Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bad Mother Of The Year Award

BAD MOTHER of the year AWARD goes to:

Runners up: Britney Spears, Michael Jackson

Grand prize winner: Lara Angelina Harrison


“Thank you all for this wonderful recognition of my talents. And to be in such company as Britney and Michael…well, I’m literally speechless.

“I’d like to say, for the record, that my ex-husband has always believed in my gift of bad mothering. For nearly 12 years, he reminded me constantly of my inability to properly parent the fruits of my womb. And here before you, I proudly acknowledge that nearly the entire planet agrees with him. Thumbs up, WAM!

“It’s taken years of fucking things up to get to this point. It’s taken years off my life, hairs off my head and added layers of rubber tire fat – the kind that gives you diabetes and makes you die. It’s also given me chronic insomnia and a fairly intimate relationship with panic disorder. Sure, it’s sacrifice. But well worth it if you wish to become as bad a mother as I am.

“Of course I’ve heard that my son is wonderful with children. He works at an afterschool day camp for grammar school kids. They call him ‘Mr. Sean’ and follow his 5’10” frame around like he’s Hans Christian Anderson. I also know that my neighbors call him to sit their kids and they love him. Fine – he trustworthy, respectful, helps around the house, is devoted to his music, helps with his sister, goes to the library to read, but for heaven’s sake woman: HE’S DROPPED OUT OF HIGHSCHOOL! I know. Thank you. I couldn’t have done it without my instinct for bad mothering.

“Let’s just, for now, get past the point that he wants to take his GED and start college earlier….let’s focus on the fact that my bad mothering has fostered his irresponsibility toward high school. Ok? After all, isn’t BAD MOTHERING what this is all about?

“I could, of course, continue to list my other accomplishments with my daughter, Erin. At 11, she is growing into a beautiful young girl, and I know will continue to make me proud of my bad mothering. I’m hoping that in the future, I will be standing before you again, accepting the BAD MOTHER AWARD in honor of the job I’ve done with Erin.

“Thank you again…..and good night.

Oh, and by the way, cast your vote tonight – I’m also up for ‘Most Wish-Washy Christian Not Yet Living In Hell’, ‘The Worst Ex-Wife On The Planet Earth’ and ‘The Most Unworthy of Anything Good That Ever Comes to Her’. Thank you again.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #11

13 Bio/Autobio Books On My Shelf

I have always been a big fan of bio/autobiographies and have quite an extensive collection. I enjoy reading about other people’s lives, because most times, if they’ve written a book about it, their lives have been or are more messed up than mine. It’s comforting to know that even people who make tons of money and either have fans fawning all over them or great power started out as a screwball from a dysfunctional family.

So taking a quick look at the shelves of books, here we go:

#1 – Every Beatle bio ever penned by anybody in any year, including Pattie Boyd’s recent addition.

#2 – Many of the Classic Star Trek folks attempts at making money after they decided there would be no more Trek movies with Kirk, Spock and McCoy. This includes: Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.

#3 – John F. Kennedy. “Reckless Youth”, “A Thousand Days” and others about Jackie and the other Kennedy women.

#4 – Frederic Chopin. His life story (as told by Franz Liszt, a one-time pupil of Chopin’s) and then one just about his years in Paris.

#5 – Jim Morrison. “No One Here Gets Out Alive” Doesn’t everyone who lived through the 60’s have this one?

#6 – Barry Manilow. “Sweet Life”. Yes, I know, but his childhood was very tough. Poor Brooklyn kid from a broken home, his mother was alcoholic, suicidal and fought with his stepfather endlessly. He was bone-ugly and as backwards as you can get – but used his talent and chutzpah to get him to where he is now.

#7 – Van Cliburn. I adore Van. I’ve adored Van since I could listen to a record. He’s a world famous concert pianist who was the first to win the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow during the height of the Cold War. The first pianist, I believe, to ever get a ticker tape parade in New York City!

#8 – Arthur Rubenstein. Another amazing concert pianist. He had terrible stage fright and went thru a period where he thought his hands were glass and would shatter if they touched the keys.

#9 – Joe Namath. “I Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow Because I Get Better Looking Every Day.” A true classic from a true classic.

#10 – Keith Richards. Sure he is a drug addled rock star, but he’s also an avid book collector and reader. Really. Look it up!

