Sunday, September 30, 2007

Adventures in Barbecue

It's been a big weekend here in Paducah. The annual Barbecue on the River was held and so much haunch of beast was slung that a haze of smoke visible for miles hung over the entire downtown area.

My Dad, West KY barbecue connoisseur, joined us on Friday night. After a few miles of walking, we settled on the Buzzard Bros tent and queued up in the block long line for the privilege of purchasing and eating seriously overcooked pig meat. After twenty minutes or so of waiting, we were a mere three people away from having our order taken when up wandered two Line Butters. They were a father-son team. Fixing their faces with the old we-are-just-a-couple-of-clueless-people-and-we-think-we'll-just-cut-on-in-line-because-we-feel-like-it, they shimmied nonchalantly, first near the line, then little by little, sort of IN the line just in front of us.

This set off a storm of mumbled bitching by the people directly behind us and the people behind them AND the people behind them. Of course, this IS Kentucky, which means confrontation is the worst thing that could possibly ever happen in the world (well, besides crunchy undercooked green beans without bacon grease like The Lord Baby Jesus intended). Nobody ever speaks up for themselves around these parts.

But that's where I come in. Because, no, I don't think me, the S-Man, and my Dad have just spent twenty minutes in line so these two yay-who's can get Buzzard Bros Barbecue after a mere five minute wait at our expense.

I tapped Mr. Older Line Butter on the back of his shoulder:

Hey buddy.

Mr. O.L.B.
(Not turning around.)

(tapping a little harder)

Mr. O.L.B.
(Finally turns around feigning addlepated confusion and fixing his eyes on a spot a couple of blocks away.)

Um, this would be the FRONT of the line? The BACK of the line is back there. (I crook a thumb indicating a spot, by now, about a quarter mile away.)

Mr. O.L.B.
(Pulls his best Alzheimer's face and turns away to face the front of the line again)

(tapping his shoulder again)
Hey, Mister? See, you have to GO to the back of the line if you want barbecue. Because we didn't just wait in this twenty minute line so YOU can get barbecue.

(tapping Mr. Younger Line Butter on the shoulder)
That means you too, buddy.

Mr. Y.L.B.
(Turning around as though the previous conversation w/Mr. O.L.B. never happened)
There's another line over here. (Vaguely indicates a point somewhere off to the right)

I don't think so. Now let's move it on out there, buddy.

Mr. O.L.B.
(Gives up and slinks away.)

Mr. Y.L.B.
(Still standing in nonexistent "other line")

No, see, understand, YOU are not getting barbecue before WE get barbecue.

Mr. Y.L.B.
(Slinks away too.)

At this point, everyone else in line near us begins to congratulate THEMSELVES on how they just weren't about to put up with those line butters, nosiree! Why, can you believe those two!? Thinking they could GET AWAY with such a thing. Hrrrmph!

And then we got our overcooked swine and all was right with the world.
[The photo at the top of this post was taken when the S-Man and I participated as judges at the barbecue. I was going to write about it, but dang, this is already a seriously long post.)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Soup and Entertaining w/Amy

So there’s a photo of my first attempt at a batch of Tom Kha Gai soup. It's very pretty (LOVE the color even if I do say so myself), but not what I'd consider a raging success taste-wise.

It is missing a few key ingredients, namely Galanga root and Kaffir lime leaves. They do not carry these items at Kroger…surprise! I considered substituting ginger for galanga, but decided I would just do this batch without and see how it went. I’m happy to report mine and Monica’s trip to Wild Oats yielded a bunch of lemon grass which I peeled and bruised as directed.

I used low-fat, organic coconut milk, for which I believe I sacrificed a certain amount of creaminess in the soup compared to what I tasted at the restaurant. Also, I went hog wild on the lime juice. A little too wild. A whole extra lime wild. It’s a bit lime-y. It is also, of course, missing that musky note that the recipes I’ve consulted tell me is the galanga, but that can’t be helped.

Overall the flavor is somewhat off but still pretty tasty and, for me at least, edible. I’ll be adjusting the whole shebang on my next attempt.

In other news, the S-Man returned from a recent trip to Louisville today bearing a gift for me from stepson, Matt.

Oh, wait! First I have to tell you the big news about Matt: the “LEO” (Louisville Eccentric Observer) conducted a recent reader poll they titled “LEO’s Big List: 48-and-a-half things we love about Louisville”. Matt’s band, Vampire Squid, was voted the NUMBER ONE original Louisville band (Sept. 19th issue)! HOW cool is that!? Number ONE! GO MATT!

So, along with acting as lead singer for the hottest original band in Louisville, Matt found the time to pick up a copy of Amy Sedaris’ hysterical book for me entitled, “I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence”. The work is a kitschy tongue-in-cheek take off on all those wildly enthusiastic Stepford wifey “how to” entertainment guides of the 1950’s and comes with a handy dust jacket fold-out poster of a scantily clad Sedaris glistening with oil and covered in sprinkles (left). Don’t you love a girl who is JUST ALL OUT THERE?

Jam packed with bazaar vintage recipes (Whiskey Dick’s Baked Chicken Wings), practical recipes, and “helpful how-to’s” on just about everything ala Heloise on crack, the book at one point thoughtfully includes a step-by-step guide on the proper way to wash one’s hoo-ha (I won’t reproduce it here except to tell you the instructions include the phrase “spirited scrubbing”).

So, the next time you’re looking for a nice simple recipe for Marinara sauce AND wondering about the best method for removing vomit stains, I encourage you to look no further than this delightful work by Amy Sedaris.

(Thanks, Matt!)

And, please, remember to resist the temptation to juice that extra lime in your Tom Kha Gai.

Friday, September 28, 2007

TED: The Love Affair Continues

I hope you all will bear with me through my love affair with all the brilliant people at TED. I continue to be on fire for this organization and its mission to gather smart, influential people together to ponder and help solve the problems of the world.

One of the most recent videos posted to the TED site is a talk given by Stephen Petranek, former editor-in-chief of Discover Magazine. Petranek's subject is what scientists tend to talk about at the end of the day while tossing back a few cold ones: how might the world end?

Based on his experience, Patranek has developed a list of the top 10 ways that could happen (How much do I love a top 10 list? A lot.), and also delivers the surprising news that many of these agents of the apocalypse can be turned back with a little planning and forethought. And, oh yah, money.

It's a long video, but so worth it if you are into that sort of thing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


You know me. I get exposed to a great new (to me at least) book, movie, whatEVER and I am OBSESSED. And so it is with Jack White and the White Stripes.


Love his voice, love his guitar playing...LOVE!

I've done a little research and, although for years it was thought that Jack's band mate Meg White was his sister, it turns out she is more likely his ex-wife.

Hey! A complicated relationship! Can I relate or what!?

If you're reading, Jack White (and I'm sure you are), I LOVE YOU, MAN!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another NashVegas Run

I set off early this morning, well, okay, not THAT early, for another trip to NashVegas.

