29 July 2007

Tag, I'm It.

Or so the lovely, unbraided Karen tells me.

The rules: 1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts. 2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves. 3. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules. 4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and that they should read your blog.

Ready? Set? Go.

1. Lately I spend a lot of time on craigslist perusing apartments in the tri-state area. I'm starting to look forward to starting over in a new home. Being here with my parents makes me feel like I'm trapped in some sort of eternal convalescence, unable to entirely heal. Speaking of craigslist, I often judge an apartment by criteria that are less than standard. For instance, grammar in the ad. I don't care if it's the most beautiful, least expensive, safest apartment on the planet with the best feng shui, ever, I'm not gonna rent it if it says what this one did: "beautiful 2 bedroom apart. all hardwood floor, very clean, fleshly painted just!!!" And yes, that's an exact cut-and-paste quote.

2. On the other hand, my mom and I just spent a lovely 90 minutes on the front porch with a pot of Earl Grey and the Sunday New York Times diagramless, which wouldn't have been possible if I lived somewhere else.

3. I just used the phrase "hot, soapy antelope" in a conversation, and it was entirely non-sexual. Seriously.

4. I'm currently in training for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC, in late October. I still find this decision quite startling, because I've never been particularly athletic. In fact, I once flunked gym in high school.

5. I ran out of either steam or wine at four things, because now it's two days later. Apparently I wasn't very interesting Sunday night.

6. I have a black-and-white one-eyed (enormously rotund) cat who is the most traumatized kitty ever to roam under the bed. Every time I sneeze, she leaps up and bolts out of the room in terror. I have bad allergies, so it happens several times a day.

7. One of the most enduring memories of my husband is that, even on one of the last days we shared, he went without cereal so that I could have milk for my morning tea. He was just that kind of man. And my life will never be the same without him.

And now, even though I'm going to be slightly nonconformist and not tag the requisite number of people (because I can't tag Tori, since she tagged my tagger), I now bonk

and....maybe I'll think of someone else later.

28 July 2007

In Very Few Words, the Ever-Talented FireCat Once Again Demonstrates How Difficult Daily Life Can Sometimes Be for People Without Brains

Ladies (and gentlemen, for that matter), please do not attempt this at home. I am a trained professional.

Step One:

"Ass Kisser is a pain-relieving solid massage salve for all the damage you do to your body. It is strongly warming and comforting for bruises, strains, sprains, & most other aches and pains."

Step Two:

"o.b. is the only tampon in the U.S. that doesn't have an applicator. In fact, with o.b., your index finger is the only applicator you need."

I believe Step Three needs no further explanation.

27 July 2007

Sound and Fury

The prompts the last couple of weeks have given me a bit of trouble (as have the inner workings of my life in general), so much so, in fact, that I skipped last week entirely. I had a great title for the post, Somewhere That's Green, but that was it. Anyway, I was lying in a somewhat tepid bath a few moments ago, pondering where the word phenomenon would take me and realising that I am the only person on the planet who has absolutely no interest in whether or not Harry Potter dies at the end of the book (though I am eternally grateful to J.K. Rowling for the number of my semi-literate students she has encouraged to pick up reading as a pastime instead of gang-related drive-bys). I'm also lukewarm on the topic of Crocs, even after hearing former Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez announce during a game the other night that he probably has close to a dozen pairs in a rainbow of colours. There are apparently websites out there devoted to Croc-haters, and while I disdain the current fashion craze for ugly plastic clogs with holes in them the size of subway tokens (yes, I realise they're neither rubber nor plastic, but a trademarked polymer blend, but still. This is supposed to be healthy for me how?) I really can't get into too much of a lather about it. I'm busy hating so many other things.

But then, while I was lying in a tub roughly the temperature of my attitude towards so many of these current frenzies, it struck. First, it was just a puff of fresh air, a glint of blue light, and a faint ozone smell through the open window. Then, moments later, I was stung by a thousand tiny needles of cold and my mother was rushing upstairs to close her bedroom windows.

There's something refreshing about lying in a warm bath while getting rained on, something wild and slightly decadent, almost like skinny-dipping. Which is ridiculous, since of course you're naked when you take a bath, but somehow this is more dangerous. I've always loved thunderstorms, especially those rich, powerful ones that slam across the hills of Pennsylvania and up the Delaware like freight trains at four in the afternoon every day of the week some Augusts. Especially the ones that splattered across the vacant schoolyard macadam in Schnecksville the summer I spent with my cousin Christine, every afternoon like clockwork on our way home from the community pool. Or the ones that bounced back and forth across the hills between Canopus Hollow and Brewster, echoing through the valley for hours and cutting the power to our house (sometimes for days) and once frying the internal modem of my old iBook when lightning struck the transformer right outside the house.

