Monday, December 31, 2007

(Black and) Blue Monday

Schleprock go away today and get to 2008 with a shiny, happy, clean slate. Monday thus far has been a black comedy of errors.

I wake up late (the holidays, much like Daylight Savings Time, throw off my internal clock) and dash to the gym only to find it packed roof to floor. The aerobics class I plan to attend, the same class I attend every-single-freaking day, five-days-a-week-sometimes-six, is wall-to-wall ass with no opening to be found. Every journey begins with one step and many feel the impeding passage of time just the inspiration to begin a physical fitness regime. But I will tell you a universal truth; we hate "new year" gym rats. We do. Really, really do.

My next stop, the liquor store, to pick up fixin's for tonight’s dirty martinis. Is everyone but me off work today? This quick trip fast becomes a test of patience. I forget how spoiled I've become to the wide open spaces of running errands during the work day. I count a half-dozen women, each driving (and attempting to park) an SUV built for twelve. Speaking of parking lots, what happened to walking? Why waste precious life moments lying in wait for the spot right outside the door to the grocer? Take a few steps. It’s good for you. And stay the hell out of my gym.

For a moment, however, the clouds part and a ray of sunshine befells me. I am asked for ID prior to my Stoli purchase. I am 42 years old. For all the primping and powdering and spraying and varnishing, the best look may be fresh scrubbed au naturale.

The happiness respite is brief. Having to return a package via UPS, I come by an office park with a drop box (drop box, self-checkout, online dating...it’s no wonder we don’t know how to interact with real live people anymore), slide my package into its silver jaws, and watch it clamp down on the favorite finger of my right hand. It's amazing the amount of blood that can flow from one digit. I yell to the universe, "I will not have this kind of day!!!!” I will fight the evil forces. I will move forward in joy and peace. I will be caffeinated.

The Starbucks drive-thru is a modern marvel. Overpriced coffee from the comfort of your car. We're lazy bastards, aren’t we? Some advice; if you don’t know the drill, stay out of the lane. Like life, the fast lane is for those of us who know what we want and how to get it. And if you order for a car load, or the gang back at the office, you will be beaten with your own car antenna.

I am home now, somewhat worse for the wear. Tonight I will cast aside the remains of the morning and relax with hand rolled sushi, my best girl friend and the gay men across the street (finally, some interesting neighbors). We’re having a pajama party. I believe the way you leave a period of time, such a year as it winds down, is how you will enter your next. I plan to be drunk. And happy.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa Baby

A Connecticut woman accused of groping a mall "Santa" has been charged with fourth-degree sexual assault. In all fairness, she may have misinterpreted the meaning of the wholly innocuous, "I have a package for you".

The UPS man better watch out.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Good tidings of great joy

The perennial holiday favorite, "A Charlie Brown Christmas", may never see the light of day if produced today. With Christianity the core of its message, this simple morality play would raise the diversity eyebrow in a high arch.

I just want to see the Peanuts gang dance.

Oh, and watching the ‘toon for the I-cannot-even-count-time last night, I’d forgotten how “groovy” the show was, definitely a reflection of its time (Lucy’s doctor is “real in”…love it).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

He put the star in rock star

I love music. Musicians even more. True rock stars, none of the emo-phony-boy-bands, but real life legends. Poets. Players. The men you’d find a picture of in the dictionary under “rock star”.

To me, Paul Hewson, ne: Bono is everything a rock star should be.

He wears sunglasses, indoors and out. And not just sunglasses, Armani shades.

He dresses in black, just like Johnny Cash.

His bandmates, unchanged for decades, continue to record relevant music and take it out on the road; no rock revival and greatest hits. U2 have never done a “Farewell” tour and come back for several more. You have a feeling when they end it, like The Beatles, it’ll be ended.

He’s never done a lame ass solo album.

He hasn’t lost his hair or gained a gut.

He takes risks and embraces musical change, politico to techno, ballads to blues, rock to industrial. Even some dance and synth. Bono was quoted in an interview I read years ago (paraphrasing) that he can’t be the guy out in front waving the white flag forever. And he’s not.

He rocked a serious mullet in the day.

He looks as if he smells of ciggies, leather and old drink.

He’s a humanitarian with an ego to fill Madison Square Garden, a showman and a preacher all wrapped in one.

He makes me cry when he hits the high notes.

Footnote: In fairness to the fairer, Chrissie Hynde, too, is capital rock, capital star.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Good fun or psychological profiling
…you decide

Fact/Habit/Embarrassment 1: I think it comes from years of dorm-apartment-dwelling sharing, but I have serious compulsive issues when it comes to the order of things and house cleaning. I MUST vacuum everyday (a wild day for me is not making the bed). Even the items in the ‘fridge must face the “right” direction (out and perpendicular). My master bath resembles one you’d find in a fresh hotel room. The towels are perfect.

Fact/Habit/Embarrassment 2: I iron all, and I mean all, of my clothes and pretty much wash everything after just one wear. I feel best when I’m “crisp”.

Fact/Habit/Embarrassment 3: I’m 5’8 yet always say I’m 5’8 and-a-half. I have absolutely no idea why.

Fact/Habit/Embarrassment 4: I cannot, on the first try and without giving it a bit of thought, properly say the word “specific”. Comes out as “se-speci-fic”.

Fact/Habit/Embarrassment 5: This may both be fact and/or embarrassment, but I really do care what other people think about me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Vagina Chronicles

Thumbing through the newest Rolling Stone last night, “The 2007 Hot Issue” with Kid Rock on the cover, I came across the article, "Hidden Tribes of the Amazon", a look at the primitive culture of the South American rain forest. The photography is stunning, in sepia rich tones, showing daily life and age-old ritual...and vaginas. Well-groomed for ancient culture young vaginas. Or, shall I say, there is little bush in the rain forest.

The photos accompanying the article include many of men of the tribe, twig and berries strategically covered with, well, what looks like twig and berries. A large photo (a two-page spread, in fact) depicts Xingu girls, preparing for "The Dance of Life", upper and nether regions in full view. There's no misleading shadow or odd angle. It is vagina. The girls are young and attractive, with heavy bangs and long silky hair, adored in a string of beads and something akin to a thin hip scarf. It could have been an X-rated shoot from “America’s Next Top Model”. One page over there's a smaller photo of a chief and his youngest daughter. She looks to be five or six. Her genitalia is clearly visible.

As any boy will tell you, the first ever peek of boobie may have come from the pages of National Geographic, the seal-noised, somewhat saggy variety, but boob none the less. And I've seen shows on the Discovery Channel where the old dangling penis or bouncing ball sack makes a brief appearance. It’s a tribal, cultural norm. I find it odd and out of place in this magazine. Since my Stone came via subscription and before issues hit newsstands, I wonder if the piece will begat controversy.

On an odd note, supermarket chains in Colorado display Cosmopolitan only with a large blinder covering the cover model and her sexy attire. Too much cleavage.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The long and short of it

I've learned to listen to messages sent from the universe since the day it shouted NONONO to sky-diving by crashing a small plane hundreds of yards down the air strip as I geared up for a tandem leap (true story). Saturday, the universe sent messages of change. Over and over. In every song, every commercial, every interaction. So I cut off my hair.

I've had very long hair most of life, from childhood on up. I like it and it suits me and is one of me better features. I have good hair. When you've had long hair more often than not, the mere act of removing it leads to odd reactions. Years ago, I took the hair past my shoulder blades up to a fab, modern bob, falling just inches below the ear at its longest point. The women in my office LOVED it; they sent instant messages from down the hall and a building over. I got phone calls. I inspired those who “wished they had the courage to do it themselves" to take it off (one came to work a day later, sans hair). The men? Most look concerned. One asked if I was "okay". Wanted to know if I was sad or had broken up with someone or “needed to talk”. I had sacrificed my lush auburn locks in order to deal with some pain. I was "cutting”.

Is it because some men lose their hair that so many prefer women with flowing locks? Is it a form of reverse penis envy?

True, some shear locks to say goodbye to the past and signify a new beginning. Many faiths believe bad energy and ju-ju is released in the cutting and shedding of hair. I was bored.

So my auburn Reese Witherspoon long locks (hers was the last style I rocked, none of it extensions) have been reduced by about 5 inches with the Alyson Hannigan, Season 3 HIMYR. Pretty "short" for me. I even took my natural red to darker cinnamon/dark red combo. I'm loving the color. Makes me blue eyes pop.

