Thursday, March 31, 2011

American Idol Snark Station: The Sun Goes Down on Me

One of the few non-fist-flying, hair-pulling, face-spitting moments I can remember having with my brother when we were kids was the time we spent choreographing and practicing a dance routine to Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets" in anticipation of presenting it to our parents and neighbors on Sunday afternoon. I even used up a whole bottle of Elmer's Glue to coat my go-go boots with green glitter and my brother likewise outlined a pair of my mother's YSL sunglasses with gold sequins.

We were so over the moon for Elton John, my parents even agreed to allow us to join his fan club, which used to send us these monthly newsletters outlining all the goings-on in Elton's life in that hyper-exclamatory manner so particular to fan mag writing of the time: "Elton says the best way for a girl to catch his eye is not to be too fake!" "Elton can eat wherever he wants in the world but still says his mom's meat pies are his favorite!'"

To this day, if one of his songs comes on the radio—even "Candle in the Wind" and "I'm Still Standing"—I'll listen. Some still have the power to slay me completely, most notably "Daniel," "Someone Saved My Life Tonight," and "Yellow Brick Road." Elton even followed me into adulthood, when S.B. revealed during the early days of our courtship that one of the things that got him through three stints in a Nigerian compound was John's Tumbleweed Connection on his Walkman because there's a song on there that reminds him of me.

So I couldn't help but cringe when I heard that the Idolators were doing Elton songs last night. Seriously? Because of all the pop songs out there, Elton's are to my mind at least some of the toughest to cover. What makes Elton John great is not only his lyrics and piano-driven melodies, but also his voice, one of the most distinctive in all pop music, capable of phrasing things in ways that no mere mortal, regardless of technical ability, can match.

And you know what? They still can't. The thing about Elton, too, is that so many of his songs are so personal. And these kiddies seemed not to grok to the meaning of the lyrics at all, especially Pia, who for all her technical proficiency just comes off to me as cold and un-engaging. The praise heaped on that Cruise Ship performance made me wince.

You know who I did like, though? Durbin. It was a little manic, but his voice was awesome and he brought an energy and a power to his performance that was almost Elton-esque. Oh, and Pauls' suit? I want that suit. I'd wear that suit. That suit rocks.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Movie Clip Wednesdays: Favorite Liz Taylor Movie

Oh, what, you were expecting a video of Liz Taylor? Well, of course I adore Liz Taylor (RIP), but I think our Movie Clip Wednesday's hostess's birthday takes precedent over any ol' clip of Liz flashing those violet eyes and swinging those zaftig hips.

So, Happy, Happy Birthday, Boxer Baybeeeeeeeeee! I hope your day is filled with oodles of special things, well wishes, love, cake, presents, cake, vodka, love, and cake.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Haiku Monday: Lemon WINNER

Hey, now, this was fun! Although I'm not sure I'd blind judge again. Maybe HIRE someone to judge, but not blind judge. A few of you, I groked to immediately: Boxer with her booze (nicely done), Troll with his Yo (party at Trolls!), and Czar with his obscurely compelling reference to 30 Rock (what does it mean? Liz Lemon and her car?!?) because it just seems so, well, Czar. And the terrific haiku extolling U2's Lemon love had to be either Pam or Kym (Kym).

A few of you tripped me up, though. Whod'a thunk Troll of all people would toss in a pop cultural reference to Napoleon Dynamite, only the greatest comedy of the last half century, yes I'm serious, if you don't think it's funny well I won't judge but, seriously, it's pretty freakin' funny . . . although I can't imagine Troll would think so. Then again, NATURE loves her little surprises. As he so astutely pointed out in the haiku, which resonated especially strongly with me (another top contender) because I've been reading Guns, Germs, and Steel, and so, yes, exactly! What IS natural? Well, ever since man first started tinkering with his existence, the answer is, Not much. So take that, Al Gore, and shove it down your pie hole along with another donut. The entire PLANET is a construct.


I also want to give a huge shout out to two new participants: Princess and Mitzi. Princess, I hope you keep playing, because the only thing that kept you out of the running was lack of adhering to the 5/7/5 syllable construct. Not all American haiku adheres to this rule, but we do, otherwise, goodness, Party People, it would be total anarchy around here, dogs and cats, living together, and then where would we be? Limmericking, that's where.

Speakin of which, Mitzi, thanks for the laugh. Come back anytime.

Second-time participant Fleurdeleo was a top contender with her ode to the joys of Love's Fresh Lemon, which is as entrenched in my scent memory as all the other late, great 1970s scents that seemed custom made for a certain class of junior high chica just beginning to sow her oats.

