A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

24 December 2007

"Right" Down Your Alley

I was walking into a building today and something I've always wondered dawned on me yet again: "Do people in England naturally gravitate to the left?" I noticed that here, in the States, we tend to enter buildings, walk thru confined areas, wait in lines, etc., the 'right way', so to speak.

Now, I am not certain, but there probably has been a two-million dollar study on this, along with which eye people generally poke when they leave the umbrella from the fancy drink in their glasses. In fact, there are probably a plethora of right/left studies which have been done and tons more waiting to be done (and why that line forms to the right) in the wings.

Were there more ambidextrous people in England when stick shifts were the norm? Has it been dwindling off at the same rate automatic transmissions gained popularity?

Right eye/left eye dominance - such as looking thru a camera, telescope or aiming a gun...anything to do with being a Brit vs an American?

And those stars on our flag...would they have been on the right side had the Americans not won that Revolution? And why are they on the left instead this time? Okay, maybe a tad bit extreme there...but then again...keep your right eye open for a study about it in the future. Unless of course...you live in England.

18 December 2007

The Notes That Music Teaches Might Not Always Be In Scale

My daughter is midway into having final exams and one of her tasks for the English exam was to memorize 23 helping verbs. Now, I am no fan of helping verbs, dangling participles, past or present superlatives, and moderators, but I am a fan of mnemonic devices and the first thing she said to me was "I can't even think of any silly ways to memorize them like I usually do". Yes, she's also a fan of them. So, I did what any red-blooded mother raised in the 60s-70s would do...turned to YouTube.

"YouTube?" you ask..."YouTube wasn't around back then, lady." True, but 'Schoolhouse Rock' was and any self-respecting Saturday morning cartoon watcher growing up when I did can remember at least one ditty from those three minute spots. Who doesn't remember "Conjuction Junction, what's your function?" You don't even have to know the tune to, well, know the tune. And if you know anything about YouTube...if it was ever out there floating around in the airwaves of tv-space, videotape or 8, 16, or 35 mm...you can watch it on YouTube. The only thing they don't have, and I've checked, is that Farrah Fawcett/Joe Namath Noxzema commercial...and my birth. But to give them all due credit, my birth was never immortalized on film...well, that I know. I'm not too sure about the conception...but I don't want to go there.

So, we decided to wax nostalgic and play some 'Schoolhouse Rock' videos. We? Yes, we. Come to find out my daughter, who is 12, has been watching these things in school since the 1st grade. How else would she have been able to blurt out the words "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly get your adverbs here". Heck, even I forgot THAT one.

Interplanet Janet, The Preamble, Interjections, the Boston Tea Party one... we watched quite a few and the list still went on and on...so did the positive comments people posted after. C'mon, these things are thirty years old and kids on YouTube are saying "These are so cool" "I know these are stupid but I got an A on my test because of this". "Schoolhouse Rock ROCKS!"

So, why aren't more of these things being made? Or better yet...reshown on television? If they worked then and they work now...guess what? They work.

Don't even get me started on the taxation without representation segment...which I think is pretty much taken for granted nowadays and has become the norm as product endorsements are seen from movies to award shows to the backs of free copies of text in Japan. It won't be long before the world as we know it will be run by corporate giants who will gladly pay lowly out of work writers badoodles of money for catchy tunes to sell their merchandise and beliefs.

We just have to put our foot down and remember whilst education is a wondrous thing...corporate takeovers and massive conglomerations hiding behind scholarships might not necessarily be. "Injunction Junction what's our function..." well, it's just not the same exact fundamentally innocent "catchy tune", now...is it?

16 December 2007

My Birthday

Well, my birthday has come and gone. I opted to stay home and not go out to dinner because I still was in a lot of pain from my operation. My daughter bought and wrapped me some gifts she purchased at Williams-Sonoma...pretty much anything they sell there I'd like...plus I have been known to do the "oooh I like THIS and THIS and THIS" thing a lot whenever I'm shopping with her.

She also was the one who decided getting a candle down from the cupboard, putting it on my Cheesecake Olivia from Outback Steakhouse, and lighting it would be the festive and proper thing to do. I fear no traditional "Happy Birthday" song would have been sung had she not thought of this, and I feel sad about that.

I also feel sad that my son, who is 20, didn't get me a present nor a card. He is old enough to get me something. He's claiming he didn't have enough money to get me something "really nice". I would have been happy with nearly anything.

Also, it seems the players at my interactive comedy website, don't seem to care much at all either. Must be the season to be selfish...I don't know. But free ecards ARE relatively inexpensive.

Anyway, the day is now over...I only managed to drink one Martini and it wasn't a big one at that, but I was in pain. I also do have a few gifts that will be getting here next week so that will be nice.

I also have a blog I started writing in the doctor's office the other day...so something will be posted here - probably tomorrow.

Now far be it from me to ruin a good time, so those of you who would love to send me cards, flowers, money, job offers, and incredibly gorgeous presents, please feel free to do so. There is an address you can send them to via my comedy website...and yes, it is indeed valid. I am sure it's best to err on the side of caution this time and not start holding my breath anytime soon...last year David Blaine got some wild idea in his head because of my antics. Surely no one wants to give him any more ideas. ;)

08 December 2007

Point Well Taken

Okay, I've received a few emails from people asking me why I haven't updated in a while...so I have got the point and will try to think of something to write about tonite. Perhaps whilst I'm drinking a Martini out of my new glasses I bought myself for my birthday. Okay, it's a week early...but since I know what I gave myself, it's not like I'm peeking. :)

Anyway...thanks goes out to people who do indeed read this and notice when I'm not posting.

25 November 2007

The "Bliss" Leading the "Bliss"

It never ceases to amaze me the way some people can be totally insensitive and ignorant. Case in point - online comments left by people following a news story. Not just any news story...but a tragic news story.

Now I am not stupid, I know these people are typically commenting to get the ire up of other people...but to gleefully post repulsive statements following someone's untimely or horrific death or life-threatening ordeal...I seriously could never fathom doing so. Even if I were a child, sitting around with a group of friends - I really don't think I could bring myself to do it...or if I did, I'd scurry and delete my comments after they left. You see, I was never the person who made fun of other people in school or at the mall - I was the one saying "hey, a person can't really change the way they look, you know". And don't tell me one person can't make a difference...they stopped doing it, at least in my presence.

Why do people feel the need to berate and make fun of another's misfortune? Is this whole online anonymity destroying whatever shred of decency we once had? Why can't people funnel their anger in a more positive venture...why prey on people whose circumstance they themselves [hopefully] wish never to endure in their own lives?

And these people live among us. They are our bosses, our baggers, the guy in front of us at the light, and, yes, perhaps even the lady next to us in church. The guise of anonymity makes people believe they are impervious to the side glances and finger pointing they would normally get out in the open...so to their privacy of their homes they retreat with their cruel thoughts, keyboards and fantasy screen names at the ready.

Keep in mind there are a lot of such comments online - don't believe me, click on one of those horrific news stories and read the comments. I was just now reading some regarding a 14-year-old boy who had been tripped/fell/collapsed while walking down the stairs to claim a Nintendo Wii he won at a hockey game in Providence, Rhode Island. I read similar, but even worse comments, regarding Natalie Holloway the other day. Oh, yes...let's just make fun of the girl who, in most likelihood, was killed in Aruba. I don't know about you, but I can't think of a more productive and pleasant way to pass my time during the Thanksgiving holiday.

How disturbing must it be for family and friends to go online and peruse the comments, thinking people are sending prayers and well wishes their way only to be met with a barrage of verbal brutality? I cannot imagine the thoughts those people experience...why can't people have more empathy for their fellow man and realize words said in anger or jest can have lasting effects. I know all too well how those "names will never hurt you" words do indeed hurt...and they can stick in your head and play all kinds of wicked games in there...for years and years.

So, I will continue to be amazed at the ignorance of others - (and I'm not just talking about their spelling and grammar...don't get me started on that, as that's for another blog) shake my head and wonder just what makes these people tick...and know deep down that it certainly isn't their overly compassionate heart.

18 November 2007

Write Away...

Sorry I haven't been doing a "blogumn" (oh read the rest of my 'blogumns' here, you'll find it) here lately - but with my hysterectomy recovery I just have been doing less around the house, here and with my comedy site - but I feel a lot better today than I have in the last few days, even without my hormone patch on. So, I'm going to try to sit here and focus (oh ha ha - like that will happen with my brainfog going on) and get a contest updated and get a blog written.

Wish me luck! :)

09 November 2007

Pixar vs Pixart vs Pixaren't

Okay, I just watched "Ratatouille" and I'm probably the only person in the world who feels this way, but...I just didn't like it.

My kids kept asking me at different points throughout the film, "Is this a 'feel-good' movie?" - to which I have to say, "No." It just didn't seem plausible to me. Yes, yes, I know - it's an animated movie, it's not SUPPOSED to be plausible, right? Well, I beg to differ...all the animated movies that I liked tended to have something believable in them, even if they were extremely fantasy-based. This to me was more like a hodgepodge of ideas thrown out around a table while a couple guys were getting drunk. It was, in essence, Pixar's Atlanta Nights if you will. Sure, the animation was top notch...but that just doesn't cut it to me.

Spoilers here...so don't read if you don't want to know more (altho I'm probably the last person to see this film as I always wait until they are out on dvd)...

A rat that can cook...then said rat being able to pull the guy's hair (who also just happens to be the lowest guy on the totem pole in the haute cuisine restaurant) to control his body movements, then him ending up being the guy who inherits the restaurant, then having it closed down due to rat infestation...only to open another restaurant which apparently caters to the "rat-friendly" who don't mind their meals prepared by vermin. Um...I just don't see anything plausible in the film nor anything fantasy-ish enough to make it credible. Each of these Pixar (or Pixarotype) films score high marks for their incredible art technique...but this one lacks what the others that I've seen had going for them: the ability to take you away for an hour and a half to a fun little world.

