Monday, December 31, 2007

Badgers? We Don't Need no Stinkin' Badgers!

Unless they taste like chicken!*


*Or treats, or socks, or paper from the recycling bin.

Also, you'll notice that they are not posed together for the photo because whichever one happened to have the tshirt on tried to choke and/or pull the other one around the room by the scarf.

and once again GO VOLS!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Miracle. By the Numbers.

22nd day of December

8 in the morning

1 Trip to Opry Mills ShoppingCenterOutletMallVortexofMadness

2 Hours of my life spent

1 Complete trip around the entire complex

3 Gifts purchased (and a few items for myself...)

0 Casualities or instances of muttering obsenities under my breath

God bless us, everyone.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

From NPR: "Fire Breaks Out at Vice President Cheney's Office"

Well, when you're one of the Portals to Hell,

I guess that's bound to happen from time to time...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Holidays.

From the rerun of Friends last night -

Phoebe Buffay on the subject of gravity:

"I don't know... it's just lately

I get the feeling

that I'm not so much being pulled down

as I am being pushed."

Amen, Sister Phoebe. Amen.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I Think I Have a Bit of a Crush...

...on Dan Neil.

Who's Dan Neil, you ask? Well, I had no clue until this morning either. Apparently, he's an automotive critic for the L.A. Times.


I know. Considering that I don't care about the fine wood detailing or superior handling of the new fourwheeldrivewhathaveyou let alone anything that goes on in the city of Los Angeles unless it has to do with George Clooney, I was a bit surprised myself.

Turns out though that ole Danny Boy (that's what I like to call him) has said something that I have been hoping and praying someone in the "mainstream" news media would say:


And the fact that these words came from a guy whose job it is to review cars, and is read by guys who really like cars, makes me all the more giddy.

Giddy like I'm in the lunch room in 4th grade and the 6th grade boy with hair like Shaun Cassidy just walked by.

I discovered this man of my dreams while reading the Smart Growth America newsletter. Their quote of the week was from his article reviewing the new Mercedes-Benz advanced diesel GL320... CDI... XYZ... 8675309...

So I read the article and from almost the get-go he's off on a tangent ranting about the fact that the 2008 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid was just named Green Car of the Year. A Tahoe. Green Car of the Year? According to whom? Baby Seal Bludgeoners Quarterly?!? Well, turns out it's Green Car Journal. (I've never heard of Green Car Journal, so I shouldn't presume, but I'm guessing if we dig down far enough we'd probably find that they are published by the same conglomerate as BSBQ.)

OK, fine. So a legitimate industry magazine named it Green Car of the Year. A Tahoe. I'm sorry, but unless it's made of compressed poop from a free-range chicken ranch and powered by the happy thoughts of hippies, I highly doubt that it qualifies as green. Just having a hybrid engine DOESN'T COUNT. When you use 5,000 pounds of steel on wheels to haul an 80-pound child to soccer practice, any teeny tiny bit of guilt that you might have can not be absolved by stuffing a hybrid engine in it. Too big is too big.

Unless you are hauling actual cargo or towing something heavy (and your skis don't count!) - ANY GALLON OF GAS IN AN SUV IS A WASTED GALLON OF GAS.

And that's just what Dan says. Only better. And, well, more than four or five people (and some random guy in Portugal, apparently) actually reads what he writes.

Whether it's a hybrid SUV - or a diesel SUV, as in the case of the new Mercedes - it isn't justified:

"But, sadly, except in highly unusual cases where needs and vehicle match up precisely, these big diesels offer only a variety of complacency, coaching people to keep their over-sized vehicles while assuaging whatever guilt they might feel... I'm sorry. It's just methadone for gasoline addiction."

Now, I have to admit that part of me does disagree with Dan and myself because I also have a personal philosophy (that I'm sure I picked up from someone else along the way) that "no one can do everything, but everyone can do something." And I firmly believe that more people would live more environmentally sustainably if they didn't think it required massive amounts of money, time, effort and a bulk purchase of patchouli. It doesn't. You don't have to change your entire life and go off-grid. I promise. If everyone would just make one little change here or there, the impact would be enormous. So part of me thinks that, in the long run, if you're hell bent and determined to buy a Tahoe no matter what, then by all means, please buy the hybrid version.

But I just can't do it. When it comes to the ginormous SUVs,"these harlots of petroleum" (as my new boyfriend says) I have to draw the line. And it's time that someone out there, someone that Joe Golfshirt listens to, said what needed to be said:

"In a time of surpassing urgency — whether your pet issue is global warming, oil security or economic disruption — we are accepting, even rewarding, relatively modest and incremental changes in efficiency that require no sacrifice, no change in consumer behavior at all. This isn't going to get it done, people. The notion that American drivers can sally on as before, driving the miles and tonnage they do, and only the technology under the hood has to change, is complete bollocks."

Amen, honey!

And (GASP!) it sounds like he might even be British!

George Clooney who?!?

Monday, December 3, 2007

But They Wore the Orange Pants and Everything...

I'm waaaay late in posting this, but hey, I'm not dooce or amalah - this endeavor ain't the one keepin' the lights on and the 'fridge stocked with Diet Coke...

LSU beat UT in the SEC Championship. Bummer.
Not that I don't like winning or didn't think we could have won, but truthfully, I was just thrilled that we made it to the game considering the "frustrating" season we started out with.

But then I went and subjected myself to the various message boards and news article comments out there on the internets and apparently just being bummed-out and mildly disappointed is not acceptable. Apparently I should be full of all kinds of vile and nasty opinions and hurling insults about - especially if I'm not even a fan of either of the two teams actually in the game. What gives!?!

Maybe my priorities are all out of whack, but my top five goals for football each season are as follows:

1. National Championship
2. Bowl Game - preferably Sugar
3. SEC Championship
4. SEC East Title
5. Beat Florida and/or Alabama

According to my records, I got two out of five this year. And that's better than any other given day in my life, so I'm good.

I don't have a play by play or many family antics to regale you with this time unless you count my brother running around in his "vintage" UT shirt prior to the game and yelling "Sugar Bowl, baby!" But I do have a few people to acknowledge:

Person in Need of a Naughty Chair: Demonte Bolden. As a member of a UT defensive squad that, quite frankly, sucked much of the beginning of the season, I really don't know where you get off insulting your offense during a press conference. Shame. On. You.

Person I'd Want in My Corner Any Day: Xavier Mitchell (look - his neck is almost wider than his head!). After the game, when the media was bearing down on Erik Ainge with their cameras, he tried to stop them. Some reports have him getting too rough with a reporter. I don't usually condone violence and if he crossed the line, some punishment should come his way, but his reasons for doing so have some merit in my opinion.

Needs to be Whacked on the Nose with a Rolled Up Newspaper: ESPN and Kirk Herbstreit. Seriously. Don't you all EVER get tired of being so recklessly annoying? Breaking a news story without substantial information about Miles leaving for Michigan, just so you can announce it the morning of his conference championship game, is - at best - tacky. All you did was reignite conspiracy theories about how vengeful and spiteful people think you are. As a reporter that's a former Buckeye, were you trying to take a jab at the former Michigan assistant coach that helped to beat you. Repeatedly. Or as a network that spends most of its time kissing the asses of the Big 10 and Pac 10 did you just want to disrupt an SEC Championship being played on another network? OR are you all collectively just incompetent and unprofessional? Please let us know which it is, the suspense is killing me...

