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".

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".

20 April 2007

"Infamous April"...Unfortunately

This is an email I sent to one of my friends today...I thought I would change it a bit and post it here as well, as these are my feelings on this whole tragic Virginia Tech (and school shootings in general) incident.

You know I'm really tired of hearing all this talk about "oh, he was bullied at school" every time some kid shoots up a school.
Ya know what? So was I, so were most of the kids I went to school with. There were kids who NEVER talked to anyone...no one talked to them unless to make fun of them. There were always the kids who didn't talk right, that were overweight, too geeky, dressed funny, or wore braces. Some were too geeky, didn't talk or dress "right", wore braces, AND were overweight. And they didn't shoot up the school because of it - they didn't do anything. Whatever happened to "ignore them", "sticks and stones", or "turn the other cheek"?

What is with the revenge bit? It's NOT because of being picked on...it's because being picked on AND retaliating by violent means is NOW ACCEPTED in our society. We are making excuses for them and their actions...they don't even have to think of their own. I am tired of this - NBC did a real disservice if you ask me by showing these tapes, especially how they managed to highlight the parts where he (I refuse to mention his name...he doesn't deserve any more recognition) says, in essence, "I'm doing this for everyone like me...I am your avenger". Oh, that's what we need - more kids who think "yeah, he makes sense...people who get picked on SHOULD fight back with guns...those kids who do the picking on SHOULD die". People can argue until the cows come home about how it helps us identify the "possible next one" - but you know what, WE didn't need this info. Put it in the hands of those who do...not the general populace who are beginning to get incredibly desensitized to all of this.

My first remembrance of a mass school shooting was immortalized in a song from The Boomtown Rats..."I Don't Like Mondays". I liked that song...I didn't like the impetus for it...it was a catchy tune, maybe too catchy. This Virginia Tech shooting occurred on Monday...and also is "coincidentally" the week of the Columbine murders, Waco, and the "avenge Waco two years later" bombing of the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building. This "calendar of infamous 'me too' April events" is getting a little too disturbing for my liking. And what influence, if any, did these things have to do with this latest shooting...and others which have gotten less press over the years, and, unfortunately, the ones in the future?

Cries of "you haven't seen anything yet" coursing thru those other students' heads...the ones who phoned in these things to their schools - a "joke" they say. Oh, how "funny" if must have seemed to those schools that got those threats the next day...and are probably continuing to get them. Oh...and don't forget those "infamous" dates - "Columbine's anniversary" made more famous for the killers themselves than for those who lost their lives. I'm sure they get plenty of calls on THAT date (which just so happens to be THIS date). Damned sick if you ask me. We are too fascinated. We are intrigued by these people nearly to the point of worshiping them...we want to look into their "heads", their motivation for doing it...their motivation for doing it was being pure evil. End of story.

I talked to someone yesterday who swore that if he could have talked to the kid, he's sure he would have gotten "through to him". I completely disagree. I think no amount of girlfriends this guy would have had, no amount of friendship bestowed upon him, no amount of intervention...probably would have helped. Some people ARE beyond help. Some others choose not to seek it. Some are mental and have some actual issues beyond their control, some are just pure evil...some, I'm sure, are a combination...but still are a ticking time bomb. I believe if this student HAD been expelled from campus years before, chances are he would have retaliated years before as well.

I just wish people (in the media) would not glorify such actions by highlighting every detail...in the case of the Unabomber, printing his "manifesto" LED to his arrest. We already KNEW who was the perpetrator of the Columbine shootings...of the Virginia Tech shootings. Airing these tapes, their websites, their ramblings...is just what they wanted us to do "after the fact"-- they KNEW it in advance, just as they KNEW what they were going to do before they did it...and this "press glorification" is the motivation behind much of this horror.

Evil begets evil...I say let it begin to end...don't give them this satisfaction in the end as they planned all along...they are not to be made martyrs. Just don't air it.

17 April 2007

Virginia Tech et al

As many of you are aware, I have an interactive online comedy website, HumorMeOnline, that I own and run. That website also has a forum, where people can go to discuss a myriad of things...and that part is pretty much not "my puppy" - in other words, they basically can say what they like (within reason - I do have SOME rules).

Well, I just posted a lengthy forum post to it regarding, as the press keeps reminding me, "The deadliest shooting rampage ever in the United States"...and while, some of the words I use like "intro blurby" might seem foreign to you unless you've visited my site, I believe you will be able to extrapolate from it, my intended point.

The post:

I made a conscious decision to not post condolences for tragic events on the HMO home page quite some time ago...I believe it was after the school shooting in Erfurt, Germany, back in April 2003, when 18 people were tragically and horribly gunned down.

While I don't ever want to come across as uncaring and unfeeling (oh, my word, trust me - I have so much emotion that pours over me during these things, I can't even begin to emote to you how much)...but my reasons for not posting these things directly on my site is twofold.

First, for whatever pleasure these monsters get from reading about themselves doing these horrific acts of violence (or knowing what will be read about themselves because most times they die) - I just don't want to give them that satisfaction...or to make it seem like "Oh, only three this time...that's not even worthy enough that I mention it"...which leads us into my main reason and it is this: There are horrible incidents each and every day that affect us, people that we know, and people we will never know - that aren't necessarily in the magnitude of a "24-hour-live coverage horrific multi-murder event".

While, yes, I agree that just the scope of sheer numbers alone is mindboggling...is so incredibly terrible all at once...touching dozens, sometimes hundreds of people in one fell swoop...the fact of the solitary incident getting passed over, just a mere semicolon in the book...not anywhere as important as a period, an exclamation point, or a question mark...that semicolon...that "glossed over, forgotten person" means more than any amount of words can express about their loved ones. I shall not glance over those single events in favour of others who gain more fame simply because they were unfortunate enough to be included in a multiple act of unconscionable evil.

