Saturday, July 31, 2010

Green Eggs and Ham? Oui.
Canard? Non!

As I mentioned, my Big Sis, her partner, and a smattering of Texas gay boys, lesbos, and I are going to Paris in a few months.
Our father was a life-long vegetarian, so Big Sis and I grew up with his oft-encouraged aversion to all but the most common of meats.
We ate beef, pork, turkey and a little bit of fish as kids, but my sister saw some goddamn chicken report on "60 Minutes" back in 1968 or something and hasn't touched chicken since.
I like chicken. It's a very versatile protein and I have lots of great chicken recipes. If my sis would start eating chicken again, it would solve a lot of culinary restrictions when I cook for my family.
It's not like I'd expect her to eat wings or thighs, for God's sake.
Both my sister and I are frightened to death that our lack of French speaking skills will cause us to inadvertently order duck, pigeon, innards, frog legs, escargot, or anything with liver in it, including foie gras.
Recently, I read an article about some Parisian chefs buying bush-meat from Africa and serving it in their fancy-pants restaurants at a very expensive price.
Bush-meat might include monkey, monkey brains, zebra legs, elephant dicks, gazelle gizzards and other exotic meats too horrid to contemplate. Some of it is basically road kill, but everyone knows Parisian chefs can cover cat crap with a sauce so delicious, it'll render the droppings tres magnifique.
Stupidly, I e-mailed the article to my sister, whose already red-lining gross-foods-in-Paris-paranoia spun into overdrive after she read the article.
She got so wigged out, she made her partner install an app on her iTouch that asks French waiters, "Does this have chicken in it?" and "Are any vital organs used in this dish?" "This isn't rabbit, is it?"
The voice it uses has a really terrible American-French robot accent, too, so I'm sure the snooty French waiters will spit in our boeuf and put boogers in our mousse du chocolat when we aren't looking.

I love to over-research places I've never visited before for months before I go there.
As such, I have read the menus of tens of dozens of classic French restaurants, and I mistakenly had thought their amazing sauces were what made French dishes world renown.
Turns out they all serve basically the same stuff--escargot, frogs legs, pigeon, pate de goose or duck liver, assorted offal, wild game and fowl, and maybe one beef, one chicken and one fish dish.
That means Big Sis will have to subsist on ham and cheese sandwiches, beef, and maybe a dab of fish- but no scallops, crab or pretty near any fish but salmon and tuna.
Even some beef dishes are disqualified because the sauce is made with bone marrow, foie gras, pig ear consomme, or some damn thing.
My Sharona was not reared by a queasy vegetarian daddy, so she's planning to wolf down pretty much everything but the bush-meat. That means anything sis or I find even slightly questionable will end up on Sharona's plate. And she will like that.
But I'm not too worried about starving.
As long as there are pastry, chocolate and bread shops on every corner, I think I could easily subsist on bread, butter, candy, fruit tarts, more chocolate things, custards and foofy pastel things filled with glistening sugar, caramel and other goop. Not to mention wine.
About four months before our departure date, I announced with great certainty my intentions to eat almost anything they served, because I knew it would all be excellent. Pate? Sure! Escargot? Absolutely! Duck? Why not?
But I lied.
When a good Parisian lesbian friend of mine told me via e-mail that she'd cook me dinner at her flat, I exclaimed, "Oh my God, the thought of a Parisian lesbian cooking dinner for me is almost too wonderful to contemplate!"
Alas, I think I spoiled it when I sent an e-mail reply and asked her what she'd make.
"But of course, I would make for you zee deesh I like zee best!" she replied.
"And what is that?" I replied, foolishly.
"Canard a la (something I forget)."
I immediately raced to Babel Fish translator and typed in, "canard."
It was duck. Oh no!
Without carefully considering the French sense of pride and culinary tradition, not to mention their widespread dislike for boorish Americans who need a good slap in zee face, I replied, "Oh no, I don't eat duck or other cute animals. Unless they moo, cluck, oink or gobble, I don't eat them."
No reply.
No further mention of the French girl cooking me dinner, either.
The one bright spot in my callous reply?
I won't be sitting around after dinner with duck stuck in my teeth.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Nothing Like Some Easy Vacation Reading