The Clinton and Stacey Two Thumbs Up Award: The University of Tennessee Volunteer Football Team and their Big Orange Britches. Way to be bold, boys. I like it. You may not have scored the points you needed to win the game, but if style points counted, you'd have killed 'em.

Best Show of Class: Post game press conference with Phillip Fulmer, David Cutcliff, Erik Ainge and Arian Foster. Ainge tried to take the blame for losing the game. Fulmer interrupted him to say that it wasn't his fault. Cutcliff blamed himself. Foster said in his interview that he tried to take the blame for losing the bowl game last year on a fumble but that the team wouldn't let him so he wasn't going to let Ainge do it either.

Worst Show of Class: Most of the Rest of the SEC East. Dear Lord. You would think we were a group of orange-panted terrorists that hijacked our way into this game and were expected to annihilate LSU. I, for one, have heard just about enough from the GatorDawgWildcatCommodore Contingency. If you're fans of an SEC East team who feels cheated that your team didn't get to play the game on Saturday, I would like to suggest a 4th grade math refresher course. If you're fans of an SEC East team with ZERO expectations of playing in the game and yet have gone out of your way to act a fool with joy as though LSU really pulled one over on us, I would suggest 1: paying attention 2: changing the channel to basketball and 3: shutting the hell up.

People I Feel Even Worse for: The Lady Vols, who beat #4 North Carolina the same day as the UT / LSU game and no one really even noticed. Sorry, Pat. Come January 2nd, I'm all Lady Vol. Please forgive me until then.

I'm sure I'll have more to say later about the impending Outback Bowl; why on earth you'd want a rodent for a mascot; why NPR's John Feistien needs to stop talking about football before my head explodes; or why the BCS is set up to allow teams that don't play a conference championship to be elligible for a national championship....

Until then - I just say GO VOLS!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Lights, Please...

It's now Christmastime / Advent.

It didn't start an hour after Thanksgiving dinner or even the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It started today. And if you aren't churchy or you're the kind of churchy that doesn't do Advent candles, then there's still a way for you to know.

Monday A Charlie Brown Christmas is on.

It's the unofficial start of the holiday season. There's nothing not to like about it. Here's my top five list of reasons why:

1. It's genuinely funny and doesn't dumb things down. My favorite line is from Lucy. When asked what she really wants for Christmas, she matter-of-factly says "Real estate."

2. It's very melancholy - almost sad - in parts. And who wants an overly happy Christmas special? Not me.

3. Who hasn't imitated one of the characters dancing in the play rehearsal scene??

4. It's religious without being preachy and sweet without being cheesy.

5. It has the most kick-ass soundtrack of any Christmas special. Ever.

Happy first week of Advent!

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Face Even the Roadrunner Would Love

First, let me say that I am wholeheartedly NOT in favor of keeping wild animals as pets. Every time I hear of some yahoo in Whateverville, USA getting the side of his face bitten off because he kept "pet" lions in his backyard I, quite honestly, smile and wonder if the lions think "hmmm, tastes like antelope."

That said, I give you the link to this blog:

This woman lives in the absolute middle of nowhere Wyoming and found an orphaned baby coyote on her doorstep. She's has no delusions about his wildness. She simply didn't want him to die and has given him a den and some pack members (her and her cat) to hang with while he figures things out. True, there's a chance that this will all end badly, but she seems to be a reasonable human being and has a neighbor (as much as you can have a neighbor in the absolute middle of nowhere Wyoming) who is a coyote expert with the National Park Service. So there you go.

Besides, what the hell do I know, anyway? I'm the genius that chooses to live a with a dog whose IQ is probably higher than mine and a dog who's afraid of ticking clocks....

Anyway... She takes photos everyday and if you are an animal lover or especially a dog / dog-like animal lover, it will completely break your heart with its cuteness.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Scenes from a Grandmother / Grandaughter Weekend

OK, so this post is also about football. But here in the South - or at least in my family - you better know your football regardless of your gender or else you're going to be pretty lonely come Saturdays in the fall. And even if you're one or two of the four people who read this blog and DON'T like football (and you know who you are!), you might still enjoy a window into the weirdness that is my family tree.

This past Saturday, Tennessee played Kentucky and it went into QUADRUPLE FREAKIN' OVERTIME. I watched the game with my Grandmother, who I will just say, is one of the greatest and most unique grandmothers around. She is many of the traditional grandmothery things - a good cook, a good hostess, spoils her grandchildren, etc. So, it wasn't until I was in my late teens/early twenties that I figured out that she also enjoyed a lot of what, it turns out, are actually non-traditional grandmothery things, like smoking and cussing and drinking and gambling and watching sports. Who knew? But I digress...
The game: it was all kinds of exciting with unexpected and wacky things happening. Thinking about all of them now, I'm sure they're no longer as accurate or in quite the right order any more, but for the rest of eternity, here's how it will replay in my mind:

First Half
Tennessee is off to a great start. Touchdown on the first play.

Woo hoo! I'm enjoying this. Let's peruse one of the "Better Homes and Gardens" Granny has on the coffee table whilst we watch. Oh look, how to make your own Christmas stockings from dish towels...

Tennessee's touchdown is followed with another touchdown, a field goal and yet another touchdown. Half time.

My Grandmother and I discuss what we'll have for dinner after the game is over.

Second Half
On a long pass by Kentucky, their receiver and our defender simultaneously jump high in the air to try and catch the ball. With their arms interlocked, they both grab the ball at the same time. They both come down still holding onto the ball. They both fall to the ground, still with arms interlocked and death grips on the ball. Turns out that if two players simultaneously catch the ball and neither loses possession, the offense gets the ball.

Seriously?!?! Learn something new everyday, I suppose...

Then there are lots of other exciting events. Passes are intercepted, quarterbacks are sacked, penalties are called and the Wildcats eventually catch up. And before we know it, with less than a minute left in the game, Kentucky is about to score a touchdown and win.

How did this happen!?! Oh yeah, that's right, it's happened two other times this season.... I start to feel a bit nauseous and there's a throbbing in my head. It could be the game, or it could be my Grandmother's chain smoking or the fact that she keeps saying she's sure we're going to lose. OR it could be that I know my fate once the game is over is not to watch the Mizzou / Kansas game, but instead a Hallmark Channel movie, A Grandpa for Christmas. No. I'm not kidding.

On first down they throw to the end-zone. Incomplete, but with defensive pass interference, so they're moved closer to the goal line. We stop them on second down and on third down their quarterback drops the snap and is unable to get it together in time to score so they have to kick a field goal to tie and go to overtime.

Overtime. OK, I can handle a little overtime. Granny, however, says we should have just gone ahead and lost in regulation because we're just going to lose in overtime now so what's the point. I reminder her, with clinched teeth, that good Volunteers are faithful and positive Volunteers.

First overtime
Kentucky scores a touchdown and the extra point. Tennessee scores a touchdown via a reaching, twisting, diving catch in the corner, near the sideline which has to be reviewed because they're not sure he kept control of the ball. He did. And they make the extra point. Tied again.

I've now chewed part of my bottom lip off and can feel several hairs on my head turning white. Again, it could be the game, or it could be that my Grandmother has announced that, again, we are going to lose so she's just not going to watch the game any more and then goes about checking her numbers for the various football pools she has money on. I take a glance at the end table that separates us to make sure I can get to the remote if she decides to make a break for the Hallmark Channel.

Second overtime
We fail to score on our possession and Kentucky is unable to score a touchdown so they try to win the game with what looks to be an easy a field goal.

Darkness descends upon the land.

