Friday, September 30, 2005

Photo Friday: Darkness

Another still from video, this week's entry is Tony showing Lucas the tree on Christmas morning, 1996 at about 5 AM.


Don't forget to watch CBS Saturday Early Show tomorrow! There will be teasers throughout the show, and then a full-blown interview with Lucas (and me) at 8:45 (or 15 minutes before the end of the show when it airs in your time zone). Should be a trip! Here's a link to the story on their website: click! (They got a few facts wrong, like his last name, but that's ok)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005



Lucas and his fundraiser for the Katrina Victims will be featured on the CBS Saturday Early Show (National) this week! The weatherman, Ira Joe Fisher, is going to be stationed at Belmont's Driving Range on Rte. 7 in Ridgefield CT, doing his weather reports with Lucas!

They'd love to have a big turnout, so if you are in the area and can come to Belmont's between 7 and 9 AM, that would be great! Otherwise, watch for Lucas and Ira Joe every half-hour during the show.

If you want to watch on TV... CBS this Saturday Morning from 7 to 9 AM!

(Lucas has reached $400, but will be making a surprise announcement on Saturday).

**Edited to say "check local listings" for the CBS Saturday Early Show, because apparently the show airs later (not live) in some places**

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

America's Next Top Moron

Honestly, is this Christmas week or what? The television gods are showering me with gifts! Another season of America's Next Top Model has begun. The producers are as amused by the "Yogi Berra" moments as I am and make a point of capturing the best ones for all to see. I love nothing better than a good malapropism and this show is chock full of them.

In a one-on-one interview with Tyra Banks, one of the aspiring next-top-models boasted, "I'm really very smart. I have a good head on my shoulder!" Well Miss Thing, you've got your work cut out for you because the next girl in line claimed that she's "going to fight truth and nail" to win. You might need the other shoulder to contend with THAT.

My OTHER favorite show is back too...Wife Swap. Last night, a neat-freak Christian baseball mom walked into the filthy home of the "punk anarchist" family, looked around and sobbed "How can anyone live like this? In total SQUANDER!"

I've kept a mental collection of many malaprops I've heard over the years. We have someone in the office who's a great source of them. He recently said (in a serious meeting, which caused a few of us to have to bite our lips to keep the guffaws in) "I can't stand that guy! He's so ABSTINENT!" (C'mon! That should explain why he's no fun to be around! ) The same guy told us that he'd be all over something "like flies on ants". He's also often "flustrated" by politics in the workplace.

Here are a few other random ones I've picked up from various people over the years. Hopefully none of them read this blog:

"Oh, it's six of one...dozen of the other"

"He was making money hand over foot!"

"He was making money leftover hand!"

"Why are you coming in at this time of the hour?"

"I'm going to save this for prosperity!"

"Those curtains are a lovely shade of maude."

"We need to replace the fire distinguisher" (smoke alarm!)

"I finally tasted espadrilles" (escargot)

"She was a Southmore in High School"

"I bought a new Ostracizer" (blender...Osterizer)

"I love those cute little frankfurter know, Datsuns?"

"Hurry, Vinny! Get the fly squad!" (fly swatter)

"They thought I had cancer but it was B-9."

Then, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, there are those that we don't hear...just see:

"... and walla! A brand new car!"

"I waited with baited breath..." (eww)

"... persay..."

My family is a great source of these (or, as my mother would say, "a sauce of entertainment"), so I'm sure I'll come up with plenty more as I think of them. Feel free to contribute yours! As Dave Barry would say, "You can't make this stuff up!"

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Fundraising Update!

With the help of some friends and family, and another weekend at the driving range, my son Lucas' fundraising for the victims of Hurricane Katrina now totals $400.

(His goal is $500, which will be matched by the company I work for. I'm thinking he'll make that goal by next weekend!)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Weekend Rant

I don't live in Georgia, but I know people who do. Working parents. And their dipshit governor decided, at 4:30 on Friday afternoon, that all public schools in the state would be closed on Monday and Tuesday to "save energy". HUH??

