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.