Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Holy Heaven's Gate, Batman!

Last weekend I went to the Flea Market with my friend Julie. It was a wondrous affair full of silk flower "saddles," fake handbags, perfume and sunglasses, and lots of crap. The people watching was unbelievable and it's hard to imagine that this really was the "haunt" of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban when they're in town. However, all the local gossip columnists tout the celebrities that visit the flea market and for some reason, picturing Kelly Clarkson or Winona Judd going through a bin of old video games and DVDs seems a little silly, but I suppose everyone likes a bargain. One lady told us we'd be lucky to own her Russian diamonds. At only $40 and with the look of cut glass, I think Russian stood for "fake."

Among these monstrosity booths was a small plastic table and some chairs around it. It looked like a book booth, so I crawled in closer to see what they were selling. What they were selling was Scientology. The books were the L. Ron Hubbard tomes I remember seeing my father read in the 80s. There were a couple of women sitting there talking to anyone that came along about the sect. It was a little out of place. Of all the places I've been solicited for religion, the flea market was not the classiest of settings. The Hare Krishnas have the airport, the Mormons get you at home and now the Scientologists get you at the Flea Market.

What's more when i was riding home, Julie and I passed our city's new "Scientology Celebrity Center." In the heart of the Bible belt, I really didn't expect to see a big push for another religion. I also don't expect that any of our local celebrities would be alienating their devout fans and stepping inside the Celebrity Center. It actually didn't scream celebrity. It screamed little house that used to be a recording studio.

All of this leads me to the question of the day: If most religions teach that people are generally created equal, why does Scientology have a Jim Crow view when it comes to the notorious and rich? Would I really want to be a part of something that automatically rates me lower than others?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

When You're Doomed Before You Start

I had an interview this morning at a Skin Care place. I knew it was doomed because I had developed my largest zit in several months around my mouth this weekend. Chef wondered aloud if a small puppy might erupt from it Alien-style. So, big zit and skin care interview. Not a good start.

Then the lady I met with had no sense of humor. In fact, I felt like I was wasting her time and mine. She knew within 10 seconds of meeting me that I wasn't the one for the gig. She asked me things like "Well, which of these computer programs are you really proficient in."

"Well, all of them. With the exception of one, I use them all every day." I realize some people lie, but would I really list out all of the computer programs I'd HEARD of and try to pass them off as things I know. How many people accuse someone of lying on a resume in a frickin' job interview?!?!? Why interview me at all if you didn't believe my resume?

Then she told me that I'd have to meet with the director of operations, Pat Buchanan. It was a female Pat Buchanan, but nonetheless I knew with absolute certainty, that that was my sign things weren't going to work out. Then the lady interviewing me informed me that Pat had been tied up in an emergency that developed over the weekend and wouldn't be able to see me today. The translation to that statement from Southern side-speak to straightforward talk is this: "Look, we both know you aren't getting this job. I just left the room and told Pat Buchanan that she needn't worry about us taking up her time this morning."

I should've just gotten up and walked out except that I would've missed out on the opportunity to be criticzed for my current work. Apparently a former and current employee of the skin care place had been involved in an incident at a third party place. The third party told me about it and who was involved and I was sent out to award those involved for their efforts. Well, apparently one of the skin care company's current employees is still pissed because she wasn't mentioned or recognized. Of course, I didn't even know this person existed because the third party gave me the names of those involved. This event happened a YEAR ago. It went a little something like this:

"Funny you mention Incident X. Some of our former and current employees were both involved with Incident X at Location Y. Our current employee was involved and yet her name never seemed to make it into any of the papers or recognition."

I began to wonder if I was called in merely to have that rubbed in my face. I couldn't say anything nor did I want to at that point. I shook her hand, pretended to smile and walked my ass back to my car laughing. At least I was laughing.

Friday, May 26, 2006

No, I Didn't Watch American Idol, Dammit

It's been two days and everyone is STILL asking me if I watched the American Idol finale. Let me make this adundantly clear. No, I did not.

It's not so much the asking about it that pisses me off. It's me saying "No, I haven't watched American Idol all season" and THEN getting a recap of what I missed. If I haven't invested the time in watching the first 5 months, what makes you think I give a rat's ass now.

One of my co-workers who is about 30 years older than the target demographic for American Idol spent 10 minutes recounting to me how she used to have McPheever but within the last two episodes, she hopped on board the Soul Patrol. She then explained to me that the commissioner fo the Soul Patrol was a 29 year old white guy with premature gray hair. It made perfect sense to me. When I hear Soul, I think of old looking young white guys belting out Barry Manilow tunes.