This time, the mission was, ostensibly, a trip to the airport, but included much great conversation and some seriously fun stops the first of which was for a Thai food lunch at Royal Thai on No. 19th Street. Both my friend, Monica, and I ordered the pad thai which we agreed was far too drenched in sauce and the rice noodles waaaay over stir fried. By accident, as it turns out, the waiter brought us spring rolls which were delicious.

The big hit of the lunch, however, was the Tom Kha Gai soup. This soup was so delicious it may have well revolutionized how I think about soup forever. In fact, just thinking about it now makes me a little misty. An aromatic chicken soup the primary ingredients of which also include coconut milk, lemon grass, mushrooms, lime juice, lime leaves (hard to find), fish sauce, and sugar (optional, but likely included in the recipe today), and basil or cilantro, this concoction is nothing short of heavenly. If you've never tried it? You must have some this minute.

After that, we made our required stop at the airport, then hurried over to Venice Nails where, framed photos at the entrance assured us, Hollywood luminaries such as: Nicole Kidman, JSimp, Faith Hill, and others have had their fingers and toes attended to. After a few minutes of careful consideration, we deemed the place worthy of our patronage as well.

New as I am to all this business of professional nail care, I was quite surprised at just how many chairs and stations were housed inside. These people had the capacity to easily do hundreds of nails at a time. We were met at the door by two ultra-efficient and beautiful Asian girls who quickly herded us over to choose a nail color.

After a fair amount of dithering, we made our selections*, then chose some magazines to read and were shooed into our throne like chairs which, incidentally, could be programmed to massage, in a variety of ways, any part or the entirety of our backs while our feet were given the red carpet treatment.

Ahhhhhh. So decadent.

For my part, this little excursion to was made possible by a generous birthday grant from the S-Man. Otherwise, I would certainly not be able to enjoy a session with Nicole Kidman's pedicurist. (See? I say nice things about the S-Man.)

So, there we were with our Vanity Fairs, our W's, our cool drinks, two lovely girls massaging and caring for our poor, poor, weary tootsies, and (AND) a nearby flat screen tuned to HGTV. They must have seen us coming at Venice Nails. Buddy pedicures are truly the Ultimate Girl Outing. (Well, almost. One has to consider New Orleans.)

Afterwards, we agreed a trip to a nearby Wild Oats was in order, inspired as we were by our Thai food experience at lunch. There we purchased many of the ingredients necessary for Tom Kha Gai soup along with a few other au naturale essentials before heading home.

If only a certain two travelers had experienced better luck with the airlines, it would have been a darn near perfect day.

[*Since William Sledd says navy blue is this season's "in" nail color, I of course had to search for it, finding only a deep purple the closest thing they had in stock. I settled for my usual: a shade of metallic fuscia.]

I alluded, in an earlier post, to a "spectacular view" I enjoyed over the weekend. The photo posted above, is a shot of that view that I enjoyed at dinner and beyond Saturday night along with some great wine, company, and food. I believe I have been forbidden to disclose the identity of my hosts, so I'll just tell you what I told them.

"I thought it was just dinner. You didn't say it was an extravaganza."

And, indeed, they didn't. But the thing is? There's something I didn't tell them as well. And that is that along with being a perfect evening for an awesome rooftop dinner, Saturday was also my birthday. I couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous setting or more gracious friends to spend it with.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Chad Austin Wilson II

Ohmygosh, ya'll, how cute is this photo of my uncle, Ted, with his new grandson, Chad Austin Wilson II?!

Congratulations to Patrick, Michelle, Ted and everyone.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Checking In

It's been a wonderful weekend. Dinners with friends, spectacular views, good conversation, a mess of fried fish, movies.

Today is FurGirl's birthday. She is a whole six years old. She celebrated by enjoying a Weight Watcher's (a girl's getting to be middle aged, after all) carrot cake which she very much enjoyed. Used to, as she is, to getting only a bite here and there, she had trouble wrapping her mind around the fact that ALL the carrot cake bites I broke off were for her and her alone. This meant that after each bite she would settle back down and begin to doze off and then would rare up, startled, when I would say "here" again, the word that normally proceeds her getting a bite. So the whole eating of the carrot cake treat was a little like exercise: bite, chew, lay down, GET UP, bite, chew, lay down, GET UP, etc.

It was almost more than a birthday FurGirl could stand. She is now collapsed, sleeping off the effects of the rigorous cake eating.

My friend, Julie, gave me a beautiful bouquet from her still mysteriously flourishing garden. The shot you see at the top of the post is one of many I took of it just now. It drives the S-Man crazy, my penchant for the extreme close-up. But just look. I cannot get over the ability of my camera, on the macro mode, to capture the most minute detail. The delicate blush of pink on those itsy bitsy white flowers is just. Wow.

Otherwise, you've by now probably seen or heard this bit of news. Our president. Much like a bad case of flatulence at a garden party, he is just beyond embarrassing.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bob Dylan: The Swag

I got completely carried away with relating the Dylan concert experience and totally forgot to share photos of the swag. Both the S-Man and I were completely powerless to resist getting ourselves a tee-shirt. Of course I said I wasn't going to get one on the way in. I knew they'd be beastly expensive. And then I saw this:

Yah. Like I'm walking away from that tee-shirt. I don't think so.

You can't tell by looking, but the image of Bob is actually flocked. It sort of feels like stiff velvet to the touch. According to Bob's roadie, I'm never supposed to dry it but rather let it air dry flat.

The tee-shirt stayed in the sack all the way until we got to the car in the parking lot, then I changed into it while the S-Man careened around the streets of downtown NashVegas looking for I-24. I haven't taken it off since except to sleep. Although...the shirt is the softest possible cotton and is quite comfortable enough to be jammie material. You can see in the photo it looks great with my paisley house pants, it looks super with my NY&Co black bermuda shorts, and I have no doubt I can wear a black skirt (maybe denim would be better) and add a wide black belt and my black hooker boots for a a going-out-to-dinner look (probably tonight).

If I get a job I can always add a black blazer, black pants, some love beads, and call it a business look.

Than again...Nah!...who wants a job!


The S-Man got this tee-shirt. Much like mine, except not fitted and not flocked. While he seems to like it, he has only worn it once, and shows no sign of the obsessive love and devotion that I have for my own personal Dylan tee-shirt. I'm thrilled to see my shirt is not available on the website in this groovy vivid lavender color. I think I love it more for knowing that, if possible.

Even the sack we got to hold the shirts is completely kewl. Here is the Dylan logo on the sack:

Yep. Keeping the sack, too.

Also, I'm encouraging the S-Man to get that tattooed on himself. Because everybody needs to make SOME kind of statement with body art, don't you think? And how cool an image is that? The fact that the process would involve the S-Man getting repeatedly stabbed with a needle enters not at all in my enthusiasm for the idea.

Okay, ALMOST not at all.

Otherwise, my cooking phase continues. I'm challenging myself to cook with ingredients we have on hand ONLY. Much cheaper. Since we had a fresh pineapple at the peak of ripeness on the counter this morning, I made a pineapple upside down cake, my first:

PWETTY! Even if I do say so myself (Arty).