As I played with and messed my tresses in the shop mirror, my hairdresser said it was “sexy". She's lesbian. Maybe I'll get the same reaction with players on my own team. Or maybe she just thought I was vulnerable.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

What the Fob?

The key to my car has become the bane of my existence. I never imagined something as simple as a device whose sole function is to initiate access to and movement of a vehicle would take up as much energy as me Fob.

When did the car key become so over exaggerated? The key to my 2004 Honda Accord is more than a key. It’s the remote-access-entry-system-locking-mechanism-combo, so large and bulky I think if I dialed the buttons in the correct order and quick succession, I could make a phone call on it.

I admit, the all-in-one access is somewhat useful, however I continue to search high and low for a key ring to fit the damn thing. I squeeze, maneuver, twist and force the plastic casing “Fob hole” around any standard key ring, and it sits stuck upright like a key erection. There is no graceful jingle and jangle. Each attempt to attach it to a ring wears down the casing, scratching and peeling it away; soon I fear the "Fob hole" will break away from the unit entirely, leaving a remote control type unit to carry about like a tin of Altoids. And did I mention in case of lose, wear or damage, a replacement Fob costs close to $100? It’s a KEY!!

As a single key gal, I pity those who contend with one, two or more on a ring. Add the house, mail and work keys to the loop and you look like Schneider from One Day a Time. Men, how do you fit it in your pants pocket? Do the ladies pay odd attention to your nether regions? Must look like a third testicle in there. Gone are the days I could easily slip me house and car key into the bra, jeans pocket or knee-high boot for an evening out, no purse required. Now I'm packin' too.

But, I'm off to the gym. Now...where did I leave my keys?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

11:32 p.m. Tuesday and I can't sleep

When you make a hole in the center of a piece of Wonder bread then fry an egg in the hole in a hot pan full of foamy butter, that is called "egg bread". My Dad would even butter and fry the holes (like toast) and we fought over them.

Without ample time to shower, my Mom takes what she has always called a "bird bath" over the bathroom sink.

I watch "Golden Girls" reruns over and over. If I never marry, I'd find a group of wacky women to live with in later years. I would be Blanche. I adore how they dress, especially the nightgowns. My sleepwear is always flannel bottoms and cotton tank tops. I’m bringin’ fabulous nightwear back.

If I was cast on the reality show Big Brother I would dress like a Fredrick’s of Hollywood model 24 x 7 as part of my game strategy, including mules with a fuzzy marabou tuft on top.

The Christmas I was eight, my brothers and I fought so much Santa came and took our presents back. We had to pack them up and leave them in the foyer. After a week or so of being good, he brought them back one morning after church.

The best part of going to church every Sunday was watching my Dad thump the bottom of the copper collection plate instead of dropping coins into it and going to IHOP after for chocolate-chip pancakes with whipped cream.

I never got sat down for the sex talk. I recall finding one of those Your Body and You books in the bookcase, but that was it. For the longest time, I thought babies were "pooped" out.

My Mom wanted to name me "Jill", but my Dad insisted on "Jocelyn" after discovering the name in the some movie credits. I really hated having such an oddball, different-from-all-the-other kids name growing up, but wish I could transition to it now as an adult. But how do you do that? Did Gordon Sumner one day just demand everyone call him "Sting"?

My nicknames are "Jodie Luv" and "Dearinee" (dur-ree-knee). My brother’s nicknames were "Bobby Good-Guy" and "Jeff-Pork". I don’t recall Joe’s nickname. My Dad calls himself "Joey Kash". When I graduated from college, he had t-shirts printed up that read, "Joey Kash - The Adventure Continues (TAC)" because he was traveling a lot at the time, with a stop in Colorado for the ceremony. I have a picture taken that day of me surrounded by a dozen drunk people wearing the same dark navy blue t-shirt.

11:32 p.m. Tuesday and I can't sleep.

(Insert Monty Python joke here)

In news that is at the same time tragic and sad, police in Snellville, Georgia have questioned an armless man in the death of his neighbor. The victim’s sister was quoted as saying, "They got into a big confrontation, a verbal confrontation and a fist fight and he came after my brother, he came with full force, and head butted him as hard as he could".

A "fist fight".

Please forgive my giggles.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The specter of Spector

Deliberations continue in the murder trial of Napoleon-complex music producer Phil Spector. O.J. and Robert Blake aside, let’s hope the California jury gets this one right. More on Blake later.

Spector has a long history of gun violence towards women, particularly those who express a desire to leave his isolated Cali “castle”. He tends to pull a gun, placing the barrel directly to their face. The temple. The nose. The mouth. And not just the ladies; the late Dee Dee Ramone detailed in Legs McNeil’s awesome tome, “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk”, how Spector drew a gun on him when the time had come to say goodnight. Ramone said Spector held him all night.

The defense argued victim Lana Clarkson was depressed, sad that at 40 her dreams of Hollywood stardom had dimmed. So very late after work one night, she accepted a ride to Spector’s home, sat down for a tequila and decided to kill herself. In a mansion she’d never visited, she managed to find his gun in the drawer of a high boy, put on her coat, took a seat by the front door and placed her handbag over her shoulder and the gun in her mouth.

A woman claiming to be Clarkson's “best friend and soul sister” testified for the defense how sad her friend had been. How she told her she wanted to end it. Lana died in February 2003. That Christmas her “best friend” wrote in her annual holiday newsletter how she’d, “lost Lana at the hands of Phil Spector”. Today the "friend" books musical acts for a club in L.A. owned by friends of Spector. With friends like these, indeed.

A beautiful, funny and smart woman who’s managed for two decades to make out a living solely as an actress (taking the odd job when needed) wouldn't choose to end it all in the presence of a stranger and by completely obliterating her face. Her money. Actors are vain.

The handbag convinces me Spector killed Clarkson. The placing of the handbag on the shoulder is the international women’s sign of “time to go”. Lana wanted to leave, nothing more. Unlike the other women and Dee Dee Ramone, she didn't make it out.

As for Robert Blake, again it's one matter of evidence which largely convinces me of his guilt. Blake says he left his then wife sitting in a car, alone and on a dark street in the middle of night. Friends and family say she’d been scared in the days before her death that someone was out to get her. Her window was rolled down. You don’t roll down the window in an unsafe place unless you know and trust the face tapping on the other side of the glass. Blake was found not guilty.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Born on the 11th of September

Sydney and Jennifer Winthrop were born six years ago today. Their parents won't celebrate with a party. That will come this weekend. The parents feel it's "inappropriate".

Take a moment to reflect today, but never, ever stop celebrating life. My oldest brother died February 1990. His birthday is/was September 16th; mine is the 28th. For years, my Dad couldn’t acknowledge my birthday. No card, no call. He told me he couldn’t do it. He couldn't celebrate the life of one child because the death of another was so great. It broke my heart a little.

It’s sadly ironic that my Dad’s second wife died six years after on the same day as my now oldest brothers’ birthday. I had the nerve and the love to tell my Dad we must celebrate those walking with us as well as remember those who've gone on ahead. We celebrate my birthday every year now. And every year on my birthday I eat cake. It's "Jodie Rule" that eating cake on your birthday ensures another sweet year. I want lots of cake served at my funeral too. Gotta celebrate a sweet life.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

You can't spell funnel cake without "fun"

A Labor Day tradition, A Taste of Colorado came to town this past weekend. Subtitled, “A Festival of Mountain and Plain”, the weekend-long event offers a smorgasbord of food, music and art. Several blocks of downtown Denver are closed off, the homeless who nap in Civic Center Park carted away and a plethora of local restaurants set up tent to sell overpriced tasty bits and libations (the Bayou Bob’s fried pickles, however, so worth it).

This year, we chose an evening trip. One, because it was Africa hot early in the day and two, to catch perennial 80’s faves Night Ranger on the main stage. You're motoring!!! What's your price for flight? The crowd a free-concert-in-the-park-80’s-lite-metal-pop-band draws is an interesting one. My butt had barely met blanket on grass, when the mullet to my right thrust a 64 oz plastic sipper my way and said, “Hey! How you doin??!! What ya drinkin??!! Have a taste of this!!”. Given his state, I was abso-toot-ley curious, but politely declined. We saw that cup and straw make about a dozen rounds to a multitude of mouths. Ewww. I saw more acid wash tapered jeans then I realized remained in existence (please tell me that trend never comes back) and older big-haired-super-fans (yes, even Night Ranger still pulls the groupies) in leopard tanks and Mom-jean shorts, with hot pink acrylic nails pumping the air alongside teen daughters, fueling the next generation.

