Monday, June 30, 2008

Practically verbatim.

I sat with my mother yesterday morning in the last restaurant in town that still serves a decent Sunday breakfast. It's sort of a dive, but they get the eggs right most of the time. Eating there is less of a problem for me now than it might have been five years ago. Unless I put my face right up against the windows or drag my finger along the crumb-dusted floorboards, most of what I can't see won't hurt me.

We were waiting for our waitress to return from her Mars landing trip, and Mom was telling me that peanut M&Ms should not be considered an acceptable meal substitute. Those kinds of calories can really add up, she tells me, and that--in and of itself--might go a long way toward explaining the inexplicable weight gain I've been complaining about of late.

"Do you think that guy is too old for me?" I asked.


"That guy--in the corner booth. Do you think he's too old for me? Cause I can't tell anymore. I get all flirty while waiting in the Starbucks line, and then the guy calls me Ma'am. But that guy wouldn't call me Ma'am. I just wonder if he's too old?"

"I don't know. He's in his fifties"

"I could go out with a guy in his fifties. Don'cha think?"

He may be older, even. I'm not sure."

And neither one of us was taking any pains to disguise the fact that we were talking about him. If he had bothered to look, he would have seen us. This occurred to me at the very same moment that I remembered I was sitting there under my weekend hair, without makeup, and wearing my favorite manpants and see-through black t-shirt.

"Nevermind," I said. "You gonna eat that bacon?"

image, mtcspike's photostream.

I saw you there, HL, as you were leaving. But as I said, I am reticent to get too close to the glass, so I didn't rap on the window to wave hello/goodbye.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Marketing. I still don't get it.

Tennis champion and feminist icon Billie Jean King has become a spokesperson for NutriSystem's Silver Program. I saw the commercial for the first time this past weekend.

Get ready, cause you're gonna hear it everywhere. I've already seen one blog bemoaning the idea that this would be the world's lasting image of Billie Jean King. Sort of, my, how the mighty have fallen, only way more snarky.

By the time we hit 64, few of us will have had the kind of impact or influence as Billie Jean King--founder of the Women's Tennis Association and the Women's Sports Association, co-founder of the World TeamTennis league--she won 20 titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open 4 times. If you happen to be one of the talented female players to take a prize at either one of those contests, you will receive equal prize money as the male players, largely because of her efforts. Donna Lopiano, CEO of the Women's Sports Foundation, has said that "Billie Jean King made Title IX real." She battled a buffoon in 1973's Battle of the Sexes and in winning, also won celebrity for women's rights--not just in the areas of sport--but in all sorts of arenas.

So I'm thinking that if Ms. King wants to make a little money with a product endorsement, more power to her. Nobody trashes Tiger Woods for touting a giant-ass SUV. And while I'm no fan of NutriSystem, I'm thinking that they're the ones with all the smarts. They're damn lucky to have gotten her.

But I'm also thinking, "Where's Nike?
Where are American Express, General Motors, Coca-Cola and McDonald's? Frankly, I'm amazed she doesn't have to fight them all off with a racket.

Read Anthony Holden's very well done piece on The Battle of the Sexes here.

Image, copyright 2001 Rick Chapman.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

You want me to take my heartache, put it away and forget?

"They say bread is life. And I bake bread, bread, bread. And I sweat and shovel this stinkin' dough in and out of this hot hole in the wall, and I should be so happy! Huh, sweetie? I'm no friggin' monument to justice! I lost my hand! I lost my bride! Johnny has his hand! Johnny has his bride!"

Edit: Every time I watch this (and I've watched it a few), I think about the masturbatory scene in Moby Dick in which the crew kneads all that whale blubber. Fun times.

From kottke, via madame lamb

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Please stand by.

My nine-to-five done spilled over.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Watergate Day!

Don't forget to find time today to celebrate one of the most historic instances of the felonious behavior of a sitting president and the roots of such dubious label coinage as Iran-Contragate, Whitewatergate, and Britneygate.

Wow. Everything you could possibly want in a non-holiday.

I'd like this in a size 2008, but I only want to pay the 1980 price, please.

Nothing in the world will make you feel older than half an hour wandering around in an Old Navy store.

I recently spent an afternoon shopping with Muffin Uptown for her birthday, and even though she's my shopping partner of choice (because when I'm with her, I get to be in charge of saying when we're through), I came away from the day with the very clear conclusion that shopping is not my bag. I'm not sure that it ever was.

I just don't like letting go of my money. Unfortunately, that exchange seems to be an integral component of the shopping experience.

But more than this, I'm unhappy with the selection. I have to find a way to make last year's clothes work for me until the world's designers come to their senses. The last time these clothes were in fashion, I was 17 years old and could have worn anything and gotten away with it. I frequently did. The peasant blouse? Wore it. Ruffled granny skirts that dragged the ground and were horribly stained two hours after leaving the house? Damn near burned up in them. The halter dress? Stopped traffic in it.

