Sunday, December 4, 2011

The True Story of the Nativity

December  is just a crazy busy month for me, so this is the last blog of 2011. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and Happy 2012.  I couldn't leave 2011, however, without ensuring that you know the TRUE story of the Nativity. 

Let's start with the Three Wise Men. No wise men visited the Holy Family at the was the three Weissman's, a family who used to live next door to Mary's mother before Morty Weissman opened a successful used camel dealership and subsequently moved his family uptown. 

Morty, who was also an amateur astronomer, spotted the most beautifully brilliant bright star on night while gazing at the universe. The star seemed to whisper to Morty, urging him to find the newborn king. 

As usual, however, Sylvia Weissman was screeching at Morty for some stupid little thing or other, causing Morty to misunderstand the message.
"Pack the camels, " Morty screamed back in response. "We're going to find the seaborn ring." 

Neither Morty nor Sylvia had a clue what a seaborn ring was, or where to find it,  but a trip out of the house was a trip out of the house.  So Morty and Sylvia and their adult son, Benjy, packed a few essentials, including Benjy;s drum set,  and headed in the direction of the star.  Morty was hoping the star would give directions, but if it did, Morty missed it due to the constant nudging from Sylvia. 

"Where are we going, Morty? And what are we looking for again? Great Herod, my back hurts. I think old Mrs. Baumgarten lied to you when she told you that she only used this camel for trips to the market. Have you checked its' humps? Marty, Marty, I'm talking to you! How much further? "
"Just follow the star, " Morty replied. It was times like this that Sylvia fantasized about killing Morty. But she knew if she were a widow, she'd have to marry Morty's brother, Irving. Now there was a putz! So she left well enough along and didn't even try, except once in a great while, to off Morty. 

After a couple of hours, the Weissman's passed The Inn, a real fu-fu hotel that happened to be totally booked due to the Handleman wedding. 

"Hey, Mom," said Benjy, "look at that little  manger, behind The Inn."
"Oh, I love valet parking," Sylvia said dreamily.

"No, Mom, look closer...isn't that  little Mary, our old neighbor, lying in the hay and screaming like a banshee?"

"Oh, my, it is Mary, " Sylvia realized. "Morty, pull over. "
The Weissman's parked their own camels just in time to help Mary give birth. As the baby Jesus was born, Sylvia wrapped Him in her finest scarf, a beautiful white silk which she had purchased wholesale from her cousin's scarf kiosk. 

"He's so beautiful, " she cried. Then she laid the baby with Mary, and turned and smacked Benjy upside the head. 

"That could have been my grandson," she cried. " But no, you have to spend all of your time with those lousy no-count musician friends of yours. When are you going to grow up and get a real job?" 

Benjy stared vacantly at his mother. Sometimes he fantasized about doing her in, but then he and father would have the room for his uncle Irving to move in with the. Now there was a putz! So he left well enough alone and didn't even try, except once in a great while, to off his mother. 

The Weissman's never travelled empty-handed, so they had a few gifts for the baby. No, not gold, frankincense and myrrh.  They had  golden franks and cur. 

Luckily, Joseph had some rolls and potato salad, so it turned into a real picnic.  Morty tried to buy some beer, but all he could find was some wine sold by Jeremiah, who always had some mighty fine wine. Benjy drank so much that night that he did a 40 minute riff of an early version of, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida."  Thus was born the Little Drummer Boy myth.

The next morning, the Weissman's left on their futile search  to find a seaborn ring.  The Holy Family also saddled up and went home. The families would never meet again, but Joseph and Morty did run into each other a few year later at the Summer Olympics.  Morty again found some mighty fine wine, and drank so much that he was two days late in returning home. Because of that, Morty was passed over for a his own business!!

But the story of Passover is for another day. 


Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Once upon a time, I wanted to change the world.

Now, I won't even get up and change the channel. A few  months ago I watched Sex and The City 2--a God-awful movie--because I couldn't find the remote. Talk about pathetic.

Recently, however, my dormant activism tendencies were pushed to the forefront again when I read that I had lost the right to the word "Hon." A certain restauranteur, who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, (and by that I mean me, from lawsuits) had gone out and copyrighted the word Hon. Any usage of the word, verbally or in writing, was now illegal unless cleared first through said restauranteur. There was also an expectancy of monetary exchange. 

How do you copyright a word that is as much a part of the Baltimore venacular as say, crab or Natty Boh? Look here, Hon, (damn it! How much is that going to cost me???) its like saying that there would now be a charge for looking at Cal Ripken, or for walking on the Boardwalk downey oshun. That just ain't right dere, Hon. (Jeez. Start a tab.) 

So I, along with many of my fellow Hon-sters (Ha! Can't charge me. Not a real word.) boycotted the restauranteur's place of business. Years to come, when historians review this little piece of civil uprising, my picture will be there. Yes, it may look as if I was just sitting around, perfecting the ass  groove in my sofa, but what I was really doing was boycotting that restaurant in protest. Most nights, I would go home from work and spend hours boycotting. All of that protesting was exhausting; there were nights I actually fell asleep on the couch.

But the hard months of sitting on my couch most evenings, not going to that restaurant, paid off. It was announced this week that restauranteur is going to relinquish her rights to Hon. (Too late! Can't charge me now. So suck it.) Finally, Hon is back where it belongs...on the lips of all of us born Bawlmorians. 

Welcome home, Hon. We missed you.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Perfect Life

I recently heard from an old college friend of mine, whom I'll call Pam Perfect. I used to be soooo jealous of Pam because, seriously, everything about her life was, well, perfect. Even her hair. Of all the girls on campus, she had the best Farrah hair.

Shortly after graduation, Pam married Paul Perfect, an attorney from a socially prominent family in Chicago. I was a bridesmaid in her lavish, but perfectly tasteful, wedding. My date opted to stay in the parking lot during the ceremony, where he amused himself by  occasionally revving the engine of his motorcyle and tattoing my misspelled name into his arm, using an old needle he had found in the alley.

Pam and Paul built a perfect life, with the perfect house and 2 perfect children. Everything was honky-dory until the day Paul came home and told Pam that he had fallen in love with someone else. Oh, and that, unless she could buy him out, he was putting the house up for sale. Then he packed his bags and went to shack up with his beloved, a certain Glenda Golddiggerskankho.

