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Archive for September, 2006

For The Bug

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

Yesterday, my sister, Tweeze, and her bestest pal, The Bug, were involved in a traffic accident. Tweeze, thankfully, was unharmed, but The Bug came out with some pretty significant damage.

She is currently asleep at a tow place in Baton Rouge as we wait to see if she can be saved. Please send good thoughts and prayers for The Bug's recovery; she's Tweeze's pride and joy.

Poor Tweeze was at a green light waiting to make a left turn onto the on-ramp of I-10, headed Westbound. There were two lanes of traffic coming towards her - one was stopped, the other...maybe moving...but she couldn't see. So she sat and waited.

Fucktard behind her, however, felt waiting was for pussies - so he began to lay on the horn in an attempt to make Tweeze go. Tweeze got nervous (who doesn't when someone's blaring their horn at you?), figured he in a big truck could see further up than her, and went. BAM.

What does Fucktard, who just caused an accident with his impatience do? Why he drives up, then around the wreckage of Tweeze's car (in the lane), goes on up the on-ramp and drives away. Wherever you are out there, Fucktard, my only solace is in knowing that karma's a bitch - and it will come for you.

Other than having a broken heart, and in an inability to stop apologizing to everyone, Tweeze is fine. She can't, though, seem to get over "killing her baby". We all hope the Bug will be able to make a full recovery.

My Dad, just glad his daughter was unharmed, couldn't seem to understand Tweeze's upset over her car. "It's just a car," he kept saying, "A thing."

That isn't true, though. All of us have had that one, maybe even a few, vehicles that we just loved to pieces; that was "our" car. Anyone who reads here regularly knows I consummately love my Miata, Stella. There are just some that are more special than others; some that are more than "just cars".

Tweeze's car was more to her. She waited for years to be able to afford it exactly - a green VW Bug. One came up for sale in a nearby town that she could afford, and her dream car was hers. She has pictures of her car all over; I even gave her the Barbie VW Bug version (green, of course) for Christmas one year. She loves that car; so you can imagine how upset she is - especially since she was at fault in the accident.

So, please, send some good car-repair vibes our way, and leave Tweeze a happy note in the comments; maybe share what your special car was and why you loved it so.

Barbie Has It All…

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

...including a dog that poops.

When the commercial for Barbie's pooping dog, Tanner, came on Cartoon Network a few Saturdays ago, I almost fell off the couch I was laughing so hard. It seemed like a joke, but it wasn't.

Barbie's defecating pooch excretes the "treats" that you put into his mouth. He and Barbie's accessories are a handy (magnetic) pooper-scooper and convenient trash bin for properly disposing of the plastic fecal matter.

Searching for Barbie's dog, I was also introduced to Barbie's friend, Teresa and her own waste-producing pet, a kitty named Mika. The cute kitty drinks water from a bottle, which then exits her other end (hopefully) into her litter box. Action-Teresa then "scoops" the clumped litter for Mika. Excited yet? Teresa and Mika's accessories include "different colored kitty litter"! Woohoo!!

It just makes the toys we played with as children seem so boring. Tweeze and I's Barbies had everything - houses, cars, a horse, and more clothes and shoes than I'll ever own...but they never had their own pooping and peeing pets!

Unconscious Mutterings

Friday, September 22nd, 2006
  1. Running :: I wish I could; I actually haven't been able to since around the age of 11 or 12. Sometimes I have dreams where I'm running and running - they're some of my favorite nighttime reveries.
  2. Alternative :: Music - Nirvana.
  3. Cope :: What you have to do to survive.
  4. Lots :: Of Love!
  5. Sympathetic :: Sometimes more difficult to be than apathetic.
  6. Barn :: Big and red.
  7. Totally :: Like, really.
  8. Baby :: Enjoy others; not looking for my own.
  9. Undeniable :: How much I love The Worm.
  10. Watermelon :: Summertime at the pool when I was a kid.

Courtesy of LunaNina.

Happy Birthday, Mom

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

On September 21, 1957 an event transpired that would eventually, twenty years later, bring my wonderful self into existence. On this day, the woman who would bring me into this world was, herself, born.

