BITE ME, TRUCK CHICK

Sometimes my little driving jaunts around my suburban Seattle-ish are almost tolerable. Usually those are on sunny clear days (rare from September – June), when the traffic is light (mid-morning on weekdays), and when I am not already incredibly irritable. The best road for me is one that no one else is on, always.

So let’s check today’s Tolerability Index, shall we? Sunny and clear? Why, yes. Light traffic? Oh no, it’s rush hour. Irritable? All three kids home today while I attempt to pack for our trip tomorrow with Mr11 doing an EPIC WHINE about his entire summer homework he now must BEGIN AND FINISH IN ONE DAY? What do you think?

Adding to this, in the traffic in right front of me was a black pickup truck jacked up so high that MissSix could probably walk underneath it. Decaled on the back window was the classy slogan, “BITE ME, CITY GIRL.” But even worse was that Miss Hee Haw had silver mirrored mudflaps that kept catching the intense late-day sun, sending SERIOUSLY BLINDING RAYS INTO MY EYES. No kidding, either – I couldn’t SEE ANYTHING and now as I sit here typing in my car waiting for Mr11 to finish martial arts class, I have these floating purple spots going on.

Is it so wrong to hope as she farts down the road in her dumb vehicle that when she goes to light her 40th cigarette of the day, she takes her eyes off the road for a second? And in that second the city bus in front of her slams on its brakes? And that as she gasps in surprise both her burning lighter and cigarette are sucked down her windpipe? And that she then panics and swerves to avoid smashing into the bus? And that as she swerves her truck topples over due to its high center of gravity? And that when it topples she is covered with the beer cans and leftover fast food and filthy ashtray remains from her truck cab? And that as she is choking and upside-down and has old French fries in her hair and Coors Lite soaking her jeans and ashes all over her face that her stomach hits the steering wheel which effectively delivers the Heimlich maneuver? And that then the lighter and the cigarette are forcibly expelled from her mouth outside onto the road? And that then a policeman comes by and tickets her $500 for littering?

Well, IS IT?

AW

Black humor for today, from CNN.com's article about the L.A. wildfires:

Three people suffered burns while in the Big Tujunga Canyon recreational area, where the fire destroyed three homes, said Bruce Quintelier, fire information officer for the Forest Service...The fire also is threatening communication towers on Mount Disappointment, Quintelier said.

CHICKBERRY

("Maybelline" by Chuck Berry is playing on the car radio)

MissSix: (on the off beat) BOK. BOK. BOK. BOK. BOK. BOK.

Me: You think this sounds like a chicken?

MissSix: Obviously.

ITMIGHTGETLOUD

There was just no way I wasn’t going to be there as the film “It Might Get Loud,” premiered yesterday in Seattle at the Egyptian Theater. I saw the trailer for it earlier in the summer and I went OOOOH and WOW and WOW and OOOOH, because any film featuring Jimmy Page, The Edge (Dave Evans), and Jack White messing around on guitars is FOR ME.



Well, I not only liked it, I LOVED it. I was so excited after I came out of the theater that I could not even collect all my thoughts to write this; I had to sleep on it all. The film is billed as “a documentary of the electric guitar from the point of view of three rock legends.” It is so much more. The movie was able to illuminate what every rock journalist, filmmaker, critic, photographer or fan hopes to dig out, and so rarely does – how does a successful artist do what they do? How do they become what they are? What is the spark that changed everything? To be able to show us that, for each these three very different musicians, is really something. It is a glimpse into the deliberate art and happy accident of the creative process, and the things that converged to make three ordinary men evolve into deeply influential and respected musicians.

I guess you would have to say that Jimmy Page must be the most legendary and influential of the three. His work in Led Zeppelin as not only a guitarist but as a songwriter and producer is seminal, even though some of his songs were more “interpretations” of older blues and folk tunes rather than completely original work, as fine legal systems have pointed out. But be that as it may, his style of playing is all his own as is his sound, and great they are. Into his 60s now, Page still obviously loves to play and can still knock out the loud and cool as good as -- or better -- than anyone. He seemed very invigorated to play with The Edge and Jack White, and it seemed a shame that he doesn’t get to play out much anymore.

Yes, my frown went on when The Edge asked Page, “You played on the Kinks’ records, right?” and the best Page could do was say, well, yes, but it all got overblown a bit. How about taking that little opportunity to take the three seconds to say, “Yeah, I played some rhythm guitar and tambourine here and there for them early on, but Dave Davies played all the solos and had that great sound.” Too much to ask for, still. I also went HEY! WTF! when an old clip of Page playing with the Yardbirds was a sync to “Heart Full Of Soul,” performed by guitarist JEFF BECK. Helloooo! And let’s not forget the end credits when Page is listed as a producer. Ha ha, man, you always get your piece of the pie, doncha.

Where I connected with Page in the film, strongly so, was during the scene when he is in his music room at his home, and pulls out a record of Link Wray’s “Rumble.” He sets the needle into the groove, anticipating the grit and grind of the dirty fuzzy guitar sound. When it comes, he beams. Instantly, the age comes off his face; he is a young boy again. You can actually see his love for rock n’ roll in that moment and an openness rare to him. I knew that look on his face, that burst of joy that an amazing piece of music can bring. I stood right with him there, rocking out and playing air guitar, even though he was on the screen and I was sitting in my chair in the theater, eating popcorn.



The Edge is of my generation, and helped make U2 one of the biggest bands ever in rock via his effect-driven guitar sounds. The ringing, repeating, chorus-laden riffs were fresh-sounding and turned an admittedly-incompetent power pop/punk cover band into their own beast with power and elegance. Dave Evans, like Page and White, is a tinkerer. All three were driven to construct, deconstruct, figure the hows and whys of things. Evans admits this trait in him is both his success and his curse. He is still compelled, via a huge box of blinking electronic effects with endless combinations, to search for the right sound for each new song. Good thing he seems to be an unusually laid-back and normal kind of cat, otherwise he might have kicked that box to death years ago. He knows that underneath his effects is a simple style of playing, made even more pure and clean by playing chords with fewer notes, as he shows us. He knows he is not a shredding guitar virtuoso, but he knows that he found something special, too.



Jack White by far is the most dramatic personality of the guys. He is still a young man (34) and is into a career that keeps climbing higher by the year. He runs on the fuel of a young man – angst, anger, tension, the fight against It All. He tells us he wants and needs the struggle, that if it does not exist, he will create one. This is not an uncommon aspect to creative personalities, the idea that if you are not in turmoil, you cannot create work of depth. He still has fire that seems to burn out of his pasty white skin and dark unblinking eyes. Perhaps as the youngest of ten children, he was always going to be the one fighting for his place. That is what he knows.

White found his way out of the upholstery shop in Detroit he worked at when his pal wanted to play drums, defaulting White to guitar. Soon, he formed The White Stripes with “sister” Meg White on drums, pretty much just trying to replicate Son House ultra-stripped blues music if performed by The Flat Duojets, he tells us. His jittery, aggressive guitar style is a blend of traditional blues, rock, and country, as if filtered through some kind of modern imagined cocktail of meth, still whiskey from the back hills, and an uncertain, hostile world.



There is a beautiful story arc to this film, as the histories of the three weave in and out, their commonalities and differences revealed to us. It is not something you would normally expect in a movie about rock n’ roll, which is why the film is unexpectedly rich. The filmmakers were able to use the love that Page, Evans, and White have for guitar and for music to uncover something of the people they are away from the distorting lens of stardom. Any good story has something the audience can relate to, be touched by, some aspect of shared humanity, commonality. “It Might Get Loud” has that. And it does get loud, and that is good, too.

