Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sorry. I just couldn't help it.

Labels: ,

Family Values

Here's how I imagine a dialogue went between Senator Larry Craig and his wife:

Craig: “Baby, I promise. I’m not gay!"

Wife: “Then, please tell me, why were you tapping your foot in the bathroom stall?”

I was listening to my Judy Garland collection on my i-Pod. You try listening to Chattanooga Choo-Choo without tapping your foot! Really! You just try it. It can’t be done. I promise you, I’m not gay.

But what about that page back in 83? You sent him all those gifts. And that concert! You took him to that horrible concert.

He said he liked ‘Culture Club’. I thought it was a group outing to an art museum or something. How the hell was I supposed to know?

Boy George sent you chocolates the next day.

Well. . . . I’m not gay.

And that policeman. He reported that you rubbed your foot against his.

He’s making that up! If anything, he might be gay!

How in the world would you know that? How? Tell me!

(flustered) Because his thingie tasted like shi . . . . .
Well, I just know!

You’re disgusting. Leave me alone!

(trying to hug her) No, really, baby. C’mon now.

You haven’t touched me in over twenty years. Don’t try and start now!

Ummm. Can we talk later? Men’s gymnastics is on. . . .
. . . but, I’m not gay. . . .


On the way to work

On the way to work this morning, I noticed that someone had placed big Simpson's dolls in their office window.
I want to work with that person.
Then, I still had my camera out, so I couldn't help but take a pic of the Prudential building which is next door to where I work. (My office building is much taller. So there.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lao Sze Chuan. Again and Again

The Gang and I met at our favorite place, Lao Sze Chuan, last night for another sumptuous feast. See our discussion below regarding the Mystery of the Peek-a-Boo Showers.
It's funny.

Pictured here are Sole Fillets Chongqi Style (quite spicy) Eggplant in Garlic Sauce, pot stickers, and Garlic Pea Pods (definitely a new menu favorite)
We had also ordered our other favorite, Mayonnaise Shrimp, but it hadn't arrived yet. I had to get the picture taken because, as you can see, eager hands were poised and I wanted to get a pic before it was all gone.


Peek-a-boo Update

Yesterday, I wrote that my gym, Crunch Fitness, advertises "Peek-a-boo showers" as one of their amenities.

Click here if you don't believe me.

I was wondering, “what the heck is a peek-a-boo shower?”

Last night, I was out with The Gang at our favorite place, Lao Sze Schuan and mentioned the peek-a-boo shower thing. We were all intrigued. Miss Healthypants whipped out her cell phone and called Iwanski at home and he googled it.

He reported that it was a shower and something about being able to see the occupant.

I thought that was really odd for Crunch Fitness to feature such a thing as a selling point. It’s a downtown gym where downtown people go. I could certainly see something like this being popular at, say, Cheetah Gym in the Boystown section of Chicago. But at the Crunch in my building? Most of the occupants in my building seem to be elderly Jewish women. Hardly the type of demographic that would enjoy peek-a-boo anything.

So, this morning, I called Crunch Fitness and in a very mellifluous voice, explained that I had seen “peek-a-boo” showers on their website and my friends and I were all wondering what they were.

“Please hold,” he said.

Then a woman came on the phone and I repeated my inquiry. Are you ready for this?

There’s a hallway that leads to the locker rooms. At the end of the hallway, it splits, boys on one side, girls on the other. Along the walls of the hallway are the peek-a-boo showers behind glass. Two for the boys, two for the girls. Whenever anyone is taking a shower in there, anyone in the hallway can see the silhouette of the person taking the shower.

Isn’t that weird? And it’s advertised as an amenity.

It seems like that is a feature that could open them up to a lawsuit. Some guy could be doing naughty things behind the glass for all to see. Senator Larry Craig could have gotten arrested for tapping his foot in there. You never know.

What kind of people use these things? I certainly wouldn’t want to use the peek-a-boo shower. Well, if I did, I’d do shadow-things with my hands. I can do a butterfly and a dog.

I think it would be hilarious to stage a Psycho stabbing scene in the peek-a-boo and watch the reactions.

Comedic potential is always the way to go.

PS: I took Citymouse's advice and googled it. (She's so smart) Here is a pic of another Crunch facility that features peek-a-boo showers visible from the lobby. Here's what they say:

The lobby backdrop features Crunch's signature element, the peek-a-boo shower. A portion of locker room shower stalls are located behind a double-frosted glass wall providing silhouetted views of willing club patrons.

I wonder what the Crunch salespeople would do if some huge, obese people occupied all the peek-a-boos that are visible from the lobby. I could just see that happening during a big membership drive. It would serve those smarmy salespeople right.

I still think someone should do the Psycho shower scene.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The other night, I needed to know the hours that my gym was open so I looked at their website. (It’s Crunch Fitness, by the way)

I was perusing the amenities that Crunch has to offer, hoping to find some modicum of exercise that didn’t, well, hurt.

One of the amenities that really looked questionable was . . . are you ready for this? . . .
. . . “Peek-a-boo showers.”

Now, what in the world are “peek-a-boo showers?”

I’m intrigued. Why would anyone want to use a shower where one could peek in or out? I remember those horrible “community showers” back in high school gym class. Those were just blatantly non-private.

So, what is a peek-a-boo shower?

The Crunch facility I go to is in the lobby of my apartment building, so I’ve never any need to use the locker room facilities. Besides, locker rooms? Eewww. That’s like walking in foot-fungus quicksand.

I’m not going to peek into the locker room to see what peek-a-boo showers are. That would look weird.

Also, I’m not going to ask one of the attendants what a peek-a-boo shower is. That would be suspect and I’d be too embarrassed to ask anyway.

It’s a dilemma. How do I find out?

I know. I’ll call Senator Larry Craig’s office.

They’ll know.

Labels: ,

The Little Bitty Scary Airplane

On Saturday, I’ll be flying down to Texas for a week-long visit with family and friends. This’ll be the first time I’ve had any time off since I began my job back in March.
I’ve worked hard.
I deserve a break.

I’m really looking forward to going home, for it’s been a long time since I’ve been down there and I miss my family.

However, I’m not particularly looking forward to the flight down there. Usually, I fly to Austin, rent a car, and drive the 120 miles south to Victoria Texas where my mom lives. Occasionally, though, I’ll fly to Houston and then take a little bitty scary airplane directly to Victoria. It costs a bit more, the little-bitty airplane can be scary, but it’s so convenient. The little bitty airport is about a mile from my mom's house.

That’s what I’m doing this time. I’m flying in a Regular Airplane (i.e. one big enough to have flight attendants that serve vodka) and then I transfer in Houston to the Little Bitty Scary Airplane for the 40 minute flight to Victoria.

I never know what kind of airplane the Little Bitty Scary Airplane is actually going to be. Once, it was almost a Regular Airplane, and another time it was soooo small. My cousin, Patrick, is an airplane fanatic and always wants to know what kind of airplane flies to Victoria.

"I don't know. It had loud propellors. From the size of it, I'd say it was a Boeing 'Seven.'"

