Carmen Miranda walked into the bar and demanded to know who had taken his pet iguana." In any other bar in the United States, this might have been noteworthy, perhaps even extraordinary. But here, at Pete's, this same guy has walked into the bar every night for the past 3 and a half years, at PRECISELY 8:37, and demanded an answer to that very same question.

Night after night, month after month, year after year the man had mysteriously appeared. Despite the bar being located in the relatively small city of Duluth, Minnesota, where it was difficult to remain anonymous, no one knew the guy at all. Why he chose this small local tavern was beyond anyone's speculation. Where he came from was utterly unknown. Whether the hypothetical iguana ever existed in the first place was the subject of debate. Yet because he was such an entertaining diversion and quickly becoming a local legend, he always drank for free.

While he never varied from his 8:37 arrival time (making the necessary adjustments for Daylight Savings Time), he had never once duplicated a costume. He didn't stick to a particular theme. He didn't always cross-dress. He didn't even stick to a particular species to represent. In fact, the very first time he entered the bar, he was dressed as the beloved pet Iguana he had christened "Clunky." Confused customers mistook him for an insurance company mascot until he explained himself.

The man (who only identified himself as "Clunky's dad) had appeared as Batman, a jar of peanut butter, the Jolly Green Giant, Penelope Pitstop, Millard Fillmore (he had to explain that one), a bulb of garlic, Elizabeth Taylor (as she appeared in "National Velvet"), a pine cone, and once appeared in nothing but his underwear and a moose head. They didn't know it was him until they heard a muffled "Ooo tuk ny et iwanna" from inside the moose's head.

Pete's would become very crowded every night around 8:30, as patrons flocked to see what the man would be wearing next. As he'd come through the door, he'd be greeted with applause and free drinks. He'd stay until 10:30 or 11, and then he'd disappear into the night. People tried to follow him home, to learn who he was or where he lived, but no one had ever been successful. They could only assume he lived nearby, because he always arrived and departed on foot. But it was a near impossibility that someone could be living nearby undetected, considering the small, tight-knit community surrounding Pete's.

Soon enough, the bar's patrons decided that some mysteries were never meant to be solved, and they simply accepted and reveled in the stranger's nightly appearances.

Until the night he failed to show up.

He simply stopped coming. Unsure of what to do, Pete presided over a tear-filled memorial service for the man, and everyone raised a glass to their strange and mysterious friend, whom they assumed had met a tragic end.

The truth was much less dramatic. The truth is, he had simply found his pet iguana. He and Clunky were last seen bicycling toward the great state of Wisconsin, but without any of his outrageous costumes, no one recognized him.
So, Anyways, About That One Thing That Happened That One Time

I have to blog something and I haven't figured out what to write for Flash Fiction yet, so I will tell an embarrassing Halloween story about my sister instead.

When my sister was in junior high (or "middle school," as it's now called), she and her best friend (whom I'll call Shmudy Shladniak for anti-Googling purposes) on Halloween to commit devil damage upon their real and perceived enemies.

On their enemies list was one Mr. Savage (his real name) who was not the friendliest of sorts, if neighborhood lore is to be believed. As my sister and Shmudy were tossing rolls of toilet paper into his trees, a bellowing Mr. Savage emerged from his home and started chasing them down the street. Unfortunately for Shmudy, her Hunchback of Notre Dame costume was much more cumbersome than my sister's court jester one, and she got nabbed by the Savage and hauled back to his lair, where he telephoned the local constabulary.

My sister did not stick around for moral support.

This was how at the tender age of 13, Shmudy the dangerous malefactor found herself loaded into the back of a police car by Mr. King, for whom she babysat. Mr. King did not let sentiment stand in the way of performing his sworn duty of protecting the fine citizens of Woodridge against such a hardened criminal; babysitter or no, he was taking her in.

(Mr. King would've done better keeping a better eye on his own son, who was my age and who had already pulled the school fire alarm twice, and that was just in first grade. Mr. King also had the flightiest, most scatterbrained wife in the village; she named their dog "Grandpa" and often spoke in her falsetto-sounding sing-song voice about how Grandpa broke through his chain again and was running loose in the neighborhood, to the horror of those who overheard her.

Mrs. King worked with my mother, and Mr. and Mrs. King went out for a drink with my parents exactly once. Mr. King's intense Republican politics and anti-union attitude irked my father, but it was his order of Mogen David and 7-Up that my dad found most unforgivable.)

Anyway, Shmudy and my sister were never close again after that. My sister further exacerbated the situation by sending Shmudy information packets in the mail. For instance, she told the Army Shmudy was interested in enlisting, prompting them to send her countless promotional packets including a 45 recording of the "Reveille" bugle call. But that was nothing compared to the birth control information she requested in Shmudy's name, prompting a concerned Mrs. Shladniak to confront Shmudy after school -- "Shmudy, is there something you need to tell me?"

All in all, it's amazing that Shmudy even spoke to my sister.
What Happened in the '80's, Taylor Hackford? Why Did You Do It?
In my endless and senseless pursuit of all things terrible, I happened upon this:

which made me think of this:

Which made me think of the terrible movies from whence those two terrible songs came, White Nights and Against All Odds. I came to the terrifying realization that both movies were wrought by the same hand: Taylor Hackford.

