Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Why I Hate Network Television

Have you seen what's on tonight? As I was sipping my coffee and glancing through the newspaper this morning, my eye fell upon the TV schedule. Because my frequent flyer husband is home and generally watches TV in the evenings, I checked to see what was on tonight's menu. Egad!!!

During the 8pm time-slot we get to choose (on network TV) between NBC's Football Frenzy (although to be fair, their website says it will be Outrageous TV Moments, episodes #210 and #211), CBS's Rockstar Supernova (which looks like a knock-off of the most irritating show I've never seen, American Idol--I know, I know, I'm the only one in the country who's never seen this show), and ABC's back-to-back reruns of the sitcom George Lopez.

The 9pm time-slot is where it really gets depressing. NBC: Back-to-back Scrubs reruns; CBS: Criminal Minds (This is the show where they dramatize the sickest things anyone can think up--and it gets really, really sick. I tried to watch this show once. It turned my stomach, and I'm not generally one who insists on Pollyanna and the like.) ABC:20/20 "Last Days on Earth." This is described in the TV guide as, "Seven cataclysm scenarios that could wipe out civilization."

Now there's a cheery thought. Someone should track the number of suicides among folks who watch that garbage. I mean, really, do we need to see all the ways Hollywood can think of that we might all die suddenly and spectacularly? With "news" like that, why bother getting up in the morning? Who thinks this stuff up?

And while I'm on the rant about TV "news", we were flipping through the channels last night and caught a few minutes of Deborah Norville's "interview" with Katie Couric about her up-coming debut as the first female solo anchor of the evening news. Debbie asked her, "What do you think is missing in the news right now?" And do you know what Gidget said?

She looked very serious as she replied (to the best of my memory), "I think what people want is some perspective. Not just for us to just give them the news, but to tell them what it all means." Is this chick serious? Can it possibly be that someone in the news media really did admit on national television what anyone with a brain has known for years: That the bulk of the media thinks most Americans are dumber than dirt and they have to tell us what to think.


Thank Heaven for Cable...and Netflix. And that we live in a free country with a free press where we are free to listen to it all and decide for ourselves what we think. Thanks, Katie, but I really don't need your perspective, no matter how perky you are. Just the facts, ma'am.

Peace, out...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Hey Y'all From St. John

Okay…I was still there when I wrote this, but I couldn’t get it uploaded. Internet access in Paradise is not all that reliable…

Everybody has their favorite vacation spots. So far, St. John is my favorite place on the planet. Now, I’m willing to concede that there are an awful lot of places I haven’t been yet, but check this out…

This is the view of Cruz Bay from our room at Estate Lindholm.

And this is Honeymoon beach.
Notice that there is no one else there. My favorite kind of beach…gorgeous, secluded, and mostly private. It’s one bay over from Caneel Bay, where folks with tons of money loll about being pampered within an inch of their lives. I’ll take Honeymoon and my own private cabana boy (who I am legally married to) any day of the week.

Anyway, the reason I’m blogging from vacation…well, two reasons, actually. I needed to get out of the sun for a while, and you’ll never believe who I ran into just the other afternoon… No, not Kenny Chesney…I understand he’s on tour. But, I myself have personally seen The Chicken Crossing The Road. In the act!!

Her name is Henny, and she was accompanied by her friend, Penny.

One thing about St. John, everyone here is so friendly. So I just walked right up and asked her. I said, “Ah, Henny, you would not believe the wild speculation and outlandish tales that circulate back in The States about why exactly you cross the road. I wonder if you might tell me, so I could pass it along, what exactly is your motivation?” And do you know what she said? (We should have known.)

She said, “Susan, Penny and I are out hunting for our mangy old pair of Roosters. They’re out bar hopping in Cruz Bay when they’re supposed to be back at the coop taking care of their honey-do lists. We just checked The Quiet Mon, and they’re not there. Now we’re headed on over to The Beach Bar, and we have to cross not one, but several roads to get there. When we find their sorry tail feathers, we’re going to pluck ’em and roast ’em over a spit…or maybe see if we can get Uncle Joe to barbeque their sorry hindquarters, although he generally is much more particular about his chicken.”

