Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Study of Texting While Driving Proves that Studies are Worthy of Further Study

“The first study of drivers texting inside their vehicles shows that the risk sharply exceeds previous estimates based on laboratory research -- and far surpasses the dangers of other driving distractions. The new study, which entailed outfitting the cabs of long-haul trucks with video cameras over 18 months, found that when the drivers texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting.” So writes MATT RICHTEL in the New York Times.

Really? REALLY?????
Okay, this goes to show (Please see below posting for further comments on STUPID STUDIES) that you can get people to pay for studies on ANY ASSININE SUBJECT WHATSOEVER. There was a STUDY required to prove that texting was dangerous while driving. By the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, no less.

Okay, let’s think about this for just a moment. What is “texting” exactly? Well, according to a way-down-the-list definition from the interweb, “texting” is:

To communicate by text message: He texted that he would be late.

Texting is the act of typing a message onto a miniscule keyboard which requires looking at said keyboard and printout screen and using peripheral vision ONLY for anything not associated with said miniscule keyboard and printout screen.

Huh. Okay, so what is this “peripheral vision” that I speak of?

According to the interweb, peripheral vision is “the capacity to see side or fringe areas when one is looking ahead; one’s vision using only the outer edges of one’s retina

Yeah. It really needs a fucking study to prove that using only the outer edges of one’s retina as a vision tool while driving because it is soooooo important to let your BFF know that OMG, you’re like SFL and ROTFLMAO did you see the dress that FG was wearingggggg?????

Fuck you, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Have a nice day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Patience Pays????

One of the joys of new home ownership is the thrice-weekly trip to Home Depot. Yes, yes, I know. Home Depot is an evil conglomerate that is ethically vague, disregards safety guidelines and I am sure they commit various, sundry other evil things that go without saying.

They are also exactly one minute, thirty-seven seconds drive from my house. And they guarantee their plants.

On one of the thrice-weekly trips to Home Depot, we happened upon a significantly marked-down patio set. Loveseat, coffee table, two easy chairs with ottomans. Nice! We have been looking, and a 50% markdown is, after all, a 50% markdown. So we called our friend with the pickup truck (for these purposes, I shall call him d'Artagnan – read a book, people) to arrange for pick up (get it?) the following day. D’Artagnan came through, yet again.

This pick up arrangement involved standing in the Service Line to arrange a “Will-Call” ticket.

We were behind quite possibly the most disagreeable man to ever walk the earth. I was pretty sure MANPANTS wanted to kill him. In these situations it is always the job of the other person in the partnership that is not homicidal at that particular moment to appeal to the more rational side of the person about to commit said homicide. I mentioned to MANPANTS that WE did not have to live for even one moment in the head of this creature passing itself off as human. Nor did we have to be married to it -- as I looked meaningfully in the direction of the spousal partner of the aforementioned horrific being.

When this objectionable vertebrate ambled away to make yet another Home Depot employee miserable, we stepped up to the counter. The woman behind the service counter looked ruffled, but had her best customer service poker face in place. She started helping us.

I said, “I’m sorry about your last 20 minutes.”

She said, “I can’t say a thing. Not a thing. But thank you.”

She started to input our information. She then said, “Here’s another 10% off for being understanding.”

Score one for Patience.

Apparently, it does indeed literally PAY to be patient and understanding with our fellow humans. Mom was right. And during a huge recession, who can really argue with Mom on THAT old courtesy lesson?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Michael Phelps, Pizza and the Ballet. And Coffee. What???

There seems to be some stereotype out there . . . .okay, hang on. Start over. There are actually thousands of stereotypes out there. Seriously. I wonder if anyone has ever done a study on how many there actually are? They pay top dollar for any number of studies – for example there was recently a study that determined that women over 40 who drank two cups of coffee per day were more likely to wear blue than pink and that women who drank only one cup of coffee per day were as likely to choose black (an absence of color) as they would any actual color, but that pink and blue were not one of their choices. Who funded this study and how did it get to the stage where the results were not only taken seriously, but they were taken so seriously as to PUBLISH the results of the study? Okay, that never happened, but you get the idea.

I digress. I’m talking about the stereotype where the MAN is dragged by his nagging FEMALE partner, wife, significant other, MOM, whatever -- off to the ballet against his will. He would rather be anywhere else. Countless commercials selling countless MAN-CENTRIC products (e.g. the ESPN cable package; the buy one pizza, get another one for a dollar at Pizza Hut) that use the dreaded ballet scenario to make their point to us FEMALES that MEN DO NOT LIKE THE BALLET. Unless of course they are gay, henpecked, or too old and lacking in virility to care WHERE they are, as long as it is somewhere. No means no, ladies!!!! Have you no humanity???

MANPANTS and I went to the ballet on Sunday. Specifically American Ballet Theatre’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. How’d you manage to get him to go? Simple, people.

I said I’d like to go.

