Sunday, May 31, 2009
And by “read” I mean “slept”. Hard. Until late. Very late. Almost after dark late (and dark this time of year is quite late).
No wonder I’m tired during the week …
Friday, May 29, 2009
Or “My (Imaginary) Love Poppet”. Actually, I love his work ... he may be the biggest tool in the chest (doubt it!), but I don't care, because the man is awesome (read it in a sing-songy voice to get the full affect). Some of my all-time favorite performances are his. I am way partial to Firefly’s “Hoban Wash” … to the extent that I (before I came up for air and remembered it’s a movie for-crying-out-load, and Alan is fine) was pissed at the end of Serenity.
And he’s responsible for some of my absolute favorite characters in some of my favorite shows and movies (and even some I’m not so in love with, but love his character anyway):
- “Wash” on both Firefly and Serenity, easily my favorite Tudyk-provided friend-on-film.
- “Wat” in A Knight’s Tale, who had me in stitches the entire time, but still has me wondering what the hell “I will fong you!” really means.
- “Gerhardt” in 28 Days, of “OMG! Look at my package!” fame, who managed to kill his plant upon release from rehab (of course).
- The voice of “Sonny” in I Robot, easily my very favorite character of this guilty pleasure I can never leave when flipping through the channels, regardless of how much longer is left to play, or what other plans I had before I got to that channel ...
- “Steve the Pirate” of Dodgeball, who spent (almost) all his time not impersonating a pirate, but rather being a pirate (very fine distinction there).
- “Alpha” on Dollhouse, where he totally got his crazy on while having a sweet, innocent side.
- Pedophile “Carl Fisher” on CSI, where he was not guilty of that, but only 'cuz his plans went awry ... and he was way creepy.
- “Doc Potter” of 3:10 to Yuma, where he died rescuing the bad guy.
- “Cholly” the bear-horse-looking dude of both Ice Age movies, who farted with complete abandon but little accountability (he was also one of the “bad” saber-tooths, but I can’t recall which).
- “Nathan Wheeler” of Into the West, who annoyed me greatly by not being in more of the mini-series.
I’ve (once again) come to the realization that I watch too much television, see too many movies, and read too many entertainment magazines … but with folk like Mr. Tudyk providing the fodder, I ain’t stopping soon so don't even ask!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I'd brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.
If I could see you in a year,
I'd wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.
If only centuries delayed,
I'd count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen's land.
If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I'd toss it yonder like a rind,
And taste eternity.
But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time's uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.
- Emily Dickinson
Heh-heh ... apparently he knows a lot. DOH!
Although they were dry by the time I got home, they were incredibly fluffy in that "I've been soaked to the skin all day long, do not go NEAR that camera, this is in no way CUTE!" way. So now neither Boogie nor Kaia will even look at me, plus ... my poor little Kaidi's coughing up a storm. Sounds almost as bad as when they both had kennel cough last year. (You remember that, don't you? Yeah, that was fun ... boarded them, fully vaccinated, whole nine yards, they cAme home diseased anyway ... prednisone works wonders for the coughs, but turns their little bladders into leaky faucets and the both of them unknowingly piddled their way through the next ten days ... sheesh.)
Well, they're still not speaking to me and are back outside (rain has stuttered to an end) giving me the evil eye every time I try to tempt them back inside. I am persona non grata in my own home. Mer.
And I learned something new today, but it kind of made me sad. Ever heard of a Silver Alert? Well, I hadn't, until the freeway signage touted one this afternoon, with a descrIption of a vehicle and its plates. Just like an Amber Alert, but "silver". Which made me laugh as I thought "what, is it for when a q-tip has wandered away from home?" all snarky and smart-assy in my head.
Then I went home and Googled the term and yes ... it is an Amber-type Alert for the elderly. Now I'm just that assbucket who made a stupid joke in her head that came full circle and smacked her upside her wiseacre head. I hope the lost elder is found, safe and sound.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Tomorrow is Memorial Day, which, to be fair, is one of the most important holidays the United States has as a whole … this is when we as a nation have set aside an entire long weekend to truly appreciate the sacrifices of our soldiers and their loved ones in maintaining the freedoms and standards we of this country enjoy.
By having a cookout … and maybe a parade.
Those lucky, lucky soldiers, to be appreciated so.
Right now, in current military engagements, between March 19, 2003 and May 21, 2009:
- In Iraq 4,299 of our neighbors have died, while 31,285 have been wounded.
- In Afghanistan 682 of our neighbors have died while 2,843 have been wounded.
And we don’t even take care of our wounded 100% … we prioritize not only their injuries and treatments (admittedly a good thing, seeing as a brain injury requires far more aid and attention than a broken leg), but also their out-of-pocket expenses. See here: http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/Library/pubs/VAIncomeThresholds/VAIncomeThresholds.pdf
Yes, we make some of them pay dearly for their treatment. Doesn’t it then follow that if a wounded soldier does not qualify for full (or even affordable) health coverage, s/he will likely not receive said treatment? Really? Really.
