Sunday, December 28, 2008


I suppose I shouldn't be, but I am.

There's this new "reality" show called "Ugly Agency." In a nutshell: Three really good-looking babes wander around the streets of NYC, looking for "ugly" people, which so far have included the grossly obese, the former grossly obese who are then asked to get half-naked (better not be self-conscious about stretch marks), and a couple of dwarves, among others. Then they send them on photo shoots, movie auditions, etc, for places that want "characters," otherwise known as "not tall, blonde, thin and beautiful."

You know what's worse? (Besides the fact that I wasted half an hour of my life on this shit, I mean. Curiosity gets the best of me for at least one episode every time, though.) The "chosen" people's reactions were just depressing as hell. They were so excited! Someone thought they were attractive enough to be a model! I kept waiting for one to say "F you, there's nothing wrong with me." But apparently nobody had enough self-esteem to do so.

Every time I think American TV has at LAST scraped the bottom of the barrel, I discover otherwise. I suppose it will take the entertainment version of the current global economic crisis to get it to stop. I'm not convinced that will ever happen. :-\

Now playing: Elliott Smith - Bottle up and Explode!
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

le sigh.

It's hard to be all ho-ho-ho and Merry Christmas and stuff when you are an unemployed journo who checks out a freelance writing jobsite to discover that a bunch of newspapers who canned a bunch of FT people this year now are looking for freelancers to fill in the gaps. I mean, Sam Zell is an asshat, and he's destroyed the Tribune Co. and decimated both the LA and Chicago versions. But even with the billion or so he's lost, he's still got billions left -- as opposed to those of us who are living off very meager unemployment checks.

And yeah, the Chicago Trib is one of the places hiring freelancers. If I still lived in Milwaukee, I'd give it a shot, since the two cities are only 90 miles apart. But ain't no way I will ever actually consent to *live* in Chicago -- crowded, dirty, outrageous traffic, and the people are rude as hell.

In the meantime, I'm competing with the other 15,600 or so unemployed journos for any writing job possible. Great odds, huh?

Now playing: Guy Lombardo - The Merry Christmas Waltz
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, December 18, 2008

the sweetest music this side of heaven.

Awww, man, I love Guy Lombardo. Call me sappy, call me what you will, but Milwaukee public television every Saturday night ran a half-hour of the series he had in the '50s. Usually he would have some glamorous, sweet young thing do a song or two, and then the Royal Canadians would do their thing. There would be shots of people dancing, and sitting there chatting, back in the days when going out to dinner was a big deal, so they were all dressed to the teeth, etc. As straight big band music goes, it doesn't get much better than Guy.

I mention this because this afternoon I found, for $1.99, a CD called "Winter Moods with Guy Lombardo." If someone who is better at finding esoteric things on the Web than I can find a DVD of the above-mentioned show, let me know!

Did I mention that Guy, who most folks my age think of as some wizened old geezer, was really quite a suave and handsome devil in his day? So was his brother Carmen, who played in his band and sang now and then. (Carmen on the left, Guy on the right, below)

Now playing: Guy Lombardo - Winter Wonderland
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

what are we going to do tonight, Brain?

Same thing we do every night, Pinky -- try to take over the world!

This has to be what Oprah is saying to her cabal.

It's bad enough that she's killing off one of my favorite channels, Discovery Health Network. But you know what it's being replaced by? The Oprah Winfrey Network. Or, if you put together the acronym, OWN.

How much money/self-aggrandizement does one person need?

Now playing: Louis Prima - Sing Sing Sing
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, December 13, 2008

so what's the point...really?

There seems lately to be an explosion of people baring all on television under the guise of "helping others."

I've posted before about Ruby, the morbidly obese woman who now has her own reality show to follow her as she tries to lose several hundred pounds. She is, of course, "doing it to help people" and raise awareness. I just don't see who might be helped by watching someone regularly humiliated on national television. Maybe I'm just dense.

I just finished watching something I taped off Sundance called "Dying at Grace." They filmed 5 people in hospice care at a Toronto hospital. They filmed for 14 weeks, during which time all 5 people died. The disclaimer prior to the beginning of the film says they and their families agreed to it "to help people."

In the case of the last one to go, the camera did a tight close-up of her face and stayed there for several minutes till she stopped breathing. I'm hoping she was too out of it by that point to know that.

These things all seem like a horrible invasion of privacy to me. Not only that, I completely fail to see how they "help" anyone else, unless feeding mankind's voyeuristic tendencies is "helping."

I'm pretty open about my birthmom and mental health experiences and issues, because both those things are stigmatized and shouldn't be, and if I can point that out through my own experience, great. Perhaps that initially was one of the underlying reasons behind these shows. But you'll notice I *choose* to be open about those things and I don't do it for fame or monetary gain. I do it because frankly, it helps me to help others in the same boat, and receive their help in return. I'll talk about both freely if you ask (and sometimes if you don't, if I need to ;-) -- but there's not a chance in hell I'd let cameras in my face, home, work, SHRINK, in the case of Ruby, just to "raise awareness." That can be done one person at a time.

Too bad Andy Warhol didn't live long enough to find himself proved right.


Now playing: mixed chorus - Bless This House
via FoxyTunes

curious about something.

Spent 40 minutes in line this morning with 299 other suckers to register to take a civil service exam. Turned out most of the folks were there for the job that's been heavily advertised -- as an unemployment call center employee. (I love irony.) That was also my intention, but they had 200+ applicants and 40 test booklets, so I said the hell with it and took the test to get myself on the "general office support" list.

Here's what I want to know: How come, when you take a standardized test, you have to turn in your scratch paper at the end? Your name's not on it. If you're like me, you've scribbled all over it randomly, so it's not like anyone can check your answer to a particular question from it unless they reeeeally have a lot of time on their hands. So what's the point? Inquiring minds want to know. Should you happen to have an answer, please do enlighten me. :-)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

feeling growly....

I will never understand people who mistreat kids and critters.

I would have given body parts to raise my kid, but he deserved two devoted parents and financial stability. So I made the decision to give him that -- instead of throwing him in a dumpster. (Those stories pop up periodically and absolutely frost me. SO many people are willing and able and eager to raise a child that it baffles me that anyone can consider a living, breathing human disposable.)