"Monsters, Inc." was plausible - a little world filled with the dreaded monster in all our inner child's heads...even if you were OLD like me, you'd hearken back memories of what you saw, i.e., imagined was under the bed, in the closet, scratching at the window, etc. Then to find out the monsters were as scared of us as we were of them...well, that was pretty darned brilliant.

"Toy Story" was plausible - a boy whose toys come to life because, well, we all wished our toys did when we were kids...and secretly thought they did when we weren't in the room...kinda like how all pets can talk only they don't let you know because you'd expect them to do subservient things for you then.

"A Bug's Life" was plausible because we really don't know what bugs do - and for all we know their social structures are far more elaborate (at least in their own realm) than we'd ever give them credit for...until you watched this film. And face it, we've all seen those ants who sacrifice their bodies by stringing themselves across water so the others can make it safely to the other side...so just right there it gains some redemption.

"The Incredibles" - oh, who hasn't wondered what a washed up Superman or Batman would do? And who wouldn't like the whole idea of being able to be useful and young again and save the world - plus have nifty superpowers to boot?

See? All of those have a lot going for them from the get-go - they didn't need 14 different angles to attempt to pull it all together, which to me, fails, except for the fact it has kick-ass computer effects.

Now...don't even get me started on the other film we watched the other day that the whole country went ga-ga about which my kids and I kept looking at each other with that "what the....???" look on our faces: "Happy Feet" - yes, that had a lot going for it - dancing penguins...everyone loves dancing penguins...let's just animate a bunch of penguins. Story? We don't need a story...we have cute dancing penguins! Look, I got my fill of dancing penguins in "Mary Poppins"...and the three minutes they were on screen in that - well, it held more plot (and my attention) than the 108 minutes they used up in "Happy Feet". My feet were only too happy to walk over to remove that disc from my player as well.

04 November 2007

Unexpected Pleasantries

Well, as luck would have it...or more simplified (or would that be complicated)..."Murphy's Medical Law" my daughter has been sick starting from the time I was in the hospital and is still sick. We found out the other day that her tests for Mono were indeed positive, so that's a relief...at least knowing what it is and that it's not something worse.

She's been out of school for a couple weeks on and off because of it and I haven't been able to drive because of my recent hysterectomy, so my constant trips to stop off at The Fresh Market (for those of you living here in Montgomery) on the corner of Vaughn Road and Eastern Blvd next to TJ Maxx. I love The Fresh Market - or as I call it "Fresh Market". I cook a lot of gourmet meals and their produce/meat selection, and above all, quality, is second to none in Montgomery...it's a wonderful place to shop if you are strictly buying food...and if you want that food to be top notch.

Today my husband went there to get us some things, and I don't know exactly the conversation, but they asked about me (and probably why they haven't seen me and my daughter every day like usual) and he told them about my operation and about my daughter being sick as well.

Then the manager did something extremely kind: he gave a bouquet of yellow roses to me and one of pink carnations to my daughter. (Nice blurry photos below...taking them at night doesn't help the clarity.) That was very sweet and I promptly phoned him up to thank him. You don't usually get that type of human interaction/contact in other stores I am sure. I've always told everyone I love the fact that I know who the meat people are by name, the cashiers by name, the managers by name, etc., and they know me. That's the way it should be...and touches like the flowers are evidence that places like this and caring customer oriented people like them still exist.

Again...thank you Fresh Market for hiring classy people who take the time to get to know their repeat customers and go that extra distance to make us feel special and respected.

29 October 2007

Hospitalization - Part II

Sure, major surgery has its inconveniences which are to be expected (I pointed some out in Part 1 of my Hospitalization blogum located below) but what they are really good at is the little things. Little things mean a lot. Little things can be cute, as in kittens...little things can kill you, as in germs...and little things you can take for granted...well, they'll be the ones I'm referring to here. I can only speak on my personal cases of being in the hospital and for this story I'm sticking to things which occurred this time around.

- Bodily fluids and why are they fascinated with them in the hospital? Furthermore why do they have one bathroom for me and not another one for my visitors?? Do they know WHAT lurks IN my personal hospital bathroom? I feel like the consummate bad criminal in any killer movie when they reach to open the bathroom door...

"DON'T open THAT!!!!"
"Well, why? Whatcha hiding in there I can't look at?"
"Well, if it's nothing, tell me what it is."
"It's nothing I say."
"You aren't telling me the truth, are you?"

Why does the dialogue ever have to progress that far? I'll be honest with everyone here and now why those bathrooms are for the patient and the patient alone. They give you little bowls and containers with demarcation/deliniation lines...and they give them adorable little names...oh, like "hat". "Time to empty your 'hat'" they say. Well, they don't sell these hats in any haberdashery shop I've ever been in, nor at 'Bed Bath and Beyond'...they are WAY beyond what they sell. I think they get them from a guy who knows a guy who comes around in the back of the hospital twice a week...or they probably order them online or eBay.

Word to the wise...hospitalization is a series of private processes, especially for women who don't routinely sit on the sofa snarfing down nachos and guzzling back beer with men playing "pull my finger" games. Now, nothing's wrong with being that type of woman...but I'm not...I am more on the "demure" side of the fence. I don't want anyone to enter places to see things that even the nurses and doctors shouldn't have to see. So, when you reach your hand out to turn my bathroom door knob...let's just say the only way you aren't getting vituperatively scolded a well deserved "NO!" would be if I were in a coma...but if I were in a coma I wouldn't really be using the bathroom so you could probably use it. I believe you get the point here by now...even if that point is moot.

- I am 46...I'd like to be younger but I'm not. I have, to my credit, built up some medical vocabulary where I feel confident enough to speak to doctors and medical staff using and have them use back with me without my having that "huh??" look on my face. This comes from my odd habit of reading the PDR, medical papers, and hanging out at WebMD.com and MayoClinic.com much more than anyone should. But when a doctor says uncommon words, 99 percent of the time I know what they are saying and they don't have to spell everything out for me in plain laymen's vernacular. I find this to be a bonus and I think they appreciate it as well. But one thing eludes me during my stay this time and I will try to explain best I can. Enter one nurse after I rang the bell...the dialogue goes somewhat like this: Her: "What can I do for you?" Me: "Well, I have to be unstrapped from the blood-clot leg cuffs before I can toddle off to the bathroom and this is where you get to come in." Her: "Well, do you have to go 'tee-tee' or something else?" Me: "Ummmm - I only have to urinate." Now, I am not five or 10 even for that matter and I certainly hoped I exuded a little more knowledge than one click above brain-dead...why she called it "tee-tee" is a mystery to me...but I wrote it off as perhaps she normally works on the pediatric ward. And then after a bit of contemplation I figured I would indeed use this whole dialogue bit in a blog...yes, that's the way my mind works.

- For the love of all things sacred...please feed me something that might get my gastric juices flowing. Even Pavlov's dog would have just sat in the corner and licked his...uh...bells wouldn't have sent any salivary glands salivating in any experiments if he had pawned this stuff off as food in those experiments. And speaking of experiments, I think the Nutrition Department were conducting some of their own. During my "soft bland diet" phase, at lunch and dinner "something" which can only be envisioned as that dough blob that pops at full force out of the Poppin' Fresh dough cylinder when you poke the seam with a knife blade. Honestly, THAT is what it looked like and they were determined to get me to eat it and they had days and days to prove that theory.

-- Day one I was tempted to taste it - but I stood my ground as it didn't look like a pudding and it wasn't exactly an ice-cream as it never melted...so I put it in that illustrious food group in which Fruitcake belongs and sent it back. Voila! I'll get something else later for dinner. Or so I thought. There, mysteriously - right top quadrant of the tray...it was back again. Surely it must be a whole different one you are thinking. Au contrare...it looked the same...but instead of being pristinely white this time...it had diminished to "eggshell". Again I held my ground and returned it - surely it can't return again tomorrow I thought. Ha! I won! Well, I shouldn't pat myself on the back so quickly...plus I had an abdominal incision...it kinda hurts to twist like that.

-- Day two I hear voices from Poltergeist II in the back of my mind..."They're ba-aaak" - and sure enough, it was. Again, had I access to those paint colour swatches I could've discerned this one wasn't even "eggshell" anymore, but now was more closely graduating to "ecru". By the time they came to collect it - I made a joke about how it returns but always a shade darker...I think they either didn't get it or they now knew I was wise to them. I was certain it wouldn't make it to my dinner menu.

-- Enter my children who haven't had me at the house for days dealing with my witty banter (oh go along with me - I had major surgery) on a continuing basis...so I had to relay to them the "scary ever-colour-changing blob which shows up at each meal except breakfast" tale. My daughter hatched a plan - "Stab it!" she says. "NOOOOOOOOO!!!" I say..."Didn't you learn ANYTHING from watching those Sci-Fi movies from the 50s? That 'thing' will slide off the plate, slip under the door, kill three people at the nurses' station and then double back and break my window to kill me when my back is turned to it whilst I'm reporting the whole incident to the police on the phone!" It happens EVERY time - best not tempt providence. And, true to form...the colour was indeed a little darker still...and had lost some sheen...it was now fast approaching "faded ivory piano keys" shade. My son was brave, even with my cautionary words of impending doom...he totally annihilated the poor unsuspecting "upper right food tray blob" and alas, it came back no more. I really don't want to think about why it didn't too long so I'll just gloss right over that whole episode. But at the time, it was pretty much my only form of entertainment...so much so we took photos.

Word must have gotten back to the "mother ship" that I was not going to cave in and consume that thing so I believe they decided they had no use for me anymore and when the doctor came in to see me the next day he stated if I ate some "real food" and "participated" in some honest to goodness "pull my finger" jocularity, I could vacate the premises and be on my merry way home. For years I've tried to class up my interactive comedy website by not catering to the lowest common denominator, "fart jokes"...and here it all came back to bite me on the proverbial...um...arse.