Well. Pam was truly devastated. She had  no career, no money, no relatives to help, and she had the overwhelming gut feeling that all of their sociiety-minded friends would choose sides. And not her's. 

After a few horrible, sleepless nights, Pam decided there was only one way out. The BIG out.  She figured she could slit her wrists in one of her perfect porceline bath tubs. With any luck, the bath would be so icky that it would render the house unsellable. Pam wasn't sure if her kitchen had a knife that could do the job, as she hadn't actually seen the kitchen in decades. She'd have to go shopping for the perfect end-it-all knife.

The next  morning, Pam drives her perfect BMW to Water Tower Place, an upscale mall on Michigan Avenue. With a determined stride, Pam made her way to the Macy's cutlery department. 

"I'd like to buy a knife," Pam said to the young lady behind the counter, "A really, really sharp one." 

"Of course," the salesgirl replied. "Is there a pattern?" 

Pam Perfect just stared at the young lady. In an unbelievable shocking moment  Pam saw, for perhaps the first time, her life with perfect clarity. 

"Yes," Pam blubbered. "It's been this way since the honeymoon. The late nights when I couldn't reach him, the weekend "work" seminars to the Carribbean, the hang-up calls.....he's been a louse since day one." Pam cried with no inhibition, for all of the  wasted hours and hours of boredom with her perfect friends, for all of the years lost to charade, for all of the love she hadn't received.

Then it hit her. The salesgirl was inquiring as to whether there was a particular silverware pattern that interested Pam. Pam wanted  nothing more than to run out of the mall, but her feet seemed glued to the floor. So she stood at the Macy's cutlery counter and sobbed uncontrollably while the sales girl offered tissues and petted Pam's arm. 

Long story short--Pam decided to let Paul go, let the house go, and take her money and create a new life. Pam moved to San Diego, bought a bungalow near the beach and now works as a yoga instructor. Her live-in love, Dimitri, is 25 years younger than her and more in love than any man I've ever met. 

Paul, meanwhile, married Glenda, who wiped him out financially before running off with the pool boy. She didn't leave Paul empty-handed, however.....Paul was given the gift that keeps on giving, even with the prescription medication. 

Don't you just love a perfect ending? 


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Let The Good TImes Roll

Last week, Dr. Lifesaver went to India. I didn't pester him with the usual "letmegoletmego" spiel, because last week, I went someplace cooler than India. I was in N'Awlins, cherie.

When I say that New Orleans is cooler than India, I am speaking figuratively. It is HOT in New Orleans, humid, steamy, sultry. But that's part of the distinct, New Orleans package.

In my travels, it seems that Boston could be Atlanta could be Cleveland could be Phoenix, with the same strip malls and McDonalds.

But New Orleans is  not like anyplace else. First,there is the sub-tropical weather  that is perfectly fine with the gecko's and feral cats  who pretty much have run of the city. The homes, all up on slabs, waiting for the next flood, are vibrant with painted colors of fuschia or purple or neon green. And the lawns? Honey, there are no manicured  lawns in New Orleans, just a patch of land with palms trees and elephant ears all running wild.  The natives are too busy worrying about serious stuff, like food, to let little things like lawn maintenance bother them.

Did I mention it was hot there?
The food....OMG....The best oysters I've ever had were found in a dive named Coop's, at the end of the French Quarters. Those oysters were soooooooo good that I dragged my friend Gwen back there several times for them. The last time we were there, I begged to speak to the cook to get the recipe. I tell you, that cook couldn't have been nicer. She came out the the dining area, gave me complete step by step directions in her thick, Creole accent. 

When she left, I turned to Gwen and asked, "What the hell did she say?"

Lucky for  me, Gwen's been in New Orleans long enough to have been able to decipher Creole. When I make these oysters, I will be glad to share the recipe if the oysters turn out to be disappointing. If they are as good as those from Coop's, I swear I will call the receipe a  family secret and take it to my grave.

Plus it was quite humid. Have I said this already? 

The best catfish ever came from this place: The sign reads, "Warm Beer, Lousy Food, Poor Service."Maybe they were just trying to scare away the tourists.

Nowhere else in the world can you find those incredible beignets, which are sort of like funnel cakes on crack. I am soooo glad that I had Chris and Gwen with me when we ordered. Chris knew exactly how to pronounce it, which rhymes with ben-gay. Left to my own devices, I would have ordered a bidet. 

'Course, it wasn't all about food. Gwen and I also spent time in the bayou, a most pristine piece of earth. I don't know how the mosquitos figured out that I was  coming...maybe some skeeter Tweeter.....but every mosquito in the bayou came to welcome me and get just a drop of my exotic Baltimore blood. Didn't see any 'gators, though. A native asked me if I had ever seen a gator, and I replied that I had, once, in Florida. 

"Hmph," he snorted, "Louisiana gators are better than any ol' Florida gator. " 

I don't know what he  meant by "better" but I do know that if I ever get real up close to a gator, I am  not asking for ID. I be too busy running.

It was a free steam bath every single day. Just to give you an idea of the weather, in case I haven't been clear.

Here are some pic's. Please, if you ever get a chance, go to New Orleans, the most original, unique, interesting place in America. Just stay hydrated and you'll be fine. 'Cos its hot there. Just so you know.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's Big and It's Easy

So I am off again, seeing the world. This time, the destination is the Big Easy, New Orleans. My friend Gwen lives there, and Monday is both her 40th birthday as well as the 40th anniversary of our meeting as freshmen in high school. That's right, we were fetuses during our freshmen year. 

I just know I am going to love me some New Orleans. Gwen and I get to indulge in two of our favorite things--shopping and eating, all of which is first class in NO.  The one thing I am not doing to be shopping for, however, is voodoo stuff. Voodoo scares the bejezus out of me. And, seriously, I wrestle daily with enough real-life demons which I can administrators, crazy drivers on I-83, Comcast Cable...I don't need to add an entire mafioso of invisible goofballs to add to the stress. 

My plans were almost  dashed on Tuesday when I awoke with the most horrific pain in my left ear.  Thinking I had an acute ear ache, I got to work at 6:30am and went to the Hopkins ER. After waiting about a zillion years, and  meeting the most interesting  people, I just left the ER,  came to my office, and asked Dr. Lifesaver to check it out. No ear infection, as it turns out, but an emergent visit to my dentist revealed some pressing jaw strain. Jaw strain. Who the hell gets jaw strain?

