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[about the author]

i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish, eh?

i work crossword puzzles in ink.

i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie izzard. can't decide, really.

i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really good aunt.

i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.

i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.

i never play dumb. never.

i am way too hard on myself.

i am a change agent.

i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.

i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.

i am militantly pro-choice.

i am pro-adoption.

i know a little bit about alot of things.

i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.

i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it. hard.

i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.

i have been known to hold a grudge.

i have hips.

i am not my sister.

i am lousy at forgiving myself.

i am an indoor kind of gal.

i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.

i am 32 flavors. and then some.

[the ones people ask about]
Rittenhouse Review
Investment Banking Monkey
Cheap Ticket News
iPhone News
Hotels and Travel News
Latest on Retirement Planning
Consumer News and Reviews

[in case you were wondering]

[the blogger behind the curtain]

[100 things about me]

[the old stuff]


<< current

[all content copyright 2007 by tequila mockingbird. seriously.]


from the french for “to blatantly rip off”
some days, if i didn’t get much sleep the night before, or i’m crabby, or i have alot of work to do (shudder the thought), i find myself in sort of a blog-bind. i want to post, need to post, but can’t think of anything dazzling to post. of course, i don’t let that stop me!

anyway, i sometimes cruise through some of my favorite blogs, looking for something to…uh…inspire me to pay homage.

hom·age n.
a special honor or respect shown or expressed publicly.

see, it’s a special honor…not a rip-off. uh, yeah, so today’s homage is to reecie. if you read many blogs, you’re gonna see lists, like this one, that i "homaged" recently. i really liked this list on reecie’s site, so today i’m “homaging” it. feel free to homage my homage.

[ed. note: homage is fun to say, but it starts to sound funny after a while. like pumpkin. say pumpkin a lot (and today would be a perfect day to do that, what with it being halloween. oh, yeah…happy halloween!) and pretty soon you’ll find that it starts to sound pretty ridiculous. and bubble. that’s another good one. bubble bubble bubble bubble. see? told ya.]

anyway, let's get on with the homage:

ten things i really liked when i was a teenager that i don't much care for now:
1. taco bell
2. the love boat
3. the color pink
4. gold jewelry
5. permed hair
6. fruit roll-ups
7. red cars
8. diet coke
9. mtv
10. the reagan years

ten things i didn't much care for when i was a teenager that i really like now:
1. my sister
2. lipgloss
3. discount stores
4. football
5. madonna
6. nice guys
7. mittens
8. npr
9. avocados
10. myself

ten things i've never much cared for and very likely never will:
1. math
2. black licorice
3. beowulf
4. chardonnay
5. yellow cheese
6. plaid
7. coffee
8. ketchup in packets
9. sleet
10. black corduroy

ten things i've always really liked and very likely always will:
1. school house rock
2. my mom
3. sarcasm
4. s’mores
5. talking politics
6. turtleneck sweaters
7. white rice with salt and butter
8. bob newhart
9. old movies
10. saturday night live
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]


okay, that's kinda funny
last post on this site about push, nevada.


i swear.

yesterday i had several emails from folks who were having trouble accessing this page (could it be a problem with blogger?! noooo. that never happens.). while trying to track down the problem, i checked my stats, which is something i never remember to do. and, while i wasn't getting the kind of hits that, say a dooce, or a sour bob, or a jodi gets, i was definitely seeing an increase in traffic to my humble blog. specifically, a spike in referrals from search engines. of course, for me, two would be a spike...i never get referrals from search engines. never. so, i check it out, and here's what i see:

Google: push nevada clues

Google: +"MORSE CODE" +TELEVISION +UNDERWEAR +TELEVISION +"MORSE CODE" +FIVE +G +TELEVISION +ORANGE +FIVE +"MORSE CODE" +ORANGE [ed. note: welcome to the internet. glad you could join us. repeating the same search term multiple times does not give you better search results. you want "five." we see that. you want "orange." check. and you damn sure want "television" and "morse code." we get it already.]

get this: turns out that if you enter all the push clues into google, this is the only page that hits. sweet lord, these poor folks must have thought they hit the jackpot, and, instead all they got was some bitter chick bitching about ben affleck.

so, for all you folks who stumbled onto this blog thinking you'd found the key to your one million dollars...uh...welcome!...and...uh...it's over. it was just a stupid phone number. the game is over. you can stop searching now. it was just a tv show. but, you know, welcome anyway. come back and visit!

there's a whole page of searches listed, but my favorite has to be:

Google: push nevada abc sucks

amen, my friend. amen.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]


of vongilnail and wang sucking
a few things that suck wang:
jar jar binks
those 1-800-call-att commercials with carrot top
new coke
my local abc affiliate pre-empting alias so they can show a freaking redskins game that is already on espn

and now: push, nevada.

push, nevada, which could have been an incredibly cool and standard-setting show, is now, officially, the most wang-suckingest thing ever to suck wang.

yes, after all the hours, after all the brain cramping, it turns out the whole thing was a total rip-off. 100 monkeys with 100 sprint™ phones could have correctly answered this one, without ever having watched that stupid-ass show.

originally, the official rules stated that you were supposed to figure out where the stolen money was hidden, based on the clues provided in each episode. then, after abc cancelled the show, the official rules were rewritten, which i expected. i mean, they needed to change some of the things like end date, number of clues, etc.

but, what else did they change in the rules? oh, yeah...the point of the freaking game. they lobotomized the damn thing right in the middle of the game. they took out the part that said you are supposed to figure out where the money is, and replaced it with a puzzle out of the back of highlights magazine. and how could they do that? oh, yeah, they wrote themselves a rule that said, "we can change the rules whenever we want to and you can't do anything about it, so fuck off."

basically, the "solution" was to take the list of clues that they gave you about one million times, and then ignore the first clue, then follow some dumbass re-ordering thing that they spouted off in, like three seconds, and you end up with this string of letters:


vongeyelnail?! what the...? that doesn't make any sense. maybe it's scrambled or something. but, wait! i seem to remember that, in the background, there was some rebus clue that must have been laid off from concentration when that bastard alex trebek came in and took over! but, what did it mean, what did it mean...hmmm...eyeball=i. that doesn't make sense...eyelash=i...no...wait, wait -- eye=i!! ooohhh. clever! so it's not really vongeyelnail...it's vongilnail! yes! woo-hoo! i rock! uh...wait...vongilnail? what the...oh, dammitalltohell!

so, then, you take some really hard code thing that you would only know if you had watched push: a=1, b=2. i can only imagine how they came up with that one:

affleck: we need some sort of code for them to convert those letters to numbers. something that really makes you think....
j.lo: how about a=1, b=2? you know, like do the whole alphabet like that.
["hmmm," affleck ponders, "if i tell her that's moronic she may revoke my booty privileges. still, though, i don't want this show to suck. booty v. professional humiliation...what to do, what to do...."]
affleck: that's absolutely brilliant!

anyway, you use the wiley-coyote-super-genius code to convert that bullshit nonsense to numbers and you end up with some phone number, which i'm sure is provided by sprint™. 'cause this damn thing is all about corporate whoring.

and, that's it, ladies and gentlemen: a phone number. not disney world. not disney land. none of the above. nothing to do with the show, or the story...just a damn phone number.

for those of you who had wished me luck, and were pulling for me: yes, i did solve it. yes, i did actually get through on the phone line before they stopped taking calls. yes, they did take my name and personal information. no, there's no way in hell that i was the first person to call, thereby winning the million bucks. i was too busy thinking. i gotta stop doin' that.

