photo, Justin Wan
Friday, August 31, 2007
photo, Justin Wan
Thursday, August 30, 2007
If you're thinking that a lot of things have to come together to result in the perfect corn dog, you're right. But when it works, it's well worth the trouble--and waiting for the server to fetch a packet of mustard.
photo, Pronto Pup Company
Hear a podcast of this post:
The extremely righteous music on this podcast is a remix of Feel My Pain Miss Jane, words, music, production, and performance by David Henderson.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
If you are a woman enrolled at Texas' SWBTS, you can now choose a concentration in homemaking endeavors at that university.
Enrollees will receive instruction in homemaking skills, developing insights into home and family...
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Select bracelets to coordinate with earrings and watch.
Remember that earrings have matching brooch. Search for and find brooch, attach brooch to lapel, spend four minutes squinting and cursing at and trying to fasten micro-Whoville-sized pin back. Examine overall effect.
Select shoes (see Shoe Dance).
Notice that earrings are 1/4 inch longer than the last time they were worn (?) and are now too long for either your hairstyle or your face, resulting in a horsey look that you don't altogether care for. Remove earrings.
Decide that you really do want to wear the selected bracelets today as they make your wrist look lovely.
Search for earrings to go nicely with bracelets. Forget to insert second earring.
Arrive late for work. Again. Wish you'd worn brooch.
Monday, August 27, 2007
In this, the first of a continuing series in which we survey the attributes necessary to be successful in the world of publishing, we will examine the first and foremost skill necessary of any bonafide publishing professional.
It is very important that your visage be that of an unopened book. Your poise and calm may be the only thin tether connecting your boat of salt-encrusted writers to the shores of reason during storms of great stress.
If you are worried about making deadline or missing a printer date, your uncertainty will be legible on your face. Supervisory-doubt is a major contributor to Writer's Panic Syndrome (second only to the ever-pervasive, self-doubt). And like ladling chum into the ocean, any tentative expression on your part could incite a feeding frenzy among the other busy and important publishing professionals. For these reasons, you must practice inscrutability. The last thing you want is for others to read on your face what you are actually thinking.
Fortunately, this will be easy to do, provided you never engage in actual productive thought.
Instead, try picturing that last chocolate-covered donut you passed on the way to your meeting. Imagine how delicious it will be. Tell yourself how much you truly deserve that donut, since you are, in fact, so very busy and important. After several moments of this, it may be necessary to excuse yourself temporarily from the meeting to go down to the kitchen area and wrestle the subject donut from the hands of a starving editorial writer. However, be careful not to hurt the writer, or you will be personally responsible for writing the clever cover copy you were depending upon her to think up at the last minute during the last hour of the workday.
Until then, just focus on that donut.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
A little Sunday something I found when I was supposed to be working. See how I'm always thinking about you, even when I'm stealing content?
Some so-called superstitions have a solid basis in fact. For instance, if you're leafing through a magazine at a newsstand and a subscription card falls out and touches the floor before you can catch it, you will die before nightfall, because I will follow you home and kill you, I swear I will.
more at http://www.verbalcartoonist.com
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
So I emailed him a copy of Chicken Freedom. Not a story, per se, but short enough, I was guessing, for whatever he needed it for. I was expecting post cards or perhaps some sort of flyer.
They are 6 point type hand and Linotype set. I keep seeing him hunched over a cluttered work bench in a noisy, dark workshop, setting all these teeny tiny letters by hand and in reverse. He probably worked all night by the light of a short little candle stub, too.
Andy, you know all that stuff I said when we were working on the NASM reaccreditation? About how I wanted nothing more than to poke you in your ear hole with a cello bow? Well, I want you to know that I didn't really mean it. Not really truly.
Waaaiiiit a minute.
Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I actually said all that stuff out loud. Never mind.
Thank you, Andy.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Which is somewhat confusing to me, seeing as most college students prepare only three carbo-loaded menus: spaghetti with beer, peanut butter and jelly with beer, and Poptarts with beer. Round-the-clock cooking shows seem to me to be superfluous, if those three menus are your only interests--unless, I suppose, your focus is on perfecting your technique.