I accidentally caused a thunderstorm once, driving home across Pennsylvania. I can't remember what I was angry at him for; I only remember that I was roiling with rage as I drove home with Chloe while he followed in another car. We watched the clouds boil up on either side of us, and my fingers clenched the steering wheel so hard that I was leaving nail marks in it, and when lightning struck the car neither of us was surprised, but I was blinded by the shower of sparks as it arced out to something on the overpass we were crossing. The next thing I remember is being three or four miles down the road, my ears still ringing, the hair on my left arm still standing up, and the searing jolt still echoing down the nerves to my fingers like when I was little and my sisters and I used to dare each other to touch the electric fence that kept the mules in.

We figured it was because I'm left-handed, or because I usually perch my left elbow on the window-ledge of the car while driving, or because it's the side closest to the heart, which was undoubtedly a little freaked out at having its own electrical current tampered with, but I knew it was as much the wedding ring as anything else. When we could talk again, Chloe looked over at me with a faint smile and suggest perhaps I call him and apologize before I got us both killed.

20 July 2007

While Making My Own Beeline

My drive home today was mildly bizarre, and not for the usual reasons. There is plenty of weird to be had along the NJ Turnpike, just yours for the observing--not the least of which is the old Hydro-Pruf building seen in the opening credits of The Sopranos, which in all its derelict glory now spells out "Hydro-P-U." Am I the only person who finds that incredibly and ironically--albeit sophomorically--snork-inducing for a designated Superfund cleanup site in Newark that lies less than a half-mile from the Passaic River?

Today's weirdness happened much closer to home. I was already deeply annoyed on leaving Jerky City, not so much because I was upset that I couldn't go bowling with my summer students (an activity for which I nevertheless got paid, mind you) as because of the reason. Which was that my teaching assistant flaked out for the third time in as many hours and, in the course of the 10 minutes it took to fill out his time sheet, apparently forgot that I was following him to Hudson Lanes in Bayonne. And left. Without me. While my ass was parked on a bench in front of the building waiting for him. After about 20 minutes I tried to track him down, but the office was closed and shuttered. I stomped the three blocks down Van Reypen towards the parking lot, cussing all the while in every form of slang I know, where I discovered that his car was, indeed, no longer in the lot. I'd been dissed by a little Dominican dude who's so fresh out of college his loans haven't even come due yet. Fucking swell.

I also hadn't slept particularly well (whole other story), plus my satchel was bulging with reading placement tests I would have to spend the whole weekend grading (see "little Dominican dude", above, for why I had to grade all 58 of them), my windshield was starred from random debris flying up during the commute in, and I was having a bad hair day. Actually, it's kind of been a bad hair summer, but that's also another whole other story. So anyway, I was pretty cranky for most of the drive home, despite spending much of it finally catching up with an old friend with whom I'd been playing phone tag.

When I got off the freeway, I found myself behind a Buick of uncertain model, one of those newer models that are all interchangeable, with the ubiquitous looped-ribbon support magnet. This one was pink, for breast cancer, though the car was driven by a middle-aged man. Either his convertible was in the shop and he was reduced to driving the wife-mobile, he was a statistical anomaly (since men of course also have breasts, and can thus get breast cancer) or he had pretty stodgy taste in vehicles and really, really loved his wife. Hopefully this wasn't some sort of somber, mobile memorial to her, since when I pulled up alongside at the next light I noticed three identical magnets slapped willy-nilly on the doors and quarter-panels.

He was ahead of me at the next light, and that's when I noticed the pink bumper sticker. Sadly, the cell-phone picture didn't come out, but the bumper sticker said simply, "cancer sucks." Which only another survivor can truly appreciate as hysterically funny. I was so busy trying to capture this moment of gallows humour glory while laughing so hard I was almost crying, that I nearly swerved into the flatbed tractor trailer in the right-hand lane. Which would have been a really, really bad thing. Because on closer inspection (much closer than I would have liked, in fact, for two very different reasons) this tractor trailer--whose bed was stacked with rows and rows of strange, slatted boxes contained in a swath of fine netting--seems to have been carrying bees.