I've taken to chewing on the cuff of my sweatshirt so as not to chew completely through my bottom lip. Granny declares "they're going to kick that field goal and beat us." I finally lose my patience and (lovingly) yell "WELL MAYBE THEY'LL BLOCK IT, GRANNY! DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT THAT?!?"

And then, as if the heavens were listening, one of the shortest defensive lineman on our team jumps in the air AND BLOCKS THE KICK!!!!

I think one of my lungs just collapsed. But I manage to pull together enough oxygen to yell "WHAT'D I TELL YOU!!! NEVER GIVE UP, GRANNY, NEVER GIVE UP!!!" She's seems very happy, but I have a feeling I'm out of the will.

Eric Berry catches the blocked kick and is off and running toward our end zone for the touchdown, but is immediately - and brutally - yanked to the ground by his face mask. HOWEVER, because the heinous action occurred during change of possession in overtime, blah, blah, blah, and Jupiter is aligned with Mars, blah, blah, blah no penalty is assessed.

WTF!!! Fine. Whatever. I'm too exhausted to yell expletives at the referees. Bring on OT#3...

Third overtime
Kentucky scores a touchdown and has to try for the two-point conversion, but they miss. Tennessee scores a touchdown. They try for the two points and almost make it but Arian Foster can't hold onto the ball inbounds, and after the play, flings the football into the air out of frustration.

I'm with you, buddy, flingin' the TV Guide.

Unfortunately, that is considered unsportsmanlike conduct. But wait, the flagrant and vicious face mask take-down from earlier isn't a penalty, so we're good to go, the penalty won't be assessed, right!?! NO!?! Apparently dead ball fouls in overtime, blah, blah, blah, the square root of pi times the area of an isosceles triangle, blah, blah, blah, the penalty IS ASSESSED 15 YARDS!!

WTF2!!! I was still trying to figure out the whole, "when two players catch the ball at the same time and maintain control...." from back in the second half, let alone the previous bit of nonsense about the non-face-mask-penalty (which, have I MENTIONED, was flagrant?!?). I then place a pillow over my head so that I may either muffle my own screams of frustration or smother myself in a few seconds.

Good Gravy, I'm exhausted. Bring on A Grandpa for Christmas. I can't take any more...

I realize though that I need to just suck it up because my Boys in Orange are now into their fifth hour of playing and to add insult to injury, have to start on the 40 yard line instead of the 25 because of the penalty.

OH BUT WAIT... the first play and our quarterback throws an unexpected long pass to some guy I've never heard of - who we find out later, RAN THE WRONG ROUTE - but still manages to catch the ball and run it in for a touchdown. And they get the two point conversion.

Sweet Fancy Moses. I think I might pass out.

Kentucky drives down to the half-yard line and then barely gets in for a touchdown. But best they can do now is tie and extend our agony to a fifth overtime.

However, we all know what color God wears on Saturday, don't we? If not, I'll give you a hint. It ain't blue.

On the two point attempt, Kentucky's quarterback can't find a guy open and starts to run it in himself, but is sacked and fumbles the ball. Tennessee recovers. Game over. We're going to Atlanta. Let the mayhem begin.

I high-five Granny who yells,"I knew they would win!"

Some images from after the game, courtesy of, and

Philly and Coach Trooper Taylor when we won.

Lucas Taylor, after the game, with a tear of exhaustion
and/or elation streaming down his cheek.

One of our players who went to celebrate with the
UT fans after the game and was pulled into the crowd.

Players celebrating with the fans after the game.

More celebration. But please note Eric Berry on the left with Smokey.
Is there a better example of school and state pride than a
great big football player with his arm around some guy wearing a dog suit?
I don't think so.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Adopt-a-Post (ha!)

Not much going on so I thought I'd post something someone else posted.

I was informed recently by my friend, Katie, that November is Adoption Awareness Month, and thought I would do my part. From as far back as I can remember, I've had an interest in, and a soft-spot for, the whole concept of adoption. To the point that any story related to orphans, adoption, etc. usually involves tears from me.

However, not having been adopted nor having ever adopted any children, I'm also not too well-informed on the subject (unless countless childhood listenings / reenactment's of the Annie Broadway Soundtrack count) so I thought her post would be much more useful and appropriate than anything I could write:

Katie's retelling of her story is a good one. I was laughing and crying (typical) throughout and I know the story. And, well, have been known to cry when telling it to other people. I can't help it. It's totally involuntary.

On a side note: the link above tells you how Eli, John and Finley came to be, but the link below tells you about our trip to the zoo. (Aunt Gert's been playing with her new Flickr account during these quiet days at work before Thanksgiving - can you tell?).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2007


I’ve been up since 4:30am and have gotten all riled up listening to the news for three hours. Turns out there's some really irritating crap going on out there. Who knew? Let’s see…

Robert Pratt (Franklin, TN), a subcontractor for Fischer Homes, was sentenced to 18 months in jail for hiring undocumented workers. Wow, sprawl-mongers AND the racist and hypocritical movement disguised as patriotism /national security that is “border security” all rolled into one story. Santa visited Gerty early this year.

Don't get me wrong. I'm fully aware that illegal is illegal. I just think that issues like this can't be simplified so easily and that life doesn't exist in a vacuum (but if it did, I would like to be in a Dyson DC 15 Animal, please). My problem with all of this anger toward “illegals” is that it's only directed toward dark-skinned individuals. The same dark-skinned people that are building our houses and picking our vegetables so that we can buy 3,000 more square feet than we really need, or tomatoes in January for next-to-nothing, and live our cushy and relatively inexpensive lifestyles. Do we not think there are white people here illegally? Try to get a drink in Boston from a legal Irish bartender. I dare ya. So where are the "minutemen" with their jeeps and their rifles driving around Harvard Square?

As for mister sub-contractor - who happens to live in the wealthiest part of the wealthiest county in our state and one of the top 50 wealthiest counties in the country, by the way (guess we know how he affords it) - I think maybe he could stand to spend his 18 months wandering about the US/Mexico border. Plus, I'd be interested in knowing who he's partial to politically. Just curious. 'Cause if he was hiring them furiners, I'm sure he's a liberal. Plus he lives in Williamson County and I know that the last time I met a lefty-bleeding-heart-let's-let-everyone-in-the-country-and-give-them-a-job-and-buy-them-a-Coke-liberal from Williamson County was... um.... oh wait, that's right - NEVER.

Sonny Perdue, governor of Georgia, held a prayer service for rain earlier this week. Yesterday it finally rained in the Atlanta area. Bravo, Sonny. Did Jesus also tell you to check first? Perhaps instead of praying for rain you should have been praying that the city of Atlanta will stop paving over every goddamn thing they can get their hands on, destroying the water table and increasing the air temperature and therefore helping to cause this drought you’re asking God to end? Or, I don’t know, you could try being a PUBLIC SERVANT AND ACTUALLY WORKING INSTEAD SPENDING TAX-PAYER DOLLARS TO ASK GOD TO DO STUFF FOR YOU. Fiscally-conservative-strict-constitutionalist my ass.

I don’t think I can handle 12 more months of presidential election hoo-ha. Especially if all we’re going to hear about the debates are the Sports Center highlights. It’s fine if you share with me a witty comment Hillary made about her pantsuit, but I have a hard time believing that there wasn’t at least one pithy comment Joe Biden made that couldn't have been played instead of the Clinton/OBama/Edwards cross-talking silliness about universal health care. I mean it’s Joe Biden. He had to have said SOMETHING worth hearing. The man never shuts up.