OOOOH.

WOW.

WTF 9




Anyone? Just me? Anyone?

F U, MATTHEW

So, who is Matthew and why am I F U-ing him? Matthew is Matthew Gasteier (Gas-tire? Gas-tee-ear? Gas-tayr? bah) and I am F U-ing him in that sort of kidding, macho way, like some dude punching another dude on the upper arm in fond congratulations:

Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat: (punching arm) Terry! Like, good going! Awesome! That Nobel Peace Prize medal is going to look friggin’ sweet hanging over the door of the leper hospice or wherever the hell you work! Niiiiiice!

Mother Theresa: Anwar, you bitch! You just broke my bony calcium-depleted arm! Ass!

Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat
: Aw, my bad. Hey, T, whaddya say you get that fixed up and then come back to my place and we can compare medals? How ‘bout it baby? (slyly) You know, I won the Nobel Peace Prize last year with my homeboy Menachie.

Mother Theresa: Oh, Jesus Christ. (long pause) OK.

Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat: (claps hands together) Great! 8PM? I’ll get the Champale.

I don’t know if Matthew Gasteiererererererererererer’s arm is bony like Mother T’s or more like the thigh of a lazy filthy rhino, but I’m giving him a damn good punch here and saying like, good going on the publishing of his extremely funny book, F U Penguin (Villard, 2009). I have been a bigfan of his blog, Fuck You, Penguin, for some time now. It was about time that someone took umbrage with the masses of painfully-cute photographs of adorable animals that litter the internet and my email inbox. Matthew tears kittens, fuzzy chicks, newborn wobbly colts, and pandas new ones, and sets the world right again.

My favorite writing is writing I so wish I would have done FIRST, and F U Penguin qualifies as that. It is witty, clever, profane, outrageous, silly, unique, and is a perfect companion to MissSix’s “Barnyard Babies” board book upstairs. I am delighted that Matthew’s blog found its way into permanent print, and it is my hope that it is soon tagged with “wtf” at Amazon.com, because I think that would please him a whole F-ing lot.

Buy it, and don’t forget the Champale.

SEAGLASS

I love sea glass. You might not expect that I would, coming from sea-less Wisconsin as I do, or maybe that is exactly why. I never saw an ocean until I was 19. I think growing up near an ocean, having that in your back pocket, gives you something, this mysterious, weird world. You can feel it, swim in it, breathe the mist that rises from it, but you can never be of it. It’s sort of like visiting Jupiter, or Wal-Mart: it’s huge, awesome, and cannot sustain normal human existence.

I think I first saw sea glass when I visited a friend in Massachusetts whose family has a home in Cape Cod. I was just fascinated by this jar of pretty frosty clear, tan, blue, deep gold, and green stones – I didn’t realize what it was until my friend laughingly explained to me that these were not stones, but remnants of old bottles or other glass tossed into the water as garbage. Over the years the glass had been tossed and tumbled and smoothed into these irregular pieces, unique and lovely, that you might find as you walked along a beach. My little Wisconsin lakes that I frequented had no such treasures, unless you counted the unique and lovely silver pull rings from old cans of Pabst.

I took some of the stones out of the jar to hold in my hand. I don’t know if this will make any sense to anyone else, but there was something to that action that felt so peaceful and beautiful to me, like all the qualities of a perfect day at the beach were radiating right from the glass to me. I do not feel this way about diamonds, or gold, or rubies, or any other thing I can think of, other than music, perhaps. Sea glass actually makes me smile and feel better. I don’t argue with such things; I go with them.

You would think, then, that my house would be filled with sea glass, that I would have jars and jars of filled with pieces sitting everywhere. You would think, but you would be wrong. I own not one single piece of sea glass. Not one. Everyone close to me knows I love it, but no one has ever found any for me, and I have never found any either. I could buy some, but something stops me. I guess am waiting to find that one piece, or to have it find me. I want it to be seafoam green, with the sun and the surf inside it. I want it to be mine.

It occurs to me that perhaps I love sea glass because it is something beautiful made from something ordinary, used up, tossed away. It is made into something else through some kind of random tumultuous journey, and comes out very different, but wonderful.

I left this afternoon to pick up the kids from summer day camp, and I took them to a nice Italian place for dinner. The restaurant had opened its patio doors and the late-day apricot-colored sun was filtering inside, making the light warm and glowing and soft. I was almost moved to tears as I sat there when both children lifted their faces at the same time, in that light, and looked up at me. Their eyes were that very exact seafoam green.

GOAT 4

On a tip from my pal Dena, a hot story about goats AND Wisconsin AND crime!!!!

Goat thievery in DAAHHHHDDGGH County???
Sheriff Nehls said his first course of action will be to scour local markets and look for people selling large amounts of goat meat.

HAHAHA! PEOPLE LIKE GOATS! ROCK ON, SHERIFF NEHLS!!!



TED'SDEAD

The Kennedy family powerhouse, Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., died yesterday at age 77, just a few days after his sister, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. August 2009 has seen two of Joe and Rose Kennedy’s children pass away, a family story unique to the world, one not even the finest writer could have plausibly constructed.

Whatever you wish to say about him, Ted was one incredibly tough old bird. How many of you would even be functioning at all, much less be able to hold together a stellar political career after the mind-boggling tragedies his family has seen? I don’t need to go down the rather stunning list of assassinations, accidents, illness, substance abuse, and scandal. The Kennedy’s lives were played out on the grandest stage, before the entire world; we all saw and were shocked, saddened, angered, outraged, changed for it.

Ted Kennedy was elected a United States Senator the year I was born, 1962, and kept his job all of those 47 years. Through all those personal and political changes – incredible, by anyone’s measure – he came in to do his job. He did not quit. He did not waver from his strong liberal stance for a minute. He did not stop working to bring together Republicans and Democrats, and did so more than any other politician I can think of. This is how you get things done, how you can effect real change. You must know how to speak the language of your opponent, and convince your opponent that you are not the enemy. You must occasionally pull up on the choke-chains of your peers, reminding them that their bosses are you and me, not Philip Morris or Haliburton or General Motors or the pharmaceutical profiteers. And when that doesn’t work, you stand your ground, tenacious and unblinking, until you are the last man standing.

Ted Kennedy, from a rich and powerful family, could have done nothing with his life and been well-excused for it. But instead, he got big big stuff done, in a venue that is littered with endless talk and little action, filled with self-serving self-righteous prats in blue suits who so easily forget the incredible privilege of service.

As it often seems with stars, the highly-accomplished, the driven, Ted Kennedy had some substantial internal demons. The most noble often have the darkest, ugliest depths to deal with as well. It’s been forty years since Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick scandal, and public outrage is still there, almost as fresh as it was that summer. I was seven years old at the time and I remember the news reports very well. My father was so angered by one of them that when he snapped the television off in utter disgust, the knob cracked and broke off in his hand. I remember a shaggy-haired Ted in the neck brace, walking with his pretty blonde wife Joan, and the one static picture of Mary Jo Kopechne with her Mona-Lisa-like smile, unaware then of her horrible fate to come. I remember everyone saying that this would kill the young senator’s chances for the presidency, and they were right. The weakness that Kennedy showed in that moment put doubt into the minds of the public about his character, and the nation as a whole would never embrace him fully after that. Only Kennedy would know exactly what he did that night, and why, and the truth will be buried with him. A young woman lost her life, and that should never be excused nor forgotten.

