Miz Shoes

Yeah, It’s a Cheap Shot

This is what a three-million dollar ad campaign looks like:


And you just know that the bright lights at the agency were just pissing themselves over their own cleverness: it's a sign that says it's a sign.
Oh. My. Gawd. We are so funny. A sign. That says it's a sign. Get it?

The other ones in the series say things like "You're in one of the few places we're not." Huh? You mean you don't have a clinic on the train? Well, but the train stops right at the hospital, so sometimes you are where the hospital is.

Or in the immortal words of Firesign Theater, how can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all?

Another one says "Get a better health plan by the next stop." and then has the web address. So I guess that works if you are a commuter with a wireless bluetooth connection on your cell phone. Or something like that.

It's a sign. It's a sign that's a sign.
Miz Shoes

Paris, Cuba en Miami

I love this. These delivery guys are all over my building in the morning, with steaming cups of cafe con leche, and aromatic Cuban toast (a loaf of water bread. split along its length, loaded with a dizzying amount of butter or oleo, then toasted flat in an aluminum foil-lined press).

But, if it's a Cuban cafe, and believe me, it is... why is their logo the Eiffel Tower, and the name of the place the Paris Cafe?

Miz Shoes

Many Things Remind Me of Many Things

When I was just a yellow pup, ordering books from the Scholastic Book Service was always a big treat. I loved, and still love, buying books. It is an indulgence which nobody can fault. If you collect shoes (whistling innocently and looking up and away), people will find you self-indulgent and frivolous. Wasteful, even. If you have a fondness for more art supplies than you will ever be able to produce artwork from, again, you could be found guilty of avarice.

But nobody, ever, ever, looks askance at an addiction for books. Anyway. I digress.

One of my favorite Scholastic Books was "Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle" and it is an anthology of poetry.

I have loved so many of the poems in this book, for forty years or so now. And the other morning, when I saw this from the train platform, I was reminded of yet another poem from the book.


"Steam Shovel

The dinosaurs are not all dead

I saw one raise its iron head

To watch me walking down the road

Beyond our house today.

Its jaws were dripping with a load

Of earth and grass that it had cropped.

It must have heard me where I stopped.

Snorted white steam my way,

And stretched its long neck out to see,

And chewed, and grinned quite amiably.

Charles Malam"
Miz Shoes

That Big Orange Blob? That Was My House.

The last tv I saw was about seven oclock on Thursday evening. It was the local news channel, and they were showing the latest radar on Hurricane Katrina. It was a large green blob. To the southwest quadrant of the screen, was a big orange blob. The talking head announced to the watching audience that that big orange blob represented the worst part of the storm, and that, sadly, it seemed to be stationary. Over southern Dade County. The Kendall area, in particular.
My house to be exact. Or at least that's the way I feel about it. The power went off right about then, and it just came back on less than half an hour ago.

Good thing, because the refrigerator was beginning to get funky, we were down to the last bag of ice in the chest, the koi were looking a little green around the gills, the Noble Dog Nails decided to take a bite of bufo toad today and we sluiced his mouth out with water, and tried to find an open doggie emergency room. Couldn't find one, as it happened, but we did find an open Mexican restaurant with cold beer and hot tacos (not a Taco Bell, either). And the Noble Dog Nails, who has taken on the evil bufo before seems to have recovered 100% and with no additional treatment other than a mouth wash and ride in the car.

The RLA and I spent yesterday cleaning up the yard. Photos of the hurricane can be found here.

It was exactly as a hurricane should be: wet, devastating, underestimated by the newbies in the state, exciting like a thrill ride while it happens, boring, hot and hard work when it's over. The power outage was a mere 50 hours more or less. Just enough to be annoying, not enough to cause real personal problems.

But here I am, back in the saddle again.

And, please could someone tell me why "Forever Amber" is considered a classic? I want to slap this main character into a coma. She is all of Scarlett O'Hara with none of the class. Argggh. But I won't put it down. I love the historical part of the hysterical fiction. Restoration England. Yum. Anyway, when you are stuck in a house with no power, and you need something to do other than cut up fallen trees, this sort of trash is great. One thousand pages long, it's good for a forced march of reading. It was even fun to read it by candle light. With a good supply of red wine. And hard cheese.
Miz Shoes

Skew the Demographics!

