Saturday, December 5, 2009

We Shall, We Shall Not Be Moved

Last night I climbed into my time machine and went back to 1970. A room full of people with scrawny ponytails (men) and lumpy dresses (women) sat, rapt, in the candlelight, on mismatched thrift store furniture, listening to a man sing without moving his lips. It's a style that's thrifty with the alphabet and doesn't expend much energy. Consonants, particularly at the end of words, are discouraged. "Aay wah to lay doww besiii you..." (and, honestly, am I the last person on earth who cares about lay and lie?). It made for excellent napping on a dandy thrift store sofa while waiting for the band we really wanted to hear.

Said band was billed as a dance band. And so it was. Unfortunately, it was not a dance audience. A modest space for dancing had been cleared on the excellent hardwood floor and the band leader announced, first thing, that it would be a good thing to move the tables back as far as possible to make more room for dancing. Imagine the imposing stone faces of Easter Island. Now imagine them sitting around a dance floor, impassive, in lumpy dresses and inadequate ponytails, arms (if they had any) crossed. That's how much they moved. Not at all.

The most recent season of Dancing with the Stars introduced some new dance genres and team performances and last night's exercise has inspired an idea that I think is worth sending in. Obstacle dancing. The audience moves their chairs onto the floor and throws down random clothing items like stocking caps and jackets. Coffee tables with sharp corners ramp up the excitement. A wandering Labrador retriever pulls in the family demographic. They can hold the preliminaries in Portland, Oregon. The course is already set up.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear?

November 2nd Newsweek article, The Devil Loves Cell Phones, and subtitled, Silence isn't just golden -- it's heavenly, rails on about cell phones, yelling TV pundits and Twitter, but nowhere does it mention the Devil's most insidious weapon: Christmas Muzak®.

I don't shop. Oh, I buy stuff. But I don't shop as a form of entertainment. However, I am a devoted mother, and when my son and his intended bride asked me to look for a birdcage as a wedding decoration, it became my mission to unearth the personality-plus cage of all cages. The best one is on ebay, but by the time the auction is over it'll be too late. Thus, I felt compelled to go to brick and mortar stores. In shopping malls. In November.

Note to Pier One Imports, Michael's Arts and Crafts, and the antique mall: If your Christmas music is boring holes in my brain like a cross between mad cow disease and a railroad spike, I can't think about purchasing your products. In fact, that person sprinting out the door that you think, considering the speed, must be a shoplifter? That's me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Darwin at Work

One of my favorite stories from a fellow blogger: Man standing at the freeway exit waiting for a handout. He's holding a square of cardboard... with nothing written on it. Subliminal message? "Will work for Sharpie."

How many times have you wondered - where do the cardboard sign people get those nice black markers?

For about a month, I have been involved with helping someone get off the street and into some sort of life - a life that the most of us would regard as sorely inadequate. Just a warm, safe place to stay. Food to eat. An address.

A number of years ago, I attended a dinner party that included a well-to-do real estate broker and his wife who were clad in matching Planet Hollywood sweatshirts. The conversation turned to prisoners in state custody and the education in social skills and job training provided to them on the taxpayer's dime. Said real estate broker maintained, hotly, that our money was being wasted mollycoddling prisoners. Make 'em do their time, pay their debt to society, and then kick them out and let them pull themselves up by their bootstraps and if they pulled hard enough, by golly, they could be just like him! (hopefully, without the sweatshirts) But, I digress. Sort of.

The person I've been helping isn't an ex-con. This person just made a lifetime of dumb choices that put him where none of us ever expect to be. A dear friend of mine, concerned for my sanity and pocketbook, told me, "Don't get involved. There's always someone who will take care of these people." But, you know what? It's not true. Here's what happens if you are homeless, penniless, ill, and have no transportation. You can stay in a shelter for the night, 1. if you know where to go, 2. you manage to sign in between the hours of 5:45 and 6:30, 3. you have a TB card, and 4. your name gets called in the nightly lottery for beds. You can be seen in the free clinic if you can be there on Thursday night between 7 and 9 pm. (Hmm, we need to do some tests! Come back in a week, and try to not die in the meantime.) A wonderful entity called Northwest Pilot Project (seriously, they are a blessing for some) will help you find housing if you are willing to come back day after day and wait for 5 hours in the hope that you'll be one of the four people they can see that day. Oh wait, they can't help you find housing if you have no income. You might be able to rent an SRO (single room occupancy - got to learn the jargon) if you have $40 for the application, no criminal record, and good credit. The waiting list for subsidized housing is over a year long unless you're a pregnant woman, HIV positive, or in a recovery program (note to self: plan ahead!).