It’s hard to sum up a man like Ted Kennedy, because for all that he did, stellar and reprehensible both, for all we have seen of his life and the lives of his siblings and spouses and children and cousins in the media, there was something closed about him. He had the New England character to him, it seemed, where only the closest to him might see his guard let down, and maybe not even then. I wonder how he defined his own life, himself, how he was able at all to process what it meant. I wonder if he didn’t often not want to think about that at all. I wonder if he thought he had a good life.

This quote from Kennedy, after he became head of the family after the deaths of Robert Kennedy and his father Joe, struck me:
"I can't let go," Kennedy once told an aide. "If I let go, Ethel (Robert's widow) will let go, and my mother will let go, and all my sisters."
Edward Kennedy was finally able to let go. One can only imagine how strong his grip was.

By George Silk/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images.

WTF 8: AMAZON EDITION

Ya know, when you have an internet site that sells everything one could imagine, including an MP3 of “If I Were Zooey Deschanel,” you still can’t imagine what everything really means. If there is an idea of any kind for a product, any at all (see aforementioned novelty song), by god, someone somewhere will manufacture it and get it out there somehow. This was thoroughly underlined to me as I happened upon a subsection of the Amazon website, called, “wtf.” This is completely real, and I was completely delighted, horrified, and amused to view some of the items Amazon customers had placed in this category. I thought I would share a few with you here, because the internet is all about sharing and product-hawking. Please to enjoy.

The most-tagged item in Amazon’s “wtf” by far is this apparently-self-published tome: BIRTH CONTROL IS SINFUL IN THE CHRISTIAN MARRIAGES and also ROBBING GOD OF PRIESTHOOD CHILDREN!! by Eliyzabeth Anderson.



Ah, yes. There is nothing quite like vigorous, caps-locked religious ranting. For only $135.00 you too can read the author's emphatic views on salvation, sex, and sinners. Here, in her own caps, are her book description and author bio:
THIS IS A HOLYSPIRIT MANUSCRIPT BOOK: WHEN YOU BUY THIS BOOK YOU WILL BE READING A HOLYSPIRIT DIRECTED BOOK FROM GOD; & *CHRIST JESUS. THIS BOOK IS GODS HOLYSPIRIT VOICE: THE CALL FOR ALL CHRISTIANS & CHURCHES TO REPENT FROM ALL THEIR SINS: EVEN FROM FALSE CHRIST TEACHINGS. BIRTH CONTROL SINS HAVE CURSE THE CHURCH WITH SPIRITUAL WHOREDOM & FALSE WORSHIP. RESULTING IN THE PERSECUTIONS: AGAINST THE HOLY PEOPLE. THIS BOOK MAY BE REVISED: BECAUSE OF COMPUTER DICTATORS: MANY WORDS IN THIS BOOK: MADE HAVE BEEN CHANGED: TO>>DISCREDIT: THE AUTHOR. BUT IN TRUTH: I AM A HOLYSPIRIT CHOSEN ANOINTED DISCIPLE FOR GOD & CHRIST JESUS. EVEN FOR JEWS, MUSLIMS & GENTILE SINNERS. MANY PEOPLE WILL LEARN HOW TO> BECOME REAL BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN: THROUGH THIS HOLYSPIRIT BOOK & THROUGH THE PROTECTION & SUPPORT OF MY HOLYSPIRIT LIFE!! JOHN 3 & 15. ALL NATIONS WILL OVER COME THE SINS OF BIRTH CONTROL. *BECAUSE HOLY DOMINIONSHIP IS ONE OF THE FIRST COMMANDMENT IN GENESIS 1;26-31. ALL BELIEVERS: WILL COME TO A HOLY VOW OF REPENTANCE: THROUGH GODS RESTORATION & THROUGH GODS ADOPTION VOWS. YES!! THE KINGDOM OF GOD & HEAVEN!! IS AT HAND!! FOR ALL WHO BELIEVE IN THE ONE CREATOR GOD & CHRIST JESUS OUR HOLYSPIRIT ETERNAL LIFE SAVIOR: SURELY YOUR NAMES WILL BE WRITTEN IN THE LAMBS BOOK OF LIFE!! *WHEN YOU SUPPORT & PROTECT MY HOLYSPIRIT LIFE. WE ARE BRANCHES >JOHN 15 MY WEBSITE: http://groups.msn.com/ChristianPowerHealthProsperityAndSoulREMEMBER: GOD HAS MADE ME A HOLYSPIRIT VOICE FOR THE BRIDE OF GOD & CHRIST JESUS IN 1996 GOD TOLD ME TO TEACH THE GOSPEL ON CABLE TELEVISION IN TUCSON ARIZONA. *CONCERNING THE SINS OF THE CHURCHES: & CONCERNING THE>LACK OF GIVING TO THE POOR & ORPHANS: CHRISTIAN CHURCHES SHOULD: BUILD MORE:> WATER WELLS: & BUILD LOW INCOME HOUSINGS: MATTHEW 25 & ISAIAH 61

MS. ELIYZABETH YANNE STRONG IS A CHRISTIAN EVANGELIST SPEAKER: AND A CHRISTIAN HOLY BIBLE WRITER/TEACHER: CHOSEN AND CALLED BY THE HOLYSPIRIT GOD: MS. ELIYZABETH STARTED TWO CHRISTIAN CABLE TELEVISION PRODUCTIONS IN 1996: CALLED: CHRISTIAN POWER! HEALTH PROSPERITY AND SOUL!! AND > ALSO A: > TEENAGER AND KIDS TELEVISION PRODUCTION CALLED:> CHILDREN RAISED IN THE LOVE OF JESUS. *SHE ALSO STARTED A CHRISTIAN BASE MILITARY CHRISTIAN BOOKSTORES AND MALL CART BUSINESS DURING IN 1991. ALL THREE CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES ARE > NOW ONLINE CHRISTIAN WEBSITES UNDER THE NAMES: http://christianpowerbookstores.spreadtheword.com/ **http://group.msn.com/ChristianPowerHealthProsperityAndSoul ALSO>http://groups.msn.com/ChildrenRaisedInTheLoveOfJesus *MS. ELIYZABETH YANNE STRONG: ALSO HAS A 1ST DEGREE BLACK BELT IN TAEJUKENPO KARATE: SHE STARTED A KIDS & TEEN: KARATE MEMBERSHIP & TV CLUB: CALLED: KARATE PLAY: IN 1996-2000: SHE IS NOW: STARTING: RECREATION CITY KARATE CLASSES IN TUCSON ARIZONA: WITH GOALS TO OFFER PRIVATE MEMBERSHIP KARATE CLUB CLASSES. MS. ELIYZABETH YANNE STRONG-ANDERSON: ALSO PETITION FOR THE MAYOR SEAT IN TUCSON ARIZONA IN 1998. BECAUSE OF ORGANIZED CRIMES, POLICTICAL RACISM AND CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION AGAINST ELIYZABETH: HOLYSPIRIT EVANGELIST LIFE: IN THE PAST 10 YEARS: GOD HAS DIRECTED MS. ELIYZABETH YANNE STRONG-ANDERSON: TO WRITE THIS BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE, AND THIS BOOK OF REPENTANCE: TO HELP SAVE THE WORLD: THROUGH GOD AND CHRIST JESUS: IF YOU BELEIVE: YOU CAN RECIEVE JOHN 3:3-16. *REMEMBERING: MATTHEW 4:17-26: JESUS SAID: REPENT! THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND: **COME AND FOLLOW ME: AND I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN!! MY FIRST CHRISTIAN BOOK IS DIRECTED BY GOD: AND THE TRUE CALL TO ETERNAL LIFE SALVATION IS IN IT: GIVEN TO ME FROM: EMMANUEL CHRIST JESUS: > JESUS SAID: JOHN 14:15-16 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

I don't mean at all for you to even attempt to read all that, but just look at it there. LOOK. LOOK AT ALL THOSE EVANGELICAL CAPITAL LETTERS! I bet you she sounds just like that, all day long. On second thought, do read through it, just for the typing anomalies and enjoyable insanity. Just think: 648 pages of that. Perhaps Ms. Eliyzaieieiaieibeth would like to sit down with fellow Christian author Sheila K. Butt to discuss her book, "Does God Love Michael's Two Daddies?"