But, come on. That ship has sailed. Away.

I know, I know--designers have always loved revisiting the passé. That's how we all ended up under shoulder pads (from the 40s) all through the 1980s, and the reason I wear a pair of bell-bottomed jeans (ala 1975) on those days when jeans are deemed appropriate. And I can go along in order to get along, up to a point.

But I will not wear a damned puffed sleeve. Do you hear me? I'm not doing it.

Image, Godey's Lady's Book, October 1859 via Vintage Victorian.

Monday, June 16, 2008

If you've seen one juke joint...

I think I mentioned that I was joining my mother in Hot Springs for vacation last week.

While driving about and seeing all that there was to see, I pointed out a bar on the side of the road.

"Oooh, I've been there! They have this great setup in the yard out back, where you can hear live blues music on the weekend! Really good barbecue, too."

"Really?" she said. "I wouldn't have thought so to look at it. I'll have to find it on the weekend and give it a try."

It wasn't until I thought about it later at home that I realized the bar I was thinking about probably wasn't in Hot Springs, but was instead located in Fort Smith. I'll have to email the guy I was with before I can say with certainty, but already I'm pretty sure that I've never been to the bar I pointed out to my mother.

Now I can't decide whether to tell my mom that I was mistaken, or just wait until she calls to tell me about her Saturday night at the biker bar.

I'm leaning pretty heavily toward the latter.

Although this image looks very much like the bar discussed above, it is almost certainly not the same bar. The picture of this bar is via Lana aka badgrl's flickr photostream.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I like it when Madison Avenue goes all artsy.

This ad for the VW Golf uses sounds recorded in and around the car.
via Laughing Squid, via TMBLG.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Read at work.

No boss alarm? This collection of classics looks like your windows desktop, and opens power point versions of Orwell, Dickinson, and Twain--among others.

(It opens in full screen, so just hit escape to come "back" to the intertubes.)

via Quipsologies.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Still in the podcasting biz.

Exclusively You Nature Framed Pieces from Leisure Arts on Vimeo.

I can see where it might be hard to be content in your job, if you are one of those people with boundless imagination but no real creative outlet. Most of the time, it's 8 hours a day making somebody else happy, their way.

I worked in that world for a long time before I found this job. Outlet? I haz it. Whether I'm picking designs or picking at editorial writers, I get to make my mark on countless publications every year. Who gets to do that? For money?

On top of all the other cool stuff I get to do, my crew and I are still making podcasts. This is the latest one and one of my favs so far (partly because I don't appear on camera).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Buck up.

Sometimes, when I've been working really hard and am feeling sort of tired and low, I start thinking about how Lost won't be back for another 8 months, and about how the one part of my anatomy that still looks great doesn't look so great clad in a gladiator sandal, and about how this season they're all gladiator sandals. On days like that, I have to make myself stop for a moment and take stock.

No matter how down I get, I always start to feel better when I remember that I am a small part of something bigger. Whatever else I do, wherever I may roam, I can always count myself as a member of the generation who put Eddie Murphy, John Travolta, David Soul, and Bruce Willis on the Billboard Hot 100.


Monday, June 9, 2008


My mother has rented a big place in Hot Springs for the month, and my cat and I will be joining her for the next week. The cat doesn't know about this yet; she's seen all the packing activity, but she thinks she's going to have the run of the house again. She threw a kegger last year while I was in Chicago, and it's going to be some time before she earns my trust again.

The last time my mother tried to travel with her cats loose in the car, one of them decided to drive and landed the entire company in the ditch. I believe my pet will be more reasonable.

Because I'm going to tranquilize the hell out of her.

So while you're toiling and busting the grind all next week, think of me, relaxing in the hot springs and maybe even getting a massage--hopefully from some guy named Otto.

And I'll be thinking of you. I'll even post some little something here for the faithful each day.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Somebody grab my purse, I'm changing my seat.

An excerpt from Senator Clinton's speech on Saturday--

The way to continue our fight now--to accomplish the goals for which we stand--is to take our energy, our passion, our strength and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next President of the United States.

Today, as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him, and throw my full support behind him. And I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me.

So today, I am standing with Senator Obama to say: Yes we can.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

If only.

Interesting exercise in optimism. Found on reddit. Click the pic.

Friday, June 6, 2008

True places never are.

One might suppose that someone who is almost always lost (someone like me) would be a big believer in maps.

And I do believe in Web site maps. I like maps that show which states are red, and which are blue. Brain mapping is almost always interesting to read about, and DNA mapping is helping science understand why some of us will get Alzheimer's, and why some of us will not.