First of all, how TYPICAL of this guy and his ilk to have absolutely no consideration for people who need to scramble for daycare at the last minute. Secondly, can someone explain exactly how this is going to save energy? Oh right. No school buses. Just parents driving their kids around (let's bus: 30 kids, parents' car: 2 kids...yeah, that seems like a plan).

This is infuriating on so many levels. In NYC, the schools never close (ok, there was a strike a few years ago, but except for that...they don't even have snow days). When I moved to the 'burbs I couldn't believe how often schools close and have delayed openings, etc. Not to mention the fact that parent-coffees are held during the workday, with the unspoken assumption that one parent is not employed.

So, my sympathies to the working parents in Georgia... I know how you feel.

**Edited to add: I suggest that the parents DROP THEIR KIDS OFF AT THE GOVERNOR'S MANSION on Monday and Tuesday!**

Friday, September 23, 2005

I See Dead Puppets

Just got back from seeing Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride". LOVED it! It is so beautifully done...a visual masterpiece. The music is great, ala "Nightmare Before Christmas", the story is fun, and Lucas and I loved the punny humor. Right up our alley.

Photo Friday: Burn

I guess this week has been all-Lucas, all the time... but this video still was the only appropriate photo I had for this week's entry!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Feelin' Smug!

The Yankees are in first place!! Wheeee!

Katie, Matt, Al, Lucas and Panthergirl

Well, The Today Show has come a'callin' again. A few months ago we were in the running for a room-makeover for Lucas. Now, I got a call from them because they are going to do a story on bullying and I had responded to a request for personal stories. (For those who may not know, Lucas has been targeted by bullies for several years at school.)

Today they asked for pictures, and they are going to pick the families this week... we'll see! I'll keep you posted!

Things seem better this year, but Lucas has experienced some really nasty behavior in the past. Like the kid who said "I hope your father dies" when Tony was ill. When Tony DID die, Lucas did not want any of the kids at school to know, so he kept that secret from October until June that year. I found out months after the fact that he had been eating lunch in the nurse's office because he was afraid to sit in the cafeteria. He refused to go out to recess. (You'd think a school would let a parent know, right?)

Anyway, there seems to be a better crop of kids this year so far... I'm hoping it lasts.

Stay tuned... I'm also hoping he gets to promote his fundraiser on the air!

Monday, September 19, 2005


After another weekend of fundraising at the driving range, Lucas has raised a total of $217 in cash, and $100 pledge from my childhood friend Andrea. His goal is still $500 (to be matched by my company), but I wouldn't be surprised if he does better than that!

OH, and he raised his required driving distance to 130 yards or better. Since the owners of the driving range made him a custom club, he's hitting over 170 yards regularly!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I Did It Twice This Week!

No, silly... not that. I went to the movies! I love seeing movies in the theater. I love the whole experience: sitting in the dark, huge screen, big sound, endless trailers. For me, watching DVDs at home just doesn't cut it. I do it from time to time, but I don't get the same shuddering sense of delight as the film begins.

This week I saw The 40 Year Old Virgin which was both hilarious, in a very Farrelly-brothers way, and surprisingly sweet and romantic. Steve Carrell is like a straight Pee Wee Herman.

Last night, Lucas and I saw a sneak preview of The Greatest Game Ever Played, a true story about an amateur golfer who played in the U.S. Open in 1910. It was wonderful, Shia LaBeouf was perfect, and Lucas was on the edge of his seat for the entire thing. We loved it.

This is ONE thing I don't like about seeing movies in the theater, though. Talkers. I don't like sitting in front of talkers, I don't like seeing movies with talkers. Shut the fuck up already. When I was a kid, movies had ushers and usherettes (who really should have been called "shushers" and "shusherettes" because that was their job. To tell people to shut the fuck up). I recently heard that some theater chains are considering bringing them back, and I'm all for it.

In fact, I might apply for the job.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Photo Friday: Divine

Rosie, the greyhound that we had to give up, thought she looked divine in her leopard-print coat. I have to agree.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Kids are Alright

I know you probably think I'm making this kid up, but wait until you hear what Lucas did for my birthday.