How the hell do we get these kids to sign up? No wonder we bury our heads in the sand and have family bar-b-q’s where we drink too much and fight in the front yard while complaining about hugs from smelly old uncle Walter and kisses from big-bosomed, hairy-moled Auntie Bernice.
Military medically discharged soldiers (this is important, because until recently the various military branches and the VA … where discharged soldiers end up … were using different scoring systems – yes, the military was scoring soldiers as more healthy, or less disabled, than the VA) are eligible for different levels of medical insurance for themselves and their immediate families:
- Those with a less than 10% military disability rating got no insurance
- Those with a 10% - 20% rating got 6 months, sometimes 9, maybe even 12
- Those with a 30%+ (medical retirement) got full coverage for life
So, not only do we treat our medically discharged soldiers poorly (while having our lovely parades) during active wartime we treat them more poorly than we do prisoners (you know, murderers, rapists, embezzlers and the like) by raising the bar on what qualifies as a medical disability. How else can we account for the marked decrease (decrease?!?) in the number and percentage of medical discharges during war? What? Yup … more wounded, less qualifying for disability, more significant brain injuries than in any military previous military action, ever.
But things are beginning to look up at least in the traumatic brain injury (TBI) department. Since March of last year all branches of the military have been actively screening for TBI in wounded soldiers. Turns out brain damage affects around 15% of the wounded.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking that any soldier, regardless of injury, deserves full medical coverage of said injury at least until it is completely healed. And, since part of the whole soldier thing is limited pay (yes, I know housing is cheaper and the PX, too … but these guys are getting shot at and blown up, you tool), they deserve basic medical coverage for their loved ones as well. In fact, the medical coverage for their children should extend until the child is 18 in the event of the soldier’s death or medical discharge.
Is that really too much to ask for?
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Don't my roses look terrific? And here are some of my birdies that came out to play today. Cute, huh? Love 'em!
Okay, it being the first holiday of the summer, there were many cookouts today, and my neighbors to the back (the ones with the pool) had a big ole party with plenty of kids and adults.
I love this time of year in MO. I’m generally a big fan of Spring and Fall anyway, but in MO Spring has every other season beat, hands down.
Having grown up on a New England island in the days before almost every house was built with central air, we had the windows open three out of four seasons and I really miss that out here in the Midwest, but it’s simply too hot in the Summer not to run the A/C. And since I’ve been reminded about the attic fan (which is on now, and has this place rocking like a house party), I’ll be able to keep an open house an extra couple weeks.
So Spring, here. Open windows, birds up at 5:05am, singing in the new dawn. Dogs want out right then to observe and comment (I’m sure my neighbors just loooove that). Cats want feeding so they can then stake out the window from which they’ll watch the bird feeders. I may as well get up and greet the day. It’s truly the only time of year that it’s easy for me to get to work in time for the 8am morning meetings (not that I’m so very lazy … I do have an hour commute, so have to leave home by 6:45am, which gives precious little time to get ready for the day, seeing as I am the least morning person you will probably ever meet, and certainly the least morning person of anyone in the family).
Which is kind of funny, seeing as Dad is the epitome of morning person, and so it must be lurking somewhere in my DNA, right? Not so much; very dormant trait in me. Then again, I don’t think Mom’s much of a morning person either; I think Dad just hasn’t been able to force himself to let her sleep-in the past 48 years! He’s become the consummate professional accidental-waker-upper “who, me? no; i was just making coffee, was that too loud, did i wake you? well, since you’re up anyway …”
Besides, he sends the grandkids in to do his dirty work when they’re visiting (thought Mom didn’t know, huh Dad? FAIL!).
So, not a morning person, me. But this time of year? Easy-peasey getting up. I started writing this at 5:40am this morning, after feeding the cats and playing with the girls on the deck for a couple minutes (tried to get pictures, but the girls are not in the mood this morning … I think the flash bothers them ... see?).
Both Orkin guys couldn’t help but comment when they got downstairs in the garage and basement … neither had ever seen the amount of spiders I have “in a house like this” … which I have decided meant in a house someone is living in, non-condemned, that isn’t a pigsty.
And, I just started with Scoopy the Poo (awesome name!) to clean up after the girls weekly. What I’m doing here, you see, is supporting my local industry during this economic downturn … besides, I have a real live medical excuse to stay out of the sun called methotrexate. SCORE!
About the dog poop … I feel kind of guilty. I never really use the deck at all in the summer. Even after dark it’s just not fun for me to sit outside in humid, no breeze, 95+ degree weather (it’s the no breeze part … gak, too hot and sticky). So I stay inside, in my 80 degree A/C house. Yep, that’s how effing hot it gets here, that setting the A/C at 80 is significantly cooler than outside!
So, the girls are six now, and I’ve never (well, maybe twice) cleaned up after them. Never thought about it at all … until last Summer. I kind of noticed, in the back of my head, how bad it smelled sometimes when I let them out. In Summer they go out after dark and come back inside next morning, because to leave them out during the day is just plain wrong. Anyway, I’m almost ashamed to admit it took ruminating over the Winter for me to realize it was my yard that stunk so bad, and it was because of the dog pooh. Sheesh!