I made the usual dietary substitutions: Splenda for sugar, Splenda brown sugar, whole wheat flour for white. The topping, a mixture of fresh pineapple, butter, coconut milk, and butter is crazy delicious. While beautiful, the cake itself isn't nearly sweet enough, and I'll probably double the Splenda the next go around. Also, the S-Man had the idea that I should layer the brown sugar mixture that is on top of the cake in between layers of the batter which should add to the sweetness and overall moistness considerably.

If that does work as anticipated, I'll post the recipe.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Bob Dylan Concert (And remember, I calls 'em likes I sees 'em.)

So, yesterday, the S-Man and I set off in the early afternoon for the big city of NashVegas.

We arrived later than we intended, at around 3:30, but still enjoyed a late lunch at our favorite eatery and then happy hour at our favorite bar where we enjoyed a few “hollers” and “swallers” putting us in the perfect frame of mind to experience the show we’d come to see: live and in person, the legendary Bob Dylan at the holy church of music, The Ryman Auditorium.

It was a terrible splurge to buy the tickets, but there’s only one Bob Dylan and he’s only going to be around for so long. Dylan is an artist that the S-Man, me and I suppose most of the rest of the world can agree on. Along with everybody else, we remain in awe of Bob’s almost superhuman period of creative productivity beginning in the early sixties and continuing into the early seventies. His music and lyrics are the very embodiment of the anti-war free love movement of the sixties. More than anyone else, I think, it’s almost impossible to imagine modern times without the incredible soundtrack of the music of Bob Dylan.

Honestly, I can’t say enough about Bob’s amazing talent and what high esteem I (we) hold him in as an artist.

So, it was with great anticipation that we waited in our seats at the Ryman as the lights lowered and the opening act, Amos Lee, took the stage. Along with his backup band, Lee deftly played a quick set of about five bluesy but uptempo and appealing songs. Listening to him live, I thought Amos’ voice had a Clapton-like quality, but listening to samples from his latest, “Supply and Demand”, at Amazon just now I’m no so sure. Still, he was a great opening act, not too long, and left us all set up for the headliner.

Again, the lights dimmed. And then came back up. And out onto the stage walked…

Elvis Costello.

Elvis Costello (noise)? Yes, no kidding, there he was. The crowd went wild. Elvis grabs a guitar and launches into some of his standards: Alison, Peace Love & Understanding, etc. Three songs turned into four.

I’ll just have to go ahead now and tell you that I’ve never been a huge Elvis Costello fan. I know, I know, he is someone with quite a reputation for all-around groove, but he just never got to me particularly.

Meanwhile, last night, Elvis keeps playing. He has a collection of guitars on the stage and he picks up a new one for every song. And he keeps playing. Just the man and his guitar. Eventually, he launches into a medley that includes Van Morrison’s “Jackie Wilson Sang” (?) which morphs into: “Suspicious Minds”, the Elvis Presley standard. Even the enthusiastic Ryman crowd was thrown for a loop at this choice of song. You have to picture: A dark stage, Elvis Costello, an acoustic guitar and the sudden, “We’re caught in a trap…” in Elvis’ light punky British voice.

It was weird. Really weird. Someone in the audience shouts, “ELVIS LIVES!”. Someone else shouts, “JAILHOUSE ROCK!”

Elvis, looking panicky, immediately transitions into one of his own songs. Finally, the Medley of the Bazaar ends. There is wild applause. Elvis bounces off the stage.

The S-Man and I give each other a look. We’re willing to forgive the Elvis Costello thing. Because. BECAUSE! We’re about to see The Bob Dylan. Wooo! Bob Dylan! And then…

Elvis Costello bounces beefily BACK onto the stage! He’s doing an encore, for God’s sake! He grabs yet another acoustic guitar and tells the story of P.T. Barnum. He wrote a song about P.T.! Would we like to hear it?!?!?!?

We hear it anyway.

Elvis’ “encore” lasts a good four more songs. The S-Man and I begin to exchange strategy suggestions on how to get Elvis off the stage. Drop the curtain? Bring out the hook? Yell “fire”? Kill the mike? Has no one perhaps told Elvis there is a time constraint?

Finally, Elvis exits the stage for the last time. The Roadies come out and begin to ready the stage for what, clearly, is the headliner. The lights go dark, but still, we can make out the forms of the five-piece band and Mr. Dylan himself taking the stage. The lights come back on. The crowd goes wild.

There he is. Bob Dylan.

Rail thin, and wearing a voluminous suit in the style of what I can only describe as the sort of thing an old timey riverboat gambler would wear: black pants with a cream pin strip running up the outside of the trousers, a long black (to the knee) suit coat, lavender ascot, panama hat and boots. A lavender guitar strap trimmed in sequins holds his electric guitar.

He is Bob Dylan. He pulls off the outfit.

Without preamble, Bob and the band launch into a bluesy song that was probably something from Dylan’s latest: Modern Times. Bob leans in to the mike and begins to speak the lyrics, unsmilingly, into the microphone (You’ll recall Dylan was never one to smile).

At first? I thought he was doing it on purpose or, heck, I don’t know what I thought. But his voice, never what one would consider overly melodic is just gone. The show we saw was not the first performance at the Ryman. Bob and the band had done a show the night before and I speculated that on top of having major vocal problems, I think, it was hard to tell, but I THINK Bob was hoarse. Whatever the underlying issue, what was coming out was somewhere between a goose honk and a growl. It was painful to listen to and I could only imagine almost certainly had to be painful for Bob to produce.

It was like Bob had gargled a bottle of extra strength Drano and was now stoically, manfully, growling into the microphone.

I started to feel guilty. Good lord, we shouldn’t be expecting this of Bob. He is a national treasure! An icon! A profit! A holy man! I wanted to jump up, halt the concert, and just give Bob a hug.

And then I remembered what the tickets cost.

I glanced over at the S-Man who was blinking rapidly and wincing his way though the song. I leaned over and said,

“Is there any way he’s doing that on purpose?”

“His voice is. Just gone,” came the reply.


The first song ended. The lights went dark. The lights came back up. The band launched into song two. The crowd went doubly wild. Bob growled into the microphone.

“What is it! What is it!” I asked the S-Man.

He responded after a few seconds of intense listening, his head cocked to one side, eyes closed, “Lay Lady Lay.”

“Oh….” I said, nodding slowly.

Wow. “Lay Lady Lay”. Bob honked into the microphone with slightly more, almost imperceptible, intensity.

By now, the S-Man and I both had a bad case of the winces. Which. You know us. Eventually gave way to the uncontrollable giggles.

Bob and the band played on, bluesy numbers, again, probably from Modern Times. Bob put down the guitar and got behind the keyboard, assuming a splay legged, slightly bent-knees position. Very occasionally, Bob would sort of bounce up and down. We knew none of the songs. Bob growled on.