I’m still holding out for a viable third-party candidate or independent. I want ground-shaking, paradigm-shifting change in this country, not just variations of the same thing but with a different animal mascot. I thought I had a Democratic candidate that was truly different and could get me close, but now I’m not sure.

As for the Republicans, I couldn't be happier. The top candidates are two skirt-chasers and a flip-flopper from Massachusetts. Thanks again Santa! (I've been VERY good this year) But seriously, how are those glass houses / black pots workin' out for you fellas? Comfortable?

I know that I should be more knowledgeable about international affairs AND I should be more concerned about what’s going on in Pakistan. However... from what I can tell, this all just goes to my theory that a country’s nuclear armament should be allocated – or revoked – based on the basic abilities and choices of its current leader. Much like the Soup Nazi. Then, if your nuclear weapons get taken away, just elect someone with common sense - or overthrow the current guy and replace him with someone less ridiculous – and then you can have them back. For example, the guy in charge of your country has a dead badger of a toupee on his head and still wants us to take him seriously? NO NUKES FOR YOU! Your leader says that the holocaust never happened and/or that there are no homosexuals in his country? NO NUKES FOR YOU! Your leader says “nucular” instead of “nuclear” and he gets elected twice!?! NO NUKES FOR YOU!

OK. I think I’m ready to go to work now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Think I Need My Head Examined

I just entered a contest to win an iPhone through Real Simple magazine.

Thing is, I don't enter random raffles or drawings or anything hosted by Ed McMahon. I voted against the lottery and get angry when I have to stand in line behind someone buying a lottery ticket. I don't want to be the 5th caller to the radio station. If Bob Barker had ever called my name, I probably would have "Come On Down" to the floor, that is, and then crawled under my seat. I don't want the door prize at whatever meeting/workshop/conference they feel they need to trick me into attending by giving crap away. I am the Official Wet Blanket of All Contest & Give-Away-Related Activities.

Add to that, I am not really a gadget person. Electronic gadgets, that is. (Ask me about my new lazy-susan/plastic storage container contraption from the Container Store and I'll go on for days...) It was only in the last two years or so that I upgraded to a TV that didn't have dials on it. I barely own a cell phone. I don't have an iPod. I wouldn't turn down a free one, but the effort I have to go through to access and listen to my music in its current capacity doesn't outweigh the price of getting an iPod at the moment. Same with a Blackberry. I can see the point if you travel a lot or are away from the office during the day for large amounts of time. But I'm not. And when I am - again - the hassle doesn't outweigh the cost. So why? WHY do I now want a completely indulgent, borderline pretentious, VERY expensive technological thingy.

Maybe it's the commercials for them. They're genius. But most all Mac-related commercials are genius (not to say I that couldn't have lived without ever seeing that annoying Feist iPod commercial that they've finally stopped playing but is still somehow stuck in my head) and that certainly hasn't made me want to buy any of their products. I was perfectly happy lusting after the iPhone from afar and then MAYBE if we find out a year or so from now that they aren't more trouble than they're worth or don't randomly catch fire and melt to the side of your head or something else strange and tragic, I might consider adding it to my technology wish-list. Considering I still don't have my own laptop, surround-sound, or TiVo though, it shouldn't hold its breath.

Maybe it was when I noticed that the really cool pictures posted on one of my favorite blogs (I heart the Daily Chuck!) were taken with an iPhone. When I read that, my little ears perked up and I cocked my head to the side like my dog, Oliver, when he's trying to figure out where the squirrel on the TV set just ran off to. "Take pretty decent pictures on any whim without having to lug a camera about? Hmmm...."

Or maybe it was just that my current crush on the iPhone was combined with my slightly dysfunctional love of Real Simple magazine. Had they suggested I join the Britanny Spears Fan Club or donate to the Mit Romney campaign I might have been tempted to do so. And that kinda scares me.

But more importantly though... if I win, I actually get TWO iPhones so maybe I'll share. Interested???

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thursday Recap / Weekend Preview

"The Office": This week it was the perfect example of what I love about "The Office" and what I don't like so much. The whole Michael in the wilderness concept overall was kind of stupid - and a lame way to be part of NBC's "Green Week" (30 Rock did it perfectly and hilariously, however. Yea Al!). His antics while out in the forest were funny, but not what I love. The genius part was the whole Jim-in-charge / birthday scenario. Because who hasn't experienced this level of nonsense at work? Jim is both right and wrong; silly and making sense. Everyone else is also all of these things as well. I loved it! The best though - Jim's impression of Toby; Jim and Pam's quick exchange about meeting in the conference room; and then of course Michael somehow becoming the hero and cool boss at the end. And I loved all of the snippets of Michael scaring people for their birthday. So great.

Everything else on TV last night: Also great. "Grey's Anatomy" finally seems to be back to the original show that I love. I was a complete mess with the whole injured mother / adopted child story-line. But, I'm a mess when it comes to anything about orphaned/adopted children so that was kind of a given (I'm trying to decide if I can handle seeing Martian Child in the theater or not). Then, of course, it had to be followed up by one of my favorite Sex-in-the-City reruns of Miranda's wedding / Samatha's breast cancer / Carrie's pink Oscar de la Renta dress from The Russian.

The rest of life: I'm trying to get ready to be in a multi-person yard sale on Saturday with my friend, Claudia, and several of her girl friends that I've been getting to know. It's been great cleaning closets and looking for stuff to get rid of, but my house is so small that there's not an extra/empty corner - let alone room - to stack it all in. So, of course, it's in the living room, breakfast area and mud room / dogs' room. And believe you me, they are NOT happy to be sharing their den with crap I've dragged out of the garage. Apparently dirt and dust from foreign objects = bad; Own dirt and dust they've dragged in from the yard = good.

I love having yard sales. It's one of those quaint neighborhoody things that I always picture being very Martha Stewartish with mugs of cocoa, vintage kitchen items arranged on metal patio tables, old worn out chairs, etc. It never quite ends up that way, but it's still fun nonetheless.

All proceeds will be going to fund Sunday's Christmas Village outing with Katie and to a desperately-needed bike tune-up so that I can hopefully get my fat ass riding again.

Saturday is also the UT / Arkansas game. Don't really know what to think of this one. I figure it will either be a blow-out defeat a la the Alabama game or a down-to-the-wire-make-me-want-to-puke-last-minute victory like the South Carolina game. Not exactly looking forward to either. Not that it's going to keep me from watching either... GO VOLS!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Geek Break

How adorable is this?

It's a picture, courtesy of National Geographic, of Husky pups in Greenland. Technically some little island off the coast of Greenland where they are supposed to grow up to be sled dogs for ice hunters. Only their island is shrinking because of climate change. So really, a little less adorable and a lot more sad. The picture though came to me on my iGoogle home page. If you don't have an iGoogle home page, I highly recommend it. There are all sorts o' gadgets and fun little doo-dads you can add to it. It's a HUGE time-waster so if you're easily sucked into little projects like this, be prepared. Here's what is on mine:
  • Quote of the Day
  • Literary Quote of the Day (have to put that English degree to work whenever possible)
  • Font of the Day (I have a font obsession and am in need of a 12-step program if you know of any)
  • Color Scheme of the Day (yeah I know, weird, but actually helps me with my job)
  • Art of the Day (not as exciting as anticipated. I'm thinking of dumping it)
  • Weather (very handy)
  • NYTimes Top Stories
  • Mah Jongg (what am I, 80?)
  • Chinese Proverb of the Day (it seemed like a good idea at the time)
  • A little game where you click little blobs of color to make them disappear, then all the other little blobs shift around when that happens and you click more, trying to end up with no little blobs of color. It's maddening.
  •'s Word of the Day (see bullet #2)
  • Synonym match-up Game (wow, I'm just fully realizing what a dork I am)
  • National Geographic Photo of the Day
  • And finally, my favorite, as it combines two of my most favorite things in the world - Muppets and Mocking the Bush Administration: the Sesame Street Terror Alert System

Today's Terror Alert Level is Ernie/Bert...
and brought to you by the letter Q....

