I Won’t Do These Things

But I said no, no, no, no-no-no

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It occurred to me the other day that I was going to have to address the inevitable issue of just what I Won’t Do. I’d hate to disappoint you somewhere down the line by refusing to do something you really had your heart set on me doing so you don’t have to. So! Here is a shortish list, which will hopefully set some much-needed boundaries in our future relationship:

  • I won’t fly without pills. You can’t make me! These pills were prescribed for me, and I need them. They keep me calm and happy, even while other passengers are bouncing off the ceiling during bad turbulence. I have nightmares about flying pill-less. Truthfully, I don’t think anything bad would happen if I forgot my pills. But I don’t want to find out. And neither does that screaming baby sitting behind me.
  • I won’t get another Brazilian wax. Yes, I’ve had one, and yes, you’ll hear all about it at some point. And, although it is incomprehensible to me that I even need to answer this question: YES! It hurts! A lot! Think about it. Ew, no—don’t think about me, think about some generic woman and her lady parts. Think about what is being done to those parts. Does it hurt? (angry muttering)
  • I won’t try Alli. You know Alli, it’s that new sensation in diet crazes. I’m no stranger to a crazy diet, but when the manufacturer has to warn me:

You may feel an urgent need to go to the bathroom. Until you have a sense of any treatment effects, it’s probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work.

Dark pants???!!! Are you kidding me? I hope you don’t need me to spell this out for you. Gah.

  • I won’t eat raisins. Raisins are just wrong. They are grapes gone bad. What good can come of a raisin? They pop up everywhere they’re not supposed to—just when you think you’ve got a nice mouthful of delicious coffeecake, CHOMP, there’s a disgusting chewy raisin.
  • I won’t think Matt Damon is the Sexiest Man Alive . . . of any year. I know he is popular with the ladies and he kicked ass in the Bourne movies, but to me, he looks like a baby. A kind of homely baby. And while I’m on the subject, throw in Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck. Leo looks like a pretty little girl and Ben is your classic Frankenhead.
  • I won’t ride a rollercoaster or any other scary, unsafe carnival ride. Why are people such bullies about this sort of thing? Why don’t they get that feeling sick to my stomach and worrying about being flung into space isn’t really all that fun for me? Do they not notice that the operators of these rides are stoned out of their gourds? Leave me and my funnel cake in peace.
  • I won’t get sucked into watching Big Brother. Look, I watch enough embarrassing reality TV, but I draw the line at this mess. I swore I wasn’t going to watch Celebrity Apprentice, and now I’m totally rooting for Piers to kick Omarosa’s butt.
  • I won’t give spinning another try. It may be great exercise, but, speaking of lady parts, it hurts, plain and simple. People have told me that you get over the soreness, that you don’t feel it any more. What—am I developing a callus there? I don’t even want to think about that. Padded shorts you say? Get real.
  • I won’t eat either Vegemite or Marmite. Thanks to Jeff for doing that so nobody else has to.
  • I won’t sky-dive, scuba-dive, jump off a diving board—anything involving diving, I pretty much won’t do. There’s a reason God put my feet on the bottom and my head on top. They’re supposed to stay like that. God also made me a land creature, so you won’t find me in water that covers my head. It’s not natural.

OK. There’s more, but that’s enough for now. Please check back later this week, when I return to doing things so you don’t have to.

If YOU want to do some of these things:
  • Try yourself some Alli. But read this first (caution: contains hilarious swear words).
  • Get a Brazilian. Watch one being done here (no, they don’t show any lady parts).
  • Jump on a rollercoaster. But you’d better bone up on some stats.

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I Am Easily Annoyed

She’s the worst thing in this world
Well, look at that stupid girl

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I’m on the elliptical machine at the gym. Perhaps you know the setup. Rows of machines with about 2 inches between each one. You can just barely haul yourself on and off without knocking over the person next to you. But it’s a great workout and a pretty decent alternative to Zumba.So today, I am rocking out while listening to my playlist titled, appropriately enough, “Elliptical Rock-out,” and preparing to burn off the donuts I’m planning to buy when I’m done.

A youngish blonde woman with a ponytail starts to get on the machine to my right. But then she recognizes the woman to my left and goes over to talk with her. This is where everything starts to go horribly, horribly wrong.

I may just be making this up, but gym etiquette says that if you must stand around and talk to someone on an elliptical or treadmill, you should stand in front of them, not next to them, so you’re not encroaching on someone else’s space by planting yourself in the 2 inches between machines. This should be posted on the wall, along with “No Cell Phones” and “Wipe Down Machines.” “Don’t Encroach.”