He told me he wanted to go to the driving range last night, and when we got there he went inside to the pro shop and came out with a putter-trainer club called The Stubby. I'd been practicing with it and mentioned that I wanted to buy it at some point. He handed me the club and said, "It's yours!" When I asked HOW the heck he managed to buy me this club (list $99), he said that he has an "IOU" with the owner of the range to work off the "Lucas price" of the club ($80). He loves helping out at the range, washing golf balls, cleaning up the mini-golf course, etc., so he arranged to do those things in exchange for this club.

His thoughtfulness just blows me away (and of course it was so kind of them to go for it. they love him.)

In addition, my daughter Emma drove two hours last night after work to get here, and she and I will spend the day together today... she's taking me out to lunch and to the movies. She's really strapped for cash these days, so it's a big deal for her. We don't get to spend a whole lot of time alone together, so I'm looking forward to today.

Considering the fact that the power steering pump in my MINI Cooper died on my way home from work on Monday, it's turned out to be a wonderful birthday. (the car gods have not been with me these past few weeks!)

AND... thank you to ALL of my wonderful blog friends and acquaintences for the sweet, funny and supportive birthday wishes. Love you guys!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

On Turning 50

Yep, I've got to change my profile info in the sidebar. At 4:05 this afternoon, I will no longer be 49.

You know that commercial where the guy finds out his credit score is 619, and then every place he looks he sees that number? Earlier this week I was driving to work, thinking about the post I'd write today. At that moment I looked up and saw the "Speed Limit 50" sign and just laughed out loud.

Last night I had Monday Night Football on as background noise, and again started to think about what I wanted to write. I glanced at the tv JUST as they focused on the 50 yard line.

Unlike 30, which was overshadowed by the birth of my daughter Emma two weeks prior, and 40 which was overshadowed by the birth of my son 9 months prior, this birthday is just hanging out here all by itself. People can tell you it's just a number, but believe me, there's something about 50.

Listen to kids describe an old lady they saw doing something outrageous (you know, like working out). They'll say, "YEAH, did you see that woman? She was like FIFTY!"

Think about rhymes for a second. Thirty rhymes with dirty, forty rhymes with sporty and even (kind of) naughty. What does fifty rhyme with? Thrifty? Nifty? Ugh.

I think I may even be starting to act like a fifty year old. Not in most ways, but in small subtle ways. Like attempting to call 1-800-HOWS-MY-DRIVING about a billion times as I drive to and from work. Garl darned crazy kids.

On the more serious side, I do think about the fact that I'll be 58 when Lucas graduates from high school, and worry about remaining healthy for him at least until he is an independent adult (and beyond, because god knows I want him to be able to enjoy his life without worrying about his dottering old mother).

So, I'm going to try to stay positive, stay young (I'm actually only 15 in my head) and not focus on the fact that I can no longer double my age and fully expect to be around. My mother, in her unique way, sent me a GIANT t-shirt with the GIANT message: "Fit and 50!" (she claims that it was hers, and she wore it. Yeah right. Probably last year.) I'm thinking I'll wait two years and send her one that says "85 and Still Alive!"

Help a Blogger Directly

Our blog friend Cat of A Mom in the Swamp had to evacuate her home in Slidell. Her sister posted a list of things the family can really use on Cat's blog.

Lucas is going to cover the Lego/Bionicle situation for Cat's 10 year old son, but if you can help with anything else that would be great! Thanks!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I Didn't Know Whether to Laugh or Cry

I asked Lucas to sit with me this morning to watch part of the 9/11 Memorial ceremony at Ground Zero. I hugged him tightly as I wept, watching the brothers and sisters read the names of the dead. After the first two moments of silence, he turned to me and said, "You know if we have moments of silence for every bad thing that happens, by 2008 we'll all be mimes."

Updated fundraising total for Lucas: $184.00

A Loss of Innocence

We were never safe. We just thought we were, and it's hard to remember what that felt like. As significant as BC and AD, 9/11 changed everything.

I've always been a morning news person, usually flipping on the TV as I get dressed for work, background music to the routine of my daily life. For some unknown reason, that day I got up, got Lucas and Emma off to school and went to work without turning on the television or even the radio in my car. (Because I work in CT, we had moved from the city to be closer to my job in 1995.)