You regulars really put on a great show, too, and I wish I had time to speak to each and every haiku individually, because each of them had something that I loved. Even those that also discounted themselves because they didn't adhere to 5/7/5 (and all I can say in that regard is count, count, count, and count again), most especially Karl's 6.0 and lemonade stand, which were both top, top contenders. But they went over syllable count. Boo.

So, which haiku excelled at catching my eye and ear? Those that placed a very strong visual in my mind and that located them in a certain time/place. K9, for example:

yeah, it's beautiful
but that automobile is
bad yellow citrus

Right? We've all seen that car.

Also, Czar again being clever, only this time with something I "get:"

In Costa Rica,
Yanquis taken by surprise.
Asked, "Lemons?" Got limes.

And Foam, who is like the Yoda of Haiku.

scrunched up little nose,
wide startled eyes, puckered mouth . . .
thppt! lemon arcs far . . .

God lord, that's great.

And I love this from Pam:

Yellow like the sun
Sour, tart, tangy, bitter so
For ade, add sugar

Get it? Ade/aide? Love it.

But, after all is said and done, the one haiku that got my heart and my head, that transported me back to the halcyon days of my youth, when no bikini was too teeny and the initials SPF were still an unknown in some wet blanket scientist's mind, when we girls spent our summer days trying to get our bodies as dark as possible and our hair as light as possible, all in the laser-focused, single-minded pursuit of attracting the attention of as many lank-haired, pre-verbal boys as possible, is Fishy's:

Poolside Summer teens
streaking our hair with lemons
we smell'd like sun pies

It was that last line that got me. Smell'd like sun pies. Smelled. Like. Sun. Pies. That line just keeps playing itself over and over in my mind. It is perfect.

Congrats, Fishy! If you still have my email addy, send me your address toot suite and I'll send you the cookbook—and decide if you want to host/judge, or toss it back to Troll.

Thanks again, Party People! You are all sun pies to me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Haiku Mondays: Make LEMONade

Welcome, Party People, to another installment of Haiku Monday. I hope you're playing along this week and have come up with an homage or two to the theme, which is LEMON.

Me, I'm like Bubba Gump when it comes to this fruit. I love anything that tastes, smells, looks like, and/or otherwise utilizes the ingredient of lemon, including but not limited to: lemon icebox pie, lemon custard, lemonade, lemon chicken, gremolata, 7-Up, Fresca, and any perfume, cologne, or eau de toilette with a lemony accord, the ne plus ultra of which is Dior's Eau Savage, a scent I'd bathe in if I had the financial means. (Any of you currently trying to woo a member of the opposite sex might try dousing yourself with a little of this stuff, it's just that gorgeous.)

So I'm looking forward to reading what you crazy kids come up with—on Tuesday, because I've decided to blind judge this contest just like Czar did his. Which means, in order to be considered for the win and prize, you'll at the very least need to post your haiku here in this post's comment section. Miz Chickory has been kind enough to volunteer to copy and paste all entries and email them to me tomorrow evening after the contest closes (9pm PST) or first thing Tuesday morning. At that point, I will choose the winning haiku, announce it sometime on Tuesday, and bestow upon the lucky ducky author a copy of Clyde Casey's cookbook, Red or Green: New Mexico Cuisine.

So get crackin'. From this point forward, I WON'T be around to visit your blogs nor will I check in with mine, but feel free to post your haiku(s) with images at your own blogs as well, so your fellow participants can come by and ooh and ah at your literary genius and Google Imaging Search skills.

Ciao for now!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Feast or Famine

Right now, it's feast, but if you could hear me say it, my voice would be dripping with irony. Because before I even get to set aside a single cent for the shoe fund, the entire fruit basket of my labor will be sent straight to the gooberment. Toot suite.

So that the Obamanator and His Minions can then turn around and send it to China—or use it to perpetuate our "kinetic military action" in Libya. That's your circle of life in action right there. But at least we can all rest easy knowing there will be no military issued foot wear touching terra firma anytime soon. (Because the boots are too busy getting slaughtered in Afghanistan.)

Hope YOUR day is going swimmingly.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

American Idol Snark Station: Do Not Adjust Joo Screen

Hola Beeches!

Eet is I, Juan Carlos Miguel Jose Garcia Mendoza. Can joo believe that eet has been nearly a year since Mees Moi and I met up in that hotel room in the Miami Beach? ¡Ay, caramba! The way she scream and jump up on the bed, I felt bad for a second. I was only trying to make friends. But then she go down to the manager and make heem come up weeth three cans of Raid and a broomsteeck. No, I become very peesed off at her then, and I vow never to ever speak her name again.

Theese whole year, I try. I try to get her out of my mind. But, I cannot. Mees Moi, she is tenacious in the brain, like la Cucaracha in la Cucina. And then when I realize, from reading theese blog, that she lof Hennifer Lopez as much as I do, I think to myself, ay! maybe now we can be friends! Oh, the fun times me and mi madre and padre, and all of my cousins twice removed from my uncle's side from the Brooklyn branch have had in Meez Lopez's house. We lof her. Except that hosband, that skeletal man, heem, no, we do not like. Heem, we weesh could have been thees man:

Reeky Martin and Mees Lopez, they would have made the most beautiful bambinos, no? But, alas, Reeky's gate, eet sweeng the other way (shhhh, do not tell Mees Moi, eet steel make her cry) and there is no carpenter on earth or in heaven gonna feex that. Let us pause for a moment, shall we, to ponder hees beauty in the honor of all beauty everywhere.

So, anyway, I think, Ay! Moi and I, Juan Carlos, we have something een common! So, jes. I leave my home in the Miami and I walk across the Joonited States and I buy flowers. I climb all the way up to her house, and I knock, knock, knock on her door last night and what does she do? She throws another pair of those choos at me and then her dog, that fat one with the reedeeculous wrinkles on hees face, he try to eat me.

But theese time, I was ready. I bring the what you call it, the chloroform? And now I have Moi and those Perros locos tied up in the garach and I am typing on my leetle laptop from the inside of one of Moi's Louboutin's where I am eating all of her Cheetos and, jes, letting the cheeps fall where they may. And it is I, Juan Carlos, who will be blogging the Amerikeen Idol to joo all tonight. Ay, I am so like the Che Guevera. Except I cannot get this leetle beret to stay on my head.

Never the mind. We must hurry. Before that stupeed husband of hers, he come home with hees peestol.

Casey: "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" Who ees theese leetle boy with his grown up suit and beeg voice? I am confused. He ess not Reeky Martin sexy, but he has a quality. I know theese because Hennifer, she twinkles her eyes at heem. But I would say, lose the beard, muchacho. The ladies. They do not like the beards. They like the tentacles. Four tacos.

Thia: "Heat Wave" Heh. I geeve theese leetle girl a heat wave. She should come visit me, Juan Carlos, in the Miami in August. And we go get some carne asada at Pinolandia in Leetle Havana. Then we see eef she still sings like a leettle girl mouse whisperer. Peh. Two tacos.

Jacob: "You're All I Need to Get By" I lof the Marvin Gaye and I lof theese song. And I lof the way theese shiney boy in hees shiney pink suit jacket sing eet, weeeth just the right amount of feeling that never made me roll my eyes. But I liked not so much the keesing of everybody else's bottom. Four tacos and a jalapeño.

Lauren: "Keep Me Hanging On" For uno momento, I thought la chica, she was gonna treep in that silly long dress but then I say to my self, Juan Carlos, she got a the pipes. The pipes will get her through. Four tacos.

Stefano: "Jello"
Once upon a time, Mees Moi was at a dance at school when theese boy he asks her to dance a the slow song to theese Lionel Reechy song, which she hate, but she like theese boy, so she says, "Okay," and then theese boy, he tells her he lof her, even though he step on her choos, but then a day later he tell Moi's frien' he lof her, which, Dios mios, was not a good idea. So Moi, she tape a theese song and call theese boy tree, four time a night and play it over hees telephone because those were the days before that stupeed star-seex-nine ruined all a the prank call fun. Two tacos.

Haley: "You Really Got a Hold On Me"
Not so much hate theese week as last, but eet wasn't the song that was the problem. Eet was her drum majorette outfit. An' I for juan deedn't see no Beeg Band, did joo? Three tacos.

Scotty: "For Once in My Life"
Ay, I hear a the Texas accent and I start looking up expecting the roach-keecker cowboy boots to land on my head. Hennifer, I think she lof heem, though. Two and a half tacos.

Pia: "All in Love is Fair"
Oh, sorry, eet's so snuggly warm down here inside thees Louboutin's I had a nice leetle nap and missed performance. But I theenk I could make Moi my frien' eef I buy her that dress. Jes, even I, Juan Carlos, knows that the dress, eet is awesome. Two tacos.