I was only compelled to write down my feelings when the aforementioned co-worker said she spent from the end of the finale until 11:30 that night calling in to vote. God help America. I'll stick with Lost.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I saw the Governor and then I read a great book

Yesterday I was leaving a gas station that sits at an awkward corner in town. It's one of those weird ones that is always exceptionally busy and the exits lead to an even busier intersection. I had been waiting for quite a long time when a dark Lincoln Town Car pulled up next to me. Naturally, I was trying to pull out and the town car was preventing me. I looked into the side window and saw our Governor. He looked up and when I waved, he waved back.

This is actually the third time I'd met the Governor. The first two were work-related when he was posing for a "day declaration." One of those "Today is Tennessee's Sit On Your Ass and Do Nothing Day for This Charity Day" kind of things. It's totally different when you see someone out doing a normal thing...like pissing me off for blocking me in. It's like seeing your teacher outside of class. Weird.

Okay, so I'm constantly reading and I'm always looking for book suggestions, so I'm going to jot down a quick list of some of my recently read good books (and one I didn't like). Leave me a comment on what you're reading.

  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett: Absolutely amazing. Just finished it after reading for three hours straight last night. Now I'm trying to read everything she's written.
  • Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell: Funny, historical and quirky. I've heard the audio edition is fabulous, but I'm afraid to get it because I loved the book so damn much.
  • The Best Non-Required Reading of 2005: I buy this collection every year. It's like great reading for the ADD inflicted. However this latest edition has been my favorite collection so far. Good from cover to cover.
  • Anything by Jennifer Weiner: She's my favorite hot pink book author. Fun and exciting.

Not on my list:

  • A Prayer for Owen Meany: Irving writes like I talk: in long, boring stories that only have the thinest thread of connection to the main point.

Okay, hit me with your suggestions. What do people think of Kurt Vonnegut?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Things That Annoy Me, Part Two

Here continues my list of pessimism. Mostly because I'm highly annoyable, especially on Mondays. Things that annoy me include:
  • Say things like "Wow, your hair is wavy today." I know it is. I saw it about 15 times in my mirror this morning. If you want to give a compliment, give one. Don't just notice something I already know.
  • People asking "How was your weekend?" all Monday morning. Some of them genuinely care, but the majority of them did something really cool and just want a chance to talk about it. Besides, whatever I did this weekend was a shitload better than coming here to listen to you.
  • People who get in line at the drive-through at the bank and haven't even STARTED their deposit slip yet. There's a sign that tells you to do it before you get in line. Read it or park until your done.
  • Feeling obligated to invite people along to lunch because they heard you talking about it OR they just invited themselves along. Then they go to lunch and try to sneak out before you see them. And they talk about your wavy hair.
  • When it's Monday and all the petty shit starts to pile up already. You know it's going to be a long ass week.
  • People who interview for a job and are named Dallas. Mostly because you if they get the job, you're going to be humming the theme song to "Dallas" in your head everytime you pass them in the hall.
  • Having a 400 lb piece of concrete next to your office and finding out that suddenly you're in charge of disposing of it because of the proximity to your office.
  • When Blockbuster calls your brother, who lives two states away, to tell him that you have a game overdue. Especially when there are two factors: 1) Blockbuster calls your brother's house, which he moved into WAY after you got your membership and a number you certainly never gave them and 2) You had already called Blockbuster to tell them that you were keeping the game for another rental period.

Yup. I need a drink already.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Warm Brings Out the Crazy in People

Apparently when the weather warms up, it activates the crazy in people's heads. I've seen some of the oddest people around town. Maybe the people aren't all that odd, but the clothes sure have been.

Let me share:
  • There was an 80-plus year old woman rolling along the sidewalk in an electric wheelchair with a blue and white striped seersucker blazer, a hot pink scarf and a blue and white trucker hat in the "busted" position.
  • A college-age guy was wearing a lightweight blue v-neck sweater with flip flops and capri pants. That's right. A guy in Capri pants. Not only Capris, but the kind that have the drawstring at the bottom of each of the pant legs.
  • A man well into his 50s with full on gray hair and purple soccer shorts. He was portly and sporting no shirt...even though it was 11 a.m. and only about 68 degrees. Not only that, but the entire chest was shaved and tanned.

Those are my top three in the last 24 hours. I also did notice something while driving. The college campus that I cut through to get home is hosting the state's Special Olympics events this weekend. The lane to get home is three wide and the middle lane was completely filled with barriers every few feet with the word "SLOW" painted on it. I thought it was funny, but I'm going to hell, so you be the judge.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Out Came The Angry Black Woman Inside Me

This afternoon I was talking to a friend who I had called an "ogre." She's tall and I'm jealous, but that's beside the point. I told her that my height made me a troll and then proceeded to put my arms out in troll-like fashion. At this point another co-worker, the kind that doesn't wear shoes all day, rolled up and said "You do look like a troll."