"I don't know what that is, or how I did it, but fix it," I screeched to the dentist. "I can  not, no, I WILL NOT, go to New Orleans and not be able to eat. Fix it, Fix it, FIX IT, FI..." Then he gave  me a muscle relaxer and, all of a sudden, I calmed down and felt much better. 

So me and my jaws are now feeling oh-tay, and ready for some shrimp jumbo and crawfish and yap, yap, yapping with Gwen. Those native New Orleaners thought Katrina was a force to be dealt with? They have no idea what is hitting town on Monday. 

'Course, I am taking my muscle relaxers. Just in case New Orleans hits back. 

Talk to you in a few weeks, ma cherie.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oh, That Man Of Mine

Every woman I know can tell you, in detail, the type of man who drives her insane: some prefer the tall, dark and handsome man, a few like the bad boys, or the blue-collar guy. One friend longs to meet a "guy just like that guy from The King of Queens," while another pines for "an old-fashioned, hard-working Amish man." 

My type? I like 'em big and crazy. 

I have been on many a date with good-looking, secure, ambitious men, mechanically saying all of the right things and smiling, all the while thinking that I could be home watching "Jeopardy." But put me together with an eccentric man who has a worm farm and believes that aliens invented Cheetos, and, girl, I am enthralled. Really, I don't understand where this comes from. My beloved Dad was Ozzie Nelson, for goodness sakes. Somehow, my wires crossed and I ended up with a thing for the Ozzy Osbourne types. 

The main problem with a relationship with an odd person (What's that, you say? There could actually be a drawback to having a relationship with a loon? Who'd a thought?) is that I am forced to play the sane one.  Let me assure you, any relationship in which I am the "sane" one is doomed from the start.  

Take, for example, the relationship with a man to whom I was once married. We'll call him Aquarius Moonbeam. Well, ol'  Moonbeam and I were quite a happy couple until the day I just happened to notice that he was certifiable nuts. I think it was the day I came home from work to find him creating adoption papers for the pot plants he grew in the spare bedroom. 

"If we adopt the plants," he explained to me, with the conviction of a true believer, " then no one can take them away from us." That moment crystallized something very important to me: Being with an eccentric is one thing, but I vowed never again to get mixed up with anyone who is on the Most Wanted List from either the  FBI or Sheppard Pratt Hospital. 

Still, my attraction to the eccentric lingers. So the next time you see a grown man roller skating down the busy intersection, wearing an old beanie cap with a propeller on the top, please do your best to avoid hitting him. He just might be my new beau. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Build Me Up, Team!

Recently I participated in an office "team-building" retreat. This is where you spend an entire day with co-workers and do all kinds of groovy activities--building models together, guessing fun facts about each other, playing  hot potato with Play-Doh.  Had we been allowed to nap, it would have been just like kindergarten.

We also took "personality" tests, which, thank goodness, I passed. I always suspected I had one, now I know for sure.  Each of us were also given I.Q. tests.  I won't reveal my score, but let's just say that I don't think MENSA is looking for me. On the other hand, I do have a few more brain cells than my cat. Just for the record, by the way, the cat disagrees.

So what did I learn during this team-building day? All kinds of useful things for the office, like:

1) Play-Doh is a timeless classic. Every day should have some built-in Play Doh time.

2) The co-worker who suggests we "share our most private secrets" is just as big a pain out of the office as s/he is in the office.

3) A good, free lunch goes a long way to making an all-day seminar a success. Don't skimp on the cookies.

4) Most people don't like being lectured on religion, politics, or sexual orientation. Believe me when I tell you that no one wants to hear opinions from you or your tee-shirt.

5) Doctors get real fidgety if you ask them about ghosts.

6) They also don't like to be poked. Trust me on this one.

7)  Nap time is woefully underestimated in the American workplace.

8) If you have to show your I.Q. test results to the cat to prove that you are the smarter one, then you, my friend, have already lost.

The whole team building day just totally exhausted me, so I am gone downy oshun next week. To relax. To recuperate. To walk along the water's edge, thinking about creative ways to get out of the next team-building day.

Unless, of course, the day will include a free lunch. With cookies. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The King is Dead and Buried in the Back Yard

All this month, the radio has been playing Elvis music, in recognition of the anniversary of his death. I don't know why Elvis's death anniversary doesn't stick in my head. I'm going to make a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich and ponder this.

The music does remind me of the three weeks I spent in Memphis. Let me tell you, there is more to Memphis than Elvis. There's Beale Street, with lots of blues clubs, including B.B. King's place. I spent many a night investigating everything that Beale Street had to offer,  carousing up and down more often than a whore's drawers.

But, really, Elvlis is the heart of Memphis. Even though I'm not a big Elvis fan, I had to see Graceland. Just had to. The first thing about Graceland is that its not set in some bucolic surroundings; it's right there, in the middle of sub shops, shoe stores and car dealerships. Seriously, imagine Graceland right smack in the middle of Pulaski Highway and you get an idea of what I mean. 

The other surprising thing about Graceland is the size. It's not some big ol' Tara type of  mansion, its just an average size house that would fit right in Middle River or Hamilton or Parkville. But nobody who loved Elvis really cares about that. To his faithful fans, Graceland is the Mecca in the Church of Elvis.  

The tours won't let visitors upstairs to Elvis's bedroom or bathroom, where he died, ingloriously, on the toilet. But I did see the infamous Jungle Room. 

Oh my. 

There was emerald green carpeting...on the floor and the ceiling...and lots of brown furniture and orange decoration against a wood-paneled wall. There were also lots of posted signs that said, "Please DO NOT Touch The Furniture." Which I, of course, interpreted as a dare. I did touch the furniture, and a lot of it, I'm sorry to say, was cheap plastic. Not even vinyl, but plastic. The tour guide said that Elvis himself had gone  into a local furniture store and selected every piece of furniture in only 30 minutes. I just stared at the room, thinking,"Yeah, 30 minutes. That would have been my guess, too."