There always seems to be An Incident on the Little Bitty Scary Airplane.

One time, the pilot who looked like he was about eighteen and named “Scooter,” slammed on the brakes right before takeoff. Ignerto-the-mechanic scurried out and did something with a wrench. This, apparently, enabled Scooter to take off again.

Another time, Scooter announced that we had been cleared to land at Victoria Regional Airport. I mumbled, “What? Did they have to remove a COW from the runway?”

Ha ha ha.

Then, Scooter announced that he couldn’t tell if the landing gear was down or not. That announcement really bathed us in comfort. So, we flew all the way back to Houston where the tower people could visibly verify that the landing gear was, indeed, employed and functioning. (There is no tower in Victoria).

Such fun!

Then there was the time that we flew from Houston to Victoria directly through 120 miles of the most violent thunderstorms God ever created. I was seated in the back by the ice bin (in row “three”) and at one point we hit a bump so hard that its contents hit the ceiling above me. Thwack! It took Scooter two tries to land the plane, probably dodging funnel clouds on the way down.

So, I’m looking forward to my flight home. It's always fun land there and see mom with her smiling face pressed up against the glass at the little bitty airport. That's something you miss out on when you fly to a Regular Airport.

I just hope they remember to remove any errant cows ahead of time.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


After putzing around all weekend, I finally went to the grocery store late Sunday afternoon.

I live about four blocks from the grocery store, so I have one of those dorky "granny-carts" to carry my groceries home in. However, I don't want to look completely dorky or granny-like, so I pull it behind me with one hand on two wheels, rather than like a little old lady slowly pushing it in front of her.

Anyway, it's summertime which means that each of my grocery excursions require the purchase of a watermelon.
I'm from the South.
It's what we do.

So, I'm heading back with my groceries in the granny-cart along with the watermelon in the bottom of the cart. I pass by these homeless guys drinking beer on the sidewalk and I hear one of them say:
"OOooo. Look at that watermelon! That reminds me of the South! I just need me some fried chicken and some hot sauce!"

That's the third time a homeless man has commented on the watermelon in my granny-cart! What is it about seeing a watermelon in my granny-cart that elicits such blatant comments?? Now I know how women feel when whistled at by construction workers.

Next time, I don't think I'm going to let it go.

I envision myself spinning around and saying, "Yes! It is, indeed, a watermelon. I AM from the South and I like watermelon! It is also a seedless watermelon, buddy! What do you think of that? I'm also going to turn this here watermelon into a faaabulous sorbet! And you can't have any! You got a problem with that? HUH?"

Or, I'll probably just cloak the watermelon in a plastic bag so they'll leave me and my watermelon alone.

Labels: ,

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Scary Weather

A couple of days ago, I was at work when some really violent thunderstorms hit. All of a sudden, the sky grew dark and sheets of rain were flying by our window on the 22nd floor. Then, the windows began making this weird groaning and cracking noise. Right when we were saying, "I've never heard them do that before," the emergency alarm sounded. The announcement said that there were possible tornadoes in the area and all personnel should immediately move to the center of the building away from the windows.

No problem!

Later that afternoon after I was home, I noticed dark clouds gathering outside and went out on the balcony. From the west, another line of thunderstorms was quickly advancing. See pic.

So cool!

I watched a jet descending from the east toward O'Hare right where the thunderstorms were. Just as I was thinking how strange it was that a jet would be landing in such violent weather, the jet began ascending, banked to the left and flew south.

"Well, they're going to be spending the night in St. Louis now," I thought.

Over 500 flights to and from O'Hare were cancelled that night.

I love weather. It can take a 'nothing' day suddenly make it all seem worthwhile. It's pretty fascinating to watch the weather from where I live. I face west and that's where all of Chicago's weather seems to come from.

That night, I was supposed to hook up with a friend of mine who was flying in from Texas on a business trip. I received a text message from him.
He was stuck in St. Louis.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Wed Aug 22, 10:53 AM ET

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A woman set fire to her ex-husband's penis as he sat naked watching television and drinking vodka, Moscow police saidWednesday.

Asked if the man would make a full recovery, a police spokeswoman said it was "difficult to predict."

The attack climaxed three years of acrimonious enforced co-habitation. The couple divorced three years ago but continued to share a small flat, something common in Russia where property costs are very high.

"It was monstrously painful," the wounded ex-husband told Tvoi Den newspaper. "I was burning like a torch. I don't know what I did to deserve this."


Now, there's a remedy for you. If your husband is irritating you, just flambé his naughty parts!
Why would anyone watch TV in the nude? And with flammable material in close proximity?

I can just hear him now:

"Мой пенис горит!
Мой пенис горит! . . .
. . . Bitch!"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The time I was kidnapped

I was kidnapped when I was eleven years old.

Not really kidnapped, but well, here’s the story . . .

. . . about a lovely lady who my dad had met after he and mom divorced. I was eleven and she had a daughter, age ten, (who had hair of gold), and a little boy, age two. Dad and Sue had been dating a while and it was getting serious. Good for them.

Anyway, my soon-to-be step sister, Terry, had gone to visit her grandmother who lived in West Virginia. It turned out that Terry was unable to fly back on her own since it would have involved an airport transfer so Dad and Sue decided to meet them halfway to retrieve her. Halfway between San Marcos Texas and West Virginia turned out to be . . .
. . . Tuscaloosa Alabama.

My brother, Brad, age nine, and I had been camping with my dad when this trip was planned. So, off we go in Dad’s little Chevelle two-door coup: Dad, Sue, Brad and little Michael, off to Tuscaloosa, eight hundred miles away.

Late that night, we were somewhere in Louisiana and my dad said I should call my mom. The thing is, my mom and grandmother had custody of Brad and me. We were just on our daddy-visitation time when we cut the camping trip short and took off for Tuscaloosa.

I was only too happy to cut the camping trip short and go off to see exotic places like Shreveport Louisiana, Jackson Mississippi, and Tuscaloosa Alabama three whole states away!

So, we’re at some little restaurant in Louisiana and I made the collect call to my mom. (I remember that the pay phone cost only a nickel in Louisiana and I was impressed with that). I said, “Hi mom! Guess where I am? I’m in Louisiana!!”

Well, that was the wrong way to handle it. Mom hit the ceiling. She got my dad on the phone and practically accused him of kidnapping. Well, actually, I think she probably did. I was afraid that my exciting trip might be cancelled.

Well, they worked it out and we soldiered on. The next day, we discovered that Brad had acquired a bad case of poison ivy on the camping trip and it was really inflamed on his legs. We had to stop at an emergency room in Jackson Mississippi for treatment. Poor little guy. He was really miserable.

The rest of the trip, Brad had to sit in the front seat in with the air conditioner blowing on his legs. Since a 1968 two-door Chevelle coup only has bucket seats in the front, Sue had to sit in the little back seat with Michael and me.

