Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Grace Under Fire

These dogs have a big job to do. They have to show America that they’re not monsters. We need to let America see that they’ve been lied to when they’ve been told that pit bulls are vicious and dangerous animals. They need to see that they’re sentient beings, that they’re just dogs and they deserve comfort, care, and compassion. They remind us that everyone needs to be treated as an individual.

– Donna Reynolds, Co-Founder, Bad Rap, speaking about the pit bulls seized from Michael Vick's property.

* * *

Now that Michael Vick has been sentenced, the court-ordered gag on the fate of the 49 dogs seized from his property has been lifted. All of them, all 49, are currently awaiting forever homes under the guidance of various animal rescue groups across the United States, including Best Friends animal sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Ten of the dogs are with Bad Rap. Those are three of them in the above photo.

Those of us involved in animal advocacy cannot even begin to relay just how mind-blowingly landmark this decision was by a Federal Court to allow independent assessment of these dogs. Dogs which are traditionally labeled "kennel trash" and thoughtlessly killed by the tens of thousands at so-called "shelters" each year just because they were born the wrong breed.

But in this case, they got a fair shake. In this case, federal prosecutor Mike Gil bravely bucked the trend and deemed these pit bulls victims, not criminals. And, as victims, worthy of individual assessment and possibly life as companion animals.

You know what these pit bulls all have in common? They're awesome. Social. Happy. Kid-friendly. Media slutty.

Read about them here. And here. Oh, and here's a, get this, fair and balanced AP article.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Fruit By Any Other Name is Boring

What plant we in this apple tree?
Sweets for a hundred flowery springs
To load the May-wind's restless wings,
When, from the orchard-row, he pours
Its fragrance through our open doors;
A world of blossoms for the bee,
Flowers for the sick girl's silent room,
For the glad infant sprigs of bloom,
We plant with the apple tree.

– William Cullen Bryant

And not, Party People, with the banana tree. I don't care if Mr. Smarty Pants Dan Koeppel spent the last five gazillion years chewing his fingers to bloody stumps in pursuit of his thesis that the banana is, in fact, the fruit that really changed the world.

When you go to the grocery store to buy apples, what happens? Most likely you spend a wee bit of extra time tapping your foot in front of at least a dozen different varieties. There are eating apples and cooking apples and baking apples and apple sauce apples. Apples for broiling and baking and candlestick making. For tossing and dipping and wrapping and snacking. But there's only one variety of banana. It may be green, it may be brown, and if it's ripe, it's a mellow yellow, but it's still one single variety. Ho. Hum.

And not very much fun. Have you ever strolled through an apple orchard in the afternoon of a particularly mellow spring day, when the perfect storm of sun and wind conspire to coax the tangy-sweet scent of apple blossom out from the flower and into the air for speedy delivery straight to your olfactory system, and if it weren't for the fact that every honey bee in a five-county area were at that very moment also inebriating themselves giddy on the scent, you'd gather up an armful of blooms to press to your face and inhale until your senses shut down from sheer gorgeousness overload? No? Try it sometime. And then try it with a banana bush.

So while I'm always in favor of a good bit of paradigm-busting research, in this case, I say: meh.

To Moi, the apple will always be the quintessential foodstuff of the civilized world. I mean, really, Eve bite a banana? How obvious.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mute Monday: Collection

Finally, the car that Ivan ate. Sigh.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

He Thinks He Missed the Train To Mars

Here, in a not-so-nutshell, is the reason behind my five-day-and-counting battle with the Flu From Hell. Defenseless except for a single bottle of NyQuil, a cheap Cab Sav, and a People magazine stolen from my orthodontist's office two weeks ago, I can only wait it out. And punish you with the story of why. Why. WHY:

Last Tuesday, January 15th, at approximately 1:30 p.m., SB pokes his head in my office to tell me he's going to UPS to drop off some packages. Not a minute later, I hear the front door bang open. My beloved spousal unit stumbles back to my office, clutches the back of his head, and urges me to, "Quick, take a look back here and tell me if I've cracked my skull open. I slipped and fell on the ice."

Swallowing my fear at the possibility of having to endure a Saving Private Ryan moment as my husband's brain matter spills out of his head and onto the carpet (will Resolve get that out?), I take a deep breath, move his hands out of the way, and give the back of his head a thorough examination. "Nope, everything's intact," I report. "But, uh, you got quite a lump going on there." One one thousand. Two one thousand. Three one thousand. "Maybe we should go to the emergency room?"

