Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Zippy Code 20902
Glenmont, Maryland

Back on August 25th I posted an entry involving the Zippy the Pinhead cartoon strip which featured a local landmark: Vet's Liquors and it's sign. Even earlier than that, I had been out taking photographs of local weirdness, and while I was researching the earlier Zippy entry, I found out that Zippy had been to see the god before me.

This display is located at a gas station at the intersection of Randolph Road and Georgia Avenue in Maryland. At the entrance to the station is this large, painted concrete head formed to resemble a stone head on Easter Island. I tend to think of it as the "Tiki" head, and it's a odd sight to behold.

Easter Traffic Island.....

Sometimes you have to wonder if you are going to drive by and see livestock being sacrificed next to flaming torches. With the way gasoline prices are going, this may not be far off the mark in the future.

That will be one goat to top your tank, and three goats for high octane....

Sawed Off Hot Shot Gun

I was flipping through the television channels yesterday and Top Gun was just starting. Normally, I would not take the time to watch a Tom Cruise movie. I really cannot bear most of the roles he plays with his smarmy, cocky, smirk--the little wiseass. He's always strutting around like a bantam rooster with a concrete block between his legs, and those kung fu arm thrusts make you want to give him a hard smack and send him flying. "Take off on this you little twerp." :::thwap::: I knew there would be plenty of Cruise mannerisms in Top Gun, but...I had to see the jets.

I know I run contradictory to every clichéd belief about my gender and chick flicks in that I will drop everything for a movie with submarines or jets in it. I blame this on my older brother. My parents would leave us at a movie complex with the instructions for my brother to "stay with her and don't let her out of your sight." He'd be nodding back responsibly at my mother (why on earth did she trust him?), knowing full well we weren't going to be seeing the latest Disney cartoon epic, but rather hauling me over into another theatre where some war movie would be playing. It was the same with the television at home. Sure, we would watch cartoons on Saturday mornings, but I was also held captive with my brother at the helm, and I'd have to sit through classics like Porkchop Hill, Bridge on the River Kwai, Kelley's Heroes (which I can just about quote verbatim), "Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?" The Dirty Dozen (ditto), Patton, "Rommel, you magnificent bastard. I read your book!", and so many others.

Even though I own a DVD copy of The Hunt Fo
r Red October, my brother will always call me when it is on t.v., and even before I check caller i.d., I know it's him telling me to turn it on. If the telephone rings as the film is beginning, I won't answer with "Hello?" I pick up and say, "I've already got it on." My friends know my passion for Red October, and their big tease is in saying to me, "Give me a ping, Vasili. One ping only." Just recently, I accused my brother of warping my young mind, and I wanted to know why I didn't get to view all of those Disney films that my parents intended for me to see. He paused, then said, "Well. We saw good movies, didn't we?" I can't fault him on that score, but by the time I was eight, he had brainwashed me into conformation, more thoroughly than Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate. Ice Station Zebra, The Night of the Generals, and The Longest Day were my water torture. You'll never find me mooning with nostalgia over The Little Mermaid, or The Lion King. Give me Run Silent, Run Deep, K-19: The Widowmaker, and Das Boot.

Watching Top Gun, I actually enjoyed the cheesy '80's music score, and it was nice to see shots of the flight training school, then in Miramar, California, just above San Diego. In 1996, after the film was made, the Naval Air Station in Miramar shifted to it's new base of operation at the Fallon Naval Air Station about 60 miles from Reno in Nevada.

I grasp that Tom Cruise (as his character, "Maverick") is playing a loose cannon, hot shot fighter pilot, but he kept falling back into those little Cruise controlled mannerisms of his, and it really annoyed me. I was far more taken with the acting of Val Kilmer, a classmate, and the instructors played by Michael Ironstone and Tom Skerritt: skilled, level-headed, masterful and part of a team. The truth is, you wouldn't want to go into battle with some wild card like Maverick, no matter how good of a pilot he was. Can you imagine going into an aerial dog fight, and your military leadership saying to you, "...but he's a star. You have to make allowances for him. And, oh yeah. When you're in the air? Don't look him in the eyes." Tom Cruise has it written into his movie contracts that film crews aren't allowed to make eye contact with him during the shooting of a movie. That shouldn't be hard to follow since he is such a dwarf. I got my jollies watching Kelly McGillis and Meg Ryan stooping to play their scenes with him, and Anthony Edwards towered over him. I'm surprised there wasn't a clause in his contract that there would be no filming from the waist down, and that all of his co-stars had to stand in a lowered furrow. Call it "cinema trench warfare."

