Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Archive for December, 2008

I’ll have the briquette, please. Extra-charred.

Posted by Lissa on December 17, 2008

With the kind link from Caleb and the hits pouring in from last night’s Gun Nuts, it’s obviously time for a dose of the Humble.  After all, these new folks might think that a mention from intelligent people like Caleb and Breda mean that my blog has Teh Smart.  I assure you that while a stopped clock is right twice a day, I have no such guarantee.  (I don’t even POST twice a day, you know.) 

Therefore, let me tell you about my sad, sad first experience at Morton’s Steakhouse.  I first entered The Land of The Happy Pig (they don’t serve pork, you see) during my sophomore year in college.  As a member of an eating house (like a sorority, only no national ties), I was gung-ho about setting up a friend-of-a-friend with a potential recruit, a first-year who sang next to me in choir.  Accordingly, I rounded up a date for myself and brought our happy foursome to Morton’s Steakhouse in Charlotte.

Rest content, pig.  Pulled pork's not till next week.

Rest content, pig. Pulled pork's not till next week.

I was fresh and pretty.  I was friendly and charming.  I was elegant and sophisticated.

I ordered my filet mignon well done.

Oh, the humanity!

Yes, dear readers, I went to one of the prime steak places on the East Coast and had them BUTTERFLY my insanely expensive, tender, delicious, juicy piece of delectation so that the cook could efficiently transform it into a crispy, blackened coal.  Julia Childs WEPT.  Oh, and I didn’t finish the pre-ordered, unbelievably decadent Morton’s Famous Hot Chocolate Cake either.

(hangs head in shame)

Ah, well.  Turns out, I wasn’t the saddest diner in our party.  I feel confident that Potential Recruit took that honor, as she turned out to be bulimic.  I’m guessing that even my blackened lump of cow tasted better going down, than her perfectly cooked medium-rare steak did coming back up.

P.S.  After many years of yoga, self-discipline, apprenticing-as-a-young-Grasshopper etc., I now like my steak medium rare.  Your mileage may vary.

Dinner last night


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A bankrupt nation?

Posted by Lissa on December 17, 2008

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began —
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mice,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire —
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

That’s from a Maggie Gallagher article this morning.  Apparently I missed news about the Madoff Ponzi scheme — turns out $50 billion dollars never really existed.  Great.  Well, can’t be that bad, can it?

Oh wait:

Federal obligations now exceed the collective net worth of all Americans, according to the New York-based Peter G. Peterson Foundation.  [snip] . . . The foundation’s grim calculations are based on Sept. 30 consolidated federal statements, which showed that Americans’ total household net worth, diminished by falling stock prices and home equity, is $56.5 trillion. But rising costs for unfunded social programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security increased to $56.4 trillion – and that was before the more recent stock market crash, $700 billion bank bailout, and monster federal deficits chalked up in October and November.

I like to think this is too simplistic a calculation.  Net worth does not reflect earning potential nor human capital, only the current balance sheet of the household; coming off years of of living beyond our means, it’s not surprising those balance sheets are rather red.  America is still an economic powerhouse because, even with retarded and wasteful government bailouts designed to spare a lucky few while prolonging the economic pain of everyone else, more people than not believe in The American Dream: Get educated.  Get a job.  Get married.  Get a family.  As long as we ordinary folks keep behaving like responsible, sentient beings, everything will be okay.

 . . . won’t it?

UPDATE: SnarkyBytes linked.  Thanks!

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Observations of a baby gun chick

Posted by Lissa on December 17, 2008

Or, my very first Gun Nuts

I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting . . . mostly I listened out of curiosity, and half of that curiosity was just whether Breda sounded the way I thought she would. 

I didn’t expect to have a LiveChat to play in too.  I definitely didn’t expect both Breda and Ahab to be able to talk intelligently, listen to callers and respond wittily, read the LiveChat and drop in little comments ALL AT THE SAME TIME. 

And I most certainly didn’t expect Mr. LawDog to grace us with his on-air presence, complete with mini-lecture on the need to be polite, be gracious, and have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

I’m not going to pretend that I understood more than roughly 10% of the gunnie conversation, but so what?  It was a VERY quick and entertaining hour and most of my favorite people from the blogosphere were there; what’s not to like?

Some final thoughts:

– Breda with the basilisk glare – LOL 🙂  Someone artistically talented draw a cartoon of that, please?  Don’t forget the pale streak in her hair!

– LawDog, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE come to New England to give us a self-defense seminar!  New England folks, surely we can rack up enough frequent flier miles for a plain ticket, no?  I’d be happy to host!

Jay G, how does this sound for a weekend next summer?  The Fallacies, Ahab & Mrs. Ahab and LawDog all come visit; Saturday includes a self-defense workshop and a game at Fenway; Sunday we drive to the Land of Live Free or Die for a bloggershoot.  TELL me that doesn’t sound awesome!

