Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sunday, March 29, 2009

the perils of aging.

-- Music you formerly thought kicked ass, you now find unbearable to listen to. (I'm lookin' at YOU, Pearl Jam, post-"Ten," which is still pretty good.) I dug out "Yield" the other day and I couldn't get through it, when I used to love it.

Happens with books, too -- I thought "Fear of Flying" was the greatest thing I'd ever read when I was 19. Ten years later, I couldn't get through the first chapter.

-- Even if your near vision was really all you had going for you most of your life, at 40-ahem it, too, disappears. I friggin' hate that I have to either slide my glasses (first pair, 3rd grade) halfway down my nose, or put them on top of my head, to be able to read tiny print now.

But the amusing thing here is that on my way home from Menomonie today, I passed a Burger King on the other side of the highway. Apparently they have something now called a "burger shot," which I assume is a White Castle clone (dunno, try to avoid BK).

Yet, when I glanced at the sign, what I saw was "Try a Burger Snot."

Appropriately gross? Perhaps. It just sucks that right as I get my head more or less together, my body goes to hell! Would have been nice to have at least a year where they were both in decent shape at the same time.

Now playing: everett smithson band - everything is Broken
via FoxyTunes

Monday, March 23, 2009


There's nothing like the smell, look and feel of a vintage book that you have remembered for decades with fondness, then run across again.

These two, plus the Color Kittens and The Story of Zachary Zween, I read till the covers fell off. Anybody else remember them?

I'm waiting for Miss Suzy to arrive, and then I'll have all of them back in my hot little hands again. I wonder what kids of today will remember when they're 40-something. Can you really get attached to a website and remember it forever? :-\

Saturday, March 21, 2009

who needs Roget when you have college kids?

Spending the day cleaning up and out. Found my scrapbook from my freshman/sophomore year of college at Mizzou (1983-84).

First entry: A piece of notebook paper. On it, my Linguistics 20 notes for the day (DAMN, that professor was a bitch, too, and she'd never seen my name before. The last one I can see. How is it that you get to be like 65 and don't know how to pronounce "Candace"? Or get a Ph.D, for that matter?)

Anyway. Whatever the point of the exercise was I no longer have any idea, but herewith, I provide you with about 20 college kids' contributions to "synonyms for inebriated":

  • Drunk
  • Plastered
  • Bombed
  • Blottoed
  • Wasted
  • Trashed
  • Blitzed
  • Schnockered
  • Blasted
  • Blown away
  • Sloshed
  • F'd up
  • Gone
  • High
  • Feeling good
  • Shite-faced
  • Juiced
  • Stoned
  • Skids
  • Obliterated
  • Tipsy
  • Happy
  • Intoxicated
  • Fuddled
  • Skiffy
  • Oiled
  • Tight
  • Sozzled
  • Screwed
  • Blind drunk
  • Soaked
  • Boozed
  • Liquored up
  • Tanked
  • Tossed
  • Soused
  • Buzzed
  • Plowed
  • Knocked off your ass
  • On Cloud 88
  • Nametagged
  • Totaled
  • Annihilated
  • Stupid
  • Under the table
  • Paralytic
  • Pissed
  • Ripped
  • Polluted
  • Slammed
  • Faced
  • Lambasted
  • Three sheets to the wind
  • Cooked
  • Zombied
  • Messed up
  • Mummified
  • Smashed
  • Pickled
  • Canned
  • Loaded
  • Fried
  • On the bottle
  • Soaring
  • Flying
  • Fixed
  • Discombobulated
  • Rocked
  • Bonkers
  • Looped
  • Goofed up
  • Gassed

Hey, Mom and Dad! Your tuition dollars at work.

not too many surprises here....

but one of them broke my heart. (Hint in my "now playing" tag.)

Next they'll tell me Johnny Rotten loves puppies and kittens and unicorns and rainbows.

Republican celebs

Now playing: The Ramones - Cretin Hop
via FoxyTunes

Friday, March 20, 2009

candy's ode to spring:

I'm sure Byron, Shelley and Keats would approve.

Photos to come of "the first day of spring." But while my camera battery charges, I have to sneak in Dorothy Parker's "A Pig's-Eye View of Literature" to get it out of my head:

Byron and Shelley and Keats
Were a trio of lyrical treats.
The forehead of Shelley was cluttered with curls,
And Keats never was a descendant of earls,
And Byron walked out with a number of girls,
But it didn't impair the poetical feats
Of Byron and Shelley,
Of Byron and Shelley,
Of Byron and Shelley and Keats.

worth a thousand words and all that.