There is some interesting trivia attached to Top Gun:

The aircraft used are not MiG 28's, but disguised F-5 Tiger II's. MiG 28's are ficitional aircraft.

Charlie's "older man" date at the Oak Club was actually a teacher at Top Gun who was a consultant on the film. Also, in real life, it's not the Oak Club, but rather the "O" Club, short for Officer's Club.

The director, Tony Scott, had to write a quick check for $25,000 to the Commander of the aircraft carrier in order to capture one vital exterior shot.

Which reminds me. If a movie has an aircraft
carrier in it? I am so there. My brother has me well trained.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Guest Blogger: T-Square
Chico's And The Man...Chair

In auto repair shops there are waiting areas to hang out in while your car is being serviced. Often they have the television tuned to non-descript, non-offending channels so the customers can pass the time while they wait. Since I am usually being dragged into women's clothing stores while my wife shops, I've discovered that there are no waiting areas for men except for Chico's in Georgetown.

I've thought that one way to keep male companions-boyfriends-husbands content while their significant other is shopping would be to have a waiting area with a tv. I have seen that in bars, regardless of their differences, men will stare in utter fascination at channels tuned in to say..."The History Channel," especially if the show is something like "Warbirds of World War II," or "Large Construction Vehicles." The time would pass quickly, and it would be greatly appreciated by the men. Heck, we may not want to leave if we get engrossed in a show, allowing women more time to shop.

The author taking advantage of the man chair while his wife shops.....

Other places like Nordstrom's, Macy's and Lord & Taylor's should heed this suggestion. Stores? Men chairs and televisions. Trust me. Gold.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Zut Alors!
Les Livres Automatique.

I was reading an article in the Washington Post yesterday about vending machines in France that dispense books. Each book, regardless of category, sells for about $2.45, and the Maxi Livres company offers about 25 titles to choose from, including classics like Alice in Wonderland, Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal, cookbooks, a French-English dictionary and Homer's Odyssey. The machines are located at four Metro stops, and they have a mechanical arm to safely deliver the book out of the machine, rather than a slot drop, to protect the book from any damage.

This got me thinking about what books might prove popular if Washington were to adopt such machines, and how you can personalize them for each locale? Certainly on Capitol Hill, you would need to offer up The Art of War by Sun Tzu which is every 20-year old political novice's career manifesto. (Which reminds me: I used to hear about The Art of War so much, I put a copy of Erwin Rommel's The Tank In Attack in my bookcase at work, along with the Pentagon's annual edition of warfare weapons from firearms to missiles). Maybe The Prince by Machiavelli, written when Machiavelli found himself out of a job after 14 years of public service. Just the thing for the future lobbyists. A Margaret Truman potboiler mystery , Cutler's Washingtonienne for sleazy slut reading, and de Tocqueville's Democracy in America to keep things highbrow.

Over by Brookland/Catholic University, the machines could house books by various Popes, or one of my favorites: Holy Anorexia by Rudolph Bell which is a twisted journey into the eating disorders of female saints, The Da Vinci Code*... oh yes, Butler's Lives of the Saints. Let's see...August 26th...St. Caesarius of Arles, born in 470, entered the monastery at age 20, named Bishop of Arles, celebrated preacher who stressed brevity and clarity of language, made a legal provision in 529 that every nun must learn to read and write and have the right to choose her own abbess. All right. ^5 Caesarius. You rock, oh venerated one.

Dupont Circle and environs could support the club habit by having books like: Atomic Cocktails: Mixed Drinks for Modern Times, Flipping by Ricardo Ramos: the story of three gay Filipino males who come to terms with their sexuality in different ways. Then there 's the ever classic Mr. Boston Official Bartender's and Party Guide. You could lure out fetishists with The Sex Life of the Foot and Shoe by William Rossi, or Unmentionables: A Brief History of Underwear by Elaine Benson, the novel Footsucker by Geoff Nicholson, or for late night/ the darker side rides: Impervious To Pain: Case Studies in Sado-Masochism by David Malcolm. John Waters once said that the most vulgarly, wicked trash he had ever read was Michael Jackson Was My Lover by Victor Guiterrez. There's a copy for sale for e-Bay with "stains."