Oh, and Elvis is buried right out back. [Uh-oh. Hey, guys, Elvis is dead. Real dead. Okay, Junior, Bubba, Vance, let's me and y'all get out the shovels and start digging. How about that real nice place behind the septic drain?} Actually, I think Elvis had a good idea about that. When I'm gone, just bury me in the back yard, near the four o'clocks. I'll go to my maker with flowers in my hair.

The one thing that really touched me at Graceland wasn't Elvis' decorative taste, or all of his gold records, which were on display, or even his burial place in the back yard of was the faces of the faithful.  For many of the other tourists, this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip to pay homage to a man who's music was as much a part of them as their blood or bones. Elvis is the ultimate American Icon...a man who started with nothing, worked his way up to something, and died from ingesting everything. The quiet reverence that his fans showed moved me to wonder if I had been missing something. I have to admit, I still don't quite get it, but there's no doubt that hordes of people still love him tender. 

All I know is, if I ever get to Memphis again, I'm going back to visit Graceland. Maybe I'll see you there. Let's make a pact to meet at the Heartbreak Hotel with the rest of the hound dogs.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Divided Loyalties

I've traveled up and down the East Coast quite a bit, and there is always one consistency: people above the Mason-Dixon line comment on my "southern" accent, and folks below it call me "Yankee."

I admit it, I like southern culture for the most part. I love southern food, the slower pace of life, and the friendliness of southerners. On the other hand, I don't like NASCAR, only use white sheets for bed linen, and have never slept with my brother.

I lived.....very, very the south a couple of years ago. The very day I had moved into my new home, two elderly sisters just waltzed through my front door to welcome me to the neighborhood. After introductions, Miss Erlene, I believe it was, asked me "Honey, have you found a church yet?" Honestly, I haven't had time to find the bathroom yet. Then she and Miss Eulala sat on my sofa for two hours while Miss Erlene related her whole life story, including her childhood crush on Huey Long.

Southerners might be a  bit chatty, but Northerners are absolute masters of articulate brevity. True  exchange between  me and a store merchant in Stowe,  Vermont:

Me: "This label says that the blueberry jam is home-made. Is that true?"

Merchant: "A-yep."

Me: "Like, made by  your family?"

Merchant: "A-yep."

Me: " So you have a farm, or something?"

Merchant: "A-yep."

A looooong silence followed.

Me: "Can you change a 20?"

Merchant: "A-yep."

Honestly, if I wanted to talk with someone who only answered in monosyllabic grunts, I'd get married again.

So am I a Yankee or a Reb? 

Probably a little of both and a whole lot of neither. Call me what you want, just don't call me late for the corn bread. 


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah

, February, 1964

I'm sprawled on the living room floor, playing a cut- throat game of Candy Land with cousin Patty. Patty's sister, 14-year old Vicky,  was glued to the "Ed Sullivan" show. Our television had Ed on every single Sunday night. Not to watch Ed was un-American.

I had just moved my game piece three spaces down Lollipop Lane, when cousin Vicky emitted this loud, feral scream.

"Paul. Paul. I love you, Paul!" she chanted, all the while shimmying and shaking like that one time at Christmas when Grandmom had too much eggnog and danced the 'Charleston' until she passed out under the tree.

I stared at my parents black and white RCA television set, trying to determine what was driving Vicky absolutely  mental.  All I saw were four young men, dressed alike in gray suits,with the shaggiest hair I'd ever seen on a man. In my whole five years on Earth, I'd only seen men with no hair, short hair, or crew cuts like my Dad, the ex-Marine, always wore.

I immediately started to scream along with Vicky, because screaming was fun. These young men,  it seemed to me, had some mysterious ability to get girls to do naughty things, like use their outside voice in the living room. These were bad boys

I liked them.

Thus began my life long love affair with The Beatles.

The Beatles, it seemed, had a knack for getting me in trouble. Once, in the seventh grade at St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School, I asked sister if I could bring a Beatles album into school to play the next time it rained and we were stuck inside for recess. She agreed, much to her regret. 

When it rained a few days later, I  put "Abbey Road," on the classroom record player, and started to get down. or, least, getting down as much a 12-year old Catholic girl can do.  Everything was fine as kind until "The Ballad of  John and Yoko" came on. 

"Christ, you know it ain't easy, you know how hard it can be, the way things are going, they're gonna crucify me," John sang.

Sister sprung into action with an agility that belied her age, which I believe was about 187 years old. She ran to the record player, turned it off, and gingerly lifted the album off the turntable. She only used her thumb and forefinger, as if she was afraid that the devil his own self would somehow leap from the vinyl into her very soul. Sister slid the album into the sleeve and  returned it to me without a word. The next time it rained, the class got to spend the entire recess and lunch breaks listening to the groovy musical styling of Jim Nabors. 

Entire books have been written about The Beatles and their influence on society. All I know is this.....I can watch old clips of  early Beatles, and will still find myself screaming, using my outside voice. 

After all these years, those boys still have it. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Questions for the Grey-Haired Goddess

Q: Dear Grey-Haired Goddess, where did you get your sense of humor?
A: I traded in my sense of direction. I might make you laugh, but you don't want to drive anywhere with me.

Q: When are you at your funniest? 
A: When I am drunk and attempting to explain the difference between op cit and ibit.

Q: What does your family think of the blog? 
A: Oh, you think I should tell them?

Q: It appears this entire blog is just an opportunity for you to talk about you, you, you, you, you. 
A: First, that is not a question. Secondly, I like to think of it as an expression of self-evolvement, not self-involvement.  And, thirdly--bitch. 

Q: What skills do you not possess but wish you did? 
A: Domestic skills. My friend Carolyn is a country gal who can lasso a cow, butcher it, clean it, then turn it in to the world's most delicious steaks. That is mighty impressive to someone like me who considers defrosting  a culinary skill.

Q: Do you think you've sold out? 
A: No, but not for lack of trying. You just missed my big Fourth of July sale, but I am slashing prices on myself for Labor Day. Somebody, please, make me an offer.

Q: Do you write every day? 
A: I try to, but these people at the office won't leave me the hell alone.

Q:  What is your favorite thing to write?
A:  My name on a big, fat check.