If my Self is so "wonderful" (and it is), it's all because I was raised and nurtured by the woman you see here. She was - and continues to be - a friend and a loving mother. Her children were her life, and we felt that love every day.

I have fond memories of coloring for hours on the living room floor, while Mom sat patiently sharpening all of our Crayons to a fine, perfect point. No nubby Crayons for her little ones. She played with us, and talked with us like...people; not ignorant kids.

One of my favorite growing-up memories was getting to stay up late (sometimes on school nights!) with Mom and watching horror movies on HBO and Cinemax. We'd sometimes pop some popcorn, turn all the lights off, and watch scary movies together - just she and I. My love of horror and writing horror stories as a child, I believe, was borne of these fun nights.

She always showed extreme interest in my talents, and was (and still is) my biggest fan. She loved anything I wrote and encouraged me to hone my skills.

My love of books and reading comes from her, too. I remember with excitement when she felt I was ready for "big books" (long ones with no pictures). She set me up with her old Nancy Drew books - I felt so proud and grown-up...and I haven't stopped reading since. In Jr. High I wrote a book report on Wuthering Heights - a book she always talked about and loved. At the time, the writing was difficult for me to follow so she sat down and read the book to me; stopping after each chapter so we could discuss what had been read and to make sure I understood it. It's another of my treasured memories.

So today I wish to say - Happy Birthday, Mom - I love you more than words and wish to thank you for being there, for being wonderful, for helping to shape me into who I am today. I couldn't have chosen a better mother - or a better friend.

No Curlies Here

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

While I do love WordPress and haven't looked back since moving to it, there was one thing that I simply could not stand. The ugly, little "curly" quotation marks and apostrophes. I felt they broke up the flow of text making things unsightly and a little more difficult to read.

You know, “these things”. Awful, isn’t it? To my eyes, yes.

I hated them, and searched - in vain - for some type of WP plug-in that might solve my curly quote woes. Finally, I found it: Matt Fletcher's Strip Smart Quotes plug-in. I dropped the plug-in into my plugins folder, activated it, and TADA! - no more hideous curly quotes or apostrophes!

See - "isn't this much nicer"? Quite!

So, many thanks to Mr. Fletcher for saving my eyes (and wits) and ending the Curly Curse.

Onto more interesting news, I thought a few of you might be interested to see a genuine 419 scam in action - on an instant messenger!?  Last night, a man calling himself "Robert Andrie" asked me if I'd be interested in a job:

We need agents to receive payment for our textiles (in Canadian and american money transfer) and to resend the money to us via Money Gram or Western Union Money Transfer.

I kept him on for more than an hour playing along and playing with him; hey, in that time, at least, he wasn't able to scam anyone else (I hope).  If you'd like to see the insanity for yourself, check it out at Halls of Stupid: 419 IM Scam!

With that, I'm out to spread more posting happiness with straight, nice-looking quotation marks.

New Orleans After Katrina

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

My first trip to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was a bittersweet one.  While I saw some progress, the overall feel was of a city struggling to survive.

The French Quarter, if you can imagine it, was nearly bare.  There was hardly anyone about. Jackson Square, for instance, usually teeming with people on a sunny, not-too-hot Sunday late morning and early afternoon, was only sparsely occupied.  There were only a handful of artists hanging around it - maybe 2 Tarot readers and one or two artists selling their work.  I heard someone asking the horse & carriage drivers how they'd "done yesterday" and heard him say "I had only two rides - all day."  It didn't even fully dawn on me until later that "yesterday" had been a Saturday.  Two rides; it shows you the lack of tourists in New Orleans - a hard blow for an economy that largely depends on tourism revenue to survive.  And don't think it's not hurting the overall state as well; Orleans Parish usually accounts for 44% of all tourism revenue in the State of Louisiana.  Tourism is also the second largest employer in the New Orleans region.

We talked to a lot of the local artists, and they were struggling hard.  But we thanked them for staying and supporting the city, and they thanked us for coming and supporting the city.  We plan to buy an art piece every time we go - even if we can't afford it.  This time we got one from some guy that's been out there 15 years; Sam Infinity - it's a wild, dark but colorful little piece of Pirate's Alley (one of my favorite places because William Faulkner's house is there and is now a bookstore).