Which prompts SB to shoot me one of his "Enough with the sissy girl stuff" looks. "Nah. Just give me a few minutes to shake it off."

I give him a full thirty minutes. After which time, I go into the kitchen to find him staring at a cast iron frying pan I'd put there earlier for a cobbler I'd intended to make that evening. "How you feeling?" He gingerly fingers the back of his head, "I got a big bump on the back of my head and it really hurts."

"How you feel otherwise?" I ask.

A puzzled look crosses SB's face. He looks at the frying pan again and then at me. "You didn't hit me with that thing, did you?"


Then I remember back to a series of neurological tests the doc had given my step dad during an emergency room visit of his own two months ago.

"SB, do you know who I am?"

"Of course," he says, rolling his eyes. "You're Moi."

"How long have we been together."

Another eye roll. "Like, forever."

"Where did we go for Christmas this year?"

No reply.

"Come on. You must remember."

"Nope. No idea."

I try something else. "Who is our current president?"

Big smile. "Uh, guy with the big ears? Junior Bush?"

Then this: "SB, I'm going to say three words to you and have you repeat them back to me. We're going to talk for a couple minutes and then I'm going to ask you to tell them to me again."

"Cool." SB loves games.

"Here we go: 'dog, ball, tree'."

SB repeats them back to me. Then a few seconds later he shakes his head and says: "Wow. How long have I been sleeping? And how did I get this bump on my head?"

The panic I'd managed to hold at bay for the past hour now demands my full attention. I ask SB if he remembers the three words I just told him.

"What three words?"

First phone call I make is Doris Rose. She's a retired nurse, so I figure she'll know if this is, indeed, a cause for the ER. I tell her SB seems to have weird memory problems. "I should take him in, right?"

"Uh, yeah!" is her professional reply. And then she suggests that maybe now is also a good time to "remind" SB that's he's agreed to send me on a spa vacation to the Caribbean. "And, you know, with me and another few friends in tow."

But first, she reiterates, take him to the emergency room.

But he won't budge. Not only because he has a stubborn streak that makes the Rock of Gibralter look like Silly Putty, but also because he's incapable of retaining information for longer than about a minute. Every time I get him to the car, he turns around and heads back in the house. To sit down in front of his computer to read the same Fed Ex email another fifty bazillion times.

Maybe he'll listen to his doctor? Nope. But, the doc assures me, it's just a concussion, the memory loss is normal, and he should snap out of it soon. Don't bother going to the emergency room – "You'll be there forever," he dead pans – just bring him in tomorrow for a check up.

But when, over the course of the next four hours, SB keeps "waking up" to ask me the same questions over and over again . . . when, in response, I type out a "cheat sheet" of explanations that he clings to as if the info on the sheet were life itself . . . when, during the course of feeding him a big bowl of chicken soup, he asks me fifty bazillion times if the chunks of chicken are tofu, prompting me to put a sticky note in front of him saying, "No, SB, it's chicken." which in turn prompts his freakish, "No way, dude, how did you know I was going to ask that?" . . . when I give him the "dog, ball, tree" test four more times and each time he fails miserably . . . it finally dawns on me that SB is STILL incapable of retaining new information longer than one minute and I am therefore facing the very real possibility of spending the rest of my life with "50 First Dates" man.

Of living in a perpetual Fight Club moment where each week I haul my weary ass to a dank basement room in some abandoned building downtown to commiserate support group-style with a handful of other Gorked Loved One caretakers bearing similarly stained track suits and limp, scrunchied pony tales, puffing away on Camel Lights (I've taken up the habit again) and trading stories about how, this week, the Gorked Loved One suddenly, miraculously, remembered the dog's name. But then completely forgot how to put on socks. 'Cause the massive brain injured? They're a barrel-full of fun like that.

So again with the frantic phone calls. This time to a friend of E!s, a psychiatrist who specializes in patients with brain injuries. He asks me a series of questions and after I answer them all, says very slowly and calmly, in that elementary school teacher way medical professionals have when they're trying to make sure important information sticks: "This is not good. He should have regained all his memory by now. Go to the emergency room. Immediately."