Why, Taylor Hackford, why? What happened to you in the '80's? Did Crystal Pepsi drive you to it? The prevalence of electronic drums in pop music? Was it the omnipresence of suspenders (they're not suspenders! They're braces!) Was it Howie Mandel??

Please tell us so we can avoid doing whatever it was that drove you to punish all of mankind in the mid-1980's. We cannot weather this sort of storm again, not while we're still reeling from Twilight and Nickleback and Two and a Half Men.
I Was Depressed Until Yesterday, Lunchtime.

Then I was happy, because I caught a rerun of City Confidential, narrated by the dearly departed Paul Winfield. A&E used to run back-to-back episodes of City Confidential and American Justice at lunchtime every day, and the 2-hour-block of murder and mayhem and grisly dark humor used to fill me with such unspeakable joy.

Then, they replaced it with fictional crime shows, which are never as delightfully unbelievable as real life crime stories. When someone writes a show, they try to make it "plausible," something that real-life criminals don't burden themselves with. But the Biography channel brought back my favorite lunchtime ritual, and for that I am thrilled.

Yesterday's episode was titled "Green Bay: Terror in Titletown." Some genius murdered his soon-to-be-ex-wife by strangling her and lighting her house on fire, which no one would ever guess could have been done by him - what with all their frequent public battles, her refusal to show up to court to grant him a divorce which was causing his girlfriend to leave him, oh, and the fact he was THE ARSON INVESTIGATOR. And lived five minutes from her house. And had been seen going into her house the night of the fire. But other than having motive, opportunity and the specialized knowledge necessary to commit the crime, NO ONE COULD EVER HAVE GUESSED it was him. Yet, they still needed his ex-girlfriend to trap him in a Las Vegas hotel room, wearing a wire, and get him to confess.

What I love most about the show is its ability to capture the character and feel of the communities in which the stories take place. It's like a travelogue and a crime show all in one. They don't just focus on the story's main players -- they interview the town gossips, the people who sit around in the sports bars, and (in the case of Green Bay) the guy who runs the local sausage shop. Then, they make the worst entendres and innuendos imaginable ("his story had more holes in it than the Lambeau Field parking lot had empty beer cans)and deliciously inappropriate jokes.

Why can't all shows be like City Confidential?
With thoughts of Carmen Miranda and Iguanas floating through my mind...
Incubation period in process.
I Am Taking a Mental Health Day
Today, I am forcing myself to avoid bad news, disagreements and general unpleasantness. (Except for Randal. His general unpleasantness amuses me.)

Instead, I decided to look for happiness. And how else does someone look for something in this day and age? I Googled it.

I found a TV show called Happy Town! That should be good, right? Let's see, it's about... unsolved kidnappings...dark truths revealed...a murder... gee, another town (family, school, workplace, zzzz) that looks happy on the outside, but in reality, ISN'T AT ALL!!! I am shocked an amazed, because that is such a new and unique twist. Wait, don't tell me... is someone a vampire (or werewolf or space alien or some otherworldly creature) too? Once again, television dazzles us with its innovative approach to programming. Next.

Ah, a movie called Happiness. That ought to be it, right? Hollywood doesn't call something "Happiness" and then have it not be happy at all, right? They wouldn't resort to such obvious irony, would they? What's it about? "Three middle-class New Jersey sisters all have their problems with their families and sex lives." And Philip Seymour Hoffman's in it. No movie with Philip Seymour Hoffman in it is happy. Next.

Finally, I find The Happy Guy. He's not even some wry hipster being ironic! He ACTUALLY believes happiness is possible! Here is his actual picture, to demonstrate how happy he is!

And despite what other people might say about money not buying happiness, The Happy Guy says happiness has a $59 value! But he's not going to charge you that; he'll give it to you for free if you give him your email address! So he can send you his happy poetry!

I think I'll keep looking. If anyone besides The Happy Guy has any happy suggestions for me, please leave a comment and I'll be happy to read it.
Things that Make Me Cry
I don't get the daily newspaper. I get a weekly, local paper tossed at the end of my driveway on Wednesday evenings. I didn't open it until this morning, and when I read about this, my heart nearly broke in two and I started to cry.

I don't think I need to explain to anyone why this is heartbreaking.

This whole swine flu thing is just so maddening and confusing; some kids in my neighborhood have it/have had it, and it resulted in a fever, listlessness and coughing. They were fine in a week. Some people, who suffer from weakened immunities or other underlying conditions, have found it much more debilitating or, sadly, fatal. Why would it kill an otherwise healthy five year old?

I can't stop thinking about those poor parents.
You Can Tell Me Honestly: Is My Brain Damage Reversible?
I have in my possession a copy of Body + Soul, A Martha Stewart Publication, because I am physically incapable of leaving the grocery checkout aisle without purchasing a volume of delicious, delicious self-improvement information. Each one promises to solve one of my many, many MANY problems and shortcomings. You would think I would be perfect by now, yet somehow the solutions evade me, making me all the more desperate to FIND THE ANSWERS.