We were sitting there watching So You Think You Can Dance – ahem, excuse me? Was that a chuckle? Yeah, we watch. We also pick up the phone and vote. I challenge any professional baseball player – hell I challenge Michael-Freakin’-Phelps to attempt the athleticism required to do what these kids are asked to do each week. May I continue? Thanks. Nigel Lythgoe, the producer of the show, mentioned that ABT was in LA doing Romeo and Juliet. I turned to MANPANTS and said, “I want to go.” He said, “Do you?” I said “Yup.” We looked it up on the Interweb, selected tickets we could afford -- more or less --and made our purchase. Thanks Nigel.

We went yesterday. It was 106 degrees of dry, hot, blazing awfulness outside. It was 74 degrees of lovely, air conditioned bliss in the theatre. For three hours we got to sit on comfy seats, listen to Prokofiev’s masterpiece and watch dancers create a tragic, tear-worthy story, all while doing things we mere mortals can never hope to accomplish with our bodies, no matter how many times we do the American Ballet Theatre Home Workout DVD.

Afterwards, we treated ourselves to a lovely little meal at California Pizza Kitchen – okay it WOULD have been a lovely little meal if CPK hadn’t started with that most foul and evil of practices -- namely the listing of calorie count next to all of their menu items. Who’s fucking idea was that????? Is this where we have gone? We live in L.A. where everyone has to be a sample size (2) and Botox themselves into oblivion and count every calorie because God Forbid one should ingest ANYTHING during the day other than the pack of Marlboro Reds you are smoking to keep yourself at sample size (2) and did I really need to know that my pasta with asparagus and spinach was 1163 calories per serving?????????? Fuck you, California Pizza Kitchen.

We had a really nice day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Come Back Sarah Palin!!!!

Okay, I simply cannot say anything here that was not already said, with far better wit, snark and charm, than Mark Morford at SF Gate. Ya gotta read it. Click Here. I admit to having a major talent crush on him. Sorry Manpants. Tis True.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Michael Jackson -- The ARTIST, or the MAN?

Michael Jackson’s HUGE memorial service is today. A few of my friends are there. They managed to get tickets. I find it appropriate and fitting that two of them are there – I think they would be crying for a month if they weren’t.

I am curious though – what or who specifically are they/we all mourning today? The list of A-List participants at the memorial is pretty impressive. Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Usher, Kobe Bryant, Brook Shields to name a few. But are they there for The ARTIST, or the MAN? Are they there for who he was a very long time ago? Who he became? Can they possibly be there for both; possessing the infinite capacity of compassion necessary to embrace ALL of it? – Is it even possible to be there for both in this particular circumstance or is an astronomically vast fog of denial the collective need here? Can a proper memorial service celebrate the life of someone like Michael Jackson without mentioning the MAN, independent of the ARTIST?

Okay that was annoying. Yeah, I know – that’s a lot of questions, but seriously. My mind is churning here.

According to the relatively simplistic definition of Wiktionary, ARTIST is defined as follows:

A person who creates art.
A person who creates art as an occupation.
A person who is skilled at some activity.

Well, by that definition, Michael Jackson was certainly all that.

It defines MAN as follows:

A MAN is a male human. The term man (irregular plural: men) is used for an adult human male, while the term boy is the usual term for a human male child or adolescent human male. . . Sometimes it is also used to identify a male human, regardless of age.

The term "manhood" is used to refer variously to the condition of being male, male sexuality, or the actual reproductive organs.

Okay, by that definition as well, he was a MAN in that he had the requisite organs, he was an adult male, (though reportedly an adolescent human male in arrested development due to early childhood trauma.)

Like Howard Hughes -- the genius aviator and brilliant visionary; on one hand an undeniable talent and artist in his field and on the other, crazier than a shit-house rat – Michael Jackson was a dichotomy.

Back to my friends who are attending the memorial. One is a singer, one is a dancer. I am pretty sure that neither of them would be the type of performer they are today without the influence of the incredible artistic talent that was Michael Jackson. I am relatively certain that the mentally ill, self-hating-skin-bleaching-plastic-surgery-addicted-child-molesting recluse that slept with young boys and a chimpanzee had no influence whatsoever on the hundreds of thousands of people who grew to love Michael Jackson for his music, dancing and all around fashion forwardness. I am pretty sure that most people would like to forget all about that part.

I am also pretty sure that there are those that will never forget that part. There are those who would not be who they are today without the influence of THAT part of the equation and that is not really a great or even a good thing. I would not want their therapy bills, nor their nightmares. Nor still would I want to live for even five minutes in the head of any of the parents that pimped out their children to him so he could have unsupervised overnight child guests at Neverland Ranch and they could make a little cash. I would not want to be the staff that worked for him. I think Michael Jackson, the MAN, was a sick individual that needed to be locked up and not allowed custody of his soon-to-be-very-fucked-up children. I think he should have had himself cryogenically preserved after the Thriller Album – okay Off the Wall -- and ceased being at that place – it seems to be the place the rest of us stopped at with respect to our worship of him as an ARTIST. Our collective willingness to overlook each and every progressive action during the course of his mental decline, regardless how lawless or morally repugnant, is evidenced by the stadium-sized memorial going on as I write this (while simultaneously checking in on FaceBook to get the photo updates from my friend in VIP seating.)