Q: Do you have a degree?
A: I have several degrees. A Bachelors Degree in Communication Arts. People wonder what, exactly, does one study to get a degree in C.A.? Um, actually, I don't quite remember, but I did have fun getting it. I also have a  Masters Degree in Dirty Looks and a Ph.D. in Whining. Of all the degrees, the Ph.D. in Whining has been, by far, the most useful.
Q: What advice do you have for younger writers? 
A: Write for the pleasure of writing, even if you never make a penny from your efforts. Plus, get out of my way. 

Q. I understand you have some esoteric philosophical views. Do you really believe in reincarnation?
A: Absolutely.

Q. What makes  you so sure this is true?
A: I don't mean to be rude, but you've already asked that question.

Q: I did. When?
A: In a past life. 

Q: Any parting words for all of your readers? 
A: You three are the best people ever!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Losing My Virginity....The Second TIme

A certain young whippersnapper that I know has suggested that the name of this blog is misleading. She said it sounds like a blog that's about the three B's of the aged....Bingo, Bunions and Bowel Movements. I am not before I permanently retire to the Rest Home for the Terminally Groovy, I will rename this blog. Let me know if you have any possibilities. Now on to this week's subject....losing my virginity for the second time.

I have never understood the saying, "losing your virginity." What, it's been misplaced?You think you're going to find it one day? And if you did find your virginity, what would you do with it? I guess you could call your OB/GYN.

"Hi, Doctor. You won't believe what I found in the garage this morning. My virginity! Is that a hoot? After all this time, there it was, wedged between two old plastic Halloween pumpkins. I swear, its been so long I hardly recognized it. Maybe I can come in and you can, you know, reinstall it. Boy, is this going to surprise Harry."

If this were to happen to me, it would set off a real internal debate between the various sides of my personality.

"Sell it on EBay," would scream the mercentile side of my personality, whom I've named J.P. (as in Morgan). "Do you know how much money you get for  slightly used virginity? Think of the potential market...teen-age Disney stars, Congressmen's daughters, Amish sluts...."

"No, donate it a woman's shelter," the altruistic side of me would suggest. " You know, maybe to someone who had her virginity taken away without consent."

"Or," would suggest my dreamy, romantic side, whom I've named Esme," put it back in and have an old-fashioned wedding night with your next boyfriend."

"Yeah, like that would ever happen, " would snap my inner bitch, named Joan Crawford. I try not to let her out too often, especially around wire hangers. "Let's are overweight, over the hill, and wayyyyyy over 40.  Do you honestly think there will EVER be another boyfriend?" ( I told you she was a bitch.)

I guess I could also call my old boyfriend, the one who originally took my virginity. (There's that language again. He took my virginity? " Hello, Police? I want to report a robbery. I had my boyfriend over for Sloppy Joe's, and when he left, I realized that my 'Peter Frampton Comes Alive' album and my virginity are both gone. That sticky-fingered rat bastard."

The last I heard, the virginity-taker was going on 35 years of marriage, and was expecting his 3rd grandchild. Sleeping with someone's Paw-Paw? Ewwwwwwww.

So, if I had to lose it all over again, here's what I would do...nothing. Seriously. Nothing. If the opportunity would present itself  (take a hint, Johnny Depp), than I would let nature takes it course. Otherwise, be looking for my tombstone outside the Rest Home for the Terminally Groovy. It'll read, "Here lies Stacie. Held onto her virginity as long as she could. Both times."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Get Behind Me, Satan!

My little office is so cute, with lots of sunlight for the plants on the window sill. It also comes with a neighbor ,  a born-again Christian who spends a lot of work time counseling co-workers about the love of Jay-sus.

I'll be sitting at my desk, working on a report or something, and all of a sudden I will hear a shout of,  "Hallelujah! In the name of the Lord!" or "Get behind me, Satan!" I'll tell you what, it breaks up the day. 

Now some of you might be wondering why I don't report this to HR, as I'm sure there are a couple hundred work-place violations going on. My gut feeling tells me, however, that reporting her behavior will not look so good on my celestial score card. 

SCENE: Me, on a cloud, standing outside the pearly gates. 

ME: "Uh-uh. I think I died. Geez, I hope I was wearing clean underwear. Ohh, but this means that I don't have to pay that BG&E bill. Hahahahahha. I used $250.00 worth of electricity and they ain't getting a dime. Suck on that, BG&E!"

ST. PETER: (who, by the way, is not an old man with a beard. Actually, he looks a lot like Jon Hamm,  from Mad Men). " Hello, Stacie. Welcome to the Pearly Gates."

ME: "Oh, hi, St.  Peter. (I know its him, because he's wearing a name badge). Thanks, dude. So, can you open the Pearly Gates now? I am ready to go into heaven." 

ST. PETER: (chuckles) "Sure, most people are. Let me just check a few things in the Book of Life...... " 

VOICE FROM INSIDE THE PEARLY GATES: "Attention all heavenly beings. The all-you-want-to-eat ice cream bar is now open on the East side. Bring your silver spoons and help yourself. Frank Sinatra will be the entertainment, followed by the comic stylings of Mahatma Gandhi."

ME: "Whoa. All-you-can-eat ice cream bar? Sinatra? Gandhi?  Really, St. Peter, let's open these, is there a problem?"

ST. PETER: (Scrunching his brow together while reading the Book of Life. He is sooooo cute.) "I am just reading about that fight you had in the sixth grade."

ME: "Wow, I had forgotten about that. Yeah, Patty Plimpton. called me a fat-nose, so I punched her. Hey, I was just a kid. Can't we just let that one slide, St. Peter?"

ST. PETER: ..."and then there is that time when you were in college....."

ME: "Oh, shi...shoot. I forget about that...incident. Look, St. Peter, I was going through that experimental phase, that's all.  It only happened that one time, and I swear, we returned all the leather."

ST. PETER: "Well, I guess  you have been a pretty decent egg, so let's get you into heaven.....wait, what's this?  You reported a co-worker for spreading the word of God?" (Looks angry......not so cute anymore.) 

ME: ", was a HIPPA violation.....(turns towards the Pearly Gates)... there is ice cream.....


ME: "Where am I? This place smells like cow farts." (I look up to see Hitler, Mussolini, Bin-Laden, Ivan the Terrible, and Madlyn Murray- O'Hair surrounding me. ) 

IVAN THE TERRIBLE: 'Velcome to Hell." (He laughs demonically.) 

