Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Housewifin'

Well, things to bake and fudge to make and presents to wrap and suitcases to pack and on top of that I've got to get really busy focusing on my dad's and my father-in-law's poor health, so until I'm ready to put the housewife back on the shelf, I shall remain absent.

I'll check in after Christmas.

Happy Holidays to you, whatever holiday(s) you celebrate.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I usually post this on my art blog, but this year, I'm putting it here!

It's the annual "Send a Real Christmas Card" post.

I'm hoping everyone heeds my advice this year, and hoping that it's not too late:

I received the first card of the season the other day. It was festive and handmade by a child. I loved it.

It's pretty much what a Christmas card should be. Perhaps I should call them Holiday cards, since Christmas might not be the winter holiday you celebrate.

Regardless of what you call them, I do have certain likes and dislikes regarding them.

I like them pretty. Cute is o.k. Religious is fine. Snow scenes, glitter, candles, pop-ups, confetti, musical, trees, bunnies, reindeer, Mary, Jesus, Star of the East, gilded, triple-fold, elves, Santa Claus, Saint Francis, birds, are all just dandy.

If I know you well enough, I also appreciate the annual newsletter. I really do want to know (if I like you) where you went on vacation, who got braces or a promotion or straight A's or knocked up. If granny came to live with you, please tell me. If junior has developed a wheat allergy tell me. If that worthless b@stard has left you for another woman tell me and we'll get together and drink some wine. But please do me a favor. Tuck this newsletter into a lovely Holiday card.

If I like you, I will probably like your children. Granted, they may be pesky at times. I really do want to know about them. I actually want pictures of them. School photos are great. Group photos taken at Walmart are good too. But . . . BUT . . . just insert these photos into a lovely card.

I know how convenient it is to make the photo the card itself. But when I display my Holiday cards, I don't want just photos of kids looking at me. I want to see the pretty cards. I want to take the little photos you insert and put them with the other photos you have sent me through the years. After the holidays, I will file them away with the others from previous years and be astonished at how they have grown. Or, perhaps, your kids will have the honor of being displayed on my fridge for the year. If you send me one of those big ole photo cards, its just going to be tossed. How much room do you think I have to store those big photos? Very little. So those big ole photo cards of your offspring will just get tossed away with half-licked candy canes after Christmas is over. That makes me feel bad. But just not bad enough to create extra storage space.

I also know that no one is going to take my advice. You all went to the photo shop back in early October with your red and green scarves and mittens and posed for your Holiday cards. Too late now.

Hubby and I met up for lunch the other day and we did our Christmas card shopping. I chose bears in the winter woods full of bright red Cardinals. Hubby chose some pop up owls in Christmas hats. Whether the recipients like them or not, we chose cards that say something about us. And it will say something about you -- that we think you're great and we want to make your Holiday even better. And tucked inside will be a little photo of our wonderful, gorgeous, achieving, talented, loving, gifted, precious, awe-inspiring child.

I'm sure I've offended a few people out there. I've probably been furiously scratched from your Holiday card list. Even more likely, you will still send out that big ole photo card anyway, whether or not you read this blog.

I know your children are wonderful, gorgeous, achieving, talented, loving, gifted, precious, and awe-inspiring. Just tuck their photo (or perhaps a photo of the entire family, including pets) inside a show-stopping Holiday card that I will proudly display.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Carol of the Balls

This time of year, that old Christmas tune "Carol of the Bells" darts through my brain and often out of my lips dozens of times each day.

But after unwrapping my Christmas ornaments yesterday, it is all about the balls.

Is it silly that this ornament above (and its gold and green mates) are my favorite ornaments? I have two trees loaded with animal, bird, and Santa ornaments. Ornate vintage balls from antique shops. Lovely ornament gifts from all over the world. But these are the most important.

Back in the winter of 1950, my parents were newlyweds. Newlyweds with little money. My mother went to the five and dime store and brought several dozen boxes of inexpensive glass balls, a bottle of glue, and 3 bottles of glitter. These balls were the mainstay of their Christmas trees until my sister and I came along. Eventually, we loaded up the tree with our own little misguided Christmas crafts. Every now and then, a ball would come crashing to the ground. It still happens.

When my sister and I went off to college, my mother decided it was time for a color-theme tree. Peach and gold and white it would be. The original red, green and gold ornaments were divided up and remained in boxes until my sister and I had our own homes. I'm not sure how many ornaments survive at my sister's house, but I think I'm down to 12-14. I'm hoping to have enough to pass on to my daughter one of these years.

There are still a few ornaments left to hang, mostly these special balls. I'm dreading that awful little smashing sound that is inevitable each year, but I'm off to hang them up and remember the woman that made them.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Cast-on, Cast-off of Life

Boy, I have been a grump lately!

Last night, we returned from our Thanksgiving trip to see two sides of the family. After (actually before) the unpacking was done, I declared that I was in no mood for Christmas. I did not want to decorate, I did not want to bake any damn cookies and I did not want to throw our annual Christmas party.


Don't know for sure.

I'm known to make anniversaries out of bad times. And this year is no different. Last Sunday was one year since my mother's kidney failure. We spent last Thanksgiving around the dining table while my mother was in the hospital. Every thing I did to "celebrate" the season last year was done in a haze of misery. I slogged through hosting the party, baking cookies, making fudge, and wrapping gifts that I was not certain would ever be seen by my mother. They weren't.

This year does not seem to be more promising.

My dad's cancer is believed to have spread. Tests done this December will confirm the path it has taken. My father-in-law is now in a nursing home after a recurrence of his lung cancer. Nothing will be done except to relieve pain.

Sometimes it feels hard to move, even harder to be festive.


While we were in my mother-in-law's home yesterday morning, my daughter spies knitting needles and a small ball of yarn on her side table. Attached is a small swatch of knitted yarn. My daughter asks her how to knit.

My mother knit. Somewhere in my archives is a post about it. She knit like a fiend. Like yarn was crack. My daughter watched her knit but never asked her how to do it. I certainly never asked. For me, knitting would be like asking to have my eye put out. Or both eyes. I am not a careful person.

But there sat the yarn AND a grandmother.

After my mother's death, I discovered several unfinished knitted blankets and scarves, some were nearing completion, some were far from it. My mother-in-law offered to finish off any raw edges so I could put some blankets to use and distribute the others to my family. Some were of a size only suitable to small dolls or stuffed animals. My mother-in-law is noted for beginning some projects and letting them languish for years. She is also noted for working like a demon on other projects and completing them in record time. This project was one of the latter.