anyway: a pox on your wang-sucking house, ben affleck.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]


a jolly good psa
not much time today. still puzzling over push. come 9:00 tonight, it's all over but the crying...and the crying will still be going on for days after. mostly because i can't block out the image of ben affleck in an orange codpiece. that'll keep you up nights. so, you know, thanks for that.

so, today will just be a little public service announcement. this is for all of us who know someone from, say, paramus who insists on saying things like, "ring me up" when they want you to call them. or telling you that they just got back from "holiday." whatever. you're not hugh grant, you tool. hell, you're not even grant goodeve. let it go.

things you really shouldn't say unless you are british
pip, pip
bloody [ed. note: look, i like this one alot, too...but, seriously...it just sounds wrong without the british accent. sorry.]
i say, old chap
guv (or guv'nor)
mate (instead of friend...really, not instead of husband or wife, either, now that i think about it)
chips (when you mean fries)
crisps (when you mean chips)
biscuits (when you damn well mean cookies. but it's okay when you really do mean biscuits)

things you can probably get away with every once in a while, but you don't want to make a habit of
bugger off
cake hole [ed. note: this, of course is the anglo version of the american "pie hole;" as in "shut your clanging cake/pie hole."]
bum [ed. note: proceed with extreme caution here]

feel free to chime in...i'm sure i've missed some.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]


a clue, a clue, a clue. gseundheit!
i know you probably tuned in today hoping to find yet another long-winded-big-ass story about one of my random exploits. but, come on...wasn't yesterday's random exploit long-winded and big-ass enough to hold you for a while?

[murmurs of assent ripple through the crowd]


so, today i have to spend all of my energy on winning a million dollars. last night abc aired the last episode of push, nevada and crammed all the remaining clues into the last 20 seconds of the show. abc sucks. not that you need me to tell you that.
according to jim. MDs. do i really need to keep going?

i mean, push didn't have its sea legs yet, but it had potential. and, it required its audience to pay attention and to [gasp!] think a bit. i can just hear the abc braintrust now: "god forbid we require them to think -- we must cancel this right away! we will have no thinking! let's replace it with even more episodes of dinotopia!!"

anyway, last night's episode contained an obvious shout-out to me: the word "usurped" appeared not once, but twice during the show. twice, people. i mean, it's obvious that ben affleck wants me to have this money. okay, sure, it would have been more obvious if they had said "upsurped," but, you know, potato, potahto. whatever. so, in light of the shout-out, let me just say this:

to: ben affleck
from: me
re: that money you obviously want me to have
dude, i need more clues. seriously. i definitely appreciate the shout-out, but, come on...underwear?? i. am. clue. less.

so, here are the clues. if you have any ideas, feel free to comment. if you're right, and i get the cash, i'll slip you a twenty.

1. $1,045,000
2. television
3. orange
4. peter pan
5. g
6. morse code
7. five
8. longitude
9. underwear
10. southeast
11. bodnick
12. eliot

so, get out your green lantern decoder rings and go to it, kids.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]


two girls, a sharpie and a bathroom wall
not too long after my divorce, one of my oldest and dearest friends, c, went through a devastating break-up of her own. and, as misery does love company, we decided that we should get together and drown our sorrows in as much alcohol as we could afford to buy. and, once that was accomplished, we would set out to convince others to buy yet more alcohol for us so our drowning could continue.

using our keen powers of logic, we opted to visit an establishment which would enable us to recognize a maximum return on our investment. in other words, the cheapest watering hole we could find. once we established that as our primary criterion, we both knew there was only one answer: the cantina.

the cantina is the dive bar to end all dive bars. i mean, this place is, quite frankly, disgusting. they had the world’s oldest red naugahyde booths that had the occasional strips of duct tape holding together gouges from, one could safely assume, years of knife fights. the place was so dark you could barely see your hand right in front of your own face, which eliminated the need to do any sort of housekeeping or maintenance. and there was only one waitress: sally. although we called her surly…but not to her face, ‘cause she’d cut ya. seriously.

anyway, the cantina had the cheapest drink specials in the tri-state region. plus, it wasn’t a meat market. chances were slim that c and i would have to deal with any serious suitors, which is important when your primary goal is to go out with your best friend and spew bitter venom about men. the cantina also offered a host of seedy regulars who would be happy to buy us drinks once our funds ran out without expecting us to be nice to them. this factor alone was enough to convince us that the cantina was the perfect place to spend our evening.

c and i settled into a booth and commenced with the drowning. our dialogue began as consoling and supportive. but, eventually, we devolved into the sort of drunken ranting that only two broken hearts in perfect miserable harmony can generate.

j: you know, he’s a jackass. i mean, he never appreciated you. he doesn’t deserve you! he totally doesn’t deserve you!
c: i love you.
j: and i love you. i mean, if i was a guy, i would date you. you know that, right? i mean, i would be all over you. you couldn’t get me off of you. especially not for some trashy little salad bar tramp.
c: i know. and i love you for that. and, if i was a guy, i wouldn’t leave you for a bus driver.
j: thank you. i really appreciate that.
c: i love you.
j: and i love you. you know what his problem was? he was overwhelmed by your beauty.
c: you think?
j: absolutely. felt totally inadequate. undeserving of someone of your beauty. and your intellect. overwhelmed by your beauty and your intellect. it was all too much. too threatening for a small little man like him. he had to find someone…less, you know. she is less.
c: they both are less. they are all four of them less.
j: i love you.
c: i love you.
j: i hate him so much. he’s a complete and utter jackass.
c: you know i never liked him. i tried to tell you.
j: oh, yeah, well you obviously have a depth of insight into the character of men that i am sorely lacking.
c: i love you.

i should probably explain two things here:
1. we were drunk. not that that wasn’t obvious from the excerpt above, but i just want to be clear on that point.

2. in case you hadn’t guessed, we were both thrown over for other chicks. my ex-husband left me for his best friend’s wife, who was a bus driver with giant-bleach-blonde-permed-in-the-back-but-not-in-the-front hair. c’s longtime boyfriend threw her over for some two-bit-ponderosa-salad-bar attendant with way too much eye makeup.

i should probably clarify three things here:
a. item 1 should probably read “his former best friend’s wife.” i mean…with hindsight and all.
b. the bus driver’s hair was truly, horribly big. and overprocessed.
c. the salad bar girl’s eye makeup was truly, horribly disgusting. i’m not just being mean.
d. neither c nor i would normally sit in judgment of someone simply because of their jobs; in this case, bus driver and salad bar attendant. i mean, hell, c and i met while we were waiting tables. plus, c is this total-hippie-socialist. she’s actually a member of the green party. it’s not like we’re two uptight republican yuppies who are looking down our noses at these chicks because they work in the service industry. but, you know…you’re drunk. and hurt. and…well, that’s a couple of easy targets right there, i mean a bus driver and a salad bar attendant. it’s not like the girl even cut up the vegetables. she just dumped the already-cut-up-vegetables into the bowl, for god’s sake. how can you not mock that when you’re in the depths of despair?

so, we go on to extol our own virtues for several hours while eviscerating our exes. a great female tradition if ever there was one. eventually, we firmly establish that:
1. we are goddesses and our exes are wholly unworthy of us.
2. those trollops they’ve taken up with are...well...trollops.
3. the guy at the bar has an artificial leg.
4. there should be some sort of legal limit as to how many consecutive lynrd skynrd songs someone can play on a jukebox in a public establishment.
5. the waitress has killed at least two people. probably for knowing her true identity. because she is on the run from the law.
6. that is one big-ass roach on that table over there.