– I’m now listing “radio host” among the many jobs I could never do.  Breda and Ahab sounded cool, collected and gracious; I sounded like a chipmunk on speed.  It’s the hazard of being a soprano, I suppose.  C’est la vie!

UPDATE: I ask, BorePatch delivers, and Breda approves.  It’s like having an Easy button!

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Of mice and women

Posted by Lissa on December 16, 2008

Many of you have read Breda’s inspirational post on will-to-live and self-defense.  If you haven’t, go read it now.  (But please come back!)

This, alas, is not so grand nor noble a story.  In fact, it’s kind of embarrassing.  But those are the stories you like best, aren’t they?

Many years ago, when I was young and innocent (snort), I lived in an apartment that we now call The Hobbit Hole.  The Hobbit Hole was a basement apartment in a house chopped up into several units; the washer-and-dryer were in a common room, accessed through a door in my bedroom; it was always kick in the butt when loud, chatty people decided to do laundry early on Saturday mornings (hiss).  The ceilings were just over six feet; I’m 5′ 3″ and I could easily reach the ceiling standing flat-footed.  Worst of all, as The Hobbit Hole was a basement apartment it was prone to house centipedes.  I’ve posted pix of those before.  (Nasty, skittering, creepy-crawly leggy disgusting little beasts . . . Excuse me while I go off and cry for a bit . . .)

To top off the many charms of my very first apartment, it was owned by a guy named Slumlord Jim.  This charming piece of work had that unmistakable distilled flavor of a used car dealer; every time I talked to him I had a feverish urge to scrub my hands with bleach and hot water.  Nothing EVER got done on time; he was incredibly disorganized and, also, didn’t give a sh*t about his tenants.  He would assure me greasily that he’d get my plumbing fixed, oh, absolutely, I’ll call the guy tomorrow, of course . . . and we’d repeat that cycle every week for a month or so before I saw a plumber.  He once asked me to send him a replacement check for a month’s rent that he hadn’t received; when I did, he then tried to cash BOTH checks.  (Luckily, I’d stopped the first check before sending the second.  His excuse was that he’d intended to cash both checks and then tell me not to send a check for the NEXT month’s rent.  Dude, my first apartment and my first job; do you think I had an extra month’s-worth of rent just sitting around in my checking account?  Not freaking likely!)

So, these were the circumstances under which I lived.  And you know what?  It was really okay.  I lived two blocks from a police station, so it was a safe neighborhood; I had my own garage, so I didn’t have to shovel out my car during the winter; and the rent was $620 a month, including utilities.  It was a very good deal and a wise choice for my first apartment.  I’m not complaining; I’m just laying out the atmosphere. 

Because without knowing the background, you might assume that, if my apartment had a family of mice move in, that it would be the landlord’s problem to deal with.  You might assume that he would quickly exterminate the little pests, since it was in his interests at least as much as mine.  Of course, we all know what happens when you assume.

You might also assume that, being a devoted cat-lover and shameless cat-blogger, that my cat would take care of the problem for me.  Sadly, that was not the case; I did indeed have a cat, but poor little Jolie was just getting sick.  (She died about two weeks later, of FIP.  She was five months old.  She was a good kitty.)

So it fell to me to rid myself of the little buggers.   A disclaimer: I am not at all fond of mice or rats.  I’ve seen people that keep rats as pets; I’ve got no problem with that.  But I volunteered for two years at the Carolina Raptor Center; any initial fondness I may have had for rodents (and that’s iffy, y’all) was drummed out of me RIGHT quick.  (“Let’s see . . . 24 red-tailed hawks . . . each hawk needs 1/3 of a rat, to be chopped apart with dull scissors and the innards dosed with meds . . . “) 

To get right to the point . . . I set out glue traps, and I caught a mouse.  A fat little brown-furred mouse. 

I stared at the mouse.  The mouse stared back.

“Oh, sh*t.  NOW what?”

Now, I’m not COMPLETELY without compassion when it comes to nasty rodent-things.  I have a friend who, when he caught mice in glue traps, used to just toss the trap, with its live mouse, into the garbage.  I didn’t want the mouse to suffer like that, but I was so NOT going to bonk it on the head.  (My hand-to-eye coordination is BEYOND terrible; without a doubt, I would have broken a finger, cut myself open and just grazed the mouse.  I’m not kidding.) 

As I muttered feeble euthanasia plans to myself, I tried to make the mouse more comfortable.  I gingerly picked up the trap and placed it in a Ziploc disposable plastic container.  I then cut a large slab of cheddar cheese and placed it close to the mouse so that it could have a last meal.  Stupidly, I even tried to pet it a little.

And that mouse reared up and bit the ever-living SH*T out of my thumb.