A real map--one that helps its owner successfully navigate from point A to point B--sounds like a smart idea, until you present such a map to someone with absolutely no sense of direction. For that person (someone like me), a map just serves to postpone the inevitable. When armed with a map, an average of 45 minutes must pass before I will admit to being hopelessly and irredeemably lost and call back to the settlement for a search party.

I don't need a map; I need a driver.

Unless and until I find someone who is prepared to take responsibility for getting me where I need to go, I will continue to be the last one to the party. Which explains why I'm probably the last person trolling the intertubes to land at the blog Strange Maps.

I lost all kinds of time yesterday exploring the floor plan of 221B Baker Street, a Swiss Airlines North American Route map that is just wrong-wrong-wrong, a map of Stephen King's Maine indicating where among the real towns his fictional towns are located, a map of Heaven, a map of the United Shapes of America and way more.

And the very best part? Nobody had to come get me.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Star gazing.

Add my mail carrier to the list of people with whom I can no longer make eye-contact.

I ordered an internet service that came with a free magazine subscription. I was so ambivalent about the choices I was given that I didn't bother selecting a preference.

So the internet service made a selection for me; they decided to send me Us Weekly. It's a fairly lowbrow approach to photojournalism, and it embarrasses me every time I find it in the mailbox.

Then there's that other thing.

Before now, I would have said that I was pretty savvy--culturally speaking. But I don't know who any of these people are. Yes, there are the occasional shots of Madonna in her work-out clothes, and Jennifer Aniston, poolside in a bikini. Almost every issue has at least one picture of Angelina Jolie in a huge gauze caftan.

But mostly, I don't know 'em.

Yesterday I went through last week's issue with a fine toothed comb, and the only people I managed to identify with certainty were the older ones whose cellulite and turkey necks the photographers had captured via infrared telephoto lenses. What a waste of time, money, and resources.

I don't need a magazine and horde of paparazzi to see that.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Get out!

I'm so excited, I probably won't be able to sleep until September.

I've just discovered that Diane English, creator of Murphy Brown, is directing a remake of George Cukor's 1939 wonder, The Women. It's scheduled for release in September, 2008.

I love Cukor's version. It made me fall in love with Norma Shearer. And English's version stars people I don't see enough of lately (possibly because they are female actors of a certain age).

Meg Ryan, 47; Annette Bening, 50; Carrie Fisher, 51; Candice Bergen, 62; Jada Pinkette Smith, 36; Debra Messing, 39; Cloris Leachman, 82; Bette Midler, 62; and Joanna Gleason, 58.

Eh. The baby of the group, Eva Mendes (34), reprises Joan Crawford's home-wrecker role. No way can she be as bad as Joan, though.

Here's a link to the trailer. And a link to the 1939 version.

Note to Diane English: Hurry!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Originator.

Bo Diddley, 1938-2008

Made his mark here, here, and here. Among others.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Watch the skies.

We Southerners are known for our slow and easy ways.

We talk slowly. Otherwise, we would never be able to understand one another. We don't like to get into too big a hurry when there's a big decision on the table. And during the warm weather months, which stretch from April well into October, it's important to try to navigate as slowly as possible. If you've ever tried to cross the street when the temperature is 98 degrees at the same time that the air around your head is 90 percent water, then you understand why. Breathing takes priority over hurrying in the South.

Unless there's a big storm cloud brewing. When the National Weather Service issues a tornado advisory, we all know to get the lead out. You just can't be dragging your feet once the tornado siren starts to blare--unless it's your lifelong ambition to fly through the air alongside your hot water heater and the neighbor's satellite dish.

Everybody knows this--even the littlest of little bitty children. Certainly, by the time I was old enough for school, I'd been dragged out of bed in the middle of the night to beat it to the root cellar plenty often. It bears remembering that this was decades before anyone had even thought to install a weather siren and our early warning system consisted solely of the men standing on the porch, smoking and watching the skies.

And if, once or twice a season, one of them called through the screen door to "Get the kids," even the smallest of us knew to check our hearts to be sure we were right with God before taking that first step into the yard--even if our destination was a trap door around the end of the house. The sight of an approaching funnel cloud has been known to make believers of many a forsaken reprobate.

All of which sets the scene for Sunday afternoon, when I was sitting and working my way through almost a week's worth of TiVo, and--as we say in the South--it came a cloud. The sky turned dark as night, and the rain was coming down in sheets. My sole concession to the storm was to reach over and turn on a lamp. As long as the satellite was still up and receiving a signal, I wasn't too concerned.

Until lightening hit a transformer just down the block. It sounded like it was smack in the middle of my living room. The hairs in my nose stood up.

You might hear people tell about how they may be old, but that they can still move when the situation calls for it. I am not one of those people. I injured myself in all kinds of ways, just trying to get up off the couch and away from the windows.

And I stepped on the cat.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

For Muffin on her corndog day.

Happy birthday, MU.

Wish I had a nickel for every time...