Then there's the goal of keeping people away from you on the Metro if you don't want anyone sitting next to yo
u. This would take a special vending machine that might give you Merde: Excursions in Scientific, Cultural and Socio-Historical Coprology...then again, you might also lure the fetishist with this one. Perhaps, Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan. How about Syphilis: A Pathophysiology by the National Communicable Disease Center? Deviant: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein, the Original Psycho by Harold Schechter. By the way, Ed Gein was the poster boy for Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. He was this rather withdrawn farmer in Wisconsin who had this odd passion for wearing human skin. People might think twice about wanting that subway seat, even if it is rush hour.

I remember the first time I visited Amsterdam, as I was leaving the train station I noticed a vending machine selling female underwear: black lace panties, hot pink...no Granny panties in this red light window world. I read recently that in Japan there is a vending machine which guarantees the sale of used panties "worn by schoolgirls." My, my, my. Perhaps every book machine needs to offer up Emily Post, or Urban Etiquette: Marvelous Manners for the Modern Metropolis by Charles Purdy.

*Thank you Chase, for reminding me about The Da Vinci Code

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Cocktail Of The Week
The Letter "O"
For Oral Intruder

The cocktail of the week was the Oral Intruder:

2 ounces Captain Morgan Parrot Bay coconut rum
2 ounces Midori melon liqueur

2 ounces ginger ale
1 ounce sweet and sour mix
1 splash lime juice

Pour the Captain Morgan's rum, Midori, ginger ale, sweet and sour mix and lime juice into a Collins glass filled with ice cubes. Stir well, and serve.

Oral Intruder.....

Another "O" entry was Orange Oasis:

1 1/2 ounces Gin

1/2 ounce Cherry-flavored Brandy
4 ounces Orange Juice
Ginger Ale

Shake with ice and strain into highball glass over ice cubes. Fill with ginger ale and stir.

Orange Oasis.....

And a huge O mistake was Olive in an Olive:

1 1/2 ounces Gold Tequila
1 1/2 ounces Rosso Vermouth
1 dash Blue Curacao liqueur
1 green olive

This drink was a doozy. I have to admit I wasn't woman enough to finish it. We all tried it and decided to rename the drink Man Overboard. Wi
th the name Olive in an Olive, I expected the cocktail to be some pond scum green, but instead it was bright blue. The name Man Overboard was given because 1) it tasted salt briney like the sea; 2) was blue like water; and 3) could kill you once your fell in the drink.

Man Overboard....

Why I Hate Rockville Pike On A Saturday

Last Saturday, I drove out to Tower Records, and while I was on Rockville Pike, within seconds of each other, and one block apart, I had two massive "who are these assholes" moments. The first was a car from Indiana attempting to make a left turn where the road was clearly marked as "No Left Turn" (see signs).

This is the way we do things in Indiana.....

The second was the light at Rockville Pike and Nicholson Lane. The way the light sequence runs is: ongoing traffic goes first on the green light; people making a left turn go second on the green. I was the lead car waiting to make a left turn, sitting at a red light. While I sat, another car whipped in front of me to cut me off, but they also had part of their car blocking the middle lane, which was ongoing green light tr
affic. The cars in the middle lane were honking like mad at this woman who sat there placidly, as this act obviously had nothing to do with her, despite the fact she was sitting out there jamming up the entire road.

Ms. Asshole Green Range Rover.....

Here's another odd observation. There is a severely handicapped Hispanic man that begs in D.C. during rush hours. On this same afternoon in Rockville, I saw him getting off a Montgomery County Ride On bus and set up shop on this street corner at the Pike and Nicholson Lane. I wonder if he has a schedule mapped out of where he needs to be at given times and days. Once I saw him tag team off a corner when another handicapped man came to replace him. In this same neighborhood there used to be a female beggar. She always had a leg brace on her left leg. Her sign always said "Mother of Six." One day she screwed up, and the brace was on her right leg. Oopsie, Moms.

It's obvious you don't have to be intelligent to drive a car. I stopped by the Department of Motor Vehicles and snatched a copy of the study book for new drivers:

Q: Who has the right of way when four cars approach a four-way stop at the same time?
A: The pickup truck with the gun rack and bumper sticker saying "Guns Don't Kill People. I Do."

Q: When driving through fog, what should you use?
A: Your car.

Q: What problems would you face if you were arrested for drunk driving?
A: I'd probably lose my buzz a lot faster.