(Sometimes I even grab the wrong thing by accident in the fevered rush to feed my addiction, which explains the copy of Cooking with Paula Deen that somehow wound up at my house, which is primarily used to freak out my husband. "She's looking at you," I say to Dilf, waving the offending periodical at him. "Her eyes follow you WHEREVER YOU GO.")

But back to my Body + Soul magazine, which contains an article on being an introvert. I have read muchos factos about the whole introvert/extrovert brain construct. Like a lot of things involving humans, there isn't a black or white introvert/extrovert dividing line, but it's a spectrum. We all have degrees of inward/outward focus, sometimes it's even situational. It's interesting if you like studying psychology and human behavior, which I do.

One paragraph from the article summed me up pretty well:

"...introvert types go through much of their lives feeling like something's wrong with them. As a result, many learn to adapt -- some so well they may even begin to believe they're extroverts."

Things are easier when you're an extrovert. Most people are extroverts, so that's how we're "expected" to be. The world rewards extroverts. Introverts want to be loved, accepted and to succeed, so they often force themselves to change. Freud is also to blame, because he was an extrovert while Jung and Adler were introverts, and because Freud was a dickhead he portrayed introverts as "having something wrong with them." Once again, the extrovert came out on top.

The problem is, you get older and (one hopes) wiser, and realize it's bullshit. Like when you join the workforce and realize that hard work and brilliant ideas are often nothing in the face of cronyism and nepotism, and you get a little more jaded with each passing year. That's why introverts like Emily Dickinson wind up sitting in an attic writing brilliant, tortured poetry. (side note: while researching for this post, I came across this that makes me feel all stabby-stabby. That can't be the work of the Holy Spirit, can it?)

I think I've always struggled with this, but I didn't become conscious of it until my own children started school, and I saw them dealing with it. That paragraph I quoted above? It started out "The challenge essentially begins when she is launched into the educational system, which favors students who speak up and find stimulation in groups. The scenario continues to play out from there..."

Until you find yourself grappling with your issues at age 40, I guess. While I once asked myself, "What's wrong with me? Why can't I just be normal?", I am now yelling like Al Pacino in "And Justice for All", "I'm not out of order! You're out of order!"

I really must make my peace with the world, so I stop feeling like this.

Maybe I should buy this book today.
Flash Fiction Friday: Working Title
I don't have much this week. I have cramps. Anyone want to talk about it? I didn't think so. Anyway, starter sentence in blue:

"You know Javier, poets say that in the spring a young man's thoughts turn to love, but I think they're wrong."

There was no reply.


Javier didn't hear, because he had stopped two blocks back.

He was sitting in a street side cafe with a girl in a red dress, drinking a glass of wine.

The End.

Complaints? Do you want me to tell you about the cramps again? Yeah, I didn't think so.
People Who Shouldn't Have Children

Whenever you hear people mutter "There ought to be a test before they let you be a parent" or some similar sentiment, it's usually in response to some news story about an abused or neglected kid -- typically at the hands of some poor, ignorant rube.

Well, listen up over-indulged, "self-actualized," cashmere sweater-wearing, Interlock driveway-having, Frontgate catalog-shopping, pampered, self-absorbed pea brains -- I don't think you should have kids either.

I have been thinking about this since my sister gave me a copy of More magazine as a joke for my 40th birthday. In that, the September issue, was a story titled "The Mommy Mavericks: Are they trailblazers? Rule breakers? Stamina queens? Maybe a little bit crazy? Six women's stories of having a baby (or three) over 50."

It contained the single most hilarious statement I have ever read, anywhere, regarding parenthood, from one Miss Aleta St. James, aged 61:

Eye-opener "I never thought I'd be bossed around by toddlers. I figured if you gave them a beautiful environment, they wouldn't have tantrums. Surprise, surprise!"

I will give my fellow parents reading this a moment to recover.

Now, I don't want to sound judgmental here but I can't help myself (nor will it be the first time.) Nobody is "owed" a child because they "want" one. You can plan for one, hope for one, and try to have one. You can adopt one. But if you do those things, it should be because of what you want to GIVE to a child, not what YOU want to experience. Most (not all) of the people in the aforementioned article became a mother because of what THEY wanted for THEMSELVES. If that's why you're becoming a parent, please don't. (I realize nothing I say will have an impact on someone like that, but, hey, it was worth a shot.)

Now, another group of people that might not necessarily need to be barred from reproducing, but who should get some sort of training first, is a relative to the previous example: people who have had too much therapy and want to encourage and nurture their children the way they wished they had been encouraged an nurtured.

Now, of COURSE I am not advocating against encouraging and nurturing; what I have a problem with is when parents PROJECT their needs onto their children, and instead of providing the child with what he or she needs, or even UNDERSTANDING WHAT the child needs, coach them as if they were adults.

For example (and teachers, listen up, because this might explain some behavior problems in the classroom), I was dropping ÜberYounger off at her classroom last Friday morning, and I overheard another mother say to her first-grade son as she dropped him off, "You are AWESOME! You can DO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO DO!" then kissed him on the forehead and sent him off into the classroom, where some poor, bewildered teacher was left to deal with a kid who refuses to follow any of the rules or participate in classroom activities, because he doesn't WANT to.