So, on a visit to the vet for Joey’s special not-gonna-get-kidney-disease-eating-this food, I picked up a brochure for a local cleanup company (to remain nameless); made the appointment for their first visit; arranged my schedule to leave work early … and they never showed! They never even called! I wasn’t so very upset because that was also the day of the first Orkin visit, so it wasn’t like I wasted the energy or anything. But, then I tried to reschedule and the jackasses never even called me back!
So, I’m thinking I have to do something. Now that I know this is a bad smelly scene I can not subject my neighbors to it any longer. I mean, they have kids on either side, and the folk behind me have a pool! How awful for them! What to do? Because I think you know I’m not doing it (oh, I could have the best of intentions to get out there and do it, but if it’s something I’d really rather not do, I’ll find a reason not to … witness: I’ve cleaned the yard maybe twice in six years to date).
So (I say “so” a lot, don’t I?), I’m driving home from work one day last week, and a couple cars ahead of me is an SUV, tooling along at 70+, passing the cars in the right lane, doing just exactly what he’s supposed to be doing … but the guy behind him? Wants to go faster, and wants SUV out of the way, now. And he’s zipping into the right lane to inside pass (which I’ve done often enough, but not when it just won’t work!), getting stuck behind the slow vehicle there, and zipping back behind the SUV. And because he’s doing this repeatedly, I’m staying about four car lengths back, where I can see that there is a company logo on the SUV, but the font isn’t big enough for me to read.
We’re all tooling along, still at 70+ mph, still passing all the cars in the right lane, and I’m having this internal dialogue with myself about how very much I want to read that signage and why is the font so effing small and maybe I can get a little closer to read it and shit! That assbucket just zipped back between us without even looking for me!
Realizing I had drifted closer, I backed off again. A bit further down the road split, and zippy the pinhead finally got out in front of that SUV, which was going to the right, and since I was going to the left I got up close enough to read the signage and it was Scoopy the Poo! Awesome! But we were traveling too fast for me to read the number, so I looked it up on-line when I got home and contacted them and they are FANTASTIC!! See how that happened? Isn’t that something like serendipity? They’ve been out for the first run where they do the initial cleanup, and have the key to the gate to get in for future sessions. The girls have met them and been fed cookies (they still hugely distrust these strange people, but will let them in the yard, and prolly bark quite loudly the entire time). I told Scoopy’s to let me know if they’d rather the girls stay inside on cleaning days – kind of a moot point, seeing as in a few weeks it’ll be too hot for them to be outside during the day anyway.
But, I’m pretty sure the neighbors will be quite pleased with this turn of events. I even talked to Turf Tek and they’re going to start beautifying the dog run as well, now that there won’t be poop-mines for them to navigate. Which means no more 8-foot weeds (yep, happens), or oak trees under the deck (from bird migrations, I guess). Instead of seasonal cleanup, they’ll keep it looking beauteous on a regular basis.
Sigh. I'm so happy right now.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Adam needs to front a bitchin' band post-haste and pronto ... which appears to so not be the AI thing (yes, I know my love DC has a band, but not really ... at least not yet ... and prolly not 'til his AI contract is met).
Kris needs to go solo, which is the perfect sort of career AI offers and at which the AI producers excel.
I just really like the way Kris sings (and Matt, and Danny), he's not a hit-or-miss guy for me like Adam is. On those occasions that I don't much care for what Adam does, I really don't care for it ... like I said last week: fingernails on a chalkboard. Eeek.
Plus, I'm just that much pissy with all the judges, and their various commentaries this evening, where they pretty much publicly and officially wrote Kris off and congratulated Adam on the win, a la, "just being here is like, totally awesome, and you should be so proud of yoursel blah, blah, blah, effing blah!"
That? Aggravates me. Shut up and critique the performance he just did, not his "season" ... and for crying out LOUD don't ding him for song selection when he didn't get to pick the song! Sheesh!
So ... loooooooooved the performances by the guys tonight; really did not love the judges. Again. Biased [expletive deleteds].
In all honesty I don't care who wins since Matt got voted off. I absolutely believe both will go on to sweet careers, along with Danny, and Matt, and Anoop, and Lil, and even Scott and Allison (and I hope Michael).
I am the worst for these competitions! I want everyone to win something! I'd prolly end up being that mom who wants her kids to play t-ball because no one ever loses. Tcha!
BOOGEDY!! BOOGEDY!! BOOGEDY!! TOLD YOU!!! KRIS WINS!
I totally admit the grand finale was much more entertaining than I expected it to be, but I laugh at the producers for so blatantly gearing it toward Adam's stylings and getting SPANKED by the voters!
And how cool was Adam at the end there? Preeeeeetty classy, Adam. And how shocked was Kris? Whoa, huh, mumble mumble shocked ... finally kind of started to come out of it when he was hugging his wife. So cute. And how pissed did Simon look? Very! Ah, bliss.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Here's a story about a lady named Nancy
A ruthless politician, but dressed very fancy
Very ambitious, she got herself elected Speaker
But as for keeping secrets, she proved quite a "leaker."