And so, almost a year later, there on the table were my mother's knitting needles and yarn. With 20 minutes of patience on the side of both grandmother and granddaughter, there is a new knitter in the family. Last night, she asked me if my mother had one of those row counters. We dug out her knitting bag and found one and all sorts of other knitting goodies.

Here I sit in the dining room, clacking away on the laptop. There is my daughter in the living room, knitting needles clacking away.


I'm beginning, just beginning, to feel a bit more festive. I want my daughter to feel the joy of this time of year, even though I might not be feeling it. Yet. I will do my best not to show her how miserable a large part of me is. I know there are plenty of Christmas's past where my parents and my husband's parents have done the same.

Her smile will make me happy and her joy over the approaching holiday will cheer me. And the sound of my mother's knitting needles is already doing a great deal to improve my mood.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Dark, Dark Valley, Part II

Living here in central Pennsylvania, I have been witness (of a very limited degree) of the damage that has been wrought by former football coach Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky has been accused of 40 counts of child abuse of young boys. The Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier, Penn State president of 16 years, have been fired. Many others, including the children themselves, are involved.

I have read countless articles, letters, editorials and blog rants for the last two weeks. I’m sure there is more to come. Far more. Most people here feel anger. Anger toward Sandusky. Anger toward Paterno and Spanier. Anger at the entire school. And, no doubt, among all of these people, at least one person is angry at the victims. Perhaps more. If they hadn’t come forward, then the Penn State game plan would have remained the same.

I most definitely am not advocating for the silence of the victims. What they are doing – the ones that are coming forward – is extremely difficult. They are not coming forward to enjoy their moment in the sun of toppling beloved heroes. They are coming forward to put an alleged rapist behind bars, and to make sure this does not happen to other children. There will be no fun in this for them. No glory. No matter what the result of this awful situation, these children will always be resented by some for coming forward in the first place.

I am unable to put myself into the shoes of these victims. I have not been raped or molested by an adult as a child. But these last two weeks have brought up memories of my younger years that at least give me a glimpse into their fear and pain.

This past year, two “beloved” men from my hometown passed away. The local papers carried stories about what these men had done for their communities. How they would dedicate their lives to friends and family. Links and letters flooded my Facebook page. Memorials. Dedications. Testimonials. I had nothing to offer. Why would I speak out negatively about these men? Wouldn’t make me the most popular visitor in my hometown this Thanksgiving would it?

The most recent death was of a man who was a friend back in high school. Big guy. Former football player. Loved the ladies. Perhaps most of the ladies loved him back. I had no problem with him back in school. After I went off to college and came home during summer breaks, the phone calls began. Perhaps he thought he was being sexy. Perhaps he thought I liked the attention. I let him know that the calls were not sexy and I did not like that kind of attention. I can’t remember the conversations word for word. But if I had saved all of the notes, I could have. I began writing down every word he spoke, just in case I needed this information for the police. Would he bother to come to my house and do the very things he spoke of doing? He didn’t. But at the time I had no idea if he would “drop by” or not. The calls dropped off somewhat when I went back to college, but the following summer they picked up again. I did mention telling my parents and calling the police. He gruffly advised me not to. I wondered if I had enough information to warrant a call to the police. Finally, I convinced him that I was married to a very jealous man (which I wasn’t). After a few more phone calls (from him to me, of course), I managed to stop the calls. The worry, however, was still there.

Earlier this year, a coach from my junior high school died of cancer. Newspaper stories told of how he would help children. If there were a girl from a broken family who needed help, his family would take her in. The papers had a never-ending supply of stories of his charitable actions. Facebook revealed a river of adulation flowing toward this man. I’m not doubting that he wasn’t loved. I wouldn’t say that that all of his actions were done with an undertone of sexual harassment. I would say that how he treated me, back in middle school, would be labeled sexual harassment. Toward a 13-year-old. Not good.

He would comment on my body, when nobody else could hear, of course. Parts of me were disgusted. But parts of me, those parts of an insecure 13-year-old that need attention, were flattered. No thoughts went through my head about reporting this to the principal. I’m not even sure I thought of going to the principal that day he lured me into the equipment closet, turned off the light, and “offered” to touch those parts of me that had developed way too soon. He was close, but I do not think he actually touched me. I mustered up all of my courage and told him if he did touch me, I would scream and the entire gymnasium would hear me. He believed me. The lights came on and he opened the door. From then on, he acted as if we had a good little private joke going on and weren’t we having just a bit of naughty fun keeping a secret together. These last two weeks, I’ve wondered if he kept other naughty little secrets with other young girls.

What would have happened if I had spoken up? Would anyone have believed me over our beloved, jovial coach? Did he go to his grave with a smile on his face about the things he said or did to young girls?

If I had mentioned this to anyone during my life, and they had been determined to defend the coach, could they have managed to convince me that I may have misinterpreted his words and actions? Could they have caused me to doubt myself? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m willing to believe that I could have been convinced to keep quiet about it. I could have been convinced that no one would believe me or that if I told I would become an outcast.

The young boys, now grown men, that were abused by Jerry Sandusky have been victims for 10 to 20 years. Even if all involved with their abuse are convicted or punished, they will still be victims. At the selfish touch of one sick man, these boys have become victims forever.

While something astonishingly awful has happened here at Penn State, we must remember this type of crime did not originate here. It is not the only place in the world where this has occurred or is occurring right now. If a child shamefully whispers about inappropriate behavior from an adult, we need to listen. We also need to remember that a child might be too embarrassed to tell. Let’s let our children know what behavior is inappropriate, and if they feel something is not right among the adults (or other children) in their world that they can speak up.

It is way too easy and way to hard to be a victim.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Dark, Dark Valley

So, every pundit, fan, and fool with a laptop (I place myself in this last category) has put in their two cents worth on the horrible mess at Penn State University.

To put it simply, heinous crimes were committed, they were covered up, and anyone and everyone involved needs to be fired and tried for their crimes.

State College, PA, is not an easy place in which to live right now. The damage to Penn State University and anyone connected to it (read: everyone in town and within an unknown radius) will be felt indefinitely. Our town has been opened up to the world and all are pouring their wrath upon the guilty and innocent.

My husband, at a conference in Denver this week, was asked if he weren't embarrassed to be from Penn State. He stated that the crimes were horrible, but no, he was not ashamed to represent Penn State. He is NOT involved with the football program, however.

This is my town, and it is pretty much full of good people, even though a commenter on an on-line news article stated that State College is a sick town. Easy to say when you live far away. I would have to say that State College does have some sick people in it. As do other places in this world.

Our newspaper's editorial page is filled each day with letters concerned with the victims and demanding those responsible pay for what they did to these children, whether they committed the acts themselves or covered up for others. I have yet to see a letter or hear a comment supporting Sandusky or Paterno over the children that were raped or molested. There are some that feel that too much blame has been placed on the wrong people, but hopefully time will sort this out. The vast majority here in State College are aghast and sickened.