But they'd probably get into a fight and then they'd have to use these:



Further on, my eye stops dead on this:



Ohhhhh, dear. WTF is certainly my first thought. What is it? It looks like it should be on a protest sign outside Planned Parenthood. But no, it is in fact Fresh Whole Rabbit. Ahhh, jeez. I like my meat less skinned-animal-looking. Fluffy, we hardly knew ye.

A lot of people like buying Christmas decorations. Did you know that? They do, a lot. That is why you see year-round stores dedicated to nothing but Christmas ornaments and Santa figurines. My god, what a nightmare it would be to work in one of those places. You'd have to sit there and listen to CHRISTMAS MUSIC all day long every single day of your life while holiday-obsessed weirdos came in and bought something like this:



What does the Taco Ornament say about you and your Christmas tree? That you just LOVE Mexican food and you want to let Donner, Blitzen, and Jesus know about it? If so, you are SOL at Amazon; they are currently sold out. The Magic Answer-Me Jesus is also sold out, otherwise he could have told you that.



Off to the creepy Christmas store with you then, amigo.

When you finish your reading your books, nomming on your rabbit carcass, and decorating your tree, you might enjoy spending some time playing with these objects:

The UFO Detector
:



The Acupuncture Pig Model
:



Inflatable Toast:



or, if you are feeling a bit bloated from all that rabbit, the Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Kit:



During your lengthy recovery at home, I know you will enjoy looking over the Amazon goodies in "wtf," and remember, wolf urine doubles as a great antiseptic.

ELVIS N' I : LIVE IN WOODINVILLE

Ah, what a treat to see Elvis Costello twice in one summer with two completely different bands. I’m a lucky girl. I didn’t feel all that lucky last night walking a VERY VERY LONG WAY from a remote parking lot to the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery stage. My pathetic toe went AAAH! every time I stepped down on my right foot, making me slow, crippled, and crabby. “This is like the frigging Bataan Death March,” I grumbled, winding through cars and trees and various nature beauty. To be fair, as I walked I was not being systematically disemboweled, raped, beheaded, poked with bayonets, shot, or deprived of food or water. I hope my bitter utterance did not offend any Death March survivors walking near me also on their way to see Elvis. Hell, it was a pretty old crowd, coulda happened. When I saw a guy in a wheelchair wheeling himself up the long hill road to the winery, I shut up.

The winery’s theater is very similar to Marymoor Park where I just saw the Flaming Lips – outdoor, with a flat paved surface to set chairs if required, then a sloping grassy hill behind where people can bring a blanket and a picnic and watch the show. It’s kind of nice, really, especially when the weather is cooperative. It’s a very different vibe than a sweaty dark little club, or a big old vaudeville theater, or a huge arena. I had shelled out the big bucks to get a reserved forest-green plastic seat, so I didn’t have to worry about positioning. I worry about positioning, you know. I am spoiled spoiled spoiled and short short short.

As the opening act The Lovell Sisters began their set, I dragged my way over to the Grossly Overpriced Concert Food area and got a kielbasa and a bag of chips and a lemonade, and watched the stage from a distance. The sisters are just as cute as can be, good musicians, and were sincerely delighted to be playing for the assembled. But their sweet and very competent version of bluegrass music did not perk up my ears. I believe they are coming more from a continuing-the-tradition perspective rather than trying to change the genre, which is fine and there is certainly a place for that. But I always do look for the little something extra in any performance, something that shows me the musicians were able to mine the unique that is in them. I did not hear it from The Lovell Sisters, but it matters not. Everyone was happy, the wine was flowing, and a latte was only a mere SIX BUCKS. I see Evan from the Boss Martians make his way to his seat, so I do too. I do what rock stars do, as a rule.

After a not-too-long wait, Elvis Costello and The Sugarcanes took the stage. This particular version of Elvis is another revisit to country music, and in support of his album “Secret, Profane, and Sugarcane,” which is selling quite well, I hear. This time, Elvis and his tight Nashville-Cat sidemen construct a more Carter Family feel than the lush Music City production of “Almost Blue.” The arrangements are simple and straightforward, with signature wordplay-laden Costello lyrics. “Sulphur to Sugarcane” is a cute highlight of the record, reciting a list of interesting qualities of “ladies” across the country. When you have a career that is as long and varied and well-respected as Costello’s, you definitely can pull off rhyming “Poughkeepsie” with “tipsy.”



The between-song stories Costello tells this time are particularly amusing. He’s smart and knows a thing about comedic timing, too. We hear about the hideous countenance of Hans Christian Andersen, a comparison between bellowers Jenny Lind and Celine Dion, and a very awkward moment where June Carter demanded Costello make up some lyrics on the spot for a UK live performance. The latter story goes seamlessly into a version of “Hidden Shame,” a song Costello wrote for Johnny Cash, who ended up recording it in 1989.

So the show is going along just fine and I would like to take some representative photographs, because that is also what I do: photograph rock stars. It becomes clear immediately that tonight’s version of The Ruiner, that man or woman who craps on my concert experiences, is this guy sitting two rows ahead of me:



He CANNOT STOP MOVING BACK AND FORTH. FOR THE WHOLE SHOW, and I mean WHOLE DAMN SHOW. I try to focus and take a shot, he moves his head into the frame, chatting ENDLESSLY with his black-rooted pigtailed blonde girly pal. I move to the other side, he moves his head in front of me. I move back the other way, he’s got MORE TO SAY TO THE GIRLY. The ENTIRE TIME. Good god. I swore a lot and deleted a whole lot of BACK OF DUDE’S HEAD photos. Perhaps he has epilepsy or cerebral stupidity or muscular THWARTERY. Bah. Well, I did the best I could anyway, because I do that in addition to doing what rock stars do, and photographing rock stars:











At the very end of the show, I determine not to leave without a video or two, despite the compromised view, my complaining toe, and a bleaching effect on poor Elvis’ face, probably easily corrected if I knew anything about white balance and technical things like that. As I switch on the vid, I am extra smiley to hear that I am recording a version of the Rolling Stones’ “Happy,” and here you go:



After that, I catch what is perhaps Costello’s best-known song, from his debut album back around World War I or so, the lovely and talented “Alison.”



