Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ask Me Anything Answers, Part One

Per my post Ask Me Anything! (paragraph 2, sentence 1), I invited the community to ask a question about me, any question,. . ." Furthermore, in the same document and paragraph, sentence 2, I stated "I'll post my answers on Monday or Tuesday . . ."

You know, Martha's right.

I'm a dumb shit.

I should have known that the village would come through for one of its sons with questions galore. I should have realized that this particular village is too damn intelligent for its own good and the questions would be hard. With sight of the hind, I should have set this thing up like Jeopardy! on TV: I give simple answers and the contestants (y'all) give simple questions.

Your host, Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek: "And the answer is, 'beer foam.'"
Alex Trebek: "Mapstew."
Mapstew: "What is Charlie's second most favorite crayon color?"
Alex Trebek: "That's right! His favorite color is 'sewer gas.'"

So much for the should haves. If my Muse, my fickle Greek goddess, wasn't fooling around somewhere in Michigan, I wouldn't be begging you people for blog fodder in the first place. I'll answer all your questions as advertised, but it will take several posts to do it; otherwise, this thing would be longer than an all-day sucker.

* * *

Question 1 is from Robert at Plead Ignorance: "If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently and what would remain unchanged?"

As I gaze into my Pensieve, there is nothing I could do differently to change the formative years of my life. The clay of Who I Am was in the sculpting hands of an alcoholic father, a mentally unstable mother, and nuns who constantly promised eternal horror. I didn't have a chance against abusive adults because what child ever does?

If I could change the formative years, the first eighteen years of my life with a wizard's wand, I would rid it of ninety percent of the adults I knew and could not trust, including my parents, especially my parents, in which case I would be an entirely different person sitting here, maybe for better, maybe for worse, but in any event a stranger who couldn’t answer this question because I wouldn’t know Who I Would Be.

Take a breathing break with me. [Good air in, bad air out, good air in, bad air out]

I don’t need Mr. Peabody’s WABAC (way back) machine to know what I would do differently as an adult. I wouldn’t re-smoke the 468,000* cigarettes I smoked and end up with lung disease all over again. I wouldn’t drink again, not even socially because there was never anything social about it; I drank to get drunk because it was my medicine.

The non-drinking thing bothers me, though. Due to my recovery work, which is due to my alcoholism, I know Who I Am. Due to my recovery from alcoholism, I was (and am) able to help others with their drinking and drug problems. Without alcohol, I wonder what my new medicine would be to self-discovery and altruistic helper. (I know, Robert, that you won’t suggest religion, self-help books, or Dr. Phil.)

Fini. While it may not make much sense, I'm glad that I was able to provide an unintelligible answer.

*Calculation: In the US, there are 20 cigarettes in a pack and 10 packs in a carton, for a total of 200 cigarettes in a carton. 45 years times 52 weeks per year equals 2,340 weeks. I smoked one carton a week for 2,340 weeks, for a total of 468,000 smokes. Minimum.

* * *

Question 2 is from Jan at DJan-ity: "Who is your favorite author? Why?"

Tickle Me Elmo Chuck
"The first objects that assume a distinct prescence before me, as I look far back, into the blank of my infancy, are my mother with her pretty hair and youthful shape . . ."
—Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

What an idiotic statement by Dickens, writing as Copperfield. How does David look into the blank of his infancy? He can't because, well, it's blank. Dickens must mean post-infancy, then, perhaps when David was two. But how does a rug rat in the throes of the "terrible twos" notice anything other than all the breakable shit on the coffee table? He may remember a tiny snippet here and there, a flash in the brainpan, but David has a distinct memory of his mother's "pretty hair and youthful shape." Since when does a two-year-old use adjectives—and know the difference between a youthful shape and a banana?

Gee, I might use this for a book report if I ever need to send one in.

To answer your question, Jan, Charles Dickens is my favorite author. I forgive him of illogic (see my book report, above), wanton use of coincidence, and the cliffhanger story line that disappeared in Little Dorrit. He was a master of characterization, dialect, and emotion. He was a window to Victorian England, writing often about the social ills and inequities between the haves and have-nots.

Most of all, he wrote stories that capitvated me.

Especially David Copperfield.

* * *

I was planning on answering a third question, but my verbosity has done me in. I've spent parts of four days writing this much and my eyes are pooped from constant squinting and refocusing. The other fifteen questions will all get answered sometime in time, so until then you'll just have to keep your shorts on. Please.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ask Me Anything!