I've read many articles and editorial lately. Perhaps too many. I do want to know what public opinion is, yet I'm getting somewhat tired of those attempting to form public opinion to their own opinion. I'm tired of their cherry-picking of an individual's comments and their implication that my entire town agrees.

I do not believe that those nine words of one football fan should be used to paint the entire school and town black with one stroke. Yes, there are several football fanatics and plenty of misguided students out there. Daily I dodge these students on their bikes as they pull out into traffic with their "headphones" on. They too often drink themselves to death. General stupidity abounds with the 18-22 year-old-crowd. They do need some instruction in moral code and empathy. If the color of T-shirt is important to convey empathy, then I can recall a time several years ago when the stadium was filled with maroon and orange after the shooting at Virginia Tech.

Living among this horror, within rock throwing distance of some of the victims and accused, I can assure you that the majority of people are on the side of the victims and not the perpetrators or those who cover up for them. We are shocked and, momentarily, disbelieving, when we realize our friends and neighbors and leaders are part of this. The wounds are instantaneous and the healing long coming, if at all. Please forgive us if we give up our illusions and way of life more slowly than others demand.

There is no excuse for anyone abusing Mr. Matko in any way. There is no excuse for anyone abusing a peaceful demonstrator in an Occupy Wall Street protest. I don't think that someone acting like an ass is just something that happens in State College.

The moral cancer of this university needs to be cut out immediately. And then the school needs to be let to stand. Yes, State College is the home of Sandusky and Paterno and the others, it is also the home of some of the brightest minds in this country getting up each day to educate the brightest minds of the future.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Looooooove it!

I like putting emphasis on certain words when I write or talk. I think it helps to get my point across and every now and then I REALLY enjoy an all-caps word.

There are times when I like to draw out a word for emphasis. I might just want to let someone know that I really like a movie or book by saying that I just looooooooooved it. The 'o' sound is drawn out.

But every darn time I get on Facebook, people are just loveeeeeeeeeeing stuff. That just doesn't make sense to me. I loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeee with the 'e' drawn out just irritates the hell out of me. The 'e' is silent to begin with, why would you draw it out?!?

Am I just being picky? Now that could be read as piiiiiiiiiiiicky or pickeeeeeeeee. But not 'love'. It's not loveeeeeeeeeee. Stop making it that way. Now.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Good Housekeeping?

Those of you out there that know the Housewife, know her thinking on housework. Oil and water. I hate it all. I've never met a domestic chore that I like.

After a good couple of weeks in the studio, the Housewife had to make an appearance today to scrape off the crud.

I've included photos. Be damn glad I didn't take a "before" photo of the toilet.

What the heck is a laundry hamper? p.s. this is only a small portion of the dirties.

Which one is the dust bunny and which is the cat toy?
Answer: since I dug them both out from under a table,
they are both dust bunnies and according to the cat, the one on the left is more fun.

After laundry, bathroom cleaning and sweeping, I moved onto dusting. Somehow, it is a less productive use of time than watching paint dry. A complete waste of time, and I do know a great deal about wasting time. Dusting trumps all time wasting (non)activities.

And we're not even going into cooking. The Housewife does not go there! My cooking is generally unsatisfying and often dangerous to people and property. I've been relegated to clean up activities in my house.

And, hell, I just realized there's some ironing to do.

My blood pressure is up. Me feelings of adequacy are down.

How did those housewives of the past not just drop it all and run out in front of a bus?

Well, its lunch time. Soon all of this will be behind me for the next three weeks as the sh#t piles up around me once again. I'm going to enjoy wallowing in it. Until I don't.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hey Paleface

Bigoted jackass, central Pennsylvania

It’s taken me a few days to get around to writing this. I’ve been dreading even thinking about this again, but here goes.

Each Wednesday afternoon, I take my daughter downtown for her ballet lesson. Then, for an hour, I loiter in the public library. Sometimes I peruse the new books, but usually, I bring a few things I need to catch up on. Like a good little writer, I always have a notebook and pen with me. Unlike a good little writer, I rarely put what I have in my notebook onto my blog. Each week, I encounter some type of strangeness at the library, and I always tell myself I will blog about it when I get home. There are thousands of stories in the library (excluding the ones in books), and sometimes there are so many choices of characters, that I can’t settle on one to write about. Until now.

I had seen this guy once before, as he almost ran me and my daughter down while leaving the library. This day he settled into a chair in front of me and I could see his backside in all of its glory.

Today, the asshole arrives wearing a red T-shirt. The same one he wore the last time I saw him. He sits down at a computer station, pulls out a plastic bag and spits into it. He carries with him a great variety of things: a large jar of juice, tote bag, extra clothing, and a Confederate flag. And the shirt – well I don’t know what is written on the front, but the back reads, in large white letters, “KEEP AMERICA WHITE.” He wears a baseball cap covered with buttons. One button is for Penn State, which is crossed out with a handmade red “X.” A Confederate flag button, several others than I do not wish to get close enough to read, and, naturally, one with a swastika. He completes the outfit with camouflage pants, a wardrobe staple of society outsiders.

So, here in the public library, is a walking potential hate crime. My entire body shakes just being near this person. I wonder just what the hell this intolerant bastard is looking up on the computer. How to make explosives. How to tie a noose. Checking his Google stats on his popularity among white supremacists. I’m guessing that this man has been on earth for at least forty years. I cannot believe that someone who would carry their hatred on their sleeve (and tote bag and hat and . . .), would not have committed a hate crime in all of those years. Someone has no doubt suffered at the hands of this man. I’m suffering just by looking at the back of his hateful body.

Hands trembling, I took a photo. I expected him to turn around and eat me upon hearing the iPhone cute photo-taking noise. I packed to leave unscathed. It was time to pick up my Chinese daughter from ballet. I’m just assuming he wouldn’t appreciate a bit of yellow mixed into his filthy whiteness. I’m glad that my daughter was not here to see this. Would it have been a hate crime to beat him with my umbrella? I so wanted to borrow a Sharpie marker from the librarian, write “Keep America Free from Asshole Bigots” on my own shirt, stand in front of him and clear my throat. However, I don’t think I could have managed that without throwing up. And I would have so loved to decorate his racist face and shirt with my lunch.

There’s always next time, I guess. And with a conveniently located public library, I’m sure that time won’t be too far off.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hearing Crickets. . .

I'm guessing that is what my readers are thinking about my blog lately. I've been negligent. I could say I've been tending to other matters, but the fact is, I've been wasting as much time as usual on useless stuff.