Yet every student I've ever known will spend days staring dumbstruck at the Food Network. They'll watch it all, but they're most enamoured of Giada De Laurentiis and Paula Deen.
I don't watch a lot of TV myself, and I never, ever, sit staring for hours with my mouth hanging open. Unless that is, I've wandered cluelessly into the room when Ms. De Laurentiis is on screen. It's all fascinating, but the payoff comes when she finally eats whatever it is we've been watching her cook up.
"Wow, just look at how moist and juicy this moist juicy dish is!" and the flavor is so intense that she actually closes her eyes; she is all but overcome. The only time I remember being compelled to squeeze my eyes shut during a meal, I had shovelled a heaping teaspoon of Captain Crunch into my maw late one Saturday night without first checking the expiration date on the milk carton.
I get a little squinty and teared up thinking about it even now.
So though I am not an actual fan, I can quite understand the compulsion to sit for days and watch little Giada rattle those pots and pans. But what's the deal with Paula Deen? Notwithstanding the fact that both are television personalities who cook food for a living, there just don't seem to me to be many similarities between Giada and Paula Deen.
So last weekend, after catching Muffin Uptown glued to the Food Network again, I sat down quietly beside her on the couch.
"Hey, what's the attraction here?" I asked, and was just about to say something about chitlins when she stopped me in mid-snark.
"Mom. Don't be making fun of Paula Deen. Seriously."
So. I guess I won't.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I'm-about-to-be-exposed really scary moment.
Because in order to do what you gotta do, you first have to convince yourself that you're capable of pulling the whole thing off. Sometimes, for girls, that's a tall order. Then, when you're sure you've got what it takes, you can go about convincing the rest of the world. But if you cut corners on that first step, if you aren't absolutely positive that you're convinced--well, you've build your house upon the sand. Worse than that--you've built a house of cards on sand. And each and every day of your life, you're waiting for that sucker to fall. Cause you know--it's not if, but when.
photo, Jack Delano, 1941
Monday, August 20, 2007
I already know that when I don't trust my gut, I get caught with my bare face hanging out. That's when I say, "Oh, man! I KNEW something was up!"
Why? Because despite what Oprah says to the contrary, my instinct ain't got no credibility.
My instinct didn't go to college. What does it know? I wouldn't give my instinct a job--it has no resume; it can't even produce three professional references. It has no visible means of support. My free-loading, mooching instinct sleeps on my couch, in a pair of borrowed sweats.
And then 6 seconds later, I hear a little niggling voice whisper, "Waaaaiiiit a minute. That might not be such a good idea."
Friday, August 17, 2007
I didn't call her for comfort, or to ask her for a place to stay. I just reported to her what he had just told me, and then turned and handed him the phone.
If you ask her, she will be happy to provide you with a litany of all the other things she has done for me over the years. There are many, many of them.
She's really kind of an ass about it.
But everyone who knows us knows that I was waiting for her right up until the minute she showed up. Nothing since has been as difficult as it should have been. And even though I know her flaws better than virtually anyone else on earth, I am absolutely incapable of judging her. She may complain about plenty, but she's pretty happy about that part of the relationship.
If I could wish one thing for all the tired-ass, strung-out, overworked, misunderstood women of the world, it would be that each of them have one friend exactly like her.
She told one of her East coast friends recently that I can never, ever, repay her. And she's absolutely right.
*Not Muffin Uptown's dad, who is an exemplary husband, especially when married to someone else.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I think somebody at Morning Edition is copying me.
I gotta get Nina Totenberg on the line.
Mom, I'll still make yours. The rest of you can get jane stuff here.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
At least one more.
Feather Pillow Update
There may, in fact, be a subtle difference between my $15 pillows and the $69 Hyatt pillows that was not immediately evident when I tried the former out in the store.
As I think I've mentioned, there are no sharp, pointy objects in my home that have not jabbed or poked me in some way--many, more than once. Knowing this, I made a major error when I neglected to think about the fact that feathers are, while soft and fluffy on one end, extremely pointy and sharp on the other. Unfortunately, it's the vicious end that sticks out of the pillowcase and pokes me in my face--and it does so when I am at my most vulnerable.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
We may be used to hot, but not this kind of hot. When the mercury inches up past the 90 degree mark on a typical summer day, we all just crank everything down a notch or two and try to move... as... slowly... as... possible. That seems to help us cope somewhat, while simultaneously contributing to our well-known, easy-going Southern charm.