When you have children, you need to re-learn the childhood brain. You simply cannot tell a 6-year-old he can "do whatever he wants," which in your mind means he can become an astronaut or president of the United States, but in his mind means "I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT," because 6-year-olds take you literally.

If you cannot or will not throw off the adult mind-set to fully understand your children, you should not have them.

So, in conclusion, there are prosperous, well-educated people who shouldn't have children, either. Not that my opinion matters much outside of this blog.
So anyways...
Blah blah Oklahoma Sucks beer blah blah went to see Zombieland blah blah babysitters charge half down here what they do in Chicago blahblahblah have to peel potatoes for dinner blah blah and so on.

I will have time to post tomorrow. Maybe. Probably. Get off my back already!
I've Seen Football Rivalries; We All Have. This One Tops Them
You'll have to wait for this story because I have things to do.

What "things?"

Just "things." Jeez.
Haunted by Ghosts of Tiger Beats Past

I plan on reading this book soon, so I can regurgitate her wisdom and present it as my own. Until I can reflect the intelligence of someone else onto my blog post, I will frighten you with tales of television has-beens from the 70's and 80's.

I will NOT start with Kirk Cameron, because it is far to easy to mock him. In fact, I've done it already. So I'm not going to aim at the ridiculously easy Kirk Cameron target.

Instead, I will turn my attention to the outrageously pompous, politically ignorant Scott Baio. Actually, B.A. turned my attention to him. It seems he turned into quite the prick. I blame Joanie for not loving him enough. It embittered him and clouded his judgment. On the bright side, he seems to have a lot of free time on his hands to engage in Twitter-based disputes with complete strangers.

Then, someone who's been on my radar for quite some time, but whose special blend of crazy I've been unable to weave into a blog post before now: Dirk Benedict. I know that's a long, rambling treatise; I bet you have neither the time nor inclination to read it. Let me just tell you that Mr. Benedict believes feminists ruined the new "Battlestar Galactica." (Because, if there were ever a genre aimed squarely at the female audience, it is science fiction.) It seems he was quite upset that StarBUCK became StarDOE:

"Women are from Venus. Men are from Mars. Hamlet does not scan as
Hamletta. Nor does Han Solo as Han Sally. Faceman is not the same as
Facewoman. Nor does a Stardoe a Starbuck make. Men hand out cigars.
Women `hand out' babies. And thus the world, for thousands of years,
has gone round."

Unfortunately, the fate of some stars falls more under the category of "tragic" than "mock-able." For instance, Willy Aames. Or his fictional little brother Adam Rich, who "from October 1990 to January 1992, ... was variously accused of drunken driving, sock-stealing, breaking into a hospital in search of Demerol and throwing himself down a flight of stairs during rehab in order to score painkillers." (Sock stealing?)

I hope the parents on "I Know My Kid's a Star" are paying attention.

In other Hollywood news, Scarlett Johanson is some sort of replicant.
Haunting Revelation
Tracy Morgan has just released an autobiography, and while recording the audio book version, he extemporaneously added some commentary not originally included in the published version.

Specifically, he reports that Cheri Oteri and Chris Kattan are assholes.

Now, this doesn't entirely shock me. Especially Chris Kattan, who tried to have a "serious" career with dramatic roles. (Emphasis on the "tried.")

And it's not entirely inconceivable that Oteri is a total bitch. But ... here's the thing. Comedy lends itself to poking holes in pomposity. By its very nature, it encourages you not to take life or yourself too seriously. If you are willing to put on a loincloth and stuff apples in your face and act like a monkey, I don't know where you get your sense of superiority from.

This is changing my opinion of comics. I thought they were immune from snobbery, but I guess I'm wrong.
Haunted by the Ghost of Blog Posts Past

I have written a couple of blog posts that, even years later, inexplicably bring people draw people to blog. Consistently, these posts have included this post about Carrot Top (some people even continue to leave comments), and the David Soul series, with follow-ups here and here.

This seems to indicate my blog peaked some time in 2005.

But out of the blue, with no forewarning or explanation, this post has been drawing numerous people to this blog. I don't even know where they're coming from, because nobody linked to the story (and who would link to a story from more two years ago? Besides David Soul fans, I mean). They appear to be coming from "Google Images." What these people are Googling is beyond me.

But there you have it. Maybe I should go back to me old format? People seemed to like it better.
Flash Fiction Friday: Leaf It Be
Flash Fiction Friday continues. Starter sentence in blue.

Come with me, if you want to give... happiness a chance," said the small gnarled man bent nearly in half, as they waited at the crosswalk for the light to change.

"Excuse me?" said Jim, unsure if the man was talking to him or to some unseen entity in the man's own mind.

"Before you take you own life, let me show you something first," said the man. Jim gaped. "We need to get on the bus to the train station, then catch the train out to Stiles, then take another bus to the arboretum," the man continued.

"Why would I go anywhere with you? You're nuts," Jim said.

"Because you hate your life as it is. You have nothing to live for. You want to die. What's your fear? That I will waste the time you are already wasting yourself by living in misery, or that I will harm you when you already are thinking of harming yourself?" the man replied calmly, looking up into Jim's astonished face with his tiny clouded eyes.