I spent about an hour up at the county job center today (their printers work, unlike mine). When I went in, there was a PUPPY -- looked like a beagle, maybe -- strapped in to a child car seat in the back seat. I decided to give the owner the benefit of the doubt and assume he or she would be back shortly.

When I went to leave, an hour later, that poor dog was STILL THERE, alone, in a locked car with all the windows up and no heat, on a day where the temp is 13 degrees.

On my way home (nothing is very far from anything else in CF), I stopped at the PD and reported it. They were going to send an officer out there. I'll have to ask Chris when he reads the reports tomorrow what happened.

One small, small consolation is that the car had MN plates, so at least it wasn't one of ours. ;-) Of course, there's that poor dog in Sheboygan that its owner allowed to stay literally frozen to the Wisconsinites aren't completely blameless, I guess.

What goes through the heads of people who do crap like this? I mean, I'm no PETA freak by any means, but defenseless creatures of any species deserve the same basic kindness as anyone/thing else.

Now playing: Bing Crosby - Silver Bells
via FoxyTunes

Monday, December 8, 2008

you gotta wonder.

I've always been kind of annoyed that I was born when I was. So many things in my life could have gone so much better if I'd made my debut in the late '70s, say. But, wasn't my call. :-)

One of the things that always bugs me, though, is the lack of long-term drug studies. I've had various health problems throughout my life. I've been on something like 35 of the top 50 psych meds, some for years and years, since the late 1990s. Most of them have only existed since 1980. More and more evidence comes out every day about Big Pharma buying positive results for clinical trials. Meanwhile, it doesn't appear that I'm ever getting off these things. When I'm 70, am I going to have 3 heads and 5 eyes because there isn't enough solid science to prove their safety?

This comes up because I just read something else about kids on antiseizure meds. I was on one of those from infanthood to age 18. My last seizure was at age 6, but I was kept on the med.

Round about age 22, I saw a little brief in the newspaper saying, "Oh, you shouldn't give phenobarbital (what I was on all those years) to anyone under 18 -- it can lower IQ 30 to 40 points and cause learning disabilities."


It took till I was 31 and could afford to pay for my own assessment to get anyone to believe me that I REALLY. DIDN'T. GET. math, I really wasn't just lazy or stubborn. But I have vivid memories of being frustrated as hell as early as first grade with trying to make sense of math. (See? 1st grade in 1971 = Dark Ages in terms of recognizing LDs and knowing how to work with them.)

(BTW, the ed psych who did 4 weeks of tests on me said he'd never seen anyone of normal intelligence with such a large gap between their math and verbal abilities.)

Just now I saw something saying that kids who become seizure-free after a course of antiseizure meds should be taken off them. Most outgrow the disorder (I did). Those who don't are like 5% of the population. Those who go off the meds and have another seizure can go back on, for a limited time, and then try to go off again. And then they don't risk ending up permanently stupid -- or with 3 heads and 5 eyes.

Doctors need to think about this stuff before they just go willy-nilly prescribing things for kids that might end up causing more problems than they solve.

Now playing: Perry Como - Here We Come A-Caroling/We Wish You a Merry Christmas
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, December 7, 2008

is it baseball season yet?

I mean, we all expected the Packers to suck in the first year post-(that traitor who shall remain unnamed) anyway. I don't think anybody expected them to suck quite this BAD, however.

Could be worse -- the Vikes nearly got beat by a team that has yet to win a game this season.

When I woke up this morning, the temperature was a balmy -7. Then the snow started around 1 pm and is continuing. Can we fast-forward to April, please? It'll at least be in the low 50s by then, and the Brewers should be good again (presuming they have a pitching staff left).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

go elf yourself

I've been trying to get myself into the holiday spirit today, what with the snow and the cold and wrapping presents and listening to Bing and Perry and watching Rudolph and all. Then, for some reason, the late, great Elf Bowling came to mind. And then this popped up.

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Very Dancing with the Stars of me, no? Now if only I could get that skinny!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

apt words for the times

I just finished reading about the publisher of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune wanting another zillion dollars in cuts. The Strib has endured 3 rounds this year alone and pretty soon there won't be anyone left to put out a paper, but Chris Harte will still have his job.

Let's hear from the late and truly great Steve Goodman:
Yesterday I went downtown and saw an old-time picture show
And the hero got a pie in the face.
He didn't like that and he stormed around the screen,
But everybody else was laughin' in that place.

That's cause it ain't hard to get along with somebody else's troubles
And they don't make you lose any sleep at night
As long as fate is out there burstin' somebody else's bubbles.
Everything is gonna be alright.
And everything is gonna be alright.

Did you ever pay for something that you didn't do ?
And did you ever figure out the reason why ?
And when the doctor says this gonna hurt me a lot more than this hurts you,
Did you ever figure out that that's a lie ?

He knows it ain't too hard to get along with somebody else's troubles
And they don't make you lose any sleep at night
As long as fate is out there burstin'somebody' else's bubbles.
Everything is gonna be alright.
And everything will be alright.

And I saw the boss come a-walkin' down along the factory line,
He said, "We all have to tighten up our belts."
But he didn't look any thinner than he did a year ago
And I wonder just how hungry that man felt.

He knows it ain't too hard to get along with somebody else's troubles,
They don't make you lose any sleep at night.
Just as long as fate is out there burstin'somebody' else's bubbles.
Everything is gonna be alright.
And everything is gonna be alright.

So I asked the undertaker what it took to make him laugh
When all he ever saw is people cryin'.
First he hands me a bunch of flowers that he'd received on my behalf
He said, "Steve, business just gets better all the time."

And it ain't too hard it to get along with somebody else's troubles,
They don't make you lose any sleep at night.
As long as fate is out there burstin' somebody else's bubbles
Everything is gonna be alright.
And everything is gonna alright.

apparently it's the same everywhere, for eternity.

So here I am at dinner, sitting next to two elderly ladies (a whole 'nother post, which I will save for apres-naptime, as I'm running on 2 hours of sleep owing to the Xanax detox). They're pissing and moaning about how their kids owe them money, and how ungrateful their kids are, and that they have plenty of money, just won't part with it.

Gramma 1 to Gramma 2: "He makes pretty good money. He owns almost all his furniture."