But there’s no such sign and she is too close to me. I’m starting to hyperventilate, and it has nothing to do with increasing the incline on the machine. Her back is to me and yet she still seems unaware of my penetrating glare. Her friend should see it, though, and get the message, tell her friend to move. I give her a few hard looks (™ my Great Aunt Mil) but nothing happens.

They are yapping, and I can hear them, even over my blasting music. Turn it up, you say? It’s as loud as it will go. That’s how close they are. I mean it—she is RIGHT there. I close my eyes but my elliptical rockout has been ruined. She’s so close that if I cock my elbow—thusly—oops! Sorry! Now move it! But she doesn’t.

I turn off my music for a second. She’s talking about losing 10 pounds. That’s great. Now get your ass on the machine and lose 10 more.

I try accidentally dropping my pen (yes! I am writing this ON the elliptical, that’s how devoted and angry I am!).

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(photographic proof of devotion and anger)

As I bend down to retrieve my pen, I’m in the perfect position to head-butt her. She apologizes but still. does. not. move.

No, I should clarify. She’s moving all over the place. She’s one of those gesticulators. This makes it even worse. I’m staring straight ahead but I can see her arms flapping around out of the corner of my eye. Who needs to be so animated at the freaking gym?

I try to distract myself by watching one of the TV screens, but that damn Huckabee is on there with . . . Chuck Norris? The hell?

And another thing! All of the elliptical machines are now taken, and hers, with her towel draped over it, is being held up, because she won’t stop talking and start working out. This is none of my business, which makes me even madder.

I’ve worked up enough sweat that if I start whipping around my mighty ponytail I might be able to spray her. No luck. My aim has been compromised by my stiffened body.

So far she’s stood here through “Stranglehold“—8:24, “Poke Salad Annie“—4:46, “Leppo and the Jooves“—4:55, “Oh!“—3:58, and “The Night Before“—2:38. That’s . . . 8, 12, 16 . . . a lot of minutes. Way too many minutes. God! I’ve done the elbow knock, hard looks, the head-butt, the ponytail spray, am I actually going to have to say something?

My 50 minutes are up, but I’m not going anywhere. It has just now occurred to me that this is intentional. No one would stand there so long and not be doing it to personally spite me. She’s trying to psych me out and take over my machine, so she and her friend can work out next to each other and keep talking forever. But I am NEVER getting off this machine, even if it kills me, which, combining the stress of over-exercise and the stroke I’m developing from blinding anger is seeming more and more likely.

Oh! Oh! Now she’s flicking her ponytail at ME! No one flicks their ponytail at me. Obnoxious people like this are always the recipient, not the giver, of the ponytail flick.

Several more minutes pass and I wonder which body part will give out first. Probably my knee or hip, but I’m grinding my teeth so hard maybe my jaw will fall off. All of the sudden, the friend gets off of her machine. Oh, thank God. But . . . oh, no. Wait. Now the friend—who is SWEATY—has moved to my other side and is talking to Blonde Ponytail as she finally gets on her machine. Oh, this is hell.

Is it any wonder we hate going to the gym?

If you want to observe gym etiquette:
  • Nix the perfume. Men, I’m talking to you. No, when it smells like that, it’s perfume.
  • No talking on cell phones. Actually, to be safe, no talking at all.
  • Ladies, the locker room isn’t a spa. It’s a gross, sweaty locker room. Take your bananas and granola bars and eat them somewhere else.


I’ve Seen David Strathairn in His Underwear

I wanna be your underwear *

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All this talk lately of porn and underpants has naturally turned my thoughts toward my favorite actor, David Strathairn.

You may know him from his Oscar-nominated role as Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck, or perhaps as the evil child molester (SPOILER!) in Dolores Claiborne. Or maybe you go way back to one of his earliest collaborations with John Sayles in The Brother from Another Planet.

But you don’t know David Strathairn as I have known him—over and over and over—until you watch this:

Click here for the video.

Yup, that’s David Strathairn in A Dangerous Woman. Don’t be fooled by the 70’s porn-stache. The movie was actually made in 1993 and also stars Debra Winger and Barbara Hershey. But who cares. David Strathairn is wearing black briefs. Do we need to know anything else about this movie?

And this isn’t DS’s only foray into underpants land. His character Joe Gastineau strips down to tightie whities in Limbo; the deleted scenes from Harrison’s Flowers show us an adorably skinny DS flitting around in his skivvies; and you get full-on NAKEDNESS in Return of the Secaucus Seven.