Paul: "Tracks of My Tears"
Oh, jes, I know what to do weeth theese Paul now. Send heem to Reeky Martin, with a big red bow wrapped around hees butt. However, for once he didn't make me want to put charp steeks in my ears. Three tacos.

Thia: "Dancing in the Streets"
Moi, she says she like a theese girl. Moi, she is maybe un pocito loco. Even Reeky wouldn't wear those pantalones. Two and a half tacos.

James: "Living For the City"
Dios mios, theese raccoon tail boy. One week I lof heem, the next I want to keek heem in hees head. Tonight, I ask myself, "When deed Adam Lambert have a son? I thought hees gait sweeng a the other way?" Also: "Why does he keep squeenting hees eyes like a peegy?" Two and a half tacos. And a quarter jalapeño.

Jokay, compadres. Ees time for me to go hide. I see joo next week! Unless I get peestoled . . .

Movie Clip Wednesdays: Favorite Hitchcock

My absolute favorite Hitchcock movie is Rear Window, but I already posted it for a MCW, so I'm choosing this one, Hitchcock's only remarriage, screwball comedy.

Starring Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery, Mr. and Mrs. Smith opens with the happily married Lombard and Montgomery enjoying a lively breakfast together in one of those swank, high rise NYC apartments that people used to be able to afford before the world went to hell in a hand basket.

For some reason known only to the crazed technician responsible for the wiring of the female brain, Lombard asks her husband, if he had it to do all over again, would he still marry her? And then demands an absolutely truthful answer. Now, this is surely one of the stupidest questions a woman can ever ask a man, ranking right up there with, "Do these jeans make my ass look fat?" and, "You don't find her attractive, do you?" But if there's anything stupider than the woman asking the question, it's the man taking her at her word and answering truthfully.

True to form, Montgomery answers, "No, I don't think I would marry you again." which of course makes Lombard cry and Montgomery has to scramble to save his happy ass. But THEN, to add insult to injury, they discover later on in the day that they're not really married. Which prompts Lombard to hatch a plan to get back at Montgomery by sowing some wild oats of her own. Hijinks, naturally, ensue.

This scene, in which Lombard and her new beau are out on their first date, comes off as oddly flat in dialog and interaction, but I love it because it points up some really interesting differences between life lived today and life lived a mere 70 years ago:

1. Can you imagine anyone today getting that dressed up to go out on a date, much less a date to an amusement park? People don't even get that dressed up to go to the opera.

2. Can you imagine anyone today agreeing to get on an amusement park ride this flimsy, that goes up this high, with little else than a skinny little rope flung across their laps for protection?

Also, the camera work is totally awesome. Typical Hitchcock. I get vertigo just watching it on my laptop screen.

Once again, Ms. Boxer his hosting this Wednesday film fete, so if you want to play along, post a three minute clip in your blog, head over to her place and say, "I'm up!"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Will Work for Clarity

In honor of the fact that today is National Goof-Off Day, as well as the fact that I'm spending much of my time these days wrangling other writers' words (which is always interesting):

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Haiku Mondays: Sleep

Welcome to another round of Haiku Mondays, in which participants post their best 5-7-5 creations for the chance to win a Chickory designed badge of honor and other possible fabulous prizes. The great and powerful Czar is hosting this week, so drop by his place and post a haiku or two in the comments. This week's topic is SLEEP, and the judging will be blind.

* * *

Hot tub, iced room, stiff
drink. Delay sweethearts’s plea. Sleep!

Sprung from winter’s cold
cruel womb, newborn shoots bloom a
tribute to the sun.

Flash of kitchen knives
sunk deep into fattened flesh.
Psycho sous chef dreams.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 17 of the Hole: Portrait of a Frankentoe

Hey, Pam asked. Kind of grody, no? As you can see, it's swollen and the incision site is healing unevenly. Nice and pencil thin along the right and very far left side. Top of the toe, not so much. But it'll get there.

I'm feeling awfully tender towards my toe today, almost affectionate. It reminds me in many ways of my Junker Jane doll, Edwina, who is similarly patch-worked in her visage. Edwina does the best she can, too.

Oh, and I'm up at Undaunted Baker with a new post, although you may want to wait a while after that before visiting.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 14 of the Hole

Finally, we can blow this popsicle stand.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

American Idol Snark Station: Messin' With Moi

I don't know, Party People. I'm just not feeling the contestants this season. I don't doubt that there's talent here, the potential, if not for musical greatness, then at least for a halfway decent pop musical career complete with a profile or two on E! News and a short stint in rehab. But with the exception of Casey, there's no one here to really love. Here's how last night shook out for me.