Take the MIT Weblog Survey
Yeah, baby. There is nothing I like better than taking part in a random survey. This one is being run by MIT's Media Lab, and any time I can be part of their science, I am one happy puppy.

My sistergirl sent me an article about Mars being closer to Earth this August than any time since the Neanderthals looked up, but it turns out it was one of those web things that circulates and circulates and circulates. The actual time of the Mars event was two summers ago. Still and all, I suppose that looking up is a good thing to do anyway.

And if you're looking up and out in mid to late August, you'll be seeing the Perseid Meteor Showers. So how bad could it be, if you get to see a few shooting stars?
Miz Shoes

Our House

The day the RLA and I viewed this house, it was raining. The glass barn doors to the pool deck were open, and the house, with its dark Dade County Pine ceiling, was as cozy as a summer camp cabin. The rain misted through the screen over the pool deck, and it was almost like it was raining inside the house.

We were thoroughly charmed, and didn't see the other things like the do-it-yourself projects that had been done poorly. We bought the house.
To this day, thirteen years later, I love this little place in the rain. I woke up this morning at six, planning on driving up to Jupiter to meet with my brother and the estate lawyer. That plan soon ended when I discovered we were in the outer squall bands from Tropical Storm Arlene.

We did a conference call instead, and I was ensconced on the sofa, coffe mug in hand, cozy little house around me.

Good thing, too, because my brother is a greedy, grabby idiot and had I not been in the zen womb of my snug little cabin, I probably would have been leaning over the lawyer's desk slapping the cowboy hat off my brother's head.

Here's the deal. I want to buy his half of the family home, so that I can live in it. He wants to sell it to me, but either wait until Mummy dies and have the house appraised then, betting on the real estate bubble still inflating, or do it now, cash in his hand and the fact that I'm only semi-employed be damned. Or, he says, if I can't scrape the bucks together, maybe we should (read "You, little sister, should") empty the house and rent it out. We could put that money aside and when Mummy dies and I'm ready to leave Miami (where I brought her to live because he couldn't be counted on to take care of her) then I can let him have all the rent as part of the payment I make to him for the house.

Heaves a sigh. Contemplates the coziness of my little house. Sips coffee. Pets dog. Waits for blood pressure to lower.

He has a wife, you know.
Miz Shoes

Conspicuous Consumption

Working in a mall store has caused the scales to be removed from my eyes. The state of civilization in America has deteriorated to degrees I never imagined in my safe little ivory tower of public, not-for-profit service.
Item the first:

The posture of American youth is appalling. I have never been exposed to such slouching and round shoulders, ever. I spend my days wanting to shout "Stand up straight!" at ten minute intervals. These teen-aged girls have dowager's humps and they have barely hit puberty. They hold their necks extended, leading with their chins, and their shoulders curve around as if to meet in the center of their clavicles. It's just not healthy, but then

Item the second:

Neither is their weight. And let me tell you, I can see every ounce of extra fat rolling over their low-slung jeans, extruding out from under their cropped tops, and oozing out of their decolletage. In my day (which is to say, the sixties) not a one of those girls would ever have gotten laid, or even let out of the house with so much fat showing. And, as in primitive societies where fat is counted as a display of wealth, so it seems to me in America. These girls are blissfully unaware that a pouchy stomach, or a pair of love handles are not attractive. They parade this avoirdupois with pride. Or at least as much pride as their slumped shoulders and pigeon necks can portray.

Item the third:

Money is no object in appeasing our children. I sell, among other things, the best toy in the world: i-pods. I say they are toys because the majority of purchasers are mothers of young, nay, very young, children, and they are not buying them for their own use. They are buying $200 electronic devices for their eight-year-olds. I suggest to them that a shuffle, with no moving parts, half the cost and a storage capacity of 120 songs might be sufficient for the little darlings, but no. These mothers and grandmothers want the real deal. Just a question, but wouldn't you be better off spending that money on, say, summer camp, where the children would be out of doors, learning to oh, ride horses, or play soccer, or any other activity requiring physical movement and interaction with other children?