But anyway... back to National Geographic. The photos are always good, but when they're really good/intriguing, I click on them, go to the National Geographic home page, and then get sucked into a whole other geeky world of fascinating science news and information.

For instance. Did you know that they saw a rare monkey in Kenya they thought was virtually extinct? Pretty cool considering we've killed off almost all of our primates.

AND did you also know that it looks like dinosaurs were likely done in by volcanoes and NOT an asteroid? See, had we known this earlier, the world probably could have been saved from that horrible Bruce Willis Armageddon movie.

By the way, one of my aliases is "The Queen of Useless Information," so my sharing of these little factoids is not going to end any time in the near future. If you know me, you know that I often start sentences with "Did you know..." I'm the person at the cocktail party they call over to solve age-old questions like "Who's the third Jackson?" (True story. And it's Marlin, in case you were wondering.) I know things like, crows never die alone, but ask me most any relative's birthday and I'm at a loss. And don't go thinking that I'm a good partner for Trivial Pursuit. That involves actual knowledge. Can I tell you the 36th President? The chemical symbol for magnezium? The dates of the Civil War? Hell no. The names of all the children in "Eight is Enough"? Now, we're talkin'.

So yeah, me and the little kid from Jerry Maguire, somewhere there's a nice institution home for us... Until then if you're at a loss for amusement over gin and tonics or in a heated game of Cranium (Best. Game. Ever.) give me a call.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I've been in a funk lately, mostly questioning my career/work situation. I think I'm in need of a change. But, I took my current job because I needed a change from the last one, so part of me has been wondering if its just me and not the jobs. Then yesterday I was at home sick, with what was probably a work-related stress-induced ailment, and I watched When Harry Met Sally. Why? Because it's the cinematic version of chicken soup, that's why. And, because while I'll admit to watching "The View," I draw the line at "Judge Judy" or "Morrie Povich" which are the only options in the mid-day for the cable-less. And yes, I could have turned off the TV, but then what? Just lay there with my own thoughts? Not a good plan. That's probably what got me the sick day to begin with. But... digressing...

It turns out that WHMS was just what I needed. Boys who tell you that "The Godfather is the answer to all of life's questions" are so wrong. The Corleones don't know crap. Ask Sally Albright. So I did. And sure enough, there it was. Exactly what I needed to hear. This current job is my transitional job. I'm not supposed to marry my transitional job. There you go. Problem solved. Let's move on. To what? To that I have no answer. But I feel better about it for now. And tomorrow is another day.

OK, starting to quote a different movie, so let's definitely move on.

So in honor of my sick day / day of vegetation, I thought I'd try to find the answers to my top five list of questions that have come up since the last post. And in fitting with the vegetation part, 90% of them are TV/movie/sports/other couch-potato-related questions.

1. Could Steve Carrell be anymore adorable? And I'm not just asking that because he's a fellow Big Red Buzzard. My favorite quote from this week's "The Office"was from him. Michael to Pam (dictating the want ad to replace Stanley):

"Wanted. Large black man with sass. Big butt. Bigger heart."

It's so sweet when you think about it. Because after all, don't we all want to be known for having a heart that's bigger than our butt?

I also saw him in Dan in Real Life on Sunday with Katie. The movie was good. Terribly predictable in places; not enough development of secondary characters; tied things up too quickly so as not to go over 100 minutes - you know, the typical mainstream movie problems - but overall it was quite endearing and very funny. The whole cast was funny, but the endearing part was all Steve Carrell. And well, the setting. You see, one of the things Katie and I have in common is that we're suckers for any movie with a big family in woolly sweaters and a big ole, rambling house. Preferably with cedar shingles. And on the water. And a nice lawn for touch football is a bonus. As are canoes and Adirondack chairs. And a run-down vintage-y kitchen. And plaid. Sorry... I drifted off there for a sec... Anyway, this movie had all of the these things in spades

Needless to say we were goners from almost the very first frame.

2. Couldn't they have given the guy on "Grey's Anatomy," who had the open heart surgery while he was awake, something to do besides just lay there and go nuts? I know they needed to heighten the drama, but if I had to lay on a table with a room full of people looking at me for six hours - not even factoring in that they would all be staring at the inside of my chest - I would go stark raving mad. Couldn't they have rolled in a TV set for him or something? I mean, really, if way back in the 80's my orthodontist let me watch Top Gun while I got my braces on, surely they could have figured out something for this guy.

3. Is it just me, or does the new Krystal's Caribbean Chik sandwich look like vomit? Seriously. Not that ALL Krystal sandwiches aren't just shy of vomit to begin with, but this one looks truly awful. Maybe its a new era of truth-in-advertising for them. Either way it's GRO-OSS.

4. How do you have an All Saints service without singing Hymn 293? Maybe it's just me, but I think it would make Jesus happy if we could sing a hymn once a year that I know all the words to. A few others sitting near me contemplated just starting to sing it ourselves and seeing who would join in. But we didn't. We're Episcopalians after all. You can't get too crazy... Or else they give you the bad wine at communion.

5. Why does Peyton Manning have to over-think things so much? And. Why is Bill Belichick such a bastard? I'm certainly in no place to criticize over-thinking, but P, when a 300-pound guy grabs your arm, don't keep thinking about how to salvage the play, just take the damn sack. And Bill, dude, what is your deal!? It's one thing to be a sore loser, but it takes a whole other skill set to be a sore winner. And rude to Tony Dungy? Really? Do you kick puppies too? And was it just a coincidence that every time I looked up at the game from what I was reading, I just happened to see one of your players also behaving like an ass? Granted, I haven't liked you guys since I was a young girl with a crush on Dan Marino and you had to use a groundskeeper to beat the Dolphins in a snow storm. But now. Now you're nothing more than the pro version of Florida. And no one needs that.

And no, no recap of the Tennessee game. It was a blow-out - in our favor this time, thankfully - and only on the radio so there's not much to mention.... except, GO VOLS, of course.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy All Saints Day

"Look, don't you think we're saintly?
No? Really?
Surely you must be mistaken."

Last night was a typical Halloween. A few trick-or-treaters, lots of dog barking and too much left-over Halloween candy. My jack-o-lanterns ended up being fairly cute. (A happy-faced round orange pumpkin stacked on top of a sad-faced white pumpkin). If I had a functioning camera at the moment, I would have taken a picture of them. Early on in the evening I had to put the dogs outside so that they could join the chorus of other barking dogs on my block / annoy my neighbors instead of just me.