There's undoubtedly several pithy comments about relative standards to be made here, but I'm too tired to make them.

I will say that it's times like this I *really* enjoy being a sheep. It's a lot more fun to sit in the corner, largely out of sight, and just listen and enjoy than it is to be forced to be the one doing the conversating, at least for me.

(FWIW, my mother always says that if reincarnation exists, she wants to come back as a cow, because they're allowed to be fat, dumb and lazy. I'll stick with the sheep, myself.)

Now playing: Bette Midler - White Christmas {White Christmas}
via FoxyTunes

Monday, December 1, 2008

Aplastic Anemia Awareness Week

Dec. 1 - 7 is Aplastic Anemia Awareness Week. Learn more here and, if you have been blessed with the health to do so, consider becoming a blood or bone marrow donor.

Dec. 5, coincidentally, is the 3rd anniversary of my aplastic anemia diagnosis, so this is very timely. I have been fortunate enough to go into and stay in remission, but I've gotten varying medical opinions on whether to expect it to return, and there's still always that panicky little gremlin in the back of my mind every time I get blood counts done. I know folks who are on their 3rd or 4th go-round with the stuff, and one teenage girl who has had it since age 2 (she's now 19 and looks to be facing her second bone marrow transplant). It's scary for all involved, not just the patient!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

to quote the Olsen twins, age 2....

..."How rude."

Seriously. WTF is it with people who, upon seeing someone unfamiliar to them, don't just smile, say hi, and introduce themselves and shake hands?

Yet again in the last few days, instead of doing that, someone said to me upon first meeting, "Who are you?"

I'm not naming the culprit. But it's happened to me with other people who should have known better, such as the CF school district HR person, when she was new and attending her first board meeting. Couple others have done it too.

It's not flattering, folks -- to YOU, not to my ego. Be an adult, or at least follow standard social conventions. They're conventional for a reason.

Friday, November 28, 2008


1 major holiday down, 1 to go.

I'm exhausted and I am SO ready to have my own space again. But, I survived, and it wasn't all that bad....really.

I had to laugh, though: On the way to Madison, where I met up with sis and BIL to join them for the rest of the trip, I counted no fewer than 4 cars with bike racks attached to the top. But there weren't bikes on them. There were gutted deer.

I heart Wisconsin.

Oh well -- at least they were tied down! It's the ones who don't even get that far who bug me. Well, and the ones who put the poor Bambis upside down, so their little snouts and such are facing asphalt instead of sky.

Thank god this is the beer-drinking capital of the United States, if not the world (Munich probably wins that one). I need one!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


This is why people like me don't have jobs anymore.

Friday, November 21, 2008

good riddance, ya egotistical jerk.

ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (AP) -- Brett Favre's suburban Green Bay home has been sold for $445,000.

The longtime Green Bay Packer quarterback was traded to the New York Jets last summer after changing his mind about retirement.

Realtor Micoley and Company confirmed that the 3,000-square-foot home in Ashwaubenon sold after being on the market for about seven weeks. The asking price was $475,000.

things that just ain't right, part 2

-- Christmas lights not only up, but functional, before Thanksgiving.

-- Being completely ineligible for social services because I am not a 20-year-old hood rat with 9 kids under age 10. Or, for that matter, because I not only graduated from high school, but got TWO college degrees. Or, for that matter, because I have generally managed to work through my mental health "bad times" and fooled everyone into thinking I'm functional. Can't catch a break from a shrink now to save my life when I try to insist I'm *really* not doing well, and there have been multiple times over the years I haven't been doing well and just plodded through it because I had to.

I bought in bad to the "more education is better" myth, and now I'm out both a job and an industry and meanwhile, two sales guys I know who got canned along with me both already have jobs. Sales doesn't take training, it takes extroversion. Hell, electricians don't require too much training, and they permanently have jobs and make a helluva lot more than I was. "Blue collar" turns out not to be so horrible. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for raising me in Johnson County, where those words were not to be spoken, thus completely skewing my worldview at a critical developmental point!

-- People thinking that $10/hr is a living wage. All the people who tend to think that also tend to have spouses providing another income. I had someone today tell me $10-11/hr was "pretty good." I refrained from asking, "in what universe?" Probably in someplace like Sri Lanka you can live like a king on that. But this is America, 2008, and it ain't happenin'.

-- U.S.-based job sites that require you to input the country you live in, then make the list alphabetical. Do you know how many countries there are in the world? Did you pass 1st grade, where we all learned how to alphabetize? Then you know what a PITA it is to scroll alllll the friggin' way down to get to "United States." Put it at the top and be done with it. I'm seriously doubting someone from Azerbaijan is looking for a job in Wyoming, knowwhutimean?

No doubt there will be more to come, but probably not tonight. So, /rant.

Now playing: Matt Nathanson - Bulletproof Weeks
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, November 20, 2008

link lurve

Handiest aggregator-type-thingy EVAR: All My Faves. Up at the top, click on "weekly faves."

30-Second Bunnies -- Bunnies recreate famous movies in 30 seconds. Not to be confused with Bunny Suicides, which are rather amusing, if you have a black-as-night sense of humor like me. Also not to be confused with Greg the Bunny, which is kind of X-rated Muppets (and also very funny, and occasionally sacrilegious).

Monday, November 17, 2008

random rant

Things that annoy me (in no particular order):

-- Hormones (especially the sort belonging to middle-aged women)

-- My complete inability to stop stuffing my face with fat- and sugar-laden things as soon as it gets cold

-- "Health food" that is expensive and tastes bad, but is "good for you."

-- "Isms" (ageism, sexism, racism, etc)

-- Narrow-minded people

-- Bad coffee

-- Organizations that claimed they would help you, then failed to do so, then have the audacity to ask you for money! GRRRR!!!! (I'm looking at YOU, MedicAlert!)

-- Constantly being starving and cold, despite eating nonstop, wearing multiple layers of sweats, and staying under a billion blankets. Hell, I'm sitting here in a zipped-up jacket, even.

Anyone wanna add to the list, feel free.

Now playing: Paolo Nutini - Rewind
via FoxyTunes

Friday, November 14, 2008

I love you, Roy.