Wiktionary also defines MAN as: Humanity as a whole. I interpret this to mean our collective ability to be compassionate -- to forgive. We are celebrating and mourning the life and death of Pop Culture itself today. The complete awesomeness that Pop Culture is, along with the twisted, sick and pathetic state Pop Culture can become.

I admit to feeling rather confused, numb, sad, angry and all of the feelings that go with being rather confused, numb, sad, angry. Not really knowing HOW to feel about something so large is an entirely undefinable thing that requires a new word that has not yet been invented.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Politicians and Their Penises -- DOH!

What is up with politicians and their runaway penises? Honestly.

How about this:

Her: “If you sleep with someone other than me and I find out about it, the outcome is very simple. You will come home to find the locks changed and your crap in the middle of the street outside. Done and done.”

Him: “Likewise.”

The couple high five, cheer, chest bump and sit down together to watch So You Think You Can Dance.

That’s how it’s done. This business of standing stoically by your man at a press conference as he humiliates your coupledom on national television – is absolute hogwash. To be fair, I suppose I should say “stand by your man OR woman”, though I have yet to see a female politician spend tax payer money on getting a boy toy a staff position. Nor have any of us seen the aftermath of a she-powerful-public-servant haplessly running off to a foreign country because she just can’t get enough of that sweet boy ass. The second he OR SHE ventured outside the marriage agreement, they lost all privileges in the “I’ll stand you, no matter what” department. Especially if the idiot is in a career that involves exposure to television, FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, Fox News, etc. . .

We do not live in a country that has a good or healthy relationship with sex – and there are many who are paid good money to state on camera that sex is evil and dirty and icky and something to be very, very afraid of. So if you are actually having THE SEX and you are one of those people who let us know how evil and dirty and icky and something to be very, very afraid of it is, make super duper sure that you are having the kind of sex that you yourself have endorsed in public as being permissible. That would be the male/female only kind that is all about having babies and not about having fun or joy or pleasure at all. Make super duper uper guper sure you are not having the type of sex that you have openly condemned as evil and dirty and icky and something to be very, very afraid of. Is it just me? Doesn’t that seem like a no-brainer?

We do not need Maureen Dowd (though I adore her even while her snark is akin to drinking straight lemon juice first thing in the morning) writing an advice column for “wives of politicians” when their politician husbands dip their pen in somebody else’s inkwell. Seriously. When it DOES happen (and happen it will because the biggest protestors when it comes to sex are always the biggest closet kinks) the Associated Press should then treat it accordingly:

“Another public servant in the area of politics disgraced his spouse and family today by publicly admitting to an extramarital affair. This is pathetic, sad and unworthy of further comment.”

Isn’t there still poverty, or war, or a failed economy, or a flu, or extreme weather, or a food recall, or [insert topic here]. . . that is infinitely more important to know about?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Compost O My Soul

One of the awesome things about buying a house – oh, by the way, Manpants and I bought a house while I was away. Away from the blog, that is. “Away.” Sounds like I was off for “the cure” or in jail or the funny farm or other such nonsense. Actually a lot of things happened while I was away, leaving us both a little older, wiser, fatter. And while Manpants still has a lovely head of dark hair, I seem to have developed a large quantity of gray that my hairdresser liberally covers with some sort of ash blonde something-or-other to get it back to its natural state.

What was I saying? Oh right. One of the awesome things about buying a house is that the amateur gardener in me gets to come out and play. I have to admit I love it. It is literally the only time my head shuts up completely and all outside sound is gloriously filtered by my subconscious to include only birdsong and the buzzing of various insect life. Oh, and the sound of the next door neighbors’ giant front yard fountain that sounds like Paul Bunyon is relieving himself. That one is kind of hard to tune out and often triggers a sudden urge to relieve my own self in the Bougainvillea.

We’re on water rationing here in California, so I am moving certain plants and shrubs from the front of the house to the back into areas where they won’t need so much – putting a lot of peat moss and compost around the plants to hold onto the moisture longer – all while improving my upper body strength and thereby holding off bone loss for another day.

This brings me to the subject of this ramble. Rather than staying in bed and drinking coffee Saturday morning, Manpants and I went off to a workshop given by LA County on . . . composting. About twenty minutes of our lives to find out what one can and cannot put in said composter – and we then get to take home our fancy schmancy Bio Stack from Smith & Hawken, at the subsidized price of $45! Didja know you can put dryer lint in there? I know!

Com-post [kom-pohst]: –noun -- a mixture of various decaying organic substances, used for fertilizing.

I like to think that the mundane and terribly suburban act of introducing a composter to our garden is somehow symbolic in the larger scheme of things as we begin this new portion of our lives – and that perhaps we can – I can – allow the experiences of the past two years to become a form of decay that I can put into a metaphorical bin, add water, and something altogether wonderful and nurturing and fabulous will come out of it.

Fertilizing my HOPE, as it were.