But this weather right here is Armageddon-style hot. There is no slowing down enough to get around this kind of miserable. And yet the world just keeps on spinning. Deals must be done. I've been plodding along miserably to the next meeting, trying to pretend I can't smell my neighbor.
This heat is affecting everyone.
It's been days since I've seen a mashed critter on the road. In fact, I've noticed a dearth of the usual animal life along the highway; I've seen no kamikaze turtles, no roaming packs of chihuahua dogs. And not a single bird. You can say "birdbrain," all you like, you won't catch a robin or blue jay all trussed up in slacks and a jacket, flitting about at midday. When the weather gets this hot and still, the beasts of the wood find themselves a cool spot and they lay the hell down. And they're smart enough to stay down, moving only when the shade moves.
Which makes them a damn sight smarter than their two-legged counterparts, whom I'm still seeing every morning and afternoon, jogging alongside what must feel to them to be the literal, melting road to hell.
I guess they just can't help themselves.
Monday, August 13, 2007
It's going to be one of those weeks when all my friends have something else to do, and I will be stuck there with just the teachers and the goofy kids. There won't be anyone there to make faces at or to pass notes to during the meetings. At lunch, I won't have anyone to sit with, and will have to pretend that I don't notice that I'm eating my sandwich all by my lonesome. Even though I have people who enjoy eating lunch with me, I know that for the whole of this week, lunchtime will feel like I don't have any friends at all.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Except, that is, when I'm cold.
Which is why I keep my thermostat set at 68 degrees and a sweater close at hand. When I'm a normal, functioning human being, I wear the sweater. When I start feeling like my head is on fire, I drop the sweater where I stand.
After I leave each day for work, Muffin Uptown (who is staying with me for the month of August) goes through the house, picking up and putting away, and returns my sweater to the closet. After three days of searching beneath and between the couch cushions and all around on the computer chair, I finally thought to ask if she'd seen it.
The expression on her face compelled me to try and explain, especially since I was daily subjecting her to possible hypothermia. She smiled at me--blue lips and all.
"Don't worry about it Mom," she said. "Whatever makes you not complain."
photo, Zern Liew
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Amanda Anderson stood frowning
in front of the panty bin--
at a loss
as she realized that she could not
remember her size.
one thing that could bring her down
wearing raggedy, worn-out panties
after her husband left her for a
twenty-three-year old, would be
that were too tight and left her spilling
out and crowded in.
was, Amanda bought all the
they had in stock--in lace, silk, cotton,
and mesh--twenty-seven pair in all.
she wept in
front of strangers, friends and family
while the cold winter wind blew up the
gigantic legholes of her new panties.
frigid and undesirable as
she must surely have been to lose her
husband in such a tired and
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Considering the date of the letter, the content is not that surprising. What surprises me, though, were the comments it solicited:
"Simply amazing;" "Scary;" "Unbelievable;" and "The world sure has changed, and I'd say for the better."
Whoa. That's a hell of a lot of self-congratulatory back slapping to digest all in one sitting.
I work in the creative arts, and there are lots and lots of women in my line of work. As a matter of fact, I work in one of the few fields in which there are just as many women as men in positions of all-consuming, soul-corrupting power.
That's part of the reason why, when I was offered this job, I told my friends I felt as though the mother ship were calling me home. After spending so many years during which all my bosses and most of my coworkers were men, it was a real thrill to imagine myself working alongside other women--women just like me--day in and day out.
But then the other day I heard a statistic that stopped me dead. Someone tried to tell me that women today make roughly 75% the salary as men employed in the same position. That statistic had to be wrong, I said, because it was the very same percentage I quoted in a sociology paper I wrote in undergraduate school in the early 90s.
So I looked it up and you know what? The statistic is correct.
So is the one that claims 200,000 more degrees were awarded to women than to men in 2005.