we realize that this is an evening of monumental proportions. of great epiphanies. an evening truly worthy of our beauty and our intellect, and, as such, it should be preserved for all posterity. but how?

c: we should write something on the bathroom wall.
j: that’s fucking brilliant.
c: we need a magic marker. do you have one?
j: what, you mean like on my person at all times or something? no, i do not have a magic marker.

believe it or not, our waitress complies with our request for a marker without asking a single question. and so we stagger off to the bathroom. it’s just a one-facility kind of a place, no stalls or anything. the walls are some sort of an industrial blue-green color, although it's tough to tell because of the overwhelming amount of graffiti on the them.

apparently, we are not the first to have the brilliant idea that our searing insights should be preserved on the bathroom wall.

we decide on a spot. right between “cami luvs gary 4-ever!!!!” and “missy r. sux cox!!!!!”

of course, we have not discussed which of our insights we’ll be sharing with the bathroom-going masses. but, after about ten minutes of debating, we decide which pearl of wisdom will best preserve this moment. i hand the marker to c to do the honors.

c: there. what do you think? god...this is so great.

and there, on the wall, is our legacy:

"beware, women of intellect, for you shall be upsurped by a blue-collar tramp."

j: dude, does that say ‘upsurped’? ‘upsurped’ is not a word.
c: fuck. me.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]


100 things about me
1. i am a dog person.
2. i kick ass at Scrabble.
3. i watch inside the actors studio. i don’t know why.
4. i’m a much better interior designer than hilde on trading spaces.
5. i got married when i was 20.
6. i got divorced when i was 23.
7. some days i totally forget i was ever married at all.
8. i fucking hate liars.
9. i was double-promoted...
10. ...twice.
11. i dropped out of college halfway through my senior year, and never went back.
12. #11 really embarrasses me.
13. since the age of five, people have told me i’m intimidating.
14. yeah, i own some porn.
15. i’m really good at a lot of things, but i’m scared i’m not great at anything.
16. i’m a textbook scorpio.
17. i don’t really like ice cream very much.
18. i don’t like beer at all.
19. i’m incredibly unphotogenic.
20. i can touch my nose with my tongue.
21. butter, yes. margarine, no.
22. if i had to choose between cake or death, i’d choose cake.
23. nothing pisses me off more than a closed mind.
24. i love to ride roller coasters.
25. i dig disco music.
26. simon was my favorite member of duran duran.
27. i grew up on the “wrong” side of the river.
28. i love to make out.
29. i don’t look like anyone famous.
30. i will watch any baseball or college football game.
31. i’m beginning to suspect that i do have a biological clock after all.
32. i lost everything i owned, including my dog, when my house burned down.
33. i miss my grandparents every single day.
34. i rock at putt-putt.
35. i really like the smell of bleach.
36. i think blue m&ms are just wrong.
37. i drive a big 'ol SUV. and i like it.
38. i’m a magazine junkie.
39. i’m a compulsive list maker.
40. i don’t like citrus fruit.
41. i love potatoes…mashed, baked, french fried, you name it.
42. i always know whodunit.
43. fall is my favorite season.
44. it gives me no pleasure at all to state the following: in the infidelity equation, i have been the cheater, the cheatee, and the cheated on.
45. most days, i would trade five years of my life to be a size 6.
46. i wish i was fluent in french.
47. and italian.
48. i hate it when people tell me what to do.
49. i enjoy ironing. especially ironing shirts. with spray starch.
50. s'mores? oh, hell yeah!
51. i only use white sheets and white towels.
52. my feet are always cold.
53. i prefer email to the telephone.
54. what i don't get is why lyle lovett married julia roberts.
55. i work crossword puzzles in ink.
56. i wish i could remember to shave my legs.
57. i have hips.
58. i am not my sister.
59. i am a good listener.
60. i hold grudges. i try really hard not to, but sometimes i just can't help myself.
61. i actually like speaking in front of large crowds.
62. i am the american nigella lawson.
63. i would be a really good mom, but right now i'm cool with being a really good aunt.
64. i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.
65. i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.
66. i never play dumb. never.
67. i am way too hard on myself.
68. i am a change agent.
69. i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.
70. i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.
71. i am militantly pro-choice.
72. i am pro-adoption.
73. i know a little bit about alot of things.
74. i'm a bundle of contradictions. covered in secret sauce.
75. i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.
76. i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it, really hard.
77. i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.
78. i am lousy at forgiving myself.
79. i am an indoor kind of gal.
80. i’m named after two men – my godfather, and my great-grandfather.
81. i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.
82. i own more than 100 lipsticks and lip glosses. it's a sickness.
83. i set high standards for myself in all areas of my life, and I often expect others to do the same...without ever telling them.
84. i’ve never read war and peace.
85. i know flash!
86. i love my mom more than anything in the whole world.
87. i am fascinated by serial killers.
88. i just realized that i don’t each much red meat. but, when i do eat it, i like it rare. e coli be damned.
89. i’ve discovered that it is virtually impossible for me to physically relax.
90. i love movies. especially the philadelphia story. and pretty much anything by the coen brothers. and...oh, hell, i just love movies.
91. i have a sinking feeling that i’m going to die relatively young, but i don’t let it interfere with my day-to-day life.
92. i worry that i'm "supposed" to be doing something great...like world-changing great. but i have no idea what it is.
93. i know she wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but i was my gran’s favorite.
94. i try and do the right thing. all the time. and it’s hard.
95. i fucking hate it when you think someone is your friend and it turns out that they’re actually a sociopath.
96. i learned the word “fuck” from my mom. much to her dismay.
97. some days i’m scared to death…but i think i hide it well.
98. i’ve never been anywhere i loved more than st. barth.
99. i am a property owner.
100. i am 32 flavors. and then some.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]


top ten reasons i didn't blog yesterday
10. i didn’t have the necessary permit.
9. i was waiting for godot and lost track of time.
8. i ran out of total and spent my entire day eating 12 bowls of wheaties.
7. i felt that, if i had blogged yesterday, the terrorists would have won.
6. no hablo blog.
5. i thought i had a bye.
4. i actually did blog…but i typed it in invisible ink.
3. the sun was in my eyes.
2. jesus left a message on my machine telling me not to blog.
[oh yeah, smart ass, well if it wasn’t jesus, who was it then?]
1. performance anxiety…i fear i may have jumped the shark with “slammerkin.”

come to think of it, there's been much discussion recently that the phrase “jump the shark” may have actually jumped the shark. damn, where's alanis morissette when you need her?

so, i'm trying to come up with a new catchphrase that might sweep across the country. or at least sweep across my apartment. or at least sweep the kitchen in my apartment.

right now i'm considering building the catchphrase around one of two classic "jump the shark" moments. the first is the painful if-we-don't-mention-it-maybe-no one-will-notice-dick york/dick sargent switch. the second is that dark day when shelley hack graced charlie’s door.

but, as always, the floor is open to your suggestions....
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]


revenge is a dish best served piping hot...with corn muffins
i’ve been known to google an ex from time to time. heck, i google lots of people. even people i never liked in high school. hoping, i guess, to see their name in connection to some high-profile felony charge. anyway, i google an ex every once in a while. admit it...you do, too.

