Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Careful what I wish for

What I'd give for a white Christmas. As a Californian, I yearn to awaken on Christmas morning with snow covering every visible surface. What a dream.
Or not...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday shopping at Cos-amillion-co

Finding a parking spot: $500 deductable after ramming the back end of a zippy little car whose driver was far too rude about trying to steal my parking spot.

Finding a shopping cart: $75 – a bribe to a nice gent who emptied his booty in front of the store and had his wife run to get the car.

Grabbing the last 14 pound turkey: a black eye. But you should have seen the other guy.

Navigating the too-small aisles filled with too many people: rammed twice, once with my finger playing the part of my cart’s bumper. Must be payback for the parking lot incident.

Dealing with the umpteenth shopper who insists on parking their cart in the middle of the goddamn aisle: Three teeth-baring snarls, two throaty growls, one “move your damn cart, lady,” and a partridge in a pear tree…

Paying for groceries: “Whaddya mean my ATM card won’t read? Holybatshitkillmenow.” Magnetized strip? What the bloody hell? Merry Christmas Visa.

Getting home and having spawn unload car, put groceries away and stick a margarita in my hand: Priceless.

Edited to add:
It dawned on me that people who don't know me may think these things really happened. Literary license and all that. I'm a writer and given to exaggeration. I should be in politics.

The car ramming: only in my imagination. I got a great parking spot with nary a bruised ego or bumper. I got a shopping cart without bribing a single person, but I did have to wait for Cart Collector Carl to arrive with a new supply. There were five 14 pound turkeys, and I did have to lean in and grab one, where it proceeded to slip out of my hands and fall on my big toe. I really did snarl at the lady in the aisle - that sort of thing pisses me off - but I kept my mouth shut. Paying for the groceries: that really happened. Unpacking the groceries: really happened (I have the sweetest spawn in the world), however, they didn't make me a margarita.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My new hero

I'm hoping Santa brings Dr. Maria Siemionow something extra for Christmas this year. Her amazing talent gave a new face to a horribly disfigured woman. Where this woman would have more than likely faced life as a shut-in, she now has a second chance. Man, how many of us are granted such a chance?

I'm also hoping that Santa has something special for the generous family who looked past their grief and donated their loved one's organs so this poor woman could have a new life. Sort of makes all the other garbage that's going on pale in comparison. Maria, you're my new hero for the month.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Of surprises and beagles

Years ago when my kids were little, I had a special place to hide Christmas gifts – my closet. What a joke that turned out to be. Everyone knew where my hidey place was and, unbeknownst to me, the little beggars would sneak in there and see what they were getting. God, I look back on that and remain impressed at their finely honed acting skills. “Oh, it’s JUST what I wanted,” my little spawns would gush.

I thought those sneaky peaky days were over. They’re all grown up and, presumably, willing to not fake their surprise. However, no one prepared me for this nosey beagle my son brought home from the Army. I’ve adopted her as my unreliable secretary, thinking she could earn her designer gin-laced kibble bits and perch on my messy desk. She sucks at secretarial work, but excels at smelling out anything you’d rather be kept a secret.

Not only did she drag down the new jacket I’d bought for my daughter, but she hauled out the new sleeping bag and three warmie snuggly blankets I got yesterday. It’s not enough that she gets into my daughter’s room and bags her underwear (which is really overpriced butt floss) and stuffs it into the couch. My aged auntie nearly stroked out when she sat on our couch the other day and found three pair of butt floss in the cushions. “Oh my stars!” Gah…I can still hear her shock ringing in my ears.

So now the beagle has destroyed my surprisies for my kids and taken years off my auntie's life expectancy. But you know what? I get the last laugh. I bought the beagle dog training lessons and a stay at the Betty Ford Clinic.

Friday, December 12, 2008

No one can say it better than the Brits

As predicted, the bankrupt UK wholesaler EUK has failed to find a quick buyer for what it is basically an unsustainable business and bankruptcy administrator Deloitte announced today that "700 employees have today been made redundant."

Excuse me. Redundant? They've ended the livelihoods of 700 people, and the best they can come up with is "redundant"? That's like saying Auschwitz was a "little misunderstanding."