Some of the feeding masses, even more of a stomach churner. Shovel it in, mouth full, use the hands. Tear into the eats like a monkey on cupcake. Then forgo the plethora of trash receptacles found every four feet throughout and leave a trail of used crap.

Sister Christian would not approve.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Single White Female

"Please store all emotional baggage securely in the overhead bins".

The foot has been dry long enough. The time has come to dip a toe back into the dating pool. I’ve not allowed myself a proper date in nearly a year. There's no solid juicy crush to speak of. The last really good spin was the 27-(he said)-year-old waiter who made my 41st birthday every so memorable.

I am ready to date.

I’ve had friends tell me (all married, btw) that one must approach serious dating as you would a business plan. Set the goal.

First, find the men. The single, straight, eligible men. Given I work from home, my daily aerobics class is 99.5% women and we live in the digital age, I turn to the internet. Now, I’m a strong believer in the physical. Not what a person looks like, so much, but the tilt of the head, the walk, the stance. I once fell madly from the way he held the salt shaker. I may struggle with the see me, hear me, rather than touch me aspect of online introductions.

Second, post a profile. Extol all you are and all you seek in a thousand words or so. Gosh this is sounding sillier by the minute.... How about the basics:

I don’t want to get married.
I don’t think I want kids.
I’m not sure I want any part of raising yours.
I want funny, a little sensitive, good for a tussle now and then.
I want the good boom. The really good, adventurous boom.

I’m nervous and fear I may fail. As an independent, successful, often goofy, sometimes immature, at times introspective and dark, always ready for a cocktail woman, do I want (or need) the same thing a man in his late 30’s or 40’s seeks?

Will keep you posted. And hey, if you know anyone...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Is that a monkey in your ponytail or are you just happy to see me?

Dateline New York: On a commercial flight from Fort Lauderdale to New York, a passenger traveling from Lima, Peru stowed an odd carry-on, a small monkey, in a ponytail under his hat. Police and airline representatives met the travel companions at the gate and man and monkey were turned over to appropriate officials.

And I can't get cuticle scissors on a flight.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Boy, this pisses me off

A recent research paper "When Can Angry Women Get Ahead?" explores the disadvantage to women of expressed anger in the workplace. Not bringing an UZI to the office type of psychotic anger, which we all agree is beneficial to no one, but the common outburst, your dismay at poor performance or vocalization of a strong feeling. Men, when given to emotional outbursts, were viewed as passionate, women as bitches and, worse yet, less competent and “out of control”.

On the flip side, however, it is more forgivable for a woman than a man to cry at work. Women, as nurturers, are more easily forgiven this type of release; men forever labled as soft and unstable. Interesting how even something as basic as human emotions and the workplace are divided by sex.

Given that ten years after college graduation, educated women earn almost 30 percent less than men, can you blame us for the occasional cranky?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why we are fat and/or getting fatter

Doc Popcorn, a kiosk of corny goodness found in the local mall and a fave indulgence, has raised the price of a "small" bag of kernels to $3.50 while the "large" remains priced at $4.00. I buy small because I know I will not stop the munch until I hit paper bottom.

BTW, what a racket, eh? It costs, what, a few cents to pop corn; dazzle it with creative seasoning, slap on a running corn cob logo and call it four bucks.

I'm in the wrong business. At least I'm not getting fatter.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sacré bleu

R.I.P. mon cherie, le Tour De France.

Sadly, although I will miss my boys in spandex, their sleek riders bodies and clownish bulges, I must bid adieu.

The race I cheered with rabid excitement and fervor for a sweet, brief interlude each July, my summer lover, is gone. Your mistress, sweet doping, has taken your soul.

Au revoir Michael Rasmussen, kicked to the curb this week after missing four random doping controls in the past 18 months.

Farewell Cristian Moreni and your positive testosterone test.

C'ya pre-race favorite Alexandre Vinokourov, thrown out for homologous blood doping following your victory on Stage 13.

Peace out Bad-Boy-Floyd Landis, your 2006 victory still a shaky question mark, an asterisk in the history books, due to an abundance of synthetic testosterone.

Step Tyler Hamilton…I can’t go on. It’s just too painful.

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids sang it best, my loves, “Dope is for dopes, drugs are for dummies. If you mess around with them, that kind of joke isn’t funny.”

Thursday, July 19, 2007

You love me, you hate me

From love’s first bloom to the stink of a broken heart, nothing conveys the hypnotic highs and crushing lows better than the breakup song.

Looking back at my catalogue of musical memories, some still bring a sigh, some schmaltz, but all represent a boy and a time.

I matured late…very late. Although I crushed on boys from just about the time I discovered them, I was an awkward, chubby and painfully shy kid whose military family moved several times a year. Even in high school, once I slimmed down and cooled up, I was the theater-girl and new waver, not the perky cheerleader or girl jock favored in my somewhat hick-centric environment. All the boys’ friend, but the boys didn’t want to do me. Besides, I wanted the boys in the band who wore eyeliner (a desire I pursued in grand fashion a few years later, but that's an entirely different post all together). It was around this time my lifelong relationship with the gays started. They had crushes on me and I loved them. At least as much as was possible. I didn’t really date and dip a toe until college.

Losing my Religion” – R.E.M.
Fresh out of school, degree in hand, living in Boulder and working long days but out all night. Early-20’s, with a huge group of friends, all of them like me. Probably the best time of my life. His name was Jim and from the first night I met him, I felt I’d known him forever. We were fast friends. We were close, emotional, never physical. I loved him and it was the first time I felt that way. The more my romantic feelings grew, though, the more standoffish he became. I poured it all out in a letter. It broke my heart and his. A decade plus later we’re still in touch. He watched my nieces grow up, get married. We both saw our careers hit bumps, then blossom. He wrote and published a book. I landed a dream gig as a real life editor. He met his partner Brad soon after leaving me in Colorado, and they’ve been together ever since. They send a Christmas card every year.

Come Undone” – Duran Duran
It’s no surprise the Brit demigods of my youth trickled down to young adulthood. I was single, he was not. I was in a relationship. He was having an affair. Even at 25, I was somewhat naive. Make that very naive. It just felt really good to be loved. Perhaps all girls need to be pursued and enchanted by a married man to discover true love is one-on-one and no respectable woman treads in anothers garden.

"Voodoo Lounge” – The Rolling Stones
Yes, the entire album. Represents the really good, then the really bad. I fell in love with Chris over many business calls. We worked together, albeit in different capacities and cities 2000 miles apart. After my dalliance with the ringed one, I was skeptical. Wounded and really scared is a better description. In fact, Chris said “I love you” first and I never said it back. But I really did. He called six years after, but it wasn’t meant to move backwards or go any farther forwards. I’m still afraid to commit. I hope I learn how.

Why don’t we have songs about the hook up or lusty interlude?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Law and Disorder

Daniel Ellis is a racist, homophobic liar. Says so himself. Ellis was one of a pool of 60 potential jurors called to serve on the Massachusetts grand jury. He completed his jury questionnaire noting he didn’t like gays or black people and, during a courtroom interview, stated, "I'm frequently found to be a liar, too. I can't really help it." The judge in the case briefly detained Ellis, who could now face "perjury and other charges".

I’ve been summoned each year for the past two. The first time I was excused, second time I wasn't called and happy as a clam about it. I was miffed and passive aggressive at the prospect of serving. I thought, "If I get selected and the defendant is some dumb ass who steals or writes bad checks or beat a kid or poisoned a dog, he's going doooowwwnnnn. He (or she) is too lazy to work for success, has no good judgment and compassion or just plain broke the law and doesn't deserve my time as a law abiding citizen." Crazy, circular, elitist thinking, I know.

Point is, if you are a racist or just don’t care, like to stir things up, lie or toy with stupid people, why would admitting that result in a tongue-lashing from the judge and possible charges? Yes, it's a civic duty, but also one that deserves the authentic self, especially when lives, livelihood and basic freedoms may be at stake. I often wonder about the makeup of a jury, specifically in high profile, lengthy cases with a good deal of evidence and testimony and expert witnesses. If I were on trial, would my “jury of peers” include only those who are my age, college educated, middle class, straight white women, single, no children? Does a jury made up of mostly women favor or disfavor certain cases? Men? Straight? Gay? Are some questions off limits?

