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!