Dude has nads of steel. I did a story on him, and actually attended the SOA vigil in Ga., several years ago. It was an experience I will never forget, on so many levels.

On the one hand, it does seem kind of stupid to speak out, because nothing's ever going to change while repressed old white men are in charge. On the other, though, gotta give the man credit -- as well as all the women who speak out as well, and all those who work for social justice in ANY form. That's what Catholicism USED to be about, and what it needs to return to.

Fr. Roy Bourgeois

my stuff (see the links in the blue box on the linked page for 2 other stories)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

a voice cries out in the wilderness....

...and it's mine. Asking, "WHEN WILL IT END????!!!!!"

This afternoon I attended a workshop for "displaced workers," as we are so charmingly, euphemistically called by the government.

Two things:


But wait! There's more! They had the audacity to ask if any of us WANTED TO GO ON CAMERA TO TALK ABOUT IT.

Oh, yes, thank you -- none of us is terrified, depressed, angry and embarrassed -- we'd LOVE to show our faces throughout the entire region talking about our inability to maintain employment.


2) It keeps happening!

At the end, the woman sitting next to me tapped me on the shoulder and said my name. I turned, she introduced herself and said, "I'm a Leader-Telegram subscriber, and I always really enjoyed your stories. I'm really sorry to see you here."

Don't get me wrong -- I enjoy compliments as much as the next person. But DANG, if ever there were a good time to have an anonymous job, this would be it. I went to a book reading/signing Monday night, and once a former mayor "outed" me, there were as many people in line to talk to me as there were to talk to the author! And, since the paper buried its "workforce reduction across the company" in a 2-paragraph brief somewhere near the classifieds, nobody saw it, so nobody knows I'm unemployed. It's awfully awkward!

Add in the gray, rainy day and I really should have just stayed in bed.

Now playing: Beastie Boys - Funky Boss
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

fun fact du jour

I have this thing for old newspapers. I mean, REALLY old newspapers. Like, CENTURIES-old newspapers. It's fun to get lost in them and imagine what the times they record must have been like to live in. (I'm a geek. So sue me. I spent a week at Notre Dame holed up with microfilm of their American Catholic newspaper collection for my thesis and the librarians started asking if I were sleeping there. But when the damn microfilm machines worked, it was fun!)

Anyway, Paul at "Recovering Journalist" mentioned some goodies he found at an exhibit of early newspapers at the Folger Library in Washington, D.C. This is my absolute favorite:

The weekly newspaper report of London deaths in 1680 included 57 people who died from “griping in the guts,” 29 from “teeth” and 2 from “evil.”


My guts gripe all the time! Although when I saw my internist this morning and discovered that in 6 weeks, I hadn't lost ONE FREAKING OUNCE (I had it coming, but still), I was griping AT my guts. Well, and at my laziness for not doing what I need to. And then, after that, I pissed off my therapist for the 2nd week in a row. It's been just an absolutely ducky day!

Now playing: Ray LaMontagne - Trouble
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

it's snowing, people.

Snowing, as in sticking, as in no wimpy flurries, as in the roads are going to ice over and people are going to freak out because we all temporarily forget from winter to winter how to do this.

Snow -- northern Wisconsin -- kind of expected this time of year. You would think. However, guess who doesn't have a brush? (They come in really handy when you run into the store for 5 minutes and come back out to find a 3-foot drift on the hood of your car.) Guess who can't find her gloves? Guess who has such nasty Swiss cheese brain that she forgets where her trusty Marquette wool cap went 3 seconds after she put it down? Guess whose heat isn't working and whose space heater (brand new out of the box) gave up the ghost after one day's use? I was hoping to avoid having to get my landlady involved, because my place is a dump and she's yelled at me about it before. So off I trotted to my local hardware store. The lovely old gentleman's advice? "Call the energy company."

Thanks, bud.

Blah. Blah, blah, blah.

I did get my flu shot today, so there's something positive. Also, crappy weather is a perfect excuse to huddle under wool blankets and veg, and I do have a nice, shiny new book (2 of them, actually, but one is a present, which may or may not prevent me from reading it first, LOL). But all in all, this sort of thing always comes way sooner than I'm ready for and lasts way longer than I like. Wish I had enough money to be a snowbird!

Monday, November 10, 2008


From "too much" to "waaaay too little" in one easy post.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you...what's left of Posh Spice.

My issues with "Ruby"

Let me say that I would not have known about, nor watched, this show without hearing about it from someone I know and trust who is both a journalist and has weight issues.

The Style channel is running a "reality" show following a woman named Ruby. Ruby started out at 700 lbs. and when the series starts, she is down to around 500. It is planned to be an 8-week series, but I don't know how much time will be compressed into that timeframe -- months, I assume.

While I was appalled that Ruby's friends said "oh, we don't want her to die because she's so fat" and then let her sit reclining in a chair while they served her and fed her every fattening thing on earth, what really disturbed me -- well, two things.

1: They showed her and her skinny, super-fit friend (blonde and cute, of course) taking a walk in the park. Ruby brought her dog. In a stroller-type thingy.

Honey, if you don't even let your damn DOG walk, do you wonder how you got here? I mean, I can't really be judgmental -- although I am nowhere near 500 lbs., and I've been losing, I probably still have 50 to go, and I don't exercise as much as my doctors would like. But honest to god, isn't part of the point of having a dog to make you take it out for walks? Does the dog pee in the stroller?

I understand the movement and flexibility issues that come with overweight. I know it's got to be horrible for someone that size. My point is that her whole life seems to be permeated by people who claim to care, but then sabotage her instead, and then she turns around and does the same to a critter.

2: They taped and showed part of her session with her shrink.

Now. I assume both of them signed every release known to man to allow that to happen. But as a therapy veteran, I gotta tell you, there is no way in hell I would let anyone tape my session for broadcast on national TV. For their own use in supervision, sure -- my current T does that; former one audiotaped. Fine with both. But does it make you a masochist, a narcissist, or both to allow it to go out to an entire country?