So, again, some of the littlest things you take for granted are your ticket out...and this was to be the one time I would proudly proclaim "I did it!.

20 October 2007

Hospital Stay...or Should I Go?

I figured, for your reading enjoyment, I would do this installment in two parts (actually, truth be told - I did it so I would be able to split one long story into two...but "your reading enjoyment" sounds much less self-serving) :) ...

Part 1:

By now, if you know me...or at least kept up with my blogumns (I refuse to call them blogs as they are more like short stories or columns), you'll have gathered that I was in the hospital for a few days following what can only be referred to as "a hysterectomy of some necessity". And "yes", to answer that question that everyone asks, "they took my ovaries out as well".

But, to add to the discomfort of the obvious...the hospital has a few tricks up their hospital gown sleeves to get you up and out that door they always manage to not close behind them (even tho it was closed when they came in) to get you out as fast as humanly possible. Sure, people might say they release you too soon...but I'm betting most people jump at that opportunity to return home for just the most "take for granted" reasons that are out there. We are, after all, creatures of comfort and the hospital is hardly packed with creature comforts...staph infections, yes...but those are a whole different creature and I could easily digress, but I won't. I will, however, point some things out one by one that got me thinking about all this...however, this is not a Top Ten list, so they come in no order whatsoever...you be the judge as to which would send you packing fastest.

- Why is that television set ALL the way up there? "So you can see it better when you are lying there, flat on your back, in your bed" you might say. Wrong! First off, no matter how prone you get, it's still too high to watch comfortably. Try again. "Because if they had it lower, people would bonk their heads into it and then sue?" Well, you are getting warmer - people would indeed sue if they hit their heads into it...but they are in the hospital and probably wouldn't be able to sue them "REAL good" because they nearly bled to death since they were on the floor for hours before someone found them. Someone's bound to find you in the hospital since someone always comes in every hour to take blood, take blood pressure, take your urine away, talk about your urine, talk about your bowel movements, give you medication, and just to leave your door open to annoy you. Here's a little trick I found that works wonders: Want them to stop coming in for a while so you can get some rest? Buzz for a nurse...that will ensure no one stops by for a while. (Oh, I'm joking here...they were very, very, very nice this time around to me.) But to answer my own question...my son actually figured this one out: The television is that high so that you can screw up your neck so you can stay in the hospital longer - or at the very least generate some more business their way.

- How do they expect me to sleep on this horrible mattress with a blood pressure cup attached to my arm that goes off every 30 minutes, blood clot leg massagers that inflate/deflate every three minutes, two IV lines...one put in at exactly the right (or is that 'wrong') angle to make it virtually impossible to bend my wrist for any support whatsoever to help me get up, an IV baggie that keeps getting lower and lower and you remember watching that episode of Marcus Welby, MD where there was one little air bubble in it and the person nearly died because of it, them coming in every couple hours to poke, prod, or generally annoy me to do something, and why do they insist on leaving my light on that they know I can't turn off without getting up...other than to shut the door they continually leave open? Answer: They don't - it's the hospital...leave already.

- You mean I have to actually time my bathroom breaks with the commercials now??? Only those with TiVo will understand this little luxury that, once you experience, you will never live without. You might think it's pretty silly as you've lived your whole life until that point getting up during commercial breaks to make that run. Well, you get a hysterectomy, then lie there waiting for a commercial for 15 minutes when you have to go. Really go. Oh...then remember you have a TiVo at home. Enough said.

- Okay, I just had an operation and I have to be on a "liquid diet" followed by a "soft diet" until I pass gas and can eat "real food" again? First off, this is a hospital..."real food" is debatable. But, I am sure I can live for a day or two eating this stuff. Bring it on. (Two days later...) Well, call me an idiot...I underestimated these people. You see, people IN the "Nutrition Department" of the hospital undoubtedly have a lot of time on their hands between meals to sit around thinking of things that no one in their right mind would ever voluntarily eat...er um..."eat" being the key word here. "Eat" in this case means anything you could sip up thru a straw without much sucking involved. In fact, I believe they have, in their possession, dozens of catalogues of totally inedible food that people didn't know existed that they can order from. Where are these items...I've never seen them in any store? There's a reason they don't have them in a store - the hospital is their sole client. Somewhere out there are companies devoted to making "nourishing" meals that are so incredibly bland and unappetizing in taste, texture and aesthetics they don't have to market them. But the containers they come in try their hardest to get you to taste them...silly names, dancing cartoon figures, vitamins with even sillier bios than their names, etc. They have a lot to learn. Willpower is much stronger than words. So is the gag reflex.

End of Part 1

18 October 2007

Not My Old Self

Well, I've managed to do up one HumorMeOnline update last night, so I'm trying to gradually get back to some semblance of my former self without overdoing it. I will try to get a blog up today or tomorrow - but far between Percocet doses the pain kicks back in and it's not comfortable to type and during the time it does work, my eyes unfocus...which makes it rather annoying TO type...so I can't exactly win here.

But hey, at least I'm trying. :)

14 October 2007

Back Home Again

Well, I've been in the hospital for the past few days...went straight from a gynecological appointment to the hospital, so I had to pretty much make a decision right then and there as time was of the essence. That wasn't much fun.

Not feeling the best yet, nor will be according to everything I've read...for quite some time. Will try to post some of my hospital food photos and such in the next few days...things that I at least found quite interesting. Hey, you have to keep yourself entertained somehow while there, don't you?

Thanks go out to those who prayed and sent me good wishes and kept me in their thoughts - please continue to do so, if you don't mind...as I really am rather hurting.

09 October 2007

"Pause" to Think...

Well, I haven't been having the best month and some here...let's just say perimenopause doesn't have its moments. Between one ER visit, at least three gyno visits a couple doctor visits and one visit to Pri-Med, I am ready to succumb to the wishes of those with greater womanly knowledge than I possess to yank out of me whatever it takes to get this all to stop. When your blood levels drop to the point where they are talking about doing "transfusions"...well, let's just say something needs to be done and be done quickly. I've always been tethered to the "anemic" bungee jump rope (you could call it), bouncing up and down, but my cord's apparently snapped and I'm plummeting head-first down onto the "inflated black abyss" and I'm not sure what'll happens next. Yes, I am in the "scary zone" in pre-menopauseland and I want no more part of this. I don't want to be strapped on any more of these rides, thank you. Furthermore I'd like to see this part of the park closed down for good. I'd like to believe that hanging out at "you CAN leave your houseland" and "maybe I WILL go away for a weekend" can and will turn from being a "funhouse" nightmare into an actual pleasant experience. I'm ready for that change...I relish that change.

So, all those reading out there, please send me your best thoughts, your prayers, your good vibes...whatever you send, just as long as they are good. I'd sincerely appreciate them all...and will definitely need them for my gynecological visit tomorrow.

Mariann aka Tiny Litte Scaredy Cat

20 September 2007

Map Quest

No doubt all of you have heard or read by now the disjointed remarks made by 18-year-old Miss Teen USA contestant, Caitlin Upton, representing South Carolina, responding to the question "Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?"

If you hadn't seen it, it can be watched here: Miss Teen USA excerpt...and if you can't stop laughing or crying long enough to hear without replaying it 17 times, you can read it here in all its "glory": "I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, um, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq and everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future."

Now, I don't know about you, but if that alone doesn't further emphasize and substantiate the claim that the average U.S. student can't point out China on a map, I don't know what does.

I don't purport to know where the Lesser Antilles or Myanmar (yes, read my blog below to "get" this one) are...but I darned well could point out where Argentina, China, Tasmania, or Norway is on a map...or get plenty of other countries at least "in the general vacinity"...not a haphazard "Pin the Tail on the Donkey, spin me 'round and maybe I'll get it right" kind of blindfoldedness about it all. I probably wouldn't stake my whole wad of cash on a 'Final Jeopardy!" answer on Geography...but I'd wager at least $500.

Where is all this getting to? Is there a point to all this silly banter? Yes. I have, as Archimedes reportedly exclaimed, had a "Eureka" moment the other day where it all became abundantly clear to me "why" we are a nation of geographically challenged inhabitants.

"We" don't typically listen to BBC News.

That's it in a nutshell.

Lately, I've been stricken with another affliction besides insomnia: Watching BBC America's "Cash In the Attic" at 4:00 a.m. Sure, it's not first run programming, but I haven't ever seen any of the episodes, so it's all new to me. And what else is new to me is watching the BBC News which follows at 5:00 a.m.

In one short week, I've found out things I wouldn't ever know otherwise...from Moscow's serial killer, Alexander Pichushkin, to Belgian's winning lawsuit against Microsoft to who the Australian Prime Minister is - John Howard, by the way. Yes, to even the mundane fact that Australia HAS a Prime Minister. Heck, I've been walking around for the past 46 years never knowing what the head of state was called in Australia...for all I cared they could have had the title "Grand Poohbah" bestowed upon him as, in all my years of watching American news, I don't think they've ever mentioned him. They would have if Paris Hilton partied with him...I knew all about Prince Albert of Monaco and the fact he dated supermodel, German-born Claudia Schiffer, a few years ago. Oh, that is "must know" information...but where Monaco IS? "Oh, who cares...didn't that old dead guy, Humphrey Bogart do a movie about that place way back when...'Casablanca' was it?"


And this is why people here in the United States, and school-aged children especially, should be strapped to chairs and their orbits forcibly pried open à la Alex DeLarge in Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" - only being made to watch further eye-opening, globe-trotting, mind-expanding broadcasting such as BBC News.

Our news channels should worry less about which ratings place Katie Couric is in, which set looks better, or if reporters should sit or stand while reading the teleprompter...and focus on what is truly important. The citizens of America shouldn't solely get their knowledge of where foreign countries are based entirely upon what countries Madonna's, Angelina's, and Mary-Louise Parker's babies were adopted from.