Our purple-fedoraed friend and his group retire for the night, and the crowd files out, chatting about songs and previous Elvis shows from days gone by. A young high school security guy who is helping post-show road crossing activities strikes up a conversation with me, all friendly and happy like a little brown-eyed bunny. He smiles and asks how I liked the music tonight, and I reply that I liked it just fine, just fine indeed. He gave me the OK to cross, and did not at all beat me with a rifle butt on my hobbling march back to the car.

The final show of my Summer of Loud ’09 is done. Thanks, El, as always.

FLAMINGLIPSANDDOGPARKS 2

MissSix: Why are there chairs in the back of the car?

Me: To take to the Flaming Lips show.

MissSix: Ah ha ha ha ha! My lips are on fire! When I kiss you, your face will burn off and you will have to go to the hospital! HA HA HA HA HA! Flaming Lips!

DOCTOR 3

Oh, Sunday. Of course. Of course it is a Sunday when my toe starts feeling markedly worse, the one I thought was broken. Now I am walking like a derf, which is incredibly inconvenient and useless, as I have no handicapped sticker on my car . So off to the walk-in clinic. One doctor, hour wait. Hoo friggin’ ray. At least it appears that no one in the waiting room has swine flu, there’s a plus.

The PA who takes my vitals likes my stack of silver bracelets and starts talking to me about how he used to wear some because he wanted to emulate Slash. I asked him if he also wore a top hat and he said no, but that he did have the long metal hair going on then as well. He told me my blood pressure was shitty, not in that exact language of course, which sent my mood plummeting. Great. GREAT GREAT GREAT GREAT. ANYTHING ELSE? Well, I don’t have a fever, how about that? Grrr.

Wait wait wait. Sit sit sit. OK, move to another room and sit on the table. As I climb up to sit silently for another year or so, I glance up at the wall directly across from me. Directly at my eye level is a very detailed drawing of THE ANUS. Oh for christ’s sake. Ya know…I like biology just fine, more than the average guy too I bet, but COME ON. I don’t feel too great and I want to have to stare at AN ANUS???? Someone in that office must be laughing his or her anus off at this.

Another assistant comes in and looks at my toe. Oh, it’s swollen, he says. YEAH, I go. Then he leaves and I stare at THE ANUS some more. There are quite a few parts to the anus, surprisingly. I wonder who got to name them all? Finally, the ONE DOCTOR arrives. She looks at my toe.

“Oh,” she says, “it’s swollen.”

“YEAH,” I go.

“Well, we will send you down to x-ray then. Is there a possibility you could be pregnant?”

I look at her with the mild scorn of Captain Obvious surely present in my eyes. “I suppose there would always be a chance, but it is very unlikely.”

“What kind of birth control are you using?”

I tell her, and she ROLLS HER EYES AT ME! ROLLS HER EYES!!

“You know that is only 85% effective.”

Oh, wtf is this, I think. I am a middle-aged woman, not some stupid teenager. “I have never had an unintended pregnancy in 47 years, so it’s working for ME.” I smile insincerely at her and give her a thumbs-up. I understand she is trying to determine if she needs to tell the x-ray tech to make me wear a lead apron over my women parts. JUST DO IT ALREADY, GOD!

“Well, you should think about using a more-effective product.” She leaves the room and I seethe slightly. I would have hoped for the opportunity to say, “Gosh, I think losing 100 POUNDS OF UNSIGHTLY FAT would be more EFFECTIVE FOR YOU, A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER AND EXAMPLE, as well as combing out your black-dyed Priscilla Presley bouffant and taking about 50 layers of CLOWN MAKEUP off your FACE. THAT’S WHAT I THINK YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT RATHER THAN WHAT I USE FOR BIRTH CONTROL WHEN I HAVE A HURT TOE!” Instead, THE ANUS and I wait until I am told to hop over to x-ray.

The outcome is that I have a bone spur on my toe. Ah, CRAP. CRAP CRAP CRAP. How I did not want this. I ask her what I can do about it.

“Don’t irritate it.”

“Walking irritates it. And I run.”

“You aren’t going to be running. Find some other exercise to do, like swimming.”

What. WHAT. Oh no no no, I am thinking, nooooo. Listen, lady, you don’t understand. I. NEED. TO. RUN. Running and I have become very close. I don’t want to swim, I don’t want to bike, I don’t want to do the elliptical. I WANT TO RUN.

“There’s nothing I can to do fix it?”

“Nope. It is just going to sometimes be OK and sometimes not be OK.”

Oh, HELL, no. Not good enough. I limp away from Dr. Corpulent, sadder than sad. Shitty blood pressure again and a chronic foot injury. Bad day.

Monday, I will try to get some better answers. THE ANUS would want it that way.

THE FLAMING WEATHER LIVE: DEAD WEATHER IN SEATTLE, FLAMING LIPS IN REDMOND

I am now the proud possessor of the further life experience in seeing 4 bands in two days, a broken toe, ringing ears, and bra confetti. I will save explanation for the latter item until the end of this post. Yes, my Summer of Loud ’09 continues unabated, unfettered, and unrepentant. My leetle camera and I shall now illustrate my adventures in rock once more.

First up this week was The Dead Weather at the Paramount in Seattle, in support of their album, Horehound. This, of course, is Jack White’s latest band/project, he of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and all-around general beloved awesomeness. Mr. White in whatever he does is always interesting, so I made sure to get these tickets, choosing the GA balcony this time. Good thinking by me, as I SOMEHOW BROKE MY DAMN TOE and the seat was very appreciated. Go me. I wanted a good sightline to see Jack play the drums too.

Opening the show as I sort of hobbled my way to my nosebleed-level seat in the lovely old venue was Detroit garage/punk band Tyvek. Ooooohhh, I went, I LIKE THIS! Their sound was a very simple, no-fi, and energetic mix of The Fall, The Shaggs, totally unknown cult legends The Performa-Chords, the Velvet Underground, and beer cans being kicked down the street. This is right up my alley, I said, and even though I didn’t dance and jump, I sure wanted to. The trio, Kevin, Shelley, and Matt, seemed very happy to be playing for such a big crowd, and they made me grin. Here’s some video from their show a couple days before in Denver:



And, really, how can you not love guitar + cardboard box?



I was anticipating great things when I first heard about The Dead Weather. I had seen Alison Mosshart open for the Raconteurs here last fall as a member of The Kills and was most impressed with her TOTAL ROCKNESS. Really, she is a formidable presence – beautifully leonine, growling and stalking across the stage like she owns it and her mother owned it before that and her mother before that. It’s as much her band as White’s, or maybe more, as she too is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter. And let us not forget there’s Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age and Jack Lawrence of the Raconteurs there as well – a top-notch set of alt playas.

But I tell you whut. Every time Jack White moved a muscle, the Paramount crowd cheered in ecstatic delight. He is a star, and that is that. He was the focus, and he is why people turned out. He’s got the IT factor, and has the talent to back it up. I liked their show quite a bit, because of all the talent and tightness and massive rockage, but it was not my favorite work from any of the four band members. Their songs, although quite good, sound quite a bit like Deep Purple/Blue Cheer-ish jams at times to me, pulled out of time to an audience that either cannot remember this kind of heavy late ‘60s groove, or is old enough to dig the revisit. For me, it alternated between cool and indulgent. Call me crazy, but I liked Tyvek better. But no matter – it was all-around a very good show.

My camera cannot cope with being a million miles away from the stage, but here is the basic idea:







And here is “Treat Me Like Your Mother,” where you can experience seizure-inducing lights at your internet leisure! I am surprised my camera did not melt and explode in my hands:



As I walked back to my car, I smiled to hear several conversations passing by other fans near the band buses, theorizing which door Jack would exit from. Star.