And don't ever, ever, ever lose your I.D. Nothing happens without identification.

I don't have any answers. The real estate broker would probably tell me this was evolution doing its job and I'm messing up the program by not allowing the weak member of the herd to be taken down by the wolves.

(Note to self: buy Sharpies)

Friday, September 11, 2009


Well, I was going to talk about health care reform, but considering I ate tuna casserole for lunch and fish and chips for dinner, I will, instead direct you to my new blog Everything Fish. It is especially appropriate for those blog visitors that are more right brained, i.e. heavy on pictures, light on words. And besides, it will give you whole new vistas of artwork you might want to take into your home to cherish, adore, and pay me to make for you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Details, details...

The last line of a job posting on today's craigslist:

Candidate must be detail oriented, personable, and must have excellent communication and organization ski

Saturday, August 15, 2009

On the Road Again

A little something for everyone at this Battleground, Washington business:

Tackle Box
Wedding Events

Which rivals my favorite that used to be on the north side of Hwy 30 between St Helens and Rainier:

Saw Sharpening

Friday, August 14, 2009

Things that Make Me Laugh

Sign I saw today:
Writter's Group

Sunday, August 9, 2009

One for all, and all for one.

This evening as we came abreast of the bar at The Refectory (home of the Sunday night blues jam), I heard a spirited conversation between the bartender and a customer. "I'm no f***ing Dooh Mahs", declared the bartender. My first thought was that he was referring to his writing style as being unequal to that of the author of The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas. As we passed on by, however, the sentence concluded with something about a huge flat screen tv and I realized that, while he was not squeamish about shouting out the F word in the workplace, he apparently just couldn't bring himself to say dumb ass.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Things to Ponder

The other day, as I reflexively emptied the change from my cocoa order into the tip jar at the coffee shop, I wondered, not for the first time, why do we tip baristas? We don't tip the people in TacoBellMcDonaldsBurgerKingArbysKFC, who probably earn a smaller wage and lead lives several degrees more miserable than attractively apron-clad coffee workers in nice grease-free, polished wood environments. They don't make several trips to our table to take our order, explain the daily special, deliver our order, or top off our water. And they don't even give us a nice scalp massage like the hairdresser or get up at 3:00 a.m. like the paper boy.

What is the rate of PTICTD* among ice cream truck drivers? (Whom, I might add, don't get tips...) My across-the-street neighbor drives an ordinary looking Scion, but when he starts it up Scott Joplin's The Entertainer begins tootling out the window. I hear about four bars before he drives away and another four when he returns. Be he must hear it a billion times a summer. That can't be healthy. He has it easy. The ice cream truck I heard at a local park plays Pop Goes the Weasel. But it just plays the first line. "Round and round the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel." "Round and round the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel." "Round and round the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel." He never gets any closure. Does he wake up at night screaming, "The monkey thought t'was all in fun, POP goes the weasel!"?

*Post Traumatic Ice Cream Truck Disorder

Monday, July 13, 2009

Plays Well with Others

Oh, what a jolly place is the dog park. A chance to frolic with Misty, Clancy, Lulu, Harvey, and Touch-My-Ball-I-Bite-a-You-Face. Leo and I had spent a peaceful 30 minutes in the small dog corral with Misty, Clancy, their mother, and the chatty transvestite who hung over the fence trading pit-bull-bite stories with me. We agreed, it's usually not the dog, but the owner, who creates a troublesome pet.