Since my Muse has temporarily gone north to Royal Oak, Michigan to be a cafe, I am temporarily barren of creative thought. To say it differently, I am not amused.

I have decided, then, to put the (read this carefully) onus on the village. In the comment section ask a question about me, any question, that you've been dying to know the answer to but have been afraid to ask. I'll post my answers on Monday or Tuesday after the American looooong weekend.

I realize this is hardly an original idea, but all the good ideas have been taken for centuries. Except, maybe, for the veg-o-matic vegetable chopper.

11/26 Comment: Drat! I foiled me again! These questions are hard, people. Whatever happened to easy stuff like "What is your favorite crayon color?" (Answer: sewer gas.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bad News Good News

The bad news first. Attila the Mom, my long-time blog and reality friend, has to put her beloved Yorkshire Terrier, Molly, to sleep in the next day or two.

Putting a beloved pet down, a full-fledged member of the family, is one of the hardest and most horrible things life throws at us. I feel so badly for Attila and her family—if you get a chance, drop by her place and offer a word or two of comfort.

Molly went to Dog Heaven yesterday, Nov. 24, 2010. I sure hope she's met my beloved Punkers because they'll make great pals.

* * *

The good news is that Philip Dodge and his blog, The Domesticated Bohemian, is this week's Blog of Note. Raised in Yorkshire, Philip now lives near London, a city which surprised him when he saw that "it has streetlights and everything!"

Don't let that bit of yokel fool you. Philip is a fine writer and deserves the recognition of his Blogaritaville peers. Check him out.

I now have the honor of knowing two Bloggers of Note: Philip and Kim Ayres, who still has over 900 followers. Pretty neat, huh.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Couplea Videos

A couplea videos for Saturday night.

This is a music video by Band of Horses called "Dilly". I may be behind the times in the music vid department because I found this one seriously eerie. It wasn't until I watched it two or three times before I realized what was missing and got the creepazoids.

Maybe you've all seen this trailer already but, non-TV watcher that I am, it's new to me—and looks like a fun movie. Especially with Cher, who was so great in "Mask" and "Silkwood."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"War" Update

Snippets from a Google News article dated today, 11/16/10:

"At the [NATO] meeting in Lisbon that kicks off Friday, Obama and his NATO partners are expected to formalize a plan to hand over security duties to Afghan forces by 2014."

"A year ago, Obama boosted the number of US troops in Afghanistan to 100,000 troops but promised to begin transferring security responsibility to Afghan forces by July 2011."

"The timetable for withdrawal has had to adapt to conditions on the ground, in the face of a fierce and persistent Taliban insurgency."

"Also, even if the combat mission comes to an end by 2014, observers stress that some US military presence in Afghanistan is likely beyond that point -- similar to the situation in Iraq."

"Over nine years since the conflict began, and with this year the deadliest year for NATO forces there . . ."

"But he [John McCain] maintained that in Lisbon, Obama should give a "very, very strong statement that we're in this thing to win, that withdrawal to the middle of 2011 is notional, but 2014 is really the year that we would expect to have significant withdrawals."

Snippets from an article by Deb Riechmann of the Associated Press and printed in The Arizona Republic this morning, 11/16/10:

"President Hamid Karzai has interfered in corruption cases and even threatened to join the Taliban if foreigners didn't stop meddling."

"Now he is demanding that the U.S.-led coalition begin reducing its military operations and stop what the military believes is its most successful tactic—night raids against suspected Taliban commanders."

"Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar ... appealed for funding from Muslims around the world—a sign that NATO's campaign may be hurting the militants far more than acknowledged."

"Karzai remained unconvinced. "I would like to have an end to these nighttime raids in Afghan homes no matter how effective they are in the sense of the military in the United States or in NATO."

In my non-humble opinion, President George W. Obama is breaking another promise (health care for every American was first) and, on the advice of Rush McCain “that we're in this thing to win,” is committing we, the people, to years more of human injury both physical and mental, human death, and billions more dollars that belong here at home.

If President Hamid Karzai wants the US and NATO out of his fifth-world country because the coalition is capturing and killing too many of his Taliban friends, THEN LET’S GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!!

This heartfully-rendered rant is brought to you by a sad member of

Addition, 11/18/10: From Daniel Maxson at Newsy after he read this post:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

College of Film

As I get further behind in my mail, reading, and writing, I feel this blog slipping away from me. I no longer have that creative spark I once had—that sudden flash of humor, of goofy stories and dialog, or of brutal honesty about me, my family, and my past. I am, in two words, frustrated and discouraged.