VOICE FROM  INSIDE THE SWAMP: "Attention, lost souls. Today's lunch is Shit on a Shingle. Eat it or spend the next 1,000 years in torture. Today's featured torture: Being Paris Hilton's bitch. And now, for the 15th consecutive year, let's listen to "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," by Wham!  We're only playing this song 24/7 f or another 3500 years, so listen while you can."

Hitler, Mussolini, Bin-Laden, Ivan the Terrible, and Madlyn Murray-O'Hair walk away from me, laughing. Bin-Laden moons me. He has a fat, hairy ass.

ME: "Oh, why did I report that born-again Christian?" I scream inconsolably. Suddenly, I am lifted to my feet by Jack the Ripper. He starts to walk me to the Shit on the Shingle luncheon. 

JACK THE RIPPER: "Come, newbie. It's not so bad, once you get used to the place. Hey, ever wonder  what your liver looks like up-close?"

So, St. Peter, I promise  you, I am saying nothing to nobody. Give my best to Frank, and save some ice cream for me. 


Monday, June 13, 2011

Hot Fun in the Summertime

It is summertime,y'all, the perfect season to indulge in some fantastically hot, awesome, unbelievable adult fun. That's right--it's time to read!

Here is a list of some favorite summertime, beach-reading books:

1) LAMB by Christopher Moore.

This piece of fiction is about the life of Jesus, as told by His best friend, Biff. The book interweaves Jesus' spirituality and actuality of His life, all cocooned in a laugh-out loud funny dialogue. One reviewer called Mr. Moore's humor "frat-house humor", and maybe it is, but so what? You will be laughing too hard to notice. Extra bonus: Jesus' middle name is revealed! I have enthusiastically, perhaps too enthusiastically, recommended this book to a multitude of people.(yep, I am specifically looking at you, Rick. But you are a Taurus, and can't be pushed, so I will back off. I promise.)

2) VALLEY OF THE DOLLS by Jacqueline Susann

Or  "The Love Machine," or "Once is Not Enough," or any other book by the First Lady of Literary Trash. I was 13 years old when I first  read "VOTD", my first "dirty" book. I was immediately drawn into Ms. Susann's world of unapologetic bastards and the women who love them.  In all of Ms. Susann's books, the women are all yearning for that something missing in their lives: love, sex, fame, Daddy.  The material is quite dated, (i.e..cautionary tales of  women who cash in their V-chip before marriage, only to discover that Mother was right about men and why they buy cows), but, still, lots of mindless, trashy fun. 


Or "Sense and Sensibility" or "Emma" or any Jane Austen classic. My heart breaks for the misspent passion of Marianne Dashwood, and soars when Elinor and Edward finally find their way back to each other. I cheer for the spirited Elizabeth Bennett, who meets her match in the seemingly dour Mr. Darcy. 

Of course, if its American passion you seek, there is always "Gone With The Wind." I'm  not sure  how practical it would be to take "GWTW" to the beach, as its about 1000 pages, hardback, but, oh me, oh my, it is a doozy of a story.

For all you men who wonder why your women-folk swoon over fictitious characters such as these, instead of a smoof operator like yo'self, may I offer some insight?

1) Rhett never asked Scarlett to feign cramps so as to get out of going to his mother's house for Sunday dinner. He also took Scarlett on a romantic riverboat cruise down the Mississippi. Your last suggestion was a trip to the Bowling Hall of Fame with some Moose Lodge buddies.

2) Things Mr. Darcy did not do in public: belch the alphabet, scratch his balls, call his bookie, forget your name; urinate in girlfriends' rosebushes.

Now you know, Mack Daddy. 


4. DANCES WITH WOLVES by Michael Blake

I have never seen the movie, as I tend to avoid anything with Kevin "Pasty-Face" Costner. But when my friend, Gerri, offered to lend me this book, I thought, why not? I had an upcoming dentist appointment and thought I would take it along. It had to be a more interesting read than those "American Dentistry" magazines that old Dr. Horowitz keeps in his office. I swear I simply cannot read another riveting article about gingivitis.

Gerri, by the way, is the woman who turned me onto "LAMB." We used to have a little book exchange club going on, but then I got a Nook and haven't had a book in my hand since. She is gracious enough to still speak with me.

Anyway, back to "DWW". It is one of the most beautiful books I have read in a  long time. Simplistic writing that packs an whollop of an emotional punch. The story is, basically, of a lost man who's innate decency allows him to finally find himself, his home and family, with the most unlikely comrades. Everything about this book moved me. I was actually in tears by the last few paragraphs.

Okay, so maybe not light summer reading, but please read it sometime in this life. If it touches you as much as it did me, then just go up to the boardwalk and get some Thrasher's french fries. That'll make you feel better.


Anyone who knows me knows that I am all about those Tudors. Did you know that the original name of Windsor Castle was Dysfunction Junction? Nah, just kidding.

This book interweaves all past and present incarnations in which Henry 8th and Anne Boleyn are thrown together. For their first life together, they were friends in The Valley of The Kings in ancient Egypt, where Anne ended up as a prostitute and Henry....well, I don't want to spoil it. If this sounds like your kind of thing, you will love it. If not, just go up to the boardwalk and get some Thrasher's french fries.



I've just started reading these one, and so far, I'm liking it.  It's the story of a young man who grew up with a grandfather who told him about a special island for gifted know, kids who could fly, lift hundreds of pounds with ease, shrink into they could fit into a bottle....those kinds of gifted children, not the snotball kids we went to school with who were labeled gifted because they knew all the state capitals. Anyhoo, the children are on the island so that they would be safe from the monsters, who want to kill them because of their gifts.

The boy grows up, figures his grandpa's stories are just fodder for guillable children, until the day he discovers his grandfather dead and actually sees one of the monsters for himself.

This is all I've read so far, and I am really enjoying it.

Well, Happy Summer Reading.....oh, and enjoy the fries.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Left My Shoe Leather in San Francisco

Hey, all, I am back in Bawlmer.

The conference, aka Snoozefest 2011, certainly lived up to its nickname. I will concede that it was informative, but one point, a  sudden noise jolted me and I realized that I had sleepy-time drool on my chin. I was tres embarrassed until I realized that the noise which woke me was the snore of the person next to me.