We, as a nation, deserve more...and we should demand nothing less.

17 September 2007

Remiss in Writing

Well, I've had a few things come up here lately and I've been a little lax on my writing. I intend to write something later today...either along the lines of "Confessions of a Former Semi-Hot Chick" or "Eureka, I've Figured Out Why U.S. Kids Can't Find Burma On a Map (other than the fact that they officially changed their name to 'Myanmar' in 1989)!" - but I may just end up doing one and then the other later on this week. So consider this fair warning. :)

09 September 2007

The Science of Cleaning

Defusing a bomb, neurosurgery, and keeping my house clean. What do these seemingly uncommon things have in common? They are all things I simply cannot do.

Oh, sure, you might say, "Well, not many people can do the first two...but, c'mon, the third, who can't do that??" I'll tell you who: ME! No, seriously, I have tried and tried. Now, granted, I have two kids and lots of cats - but I stay up pretty much all night and no little elves scurry about at 2:00 a.m. and wreck the place. No poltergeist manifestations, either...so I can't place blame on anyone but ourselves.

How does it get into this state - that's what I want to know. I clean all the time - I don't come in and drop things down on a whim...but still it stays cluttered. Even if you took a scientific approach to try to solve this dilemma, say, Newton's Third Law of Motion (and trust me, something's moving this stuff around)...which states "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". Well, once again there's some strange vortex, black hole, or anti-matter phenomenon taking place in my house because we are definitely an anomaly in the world of science. I just can't explain it...I doubt even Einstein, Newton, Planck, or even Fritz Zwicky could either...altho Zwicky did have the most plausible explanation for it all: dark matter at work...because in my own little "home galaxy", far more matter exists here than previously thought. And those neutrinos they can't ever find? I bet I've got some here...bet I have a whole darn box of them lying around...and a few stray ones right here on the table getting batted off periodically by the cats...the ones I end up stepping on and then jumping up...thinking it's what's left over from some dragged in mole.

Someone, probably high up in the physics realm, needs to crack the code here to let me know how it is possible for an area to get more messy/cluttered when more things are put away than taken out on a given day. So, if one person out there actually exists who knows what phenomenon causes this, or better yet, can actually show me how it can be accomplished so it doesn't come back two and four-fold the very next day...you are more than welcome to come here and attempt to prove my theory wrong and yours right. Just pick a day...only make it later in the afternoon as I'm always "on duty" at night ensuring no wood sprites are retaliating for all those trees we cut down years ago when we first moved here...just in case.

So, drop on by...you'll easily recognize me - I'll be the awake one banging away on the laptop perusing the "help wanted" adverts trying (for what seems) ceaselessly to procure a job...as that's another thing I apparently cannot do.

31 August 2007

Princess Diana

There are things I always cry at the drop of a hat for: reading "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein, watching The Shawshank Redemption, thinking about my mother not being around anymore, and watching any Princess Diana show.

And now ten years have gone by since she was killed in that Paris tunnel. I remember talking to someone on the phone and Saturday Night Live was on at the time...I glanced at the television a couple times thinking to myself "Geez, this is a really tacky skit they are doing". Then realizing it wasn't one after changing the channel...and telling my friend in disbelief what I...and the world had just been informed of...that Princess Diana had just been involved in a motor vehicle accident and, her diagnosis on screen going from "some broken bones" to "with internal injuries" to "we are saddened to report, Diana, the former Princess of Wales..."

That seems like ages ago and at the same time, it seems like only yesterday. You see, perhaps it sticks with me so much because I, like many others, woke up early to watch her wedding, live, on television. I watched her with her children, I watched her lithe figure dancing away in some magnificent ballroom...and later sitting alone outside the Taj Mahal...her "idyllic" fairytale life brought to real light with that look of total isolation and unhappiness on her face which no one could dispute...it was...over.

But, what seemed like the end of one life transformed itself into one with more purpose: Diana, the champion of people without a voice. She would be the voice for them...she would use her notoriety not to sell perfume or dog clothes...but to speak out for causes such as land mines, hunger and AIDS...and touched not only the hands of those who were shunned...but also their hearts. Touched countless hearts. With her every step she knew the cameras would follow...and she walked right into places no royal had done before (oh, make that ex-royal, she was, of course stripped of her title upon divorce)...heck, she walked into places MOST people wouldn't dare step.

There is a line in a song (Post World War II Blues) from Al Stewart (whose music I loved growing up) which goes "...I can still remember the last time I cried...The day that Buddy Holly died...I never met him, so it may seem strange...Don't some people just affect you that way..." and that about sums up my feelings for Princess Diana...

...some people DO just affect you that way.

26 August 2007

Get Me Rich Quick, Please...Schemes

I've been mulling it over in my head for the past few days and there's a couple ways I could make millions if I found either major backing/venture capital or a lawyer willing to take on a really far-fetched case...you know, like that McD's "drove off with hot coffee between my legs" one. Seems being incredibly stupid with connections or incredibly lucky with connections, like inventing the Topsy Tail ponytail doodle or Barney and selling gazillions of them is the way to go. So here are some plans I've come up with which follow that line of reasoning...

Plan A: J. K. Rowling (of 'Harry Potter' fame) is now writing a detective novel, which isn't really fair as she's already the richest woman in Britain and she could write about a peanut vendor who secretly desires to become a perfumier and moonlights as a human replacement for drug sniffing dogs that call in sick at Heathrow...and she'd still be able to sell it. While I, on the other hand, have no such luck, talent, or connections. BUT...I figure if I could get a willing lawyer, I could sue Ms Rowling on the grounds that I would have come up with whichever plot she's going to...only she'll get it published before I can because she already has all that "best-selling author clout" BS in her favour. Well, that doesn't mean that I wouldn't have come up with it...eventually...and just because she has connections, her version will get to press before mine ever would...and that's just not fair, and basically I think she owes me big time. Heck, I'd probably even be willing to make a nice hefty settlement out of court just to spare her the embarrassment over the fact she stole my idea I haven't even had yet.

Plan B: Now for my invention, which I'm sure will be heralded as the next best thing to unsliced bread: The news ticker/news crawl/info scrolly television set cover-upper (okay, the name still needs some work). Are you as annoyed as I am by that black bar they put at the bottom of your TV alerting you to other news that must be so important that they feel compelled to scroll it across the bottom of the screen - but it undoubtedly isn't important enough to warrant a full-blown interruption of what they're reporting on at the moment. Not only do they expect you to concentrate on the top portion of the story, but you also have to simultaneously read about whole other unrelated events as they ticker tape on past. Notice how they don't keep them going during commercials...when apparently they want your whole undivided attention on the product: "HeadOn...apply directly to forehead. HeadOn...apply directly to forehead. HeadOn..." Yes, heaven forbid I miss a single word of that. Oh, let's get back to my "hide the bar" invention, shall we? I figure I could either go directly to the television manufacturers and have them incorporate a "drop down" feature whereas you hit a button on your remote and the picture drops down a tad to cut it off...or easier still, a nice black cloth band, conveniently fastened with two Velcro tab sets for a secure fit to your set. We'll even send you the "adjustable model", sure to fit any sized set: Comes complete with length of black cloth, two sticky Velcro tab sets and a cheapie pair of scissors. See? Once size fits all. Convenient, no? Plans in the future include bands with ads written right on them...or for an extra few dollars, a saying of your choice. I'm sure we'd even find a way to throw in that 2nd Sharpie pen for free (well, for those first 100 callers that is).

And if that doesn't work, I could always go to Plan C and find that lawyer from Plan A and take on CNN, FOX News, and others (if there are others) who do the news crawl scrolly bar and slap a lawsuit on them for inflicting upon me some "as of yet undiscovered" eye dysfunction/mental confusion/brainwave alteration distress. Any of these afflictions, alone, would be clear-cut justification enough to sue, but having the whole EDMCBAD shebang...well, that's definitely cause to employ a crack legal team for representation as surely no amount of "HeadOn" is going to cure those kind of ills.

22 August 2007

My Uncanny Blogability

Seems I have the uncanny ability to try to post something here each time their little blogmobile is down for service. As I got in here just now - I'm just letting everyone know that I intend to post up a blog sometime later tonite. Every day they change in my head, so I'm not 100% sure which one will pop up at any given moment, but one is sure to surface before midnite.

08 August 2007

Water ya gonna do?

And from the "Things That Make You Go 'Hmmmmmm'" corner of the world...

There's a public service announcement that is running now on Alabama television that really makes me want to give them a call and point out the "Did you guys really think this out thoroughly first?" factor.

It's an anti-drinking-and-boating campaign (put out by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) - which is all well and fine - I can totally understand that concept. But at the end of the spot, the "Marine Trooper" guy in uniform says "Last year drunk boaters caused nearly 1/3 of all fatalities on the water." So I'm thinking "well, that means that a little over 2/3 of the non-drinkers were responsible for the others...so, by that logic, being on a boat with a drunk guy is better odds".

Somehow I don't think that's the point they were trying to drive home. Hmmmm...

02 August 2007

I Just Don't Get "It"

My mother used to say "every generation seems to think that they were the first to have sex"...which she might have a point about, as it seems the more things change, the more they stay the same...well, except for more daring displays of sex as these generations go on. The Romans had their orgies, the Victorian times had their "gadgets" (oh, don't let them fool you...they did have sex back then, contrary to what Queen Victoria's history would have you believe), the 20's had Flappers, the 50's had Monroe, the 60's had the pill, Masters and Johnson (I think there's a couple puns there somewhere) and Woodstock, the 80's had big hair, and we have the Internet.

And splattered all over the Internet now are 237 reasons why people have sex and according to this article people are coming up with even more they left out, and AOL's main page the other day had a survey asking what was our worst reason we've rationalized to "get any"...then to top it off they gave us their choices to vote on.