To keep some of you snoops hanging around, however, the University has a new College of Film. I’ve been working on it in bits and pieces throughout the summer and, now that its reached 50 movies, I think it’s ready for unveiling. You may praise, ridicule, laugh, or snort at my choices, but I don’t give a crap—nothing can make me un-like them.

The College has its own page, which you’ll find in red below the blog header.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Odds & Ends, Mostly Odds

This is a regular monthly feature, except I haven't featured it since August, which means I'm not at all regular.

Lettuce see. September, October, this is November, which means three months since August, which further means a quarter of a year. A quarter!

This is a regular quarterly feature . . .

* * *

You might be uninterested to know that I had a palindromic experience in bed the other night. I opened one eye, looked at the digital clock on the dresser, and it said, "10:01". The numbers were blurry and I could have been reading them half-backward with one eye closed, but I don’t think so.

* * *

Irish's adoption mug shot
Identity crisis. Not mine but Irish’s, our little Pomeranian rescue dog. I have a tendency to call him Earl because, well, he looks like an Earl to me. When he’s in a yappy mood, I call him Bob Barker.

He doesn’t answer to Earl, and he certainly doesn’t answer to Bob Barker because he’s too damn busy barking to hear me. And that’s as it should be: the little guy only needs one name.

Since he has red hair and freckles, I thought Irish was a pretty good name. He slowly came around to it, especially once he associated it with his food bowl.

Now, if Martha would just stop calling him Beer Barrel and Pork Chop . . .

* * *

Speaking of Martha, I have my “holiday shopping” started and completed. I found exactly what I wanted using Google Images and Better Homes & Gardens website—a beautiful new melon baller!

And notice its intricate design—it almost looks like a hummingbird! Fifteen bucks, free shipping, made in China—heck, it should last a good two weeks before the baller breaks off the hummer—so how could I go wrong?

I’ll tell you how I could go wrong. Big time. Rule number 68,264 of Marriage for Male Dummies says, “NEVER give your wife kitchen appliances for her birthday, anniversary, or the ‘holidays’—elst you’ll find yourself sleeping in the doghouse with Pork Chop.”

I’ll let you know how things turn out in the next monthly quarterly whenever issue of Odds & Ends when I’m rooming with my good buddy, Earl.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Original Matt!

Have I mentioned that I love this guy? Matt is just the ticket to cheer things up around here at Casa la Dumpa.

This is his first dancing video—short, solo, and getting his complex leg and arm movements down pat.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Leaving the Past in the Past

From Trina, who has a wonderful blog called MomMeVille.

* * *

Letting Go
by Trina

I'm turning 40 next month, started up yoga again and have had some "stuff" arise
inside of me that has made me take a look at my life and my abandonment issues.

I starting today...

will not hold onto the past pains
will not subject family members whom i love to my anger from what others have done to me in the past
I will not allow my heart to stay closed when I know it should be open
I will focus on being nicer - because my family isn't out to get me
I will set boundaries towards people who hurt me... or let's say just get rid of them from my life 
that includes people who may be family who hurt me
move forward and know that I can choose to be happy and not allow the past to have all the power
I will win and I will smile I will feel love and give love
what people have done to me in the past is the past and should not affect me today or tomorrow

I am not alone, I am loved and I love myself ( that is tough )

I am going to get a tattoo before or on my birthday to celebrate me and my life. To remind myself 
to live my dreams, keep moving forward and to never let my past hurt my future!

Used by permission. Visit the site to view the accompanying photographs.

* * *

For the past two weeks since Trina wrote this, I’ve had my nose—proboscis, snout, honker—pressed against the computer screen so I could read it (and write this). As an advocate of personal change, I’m happy as a clam because of her decision to deal with "stuff." It has me doing a little “YES!” dance around my desktop, similar to my Arizona rain dance. Most of all, it tells me that she is not content to live in the past (or as I call it, die in the past), but is determined to meet the past head-on and let the bad shit go.

It won’t be easy, getting rid of the pain and the hurt, and it won’t happen overnight, but Trina’s determination, commitment, strength, and courage will all help her heal. As will medication for depression or anxiety, and professional counseling—whatever it takes to get over the really rough spots, to exorcise the demons who persist in haunting the dark corners of the soul.

Trina told me in an email that writing “Letting Go” made her feel better already. I’m so glad. And she deserves to reward herself because she’s doing the work and not an invisible Higher Power.

Here is Trina’s advice to herself that I’ve turned around for all of you:

Remind yourself to live your dreams, keep moving forward, and never let your past hurt your future!

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