I'm trying to enjoy autumn. It's beautiful here in Central Pennsylvania right now (and I so rarely say that). But this year is just not the same. I keep thinking back to this time last year. Sometime during October I went to visit my parents, not knowing it would be the last time I would see my mother in her own home.

Right now, the weather is beautiful. The windows are open and I'm listening to the crickets chirping. I hear footsteps shuffling through the leaves. Halloween is not even on my mind yet, but I am already dreading winter.

It's a long winter in these parts. I'm sure there are some Canadians out there rolling their eyes, but really . . .

I'm going to need some help getting through this winter.

Somebody, please help me think of something positive about 5-6 long, cold months. Please!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oh, Hell No!

Sometimes, when I get bored, I Google my name.

Or if I really want to know what people are saying about me.


I was bored and curious so I Googled and discovered that a member of the Tea Party has my name.

The horror!!

I'm off to bathe and exfoliate and brush and floss and possibly treat myself for lice.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Brother Can You Spare a Dime*

*Or how about just 9 cents (for every dollar)

Yesterday morning, I went to the computer to see the news of the day. The hubby had apparently been up earlier and pulled up an article on GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. One would think that this would just be 666 upside down, but no, it’s much much much worse.

This oh-so-simple plan changes the corporate tax rate from 35% to 9%, swaps out the six-tier personal income tax system for a flat rate of 9% and creates a 9% national sales tax.

So who’s going to be paying for this country? Ah, the wealthy like to say that the country was built on their backs. They feel so responsible for the general prosperity of this country. Up until now. Since corporate heads and the wealthy (yeah, they’re pretty much the same) are going to be let off of the hook for putting gobs of money into the tax system for schools, police, roads, defense and all of that other expensive, government-provided stuff, who will have to pay for most of this? The working poor. And the working middle-class who are sliding their way downhill and landing on top of those working poor. Since the wealthiest 1% of Americans control 42% of this country’s financial wealth, each individual in that lower 99% will be doing most of the grunt work.

Those lowest on the working totem pole are paying 10% of their personal income in taxes. I guess there will be a bit of savings if that goes down to 9%. Think of what all of that extra money will buy. Perhaps these people will now be able to afford health insurance if their employer does not provide it. Yeah, I know. I was just making a joke. Now, if there is a nine percent national sales tax instead of personal income tax, any extra bucks are going to be snatched out of the hands of our poorest people. Herman Cain understands this. He knows that these people will be responsible for their own-decision making. He states his plan will be helping them out tremendously. Hey, you poor folks need a winter coat. That’s a good decision. Go on and buy one for every member of your family. And now, give the government an extra 9%. You don’t HAVE to buy those coats you know. Cain’s plan is here to help you responsibly make decisions. If you decide you don’t have the money, don’t spend the money. Ain’t Cain great? Cain thinks this plan will give Americans more freedom. What do you think?

What I did not see addressed in the 9-9-9 plan was what effect the national sales tax will have on individual state taxes. Will this replace the state taxes? I don’t think that’s what the states want. Each state varies in taxation on food and clothing. Will we be paying a national sales tax for these subsistence items? And what about those additional city taxes? Will these be eliminated or just tacked onto the national sales tax? How much are we going to be paying for each purchase in taxes?

Our country sees taxation as a crime. Our tax system has even been compared to slavery. Herman Cain, an African-American, has stated that our tax code is the 21st century version of slavery. Does this make anyone other than me afraid of a hemorrhage? What the hell? Does this man know what slavery is? Didn’t any of his ancestors pass down some stories? My dictionary states that a slave is: a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them, or a person who works very hard without proper remuneration or appreciation. It looks like definition two fits Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. Definition number 1 seems to be a perfect fit for one who is free to fuck over thousands of employees and purchase yachts and diamonds and designer clothing and mansions. Right?

It seems that those days (years actually) of the great depression have been forgotten, much like the proper definitions for slavery. Yep, some of you have heard of that depression when people lost their homes and money and jobs and other such insignificant items. Actually, there are millions upon millions of Americans that are struggling with that now, right under the noses of those who will do anything to avoid paying their taxes. The greatest tax burden is borne by those on the bottom of the financial ladder. The poor and middle class are paying the greatest amount for others in similar situations. The taxes levied on the lowest paid individuals are going to pay for the education, police, roads, public transportation, food stamps, social services, etc. for other individual in the same financial boat. In other words, “Brother, can you spare a dime.”

Under Cain’s plan, it’s not only the poorest people that are asking for a little financial help from others, but the wealthiest in this country are asking the poorest, “brother, can you spare a dime.”*

*Actually, that just nine cents (for every dollar) under Cain’s plan.

Here are the lyrics from that good, 0ld-timey depression-era song:

They used to tell me I was building a dream
And so I followed the mob
When there was earth to plow or guns to bear
I was always there right on the job

They used to tell me I was building a dream
With peace and glory ahead
Why should I be standing in line
Just waiting for bread?

Once I built a railroad, I made it run
Made it race against time
Once I built a railroad, now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once I built a tower up to the sun
Brick and rivet and lime
Once I built a tower, now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell
Full of that Yankee-Doodly-dum
Half a million boots went sloggin' through Hell
And I was the kid with the drum

Say, don't you remember, they called me "Al"
It was "Al" all the time
Why don't you remember, I'm your pal
Say buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, ah gee we looked swell
Full of that Yankee-Doodly-dum
Half a million boots went sloggin' through Hell
And I was the kid with the drum

Oh, say, don't you remember, they called me "Al"
It was "Al" all the time
Say, don't you remember, I'm your pal
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

E.Y Harburg and Jay Gorney

Monday, September 19, 2011

U R rly psng me off

Maybe I'm being a little too bitchy.

Could be because I rarely text and never twitter.

But holy crap, I can't take it when people cannot be bothered to type out words!

If you can't take the time to properly text or email me USING FULL WORDS, then I'm going to assume you really don't give a shit or your message is completely unimportant. I will not read what you have to say. If it's more difficult than reading Shakespeare, then I'm not going to do it.

I will not bother to figure out what the hell it is you are saying.

You. √
Ewe. √
U. Absolutely not. Unless you are making a U-turn. Or, if you must, driving a U-Haul.

And then there's R. Spell it dammit.

What is it that you are really trying to say? That you are too important to waste time typing (non)extraneous letters. That you are illiterate. That I am not good enough to read full words. That you are actually trying to piss me off.

What's even worse is trying to read teenage slang written in this freakin' code. I've got no chance of interpreting that, not that I really want to. It would be nice to understand my nieces' Facebook posts, but, well, I'm just too damn cranky and old so I'll just have to remain in the dark.