so, i google s. we’ll be referring to him as s because…well, because that’s the first letter of his name. anyway, s is an ex who was my sea change. i didn’t treat him very well, and that’s a statement brimming over with self-protection. i broke his heart. into tiny little jagged pieces. a lot of them. and, i regret it. a lot. that experience caused me to do a great deal of soul-searching. i asked myself some really hard questions about who i was, and who i wanted to be. i like to think i’ve come a long way from the careless person i was then. that i understand a bit why i did some of the things i did. that i’ll never do those things again. i just hate that i had to learn those lessons at the expense of a really wonderful person who loved me and trusted me.

s appreciated me in a way that no one really had before. or since, actually. he thought i was the bee’s knees. best thing since sliced bread. i hung the moon. you get the picture. one of my favorite pastimes – cooking – actually flourished while i was with s. s wasn’t much of a cook. okay, he could cook soup and ravioli. out of a can. oh, and frozen pizzas. anyway, with his encouragement, i started spreading my wings in the kitchen, trying new things, and gaining confidence with each success. he was so enthusiastic, so supportive, and an incredibly good sport.

once, we took one of our infamous road trips. although it seems baffling in retrospect, i seem to recall that it was a road trip to indiana. why indiana? why, i do not know…cannot fathom…am unable to explain. anyway, that was a long road trip. to make it more interesting, we decided that we would stop every hour on the hour, coming and gong, in an effort to definitively identify the best chili between our start and end points. it was a fun experiment, but, ultimately, disappointing. there is some bad chili out there, people. chili with cinnamon in it. a lot of cinnamon. chili with lots of beans and no meat. chili with unidentifiable, alleged "meat". chili on top of spaghetti, which was especially confusing to me, as that was usually referred to as "spaghetti sauce" in my family (don’t start with the emails, cincinnati). so, upon our return home i immediately set out to make the world’s best chili. well, immediately after eating a case of alka-seltzer.

and guess what? i made some damn fine chili.

so fine, in fact that s became addicted. it became our ritual: every autumn weekend, i was in the kitchen, making up a big ‘ol pot of red. we’d eat it until we were immobile, sprawled out on the couch, both of us with big fat smiles on our faces.

“j,” he’d say, “that is some damn fine chili. seriously. goddamn.”

“you know,” i’d retort, “sometimes i think you just keep me around for my chili recipe. i’m afraid to teach you how to make it…you’ll put me to the curb!”

but, i did teach him how to make it. and we pinky-swore to secrecy. and it was great. and fun. and he didn’t put me to the curb.

and then, it all ended.

so, i’m on a little google safari, and i google him, and i get a couple of hits. the usual stuff. some brief he argued. his unsuccessful bid in local politics. bleh. then, i happen to pop over to the image tab.

and, whammo – there it is.

this picture hits me like a ton of bricks.

there he is, smiling that smile, wearing his favorite shirt (the servicemaster one with “ed” embroidered on it), and his favorite glasses (the ones with the red lenses – “so i can always look at the world through rose-colored glasses, even when i forget to try” he said.). and, beside him is this…this…chick. and she’s smiling and he has his arm around her, and she looks sickeningly happy. as a matter of fact, they both look sickeningly happy. and, speaking of sickeningly, i want to puke.

so, i study this picture carefully, and i am able to discern several facts right away:

1. he has gained weight.
2. she is, clearly, a slammerkin.
3. his smile is totally fake.
4. even though i have never seen her before, it is obvious that she, too, has gained weight.
5. i am not in this picture anywhere.

oh, i can hear you now, gentle readers:

“you’re angry that he found happiness with another woman after you treated him badly and broke his heart into tiny little jagged pieces?!"

"you're some selfish piece of work.”

"i like my spaghetti with chili on it!"

but, i'm honestly not upset that he's happy. truly, it was my fondest wish that he would find happiness again. as a matter of fact, i lost a lot of sleep worrying that he might not. i mean, maybe i hadn't envisioned that he would be so happy...but, no, that isn’t what bothered me. that isn’t what caused my stomach to turn. what caused my skull to hurt as though an alien baby was going to come shooting out of my forehead.

see, this isn’t just a picture of a blissfully happy couple.

it’s a picture of a blissfully happy couple holding a trophy and a check.

it's a picture of a blissfully happy couple winning a chili cook-off.
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the saddest thing i've heard all day
you may already know that i live and work in the dc area. this morning, as i walked past the mayflower hotel, i heard the following conversation. granted, it was only 7:45 when i heard it, but i gotta feeling it's going to take the title for the whole damn day.

doorman #1: "hey man, how's it going?"

doorman #2: "good, man, how 'bout you?"

doorman #1: "good...good. hey, man, anybody get shot yet today?"

doorman #2: "no, not yet. probably tonight, though."

these are sad times.
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what's so funny 'bout pax, love and understanding? well, mostly pax
the other night i’m flipping through channels, desperately seeking some sort of entertainment that does not involve me having to go outside and/or put gas in my car, and i stumble onto the mrs. america pageant on pax. i can’t help but stop – it’s like a train wreck. i mean, aside from the sadness of it all, i have to stop for a moment to confirm that, yes, that is gary kroeger hosting the spectacle. no, not that gary kroeger -- this gary kroeger. i’m sure you all remember gary from his glorious stint on snl in the 80’s, right? yeah, me neither. but anyway, there’s gary, underneath (i’m not kidding) a big-ass cardboard rainbow with these stepford wives parading around in costumes that represent their home state.

i love that! i mean, that was my most favorite part of the miss america pageant, when they used to have those incredibly cheesy costumes that somehow represent their home state. it was always a hoot to see how the contestants tried to come up with a costume that represented their state while still allowing the maximum cheesecake factor. cases in point from the mrs. america pageant: mrs. kentucky and my own mrs. maryland. mrs. kentucky chose to represent her state by dressing up as a jockey. with knee-high black leather riding boots,white satin hot pants that came this close to showing her ass cheeks, and, of course, a riding crop. mrs. maryland went for the more obscure think-piece-that-is-still-bootylicous angle – she’s standing there in some s&m gladiator-chick kind of outfit and i’m scratching my head, all “whaa?” then she explains that she represents "the knight on the state seal.” ohhh. you mean lord baltimore? the guy in the full chain mail? yeah, see, i didn’t get that. maybe it’s the way lord baltimore doesn’t have his cleavage pushed all the way up to his forehead. or the way his pants come all the way down to the ground instead of stopping just south of asscrackia. glad you took the time to explain that, mrs. maryland.

so, as i’m transfixed (and, come on, who wouldn’t be?) by the humanity before me, they cut to commercial. first up, the newest hit series premiering next week on pax: sue thomas – f.b.eye. there’s sue now, with rosy cheeks and breck girl hair. and a golden retriever by her side. commercial goes on to tell me, basically, nothing about this show other than it’s brought to you by the producers of “doc.” okay, so based on what i’ve seen, i’m guessing that sue thomas – f.b.eye (which, by the way, is actually f.b.i. with the “i” crossed through, and then “eye” written all cute-like. much more impact that way. ahem.) is about some beautiful blonde blind (check my alliteration, people!) woman who works at the f.b.i. with her trusty seeing eye dog. well, guess what? two days later i see something on the today show about the real sue thomas. turns out she is, uh, not blonde. never was. and, with all the kindness in my being, i’ll just say that sue doesn’t really favor the breck girl in the series. ‘nuff said. and, as for that dog? well, i don’t know about sue thomas – f.b.eye, but the real sue thomas is deaf. she worked as a lip reader for the f.b.i. so…what’s up with the dog?! are you gonna tune in to the premiere to find out? yeah, me neither. by the way, how is a series a “hit” if it hasn’t premiered yet? i know it’s pax and all, but the basic rules of logic still apply in their universe, right?