Bob played one perfectly lovely harmonica solo.

After a bit Satan observed, incredulously, that Bob’s voice was improving. Well. Improving is a strong word. More like, now, very occasionally, you could sort of recognize a word or two.

So this was it then.

After each song, the stage would go dark for a second or two and then the lights would come back up for the next number. We knew, of course, that Dylan doesn’t like to do songs from the past much and knew better than to expect to hear “Blowin’ in the Wind” and all the standards, much as we would have liked to.

The show settled into a rhythm of songs we didn’t know.

The stage went dark. The lights came up. Another unknown song. More growling.

But then.

The lights came up and on the stage with Bob and the band was another performer. A very tall young man dressed all in black with a white guitar. The audience shot to its feet, screaming wildly. The band launched into a song I didn’t know and the unknown man strode to center stage, threw his head back and played some of the most awesome guitar licks I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing in person. Or heck, anywhere.

Instantly, the place began to pulse with enthusiasm. The unidentified man, now center stage, began to sing…ah…a wonderful, powerful, melodic voice. His charisma was palpable, his guitar playing incredible. His presence had an effect similar to that of John Travolta plunging a syringe of adrenaline into the chest of Uma Thurman.

Suddenly, it was like WOW! What the heck just happened!

Because this guy was. Uh. Maze. Zing. Electric. He played. He sang. Both effortlessly, but with incredible intensity. The number was supposed to be a duet with Bob and Bob did indeed croak along at times, but was nothing more than a footnote in this power laden performance of who I have only now learned was Jack White of the White Stripes. The song was "Outlaw Blues".

I’m sure the rest of the world is all about Jack White and the White Stripes, but I was caught completely unawares. I’ve scoured YouTube and come up with this little sample of their work.
Good God, ya’ll is this kid ever talented. And, Christ AllMighty, HOT.

Uh…yes. Where was I again? I was feeling a little faint there for a minute.

Right. Bob Dylan.

Jack White played only the one song and then, just as quickly as he appeared, was gone again. It was like Jesus left the stage, ya’ll, I’m not kidding.

Bob and the band continued apace. The S-Man identified “Tangled up in Blue” for me.

Ultimately, we left before it was over. That’s just how it was. I cannot tell a lie.

We spent the drive back recounting the wonderful Dylan songs we know and love and couldn’t possibly have grown up without. We sang and recited and marveled again over the amazing poetic lyrics that are burned in our memories.

We are honored to have been in the same room with Bob Dylan.

And we are buying some White Stripes. This. Minute. (Feel free to suggest which White Stripes I should buy in the comments, if you are familiar.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Gore in the White House: Still Possible

Al Gore's recent win at the Emmys for his role at Current TV sparked another conversation with a friend about how we think Gore is a shoe-in for president IF he'll finally decide to run.

I've blogged about this before and still hold out some hope, albeit faint, that Al will somehow, some way, announce. In checking the website over at Al Gore-dot-Org just now, I found this message:

The America for Gore Coalition (of which is a member) is dedicated to making Al Gore the Democratic candidate for President in 2008.

At present, we're working to get Gore’s name on as many state primary ballots as possible, and we continue to work to show support for his candidacy. Time is growing short, and we all need to act NOW to demonstrate our support so that Gore understands how much the country wants him as its next president.

To convince Gore to step into the race, we've launched the "My Two Cents" campaign.

We're asking all Gore supporters to mail him two pennies, together with a note indicating that real financial support will be provided if he accepts the challenge and runs for president. We believe that the mountain of pennies his office will receive will be a constant reminder to Mr. Gore that America needs and wants him to run.

Please send a letter telling the Vice President why you want him to be our next president, and enclose two pennies, explaining that you'll send more when he announces his candidacy. Mail letters to:

Office of the Honorable Al Gore
2100 West End Avenue,
Suite 620
Nashville, TN 37203.

Please distribute this announcement to your e-mail list and post it on all Gore-friendly blogs. You can refer people to the America for Gore website at

Thanks for doing your part!

Karen WundermanChief of Staff, Volunteer

(Pass it on.)

TV Love

Now that the rest of the world has dove into S-4 in real time, last night, the S-Man and I began watching season three of Grey’s Anatomy, hot off the Netflix presses. You’ll remember my joy at seasons one and two, not so very long ago.

I have to say, after taking in the first three episodes, I fear the show may have jumped the shark, as they say. (Warning: some S-3 spoilage ahead)

To sum it up: I’m finding the competition between McDreamy and Bat-Boy just a tad unrealistic and not particularly amusing, the tension between Christina and Preston’s ivy league mother, Dianne Carroll, predictable, and the romance between George and Hot Hispanic Doctor just plain boring. I prefer the angst-ridden Meredith Grey, the harried desperate George, and the aloof but longing McDreamy.

I’m all about the drama of the unrequited, I suppose. Much more interesting. I used to tell the S-Man, back in the 1800’s when we were dating, that we should break up at the height of our romance and never see each other again.

This would at least partially ensure our feelings for one another would never change and we could go to our respective graves quietly and tragically rhapsodizing about What Might Have Been rather than haggling about paint colors, disagreeing about the Indigo Girls, and driving each other slap ass insane with sail fish (him to me), perfume (me to him), bazaar notions about furniture placement (him to me), and the proper way to dress a hamburger (both ways).

Obviously I’m not alone in thinking this way this since “Moonlighting” ended shortly after Mattie and David got together, and Cheers prolonged its life by keeping Sam and Diane in a constant state of upheaval and Mare and Mr. Grant’s attraction, though barely ever even hinted at, bubbled comfortingly beneath the surface of MTM, helping to keep that show afloat as well. Rhoda and Joe’s marriage didn’t even last a whole season.

In TV-land, married couples are Archie and Edith. Lucy and Ricky. Al and Peggy. Mike and Carol. They may be funny, but hot and romantic they are not.

And so it is with Grey’s Anatomy. Even the hint that the way might be clear for Meredith and Derrick is giving me a bad case of the yawns. I can’t help it. And this whole wacky competition for Meredith’s affections seems to be a little beneath the show’s dignity. Granted, there is a fine line between edgy (which I love) and corny (which makes me want to spit up). So far, Season Three is trending toward the corn, I’m afraid.

On the other hand, it’s just been 3 episodes and I’m not giving up yet. I’ve managed to stay largely in the dark about the events of S-3 by studiously ignoring any press on the show either online or in real time. I’m sticking with it a while longer. If for no other reason in the hope that we get to see more of McSteamy. Alot more (if you know what I mean).

In other news, the minute I rip down all my William Sledd links, the Rachael Ray show extends the voting. Get all the details here. And be sure and support the home town gay man.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Joy of Apple Pie and Design Star: The Vote is In

Fall always makes me want to eat apples and bake apple pie (also, cook chili). And so, I set about cooking a lightly modified (for calories) version of a yummy and delicious apple pie. I took this recipe largely from the pages of the cooking Bible, The Joy of Cooking, substituting some lower calorie ingredients, but absolutely none of the taste. I also only used one crust to save those calories, substituting instead a Streusel topping with pecans. It looked like this:

There is a pecan or two that might look scorched, but trust me, this pie was perfectly baked. I served it straight from the oven with diet vanilla ice-cream-like product on top and it was. To. Die. For.