#11 – Alan Alda. “Don’t Ever Have Your Dog Stuffed”. His mother suffered from mental illness, his dad was semi-famous and Alda had polio as a child. Another testimony to brains, perserverance and talent.

#12 – Vincent Van Gogh. “Lust for Life” A great read about a sad, tortured life.

#13 – Abraham Lincoln. The Sandberg “Prairie Years” along with many others – “The Wit and Wisdom of”, “Selected Speeches and Writing”, “With Malice Toward None”.

I could really go on and on – but these are the first 13 I ran across!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #10

Thursday Thirteen #10!!!

13 Top Earning Celebs** (**Who are Dead)

Now normally I try to research something with a little more meat than this, but I have been known to say “the hell with it” and go for the joke. Not that being dead is a joke, but the fact that these people (12 men and 1 woman) make more money DEAD than I do ALIVE is a bona vide knee-slapper. There’s something wrong about that, but I don’t feel like thinking about that right now.

So here’s some news right off the top. To hit this list, the dead celeb had to have earned at least $7 million in a year….and collectively, this list earned $247 million dollars in 2005/2006.

#1 – I’m shocked. That’s all I have to say. It’s Kurt Cobain. What the hell is that all about?

#2 – Who I thought would be number 1 and actually has been for a number of years: Mr. Gyration: Elvis Presley.

#3 – The creator of Snoopy and Charlie Brown and Woodstock and Lucy: Mr. Charles M. Schulz.

#4 – John Lennon.

#5 – This shocked me. Really. It’ll shock you too. He earned at least $7,000,000 dollars over the course of the year. Sure he told us that E=mc2, but he’s still drawing in the bucks: Mr. Albert Einstein. Perhaps it’s due to the sale of those pictures of him sticking his tongue out.

#6 – Another one I can’t figure out. Andy Warhol. Although maybe someone sold one of his pictures, and that earned him the 7mil.

#7 – This one made me happy. I read his stuff when I was small and apparently lots of kids are still buying “Red Fish, Blue Fish” – Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel).

#8 – Ray Charles. I heard the movie helped create a resurgence of appreciation for his music and I’m glad. He is a genius.

#9 – Forever and ever and ever. She’ll probably be on this list till the end of time: Ms. Boop-boop-be-doop, Marilyn Monroe.

#10 – Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only: Mr. Johnny Cash.

#11 -- Perhaps because of the new interest in hobbits and rings and stuff: J.R.R. Tolkien.

#12 – My own personal Beatle, whose stuff I still buy, finding it my own personal goal of supporting Olivia and Dhani: Mr. George Harrison.

#13 – And finally: Bob Marley.

So, any surprises here? Who did you think would be on the list?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #9!!

Thirteen Things about Prestidigitation

(see if you can say that fast a couple of times)

1. You receive a grandiose slap on the back of congrats if you know what that is. Sorry, no prizes. Just a big smile from yours truly.

2. Prestidigitation is a set of techniques used by a magician or card shark to manipulate objects in his hands such as coins and playing cards, pretty little silk scarves and small, wacky colored, little squishy nerf balls.

3. Prestidigitation is also known as “Sleight of hand”, mistakenly referred to as “slight of hand”. But that’s wrong. So don’t use it, especially if you are ghost writing to Houdini.

4. The word “sleight” comes from the Old Norse language and means dexterity and deceptiveness.

5. Prestidigitation is also called “l├ęger de main” which is French for “lightness of hand” and sounds really nice if you can pronounce it properly.

6. This is more complicated that you could ever imagine – and not just the act of doing the trick. There are hundreds of different sleights, but they are generally classified into groups: switches; changes; the pass; the false deal; the double lift; the false shuffle to name a few.

7. David Copperfield pulled this off, but don’t you try: When a mugger approached him for his wallet (and what the mugger presumed was a more than likely hefty bounty), ol’ Dave sleighted him by making the mugger think he had no wallet. Not quite on a scale as making an airplane disappear, but noteworthy none-the-less.

8. Not only do you need to develop nimble fingers and hands to manage prestidigitation, but one must use psychology, misdirection and an organized choregraphy of moves to produce the end result. This, my friends, takes mountains of time, effort and practice, which is probably why “sleight” of hand doesn’t functionally interest me in the least.

9. There are 2 types of misdirection: Time and Movement. By allowing time to pass during a sleight, the viewer’s perception may be altered. So while you are telling an audience about your Aunt Bessie’s golf ball sized tumor, you can move those coins/cards/scarves around most anywhere as your viewers take a long snooze or run to the restroom.