Here's why I was pissed: I didn't ask for this woman's opinion and I did not invite her into our conversation and she was being a bitch on purpose. I was pissed and she had already pissed me off immensely today so this was about to push me over the edge. I knew that even just looking at her was enough to make me say something that would've gotten me fired.

So when she tried to talk to me, I just put my hand up and said "Hand." She continued on and I said "I said 'hand.' I don't want to talk to you. Walk Away. Walk Away. Walk Away." I continued this until she finally moved on.

Of course, by the point my friend was laughing her ass off and the woman was so startled she actually shut her mouth and walked away (a rarity).

Don't you just love that time of the month. It makes me madder and bolder than usual.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Gators Aren't that Irrational After All

Okay, people. For years I've endured some good-natured ribbing about my fear of gators, but DAMN IT, there's something to be scared of there. Before, when I was considering moving to Florida, I used to have nightmares about gators climbing chain-link fences to eat my dog. Does it make sense? Not at all, but that didn't stop it from scaring me.

In the last week, three people have been KILLED by alligators. I knew it was only a matter of time before these things got pissed about all the pythons people have been dropping in the Everglades and came after humans. One of the gators had the woman's body still in her mouth and was dragging it around like a kid holding onto a battered doll.

People are now starting to fear the gator. One woman shot one that came somewhat near her. The live and let live pact between gator and man has been broken.

On another note, have you ever had a day where your pee smelled funny? No, I didn't eat any asparagus. What can make your pee smell?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Perhaps Even the Most Important MAN Ever!

This is the very definition of hyperbole:

"Tom Cruise is one of the most important stars ever in the motion picture business," Universal Studios President Ron Meyer, a close friend and former agent, told Reuters.

Of course, how important are stars really? Is Tom Cruise going to cure cancer? Balance the budget? Mediate the peace talks between Iran and Israel? No, no and no again. Let's put things in perspective. He reads lines that more talented people wrote while pyrotechnical masters make things explode around him and people who actually know what the hell they're doing cut the work into a manageable size. He's an overpaid reader. Some people do that at church on Sundays for free.

But what really makes me happy is that the world is all aflutter because Mission Impossible 3 didn't make $70 million over the weekend. It only made about $48 million. Wow. That is disappointing.

Needless to say the media is hypothesizing about the downturn in the movie's outcome and the downturn in Cruise's Popularity. I, personally, would blame Phillip Seymour Hoffman. When people found out he talked normally instead of in the nasal whine of Capote, they were disappointed and left. Or perhaps people like me blame Cruise for making Chef leave South Park and hate him for it.

Either way, USA Today did a poll of about 1,000 of the, what 60 million?, people in the U.S. to tell us that more than half of people think less of Tom Cruise now. And here's the biggest shocker, he fell the hardest in opinion among women. So, a good-looking man over the age of 40 marries a 20-something and women don't like this? That IS news.

From this point on, I'm only writing about Tom Cruise if he does something noteworthy. And that will be a long time coming.

On another note, did anyone else see the priest that got convicted of stabbing a nun 31 times in the shape of an upside down cross and then "anointing" her with a smudge of her own blood? How soon before this gets incorporated into a movie? Seriously, the supposed motive of the priest was that he just snapped. When I just snap, I usually throw something. I don't stab someone 31 times and then smear their own blood on them. I do occasionally fling my own feces on people Swampy-style, but that's on a rare occasion.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Over the Shoulder Boulder Holder

When I was thirteen, my mother took me to Lazarus to have my tits fitted for a bra. She told me that the lady there was a bitch before I went, but that she was the best. And as a 13-year old with DDs, that's what I needed. The Best.

Of course, that experience scarred me for life. The embarrassment and humiliation of having a lady cup your boobs and say things like "These will be down to your knees by the time your 20 at this rate" and "You really shouldn't play sports at all unless you want these to fall off." Other comments were made that were meaner, but these were the ones that I can print.

Anyway, since then, I've been afraid to face the wrath of those who carry measuring tape. I just guess at my size like the rest of America. Of course, lately, my guessing has been off. I've come home with my boobs hanging out the bottom and straps hanging off my shoulders. Nothing good came of it.