Suzanne’s Diet Apple Streusel Pie

1 Ready made roll-out pie crust (I use Pillsbury, but any kind will do)
2 Tablespoons I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
4-5 of your favorite apples, I used Granny Smith, peeled, cored and sliced thinly.
¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 to 1 ½ Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
2/3 Cup Splenda Brown Sugar

1 Handful to handful and a half chopped pecans
2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
5 Tablespoons Splenda

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray pie pan/dish with non-stick spray, unroll crust and press and arrange it in the pan. Gently mix sliced apples with the Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cornstarch, Salt, and Splenda Brown Sugar. Only very tart apples require a full 2/3 cup of sugar (or a bit more). Only very juicy apples require the larger amount of cornstarch. The Granny Smiths require extra sugar and not so much cornstarch since they are quite dry and tart. If the apples are very dry, add 2 tablespoons of water.

Turn the seasoned apples into the crust and dot with the 2 tablespoons of butter.

For the Streusel, squish the butter, flour, and sugar together until the ingredients crumble. Sprinkle Streusel on top of the apples, then top that with the pecans.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 35-45 minutes. The Streusel actually cooks more quickly than the rest of the pie, so you’ll want to cover the top with tin foil when the edges of the crust start looking sufficiently golden brown and the crumbles look done anywhere from 10-15 minutes before the end.

This whole process is much better than burning an apple pie scented candle since you get all the scent PLUS a pie at the end.


I was treated to a long conversation with my friend, Kim, tonight. I’m posting this picture of her that I took about a year ago during a visit we enjoyed in Louisville. I really like this photo, it was taken at the Galt House Hotel. You’ll notice that the bar is actually a fish tank and that there is a fish, in fact, swimming around very near Kim’s left elbow. Because I am a dork, I spent an inordinate amount of the time we hung out there (sipping 2% milk) going, “Look! Fish!” Because Kim is a jet setting world traveler, she was not so much distracted by the fish. She nevertheless put up with my incessant aquatic rubbernecking with good humor.

Once Kim and I got passed the how-are-you’s tonight, our conversation turned to important matters such as Design Star, Vern Yipp’s wedding ring, Miss David Bromstad (how I WISH I could take the credit for that nickname; it is, alas, Kim’s), Candace Olson (best designer ever), Deserving Design (we are not impressed), Karen McAloon (aka Karen is a loon), and perhaps our favorite HGTV discussion ever: that time Hildi glued one zillion silk flowers to the walls of some sot’s bathroom. Check it out, I found a link to the before and after. Go here, hit “skip” on the add, then the bathroom will come up. Hit the “switch” arrow beneath the photo to see the nightmare that is Hildi’s ill-conceived hideous design transformation. I tell you, if that were my bathroom? We’d all be lawyering up.

In any case, congratulations to another Kim, Kim Myles, HGTV’s official next Design Star. She really did pull it out at the end and, if it couldn’t be Sparkle Josh, I’m glad to see a woman win it all. (But I'm still pissed about the trailer trash wedding reception and HGTV had better not pull some ridiculous unwinnable challenge like that next season. Or else.)

Otherwise, William Sledd has posted a video (FINALLY) encouraging his fans to vote for him as a guest commentator on the Rachael Ray show and showcasing some of his most recent media coups. Right now, though, you need to vote for William on the Rachael Ray show. Go on! The deadline is tomorrow.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hiking and a Movie

Yesterday the S-Man and I got up early and realized the weather was too perfectly fabulous to ignore. We decided to head to Land Between the Lakes to hike a trail.

No such trip would be complete without our FurGirl. Unfortunately, because I haven't had her sheared since I've been off work, she is a big, furry smelly mess. The S-Man proclaimed her too stinky to ride in his vehicle (which is kind of a laugh since his vehicle smells like cigars that he claims his recalcitrant "friends" are smoking in there) and so before we could load up, Mr. Particular took the hose and flea and tick shampoo to the dog.

I never have understood FurGirl's reaction to getting bathed. She is, after all, a Retriever, and loves the water any other time. She can't get enough of jumping in the river or the fountain or the lake or any body of water. Douse her in shampoo and soak her with the hose? And you'd think her heart was breaking.

She doesn't try to run away or anything, she's too well trained for that, but she has a look the whole time of tragic, grim-faced resignation. The fact that she looks half her normal size with her fur thoroughly soaked just adds to the overall effect. While the S-Man vigorously and efficiently soaps, lathers and rinses her, FurGirl radiates misery. If I'm anywhere in the vicinity, she fixes me with her most pathetic, "Help me, Mommy!" expression which is, under normal circumstances, sufficient to elicit my immediate aid. Not so, however, during bath time.

The good news is that, when the bathing is over, (maybe because it IS over) FurGirl is even happier than normal. And so she was yesterday, galloping around the yard, tongue lolling out the side of her mouth, a big goofy smile on her face. Her joy was complete when she realized she was going for a ride in the car!! Wee!

We hiked my favorite trail at Lake Hematite and were dismayed to find the water level lower than I'd ever seen it. And I've hiked the trail for twenty-five years. If you click the link, the miniature dam you see was completely dry. I had my camera with me, but didn't feel like taking too many shots of the scene. There's a lake there, but just barely. I hope it has just been an unusually dry season and the lake will rebound in the spring.

There were a bunch of butterflies on this blooming bush, but I didn't manage to capture it very well. In the background, you can sort of see the vegetation that has begun to grow up in the too shallow water nearest the shore. At no point on the hike did the water ever look any more than 2 feet deep at the very outside.

Still, it was a glorious, invigorating walk, the place was practically deserted. FurGirl was able to lead the way out front the whole 2.2 mile hike. We kid ourselves that FurGirl would alert us to any snakes on the trail when, in reality, she would likely bolt at the sight of any strange reptile.

Otherwise, I am completely engrossed in the PBS documentary series, "The Staircase". I rented what I thought was the entirety of the show on DVD from the library and then found out after four completely gripping episodes the DVD is only the first in in a two DVD series. ARGH! There are few things in life as frustrating as "To be continued..." flashing unexpectedly on my TV screen.

Despite all that, if you're a fan of true crime drama, this is your movie. The documentary follows the 2003 story of Durham North Carolina writer, Michael Petersen, who is accused of murdering his wife. Peterson claims she died as the result of a fall down the stairs she took while he was at the swimming pool. The filmmaker had incredible access, joining the action just after the tragedy and filming virtually every facet of this twisting, turning true life nightmare.

I'm only halfway through it, and I can already unreservedly recommend it. Just don't rent disk two before I get to it. Otherwise, I'm coming over.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Pangea Day Needs Your Videos!