The first time I was excused from jury duty was due to personal experiences and a vocal belief in the failure of the justice system, one that protects criminals at the expense of the victim. I was told, however, I would be called again, regardless. A friend who recently graduated Law School told me I could be a dream juror, depending on the case and the lawyer. I can’t say 100% I wouldn't have preconceived notions. We bring who we are, what we believe and our experiences, good or bad, to the court room.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Secrets That You Keep

A current local headline reads, “Secret life surprises kin, pals of missing woman”. A 30-something Mom from a town west of Denver has gone missing and salacious details have emerged that paint a portrait of her unknown life. The woman thought to push Pampered Chef products and teach dance to kids to make ends also worked at an escort service and sometimes went by an alias. The story is a sad one, and little doubt exists the ending won’t be a happy one.

Secret life. Secret identify. Secrets.

How much do you really know about anyone? Whether the people next door, the person in bed with you, the guy you work for or those gathered ‘round the family table, do we all lead somewhat covert lives, under a cloak of shame, pain or a past?

The happy clown, always with a joke or funny remedy at the ready who drinks every night.

The successful professional in designer labels, herself labeled among the best and the brightest, who cut in hidden places during times of stress.

The girl who never told about abuse because she thought the family would laugh at her.

The loving partner who strays, and the man who takes you back.

The man you love who is loving a wife at home.

The boy raised as a sibling, and referred to as “uncle”, but whose mother is your own. Or a sibling never known, the result of a hushed teen pregnancy and quick adoption.

I know all these people, most brave enough to share, to change the story from a secret to a revelation. All safe in the knowledge their words won’t be exploited or judged but used to help grow, heal and forgive. Some secrets are legend, spoken in whispers and around, never too, someone. Some only death reveal. There's a comfort in community, but some things we’ll never tell. I have secrets. I had some secrets I shared.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Wacky Weekly Wrapup

Strange happening’s coast-to-coast and sea-to-shining-sea

Dateline California: Avril Lavigne is the target of a plagiarism lawsuit filed by two songwriters claiming her single “Girlfriend” is a rip of their 1979 penned tuned “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”. Add Mick and the boys to the mix; that “hey, hey, you, you” sounds a lot like a riff I know. I hear the similarity more so in AvrilGate than George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” versus The Chiffons “He’s so Fine” kerfluffle. And Beatle George was ruled liable for copyright infringement. To quote the great and powerful Bono, “Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief”.

Dateline Miami: In the category karma is a bitch, the family of Ron Goldman, slain alongside Nicole Brown, have bought the rights to the book, "If I Did It”, OJ Simpson’s sell-penned account of how he WOULD HAVE (wink wink) committed the murders. The Goldman Family, according to court documents, now own the copyright, media and movie rights, Simpson’s name, likeness, life story and right of publicity in connection with the book. The true beauty is the family plans to publish the book with a new title, “Confessions of a Double Murderer” by Orenthal James Simpson.

Dateline Illinois: A 4-year old made 287 calls to 911 using a deactivated cell phone. She was calling out for McDonald's. I don’t get the warm fuzzies in the knowledge that it took 286 calls to 911 before police responded.

Dateline US Magazine: Media outlets report twiglike Nicole Ritchie is 12 weeks preggers. Odd enough that a girl the weight of a saltine cracker could/would actually men-stroo-ate, but this could be the first recorded instance in which a newborn outweighs Mom.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Lloyd. Lloyd Dobler.

Like many women of my age group and pop culture leanings, I have an ever-lasting and long-standing crush on John Cusack. More so than the crush myself and every punk-rock wannbee girl sprouted at the site of Randy, nee Nicholas Cage, in 1983’s classic Valley Girl, my Johnny has remained a constant.

Yes, Better Off Dead is a brilliant hoot start to finish, but the lovefest all started with Lloyd Dobler. Look past the boombox-held-aloft imagery of Say Anything and you’ll find much more in this noble boy; the earnest underachiever in the too big trench coat and a love of both Diane Court and Bavarian Dutch style pretzels. He was all I wanted in a boy. He had heart and soul and a pen.

I found redemptive qualities in Roy Dillon (1990’s The Grifters, an underrated gem of family disfunction and the double cross and co-starring a stunning Angelica Houston) and Martin Blank, the troubled professional killer back in town for a high school reunion in Grosse Pointe Blank. The con man and the killer, not all bad really, searching for love as the passageway to redemption.

There's Serendipity, a lightweight feather of a movie, but one released in early October 2001 that provided a needed and pleasant diversion as I sat nervous in the dark for two hours, flinching at anything sounding like a low flying plane. And bonus, a repeat pairing of my John-John and his bitch, Jeremy Piven. I believe in the concept of serendipity and the word ranks among my top three favorite (along with “peradventure” and “kumquat”).

I make opening weekend to see Big Daddy John in any for-the-paycheck movie he appears in (Must Love Dogs comes to mind, although I not only own the DVD, I watch it regularly).

The men in my life are aware that I can never be theirs alone. As I marry, mate and mature, my love for Mr. C does endure.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

HP has a big EGO

Since I work from my home, any time a piece of equipment or network fails to operate as it should, it's a major pain in the ass and a heart-thumper, hey-I'm-on-deadline kind of bad day. Yesterday, my HP OfficeJet K60 All-in-One acts up (again) and I spend many frustrated hours attempting to correct a "scanner failure" problem. As a last resort, I email Mr HP hisself for tech guidance. Didn't tell me much, help me at all or offer any good advice to solve the matter. My reply this morning:

Thank you for the quick reply. Your response actually included all the information I found on the HP Web site and other help resources.

I also contacted two of the authorized service dealers, neither of which was helpful. They would not perform at home service.

I finally "fixed" the problem with an oddball suggestion found in an online forum. Apparently, as I learned from many forum readers, this scanner failure is a bug in the product. I'm surprised the units were not recalled or offered to be corrected years ago. I've had this trouble off and on for a couple years now and it seems each "fix" is a different one. Sad, because although I work for IBM, I prefer the HP All-in-One printers. However my boss will not approve another purchase of one due to these issues.

Appreciate your time.


Not too bitchy or passive aggressive, right? Just the facts, ma’am, with a couple of digs thrown in, as I am known to do.

Here's what HP got/read/inferred from my love note (btw - all original punctuation and repeated "say my name" intact):

Hello Jodie,

Thank you for writing back to HP Total Care. Jodie, Firstly, I appreciate the efforts you have put in to resolve the issue. Jodie, I am glad to hear that your Printer issue is resolved. I appreciate all your efforts in trying to resolve the problem. Your comments encourage us to perform even better. I must thank you for taking the time to let us know how delighted you are with the technical support you received. We appreciate you giving us the opportunity to provide you with "superior customer service".

Love, Ethan
(okay I added the “love”)

Gosh, if I could only get so much love and stay in that special place of joy. That letter will prolly go into a performance file or up on the wall, "Atta-Boy!" of the month. Next time, I unleash the dogs of hell.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A message from the SG to the OC

When you’re single, whether by lack of marriage, current relationship or children, the time can go by a bit slowly. Often, the single girl (heretofore referred to as the “SG”) is the event planner, the coordinator. The one hoping for an invitation, a ride-along.

For those of you with a built-in, ready made “plus one” or family posse (heretofore referred to as the “otherwise committed”, or “OC”), don’t overlook the SGs in your life. Although the perception may be that we’re always “busy”, out on the town, sleeping or teetering around town in heels and short skirts and having the wild time you imagine we’re having that you secretly want a taste of, it’s usually not the case. As much as I wish my time as an SG was more “That Girl” and Carrie Bradshaw, a good deal of down time is spent alone at the movies, watching Lifetime TV (thanks, Dawn ;) or otherwise engaged in activities to keep the mind from the fact that the phone ain’t ringing. It’s more so a weekend phenomenon, “family time”. Thing is, what you may find boring (the requisite soccer game, school pageant, visit to a family theme park) an SG may find a pleasant diversion and bit of fun.

For the married OC, let me reassure you; most of us do not want to sleep with you or your significant other. We're not a threat. We’re not friendly with you as a couple to bed one (perhaps both) of the members of your union

Last, hook a sister up. Of SG hookups, those recommended by 4-out-of-5 friends usually are not bad fits. You know your SG. We trust that you won’t set us up with a loser; we can do that all by ourselves. And no, should it not “work out” it will not change our relationship or friendship. Trust that an SG can handle emotional commitments, even though he or she may currently be lacking a love connection.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Night Fever

The first time I saw Saturday Night Fever was at the movie theater with my weekend-Dad, freshly divorced and sporting the requisite 70's perm. It was one of our special "date nights", the chance for father and daughter to bond. I was 12. As wildly inappropriate as it seems that he took an emotionally fragile and impressionable young girl to SNF, to my 12-year-old, immature mind, it was a movie about getting to dance with the most popular girl.