Not beer, not beets, not beef. Bees. Honeybees, I'm sure, but after my immediate response, which was to start itching frantically in some sort of sympathetic psychic allergic reaction to my mother, sister, ex-boyfriend, and mother-in-law, my mind moved onto the more--pardon the pun--pedestrian question. Why?

Not why honeybees; that much was obvious. Honeybees make honey. Any moron who loves peanut butter sandwiches and herb tea can tell you that much. In fact, I'm one such moron myself. No, my question is, why trucks? It's true that the only other method of bee shipment I've ever heard mentioned was by mail order--and can you imagine that? Getting a mail order box of bees? You open your mailbox innocently one day and there's this small, angry, buzzing package inside?--but this method of transport seems to me particularly silly. I mean, don't they have wings? Why do they have to take trucks to get where they're going? Can't they just fly there?

15 July 2007

Just Call Me Heather Donahue

So, I was reading the latest post over at my friend Roast Beef's blog, and my immediate inner dialogue after reading about her post-half recovery run went something like,

"Wait, what??!?!?!?!?!??? Lying around like a slug today was bad for me?????"

"Oh crap, dude. This is not good news."

Well, okay. In truth, I did not spend the entire day lying around like a slug. I did sort of go for a hike today. Or, more aptly, a trundle. In the woods. On state property. Where I shouldn't have been. And proceeded to find a mysterious shallow grave (also on state property where it shouldn't have been, and it wasn't going anywhere soon) that upon poking with a sturdy stick decidedly contained something formerly alive. You can just tell, I discovered, right then and there, if what you are poking is formerly-animate deadness, or just a heap of clothes, for instance. And this particular piece of something formerly known as alive was wrapped in several layers of trash bag. And a blanket. Giving it somewhat the element of forethought. Or, at the very least, a certain earnestness.

So, yeah--technically, I did run today. I ran about half a mile hellbent down the trail in my birkenstocks to the cell phone in my car where I proceeded to dial 911 and opine to dispatch that I really hoped I just watch too much CSI, but there was a dead something buried in the woods and could they please send somebody, preferably two or three somebodies in big white cars, with guns and shoulders and more importantly latex gloves and a shovel? (I left out the part about if possible could they please send Gary Dourdan and Billy Petersen because I get that they're actors, not real crime scene analysts. And besides which, they work in Las Vegas.)

....which they did, post-haste, whereupon I hiked said troopers into the woods (now that I had an escort, it was all legal-like, y'see) and pointed out the Blair-Witch-esque burial mound, and they said, and I quote, ".....aw, shit, man," in pretty much unison. Cop-to-English translation: this is gonna involve some paperwork.

Long story kept from getting any longer, it did eventually turn out to be someone's illegally parked golden retriever, formerly occupied by itself, and they then had to heave it off the side of the cliff because you really can't park that thing there, but you can't give a dead dog a ticket for trespassing, now can you? And in the end I kind of feel really bad for the decedent and his former owner, because he was obviously a well-beloved dog, and someone took the time to bury it wrapped in its favourite wolf-blanket, and erected a nice little cairn to keep the scavengers away, and now it was getting heaved down the side of an escarpment in the general direction of the I-78/I-287 interchange.

But, yeah, I guess you could say I got in a little running today.

One last thing: the cop with the big head of dark hair (the one who did most of the talking and none of the digging, thus the senior officer of the two) was very, very funny when I thanked him (only mildly embarrassed, because there had been a few seconds before the last blanket was unwrapped where we all kind of looked at each other like, "Please do not let this be a six-year-old") before getting into my car and driving away as if I hadn't been trespassing on state land. We were talking about going off into the woods--which of course I did not do, having spied this mysterious shallow grave from the road with my x-ray sunglasses--and he said something to the effect that they mostly put those signs up because they didn't want kids going off into the woods, because "you know, people like to go back there and hug, and stuff."

His exact words. "They go back there to hug and stuff."

I tried really, really hard not to laugh at him for being all prim and proper, especially since he was carrying a firearm, and everything, but seriously? I about bust a gut. Because people who want to hug do not go into the woods to do it. They usually do their hugging right there out in the open. WITH EVERYONE WATCHING.

"Hug and stuff"? Good God Almighty Cheese-Whiz. I really thought I was going to have to sit a State Trooper down right there and give him The Talk.

14 July 2007

Ever Have One of Those Days When It Seems Like Your Boss Is Speaking in Korean?