Portland itself, however, was an awesome city. Plush and lush and green, it was sort of like looking at the world through a seawater-filled fishbowl. Portland also had an overall quirky vibe to it, as opposed to, say, Salt Lake City, which has a distinct "children of the corn" kinda vibe.  I could clearly see myself living in Portland, except that all the people I love are here. Stupid people that I love. If  you really loved me back, you'd all be on the internet this very minute, planning a permanent move to Portland.Here are a few of the pic's I took in the Chinese Gardens in downtown Portland.

The High Holiness of Everything Awesome, however, is San Francisco. It is a city of contrasts--history and cutting edge, Old Money and Newly Arrived, tourist traps and out-of-the-way jewels. My hostess, Leia, was the mostest. She even gave me her bed while she slept on the futon. (Futon, from the Latin word Futonious, meaning: Whoops,there goes my back! )  I tried to repay her sweetness by matchmaking her with a darling young man I met in the apartment elevator. Leia, however, was under the impression that he might have been gay. A gay San Francisco??? That girl do talk crazy sometimes.

We ate and drank and got our nails done like girlfriends. The Korean manicurist turned to Leia, pointed at me, and asked, "You mother, eh? You mother?" I have no illusions that anyone will ever point to me and ask another 25 year old, "You sister, eh? You sister?" But at least the word grandmother didn't come up. Here are a few pic's of SF, including the gorgeous Leia.

Speaking of things coming up, I thought perhaps that would be the fate of my dinner, as  the plane, flying through inclement weather,  did the bumpety-bump back to Bawlmer. I decided to turn my thoughts to cheerier things, such as: If I died right tonight, would I have any regrets?  Turns out I do have a few regrets. Here are my top five, in no particular order: 

1) Not sleeping with George Clooney when I had the opportunity.
2) Lying about having had the opportunity to sleep with George Clooney.
3) Once ordering a seafood meal at a Howard Johnson's.
4) The shiny, grey one-piece bathing suit I bought in the mid-'70's, right at the height of "Jaws" fever. I spent one entire goddamn summer running out of the water as people cried, "Shark!"....I didn't figure out until, like, August, that the people were referring to me.
5) Ruining an almost perfect GPA in college by seriously goofing off during the last semester of my senior year. I figured it was my last opportunity in life to be carefree, and, besides, why stress over grades at this point? It's not like college grades follow you through life or anything. 

Upon my return, the cat didn't speak to me for a week, (that's how they show their love), I had somewhere around 15 bazillion work emails to answer, one of my plants died, and there was a freak heat/humidity wave that frizzed my hair till I looked like Chaka Khan.

Yep, it's good to be back in home.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why My Mother Drank

When I was four years old, I began my brilliant academic career by  spending two weeks on Romper Room. Every morning during my Romper Room tenure, my mother would dress me nicely, but on my last day, my mom dressed me extra-special pretty, in a silky pink dress with lacy eyelets around the Peter Pan collar, and she piled my curly hair atop my head, fastening everything with sweet pink butterfly barretts.  Miss Nancy, the star of Romper Room, always gave graduating students a few special minutes of one-on-one air time. This was my day to shine

On the car ride to the studio that morning, all I could think about was what I was going to say when it was my special time with Miss Nancy. When Miss Nancy called me to her side on-air, I swear to you, I was all prepped. Miss Nancy gave me a little cuddle, then said, "So, Stacie, what would you like to say to everyone watching at home?"
I just stared into the camera, wide-eyed and stupid-like.  In the blink of  a (camera's) eye, all the grey matter in my little head seemed to have oozed out somehow. I think Miss Nancy herself kind of threw me off with her perfume.  She smelled like the roses in my Grandmom's backyard.  Sure, my Mom sometimes wore perfume, but only on special occasions. This was a Tuesday, for God's sake. On Tuesdays, Mom usually smelled like Pledge.

Miss Nancy, being a Romper Room pro and everything, try to nudge me with a little prompting. 

"Do you have any pets at home?" Miss Nancy tried.

Nothing. I just stared into the camera like Dante staring into the depths of hell.

"How about a sister? Don't you have a  little sister, sweetheart?" Miss Nancy tried again. 

"Yes," I droned, like a little girl robot.

"Well, tell us about her, " Miss Nancy urged.

I swear I could remember nothing. Then, out of the blue, I recalled something that my father had said about sissy right before Mom and I had left for the studio.

"MY GOD, THERE WAS A LOT OF POOP IN HER DIAPER THIS MORNING!" I screamed into the microphone.

The entire studio became mute, except for the screeching noise of metal chairs, inhabited by other mother's, slowly inching away from the chair in which my mother sat. My mother, her face ashen, a stark contrast to the alabaster gloves she wore on her hands, pretended not to notice.  I blew a kiss to her. All of the other mother's turned their faces away, as if I were throwing a grenade. 

"Well, let's have some cookies now," Miss Nancy said, weakly, barely recovering from the shock of having a  uncouth heathen on her show. 

When we got home, I ran around the house, showing everybody my Do-Bee Diploma, not even noticing that my father seemed to have the same shell-shocked look on his face as my mother. 

"Tonight, I think  I might have a sip of beer. To help me sleep," I overheard my  mother say. My dad just nodded. 

Hard to believe, I know, but I didn't appear on television again for almost 15 years.  When I was a sophomore in college, a bunch of us were recruited to answer phones for a local televised call-a-thon.  My mother watched, of course, sitting home, already in her night gown, the first of two nightly beers on the table beside her. I cut her a lot of slack about those beers. By this time, I had been embarrassing my mother for close to 20 years. Frankly, if I had had to raise a child like me, I would have been found nightly shooting crack behind the neighborhood A&P.
Sometime during the call-a-thon, my mother received a call from my Aunt Betty. 

"I'm watching Stacie on TV, " Aunt Betty said, spritely. "She looks so grown up." 

"She does, doesn't she?" Mom agreed. 

"Thank God they didn't let her near a microphone," Aunt Betty continued. 

"I'll drink to that," my mother said, laughing.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Horsepower vs. Horse Power

My car is making that funny noise again, the one that sounds like, "Hey, I heard you put a few dollars in your  savings account. I know what you can do with that money.  Spend it on ME!!"