"What's Love Got to Do With It?"
Not a great performance by any means, but it was the most animated. Plus, I just really, really like this girl: her personality, her look, that certain bluesy quality in her voice that I've heard before but which she's just not exploiting lately. Get it together, girl.

Paul: "I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues"
I really hate to hate this performance. Paul is adorable, what with those teeth, those long legs, that southern accent, but I really think he's a wee bit out of his mind. I don't know what he was doing up there, but surely it wasn't singing? Was it?

Thia: "Colors of the Wind"
Zzzzzzzzzz. Who needs sleeping pills when there's Thia? At times, she was singing so low, she struggled to properly articulate the words and all I heard was Charlie Brown's parents, only as altos. Randy was spot on when he called it a pageant-ey performance, and La Lopez picked out that shakiness in her voice that I noticed, too. Pretty girl, though.

James: "I'll Be There For You"
When I was young and single, my best friend and I used to amuse ourselves on the weekends by screaming around Albuquerque in her convertible, top down, wind in our hair, singing songs that we absolutely hated at the top of our lungs to the vehicles unlucky enough to pull up next to us at stop lights. One of our absolute favorite love-to-hate songs was Bon Jovi's, "I'll Be There For You," so hated in fact, that I'll bet there are at least a good half dozen people still living in this city who can't hear this song without remembering some crop-haired platinum blond hanging halfway out the passenger side of a white Miata screaming, "I'm sorry I missed your birthday, baby!" arms flung wide, one hand clutching a super-sized Sonic cherry limeade, the other flashing the Dio devil sign. In other words, I still hate this song, but it sure brings back fond memories.

Haley: "I'm Your Baby Tonight"
Good lord, that voice was all over the place. Up down, sideways, all the way to China and back. But not in a good way. She's goin' home.

Stefano: "If you Don't Know Me By Now"
One of the few Simply Red songs that doesn't make me want to stick pieces of bamboo under my nails. It was a'rite. What I'd really like to hear, is the band he formed with Casey, Paul, and James.

Pia: "Where Do Broken Hearts Go?"
I can't comment on the song because I'm more horrified by her sartorial choice than I am bored by choice of song. Not only did she willingly, and with no gun seemingly held to her temple, choose to wear a romper on stage, but she chose to wear a romper made out of the most unforgiving fabric known to God and man: silk satin. In white. The horror.

Scotty: "Can I Trust You With My Heart"
This guy always sounds the same, but the sounds he makes are sung well, on pitch, and with personality. But I still cannot get around the fact that he looks like the love child spawn of Alfred E. Newman and George W. Bush.

Karen: "Love Will Lead You Back"
I'm sorry, I can't take seriously any gal that comes out dressed like a stewardess on an airship headed for the Zenon Planetary System in the far corners of the Nebulon Galaxy, I don't care how much her mommy loves her.

Casey: "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
This song is near-sacred to me. It still takes the top of my head off, pulls my heart out of my body, and raises the kind of emotion that makes me thankful for the few and far between moments when rock and roll manages to achieve a level of sublimity that approaches high art. It should not be messed with. Ever. That being said, I love Casey and hope he doesn't go home for his sacrilege.

Lauren: "I'm the Only One"
The great thing about Melissa Etheridge is not just that she possesses a powerhouse voice and ample guitar-playing skills, but that she is also somehow able to take emotions that under ordinary circumstances would come off as embarrassingly desperate and co-dependent and turn them into something Shakespearean in their dramatic importance. I don't care what the judges said, I don't care the few moments of interesting country twang, Lauren didn't even come close to doing this song justice.

Jacob: "Alone"
What woman, alone in the shower or racing down the freeway or cleaning house by herself, hasn't at some point fantasized herself as Ann Wilson, swathed in layers of flowy PNW hippie silks, a mass of black curls tumbling menacingly around her shoulders, belting out songs like this in an eight-octave range so powerful it brings down squadrons of F-16s and makes men lose their minds. Don't mess with my fantasy, Jacob. Sing some real gospel.

Who was most fabulous this evening? La Lopez, gloriously lion-maned and animal-printed, and, I might add, level-headed. She gave the best advice of the evening.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Movie Clip Wednesdays: Best Drunk Scene

Why, from one of my all-time favorite movies, of course:

Because when the going gets tough? Golightly.

Or, in the words of Bitter:Sweet:

Let's get nuts, let's spend some money.
Oh, oh! Take your shirt off, honey.

Let's freak out, life's just a party.
Oh, oh! Won't be sorry, Charlie.