No, I mean really in Korean. I just got this email response from the man who arranged for my attendance at the Title V Cooperative Institute last month. Oddly enough, I was inquiring as to the whereabouts of the $400 check I was supposed to have received by now as compensation.

The man who sent this is originally from London, so there's no reason for this kind of vehemence. Mi-Hye never got this vexed at me, and she is Korean.

਍㰀䠀吀䴀䰀 搀椀爀㴀氀琀爀㸀㰀䠀䔀䄀䐀㸀㰀吀䤀吀䰀䔀㸀匀甀洀洀攀爀 䤀渀猀琀椀琀甀琀攀 昀漀氀氀漀眀ⴀ甀瀀㰀⼀吀䤀吀䰀䔀㸀ഀഀ ਍㰀䴀䔀吀䄀 挀漀渀琀攀渀琀㴀∀䴀匀䠀吀䴀䰀 㘀⸀  ⸀㈀㠀  ⸀㄀㄀ 㘀∀ 渀愀洀攀㴀䜀䔀一䔀刀䄀吀伀刀㸀㰀⼀䠀䔀䄀䐀㸀ഀഀ ਍㰀䐀䤀嘀㸀匀愀爀愀㨀㰀⼀䐀䤀嘀㸀ഀഀ

਍㰀䐀䤀嘀㸀䤀✀洀 最氀愀搀 礀漀甀 攀渀樀漀礀攀搀 琀栀攀 猀攀洀椀渀愀爀⸀ 䤀✀氀氀 氀漀漀欀 椀渀琀漀 礀漀甀爀 挀栀攀挀欀 漀渀 䴀漀渀搀愀礀㬀 ഀഀ we're closed on Fridays. I believe yours was to be issued by us (rather than ਍倀䌀䌀䌀⤀ 猀漀 椀琀 眀漀甀氀搀 戀攀 猀攀渀琀 琀漀 眀栀攀爀攀瘀攀爀 礀漀甀 渀漀爀洀愀氀氀礀 瀀椀挀欀 甀瀀 愀 挀栀攀挀欀 漀渀 ഀഀ campus. ਍㰀䐀䤀嘀㸀☀渀戀猀瀀㬀㰀⼀䐀䤀嘀㸀ഀഀ
਍㰀䐀䤀嘀 椀搀㴀椀搀匀椀最渀愀琀甀爀攀㈀㈀㄀㔀㜀 搀椀爀㴀氀琀爀㸀ഀഀ
਍㰀䐀䤀嘀㸀㰀䘀伀一吀 昀愀挀攀㴀䄀爀椀愀氀 猀椀稀攀㴀㈀㸀䠀甀搀猀漀渀 䌀漀甀渀琀礀 䌀漀洀洀甀渀椀琀礀 䌀漀氀氀攀最攀㰀⼀䘀伀一吀㸀㰀⼀䐀䤀嘀㸀ഀഀ
਍㰀䐀䤀嘀㸀㰀䘀伀一吀 昀愀挀攀㴀䄀爀椀愀氀 猀椀稀攀㴀㈀㸀䨀攀爀猀攀礀 䌀椀琀礀Ⰰ 一䨀  㜀㌀ 㘀㰀⼀䘀伀一吀㸀㰀⼀䐀䤀嘀㸀ഀഀ
਍㰀䐀䤀嘀 搀椀爀㴀氀琀爀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀ഀഀ
਍㰀䘀伀一吀 昀愀挀攀㴀吀愀栀漀洀愀 猀椀稀攀㴀㈀㸀㰀䈀㸀䘀爀漀洀㨀㰀⼀䈀㸀 匀愀爀愀 匀渀礀搀攀爀㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀㸀匀攀渀琀㨀㰀⼀䈀㸀 䘀爀椀 㜀⼀㄀㌀⼀㈀  㜀 ഀഀ 12:21 PM
To: B.
Subject: Summer Institute ਍昀漀氀氀漀眀ⴀ甀瀀㰀䈀刀㸀㰀⼀䘀伀一吀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀㰀⼀䐀䤀嘀㸀ഀഀ
਍㰀倀㸀㰀䘀伀一吀 猀椀稀攀㴀㈀㸀䈀愀爀爀礀Ⰰ㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀吀栀攀 最漀漀搀 渀攀眀猀 椀猀Ⰰ 䤀 眀愀渀琀攀搀 琀漀 琀栀愀渀欀 礀漀甀 猀漀 洀甀挀栀 ഀഀ for finding a way to enable me to attend the Summer Institute in Paterson. ਍䤀渀瘀愀氀甀愀戀氀攀 猀琀甀昀昀 琀栀攀爀攀Ⰰ 猀漀洀攀 漀昀 眀栀椀挀栀 䤀✀洀 猀琀椀氀氀 琀爀礀椀渀最 琀漀 眀爀愀瀀 洀礀 栀攀愀搀 ഀഀ around.