I went to Lane Bryant on Thursday and I have to say that my life has changed. Yes, that's right. I'm devoting an entire blog entry to my new bra. Deal with it. I tried my size on (or at leas that I THOUGHT was my size) and was pissed when it didn't fit. A clerk there offered to fit me for a bra and now I'm a DDD. No wonder these things have sucked. All I can say is that my new Cacique bra is the BEST THING EVER. If you're busty and you need a new bra, check out Lane Bryant. I don't have any underwire poking me, I'm supported , I'm comfortable, I'm out there and I'm loving every minute of it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Truthiness Hurts

Yesterday I was at an event where a very prominent Republican Senator's wife was the honorary chair. I was chatting with her briefly and she mentioned something in the news that I hadn't seen. I replied "No, Mrs. Blank, I haven't seen that. I usually only watch 'The Colbert Report' for my national news." When that was received with a glare that I'd never seen come from this woman, I quickly followed up with "Uh, and NBC News. Love that Brian Williams!"

See my first answer was truthful and not intended to be offensive. The second only wreaked of truthiness. But most people might not have heard about Stephen Colbert's recent foray into political purgatory. He hosted the White House's Correspondents' Dinner this year and used his time to sufficiently skewer the media and president. Apparently the reports have come out the president was pissed off and the media none too happy. In fact, one outlet claimed that the president that made mental notes of those who laughed.

My first question was: Had ANYONE on the president's staff or in the media seen 'The Colbert Report' at all? I mean, come ON people. Was Colbert supposed to NOT do what he does on a regular basis? Couldn't the '60 Minutes' crew have clued them in by telling someone in the White House the "I don't really have a respect for authority" quote from his interview?

But let's get down to another issue. TIME magazine has decided to challenge the bloggers that have stuck up for Colbert by pointing out their errors in writing. Yet they also decided it wasn't cool when Colbert did that to the media in general. Besides, are bloggers really supposed to be held to the same standards of reporting as professionals? Take a look around the "blogosphere." It just doesn't happen. They also point out that contrary to what bloggers think PLENTY of media did report on his antics.

Well, not really. The interview '60 Minutes' did was after his hosting gig. One can only assume that the reason for the interview was it's timeliness in conjunction to the White House Dinner (the interview ran the day after). Nothing at all was mentioned. In fact, I'd be betting that there were some long editing sessions surrounding the piece to cut out any mention of last Saturday night's affair.

Besides that, most TV news segments centered around the lame guy doing the impersonation of Bush on the podium next to the President. In fact, the Today show even ran that segment again later on in the week when they interviewed the First Lady.

The actual running of Colbert's "inflammatory" comments ran in stories later on in the week when the story became less about the comments themselves than about the fact they weren't being aired.

I have say that I respect Colbert more now than ever. It's the ultimate testament to the old adage, "If you want to say something about me, say it to my face." He said to the President's face and for that, hats off to you. Sometimes the truthiness hurts. And that's the Word.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My Trip to Chuck E. Cheese

This is a true story. I spent the weekend in my hometown helping my dad and his wife with my niece and nephew. My brother and sister-in-law went out of town without taking the kids for the first time since man was walking upright and I volunteered to help with kid duty. To be truthful, I actually wanted to help because I hadn't spent any real quality time with the kids in a while. At least any quality time they could remember. Being three and 18 months, the odds were a little bit better that they would have some recollection of this affair. At least my niece might.

It was during this ordeal that my dad suggested taking my niece to Chuck E. Cheese's for lunch...right in front of her. I don't know if she'd been there or not, but chances were good that she had because when she heard the C-word she was ON it. So that's how I ended up squatting with a camera phone on the steps of a giant rocking horse saying "This time try to look like I haven't abducted you."

To be honest, I hadn't been to Chuck E. Cheese. I'd been to Showbiz Pizza where the damn mouse wasn't even the most popular character, at least in my imagination. I most vividly remember the keyboard-playing gorilla. Maybe that's just me. However, not much has changed. Overpriced pizza and prizes, crappy tokens and pushy kids. And lots and lots of little assholes. I know they're supposed to be precious little angels, but let's be honest: most kids are assholes. It's the nature of the age.

Of course, my niece was an angel. I think she had a good time, but at three, she seemed more impressed with my Tide-To-Go stick than anything else. In fact, I think she started spilling punch on herself just so that I'd take out my "marker" again. I was more interested in the cool stamp we got when we came through the door. The company stamps your hand with a stamp only visible in black light and then stamps the same number on any of your kids. Before you can leave, you have to put your hands under the light again to make sure you aren't running off with someone else's kiddo. A step up from the scream until you find your kid method used in the Showbiz outlets.

All in all it was a great trip with the kids and I learned one gem from my niece: "We don't say crazy, Aunt. We say silly." Silly like a fox.

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