She flies on government planes coast to coast
And doesn't mind that our economy is toast
She makes the Air Force squire her in their military jets
There's room for her family, her staff, and even her pets.
Until now, she annoyed us, but her gaffes were mostly funny;
Even though it was painful to watch her waste our tax money.
But now her wacky comments are no laughing matter;
She's either unwilling to tell the truth, or she's mad as a hatter!
She sat in briefings and knew about enhanced interrogation;
But claims she wasn't there, and can't give an explanation.
She disparages the CIA and says they are a bunch of liars;
Even the press aren't buying it and they're stoking their fires.
I think Speaker Pelosi has done too much speaking;
And instead of her trashing our intelligence officials, it's her nose that needs tweaking.
If forced to believe whether the CIA and her colleagues in Congress are lying;
Or it's Speaker Pelosi whose credibility and career is dying.
I believe in the integrity of the men and women who sacrifice to keep us safe;
Not the woman who has been caught flat-footed, lying to our face.
I say it here and I say it rather clear-
It's time for Nancy Pelosi to resign and get out of here.
- Mike Huckabee
Here's a Red-Winged Blackbird and a Grackle, and there is my little Cardinal friend.
And here is eldercat #2, otherwise known as "Maddie", surveying her fiefdom.
And here's one of the Mourning Doves (nowhere near as fat and happy as Dad's are!).
Sunday, May 17, 2009
- Male Cardinal ... very, very bright red/orange, so young.
- Female Cardinals ... there were two, I'm thinking from last year's laying.
- Blue Jay ... must be a youngling, because he wasn't all that big.
- Robin Red Breast ... not eating from the feeder, but rather hopping around the yard.
- House Sparrows ... seemed like there were a couple dozen everyhere!
- Mourning Doves ... five of them! All around the base of the big feeder. I love the sound they make when they take flight.
- Grackles ... these guys come by every day. They're pretty big, and certainly are no songbirds, but they're still fun to watch, because it's hard for them to stick to the feeders so they're forever falling off. You'd think they'd just stick to the ground ... there's plenty of seed down there!
Friday, May 15, 2009
We used to buy almost all our sanitation and safety supplies from a local small business distributor, who's middle name is practically "Customer Service", or maybe "I'll Bend Over Backwards For You", or perhaps "Whatever You Want I Will Get For You", and "I Can Have it There in an Hour".
You know, the kind of distributor you just have to leave [read sarcasm here] ... if you're effing stupid (which some of my HQ folk are, indeed). So they moved us over to a much larger distributor, who promised the world, and even delivered said world, even if it was just for a minute.
After a few months with this "new deal" we have discovered regular billing discrepancies that get corrected but are extremely time-consuming.
The latest annoyance was an order for food-grade foaming soap, which cost $56.83 in January, but cost $96.78 for the exact same amount today.
Yep, $96.78 ... that is not a typo. For real. A markup of about 40%.
Wanna know why? You know why! SWINE FLU PANDEMIC, that's why!
So I called our old distributor to see what he could do, and lo and behold he can only go down to $85.00 ... which tells me it's not really the distributor who is marking it up, but rather the manufacturer!!!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
A new bill introduced in the U.S. Senate May 6th will strengthen efforts to prevent, control and cure arthritis – the nation’s most common cause of disability. Introduced by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (CA), Kit Bond (MO), and Ted Kennedy (MA), the legislation will address this disease that impacts more than 46 million adults and nearly 300,000 children.
The Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act looks to:
- Enhance CDC public health activities related to RA
- Expand NIH programs relating to Juvenile RA
- Establish JRA population database
- Enhance support for training programs
- Establish a loan repayment program for pediatric rheumatologists to address the severe shortage of such health care providers
The Arthritis Foundation urges Americans, both young and old, to show support for this bill by contacting their members of Congress. Visit the Arthritis Foundation Web site at www.arthritis.org/advocacy.php to become an advocate.
This is a debilitating disease that costs the U.S. economy $128 billion annually in medical costs, accounting for 44 million outpatient visits, 992,100 hospitalizations and 9,367 deaths each year.
A little about that Bastard Ray: Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that is mainly characterized by inflammation of the lining, or synovium, of the joints. It can lead to long-term joint damage, resulting in chronic pain, loss of function, and disability. Although joint problems are the main symptom of RA, it can also have serious impact on the eyes, heart, lungs, and skin. RA can affect males and females of all ages with various degrees of pain and damage.
Many medical treatments for RA have been modified from their original use.
Some patients are able to manage pain with over-the-counter Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflamatory Drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil), while others require prescription NSAID intervention, such as celecoxib (e.g., the COX-2 inhibitor Celebrex) … “COX” stands for cyclooxygenase, which is an enzyme that causes pain and inflamation in the human body; for this reason, NSAIDs are generally the first line of defense for RA sufferers.