My Bis Sis, her partner and an assortment of Texas homos and I are fixin' to go to Paris in 6 weeks or so. I've read every travel guide and expat in Paris book I can find, so now it's time to hunker down and start on a little French literature.
How bad can a book be about a French hooker that made good?
I've already read a tiny sliver of Emile Zola's work, so I reckon Nana will be good.
Okay, so I am off to my reading chair.
Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

It's Hot and I am Cranky

I'll blog when I feel more like it. I'm just too hot and cranky right now.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Long and Winding Tale:
Karen Zipdrive Takes Her Car in to Get the Wheels Rotated

I bought new tires last year, and the retailer sent me an e-mail recently to remind me I was way overdue for a tire rotation.
I'd already noticed some road noise while I drove, and the final straw came when Big Sis's partner, My Sharona, who always drives my car when I'm in Austin said, "Sounds like tire cupping to me."
Well, I'm a dyke but not THAT much of a dyke, so I dared not ask what tire cupping meant, lest she explain it while my eyes and brain glazed over.
So, I thought today was a good day to take Tina Turner (my car) in for a shoe-swap.
After waiting a few minutes, the tire guy came toward me, looking like a physician who just discovered I have a brain tumor.
"Ma'am," he said gently, "I'd like you to take a look at something, please."
He took me out to the tire-busting bay and showed me one of my wheels, spinning on some kind of gizmo.
"See ma'am, you've got the start of cupping here on the tire, but worst of all your rim is bent up pretty bad. Do you drive this car kinda hard?"
"Umm, I drive vigorously."
"What do you mean by vigorously, ma'am?"
"Well, I go fast and take turns rather sharply."
"Do you go over pot-holes and railroad tracks kinda fast, ma'am?"
"Well, there ya have it," the young man said.
I asked him to just put everything back the way it was so I could drive home and think it over without feeling rushed into making an expensive decision.
Before I could get away, his concerned looking co-worker appeared and mumbled something to him. It seems another wheel was even more bent.
They broke the news to me and I said, "Screw it. Give me an estimate on four new wheels. But I have no plans to drive to any Southside, Westside or Eastside establishments, so there's no need for spinners, danglers, whistlers or anything attention-grabbing. And I will pay no more then $100 per wheel."
"Well, ma'am, you have a large wheel, but we can put you in these for only $125 a wheel."
I stood up straight, and in my best Ethel Merman-project-it-to-the-rafters voice I said, "Look, I know I am the perfect target for a man-store like this to take advantage of because I'm old, no longer attractive to men under 70 and might look like I can afford whatever price you quote, but please, let's skip the sucker-the- old-broad route and just knock that price down to $100 each. Okay, young man?"
People started giggling and leaning in to hear his reply.
He said, "Yes ma'am...but I'll have to ask the manager if I can do that for you."
"Oh, the "get the manager" trick, I saw this on Sixty Minutes," I said.
By then the whole room was snickering, even the employees.
The kid returned and said, in a stage voice of his own, "I'll be very happy to give you those wheels at your price, ma'am," as he started to peck out the bill of sale on his computer.
I watched as he typed:

4 Godzilla Team 5000 chrome wheels @ $100. ea $400.
4 Valve stems, chrome: @ $8 ea $32.
4 Lug Nuts, Chroma-Dynamic Lock-o-matic @ $8 ea $32.
4 Heavy Duty Team Magnesium Racing Valve stem caps @ $4 ea $16.
4 Environmental Protection Agency Federal Law Disposal Fee (wheels): @ $25 $100.
4 Environmental Protection Agency Federal Law Disposal Fee (lug nuts, etc.) @$2 $8

I got pop-eyed and said, "No, No, No, stop!
"When I said $100 each, I meant I'd pay $400, plus tax and that's it. Take all that other stuff off there."
He wanted to quibble, but I interroupted and told him anything they removed and replaced had to be boxed up and placed in my trunk-- wheels, lug nuts, valve stems and all.
By then, I could tell the employees all wanted me out of there because I was making the other customers get ideas.
So I got my deal and sped off. No more road noise. Yay!

Please allow me to stray for a moment.

As an ongoing art project, I have taken dozens of hubcaps, painted them, festooned them with plastic saints and turned them into religious icons I call, "Holy Rollers."