And why does every little monster who comes in have a cell phone clutched in their sticky little mitt? What about personal supervision in person? Not that that seems to matter because we have

Item the fourth:

A small boy, with his mother at the local grocery store. He is wearing a full Darth Vader helmet. It contains electronics to make his voice sound like the filtered basso profundo of James Earl Jones. Not to dwell on the price of such an object, or the appropriateness of letting your child wear such a thing in public, um.... if you are going to encourage your child's imagination in emulating a movie character, shouldn't you be guiding him (or her) towards the HERO? and not the slayer of innocents? Darth Vader, in case you've been living under a rock for the past thirty years, is the Bad Guy. The Very Bad Guy. Just because he repents in the third act, and kills the Emperor, he's still had a long run of being the most evil creation in the whole Star Wars saga. So, here's the question: Why would you want your six-year-old to pretend to be him? And not just pretend with a stick and a pillow case, but with very expensive, electronic toys that you had to purchase to enable him?


We are a nation of instantly gratified swine. We don't teach our young manners, clothing sense, correct posture, or the value of money. Our youth are indolent, arrogant and spoiled. And then we wonder why.
Miz Shoes

About Hats

This has to stop, people. I mean it. Don't make me come out there and snatch those gawdawful trucker hats off of each and every one of your heads and beat you about the head and shoulders with it.

Once and for all: If you have all of your teeth, and none of them are brown or green, if you and your family are not the punchline in a Jeff Foxworthy joke, then you should NOT WEAR THE TRUCKER HAT.
Furthermore, if it has a brim, the brim should be worn over the brow, thereby shielding the eyes from sun and glare. See any photo of Humphrey Bogart, Ernest Hemingway, or even Jimmy Buffett.

Wearing them backwards, while appalling, is still more acceptable than wearing them askew. Askew is not a viable fashion statement. Are we clear on this? NOT. A. FASHION. STATEMENT. Ever. Even if you are nominally a celebrity.


Maybe I need to repeat that.


It doesn't look cool. It only looks stupid.

And this trend?


Of wearing trucker hats not only askew, but too small? Are you people trying to make my brain explode, or force me to poke myself in the eyes with the sharp end of a charred stick?

It isn't even acceptable on a cartoon character. In real life? It is just wrong.
Miz Shoes

Right To Die, Right To Life

I read all of the comments on my previous post. I watched the video that Allie suggested I watch. My interpretation of that video was light years opposed to hers.

She saw a person capable of relating to the things around her. I saw the random grunts and cries that issue from someone in a persistant vegetative state.

I have been in the hospital room with someone in that condition. It is heartbreaking, and one wants to believe that those noises are coming in response to some stimulus one is providing, but it just isn't so. The groans coming from my father in law were just that. Groans. They were in response to the pain of breathing through a respirator.

If I were asked, and I am not, to decipher Ms. Schiavo's moans I would say that they are pleas to be let slip this mortal coil.
Which brings me to the (once more) faulty logic of the so-called Christians who rally to her hospice to beg for her life. If they believe in a just and righteous G-d, then they should be begging for Ms. Schiavo to be disconnected from life support so that their G-d can grant her healing via miracle.

If they don't think their G-d capable of a miracle, or merely disinclined to prove Himself for the likes of us non-believers, then they should be praying for her death so that she can be granted access to the perfect afterlife that they believe awaits her. Why would they want her to "live" like this when in their version of heaven, she can have her complete body back and attain bliss?

In some way or another, this brings me round to this article:

"Evolution Reference Hurts Volcano Movie"

"CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - IMAX theaters in several Southern cities have decided not to show a film on volcanoes out of concern that its references to evolution might offend those with fundamental religious beliefs." (Read the complete story)

I have a suggestion for all of us not offended by references to evolution (NOT A FUCKING THEORY, asshats) but offended by the ability of a vocal, religious minority to overthrow the rights of the many:

Boycott. Yes. Boycott. If IMAX refuses to show a movie because they don't want to offend the religious right who might boycott them if they do show the movie, then boycott IMAX for being craven cowards. Not just during the run of whatever they show in place of the volcano film, but until they grow a fucking spine. Ditto for anyone and anything else that caves to the right. If some business or other wants to keep the minority among their list of paying customers, then let that be their ONLY customer base.

If the basis for caving in to a threat of a boycott of the religious right is that the money is too great to lose, then let the entity that has caved discover how much more money there is to lose when they lose their integrity.

Which also ties in with this story referrenced in today's Dear Abby:

"The majority of high school students assign little or no value to the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment: freedom of the press, speech and religion." (read the complete story)

And it only gets worse, as 36 percent of them think newspapers should not be allowed to publish without government approval.

Back when I was still a Yellow Puppy, I started an independent student newspaper at my high school. It's title? "The First Amendment" and we published poetry and storied and things that had little to do with what the administration told us was fit to publish.

But that was the 1960s, when the SDS was in full flower, and to question authority was a duty of all youth. Now? Feh. All this latest generation wants is to be, like Ms. Schiavo, force fed what others tell them is the truth. G-d forbid they ever wake up.
Miz Shoes

Separation of Church and State

Would the state of Florida and the United States Congress please get the fuck out of the Terri Schiavo case and let her husband (sanctity of marriage) put her out of her misery?

Would her parents just let her go, already and quit fantasizing that she's gonna wake up? Her parents condemn their son-in-law for wanting to be able to marry his girlfriend with whom he has children. They want him to divorce her and let them keep her alive in her vegatative state until they die. They say he won't do that because he wants the million dollars from her malpractice decision.
Maybe, just maybe, and I'm really going out on a limb here, because I don't personally know any of the parties involved, maybe he won't divorce her because he really does care about her, he really does know what her choice was, and he insists on being her guardian so that he can follow her wishes and let her die.

But let me go back to the rant at hand, which isn't about the husband, or even really about those horrible parents. This is about the separation of church and state. This is about getting government out of the hospital room and out of the bedroom.

This is about the kind of faulty logic and inconsistancy that drives me the most wild.

The Republicans say that marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. They say that government should endorse that institution and make it the law of the land. OK. Fine. If so, then any decision between those two parties, the man and the woman, should be sacred and above the reach of government. Which means that Michael Schiavo should have the last word here. He should, by Republican stated beliefs, have rights that her parents gave up when she married him.

But no. They are wringing their hands over what they consider murder. If it was me? I'd want them to pull the tubes out and put a freaking pillow over my face. ASAP, too.

If putting a vegetable out of her misery is murder, then what do you call sending able-bodied American youth to Iraq with inadequate supplies? What do you call it when that same American youth puts a bullet into a native Iraqi woman or child? Is that not state sponsored murder?

What about all those criminals on Death Row here in Florida? Some of them there for crimes they didn't commit, and we all know how frequently that happens: it's in the Miami Herald several times a year. Isn't that state-sponsored murder? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the death penalty in certain extreme cases. Ted Bundy? I would have pulled the lever on Old Sparky my own self.

For a party that is soooo concerned with the rights of the unborn and the undead, they play pretty fast and loose with the rights of the children once they are out of the womb. Cutting funds for education, health care and school lunch programs is good in the Republican creed.
They want to punish single mothers (but what about the fathers?). They are just beneath my contempt.

But they are not above trying to legislate my life according to their own beliefs.
Miz Shoes

No, Not the Fug!

I had a dream last night that I refused to wear something because if I did, I just knew that I'd end up on Go Fug Yourself as a bad example.

Do you think I'm spending too much time on my computer?
This is for my sistergirlfriendgirl and her good dog Oliver. This is Levi, a blue marl Pembroke Welsh Corgi that I saw at the dog show. He has baby blue eyes and he is just beautiful.

My GirlCousin and Star have, independent of each other, decided that I should do this.
That is the Martha Stewart Apprentice, of course.

And I gave it serious consideration for about fifteen minutes. Then it struck me: "What if I win the audition, and have to actually play the game?"

Granted, my twelve years at the hospital have given me super powers in the areas of toxic work environment, backstabbing and evil axis building, and granted, those could come in handy in a "reality" TV competition, but the bottom line is, I'd have to be on TV.

Eww. And ewwwwww. And maybe a retch or two. I don't want to be on TV. Ever. And certainly not in a situation where the editors have plenty of footage to cut together to make me look like an even bigger bitch than I can accomplish on my own. And let me tell you, I do just fine with that, thanks.

Reality TV series all have archetypes: The Bitch, The Bimbo, The Backstabber, The Nice One, The Smart One Who Loses The Game Despite or Because Of Being Smart. I have enough problems with my personality as it is, I do not need editing to accentuate the negatives.

I often say that I am like asparagus; people loathe me or love me and there is no room for indifference. Great. I should go on TV and try that phenomenon out with a few million people all at once.

Um, no.

Or worse, I could get on the show and actually last for more than a week. I could get into the show. I could want to win, and my naturally competitive nature could be unleashed. Bad idea. Bad idea for me, bad idea for anyone in my path, probably great TV. Ick.

So, despite urging from family and friends, and despite the fact that the whole concept of trying to be Martha's avatar appeals to some really dark part of my soul, (Oh, come on, be honest with yourself. Wouldn't you want to go out and abuse the gardeners? Stand around and complain that the exact shade of lilac you wanted the living room to be painted is not the one that is now on the walls, and they have fifteen minutes before air time to fix it...) I think that I shall have to pass on this chance for fame and fortune.
Miz Shoes

Another Observation

I go to the gym several times a week, to work out with the Marquis de Steve AKA Nic Cage, my trainer. The gym has a very small area for parking, and so people end up around the corner, down the street, whatever.

But some people are too good for all that, and so the gym has a valet. A valet, people. For the gym. Where you go to work out. So, like, doesn't that mean that you could hike your skanky ass a block or two to get into the gym to work up a sweat?

Am I missing something here?
Something else that I don't get is how women with no body fat anywhere else, can think it looks natural or even remotely attractive to have two huge canteloupe halves on their chests. You can't have tits without ass. Not naturally, at any rate.

For more information about that and why you should have a hand lift if you are going to have that many face lifts, go to one of my favorite guilty pleasures: Awful Plastic Surgery.
Miz Shoes

My Quirky Garden

When the sistergirlfriendgirl and I were little 'uns, we used to play make believe in the ferns beside the house. We played Greek Goddess Warrior Princess Barbies (many decades before Xena Princess Warrior) and made houses in the ferns and moss.
It wasn't much of a stretch for us to imagine living in those mossy caves, and we spent hours and hours doing just that.

The garden I'm building around my koi pond is my homage to those fairy caves and moss gardens, and I'm doing my best to create a life size recreation of what we imagined.

Yesterday I was laying the jigsaw puzzle of Miami Oolite that I'm paving the sitting area with, and I misjudged the weight of the hoe I was swinging. In my own defense, the hoe in question had had its wooden handle replaced by a length (a long length) of steel pipe.

Said steel pipe took a nasty bounce back and this is the result: what looks like a swollen blood sausage where my left thumb used to be.


Let me tell you that the scan doesn't to justice to the color of my thumb, a sort of half-ripe aubergine.

The dogs were helping me dig.

digging1.jpg digging2.jpg
Miz Shoes

(Heaves Big Sigh) Ennui

I've been reading the surrogate daughters' blogs. Number One is in her junior year of college, Number Two is in her senior year of high school, Number Three is in high school too, and I've lost track of the year.

Number Three is all about boys and friends and I have to bang my head against a wall when I read it. It's just so jejeune and sophomoric and mostly so badly spelled that it takes all of my loyalty to her mother to read it. Cause, you know... Mom can't read it, and someone has to keep track.

It's Number One who makes my heart hurt so much. I am reminded of the story of Gertrude Stein telling F. Scott Fitzgerald "Oh, we are ALL a lost generation."
My N1SD is wallowing around in those deep and heady days of being away at school, drinking and getting stoned. She thinks that her generation invented ennui and depression and philosophical angst. "Oh," she laments "The world is so lousy, the job market is so lousy, what's the point of it all?"

Imagine, if you will, this being said by a facially-pierced young woman with fuschia streaks in her hair and an English major, whilst posturing with the back of her wrist against her forehead, and you will know why her mother and I want to slap her senseless... except that she's pretty senseless right now anyway.

Don't get me wrong, I love this girl. She is smart, and talented, and utterly, utterly lame at this moment in her life. She is cynical and jaded, only without the experience to back it up. She is scornful of her peers, but exhibits the same lax habits and mental shortcuts she disdains.

I love her to death, and I want very much to slap the bullshit out of her. She is, and it pains me to my core to say this, turning into a female, less libidinous version of her wasterel father... a companion of my own salad days, when I was young and green.

Except, stoned as I was, drunk as I was, I maintained my GPA. I graduated cum laude and was in an honors fraternity. I rarely, if ever, skipped class and I never, ever went to class high. I worked enough to pay for my own bad habits, and never had to call my parents for more money. I lived in the dorms, despite that I rather would not have. I ate in the cafeteria, and managed just fine on tuna melts and gallons of coffee.

I was not, nor do I pretend to have been, perfect, or even good, but I was always punctual about turning in work and getting to class, and meeting my deadlines. I learned a lot in school, and being responsible for my own vices was one of the most important lessons. I hope N1SD learns that one thing before she graduates.

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