next commercial up explains the “brought to you by the producers of doc” line in the sue thomas commercial. thank god, ‘cause i was wondering what powerhouse drama i’d been missing. turns out the series is actually doc mullet – medicine man. starring billy ray cyrus. billy ray…still working the mullet. in the commercial, there’s some sickness or disease or some other type of malady, and this guy says to doc mullet, “doc, just tell me – what’s wrong with our little girl?”

and i’m just sitting there on my couch hoping so fucking hard that doc mullet will look at him and say, “i’m sorry, bob. it’s her heart. her achy-breaky-heart.”

but, he doesn’t. which is too bad, 'cause that's the kind of show i could get behind.
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an unexpected gift
as you probably gathered from my links, i happen to think there are some mighty fine blogs out there. today, i logged into what is, perhaps, my most favorite of them all and found an entry that hit me so hard i just sat and cried.

in the midst of my pain and anger today, it was an unexpected gift to be reminded that there is hope. hope that the end of love does not have to mean the end of dignity. in this vast electronic community, i am grateful to find someone who is so open with their life. so willing to open a window to the world on the journey of one human being. some days it's just the funniest damn thing you'll read. but other days, like today, it can be moving and beautiful and a reminder that, if we are open to it, there is a wealth of grace inside all of us.

so, thank you, sour bob. thank you for reminding me that i'm not the only one in the world who is mourning the loss of love. that it is a hard journey. that i will be okay.
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boy meets girl: a requiem
i spent my morning off writing my resignation letter, which i will submit tomorrow. two weeks from tomorrow, i’ll leave my job and start packing up my belongings into clearly labeled boxes. and, on my 33rd birthday, i’ll move back into my room in my parents’ home in the small town i grew up in and swore i’d never return to.

sometimes things don’t work out the way you think they will.

for five and a half years, i’ve tried everything I know to make my relationship with m work. but, finally, it’s apparent that there is nothing to be done. it is finally, actually, over.

when my marriage ended years ago, it was a maelstrom of emotions. anger. desperation. sadness. pain. but, i survived – stronger than before, and with very few scars, and, remarkably, i think, an amazing lack of bitterness.

one day, i’ll feel the same way about this.

during the five and a half years there were times when we were on the verge of ending things, and one of us would say, “but it would be such a waste of a great story.” it was a joke, of sorts. a way to break the tension, or defuse the situation, or just stop the “serious” conversation so we didn’t have to talk about ending things any more.

the “story” was a reference to the story of how we met. it’s one of those questions that is always asked of couples, “so, how did you guys meet?” and, we had such a great answer for that one. we “met cute” as they say in hollywood. a scenario reminiscent of that sappy little movie, 'til there was you. years of near-misses, and, eventually, a hit.

and so, for the last time, i’ll tell the story of how we met.

about nine years ago, i worked for the state attorney general, and my office was in the rotunda of the beautiful capitol building. having an office in such an amazing setting had one major drawback – no onsite parking. so, capitol employees had to park at a remote lot and ride a shuttle bus that dropped employees at various office buildings in the complex.

i saw him occasionally on the bus. a tall, blonde guy. i thought he was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen in real-life. i would catch myself actually staring at him – but never working up the courage to speak. my mood was markedly different on the days i saw him on the bus – i had a huge smile plastered on my face when i waltzed into the office on those days. it became a joke in my office – “oh, she saw the guy on the bus!”

he came to be known as “bus guy” in my office. i sustained significant ribbing.

eventually, i noticed his car, which happened to have a license plate with three letters on it. aha! in addition to giving me a clue each day as to whether or not he’d already caught an earlier shuttle, this gave me a lead as to bus guy’s true identity – his initials! using the state employee telephone directory, i learned bus guy’s name, where he worked, even his office phone number! but, true to form, i did nothing. the extent of my efforts was to look for his car in the morning to see if he had already taken the shuttle. if i didn’t see it, i’d wait, hoping he’d arrive and i could take the shuttle with him.

i eventually left the ag’s office, without ever speaking to him. several years passed. i had a new career. a boyfriend.

one day, as i walked through my office, i noticed a familiar-looking man sitting in our lobby. unable to place his face, i asked a co-worker, “whose guy is that in the lobby?”

one of my friends answered, “oh, that’s my friend, m. we’re having lunch today.”

“he looks really familiar to me, but I just can’t place him,” i answered.

“well, maybe you can figure it out tonight – he’s going out for drinks with all of us after work,” she said on her way out the door.

that evening, after several drinks, it dawned on me: it was bus guy! how could I not have recognized him – my dream guy!

as i made my way to the bar for another round, i found myself standing beside him. he turned to look at me and said, “you know, you look really familiar to me.”

“oh,” i said, “i know where you know me from. you work at the capitol. you drive a green saab with your initials on the license plate.”

although i’m sure that it wasn’t the case, it seemed that everything ground to a screeching halt at that moment. i’m sure there wasn’t a sound in the bar.

he stared at me.

“um, excuse me. i have to go.” and i grabbed my drink and high-tailed it to the other side of the bar.

words like “stalker” and “restraining order” bounced through my mind as i drowned my embarrassment in my glass.

“smooth move, ex-lax,” the seventh-graders in my head taunted.

i made my way to the bar for yet another drink. when i turned, i found myself face to face with him again.
“listen,” he started. “about what you said a little while ago. um, there’s something i should probably say….”

“oh, god,” i stammered. “listen, you probably think i’m some sort of nutcase…”

“actually,” he interrupted, “what i was going to say is…well, i was just wondering if you still drive that white subaru?”

he smiled.

and then, there was no sound in the bar again.

i learned that i was known to his co-workers as “that girl on the bus.”

as time passed, we learned of our long-running series of near-misses. that we were “this close” to meeting each other about a dozen different times. that we were at the same parties, or the same concerts, or we knew the same people.

and, so it began. i always thought it was destiny -- that “hit” after all those near-misses. that we were supposed to meet and end up together.

now, five a half years later, i look back and wonder…what if it was the misses that were destiny.

but, no matter what…it’s a good story. i just wish i could rewrite the ending.
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yo mama is so fat...
i've decided to take it easy on ye olde blogge today, so i'll offer this left-turn into the i-know-i-shouldn't-but-i-just-can't-help-myself world of...snaps.

that's right, ladies and gentlemen: snaps. or, as they are known to amateurs: yo mama jokes.

i'll take a cue from the pimpdaddy himself and offer this disclaimer:

snaps might offend...well, just about everyone. if you are offended by foul language, explicit sexual jokes, or just plain disrespectful jokes, please amuse yourself in the archives.

i know it's base, but, sometimes, i just can't help but laugh.

yo mama's so fat, she was floating in the ocean and spain claimed her as a new world.

yo mama's so fat she's got smaller fat mamas orbiting around her.

yo mama's so fat that restaurants have signs that say 'maximum occupancy 240 patrons...or yo mama.'

yo mama's so stupid, they had to burn the school down to get her out of 3rd grade.

yo mama's so stupid, she went to the drive-in to see "closed for the season."

yo mama's so ugly, when i took her to a haunted house she came out with a job.

yo mama's so ugly, her nickname is "damn."