Ruby says she is doing this to bring awareness and help people. That's admirable, if true. But I have to wonder if it is. Maybe somehow she's avoided the shame that is at the core of most morbidly obese people (speaking as one, at least until I get my BMI down another point). Believe me when I tell you there is shame in sitting on a chair and breaking not being able to get a seatbelt around sneak-eating in the car and then throwing the trash in a dumpster somewhere so no one you live with sees the rude remarks people don't think twice about making, assuming, I guess, that you don't have functioning ears. I have been there, done that, and got the Tshirt. If she's managed to avoid having a complete lack of self-esteem because of it, I applaud her. But I'm not convinced.

More info: Ruby

Sunday, November 9, 2008

why I hate this time of year

1. Pitch black at 5 pm? SO uncool.
2. Invariably, in this part of the world at this time of the year, I end up on the road behind some farmer with an IQ of 12 and a 50-year-old pickup truck, with a dead deer stuffed in the back -- untied down.

Let me tell you, if you haven't had that particular pleasure, that it is bad enough seeing some poor deer staring vacantly at you while you're trying to concentrate on your driving. But when you add in the fact that said deer may actually fall out of the damn truck, onto the road in front of you, it's that much creepier. I'm not even going to get into the fact that when people hit deer on the road here, they call the cops -- for a tag, so they can take the poor things home. Yes, venison is tasty, if you don't mind risking getting chronic wasting disease. Yes, a reasonably sized deer, cut into steaks and chops and whatnot, can last a year or so. But damn, people -- there's just something inherently wrong about eating roadkill. Uncivilized, you might say.

In other news, I want Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson fired, now, please. And whoever the defensive coordinator is. Anybody know how the Jets did today? :-\

Now playing: Duncan Sheik - In the Absence of Sun
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, November 6, 2008

another goofy test

Which classic arcade game are you?

I was hoping for Centipede -- my favorite after a few (then-illegal) beers ;-) -- but that's not what I came up with.

You are Robotron. To spend a lot of time trying to save your family from the dangers that come at you from all directions. Maybe you should lay off the caffeine.

Here's the link: which classic arcade game are you?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

a must-read

inspirational post at TPM

Amen, and god bless America.

Now playing: The Jayhawks - Blue
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It'll do!

Way to go, Americans!!!

I'd really like to see a woman POTUS before I die, but this works.

CNN just called it for Barack.

Take THAT, you racists and haters!

Maybe now the country can reclaim some of its credibility with the rest of the planet.

no shite

I haven't been this excited about an election since 1992. That was the same kind of deal -- years of being effed by Republicans, with a chance for youth and change.

Of course, I spent Election Night 1984 (my first being able to vote), after having campaigned my butt off for Fritz and Tits, watching returns and sobbing because the American people were so freaking stupid as to re-elect frigging Ronald frigging Reagan. That was the slap-upside-the-head, the-American-people-can-be-farking-idiots moment that has jaded me ever since.

Mostly. :-)

I am the LEAST patriotic sort you will ever meet -- I won't say the pledge of allegiance -- for the last 8 years I have been ashamed of my country. But we have a chance to start digging out of the mess that f*cktard Dubya has got us into and get our credibility and our honor back.

Do the right thing, America.

Monday, November 3, 2008

happy birthday, Tom Servo!

MST3K -- one of the greatest TV shows of the last 30 years, at least. Today is the bday of the guy who voiced Servo. So in celebration, I'm sharing a little clip with you. :-)

United Servo Academy Men's Chorus

Saturday, November 1, 2008


'tards are everywhere, I guess....

First of all, if this isn't a hick name, I don't know what is:

{McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds}

Yeah yeah, Tucker Carlson, but he's also a Republican, and with his last name, it doesn't sound vaguely obscene and born-in-a-barn-ish.

Second, my "overheard in Walmart" moment for the day:

Behind me is one seriously beat-looking couple, as in we're hardcore alcoholics/partakers of herb and nicotine beat, with an approximately 2-year-old girl in the cart. Said girl drops her baby doll on the floor in the frozen food aisle.

(presumptive) father says: "I'm gonna call social services on you for hurting your baby! They're gonna throw you in jail for messing up your baby's face!"

This is going to be a remarkably well-adjusted child. I can just tell. Give her another 15 years and she'll be a fixture in Chippewa County courtrooms....

Third, as I opened my door to get my mail, I saw 3 teens walking down the sidewalk. The one in the middle was on a skateboard. The two on either side had day-glo green casts on one leg: The one on the left had the cast on her left leg, and the one on the right on her right leg.

Somebody please explain the thrill of skateboards to me? It's always struck me as a terribly inefficient method of transport. Also, if I'm going to injure myself or die, I'd rather do it in something enclosed, not open-air.

Quite the interesting day....

Now playing: Jamie Cullum - A Time for Love
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 31, 2008

a Halloween question

Why do the fat kids always go as pirates?

I wish I could get out and take a pic, but there is no getting down the main street of Chippewa Falls right now. The downtown businesses have trick or treat hours from 3-5, and then residential hours are 5-7. I am duly prepared, with my blinking ghost headband and my treats (stickers and temp tattoos and pencils this year, all Halloween-themed, natch, since I had to give up candy).

As I came up Bridge Street, I noticed the usual assortment of critters, witches and pumpkins, but the kid who made himself an iPod costume gets my vote for most creative. We'll see if anyone outdoes him.

Meanwhile, last year I had a kid come to the door in full camo, with a BB gun in hand, and instead of trick or treat, he said, "Happy hunting season!"

Only in northwest Wisconsin.

You gotta love it.

Now playing: Joss Stone - Right to be Wrong
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 30, 2008

why attention to detail is important

Or, why Candy is an idiot, part 3.

I really needed a decent pair of black shoes that didn't hurt my feet. Being old and fat, I'm partial to slip-ons.

At my local Goodwill, I found the perfect pair. At this particular store, every week, a different color tag is half off. So, for example, my shoes had a purple tag, and everything with a purple tag was half off that week.

I picked them up off the rack, saw a little "12" written on the inside sticker, and then a $9.99, and thought, hey! Discounted twice already and now 3 times! It's my lucky day! So I bought them.

I went to attempt to wear them the other day. While I am still fat, I'm not quite as fat as I used to be, and apparently it's possible to lose weight in your feet. (And in my case, at least, in your brain as well.) I could NOT keep these shoes on my feet. There was a TON of room at the back and they kept flapping up every time I walked.