We retrieved Terry in Tuscaloosa, spent the night and headed back. Now, poor Sue was in the back seat with Michael, me and Terry. Also, I had acquired a sack of peaches from a roadside stand which I had dropped and were now smashed all over the floor in the back. And since Brad had to have the a/c blowing on him, the four of us were swealtering in the back with the smashed peaches. For eight hundred miles. With four kids.

It’s a wonder they went ahead with the marriage a few months later. But they did.

We still laugh about that trip to this day: Mom accusing my dad of kidnapping us across state lines; Brad and his poison ivy; Sue shoved in the back seat with three kids and fermenting peaches for eight hundred miles.

Hardly what you’d consider The Brady Bunch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Appendicitis as an adult

I was home for the summer during my Senior year of college when I was struck down with appendicitis.

I woke up about 5 a.m. feeling really nauseous and sick. My whole body just felt “polluted.” My mom guessed at the cause and had me poke around my abdomen. Severe pain on the lower-right side confirmed her suspicions and she whisked me away to the emergency room.

The doctor poked my abdomen (Ow! Stop that!) and a blood test confirmed it. I was in the operating room by 7 a.m. and waking up from the ordeal later that morning. It all happened so fast. There was absolutely no time to get frightened.

I woke up feeling strange. And hungry! I was starving. They said all I could have was a little Jell-o, but I wanted a Domino’s delivery guy by my bedside instead of a nurse.

But a nurse appeared with a urinal jug and commanded me to urinate in it.

“I don’t need to pee,” said I.

“Yes you do. You’re just numb from down there and can’t tell.”

“I really don’t need to pee!” said I, more emphatically.

“If you don’t, then we’ll have to go with a catheter.”

Later. . . .

“Do you have another jug? I just filled this one up.”

Later that afternoon, the anesthesia wore off and I didn’t want Domino’s anymore. Only heavy narcotics would do. A nurse supplied an injection of Demerol.

Oh. My. God! That is fun stuff!

I wanted seconds. And thirds.

Actually, I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but I wasn’t about to tell them that. I was bored, Demerol was my new best friend and the only entertainment available.

A couple of days later, my mom stopped by with a two of her middle-school students in tow. She and I had this planned. I had placed some apple juice in a clean urine-sample container and had it sitting there on my tray table. I’m sure the two tween-aged girls noticed it.

When my mom was about to leave, I said, “Oh, Mom, could you drop this off at the lab down the hall on your way out? Oh wait. . . Let me run it through again.” And I drank it in one big gulp.

Being tween-aged girls, of course, they squealed and were horrified.

It was fun.

Soon, I recovered enough to be discharged from the hospital and from my Demerol.

Sigh. . . . Good times.

Pneumonia as a kid

When I was ten years old, I came down with a really bad case of pneumonia and had to be hospitalized for about five days. I remember the details of it like it was yesterday.

Before I had to be hospitalized, the doctor in my little-bitty home town seemed to think I had a bronchial infection. A course of penicillin injections were administered which hurt a lot and I really hated them.

X-rays confirmed the pneumonia diagnosis so I had to go into the hospital. At first, it wasn’t so bad. I had to breathe pure oxygen from a mask several times a day and it smelled really funny. I was encouraged to drink as many fluids as possible and really enjoyed having the nurses bring big glasses of orange juice whenever I wanted. (We only had Tang at home, not real orange juice.)

Then one day, I was served Hospital Beef Stew for lunch. That wasn’t so bad except that the old man across the hall had obviously been hospitalized with a chronic case of diarrhea. It was impossible to eat the beef stew with the sounds of diarrhetic voidings echoing down the hall. I was really mad that his door had been left open to ruin my lunch.

Then, on the second day, I got really sick. That night, my temperature went up to 106 and I was throwing up constantly. I couldn’t even keep medication down and was going in and out of consciousness. A suppository was prescribed to stop the vomiting.

Anyway, I was in a lot of pain. I remember the nice nurse asking if I wanted the suppository to be administered by her or by my mom. Though barely conscious, I remember thinking, “Are you kidding me? I don't care! Just make me well!”

I lived.

A couple of days after that, I got to go home and my grandmother, Budgie, took really good care of me. (Mom was a working mom). Budgie fed me lots of grilled cheese sandwiches and Campbell’s soup. Tomato or chicken-noodle were the choices. I loved her grilled cheese sandwiches. They weren’t your typical things made from pre-sliced Kraft American cheese. She made them with Longhorn cheddar and mayonnaise. Yum.

All the kids in my class made get-well cards which were brought to me by my mom who was a teacher there. I thought it was strange that they were giving me all this attention while I was away, for I was usually ignored by them when I was there.

Hey, why is it that when you have diarrhea, oral medication makes it stop and when you’re vomiting, the remedy goes up the other end?

Monday, August 20, 2007


I’m going to be traveling a lot soon.

First, I’m going down to South Texas to visit my family and friends during the first week of September. Miss Healthypants will pick up my mail while I’m away. I would ask her to water the big plant that I bought recently, but I’ve already killed it. If there were a Plant Protection Service, they would have already taken my plant away and placed it in foster-care.

When I get back, I have to spend a week visiting all eight of the employees that I supervise who are in various locations across the State of Illinois. I need to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing and haven’t blown up anything.
It’ll involve about two-thousand miles of driving and overnight stays in exciting places like Peoria and Springfield. I hear that you gotta be careful in that wild town of Peoria. It’ll just eat you up and spit you out if you’re not careful.

Then, the last week of September, my boss and I are going to a conference for four days in Orlando. Of all the places I’d want to visit in the U.S., I think Orlando would be last on the list. Dead last. I don’t like tourist-y places, I don’t like humidity or anything even remotely tropical. I just made my hotel reservations and let out a groan when I saw that the hotel was located on “Buena Vista Drive.”
God. Buena Vista . . . . how revolting.

I’m just going to stay bunkered in my hotel room, ordering room service. A lot.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Random Blog

It's Sunday morning a little after nine. I must get getting old because I can't sleep late the way I used to. Or maybe it's because I can't stay up the way I used to, so I go to bed early, even on a Saturday night.

Miss Healthypants dropped by yesterday to pick up her keys. She and Iwanski were on vacation for a week and I had been looking in on the cats while they were away. I'm glad they're back.

They have two cats, Hattie and Autumn. Hattie is a fat grey tabby (Really fat) and Autumn is sort of a calico-mix-gone-awry with autumnal colors, thus the name.

Autumn is very friendly and is always there, wanting to cuddle and play. Hattie, well, I never see Hattie when I'm kitty-sitting. She apparently bolts for some obscure hiding place when she hears the key in the door. The only evidence I ever see that she's alive is the abundance of kitty-poo in the kitty-box.
Autumn couldn't possibly make that much kitty-poo on her own. It's kind of comforting in a way to scoop that much cat-poo. It's evidence that Hattie is, indeed, alive and functioning properly.

I try to coax her out of whatever hiding place she's found. I have a little song that I sing while I'm cleaning out the box and tending to them:

My Hattie
My Hattie
My fatty little catty.
You are a splendid pussy-cat
You meow all the day long
My puss-puss
My puss-puss
My happy little puss-puss-puss.

It's a really cute, but she still won't come out.

I think I'm going to go to church this morning. I had a dream last night that I was back in the monastery, so I'm feeling some remnants from the dream. When I do go to church, it's to the Christian Science church a few blocks away. A church service at a Christian Science church is more like a graduate school theology lecture than your usual churchey church-thing. Plus, they have a really nice pipe organ and there's none of that meet-n-greet nightmarish stuff going on. You know, when you have to turn and greet the person next to you.
I hate that.
Everyone hates that.

Let's see. What else.
Oh! In two weeks I'm going home to Texas for a week. I'm flying all the way down to Victoria Texas rather than flying to Austin and driving down. This way, I fly to Houston and then take a little-bitty scary airplane to Victoria. It costs a little more, (and it's scary) but it's soooo convenient. The little-bitty scary airplane practically lands in my mom's back yard.

Okay, it's time to go to church. But you know what? I think I'm going to skip church and go work out instead. I like going to the gym on Sunday mornings because I practically have the whole place to myself.
Everyone else is at church.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Air Show

As I write this, the Chicago Air & Water Show is being held this weekend. Ever so often, a really scary jet flies right toward my apartment, grows louder and louder, and veers away just a few feet from my balcony.

Well, that's what it sounds like anyway.

I don't appreciate jet fighter plane-things at all. I have a cousin who's like a brother to me and I who admire greatly. He's been a jet fanatic all his life. To each his own.

Yes, I can appreciate the mechanics and physics involved in these jet fighters. But when I hear these jets fly around all weekend, all I can think of is that there goes billions and billions of our tax dollars spent on something that's intrinsically evil (war).

Isn't there something terribly disordered about admiring the evidence that human beings feel the need to destroy people, places and things? Isn't there something horribly wrong with a society that swells with national pride when they see The Blue Angels? There's hardly anything "angelic" about their purpose.

Even if the U.S. military used these multi-billion dollar machines for defensive purposes only, (yeah, right) it hardly warrants their admiration. They should be kept away from view, like a dirty little secret, a necessary evil.

I'm sure there will be a lot of patriotism and playing of the national anthem. You know, the one heralding the rocket's red glare and bombs bursting in air.

I'm looking forward to the Air and Water Show's end. All that ruckus makes it difficult to watch my cooking shows.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

New Article

It's been a while, but here is a new article I wrote for the satire website, Click here if you want to see the published version.

Many thanks go to Phil, the editor of, for his hilarious input and for the photos.

Exodus International Touts Turnaround for Homosexual Priests
By Buck Wheat, Aug 16, 2007

ORLANDO, Florida - Exodus International, the Christian evangelical fellowship renowned for its success in turning gays and lesbians into “socially useful” heterosexuals, announced yesterday that a group of more than one thousand gay men has turned “effectively heterosexual” as a result of the ex-gay therapy promoted by Exodus.
"We produced a nearly 100-percent success rate—or should I say ‘a 180-degree success rate’—in turning these formerly gay men into complete, full-blooded, healthy heterosexuals," reports Exodus’ President and CEO Alan Chambers.
Chambers explained that Exodus’ mode of ex-gay therapy involves “complete withdrawal” from any man-boy contact whatsoever, coupled with “immersion therapy” with members of the opposite sex.
“After separating the homosexual priests from the boys, we placed those priests in the constant presence of various Girl Scout and Brownie troops. The results were astounding. Eighty-two percent of the priests, through the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, eventually made some sort of sexual advance toward the girls. Granted, the majority of those advances involved anal intercourse or fellatio, but who’s going to stare a gift horse in the mouth?”
Of the remaining priests, said Chambers, one half displayed signs of psychosexual eating disorders involving Girl Scout marshmallow puffs; one quarter became cross-dressers, and one quarter became Exodus re-programmers.
Chambers was at pains to point out that with so many young women taking virginity pledges, incidents of anal intercourse and fellatio are “commonplace, even among heterosexuals” today.
Janet Smith, co-founder of Courage, a Roman Catholic organization similar to Exodus, evaluated the findings.
“What this study shows is that sexual orientation can, indeed, be changed. Over one thousand of these priests gave up the ‘disordered’ state of homosexuality and easily found it possible to have ardent, sexual desires toward members of the opposite sex, just like every other normal, red-blooded American male.”
The Vatican’s reaction to the Exodus project was over the moon.
“This has the potential to re-energize the heterosexual priesthood,” exclaimed Vatican spokesman Fr. Gianni Ricardoni.
Fr. Ricardoni reported that Pope Benedict XVI is “very pleased with these outcomes” and will soon formally recommend replacing the Cardinal Bernard Law Altar Boy of the Month calendar with an Altar Girl of the Month edition. This recommendation will appear in a decree set forth in an upcoming papal letter titled Effercio Rectorum Nostra (Fill Up Our Rectories).

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Okay. Another subway story.

I was on the subway/El yesterday for a 20 minute ride to the Belmont station from downtown. The first thing I do on the subway is to stick my nose in my subway-book. Just as I had opened my subway-book (which is one that I stole/borrowed from Iwanski's bookshelf when I was feeding their cats), I heard this conversation behind me. It was a young-ish couple, but she was doing all the talking. She had this deep, raspy, druggie-type of voice.
Here's what I listened to for twenty minutes:

Her: It was so funny, man, when he fell on his ass.

Him: mm-hmm

Her: Yeah, man, I just laaaaughed. . .

Him: mmm.

He just fell on his ass, man.



Yeah. It was so fuckin' funny.


I never laughed so hard in my life . . .


Man, he just fell on his ass. . .

. . . .


I just couldn't stop laughin', man.


'Cause when he fell on his ass, he looked so surprised, man.


Man, you shoulda seen his face


'Cause when he fell on his ass, he didn't know what to do


And I just laaaaughed . . .

. . . .


'Cause it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen, man.


Man, he just fell on his ass


And, man, we couldn't stop laughin'

. . . .

'Cause, man, it was so fuckin' funny


That dude just fell on his ass

. . . .

Man, that was funny .


We just couldn't stop laughin', man


I'll never forget the look on his face, man



Cause that dude just fell flat on his ass


And I just laaaaughed so hard


Man, that was funny

. . . .

I wish you coulda seen it, man


Cause he fell right on his ass



And it was so fuckin' funny, man


The look on his face when he fell on his ass

. . . .

God, I'll never forget that


Not as long as I live


When that dude fell right on his ass


Fifteen minutes later . . .

. . .
I never laughed so hard in my life . . .


Man, he just fell on his ass. . .

. . . .

I just couldn't stop laughin', man.


'Cause when he fell on his ass, he looked so surprised, man.


Man, you shoulda seen his face


I had reached the Belmont station

I wanted to hurl my book right at that chick right before exiting the train.

That would have made me laugh, man. . .

On the subway

Lorraine wrote a nice piece, recently, that extolled the virtues of Chicago’s mass transit system. I’ll admit, we do have an effective and well-run transit system here. I know a lot of people complain about it, as they are wont to do, but try living in a large city that doesn’t have much of a transit system like Dallas or Houston. And then shut up.

I use the transit system a lot because I live downtown and don’t own a car. I did own a car when I first moved downtown, but it stayed in the parking garage all the time costing $200 a month. I didn’t drive it anywhere because parking in Chicago is, well, nonexistent. Also, it’s pretty frustrating to be sitting in gridlock traffic and watch the train go whizzing right by as the gleeful riders shoot you the finger. That happens a lot. So I gave up the car after a month and have never regretted it.

Yesterday, I was waiting for the subway and there was a guy with a unicycle standing next to me. Yes, a unicycle. When the train pulled up and the doors opened – bing bong – I opted to sit in the next car down. Maybe it’s me, but I just didn’t want to be riding next to a guy who rides a unicycle. My parents raised me right.
I must be an anti-unicyclite.

I ride the Red Line a lot which begins as a subway downtown and emerges into an “El” just north of downtown. When the train rises up from the bowels of downtown, it’s always pretty funny to see so many people whip out their cell phones. The moment there’s daylight, it’s all beep! boop! deedle-dee-dee! ding-dong.
What did we ever do without cell phones?

Another funny thing to see is the “subway scramble.” That’s when you’re heading down the long flight of stairs to the subway platform, the rumble of an approaching train can be heard and everyone starts hurdling down the stairs to catch the train, leaping and bounding. Oh my GOD! We might miss the train!

First of all, they have no idea if the train that’s coming is going to be the one they’re going to need. Most of the time, it's not. I just love it when they land on the platform, out of breath, and it's not their train. See? Such a fuss!

Second, there will be another train coming! During rush hour, they're practically back-to-back. It’s not like the CTA only has one of them.

What really bothers me is when someone is carrying a little kid and is running down the stairs. Very dangerous. Shame on them.

People are so silly.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Tasty Dessert

The Iwanskis are on vacation this week, so I'm looking after their two cats while they're away. So far, it's been pretty non-eventful in that there hasn't been any feline vomit to clean up.
We'll keep our fingers crossed.

Which reminds me. A few years ago, a friend of mine sent this picture to me from her work place. Each year, they have a contest at Halloween to see who can come up with the most creative dessert.

Here is a pic of the winner. It's actually a cake in a kitty litter box. There's a crumb topping, tootsie rolls for a bit of "realism" and it was served with a pooper-scooper. (Click on the pic for a closer look)
Another slice, anyone?


I remember as a teenager, just being completely obsessed with a few, select record albums. (That term, alone, dates me). I would find an album I liked and listen to it over and over and over, getting to know every note of it, every word, and every nuance.

That just doesn’t happen anymore. I wish it did. I received a piano scholarship to study music and whenever I go home to Texas, I still have piano lessons with the same teacher I’ve had for thirty years now.
Maybe I’ve become jaded.
Maybe I’ve just grown up.

Here are some of the albums I was totally obsessed with as a teenager.

Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield. It was also the theme to The Exorcist and I identified with everything “Linda Blair” when I was fourteen. (Our birthdays are actually just a couple of days a part) I thought it was the most brilliant piece of music ever written. I learned to play the main theme on the piano and wanted to play it on a recital. I knew that if I ever met Mike Oldfield, we’d be soul mates. I had it on an 8-Track tape, played it every moment in the car and drove my mom absolutely insane with it. I listened to it a couple of years ago, and it’s the most infantile piece of crap ever written. You know those gold records that are awarded to recording artists? They’re not gold, but are actually spray-painted vinyl LPs; probably unsold Mike Oldfield stock.

Brain Salad Surgery by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. I first encountered this album on the bus to church camp when I was fourteen. This really cool guy on the church bus was listening to it on a portable 8-Track tape player and he was swaying his shoulder-length blond hair to this really far-out music that had lots of synthesizers. We became friends and would listen to Brain Salad Surgery over and over and over. I would play air-keyboards and he would play air-percussion. I was so obsessed with this album that (I’m really embarrassed to admit this) I actually read some of the lyrics in a high school poetry contest!
Cold and misty morning, I heard a warning borne in the air about an age of power where no one had an hour to spare. . .
God! That was lame!

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath by Black Sabbath. Also a church camp 8-Track tape. I would have been a Goth but this was waayyy pre-Goth. I was ahead of my time.

Janis Joplin Live by Janis Joplin. This was my introduction to dear Janis and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. “Be yourself, and then some” became my motto only I was too insecure to actually do that. But Janis did.

“The Fourth Album” by Led Zeppelin. The album was actually untitled because Led Zeppelin was so popular by then. It’s the one that has Stairway to Heaven on it. I listened to this during my “wild year” in high school when I was sixteen. Once, I scored my first joint, drove my mom’s car out on a back country road, got stoned out of my freaking mind and drove back home at 10 mph listening to this album the whole way. I liked this album much better with vodka or tequila. Grass just wasn’t my thing.
Good times. . .

Oh, and remember the cool guy with the long blond hair? We’re still friends. 35 years now.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, August 13, 2007


As I mentioned last week, my TiVo died last week. For those of you who are TiVo cognoscenti, you can only imagine how horrible it is not to have a TiVo once you have one.

I tried going for a whole weekend without a TiVo, thinking of all the things I could be doing rather than watching TV. Sure, I could watch TV without a TiVo, and I tried doing it. I really did. But I think Helen Keller would have actually gotten more TV viewing pleasure than I did. It was horrible. Just horrible.

So, I ordered a new TiVo today. They’ve come way down in price (only ninety-nine bucks now) and have a lot more memory than the ones from years past. Also, the new ones enable me to record two programs at the same time.

The great thing about TiVo is that you can program in “key words” or actor’s names and anytime there’s a program that contains your pre-programmed words in the program description, it’ll automatically record that program for you.

Here are some key words from my old TiVo that I’ll have to re-enter on the new one:

Roller Coaster
Bigfoot (I know it doesn't exist, but it still frightens me)
UFO (Anal probes are funny)
Janis Joplin (I love my tragic, insane women)
Mary Todd Lincoln (I love my tragic, insane women)
Stephen Lynch (My hero)
Transgender (fascinating)
Anorexia (I love those Lifetime movies about women with anorexia. There are dozens of them)
Karen Carpenter (Tragic, insane and anorexic)
The Waltons (still makes me cry in every episode)
Nigella Lawson (I'd almost go 'bi' for her)
America’s Test Kitchen (cool kitchen stuff)
Judge Judy (Judy rips apart the tragic, insane women)

Well, you get the idea.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Everything's Just Ducky

I encountered yet another duck today. On my way to work, there was a person in a big duck suit who was soliciting support for the Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby.
A person in a big duck suit -- I had to get a photo!
The Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby is a fundraiser for the Illinois Special Olympics where one can purchase a rubber ducky for $5.00 each. Everyone's rubber duckies get tossed off the Columbus Avenue bridge into the Chicago River and race down the river toward the finish line. There are thousands of them. The first to cross the finish line wins a new car for the person (or the agency) who bought that duck.
Doesn't that sound like fun?
I immediately sponsored a Rubber Ducky (wouldn't you??) and the race is going on right now. "Splashdown" was at noon today.
Oh, and you can also buy "Quack-Packs" of six ducks for $25.00.