and, now, i open it up to the floor....
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we interrupt our regularly scheduled blog to bring you this moment of 'what the fuck?!'
maybe i'm just a bit on the sensitive side, since i live in the dc area. montgomery county, to be more specific. or maybe i'm not as snarky as i thought. but, i just read an article in the washington post that really pissed me off.

i'm totally unsure as to what the authors' point was, or what sort of tone it was that they were trying to strike here. but, having said that, this article seems to me to be in the worst taste imaginable.

are you really making fun of a man who has taken the lives of seven innocent people, and severely wounded two others, including a thirteen-year-old boy?!

if it was a movie, you'd fall asleep watching it and forget to take it back to the video store for a few days?!

the 'suburb sniper'?!

is this supposed to be clever?

seriously, am i missing something here, 'cause all i can think is 'what the fuck?!'.

maybe it's just me. read it for yourself, and if you're as set off as i am, please write to the post. of course, if you think i need to hype the fuck down, you can just write to me instead. or, you know, comment. or, whatever.
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she said ‘wood’
so, there’s a new show on one of the networklets called everwood.

is it just me, or does that sound like some sort of medical condition brought on by years of viagra abuse?

"it’s just as i suspected, jim...everwood. i’ve seen this sort of thing before, and it’s not pretty.”

anyway, you know how some couples have a secret code they use when they’re out in public to let each other know that they want to get outta dodge and get down to business?

[sound of crickets in the distance]

what, i was in the only couple in the world that made use of such a device?! no way. you know what i'm talking about. don't play dumb.

with my ex-boyfriend, if we were out with friends, and one of us started feeling frisky, we’d look at the other and say,

“i think we should head home. we have a lot of laundry to get folded tonight.”

laundry. pretty clever, eh?

okay, so i’m thinking that my next code is going to be:

“oh, we better get home...there’s a very special episode of everwood on tonight!”
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just a suggestion
this morning, as i boarded my red line train to glenmont, via downtown washington, i settled in for a nice morning commute. but, a few stops later, my bliss was rudely interrupted by the man who sat down next to me. this man had, truly, the most foul breath on the planet. bar none.

there really are not words big enough to describe the smell coming out of this man’s mouth.

plus, he was a total mouth-breather, so i was doubly screwed.

now, i’m no metro virgin. i’ve seen some things on public transportation in my day. i’ve seen a man give himself a manicure – cleaning about two pounds of funk out from under his nails and flicking it on the floor…followed by the nail clipping. hell, in new york i’ve even seen people relieving themselves – and pleasuring themselves on the subway. thankfully the bright orange circa 1974 rec room carpet we have on the metro seems to dissuade most people from those activities. so, here’s a line i never thought i’d type: thank the sweet lord above for bright orange circa 1974 rec room carpet.

for some reason, people seem to think that when you get on public transportation, you've entered your own private world where you can do things too disgusting to do in the privacy of your own home and you're magically invisible. well, snap out of it, people.

and, even if he was invisible, i'd be able to spot this guy because of the aura of funk surrounding him. kind of like when you spray the invisible man with a fire extinguisher and you can see his outline. actually, it would be just like that, except this guy would be outlined by glowing green cloud of funk. really, this man’s breath was un.believe.able.

how does this happen? i can understand if you can’t always be spot-on. like, if you don’t have time to wash the hair, up it goes in some sort of clip, or out comes a hat, or you put baby powder on your head (it’s true)…something. and, believe me, i’ve done the spray-it-with-downy-wrinkle-release-and-throw-it-in-the-dryer-while-i-make-this-pop-tart-and-it-will-look-just-like-you-ironed-it thing. actually, i’ve done that one a lot. this morning, even. but, is it possible to forget to brush your teeth after a night of, apparently, poo munching?

and, let me be clear: i am not some uptight american who isn’t willing to accept some cultural differences with regard to hygeine. i hope that doesn't sound shitty, but i'm just trying to say that i know certain things are more acceptable in other parts of the world. don't fire up the hate mail. what i'm saying is that this was no cultural difference. unless there is some country where it’s culturally acceptable for your mouth to smell like rank ass sweat.

(note to self: if it turns out there is such a country, do not – repeat, do not – plan to visit.)

i’m just saying that, if you open your mouth and a bright green mushroom cloud of funk comes billowing out, brush your damn teeth.

that is all.
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push 'em out, push 'em out, way out
so, i've been watching push, nevada. me and, based on nielsen ratings, about 19 other people. it seemed like the best idea ever -- a marriage of twin peaks and the ea.com game, majestic. you watch the show, and there are clues in the show, and at the end of the season, you put the clues together and the first person to figure out what you're supposed to do, based on the clues, wins $1,000,000. actually, you win $1,045,000 for some totally random reason. but, hey, who wants to look a gift $45,000 in the mouth? especially when mama needs a new pair of boots!

push is from the mind (or at least the production company) of ben affleck. and, that might come as a surprise to some, since i know there are alot of people who share the sentiment of a recent esquire article in which the author stated that "ben affleck was put on this earth to make matt damon look like the smart one."


anyway, they really did a nice job, ala majestic, of making push a total immersion kind of thing. there are "in-game" websites (like a newspaper for this town that doesn't exist....okay, it's www.pushtimes.com, 'cause i know you want to know), and voice mailboxes that belong to the characters in the show, and if you pay attention to the number they dial, you can call and hear messages...some really cool -- and elaborate -- stuff.

but, there are a few problems.

1. the show sort of, uh, sucks. i was a twin peaks junkie. couldn't get enough. but this...well, i knew twin peaks, and this is no twin peaks, my friend. it's a bland, mish-mash of pretentious hoo-ha that only wishes it were twin peaks. hell, i'd give $20 to see that freaky little backwards talking midget -- and that was the phase of twin peaks i didn't even like. and fauxdrey...well, here's a line i can't believe i'm about to type: she's no sherilynn finn. she has the brand of sex appeal that consists primarily of wearing lots of lip gloss and keeping your lips parted at all times. could be sexy, i guess...or you could just be a mouth-breather.

where have you gone, agent cooper? a lonely nation turns its eyes to you. well, at least 20 of us do.

2. the clues are causing me grave concern. so far, the clues are: tv, orange, and peter pan.

for the love of all things holy, please tell me that this isn't going to be some masturbatory pseudo-advertisement for disney (abc's parent company)! please tell me that the answer isn't, "why, i believe that money is hidden in mr. toad's wild ride!"

please. no.