The next night, my car goes the opposite direction to a very opposite sort of concert venue (the outdoor theater at Marymoor Park in Redmond) to see Oklahoma’s finest practitioners of indie/alien rock, The Flaming Lips. This is an event, not your everyday rock n’ roll show, you know. Beside hearing some very cool songs, you also get to see audience members dressed in costume and dancing onstage, a human hamster ball which rolls over the audience, 8 million pounds of fat colorful confetti, a gong, smoke, things that sparkle, manic laser pointers, an angry gorilla, and orange-suited roadies imploring the crowd to BE MORE MORE MORE LOUDER. OMFG. This is a fact: I have NEVER in ALL OF MY LIFE, ever been near anything MORE LOUD. Imagine thousands of people screeching at the top of their lungs. My ears seemed to collapse and man, do they hurt today. Bad toe, bad ears, woo rock4life. Art is all. And look! The ball nearly got me!



But hearing loss aside, what a wonderful, wonderful show. Another joyful crowd, silly high on the band and other things. For a rock band, Wayne Coyne and pals seem pretty happy, appreciative of the crowd, at the perfect summer night, the way everyone came together for the time and made the scene happen. I swear, every single person there was singing along to a quiet and sweet version of “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Part 1,” including me, the two grade-school boys in front of me, the dad behind me, the pogoing fuzzy haired dude next to me, and a teenage girl who yelled out the words as loud as she could, thrilled. Here’s the longview:



Here’s the other vid I did, the band’s biggest hit, “She Don’t Use Jelly,” song of psychedelic goofiness:



Photo time! Another Oklahoma band, Stardeath and White Dwarfs started the show. The crowd enjoyed them and they had a rather similar sound to the Lips. They were good, but nothing other than a cover of Madonna’s “Borderline” stuck out for me. But they were fun. And check out the rock unitard!:





Here’s a few of the shots I got with the trusty Venue-Friendly camera. Thanks to the tall dad who let short me stand in front of him the whole show. Sir, you are a gentleman and a fan.

























The show ended with an epic version of Oklahoma State Rock Song, “Do You Realize??” with the lights up and confetti raining down everywhere, a party just for us that seemed to come down from the dark blue night sky itself. I walked across the soft newly-mowed grass of the huge park back to the car, so glad to have gone. I didn’t shoot this vid; I was singin’.



When I got home and got undressed for bed, I saw this float down to the floor:



Bra confetti!

Thank you, bands. Off to Elvis Costello tomorrow, ears, toe, and all!

STARBUCKS 11

A chilly gray morning today, as I rose early to take MissSix to her last morning at Golf Camp. Yes, golf camp. Don’t look at me like that – she asked to go. Golf is not for me. I like sports with bigger balls. Heh. I decided to treat her to a breakfast out at the Atrium Starbucks, right across the street from the beach park where the Rec Department holds the camp. I never go to the Atrium Starbucks anymore because I prefer the OOGCP, but as MissSix prefers Starbucks’ sausage breakfast sandwiches I defer to her and am frankly too sleepy to think it out much further than KID STARBUCKS EAT SMILE.

The OOGCP has pulled a lot of business from this Starbucks. There is a distinct gap in clientele and mood between the two shops. This morning, everyone in the Starbucks is OLD. Like, even older than me. It has become the rest home of coffeehouses. It seems bland and quiet in comparison to the OOGCP, which has much better music, better coffee, better food, and interesting people. But of course none of this matters one tiny bit to MissSix, as she pulls apart her sandwich to let some of the steam escape. I look at her face, sort of sleepy and puffy like mine, but with her smooth perfect skin and bright pretty eyes and teeny baby teeth still there.

MissSix: Mama, what does it say on my cup?

Me: It looks like someone has written “MOOOOOOOOO” on it. Someone was being funny because you were having a milk.

MissSix: Oh. Ha ha. (pauses) I have fear.

Me: You have what? Fear??

MissSix: Yes, I have a lot of fear.

Me: Oh! What about?

MissSix: I fear a lot about bad guys coming. I saw some of the news – I know I wasn’t supposed to look but I did for just a second – and there was this guy that killed like a million people!

Me: Oh, um, well, hmm. I don’t think you have to worry at all about anything like that here, ever. You have to remember that the news reports a lot of bad stuff and not very much of the good stuff. Most of the stuff going on in the world is pretty good, but people like to hear about the bad stuff more.

MissSix: Why?

Me: I guess it is just the way people are. It’s more dramatic, all the bad stuff. People pay more attention to it. Good stuff sometimes seems boring, maybe. But you have to remember that most people are out there and making good choices and things are fine.

MissSix: It would be just terrible if wars came to Washington!

Me: Oh, yes, but I don’t think that is going to happen.

MissSix: What is living in a war like?

Me: Oh, um, I guess it depends on the war. Sometimes people can live kind of normal lives and sometimes things are really really bad. It’s always very sad.

MissSix: (brightening) I know where I would hide in a war! McDonald’s!

Me: (smile) Is that right?

MissSix: Yes! I would have lots of food and no one would bother the clown guy.

Me: HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

And with that, we finish our food, walk back into the misty morning over to golf camp, free from bad guys and fast-food insurgencies.

HELLODOLLY

I had a lot of dolls when I was a girl, or at least it seemed like a lot to me. I had baby dolls and Barbie dolls and rag dolls. I had dolls that walked, dolls whose hair grew, dolls that went in the bathtub only to end up filled with black mold and disturbing water. I had a black doll from the 1930s with rather racist facial features, a freaky-looking marionette from somewhere in Europe, fancy Madame Alexander dolls that I had to get permission to play with, and a G.I. Joe with a deep-sea diver outfit and an assault rifle. I loved all my dolls because I gave every one of them an identity and a complicated backstory in my mind. I would then bring them all out and create some kind of soap-opera-type world in my bedroom, like “Dolls Of Our Lives.” There would be the eternal conflicts between rich doll and poor doll, pretty doll and ugly doll, the well-dressed and the inexplicably-naked. I could do this, in absolute silence, for hours. I am not sure if that was a good thing, but it filled the time nicely and kept me from smoking or something.

The “Dawn” dolls came out in the early ‘70s, and of course I wanted them all. They were like very small Barbies, little pretty fashion dolls with sort of bitchy vapid faces. This did not deter me in the least, as being a hot vapid bitch was a goal of mine. I am still working on that in some areas. Anyway, I was totally sucked into Dawn’s World, via a 4-million-dollar advertising campaign and the idea that I could enter that realm of coolness a decade early or so. Here’s a nicely-faded set of Dawn commercials, worthy for seeing Dawn dance and giggling at her male “companions,” Ron, Gary, and Van. HA HA! Van.



Dawn and her pals stopped production in 1973, and I was getting a bit old for dolls around that time anyway, even though my soap opera stories were getting quite intriguing, featuring teen runaways, a secret romantic rendezvous between G.I. Joe and Barbie’s cousin Francie, and Gary dodging the draft. The U.S. military never would have taken him anyway. I never did enter Dawn’s World, never won a beauty pageant, never wore a sparkling gown, never danced stiffly at a disco while whipping my 4-ft.-long hair around, never had a pink convertible. But come to think of it, I did have a gay boyfriend!

I should be profoundly grateful that I didn’t have this doll, huh? Holy CRAP. (Thanks, Dena!)