Although NSAIDs can do a great job alleviating pain for awhile, they cannot control the course of this disease, for which there is no cure. Treatment for symptom control begins in the form of chemical Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs), such as low doses of the immunosuppressant methotrexate (which in very high doses is a form of chemotherapy), or cyclosporine, which is more commonly used to keep patients from rejecting donated organs. These drugs serve to slow the progression of the disease and to reduce indications.
The most recent DMARDs to hit the scene are called "biologics", because they have been genetically engineered from human and/or mouse antibodies and act as Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) inhibitors. TNF are like the traffic police of the bloodstream, directing the flow of protein vehicles that, left uncontrolled, can cause various immune system accidents; in the case of RA, such accidents lead to inflammation. The biologic DMARDs, such as adalimumab (e.g., Humira) keep the TNF "police" from opening the bloodstream "freeway" to high volumes of inflammation-causing protein "vehicles". This latest group of DMARDs have brought the possibility of complete remission of both symptoms and disease progression to patients.
A healthy diet is also an important factor in controlling RA, but no standard has yet been developed, although general ground rules include:
- Fruits and green vegetables are highly recommended, as is a minimum of 40 ounces of water daily
- Patients should strictly limit the amounts of root vegetables (e.g., potatoes) grains, dairy, rice, and processed foods eaten
- Patients should eliminate red meat, corn, corn by-products, and nightshades (e.g., mushrooms and eggplant), from their diets
Getting plenty of sleep is vital; one of the symptoms of RA is chronic fatigue. Those with RA are unable to skip sleep and make it up throughout the week, as a healthy person may. In general, while a healthy person needs an average of six to eight hours sleep a night, one with RA may need ten to twelve hours in every 24 hour period. In addition, most sufferers experience a period of stiffness upon waking every morning due to the lack of movement during sleep; stiffness can last anywhere from a few minutes to more than three hours.Many RA sufferers learn the benefits of taking naps and slowing down (e.g., giving themselves more time to accomplish goals, whether they’re career-oriented, or simple house cleaning); RA requires those diagnosed to come up with a “new normal”.
Giving the body with RA time to rest and relax without doing a great deal of high-impact or joint-stressing moving around helps. It is also extremely uncomfortable for those with RA to sit or stand for long periods of time. Low-impact mobility exercise is essential; the body must be kept flexible with a regular regimen or general stiffness can result in permanent lack of mobility.Because RA is an autoimmune disease, those who have been diagnosed need to stay as healthy as possible, which means staying away from “sick” people (i.e., a friend with a cold, the flu, or some other viruses), and should get a flu shot annually. The medicines discussed earlier are immunosuppressants, which cause a marked decrease in the effectiveness of the patient’s immune system. Someone with a non-compromised immune system may have a common cold for four days, whereas one with RA may be ill for three weeks. The RA sufferer cannot quickly bounce back from minor illness, but can rapidly succumb to major illness. Something that can take multiple treatments and many months to cure in a “normal” person can actually be fatal for one with a compromised immune system.
At this time there is no definitive “why” that causes RA, although there is a high incidence of auto-immune disease in family histories, and some studies have linked severe infection or such activities as smoking to disease onset. There is no typical geographic set, although women are far more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than men. There is even a version that attacks children, called either Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) or Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JAI).
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
- William Wordsworth
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I’ve taken some more pictures for your entertainment: here are the two new bird feeders (just ignore the ooh-gobs of spiderwebs festooning the house behind the new feeders!).
This is the shepherds crook hanger I’ve had in the basement for 6 years and finally pulled out last weekend for some bird lovage. You can see in the background that I've even ropedthe neighbors into feeding the birds (prolly a case of if-you-can't-beat-'em, join-'em, seeing as they've had about a trillion birds hanging out year-round since they moved in).
The birds! The BIRDS!
And here’s Joey (on the right) lounging in the window watching the birdies chow down on the old feeder that's out between the purple plum trees; you can just make out three little birdies. And see how well Joey's ignoring housebrat ... er ... houseguest Briggs? Yep, he just pretended Briggs & Stratton weren't even here, looked right throught them the entire time, it was too funny.
Also, just so you know, I want to go see the new Star Trek movie so badly, I've got the dt's. I need to go like right now. You hear me? Right now. As it is I’ve been hitting up my friends via e-mail to plan an outing this weekend. I neeeed!
All right, I think I'm done for tonight ...
These are my two climbing rose bushes I thought were going to die over the Winter because I kept neglecting to cut them down last Fall (they say, "Foolish human, we're stronger than that!"
They've even started to bloom! Yay! There are two flowers and a bud about to blossom (lovely purply-red).
And there are a ton more buds on the way; click on it to enlarge the picture and count ‘em. Go on! Count ‘em! You know you want to. That’s right, there’s a bajillion! And they’re all mine!
I’m pretty sure it’s no surprise that I want Kris and Danny to be in the finale, but since Matt’s been gone I really don’t care who wins, although I’m likewise absolutely sure all three of these guys are going on to pretty significant, if not amazing, careers in the industry.