Having just watched the (edited) movie again - it's in rotation as a VH1 "Movie that Rocks!" - it's freakin' brilliant. A morality play, really; the quest and struggle to break free of financial and (lack of) educational constraints, how family traditions can both breathe life and bind and the missteps (and shortcuts) of the modern woman finding her place as an independent career woman. Long before When Harry met Sally, this was the movie that asked, “Can a man and woman be friends?”.

And John Travolta was never hotter (the scene where he slowly zips up those coral- polyester-pants in close-up…ouch).

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Sharpton is gonna be pissed

People Magazine recently ran an article regarding discrimination against dogs of color. The article by Jill Smolowe is titled “Dog Discrimination?: When it comes to finding owners, big black pooches often face a tougher time than canines of other colors.”

Apparently, black puppies and dogs don't sell as well or adopt as often as their light-colored counterparts. Most pet store owners (btw, don’t shop at pet stores; if you lurves you some fuzzy friends, go to a shelter or work with a reputable breeder) stock light-colored dogs. Shelters report black dogs are least likely to be adopted, more likely to be euthanized. They speculate it’s because they do not photograph as well, or can appear “mean”. But it’s a dog on the inside.

Although comical to the point of sad, it speaks to the mentality of those pet purveyors who fail to commit to the animals willingly brought in to their lives. A large percentage of animals are dumped in shelters (worse, abandoned to fend for themselves) because the owner moves (I didn’t realize there’s issue crossing state or county lines with a furry or reptile) or a new baby/boyfriend/girlfriend appears and the pet is tossed like a stained mattress. Worse yet, some surrender loving pets because, as they age, they “aren’t as cute or good-looking”.

It’s not just black dogs. The adoption of black cats is halted during the month of October for fear the animals will be mistreated in the name of Halloween misfortune (although, due to overpopulation, some larger organizations have limited or ended this practice).

The “black pearls” need a break. Where’s Al Sharpton or The Rev JJ when you need them?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I Want to Hold Your Hand

I got drunk last night.

Worse yet, I got drunk alone, at home last night. And I meant to. A couple of vodkas followed by red wine. Continuing the pattern of self-destructive behavior that (sadly) can be my way of coping with stress.

It was work that started it, but it quickly spun into something else. As anyone who’ll ask knows, I love my job. I adore what I do to earn a buck. I pursued my love of words and found the nooks and crannies of progress to work from home as a FT writer and editor. I work for a very large company. A company with a good deal of money. The CEO of my company took home $1.75 million in salary and a $5 million bonus in 2006. Yesterday afternoon, my boss called to share the results of my annual base pay review. I was excited. I’ve been taking on new projects, showing solid results and garnering a good deal of executive attention. I had hung a good deal of secret hopes on a bump in salary. I was allotted an additional $157 monthly. Boss said it “was all he could do”…”limits and restrictions in the plan”.

Money isn’t everything. But it’s something. There’s little recognition in a company that spans the globe. Often times, success is gauged on money. When a leader is granted millions, $157 feels like a bad joke. It was embarrassing, humiliating. I’m fully committed to my work. I get that it’s a job, and I don’t equate who I am or title myself based on it (how folks tack an “er” on to the company name to define themselves…an HPer, an IBMer).

So why did the day get so dark. I let it sink into my gut. I wanted to stay awhile. I wanted to commit. It’s a blow when your company won’t. Feels as if the message is, you’re not needed. We can find another you. You don’t matter so much that we can’t do without. And it sent me to a personal place I don’t like to go and I got stuck there. That career message sounded too much like many of the messages I’ve deflected emotionally. And I don’t like to delve into rarely shared feelings and learned beliefs I have of being unworthy, unloved and alone. So I got drunk last night.

Of course the drunk sleep is a fitful one, but I did manage to get deep enough into REM several hours past midnight to have a dream. There was a man. A boyish man, really. About my height, no taller as not to be imposing, with a slimmer build, dark curly hair and a light beard. And he was building up things in my house. A beautiful deck. A “man room” for himself. Fixing the little things that were broken. I didn’t know him. But he knew everything about me, what I liked and what I thought. And he was building things up around me. And it was overwhelming because he just was. I kept asking why and it just was. Because I was. And at one point in the dream, I took his hand and he held it and didn’t let go. And I was worthy of not being let go. I haven’t had my hand held in some time. I would really like to. And I didn’t want to let go.

Then Angelina Jolie came over and shared her shoes with me. A strong, confident, caring, compassionate, successful, authentic and beautiful woman insisted I walk her shoes.

So today, along with a good deal of water and aspirin, I pledged to be kind to myself. All day. To build up, like that boy/man in my dream, some of what I allowed myself to tear down. I’m going to try very hard to hold my own hand today.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Musings born of weekend errands

Happily, my 20-year-old niece has asked that I be a bridesmaid for her May 2008 nups. Of all the friends and girlfriends, she chose her Auntie...the woman who knew her when she was merely an "I feel funny" uttered by her Mom. We're friends in the true sense. Now, did you know bridesmaids dresses and some bridal gowns are sized what they call "internationally"? And unlike the positive tone of, say, the "international language of love", that means the size sewn on the tag fits TWO TO THREE TIMES smaller than what you actually wear in life. Size 8? Oh no, missy, grab yourself a 12. Add to that equation that most 'maids dresses are constructed of absolutely unforgiving material (your satins and such), leads to a sucker punch moment when you must zip yourself into a dress a size you've never known next to skin....and it sorta fits. Wouldn't you think designers would work it just the opposite and make us all 2's? My niece, by the way, absolutely gor-ge-ous in each and every dress. The perfect trinity of height at 5'8, size four waist and size six bust is tailored made for off the rack. As for me, the search continues, although I do know I will be wearing "celadon", a lovely, pale green that offsets the red hair and pale me ever so nicely.

The turkey-portobello-swiss-burger at Ruby Tuesday, a winner.

Old Navy and Circuit City have return policys in which if said goods equal $25 or more, and you paid by check, a check will be mailed to you within 10 days. Huh? Doesn’t that require more man hours, handling and cost?

Those nights I don't feel like cooking, Chinese or Tai take-out it is. And always a nice spread of appetizers because that's just the best, most interesting grub on the menu.

Friday, June 1, 2007

T(BS)

A cough due to cold may very well do us all in.

The saga of the Atlanta lawyer diagnosed with and carrying a dangerous form of tuberculosis, advised not to travel, placed on no fly lists and who did it anyway is the story du jour. Said lawyer has begun the press junket, speaking this morning to GMA’s Diane Sawyer, mask and all. HE SAYS they told me I could fly without risk to others. THEY SAY oh no we di’nt! HE SAYS I have it on tape that I could go get married and honeymoon in Italy with this deadly business rattlin’ around in my chest. THEY SAY liar, liar.

Atlanta is an educated man. His new father-in-law, how ironical, works for the CDC doing TB research. Not only did Atlanta choose to travel while infected, worse yet, he did so in an environment where the air is circulated around and around for all to share many times over. PR it anyway you like, Atlanta, you thought you knew better, put your wants ahead of the concerns and needs of the general public and even your weepy new bride. In news stories prior to todays TV appearance, Atlanta was quoted by the AP as saying, "I'm a very well-educated, successful, intelligent person. This is insane to me that I have an armed guard outside my door when I've cooperated with everything other than the whole solitary-confinement-in-Italy thing."

Educated, successful and intelligent (btw, redundant). How about self-aware, concerned at all about others, willing to listen to the experts, conscious enough to put the safety needs of many ahead of your own.

Now he says he feared he would be abandoned and left to die in Italy, forcing his covert trek by plane and car back into the U.S. Atlanta, the lawyer, is trained to communicate. Educated (and connected to the CDC) enough to make some noise. If you thought YOU might die, Atlanta, what about the woman sitting next to you enjoying her in flight honey roasteds? What about the employee behind the counter at the rent-a-car? Assuming you didn’t go all Michael Jackson and cover your mouth and nose while on your jaunt, what about the children you came in contact with?

Worse yet, Atlanta flew commercially while on a no fly list, a germy mess crossing national and international borders. It won’t be another blast from fuel and metal that will make the next big round of news. Seems the carriers of biological or germ warfare could easily slip in to a metropolis unnoticed. Atlanta is not a terrorist, as some have proclaimed. But rather a self-absorbed example of some of the worst of the human spirit.