Am I the only freak left on the face of the earth that actually likes words? There are so many great ones: alleviate, Ethiopia, tangerine, Bossa Nova, sprocket, Alaska (until it was tainted by politics).

Am I in this boat alone?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Inspiration is Relative

A review of Barry Dixon’s new home design book, Inspirations.

I am a huge fan of home d├ęcor books. Perhaps I could be classified as obsessive. I rarely implement any of the ideas shown, either from lack of time, courage or funds. It is not often that I review books, but this time I feel I must speak (write), even though only my blog friends will ever read these words. This review is a bit strongly worded for

Out of five stars, I award this book three. How could that be for such a lovely coffee table book? Well, in this tome chock full of props (also called accessories) such a book would not show up on one of the perfectly orchestrated coffee tables dotted throughout the book. Little of real life is depicted in these pages. However, the book is full of thick pages, large clear photos and details on where the moneyed set can purchase the accoutrements of luxury living.

Before purchasing the book, I did view a few pages through Amazon, but did not get into the “meat” of the book until it arrived. When I talk about meat here, it is as if I was looking though one of the manse’s many French doors, watching a couple with lovely, possessionless children eat filet mignon in the expanse of their 30-foot-long dining room while standing out in the rain eating a bologna sandwich filched from a dumpster.

Some of the “family” homes shown in the pages are quite a curiosity for someone that has a family of their own. One in particular really makes me shake my head and laugh sadly. The claim is that the home is designed for a growing family. Somehow that makes me think of young children. I could be wrong. Perhaps the residents are just growing more portly. Before extensive renovations, the home had been described as stately. That encourages me to think that it might of had a surplus of square footage. Well, I’m an idiot then, because the house required the addition of a two-level living room and two new wings. The original living room, no doubt bigger than my original (and only) living room is now an intimate reception room. The original dining room (in a bow to modesty?) remained intact, although, one can dine in a new supper room. Perhaps there are separate rooms for breakfast and lunch and, why the hell not, a late night snack. I suppose if one were to feel peckish while reading, they could have a tray brought into the two-story library. In the evening the master and mistress of the house can retire to their own studies, dressing rooms and bathrooms before traveling on to the master bedroom. When it is time for the family to gather together, they can do so in the informal family quarters in the southern wing of the home.

And so on.

If that home is not to your liking, you can read about the Charlotte Chateau. This home, in the narrative, is described as a castle. Mr. Dixon worked with a local architect (after the first architect was canned) in adjusting the scale of the rooms “in an effort to make them smaller and more inviting.” Why the hell these rooms weren’t made smaller and more inviting to begin with is not explained. Maybe it pleases the owner to know that the footprint of the average American home can fit inside the master bath. And my thinking is that if you have to add a niche to the bedroom to create a focal point, then the room must be too damn large. In my home (and so many others), the bed IS the focal point. In my “master” bedroom, the bed IS the room.

Imagine a world where the sharing of a bathroom is out of the question, even among married couples. Hell, aside from the sharing of a richly draped colossal bed, hubby and wife have plenty of room to roam and never have to cross paths. Children (invisible I suppose) can range about like antelope on the savannah. Plenty of room, just don’t leave out one toy, book, shoe or drawing. One kitchen stove costs more than a lifetime of motor vehicles for an average family. And I don’t think I need to mention the colossal size of the kitchen. But I did. Ah, the joy and beauty (and complete fucking uselessness) of a foyer that could house 3 or 4 extended third-world families.

And then there is the family residing in one of Washington, D.C.’s ritzier suburbs. The owner’s house was just too modestly scaled and, well, the decision was made to scrap that house and start anew. With, of course, yet another kitchen that would put the Hogwarts’ dining hall on the same level as a lower-east-side-tenement kitchen. Naturally, his and her master baths and dressing rooms (with fireplaces) are mandatory. As is the series of guest suites. Yep, plural.

There is one relatively modest abode – a Chicago apartment “in a downtown Michigan Avenue high-rise with sweeping views of the city and Lake Michigan.” Actually, this is a second home , so once inside any restrictions on real estate are covered up with silk draperies and hand painted-wallpapers. I still would not be able to afford a sconce or decorative pillow in this dwelling. Not even for my first (and only) home.

And I have to pass along the most ridiculous decorating tip ever: “Upholster kitchen walls and ceilings with fabrics and textures to absorb street noise and make the room more inviting.” That idea is as practical as the purchase of a fur-lined pot.

At this book’s completion, I am not left with the desire to tear down my modest home and build a mansion with rooms assigned for each moment’s task. I no longer have the desire to upgrade my sheets, hang a painting or clean out my kitchen drawers (although such mundane things were not mentioned in this book). At the end, I just found myself chanting, “tax the rich tax the rich tax the rich.”

Friday, September 9, 2011

Amazing Artwork, Aisle 27

Art from Lowe’s?

I had lunch with a friend the other day. Somewhat older, somewhat more conservative. Lovely home. Except, I must say, for the art.

I think that the art one hangs in one’s home should reflect the character of the inhabitants. Most inhabitants seem reluctant to let it all (or anything) hang out. One must blend. Artwork should match the sofa. Nothing should stand out. Nothing.

Now, I am an artist. Whether I am a good artist or not is up to the beholder, not me. I’m think I’m pretty good, but I also believe I have quite a ways to go. Now, this lady might not be able to stand laying eyes on my creations. Whatever. There’s plenty of original art out there that I wouldn’t hang up in a portable potty in a beer festival parking lot. But this was art purchased from Lowe’s with a $50 discount coupon. Sure, it matched the woodwork and the shower curtain. And it added some needed color to an open wall. But its benefits stopped there.

This woman is not the only person I know who has scored “artwork” at a huge discount. I’ve heard bragging from several friends about their cheap finds. Rarely (never?) are these finds unique works of art with some kind of meaning. Just a smoosh of dull, tired colors. Is this what people really want?!?

What am I to think of my own work and the work of those starving and not-so-hungry artists that head to their studios each day to paint, sculpt, weave, and craft their hearts out? Why is it that original art is almost completely overlooked by the majority of wall-adorning consumers out there? Do these people not buy original work out of ignorance, fear or cost control? Do they really like this faded generic “art” that they buy by the ton? Are they actually inspired not one whit about any original art out there in the world?

I have heard of emergency art. Someone has said to me before and will say to me again, “I just had to cover that hole/stain/useless outlet immediately. That thing was just laying around and I thought, hell, I’ll just stick that old thing up on the wall.” I myself have used something on hand to cover up unattractive blotches and ancient outlets that have no business ever coupling with an electrical plug again. But whatever I do hang in this type of situation will at least have some meaning for me.