I’ve said often enough that I want to see Adam front a kick-ass band like Aerosmith or Queen; well, I’d like to see Kris and Danny in solo careers … Kris along the lines of pop musicians like (Sweet Baby) James Taylor, and Danny (as well as my Matty) along the lines of bluesy soul musicians like Otis Redding. It will be fun to see in which directions they go.
So, tonight … quite a mixed bag on song choices: Kris and Danny chose far better for themselves than the judges did … Simon chose better for Adam than he did for himself. Here’s how they shook out for me:
Danny Gokey (You Are So Beautiful) – 11 out of 10. Perfection. One of my all-time favorite songs, and Danny was absolute perfection. I’ll buy it off iTunes.
Kris Allen (Heartless) – 10 out of 10. Never heard the song before, but really like that Kris did it acoustically … fantastic. I’ll buy it off iTunes.
Adam Lambert (One) – 10 out of 10. You know, I’ve heard about this song, but never actually heard it … LIE! It’s just too bad the song is simply overpowering to Adam’s limited skill set … NOT! Very pretty and restrained, then ratcheted up to shidamn, that kid can sing! Made me want to hear Adam’s full-length version. I’ll buy it off iTunes.
Danny Gokey (Dance Little Sister) – 9 out of 10. Good song for Danny’s vocals. I love that he threw the sax in, and Danny’s vocals, as usual, like buttah. Nice to see him move away from the ballads a bit and have some fun, and I’m all for Danny’s awkward dancing! I’ll buy it off iTunes.
Kris Allen (Too Late to Apologize) – 9 out of 10. Love, love, love this song ever since OneRepublic performed it on AI last season. Kris totally has the range for this puppy, and did what I love most about him … he put that Allen stamp on it. Yay! Nice job, and when his voice cracked just that little bit, it fit right into the lyrics. Sweet vocals. I’ll buy it off iTunes.
Adam Lambert (Crying) – 7 out of 10. Nope, didn’t do it for me. Steven Tyler is so iconic that Adam would have had to make major changes to the arrangement and vocals to have gotten Aerosmith out of my mind. As it was, it seemed like a screeching, yowling hot mess of a train wreck. Poor Adam – there’s something about his voice or vocal range that can get to me like fingernails on a chalkboard … to such an extent that when I don’t like what he does, I really don’t like it. This one felt particularly overwrought. Then the judges all jump onboard the Adam train and I wonder what the hell I missed? Sheesh.
Okay, so I want all three to keep going on, but since I have to pick two, I choose Danny and Kris to move forward. It’s not that I’m voting Adam off the island, I’m just voting Danny and Kris on.
Tomorrow is going to be so exciting! This is even better than last year (when my music love David Cook was on), but that’s because I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt David was going to win it all … this year I just don’t know. Although I’d be right on the Matt bandwagon if he were still in it.
Sigh. I miss Matt Giroud.
Sigh. Sigh. I hope Matt has an amazing career, too.
Monday, May 11, 2009
All American Rejects “Gives You Hell”
I wake up every evening
With a big smile on my face,
And it never feels out of place,
And you're still probably working
I wonder how bad that tastes?
And where's that shiny car?
And did it ever get you far?
You've never seemed so tense love.
I've never seen you fall so hard.
Do you know where you are?
But, the list goes on and on
When you find a man that's worth a damn and treats you well
Now you'll never see
You can take back your memories,
With that sad, sad look
(Hope it gives you hell! Hope it gives you hell!)
(When you walk my way!)
(Hope it gives you hell! Hope it gives you hell!)
(Then he's a fool, you're just as well, hope it gives you hell!)
Sunday, May 10, 2009
My Mom is pretty darn terrific and is, hand’s down, the all-around best Mom I know. She’s the benchmark against which I measure all other mom’s, real or fictitious; and they tend to come up lacking. How freaking cool is that? Yeah, I know: very cool. My Mom rocks!
Some mothers are staggeringly, alarmingly, lacking … and some are just plain not-cool. It’s kind of sobering how often I find myself saying “my Mom would never do that!” and meaning it (I usually tell her about whatever it is that made me voice the sentiment, too). I find it rather fabulous that at this stage of the game I’m able to appreciate the grand and infinitesimal ways in which Mom has been wonderful, and what a blessing that has been to me. That’s not through any special recognition-of-awesome skill of mine, either … it’s just that she really is that extraordinary a mother.
Mom is always right there for me whenever I have the urge to talk, which is pretty much daily (often twice daily, seeing as I can’t drive a car more than a mile without calling her; it’s like an addiction). And she’s one of the truly funniest people I know. Mom can make me laugh just by telling me what went on in her kitchen that morning. She sees the bright side of the world. That’s not to say she is unaware of the dark … Mom simply chooses to acknowledge the light, give it it’s due, and embrace it’s positive impact on life in general, and I think that is a wonderful trait for anyone, let alone a parent, to have.