Now there's no denying that sex sells...we've been using sex to sell everything...literally from head to toe. From Herbal Essence Shampoo's apparent orgasmic properties (yes, yes, YES!) to 60's Noxzema shaving cream commercials with a sexy blonde Swede compelling men to "take it off, take it all off" to Joe Namath having Farrah Fawcett slather lather on his face whilst crooning "Let Noxzema cream your face...so the razor won't" (then afterwards telling her "you've got a great pair of hands"), to Joe Namath, yet again, in Beautymist pantyhose. You know, it seems old 'Broadway Joe' scored more passes off the field than on if these 1970's commercials of his were any indication of his sex life.

And then there was that "All my men wear English Leather or they wear nothing at all" men's cologne commercial when I was young. Come to think of it, when I was a kid there were a lot of sexy ads on television...but then again we had to, we didn't have the Internet to get our info. If you were a kid and wanted to look at naughty photos, you did what everyone else did: got out the Sears catalogue and turned to the underwear section.

Ah, yes, the bygone days of my youth...and most people look back on theirs with genuine fondness. How many times do you think back of how things were so great when you were a kid? Or the stories your parents told you when they were young...or your grandparents lingering on tales of what they did when they were children. Well, I've come to the conclusion that while every generation needs to have sex to get to the next generation, life was indeed better without sex. This is also why people want to live vicariously through their own kids when they have them...oh think about it...those glory days of youth. Where would innocent Ralphie, of "A Christmas Story" fame, be if he wasn't mesmerized by that "soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window"? If he truly KNEW about sex, that leg lamp just wouldn't have had the same intrigue...face it.

So, while a lot of us are indeed curious and read online articles about who does "it" and where and what they say to get "it" and wonder why they do "it"...stop complaining about not getting enough of "it" and just remember how uncomplicated and fun life was before you did. Then go and tell your kid a "When I was your age we didn't have...." story and be sure to smirk a lot...they'll really wonder what you are up to. And only you'll know "not much".

28 July 2007

In Hog Heaven

Here's a story I could really sink my teeth into...and definitely would for the "sowbucks" both these people managed to trot off with. Yes, I'm in a silly mood tonite, and in honour of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest to be releasing their winners this Monday...and also as an homage to their "Vile Puns" section, I'll be doing most of this commentary in puns...puns - good and bad...all right, puns mostly bad. But this isn't at all a work of fiction, but rather a real-life story that is definitately prime for a good ribbing. If ever I find myself in a similar situation I just might bite, too.

"But what is she going on about?" you are undoubtedly asking your collective selves. "Is she just too long in the tooth to write a coherent sentence, let alone a paragraph...dare I say, story?" No, I'm not just going to pepper the whole story throughout with vile pig and dental puns, but rather, make it replete with them. In fact I'm going to hog up every one I can...and then drill them into your head...and with any luck it won't be boaring.

The process one goes about choosing a befitting blog is a difficult chore for some - for others it comes quite easily, but most aren't nearly as verbose as mine...I tend to put pen to paper and hog up a great deal of words by the time all is said and done and at the virtual table. So, I am picky doing my blogs...certainly I have many I can choose from - a whole herd of them...and many ideas which have come before me I've read that I would have given my eyetooth to have thought of first. But I just grit my teeth and muddle through to the next topic which catches my mind's eye.

This blog was inspired by an incident which occurred recently in Olympia, Washington which I only read a few moments ago. I suspect some people reading this slice of life might go hog wild on this one...others will probably just give it nothing more than a grunt and bury it under the other daily things they are doing, never to give it a second thought. The story is about an oral surgeon, Dr. Robert Woo, who, while giving his female associate, Tina Alberts, two new dental implants, thought it would be a silly, harmless prank to pop a couple boar tusks in her mouth while she was under anesthesia, take a couple of photos unbeknownst to her, pop the tusks back out and finish up the job...all the while never giving it as much as an afterthought. It was, what he whole-heartedly believed, just a little office prank done to a colleague who would always bring up the fact her family raises potbellied pigs...and these pig conversations were pretty much joked about in some manner or form in the office for years.

Now, I don't know if the oral surgeon thought this alone was funny or if he was just sick and tired of hearing the ongoing pig stories. Regardless, Dr. Woo didn't show the photos to Ms Alberts...which makes me think it was more of a joke done not for her amusement, but for the others, and as the workers circulated these photos amongst themselves...you got it...they eventually made their way to Ms. Alberts.

One thing led to another as quickly as you can say "I have a lawyer in the family" or "I know someone whose brother's uncle's friend's sister is a lawyer"...because the next thing you know, the assistant is claiming these distressing photos caused her to quit her job because of the ongoing humiliation. Now someone has to pay and her boss is just the guy to do it...and one could naturally assume he's probably living pretty high on the hog owning his own business and all.

Now keep up...this part will go faster than Boston Butts on sale at a church fundraiser. So, Ms. Alberts goes to sue Dr. Woo; Dr. Woo in turn, turns to his office insurance company to root the money out of them and they say "no dice...what you did wasn't standard office procedure and therefore wouldn't be covered". Sounds logical to me. The next step is that they settle out of court and Ms. Alberts walks away $250,000 richer. All's well, that ends well, right? No...Dr. Woo decides he's not exactly satisfied with the ruling the insurance company initially doled out and decides he's going to sue his insurance company right back...to the tune of $750,000...making a whole lot of bacon if it works.

Well, it did indeed work and now he's sitting pretty after clearing nearly half a million (give and take lawyer's fees and Ms. Albert's initial $250k cut)...and Dr. Woo has definitely learned an "extremely costly lesson": Do not mess with people or play practical jokes on unwilling victims. Unless, of course they can't take a joke...then, by all means, do your best...or should that be wurst.

Perhaps there's a "Practical Office Joke Book For Dummies" book deal in the good doctor's future. Obviously, by these lucky turns of events, Dr. Woo's a master of turning on the charm and flashing those pearly whites...by all accounts, a natural ham. I wouldn't doubt it if he even has a few publishing houses interested in him right now, and if he doesn't, I'm sure his finding one would be relatively easy. As easy, you might say, as pulling teeth.

19 July 2007

No Extra-Censory Perception

"Hot and steamy and served right smack in the middle of the 6 o'clock news." Now I'm not talking about dinner, first off I never eat that early and secondly, had I been eating I undoubtedly would have gagged. What I am referring to are a couple previews for movies and shows on television here recently.

I certainly am no prude, but when I see a scantily clad woman crawling all over some guy in the back-seat of a car and a bevy of overly anxious would-be paramours to a 30-something tennis player school-girlishly giggling about how one of them would "just like to see him naked", well that IS a bit much. But what really got my ire up (and would have my food as well) was this clip of Cloris Leachman clad in a German housefrau-type waitress outfit being more than friendly "handling" a sausage before serving it up to some guy.

Now I know that sex sells, well, not usually with Cloris Leachman, but that's not my point here...my point is that these two specific previews, from NBC's reality show, Age of Love, and the movie, Beerfest, respectively, really should not have been aired at that time, if at all. My 12-year-old daughter even asked me what was up with the Beerfest one...and honestly, I rather would have spent the time looking at Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" instead, considering IT lasted all of 1/100th of a second. The Beerfest clip, unfortunately, didn't.

I don't watch too much "big three" television programs, mainly I'm tuned to The History Channel or Turner Classic Movies, so I rarely glimpse any mainstream commercials/previews, but if this is the type of sensationalism these stations have resorted to airing in order to pay their costs, well, that's just sad commentary as to what they perceive their viewers want to see.

What ever happened to a modicum of class and dignity? I remember reading, many years ago, before the age of the Internet, that Prime Time was "family time" and oh, my - the fervor that Charlie's Angels' "T&A jigglefest" caused in the 70's...and that show, I believe, used to air 9:00 p.m. ET. And the outcry of thousands upon thousands of outraged viewers years later when that NYPD Blue guy bared his butt in the same time slot. Then, years later still, who could forget the gobs of people who complained when Janet Jackson's "less than perky" boobie was shown before the masses at the Super Bowl? And if it weren't for the Internet, VCR's and TiVo, that would have remained nothing more than a brief flash...in the pan.

Well, I say we need to address these more recent turns of events...I cannot be the only one with children who has witnessed this and been annoyed by it. I can and do choose not to watch these shows and change the channel to watch other programming during their view times, but I CANNOT stop my child from witnessing a movie/television preview for them during a whole other show. And I shouldn't have to.

12 July 2007

Out of and Insomnia

Random thoughts were popping in and out of my head tonight...even hackneyed phrases seemed glorious to me - my mind was whirring, I was stringing words together that I'd all too long missed doing for what seemed like an indeterminable epoch. What exactly was going on here?

I was lying in bed just a few moments ago, unable to get to sleep...my usual state of being during my "pre-Ambien" age - an era I had nearly forgotten all about, but dreadfully missed: But there I lie - "creating", "cataloguing", "shelving" and "playing" with words and thoughts that I really don't do anymore. Certainly, one can get creative in the daytime, but I really don't believe it's the same as when you are trying to drift off to unconsciousness. There's a higher level which is achieved when you do that without external stimuli vs the daytime state.

Dreams are needed and I have mentioned this before in my blog I'm sure, and I've complained about it to my friends online...I don't dream when I take Ambien. Oh, sure, you can assume I just don't remember as Ambien is a hypnotic drug. But I know when I dream, I get up with a whole other outlook than I do with my Ambien life...or should I really say "half-life"? It does make me feel I'm missing something - and I think I've found that missing link or puzzle piece.

Here is my theory: We go through the day gathering up bits of information and disinformation...certainly our brains have the capability and capacity to keep all this information, what with all those snake-like convolutions in there giving that little space we call "the inside of our head" the best usage of surface area to store, retrieve, and transmit neuronic data. The brain is a wondrous thing...but artifically turning it off at night, the way Ambien seems to do...well, isn't, if you ask me. Something is very amiss, especially over time, when this doesn't routinely happen...and I say it doesn't occur when I take Ambien...at least not to the extent it should.