Perhaps this woman is giddy with happiness over her purchase. Inspired to the max. Maybe I am just feeling slighted and sullen. I could have marketed the hell out of myself and not left her house until she had agreed on buying five thousand dollars worth of art from me. But that’s not the way I operate. I just nodded and agreed that the new artwork did, indeed, match the towels.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Drill Baby Drill


What does it have to do with religion?

More than you'd think.

So . . .

I live across the street from Penn State University. It's a big school. And as far as I'm concerned, it has lots of room to house various activities, whether its education, sports, theatre, or praying. I thought the school was big enough for it all.


Several years ago, a spiritual center was built on my side of campus. A professional baseball player could get a ball through the window from my property if they tried hard enough. All faiths are welcome there. But it wasn't good enough for the campus Catholics. Not sure why, and it obviously doesn't matter as the local Catholic community razed several homes OFF campus (and on my block) to build a Catholic center where folks of other religions couldn't get their filthy hands on their icons and what not.

For about a year and a half, I've heard construction vehicles rumbling past my house which sits six feet from the access alley. When we had the earthquake last week, I thought it was a convoy of construction trucks. Its been pretty much a constant earthquake for the past 18 months.

It can't get any worse, right?

It can.

Here's the email I received 10 minutes ago about the "progress" of the Catholic center.

The following is an update on the construction activities at the Catholic Student Faith Center being constructed in your neighborhood. Thank you all for your continued patience in dealing with the temporary disturbance that will result in a beautiful new building in your community.

The building will be served by a geothermal heat pump system. Part of that system included the installation of wells in the ground that accept and reject heat depending on the season. The CSFC has 17 wells 400’ deep in the area surrounding the building. We will begin drilling those wells next Tuesday 9/6/11. The drilling rig will create a noise disturbance. The drilling will last approximately 1 month, start at 7:00 in the morning and conclude at 5:00 daily.

The overall project is intended to be completed around the end of this year. Again, we appreciate your patience and if you have any question don’t hesitate to contact me. Thanks.

Mac Wright

I'm thrilled that religion has seen the light, as least where the environment is concerned. But if I seem a little testier than usual on this blog, then you'll know why.

I'm assuming this racket will top the two rock bands that practice in the houses across the alley.

Perhaps its time to move to the country and raise llamas.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Please, take my identity

Dear Auburn Student:

Please tell me you are a student and not an instructor or professor.

I know tuition costs are rising and student debt is waaaaayyyy out of hand. You need some dough. What better way to raise your much needed funds for education and date rape drugs than the old give me all of your personal information so I can worm my way into your bank account and whatnot scam?

Let me tell you, I've seen far better attempts at this. FAR BETTER.

You were wise to put Bank of American in the "from" section, but having right next to Bank of America made me just a teeeeeennnny bit wary. I'm not sure why.

But all in all it just looked a mite shady:

We recently have determined that different computers have logged onto your Online Banking account, and multiple password failures were present before the logons. We now need you to re-confirm your account information to us.

If this is not completed by August 31, 2011, we will be forced to suspend your account indefinitely, as it may have been used for fraudulent purposes. We thank you for your cooperation in this manner.

To confirm your Online Banking records click on the following link:

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

Bank of America Customer Service

Please do not reply to this e-mail as this is only a notification. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered.

2011 Bank of America All Rights Reserved.

I'm thinking that your college career is going to take a nose dive and this will probably have some effect on the rest of your life.

Of course, this could be showing that you have low moral fiber and great ambition and that you will go far in life. Far down the road, when you are at the top of your game and I am a dottering old woman, you will be able to scam me and my cats out of our last quarters and take the burial plot on top of that.

Hope you get everything that is coming your way, asshole.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Don't Put it On Me

I'm not usually one to pay much attention to what big woohoos that go on in the entertainment world. Either I'm slow to catch on or I just don't give a damn. Sometimes both.

But this time, I'm really irritated and nauseous, so I have to share.

Unless you're me or live under a rock, you've heard about the most disgusting marriage of the decade. Yep, 51-year-old actor marries 16-year-old chick. Normally, I would just think to myself, "whatever" (done in the eye-rolling sarcastic manner of a 16-year-old). But, for the love of Pete, I'm apoplectic.

Wanna watch! Go on . . .

Hopefully you've finished retching.

I only heard about this two days ago. I'm lucky to have been spared so far. Generally, I'm thinking about Libya, poverty in Africa, our failing school system, Michelle Bachmann, etc. Nowthis damn thing has taken over. Several scalding showers and eye washes have not helped in the least.

At first, I laughed. I saw a couple of videos of this girl and I just busted out laughing. I thought her plastic self was just too funny. And she does these REALLY bizarre things with her lips. If you haven't watched the video yet, please, you have to.

AND she has a music video. Classic!

Yes, it seems she really is 16. There are some disbelievers. I know, she does look like a 30-year old smokin' and boozin' not-so-good-hearted hooker. But the birthers have spoken and a birth certificate has been shown.

After I had an evening of belly-shaking laughter, slowly the weight of her situation came down on me. She really is a kid. She does possess the social skills of a 16-year-old girl (albeit one that hangs out by the back door of the boys' locker room). She didn't acquire her attitude, mannerisms, personality, and ability to make really dirty-nasty faces on her own. These things she learned. And from whom? Her parents. Hell, they are the ones that married her off to this man. Excuse me, I have the dry heaves.

So, why? Why would this man wish to marry such a girl? Pardon me for stealing a bit from Seinfeld, but I'm wondering what team he really plays for. Is she a molded petroleum-by-product working as a beard? Just sayin'! There's a little blip on my gaydar every time I hear him speak. But, that's beside the point. Why would this girl's parents sign her over, push her onto, give her up to, let her go to, hook her up with this lizard? Hurl.

I can see only one reason. Need a clue? Green paper stamped with the faces of various presidents. Ah, yes, the "reality" show people have apparently come knocking. And they are frothing at the mouth while doing the math. Probably a bit easier for him to do the math, since she is not finishing her high school career. I'm sure he's wanting the money, and no doubt she's wanting the money, but I'm sure her parents are looking forward to an early retirement and all that comes with the sloth of easy money.

I'm thinking that I lived a pretty normal childhood. My parents were a little(?) sheltering. They encouraged logical thinking, empathy, responsibility, honesty and other apparently useless shit. This girl's parents were teaching her something else entirely. And when she was done with learning, they affixed her to this pimp. Or are the parents the pimps? Dang! Its the battle of the pimps and this poor misled girl is the one caught in the middle.