Fast forward to the emergency room (let's just say Moi's super powers finally trumped SB's.)

It is of course overflowing with the typical drunk/gun shot wounded/fell down and went boomed effluence of your average urban ER, but I make a big enough stink about SB's "massive head injury" that he's triaged within minutes and CAT scanned within another fifteen.

We are told the doctor will call us within fifteen minutes to discuss the results.

Of course, Moi's best friend, E!, has insisted on meeting us there and on waiting to the bitter end, because that's what friends do and, besides, I hadn't yet heard the full story of her latest dating adventure and if there's anything that can keep Moi from fully breaking down in times of tragedy, it's a good bit of dating adventure gossip. So in between snippets of, "he didn't!", we check in on SB with the "dog, ball, tree", "where did we go during Christmas?" and "what day is today?" tests. Which he continues to fail.

Four full freakin' hours later, with no CAT scan results on the horizon, the dating adventure all tapped out, and our last drops of patience nearly evaporated, I look over at SB and notice something on his face I haven't seen in, oh, the past ten hours. An expression not of happy idiocy, but of good, old fashioned SB annoyance.

"Jesus. How long does it take to get the results of a CAT scan?" he barks to no one in particular.

Wuh, wait? SB remembers there was a CAT scan? He's managed to retain information for longer than a minute? But before I can probe further, we hear it: the voice of the doctor asking us to meet him in a room for the CAT scan results.

The doctor's $250,000-a-year diagnosis? "All's clear. No hematoma. He just hit his head really, really, really hard." We are told to follow up with SB's primary care physician in the morning and take it easy for a few days.

Relief comes flooding in like a hot bath. With scented bubbles and a stack of crap magazines.

Then, as we step back out into the lobby, something else floods in as well. The realization that I have just spent the past four hours among not only a potentially brain dead husband, but dozens of sneezing, hacking, aching people for whom a head cold is indeed a perfectly viable reason to visit the emergency room.

Sure enough. I feel it coming on during the ride back home. The scratchy throat, the aching joints, the woozy head.

Then I feel something else. A tug on my coat sleeve. I turn to find the face of Moi's beloved SB beaming at her like it was Christmas all over again.

"What?" I ask.

SB's grin widens and he answers: "Dog. Ball. Tree."

Monday, January 21, 2008

I Wanna Do Right, But Not Right Now

Hack, hack. Cough, cough. Sniff, sniff.

And while I'm busy composing the long-ass post that will explain exactly why I am making these crap weasel sickly sounds for the first time in fifty bazillion years, why don't cha just jog on over to Moi's baking blob and make yourself a mess of chocolate mousse?

Well, what're ya waiting for? I'm contagious. GO NOW.

And then, go get your laugh on by stopping by Wicked Thistle's blob for this.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mute Monday: Elements

And just so no one completely worries (or is that the other way around?):

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lazy Ass Excuse for a Blog Post #3 Bazillion

Today, Party People, is the premier of yet another of what I like to call Moi's Exclusive Blob Features.

This one I am calling: The Post I Wish I'd Written But Didn't But it's Brilliantly Funny Nonetheless and You Should Go Read it NOW and Hence Save Moi From Having to Come up With Something of Her Own Today.

Written by Da Pirate, it's a deftly hilarious examination of what happens when an innocent engineer suddenly finds her utilitarian wardrobe poked and proded by a red alligator coat-wearing Russian fashionista.

GO READ IT NOW. You'll laugh yourself silly, which is a good thing for the weekend.

(P.S. Pirate: I love my distressed, olive green, tie bottom capris with the five bazillion pockets, too!)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Move Along Moi's Vegetamarian Friends; Nothing to See Here

Last week, Doris Rose wrote about a little incident she’s having with critters setting up house among the insulation of her pool, and making themselves a snack of the plumbing while they’re at it.

I can sort of relate. We have a famblee of squirrels who for the past nine months have nestled their homey headquarters somewhere in the insulation of our outdoor swim spa as well. Thankfully, they have yet to gnaw their way through any of the piping.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not causing Moi to stamp her feet in frustration. That’s because, as SB is fond of saying, I insist on establishing Snow White’s freakin’ fairy land around here. I mean, why eat PVC when you can nosh luxuriously on $5 bazillion a pound gourmet birdseed?