Misty and Clancy headed home, so Leo and I shifted over to the general inmate population consisting of a sheltie, a lab pup, some Heinz 57s, Lulu, a recently adopted 13-year-old husky mix, a goldendoodle, and a Belgian Shepherd. When Leo, 15 pounds soaking wet, took a sniff at the Shepherd's ball she abruptly morphed into the Jaws of Death, leaped on Leo and appeared to be reducing him to so much canine confetti. Leo screamed as though his short life was passing before his eyes, the owner ran over and yanked her dog away, and Leo took off like a missile. Three other dogs, innocent bystanders, thought that looked like a lark, and followed him in hot pursuit. Leo surmised they were all in on the murder plot and took a chunk out of Lulu's face when she bowled him over.

Once the fracas came to a halt and everyone examined their respective dogs, the shepherd's owner apologized profusely, "I've been working on her 'ball possessiveness issue' for two years". Oh-kaaaay, so you bring her to a place full of dogs and, well, balls??

Now, who has the behavior problem? Hmm?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Crappy Hour

A couple of weeks ago we were looking for a happy hour. It wasn't really the right time of night or right day of the week. I had never tried it, but a nearby restaurant always displays a huge sign facing I-5, prominently advertising half-price appetizers, the details of which had never lodged in my consciousness. Considering our poor timing, it seemed like our best chance. My companion was dubious.

The bad news is, we were too late as well as too early for the half-price food. The other bad news is the restaurant in question was Hooters.

Now, there are a couple of drawbacks to Hooters, depending on your point of view. I don' t believe anyone would dispute the fact that the food is fairly disgusting (if it isn't battered and deep fried, it probably has bacon on it), but to make up for that they charge a lot for it. A soda is nearly $3 and a side of french fries is nearly $4. The aspect that might be disputed is the ad- or disad- vantage of being served by young women clad in the most patently uncomfortable looking outfits outside of Las Vegas. They have clearly been advised to not bend over the tables, so they are forced to squat or perch. The outfits are completed with a pair of miniature shorts in permanent wedgie mode.

Midway through our not-half-price meal, a little knot of waitresses clapped for our attention. "Listen up, everyone! Join us in singing Happy Birthday to Ryan who is here to celebrate his 13th birthday!" Note to Ryan's parents: Your responsible adult license has just been revoked.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Someone in Australia just purchased one of my Cheap Apolitical Pagan door signs (Hi Shari!) so I decided to put her address in Google Maps to see where my sign was going to make its new home. Through the magic of Google Streetview, it appears my sign will be posted on a red house with a tile roof in Whyalla, South Australia. Sometimes Google Streetview doesn't get the right house, but I'm going to assume it did this time, because I'm an optimist, and besides, how will I ever know if it's wrong. Right?

But the best part is, Google Maps gives me directions from my house to hers. First I asked for walking directions. There was a warning at the top that said, "Caution - This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths." It's 12,833 miles and will take 171 days and 22 hours. There are 922 separate instructions, three kayak trips (Note: how does Google know that I have a kayak?)(And don't I get to get out and walk a little in Indonesia? It seems not.), and steps 110 through 867 are in Japanese. On the other hand, the driving instructions say it will take me only 53 days, 23 hours and cut 822 steps out of the process. The kayaking instructions stay the same.

Isn't that wonderful?

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Whilst tidying up my old email graveyard, I ran across this reminder of what makes America the place it is, as recounted to my friend, David, a few months ago:

I just recently learned of the bench-to-table ratio as manifested in the modern American restaurant. My daughter and I went to a McMenamin's near Lloyd Center and did a Goldilocks routine. In the first booth in which we sat, both of us were miles from the table. Moving to the next booth, the table was a little closer, but still not within eating distance. Moving to booth three, the table is within an acceptable distance of our torsos with plenty of room for, say, a small child on our laps. When we inquired about the inconsistency, the waiter rolled his eyes and told us, "Most customers don't fit in a regular booth."

Which also reminds me of the big tub o' root beer that showed up in my car last week, purchased at a handy mini-mart on a sultry day. If the cup is too fat for your cup holder, that's too much pop. Enough said.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Three Things

Studies show that learning new things delays the onset of dementia (as does doing things with your fingers so, presumably, blogging will keep me cogent for decades to come).