Rose colored glasses seem to be the rage.
Oh, Mr. President, in bed with terrorists again?

"The Bomb"

If you wanna ~hic~ play, too, then post a 3 or so minute clip of your favorite video, head over to Hostess Miz Boxer's Place, let her know you're up, and then hop around to everyone else's blogs to see what they posted. Rose colored glasses optional. But drinks do help.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Haiku Mondays: Pulchritude

From the editor:
No! I does not mean you're fat.
Rather, beautiful.

* * *

Welcome to another round of Haiku Mondays, in which participants post their best 5-7-5 creations for the chance to win a Chickory designed great badge of honor and other possible fabulous prizes. Miz Foam is hosting this week, so drop by her place and see who else is playing. And if you want to, too, just post your haiku in her comments. It's about the best way I know of to whittle away at a Monday.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day Ten of the Hole

Nothing like a little road trip to shake the cobwebs from the brain and turn my blues to pink. Today, S.B. and I drove up to my step dad's to help him with a few household tasks in prep for his move closer to Albuquerque sometime in April. While S.B. took care of some electrical work, I packed up a few things, swept and vacuumed the entire house, and then we moved a piece of furniture that he doesn't want to take with him to the new house (a really cool rustic New Mexican cabinet) into the back of the truck. Not only did my toe never hurt me, even better, we spent the entire two-hour ride up and back listening to all the latest news on satellite and watching the stunning Northern New Mexican scenery unfold outside the truck windows. Not a cloud in the deep blue sky, temps in the high 60s, the kind of day that makes me optimistic that maybe winter is over, the sun will continue to shine, and I'll be able to run again. SOON.

So, at least my doc is capable, has a good sense of humor, and says nice things to me like, "For a tall gal, you're awfully small-boned and have really great muscular structure in your feet." (Which was also his way of easing the pain of explaining to me why my toe is now a full 1/4" smaller than it was before—originally, he'd intended to cut only half the joint, but once he got in there, saw just how small it was, he just plucked the whole ding dang thing out.)

Great. Now not only do I have Frankenstein Toe, apparently it is also Pygmy Toe.

He has also cleared me to drive, but not bathe, because the stitches need to stay in until next Tuesday. And I still have to wear Das Boot, but not all the swaddling. Just the toe itself is now wrapped and I can wear a good heavy sock instead of all that Ace bandage-ey stuff.

Still. I want to be in a proper shoe. SOON.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

American Idol Snark Station: Really, Really Late

Sorry, folks; I was visiting some friends last night who just had twins (baby, baby, please let me hold him, I wanna make him stay up all night), so not only did I miss American Idol, it didn't even record itself because our stoooooopid satellite company is in the middle of a colossal snit fit with Fox and CBS. We can watch the channels, if we can find them, but they don't come up on the guide.

Yeah, and we're paying for this privilege!

Anyway, I just finished watching the videos on-line.

Casey: awesome. Gets cuter by the second.

Naima: infectious.

Paul: What. The. Hail?

Karen: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Pia: soapy, hate that freakin' song, and her dress had a tail, which is just not okay.

Scotty: George, is that you?

Country girl #1: can we all just take Pasty Cline off the table now?

Country girl #2: infectious 2.0.

Ashton: awesome hair and dress. but just a wee bit zzzzzzzzzz.

Jacob: boy, he's good, but . . . zzzzzzzz.

Thia: I don't ever want to hear "Smile" ever again, ever, unless it's attached to a Quentin Tarantino movie and someone's getting chainsawed apart to it.

Durbin: We were just talking about Wings last week! Wings is awesome, and this song? I could listen to it a gazillion times and never get tired of it. Guys, that's how you write a kick-ass love song to the kick-ass gal that puts up with your happy, leave-the-toilet-seat-up-and-drink-straight-out-of-the-orange-juice-container, ass. Tail boy did justice to the song.

So who goes home? My vote is for Paul. Drugs 'r' bad, m'kay?

American Idol Snark Station: Dios Mios!

Mira; but you know these shoes are fabulouso and you want to clutch them to your bosom and go running off into the night weeth them. Do not lie to La Lopez.

I was indisposed last night, but will get to AI tonight. In the meantime, I offer you this: a hilarious romp through the annals of Jennifer Lopez American Idol fashion as filtered through the snarky observations of the Fug Girls.