I was reading a bit of a study the other day online about how they possibly figure insomnia is the cause of depression and not necessarily the other way around, which was typically the accepted theory most people buy into. Now, I can write volumes and volumes about not sleeping as I have been without it for as long as I can remember...since three years of age. Of course, to take advantage of it all...I'd probably write these volumes at night...but I digress. I likely could have been the proverbial poster-child for insomnia, the proverbial poster-teen and now the poster-adult for it...I'm sure if I live long enough, I will be way post my prime...but still remain a prime example of what not getting a good night's sleep can do to someone.

All this automatic shutting off of my brain by outside means might seem like a terrific idea, especially given my history of never sleeping...but I know something inside my head isn't doing what it's supposed to do...and that, in itself, is making me depressed. I wake up groggy...I wake up feeling "not like me"...my brain doesn't "get started" for what seems like hours...I also have difficulty clearly remembering things from previous days/nights...and I just feel "abnormal" in my thought processes. My brain doesn't seem to make those rapid-fire synapse connections...it just feels like it's on permanent vacation...and it certainly doesn't seem to feel refreshed and "up and at 'em". My creativity level takes a while to jump-start and when it does, it seems like it's rehashing the same few items, not delving deep down in my unconsciousness to retrieve those tidbits that haven't been out of the "drawer" for quite some time.

Tonight I noticed it doing that again...I know this seems probably very silly to most people, but I was thinking of bad opening sentences for novels...aka 'The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest'...a very prestigious contest I managed to walk away as the winner of back in 2003...pre-Ambien age, in case you were wondering. But while I was lying there, I ruminated through all sorts of sentences that leisurely flowed into my head like so many cows coming home. I actually had lain there and thought about which ending for the word "Esperanto" would be funniest. Yes, for a Bulwer-Lytton entry...but these ideas have to manifest themselves somewhere and usually it's somewhere deep inside your head, those two hemispheres like some twisty plot line making a connection not only between themselves, but with the reader...even if the reader was just myself.

I liked what I thought tonight lying there just thinking anything that rose to the "lake surface" of that tiny great expanse that is my brain. It gave me hope again...hope that the hazy grey veil in which Ambien seems to encase my creativity with like some medical shroud can still be lifted...and that the grey matter inside my head can still rise to that surface (even if only for a Loch Ness Monster-like instant) and indeed prevail.

03 July 2007

Who let the blogs out?

This, being my 100th blog for the Montgomery Advertiser, I just felt compelled to tie in both blogging and news, as that would be most appropriate on this "momentous" occasion of mine...or so I think...

Okay, I have to shout out what voice I have here to say that I'm pretty annoyed by the fact that when I click on what appears to be "a legitimate news link" I am handed over to some blogger's blog. Who exactly started this trend and, more importantly, how can I be in it?

AOL's main news page is notorious for doing this, I'm not too sure about the other online places such as Yahoo and Google. Then, even IF it takes you to a news story, there's that "Digg This" thingy at the bottom of the page. How exactly DID Digg.com get so darned popular? Did they have a bazillion dollars to start with? Did they hang out at chat rooms for teens and hand out links to their site like candy? Furthermore, how do I get to parlay my little website, which is darned entertaining if you ask me, HumorMeOnline.com, into some mega-giant worth gazillions in no time flat?

Now, when I want to read some guy's blog about how he finds Paris Hilton's or Britney Spears' choice in (or lack of choice in) underwear interesting enough to write about, I'll go do a search on it...I don't want to be segued to it via a link on a news page for something entirely different, say, what the job markets are in various areas. How unemployment figures are remotely tied to Paris' or Britney's undergarments is entirely baffling to me.

Now, I realize that, historically, the stock market would go up and down depending on what women's skirt lengths would be...but Britney's underwear? Let's see...it's going to be a bull market when we see a doctored photo of her nether regions...or perhaps it would more appropriately be a bear market?

So, in the future I predict that all news will be heralded by bloggers with absolutely no idea of what they are talking about...but apparently have tens of thousands of people believing and hanging on their every word. And you can trust me on that...because...well, because I am a blogger.

23 June 2007

The Best of the Rest...AFI's Top 100 American Films

To borrow a quote from number 31 on the list: 'Movies...the stuff that dreams are made of." Or perhaps it should be the other way around...regardless, the American Film Institute (AFI) just released the list of their idea of what the "Top 100 Movies of All Times" are. Well, at least until they ask 1500 other "above-average movie-goers" to voice their opinion next year when they release the list all over again.

Now, to be fair, according to the article I read from Roger Ebert, he states this voting body was comprised of "1500 filmmakers, critics and historians". Which begs the question - if they are picking "above-average movie-goers" what exactly does this "above-average" refer to? Their IQ, their net worth, the fact they've seen more movies than the "ordinary movie-goer" sees in one year? Well, I personally don't see many first-run movies per year, but this list isn't about "new" films anyway, so I figure that wasn't what they meant...but I'd also figure you'd have to have seen more than a movie or two during your life in order to be qualified to vote. I mean, catching those "films" they show on the Sci-Fi channel, like "Mansquito"...well, I'd venture to say they could do 100 such lists as these, and I doubt that "little gem" would show up on any.

Now, I do some "Top Ten" picking at my interactive comedy website, HumorMeOnline (yes, if I'm nothing else, I'm a master of the segue) and I realize you can give 15, 150 or 1500 people the same exact list of entries to pick from and you will probably never get the same ten picked twice. What I'm trying to say here is that there will always be people who look at this list and go "What??? My Fair Lady didn't make the list!?" Well, that person would be me...but I digress. You are never going to satisfy the majority when the minority are at the helm.

Mr. Ebert did make a comment which I couldn't, in 100 percent certainty, understand completely. I would figure he meant that when he was a teenager and saw (number one ranked) "Citizen Kane" for the first time, his eyes were opened to a whole other world of movies out there...movies that stand the test of time. These are the movies that make you think and have something to say thanks to great writers, actors who portray their characters brilliantly, and cinematography and direction that leave you in awe. Or, at the very least, something you can watch over and over again and see something new each time you do...or when you watch it years later...a whole different layer to appreciate is revealed.

Now, I haven't seen all the films on this list and some I could have easily knocked off...oh, say, "Titanic", and replaced with others...such as "V for Vendetta" and "Pan's Labyrinth" (which isn't an American film). Yes, "Titanic" did wow you with the effects...but I must admit...the entire time...I was rather hoping Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) would just hurry up and drown already. Furthermore I think that if there HAD to be a Titanic-based film on the list, "A Night to Remember" (1958), would be my choice...altho I doubt it would even have make my list. Plus, again, it's not American and wouldn't qualify...so it's a moot point. And if I were to pick a Bruce Willis film (and I do like Bruce Willis as an actor...I think he's highly underrated) it wouldn't have been The Sixth Sense...it would have been "Twelve Monkeys"...altho he also managed to show here with "Pulp Fiction", which I still adore as a film.

I am also very glad to see that "Sullivan's Travels" made this list. I don't know how many other times in the past that it has, but I can count the number of people I know who have seen this film on one hand...and possibly one finger. "Bringing Up Baby", an over-the-top screwball comedy from 1938 made it...and while I adore Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn both, I cannot help wondering why 1936's "My Man Godfrey", equally as madcap, but better in my opinion, didn't. In fact, I had to watch "Bringing Up Baby" a few times before I could really appreciate it...and even now, I appreciate "My Man Godfrey" more.

And "Some Like It Hot", voted AFI's #1 "Funniest American Movies of All Time" in 2000, had a pitiful showing on this list, coming in 22nd. That movie only gets better each and every time I watch it...and I am rightfully embarrassed telling you how many times that has been. Even "It's a Wonderful Life" and "The Graduate" should have placed much higher if you ask me...and while I can appreciate the acerbic wit and impeccable timing of Groucho Marx, I cannot really sit thru a Marx Brothers film and see what all the fuss was about. Zaniness? Yes. One liners from Groucho funny? You bet your life. Chico's inimitable hilarious misuse of the English language? Brilliant indeed! But while all of them stand on their own...to me they don't exactly gel when you throw them into the movie mix. Even playwright George S. Kaufman had an issue with their antics, and according to the Internet Movie Database, walked up to them during a rehearsal of "Animal Crackers" and remarked, "Excuse me for interrupting, but I thought for a minute I actually heard a line I wrote". Now, that movie didn't make this list, but this Kaufman quote did validate my dislike for their all-too-silliness.

Again, this is a list comprised by 1500 people and not my own self, so I know there are going to be some picks on there I agree with and some I am completely baffled by...but that's really not what the point of this list is. I do feel, as Roger Ebert also stated in not so many words, that coming out with this list perhaps introduces people to movies they ordinarily wouldn't have ever thought of viewing and especially of films that were made long before the majority of us were born. In fact, the earliest film I see on this AFI list is from 1916...D.W. Griffith's "Intolerance"...a subject he was not all too unfamiliar with, having filmed the highly controversial (then and especially now) "Birth of a Nation" the year before.

And, perhaps it might be a fitting way to end this blog saying that even though we don't agree with the films on this list...we just might need to be a little more tolerant of the choices.

13 June 2007

Nursery Crimes

I think I'll go and sue my elementary school, Mother Goose, and those incredibly morbid writers, Hans Christian Anderson and The Brothers Grimm. Why? Perhaps on some strange subconscious level they are responsible for any depression I'm feeling...or will ever feel.

"Oh, but you're over exaggerating" you are collectively saying. Well, then, let me just give you a little back history on my wonderful "growing up" care-free happy days of yore...