When I finally let them in they were all riled up, what with having to run laps around the back yard to protect our land from various very scary elementary school students. So riled up in fact that they managed to wage a fairly impressive campaign of shock and awe in only about 15 minutes before they collapsed in exhaustion on the floor. It included, but was not limited to,

  • knocking over my Diet Coke

  • stealing and shredding the wet paper towels I used to clean up the Diet Coke

  • leaping onto the ottoman in the getaway process of stealing the wet paper towels

  • knocking a stack of magazines off the ottoman

  • stealing and shredding a couple of the subscription reply cards that fell out of the stack of magazines

  • growling and snapping at each other over who got the better subscription reply card / larger portion of wet paper towels

  • jumping onto the couch with Diet Coke Paws

  • yanking the laptop power cord out of the wall

  • pulling the compost pail off the counter

  • digging out a chunk of pumpkin from the compost pail

  • racing out the dog door with treasured chunk of pumpkin so that I wouldn't take it away from them

  • eating part of the chunk of pumpkin

  • dropping the pumpkin left-overs in the hole in the yard for safe keeping

  • coming back inside only to yak chewed-up pumpkin on the kitchen floor (and perhaps rethink the logic of the last four activities).

Two seconds later they were asleep in the living room and every time I got up to do something or laugh aloud at something on the TV, they'd open an eye or stick up an ear like "Hey, pipe down! We're sleepin' here!"

Today though is All Saints Day which makes Sunday, well, All Saints Sunday. It’s one of my very favorite days of the year. Why? Well, I just happened to have a list:

  1. I dig Holy Days with such blatant Pagan origins/aspects.

  2. I really like the concept of saints and celebrating people who have died.

  3. It has the pomp and circumstance of a Christmas or Easter service without having to fight anyone for a parking space at the mall or cooking any large animals.
  4. I get to sing one of my favorite hymns (you have to love a hymn that talks about having tea). And, in looking for the “correct” version of the lyrics online (surprisingly challenging) I came across an Episcopal blog with the lyrics and other cool posts that I’m going to have to revisit.

  5. Numbers 1 & 2 really make the fundamentalists twitch so really, it’s a win-win-win situation.

So next my plan was to go on and on about something terribly profound, I'm sure, but there's a basket of leftover Halloween candy calling my name...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Like Shoo Bop Sha Wadda Wadda Yippitiy Boom da Boom

Well, that was one of the more interesting things I've ever tried to type. I was going title this post something from the song "Jesse's Girl." Easy to type, but alas, nothing really applied. Because you see, this weekend my friend Katie had a birthday. She and I first became friends back in the second grade. Our childhood consisted of multiple trips to the roller skating rink, pretending we were Trixie Belden and Honey Wheeler, song and dance productions to Grease and Xanadu in her living room, and belting out "You Light Up My Life" at my piano. Along the way we made friends with boys. One of them was named Dustin, and even though we were pretty sure he had cooties, we enjoyed his company and making fun of the fact that he came from a strange and far-off land called Ohio.

Katie moved when we were in junior high, but Dustin and I stayed friends through high school, college and now that we're supposedly grown ups. Nine or so years ago (yeesh!), I was in graduate school (in that strange and far-off land called Ohio) when Dustin called to play a game I like to refer to as "Hey, guess who I saw at the mall / a concert / a restaurant from grade school / high school / that marching band trip we took to Six Flags in 1987." He likes to play this game because I never know who he's talking about. "Hey, guess who I saw at the mall?" he said. "I don't know," I replied, rolling my eyes and starting to rifle through a box of photos from the late '80s, looking for the stack from Six Flags to try and get a head start. "Katie!" he shouted. Finally. I got one.

He gave her my number and the rest is history. Well, not quite... A couple of years later she married Dustin. (Yeah, I know, Nora Ephron could have a field day with this story...) I got to be the best person at their wedding and am Godmother to their oldest son, Eli. She and I tell him stories about wearing our pajamas and singing into hairbrushes like they were microphones - or when we formed a Go Go's tribute/lip sync band - when we were just a little older than he is right now. He and Dustin usually just shake their heads in embarassment, but I'm pretty sure that their newewst additions, John and Finley, are ready to follow in our footsteps.

And speaking of shaking your head in embarassment... I thought I'd share a couple of photos. Photos that were taken with a Kodak Instamatic (ca. 1978) and a Kodak disposable camera (ca. 1999), respectively, and then scanned into my computer many years later. I think you can still figure out who's who though. Coincidentally, she just forwarded me an email about girls that grew up in the 70's that was awesome (I still have my Marie Osmond doll, do you?) and I may post later when I have time to upload all the fab pictures.

From my 4th or 5th(?) grade piano recital (the devilish grin and bunny ears would be Katie; the messy hair and giant Chicklet teeth are all me):

Yes, we're sober...

And 20ish years later at her wedding (slightly less devilish grin, and look, my head finally caught up with my teeth):

No, we're not sober...

Happy birthday, Katie. Please don't hurt me for posting these. We need to update this line of photos though or else the next similar picture we take will be of us in rocking chairs without any teeth. And well, probably not sober....


Well I guess ESPN got most of their money's worth. No Spurrier victory in the UT / SC game, but at least they got an overtime out of it. At some point, in the throes of heat stroke this summer maybe, I got rid of cable. Now I don't technically get ESPN. I do, however, get a pretty clear black and white ESPN without any sound - and you've always got the closed caption if you're desperate. Had I not been afflicted with some mystery virus and almost passed out in Lowe's earlier that day, I would have gone somewhere to watch the game. Desperate, I was.

My plan was to rest on the couch while watching it on mute with the radio for play-by-play. That worked well for the first half and our 21 unanswered points. The dogs obliged as I made Elsie sing Rocky Top. Well, she doesn't actually sing, but is trained to raise her paw at the "woo!" part. When she's not trying to ignore me for humiliating her with stupid pet tricks, that is. Oliver did cheers. He needs to make some use of those gangly front legs of his and spelling out V-O-L-S works nicely. (My mother also has a Basset Hound named Ray Charles that my brother will hold up and use his paws to make the referee hand motions. We're very talented.)

But anyway... full of confidence, I gathered a stack of magazines and some tea and settled in for the second half. Bad idea. SC's 24 unanswered points of the second half resulted in the exact opposite of what I would call restful. Instead what I WOULD call it is me throwing magazines, flailing my arms around, knocking my tea over and yelling "WHATTHEHELLYOU'VEGOTTABEFREAKINKIDDINGME"

The poor dogs thought I was yelling at them. Well, Elsie did and put herself in "time out" in the mud room. Oliver kept sleeping. Thankfully we tied it up in the last few seconds and then won in overtime. It came down to SC's poor kicker who apparently had made something like a 60 yard field goal in the pregame warm-up but shanked the one that would have put us into double OT. Poor guy. I really do feel bad for him and the rest of the players. Not just because if you compare the stats, they totally out-played us, but because I'm sure Visor Boy made them all feel even worse in the locker room. (You know why he wears that visor, don't you? It's because ball caps won't fit, what with the little horns he has hidden under that toupee on his head.)

I'm glad we got the win, regardless of how much stress it caused my household. Unfortunately it means more idiotic comments from sports writers and commentators like "Vols control own fate" or "Vols in charge of their destiny." ("Um, hello, Sports Writer, have you met Dictionary? You two should really chat.") This week hopefully will not be a replay when we take on LA Lafayette. It's only on the radio or pay-per-view and I will be out and about most of the day. The dogs are very thankful.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Helpful Hint

Dear Coaching Staff, Players, Trainers, Water Boys and Girls:

When you get to your desks on Monday, please take out a Post-it note and write down the following: "The University of Tennessee Volunteers are a SECOND HALF team."

Now, please stick that to either your refrigerator, computer monitor, or forehead.

Thank you,


Go Dawgs Go!