Another concept from the great folks at TED. If you are a filmmaker, please consider contributing.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Being Good

I’m taking another run at incorporating exercise into my daily routine. I’ve also resolved to spare myself the negative self talk that usually accompanies such resolutions during which I chastise myself for not starting sooner, remind myself how far I have to go, and completely give up the first time I miss a scheduled work-out opting instead to treat myself to a Yesterday’s turtle sundae in a grand what-the-hell-you-only-go-around-once self destructive gesture.

I have to admit, not having a job makes this whole working out thing waaaay easier. I’m back to it on the BowFlex. Surprisingly, I haven’t lost any lower body strength during these last two months of naughtiness. My upper body, on the other hand. Oy. I think it’s the Achilles heel for many women. You have to hand it to us girls south of the border where we have the wherewithal to deliver a whole ‘nother person into the world, but we seem have sacrificed something upstairs for the privilege. Or at least I have. As Scarlett O’Hara would say it’s a wonder I can even “drag a cat”.

I’m taking a three-pronged approach to fitness this time working on strength, flexibility, and cardio. So, weight training, walking, and yoga are in order. Long walks this time of year are a treat in and of themselves. I was never one to miss the sweltering days of summer and much prefer the snap of autumn. The S-Man and I took the first cool stroll of the season last night and I couldn’t have been happier to be wrapped in a Pashmina.

I’m shopping around for a good yoga workout on DVD (please recommend any you think are good), but am tonight working out with my favorite yogi at a local church. We have resolved to arrive early so as not to get stuck on the front row.

The front row at yoga class. Just thinking about it sends a little involuntary shiver up my spine.

Otherwise, I remain concerned about William Sledd's standing over at the Rachael Ray polling place. He's fallen to third. THIRD, ya'll! This despite the major push by all the local blogger girls. Not to be outdone, I understand William is planning a push of his own. I'm thinking that'll do it. I will, of course, stay tuned since I seem, for reasons unknown even to myself, congenitally unable not to.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Design Star Season Two: The Final Challenge

Okay, so most of you will recall when I broke up with Design Star Season Two over the (me thinks) totally irresponsible elimination of my favored contestant, Sparkle Josh, during the Trailer Trash Wedding Challenge.

Naturally, I have surreptitiously watched every episode that has aired since, albeit quietly, and without giving the show top blog billing like before. Design Star continues to reel from this vicious blow.

I can’t let the finale go by, though, without weighing in. I have long proclaimed Todd Davis the obvious winner from the beginning. And with the competition coming down to a final bout between Davis and Kim Myles, you’d think I’d be sticking to my guns.

Thing is, not so much.

I have to say after watching the final contest, I’m not so sure. The challenge was to redecorate two outdated luxury hotel suites in Hawaii. With a budget of $10,000 each and the help of formerly eliminated contestants Will Smith and RobB Mariani, and also the added benefit of mid-challenge critiques from the judges, both Myles and Davis seemingly gave it their best shot.
I was surprised and disappointed that Todd Davis’ suite seemed to be an obvious rehashing of his earlier brainstorm in Challenge #2. You’ll recall Davis’ winning design of sea surf overtaking the room. It is brilliant, it was unique, and it was a winner.

In this final challenge, however, Davis’ suite looks to be an attempt at an upscale version of the very same concept. With similar underwater blues on the walls and, ultimately, I thought, pretty amateurish sea themed art of his own creation, I have to say, I was distinctly under whelmed by Davis’ final product.

Color me conservative, but I’m just not sure a line drawing of a Hammerhead shark on the wall next to my bed in my high dollar hotel suite really says “luxury” to me. On the other hand, if you’re a frat party on spring break, this is your room. Davis’ space plan left much to be desired as well, placing the bed essentially in the same space as the kitchen. Again, if rolling out of the sack and grabbing a beer from the fridge is your idea of luxury, you are in for a treat.

Myles, in sharp contrast, showed a much better understanding of the challenge. Choosing a sophisticated color palate she called, “Tropical Punch” Myles suite was, I thought, much more in keeping with the spirit of the challenge. Combining chocolate, burnt orange, and an exotic turquoise with bold Hawaiian graphics, Kim’s suite was inviting, and luxurious while still maintaining that Hawaii vibe with a much more appropriate and most importantly upscale twist.

Especially noteworthy, I thought, was Myles’ space plan. Each element of the suite: kitchen, living room, bedroom, was sharply delineated while still blending together for an overall cohesiveness. Kim’s simple solution for separating the living space from the kitchen space was to hang wooden strips on chains suspended from the ceiling making the kitchen separate but still not isolated. Genius.

Davis, on the other hand, embellished his dining space with a jelly fish. It's enough to steal away the appetite of even a hard core sushi fan like myself:

Kim Myles is the obvious winner of this challenge, no doubt about it. While Todd Davis might have shown in challenges past, the Hawaiian hotel suite is, in my opinion, his Waterloo. One thing that has always come naturally to Myles are her on-camera performance skills. She has a relaxed but perky delivery style which should serve her well when hosting her own show.

The winner will officially be decided by the viewers, so we’ll have to wait until Sunday to see what happens. You can cast your vote here.

But I do think the smart money is now on Myles. Who knew?


And now for something completely different, this post (NOT SFW) at Heckler Spray left me in hysterics. Britney Spears, it seems, didn’t embarrass herself quite enough at the VMA’s, oh no. After the ill-advised "Gimme More" performance, she again felt the need to flash her lady parts at the paparazzi. Can somebody please call this girl’s mama? It is time for the proper meds.


Also, be sure and check out the iDate of the week, uber volunteer Brad Simmons (SFW). Girls take note: along with cute, smart, and a heck of a nice guy, Brad is "conversational" in French. Oo la la!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Vote for William Sledd (on Rachael Ray)!

[I'm updating this post to add that William is falling behind the Threadbangers in the online voting competition....make sure and VOTE. Often.]
Thanks to a tip from Stephanie's mom, La Donna, I am tuned in (yes, as I type!) to the Rachael Ray Show bright and early (read: 9:00 a.m.) to catch a guest appearance by our own William Sledd.

Turns out, RR is profiling four YouTube advice stars in competition with the winner becoming a regular advice contributor to the RR Show.

Since the winner is decided by an online poll, I had to log on quick to point you all in the right direction. Vote here for William Sledd! At this writing he is ahead with 48% of the vote, but I know you guys would want to add your vote to the talley! I have to say, with each YouTube star getting a few second sound byte on air conversation w/Rachael, William was by far the cutest and most entertaining. I would imagine this is the reason he has already pulled ahead with the early lead. The video selected by the producers to air excerpts from on the show was, of course, "Ask a Gay Man about Denim" which co-stars Stephanie. Again, no surprise there.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Marley and Me

As you may have noticed, I recently added to the sidebar that I'm listening to the John Grogan memoir, "Marley & Me" on CD in my car.

This book entered my consciousness a while ago when a friend loaned it to me insisting I read it, and I took it with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, the book then became lost in the chaotic rolling trash can that is my Subaru. By the time this patient friend asked for the book back, three months had elapsed, and I hadn't read a single sentence.