10. Movement is more complicated. Magicians use this theorem: “A larger action covers a smaller action” to misdirect the viewers attention. In other words, while you are actually putting the pretty silk scarf in your pocket with one hand, your other hand is perhaps recreating Whistler’s Mother in Paint By Number.

11. Some famous prestidigitators besides David Copperfield are: Criss Angel, David Blane, Paul Brashier, Dean Dill. Some of them have websites, but I guarantee you, they don’t give away their secrets.

12. While you may be amused at your fave magician at the local pizza place hiding quarters behind your ears, sleight of hand has, yes, been used for “dark” purposes. Con artists are frequently amazing prestidigitators – using their gift to cheat at gambling. Remember Moe Howard putting cards between his toes in that “3 Stooges” short? Huh?

13. Those who read Henry Hay’s Cyclopedia of Magic will tell you that there are vast differences between “tricks” and “magic”. Tricks (sleights) can be done by “apparatus conjurers” but magic is an art perfected and performed by “illusionists”. And please remember from me: ALL pursuits have their very sensitive, fully engaged affectionados, whose toes should never be stepped on, but gazed at with appreciation, preferably from a safe distance.

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #8

13 Things That Happened Before The Forever Stamp

I believe you can see the post cards. The first one is dated Nov 23, 1909 and being sent to Master Harold Smith in Carroll, Ohio. (I guess Carroll, Ohio only had 1 Master Harold Smith) and the second was sent to Mr. Mike Knopinski of Chicago Illinois (he needed a full address) on June 13, 1912, almost 2 full months after the Titanic sank. Funny, but there's no mention of the sinking in Miss Mary Karpensky's very truly post. We probably think about it more today than they did on June 13, 1912.

But anyway, the sinking aside, how did Miss Mary's postcard from Stevens Point, Wisconsin get to her buddy Mike (in care of Mrs. Hallis) from Chicago, Illinois, you may ask. And I'll tell you, I answer.

1. In early America, people depended on friends, merchants, and Native Americans to carry messages between the colonies. However, most letters were exchanged between the colonists and England prompting the first official notice of a postal service in 1639. Richard Fairbanks' tavern in Boston was named the repository for overseas mail.

2. After the Boston riots in September 1774, the colonies began to separate from the mother country. A Continental Congress was organized at Philadelphia in May 1775 to establish an independent government. One of the first questions before the delegates was how to convey and deliver the mail. Benjamin Franklin was appointed chairman of the committee to establish a postal system and was then appointed the first Postmaster General under the Continental Congress. In 1789 Samuel Osgood becomes the first Postmaster General under our Constitution.

3. In 1823, navigable waters were designated post roads by Congress. Several years later, railroads were labeled post routes as well.

4. The dead letter office was created in 1825 and is still going strong, immortalized in more romance movies than the femme fatale.

5. And here, the news that you've been waiting for: (ta-dah!) The postage stamp was created in 1847, but there was still free local city delivery. As for across the country, you can see on the postcards, they cost 1 cent in 1909 and 1912.

6. They take to saddle to cross the country -- the pony express started in 1860.

7. That old standby, money orders were announced in the mid-late 1860's. Domestic money orders started about 1864 and international ones in 1869.

8. Special delivery was announced in 1885, which probably meant they used a fresh horse to carry your letter across country.

9. In 1893 the first commemorative stamps were issued. Mr. Webster then had to come up with a name for people who collected stamps: "Stamp collectors" People who STUDY stamps are called "Philatelists".

10. Carriage of mail by airplane is sanctioned between Garden City and Mineola, NY in 1911; Earle H. Ovington is the first U. S. mail pilot.

11. Mail Insurance and Collect-on-delivery (COD) are used beginning in 1913.

12. In 1916 the Postal Inspectors solve last known stagecoach robbery, putting an end to the glory days of Butch and Sundance.

13. The first bag of mail traveling across the ocean happened in 1920.

And here, just because I found it fascinating, the years we were introduced to:

1955- Certified mail
1960- Facsimile mail
1963- ZIP Code
1977- Final run of railroad post office on June 30
(precursors of e-mail:) 1980- INTELPOST (high-speed international electronic message service) and 1982- E-COM (Electronic Computer-Originated Mail, electronic message service with hard copy delivery

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!