Sorry, mouse-lovers, but no happily-ever-after was in store for the mouse.  After discarding a number of hare-brained plans, I put the cover on the container and suffocated the little creature.  I like to think that she passed away full of cheddar and righteousness; she took a bit of my blood with her, after all.  As Breda pointed out, that’s more than some human victims manage.


JENNY:  “So, you called the doctor, right?”
ME: “No, why?”
JENNY: “Lissa . . . you got bit by a MOUSE.  That eats GARBAGE and probably lives in a SEWER.  You need a tetanus shot.”
ME: “Dude, I washed it out with soap and water.  Isn’t that good enough?”
JENNY:  “Um . . . . NO.  Why, NO, it’s not.  GO TO THE F*CKING DOCTOR ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!?!?”
ME:  “Oh.  Okay.”

And a note for the ladies below, in white; highlight to read.  (But ONLY if you’re a girl.)

I had a physical last week and was able to tell the doc the exact month in which I last had a tetanus shot, thanks to the story above.  The physical also included a pap smear.  The next time I hear a guy complain about the “turn-your-head-and-cough” routine, I’m going to kick him squarely in the crotch.

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This lady needs to adopt some grandkids, STAT

Posted by Lissa on December 12, 2008

All I can say is . . .


 . . . it’s an improvement to a POODLE, but any self-respecting dog would have ripped her face off.

And there’s just no excuse for this, poodle or no poodle:


 Breaking news for tomorrow:  “We report with sorrow the bloody, horrifying murder of Sandra Hartness.  Paw prints were found by the body, but the exact cause of death is unknown; witnesses report seeing, alternately, a chicken, a turtle and a camel leaving the scene of the crime.  Hartness’ death comes as a surprise to . . . absolutely nobody.”

(Cindy, you come live with me.  You’ll be chased by my cat and mercilessly mocked for being a French poofter and you will STILL gain an immense amount of dignity in comparison.)

(h/t The Corner)

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Official LookingForLissa product endorsement

Posted by Lissa on December 11, 2008

‘Tis a cold, wet, miserable day outside!  Getting out of bed was a serious challenge, and NOT just because the cat laid claim to my lap and — clinging with all four paws and, I swear, his tail — refused to surrender his real estate.  What cares he if I need to drink coffee and shower and get dressed and go earn a living?  He’s convinced that the auto-feeder is now his bottomless sustenance provider; all I’m good for is a warm place to sleep.  So, as usual, I whined from the bedroom until Mike (personius A.M.-us psychoticus) kindly scooped up the kitty and directed my blind, stumbling steps toward the fresh coffee. 

Speaking of stumbling, I sprained my dignity last night.  (‘If you have some liniment I’ll put it on my dignity,’ Mrs. Whatsit said, still supine. ‘I think it’s sprained.’)  I was dashing through the rain last night, nearly at the T station, when I remembered that I had an errand to run at CVS — I was supposed to go browsing for huge, oversized Christmas cards (my 94-year-old grandmother is having some trouble with her sight).  I made the sad, sad mistake of trying to collapse an umbrella AND walk at the same time . . . you all see where this is going.

Sure enough, the wheelchair ramp I THOUGHT I was walking down was, in fact, two feet to my left.  In its place was a drop, magically magnified to roughly six feet high (okay, maybe it was more like four inches) and I stumbled into space, staggering forward two steps as I frantically tried — and failed — to regain my balance, before measuring my length into the wet, dirty street.  Thank goodness it wasn’t a busy street; I’d be a smear on the bumper of some bus at this point.

Speaking of points — I did have one!  To continue our discussion of hose, I’d like to give an Official LookingForLissa Product Endorsement to L’eggs Sheer Energy.  That stuff is TOUGH, man.  I scratched up my shin and scored some serious road rash on my knee, and yet my hose did not spring a single run.  (Men — that’s the equivalent of getting a concussion-worthy knock on the head and having your baseball cap emerge in pristine condition.) 

By the way — is there any more superficial wound that causes such pain as road rash and rug burns?  Paper cuts and lemon juice are but kisses and marshmallows in comparison; they don’t make you wince in the shower the next day. 

Almost Friday, everyone!  Hang in there!

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Why does it always fall to Israel?

Posted by Lissa on December 10, 2008

While reading Camille Paglia today, this sentence struck me:

But the events in Mumbai confirmed my opinion about the looming problem of a nuclear Iran: While I oppose all American military operations and bases in the Mideast, I continue to believe that Israel, whose security is directly threatened, has every right to take preemptive military action against Iran.

 How interesting.  Let me pretend for a moment that I have any skills in the realm of logic (which I do not) and dissect that sentence thusly:

1) American military operations and bases in the Mideast are bad
2) Israel’s security is directly threatened by a nuclear Iran, therefore
2a) Israel has the right to take preemptive military action against Iran

Does that look right?