I returned it guiltily.

So, when I saw the story on CD, available at my local library for free, and read by the author to boot, I knew I had to snap it up.

The book, as they say, had me "at hello".

"Marley and Me" is a joyous but unflinching account of Grogan's, experiences with his dog, Marley, a goofy, neurotic, over sized, happy-go-lucky yellow Labrador Retriever. John Grogan and his wife, Jenny, lulled into a false sense of security by the steady, even tempered dogs of their respective childhoods, adopt the rambunctious wilding that is puppy Marley on a whim while still newlyweds.

To say that Marley turned out to be a handful would be an understatement.

But I think most if not all dog owners will identify with the compromise often necessary when adding a member to the family that is of the four-legged variety. Ultimately, like children and spouses, dogs must be loved, to a certain extent, just the way they are. And this can sometimes be a big compromise. Thing is, though, the rewards are big too: unconditional love, devotion, and loyalty right back at you.

I recognized so much of my relationship with my own FurGirl in the pages of "Marley and Me". Especially the over the top exuberance and enthusiasm that a dog brings to day to day existence. You really can learn alot from a dog. And "Marley and Me" is just the book to bring that notion sharply into focus.

I spent the better part of the afternoon taking in the last half of the book, unable to leave my car. Ultimately, I was so enthralled that I brought the CD's inside and listened to the last two (in a row) on my computer. I was delighted to learn at the end that the author has a blog and that the book will be made into a movie starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson (get well soon, Owen!) that is scheduled to go into production next year. David Frankel of "The Devil Wears Prada" fame will direct.

In the mean time, read this gem for yourself. Or, better yet, pick up a hard copy or book on CD at the library.
[Edited to add: I've checked with a Medical Professional about that foot that I accidentally impaled on the jagged fish nose. Turns out, the options are three-fold. I can 1) Develop gangrene and lose the whole leg in which case I can marry Paul McCartney, have his baby, and then go on "Dancin' w/the Stars" after making off with a sizeable chunk of his fortune; 2) Develop tetanus and become completely unhinged as a result of the neurological side effects in which case I can stop wearing panties, have my lady parts repeatedly photographed by the paparazzi, shave my head, and then give a really embarassing musical performance {noise}at the VMA's that showcases my flabby belly; or 3) Be just fine. My Medical Professional and I are betting on #3. Will keep you posted.]

Saturday, September 08, 2007


I'm finding it hard to write these days.

This is most likely because the need to find gainful employment has begun to press down on me. Evidently, just the thought of returning to work is enough to traumatize me into almost complete blogging silence.

Don't get me wrong, I do like to work, despite my obvious utter joy at having this summer all to myself. I want and need to make my own money, and am becoming somewhat restless over the whole issue by now. I remain hopeful that whatever I find to do, it will be something I enjoy doing (fingers crossed!) . Whatever I do, I'm not sure it will be full time. In fact, it almost certainly won't be. Of course, I will not write about my job in this forum (never a smart move). I will, however, keep you posted if I find something.

Sadly, the Fish Escapade (or the "Fish-capade" as I've come to think of it), did not turn out well. In fact, I'd go so far as to say the joke's on me.

After I dragged the thing on the wheeled plant stand and managed to wedge it in the bedroom doorway (brilliant!), I was sort of stuck. Satan was out of town, and the thought of calling someone to say, "Um, yah, by the way? Can you come over and help me move a large petrified Sail Fish out of my hallway?", just didn't appeal.

This meant that for two days, FurGirl and I were either leaping over it (me), walking around it (me), or standing in hallway looking perplexed and clearly wondering why the crap there is a big, nasty dead fish blocking the normal path to the kibble (FurGirl).

So, yah. There we were.

I had gotten fairly good at leaping over the thing, or so I thought, when a poorly executed leap caused me to land square on the darn thing's bayonet nose. There was a big, scary cracking sound, almost like a gun shot, and beneath my shoe, I found the first three inches or so of the fish's pointy nose. Not good. I tossed it in a drawer thinking the S-Man could glue it back on with some Liquid Nails (Satan does love his Liquid Nails. He has spent many happy hours gluing things that have no need to be glued with the stuff) if need be. Or maybe I'd get lucky and he wouldn't notice.

But, oh no, the Fish-capade still was wasn't over. That would have been way too easy.

Yesterday afternoon, AGAIN, I walked into the fish. This time I was shoeless, and I somehow managed to jam the inside heal of my foot onto the broken nose part. Which was, unbeknownst to me, quite jagged, and as it turned out, REALLY sharp.

My foot was darn near impaled. I came away missing a chunk of flesh and bleeding twice as profusely as the last time I nicked myself (on the now missing tail fin). Oh, and did I mention? I was howling in pain. And people. I am not a howler by nature. It HURT.

I spent a brief amount of time wondering if I needed a tetanus shot. And then I imagined the conversation:

Yes, doctor, I accidentally stabbed myself with a sail fish...

I'm risking the tetanus.

When the S-Man came home last night, he was annoyed to find the fish jammed in the hallway, but quite satisfied to hear the thing had stabbed me in the foot. No word yet on whether he noticed the impromptu nose job.

God knows, I'm not going to mention it.

The good news is that the fish has now been moved back to its original spot in the living room floor.

I am pathetically grateful.

Friday, September 07, 2007


It's already been a busy morning today at Bizzyville HQ.

With the S-Man again out of town [insert snoopy dance] I'm finally getting around to dealing with a very large formerly sea-going problem that has been plaguing me for some time now. You may recall that there has been a pointy-nosed sail fish in my living room for darn near two months. With the yard sale over, Satan evidently couldn't bear the thought of being without a bunch of ridiculous crap we don't need and immediately began replenishing the supply by purchasing an ancient stuffed and mounted fish. The thing is about five feet long and, coincidentally, the most hideous thing you've ever seen.

But I've blogged all that before.

And so it was that today, while talking with a prospective employer I ended the conversation by saying,

"It's not like I don't have anything to do today. I've got to get that damn sail fish tucked into Satan's side of the bed before he gets home."

To which the prospective employer replied,

"You ARE going to post a picture, right?"

Which of course is a big hell yes.

It all sounds like a simple proposition, but turns out not so much. The thing is so heavy, not to mention oddly shaped, that I couldn't even begin to lift it straight-on.

The dolly didn't work either.

Not to be outdone, I finally wedged a rolling plant stand under the plaque the thing is mounted on and got it rolled to the bedroom door, my trusty assistant, FurGirl, panting gleefully at my side. Tragically, we lost that loose back tail fin in the process. (It was practically off anyway. Pinky swear.)

Unfortunately, that's about as far as we got because I couldn't manage to wedge the thing into the bedroom door what with that annoyingly large fully inflated dorsal fin thingy on it's ugly-assed back in the way, not to mention its big, pointy nose.