But maybe you don’t care much for David Strathairn, which is certainly your preference, wrong tho it may be. There are other actors in underwear, and, thanks to an enterprising underpants fan, you may enjoy a somewhat limited selection at un-der-wear.com. I checked out the site, and while I was happy not to have to look at Tom Cruise, I was sad to find that David Strathairn wasn’t included and even sadder to find that Billy Bob Thornton was (please, don’t click to enlarge).

And, folks, it’s not just actors who look good in underwear. There are some hot musicians out there too:

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Look! It’s Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips! Check out the Superman logo.

And let’s not forget TV stars. Fracas, in her untiring efforts to bring us a naked Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs, has done the next best thing by posting this video, which . . . I don’t know if those are, in fact, underpants, but they get the (dirty) job done, as far as I’m concerned. Good on yer, Fracas!

Do you have any pictures or videos of actors in underwear you’d like to share? No, I’m serious.

If you want to know more about David Strathairn:
  • Check out this disturbingly comprehensive site.
  • Ummm . . . really, that link is all you need.

______________________________

I’ve heard they don’t even wear underpants at humor-blogs!

I Take Drugs

And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all *

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Oh, not those kinds of drugs, you big ninnies! At least, not anymore (that’s a whole ‘nother post). No, I’m talking about strictly legal but nevertheless potent and delicious drugs—the kind your doctor (if your doctor is a drug pusher, like mine) is more than happy to fork over.

But lately I’ve begun to wonder: is it actually possible to take too many pills?

Last time I checked, I had definitely not turned into one of those querulous old people who hang out at the pharmacy, so there had to be another reason for the horrifying event that took place when I went to the drugstore to pick up a prescription.

The pharmacist addressed me by name.

People, she knew me! On sight! And it’s not like I live in Mayberry, nor was she even one of the full-time pharmacists. She knew me, because I’m there every other freaking day. Pickin’ up my pills.

I laughed kind of nervously and said, “Oho! That’s not a good sign! You don’t want to be well-known at the pharmacy!” She smiled as if she agreed with me. Damn! Now I’m being judged by pharmacists? I grabbed my pills and ran out, swearing never to return, but of course I’ll have to go back . . . let’s see, probably tomorrow.

And before you say anything, I do get some pills by mail. It’s cheaper and there is far less judging involved. But sometimes you just have to make the transaction in person.

Pills are easy and they usually get the job done. Sometimes they have side effects, but if you don’t operate heavy machinery or mind a little vomiting, those are not so much an issue. Often, you get bonus side effects, like drowsiness. Drowsiness is good! Y’all are all way too stressed out as it is.

Most people keep their pills on a shelf in their bathroom. I require an entire kitchen cabinet. Dave, who is rarely sick, was looking for Emergen-C or something similar to stave off a cold. He began the intrepid journey through my stockpile of pills, but was quickly frightened away.

“What all have you got in there?”

It’s no wonder he was freaked out. Take a look at his medicine cabinet:

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And mine:

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Please bear in mind: I don’t take all of these (at once); some are old prescriptions that I like to keep around . . . just in case. Some are buy-one-get-one free supplements. But, yes, there are some hardcore drugs in there. For which I have a bona fide prescription. From a trained medical doctor.

The weird thing is, I actually have a lot of faith in Eastern medicine. I’ve had acupuncture, massage, even healing touch, and I’ve usually gotten good results. But . . . pills are so easy.

People complain about those of us who depend on pills to ease our aches and pains. “Oh, they just want a quick fix.” Um, yeah. I do. Take another look at that sentence. It contains the words “quick” and “fix.” Should I be looking for something that will take years and might not work?

Plus, it’s so easy to get pills. I never leave my doctor’s office without a prescription or samples. Recently I saw an orthopedist about back pain and headaches. Before I knew it, I had a bottle stuffed with Vicodin and a handful of Neurontin. You remember my procedure from last month? Well, I was originally s’posed to have it done in a doctor’s office, heavily dosed with Vicodin instead of anesthesia. The venue was moved to the hospital, so, theoretically, I didn’t need that prescription. And yet, there I was, with another jam-packed bottle of Vicodin. Score!

I do make an effort to lessen my dependency on pills. I recently bought a book called Break Through Pain, but I have yet to crack it open. Because, you see, there are pills for that. And as long as that’s the case, I’ll put up with judgemental pharmacists to get my fix.