The bad news is, I was wondering if there was a problem because ਍漀昀 琀栀攀 搀攀氀愀礀 椀渀 爀攀挀攀椀瘀椀渀最 琀栀攀 爀攀椀洀戀甀爀猀攀洀攀渀琀 挀栀攀挀欀⸀ 䤀 猀瀀漀欀攀 眀椀琀栀 儀甀洀愀爀 刀愀稀愀Ⰰ ഀഀ who's teaching at the EOF Summer Program with me, and he indicated he received ਍栀椀猀 挀栀攀挀欀 氀愀猀琀 匀愀琀甀爀搀愀礀Ⰰ 㜀 䨀甀氀礀⸀ 䤀 栀愀瘀攀渀✀琀 爀攀挀攀椀瘀攀搀 洀椀渀攀 琀漀 搀愀琀攀⸀ 䤀猀 猀漀洀攀琀栀椀渀最 ഀഀ awry in my paperwork (or lack thereof) or are they just being tediously ਍猀氀漀眀㼀㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀吀栀愀渀欀猀Ⰰ㰀䈀刀㸀匀愀爀愀 匀渀礀搀攀爀㰀⼀䘀伀一吀㸀 㰀⼀倀㸀㰀⼀䐀䤀嘀㸀㰀⼀䈀伀䐀夀㸀㰀⼀䠀吀䴀䰀㸀ഀഀ ਍

13 July 2007

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

My first instinct when I got this week's topic was, Oh boy, is this one ever in the bag. See, if there's one thing I know about, it's hair. I come from a very hairy family. And I don't mean that in the traditional way. We're Irish, not Italian. We don't, for the most part, display dark hairy forearms (or hairy backs), and only my father and I sport the infamous Marty Scorsese eyebrow-toupee look. (You're laughing, but it's true. Brooke Shields circa 1982 ain't got nothin' on me.) When she was a child, my uncles used to call my mom "Hairy Mary." Beauty salons have love-hate relationships with us, especially me with the uncontrollable blond wad with the Bonnie Raitt skunk-stripe at my left temple, and my father with his Sean-Connery-Medicine-Man white ponytail. Which, it's worth adding, drives the Bishop absolutely batshit.

That was going to be what this post was about, but then I realised it's funny how hair is coming to represent all I have had and lost in the past two years: Juno, my husband, my marriage. (In some places in India widows shave their heads--as opposed to throwing themselves on funeral pyres, I guess, this is a humane way to deal with the impossibility of grief--and I truly understand the compulsion that began this tradition, even if I didn't practice it quite so literally as my poor, shorn husband.) Our children. We already knew, sight unseen, that Jocelyn was going to be known in our neighbourhood as "the baby with the hair." If you've ever met either of us, you know exactly why this is. Let's just say that our wedding day was 95 degrees, the church was unairconditioned, the reception was outside in the meadow, and my husband and I were, with each passing moment, one golder, longer, and curlier than the other in ringlets of uncontrollable humidity. I at least had the advantage of a gallon of hairspray, six hundred bobby pins, and a two-piece veil. My husband would not release his pony-tail for fear of sporting a two-foot deep Afro.

In some ways it was not only a wedding of our families, our bodies, and our souls, it was also very much a wedding of our hair. The bathroom at our house was a haven for blond, corkscrewing strands, more than you would think possible to be in the sink, on the floor, slithered down the shower drain trying to escape, or trapped in our hairbrushes, and us to still have some on our head. Out in public, we often looked like chimpanzees engaged in grooming behaviour, reaching over and plucking long golden strands off the other's sweater, then pulling and pulling and pulling until it was finally free, then commenting on whose it might have been. Long, grey, and wavy, most likely mine. Long blond and tightly sprung, most likely his. Long, blond, and wavy--anybody's guess. Short blond and wavy, probably our friend Robin's, though how his hair ended up on our clothes as often as our own is to this day a mystery. I mean, we were at each other's houses all the time, but it's not like we were over there head-butting each other.