Let the lawsuits begin. Hey, I know of a lawyer, willing to travel anytime, at any cost.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A kind word

I took myself to a matinee of "Year of the dog" this weekend. Didn’t love it, but if a movie continues to make you think for hours after, in my book that's a good movie-going experience. The plot took several odd, long-way 'round moments before coming to its natural and not-entirely-unexpected-really-the-only-logical-conclusion, and it ventured a bit far into crazy dog lady territory than lonesome soul finding her passion.

However, a moment stands out. Molly Shannon's character announces she's become a vegan. She says (and I'm paraphrasing), "I never had a word to describe me. It feels nice". So, of course, it made me think of my word. Or words. One, two or a few to instantly express who we are and make us feel “part” of something (or, sadly, disparate).

Editor

It's the first word that popped in me head. But that’s just about work. I could say “writer” (sounds more romantic).

Then I get stuck. I bet most choose parent, husband or wife, none if which is me. Some of my words aren’t so kind.

Alone
Self-destructive

I should think of the words by which I'd (likely) be eulogized. The words of how others see me.

Funny
Very funny
Kind
Smart

Perhaps that’s my message from the movie, albeit coming about in my own odd, long way ‘round; open my ears to the good words (which are too often to quiet) and not so much the bad that I repeat like Rainman inside my own head.

Doing so would be very Brave.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Cancer

A friend of mine, a beautiful, vibrant, active and strong woman of 54, was diagnosed with cancer last month. Last week, she had both her uterus and bladder removed. Once she heals from surgery, she'll begin radiation and chemotherapy for the cancerous cells found in her lymph nodes. She now wears an external bag to relieve herself and always will.

Statistics show one in three people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. So I guess, really, she was just the odd girl out. She worked for years at the Rocky Flats nuclear power plant. She did manual labor on the assembly line. Often times, the parts she lifted and carried were too heavy to hold at a 45 degree angle on her forearms. Instead, she carried them lower, with her arms extended, across her lower abdomen. They told her it was okay.

Yesterday, the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health, a federal panel, delayed action on a petition filed by former employees for compensation and health benefits, "...voting to allow coverage for only a limited number of workers exposed to neutron radiation between 1952 and 1958." (The Denver Post).

My friend didn't make the meeting. She's not walking much yet.

Over coffee this morning, we talked about her situation. As part of a younger generation, I couldn’t fully comprehend why someone would put themselves in harms way for a paycheck for years, if not decades. Any place you’re required to wear a protective suit poses a certain amount of risk.

Sounds like I’m blaming. I’m not. I’m grateful, really. Grateful I got myself an education that resulted in a career where the biggest health concern is (perhaps) carpal tunnel resulting from long hours on the laptop. Grateful that I don’t expect, never did, my employer to take care of me short or long-term. I don’t expect retirement, I plan and budget for it. You don't plan for cancer, though.

I hope my friend responds well to treatment and recovers enough to enjoy her retirement. Big price to pay for a nine-to-five.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The "F" word

So this past weekend, I'm out and about at a fab event where I am crushed hard by a fab boy who, as it turned out, was at the event with his wife and young daughter. It brought to mind a fab post by the fab Webmiztris Dawn where she wrote about being hit on by a married bloke now that she is a married lady. All of which got me thinking...

Is it ever okay for married folk to flirt?

As a single girl, I flirt. Often. I flirt with men I know to be married. I flirt with girls. It’s harmless fun and a way to connect socially. I don’t, however, take flirting with the married past innocent fun, or give a girl the wrong impression that I’m interested. A truly momentous plus to being single is the freedom to flirt. That, and you always get the dry towel.

Whether single, married or involved, there’s nothing out of sorts in appreciating or being attracted to another person. It’s what you do with the attraction that matters. That’s human nature, hormones, chemicals and DNA. The problem erupts when lines are crossed.

I typically am hit on more by married men than single ones and, although it may elicit either a chuckle or a “What an asshole” response, I enjoy it. But I wonder how a spouse feels about a flirty spouse. Do the spouses tell?

Is it ever okay for married folk to flirt?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Compassion

The shooting yesterday at Va. Tech won't roll out of me head until I take the time to release some of it.

My stomach dropped when the news came across my cnn.com home page. The same sick feeling I'd had when I heard of gunfire and death in an Amish schoolhouse or the hours 8 years ago this week when I sat in my living room and cried at live, local images of teenagers running to safety, hands atop their heads, past bodies on the grass at Columbine High School.

I grieve so deeply for the students and faculty. It’s hard to watch their faces and look into their eyes as they are interviewed on the news; they are absolutely haunted.

Now comes blame. Parents are calling for the resignation of President Charles Steger and the Virginia Tech Campus Police Chief. There will undoubtedly be lawsuits. Given the shooter has been identified as a Korean national, there could be racial backlash.

In times of tragedy and overwhelming shock and loss, society often turns to blame. We want someone to pay. A token to represent in physical form our grief and hope of redemption. Did victims’ families feel any relief minutes after the death of Timothy McVeigh? It's biblical, an eye for an eye. But the reality is, it means little. The healing rises (in time) from inside and no amount of "making you pay" will change it. I know this first hand.

Mistakes and miscalculations may have been made at Va. Tech, but it’s purely hindsight that provides what some feel is greater knowledge in this moment. The situation unfolded differently to the young men and women, faculty, administration and police on campus Monday morning.

After Columbine, my city was awash in purple ribbons, “Why?’ asked over and over and over. It’s human tragedy, and sadly I knew the “Why’s” would begin again with the next, even more grotesque event. Sometimes there’s no answer to “Why”. Or it’s an answer we don’t have the courage to utter.

We need peace, not blame. Compassion.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sign o' the times

My age is showing.

When I read the headline, “Fergie Sends Alanis 'Derriere' Cake for 'Humps' Video” on the People magazine Web site, I thought, "Why is the Duchess of York sending Alanis cakes?".

Took me two days to get it.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Two reasons I must earn more money...

As much as I love my cozy, loft-style town home 10 minutes outside downtown Denver, I want, want, want a little house. Four walls all my own. The dividing walls in my unit (dirty) contain no brick and little soundproof insulation, creating a near constant flow of neighborly noise. Bah-boom. Bah-boom. Bah-boom. With sounds originating from the stereo, TV or in the pipes, it's like living in Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart".

Panties. Whether purchased from Macy's, Vickie Secrets or somewhere in-between, the quality and grade aren't cutting it. It’s ever-so frustrating to pull on a lovely pair and watch the lace unravel or tiny, stretchy threads explode from the waistband. I must build a better panty portfolio. All clothing, really. The more you spend, the more you save in the long-run, as I’ve learned by black tees that fade to charcoal gray with one wash, or 100% cotton sweaters that stretch to monkey-arm-length while in use.

Think the boss will buy the "panty theory"?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Far from the tree

Due to my usual bout of Sunday night insomnia, I found myself up late watching the premier episodes of Sons of Hollywood, the latest reality-TV offering from the folks at A&E. The premise, twenty-something sons of entertainment “royalty” live together in a wondrous mansion…and the fun and frolicking ensue!

The cast includes Sean Stewart, son of rocker-cum-standards-crooner Rod Stewart, Randy Spelling, son of legendary producer Aaron Spelling and some young-upstart-Hollywood-agent type, born a regular guy, but short and dark with an apparent Napoleon complex (...paging Ari Gold).

Stewart is the out-of-control, in need of anger management character, intent on portraying himself as Tommy Lee, but with less talent or penis (should the show make it past a few weeks on air, there will no doubt be a “very special rehab” episode). Spelling seems the nicest of the bunch, in a doughy, always sweaty kind of way (oh, and for kicks, should you want to see sis Tori’s original, factory issue nose, check out the mug on bro Randy. The resemblance is unsettling).

In spite of the little-bit-of-throw-up-in-my-mouth mess that was the show, it got me thinking about why offspring of the famous often follow said parent into the same arena. I suppose just as a plumber beget a plumber, the choice of career is somewhat affected by the parents and what is known. Sean Stewart is a “singer” and “music producer” (I choose those quotes with all due sarcasm) but would never, ever find long-term success as either. Pop’s semen did not bequeath the boy inherit musical skill, ability and the golden ear. I'm thinking really hard but ain't having much luck coming up with a short list of offspring who've gone on to any sustained, earned success (and no, I don't count either Julian or Sean Lennon in the equation; the legend is too great). Ziggy Marley has a modicum of cred. Stella McCartney, bred of Sir Paul and Linda McCartney, is a well-known designer but, again, is it more due to name or game? I recall one early line that consisted of swimwear in which the crotch was represented by a large pineapple. Even Kate Hudson, brilliant in Almost Famous, seemed to have just that one performance in her.