A few months earlier, in July of 2001, I was heavily into the online dating thing and met a man who lived in Perth, Australia. As online relationships often do, it quickly progressed into a romance and he decided to make the 10,000 mile trip to see me in October. One of the plans we made was to go to the nightclub at the top of the World Trade Center. Since he had never been to NYC, he was excited not just to meet me, but to enjoy the city and see everything that he had only read about all his life.

On the morning of 9/11, as I drove to work, my cellphone rang. It was Roy, telling me that a plane had hit the towers. I started laughing, thinking that he was pulling my leg because of the plans we had made. He kept trying to tell me what had happened, and I almost hung up on him. Then, he told me about the Pentagon and my stomach fell. I knew, then, that he was serious. And that we as a nation were in trouble.

I don't remember the rest of the drive to work. I got there and stood in the lobby of our building, watching CNN on the plasma screen TV and seeing the towers fall. I remember one of the marketing managers saying, "We need to kill the fuckers!" We all stood there in shock, not knowing what was really happening, seeing the images of an enormous dust cloud chasing frantic crowds around narrow street corners. We tried to think of people we knew who worked in the towers, or who may have had meetings there that day. Mostly I remember thinking that this was it. That World War III had started and my children would not live to adulthood.

If you did not live in NYC or the tri-state area at that time, there are memories I can only try to describe to you. In the days that followed the attacks, the weather was almost inappropriately beautiful, and the skies without ANY air traffic left us in an eerily quiet state. Like when the power goes out in your house and all the white-noise is gone. People were extraordinarily kind to each other. We looked into each others eyes and felt a connection like never before.

Having grown up in the city and spent most of my adult life living in Manhattan and Brooklyn, I had to get down there as soon as I could. On the Sunday after the attacks, I took the train to Grand Central, with my camera and a notepad to record my experience. As the train made its way to the city, the doors opened at one stop and several menacingly loud "gangsta" guys got on the train and started banging on the doors, seeming to enjoy the fear that they could so easily instill in the passengers whose nerves were already frayed. The rise in adrenalin was plapable. The big bad thing had happened. Now, anything was possible. We got to the city without incident.

I walked from Grand Central Station to Canal Street, which is probably about three miles, taking pictures as I went. I made a short iMovie of them which can be seen here.
There was still a sense of hope, that the moms and dads and brothers and sisters and children on the flyers might somehow be found. But the prevailing sentiment, the most powerful and overwhelming hope, was that our government would not use this event, use our pain and our loss, to start a war.

There were two songs I heard that day as I walked. One was Kate Smith singing "God Bless America" (what this little boy is listening to on a gramophone in Washington Square Park).

The other was John Lennon, pleading that we "Give Peace a Chance."

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Today's Lucas Report

It was a slow day at the driving range, but Lucas stood there from 10 AM to 4PM and raised an additional $50, bringing his total to $160. We will be going back tomorrow.

Airport Security on 9/10/01

That morning, I flew to Cincinnati on business, just for the day (thank god).

I was traveling with another woman from work. We arrived at Westchester Airport where we missed our flight and had to race to LaGuardia to get the next one. At the ticket counter, my colleague realized she did not have her driver's license. The agent said, "Are you with her? (me)" and she said yes. "Well, just go ahead then." [ding]

We couldn't get a direct flight, so we had to change planes (in Cleveland I think?). We ran to the gate to get our boarding passes, but the machine was broken. The agent said, "Oh it's ok... just get on the plane." [ding]

We walked onto the plane, told them the boarding pass machine was broken, and they let us find seats. [ding.ding.ding.]

We all know what happened the following day.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Photo Friday: Massive

Dixie isn't quite this "massive", but she sure looks big in this pic. It was taken at last year's annual picnic for Greyhound Rescue and Rehab, and that's Dixie's dad Bob in the background.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Lucas' Fundraising Gets Some Press!



In our local newspaper (click on the firefighter story and scroll down to "driving").

He will be continuing his efforts this weekend. If anyone would like to contribute through Lucas, please email me. My company does matching donations, so everything he raises will be doubled. I'll be posting pictures on Saturday night.