Yesterday I learned three new things.
How to prime my lawnmower.
What causes monkeyface.
How many calories are in a pint of Hefeweizen.

Every time I start my lawnmower I count on the possibility of two things: I will dislocate my shoulder yanking on the starter cord. I will have a heart attack yanking on the starter cord. As an act of kindness, my lawnmower brake cable disintegrated last week, sending me, cable in hand, back to the lawn mower rehab clinic where I purchased said mower from the slow-talking, possibly Arkansas-born, mower guru. When I observed that starting the thing was likely to lead to my premature death, the mower-guru said, "Do ya prime it before ya start it?" "Uhhh, prime it?", I replied. He led me back through the lawn mower cemetery until we found one with sufficient superstructure that he could point out the priming button. Knowledge is power (mower).

People who only buy grocery store strawberries, those large, gleaming chunks of seed-studded Styrofoam, won't know what I'm talking about, but real strawberries sometimes look funny. They're bumpy and small and wall-to-wall seeds at the tip. I thought I had neglected my strawberry garden by poor watering (ok, I did) but the Philbrook Farms strawberry farmer told me that's called Monkeyface and it happens when the weather gets cold and the bees stay home in turtlenecks and long johns and don't go out and pollinate the berry flowers. His berries looked just as pathetic as mine.

The third thing I learned yesterday was that Hefeweisen beer has a whopping 1300 calories per pint! Wow! Jeepers! Holy cow! The best part of this factoid is that it is wrong. My source, a beer-drinking person who should know, was not, I'm pretty sure, pulling my leg. However, I looked it up. There are 210 calories in a pint of Hefeweisen.

There. Now you might have learned something new and my fingers are extremely alert.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Magic of Macys

Dear Macy's Management,

We need to talk. Customer Service means giving service to customers. It does not mean sending them down a forest path; a path so circuitous, so frustrating, that you hope they will just give up and go home.

Here is what happens if you call Macy's Customer Service number. You make three or four layers of choices, you key in your account number (because when you choose the option to speak the number, they can't understand you), you key in a portion of your social security number, you get put on hold for a very long time, and then you get a human being... in India. Who can't hear you. You try the whole process again, thinking there must be something wrong with your phone. And they still can't hear you. Even if you yell, which, by now, you are most certainly doing.

So you decide to get in your car and go to Macy's where, it turns out, there is NO customer service department. Instead, there are two beige telephones that, when you lift the receiver, connect you to the Customer Service line where you make three or four layers of choices, you key in your account number, you key in a portion of your social security number, you get put on hold for a long time, and then you get a human being... in India. Who can't hear you. Even if you shout.

The best thing to do, at least in Vancouver, Washington, is to go directly to the Wedding Department and speak to a lovely woman named Heidi. Heidi also has a beige telephone at her large, quiet Wedding Department desk with which she can call the people in India. Oddly enough, when Heidi identifies herself as a Macy's employee, the people in India can hear her.

That must be the Magic of Macy's.

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's May, It's May, the Lusty Month of May

Until a year ago I was under the impression that the lifespan of the average household goldfish went something like this:

Day 1 - purchase 49 cent goldfish (or, alternately, lob a ping pong ball into a jar and bring one home from the fair in a cruelly small baggie)

Day 2 - admire goldfish swimming enthusiastically around the bowl

Day 3 - note that goldfish has developed a serious list

Day 4 - flush goldfish down the toilet

But that was before I had outdoor goldfish. They still started out as 49 centers. But, now, after two years and two seasons under several inches of ice they are hale and hearty and lookin' for love. According to, it isn't easy to determine the gender of the average goldfish. However, I'm pretty sure I have 3 males and one female since Goldie was being hotly pursued by Larry, Moe, and Curly last weekend. Larry (or maybe it was Moe or Curly) sidled up to her and shimmied most alluringly. I'm counting on being a Grandma again, soon.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dance Like No One is Watching

The capacity for having a good time is all about attitude. The notion we all hold as gospel, that the homecoming queens and football captains of the world are having a better time than the rest of us by virtue of their dazzling looks, just doesn't seem to hold water.