It all started six years ago, when i purchased what has to be the lemon of all time. I  estimate that, with the cost of all the repairs I have spent on this car, I have paid for it about 900 times over.  I would tell you the make of the car, but I don't want to impune  an entire company just because I selected what could be their one loser of a car. (Hint: it rhymes with "Schyundai." )

This means I might have to get a new car. I was speaking to my friend, Jenn, about this. Jenn's a real smart old broad who knows a little bit about everything.

"So what are you looking at? Four wheel drive? Rack and pinion steering? Maybe a 3.7L V6 Engine with 4-Speed Automatic Transmission? What's your preference?"

"Blue," I replied, weakly. " I was thinking about a blue car."

There was a looooong pause on the other end of the phone. "Maybe I'll go with you when you start looking," she finally said.

I am not especially excited over getting a new car. I'm just not a car person. To me, they are nothing  more than a means to get from point A to point B. If I had my druthers, I'd really rather have a horse.

A horse is so much cooler than a car.  Think about it: they don't guzzle oil, seldom break down, and are ready 24/7. Plus look at all the jobs they would create: farmers would need to cultivate hay, carpenters would need to build stables, and there would be an entirely new industry: horse-shit picker-ups. I, personally, wouldn't be picking up after my horse. I gag when I have to clean the litter box.

And they are so much safer than cars. Really, when was the last time you heard of an eight-horse pile-up on the JFX? 

Okay, perhaps there are other issues that are nebulous. There only thing I know for sure is that my place of employment (Hint: rythmes with Schopkins) will find a way to gauge me for parking Mr. Ed all day.

Sigh. I guess, if I have to, one day I will get a new car. I mean, who are we kidding? Horses don't even come in blue. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ou est le bibliotheque?

 I was sipping a chilled glass of an extraordinary vintage Merlot when Walter, my major-domo and family retainer, told me the good news.  The Queen has requested red roses from my esteemed gardens for Kate Middleton's wedding bouquet.

"Fine news," I replied, coolly. It's best not to show too much emotion with the servants. "Please tell Her Majesty...."

Then my alarm went off and I had to get up and go to work.
I work for a well-respected neurosurgeon who is forever running around the world, sharing his words of wisdom and single-handedly saving lives. But saving the world, while rewarding, is also extremely exhausting.  Just last week he attended an all-day conference in Los Angeles, then was a speaker at a dinner conference, hopped a red-eye back to Baltimore without sleeping, and was in his office at 8:30 am. 

"You know, " I said to him, "you don't have to save the world alone. I can go on these trips and represent you." There is nothing I like better than traveling on other people's mean, doing my part to help. 

Dr. Lifesaver just looked at me, momentarily wondering if perhaps I'd lost my mind.  A thought, I believe, which has occurred to him before. 

"And tell what you know about  Reverse Delayed Ischemic Neurological Deficits after Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage?" he asked. 

"Oh, puh-leeze," I sputtered. "Just give me some notes and I'll be fine. Seriously, if I could understand the last two seasons of  Lost, this reverse... epidemic.. dismal submarine hemorrhoid stuff should be a breeze."

For some reason, he has declined my kind offer.  I haven't given up, however. In a few months, the doc is going to France. Yes, France, the one place I have dreamed of going since...well, since he told me about it. 
While I don't exactly speak fluent French, I know enough to get by. 

"Ou est le bibliotheque?"  For you non-Francophiles, that translates to "Where is the library? " How much more would one need to know? 

When I enlightened Monsieur le Doctor of my linguistic talents, he reminded me that he, himself, had lived and studied in Paris for three years. 

"Exactly, " I replied, swiftly changing tactics, "you need somebody like me along to make you look good. You know the French are always criticizing how American's butcher their tongue. But next to me, always asking  where is the library, you will look like a genius." 

Of course, that stopped the conversation. He doesn't need to look like a genius because he is a genius.

Damn it.
Something tells me that the only view I will see of Paris is the postcard he sends. And knowing Dr. Lifesaver, it'll be a picture of a stupid library.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Candles and Waxes and Nuns...........Oh My.

When I was a junior in college,  I was also employed as a staff writer with an "underground" newspaper. Their articles were usually peppered with words not normally found on the pages of the stuffier Baltimore Sun or now defunct Baltimore News American; words like shit-faced and cocksucker. Example: "So as I was marching up Remington Avenue, holding my "Kill Whitey" sign, some shit-faced, trailer-trash cocksucker threw a brick at my head." 

Aside from writing hard-hitting journalistic masterpieces, (Infiltrating the JHU Party Scene: One Woman's Journey into Nerdville), I was also tasked,  two mornings a week, with assisting the walk-in customers who wanted to advertise in our little gazette.  I believe I was given this job because:

a) the mostly male staffers would rather have chewed their own balls off than do this, and
b) I was the single person sober enough to be responsible for this cash-only enterprise.

All the lonely people (really, where do they all come from?) found their way to my desk. A veritable Ms. Manners among the kinky set, I would offer suggestions on wording their ads just right. After all, I had the sterling reputation of the paper to think of.

"Hmmm, so you are looking for a woman who will drip hot candlewax on your bare chest.," I 'd say to a would-be paramour.  "Perhaps,"  I'd advised, "we can go with this heading. "Are you a woman Seeking Warm Times By Candlelight?"

One fine morning, as absolutely adorable young man came to my desk desiring to place a personal ad seeking a nun who could offer companionship and stern discipline.

Trying to be real cool and unjudgmental and all, I sputtered, "I'm....sorry, but I didn't think nuns, you know....dated."

"It doesn't have to be a real nun," he allowed, looking as if he would bolt for the door any second. "I'll take a  woman in a nun costume."

Of course, maybe a real nun would respond to his ad. I've always felt there was something  mysterious about nuns. One time when my mother was indisposed, my father got the kids ready for school.  He let us eat birthday cake for breakfast.  And as soon as I walked into the fourth grade classroom, Sister Alfreda looked and me and knew about the birthday cake.  She just knew. Witches all of them, I swear.

I took their money, set up the ads, and never saw any of them again.  I've often wondered if  these lost souls every found the woman of their dreams. I hope so. It's a cold world out there, folks, and we all need a little love, be it in the form of a candle dripper or  role-playing nun, to keep us warm.