Yeah, yeah. I bought a squirrel-proof feeder. But this is how the relationship between Moi and technology usually goes: I buy the correct thing, but then I position it improperly. So, no, the squirrels most definitely cannot climb the feeder. But they can drop down on it from on high. And yes, there has been talk of moving it . . .


Given that SB has himself a shiny new toy, I suggested that perhaps we should just go ahead and kill the little fuckers.

After all, while I love all of God’s chillrun (well, except cockroaches and politicians), I am not above putting them out of Moi’s misery under two very specific circumstances:

1. My life is in immediate, you-can-for-damn-sure-bet-on-it danger. But that’s never really happened. (I don't count the time I was vacationing in Bermuda and had the bad luck to sit my bikini bottomed ass on a patch of ground wherein lived a particularly virulent band of Bermudan Fire Ants who promptly bit me to hell, causing me to spend the rest of my gloriously sunshiny days fighting a fever and stomach cramps. But you know, what was I going to do? Hobble over to the nearest food vendor and scream, “Raid, my good man; I need a can of Raid!”?)

2. When I’m hungry. Look, I did not stagger my way up the food chain in these here high heels only to be presented with nothing but vegetables. However, I do not take being a carnivore lightly or for granted. Instead, I like to take what I call a Sioux Indian/Fat Bastard approach to meat-eating. In other words: "Thank you O Great Creator for the bounty you have bestowed upon this earth and thank you O Great Angus Beef Dude for giving your life and hide so that I may live and also look stylish whilst doing so. Now, get in mah belly (preferably with a nice side order of garlic mashed potatoes and a perky Riesling.)"

But no. SB won't kill the squirrels. And not because, silly, you don’t hunt squirrels with a Winchester rifle. But because:

1. “You know you’ll just end up crying like a pansy ass girly-girl.”


2. “Besides, you don’t know how to cook squirrel.”


Except, wait! What’s this? Oh, my. I almost forgot what my in-laws bestowed upon Moi for Christmas:

And lookie here:

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sir Edmund Hillary 1919-2008

how do you like your blue-eyed boy mr death?

And tell Moi: what mavericks do we have left?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Meme Moi

I’ve been tagged by Ms R to discuss Moi’s “Media Week,” which, I take it to mean, all those things that serve to keep the brain buzzing along in merry contemplation of anything and everything but work (and/or potential work, which I hate going in search of. “Yoo, hoo! Hire Moi, please. I'll bake you cookies!” is about as good as I get at self-promotion. May be time to go into retail shoe sales, Party People.)


What I am Reading:
The size of my To Be Read Pile is beginning to worry me. I calculated the other day that if I quit work right now and begin with the first book on top, I’ll hit the bottom of the pile in exactly 1.567 gazillion years. Provided nothing new is published in the meantime.

At any rate, here’s what I’m attempting:

Guns, Germs, and Steel – Jared Diamond
Be Pretty, Get Married, and Always Drink Tab – Gigi Anders
Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World – Jack Weatherford
And still plugging away at The Evolution of Canine Social Behavior – Roger Abrantes, Ph.D.

Acts of Faith – Philip Caputo
No Country For Old Men – Cormac McCarthy

I am of course addicted to crap magazines, but I don’t buy them. Instead, I catch up at ortho appointments, while having my car lubed, and of course, when Doris Rose brings over her abundant stash.

The only magazines I subscribe to are National Geographic Adventure and the Atlantic.

What newspapers? You mean the Albuquerque Journal? Ho, ho, hee, hee. . .

What I'm Watching:

In the theater most recently: No Country For Old Men (fabulous) and I Am Legend (not so fabulous but Will Smith is, so there you have it).

While on the stationery bike the other day, caught the first hour of Michelangelo Antonioni's (RIP) L’eclisse, with Monica Vitti and Alain Delon. Thankfully, I have the entire thing Tivoed and am just waiting for S.B. to hand over control of the remote to finish the rest of it. I don’t know why, but I adore Antonioni, even Zabriski Point despite its clumsy leftist leanings. His movies are so very, very.

(So was Monica Vitti. Bardot, Schmardot, far as I'm concerned.)