Last night the dance hall was awash in celebrity sightings. We had Hoss Cartwright, Larry the Cable Guy, Grandma from the Golden Girls (who, I declare, could shake her thang), Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, several incarnations of Roseanne Barr, circa 1990, Festus, a high kicking Gandhi in a disco shirt, Ozzie, Harriet, and a tall, white Steve Urkel. Did I notice these people because of their famous faces (and hats)? Well... yes. But I also noticed them because they were out on the dance floor for every single song.

The table that surely won the Lousiest Time Award was occupied by four unsmiling women who watched, malevolently, through narrowed eyes as we danced by.

Incidental to this post, but remarkable in so many ways, was the woman doing a vigorous east coast swing in red 4 inch spike heeled pumps. How did she keep them on? How did she not break an ankle? To Red High Heels Woman goes the Evil Knievel award.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Crazy Neighbor

Crazy neighbors are fun. My all time favorite? The irascible elderly couple next door that came out on the porch and shook their fists and shouted invective at the turkey vultures circling over their house. Second favorite? The lady who peered over the fence the first day my (now ex) husband and I moved into our house and asked if he would mow her lawn.

No one aspires to Crazy Neighbor status, but I'm heading that way all because of one long night of poo.

I like cats. They're pretty and soft and make nice house pets. But I don't own one, so why do I have cat feces in my securely fenced yard and, more significantly, in (and out) of my dog? Night before last I was awakened at approximately 2 hour intervals by my dog vomiting and/or passing the most foul brew imaginable. It invaded my dreams, trashed my quilt, and despoiled my carpet. Delicious, nutritious, but apparently indigestible cat poo.

Every day I see them scale my fence. Why do they care about my yard? Why aren't they home using a nice litter box? My dog doesn't defecate in their yard. Why should they be using mine?

On today's shopping list: mousetraps. Baited with cat food.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Good Advice

Last weekend I went to a dance where out on the floor was a woman whose skirt was tucked into the back of her waistband. A woman sitting at my table said she had tried to tell her about it, but the skirt woman said, no, that was how it was supposed to be (it was a wrap-around model). A goodly time passed in which she danced many dances until, presumably, she journeyed into the restroom and got a good look at what the rest of us had been trying not to look at for about an hour.

The moral of the story: Do not dismiss the advice of well meaning people without full consideration. They may, after all, be trying to cover your ass.

Save a Dollar, Kill a Tree isn't just a great place to shop because of their vast product selection, great prices, and speedy service. No! They also have entertaining packaging, providing you're not a tree.

I ordered two Almay eyeliner pencils (because it was cheaper than buying them one at a time in the store and I'll use them eventually). (See previous post.) My pencils, two, arrived today in a box 19" x 13" x 5.75". But wait, there's more! Inside that box, surrounded by bubble wrap, was a second box 12" x 9" x 4". And inside that box was a third box 6" x 2" x 1.25". And inside that, my two little pencils - in blister packs. It was the Russian Doll of packaging.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Grow Your Own

Lately the news is full of heartrending stories of people fallen on hard times as well as inspiring tales of resourcefulness that would do veterans of 1930 proud.  There are articles telling us 10 Ways to Trim Your Budget! and How to Grow Your Own Vegetables!

I grew up in a thrifty family and am pleased to have produced two exceptionally thrifty children. We were cheap, and proud of it, before the current economy forced everyone to be cheap(er). This was brought home to me today as I wandered through Macy's with a $20 gift certificate in hand. First, I was in the Oregon Macy's to save sales tax. Second, I decided to spend my certificate after I saw the huge ad in the paper - 50% Off Already Reduced Prices! Third, I have three birthdays coming up in the next month and thought, "Whoa! I can buy someone a present without spending very much money." Alas, not even free money is easy for a truly cheap person to spend. I made my way from Jewelry, through Men's, Juniors, Shoes, Handbags and Kitchenware, and didn't find a single thing I thought was worth what Macy's thought it was worth.

So, still burdened with my dog eared $20 certificate, I went home and turned over my compost heaps. And in a couple of months I will Grow My Own Vegetables! like I always do.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Would you like some rubber bands with that?

Every so often I toy briefly with vegetarianism, such as when I hear the chef on the cable tv cooking show describing the short, tragic life of the veal calf or when undercooked burgers kill a few people with e coli. Laziness always wins and I keep on eating whatever is easiest.

However, if you have the intestinal fortitude to be a vegetarian, I say embrace it whole hog. Tofurkey, Chik'n®, Gardenburgers®, and smoked-flavored textured vegetable protein corned beef are just sops to those who can't entirely divorce themselves from their carnivorous pasts, and I'm here to tell you at least one of those tastes really really really bad. That would be, sorry, Grandma Rose, the corned beef.

Portland Adventist Hospital, where I recently took my friend for knee surgery, is, as the name implies, run by vegetarians. You can't get a tuna sandwich in the cafeteria, yet they do have a "grill". It's the first thing you come to inside the cafeteria door, and if there is any pattern to my eating, it usually fits the first-thing-you-see method of menu choice. They were out of Chik'n® so I opted for a Reuben sandwich, not giving any real thought to what might constitute corned beef in a vegetarian restaurant. Now I know what happens to old surgical gloves. They steep them for three weeks in smoke flavoring and make sandwiches out of them.

Which brings me to my second, obliquely hospital-related, subject: Cable rates are going up! Six percent! Bring on the television interviews, the opinion polls, stories of hardship and woe. Now pan over to my health insurance bill, the one from Regence Blue Cross that raised the premium on my individual health plan with the gargantuan deductible by over 33% in a single jump (and, no, I didn't change age groups). Now pan over to the masses of people with no bill to complain about because they don't have any insurance. Cable rates. Pffft. Big deal.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Making the World a Better Place. In One Act.

Some things are particularly wonderful because they're rare - things like enormous diamonds and four leaf clovers. Some things are rare, yet not wonderful, like two-headed calves and tsunamis. And then there are the rare things that are wonderful, but would be even more wonderful even if they were commonplace. And those things, if they were commonplace, would have a hand in ending war, bigotry, and hip fractures, not necessarily in that order.

Yesterday I was eating lunch with a kind man when I noticed that his focus had moved from our conversation to the sidewalk outside the restaurant where an exceptionally frail and ancient woman was inching her way into a huge SUV, having been relieved of her walker by her briskly efficient middle-aged (grand?)daughter. With the walker folded and stowed, said daughter skipped into the driver's seat leaving grandma, barely perched in the passenger seat, waving ineffectually at the car door in a vain attempt to close it behind her. The next thing I knew, my lunch companion had beamed himself up, reappeared on the sidewalk, and was unfurling the seatbelt for said old lady and closing her door. Everyone else, myself included, just sat and watched because, after all, she wasn't OUR old lady. Right? And that's too bad.

What ever happened to those "Practice Random Kindness" bumper stickers? (My theory is, because they actually read, "Practice Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty", they were just too saccharin to survive.) Nonetheless people, get out there and Practice some gol dern Random Kindness. Your waitress will say nice things about you. Ours did. And so will I.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Family Ties

My town is a friendly place. Unpretentious, a little short on urban planning, replete with strip malls, but also populated with nice parks, a cute downtown, and a bike path along a pretty riverfront. All in all a good place to raise a family. That's why my heart was warmed a few nights ago when I overheard a young woman, enjoying an evening out with her middle-aged mother, "Are you hammered, Mom?"

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Circle of Life

When you're looking for a receptacle for a bucket of dog feces that you've scooped up from the yard, how appropriate is it to find a nice big empty dog food bag on top of the garbage can? That, my friends, is the circle of life.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hello? It's me again.

The last couple of days have given me reason to ponder the presence of guardian angels in my life (or angles according to the misprint on the postcard sent to me by my dear friend and guardian angel). These celestial beings don't come clad in silver lamé with fluffy wings and a backup band, uhh, choir. More often than not, they need a haircut and they show up in yesterday's shirt because they know you need them now, not later.