I remember when I was little, and Dad traveled a lot, so Mom was the full parent package most of the time. That had to be rough on a young mother of three (two being boys, and those of you with little boys know how crazy they can be!), but we kids never had a clue how tough times really were, because Mom and Dad weren’t the type of parental team to let the worries of the adults impact the children.
When we were kids, having a boat was not some weekend pastime of the rich and famous … nowadays just buying a boat costs a huge chunk, and sailing to different ports takes planning and wealth. But back then it was a relatively cheap way to take family vacations. Some of my best childhood memories are from those vacations on either Tallow II or D’Lite (the sailboats we had when I was growing up).
We’d go to the wilds of Saquish Beach (where Mom’s best friend’s parents welcomed us like visiting grandchildren), Quick’s Hole (where we fed sugar cubes to the solitary Ranger’s horse), Vineyard Haven (where we met the Albion’s after Mike shared a hospital room with their son), and Menemsha Pond … or the more populated places like Cuttyhunk (where I had my very first swordfish), Woods Hole, Block Island (where Race Week plays out to this day), and Edgartown (where parts of the movie “Jaws” was shot). My brothers and I grew up wandering the beaches and towns of Oak Bluffs, Gay Head (now called Aquinnah), Chappaquiddick, Nantucket, and Buzzard’s Bay.
Sometimes I subscribe to the belief that we get the family we ask for, in which case I was smarter than the average bear when it came my time to choose, because they’re all endlessly entertaining and just plain great people. My family’s sense of humor should be the definition of “sense of humor” … there are few people funnier than my parents and big brothers when they’re on a tear.
And Mom’s side of the family could be more different than Dad’s, but only if you tried really hard to find two disparate families. She grew up with a little brother and two much younger sisters, whereas Dad had a big sister and two younger brothers. Mom was city-raised by a former nurse and a boilermaker, while Dad was country-raised by a couple who worked together side-by-side at the family businesses year-in and year-out.
She was the little princess, and he was the young ruffian-in-the-making, and they’ve been in love forever (he was her first steady boyfriend). They planned their retirement when we kids were young, and so we knew almost our entire lives that our folks were going to circumnavigate the world one day, and damned if they didn’t do just that! It took them 10 years and numerous visit back home to the States, and they were out of the country during some pretty scary stuff (September 11th being the worst), but they did it!
Who does that?!? Who makes plans for decades and makes them happen? My folks, that’s who! They’re too cool for “cool”. What’s another word that means the essence of cool? The peak of cool? The very tippety-top of cool? Because that word? Describes my folks.
And Mom gets me; even when she doesn’t, she really does … which is waaaay gratifying. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly don’t agree on everything; that would be boring. And we argue different points often enough. But we have respect for one another, and one another’s viewpoints. I don’t recall when our relationship changed from straight mother-daughter to fast-friends, but I give thanks for it every day, and the fact that we’re people who genuinely like one another. So have a spectacularly happy Mother’s Day, Mom, I love you!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
not fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
- E. E. Cummings
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Let me start by admitting that I am completely out of sorts with American Idol tonight … my Matty’s gone! AI voters SUH-HUCK! I knew I should have voted this season. And I don’t care what you say, Simon was a complete prick this evening.
Although I’m all for the duets (awesome!), and think they should incorporated in future seasons far sooner in the competition, my thoughts are that if the judges are going to render opinions, they need to be well thought out opinions rather than off-the-cuff ramblings (I know it seems as though Paula is always rambling, but she’s really not … that is one knowledgeable insider, who just doesn’t like to say anything especially mean) … because off-the-cuff is just plain wrong and the contestants deserve more, especially this late in the game.
So where did the judges go wrong, you ask? Well, here are a couple things I noticed:
- Multiple performers are far different from single performers, and it all has to do with the … wait for it … harmony. Any fool not hard of hearing can generally tell if two singers are in harmony, but what I expect from music professionals is the basic knowledge that when one performer is clearly stronger than the other, it isn’t actually the stronger of the two who is doing the better job. No. Rather it’s the other, so-called weaker performer, who often happens to be carrying the weight of the harmony while making the stronger look good by virtue of terrific, spot-on, synchronization. Duh.
- It is wrong to tell one performer s/he is better than the other in a duet when they still have to perform alone … WTF, are you purposely cruel or just plain stupid? Especially if their individual performance is the one on which s/he will actually be scored by the public. Horses asses. I mean really!
On to how the individual performances stacked up for me (got a little of my bitter out):
Danny Gokey (Dream On) – 9 out of 10. Love it! Once again had to restrain myself from jumping up and singing/bouncing along. Yes, that’s due to the song choice, but also Danny’s sweet, sweet vocals. Then the sound cut out on my telly! What!?! Nooooooo! SUCKAGE! But it quickly cut back in. Phew! The only thing that kept this from being an absolute 10 was that Danny did seem uncomfortable gearing up for the end of the song (who wouldn’t, though, huh?). Otherwise, perfection. I’ll buy it off iTunes.
Kris Allen (Come Together) – 9 out of 10. Loved it! This could have been a complete train wreck, but once again Kris pulled it off and gave it that Allen spin. This kid deserves to win because he’s the total package. I’ll buy it off iTunes.