Perhaps I am clouded by the curse of Paris Hilton.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Here kitty, kitty

Meet Sadie Rocket (a.k.a. Sadie Rockstar).


She’s a feral cat (that's "wild" to those not in the know) who found me. She was born wild or abandoned very young in my community, gave birth to a litter and was smart enough to relocate her brood to my side of the street and a former neighbor who feed everything and everyone who wandered by. Once old enough, we found homes for the kittens and a local feral cat rescue; I trapped her, had her spayed at a non-profit hospital (BTW, she was already preggers again...yes, we have an overpopulation problem) and released her back. After that, she came around now and then for some eats (when working with a feral cat rescue, you agree to release and continue to care for/feed the feral as needed). Of course she hated me and everyone else; in fact I named her Sadie because she was “Satan” in a fur suit. Mean and hissy.

One very cold night, I found her curled in a ball on the front stoop, near delirious from the 9-degree-below temps. I made her up a bed from a pet carrier and some blankets and, after time, she came to trust me. It's crazy to watch a wild animal learn to trust. I’m no Dr. Doolittle, and have been scratched and punctured enough times since, working in cat and reptile rescues, for that to sink in. But when you have the compassion for animals, you just have more compassion as a human being period.

I'm amazed at the number of pet owners who abandon animals because the new boyfriend-girlfriend-grandchild is allergic or those who move away and leave their former companions behind. A larger percentage than is acceptable surrender because the grown animal is not good looking enough. If a dog is lost or running loose through your neighborhood, local animal patrol will come and capture that animal, take it to a shelter and try to locate its home. They do nothing for cats, leaving them to their own devices. The punishment for animal cruelty and neglect is pityful. Some view the care of thrown away animals as a waste of time, money and resource. Perhaps if we had more compassion for those so open to it, we could reach out a little more all around.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mud slingin'

Given my body is quite possibly composed of 10% coffee, and in relatively great health, this comes as faboo news:

In a new study, women who drank more than six cups of coffee daily were no more likely than abstainers to develop high blood pressure over the next decade.

However, researchers did go on to say...

He stressed this study focused on adults in good general health. The findings do not pertain to people with high blood pressure or other risk factors that increase their odds of heart disease.

...in which case I think your head opens up and your brain pops out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spring is sprung

In mere minutes, Spring will sprung. After weeks and weeks of foot after foot of snow, I'm as giddy as a school girl. What's not to love?

  • This morning I found the first green buds on the lavender bush outside my front door. Same for the crab apple tree.
  • Shoes don't require covered toes or waterproofing, only a pedicure.
  • Being under the stars with a cocktail, high about the city and grooving to a show at Red Rocks (those of you not from, in or a regular visitor to Colorado, I pity you. The Rocks is pure music heaven. Even the occasional stray vomit can't bring ya' down).
  • Corn on the cob and the good peaches are just around the corner.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

My name is Jodie, and I am a word nerd

I love that the English, when serving coffee, ask, “Black or white?” meaning without or with cream. Smart and pithy.

I'm giddy how Julie Andrews sings a long "O" carried out a syllable or two.
Raindrops on roooses and whiskers on kittens...thooose are a few of my favorite things.

I adore how simple misuse of common everyday places and things can often determine the education and/or locale of the speaker.
I went to the liberry, then to Kmarts to gets me some psghetti noodles.
(you so read that with a hillbilly accent, didn't you?)

I'm amused that cat language is indicated in print as "meow" yet it clearly sounds more like "mowha" or "maawm."

I groaned when driving overnight through the plains of Nebraska I heard the radio announcer refer to Prague Czechoslovakia as "Prayge."

I still laugh out loud at how Les Nesman of WKRP in Cincinnati pronounced the name of Chi Chi Rodriquez during the sports update. Pure genius.

I bow to the advertising wonders who gave us "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs," “Mmmm Mmmm Good” and rechristened tissues "Kleenex" for all eternity.

It's delicious that my "pop" is your "soda" and my "sub" becomes your "hoagie," "grinder" or (for the family back in PA) a "Dagwood".

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Without a leg to stand on

The contestants for the next round of Dancing with the Stars were announced this morning. I've never made it through a complete episode, but am aware the show is based on viewer votes, much like American Idol. The fate of the dancing couples is up to the audience.

I have a prediction. Heather Mills (formerly McCartney) will be the first to go. HM(M) is the soon to be ex-wife of "cute Beatle" Paul McCartney. She's been slagged in the the U.S. and British press for wild accusations regarding her marriage to Sir Paul (including claims she was cut with broken glass by a drunk, abusive hubby), a saucy past of nude modeling and possible prostitution and the general opinion she’s a gold-digger, unwilling to settle her marital split without a bigger share of Beatles cash.

The Dancing powers are focusing on the fact that HM(M) is an amputee, having lost the lower half of one leg years ago in a motorbike accident, thus bringing light to the abilities of the "disabled". But as is the case with most reality talent shows, Dancing is a public opinion contest first and dance competition second. HM(M) stands zero chance. Fans protect celebrities with a vengeance and will punish HM(M) for daring to dirty an international music icon and treasure from our collective past. That producers have chosen to deliberately bring in a contestant with much heat feels like a set-up. More press, more very bad and hateful press, no doubt, awaits. That HM(M) agreed to participate at this moment in time is a bit of a head scratcher.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Strangers in the dark

I took myself to the movies this weekend. Given Helen Mirren appears to be the shoo-in Oscar winner for The Queen, I caught a Sunday matinee. Although the multiplex chose to show the film on one of the smaller of its 24 screens, the studio-indy (a.k.a. "stindy") drew a close to full house.

Therein lies the problem.

As I usher my popcorn (extra "golden topping") and Sprite into the show, I find the theater at near capacity. As usual, I began my trek to the very back row. As I ascend, I find aisle-after-aisle of one lone, empty seat peppered throughout. Each seat held a coat, a purse. Each person book ending the empties stared straight ahead, so politely grabbing attention took some doing. "Is this seat taken?” "Yes". “Sorry, saved”. I find a spot in the third row, all the way down front, all the way right. Staring up into 10-foot high nostrils was dizzying so, about a half-hour in, I scan the theater one more time. Maybe I missed an empty. I did. Lots of them. At least a dozen. The same saved seat after seat...empty.

No ass(es) in seat.

Are we now a society more at ease in chat rooms and our own heads than in real-life-face-to-face-three-dimensional situations? So much that we won't sit next to a stranger in a crowded theater? Or talk to the checker scanning our groceries. Or wave to the guy in a sammich suit hawking Subway on the corner. It’s the elevator phenomenon; eyes forward, silent, you cannot see me. I am here momentarily and not part of your existence. My cat does something similar. She’ll close her eyes and appears to believe she’s become invisible.

But then, she's a cat.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"There's a bathroom on the right"

We all have or have heard all about misidentified song lyrics. The topic comes to mind thinking of brother Robert and his years-ago-when-we-were-kids mistaking of "There's no need to be coy, Roy" from Paul Simon's "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover" for "There's no need to be corduroy", which makes me giggle to this day.

The Brothers "Grim"

Growing up the only girl (besides Mom) in a house full of boys, my three brothers made the experience…interesting. Boys like to “get you”.

It started with Dad, who early on convinced me Kermit the Frog’s real name was Timothy. Middle-brother Jeff told me Ernie and Bert were, in fact, brothers with the last name “Bean”. Timothy the Frog and Ernie and Bert Bean.

Younger-brother Robert and I mostly banded together, two against two. We mostly lost. Like the time our brothers put us on trial for “The death of Charlie McCarthy”, found us guilty and made us walk on the hot summer sidewalk in parkas as “punishment”.

Oldest-brother Joe, an evil genius, whose two bedtime "gets" stand out. The first when he tied dental floss around our pet hamster and let it loose in my bed. The second when I found my beloved Holly Hobbie doll tucked in, the top of her bonneted-head barely visible above the covers pulled up over her face. When I turned the covers down, I found her head on the pillow and her body perfectly positioned a few inches from it. Mom sewed Holly’s head back on, black, criss-crossed stitches encircling her neck, but she was never the same. She just flopped to-and-fro.

Brother Joe died seventeen years ago last week. One of the last memories I have of him is Christmas Eve, 1987. He dropped by with gifts and to visit my then one-year old niece who he presented with one red rose. He told her, “It’s the first of many”. When my two brothers re-tell the same old stories, I laugh until I cry. They get me.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

A moment of silence...