Jim had no argument. Bewildered, he followed the man onto the bus, then into the train, then onto the next bus as the man had described. They arrived at the arboretum, where the man paid both their admission costs.

"Seven bucks to look at a bunch of trees?" snorted Jim.

"You didn't pay for it, yet you're still complaining?" asked the man. Again, Jim had no argument. Bypassing a school field trip congregated at the front entrance, Jim and the man headed into the stillness of the trees. They were marked with their species name, and native soil. The man did not speak as they navigated through this zoo of trees, gathered together where nature had never meant them to be gathered together, but somehow it didn't seem to bother the trees.

He stopped in front of a rather short, squat tree, whose trunk looked twice as thick as it need be for its stature. "Astrophllicus Magesteria -- Tibet" read the card. Jim scoffed, "That's nonsense! They just made up some vaguely Greek or Latin-sounding words and stuck them together!" The old man just looked at Jim pityingly, and said, "Shall we go in?"

"Go in? what the fu..."

"Please! No swearing in front of The Tree!" the man admonished sharply. Then he walked toward the tree, and disappeared into it.

Jim just stared for awhile. He could get back on the bus to the train to the bus and go back to work. Maybe this was all some sort of delusion on his part. After all, the man was right -- he was suicidal and mentally unstable. Then again, what would he lose by walking to the tree? Even if he smacked into it, and, hopefully, back to reality, no one was around to see his (potential) humiliation.

As he approached the tree, he felt his legs moving beyond his control, pulling him closer and closer like the Millenium Falcon caught in a tractor beam. He felt no impact with the rough bark of the tree when he came face to ... trunk with it; one minute he was in the arboretum, the next he was... inside. With the old man.

Like a Tardis from the science fiction show "Dr. Who," the tree was larger on the inside than it was on the outside. Specifically, it was immense. Actually, it was infinite. "What is this place?" Jim asked, when he was finally able.

"You've heard of the Tree of Knowledge? The Tree of Life? From the Bible?" asked the old man. "This is the Tree of Happiness."

"Those weren't real!" retorted Jim. The man just shrugged his shoulders.

"Perhaps, or perhaps not. I've never actually seen them myself. But I do know there is such a thing as the Tree of Happiness, and you're sitting in it right now."

It was true. Jim was no longer standing, but sitting in the most sumptuous, comfortable chair he had ever imagined. Just as he was thinking, "too bad I can't put my feet up," the chair reclined and his feet were up. Unseen hands were giving him a scalp massage. Whenever a desire popped into Jim's head, it was supplied. A sense of wonder and well-being filled him. Jim noticed the man was no longer stooping, his eyes were no longer clouded, and he had a big grin on his face.

"How did you find this place?" Jim asked the man.

"That's a long story, of course," he said. "We have a long time to tell it and hear it."

"Wait," said Jim. "There are a lot of suffering people out there. They need to know about this place!"

"True," said the man, a look of worry beginning to cross his face, "But..."

"Don't tell me you're going to be selfish about this!" said Jim, becoming indignant.

"It's not that. I would share it with the world if I could. But you have to be careful, you have to choose wisely..." the man said in a pleading tone.

But it was too late. Jim was out of the tree, making the reverse commute into the city. He ran out of the train station, grabbed the most grieved-looking person he could find, and told her the story of the tree.

And that is how Jim wound up in a mental health facility, getting force-fed pills to control his suicidal thoughts.
Did I Say I Would Lay Off Politics? What Was I Thinking?

Okay, this is only partially about politics. This is about how far America has sunk in terms of critical thinking skills. I mean, we've almost reached Pythonesque proportions here.

Now, I'm not the biggest, most loyal Obama supporter out there. I mean, I voted for him because I thought he was the better of two candidates, but I have some complaints.

However, this guy sums up my feelings on the anti-Obama camp pretty well. (Note: not all conservatives or Republicans fall in this camp, nor do I consider all Obama critics in this camp. People who have legitimate, well-thought out criticisms of the president don't seem to get nearly as much airtime.)

It irritates me when people defend their irrelevant commentaries about Obama by saying, "Well, what about what THEY said about GEORGE BUSH!" What? That he attacked Iraq under false pretenses? Authorized torture? The economy tanked on his watch? These are legitimate complaints that can debate, if you want. But at least they are based on his Presidential actions (or inactions.)

Yes, Bush was the butt of jokes and complaints about his smirk and claims of his stupidity (which I do not buy, by the way. For a "stupid" guy, he sure managed to get his way) fall into this same "I just don't like him" level of "criticism," BUT...

Obama's critics (the ones I'm talking about here) blow innocuous or meaningless things out of proportion. They take rumors (or lies) and present them as fact. Or at least turn them into a "what is he hiding?" moment. They use innuendo to provoke consipiracy nuts. I'm not saying Bush didn't inspire his own conspiracy nuts, but they didn't have national media figures like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to spread "the word" on a mass scale.

Other examples of insanity can be found here and here.
Haunted by my laundry
I have to post but I have neither the time nor the desire to do so.

I will tell you that I left my laundry in the dryer, that it had not dried completely, and that I hope it doesn't smell.

