Saturday, September 04, 2004


I like Laura Bush. Her daughters, not so much. I was all about giving them a chance when they introduced her at the convention, and it started out so very, very, well, with the two of them trotting onstage hand-in-hand, really cute, waving at the crowd and smiling, stepping up to the microphone and cheerfully acknowledging the applause.


And then they opened their mouths. Well, it was an impressive fourteen seconds while it lasted.

What I saw earlier in the evening, though, almost made up for that horror against humanity. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Hoppin' Kerri Strug and... Mary Lou Retton! I was so glad to see my old peppy friend, Mary Lou, she of the perfect vault When It Counted Most. I hereby give you permission to laugh very hard, then, when I tell you that she tripped over the podium when she got on stage. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Arnold Schwarzenegger gets the Balls-Out Award for saying the N-word (Nixon) in public.
(I am right now working up a bigass Hurricane Frances Update, so keep your floodpants on.)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Frances: Charley's Bitchy Big Sister

Went to grocery. Carts gone. Batteries vanished. Jesus candles dwindling. Enntemann's supply critical. Am having flashbacks. Bush twins, burned into retinas, will never be clean again. Off to assume fetal position.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Let Us Pray

So there’s Old Lady With Rhinestone Cap Reading “High Maintenance,” Post Office Worker Who Totally Looks Like Hiter, Old Guy With Nosetubes, Asian Lady Who Stares At the Ceiling, Really Cute Guy My Age Who Unfortunately Has a Wedding Ring, and Woman Who Sings Way Too Loudly.

These are my fellow Monday afternoon Mass-goers. I am Blonde Chick Who Remains Kneeling During the Our Father and Stays There So She Won’t Have to Participate in the Sign of Peace. We’re a weird lot, with our varying shades of senility, odor control, and fashion sense-- in other words, exactly the type of people Jesus wants hanging around.

I don’t belong to a parish. I sampled many churches when I first moved here; they all pissed me off so violently with their low ceilings and their tabernacles hidden behind drywall barriers that I am left to fulfill the Sunday obligation on Monday afternoons. Orlando is a new city, bursting from orange grove to Horrible T-shirt Capital of the World across the short span of a mouse’s ears. When Disney came, the churches followed—right in the middle of Vatican II. It shows. The city contains maybe two Mary statues, total, one of which is in my apartment. Weekday services at the downtown cathedral are all I can stomach.

Yesterday, somebody new showed up: Disgustingly Attractive Woman. She wore a perfectly sculpted nose, a delicate silver rose on her wrist, and smooth stockings beneath a form-fitting, completely non-slutty red dress.

I sat catty-corner from her and spent much of the Mass staring. There had to be some sort of physical flaw—a zit... a padded bra... please, God, some cellulite. Nothing.

The worst thing of all was, she wasn’t a bitch. She was there to be there: Interested nodding and slight smiles during the sermon, bunned head deeply bowed at all the right moments, manicured nails brushing flawlessly executed Signs of the Cross. So I couldn’t even hate her on a count of empty-headed gorgeousness. You just knew she was the type of girl who volunteered every other Saturday at the soup kitchen, ate lunch at outdoor cafes, and curled the edges of birthday present ribbons into perfect spirals.

So I got jealous, followed by a spate of self-hatred for being jealous, followed by further self-hatred for having self-hatred as a result of jealousy in the middle of Mass. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is spending its lunch hour hating its fat thighs. Let’s all give me a big round of Good Catholic applause.

Monday, August 30, 2004


Well, Darth swept onboard today, stepping over bodies, demanding coffee between mechanized breaths, and, as First Official Act as Dark Lord Overseer, announcing a meeting. Because that. Is. Leadership.

I kind of hate to say this, but that was one of the more productive meetings I’ve had since my arrival, which, granted, is to say that we actually accomplished more than sacrificing several trees to produce agenda papers with a shelf life of perhaps four minutes, agenda papers that were completely useless in the first place. The forward motion of the meeting shocked me, as there was no food present, which I have come to think of a Constitutional right; that meetings must come adorned with Honeybaked Ham Fix-It trays.

I tolerated the meeting largely because it turned into an All-American bitchfest. My co-worker Michelle and I, when asked how we might “improve the system of securing clients,” looked at one another, looked back at Darth, and let loose a stream of suggestions beginning with “Where'd the Honeybaked Ham go?” and pretty much ending with “kick everybody’s asses except of course our own.”

The absolute best moment of the meeting, however, arrived when one of the existing vice-presidents kicked things off by saying, “Obviously we’re going to have to rethink this whole grants procurement thing, it’s clearly not working as a marketing tool,” and then when Darth asked us to introduce ourselves, he said, “And what’s your primary role?”

“Grants procurement,” I said.

Then Darth was all, "You are PART of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor! TAKE HER AWAY!"

So a good day, all around. I’m really going to miss this place, because then my life will have to somehow go on without such overheard conversations as the following:

ENGINEER #1: Have you ever talked to Joel with (insert random vendor name here)? Guess what, I used to know Joel’s grandmother. Joel’s grandmother died, though. I can’t remember Joel’s last name, but the last time I talked to him, I said, ‘Joel, I used to know your grandmother! Before she died!’ His dad’s name is Joel too. Yeah, I thought that was really weird, that I would know Joel’s grandmother.

ENGINEER #2: (pause) What was his first name again?


Sunday, August 29, 2004


I am typing this while watching the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics, and I suppose I should be properly sarcastic and bitchy, but frankly I am wrung out. I am emotionally wrung out from shoving the extraordinarily hot Aaron Peirsol one last meter, sticking Paul Hamm's feet to the mat, screaming the National Anthem with Julie Foudy, and, in a spirit of peace and the highest sense of sportsmanship, flipping off various televised members of the IOC.

I take with me the sight of my sister in the Notre Dame family winning fencing gold; too much Gary Hall; American pole vaulters rushing to the sky and floating, floating to Earth with the flame behind them; jumping up and down in front of the TV as the American men won yet another relay; WAY too much Gary Hall; images of the shotput at the site of the ancient Olympics; wanting to hug Michael Phelps as he eight times removed his laurel wreath for the National Anthem, and watching the Opening Ceremonies via two-week tape delay, courtesy of Hurricane Charley.

There has been a great deal of partisan screeching over even the idea of the President or members of his cabinet popping into these Ceremonies. And yet the only explosions we saw in Greece were joyful fireworks, and the only demises the death of the dignity of that one diver guy who gloriously hit the pool stomach-first.

I have a new hero, this Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki chick who is speaking now. Got the Games, got Trumped and got called back into service to haul everybody's asses out of the fire when Athens almost whizzed it all away. Let's hear it for the girls--the softballers, the runners, the soccerers, the asskickers.

The Games were just officially closed, and the call given for the youth of the world to gather four years from now in Beijing. I remember the flag being handed from Sydney to Athens in 2000, and wonder where I will be, how my dreams will have fared, when the flame is passed again to Paris, New York, Moscow, London, or Madrid. Because if you had told me as the flame was extinguished in Australia I'd be watching the next Olympics from Orlando, with a baby nephew at the knee of my heart and many thousands of words about Thoroughbred racing in my wake, you would have been much laughed at.

Very few songs can make me spontaneously combust into tears, and the Olympic Hymn is one of them, so I am off now to sit alone in the dark with the world and be a weeper as the Official Joint of the XXVIII Olympiad flickers out.

Athens is quiet tonight. The flame rests, the athletes slumber in safety. Katie Couric has actually shut up for twelve consecutive hours. For now, that's enough for me.

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