Here's how it works. You tell them you're fine, just fine thanks, ok?, fine, and you don't need them.

And then they show up. Sometimes in person, sometimes on the phone, and these days, sometimes in your email. The effect is much the same.

A few years ago a friend's niece went through an annoying, new-age, guardian angel phase that I heard about in passing. As best I recall, the concept involved an invisible being that hovered somewhere in the neighborhood of your ear and kept you from being set upon by ravening beasts and/or being crushed by falling pianos. It's possible they might also have kept you from embarrassing yourself at parties. I'm not sure. Nice, but not practical.

I'm talking about the honest to gawd, three dimensional kind that shows up when your dog dies and doesn't care about the snot on their jacket. The kind that is there at the hospital when you wake up at 11 pm when they should have gone home hours ago. The kind that shows up on a 97 degree day to move your stuff and never asks where the pizza is. The kind that calls you after dinner because you sounded blue in the afternoon. The kind that finds a new guinea pig on Easter Sunday to replace the one the dog ate. (No, not that dog. A different dog.) Even the kind that tells you to suck it up get a life. That's what I'm talkin' about, Willis.

"Evangelical atheist" is the absolutely enchanting phrase I read on a recent blog commenting on the current "Imagine No Religion" campaign. Now, I'm not particularly political, seeing as how I'm far too lazy to stay current, much less analyze the material I have(n't) read. However, I have to hand it to the gang whose purpose seems to be to alert the general public to the notion of attending to creating heaven here on earth, especially if that includes caring for your fellow time travelers.

Sometimes, lying in bed at night, I make a mental list of the people I could, without hesitation, call at 2 a.m. on Christmas eve in the middle of a hurricane. It's an embarrassment of riches. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mixed Signals

Recounted to me by my friend, Miss Miller...
Middle aged woman, devoted to her late, yet still beloved, cat wears one of those rubber wrist bands, this one bearing the message "Until we meet again at the Rainbow Bridge". Cheery young grocery clerk, making conversation, "How great! You're a supporter of Gay Pride." Consternation ensues.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Houseguest

Leo and I have opened an assisted living facility and, as everyone knows, the elderly can be a mixed blessing.

Our only resident is Sampson, a snowy haired gent who closely resembles a lightly upholstered football.

His primary hobby is snoozing.

Snoozing and eating. And scratching on the cupboard door where the food is stored, just in case there might be more eating to be done. You never know.

Sampson, or Sam as he likes to be called (he's embracing being one of the boys), was feeling poorly when he arrived. A little droopy and sneezy and blowing snot bubbles of remarkable proportions out of his nose. He took great exception to having his face wiped. Exception in the form of biting the hand that wiped him. The elderly can be so fractious.

Time and the miracle of modern pharmaceuticals have improved his health and hygiene to the point that he is all for taking an active role in whatever social life there is to be had.

Field trips.

Eating out.


...that sometimes lands you in jail.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

You Go That Way So We Won't Be Seen Together

Over the last few decades, and probably before, there has been a great gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over the (im)moral content of movies. But, has anyone addressed the morality of movie patrons?

The advent of mulitplex movie houses has put the souls of moviegoers in mortal danger. I'm talking about movie jumpers. (Is that a real term? I just made it up.) Those are the people who plan an entire afternoon around slinking from theater to theater to see as many movies as possible on a single, ridiculously expensive, admission ticket. A willingness to kill time watching the commercials scroll by in empty theaters, to watch 20 minute segments of movies wherein the plot was explained an hour before, and to transverse the connecting bathrooms again and again is required, not to mention a healthy disregard for the possibility that a lighting bolt may strike you dead or, more likely, the snack counter worker bee will call you out.

Karma is such that finding more than one watchable movie conveniently scheduled is extremely rare. So it's a little like eating all five of the Arby's five for $5 deal just because the sandwiches are so cheap. You don't feel very good, but you got a great deal.

For $3 you can see a movie at Jubitz or McMenamins or probably your neighborhood theater if you don't mind ratty seats. Save money, see a decent movie, and avoid the eternal flames of hell. What's not to like?