3. there is no way in hell i'm going to win this money. of course, despite that, i continue to torture myself by watching this show. and why won't i win the money you ask? well, because there seem to be 19 other people dead-set on doing just that. people who don't have jobs. people who live in their mom's basement. and they are very serious about this. in support of my theory, i submit to you several postings from a message board related to the show. as way of background, let me just say that these posts were submitted the day after the very first episode aired.

all names have been omitted to protect the pathetic.

exhibit a:
"visitpush.com" shows an advisory that a street in "Push, Nevada" will be closed at times for the filming of the ABC TV series "Push, Nevada", but, in fact, the series is being filmed at Agua Dulce, California,("us.imdb.com"), a resort about 44 miles NE of Los Angeles, and lying at an altitude of 2900 feet.

exhibit b:
"visitpush.com" gives the location of Push as central Nevada, while an official photo of Push, has a sign " altitude 1023 ". There is nowhere in central Nevada as low as 1023 feet; there is nowhere in the entire state of Nevada that low except for a narrow strip of land running from Hoover Dam south to the California border. Most of that is in a National Park, so the only possible locale for Push is along a narrow 8 mile strip from west Laughlin in extreme southern Nevada, south to San Bernadino County, California.

and, of course, the equal-parts-pathetic-and-terrifying exhibit c:
(this poster was using domain registration tools on the web to find out who had registered the domains for the in-game websites)

The domain registration info for www.skatepush.com is:

MOUNT KISCO, NY 10549-2609

That guy lives about a half-hour drive from me! Anyone dare me to sit in my car in his street and wait for him to come out on his way to work tomorrow morning?

be afraid. be very afraid.

say it with me, people: "it's not real. it's not real." all those years of funyons and mountain dew have gone to your head. and, when was the last time you saw sunlight?

it just tears me up that my money is going to some freakshow who's gonna blow it all on online porn when i could definitely use it to update my fall wardrobe. and buy, uh, online porn.
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why i don't read horoscopes - pt. ii
about a year after the “your destiny is to be a ho” incident, i actually let the very same friend convince me to accompany her when she went for a card reading.

i know, i know…whatever happens in the next several paragraphs, you gotta think i was, on some level, asking for it.

so, after ascertaining whether or not there would be snacks provided (yes!), i agree to go.

we arrive at the home of the card reader and go inside. there are, of course, lots of candles and psychic-y things, but we end up in the incredibly not-psychic-y kitchen for the reading. my friend cuts the cards, and the psychic-card-reader-woman (pcrw) begins to explain how things will proceed.

she asks if we have any questions, so i immediately step up to the plate.

“do you happen to have any napkins? these cheetos are making my fingers orange.”

“uh…just a moment.”

“thanks. oh, and just so i’m clear, do you have to stand on 16, or draw until there is some portent of death?”

i’m giggling madly, while they glare at me. i then make the universal hand symbol for zipping my lip and amuse myself with cheetos.

i’ll admit, the card reading was pretty good. just as there was with the chart reading, there was enough specific information to keep my friend convinced and pcrw managed to sell the whole thing pretty well considering it was on a formica dinette table under fluorescent lights.

so, of course, when my friend’s reading is over, pcrw turns to me and asks, “how about you? can i interest you in a reading?”

“actually, you could interest me in a sandwich, but i’m not big on the whole psychic-astrology stuff.”

my friend begins to shame me, and it actually works, and i shell out $30 and cut the cards.

the reading was pretty uneventful – noticeably absent was any mention of my life’s calling in the world’s oldest profession. i thought that was a sign that either pcrw super-sucked, or the bcpw had been dead wrong about me only being good for one thing. i chose to believe the former. my reading was filled, instead, with the promise of true love, a fulfilling career, and long life.

we left, and had lunch at a mexican place with great margaritas and laughed, drunk on the idea of our happily-ever-after lives to come. and the tequila.

less than two weeks later, my house burned to the ground. i lost everything i owned, including the most amazing dog to ever grace humankind with her presence.

for days i sat in a dark room, friends and family trying to coax me into eating or talking. honestly, i remember very little about those four days. but, i do remember day five.

i woke early and showered. i picked up the newspaper from several days earlier, and got into my car. i’m not sure i knew where i was going until i actually got there. and then, it seemed almost logical.

i rang the bell, and pcrw came to the door hesitantly.

“can i help you?”

“well, i don’t have an appointment, but i wondered if i could have a moment of your time. you did a reading for me about two weeks ago…i’m not sure you remember me….”

“sure, i do! come on in.”

i made my way through the house to the kitchen. i sat down at the formica table and waited.

“so, what can i do for you? would you like another reading? is there a specific question we might find an answer for today?”

“actually, yes, there is a specific question i would like to find an answer for.”

i unfolded the newspaper on the table.

there, on the front page, was a full-color photograph of my house engulfed in flames.

“this is my house. or was my house. it burned to the ground. less than two weeks after my reading with you. i’m not entirely sure why you wouldn’t see something like this. or, at the very least, a hint of something kind of bad. but you didn’t. you saw bluebirds and rainbows. true love and babies. i didn’t come here to have sunshine piped up my ass. actually, i just came here to spend the afternoon with my friend. i don’t even believe in this shit. but if you tell people that you can tell them the truth, and then they trust you and you lie to them, someone has to call you on that. and that’s why i’m here. you’re a phony. a scam artist.”

overhead, the fluorescent lights hummed quietly.

“i lost everything. my dog was killed.”

without a word, she got up from the table and went to the desk in the corner. she came back and laid the $30 on the table in front of me and walked out of the room. i sat there for another ten minutes, but she never came back. and, why would she? what else was there to say?

life is lived every day. you never know what’s coming. you’re not supposed to. you can’t cheat, you can’t sneak a look at what’s on the next page. you just take it as it comes, and you plow through.

and that’s why i don’t read horoscopes.
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i don't feel very snarky today
today i was going to post another snarky-yet-true piece – why i don’t read horoscopes, pt. ii.

but i don’t really feel like it.

my personal life has been turmoil and drama lately, and i hate my job with a formidable passion. so, i decided to take a mental health day yesterday. decompress. get my hair cut. walk to the gym or the movie theater or target. just have a normal day, enjoying the unusually warm weather.

but, i just so happen to live in montgomery county, maryland.

so, instead, i spent my day yesterday scared to go outside, glued to my television.

for those of you who don’t know, montgomery county was the scene of a stunning string of killings yesterday in which average people were hunted on the streets as they went about their daily lives. they were hunted by a man with a high-powered rifle and breathtaking accuracy. a man with no face.

in 16 hours, five people were senselessly murdered by a madman who is still roaming our streets.

on wednesday at about 6:04 pm, james martin was leaving the grocery store, loaded with bags. while crossing the parking lot, he was shot once. he was dead before the police, who came running to the scene from the police station across the street, arrived. according to witnesses and the review of the security tapes from the shopping center parking lot, no one approached mr. martin. there was no altercation. no vehicle was in close proximity to him. mr. martin was 55 years old.

then, as best as anyone can tell, the murderer went home and got a good night’s sleep. he had a big day ahead of him.

yesterday morning at 7:41 am, sonny buchanan was cutting the grass at a local business which is located on rockville pike. rockville pike is one of the busiest roads in montgomery county. a single shot was fired. mr. buchanan was hit just below his heart. he staggered about 200 feet before he fell to the ground and died.

30 minutes later, 54-year-old premkumar walekar was filling up his cab with gas to start his work day. with one shot, mr. walekar dropped to the ground. he died at the scene.

25 minutes later, sarah ramos was sitting on a bench, reading a book and waiting for the bus. she was 34. she was shot once in the head and died immediately.