That is all for now.

Please try to carry on under the weight of that devastating news.
Barf Me Out. Totally!
I'm seriously considering avoiding all news I don't hear by word of mouth. I know I have a duty to be an informed citizen, to vote, to help steer elected officials with my incisive opinions (which I never send to them anyways.) But it's starting to totally bum me out. Totally. Why am I putting myself through this?

I have stated before that I believe the government, on the federal level certainly, is completely unconcerned with what normal people want or think. We elect people based on their promises, but with few exceptions, they cater to lobbyists once they get in office. I have given up my childish beliefs that anyone goes vies for public office with the intent of actually improving their town/county/state/country. And the few that do, can't get anything accomplished because they are a tiny, powerless minority. Even my park district board is that way.

So why should I torture myself, twisting myself into knots by listening to and caring about what these people do? It reminds me of an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, when he talks to a Mexican peasant who says (I'm paraphrasing), "The government came through my farm, and they stole my chickens. Then Pancho Villa and the rebels came through and they stole my chickens. No matter which side it is, they steal my chickens."

I'm just going to bank on people stealing my chickens. I'm just going to work on a hiding place for SOME of my chickens, so I don't get totally wiped out.
Bad Things I've Done That I Don't Regret

I used to be really cute. Like, getting checked out and getting phone numbers and getting offered drinks cute (I never accepted a drink from someone I didn't know, though.) Of course, this is no longer the case. And it wasn't always the case (I was a dork in high school). I had a brief period of hotness in the mid-to-late '90's and have been heading steadily downhill, rapidly, ever since.

So what did I do with my hotness? Did I use it to attract rich guys? No. (Although, ironically, guys named Rich...) Did I slut it up around town? No. (Too afraid of diseases.) Did I attract a collect a set of sexy boy toys for my own amusement? Not exactly.

I did amuse myself -- but by torturing the meathead douchebag idiots other women seemed to fawn over. For example... (cue wavy picture, flashback music)

When Dilf and I were dating, he worked with a douchebag that other women swooned over but who was basically Joey from my last post. I was meeting up with Dilf and his work buddies for a drink, and this man who we'll call "Joey" was there -- with his cousin.

His cousin was not at all fashion-conscious, a little paunchy, and sort of shy. I knew right away he was "Joey's" wing man, and served to provide contrast to Joey's obvious handsomeness. I knew immediately what to do.

Of course, I struck up a conversation with the cousin. I hung on his every word, which were nearly all about hot-air ballooning, because this cousin was really passionate about his ballooning hobby. In fact, he was in town from New Mexico.

Well, douchebag Joey was not having any of this. His world was in turmoil -- how could his dumpy cousin, who was supposed to be the pathetic one, be monopolizing the attentions of a cute girl? He attempted to butt in the conversation with a condescending, "Yeah, yeah, yeah... so, (insert moronic attempt to impress me with something. I forget what he said, exactly.)" He tried to put his arm around me and steer me away from his cousin, and toward him.

I stiffened and said, stony-faced, "Excuse me, we were having a conversation," and, wriggling out of his grasp, turned back to his cousin. "So, the last time you were ballooning..." I said, sweetly and pleasantly and oh-so-attentively.

Joey was aghast, and more than a little miffed. I was crowing inside. Jerk.

And here's the thing. I wasn't using the cousin to make a point (well, maybe just a little.) I was more interested in hearing about New Mexico, which I still haven't visited, and hot air ballooning, which I've never done, and it was heartwarming to see how much he loved his hobby. I wasn't pretending to prefer a conversation with the cousin; I did prefer it. What was Joey going to contribute to the conversation? That he liked beer and sex with hot chicks? If I wanted to hear from someone like him, I could just tune in to "Beavis and Butthead," which was still on the air at the time.

So, maybe I was a little mean to Joey. I was even meaner the next time we went out, and he was trying to hit on the waitress by grabbing the check and cooing, "Is it $5,000, sweetheart?" And I interjected, "He wants to know if it's more or less than his current yearly salary." Which made the straight-edge punk rocker guy who worked in the same department laugh, but which did NOT make Joey smile. I shouldn't be mean to anyone; that's not right. But if I have to mean, I choose to be mean to someone like Joey.

The world is mean enough to the non-Joeys.
Haunted House
Please note: this is NOT Flash Fiction day, so I am not fabricating this story.

I think the first house Dilf and I purchased, located in Wheaton, Illinois, was haunted. By nice ghosts.

When we purchased the house, neighbors told us it was the former abode of the guy who had owned and parceled off much of the surrounding neighborhood. He designed and oversaw the construction of our house himself. Clearly, he had an emotional investment in the property.

And it was a beautiful house. If it had had a basement and wasn't located on a busy street, we would've stayed there -- even with the ghosts of the former owners hanging around.

I became suspicious when baby Elder would look past my shoulder and smile and someone or something behind me. That suspicion sharpened once when I was finishing the dishes in the kitchen, and heard Elder cry from her crib as she woke up from her nap. I called out, soothingly, "Just a minute, sweetie! I'll be right there!" as I tried to hurriedly dry my hands on a dish towel.

Then she stopped crying. And started giggling. Not a random giggle, but a giggle AT something.