Q: What ar some points to remember when passing or being passed?
A: Make eye contact and wave "hello" if he or she is cute.

Q: What is the difference between a flashing red traffic light and a flashing yellow traffic light?
A: The color.

Q: How do you deal with heavy traffic?
A: Heavy psychedelics.

We are all doomed.

Postscript: I had a friend email me last night about this entry. It is just the kind of thing I swore I would never do: whine about traffic or having my order messed up in Starbucks, but here's that rainy day, Dave. Sorry. :) The only excuse I have is that it was mildly entertaining for me to be able to take pictures of the offenders in the act and know that I was going to slap their pictures up on the blog.

Bushy Tale
Featuring Guest Squirrel Blogger: "Skeet"

I was leaving my house this morning when I saw one of my yard squirrels at the base of the oak tree, text messaging away in his tiny Blackberry. "What's up, Skeet," I asked. He shook his head at me, mumbling and kept hitting the delete key rapidly with his tiny paw. "Have you ever gotten drunk, then dialed or text messaged someone," he asked me. "I try not to do things like that...doesn't seem like a smart move," I said. "Tell me about it," groaned Skeet as he kept pounding away at his keys.

I sat down on a stone next to him and asked him if he was going to be all right. I had to get to work. "Have you got a minute?" I looked at my watch and told him he'd have to be quick. "It all started yesterday. From my elevated vantage point in that tree in the back, I spied "her", sunning herself by the neighbor's pool. Her fur was so sleek and beautiful, she was so self-possessed: she was like a vision to me. I was transfixed. I know she was aware of me, though she pretended not to notice. I caught her tail flic
kering...you know how we squirrels do when we're on alert. In the hopes of securing her attention, I made a daring dive to the tree in her yard. Feigning nonchalance, I sailed through the late August air. My form was superb, by the way. While attempting to catch the next branch I fumbled a bit, the branch bent down under my weight, necessitating some awkward scrambling on my part, but I recovered nicely. I have to say, it was an impressive distance. I was magnificent. She, however, turned away in haughty disinterest, making a show of being engrossed in some newly fallen green acorns. Why do you chicks always have to play games?" He shot me another look and kept hitting the keys.

"So, what's the problem here?" I looked at my watch again. "The problem," he sighed, "is...the neighbors had a cook-out last night, and they left beer cans out on the picnic table overnight. I was feeling kind of down after that rejection, got into the beer and pretzel crumbs, turned on my Blackberry and kept texting my passion for her." "Uh oh," I uttered. "I looked at my Blackberry this morning and couldn't believe the things I had been saying to her, " he moaned. "Alcohol can make you do stupid things, Skeet. You know that." "I don't know what's worse," he said, "Looking at my text log, or my head." I went back in the house and got him some baby aspirin and a demitasse of dark roast and left for work. I bet he'll be sleeping it off today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Zippy Code: 20705
Beltsville, Maryland

Last Thursday I was reading the Washington Post, and I glanced at the cartoon "Zippy the Pinhead" and did a double take. For those who aren't familiar with Zippy, he is a coneheaded clown given to wandering around the U.S., pontificating nonsensical word play which offsets a satirical view on current culture. The readers of Zippy send the artist photographs of weird landmarks around the country, and he incorporates them into the cartoon. This particular strip caught my eye because I recognized the landmark: Vet's Liquor's in Beltsville, Maryland.

Last night, with nothing better to do (sarcasm), I drove through rush hour traffic to visit Vet's Liquors and take a photograph of the original sign. Vet's has been a landmark in the Washington area since the 1940's, and the sign is much admired for it's strangeness and longevity. The s
ign is colored in faded red, white and blue chipping paint, and it portrays a soldier with light bulb eyes: one green and one red. Stop and buy our booze, then go.


While I was in the parking lot taking pictures, a rust
ed out car honked at me to move, then whipped around and backed into a spot, like he had been parking there with some regularity. The man driving waved at me to come over and speak with him. His face was weathered with wrinkles beyond his years, and he was wearing rainbow eyeglass frames: multi-colored pink, blue, yellow and green. He introduced himself as "Gene," and he said, "I don't wish to appear rude, but may I ask why you are photographing that sign...and do you know how old that sign is?" I told Gene about the cartoon strip, which interested him, and we discussed the history of the place.