I saw progress, but not as much as I would've expected.  This is a major city - wherein lies an international airport!  This is a city that is the 5th largest convention destination in the nation, that hosted 10.1 million visitors in 2004 - a city that, without it, "each household in Louisiana would need to spend an additional $2,969 annually if the New Orleans travel industry did not exist"!!  The French Quarter isn't in disrepair so much as the rest, but the impact of loss of tourism is evident.  Other parts of the city were heartbreaking to see - entire streets lined with nothing but trashed and vacant fast food joints, mini-malls and gas stations - their parking lots filled with debris; like a ghost town.  Entire neighborhoods demolished, tarps on roofs, homes obviously never moved back into.

It will be years - many years - before that city is "okay" again.  And for those of us that hold her so dear in our hearts, it's a painful truth to accept.

Fanatical Muslims Need to Get a Grip

Sunday, September 17th, 2006

Yet again something was said that upset the extreme sect of the Muslim community, and countless innocents are being killed and wounded while property is being damaged and destroyed. And the world at large has an even more difficult time grasping the notion that the Islam religion is "peaceful" despite what thousands of Muslims worldwide insist. Perhaps they need to remember that actions speak louder than words.

In February of this year, the Muslim community went into rabid hysterics when a Danish newspaper published cartoons that featured their beloved Mohammed in a negative light. Not a group to peacefully protest, embassies were burned and people were killed. The sanctimonious-fueled violence didn't end there:

Several death threats and reward offers for killing those responsible for the cartoons have been made, resulting in the cartoonists going into hiding. Four ministers have resigned amidst the controversy, among them Roberto Calderoli and Laila Freivalds. In India, Haji Yaqoob Qureishi, a minister in UP state government announced in February 2006 a cash reward of Rs 51 crore (roughly about US$110 million) for anyone who beheads the Danish cartoonist who caricatured Prophet Mohammad.

...from Wikipedia, Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy

Offending a Muslim has some serious repurcussions; here we see death threats and the obvious ruin of the cartoonists' lives who now are in hiding and living daily in fear for themselves and their families. Wikipedia states that at least 139 people were killed in protests over the cartoons, and three Danish embassies burned.

Today, the over-zealous Muslim community is outraged at the Roman Catholic Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, over a speech wherein he quoted an ancient Byzantine emporer as saying negative things against Mohammed and the Islamic religion. Though the Pope used the speech to denounce violence tactics in any religion, and did not personally say anything negataive against Mohammed or Islam, the Muslims are furious.

In his speech on Tuesday, Benedict quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and an educated Persian on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the pope said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"

...from Yahoo! News, Pope sorry for reaction to his remarks

When the Muslims, once again, flipped shit, the Vatican released a statement reinstating the Pope's respect for Islam and Muslims, and explaining the context of his speech:

As for the opinion of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, which he quoted during his Regensburg talk, the Holy Father did not mean, nor does he mean, to make that opinion his own in any way. He simply used it as a means to undertake — in an academic context, and as is evident from a complete and attentive reading of the text — certain reflections on the theme of the relationship between religion and violence in general, and to conclude with a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence, from whatever side it may come.

...from Yahoo! News, Text of Vatican Statement on Pope speech

This did little, if anything, to satisfy the ire of the Islamic community. Muslim leaders 'round the world fumed that the Pope stopped "just short" of an apology and continued to demand one. Why they felt it critical that the Pope apologize for something he didn't do - and for a statement he didn't mean the way they are interpreting it - defies all logic. Personally, I was proud of the Pope for not groveling for forgiveness simply because he was misinterpreted.

Yet amid the attacks on Catholic churches, the suicide bomb threat to the Vatican, and the gunning down of an inncoent nun in Somalia, the Pope really had no choice but to back down and appease the simpletons - he has now issued an official "apology".

Whether his words will indeed soothe the Muslims and put an end to the violence remains to be seen, but I'm not holding my breath.