But mostly, I feel like the house was haunted right after a successful bid was put on our house, and I had a strange dream. In it, a slight, elderly woman with short blonde-white hair was seated at our dining table, chatting with me. "I know you have to move," she said, a bit sadly. "I only wish you could've seen this place the way it was. There was a pond and a golf course behind us. You would've loved it. Oh, well."

Several days later, as Dilf and I were packing and purging and preparing to move, the little old lady who lived next door to us came over to talk. It was a long, difficult selling period (stories for another day), which we were discussing when she said, "You wouldn't have had a hard time years ago. Just beyond your property line was a pond, and behind that was a golf course..."

To quote the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz, "I do believe in spooks... I DO believe in spooks!"
Haunting Melodies
I'm still blogging everyday under the self-imposed iron thumb of nablopomo, monthly theme of "Haunted."

My brain generates earworms as some sort of mental self-torture. It is insanely easy for something, somewhere to remind me of a song that plays over and over and OVER in my restless, seething brain.

Today, for example, we saw the neighborhood cat who likes to sit in his front lawn as the kids walk to school, because the children squeal his name in delight and rub his big, furry head. Unfortunately for me, his name is "Joey."

It's not that bad of a song, actually. I've had far worse earworms, that's for sure. But the lyrics crack me up. It's like an episode of Tool Academy put to music.

This song typifies how women misunderstand men. The singer thinks her boyfriend ("Joey") is somehow complicated and "fighting a secret war;" that he's suffering and in pain.

From what I understand from these lyrics, he's hitting her up for money, she got mad and said no, and he went and got drunk with his friends somewhere. She felt bad about it, because she can't bear to think of this deep, sensitive soul suffering as he battled his demons. She must help him!

The reality is, guys like Joey are not complicated at all. Deep thinkers and feelers typically don't go around sponging off their girlfriends and falling down drunk -- they're usually either off creating art somewhere or building a future for the person they love or trying to make a difference in the world. The Joeys of the world are usually driven by their reptilian brains and are nothing more than cheap pleasure-seekers.

I don't know too much about Concrete Blonde or the people in the band, but I prefer to think these lyrics are kinda tongue-in-cheek. Come on, sing it with me: "And if you're somewhere out there passed out on the floor... Oh Joey, I'm not angry anymore."
Friday Flash Fiction. Or Is It Flash Fiction Friday?

Hanging on with one hand, he considered his alternatives. He could admit what he'd done, who he was, but he didn't have the guts to face that yet. He hated himself for not being normal.

Well, if he couldn't be normal, he could act normal. He could bury his compulsions, hide his proclivities, and fool the world. It had worked so far, if it weren't for his stupid wife asking questions and making demands on him.

He couldn't rid himself of her, though; at least, not yet. He had used her as a prop to bolster his image of normalcy. If he dumped her, or if she dumped him, people would ask questions. Questions he couldn't answer. He hated questions nearly as much as he hated himself.

So, how to handle this, he wondered. How to simultaneously shut her down, while not causing her to flee? He had to strike just the right menacing balance.

He glanced down at the loaf of bread, his one hand on its plastic sheath, the other poised to pick up the square plastic spin-clip closure for the bag. As his wife entered the kitchen, he held up the clip and sneered, "These things might save our marriage, since you don't know how to use a twist-tie." He spun the bag for emphasis and snapped the clip into place.

She looked at him like he was crazy. "You do it like a Polack, like this," he said, picking up a twist-tie to demonstrate her folding-then-twisting technique, "instead of like this," he said, spinning the two ends together. "Nice job, Poli-locks."

He appreciated the slump of her shoulders and the confused furrowing of her brows as she contemplated how she could mess up this simplest of tasks, and how it made her so difficult to live with, and how she could endeavor to change so as not to be so burdensome and irritating. She wouldn't think of questioning him now, when she couldn't even close a bag properly.

He smiled. Mission accomplished. Life lie protected for at least one more day.
View from Inside the Tube

As part of medical science's everlasting search into my magical mystery boob, they took yet another MRI today. (note: that's not an actual image of my breasts.) Perhaps I can start publishing reviews of different MRI centers in different states. (I feel a bit like Yakov Smirnoff right now -- "In Chicago, you take MRI; in Texas, MRI takes YOU!)

Actually, the experience wasn't all that different. Let's compare:

Chicago area: let me keep my pants on.
Austin area: had to strip to underwear.
Advantage: Chicago. Although, I think it had more to do with me having a zipper today, instead of buttons-only in Chicago.

Chicago area: head sticking out of tube, with mirrors for viewing entire room
Austin area: entire body, including head, stuck in tube.
Advantage: Chicago

Chicago area: no pillow
Austin area: pillow
Advantage: Austin

Chicago area: sister accompanied
Austin area: Dilf accompanied
Advantage: well, let's see here. Sister left to go to a restaurant and then joked with the receptionist about getting a massage; Dilf stayed in the room and held my hand. Clearly, my sister sucks while Dilf is awesome. Advantage, Dilf.

Time will only tell who actually has an answer for me, though. I will have to wait for the radiologist to read the thing and answer, "Look! Squirrels have been storing acorns in your breast!" or "We found Jimmy Hoffa!" or whatever.