So there you have it…straight from the hen’s mouth… Like so many women throughout history, she crossed the road chasing a sorry rooster.

And just one final question…why is it that no one has ever asked why the donkey crossed the road? I have to tell you, it’s far more common down here!

Peace, out…


Thursday, August 10, 2006

I Just Don't Get It

Can't somebody--CNN, Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC, AAA--anybody--give us some good news? I had resigned myself to $5 a gallon gas coming soon to a pump near me...just have to start drinking wine from a box to make up the difference in the household budget, right? (Wrong. Other corners will be cut.) Then this morning I awoke, as usual, to the phone ringing by the bed. Wherever Jim is in the world, he makes sure I don't oversleep. He's such a good husband. Anyway, the first thing he says to me is, "Now don't get all worked up about this terrorist thing." Worked up? Until he alerted me, I hadn't woken up.

You may recall we leave on Saturday for vacation. On a jet plane. Our dear friends (the next-door nuts) and my brother-in-law and his wife are traveling with us. All day, I didn't turn on a TV. I didn't need to. I was getting hourly updates from my friends and family about what I'd have to take out of my purse unless I wanted it thrown away, and what specific things people on the other side of the world were trying to mix together to kill as many Americans as possible. This is what I don't get.

I understand personal hate...I don't participate in it as a rule; it tends to make me tense. But I understand it. Your best friend steals your fiance, the pervert down the street molests a kid, a drunk driver kills someone you love. I get that. It's all this anonymous hatred that I just can't wrap my brain around. How can you hate people you've never met, who've never done you or anyone you know any harm, enough to want to kill them in as spectacular a fashion and as great a number as possible?

If you have some philosophical, politically correct, touchy-feely theory why terrorists really just need understanding and copious quantities of US tax dollars because it really is all our fault their lives are devoted to trying to kill us all, type it on 8 1/2 by 11 paper, in a twelve point font, with one-inch margins. Then, send your response to: Suicide Passengers - Dept. of Volunteers, c/o al-Qaida, Pakistan. Responses may also be sent via email to givehateachance@uranidiot.tbs.

I'm glad I got that off my chest. I needed a pre-vacation rant. Since none of the news outlets had anything positive to offer, I went looking for humor. Having no control whatsoever over the price of oil or terrorist activities, I decided my best course of action was to have a shot of levity. I have a folder where I keep the best of the jokes that make the email circuits. One of my favorite recent ones was the list of celebrity answers to the proverbial question, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" (Thank you, Demon Diane.)

As a writer, I was concerned about violating someone's copyright, so I Googled the question, "Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?" just to see what I would get. Apparently, he's quite popular, this chicken. I stopped counting at thirty websites that had everything from hundreds of answers to the question (organized by category) to sound-bites of various clucks, to instructions on how to do the chicken dance. Since all of the jokes that I received by email were posted on every site I checked, I figure they're public domain. If you've heard these, read them again. (They're silly, yes, I know...but I needed silly today, all right?) They'll give you a chuckle...and who doesn't need one?

Why did the chicken cross the road? (My favorite is the Jerry Falwell answer.)

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on "THIS" side of the road before it goes after the problem on the "OTHER SIDE" of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his "CURRENT" problems before adding "NEW" problems.

OPRAH: Well I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

PRESIDENT BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DONALD RUMSFELD: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

ANDERSON COOPER/CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am for it now, and will remain against it.

JUDGE JUDY: That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad?Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain. Alone.

JERRY FALWELL: Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth in front of your face? The chicken was going to the "other side." That's why they call it the "other side. Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like "the other side." That chicken should not be free to cross the road. It's as plain and simple as that!

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together - in peace.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2006, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet explorer is an integral part of eChicken. The Platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^( C \..... reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken!

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

Talk to y'all from St. John...

Peace, out...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Very Good Reasons Why I'm Not Dancing

Okay, my exercise routine, my writing schedule, and yes, even my inner peace have all evaporated this week. An unnamed (because I can't possibly have children that age when I'm only 24, the official age of all Jazzercisers) member of my immediate family has been at MUSC this week. This unnamed but treasured woman-child had a hole in her diaphragm roughly the size of a small pancake through which several body parts had migrated into her rib cage. As you might imagine, this made breathing and eating rather problematic. Thanks to the highly skilled surgical team at MUSC, and their top-notch support staff, she is on the mend.