Sadness. :~(

Credit to boston.com for this photo of a newspaper box graveyard.

ya never know, i guess.

I would not have expected this from this guy. I did a story on him when he was first appointed and all the people I interviewed just gushed about how wonderful he was and how good for the city he'd be, etc. The interactions I had with him in the time I was there were always professional and pleasant.

The closest this place gets to "diversity" is a former city councilman who's part Native American, btw.

South Milwaukee fire chief

Thursday, March 19, 2009

it's not just bankers.

Greed is everywhere.

Newspapers dying left and right, tens of thousands of journalists out of jobs -- including 100+ at the JS -- and check out the nerve of this guy.


Journal CEO's compensation increases
By Paul Gores of the Journal Sentinel

Mar. 19, 2009 6:54 p.m. | Total compensation increased almost 22% last year for Journal Communications Inc. chairman and chief executive Steven J. Smith, according to a regulatory filing by the company Thursday.

Smith earned no bonus, but his salary rose 3.7% to $798,077. He received stock awards worth $1,672 and option awards valued at $397,003, a proxy statement for the Milwaukee-based media company and publisher of the Journal Sentinel said. The biggest change in compensation was in the value of Smith's retirement benefits, which grew to $233,110, compared with $74,782 in 2007. He received other compensation last year worth $16,095.

Journal Communications posted a $224.4 million loss in 2008, largely due to $228.7 million in non-cash charges in the fourth quarter as the company wrote down the value of goodwill and some of its television and radio licenses. The company's newspaper, radio and TV operations also saw declines in revenue because of the recession and the ongoing migration of ads to the Internet. Its stock price fell 72.6% during 2008.

I know nobody ever said life was fair, but c'mon!!

Now playing: Franz Ferdinand - The Fallen
via FoxyTunes

bad move, Nick.

A guy who plays for a team whose fans are called Cheeseheads really ought to watch his mouth around reporters. ;-)

Packers linebacker Nick Barnett signed autographs, and tasted a smoked gouda fresh from a judging table.

"Tastes like cheese," he said. "I don't know the difference."

easy, cheesy, beautiful

Dr. Bob

Behold Dr. Bob (looking more serious than I've ever seen him before). Dr. Bob got his nickname off the side of a Milwaukee County bus, honest to god: There was a side panel advertising the original Bob Newhart show (the one where he was a psychologist), and it said something like "Tune in to Dr. Bob!" and there you are.

Anyway. Dr. Bob is on my mind because of the one thing he taught me that has always stuck with me. (Sorry, pally, it wasn't SAS -- Sue Nord did all my homework. ;-) No, Dr. Bob taught me to ask a question when considering reported research and whatnot. That question is: "So what?"

That's a journo for ya, boiling it down to the absolute essence. No muss, no fuss, just "So what?"

I'm training for a part-time, online-only, copyediting position with a publisher of, among other things, social sciences journals. Today's assignment quoted someone saying "So what?," but in about 30 words instead of two. Simple = good, people. :-) And if you can answer "so what?" as simply as possible, your readers will be better served as well. I'm just sayin'. ;-)

Now playing: Mel Tormé - (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, March 14, 2009

RIP, Bruce.

One of the most interesting people I've ever met. We should all be so lucky to live this long and this well.

Bruce the gardener

Robert Bruce Attridge, age 96, passed away March 11, 2009, in Wauwatosa. Preceded in death by loving wife, Barbara. Loving father of Judith, Alice, Margaret, and Rob. Grandfather to 8 and great-grandfather to 12. Bruce was an ardent hunter, fisherman and gardener. Private Services will be held.

Now playing: Duncan Sheik - Hymn
via FoxyTunes

Friday, March 13, 2009


I am not a big cryer. Horribly sensitive, yes, but I don't cry a whole lot. Maybe it stems from the time I was 7 and my sister took me to see Snoopy, Come Home. She swears I bawled my eyes out the whole time because I thought Snoopy was going to live with Lila and not go back to Charlie Brown. (I don't remember that, by the way.) I don't even think I cried at Old Yeller.

Periodically, though, something will get to me. Even though it was more or less fiction, I found myself wiping away tears at the end of "Rudy." The final episode of "Frasier," where he decides to leave Seattle for a job and then ends up following his heart instead, has me sobbing every time, though that's largely because at one point he quotes part of a Tennyson poem that has always cut straight to my core. (Alfie knew something about grief and depression, I assure you.)