Lest You Accuse Me of Political Bias...

I lived in NYC when Giuliani was Mayor. I did not like him and I thought he made some stupid and dangerous (from a freedom of speech perspective) decisions .

However, on 9/11 and beyond, he was a LEADER. I did not judge him based on his political party or views. He LED. People felt as though they would, somehow, be taken care of. I did not hear any "liberals" bashing him. Bush, on the other hand, even then...could only do photo ops and make sweeping statements about how he was going to "get" Osama Bin Laden. (Remember "bring it on"? Yee-haw politics at its best.)

By the way... where is Osama? It's only been four years.

Let Your Fingers Do the Helping

If you feel that sending money is not enough, go here. My blogfriend Grace found a woman through Craig's List who is helping in Louisiana, but there is much that can be done right from our computers (heck, we're online all the time anyway, right?).

Let Grace know if there's anything you can do.

Keep Drinking the Kool-Aid

"There's plenty of blame to go around"
"What about the State and local governments"
"This was a 'surprise'" (check out National Geographic, October 2004, where the scenario was predicted in chlling detail.)
"This is not about race/class"

Uh huh. Read the Timeline.

If you think the media is putting a "spin" on the story, watch Charmaine Neville tell it in her own words here. The video is kind of choppy but you can hear what she has to say.

Does it not bother the Bush supporters that although every reporter has been in tears at some point, Bush hasn't exhibited the slightest bit of emotion? Just the famous "smirk", or that My Pet Goat deer-in-the-headlights look. (I guess that's what happens when you try to save $60 million and wind up spending $150 billion. Oops.)

It really IS ok to admit that the guy you voted for screwed up. The only other choice is that he intentionally abandoned poor people. Remember a prior president who said "The buck stops here"? Saddam Hussein is about to be tried for the deaths of thousands of people in Iraq. If only we could hold this president responsible for the deaths he has caused by, what? Neglect? Ignorance? Incompetence? Indifference? You pick it. The end result is the same.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Driving for Dough

***UPDATE: Two of our local newspapers are going to do a story on Lucas' efforts, and plan to be at the range on Saturday to photograph him doing his thing!!**

Monday's post:
We just got back from our local driving range. Lucas set up a fundraising station for the Katrina victims, and offered to hit a 100-yard or better drive for every donation of $1 or more. He raised $110! (and hit every drive at least 150 yards, straight as a pin.) I was so proud of him. He had asked "What talent do I have, that I can use to help?" When I suggested something to do with golf he got right on it. I also wondered if he could "perform" under the pressure of someone watching, but he had absolutely no problem. In fact, I think he hit better than ever.

He was SO pleased with himself, and has set his goal at $500. We'll go back to the range each weekend until he reaches that goal, and my company does matching donations so we'll be sending $1000 to the Red Cross...hopefully very soon! (I'll take pictures next weekend. This was so impromptu that I didn't have my camera!)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

What "Culture of Life"??

I have not yet posted about the disaster in New Orleans, because I am so angry I could not find the words. This morning, while reading through some blogs, I found a link over at Jim's..

Rather than just post the link, I will post the text here. If anyone doubts that this is a race/class issue, I suppose it's your choice (I would bet the farm on the fact that you are not a poor black person). But what does it say about the so-called "culture of life" platform of the Right? You decide:

"The Right, as embodied by Limbaugh, Frist, Bush, Hastert, DeLay. They would move heaven and earth to save the life of one White Woman in Florida to combat the very idea of euthanasia (which technically it was not). A woman that a decade earlier had lost her ability to so much as ask for help, much less have coherent thoughts about the quality of her own life.

And they would sit on their ass and watch as tens of thousands of poor men, women, children, babies, and elderly bake in the New Orleans heat surrounded by water, sewage, gasoline and an abandoned city, now devoid of anyone with the means to have escaped ahead of the storm.