Only later did it occur to me that -- you got it -- the "12" written on the inside was the SIZE. I am, at best, a 9.5.

So pffffft to whatever idiot put size 12 shoes in the size 9-10 section, and a facepalm for myself for not checking.

Oh well -- I suppose it's reason for another trip to Goodwill!

Now playing: Elvis Costello and the Attractions - Tears Before Bedtime
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

watching over lucky clover, isn't that bizarre?

Oh, Simon, je t'adore.

Monday (10/27), the one, the only, the formerly HAWT Simon Le Bon turned 50.

I am old. I'm not wearing my trousers rolled yet, but I am old.

Duran Duran was on the cover of Rolling Stone in ... 1984, I think. Thanks to Ebay, I own the issue that changed my life. This huge story about DD had a one-sentence lede: "Simon Le Bon wears blue underpants."

Friends, how could you NOT want to read further?!

So right then and there I dedicated my life to writing killer ledes. It has served me well.

I love you, Simon, even if you did get old and fat like the rest of us. (See "The Reflex" video below, and then a 2008 picture. Sadness.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

why I am an idiot, part 2

So I'm unpacking the last of the stuff I took to and brought from Milwaukee. (Helloooooo, lupini beans! DAMN, I miss Glorioso's.)

Anyway, "just in case," since I didn't have TOO many firm plans, I brought a nice (for me) outfit and shoes -- just in case somebody wanted to take me somewhere besides BK for a meal. ;-) It happened to be the same outfit I wore for a whole 90 minutes last week at a job interview -- a really pretty, deep purple jacket, pink ribbed top and black pants.

As I was hanging up the jacket, I noticed that I had failed to remove the tag to which the extra button is attached. So it had been just sticking out of the back of the thing since I bought it.

I haven't gotten so much as the word "boo" from that company. Imagine that. I'm sure they're thinking "geeze, if she can't even yank a tag off a jacket, she must really suck at details." Which I do, kinda, depending on the situation.


Now playing: Cherry Poppin' Daddies - Zoot Suit Riot
via FoxyTunes

funeral for a friend

It's hard to watch a loved one die a slow and painful death.

You know that Martin Niemoller thing about "first they came for (name of group), and I did nothing, because I wasn't one of them," and by the time it was his turn, there was no one left to save him? That's what's happening to newspapers. It just keeps getting worse and worse. A paper in NJ has just canned 40 PERCENT of its newsroom staff. The Los Angeles Times, formerly a really good paper, just got rid of another 75 editorial employees -- their second round of cuts this year.

Ugh. I don't even want to think about it. It's all just too fricking depressing. When something happens and there are no reporters left, o brilliant American public, who is going to save you?

Now playing: The Gabe Dixon Band - Ever After You
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 23, 2008


(transcript of my first words upon seeing the "Milwaukee County" sign on 94)

Have you ever been so happy that your heart and soul smiled as wide as your mouth? It's awesome. Even with the chaos of 3 dogs, a 16-lb cat and 2 bickering siblings, it's totally awesome. Miller Park? Awesome. Lake Michigan? Awesome. Quality time with people you share decades of affection and history with? Awesome and priceless.

Now. Somebody win the lottery and split it with me so I can fund a move back here.

my-my-my-my generation, baby

So I ask you, people -- WTF?

My 79-year-old, batshiat-crazy mother is in near-perfect physical health. Yet so far this year, 43-year-old moi has had 3 friends dx'd with breast cancer, one with thyroid cancer, and I just discovered that a guy I went to HS with had a heart transplant 2 years ago. I had that nasty little bout with bone marrow failure that's left me with a clotting disorder.

Is it genetically modified food? Pesticides? Global warming? WHAT? Why is it that people my age, who *should* be in their peak health and earning years, are dropping like flies instead? Am I just unlucky in my choice of friends, or have we done so many awful things in the name of "science" the last 40 years that we're just happening to be the ones getting screwed first? (BTW, my aplastic anemia was chalked up to a medication that didn't exist 40, 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. Love that FDA and the way they ensure our safety -- it's not like Big Pharma pays them off or anything.)

My generation was the first to get screwed by a lot of things -- huge jump in divorce rate, women entering the workforce in droves (leading to us being the first latchkey kids), socioeconomic/cultural forces that ensured most of us would never achieve the standard of living our parents did -- so I guess it's not a surprise. But MAN, does it suck.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How do you spell idiot?

C - A - N - D - Y, of course! Why? Because she IS one!

Jebus, people. Who else do you know who has ever left her keys in a running car .... TWICE.

The first time it sat for 2.5 hours in front of the South Milwaukee City Hall while I covered a council meeting. (Luckily, South Milwaukee has no crime -- that's all the next burb over, in Cudahy.)

Today after therapy, I went to do laundry. Tried out a nice shiny new place with new machines, overstuffed leather chairs for seating, flat-panel TVs that get more than 1 channel, and free wifi. Oh, and the washers cost $4 to make up for all that, but that's beside the point, of course.

Anyway, hauled in the laundry bag. Went back out to haul in the laptop. Hauled in the laptop, threw the laundry in a washer, threw in the soap, sat down and plugged in the laptop. I am pathological about my keys just because I am an idiot that way, so when I reached into my pocket to make sure they and my cell phone were there -- they weren't.

Which led to the following inside-my-brain dialogue:

OMG, where are my keys?
OMG, I hope I didn't lock the fucking car. I don't have enough cash to pay a locksmith and I didn't bring the credit card.
&^%$#@!!!!!!! -- first 3 doors I tried were LOCKED. Luckily, the right rear wasn't, and I was able to unlock the right front, reach over the 3 feet of trash on the floor (you think I'm kidding, I bet, but it's getting cleaned out tonight) and spy the keys.

But hmm. Why is the CD playing? It's supposed to start up when you start the car and turn off when you turn off the car.

Which would be great, if the frigging car were TURNED OFF.


I guess it's a good thing I don't live in a very high-crime area. But I don't know what one does to cure stupidity.

Now playing: The Gabe Dixon Band - Disappear
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I'm Grouchy Smurf.

What Smurf am I? You are Grouchy Smurf. You are set in your ways and don't like change. You are very vocal with your thoughts and aren't afraid to tell it like it is! People might say you are a negative person, but deep down you really are loving and caring. It just takes the right someone to bring you out of your shell. Those few that you allow to get close to you are better off for it!