Friday, October 26, 2007

"This would be a huge coop, people"

Friday's "The Office" Re-cap & Football Preview

Ok, "The Office" wasn't fabulous last night, but it was still good and quotable. And apparently "The Office" Convention is going on right now at the University of Scranton and Al Roker went to cover it.

How cute is this?

Al Roker's day in ‘The Office’
Al Roker's day in ‘The Office’

This week has kicked my ass, so that's all I've got. And as far as football goes, I don't even have the energy to go into the details of tomorrow's game. Or document all of the reasons I loathe Visor Boy. Or how I can't believe a once-likable team like South Carolina could have such questionable hiring practices. Instead, I'll focus my end-of-week animosity toward someone/thing else...

Dear ESPN:

Last Saturday you wouldn't give one of the most historic rivalries in college football the time of day, presumably because both teams are a bit on the mediocre side this year. Fair enough, I suppose.

This Saturday, however, you plan to broacast our game against the Gamecocks despite the fact that South Carolina is in the mediocre boat right there with us. So what's up?

Could it be that this is the best game you could get for that time slot? No offense to my boys in orange, but I seriously doubt it.

Or, could it be that you're banking on Visor Boy beating us again and if it happens you'd like it to be on your network?

Call me a suspicious, glass-half-empty, conspiracy theorist, but I'm guessing this one is a little closer to the truth.

And you wonder why our collective state hates you?

Love from the trailer park,


Monday, October 22, 2007

Candy Corn is a Gateway Drug. And Other Weekend Epiphanies...

My Weekend:
Football. It wasn't enough that our game wasn't on national TV like it normally is/should be, or that we had to play the "brunch game" at 11:30 (How can you be expected to get a respectable amount of tailgating accomplished before kick-off?). But then our defense and special teams had to just lay on the field like roadkill. Grrrr... At church on Sunday one of my favorite people (Ned) and I had a heart-to-heart about the state of Volunteer football ('cause that's what you talk about in church on Sunday in the South) and he articulated perfectly what my subconscious has known for a while:

Good-hearted, honest, loyal, kind, supportive people don't always make the best coaches.

It breaks my big orange heart, but it's true. I LOVE Phil Fulmer. There's no better example of a Tennessee Volunteer. He LOVES our state, our school, our team and each and every one of those players and coaches like they're his brothers and his kids. But lately it seems that love and devotion have become blinders, and promoting too much from within, being too slack with young guys who need more discipline, and sticking too much with tradition instead of trying new things on the field, have started to take it's toll. To every yin there's a yang and we seem to have reached the yang portion of the program. I'm not saying that we need to fire Phil and hire some vile, disgusting, obnoxious, rude, tantrum-throwing, snake-in-the-grass just because they win football games (yeah, that's right, I'm lookin' at you, Visor Boy). But something needs to change.

As you could imagine, about 30 seconds after the clock ran down, I needed an outlet for my misery that didn't involve chocolate, martinis, pasta, heroine or expensive shoes. So my SIL and I found salvation at the next best thing...

Target. Why? Because there were a lot of household items that I needed? No. Because - as all good people know - when the world is crazy and out of control and doesn't make any sense, you go where everything is clean and orderly and pretty and affordable. I've joked before that if I had all the time and money in the world I would go back to school to get a degree in film and my first student film would be a remake of Breakfast at Tiffany's titled, Diet Coke at Target.

"The only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there."
- Holly Golightly

So, that's not really a revelation from this weekend, but I'm right, no? We pushed our happy little red cart around until I felt better and along the way a few happy items happened to fall in said little red cart: adorable black tweed ballet flats, a pre-treatment stain stick thingy, dog treats, cereal, a frozen pizza, yogurt, diet coke (duh) and yet another bag of...

Candy Corn. Ahhh candy corn. I don't really even like candy (all other dessert-related items, yes, but sugary candy, not so much). Like crisp, cool air, changing leaves and college football, those cute little striped kernels are a sign of fall, my favorite season. But, alas, they are not without a dark side. I was snacking on candy corn Sunday evening while organizing kitchen cabinets and with every bite I slowly started to feel that sense of dread. You could almost hear the screeching of the violins from Psycho tuning up in the background... that impending anxiety... THE HOLIDAYS. And like candy corn, I love the holidays, but they too have a dark side. There's so many things to stress about - money, travel, shopping, decorating, entertaining, family drama, AND ESPECIALLY food. And that's when it hit me -

It all starts with the damn candy corn.

Those tiny little innocuous bits of sugary autumn goodness are fine, but all they do is give you the courage to move on to the seemingly innocuous, but actually evil, little individually wrapped trick-or-treat candy bars. And that leads to:

Thanksgiving and stuffing and casseroles and pumpkin pie and apple cobbler because what? They're FRUIT! And VEGETABLES! What's the big deal? Look - you can even see their pictures on the food pyramid. How bad could they be?!? So now you're emboldened and ready for:

Christmas. You've already been so good only eating tiny candy bars and fruits and vegetables that you eat the cookies and cake and other things you couldn't otherwise justify. Besides, if all else fails, you just have to ask,"WWJD"?!? Because I tell you what he would do - it's his birthday! He'd eat the cake. And before the sugar high can wear off, there's:

New Year's Eve. Otherwise Dick Clark would have been out of a job a long time ago because everyone would be too depressed to leave the house. But we're not done yet. You can't have sugary without salty, so to cap off the holiday season, God gives us the first of two National Observances of Salt:

New Year's Day College Football Bowl Games (and then later the Super Bowl). Chips and dip and laying on the couch, taking the stress of the last few weeks out on referees and the teams that are keeping your team down in the BCS poll. Good times.

Is there a Halloween Candy Wing at Betty Ford?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Is it Whoever or Whomever?

After two mildly disappointing first episodes of The Office this season, my favorite show on TV is finally back to normal with last week's and this week's episodes. I don't know how they are able to make me laugh hysterically, cringe in embarassment and then completely break my heart all in the span of a few minutes. And I didn't think they could top a conference room scene like last week's bouncing DVD icon, but this week with the "whoever / whomever" discussion was one of the most brilliantly written and acted scenes I've seen on that show.

Other Genius Moments:
- The whole Pam / Michael opening shtick about the movies. "Meryl Streep is the bad guy. You never see it coming." "Million Dollar Baby. He's gonna try to kill me."
- Shrute Farms. Pam immediately calling to make a reservation from two desks away. Mose running along beside the car. The irrigation room. Dwight's Dundie Awards on the mantle. Dwight reading Harry Potter to Jim and Pam. (If you go to Trip Advisor you can really look up Shrute Farms).
- Daryl to Kelly: "You need to get a hold of the not-crazy part of yourself." Kelly: "Daryl Phillbin is the most complicated man I've ever known. Who says exactly what they mean? What kind of game is that?"
- Andy supposedly moon-walking past Angela's desk 10 times and then wondering why she still won't go out with him.
- The whole Jim / Dwight scene in the stairwell and Dwight playing "You Give Love a Bad Name" on his recorder out by the dumpster.

And don't even get me started about the whole Jim / Pam storyline. I don't know who was more swoon-worthy last night Jim or Dr. Shepherd.