So of course I've been in Charleston and have a perfectly good reason for not working up a sweat of any description all week. But tomorrow I'm packing my VOLUPTUOUS self back in the Beetle and heading home to the Upstate. Just in time for my pre-vacation spa day. I mean, really, I can't go on vacation without a pedicure. There is nothing worse than scaly feet on a beach. And as hard as I've been working out (up until this week), I have a variety of calluses and blisters that need attention. In their current condition, my feet would clear the beach at Trunk Bay. Every other crazy person traveling to the Caribbean in the middle of hurricane season would run screaming from the beach like folks in one of those old 'B' horror movies fleeing from one of those giant Godzilla wannbes.

And these stress knots in my neck are just begging for the skillful hands of a massage therapist. And everyone knows that once you've paid for a massage and a pedicure, you really come out better getting the Full Day of Beauty package. The one that includes the champagne lunch. One must get oneself in the proper frame of mind before embarking on vacation in order to get the maximum amount of relaxation.

Then, of course, I'll have to pack. Now, normal people can probably pack for a two week vacation in an hour or so. As y'all well know, I'm not one of those people. It will take a least a day for me to run around buying stuff like sunscreen and filling prescriptions that would otherwise run out before we get back. Bad things happen when I run out of my medication.

Then there's the actual cramming of everything I might conceivably need for a two-week stay in St. John into two suitcases, one carry-on, and the largest purse I own. As y'all might imagine, I do not pack light. More than one Delta agent has helped me shuffle my belongings from one suitcase to the other to avoid having to charge me an extra $25 for having a suitcase over 50 lbs while my normally easy-going husband tries to borrow a gun from one of the airport police officers so he can shoot me and get off on account of being unduly provoked. Why is it that the Boy Scout motto is "Be Prepared," and grown men foam at the mouth when their wives try to follow that eminently sensible advice?

Anyway, between the spa day, the shopping and the packing, I will almost certainly not make it to Jazzercise this week. But, I do plan on working out while on vacation. I'll let y'all know how that works out.

Peace, out...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Workin' Up A Black Sweat

Okay, Demon Diane like to kilt me on Monday. And you can tell how much she enjoys inflicting pain. She actually smiled when, after 25 aerobic songs she said, "Y'all didn't cool down any on that last one? Me neither." I think she's trying to see if she can make me pass out. I'll just go ahead and save her the trouble of that little experiment...she can. I hallucinated there for a while on Monday, during Workin' Up a Black Sweat (for those of you unfamiliar with his music, this is a recent song by artist formerly known as Prince, or whatever he's calling himself these days).

Anyway, so I recuperated yesterday by lolling in bed for an extra hour or so and accidentally missing class. This morning I accidentally slept late and went to Myra's class--the caring, nurturing and always entertaining one. She did not disappoint. We wiggled (one of her signature moves), we wobbled, and we kept our headlights on bright. But about midway through the third or fourth aerobic song, I noticed a trail of what looked like mascara dripping down the side of her neck and down on to her, umm...headlights. I kid you not. Myra actually worked up a black sweat. Not just a little one, either.

I was standing on the front row, and noticed it right off. Naturally, I was concerned by this strange phenomenon, not being sure that it wasn't the symptom of some exotic and highly contagious disease (she did just get back from vacation). I said to her, "'re sweating black." An instructor can easily hear you from the front row. Her eyes got great big. I was thinking maybe this was something else to do with her being an alien and all, but then, Casey and Diane don't sweat black...but then again, they don't sweat all that much, either, so it could be black sweat, and I never noticed.

Myra covered the whole thing up by saying that she had a new headpiece and it must be bleeding. Riiiight. I have seen instructors use new headpieces before, but never have any of them sweated black. If y'all don't hear from me, you'll know it was contagious...

Oh, I almost forgot...progress!!! I lost 2.4 pounds last week. Yippee!!

Peace, out...