But isn't it odd that this is the second "huge big duck entity" that I've encountered and have been photographed with this week? Just a few days ago, it was the Aflac Duck.
There's obviously some kind of auspicious "huge big duck-thing" going on with me right now.
For the life of me, I've tried to figure it out, but I can't.
Take a look at the pics, and let me know. . . .

P.S: I looked online to see that a company whose employees had contributed over 1,700 "Rubber Duckies" did win the first prize of a new luxury sports car. I'm sure all the proceeds will be properly remitted toward the Illinois Special Olympics.

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Just wondering . . .

Do you remember this?

1. Sending your first email and calling the recipient to see if they got it?
2. Your first kiss?
3. Sniffing mimeographed paper at school?
4. Where you were when you learned of the Challenger explosion?
5. Where you were the first time you saw Boy George?
6. What a new pack of Crayloa Crayons smells like?
7. The first time you saw your name in the phone book? (“The phone book’s here! The phone book’s here!”)
8. Using Lotus 1-2-3?
9. Typing on a typewriter?
10. Receiving a telegram?

Can you do this?

1. Divide 224,427 by 365 without a calculator?
2. Sing the national anthem by memory?
3. Sing the theme song to “The Brady Bunch”?
4. Remember one of your credit card numbers?
5. Make an omelet?
6. Drive a car with standard transmission?
7. Point to Bulgaria on a map?
8. Point to Nebraska on a map?
9. Make a dog swallow a pill?
10. Change a poopy diaper?

Just wondering. . . .

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My Worst Fear Comes True

I had seen signs of impending doom. A glitch here and there. Slow start-ups. Overheating and shut-downs occurred more and more frequently.

And then it happened. . .

. . . My Tivo died.

And now I'm forced to watch TV without a Tivo. Like an animal!

For those of you who don't own Tivos, words cannot express how it feels to be Tivo-less. For those of you who own Tivos, you know what I'm going through!
You know!

I can't even begin to watch T.V. without a Tivo. I just can't do it.

Several years ago when Tivo first came out, I bought one and was hooked.

That was a first-generation Tivo and it died about three months after the warranty expired (of course).

I went to Best Buy that night and bought a replacement. Once you have Tivo, you just can't go without it.

I was about to run down to Best Buy and get a new one. But look at this. I'm not watching TV. I'm writing! And I just got through practicing on the piano, too.

I might even (gasp!) go work out now that I have no TV to watch. This situation might even be a good thing.

Daren't I try going awhile without television???


Family Affair

Do any of you remember the 60’s TV program called Family Affair? As a kid, it was one of my favorites because it was mostly about two kids, Buffy and Jody, who got to live in New York City.

The basic premise was that Buffy and Jody, six-year-old twins, and their teenage sister, Cissy, were orphaned and got to live with their Uncle Bill at his big Upper-East side apartment in New York City. Uncle Bill, a middle-aged bachelor, was employed as a civil service engineer so he hired an English butler, Mr. French, to help care for the kids.

Even as a kid, I knew there was something “not quite right” with this picture.

First of all, everyone in the household had their own bedrooms. Five of them. There’s just no way a single civil service engineer could afford a five-bedroom apartment (it had a balcony, too) on the Upper East side of New York City. And employ an English butler. And provide him with room and board. Maybe Jackie Onassis could, but not Uncle Bill. No way.

I was seven years old and saw the holes in that scenario. Uncle Bill obviously had something else going on the side.

Buffy and Jody bugged me a lot. Pretty much all they did in every episode was to scurry from one room to the next. They could never just walk from here to there. It was always scurry-scurry-scurry!

One of them would usually exhibit a fear of abandonment. Mr. French would relay this to Uncle Bill who would allay their fears with a couple of words or tuck them into bed. That story-line pretty much comprised 90 percent of the episodes.

Buffy had this doll named Mrs. Beasley that she was way too attached to. The kid obviously had problems but nothing was ever done about it. That doll needed to get shoved down the trash chute and Buffy into analysis.

Pretty much the only thing we ever saw teenaged Cissy doing was letting boys carry her books home from school in every episode. She was such a slut.
They had this olive-green Trimline telephone in the den that was sooo cool. You know, one of those modern kinds with the dial in the receiver. We had your basic black desk model. I was just obsessed with that super-cool Trimline phone with the dial in the receiver.
God, that was fascinating!

Uncle Bill was always dating glamorous, middle-aged women who he met through work. He was definitely a hound dog. His hound-doggedness was obviously why he needed Mr. French around to do all the parenting.

Mr. French was such a caricature of a pompous English butler. He’d come to Uncle Bill with a line like, “I daresay, Master Davis, Miss Buffy seems to have conveyed an implicit desire for an item, I believe them to be called, ‘fish sticks’ to be serviced for luncheon today. Shall I grant Miss Buffy’s unusual request?”

Uncle Bill would answer with little more than a positive or negative grunt.

Mr. French didn’t have any romantic interests. My guess is that after the kids were tucked into bed, he’d high-tail it down to the West Village to a leather bar called “The Bear Hole” or something like that. You know how those pompous English butlers are.

I can still remember the opening credits to Family Affair. It was this happy-sounding accordion music with a kaleidoscopic image in the background. We had a black-and-white television and I remember visiting my cousins in Dallas who had a color TV.
Wow! The opening credits to Family Affair in color just blew my mind!

Years later, the actress who played Buffy, Anissa Jones, died of a drug overdose at the age of 18. Found in her system were cocaine, PCP, Quaalude, and Seconal. The kid could definitely party.

See? I told you Mrs. Beasley should have been thrown down that trash chute.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Dating Game

I remember as a young teenager, feigning sickness many times and getting to stay home from school and watch TV all day. My mom was a single mother and pretty didn’t have much time to deal with whether or not I was actually sick, so I got to stay home if I didn’t feel quite up to par.

I’d watch mostly game shows: The Price is Right, The Newlywed Game and one of my favorites was The Dating Game. Do any of you remember that goofy game show?

You had a young, hip single “bachelorette” who would ask a series of questions to three young, hip, single bachelors for about ten minutes. She couldn’t see them, and inevitably, there would be two good-looking guys that resembled J.C. Penny models along with one Horrible Dork. It was up to the young, hip, single, bachelors to impress her as much as possible with their answers. They'd be verbal peacocks.
It was revolting.
I loved it.

A typical dialog went something like this:

Bachelorette: “Bachelor number one, if you and I were stranded on a desert island, what two items would you have brought with you and why?”

Bachelor: Oooo, baby, for you? ‘Cause you sound so far-out and groovy and I really dig your. . .

Bachelorette: (cutting him off) “Bachelor number two. Same question.”

Bachelor: Oooo, darlin’ cause your so sweet, I’d bring some salt and vinegar to ‘cause I just wouldn’t be able to handle all your sweetness!”