75 minutes later, lori lewis rivera, 25, pulled into a gas station to vacuum out her mini-van. the station was busy, but, it was mrs. rivera who was shot once, in the chest. she died at the scene. her mini-van had two child seats in it.

i don’t know what to say about all of this. these were just ordinary people, going about their everyday lives. they were white, hispanic, indian; they ranged in age from 25 to 55; parents, wives, husbands.

their deaths are the very definition of senseless violence.

they were all gunned down from a distance – they never saw their murderer’s face, never heard his voice. this coward is hiding behind an incredibly accurate and high-powered rifle – the kind that the nra says is necessary so that skilled hunters have the most accurate weaponry available.

you can't argue with the nra. after all, five shots, five dead targets. looks like this skilled hunter got his hands on the perfect weapon. and it’s open season on average americans.

the police have little or no information. no real leads. they don’t even have a description to offer to the public.

i don't know what to say.
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why i don’t read horoscopes – part i
about six years ago, i went with a friend to get a makeover at the christian dior counter. it was free, it was a great way to kill a saturday, and it’s a girlie-fun thing to do every once in a while. plus: free snacks. when we got there, they also had another treat in store. seems they had brought in some fancy-schmancy psychic woman all the way from new york city! that’s right, kids, she was a big-city psychic woman (bcpw). she did an abbreviated reading at no charge while the makeup artiste was slathering twenty pounds of product on my face, explaining why my 20-something skin needed four different anti-aging products, each costing about $50.

her abbreviated reading was just fine. you know how those things are – general enough to be safe, with just a few, more specific items thrown in to make it seem like a mind-blowing experience. i thought it was okay-fine. my friend, however, thought this woman was truly touched and could see her entire life laid out before her. i think it was the fumes from the products.

then, bcpw tells my gushing friend that she would be happy to do a full-blown chart for her. she needed her date, time and place of birth…and $50. she would be back in town in two weeks to give her the results. well, just as my friend couldn’t go get slathered with products by herself, she couldn’t do this alone either. so, we both coughed up the info and the $50. i figured that it was actually a win for me…this way i could tell the makeup artiste that i’d love to buy that anti-aging serum, but i just gave my last $50 to the bcpw.

two weeks later my friend calls, “she’s back. with our charts!”
“huh? who? wha…oh. okay, so now what?”
“we meet her at the ramada inn.”
“what the hell? the ramada inn?”
suddenly this seems even cheesier than it did before. and it was already pretty damn cheesy.

so, we saunter in to the ramada inn, and find bcpw’s room. we go in and, much to our surprise there are several other women there who are introduced to us as other bcpw's.

as we came into the room, i heard bcpw #1 tell the others: “this is her.”

see, now as i write this, i think that should have been a clue at the time. i should have immediately said, “excuse me, which is her is the her?”
but, no.
instead i just sat myself down and enjoyed more free snacks.

bcpw did my friend’s chart first. she explained all the house-things and the plotting process, blah blah blah. frankly, i was digging hard on some chips ahoy at that point and tuned the whole thing out.

my friend’s reading went fairly quickly, and she seemed really pleased. i was finished with the chips ahoy and had moved on to the milanos when bcpw said it was my turn.

she is pointing to a chart and begins with explanation of the house-thing, the plotting process, blah blah blah. then, i notice that this isn’t my chart. my name isn’t on it. someone else’s name is. so, in the interest of that person’s privacy – ‘cause i don’t wanna know all their psychic business – i stop bcpw.

“uh…this isn’t me,” i snicker, mid-milano. “it’s a guy. named dan.”

bcpw stops talking and looks at the other bcpw, who, i have noticed, are now gathered around the table.

i’m thinking that i’m about to get thrashed for hogging all the cookies.

bcpw says, “well, i wanted to show you this chart. as an example. of what most charts look like.”

[sound of one girl crunching]

she continues, “see, i’ve never seen a chart like yours before. ever.”

now i’m considering the fact that i should stop eating the cookies.

“these other women here today are old friends of mine. all of us do this for a living. we all have for a very long time. they’re here because none of them has ever seen a chart like yours either. when i plotted your chart, i called a few of them for advice, or to see if it was possible that i had made a mistake. i wasn’t sure what i should tell you. frankly, none of us is sure what to tell you.”

now, not only do i stop eating, but i’m wishing i had actually paid attention during the house-thing, plotting-process blah blah blah part(s).

at this point, bcpw takes out a chart and puts it on the table. i notice immediately that my name is on this one, and that my chart definitely doesn’t look like dan’s.

dan’s chart had all these little dots spread out all over place on it. mine has dots, too.

but they weren’t spread out.

there is just one clump of dots.

suddenly, i started trying to remember what bcpw had said about the house-things. i seem to remember that the house-things represented stuff. like money! there was definitely a money-house-thing. maybe all my dots are in my money-house-thing, and i’m going to be filthy rich, and i can buy all the chips ahoys in all the world! yes!

then i thought about how bcpw didn’t seem very excited. how she seemed more…uncomfortable, i guess, than excited. i mean, if all my dots were in my money-house-thing, she would be excited, right? right. so, what then?

what if there was a tumor-house-thing?! what if all my dots were in my tumor-house-thing?! holy god, that must be it!

“is it cancer?! am i dying?!” i blurt out.

the bcpw’s all look at each other.

“no. it’s…well, all of your planets are in your sex house.”

there is no noise whatsoever in the room.

“our collective advice is for you to move to las vegas and work as a prostitute.”

“i’d like another cookie, please.”

“i’m sorry, i don’t know what else to tell you. we’ve really never seen this before.”

“so…my life’s destiny is to be a whore?”

“well, it just seems that it would be something you would enjoy…and would be very gifted at, so it would probably be very lucrative for you. it probably wouldn’t be a lifelong thing. i do see a career path change for you as you near 30….”

“well,of course, i mean, there’s not much of a retirement plan for whores.”

“…this is rather awkward. again, i do apologize.”

“you think? actually, i can’t wait to get home and call my folks to tell them that i’m packing up all my shit and moving out west to be a whore because a psychic told me it’s my destiny.”

“i can see you’re upset.”

“i’d like my $50 back, please.”

“i understand.”

“you’re not a career counselor, you know. you could have just said that i’m really good in bed. that would have been a reading we could all enjoy, right? i mean, how cool would that have been? but, no, you have to take it one step further.”

“here’s your money…”

“yeah, and i’m taking these fuckin’ cookies, too.”

and i took the basket of cookies, and my money, and my chart and left the ramada inn.

as i drove home i thought about what bcpw had told me. and, after i ran out of milanos, i actually considered the possibility of following her advice. but, like so many other people, i was scared of what my destiny might be. so, instead, i cut out the sex-house part of my chart, framed it and hung it on my wall. and when people asked me what it was, i told them it was an art piece entitled, 'destiny does vegas.'

"oh," they would respond.

i still have it. my destiny. in a little frame.

and, every once in a while, when i'm a little short on cash, or i'm especially hating my job, i wonder…what if....
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can you phil the love?
every so often i check in on my hometown newspaper. i especially like to read the wedding announcements. i'm not sure why i find them so entertaining, but i do.

i'm a simple girl, what can i tell you?

anyway, every once in a while you find a real gem in there, and this is one of my favorites. the emphasis is added, but that's it...the rest is real-life, baby. really...you just can't make up stuff this good.

Philanie Jane Shafer and Ryan Michael Jiles were united in marriage October 6, 2001, at the Marlinton Presbyterian Church in Marlinton. The Rev. Randy Benson performed the ceremony.

The bride is the daughter of Phillip Shafer and Melanie Shafer, both of Marlinton. She is a graduate of Pocahontas County High School and Dabney Lancaster School of Nursing in Virginia. She is employed at a registered nurse at Plateau Medical Center in Oak Hill.

The bride was escorted by her father and given in marriage by her parents. Maid of honor was Philissa Taylor, sister of the bride. Bridesmaids were Philena Horton and Philippa Clark, sisters of the bride.

you know, i guess you really have to admire phil on a certain level. i think phil took one look at the age-old question of how does a man with no sons pass on his name and decided to think outside the box. four times.

some people just don't know when to let it go.
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