I get my hubcaps at this used tire store, where I'm pretty certain only the top 5 percent of their employees were actually born in America.
But they are nice cholos and they'll change a flat tire for only $4.
As a treat, I took my bent Acura wheels to them, but before I could give them to them as a gift, they said, "The most we can give you is like $7 a piece because things are so slow right now."
So the co-manager, Marcos, said, "Ma'am if you take these to the recycling center you can get a lot more, like maybe fifty bucks because they're heavy aluminum."
I said, "Where is that?"
He described an area close to the seedy side of downtown that no female had been within 5 miles of in centuries.
"Man, I ain't driving down there," I said.
He leaned his tire-greased belly toward my open window and said, "Come on, I'll show you where it is, you drive."
So off we went, to a warehouse stacked to the dingy rafters with scrap metals of every ilk. We placed the wheels on a giant scale, I showed my ID to the man in the cage and he gave me a slip of paper with mumbo jumbo printed on it.
From there we went to the teller cage, where another guy handed me $57.62 in cash.
I split it 60/40 with Marcos and we drove back to the tire shop.
Turns out he's a real nice guy who got all the way to the 11th grade at Jefferson High.
He looks like the baddest Mexican Bandito Motorcycle gang member that Central Casting has ever hired. He's shaved bald, had a scarred eyebrow, broken nose and horrific scars on his arms he told me he got from radiator and tire explosions.
But he does house painting, yard work, dead animal removal, hole digging, car detailing, junk removal... just about any chore you can think of that causes excess sweat and dirty, banged up hands that no woman over 50 should have to even consider doing.
And he thinks I'm fancy and rich because my car is shiny and made in this century and I speak precise English, so he's too cowed to think I'd ever sleep with him in a bazillion years. So he's no Rico Suave, thank God.
Anyway, I finally have the last puzzle piece my life was missing--my own personal cholo. I will start him out on easy, outdoor stuff like trimming branches and hauling them elsewhere, but I have great hopes he'll soon graduate to ripping out carpeting and other horrid interior tasks.

In the process of our recycling caper today, I realized how hard Mexican Americans like Marcos work for a buck, and how great I have it as a white woman with a decent salary and a house and car.
Racist assholes who say Mexicans are lazy should have to spend a week tire-busting at C&D Tire company, where the pay is lousy and there are zero benefits, especially not health insurance. Marcos has been there 17 years. He's 42 now.
When people will do this kind of back breaking, filthy hard labor and light up when you bring them an ice cold soda, it makes me feel guilty that I never feel like I have to cow-tow to people I think are "better than me," and a soda is never anything to light up about.
I think of the couple of times I've spent the equivalent of his weekly salary on a nice dinner, and it makes me feel like a Capitalist pig.
So, I've decided I'll pay my new cholo a fair wage, drop off a barbecue sandwich once in a while at the tire shop (he works 7 days a week) and make a habit of buying a big Coke for him whenever I'm in the neighborhood.
When I finally got home from My Tire & Wheel Adventures, I found an e-mail from my brother that said my father had died earlier that morning. We weren't close and I won't be attending his funeral due to the Jerry Springer-esque nature of his wife and her family, so please don't think I'm overwrought or traumatized.
He was 90-years-old and had been in a coma for months, so it was hardly unexpected.
It was just one more thing to think about on this humid, cloudy and odd night.
I told my sister I was worried a bit that my father would rush to bother my mother in Heaven, but then she reminded me that dad may not have been deployed to that venue. "Hmmm," I thought.
Then she summed the whole situation up perfectly:
"The biggest thing he left me was three days of paid bereavement leave."
We laughed really hard at that.
Dad would have, too. He was a bastard, but a funny bastard.
Good night, all.
I Love Rachel Maddow

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In this clip, she disarms blowhard Bill O'Reilly with wit, humor and grace.
I guess it's easy to be kind when the facts are on her side.
But as kind as she is in her delivery, the velvet gloved punch to O'Reilly's jaw must have hurt, because the truth often does.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


It's a hot and humid afternoon and I woke up way too early this morning.
I can see no reason not to take a nap.
Glenn Beck Pokes Fun at the Blind, 2006

Looks like karma is hitting insensitive clod Glenn Beck right between the eyes.
Seems he's got "macular dysfunction," a condition he claims might cause blindness.
It's heartless to celebrate a disabling disease, so I will refrain from being too upbeat about this news, but I will say I hope he will have a splendid retirement from Fox News if and when his eyes fail him.
Beneath his hapless, quasi-lovable on-camera shtick lies a man filled with hatred and intolerance. He riles up ignorant people by preying on their biggest fears and insecurities.
It will be a better world if Beck has to give up his show for whatever reason.
When he made the announcement that he may be going blind, of course he started crying. Then he said how much he loved to read, and that he was "too darn lazy to learn Braille."