Regarding #1, she doesn’t (in this article) delve into why she opposes U.S. military bases and operations, so I’ll let that one slide.  (I wonder if she opposes them strictly in the Mideast, or foreign operations in general, but I’m too lazy to Google-fu it; if anyone’s bored today, have at it.)  Let’s look at the points pertaining to Israel.

I’m always glad when writers and folks in general support Israel’s right to self-defense.  There are countries in the world that are much younger than Israel — both in the date of the actual State of Israel, and the history of the peoples living there — and yet the right-to-exist of Estonia, or Latvia, or Lithuania, or Armenia, or the Bahamas, or Bahrain is pretty well set.  Hell, if the issue is taking land owned by one set of people and “giving” it to another set of people, why not blame Pakistan and Bangladesh for all the world’s problems?  It would make a lot more sense, to be sure.

But I digress.  What confuses me here is the assumption that the security of Israel is threatened by a nuclear Iran and the security of the United States is not. 

How does that make sense?  Does a threat only count as a threat if it can destroy your entire country, instead of just one part?  Does anyone doubt that the mullahs in Iran hate America almost as much as they hate Israel and the Jews? If a nuclear-powered Iran decided to smuggle a bomb past American borders, rather than launching it through space (and while that might be difficult, don’t even pretend it’s impossible) in the aims of blowing up NYC — does that not count as a threat?

Mind you, I’m not completely stupid, and therefore I shall not pretend I have any clue what the “solution” is to dealing with Iran.  Life is not a Tom Clancy novel; there is not a magical solution that only Jack Ryan is smart enough to see.  But I fail to understand Paglia’s logic, and I really don’t like the outcome from that statement:  The United States better sit its butt out; good luck, Israel, try not to die on us.

Remember, I’m new to this “logic” concept, so please feel free to tell me why I’m wrong!

(h/t Don Surber)

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Take THAT, Navy!

Posted by Lissa on December 9, 2008

After reading Cranky’s post I was desperate to find this commercial.  In honor of my West Point daddy — eat it, Navy!

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Buried alive!

Posted by Lissa on December 9, 2008

In work, that is.  Absolutely swamped here.  Enjoy your morning and I’ll check in later!

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Random Monday thoughts

Posted by Lissa on December 8, 2008

 – Women are beautiful.  Women are sexy.  Women wearing hose — especially with a garter belt, or with a line running down the back — are very sexy.  Women in the act of putting hose on = Inherently awkward and not sexy.  Somehow this does not seem fair.

– Why is it that the amount of cold-induced tears in your eyes is directly proportional to the amount of eye makeup you’re wearing?

– FYI, lamb is not the sheep equivalent of veal.  For years I avoided lamb the same way I avoid veal; I don’t have a problem with eating meat, I just like them to grow big and tasty before I devour them.  Finally it was pointed out to me that we don’t use the word “mutton” in the U.S.; “lamb” = “sheep.”  I have no problem with eating sheep.

– Mike and I were in the car the other day and an ambulance startled him. 

ME: “What, didn’t you see it coming?”
MIKE: “Well, sure, but it was very loud and piercing.”  (Pause.)  “Kind of like Rajah when he wants to bite you.”
ME: (Pause.)  “Um, well, he’s certainly LOUD when that happens, but not . . . ” (Oh.  Teeth.  Piercing.)  “Ohhhhhh.  Yeah, you’re a brat.”

– I was recently told with great confidence that John McCain used the word “gook” during his presidential campaign this past year.  I used a little Google-fu; as near as I can tell McCain used that sentence eight years ago during his LAST presidential campaign.  I don’t like the word “gook” and I think it was both stupid and crude of McCain to use it.  It does not surprise me at all that a well-informed MSM-following person could get the impression that it happened a year ago rather than eight years ago. 

– I got sucked into a wormhole yesterday morning on the way back from the LissavilleAnimal Shelter.  One moment I was smoothly driving along, minding my car and the falling snow and looking forward to drinking coffee in the Kitty Den.  Five minutes later I was stumbling out of a pastry shop holding a blueberry muffin, a raspberry turnover, a cinnamon twist, a raspberry twist, two mini cream puffs, two mini napoleons, a fruit tart, and an Oreo cupcake.  How the hell did THAT happen?

– It is flat-out amazing to me how awesome the Interwebz are.  Example 1: The World Map application I stole from BorePatch.  Mine is a teeny-tiny itsy-bitsy miniscule blog, and yet in one month I’ve gotten hits from Brazil, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Romania, Mali, Jamaica, Iran, Israel and Georgia (the country, obviously).  I can’t imagine how those folks stumbled across my blog, but that is pretty freaking awesomely cool.  It really is a small world and it’s getting smaller all the time; at the same time my own personal world is getting bigger and bigger . . .

Happy Monday!  Don’t freeze!

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