So, now I'm done laughing at her and I'm into the pity. She's apparently never known the security of being raised by responsible parents. She couldn't have been given the ability to create confidence in herself. Let's face it, she didn't come out of the womb this way. But here she is now, as far from being a normal 16-year-old girl as she can possibly be. Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Stodden. You've created a plastic chick that will unfortunately become the poster child of "itness" for all young girls out there today.

No Courtney, I'm NOT going to put it on you. I'm going to put it on the man and woman that raised you.

What they have done, in my mind, borders on the criminal. They have given you no respect for who you truly are (were). And after watching these videos, I know that (except for the tweens out there who are having confidence issues) you will receive no respect from those around you. Your parents have taken that from you. You may become wealthy, but not from talent, skill, or an intelligent, well-developed mind. Those who come into contact with you will take advantage of you. They are laughing at you, and they will continue to laugh at you until your spurt of fame is over. Your parents have made you completely vulnerable to the leeches of the world.

What's next for you and the hubby? I'm praying (not something I am accustomed to doing) that one or both of you are sterile. PLEASE! NO OFFSPRING!

Girl, beware of the drinking, the drugs, the sicknesses that are out there waiting for what is left of you. I hear that the Amy Winehouse exit door is quite easy to push open.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dear Friend,

Gee, how long have we been friends now? Forty two years. That's a long damn time. We've had our childhood differences. I recall the time at the beach when we were in our early 20's and we actually had a fistfight. I can look back at that now and laugh. God, how tacky! But, I must say, I felt a little better afterward.

We can't do that anymore. Or we don't. I guess we could. I'm not sure who would win. Would it be a long fight? Might be. We disagree on soooooooooo many things.

I can't remember our first real disagreement. Not one of those childhood things about who was spit sisters with who first, or who's sister was the meanest. We put more energy into those debates than anything we've discussed since we were 16.

There were those eye-rolling discussions. That time when you were finished with your dinner and a fly landed on your plate. You managed to kill him and slide him around in your remaining sauce and got a free dinner. You did not share this discount with me. I paid full freight. I'm not sure you even tipped. I also recall times when luck came my way and you demanded that I share. I wanted to share, but I also wanted to punish you for that fly incident.

These days, there are so few things we can talk about. Our children are fair game. Although my kid might have an eating issue, or lice, or difficulty learning how to ride a bike, or a tantrum. And I know as soon as I tell you these things, you will not commiserate with me or ask me for more information. The first thing you will tell me is that your kids NEVER had that problem. Shit. Why did I even bring it up. Oh, yeah. Because I wanted to share.

Religion. Good heavens I would never bring that topic up. And I do thank you for never bringing it up with me. I'm surprised that you haven't. Really. I know that you fear that my child (and the rest of us) will go to hell. I should thank you for never bringing it up, but that would be bringing it up, so I'll say nothing.

Politics. I do like to discuss politics. That's just one of my many annoying features. When was the last time I brought it up? Was that the Bush/Gore election? I'm thinking so. I had the audacity to ask who you were thinking about voting for. You told me you would vote for whoever your brother-in-law suggested, seeing that your Daddy was dead and couldn't tell you anymore. I'm sure I had the What-the-fuck look on my face, but since we were talking on the phone you couldn't see it so we managed to stay friends.

I know I haven't been the best of friends myself. When your mother was dying, I was having the time of my life in college and I wasn't there enough for you. I truly feel awful for that.

Why is it that we can't get personal anymore? I do keep a great deal to myself. I don't have many friends (could that be because of the politics?) so the ones I do have, I like to share my feelings with. When I had the nerve to tell you I was depressed because my artist life sucked and my real life sucked and I hated where I lived and I was having a mid-life crisis and I felt I had no future and all of that and your response was a little grunt and the suggestion that I get a job, I really wanted to say screw you that I real friend would want to talk about it. I just shut up and we talked about your job or store coupons or some shit that had nothing to do with me like most of our conversations go.

I remember a couple of years ago, if we went more than a week without talking on the phone we were shocked. We used to take turns calling each other on Fridays. If someone had to do the calling more than twice in a row the other one was called out. If we did skip a week, then the next conversation was a long one. For the past few months, its been me calling. And you sound so put out when I'm on the other end. I know you're busy. We all are, don't you know? I do think you can spare 10 minutes every other week. That's enough time for you to tell me about your recent bargains.

Does it hurt your feelings that I don't ask you to come visit anymore? It shouldn't. You know you are welcome anytime. I just got tired of asking and hearing really crappy excuses. Its really easy for me to pack it all up and drive six hours each way and visit you and my family every couple of months. However, I do think your five year (or is it six?) absence is a little noticeable.

This last visit was a bit hard on me. I am glad you took a few minutes to come see me at my Dad's house. I know my recent trip was boring for you to hear about. That's why I only talked about it for two or three minutes before you changed the subject to your recent trip. But I'd already heard about that twice, so . . .

And when you asked me about me, I'm not sure what you wanted to hear. I gave you a sentence or two about what I had been doing. You grunted. I guess that meant you were listening. And then I got a repeat of everything your children had been doing. I've heard that three times. I don't think you got the message when I was able to recite their comings and goings. But when you asked about me and what's going on in my life, I thought you meant what I was working on. You've told me all of your work trials and tribulations. So when I ventured that sentence or two about my new artwork, I thought I might get a grunt. No, I really did not expect you to ask me to show you something that I've made. I'm not sure that has ever happened. Of course, I did not expect you to say, "Hey, I'll have a look at your website." Why, oh why, did I not expect that sound of crickets. And the blank face. And then the immediate change of subject.

After 42 years, can't you just be honest and say, "I don't give a shit?" I must say, I'm getting close.

Well, I'm assuming no one has read this whole post. But I sure do feel better now. It's out there. It's written down.

And if you have read this far, we should really get together and discuss religion and politics.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hey Independents

The hubby has started a new blog of his newspaper editorials.

Jeez, he's always so darn fair minded.
Let him know what you think. Really. It can't be any worse than what some of the spittle-flecked ranting locals think of his ideas.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Name Envy

I spent much of my childhood (and adulthood?) envying the names of other girls.

Mine was Kim Hogan. Sounds a bit like pulling up phlegm. Not to disrespect the family name, but I was not reluctant to change my name when I married.

Some girls names sounded like waterfalls (Suzanna), or a soft rain (Marissa). Some were sturdy: Mary, Beth, Donna. Mine felt like a squeak. Kim. Or maybe that’s just the way shy, quiet me said it.

Some names seemed unique to me at the time: Shelby. I quite liked that one. Cydney. Cecilia. These names sounded swirly and happy. I wanted to sound swirly and happy. If I could not sound swirly and happy, then I wanted to sound tough and strong.