Evil IS evil...the killing of one thousand or the killing of just one...all are someone's brother, sister, aunt, uncle, daughter, son, mother, father, etc., many more are just labeled "friends". But they ARE missed and they ARE cried over just as much as that "one of many of a part". Granted, just the sheer amount can be staggering...the pure evilness...the heinousness, the absolute disregard for human life when many are the victims...is compounded immeasurably...but, if it is separated, each person is still only a part, a part who is someone's husband, brother, father, wife, sister, mother, etc., no more or less than the instances of solitary death. We must not forget that as well...and that is why I choose to not recognize only the most deadly shootings...all deadly shootings have the same outcome in the end: A loved one is dead. Are they loved less because they were killed singly? No. But the press all too often takes this stance..."Report only the 'big ones'."

I wish there were none to report.

I wish Monday would have been another boring day for those college students, passing and failing tests and wondering about upcoming final exams. I wish no other schools or businesses would have to face heartbreak...I wish all evil could be expelled from this Earth, period. I wish I never have to change another intro blurby at my site because death happened and the wording of the existing blurby seemed inappropriate.

But I know, that's not the way life is. I just hope and pray the victims' families can find some rhyme or reason for that question mark that will be forever in their heads. And as some exclaim "It isn't fair! Maybe they should have done this instead!" a resolution that will bring them ease and some peace.

The only point I'm trying to convey here is that I am so incredibly saddened...so incredibly...such a waste of what could have been, a waste of the joy and laughter, now forever silenced; replaced by sorrow and tears. My heart and my prayers go out to each and every person who lost their lives today or were injured...and to their families and friends. But please believe me, everyone, when I tell you that my prayers DO go out to so many others whom I never make mention of here.

So, so many more...too many.

Mariann aka Cadeaux

11 April 2007

Hail, Hail the Bang's All Here

And was it banging...on my driveway, on my cars, and on my roof. We had some pretty large hail today in the Montgomery area if you hadn't noticed, and from the looks of the photos they were showing on the news this evening, the Blue Ridge area of Wetumpka had some of the largest that fell.

I had phoned my son just moments before the storm started as I had a car-full of groceries and saw the sky darkening...letting him know I'd be pulling up and since it looked pretty ominous he best not delay getting the stuff in from the car. Well, I had opened up the hatch to the van and took the mail inside when I knew something out of the ordinary was up...suddenly, and in complete unison, akin to when birds flock to and fro, all the cats jumped down from their cat tower or ran in from outside. Some strange mental bond between them kicked in...as if they had read those "during an emergency 'let's all meet up here' plans" -- they all converged under the table in the living room. Then the sirens sounded and the hail started falling...I called my son inside and we hung out in the hallway until it passed...altho my son suggested 'perhaps we should be under the table with the cats as maybe they know something we don't'. My son kept reminding me that the hatch was still open and he hadn't yet gotten all the bags in...but I think I'd rather have him alive than having to call 911 because he was struck "just wrong" on the head by hail...lightning...or a tree limb. Consequently, my hatch now has a pockmark where one of those "larger than a golf ball"-sized hail hit.

Then, of course, we HAD to take photos of the hail. My online friend commented "You folks don't get much hail I guess..lol"...but, contrary to what you may or may not know, hail is quite a phenomenon in itself...and not really all that easily made. A series of circumstances have to come into play in order for hail to become the extremely super-cold hard mass that it is...and, as my son found out today holding them...they are EXTREMELY cold. According to a book I have, I am eschewing Wikipedia, because, well, anyone can put anything up there and everyone takes that to mean it is correct. Not saying this book is more correct, but, it does correlate what most sites online are saying...plus I DO like this book, a lot.

These paraphrased quotes come from It's Raining Frogs and Fishes written by Jerry Dennis...a book about weather and sky-related phenomena. It states: Water droplets can become "supercooled" to temperatures far below freezing...which can then coalesce onto frozen drops. Updrafts within high, storm-bearing clouds are sometimes powerful to slow the descent of those drops, and perhaps tossing them back upwards, like popcorn in a popper, alternating between cold and warm air, thus building up layers of this "onion-skin"-like ice, until they become too heavy and fall to the ground. Hail usually occurs during warm weather because the heat rising from the ground forms turbulent cumulonimbus clouds containing strong updrafts...the tops of which, in the troposphere, can reach temperatures as low as -112 degrees Fahrenheit. Another theory is that a single hailstone makes only one descent from the top of the cloud to the ground, but since it is slowed by updrafts, has time, perhaps even 10-20 minutes, to have "supercooled" water droplets adhering to this ever-growing nucleus of ice. The book further states that many meteorologists think both theories are plausible.

No wonder these things are pretty darned cold...and pretty darned jagged...altho as you can see from the one photo I took today, they can also form some incredibly symmetrical round balls. You might also notice, if you look hard enough, that some look like a white marble is encased inside a clear ice shell...I call this "the geode effect"...as, when you slice it in half, it really looks like a cross-cut of a geode to me (last photo).

And, as a slide...er...side note - please remember, if you can pull WAY off the road when this happens (such as a parking lot)...do so. Keep in mind this stuff isn't just rain, it's ice - and as anyone from New Jersey can attest to...you don't want to try to drive on ice...you won't win.

10 April 2007

My Anniversary

Well, well...my one year anniversary of blogging here at the Montgomery Advertiser came and went without anyone noticing, including myself. Yes, I've been at this now since 15 March 2006.

Please send all presents, cash and job offers via my HumorMeOnline address...or you could always contact me thru my email address...and, of course, this is NOT the time to be frugal.