Et vous?

Monday, October 20, 2008

things that just ain't right.

Feel free to add to the list.

-- People/companies that make you jump through a million-billion hoops, get your hopes up, and then tell you "oh, sorry, job's been filled."

Right now I'm just pissed because I just spent half an hour filling out a frigging Internet app for a job that turned out not to exist anymore. But the absolute worst was the time I was interviewing for a job with the Small Business Times or the Milwaukee Biz Journal or one of those. Guy chased me all over hell and gone: left me messages at home, at work, on my cell, "I got your resume and I really want to talk to you." So I got back to him and scheduled an interview.

Got to said interview, he looked over my resume and said, "I interviewed somebody this morning with 14 years of business journalism experience, so that's what you're up against. I think you need another 5 years or so of experience. But let me know if you'd like some contacts in the biz, I know a lot of people."

That, friends -- that just ain't right.


(And yes, I'd be happy to give you his name so you can avoid him!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

whee! rollercoasters are fun!!


But enough about that. I have other places to discuss my moods.

I'm just annoyed, again, always, ever, that the only careers that pay jack are the ones I have no talent or interest in. It would be great (I think) to be a doctor, but I'd never pass the math and science. But what's really bugging me right now is that, if I had ANY interest in covering business, I could have had a journalism job the afternoon of the day I got canned. I just can't think of anything more boring to have to learn about. And yet, it's the biz journos who are the only safe ones right now, and everybody wants 10 more of them.


Friday, October 17, 2008


In cruising through Marquette's website after reading my alumni mag cover to cover, I discovered that they now give iPod tours of campus.

In 1996, when I was trying to apply there, I couldn't even find a freakin email addy for my department chair. And my AOL bill was in triple digits every month, because they still charged for dialup by the hour.

My very first computer was a Commodore 64 with a TAPE DRIVE. That's CASSETTE TAPE. That's BEFORE FLOPPY DISKS.

Damn, I feel old. Moreso every day.

Now playing: KT Tunstall - Paper Aeroplane
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 16, 2008

what sucks about the Internet

It allows you to find long-lost colleagues who were losers when you knew them but have ended up with way better careers than you.

A guy who was my boss for 4 years in the early 1990s -- who hadn't even finished a bachelor's, at that point -- now has an MBA and is executive vice president of the friggin' company. He was an absolutely inept manager.


c'mon, we can do better!

For all of you who have expressed the desire to choose your own candidates for president -- well, here ya go!

Personally, I went with ALF and Super Mario for an all-80s ticket, but there are so many other good possibilities!

welcome to Amerika
From Dana Milbank's chat transcript:
I have to say the Secret Service is in dangerous territory here. In cooperation with the Palin campaign, they've started preventing reporters from leaving the press section to interview people in the crowd. This is a serious violation of their duty -- protecting the protectee -- and gets into assisting with the political aspirations of the candidate. It also often makes it impossible for reporters to get into the crowd to question the people who say vulgar things. So they prevent reporters from getting near the people doing the shouting, then claim it's unfounded because the reporters can't get close enough to identify the person.

A version of this has happened to me as well.

Free press? What dat?

why small-town living sucks

1. Everybody knows you.
2. Everybody knows you.
3. Lack of diversity and cultural opportunities.
4. There is something horribly wrong when you have lived in the country long enough to associate the overwhelming scent of cow poop with pleasant memories.

I'm sure I'll think of more later. But it's the everybody knows you one that's getting me. I suppose its corollary would be "why getting canned sucks" (aside from the obvious financial aspect), and that would be because everybody knows you and so they know you got canned. Which makes life incredibly awkward.

I ran into one of our county judges at Mickey D's this afternoon. I tried as hard as I could to avoid him, and he did have the decency to not try to approach me. Ordinarily I like the guy and I would have been happy to chat him up, but things are just in that weird stage for me right now and I don't want to deal with it.

Corollary 2 is "getting canned makes it immensely awkward running into now-former coworkers." I bumped into one in Younkers (dept. store) last week. She was very kind, but it was still horrible. And I rsvp'd for another's wedding reception this Saturday, back when I was still employed, and now I'm wondering: Should I be rude and not show up and cost him money, or should I go and have a bunch of people not know WTF to say to me and make us ALL feel bad? Not to mention it's a dessert buffet, which would be right up my alley if I weren't now diabetic.

Sigh. Where's Miss Manners when you need her?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mrs. Daniels and junk food

I attempted (note I said attempted) to take Latin in 12th grade. I lasted 6 weeks, I think. But Mrs. Mary Alice Daniels -- who had a nameplate on her desk stating, "MA Daniels, MA" -- was better known to the kids as "Attila the Bun." She was rude and snarky, had hair past her butt, when she let it down, and her favorite thing to say when some dolt (like me) finally had the light come on and get it was "EUREKA! cried Archimedes as he stepped into the bathtub."

Well, eureka, my friends, because I have found it. After centuries -- nay, millennia -- of mankind trying to prove the existence of god, I have found it. And so I give you: SUGAR-FREE PEEPS.

This would be even better if I had read the damn label before snarfing one. They may be Splenda-ized, but they still have 23 total carbs (how, I'm not sure) and no fiber to speak of, so each one costs me 2 carb servings. I only get 15 a day.

I wonder how well they freeze.

tell me, please....

If you're reading my blog, then you probably know me, because I didn't give out the addy to just anyone and I really doubt it will turn up in a Google search for fascinating, insightful blogs.

So it stands to follow that you probably know that, personality-wise, I would make a tremendously bad salesperson.

Tell me, then: WHY, when I post my resume on a large, nonspecific job board (I'm looking at YOU, Monster and Hotjobs), do I *only* get uninvited solicitations to apply for a job as a salesperson? Is there a keyword in my resume that some computer picks up on and says "Hey! Somebody with 15 years as a professional writer and editor would make a terrific salesperson!"? Or, "Hey! Somebody with an advanced degree isn't so geeky that he or she wouldn't be able to walk in on people, unsolicited, and convince them to buy crap they don't need"? What IS it, I ask you? Besides frustrating, I mean.


pros and cons of loserish-ness

Sometimes, when I'm hating on myself, and reflecting on the fact that I'm 40-something with no assets to show for it, I get kind of discouraged. And then something that costs thousands of dollars breaks or needs to be replaced, and instead of shelling out my own money and taking a day off to wait for repairmen, I call the landlord and say, "ha ha! Your problem!" and voila! it gets fixed. And then I don't feel so bad.