Go there now. Then click on the large photo and scroll through the photos for the commentary and be prepared to laugh until you pee your el underpantos.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day Seven of the Hole

Are any of you embroiderers or do you know an embroiderer? It's kind of a bizarre thing to do as a past time—in my case, specifically, filling inch upon inch of fabric with teensy tiny little crossed stitches that eventually form to create some kind of pattern or representational scene. Although I have done needle point and some crewel, my preferred method for some reason remains counted cross stitch, which is hardly taken seriously these days, as there are more expedient ways to cover a canvas.

Still, it's the first stitch I ever learned, and I've remained loyal to its use over many years in spite of the fact that I've never given serious consideration to the history of the craft. Until, that is, I visited the International Folk Art Festival in Santa Fe last summer. It wasn't my first visit, but it was the first time that I noticed the work of a Palestinian collective whose table was piled high with drop dead gorgeous pillows, table runners, and costumes, all densely cross stitched to create the same designs that I have long utilized in work of my own. Designs which, I always assumed, were folk European in origin, as they were passed along to me by my mother, who learned the craft from a Swedish colleague, who learned her craft from her Hungarian nanny.

Flash forward to a July day at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, in the middle of the desert southwest, me holding up a table runner and asking a woman swathed in head-to-toe black, "Where did you learn to make these patterns?" and receiving in return a thickly-accented, "We don't really know. The patterns are very old and they are passed down."

Well, once piqued, my curiosity tends to get a wee bit obsessed, and I've spent a good deal of time since then researching not only the stitch itself, but also the highly abstract and intricate motifs that have always been my favorites and which, it seems, have remained largely ignored by modern needle workers who tend to prefer more representational themes.

The historical record is murky, but current research debunks the long-held belief that cross stitch originated in either sixteenth-century England or Italy. Samples have been found in Chinese garments dating back to 2000 B.C., and from there it's thought to have hopscotched its away across the continents, where it was taken up with great gusto by several cultures, most notably Arabic, and reached its highest expression during the Arab/Islamic conquest of most of North Africa and Spain, starting in the 7th century. From there, it spread upward and outward, until it was taken up by the European folk who eventually became my ancestors.

A quick overview:

Nineteenth-century Palestinian thobe, or caftan, embroidered in cross stitch in motifs that go back hundreds of years.

Modern-day Palestinian cushion.

Traditional Hungarian "red and blue work."

With its origins in?


More contemporary Palestinian work.
Unusual for the amount of white space left showing.

Interestingly enough, cross stitch has also been the stitch of choice of the ancient Chinese Hmong Hill People, who have now dispersed to Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. Their centuries-old motifs most definitely share similarities with those of Arabic/European origin.

And, my work:

In-progress pillow cushion.

Also, another project I've started (table runner) to keep the sit-still blues at bay. Hey, moving one's fingers back and forth counts as exercise, right?

Tell Moi, what do you do in your spare time, to pass the time? Those of you who are professional artists, do you have to get away from creating images every now and then, or does it occupy your brain pretty much 24/7?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Haiku Mondays: Signs

Photo courtesy National Archives

* * *

Tales told in the dust
of how the West was won: Heads
up, then eyes to ground.

* * *

Welcome to another round of Haiku Mondays, in which participants post their best 5-7-5 creations for the chance to win a Chickory designed great badge of honor and other possible fabulous prizes. Aunty is hosting this week, so drop by her place and see who else is playing. And if you want to, too, just post your haiku in her comments. It's about the best way I know of to whittle away at a Monday.

Friday, March 4, 2011

30 Days in the Hole

This is not what I meant when I said I wanted a new wedge for spring.

Day 1-7: Walking or standing is allowed for only 5-10 minutes every hour. Only exercise allowed is rotation/flexing of knee, ankle, and foot five minutes every hour. Foot to be elevated at all times while sitting or lying down. No driving. No showering, bathing, or otherwise getting foot wet. No stuffing face with all manner of crappy food because one is crawling out of one's skin from boredom. Fun factor: Zero.

Day 7-14: If I've been a good girl and the doctor is happy with my recovery, I will be cleared to shower, lift weights in ways that do not put pressure on my foot, swim, and ride a stationery bicycle. Also, driving and more time on my feet, provided I don't have pain or swelling, will be allowed. Will I be able to walk the dogs in the hills? Undetermined. Regardless, I must continue to wear this stupid ass boot 24/7. At this point, will have to mark in silver ink clearly on the front: this is not a voluntary choice of footwear. Fun factor: 3.

Day 14-30: Another visit to the doctor. If my recovery is going swimmingly, I'll be able to graduate to wearing an athletic-type shoe. May also be cleared for heavier duty weight-lifting, the elliptical trainer, and walking the dogs. Fun factor: 4-1/2.