If you want to take drugs
  • Make sure your drugs are the legal kind. That street meth is nothing but trouble. So I hear.
  • Bone up on your drug interractions. I recently took an antibiotic that clashed with something else I was taking. The prescribing doctor should have known that would happen. Luckily, I didn’t die, but for three days, I wished I had.
  • Try not to become a total addict. There are lots of good alternatives . . . BUT THEY’RE SLOW AND INEFFECTIVE (kidding!)

* Today’s lyrics are courtesy of Jefferson Airplane


I bet the folks at humor-blogs take a lot of pills.

I Have Google-Induced Brain Damage

The world outside is so big
But it’s safe in my domain
Because to you
I’m just a number
And a clever screen name *


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Alcoholics have their booze, smokers have their cigarettes, crackheads have their . . . crack. As an editor, trivia buff, curious human, and language snob with a constant need to prove people wrong, I have Google. I guess you could say that Google is my crack. I rely on it totally: for work, for fun, for blogging, and to satisfy my all-encompassing desire to know everything, even if my research leads me to sites whose legitimacy is extremely questionable. Often, when asked to cite my sources, I have to shrug and answer, simply, “The Internet people.” But if you’re smart and willing to dig around, you can usually separate the crap from the real stuff. Remember when you had to actually look through a book? Or go to a library? And what about microfilm—not to mention microfiche? Whatever the hell that is. No, Google is a lifesaver in so many ways.

For instance, Dave recently challenged me to disprove his theory that canned baked beans had to be heated to the boiling point to obliterate chances of botulism. I disagreed. “Google it!” he dared me.

“Oh, I will take that dare.” I marched into the office, keywords a’blazing.

I e-mailed him my results, with such subject headings as “Baked Beans Don’t Need Heating” and “Only Fools Think You Have to Heat Baked Beans.” I also went low-tech by placing a Post-it note on the can itself with an arrow pointing to the directions. But it was the Google results that forced Dave to recapitulate and eat the damn microwaved beans already.

Google gives in so many ways. If not for Google, how would anyone searching for “Foods that you don’t have to chew” have found my goiter post? Type in “big ass” and you get to read my thoughts on thongs. I’m not exactly sure where the person searching for “What did JD name his chest hair” ended up, but I’m thankful that whoever had to find “you need room for your big head don’t you don’t you” ended up at my main page.

My point is, Google’s search engine rocks. But my reliance on Google may have reached psychologically damaging depths. I think Google broke my brain.

The other day, I was admiring our Christmas ornaments. I mentioned the precious egg ornaments handmade by my Aunt Cora. We have two, a baby dressed like a lamb and a howling dog.

But there were others that I vaguely remember from my childhood that didn’t survive the years of packing and unpacking and cats climbing the Christmas tree. There was a red egg with an angel, but what about the others? A normal person might ask a family member. But not me.

My first instinct was to look it up on Google. I swear, in my search engine-addled brain there appeared the words “aunt + cora + egg + ornaments,” as if my own family memories were somehow archived on the Internet and searchable by keywords. The thought lasted only a split-second, but the stupidness will linger on forever. It was the same weird, disjointed sensation I get when I try to fast-forward through a real-time TV show.

Despite my return to sanity, I felt compelled to search for “aunt + cora + egg + ornaments.” I don’t know whether I was relieved or disappointed to find nothing matching the above pictures.

But wouldn’t it have been awesome if those egg ornaments had appeared in the search results? Who knows, maybe Aunt Cora took pictures, and some obscure relative saved them and posted them online. It’s not impossible. I’ll keep searching. I’ll never stop believing that Google can find anything and everything.

In the meantime:

This last link doesn’t give the answer, but if you scroll down, you’ll find out which of my posts matched the keywords.

* Today’s lyrics are courtesy of Bad Religion

I Like Porn

Don’t drink, don’t smoke
What do you do? *

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Oh, yeah, you heard me. I like porn. Especially porn as defined by the geniuses behind the book Porn for Women. But also regular porn, too. Still, this other Porn for Women is pretty good stuff. Inside you’ll find pictures of (mostly) hunky and sometimes shirtless guys doing household chores and saying things like “I don’t have to have a reason to bring you flowers,” “I know. Let’s take you shoe shopping,” and my personal favorite “Have another piece of cake. I don’t like you looking so thin.” Sigh. That’s almost as good as a . . . nah, it’s not. But it’s not bad.

Ladies, how many times have you longed to hear these words?