My favorite name among the high school girls was Lou Gott. I know now that Lou was short for Louise or Louisa, and, like my name, it sounded like the gathering and/or releasing of phlegm. But I envied that name. It sounded like the name of a girl that would kick the shit if the shit needed to be kicked. It sounded like the name of a girl who would do whatever she wanted. Say whatever she wanted. Screw the consequences. Somebody named Lou Gott could roll with the changes.

Me? I just sat quietly in the corner with my phlegmy name and squeaked it out when necessary.

I guess I could have used my full name, Kimberly. I tried it a couple of times. Sounded like too much. Too big of a name for such a little mouse. People would expect much more of me if I used that name. I was scared of it. I could only squeak out, “Kim.”

Suppose I had been named Ethyl or Sunshine? Gertie or Margot? How different would my life have been?

What about the names of today? Just like fashion, names follow trends. Several months ago, when visiting family in Texas, I went to my niece’s daycare center to pick her up. Along the wall, above the backpacks, each child’s name was perfectly printed. While I will not list any name here for fear of violent repercussion, I will mention that it read like the roster of an Iditarod dog sled team. What will the future hold for these children? Will they proudly hold their up their heads and fear nothing in life? These are names not intended to be squeaked out. These are names to say loudly.

Or will they, like I, wish for a name like Lou Gott?

Monday, August 8, 2011

If you can test drive a car . . .

then why can't you test drive a skirt?

My daughter and I did a little clothes shopping while we were vacationing in Portland, OR. We have to do our clothes shopping online or far from home, because to shop near our home requires that all of our clothing be blue and white and have "Penn State" silkscreened, stamped, or appliqued on each item.

We stop in a lovely, well-tended boutique. My daughter picks out a slightly-above-the-knee, floaty, jersey skirt and informs me that I must try it on. Apparently, with one eye shut and using my dyslexic eye, I confirm that the price is right. I take two other items and my daughter into the dressing room with me. The clerk brings us a bottle of sparkling water and is the epitome of the perfect fitting room attendant.

The skirt is awesome. Clingy. But not too clingy. Lightweight. A dream floating over my kneecaps. Ahhhhhhh. Somehow completely (in my mind) hiding the middle-age tummy that has become an owner-occupant. The perfect skirt. The skirt of my dreams. And at such a reasonable price. I feel so good purchasing from a local designer and something made in this country (hopefully not some sweatshop on a U.S. "owned" island). We quaff the Perrier and declare I shall purchase the skirt.

I open my good eye and read the price again. Shit! Feeling buoyed by the sparking water, the attentive clerk, and the memory of my happy thighs in the skirt, I decide to purchase it anyway. I mean, it IS perfect. I tried it on and sat in it and swirled in it and bent over in it and nothing bad happened.

Until the first day I wore it. After flying thousands of miles home.

It was a breezy day . . .

I felt confident that I looked AMAZING in my AWESOME skirt. My head was high. My stride was long and sturdy. I felt liberated.

Really liberated.

I thought that the passersby were admiring the new me in my glorious skirt.

It wasn't the skirt they were looking at. No. Every one and all were getting an eyeful of untanned thighs and ancient underwear.

I firmly clutched my skirt all the way back to the car.

The hubby says the skirt looks damn good on me. He makes small guttural animal noises when I wear it. I kind of like that. So now I stride confidently through the house in my skirt, head held high. Aint no wind in the house.

In the future, when I feel the need to purchase a new skirt, I'm going to take a small fan into the dressing room with me. If I'm asked if I would like a sparkling water, I'll decline. Instead I'll ask where the electrical outlet is.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Behind Every Great Man . . .

. . . is a huge ass pile of wires.

The hubby went and purchased himself another television-related gadget. This, of course, necessitated another cable. And here is what we have behind the television.

I do think he is a great guy, though. And I don't bitch when he wants to add another electronic device to his ever expanding showcase of whirring, blinking, manly nirvana.

As long as another remote is not required.

This does make me want to go out and buy a frilly little figurine to set atop the television set.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Palace of Pain

Penn State's own Death Star. No, the photo does NOT reveal all of the ugly.

The photo is unable to convey the vastness. The grounds in front are huge. There is room for another such building on the grounds. It is high-maintenance field of grass.

The newest building on the Pennsylvania State University campus has just been revealed!!!

Good God.

When did architecture stop being an art and become a competition?

When was it determined that a building no longer needed to fit the site or the surrounding architecture?

Who said that architecture today must be the fabricated equivalent of the middle finger?

Ah, the gilded world of the celebrity architect! What joy to draw fantastical structures on mammoth sheets of paper! What bliss to ignore all but oneself! What unimaginable heaven it must be to throw bricks and concrete and glass and metal into one huge pot and have it dumped upon a stretch of ground somewhere, anywhere!

These architects cannot imagine the faces of horror of those who must frequently enter or merely view the structure. They’ve signed off on the blueprints and they are off to desecrate another plot of land with their piles of bricks and cement and etc. Theirs is only to dream and draw. Fuck those who must live in the wake of their con(des)truction. Ooooh,. That was a nasty word. Fitting, though. If at least fifty percent of the viewing public does not utter that word at first glance, then the celebrity architect has not done his or her job.

Alas, no one wishes to build like the ancient Romans these days. Or, at the very least, the pre-war apartment-building architects that shaped New York and other great American cities. No. Today every damn building must make a statement. And each statement must be different from the statement on the adjoining plot of land. With each new building, we must hear the echoes of the architect’s chest pounding.

What we’re experiencing on the Penn State campus is an outright cacophony of colossal architectural piles.

And the newest has just been revealed. The Millennium Science Complex. For months and months, the construction had been hidden behind fences. And then, last week, there it was. Gleaming and raw. My screams could be heard well over the visual noise of this new building.

There is where one would go to experience pain. Tortuous pain. There can be no pleasure in this structure. This is the building of screeching metal, blows to the head and rivers of body fluids. This is where one would go to receive a gravel and glass enema, to remove limbs without anesthesia and bring the partially dead to be ground into pastes and animal feed. This is the place for general maltreatment.

Ah, even though a ruin, the Parthenon has aged well. The streets of Paris are lined with venerable, ivory edifices. Oxford teems with antique arched doorways. Such places are only improved by time. Such a future cannot be possible for the Millennium Science Complex. I imagine it will wane like a multi-million-dollar cereal box in the sun.

There is no room for age built into the celebrity architects’ creations. They are built for the now. The wow. Then it is onto the next wow and to hell with what they have left behind.

Now, if you’ve got an elderly aunt to dispose of or a redundant limb or a desire to fill your innards with shards of glass and rock, you know where to go to have your needs fulfilled: Penn State’s newest palace of pain.