It would go on like this for several rounds. Then she’d make her selection. But first, she had to meet the two bachelors she passed up.

Then the host, Jim Lange, would give a brief bio of each guy and he’d come out to meet the bachelorette. They’d smile, hug, he’d give her a little peck on the cheek and stand aside.

Of course, she never chose the two J.C.Penny model look-alikes. No, it was always the Horrible Dork. He’d come bounding out and we’d get to see the look of dismay on her face. Of course, he’d give her a bear-hug and ram his tongue down her esophagus as a greeting.

Then, the two contestants got their prize which was always a romantic, weekend stay for two at some un-disclosed destination. This was always the best part because they never knew where they were about to be sent.

Jim Lange would build up the excitement and announce: “You and your date are about to be sent on a romantic, fun-filled vacation for two to . . . "

…..And they’d look at him, wide-eyed and full of anticipation

“. . . . Fargo, North Dakotaaaaahhhhh (it was always someplace really lame)

Then they’d look at each other, mouths agape in ecstasy, hug and rock back and forth.
Every contestant would always hug and rock back and forth. I don’t know why.

Jim Lange would always announce the name of the city like that: St. Paul, Minnesotaaahhhh . . . Columbus, Ohioooooohhhh

It was always someplace lame, but to me, watching this in small-town Texas, I’d be thinking, “Oh, my gosh! I would love to go to Fargo, North Dakota!”

Occasionally, they’d have a celebrity on the show. One time, the bachelorette was Karen Carpenter who, I doubt, ate any of the nibbles provided in the green room.

Take a look on her face when she finds out that she and her Horrible Dork are going away on a fun-filled, romantic weekend to . . . . Roanoke, Virginiaaaaahhhh!

I wonder what kind of a date she turned out to be.

I’ll bet it was on that weekend that she wrote, “Goodbye to Love.”

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 06, 2007

Firmly Implanted in Middle Age

Last week, I got something that reminded me that I'm now firmly implanted in "middle age."

I got my new glasses.
They're bifocals. The progressive kind.


I didn't have to get glasses until I was 25 years old. I was a bit near-sighted, but just barely. My first pair of glasses let me notice details of leaves on trees.

Then, in my thirties, the Department of Motor Vehicles documented the fact that I was required by law to wear corrective lenses in order to lawfully operate a motor car.

Now, in my forties, I got bifocals. Well, "progressive lenses" as they're called.

My near-sightedness had not changed but it's become progressively cumbersome to read the fine print over the past five years. I've had to remove my glasses to read a book on the subway or plane and replace them when I disembarked. Cell phones were hard to read. I'd have to lift up my glasses to see that my I-pod was playing Enya instead Emerson Lake & Palmer. (See? Middle aged).

Contact lenses? I love 'em. But restaurant menus were impossible. I'd have to just take a stab at entrees.

I just finished my first few days with my new "progressive lenses" bifocal things and I'm pretty jazzed!

I bought two magoes and didn't need to lift up my glasses to read the little "4032" number on those annoying fruit-stickers at the self check-out.

I could read a spreadsheet at work without putting glasses off-and-on-and-off-and-on.

And this evening, I was in my usual Monday Night Mode, sprawled out on my chaise-lounge watching "UFO Encounters." The phone rang and I didn't even have to lift up my glasses to read the caller i.d. number to see that it was the Bad Dinner Date calling me from the other night.
I was able to instantly ignore the call.

. . . Bifocals Rule!

Seventeen Children - So Far

If any of you have seen several of the documentaries on the Duggar family from Arkansas who have sixteen children, you probably won't be surprised to learn that they've just had Baby No. 17. And she wants more.

Here's the news story.

I've watched these documentaries about them over the past few years and have seen them grow from fourteen to seventeen kids. Since there are two sets of twins, mom has only had to go through fifteen pregnancies. The oldest child is 19 and Mom has just turned forty.

The pic here is when they only had fourteen kids.

The kids all seem to be well-adjusted and well-cared for. Mom and Dad are both real estate agents, they receive no public assistance and they've always lived debt-free. (That's really admirible).

Each of the older children is assigned a "buddy", that is, one of the younger children to care for. That sounds like a pretty clever idea and certainly teaches the kids responsibility.

If you look at the websites about the Duggars and read the comments, most of the comments are pretty critical of them for having so many kids. Some comments are even pretty cruel and I hope their kids aren't being exposed to this.

My initial reaction is one of criticism as well, but I really admire the fact that they've never incurred any debt, even when they built a new 7,000 sq. ft. house on twenty acres of land. And besides, compared to the screwed-up, dysfunctional families that exist these days, one can hardly be critical of the Duggars in comparison.

The one aspect about their lives that seems questionable is how insular they are. For example, all the kids are home-schooled, there's no TV, no dating, and they even have church services in their home that includes a few, select, like-minded families. (They're very conservative Christians.)

I really wonder what kind of adults these kids are going to be. How prepared will they be if they move away and live in the "real world?" As far as I can tell, they've lived their whole lives having very little contact with anyone who has values different from their own, almost like a cult.

I think the oldest kid who is 19 is remaining at home and studying law through an internet-based course of study.

I doubt that the kids will leave the Duggar compound. My guess is that they'll just build homesteads on the twenty acres and raise families of their own there.

What would really be interesting to see, is a documentary about them in ten or twenty years when they're all adults and no longer cute little kidlets.

I'll set up my Tivo to catch the program.

Labels: ,

The Iceman Cometh, Part II

It's a good thing I got up early on Saturday morning, because the air-conditioner-guy arrived about 8:30 am. I would have hated to have missed out on his arrival with my newly-repaired air conditioner.

When he arrived, I wanted to throw my arms around him, sobbing and weeping uncontrollably. However, I held back, not wanting to do anything that might impede any quick and efficient air-conditioner installation processes.

I stayed in the kitchen and let them do their thing. I was a little concerned when I heard cursing. I guess he just likes to curse, or it helps him install air conditioners. Whatever. Fine. Curse away. Soon, my air conditioner was back on!

I wallowed in my air-conditioned comfort all weekend. I stored the big-ass fan in the storage unit, hoping never to need it again. I shut all the doors, leaving only filtered, cooled and conditioned air to waft over me.

I didn’t even want to cook. I had lots of Thai food delivered from the place across the street. Is that sad or what? I wouldn’t even venture outside in the heat to pick it up.
I made and consumed lots of watermelon sorbet.

I don’t know how people live without air conditioning. I really don't. And what about the Amish? They don’t even have electric, big-ass fans!
It must be a very sad and painful existence.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Balcony of Terror

While Lorraine and her wonderful family were here at my apartment last month, our friend, John, who was supposed to be here, and with whom we were really looking forward to connecting, but couldn't make it because of work obligations in Omaha, kept in contact and often made reference to the fact that my apartment in Chicago was on the 49th floor with a balcony, and thus being so high, was deigned The "Balcony of Terror."

I will readily admit that the balcony from my apartment does hang in a semi-circular fashion almost five-hundred feet above the street level.