...while I mourn my punk-inspired-but-really-more-new-romantic-“Pretty in pink”-loving-the-boys-in-eyeliner-youth.

I just heard "Blister in the Sun" playing behind a TV commercial for Wendy's new crispy codfish sammich. Dave, a Frosty and a scoop of Violent Femmes. I thought I'd lost it when I first heard Devo's "Whip It" become "Swifter, good!", but I could laugh that one off a bit.

"Body in beads I stain my sheets" selling a fish burger? If Kroger’s regurgitates "Lost in the Supermarket", I may need a long-term lie down.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Soylent Green is people

I'm pretty health-conscience. I eat mostly fresh, real foods, very little meat and shop primarily from the outer perimeter of the grocery store. I have a five-days-on, two-days-off philosophy of exercise so I can 1) eat what I like when I like (in moderation) and 2) drink.

As I got older, and the body reacted differently to the sins of youth, I changed the manner in which I fueled it. Red meat...dropped it. Takes much too long to work it's way "through" and, besides, meat on a bone started giving me the willies. Not alot of sugar and more "wheat" than "white" food. Roasted instead of fried. Gave up pork (I do miss bacon) because of the destructive manner in which the industry produces it (check out Rolling Stone for a stomach-churning look at hog farming). I turned to a diet of mostly veggies, fish, sometimes eggs, but the salmon had to wild, not farm raised, same with shrimp.

And now the fish is running out.

Pass me a Fat Tire and a plate of chili fries.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Couple's phraseology

Please excuse the upcoming Seinfeld moment.

Have you ever considered the origins of couple’s phraseology, a.k.a., the manner and order of how one refers to the two persons who comprise said couple? For instance, yesterday I went to Jeff and Darlene's house to visit with Candice and Luke and, while there, enjoyed a visit with Kyle and Ashley.

Which comes first and why? Do we refer to a couple based on whom we've known longer, are related to or like better? Is it flow of the tongue?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

!@#$%

My favorite curse word is "dumb ass" and/or the variation, "jack ass".

Jeff K. over at Boiled Dinner borrowed on the topic of first memory, which brought to mind my inagural use of salty language. I was walking home from school (we did that in those days...alone, unaccompanied and sometimes for blocks and blocks) when I came across a boy who asked me my name. "Jodie", I said. Obviously a huge fan of TV's "A Family Affair", he replied, "Jodie??!! That's a boys name!!". At which point I called him a prick (a fun sounding term I'd heard my two older brothers throw around) and went on my merry way, ever so proud I'd stood up for myself and put little-boy-Mr.-French in his place. So proud, in fact, I happily told my Mom the story in detail as soon as I got home. I don’t recall if I had to bite on a piece of Dial soap or get a sprinkle of black pepper on my tongue, but Mom was not amused.

Let 'em flow.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Never or now?

Yes, never say never. This is a bigger-than-us, wacky world with surprises around every corner (for those who peek). But I can categorize certain circumstances and events as a “never” or a “now” (apologies to The King):

I've never had a Krispy Kreme donut. In days past, when I ate such things, "air donuts" (a.k.a. glazed) where the 'nut of choice. However, since I suspect an orgasmic response and immediate addition, K.K. is a never.

I've never traveled out of the country as an adult, but will absolutely do so. Ireland is first up.

I've never sky-dived. For the bid 3-0, friends bought me a tandem-jump package. The first two attempts were cancelled due to bad weather (one, a freak storm that blew up minutes before boarding). On the third attempt, got suited up, got ready to board and got to see a light plane crash in a fiery ball hundreds of feet from our tarmac. I'm a serious dumb-ass if I don't take the hint that I should remain inside a plane only, in the upright and seated position.

I've never bought a vehicle based solely on thrill quotient, instead going for MPG, value and how well it handles the snow (can you say, Honda?). There is a shiny piece of fun that goes vrooommm in my future.

I've never had surgery other than a wisdom tooth extraction or full-one anesthesia. Hope I never will. The thought of knock-out juice and (not?) waking up sort of freaks me out.

I've never had a Big Mac. Never will.

I’ve never been married but once engaged. It’s now or never. My looooovvvveeee won’t wait.

So, what's your never, what's your now?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

"Gas leak evacuates homes" just hot air?

In the category "The rich do get richer" comes an article in the Sunday, January 14th edition of The Denver Post.

Xcel Energy, in response to a gas leak and forced evacuation of an area of Highlands Ranch, a south-metro, high-end Denver suburb, helped accommodate evacuees with an offer of hotel accommodations and a $70 per day, per person stipend for “living expenses”.

Diane Eto, Highlands Ranch resident, mother of five, including a 3-month-old girl and evacuee was quoted in the article as saying, "I think my family can eat on $490 a day”. One hopes the sarcasm of the comment simply didn’t translate into print. Let’s do the math. The Post reported 61+ homes and 175 people were evacuated for (let’s say) a three-day period, at a cost (excluding hotel bill) of $36,750. This, in a neighborhood where low-end housing runs in the $300K range. How very unfortunate the gas leak didn’t occur near the Denver Rescue Mission downtown; that’s a lot of soup.

Oh, and did I mention my Xcel Energy bill doubled last month? But, hey, anything to help those in need (now that's sarcasm).

Friday, January 12, 2007

The first time

Writing in almost pornographic prose about my first cigarette got me thinking about other “firsts”.

Speaking of porn, I saw my first true-blue movie freshman year of college, in a dorm room at Libby Hall. Not only did it bear little resemblance to my reality, the action was a bit too crazy, violent and it looked like it hurt a hell of a lot.

The first time I held my first and newborn niece, she peed on me. She’s about to give birth to her first baby.

The first time I ever kissed a boy I thought it tasted bad.

The first time someone my age died suddenly I was 16 years old. Chris Mastalski, who told me I had the nicest legs of all the girls, was killed in a fit of road rage in 1981, before the term was even coined. It was a first.

The first memory I have of my Dad is him walking away down an airport corridor, shipping off to Vietnam. We has wearing a blue suit, but carried the jacket over his arm.

The first concert I ever went to was The Captain and Tennille with my Dad.

I tell everyone the first concert I ever went to was The Rolling Stones, Heart and George Thorogood on one bill. I was just 15 at the time, but my Mom said I could go if my older brother took me and looked after me. He used to be a big stoner. Guess how that went?

The first time I said “I love you”, he didn’t say it back.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Thank you for not smoking

I’m a quitter.

I quit smoking nine years ago today, one of the best things I've ever done. I still recall my very first ciggie. I was 17, had just graduated high school, moved out and got a full-time job, working the assembly line in a factory on the night shift. Back then, folks smoked in the regular break room; no smoking sections or need to “take it outside". It happened in my 1972 Dodge Colt, driving home from work. I packed down the leaves with several slaps of the pack to my palm. The crinkle of gold foil. The "schwooot" sound when the flint scraped the metal wheel of my disposable Bic. The interior of the car glowed as I lit the tip of a Marlboro Light 100 and drew in deep…then hacked and choked like a fat guy with a chicken wing stuck in his pipe. I kept going until the choking eased.

I smoked until I was 32 years old. Fifteen years. I now detest the smell of smoke, the mess of floaty gray ashes and sight of a dirty ashtray. If I'm at a concert or club, come home in the wee hours and smell smoke in my hair, I have to wash it out before going to bed. Given that my vanity has grown with my age, I breathe a now-clean sigh of relief that I didn’t continue the damage to my skin, teeth and lips. Oh yea, and my heart and lungs.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Though shall not steal, asshole

First, to the asshole (or assholes, plural) who broke in to our community mail box, destroying the unit and stealing mail (no, it was not an "accident" after all)...your mammas must be proud.

Second, to the credit card companies who push additional account protection fees when you call to track down payments, ensure mailing addresses are intact and rogue charges not made...you should change the term from call center to profit center.

As a survivor of violent crime (I don't choose the word victim), mail theft absolutely pales in comparison. But it's a crime none-the-less. One that pisses you off and makes you rethink if your neighborhood is safe, going to shit or merely reflecting societal trends. After the fear comes the anger. Every penny, every pair of shoes, every piece of fruit in the 'fridge, the ‘fridge, every home, car, college education, everything I now have I EARNED. Those that choose to violate, cheat, steal or take advantage, it's not your circumstance, it’s not someone else’s fault and it’s not the only option. Do for yourself.

Wheel of morality, turn, turn, turn. Tell us the lesson that we shall learn.

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