But first, yes, there's always a reason behind why we think of things...don't let anyone tell you there isn't. I was doing things around the house and singing gleefully out of tune like I always, always do, when something in my head harkened back to "The Farmer in the Dell"...and WHY exactly was it that the poor cheese had to stand alone? Was it Limburger? So, I, being silly, asked my daughter just that, who, to my dismay, never heard of this well-known ditty we always sung and played when I was in Kindergarten. Who can't forget ending up being that pathetic little cheese? Rather like being the last one called for kickball or always being the first one "out" when you played dodgeball...and never winning Musical Chairs. Dodgeball, skinned knees and overly depressing songs...ah, the wondrous memories of my youth.

I scurried over to the computer and brought up Google to see why exactly that cheese stood alone, I mean if Google isn't going to have it, no one will. But, alas, it was just a bunch of silly conjecture and I didn't get a real answer. Perhaps I was overanalyzing it all...but wait...then it dawned on me: We sang some pretty darned depressing songs...and my daughter never sang them. Is it because they've all been phased out of school because they'd get sued nowadays if they sung them? Well, if I had to sing about drownings and death...well, by golly, she should, too! In fact, as my daughter commented, "Wasn't your favourite song from school that "Molly Malone, cockles and mussels, ghost wheeling a barrow" one? Why, yes, yes indeed. Back to Google we went.

So, we had a grand time singing songs that formed me from a nice happy-go-lucky child to the person I am today, a cynical overly-depressed hypochondriac. Oh, c'mon, I'm joking here! But take a look at some excerpts from songs and passages from poems and stories that are to blame (I'll include a clickable link in case you wanted to see them in their entirety). And, yes, we did indeed sing and read these...all before third grade.

Cockles and Mussels

She died of a fever, and no one could save her
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone
But her ghost wheels her barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels, alive, alive-O!
Alive, alive-O! alive, alive-O!
Crying cockles and mussels, alive, alive-O!

My Darling Clementine

Ruby lips above the water
Blowing bubbles soft and fine
But, alas, I was no swimmer
So I lost my Clementine

My Bonnie

Last night as I lay on my pillow,
Last night as I lay on my bed,
Last night as I lay on my pillow,
I dreamed that my Bonnie was dead.

And let us not forget those kindly nursery rhymes...

Ding Dong Bell

Ding, dong, bell,
Pussy's in the well!
Who put her in?
Little Tommy Green.
Who pulled her out?
Big Johnny Stout.
What a naughty boy was that,
To drown poor pussy-cat,
Who never did him any harm,
But killed the mice in his father's barn!

There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do.
She gave them some broth without any bread.
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

And don't get me started on the REAL version of The Little Mermaid and the sick, sick, sick story of The Little Match Girl, let alone Hansel and Gretel. Talk about the stuff that nightmares are made of. And you know what else freaked me out as a kid? That little prayer that goes... "If I should die before I wake???" What AREN'T you telling me here, Mom???

Lastly, I don't buy the "false" claim on the history/origin of this one, but I'll include it...I'll always think it was about "The Black Death". Anyway, again, this is just another testament to how we sang songs of horror...and you know what? We LIKED it! But, sssh...don't tell my lawyer that.

Ring Around the Rosey (Rosie)

02 June 2007

Cellphone Videoantes

Last week I was at the stop light at intersection of Dalraida Drive and Atlanta Highway in Montgomery. For those of you who don't know the area, it's a spot that has a four-lane highway and a two-way street that, only for the intersection part, branches out into right/left/1 and 2 straight lanes, respectively, and then goes back down to their "allotted" amount of lanes.

Not only is there major congestion there since someone decided it was a brilliant idea to pop a Walgreens Pharmacy right smack on one of the corners, it also has four schools within, I'd say, half a mile of this intersection; three of which are pretty much located within sight distance...even for me...even without corrective lenses.

I routinely go there as I have to cross this intersection to bring/retrieve my daughter to and from school, so the timeframe I'm speaking of is just when all these schools are either starting or letting out. Now I'm no stranger to "creative" driving, God knows I've driven in Philadelphia, LA, New York City, Atlanta, DC, et al, so I've spied a wide variety of "tactics" that people come up with to go that extra pavement inch.

I've also seen people drive and simultaneously talk on cell phones (I think Montgomery, seriously, has got to be the worst...they really need to implement some law here), put on make-up, look at maps, unfold maps, refold maps, read books, drink various beverages; both hot and cold, eat, drive with their knees because both hands were otherwise occupied, and, uh...even bore witness to front-seat "love sessions" a few times...and every combination of those you can think of...but the guy last week literally took the cake.

Not only was he chowing down holding a massive "to-go" styrofoam container with one hand, eating with a fork or spoon with the other, seemingly talking either to himself or on the cellphone...or maybe he was cussing out the guy in front of him for not running the light. Regardless, he was also "knee-driving" thru this same intersection that you really should be devoting at least one iota of your attention to do. I mean, this guy wasn't just juggling a super-hot McD's coffee in one hand and a sausage biscuit in the other...we are talking about balancing a mega-huge container probably laden with food, with that flip-top lid part up no less, virtually blocking whatever windshield view he had, rendering him pretty much "more useless" than he probably is the rest of the day. Think of that iconic portrayal of the little old lady, about 3 feet 5 inches tall, precariously balanced on a stack of five or six phone books...and not those scrawny Wetumpka phonebooks neither...those mega-huge DC kinds, having to scooch forward in order to reach the pedals. Oh, did I mention that even WITH corrective lenses she couldn't see those three schools? Well, add that to the mix and then you'd have a pretty good idea of what this guy seemed like to me.

Anyway, as I sat there at the light biding my time, about three minutes 30 seconds worth of time to be exact (it's a long light)...I watched the routine traffic antics play out and had a brilliantly wicked idea spawned from witnessing "Mr. Styro" shovel food into his face. But first, before I forget...it is always fun to see people try to ignore the fact they've "inadvertently" rolled their 2000 pound hunk of metal into the middle of the road, blocking off two lanes of traffic, and pretending to be totally unaware of the fact. Oh, the faces they make...it's quite comical actually. It's actually some of the best entertainment Montgomery has to offer...oh, c'mon this place isn't exactly the mecca of all things social, so don't fault me for making the most of an otherwise tedious and annoying situation.

But back to sitting there at the light...I envisioned a website run by the authorities where I could take a cellphone shot of this guy (and countless others) and have him duly fined for reckless driving, driving in a school zone without using any hands, failure to use turn signals (heaven knows what appendage he'd have to employ to do that whilst doing all the rest...and something tells me he wasn't THAT talented), and basically being a total idiot. "Sorry, officer, the only way I could think of giving myself the Heimlich maneuver when I was choking on that piece of Kung Pao chicken was to ram my car into the guy in front of me...and guess what? It worked!"

So, I'm almost tempted to at least provide some bandwidth on my own site, HumorMeOnline, to showcase similar boneheads caught in the act of failing to realize that you can also see IN through that same window YOU are supposed to be concentrating seeing out of. The least I could do is post their pictures up on my PhotoLaughs contest and use them for comedy fodder. I've even coined a word I made up describing this whole "regular citizen turned vigilante photocop" - yes, I Googled and no one used it yet...a "Videoante"...being the person who snaps said image of an auto-perpetrator and turns them in.

The only downfall I see to my whole "brilliant" scheme is being snapped in turn by someone else who is also a Videoante...being caught at your own game so to speak. I certainly wouldn't want a whole nation going all suburban/urban über-Paparazzi...and I'm sure there's only so many covert images of guys picking their noses one can take...at least I hope so.

22 May 2007

Of Yard History, History Channel, and Histrionics

Well, I flaked out on you...I didn't write that blog I promised. Instead I spent the whole weekend working in my yard which hasn't really been worked on since my mother died, Halloween 1999. My son and I (mainly me pointing to things and my son doing them) really worked a lot - and by the time I came inside, cooked, drank a Martini and watched television (damn you, History Channel...I love you so), I didn't feel much like doing anything else.

We worked again in the yard today and yanked out a whole bunch of weeds which seriously shouldn't have gotten this far. A bit of advice: don't buy a house next to a kudzu patch no matter how much you haven't a clue what the heck kudzu is ("oooh pretty vines - look, they make elephant shapes on the phone poles") - don't buy a house with a couple acres unless someone actually plans to do yard work (or at least help more than one hour a month) - and don't take seven years off and then expect to have it back into shape in a couple weekends.

Anyway, after school vacation starts up here in a few days I shall be able to relax more, get more than 1.5 hours of Ambien-induced sleep, and literally write tomes enough to choke that viney elephant with...well, hopefully at least one of the three.

18 May 2007

Write Away...

Envisioning a new blog which I will probably post up here tomorrow nite. Been busy at home with various things which seem to preoccupy my time...but rest assured there will be another one of my "stories" to read by the weekend.

05 May 2007

The Hindenburg Anniversary

Long ago, relatively speaking, I ventured to Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey. This was way back around 1982...45 years after the Hindenburg exploded, killing 35 people on board and one on the ground. Sixty-two passengers and crew survived that horrific day the 6th of May, 1937.

Who can't forget the words of radio broadcaster, Herbert Morrison, who uttered that all too repeated phrase..."Oh, the humanity". It's even been spoofed by Jim Carrey in The Grinch...the "Who-manity". Cute...but once you heard those tear-laden words coming out of Morrison's mouth...broadcasting as it happened, literally only feet away, you can't really find too much funny in it. At least I can't.

When I drove into Lakehurst, my one and only time going there...my husband-to-be's Air Force access giving us free reign to drive around in reckless abandon...and abandoned there was. Abandoned aircraft strewn across the tarmac...just dragged and left there after so many dogfights...cockpits riddled with bullet-holes, unknown names of the pilots and pin-up girls' likenesses scrolled on the exterior. Just skeletons, left to decompose further in the hot Jersey sun...like toys tossed about in some giant sandbox.

And then there's the Hindenburg's crash site.

A faint burnt area was still visible back in 1982. I remotely remember a tiny marker of some sort then. But that was all.