Walking toward the outermost, circumferential edge of my balcony, almost five hundred feet above the surface, even for those who have no fear of heights, does indeed strike an extreme feeling of falling, of dread, vertigo, and of overwhelming uncontrollability.

Frankly, I love living fifty stories above the street.
I love knowing that all lawn care, guest parking, garbage removal, valet parking, shipping & receiving, landscaping, snow removal, is all taking place five hundred feet below my coffee table.

Looking straight down, 49 stories . Dearborn bridge looking down over the Chicago River.

Looking straight down, onto Dearborn Street.

Now, here is the most frightening pic of all
Taking a photo UP at the eleven stories above me.
Way scary!

Labels: ,

The Iceman Cometh?

I've been without air conditioning for TEN DAYS now.
It's 6:00 am on Saturday morning and the air conditioning-guy is supposed to be here this morning.
I'm SO not a "morning guy".
I'm SO not a "not-without-air-conditioning-guy"

The latter trumps the former. . .So I'm UP waiting for the air-conditioner-guy to get my life back in order.

Anyway, like I said, I'm up early this morning waiting for the air-conditioner-guy.
(I won't say it - - - Okay, I'll say it - - - "The Iceman Cometh" -- There. I said it. )

Lorraine was so sweet about the fact that I can't come out to Seattle for her Huge Celebration in September. Even though it was a disappointment, she made me feel good about myself when I wasn't feeling that way about myself and about my job that inhibited me going out there.

Lorraine is magical like that.

I'll say it again . . .
All of you should obtain some "Lorraine-ness" in your life.
Everyone would benefit from it.

She really enjoyed my balcony, so I'm posting a couple of pics that I took at 6:00 am this morning.
I'm never out there in the morning, (Good Lord, I hate the outdoors) but Lorraine was,
and she loved the balcony:
Here you go, dear heart . . .


My line of work involves promoting the employment of individuals with disabilities. In doing so, I'm always learning a lot regarding this subject. It's pretty fascinating, actually.

Recently, we encountered a young man in his mid twenties who had been blind since a very young age. He had, of course, learned to read and write proficiently in Braille and listen and speak in hand-spelling.

Recently, through medical procedures, he has become sighted enough to see large print. What is really interesting is that he has not, of course, learned to read English text until his recent sightedness and has only begun to do so. However, (and here's the fascinating part) now that he is newly-sighted, he prefers reading "sighted" Braille!

Think about it. He's become highly educated reading in Braille. Now that he's sighted, he prefers and is more proficients at reading printed Braille rather than touch-Braille or printed English.

At my workplace, we're all about making accommodations for individuals with disabilities. We have the most recent Braille writer and can convert PDF-to-Word-to-Braille at the drop of a hat.

Helen Keller is one of my all-time favorite idols; not because she was deaf and blind, but because she was highly educated, wrote some of the most profound essays on universal theology, fought for human rights with regard to the disabled, preached an awareness of womens' venereal diseases and, most of all, was a staunch Socialist.

While at Radcliffe, she also struggled with algebra and, most of all, with geometry. Think about it. No auditory or visual stimuli or recollection.
I can see how she made it through with the abstract equations of algebra, but the spacial theorems of plane geometry. . . ?

And now, our friend just has to brush the side of a pencil across the "invisible" bumps of Braille and an entire written world is instantly opened up and more accessible to him.
A whole new concept that none of us had ever thought about.

Don't you just love that?
I sure do!

Labels: , ,

Friday, August 03, 2007


I had to give a presentation to a bunch of small business owners this afternoon. Each one of them had a display, selling their wares.

I love my job. Last week, I had to attend one of these things and got to pet a sloth and a hedgehog.
This time, I got to pose with the Aflac Duck. (Oh my God. I have on WAY too much hair spray)



I bought some art. Doesn't that sound chi-chi?
As Lorraine can tell you, the walls in my apartment are pretty bare. I would definitely make a good Shaker because I like things simple and really, really don't want anything superfluous in my surroundings. I'm the opposite of a pack-rat.
I don't know a whole lot about art, but I know I've always liked Kandinsky a lot, and Modern Art in general.
I don't really respond to a painting or sculpture of something, like a person or landscape, but I want it to evoke something in me.
And Kandinsky's stuff is also pretty.
So, I bought Kandinsky's Structure Joyeuse. It has lots of yellows and reds in it.
I couldn't decide what color of mat would go with it. A reddish or yellowish one just didn't work.
Then I tried a blue mat.
Pow! It SO worked.
I have this hanging above the piano in my apartment and my walls aren't quite so bare.
And it's pretty.


Thursday, August 02, 2007


I have an appointment this weekend. I'm treating myself to a spa.
I've never "done" a spa before, but a friend of mine told me about a place called "Sir Spa" and said it was fantastic. So, being a single guy with no family, "significant other" or pets to glom onto my income, I'm spending a little of my money on me.

By the way, the slogan for "Sir Spa" is cute:
Where men go to get their go.

But one thing I won't be doing at "Sir Spa" is getting a massage.
I hate massages. Really.

About ten years ago, I was working as an intern at a substance abuse treatment center in New York. Part of the internship was that we were supposed to take part in at least one session of all the activities that the patients did. (I had one session of counseling and the woman made me cry within five minutes -- she was good!)

So, I signed up for my one session of massage therapy.
I'm lying there on my tummy with my shirt off and I explicitly told the massage therapist, "Don't go near the ribs. I'm super-ticklish on my ribs."

Did she heed my explicit warning??

Every time she would remotely approach my rib area, I'd tense up and jump.
"You really are ticklish!" she said.

Well, yeah, that's what I said in the beginning.

I kept jumping. And tensing, and jumping, and tensing.

By the end of the session, I was like a cat, hanging upside down on the ceiling by its claws.

At the end of my three-month internship I was looking over my evaluation.
It read:
Jonathan does not benefit from massage therapy.

See? I have written documentation that I don't enjoy massages.

So, at "Sir Spa" I will not be treating myself to a massage.

And a massage with a "happy ending"?
Sooo not gonna happen!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Just got back from yet another fantabulous meal at Lao Sze Chuan. This time there were only three of us: Miss Healthypants, our friend Liane, and I.

We've recently discovered the most incredible menu item:
Mayonnaise Shrimp.
It's huge shrimp, dipped in mayonnaise, deep fried and served with a slightly sweet sauce.
Really, you've never tasted shrimp this good. Ever!

But we didn't order Mayonnaise Shrimp this time. We got our usual appetizers of crab rangoon and an order of pot stickers. Then we ordered twice-cooked spicy pork with cilantro and eggplant with garlic sauce. Notice all the chilis in the pork.
Like I said, we didn't place an order for Mayonnaise Shrimp this time for the three of us.
Instead . . .

. . . We placed TWO orders of Mayonnaise Shrimp.
Ha!!Are we pigs, or what??
Still, with a very generous tip, it came out to a little over twenty bucks a piece.
This place is incredible.
Absolutely incredible.


Trump Tower

Donald Trump's thing is getting bigger each day now.
Here it is at 46 stories.
Halfway up.

Labels: ,