Monica Then:

Monica Now (at 76):


Dramadies: House. I must also admit to being totally addicted to the new season of Nip/Tuck. Way, way, way, way over the top, but very clever satire. Comedies: 30 Rock and The Office are freakin’ brilliant. Realities: Project Runway and Amazing Race.

What I'm Listening To:
Right now on the iPod I’m revisiting Steve Earle, Lene Lovich, and early Bowie. Plus, still, Courtney Love’s tragically terrible, America’s Sweetheart. On the turntable, Tom Jones Live at Caesars Palace, a sealed Parrot Records (London) pressing that S.B. gave Moi for Christmas.

Oops, nearly forgot. I need to tag others. So, uh, let's see. I tag everyone who reads this blob. I want to hear from you . . . that's an order. Sorta.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Smells Like Vacation To Moi

Every year out here in the Rocky Mountain Southwest, winter storms blow in from the Pacific, gathering force as they move along across California and Arizona with the result being that, by the time they reach Colorado and New Mexico, more than a few hapless outdoor adventurers manage to lose themselves among all the sound and fury.

Far from being tragic in IMHO (can you say, thin the herd?), these incidents instead inspire mucho chuckling and head shaking from the denizens of this here household. ‘Cause look, Party People, in this day and age of insta Internet access, anyone who ventures out into the wilderness without first checking the forecast on Well, Room For Rent simply must be tattooed across their foreheads at the first available opportunity. Just so those of us who encounter these dimwits have sufficient notice to give them wide berth.

Of course, the press just lives for these kinds of stories. Take this recent incident in which a six-person, two-family team of merry funsters got lost snowmobiling in the mountains north of Chama, New Mexico this past Friday. Everyone was in a panic for days.

But yesterday morning, the news broke: Thank gah and glory be. The two families have been found! enthused a shiny-eyed CNN reporter, bundled like an overgrown papoose in her $5 bazillion North Face puffer parka. They put all their survival skills to the test and made it through!


Which prompts Moi to ask this Zen-like question: If, in getting lost in a blizzard, you find your way to an abandoned cabin, break in, discover a propane grill, blankets, food, and thus proceed to whittle away the hours cheerfully playing Pictionary and stuffing your face with popcorn until one of you eventually hoists himself out of the cushy cabin sofa to climb the hill at the back of the property to suss out a cell phone signal and call for help, well, now, can you honestly say you survived anything?

I think not.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What's in a Game

I'm feeling a little blue this morning.

Yes, LSU won the national college football championship last night (quite handily, it turns out). Yes, the game was an occasion to forgo a regular sit down supper and instead stuff ourselves silly in front of the T.V. with chile con queso, pork sandwiches, chocolate cake, and beer. Yes, every point scored caused such merriment in S.B., he actually sprung out of his chair to do an energized happy dance around the living room. Causing me to giggle and ponder why it is we never actually go out dancing. Man's got some kind of funky rhythm. Then again, maybe that's just Moi.

But as elation-making as last night's game was, it also portends something bittersweet: the end of football season and, hence, the long, slow slide into a late winter/early spring bereft of any kind of celebratory event or holiday. Okay, so there's the Stupor Bowl. But let's face it, I'm not really a fan of professional football, the Saints and Patriots excepted. Sure, it's nice to stare at some firm buns and chiseled forearms, but after a few minutes of that, I pull out the laptop and start cruising eBay.

As for holidays, talk about barren. President's Day? Yeah, right. Moi, celebrate the birth of a politician? Fuggedaboutit. Valentine's Day? Meh. S.B. is usually out of town for the event and despite my addiction to all things purdy, I've never been much of a fan, although I adore the flowers. Easter? I haven't celebrated since my mother died.

And we won't even talk about the weather. Spring in New Mexico is fickle to say the least. One day you're being seared by the sun and 80 degree temps, the next a foot of snow blankets your budding buddleia.

Obviously, this is a time when I get in a lot of reading and baking.

Oh, and one more thing. Guess what time it also is? Time to fret over whether or not I get picked in the lottery for La Luz. Remember La Luz? From now until May, it's white knuckle time. 'Cause I'm determined to hit a 2:30 this year. IF I get in.

And ever get off this sofa . . .

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mute Monday: Year In Review

In 2007, over 3,000 pit bulls and pit bull mixes were euthanized
at the City of Albuquerque municipal shelters.

But not these dogs: