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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The new taste sensation

I came back from lunch with a colleague today and walked through our conference/eating area to the bathroom.

My staff eats. A lot. Badly. Do(gh)nuts. Cake. Cheetos. Almost everyday someone brings something in, always high in fat and calories. It drives me wild. I'm not the most food resistant person in the world. I try to resist. Sometimes it works. Other times, less so.

So, today I was walking by and there were two things sitting on the table with those "it's for everyone" markers recognized the world over. Both items had small plates next to them and food serving devices nearby.

I stopped. I gaped. I may have gasped. I certainly sighed.

On the table was: a VERY gristly steak and next to it (on a seperate plate--a small mercy) there was a chunk of flan swimming in sauce.

Steak and flan. Both room temperature.

Here's the good news: I had no trouble resisting. For your evening update, I should note that the flan was consumed and the steak is still sitting there. Anyone want some?

Monday, July 16, 2007


Because Lady Bird Johnson died I have been thinking about "lady" deaths.

Some years ago, my immediate family created the presidential death bet. We each picked the order the living presidents would die and then put $20 down on our order. Three of us were out almost immediately, as we had gone Reagan before Nixon. The two Nixon folks are still in the running, having gotten the first three right. The outcome rides on George H.W. Bush going before Jimmy Carter or vice versa. I have to say that I am glad the bet was conceived before the current idiot stole the 2000 election.

Anywho, some years after its inception (I believe on the occasion of Jacqueline Kennedy's death, though Pat Nixon had gone before), I said that we should have included the first ladies.

My mother, a great fan of the Kennedy legacy, allowed as that was "NOT funny." I didn't think it was, actually. I just thought it would have made things more interesting. So, for that matter, would Nixon have, had he had the decency to live longer than that actor people thought played president so well.

Lady Bird (who hated her nickname, as I read in her L.A. Times obit) would have lost me the bet. I would have guessed she'd go before Pat Nixon certainly. She got me to thinking about ladies and ladies who have died and I realized that I had meant to note the passing of a lady who I wish were still in the world. She died back in April and I miss her.

Not every day, mind you. I didn't know her but I liked knowing she was in the world.

Who am I talking about? Why, you know, of course, Miss Kitty Carlisle! Or Mrs. Kitty Carlisle Hart if you prefer. She would have known I was talking about her. Kitty KNEW things.

She was smart, elegant, and, really, a bit of a know-it-all. She most always knew the answer on To Tell the Truth. (That is, when she didn't have to recuse herself because she had met the unusual person before). She seemed to know everyone from Hollywood and Broadway and also seemed to have done some learning of other things along the way. My favorite bit of her To Tell the Truth appearances, though, were her entrances. She entered with what can only be described panache. Try to catch it sometime on late night teevee. No one could make an entrance like Kitty could. From what I gather, her exit at 96 had as much grace as her life. We should all be so lucky.

When she died in April, that were lots of lovely tributes to her, so I won't try my hand at a tribute to someone who I only saw on television. I will say this, though: on the occasion of an unfunny death of an interesting woman and first lady, let's also pause to remember the other ladies in our lives who stood out for being a little different, a little smart, and a little (or maybe a lot) independent.

Happy journeys to them all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


While waiting for to-go food at Panera:

Guy walks up and sits down in the "to-go" waiting area and sings a snippet of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion." He turns to his companion and says:

"That's the first song I ever knew as a kid that I thought had deep meaning. I mean, like, I was really impressed that I figured out that the lyrics meant something and weren't just words. I totally thought I knew what it meant."


"I didn't. I'm still not sure I do now."

(pause) Sings a bit more.

"R.E.M. is deep, man."

Later that same evening, I indulge in a self-torture habit, which is looking myself up on ratemyprofessors. Only one comment from last semester has appeared. It's from a deaf student who I KNOCKED myself out to help, but she just couldn't understand the material. That may have had something to do with the fact that she NEVER watched the interpreter and tended to chat with her neighbor in ASL.

Here's what she said:

"She is good teacher very understanding with concepts of the class teaching but with the written test she is so picking and myself being deaf i am struggle with grammers that she is picking with but i do understand the class concepts but written so picky so she gave me D+ She does 3 papers and 2 written test that overall for semester."

Understanding comes the way it comes and in its own time. Or not. Damn grammers.

Deep, man.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Ok, I know some of you like gum. That's fine. People like the Yankees and pimento and mushrooms and golf. There is no accounting for what appeals to people. Look at them. Like alien eyes staring.

I loathe gum. I don't like the way it tastes. I don't like the way it smells. I hate that people leave it places so I have to see it. Or step in it. I can and have been pretty fucking rude when it comes to gum. I can't help it. I probably could help it. I don't want to.

Once I liked it. When I was a child. I would poke around in my mother's purse. She usually had Trident, sometimes Juicy Fruit. I was beset by braces (and not the kind glue-on kind but the mean wrap-around-your-tooth kind) when I was but a lass (10 or 11 I want to say) and being the good girl I was, duly gave up gum. My orthodontist was a big guy with very hairy hands that creeped me out under his rubber gloves. Hair under translucent rubber=not pretty.

By the time I had my braces off, I was in my rebellious phase (don't ask) and rarely wore my retainer and once accidentally threw it away in the trashcan at The Varsity. The Varsity is a wonderful place, and I order right. It's also a place where grease takes hold. Rooting through The Varsity trash looking for my retainer was a more base experience than most in my life. The irony was the trash rooting resulted in naught. Well, it resulted in greasy hands and clothes, but no retainer.

Hairy-handed orthodontist died while I was a teenager and I took it as a sign that I should move on from corrective dentistry. That was not the signal the universe was sending and my teeth have drifted. Still.

I vividly remember getting my braces off and how slick my teeth felt. I immediately wanted some gum. I had some. I wanted to vomit. Ever since I have an aversion, a revulsion, a repulsion to gum.

Last night I stepped in some. It got all over my car floor mat and floorboard. It took 30 minutes to clean up. My car still smells like spearmint and every time I think of it, my gorge rises.

So, gum chewers of the world, hear my pleas!

1. Don't chew it in my car.

2. If you must chew gum, dispose of it properly.

3. Consider mints. Mints I like.

That is all.