This is the culture of life. The culture of life wants to save brain dead white women and unborn children. The culture of life wants you to watch endless non-news about the disappearance of one white teenager in Aruba. The culture of life wants you to support your nation as it kills tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians in its Quixotic quest against a non-threat. The culture of life wants a zero-tolerance for looters policy to sound authoritative as babies die of dehydration. The culture of life expects you to take care of yourself, and if you can't, then it is your own fault for getting into that situation in the first place. Fuck off. You had your shot. Station in life, where you hang your hat, and whether you have the $40 at the end of the month to pay for the overpriced gasoline to get out of that home in time is all up to you.

Always I have argued with Republican friends--the reasonable ones--that not everyone was dealt the same cards on their original Birth Day. Not everyone has been given the same gifts by God, friends, family, or luck. Always those Republican friends believe that they deserve where they have gotten in life, and that no one, including the government, should be asking for their hard-earned cash to help the less affluent. It is always the fault of the lesser-affluent themselves. Circumstances are irrelevant in all cases and constitute class warfare if the question is raised.


But that's their thing. That's how they see the world. They earned everything they got. Their parents might have given them a nudge, but nothing more. Get a fucking clue.

Bush came away from his mega vacation one day early...Wednesday. Hastert doesn't know why we should rebuild. Condie Rice went to the show on Broadway.

All of these people support the Culter of Life. But none seem to support American Culture. New Orleans, as much as any city, represents distinctly American Culture. A melting-pot of language, music and revelry unlike any other. But it is desperately poor. Over 50% of the children in the state live below the poverty level. But no matter. Mostly black folk down there. They shouldn't have lived there in the first place. They should have gotten out while they had the chance. It's their own fault.

Michael Chertoff was interviewed on NPR this afternoon. He was asked if he had heard of thousands of people at the Convention Center in New Orleans, without water or food or sanitation. Elderly dying. Little girls being raped. Mr. Chertoff was eloquent in his cluelessness. Completely unaware of what had been on the television all day long on both MSNBC and CNN. Unaware that he, at the top of the agency charged with bringing relief to the affected areas, had not been informed of something every American with a remote already knew. That the situation there was desperate. That people needed help. And that noone seemed to be providing it. The man in charge was not in charge at all, folks. It took the Bush Administration 4 years since 9/11... 4 years of chasing ghosts and old demons in Iraq to not do a fucking thing about stateside preparedness. To gut the national guard's responsiveness by sending so many of them overseas. To cut funding for the levee system that allowed Lake Ponchartrain to roll into the city. To put someone in charge of Homeland Security and FEMA that is eloquent, but so impossibly incompetent that he is incapable of establishing a staff capable of letting him know the worst of a situation so large.

Mr. Chertoff said, that he had not heard of such things. That you couldn't believe every rumor from the streets of the area. That he wasn't in a position to argue about what the NPR Reporters had witnessed.

Get the people to our staging areas, he stated, and they can get water there.

Thanks, asshole.

I almost cried last night. A little girl was with her grandfather, their late model sedan stalled in hip deep water. She was standing on what I think was the highway divider next to the car. Soaked. Crying. Her grandfather, dismayed and dazed behind her. Both of them looked at the car, but it was the begging of the young girl that got me. She couldn't have been more than 2 years older than my daughter. And there she was, in the middle of a lake that wasn't there the day before, in the middle of a city that had been destroyed, begging and pleading for the people filming her, and those they were with, to help them. They just needed a push. To higher ground.

And there she stayed, as the vehicle the camera rode in pulled away."

Now's the REAL time for the so-called Christians to ask, "What Would Jesus Do?". A photo op with two black women? A helicopter fly-over? Makes you wonder.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Photo Friday: Order

This week's entry needs no explanation. It doesn't get more orderly than four greyhound butts.

Down from the Mountain

Hey kids! Back from vacation...reading all my comments, here, at Adventures in Cyberia and over at Michele's where I'm the guest blogger today.

We had a great time, although the weather was somewhat crappy the first few days. We still managed to play golf every day though. Take a look at Lucas' incredible swing here.

We were, of course, devestated by the news and pictures from the Gulf Coast and hope that all of our blogger friends from the region are safe. Lucas has $30 he saved to buy a computer game that he is, instead, going to donate to the relief effort. Every little bit helps.

More later...