As a purveyor of words, I look for them to make an appropriate impact in order to effect an emotional reaction. I'll admit that no one can do subtle better than our British cousins, and I love them for it. We Yanks are so in-your-face with our movies and literature, and much of it is overkill - like we believe our audience too stupid to understand nuance. Instead we belch it out like an overripe onion just to be sure you didn't miss it. Brits, on the other hand - dare I say it - assume their audience has a brain. We could stand to take a page from our across-the-pond friends in both vocabulary acuity and narrative exposition.

But I don't know. Somehow, here, it just sounds cruel.

It's all in how you look at it

Is there any reason why I should wander into a Lens Crafters and find literally thousands of frames THAT ALL LOOK THE SAME? Whatsup with that? There were no less than five designer names, and every freaking one of them were sporting the same designs.

It’s like they have little spies tripping back and forth to each factory. “Hey, DKY has the little roundie jobs in yellow highlighted tortoiseshell,” whispers one spy to the Dior crowd.

“Yellow highlighted tortoiseshell frames for all!” screeches Dior.

Problem is, I look crappy in yellow highlighted tortoiseshell round frames. In fact, I look like Harry Potter in drag. Do I need an excuse to look like shit? Hell no. I can do that all by myself.

And what’s with the rectangle frames. They look fab on Tina Fey. Then again, a burlap sack and flies would look good on Tina Fey. I am not Tina Fey. There are no less than three thousand rectangle frames in Lens Crafters. Bright red ones, orange, diamond studded jobs – which make me look like a bookish stripper. Talk about employment confusion.

What happened to choice? What happened to creative and unique? Imagine if the publishing industry took this route and banged out formulaic and unimaginative books season after season. We’d be out of business within minutes.

I just want a pair of glasses frames that have style than round or rectangle. I want to look good in them, to feel that I can wear them to a function and not look like I’m getting ready to bite someone’s jugular. I want sleek and smooth. Is that so hard to ask?

The last pair I put on drew a comment from the woman trying to make a sale; “Hey, those look great on you. You look just like a famous author.”

Damn, I’m such a whore. I bought them immediately.

What is they say about truth stranger than fiction?

I’m an editor in my day job. About three years ago an author submitted a manuscript about a governor who was caught trying to sell the senator’s seat after the original senator died. He was urged by everyone to step down, but the governor refused because he, as it turned out, was mentally ill. I rejected it.

Reason: foundation is too implausible.

Damn, no wonder we got out of the fiction business.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rod Blagojevich selling the senate seat to the highest bidder

Nationalizing Bailing out the auto industry
Rev. Wright returns to the pulpit
Nationalizing health care
Kissing my 401K goodbye
Higher taxes
My jeans don’t fit
I can’t find a parking spot at the mall
I glorped on my favorite shirt. Again.
Fuck it. I’m with Atlas. Pass me the bucket…

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When Karma has PMS

I have this shirt that I paid entirely too much for. But I loved it. It was all the right colors and I looked good in it. Wallet or vanity? Vanity won out. But I think the Karmic Muffins have seen fit to mess with my moment of weakness because not a single day has gone by where I don’t wear my beautiful shirt and spill some sort of glop on it. Once it was so bad, I took it to the cleaners, and they only partially removed the stain. I refused to admit defeat, though, and bought some Spray ‘N Wash. Great stuff. Voila, I was once again stain free. Until the next time, that is.

So the other day I was determined to spend it stain free. Oh, I achieved what passes for my personal best in maximum adorable-ness. My hair decided to look nice for a change, and my brand new jeans were the perfect choice to go with…my favorite top.

Dare I tempt the Karmic Muffin, that skank hormonal biyatch who manages to arrange for every errant flick of spaghetti sauce or gravy to find its way to the front of my shirt? Hell yes. Why not? I was feeling lucky.

I made it through the whole day. I wore my apron while cooking spaghetti – the scene of the last crime committed against my shirt. Ahha, Mistress Karma, you won’t find me asleep at the wheel this time! Dinner was cooked, and oddly enough, not a single spaghetti glorp graced the front of my apron.

It was 10 p.m. – an entire day…stain free. My favorite shirt looked wonderful! I’d beat the bad juju. I’d prevailed. I celebrated my victory with a granola bar while watching the news. As I changed to get ready for bed, what did I see staring back at me in the mirror like headlights on a foggy night? Not one, but two chocolate stains from my goddamn granola bar. I have never, ever gotten a strain from those damnably good chocco pieces in my granola bar. Why now? Off in the distance I swear I could hear the Karmic Muffin chortling. Fuck. Off to my usual date with Spray ‘N Wash.