At this same moment, the Korean owner of the shop came running out of the store into the parking lot and said, "You take picture of sign because of cartoon?" I told her "yes" that was exactly why I was there, and she told me that the cartoon had increased their business over the weekend. People were coming in just after reading Zippy to talk about it. She told Gene she could show him the cartoon, so off he went, but not before shaking my hand and telling me how nice it was to meet me. You meet the politest drunks at Vet's.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Well Hung Meat

Somewhere in D.C - A Local Sub Shop.........Well Hung Meat

What's Up With (Evil) Mary Worth?
Mary's Popcorn Chicken Recipe

Mary's Recipe For Popcorn Chicken

6-7 pound chicken
1 cup melted butter
1 cup herbed stuffing
1 cup uncooked popcorn
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush chicken well with melted butter, salt and pepper. Fill chicken cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in the baking pan in the oven with the chicken's neck toward the back. Listen for popping sounds. When the chicken's ass blows the oven door open, and the chicken flies across the room, it's done.

What's Up With (Evil) Mary Worth?

With my AOL blog, I had started up a mock comic strip of Mary Worth that I was jokingly calling "What's Up With (Evil) Mary Worth?" For those who don't follow the newspaper funnies, Mary Worth is a small town yenta who is always counseling people. In the past, Mary and her friends have usually been very staid...and boring. Recently, the creators of the strip added a character named "Rita" who is an alcoholic, which put a spin on the story line that has never really existed before. Rita gets drunk, blowsy, smashes things, mouths off, and then gets repentant and begs Mary's understanding and forgiveness. The fact that the cartoon artist would add this dimension got me to thinking about ways he could really push the cartoon "out" and spice things up: Mary Worth as Madame, pimping out her drunk friend.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Guest Blogger: Dave
Ars Memorativa

I was talking to my friend Dave in San Francisco, seeking his help in learning more about computer coding. He was very good in teaching me a few new tricks, but while I was being Grasshopper and getting all excited with the new things I was learning, Dave, in the role of Master Po, had a more reflective take on things:

"You know...I am ashamed at the level of technical crap that has crowded the beauty out of my head. We spend a lifetime filling our head with garbage, then one day pieces of memory just start to drop out like blocks on your hard drive. You run a ScanDisk on your brain, and then you find out how many sectors are really bad."

.......Master Po has spoken.......

Guest Blogger: Tony
No Drinking...Except For Jäger Bombs

My guest blogger, Tony, found this sign in a park. Here's his take on things:

"I've been noticing these signs at various parks in the Capitol Hill area, but I've always forgotten to bring along my camera for a shot. Today I got it. As most of us know, District of Columbia parks have rules, being funded by the government: they close at dusk, and no one is allowed to be drinking in the park at any time.

This sign further elucidates by showing you cannot drink beer out of bottles or glasses, and it would appear cocktail drinking and martinis are also prohibited. So, no more formal affairs in the park, please! I love how they added an olive to the martini glass. What about Appletinis?"

Palliatives Prohibited.....

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Guest Blogger: Laura And Her Latest Recipe: Mushrooms Stuffed With Hazelnut Gremolata

I have a friend named Laura who is one of those "what can't she do" girls. I'm going to brag on you a little, Missy, so turn your head. I've written about her on my other blog (on AOL where it sits wallowing in it's parallel loneliness), and she will be popping up time to time on my blog with her talents to share with my readership. I am not transferring her previous recipe entries over to this blog so if you want to find them, go visit this URL and you will find her creations:


Her career is in the field of civil engineering, and I've always marvelled that such a pretty and feminine woman has spent her lifetime excelling in what are traditionally considered masculine fields. I like to tease her about her world by telling her that I am sure her hard hat is "tiny, pink and cute." You need to be strong to survive a working world where large projects are being undertaken involving big bucks and inflated egos to boot. I've always told her she should try out for The Apprentice, because she understands Donald Trump's environment at it's rawest I-beam girder level, and she could wipe the floor with those doofuses they seem to select. Her mother and her friends concur.

Laura was a musical prodigy as a child where sh
e studied and later taught at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She is still affiliated with a music camp for budding musicians called The Walden School: a place she studied as a child, later taught, and now oversees administrative issues in her spare time. Donations always welcomed.


She majored in engineering in college (men...lots of men), and as I said, she is now a civil engineer, but she is so much more. She is a creative cook and puts together these wonderful menu concepts when she caters parties. She can not only design a house, but build it and then decorate it. Children adore her for her innovative ideas in keeping their minds busy on a rainy day. Her n
iece and nephew love, love, love Auntie Laura. She has a quick wit, an inquiring mind, and I just think she's the bee's knees...as do all of our friends.