Adam Lambert (Whole Lotta Love) – 7 out of 10. I really expected so much more from Adam this week, but this was totally unoriginal. Yes, it was a terrific job, but I didn’t notice a single instance where Adam put his stamp on it. That said, he completely kicked its ass!
Allison Iraheta (Cry Baby) – 4 out of 10. Oh please, America, vote this child off already! I love this song, and I understand why folk think Janis Joplin is the one for Allison to emulate, but the child is not yet capable of emoting, and until she’s either lived a little or got some seasoning, she’s still just a teen with awesome pipes singing the classics.
Kris & Danny (Renegade) – 10 out of 10. Just. Plain. Awesome. I hope it’s for sale on iTunes, because I want it. The guys can harmonize like they’ve been singing together forever. Very complimentary styles, and when Danny did run away with it a little, Kris was right there with the harmony, making it look far easier than it really was.
Adam & Allison (Low Rider) – 5 out of 10. Really didn’t do it for me, and I cannot understand why the judges were so in love with it. In the first place, it was an awful song choice! All I have to say is the performances must reeeeeally sound different live.
I want Allison to drop off tomorrow. I’m still thinking it will be Adam and Kris in the final, but I still want Danny and Kris at the end. But really, who am I kidding? I’ll bet most of the top 6 get recording contracts somewhere when this is over. Most of the guys and Lil deserve it (and Allison may in a few years).
Monday, May 4, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
This is the man of whom the Times said “Even if you don’t follow baseball, you know Joe Torre. As manager of the New York Yankees, he is the very image of calm – no matter how tense things get in the game.” Yep, true dat.
And I probably never would have cared, if it hadn’t been for the morning radio program I listened to every day; the Big Show on WPLJ in NYC (with Scott and Todd), where almost all the on-air crew were huge Yankees fans, and talked about the team incessantly. I couldn’t help but pick up tidbits almost by osmosis.
How else would I know about Torre’s big sister (Sister Marguerite),who was the principal of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic school in Queens, and showed her true colors by giving school holiday whenever there was a Yankees parade (rock on!)? Because she called in regularly to discuss her brothers and the team, that’s how!
Or that his big brother Rocco had passed away, and his other big brother Frank (Joe's the baby of the family), who was in the hospital in FL, desperately needed a heart transplant (which he got, right in the middle of the World Series!)?
We were all captivated by the players and their stories, and eagerly awaited each new installment of information. How would today’s game go? What did Sister Marguerite have to say? Did Joe talk to Frank today? Which player did Joe talk up to the press? How was the team doing?
It was all very open-access … far more of a small-town mentality than I’d ever expected out of either New York City or the Yankees! I mean, c’mon, Steinbrenner was, is, and always has been a complete tool, and Torre made even that gasbag look good! And! Best of all! MSG, the Madison Square Garden cable channel, showed Every. Single. Game. Free! Every day!! Most awesome!! We’d go out to a bar after work to watch the game, or home to catch it on the telly. Nice!
I don’t remember the Red Sox ever being this cool (sorry, Grampy!). I loved these guys!!
Scott Brosius at third base was my absolute favorite, closely followed by young catcher Jorge Posada, who was just beginning, as was rookie short stop Derek Jeter … and you see what happened to them! And there was veteran catcher Joe Girardi, who was bringing Posada up behind the plate, along with catcher Jim Leyritz.
And the pitching staff … wow! David “Boomer” Wells, David Cone, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, Mike Stanton, Jeff Nelson, and Andy Pettitte, just to name a few. That effing bullpen was awesome to behold! And let’s not forget Dwight friggin’ Gooden and Graeme Lloyd, either.
Or how about Chuck Knoblauch at second base, Tino Martinez at first, and Luis Sojo, who could save the day with aplomb. Or Paul O’Neill and Bernie Williams in the outfield, and when Shane Spencer blew out the doors on every pitcher he met his first year in the majors? Sweet!
But still, saving the best for last, how about Mel Stottlemyer and Don “the Zim” Zimmer (you may recognize the name from former Red Sox association)? Two more great guys with all kinds of experience, and how both battled serious health issues with style, humor, and grace. Pretty good role models in an era when any tomdickandharry can be considered one.
Every single game there was something going on in the dugout that was almost more interesting than the game, and certainly more entertaining. Players and staff goofing on one another, temper tantrums (thanks, Paul!), pitchers shutting out everything around them, players watching their teammates deliver, and, possibly best of all, regularly coming from behind to win it in the 9th! Yee Haw!! And let’s not forget that record, I think … yeah … maybe … um, it just may go something like this:
1996 World Series Champs
1998 World Series Champs
1999 World Series Champs
2000 World Series Champs
2001 American League Champs
2003 American League Champs
2007 (mer … getting tired of typing this over and over and over) playoffs
Also, any team that fielded Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Yogi Berra is just plain awesome in my book! And none of your lip about “buying the wins”, because your jealousy is showing, and it is not pretty!!