But then there are days (nights?) like this. Because it is 3:12 a.m. and the current occupant of the other half of my duplex is not only effin weird, but rude and loud and pissing me off.

Then again, he's good for helping me feel un-loser-ish, because he's in his early 50s and is a newspaper delivery boy. Trouble with that is, my former paper, which is what he delivers, is a morning paper. Drop-dead press deadline is 11 pm and the thing starts hitting doorsteps around 1:30 a.m.

I am rather the night owl, but jeebus, you know? I do generally like to get to sleep before 1:30 a.m. And I am highly sensitive to loud noises. It's bad enough there's an a$$hole across the alley with an unmufflered motorcycle, but he's got nothing on Mr. Delivery Boy, who for the last 3 nights has gotten into a shouting match with another driver around 2 a.m. Plus, the driver leaves the van running, and it needs a tuneup in the worst way.

If the yelling and the engine noises aren't enough, the dude is so loud I can hear every word of every one of his phone conversations through the living room wall.

There are a lot of other ways he's a freak, but it's the noise that bugs me most. And as I retreat to my living room at 3:17 a.m., hoping to get some sleep out *here,* I remind myself that if I had actually picked a non-slave-wage profession and graduated from college on time, I could have my own, single-family home, with no noises coming through the walls.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ohhh, the guilt.....

This was both unexpected and a first for me. Either way it doesn't feel very good, even though rationally I know I really didn't have THAT big of a part in it.

A 20-year-old kid who went to prison for 18 years a few weeks ago, and whose sentencing I attended and wrote extensively about, and whose attorney tried to claim years of abuse and mental health issues (more on that in a minute) .... hanged himself in prison yesterday. :-(

Part of the guilt is that my former officemate is now stuck with the fallout -- the kid's biodad called me all pissed off after the story ran and ripped me a new one, basically, for things that weren't my fault (like his not being notified of when the sentencing was. Um, if you really cared about your kid, wouldn't you be in enough touch with him to know that?).

Part of it is that I feel bad for my favorite judge, who was the one who imposed the sentence.

Part of it -- OK, most of it -- is that I rail all the time against scofflaws trying to get out of punishment by playing the mental illness card, because you know? I have a list of mental health diagnoses as long as your arm and I still manage to be a reasonably productive, law-abiding member of society. Or at least I have the sense to only turn my anger, etc on myself instead of, say, kidnapping my stepdad at gunpoint and crossing state lines (one of the many things this kid did that got him 18 years). His attorney played up the mental illness and parental abuse deal. His mom and stepdad pleaded with the judge to give him the maximum possible sentence so that he had a chance of straightening things out with (taxpayer-funded, natch) therapy. And now he's dead.

Ugh. This is striking me as a good time to down a couple Xanax and go back to bed.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm ba-aaaack....!!

So yeah. I have no idea what my little week-long siesta here was for, but here we are.

Nothing particularly interesting has happened over the last week, except for the Wisconsin unemployment division deciding I'm not illegal either and actually sending me a check. Why is it these organizations go after the people who AREN'T doing anything wrong?

For now, I need to go figure out what to name ANOTHER blog, one that I can give potential employers a link to. And then I need to start collecting links of my best stuff and putting it all together. Dammit Jim, I'm a writer, not a graphic designer. Anybody got any ideas on how to make it look like more than a collection of links, let me know.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Life Lessons, part 1

  1. Never go to the grocery store hungry, particularly if you're on a diet, and especially particularly if you're on a largely sugar-free diet.
  2. Never buy an entire six-pack of a beer you haven't tried at least once.
  3. When job-hunting, keep track of where and to whom you apply.
  4. Never send resumes more than an hour after your regular bedtime, lest you forget what you sent to whom (see #3, above).
You'd think I'd have learned this stuff the first time.

Now playing: Sara Bareilles - Love Song
via FoxyTunes

Oh, BTW?

Now playing: Brian Setzer Orchestra, The - Nosey Joe
via FoxyTunes

This was must-see TV for young junior high and high school journos back in the day. ;-) If you can get past the datedness, this is what it was supposed to be like, and what it WAS like. How people who work for TMZ, for example, can sleep at night is beyond me.

Fear Factor

Now playing: Brian Setzer Orchestra, The - Let's Live It Up
via FoxyTunes

So. Today is actually my 3rd day of unemployment, but the first of a new work week. Where ordinarily I would have had my entire week planned out by last Thursday, I now officially have nothing to do, nowhere to go, no structure to my day. Oh, and no money. Good thing I can walk to the library -- that can amuse me for awhile.

Decided this would be a reeeeally good time to start up therapy again. I hadn't seen her in about a month, due, funnily enough, to work. (They were supposed to give me time off for stuff like that, and of course, it didn't happen.) We talked about the differences between the 2001 recession, when I also got the boot, and the 2008 version. I have a fair bit to feel better about, this time -- more skills, more experience, more wisdom, a much wider professional network. However, I am also trained for an industry in its death throes, and I have no idea what to do next. And, if you know me, you know I hate surprises and uncertainty.

So, despite having lots of positive things in my favor, I'm thinking about "omg, last time I was out of work for 10 months, what's going to happen, how am I going to deal with it, I'm such a fraud -- everybody thinks I'm taking this really well, and they don't know how big of a mess I am."

I suppose this is why one pays therapists. ;-)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

So, I finally gave in.

So yeah. I've never been an "early adopter" anyway, as we say in the communications biz, but I am both a dedicated sheep -- happier to follow than lead -- and a Midwesterner, which means trends from the coasts get here 10 years after they're over already. Thus, I have said "WTF" and started a blog, like approximately 4 of the other 6 billion people on the planet. I can't promise I'll ever have anything interesting to say, but you'll just have to take your chances and keep coming back to find out. ;-)

Now playing: Ingrid Michaelson - Die Alone
via FoxyTunes