And now I have a lunch meeting (don't laugh, I still do have meetings now and then). And the fish is still wedged in the hallway.

Basically, here's where we are:

As you can see, HamBone there is still determined to include herself in every picture. The fish is actually considerably bigger than it looks in that picture and, trust me, is a real bitch to maneuver. I haven't given up yet, though.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Still Here

Oh my gosh, I can hardly believe I missed a day posting and THEN nearly missed another day. I don't even know what to say for myself.

In the interim I've...let's see...made progress on my framing project (pictured above). You see who insisted on being in on the picture. I think FurGirl has figured out the camera. The minute I stuck the photo-stick in and started focusing on the window, she positions her furry self in front of it and starts posing. This is her am-I-in-the-frame-just-tell-me-if-I-need-to-scoot-over-or-anything look. What a ham bone.

Of course the whole project was deceptively difficult. You'd think you just sling pictures in there, but no. Special tape. Uneven prints. Trimming. Blah, blah...ARGH! And still, there are issues, but I'm trying to get over it. I went out tonight and purchased a light to mount on the window which I barely managed to procure for half price. They were having a sale and I had to argue that the picture light was a "decorative lamp". I managed to win that round which is a darn good thing considering my budget is zippety-do-dah these days. Anyway, the "decorative lamp" mounting will require power drilling. It remains to be seen if I will manage on my own or will have to call in the S-Man for a consult. Will post the final product.

Let's see...otherwise, I got my hair done and...oh! May or may not have visited Bath and Body Works and sampled their newest "Irresistible Apple" fragrance. Yummy! I'm normally not big on the whole apple smell, but they've managed to blend it with something else and take the edge off and it doesn't smell apple pie-ish. They are advertising their newest fragrance (out in late September), "Blackberry Amber" which just sounds god-awful to me but we shall see. I was certainly wrong about the Irresistible Apple.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Aaron Russo: February 14, 1943 - August 24, 2007

During a Labor Day visit with my friend, Cindy, the subject of Aaron Russo’s film, “America: Freedom to Fascism” came up. I told Cindy I would e-mail her information about the movie (at the time the name of the film escaped me).

So it was while I was unsuspectingly searching for information to forward that I learned of the death of filmmaker Aaron Russo from cancer at the age of sixty-four.

I felt like I’d been sucker punched.

The S-Man and I watched this movie in amazement this past January. The film is an expose of the Internal Revenue Service, and presents a darn convincing amount of evidence that there is no law requiring an American citizen to pay a direct tax on their labor. The film also calls into question the basis for the Federal Reserve.

There is a great deal more information presented and I encourage you to see it for yourself. My love for documentary film is (wait for it) well documented here in my blog. And this film is one of those works that goes way beyond entertainment.

If information is power, then “America: Freedom to Fascism” is positively nuclear. It’s a movie AND a movement.

Visit the website here:

A final Bizzyville Super Snap to a great filmmaker and crusader for truth, Aaron Russo, who said

“There are no boundaries one must adhere to when preserving one’s liberty.”

Ain’t it the truth?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Artists in Lowertown and Labor Day Movies

I was fascinated to watch Aynex Mercado's latest video that profiles Lowertown artists Charlotte Erwin, Freda Fairchild, Nancy Calcutt, Bill Renzuli, and Julie Shaw. The artsists discuss their history and demonstrate their process. I'm always interested to see the method by which an artist creates his or her work and learn the why behind the art. The video is ten minutes long, but, if you're like me, it's worth the jump. See the film here.

And if you're wondering what to do with youself this Labor Day, I recommend renting one of these great labor movies:

Harlan County USA

Norma Rae


North Country

The Pajama Game

Grapes of Wrath

The Devil Wears Prada

How Green Was My Valley

9 to 5

Office Space

On the Waterfront

Working Girl

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Clean Balcony

I took a few shots of the finished balcony just now. It's really hard for me to get a good angle on the whole thing without actually dangling myself from the roof. You would have appreciated these after shots a whole lot more if I'd been brave enough to take photos of the before. Which I wasn't because, like I said, it was a Hot Mess.

The semi trailer you see in the background of the second shot is there only temporarily. And, anyway, we don't have a whole lot of room to complain about semi trailers, do we?

The S-Man and I took in "Curse of the Golden Flower" last night. This is perhaps the most visually stunning movie I have ever seen. Set in the Tang Dynasty (900 years A.D.)in the forbidden city, this film is one jaw dropping scene after another with a totally absorbing plot. View the trailer here. Don't miss this one.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Mayhem and Foolishness

I’ll just confess right off.

I’ve been on a murderous rampage. Against my plants.

Everybody knows about mine and the S-Man’s balcony rivalry. This year, he pulled ahead early with two kinds of roses, velvety purple petunias (normally my trademark plant) and a philodendron that I think he’s secretly been fertilizing with plump ripe baby butts when I’m not around. Because it’s just that crazy big. Look:

And then. Then. He plants a rose garden.

So, I got fairly despondent early on. And completely lost interest shortly thereafter.

Meanwhile my plants have been moldering away alternately starving for water or suffering through the occasional total water logging.

The other day, my Lantana managed to rip itself from its hanging pot and fling itself to certain death on the ground below. I noticed this while walking to my car on the way to the post office. And was pretty much, “Eh,” about it.

Anyone visiting this summer and having the bad misfortune of ending up on my balcony (which, for the record, is quite a few people) has been greeted by a complete total overgrown mess. Dirt everywhere. Weeds. Complete “mayhem and foolishness” as my friend, Niecy Nash, would say.

So, yah, while I’ve been diligently scraping off my window, and crafting and re-crafting pin boards for my jewelry, and, oh by the way, look at my pegboard:

I rescued the it from the yard sale, hung it my OWN SELF, and then had the best time ever visiting the hardware store and buying various hanging devices (most for less than 50 cents) to attach to it. Seriously fun stuff.

Anyway, what were we talking about?

Right, my plants. At some point this summer my plants went from “Mommy’s babies” to “needy bastards”. I don’t know when it happened.

This week the whole situation came to a head when I ventured out there to try and enjoy one of the first cool evenings we’ve had in a while and was attacked by a swarm of vicious mosquitos that had evidently spawned in a forgotten watering can under a chair.

Something Had to be Done.

I called son Chase and gifted him my succulent collection that he and, GF, Tasha, have long admired.

And then? Well, then there was a lot of tossing away up to and including yanking up some plants by the roots.

I know. I can be brutal. But I am just over it.

It’s not all going. There are some sentimental favorites like a Sunrise Cactus that was a gift from son Matthew on a mother’s day five years ago, an Asparagus Fern from the S-Man, and some unique plants that I find exceptionally beautiful as well as high performing.

Otherwise? They’re outta here. Finicky? Buh-bye. Wouldn’t bloom? Flung to the ground below. Leggy? See ya. Limp? Meet Mr. Trash Bag.

I’d post a picture of the newly cleaned balcony, but after three days of on-and-off work, it still isn’t finished.

Maybe tomorrow.

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!