And then there were the cats. Two black-and-white cats and one grey cat can generate quite a bit of fur, and ever notice how they shed the white and grey fur on the black bathrobe and the black fur on the off-white bathrobe? That's a trick I'd like to master. We went through three vacuum cleaners in our relationship, mostly because of the nasty pea-green shag carpet in our rental living room. Final score: cats 3, vacuum cleaner 0. I'm going to have to buy another new one when I move again.

Lastly, I'd like to add Juno to the equation. Juno was Robin's beloved malamute. Juno was the hairiest creature known to science. Ever seen a malamute during her spring blowout? The spring she was with us for this event, we had piles of fur the size of canned hams and cocker spaniels. Tumble-fur blew on the slightest breeze, sometimes large enough to spook the cats. Paws down the most heard comment in the household we shared was, "Oh, look honey....dog hair." Robin lost Juno close to 28 months ago, and I'm still finding clots of her fur in the nooks and crannies of my belongings. Robin was right. She truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

The last time I saw my husband, his hair was the shortest I have ever seen it in the years I've known him. When we first met, he was growing it out, recovering from a conservative haircut in honour of his brother's wedding. I could still see a few golden ringlets under his hat, ringlets I wanted to take around my fingers and kiss one by one, but the length of the curls that had grown to midback during our years together had been sheared away, as if removing the weight from his scalp could erase the images of us from his mind; as if cutting it off at the root could deny its existence; as if by denuding himself of his body's most shining beauty, one of his secret powers, he could ease the passage of mourning.

Yes, I understand the urge.

06 July 2007

What About Ass Cancer?

I find it increasingly alarming that women get (you should pardon the expression) the short end of the stick so often. For instance, earlier this year, a woman was escorted from the Berkshire Square Mall in Reading, Pennsylvania, because she was breast-feeding her child. Somehow that qualified as indecent.

In the course of my training for the Marine Corps Marathon, I have banded with a group of like-minded lunatics for online cameraderie, training tips, success stories, struggles, injury complaints, and, of course, discussions about beer. Several weeks ago, I made reference to a fund-raising group for breast cancer. Len, a grizzled sage in his 60s, commented that he was surprised it had gotten through the censors that many non-moderated boards have in place. Come on, it wasn't like I had said tit cancer, or anything. Besides which, a breast is a body part. We talk an awful lot about body parts on the message board-- specifically hip flexors, and groins, and piriformis muscles, and plantar fascii, not to mention everybody's favourite band, the ITB--and in my opinion (one shared, no doubt, by Susan Patron) a breast is just another one of those body parts, like an elbow. Or, yes, a scrotum. Or whatever. It's not sexual. It's not dirty. It's just there.

And several weeks later, the post got edited. It now says "**** cancer". (personally, I think it should say "breast ****" because if anything's a dirty word, it's cancer, but that's another story for another soapbox.)

Then, completely unrelated to anything except a discussion about whether or not we would be allowed to use iPods on the marathon course, I made the comment that if it came down to me and Mile 22 and if whether or not I heard an Eric Bibb tune was the difference between finishing the marathon or not, I would rather have my iPod than "have to fly his blues ass down to DC to sing to me." And my friend Lee immediately noticed that I had just said "ass" where formerly I had not been able to say "breast".

Well, you can probably see where this is headed, can't you. It's true that I ranted quite a bit in capital letters that a breast is just another part of the body FOR GOD'S SAKE and they should get off it already. It's true that Lee and I had quite a fit of the giggles and are probably going to get scolded by other board users about going off topic. It's also true that I immediately made everyone swear that if I bonked along the back eight miles of the course, they would come up to me, look me in the eye, and simply say the words "ass cancer" to get me going again. And it's true that we did a test run with a part of the male anatomy, positing that the penis (might be) mightier than the sword. I don't know that this is in fact true, and right now I'm probably less qualified than anybody to judge, but it's apparently mightier than the breast, because you can say "penis" on the message board.

Personally, I still think it's just that the mod's an ass-man.

Has Anyone Alerted Mr. Chertoff?

Because I suspect that Homeland Security did not approve this document, and something tells me heads are gonna roll when it reaches the Oval Office that there's an official government document floating around that goes on the record as saying that those members of the Evil Empire? Those villainous scum of the earth, the Arabs? They're just like us.

Oh yeah. And by the way, so are the Berbers. But who would go to all that fuss about a bunch of carpet?