Here is a recipe Laura has supplied me for my latest blog entry. The photography is a tad fuzzy having been taken at a party where the servers were trying to rapidly load the tables for hungry guests so it was taken in haste, but it gives you the idea:

Mushrooms Stuffed With Hazelnut Gremolata

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 32 hors d'oeuvre servings

1.5 cups hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
32 large "stuffer" mushroom caps (white ok,
but prefer cremini, stems removed)
Olive Oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup raw, chopped portobello
mushrooms (stems can be used)
1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon zest, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the nuts in a baking pan and toast in the oven about 7 minutes until fragrant. Set aside.

Brush the mushroom caps with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast in the oven about 6 minutes until just cooked through, basting once or twice with juices. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook chopped mushroom stems and pieces with garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan, about 3 minutes. Combine with the nuts, bread crumbs, parsley and lemon zest in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place heaping spoonfuls of the gremolata stuf
fing into the mushroom caps. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mushrooms Stuffed With Hazelnut Gremolata....

Photograph supplied by ThaiMex1

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cocktail Of The Week: "N" Is For Necrophiliac

The cocktail of the week is the letter "N," and the drink is Necrophiliac. Crank up the air conditioning and listen to something like the Ballad of the Hip Death Goddess by Ultimate Spinach while you sip at this drink that's colored to look like anti-freeze.

1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce light rum
1/2 ounce coconut rum
1/2 ounce melon liqueur

4 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce orange juice

Pour the vodka, rums, melon liqueur and fruit juices into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well, strain into a highball glass and serve.

Talk at the bar this week centered around a blog en
try by another D.C. writer where she reported that a male friend (and he is only a friend) called out her name during the sex act with his girlfriend. The girlfriend called the blogess, screaming at her about this, and the debate centered around how one handles this. The consensus was, get over it. You can read the original blog entry at:

The Butterfly Network

While we were at the bar, my friends were teasing me about my baby panda passion and the Panda.cam viewing, and it was decided they would invent a black and white drink called "Panda.cam" in honor of the baby. We needed things that would float for a layered drink. The closest we could come to "black" was actually dark brown: Kahlua, the white was Godiva White Chocolate liqueur. Portions were about 50/50...it wasn't rocket science, and the bartender did a slow pour to layer it into a highball glass.

Necrophiliac Cocktail....

Panda.cam Cocktail.....

The baby had one too many Panda.cam's....

Baby Panda picture courtesy of the
National Zoo website, Washington, D.C.

Giant Pandas - National Zoo| FONZ

I'm Sorry. We Are All Out Of You.

Somewhere In D.C......

A friend told me about this shop for Jamaican groceries called the "Jerk Center," and I drove out of my way just to get a photograph of it. He
told me that they have an running joke at his job. When someone asks if they have any messages, a coworker replies, "Yeah. The Jerk Store called. They are all out of you."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

One Out Of Four People Are Jerks.
If You Have Three Nice Friends...It's You!

My friend Drew instant messaged me this afternoon to ask if I had ever gotten "up to snuff" on Adobe Photoshop. My brother had given me the software as a gift and had been teaching me, but that ground to a halt after a point. I told Drew that while I had learned a few more things since we last spoke about it, I had never fully mastered Photoshop at the level I wished to be at. He told me about a seminar coming up on September 12th, put on by Careertrack.com. I told Drew that I liked him for thinking of me that way and remembering my interests, and he said, "Oh...yeah...there's a seminar on "Dealing With Difficult People." He added, "I only know one asshole, and I'm him...so I'm letting all of my friends know about that one, too.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to invite all of your friends to a seminar on dealing with difficult people to help them learn how to deal with you? It would twice as fantabulous to show up yourself, just to see who basically agrees with you, that you're an asshole." Drew? A few years back, Jonathan Richman wrote a song called Pablo Picasso Was Not An Asshole, and the lyrics went:

Well some people try to pick up girls and get called assholes
This never happened to Pablo Picasso
He could walk down your street
And girls could not resist his stare

So Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole

Well the girls would turn the color
Of the avocado when he would drive
Down their street in his Eldorado

And girls could not resist his stare
Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole
Not like you
All right?