I am just really tired of the whole damn thing. And if they tell me I need another needle biopsy, I'm telling them I want to be totally knocked out, because that shit's straight outta Guantanamo.

ALSO: Regarding my Oprah/Journey post, I would like to point out that Christopher Cross will be appearing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight. So, more evidence.
Insert Placeholder Text Here
I don't know what the hell is going on anymore.

I have inadequate information. About what? Everything. I'm just a big ignoramus. I wouldn't mind knowing things; in fact, I'd prefer it. That just doesn't seem to be an option for me right now.

I have another MRI tomorrow. Maybe I'll get an actual answer about something, although given the last few months, I highly doubt it.
The End of the World Is Nigh
The "rock" band Journey is scheduled to appear appear on Oprah's show on Monday.

If that ancient Mayan dude had been able to foresee this, surely he would have stopped his calendar on October 5, 2009 instead of December whatever, 2012. This is clearly one of those Gatekeeper/Keymaster moments that directly precede the Apocalypse. Consider me your prophet of doom, and I have duly warned you.

This sinister convergence of two of Satan's tools has two stated purposes: one, to tell Oprah how singer Arnel Pineda (who some people say "has the all the stage presence of deranged Muppet on uppers") became part of the band; two, to perform their hit anthem.

Their hit anthem? You mean that one song out of their many top 40 songs? That was released in 1981? And is now overused in TV shows and such because it's in the public domain? And didn't that Pineda guy join Journey more than two years ago? What the hell?

When, oh when, will someone make a show called "Whatever, Oprah."

She also crushes puppies in her spare time.*

*That is clearly satire. You can't sue me, army of Oprah lawyers.
Things that Haunt Me from My Childhood

To be perfectly honest, when I remember my childhood, my parents are very rarely featured in the memory. Where the hell were they? Was life one long trip to the grocery store during the day and one long bowling league during the night for those people?

Whatever they were doing, I was left in the hands of my two older sisters and one older brother for most of my life. If memory serves, which I don't believe it does.

My possible brain damage aside, my sisters were nine and ten years older than me (and my brother five years older, but he wasn't put in charge) and when my parents were out, they took care of me.

Well, I mostly remember my second-oldest sister taking care of me while the oldest one lounged around in her downstairs bedroom crying over some injustice or mooning over some boy at school. (At least, that's how I remember it.) And my second-oldest sister amused herself by terrifying me.

Not in a bullying, mean sense. I mean in a turning the house into a Haunted Mansion sort of way, with her dressing up in weird costumes and turning out all the lights, except for one flashlight that she held under her chin while pretending to be the ghost of a gypsy woman named "Madame Curie". This made science class interesting for me later in life.

And she also enjoyed playing the odd assortment of strange, frightening music we had lying around. Really, my parents were too old to be hippies, but they still had some oddities to them. One song that springs to mind this time of year is this one:

This was not nearly one of the scariest songs (and back then, we had phonographs -- which could be played at 78, 33 or 45 rpm's. You could make ANY song terrifying by playing it at the wrong speed.), but it was strange enough to stick in my head.

Is it any wonder that Halloween is my favorite time of year?
Napalabambo Or Whatever Says I Gotta Write Something, So...

I'm doing that thing where you blog every day for a month. The theme is "haunting." Or "haunted." Or something with the word "haunt" in it. It may have something to do with Halloween, but I don't want to go too far out on a limb.

Today I am haunted by our government. I'm sorry, I meant to type "our" government. I don't think we really have a government anymore, and if we do, it certainly isn't "ours." Why do I say we don't really have a government? Let me explain. And as usual, this is all my cockamamie theory and not based on anything I know for a fact. Who would tell me any truths anyway? I'd just blab it all.

ANYWAY. I don't think either party actually wants to be in charge. I mean, I think the Republicans enjoyed the hell out of their time in office, but only until the consequences of their actions became clear. But what they REALLY love is sniping from the sidelines (I almost typed "snidelines"), undermining, and being perpetually outraged at their own victimhood at the hands of the liberal elite. Who are ruining their country! They really should copyright their creative fiction, you know.

On the other hand, I don't think the Democrats want to be in charge, either, because that means they'd be expected to actually act on their promises. This would piss off the corporate overlords they've been able to pretend don't really control them, since they couldn't do anything to stop those evil Corporation-licking Republicans as long as Bush the Impaler was in office (more creative fiction!). But now, they have to put up or shut up. Shut up it is. Good job, Democrats.

So, I am haunted by the fact that a.) it doesn't matter who I vote for, and b.) nobody's really interested in running our country. I don't see how anyone who values a majority-rule system can not be frightened that the American people voted for a president, a House majority, and a Senate SUPER-majority, and these people are failing to implement their will even when no obstacles should be standing in their way. That should be a huge wake up call to everyday citizens everywhere.

Really, Hollywood, do you thing a bunch of fake blood and zombies are going to have any effect on me at all?

And in conclusion, "They should apologize to America":

Name: Übermilf
Location: Chicago Area

If being easily irritated, impatient and rebellious is sexy, then call me MILF -- Übermilf.

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