I just finished watching Michael Moore's "Sicko." It came out a couple years ago, I know -- that's my typical timetable for catching movies. And yeah, I know Michael Moore skews things, etc. It's kind of the nature of the beast: You can't really piece together endless hours of footage into a coherent story unless you purposely choose the story you want to tell. But man -- to see how people with chronic health issues get treated elsewhere (he went to Canada, France and Britain) -- and then when he took the 9/11 workers to Gitmo and they got phenomenal treatment, for free -- it hit home. I run up a LOT of medical bills. I am one hundred and thirty-two percent uninsurable, in the American system, because I have eleventy-billion pre-existing conditions. And yet, in the rest of the civilized world, I wouldn't have to worry about any of it. And yeah, this weighs on me a lot, especially as I've now been without insurance for several months and I am tired of burdening the free clinic in town, which is always filled to overflowing every time I'm there (which lately has been weekly).

The other thing that made me cry is that during the end credits, when he was running the "thanks to" part, he thanked Kurt Vonnegut "for everything." Kurt's anniversary is coming up fast here. I miss the hell out of him too.

'k, all done -- no more tears/whining, time for a jaunt to Gordy's for some ice cream, I think. ;-)

Now playing: Track 2
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, March 12, 2009

love it...

Glad I didn't spend $36K/yr (tuition only; room/board/books not included) to go here -- because way back in 1997 when I got in, I had planned my concentration to be in new media.

12 years later, looks like they haven't gotten around to figuring that out yet. ;-)

dinosaurs at the CSJ

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

crazy Wisconsinites...

Granted, it's usually 20-something males who are guilty of this, so draw your own conclusions. But here's what I want to know: What is to be gained by wearing SHORTS in single-digit temps? Nine friggin' degrees and some maroon was out walking around in shorts. He didn't appear to be coming from the gym.

I made the mistake of not putting on a hat on for my quick trek to the pharmacy, and I'm *still* frozen! Shorts when it's 45 or so? Sure (if the sun's out). Shorts when it's NINE? Sorry -- guess I don't have the brainfreeze the natives do. ;-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

vanity plate of the year (so far).

Passed it on my way home from what has become my usual Tuesday ritual, 4 hours at the free clinic sitting around waiting for stuff that takes 10 minutes. Between that and the farkin' SNOW (aren't we DONE with that yet?!), I found it rather resonant for me.

2 syllables, read it out loud:


I hate this time of year. Yesterday it was 46. Today it's snowing. Tomorrow it's going to be a high of 15. Enough, please.

Hmm, what else can I rant about, now that I'm going? :-D

Oh, there's good ol' Wisconsin screwing over single, childless adults again -- the state ins. program was supposed to be open to us April 1, and now it's July 1. I'm eligible for COBRA under Barry O's stimulus bill, since I got laid off after 9-1. The govt. will pay 65% -- yay! It's not retroactive -- boo! So I'm still farked when it comes to getting anyone to cover pre-existing conditions, of which I have zillions.

I had a retired lawyer finagle ways to get me on patient assistance programs for some of my meds, so we'll see how he does. Based on tax returns (this year's or last), I won't qualify -- but neither of them is an accurate depiction of my current financial status.

Recent events have led me to the realization that I am over journalism. Sucks, kinda, being that A) now I have to decide again what I want to be when I grow up; B) I jumped through a billion hoops and went into a lot of debt for my degrees; C) it's all I've wanted to do since I was 9, and I didn't even make it an entire decade before burning out. It's hard to sit by and watch the industry implode, partly because I believe in it still -- I'm just too tired and my passion for it has been too crushed to be the one doing it anymore.
Now playing: Beck - Qué Onda Guero
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

to seek out new life and new civilizations.

Or lack thereof, as the case may be.

I spent a couple of days this week in the booming metropolis of Fergus Falls, MN. I'll post a link to my photos once they're uploaded, but there were plenty of amusing things on the way that I can share now:

-- Sauk Centre, the boyhood home of Sinclair Lewis

-- Freeport, "the city with a smile," where they have a giant smileyface painted on their water tower. On purpose.

-- The Lake Wobegon Trail. Not being a Scandinavian, Minnesotan Lutheran, I freakin' HATE that show. It annoys me. So I didn't stop. ;-)

-- A Kraft cheese plant (which should be heresy -- only GOOD cheese comes from Wisconsin, even when it's a Minnesota-based company that owns Kraft ;-).

-- The World's Largest Otter and Big Ole, which I'm not going to spoil just yet because I have pictures that deserve snarky commentary. ;-) In the meantime, I'm going to go indulge in a little self-loathing for watching America's Next Top Model. (It's so I have something to talk about with people who are as snarky as I am, honest. Call it research. :-D)