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Told Ya So

During the tempestuous election races back in 2009, I wanted Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee for president.
I had nothing against Barack Obama per se, I just wanted a tougher candidate with better credentials.
Now as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has distinguished herself as a loyal soldier to the commander in chief, a no nonsense negotiator and someone who is thought to be doing a difficult job in a dignified, competent manner.
President Obama, on the other hand, has proven to be far too moderate, too prone to give in to the rabid right, too weak on delivering on promises to those who elected him, and basically about as bland as white toast with margarine.
Quick, if you had to assign the word wimp to Obama or Hillary, whom would you choose?
I like Obama, but I am disappointed in him for a variety of good reasons.
Mostly I am disappointed because he's turned out to be bland and conciliatory--more suited to an ambassadorship of an allied nation.
I hope his loyal soldier Hillary decides to run against him in 2012.
She gave him a chance to show what he can do, and he hasn't shown us much.
It's time for a stronger, more progressive president.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My name is Tweeds the Cat and I am Smarter Than TX Gov. Rick Perry

As a cat, I rarely pay attention to TV news, but today as I was napping I heard out of the corner of my ear that Rick Perry has introduced a law that will revoke existing licenses or not issue new driver's licenses to high school dropouts.
Now as a cat, I have limited interest in people, but it doesn't take a human to see how stupid this new law would be if it passes.
Seriously, does a kid need a high school diploma to deliver pizza or flip burgers?
Is a diploma essential to driving a cab or working for a landscape company?
Tell ya what, humans. You take a kid's driver's license away, in addition to his or her lack of education, does anyone think this will help the kid get ahead?
Stupid Rick Perry.
He defunds all sorts of educational programs and does whatever he can to derail young Texans from completing high school, then he decides to punish them by denying them drivers' licenses.
I know some stupid humans, but this guy is just begging for one of my pals to crap in his shoe.
I just know he hates cats, you can tell.
Stupid human bastard.
How to Voluntarily Cut Down on Eating Meat

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What a Dick.

Is anyone besides me wondering what life must have been like for Mel Gibson's wife Robin all those years?
He reminds me of a white O.J. Simpson--angry, misogynistic, substance abusing and totally narcissistic.
Oh, how I wish I was a fan of Gibson before all this blew up so I could boycott all his movies. Alas, I didn't like him before I found out what a douchebag he is.
I think the Catholic church could score a major PR coup if they excommunicated him.

Friday, July 09, 2010

My First Semi-Annual Sports Post

LeBron James decided to play basketball for the Miami Heat.
They hate his traitor guts in his home town of Cleveland now, and the Cavalier's owner issued a screed that all but told James to go fuck himself.
The Miami Heat?
Isn't there a curse on that team?
I think LeBron James decided on Miami because he thinks Kim Kardashian might give him a little.
But there is one bright spot to this horrible news. At least he didn't go to the Lakers.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Happy Birthday, America

May God bless the First Amendment of the Constitution, which gives all Americans the right to free speech.
Even stupid, hateful, ignorant jackasses have the right to open their mouths and make total fools of themselves.
I salute the individuals in this clip for having the courage and conviction to show us in their own words just how slanderous, venom spewing and batshit crazy they are.
It's a free country that allows crackpots like these to exist.
Long live America!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Old Age and Treachery Overcome Youth and Enthusiasm Every Time

Okay, I'll admit it. I watched the first Twilight movie on DVD at my Big Sister's urging. I liked it.
But I missed the second movie because I wasn't about to go to a theater and sit amongst hormonal teens slobbering all over the screen.
Big Sis came at me again, asking if I wanted to go see Twilight Eclipse at a theater in Austin this weekend.
I said no.
Then she clarified something for me.
It seems Austin has a movie theater that takes reservations and offers red leather recliners, a full food and alcohol menu and table service. Tickets cost $20 each.
I had to smile when I heard that.
What pimple-faced teenager has the dough to pay that much for tickies? Probably not too many, especially if it's a date and costs double that. And the recliners are all separate, so there's no whispering and giggling going on.
I still resisted until Big Sis said she'd already bought my ticket for me.
So it's settled.
Twilight Eclipse for grown-ups. I like it.