Which brings up another point... Why is the majority of TV the rest of the week complete crap and everything I want watch on all at the same time on Thursdays? NBC is must-see TV on Thursday. NOT ABC. It's how God intended. It's like one big conspiracy to get me to buy TiVo. I think I'd like to speak to whomever is in charge of programming at ABC... or is it whoever...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


For those who may not know, this Saturday is the Tennessee / Alabama game, a.k.a the Third Saturday in October. Their first match-up was in 1901 and I believe it was a tie. And I also believe that was probably about as amicable as the game has ever been. Regardless of how good or how crappy either team happens to be that year we're all but guaranteed a great game - or if nothing else - a good old-fashioned bloodbath. The object of the game at this point isn’t really who wins, it’s just who has the most players left standing by the end.

The year I was born began our longest losing streak to the Crimson Tide and for the whole first decade of my life I didn’t know what it was like to “Beat ‘Bama.” That is, until October 16, 1982. On that day Alabama was ranked #2 and picked to beat us yet again, but a long touchdown pass and a last-second interception changed all that. I don’t have a lot of memories from that day but I’ve read enough and seen enough replays to create them in my mind: Willie Gault running into the end zone in all orange; the orange and white UT in the middle of the field; John Ward’s “And the crowd. Goes. Be-zerk!”; fans rushing the field. But what I do legitimately remember is that it was my very first feeling of being part of something bigger than myself. Vacation Bible School had tried and failed several times to accomplish this, but pulling one over on that nasty old bastard, Bear Bryant, sure did the trick. If I hadn’t known since birth that I was UT fan, I’m pretty sure that at the age of 11 at the dinner table that night I would have declared myself to be one.

And there are other games we can’t forget either. The good: Peyton Manning breaking another Alabama streak in ’95, 41-14. Or beating them again in ’97 when we listened to parts of the game on the radio... standing around a parked car... at a wedding reception... with the mother of the bride... who made her daughter wait until a time out to throw the bouquet... The bad: our fourth quarter loss on a fumble that added insult to an already injured season. The ugly: 5 over-times (but we did win) or three years ago when two rude Alabama players warming up on the field in the middle of the Pride of the Southland nearly caused a riot.

These days we don’t always get to play the game on the TSIO, which is just wrong, in my opinion (Is nothing sacred!?! What’s next, Thanksgiving on a Tuesday!?!). Or, we have the new issue of CBS – for the first time in oh, twenty years or so – deciding not to televise the game. They’ve opted instead to gamble on the chance at a flashy upset of Kentucky over Florida. And I understand that there’s money involved. And yeah, neither of ours teams has been on a grand winning streak the last few years, but if NBC can still televise Notre Dame games with a straight face, this really shouldn't have been that difficult a decision. But whatever. Karma will come back to bite you in the ass, CBS. Just you wait. As for me, this Saturday I'm sure I’ll check in at some point to see if Kentucky has maybe – hopefully – won, but for the most part, my ass will be firmly rooted in tradition and in front of the TV watching the Vols vs. the Tide. So what if it's on UPN/Channel 30. Yeah, that's right! We're the Lincoln Financial Game of the Week. No shame in that! On commercial breaks I may keep an ear out for General Neyland turning over in his grave, but I still say GO VOLS!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pretty in Pink

First, thanks to Katie for my first comment! I figure that if anything I write here comes close to being as entertaining as her blog, I'll be doing ok. Hers will also be the first in my list of blog links on the right side of this page - when I finally get around to doing it, that is - but for now, just go to if you'd like to check it out. I highly recommend.

Second, here's a bit about my weekend adventure in Atlanta. I travelled south on Friday to pick up my mother and step-father at the airport on their way back from Italy (yes, I know, they suck); visit my friend Amanda, her baby, husband and dog; drive A LOT - or as my grandmother would have said "all over hell and half of Georgia" (which would actually apply in this case); and visit the trifecta of Stores-Nashville-Should-Have-But-Instead-I-Have-To-Go-To-Atlanta-For: Nordstroms, Crate & Barrel, and The Container Store (you could also add IKEA in there too, but we just couldn't squeeze it in this time and well, I have no hope of Nashville ever getting one so it shouldn't technically go on this list).

The Mother-Ship (or as I also like to call it:
Crack House for the Compulsive Organizer)

Most importantly, however, we went to cheer on my aunts, Jean and Lynn, as they participated in The Breast Cancer 3 Day: a 60-mile walk to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I even purchased a pink t-shirt just for the occasion. And getting me to wear pink is no small achievement (You should have seen my face a couple of years ago when "pink was the new black." It was not a pretty sight. But I digress...) They began their walk at a mall in Alpharetta, GA on Friday and we were able to find our way to one of the cheering stations on Saturday before they arrived. People were there lining the sidewalk, clapping, waving pom-poms, holding up signs and high-fiving the walkers as they came by. Many of the walkers wore costumes (tutus, halos, butterfly wings, etc.) or funny t-shirts - even the volunteers and officers got in on the festivities as we saw a policeman with a bright pink wig on directing traffic.

On Sunday, the walk ended at Piedmont Park in downtown Atlanta. Joining us was our friend, Neighbor Jane, who is a breast cancer survivor AND did The 3 Day Walk in California a few years ago (and is my mother and Tom's next door neighbor in case you're wondering what kind of parent names their child Neighbor). After circling various business and residential areas around the park looking for a parking space and having a man scream obsenities at me (I have very little patience in general - even less for people with unleashed pit bulls, especially if they're keeping me from finding a parking space) we finally made it there. And, somehow by the grace of someone, were able to get our chairs set up in the shade and with a perfect view of the stage, then haul our behinds to the other side of the park in time to see Jean and Lynn cross the finish line, then pick up their luggage and drag it back to our chairs just in time for some water and a snack before the closing ceremonies began. Don't ask me how we managed to accomplish all of this.

The closing ceremonies began with an introduction from someone on stage as the 2,500 particpants entered into the arena in front of the stage - arm-in-arm, six people across - and formed three rings inside a giant circle. First, the walkers on the outside - women in white 3 Day t-shirts, men in grey - followed by the crew of volunteers in various colored t-shirts in the middle ring, and then finally the survivors in pink t-shirts in the very center. I had been running around, taking pictures and wiping what was probably a combination of sweat and tears out of my eyes as the survivors entered the arena. From where I was standing, I couldn't get a very good picture of them coming in so I turned to try to get a picture of everyone that was already standing in the arena area. I was looking at the screen of my digital camera and trying to determine what was going on because the tiny view looked a little odd. I looked up to try and figure out what was going on and saw a sea of shoes. The walkers, in one enormous circle surrounding the survivors, each removed one the shoes they were wearing and held it in the air to salute them as they entered. Needless to say, there was not a dry eye to be found anywhere around me.

I don't know where exactly Jean and Lynn were in that big crowd, but we managed to find them afterward AND get them and their luggage out to the car, as well as make it back to their house and eat dinner - all before 9:00 that night. The next day they were still able to walk and have inspired me to (maybe) join them next year. I'll have to think about it though - I may have purchased a pink t-shirt especially for this weekend, but I don't know that I can afford - or stomach - three days of pink clothes. And I've already warned my mother, who also wants to do this next year, that I will NOT be wearing any wacky outfits or hats. And look, now it's in writing!

In addition to the amazing feat (or feet, ha ha) of walking 60 miles in three days, my aunts together raised just under $6,000, in honor of - and in memory of - many of their friends and relatives who have suffered with breast cancer. Two of them include my grandmother, Gene Shipp, who died in 1989 and my step-grandmother, Patricia Hardin, who passed away in August of this year. I know they must be very proud right now. Me too.

Jean (l) and Lynn (r) as they crossed the finish line on Sunday

Thank you to all of my friends who donated money - it really means a lot to me.

Click here
to see more pictures from the event.