I wonder why the Karmic Muffin doesn’t have a problem with my new jeans. They were as fresh as a daisy.

Monday, December 08, 2008


  • The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.
  • Accidental deaths caused by Physicians
  • per year are 120,000.
  • Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.
-Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health Human Services

  • The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000. (Yes, that's 80 million)
  • The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500.
  • The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188.
-Statistics courtesy of FBI

So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. Remember, 'Guns don't kill people, doctors do.'


Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand. Out of concern for the public at large, I withheld the statistics on lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical attention.

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's all in the packaging

As a writer, I'm always sensitive to the packaging of products - does the design convey the material inside? - that kind of thing. I'm convinced that most ad agencies hire untrained baboons on crack because the commercials have NOTHING to do with the product. Man, in the publishing industry, we'd be flayed for such practices. Commercials are all about the gimmick, and most of them are such an insult to the viewing public, it makes me weep for the future of firing synapses.

So I got a good laugh out of a teensy article this morning that described how Carl's Jr. is promoting their new sirloin burger. The irony is that Carl's lost their lawsuit against Jack in the Box's gigging them for their Angus burger - "what part of the cow is the Angus?" - I adored that commercial. I got a good laugh because the reporter described the upcoming commercials as, "featuring yet another sexy blond and her slob boyfriend..." Good on ya, smart reporter. You see what many of us old farts see; skank sells, and how pathetic is that?

I can only imagine Carl's market research has proven these slutty commercials successful, and that they're appealing to the younger generation. So skank and stupid sells. Crikey, what have we become? I guess that's why it's been years since I've gone to Carl's Jr. Their commercials are an affront to anyone with a brain, and their packaging sucks stale Twinkie cream.

So Jack, dude, order me up one of your tacos, willya? Love ya, man - here's a free copy of my book.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Happy Birthday to the very best

A very special birthday wish for my hubby, Fred. Fredopolis, without you, I'd be half a sandwich, half a pickle, half a novel, half a brain. You're the salt on my margarita, the verb to my noun, the jam in my jelly doughnut. I love you.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Early morning at the gym

Is there anything more disgusting than some muck-sucking bovine who doesn't flush the toilet? How tough can it be to reach around and push down the damn handle? Instead, I come in, bleary-eyed at 6 a.m., and that's my wake up call. Crickey.

Is there anything more cruel than to hear "I Want Candy" blasting out over the gym music system? Why the hell do you think the gym is so crowded, Mr. 24 Hour Fitness? Geez, have a little compassion.

Is there anything more humbling than watching a reed-thin woman hooked up to oxygen working on the leg curl machine? Talk about character development; makes me want to kick my backside every time I complain about a little hip pain.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Maybe I'll just order online

We spent Thanksgiving week down in Palm Springs, where my parents live. While we were there, we watched the local news in horror as they described how two young women got into a shouting match at the very local Toys 'R Us. As one is wont to do; their male companions decided to sort things out by pulling out their guns and shooting each other. Both died. IN THE MIDDLE OF FREAKING TOYS 'R US.

In Long Island, a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death early Friday morning as he opened the doors to the store to allow customers. They were so excited to begin their shopping, that they mowed him down. As he fought for breath, people looked down at the floor and simply stepped over him to get to their destination.

Holy Christ. Is this what we've become? We can't Christmas shop because we face being trampled or shot? People are already cranky enough at this time of year; too many gifts to buy and too little money with which to do it. I remember reading stories last year about women getting into fights over a toy. Over a freaking, goddamned toy.

I haven't even started my shopping because I traditionally like to wait until shopper angst hits its apex and threatens to go nuclear. But as I sprout more gray hairs, I feel the tugs of mortality a bit more. Maybe the thrill of making the Big Buy is less important than simply surviving the holidays without losing a vital organ or my life. Whatever my previous motivations, I'm humbled that there are three fewer people who will celebrate Christmas because our sense of humanity took a back seat.

Maybe it's time to forgo the usual holiday trappings and go suck up some mountain air and hug a few trees.