Day 30+: If all continues to progress well, I'll be cleared to start running again on a treadmill and can lift weights freely. No hills for another 2-3 weeks. Which, heh, is ironic because I have a half marathon May 1 and a hill marathon June 10th. Fun factor: 6.

So, if any of you have been laid up with an injury, please share with me what you did to maintain muscle mass and not lose cardio fitness for the duration. Also, any thoughts on how to remain calm and occupied so as not to blow my brains out would be appreciated, as well.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

American Idol Snark Station: Girls Just Wanna?

What? Prove they can put me to sleep faster than the anesthesia I was given at 7am yesterday morning?

Puhleeze. I barely got through this. So let's get to it, shall we?

Ta-Tynisa Wilson, who sang "Only Girl." First of all, hated the outfit (what's with all the wedge booties?). Second of all, she was way too flat and way too low. Besides who the heck is going to be able to pronounce her name, if she ever gets it ON a record album?

Rachel Zevita, not only for the fact that she Lolita-ed herself out (ick, little girls as sex objects, ick!), but that she also butchered one of my all time favorite songs, Fiona (bite the) Apple's sexy/smooth "Criminal."

Karen Rodriguez, who rocked the column dress trend but bored me to tears with "Hero." I still haven't fully woken up from the performance. Geez. What does a girl gotta do to get a little la vida loca around here?

Haley Reinhart with "Fallin'" because, seriously, haven't we already sent this song out into the universe way more than enough times? Somewhere in a galaxy far, far away, within a solar system much like ours, on a big blue planet supporting similarly intelligent life, some poor, innocent being is scanning its little corner of heaven in order to make contact with other forms of intelligent life, when, suddenly, something comes through its headphones. "Blimey!" it shouts. "Not this &@#$%&* song again?!?" Alicia Keys did it first, did it best, and now can we just put it to rest?

Lauren Alaina with "Turn on the Radio." Lots of energy, lots of parallels to Kelly Clarkson, which is a good thing.

Ashton Jones. What did she sing? Oh, yeah. "Love Over Me." Doesn't really matter, though. What does matter is that she has an incredibly professional stage presence. The ONLY girl who not only looked comfortable up there, but who could also work the camera. She gonna be a star. Either that, or a high class hooker.

And, finally, Naima Adedapo. Sure, her rendition of "Summertime" wasn't near what Fantasia Barino's was, but I like the way she jazzed it up, and I like her over all look, in spite of that hideous home-designed gown.

Everybody else? Just, meh, and that goes for Pia Toscano's "I'll Stand by You." Even though I love the Pretenders with every ounce of my being, sweet Jesus, this is one boring-ass song and Pia's to-the-rafters, soap operatic treatment is exactly the kind of earnest performance that sends me into fits of embarrassment.

What say you, members of the Idol Nation?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

American Idol Snark Station: Boys' Night

James Durbin today:

James Durbin tomorrow:

Movie Clip Wednesdays: Favorite Political Thriller

Hands down, Minority Report. I've seen it a gazillion times and it never fails to chill with its superb interpretation of my ultimate nightmare: one in which corporations and governments conspire to control every aspect of our lives, all in the name of safety and the common good (and perhaps I'll never get to eat Cheetos again because they're all chemically and stuff.)

It also proves just how good a storyteller Steven Spielberg really is—and how easy it is to forget that. Maybe it's his public persona—all gnomic and Hollywood slick—that makes us mostly associate him with treacly suburban American fairy tales and bombastic action-adventure blockbusters rather than anything more hefty. We forget the darker stuff and its lineage: Duel, a first rate made-for-television psycho thriller that was Spielberg's first movie, followed by the gritty Sugarland Express, and a few years later the squick-inducing Jaws. All long before that stupid little alien dude marooned himself in Los Angeles county and sent the demand for Reese's Pieces through the roof.

But a list of Spielberg films shows that the heavy far outweighs the lite. Sure, good, or at least justice, eventually prevails, regardless of how dystopian his initial vision (even the unrelenting horror of War of the Worlds ends sunny side up), but the journey he takes you on before reaching that destination is one of the most thrilling in modern movie-making.

Once again, YouTube twarted my efforts to post the best clip available (, but this clip is equally as interesting:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Even a Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day

"I had to unload 22 years of fiction . . . the fiction of AA. It's a silly book written by a broken down fool who was a plagiarist. They think it's a one size fits all but it didn't fit me and I just got tired of trying something with a 5 percent success rate. As a retired gambler, I need better odds than that." — Charlie Sheen