Well he was only 5'3"

But girls could not resist his stare
Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole
Not in New York.

Oh well, be not schmuck, be not obnoxious
Be not bellbottom bummer, or asshole
Remember the story of Pablo Picasso
He could walk down your street

And girls could not resist his stare
Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole.1

...so what time is that seminar, Drew?

I'm a WHAT???

1 Actually, quite a few people thought Picasso was an asshole, or worse.

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Hooters Tetes And Assets

I have these two male friends. We'll call them Drew and Tony since that's their names, and a few years back they started meeting for lunch on occasion during the summer. Tony is married and teaches in the D.C. public school system and is off work during the summer. Drew is a bachelor and works in a law firm out in Bethesda, so when they get together for these meetings (which I dubbed early on "Boys Lunches") it's usually Tony going out of the city to meet Drew in Bethesda. Sometimes Tony rides the Metro. Sometimes he rides his bike. Because Tony shifted out of Adams Morgan this Spring and over to Capitol Hill, the lunches didn't occur with the same frequency as in the past, as Tony had to deal with the responsibilities and repairs of being a new home owner. Yesterday was the last boy lunch of the season as Tony returns to school next week, and it's been a standing rule for a few years now that the last lunch takes place at Hooters.

When they do get together for lunch it's never at some chi chi little bistro or restaurant du jour, but usually at "guy" type places like Mongolian barbeque, or an Irish pub, or...Hooters. When I told Drew I might be writing about this summer lunch ritual, he said "Remember that despite our surroundings, our discussions remain elevat
ed and intellectual. It's the contrast and disparity we relish and can't explain to those who don't understand." Okay, Drew. So you like to go to Hooters. One time he explained his passion for Hooters by talking up their Cuban sandwiches, and it reminded me so much of the Playboy reader who "only reads it for the articles." By the way, Hooters managers. According to Drew, you are slicing the pickles wrong on your Cuban sandwiches. They are supposed to be sliced long, not round. Fix it.

Last year, during a heat wave, Drew had me laughing wh
en he thought he might start tipping the waitresses with frozen silver dollars. He said that he and Tony were amused that the waitresses are tipped with dollar bills tucked in various parts of their work costume, and it was at a time when the Treasury Department was making noise about replacing paper bills with silver coins. He wondered if they slid silver that had been chilled into a garter, would the bouncers then throw them out for tipping? Would the waitresses be grateful? Or "would the face of society be forever changed by our lecherous but timely observation of things to come in the monetary standard?" This is what happens when you drink during your lunch hour, guys.

These friendships formed solely from being in a Washington, D.C. chat room, and even though the chat room has more or less dissolved o
ver time, most of the friendships have remained, and the members of that informal group still see each other in real life and socialize. The sad part is that a very stable group of about 40 has been diminished for a variety of reasons, none of them contentious, but the people have moved on, as people will do. I have noticed the same trend in like-minded connection since I started blogging. Especially in Washington, there is a noticeable community of bloggers who gather and meet and bond. Hopefully those friendships formed will withstand the strain of geography and time, as the chat room group has. Each seems to stem from a technological novelty. When chat rooms were new and intriguing, people made time to use that method to expand their social circles. Now it seems to be all about text messaging and blogging in terms of communication.

Yesterday, Drew sent me an instant message sayi
ng they had met for lunch. I said, "I was wondering where Tony was today when I didn't see him online." Drew said, "He was at Hooters." I typed "Jesus," and Drew said, "No...but there were quite a few Mary Magdalenes."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Birthday Batches And A Shout Out To Orrence

Realizing today was August 16th, I started thinking about this block of time and how weirdly it's pops up again and again in my life. For some reason, I've known a lot of people...a LOT of people... with birthdays in the block of August 16th-17th-18th. I've had another block consistently show up in September 21-23, October 10-29, and again in December: 20-26. The first week of January, February 3rd (a lot), May 15-17, and June 1. What is it about these dates???

Oh, yeah. It's Madonna's birthday today. Big whoop. The Duchess of Deviant with the mouth of a truck driver, but in a spiritual kinda way. She's 47. Her next world tour will be called Hot Flash. Her next disco remix: Widow's Hump.

Also Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford. A husband and wi
fe with the same birthday. Weird. What? "Frank. Fraaaaannnnk...whine...It's MY birthday. I get to blow out the candles. :::shove:::"

And my personal favorite: T.E. Lawrence. Lawrence of Arabia. Mr. Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

"Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes and make it possible."