So, yeah. Simply amazing. Scary. Unbelievable.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Since school has been out for the summer, Muffin Uptown has been filling a sketch book with tiny little cartoons.
I got a look at it yesterday and liked it so much, I said I would like to publish some of it.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Maybe I should say that I know trouble when I'm having breakfast with it. On Sunday, by the time I could see how much trouble I was in--well, it was way too late to avoid it.
Here's how it all went down.
On Saturday, I mentioned to Muffin Uptown's dad that I had, of late, been feeling the urge to have a small fixer upper. House. Again. Now that's no skin off his nose; for the eleven years we were married, he treated the location of the electric drill like a national secret. It wasn't until after we divorced that I bought my own power tools and started restoring houses.
When he next saw MU, he must have mentioned it to her.
So. Speaking from the relative ease and safety of the pleasure of Mom's hospitality (where she has been living while waiting for school to recommence and university housing to reopen), my child did what she regularly threatens me with doing.
She waited until everyone was seated and served to announce, "Mom's thinking about moving again."
Even a talent as verbose as mine cannot adequately convey the level of animosity that descended upon our table. Several nearby diners quickly paid their checks and made for the exits. My breakfast partners, however, didn't notice--they were concentrating on giving me the stink-eye, all the while taking no pains to hide their malevolent intentions.
Everyone except Carol, who is--I am happy to point out to all--above that sort of thing. And has only helped me move twice.
Friday, August 3, 2007
But since doctors implanted stimulating electrodes into his brain, he can now speak in phrases and recite a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Seriously. I totally gotta get me some of them electrodes.
There are days when mouthing a word would be a step up for me.
Last week, several coworkers were held hostage in a meeting where they were forced to try and help me remember the word figurine. They were unfortunately unable to assist me, even though I repeatedly gestured at them with my thumb and forefinger in the universal symbol for "small carved or molded figure."
I prompted, "You know, it's a... It's a..."
Thanks to Nell and NPR, I'm thinking that with just a little bit of hard wiring and a couple AAA batteries, I could get a discreet little bzzzt delivered directly into my thalamus. One shot and I could be right back on track--sort of an electrical HEY YOU--PAY ATTENTION! to get all the little marbles back into the grooves.
Cause it's really important that I get them to let me back into the meetings. Word on the street is that they are looking for someone who can lead The Pledge.
photo, Donald Cook
Thursday, August 2, 2007
It's all downhill from here; please keep your hands and feet inside the cart as long as it is in motion.
And the answer will be, "Sure you do Mom, it's me."
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
One would think that a woman such as I--a woman who intensely dislikes sitting in the physician's waiting room with all those mucous-y sick people or standing in line for hours at the pharmacy (when I would much rather crawl onto the counter and ask someone to stroke my hair)--would have a more extensive stash in the medicine cabinet, just for contingencies such as this.
But, although I should be a professional self-medicator, my over-the-counter reserves are embarrassingly spartan. What I did have, however, was an unopened box of Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold medicine, New Improved Formula, in the Sparkling Original Flavor.
Expiration date 12/03.
2003? I don't even remember who was president in 2003.
You're not seriously asking if I took it anyway? Come on. You know I did.
There was a reason, as it happens, that this medicine was sitting unopened in my medicine cabinet for almost half a decade. It's just that nasty. I don't imagine its great age did anything to enhance the flavor. The ack-ing and associated carrying on brought neighbors to their front porches and ominous black birds circling overhead. The fabric of the universe tore, just the teeniest bit, in the upper left corner. I had to eat two cat treats to get the taste out from behind my teeth. (Take it easy--they were chicken, not salmon flavor).
Whether it was reaction to the trauma experienced in the taking of it or the ingredients that used to be in OTC medications before the tweakers discovered Walgreens, this. stuff. was. the. bomb.
I think I felt great. I couldn't tell you for sure, however, because I was in a coma most of the day. But while I was there, I think I felt great. When I came out of it, I was a new person for all of 25 minutes before the bottom fell out. Now I need another dose and I'm dreading it.
So I think I'm going to try dropping it into a jigger of gin. There's no expiration date on gin, is there?