Friday, November 10, 2006


"Did you know Erma Bombeck died?"

Carah the BFFE
asked this of me as we rollerbladed down Saint Mary's Avenue one spring night. I skidded off to the side of the road and was still for a moment; Erma Bombeck is one of those people you simply don't associate with the word "died." She was life, aliveness amongst the dustballs.

I knew Erma before I knew Tom Wolfe or Dave Barry, and as I grew I figured that, as Ohioans and Catholics and lady-writers, I ought to stick with her. Although at seven years old I had never experienced, as she had, the concept that "housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop offs at tedium and counter-productivity," I knew this was funny, and I knew this was right.

You will understand why I am sitting here in quiet awe, then, when word came today that I am the University of Dayton's Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop Writer of the Month. You know this is an important award, because there are many W's in the title, and at least two apostrophes.

I think my mother is more excited about this than my actual book. She had every one of Erma's, and when one day I brought home a history assignment on which the teacher had written, "If you don't become the next Erma Bombeck, I don't know who will," we gazed in wonderment over that far more than the passing grade penciled next to it.

Happy birthday to the Marine Corps! Oorah and thank you. You swim in mud so I don't have to. I'd invite you to make a wish, but you folks tend to make happen whatever you want to make happen anyway, so I'll forego that, fo'shizzle.

thanks Tim at:

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Josh The Pilot is now in the home of Julie The NephewsMama and Country The Brother-In-Law. His initial contact with Jim The Small Child Nephew was a vast improvement over the first time they met, possibly because my sister warned him of Josh's pending arrival. So when he showed up, Jim kept his distance but freaked not: "Is this the Josh whose coming was foretold to me betwixt Clifford's Puppy Days and Sesame Street?"

It was indeed the Josh of prophesy, and they rolled a dump truck back and forth to each other in the sight of the Lord. Next: Co-sponsoring a Senate omnibus bill.

whew at:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Look, Ma, No Airplanes Welded Together

Let us all issue joyful finger-guns in the air and make a bunch of firing noises on behalf of Josh The Pilot, who today becomes a man. An air traffic controlling man, with all the rights and privilges and expectations and John Cusackisms indicated therein. Jim The Small Child Nephew celebrated with a tantrum.

He passed his Big Controller Test today, which has some sort of special initial-intensive name, which makes it important. As I type he is on his way to his assigned post in Virginia. This has been six years in the making, which is five years less than my book, but his career stands to spawn far less horror and death than Drink to the Lasses ever will, so... way to go, Josh!

welcome to his sky at:

Tuesday, November 07, 2006



With 0% of all precincts reported in, I completely and utterly don't care about this election.

I haven't followed it at all. I have a me-intensive book to sell, and I remain burned out from '04. My former polisci classmates are emailing me like, "Webb is down 17,000 early on, trending red!" and I'm all, "Wait. Webb is the... guy with... the... election? Thing?" You look back at my posts two years ago, how I wrote on every pieceofcrap political upheaval to rear its insignificant head. And now, MB 2006: Look! It's a two-year-old lying on the floor!

Let us have a moment, however, for an enormous amount of applause for Cincinnati congressman Steve Chabot (R-Combover), the man I helped to elect thirteen years ago, for awesomely attempting to vote without proper ID. Steve! I'm so very glad I plummeted hours and hours and hours of my high school life into stuffing self-stick envelopes for you. It's paying off huge dividends.

I don't know what the big issue is where you live, but here in The Swamp, Northeastern Sector, we are hotly contesting the question of if the Volusia County Home Rule Charter should be amended so that, and I quote, "the at-large council member shall serve as the vice chair of the county council instead of council election of a vice chair." I don't think I have to tell you how flamingly important this is to the future of our nation. If we have another Civil War, it will not be over abortion or pop vs. soda, but... whether or not the at-large council member shall serve as the vice chair of the county council instead of council election of a vice chair. Next election cycle: Taco salad vs. grilled cheese on Fridays at Port Orange Middle School.

This was one of the easier-to-understand amendments. I have a four year degree in political science, okay, and I had to stand there and read some of these issue proposals about 90 times before I sorted out what, exactly, I was voting on: "Okay, so if I vote... yes, that means that the amendment doesn't not pass, and all the manatees die, and if its... no, the financial bond is optioned to a referendum in the state Senate, which leaves the Trade Federation still in control of Naboo's shipping routes."

Oh, and I need to report an incident of voter intimidation and vote-fixing. This is the first election that has taken place since I moved, so I had a new polling place and voter card and chads to not understand and everything. And I rolled up on the precinct, and walked in the door, and the poll workers, who came with Florida when it was originally incorporated into the nation, could not find me in the ledger.

I was made to sit in a folding chair while all the voters around me busted about with their ballots in their Official Election Cardboard Folders, Sponsored by OfficeMax. My driver's license was taken; I was read my former address in Orlando and asked if I still lived there. Yep! Just driving down the beach an hour away from my residence in office clothes at seven in the morning, and thought I'd stop in and vote.

I had the first four numbers of the Voter Fraud hotline dialed when I was summoned forth. "Young woman?"


"You came in the wrong door. Your precinct is voting across the hall."

Quote of the night, courtesy of Glenn Beck: "Ohio is becoming France."

My people! Alert the geese!

continuing to pet my "I Voted" sticker at:

Shut Up, Faith Hill UPDATE


I know, Faith. I know. I was shocked, too, that you were unable to win with your most recent musical masterpiece, with lyrics the likes of "Hey everybody can't you feel the rhythm now/Hey everybody don't you want to party."

I voted at:

Monday, November 06, 2006

Free samples!

There is now an "Excerpts" page at That's right! I've got my apron on, I'm standing at the end of the cheese aisle, and I'm handing out free samples!

Also, I'm sure you've been unable to function all day, wondering about my reaction to this morning's "Doogie Howser: Gay!" announcement. That reaction, my friends, is: "Really?" I have terrible, terrible gaydar. The first time I saw Elton John, I was like, "Why does his wife let him leave the house dressed like that?"

I hope Vinnie is okay with all this at:

Sunday, November 05, 2006

After Omaha

After Omaha, we stopped at the American cemetery in Normandy. The French have ceded this land to the United States, and so, half a planet away from where I was born, I stood on American soil.

The plots are on a hill near the sea where the landings took place.

It's very quiet.We didn't have time to examine each grave, although each grave deserved it. Here are a few.

There are over nine thousand just like them.

I passed one of a private from Ohio. A bird had left its mark; I pulled tissue from my pocket and wiped it clean. The sleeve of my jacket was good enough for my own needs.

This is the ceiling of the cemetery chapel. A mosaic shows America blessing her young men, sending them off to war

...and France placing a laurel wreath on the brow of her gift.

We passed several school groups, and a few veterans-- fewer each year. Here is a gift from some who left just before we reached the Memorial. The card reads: "This wreath is placed in recognition of your bravery in the Normandy campaign. From the English veterans of the Sword Beach."It was laid at the foot of this statue, called "The Spirit of American Youth Rising From the Waves."Every hour, a bell tolls "Faith of Our Fathers".

And it's still quiet.

These are the gates to the Garden of The Missing, which is ringed with walls bearing the names of soldiers whose remains were never recovered.

Here is how closely the names are spaced.

And here is how much wall there is side of it.

No one is ever the quite the same, after Omaha.

Previous Tastings