I was talking about Lawrence as I wrote this, and my friend said "What do you know about T.E. Lawrence?" I went over the obvious things: died from a motorcycle accident in England, wrote The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (we talked about that: I actually got to read a first edition of that once: not an easy read, great maps), went native, the way Omar Sharif kept saying "Orrence" in Lawrence of Ararbia, and then to be a brat, I added, "Oh. He looked good in a lot of billowing white fabric, not an easy look for a gir
l to carry off."

Speaking of deserts, one of the most fascinating books I've ever stumbled across taught you how to read sand patterns in the desert for navigational purposes. I think it was called A Study of Windborne Sand And Dust in Desert Areas. One of those books the Pentagon puts out. I was thoroughly intrigued that by studying a swatch of sand, you could learn from the wind and the sun and the ripples in the earth just where you might be and what the conditions were. I knew a man who almost died in the Sahara once. I have the compass he carried with him sitting in one of my bookcases to remind me of him, no
w departed from the earth, and every time I see it, I think about him...and the desert.

Colonel T. E. Lawrence Working The White

Monday, August 15, 2005

What Won't They Show You Next?

You know how they run all of those commercials before the previews at the movies? The ones you think will never end? "FAN-DAN-GO." Yacking cell phone man. Be all that you can be. My friend turns to me and says "Instead of these commercials, why don't the theatres start running family snapshots...you know...the Johnson family vacation to Mexico, Theo's high school graduation, Wendy's baby shower." I had another friend who once offered up the idea that they run mug shots of criminals on the screen. America's Most Wanted. Now...on with the show. Great. You'd be twisting around in a quasi-darkened theatre trying to see if any of the patrons fit the bill. "Honey? Don't look...I said DON'T LOOK, but that guy over on the right, eighth row up, three seats in. Whaddya think?"


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Blame It On The Heat

I was reading Chase-ing Random Thought's blog today, and she posed the query: "Ways you can tell the guy you are interested in...is only interested in sex." Chase had a list of ten potential warning signs including: your clothes never seems to stay on when you are with him, you never go out for dinner, every kiss turns into sex, you never meet his friends, etc.

I thought, "Let me loose," but I didn't dare post my answers on Chase's blog. As for this blog? What the hey...

Ways You Can Tell He's Only Interested In Sex
  • He has to have reclining seats in his car (thanks for that one, Drew.)
  • He always asks you what you are wearing within the first minute of talking to you on the telephone.
  • He always tells you how hard he is, within the first two minutes of talking to you on the telephone.
  • He only buys you clothing that is transparent or easily removable (Drew again.)
  • He's always dreaming up new places to "do it."
  • He shows you vulgar things posted on Craig's List and pretends it isn't him.
  • He thinks the television show "Real Sex" should be on prime time.
  • He's been on "Real Sex."
  • He's left written testimony on the "realdoll.com" website --"home of the world's finest love doll."
  • Loves the I'm drunk, it's 2 a.m. and I want a sex call before bed.
  • During any given conversation always brings up the subject of wanting photographs of you in some compromising sexual pose.
  • He's introduced you to his friends, while you were wearing a cocktail dress, cleavage and stilettos, as his "landscape architect."
  • He has 50 burner (throw away) cell phones, and he knows the numbers on all of them.
  • He has a closet or a bureau drawer with a deadbolt lock on it.
  • He thinks seriously about what the best ball gag color is to suit the woman's hair and coloring.
  • You've caught him having sex with your angora sweater.
  • Everywhere you go he says "I've done it there."
  • He has a frequent shopper punch card for Pleasure Chest and Dream Dresser. (Ya know ya do, Drew.)
  • He gets email from sub-shop.com reminding him there is a sale going on for overstock in bondage gear.
  • He always feels compelled to remind you that the panties go over the garter belt.
  • He can type 90 wpm with one hand.
  • He reminds you that his online pornography viewing is just research.
  • He reminds you that his online pornography viewing is because studies show that men are visual creatures.
  • He has an icon on his computer called "boat," and when you click on it, you find the Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee sex tape.
  • Every time he asks you to unjam his computer, it's stuck on a porn site.
  • Whenever he's driving by Thomas Circle, the hookers shout out his name.
  • The nightstand next to his bed is a triage of oils, tissue boxes, magazines and dvd's.

doll images taken from realdoll.com
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