DOGHUMOR

A small but savory study in funny, delivered today by Dracula the Dog to his owner, Some Guy On The Internet:

GUILT



ITEM OF GUILT



HA HA!

DO LESS

I would like to make my pitch right here and now to all of you who are parents, or those of you who may become parents someday. It’s a little radical, so hold on to your MIND.

Do less for your children.

Yes, I said less. Lots lots less. Now I will tell you why, and how.

But first, let’s lay some groundwork. If you choose to have children, and because this is the modern world and you shouldn’t be an idiot with your genitals it should be a CONSCIOUS CHOICE, you are legally and morally bound to do some stuff for them, and you should gladly want to anyway. You must do everything you can to keep them safe and healthy, and teach them how to be safe and healthy. You should tell them how wonderful and valuable their little selves are, and how important it is to feed the brain and body with good and varied things. You should help them try to see the world for what it is – both a strange and wonderful place – and that you can learn to navigate it with strength and curiosity. You should tell them that so much of what makes life good or bad is through the choices we all make, and then teach them how to go through the often-complex process of making good decisions. You can let them know that they are unique in the world, and it is up to them to try to get the best out of what they can offer and what they can take in from their surroundings.

Whew. That is TOTALLY enough work, right? That’s a full-time job right there, and it is sometimes really damn tough. You might be working hard at a job you don’t really like, money is tight, you are 20 pounds overweight, your dad needs to stop driving his car into the lake, and some ass put a dog turd in your mailbox, but you still have to step up and not let your kids down. Sure, you can let them know that you are pretty seriously unhappy about having to bleach the mailbox. There’s a life lesson right there – you are pissed off, but you can deal with it by frowning and stomping around a bit and spraying Lysol instead of shooting up the neighbor’s car.

What seems to often take the place of these things seems to be distraction, indulgence, and a good-hearted-but-misguided sense of trying to do the best for your children. The average American family will spend a couple hundred thousand bucks raising just ONE kid, and that doesn’t include college, which could easily double the figure these days. Here’s another toy, here’s another game system, here’s another class after school, here’s some Juicy sweatpants, here’s a $400 cellphone, here’s a 10K vacation to Disney, here here here here here. And I am not just talking wealthy families – I see families of modest or pretty much no means scraping to do the very same thing. And I say it as one who is completely guilty of the crime.

But I am learning, late in the game, but learning. Do less. Make more of what is real and permanent. Let your kids struggle sometimes and be angry with you. Stop bankrupting your retirement account for the opportunity to stand in a 3-hour theme park ride line. Stop micro-managing, hovering, and over-scheduling, which only leads to kids having a sense of entitlement coupled with a crippling core of incompetency. Modern families are over-focused on trying to please children more than trying to assure they have the skills to go into the world. Step back. Do less.

The other day, bored and crabby with the Wii, MissSix and Mr11 started complaining to me. Waaah, we are bored and crabby, Mom, take us to get a new game. Naaaah, I said. It was a beautiful sunny day and children being inside the house and playing videogames and whining offends me on such days, so I told them to put their swimsuits on and go out into the backyard. Waaaah, there’s nothing to do out there, waaah, they whined.

“Turn on the hose,” I said.

Intrigued by the idea of this deceptively-simple activity, they complied. As I benignly oversaw, they negotiated Water Rights And Rules like crafty $400-an-hour mediators. They sprayed each other, screaming and screeching at the cold, constructed a fountain, took turns giving the dog drinks from the hose as she snapped at the stream, and made a swift water slide on the playset, landing on their giggling butts on the wet grass. For two hours.

I am learning, they are learning, as the dog runs around the yard, smiling.

BLOTTER 2

Let’s check in with my favorite small-town police blotters and see how the summer has been going, huh?

YOUTH: MINOR IN COMSUMPTION, MAJOR IN STUPIDITY:

Minor, liquor violation
: 12:13 a.m., 700 3rd Street. Officers responded to a report of five males in an SUV having a loud argument. When contacted the males appeared youthful with a strong odor of intoxicants emanating from the vehicle. When asked for identification three were under the age of 21. All three were charged with Minor in Consumption.

Disorderly - The premier of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" got off to a rocky start July 14 at Hillside Cinema, 2950 Hillside Road, when a group of people harassed a long line by tossing eggs and setting off fireworks.

Police were called at about 11:34 p.m. but the subjects, who had been hiding in the nearby woods, fled.

Drug possession - An officer on patrol in Holz Parkway at 1:15 a.m. Aug. 5 observed a vehicle exit the Park & Ride from the west drive, ignoring the "do not enter" sign. When the officer stopped the vehicle, he noticed a street sign from the City of Waukesha in the vehicle. The 22-year-old driver from Waukesha admitted he removed the sign from a pole after it had been knocked down. He was cited for failure to obey a sign and possession of stolen property. A search of the vehicle found drug paraphernalia and a small possession of heroin. The 25-year-old female passenger, also from Waukesha, admitted the items belonged to her. She also had eight ecstasy pills and half of a gram of marijuana and was taken to the Waukesha County Jail. Reports are being sent to the Waukesha County District Attorney's Office requesting charges of possession of heroin, drug paraphernalia and controlled substances.

POLICE CAPTAIN OBVIOUS SPEAKS:

Hit and run - 11:27 a.m., 100 block of 120th Ave. N.E. Another vehicle struck the victim's vehicle while victim was parked at the Wireless Data Services building. On-site security was able to get the plate of the suspect's vehicle, who works at the business. The suspect admitted to security that she did hit the vehicle and wanted to keep it a civil issue. Police advised the suspect on a better way of handling incidents like this in the future.

ELDER FAIL:


Crash
- An 84-year-old Butler man was injured after he backed up his car at a high speed and drove into a neighbor's garage twice before driving through another neighbor's fence July 17.

According to the report, Virgil Roth of 12827 W. Colfax Place, backed out of his driveway shortly before 8 a.m. and into the garage across the street at 12836 W. Colfax Place. He then pulled back into his driveway and then backed up again hitting the garage across the street.

Roth then pulled forward and drove the rear of his garage, through the back yard and through a cyclone fence, hit an evergreen tree and continued on before hitting another evergreen tree.

No citations were listed. Roth was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

Truck in Phantom Lake
- Officers were called to the boat launch in Phantom Glen Park, 453 Andrews Street, for a vehicle in the lake at about 7:53 p.m. Aug. 3. According to the report, a 68-year-old West Allis man backed his 1997 Dodge pickup truck and boat trailer to the launch to load his boat and exited the truck when it rolled back into the lake. About one foot of the top of the cab was visible. A tow company was contacted to remove the vehicle from the lake; no one was injured in the incident.

Drunken driving - An officer observed a silver vehicle almost cause an accident while turning onto National Avenue from Vernon Lane at 6:12 p.m. Aug. 6. The 69-year-old driver from Menomonee Falls was questioned and found to have slurred speech and a brown substance on his lips, chin and hands. The man stated the substance was peanut butter and that he had used it so that he didn't "breathe alcohol" on the officer. He subsequently failed field sobriety tests and was arrested for drunken driving.

THE JOAN CRAWFORD MEMORIAL AWARD:


Child abuse
- Big Bend Police contacted Waukesha County Human Services and the District Attorney's Office after a 66-year-old Big Bend man allegedly struck a 5-year-old several times with a plastic hanger, reportedly as a disciplinary measure, at 8 p.m. July 18. There were no marks on the child.