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Well, not only did I get this book for Christmas, I got my own living, breathing version of Porn for Women. Check it out:

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Oh, my God! I’m still quivering. Look at the masterful way he holds the dishtowel. The bold posture of a true dish-washing stud. The look of sexy determination in his eyes—a determination to get every last blob of crusted-on gravy. Back off, girls. He’s all mine.

But I don’t want you to think that my Christmas was all about porn. A JD Christmas is well-rounded.

It’s about knitted socklets as made by my awesome mom . . .

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. . . and modeled by her weirdo kids!

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The holiday breakfast tradition of orange rolls and coffee:

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Christmas dinner wouldn’t taste the same without some cat-butted napkins:

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And I couldn’t have made dinner at all without my mom in her spiffy apron:

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At our house, cats get wrapped gifts . . .

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. . . while Dave gets a box of raisins:

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And for some of us, Christmas means never taking a bad picture, even while wearing a paper crown:

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I hope your Christmas was filled with all the best kinds of porn.

* Today’s lyrics are courtesy of the decidely un-Christmasy Adam Ant

I Love Christmas

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I have absolutely nothing profound to say on this, the eve of Christmas, but I would like to share some of my Christmas traditions with you in the form of a delightful Christmas Q&A. This was originally supposed to be one of those dreaded memes, but in the spirit of the season, I’ll just answer the questions and leave the tagging to Santa. The Christmas Q&A comes from my favorite Canadian blogger Canucklehead (and please, won’t you check out his Cafe Press items for bacon lovers?)

But first! A BIG thank you goes out to Dan at dcr Blogs for giving me this awesome fruitcake.

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As he points out, this fruitcake—much like real fruitcakes—will last forever and can be passed around to friends and family and enemies alike. Dan recommends that you “keep it in a T-shirt soaked in wine” so you can pass it along to your grandchildren. Granchildren! Beware gifts wrapped in wine-soaked T-shirts!

Christmas Q&A
1. Wrapping or gift bags?
My idea of wrapping gifts is to take a jaggedly cut hunk of paper and smoosh it around the gift, twisting the ends like a wrapped piece of hard candy, smothering it in packing tape, and affixing a jaunty bow. So: gift bags.
2. Real or artificial tree?
In the past: real. Now: fake. This year we bought a new tree and there was a lot of swearing when we unpacked the approximately 5,000 pieces. See the various stages of the 2007 tree here.
3. When do you take the tree down?
Considering all the trouble we had getting the tree up, we may never take it down. Dave is considering dragging the still-assembled tree downstairs and keeping it in the basement year-round, but I plan to be out of the country if that happens.
4. Do you like egg nog?
Bleeeeuuuurgh. Does that answer your question?
5. Favorite gift received as a child?
Oh, man! An acoustic guitar! I wanted drums, but my parents wisely opted for something less bang-y.
6. Do you have a nativity scene?
No, but my aunt has one where all the characters are portrayed by cats. Seriously.
7. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
An outdated version of Microsoft Word, copied onto floppy disks and wrapped up like it was new.
8. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail, tho that may change next year. I love Action Cat cards.
9. Favorite Christmas Movie?
“The Snowman.” Watch my favorite part here.
10. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
I love to shop—online. I usually wait until the last day Amazon guarantees Christmas delivery with regular shipping rates.
11. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Definitely my mom’s stuffing, made with 6 pounds of butter. Also pie, and lots of it.
12. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Clear? What is this crazy talk? Colored all the way.
13. Favorite Christmas song(s)?
Please see here.
14. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
We didn’t go through all that trouble putting up a tree to go somewhere else. Our butts are firmly planted at home. Guests are welcome, as long as they don’t mind dust bunnies.
15. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Stuffed monkey.
16. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
Christmas Eve is for cheaters! How can you spend a night of sleepless anticipation if you’ve already opened your prezzies?
17. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
I’ll have to steal from Canucklehead’s answer and say that the ridiculous trend political correctness is getting out of hand. “Holiday Trees” my butt.
18. What do you leave for Santa?
Anything left out for Santa would probably be eaten by Gus, so, sorry, Santa. You’re on your own.
19. Least favourite holiday song?
Maurice Chevalier’s rendition of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.”
20. Favourite ornament?
For years my brother and I fought over a tiny porcelain bell. Each of us wanted to hang it on the tree. The bell is gone (I KNOW my brother stole it), so my current favorites are the remaining two ornaments that my Aunt Cora made out of actual eggs.
21. Family tradition?
I guess I’d have to say crackers and crowns.
There were originally 25 questions, but, again, in the spirit of giving spirit, I’m only making you read 21.
Happy Holidays, everyone!