I couldn't believe it...nothing more than an insignificant sign in the middle of that vast expanse of flightline. No pilgrimages of people standing in line to view it...no prominent signs pointing to it...like a cattle skull in the desert...that's it.

A simple plaque now commemorates the spot (50 years after the fact) with about as many words on it as the number of people who died that fateful day.

I'm saying this because of a couple reasons...which you may or may not agree with. First, of course, it's the 70th anniversary of the Hindenburg explosion. Also, I just read that they are wondering what to do with Norris Hall where most of Virginia Tech's students and professors tragically lost their lives. Should they raze it? Should they build a monument? Should they just clean it up and put in a fitting memorial?

I just can't help but reflect and wonder what difference it would have made to the families of the Hindenburg victims had they done something other than what they did back then. Would it even have made a difference? And, unfortunately, how many more such tributes and plaques must there be built?

28 April 2007


I am not too sure I want to fly on an airline that is selling tickets for $10 each way. It's not the fact that they are cheap that I'm worried about, it's the fact Skybus is banking on recouping some of their losses by selling the sides of their planes for advertising space..."flying billboards" if you will.

Now, I don't know about you, but apart from taxiing down the runway, the only other place I want to get that close to read the outside of some plane is when I'm stepping in or out of it. Logically, it would have made more sense to me to hand out flyers when you boarded the plane rather than to expect people to spy a flying billboard at cruising altitude...or at least I hope so.

What real purpose does this serve? Who is going to think this is a great idea? Just HOW do they expect to get someone to plunk down thousands of dollars just to have a big logo painted on a plane? Let's take a look, shall we?

GoldenPalace.com: If they shelled out $10,000 to have some poor woman, who clearly wasn't thinking straight at the moment, to have the words "GoldenPalace.com" tattooed on her forehead, they surely will jump at the chance to emblazon a plane with the same words only much larger. Let's hope they're much larger.

Sonic: Their commercials CAN'T get any worse...doing this would actually be a step UP from the usual feelings they evoke in me. Oh you know...wanting to gouge my eyes out, smacking myself in the forehead repeatedly whilst murmuring something along the lines of, "They didn't actually PAY someone to come up with THIS TRIPE, did they?" At least at 30,000 feet high, I won't be able to watch it...and there is a good in that, that even I cannot now begin to contemplate nor fully appreciate.

Snakes On A Plane: Don't they still have to do about $150 million dollars in DVD sales to begin to break even from this debacle? I figure somehow they work out a deal with Skybus...paint some snakes ON their plane and then every person who pays their $10 gets a free DVD. Sure, they won't be making any money on the deal, but the warehouse fees alone to store these things has GOT to be astronomical.

Lastly, and I sure hope as a joke, they can toss in a modified "If you can read this Skybus ad you're too close" bumper sticker...or better yet they can charge you $50 for the privilege of buying one. Hey, it's all about the overall experience...just remember that. Just don't forget, if Hooters Air can go bust... Well, poor choice of words there...but, just because there's a gimmick...doesn't mean it's gonna fly.

24 April 2007

What a Sheer Delight

I was watching the Bravo channel the other night when yet another "reality" show came on. Now, anyone who knows me knows I am NOT a fan of reality shows. Why? Mainly because I hate the fact that shows that were once written like Soap, Seinfeld and Frasier won't get a chance to air if we, as a culture, keep tuning into these instead.

There is going to be a whole generation of people who won't ever get to know just how witty writers CAN be...because they've never been subjected to anything not "soft-scripted". Sure, those reality shows have 'writers'...if you want to call them that, but I guess if that's the only way I could break into the writing business, and I'd LOVE to break into the writing business by the way (hint hint out there)...I'd compromise my principles and "write" for "Survivor" and "Beauty and the Geek" as well.

So, while I'm clicking thru the "scrolly-guide" on my television to pick what's better to watch...and, honestly, an infomercial would be better...well maybe not BETTER...but definitely more mentally stimulating at this point, I get "aurally hooked" to this hair salon-based show, entitled "
Sheer Genius" and decide to watch. Okay, I admit, it was like 3:00 in the morning, so maybe that had something to do with it...but, if a show can reel me in with mere words alone...I'm going to take that bait.

Apparently I've entered this game at Episode 2 of Season 1...and it seems to me they have about 10-12 stylists they've previously introduced who will have to do what is told of them within the allotted time frame. First up was taking jet black hair and bringing it down to at least a mid-blonde, a level 8 I believe. What's a level 8? Heck if I know...but they have swatches so I can be the judge as well. But just as in The Price Is Right...going under is fine, going over just won't do. They each had their little mannequin heads with all the same hair, so it was fair across the board (I like fairness)...and they had two hours to match the shade...going lighter no problem...darker, well, just as in that Price Is Right showcase at the end, you go over, even by a hair...you don't win.

I know what you are thinking..."How do they determine who wins?" I'm glad you asked...why, there are judges of course! One of them is a top hair stylist, Rene Fris; Michael Carl is the fashion director of Allure magazine; Sally Hershberger is another highly sought after hair stylist; and last, but not in the least, least...is Jaclyn Smith of Charlie's Angels fame...she's the one who basically looks the same as when she used to play Kelly all the way back in the 70s. Yes, all women hate her...just kidding, she was the "nice" Angel anyway. "And what are they trying to win?" is your next question, which I shall pointedly answer (yes, ever being the comedian, I will segue as many puns as I can into this hair-raising story...without going over the top) At stake is an apprenticeship with Roy Teeluk, who just happens to be the lead stylist for Nexxus. He is also on the show and walks around bantering back and forth with the stylists...quite a nice added touch if you ask me.

All-in-all it's quite a chatty show - bear in mind that people DO confide in their hairdressers more often than anyone else...hey, I've seen Shampoo...and that "only her hairdresser knows for sure" commercial, and if you can't trust Hollywood writers, who can you trust? Anyway, being TOO chatty almost cost one contestant her spot on the show...when that clock is ticking away, you've really gotta cut that conversation short with your client.

Personally, I liked two stylists right off...Tabatha and Jim. Tabatha won the "colour the fake head's hair from dark to light" competition...and I was genuinely glad for her. Her quip to Roy of "I do it myself as I can do it better than anyone else" when he asked "Who colours YOUR hair?" wasn't at all uppity...she was self-assured - and I can appreciate someone who has confidence and knows where that confidence lies.

Two other runners-up were also chosen to be the "three that came out on top" and were allotted extended perks for their prowess. The next styling event would be to work on real people. But not just real people...that's too easy...real people who brought in a celebrity photo of whose hair they wanted to have. Now, I've been to lots of stylists in my day and usually I give them free reign...my stance is that they are the professionals and should know which cut would suit me best. I give them some ideas and usually a photo of what I'd like it to look like in an ideal world...but it's only a guide. I know I'll never look like Sharon Stone...so I don't get THAT bent out of shape when I don't end up looking like her clone.

Now, not only did these 'three top finishers' of the colouring segment get to walk over to the board and pick the photo of the client they wanted, they also got to choose them based on which "celebrity do" style she wanted to be reincarnated as. The others were "celebrity clueless"...no we aren't talking about Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears...the other stylists just didn't get to see which celebrity their clients wanted to look like. Some wanted miracle transformations: dark hair to Gwen Stefani/Christina Aguilera platinum...hair colour that usually takes many hours to achieve...but their time constraint of two hours would be their only realm within which they could work...making many "do's" simply NOT doable.

This is the part I found the most fun. Real people, real stylists, real decisions, really fast. Real fast? Two hours? Yes, when you have to consult, colour, cut, and blow dry hair into a style, that time goes by faster than black roots will start showing thru platinum hair. There's also no fancy-schmancy cutting-edge technology here, kids...just vision and expertise.

Keep in mind, in this segment they weren't so much trying to "do" an exact replica of the photograph - they were supposed to use it as a guideline on which to base what COULD be done to the client, that the client would still accept and fawn over later. Personally, I would have liked to have seen them really attempt to do that celebrity they chose, a photo-finish at the end, if you will. But, face it, if we all could just slap down a torn page from a People magazine when we sat down in that chair and ended up looking like it when we got out of it, wouldn't we all be running around looking like Halle Berry?

It IS, however, the responsibility of a good stylist to address those "impossible" issues people seem to have and ultimately end up with a satisfied customer. And there were quite a few "satisfied customers" at the end....Tabatha did a spot-on recreation of her client's chosen photo of Victoria Beckham, only Tabatha managed to make it look twice as good...that lady is definitely talented. Conversely, there was one client in particular who was going to be crying like a baby when she awoke in the morning. Again, they stressed - it really was up to the stylist to say "You know, this just isn't going to happen...how about we do something equally fabulous that can?!"

I've seen many a "shouldn't have gone there, girlfriend" hairstyle in my day, and regardless if they are paying top dollar at some swanky salon or going to SuperCuts - sometimes a little honesty in these cases would definitely be the best policy...as in the case of poor Jim.

Jim, unfortunately, created a colour that even the Crayola team would have rejected and was ceremoniously voted off...altho he knew it was coming. He graciously stating that this had been such an enormous honour and special event in his life that he would always remember it fondly. He was endearingly sweet...I'd let him do my hair...I wouldn't give him a two-hour time limit, but I'd definitely let him do it.

Bottom line, I really liked this show and am looking forward to the next installment...altho I saw previews where they donned hedge trimmers, so maybe they ran out of ideas and are grasping at straws. I certainly don't want to see them go "yes, it's time to apply the colour to the hair...but we are going to use this...(insert big fanfare 'unveiling' music here)...yes, a toilet brush! Tune in next week when we will attempt curling hair with nothing more than a modified toaster and a bit of rebar." Hmmm...well, let's not think about that. For now I'm pleased to say the fast-paced open dialogue coupled with the "momentum of the moment" activity seemed to be a perfect blend...alas, unlike whatever poor Jim combined together to get (shudder) "that shade".