DEPARTMENT OF UNDERSTATEMENT:

Theft - A patio chair estimated at $40 was stolen from outside of the Huge Haul building, S88 W23105 Wynn Drive, between June 29 and July 1.

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD:

Vandalism
- Someone egged the Daniel Napgezek residence, W348 N6079 California Ave., sometime late June 22 or early June 23. Napgezek's vehicle was also covered in spaghetti sauce.

Damage - Someone sprayed ketchup on the front and side of Golden Gourmet, 111 Oakton Ave.. The incident was reported by the building's owner, Robert G. Zimmerman of N19 W27033 Fieldhack, on June 13. There are suspects.

Damage - Jennifer N. Wallace, N34 W23118 Circle Ridge Road Apt. 109, reported July 9 that someone put salami and mustard on her vehicle while it was parked at her residence. Wallace parked her vehicle at about 11:30 p.m. July 8 and returned to the vehicle at about 11:30 a.m. July 9 when she noticed the damage. No damage total was listed.

And finally, my favorite this time around…

CRIMINAL LITERALISM IN ACTION:


Theft - Someone stole a homemade picnic table from in front of a mobile home at N67 Willow Springs Drive sometime between June 12 and 5:30 p.m. June 15 when Jeanne Jelinek, 52, discovered it missing.

According to the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department report, Jelinek was trying to sell her ex-husband's Willow Springs Mobile Home Court trailer and had placed some flyers on the picnic table, which she valued at $100, next to a handmade sign reading, "Take one."


AGENDA

Outside on the back patio for a bit of delicious sunshine yesterday afternoon, I wedged into the chocolate-brown Target swimsuit of cheap price and questionable boobage exposure. But there was no one else there but me, a bottle of water, SPIN magazine with Jeff Tweedy on the cover (http://www.spin.com/articles/wilco-frankly) and some squawky loud bird that sounds like it escaped the zoo, so all was well. The interview with Wilco was quite good, well-written by Jon Dolan and not at all precious and tedious like so much music journalism seems to be. Tweedy and band (and family) come off as down-to-earth, very likable, and interesting, with no particular agenda other than to make good music and get on with real life n’ stuff. I love this little video of Tweedy jamming with his young sons:



I put the magazine down and closed my eyes, the word “agenda” now playing in my head, rolling around, pinging off of thoughts. I at first think of the idea of a tedious list, items read off one by one at some stagnant city council meeting with a single fly buzzing around. But now, err buddy has an AGENDA that seems to carry much more weight than a motion to approve the construction of a shed on Fred Rasmussen’s property. Err buddy got ISSUES, err buddy wants STUFF, err buddy wants everything to be the way it SHOULD BE. Everybody wants you to take on their agendas.

I am not an agenda kind of girl. I hate making lists, even though People Like Lists. I have lots and lots of things I feel strongly about (see: HUNDREDS OF PREVIOUS POSTS), but I don’t have any particular need to convince you to see how I see, or for you to take up my causes, join my clan (I don’t even have a clan), or even give me support of any sort. I trust that you can think for yourself and make up your own mind. I know you have a mind otherwise you would be unable to make the muscle movements to be able to log on to this blog. You can’t use someone else’s mind to do that…yet.

Anyway, sitting there in the heat, wondering WTF that bird is and why it sounded so disturbed, I got to thinking about someone I used to know many years ago. At this time, I was just a young thing and I was still a bit na├»ve. Alright, I was clueless. I was way over-invested in what others thought of me, and under-invested in what I thought of me – not so unusual, I guess. So this guy I thought so very much of had gone through a bit of a, well, transformation, something similar to the Born Again folks, and was all fired up with spreading the word. Well, good for you, sir. What wasn’t good was that this spiritual revelation did not come with tolerance, kindness, acceptance, or wisdom. For him, it seemed to bring moodiness and a very unpleasant righteousness.

Because I am all about the individual and all that, I didn’t bust him on his views although I surely could have with great, um, vigor. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even get into my own views with him. Live and let live, I said to myself, there’s no real reason to get into this. But my politeness was apparently taken by him to be an upsetting lack of interest or support for his views. He knew I admired him, and knew me enough to know that because of that I would not talk back to him. So he decided to crap all over me one night. Not literally, because that would be a misdemeanor in most states. But he turned on me with no warning, in front of friends, in public, pushing the buttons he knew would hurt me the most. There was nothing I could do but grin weakly, take it, and walk away.

Why care enough to do that? Why? Because I didn’t take on his agenda? Because I didn’t seem to share his beliefs? Why the need to control me or anyone else? Well, of course I know why. Sometimes what underlies the agenda is great fear and insecurity, masked by arrogance and a misguided idea of salvation. If you can’t get others to go along with your thinking, maybe your thinking is weak, huh? Can’t have that. Oh, I was so sad -- devastated, really. I was angry and felt powerless. It took quite some time to sort it out in my head for what it was – weakness on his part, weakness on my part. He should not have done it, and I should not have accepted it, nor cared.

But today, my little agenda is to simply say what I should have said to him then, with a great big ol’ smile and the double-bird salute: FUCK YOU, DUMBY.

Ahhhhhhhh. That felt good.

Quite some time later, he did apologize. I appreciated the gesture, but that’s all it seemed to be, and that is all it was to me. But in the end my old pal did provide me with some valuable and needed life lessons about relationships and over-involvement and the very high cost of maintaining an agenda. I wish him well. Yes, I really genuinely do.

I picked up the SPIN magazine again to continue reading it, but the sweat from my fingers was smudging the print. The loud bird moved on to Belize or something, I finished the last swig from the water bottle, then I packed up my shit and took my ass inside. Agenda: shower.

GOAT 3

HAHAHAHA!

Germans.

SWIMSUIT

Can you hear it?

The HEAVIEST, LONGEST SIGH IN THE WORLD. Women around the world know this sound, recognize it as they would the cries of their own infants. They hear it, and know one of their own is suffering somewhere, alone with a reflection and a few ounces of unforgiving spandex.

It is the sigh of despair in response to the Annual Trying On Of A Swimsuit.

I went to Nordstrom today to try on a La Blanca swimsuit that I thought looked very nice online. I knew I needed a size or two smaller from last year's La Blanca swimsuit, but since it was quite pricey I wanted to stare it down unmercifully in the store rather than waste any time ordering it and sending it back forthwith.

SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH.

I should know better by know. I always somehow expect to see this:



And what I always see is this:



Good god. Now, OK, I realize that reality lies somewhere between those two pictures, and that the numbers on the swimsuit tags are good. But sometimes the idea of the Swim Burka seems really, really appealing:



The La Blanca suit was OK, considering, but not good enough to warrant paying close to $200 stupid dollars. For that, I want some kind of magic or fabric that infuses Valium into my skin. I also tried on a very cute retro Juicy suit that was well-designed and even comfy but made me look like a waist-less rectangle.

Oh, WHY should I even care? It's so silly. And I don't care all THAT much, because I know that no one is looking at me when I am out in a swimsuit and I am not all that invested in anyone's opinion about what I do or do not look like anyway. One of the strong benefits to getting older is not giving a flaming rat's ass about stuff. I am sure there is some sort of kind biological function to that.

I will wear the old swimsuit and keep hiking it up, or wear the Target swimsuit that looked about as good as the La Blanca at a tenth of the price. And I will have fun in my swimsuit, that is for sure, while ignoring the roar of the collective sighs riding over the crashing ocean surf.